Posted in Children, Christmas, memories, parenting

Oh go then, it is Christmas…

Hello lovely people.

How are we all doing?

Who’s still in the ‘time twixt Christmas and New Year’ haze?

Let’s check:

🔶 Do you know what day it is? (Erm, well Christmas was on a Tuesday and that was a few days ago-ish, so it’s definitely…….a day ending with y.)

🔶 When is your next bin collection? (Hmm, normal day is Tuesday….. we worked out a minute ago that Christmas was Tuesday so no noisy bin folk… so probably…..hang on what day is it today anyway… I don’t know where the dangly bit of card with the Very Important Reorganised Dates on is. Let’s just keep on an eye on next door, they’ll know…)

🔶What did you have for breakfast today? (Was it standard, run of the mill, everyday, socially acceptable breakfast fare? Or…..not? For example; yesterday I enjoyed Baileys Roulade for breakfast and I’m not even sorry.)

🔶Have you answered any questions with the words “oh go on then, it is Christmas”? (Shall we open another packet of Brie?/ Can we stay in pyjamas all day?/ Drink?/Another drink?)

🔶Are you regularly refereeing Selection Box Ownership battles? (That’s my Fudge bar, he’s had two Crunchies now, she’s eaten my Oreo bar – er nope she hasn’t, it underwent quality control -)

🔶Are you still discovering gourmet worthy ways of serving cold turkey? (We’ve had ‘cold meats and cheeses’, turkey soup, turkey carbonara, Christmas dinner pasta bake, turkey rolls…..)

I think we can safely say that we are all suffering from ‘holiday season hangover’.

So. Christmas at The Circus was fairly standard. We recently got a new oven so it didn’t take 27.6 hours to cook the turkey (and for anyone who remembers the soap opera worthy goings on of last year, you’ll be pleased to know that no wildlife pretested the poultry this time)

Noodle decided to be my sous chef for the Christmas cooking, especially with the very important pigs in blankets. However, he discovered upon opening the bacon that it had been packaged in Suffolk so therefore must be posh. So it transpired that our meaty side dish was to become ‘porkers in ponchos’.

Pickle had the double delight again of her Christmas Day birthday. She was over the moon to receive the only two things that she craved in life; a violin and a microphone.

It sounded so idyllic, ah she wants a violin, how sweet, we shall of course purchase one with haste. Oh how wrong we were.

The Noise. I cannot begin to describe the sound that a five year old can make with a violin.

But this is me so I will, of course, try: imagine a hybrid animal somewhere between a mouse and a hyena (I’ll give you a minute). Then imagine that this creature is forced to walk barefoot on Lego whilst simultaneously having its teeth pulled out with pinking shears. Then. And only then. Will you be any where close to the melodic harmonies that are produced. You live and learn.

All due respect to CircusHusband who remembered my desire for a pyrography kit, and further respect for an afternoon of lone parenting while I sat with three of my fingers submerged in cold water after my first go. In case anyone has ever wondered; human fingers are not designed to withstand the heat required to burn wood (who says these blog posts aren’t educational?!)

The finished article.

So, all in all. Not a bad Christmas period I suppose. I have to be honest, I struggle with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lead up; the music, the lights, the present buying. It’s just the day itself, it always feels a touch anticlimactic, and rushed and chaotic (yes I know, I have control issues which don’t help). But we made it through, and Boxing Day was much easier to digest (it may or may not have had something to do with the discovery of chocolate orange Baileys) so all was well.

The 28th of December is the anniversary of losing my Mum which, even after many years, always clouds my Christmas somewhat. This year we spent it quietly at home and played some of her favourite songs on the Echo (we now have three in the house, if you have never used them as walkie talkies then you haven’t lived). It wasn’t sad, but acts as a reminder to tell people you love them while you can, and to show appreciation to those in your life who deserve it. Everyday is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

A few more limbo days now until we hit the excitement of New Year. What will 2019 bring? In The Circus we are hoping for health and happiness; for CircusHusband’s new career path to continue expanding, for my writing to hit the wider audience (I know, god help everyone), and for lots of laughs.

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas in whichever way you choose to spend it.

Welcome to my world.


Posted in baking, night out, mums, back to school, Children, parenting

And today we baked…..

Today I decided on word association activities.

It was baking (hot) so we baked.

Tenuous possibly but it gives me leeway, imagine a day with lots of whines……

So, anyway, baking and making it was and surprisingly I had a full quota of willing helpers.

The first was easy. Bread. Focaccia bread.

This was a very simple recipe; self raising flour, oil, warm water, herbs and salt. No need to prove.

45 minutes in the oven and it was done

It might not win any prizes (or a Hollywood handshake) but wow did it taste good!

So, what do you need with fresh bread on the hottest day in the history of the world ever……drum roll please……..

Soup. (Yes The Monkeys are decidedly odd)

So we dug out my faithful multi cooker and homemade tomato and vegetable soup did appear.

You can buy really expensive multi cookers but mine is a £20 Wilko’s jobby which does me just fine

The soup was a hit. So much so, that the vat of soup I intended to portion and freeze (yes I’m scared too, the heat must be affecting my domesticity, don’t be alarmed this heat has to give way soon and normal service will be resumed) actually only did one lunch time with a bit spare.

Finally. It was decided we needed pudding so we put our heads together and an invention was born.

I present to you…..

Nutella (other brands of chocolate spread are available, most notably Aldi’s Nutoka which if you remove the label bears a striking resemblance to the market leader, and apparently passes the taste test of continually ravenous Monkeys…..) and candied mixed peel bread and butter pudding.

For administrative purposes I was forced to test the results (the proof of the pudding is in the eating after all) and I can quite honestly say that if you looked up ‘divine’ in a thesaurus there would be a picture of this dessert. I am known for my modesty so that should give you an indication into the deliciousness of this creation.

To summarise; my kitchen looks like a bomb site, my dishwasher is going on strike for being forced to work beyond normal conditions, there’s no ingredients left for anything else but it was great fun and that’s all that really matters (oh and they inadvertently ate shed loads of vegetables which was probably counteracted by the second course but that’s the way the pudding crumbles).

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children, parenting

Raise Vegan – My Thoughts.

This week I received an email offering me a digital copy of a parenting magazine (I’m assuming they’ve read my blog and decided I need all the help I can get) and a request for me to share my opinions once I had read it.

Now, when I had spare time and spare money (the good ole days) I loved an afternoon spent with a cuppa and a magazine so I jumped at the chance. I had no further information so was eager to see what might appear in my inbox.

When I heard the ping of my inbox and saw the title I was intrigued yet doubtful.

Veganism is something I am aware of but do not know the finer points of shall we say and I wasn’t sure how relevant the publication was going to be to me and The Monkeys.



I have now read this magazine (digitally which is bizarre beyond words) from cover to cover and there are several articles that I plan to go back and explore in more depth.

From the offset this is a very appealing magazine to read, I love the colour schemes that run throughout all 64 (yes sixty four!) pages and the boxed images with are consistently placed make it easy to focus and follow. The fonts used in the subtitles and overlaying the images are both quirky yet readable which is a tough combination to achieve.

There are so many different and varied articles in this publication that it’s difficult to know where to begin: despite being aimed at vegan families there is a lot of information and advice which would benefit all families and I really appreciated the parenting styles that were outlined from the various contributors.

One part I particularly enjoyed was reading about Andrea Hannemann aka ‘EarthyAndy’. I learnt all about her family and their principles. As I read, this part especially resonated with me greatly:

“…we live in a world of choice. everyone is making choices that define them every single day. If someone is judging your choices, that’s on them!”

That’s is a quote I will remember and recite to myself.

About halfway through the magazine is a section entitled ‘Summer Reading’ with the category being ‘accidentally vegan books’. We are not a vegan family but that doesn’t mean I don’t want The Monkeys to grow up appreciating the natural world around us and these book recommendations are perfect examples of this and will definitely be on our summer reading list.

There are some wonderful articles regarding preterm labour, the benefits of probiotics, nutrition in pregnancy and many more and all of these are informative to each and every parent.

I found ‘Essential Nutrients for Growing Vegan Kids’ very interesting, everybody worries about whether their child is getting the right vitamins and nutrition in their diet regardless of their chosen way of living so details like these can be very helpful.

I was impressed with the style of the writing in Raise Vegan, I felt that I was being informed but not preached to. An article called “12 calm down techniques for the highly spirited child” really stood out. It outlines techniques, which were clear and easy to understand, but it also used some phrasing which I found very refreshing when speaking about ‘highly spirited’ children.

Phrases like:

  • Highly spirited children make their way through the world with great enthusiasm, curiosity and excitement.
  • The qualities are positive and beneficial.
  • Make it clear that these are not activities they have to do because they have been bad or done something undesirable.

It encourages you to accept “quirky qualities” and be proud to explain these qualities to others and why they are “fantastically special”.

“They learn from us and the example we set, and we have a lot to learn from them as well”

I am a lover of a good cookery book

So was pleased to see some delicious looking recipes. It was enlightening to discover ways to make family favourite recipes using purely plant based ingredients and there are a couple of recipes that I will trying out on CircusHusband and The Monkeys.

I am not planning to become vegan but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Raise Vegan. This is an open and honest review and those who know me away from the other side of a screen will tell you that if I don’t like something I will say and not beat around the bush!

I found the health implications of a vegan lifestyle very educational and there are certainly elements of it that I would like to reproduce. As I mentioned before, I love the parenting styles. I am a fan of attachment parenting (breastfeeding where possible/baby wearing/positive reinforcement) and those practices shone through whilst reading. I discovered health advice that I will be heeding and books I will be sharing with my Monkeys.

I think the major learning curve from this opportunity is that just because you may not share the same beliefs as someone else it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something you can learn from them. Parenting is parenting is parenting, we all want to do it to the best of our ability and that means educating ourselves and opening our minds to different approaches to allow us to develop our very own parenting style that works with our very unique and individual little people.

Thank you the editor of Raise Vegan for the opportunity to share my thoughts about her publication with you and for more information please visit

Welcome to my world


*all photo credits for this post (bar my cookery book shelf) belong to Raise Vegan.

Posted in Children, parenting

Half Term Hindsight.

So, here we are. The first day back at school, the first day of the final half term of this school year.

Let’s take a look back on the last week.

Let’s call it ‘half term hindsight’.

Let’s start at the very beginning….that’s a very good place to start, when you read you begin with A B C, when you look back you begin with Saturday….. (yeah that perhaps needs work, anyway onwards and upwards)

The first weekend of half term was good fun. We had the exciting prospect of a family christening on the Saturday. I LOVE christenings, I’m not sure why, I just do.

So I was in full on neatness mode. My dress and shoes were selected, the Monkeys looked slightly less feral than normal.

I ironed clothes…………….

Yes I know. Believe me you’re not the only one who’s shocked.

  • Monkey number one exclaimed “wow, I didn’t know we had an iron”
  • Monkey number two announced “wow this shirt is warm and straight and smooth”
  • Monkey number three declared “wow I have one of those, but mine has a board too” (I found the iron. I was not going rummaging for an ironing board that I may or not own.)
  • Monkey number four just looked and me oddly and said “mummy do hair?” (I later realised he assumed they were industrial sized hair straighteners)

So we are all clean and presentable, the girls have matching french braids. One has long blonde fine hair and the other has a wilderness of tight mousy curls so matching might be a stretch but they did at least have two braids each.

CircusHusband who is on a working weekend appears home in time and deliberates about his clothes (despite promising me days and days ago that he was prepared and knew what he was wearing and where it all was)

We load into the car, feeling smug that finally something has gone right.

We arrive at our destination, unload the Monkeys, enjoy a gentle stroll to the church.

A church with closed doors.

A church that seemed remarkably quiet.

A church with a board outside advertising the christenings that it would be undertaking……………tomorrow.

I tried really hard to pass it off as a deliberate practice run, but rudely no one was convinced and no one was very happy with me.

On the flip side at least Sunday (aka Groundhog Day) was easy.

Unfortunately CircusHusband couldn’t join us on Sunday (apparently when you’ve organised your whole week to allow you to finish early on Saturday, then a spontaneous Sunday absence is ‘tricky’).

But anyway, the Monkeys and I went to church. No one tried to paddle in the font, no one cartwheeled down the aisle, no one needed a wee…..’right now’. Pickle thought it was amazing because her nursery has visits from ‘the church ladies’ once a week who tell them stories about Jesus and she was really impressed that the man in the funny cape knew Jesus too! She actually has a slight obsession with ‘the church ladies’. She knows the name of one of them -let’s call her Betty- but she doesn’t know the name of the other one, so if you ask who she saw the conversation goes:

“Which ladies were there today.”

“Well only one, you know Betty mummy?”

“Oh yes your favourite one.”

“Yes. Betty wasn’t there today, we had the one who isn’t Betty”

She is also fascinated by the stories although perturbed that they only know stories about Jesus, she’s considering asking Father Christmas for a new book for them so they can learn some different stories (but then she might not get her violin?!). Then there’s the exciting moment where I find out if this week’s story involved ‘Baby Jesus’ or ‘Old Man with a Walking Stick Jesus’, I assume these parts are acted out as they seem to be coveted roles in her 4 year old head. My favourite conversation about ‘the church ladies’ so far was on the last day of term.

“Did you see the church ladies today?”

“Yes it was Betty and the one who isn’t Betty and guess what?” Well the story was about Jesus……again, but at the end the ladies chose me to say something really funny”

“Really, what was that then?”

“Well they said this little poem thing and then I had to say……..

“Ahhhhhh Man”

Never again will I be able to finish The Lord’s Prayer without an image of Bart Simpson in my head.

Weekend complete. The week was fairly quiet we visited a local castle ruins, which both the biggest Monkeys declared their favourite part of their week off so marking that one up as a success.

We did (well, mainly Froo and Pickle) did baking. Half terms cost me a fortune simply because I need enough ingredients in to satisfy Froo’s constant desire to bake. This week’s creation was a beautiful, two tiered sponge cake sandwiched with lemon icing and decorated with peach slices and mixed peel. It tasted phenomenal. Really very impressive.

However this was slightly marred with this interaction:

“Froo this cake is amazing, well done you must be really pleased.”

“Of course it’s amazing……I used Grandma’s recipe”

One funny incident of this week needs to be shared so here goes. Noodle had been complaining in the evenings a sore tooth. I deduced that he had picked the gum around it and foresaw that it would become a method or stalling bedtime (I have a pretty good radar for this sort of thing).

He goes off to bed and sure enough he appears again about fifteen minutes later. CircusHusband goes to see him and comes back mumbling something I didn’t quite catch but ended with the word ‘sore’, I nodded and said “there’s bonjela in the first aid box, put some of that on and it should help”.

He was gone a while then came down and declared job done.

We heard no more from Noodle and a few hours later CircusHusband turns to me and says

“I never knew you could use Bonjela like that?”

Slightly confused I enquire what he means.

“You know, for tummy ache”

Now completely confused I just sat silent until he continued….

“Noodle said his tummy was sore and you said to put Bonjela on it…….”

Me – “what? No I didn’t…..Oh…..You mean you …….?”

Yep. Noodle was now happily snoring away with his stomach lovingly covered with teething gel.

Fast forward to this weekend just gone and I had a night out. Not just out, but out out. You know, where you have to brush your hair.

Now, nights out when you are a mum and all your friends are mums are similar to the initiation process required for joining MI5. The first part is deciding a date, you collaborate all the data and work out that yay there is one night you are all free…….a Tuesday evening in October 2025.

Then there’s clothing. What do you wear? The problem with having small children is that your wardrobe generally has two sections ‘stuff I don’t mind having Weetabix ground into’ and ‘pyjamas’. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to amalgamate the two to produce something suitable. Add onto that the conundrum of childcare and transport and you’re knackered before you’ve even set off.

Fortunately, thanks to very good friends, we have a childcare/transport system in place which works well. We go out and CircusHusband and CircusHusband’s friend have the children all in one house. This does mean they are outnumbered seven to two but hey ho. It seemed to be a success this time; there were computer games, snacks and silliness……..and the children had fun too!

Once you’re out it’s all good. The relief of letting your hair down for a little while is amazing. That amazing feeling wears off rather quickly however when you roll into bed at 2:42 and wake up to a banshee hollering your name at amplified volume at 5:46.

Now we are back to structure and routine as we begin a seven week half term of business. This first week alone includes 3 school trips, 1 nursery trip, 1 intake evening to prepare us for Pickle starting school in September (I’m fairly sure it’s them who need preparing if I’m honest). 1 spelling bee. 1 music group. 1 fundraising event and 1 jar of coffee…….maybe Pickle’s beloved church ladies can have a word with their friend Jesus and see if the magic refilling oil concept can also be applied to caffeine.

Enjoy this week whatever you are doing.

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children, memories, parenting

What are memories made of…….?

When you tell people that you have 4 children, there’s usually the stereotypical ‘wow you’ve got your hands full’ response.

Yet as they walk away you can hear the ‘what a shame, they must never get one-on-one time’.

Well they do so ner to the nay-sayers!

And its that thought that brings me to today’s point (yes these posts do sometimes have a point).

Its very often that you hear the phrases ‘precious family time’ and ‘making memories’ thrown around, especially in this age of social media.

But, it’s important to remember that the things that mean the most to children are not always things that can be explained in a Facebook post, or hash tagged in an Instagram snap.

An expensive day trip with added extras may seem like a massive treat from our perspective, but if a child has had a bad day at school the day before and is furtively hoping for a few quiet minutes to discuss it with you. Then this busy trip would not be welcome or appreciated leading to disappointment from both sides.

Having memories is wonderful and incredibly important. But looking back it suddenly becomes clear that the things that we, as adults, remember from our childhood are not necessarily the big events, but more likely snapshots of a funny moment or a treasured smile.

We don’t ‘make memories’ they make themselves. They are spontaneous and we may not know that they have happened until years later when we suddenly recall a random event that makes us smile or laugh or cry all over again.

Memories have the uncanny ability of turning up when they are needed, whether we appreciate their appearance or not. But they serve a purpose, without them we are not a whole person; a character that’s portrayed in a book needs a past, a present and a future to enable the reader to connect with them as a three dimensional being and the same is true with us.

I feel that I have the authority to make these points as the daughter of a lady who, through the need for medical treatment, lost the majority of her long term memories. She was still a character in her own story but she couldn’t flick back the pages of her mind to remind herself of details. She lost her past and the part she played in our past. Moments that could never be recaptured.

I think this is why when it comes to the Monkeys, I’m very much aware that the things they store away in their memories may not be the things I have planned and scripted as a ‘memory making’ exercise.

Take today for example.

Noodle has a new musical obsession which is out of the realms of most typical 6 year olds.

Because I am stingy I refused to pay the extortionate costs of downloading the tracks he wanted, so he suggested that we could go and look in the local charity shops and check through their CDs and I agreed.

CircusHusband needed to pick up a package in town so we all headed out and parted ways (in other words he bribed the remaining Monkeys with the promise of snacks at Gregg’s if they complied)

Noodle and I went off on our mission. The fun we had browsing through hundreds of CDs was ridiculous and the excitement when I found a compilation album with a track by his new favourite singer was unbelievable. I’ll leave you to picture a high-fiving session in the middle of Cancer Research!

It was a short outing. We spent precisely £3. Yet Noodle was so happy he was skipping down the pavement.

Those few moments right there. Just me and him. Will stay with me always and I know that he’ll remember the day we went and did exactly what he wanted. Just for him.

Yes I have my hands full but sometimes (as often as I can) I have two completely empty hands ready to support whichever Monkey requires one-on-one. Today it was Noodle and CD’s, next time will be something just as random yet just as vitally important in a child’s uncomplicated opinion.

I am a long way from a perfect parent and I don’t, in any way, profess to know the secrets of parenting (seriously, is it like the magicians secret circle or something? Is there a special handshake?). The only thing I know is that children are simple and they like the simple things, it’s only as we grow up that we start to make things complicated

If I could give a new parent one piece of advice, it would be;

Don’t waste so much energy forcing memories that you’ve none left to actually make the real ones.

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children, parenting, Random musings

Read all about it…..Hold the front page……

I am able, tonight, to share some very exciting news.

Monkey number 2 has decided to undertake a new business venture.

He is becoming Editor of his very own newspaper.

In case any of my readers are considering a career change, I’ll outline his proposal.

He will be Editor. He will employ ‘writers’. He will answer to Boss, Sir, Captain or VIP.

Writers will be required to live on his premises. They will be given the combination code to the gate for when they return from errands but it only works one way and there will be a really big fence so they can’t climb out willy-nilly. Writers are on duty 24 hours a day but are allowed an hour off on a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday evening to play a board game (a long as no big stories come in of course)

Writers will be provided daily with sweets and hot chocolate. Unfortunately if they don’t write quick enough this privilege will be removed sharpish. As Editor, Noodle will join them for sweets and hot chocolate but will also indulge in crisps (McCoys only, no Aldi ones) which he will ensure he eats in a room that’s three doors away from the workers so the crunching doesn’t distract them from their work.

Writers are allowed water as and when needed. The Editor, however, will require coca-cola in a glass. Slightly worryingly he originally planned to fool his writers into thinking he was also drinking water by putting gin in a glass because that’s see through (“you know gin mummy, gin with a g”).

Writers will be paid monthly at a rate of £10 each. There is no time off for a cold, they’ll just have to be brave and bring tissues. Time off will be granted for a broken leg, this time will be charged to the writer at a rate of double his earnings. <His explanation of this had me in actual floods of tears. I asked what would happen when the writer had been to hospital and he replied “well they’d come to work, presumably the doctors had successfully fixed the broken leg, that is their job after all is it not.” I explained that broken bones take weeks to heal, he had a think and said “well I guess he could come back and put it on a stool……or he could stay at home and miss out, and anyway unless he was trying to climb the big fence however did he manage to break his leg anyway.”>

The main role of The Editor is to choose what the writers will write about, to read what they’ve written, to argue with what they’ve written and ultimately make them change what they’ve written.

Newspaper production happens daily. Any writers who do not perform effectively will be dismissed (but if they’re really sorry they can pay to come back). Once someone is sacked, then the combination lock code is changed for safety. There was some talk of a cane but I think I managed to negotiate him away from corporal punishment for misdemeanours and he decided shoddy workmanship would be dealt with by the removal of board game privileges.

Each daily edition costs £2.99 but customers are expected to pay more and will not receive change as that money is needed for the Coca-Cola (or gin apparently). Each edition will have 3 stories, a puzzle page, an interview and adverts.

Issue number one will focus on polar bear danger. It will helpfully inform the readers in quite graphic detail about why polar bears are not as friendly and cuddly as they look. It will explain that if you find yourself in an area inhabited by polar bears then you should panic as polar bears are meat eaters and food is scarce, thus anything that enters their local vicinity is considered lunch. It will also touch on their cannibalism tendencies.

Apparently the next story will be funny so as not to upset readers too much that they don’t buy the paper the next day.

The highlight of issue 2 will be an article about Space Debris. Followed by a StarWars noughts and crosses/sudoku hybrid puzzle.

Exactly who will be interviewed is yet to be determined. His heart is set on some Russian astronaut that he’s discovered but he’s worried about the translation issues. He may decide to interview Donald Trump (no he can’t say that without sniggering) as he’s developed an interest in American politics and last night shared with me the three rules that have to be followed to allow you to become president. These are long and complicated rules with many numbers in relating to age and heritage and citizenship. It amazes me that the child reciting them to me is the exact same one who only ever knows the location of one glove. Or he may just interview himself, he is Editor after all.

So I’m sure you’re now all desperate to come and work for Sir Noodle Sugar, he’s awaiting cvs of potential candidates as we speak but I really wouldn’t put it past him to have some sort of recruitment process in the style of Total Wipeout. I truly fear for anyone that ends up working for him in the future because let me tell you I do it on a daily basis and he is a slavedriver.

But anyway this business proposal completely brightened up my evening, especially when he was so into that he was following me round to explain his next strategy to me. That boy will go far, I have no doubt.

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children, music, parenting

Lyrically Speaking.

The circus is always noisy. Probably not helped by the fact that there is music playing almost continuously, quite often from more than one source.

For example; Radio 2 is nearly always on in the kitchen (who doesn’t love Ken Bruce?! plus I have to brush up on my PopMaster skills), if Circus Husband is home then you’ll be treated to anything from Blink 182 to The Stereophonics streaming from ‘The Office’ (we squeezed two desks into the playroom). As you head upstairs you will invariably be met with a cacophony of melodies, maybe Taylor Swift from one room and some 90’s classics from another (oh yes, Noodle has unearthed all my teenage years albums and can be found wandering around chanting about a boot scooting baby who’s driving him crazy, his obsession from a western, his dancefloor date…..followed by a change of tempo to accompany an enthusiastic rendition of Cotton Eye Joe) and of course, someone, somewhere will be attempting a mashup of Let It Go from Frozen fame and Moana’s You’re Welcome.

So, yes, all in all music is quite a large part of our lives. Fortunately the Monkeys have inherited my ability to not have any idea what day of the week it is but can recall every lyric to a song they’ve heard fleetingly on the radio. I am obviously viewing this as a sign of intelligence even if it does lend itself to slightly awkward conversations; Noodle went through a phase of being obsessed with Bruno Mars, he had the hat and everything, his favourite track was ‘The Lazy Song’ which on the surface seems fine………until you listen properly and have to try and convince a then 3 year old that the lyrics actually say “I met a really nice girl, she had some really nice specs….”

Pickle is the same, loves music, remembers lyrics…………latches onto inappropriate songs! Her favourite is ‘Don’t Marry Her’ by The Beautiful South, fortunately she has only heard the album version but I am not looking forward to the day when she enquires what ‘Sandra Bullocks’ are, there’s also a few minutes panic when she launches into song in the supermarket, the scene goes:

Toddler singing: “You gotta wash the car, take the kiddies to the park, don’t marry her…”

Everyone in earshot: stops, turns and prepares to judge


Everyone in earshot: wanders off disappointed.

Right so now you understand the full importance of music in the circus, I’m sure you will be just as astounded as me to find out that IT IS NOT FUNNY OR HELPFUL if I answer questions in the form of song lyrics. Nor, apparently is it amusing if I interrupt them speaking to carry on with a lyric that they’ve inadvertently uttered (I know, it’s shocking right?)

For example these are some conversational interactions recently that have been classed as ‘annoying’:

“Mummy, you’ll never believe what happened at school today”

” I wasn’t expecttttting that”

“Mummy, How….”

“Do you do that thing that you do to me……I wish I knew”

“Thank you”

“What can I say except you’re welcome”


“in the name of love”

“right now, thank you very much”

“wait a minute, fill my cup, put some liquor in it”

“collaborate and listen”

“Mummy, where should I start?”

“Let’s start at the very beginning, that’s a very good place to start, when you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with Doe Ray Me”

and so forth, I’m proud to say I have many back catalogues worth of these witty comebacks for them to enjoy for years to come. Although Pickle (3) got her own back the other day, she had had a toileting accident earlier in the day then yet again didn’t quite make the toilet, she looked at me and sang “oh my gosh, I did it again, I weed myself, it keeps happening” Look out Little Mix, the next generation is on it’s way!

And that brings us to the less positive side of constant exposure to music. Earworms. You know, when you have a piece of a song spinning on loop in your head for hours. Sometimes, it’s a recognisable part of a well loved song, other times it’s simply random lyrics that you never recall hearing before in your life. You spend all day humming the same tune and trying to block everything else out while you work out what the hell the song even is (or you realise it’s a theme tune to a CBeebies programme and decide to keep that information to yourself.)

I suffer with these a lot. And I have recurring earworms, that can be brought on by the mere mention of a song. I spent three weeks once with the lyrics “where’s your head at <boom boom boom>” taking up all the space in my brain, I came out the other end relatively unscathed but every so often Circus Husband will mutter those words and that’s it, groundhog day. I quite often wake up with songs already etched into my psyche like I’ve slept in an erratic jukebox, this unfortunately means I’m prone to singing short bursts of the song in question out loud at inopportune moments (sorry monkeys!)

If anyone’s curious, my current earworm is the lyrics “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you”, I know the song but I don’t know where I heard it for it to be imprinted in my brain. But, nevertheless, round and round it goes just waiting to be overtaken by the next ready and waiting track of randomness.

Oh and if anyone has never experienced earworms first hand then do let me know, I’m very willing to share, because of course, I cant feel my face when I’m with you.

Welcome to my world


Posted in Children, moving, parenting, Uncategorized

Me casa, Su Casa

Helloooo  <knocks on screen> anyone still out there?

Sincere apologies for the radio silence.

My mind has been somewhat distracted with the unfeasible task of moving four children and 7 years of an undiagnosed hoarding condition lovingly collected belongings from one property to another. Due to our spontaneous, fun-loving personalities (aka, hell if we’re paying another months rent if we don’t need to) we had slightly over three weeks between the decision being made and  ‘the big day of move’. Now; imagine that you are the kind of person who takes decision making verrry seriously, can debate things so successfully in your own head that sometimes you have to declare stalemate and approaches change in the same way that Peppa Pig might approach a hotdog convention…..are you there? Good, so you can probably empathise slightly with what I’m saying.


Step 1: The viewing – the first opportunity to suss out whether this property will be suitable for your needs. We approached this with a sensible, methodical system; checking room sizes, assessing outdoor space etc. Meanwhile two of the three children we had brought with us were performing there own tests “Mummy, we can both fit in the cupboard…look…MUMMY…the door won’t open…STUCK”.

Step 2: The application – applying for a private rental property is akin to attempting admission to MI5. There are application forms that put war and peace to shame and cover aspects of life you have never before considered, they have more appendixes than the staffroom fridge in a theatre department. For some reason, as soon as my eyes spy an application form they cease communication with my brain. I’m suddenly completely unaware of my own details to the point that I feel like an identity thief with every box I tick. I managed my name and date of birth…phew… I hit a hurdle with national insurance numbers, I have both mine and my husband’s stored in my head…unfortunately they are stored as a random mush of numbers and letters, they all there just not necessarily in the correct order or assigned to the right person. I also have them stored on my phone, except I know that one of them is incorrect but I can never remember which one or which part is wrong; so all in all a useful use of phone memory. Then there’s the reference element; bank, previous landlord, employee and character. That’s a lot of people to find who will say something nice about you. The employer reference is also slightly dicey when you spend your days being bossed around by a 3 year old, ‘you should give my mummy this house because if you don’t she’ll put you in timeout’.

Step 2: Checking your things fit in the desired property – now let me share some wisdom; when you visit the property again to ‘measure up’ be absolutely sure to take a tape measure. This will avoid the slight awkwardness of ‘will our bed fit?’ ‘erm, well if I lay on the floor and you take account for the headboard and the bit at the end…’ and also negate the need to come back later with said tape measure and attempt to measure up for curtains from the outsides of the windows. Note: accuracy can in no way be assured when you’re on your tiptoes in the mud trying to gauge how tall the windowsill is likely to be.

Step 3: Packing – Easy, we’ll place all our things in sturdy boxes, label them clearly and job done. And then there’s the reality: pack 3 things into a box, turn around to reach item 4, turn back to find an empty box. Children and packing DO NOT MIX. Suddenly every toy/book/potato masher that you attempt to pack is their absolute favourite that cannot possibly be put in a box. The pile of ‘stuff I’ll secretly pack once she’s asleep’ becomes considerably taller than the pile of stuff that’s actually packable. Then there’s the ‘packing tape black hole’, I swear there’s some sinister force at work, I never managed to finish an entire roll before it vanished into the ether, yet there was constantly a length of it attached to my slipper/the letterbox/the baby, although conversely I did find 12 open packets of baby wipes so at least the force was offering a swap. Finally there’s the labelling; I started off with good intentions ‘2 medium sized saucepans and a lemon – KITCHEN’ by the time I was halfway through I had boxes proudly bearing the label of ‘crap I found behind the sofa’. There’s also the boxes that I neglected to either tape or label which made me incredibly popular with those loading the van.

So, finally, after you’ve gone through these steps and completed all the admin (unsuccessfully attempting to remember every password for every website that needs an address change, then unsuccessfully attempting to remember every password for every email account for every ‘forgot password’’s a vicious circle I tell you).

Then you reach M Day (the big day of move). The day when you realise how much stuff you actually have and come to the conclusion that the property you’re leaving behind must, in fact, be some sort of tardis. The day you find out that when your husband painted the bedroom he actually left the wardrobes in situ and painted around them. The day you realise that your daughter’s beloved piano weighs more than a healthy baby hippo.

But, anyway, we are in, yes we are tripping up over boxes, but we are in. We finally have a table in the kitchen so the monkeys can sit and chat while I lovingly cook (they can sit and complain about the meal while I’m cooking it rather than after I serve it),  we have tall ceilings so my impulse buy 7ft giraffe doesn’t get concussion, we have open fire places so with a bit of training I’m hoping we can perfect ‘chim chimney chim chim cheroo’, and most importantly we have an understairs cupboard so the eldest can move in to await her letter from Hogwarts (fingers crossed we haven’t raised a muggle).

Here’s to the next few weeks of cardboard box jenga.

Welcome to my world.