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'Mean Mummy'

posted on: Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I am the tiger.

I am shameful as I write this as, yes reader, yesterday I was mean to my kids. This is a taboo Mummy subject - its the unwritten rule; meanness is unacceptable in Mothers, we must be calm, supportive, loving, forever reasonable, funny, nurturing, definitely not shouty - yes. But mean - no.

So here is how it went (the confession starts...). It was early morning yesterday, husband gone already, me getting the children ready for school and no matter how many times I said 'get dressed', 'have breakfast', 'brush your teeth', they just did not move. Like sloths...they lolled, my two children, as if they had all the time in the world. I had aforementioned (previous post) big meeting at work and was wearing the big heels that prohibited the usual running around the house trying to get everyone sorted. My son, who is 4, decided he wanted to build a Lego castle. My daughter could not find her reading book - one that she had had in her hand minutes before. More running up and downstairs ensued...until finally we all get in the car - late, harassed but on our way. By this stage I am fuming...why is it always such a struggle?! What follows on the journey to school is a lecture from me...of the worst kind...about how frustrating it is to me that they don't get ready on time, that they need to learn responsibility (locate the reading book as its important for school, save the Lego castle til later as there is somewhere we have to be right now, like school assembly...). I can see their sullen faces in my rear-view mirror, yet I press on! What was I thinking? We get started on the worst topic ever as it transpires that neither of them brushed their teeth....well, off I went. Like some woman possessed...on the merits of appropriate dental hygiene, how their teeth will literally fall out if they don't look after them, how the dentist will blame them for their tartar build-up...

By this stage, I am even starting to wonder why I am on this rant - we near school and I realise...I have gone too far. Rapidly trying to back-track so they don't go off to school with memories of their mother screaming at them about tooth-brushing in their minds, I try to lighten the mood; my guilt is setting in. As we get out the car I can see two chin wobbles and finally my daughter succumbs (one suspects linked to her abject fear of having to have a filling at the dentist, which I have now single-handledly upped on the anxiety list in her little life).

Tears fall, I feel wretched, we hug but its no good, the damage is done. So I have to leave her, red-faced and over-emotional as I walk away feeling ever so slightly ashamed.

'Where did that mean mummy come from?'
When I collected them from school they asked...ummm I have to say I am not sure where she came from...the pressures of modern life? No excuse! We all really hope she stays away...

Talking of mother-love...this set of photos I just adore. Its pinned up in my kitchen, pulled out of a issue of Vogue last summer. Especially the one at the top left which so utterly captures that mother/daughter emotion.

So, this is for Boo 1: I am sorry xx

Amanda Harlech and Tallulah Ormsby-Gore

The Scandinavian Cookbook

posted on: Friday, 22 January 2010

This is the most evocative cookbook I have ever owned. I grew up spending my summer and winter holidays with my Danish family, cousins and cousins of cousins almost too many to mention. I have the fondest, most sentimental memories of Denmark and mostly of the time spent at my Grandmother's house. She lived just outside of Copenhagen and was the best ever cook. She was one of those effortless cooks, using fruit and vegetables from the garden, creating the most extraordinary but traditional meals for us. My mum is just the same. So this book, its just like a memory fest for me of every childhood food we had there. The descriptions of the food and the photography in this book perfectly capture the Danish mood...oh and the recipes are quite good too ;-)

Beautiful Royal Copenhagen china. Each piece is hand-painted, so delicate...


Georg Jensen 'New York' cutlery...
Arne Jacobsen Stelton pieces...so Danish



How did I do?

posted on: Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Today I had my annual appraisal at work. I work for a very large company, like a 'household name' type company and its all about the summary review of the year. Everything hinges on it. So, year on year, I go through a whole mental process of trying to convince myself that I am doing my best, that I couldn't work any harder, as I balance work, my children, my husband, my house, my friends, my shoe obsession, my shopping habit...

In any working week I think its most important that I am home more than I am at work; so I work part time and keep it at a level where I top and tail the kid's day by always being there for pick-up and drop-off at school, homework, bedtime stories and so on. This all works fine, as the company I work for are super-flexible but they do expect me to do a good and serious job. There is no slacking off, so the net result is that its a plate-spinning act - this is the same story for pretty much all mothers; working ones or otherwise.


So today, after a hefty degree of build-up, was the day when I found out - did I pull it off? I realised that in motherhood like in so many other parts of life, there is no mechanism that gives you this level of feedback. You never really know - how did I do? Infact for me, the point when I notice I am not doing so well is when something goes very wrong and see the smashed plate I dropped along the way. Then I wonder - how did that happen (again)?!

I am pleased (read delighted, relieved, thankful) that I did OK at work - I got a good appraisal, but then at the school pick-up my son's teacher called me in to talk about his reading. Hmmm, so maybe I dropped that plate along the way, not doing quite enough homework with him? Mental note: must try harder... ;-)

Cherry Picking...

posted on: Friday, 15 January 2010




So what to say? I have purchased full price (why do that when there are sales on? I am always the one attracted to the brand new season's stock...) Russell and Bromley deep cherry red, patent, platform, heeled, they are 'a thing of beauty' shoes. As the post-purchase guilt sweats have persisted for over a week, they have stayed in their box, in their bag ever since. I finally decided that they had to go back, after all does cherry red patent really fit into my lifestyle? I went to the bag, nestled in my wardrobe, reached in for the receipt in order to check the returns policy and low and behold saw the name of the shoes on the box: 'Loopy-Lou'. I took this to be a sign and made a u-turn on my decision; they must stay! I will now work tirelessly to find a way to make them fit into my life...
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