A child free weekend in London

Travelling to London, feeling ill, Tower Bridge

Back in September it was Barry’s 40th birthday and as a surprise I booked us a child free weekend in London. I booked the train, the hotel and tickets to see Brian and Robin’s Christmas Compendium (a science and comedy show) at the Hammersmith Apollo. Since Toby was born nearly five and a half years ago we have had precisely two nights away as a couple. Read more

Learning to tell the time with F.Hinds

Time Teachers watch from F.Hinds

**This post is in association with F.Hinds

I’m always on the lookout for gifts for Toby and Gabe that are not only fun but will help them learn too. They are both eager to learn how to tell the time (although Gabe doesn’t really understand it too well at the moment) and are always looking at the clocks in our house and asking what time it is. There are lots of children’s watches available – F.Hinds has some great ones and as an added bonus there is 15% off everything on their site until 27th November.

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Give Dad the Christmas gift he deserves this year

Christmas gifts for dad

**This is a collaborative post

It’s a sad fact that dads are generally not given the respect they deserve anymore. Put-upon dad’s the world over are viewed by their children not as the men who brought them into this world and taught them how to survive in it, but as glorified taxi drivers. Christmas, however, gives us the chance to pay them back for all the late-night pickups, all the tantrums and all the missed promises. Read more

Would a lottery win change your Christmas?

Would Christmas be different if you won the lottery?

**This is a collaborative post

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you won the lottery?  I remember when the UK National Lottery started in 1994 – I had a weekend job in a newsagents at the time and everyone was so excited playing the first few draws. I used to play every week but never won more than about £30. I didn’t play for years and years, and then for a while I would buy the odd EuroMillions ticket but never won. Read more

Getting our Christmas Story straight

Toby, Gabe and me in front of the Christmas tree

I’ve been a parent for four Christmases now, this will be my fifth. But up until this year we haven’t had to give much thought to getting our Christmas story straight. And I’m not talking about the Baby Jesus here (although I’ll get on to him in a minute). I mean the intricacies of the the Father Christmas myth/ magic/ lie – call it what you will, I just never realised how complicated it would be! Read more

Practical presents (That aren’t aftershave!)

Christmas presents

**This is a collaborative post

With the winter well and truly upon us, talk naturally turns to what to buy people for Christmas. There is always the dilemma with Christmas shopping, go for the big surprise, or go for something practical. Now, the argument here is to go for practical items, but, these following items are, hopefully, going to have a very practical approach to your way of living. No deodorant or aftershave here! Let’s dive in. Read more

Making our own Christmas traditions

Toby's first Christmas

I know it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas but we’ve just started thinking about what we’re going to be doing on Christmas Day this year and it got me thinking about Christmas Traditions.

For my whole childhood Christmas was exactly the same every year. I never really thought at the time that we had Christmas traditions but I suppose the very definition of a tradition is repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again, and that’s exactly what we did. Read more

Bah humbug!

Bah humbug

Over the past month I’ve seen so many blogs filled with gift lists, Christmas crafts, festive recipes, tales of Christmas traditions and visits to Santa. And on my blog, this is the first time I have even mentioned Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big a fan of Christmas as the next blogger but I’m just not feeling especially festive this year. I am still at work until the 23rd of December, and then facing a Christmas Eve drive to Blackpool to spend a few days with my parents. The kids at school have all been hyper for the last two weeks and trying to keep them working and focussed has been a nightmare. Where did kids get this idea that they have some inalienable right to watch DVDs for the last week of term in every single lesson? (OK, I’ll admit, Ratatouille has made an appearance in some of my classes, but we have been studying food, and I’m showing it in French).

Anyway, what with having a stressful time at work and Toby still not sleeping, getting excited about Christmas has been the last thing on my mind. We put the tree and lights up at the start of the month but that’s about as far as my festive cheer has spread. If I’m honest, I also don’t see the point in making a massive fuss about it all when Toby is only 17 months old and hasn’t got a clue what Christmas is about. I was the same last year when he was only 5 months and even though it was his first Christmas we didn’t really do anything special. This year the only Father Christmas he’s seen was at the nursery party, oh, and the dancing Santa band at the garden centre which he loved. I’ve even decided that I’m not going to bother wrapping his presents (of which there are only a few) and carting them all the way to Blackpool only to bring them home again. He’ll be getting plenty of other presents off his Grandparents. And before you all start thinking what a horrible, mean mum I am I do intend to fully embrace Christmas when Toby is old enough to understand what it is all about. We’ll make decorations and visit Santa; we’ll have a Christmas Eve box and leave out whiskey for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph; we’ll have a lovely morning unwrapping a pile of presents… but for now, when the Christmas present I would like more than any other is for my boy to sleep through the night my festive spirit is sadly lacking.

Am I the only one? Is there anyone else who’s not feeling the Christmas cheer this year?