The Contents of my Handbag – Part Two

When I returned to work after maternity leave, capsule three years ago now, troche I recall randomly doing a stock take on the contents of my handbag one rainy Monday lunchtime. Oh how lovely it was to have the luxury of time to do such things, particularly so when it was after I’d eaten and properly digested a sandwich, compared with my scoffing of four milk chocolate digestives and a mug of cold tea by way of lunch ala my maternity leave days.

Yesterday I bumped into a friend whilst we were both on the birthday party circuit (you know how weekends with kids can be) and she asked when there would be more on the blog, confessed she was missing it (*blush*) and had taken to re-reading old posts to remind herself she wasn’t alone in this mad journey they call motherhood.  She regaled me with one of her favourite posts – the handbag one – which prompted me this lunch time (after I’d called to pay the final balance on our holiday, rearranged Super Daddy’s doctor appointment for that nasty toe infection thing he has going on and booked the Little Princess into holiday club for a portion of the upcoming school holidays) to have a rummage through my bag and see how the contents stack up as a working mum to a six year old princess and a four year old monster….who’d have thought – not a baby wipe in sight. [Read more…]

Five Reasons I know I’m a Working Mum

Feeding my list addiction, treat Kate does it again this week with her inspired ‘5 reasons I know I’m a …. (fill in the blank).

Here’s my contribution with my five reasons why I know I’m a working mother.

1. Colleagues who travel from London to the Edinburgh office where I’m based arrive in the office before me in the morning, salve and I’ve only had to do the school run before getting there. I’ve usually been up earlier than them too.

2. I get funny looks when I rush out of the office calling ‘have a lovely evening’ and it’s only half past two.

3. I answer our home phone with  the greeting ‘Julie-Ann Murphy speaking.’ My mother has been known to hang up and ring back when I’ve done this, thinking she has a wrong number.

4. The contents of my handbag cover a broad spectrum – baby wipes, tissues, emergency raisins (kids), emergency chocolate (me), pre-reading papers for a weeks worth of meetings, six biros, a pack of post-its, teabags, school fete flyers, permission slips for school trips, calpol sachets, loyalty cards for the local soft play. It truly is my Mary Poppins bag.

5. Colleagues recognise the voice of the nursery manager if they pick up my calls on my behalf whilst I’m in meetings. And they can usually assess by the tone of her voice whether I need to leave immediately to pick up my sick child or whether they are just calling to give me advance warning that he bopped another child on the head with a plastic dinosaur.



Warning : Mug Porn

Joining in with Kate’s self confessed weird listography this week, cure here are my top five favourite mugs. Yes, you read correctly people, mugs.

Though I do have to admit, as a proper Tea Jenny, I do have a bit of a mug fetish, and more than happy to proudly display my wares on this one.

1. A Christmas present from my Mum and Dad. Two like this and two with red snowflakes on a cream background. I’ve blogged about these mugs before such is my love for them. A proper English breakfast tea at any time of the day goes down a treat in one of these.

2. A Jamie Oliver ‘cosy’ mug. These were on our wedding list and thus have special memories. It held on tightly to the number one spot for a whole 7 years and 8 months before being pipped by the red and cream hearts one. Pukka cuppa indeed.


3. This delight came as a gift from my best friend (my bate) with another three sweetly adorned mugs in the same design. Four of us girlies have a matching set and it confuses the bejesus out of me when I travel hundreds of miles to London to visit them, only to have coffee in the same mugs as we have at home.


4. Spotty Lilac. Also comes in spotty green, spotty blue and alas no more, spotty pink. Very girlie and perfect for hungover cups of coffee after a (very rare) night out.


5. Finally, a mug that we got made up for Super Daddy with his very own company logo on it when he became business man extraordinaire. It came filled with chocolate lime boiled sweets to top it off.


Fabulous listography this week, so many mugs that never made the cut…

Be Prepared

With the new school term fully in swing now, buy viagra and our friends south of the border starting to turn their attentions to getting sorted for a return to school uniform and packed lunches too, here are a few helpful hints for minimising the morning rush out the door minus the maths homework, so make like a good girl guide and be prepared!

1)      Choose and lay out all clothes for the next day before going to bed.  Get the kids involved in order to save morning wobbles over red Snow White knickers versus pink Hello Kitty ones. Discovering there are no clean socks in the drawer on the morning they are required only results in last minute rummaging through the wash basket for yesterdays pair. It’s not cool, nor hygienic. (Hands up if you’ve done it?! Me!)

2)      Don’t just stop at the kids clothes either, laying out my clothes the night before has stuck with me since I lived at home, and helpfully, it does stop me leaving the house in the morning with one brown shoe and one black shoe on.

3)      Ensure all school bags are packed the night before with all requisite items – pencil case, play time snack, homework books, reading pack, gym clothes, milk money, school trip permission form, lunch money or packed lunch (remember no strawberries as the teachers allergic, swap the muffin for some mango in a bid to keep it healthy, and wipe yesterdays crumbs from the bottom at the risk of moulding), indoor shoes, waterproof jacket. Yes, this results in a heavy bag most likely to haul your little one over on their back, legs wriggling in the air like a ladybird that can’t turn over, but it appears that schoolies these days don’t travel lightly.

4)      Set out breakfast things, so you at least know what’s on the menu in advance.  Cobbling together cereal with yoghurt poured over as you’ve run out of milk, or resorting to Jaffa Cakes as someone ate the last two oranges doesn’t bode well for keeping nippers fuelled ‘til snack time.

5)      Set your alarm. Even if the baby always wakes you at 5.30 demanding to watch Peppa Pig, or the dog arrives at the side of your bed faithfully each morning with the lead in his mouth before you’ve even had time to rub the sleep from your eyes, the day that you don’t – will be the day that they won’t!

My List of Things that need Decluttered.

It is the middle of July, look yet I have this overwhelming urge (some may argue need) to have a good spring clean.  In true House Doctor style (remember the rather stern American lady circa 1999 when property and house shows were all that dominated our television screens) a good ‘decluttering’ is in order. This is my list of things that need decluttered.

1. The corner in our home office which is currently being overrun by boxes of books and bin bags full of baby clothes. These are the outputs of a previous attempt at decluttering which resulted in me trying very hard to be ruthless and remove items from blocking up our cupboard space that were never going to be used by us again. I recall poring over each title, patient remembering when I first read the book, wishing I could find the time to read it again, before being prodded by Super Daddy to ‘get it in the box.’  The same applied with the baby clothes.  Each item was carefully folded (many sniffed!) and I remembered dressing my littlies in the pretty pink dresses (LPP – just in case you wondered) and baby blue romper suits (LMB) and pondering as to exactly where the time had gone.  Pleas of ‘Can’t we hang onto it just in case….’ were met with a definitive ‘No’ from Super Daddy.  Secretly I like to think the fact that they are still in our possession is an indicator that the definitive ‘No’ was perhaps a ‘maybe’…..
2. My glove compartment in the car. Until very recently this contained only the sat nav, the handbook and service documents for the car and a half eaten pack of Jelly Babies from a previous journey to Centre Parcs.  When I say half eaten, I don’t mean we scoffed half the pack and there is a half pack ready and awaiting consumption on our next long car journey.  I literally mean half eaten, as in, already been in the mouth of a small child and subsequently removed when half chewed and handed back to me with a brisk ‘don’t like that one’. This changed when at very short notice a few weeks back, a friend asked for a lift to a kids party that we were all off to.  I rarely have adult passengers in my car, therefore the front seat is almost always littered with empty water bottles, umbrellas, used parking tickets and randomly, gloves.  A quick scurry around the car in advance of picking up said friend means the glove compartment is bursting at the seams and pops open like a wound up jack-in-the-box every time I go over a speed bump.


3. My head.  At any one time I have at least 1572 thoughts whirring round and round, growing arms and legs and morphing into full scale plans and ‘must get round to’s’ The result is usually a mammoth list writing session which then spirals into a frenzy of activity for approximately a week when I eventually feel I need an evening / weekend just to sit on my backside and ‘think’ rather than ‘do’.  You can see how this becomes a cyclical process.
4. The drawer on my bedside cabinet.  Once filled with pretty note books that tied with flowery ribbon and captured my every waking thought and key moments (my favourite being the hurried scribbles I still managed to write whilst having contractions in the run up to LLP’s arrival.  “11.53pm – What the F*** was that?  Aaargh. My stomach is cramping beyond belief.  12.09am – Here comes another one!  Think I might need to tell someone about this.  12.23am – Oh my God.  This is painful. And really happening.  I must brush my teeth. “  Given then randomness of the teeth brushing comment after just three measly contractions, it will come as no surprise that four hours into my labour I was signing ‘Copacabana’ in the birthing pool much to Super Daddy’s bewilderment.)  The pretty little notebooks are still there, tucked under a pile of price tags from clothes that I’ve bought over the years and hurriedly stuffed into the wardrobe before Super Daddy noticed.  Why didn’t I bin these straight away?  I think somewhere in my subconscious I thought I would one day pull all of these out, whip out a calculator and shock myself into frugalness by totting up exactly how much I’ve spent on clothes over the years.  I dread to think.
5. My ironing pile.  Can you declutter an ironing pile?  I guess if I trash the bulk of the crushed beyond all recognition items that are at the very bottom of the pile, and rationalise all the bits in the middle that I am unlikely to wear again (mint green polo neck jersey dress anyone?) and hang up all of Super Daddy’s work shirts without actually ironing them, then that might count.  Either way, my ironing pile p*sses me right off.

My List of tricks to retain some glamour

A friend of a friend is due her first baby sometime soon, sovaldi and although she is feeling like she has it all under control and will adapt nicely to the arrival of a littlie, there she has issued her friends with a harsh  warning of ‘You better tell me if I start to let myself go.’

So, here’s my list of quick tricks for making it appear that you are still your glamorous pre-baby self, even if your bra still has a slight whiff of breast milk about it…

1)      Lipstick on the school run.  I can’t take any credit for this one- nor unfortunately can I give any to the very clever lady who wrote a full article dedicated to the subject in one of the major glossies about 3 years ago, as I can’t remember where I read it or what her name was.  But the integral part of the article has stuck with me. Lipstick on the school run.  It does not matter if you’ve not brushed your hair and you still have your pyjama bottoms on under your long winter coat. If you have your lipstick on, you look like you’ve got it together.

2)      Fake it. A slap and a slop of that wonderful moisturiser with the tiniest bit of fake tan in it before you go to bed will make that first glance in the mirror each morning a little less scary. Somehow dark circles and puffy eyes are immune to the effects of a little bit of a glow.

3)      Eye-drops. As much as the love for your newborn can give you a twinkle in your eye, the 1, 3, and 5am wake up calls have the slightly opposite effect. One or two drops in each eye will give you a little of that sparkle back.

4)      Dry shampoo. It comes in a spray can, looks very old fashioned, but has powerful effects. A quick spray on the roots, a little working it with your fingertips, a shake of your head upside down and ta-dah, you won’t need to wash it for another two days at least.

5)      Although the deodorising properties of dry shampoo have probably not been clinically proven, a quick squirt of the arm-pits should keep you smelling fresh for some time too. If nothing else, it’ll mask the smell of the breast milk.

6)      Smile. It costs nothing and will light up your whole face.  Just be careful not to over-egg it too much.  There is a fine line between happy mum and grinning maniac.

7)      Thick tights.  Thick funky patterned tights, skirts and knee high boots. Instant glamour, plus you don’t have to worry that you’ve not shaved your legs for at least three months. Note, this one doesn’t work quite so well in the middle of the summer.

And if that all seems like too much effort, then sod the lot, put on your comfy jogging bottoms and your ‘too tight across the boobs’ tee-shirt, pull your greasy hair back into a tight pony tail and smile, because your children, your husband and all who are lucky enough to know you will love you no matter how you look…….just take their gifts of fresh breath mints in the spirit with which they are intended.

My List of the Contents of my Handbag

It’s Monday, pilule which means it’s a working day, which in turn means I’m guaranteed to find a vast number of oddities in my handbag.  I do tend to change my handbag on Fridays when I go out with the kids, but over the last few months my work bag, change bag and weekend bag have all appeared to morph into one.

A quick handbag audit has thus revealed the following:

  1. My purse. Which is a good thing, otherwise I wouldn’t be buying yet more blue milk at Tesco on the way home from work. Or lunch. Or I guess the three teas from Starbucks that I’ll likely need to get me through the afternoon.
  2. My nearly-done-hope-to-get-some-more-for-my-birthday bottle of Lola by Marc Jacobs
  3. A grey plastic horse that LMB got free with his CBeebies magazine.  It winds up and gallops and everything!
  4. A squished clementine and 6 raisins. At least three of them regurgitated. Though not by me, I must add.
  5. Car keys.
  6. Our camera, which I took to the cinema yesterday. Yes, the cinema. But Super Daddy said no taking photos allowed. Though LPP and I were stealth and did manage to sneak in a cheeky photo beside the massive Toy Story cardboard cut-outs whilst Super Daddy queued for popcorn.
  7. Four birthday candles.
  8. A plastic spoon.
  9. An empty tube of hand cream.
  10. A mini pot of Sudocrem.
  11. Three biros.
  12. A Bob the Builder pull up.
  13. My hairbrush. Complete with missing handle.
  14. My diary.
  15. A half eaten pack of mints.
  16. A hastily scribbled list which reads, “Fancy Dress Day 28th July, Family Fun Day 28th August, Nursery closed 2nd August.”  I’m glad there was a nursery reference on that one, otherwise I may have come to the office on the 28th dressed as Wilma from the Flintstones.

And that’s it.

Which begs the question…”Where is my phone?”

I suspect I’ll find that in LMBs washing basket later!

My List of Kiddisms that make me smile

We got great little gifts from a good friend when Little Princess Pink and Little Monster Blue were christened. Two small boxes with notelets inside (pink for LPP and blue for LMB) to record all those classic lines that come from the mouths of babes.  They are pretty to look at, pilule and lovely keepsakes to have, but surely as parents we’ll remember all those little kiddisms that our darlings come out with on a daily basis? Or so I thought.  LPP can come out with so many in a day that there is no way I’d remember them all to recount when Super Daddy gets home from work, never mind when she is 18 and we’re trying to recall stories to embarass her with. LMB has only started to say ‘Baa’ when you ask what the sheep says, so we’re ok with him for the time being.

So, in the absence of writing them down in the little pink box tonight, I’m going to record some recent kiddisms here for everyone to enjoy.  I can see this list being added to very regularly.

1. “Mummy, can Ally from pre-school come to my house on Friday please? He knows where our house is, because he lives in Scotland too.”

2. “Why do Daddies not have big boobie lumps?”

3. “I learned a new song today Mummy, it’s called Super Cala Fraga Lipstick”

4. Having just come from Marks & Spencers, “Mummy, Spencer is in Balamory.”  “Yes thats right.” I said. “But Marks not!” she replies

5.  “Fraser and I were putting yoghurt on our chins today and pretending we had bastaches.”

6.When Girls Aloud came on tv, “What girls are allowed in it?”

7. “Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk and said Goodbye to the office!”

8. “Mummy, I want to choose what we should do today. I think we should buy me a Fifi skateboard.”

9. At a friends house when asked what I wanted to drink, I asked for another cup of tea, commenting that I was such a tea jenny. LPP pipes up, “Did you just call Lewis’s mummy Jenny?!”

10. “Oh for fliks sake!”

And that last one, I confess has clearly come from me. Off to the naughty step I go.

My List of Subjects that Colleagues without Children have No Desire to Discuss

  1. Whether Nanny Plum is the same person as Mrs Rabbit
  2. Whether those carrotty wotsit type crisps count as one of your childs 5 a day
  3. Whether I should be concerned by my sons preference for pink sparkly fairy wands rather than toy cars
  4. How many times I sang the Wheels on the Bus on the way to nursery that morning
  5. The consistency of my sons last poo

My List of Style Choices that are Never Good for the Office

  1. Baby puke on your shoulder. Yes, check it’s an obvious one, but it does make people recoil when you explain what that white mark is.
  2. Baby poo on your shoulder.  Hmm. It has been known.
  3. A Bob the Builder sticker on your tights.
  4. A pink sparkly hairclasp pinned to the pocket on your trousers.
  5. One black shoe. One brown shoe.
  6. Snot on your skirt. Worse when its your own.
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