When The Four-Year-Old Turned Five


You know when something seems like it’ll be really easy and manageable in your head. And in reality, it ends up being a shedload of work and a bit stressful? That’s what happened really, with the five-year-old’s birthday party.

The plan was simple: hire a church hall, hire a bouncy castle, do a few activities like nail painting and biscuit decorating, give them all some sandwiches and crisps, job done.

I’ll admit, I totally under-estimated how much work it would be, and I have a new-found respect for people who plan events for a living. But, that said, the five-year-old had a whale of a time, and hopefully *fingers crossed* all of the 34 kids who came (I know, 34, I must be mad, right?) had fun too.


The activities were all based on the things that the five-year-old LOVES to do. We had a bouncy castle which was very quickly packed with red, sweaty, smiling children.


We had a nail bar where the kids could have Little Bu nail polish applied. Little Bu is brilliant because the polishes are non toxic, odourless and either washes or peels off.



The queue for the nail bar was long and filled with patient little people – brilliantly quite a few boys wanted their nails painted too, and I have it on good authority that the most popular colour with everyone was a deep pinky-red shade! We also had some of the cute nail stickers from Little Bu which were applied once the polish was dry. Big up to my friend Kim who was the super duper nail technician for the afternoon! She deserved a wine that evening.

We also had a tattoo parlour, with some amazing circus-themed temporary tattoos from Tattyoo – I’ve never used them before, and was really impressed with how well each tattoo came out. My friend Katie was the tattoo artist for the afternoon, and after the first few, cleverly cottoned on to the fact that these kids would be going to school the next day, so started to do the tatts on the kids’ upper arms, so they’d be covered by their school uniform.



The last activity was biscuit-decorating, and we used some amazing kits from BKD. I’ve written about BKD a few times – as well as selling biscuit kits and new baking kits, they run classes in London where you can decorate cupcakes and biscuits.



The BKD biscuit decorating kits were perfect, as each child had one biscuit (a choice between lots of shapes like dinosaurs, flowers, stars and rocket ships) plus a little icing pen and a packet of sprinkles. My mum was on biscuit bar duty and did an amazing job at helping all the kids get arty….

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Things I’ve Learned After A Week Of Being A School Mum


My daughter has now been a pupil at primary school for a week. I have been a school mum for a week. It’s been exciting, it’s been nerve-wracking, it’s been exhausting and it has felt like a month! Here are the things I’ve learnt in that week…

  1. I’ll never tire of saying “I’m doing the school run” or “I’ll do that after the school run” – it makes me feel like a proper parent, in the same way you felt when you first move out of home and you feel really grown up making beans on toast for yourself (“yeah, I don’t need a MUM to cook for me, I’ve totally got this”)
  2. Navigating the whole starting-school process is emotionally exhausting. I completely underestimated how tough it would be to get my head around getting my child to the school ON TIME every morning (“Please stop walking so slowly!”) and keeping an eye on the clock to pick her up at the right time. Knowing where to drop her off, where to collect her. Does she need her PE kit today? Have I labelled everything? Where does she go for after school Street Jazz class? What’s the name of her classroom assistant again? *head spins and falls off*
  3. Fitting work in around the school day is tricky. Call that a full day? 3.15pm is usually when I’m just getting going on a day’s work, after a few hours of procrastinating and email admin. But now it’s the time I have to down tools and head to school to collect my child. Add to that the fact that my school-mum-addled brain made me totally forget about a meeting one morning until the person I was meeting messaged me to ask where I was, and it’s safe to say I’m not cracking this balancing act quite yet.
  4. When you have a child who’s tired from a week of school and getting their head around their new routine, Netflix is your friend. The four-year-old spent around three solid hours watching Power Rangers one afternoon and I felt zero-guilt. She needed to zone out, I needed the peace. Win, win. The baking/drawing/reading can wait for another day.
  5. Checking your child’s school bag every day is the key to knowing what’s going on. The four-year-old has been at school now for 7 days and on 6 of those days, there has been a letter or note or form in her bag for me to read and act upon. Usually, they require me to act upon it by the following day, meaning I need to be ALL OVER THIS SHIZ every night.
  6. Trying to get your child to tell you what they did at school that day is like getting blood from a stone. Me: “What did you do today?” Her: “I can’t remember.” Me: “Did you play with anything or play with any new friends?” Her: “No” Me: “Did you draw anything?” Her: “Not today”
  7. My washing machine thinks we have a newborn baby again. Our Bosch is still getting over the battering it got five years ago when it was used approximately five times a day with newborn vests, baby grows, muslins and scratch mitts. While we’re not quite doing five loads of laundry a day now, it’s being used a heck of a lot more as we wash grubby school uniforms again and again (Note to self: next year, buy five of everything and do the washing at the weekend.)
  8. School is really good for my social life. Granted, the most obvious benefit to school is that my child is getting an education, but a totally unexpected perk is how many awesome local mums and dads I’m now mates with. We’ve had invitations to prosecco-fuelled BBQs, coffee and cake at the local cafe, and lots of chatting at the school gate. It’s like Fresher’s Week without the 20p blue shots and Pulp Fiction posters.

I suspect that this is only the start of my school mum education and I’ve got a lot more to learn. But as long as the prosecco-fuelled social events continue, I think I’ll survive. What have you learned as a school mum?

My Grocery Haul With Mumsnet & Lidl

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I love watching a good haul video on YouTube – beauty products, fashion, kidswear, toys, I can spend a couple of hours being nosey and seeing what other bloggers and vloggers have bought. I’ve filmed a couple myself, on my fledgling YouTube channel, and last week, I was set a challenge by Mumsnet:

Could I do my weekly grocery shop in Lidl, get everything I need AND save money in the process?

Saving money is one of my favourite things in life, so I happily accepted the challenge and went to my local Lidl to do our weekly grocery shop.

Watch the video below to see how I got on, and you can also download a meal plan if you feel inspired and want to copy our week of frugal eating!

Thanks to Mumsnet and Lidl for working with Not Another Mummy Blog – for info on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

Buying Our First School Uniform With Care2Save


It’s the day before the four-year-old starts primary school and I’m doing that typical last minute panic which involves worrying about the following:

Where are those iron-on name labels that I bought months ago and tucked away in a safe place?

The summer dresses I’ve bought have blue stripes – what if every other girl is wearing blue gingham?

Will the temporary tattoo currently on the four-year-old’s arm come off in the bath tonight?

What if we sleep through the alarm tomorrow and I make her late on her first day?

Clearly, it doesn’t matter how organised we think we are, there will always be something we worry about the day before our little one starts school. Thankfully, I’ve had her uniform for a few weeks now, hanging up and ready for her to wear.



And even better, when I bought it, I used ace site Care2Save. Care2Save is a shopping site that lets you give to charity, at no extra cost, every time you use the site to shop online. Unlike other sites, no profit is made and 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

Using Care2Save couldn’t be easier. I downloaded the toolbar to my mac, which means that every time I am on a retail site that is affiliated with Care2Save, a little pop-up toolbar appears and asks if I want to donate while I shop. I shopped on the Marks and Spencer site for most of the uniform (good old M&S!) and then bought the shoes from Clarks, after popping in for a fitting in-store (top tip: you can book appointments on the Clarks website… boy did I feel like the smuggest parent ever when we turned up to a crowd of mums, dads and kids all waiting to be served and we were seen straight away…). There are loads of retail sites affiliated with Care2Save – from John Lewis and ASOS to Habitat and Boots.

You get to choose which charity you want to donate to – I chose NSPCC – and it’s an ace way to shop guilt-free! Like lots of people, I have regular direct debits set up, which donate to various charities, but I always feel like I should be doing more. Again, like lots of people, it’s often time and money stops me from doing more, so having a really EASY way to donate money to charity, which actually doesn’t even leave a dent in my pocket is fantastic….

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Saying Goodbye To Nursery

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I’m sitting on my my sofa, working on the laptop as the evening sun streams into the living room window. Along the hall, in the kitchen, I can hear my four-year-old and Mr P. They’re making thank you cards to give to her nursery key worker and the rest of the team, tomorrow.

She’s starting primary school next week. Next week! How did that happen? I’m fairly sure it was just the other day, she was two and toddling along pushing a doll’s buggy that was nearly as big as her. A year ago, I wrote a post about not feeling ready to have a child start school. I’m over that. The four-year-old is totally ready, and therefore so am I. She is counting down the days to starting and thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be an ounce of nerves.

But what has surprised me is that it’s not the new beginnings that have shaken me, it’s the goodbyes.

I can hear her asking Mr P to write the sentence on some scrap paper, so that she can copy the letters and write the message on the card herself. “Thank you for looking after me” she is saying.

She’s been at that nursery since she was nine months old.

The nursery which saved my sanity by allowing me to pop her in for one day a week at that age, two months ahead of her official starting date.

The nursery which didn’t mind when I called up during her settling in sessions, to check how she was, while I sat in a cafe feeling physically sick that my baby was being looked after by “strangers”.

The nursery that changed her nappy hundreds of times, gave her milk, gave her cuddles.

The nursery which could get her to nap every afternoon long after she’d stopped napping at home (how did they do it? Apparently they have some back rubbing technique that sends them all off….)

The nursery which could get her to eat all sorts for lunch, like chicken korma and jambalaya, when all she’d eat at home was rice cakes and sausages.

The nursery where she’s learned to share – toys, books, even friends.

The nursery where she’s not just learned phonics and how to count to 110 but also the words to One Direction songs. Valuable, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The nursery which hasn’t just looked after her, as she has written in the card, but which has helped to shape her into the bright, happy school starter that she is.

I feel sad to be saying goodbye to her nursery. I’ve read countless articles and blog posts about coping with your child starting school, but what about coping with the goodbyes?