How being a Kidult can help you parent..

Back in the summer of 2017, MM and I went to see Spiderman: Homecoming at the cinema. Even before we went, it felt like a special trip. It was the first Marvel film that either of us had seen and we were going to the cinema together, in the evening, which made it feel different to the many visits to ‘Kid’s Club’ movies on a Saturday morning, or the latest animations with his younger siblings. I’d heard a review before we went and thought it seemed age appropriate for a nearly nine year old to see on the big screen, with the sometimes intimidating sound and atmosphere. As we walked to the cinema, him holding my hand all the way, it felt like a watershed moment. We were going to see a movie that we both wanted to see, not one which I didn’t mind watching it, but I was really ‘taking the children’.

He clearly felt it too. He asked if it was going to be scary and I explained that just because it was on in the evening, it didn’t mean it was going to be too scary and that it would probably be less adult than the Star Wars films he’d seen, but still when the music got menacing, he would put his hand on my arm, or shuffle closer. Of course, nothing in the movie was too much for him and there was plenty of humour to balance out the peril.

We bounced home, chatting animatedly about the bits we liked, the funny bits, the excellent soundtrack, in the way that I would talk to any grown up about a movie. It was nearly 9pm and it was just starting to get dark. He felt grown up. It felt different.


Since then, we have shared most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at home, with Mckdad, but without the other two kids. Mckdad had seen many of them before, but says that watching with us, watching our reactions, hearing us “woah” and “Stan Lee!” and “Cap!” made the films much more enjoyable. MM knows that Thor and Captain America are my favourites, of course he doesn’t know why and one day will realise and shout “Muuuuuum! That’s so embarrassing!”

Our regular movie night with our eldest has become something that we all look forward to. We have introduced him to some of our favourites, such as Bill & Ted, Men in Black and Back to the Future. We have mixed other new films with the superheros, for example Ready Player One (We all loved this) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them. It’s an adjustment to find that your children can now stay up nearly as long as you can and you feel like giving up your child free time is going to be hard. I am sure that as they all start to stay up every evening, it will be an adjustment, but for a night or two a week, it’s refreshing to find that you can enjoy the same things as your kids.

This isn’t a post to urge you to watch Marvel movies, although, honestly I would recommend most of them as a few hours of popcorn fun. What has been a revelation to me over the past year has been that, as much as we sometimes mourn the loss of the pre-school years or feel the bittersweet pull of them growing up too fast, the joy of sharing something with your child that you enjoy as much as they do, is something I’d never considered and had no idea how wonderful it would be.

As they grow older, there’s no denying that they grow away from you, it starts almost as soon as they are born and that’s how it should be. However, finding something you can share together as they grow up is a special thing and sometimes you have to follow their lead on what it will be. So often, I think we are guilty of dismissing what they are interested in as frivolous and not for us. We leave them to play their computer games or watch the superhero movies with their friends and skulk away to be more serious and adult. I’m not sure I would have gone to see Spiderman if I hadn’t thought that MM would love it and I certainly wouldn’t play Super Mario Odyssey if he hadn’t asked me to, even though before children, I loved a good superhero movie and a computer game.


Sharing something with them wholeheartedly and on an equal level is so worth it. So, I guess if anything, I am urging you to open yourself to their interests, or introduce them to yours, but do it for real, not in a ‘I don’t want to do this, but the children like it’ way. Embrace the fact that you no longer have to read the same picture book every night, but can share amazing books for older children that you will love too. Swap the dreaded soft play for a film that you can enjoy just as much as they do. Doing so has been an utter revelation to me and I am excited to see what I can share with the other two as they get older as well.

Tonight, MM and I are going to watch Captain Marvel at the cinema. I am not sure which of us is more excited (me, I think. I mean, it is a female led superhero movie, set in the 90’s, of course it’s me!), but the fact that we are both excited makes me so happy to leave those pre-school days behind and embrace what is to come.


An unexpected summer activity…

I know, I know, it’s been ages since I’ve been here. I think about the blog everyday, ideas for posts pop into my head regularly, but sitting down and writing them seems to be too difficult. I guess you could say I am blocked. I am hoping that this one helps me write others, so I will be back soon, but today I wanted to share something important with you.

There are many moments, as a parent, that make you feel proud of your children: a good school report, going into pre-school without crying, watching them be kind to a friend or a sibling, watching them play football. I’m not sure, that so far, anything has topped the moment, a few weeks ago, when MM announced that he’d like to raise some money for charity.  Maybe it was motivated by seeing others do similar, maybe by that nice feeling we get when we do something nice, who knows?

We chatted about what kind of charity he’d like to support and he was keen to do something that would help children. We had recently finished the amazing book, The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson, which centres around a boy and his mother who have fled an abusive partner. (I know this sounds like a grim book for a nine year old, but I promise it isn’t. I’m going to do a round up of some of the books we’ve read to MM recently, but for now, trust me) We talked about how the boy in the book had to leave with virtually nothing, in a night-time flit and I told him about a local charity that runs refuges and offers support to families fleeing domestic violence. MM was really interested in helping a smaller charity, rather than one of the big national charities, as he felt that they already had lots of support, so we settled on Leeway Domestic Violence and Abuse Services.

Next we had to think about what he wanted to do. I did suggest getting school involved for a collection of things the charity needs, but he was reluctant. My boy doesn’t like the spotlight, especially at school and so this was a step too far for him, so we settled on a sponsored project for the summer holidays. He is going to run the distance of a marathon, starting at the beginning of August and finishing before he goes back to school. He felt that this was something he’d enjoy and was achievable, but that he would still need to show  commitment, as he’s going to have to run nearly every day, including when we go away on holiday, with his plan to run a mile a day.

Having said he doesn’t like the spotlight, he is happy to ask people on the Internet to sponsor him and gave his full consent for me to write about his challenge. I get that and I hope you do to. Sometimes I find it easier to share things via a screen, than I do when a person is in front of me and I think the attention from friends and teachers just felt a little overwhelming.

So, if you can spare a couple of pounds to help motivate him and help a really fantastic charity, doing great work to help adults and children in the most dire of circumstances then we would be so grateful. You can find his sponsorship page here. It really doesn’t have to be much, the price of a takeaway coffee would be brilliant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about privilege recently and how fortunate we are. Our home is secure, we live a settled, comfortable life, where we don’t face prejudice or abuse and I often wonder if as a result, my children are growing up in a vacuum. As I’ve said before, I talk about the wider world and try to open them up to it, but children can often seem like selfish creatures, cross because you won’t buy them a thing that everyone else has, or let them stay up and watch a film that is too old for them. To have a child who not only realises that others are not in as fortunate as he is, but also wants to do something to help, however small his contribution, gives me hope for the future and makes me beyond proud.


So, come on Internet, do your thing, so he knows that others will do something to help him on his journey. Let’s make his first fundraising experience a good one!

Thank you and I promise I will be back in this space very soon.


A few weeks ago I listened to the first episode of Fearne Cotton’s podcast, Happy Place. It was an interview with parents-to-be Tom Daley and his husband. They were so excited, so happy, so keen to share stories of shopping for their yet, unborn baby and nursery makeovers and I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with all the joy and it wasn’t until Fearne said something like (and I can’t go back and listen to the exact words but I promise these are pretty close) How was the scan? Because every single parent is so excited and thrilled when it comes to scans. 

I snapped off my speaker and sat with my feelings for a bit, baffled as to why I’d found it such an annoying listen and suddenly it became so clear why I had been feeling so uncomfortable. It had absolutely nothing to do with the interviewer or interviewees, all of whom I really like. The problem was they were not describing anything I recognised. I struggled with my mental health when I was pregnant and even all these years later, this excited, joyful discussion was so triggering for me.

Instead to being able to just shrug and appreciate someone else’s very different experience, I felt once again that I had failed in some way. I hadn’t felt the way I should when I went to scans, when I carried my children and guilt, shame and jealousy flooded my emotions. I cried some tears for what I felt I’d missed out on, for the first time in years and the relief of acknowledging the trigger and my own feelings was huge. I realised I wasn’t just a grumpy, bitter old cow, who’s first thought had been “What a stupid thing for her to say”.

I am someone who had a different experience and that’s OK. It was about me not them, not you, not anyone else.

It was really quite a shock. I don’t think of that time often, almost never. I once wrote that a miscarriage was like a freckle. It would fade in and out with the sun and no-one else would even notice it, but I would know it was there and most of the time I think that was me being lyrical and over dramatic, but I think I was probably right. My experience of miscarriage and ante-natal depression will stay with me and that’s OK too.

For a much more positive post about Maternal Mental Health week I joined in with my friend Amy and her #whatidgiveanewmum hashtag and I said I would give acceptance. I was really thinking of accepting what your baby needs and making that work, but actually acceptance of ourselves is so important too. Acceptance of our journey to motherhood and the feelings that this still might bring years later is one of the bravest things we can do for ourselves.

This is my experience, it stays with me. It was easier than some experienced, it was harder than others, but none of that is relevant really. It was my experience and it deserves acknowledging sometimes. I am grateful to that podcast, because it made me pause and spend some time sitting with uncomfortable emotions and then let them pass…..until next time.

For anyone who has found this post because they’re having a rough time or for anyone who is new around here, the links in the post will take you to some of my posts that will fill you in on the background. img_6644

It’s not you, it’s me

When I say ‘you’ I don’t actually mean you dear, loyal reader, I mean my phone. That little tablet that sits in my pocket or is always in reach. That eats up the hours, without me even noticing. It’s time for a change.

I’ve been feeling  that my devotion to that little screen has switched from something that enhances and adds to my life, to something that doesn’t really give me pleasure. So, I decided it might be time to do something about it and I got my hands on the latest book about our digital obsession “How to break up with your phone”

Before I go any further, I want to make a few things clear. I am never going to be someone who thinks that social media, the internet and my smartphone are the devil and the phrase ‘digital detox’ make me feel the same way as ‘date night’ and ‘gifted’. In fact I wrote a post a couple of years ago about the horrible judgemental ‘National Unplugging Day‘. I don’t need someone else painting an inaccurate picture of a child hanging off a parents leg, literally begging for  attention. I stand by everything I said in that post. We can’t possibly know how someone’s day has gone or why they are looking at their phone and the internet has been an absolute lifeline for me while at home with small children. You’ll find no judgement from me about how much you or anyone else is using their phone. This technology is all so new and has moved so fast. As a society, we are still feeling our way to how we should be using it, without it harming us and that’s all going to take time.

This is purely about me and not just how much time I spend looking at my phone, but  what I am doing on it. I’m starting to feel like it’s a box of doughnuts. Something I love but that I gorge on and end up feeling a bit sick. No longer is it something I do because I enjoy it, it’s become, and I am just going to plunge in and say it, an addiction that I no longer get pleasure from.

I want to be more mindful of what I am doing. I love looking at Timehop and seeing all the lovely photos and blog posts from years gone by, except now I realise that next year there won’t be anything from this year to look back on. I used to post a photo nearly everyday on Instagram and blog maybe once or twice a week. Now it’s a photo a week on Instagram and as you know, you’re lucky if you get a post on here each month. I miss it. And yet, the time I spend on the internet is as high as ever.

So, I’m breaking up with my phone. Although really that’s not entirely accurate and the title of the book isn’t either. It’s really about having a more balanced, mindful relationship with this stuff and I’m excited about that.

I’ve already started noticing patterns of behaviour. The two times I mindlessly scroll through my phone the most, flitting from one article to another, one social media feed to another is when I am putting off doing boring, house related jobs, so often when I come back into the house from being out and just after the kids have gone to bed, when I just feel a bit burnt out and possibly not sure what I want to do with what’s left of the evening.

The first of these seems harmless in a way. I’m only putting off boring tasks, but those tasks still have to be done and actually an organised and tidy life is important to me, however boring I might find getting it. Also by procrastinating on the boring stuff I must be eating into my own leisure time somewhere and without wishing to sound like a judgmental no screen parenting crusader, if I got all that boring stuff done, I could spend more time playing with my kid, who is off to school in a few short months.

The second example is just plain stupid. I bemoan my short evenings. I want more knitting time, more blogging time, more reading time. I would like to learn to sew clothes and improve my french and do more yoga and instead I stare and scroll for far too long, when I could be doing things I really enjoy so much more.

The programme for breaking up with your phone takes you on a number of small steps to really make you think about why you are picking it up and to be in control of how long for, but it is very clear that this is each individuals journey. I have already hit one sticking point. Week 1 suggest deleting all social media apps and only checking it through your internet browser. This is fine for someone who just looks at social media and doesn’t really post, but one of my aims is to scroll less, but post more and my current favourite, Instagram Stories can’t be done on the browser. So, I need to find a way to have this app on my phone, without it eating all my time. At the moment it is off, so I can have a little break and ponder how I do this.

How do we manage to keep the connections and content we love in our lives, while making sure we have balance? Hopefully, I am about to find out.

The Rollercoaster

People who don’t like talking about women and they biology, look away now!

My period is due. I know this, not only because my cycle diary app tells me so, but because my bones jangle with uncertainty and anxiety that has been building for a week. The older I become, the more wild this rollarcoaster ride, that is my hormones, gets

Just as with so many other things to do with women’s bodies and biology, we just don’t talk about it. I am 43 years old and until last year I had never heard of the peri-menopause, but even without the age issue, our monthly cycle and the huge impact it can have on our lives is a hushed secret, something we must simply style out and hope no-one notices.

The only mention we ever seem to make of it is a self-depricating comment, usually in reference to how awful it must be for those around us to cope with our irrationally foul moods and I am done with that, because this is a real thing and it has a real impact on so many womens lives. It’s not just a GIF with a woman losing her shit, or me and many other women on Insta-stories joking about being ‘hormonal’ with a roll of the eye and a cheeky comment about the Hulk.

It’s real. It’s suddenly feeling you can’t cope, it is feeling that you are failing at everything. It’s not wanting to do anything out of your comfort zone. It’s questioning whether any of your friends really like you and overthinking every interaction you have. And then suddenly, it’s gone again and everything is calm, but you know it will be back.

Imagine for a moment that someone you work with had an on-going problem with their back or some other part of their body. they would mention it. We would be sympathetic. Work would be accommodating. Occasionally, if it was particularly bad they may take a day off. It would be slightly frustrating, but you would probably be understanding of their pain. Imagine if the bad back was replaced with PMS. It’s hard to, right? It’s impossible to imagine because it just never happens. Imagine too, how different soceity’s attitude to periods and the monthly cycle that goes with it, would be if men were the ones who had to experience it. I suspect we would hear much more about it and you can damn well guarantee that sanitary products wouldn’t be classed as a luxury item.

I started paying more attention to my cycle after I’d finished breastfeeding. For nearly 10 years I had either been trying to get pregnant, dealing with the hormonal aftermath of a failed pregnancy, being pregnant or breastfeeding and it wasn’t until all that had finished that I noticed my cycle felt very different ten years on. The blues and even the pain were actually split into two separate times of the month. Once when I was ovulating and again when I was menstruating. (how ironic that when I no longer needed to pinpoint ovulation, I could tell when it was, just by the excruciating pain on one side of my body!) I downloaded a cycle tracker and most of the time it is absolutely spot on, in terms of mood and energy levels.

Having an understanding of our own cycles is really empowering to a point, but what that doesn’t do is make it any more acceptable to say anything about it. I for one, feel hushed, that we mustn’t admit that some days these hormones of ours make us feel like a different person, because that would be a sign of weakness. A sign that being a woman makes us less than a man and certainly more emotional than a man. It’s great to be able to tell yourself that these feelings aren’t really real, but even then, it doesn’t stop them feeling completely real.

As usual in our modern, medicalised society the first thought is to take drugs to balance this all out and I’m not necessarily against this, however, often the side effects are just as bad as the symptoms and perhaps if we could start being more open about our own realities, we would find ways to ease the ride.

We may not have the medical silver bullet and maybe we shouldn’t even be looking for it, but what we definitely be doing is speaking our truth, being honest with ourselves, our friends, our families and especially our daughters. As uncomfortable as it might be, it’s worth it.

In defence of non-judgemental self-care

January was peak month for lots of talk about self-care and one particular interview caught my ears and made me start thinking about self-care and what it really means, or at least what it should mean. Two sisters were being interviewed on the radio about their book Self-care in the Real World and I wondered if this would actually cut through the noise and speak to a normal person like me.

One look at Instagram would have you believe that self-care is buying soy candles and wearing loungewear from Toast, so perhaps it was possible to find something from these authors that would resonate.

Unfortunately not. Their advice was well-meaning enough (and by well-meaning, of course I mean as well-meaning as you can be when you are flogging a book). They advocated “putting yourself in your own diary” which actually isn’t terrible advice. I know we all say we are too busy for that, but presumably there are times when we are not parenting or working and could think about ourselves a bit more.

But that was really as far as their ‘real world’ advice went. They went on to talk about food and how we should savour the preparation and eating of food. “Really taste it” As you can imagine, by this point my eyes had started to roll out of my head. I’m not disagreeing that, in an ideal world, this would be my preferred state of cooking, but in the real world this just doesn’t happen. Aside from the fact that cooking dinner is done while trying to tidy the kitchen and dining room, refereeing squabbles and packing tomorrow’s lunches, I cook nearly everyday and if you cook everyday, it becomes a bore. Of course, sometimes it’s an utter pleasure. Pottering around the kitchen of a weekend, baking or filling the freezer, but this is a rare treat, that needs forward planning.

For parents, their advice included “Practice self-care at the same time as your children. For example, a guided family meditation”. I feel that for most people with children, I probably don’t need to say much more about that idea to explain why it’s pretty crazy. *glances over at children doing headstands on the couch*. OK, maybe once in a blue moon you may get your children to all sit still a the same time for 10 mins, but it’ll be rare, right? RIGHT?!

My first thought was how ridiculous that was and wouldn’t most parents agree with me, but then that little voice of doom crept in, whispering to me that I just be failing at the parenting thing, because my children are too feral for meditation. I did dismiss the voice pretty quickly, but it had still sneaked in, making me feel inadequate.

And this brings me to my main point. When did looking after ourselves become something to make us feel bad about ourselves? Self-care seems to mean no sugar, lots of yoga, no screens, buying stuff, well-behaved, chilled out children. INTERNET BAD. MEDITATION GOOD. By trying to care for ourselves more, we seem to have found a way to beat ourselves around the head for not being a better version of ourselves, with children who love a guided meditation.

For me, self-care could mean a frozen pizza for my kids packed lunches, because I am just so sick of making sandwiches. For my friend, Vicky, it’s “crime dramas and biscuits” (which I am totally on board with) It’s a cup of tea and a pile of knitting, it’s a comforting, unchallenging novel, it’s not bothering with dinner and eating buttered toast and jam in front of the TV, it’s a good radio programme or podcast while you fold the washing. It’s deciding against that early alarm to get up before the kids, it’s buying boring, but useful things that you never replace, it’s a glass of wine and turning the music up, so you can’t hear the bickering. (sometimes! I am not a monster!) It’s saying “no, I won’t read you another chapter” or maybe reading them an extra chapter, just because it’s a good book. (For those of you who think this will never happen, just wait until they are about seven and a whole host of brilliant books will open itself to you both)

It is true that often the things that are really good for us, aren’t always the most attractive choice. We could all probably do with going to bed earlier and I can’t say I’ve even regretted making the time to do some yoga of an evening, but neither have I regretted knitting a few rows and bingeing on Netflix. When asked about self-care no-one ever says “oh, I watch TV” but we all do it.

Surely, self-care should basically mean “doing something for ourselves that we enjoy and makes us feel rested, relaxed and at ease”? I can assure you that a guided meditation with my children is not going to do that! Let’s reclaim self-care and indulge ourselves in some good winter tele and a biscuit or two, hey?

In-betweeny days

Hello friends. It seems my intentions to start writing here again quickly fell by the wayside. I’ve been pondering whether 2018 is the year when I will finally say goodbye to this space. Every time I post now, I do feel that it just gets lost amongst the many other blogs that are around and I struggle with where and how to get people to read it. I know it’s not all about statistics, but if the audience is so small, I may as well just write a private journal. However, the thought of saying goodbye to this space always feels too difficult. Perhaps it will just fade away until I no longer think about posting.

How has your festive season been? I hope you’ve had the chance to spend it how you want to, whether that be turning the Christmas up to full tinsel, or just having some time to pause and rest and reflect.

Photo 21-12-2017, 14 59 11 sq

I’ve realised that these in-betweeny days are my favourite. Every year I seem to struggle with the run up to Christmas. The hype starts too early for me. I feel this pressure mounting to get everything done in time. School and pre-school go crazy with lots of extra things to remember and Mckdad is around less because, of course his school also has lots going on. This year, was particularly challenging, mostly because I just wasn’t organised enough and didn’t start early or plan things. I’ve already decided that next year will be different. I will plan early. The advent calendar activities will be planned and not decided the night before they are due. Large family gatherings will be a meal out, rather than me feeling I should always host and put in so much effort and work.

However, now that is all done and I feel the whole family has been able to take a huge breath. This is really the only time of the year that we have few plans. We don’t embark on any house projects, or go away. Sometimes, I find that hard, to be doing nothing. I am a planner by nature. I’m not great at ‘wasting’ a day. However, I seem to have managed it this week. A little light tidying here, a load of washing to do there, but mostly I have been able to hang out with the kids a little and find pockets of time to pick up a crochet hook or the knitting needles.

One thing I will definitely be keeping in mind this year, is that it is OK to prefer this quiet, calm bit that falls after Christmas and that I am not failing at Christmas if I find the run up to it quite stressful. I feel this pressure to love it all, as that’s what I see everyone else doing. The pressure is entirely self-inflicted and I need to get better at thinking “they are them and I am me and that’s OK”. In fact, I need to get better at that is all aspects of my life. If I have any New Year’s Resolution, it is that.

Yes, I did say, crochet hook! I have been doing a little secret project for The Fibre Co. with my crochet, work hat on. I wondered if I would remember how, but the muscle memory is still there and I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to work on little motifs, repeating each step over and over again. I also have a sweater that is so close to being finished, I can almost feel myself wearing it. I have high hopes for this one and can’t wait to share it with you.

As this Twixmas time moves towards New Year, I naturally find that I am ready to start thinking about real life again. I begin to think about lists and work and being more organised. I really do need to up my game here. I found the last school term a struggle. As if I never really got into the swing of it. Everything felt last minute and really that just stresses me out. I already have the boys PE and swimming kits packed and today I must order the school lunches. That is a huge improvement already! I may even get the iron out before they go back, but let’s not get carried away, I still have family films to watch each afternoon and a few mince pies to finish off.

Happy New Year to all of you and hopefully I’ll be back soon…….or maybe not soon, but back at least.

emilyandmore loves…..{the hormonal edition}

One of the things I missed most about blogging was being able to share all the things that I am consuming and just had to tell you about. I’ve decided to lump them all in together, so sometimes you’ll get a book, sometimes a bunch of podcasts or even a spotify playlist. This month I’ve been loving all sorts of new things and here are some that you might enjoy too…..



For years Mckdad has been telling me to watch Suits. I always nodded politely and said I would, but not now and didn’t think it would be for me. I was so wrong. Aside from the ridiculously tight skirts and dresses that the women wear and the high heels, that are so high they make my feet hurt just to look at them, it is the perfect autumn binge. Sharp, funny and if you don’t fall in love with Harvey Specter just a little bit, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. (and yes I’m talking to my male readers there too). Seven binge worthy seasons are waiting for you on Netflix. Get to it!


Oh, how would I get through the housework without podcasts? I wouldn’t is the answer. Some come and go, such as The High/Low PodcastI wanted to love it, I really did, but in the end I found the hosts too privileged, too London-centric and if I’m honest, just too young for me. It just didn’t resonate with me. However, I have found the perfect alternative. Fortunately  from the BBC is two of my absolute favourite women on radio, Fi Glover and Jane Garvey (of Woman’s Hour). What started as a podcast about cool stuff they’d heard on the radio, which was obviously another big tick from me, quickly descended into two middle-aged women talking about ‘stuff’. Laughing together, being witty and intelligent and just making me feel like I was having a cuppa with a couple of friends. Now, in Season 2, they’ve added a broadcasting guest each week, starting with the wonderful Shaun Keavney. This podcast is funny and delightful and I listen to it as soon as it’s available. This is my find of the summer.

….app downlowding

Apps have changed our lives and sometimes you find one that makes such a difference, you just have to share. Hormone Horoscope was recommended to me by a Twitter friend, when we were discussing how it is always a shock to us how much our mood is affected by our monthly hormone cycle. After all this time, you would think that I would know that a loss of confidence or a low mood always occurs at the same time in my cycle, usually around ovulation and just before my period, and yet, it is still a constant surprise to me. Hormone Horoscope gives a really detailed explanation as to what is going on with those pesky hormones, both on the good days and the bad days. As ever, knowledge is power and understanding more makes the waves of emotions far more easy to deal with.


I recently read Graham Norton’s debut novel, Holding and I really enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that is really more about the characters and how they are written than the plot, although I found the plot intriguing too. I just loved the way he drew all his characters, even the minor ones and I just felt I was in this small Irish town and was watching the action in front of me. I found it funny, sad and whimsical and I completely forgot that it was written by someone famous. I think if you can forget the author of a book, as you read, that’s an excellent compliment.

I hope you enjoy this bunch of recommendations. I won’t say monthly batch, because I’m going to stop putting limits on my blog. You might get some more next week, you might have to wait a month. I hope you give some of these a look. Imagine my grabbing your arm over coffee, or in the school playground and telling you that you absolutely must try this, you would love it!


When Me and Mine goes wrong

At the beginning of the year, I decided to take part in the Me and Mine photo project. One photo, once a month of the whole family. I had got a new camera for Christmas and a tripod and so was excited for the shots I could take and by having a monthly picture of all of us to keep. I love seeing everyone else’s shots, all so smiley and happy looking, but it turned out not to be so easy. In fact it all just became a really stressful stick to beat myself with.

We discovered pretty quickly that Nano hated the whole process. As soon as I even got the tripod out he would start to create havoc. Each photo was preceded by lots of cajoling, pleading, getting irritated and lots of tears and shouting from him (and I’ll be honest some shouting from us too). It wasn’t that I had stupidly high standards to get that perfect shot, even getting him in front of the camera was almost impossible. Everyone in the actual frame would’ve been enough for me. Every photo that I did manage to get was tinged with sadness when I looked at it, as I remembered the difficulty and upset that it took to get there.

I thought perhaps I would just take them without him. That if he wanted to join in, he could and if he didn’t I would share photos of the rest of us, but I just couldn’t do it. Each photo to me just had a huge Nano shaped gap in it and I realised that I didn’t want to document our months with someone missing. I tried just a quick snap with my iphone, but even that wasn’t something he was up for. As is proved by the shot below, taken on top of a mountain in France, where believe me, you do not want a six year old having a huge tantrum and running away from you in a rage! You can just see the top of his head in the bottom left of the frame. He was crying.

I did manage to get one set of photos, which I completely love and one in particular where everyone was looking in the right direction and standing in the way that I asked them. I’ve printed a large copy, framed it and hung in on the wall. It seems fitting that such a rare thing should be hung for all to see. Nano and I were looking at it the other day and he mentioned that he liked the photo, but that it would be better if we were all standing in height order. I thought back to the day in question and remembered that it took us ages to get this shot and we had already gone through, at least two tantrums. The only way I could get the photo was to get everyone else set up and have him join us at the last minute standing next to Mckdad.


They say that a photo speaks a thousand words, but sometimes it can hide just as many. When you look at that simple shot, of a happy family standing against a wall, there is no way of knowing how hard it was to take.

I read a lot online about the importance of capturing those family moments, about making sure we are all pictured together and whilst that is a lovely sentiment, I don’t think I should be pushing it, if we are not all happy about it.

And so I have come to the conclusion that the Me and Mine Project is not for us. Of course, I am sad about it and look longingly at the beautiful pictures that others have to share and keep for themselves. However, I don’t want it to be a thing we all dread and hate and I must simply accept that our photographic memories will have to be more candid, more relaxed and probably not all of us together.

I found this post really hard to publish. I wonder if it’s because I’m concerned it could be read as a criticism of the project and those lovely family shots that I see everyone else post. It isn’t. I love reading everyone’s posts and seeing the happy shots. Yes, there is a little tinge of sadness and envy, but not resentment. The Me and Mine Project will still encourage me to try and get us all in the frame every now and again, but just not push it.

I wish I was the kind of mother…

I wish I was the kind of mother who always has tissues or a wipe, for all those times we need one. I wish I was the kind of mother who remembered that I still need to have change of clothes for Lady Mck. I wish I was the kind of mother who didn’t shout at the kids or let the odd swear word slip out in their presence. I wish I was the kind of mother who didn’t get annoyed about the little things, the endless trail of clothes left around the house, the uneaten dinners, the spilled drinks, the requests to listen to David Walliams books in the car, when I would rather listen to Radio 2. I wish I was the kind of mother who could do the shopping properly, so that we are not always one thing missing for dinner and we didn’t have to go into a food shop, every bloody day. I wish I was the kind of mother that accepted the rubbish bits, that didn’t hate the drudging part; the washing, the tidying, the cooking, the shopping.

I wish I was the kind of mother who remembered to mark their heights on the wall, who prints off photographs and gets them hung, who keeps all the artwork that comes home from school. I wish I was the kind of mother who at least takes a photo of the artwork, before it hits the recycling bin. I wish I was the kind of mother who was happy to take the other children with me, so that we could all watch Mini Mck play football. I wish I was the mother who doesn’t look at her watch every five minutes during gymnastics class. I wish I was the kind of mother who doesn’t inwardly roll my eyes every time a party invitation comes home and the kind of mother who was happy to stay at said party, like the others do, rather than wanting to make an excuse to leave and pick up later.

I wish I was the kind of mother who played with them a bit more and wasn’t thinking of all the other things I could be doing. I wish I was the kind of mother that took them out for a big tramp in the woods every weekend and enjoyed it. I wish I was the kind of mother who likes the park.

I wish I was the kind of mother who found it all just a bit easier. But I am not. I am not that kind of mother. I am not a grown up, together type of mother.


I am the kind of mother who can throw a great birthday party. I am the kind of mother that will go on a school trip. I am the kind of mother that cooks from scratch and bakes every week. I am the kind of mother who is happy when they want a quiet day at home, in their pyjamas. I am the kind of mother who will sort through thousands of pieces of Lego, so that they can make a kit that a younger sibling previously destroyed.

I am the kind of mother who makes birthday cakes and makes sure they always have number biscuits for their birthday tea. I am the kind of mother who lets them play on an ipad or watch too much TV. I am the kind of mother who lets them build a den and make a mess, even though I hate it. I am the kind of mother who lets them run or scoot ahead of me to school. I am the kind of mother who encourages them to climb a bit higher, even though it makes me nervous. I am the kind of mother that makes sure they all share a book with one of us at the end of each day.

I am the kind of mother who makes a fancy dress costume and loves it. I am the kind of mother who lets them help me cook or garden, even if it means the result isn’t as neat as I want it to be. I am the kind of mother who lets them get filthy in the garden or at the allotment. I am the kind of mother who lets them have a deep, warm bath that they stay in until they go wrinkly.

The kind of mother I am isn’t better than the kind of mother I am not. It’s just different. These are the things that come easily to me and yet I still wish I was better at the things that don’t. I try to be good at them and for a while I am, but not for very long and soon I revert to my natural state.

I suppose most of all I wish I was the kind of mother who could accept what kind of mother I really am and stop admonishing myself for not being something else.


How about you? What kind of mother are you and is the kind of mother you would wish to be?