Friday, 29 March 2013

Monkey's Mummy loves...

It's time again for my weekly post where I share some of the products I have loved this week. This sort of post really sums up for me what I love about blogging. It’s an opportunity to share and learn from one another. We can’t each know about all the latest products or places to go but together, well we can be unstoppable!

These are all just things that I like and I haven't been paid to write any of this stuff.

I’m posting this as a linky from Modern Mummy so hop over there to see all the other recommendations.


I am not rich. I don't consider myself to be upper-class. But I did think that Ocado with its fancy vans and affiliation to Waitrose was for the rich and fancy but I've been pleasantly surprised.
I switched to using Ocado a few weeks ago after getting one of those vouchers where you get £20 off if you spend £70 (which I easily do each week). I've been so pleasantly surprised by their wealth of choice and reasonable prices.
The delivery charges in my part of London are much lower than that of Sainsbury's and Tesco, especially considering I always order for peak-time delivery. Plus Ocado always have lots of bundle meal deals on which actually save a fortune.
In the four weeks I have been using Ocado I have had to order much less and have seen it all go much further, saving me money.
I wanted to include this one in case anyone had the same misconceptions about Ocado as I did.

Pampers Easy-Up Nappies

We have reached the point where nappy changing was something to be dreaded. A battle of wills which neither of us enjoyed and which meant that one (or both of us) usually ended up in tears.
The main sticking point was that Monkey did not want to lie down. So, the Pampers Easy-up nappies that we have just switched to are really helping us.
If Monkey just has a wet nappy I don't need him to lie down at all as you tear them off when they are finished with. If it's a dirty nappy he only needs to stay put for the shortest of time.
I'm hoping that this switch is also a good introduction to potty training which we intend to start in the summer. He understands that he needs to stand up to have his big boy nappies pulled up and I'm hoping this will mean that the switch to pants is not quite so drastic.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Is It Wrong To Stick With One?

When I had Monkey the plan was always that we would wait until he was school-age before we had another child. I have poly-cystic ovaries and so had Monkey young, when I was 26, so that if the condition were to get worse in the next few years I could always look back knowing I had been pregnant and we had at least one child. 

My condition doesn’t seem to be getting a lot worse so I’m as confident as I can be that I’ll be able to have another child. Problem is…I’m not sure I want to.  

I’ve watched the majority of my friends have second children but the broodiness just hasn’t kicked in. Newborns are adorable but I still feel like I’ve been there, done that, not really sure I need to do it again. Plus, it wasn’t easy – why would I want to go through morning sickness, birth, sleepness nights (to name a few) again? 

However, I wonder whether that is just a really selfish attitude? If I am able to do so do I have an obligation to give my son a sibling? Is it wrong to raise him as an only-child if I don’t have to?  

He goes to nursery so has a lot of interaction with other children but will it benefit him to have someone at home, someone with him wherever we go? Will his development be hindered by not having a sibling – will he be a spoilt brat? 

I’m leaving this post pretty open-ended. There is no conclusion, no decision has been made. We’ll see what happens. Perhaps it’ll be like a new season, one morning I’ll just wake up and be broody? I’ll let you know.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Seek Medical Advice

I’m always very cautious to take Monkey to the doctor or worse still to the hospital. With the fear of looking like a panicky mother and the warnings ringing in my ears of our over-crowded NHS, I always wait… and wait… and wait some more.  

Sometimes that’s been the right thing to do and whatever has been afflicting Monkey has cured itself with Calpol and cuddles.  

Sometimes though I’ve got it wrong. He had a tummy bug when he was about one and after a few days I took him to the doctor only to be told he was dehydrated and I should have been doing more.  

This morning, as I went into his room he was stood in his cot holding his ankle up saying that it hurt. I got him out of the cot and he immediately guarded the ankle, refusing to put weight on it and wanting to be held. It looked swollen and bruised.
Entertainment in the waiting room
So, I reluctantly decided that I’d take the halfway route and take him to the walk-in centre. I got it wrong again, it’s just a sprain and Calpol and cuddles will do. But I was reassured to have a pro tell me that and not rely on my knowledge from Casualty and Dr. Google.  

Should I be taking more advantage of the NHS? I pay my national insurance after all. Or should I not feel guilty about holding back from going to medical professionals and instead just trust myself? 

I think it’s the latter for me.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Monkey's Mummy Bakes...

85th Birthday Cake

This weekend saw my Grandma celebrate a real milestone birthday and, as the family's resident cake-maker, I was in charge of creating a special something. Here's how I made what I think is one of the best-looking cakes I've ever made.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Monkey's Mummy loves...

This is the first in what will become a weekly post where I tell you all the things I've loved this week. This sort of post really sums up for me what I love about blogging. It’s an opportunity to share and learn from one another. We can’t each know about all the latest products or places to go but together, well we can be unstoppable!

I’m posting this as a linky from Modern Mummy which I am super-chuffed about because I bloomin’ love Katy’s blog and I continually hope to emulate the success she has had.
So here we go, the things I have liked this week.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Made to be a Mum

I watched the show ’16 Kids and Counting’ last night with great interest last night. Personally I think to have kids into double figures either means you hate contraception or really love kids.

What struck me about the women involved is their utter devotion to their children. They’ll be out until all hours of the night picking them up from nights out, they’ll never sit down in the evenings because they are busy getting snacks, doing ironing, putting kids to bed. One even said that she doesn’t like her kids to watch TV – she has 12 children and doesn’t use CBeebies as a babysitter!
It struck me that this programme really demonstrated that some people are just made to be mothers. For me, I have always thought that I am not a natural mother. Yes, I wanted my son very much and fought hard to get him but I don’t find motherhood easy and I definitely don’t want to devote my every waking hour to Monkey. Although sometimes the work life balance is hard I enjoy being able to get away and to be someone apart from Mum. I enjoy my evenings when he has gone to bed and I can have a glass bottle of wine.
For some women though it just comes easy – they don’t flap over missed naps, long bedtime routines and arduous days of no telly. They enjoy their children 24/7 despite bad tempers and tantrums.
I’m happy to admit that I don’t find being a Mum easy at times but I know I work hard at it and that as far as my son is concerned I’m doing a great job!  Needless to say the idea of 11 more is not for me!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Fidget Bum

Monkey is a complete fidget bum but over the past few weeks we have noticed that he actually cannot stay still at all!

Eating his dinner we are constantly telling him to sit back down. He’s not attempting to run off anywhere he just hops up and down all the time – eager to get on and play rather than sit and eat food!

He can’t sit still to watch the telly. He can’t sit still to do painting or colouring. He can’t sit still on a ride on toy – preferring to jump off and push it along instead.

I've been debating about taking the sides off his cot when we move house in a couple of months but he is such a wriggler he would spent the night on the floor and I would spent the night coming to pick him up - I'm going to save that one for when I feel like I need a sleep deprived treat.

However, this inability to sit still was fine. Until now.
We are beginning potty training. We are doing it very slowly by just allowing him to sit on the potty every now and then when he is getting ready for the bath or bed.
Now, when a child is learning to use the potty you really need him to actually sit down…and stay sitting down. For me, my little kangaroo sits for about ten seconds and then needs to hop up – despite what he may still be doing!
Is there such a thing as a potty with a seatbelt?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Fun in the funniest places

This weekend we attempted to begin our quest to get our new house sorted. We know we need at least a dishwasher and a washing machine and so this seemed like the things to start with and while on our white good quest we discovered that a world of fun can be had in the funniest of places.

We went to Currys which, if it is struggling in the current economic climate, really should advertise itself as some sort of childrens play area. There were washing machines galore with never-ending buttons for Monkey to press and no Mummy telling him to stop it before he accidently runs a cycle. Wide aisles to run down and run through. Low shelving to crawl through before posing for pictures (with some pretty nice lighting as well for the amatuer photographer!). Hundreds of tellys showing Toy Story adverts all at the same time to surround Monkey in a Woody HD sandwich! We left after one hour with Mummy sorted on her applicances and a panting Monkey and Daddy from all the running around.

I really hate soft play centres so these sort of places are great for me to take Monkey. Some other places we head to are:

The Garden Centre
Especially lovely in the summer when we can stroll around all the plants, chatting about the colours and the smells.

The Library
A free morning of reading plus with 'presents' to take home afterwards.

The Supermarket
Whilst I won't do my full shop with Monkey in tow - a quick ten minutes here and there is actually seen as a bit of a treat for a ride in the trolley and visit to the cheese counter to find the free samples.

The Science Museum
The basement is specifically decked out for kids and we found it was suitable for Monkey from when he was about one, thanks to all the sensory lighting. The older he gets the more he gets out of it.

Anyone got any others I can add to my list, so that you can save me from ever entering a soft play again?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Bedtime War

I blogged the other night about how we are entering Tantrum Town and the main focus of the hysterical meltdowns seems to be about bedtime.

In a bid to assert his authority Monkey has become very un-keen on bedtime in the last few weeks. He wants to go downstairs, he wants to read books – basically he wants to do anything bar going to sleep.

He’s a clever one and has a wealth of tactics to stay up – but I’m a Mummy and I too have a wealth of tactics. The war is on.

Here’s my plan…

1, Go upstairs earlier
This is really difficult on nursery days as Monkey doesn’t get home until about 6.20pm but he really needs to be upstairs by 6.30pm. It’ll be better when we have moved as he’ll be home earlier.

2, Stay upstairs
We used to put PJs on and then come back down for milk and Night Garden. Then it became milk and more playing with toys and now it is milk and running and jumping around like a loon. I can see where I am going wrong with this one.

3, Read however many stories he wants before getting him into his cot at 7.15pm
Yes, this will mean reading ‘Thomas and the Windy Day’ 6 times every night but I’m just going to have to do it.

4, Distraction
I’ve tried this the last few nights and it’s working. Once I have read what I deem to be the last story of the night I tuck him in and I give him a teddy. I ask him to tell Teddy a story while I just pop downstairs and I tell him that I’ll be back in one minute. There is no complaint. Then I leave and just don’t come back.

The bad thing about this tactic is that I have a very clever child and I know it is only going to be a couple of weeks before he figures this one out but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

It’s one on one in this war – and I’m determined that I’m going to win!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

All Change

On Saturday we began house-hunting for the very first time as potential buyers. What a difference from looking as renters! The estate agents seemingly couldn’t do enough to help us and there wasn’t a queue of other people outside – we had their attention!

I’d done my research of the area, the schools and the toddler groups for Monkey but I was realistic that our search had only just begun. We were due to view six houses that day and from the photos number 4 was the most interesting. 

The houses were saw in the morning were nice but I thought it would be like wedding dress shopping – I’d just know when I had found the one. And then we went into house number 4. 

Prior to beginning our house search I had briefed my hubby on the importance of the poker face when house hunting. When we left house number 4 his first words to me were ‘you weren’t exactly subtle.’

Yes, like a teenage with a massive crush I fell head over heels in love with this house – mainly because it has massive cupboards in the kitchen. You know, the important stuff! I gushed, I swooned and I made it bloomin’ obvious that this needed to be my new house. 

Two hours after a 45 minute viewing of the house (it was obvious we were keen) we were rang by the agent to be told that someone else had put in an offer. Well, what’s a girl (and two boys) to do – on the very first day of house-hunting we put in an offer…which was accepted 10 minutes later!

We are so excited to have our first ever real home but obviously cautious until everything has been confirmed. 

It’s all change in the Monkey’s Mummy household and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Welcome to Tantrum Town

Next stop, the complete loss of your sanity! 

Wow, what an evening. Tonight as we made our way through the usual bedtime battles, a monster came and inhabited my son for 30 long and very loud minutes. This monster changed my sweet, talkative 2 year old into a thrashing, red-faced, screaming shadow of himself. It was scary, exhausting and I had no bloody idea what to do.

I’d read about the terrible 2’s and I'd read blogs from Mums recounting the time when the tantrums kicked in. I used to think to myself ‘yeah, my kid cries sometimes too – tough isn’t it?’. Oh, what a novice I am. 

I know now that what I have experienced before was merely a whimper, the prologue to some sort of 'war and peace'-sized novel.  

So tonight I’m going to research the terrible twos and try to work out how on earth I am supposed to deal with these testing times.  

And I’m going to hope really hard that this is as bad as it will get!
Simpler times - Monkey aged 2 months

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bedtime battles

December 2011 - the last time he slept
As Shakespeare sort of once said ‘How do you avoid bedtime? Let me count the ways.’ 

  1. Singing
You know that both me and your Daddy find it ridiculously cute when you sing songs. We are fairly sure we need to ship you off to genius school sometime soon as at just 2 years and 2 months old you can sing us your entire alphabet. So now at bedtime if we suggest it might be time for you to sleep you immediately jump to your feet and we are now treated to quite the repertoire … with encores aplenty.  

  1. Please can I have a kiss and a cuddle?
Whenever we walk out the room you have started to shout this after us. Again, you know that both me and your Daddy find this sort of thing ridiculously cute and that it takes a pretty tough person to walk away from a guaranteed sloppy kiss and baby bear cuddle. But when you decide that we also need to kiss and cuddle every one of the seven teddies you have in your bed then we start to get the game.   

  1. I want to use the potty
You realise that I never want to say no to you using the potty. We’re not potty training yet but why not welcome any opportunity to try. So yes, you have worked out this with get you at least another 5 minutes. And 5 minutes after that as I attempt to wrestle you back into a nappy. And 5 minutes after that as I attempt to get your pyjamas back on.  

  1. Extreme hyperactivity
Bouncing, running from one end of the cot to the other, launching yourself onto the mattress – you name it you think it’s fun to do at bedtime.  

Anything to do with sleeping has always been the bane of my life with Monkey – the thing that makes me want to send him back to the stork – the thing that pushes my sanity to the brink. It’s been a really bad couple of weeks with the whole bedtime palaver lasting up to two hours from when we head upstairs.  

My only hope is that it is a phase. That I just need to battle through because he’ll come out of it soon enough and I can enjoy my evenings once again.  

Either that or I’m digging out the stork’s number.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

'The Plaster' Explained

A couple of weeks ago I wrote the blog post ‘I Ripped OffThe Plaster’ and today I want to explain what all that was about.  

In what some might deem to be a moment of ridiculous abandonment I quit my job. After months of unhappiness I just bit the bullet and decided that instead of just moaning that I wanted to get a better work life balance I was actually going to do something about it.  

So, I announced my intentions to leave my very well paid senior job and set up on my own as a freelancer who doesn’t work Fridays. Eek, I must be mad! 

I’m incredibly nervous about doing this, placing my family’s financial future in my own skills and expertise (which I’m not sure exist!) but I have to do what is best for me and my family. I truly believe what is best is for me to be happier and for me to be happier I need to be home a little bit more and I need to have more control over my life and the things I do in it.  

Whilst we’re at it we’ve also decided to leave London and we are actually going to buy our own home! I’m ridiculously excited about this and have thrown myself head-first into mass organisation and house searching in Bedfordshire.  

The only downside will be leaving London. When I had Monkey I was one of the lucky ones and I found the best NCT group ever. For the first time in my life I have made and kept really great friends. Thinking about leaving them makes me not want to go but as our wine nights are now few and far between I thinking I can afford the train fare back. 

So, that’s it. I suppose blogging about it is another plaster off really. Anyone I hadn’t yet told can now read about it and now that you all know I suppose I can’t really back out now…

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Bloggers Unite

I had a blog post ready for tonight but have shelved it. Instead I want to just say how incredible I think this blogging community is that I have stumbled into.  

Tonight on Twitter the stars are shining. The above picture is being used as an avatar by practically hundreds of bloggers to show support for one of their own.  

Tomorrow Jennie from Edspire will lay to rest her 9 month old daughter Matilda Mae who died a few weeks ago. I don’t know Jennie but her story moves me to tears and makes me hold Monkey that bit closer every time I remember the unbelievable pain that Jennie must be going through.  

From the comments I have seen a lot of people do not know Jennie personally. But on Twitter and across the blogosphere they stand shoulder to shoulder with her propping her up whenever she needs it.   

I’ve only been blogging for a few weeks now but I’m so proud to be a part of this community. The kindness of strangers has never been more evident.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A Blogging Obsession

My name is Vicky. I think I’m addicted to blogging.
I thought for so long about starting up a blog but was always hesitant. I thought it was something which only the cool kids did. As much as I wish that was me, sadly I’ve come to accept it’s not – I’m too socially shy!
I decided to bite the bullet just three weeks ago and launched Monkey's Mummy. There were many reasons why I decided now was the time. We are about to embark on a massive life change and I thought it would be good to have somewhere to log everything that happens. I also want to pursue writing as a career and thought this would be a good way to start.
But now, the bug has well and truly bitten me. I think about my blog all the time. It’s like I have another child – I keep telling my husband about all the new and smart things my lovely little blog has done.
I’ve been amazed and delighted that there are people beyond me and my immediate family who are logging on and having a read. But I’m lost as to whether I’m doing it right.
I’ve read a lot about how your pageview numbers shouldn’t count as a measure of success but then that brands etc. use it as a barometer as to whether you have a good blog which they want to work with.
So if anyone who has a blog is reading this then please let me know – how do you judge the success of your blog?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Mummy Guilt Is Expensive!

Look at that cutie. With his new toys – one in each hand, and three more out of sight, his new cardie and his new slippers. It’s not been his birthday or some other celebratory event. No, this photo is a visual description of Mummy guilt.  

I’m at the end of four days off with Monkey. Having constantly beat myself up for being apart from him so often I sincerely want to treasure these moments and make them fun for him.  

And that’s been costing me because everywhere we have gone I have brought him something as a memento of the fun we have had together.  

What am I doing? He is hardly going to remember the trips we have been on, particularly since they included Homebase and Asda!. He is equally never going to remember enough to relate these toys to the trip and the fun that we had together. So, why do I do it? 

It’s not that I see spending money as a sign of love but it is one way I can make the working absence work for the both of us. Yes, I’m off five days a week but that gives me the money to be able to treat him. It’s not really much but it’s something which we will go home with and he will play for and enjoy for weeks to come.  

He might not get the reasons behind it but I do.

Friday, 1 March 2013


I’ve come to realise over the last few difficult days that the only tool I have in my parenting armour is bribery.

As I have struggled with a lack of sleep, a hyper cheeky non-sleeping toddler and no hubby for support – I’ve been pulling out the big guns in the bribery stakes. In the last couple of hours alone I’ve said: 

"I’ll take your new toys away."

"I’ll leave you at home."

"You won’t get to see Nana and Grandad."

"I’ll put you to bed."

"You won’t get pudding. "

I literally know no other way of getting Monkey to do something that I want him to do. A stern voice is met with a smirk from him. A request to come here is met with a sprint which would rival Usain Bolt. And don’t even think of asking him to eat his dinner – that will see you having to show lightening reflexes to grab the plate as he tries to slide it off the table.  

Monkey is a good boy and everyone always comments on how cute he is. The problem is that he knows he is cute and he plays on it.  

The moral of this story is that I am lost as to how I am supposed to get a 2 year old to comply without the threat of removing something which he likes. What I am trying to do is make him realise that compliance will benefit him in the end. Is this wrong?