Monday, 27 April 2015


Sounding much like a TV show from the 1970s, I discovered that the painful sore throat that I've had this week was the fun-sounding Quinsy which could have got quite nasty if not treated. Leaving me unable to speak and in constant pain, the McBaby bless him, offered me some body lotion to help my sore throat before being subjected to a lot of miming this week.

Try miming these things:

"No you can't go to nursery in nothing but pants."

"Mowgli didn't live in Berkshire!!"

"I'm not sure you should really sleep in the dustbin."

"Those high heeled shoes are mine - do you mind if I wear them today?"

After taking antibiotics and improving somewhat, I went to see a brilliant band on Saturday night. When I returned the McBaby was still awake.

"Where have you been?"

"I went out"

"but I thought you weren't well." Doesn't miss a trick!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Friday, 24 April 2015

Signs you may have watched the Paddington film too many times

This portly baby was me cough cough cough years ago.

Surprisingly this traumatic dressing up session didn't put me off Paddington and I've loved the diminutive bear ever since. I've tried in vain to share this love with the McBaby, but he's a bit young and fidgety to enjoy the stories at bedtime.

I was also a bit nervous about seeing the film - surely it couldn't contain the charm and hilarity of the books in this day and age? As you know (for everyone has seen this film), I was completely wrong - the film is superb!

In fact, we now have the opposite problem. The McBaby has a Paddington bear obsession manifesting itself in embarrassing ways:

1. Answering the question, "what's your name?" with massive ROAR!


The formerly-hat-phobic McBaby now wears this tatty hat from nursery every day and night. He also insists on putting marmalade sandwiches inside "in case of emergency". Although I'm not sure when he's experience an emergency that would necessitate him pulling a face and nearly being sick.


"No, you are not 'sleeping over there in that bin!' ".

4. Coming home from nursery, knocking on the front door and saying: "I'm looking for Montgomery Clyde"

5. Pretending to put his toothbrush in his ear. EVERY. TIME. WE. BRUSH. OUR.TEETH.

6. Ditto pretending to put his face in the toilet.

7. Trying to sleep on the windowsill.

8.Singing "London is the place for me"

As a facebook friend pointed out yesterday, probably best to keep him away from the Tube!


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Room on the broom at the Corn Exchange

In our household, Room on the Broom scores even more highly than Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s other classic, The Gruffalo, so we were interested to find out whether the Tall Stories production at the Corn Exchange could cast its magic.

It could. Just four actors brought the book to life and managed to hold children, parents and grandchildren spellbound for just under an hour.

Room on the Broom is a simple story about a friendly witch whose hat, bow and wand blow away, and the stage setting reflected that. Dark and sparse, with broomstick-shaped branches on trees and a large full moon background, it was left to the four actors to do everything else – that is, act, sing, narrate the story and manoeuvre the dog, bird and frog puppets at the same time.

With a nod to the Blair Witch Project, the action kicks off with four campers out in the woods, with two kept awake by the others’ snoring. The pair spot the witch and her cat flying overhead on their broomstick and the fun begins.

It’s a colourful and entertaining show with catchy songs and some great children’s comedy. The dancing dragon went down particularly well, and the portrayal of the frog was superb. Not all of the comedy was intentional though- in the version we saw, the actor operating the dog and the frog managed to accidentally switch the voices, causing a mass break out of corpsing onstage. He swiftly saved it by joking that he had a frog in his throat.

We felt that some of the story-telling went on slightly too long and a little bit more audience interaction would have been appreciated, but overall, this was a fun piece of children’s theatre that will have us humming the “Iggety Ziggety Zaggety Zoom” song for many bedtimes to come.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Elmer's Court

It's been at least 20 years since our last visit to Elmer's Court. Every year, as children, we'd pack up the car with almost everything we owned (including the goldfish) and head off down to the Solent for a week in beautiful Lymington.

It was fabulous to see that not much has changed. Elmer's Court, now owned by Macdonalds, still retains its character, its stunning grounds and views over to the Isle of Wight. The manor house looks Elizabethan, but was built in the 19th century. It obviously hasn't changed since our last visit and even the Waterford restaurant for fine dining remains, although I doubt the scampi still costs £1.80 these days.

There's been a lot of building work in the last two decades to accommodate hotel guests among the timeshare owners and our en-suite room was situated in a courtyard that was a wide open green space on our last visit. Most of our holidays revolved around the outdoor pool, but being April, sadly this was closed and this time we spent the bulk of our stay in the indoor pool. The Jacuzzi was the same temperature as the pool meaning the McBaby enjoyed the bubbles for the first time and laughed himself silly at the air inflating the top of my swimming suit.

He also enjoyed taking the camera in the Scottish Steakhouse restaurant and photographing the staff, the tables, the floor, well everything....he also loved the wonderful green alley (which is named Queen Mary Alley as it's the same length as the ship of the same name), the playground and what he called, the "jungle" - the greenery and ponds hidden away behind the tennis courts.

Our room was very clean and light, although we could hear quite clearly the voices in the next room and our only other criticism of our stay would be that the staff in the leisure centre seemed a little distracted. Otherwise, the staff were exemplary - particularly the lady who served up breakfast.

Not so happy was our visit to the Mayflower Pub for Sunday lunch. I managed to fall over while carrying the McBaby and nearly break my ankle in a crack in the paving and while there were hundreds of eyes on us, not one person asked if we were ok or helped us up. The staff seemed slightly irritated at having to shout out order numbers and some customers not hearing them - a simple table number system would have sorted this - and when a waitress dumped my drinks onto the tray I was carrying without a word, another customer rolled her eyes at me and commented that "you get used to the rudeness of the staff in here." It's a shame as it's a gorgeous place next to the water with a spacious garden with a children's playground...

It was great to come back to beautiful Lymington though, which appeared in the Sunday Times as one of the top destinations of people looking to move out of London. I hope we won't leave it 20 years before our next visit to Elmer's Court!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

"I'm the king of the castle"

McBaby: "I'm the King of the castle!"

Me: "I'm the King of the castle!"

McBaby: "No, I'm the king of the castle - you're the queen"

Me: "OK - what's daddy?"

McBaby: "Daddy is a football shirt."

Friday, 10 April 2015


The McBaby and I had a fabulous morning at Hungerford library as part of Libraryfest where a percussionist and a violin player taught us how to play the spoons professionally!

Although the McBaby didn't want to take part initially, I forced him to, as I'd already subjected the library to a bit of to and fro as a painter we'd been waiting in for since Christmas chose the same day and time to do some work on our house. He was very nice about coming a little bit later ( I may not have been very precise with the reason why), and so the McBaby and I appeared, complete with a handbag of spoons. This was not planned - it just happened that I had some of the contents of the drawer with me.

The workshop was hilarious although there was some trepidation from the other members about the McBaby's photography skills. Fortunately, he's only small and so tends not to snap people's faces and we also ran out of battery 30 seconds into the class.

The course leader had brought four bags of spoons with her, varying from traditional dessert spoons, to wooden spoons and pre-attached spoons purely dedicated to music. The class was great and the rhythm and technique were perfect for helping with creativity and co-ordination.

Sadly we had to leave early, but it was a great success as the spoons we took with us have not yet been returned to the cutlery drawer....