Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Calling All Inventors.....

1) Weetabix glue
We all know that dried on Weetabix is near impossible to remove. ‘I need the chisel for the highchair again’. So why not go one step further and pop it in a tube. There – a multi-purpose, high strength, environmentally and child-friendly glue. I’d like to see the ‘yoof’ in my town trying to get high on that.

2) Steriliser with separate compartments
Open the lid to get one bottle out and you lose the sterile environment for all the other bottles. A simple design flaw.  All we need is a steriliser that has individual compartments and lids, allowing you to get one out at a time without affecting the other bottles.

3) Welly boots that can’t be kicked off
Twenty eight. That is the number of times I had to put Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s wellies back on whilst going around the farm today. They’re off in the car, off in the pram, off at lunch, off on the loo, kicked off into the cow pat, off in the car park, one left in the mud and so on. Shoes have buckles so can’t you think of some fastener for boots please?

4) Stain remover that actually, completely removes stains
Need I say more?

5) Baby smell hoover
I’m always sniffing Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. That sounds weird but you know what I mean. You mummies reading this probably all do it too, often without even realising you’re doing it. That baby smell is simply addictive and I find it strangely calming. What I need is a little gadget that sucks that gorgeous smell of baby up and filters it into a bottle.

6) Pre-baby machine
Looking at wedding photos from five years ago I realised that I’ve aged. And I’ve aged more than is normal in five years. Why? Because I am a mother. Permanent bags under eyes? Check. Strange wobbly bit of tummy that won’t go away? Check. Boobs that sit 2 inches lower than before? Check. An extra half stone of weight from finishing up all of Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s leftovers? Check. Please find a way to zap me and return me to my pre-baby body. (In fact I’ve just realised our wedding was four years ago not five so please add memory-fixer to the list!)

Well anyway, that’s enough for you to get started on. I’ve got masses more ideas so come back soon for more to work on. Bye for now....


Come on inventors, I need your help. It’s quite simple. I’ve spotted several gaps in the market, so below is a list of things I think you should invent. There’s no catch. I’m not even going to charge you for my ideas. So, get cracking…..

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Etiquette of Kissing

Mortifying. That is the only way to describe the start of my meeting today. Utterly mortifying. I travelled into London this morning for a 'blue sky' marketing waffle meeting. At the meeting was the agency's bright new thing whom I'd not met before. Tall, well dressed and with a hint of the young Robert Redford, he cut quite a figure. The people I work with are very kissy (no chilly British handshakes for us) so I leant in for the obligatory double kiss. To my horror I realised just a bit too late that he was heading for the left cheek first. Bloody amateur – it’s always the right cheek first! I swerved to change cheeks at the last moment but I was not quite fast enough so somewhere in the middle of my avoidance manoeuvre we almost brushed lips. I certainly felt breath! To cover up my embarrassment I went confidently in for the second kiss only to discover that he'd already moved along and was offering another miserly single kiss to my colleague next to me. So there I am, lipsticked pout at the ready, head forward, my second kiss dangling uselessly in the air. Abort, abort! I smoothly carried on the move reaching casually down to my feet, and fiddled aggressively with my shoe. No-one was fooled. My crimson cheeks were a bit of a giveaway. Excruciating.

So here’s my plee -  England please, can we all just agree on a standard format of greeting. Personally I would suggest the double kiss, right cheek first. No single kisses, certainly no third kisses and never, never the hug. Most un-British!

Oh, and whilst we’re at it, please can someone do a kissing map of Europe? I know it’s three to four in Holland, more in the South of France than the North, and goodness only knows what they do in the more passionate Latin countries! All comments gratefully received!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Would You Like To See The Children’s Menu?

No. No, I wouldn’t like to see the Children’s Menu thanks because I can probably guess what’s on it – fish fingers and chips, sausage and chips, or pasta with tomato sauce followed by ice cream. Am I right? Yes, I thought so.

Honestly, I am so fed up of going to gastropubs and restaurants where the proper menu is full of lovely, seasonal dishes but the children’s menu is just junk. Why do they do this? Last time we went out, Mr Working Mum and I both ordered scallops for a starter but it was Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper who ate most of them. The waitress couldn’t believe it (and nor could I actually - I was rather miffed at having to share). So when will restaurants realise that children are not another species, they’re just smaller versions of us? Well I have a plan. From now on let’s all start boycotting the children’s menu and insisting of half portions of real food for our little ones. If they won’t serve this (and surprising numbers of places do actually refuse) then we just take our custom elsewhere. In fact, let’s get Jamie on the case. DOWN WITH THE CHILDREN’S MENU. BRING ON THE MINI PORTION!!!


Sunday, 17 July 2011


And another welcome, this time to Miss Jade 21. Hello, and good luck with the novel!


Waste Not Want Not

I am getting a little fed up of being constantly nagged by the newspapers about how much food we throw away. I was brought up in a house where it was common to cut the mouldy edges off the cheese before eating it and scraping a blue-grey layer from the top of the jam was perfectly normal, so hardly anything from our kitchen goes in the bin. Now I’m not suggesting that you go that far but here are some of my top tips for using up ‘tired’ food:

1) The sad brown banana
Quite revolting to eat but ideal for turning into banana bread – a gorgeous, not-to-sweet cake that is great mid-morning with a cup of tea (let me know if you need a recipe and I can post it for you)

2) Floppy herbs
The recipe calls for 1 tbsp of chopped coriander but can you buy anything smaller than a whole plastic pack of the wretched stuff?  And will it last until the next Thai curry you feel like making? Of course not. Chop it, add a little bit of water and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Do this with any herb and it’ll save you a fortune.

3) Lethal weapon bread
Hard enough to cause serious injury if dropped on a bare toe but otherwise fine. Hack it into pieces, put it in the blender to make breadcrumbs, then put these in the freezer. Ideal for making chicken schnitzel and all things crumbed.

4) Lemons and limes
You bought loads to make the fruit bowl look summery but they never last as long as you’d like. Before they get too wrinkly, chop them into wedges and freeze them. Next step, prepare your gin and tonic, beer, dark rum and coke, or other tipple of your choice and drop a frozen citrus wedge straight in. Chills and flavours, perfect!

5) Wine
Now this is one of those tips I think could be a good idea but have never used. Why? Because it refers to ‘leftover wine’. If you’re anything like us there is never such a thing, however you may be more restrained so I’ll tell you anyway: pour your leftover wine into an ice cube tray, then add the cubes to your stews and casseroles as you need them. Having said that, needing to open wine ‘for the cooking’ is one of my great excuses so feel free to ignore this one!

Anyway, that’s enough saving the planet. I’m off to put tip 4 into practice. Now where did I put that gin……?


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fabulous Followers

Well hello and welcome to my lovely new followers, Jelliot, Chatty Baby and Mama-and more. Lovely to meet you. Chatty Baby, thanks for your funny comments and Mama-and more, I'm amazed that you've got time in between mothering, marketing and massaging to follow my blog but I'm delighted that you do! Welcome....


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Peas Please

We had a breakthrough this week that dieticians and dentists world-wide would thoroughly approve of. It was 'snack time', that sugar dip around half ten when Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper needs a nutritional top up or all hell breaks loose. As usual I offered a glass of milk and a homemade oat biscuit. Ok, 'homemade' might be a tad misleading, They were made at home, just not mine (they were actually made by the lovely lady who runs the deli). Anyway, confession over, back to the story. So I've offered the snack but instead of the customary you-haven't-fed-me-in weeks type glee, I am met with a howl and dramatic sobs from a furious Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. Ok, not quite the response I was expecting. Let's figure this out.

"What's the matter? Would you rather have water?"


"Did you want your Gruffalo plate instead of Dancing Mice?"

Scream and foot stamp

"Ok, give me a clue"

Tear-muffled response that sounds like 'I need a pee'.

"Ok, well nip to the loo then come back for your snack. Honestly, were the histrionics really necessary?"

Howl, then toddler drops theatrically to the floor. (Destined for the stage this one).

"I...(sniff).....want...(sob)... a green pea...(hiccup) its bed"

A green pea in its bed. As in a fresh pea in its pod? Has my child really just requested a pea over a biscuit? Extraordinary! ‘What’s the secret?’ I hear you cry. We’ve just had our first crop of peas from the allotment and clearly the novelty of podding them and then eating them raw hasn’t worn off yet. Peace is restored as I hand over four pods of perfect little peas. Struggling with a toddler who won't eat vegetables? Grow some - they'll bite your hand off for them!


Monday, 11 July 2011

Laughing Through Long Haul

Yes, you read correctly I said ‘laughing’ and ‘long haul’ in the same breath and no, before you ask, we did not leave Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper behind. How could you even think that?!  With 20 hours of flying and 1700 miles of driving under our belts from our recent family holiday to America, I am about to share with you Working Mum’s Tried and Tested Travel Tips. Now concentrate and please take notes because this is super-valuable advice:

Challenge 1 - The Airport
Juggling passports, tickets, boarding passes, fridge-sized suitcases and a toddler who wants to explore alone and at speed.

Working Mum’s Top Tip – buy a Trunki ride-on suitcase. Large enough to carry all essential toddler items, small enough to count as hand luggage, and enjoyable enough for toddler to ride on for hours instead of racing around madly.

Challenge 2 – Boarding
“Would all those travelling with children like to board first…..?”

Working Mum’s Top Tip – NO! No we would not like to sit on the plane for an extra half hour whilst waiting for everyone else to board and countless final calls are issued for the fools who have gone to the wrong gate. No, we would rather enjoy our last precious minutes of freedom thanks. (Unless, of course, your seats are not pre-allocated in which case run like a gazelle, push to the front and bag those extra leg-room seats.)

Challenge 3 – Take-Off and Landing
Take off and landing are stressful enough without the added tension of a toddler with popping ears and a good set of lungs.

Working Mum’s Top Tip – introduce the Take-off Treat and Landing Lollipop. Throw away all rules about sugary treats, rotting teeth etc and purchase 4 small lollipops. The novelty of having such a forbidden fruit is enough to keep toddler happy (and quiet) for 20 minutes whilst the sucking action soothes their ears. Why 4 lollipops I hear you ask?  Isn’t that a bit excessive? Let me explain: 1 for take-off, 1 for landing, 1 to replace the lolly that gets dropped on the loo floor and 1 to replace the lolly that was left half-sucked on the tray table and was cleared away by the air stewardess who mistakenly assumed it was finished with. Trust me, please take 4.

Challenge 4 – 10.5 hours of flying
10 and a half hours. Oh my, whose idea was this?

 Working Mum’s Top Tip – follow my hand luggage checklist:
1)      Change of clothes for toddler AND you (with travel sickness and the inevitable food/drink spillage, you’re both bound to need a change of outfit)
2)      Bag of Cheerios or other favourite cereal (various uses – snacks / bribes / meal replacements / mini-missiles to be launched discreetly at disapproving, child-free couple who keep tutting)
3)      Emergency Presents (a few small, new toys such as finger puppets, plastic money and stickers wrapped up individually and to be issued when tantrums threaten)
4)      Drinking cup with top (flimsy plastic cups in a confined space are hopeless so buy one of those sports-cap bottles or similar and decant all drinks into it)
5)      I-pod with child-friendly earphones (download favourite music and stories onto this – keeps them entertained, provides something familiar and blocks out plane noise if you want them to sleep. Alternatively take portable dvd player/laptop with favourite tv or films)
6)      Tiddle pad (for the newly potty trained take a tiddle pad or similar plastic-backed cushion so in the event of an accident the seat isn’t soaked)
7)      Normal bed-time items (if you have a night flight follow the usual routine to encourage sleep so take pyjamas, toothbrush, teddy bear, usual bedtime book etc)

And that’s it. Easy really.  Just follow my tips and you should cruise through your journey this summer season. But if all else fails, tip your seat back, order a large Bloody Mary, pop those foam earplugs in and remember that most of your fellow passengers are just glad it’s not their child.


Friday, 8 July 2011

Puppy Training vs Potty Training

Posh-Friend-Polly phoned up in a flap yesterday. She is trying to house-train their black Labrador puppy, Montague. (Ridiculous name for a dog I agree). Anyway, whilst Montague seemed to grasp the concept of holding on until he could feel the fresh air on his face it transpired that there was one thing my friend had overlooked – the cat flap. Yesterday Polly came down to breakfast and was horrified to see Montague, head happily poked out of the cat flap, weeing all over the kitchen floor! Having laughed heartedly at her misfortune, I then had to confess that we’d recently had a similar thing happen with Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper. Working Mum had a rare day off so we’d braved the rush-hour train and headed into town for a bit of shopping and lunch with friends. No sooner had we arrived at the super-trendy-biodynamic-beansprout type restaurant when:

‘MUMMY I NEED A WEE!’ the battle cry went up (shouted at a volume level reserved specially for public places).

We head to the loos and the toddler independent streak kicks in so I am ordered to wait outside the gate (cubicle door) as my assistance is not required. Fine by me. 3 seconds of daydreaming and then:


Gone funny? What’s on Earth is that supposed to mean? I open the door expecting the worst but when I get in all seems perfectly normal. All apart from the anguished expression on Toddler-Not-So-Tiny-Temper’s face. I look and look, struggling to see a problem and then it clicks. Some over paid ‘design guru’ has insisted that what this restaurant really needs to complete the minimalist look are clear plastic loo seats…...AND LIDS! Clear loo lids, as in practically invisible lids, as in comedy loo ‘ha-ha we got another one’ lids. Genius. Happy clientele wowed by the chicness (is that a word?) of the restaurant. Or on the other hand, one fuming Working Mum and a soggy and utterly bewildered toddler.


Friday, 1 July 2011

Pushing Water Up a Hill

Baby swimming. Babies actually learning how to swim. Sounds great doesn’t it? Forget baby music, baby yoga and baby sign language, this is a crucial life skill taught lovingly and enjoyably to grateful mini-mermaids by caring and dedicated parents. Then comes the underwater photograph à la Nirvana album cover 1991, swiftly followed by numerous material badges sewn proudly onto the swimming towel. Happy mummies, happy little water babies.
Or, as I have discovered, weekly water torture. Squeezing into an increasingly unforgiving swimming costume, explaining that you are not ‘expecting number 2’ it was just bad posture, spending 20 minutes in tepid water trying to unclamp limpet-like child from neck, quashing murderous thoughts as ‘Talula-With-Gym-Body-Mother’ performs perfect half dives, then shivering for half an hour in damp costume attempting to dry and re-clothe cold and wriggling 2 year old using illegal biscuits as bribes in the ‘no food please’ changing room.  

Hmmm. Baby yoga’s looking good.