Quiet, Please

In a house with a one year old finding her voice and a three year old finding, well, EVERYTHING, things get a tad noisy. Emily will shout, just because she can. Daniel will shout, to share something amazing he’s discovered. Emily will out-shout him, just because she can. Daniel will out-shout her, because he’s in charge. The television is usually going (yes, yes, I know. Don’t judge me). We have toys that sing, whistle, laugh (that one’s quite creepy actually), count, roar. There’s a dishwasher. A washing machine. VERY occasionally I hoover.

Continue reading “Quiet, Please”

Sudocrem Competition!

I’ve been sent the details of this competition, which I think looks loads of fun! I love Sudocrem, it’s a constant feature in our house especially as Emily is prone to outbreaks of sore skin and it really seems to soothe it. Apparently they’ve been going 80 years. Blimey.

Have a read and then go and enter (that’s an order!).


Win yourself a £400 family activities voucher

To celebrate the launch of Sudocrem’s shiny new website www.sudocrem.co.uk and informative social media channels, we’re offering a 12 month Merlin Family Pass worth almost £400 to the winning mum or dad who shares with us their child’s (under 3) funniest photograph with the story behind it. Please note submissions must not relate in any way to the use of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream.


It’s simple – just visit www.facebook.com/sudocrem, ‘like’ the page and share your child’s funniest photograph with the story behind it.


Content should relate to children aged 3 and under only. Please note, submissions must not relate or refer in any way to the use of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream or any other licensed medicine. Photographs and supporting text are both acceptable. The acceptance, disqualification or deletion of competition entries, without explanation or prior notification is entirely at the discretion of Forest Labs, as set out in the Terms and Conditions found on www.facebook.com/sudocrem Entries can be submitted up until midnight on Wednesday 16th March 2011.

Our winner will be selected by Forest Labs staff and our wonderful celebrity midwife Nikki Kahn. The winner will be announced via www.facebook.com/sudocrem on Monday 21st March 2011. Shortly thereafter the winner will be sent a 12 month Merlin Family Pass worth almost £400 (Family of 4 = 2 adults + 2 children OR 1 adult + 3 children) children must be under the age of 12 and full Merlin Terms and Conditions apply. The pass allows entry (with some restrictions) into top UK attractions including Alton Towers Resort Theme Park, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures, LEGOLAND® Windsor, The EDF Energy London Eye, The Dungeons, Warwick Castle, SEA LIFE Centres & Sanctuaries, Madame Tussauds London, Madame Tussauds Blackpool (from April), the Blackpool Tower Dungeon (from Sept) and the Blackpool Tower attractions (from Sept).Terms and Conditions relating to the use of the Merlin family pass are dictated by Merlin Entertainments Group only and can be found here: http://www.merlinannualpass.co.uk/what_you_get/terms_conditions.asp

Read the competition Terms and Conditions here: www.facebook.com/sudocrem


If you didn’t already know, Sudocrem’s – Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream is one of the leading baby nappy rash treatments and has recently undertaken a full adoption of social media including Twitter www.twitter.com/sudocrem, Facebook www.facebook.com/sudocrem and a blog www.sudocrem.co.uk/blog, run exclusively by some very experienced mummy bloggers. All the social media channels will be communities breaking new ground and getting to the heart of all matters that are important to parents today.


Elastic Time

It’s recently been hammered home to me how elastic time can be. I’ve suspected it for a while – ever since my husband was supposed to pick me up from work 5 miles from home at 6pm and didn’t leave home until 6pm (this was about 6 years ago and he’s never going to hear the end of it). Man-time is definitely on a different scale to normal time.

But today Toddler Time really hit me. I know children have no idea of time, I knew this before having them. It’s the excuse they give for waking at all hours of the day or night (although personally I’m sure they’ve been to Parent Torture School to get it down to a fine art). The thing I wasn’t prepared for was how elastic their perception of time is.

Example: 3 year old: “I need a wee, I really need a wee. NOW!” We rush off to the toilet, abandoning work in progress, baby, pots of something vaguely home-cooked boiling over on the stove. I help child pull down trousers and pants, expecting him to leap onto the toilet and heave a sigh of relief, as he has obviously been desperate. Instead he becomes fascinated with some pattern on the floor or the way the toilet paper roll spins on the holder. Me: “Daniel? Do you not need a wee any more?” Daniel: “Oh yes I do.” And he carries on gazing around the bathroom searching for the answer to life, the universe and everything. Eventually he gets on the toilet. About 5 minutes after he desperately needed a wee, NOW.

And I won’t even mention getting out of the house for nursery. Now he’s in school nursery, not pre-school, and there’s a proper start time (although his teachers, bless ’em, are so kindly relaxed about it) and it’s almost an Olympic challenge to get both children fed, dressed and a cup of tea down my throat and into the car on time. At this point the Elastic of Time gives up the ghost completely and we move into Slow Treacle mode. Watching him is like watching one of those scenes in panto where the strobe light is on and the actors are playing to it, with exaggerated slowness.

So we’ve established that with small children, as with their fathers, time moves at at least half the speed of the real world. Except that that’s not the end of it. In some ways that would be quite nice. We’d have that cuddly stage for twice as long, he’d be cute and snuggly for longer. Clothes would last for months instead of minutes. But here, time snaps back together with a vengeance and before you’ve blinked, they’re growing out of their clothes, shoes, car seats. They’re not just speaking, they’re stringing together sentences and practically re-writing War & Peace. I keep calling Daniel a toddler, then correcting myself because he’s not anymore. I have to fill out his school application next month. Where’s that time gone? Why couldn’t that move at Toddler Time too? I hear lots of advice to make the most of this time, but it’s impossible because it snaps back and forth too randomly for me to grasp.

Never mind 42, if someone could figure out the secret of Elastic Time they’d have cracked the answer to life, the universe and everything.

I’m In Love…

…with Build A Bear!

I was recently put in touch with Estelle from Publicasity, who wanted some Mummy bloggers to have a trip to Build A Bear and blog about their experience, and it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to take Daniel for ages so I leaped at the chance. And I have to say, I absolutely love this shop and cannot recommend them highly enough. With or without children.

We went to the Metrocentre store, which I am reliably informed is one of the biggest in the UK. I can believe it – there is loads of room to manoeuvre a pram, despite there being plenty of customers, and still have loads of products to look at – in fact, I had no idea you could get this much gear for a teddy bear! Anyway, the store is lovely and welcoming, and big enough so that a small child doesn’t feel hemmed in.

Now, I need to remind you that Daniel is just over 3, and has more mood swings than I did when I was pregnant. All the way there he was excited, talking about the big orange bear he was going to make. The minute we stepped foot inside Build A Bear, he clammed up and clung to me or Grandma, refusing to look at the bears or any of the display models. We built Emily’s bear, we coaxed him towards the machines, the clothes, the brushes, but he simply refused to take part. All through this the staff were unfailingly patient. Kate, who was looking after us, never faltered in her enthusiasm or her extremely kind manner with him, but eventually we admitted defeat. We decided to go and have a drink and a sticky bun, then come back, and as soon as we left the shop, the weather vane spun again and Daniel suddenly couldn’t live without a bear. Grr. So we trooped back in, and the wonderful Kate took a very quiet but happy Daniel through all the steps of building his bear.

If you’ve never done this, you have to. I insist. Now. Go. After choosing your bear, and there are too many gorgeous ones to choose (I was particularly drawn to the monkey and the terrier, but both children got traditional teddy bears) you take it to the stuffing machine. These are pretty big and noisy, but Daniel wasn’t in the least bothered, and I think this is mostly because the child controls the machine using a pedal. This kind of detail shows how much the designers have taken children’s needs into consideration, and it was very much appreciated yesterday. By the way, a note about the actual bears. Some, for example the Champ that Daniel chose, are quite long-haired, but the Velvety one we got for Emily is specially designed for babies or children with asthma or other allergies. It has short hair that doesn’t moult and is very baby safe. Just in case you were wondering. And the construction of all the bears is really clever, so that when it is stuffed you cannot see which bits were ready-stitched and which were just finished off in the shop. There are no loose threads, for example. Anyway…

I’m not going to go through every step of the process, but Daniel loved it. He chose the sound to go in- we decided to go for a pre-recorded sound rather than doing it himself. Watch out for the giggle, that’s a little creepy, as is the optional ‘beating heart’. The other sounds are great though. All the way through Daniel felt really engaged, and he was obviously in charge of his bear, brushing its fur and choosing its clothes. Oh, the clothes! Beautifully made, a HUGE range of styles and colours, and even some novelty costumes (including a Darth Vader outfit – seriously). Shoes; accessories for every occasion – no excuse for a well-dressed bear to ever be without the perfect outfit. Daniel ended up with a groovy guitar dude, complete with hoodie, jeans and shades. Once he was dressed, we went to the computer station to complete the bear’s birth certificate. Yes, birth certificate. Although Daniel insists it’s a treasure map. Armed with birth certificate, which is really nice because you can personalise who stuffed the bear, for example Emily’s says “Stuffed with hugs by Mummy”, the bear is popped into its house (a sturdy carrying box) and away you go.
The thing with Build a Bear is that although the initial outlay is a little high – although well worth it, for the quality of the teddy – the clothes and accessories cover pretty much any budget. You can get, for example, a full outfit for around £10-ish or something small like a guitar for £2.50, which means it’s a good bet for pocket money or birthday money. Also, these bears will last for YEARS, and there will always be some outfit or accessory you haven’t got, so it’s a brilliant idea for grandparents or relatives who may be struggling for present ideas. You can even get a wardrobe to keep it all in!

The problem is, I can see it becoming addictive. I went straight home and looked on the website for more outfits and shoes.

I’m just glad I have my children. Now I have an excuse to keep going back!

Note: I have some lovely pictures which I took on my visit but for some reason WordPress is not playing nicely so until I can figure out how to get these pictures up you’ll have to imagine two very cute bears and two even cuter children. Many thanks.

A Birthday Tribute to Georgette Heyer

Well, I found out today (through reading this excellent post at Austenprose) that yesterday was Georgette Heyer’s birthday.

Georgette Heyer is probably my all-time favourite author, all things considered. She is the person whose books I can pick up at any time and enjoy, no matter how many times I’ve read them, the person whose books I would take to a desert island (probably Devil’s Cub, Venetia and Frederica, in case you’re interested), and the author I read most during my adolescence, and therefore had the greatest influence on me as both a reader and a writer. She is also the writer I would most like to emulate. Yes, even more than, say, Jane Austen. I can’t emulate her, any more than I can cook like Jamie Oliver, but boy would I love to.

Wouldn’t it be great if they adapted her books for tv? Not film, they’d have to cut out too much. But a nice, juicy adaptation of about four one hour episodes, with a lovely cast of BBC costume drama regulars (I’m thinking Richard Armitage as Sylvester or Lord Damerel for example) would see me in heaven, metaphorically speaking.

Why do I love her so much? Her language is spot on – witty (in fact downright laugh-out-loud at times), resonant, true to character. Her descriptions sing of the time and place without her ramming her research down your throat. Her plots are many and varied whilst retaining a common theme of love and marriage. Her characters spring to life on the page.

Anyway, that was my brief tribute to an inspiring author. Hopefully it will have whetted your appetite a little to try one of her books – although if you haven’t up until now, WHY ON EARTH NOT?

In other news, if you missed my little poem for Emily yesterday, here’s the link, and here’s one I tweeted for Daniel today. Again, based on life events…

Daniel Brown was feeling arty

So he thought he’d be a smarty

He took his crayons and with great flair

Drew rainbow castles everywhere…

Then proud as punch he shouted “Mummy!

Mummy, quick, come and see!”

Mum nearly fainted when she saw

He’d drawn his rainbows on the floor!

He didn’t know why mummy frowned

At the creative talent of Daniel Brown.

And a couple of questions to finish: What do you think of Heyer? And how, HOW is it possible to love a little boy so much yet spend an afternoon not-so-silently seething at him? 😉 Would love some opinions!