Where is the tube?!

Bye bye London… hello Bristol! And… oh. Motherhood.

Very much almost a little bit certain my child only has half a brain

Posted on January 30, 2015


The kitchen, 6pm…


Me: “I’m going to talk to the doctor.”


Boyfriend: “Babe, seriously. Lots of toddlers don’t sleep that much.”


Me: “It says here that toddlers need lots of sleep for their brains to develop properly.”


Boyfriend: “I think it’s just a sign we’ve produced a really intelligent child. It’s a well known fact that intelligent people need less sleep.”


*both look over to Felix who is sat inside the recycling box shouting “Felix bang! Felix bang!” while hitting himself over the head with a plastic bottle.*


Me: “Hmmm.”


“Look – it says here they should get 12 to 13 hours. THIRTEEN HOURS. He’s barely doing half that! We’ve got to face facts – his brain is only being given half the chance to develop. If we don’t act soon, he is going to have a half-developed brain.”


Felix, toddling up and tugging determindely on all available trouser legs: “Ray ray?”


“Dadeee ray ray? Mummee ray ray?”


Boyfriend: “Not now love. I gave you lots of raisins earlier.”


Me: “You gave him raisins? But I gave him raisins.”


Boyfriend: “There you go! He’s playing us off against each other – clever boy!”


*pats a grinning Felix on the head*


Me: “Well he can’t have any more. Especially not while he’s refusing to brush his teeth. They will all rot and fall out. And then we’ll have to explain it to the people at nursery.”


“Oh God – and our mums.”


Boyfriend: “These ones fall out anyway don’t they?”


Me: “Not yet they don’t!”


Boyfriend: “Maybe this is just another sign he’s so intelligent. He knows these teeth are going to fall out, so he’s like what’s the point in brushing them.”


*both look over at Felix again who is now facedown on top of the full laundry basket giggling to himself because he thinks no one can see him*


Me: “I’m not massively behind your supreme intelligence theory, to be honest.”


Boyfriend: “Hold on… have you cut the back of his hair?”


*points to a particularly tufty patch on the back of Felix’s head*


Me: “It got so matted with yoghurt and play-doh it was forming a giant dreadlocks. I gave him a chocolate biscuit so he would sit still then I snipped it off. Oh God he’s had chocolate today too. Right. No more sugar for the foreseeable future. Even fruit.”


Boyfriend: “Well he might be on a diet, but I’m not.”


*opens the fridge*


Me: “No! Don’t let him see the….”


Boyfriend: “What?”


Felix: “Gwape! Gwape!”


Me, head in hands: “Too late.”


“No grapes now darling! If you’re still hungry, finish the rest of your dinner. Look salmon! It’s pink! And mmmmmm yummy broccoli… baby trees!”




Boyfriend: “Don’t blame you mate. Cold fish and cold broccoli. Blurgh.”


Me: *Silent glare*


Me: “Look. We have to be strong. Fish is very good for brains.”


*Look over to Felix who is so beside himself with grief that he’s now taken to violently smashing cold broccoli into his ears*


“His clearly needs all the help it can get.”


Leaving the house

Posted on January 16, 2015



Me: “Right, where are my keys?”


Felix: “KEY!”


*runs around in small circles flapping his arms like an excited penguin shouting “KEY KEY KEY KEY KEY!”


Me: “Now, if Im not mistaken, you had them last…”




*more running and flapping*




“Mummy key!”


Me: “Yes, mummy’s keys… where are they?!”


Felix: “Mummy key…


… Mummy sock… Mummy bag… MUMMY SHOE!”


Me: “Hmmm.”


Felix: “Mummy… BALL!”


Ten minutes of attempting to retrace the steps of an intensely hyperactive toddler locates keys inside a yoghurt pot in the recycling bin.


Me: “Ok. Got keys. Good. Now… shoes!”


Felix, pointing to his wellies: “Willy!”


Me: “Welly.”


Felix: *waggling small blue welly around while resuming penguin circles*




Me: “Ok yep let’s put the willies WELLIES on.”


*Small blue wellington boot hurtles across room*


Me: “No no – don’t take your welly off darling. Keep welly on, Felix. WELLY ON.”


*Second small blue welly hurtles across room. Followed by two socks*


Felix: “Uh oh. Willy gone.”


Me: “Yes my love. That’s because you took them off and threw them.”


Repeat whole welly-on-welly-off process twice.


Give up on footwear for the time being.


Me, mustering as much enthusiasm as possible to gee myself up for The Big Battle that is now imminent…


“Ok! Coat!”


The moment the coat touches Felix’s arm he flings himself to the floor in spasms of angry despair and starts beating his fists, legs and even head on the floor.


Me: “No, Felix, no it’s ok – don’t do… seriously, love, that must really hurt!”


Felix: “No no nooooooo no no no no noooooooo!”


Me: “Come on darling, it’s just a coat! It means you can go outside and be warm! It’s January – brrrrr!”


Attempt to pick him up, while he makes this as difficult as possible by switching on that superhuman toddler ability to transform their body into one huge flailing muscle – rather like a giant angry fish.


*head butts my head in the process which produces renewed angry wailing*


We are never going to leave the house. Ever.


After a two quick rounds of Wheels On The Bus to calm him down, and with the help of about 60 raisins, manage to get child into coat, and be-coated child strapped into buggy.


Felix, gleefully through mouthful of raisins: “Willy!”


Me: “Yep thats right darling – now we can put the wellies on! But we will put on socks first – ooooh look green ones!”


“No love – keep them on… don’t…”


*green sock hurtles over my head*


Me, putting his socks on again as quick as possible: “We need to put the socks on to put the wellies on my love!”


Felix: “Mummy sock!”


*Pulls of both socks and throws them as far as he possibly can* (side note: pretty sure he can already throw further than I can)


Felix: “Uh oh. Sock gone.”


Repeat socks-on-wellies-on-wellies-off-socks-off process three times.


Fifteen minutes later…


Neighbour, looking down at buggy and a somewhat disgruntled Felix: “Aw look at him all bundled up.”


“His arms look so tightly wrapped up in that blanket he can barely move!”


Me: “Uh huh! See you later!”

This week in numbers…

Posted on December 5, 2014

  • Minutes spent cleaning mould from the inside of a rubber duck – 42


  • Metres my child can effortlessly lob a spoonful of tomato-coated pasta – 2

(Closer to 2.5 if there’s an actual target such as handbag/white cardigan/me)


  • Amount of alcohol it takes to ensure I feel utterly, utterly hideous – 1 bottle of Prosecco & 3 cocktails


  • Days that hangovers of any significance now last for – 3


  • Packets of crisps consumed in one focused hangover-busting binge – 8

(4 x Ready Salted Walkers, 2 x Flame Grilled McCoys, 2 x Skips. Pleasing effort, however first year uni record of  15 packets of Wotsits during Home&Away/Neighbours hour remains untouched.)


  • Pounds Costa at the services charge for two highly average biscuits – 2.95

(Who spends three quid on two small biscuits?? WHO?!)


  • Minutes spent trying to get the Christmas tree to stand up straight – 65


  • Minutes spent unravelling Christmas tree lights – 115


  • Times Christmas was very very nearly cancelled during the 115 minutes of light unravelling – 4


  • Baubles Felix has removed from the Christmas tree and proceeded to hide in shoes, dishwasher, toilet etc – 18


  • Attempts Felix has made to scale the Christmas tree – 8


  • Attempts Felix has made to get inside the Christmas tree – 6


  • Christmas-tree-related tantrums that have occurred in our house since Wednesday – 24

(Felix – 19; Me – 5)


  • Pine needles sitting lifelessly at the foot of our increasingly bald Christmas tree – 700 (ish)

Christmas presents

Posted on November 21, 2014




The kitchen.


Boyfriend: “Hmmmm.”


“So, you’ve made… four. Four jars of chutney.”


Me: “Yes.


My confident vow to hand-make all our Christmas presents by the start of December is starting to look a little unlikely.


“I got the measurements a bit muddled.”


Boyfriend: “Just 25 out of 29 Christmas presents to go then…”


Me: “Yes.”


Boyfriend: “Well I say 25 to go, but is there actually anyone we can only give one very small jar of beetroot chutney to?”


Me: “Spiced beetroot and orange, actually.”


“And I… ummm. Hmm.”


Boyfriend: “So maybe, we still have 29 to go?”


Me: “I… yes maybe.”


“Kim’s making most of hers!”


Boyfriend: “Yes. But Kim can cook.”


Me: “I… yes.”


Boyfriend: “And sew.”


Me: “… yes.”


Boyfriend: “And is very organised.”


Me: “I have a spread she… oh ok yes I get your point.”


Stare back at the jars of chutney. One of them has a weird black bit floating in it. Will give that one to my brother.


Boyfriend: “Are you sure it’s not just better for all concerned if we just buy some already made presents… from a shop?”


Me: “Look it’ll be fine! Anyway, Christmas presents is a Pink Job.”


Boyfriend (smugly): “Well, yes.”


A few months ago, after dinner with far-more-domestically-organised friends, Boyfriend declared that we should split up house-related jobs to play to our strengths.


My jobs – Pink Jobs – include Misplaced Object Location, General Toddler Maintenance and All Present Purchasing.


His jobs – Blue Jobs – include Spider Extermination, Pot Plant Keeping Alive, and one that I’m always a little unsure we really need but it makes him so happy I daren’t say anything: the Bulk Purchasing of Unbelievably Good Value Food Offers. (After a recent impulse nip to Tesco he gleefully came home with 13 boxes of half-price cereal and 75 loo rolls.)


It had all seemed such a brilliant idea – especially when he manfully exclaimed “a Blue Job!” after next door’s cat shat on our artificial grass.


Boyfriend: “Out of interest, what else were you planning to make?


“For example… for my brother?”


*consult Homemade Christmas Presents 2014 spreadsheet*


Me: “Soap.”


Boyfriend looks less than convinced


Me: “What?! Everyone needs to be clean!”


Boyfriend: “You’re going to make soap?”


Me: “Yes – I found an article online.”


Boyfriend (now looking more amused than concerned): “Aaaand… my dad?!”


Me, confidently: “A scarf.”


Boyfriend: “Ok. But, you can’t knit.”


Me: “Yet.”


“There’s a YouTube tutorial…”


Boyfriend: “And… oh I don’t know – my sister?”


Me, a little less confidently: “Slippers?”


Boyfriend: “How??!”


Me: “This woman online made some out of wool… and… cardboard.”


“Honestly, they looked really warm!”


Boyfriend (more and more delighted): “Who else… er… your Mum?!”


Me: “Well…”


*ok here goes*


“I saw this programme…


Boyfriend: “Go on…”


“…where this lady collected little tiny pieces of drift wood from the beach…”


Boyfriend, grinning: “The beach… I see, do continue…”


Me: “…dried them out in her airing cupboard, dyed them using beetroot juice, and then made a matching necklace and bracelet out of them!”


*Loud snorts of laughter now emanating from Boyfriend*




“She also made earrings out of curtain tassels.”


*Boyfriend now unable to speak due to snorting* 


Boyfriend (composing himself): “And when were you planning on doing all this?”


Me: “…ummm… evenings?”


*Look down at list* There really are a lot of presents. And admittedly maybe didn’t think the beach bit through…


Me: “Maybe I could buy some things?”


After a short discussion agree to buy presents for all my family, all his family, and give chutney to neighbours – apart from the one with the black bit in. Both agree that can still go to my brother.


A tad disappointed but a lot more relaxed, settle down to watch True Detective  (Box Set Choosing = Blue Job)


A few minutes into episode… 


Boyfriend: “Just out of curiosity, what were you going to make me?”


Me: “You? Oh, I hadn’t got that far yet.”


*nonchalantly reach across to laptop and close article on How To Make a Revolving Drinks Cabinet Out Of 8 Plastic Bottles And a Bike Wheel*

Bedtime reading

Posted on November 14, 2014



Thursday November 13th. 10.05pm. Bed.


Me: “Ugh.”


“Got nothing to read.”




Look over at boyfriend who appears completely engrossed in my Kindle.


Me: “When can I have my Kindle back?”


Boyfriend: “Huh?”


Me: “My Kindle?”


Boyfriend: “Oh, er… am 18% through.”


Me: “HOW are you reading so slowly??”


In attempt to quash his sniggering at my penchant for fantasy books I suggested he read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.


This was two months ago.


Boyfriend: “I’m taking my time! It’s… interesting…”


Have distinct suspicion he’s hating it, but is determined not to quit.


Commendable, but the last book he didn’t really want to read took him over seven months.


Me: “Where are you up to? What’s going on?”


Boyfriend, looking slightly ruffled: “I’m at the bit where… Look, do you mind?! I’m reading!”




Me: “Oh I can’t even check Facebook!” (somehow lost phone during one of Felix’s epic public tantrums two days ago)


Boyfriend, not looking up: “mmmmmmm”






Boyfriend, huffing: “Read the many bits of newspaper you insist on buying both days of every weekend but never actually read?”


Me: “You can’t read a weekend paper after the weekend. Feels weird.”




Me: “Urgh.”


“Need to READ.”




Me: “Otherwise, I won’t be able to sleep.”


Boyfriend, as if suddenly aware of the inevitable knock-on effect of this: “Go get a book from the many books in the lounge you definitely have not read.”


Me: “There’s a reason I’ve not read them.”


“I don’t want to.”


Boyfriend: “Then why do we have them?”


Me: “They look nice! Cosy.”


Boyfriend: “Well the only book I have here is this…”


*holds up large hardback with ex-Man U boss Alex Ferguson’s head on it*


Me: “What is it?”


Boyfriend: “I’m joking. You won’t like it.”


Me: “Pass me the book.”


Boyfriend, visibly thrown: “But I’ve not read it yet. And you definitely won’t like it.”


Me, flicking through: “Ok I’ll read it. Thanks!”


Boyfriend: “This is ridiculous.”


Me, ignoring him: “OK – Introduction…”


Boyfriend: “It’s too big for you! Look how small your hands look.”


Me: “It says here he wanted to write ‘a story that people inside and outside the game would find interesting.’

See – that’s me! I am ‘outside the game’…”


Boyfriend: “No. I am outside the game. You are nowhere near the game. You don’t even know the game is on.”


5 minutes later and several pages into Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography.


Boyfriend seems far less into Kindle.


Me: *small cough*


Boyfriend: “What? What’s he said?”


Me, already a tad bored of reading a load of names I don’t know: “Oh, er, nothing much.”


“Well, actually, he just said that Rio Ferdinand is a watch enthusiast.”


Boyfriend: “Is he???”


More quietly, to himself, “I didn’t know that.”


Fifteen minutes later and have been on page 26 for what feels like a very very long time.


Tempted to skip to Chapter 5: Beckham, but if this is at all noticed boyfriend will actually burst with sheer delight and ridicule.


No. Better just ride this out for a few more minutes then go to sleep.


Boyfriend: “What’s going on?”


Me: “Oh.. well…”


scan, scan, scan, scan…


“Alan’s just talking about Glasgow and…”


Boyfriend: “Alex.”


Me: “Huh?


Boyfriend: “His name. It’s Alex.”


Me: “Yes that’s what I meant. Alex.”


Sir Alex…”


“Mr Ferguson…”


“The Fergs…”


Boyfriend: *rolls eyes*


Me: “How far are YOU now?”


Boyfriend: “Oh, er… 19%”


Me: “Right.”


Stare back at book. Alan is talking about someone nearly scoring… but not.


Boyfriend: “Shall we go to sleep?”


Me: “Yes please.”


Bad day in the (home) office

Posted on November 4, 2014



8am: Boyfriend dashes gleefully out of house, into car and speeds away for 3 days of “work events”.


8.05am: Right. No wallowing. Seize. The. Day.


First achievements: take child to nursery and pay National Insurance at post office on way.


8.07am: Where is National Insurance form?


Was on coffee table. But appears to have been replaced by a plastic tambourine and half a chewed oat cake.


Small blue shoe hurtles past my leg and disappears into the dishwasher.


Felix: “RAY RAAAAAAAAY!” (rough translation = I would like raisins. Immediately.)


Will find form later.


8.10am: Strap toddler into buggy and trudge up rain-battered hill to a soundtrack of increasingly furious “RAY RAAAAAAAY”s.


Mentally pen tweet to Cara Delevingne urging her to make umbrella hats fashionable. If anywhere, Bristol – surely?


8.20am: Wrench child from buggy, who is now screaming because he doesn’t want to get out.


Where the hell is his right shoe?


Ah yes. Dishwasher.


8.23am: Watch in disgust as angry toddler transforms into giggling angel in the arms of nursery lady.


8.25am: Stand like a lemon waiting for my child to look at me so I can wave goodbye.


8.30am: Give up and leave.


9am: Check emails.


Email from the inflight magazine editor who insists on calling me Rachel. She’d like a 2-page feature on Bristol’s sustainable food scene.

By lunch time.


9.30am-12pm: Bash out food article while becoming increasingly aware I forgot breakfast.


12.10pm: Phone rings – Felix’s nursery.


Nursery lady: “Felix seems to be touching his ear in discomfort. Is it ok to give him Calpol?”


Me (without thinking): “Oh god go for it – he lives off the stuff.”


Nursery lady: “Oh… ok.”


“Also, while I have you on the line, we can only find one of his shoes.”


Me: “Oh yes – he only had one on today.”


Nursery lady: “He came to nursery with one shoe?”


Me: “Yes.”


Then, feeling like I need to expand but not really sure how…


“His Dad’s not here.”


Oh god that sounds all wrong.


Nursery lady, suddenly sounding very sympathetic: “Ah ok, well, glad we’ve not lost it.”


Me: “It’s in the dishwasher!”


Nursery lady, laughing awkwardly: “Dishwasher! Ha!”


“Well, goodbye!”


12.20: Make lunch with contents of fridge.


12.30pm: Sit down to rather yellow lunch of scrambled eggs, half a tin of sweetcorn and a Babybel.


12.33pm: Picture boyfriend mocking my crap lunch-making skills.


12.35pm: How dare he laugh when he’s probably eating steak and drinking cocktails right now – almost certainly with pretty girls.


12.40pm: Realise it might be a little unreasonable to get annoyed with an absent person’s hypothetical reaction to my lunch.


12.42pm: I bet he is with pretty girls though.




Open it to see a flustered-looking delivery man.


Delivery man: “Phillips, yeah?”


Me: “No, sorry.”


Delivery man: “Is this 23b?”


Me: “It is, but…”


Delivery man: “Then this is yours.”


Tries to hand me a huge dome-shaped parcel


Me, not taking it: “But that’s not the name of anyone who lives here.”


Delivery man: “They might have got the name wrong.”


Me: “Or, the address.”


Delivery man: “Look, are you going to sign for this or not?”


Me: “It’s not mine.”


Delivery man: “Maybe someone else who lives here ordered it. Sign for it and ask them.”


Me: “They definitely didn’t.”


Delivery man: silently staring at parcel looking slightly sad and confused


Me: “I’m… I’m really sorry.”


Delivery man: sighs and goes back to van


12.32pm: Email from inflight magazine editor.


“Hi Rachel,

Thanks so much for your article. I’m afraid we’ve had a request from a client to use these pages for advertising now, so unfortunately we can’t include your piece. It might fit into an issue next year though. I’ll definitely keep you in mind. Regards.”


12.45pm: Angrily make tea.


1pm: OH GOD it’s 1pm and I’ve so far earned NOTHING.


1.15pm: Make more tea.


1.30pm: Start on story I’m working on for a children’s reading scheme.


1.35pm: What rhymes with fluffy?


1.40pm: Huffy, stuffy… muffy?


1.45pm: Desperately apologetic phone call from accounts department of publishing company who’ve not paid an invoice I sent in July because someone somewhere along the line spelled Davis Davies and sent the whole system spinning into a state of utter confusion.


2.15pm: Make tea.


2.20pm: Turn on radio for motivational music injection.


*Enthusiastic burst of chair dancing*


2.23pm: Spill entire mug of tea – narrowly missing laptop, but utterly soaking paperwork including… National Insurance form!


Form rips in half as I peel it off desk.


2.45-3.30pm: Flick aimlessly between Facebook, Asos and Twitter.


3.35pm: DO. SOME. WORK.


3.45pm: Someone, somewhere, has made a photo album of pieces of cheese that slightly resemble European countries.


4pm: Ok. Housework. Just get something DONE.


4.30pm: Bins out; washing hung; dishwasher on.


Oh shit – shoe.


Dive into steaming dishwasher to retrieve one baking-hot and decidedly shrivelled tiny shoe.


5pm: Decide to just accept the utter unproductively of day and collect Felix early from nursery.


5.20pm: A grinning Felix, his top half covered almost entirely in yoghurt and pink paint, flings himself lovingly at me as I walk in. Aaaah.


Am told he’s had a “very productive day!”


Nursery lady: “He’s painted you a picture of a parrot!”


*hands me piece of paper with three pink splodges on it*


“And he’s done lots of holiday role play!”


On closer questioning, discover “holiday role play” means he spent an hour and a half putting on and taking off a pair of sunglasses.


5.25pm: Felix dissolves into spasms of sheer despair and grief when he realises we are going home.


5.30-6pm: A relatively calm bath time comes to an abrupt end when I won’t let him play with a razor.


Somewhere between 6pm & 6.30pm: Both fall asleep watching In The Night Garden.

Clothing dilemmas of 30-somethings who don’t get out much

Posted on October 31, 2014



Boyfriend: “See, that outfit is nice.”


Look over at his phone to see a picture of Kanye West in a bow tie.


Me: “mmmm.”


Me: “I just wonder if Kanye is the right sartorial role model for someone who thinks wearing stripy pants is a risky fashion statement?”


Boyfriend: “But we’ve got weddings. A bow tie for weddings is different… unexpected!”


Me: “mmmm.”


Boyfriend: “mmmm.”


Boyfriend: “What are you going to wear?”


Me: “Oh, I’ve not really given it much thought.”


“But, I did happen to buy this dress, these shoes, this bag, this necklace and this headband…”


*pull out neatly assembled wedding outfit from back of wardrobe*


“So probably that.”


Boyfriend: “Woah.”


“That is a lot of sequins.”


Me: “Yes. But I don’t get to go out much do I?”


“So I when I do go out, I might as well go out out – you know?”


Boyfriend: “mmmm.”


*goes back to flicking through images of chiselled men in bow ties*


Me: “Oooh I went shopping today and bought a hat!”


*whip out hat from behind the bedroom chair where I store the unnecessary impulse purchases to be gradually phased into wardrobe without him noticing*


Me: “Like it?”


*Said as a question, but meant more as a direction*


Boyfriend: “I don’t love it, if I’m honest.”


Me: *silence*


Boyfriend: “What?! You asked!”


Me: *silence*


Boyfriend: “It’s just a bit… quirky.”


Me: “It’s a navy blue woollen hat.”


Boyfriend: “I’m just being honest. If I’m honest then when I say things look nice you will know they actually do.”


Me: “Well I can’t wear it now because I know you don’t like it. But I can’t take it back because I’ve taken the tags off.”


“So I’ve just wasted £20. Great.”


Boyfriend: “You asked!!”


Me: “I don’t wear earrings because the dangling freaks you out. I don’t wear lace because it reminds you of dead people. And now navy blue hats are too quirky. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO WEAR??”


Boyfriend: “You looked nice the other day.”


Me: “When?”


Boyfriend: “I can’t remember, but you were wearing jeans.”


Me: “I’m going to bed.” *stomp out of room*


*stomp back in again a few seconds later*


“Which jeans?”

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