Sunday, 23 January 2011

Can you guess where my little girl wants to go on holiday?

As you'll know from reading my recent articles on, I have been feeling very fed up indeed with the chilly British weather, and have been dreaming of a warm holiday. I've chatted to Emma from Tots Too about the most glorious luxury family holidays ever, and to Abi from Bushbaby Travel about safari holidays and wildlife experiences, and have spent countless hours totting up how much my trips home to Canada will cost, even with the ridiculously low prices in the January sales (have a look at Skyscanner and you'll see what I mean). I'm desperate to book something before the sales end but can't decide when and where!!!

Anyhow, it looks like Mads has been dreaming of a warm holiday too so I'm thinking maybe we will go wherever this wonderful place is in her drawing! We can make out golden sand, turquoise ocean, warm sunshine, a rainbow and a red crab... and Mads is doing Jazz Hands in the picture, so wherever it is must be fun.

Can you guess where M wants to go on holiday?

p.s. There really are some great sales on at the moment with BA, Thomas Cook, eBookers, etc. The best place to start is flight comparison site, Skyscanner. Yes, I do get a teeny tiny commission if you decide to book your cheap flights through Skyscanner (at no cost to you), but I genuinely would recommend them if you need to find the best prices quickly!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Wee Bead Room: A Tale of Toddlers, Friendship, and Quite a Lot of Wee.

This morning I walked to my local cafe in a slightly detached stupor, wondering how I could factor a gin-for-breakfast sort of existence into my family life. Now don't get me wrong, I am not an alcoholic. But rational to a fault, I had been mentally ticking off all the ways I could survive the terrible twos, and I had settled on substance abuse as a distinct possibility.

Diving straight into Gin is a perhaps a bit steep, so I decided to give Laughing About It With Other Parents another go first. It's a technique that has worked wonders in the past.

So off to Dan & DeCarlo's I went, texting my friend Bex along the way, telling her I was in need of an emergency coffee. To her credit she appeared less than 2 minutes later, wanting ALL the details of that morning's utterly ridiculous tantrum.

And here it is. And it's a good'un.

We are firmly in the Only Daddy phase, where life simply cannot go on without Daddy being present and responsible for all toddler-helping. Daddy works full time, so it can be a little tricky and somewhat infuriating to say the least. Danger Boy would rather starve himself than be served food by anyone other than Daddy, which of course makes for lots of crazy blood-sugar crash behaviour. He even refuses to get out of bed, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, waiting for Daddy and clinging to the bars of the cot so hard that there is no way I could physically extract him without first cutting off his arms.

He likes to vary his Only Daddy behaviour a little to keep things fresh, so this morning we had the famous Octopus Squirm on Changing Table wrestle as I tried for 15 minutes to get his all-in-one Thomas pyjamas off him. I finally managed to get one leg out, and as I was getting the other out, he popped the first one back in. By the time I won (yay!) the battle, his fluffy blond hair was slicked back with sweat from his efforts to get away from Naughty Mummy, as I am known.

We moved on to the nappy.

As we both tugged in opposite directions and he flipped around like a fish on the changing table, I watched in slow motion as the nappy burst open, spewing thousands, perhaps millions, of tiny wee-soaked micro-granules across the room, covering every surface. Even the windows were covered in a fine spray of the tiny, sticky, pungent beads, like little yellow Flying Fish roe.

As was Danger Boy. Naked now, looking scrawny from his refusal to eat without Daddy, and covered head to toe in tiny beads, with mounds of them gathered under his chin and underarms like little yellow snowdrifts.

By some miracle, he looked at me as if to say "oh shit.", succumbed to being hosed down, got some clean clothes on and sat in the buggy obediently, not wanting to catch my eye. I closed the door to his room, wee beads and all, and walked out.

After she stopped laughing hysterically and wiping her spilled hot chocolate from the table, Bex said "Let's go then" and we walked back to my house together, where we donned gloves, armed ourselves with Dettol and my trusty Dyson, and entered the Wee Bead Room.

So there you are. I've now learned 3 important things -

1) If a toddler does not want to change his nappy, use bribery and not coercion.

2) Never ever leave the radiator on in a room covered in wee.

3) Only a true friend will giggle with you while vacuuming sticky plasticised wee soaked beads out of your carpet.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

How to cheer up Daddy's Little Boy

Danger Boy has been feeling really unwell for 4 days now - nothing you can put your finger on, just extreme fatigue, and a fever that comes and goes. The worst part by far is that he is just so unbearably sad. All he wants is to snuggle Daddy, but of course with Daddy at work all week that just isn't possible. Stuck in the house with Mummy he spends hours on end crying and asking for Daddy. I could have done with a little more appreciation for having given up my career to be with him, but hey. Anyhow after more than a year of being told "Shoo Mummy!" by this little Daddy's boy, I'm getting used to it.

I have spent countless hours this week trying to find ways to make him stop crying... and I've stumbled across this video. It's the only thing that works so we've watched it a LOT.

Friday, 7 January 2011

My Top 5 Famous Dinner Party Guests

Before I get down to the serious business of blogging about my Year in Review or my resolutions to move my Christmas Tummy about 8 inches upwards to where my bust should be, I thought I'd take a crack at Kate's Listography challenge...

This week's list is My Top 5 Famous Dinner Party Guests.

1. Simon Reeve
You know him better as the incredibly down to earth, smiley, and insanely intelligent TV presenter (Equator, Tropic of Capricorn...). He's been awarded a One World Broadcasting Trust award for an “outstanding contribution to greater world understanding”... so I am hoping he will both enlighten me about the world and laugh at my When A Yak Suddenly Gives You Flowers story about my travels through Nepal. His brother (James Reeve, photographer extraordinaire) can come too.

2. Ed Robertson
I actually met the Barenaked Ladies earlier this year thanks to a friend who, after 15 years or so of touring with them, finally remembered that I have been a massive fan since I bought their first casette tape back in the day. Like me, he is a massive fan of The Wire, so we spent most of the time talking excitedly about who loves it more. Anyhow, Ed is very very funny and a natural entertainer and will have us all in stitches. I'll get the guitar out before dessert and make him play me For You. Aaah.

3.Boris Johnson
I was reading a fantastic article about Boris this morning in Management Today and my daughter caught a glimpse... she asked me "who is that funny man with hay instead of hair? He looks nice and a bit crazy!". Erm...that is our Mayor. Aside from just finding the totally mad hair completely endearing, I think he's pretty sharp, and you can never go wrong with inviting an intelligent, witty conversationalist to dinner to talk about a city you both love.

4.  Ed Relf
Does he count as famous? He's the CMO of Mind Candy and behind the meteoric rise of Moshi Monsters, so that makes him famous in my world. I've met him a few times now and he is one of the most clever, insightful and down to earth people I've had the pleasure of meeting. He's definitely on my dinner party list.

5. Dara O'Briain
I'm fascinated by Dara O'Briain and love his dry sense of humour. It doesn't hurt that he's quick witted, his observations are always spot-on, and he has a lovely irish accent.

Is it awful that my dinner party only has male guests, and that I haven't given a thought to my husband? Maybe I should have invited Kate Beckinsale to keep him company while I sit in awe with my room full of intelligent,  witty men.