So Who Is Inspiring the Tweens to Vlog? 

If you are the parent of a Tween and you have noticed them talking to themselves and making weird facial and hand movements very animatedly into a device, the chances are you have a Vlogger in your midst.

That is, of course, if they are not just taking a selfie!

So for ease, I am going to start with a couple of definitions.

Tween – a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.

Vlogger – Video Blogger – One who records a video blog.

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content  A video logger who creates video content about their life and travels!

Source : Urban Dictionary

Vlog It!

Has the world gone mad I hear you cry.  First Blogging and now Vlogging!

I may be preaching to the wise and converted here but for those of you that are wondering what it’s all about, I am about to explain my findings.

I thought this would be useful for parents, who like myself, find themselves and their daughters becoming a part of this ever growing phenomenon.

So, as a Blogger myself who comes into regular contact with Vlogs, Vloggers and Vlogging, I thought I would take a peek into the world of the Vloggers and Bloggers that are capturing the attention and imagination of our Tween’s.

As a parent of a 10 year old daughter, as well as being interested in finding out more about these Vloggers, I also have one eye on my daughter’s safety online and the other on making sure that she is viewing appropriate content.

So first up – the lovely Zoella (Zoe Sugg).

I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  You may not have seen her channel but she is often in the news and is always very prominent in the Tween magazines along with her fellow Vloggers.

Zoella reached the milestone of having 10 million subscribers to her You Tube channel this year.  Starting as an accidental Blogger five years ago at the age of  19, Zoella now has a very successful career as a professional Blogger and Vlogger.

As you may or may not know, one can earn money from V(B)logging through brand sponsorship and endorsement as well as from launching their own product ranges and public appearances to list but a few sources of income.

Zoella has had several books published and as I understand it (!) part of the appeal is that she is part of a group of Vloggers and Bloggers that are friends.

I have read the blog and seen her You Tube channel.  The content is varied and covers everything from days out to hair do’s, make-up & skincare tutorials, recipes, friendships, girly stuff, pets and having fun.

Zoella is very sweet in a girl next door kind of way.  She is also squeaky clean which is a thumbs up for parents and she is also very likeable.  Not a bad role model to have in my opinion. She is also very successful through her own sheer hard work.   Another positive.

Some other facts :

Brighton seems to be the mecca for these Vloggers with some of them being based there.

You will also come across the ‘haul’ trend

Haul  a shopping spree

a vlog titled “Makeup Haul” or “(Store Name) Haul” is a video showing a shopping spree in that given area, showing products or clothing that will usually be featured in future How To, or tutorial videos

Source : Urban Dictionary

Of course any ‘haul’ is mainly going to be brand endorsement or sponsorship and is therefore marketing by definition but we have had no demands for purchases made as a result of this.  Also very important when the pound is in the hand of the parent.

Here are some of the other VFFs (Vlogging Friends Forever) who you may stumble upon.

  • Zoella’s boyfriend, Alfie Deyes (Pointless Blog) is also a Vlogger
  • Her brother, Joe Zugg (Thatcher Joe)
  • Marcus Butler (Alfie Deyes friend)
  • Tanya Burr (Zoella’s friend)
  • Jim Chapman (Tanya Burr’s boyfriend)
  • Louise Pentland (Zoella’s bestie) SprinkleofGlitter
  • Caspar Lee (Friend and former flatmate of Alfie Deyes)

And here is Zoella on her You Tube channel with some of her VFFs in case you have no idea of what I am talking about.


So What Is The Appeal?

I took the opportunity of asking my daughter this question and I was really interested in the answer.  Obviously I know why people Blog and Vlog in the adult world and why people follow them but the younger Vloggers have been a bit of a grey area for me up until now.

I wanted to understand

Q    Why the appeal?

A    Zoella is likeable, relatable and homely

Q    Do you feel you have to buy/have the things she talks about?

A     Of course not

What Does Mum Think?

From what I can see with my mummy head on, it’s all harmless fun and entertainment.

There is always lots of laughter when Zoella is on and it’s really no different from watching the TV or reading a book to an extent.

Obviously it can be addictive viewing which we will always monitor.

And then there is the marketing element which is, unfortunately, going to be present wherever the kids are looking and watching and there will naturally be some kind of influence.  Thus far I don’t feel that this has been a problem.  Nor does it mean we have to rise to it. What I have seen my daughter and her friends do in this regard is to create their own haul with their own little products.

Any Vlogging that is done by my Tween is monitored and will only be shareable amongst those that we know.  I am mindful that this point in particular is a bit of a moveable feast but our current parental control settings don’t even allow access to Amazon!  We are all over that one.  For obvious reasons.

All in all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

And Finally!

I would just like to add that we had the fruit picking idea first (*BAE) but I am happy to concede that any future visit to Brighton will be solely for the purpose of being groupies.  I have no choice but to #hashtag along – really!

I can also testify that Tanya Burr’s Chocolate Cornflake Cookies are divine and if this cooking behaviour continues then I would be a fool to complain.

Tanya Burr's Chocolate Cornflake Cookies

What Are Your Thoughts?

Are you familiar with this crowd and the world of Vlogging?  If not, I hope this post has helped and I would love to hear your thoughts.

And, if you are already converted “we’ll see ya in Brighton with your haul”!



*Before anyone else!!!!


Silly Mummy, Silly Daddy

Baby in a Bath Tub

I was at a bit of a loss for what to write today for many obvious reasons.

Not that I haven’t got lots of ideas on the go but more that I felt the need for something light.

Being a blogger means that I get to read lots of great stuff by other bloggers and it just so happens that a particular post by a dad blogger made me spit out my ham sandwich today and laugh out loud several times.  All as I sit here on my own at the keyboard.

The post has provided me with the much needed light-hearted inspiration that I was looking for.

And like any blogger on a Monday afternoon I have managed to spend the rest of the day giggling to myself whilst writing this post and taking a trip down Memory Lane.

I recently wrote about celebrating 10 years of parenting and how wonderfully rubbish we have been at getting The Kid to her 10th birthday.

Having read Bad Dadu’s post about attending the NCT class with his wife made me think back to our own days of new parenting.

Thank god we can laugh.

Being a new parent can be fraught with difficulty but in our case I think we have to concede that we made our own luck.

A recent airing of some baby videos were testament to the fact that we had our ‘new parent voices’ completely off-pat which made for very cringe-making moments as The Kid howled and fell off the sofa watching us try to carry out parenting in the early days.

Happy Father's Day

It’s a wonder that she has turned out so well really.

The voices that we used by way of communicating with her and each other while caught up in this new baby bliss were quite frankly wrong.

We drew the line at me calling Iron Man ‘daddy’ and he calling me ‘mummy’ but we failed to realise that our squeaky ‘coochy coo’ voices were far, far worse.

I assume you know the voices that I mean if you are a parent.

Generally, a child will go on to speak to her dolls in this voice all being well.

It generally involves saying hello in numerous different ways with a bit of tickling under the chin.  It is generally reserved for babies, dolls and I suppose people that don’t talk back.  Thank goodness.

Or maybe it’s just us.

The thing that really stands out to both of us is how incredibly stupid we were.

Being clean out of ideas on how to do anything normal was our normal and that was about as good as it got.

But there is always room in the world for a trier as my dear old dad used to say.

So, when faced with needing a passport photo of our precious bundle we did my dad proud and had a bloody good try.

We went through the various motions of trying to prop our baby against a blank wall.  The fact that she very foolishly kept sliding down the wall and laughing (whilst still looking like Charles Kennedy) didn’t stop us from trying.

Of course, we’ve still got the photos because it just so happens that we have about a million photos of every single moment of the poor child’s life.

These photos are proof that we obviously tried this on more than one occasion (clock the different outfits).

Oh the shame!

Enough OK!!

Screaming kid

Realising that our efforts were fruitless, we then engaged in a very logical exercise involving a sheet, a photo booth and the local supermarket.

I’m not sure who can take credit for this idea but it basically involved sitting in the booth with a sheet over our head whilst holding the baby.

This was fraught with problems as the person covered by the sheet couldn’t actually see where the camera was and whether her face was in the correct position.  Let alone whether she was smiling or wearing a hat.

This involved the other one trying to judge from the outside whether the face was correctly aligned.

We carried on though.  Several attempts.  Took it in turns even.

I really cannot remember to this day whether we even laughed at the time.

What I do remember is Iron Man emerging from the photo booth with the sheet still over his head and me making a comment that he looked like a ghost.

On reflection not only did he look like a ghost but we were also doing this in full view of the Sunday shoppers in the local Sainsbury.

We saw nothing wrong with this and I can remember just feeling frustrated when the photos dropped down the chute and The Kid was peering in from one corner looking a bit scared.  She was also sitting on the lap of a nutter wearing a sheet over their head.

I would share these pictures but their whereabouts in unknown.  A wise man may hazard a guess that they are on the Sainsbury staff room notice board.

I think we must have attended a few counselling sessions after this because we somehow found ourselves in a camera shop where they took baby passport photos as part of their day job.

If my memory serves me well, I think Iron Man and I probably made reference to the fact that we wish had known about this earlier.

Note the continued sense of humour by-pass.

Five years we had to live with that passport.

Silly Mummy.

Silly Daddy.

You know what I mean?

So I have to thank Bad Dadu for his wonderfully funny post and for the inspiration to sift through the Memory Box.

Do have a read of his post Come for the biscuits, stay for the friendship.  In fact, while you are there it’s probably worth reading a few posts as he is a really, really funny guy.

Maybe not whilst eating a ham sandwich though.

And if you are in further need of a smile, have a root through your old video footage.

You may not recognise yourself!


The Kid and her doll




We’ve Turned Into A Nation Of Shouters

I am sure that I am not the only one that will be glad when today is over.

You may remember back in April I wrote about feeling the need to understand more about the implications of  voting In or Out.  Where I held up my hands to feeling a lack of knowledge in the area of politics and my desire to learn more about hard facts in order to make an informed decision.

Funnily enough, and not surprisingly, I feel no further forward with that.  I am sure many others feel the same.

As an adult, there are still many things I wish to know.  About everything.  Lifelong learning is my passion.  I love to listen to others.  There is always something new to learn if you are quiet for long enough.

Quiet is something that has been lacking during this Referendum campaign.

Facebook, it seems, has become the medium through which to share our views on the Referendum and I am sure we can all name a few people that have really got on our nerves during this campaign.  I mean really got on our nerves.    Nail your colours to the mast by all means but then just, well – just shut up.    We get which way you are voting.  Some of us may have felt a little envy that you reached a decision before us – but we applaud that.  We don’t then need you to share every piece of evidence that you have read to inform your view.  We do not need you to convince us of your decision.  Or are you still convincing yourself?  I wonder.

The Polling Stations are open.  Go exercise your right.  I shall be.

Equally, there are those that we are always interested to hear from.  Those that will always have a learned opinion.  They can debate from a reasoned perspective, they can talk about your views and their own without breaking into a sweat.  We are interested in how these people are voting.   They are interested in us too.  We trust these people and value their views.  They will value ours.  Whether or not we agree.  We don’t hear too much from them at time likes this.  Their less is generally more.

My question today though is who has had the backs of the children over the last few months.

The future generation.

The very people for whom we are claiming to vote.

The very essence of why we are voting the way we are.

Has anyone checked in to see their thoughts or how they are voting?

Children are like sponges.  They are also very easily influenced.  Children will generally be the voice of their parents.  I was.  You probably were too.  I have been keen to avoid this for my daughter, particularly as she grows into a young lady.

I am really appreciative that our school has had a mock Election for the children and that they have encouraged them to share their views if they want to.  I worked in a childcare business where this happened too.   It is great fun for the children, it raises their awareness of current affairs and encourages them to explore opinion.  They start to think about their own opinion, that they have one, and that others do too.  They will also learn that it is perfectly acceptable to have a different opinion to their friends.  I applaud schools for doing this.  And it’s just as well that they have really.

Because our future generation have been exposed to rather a lot of ‘shouters’ over the last few months.

They have been privy to seeing a level of unprecedented vitriol in this campaign.  Where politicians and leading figures – male and female, are using their fists to articulate their points.  Words like ‘fear’ and ‘hate’ have been bandied around so much they have gained hashtags.  A further example of the lack of eloquence from those in whom we have to place our trust.

What a wonderful example being set for the very group of people that we are claiming to be doing this for.

Debate is healthy.   It can also be animated.   Our children need to know that it is perfectly acceptable to have an opinion.  We call this democracy.

Our curriculum allows our children access to learn about historical political events which have shaped the way we are today.  Children are encouraged to share, to raise their hand, to join in.

Not raising their hand can be indicative of a child’s uncertainty of what others may think.  The fear of being laughed at or ‘turned upon’.

And then they see a bunch of enraged adults intent on humiliating each other by way of an example.

We cannot provide them with these tools in one hand and then take them away with the other.

There is no learning to be gained from that.

However you are voting today, I truly hope that that the result goes the way the way that you wish.

We are all doing our bit in the best way we can by turning up at the Polling Station today.

But let’s go back to being a nation that we are proud of tomorrow.

This is something that we have always done so well.








Who’s Doll Is It Anyway?

The Kid and her doll

Our first foray into the American Girl Place in New York with The Kid was a bit of an eye opener and I have to confess that we did have a bit of a giggle at the craziness of it all.

Parents (mainly dads) carrying multiple red bags, sitting in the waiting room of the Beauty Salon (asleep!), families dining in the dining room, dolls that looked real – which collectively was a bit scary, little girls dressed in the same outfit as their dolls and multiple floors of pink candy stripes and well – more dolls.

However, if you see all of this through the eyes of a child – you will realise that we ended up being well and truly dragged in and five visits later, we did emerge through the revolving doors carrying said red bags and laughing the other side of our smug faces.


You are quite right in thinking that we appear to be quite sensible people on the whole but in our defence this place is a whole new world.

On a corner of 5th Avenue lies a very unique shop for little ladies wishing to purchase a doll that looks a bit like them and with whom they can experience a world of activities and experiences that are equal to girl heaven – and some.


Dolls can be selected to match a child’s skin, hair and eye colour.  The rest of the floors are a little bit like a department store for dolls in so far as you can purchase outfits, accessories, friends, more dolls, books, food and hair and beauty treatments.  I understand that there is also a dolls hospital should one be required.

So, armed with her birthday money, The Kid decided that she wanted to buy one of these dolls.  At $115 before taxes at the till, these dolls are rather an extravagant purchase.  However, it was her money and after we explained all of this, she decided to go ahead on the basis that it would always remind her of the holiday.

So which one then?

American Girl

That part took care of two visits at least.  When faced with an army of dolls, choosing the right one can be a very nerve-wracking experience for the uninitiated.

Our experience in the shop showed us that it was simply the best compliment if someone said how much your doll looked like you.  No pressure here then.

The Kid and the doll

At this point I should warn you that The Kid’s doll did not come with that outfit OR that hairdo.  We are only on Visit 4 anyway so keep up!

Toilet anyone?

Dolls holder

Doll holders can be found in cubicles and next to sinks.  No need for grubby mitts.

It was at this point, The Kid decided she would like to get the dolls hair done.  So up a few flights and we found ourselves here.

Dolls Hair Salon

Only to find there were no appointments.  I kid you not!

Dolls hair salon

Which meant that there would need to be a 5th visit.  As we pencilled in a 3pm appointment for the last day of the holiday.

Dolls hair styles

So for now, we could leave.

Doll purchase

Until the next day when we saw ourselves running down 5th Avenue in the 30 degree heat to get to the hair appointment.

Doll at hairdressers

Where the hair was beautifully plaited by a doll stylist

Dolls hairdresser

But there was no time for any further treatments

Dolls manicure

We had a plane to catch and this doll needed to get back to the UK along with her owner.

Dolls hair plait

And her lovely hairdo.

We had to miss this.

Dolls Cafe

And of course you won’t be surprised to see this.

Iron Man and the doll

Of course he couldn’t wait to muscle in.

And we made sure to walk far enough in front so that he looked like he was on his own.

Me thinks he may be needing this!


All told we probably spent a day of the holiday in this shop.  It was like nothing on earth, yet wonderful and crazy at the same time.  Pure jaw-dropping entertainment for the adult and the child.

The doll and her owner are now safely back in the UK and all is well.

No further beauty treatments have been necessary.

Would you have done the same?


It’s Up To You in New York!

Manhattan. Broadway. Yellow Taxi.

There really is nothing quite like arriving in Manhattan for the first time.  It really is JUST like you see it on TV!  I was so excited for Iron Man and the The Kid as it was their first visit and I wanted them to experience it as I had (almost 20 years ago).  This was Iron Man’s 50th birthday soiree and he was keen to visit in the spring.  My previous visit was during the winter and I have always associated New York with cold weather, hot chocolate and ice skating – just like in the movies.

On arrival in New York we were greeted with very intense 30 degree heat which stayed with us throughout.  For me, this was like seeing a whole new city.  It is very different in the sunshine and it was a treat for me to see New York through different eyes.

Washington Square fountain

As with most big cities, the best exploration and finds are generally done on foot.  These are the times when you can look up and around soaking up the atmosphere and where you stumble upon little gems like this just because you happened to walk into it.

The heat should have slowed us down but it didn’t.   I would love to know how many steps we did.  It can be easy to forget that we have a 10 year old with us sometimes as we have certainly put our legs through the paces over the last week.  We did so much yet we still have so many reasons to go back.  I guess that is always the way.

Walking Brooklyn Bridge

It was also Memorial Day during our visit and it was wonderful to see so many service men and women out and about in the city.

American Navy

One of the things that we truly love about America is the patriotism and the way the American flag is everywhere and on everything.  Absolutely everything.

Slightly blurry picture of the Subway train but you gotta take your chances where you can – think Whoopi Goldberg and Ghost!

See what I mean about the flag!

The Subway proved a godsend for speeding up journeys.  It was quick, reliable, safe, easy and the air con made it the place to go for a cool down.  Just like the tube in London!

New York Subway

Food Glorious FoodIce Cream

You can never eat enough in New York.  There are so many things to try and we really didn’t have time to do it justice – another reason to go back.  We managed a few bits though.

Macaroons & Cookies New York

 Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Whilst waiting to board the Staten Island Ferry at rush hour to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty with the workers of New York returning home, Frank Sinatra’s version of ‘New York, New York’ started to belt out.  It was one of those rare wonderful moments that was just so fitting and cheesy at the same time.  Probably not so for the workers who I’m sure hear it every day, but there is no way that any respectable 40 something Brit on tour is going to do anything but start dancing.  Why should we be the exception?!  Of course we blooming well danced.

This is a less fun for a 10 year old with her parents who hasn’t been brought up with this song at every family party since she was 2.  It just doesn’t hold the same meaning.

We won’t mention the foam hat kiddo!

Travel Note – In order to alight at the Statue of Liberty and to climb it, you have to pre-book online.  We didn’t know this prior to travel and were disappointed to learn that it was fully booked until September.  Next time Libs!Statue of Liberty

Madison Square Garden

An absolute must!  With or without kids.  We booked in advance to see the New York Liberty play Minnesota Lynx.

From the moment you walk and hear the American Anthem it is wall to wall entertainment.  It was a well fought game and I have to say there were some pretty powerful women playing.  The highlight of the intervals had to be the large shooters catapulting t-shirts into the crowd.   The atmosphere and excitement in the stadium was palpable.

Basketball. Madison Square Garden.

The High Line

The High Line New York

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad.

In some ways it reminded us of the Olympic Park – beautiful flower beds and a great way to see the city.  Well worth doing.  Lots of artists at the end selling their wares and many tasty food stalls from which to sample more treats.

Check out these slushies being made from the ice block!

Slushies. Ice block

We ended our route in Chelsea.


Chelsea Market. New York.

Another must visit.  Both the neighbourhood and the Market.  So many things to browse and some wonderful entrepreneurs selling their wares.  Absolutely loved this jewellery made from real fruit.

Crafts. Chelsea Market


Another must.  Brooklyn itself and the Dumbo district (mad name!) is a great place for a mooch.  The walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge is a wonderful way to view Manhattan – especially in the glorious sunshine.

Brooklyn Bridge. New York skyline.

Rockefeller Centre

Rockefeller Centre.

I thought the Ice Skating Rink was the preserve of the Rockefeller Centre but it turns out that it lends itself pretty well to outdoor summer dining too.  Loved it the first time, loved it even more the second time.  The favourite.

American Flag. Stars and Stripes

Central Park

Another fave.  The heat precluded us from spending too much time here but we made sure we saw Alice.

Alice in Wonderland. Central Park.

 Memorial Site

We passed through on our first day but on the basis that we hadn’t had the conversation with little lady about 9/11, we didn’t linger.  Had we been alone I expect we would have gone into the museum and spent a little more time here.  Having said that it was incredibly busy and we found it a bit uncomfortable to see people taking selfies.

We felt that just being in the City made us reflect on what happened that day.  Sadly, it is also one of those moments in history where one can remember exactly what they were doing.   During one of our many walks, we passed an open fire station where the crew were training a new recruit.  Seeing photographs of the fire crew that had lost their lives that day was incredibly moving.

Here is a picture of the Fire Truck getting ready for a training session.  See what I mean about the flag!

New York Fire Truck

 American Girl Place

Yes.  I’m afraid she did.  This place.  There is nothing like it.  On Earth.  Five visits.  Five bloody visits.  Suckers.  I cannot do it justice in a paragraph so against my better judgement and because it was quite fascinating and crazy mad at the same time, it’s getting a post of its own.  Be afraid.  There is at least one doll in the UK.

American Girl Place

If you are in any doubt about taking children to New York, don’t be.  I felt incredibly safe there, we all did.  So very different since the clean up and my last visit.  There is loads of for kids to see and do.  There is also plenty for Iron Men to eat and drink.  Hell they even sell Stella Artois.  Of course he was gonna be a part of it.

New York, New York!!  Have you been?  What were your highlights?












Happy Birthday To Us

On 19th May 2006,  12 days overdue, The Kid came very slowly into the world.

Giving Birth

I realise now this was intended to prepare us for the fact that we would spend much of the next 10 years waiting.

I also realise that the next 10 years will involve a lot more waiting.

Probably late at night.  Outside.

There were questions about parentage when traits of Charles Kennedy were spotted.

Charles Kennedy

We wondered if she would ever stop laughing.

Picture 1433

She hasn’t and has the most infectious laugh.

She is also showing traits of having my sense of humour which can only be a good thing.

We also wondered if she would every stop crying.

Baby Crying

The 10th Battalion of the South Woodford Mums Baby Group (Est. 2006) wondered too.

Along with both sides of the family tree.

We wondered if she would ever stop eating.

Child Eating

Not for long though, turns out she’s the fussiest kid on the planet.  Chicken curry will always haunt the locals.

However, she is truly loyal to her Cornish and East London background and eats Pie ‘n’ Mash and Cornish Pasties in equal measure.

We did wonder if she would ever stop hitting people when she was two though.  “Excuse me is that your daughter?” was a popular question at playgroups and parent and baby gatherings.  Child that hits

I was that parent.  The Kid was that child.

Hard to imagine as you wouldn’t say boo to a goose now.

And I also feel that an apology is due to all those thinking that the many potholes around the country were a result of the British weather.  You were wrong.  It’s because of the amount of times that the ground has opened up to swallow me.

The Kid from a very young age has had an uncanny knack of saying precisely what she thinks at precisely the wrong moment.

All those things that everyone thinks but doesn’t say.  Nice one.  Absolutely no filter whatsobloodyever.

So fed up with apologising and giving you the ‘stare’,  I now just pretend that I have gone into a coma.

I feel very smug having transitioned into the guise of being an ‘uncool mum’ and I know that I will not have to try very hard to return some of these embarrassing moments.

Dad with new baby

You have a wonderful dad in Iron Man.  You have always been a daddy’s girl and the fact that I have always been the one that had to sit on my own or behind – think nothing of it.  I have always been more than happy to be the crowd.  Never feel bad about that.

Particularly when you’ve got your grubby little hands in my make up bag.

Know also, that the mirror in the bedroom is yours.  It is perfectly fine to stand in front of me when I am getting ready.  I do not need to see what I look like from the neck down.

And don’t be so generous with your perfume when I am behind you.  You have a fabulous taste but the Superdrug So……….In Love range, So ……..  doesn’t work with mummy hormones.

We wondered if there would be a brother or a sister.  There hasn’t and any attempts to change that now would probably put me on the front page of The Sun.  Some things are best left (see embarrassing parents).

And of course we will always be wondering.

Because despite having done 10 years, the parenting lark does not get any easier.

Having said that I don’t think me and Iron Man have done too badly.

We have met and made the most beautiful and lasting friendships.

Although, as you rightly point out, we wouldn’t have all these friends if it wasn’t for you!

I guess you think we sat in before you came along!!

Out Out

Whether they are your friends or ours, they have all been bloody troopers through thick and thin.  There are some people that you just cannot shake off and we all love every single one of them.

And parenting has caused us to question our sanity in later years.

Quite frankly, we’ve been rubbish at it.  Still are.

But we’re oh so glad we got to have a go as we really have got so many amazing memories.

We’ve also done some of the craziest things.

It’s amazing you are still here really!

Don’t take that the wrong way though.

There is no need for you to be still here once you are an adult.

We know that you have designs on a place at Elderly Acres for us.

And that you have been eyeing up the Bluebird Residential Care van.

All I can say is that there is no need.  Keep the inheritance for best.

A caravan on the drive of your family home will suffice.

You can then sleep very soundly knowing that we will always be waiting outside.

Cheers to all 3 of us!!

Just The 3 Of Us






Living The Dream


Me : “I’m going to do a dark wash”

Iron Man : “Ooh I may have something to add to that”

I suspect he is coming on to me as I know he is referring to underwear.

Don’t think I can’t spot an advance when I see one.

It feels like a little celebration.  A joint coming together of underwear and possessions.

Just me and him!

Wey hey.

I know what you are thinking guys.

Check us two out – right?!

Hell no!!  The Kid has gone away for the week and this is our Rock ‘n’ Roll.

This is the common ground for the 40 something parents when The Kid goes away with the school for a week.

The coming together in holy matrimony of two child-free parents over a wash.

You can’t keep a good opportunity down.

So, what’s going on?

We should be out every night, going away, making merry and whooping it up at the first opportunity – shouldn’t we?

Well we may be doing a bit of the making merry – can’t desert the Prosecco when the sun is out now can we.  It’s what nature intended, after all.

The Kid departed on Sunday and after jumping for joy, sobbing uncontrollably for several hours we got it together.

We both had a day off yesterday.

And we made no plans!  No plans!!

Look at us – embracing spontaneity, how very retro!

We needed a blooming good catch up.  A catch up on anything and everything.

Let’s face it who has much to say of any substance during the week.

Who can be bothered with a full scale conversation with their partner after the day is done.

I’m generally onesied up and ready for bed not long after The Kid and I know Iron Man is always happy to jump on board an early night.

Of course, there are usually 3 on our team anyway, so our conversation is generally all together.


For this we feel very privileged.

However, there comes a time when you just need to talk grown-up.

Mortgage, finance, household and a general MOT of all things in The Department of Mum and Dad.

These are not things that are of much interest to a 9 year old or perhaps at times, conversely,  of too much interest.

And some things just ain’t for kids are they.  However much they want to get their two penneth in.

And then of course there is having a bit of a natter.  Which, again – doesn’t always fit easily into the flow of the day.

So this is our rock ‘n’ roll and I’m glad that we can do it.

A whole week with no agenda.

There was a time I felt a bit nervous about us being on our own post kid – I think everyone goes through that.  Bit of an identity crisis and you have absolutely nothing in common except the child.  It happens!

I’m sure we’re not alone in having that little period of time.   Dull days they were!

Fortunately it passed.

And so we started the day with no plans and worked our way through ‘the list’.

A second date was agreed for IKEA on Wednesday evening so things were looking good.

Iron Man cracked two jokes during the ‘date’, GSOH – tick!

He got the wrong end of the stick several times and I had a few moans – ha.  Some things will always remain but I can make a good recovery with my quick wit!  Ha! GSOH – tick!

So far so good.

And we’re not completely dull either.

We hopped on a train and randomly ended up in Westbourne Grove.

If you haven’t been it’s definitely worth a mooch.

Lovely shops.

angel-1300048_640Top Date Tip : Don’t suggest they might want my coat when we walk into a posh charity shop knowing full well it cost less than their cheapest item and that it came from Florence and Fred!!!!

A few glasses of wine and some food in a cool little restaurant and we were ready to come home at 8.00.

Yes I know others are going out at that time.  We passed them.   We used to too (see ‘retro’).

A seat on the tube home and an Evening Standard each!

Happy days.  No risk of over exposure.


Joking apart, we do actually do a lot of nice things together – with or without The Kid.

It’s very easy to think you have to cram every single little thing in to make the most of kid-free time together .  We’ve danced at that party too.  A few sneaky weekends away have certainly been notched up over the last few years.

But this week is all about having no restrictions and no agenda and being a grown-up.

So that is us.

And if you happen to see us in the Market Place at IKEA making merry with storage jars, art and too many pot plants – know that it’s OK to say hi.

You won’t be interrupting anything – really.

We are just living the dream.

Packing it all in and who knows,  IKEA meatballs and chips might even get involved.

Spontaneity is the spice of life this week.

Thank you for reading and I’d love to hear how your child-free ‘hoolies’ compare.


Brilliant blog posts on

It’s Just A Phase!

phase header

The old adage ‘it’s just a phase’.

A popular anecdote used by parents far and wide.

If you like me, had a penny for every time we said that, together we would be rich.

Never has a phrase been more spot on.

Back when our daughter was a baby, life lurched from one phase to the next. Phases where we knew not of the outcome.

The only evidence of having survived one phase was having entered a new one.

When children are young phases come at us thick and fast don’t they.  Several phases can occur simultaneously.

Whereas you had always been a problem solver, the latest phase would side-swipe you from behind.

You would be rendered clueless whilst resorting to Google After Hours for the answer to your parental failings.

These phases certainly kept us on the hoof and playing catch up.

Catch me.jpg

Some would seem to go on forever.   Particularly long lasting phases for our household were having a ‘hitter’ and a ‘screamer’.

Hearing the words ‘excuse me is that your daughter over there?’ would make me want to shrink knowing that The Kid had probably delivered a right hander to some poor unsuspecting soul.  Hard to believe considering she wouldn’t say boo to a goose now.

I always experienced a sadistic feeling of joy when meeting another ‘phasing’ parent.  Particularly of the ‘The Hitter’.  Not that I would have wished it on anyone but it never does any harm to have a phase ally.

It is only as our children grow older that we experience a joyful phase in this phasing.  So joyful that we forget about it.

We’ve notched up almost 10 years of this parenting lark now, phases are a thing of the past.

big mistake.jpg

Instead of consistent side-swipes, phases now come out of the blue.  So out of the blue that they floor you.  It’s like the new parent thing all over again.

But we are supposed to know it all now – right?


This is what is known as a phase shift in the parenting world.    You are entering into unknown phase territory where only the brave survive.

There are no words.

Iron Man and I found ourselves speechless the other day.  We looked at each other vacantly.  I’m sure he would have cried if I hadn’t been there.  I  know I would have legged it if he hadn’t been holding on to my ankles.

We utter the immortal words ‘do you think it’s just a phase?’

Having one child means that we have no prior experience – everything is a first.

I can only imagine how this would be if we had several children, different personalities  experiencing different phases at the same time.  We probably both would have legged it in this scenario!

What is true for all of us is that we could be running the country, a large multi-national or a household yet the effect is the same.

Together we are used to making decisions, managing people and dealing with difficult situations – perfect attributes for parenting dilemmas or so you would think.


How can this be so?

We’re grown-ups?

We know that children don’t come with manuals so I’m taking a massive leap of faith in guessing that phases have a cut-off point.

It is reassuring that we don’t see adults with dummies or drinking out of a bottle with a teat so one assumes that there is an expiry date?

One thing we are clear about is that the tween and teenage years are tenderly sleeping and that we need to fasten out seatbelts in preparation.


Everything that has gone before was just a walk in the park.


How many pennies are in your parenting phase pot?

Are you rich yet?

Nicky x

 All photos are of my deliciously lovely and ever growing Kid.

A Bit Of Everything

Introducing My Guest Blogger

Something a little different for this week.

I have a special little guest blogger who has written for me, my daughter Lily.

Lily is 9 years old and has expressed an interest in having a blog.


Like many children her age, she is very interested in young bloggers and vloggers – of which there are many.

Naturally she wants to have a go herself.

I suggested that she be my guest blogger and then we could go from there.

She knew what she wanted to write about and I left her to it.

She has written about her new rabbit, Willow.

As you may know, I am scared of animals so these have been exciting times in our little household.

blog-1027883_640I thought it would be a good idea for her to see how the whole thing comes together and she sat with me to ‘publish’ the post, so to speak.

As a parent, internet safety is key here but I think it is also important not to stifle a willingness to learn.

We have talked about staying safe online and she understands why this is important and how to stay safe.

Like all children, Lily is very adept at working her way around computer systems and negotiating technology with ease.

As a parent, it can be very difficult to get the right balance here.

I’m not going to prevent her from writing and being creative but what I can do is make sure it is done in a controlled environment.

She has written a fabulous piece below.

Nicky x


My Rabbit, Willow is a fun and friendly animal!  I play with her every day and enjoy every minute of it!  We’ve had her for nearly 3 weeks now, which is not a long time but I have already bonded with her lots and she has bonded with me as well.  She has her own cardboard castle which I am currently building as Rabbits love to play and chew cardboard!  On Thursday she ran so fast she was pushed up into the air and landed on the floor, as you might know mum does not like animals and did not want to get Willow in the first place, but as soon as I called her “mum she has jumped out the cage” she ran to Willows safety picked her up and put her in her cage (which is a big achievement!) Now you might think why didn’t I do it, well the reason was I was so in shock. Being a single child with no pet is sometimes boring, but now I have willow she has made it never boring and I can now say I have a pet!


What’s In The Box?


Who would ever have thought it?

We’ve only gone and done it!

I never thought the day would come that we, as a family, would become pet owners.

Part of the reason for this demise is that I am very afraid of animals.

However, needs must and The Kid has wanted a pet for some time.

Iron Man and I totally understand that.

My parents were never animal fans and as children we were also desperate to have pets.  More on this later.

Christmas was the turning point.   The Kid asked for a Rabbit.

We explained that it wasn’t just the Rabbit and that she needed to think of everything else that went with it.

She was happy that most of her gift from everyone would be a contribution towards the Rabbit and its Estate.

She even wrote to Father Christmas and said she didn’t want very much as she wanted to concentrate on the Rabbit.

Love her.

And so on the 9th January 2016, we welcomed the arrival of this little cutie.

Meet Willow.


Life as we know it will never be quite the same.

This week has been taken up with googling things like :

‘How do you get a rabbit to drink from a water bottle’?

‘Can you use Andrex Wipes on a rabbit’?

‘How do you cut a rabbits toes nails’?

There have been regular morning trips to the shed with Iron Man in his suit carrying The Kid to make sure Willow is OK.

Willow probably thought she was going to a wedding when the suit came out!

There are regular evening sessions of rabbit bonding.

There has been a complete play centre constructed of cardboard boxes.  This is known as ‘Willow’s Play Mayhem’.

I returned home from work one evening to find Willow’s head bobbing up through holes in the boxes ‘Whack-a-Rat’ style.

I have survived.

I have overheard the following comment in the house :

‘Give her some space Daddy’

I have found myself actively involved in congratulating Willow on using the litter tray.

I enjoyed reading the following :

Rabbits mostly sleep during the day. They often sleep with their eyes open so its hard to tell when they are sleeping. However a giveaway is that when they are sleeping rabbits often twitch, and their noses stop wiggling. Other rabbits will close their eyes and totally flake out, looking like they are dead.

Is there hope for me?

Will my cold heart turn to mush?

I should probably point out at this stage that this is not a first for me and that we did have a Rabbit in my family home after putting much pressure on our parents. It became a very, very large Rabbit and quite feisty.  So much so that all the ladies in the house were terrified of it.

It would regularly escape from its cage and we had to get the old lady next door to rescue it.  She was quite a dab hand at Rabbit handling it turned out.  Between her and my dad, there was generally some kind of a chase going on (generally them running away!).

I hope to do better this time.

What do we think then readers?

Will my inner Rabbit Whisperer finally be exposed or will I always be the photographer.

Too early to tell.

Nicky x

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


A Bit Of Everything