Nuggets of Wisdom: parenting advice that actually helped.

Happy parents. Happy baby.

Annoyingly chipper but generally good to think of yourself as part of the unit and not just a tag on to the baby. Make decisions that are a good fit for the unit.

An activity a day

Have one thing planned for each day- no more, no less. You need human contact and fresh air every day to survive parenting. Like exercise or washing, it’s a chore before but well worth it in the end.

Write it down

Because you won’t remember it otherwise.

No one’s Looking

No one is looking at you breast feed or at the puke stain on your top or at the state of your car. No one gives a toss. Also, it’s true that if your baby is crying, other parents can’t hear it. Or they’re just glad it’s not theirs crying.

People Like to be Asked

And they can only say no. So ask for help, advice, support, a drink after play group- whatever you need.

If they’re busy and happy, leave them be

Learnt this one from teaching: if the kids are concentrating and productive, keep schtum. Same with offspring: let them get on with it.

Deal with things when you’ve got the energy

Weaning off bottles. Sleep training. Potty training. There’s no hurry so just do it when you feel resilient enough.

Do Buttons Up From the Bottom

Useful when you’re tired and it’s dark and you’ve got to go to One Stop for milk.

Worst Advice

This Too Shall Pass – yeah, it will. And it’ll become something else exhausting instead.

You Never Stop Worrying – great!

Trusts Your Instincts- when you’re tired and stressed and lonely, your instincts tell you you’re awful. Just phone 111 if it’s a health thing or a friend or parent if it’s an emotional or practical thing.

Sleep when the baby sleeps- everyone knows this is BS, right?

This post is sponsored by the wisdom of all the wonderful people in my life who have replied to my night feed texts or answered my panicked phone calls or kindly listened to my worries during play dates. I owe you everything.

July Favourites

This jumpsuit which has pockets and feels fabulously comfy in a ‘I’m in my pjs’ way (until you have to pee).

This is not a picture of me

Done a lot of telly and the best of it has been Working Moms Series 2. Loving the new series of Queer Eye but sad that Jane the Virgin is ending. Oh, telly- I love thee.

This delicious recipe for an easy salad. I did the bacon and sweetcorn on the barbecue because I’m all about the BBQ meat at the mo. Turns out our two little fuss pot eaters just want to mainline charcoal meats too.

All quiet on the podcast front at the mo: still loving Shagged Married Annoyed. For high brow moments, I love More or Less because I think, deep down, I’m a statistics fan. This book is also a heartening (statistics) read if I’ve not mentioned it before.

Books-wise, I’ve enjoyed a few reads. I loved The Corset and I’ve been reading Daphne du Maurier’s short stories: The Birds was properly creepy.

Lidl Product of the Month

Raspberry sorbet. Bloody lovely.

Museum Mania: a Norfolk summer sorted.

It’s a week in to the summer holidays.

Odds on, you’ve already:

✔️ Been to the beach

✔️Schlepped to the library

✔️’Baked’ (they licked the bowl whilst you did the rest)

✔️ Taken up residence in the paddling pool

✔️Spent a squillion pounds on activities that lasted eight minutes

Well, put down the debit card and hold off the squished banana packed lunches: I’ve got the solution for you.

The Norfolk Museums Family Pass.

For £100 you can buy a family pass that lets you in to ten museums across Norfolk for a whole year.

Absolute stinking bargain.

That includes Norwich Castle which is the bee’s knees. There’s masses to do and touch and play with and muck around in. Always a hit are the stuffed animals which, as a grown up, I think are a bit grisly but my macabre children LOVE. Until September there is a Viking exhibition on too. Most schools seem to study Vikings in year three or four so you can feel all smug going and can tick off Summer Hols Homework.

Part-Viking and Proud

Also included as one of the Museums is Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth. It’s free to park (petty but important) and you can go for a cone of chips on the beach afterwards and at the moment there’s an exhibition on Medieval Medicine which, again, held a gruesome fascination for my children. There are boats to clamber on, herrings to fish for and boat paintings to lust over. We love it.

My little puds at T&T

And then there’s Gressenhall: our family favourite. We are always last out when it shuts for Winter and first back in for Spring. We love it. It’s got a brilliant adventure play ground, a working farm with tractor rides and animals, it’s got a fascinating work house museum and the staff are lovely. It’s a full day out and even though we go every month, we still absolutely love it.

Cuddles at Gressenhall

Each museum has a great cafe and the kids’ meal deal box is a sub-fiver bargain and the quiche is delish and the sausage rolls are the best county-wide.

So these three and seven other museums? What are you waiting for?! Head to the Norfolk Museums website and start planning your visits.

See you there!

I attended a Press Day at Norwich Castle but I am a paid up Museum Pass holder and have been for years.

A Fond Farewell to Playgroups

I’m dealing with my youngest going to school soon really well.

Totally fine.

I mean, I thought I had tonsillitis but it turns out to be a permanent lump in my throat from suppressed tears.

And there was that one incident where I went bat shit crazy for three weeks and made all sorts of terrible decisions and ended up with the husband patting me on the back and gently asking if it was ‘anything to do with Alex starting school soon?’

But other than that I’m totally chipper!

Today was a Thursday like any other so we bowled off to playgroup and then I realised…it was our last.ever.playgroup.

I held it together when one of the lovely volunteers poured me a cup of tea and offered me a Pink Wafer.

I held it together when we played kitchens and Alex ‘Masterchef’ SecondBorn made me a delicious sandwich.

I snivelled a bit when Alex and a crew of kids played outside together whilst I nattered to my Thursday PlayGroup Friends – some of whom are now in my phone and in my heart forever and some of whom I know I will never see again and I will forever wonder if Natalie will set a PB on the 10k she’s been training for or if Amy will find a job in Science that suits childcare hours or if little Jack’s warts will ever clear up.

I will never know.

A whole other generation of parents will be crafting and creating and fancy dressing and picking play-doh out of their shoes whilst I’m school-running and washing PE kits.

I finally lost my resolve when Alex was called up for a special goodbye song. He came back to his seat, proud as punch, and sat primly with his hands folded on his lap and sang along to nursery rhymes.

With watery eyes, I gazed at the back of his neck and saw in that moment how happy he will be at school.

And the tears whooshed because am so happy for him but so sad for me.

I am going to miss my playgroup pal, shopping trolley driver, cafe and cake comrade, mooch about house other half and little nattering kind soul. He’s a real cracker.

June Favourites

I’m glad it’s rained all month because it justifies the mammoth number of Parks and Recs episodes I have been watching on Prime- back to back for hours on end.

Knope ❤️

In between binging P&R, I’ve read Stephen King’s book, Sleeping Beauties. It was brilliant. The premise is all women turn in to cocoons when they fall asleep. It’s about the women trying to stay awake and save each other and how the men respond. It’s dark and clever and brilliant and…long but it’s a King so… Here it is for £3 including delivery.

Yep ❤️

And for anyone who likes culottes (who doesn’t- you can cycle in them, avoid thigh chafe and turn a cartwheel without flashing your pants), then I’ve bought these and they are summery and have pockets. Can’t seem to find them online but they’re £12.99 from H&M

Look! It’s got pockets!

Years ago, my sister bought me a Nars stick which I still love and haven’t yet had to replace! I love wearing it in summer because I like to think it makes me look sunkissed but perhaps just school-run sweaty in reality? Judge for yourself.

Is there a way to not look a twit while selfie-ing?

I’ve also just bought this book after hearing about it on Guilty Feminist podcast. I am going to learn all there is to know about this topic then regale you with fanny facts.

From the introduction

That’s it really. Other than moping about the cold and eating Boursin on Lidl pretzels I’ve not been up to much else. Hope you’ve all had an excellent June.

A Love Story

The school hall is booming with music and murky yellow lights swirl around.

Under the lights, your Bambi legs twist and stumble. You fall over and they bend at angles. An older boy helps you up and the roller skates scrabble to take hold.

With dignity, you adjust your cowboy hat and fall again.

On the floor, legs bent about, kids whizzing past, you roll your eyes and tut.

You scramble up and in halting awkward moves make your way across the rink.

Push push fall fall up down sigh huff.

You don’t give up. The rink quietens. You catch the eye of other children and smile.

And even though I’ve never been brave. Even though when I was your age I sat out of a roller disco birthday because I was afraid I’d fall. Even though I’d sat at the sidelines and watched all the children I was desperate to be friends with twist and spin and laugh. Even though I just knew I couldn’t be like them.

Even though.

I strap on a pair of roller skates. Inch my way to the rink. Hold tightly to the edge. And feel the breeze as you swoosh past me.

In Place of Insta

Since deleting the app, I’ve filled my time in the following ways:

-gardening.

That’s it.

I’m obsessed with a nest of birds in our rose bush and cried actual tears when a hatchling died.

Studied this longer than I studied parenting manuals.

I’ve grown sweetcorn from seeds and nurture them with Prince Charles levels of nursery rhymes and affection. Just planted them outside and it was like watching your child go off to school.

Good luck, my sweet!

I’ve become OBSESSED with a mouse hole that’s popped up in my strawberry patch. I mercilessly set out bait then wept when I found a baby mouse dragging its back feet and shitting blood. Got dad to smack it with a spade and euthanise it.

I’m now googling what’s eating my strawberries: the mice are dead- now I’m out for the slugs.

And don’t get me started on my tumultuous relationship with the tomatoes. #needy

They even grow in a co-dependent way