Browsing Tag


Should We Check Childrens’ BMI?

Posted on 21st June 2011 in BMI/ childhood obesity/ NHS/ obesity

For National Childhood Obesity Week (4 -10 July 2011), NHS Choices, the health information website for the NHS, is asking parents to to check their child’s body mass index (BMI) and take a more proactive approach to managing their child’s weight.

I’ve used the checker (which you can visit here: and it says that one of my boys (who are both under 7 stone and are aged 9 & 11) just scrapes into the healthy section and the other is overweight! 

Here is a picture of the little monkeys – they look fine (for fine read perfect) to me.

Is allowing access to this information a good thing or a bad thing – should I now be putting them on a diet?

According to statistics from NHS Choices, three in 10 children in Britain are overweight or obese. Children who are overweight in childhood are more likely to become overweight adults. They are also at risk of developing serious health conditions that carrying excess weight can bring, such as diabetes.

Unlike most BMI checking tools, NHS Choices has an online BMI checker that is suitable for children aged two and above. Parents or guardians simply need to provide details about the sex, age, height and weight of their child and the tool will provide a percentile result informing the parent or guardian if their child is a healthy weight. For more information about managing children’s diet, health and fitness, whatever their BMI, then visit NHS Choices. If parents or guardians are very concerned about their child’s weight, they should visit their GP. 

Mum, can we go to the f****** park?

Posted on 4th June 2011 in bad parent/ park/ swearing

We are very lucky to have recently had 2 new parks built in our town. They are wonderfully well equipped, easy to access and, of course, free.

Sounds good huh. Well in general it is, the kids love the exciting new bits of kit: sunken trampoline, zip wire, climbing wall, assault course etc. I love seeing them running around and getting some much needed exercise while they play.

The other evening we went to one of the parks, I was packed with a flask of freshly made coffee and some indulgent biscuits and the boys were stuffed with pent up energy. I found a bench and they found a set of swingy things that all swing towards each other in the middle and yet somehow don’t hit, it was all good.

So, I poured some coffee and commenced biscuit munching when I heard a small child say:

“Mummy can you push me?” I looked up to see a 3/4 year old boy on one of the swings, he was wearing a grubby spiderman suit and I exchanged a glance with my OH and remembered fondly the days when one of my boys refused to wear anything other than his spidey suit.


And then the boys mum, who was swinging really, really high at the time said:

“No I f****** can’t you’ll ruin your f****** trainers you little s***.”

Honest to god. Word for word.

Worst thing was the little boy didn’t flinch, didn’t seem in the least bit phased. My two boys literally stopped swinging in mid air and their faces registered shock as they both turned to look at me in disbelief.

The little boy then got off the swing as he clearly hadn’t ever been taught to swing and she certainly wasn’t going to push him. This put him right in the path of the other swings and I felt myself tense as I prepared to run and grab him, but it was ok, she had it covered. “No, f****** stay there you stupid f****** s***!” she screamed as she carried on swinging.

My boys came over to me “Did you hear what that mummy said?” they asked in hushed voices.

We moved further down the park and the little boy played near us for 30-40 minutes while she bounced on the trampoline, pausing only to bellow “of course I can do a f****** back flip you c***” at her boyfriend.

Fortunately, it started raining which gave us an excuse to take the boys home. As we walked back to the car one of them said to me “I’m glad you don’t swear at us.”

As much as I did momentarily think to myself that actually I’m not that bad a parent, the over riding thought I had was that the little boy didn’t really stand a chance in life.

My Backyard #TheGallery

Posted on 25th May 2011 in #thegallery/ children/ garden/ LEGO/ love/ superheroes

I was a bit thrown by The Gallery prompt of ‘My Backyard’ as my garden isn’t anything special and I know a lot of you guys have wonderfully planted, loved and tended to gardens that will lend themselves beautifully to artful photography.

Then I thought about what my backyard means to me; a place of sanctuary? No. A place of noisy and boisterous play? Yes! My backyard is all about the 2 boys who play in it, who bounce on that trampoline in a way that stops my heart as I anticipate bad landings and trips to A&E, who trample my plants because they are too busy avoiding imaginary attacks from LEGO warships and who care not that the grass is worn.

Superheroes play in my backyard.

My Legacy

Posted on 4th May 2011 in advice/ legacy/ pride/ validation

My boys

Just been thinking, if I could only pick one thing to pass on to my boys – what would it be?

Just one thing. One piece of information, one trait, or one word of advice.

It would be:

Don’t require validation.

Sure, I hope they’ll be happy, healthy, wealthy and loved.

I hope they’ll be clever, get good jobs and be a success.

I hope they’ll find true love and be surrounded by friends and laughter.

I hope they’ll be good people who make me proud.


I think if they can learn to love who they are, irrespective of the approval of others, then the rest will fall into place.

I want them to like what they like, because they like it, not because it’s cool.

I want them to act how they like, to be carefree and go with their instincts.

I want them to love freely. And if that person doesn’t love them back, I want them to be able to let go and know that they are worth loving and not to waste their tears on someone who can’t see that.

My boys are amazing. They make me so proud, every day.

I want them to know that, but not need to know that. To be happy in their own skin and love themselves for everything they are and everything that they will be.


Hero Wanted – Apply Within

Posted on 25th February 2011 in children/ clown/ dating/ wish list

As I have now been single for 3 whole weeks, the evil twins (they aren’t twins) have decided that I should find a new man as soon as possible.

I asked them why so soon and they said:

C&T: “Not being funny but you don’t want to end up like nanny.”

Me: “Oh I don’t think nanny is lonely”

C&T: “Er, trust us, that’s not what we meant.”

So, moving swiftly on, I asked them what sort of man they thought I should go for. They quite surprised me with the following list:

1. Not shouty.

2. Kind.

3. Likes playing games.

4. Be handsome.

5. Be fun. Sometimes silly but can be sensible too.

6. Maisy must like him.

7. Have a cool job. Examples given were: footballer; wrestler; NOT a clown*

8. Not smoke.

9. Not swear.

10. Not be bald.

11. Be taller than me.

12. Be kind.

13. Be loose not tight.

14. Not be allergic to cats.

15. Not be a clown*

16. Be good at drawing.

17. Be a billionaire.

18. Be cleverer than me – they added that wouldn’t be hard.

19. Be a maker.

20. Want to help them with stuff.

21. Live locally.

22. Make me happy.

DS2 then asked where I would find this man.

The night I told them that DH and I were separating DS2 said “Back on the old dating site then girl.” I laughed and said that I wouldn’t be going on a dating site, so DS2 said “just gonna hang out in some pubs then yeh?”

As we walked back to the car, for every man that we past, DS2 nudged me and said “Huh, how about him?” I said that I couldn’t just go up to a stranger and say hello, but he had a solution for that too. He said “You don’t say hello, you say: hey, got the rest of your life free to spend with me?”

Want to apply? Just fill in the ‘boyfriend application form‘ as found by the lovely @KayAndHerBoys 😉

*I think it’s worth pointing out that we had this conversation in a restaurant called Clowns, in which the walls are plastered with photos of clowns and circus memorabilia!

Hoppy The Christmas Frog

Posted on 12th December 2010 in #SilentSunday/ children/ family

I know it’s meant to be #SilentSunday so shhhhh. This, ladies & gentlemen, is Hoppy The Christmas Frog. When I found myself to be ‘suddenly single‘ with 2 young boys I occasionally found that disciplining them could be a battle. Gone was the option of ‘what will daddy think when he comes home’ so I had to be inventive.

I bought Hoppy on a whim one day because I thought he was beautiful and we didn’t have any particularly nice decorations.

My boys loved him, particularly the youngest, so I told them that he was Hoppy The Christmas Frog and that he was here to oversee Christmas. I told them that he was here to make sure they were being good so that Santa would know to bring them presents. My boys aren’t daft, they were dubious.

One day when we were out in town the boys had been playing up, squabbling, generally not behaving. I told them that Hoppy would be cross.

When we got home all the ceiling decorations had fallen down – both boys were silent as they took in the scene.

“Did Hoppy do this mummy?” Whispered my youngest…

NSPCC Christmas Wishes #festivefriday

Posted on 10th December 2010 in #festivefriday/ childline/ children/ family/ NSPCC

As Christmas draws alarmingly near, I can’t help but turn my thoughts to children who may not have all that they should. I don’t mean in terms of presents, I mean in terms of love, support, warmth, care and family.

The good people at NSPCC have launched a Christmas Wishes campaign and I’d like to help spread the word.

If you go onto their website you will see lots of ways to help other than the obvious ‘donate money’ although let’s not forget about that option too. I set up a standing order to the NSPCC years ago, not a huge amount, but every month it means that I make a small contribution to their work. It’s easy, effortless and it means I don’t forget.

You can send a letter from Santa.

You can create a personalised Christmas ecard.

You can create corporate Christmas ecards.

You can donate by shopping.

You can make a donation to the NSPCC and a friend or family member of your choice will receive a personalised card and festive bauble which they can hang on their tree as a reminder of their unique gift.

B is for… Beauty

Posted on 11th November 2010 in beauty/ children/ crescent moon/ friendship/ kittens/ the moon/ writing workshop

I see beauty everywhere, especially at the moment. I see it in leaves, in puddles, in clouds and starry nights. The crescent moon last night made me literally stop my car and try to take a photograph – it was breath taking and awe inspiring. Needless to say the photo didn’t come out right, but I saw it and I remember it and it made me think ‘wow’.

I see it in people – blatantly, obviously, some people are just beautiful to look at. I pass the sixth form students on my way to work and some of them are really quite beautiful, and so young and full of promise, hopes, dreams and life. In other people, their faces may show the ravages of time or stress but their eyes sparkle and the beauty shines through. In others still it is the depths of their personality and the kindness of their soul that reaches out and draws you in. I have one friend who just being near her makes me feel warm and calm – I don’t see her enough as it happens, note to self.

I see it in animals – ok, mainly kittens 😉  Actually that’s not true, although I do adore kittens, I see true beauty mainly in wild animals. That moment in the woods or while driving along when you catch a glimpse of a deer – it’s amazing whatever your age. I think that’s something my children and I love about Centre Parcs – those glimpses of animals which you don’t normally get to see up close. We leave piles of food out for them and then wait. Ok so it backfired a tad with the swan who decided he really, really preferred living INSIDE our chalet but we live and learn…

I hear it in song lyrics, sometimes songs feel like they were written just for me.

I see it in my children – every day. I see the perfect beauty of their faces. I hear it when they laugh. I feel it when they need me. I see the wonderful people that they will become and it fair near breaks my heart because I love them so much.

I see it in memories – magical moments held forever in suspended perfection.

I see it in kindness – some people have patience and kindness that knows no bounds and it’s beautiful.

I see it in films – I love how they can stir up such immense emotions. Be it abject terror, lust, love or even anger, it’s magical.

I see it in the written word. Some people have such a gift for writing, some people truly speak to my very soul and I love it, can’t get enough of it, will never tire of it.

I see it in YOU.

If you want to enter the writing workshop the prompts are as follows:

1. Catch 22 (by Joseph Heller)
– Are you feeling stuck with no discernible way out of something?

2. Coming Up For Air (by George Orwell)
– Write about a time you found peace after a difficult time. Or, alternatively, write about breathing spaces. What helps you re-charge?

3. On Beauty (by Zadie Smith)
– Tell us about finding beauty somewhere unexpected. Or about what beauty means to you.

4. Past Secret (by Cathy Kelly)
– Do you have a secret from your past you are brave enough to share?

5. The Book of Lost Things (by Joseph Connolly)
– Write about something you have lost: emotionally, physically, or metaphorically.

Do You Trick or Treat?

Posted on 30th October 2010 in children/ fireworks/ halloween/ strangers/ trick or treat

According to my boys I am right now possibly the worst mummy in the world.


Actually loads of reasons but mainly because I won’t let them go trick or treating.

My reasons?

The reason I give them is that they would essentially knocking on complete strangers doors and accepting things from them. We know nothing about the people and we have no idea whether the things they would be giving them had been tampered with in any way. At no other time of the year would I allow them to approach complete strangers and accept things from them.

As a sort of pay off, I have however bought some fireworks for next weekend.

Am I a complete killjoy? Do you allow trick or treating?


S is for… Sleepover Anxiety

Posted on 21st September 2010 in children/ cotton wool parenting/ empty nest syndrome/ family

For me that is, the kids aren’t phased at all…

My 10 year old went for his second sleep over Saturday night. I hate it, I feel so unsettled and have that permanent feeling that I’ve forgotten something, tinged with an underlying general anxiety.

My 9 year old hates it even more, he becomes very clingy (they share a room – they don’t need to but the 9 year old wanst to) so I have his anxiety to deal with on top of my own.

Liz Jarvis wrote a post not so long ago asking if people were ‘cotton wool parents‘ – hands up that’s me that is!

What surprises me about this is that I hadn’t even realised it (or acknowledged it?) until recently, I thought I was pretty laid back and that I was leading my children towards independence gracefully. They make their own breakfast, they put themselves to bed (although I go up and say goodnight and spend about 5 mins in their room), they tidy their own room (after mucho nagging) and we have ‘proper’ conversations about real things.

I guess the reason for my over protectiveness stems from being completely responsible for them when their dad left. I didn’t realise at the time quite how much going from joint to sole parenting had affected me.

I don’t leave them with babysitters (expect for very close family).

The 10 year old has a week away with the school coming up very soon, I’m not looking forward to it.

I used to think that empty nest syndrome was just an excuse for people with boring lives, now I can hear the clock ticking and I spend time trying to work out how to get a deadbolt fitted to the nest door!

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