Seven Stages of Lunching on Holiday: avec des enfants

Stage One

Immediate and furious hunger results in urgent TripAdvisoring

Stage Two

The hunt. You imagine a cosy local with fresh fish and dappled light. You can only find laminated menus and pizzas.

‘There must be somewhere near here…?’

Stage Three

Find somewhere that smells good and is busy but you have to queue and spend ten minutes shhing the children and tripping up laden waiters.

Stage Four

Ordering in pidgin Spanish/French/Portuguese. Lots of pointing and asking for ‘but without mushrooms’.

‘Well shall we just order them two bowls of fries then?’

Stage Five

Relief as cold red wine and Fantas arrive and spirits and blood sugars lift.

Stage Six

Food arrives and grown ups mainline grilled fish whilst picking mushrooms off the kids’ pizzas.

Stage Six

Contentment as kids play amongst greasy food marks and grown ups order another carafe.

My ‘Why’s my wine glass empty?’ Face

Stage Seven

Warm cheeked and woozy, everyone bundles out of the restaurant and in to the humming city to look for ice creams.

‘We’re going on an ice cream hunt, we’re gonna eat a big one’

My Manifesto: austerity alternative

One of my many gifts- amongst my writing, teaching, conservation work, philanthropic deeds etc- is politics. I am blessed with a mind for numbers and diplomacy. Having had some time between book tours and TED talks, I have put my mind to fixing the economy.

And I’ve triumphed.

Below is my plan for pulling the pound up by its pants and giving our proud nation the economic input it needs.

Making Parents Pay

Any expectant parent who uses the phrase ‘babymoon’ must pay an immediate £25 fine.

Party bags should be for adults only and include a reimbursement for parking and time lost.

All unsolicited parenting advice will be met with an on the spot £20 fine.

Every time someone uses a euphemisms for female genitalia they should have to put a pound in the kitty jar (not a euphemism)

‘Gin O’clock’, ‘five past wine’ or ‘pass me the vino!’ result in a fixed penalty notice.

Gender reveal parties, occasions, cakes or dramatic announcements of any form will be met with a £190 surcharge.

Each of the following hashtags come with a hefty tax: #blessed #famalam #mumlife #momlife #myworld

Anyone found trolling on Mumsnet will be shot at dawn. Spectators can buy tickets.

I look forward to your vote!

Bootique Haul!

I’m so excited to share this with you guys! Photo credit: selfie timer, mid-blink.

Hair by swimming pool.

Right next to my house in this fancy French shop, Citroen Picasso and I’ve been dying to roll up my sleeves and have a dig around!

Posing in doorways

I found some real treasures and I model them over on my Insta so go check out my feed, guys!

It was well stocked with things for kids and grown ups and a great choice of food and snacks but I made sure I didn’t overdose on lost Smarties or those clothes I’ve been meaning to take to the charity shop will never fit!

Here’s what I got, guys!

Three Pokemon cards (v collectible)

Three coats (last season’s)

Seven nappies (size up)

Eight toy cars (a mystery- my children only play with wooden toys)

£16’s worth of kids’ magazines- unread

Three unemptied lunch boxes (#vegan)

A Dyson’s worth of crumbled snacks

Five CDs of ’90s music minus cases (so retro!)

A litre of Pisco from Peru (#gifted)

Eight squillion reusable shopping bags (#eco)

Two woollen jumpers (#allergic)

Countless pieces of chewing gum (coffee breath 🤭!)

€10 (so well travelled!)

Three Tuppaware lids (v pleased)

Three armbands (hard to explain)

Two unread novels (#cultured)

Quite the haul!

Shit from my boot

Had loads of questions about these shoes- they’re by the French brand Croc Monsieur #ad

See you, September

With your tired faced children and cold hard shock that this is life now summer has set and the beach towels are packed away.

See you next year, when we will buy pencil cases and make resolutions and swear off beer and fail by the first Friday.

Thank you for the last days of sunshine and the moon still up at morning and the not quite cold enough for tights on chilly bare legs.

You arrived with picnics and left with fireside fish and chips. You lasted forever and passed in a flash – leaving a trail of coughs and sneezes in your wake.

And we take our crumpled tissues and faint tan lines and framed photos of summer and dust off our coats and button them up over woolly jumpers and set off for the school run with our hands deep in our pockets and our minds on bonfires and crispy apples.