Archives for September 2014

My first holiday! | From Mushroom’s mouth

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post but Mummy has said she’ll let me loose on the computer more often now. Yay! (both for me and for you. I’m much more interesting than her).

So. We went on holiday. To Turkey. I’m a bit confused about that. Not too long ago we went to the farm and Mummy showed me some turkeys. They were birds – sort of, like chickens. They have a funny thing on their necks that I don’t like. Now Turkey is a country like England. Well, not like England at all actually – it’s very different and even looks different on the map. And it’s far away. It’s all a bit too much to get my head round just now. Maybe I’ll get it when I’m bigger.

You’ve probably read Mummy’s post earlier this week, so I’ll try not to tell you the same things, except… I WENT ON AN AEROPLANE! The big ones you see in the sky! Really! We went up in the air and I got to have two lollipops after dinner, which helps my ears (how? I don’t know but they didn’t hurt. I think Daddy’s did though. He looked sad). It was beyond exciting. I don’t think Mummy said nearly enough about it to be honest. I mean, it’s like a giant bus/coach IN THE AIR! It. Was. Awesome. Yes, I do mean that literally. I’m three. Travelling through the air above the clouds is actually awe-inspiring. So much so that I fell asleep with all the excitement.

We arrived at the hotel in the middle of the night (it was soooo dark!) and a man took us to a room that didn’t have a bed for me in it. Mummy and Daddy talked to the man and he went away and came back with a cot. A cot! I’m not a baby. They told me I’d sleep in a different bed but a cot? I was tired and annoyed. I wanted to go home so I cried a lot. But I got over it, eventually.

By the second night I quite liked the cot, it felt safe and cosy. On the fourth night I woke up with my legs stuck down the side (I can’t believe Mummy didn’t tell you that!) and liked it less. But after one night sleeping with Mummy and Daddy all night I realised how much room they take up and asked to go back in the cot (I know, seems crazy right? What can I say? I needed the space). Mummy seemed worried I’d get stuck again – I did, but it wasn’t a big deal – and kept getting up in the night to check on me (I know, I felt her move me). No wonder she joined me at naptimes, bless her.

Anyway. Enough about the cot.

What did I like about the holiday…?

  • Swimming every day, with Mummy! I’m really good now
  • The cat. It lived at the bottom of the stairs to the pool and one day it got in my buggy. It was hilarious.
  • Eating ice cream every day
  • Drinking cocktails. Cocktails! Just like Mummy! And fizzy juice
  • Chips! And as many olives as I can eat (quite a lot. I made Mummy take the stones out first though)

That’s me on the right. Drinking a cocktail

  • Playing with Mummy and Daddy every day. With Mummy I played schools, what’s the time Mr Wolf?, witches, dragons, princesses and superheroes – we both played all parts and Mummy is better at dragons and witches than princesses – and with Daddy I mostly just played with the sand. I tried to get him to be a witch but he just didn’t get it. He tries…

Speaking of Daddy trying… Well. A few times when Mummy needed ‘time’ (for what? I don’t see why I can’t be there while she does whatever it was she was doing!) I had to look after Daddy. He doesn’t manage very well on his own. Mostly it was during the afternoon so I’d suggest ‘ice cream?’ – a win for us both I think – and we might play together in the park. One afternoon though, we’d only been out a little while when I needed a wee. Daddy suggested we go to the ‘new’ toilets. I said no. They were outside! Last time I’d used an outside toilet there was a worm… A shiny, slimy, wriggly worm with legs – on the floor. I was with Mummy that time and she wasn’t bothered but I made her use a different toilet in case it bit her or something. Daddy, though. Well, I’ve seen how he reacts when he sees a spider on the living room floor so knew he wouldn’t be able to cope. So I cried. When he asked why I refused to tell him and he got upset and a little shouty. We went back to our room and Daddy told Mummy what had happened. Mummy said ‘I thought I heard his cry…’ then she gave Daddy a funny look and said ‘You’ve only been gone 20 minutes.’ Daddy swore it was an hour but she was right. I couldn’t tell her the truth though! I had to protect Daddy’s feelings. So. Later when she asked me what really happened I just told her ‘There are worms in toilets that are outside.’ She got it.

Back to what else I liked about the holiday…

The boat trip! I danced all day! And I made a friend. The captain of the boat was called ‘Ocean.’ How cool is that? He kept saying ‘alright mate?’ to me. He was brilliant and I still miss him sometimes.

The Kids Club. I barely spoke whenever I went in there but I loved it and Mellin always found something for me to do. Colouring, painting… I just wish there had been more children there to play with..

The mini-disco. All the kids who had been hiding in the daytime were at the mini disco. Until the last day, I refused to get on the stage with that elephant though. Sure, I love music and dancing but I did. not. trust. that. elephant. Look at him. Just look:


Looks dodgy, right? I touched his trunk on the last day just to keep Mummy and Daddy happy. He seemed a little less dodgy after that, I admit, so I had a dance. But anyway the shows were better than the disco and I stayed up to watch those EVERY NIGHT.

The shows! They were all good – traditional dancing, something called ‘Mr Crystal,’ which I didn’t really get but some men got up and acted very silly so I laughed but my favourite perfromers were the acrobats.

Mum. You could've taken a better photo. What about the human pyramid! I suppose this will have to do...

Mum. You could’ve taken a better photo. What about the human pyramid! I suppose this will have to do…

Amazing! I have been practising my forward rolls a lot more since seeing them. I’m getting better.

Finally, on my last night Mummy took me to the kids club and I got my face painted like spiderman. I can’t believe she didn’t tell you that! I’d been waiting all week for it after I missed it on my first day. I looked brilliant.

Coming home was ok. My ears hurt a bit as we landed but not too much and I was looking forward to being in my own bed. The loooong wait to get my buggy wasn’t great as Mummy and Daddy didn’t carry me properly. They said they were ‘tired’. Try being 3! I’m learning and growing ALL THE TIME. It’s exhausting. But we ate at Burger King before the coach journey and I got a crown. Result.

Now that we’ve been back home a while and the novelty of my own bed has worn off, I want to go on holiday and see the stars again. I miss it.




Our first family holiday!

So, as some of you know, Mr B, Mushroom and I have not long returned from our first family holiday. This is Mushroom’s first holiday since he started nursery in 2011 (he’s only ever had Christmas week off) and my first break since our honeymoon in 2010.

Honeymoon massages – A very different sort of holiday..!

…so when I say first break, I really mean it. When I returned to work in 2011 I used any time off to work on my freelance stuff, so this really was my first proper break (if you’re wondering about maternity leave, don’t. That’s not a holiday). So this was a BIG DEAL.

I wasn’t sure whether to go, what with having just set up my freelance business properly but Mr B argued it was all the more reason to take a break. He was right.

So, we booked an all-inclusive deal with Crystal Green Bay hotel in Bodrum, Turkey, bought Mushroom a suitcase and talked about it a lot (he’s ok with change as long as he knows what’s going on so we made sure we prepared him)… I was worried about his travel sickness but with a dose of phenergan (it works!* The one day we travelled on a bus without it he threw up everywhere. lesson learned) he was fine. In fact, he loved the flight there – ‘We in the sky Mummy, the sky!’ – while Mr B screwed his eyes tight shut and held on to the armrests. I love flying too, despite being horrendously travel sick in cars, so I guess Mushroom takes after me.

Once we arrived Mushroom did have a mini meltdown, crying ‘I want to go home! I want my bed!’ But to be fair, he had been given a cot, not the proper bed we’d promised, and it was past 1am.

The next day was better. We explored the hotel and found the provision for children to be excellent. The Kids Club had a shallow pool with slides and a little playground right next it. The playground was a lifesaver while waiting for dinner! The Kids Club also put on a ‘mini-disco’ every night after dinner, which Mushroom loved watching. All week he refused to get up on the stage and watch, claiming to be scared of Crispy the Elephant (their mascot) but on our last day he surprised us by asking to ‘touch the elephant’ and then dancing on the stage for two minutes before getting embarrassed and running off.

Speaking of the Kids Club – the staff were excellent – and even though this isn’t a review I have to give a special mention to Mellin who I would have happily left Mushroom with (even thought he’s a little young) if he’d let me! there were never many kids there so he didn’t really make friends, which might have made a difference but it didn’t matter, it was nice to have him with us (most of the time! He did have his moments).

Not being used to the logistics of travelling with kids and unsure which day trips were really kid friendly, we only booked one day out – a boat trip, which involved a lot of stops to swim in the sea. Great for me but not so great for Mr B who isn’t such a strong swimmer. There was one stop at a beach though, and Mushroom didn’t mind at all as the boat played music all day and he entertained everyone by dancing non-stop from 10am to 5pm, barely even stopping to eat! I guess the difference between that and the mini-disco is that he wasn’t on a stage so didn’t feel so much that people were watching him.

We also made a couple of trips into Bodrum but other than that we stayed at the hotel. Pre-Mushroom I might have found this a little boring but he kept me busy! We spent most mornings practising swimming (which paid off, as he can now swim by himself without a float!) and we all needed afternoon naps. This meant that we spent very little once we were on holiday, even returning with some spending money left over. Bonus!

Of course, I couldn’t return from Turkey without having had a traditional massage so just before our last day, Mr B and I took turns playing with Mushroom and each had a 90 minute skin peel (tan remained intact in case you’re wondering!), foam massage, relaxing massage and face mask. That was bliss.

I could say so much more but I already feel I’ve gone on a bit so I’ll stop there… So, what have I learned as a parent from this holiday? Well, here are some top tips (stuff that worked for me. This was my first family holiday so I’m no expert!)

Get organised – I packed early so Mushroom and I could play in the park the morning before the flight – both flying out and coming back

Prepare your child – especially if they’re sensitive. Mushroom only had a mini meltdown because it was late and he wasn’t happy about the cot. Knowing what to expect made a huge difference to him

Take some stuff from home – I read lots of advice about getting toys for the journey and I did get some, but what was much more useful was having familiar toys for teary moments and books (small ones!) for bedtimes. We also took some snacks we know he likes

Take a buggy! – A no brainer you’d think but even if your child has stopped napping still consider it. The heat means they might sleep more. Mushroom slept 3 hours one day and there was no waking him! He also got tired walking around Bodrum so it’s essential for day trips

Relax the food rules – Mushroom does like his fruit and veg and ate well some days. Others he ate next to nothing. We still let him eat ice cream, non-alcoholic cocktails and fizzy drinks nearly every day. It’s his holiday too.


Little 'n' large cocktails

Little ‘n’ large cocktails

And here’s what didn’t work..!

Letting him have juice straight after getting off the bus in Bodrum. Ok, he was thirsty and water wouldn’t have stopped him being sick. But it might have been a little quicker and easier to clean him up had I not given him cherry juice

Telling him I’m fed up of playing witches/dragons/superheroes. I only said this once and now we’re back home I’ve no doubt I’ll say it again. But his face. He looked crushed. He’d assumed I was having as much fun as him

Yelling ‘Just go to sleep!’ when he wants to go for a walk. At 11pm – Turned out he wanted to see the stars. Once I’d calmed down, I agreed to take him out in the buggy and he told me he loved ‘to the stars twinkling’. Only then did it occur to me that he has never seen stars before. I had shouted because was really tired and didn’t want to get dressed again, hence the yelling. Parenting fail. It wasn’t about me.

After than we went for a walk every night after dinner before the mini-disco just to see the stars.

And one more, especially for returning home…

Putting the buggy in the hold. I wish I had bought one of those small buggies that can be taken on as hand luggage as the two-hour wait to get back into the UK was back breaking, even though Mr B and I took turns holding an exhausted Mushroom who kept crying ‘I just want to sit in my buggy!’ I was so envious of those who had the foresight to get a buggy their child could sit on while they waited (or had a Trunki!).

I’m sure if I made more mistakes Mushroom will tell you all about those later this week but these are the ones that stand out for me! Overall, although it was much more exhausting than the sorts of holidays Mr B and I were used to, we all had a great time. Now that we’re back and Mushroom is settling back into his usual bedtime routine, we appreciate our ‘free’ evenings together more than ever!

And finally… Here are a few more photos, just because I wanted to share them!

Find out what Mushroom thought about his first holiday in our next post, coming soon! If you don’t want to miss it, consider signing up to get it straight into your inbox (that box on the right? Under the menu? There, that’s it!).


*Nothing about this post is sponsored, nor is it a review of any of the places or products mentioned. Phenergan is just the only thing that works for us so happy to share


Holiday Haiku



I have been on holiday
I’m a lot browner
And a little less tired




To find out more about our first family holiday, come back next week to read both mine and Mushroom’s perspectives!

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Living the dream

Hello there. It’s been a while. It would be rather egotistical of me to assume I’ve been missed (although to those of you who said you have missed me, I’m very flattered!) but I hope you’re as happy to see me as I am to see you!

So, it’s been a very busy couple of months… I said in my last post that I would be back with some exciting news so let’s start with that shall we?

I’ve been freelancing for a while but it’s always been on the side – stopping short of taking the plunge and doing it ‘properly.’ Lately, a chain of events (including my experience of BritMums Live 2014) have conspired to give me that final push I really needed and I have launched my freelance business; Writing | People | Poetry – writing (including bespoke poetry) and coaching. This step has been a long time coming and you can read more about what I do here and/or check out the (shiny new) website by clicking on the image below.


Heart-centred work

This has meant is a real internal shift for me and already I am noticing the positive effect it is having in all areas of my life. It’s not that I didn’t like what I was doing before – it was a role that included writing and coaching and some of it did make my heart sing. But some of it didn’t. I was ready to move on but needed a shove. Well, I got one and here I am. I know I’m doing the right thing because it doesn’t feel like work. I’m happier and more relaxed so Mr B and Mushroom are also getting a better version of me.

Speaking of Mushroom…

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the ‘strapline’ in my header has changed. It was ‘From birth and nappy bins to tantrums and toilet training.’ I decided it was time for an update. I never actually wrote about nappy bins in the end and Mushroom is now toilet trained so it just felt like we’d outgrown it. So I had a think about this blog and its purpose, and where I am going with it. The focus hasn’t changed. It’s still a record of Mushroom’s milestones and my parenting journey. That doesn’t make me unique though, so I looked at my previous posts and asked around. I found that the posts that get the most interaction (i.e. the ones that people come to me for) are those where I share my imperfections – and celebrate them or share what I’ve learned by getting it wrong – and those I write from Mushroom’s perspective. So, although you’ll still see plenty about Mushroom’s milestones, random anecdotes, posts about things close to my heart and occasional reviews for products and services that might be useful, also expect to see more on my imperfect parenting style and more from Mushroom’s mouth. So, in case you’d missed it above – my new strapline is:

Perfectly imperfect parenting from both perspectives

What do you think? Actually no, don’t tell me… I’ll tell you what. I’ll show you and you show me. How does that sound? Come back for my next few posts and if you like what you read, why not sign up to receive posts straight to your inbox? Already know you want more? I’m flattered. Ok. See that little box on the right, just under the menu? That’s it, right there. Just pop your email address in and you’re done. I’m not that prolific a blogger so I promise it will be manageable!