Do it your selfie

I don’t really do selfies. Not as a rule but in general I try to avoid seeing what I look like of a day as to not feel guilty about the sight I am inflicting upon others. (Think Wurzel Gummage crossed with an overly tired moomin). Although it might be handy if I did do selfies more regularly to avoid going out with Mr Tumble stickers stuck to my forehead and also to realise that my dress was on back to front ALL DAY LONG.

However, the other night whilst perusing my phone it came to my attention that one of us, namely Boy 2 is quite the selfie pro. So here are a few pointers to get the perfect one;

1. Steal a phone.

2. Try the easiest combination of numbers ever like 1234 to crack the password and you’re in. (If the phone’s owner is on the clever side then try it backwards.)


3. The most important thing to take into account is that your fringe is perfectly aligned. This will give body to your photos, ignore the centre box on the screen. Follow your fringe. Always.


4. Create an air of mystery. No need to properly open your eyes or change your facial expression.


5. If you do move away from the safety of your fringe, then don’t forget to focus on your nose, it adds a certain “je ne sais quoi” aspect to your shots.


6. Repeat and repeat at least a zillion times, until you find the perfect one which is no mean feat!


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As well as the Frozen soundtrack , I spend a lot of time hearing They say ….and I often wonder who THEY are, where THEY are and why THEY think THEY have the authority on everything

 I was hoping to spare you the agony of my poetic attempts, unfortunately I have failed and have scribed a bit of a ranty ditty about THEY, whoever THEY are.

They live in tall towers, smelling of flowers, whilst sipping the best champagne,

Shaking their heads whilst tutting, “She did it again”

They tut if you do, tut if you don’t,

Moan that you will and groan that you won’t

They won’t let you know if you’re doing it right,

But will wake you up with a fear of failing, during the night

They tell you to do it this way, but don’t delay a day

Because their theories change as they please,

Whilst guffawing at you on your knees.

They see you through their giant binoculars, serving fish fingers again

Whilst they have organic, fresher than fresh meals delivered  by electric train

They put their hands over their eyes as you drop a bookcase on your foot

Whilst soothing a baby in a sling and desperately trying to find the toddler’s favourite book.

They don’t know why you don’t get a grip and wear nice clothes

Whilst they strut about in pristine robes

They don’t know what the fuss is about

It’s child play, although it must be wooden and raved about in the latest magazines

They wonder where you read that puke and snot was better than a healthy, make up sheen

They release new techniques, which you think you have mastered

Just as they put their hands on their perfect hips

And say there were glips,

So please swot up on the latest trend,

Before you blink and it’s reached its end.

After spending three hours following their latest getting the baby to sleep rules before you unwind

You collapse on the sofa, which has taken an hour to find

And breathing a sigh of relief , throw a stray nappy in the bin

Which misses and  unwittingly covers the spy camera

They left there to check you are on track, day out and in

You smile, pop a straw in the bottle of wine and enjoy leftovers of many a processed meal gone by,

Blissfully unaware of  THEY,  hopping mad in their headquarters ,

Somewhere up in the sky.

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I never thought I would utter these words, but Madonna and me have something in common. We both had a topple in public. Granted, Madonna’s crowd was about a zillion deep and all eyes were on her, my crowd comprised of hundreds of freezing parents clapping at their offspring´s graduation. Also, mine was in a cathedral , not a swanky venue and I don’t think anybody noticed mine, not even my Mum who had been kindly seated behind a pillar.

I had been terrified about falling off the rickety stage , but I needn’t have worried about that as what actually happened was that in my relief at receiving my scroll (is that what it’s even called?) and not crashing to the ground , I leant forward , tripped over my feet and watched in stilted slow motion horror as my cap flew off my head and kept going as if it had accidentally lost its way from Hogwarts.

Cue, me stretching out like a drunk octopus and somehow managing with a bit of a mix between a run and a star jump catching it before it fell with a thud. I was ever so slightly mortified. My “friends” were highly amused and still are to this day.

Madonna, however, handled it with grace and managed to carry on unscathed. If that had been a toddler who had toppled down the stairs, they would have;

a: thrown the world`s largest most vocal tantrum, pointing fingers at everybody and screeching until everything , everywhere came to a standstill.

b: laughed uncontrollably and pulled everybody else down too.

c: hopped back on stage and done it over and over and over again.

d: probably found something to eat whilst on the ground and discovered a secret tunnel.

e: managed to locate you in the crowd and blame you for letting them wear the cape. After all, it is always your fault, remember?



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1.What is the point of trousers with imitation drawstrings? Is it to enable the game “Let’s pretend we’re wearing drawstring trousers”?

2. Why on the one night of the year you go out and reacquaint yourself  with a few bottles and a half of wine, is it a cue for the littlest to projectile vomit everywhere and the oldest to declare 3am the new get up time?

3. Who are THEY? Where do THEY live? What do THEY do when they’re not saying what we should and shouldn’t do?

4. Why, once out of the house and in the eye of the general public do  children turn into the stuff of nightmares?

5.Why haven’t they invented a lego reject button on the hoover?

6.Why once you or anybody in the vicinity has uttered the words “He´ll fall asleep on the way home” or “We’re in for an early night ” does that translate as car journey from hell with a screaming non asleep toddler or that it is actually time for astronaut practice, which entails launching off a bookcase until said child cracks his head and can only be consoled by eating Cheetos and watching Frozen six times.

7. Why the minute you sit down, catch a breath, go to the loo or have thoughts about putting the kettle on, do they know to have a monster nosebleed or get their toes stuck under the door?

8.Why would anybody dream of making white clothes for any child under the age of 26?

9. Why two seconds after giving birth aren’t we provided with Mary Poppins` clicky fingers?

10. What did I do before?

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The other day at the back to school meeting, they advised that parents take time out every day to do a puzzle or play a board game with their child. They went on to say that it’s because it’s a good calming exercise to do with them. This sounds obvious, but it made me laugh at the realisation that their children are obviously not my children.

Playing board games with them is not fun.

This is what happens after the first two and a half minutes.

Shopping List : There are tears because F has more products than O. O swaps trolleys, F doesn’t realise. F then realizes. There is a fight, shopping trolley gets bent. The products get hurled across room. Game turns into fishing shopping list items out from under the sofa, my bra, leftover lunch.

Any puzzle: F likes to do puzzles when they are nearly finished. As in, the last piece needs to be placed. He will instruct you to do it with him, then he will conveniently go off to find his princess cape shouting “Is it ready? Is it ? Is it? “ Then screams as O puts the final piece in , just as he gets there.

Penguin game: (The idea is to flip your penguin onto the vibrating igloo) It is only ever O’s go.

Peppa Pig Snakes and Ladders : F decides how many spaces you can move (regardless of dice) and where you can go. Even if you are one square from home, you will most likely be sent back to number one because “I was one when I was little”

All of these games are accompanied by dulcet screeches of “I’m the winner, No I’m the winner!”  Then tears and hysteria “He said he’s the winner, but I’m the winner…. “

In short, as much as the idea of sitting down to play games is one I envisaged romantically when they were about a day old, the reality is the noisier and faster and more running aroundness (preferably just in pants and wearing a crown) the better. Yesterday they were entertained for a record 27 minutes  by “Run from the Dragon”.  This highly innovative game was thought up by a desperately shattered teetering on the edge me,  you need two children, a scooter and a go carty thing stolen , borrowed from the neighbour. Children hurtle round garden and I lob , gently throw an inflatable dragon in their flight path. Crashing into it and when it hits your brother´s (not your) head is apparently the most hilarious thing ever. They couldn’t get enough, until O ran over F’s toes and then drove into the clothes horse. The game had come to a natural end. Or so I thought, until twenty seconds later, while I was making chocolate milk for the screaming injured, I was met by two (plastic) sword wielding boys wailing “I’m the winner” “NO, I’m the winner!, you’re the LOSER!”

Anybody got a 50,000 piece puzzle I can borrow?


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This morning we went to  the local Second Hand Market. Set in rolling fields and not a lift or DON’T TOUCH sign in sight, it’s my idea of shopping with children heaven. In fact , this morning´s trip was disconcertingly seamless, two absurdly well behaved boys, one in the puschchair , one on the buggy board, (possibly cheating ever so slightly) 2 euros in each of their sticky hands. Forward, one enormous plastic batman and a peppa pig puzzle later, we won’t mention F refusing to move for six minutes because a man wouldn’t lower the price of his guitar from 20 to 2 euros, no matter how many times the 2 sweaty euro coin was thrusted in his hand, we were three happy shoppers. I  also think that the sweltering, claustrophobic, comatosing heat may deserve a mention too.


Before you all start throwing used wetwipes at me for sounding (being) smug, please know this was a freak occurrence.  REWIND to last December in Manchester. We spent a fab morning at MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), it was ace. The children had the most fun ever, so why oh why en route to the train station did we decide to hit the shops?

S decides that he NEEDS to go to the sales. We haven’t done real people shops for years. We got a bit excited and starstruck by the size and sparkly lights of Selfridges, so nervously went in past the posh bags, trying to blend in with the very fashion savvy and considerably richer than us shoppers. I think we did exceptionally well,  with F screaming, a broken pram, our whopping rucksack and O the escape artist. It took us 5 minutes to find the lift, 1 minute to hoik broken pram out and 3 seconds before S threatened to start hyperventilating. Another 5 minutes later, we are in M&S which is the most whopping one I have ever seen, spread out over five glistening floors. We obediently follow S to Mens, only the boys decide the jumpers look better on the floor and there is a close shave when there isn’t a tissue in sight for their in sync runny noses, and the white silk ties look a bit too appealing.

I tell S that we will go for a wander and head towards the lift. Where F cries because O pressed the button and not him and then refuses point blank to get in the lift. I am clutching my purse, O and trying to grab F whilst five very elegant women look disdainfully at me. We admit defeat and wait for what feels like five days for the lift to return to our floor.

“Do you want sweeties?” I say desperately, “Yesssssss” they cheer triumphantly. “So, please be good…” I plead.

The lift arrives at the ground floor – Children and Food. Perfect combination?  O gets distracted by batman pyjamas and F tries to climb on the cabin bed. I remind them both about the sweets and then they decide to walk like a train .All going well until there is a clank and a wobble and two M & S staff zoom over as I turn around to see that O has crashed into a Bucks Fizz display and MIRACULOUSLY despite the clattering and people shaking their heads, bottles and child are still intact. I say a quick thank you to the God/Goddess of shattered parents and give each child a slightly oversized bag of PERCY PIG AND FRIENDS. There is a moment of peace and contentment.

We go to pay and O decides to hide under my dress. My relief at the fact that I am wearing a million dernier tights is short lived as F decides to whip them and my pants down. Brilliant, not only do the shoppers get to see my manic children, they also get a glimpse of my bottom, three times. As I try to unravel both children from underneath my dress we head for the lift once again, where there is a cry as they both open their Percy Pig bags the wrong way up and Percy’s friends fall out dutifully.


I use two dried and possibly snotty wetwipes as makeshift bags and try to ignore F banging a coathanger really loudly on the floor. O, who hasn’t napped for umpteen months, declares he has had enough and flops in the broken pram and promptly falls asleep. F thinks this is brill, steals the sweets out of O`s hands and we go to pay for S’s new socks (Yes, SOCKS), then wearily follow the Hansel and Gretel trail of Percy Pig and slightly squashed Friends home.


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