Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Beverly Hillbillies...

..not just a series from the 60s. The Clampitts are live and well and living in Newbury.

Today I seemed to embarrass myself at every turn. The fourth of my "responsible and experienced" babysitters appeared today to see if they could be the person I could call on when I need to do some work.

That McBaby doesn't look after himself, you know. And he could have told my boss that, as he phoned him three times this morning.

So that was number one.

When the lady arrived, I had just broken the kettle and offered a cup of tea which I had to make by boiling the water on the hob. And there were remnants of burnt toast in the grill, as we don't currently have a toaster. Strikes two and three.

Then I was ok for 20 minutes. I had work to do and was a-press releasing away. Then I though I heard my name. And again.

I went upstairs and found the McBaby's door shut. I always leave it open because the last person who closed it was a French exchange student who got the door stuck. I had to rescue him from the room and forgot to get it fixed.

I couldn't open it. I rammed it with my shoulder, called MrM and shouted platitudes while she offered to phone her husband, a fireman.

The potential embarrassment must have given me a rush of energy, as this shoulder charge opened it successfully. Strike four.

The McBaby was a bit upset about his false imprisonment, so the nice lady decided to take him for a walk.

Only to find that I'd left the pushchair in MrM's car. Strike five.

"No problem! I'll take a sling!"

I couldn't find sling. Strike six.

I then remembered it was in an upstairs drawer and started flinging things out of it like I was packing in a romcom. A towel sailed down the stairs and landed on her head. Strike seven.

Then I couldn't find his hat. Strike eight.

But she found another hat in his drawer that I couldn't remember buying. Strike nine.

Then she went outside for a walk. Except I made a stupid joke about "please come back!" and she said that she'd walk in the garden if it made me feel better. They had a great time, and unbelievably, the McBaby fell asleep in her arms.

She put him on my bed for a nap and he slept for THREE HOURS! During which time I thanked her, begged her to come back and tried to pay her. She wouldn't accept it.

Did I dream the whole thing?


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Marks out of 10!

You'll be familiar with this bit of research: In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that :

-84% had no specific goals at all
-13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
-3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class.

-The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.

-the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

So I have decided to put some goals down and mark them out of 10 each week

They are:

1. Be a good mother

I am not naturally maternal to say the least! I think this week's parenting effort is a 6.

Plus points:
I did well with feeding him healthily.

I didn't choke him (after last week's near disaster when he couldn't breathe thanks to a piece of apple that I removed with my fingers.

I took him to plenty of groups

we got lots of fresh air.

I didn't dress him in any strange combinations of clothes.

Minus points:

I didn't teach him anything and have in fact let him watch the Wiggles too often.

He cried when I collected him from nursery, not when I dropped him off.

I noticed today that he has been using the hoover as a walker as I won't buy him one.

2. Work - 7

I worked hard, got lots of releases published and got some nice feedback. However, I could have done more phoning around.

Exercise/health - 4

Ate crap, drank wine, didn't exercise, didn't sleep enough or very well.

Husband- 6

Haven't really seen him this week! We had a great time when we were together but I probably could have been more patient with him and more appreciative when he took the McBaby to storytime alone for half an hour.

House -4

A mess. It looks much better than it used to, but more stuff needs to go out and I need to stay on top of the constant milk spillages that follow the McBaby everywhere!

Money - 5


Did my first mystery shop for a while

Sold lots on Ebay, although I underestimated the postage on one item disastrously.

Penultimate salary arrives this week.

Did some freelance work


Spent too much on booze, food and networking events.

Drove when I could have walked, spending unnecessary money on diesel.

My own business: 5

Need to find a name

need to have some consistency!

Need to find a proper babysitter and not run out of networking events when potential clients approach me!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Here's a pound. Go and double it! ('SuperKid Savers' competition)

This is my entry into the Moneysupermarket to encourage the next generation of savvy savers.

My little boy is only 11 months old, so he likes to put any money he finds into his mouth rather than into his bank account, but I'm looking forward to teaching him the value of money, particularly as his dad and I work so hard for each penny!

So the MoneySupermarket competition asks bloggers to come up with advice on how to educate children about money and instil good savings habits.

The aim is for parent bloggers to share the tips they use to educate their own children about saving, and the best tips chosen by our judges will be bundled in with our financial expert's advice and placed on site.

My tip is to take your child to boot sales and this is something I have already started doing - whether or not the poor little chap is enjoying it so far is debatable!

However, it's something I'm sticking with. And not only because I am addicted to them! I absolutely hate shopping with a passion, but there's nothing I love more than a good rummage at a boot sale!

There are several ways that this helps teach children the value of money:

1. It shows them that there's no need to waste resources on buying something new. Buy it from a boot sale and it's really one of the best kinds of recycling! I am wearing a dress I bought for 50p and I've never seen anyone else wearing anything like it. (And judging from the compliments I get, I mean that in a good way!)

2. It stops them spending time at the shops buying things just for the sake of it.

3. Fresh air and exercise! You don't realise how far you're walking!

4. It will encourage them to sell their own unwanted toys, clothes and books when they're no longer required. Selling at a boot sale teaches you about displaying your wares to the best effect, maths, talking to strangers, customer service and haggling!

5. It encourages them to appreciate the value of money.

6. It teaches them basic maths.

7. It will make them question buying things new.

8. I find that I pick up all kinds of amazing vintage books at boot sales; I'd probably not have checked out Just William, Nicholas and Angela or even re-visited Enid Blyton if it weren't for boot sales.

9. It encourages them to sift the tat from the good value items and who knows, they might start a trading business. Isn't that how Lord Sugar started?

10. It gets them out of bed on a Sunday morning instead of lounging around in bed!



After last week's disaster, I could have hugged the wonderful lady who came today to look after the McBaby.

She was early, she played happily with him, she changed a dirty nappy and she put him down for a nap, staying with him while he protested. Then, while he was asleep, she came downstairs and washed up!

I don't want to employ this woman, I want to MARRY her!

The only problem is that she lives quite some distance away and in fact, I haven't heard back from her. And as the other lady who was meant to come in the afternoon never showed up (unless she heard the McBaby and his friend screaming and made a run for it) I think my search continues.

Friday, 9 November 2012

How to waste a £20 note

I don't think I've had a moment to myself since early 2011 so I thought it was worth finding someone who could keep an eye on the McBaby for an hour or so, giving me the opportunity to get some work done, do some painting and finally give the house a proper clean, not just a quick swish and wipe.

So, I put an ad on gumtree where I was pleased to get a number of replies - notably mostly from women from eastern Europe. The first asked for the most per hour - £10, but she had good experience, so I thought I'd invite her over to see how she got on.

She said she'd be here at 2pm, and as the minutes counted down, I was ridiculously excited and ready to get on with my increasing list of chores. At 1.45pm, the McBaby began a nap. At 2.05pm, I got a phone call from M, who, despite being 18, has a surprisingly stern voice, saying she was lost.

I wasn't 100% sure where she was, but she then remembered she had satnav, so I gave her, again, our address and postcode.

Two minutes later she called back. I'm outside 81.

Great. But we're 82 and number 81 is nowhere near here. She calls back a few more times.

Another two minutes and she's outside the train station, but I'm not sure which way she's facing.

Another two minutes and she's "going down a hill"?

Another two minutes and she's parking.

Another two minutes and she tells me she's been knocking and that I should open the door. I didn't hear knocking and there's no one there.

She's outside 28. I patiently remind her that we're number 82.

So, she finally arrives and her constant phoning has woken the McBaby.

I make her a cup of tea and show her around. She plays with the McBaby upstairs and I write 10 words. I then make a quick phone call and then remember her tea is ready, so take it upstairs. The McBaby decides to grab my dress and never, never, never let go.

And then he begins to scream for and HOUR and a half!

I give him some food. This reminds me I haven't eaten all day either and in fact, "have lunch" is under "write press release", "clean kitchen floor" and "get rid of moss on conservatory roof", so I make myself and also M a sandwich. She eats the sandwich and I feed the McBaby some avocado. I then grab an apple for him which she offers to cut up. "It's fine," I say, "he can hold the apple and eat it."

She tells me that's dangerous and then also tells me that the step in the kitchen is dangerous. Sensing that I might like to be told about other things I'm doing wrong, she then tells me that the milk I gave the McBaby 10 minutes ago should have been heated up.

Then the McBaby starts choking on the apple. I reach in and grab the piece of apple out while she reminds me that she'd just told me it was dangerous. Red-faced, I say that he's never had a problem before.

It's now five to 4pm. "I should go," she says, pausing to say that if I hadn't come back into the room to bring her the tea, he would have been fine.

I pay her £20 and she goes. I feel that I don't need to tell her that it hasn't gone very well and I won't be asking her to come back. I don't ask if it had occurred to her to take him out.

So, it's with some surprise to see my phone has three missed calls from her the following day. I don't know what to say so don't call her back. But then, when I'm driving, she calls again and I wonder if she left something here, pull over and answer.

"I'm renting a new place. Will you be my reference?"

I pause.

"Can I think about it?"

"Forget it"


Monday, 5 November 2012


Just found a steamed up bag under the seat in the car - similar to the one pictured above and called MrM to ask what it was.

"Ah, the nursery gave me that a couple of weeks ago to wash, and I forgot about it" he said.

So I got some gloves on and opened the bag to be hit with the stench of two-week old wee.

I gently and tentatively opened the bag and tipped the clothes out.

To find that they're not actually the McBaby's....


Friday, 2 November 2012

A precious photo

My dad has texted me lots of pictures this week and one of these pictures was very precious as it's one of the McBaby just hours after he was born. For one reason and another we don't have any pictures of the McBaby's first hours, so this picture means the world to me.

My dad and my sister were here yesterday, so I thanked dad for this wonderful gift. "I don't even remember him being this small" I said to my sister.

"That's because he wasn't", she said. "That's not him, it's my other nephew".