Monday, 26 February 2018

In training.

Sorry I’ve been quiet of late. I am, very unusually off sick today. I have no voice. Well, some but in the same register as Barry & Willard White, so not great for doing kids voices. So, here I am typing away, dosed up with my bed socks on. It’s been a wee bit busy recently. Work’s picked up for me (Whoop!), husband has directed and produced a school show in a West End theatre and we’ve had a crack at potty training.
 We’ve tried potty training before but I had put it off because of the constipation factor. Poor kiddo. It’s a real “pain in the arse” for her. However, there was light at the end of her tunnel or so I thought. We’d had 10 poos in 10 days. (Can’t quite believe I’m writing this. I used to go out, party, throw asymmetric shapes on a sticky dance floor, in overly high heeled shoes. Oh, how things have changed. I think this is payback for being irritatingly drunk on the last train home.) 10 poos in 10 days. Bring it on! I was so proud of my girl. So, let’s have a crack with the potty. I’ve got 40 pairs of Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Unicorn knickers and I’m not afraid to use ‘em! Well, wash them. But , hey lets throw caution to the wind and have a day in pants.

 We started at 08:00 hours. By 08:10 hours the first pair of trousers and knickers were piss-wet through. I was very positive. Florence got a sticker and a big hug. Trouser and knicker combo no.2. 30 minutes later they had to be changed. Well, there’s nowt wrong with my girl’s bladder or kidneys so let’s change again. In fact, let’s get all the trousers and all the knickers at the ready and perhaps another packet of wipes. Within an hour, another soggy gusset so change 3 ensues. By change 4 I’m not really thinking about teaming up colours to match outfit, to tie in with today’s “look”. It’s any old trousers now as we’re certainly not leaving the house today. She did manage a poo though. On the potty. More by accident than y bdesign but that deserved a Paddington bear sticker. I mean, the trousers got a hit, as did the knicks but it was mostly in the bowl! I hadn’t really thought through the actual cleaning of the potty. It’s really quite foul isn’t it? I’ve wiped someone else’s backside for nearly 3 years and I would say I have a pretty strong stomach now but removing solid from a receptacle is horrid. If only she would use the Peppa Pig toilet seat over the loo, then I would only have to flush it!
 One day, seven trousers, seven knickers. One poo “in the bag”. No wees caught. The next day she had a really good day with her childminder and did a wee in the potty and only had one accident. Next day a couple of accidents but then the poo stopped. Le fin.
 And henceforth, the week from hell began. Up every hour, every night for seven days. Half a box of Movicol laxative, one miserable toddler and two shattered parents. No poo for seven days. My poor girl just shut up shop. When it did finally happen though…epic. Wow! 5 in 24 hours. A complete system re-boot.

So, potty training is on hold. It can go hang for now. We’re back in trusty pull-ups and we’ll have another a go in a few weeks. Florence is thrilled. I too am thrilled as I have embarked on training of my own. I’m a student again. I have just started a course on Social Media Management, with the fabulous Digital Mums. I am nervous. How the heck am I going to fit this in with work and a constipated, crap sleeper but the time has come for a change and a challenge. I need to future-proof myself now and this will fit in nicely with my voice over work. It’s brilliantly set up and you learn by doing. I will have to set up a live campaign and run it as part of my training. I have to decide this week so I will keep you posted. Being a student again is really daunting and my brain is slowly getting into the swing of things but I am ready for it. Hopefully, at some point this year Florence will be in a pair of dry, Paw Patrol knickers and fully potty trained and I will be a brand new, shiny Social Media Manager and voice over artist and will have the money to buy frilly knickers and pay to have a new kitchen with a dish washer that doesn’t move away from the wall when the door is opened. It’s a time for learning new skills and me and Florence are raring to go.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018


Winter Bugs. They’re here, they’ve landed and they’re out to get you. We’ve had temperatures, runny noses, runny tummy’s, unexplained rashes and a lot of unexplained night waking. Where do they come from? How the heck do they pick them up? Until I became pregnant, I had barely stepped into a doctor’s surgery. I stayed away. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had antibiotics and I couldn’t have told you who my GP was as I had never met them. But now? Well, we’re old friends. I’m one of those mothers that goes in to “just check”. I know you’ve probably got a throat infection kiddo or tonsillitis but I just want the doctor to put my mind at rest so that I’ve not missed anything.

 Even though Florence is very well versed in telling me her ailments and asking for Calpol (the pink one. She’s sadly cottoned on to the fact that Nurofen is white and doesn’t taste as nice), I still sometimes don’t know if she’s actually ill. I was never given Calpol as a child. My mother was a nurse which meant I was sent to school feeling like death warmed up and was given Actifed if I had a cold and I think Actifed has now been banned. I got her back once by vomiting over her in the bath having been to school with a tummy ache. I got her good and proper. Peas and Mince en masse in water is a bugger to clean up.

Now, Florence is prone to ear infections which are about as fun as a fork in the eye. This involves a temperature and my poor girl screaming in pain in the middle of the night and refusing all medicine. Before I became a mother, I had no idea about the ‘bug thing’. People said to me in passing, “They pick up all sorts”, but I didn’t believe them. Until the nipper came along. Florence has contracted things that I thought only existed in an episode of ‘Call the Midwife’. What the hell is Slapped Cheek? Well, we’ve had it and I can tell you verily, that you don’t want it. If you hear that a friend’s child has it, stay away especially if you are in the early stages of pregnancy. They get a rash all over their bodies which doesn’t disappear for nearly three weeks and they feel rough with it.
 Chicken Pox- we can tick this off the list. Mildly thank God but for three weeks prior to the spots didn’t realise she had it so we were dragging her around National Trust properties in summer heat. We were none the wiser, just thought she was out of sorts until the blistering spots appeared on her arm and torso. “Oh!” I declared, “That’s why you’ve been wanting me to carry you everywhere, you’ve been lethargic and completely off your food.” I felt like Mother of the year not spotting the pox.
 So, that’s why I do get things checked out, just in case I was to miss something really sinister.

Well, this month’s bug is a corker. A cold that makes you feel like you’ve got flu but not so ill that you can’t miss work. Myself and Florence have both had the flu vaccine. Now, this is a live vaccine. No sooner had she had it, she sneezed all over my face. The nurse suggested that I should now get the jab (for £12) as I now had live flu cultures splattered all over my viasge. Great. I hate injections. I am an absolute weed when it comes to needles. I suddenly went all hot and clammy and tried to wriggle out of it. The lovely nurse talked me down and I was a brave soldier. I’m ok with the actual physical act of having an injection. It’s the hour afterwards that goes wrong. No sooner had we walked out of the consultation room I felt the blood drain from my head and I nearly went. Florence didn’t know what was going on. The last time I had to put my head between my legs was my first hangover after having her. It took an hour to do a 15 minute walk to the shops and get home. I had to keep stopping and crouching down. I looked like a character from Shameless; white as a sheet with a toddler putting her arm around me asking, “Mummy, are you ok?” as I crumpled on the pavement. It was a strong look.

 So, when this latest bug came along, I was thrilled. A cold that makes you feel like you’ve got flu, but you haven’t, with a heady mix of temperature, shivers, sore throat, topped off with sinusitis. Oh, and you still have to do childcare and drag your sorry arse to work. This one knocked me for six. Florence had it and felt really ropey with it too. I am at the end of it just as Florence is getting another snuffle. I wait pensively, ready with the Olbas oil, to see if it amounts to anything. So far, we’re clear. Phew! Next winter, I’m keeping her in a Bio Sphere. I’m not risking anything. Hell no! I might get in there as well and hibernate until Spring. My advice to you is:

Don’t leave the house
Don’t touch anything or anyone
Don’t got to Soft play or the swimming pool
Don’t go to the Library.

I’m sure we got at least one bug from a book about Tigers. Basically, stay in your home until the weather changes. And don’t breathe. Them bugs is out to get you!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Getting out of the house.

It’s a brand new day. The sun is shining and there is a beautiful layer of frost covering the plants in the garden. The leaves seem to sparkle and shimmer. You stand looking out at the sunlight breaking through the trees, creating yellow shafts lighting up the decking. You suddenly hear a little voice. “Mummy, it’s morning. There’s the sunshine!” You walk into the darkened room of a little girl who has only woken up once in the night because apparently there was a ‘Hunt Bear’ in the bed. The little girl in blue pyjamas points at the Groclock and there is the face of a smiling sun. Yes, it is morning. You are welcomed by a big hug and a kiss. You are told about the nightmare and how Mummy came in and scared the bear. You know this already as you have had to get up at 1:30, having only been asleep for less than an hour and a half, summoned to scare the bear from Bear Hunt away. Scaring complete, you then had to go for a wee, caught your toe on the stone step into the bathroom and had to check BBC news and Instagram just to try and get back to sleep.

 Then the morning routine starts. This involves a lot of bargaining. “Lets get dressed. You can wear your favourite cardigan. Go on, hold that inanimate object so that I can change your nappy without being kicked in the head”. Much fannying around is happening so I take the opportunity to get in the shower. I accidentally start washing my hair. This means when I get out of the shower we are already running late. Right, lets get this toddler dressed. But no, she’s playing with a soap and putting Upsy Daisy in a shopping basket. She can’t possibly get dressed now! There are things to be done. I resort to the smash and grab manoeuvre. Grab the toddler, deal with consequences. Smash! The volume goes up and the legs start to flail. Trying to dress a moving, screaming target is no mean feat. I get hit, hair grabbed and hit in the face when she does the toddler back bend. I’ve got a sock on. Yes! Let’s get two on and we’ve achieved something. Top tip! My daughter doesn’t like jumpers. Once the top is on she has such an aversion to an extra layer so I have resorted to secreting the top already inside the offending jumper. This cuts out one round of toddler kicking. But, and I don’t know how I could have forgotten, you’ve still got to try and brush the hair.

Hair brushing to a toddler is akin to being chased by a masked man with a rotating saw. If you ever want to get a toddler out of a room, just wield a ruddy hairbrush. They run a mile. I have resorted to using her baby brush, which basically causes horrendous static and is about as effective as a chocolate fire guard. But hey, desperate times and all that. Hair is badly brushed, clip is in. Yes! But wait. Teeth. You haven’t brushed the teeth. Sod it, it’s 7:42, your childminder will have to take one for the team. You have a bigger battle. The coat and the shoes. They have been set by the door for quick access and a quick exit. Florence has other ideas. She crumples to the floor and puts her feet at an angle where by if you did try and force a shoe on, damage would be done. The grab and shove on lap technique is the only way, trying to contort your body long enough to reach the zip on the furry rabbit boots. Right they’re on. Now my nemesis. The coat. My mum in law bought Florence a really lovely winter coat and 9 out of 10 times she wears it except the time when we’re running late. They just know. I have chased her around the flat trying to get it on. “It’s really cold outside.” “No, don’t want it.” “You’ll get really poorly.” “No”. “Look, if we’re late you won’t be able to hold the kitten. “ “Baby Kitten!!!”. Arms out. Coat on. I thank the Gods above for the day that my childminder got a kitten and a kitten that adores Florence. It’s the best bargaining tool in the world. Child out, door closed and locked, numerous bags and stuff in hands.

Hey! High Five! We’re out of the house. I feel triumphant, I feel that with my powers of negotiation I could work for the UN or convince Donald Trump, that, Yes. the environment really is important and that maybe he should stand down. Just a thought? Yes, I still have to back the car out into angry people trying to get to work who don’t want to let me out of my driveway. Yes, I have to find a parking space near our childminder or not find one and park a. badly and b. illegally but we’re out of the house. We’ve all made it. I can now whizz home, drop the car off, grab my stuff and head to the station early enough to get a coffee for the train ride to work. Nice. Just got the fun of getting Florence in the car seat and to stop her climbing into the driving seat when I pick her up. But that’s not until the end of the day. When everyone’s really tired. Yeah, let’s look forward to that.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

What a difference a day makes.

I’ve deleted my previous post. I've ended up worrying a few people on the way which wasnt my intention. It was a train of thought pouring out. I wrote it in a literally dark place ie. my bed at 1am. It was honest to how I was feeling at 1am having been woken up to replace a duvet at 12am and also having had two glasses of Rioja that I shouldn’t have had. It was also honest to how I have been feeling on occasion for some weeks as I’ve had too much time to think and a certain persons sleep had gone by the wayside. Thinking can be corrosive. Thinking can make you low and drive you mad. But it’s one of those posts that I never should have posted, It was therapeutic to write but it should have stayed on my computer or actually Iphone, as I’ve only just got my laptop back having left at my Mum’s over Christmas. It’s really challenging writing 900 words on an iphone and I have small hands. I have now got my beloved blue laptop back as my Mum came to visit today. And that’s why I’m writing this post which is sunnier in tone. Mum’s are great aren’t they. I can tell her almost anything and I always get good advice that makes me take a step back and think, “Oh yeah. I’m pretty sodding lucky aren’t I.”

 You see, I’m incredibly impulsive. I do things and then completely regret them afterwards. I know that I should accept my actions for what they are and stand by them. And yes, I was feeling very low yesterday but a day with my brilliant Mum and my daughter has been an absolute tonic. My Mum says it as it is. A complete reality check. She told me that I have a job that I love and there have been quiet times in the past but I’ve always come out the other end. She told me that I’m good at my job. She told me that yes, a new challenge to start using the brain again after kiddos would be good but don’t stop what you already do. She told me that I have a beautiful daughter who has a strange fascination with soaps, candles and the 80’s musical Cats. I have a lovely, supportive husband who is a ruddy brilliant Dad. I have a fabulous agent who has championed me since I joined her and got me into animation. And then the post arrived. What fell onto the door step was the Fireman Sam film that was in cinemas last year. Mum told me that is something to be rather proud of. And for the stone in weight I have put on, she said stop eating, get off the sofa and put your ruddy trainers on. You live near a park and that’s free to run and walk round. How can you argue with that. She then gave me a big hug and said it will be alright.

 So, Mum, if you’re reading this, I love you. You have always been there for me and you have supported me through the good times and bad and you are a brilliant Granny. For that I thank you.

My family: The love and support that we get from you is amazing. We love you.

Michele, if you’re reading this: I don’t know anyone who works or parties harder. You have supported my career and opened doors to me that had been firmly shut in the past. For that I am truly thankful. We need prosecco very soon.

To my friends: I have been shit this year, I know I have. In fact since having kids I’ve not been the most present mate but I love you all and by God you make me laugh and I wouldn’t be the person I am without you.

NCT girls: You are all ruddy marvellous. Could not have got through the last two and half years without you. You absolutely rock.

Florence: you light up my life little girl. You make me laugh when you sit on my head and say upside down “Look, Mummy you’re a poo.” You make me laugh even when you are twatting me with a giant orange pool noodle and you make my heart melt when you kiss me on the cheek with such tenderness and say I love you Mummy.

And Matthew. What can I say but I love you with all my heart. You are my soul mate. We have had some rocky times but we got through them together. We have had so many brilliant adventures together and continue to have adventures. You still make me laugh as much as when we first met. You are the hardest working person I know and you are a sodding brilliant teacher. But most of all you are the best Dad and the best husband. As a three, we work, just work. A happy, loud three that sing around the streets of where we live and always make antlers out of cutlery. We found each other nearly 15 years ago and for that we are truly lucky.

Today has been just what I needed. A right royal kick up the arse and a reminder of what’s good in life. I will still have moments staring into space, I will cry and get down.  Yes, when I don’t work much I am awful to live with but it will pass. (Well, it has to. I’ve got my ruddy tax bill to pay and that biker jacket I want won’t buy itself.)  I am aware of my low times and made more aware by people like my Mum. Many people aren’t aware and sink deeper and deeper. They don’t have a Mum like mine and I send out my heart to those people. They are lonely and feel there is no way out.  I am sending a massive sodding hug to those people. and if I know anyone going through that, please ring me, I am always here. 
I don’t know how lucky I am. So, 2018. Come and get me. I’m waiting for ya.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Stranger Duvets

Night time. As Bjork once sang in her broad Icelandic drole,” It’s oh so quiet, it’s all so still.”  A time to sit down and relax. Pop the kettle on and make a cup of tea. Maybe indulge in an episode of Stranger Things or four. Go on, put your bed socked feet up and just ‘Netflix n chill.’ However, Bjork goes on in her joyful ditty, “All is peaceful until..” She obviously had a constipated, nightmaring Toddler when she penned her hit song. The night waking is still going on and is very much alive. Constipation can be a culprit but at the moment we have a new enemy in our midst:  the duvet or to be precise, kicking off the duvet. It can strike at any time.  An hour in, three hours in and then three or four times in the night. I have tried tucking her in like an over- zealous Victorian nanny but then she will scream as if she is being detained against her will. The sounds she makes are similar to those being made by Winona Ryder in many an episode of Stranger Things. It’s like she’s been taken by the monster and is being abducted to the Upside Down.

 My daughter could actually play the part of Eleven in Stranger Things. Eleven has telekinetic powers which means she is able to see people and find them with the power of her mind. My daughter must have these powers too as she knows exactly when I come in from a night out and the exact time I go to bed. I usually catch up on The Archers on Radio 4 before bed and I always play it very quietly. However, she knows, like she knows the exact moment my head hits my pillow that this is the time to wake up. It’s quite a skill. I can literally have just got into bed when the “Mummy!!” starts. And 9 out of 10 times at the moment it’s because of the sodding duvet. As soon as I put it back on she starts snoring. Put her in a grobag I hear you say! I think if I tried putting her in one of those things now it would be the end of days. We do have one big enough so I may well try one last attempt but I fear she will get too hot, panic or both. I fear it will all be in vain but then we are about to put her into a toddler bed so a grobag might be a plan. That’s right. The monster will be free to roam. I haven’t quite got my head around the fact that she will have freedom for the first time in 2 and half years. The cot is going to a friend of mine who’s just had a baby so my girl has been bought a very nice white bed by her Grandma. We live in a flat so the potential for her to get out and cause untold mayhem is infinitesimal. I am seriously thinking about putting a gate on her door but luckily she doesn’t have the strength yet to turn the handle on it. But I know once the feeling of freedom has been felt, there will be no turning back. She has only in the last fortnight discovered a love of climbing and I just know that the beautifully organised Great Little Trading boxes that I have lovingly put into categories including Craft, Vehicles and Dress Up/Make believe will be upturned and strewn on to the carpet to the blue light of her Angel care nightlight. The OCD in me is already starting to make my eye twitch at the thought. What if Duplo gets into the Megablock box? What if the farm figures end up in the Puppy park. No. Stop Harriet. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

 Anyway, Christmas is around the corner so the transition from cot, happily incarcerated to the freedom of the toddler bed will not be happening until the Christmas tree is long gone. I don’t want to hear pine needle in toddler skull in the middle of the night. The possibility for  toddler mischief in a house adorned with Christmas decorations doesn't bear thinking about. So we are going to wait until the New Year for that one. 2018: the year of even less sleep that we had before because our daughter is free. Pass me the Prosecco pronto.
 She is beyond excited. This morning she woke up to find a mini Christmas tree in her bedroom and she got to open her Paddington Bear advent calendar. Seeing her little face was priceless. That smile makes everything worthwhile. It’s beautiful. But I also know the smile she has when she’s done something naughty.  That cheeky smile which says,”. I’ve just pulled the Christmas tree over or pulled off tiny bits of the tinsel or peed all over the laminate flooring. No, we shall avoid ‘That’ smile until the New Year. The New Year in which I turn 40. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


Relaxing music plays in the background. She runs a bath and fills it with Jo Malone oils. She has a long soak, moisturises and puts on her fluffy white, warm, clean dressing gown. The drawer to her dressing table is open. She looks through the bottles of nail varnish, turning each one and gazes at the bright shades. Some shiny, like patent heels, others shimmery like a Christmas bauble. ‘Thigh High’- that’s the name on the bottle. Carefully, the colour is applied. Time is left between each coat, allowing it to dry. Once they are done the hair is coiffed, dress and tights laid out on the bed and so begins the trying on of high heeled shoes….(Sound Effect of record scratching to a halt) What a load of bollocks! Let’s turn off that soothing music, drain that bath and chip those nails. Dragging you back into reality kicking and screaming. Hang up that fluffy clean, white dressing gown and replace it with a slightly thread-bare one that’s in need of a damn good wash, as it is also used as a makeshift blanket in the middle of the night. For good measure, run a toddler’s nostrils down the front for a shiny snail trail. Et voila. Sexy mama is back. Those heady days when you had over an hour or even an afternoon to get ready to go out are long gone. Vanished into thin air along with your pelvic floor.

  I think it’s fair to say that I don’t go out much, in fact I go out rarely, so when my agent who is also my mate offered me comps for the musical ‘Kinky Boots’ I said Yasssss please! However, it’s never quite as simple as saying a simple yes, is it? Oh no. The problem was that we couldn’t get any childcare last minute so one of us needed to stay at home. I won the going out card that night so whoop! A night off. How lovely. But it’s a never a night off is it? The evening out was reliant on all of the planets aligning which involved my husband getting home from work on time and him not being too ill to look after the small one. So, during the day I had cleaned, tidied, made a casserole, oh did some childcare, made sure the cot was ready, bit more childcare, pyjamas out, bath ready for running and at some point, putting some slap on my face to cover up the lines, bags and general wear and tear.
Sadly, the day before some bastard had broken into our block and burgled two of the upstairs flats so earlier on in the day I had been on the phone to the management company to organise a locksmith to come round. Now he arrived at 4:15. My ETD was 5:30. He was there for nearly an hour, checking outside locks and trying to get the front door to close properly. He left at 5:10. Whilst he was talking to me I was trying to edge back in the flat, making sure that my girl wasn’t up to mischief and put the oven on for the casserole. I also had the small task of getting ready! Finally, he went and I ran into the bedroom and tried to do something with my knackered visage. I then put rice in a pan, set the table and finally hubster got in at 5:25. He looked like death warmed up and promptly fell on the bed asking me what time I was heading out. I replied, “Now” and he groaned. As soon as my daughter saw me put heels that was it. My cover was blown. Proper ploppy tears ensued, followed by lots of,  Take me with you! Don’t leave me!”. Kids are great aren’t they?
 I had four minutes to get ready. I put on a dress which I’d never worn before and when asked how I looked my husband half looked at me, and said, “Oh? Erm. It’s fine. “ Now we all know that this is code for “That dress does nothing for you. Why did you press confirm purchase on ASOS? “ Great. So, I left the house looking less than average with a screaming toddler and an ill husband. I felt frazzled and guilty as hell. As I walked down the street I could still hear my daughter wailing, I had Mum hair and bare nails. I texted my husband on the train and was promptly told that my daughter took ages to console and was refusing to eat the ruddy casserole. I looked down at my shit dress and felt a ruddy winner, I can tell you.

 As I arrived at Waterloo, I ran into the big Boots and bought some nail varnish, hilariously called ‘Thigh High’. The only thing that was thigh high was my self pity and massive guilt. I found somewhere to sit and managed to apply two coats. I used the walk across Waterloo Bridge to dry the buggers. It’s amazing how resourceful one becomes as a parent. Oh, I was so busy sorting out everyone else that it dawned on me that I hadn’t had supper. Sarnie and a packet of Percy Pigs from M&S will have to suffice. This was washed down with a medium glass of overpriced Merlot at the theatre. However, taking everything into account, I had a brilliant night and Kinky Boots really is an astonishing musical. Damn, those drag queens can dance! Nothing like a bloke in a pair of heels and covered in sequins to lift one’s spirits and boost your day.
Afterwards, I turned down after show drinks and whizzed home to a dark house. Husband and daughter were fast asleep. I took off my mediocre dress and put on my pyjamas. Bliss. That night, my girl unusually slept through and woke up bouncing the merry shit out of her cot. I was greeted with a big hug and a kiss. Pathetic I know, but I had missed putting my girl to bed.

 Anyway, one place that is going to benefit from my night out is our local Fara. There’s one leopard print dress coming your way. Every cloud, eh?

Friday, 3 November 2017


Long time. No read. There just haven’t been enough hours in the day. All parents suffer from this but sometimes you go through a few weeks when you don’t know your arse from your child’s elbow and you barely have time to sit down and drink half a tepid cup of tea. The last couple of weeks have been a bit like that. Works been mental, my husband’s work has been mental, we’ve been away and I’ve been working out of town a lot. Can not complain though. Being busy to a freelancer is a truly great thing. Christmas and the tax man are a comin so I’ve been voice overing shed loads.
It seems that this year there has been a bit of an epidemic. An epidemic of multiplying and procreation. Basically, everyone is ruddy pregnant, trying to get up le proverbial duff or has just had a baby. Many of them are second or even third babies, and some are fresh new ones with just Mummy and daddy and their entire extended family to dote on them and spoil them rotten this Christmas with things that they don’t really need. Take it from me, do not go overboard with gifts on the first Christmas. They are small, they won’t remember it and you will be so knackered and emotional that you probably won’t want to remember it either. I remember my girls first Christmas. I slept on the floor of my mother’s study with one bap lobbed over the side of the sleepyhead as it was the only way to get some sleep and get her through the teething from hell. There were enough presents to set up a competitor to Hamley’s as friends and family had gone berserk with presents. I shit you not, it took all day to open them. Myself and my husband bought her 6 presents thinking that was a top idea. Everyone had been so generous but I found it all too much. Teething, sleep deprivation and lots of presents for a child not yet one was surprisingly over whelming.

However, I digress. About seven of my friends are pregnant or have just had their second or third baby. We are also expecting another addition to our  family in the shape of “baby cousin” as my sister in law is pregnant. My small one is beyond excited and thinks that baby cousin is growing in her tummy. I’m getting a lot of “Sssssh Mummy. Baby cousin is sleeping. In my tummy.” Ok. We’ll just go along with it for now. Bit early for “the chat”. There is a lot of baby joy and excitement going down all around. And with this comes the age old question of, “You going to try for another?” . This then goes into, “Why aren’t you having another?” to “It would be a bit cruel if your daughter was an only child.” Boom. Just like that. We’ve gone from “When are you getting married, to when are going to start a family to when are you having another one. Maybe I’ll be asked next when are you going to die? Well, it’s possible. So, I always feel I have to defend our decision to have one child. And yes, we are having one. One and done they call it. I am secure with my decision. As I pack up my daughte’rs old baby things and pass them on to friends and family I have no pangs in the womb, no “what ifs”, no weeping because of my empty tummy. I feel grateful for what I have and pleased that these things will get used again. Fara kids certainly don’t need anymore stuff from us. We want one child. End of. I was an only child. I was very much loved, not particularly spoiled and happy. Our decision wasn’t come to lightly. We’ve spoken about it at length but we are just happy. Three people in this family works. We don’t have the spare cash to comfortably bring another life into the world, we don’t have the space and my career is such that I would find it difficult to juggle work and two kids with no family on the doorstep. But the simple answer is, “We want one child.” I have no wish to go through the baby stage again as I had such a lovely time with my first. I’m enjoying each new stage with my daughter and as my dear friend Julie says, “It just gets better and better.”

I’m thrilled for friends who want lots of children and have them. I am thrilled for those who have tried for years to conceive and have had one and decided to just have one because of fertility issues. I’m also thrilled for my child free friends; those who have decided parenthood is not for them. When it comes down to it, it’s your choice and your decision. Sometimes things happen in life which means you don’t have a choice. You know, I’m going to be the big 40 next year. And I might not be able to conceive. Also, statistically I am more likely to have twins which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. Double buggies frighten me.

I am so lucky to have my daughter. There was a point when we thought we might not be able to and that made be very sad but then I got pregnant and this small, blue eyed girl turned up and changed my life and brought a lot of happiness and light along with her. She makes me laugh, she makes cry, she makes me want to be better and she sometimes makes me wonder about my parenting skills as she has such an affinity with fruit and veg that she wants them to be her friends. I’m trying not to worry too much. Maybe she’ll become a greengrocer. We could do with one near where we live and she’s a real people person. Anyway, whatever she wants to do it will hopefully make her happy and it will be her choice because, let’s face it, that’s all that matters really in the end.

In training.

Sorry I’ve been quiet of late. I am, very unusually off sick today. I have no voice. Well, some but in the same register as Barry & Wi...