The Circus Is In Town!

Is anyone else as obsessed with the new Mini Rodini AW14 kids’ clothing with the strong man on it, as I am? I discovered it last week while browsing Scout & Co Kids (one of my favourite online stores) and it reminded me how much I love circus themed stuff for kids. And there are lots of things to choose from at the moment – the big top is having a bit of a ‘moment’. Here are a few of my favourite circus buys for kids …

Circus buys for kids

 

1. Mini Rodini t-shirt and leggings, from £23

2. Zara Kds Home cutlery, £4.99

3. Maileg wooden circus mice wagon, £16 and ringmaster mouse, £14

4. Great Little Trading Company circus play tent, £25

5. Missus Print circus print, £25

6. Make your own big top party hat with this tutorial from Oh Happy Day.

Which is your favourite? I vote for Mini Rodini and Maileg…

 

 

Baking With Kids: The Fantasy V The Reality

With another series of The Great British Bake Off here, it’s that time of year when I avidly watch each week, to see who will be crowned the Star Baker. Seeing them bake sponges, bread and pies, I think to myself: “I should bake more”. This is usually followed by a flashback to being in Home Economics class at school, aged 13, being scowled at by the teacher, Mrs Mackay, because my rock buns hadn’t turned out well (apparently my technique for making breadcrumbs with the mixture left a lot to be desired).

I may not be a Mary Berry in the making, but I do enjoy baking. And I love baking with my three-year-old daughter. At least, I love the idea of baking with her. But unfortunately, the fantasy of baking with her doesn’t always match up to the reality of baking with her. Here’s why…

The fantasy: We’re in a lovely clean kitchen (à la Bake Off) with sun streaming through the windows and upbeat music playing (let’s say Abba on this occasion).

The reality: It’s pissing it down outside (hence the need for an indoor activity), I haven’t had time to tidy the kitchen of the bills, free newspapers, paintings and random craft materials that clutter the surfaces and the three-year-old is demanding to listen to Justin Fletcher’s latest album as we bake. It takes me at least 20 minutes to faff around, getting the baking equipment out of the (very back of the) cupboards, locate the scales (where did I put them, again?) and work out how the flip I’m meant to line the cake tins before we can begin. Which means there are 20 minutes of “Can we start, Mum?” and “Muuummmmyyy! I want to bake cakes!” and “MUM! Stop doing that! I want to make a cake!”.

butter

The fantasy: My daughter helps me measure the ingredients while we laugh and joke about something funny. A bluebird probably flies in the window and lands on my shoulder.

The reality: I stress about allowing a three-year-old to cut butter with a knife, then as she struggles to get the butter off a spatula and into the scales, it goes flying off the spatula and lands on the floor. Flour goes everywhere. I say a lot of “When I say ‘stop’, you have to stop pouring, OK? Stop. STOP! I SAID STOP!”

The fantasy: We take turns stirring the mixture, seeing the dry ingredients and eggs/butter come together in a beautiful way. We sing along as we do it. Mr P wanders in and cheerfully asks if he can help.

The reality: The three-year-old gets bored stirring after ten seconds. I try to help. “NO Mum!” she says, giving it a half-hearted poke with the wooden spoon. Eventually I get the electric whisk out and use that, which leads to the three-year-old covering her ears and shouting, “It’s TOO NOISY!” Mr P comes in to find out what all the screaming is about. Continue reading

Win 4 Tickets To OnBlackheath Festival

I was having serious Camp Bestival withdrawal symptoms this weekend – a year ago, we went to our first family festival together and it was utterly fantastic. But this weekend, while I was watching lots of people I know have an amazing time there (and quietly sobbing into a paper cup of wine for that genuine festival feel) I’m looking forward to another family friendly festival… and this one is much closer to home.

On September 14th, we’re heading to OnBlackheath. The inaugural festival on Blackheath Common in south east London is in partnership with John Lewis and sees Massive Attack and Frank Turner headline with performances from The Levellers, Aloe Blac, Grace Jones and Athlete.

There’s also going to be a real foodie presence with a farmers’ market and a cooking demo stage hosted by Gizzi Erskine and featuring a range of Michelin-starred British talent – all cooking up tasty creations for you to sample.

sum11_late-august-farmers-market

For the younger festival goers, OnBlackheath promises a fabulous area designed specially for kids, with arts & crafts workshops, games and special performances. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

camp-bestival-painting-fort-2

Blackheath holds a special place in my heart – I lived there for three years in my 20s and loved mooching around the gift shops and drinking coffee outside the many cafes. The common is a beautiful space that I used to sit on (usually outside the Prince Of Wales pub if I’m honest, with a Bacardi Breezer in hand) and watch the kites flying by. I’m super excited to go to the festival – and giddy at the thought that it’s just a bus ride away from my house!

I can’t wait to put my floral hairband on (might get one for the three-year-old too) and soak up the atmosphere… and late summer sun hopefully.

OBH14_3_61_RADIOTIMES_IMAGE_620x374_AW

And you could be there too! OnBlackheath have given me four tickets for Sunday 14th September to give away. To be in with a chance of winning:

• Comment on this blog post, saying which act on Sunday 14th September you’d most like to see if you win

• For an extra two entries, follow @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweet the following ‘Win four tickets for @OnBlackheath festival over on @alisonperryblog’

• Fill in the Rafflecopter box below if you want your entries to count

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Not Another Mummy Blog or the Promoter.
2. One winner will receive four tickets for OnBlackheath, valid on Sunday 14th September 2014 only. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
3. The prize draw starts at 12.01am BST on 4th August 2014 and closes at 11.59pm BST on 29th August 2014.
4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post. Entrants can gain bonus entries by following @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway, then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
6. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value.
7. The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
8. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
9. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
10. The Promoter is: AKA, 115 SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, LONDON WC2H 8AF

Bad Mums’ Club: So There’s A Chance I’ve Forgotten My Daughter’s Birth Weight…

baby-feet

There are certain things you store in your head, when you become a mum, aren’t there? Your child’s first word, the memory of that first time they laughed, how much they weighed when they were born…

Oh crap. What did my daughter weigh when she was born?

Yes, folks, my Bad Mums’ Club confession this month is that I have no idea what my child’s birth weight was. I can see you shaking your head in disbelief and rolling your eyes at how this could even be possible. The thing is, I definitely used to know her birth weight. It once roll off my tongue in a split second. I’d be sitting around with my NCT friends, small-baby-and-muslin on shoulder, discussing the colour of poo and what it means (sample chat: “Is bright yellow bad?”… “Oh it could be because he had his jabs this week…?”) and someone would casually ask what my daughter weighed at birth, and I’d just tell them.

But somewhere along the way, in amongst information about weaning and puree, Jumperoos and Mini Micro Scooters going IN to my brain, my daughter’s birth weight fell OUT of my brain.

Does this actually make me a bad mum, though? Do I need to know her birth weight? After all, I can look back at her birth and I know (despite my foggy Pethadine-induced haze) that I had to push an actual baby out of my vagina. I pushed a lot. Pushing her up and out was without a doubt the most mindbendingly surreal thing I have ever experienced – do I need to know the actual weight of the human I ejected from my body?

There’s something about your child’s birth weight, though, that seems IMPORTANT. Part of me feels like I’m admitting to not remembering when her birthday is (which PS I do know).

But I remember other things that, personally, I think are more important. Like the first time we sat and drew together and the first time she had her face painted (she was Spider-Man). I remember the moment I realised she is a genuinely funny person with the skill to make people laugh. I remember the first thunder storm she didn’t get scared by, standing by the open back door watching the rain and lightning. I remember the first time she recited the whole alphabet (me: “It’s zed, not zee!”) and when she counted all the way to 30.

And anyway, if I really want to know her birth weight, I can just look in her red NHS book, right? Oh hang on, I lost that… Continue reading

My PND Hangover

Hangover cure

We all know how to deal with hangovers, don’t we? Lots of water, a carb-loaded breakfast (bacon sarnie mmmm), a potassium-rich banana and crisps are my fail-safe tactics. If it’s really bad, flat Coke does the trick. Those kind of hangovers are few and far between for me, these days. Thankfully.

But one hangover I’m not sure how to deal with is my post-natal depression hangover. If my first year of motherhood was the banging night out with tequila shots and oversharing in a shouty manner, over loud cheesy music, then I’m currently in the day after the day after. You know that stage when you’re over the worst of it but the after effects are still with you – dry mouth, dull ache to the head, yawning lots and still swearing you’ll never drink again.

I still feel weird saying that I had post-natal depression, because I never saw a doctor about it, or even knew I was suffering from it, at the time. It was only last year (by which point my daughter was two) that it dawned on me. Every time I say it out loud to friends, I cringe, thinking they’re about to say, “Yeah, but you didn’t really suffer from PND did you?” Of course, I’m fairly sure they’re not really thinking that. But we (myself included) feel more ready to accept medical conditions when a professional has made the diagnosis. For obvious reasons.

But with something like this, sometimes you just know. It’s the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I felt for the first year of being a mum. I haven’t written about it a huge deal here but back in January, I wrote about it over on The Motherhood so do take a read. It was incredibly hard to write, as is this.

So back to my PND hangover. There are definite after-effects that I’m still feeling. If I’m totally honest, the main reason I currently have one child, rather than two or three, is the knot that still forms in the pit of my stomach when I remember having a small baby. When people ask me if I’ll have another (note to those people: Stop asking. It’s a rude and personal question) I make a flippant joke but inside I’m trying not to vomit. I’ve said to many a friend that if we do decide to have another child, I’ll be ready to sacrifice a year of my life (and sanity) for the greater win of extending our family. Isn’t that sad? That I see it as a sacrifice?

Another shockwave that is still being transmitted from that year is the amount of time I spend with my daughter. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m all ‘Woo for working mums!’ and I’ve written in the past about my decision to work full time. But the reality is that working full time when my daughter was 18 months old was a coping mechanism. I was so emotionally worn out from the year before, I couldn’t have dealt with days on my own with her. And now, nearly four years later, I’m still working full time. I see other mums work flexibly so that they can hang out with their kids, and the idea really appeals to me, until that knot in my stomach appears and I start to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope.

Which is crazy. Of course it is. Partly because I’ve got an amazing, bright, happy nearly-four-year-old now rather than a small baby. She’s so much fun to spend time with, and we have amazing fun every weekend. And partly because I’m not suffering from PND right now – I’m stronger and happier than I was back then. But that knot is there, quietly reminding me that I didn’t cope in my year at home during maternity leave. I really want to ignore it but it’s something I have to work towards, gradually.

I wish a bacon sandwich and flat Coke would make this hangover disappear.