Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Oooh so there was some lovely sun out this weekend, still a bit brisk, but feel-good weather never the less.  Time to get out in the garden (with a fleece on).  Thing is – my kids are noisy.  Screamy, shouty, just-being-kids noisy.  They are my kids and they give me a headache and so I try to spare a thought for the poor neighbours.  Not that they appreciate it, experts in icy stares as they are. You see, our house is  fortunately/unfortunately surrounded by pensioners and semi -retired folk. Here is how the two categories pan out:


  • We get lots of free , huge, amazing vegetables from No.7’s allotment.  I don’t know what most of them are.
  • We get free gardening as No.5 can’t help herself.
  • No.7 has taken a shine to eldest child and they occasionally provide free childcare while she bashes the hell out of their piano.
  • They buy seasonal goodies so I don’t have to, Chocolate Santa’s. Thorntons Easter Eggs, Jelly Spiders. Saves me oodles of pennies.
  • I get all the Sunday Supplements for free.  Okay I don’t get them till Wednesday, but they buy every single paper  – it is magazine heaven.


  • The children like to run up and greet nice chap at no.7 with a lovely hug, they are the wrong height and I just die inside when they are headbutting his groin.  Poor man.
  • They do not like noise.  They pretend to like noise ‘oh it is so lovely to have some life in the neighbourhood…’  Just not when we can hear it/see it /have it shoved in our faces.
  • They hate our dog.  They don’t even pretend.
  • We have minor car wars.  They have lived their forever and care not that it is our drive. I am frightened that forcing the issue may cause one of them to have a heart attack.
  • The chastise the children.  Not always welcome and/or necessary.
  • They hate, and I mean, hate, that I have  my supermarket shop delivered.  They tut tut when the van comes up the drive, eyeballing the poor driver.  I want them to see me one day, in Tesco’s, about to lob everything, shop and kids included, into the ‘Community Donation Box’.  Then, THEN they would understand.

So the first bit of Sunshine this weekend led me to trying to control the fun in the garden,

‘..Ssshh, no screaming on the trampoline….stop yelling like that……NO! NO! come away from Mrs (no.5) pretty flowers AWAYYYYYY!!.. Stop fighting, STOP IT – do you think everyone wants to listen to you lot?…..AAAGGHHHH who left the zip open on the trampoline? . …. no it’s not broken.. its fine.  please stop crying, please, please, yes here is a Jammy Dodger… just be quiet…etc etc..’

I had a few stares from one couple, The Trampoline Police ‘…it is such an eyesore..’ 

If it helps, I completely agree. Hate the bloody thing.  Yet the kids love it, it provides oodles of entertainment and they are out there rain, hail or shine, so it’s here to stay.

So we will have to muddle through.  As my mum pointed out to me, we are Out more than we are At Home. They (Groin Man, Chastiser, Trampoline Police, Eyeballer and Icy Stare) will have to sit in their garden between 9-5 and not at all during the school holidays.  I’ll draw up a timetable and send them a  copy… Along with some ear plugs . xxx


Using the Flush

I know what you are thinking  – Mummy Marbles is writing about Poo again.

No, actually.  Which is rather unusual for me as Poo is rather at the forefront of my life right now – or rather my Littlest One’s penchant for having one anywhere other than in the toilet.

Today I am writing about Work.

I thought I would share some Coping With Work strategies that you can easily apply to home/family/life in general.

I work in an Office where it is very loud, very stressful , very sweary and there is a lot of pressure.  Sometimes, the only thing that makes it better is when someone goes out for Donuts.

Otherwise – we have The Flush Method

It basically goes like this –

Aggrieved person –

‘….Aghhh (insert name here) is driving me mad! Who does he/she think she is?  This is ridiculous, how am I suppose to manage this and deal with everything else, I’m supposed to be at such a place by 11am and there just isn’t enough time etc etc ‘

The rest of us

‘…Use the Flush. Flush them away, flush , flush, flush them away. Pshhhhhhhhh’

Then we all put our hands in the air and swivel our fists in the mock action of flushing the toilet.

I appreciate that this all sounds faintly ridiculous, but it works.  For several reasons, it reduces the tension, it is a bit of fun and it creates a bit of camaraderie.

And Laughter is better than Tears.

Something/Someone getting on your nerves today?  Flush it away.  Flush Flush.

You will feel better. Promise.


The Day I Realised I Loved being a Mum

So I had an epiphany today.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I adore my children and always have.  They make my heart contract in a way I didn’t know was possible.

But being a Mum? No.  I haven’t been loving  that.

It hasn’t just been the lack of sleep, the crying , the constant worrying, the strain on my marriage or the fact that I am currently watching a colleague steal my job from under my nose.

No no – can’t blame any of that.  It is Me.

I worry and stress about everything.  I have control issues.  I want everything to be perfect, organised, under control.  I have to be prepared for every eventuality, I have 3 diaries and a wall chart.  I just can’t let things go.

Today though – today , while in the garden throwing the ball for the dog for the 100th time and watching my little girl copy everything I did – I realised a few things.

  • The world will not stop if the children don’t have a weeks supply of clean underwear in their drawers at all times
  • I have never been as happy in my life as I am today
  • Nothing really matters outside my family’s four walls
  • My children are becoming little people and I  just love them
  • I don’t like being apart from them

Okay, so I will still enjoy going to work tomorrow and having a Hot cuppa and some adult conversation.  And I will still dress all the dolls before I go to bed, because I can’t help myself.  And of course my Littlest One pooed herself before she went to bed, because she always does – But do you know what, I am okay with that.

Maybe, subconsciously,  I don’t care about the job.  There is only so far you can go, I have nothing left to prove.  I have got something more important to do.

You forgive them everything when….

Oh it’s hard being a parent.  You don’t need me to highlight the tough bits – tears, tantrums, poo, vomit, snot.  More poo . Cold cuppa’s, spilt cuppa’s, lunch on the floor. Lunch in your eye, lunch on the dog, lunch in the dog.

Fights and rows and bickers. Can I sit in the front?  Can I take my scooter?  Why do we have to walk? I don’t need the toilet. I do need the toilet, I need it right now.  I went to the toilet in my knickers.

I want juice. I want milk. I want a biscuit. I DON’T LIKE GREEN BEANS.  Please, Sorry, Please. I beg my pardon. Mummy, who are you talking to on the phone?  Can I say Hello?  I WANT TO SAY HELLO. What are you doing on the computer?   Is it Mummy’s work? Can I touch?  Please.  Sorry Mummy.

Are we nearly there? Mummy are we late again? Mummy did you forget my rabbit?

I don’t want to go to bed.  I’M NOT GOING TO BED MUMMY. I need a drink, I need a story, I’m scared, I’m hot, I’m cold, I’ve banged my head. It’s too dark, it’s too light. I feel sick. My tummy hurts. Can I sleep in your bed?

Phewwwwww.  However, you can forgive them everything when….

  1. They give you a cuddle and squeeze you really tightly like you are the only person on earth.
  2. You escape from the house and the black cloud lifts, and they wander ahead, without a care in the world, holding hands, and you think your heart may burst.
  3. They are asleep.  And you can trace their still-baby face and watch them curled up like a cat.
  4. They squeeze into the non-existent space next to you and snuggle in.
  5. You are given the 15th scribble of the day and it still makes you smile.
  6. They tell you that they Love You.
  7. You listen to them pretending to be You.
  8. They knock you over when you walk through the door like they haven’t seen you for a year.
  9. They want to show you what they have made/mashed/rolled/built;  with their face full of hope and you don’t know who is bursting with pride more, you or them.
  10. They hold your hand, voluntarily.

My children never let me down when it comes to smiles and joy, I hope I never let them down either.  It’s hard , but I think I’m getting better.


I’m the King of the Castle

Had a wonderful Family Day Out today.  In unfamiliar territory in North Wales, we spent the day at Bodelwyddan Castle. Slightly further than we thought (okay, miles away), but well worth it.

It was bright, with blue skies and a biting wind.  Not that the kids cared. For me, the complete absence of rain was an absolute bonus.

Lunch for 5 under £25 – with Real Ham as The Cyclist put it, decent toilets, loads of parking and friendly staff – it ticked all the boxes  for a decent family attraction.

Mums went free (it was Mothers Day) so that was an added bonus.

There was a fabulous outdoor adventure playground (made The Independent’s Top Ten), lovely gardens and a fun maze as well as enchanting Woodland Walks.   Most definitely a place to go in the Sun with a picnic.

But it was the house that I thought was great.  Now I love Country Houses, Stately Homes and the like, but in the absence of decent outdoor play, I can see how they are a drag for families.

When you enter this Castle, you are immediately offered clipboards, age appropriate puzzles, games and searches, even an interactive tablet for a small deposit.

They have a children’s activity linked to the theme of every room, off the Billiards Room was a children’s games chest from the relevant era.  In the Lounge there was a section devoted to Afternoon Tea, complete with wooden cake stands and cakes and a delightful teapot.  They have really tried to engage and involve the children and I thought it was fab.

The Castle literature and maps tell you that Noise is Welcome! How delightfully refreshing.

The icing on the cake was a whole room dedicated to Victorian Toys and Games.  Brilliant, different and good fun.

It doesn’t end there, you can also all dress up in Victorian Costume, and have a photograph taken in their Silvy studio which you can choose to edit on the computer, add props, and then email home! Very entertaining.

A gift shop with an Old Sweet Shoppe  (if a bit overpriced) completes the trip and my lot were snoozing before we got out the gate.

Highly recommended.

Spring Spring

Spring is in the air.  Time to banish the winter parka, prise that cardigan from your back and invest in a new Mac.

Here are my top three tips for your most vital of Spring purchases.

The Colour

Well, for me, this year, it’s Yellow. A bit out there, I know, but it is bright and fun and, well, it just makes me feel a little bit more alive.  Not to mention a tiny bit fashionable.

Beige is out. As is greige, navy and anything else dull.  Unless you are wearing it primarily for work, in which case you are forgiven.

There are so many gorgeous colours and  prints out there,  Chances are, you will wear this item more than anything else.  Buy something you love.

The Hood

It has got to be big – and wide, no good yanking it forward all the time. It has to handle a gust of wind and all manner of hairstyles, topknot included. It also needs to have a decent peak to cover your face. With the right sized hood, you won’t be wishing you wore waterproof mascara.


Don’t be fooled into buying ‘shower proof’.  They don’t keep you dry, you end up wet, generally uncomfortable and cross. Make life easy for yourself, there are enough obstacles in the day as it is.

100% Waterproof are the words you need to look out for.  Breathable is a good word too, nothing worse than sweating your way to the school gate.

For those who are with me on the Yellow front, I have whittled it down to three – Barbour Trevose , £199 (John Lewis), Petit Bateau Oilskin, £130 (online and also available at Next.com/Label) and Joules Blighty , £99.95 (also at John Lewis and Joules.com)

The only downside?  There is no where to hide when you are dressed like a ray of the sun.



Mothers Day , Schhmuthers Day

Hi all.  Gosh, it is just one thing after another round here.  I am just getting over Valentines Day, (which incidentally was a hastily booked meal in a restaurant, where we were both way too tired to talk and the food was crap – a bloody good waste of a babysitter when you are falling asleep in your fondue and both home for the Ten O’Clock News)  – when along comes

Mothers Day

Now I am all for the sentiment.  My eldest child has thus far made me 7 cards, all with varying themes of sellotape and stickers, and I shall treasure them all.  She keeps telling me she loves me and she will make me a cup of tea on Sunday.  Which although is wholly untrue (chidren – kettles – no), is still very sweet.

My youngest child came home from Nursery today with a Pirate (?!) card for me and a Bath Bomb.  ‘…best for the bin, not the bath.. they didn’t smell quite how we had hoped..’ a member of staff told me.



The love my munchkins have for me will not suddenly increase because  it is Mothers’ Day – I will simply enjoy them trying to demonstrate it to me.

Now, if we are talking presents , what I would LOVE for Mothers’ Day is

  • A lie in
  • A giant box of Milk Tray

What I will get will be

  • A lie in of sorts.  The Cyclist will forget to close the bedroom door and I will lie in bed, unable to sleep listening to the mayhem downstairs and resisting the edge to start shouting ‘she doesn’t LIKE cornflakes…how long have you known her?’.  No one will close the babygate and so even if I do drift off, the dog will come in and lick me.  The children will take it in turns to come upstairs and say   ‘Are you having a lovely lie in Mummy?’ .  Then they will start to come up together.  I will resist the urge to shout downstairs “What the bloody hell are you doing?!?!?’.  At which point The Cyclist will feign surprise that the children are indeed upstairs and quickly close his Cycle Route Plan App.
  • I will not get a cup of tea.
  • If very lucky, I may get a present.  It will be perfume I don’t like.  I have worn the same perfume for years.  He should know, he bought the first bottle.  I have told him not to waste his money and to buy me some Milk Tray.  He never does. It’s the pressure you see, he falls for all the commercial crap.

You see Mothers’ Day is held out to be some magical day of rest for Mummies akin to something like a national bank holiday.  Of , course , it is not.  Because us Mummies keep everything running and this day is no exception.

I will be spending mine with my Mother-in-law.  I am googling Days Out as we speak (she doesn’t do restaurants).  The Cyclist does not have the thought, foresight or time to do this.  I have bought the gift, the flowers, the card.  I will devote my day to making sure she is fussed, fed and favoured.

I won’t see my own Mum.  My lovely Turnip of a Father has chosen this weekend to take her away for the night without giving a second thought to the gaggle (and there are a lot of us ) of grown up children lining the garden path waiting to see her.

The miles between us and the obstacle that is Work mean I have been unable to see her this week. (Sad face).

So my idea is this – we have a second Mothers’ Day. A bit like Boxing Day, where everything is a bit more laid back, where it doesn’t matter if you don’t get dressed til midday or at all , where you can lie on the couch eating Terry’s Chocolate Orange with the kids and your nearest and dearest can come over for a left-over-buffet. Where there is no pressure or expectation.  Where everything is a bit more relaxed, and ,well, real. 

Back in Our World, lie-in’s are not what there cracked up to be anyway.

Are they?