Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Those beautiful curls

There is nothing cuter than seeing my little toddler racing around with his blonde curls bouncing behind him. Well that's what I think anyway - his father has other ideas.
For months, the little man was rather thin on top, so much so we christened him Garibaldi after my favourite biccie. Now, while I go soft and gooey at the sight of the ringlets that eventually appeared, daddy thinks they constitute a mullet and, seeing as it isn't the early 1980s, the look is apparently a no-no. In fact, I am told, it is verging on an embarrassment. I get the message - he doesn't want his son and heir to have girly curls.
This is definitely a man v woman issue. At a recent family get-together, the first thing my cousin (male) did when he spied my son's hair-do was to pull a disgusted grimace and ask me why I hadn't chopped off those "rat tails" yet. His girlfriend promptly started cooing over them, with my other cousin (female) joining in the adoring chorus. "Once you cut them they never come back," she added, shaking her head sadly. She has three herself so clearly knows only too well the fierce love a mother can have with her child's newly-grown tendrils.
Besides which, I don't think he has a mullet. To me, it can only be classed as such when the locks touch the nape of the neck and his curl prettily up with no contact with said body part whatsoever - ergo, not a mullet. Anyway, the battle continues and I know one day I will have to say goodbye to them (gulp). Until then, I am going to rejoice in his crowning glory. Who knows I might even venture a hairstyle or two. Pigtails or plaits - what do you think boys?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What does your little one sleep in?

Since becoming a mum, the thoughts that whirl round my head have changed. Before, it was filled mainly with work (deadlines, front pages to fill, reporters to chase), with a good portion spent on more frivolous matters - clothes, gym schedules, where to go for a slap-up meal. Now it is more: oh, god, what can I feed him now, when will that pink rash on his bottom disappear and where can we go now winter's set in and the park is a no-go?
The latest all-consuming thought at the moment is what to put the little man in to sleep now the temperatures are dropping. At the moment he is in a sleeping bag and, having interrogated all my mummy friends, this seems to be the consensus. But when he tries to stand, the poor chap gets caught up and I worry his arms are uncovered and get cold - so much worry, so little time.
So now I am thinking it is time to throw off another vestige of babyhood and invest in a duvet. But would this work? He tends to move about a lot when he sleeps and I often find his legs where his head should be when I check on him so would he just fling it off and be cold? The woman at Mothercare recommended introducing one at twelve months plus and reassured me that he would learn to cover himself up when he got cold but I can't imagine that happening for quite some time. That said the duvets do look cosy.
Sleeping bag, duvet, sleeping bag, duvet. Oh what the hell, he can come in with us and we will all be toasty warm.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Things you only know as a parent

Looking back over the last 17 months, I am amazed, and rather proud, of the steep learning curve I have been steadily climbing. I am now an expert when it comes to bodily functions (my son's that is - I mastered mine some time ago you'll be pleased to hear). I know how to deal with a tantrum (ignore and distract) and I can spot a potential hazard at ten paces. Unfortunately, I still haven't perfected grabbing the sick bowl in time but I'm working on it.
Curious, I asked my fellow mummy friends what they had learnt since becoming parents. It was a good conversation starter and here is a selection of mine and theirs. Feel free to add:
- You must remain serious while discipline is being dolled out to a friend's child. Trying to instill morals in the next generation is made all the harder if your fellow adults stand around sniggering at their antics, showing them that, despite what mummy says, shoving pebbles down next door neighbour's car exhaust is in fact a good idea.
- Never throw away birthday cards. At the moment we use them as a cheap version of flash cards but I am sure they will come in handy when cutting and glueing becoming a favourite passtime.
- However horrendous the graze might look, it will disappear in a few days with no visible after effects. The little man had an awful one between his eyes which twisted my stomach with worry and regret every time he looked at me. Within a week I couldn't even see where it was.
- Be careful how you word instructions. When you say "Don't crayon on the wall" all they hear is "crayon" and "wall" then the idea is planted.
- A new baby number two might be little and sweet but visitors should withhold any loud cooing until suitable fuss has been made of the older sibling first. Although we still have just the one, I couldn't bear the thought of him feeling left out even for a second when the pitter patter of more tiny feet come along.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Separation anxiety? He's not the only one

I was in a London pub and two sips into the first drink of the evening when I got the call. The little man had woken up from his sleep and was crying and no amount of coaxing from his grandparents would soothe him. He was inconsolable, I could hear it from the other end of the phone as my mother-in-law tried to make herself heard over his screaming. And there I was, a walk, tube and train ride between us. He needed his mummy and he couldn't have her. It was awful.
He had been going through a clingy stage - only really wanting me to hold him and even getting upset when I left a room - so I knew there was going to be trouble and a small knot placed itself firmly in the base of my stomach as we left him napping, knowing that when he woke and looked for me I wouldn't be there. 
As it happened, it was mostly one of those grumpy cries we all feel like having when we wake up and haven't quite had enough sleep, only accentuated by his parents' absence. I advised setting him in front of the TV or playing a CD to distract him from his mood and after a nervous wait, while I pondered whether to start making for home, I got a text to say he seemed better. I wasn't able to relax until I got a final message to say he was tucked up in bed; only then did I head to the bar and got myself a drink - large please barman.
I have been very lucky that I haven't had to use a child minder and the one-day a week I do work is spent at my parents' where he is able to come into the office, show me his favourite toy cow and leave, happy in the knowledge I am there. As he is mostly with me, I have avoided the distress many of my friends have described when leaving their babies with a child minder for the first time, but I do ask myself would he be so clingy if I had done the same? Whether it is better for children to always be with their mothers in the first few years or to learn independence and social skills at a nursery or childminders, it is difficult to say and I can see advantages to both. I know leaving him is a hurdle I will have to face and that it will probably be harder for me than him. Clearly separation anxiety can work both ways and I have been holding him a little tighter ever since while I still can.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Children - the ultimate traitors

Since moving back to my hometown, I have picked up with some of my old musician friends and we have even gone so far as to form a string quartet. I know, very posh. We recently played at a wedding fayre and, in our break between sets we were sat in a back room, munching sandwiches while sharing amusing anecdotes, mostly about our children.
Now I don't have that many, with the little man being fairly new and all that, but our cellist, who has three strapping teenagers, has stories aplenty which she was happy to share. Here's one I just had to tell you.
When her daughter was younger, pre-school at least she remembers, she was having a particularly fiesty tantrum and her frazzled mother decided to plonk her on the naughty step at the bottom of their stairs for some much-needed intraspection on her behaviour. While mummy calmed down in another room, she presumed that her little darling was doing the same. When, a few minutes later, she returned to the hall to accept the humble apology that was no doubt waiting for her, she found her daughter crouched over the letter box, her fingers prising open the flap while shouting "Please help me, my mummy beats me"  to anyone passing. Now that deserves an Oscar doesn't it?
If you are ever in Dorset and in need of some high class entertainment, we would be delighted to comply. Go to our website to find out more. Shameless plug but had to be done.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Radio Four anyone?

I know I have always been a little bit old before my time (I was knitting long before Madonna et al made it trendy and I always thought nightclubs were far too loud well before I hit my thirties) but this week has confirmed it.
On Monday I visited the hygienist for a routine scrape and spit. I am ashamed to say it was my first visit to her despite having moved to the area over a year ago - you know, nappy changes, vegetable blending and the entire series of West Wing all needed my attention before any thoughts could turn to dental health.
As I shimmied myself down into the dentist chair, my lovely hygienist reached behind her and flicked on Radio 4 before getting to work. How wonderful, I thought, as I relaxed back and listened to the afternoon play unfold. When I was in London, my young and vibrant hygienist would have Radio 1 blaring while he listed the bars and clubs he would soon be frequenting once he had finished chipping off the plaque from that hard to reach spot at the back of my wisdom teeth. Although I would never begrudge him his youthful exuberance, I somehow felt in better hands with a professional who prefers The Archers over RnB.
Now onto smaller matters. Since becoming a parent, ducks have become very important in my life. There is a river that runs through Wimborne (our lovely town) and there is no getting past the ducks that live on it when walking to the shops. The little man loves the quack quacks and we have to spend at least ten minutes gazing at them over the wall before I drag him away, usually kicking and screaming. So when I spot a new rubber duck on the market, my ears prick up - and I have found a good 'un. Cuddleduck is by Cuddledry (the creators of the wonderful apron towel) and comes in a glamorous gold polka dot. Go to my other blog for a quacking (sorry) review: BabyMoonBlog.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Clean my teeth? You're having a laugh

Michael McIntyre, Eddie Izzard and all you other comedy wannabes, step aside - there's a new kid on the block. Me, in fact.
I don't mean to blow my own trumpet but lately I have been hilarious. I have never been so funny - well according to my 15-month-old that is. All I have to do is put on a silly voice or squint up my eyes and wrinkle my nose and he is in floods of laughter. He is the best crowd I have ever played to - and he doesn't heckle, unless he needs a nappy change. Of the many joys that come with being a mum, hearing his unbridled chuckles at my antics comes somewhere near the top, although nothing quite beats that first smile does it?
However, his delight in me soon turns sour when I take off my funny hat and attempt to introduce that ultimate instrument of torture - the toothbrush. No matter how many silly faces I pull, the message is clear - he does not like having his teeth cleaned. Which is why I had to tell you about the breakthrough we have had this week in our dental standoff.
For a few weeks, he liked his toothbrush and would chew away happily on it but then suddenly I couldn't even show him it without his lower lip wobbling and his brow furrowing ready for the full-on drama that quickly followed. To be honest, I think I should have replaced it sooner as the bristles had gone stiff so I couldn't blame him for not being too keen having it scraped along his newly showing teeth. But by the time I realised this he hated the sight of the brush and I needed an alternative. I did what every other mother would do in this situation, I turned to Google. And there I found Brush-Baby. This clever company makes chewable toothbrushes, made of rubber that not only cleans the teeth as they gnaw down on it but, it turns out, is wonderfully soothing. We put ours in the fridge when he is teething and he loves it. So instead of the twice-daily battle in the bathroom, I simply pop a bit of toothpaste onto the rubber bristles and hand it to him at the end of a meal while he is still in his high chair. He sits happily chewing away and cleaning his beautiful smile as he does. I found it in Waitrose and it cost over a fiver which did make me baulk but I would pay twice the price knowing how successful it has been. Go to to have a look.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

October - the perfect month for a day at the seaside

We are so lucky to live near the sea. It meant that, when the arrival of October also heralded a few bonus days of glorious sunshine, we headed straight for the beach.
Knoll Beach, to be precise, nestled in the Purbecks and a 30-minute drive (plus short ferry ride) away from home. If you are ever that way, do go. It is owned by the National Trust so you have to pay but what you get is a wonderful stretch of sand with a naturally wild backdrop and views over to the Old Harry Rocks on one side and Bournemouth's distant skyline on the other.
The little man was in his element, busily clambering in and out of other children's beach excavations, munching cucumber sandwiches whenever the desire took him and gathering up great fistfuls of gloopy seaweed, flicking it about a bit to remove any excess wet sand before returning it to the waters it had come from. The National Trust should put him on their wage sheet as our little patch was neat as a new pin by the time we had left.
So what tips did I pick up for the perfect, hassle-free day at the seaside? (I know summer has probably been and gone but there's always next year):
Number one. Always put suncream on little arms, legs and face etc while in the car and not on the beach when, with their playground stretching out as far as the eye can see, the last thing they want is to be clamped down and smothered in Factor 50. It also gives it time to dry. Sand-encrusted toddler is not a good look.
Number two. Invest in one of those half-dome tents with special sand pockets to anchor it down; it might have been sunny but this is Blighty and the breeze was up. This gave us a lovely shady spot to shelter, read books and change under but, more importantly, it acted as a rather upmarket windbreak - essential for all days out on the UK coastline. Ours can be zipped up and is just large enough to take a small child, several large adults, chairs, rugs, picnic hamper and towels, if the heavens open.
Number three. If you can, bring reinforcements. For me this was the little man's grandparents who were on hand to help with the standing-up nappy change (always awkward), the erection of aforementioned tent, and to gamely share the shiftwork following the little man around and making sure he didn't toddle into the sea and all the way to France.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Baby rage at the checkout

I recently read a post by fellow mum blogger Mother's Always Right who was sharing with her readers a rather upsetting supermarket incident with the main players being her crying newborn, an over abundance of new-parent hormones and an insensitive comment from the cashier. With a little one the same age, the story was all too familiar, as it was for many of her followers, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to write about my own experience. New mums and dads out there suffering at the hands of an intolerant and impatient public - you are not alone.
My "incident" happened when the little man was about seven months old. We were queueing up in a supermarket (why does it always happen in a supermarket?) and he was enjoying experimenting with his voice – not crying, just seeing what sounds he could make. As I was paying, an elderly man who was sitting, reading the paper and waiting for his wife to finish packing their shopping, was clearly irritated by my son's babbling and  spat out “shut up” in our direction. I don’t think he meant me to hear but unfortunately for him I did and I was filled with a hot flush of indignation.
I can understand that a baby making rather loud sounds with his voicebox might grate on the nerves but we weren’t in a library or a restaurant which made him completely out of order – and I told him so. To quote – “Don’t tell him to shut up, he is just experimenting with his voice.” And as I swept away – “Learn some manners.”
Usually I work out what I should have said half an hour after the event so I was somewhat surprised but pleased that I actually managed to have my say. I suppose it might have been my maternal instinct to protect and defend but it felt good. Despite that, I remained upset for the rest of the day and the next time I was in the supermarket and the little man started getting chatty again, a wave of panic came over me that we might be disturbing others. It was a horrible as it made me feel like an unwanted outcast – that we should stay inside and do not disturb until he has at least learnt his social graces.
I would ask that elderly man to think back to when he had young children and whether he would have wanted their mother to be made to feel the same. I think not.

Monday, 19 September 2011

In the breast business

Several hours after the little man was born, a lovely lady gently pulled back the curtain encircling my hospital cubicle and introduced herself. Claire was a breastfeeding consultant and she had come to show me how it was done - I hung on her every word. Two days later, she visited us at home to see if I had been successful in putting her advice into practice. Her kind and professional manner was the equivalent of a life raft during that first frenetic month of motherhood and, thanks in no small way to her, I went on to breast feed for another twelve.

This is my 100 words for @helloitsgemma and @michelletwinmum, for Save The Children’s No Child Born To Die campaign.
8 million children die every year from basic illnesses. Half of these children are in Africa, yet Africa only has 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives. Save The Children wants to tackle the shortfall of healthworkers in the poorest parts of the world.
You can do your bit too.
1) Sign the petition.
2) Write 100 words about a health worker you’ve encountered in your life and link up to Michelle Twin Mum. Add a link to the petition and either link or add in some information from Save The Children about the #Healthworkerscampaign
3) Link to a number of other bloggers and ask them to do the same.
4) Tweet about it, mention it on Facebook. Tell your friends and your neighbours and your family. Spread the word. Because no child is born to die.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The boy with the silver spoon

Having had three boys of her own, the little man’s nain (Welsh grandmother) is rather good at present buying. In short, whatever she gets goes down a storm. The favourite so far is a trolley with wooden blocks that he pushes around endlessly shouting “go, go, go” as he whizzes past. The blocks are just becoming interesting too although knocking them down is far more fun than building them up.
Another great find has been a beautifully made wooden walker that “she couldn’t resist”. Forget garish plastic novelties, this toy is charmingly old-fashioned – the kind you imagine Benny Hill lovingly carving and hiding away under the shop floor of his toy shop in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Remember that? The child catcher scared me SO much – still does if I’m honest).
 The toy is simplicity itself, comprising a long stick with a small ball on one end (for obvious safety reasons) and a delightful painted cow on the other. This ‘moo-moo’ has wheels instead of legs with little wooden balls attached to them by string that make a satisfying clunking noise when set in motion. He will sit for hours (well, a good fifteen minutes) rolling it back and forth. For us mums, this toy is a blessing – what else can you wheel about with one hand while flicking through the latest edition of House Beautiful with the other?
The latest acquisition, however, is pure genius. As he is beginning to want to feed himself, his nain has bought him his very own loop spoon – a piece of baby cutlery she swears by. Instead of them having to tackle a long handle, this natty device loops back onto itself which is perfect for a little hand to grip. It seems you can’t get these in plastic, so while his parents eat their dinner with Ikea’s finest knives and forks, the little man is dining in style with cutlery that came in its on presentation box – talk about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Carry on camping

The little man, P and I have recently returned from our first camping trip as a family. And I am pleased to report it was a resounding success. After much pre-holiday hand-wringing - What will the baby sleep in? Will he get cold at night? Can I survive without my straighteners? - we have come back from a two-night break away feeling as if we have been holidaying for two weeks.
The destination - Eweleaze Farm in the Purbecks, about 45 minutes from where we live. If you have children and are fond of sleeping under canvas, this place is a gem. Fabulous coastal views, gloriously hot solar-powered showers and a farm shop packed full of organic local goodies for the adults; a petting zoo, the odd pot-bellied pig lolling about and plenty of haystacks for climbing for the kiddies. Sounds idyllic? Well it was, barring one incident with a Shetland pony that for our friends increased the otherwise absent stress levels.
Their little girl, who is fast approaching two, was keen to have a ride on one but there was a queue of other little girls all with the same idea. Each time the hard-working animal approached the line of expectant riders, picked one up and headed off in the opposite direction, their daughter would, understandably so, fall about in a fit of angry disappointment. This went on seven or so times, but they had no choice except to wait, bear the tantrum, and wait again until it was finally their turn. They steered clear of horses and queues for the rest of the stay.
Eweleaze only opens as a campsite in August and the rest of the year is a working farm which makes it popular so if it sounds like your kind of place, book early. Go to
Some top camping tips I picked up whcih you probably already know but you just in case:
- One washing-up bowl won't do. Take two - one for washing, one for rinsing
- A dustpan and broom come in handy to get rid of all the grass and mud little ones drag into the tent
- Thermos mugs are wonderful for keeping your tea hot while you are running half way across a field after a toddler determined to explore further than he should. They were so good in fact I am considering using them at home too
-Shetland ponies and little girls sometimes don't mix

Here is the little man with his new favourite toy taken by our lovely friend Sian. It belongs to her little girl so not sure if daddy approves...

Friday, 26 August 2011

Loving those toys

From time to time, PRs send me toys to review. I don’t know whether the little man simply loves toys and would play with an old sock if it was left in front of him, but everything we get goes down a storm. And our most recent offering was no exception, although this time I think P was even more excited than his son. 

First through the post was a fabulous set of tools from Rubbabu. I had spotted these in the shops a while back and thought how sweet they were then. The tools are made of natural foam with soft velvety handles in bright colours. They are ideal for chewing (and doing the odd spot of DIY round the house) and come in a handy bag to keep them in. This little kit costs £15.95 (tool set 4 pieces), go to PlayMerrilyToys

Rubbabu do a whole range of foam toys, from little cars to some great looking puzzles. I love them because I can leave the little man playing with them and not worry he is going to choke or bash himself in the head.
Next through the door was a small wooden guitar from Sevi. P plays the guitar and the little man always makes a beeline for his in the corner of our living room. Now he has one of his own which stands rather sweetly next to his daddy’s. The guitar costs just over £30 but is worth every penny in my opinion. It has proper pegs and strings that we attempted to tune and are not far off the right notes although not necessarily in the right order. The little man now goes straight for his own guitar and is happy doing Brian May impressions until the cows come home, or at least until Postman Pat starts up his daily rounds. Visit


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Criminal behaviour?

One of the many pleasures of having the little man is taking him to various tiddler groups and watching as he slowly breaks away from our little world of two and embraces the sights and sounds around him. As his nain (my mother-in-law is Welsh) lives some distance away, I thought it would be nice for her to share the experience so on a recent visit we all headed along to a Rhyme Time session at the nearby library. 
Pretty soon, grandmother and grandchild were ensconced with all the other mums and tots, singing away and doing the actions together. It was lovely. So lovely in fact that I trotted off to get my camera and was about to capture the moment for posterity when something stopped me. Is it wrong to take pictures of a group of children? Would I be carted off to prison and branded with the p-word? 
Sure enough, a librarian hovering nearby scuttled over to tell me that taking photographs was not allowed, citing library policy.  Although she was perfectly sweet about it, I felt stung – as if I had been preying on the other little boys and girls when all I had wanted to do was make a record of a happy moment in the lives of my loved ones.
In an electrical shop in our town centre, I began talking to the owner about his twin granddaughters. Clearly a doting gramps, he had been overseeing the two-year-olds playing bare-skinned in a paddling pool in his back garden and it had been such an idyllic moment that the thought had crossed his mind to take a snapshot and forward it on to his daughter so she too could share in it while she was away at work. “I suddenly thought – could I get in trouble for this so I decided against it” he told me, although he had resented this gut instinct.
It isn’t actually illegal to photograph children in public, however much others make you think it is. Inflammatory newspaper headlines and paranoia seem to have taken hold, making us feel guilty when no guilt is necessary and casting a shadow over the innocent fun of childhood. I know there are many who believe it is absolutely right and necessary to take such stringent measures in order to protect our children – and perhaps my resistance makes me seem a bad mother in their eyes. But when my little man is putting in a star performance as a shepherd in the school play and I am unable to take one photograph to look back on, it makes me wonder where it will all end and it is that thought that scares me more than anything else.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

That's entertainment

My last post rather centred around myself and P – with the star of the show happily tucked up in bed while parents ran around panicking and firemen trooped through his little home. While it was nice that Fate sent us a fire so I could have something to write about for my first ever posting (and thanks for that Fate) I would prefer, from here on in, to concentrate a little more on motherhood and the top parenting tips I come across now and then, rather than my abysmal attempts at gourmet cuisine. 
So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a feature I have recently written for the parenting website Emma’s Diary. With the little man having speeded past his first birthday, and acquiring new skills at an equivalent rate, I began looking into the best ways to keep him entertained and inspired. Here are some of the quick tips I discovered. For the mums and dads among you, hopefully there will be one or two to take away and try. If you like what you read, click here to read the full article.
- Lie your baby in a blanket with you and your partner holding opposite ends. Gently begin swinging her from side to side. She should take delight in the feeling of weightlessness and it will also teach her about trust.
- Bubbles will be a source of fascination during the first few months. Sit her in a bouncy chair, high chair or when she is out in her pram and see if she will catch them.
- 'Put-in' and 'take-out' toys are great at this age. Fill a container with different objects, such as an old mobile phone, a small rubber duck, a piece of felt or a rattle and help her take out and explore the objects. Show her how to put them back again.
- Building a tower can be great fun at this age. Gather together old cereal boxes, plastic bowls, baby blocks and lightweight books and work together to build a tower. She will love watching it fall down too.  

Sunday, 31 July 2011

One hot date

It was our third wedding anniversary. As we have the little man in tow now, we thought it easier to forgo the restaurant meal in favour of a far more romantic night in. With baby nestled in bed, two rather expensive rib eye steaks prepped and a nice bottle of Chianti uncorked to breath, we could sense our perfect evening unfolding in front of us. Then we decided to flambĂ© our kitchen. 

As there was no white wine in the house for the traditional peppercorn sauce, we trawled the internet for recipes using ingredients easily retrieved from the drinks cabinet. A cognac reduction caught our eye. So with shallots finely chopped and sizzling in the pan, I measured out a healthy glug of booze, handed it to P who poured it on with a flourish. This was quickly followed by an alarming WOOSH as a ball of orange exploded upwards and promptly set our extractor fan on fire. 

Desperate attempts with a damp towel quelled the pan fire but had no effect on the flames quickly melting the fan and licking dangerously close to adjacent cupboards. With panic rising, I called on the one and only thing I could remember from a recent first aid course. Get help here and quick.  Under five minutes later, two fire engines had arrived, but not before I had run around knocking on my neighbours’ doors in search of a fire extinguisher. No one had one. How irresponsible. 

By then, P had managed to put the fire out by making numerous trips from the sink to the flames with the small water jug we only use for special occasions, and what could be more special than that? We spent the rest of our romantic evening scraping melted plastic off the cooker hob and debating whether the blender, housed above the fan and now resembling a squashed cabbage, could be saved. And the burning question (excuse the pun – one more to go then you are free) you all want to know – how were the steaks? Flame grilled.

But rather than leave you in a smoked-filled house smelling strongly of burnt plastic, I thought I would end with a nostalgic photo from the family album by way of introduction. It shows me and my brother taking on the stormy seas off the coast of Bournemouth. Twenty-five years later, I have returned to the sun, sand and sea air as Mum Down South and this is my very first post – ever. Hello to you all.