Friday, 13 December 2013

The wonder of the TIDLO BALANCE BIKE - A review.

Price: £64.95
Made by: Tidlo
Dimensions: 36cm (w) x 52cm (h) x 78cm (l)
Available from: Butterflies & Dragons website
Suitable for: ages 3-10years

Balance bikes are lightweight, meaning small children can manage them easily. They have a low centre of gravity and a very clever design, so they're both easy to manoeuvre and absolutely stable.

Parenting is...

...never enough coffee.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Up my nose Daddy

I had been with Esme getting her new glasses (Elton John eat your heart out - but that's another post), when we arrived home to find Daddy with a pair of tweezers up Sofia's nostril. Apparently, she'd appeared in front of him five minutes before exclaiming, "Up my nose Daddy."

"I've almost got it," says Simon, sweating profusely, "but it's up so high." And with that our darling Sofia sniffed, and the little plastic jewel that was just out of reach, disappeared completely.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sofia goes to hospital (again!).

Let me explain… my youngest has been at it again. This time her toddler antics (snorting a little plastic gem up her nostril), managed to land her in hospital - once more - they even recognised me. I'm too tired to go into it right now, so I'm posting these pics to link up with #MagicMoments, as trust me, when your child comes round from a general anaesthetic, it is a rather magic moment. However, when she shortly afterwards eats jelly, and then wears the vomit bowl on her head, it is simply LIFE AS IT IS at its best, and that which needs sharing.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Happy Kids Happy Christmas

Holidays are round the corner, so what are you going to do with the kids? Here are ten priceless ideas to keep them entertained...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Toddlers, technology & the need to hide my phone.

As parents we turn to gadgets and gizmo's for an easy life. I get it; at times my girls drive me mad. But by giving them a simple gaming app on my phone, I feel like I may as well be sitting them in front of the television. They go all zone like. And it is not the sort of parenting I want to resort to.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Saturday, 30 November 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

I write for Tesco magazine, and I want to highlight the fact that Tesco is collecting food in store over this weekend to help those in need. 

Product review: Daddy Pig's Puddle Jump App

Released: Sept 2013 Updated: Nov 2013
Price: £1.49
Available from: iTunes
Compatible: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Age: Pre-school kids & Peppa Pig fans alike

Daddy Pig's Puddle Jump App by Entertainment One with its rich animation, loveable characters and humour, is the latest Peppa Pig game to be released. 


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Parenting is...

…Having no clean cot sheets available due to the sheer amount of mucous induced vomits.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Britmums Xmas gathering...

...Was fab! I walked in on a veritable smorgasbord and lots of twinkly table decorations. Two beautiful reindeer I seem to recall. Oh, and smiley mums galore - before and after the vino (hic!) and some brilliant turkey tips if you are so inclined. And apparently you are, as Executive Chef of Product Development at Morrisons, Neil Nugent said, it is still the 'in' thing to have on the Christmas table - just don't use foil when cooking it. (Yes, there was an audible gasp at that mention).

Monday, 25 November 2013

COMPETITION - WIN a week's supply of NATY Nappies

Naty by Nature Babycare has teamed up with Life As It Is to give away a week’s supply of eco disposable nappies to one lucky winner.

Designed to be healthier for your baby’s delicate skin than standard disposable nappies, Naty’s nappies contain a natural cornstarch leakage barrier which allows baby’s skin to breathe naturally whilst keeping them dry, causing less irritation, and protecting them from harmful bacteria and pathogens. 

Recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association, the nappies are fragrance free and the pulp used is Totally Chlorine Free (TCF). Healthier for the environment too, Naty’s disposable nappies are based on biodegradable and renewable materials, including FSC certified wood pulp.

Naty are the UK’s greenest disposable nappies widely available on the high street.  Stockists: Waitrose, Ocado, Boots, Mothercare, Sainsbury, Tesco. RRP from £3.99 (depending on pack size). You can find out more about Naty here.

To be in with a chance of winning, take a few moments to leave a comment, sharing with Life As It Is why you would like to win Naty nappies. One winner will be selected, who will receive nappies in the correct size for their baby.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Can't concentrate? I try an in-house experiment (1)

Those of you that read my blog regularly, will know that I've recently carried out an in-house experiment with my teething 2yo, Sofia Faith. Together, we tested Naty nappies and Eco Rash Cream. These products impressed me greatly, to the point I'm now converted. 

Thanks to Fia's teething, you'll also know that I've been sleep deprived. Recent worries brought about by Esme struggling at school, haven't helped that either! 

My fidgety 5yo, Esme Grace, has a poor level of concentration. That's not news to me. But what is, is that it's now been flagged up by her teacher. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

In light of today's #Prose4Thought I just signed the petition "Shut down cyberbullying website,, in memory of Izzy Dix & 12 other teens globally" on

It's important. Will you sign it too? 

Here's the link:

Thank you. 

Celestial musings of a 5yo & her mother

E: Mummy, please can we get a telescope so I can look at shooting stars with you one starry night? I would like to see a real shooting star, just once...

Mummy's thoughts on this: 

Darling girl, I promise you that together forever we will watch the starry nights; finding those that zoom across the sky, and observing those that simply twinkle. 

Oh but how you do not yet realise my girl, that the brightest star of all, is you.

I am linking this post to #Prose4Thought and dedicating it to another bright star, Izzy Dix. Please read her story at the Prose4Thought link up, and then sign the petition against anti-bullying. Thank you.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Nappy rash cure? I try an in-house experiment (3)

Ten days ago I set out on an experiment here at home. The method was simple. To trial new nappies and nappy cream on Sofia Faith (my teething 2YO). You can recap here on my thoughts prior to starting out.

Fast forward and I am absolutely delighted with the results. Not that Sofia little miss grumpy guts seems to share my delight. For today she has had such a sore mouth, she has found it difficult to talk. Her gums are so inflamed, her drool, constant. Her temper short.

What is easier for her though… is her bottom. Thank goodness. The Naty nappies and cream have helped; significantly. Her teething acidic poo remains, but her angry red rash has gone. I am so impressed.

You can read my review of the Naty Eco Rash Cream here. Meanwhile, read on for my review of the Naty nappies & pull-ups… oh and a word to the nappy buying wise: Do read to the end, there's a Naty prize up for grabs that could make your LIFE AS IT IS a little bit easier.

Nappy rash cure? I try an in-house experiment (2)

Ten days ago I set out on an experiment here at home. The method was simple. To trial new nappies and nappy cream on Sofia Faith (my teething 2YO). You can recap here on what my thoughts were prior to starting out.

Fast forward and I am absolutely delighted with the results. Not that Sofia little miss grumpy guts seems to share my delight. For today she has had such a sore mouth, she has found it difficult to talk. Her gums are so inflamed, her drool, constant. Her temper short.

What is easier for her though… is her bottom. Thank goodness. The Naty nappies and cream have helped; significantly. Her teething acidic poo remains, but her angry red rash has gone. I am so impressed.

I've written two reviews - one for the cream and the other, for the nappies/pull ups. First, my take on the cream… 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

FURTHER TRAVEL TALES: Thailand & simplicity

In a near forgotten past and in a life before children, there was a young girl who wandered without bags under her eyes but with a bag on her back. Here she returns to notes she made while visiting Thailand back in 1999  

Dawn, and the sleepy stillness of Chumphon, a tiny Thai fishing village, is broken. The boat to the island of Ko Tao, slowly moves past the preparing fishermen. Some of them wave over, but most just stare intently from their three tiered blue and white trawlers that are all lined up and gently moving together. Engines chug. The backdrop is that of large honey glazed palms glowing in the morning light. 

Locals and backpackers: both dependent on each other and for this moment, both curious about the other. The sun salutes all. The backpackers settle into more comfortable positions on the top of the deck, putting on their imitation sunglasses they picked up for a pittance on the Khoa San Road. The crews continue to work. The glint of a metal bucket dangling on a rope reflects in the water it is about to be washed in. Tanned bodies in brightly coloured sarongs compliment both images. Moving towards the open Gulf of Thailand, we leave the fishermen to their new day. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Nativity musings of a 5YO

All afternoon Esme has been singing the songs she has begun to learn at school for her nativity play. 

Those of you following LIFE AS IT IS, will remember that last year I had a teeny bit of Mary envy about this time.

On hearing the lyrics tell the story of a baby born in a manger, I asked Esme, "Oh, do you know who is Joseph and who is Mary?"

Yes, she said. Joseph is a boy and Mary is a girl.

That'll teach me.

Following this conversation, I questioned Esme further: "Do you think you would like to be Mary?" 

"No" she said.

"Why's that?" I asked.

"Because I would like to be the donkey."

And I suppose that will teach me again.

Old MacDonald had a farm, and now, so do we!



Price: £49.95
Age suitable for: Children 3 years and up 
Available from: Butterflies & dragons
Dimensions: 48 x 64 cms

Now personally I don't think any playroom is complete until it has a farmyard. Hey, it's only taken me until my kids were aged five and two to make it happen, but it's here now, in situ. And we are ALL delighted!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Guilty musings of a 5YO

From upstairs I can hear Fia begin to cry. Quickly followed by Esme (my guilty 5yo): "Sorry Fia. I love you. Don't tell."

Monday, 11 November 2013


I was there today. Amidst the bustle and the buzz. I found myself getting off the tube early. I wanted to take it all in. To walk and wonder as I went. The skyline reminded me of good times - even under steely skies. I love this city of ours. This place so wide awake. 
A city to be celebrated. 
Check it out Will Pearson style...

Friday, 8 November 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

SOS Virunga

A friend is responsible for the film linked below, and I wanted to shout about it on my blog to help raise awareness of Africa's oldest national park. Virunga...

A World Heritage Site, it has it all. Rainforests, volcanoes, wildlife. Indeed, incredible wildlife that I have been privileged to witness with my own eyes.

BUT. It is in jeopardy of becoming Africa's latest oil venture. The oil company Soco might well explore for oil here. And if they find oil, then what? Dig up this beauty spot? This amazingly beautiful habitat to endangered species.

Surely this cannot be allowed to happen. 

To join the fight to protect Virunga, check out this website and sign the petition, better still, watch this incredible film my friend produced, and then get involved...

Thank you.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

That old chestnut: A poem about fickle friendship

And then there's that old chestnut: 'So and so says they don't like me anymore.' 

I suppose it shouldn't be dismissed, but neither should it be of too much concern. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Daydreaming: ADD or intellectual thought process (2)

This post sheds some light...

Back to school – farewell Kairos, hello Chronos

'My daughter so desperately needs time to day dream. And apparently researchers at UCLA have confirmed that, finding that day dreaming, or ‘reverie’ to give it a posh term, to be an essential part of brain development and of creativity. It’s also essential for problem-solving.'

Classroom chat

The teacher was actually brilliant. Simon and I feel so much better for having a chat with her. I think too, it's good to have raised awareness at this stage regarding Esme's poor level of concentration.

Daydreaming: ADD or intellectual thought process?

Esme Grace, my fidgety 5yo, suffers from poor concentration. It has always been that way. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

ANXIETY & the return to school

Half term is over & Esme's back to school again (Year 1)

Some of you have been reading about this time last year when Esme Grace returned to reception after her first ever half term holiday. It is unbelievable to me that a whole 12 months has passed and here we are again... 

I'm wondering how much has changed. Reading back, it would appear not a lot. My bright, confident little Esme has got to the same point in the school calendar, just one year further, and decided she'd rather be at home. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Halloween & our great community spirit

One last post to celebrate Halloween, for realising it is not like this for everyone, I wanted to shout about how lucky we are living on our lane. A community within a community, where everyone can get involved. Food, arts & crafts, games, face paints, dress up; it is fun for all. 


Obviously Halloween inspired, Esme (5yo) has chosen to drawn a witch on a broomstick - I love her stars! And Sofia (2yo), has informed me, this is a picture of spiders.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

light of hope for a night of hope

Join me and World vision in lifting the lid off your love this Halloween by carving a heart in a pumpkin, and creating a light of hope. 

Why? Because our children actually get to enjoy the frights of Halloween one night a year, but for many children around the world there are real things to be afraid of.

World Vision is fighting to make the world a safer place for young people vulnerable to child marriage, malnutrition, dirty water and more.

So please help raise awareness with your pumpkin carving. Help World Vision. And let the love shine out of your heart, and out of your window, this Halloween.



Sofia Faith (mischievous 2YO) strikes again...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


This week is Britain’s first National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAWUK, Oct 28 - Nov 3). Therefore, it's the perfect time to highlight a feature I wrote for Baby London magazine on Secondary Infertility, that recently went live on fertility guru Zita West's website

What's stopping you this half term?


Here we are playing in the gorgeous 
Cannizaro House grounds, Wimbledon, London. 

Spectacular colours to behold and lots of free fun to be had! 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Musings of a 2YO

Sofia (with both vigour and volume): "NNNAUGHTY Mummy."
Mummy: "I'm not naughty Sofia."
Sofia: "Yes you are." (This comes out as 'yes oo ah').

And so it ends, with me cracking up laughing, which is just as well for I cannot argue with Fia. She is one of those kids that will always be right as far as she is concerned. God help me in the teen years!

Monday, 21 October 2013

If your baby was choking, would you know what to do?

I'd finally stopped shaking but still felt the need to vomit. We were in the ambulance and Sofia Faith was peacefully sleeping in my arms. There was no sign of the trauma she had just come through.

I held her tightly and let the tears finally go.

The paramedic smiled at me kindly. I'm sure she sensed I felt so bloody guilty.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Monday, 7 October 2013

A little more detail (9) An irritable child in pain is a challenging one

So by now, my LIFE AS IT WAS, featured a ten-month-old and an almost four-year-old. And, it has to be said, a few more grey hairs. 

It was about this time, that Simon and I returned from camping in Dorset from our first ever Summer holiday to Lyme Regis. And it was about this time, that Sofia began screaming in earnest again.

I think mainly, we put it down to teething. We gave her so much Calpol - I look back now knowing that probably just made things worse. For Fia's silent reflux issue was plaguing her again. But I was blindsided to that.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Bad night's sleep and it's not the kids? Turn OFF your mobile!

Computers, laptops, tablets and mobiles are all culprable. They give off a blue light, thought to interfere with the natural hormones such as melatonin, which help us to sleep.

Leave your mobile out of your room. Or turn it to airplane mode. Better still, turn the whole lot off when you go to bed. Especially the wireless connection. Try it. We did, and were amazed at the result.

Basically, the sleep that we then had, was a far deeper, more restorative sleep. And we woke feeling more refreshed than we had in a long time. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Carefree life, AZ, USA

With its soft colours and calming desert influence, it’s fair to say that Arizona is a carefree state to be in.

However, Carefree, Arizona, 45 miles north of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, is the wild-west town that took on the word and won.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Happy first birthday LIFE AS IT IS

26 September 2012 is when this blog began. Where's the year gone? Documented, that's where. I like having the memories written down. I like having a place to dream. To reflect. To share. I hope you like it too.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


It all started when my girls began fighting to get my attention. No I mean fighting. A swipe here. A bite there. It had been going on for three weeks when I reached breaking point. I finally realised I needed to turn their behaviour on its head.

Little did I know that enlisting the help of Amanda Noble-Simmons, designer of the fabulous 
RADICAL REWARD CHARTS would prove so helpful. 

I think that's because Amanda's reward charts are so incredibly positive, and incentive driven. For example, children only ever go up the chart. Never down. And captivatingly, the chart can be personalised i.e. the child watches a cut out photo of themselves climbing up to the reward.

Indeed, there's so much incentive for good behaviour, it's no wonder I now want to share them with you. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Positive parenting and the power of PRAISE

Writer & blogger (but mostly a mum), Emma Oliver ponders over the importance of getting it right as a parent when it comes to praise and positivity...

Something Esme (my musing four year old) said recently has bothered me. She told me that a child at school had whispered to her, "I'm not very good at anything."

When I asked Esme what her response had been, she shrugged and said, "I didn't say anything Mummy." Of course she didn't, for this is beyond a four-year-olds’ emotional and social capacity.

I took a positive angle and said to Esme, “I bet that child is good at something... I bet they’re good at running.”

Indeed, I expect that child is good at lots of things. Though perhaps they just aren't told enough?

It got me thinking about the importance of praise. Do we as parents instinctively praise our children? Always? The honest answer is probably not. But we really ought to, and here’s why.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Thought-provoking sister Kate (5) and oregano oil

Sister Kate lives in Ecuador. She lives a most health-orientated lifestyle and sends the most thought-provoking emails. Her latest is a health tip regarding the benefits of oregano oil. Read on...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Product review - Little Us dolls

...Meeting Little Us - 'dolls just like me'.


Price: £9.99

Age suitable for: two years plus

Height: 12"

When I was asked to review the recently launched Little Us rag doll range for two-year-olds plus, I wasn't sure I was that bothered. But when I took a look at them online, I instantly fell in love and said 'yes please' to the offer. I knew my girls would 'get' them.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

FURTHER TRAVEL TALES - 911 & the hand of reality

In a near forgotten past and in a life before children, there was a young girl who wandered without bags under her eyes but with a bag on her back. Here she returns to notes she made while visiting New York City in 2003  

As I leave the Manhattan hotel for the morning, I join the excitement, for just outside the midtown building are two of New York’s finest. It is clear that they are both enjoying the attention they are receiving. 

Proud of their N.Y.P.D. status, they happily parade in front of the foreign fan club who are beginning to form a crowd around the patrol car. Its lights revolve and it shines as the snow blizzards down upon it. The siren stops before it has really begun, several times, purely for the entertainment value.  

The young one looks to be in his late-twenties. He is half the size of his colleague. Consequently he has the better looks, more defined. He is posing in the photos whilst the other takes them. He grins for yet another picture, and his gleaming badge matches his teeth. Thrilled with their Kodak moment another New York tourist is already having a nice day.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Who could ever forget - some thoughts of 911

The Syrian crisis is on my mind tonight, probably down to Jon Snow's brilliant programme this evening... along with the fact that tomorrow is 911. Thank goodness missile strikes are now likely to be averted.  

And I'm reminded of how 911 hit me ten years ago exactly while on a return trip to Manhattan. To a city I know so well and love so much. A visit to New York, New York in 2003, that led me to put together a piece of prose. The theme of which is irony.

Having seen the television images of the Twin Towers falling, having visited Ground Zero, having sat on the Staten Island ferry and looked back towards a seemingly void skyline, the following article relates how the reality of 911 finally caught up with me.

Expensive musings of a 5YO

Watching CBeebies this eve, there was a clip about a little girl looking after her pet horse. At the end of it, Esme pipes up:

E: I want a pet horse Mummy. Right now.


Oh dear. We're in trouble.


You may be forgiven for thinking Halloween has come early this year. 

LIFE AS IT IS - All change once more

Looking forward as Autumn arrives & Winter awaits

And so our fabulously long school holiday has drawn to a close. My girls' had their joint birthday party - a day which has come to herald the end of the summer in our home, and now September is upon us. And with the new season apparently comes the glam grunge look. I'm so relieved! 

Esme has returned to school and life is all about change once more. No longer waking late and deciding to head to pond, river or beach. We are all about the school shoes, the lunch box, and the hair in pigtails. But it's not all uniform... 

Now that the Autumn is nearing, we turn to other things, such as changing leaves, and stomping and stamping about in those that are fallen, printing and rubbing with those we collect. Long walks in the gold and auburn countryside, followed by hearty stews from the slow cooker, and delicious warm drinks.

Halloween, fireworks, and the run up to Christmas is so much fun. Let's not be sad about the sunny long days melting away. With so much to celebrate, let's look forward and welcome the change that is upon us. 

Bloody cold though. Heating on yet anyone?!

Monday, 9 September 2013


Lyme time

Lyme time

It’s just a stones throw to the sea to throw stones.

The RNLI station is selling bait and buckets, and before long we are there beside the boats, camped out on the Cobb dangling all our hope on a string. But oh you fickle crabs…. Never mind, we’ll get you back by eating your caught cousins for lunch one day soon.

And anyway, we’re moving on to the beach; the white sands already in reach. Caw caw the noisy gulls cry, riding high on the breeze… Esme looks up momentarily, then lets go of my hand, running to a dazzling blue sea. Sofia follows suit, losing her hat in the process.

Ocean’s edge you’re inviting, we four splash there with you. Then lie and relax, and then swim again. It is what we’re here to do. 

Oh and buckets and spades and sticks and shells, digging down deep to create. And our sand covered toes play peepo; all lay hiding in wait. Then we bury each other one by one and Daddy almost disappears. How we laugh before eating sandy ice cream.

Grab the nets we’re off to explore. 
Under rocks, over pools, along the seashore. 
Washed up this, and tossed there that. 
A crab leg, a Blenny, Sofia’s lost hat.

'Hey', shouts Esme, 'let’s fly our kite,' and we run to find the right spot. We wind it out and up it goes and I'm blown away at how she makes it dance so beautifully. My big girl that only at Easter was afraid of a kite! Meanwhile, Sofia you scream and scream as you wait impatiently for your turn!

Just as well it is a short walk then after the day, back to our retreat. Time now for food, but what are we going to eat? Look there, the fish shop has our tea… a pint of scooped up prawns. Yes, that'll do us easily. 

Method: Cook with garlic, lemon and salt. Drink with wine. Try not to gulp.

As sunlight fades and twilight rests her head once more upon the bay, I gaze, and think no wonder I, we, love coming here. No wonder. And the kids sleep endlessly; all that sea air. 

Simon and I revel in the fact that we are out of contact.

FOOTNOTE: This is pretty much how we spent each and every day of our wonderful holiday.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


It’s been a long drive and I dig into Simon’s leg with the exclamation, “Look at that welcome Baby.”

Bunting triangles - so high they deck the sky,
zig-zagging a nautical blue and white, at such a height,
tacking cheerily through Dorset's twilight.

I can’t wait to see the place I harbour such affection for, bathed in sunshine. This place, this British town, beside the seaside.

Beside the sea turn right at the roundabout, up that street, beyond the bowling green: there’s our retreat.

We’re finally here and out the car… smell the tide.  Hooray, three cheers. We’ve arrived. Children and parents somewhat bleary eyed.

Oh buoy, oh buoy; look back to the harbour. The fishing boats, resting now, heave up and down, stern and bow. The sailing masts that sit in between them talk to each other in tinker.

Kids quiet, tucked in and snoozing, and from where we sit, Simon and I can see it all. Including that instantly recognisable wall. You know the one? Once cloaked in Meryl Streep… That film that made us all so weep?

The sea is sparkling. Dancing. The daylight is dimming and lights like a row of tears all a-blur are flickering: Gold bulbs, the corn on the Cobb.

We sit and drink in the view until slumber hijacks us both. And as I slip into sleep, I’m sure I hear the breeze through the open window whisper, “welcome back.”