Clingy Toddler Alert & The Three-nage Years – Lessons Learned

Dealing with a clingy toddler (he’s nearly 3, can I still class him as a toddler?) in my view challenges parents to the extreme.

At 3 years of age, my son is now old enough to declare (loudly) what he does and doesn’t like but the skill of rationalising opinions and decisions is still a rather complex matter for his little developing grey matter.

During mid August, I was very lucky to go away for 4 days with my friend for some husband and child free girly fun. We certainly explored the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it’s array of street food and beverages to the full. This resulting in me returning with what I can only describe as man-flu – 3 days off work confined to bed with aches, pains and a miserable cold.

In true female form, I bounced back just in time to head off on another girls jolly to Ibiza with my sister. I’m not going to deny it was bliss – sunshine, uninterrupted beach time and the odd glass of rioja made for a fantastic break.

Having returned refreshed (well, as refreshed as anyone is after a 4 day break on the party island) I was completing final preparations for my sons 3rd birthday. However, my best laid plans for a kiddy-centric celebratory day were promptly thrown out of the window when he suddenly became very poorly and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Don’t worry, he’s recovered well and we’re returning to some semblance of normality. So why am I telling you all of this? Well it would appear that following my unusual absence on holibobs (I’m NEVER away from home overnight), a poorly episode and a birthday, we appear to have in our midst the dreaded Three-nager!

Now, my son has always been the fairly chilled cuddly but confident general picture of loveliness. We’ll gloss over the biting stage at 18 months, that’s for another post. However, since recent events he’s become an emotional and extremely clingy little terror. When I reflect It’s certainly been an unsettling time for him but when, on a Monday morning it takes a full hour to stop the tears and tantrums to get him in the car to nursery, the calm reflection goes out of the window. Whilst we’re certainly not out of the woods of this behavioural stage yet, I can share with you a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned along the way so far, for what they’re worth;

  1. Stay calm

If I get upset, he gets upset. I’ve I get angry he goes nuclear. Me having an extreme reaction doesn’t stop his frustration but staying calm definitely eases it

2. Offer comfort

Now, I tried the discipline bit to stop the tantrums but that didn’t work for us. Comfort and cuddles did work, but with a firm approach. I don’t want to be a walkover but when sometimes you just need to cry it out, a cuddle always helps to ease the sobs.

3. Distraction and reward

I’m not a reward chart kind of mum. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place and never say never, but it’s not an approach we currently use. What does seem to work is to distract to a positive event that’s coming up, be it a day out or meeting up with some friends to take the attention away from the current moment of angst.

4. Wine

Ah yes, the solution to most things of a parenting nature, after bedtime of course so you can drink uninterrupted! Seriously though, sometimes when you feel you’ve tried absolutely everything a break is what you need to re-group, gather your thoughts and be ready to face the next day. It may be wine, it may be a session at the gym but some unwind time seriously helps you to think of some more tactics to face the next day with!

Good luck parenting friends and if the UN ever have a vacancy for a negotiator, feel smug in the fact that you would nail the job description in spades!

Unexpected Get Aways – Ibiza 2016

ibiza sunset

I was recently very lucky to be invited by my sister to join her for an Ibiza great escape. Certainly an unexpected get away to the year having not expected to be flying in a plane at all this year! Don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely family week in Norfolk during the summer heatwave but there’s something special about airport departure lounges and aeroplane food that still has that same magic from my first childhood holiday to Majorca many years ago.

Now before we get started, the holiday was a competition win courtesy of my sisters mother-in-law. At almost 70, when she entered the competition on the side of a Pringles tube, she didn’t anticipate a 3 night stay at the Ibiza Rocks hotel with VIP entry to the closing party and free San Miguels all night. She had probably anticipated a more sedate holiday. Lucky for us.

Having visited Ibiza many times before, I was really looking forward to heading back to the White Isle after a 4 year hiatus. Even more excited that it would be a girls only holiday with no children in tow. I do love holidaying with my son (and the husband obvs!) but the thought of laying and reading a book on the beach instead of building sandcastles and relentless kiddy entertaining was pretty appealing!

Now, let’s get the accommodation part out of the way straight away. We were slightly dubious that we would be at the upper end of the average age scale (by approx. 20 years!) staying at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel but we needn’t have worried as it was a complete mixed bag of guests. But this is certainly a party hotel which our ‘Stage View Room’ confirmed as soon as we arrived.


The accommodation is really very basic but the kind of hotel guest that this place attracts isn’t looking for luxury, they just want somewhere to lay their head in the early hours of the morning. However, the Ibiza Rocks brand does appear to have recognised that they would be wise to invest in something a little more upmarket for the returning Ibiza kid now in their 30’s like me and have created the Sol House Ibiza concept for the more discerning traveler who likes to believe they can still throw some shapes with the young ones.

Ses Salines beach

Whilst we had some relaxing beach days at Ses Salines (my favourite beach and home to The Jockey Club) and Cala Comte (beautiful but absolutely packed) we still partied like it was 2004. Our VIP entry to the Ibiza Rocks closing party meant we had a great view of Wolf Alice performing and the after party at Pikes Hotel certainly provided a little peek of the secret Ibiza we all hear about.


The famous Sunset Strip and home to Café Mambo and Café Del Mar is still ever popular thanks to the beautiful backdrop of the fantastic sunset. It’s certainly the coolest (and probably most expensive) place on the island but it has lost a little of it’s charm since the days of wonky tables on the rocks and clambering across uneven ground to get to it. However, way more comfortable and in line with health and safety standards I’m sure.

ibiza sunset

We stayed out until 6am, got ourselves a little sunburnt and I read a whole book whilst I was there. Although we had little sleep, I came back refreshed and revitalized. There’s something about the island that takes away all of your worries and, just for a short time, instead of being the mum/wife/worker you’re you again x



The Gloworm Family Festival – Our Big Day Out


Our trip to the Gloworm festival yesterday was our first experience of a family centred festival so we were a little uncertain on quite what to expect. Rather than having a backpack laden with beer, waterproof mascara and wet wipes we (fortunately) had a pushchair loaded with a healthy picnic, raspberry lemonade and an emergency potty. How times have changed.

We were fortunate enough to know one of the performers scheduled to entertain on the day so we picked up our VIP lanyards and headed off to see what we could find. On arrival, our first thoughts were that the site didn’t appear that big. Now, this could mainly be due to many years of watching Glastonbury on the TV from the comfort (and dryness) of our living room. We needn’t have worried, the site was jam packed with activities for the little people and we actually ran out of time to explore everything.gloworm site view

First off was a quick visit to the vintage fun fair for a trip on the big wheel. There were no flashing lights, cheesy music or ‘scream if you want to go faster’ funfair cliches here. We found a lovely little tea cup ride, swing boats and a good old helter skelter.

A quick pit stop at the Pims shed followed (ahem, the kids didn’t have all the fun) and we then headed off to see the fantastic stand of White Post Farm where there were chicks hatching along with goats chickens and even a full size cow model that the kidlets could ‘milk’.

Our small person particularly loved the little balance bike assault course set up by Fox Cycling but it was so popular I haven’t been able to include any pics – I like to think there’s a bit of online etiquette in showing pics with other peoples little-ies.

Whilst there was face painting available, the queue was ridiculous but we occupied ourselves with a little musical interlude on the various random instruments that added a little colour (and a lot of noise!) on a cloudy day.

pink piano

As well as activities, there were plenty of ‘celebrities’ to meet such as Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and a lady dressed as a mermaid on a trailer. Not sure who she was (look, I’m still relatively new to this parenting thing) but I reckon in the world of 4-7 year olds, she was probably a big deal.

The day was closed by the legendary Dick & Dom who gave much needed energy to a worn out crowd of mum and dads who had braved the rain to make the most of the family festival entrance fee and stay till the very end.


Dick and Dom not only took us down memory lane with a classic rendition of ‘Bogeys’ and ‘2 word tango’ (remember those) but also pumped out some well known drum and base and Prodigy classics. Parents in the crowd, for a fleeting moment, took themselves back to their pre-children festival days before a small hand tugging their pac-a-mac and requesting a poo-poo took them out of their momentary nostalgic revelry.

Overall, we absolutely loved it and are definitely family festival converts. As for festival camping with kids in tow next year? Lets not get too carried away, the aforemention Pimms shed would need to be well and truly fully stocked for that to stand a chance of ever happening x


*Please note, we were not paid to attend the Gloworm Festival and we received tickets only due to a personal connection with one of the performers. We just absolutely loved the day, hence the post!

Shed Makeover & Beach Hut Love

Beach Hut Shed

Following our recent holiday to Norfolk paired with a slight obsession with whole coastal decor look (I know I’m pretty late to the party on that one) we decided to give our little shed a little makeover. We’ve got a reasonably sized garden for a new build property, and wedged into a unused section is a shed containing numerous stylish garden accoutrements such as a childrens pop up tent (that does not bloody pop down), several broken garden chairs and the lawnmower.

Let’s face it, we all have a shed to hide the stuff we don’t want other people to see and whilst the shed is pretty much tucked away, it seemed a bit of a missed opportunity not to go a little more ‘out there’ to liven things up.

Keen gardeners that we are (ahem) we’re planning on making a better use of our outdoor space and this was the first baby step towards that. Let’s face it, as parents we know spend way more time in our home and garden than we ever used to so it makes complete sense to make it a pretty nice place to hang out.

Now, doing any kind of DIY is pretty tricky with an almost 3 year old, cue a little late night painting.

shed painting

So in case any of you were wondering, it gets dark pretty early already in August so crack on if you’re going to start an evening outdoor job! The blue shade is Cuprinol’s Forget-Me-Not and the white is Pale Jasmine. We touched up some areas once it had dried but we could really have gotten away with the one coat. We then went the whole hog with the life ring from Dorset Gifts…..well, it’s not worth being half hearted about these things is it!

Beach Hut Shed

We’re pretty pleased with the result and it certainly lifts the whole garden. We are looking to continue the theme with some kind of beach hut in which we can put some comfy seats and make the most of the English weather. What I mean is somewhere we can shelter from the rain, turn the music up a little and crack open the wine without disturbing the small person! x

Summer Holidays & A Heatwave

Norfolk Holidays

How lucky were we to go on our summer holiday during the one week of summer in the UK? As we trundled across to a fairly overcast Norfolk, I was filled with some trepidation as to how exactly I was going to entertain an almost 3 year old (+ a husband) on the anticipated rainy days. Well, it turns out I didn’t need to worry at all!

Norfolk Holidays

I know for those of you that spent the hottest day of the year in an air conditioned (if you were lucky!) office, workplace or even if you were doing your regular routine at home, hearing a smug account of one of the few people who experienced Mediterranean weather on an English Costa is not going to float your boat. But don’t click away just yet, I’m not going to bore you with the tedium of our beach trips, kite flying and al fresco dining (I did give the smug-off warning!) I think this post is really a reflection on expectations versus reality.


Don’t get me wrong, I was certainly looking forward to our summer holiday in terms of having a change of scene and getting a break from the routine, lord knows not everyone is lucky enough to even do that. But, well you know, holidaying in the UK just doesn’t hold the same coconut scented sun cream appeal of holidaying abroad. But, when on the Tuesday of our week away, I was watching my 3 year old create an elaborate seashell construction whilst the husband flew the aforementioned kite and I sizzled in the sunshine on the beach, I realised that it isn’t half bad when you give it a chance.

We stayed in a lovely cottage in a small village called Thornham (check out www.norfolkhideaways, the accommodation selection is excellent) and far from a regular early evening indoors in front of the TV whilst the small person slept upstairs, we had late night (by late night read 7.30pm – rock and roll!) trips to the local pub for dinner, always eaten outside. We all slept in a little later in the mornings (yay, he slept really well in the too-big double bed) and explored the local beaches, country houses and, mandatory with a small person, a wide selection of parks.

Sure, it was a little different from the pre-kiddy holidays in Ibiza and the like, but really, life’s a little different now. Now it’s full of ice cream, play tents and, more than anything, the happiest of times.

My Top 5 Productivity Tips

As a working mum, my time is extremely precious and I’m always looking for productivity tips to help me keep hold of my sanity. Well for most of the time anyway. There are a ton of productivity and efficiency gurus out there who are way better at this stuff than me, but I have found the following approach helps me to stay on track.

  1. Make Lists

When I have lots and lots of things going on, it can be difficult to keep track of what to do when. The result is that more often than not, nothing gets done at all and I feel super unproductive and overwhelmed. There are tons of productivity apps out there that come really highly recommended being one of the most popular. However, I’m a pen and paper kind of gal and have therefore taken quite a liking to the Bullet Journalling approach. You can find out more about it here

2. Save the best until last and do the worst first

Sometimes it’s not the array of tasks that suck up our time, it’s the extensive procrastination that we’re all guilty of at one time or another. When we put off something that we really don’t want to do, we dilly dally around (or as I like to call it, faff about) with really unimportant stuff, almost finding false reasons to delay doing the job we really need to do.

3. Don’t put things off

Similar to the previous point and we all do this one at one time or another. My favourite is the quarterly accounts in the office and my ironing at home. By the time I finally muster up the urge to do either (usually the threat of the taxman or having nothing to wear does the trick!) I have a huge backlog to get through that means other important tasks get left behind. And so the other backlogs build. And then the circle of not being able to plan your time effectively due to external pressures takes effect.

4. Work with your energy not against it 

I am not a morning person. Ever. It takes me a good 2 hours and several cups of coffee before I am all over getting things done. By 2pm, the post lunch snooze slump hits followed by the 8pm post dinner (and sometimes wine) energy boost. Some suggest that leaving complex tasks for when you have an energy low can revitalise you. That does NOT work for me. I’m all about getting things done when I feel I am fully functioning at my optimum. Just to re-iterate, never book a meeting with me at 2pm.

5. Tidy House/Desk = Tidy Mind

I know I know, such a cliché but so true. Although we live in a digital world, the nature of my business means that I am surrounded by paper constantly. And I can tell you, it’s sometimes a challenge to see over the top of it, never mind keep on top of it. However, when my workspace become smaller than a 15cm ruler squared, I know its time for a sort out. And it feels so good when my desk is clear again.

 What time saving and productivity tips help you keep on top of things? I’d love to hear from you! x


New Baby New You – But What About Your Old Job?

My latest series of blog posts are something of a reflection back to see how far I’ve moved forward. I’m currently 2.5 years into parenthood and although you don’t get the kudos of a 50 mtr swimming badge equivalent, I do think my arm bands (or water wings if you’re stateside!) have definitely come off. Well most days…… know, not including the ones with the 3am wake up calls or when you find last months snack down the back of the sofa. I digress.

When I initially had my child, I was very keen to use my allotted 10 ‘keeping in touch days’ with my workplace. Then the thought of travelling my old commuter journey of 30 miles with a newborn kind of put me off a little bit for a month or two. Then another month. Then another. 6 months in and I found myself on a Maternity workshop for women like me returning to work. One lady was actually a good 6 weeks into her return to work. And frankly she was knackered. And emotional. And I’ll be honest, not a huge advocate for getting back into the fray. This was obviously when she was able to look up from her laptop and participate in the workshop. That’s not a criticism, she was doing exactly what I was doing pre-maternity leave. Battling the constant influx of emails, managing her ‘BAU’ (Business as Usual for those less familiar with the irritating acronym only corporate speak) along with working on managing projects to stretch her competencies and tick a few extra boxes at performance review time. Whilst this may all sound a little negative, back in the day working on adrenalin, coffee and a burning desire to succeed could be extremely satisfying. It’s just not as much fun on 3 hours sleep and with the knowledge that when you get home, your other job then starts.

I was advised by the workshop business coach who candidly told me that when I was at work I would feel guilty for not being with my baby. And when I was at home I would feel guilty for not being at work. Erm, hold on isn’t this supposed to be a supportive environment to smooth the way to our transition as working mums?

Whilst I appreciated the coach sharing her honest perspective, that session ended up being a huge factor as to why I decided to take the step to do something different and get off the corporate treadmill. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked for some great companies and people. I’ve travelled the world and had experiences that I couldn’t have imagined thanks to the jobs I’ve had. But that wasn’t necessarily what I now wanted at that particular stage of my life.

I mean, as if life wasn’t turned upside down enough by the arrival of an entirely new human being, why not shake it up a little more and take a completely different professional journey? I must have been mad!!

I like to think daring, inspired, motivated and determined are more accurate descriptions perhaps. And a little more generous perhaps. Everyone takes different routes after having a baby, my it certainly changes a persons perspective whether you want it to or not. So why am I telling you all this? Well because one of my big ideas is to share the resources, experiences, ideas and inspirations that have helped guide me on my journey so far in the hope that they may help you a little on your journey. You can do this x

Maternity Leave is Over – To Work or Not To Work?

So you’ve had some time off with your baby since he or she emerged into this crazy world during maternity leave. You’re getting the hang of breast feeding, formula feeding, weaning, sleep training, early mornings, teething, dribbling, nappy changing, messy play……..the list goes on. When your bundle of love arrived, not only were you faced with keeping an actual human alive but you learned how to navigate baby groups, coffee shops with a pram and the trauma of that first use of a public changing facility. After the use of many a Dettol wipe of course.

You made it! You got through those first few weeks and months of maternity leave.

You survived. Hey, I’m guessing you did pretty well actually. But let’s not get all cocky now, oh no. Because now you have to face that other looming life question, what about that thing I did before baby – you know, the work thing?

Whether you need to return to work for financial reasons or because it’s a good chunk of what you consider to be your identity. Whether you choose to take a different job for flexibility or say ‘ta ta’ to the world of work entirely, it’s a bloody big decision.

Before I had my son I was working for a large international financial services business. Oh yes, check me out, the ‘career girl’. Kind of. I’m not sure I was ever comfortable with that particular label but for some people it seemed to fit fairly well. The combination of a demanding role, pretty competitive peers and a long commute made me question whether I wanted to stay on that particular treadmill or take a leap of faith and try another one. The subject of me joining the family business had been discussed A LOT! In fact, I’m pretty sure I managed to glaze many a pair of eyes with that particular procrastination. And having a baby it seemed was the push that I needed.

It was in no way an easy decision. When I was unexpectedly signed off work at 34 weeks pregnant, I actually cried. Yep, I really did love my job that much. I didn’t leave because I hated what I was doing. I left because it didn’t quite fit with the person I had become anymore. That and the role I was offered on my return wasn’t entirely game changing, but that’s for another blog post!

What influenced your decisions about ‘the work thing’ post maternity leave? Did you ease back into your previous role or take an alternative route?

I’ll be talking about ‘keeping in touch days’ and my reality of work post maternity leave – what was your experience?


The New Tupperware Team Leaders – The Rise of the Mummy Blogger

When reading about the mummy blogger movement which has exploded in recent years, I have heard many references such as ‘the modern Tupperware team leaders’ and I can’t decide whether it amuses me or frustrates me.

Don’t get me wrong, having had past experiences in the world of party planning businesses back in the day, it’s not that I find the comparison derogatory in any way as in fact I earned a nice bit of cash from Virgin Vie (what did happen to them?) thank you very much. It just seems to be a lightly veiled pat on the head kind of comparison. You know ‘Awww, how nice she does that to earn a bit of spending money’. Hmmm, not sure many mummy bloggers start of in this time consuming world for a bit of spending money. Perhaps to pay for the swimming lessons, school trips, holidays etc. Spending money, what’s that??

For me, the rise of the blogging mummy appears to be a sign of something much more significant. That women are creative in stretching their own abilities and are capable of achieving great things. Back in the pre-internet era (anyone below the age of 20 may need to google this historic period in time) women used what resources where available to them to satisfy their entrepreneurial spirit and yes, that included the classic Tupperware parties, Virgin Vie (god bless all who sailed in her) and Anne Summers – is that one still going? The digital world has certainly created more opportunity to no longer be constrained by company structures and direct selling. The digital world is a little more subtle than that in terms of earnings and revenue. The digital world takes creativity, resilience, technical ability and, above all, the passion to create something unique.

I think women have always had a flair for maximising all of the resources available to them in order to create opportunities for ourselves and for our loved ones. But it has moved forward in terms of creating further intellectual challenge. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can create a successful income earning blog. So perhaps the Tupperware comparison is a little tongue in cheek as we are no longer looked down upon and patted on the head. Instead we are looked up to as a force to be reckoned with.

Women everywhere who are burning the midnight oil tap tap tapping away, I salute you! x


My Ectopic Pregnancy Experience

I’ve been in two minds whether to write this post for a little while. My blog, by no means up to the standards of my esteemed true blogger counterparts, has always been my little positive corner of the internet to note down my thoughts and musings on just about anything.

But of late, the route to my positive corner took a short, dark and unexpected detour. As a proud mummy of a lovely 2.5 year old little boy, we had been toying with the idea of having another small person for a little while. Whilst my first pregnancy was in no way traumatic it was fairly eventful with high blood pressure, preeclampsia and a stubbornly breach positioned baby dictating a slightly tricky c-section delivery.

I think that due to this, I actually reflected on my pregnancy and birth experience really very positively in that I felt truly lucky to have emerged relatively unscathed with my perfectly formed little screaming bundle of loveliness.

So, when we found out I was pregnant earlier this year just as we were thinking about ‘properly trying’ we were delighted. The first time I found out I was pregnant, my husband was positively petrified. This time, my husband was positively brimming with excitement.

I immediately had those familiar and delightful pregnancy symptoms – sore boobs, bloated tummy to name but a few. All seemed to be progressing as one would expect. My GP didn’t want to see me for a booking in appointment until I was around 8-9 weeks pregnant, even with the issues of my last pregnancy. And so, we told our close family that there would be a surprise addition to the family sometime during October/November.

And then I started to feel really poorly. With an ear infection. What? Yep, I had the most excruciating ear infection and, being pregnant, was very limited on what antibiotics I could have to treat it with. 3 nights of no sleep later and it arrived. The dreaded ‘show’. And the dreaded feeling that something just wasn’t right.

I couldn’t get an appointment with my GP and I couldn’t get to see the early pregnancy unit without a referral from my GP. God bless the NHS and all who sail in her I say. So I paid an extortionate amount of money for a private scan that afternoon. It was immediately evident that I was not the 8 weeks pregnant I thought I was.

We had some time to come to terms with this sad fact during the 4 days we had to wait for an NHS scan. There we were frankly told that the pregnancy was not viable but that it was also possibly an etctopic pregnancy. All pregnancy loss is a sad moment but never did I ever more wish for a ‘straightforward’ miscarriage in my life.

Fast forward a few days and due to my HCG hormone levels and a few other factors, the doctors felt it was safe to treat me with methotrexate, a chemotherapy based drug, rather than surgery. So off I trotted to the chemotherapy suite to sit with a number of the loveliest people facing far more difficult life challenges than me. To say it was all very surreal is quite the understatement.

Whilst I’m still physically recovering from the medication and willing my hormone levels to drop every day (along with the bloody reoccurring ear infection) I am again counting my blessings from this particular experience. I am one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have a ruptured ectopic. I didn’t need emergency surgery. I didn’t lose a fallopian tube. But I did lose a little potential life.

I have my lovely family supporting my and, of course, my ever gorgeous son. Some women are not as lucky as me when they find themselves on this unexpected journey and it has left me with something of a desire to work out how I can make a difference to others who may go through the same thing. There was certainly no emotional support provided in any way from the medical profession and that frustrates me.

So if you happen to stumble across my little corner of the internet and find yourself going through this experience, remember – you are not alone. Feel free to reach out, to have hope and to take really good care of yourself x