My Manifesto: austerity alternative

One of my many gifts- amongst my writing, teaching, conservation work, philanthropic deeds etc- is politics. I am blessed with a mind for numbers and diplomacy. Having had some time between book tours and TED talks, I have put my mind to fixing the economy.

And I’ve triumphed.

Below is my plan for pulling the pound up by its pants and giving our proud nation the economic input it needs.

Making Parents Pay

Any expectant parent who uses the phrase ‘babymoon’ must pay an immediate £25 fine.

Party bags should be for adults only and include a reimbursement for parking and time lost.

All unsolicited parenting advice will be met with an on the spot £20 fine.

Every time someone uses a euphemisms for female genitalia they should have to put a pound in the kitty jar (not a euphemism)

‘Gin O’clock’, ‘five past wine’ or ‘pass me the vino!’ result in a fixed penalty notice.

Gender reveal parties, occasions, cakes or dramatic announcements of any form will be met with a £190 surcharge.

Each of the following hashtags come with a hefty tax: #blessed #famalam #mumlife #momlife #myworld

Anyone found trolling on Mumsnet will be shot at dawn. Spectators can buy tickets.

I look forward to your vote!

Bootique Haul!

I’m so excited to share this with you guys! Photo credit: selfie timer, mid-blink.

Hair by swimming pool.

Right next to my house in this fancy French shop, Citroen Picasso and I’ve been dying to roll up my sleeves and have a dig around!

Posing in doorways

I found some real treasures and I model them over on my Insta so go check out my feed, guys!

It was well stocked with things for kids and grown ups and a great choice of food and snacks but I made sure I didn’t overdose on lost Smarties or those clothes I’ve been meaning to take to the charity shop will never fit!

Here’s what I got, guys!

Three Pokemon cards (v collectible)

Three coats (last season’s)

Seven nappies (size up)

Eight toy cars (a mystery- my children only play with wooden toys)

£16’s worth of kids’ magazines- unread

Three unemptied lunch boxes (#vegan)

A Dyson’s worth of crumbled snacks

Five CDs of ’90s music minus cases (so retro!)

A litre of Pisco from Peru (#gifted)

Eight squillion reusable shopping bags (#eco)

Two woollen jumpers (#allergic)

Countless pieces of chewing gum (coffee breath 🤭!)

€10 (so well travelled!)

Three Tuppaware lids (v pleased)

Three armbands (hard to explain)

Two unread novels (#cultured)

Quite the haul!

Shit from my boot

Had loads of questions about these shoes- they’re by the French brand Croc Monsieur #ad

See you, September

With your tired faced children and cold hard shock that this is life now summer has set and the beach towels are packed away.

See you next year, when we will buy pencil cases and make resolutions and swear off beer and fail by the first Friday.

Thank you for the last days of sunshine and the moon still up at morning and the not quite cold enough for tights on chilly bare legs.

You arrived with picnics and left with fireside fish and chips. You lasted forever and passed in a flash – leaving a trail of coughs and sneezes in your wake.

And we take our crumpled tissues and faint tan lines and framed photos of summer and dust off our coats and button them up over woolly jumpers and set off for the school run with our hands deep in our pockets and our minds on bonfires and crispy apples.

Exercise: mum style

You swim, cycle and climb everyday

At toddler pace. Which doesn’t really count.

‘Well done, darling!’ *wipes pool water out of eye*

It is scheduled.

You’re in competition with husband’s badminton and children’s swimming lessons but, by god, you will get to the 7.30 class through hell and high water.

You go at it with renewed vigour

You might’ve skived off cross country in high school, but now you will run through fields for fun. Mostly because you enjoy being on your own and unencumbered.

Exercise is your main expensive

New kit makes you quicker. Fact.

But most of your gym kit is from the supermarket.

And sometimes you wear your gym kit back to the supermarket for a post-workout food shop.

You live with your harshest critics

My children like to munch on their post-swim snack and critique my physique while I get changed: ‘She’s a bit wibbly’ ‘Yeah. And she got a big bum bum!’ Motivating. Thanks, lads.

But you know you’re as strong as all hell

Say it! Say Mummy wins!

The Rabbit Hole

This is how I spent two days at home delirious, hoarse and feverish.

48 hours of this:

YouTube videos about tiny houses.

Discovering I have Amazon Prime and therefore Prime Video and therefore This is Us which is lovely but makes time and will power evaporate

I’ll just watch the first ten minutes of the next one…

Reading this EXCELLENT book that’s set in a Georgian whorehouse. Beautifully written. Very funny. Gorgeous. Bit racy. And look at the cover!

Listening to this podcast

Reading this really helpful and brilliant website which has great ideas for games to play with the children. I read it and resolved to do an Allsopp and smash the iPads and reinvent myself as a good mother. Just as soon as my fever spikes…

Toy Planning Meeting: minutes

Present

Edward. Michael. Tony. Ian. Steven. Brenda on tea and minutes.

Qualifications

All childless but two have nephews so therefore considered qualified to comment.

Minutes

Tony: Right. Welcome all. Thanks for coming to this week’s brain-storming session.

Edward: I don’t think we can say ‘brain storming’ any more. I’d feel more comfortable if we called these meetings ‘Idea Crafting’.

Tony: Right. Very good. Don’t want the Guardian readers getting wind. Let’s Idea Craft, then chaps!

All eyes to Brenda who is vigorously note-making

And you, of course, Brenda!

Brenda keeps eyes on her notebook and tightens grip on her pencil.

Michael: Just to jump right in, I’ve been thinking we need something extra special now Christmas is coming round the corner: I’m thinking buttons, songs, movements, flashing lights….

Ian: Heck yeah! Something that comes in a huge box so they’ll see it under the tree and nag to open first!

Steven: Could it play some kind of a jingle or a tune…?

Met with general murmur of approval.

Steven: It could kind of be something repetitive. Catchy. Get all the kids singing it. Maybe we could make a YouTube video that’ll go with the toy. Make it go viral.

Edward: Yes, mate! My sister is always humming Baby Bum songs! She’ll love this!

Tony: We will need to audition singers. Brenda- can you write that as an action point? Make a note to either have nauseating American woman or out of tune English man singing. Ta, love.

Edward: Hold on- won’t all the singing and lights and flashing things mean this toy will get through a lot of batteries?

Murmur of agreement.

Michael: It’ll need at least eight in to work.

Steven: And they will have to held in by whatever type of screw you don’t have the screwdriver for. That’ll need some deep consumer research on.

Tony: Brenda- action point.

Edward: And I know my nephews always fight to play with the noisiest toy so the batteries will wear out really quickly.

Tony: This is excellent

Steven: I will phone Adrian at Duracell and make them aware of our commitment to the deal we made with them last Christmas.

Tony: Action point, Brenda

Pause

Tony: Please remove last minute, Brenda. We don’t want the partnership getting leaked.

General guffawing.

Tony: Any other ideas, chaps? We’ve got to keep ahead of those competitors over at Confusico Instructo- those gits are all over Smyth Toy Superstore.

Michael: Well, I’ve been blue sky thinking about this idea for a toy with lots and lots of small parts…

Great work, buddy!