Today, this morning, I ran my second 10k race and I was pretty slow and I totally did a torrent of accidental wee at the end. The others were supposed to watch me coming into the finish line, but they had some domestic trouble with sandals, and so they were late, and by the time I found them, I was pretty much dried up. Those tight running pants pride themselves on wicking moisture away, and I think I know what they are getting at. Then when I got home, I found my toenail, which I had been furiously growing in an effort to impress the pedicurist Vietnamese ladies down the road, instead of horrifying them when I ask them to paint my tiny bleeding stubs, had grown indeed, into a sharp point, and it had attacked the other toe during the race and there was blood everywhere in my running shoes. And by then, I smelt like an old public toilet. The moral here? I don’t know. Wear sanitary pads all the time in case your bladder decides to give up working at inopportune places? Don’t pick your feet into a scabby mess, but if you do let your feet go forth and grow like a wild dead-skin-and-curly-toenail-garden-of-despair, then occasionally prune those gnarly edges? Don’t bother entering races? Stay at home and drink tea. But, you know, it isn’t all about urinating in public. In the light of my post a month or so back, when I shared the true horror of having small children go apeshit on public transport, here is a photo to prove that my children can indeed sit down calmly on a train and not pull anyone else’s hair. In fact, they look shattered, which is what a week doing serious learning about stuff at school can do to a kid. They look positively forlorn: IMG_3419 Again, with the kindness and picnic-y brotherly love: IMG_3477 And here they are at the local skatepark, which is where we like to hang out for a bit on a Saturday on the way along the canal to Portobello for crepes and hamburgers. They are scared of the big cool skaters, and you can see them slyly watching the big teenagers with their shirts off and looking cool, and they are wanting to be them, and wanting to be so cool and assured. And then one of them starts a game of frenzied tag, and they forget themselves and act like dicks again. It is funny and sad and sweet to watch. IMG_3426 At the top of Portobello they have a funny little newish foodie space, with tables and chairs and pigeons and stalls which are mostly pretty good. Everyone in the family except for me gets a boner for nutella crepes. Even that poor baby. See him as he takes a rare, unguarded moment to think of his baby teeth and his bad mother who knows that sugar is poison, but gives it to him anyway: IMG_3430 But you stick a filter on everything, wear girl’s stripy tights and some adidas trainers and the pain all goes away: IMG_3457 Yes? Yes. Who needs teeth anyway? We hadn’t been to A&E since Otis got his front tooth smashed back into his upper gum in a hotel forecourt in Wales, and other than needing help with the psychological shortcomings of our children (we have been attending seminars on fixing your children who are a bit nuts, to paraphrase), and a tiny bit of vomiting a few weeks ago, we have been all pretty healthy and unscathed. But then there was this little number – Ned flicked a piece of metal which was attached to a string of  rubber bands into his forehead, requiring stitches. It was rudimentary weapon fashioned by Noah, who had been swinging it around narrowly missing the telly, and then Ned got hold of it and it there was much screaming and blood. Everyone said “Oh, you must have been so upset!”and I look back and think, not really. I think you get a bit used to physical damage and trauma when you have a bunch of kids, and you know they will heal over and scab up and scar but they will be ok. IMG_0749 Here Ned is, just before the bruising came down into his eyes making him look like Vincent in Beauty and the Beast, not bothered, having a ride on a spinning teacup and feeling awesome. IMG_3441 And all this leads me to Mark, who had a birthday yesterday. Ned wore a Jean Paul Gaultier-esque bondage homage apron to help me bake Mark the most excellent Nigella honey and chocolate cake ever, although the icing split and took on that curdled sick quality. But black and white forgives a vomitty surface, and he didn’t mind. Look at the happiness on his slightly grizzled face! IMG_3485 IMG_3487 He is like YAY someone cares about me and YAY tonight we are going out and we don’t have to put the little buggers to bed! That’s all it takes really, a reminder that someone loves you enough to build a cake (as my grandmother would say) and that someone will take away the drudge of an evening. And so he spent the day indulging in his newest, expensiviest hobby, the excruciatingly uncool sport of archery. He spends lots of time reading archery magazines, and has joined an archery club, and he thinks about bows and quivers and that kind of embarrassing shizzle. And he watches “Arrow” on Netflix and it breaks my heart, because the guy wears a Robin Hood-updated-for-modern-times crap outfit and he bothers to kill people with his stupid bow instead of just shooting people, which would be quicker and more accurate, but I am trying to be nonjudgemental about it all. It could be lawn bowls, I guess.

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White Jelly Shoes and OUCH my sympathies to Kate

So, the royal baby was born yesterday, which isn’t that interesting, except if you are me, who loves a baby, especially an elusive girl baby, and if you live close enough to the hospital when she was born to run up there and wave if you felt so inclined (I didn’t) and close enough to the palace to hear the helicopters taking an aerial view of the ride home. It is a funny moment when you watch it on telly but can also pop outside to watch them go by. And OH how my gynaecological-specific insides cringed and cramped in sympathy when I saw her make that little exit from the Lindo wing doors to the crowds and unforgiving world media cameras just ten hours after giving birth. She must have been bleeding and hurt and torn and swollen and bruised and in some sort of sensory shock, but had to get her hair done and look nice and stand up. STAND UP. After a baby, I only like to stand up if I have to. Maybe to stagger to the loo, trying not to get blood all over my feet, steeling myself for the inevitable wee-burning-raw-flesh situation. Right, sisters?

Here are some photos of me, the first two a week after the baby was born, but still in hospital and without much sleep, owing to the baby being sick and jaundiced and us both having to sleep in a room with five other women and newborns with that bloody blue light going all night. The second, maybe a few hours after birth, showing some skin which may well burn your irises out with the horror and the shame of being part of my boob-skin. Shield your eyes if you think you might be forever defiled by the looking.

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There are other photos of me, post-baby, but they almost always show an actual, certifiable nipple. Which is just too much for me to reasonably expect the readership to cope with on a Sunday afternoon, so you just have to imagine. Always though, the photos show me looking post-accident – hair unkempt, face enormous, bits of dried blood and sweat hanging around, dilated pupils from the shock, body massive and drained, like a punching bag that has had the stuffing punched out of it, beaten into some sort of submission.

So props to you, Kate, you poor, lovely lady who is kind of a prize heifer, to be wheeled out and put on show. Some dreadful old lady commentator yesterday on the TV said, just as Kate exited the Lindo doors in her shift dress and with her hair all flowy and makeup done, that she was looking just like an ordinary mum, specifically referring to the swollen belly Kate had clearly not strapped down with a corset. Lady from the telly – normal mothers who just had a baby are actually in their pyjamas, weeping a bit, eating toast and jam with huge stomachs full of displaced organs and blood.

Anyway. I bought enormous white plastic jelly shoes last week, because Simone Rocha seems to be endorsing plastic shoes and getting away with it, and Phoebe Philo has made white shoes ok, and because I needed something to wear that covered up my old man toenails but still let the air in. And because they looked so cool in American Apparel, all lined up on the wall in all the colours, all pastelly, glittery, clunky, and slick.


Of course, the sales woman was one of those awesome teutonic tall tattooed ice-queens who was wearing massive platforms at the end of her long legs, and she had a hipster plaid shirt buttoned up to the neck and she was young and cool and I asked her if the plastic shoes were too awful and she said they were cool. Reader, I believed her. And I got swept up in the romantic version of myself as some sort of Fashion Leader At The School Gates, and I tried them on and admired my relative suddenly tiny ankles against the vast plastic molded shoe of my surprising fashion dreams. It was all suddenly so clear to me – I could be VERY STYLISH FOR JUST £25 AND I COULD COVER MY HORNED TOES AND KEEP THE OVERSIZED CHILD’S SANDALS CLEAN WITH BABYWIPES! Amazing.

And so up at the till, still so swept away by my new vision of myself as maharajah of footwear fashion, I asked the teutonic ice maiden if all the cool girls wear theirs with socks, and she said of course, and she showed me the rail of red ankle socks. It was all too much. I exist on a fairly relaxed Spectrum Of Stupid, but the socks were way off my scale. Instead I bought a £6 tiny tub of Smith’s Rosebud Lip Salve because once I read that you could only get it in the US, and that it was the drugstore essential if you were some sort of channel-hopping cool person with a propensity for dry lips. And so I have worn them everywhere since, and have been amazed at the blisters, but also equally amazed at the way they wipe down, just as I had hoped they would, like some sort of latex sex suit for my calloused feet.

Seriously, it’s all fun and games with a plastic shoe, even though the school run turns the underfoot into a slimy sweaty wet room and then the road dust gets in and makes everything wetly black.

Though I don’t think everyone approves. Vicki, my elegant friend with a proper job, chose not to mention them at all, as I sashayed into the school hall for assembly, clomping and sliding and blindingly white, which I took as a gently crushing sign that she had nothing nice to say, and so said nothing at all. There were other women at the school gates who told me that they had some too, though theirs were flat and they wore them in the water, which could only really mean one thing, right? CROCS. Which wasn’t quite the look I was going for.

The sad thing is that the older I get, the more limited my choices are. I can’t dress like a mental, or even an art student, because I am too old and the joke doesn’t work like it used to. Alongside the little colonies of soft long grey hairs that form by my temples like a cartoon grandpa’s would, in a village-style cluster, like hair-Vikings, ready to take over my former blonde Wessex-head, or the ravines around the eyes and the cracked-earth dry hands, getting older also means that being appropriate starts to matter. Which is really boring.

And now I want a new baby girl. Luckily, I have an app that will show me how to do it.

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I am not always calm or firm or consistent

There’s a very nice lady who lives in the street and she has a baby and is about to have a new one and she said that she likes my calmness and if I wrote a book on kids she would read it. Or if I took a class she would come along, or something. Maybe she meant if I held a TED talk and it was kind of awesome and it went viral then she would listen to it. Something along those supportive, social media-related lines. So, anyway, I thought about that, especially in the wake of yesterday’s Tubegate, which happened just as we waved goodbye to her and we strolled along to Lancaster Gate to get the tube to the Borough Market to buy delicious things and to celebrate the end of a very successful Easter holiday.

I was wearing the ruined Cherry Lush and a silk bomber jacker with dragons embroidered on it, and I had asked Mark as I left the flat if the jacket wasn’t a bit too excellent to be brandishing casually about, and he said with the flick of his eyebrows (which is kind of his way of answering me all the time – one flick means all, and requires not much work, and I can take from it whatever I fancy -) that it was truly excellent, but perfectly appropriate for a Friday strut.

So it all started off so well, as these things tend to do. We got to the tube and managed the central line to Bond Street, and should have happily sat until London Bridge, but Ned and Casper did a musical chairs thing where they both ran for the seat next to the plexiglass barrier at the end of the row, and Casper got there first, and Ned went mental, absolutely batshit crazy, and Casper hit back. They were like dogs, pulling hair and screaming and crying and biting each other and throwing wild punches, kicking and shouting at each other to get off the seat and not to touch the shared armrest, and it was extremely ugly, extremely quickly. I had the other two and the baby in the buggy, so I put the brake on and tried to separate them, and pulled Ned away but his legs went limp and so I was left crouching over him in the juddering train with one arm on him and the other steadying the swinging buggy while Casper cackled with glee. Most of the people in the carriage were kind of laughing, kind of sympathetic, and Ned wriggled away and went right back to the fight and started throwing his fists around again and wailing. There was a woman sitting across from them who was trying to finish a game of Candy Crush, and she was obviously horrified and entirely inconvenienced by the violence. She would look up at the boys from the phone screen every few seconds, then up around at the other onlookers in the carriage clearly trying to meet the eyes of another similarly horrified person. She wanted some support in the crowd, someone to reassure her that what she was witnessing was unacceptable. She wouldn’t look at me, just at everyone else, with the most awful cranky outraged righteous face on. I was DYING inside, and trying to calm them down and kind of trying to laugh it off, but failing, and this big scary unhelpful ladyjudge watching us with such disapproval was putting me off my game.

So, I tried ignoring them both for a bit, in a shruggy kind of ‘whatcha gonna do? BOYS’ kind of way but the fighting was only escalating, and London Bridge was still about three stops away. I thought it was time to pull Casper away from the seat to stop the Crazy and to keep the mean lady from videoing the mentalness and sending it on to social services because that’s the fear, right?

So I yanked him off and over to the side and OF COURSE he turned on me, kicking my shins and walking up my legs and trying to wriggle out of his jacket, biting my fingers and screaming that he hated me and I should shut up. We must have looked like a group of special needs kids on a day trip from the Residential Home, with a serious staff shortage. I was holding him as best as I could, but telling him that he was hurting my legs with his kicking and no, I wouldn’t let him go because he was fighting on the tube and that wasn’t acceptable.  So London Bloody Bridge finally arrives and we get off and I line Casper and Ned up against the wall and tell them that they WILL NEVER EVER ACT LIKE THAT AGAIN WITH ME, OR ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT AGAIN AND SUCH DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR I HAVE NEVER BEFORE WITNESSED AND WILL NEVER WITNESS AGAIN BECAUSE THAT CAN NOT HAPPEN EVER AGAIN DOYOUUNDERSTAND? And Ned had big haunted eyeballs and he said sorry, but Casper told me to shut up and flounced off into a wall of emerging tube traffic and then we had to wait for him to find us again and so I squeezed his upper arms really tight. He said his arms hurt and I said


I was shaking with my rage and fury and embarrassment and my total lack of control. I did quite a bit more of unhinged tube shouting, and went on and on in a wobbly voice about how terrible they had been, and when we got to the market I told Barnaby and Noah to choose all the smoothies and brownie they wanted, but Casper and Ned could only have water. Then Ned cried and said he was hungry, so I said he could only have half a roasted pork belly roll, but nothing else nice at all, and they should remember that angry mothers don’t give their kids overpriced artisanal products. That’s a natural consequence and an inherent parental rule, kiddos.


Then I relented because I am as firm as an overripe brie and as consistent as the Circle Line (read: not firm and not consistent) and I said Casper and Ned could buy a brownie for later if they improved and stopped being embarrassing and violent. That’s a stupid 360 right there, folks. What did they learn? Probably nothing. And it all nearly ruined me, once again. So I had better not do any TED talks because my kids are appalling in public and I am pretty crap at dealing with it and I have no wisdom to impart, just another story to tell of bruised flesh and incandescent fury.

Also, we went camping last week, which was colder than I thought, but also much nicer than I thought. And the baby had a proper barber’s haircut in the same 70’s vein he seems predestined for.

Here he is sliding down the pebbles in East Wittering:


And here he is eating churros at the barber’s. Always something in that kid’s mouth, eh?


Tenting. Mixed emotions:


Just like me about this parenting gig.

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Being five and deluded

Apparently, Ned has been having disagreements with his little five year old buddy at school. Often, they concern things of a lofty religious nature, like who is right – God or Allah – and they get all het up and shouty and then spiral downwards into some sort of ‘you’re going to hell’ mudslinging, and the teachers come and tell us to have a word with the both of them.

Ned comes home and grumpily tells his side of the story, which never makes a lot of sense, and we give a gentle pep talk about not worrying too much about what other people believe, because we all think differently and that’s ok.  His little friend’s mother came up to me on Thursday before Easter breakup and said WHAT ARE THOSE TWO ON ABOUT? And I said I didn’t know, but not to worry, as they also argue a lot about whether gorillas wear shirts. This topic seems to cause Ned the most anguish anyway, and he mumbles about it quite a lot. He is determined that gorillas don’t wear shirts ever, but O refuses to agree, and they drive each other mental with the primate-clothing-conundrum. He told me today that they usually end their fights by blowing ferocious raspberries at each other and then swearing off their friendship for good. Religion, gorillas – it is all a bit awks.

BUT LOOK! The new generation of makeup destroyer is laying waste to my collection of overpriced beauty products!


The baby has found my lipsticks, and he gouges them out with his fat fingers when ever he is let loose into the bathroom or anywhere near my bag. He smashed up a Barry M one and smeared it all over the toilet cistern, but I didn’t mind that, because they cost about £1. The Tom Fords are obviously a different story, and though it has been happening to me for years, it doesn’t feel any less painful when the newest and cutest member of the family learns the joy of soft highly-pigmented vanilla-scented tubes of overindulgence. Nothing is sacred.

The worst affected is Cherry Lush, an essential punchy blue-red, though in my advancing years, with the eyes sinking a little deeper and the skin looking a little like other people’s mothers did when I was a kid, a bit tarnished and worn out, like homework paper that has been in the bottom of a school bag for a few days, yellowing and with bits of food crusting the corners, I think Otis has done me a favour. Cherry Lush is for the young. Cherry Lush is for the hopeful, for those whose horizons still shimmer with potential career triumphs and unstained teeth. Cherry Lush is munted, frankly, and no longer works properly. It cannot glide over my lips – instead, it is like applying mashed potato to your mouth, soft and crumbly and RUINED. Like my stomach and my hair.

Here he is, the Bad Baby, stuffing a massive Easter egg into his mouth with no sense of shame.


And here are our eggs, softly boiled in vinegar and water, and eaten really fast because the idea of hard boiled eggs sitting around in this spring warmish weather for days made me feel a bit food poisoning-y. But they looked good, and I thought it might show the children that I care about handicrafts.


Then on Easter weekend we drove to Oxfordshire to Lasso, the reclamation place, and the kids tried to push over massive plaster columns and stuff, and we ate fried ox tongue and chips, and felt like we were properly in the country. Buoyed up and enthusiastic, we followed the yellow signs to the Thame Country Fair, and spent about £50 getting in, and then it hit me how much I really hate those sorts of things, with the jousting and duck decoys and the stalls of tweed caps and indoor displays of special kitchen equipment that you really wouldn’t ever need, not when you have a knife, and rows and rows of portaloos. Noah went in and fell out of one, and told me later not to do any ‘ureen’ if I went in, because it won’t be heavy enough to push down itself, and I would have to shove my hand down the toilet to release it. I asked him if that is what he did, and he looked a little bit shy and went quiet. Here they are at Lasso, giving me heart attacks with the casual climbing and touching and vampire-impersonating:



And the awful country fair. Hot, boring, full of people who like watching ax-chopping competitions:


And this week, Casper has had to wear his uniform and attend Easter school, so he can be more awesome at the SATS exam. All week. So the rest of us have been playing in the park and frequenting cafes for San Pellegrino and reading red tops. Tomorrow, we are going camping, which may break me.

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Woman, hairy, upper arms…

…was a search term some one used to find my blog yesterday. Well HELLO, you there, with your arm hair queries! While I do have verdant blonde growth atop my arms, it’s mostly forearms, leaving the upper arms quite bald. So I won’t be much help, though I have been reading fashionable magazine titles of  late that suggest hair is very of-the-moment – full waxing is no longer as stylish as leaving your natural hairy bits alone, so throw away that razor and let go of your waxing specialist, and instead positively encourage your greying sparse thatches of hair to sprout forth from your underarms, legs and pubis! I can’t think of anything more chicer than a lovely leg covered in downy fuzz.

Anyway, you won’t find any actual helpful information here, on anything really. You will find a photo of a volcano cake, decorated really inelegantly by the children, though I am fully responsible for the icing, which was a split mascarpone and butter effort, and which wept sweet tears of bad chemistry and looked like curdled brown sick. I was so zen about it, and they were delighted, especially as the icing slid off in sloppy chunks which they said was an excellent reinterpretation of lava. Still, I must reiterate that IT WASN’T ME WHO MADE THAT UGLY CAKE BECAUSE MY CAKES LOOK GOOD.

Here it is, after they riotously studded it with so many poisonous sweets:


and then it languished a bit in the overheated flat, and it drooped and lava’ed itself into a pukey puddle of sadness:


But no matter! When you are seven, the grosser and more poo-looking, the better. See the happiness on the Middle Child’s face. Overwhelmed with birthday cake delight:


The Sad Bit

And yesterday was his actual birthday, and he was so incredibly horrible I cried, not just delicately, hidden away in a bathroom or something, but out in public, in the playground next to the school where hundreds of children were not hurting strangers while their mothers looked on. Oh no, that was just my small family of bandits, led by the Birthday Boy, resplendent in a birthday badge and a maniacal grin.

And that was immediately after I picked him up from school where he had gotten a Red Slip (that’s the baddest slip you can ever get and it leads to a meeting with the Principal) and he was banned from attending the after school gifted art class for being so difficult, and so when we got to the park and within about three minutes a mother was hollering “Where is your adult?” and I looked up from my phone (the shame!) and again it was my kid in the middle of it all. So I apologised to her for Casper pushing her kid, and I told him he needed to go into time out, sitting next to me, but he ran off, and I was incensed and embarrassed so I tried to chase him across the park, but he was quicker and shimmied up a climbing frame and left me at the bottom with shaking hands and heaving breathless bosom.

I called out, in my most menacing voice, kind of desperate now to grab him and slink off somewhere “Do you want a birthday cake tonight?” which got his attention, but then I remembered he wasn’t getting another one after the volcano extravaganza so I hastily changed that to “Do you want those M&S chocolate profiteroles tonight?” and he was like “YES, STUPID LADY!” And so I said “Then come down at ONCE!” and so he did, but I had to hold him fiercely in my human-straitjacket-hold to keep him from running off again, while he kicked and shouted and told me he hated me and that he had much more fun when he wasn’t born. Kick, scream, wrestle, stare from other mothers. Kick, scream, wrestle, stare from other mothers. It was very ugly and culminated in a swift exit from the park, but not before I broke and shouted “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!” And he said that it was everyone else’s fault for annoying him and that I hated him and then, for effect, he shouted out “Sex with Ladies!” and I just set my jaw and walked on, with the tears kind of bobbing out a bit.

Happy 7th birthday, Casper. Let’s try to make it to 8. Meanwhile, I am going to find a child psychologist to fix us all before we break into a thousand little sad pieces.

Moving On From That Bit Of Horribleness

Here is the dog and his nose, up close:


And here is a pasteis de nata from the Lisbon Patisserie on Golborne Road. Really, they are like little bursts of custardy edible angels:


Cheering Up Now

Here is a movie of Otis, who is cute and so far hasn’t learnt how to make me cry:

Now I haf too wok again. The baby is asleep! No time for lunch!

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So, I got a job, in an office, with a desk, near an independent coffee shop with cool thin young people asking me which roast I would like (totally wasted on me, because they both taste like good coffee, but it is kind to ask), and there is a security tag which gets me into the building all official-like and it is on Fleet Street. Everything is clean and no one interrupts me.

This is me, not being interrupted, although not at work, either.


Anyway. I found Ned playing with his friend Anna and they were at Mark’s desk, doing something that looked a little bit like what I do in my job. Kind of furious tapping and a bit of sighing and quite a few breaks for tea. And then I saw Ned had written this and was passing it to Anna, who may well have been chatting about things non-work-related:


And I’m like “Dude, I hear you”, because when I am not going into the office in my disco clothes*, I am trying to work from home, in and around Otis when he sleeps or is otherwise engaged with non-sharp items. So I felt for the guy, you know, just a small little guy, trying to finish his tapping and clear his imaginary to-do list, and his chatterbox friend just couldn’t really understand the pressure he was under, and so he just felt the only thing left to do was to pass her a note, with a face that expressed his deep regret about the situation.

I would like to extend the same sentiment to you, and all the world, because the current employment setup feels as though I will never have time to write a blog post, or read the Daily Mail Sidebar of Shame, or check for split ends ever again. Of course, that is all utter nonsense, but I feel a bit like sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for. So it is all about tiring the baby out, so that he will sleep, and I will get a few hours at least to do my editorial chores. And it kind of works, but I do feel like lunch has become an extravagance I cannot afford. And so I have to eat while Otis is still awake, but I am not hungry then, only suddenly starving to the point of nausea when he has gone to sleep in his cot and I have cracked open the laptop and I have my finger poised to begin my ungainly typing. And I can’t stop. I must work on, even though I am feeling sweaty from the low blood sugar and concave in the belly. No Time For A Sandwich is my new mantra.

*As for my disco outfit, I went to work yesterday in my outrageously expensive-but-they-were-on-sale Celine wool wide-legged trousers and a bright orange Courreges-esque top from Zara and my Acne riders and my vintage rabbit fur coat and when I picked Noah up from school, straight from the office, no less, he said

“Did anyone say anything about your clothes today? Because it really looks like you have been dancing in a disco. It’s actually mostly your pants. And your jacket. And your top. And your boots. But it looks like it was a fun disco.”

And then Ned says:

“Wow! you should go to a wedding and dance with dad in those beautiful shiny long clothes!”

And I’m like “Did I dress like a bit of a dick today?”

Reader, I think I did. Because I am out of practice and clueless, and I have to cobble things together from my schizophrenic wardrobe, which is a mashup of mumsy, ballgowny, museum curator-y, dirty, and above all else, inappropriate for most of the situations I find myself in. But try telling me to put down the beaded green velvet flares the next time I find myself in a sample sale, hyperventilating with excitement and imagining all of the places I could wear them to. Not that I will ever have have the time to go shopping again of course. Though, if I do, I shall be a tiny bird-like person from all the missed lunches.

Here we are, eating donuts at Brick Lane, on the weekend, when I used to have spare time:


And here is the baby, looking so edible in his combat gear:


Hair News

I am delighted to say that Ronan, the beautiful tiny hair stylist, was right when he said that my micro fringe would suddenly sprout forth and fill my sparsely-folicled head with all the wonder and resulting warmth of a thickly tufted floor rug. I have this weird volume to my roots, like I have backcombed my whole head, which makes me look like a much older, larger version of Duffy.  I feel duty-bound to wear Breton stripes and thin jeans, as well as dressing for discos.

So thats all good, then. Now, I have forty three minutes left before the baby wakes to ruin my working plans, so you’ll have to excuse me. Frankly, I haf too woc. xx

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Everyone is a little bit mad with me

The children are furious with me, because I have banned them from any screens today and I am making them sit at the table and finish their homework. The reason for the discipline is because they cannot walk down the road without playing “Who’s Got The Lurgy?” which is a kind of frenetic homemade wrestling kicking violent tag, which sees them running in wide arcs away from each other, and often into frail pensioners or onto the ROAD where enormous vehicles miss them by not much. It is all hijinks and scallywags I say (and bruised old people), until one of the children gets dead, spread out onto the road like so much damson jam with chunky butter all through it. I tell them that being dead on the road won’t be much fun, but still the Lurgy game follows us where ever we go. Any lull, any moment where they can regroup, and BAM they start shrieking and careening all over Queensway/the airport/Marks & Spencers wine department/Staff Only areas, frothing at the mouth and shaming me. So they are in trouble, and they are really mad, and I can hear them plot against me.

Their plan goes like this: At 5pm, I have been invited to watch their Purple Paper Pirate Puppet Show (their alliterative strengths come from me, but not their violent games’o’stupidity), which is apparently an actual show, with Barnaby as Art Director, Noah as Producer, the other two in some sort of overworked and underpaid intern role, where they are responsible for making tickets and cutting out pirate shapes. The tickets this morning were  addressed to me. But now, I am officially Uninvited. They are maliciously very busy coming up with people to invite whose names rhyme with ‘Jodi’ so they won’t have to deal with too much ticketing admin, but I will still feel deeply hurt and snubbed. So they are at the homework table, loudly putting forth names like ‘Rodi?’ and ‘Modi?’, imaginary Preferred Mothers who don’t ban the iPad or force them to write holiday diaries like their Real Mother Who Sucks.

But they don’t know the power I hold. Rodi and Modi won’t come to see the play, because they are badly-named imaginary mother substitutes who couldn’t come even if they felt like sitting through fifteen minutes of unintelligible nonsense, because they aren’t real. There is only me – mean, still cranky about the public shaming, but actual flesh and blood, and the only non-performer in the flat. SUCK ON THAT, SMALL IRRITANTS! You’ll be laughing on the other side of your small faces when you realise no one else exists! This Audience Of One won’t be trifled with! Ha.*

So, there is more. On Sunday, we went out to Whiteleys to look for second-hand books and to get something for dinner. We left the dog outside, the gate shut, water out, etc etc, knowing the dog likes to stand at the top of the stairs and survey the passersby, getting a few pats now and then, barking a bit for effect when another dog or squirrel dares to get too close. We ended up eating at Pizza Express, so got home a few hours later. There was a mean note stuck to our gate:


And I’m like WHY ARE YOU ONLY BEING MEAN TO ME? The dog is only 50 per cent mine. There’s a dad too, and he is perhaps also a discRACE oF ANY DAD’s, if you were applying the same standards. So whoever is watching me, all spooky stalker-like, is not seeing Mark. I carry the full weight of the bad-dog-owner burden. Then we had to think who had caught Magic roaming the streets, searching for bins to rummage, not once, but twice. Unfortunately, it is quite a few of the neighbours. They did leave a phone number, which I made clear to Mark that I couldn’t ring, because I would just start crying at the outraged mystery neighbour, so he tried, but they aren’t answering.

So we thought we could fix their spelling and leave the note on the gate, or we could give devil-eyes at all the neighbourhood until someone cracked from the terrible devil-eye pressure, but then Ned wrote this note which should read “No Burglars” but actually reads “nobogls”, and illustrated it with a kind-looking burglar whose arms are outstretched, desperate for a conciliatory hug. It is a work of genius – it is an unintentional shaming note of neighbourly LOVE, peppered with vowels which could mean anything, from “You Can Bugger Off, The Dog Is From Cold Nova Scotia” to “I’m Really Sorry About My Crapness At Caring For Animals”. It has been stuck on the gate since Monday morning.


Jesus would totes approve.

*Sia, Miley Cyrus and Hozier have similarly uninvited. I have no idea what they did to the kids.

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