Tuesday, August 19, 2014


So we're on our hollibobs in north Norfolk with Granny and Aunty Lucy at the mo. A proper post will follow shortly but, for now, just check out how happy this little boy is to be at the seaside for the first time. And check out his impossibly glamorous Aunty Lucy who was celebrating her birthday today. And just imagine how incredibly sweet it is when every time we pack up to leave the beach we hear him say, 'Bye bye, sea.' 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Aaargh! I'm a day late on my photo of the week! This is the first time all year. But I've got a good excuse - I've been in the wilds of Snowdonia climbing a mountain and the wilds of Snowdonia don't really do 3G very well. More on that story later, but in the meantime back to Samuel.

This is a selfie we took this week. I am shameless - absolutely shameless - in my use of selfies as pacifiers. When he's upset or tantruming all I need to do is show him himself on my little phone screen and he calms down instantly. Genius.

This photo in particular seems to back up my recent claim that Samuel is 80% cheeks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


So Samuel did this today. I'm not bragging or anything (I'm bragging), but are 20-month-olds supposed to be able to carry out death-defying feats such as this? James was barely helping him, by the way. He's totally sussed out climbing on his own.

Talking of James, Samuel is completely obsessed with him at the moment. Daddy only has to leave a room and close the door behind him to elicit a volcanic paddy. This morning as James took a shower, Samuel spent ages just lying in front of the bathroom door trying  to peek under the crack, sadly and repeatedly whimpering 'Daddy'. It was like a scene out of Greyfriars Bobby.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Freelancing and meerkat bubbles

Work has been keeping me nice and busy this past couple of months. I'm still astonished that I've had so much sent my way from the moment I started freelancing. I'm not at full capacity by any means, but I've been lucky enough to nab a couple of lovely regular clients, plus there's a big job on the horizon in the autumn that's really going to put me through my paces. I'm looking forward to it. 

I love the variety of stuff I'm getting to write, and I love never knowing what weird or wonderful request might pop into my inbox next. I love working from home too, and being totally divorced from any office politics. The more I work for myself, the more I wonder why I didn't make the leap years ago.

It's funny, though. The perception of working freelance is very different to the reality. I remember how, years ago, me and my fabulous then-boss Graham used to bang on about how we'd go freelance one day and we'd be just like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. From what I recall, we believed it would be all long lunches and laptops at Soho House. And between writing terribly clever articles for terribly glamorous magazines, we'd manage to squeeze in the time to carefully craft the first drafts of our great Rock 'n Roll novels.

I've got to be honest, my freelance life doesn't look *quite* like that. What actually happens (at the moment, at least, with our childminder on holiday for the summer) is that I barricade myself in the kitchen in the morning and try to concentrate on work for as long as I can before Samuel breaks in howling and James comes to retrieve him, sometimes by the ankles. This happens repeatedly. Then, once Samuel is happily engaged in another activity or whisked off up to the park, the cat tends to come in and create a stink in her litter tray. I sigh and think of Soho House.

By early afternoon the glare of the sun has chased me across the kitchen to the extent that only place I can see my screen is when it's resting on the high chair, so I relocate into the living room while Samuel and James nap. Once they're up again and the sun has shifted once more, I make the sofa in Samuel's room my refuge. At some point before dinner time, a serious nappy change will be required right in front of my 'desk'. You don't get that in an open office environment.

But, nappy changes and litter trays aside, I'm enjoying freelancing immensely. One of the big benefits, of course, is being able to bugger off and do something fun on the days when I've got no work on. That's exactly what we did on Tuesday when we went to the zoo in Battersea Park. The weather was scorchio and the animals were out in force. Not that Samuel cared about the animals too much - he just wanted to climb up slides the wrong way and no amount of, 'Look, Samuel! Monkeys!' or, 'Look, Samuel! Lemurs!' was going to change his mind on that. He did, however, acquiesce and join me in the tunnel that leads you to a plastic bubble in the middle of the meerkat enclosure. As you'll see from the photo, I was way more excited than him. But, with me as a mother, there's no way he's going to be able to stay that indifferent towards meerkats.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


So you know that thing where toddlers spend half an hour wailing and screaming and thrashing in a boiling hot, jam-packed train carriage, while you sit shhhhhshing like your life depends on it (and when you see the looks that are being sharpened and thrown your way by fellow commuters you realise that it quite possibly does), slinking down your seat in mortification and sweating the stressful sweat of the parent who has made the novice mistake of forcing their teething tot onto public transport in July and is being forced to suffer for it all the way 'till Clapham Junction and then you finally (FINALLY!) stand up to get them off the train and they instantly turn their frown upside down, smile cutely at all of the passengers they have been aurally assaulting since Gipsy Hill, wave and sweetly say 'bye-bye'? Well that was our Saturday morning.

But the train journey was worth every excruciating second when we arrived at our destination: Jo's house in Surrey. We had the most amazing afternoon sunning ourselves and playing in the garden with the loveliest children known to man. We ate immense amounts of food and caught up while Samuel had the time of his life in the paddling pool. Cora introduced me to Frozen while Finn introduced James to loom bands and we felt like we had a small glimpse into our future: the years beyond toddlerhood. It looked good, I'm telling you. And in the meantime we'll just have to travel by car a little more I think.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Check out the awesome Spider-man sunglasses Granny Pat gave Samuel this weekend. He loves them and thinks he's so grown up. We called him a cool dude, so now he says 'coooo' a lot, much like a pigeon. Other things he's saying a lot of at the moment include 'Bye bye, Daddy' (particularly when neither he nor Daddy are going anywhere - it's giving James a complex) and also 'Barry'. Don't ask.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


It feels like there's another toddler living at our place at the moment: Ba-bear.* Whenever Samuel has a meal, Ba-Bear must join us. I fed him a carrot stick earlier on. At least he's a healthy influence. Whenever Samuel gets put in his sleeping bag, Ba-Bear must get put in one too. Ba-Bear is the last person that Samuel says goodnight to (after he's offered him the last slurp of milk from his bedtime bottle, natch). Ba-Bear is the first person he calls out for in the morning. Hell, Ba-Bear even has a matching sunhat to Samuel. Ba-Bear is a curse and Ba-Bear is a blessing. Ba-Bear is Samuel's first proper best friend. 

*James thinks Ba-Bear is spelled Ber-Bear. He's wrong of course, but Samuel is not yet in a position to clarify spelling.