I never thought I would utter these words, but Madonna and me have something in common. We both had a topple in public. Granted, Madonna’s crowd was about a zillion deep and all eyes were on her, my crowd comprised of hundreds of freezing parents clapping at their offspring´s graduation. Also, mine was in a cathedral , not a swanky venue and I don’t think anybody noticed mine, not even my Mum who had been kindly seated behind a pillar.

I had been terrified about falling off the rickety stage , but I needn’t have worried about that as what actually happened was that in my relief at receiving my scroll (is that what it’s even called?) and not crashing to the ground , I leant forward , tripped over my feet and watched in stilted slow motion horror as my cap flew off my head and kept going as if it had accidentally lost its way from Hogwarts.

Cue, me stretching out like a drunk octopus and somehow managing with a bit of a mix between a run and a star jump catching it before it fell with a thud. I was ever so slightly mortified. My “friends” were highly amused and still are to this day.

Madonna, however, handled it with grace and managed to carry on unscathed. If that had been a toddler who had toppled down the stairs, they would have;

a: thrown the world`s largest most vocal tantrum, pointing fingers at everybody and screeching until everything , everywhere came to a standstill.

b: laughed uncontrollably and pulled everybody else down too.

c: hopped back on stage and done it over and over and over again.

d: probably found something to eat whilst on the ground and discovered a secret tunnel.

e: managed to locate you in the crowd and blame you for letting them wear the cape. After all, it is always your fault, remember?




The boys are drinking their bedtime milk from champagne flutes. I’m not Hyacinth Bouquet and the champagne flutes are in fact plastic and for the record, I don’t actually know how they got to be in our house. But our dishwasher has not read its job description and has broken down for the umpteenth time this week, leaving a kitchen which resembles the leaning tower of Pisa with a conservatory built on the back.

Yes, I know I could wash up and I have, but it`s the pile that keeps giving and I am now tempted to test the hair washing theory, the one where you don’t wash your hair for months and then it self cleans and you are left with the glossiest of manes, hopefully it applies to plates boasting congealed remnants of lunches gone-by.

In my most fantastical of dreams, my house resembles one on Wisteria Lane, (possibly Bree’s) pristine and smelling of freshly baked goods and exotic flowers, unfortunately real life is the stuff of nightmares and is much more hysteria than wisteria and smells of burnt and wee thanks to two boys who find it hilarious to aim for the sky rather than the bowl . But for some excruciatingly dull reason, I am always stressing about it. Always. I feel like I am constantly cleaning and tidying up a la ground hog day, but to no avail. I know two small children doesn’t help the mix, but I think it´s me, I think I’m just not very good at the whole cleaning malarkey. When my house is spotless and shiny (in my eyes) it probably looks like a before shot on How clean is your house?

Thankfully, my children don’t share this worry and if it was up to them, this is how they would maintain that “we live in the movies” look.

Spilt drink on the floor
Grab nearest item off clothes horse (big socks work really well) and rub half-heartedly until it’s slippy, but you can’t see it. If you are pernickety and want to dry it, then use a skirt or dress, usually found on radiator. It gives it a nice glean and a magazine finish.

No need to worry about mountains of clothes to be washed, just turn top/ trousers around and then inside out – magic. You instantly have 4 wears out of said garment, and nobody will notice it’s the same as each new stain and mark will add a certain “where did he get that?” envy to it.

Don’t bother picking up food that’s fallen off your plate, it’s always good to have snacks to hand 24/7, there is nothing tastier than a 3 (week) day old fishfinger or bean.

Lego must be left strewn on the floor at all times, no matter where it is. At all times.

Collect as many as you possibly can, hoard them. It’s all about plastic, the brighter and noisier, the better. Never throw or give anything away, you can never have too many broken kinder surprise toys. If there are complaints, just brush them under the sofa; nobody ever looks there anyway.

Just last week, we were at the doctors looking at a very glossy magazine, with pictures of houses I think I should probably live in, and O pointed at an exquisitely gorgeous pristine house with an exquisitely clean family standing in front of it. “Why are they so grumpy?” he asked, genuinely concerned. “Is it because they haven’t got a sandpit?” he said scouring the photos, shaking some sand out of his hair.
Evidently, sparkling cleanliness = grumpiness and misery. In that case, I say bring on the dirt and the huge grubby faced smiles. Always.

This is obviously a stock photo and NOT a photo of the pile of clothes I have to fold and put away...

This is obviously a stock photo and NOT a photo of the pile of clothes I have to fold and put away…




1. When your (any) child says “I don’t want any more of this lasagna/ biscuit/ squashed banana” Do not under any circumstances finish it off. Leave it out on the side for at least three and a half days, as the second it hits your belly or the dark depths of the bin, there will be a loud wail and a monumental tantrum as you fail to produce said biscuit or congealed banana.

2. Nosebleeds; I am actually considering getting a tattoo of the correct procedure. Every time there is a nosebleed (where does ALL that blood come from?!), I go blank, trying to remember if it’s head up or down, blow or squeeze, flip child upside down or sideways or take a photo for a future blog post.

3. Nappies; Never ever check whether your child has done a poo or a wee by putting your finger in their nappy. Believe me.

4. Don´t ever talk about how well your child gets on with other children to anybody, don’t even accommodate the thought. The moment this smugness leaves your mouth, your child will be pummeling all the other ones to the ground, followed by a star jump on their bellies for good measure.

5. In the same vein, never say out loud “No, they haven’t wet the bed for ages” (Cue; a night of changing sheets and beds and you all end up sleeping in the kitchen) or “No, they haven’t been ill this term”; Congratulations! You have just invited the plague to visit your house.

6. Don’t entrust your child with a secret of any size, unless you live on a desert island only populated by banana trees or want all and sundry and their dog´s dog to know it.

7. There is absolutely NO point in cleaning your house, ever. Not even the most hidden corner of it, not until your children are at least 37 years old.




Whilst pretending I didn’t have a zillion things to do today on my day off, I stumbled across This Morning where they were talking about Mental Health Illnesses in aid of #Time to talk , #Time to change in order to end Mental Health stigma. I have been toying with the idea of blogging about my personal experience of depression and anxiety for a while. Apologies if this post makes you puke in your shoes, weep from tears of boredom or just weep, but if just one person reads it and can relate to it then that´s really quite awesome.

About six months ago when it all got a bit too much for me, I went to see a doctor who diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and lovingly reprimanded me for not seeking help previously and for “being strong for too long”. I was promptly put on pills and started seeing a psychologist, who is the absolute bees knees. Nothing I say is met with a curly wurly cuckoo sign and no eyes are rolled. Anything goes.

When you become a parent, in my case a Mum, I think there is an unspoken self inflicted pressure to just keep on going, if you let your guard down then you’ve failed. If you can’t keep it all together then how are your kids supposed to? I now think that with my second born, I had undiagnosed post natal depression and because at the time I didn’t have a huge support network here, I just plodded on dealing with all the other things going on, a sibling diagnosed with cancer and the four of us being temporarily homeless and living in a relative´s home which although was obviously a blessing, was also an incredibly difficult time. I was also incredibly lonely. I am so fortunate to have the most wonderful group of friends and brilliant family, but when all communications are done by phone and the only way of seeing them is by jumping on a plane, it’s not the most practical of solutions. So you get on with it, burying yourself in nappies and birthday parties.

You perfect your brave face, the homesickness grows and grows, but you muster on. From fear that somebody might dare suggest you need a break, time out to relax and remove the breakfast from your hair. But the idea terrifies you, so you push on and push it away. The years tumble by, the boys get older and their needs change, but you are still able to hide behind them. Everything gets too much, a phone call brings you out in a sweat, anything anybody says that might hint at a bit of criticism means you spend the day crying and feeling useless. You make plans to go out, then somebody with the intention of encouraging you makes you feel suffocated by the pressure to god forbid, have fun. The self doubt in your head gets louder, you distance yourself from even more people and avoid public situations where somebody might endeavor to ask you how you are.  Because the truth is that you really are not o.k at all. And you need a hug, a huge one, one that cushions you and makes you feel safe. But you don’t ask for it , because you have forgotten how to, instead you keep on pushing on and away.

Just because you are depressed, it doesn’t mean that you don’t laugh anymore, there are days when you laugh so hard and again I have been so blessed because when I am alone with the boys I am able to put my feelings to one side. I often think I need to write them a Thank you letter and give them a box of chocolates, (although they would cry and say they want Lego ), for grounding me and giving me a purpose. I realise I am so fortunate to have them, when I feel anxious I see their ridiculously cheeky, normally sticky faces and it makes it all ok.

When I picked the boys up from school at lunchtime, I mentioned to somebody I was going to write this post and they said, with the best intentions, “Be careful, you’re applying for jobs aren’t you? It might jeopardise your chances.” This is exactly the stigma that needs to stop.

Just because you are feeling how you feel, doesn’t mean you can’t be a capable parent, of course you can. The fact that your children are dressed, went to school and had dinner, even if it was Weetabix and crisps and that you had a giggle is huge. It also doesn’t mean you don’t laugh and can’t do your job well

The day something snaps and you ask for help, it is scary and the change doesn’t happen overnight or the day you start taking your pills, but it starts very slowly but surely, you might not notice it, but people around you do and it is a boost and you realise that you have achieved things you wouldn’t have a few years ago and you will wonder why you didn’t talk about it from the very beginning.