Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Tips For Travelling With Children

Episode 3 of The Secret Life of the Family aired last night and the kids and I had a starring role as THE CARCRASHIANS. Anyone with children can probably identify with the Days Out theme...but then add into the mix that we had been banged up together for a whole week by then, not really able to go out or have anyone over because we were filming. When we got in the car together, it was basically Big Brother on speed. No scrap that, it was Big Brother on a such a huge cocktail of drugs that I'm surprised we even made it to Manchester without ODing. Oh and to all you Judgey McJudgeypants out there - my driving is just fine (I've never had any points or anything) and yes my kids were total brats but they'd been working so hard for 7 or 8 days that, hey, they had to let off steam at some point. (albeit for the next 7 or 8 years)

Anyway, here are a few tips for travelling with children:
1. DON'T
There's probably nothing wrong with holidaying in your own home. It might actually be fun, besides the fact that you will all get close to killing each other - better that happening in the comfort of your sitting room than in full public view at the airport when your plane is delayed or at McDonalds on the M25 or indeed on Channel 5.

There is nothing worse than taking an active toddler on a journey. Oh yes there is - changing a pooey nappy in an aeroplane's teeny tiny toilet. And in all forms of transport, there is NO ESCAPE.
No matter how prepared you are with games, colouring, food IT WILL NEVER EVER BE ENOUGH. In fact all options will be exhausted before you've even set off.
Slightly older children are okay because they can use gadgets. Who cares if the children end up square-eyed, reciting all the words to Toy Story because you might actually get to read a trashy celeb mag or two.

Don't get sucked into sending your children to Kids Club, even if it's free and means they're gone for two hours. Do not be fooled into thinking that this means you can lounge around reading and drinking wine because to your husband, well, Kids Club = SPECIAL LOVE TIME.

So you can use Santa as a threat. Make sure the pilot or driver has a direct line to Lapland. If you're travelling in the summer, take lots and lots of sweets that you can then proceed to threaten to throw out the window. Use every goddamn empty threat you can think of and if you can't, then use an escape plan.

Especially those mini bottles of wine. And while you're at it, pass a glass or twelve to the people sitting in front and behind you. They'll need it.

Thanks for supporting the show - it's going off air now until March when it'll be back at the better time slot of 8pm ...  full details to follow.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Jobs Around The House

I've called this blog Jobs Around The House based on this weeks episode of The Secret Life Of The Family but, in fact, it could also be called MUMMY PORN. It made me laugh watching the dads avoiding jobs around the house because not one of them realise that the way to their partners heart (and probably knickers) is to do a load of DIY.

A light went on in my head after watching the episode when I realised that I've asked Ken countless times to change the bulb in the hallway. And has he done it - has he fact there are currently five bulbs dead in this house. If there was a power cut it would not make any difference. I suppose I could do them but I'd end up smashing glass everywhere and, not only is he taller than me, this is a MAN'S job...just how school uniform etc. is MY JOB.

Oh I'm all for girl power but when it comes to certain jobs in the house I do think the man should step in. Us mums do endless jobs and never ever ask for help. For example, there has never been a time when I have asked for help to sort a soggy packed lunch or smelly PE kit. I never need assistance in choosing an outfit for the school run. I cook a healthy casserole for my kids to find disgusting and I do that all on my very own. I cope with rocking in a corner over the sewing on of Beaver badges. When it comes to it, I am more than capable of doing 'my share' of the work.

The lack of light bulb changing got me thinking about how many of my mummy friends like Fifty Shades Of Grey. I'm not into it because it's just not how I get my kicks. I guess I'm a simple girl at heart because it doesn't take whips and handcuffs to get me hot under the collar. I'm getting old you know and there are three children in this house - the closest I get to S&M is being buried under the ironing pile. However there ARE endless ways to get me turned on - to fulfil my needs and desires - things that a man around the house could do that would have me heading straight for a cold shower:

1. Emptying and putting out the bins.
2. Mowing the lawn and any garden recycling.
3. Fully functioning lighting.
4. All bike and car maintenance.
5. Trips to the tip.
BONDAGE BONUS: fixing the lock on the bathroom door.

So guys, honestly, if you want a different kind of "job" with your partner, get your *cough* tool kit out, grab your *errrrr* screwdriver and get fixing. Because if you don't, you'll be DIYing in more ways than one.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Secret Life Of The Family

So some of you may have seen that we are part of the new Channel 5 show The Secret Life Of The Family. If you haven't watched it - then catch it On Demand because it really shows that even though we're all different, we're THE SAME - just make sure you skip the bits where I'm looking like a miserable old hag. But hey, I totally rocked the denim shorts even if above the shoulders I look a lot like Bet Lynch.
I've been getting lots of questions and comments so I thought it'd be fun to write a little bit about the show.
When we initially got asked to do it, I turned it down because I didn't want to come over all Katy Hopkins and things around here were a bit boring. But after careful consideration I thought FUCK IT as fun opportunities don't come along every day and, hey, it killed two weeks of the summer holidays, saving me a fortune/illness from soft play areas. Plus four crew members in the house from 7am-7pm meant FREE CHILDCARE whenever I wanted to pop to the shops for gin or pretend I was on an important phone call when in fact I was just chatting with my mate. They also helped me to remember my kids names.
The children were super cool about it and worked really hard. I don't think that I need to add more money to their future therapy fund. In fact in Episode 1 when you see them lazing around on the sofa, they had actually filmed four hours that day and just wanted to watch telly. It was pretty tough on them because they had to stay in the house for almost two weeks...imagine Big Brother but with three young children and you can understand why I was locking myself in the bathroom pretending to have a poo.
 It WAS vodka in that coffee mug, which probably explains my epic fail when it came to the chore chart. Especially when you bear in mind that at age fourteen I was a bit of a mathematical genius who took her O Level a year early. I still don't understand what happened there but if I end up paying £62,000 to the kids, you'll be damn sure that I'll nick it back from their piggy banks every time I need to pay the milkman/go to Starbucks/need a new frock. And I know it would have been cheaper to hire a cleaner but really, if I had the choice, I'd spend that money on a nanny. Ken took the blame like a man but I think he was on a promise that night and didn't want to ruin it.
We haven't seen any of the show. When the episode aired on Tuesday, it was the first time we'd watched it. We had no idea of the other families but Jill and I have become BFFs which is great as we've never even met.
Ken was always going to be a tough audience member considering that he didn't even know we were doing it until he came home from work to find a film crew, cameras in the house and a wife saying "Errrr I might have accidentally signed us up to do a show". Fortunately, he loved it. I might even be able to get him on that show about dogging next.
All of the filming was unscripted, we had scenarios given to us like "Do a chore chart" but I had to think on my feet and come up with ideas that would get the children to partake instead of moaning about not seeing their friends. They did a pretty good job if you think that we were all close to killing each other - I think the promise of the ice cream van got us through most days...and Mr Whippy is now on holiday in the Maldives, courtesy of the Smith family I can tell ya.
People have been saying I'm brave. Not brave, no. Brave is firefighters and doctors and nurses...I allowed the cameras in because it was a show I believed in, the kids wanted to do it and basically two weeks of entertainment during the school holidays was too good an opportunity to turn down. It kept me SANE and the children ALIVE.
I'll end with this - the opening bit where they introduce our family and we're looking all smiley & happy together outside the house...well the saying about what goes on behind closed doors is apt...because every time we had to go back inside to prepare to walk out again we were arguing, crying and sticking fingers in plug sockets. I guess I've finally turned into one of those Facebook mums with the seemingly oh so perfect family. Don't be fooled by appearances...especially the bits where it shows me cleaning.

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE FAMILY is on Channel 5, 10pm every Tuesday