Blog of the Week: The seven stages of sleep deprivation

Blog_of_the_week_badgeIf you’re reading the Netmums blog then chances are you are a Mum (or Dad). And if you’re a Mum (or Dad) then chances are you know all about sleep deprivation.

Hurrah for Gin does too. So much so that she decided to dedicate a whole blog post to it.

A hilarious must read for all parents out there.


I don’t know if it’s the colder, darker days or the fact that my boys have been tag teaming me with a pre 6am wake up every fricking day of the week, but I’ve been feeling a teeny tiny bit tired lately.

Anyway I don’t like to complain so Instead I thought I would share my best practice guide to getting through the day when you are severely sleep deprived – broken down into easy manageable stages.

Actually I guess it’s more of a big long whinge but whatever here we go…

1, Shock – It’s dark, you are toasty warm in bed dreaming of being a world class gymnast when suddenly there is a small child all up in your face demanding cheerios, milk and/or a particular toy you haven’t seen for months.

‘Go back to sleep’ you say. ‘It’s the middle of the night!’ you say. But when you reach for you phone to confirm the nonsense hour you see that it is actually morning. Or at least A version of morning, just not a particularly good one…



2, Stalling – AKA Cbeebies or milkshake, or a random combination of both because you have perfected the skill of flicking between their very specific programme preferences in your sleep to ensure minimal fuss. If that utter tripe Cloud Babies comes on it’s game over for everyone.

3, Denial – Who needs sleep anyway? You could forgo your plans for the day and stay at home rocking in a corner but that would be weak. Soft play here you come – YOU CAN DO THIS!!

4, Acceptance – YOU CAN’T DO THIS! Soft play should be outlawed. Other peoples kids should be outlawed. Your own children need to be made illegal.

5, Self Medication – Have a coffee, have a gin, maybe have a coffee with added gin? Then eat Fangtastics until you feel sick.

6, Oblivion – The coffee-gin-tangfastic cocktail is not good. Everything is now terrifying. Under no circumstances should you allow your eyes to view even 5 seconds of Kate and Mim-Mim. Her massive purple bunny is no friend of yours.

7, Anger – You are on the home run and start feeling a little triumphant until the inevitable 5.45pm phone call…


8, The Second Wind – Remember how all you’ve wanted to do all day was lie on the sofa and pass out? Well the kids are finally in bed and guess what?

Now you feel F*CKING AWESOME!

Why go to bed when you have a whole evening to do with whatever you like – your lounge is your lobster. You could sit on the sofa half watching TV and dicking about on your laptop or you could… well why think of other options when you could just sit about half watching TV and dicking about on your laptop?

7.47pm – Perusing facebook whilst looking up new cutlery baskets for the dishwasher.
8.23pm – Lasagne and Eastenders.
10.01pm – Ooh 30% off at Debenhams ends tonight…
11.17pm –  Browsing Right Move for a fantasy house.
11.59pm – A quick google of teeth whitening solutions then bed.

9, Insomnia - Must remember to pay the water bill! How real is Made in Chelsea? Why doesn’t your Sainbury’s local stock Heniz ravioli any more? Do you need another wee? Does everyone hate you? Tomorrow is bin day.

Fade and repeat.

(*And yes there may be 9 stages rather than 7 but I’m sleep deprived and can’t be expected to accurately count)

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Blog of the Week: Don’t have a third child…(unless)



Ever wonder if you are ‘done’ or whether you should have one more child to complete your family? Well Amy Ransom has – and has lived to tell the tale.

Here she takes us through some of the things you may want to consider before you embark on having a third (or forth, fifth, sixth…) child.


Just today, four people have found my blog by searching ‘can’t decide on third baby’, ‘backed out of a third child,’ ‘why did I have a third baby’? and ‘can’t get over not having a third child.’

Well, there’s four scenarios for you right there.  Yikes.

Yes, having a third child can be an all-consuming question that throws you into turmoil.

Especially when the answer is so different for everyone.


This is the part where I say, ‘I wouldn’t change it for the world’ or ‘I wouldn’t turn the clock back’ and churn out a hundred other cliches blah, blah, blah.

And the truth is, I wouldn’t (and not just because I can’t).

Because now that there are three, unique little individuals in my care, I honestly couldn’t say which one I’d put back.  And for the five minutes each week, where everyone is synched in happiness, I look at our family and I feel perfectly content.  Complete.  Proud.

It’s the remaining 10,075 minutes I struggle with.


The list.

Only four months in, I’m really not qualified to write about three kids.  Yet.  You’d be better off heading over to the lovely 3 Children and It.  She has tweens AND teenagers all sewn up.

But I’ve compiled a little list anyway.  On what I DO know, whilst they’re young.

It goes something like this.

Don’t have a third child…(unless)

  1. You like sleep deprivation. Because by adding another child into the mix, you’ve increased the chances of SOMEONE being up by 33.3% recurring. And my. Is it recurring. Night after night after night after night.
  2. You have an industrial washing machine and your very own Dot Cotton manning it.Because like the sleep deprivation, you also increase the washing by 33.3%. And just as kids grow bigger.  So do their clothes. See where I’m going with this?
  3. You have an enormous car. Preferably a convertible. Or an actual bus. Because even when you manage to get a car that’s big enough, someone still has to sit in the middle. And how do you get to that middle seat? How indeed. I’ve tried flinging Godivy in and hoping she lands somewhere near the seat, going in from the boot (once I’ve unloaded it) and finally opening the sunroof and parachuting her in. Of course, once you have got everyone in, you’ll drive off and a tiny voice will pipe up, ‘Mummy, you’ve forgotten to strap me in.’  And it begins all over again.
  4. You like noise. And lots of it. Chatter. Questions. Whinging. Crying. I think this one is pretty self explanatory.
  5. You like chaos and avoid routine. Because suddenly no one will do what they’re asked. Even if they used to. The baby will carve out its own erratic lifestyle, based on the fact that you are erratic. And the older children will take advantage of the fact that you’re dealing with the baby and use the opportunity to do any of the following a) bicker b) sample the delights of nappy cream or c) eat everything in the sweetie tin.

    'It's dawn...I can't cope with this until I've had coffee'

    Image: Netmums

  6. You like being with your partner ALL of the time. Because having three young kids is a team game. A game where neither of you ever wins but at least you lose together. Your other half can go to the pub again in four or five years. Just in case he’s wondering.
  7. You like your partner. Because otherwise no. 6 is going to KILL you.
  8. Your family live nearby. By which I really mean upstairs. If they live any more than 10 metres away, don’t even think about having another child.
  9. You’re agoraphobic and antisocial. Because not only will the effort involved in getting all five of you out prevent you from doing it very often, but you’ll probably not get invited anywhere as a family again. Most dining tables are built for eight and you put their seating plan right out.  Not that any of yours actually sit at the table anymore.
  10. You don’t need time for yourself. That 33.3%? Yes, you guessed it. 33.3% LESS time for you. Which I think leaves you with a deficit of about, oh 963%.
  11. You have a full time nanny, cleaner and chauffeur. An in-house psychiatrist is worth the cash.
  12. You have no expectations whatsoever.  Of anything ever again.

Do have a third child…(if)

  1. None of the above puts you off.
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Blog of the Week: 51 thoughts every mother has about a rare night out


Our Blog of the Week this week is from Kate Takes 5 who has captured perfectly all of the thoughts that race through our minds on a rare night out.

A must read for any mother who has ever had, or plans to have, a night on the town.


1. God I’m so sick of this sh*t. All I do is cook and clean and look after children. No one appreciates me.

2. What I need is a night out.

3. I wonder what the girls are doing on Saturday…

4. Mashed banana on the sofa?! Are you kidding me? Right that’s it. I’m going to organise a big girls night. Get the hell out of here for awhile. Have some fun.

5. They said yes! I can’t wait. This is going to be brilliant.

6. What will I talk about? I have no news. I know no news. All I can talk about is babies.

7. I really don’t want to be one of those women who only talk about babies.

8. It’ll be fine. I’ll just listen to all their news. Everyone likes a good listener.

9. What will I wear?

10. Jesus my stomach isn’t really that size is it?

Image: Netmums

Image: Netmums

11. I’m sure I heard someone say double denim was back in again…

12. Shite. Taxi is in 30 minutes and I haven’t even fed the baby yet.

13. I remember when getting ready to go out was part of the fun… Bath, blow dry, music, wine…

14. OK f*ck the bath, where are the wet wipes?

15. 20 minutes?!

16. This was a terrible idea.

17. What about my poor babies? Will they be ok without me?

18. I don’t want to go.

19. Ok well I’m out now so I might as well try to enjoy myself.

20. I’ll just ring once to make sure everything’s ok.

21. Everything’s ok.

22. But is it really? They wouldn’t tell me even if it wasn’t would they?

23. I need another drink to relax.

24. A double? Well why not.

Women Drinking Party

Image: Netmums

25. Actually this is nice. It’s good to reconnect with old friends.

26. They all look great though. I look like sh*t.

27. Oh another drink! Good idea.

28. Wow I love this music.

29. We should totally do this every month.

30. I love my friends.

31. Or even every week!

32. Nothing beats a good night out. Why did I not do this sooner?! This is exactly what I needed.

33. Sh*t. I think I just spent the last hour talking about my babies. Now they all think I’m really boring.

34. Must prove I’m not boring.

35. Yes! Lets dance on the table!

36. I am THE BEST fun!

37. Ouch. Falling off tables is actually really sore.

38. I looked damn hot up there though.

39. Why do I have to get in the taxi?

40. Where’s my other shoe?

41. They all hate me.

42. Oh thank God I’m home. I missed my babies so much.

43. I wonder if they’re still awake…

44. Once I try every key I’ve ever owned in this lock here I’ll go up and see them.

45. Oh look! They are so gorgeous when they’re sleeping. Who needs stupid nights out when you have this?

46. Actually that cot looks really cosy.

47. I wonder if I could just squeeze in there beside him…

48. Why is someone jumping on my head?

49. 6am?! Are you f*cking joking?

Image: Netmums

Image: Netmums

50. I think today may actually be the day that I die.

51. I am never, ever, ever, ever doing this again.


Find Kate Takes 5 on Facebook. 

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Blog of the Week: Themed, Styled and Spotless


Kids parties. Used to be pretty simply right? But not any more it seems…

Here the wonderful Mid 30’s Life takes us through some of the issues  of modern birthday party planning.

Hold on to your party hats!


As every modern Mummy worth her Himalayan salt will tell you, kids’ birthday parties are about one thing: the styling.

Yes, our kids’ birthdays are the perfect chance to show everyone how stylish and creative we are.  My daughter is having her sixth birthday party this weekend.  It will absolutely look like this, and sure, I’ll style my kids’ friends if I have to:

party 2

Or this….  who knew kids could be so clean!

party 3Seriously, when did we decide kids’ parties have to look so pretty?  This is a recent thing, yes?  It actually suits some people, for some, any kind of decorating is effortless and they absolutely love it.  I suspect this isn’t the case for most of us.

It’s easy to get caught up in it all. Last year, I did the “Look!  I’ve put pink drinks into mini milk bottles, each one personalised with a stylish name tag attached with ribbon and served with stripey paper straws!”  thing.  I was quite chuffed as it looked great, although really, my daughter would have been just as thrilled with a chewed paper cup that said “Wayne.”

I didn’t even get a photo for Facebook!  What WAS the point?

While I don’t tend to go crazy, I do love having birthday parties for the kids.  Turning another year older is a huge reason to celebrate, and really, they’re not little for long so bring on the fairy bread (how good is it??).

While planning our kids’ parties, and I use the word “planning” loosely, I go online for ideas.  I then ignore everything I find because it all looks too hard and I pretty much throw the same party as last year.  And the year before.  The kids like it so far, it works for me, so it’s fine.  But if you haven’t already, just take a look at some of the other parties out there.  Just… wow.

wowI am seriously impressed and slightly envious – I honestly wish I had such talent.  And if you could, well, you would.

But I’m also leaning towards, “Come on people, let’s cut this shit out” because there’s already enough to do without full event styling for six year olds.  I’d hate my kids to expect this level of perfection for their birthday because they will never get it from me.

And then I think of my little boy’s first birthday party, where he didn’t stop eating and I thought it was cute.  Big mistake.  It was his first time eating cake and his first bit of chocolate – first child, you see – and he ate so much, so quickly, that he puked chocolate cupcake everywhere.  It wasn’t my finest parenting moment.

So while I’m genuinely impressed with other people’s efforts, I’m really pleased a setup like this didn’t get covered in kiddy spew:

party 5Come on, fess up, how much work goes into your kids’ parties?

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Guest post and Giveaway: Nick Butterworth

In today’s guest blog author Nick Butterworth shares his tips and advice on how to make reading fun and exciting for children. We also have a fab giveaway to win loads of Q Pootle 5 goodies.


Nick Butterworth - headshot

 Walker Books will be releasing two new picture books Q Pootle 5: The Great Space Race and Q Pootle 5: Groobie’s Spacewash – based on the series on 6 November and to coincide with this, Nick has written a piece discussing the importance of reading.

He also offers some tips and advice on how to make reading fun and engaging.

Pootle Flying Space - LR


Reading is such an important life skill. But simply telling children how important reading is, is not the best way to engage them. That’s like the importance of cleaning your teeth! The beauty of reading with children is that it introduces them to the idea of reading for themselves in a way that makes them want to do it.

There’s nothing like a story to grab a child’s attention. Sometimes when I was little, my mum would just start reading and I would abandon whatever I was doing and climb onto her lap, all ears!

I’m sometimes asked if I have any tips for those not used to reading with children. Well, I’m not an expert, but I do have a few . . .

Choose the right book. A two year old won’t get much out of The Wind in the Willows and a five year old would probably like more of a storybook than Miffy.

Spontaneous story times are great but no substitute for a regular time every day. Not for nothing are children’s books often called bedtime stories. It’s the perfect time to share a book. Evening family routines can sometimes make it hard to find the time but it’s so worth it.


Find a comfortable spot away from other distractions. (Having the TV blaring away in the background isn’t ideal!) OK, now we’re set . . . which story shall we have? Mr Potter’s Pigeon? Again?! Alright. Are you ready? Here we go . . .

‘Mr Potter lived quietly by himself at 35 Station Road, near the railway line . . .’

Enjoy reading. Some people are a bit embarrassed by the sound of their own voice. It can be a bit like singing in front of people when you’re not used to it. You needn’t be with children. They won’t be critical. They’ll love to hear you read out loud. As you become more comfortable, you can experiment with expression. Give a mouse a little voice. A lion might have a growly voice. How about accents? Could your giraffe be a Brummie?

It’s fun to pause and explore the pictures. ‘Look! Who’s that creeping through the grass? A cat, yes. Can you remember his name? Lupin. Yes, it’s Lupin the cat. What’s he after? Yes, he’s after Mr Potter’s pigeon. Let’s see what happens . . .’

As the storyteller, you’re definitely in charge. There’s a wonderful, time-honoured relationship between storyteller and listener where the listener willingly subordinates him or herself in order to get the most out of a story as it unfolds. (This is one reservation I have about the rise of interactive books where the reader can actually set the agenda and dictate what happens in a story. It sounds like a natty idea, but it does nothing to enhance suspense or surprise.)

Don’t be too strict as the storyteller. There might be times when it’s vital that you take a break to hear a joke. Or there may be a new dance move that just has to be demonstrated right now! And, oh dear, sometimes it can be hard to get through a whole story without needing a wee. Don’t get huffy. Calmly redirect attention back to where you left off and away you go again.

Time spent with a book can often lead to a very special kind of sharing. Something achieved at school. Or maybe an unpleasant experience that is better for being aired. Such times are priceless.

Children grow up so fast. I heartily recommend that you take advantage of that all too brief period in children’s young lives, to share books, stories – and so much more. I guarantee you’ll be the richer for it.

Ode To A Book

I was not very old,

Or so I’ve been told,

Just a few months, no more.

But I meant to find out,

What life was about. . .

I started right there on the floor.


I could see a fat cat,

(Sat there on a mat)

And a ball and an old felt-tip pen.

And a Jack-in-a-box

And one of my socks

And a couple called Barbie and Ken.


A thing called a book

Seemed worth a look. . .

The front opened just like a door.

It’s hard to think that

Something so flat,

Could have so much to explore.


I turned over pages

For ages and ages.

From pictures to puzzles and games.

I learnt about creatures

With curious features

And unpronounceable names.


My book seemed to grow

(Just how, I don’t know)

Into two, then three, then ten!

Of practical cats

And pied piper rats,

Another, of mice and men.


Ships with great sails

And maps and white whales

Mysterious wardrobes and rings,

Six pine trees,

Wind and willows, all these,

Are a few of my favourite things!


I visited places

With wide open spaces.

I learnt about stars and machines.

And I learnt why

At least you should try,

Sometimes, to eat up your greens!


I’ll never forget

The people I’ve met.

Three witches, a farmer, a king.

And the man who spent days

Walking round in a maze,

Because of a problem with string.


I’ve hitch-hiked through space

With a grin on my face.

If I get the chance I know I’m

Going travelling with wizards

And battling through blizzards.

I may be gone some time.


I wonder if you

Feel at all like I do,

Caught on a papery hook?

For me, it’s exciting,

My reading. . .and writing. . .

It’s all been Owed To A Book!


. . .well, maybe not quite all. . .

By way of P.S.

I’d like to confess:

As a boy I had such a good chum.

I loved to be near her

Especially to hear her

Reading to me. . .thanks Mum!



 QP5 competition product - group image

To celebrate the launch of a fantastic range of new Q Pootle 5 products this autumn, we are offering you the chance to win one of four bundles, each including two DVDs – Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special: Pootle All The Way! and Q Pootle 5: The Great Space Race And Other Adventures! from Proper Distribution; Q Pootle 5 giant playing cards, 4in1 shaped puzzles, and a 35pc puzzle from Jumbo Games; two picture books courtesy of Walker Books and a copy of Q Pootle 5 Magazine from Egmont Publishing.

To enter simple leave a comment on this blog post -. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply. We will pick 4 lucky winners from all the comments received by midnight on Sunday 9th November.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest Q Pootle 5 news via the Facebook page:

Nick Butterworth is the multi-million selling, award-winning author and illustrator of Q Pootle 5Percy The Park KeeperTigerAlbert Le Blanc and The Whisperer. He has sold over 15 million books worldwide and his books have been published in more than 30 languages. He is also executive producer, production designer and writer of hit CBeebies animated series Q Pootle 5.

Posted in Authors, Books and reading, Competition | Tagged , , , , | 96 Comments

Blog of the Week: The Things We Eat For Our Kids

Blog_of_the_week_badgeIt’s Blog of the Week time again on Netmums and this week it’s the turn of Wry Mummy.

Here she talks us through some of the (Gross) things we eat for our kids.

Which ones are you guilty of?!



If biting the bruises out of bananas is not the pinnacle of maternal love, I don’t know what is. If you’ve ever eaten the debris out of the carseat because you couldn’t face carrying it in your hand, you’ll know this – motherhood turns you into a human dustbin.

Minesweeping kids’ teatime plates is a commonplace of motherhood and the bane of many a post-baby body blitz. “I just can’t stand waste,” you mumble, through a mouthful of ice cold potato waffle. Hey, it saves scraping stuff in the bin and the inevitable loss of a precious baby fork that you then have to rifle through the mushy Cheerios and double-bagged nappies for.

The consenting, or Instagrammable, food share



What could be cuter than mother and baby chomping their way to the middle of the same strand of spaghetti, ending this eminently vid-worthy experience with a delicious kiss? The closest I’ve got to this is sharing a breadstick, which ended in a soggy mess, but was cute nonetheless. And then there’s the

The human food prep machine

Most commonly seen in the car, this includes biting the bruises out of bananas, and eating all the skin off an apple to satisfy the back-seat partial fruit-lover. Other examples include, eating the crusts off the sandwiches, eating the biscuit around the jam in a jammie dodger (not really a hardship, that one) and eating the pith of bits of satsuma (well fiddly!).

But what about the unsung side of motherly mastication?

The regurge recipient

Gross Smarties photo IGSometimes (too often!), there just isn’t a bin around when you need one. Like when your child wants to spit something out. We were on our way to the car yesterday when my youngest decided he didn’t like Smarties after all, and spat all seven of them out into my swiftly-proferred hand. There they lay, their now-softened, not-as-bright-as-in-my-day shells cracked like my detergent knuckles, in a pool of sugary drool that was starting to drip through my fingers.

The baby wipes were deep in the changing bag, I was holding onto the littlest on his scooter with the other hand, the other two boys were shooting ahead and I had to push the buggy. I did the only thing I could do in the circumstances – reader, I ate them.

Out of the mouth of babes

As such occasions go, it was one of the more pleasurable. I’ve eaten all sorts from the maws of my children – balled-up Marmite sandwiches, too-large mouthfuls of ice-cream, naked Maltesers. With the chocolate all sucked off, surely these last are practically a dieter’s dream?

Regurgitated food is not the sole preserve of mothers and baby blackbirds, though. My friend once cooked a roast for us. My (then, only) son, aged about two, was delighted with his first taste of roast pork. Five minutes later he was still chewing, his eyes were beginning to bulge, and I gently removed it from his tired jaws. Whereupon my friend’s husband leant over and ate the rejected delicacy. “Mmm, tender,’ he said. One man’s gross is another’s gourmet, it seems.

Surely I’m not the only one who has automatically licked their chocolatey finger, before recalling the leaky nappy you just changed?


Posted in Babies, Blog of the Week, Humour, Toddlers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blog of the Week: Insta-sham

Blog_of_the_week_badgeOur Blog of the Week is a very honest post from Brummy Mummy of 2 who admits to something many of us may do without even realising.

If you’ve ever posted a picture on social media then read on and tell us -

Are you guilty of the Insta-sham…?


This is not a post getting all up in instagram’s grill and saying “I hate you”. Please understand I ruddy love Instagram. I can often be heard saying “life looks better in lo-fi”. And the way that sierra makes me look ten years younger? Tis the actual dream. But let’s be honest. Life? Is not like our instagram feed. On mine you will see the cracks with the odd tantruming boy or weeping girl. And occasionally I post a messy room or a grumpy face. But generally? My life on Instagram. Is a sham. An..Insta-Sham! (see what I did there?)

So here it is – my life. The perfect lo-fi, brightened, sharpened, staged version v the well real #nofilter version. And in this version. There is no filter. Not like when you say #nofilter but you still have a filter. Or when you say you have no make up on. But you on have tinted moisturiser. That is still make up people!

See my beautiful playroom. See the gorgeous chair and notice I have only focused on the teeny tiny bit of a playroom that isn’t an UTTER MESSY SH*THOLE! Ahh and below it. The yummy, healthy, gorgeous pizza insinuating to the world that a) I may have made it myself (oh the lols) or b) we eat out happily alllllllll the time. We don’t. We eat waffles, or mashtags if feeling a bit special, more than reasonable for the average human.

See my happy, cheery toddlers cuddling and just being the best of friends. Verses the reality of the fact that 99.9% of the time? My son hates his sister. He runs from her. She mauls him and then they scream. Loudly. And then below it. The held very high shot that is so thinning, stood beneath the brightest light in the house with a full face of make up and a sparkly cardy. Compared to the sitting on the couch in my dressing gown shot. Which I do. The 23 hrs I’m not in make up taking a very high held selfie.

This is just a small look into my real life. My plan was to show more. But you know what? I appear to have deleted any trace of the grubby side of parenting off my phone. All is left is the kids running through lavender fields or me cuddling happy, smiley kids. Sometimes we look bright and colourful. And other times we look young and shiny. And you know what. When I’m old and I look back it’s reassuring that these Insta-shams are the pictures that will remind me of being a Mum. And I will think to myself “Oh what a ruddy gorgeous life I’ve led”.

You can’t see the bees. You can’t hear the screams. You don’t know the bribes. Fine. By. Me.

Now go and follow me on Instagram and see the Insta-shams (so proud of that one) for yourself!

Posted in Blog of the Week, bloggers | Tagged , | 3 Comments