I’m sorry, but I no longer feel defiant.

As our country begins to piece itself back together after yet another terrifying and devastating act of terrorism, I have been watching the familiar pattern of defiance emerge. Candid quotes that love will conquer appear all over facebook, vigils take place, and the PM always, always, holds a COBRA meeting at 9am the following day.

In the past, when terrorists have struck around the globe I have read and  listened to Bloggers, Journalists and celebrities vow to live life to the fullest, refusing to let this rancid disease dictate how or where they live their lives. I have always fist pumped along with the best of them, not giving my next trip to the cinema, bar or concert a second thought.

But this time is different.

And this isn’t something I am proud to admit.

This time, this time has truly frightened me.

Manchester is too soon after Westminster, too soon after Brussels, too soon after Stockholm, too soon after Paris.

This time I am letting these horrific events make a difference to how we live our life as a family.

I know I should be strong, and should be shouting defiance along with the best of them from the rooftops, but this has scared me. It’s scared me most because I am a Muma and it is my job and instinct to protect my babies.  Despite my best efforts, these monsters are making me question that protection, and think again about how we lead our lives for the foreseeable future.

Crowded places will make me feel unsafe now: if somewhere as iconic and presumably hot on security as Manchester arena – the largest of it’s kind in the UK can be attacked, what hope do festivals, theme parks, cinemas, shopping centres… the list is endless, have?

For the first time ever I thanked God that we live in a tiny town that no one has ever heard of and bares absolutely no relevance culturally or politically to anyone. It feels safe here, and I feel like I can protect our young girls who are only 3 and 6 in this little piece of ‘nowhere’.

It makes me angry to think that when we plan our summer holiday trips this year my first thoughts will be ‘What is the terror threat level?’ and ‘Will it be safe?’

I can’t help it, I am just being honest.

We are due to go to Funk The Family festival in Hove Park in June. It sounds like a brilliant day, our kids would LOVE it. I’m even running a competition for tickets! But I don’t know if I can go.

I know I’ll be scanning the crowds, questioning anything that seems a little ‘off’, basically acting like a paranoid loonie.

With the terror threat level raised to critical  (I’m not entirely sure what this actually means- but it doesn’t sounds great does it?!) I just dont think I can put my girls into a potentially risky situation, if I have the choice. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that I can shield my babies from these monsters forever, their attacks are so random who knows what is around the corner. But at this very moment all I can think is that I must try, as best as I can, to avoid putting them in harms way. And yes, for us, that does mean avoiding crowded places for a while.

How on earth are we going to tackle this Terrorist Cancer? It keeps on spreading and growing. Neither have a cure, and all I can think is, ‘Where’s next’. 

WIN A Family Ticket to ‘FUNK THE FAMILY’ Festival In Hove Park!

I find myself in slightly alien territory: writing about something as cool as a festival is slightly out of my comfort zone.

You see, if truth be told, I am a festival virgin. 

I have watched my friends anticipate ticket realise dates for the likes of Glasto and Reading, and always wondered what the attraction was. A boozy mud bath? Festivals were not featuring high on my list of must-dos.

However, and it’s a big however… what about a festival for a day? No tent required. A festival that you needn’t find a babysitter for because your children are actually the guests of honour? A festival that doesn’t need a nose peg to avoid 3 days post shower bods. But a festival that still appreciates a grapes nectar… Hmmmm.

My ears pricked up:

Funk The Family

(Usually sentences I utter like this don’t include an ‘N’. But I was willing to hear more…)

On Sunday 18th June we have been invited to find our Festival mojo at the renowned ‘Funk The Family’ festival in Hove Park. I’m going to admit it – I can’t wait! The line up looks epic, and best of all, once you are there the endless list of children’s activities are FREE. Hallelujah!

I can spend the day just saying ‘yes’. Instead of consoling 2 distraught children whose lives depended on One.Last.Go. 

Here’s an idea of the huge array of kids stuff going down:

Cirque Du Funk, Golden Lotus Fencing, Clown Zaz, The Circus Project, Tree of Life, The Amazing Art Cart, Story Tent, and Micro Scooters Wacky Races. To name but a few.

I am clueless when it comes to the world of Music, but I am assured that the line up will ensure plenty of dancing ‘Mum n Dad style’. Well, I can’t argue with that.

For more details please visit the Funk The Family website, and of course to snap up those last remaining tickets!

If you would like to join us at this one of a kind Festival (you don’t actually have to hang out with us – don’t worry!) click the link below and enter this fab competition!

 WIN ‘Funk the Family’ Festival Family ticket worth £80!

The winner will be announced on Friday 26th May!

fnk
 

Please note that we will be attending this festival courtesy of Funk The Family. 
#sp

The Sweet Spot of Parenting

Did you know I have a 6 year old? I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t realised: my writing is so heavily dominated by the antics of my ToddlerMonster, that my ‘big’ girl hardly gets a mention.

Well this one is for you my dear Darcie, in the week you have turned 6.

I am a parent of 2 halves; half of me is riding out the Toddler years in all of their warped glory. The other half is enjoying what can only be described as ‘the sweet spot’ of parenting.

You see, age 6 really is the holy grail of parenting.  I have been thinking for a while now that my mini-me and childhood doppelganger is at a golden age, and I don’t want it to end.

I couldn’t count the amount of times I have been told variations along the theme of ‘It’ll be over in the blink of an eye’, and I have muttered (not quietly) That it’s not effing quick enough, as the smell of the latest missed-potty-poo explosion still lingers on my fingers.

Perhaps those ‘well wishers’ were meaning that THIS bit will be over in the blink of an eye: The Sweet Spot, age 6. Ahh, that makes more sense…

An age when an innocence prevails, and that naked trampoline time won’t get you arrested.

An age when a Saturday night means X factor and popcorn with dead pan discussions over who Simon should have sent home, instead of performing Ninja-rolls out of a darkened bedroom.

An age of sitting and concentrating on colouring, beads, painting, sticking and all things crafty without looking quite like a glitter yetti by the end of it.  However, maintaining a strong intolerance for clearing up doesn’t change. 

An age when I’m still a mummy shaped hero who can solve the worlds problems through my daughter’s eyes.

An age when Mummy still, just about, knows best (even when I absolutely have no idea what on earth I am talking about). Hanging on my every word, this gullible innocence is priceless.

An age where school means just school, and homework is weekly but minimal. We don’t argue over homework- it’s not yet important enough to warrant such effort (Sorry Mr T!). In fact we very often don’t even remember to do it. There are no consequences for a 6 year old. 

An age where their enthusiasm is infectious. The squeals of delight as the days are counted down to a holiday, birthday, or the Xmas bomb make the copious planning and pounds worthwhile.  Nothing is more important to a 6 year old than fun, the age of truly letting the good times roll.

When the going gets tough with the ToddlerMonster I have to remind myself that I won’t always know the dry cleaners weekend plans as I see him on an almost weekly basis to wash yet another wee-soaked pure wool sofa cushion.

It won’t always be like this, the magic 6 is waiting just around the corner.  I tell myself this on a loop. Well, a 3 year corner, gulp: better pass the Woo Woos.

Our prize for weathering the sleepless nights, the unauthorised co-sleeping, and the many many demonstrations of ‘spirit’ – (usually made at the Lidl check out where we all know there isn’t enough time to so much as right a wedgie in that bagging area let alone pacify the ‘Arched Back ‘n’ Kick’ sequence.) The Prize, is age 6.

Darcie, I wish I could capture your imagination, that infectious dark laugh and bottle your needy cuddles. I know age 6 is once again, ‘just a phase’, and I will miss it when it passes. For now though, let’s just build dens and be silly: growing up can wait a while longer.

 

ofollow” title=”Tammymum”>Tammymum

 

Bill’s Bill’s Bill’s: The restaurant not the wonga.

There is something to be said for hitting up a restaurant chain rather than taking a chance on an unknown non-tried non-tested eatery when you have small kids in tow. I’m all for hipster independents but somehow I just can’t find the courage to branch out. When you find a restaurant or cafe which you can just about bare to sit in public with your whiny, fussy, fidgety critics, it’s worth repeat visits. Even better if that chosen restaurant or cafe is a chain – wherever you are, it can be relied on. You will know the score. Do not deviate from what works, never shake up the system… This is my dining out mantra with my under 5’s.

This is why I could recite the menu at Bill’s to you. Ask me anything?! Blueberry pancakes: check. The Bill’s awesome breakfast (no halloumi sides allowed until midday) is always a total delight, guaranteed to put me in a good mood. Bacon is done extra crispy on request. The Bread basket assortment can indeed be made up entirely of Pain au Chocolat for your precious 5 year old. Viola! It seems to be no problemo. That is what I like, no, what I LOVE about Bills: Great food, no hassles.


I feel quite hip and cool when I’m in there too – I imagine this is what all the haunts surrounding Borough market must look like these days. Selling produce on crate shelving, mis matched battered chairs around scrubbed wooden tables. Giant metal tea pots that  sort of go together but never 2 the same., cutlery in old battered looking tins in the middle the tables and chalk boards suspended from the exposed ceilings: Feeling totally current right now…!!

Quirky: In just the right dose to be acceptable with 2 minors in tow.  

They still have highchairs and a kids menu but somehow this place doesn’t make me feel like I’m sitting in a germ infested clinical box, like many ‘child friendly’ cafes I have sipped weak coffee in, seem to do. Somehow the staff seem to enjoy waiting on children, the novelty factor clearly didn’t wear off on them at 6.10am that morning. They are fresh and ready to appease the demands which are muttered – or screamed. For try as I might, there is no in between. (The kids that is – I have a perfectly normal decibel level… when in public.)

Our latest Bills breakfast sesh was on Lila’s 3rd birthday. Talk about spoiled, the girls were each given a flower at first, then along came a couple of stickers (proper sub-5 year old goals) before out of nowhere our Topshop-cool of a waitress produced 2 beautifully wrapped bags of chocolate drops. I’m not saying this is the norm for birthday shenanigans – it might be! But it prompted me to shout about what a blooming great all rounder Bill’s is.


I don’t know many places that I would happily take the kids too, AND have a boozy night out with my girlfriends. Oh yes, it’s happened at Bill’s. Their dinner menu is gorgeous – with plenty of halloumi on it at this time of the day! There are cocktails and prosecco to fest on, and a candlelit atmosphere that flatters even the most trowelled on contour-less make up (that’s me – this place rocks after dark!).

Our favourites are the Lewes (the original and legendary 1st Bill’s), Eastbourne -which is brand new, but somehow looks like it has been there for decades with its distressed interior) and Brighton, which I struggle to get a table in it’s so popular! There are over 60 Bill’s around, so there is bound to be one near to you!

Thanks Bill – we totally dig your vibes.


(This post was in no way sponsored or affiliated with Bill’s – it’s just me, telling you, what a blooming cracker of a family friendly shindig it is.)  

#MumaWin No.1

Welcome to my new weekly series (actually it’s not just new, it’s my FIRST ever series..! I’m feeling a little bit commitment phobe about the whole thing to be honest). I felt it was about time we showed parenting who’s boss: and started to shout about how we nailed the hardest job on earth each week. This is entirely new territory for me, finding faults is much easier and far more plentiful in my day to day life!

It’s a dog eat dog world out there, it’s Mum V Kids, and for the most part they are scoring all of the points. Well, the tables are going to turn: I shall be seeking out a #MumaWin each week. A glorious moment where I reign supreme over my kids who seem to be sponsored by Duracell.

I am constantly chasing my tail and seem to always arrive in the wake of disaster just seconds short of foiling the shitstorm, despite the girls being surgically attached to my hip. How does that work?!

Muttering “{BIG SWEAR}, another parenting fail” under my breath is a constant. It does seem to be my daily chant actually. How did  Vicks become smeared all over the carpet? And in which millisecond that my back was turned did ToddlerMonster manage to go nuclear, thanks to a slight glow stick mayday… in her mouth?

I don’t want the corner stone of my week to be blighted by organic-less food guilt, and loosing my shit in the playground in front of ‘Sorted Muma’ because I am decidedly Unsorted.

So here we have it: #MumaWins is born.

Every week I’ll share mine if you share yours… leave your Mum Boss #MumaWins in the comments or on the facebook Instagram or Twitter thread. I need your inspiration, let’s show these tinkers that Mumas got it all goin’ on.

To the end of Parenting Fails!!

***

I’ll keep this as brief as I can:

I’ll be honest, I want to tell you about how I managed to clean out ALL of my kitchen cupboards at a rate of 1 a night last week. Now this might not sound that exciting, but to me this is proper Muma Porn. My cupboards are now neat little pintrest worthy joys.

But I felt that if I named this as my #MumaWin then I would have to also confess that this resulted in 10 bin bags full of out of date food (FYI flour has a use by date?! Who knew!), some by 2 years, which leads to further embarrassment as our new kitchen is only a year old. Yes: I moved and stored out of date food, and then put it back into my brand new shiny kitchen!! There was also the little issue of unearthing the sweet potato which had taken on a more hummus like consistency at the bottom of my ‘anything goes’ cupboard.

Some of those bin bags were full of plastic sippy cups with no lids, and lids with no sippy cups. Tuppleware bottoms and Tuppleware tops, but not pairs. Rusty baking trays, which are health hazards. Which leads me on nicely to confess that I’m pretty sure the food standards bods would shut me down. Never again will I turn my nose up at those eateries with just 1* on their hygiene certificates. For that is 1* more than I would have been awarded…

So my first #MumaWin goes to my beautifully clean – even bleached kitchen cupboards. No more out of date roulette for us, no more ducking out of the way each time the cupboard of plastic doom is opened. Oh no. This is a #MumaWin and a half, not least because I did it with the assistance of my 2 & 5 year olds! (Please don’t report me for child labour- they thought it was fun! Honest…)

So it’s over to you – what’s your #MumaWin of the week?

Mummuddlingthrough
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Christmas unwrapped

I’m currently drowning in this week of Sundays. I have no idea what day of the week it is, what time of day it is (although it’s dark again – did today even happen?!) I’m assuming the kids don’t have to be back to school yet as my husband is still hanging about.

I feel all out of sync and disconnected from the rest of the world, so thought I’d tell you a little bit about how Christmas went down. All hopes are pinned on feeling all Guns a Blazing for 2017 by the time I finish writing this post…

Sunday 25th December 2016

We were up at 5.30am on Christmas dawning. I mean, you wouldn’t want to waste a single minute of this glorious day would? Not if you are 2 & 5. This is the day you live for. This is it, The Big One.

“PRESENTS!” they screamed. and screamed as we desperately tried to sshhhhh them as we crept downstairs, one eye open, to save the whole household waking up at this ungodly hour.

(We tried to remind our greedy little treasures of the true meaning of Christmas, it wasn’t washing. So we stuck the entire 2 & a half ft long Nativity scene that nanny had knocked up the evening before, right in front of the Turkey; Nazareth vibes.)

This was our 6th Christmas as parents, but each time I become more gobsmacked at the months of planning, spending and wrapping which are literally ripped apart within seconds. Toys and trinkets that I’d trawled the likes of highbrow Tiger and Claire’s for, were disregarded in favour of the next shiny package.

I felt like I was directing traffic (and yes hand signals were used):

“STOP!”

“What was that gift?”

“Who gave that to you?”

“STOP!”

“Unwrap!”

“Not you, you. Lila, YOU unwrap”

“WAIT!”

I wanted to tape my mouth up and shove myself in a cupboard by the end of our 3rd Christmas. These were not the dulcet tones of the hip cool Muma I’d like to think I was…!

Once they had finished their gift massacre, came the cries for help with mission impossible packaging. Actual screwdrivers were needed to free Percy the Train from his cardboard prison. Why do toy companies hate parents so much?

If it needs batteries, please Mattel n friends, just provide them. Where’s your festive spirit? I’ve just spent hundreds of pounds on half a ton of plastic, the least you could do is help me over the finish line here.

In other news, the whole giving thing was a bit hit and miss this year.

We had one very unimpressed nearly-teen exclaim:

“This wasn’t what I wanted. This wasn’t on my list!”

Okey dokey then. I cringed.

and one,

“It doesn’t suit us, do you have the receipt?”

{insert pissed off emoji}

It doesnt seem to make a difference how much effort you put into the gift selection process.

***

The wrapping paper had been cleared narrowly avoiding the need for an excavator. The bird had stuffed us, and yuletide arguments could be heard between the girls as they fought  over the ride-on fire truckthat  ToddlerMonster had been given.

Everything was on point. Christmas Day was as it should be. 

We were all weary from being all jazz hands ‘Christmas And On It’ for the past 14 hours: At last it was time for The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special. We are massive GBBO fans in our house and this was set to be a little personal highlight. 

It turned out to be a bit tragic though didn’t it. I thought past winners would be queuing up to go back for the last ever, ever show and have a bit of a festive knees up chez Hollywood & Berry. It seems they weren’t. We got Norman and his shortbread instead, it was more like the GBBO rejects. Damn you BBC. Damn you.

And then in the blink of an eye it’s all over – unless you are like us and have 3 Christmas with each side of your family. In which case it’s several blinks and many many glasses of bubbles.

I know a lot of people will be glad to see the back of 2016, but I am thankful for it. I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I am no longer pondering what I am going to do with my life. I have a direction, I have a passion and I have ambition. I am going to write.

2017 will see me having a 3 and 6 year old. That’s like, proper Motherhood ages isn’t it? I’m in the midst of it then. I can no longer be the newbie Muma seeking Rookie as my excuse, ‘Opps I forgot the wipes’. It will just be me, being disorganised…or worse – lazy.

Happy New Year Mumas – have a goodie, let’s go kick 2017’s butt.

 

 

 

 

Drusillas Winter Wonderland Review

Drusillas has kicked off our festive celebrations in spectacular fashion!

This award-winning zoo has always been a fixture on our December calender since our little girls were babies. Drusillas seems to up the ante on its renowned Winter Wonderland year on year. Adding to its huge collection of impressive illuminations is a whole host of Christmas goodness. Drusillas is bound to leave the you feeling so festive that even your pile of Christmas cards waiting to be written shall no longer seem like such a chore (although a substantial glass of mulled wine is still  advisable!)


Meeting Father Christmas

The girls and I took our friends Amy, who writes at Bean Musing , and her daughter along on Saturday to join in the fun. We  headed straight for Father Christmas’ cosy cottage, why wait?! We were met by Mrs Christmas and her elves before being taken into meet the man of the moment. I think at this point I was probably more excited than the girls. Each time we have taken them to meet Father Christmas I always get embarrassingly emotional! I probably need to get a grip, but I can’t help but wonder at their little faces. They are totally in awe of this movie star figure, sitting right in front of them. Despite of course, my toddler repeating that she didn’t want to go anywhere near Father Christmas and that in fact, she would be perfectly fine standing right next to the door thank you very much. The elf and FC made a great team and looked like the real deal. There were no fake beards and cheap suits here: right before our eyes was a miracle on 34th Street Santa. I just managed to stop myself muttering “I believe”.

“Is he real?” whispered Darcie.

“Oh yes, he is most definitely real”

img_0528

Did I mention that the gift is gorgeous?! The girls were thrilled to reveal a cuddly Husky dog, just like the ones they were about to meet in the real. They didn’t let go of them for the rest of the day. It makes a nice change to have a decent, good quality Santa gift. I don’t mean that in an ungrateful way, but we have paid through the roof for some SuperTat in the past.

Fabulous festivities

The Husky dogs and reindeer had taken up residence  right next to the huge sleigh scene in the beautifully decorated festive square. We were able to go straight in and cuddle up with these gorgeous Husky dogs before looking in on Donner and Dasher who seemed right at home being the center of attention.

img_0529
You won’t believe what happened next…

We had some time before the illuminations show began, so headed over to the Zoo. The girls love the stamper book activity and ran around searching for animals. The meer cats are usually my high point, however today that high was handed to the penguins…

We had coincidentally just arrived as the penguins were being fed. Despite my frozen toes we decided to stay and watch, and I’m glad we did. Not only because the Penguin keeper was lovely and very knowledgable about her water babies, but because of what came next. A silence came over the enclosure as the keeper invited one of us 8 in the audience to, “Ask the question”. before we had a chance to exchange confused glances, the man standing next to us proposed to his girlfriend! Thankfully she said yes, their 2 children clapped, so we all clapped, with open mouths, min you, the penguins couldn’t have given a monkeys!

What a moment to share, huge congratulations to them. Could there be a Drusillas wedding on the cards?!

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Back to the order of the day, and laden down with chips and hot chocolate we really got into the festive swing of things as the square came to life. Some of the best known christmas classics, filled the square, whilst the lights dazzled. Polar bears shone, ice caps sparkled and reindeer twinkled brightly. We couldn’t help but smile, sing and bop along with our little girls. It really did look beautiful, and yes, I may have welled up a little bit more – I can’t help it!

img_0435
Hurrah for Drusillas

Drusillas is a truly great day out at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas. They have pulled out all of the stops this year to get you in the festive spirit.

Don’t forget the Zoo, Hello kitty rides, the vast adventure playgrounds, indoor play, Thomas train ride, and the Maze are open for you to explore as usual!

Drusillas doesn’t do bored

img_0382

Visit the Drusillas website

Book tickets 

Drusillas Park, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5QS