I normally post about activities for kids, but I’m pretty sure I’m won’t be the only parent who would like to improve their fitness. If you live locally and have only a limited amount of time to exercise, you might be interested in this…

There’s currently a bootcamp every Saturday morning 10-10.45am in Grove Hall Park on Saturday morning.

Click here for details.

All levels of fitness welcome. The first class is free so you’ve nothing to lose…

Adam, who runs the bootcamp, is based in Bow Business Centre and does a few other sessions too (some indoors, some outdoors).

Click here for details.







Chicken pox: a survivor’s guide…

No posts from me for a bit, because we’ve had chicken pox. Twice. First the three-year-old and then the baby.

It’s been horrible.

I’ve never understood why chicken pox is viewed as a minor irritant when it’s actually a major ball-ache. First, you can have a really sick child (thankfully, many kids get off more lightly than we did). Second, anyone in the household who hasn’t had it is almost guaranteed to get it in short order. And then there’s the huge pressure it puts on working parents, who suddenly have no childcare for potentially a week per child.

Anyway, moan over (and suggestion to avoid it follows). If chicken pox is heading your way, here are a few things worth getting in, especially if it’s a bad case:


Industrial quantities of Calpol. Set an alarm every four hours – use it. NB No Ibuprofen for chicken pox.


Calamine lotion for spots. In my day it looked like this… but there are other options.
This calamine cream goes on easier if there are lots of spots.


Anti-histamine – tastes horrible according to my toddler. Tip: mix with juice then syringe into mouth. Not for babies – needs to be prescribed for them so see/call your doctor if you think it’s needed.
Genuinely took some discomfort away. Sprays on – good job.


Also provides relief from the itch/inflammation – this time a mousse, so also applies and dries quickly.
Epsom salts – can be used in the bath. Also, consider offering your child multiple baths per day .


Also required:

  • Magazines, books, colouring/crafts, tv/films to keep a sick kid entertained. Paw Patrol magazine kept us busy for a bit.
  • Friends who’ve had it before and can come round to play when your kid feels up to it.

Here’s the NHS information on chicken pox.

And here’s a Guardian article I found interesting discussing why the NHS doesn’t offer immunisation. Yes, there’s a vaccine. It’s too late for us, but, hopefully, we’ll have a post soon explaining how/where you can get it locally and how much it costs.

A word of advice from Roald Dahl

Earlier this year I treated myself to rereading one of my favourite childhood books – Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. I can’t wait for my little girl to be old enough for me to share it with her, but it’s a bit too soon. At the back, I found something I had forgotten – or perhaps had no reason to pay attention to as a child. It’s a wonderful piece of advice, so I’m sharing it here before wishing you…

… A very Happy Christmas. And a Sparky New Year.


‘Can I do making?’

We made these!

My granny was a proper granny. She had the finest collection of hats known to humanity and a startling number of shoes accrued over seven decades or so.

By night, she wore plastic curlers in her hair and slept with a stick under her bed, ready to fight off assailants. By day, she sat in her rocking chair, knitting and watching black and white war films – that’s if she wasn’t gardening, decorating, cooking, baking, sewing, pressing flowers, making cards or entertaining her grandchildren with infinite patience.

I spent many happy Sunday afternoons perched on a stool by her side in the kitchen baking. We made butterfly cakes, coconut madeleines, melting moments, oat crunchies, eve puddings, apple tarts, jam tarts, toffee, jellies, doughnuts… I could go on, but my mouth’s watering already. My granny used heart-stopping quantities of golden syrup, treacle, sugar and Stork margarine, assuring me they were all good ingredients.

With such sunny memories, you’d have thought I’d have been delighted when my toddler started pulling up a stool of her own, standing alongside me in the kitchen and demanding to ‘do making’. But I’m ashamed to admit the opposite was true. Continue reading “‘Can I do making?’”

Turning a chore into fun

This is a skill I admire in other people and am determined to master, because it makes it possible to actually get things done during the days I spend with my toddler.

So far, we’ve had success with putting things in the washing machine and helping mummy to hang out the clothes. It’s an opportunity for her to 1. Press buttons. 2. Hand things to mummy. 3. Identify everyone’s clothes.

Last week, I cleared the leaves from the backyard while she watched – delighted by the sight of mummy at work – from a window with daddy. This time, daddy was out. And I was determined to get her to help me – or at least not stop me – clearing all the leaves that had fallen in the meantime (we get loads from a line of plane trees in the nearby park). Continue reading “Turning a chore into fun”

The end of naps is not the end of the world

A few months ago, my toddler stopped sleeping in the day. I wasn’t prepared for it at all. I’d read somewhere that they continue napping until they’re three or older.

On her days with me, she’d previously had a lunchtime nap of 45 minutes or an hour in her pushchair. But then it stopped working.

At nursery, she was still having a sleep. Bedtimes on those days though became a right old pain. She was climbing out of her cot, taking her pyjamas off, claiming she’d done or needed a poo, calling for milk – anything to stay entertained until she was ready to go off to sleep around 9pm.

Continue reading “The end of naps is not the end of the world”