It Can Suck Being A Grown Up (Alternative Title: All The Pretty Things I Can’t Have)

There are many things that suck about being a grown up… having to work out tax (hurty head), not being able to lie in bed all day watching Sex And The City and having to take the rubbish out (even when it’s raining) are just three of them.

But the thing that sucks the most? Having to pay bills and pay your pay your mortgage rather than spend all your money on PRETTY THINGS. Right now, there are loads of gorgeous buys I have my eye on, but the whole boring being a grown up thing is getting in the way. But still, we can look at the pretty things and dream, right? Here’s what I’m lusting after.

For my four year old, I’m loving this little outfit from the Kate Spade at Gap Kids collection – how cute?

Kate Spade for Gap Kids

 

And for me, well, there are just so many things, but these beauties have caught my eye recently…

Autumn buys

1/ Marks and Spencer 2/ Boden 3/ Monica Vinader 4/MAC 5/Jo Malone 6/ Topshop

But no, rather than buy any of these lovely things, I’m going to be sensible and pay our bills, the mortgage, the nursery fees and hope we have some left over to save. Hmph. What’s on your autumn wishlist?

Thanks to Santander for sponsoring this post. For details on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

Stuff I Think About Parenting

It’s funny – some people call this a parenting blog, but I don’t actually talk about parenting a lot. Like, actual parenting. I talk about being a parent but not about actual parenting. There are enough websites and books out there, that do that, if you ask me.

But my lovely friend Charlotte tweeted me a link to a video she’d made today, and I watched it. Apart from thinking ‘Awesome lippy’ and ‘Love the autumnal chic’, I loved watching her chat about her thoughts on a few parenting issues. Then she tagged me, meaning I had to make my own video answering the same questions as she did.

So the questions are….

1. Your kid is refusing to eat dinner, do you stand your ground and demand they eat what you made or make something else?

2. Your kid has a melt-down at the store; nothing is working to calm them. Do you leave & come back another time or grit your teeth and finish shopping?

3. Your kid gets too many toys for their birthday. Do you make some returns or save them for a rainy day?

5. You have an appointment and no babysitter. Do you bring them with you or reschedule?

6. You have 20 minutes until unexpected company arrives. Do you rush to clean up your messy house, or just figure- “hey, it’s OK. I’ve got kids!”

7. You’re running late & only have time to do your hair or make up. Which do you choose?

8. You’re at the park and another child pushes yours. Do you intervene and correct them or go find the child’s parent?

So want to know what I think about all that? Watch my video…

 

I’ve tagged Emma from Brummy Mummy of 2 and the lovely Kiran from Mummy Says… but what do you think about these parenting issues?

Gorgeous Wooden Toys… From Asda! (Who Knew?)

I have a funny old relationship with wooden toys. Four years ago when I had a newborn, I thought they were pretentious and so utterly middle class that I’d try to avoid at all costs. Now (ahem) I’ve totally changed my tune. Perhaps it’s a symptom of having spent the last four years wading through a sea of primary-coloured plastic, but if I can choose a beautiful wooden toy over a plastic version, I’ll opt for it every time.

One problem? They can be more expensive than their plasticky friends. Yep, you gotta pay to have a home that isn’t drowning in plastic tat, folks.

Or so I thought. I’m genuinely surprised and delighted that George at Home have launched a range of wooden kids’ toys. Just in time for Christmas – hurrah!

They have a seriously impressive range from a shop (£35) and a pirate ship (£25) to a kitchen (£40) and a farm set (£20).

 

george-at-asda-wooden-toys

We were asked to road test one of the toys and we went for the wooden dolls house (£35). The four year old doesn’t have a proper dolls house, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to treat her to one.

She was SO EXCITED when she saw it. Like, properly. “Can I play with it NOW PLEASE?” she asked. It was breakfast time so we let her have ten minutes of playing and then totally used it as a bribe. “If you do lots of listening and helping at pre-school today, you can play with it tonight” (Mum.Of.The.Year.)

She immediately started carefully placing the dolls house furniture (£15) in the house and pretended that the dolls were getting up, having breakfast and going off to work. So cute!

 

Wooden dolls house from Asda Continue reading

Things That Aren’t As Much Fun When You Have Kids

cocktals2

1. Lunch with friends

Pre-kids: Meeting at 2.30pm, somewhere buzzy and fun. Getting stuck into a cocktail followed by a bottle of white wine. Chatting so much that the waiter has to ask you three times whether you’re ready to order. Eating leisurely and losing track of time as you catch up.

Post-kids: Meeting at midday (any later and the kids will get hungry and ratty) at a noisy child-friendly place. Ordering off the kids’ menu before you’ve even looked at what you might have. Having snatches of conversation in between helping to colour in (using the complimentary crayons and colouring sheet) and answer the endless “Mummy?” questions. Rushing through lunch before the kids get bored. Sloping off sheepishly after paying because there’s more food on the floor than in the actual kitchen.

2. The clocks going back

Pre-kids: Yesss! You get an extra hour in bed (or when you were a vodka and dancing loving student: Yesss! You get an extra hour in the club)

Post-kids: Argh! They’re technically up an hour early. And you have to somehow get them to go to bed an hour early tonight. (Suddenly, those conversations MPs have about stopping GMT seem appealing.)

3. Bank holidays

Pre-kids: A lie-in followed by a couple of hours in your PJs watching telly, then going to the pub to meet friends, eating a massive pub lunch and drinking wine in the sun until the early evening. Ahh bank holidays, the stuff of dreams.

Post-kids: Getting up the same time as you always do. Having to pay for childcare even though you’re not using it. Heading to the same soft play (if it’s raining) or beach (if it’s sunny) as everyone else on the planet. Fighting the crowds and the queues. Getting stuck in traffic on the way home. Fun times. Continue reading

I Went To Palma For Lunch – Here’s What Happened…

Got my passport, euros, sunglasses! Let's go!

I love a day trip. Not to the sea side or a stately home. I love getting on a plane and going to a different country, just for the day. Back when my best mate turned 30, a group of us went to Dublin for the day. A couple of years ago, I took Mr P to Paris for the day on his birthday. Recently, I flew to Edinburgh to visit my mum for the day. It’s such a brilliant way to spend a few hours in a fab city, perhaps see some faraway friends or family, and then be back in time for bed. No expensive hotels, no need to take more days off work. Win win, right?

Last week, I discovered a new day trip destination: Palma. I know, I can hear you say “Palma? As in Majorca?” but stick with me. It’s a totally overlooked city break destination. Before last week, I’d only ever thought of it as the airport you fly into when you’re going to a beach holiday elsewhere on the island. But it’s a really beautiful city worth visiting. Even for the day…

Which is lucky because Thomson invited me and a group of bloggers and journalists to Palma for lunch. We flew out there on a 787 Dreamliner (which, I admit, I’d never heard of before the trip. Mr P, however, was very excited when he heard which plane we’d be flying on) and even better, the plane was flown by the MD of Thomson Airlines, Captain John Murphy. Before we took off, they filled us in on some company news – things that if I’m totally honest changed my view of Thomson and First Choice. I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a holiday with them, and I’m not really a fan of a standard package holiday, but after listening to the team and hearing about how they operate, I was left very impressed.

It was the attention to detail like the airline crew having iPads which they use to help you do anything from book a brilliant restaurant local to your hotel, to telling you what the weather will be for the next few days, to the football results of your favourite team. They’re also trying to move away from the welcome meeting when you arrive at your hotel, shifting all of that information to the flight and your in-seat TV. And I loved the sound of the family booth style seating planned for future planes. They just seem to genuinely care about the customer’s experience and starting your holiday off in the best possible way.

dreamliner-flight

After a gorgeous Spanish breakfast onboard the plane and an ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the Dreamliner lightshow (a feature designed especially for the company – nicknamed the TUI Wave) we landed in Palma to glorious sunshine – which was just amazing after leaving a very wet and stormy London.

Spanish breakfast Continue reading