Summer Dressing: From School Run Mum to Summer Fun

I am a complete pro at the pre-school run but I am going to have to step up my game for the ‘big’ school run i.e. try not to wear something snot stained or have yesterdays socks handing out of my trouser hems.

So, my aim is to keep in practical and make me feel good (and not dress in a variant of Meg from Meg and Mog mixed with Donatella Versace in a bid to be down with the trendy young things after being a fashion hermit for the past 4 years). I don’t know about you, but I actually used to be pretty cool when it came to fashion – I was the first to wear coloured (not pink) nail varnish from Miss Selfridge in Year 7, I wore a knitted poncho and peddle satin pushers early noughties – yes I was a trend setter.... Now for the past 4 years, I have stuck to my go-to summer items to cover up my post C-section front bumbag and to be in my comfort zone.


So, whilst I stuff that Ginger Spice Union Jack dress back into the cupboard, it's time to think school run mum run to summer fun dressing. Here you will not see a shed load of instagram style cool mum pictures dressed all in white crop tops and shorts that have half eaten your derrière as firstly, you do not want to see my real life fleshy front bum bag or my actually also fleshy bottom, but you will get some s**t-hot fashion that you feel comfortable in AND you can hoick some kids around with you in a swooshy breeze.

Keep It Real


Look, you still can’t be like the Gap advert/tampon lady galloping around on a horse in white skinny jeans and a flawless stain free pressed white shirt but, you can at least step out of the maternity leggings (NB: If you still have these its time to let them go, I know they are comfy but lets face it, if they are missing the groin and are sheer enough to show your ginormous undercrackers and they are asking, if not begging, to be laid to rest on bin day. If you can't let them go, then go here, to my tongue in cheek postnatal fashion tip post as featured in Mumsnet)
You can look pretty smoking so easily, with light summer fabrics, think flowy in the tight place (somewhere between Homer Simpson moo-moo and Kim Kardashian sausage skin tight maturity wear).
So in essence – loose around the mum tum, but not a sack, darker fabric or patterns to hide the all numerous grubby hand prints but still look like you have managed to make it out of your maternity wear (you have made it out of your maternity wear, right?).
And look I found the perfect one from a selection right here – you cannot go wrong with a shirt dress and in denim (well actually Lyocell which is better than denim as it’s light and you don’t have to iron it – sold!)


You can lounge about admiring your lawn...

 Try to do a blogger wall pose....

Or just get down with the kids and not flash your under-garments



Load Up Your Saddlebags 


You can get an iPhone, keys, and a packet of Hairbo in these.

Storming Those April Showers: Trespass Boys Rainwear Review

Ah, Britain in springtime – Bluebells out in force, the first hints of sun, visions of being set free from the central heated shackles of your home and stir crazy children frolicking in the outside…. soon quashed by the in-betweeny drizzly nature of the weather.






Somewhere between “It’s 12 degrees out, time to crack out the shorts” and  “Oh lord it just started to hail”, The Trespass boys rainwear suit comes to the waterproof rescue.

We thoroughly put this boys rainwear suit through its paces, testing on the essentials of modern day living to prove this set is not just for extreme weather, it’s for extreme toddler rearing.

Areas tested were:
  • Do I look exceedingly cute in it? (Style Factor)
  • Can I rock a scooter in it?  (Usability)
  • Does the rain still spoil my thunder? (Kid comfort & waterproofness)
  • Can I hide from an impending dinosaur attack in it? (Dino-camouflage rating)
  • Can I whip it off quickly, discarding it in the hallway like a teenager? (Ease of use and Mum’s hand free rating)


Do I look exceedingly cute?


YES!

I will elaborate:


  •  Unruffled dry cuteness fully maintained underneath from buttoned up hood – check!
  • Spaceship design on the jacket appealing to both child and mother – check
  • Fisherman style trousers with braces for those, “Awww, he’s like cute version of a little grown up” doting comments – check!
Score: 3/3

For a visual aid of cuteness, see below:




Cuteness one million

Can I rock a scooter in them?

100% YES and lots more.

Every trendy human under 4 foot tall needs to be able to whizz round on a scooter come rain or shine in comfort and maintaining some kind of aerodynamic speed.

The Nanny Chronicles Part 5: My Son Likes Our Nanny More & It's OK With Me

...for now. It's Ok for now *Sighs, just yearns to be needed and reaches for glass of wine*

It's been a while since an entry in 'The Nanny Chronicles: One Mother's Quest for Childcare for Which The Cost is Almost Equal to Her Take Home Salary'...Or maybe I'll give it a catchier title when it goes to print - and now it's about eight months on from when we hired our nanny at and it's all going great....she says, tears in eyes.

Well, looking at the bigger picture it is. But not the little picture:

The picture where my 18 month old bundle of doe-eyed toddler chub wails when she leaves.
The picture where he falls over, he runs to her instead of me.
The picture where he has post nap grumpiness and he goes for nanny cuddles, not mummy cuddles.
The picture where he says new words to her and not me.

But this is OK with me. It is...Well it is, but I do have to keep reminding myself it is.

Ok, The truth is, it's a little hard to take.

I spent the whole first year with this little guy on maternity leave. I left him in the capable hands of a new nanny and he went through the usual anxieties of being with someone new, just as my first son did with his childminder at a similar age, and now he favours the nanny more than me?


Toddler independence: "Just give me the keys Mum, I don't need you any more"...pootles off to the Nanny's side of the garden. Sob, sob.


Now here's where you have to lay down the law with yourself when it comes to conflicting, 'They love the childcarer more than me type' feelings. These feelings basically boil down to a mix of totally human feelings of 'guilt' (this is most likely your main state as a mother), a hint of 'jealousy' ('Hang on, what's she doing that make my child like her more than me' and love. Overall, love because I'm only feeling this way because I love and care for him.

Even rationalising makes it still a little hard to take, but this is what I keep reminding myself:

Take a step back:


So, you child loves their childcarer? That's fantastic. 

Bear no guilt here - you have chosen the right person for the job. Finally as a working mum you've done something right...right? You have, you totally have..and to be honest, children are fickle beings so by the middle of next week the tables will have turned back to mummy-favour.

Still though, it's hard to watch - being pushed aside for someone who's known them for a matter of months, whilst you gaze down to your bosoms that have fed them for longer.

The reason it's difficult for you to digest sometimes, is because you are seeing it with complicated adult eyes. Children love anyone who is nice and they are in it for the 'right now' not the long term. They do not see the complex social intricacies that us grown-up folk have. They have no reason to explain to you they still love you and you'll always be their mother. They just want someone to play Paw Patrol 12 times in a row with them, and although you can do it 6 times, 12 is really pushing it.



Supermarket Sweep Treat: The Quest for Blue Milk

Look at him, like cucumber wouldn't melt...



My car ambled into the parent and child parking space next to her.

"Sorry, I'm in the way." She said as she pulled her trolley from the zoned out area next to my car.

"It's OK". I said sighing, as one of my children fell out of the opening car door with his concentration solely being on Sideswipe, the Transformer.

Our eyes met. She looked at my children - one babbling like an incoherent drunk about how Sideswipe was "a transformer, a red transformer, he has wheels, he turns into a car, he's a good one, he's a transformer, a red one..."...whilst my other child smiled blackened raison covered incisors from his seat.
I looked at hers - One around six years old, sullen, arms crossed tightly but her legs lacking all tone hanging from her groin in her car seat and the other, slightly older, frantically ferreting around the foot wells for a vital kinder surprise toy part.

"I just thought I would take them for a nice treat" Said the other mum.

"I thought we could go shopping and then I'd treat them to a cafe lunch." She added, remorsefully, thrusting one leg against her open car door as one tried to escape, a look of Post traumatic stress in her eyes.

"I know" I said, visually patting her arm with my eyes as a comfort gesture and then quietly out of earshot from the people carrier savages we were harbouring, went on to say;

"It always seems like such a good idea but there's something about this place...that just turns them." I said, questioning my own motives to coming to the supermarket whilst suspiciously eyeing up the car wash guy edging closer - was he in on the child psychopath inducing supermarket conspiracy?

"You want a car wash love?"

No, he just wanted to buff my bonnet.

We edge away from each other, kindred spirits with idealistic values about supermarket cafes outing with children but hiding the sinister knowledge that nine times out of ten it goes tits up.

I herd my two across the road, whilst dancing past the ride on machines to divert their attention and then break into a sweat trying to find the double seated trollies whilst avoiding kamikaze children bolting through the swishy doors. After convincing the youngest to de-plank (by convince I mean bribe with Haribo), we are off to shop.
Off to my fate. Why are we here again?

Of course it's well over a week since the Easter holidays have started and we are all vastly running out of places to go. I run a mental list through my mind each morning, it goes a little something like this (I feel like Run DMC saying that):


  • Soft play - NO. Jesus Christ, no it's the school holidays, have you learnt nothing as a parent? Cease thinking of this insane idea this second. 
  • The park - we've been there twice a day for a week. There must be no more of this park ground hog day. 
  • Egg Hunt/Easter craft day/insert other £5+ per head activity which is flatly refused soon after paying the entrance fee. That's self explanatory. 
  • Staying at home - Look it's just not fair on the neighbours, it's their holiday too.
  • Supermarket shopping - this is it! Two birds, one stone! We need more blue milk (i'e' one down form the 'get shit done list', and they can have a 'treat'. They will love it, they get to browse the toys. I get to browse the clothes. Maybe we could have lunch their...maybe I'm just get a little bit too much into this fantasy? No, no, they are older now, by at least 3 days since we have last been to the supermarket...things will be different this time. 

The thing is, you've got maximum five minutes to do everything, including tilling up, before they just go cuckoo. This place makes purple minions out of the most placid of children.

As we pass the the entrance, it starts:

"Mummy, can I have a magazine?" says the three year old.

"Well, OK, as a treat, but it's instead of sweets"

"Oh yes mummy"

See, that was easy - he'll get a magazine. He'll treasure and hold it for at least 15 minutes which means I can browse the clothes, maybe even look at homeware....

"MAMMA!" frantic screams come from the younger one.

Shit, he's out of Haribo! But I only just gave them too him. A quick recce reveals a trail of golden bears from the entrance being helpfully cleared away by an employee. Christ, I need those...no no, do not go and pick them up. You will  be fine without the Haribo safety net.

Like a the clock in 24, we have just bleeped down to 2 minutes maximum time before paddy-ville commences. I look down to the magazine browsing preschooler:

"Right so have you chosen a magazine? Er, not that one, you have that one at home...no not the one with the slingshot...why? Because your brother values his eyesight....any time this week...no those are not sweets, that's a toy in a crinkly bag..what's that, you want sweets now? You want chewy ones, with sprinkle bits, but not too chewy and in a blue bag? er, right...how about this milky bar?"

Right it's try to pull out the fun parent card. I can be fun parent, not the slightly-annoyed- anxious-that-the-shits-about-to-hit-the-fan-parent I currently am.

"Let's sing a song" I say.

At this point I would like to point out massive apologies to all the parents out there. I am not trying to make you feel bad by seemingly looking like Maria form the Sound of Music with a shopping trolley in Sangers. Firstly I sound like Zed from Police academy and secondly, I know this tactic works 60% of the time, so odds on I'm onto a winner, but there's a 40% chance I'll look like a twonk.

Unfortunately, it's twonk time. Now the two munchkins are squeezed in next to each other in the trolley seat which has only meant a competitive squirming over who's side is who's.

What did I come in for again? Milk, blue milk. Concentrate on the milk, do not be swayed by the 25% off clothing.
But we do need some fruit, and some nappies, and sellotape and, those BOGOF cakes looks nice....

10 minutes later, coupled with 2 minutes of trolley spinning distraction actions we are ready to pay.

" But I want my sweets mummy" whines one.

"Well, we did say, if you kept on head butting your brother, then you wouldn't get any sweets" I say avoiding eye contact.

"SWEEETS, SWWWWEEEE-EEETTTS!"

Oh dear lord, escape. I could abandon the trolley but I really do need this stuff (wine) and my husbands on night shifts, so there is no way I can get it later....Right, automated till it is.

"Authorisation needed" She barks (the till) as I scan the wine. Alright lady, let's just move this along, mummy needs her wine (coping mechanism) and these two kids are going full purple minion here.

"Please remove the item from the bagging area" she retorts.

What? there's no item in the bagging area!!! Oh wait, there is a three year old who has just thrown a 7cmx7cm empty haribo bag on the bagging area, weighing possibly 2 whole grams.

As the red light on the till flashes to summon an assistant to my grave bagging error, my two are rocking back and forth. One is talking gibberish to the halogen strip lights over head, whilst the other is sobbing for Swwwwwaaaa-eeeeaaaaats. I am ready to be committed to the asylum, let alone these two.

I just need someone to say "you've got your hands full" and my day will be complete. Quickly I duck my eyes, thumb in my pin number on there card machine and load up the trolley....Only to realise, I had come sans bags and I am not paying for more when they are in the car. I have principles.
Time for a LIDL style sweep into the trolley and run.

Back to the sweet, sweet car (aptly named because it is also covered in sweet remnants).


So next time, your thinking of going to the supermarket to give them a treat (and you, let's face it, it's mainly for you).....think online shop, think sanity.

Your fate awaits you....


******


Do you have to take crazy purple minion children to to daily tasks too? The join me, it making lighthearted fun out of those crazy inducing moments - we can conquer this world one toddler at a time.

Here I am on Facebook, if you like that sort of thing (I do).







A Parent's Step By Step Guide To Getting Through The Squits

So, you're here either because your little bundle of fun has a squitty bum-bums or you are really, really into poo. Well, you may just like a giggle given that you've probably spend the week watching Paw Patrol/watching someone else watch you on the loo/are exhausted from saying, "Just get your coat on!!"

We are having an acute onsite of ball-pitistis here and no, I'm not referring to my husband, but the sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea following a toddlers trip to soft play. Now I have finished cursing the other parents of soft play for their irresponsibly viral covered children (though in fairness it could of been the bin my son foraged through that caused this, or the floor he licked...The possibilities are endless in the age group), I will bring to you how you can get through the squits in this step by step satirical guide.


A Step by Step Guide to Getting Through The Squits



The Squits: A melodramatic portrayal


You will need:


  • A source of black baby grows
  • Ample supply of poo bags and air freshener
  • Nappies - no particles kind, they will all leak.
  • Waterproofs
  • The 90 degree spin cycle
  • Spatula
  • 10 pack of wipes (at least two packs in every room)
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Bin bags x 3 
  • Liberal use of Sod's Law
  • Clean hands
  • Resolve
  • Dioralyte
  • Caffeine/Alcohol
  • Someone else
  • One whole midnight bath 
  • More Dioralyte
  • Sleep
  • The week off work

Step One:


Take one child covered in poo. The poo must at least be up their nipples to qualify for true 'squitty-bum-bums' status. De-robe child and consider why there isn't more of a market for black baby grows. There's a heck of a lot of bodily fluids emitted from children - this is clearly an untapped market. Think back to those shared Facebook posts with how those envelope shoulder tabs are just for this kind of shit-uation. Still smear your child's face in poo. Feel guilty for at least a month at your poor parenting abilities.


I'm not sure if this is a picture of me or the baby at this precise moment

The Alternative Yet Ultimate Baby's Christmas Gift Guide

So here I am on black Friday eve, stumbling over what to put in the Christmas list for my second born 1-year old. He's got all the plastic tat Early learning centre could vomit, already handed down to him from his brother, so what do I get him for Christmas?


An example of what an ELC binge can look like. It ain't pretty folks.


The options were to guilt buy from Amazon's 'suggestions' or just get him nothing as he probably won't notice what's going on anyway. Until, I had a present-epiphany....

Stop the press, hold the phone, pass the baby - here's  the have the ultimate Christmas gift list (of stuff that you already have). Yes that's right, look no further, for your budget buys, as you don't actually have to budget or buy anything, and you certainly don't need to trample on peoples club card fisted hands to get to these bargains this black Friday.

You, my lucky friend, have already got this shit lying around the house/thrown down the loo/stuffed under the sofa.

The Alternative Baby's Christmas Gift Guide:


**Please note, some of these things are actually more than a tiny bit dangerous for kinder  and shouldn't actually be given as gifts, but children do seem to be naturally drawn to them. Once again, do not give them as gifts, no matter how much those puppy dog baby eyes tell you too.

  1. Packet of Wipes
Nothing better than a packet of 'infinity moist towels': These in a child's eyes are the equivalent of Mary Poppins carpet bag - they just keep on coming. Unless it's mum's last pack and you've had shit-ter-geddon, then you're hunting for Han Solo wipe in the tatooine desert. They also double as teething rags that give you lightly fragranced Vitamin E breath. And they are great for whacking with a cute little chubby fist. I mean, everyone's a winner with this gift aren't they?

Wipes of innocence