Resting Peppa Face

You know that thing where people say women have “resting bitch face”?


Well, my kids have something similar. Usually it comes on around 4:30pm, when I plonk them in front of the TV and try to get some housework done. Tired, they completely zone out. I call it Resting Peppa face and it looks like this:

It’s also brought on by Bing and Mr Tumble. A useful tool to keep wrinkles at bay. I may have to try it.

Felt tip Fail

Sorry for not keeping you up to date on my daily parenting fails. Things have got in the way a bit lately.

This one, however, was too good not to document:

You turn your back on them for a few minutes (to drive safely whilst looking out the front window instead of into the back seats) and this happens


Luckily it washed off in her bath later…

Absent without leave

Sorry I haven’t been around for a few weeks, but I’ve been having some work done.  Unfortunately, not the liposuction, boob lift, and eyebrow lift I need, but an extension to the house.  We’ve also knocked a wall down, but no worries, it’s not an important wall, just the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.  So basically, for the past few weeks, access to our kitchen has been fairly restricted.  The kids have had half the area to run around that they are used to, so consequently I’ve been out of the house a lot.  And I’ve just not been able to blog quite so much as I’d like.  So here’s some pictures of what we’ve been going through, in the hope that you’ll forgive me for not hopping on here as much as I usually do.






As you can see, we’re getting there.  Just the new kitchen to go in, some fireplace installation, and a LOT of cleaning.  Plaster dust really does get everywhere – I had some on my toast the other day for breakfast.

See you on the other side.

Watch out, there’s a giraffe about…

My daughter and I have some of our best conversations in the car, where she seems to just let her imagination run wild.  Driving home from IKEA yesterday (where we seem to spend half our lives), we started talking about the birds and where and when they go to sleep.  She thought it was half past one or two in the morning, but when I pointed out that once it starts getting dark you don’t see many birds flying around anymore, she said that it was because the birdies were hiding behind the houses, and when they wanted to go anywhere in the sky, they would just hide behind a plane.  Being me, I went with it:

“So what other animals might hide behind a house”
“Hmmm, elephants.”
“Wow, it would have to be a big house!”
“No mummy, they can go really small.  There is one hiding under my trampoline.”
“OK, well I’m sure he’s a nice elephant, and maybe he just wants a play when we’re all sleeping.  Are there any other animals that hide behind houses?”
“Yes mummy, there’s a giraffe over there but he’s not good at hiding because he’s too big and I can see his head.  Mummy, I want to play I Spy!  I spy with my little eye something beginning with B!”
“Oh, I don’t know…  boat?  Bat?  Bike?”
“No mummy, I’ll give you a clue.  It’s very big, like a giraffe.”
“Oh, this is a hard one.  Emmmmm…”
“It’s a giraffe!”


A giraffe, not hiding behind a house


Let’s talk about poo

Before I had kids, I really didn’t talk about poo very often.  You know, there was the odd day where it would affect my life, after a particularly ‘good’ night out, an iffy dinner, or an illness, and I’d mention something vague, in passing, to close friends or colleagues about a ‘dodgy tummy’, but by and large it wasn’t something that overly concerned me.

Now, two children later, I feel like it might be one of my favourite topics.  Precious first born’s nappies were examined with fervour and the colour, consistency and contents duly discussed with other half upon his return from work.  We still talk about the time she did a massive one in the bathroom section of IKEA, about the furthest away from a real toilet as you can get.  And the time we left the house and there was a poonami incident in her carseat which necessitated us diverting to my brother’s house in order to dunk her in the bath and shower her off.  Ahhh, memories.

In fact, all this talk of poo reminds me that on one of my daughter’s first settling in days at nursery, I had to change her as soon as I dropped her off.  And while I was doing so, she put her foot in the poo and wiped it down my white t-shirt.  I was quick with the baby wipes, but there was still a small, but noticeable stain.  So of course, as an oversharer, I pointed out what had happened to one of the nursery attendants, and said I’d intended to go shopping while she was in for the hour or so of settling in, but now I was going to have to go home and change.  And this, no word of a lie is the conversation we then had:
Her “Where are you going shopping?”
Me “Connswater”
Her “Well, sure you’ll be ok then.  If it was Victoria Square I’d say go home and change, but it’s only Connswater, sure nobody will even blink an eye.”
It should be part of their new advertising campaign, surely?  Connswater – the shopping centre where you can shop whilst covered in poo.

So imagine my glee yesterday when bathing the two girls, when the baby stood up, held onto the side of the bath and hunkered down, grunted, then popped out three poops.  Then hilariously, put her bum down into the water and farted so that bubbles came up.  Twice.

Cue hilarious bought of giggling from her big sister, and from myself.

But then imagine my horror as I realise I have to deal with those three little logs.

I’m sure mums all around the world have had to deal with such issues.  In fact, I’m aware of at least one who’s had to pick up little presents from her toddler from behind her sofa.  So in I dove with a hand covered in multiple baby wipes, and I fished them out, and threw them down the toilet.  It was all going well until I realised that in order for my children to remain ‘clean’, I would have to empty the bath of children, drain the bath, clean the bath, run another bath and pop said children back in, all while dealing with cries of ‘I’m cold’ from the older one, and slightly delirious laughs from the youngest.   So that’s what I did.  We were late getting to bed that night, but at least they weren’t covered in poo.  And if you’re ending the day with your children asleep and not covered in poo, you’re doing alright in my book!


The Best Parks in East Belfast

We’re lucky to live in a city with so many green spaces, so as autumn starts to blow beautiful copper leaves off the trees, and our parks are littered with acorns, conkers and ‘helicopters’ from the sycamores,  I thought I’d give you my guide to the best parks in East Belfast, and some of their main attractions.  Believe me, I’ve spent a LOT of time in all of these over the past few years…
Belmont Park – The playpark is great for all ages and is enclosed, making it very safe.  The park’s won numerous Green Flag awards and has lovely walks, including one through a wooded area.  Park at the Circular Rd entrance if you want to be close to the playpark and the toilets.
Mo Mowlam Park at Stormont – This is great for slightly older kids as there’s so much for them to play on, including an obstacle course, a zip-line, and loads of slides.  The toddler area has swings, slides, roundabout, tunnel, and a climbing frame.  There are picnic tables, toilets, and a coffee kiosk. If you’ve children of different ages, it can be difficult to keep an eye on both of them as the play areas are so spread out, but you can really spend a good few hours here.
Cherryvale Park, Ravenhill Road – A new wooden framed playpark with 3 different areas for toddlers to pre-teens.  Fenced in, and with plenty of picnic tables and benches, plus a carpark.  There’s also a welcome recent addition in the shape of the Hatch coffee van.
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Orangefield Park – I have to mention this as it’s my local!  The playpark has definitely seen better days, but my kids still love it, and the rest of the park is beautiful.  Great walks, an outdoor gym, tennis and basketball courts, bowling green, a velodrome, and huge playing fields.  Recent additions of fairy doors in the trees have added a bit of extra magic, and the Greenway plans promise an extension to the Knock dual carriageway, and new play areas.  If only the vandals would leave the book box and the fairy doors alone, it would be nigh on perfect!
Victoria Park – take some bread to feed the ducks and other assorted seabirds that flock to the lake in the middle of this park.  Flat paths surround the lake, and the new playpark is great.  Visit in the spring to see the bluebell meadows, but at this time of year it’s great for foraging blackberriesP1350894.
Honorary mentions to Ormeau Park, Lady Dixon, and Holywood’s Seapark, which didn’t make this list due to geography!

Forts & Tents

As the school holidays draw to a close, here’s what the big one has been up to since she turned 4 – building tents and forts:

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This was her first effort using 4 of our sofa cushions.  She wanted a roof and a door, but the door kept falling off, so she reverted to the good old tent shape for her next build:

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These were declared too small though, so more sofa cushions were drafted in, and a whole new design was invented.  Tricky to build, but much larger, and with a handy peel back roof:

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She is actually in there.  With 4 princess dolls, her Woody doll, and a soft toy dog…

This kept her occupied for at least an hour, if not longer.  Which is a very long time for a young lady who normally changes activity every 15 minutes.  I think we might have a budding architect on our hands.

I remember doing this with my sister as a child, although we didn’t have nice plump cushions to work with.  We used to make a fort using two kitchen chairs and an old sheet or blanket.  We’d play in there for hours, or just escape the madness with a good book.  Later, when we were allowed to venture further than the front garden, we built amazing forts with neighbourhood kids in the middle of wild blackberry bushes, and had our own little wooden Wendy House in the back garden.  It’s a lovely feeling to see my own child using her imagination and ingenuity in the same way and I can’t wait until her sister is old enough to join in, to see what creations they come up with.  In the meantime, I might get her a tent to play with in the garden…

Many tries…

Little B is eating a bowl of ‘white pasta’ – plain pasta with a bit of butter stirred through it.  What she doesn’t know is that I also stirred through a little bit of chicken soup, (what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her), in a bid to widen her repertoire of dinners.  Feeling all proud of my sneaky ways when she polished off the bowl, I revealed the soupy addition, to which she said:

“Oh mummy, but I didn’t like it.”

“But you ate it all up, so you must have liked it!”

“No mummy, I just tried it a lot.”

A 4 year old’s logic just can’t be argued with…


Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans detail

Last night I left my baby…

So, yesterday, after 10 and a half long months of constant companionship, feeding, nappy-changing, singing, rocking, hugging, kissing, crying, and hard bloody work, I left my baby.   Overnight.  Actually, it was for more than 24 hours from the time I left until the time I returned.  This was very difficult for me because I’ve been off work and a full-time mum since she was born.  I’ve never been away from her for more than a couple of hours here and there.  Plus she’s been going through a phase recently where she’s become very attached to me, to the point where she will cry if I leave the room.  So you can imagine that I was full of trepidation yesterday as I lifted my overnight bag and prepared to leave the house.  I was expecting lots of crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Instead I got a wee pleasant smile and a slight headbutt.  She really didn’t care much that I was going.

The other one though, who I thought would be waving me off and shooing me out so that she could have fun times with daddy, bounced off the sofa, bounced onto the floor, grabbed me around the ankle and pleaded with me not to go. 2015-08-02 13.28.28

See, I have pictorial evidence of this rare show of daughterly love.  I think she just wanted a night away in a hotel, but still…

Once I extracted myself, (and having left outfits for the baby, meals for kids and husband, and reminder notes to buy milk), I set off into the unknown – a girlie night away in a posh hotel with two of my very best friends.  I don’t think we stopped talking for a minute.  We reminisced, we laughed, we listened to each other moan, and we gave, and got, good advice.  We ate lovely fluffy scones with cream and jam, then we ate some more nice food, retired to our room to talk more and eat chocolate.  Then we had an unbroken nights sleep during which no children cried for us, or climbed into bed with us, got up and had showers privately, on our own with no kids watching or joining in, before eating a hot breakfast that someone else had cooked for us.  We didn’t have to pick up a toy, kiss a sore knee, play princesses, shout, do any housework or shopping, or even tidy up after ourselves for a few short hours.  And you know what?  It was bliss.  I love my kids, but sometimes I need to be away from them.  I’m going to do it more often because I need nights like that, where I’m not just a mum or a wife.  I’m a person with a history, a present, and a future.  A person with memories, problems, and possibilities.

Yes, I left my baby for a little while, but I have no doubt that for the next wee while at least, I’ll be a better mum to her for that.



(Thanks to the Roe Park Resort for the comfy beds, the yummy scones, and the warm welcome.  This post is in no way sponsored by the hotel, my party paid for our stay, but sometimes good service deserves to be shouted about and we had such a lovely time…  We’ll be back!

Thanks also to my lovely husband who told me I could stay another night if I wanted to.)


adventures in parenting, Belfast style