If it’s dull in colour, quiet in sound and has no flashy parts…

…then it’s the PERFECT toy.


We recently bought Aifric a toy box. Up until that point, her toys lived on top of the playmat she used (and loved) when she was a tiny baby, which in turn lived on top of the footstool. It was a dazzling focal point of our living room. And whilst OF COURSE we appreciated the bright colours of the jungle in our direct eyeline when trying to enjoy an episode of Parks and Recreation each evening, we were getting to the stage where we were ready for our living room to become (a little bit) ours again.

But I now sometimes wonder, if the toys just stayed in that toy box, and never ever came out again, would Aifric notice?*

It doesn’t seem to matter how many flashing, shiny, all-singing, all-dancing, jumping, moving, colourful toys we buy her… the ‘non toys’ for lack of another word (someone help me out here), are the MOST fun. And obviously, the MOST dangerous. Hence, the most fun. The investigative finger wants to explore and discover. The mouth wants to taste and lick. And Mummy wants a pair of eyes not only in the back of her head, but in both sides too please.

Here are 12 things which seem to provide the most thrill to our little explorer:

  1. Radiator knobs: can’t quite put my finger on what is so utterly fabulous about these yet. Will try to come back to you on that at some point. We haven’t put our heating on (even though we are nearing the end of October) but when we do, WELL, then Aifric will really be in control – as we either bake or freeze with each turn of the knob – it’s heating roulette. IMG_9947-2
  2. The corner-protectors on the coffee table: Aifric likes to pull these off and either present her prize to me with glee or put it in her mouth and carry it around the living room with great care like a golden retriever collecting eggs. I’ll often find a soggy plastic cube under the dining table.
  3. The nappy bin: I have nothing to say about this. WHY of ALL the things you could play with, would you go to that? IMG_9539-2
  4. The box we keep all our screwdrivers and screws in: a box of shiny things! Babe, if you want a box of fun things to go through I can give you lots of options – find my jewellery box (sidenote: please do not find that, because that’s just another thing to worry about and also, you could swallow something and we’d be in a whole world of trouble). But a box of screwdrivers and screws? Unless you are Ron from aforementioned Parks & Rec, just tell me WHAT is so breathtaking about those?
  5. Hinges: I actually can’t write about these without feeling sick in the pit of my stomach… Aifric likes to run her investigative finger over each screw in the hinge of our doors. It causes me great worry. I have tried to explain to her on numerous occasions why we don’t like hinges and why they are dangerous… and if anything, those conversations just spur her on.
  6. Door stops: I can’t yet work out what Aifric finds so appealing about these… maybe it’s the yelp I give when I see she has removed one from the bottom of a door and I watch the door close on her in slow motion as I throw myself in the way. IMG_9652-3
  7. The washing machine: an exception to the rule – this is not quiet. I can sort-of get on board with the mesmeric motion of the washing machine, and the suds and the noise. So she can have that one. IMG_0326-2
  8. Kitchen drawers: Aifric likes to use these as her own personal gym, practicing for iron-baby, it’s how she gets her daily pull-ups in. FullSizeRender-3
  9. Plugs: literally the most boring thing that I could think of to play with, Aifric initially strokes them with a considerate hello, then when she has them under her spell and lured them into a false sense of security, she tries to jam her investigative finger into their holes.
  10. The stools at our kitchen counter: you wouldn’t think a person of her size and strength couldn’t pull them over. But oh, she can. The iron baby training has worked. And… SURPRISE! Suddenly I was catching a stool as it fell onto her in slow motion. Yes, we both got a shock when that happened.
  11. The bathroom scales: these are glass. Aifric attempts to show us how ready she is for iron-baby by trying to pick them up.
  12. The clothes horse: it doesn’t matter whether this is up or away – Aifric will make a game from it. If it’s away – then pulling it out from under the sofa is an excellent game. If it’s up – then sitting under it and pulling the washing off is also an excellent game. IMG_9623


It’s a daily battle – Aifric vs Our Home; Aifric vs Me.

In the meantime I continue to get all of her toys out of the toy box each morning and I continue to put them away again each night. Your sympathy is appreciated.


*Obvs I know she is interested in her toys, I am messing

**Photo: a range of photos showing our explorer

If it’s in your arsenal…

… is it ok to use the boobs as a comforter?


Aifric woke up at 1am a couple of days ago and instead of the usual rigmarole of swaying her, rocking her, sitting on her chair, singing 10 green bottles, singing hello to the sun, singing 10 sizzling sausages, lying on the floor with my hand in the cot and ninja-ing my way out of the room only for her to notice I had disappeared and cry again, I just decided to stick her straight on the boob and she was back asleep in less time than a Ewan the Dream Sheep circuit (15 minutes FYI).

But for some reason, in my head, it’s not something I had wanted to do. If she wasn’t hungry then surely I should and I would be able to get her back to sleep another way. Even if that way took an hour and a half. EVEN IF after an hour and a half of the swaying and the rocking and the singing and the lying on the floor I’d just end up putting her back on the boob anyway and EVEN IF I know that always works, AT LEAST I HAD TRIED ANOTHER WAY.

Forget the fact we’d both be shattered the next day. And a little irritable. With matching bags under our eyes, that you could, if you kinda squinted a little, call ‘cute’.

I guess in my head I am worried that Aifric will get used to needing the boob to go back to sleep and that I’ll get used to it… it’ll be an ‘easy way out’. HA, AN EASY WAY OUT. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for in parenthood anyway?!

My other concern – linked to the above concern – is that the boob isn’t going to be around forever for Aifric. I have already cut a couple down and moved onto the bottle. One day… pretty soon… I’ll have them back. And then what? We really will need to find another way to comfort her and get her back to sleep.

I actually had a conversation about this with a woman I bumped into at the park on the weekend. She was in the same boat – her little boy not sleeping at all (I thanked all of my lucky stars that it is only once in a while with A) – and she said she does it too, it’s easier, and she needs to sleep and he needs to sleep so WHAT ARE YA GONNA DO? She actually used the phrase ‘don’t worry, you’re not alone’. Which has to be the most comforting phrase you’ll ever hear as a parent.

Simon is super chill about it – if we can use them, why not use them? The rational voice of a person who does not want to be up for two hours in the middle of the night. Who wants to be bright and breezy the next day. Who enjoys sleeping. And enjoys their baby sleeping.

So I am in this limbo-land. I am in two minds. As I mentioned – I did ‘crack’ the other day. And it did work. And we both did get back to sleep within 15 minutes. And I didn’t count the number of times I had pressed Ewan’s paw (do sheep have paws? Hoof. It’s a hoof. Typing out loud here. Hooooves) to try to work out how many lots of 15 minutes I had been in her room… willing and praying her to go back to sleep. And I didn’t have to ninja my way out of the room, pretending I have a black belt in karate (that’d be cool). And you know what? I have done it again since.

I suppose there is no ending to this blog piece… like many things in parenthood, I am not sure what is right. What did you do? What would you do? What are you doing? Do you bottle feed and do this with a bottle?

Comments on a postcard. Please and thank you.

*PHOTO: the little munchkin not sleeping – and there I am – me, not sleeping either, lying on the floor next to the cot, willing Aifric to sleep

10 things I no longer care about…

… now I have a baby.


I was thinking the other day, about how my life has changed since Aifric was born. Obviously EVERYTHING has changed. Sure. But in my day-to-day existence what little things do I still care about and what things do I now no longer give a flying monkey sh*t about? I think it’s when I looked in the mirror and saw the state of my eyebrows that I started thinking about this.

There are some things that I will always ALWAYS care about but when writing these two lists, I couldn’t really remember what they are.

10 things I no longer care about…

  1. The state of my eyebrows – sorry pals, it’s true, this is how I am now, deal with it
  2. What goes in the dishwasher – apart from the Tefal frying pan, it’s a ‘free-for-all, chuck it in, hope for the best, we’ll just buy new… whatever if we need to’ kinda vibe
  3. The number of calories in wine – no explanation needed
  4. What glass I drink my gin from – literally any receptacle will do. No. That’s a lie. I will not take it from a thimble. Recently, a pal measured out our gin using the top of her baby’s bottle (the lid can hold up to 50ml). THAT is what I call ‘living the motherhood dream’ my friends
  5. Folding clothes back up beautifully when returning them. Can’t believe I used to do this but I always thought it would help the person at the other end if I folded them nicely. Sorry ASOS, the clothes are just going back in the bag… still folded obvs – GOD, I’M NOT AN ANIMAL – but not ‘shop ready’ folded
  6. Wearing paired socks – there is no time to be wasted on searching for socks that match. Get ’em on, get out the house
  7. Whether you can see my bra – any part of it. Nursing bras are huge, no top can cover them completely, why even waste precious minutes trying?
  8. What milk I use in my tea. Used to always be skimmed. Now I’ll just take it how it comes. Which is never hot but tea is tea chaps and it’s goooood
  9. Wearing shorts in London. These were always ‘holiday only’ attire. Heatwave guys, we’re in a heatwave incase you’re not aware
  10. Whether items of clothing are hung in my side of the wardrobe or Simon’s. It’s a mish-mash now. Neither of us know where anything is. Simon addressed the chaos a couple of days ago. To be fair to him – he’s been patient with it for 8.5 months. To be fair to me – I had a baby. That is the best Top Trumps card you’ll ever get your hands on


10 things I still care about…

  1. The state of my fringe
  2. The length of my nails
  3. The number on the volume of the TV – although I must admit I am caring less and less about this
  4. Whether our bed is made up. Messy bed, messy head pals!

So. Turns out that Motherhood and #MatLeaveLife = actually don’t care about so much. Can’t even get to number 5 on the ’10 things I still care about’ list.

I am sure more things that I NO LONGER CARE ABOUT will come up. I’ll keep you posted.

*PHOTOS: semi-beautifully made bed that the little one likes to roll around on. Yes those are my pjs just hanging out on the pillow. REALITY.

Is there space for homesickness…

… when you have a baby?


I suffer from homesickness when I’m away. I know some people may find that strange at the age of 32, but I do, and I can’t help it. I know when it’s coming, like a grey cloud, and I know that it could be a fleeting feeling or it could hang around for a couple of hours, max. I know that once it passes I’ll be fine again and will still be delighted to be away. But whilst it’s here, I don’t want to be anywhere but home.

I remember the first time I tried to really properly explain it to Simon. We had just checked into a motel room in Monterey, California. We’d been away for over a week at that point, doing an amazing road trip down the west coast of America, seeing some incredible, breathtaking scenery, eating great food, meeting lovely people – having a brilliant adventure. But suddenly I didn’t want to be anywhere but home. I wanted a cup of tea and my bed and my things and familiar smells. And my famalam and my friends. I wanted Simon too, of course, but just to be back home with me. It didn’t mean that I didn’t want to be with him or that I wasn’t having the most terrific holiday. I just, in that moment, wanted to be home.

I think it’s hard to understand if you don’t get it because being on holiday is supposed to be fun and relaxing and adventurous. An escape from normal life – knowing that your normal life is still there, waiting for you back home but that you are getting a little break from it. I still get those feels. I just get the homesick feels too. It happens most holidays for me at some point. I know it will pass but when I’m in it, it can be a little claustrophobic. I think our honeymoon was the only one where it didn’t appear, as I distinctly remember thinking – wow! I haven’t missed home on this trip!

So we’ve just come back from our first family holiday as a three. And I have to say – I got those feels. The homesick ones. We’d been having a marvellous time – swimming in the sea, eating cinnamon buns, drinking coffee, laughing, reminiscing, catching up, and having proper chats that weren’t centred around whether the bottles and pump had been sterilised and how many poos Aifric had done that day (obvs we still spoke about the poos because, c’mon lads, we’re only human… but we spoke about other stuff too).

I sent Simon off to the spa and said I’d get Aifric down for her nap. We were in a new place, she was a little out of sorts and on this occasion she needed rocking to sleep. And that’s when I felt it arrive, my homesickness. And with it, a thought. As I’m cradling my 8 month old daughter: I don’t know if there is space for homesickness and a baby.

I am the adult now. The responsible one. The grown up. And I am home to Aifric. Wherever we are, we represent home and comfort and love and stability for this little thing. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a new place and the smells are unfamiliar and the noises are unfamiliar and everything is out of sorts, because we’re there. And we represent home to her. And that’s all that matters.

So maybe there isn’t space for homesickness anymore. Certainly not my homesickness. Can I allow myself to yearn for home and my creature comforts when someone else needs that reassurance? Is there space for two of us to be crying for home? Plus I just don’t think Simon could deal. It’d be like when I stubbed my little toe and broke it at the exact same time that Aifric started crying for her nap and the Ocado man rang the bell with an enormous shop. Simon had to make a choice as to who to attend to first.

I think I will probably still feel homesick on occasions when we’re away. I think it’s in me that I love the normality, reliability and reassurance that ‘home’ provides – whatever that may be. But now I have someone else to worry about and to comfort. I have to provide that ‘normality, reliability and reassurance’ to someone else. I have to be that. So I can welcome it, accept it and acknowledge it when it arrives – appreciate that it is a real thing and I can allow the feelings to come and to pass. Aifric has given me a little perspective, on what home is and what it should be. Maybe when I get the feels and recognise they’re here, I can then give homesickness a bit of the cold shoulder. And say – hey old friend, nice to see you again but we’re done.

*PHOTO: Us as a famalam of three on our first holiday together.

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