March Thoughts


I’m starting to wonder if my toddler is a bit of an evil genius. This morning a row erupted over who was going to play with the tablet (Jellybean had it first). I thought he got over it quickly, but clearly not. Later Jellybean came over to give me a cuddle, and he intervened ‘NO I GIVE CUDDLE!’ and in the ruckus (during which I got elbowed in the boob an unreasonable amount of times), he quickly scrambled down and grabbed the tablet, catching my eye as he pottered away with a giant grin on his face.

I think he plotted the whole thing.

He then lost it (the plot) when I told him that he isn’t allowed to watch Peppa Pig on YouTube (because of all those ‘Peppa Pig Kills George/Evil Doctor Gives Peppa Injections’ videos that are uploaded by weirdos). ‘Come on, let’s put it on Netflix instead.’

To which he dropped to the floor, looked at the ceiling and screamed ‘NOOOOOOO!’. As you do.

He’s also developed a clever technique. He knows that people tend to repeat what he says in order to clarify what he means (reasonable given that a) he is two and b) he sometimes makes up words, like calling ‘deer’ ‘kangawoowaas’). So a conversation with a well-meaning but unknowing person might go like this:

Him: ‘Umm … chocolate?’

Them: ‘Did you say chocolate?’

Him: (tone of pleasant surprise) ‘Oh, chocolate, okay!’

Thus making it appear as though having chocolate is the grown-ups idea and he would therefore be totally justified to have a mega tantrum if they say no. Chris and I are wise to this technique and make sure we never repeat any word he says but instead ask ‘what did you say?’ and he always looks annoyed about it.

He also spends a good amount of time working out ways to bother his sister, like noticing she is setting up a farm and quickly putting all the animals away when her back is turned. They also argue a lot over silly things. Now, for example, they are playing with a box of my old toys (mostly horses and Puppy In My Pockets). They both wanted the same cat.

‘Why,’ I said (over the screaming) ‘Do you both want that one? There are fifty other cats in there!’

It’s not even the cutest cat. There is no reasoning with them sometimes.

How long will this beautiful farm scene last? (Not long is probably the answer)


Having said all this, they are both very loving. The other day I got stuck in a tunnel and The Boy suddenly went all Knight In Shining Armour on me. ‘Don’t worry Mummy! I GOTCHOO!’ he shouted, whilst pulling me through the tunnel (by my face). Afterwards, satisfied I was safe in the play tent, he patted me on my (scratched) face and said, ‘Ahhh … loveyoo Mummy.’

Jellybean occasionally writes me little notes that say ‘ I ❤ Mummy’. (Or sometimes ‘I am sorry for arguing Mummy’). Which I keep and makes up for all the paper she uses, and the arguing.

Sickness Avoidance

I wrote back in February that I was poorly and it was driving me up the wall. Well, it continued! To cut a long story short I’ve been ill in some way, shape or form from January-mid March.

Now my husband and kids are ill and I doing my best to not catch it by avoiding them/washing my hands frantically/drinking smoothies with things that internet people said will ward off sickness. Echniacea is a thing apparently? So I’m drinking it in tea form every day. Deep down I don’t think it helps, but I like to imagine it does.

I can’t possibly get sick after drinking this, surely?

My Good Friend Tom

I’ve mentioned this on my Instagram (multiple times) but during my Harry Potter re-readathon I got into Binge Mode, which is a hilarious and super-geeky podcast where the hosts Jason and Mal go deep (deep!) into the Harry Potter universe, book-by-book. (They did Game of Thrones first and I am seriously considering getting into it just so I can listen to the old episodes of the podcast). I can highly recommend it (if you don’t mind swearing). There’s also an amazing Facebook group for it, which has helped me with my sad feelings when I got to the end of Binge Mode Harry Potter.

Books I’ve Read

Here’s a wrap up of what I read in March:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Excellent as usual, made me cry

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Excellent as usual, made me cry more

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: My exasperation with Voldy the 2nd and the (flipping) Time-Turners only alleviated by the excellent Scorpius Malfoy

Saffy’s Angel: favourite family in kid’s literature, I love them and would happily spend a day with them

Where Am I Now?: I always wondered what happened to Mara Wilson. Now I know. Really good and thought-provoking

Little Fires Everywhere: long review on my Instagram – perfect suburban neighbourhood unravelled by arrival of artsy (and slightly neglectful one might argue) mother and a complicated, emotional custody battle. Couldn’t put it down

So there we go. Goodbye March. Enjoy your April everyone and don’t forget to bring your jackets.

All in our heads: why we need fantasy stories

‘Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.’ – C.S Lewis

This is a post about Harry Potter, and, more specifically, why pop culture is so important to dorky teenagers (and the dorky adults they become). I’ve met a few adults who don’t ‘get’ Potter – ‘why are all these grown people obsessed with a children’s book? Shouldn’t you be reading War and Peace or something?’ – so, hopefully, this post might make them see.

I started re-reading the Potter series recently, ahead of our trip to the Warner Brother Studios. I haven’t read them for a good few years. I used to read them at least once a year, but new books are coming into my life at a rapid pace and I haven’t had time for them. What’s amazed me, in opening them again as a thirty year old, is how much they still feel like home.

Now, the context at the start of my obsession. I’d just started secondary school. An all-girls school. I’m not exaggerating when I say I hated it. Every day it felt like going to prison. A grey, blocky prison, where they made me wear a skirt and uncomfortable tights, and the hallways smelled like hairspray and Impulse and sweat. I was a loser. (I don’t particularly feel the need to sugar-coat this.) Every other girl in my year seemed prepared for Year Seven: they wore bras already, shaved their legs, read Bliss magazine, and talked a lot about snogging. I, on the other hand, was a ridiculously small, flat-chested, frizzy-ginger-haired, short-sighted, pale, freckly Mizz reader (and to be frank, I already yearned for my Girl Talk days). I also collected Pokemon cards in secret. And I still slept with Beanie Babies on my bed.

Just imagine that for a moment.

The only subject I really liked was English, because that was the only thing I was good at. We used to have free reading periods, which were my favourite: to sit in a chilly, silent classroom and read for an hour. My friend Rachel and I would sometimes swap books. One day I handed her something (probably by Jacqueline Wilson, knowing me) and she handed me a hardback copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

And there was no turning back.

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Not stronger

I’m not a huge New Year’s Resolution person, but this year, in the throes of exhaustion just after Christmas, I picked a theme for 2019:

Get stronger.

At the time I was feeling very drained, and I had an image of my ideal self in my head: not super-fit, but fitter. Stronger. I wanted to push my body with exercise to make it better, more able to fight off illness, strong enough to keep going even when things get tough. I also wanted to make myself stronger mentally. I felt anxious and stressed most of the time. What could I do to make myself stronger? Other people depend on me – how can I strengthen myself to deal with that?

And then I came down with pleurisy (which if you don’t know, is inflammation of the lining around the lungs, and no, I don’t smoke and I don’t really know how I got it).

It happened quite quickly, really: one moment I felt alright, the next, I had a weird, burning pain in my chest. Every time I inhaled, it hurt, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. The doctor initially diagnosed me with flu. I went to work, like an idiot, because it was my last week there and I didn’t want to let them down.

It all went downhill from there, really.

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