How to parent like it’s the Christmas of 1986

The summer has well and truly left us but now it’s time to cosy up and get ready for Christmas. Forget Elf on the shelf, Ice skating and booking Santa visits in August (we have all done that once) here’s how I remember Christmas in the 80’s.


Stockings should be knitted or your Dad’s football sock. This should be stuffed with “Smellies” bubble bath or even bath pearls shaped as various animals, stars and maybe something Christmas themed. A big tube of fruit pastiles, a selection pack of Cadburys chocolate bars including Fudge, Chomp and Wispa and of course a bag of chocolate coins. But let’s not forget that lone satsuma right at the bottom of the stocking. This can be added as an attempt to encourage some healthy eating on Christmas day.

Christmas Decorations

Now don’t hold back, every corner has to be covered. Strings of paper chains along the picture rails, shiny colourful snow flake strings from each corner of the room to the light in the center of the room. Homemade crepe paper doves stuck into the ceiling with drawing pins. Tinsel, tinsel and more tinsel on everything from banisters, door handles light switches, anything that can be given that Christmas touch with some tinsel. The tree can be an explosion of colour of small wooden brass bands, fake robins, knitted angels and loads of lights. Decorating the house can sometimes take a couple of days with constant additions appearing throughout the month of December.

Main present

The main present, the one thing they have had their eye on all year, the present that they have been secretly searching the house for months, working out the size and where you could of hidden it. They have been watching all your comings and goings for the past couple of months and any unusual behaviour has been analysed. There will always be constant discussion about the “main present” with siblings and making sure they have asked for something of similar value.

Christmas TV 

This is the one time of the year The Radio Times appears in the house. Hours are spent going through each day from when they break up from school and the calculations on how many films they could watch over Christmas. The excitement level used to be high as it was only four channels then and films were a rare treat.

Only Fools and Horses

Christmas day is not complete unless the whole family sits down with a drink (Cinzona, G&T or a lager shandy) in hand to watch the Only fools and horses Christmas special. Everyone should cram in the front room and if you are the youngest sibling you have no chance of getting on the sofa so the rug in front of the fire is yours (where you will heat up to temperatures close to boiling) and inevitably half way through a grandparent will start snoring.

Christmas Dinner 

The best meal you have seen all year with all the toppings and trimmings. A roast potato dash will commence, when the roast potatoes are this crispy and light you have to get in quick. Pigs in blankets, stuffing, turkey, pork and of course the humble sprout. I often think like the lone satsuma in the stocking it can be another failed attempt to eat healthy on Christmas day.

Tree present

Now even at Christmas the tree is feeling generous and will bear a gift to all that had celebrated Christmas day with it. The kind tree will bring gifts of books, hats, gloves and maybe some more “smellies”.

Boxing Day 

A breath of fresh air after all the indulgence, you can try and use as many of your new items as possible, hats, gloves, scarf and maybe even your “main present” of a bike and of course get through a couple of those Cadburys selection boxes for good measure.  A trip round the park then it’s off to a boxing day party round friends. This can involve a couple of families getting together eating the leftovers, watching films and playing darts. Games like Killer or beat the score can be enjoyed however it can be a little risky with kids throwing darts you need to have your wits about you!

So whatever your Christmas traditions are ENJOY!

Mum up

Mum up

Sometimes you have just got to Mum up, you know when you find yourself in those situations that you never thought you would be in and you remember the times before you had children but you Mum up because basically you will do anything for your kids when they need you the most.

Here are some “mumming up” moments for me,

Giving birth, any which way its pretty full on so big mumming up there.

Poo gate, when your baby poos out of the nappy everywhere and you have a wrestle clearing it up whilst your baby keeps spreading it around your/their body, I usually give up and just put her under the shower and the clothes are straight in the napisan for a soak. I regularly think “Seriously how can there by this much poo in my life”.

Showing no fear of injections and acting as if its totally not painful and maybe even be a fun thing that your toddler will love.

Doing something you thought you would never do. My son was having his morning poo playing with his Lego men, I heard “I’ve finished” but I also heard “I’m sorry” I rushed in expecting to find poo everywhere but no, a single Lego man head had fallen in the loo with the poo, not touching the poo but just in the water, his little face as he kept saying “sorry mummy” as he has worked really hard on his reward chart for his Lego men, so I mummed up and saved that Lego man’s head and as I did it I thought the things I do for my kids, obviously washed everything and told him if it happened again the Lego is getting flushed down the loo!

You know the days where it’s not even 9am and you have already been up for 4 hours, dealt with sick, poo and tears. You need a bit of cheering up, I mum up by playing a game where I pretend that the baby can talk. Now I know this sounds a bit strange but honestly try it. This is how it works I ask toddler to brush his teeth, cue standard no way comments/tantrum, now if the baby asks toddler he looks confused then the baby explains that if he brushes his teeth he will get a sticker and more stickers means superheroes and he loves superheroes, toddler walks off and brushes teeth!!!!!! So basically I have to pretend to be a baby to get shit done, not sure if this going to have any long term side effects on their relationship so I’m keeping it the minimum, just in case.

Sometimes I long for the day I will return to work but I know I’m going to miss the chaos. What are your mumming up moments, please share i just admitted to putting my hand down a toilet with poo in it!

Winging it with the bouncy chair-1st 6 weeks with a baby and threeanger 

   We are 6 weeks in and we have broken the camels back if not the camels back mine has. It always amazes me how you wait for your baby to arrive and every hour you are wishing it away, then 6 weeks literally flies by, I was thinking that’s a whole summer holidays gone. And it seems we have forgotten most things from the 1st time but this time it seems a little easier as we know everything is a phase and it does get better and there is so many more good times to come. So far I had forgotten the following …….

– To be thankful for a bouncy chair

– Your baby always needs something as soon as you sit down to eat, so I have refreshed my bouncing the chair with one foot whilst shovelling down food technique very well. I have also mastered rocking the bouncing chair next to the sofa whilst snoozing, I amaze myself how I can nap and still move my arm.

– Your baby wants to feed loads not because they are greedy it’s just because their stomachs are tiny and they need to grow, also means you get loads of milk to stock up for a night out. Ours is particularly fond of a cluster feed, it’s like she is possessed she rootes it out and is head banging like she is in a mosh pit and won’t stop until she is with her beloved boob, this can go on for hours but after she sleeps for a good 5 hours so it’s working at the moment.

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Going out with a toddler is like playing Russian roulette

Russian roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance in which players put a single round (tantrum) in a revolver (toddler), spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger (releases the tantrums).

I sometimes get nervous about a “simple” trip out with my toddler, mainly when there are people who don’t have children and you are trying not to be judged as a bad mother. As the years have passed I have become more relaxed about what people think or I just don’t care anymore, not sure which one. So what I’m saying is going out with a toddler is like playing Russian roulette, you are putting your life in your own hands.

A perfect example is a trip to the shops, I always start with a risk assessment for the trip. Continue reading

7 ways to break the ‘perfect parenting’ code…..

11357954_987354401316120_1435658288_nOne thing after I gave birth and had got through the 1st couple of weeks is that I was shocked at how many people had lied to me, my best friends!!! About how perfect having a child was and how my life was going to be amazing, yay I thought, let’s get this amazingness on the go. Had they forgotten or were they protecting me? Well from that day on I became a code breaker.

When you are having your 1st child you are feeling so nervous and you gather information from every source possible, so you would think your best friends would tell you how it is but NO!

The code vs The truth

– Lie about giving birth or not lying, it can be harsh but they will hate you after for not telling them. Continue reading

How to spot a working mum

How to spot a working mum

Tea, obvious reasons

Sunglasses, she had no chance to put make up on even though she has been up since 5:45.

Badly straighten hair as had to do this whilst toddler asks for stickers etc.

Spotify, it’s her time to listen to 90s classics and remember the good old days. Continue reading

Thomas day out


A couple of weeks ago we went to a Thomas day out day at Spa Valley Railway, it was great we boarded a steam train and went for a little trip along the tracks. The trains are dressed up as the characters in the books with convincing faces on the front of them. The fat controller was there chatting to all the kids, mainly scaring them, and when you think about it he is not the nicest man in the books. Continue reading

Handy tips not so handy tips

Some thing’s work, some thing’s don’t, here’s my list

Things that work

– Freezing Yeo valley tubes yogurts, we are currently passing these off as ice cream.
– Freezing nearly going off fruit for smoothies –  I may make a smoothie one day …..
– Clean yogurt pots for paint pots – I find these great if you just want to use one colour of paint.
– Toucan boxes ( are a great idea, they post you a craft kit every couple of weeks. It’s aimed for children 3+, we did give it a try but I think I will wait until he is a bit older. The kit had everything in it and was good fun doing it. We made a parrot and a treasure map, it even included a tea bag to stain the treasure map.

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Its only water, right?


Why do toddlers love water soooo much? Adults don’t love it they use it only for drinking, washing, swimming etc. and don’t feel the urge to see what it looks like on the floor or carpet or pouring it from one item to another. For a toddler water can be used in any situation.
– Drinking
– Pouring from one thing to another, making sure they spill a little each time and when it runs out DEMAND more.
– For ‘washing up’, when he was young I stupidly encouraged helping, but this was a mistake, for him it involves putting most of  the clean things back into the water and pouring water from one thing to another. It did get to the point where I had to do the washing up on the sly, once he heard me and ran into the kitchen and gave me the look of ‘how dare you THINK of washing up without me’ he was quite stroppy! Then he marched off to get his stool, shouting ‘stool, stool’ then he joined me by pouring water everywhere, one good thing is the kitchen cupboards got a clean, every cloud…….

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Good days, bad days

I’ve recently noticed a massive leap in communication with my toddler, it’s just like hanging out with a mini adult that has no cares in the world and no concept of manners but you can’t help to secretly smile inside when things happen.

Amusing things that have happened this week so far ……………..

When he announced he was having a poo in the butchers, I smiled sweetly at him hoping no one else could work out what he had just said.  Continue reading