Because I’m Happy #3

It’s two months since my last Happy post…. but don’t worry, it’s not because I’ve been wallowing in unhappiness during that time. Kind of the opposite actually! So, here’s what’s been making me feel happy, of late…

M&S trainers

Bagging some bargain trainers. I spotted these lovely Marks & Spencer trainers on Kat Got The Cream – they were £29.95 and are reduced to £8 in the sale. £8! For real. I love them. Granted, it’s too hot to wear them at the moment but I will…

Midweek BBQs. Something it’s not too hot for! There’s something so BRILLIANT about a midweek barbie, isn’t there? It feels a bit naughty to sling some burgers and bangers on the grill and eat outside. On a Wednesday! Plus, the four-year-old loves any excuse to eat sausages, so she’s happy too.

Junior Design Awards

Being a judge in the Junior Magazine Design Awards 2015. This is something I’m hugely thrilled about – Junior Magazine have asked me to be a judge in their prestigious Design Awards. During its 15 year history, Junior has celebrated the best designer and high street children’s fashion labels, the luxurious hotels and fine restaurants that can cater to a family’s every whim while retaining high standards, the coolest and most child-friendly interiors, and the top classic and modern toys and books. Every year, they call upon parenting and family brands, products and experiences to enter the awards, to be judged against each other in order to bring their readers the cream of the crop.

I’ll be judging the lifestyle categories including travel, books, toys, dining, buggies and cots. Other judges on the Junior Design Awards include my fellow blogger and journo Erica Davies from the Edited, TV presenter Kirsty McCabe, singer Rachel Stevens, designer Olivia Rubin and Cass Chapman from Kodomo. If you run or look after a brand, you can register to enter here.

martin-millers-gin

Discovering I like drinking gin! I’ve never been a fan of gin…. until now. I think I must be a proper grown up or something, because when I was in Mallorca last month with Scott Dunn Travel (full post on that coming shortly) I drank gin. Twice. And I liked it. It’s like a whole new world of drinks have just opened up to me. First up, I’m trying out this amazing looking gin that Martin Miller’s sent me – it’s distilled in England using water from an Icelandic spring. Gin and tonic on ice, anyone?…

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23 Thoughts That Parents Have During A Heatwave

oscillating-fan

1. Ooh YAY it’s going to get warm!

2. Oh crap. It’s going to get HOT. 33C? We’re going to melt.

3. Where’s the paddling pool? Why don’t I have a set place to store things like paddling pools? I’m totally going to create a ‘Seasonal items’ box in the cupboard under the stairs for this kind of thing.

4. I’ll just buy a new paddling pool.

5. Oh crap. Why has everywhere sold out of paddling pools? Wonder if I can buy this toddler ball pit and fill that up with water? If I buy three super soakers and spray my child with them, will that be the same as having a paddling pool?

6. I found a paddling pool! I officially win at life. This is as good as getting a half price turkey on Christmas Eve.

7. Totally going to sit with my feet in this paddling pool, while my little one splashes around in it.

8. Why does my child refuse to put on sunscreen and wear a hat? How can I make this happen without a full on tantrum? Maybe I can creep up on her and slather the cream on her before she notices.

9. Didn’t work. Neighbours now hate me because I’ve ruined their chilled ambience by shouting “I’m going to count to three!” and my child screaming and wailing.

10. Shall we have an impromptu BBQ tonight?

11. Oh crap. Why has everywhere sold out of burgers? All that’s left are korma-flavoured beef kebabs.

12. Mmmm I can smell next door’s BBQ. They have burgers. Dammit – they must have planned ahead.

13. Does opening the windows make the house cooler, or just let warm air in?

14. Will my neighbours think we’re weird if we keep the curtains closed all day, to keep the sunshine out?

15. Whyyyy is there no air in my upstairs rooms?

16. My child is never going to get to sleep in this heat.

17. Ooh, I’ll get the oscillating fan and put it on in her bedroom. Now where did we put the fan? See, told you we needed a seasonal items box. The fan would be in that box, if we had one.

18. Found it. In the airing cupboard. Obviously.

19. Do oscillating fans even do anything apart from push warm air around the room?

20. Oscillating is such a funny word. Oscillating. Oscillating. Oscillating.

21. I’m just going to have this cold glass of wine. Just to cool myself down, you understand.

22. Ooh I’ve caught the sun today.

23. Oh crap, now I can’t get to sleep. My pillow feels so warm. It’s too hot for my duvet but it just feels weird to lie here without anything over me. When I create my seasonal items box, I should put some thin bed sheets in there.

Image: DTTSP

Mum Mathematics

The other week, we spent a Sunday afternoon with some friends. We had lunch, then wandered around Sevenoaks in the sunshine before finding a lovely little restaurant with a leafy courtyard. We sat, drinking prosecco cocktails while the kids played games and had a great old time. I texted my friend later that night…

Sun + prosecco + happy children playing

It got me thinking about Mum Maths – there are some situations that can always be either predicted or explained by a simple sum. A Mum Sum, if you will. Here are some of them…

Sun + prosecco + happy children playing-4

Sun + prosecco + happy children playing-5

 

Sun + prosecco + happy children playing-2

Birthday party + lots of sugar = crash

Birthday party + lots of sugar = crash-3

Birthday party + lots of sugar = crash-2

What do you think – do you have any more Mum Sums you’d add?

Not Another…. DADDY Blog?

pine-cliffs-resort-portugal

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! To celebrate today, Mothercare have asked if Mr P would like to take over my blog for a day. So here he is….

Over to Mr P

It’s that time of year again, when dads across the land can rejoice in the wonder and splendour that is fatherhood (and get a couple of pressies to boot!) Talking of presents though, the choice of ‘stuff’ that our beloved families get to choose from can be a bit of the ‘socks and slippers’ variety. So here’s my top ten things, experiences and some silliness that would make ace Father’s Day presents:

  1. A super lie in. Not one that ends at 8am, like they often do as a parent, but one that lasts until I say so!
  2. A day at the races (motor or horse kind!)
  3. A selection of worldwide beers. The twist being that I can have ALL of them because someone has arranged for me to be absent from work the next day!
  4. A theme park day. This has been arranged with only dads being allowed to go on the best rides! This means spending time with the family, but also cuts down on queuing time.
  5. Beige buffet all day long. Crisps, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pizza, onion bhajis, you get the idea. Houmous is NOT allowed because it’s not baked or fried!
  6. Father’s Day to be renamed West Wing day. You will refer to me as Mr President and I’ll be eating all the food as mentioned in no.5 whilst seeing if I can break my personal record of watching more than 12 episodes in one day.
  7. A giant Haribo sweet is made in my likeness and it tastes good!
  8. Being a Star in a Reasonably Priced Car à la Top Gear!
  9. An old style trolley dash in a technology store.
  10. A BBQ hosted by Barbecoa in my back garden with lashings of their finest meat products and the best damn BBQ to cook it on you’ve ever seen!

Clearly I live in a dreamworld so if none of these are possible then a handmade card, a fry up to end all fry ups and no “Dad you’re soooo embarrassing!” comments when I say or do something silly!

If any dads are reading, what would your ultimate Father’s Day prezzies be?

brek

• Thanks to Mothercare for asking us to get involved with their #Fathercare campaign – research done by them, to celebrate Father’s Day, reveals fresh insights into the role of the modern-day dad, including their desire for equal involvement in raising the kids. More than two thirds (65%) of dads say that inflexible working hours interfere with their parenting duties, and given the choice 69% state that they would prefer to work part time in order to focus on childcare. Perhaps surprisingly, more than half (55%) state that they would prefer to take on the primary parenting role to become ‘stay at home’ dads. When is comes to dads-to-be, the majority welcome the new parental leave law, with 70% planning on splitting leave with their partners in the first year with their new baby.

Have you seen Mothercare also changed the signage outside their Oxford Street branch this week, to say Fathercare? I thought it was genius.

FATHERCARE_4

Win £150 John Lewis Vouchers With Everest Home Improvements

If you’re anything like me, you will have had at least 47 conversations about the weather recently. “When WILL the summer kick in?” and “Oh it’s been FREEZING recently, hasn’t it?”

Us Brits love to moan talk about the weather, but despite our despair that we haven’t yet had weeks of endless glorious sunshine, I have faith that we will get a decent summer. After all, it’s still only June. I reckon by the August bank holiday weekend, we’ll be basking in 30C heat and hoping for some cooler days.

To help you enjoy the final summery bank holiday of the year, I’ve joined up with Everest Home Improvements to give away £150 of John Lewis vouchers to one lucky winner. What would you buy with the vouchers? Here are some ideas….

john-lewis-outdoor-summer

[top row] MissPrint Little Trees Dinner Plate, Aqua, £6  // [second row] House by John Lewis Tealight Holder, Zest, £12 // [third row] House by John Lewis Charcoal Portable Kettle Barbecue, £29 // House by John Lewis Bowl Candles, Tangerine, £10  // John Lewis Lapis Outdoor Scatter Cushion, £20 // [bottom row] Talking Tables Giant Paper Fan, £9.50 // House by John Lewis Deck Chair Sling, Zest, £7.50 and Frame, £40 // John Lewis Summer Palm Cocktail Shaker, £8.

Everest know that sometimes three is better than two (their triple glazing for instance) and I think we all agree that this is the case when it comes to weekends. So, for the chance to win £150 of John Lewis vouchers to help you enjoy the last bank holiday of the summer, Everest want to know how are you planning on enjoying your long summer weekend?…

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