Starting School; 7 Things I’m not sweating over.

Having just finished the reception year for the eldest, the rollercoaster of emotions is all still very fresh as the middle boy begins his first day in reception year. Having three children so close in age, it’s the nature of the beast for things to go at break neck speed (literally, they’re nuts, I will be seriously injured one day as a result of the tornado of children that rip through the house), but on the upside, each experience is still fresh in the mind and there, ready to learn from.

I don’t want to steal his thunder away from him, as starting school is a big deal, it’s a huge step for this little person, but there are things I know now, that are not worthy of getting my knickers in a twist and by not getting all in a tiz, will help to make sure I’m better for him.

So I put together a list of things, that I’m not going to get all stressed out by, or rather it’s a little reminder to myself that all the emotions involved in starting school will settle and all will work out just fine.

  1. If they’re not as academically forward as the ‘every-school-or-preschool-has-them-superbrain’. There’s always that kid who is just astounding, is writing their full name and Biff, Chip and Kipper are so last year to them. While its awesome that some kids are able to do more at an early age, its hard not to get a little trapped in the, “why can’t my kid do this”, rumination trap (‘Tiger mum’ I believe is the label here) BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER. Name writing, book reading, adding; its no big deal if they can’t do this by the time they start school you will be amazed at how quick they pick these things up. Comparing them to other children is just going to cause unnecessary stress for both of you.
  2. Yes, it may be all great if you can proudly announce they’re reading war and peace, but if they can’t get themselves dressed and are presenting you with fly ridden crusty pants at the end of the day, you won’t be doing them any favours. I spent a bit more time in the first few weeks, tackling buttons and talking about proper bum wiping, as I imagined that teachers actually wanted to teach and not be answering yells from the toilets to assist in some form of poo issue. There will be set backs, they will get over excited, tired and overwhelmed and there will be accidents and if the first few weeks are a bit messy, don’t despair THEY WILL GET THERE.
  3. Let them enjoy it, let them go at their own pace. Save your energy for SATS or GCSE stage not the colour by numbers homework at reception. I don’t want to get into the whole debate of homework here, I have mixed views, but getting into a battle of wills with a five-year old at this stage in their school life is not the best way to start. Home learning is meant to be exactly how it sounds, a way to continue the learning at home in an independent way, it shouldn’t be perceived as a chore. Judge it. If they’re all over it and keen get in there with that homework book and make the most of the time together, but if they’re tired and narky don’t poke that  over tired beast. Take a note of what they’re doing and use a little trickery to incorporate it into family life. EG; “mate we’ve only got three beer mats on our table, how many more do we need?” *inserts winky faced emoji*.
  4. Hell hath no fury like an over tired five-year old in their first month of school. They will be knackered. There’s no point trying to do anything between the hours of 3.30pm and 6.30pm as they’re ravenous and tired.  It takes hangry to a whole new level. If you do after school stuff the hats off to you, you’re a braver person than me.  For me personally, I’m going to lay off it for the first couple of weeks and just throw snacks at them until dinner time then get them off to bed! Keeping it simple.
  5. The school run is an art to be mastered. You may think you’re organised and ready but there bullets to dodge every morning, like disappearing shoes, the permission slips that you didn’t see in their folder and some form of lunchbox contents disagreement. If it’s a bit shouty and hectic some mornings and you find yourself trotting down the road shouting, “yes, yes brilliant, another snail can we hurry *whispers* the f**k up please”, it’s perfectly normal and you wont be the only one.  For many of us its still not been nailed. But you are learning too, this is new for you as well. Get what you can done the night before and roll with it. If you’re late a couple of times, who cares. YOU WILL GET THERE.
  6. The struggle to leave them is real and heart-wrenching, but as I much as I will want to make it the longest good-bye and tell him how proud I am of him, I know it will only make it worst. Its ripping of the band-aid time. One last death squeeze, big smiles and brave face it until you are safely out the way to have a good cry. There’s nothing worse than your little one holding onto your leg and pleading with you not to leave you, but trust the teachers and trust that within twenty minutes of you being gone they will be happy and distracted by all that’s going on in their new class. It may take a while, tears may be a part of your morning for a good while, like it was with us with pre-school drop offs, but they settle, it gets easier and they will enjoy it. THEY WILL BE FINE.
  7. I’m not going to sit and fret about how they are all day. Of course I will have several moments when I get home, there will be a few tears whilst looking at his baby photos on the wall and I will be distracted.  I don’t bank on getting much done until they come, but I know if things aren’t right I will be phoned. It’s not going to be a breeze for them, but they are surrounded by a very caring bunch of teachers and assistants who have plenty of talent to keep them distracted, entertained and most of all SAFE. THEY WILL BE FINE.

This is the start of an amazing journey. However heartbreaking it is to see our babies move on, you will still be the centre of their world for a very long time. They’re not gone they’re still very much there, literally, like stuck to you when they get home all tired and emotional.

May our cupboards and fridges be stocked with enough alcohol to see us through this.

Good luck to you all and your little ones.


It’s Impossible NOT To Lose A Few Marbles During The Summer Holidays – Research Confirms.

Parenting experts have confirmed a link between parenting patience and instances of shoutiness and profanities during the summer holidays. Whilst many of you may be rolling your eyes and muttering ‘no s**t’, many will be encouraged that this officially makes them, well, normal and slightly less crap than they first thought.

The research, which used a sample of parents over the summer holidays, concluded that there is a negative relationship between levels of patience and instances of ‘ffs’ being spoken at a higher than normal under-the-breath volume. Dr Shirley, who conducted the research identified, ‘there are certain environmental factors that contribute to these parents losing their s**t. Patience is negatively impacted by the constant whining, bickering and demands for snacks. Coupled with the inability to keep on top of household chores and a decline in self-care, these parents are frazzled by the end of week 6’. Dr Shirley and her team were able to identify the factors where sanity started to slip and yelling became more prevalent.


Jane from Rugby, who appeared to be prepared, ‘I was organised, I had a plan of fun stuff, then the weather forced me to change my plan and I didn’t realise how expensive everything is. I never recovered.’

As many of us struggle to come to terms with our shouty moments and beat ourselves up repeatedly over losing our sh*t and finding entertaining them so bloody difficult, Dr Shirley states that ‘these results cannot be any clearer; the pressure to entertain, crap British weather, budget restraints, balancing work and childcare, staying at home and the reduction of self-care…. it is almost impossible to avoid losing a few marbles’. 


Linda, a mother of three from Leicester, plagued by guilt stated, ‘when they’re all together they just act like knobs and start playing stupid games like replacing a word of a song for the word ‘poo’. I don’t know anyone who can keep their cool while they sing a long to the Trolls soundtrack and every other word is POO! I couldn’t cope, I just lost it’.

Surely Dr Shirley we’re all not potty mouthed screamers? ‘ No, the research identifies a higher rate, of shouty profanities. However we were unable to confirm circumstances where they didn’t occur and we are unsure as to whether the patient, calmly spoken parent exists, or, if in fact they are even human’.

There you have it. If you have used f**k, shouted or threw a plastic weapon in the rubbish bin, research confirms you are normal.

If you see any parent who seems to be calm, smiling, with their balls in the air, please contact Dr Shirley as her next phase of research is to see how the f*&$@*g hell they do it.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Supporting Your Child To Read In 7 Easy Steps

No one can dispute the importance of reading with your child and how vital this is as part of their education. Creating a love for books is truly special. A love, which you hope will last with them forever.

Supporting your child to read is a time to treasure, like listening to the first sentence they read to you. The pride that you feel is immense.  However it is not without its challenges; mainly in the form of sitting on your hands, lips pursed, summoning every bit of patience you possess while it takes half an hour to sound out ‘dad’. A word, which the day previous, we knew by heart.

So, if the latter is familiar to you, then maybe you will appreciate my guide to supporting your child to read.

1) First and most importantly, when you are unsure of how to approach a particular parenting situation, consult the world-wide web for some advice. There’s an abundance of information out there which will ultimately confuse you, but after a few hours of reading and ignoring your children, you will be sure to have found a fool-proof approach. Most likely, you will have convinced yourself that your child is stupid and you are completely inept as a parent, but you will be hopeful that if you follow the advice of the internet then you will be sure to be on the winning path. Proceed to throw every last bit of yourself into devising a plan, obviously based on all the information you have digested, where you will spend hours making flash cards, alphabet bingo and filling every last wall space around the house with laminated pictures, words and letters of the alphabet. Your life will have been structured for the next few weeks which includes allocated slots for many, many, educational games and the practicing of new sounds.

2) Ensure that the environment around you encourages a love for books and promotes reading. This will mean getting all the old books that nobody has looked at for years, or will ever look at again, out of old dusty boxes and squeezing them back into the book shelf. This will help develop a curiosity and eagerness to learn. Alternatively, you can watch in despair as they throw the books out of the bookshelves, make towers with them, throw them at each other and have the odd p*ss on. Momentarily think about the joy of taking all three children to the library, then slap yourself in the face for thinking they could ever behave ‘library-appropriate’, sans shouting, squabbling and inappropriate loud comments.

3) Set a good example by reading yourself. You may think you don’t have enough time for reading, a long-lost delightful pastime, but you know what they say, ‘You have to make time’. So, whenever you can squeeze 20 minutes in with a cuppa and a good novel, sit down amidst the chaos and show them how thoroughly lovely it is to sit down quietly and let your head drift away to wherever the words want to take you. They’ll be too busy drawing on the walls, dancing naked in the window or sword fighting with the dogs to even notice at first, but once they do, oh boy will they be interested. They can then fight over who gets to sit next to you and enjoy the peaceful moment of reading a book.

4) Start Fred talking at every opportunity you get. As well as encouraging your child to recognise the sounds in different words you will also look and sound like a right arse as you gesticulate that frog jumping on the sounds of each segmented word that comes out of your mouth.

5) Wonder if there should be some sort of  degree equivalent qualification to get parents through this sh**. I mean there are 26 words in the alphabet, 44 sounds and 150 ways to spell these sounds.  IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE *see ‘Choona Gate*. Then there’s the pictorial representations that go with these 44 sounds, which you must memorise to jog their little memories when they mix up the special friends that make one sound. HEAD EXPLODES.

6) Consider moving to Spain where the language seems a little more straight forward, where the 24 sounds are made up of the 26 letters of the alphabet. You convince yourself that the kids minds are young and absorbent so they will learn quickly and then teach you. Plus its sunnier and the Hayfever doesn’t seem an issue out there. It’s win, win.

7) Keep calm when there is little enthusiasm and the silliness kicks in. Very often words and letters that have been learnt by heart will become nonsense. For example ‘biff’ becomes ‘bit… hahahah’, or the word ‘the’ becomes ‘blah’. Successful methods of keeping calm include sitting on ones hands, big deep breaths, a teeny bribe of a Shopkin and visualising the big f**k off bottle of wine that is waiting for you post bedtime.

Keep telling yourself that this will all be worth it and that one day they will read and enjoy books just as much as you do.

Stay strong and remember, there is life after Biff, Chip and Kipper, somewhere, out there!



Choona Gate

The incident, now referred to as ‘Choona Gate’, occurred a couple of months ago.  At first, it was the usual post school chaos, full of meltdowns, squabbling and demands for snacks. I was about to start getting tea on, completely unaware of the shit storm that I was about to be engulfed in.

Lulled into a false sense of security, I was delighted with the older child’s enthusiasm to do a bit of writing. She wanted to write the menu for dinner. Great I thought. It wasn’t just great, I was actually ecstatic, as so far there had been little enthusiasm for any form of reading or writing. Am all over this. No problem, I thought.

This is where it starts to go horribly wrong.


Explanations fail miserably. I mean, how can it make sense to a five-year old, when to be honest there’s no solid rules! We are now in meltdown.

After twenty minutes or so, things calm and we are writing again.

So yes, yes, I should have let her write it phonetically. My fault. It would have been avoided. In my defence, it made sense to me, to teach her how to spell the tricky words straight off rather than correct her further down the line. I now know differently.

From now on, we will only be eating jam, ham and eggs for our dinner, until we move through to the next set of sounds.

After finishing the menu, she decided she wanted to write the date.

It was Tuesday.



Clock Changes; Spring Forward Set Backs for the Bedtime Routine

So clocks went forward on Sunday and we lost an hour of our precious sleep, on Mothers Day as well which seems doubly cruel! On the bright side, it does mean that summer is officially on its way. Yay!

However, this week could be a bit of nightmare as we battle to get the kiddos used to the change.  It feels like we’ve only just got to grips with the clocks going back at the beginning of winter and now there is another sodding clock change to properly screw up that recently nailed bedtime routine.

Their little internal clocks are going to need a bit of adjusting.

clock change 2

Reasoning with them is futile. I mean how are you meant to explain it to a 4-year-old?

clock change 4


There are lots of tips out there on how to help the little ones adjust to the clock changes; adjusting the bed time over a couple of weeks (oops little bit late on this one), getting them out a bit more in the light (mmm about the time when April showers hit) and wearing them out and adjusting the wake up time (pah). Plus there are also some fab tools like fancy clocks to use (don’t get me started).

Sometimes though, when stamina and patience have completely left the building there’s really only one thing you can do.

CLock change 3


So I’d like to say a big thanks to giving us an extra hour light in the evening, it’s just that we’re too bloody exhausted to enjoy said lighter evenings after having battled to get them into bed.

Good luck this week everyone!

Term-Time Holidays; Getting away and getting away with it

We returned back to school on day  7 of the new school term. As usual, I walk on tiptoes past the eldest’s class to get a glimpse of her whilst on the way to dropping the middle one at preschool. I’m not talented or special by any means, but my lip-reading skills are developed enough to recognise the words ‘been on holiday,’ coming from my smiley little girls mouth. Well that’s f****d that one then I thought.

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National Book Day Fun


So Book Day is upon us again and I imagine lots of your are, right about now scrambling around for costumes. Or maybe you’re organised and have them hanging and ready to go. Good on you. Or you may even be super special and have hand crafted a costume. Yay for you.

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Lego®Batman Movie Fun

We were recently invited down to London to see the HUGE Lego® Batman stunt set up on South Bank to mark the opening of the Lego® Batman movie which was released in cinemas on Saturday. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it (general life being to blame and the fact that I’m not quite brave enough to take the small children to London on my own just yet). The middle boy LOVES Lego® and all the movies and I would be in major trouble if he knew we could have seen this amazing display crafted by Duncan Titmarsh (Britain’s only official professional LEGO® builder) and his team at Bright Bricks. Take a look this fab creation which actually looks like Batman’s famous utility has crash-landed!

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So long January I Hate You

So we’re at the end of January. The recycling bin still clanks loudly when anything is chucked in it due to the amount of wine bottles that it houses and I am still sporting a little bit of a muffin top over my size 12 skinny jeans.

I hate you January.

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A Christmas Note To Self

So we’re well into December. Yay.  We’re all officially excited about Christmas (well I have been for a while now, I just kept it on the down low in fear of people telling me to fuck off and die). The decorations are up (don’t worry they went up post 1st December so no baby reindeer’s were drowned by raging elves*), the present buying is well under way so Christmas has well and truly begun. Excited – much!

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