I can’t imagine anyone will have missed the fact that tomorrow is Father’s Day.
Hardware stores must do their best business in the first weeks of June and sales of bacon probably go up as fry ups are prepared.
But too often the role of daddy is seen as secondary to mummy, surplus to requirements in many ways when it comes to parenting. And admittedly, some dads ARE rubbish. Those mamas, single-handedly doing both the job of mum and dad, are nothing short of heroes in my book.
Yet there are a lot of good uns. And the most important thing they ever do, is just be there. Whether it’s a snatched kiss before bedtime, a cuddle on the couch, or push on the swing, those moments are like tiny beads on the necklace of a child’s life. A tiny, tangible bit of love that helps build them a brighter world. Continue reading
Picking strawberries in his pyjamas: Sonny Jim in the garden
Helloooo strawberry season!
It’s a sure sign that summertime is here when strawberries hang heavily from their runners.
Last year more than 137,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK, with shoppers spending upwards of £1.3 million on the classically British berry.
And the cold start to the year (remember that snow?!) mixed with the recent warm days and cooler nights, has led to a slightly later start to the strawberry season. The resulting slower strawberry ripening means this year’s British strawberries look set to be packed with more flavour than usual. (Sonny Jim certainly seems to be enjoying the dozens he picks daily from our garden’s strawberry patch!)
And Essex has more than a couple of spots where you can pick handfuls of strawberries yourself. Here are some of the best… Continue reading
Going down well: One of my porn star martinis
When your local bar has an extensive revamp, reopens with a new name, new look and promises “epic food, creative cocktails and great times” then it was only a matter of time before I’d be checking it out.
The Oakleigh, in London Road, Leigh-on-Sea, launched a couple of week ago and is offering a new restaurant, cocktail bar and evening bar.
It’s on the site of the former popular Bellini Bar and Brasserie, which closed a few months back – and is run by the same folk, namely the McManus Pub Company.
I’ve had a fair few girly nights at Bellini (pre-baby, its oh-so-moreish jam donut cocktail gave me possibly one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had!) so when I was invited along for dinner and drinks at the Oakleigh, there was no way I would be saying no.
The husband and I headed up there last night, after our tot was tucked up in bed and the babysitter safely installed in front of Love Island. Continue reading
My heart: Sonny Jim and me
It’s a man’s world… so the saying goes.
And nowhere is that patriarchy more apparent than when it comes to fertility.
For all the strides that have been made over the last century. For all the hard-fought rights (to vote, to own our own homes, to smash those glass ceilings) when it comes to having children, nature has us pegged at a real disadvantage.
Women get maybe a 20-year window in which to have their babies. And that’s it.
However we dress it up. Whatever advances that have been made by science, no one has really found a viable, risk-free way for women to put off children well into their forties.
At 35 women’s fertility goes off a cliff – conceiving gets harder and the risks to baby and mama go up too.
Fellas though? Well there’s absolutely nothing stopping them having little ones into their dotage. Continue reading
Little gardener: Sonny Jim in the rain
I think it’s safe to say your toddler has been bitten by the gardening bug, when he demands to check on his “peeeeeasssss pot” in the garden – in the middle of a downpour.
Sonny Jim was sent a box of gardening goodies by Dobbies as part of its #getthemgrowing campaign during National Children’s Gardening Week (May 26-June 3.)
The aim of NCGW is to encourage parents across the UK to get their kids outside and growing.
It comes as new research conducted by Dobbies shows that 61 per cent of parents believe gardening is a good way for their children to learn more about the natural world around them while still having fun. But common gardening knowledge seems to be lacking.
One in seven children do not know that onions are vegetables, and similarly 14 per cent don’t recognise potatoes as vegetables either. Continue reading
Running wild: My Sonny Jim making the most of the road being closed
FOR a few hours on Saturday afternoon I felt like I’d stepped back in time.
Our road was closed for a royal wedding street party. There was bunting. Chalk drawings on the floor. Kids running wild up and down the avenue. Neighbours sitting on curbs in the sunshine, sipping beers and prosecco.
It was blooming lovely.
I was never allowed to play out as a child. But even if I had been, it wouldn’t have been as charming in the Nineties as it was for my Sonny Jim on Saturday. He literally had the time of his life. He ate his tea in the street, chased his aunties (and his football) up and down the road for hours and by the time bedtime came around, he had two grazed knees, dirt all over his face and was a sweaty, sticky mess of sunshine in toddler form. Continue reading
Bourn Hall Wickford: Me with fertility nurse specialist Angela Leach
A NEW multi-million pound IVF clinic officially opens in south Essex this week.
More than a thousand procedures, to help people struggling to conceive, will be carried our per year at the £5.2m Bourn Hall centre.
I was given a tour around the London Road clinic in Wickford ahead of the opening.
The purpose-built centre replaces a smaller, satellite clinic, which was in the same road, and is one of six Bourn Hall clinics in East Anglia.
Sarah Pallett, Bourn Hall’s business development director, said: “Our concern is people often go into denial about their fertility problems and put off getting advice through embarrassment. Continue reading