Tuesday 30 March 2010


Dates are a funny old thing. I mean the time type, not the edible ones. I am not very good with dates so it was silly of me to take History A Level but I was more interested in the stories than minor details of day, month or century.
I remember some birthdays, and my wedding anniversary as a friend kindly gave me a cross-stitch reminder of it. I don't remember the date my mum died - it's some time in April and it's been 15 years. Her birthday is infinitely more important to me as Dorian Gray like, she stays young while I am aging more and more each day in the outside world.
One date that I have remembered for the last 9 months is my EDD - estimated due date which is today. But no cheers please as I lost that baby at 7 weeks or so. In the wee hours of this morning when I couldn't sleep I looked at my phone and saw the date, and burst into tears. Sad for the loss of something I never really had. Sad for my tot that she doesn't have a sibling. Sad.
Of course, I could say "Here's one I made earlier" as I am very proud of my tot and realise how lucky we are to even have her. But as my job description is Stay at Home Mother, I feel that I've failed somewhat in my project plan to produce another. In a sense, I'm the "One hit wonder".
Tomorrow is another day and that ominous date will be behind me. In the meantime, thank you dear readers, you are my virtual strangers that, for today, have given me a shoulder to cry on. Cheers for that.

Monday 29 March 2010

A&E Comedy ...an update

In February I wrote about Cave Austin/A&E Comedy. The comments on that post suggested that I was not wrong in my review of the place/comedy night.
I'm not keen for this blog to be a source of advertising unless it's for mates. I'm also not keen on my rare nights out with the girls to be wasted on bad adventures.
HOWEVER, if I review somewhere and those comments are taken on board, I kinda feel I should give the organisers the benefit of the doubt. So A&E bod has got back to us, rather tongue-in-cheek methinks but he is promoting female comics and that's a good thing. See below.
If you have some time on your hands, and want to risk it then please let me know if it was any good.

"Hi Guys - apologies for the bad time had by all at Cave Austin in February. The guy running the show had a nervous breakdown shortly after this and is now in Australia recovering. We have relaunched the club and I can assure you that the MC will not be rubbish and you will see some very fine new comics. This Wednesday we have a particularly fine line up including three of the funniest female comics to emerge on the circuit in recent years and the wonderful Rich heap who is tipped to be the next big star of stand up.
To make up for your bad experience I will personally see to it that anyone using the code phrase Plummy Mummy will get 2 for 1 entrance at this week's show and it will be a pleasure to welcome you back to the club.
The bar was a bit shambolic but a huge effort has been made to improve things which I think you will notice straight away. But on Wednesday nights cave Austin is all about having a laugh and I can guarantee you that.

Bookings line 07828911353

Best wishes

Adam Preston"

p.s. I don't think he'll get many people quoting PlummyMummy as I don't think my audience is that huge!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

In case of emergency

I've just been reading about that poor lad Sam Linton who died following an asthma attack in school. That was 2 years ago. A pointless, avoidable death.
One question I asked myself was whether he had a mobile phone and could have called/texted his parents for help.
Do any of your kids have a phone? Have you set up an emergency speed dial/text for them?
There is some debate on the safety of mobile phones and until this is resolved, I wouldn't be too keen to give one to the tot. Apart from safety, there are all the issues of cost and usability.
However, if she had some condition that could lead to death, I may change my mind. Mind you by the time she's in full time school, we will all be connected on the net all the time and I'll be able to track her movements using a gps, twitter-like and facebook-like. Won't that be fun when she's a teenager ;)

Other options could be an emergency button like the elderly used.
While this may be overly protective, I'd rather be that then a parent attending her child's funeral.

p.s. On your phone have you set up an ICE number? (in case of emergency...call "number").

Tuesday 23 March 2010


Easily one of my all time favourites is a Japanese film called Shichinin no samurai [The Seven Samurai]. It was part written and expertly directed by Akira Kurosawa who was born 100 years ago today. So happy birthday to him. Think I'll get my copy out and have a look in his honour. I'll get my hankies ready as it always makes me cry.

Saturday 20 March 2010


So far this morning we have had a leaflet deliverer for an Indian on the high street, some hapless Jehovah's witnesses and a Tory canvasser.
It's only 11 and we aren't even dressed. Do you think these people have a perverse desire to see people in their pjs or are the rest of Plumstead up, washed and dressed already?
Needless to say we didn't open the door to any. It's kind of fun watching how long they will stand there with a bemused/embarrassed/silly smile on their faces before they give up the ghost and leave.
I'm going back to bed with a cuppa.

Friday 19 March 2010

Anyone got a spare £4500?

I'm not really into kids parties so for year 1 we did a small cupcake at home and presents. For year 2 we ventured down to Whitstable and it was a windy but very lovely, stress free day. Tot hits the big 3 this year and may, if she is very lucky, get a party. So in an idle moment while waiting for my chocolate and banana cake to cook (thanks Nigella, it was dead easy to make and even easier to chomp up), I decided to have a look online for party ideas.
TimeOut has this list of ideas for sleepovers: Museum sleepovers
I really like the one for Hamleys, has anyone got a spare £4500 to give me?
There are other ideas in Timeout which are more affordable.
The Netmums site includes comprehensive coverage of the area: Parties
A bizarre list can be found on VisitLondon for the Best Birthday Parties for Kids in London...even though I love spicy food, I'm not sure I'd take a group of toddlers,by far the most fussiest of eaters, to an Indian restaurant. And after my horrific childhood memories of London Dungeon, that's a total no-go zone for me.
London for Kids for Parties in London has a more sensible list and the idea of little 'uns being dressed as pirates really sounds fun.
Have to say it all sound very exhausting (and expensive). Maybe if she is very lucky, she'll get a party when she's 16 and in the meantime will have to make do with home made cupcakes and trips to the seaside.

Thursday 18 March 2010


You have to learn to let go of many things as a parent. Pristine walls and carpet. Date nights with the partner. Being able to watch a film, take a bath, eat dinner, talk to mates on the phone let alone face to face without interruption. Once potty training starts, being able to go to the loo without interruption. One of the hardest of late in Plummy Mummy household is the strictly maintained separate playdoh colours.
It got bad...I wouldn't let tot play with any of the newer colours except one by one in order to maintain the pretty colours. Then realised the pure selfishness of this. Afterall,
a) I bought the dough for her,
b) it didn't cost so much and,
c) it's a learning experience as she now asks where Blue is and I've told her that it's gone for ever merged with Yellow to become a rather unpleasant Green. She's dealing with loss rather well for one so young I think.
Mind you, she's not playing with any of it while she's germ ridden as I don't want to get come across THAT particular green when building my dinosaur robot thingie.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Etiquette and builders

We are having some work done in our humble home. The builder doing the work is very diligent.
On his first day here I offered him a cuppa but he doesn't drink hot drinks. Since then, I've not offered any more. This lunch time as my hubby, child and I tucked into our meals, I was in a quandary over whether to offer him some food. In the end, thanks to an upbringing where guests are always offered food, I offered him a sarnie even though technically, he's not a guest.
What's the correct etiquette here? Tea and biscuits, a full lunch, a party to celebrate his accomplishments at the end of the job? As usual my first port of call was Google which led me to the British Etiquette Revival site but alas, there was no help there. And I really don't want to resort to a Debrett's guide to etiquette or good manners.
Until I find some definitive guidance, I'll just offer drinks and food and if it's refused, not worry.

Undesirable freebies

It's nice to get freebies. When you walk around supermarkets, you may be plied with food. Or in stores like Debenhams, there may be someone demonstrating the latest JML type gizmo, which will lead to a giveaway. Mums and mums-to-be often get freebies of baby products, particularly nappies and washing liquid.
I am all in favour of chocolate or crisp type freebies.
I am not in favour of the Daily Mail being delivered free with my tesco shopping. I gave it back. Wonder what the driver will do with it?
Have you received any desirable or non-desirable freebies.

Sunday 14 March 2010

Walk on by

I'm not ashamed to say I'm a Burt Bacharach fan.
Heard the Strangler's version of "Walk on by" today on Radio 2 and it has now surpassed the Dionne Warwick one in my list of faves. But don't worry, I'm still loyal and frankly think that "Anyone who had a heart" by Warwick which was recorded in the same session by far the superior song.

Friday 12 March 2010

Bus, Walk, Train, Taxi

Yesterday I decided to take the tot into town. The plan was to go via Woolwich Arsenal to Charing Cross and then to St James Park and other parts from there. The plan, as all mine tend to do, changed. We got on the No. 53 from outside Co-op and stayed on it as it goes all the way to Horse Guards Parade. What fun! Well actually tot fell asleep as the scenery isn't that interesting until you get to the Houses of Parliament. I felt rather bad trying to wake her up as we crossed the river but I didn't want her to miss it. The bus stops at Horse Guards parade...fantastic. She liked Big Ben (though the explanation that it was the bell inside that was nicknamed Big Ben (real name Great Bell) and not the clock was lost on her)...especially when it chimed the hour. What are the actual clocks and tower called? Whatever, lets celebrate as they were 150 years old in May 2009.

Very close to the bus stop you can see this memorial to Women of World War II.

At Horse Guard's parade, there were no horses and Queen's men to see but tot determinedly searched for Humpty Dumpty anyhow :). It's a short hop, skip and jump to St James'. She refused to walk. It was very cold and she was having none of this exercise malarkey. And when we went to feed the rather overzealous birds she was firm in her seat. I really liked seeing the different coloured ducks and the black swans. Did you know ducks eat corn in the wild so next time, take a cob along and pull off the seeds for them.

When I showed her Buckingham Palace she asked if we could visit with the Queen. Kids are so sweet. I explained that Queenie doesn't just take visitors on the spur of the mo and it costs a lot to get inside so maybe another day.
After St James' we headed to Trafalgar Square. The fountains were a huge hit if the squeals of joy are anything to go by. And for me, I was happy to see they have recently added some loos there and even more marvelously, baby changing facilities. I really need a map of these around London because potty training is so far limited to home.
I dragged her away from the fountains and lions into the National Portrait Gallery to see the Indian Portraits exhibition - we went round at breakneck speed as she thought the exhibition was boring and preferred the large photos in the main gallery and the colour changing one of Vanessa Feltz. If you go, make sure you check out Self by Marc Quinn which is made of the artist's own frozen blood. Very bizarre but hey I don't get art so what do I know. To torture her further we went to the National Gallery. I fear my child is really not into art. She just want to run around the fountains and lions in the square. One thing I quickly realised is how incredibly rude foreign teenage spotty students are - they travel in packs, take up the whole pavement and don't move even when politely, loudly and then stridently asked by me. I nearly choked when I was struggling through a door and one of the brain dead just breezed past me.
The second half of the day involved a walk through Covent Garden, a useless adventure in a bank (Santander suck big time), fun times in Forbidden Planet who have a lift to go to the comics floor (yippee I got my Dr Strange....booo it's in black and white not trippy colours). Then as we waited for Mr Plummy Mummy, I strolled over to the British Museum that's open late on Thursday. On the way, I marvelled at the changes in the city and also happily ploughed through more foreign teenage students and cursed very loudly as a decent south landahner does.

The British Museum is my heaven on earth which has been further improved by the Norman Foster forecourt. If I could, I would have been married here and given birth too. At night, the view through the glass ceiling is calming. In a thunderstorm, it's electric.
There are benches to sit on (handy for feeding tots) and again baby changing facilities. When Mr PM turned up, we took tot around the Egyptian gallery to see all the giant heads and then up to the clock exhibition as she has been obsessed with Grandfather clocks since our visit to Eltham Palace. We were greeted by the loudest bell after Big Ben which sent her cowering into daddy's arms. The gold Carillon clock is impressive in it's details but I was blown away with the fine work on the astronomical clocks.
Hunger beckoned so we didn't hang about but given time I believe this museum would fascinate her much more than any art gallery so I am planning to take her back sometime.
The evening finished with dinner at Wagamamas (very child friendly except for the stairs down to the restaurant) and then the trek home. London transport proved hellish as we had to precariously hold stroller on the longest escalators down to the Central line at Tottenham Court Road and then walked miles up and down stairs at Bank Station (take Diamond Geezer's advice and avoid this place). Though have to say many thanks to the young man who helped us carry the stroller up two staircases...so nice. I couldn't face the bus home from Woolwich so took a cab. What a wonderful cabbie..he let us roll the stroller on board and helped us take it off at the other end. Tot was overjoyed at this little ride back home and at the end of the day..that's what it was all about - JOY.

p.s. Just found these helpful guides
guide to london with a baby: http://www.squidoo.com/London-with-a-baby
tips for public transport: http://www.squidoo.com/prams-and-pushchairs-in-London
Baby on a plane - from the Times last year. Quite funny.

Jo Frost came to Woolwich!

I used to be addicted to the House of Tiny Tearaways. But recently I've switched to watching Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance on Channel 4.
This week featured Paige, a 5 year old from Woolwich who had never slept a whole night in her own bed. Oh how I felt for the mother. We have a milder version of this issue as our tot often ended up in our bed. None of us slept as she would sleep diagonally to prod dad with her feet while continually winding her tiny fingers in my hair.
In the end, we got a foldaway bed for her room. And in no time at all, it started to become easy for one of us to sleep in there when she awoke. But following this week's show, I'll be resisting that temptation. It's hard - I have hubby to sleep with whereas our tot is all on her own and that makes me feel so sad for her every night. And when she wakes up distressed, I want to be near to comfort.
Not anymore. Watching how well Paige and her mum progressed, we will be returning tot to bed and leaving her to it more frequently now. I'll only stay in there if tot is ill and needs comforting.
A lot of series is focussing on childhood obesity and self-perception. Ms Frost is not a slim lady so I wonder how she feels going on about obesity to parents. While watching the segment on portion sizes, I was shocked to discover the recommended size of pasta, pizza and ice-cream. By god, we are over feeding our tot (and ourselves I presume!). I'm tempted to buy a whole load of diet plates and also get really small dinner plates. We are also going to rethink our habit of rewarding with treats - most of which are sugary. OK we are never going to withhold food from our tot (unlike the evil mother of Khyra Ishaq) but for now, will try to treat with days out and books etc.
Another portion of the show was about girls growing up too fast. I wanted to slap the mum that allows her 13 year old to go to clubs dressed up as if she was much older. Get the gunge off the girl's face and push her into a playground to play. Of course, as mummy to a daughter, I may face the same issue. But I come from a background where I wasn't allowed to wear t-shirts (too revealing) and her dad has a good upbringing and the horror of so many teenage pregnancies in Dundee, so I think between us we will manage to keep our tot childlike as much as possible. Now I just have to resist the urge to keep her baby like.

Regarding healthy portion sizes :
NHS Change4life site - this doesn't give any straightforward advice on what a child should eat. In that sense, I think it fails monumentally. Although we don't want to be treated like idiots, an idiots sheet of amounts would be useful. Instead, lots of money has been spent on colourful websites and brochures of information that you have to download and wade through
Bupa's portion sizes for adults
American health size Kaboose

Thursday 11 March 2010

Be a Local Tourist

Fellow Blogger London Masala and Chips has pointed out the Be a Local Tourist campaign running from 20th to 28th March in Eltham,Woolwich and Greenwich. A nice highlight for Plumstead Commonfolk is the 2 tickets for a tenner offer at the next Comedy on the Common.
Personally I think I'll be going along to Eltham on 21st March to have a look around the Bob Hope theatre (they are showing the film Forbidden Planet in April this year and then the stage show Return to the Forbidden Planet in June!) and also the local Fire Station which I am sure will make tot squeal (and Plummy Mummy too depending on how dishy the fire officers are).
The more alcoholically inclined can sample some of the 11 brews from local Meantime brewery on 24th March at the Tudor Barn which is a venue well worth visiting. I don't think you are required to spit it out as you would with wine so leave your cars at home please people.
Download the leaflet and get busy!

Tuesday 9 March 2010

3d fantastic

One good reason to try out the 3d IMAX screen at Charlton is Tron, the Legacy. I am so excited. I can't wait to see this film!
Then again...do I really want to see Jeff Bridges face in 3d. YES I DO! and Bruce Boxleitner.

Monday 8 March 2010

Bookstart goodies

A friend reminded me about Bookstart the other day. We had the first pack which is the canvas bag with books appropriate for the 7-9 month old. This was given to us by our health visitor. But we haven't seen a HV for ages so have missed out on the next 2 packs.
Luckily in today's arts&crafts session at Slade I was able to get the 3rd pack for our tot which comes in a lovely treasure chest box. There were a couple of books inside, some colouring pencils, a pad of blank paper and also a handy guide to books for parents. In our Royal borough, you can get the free Bookstart packs from the libraries, early years centres or the health visitor.
For more info check out the Bookstart page.

Sunday 7 March 2010

New blog

Been messing about with Wordpress (basically it's free unlike Typepad) and have set up a new blog to do with cooking and craft. The current recipes will be familiar to readers of Plummy Mummy but in time I'll add more.
Chili Paper Chains

Thursday 4 March 2010

Going potty

A few weeks ago we told the nursery we wanted to get tot out of nappies then proceeded to ignore their advice and continue using pull ups.
This week, they took the bold step of removing the nappy while she was at nursery. She had an accident but seems to have taken it calmly. Initially, I was jealous that they had done something that I should be doing but now am very grateful as without that little push, I would have continued with the nappies. I think I want her to stay a baby esp as the likelihood of us having another is getting slimmer with each passing month.
So now armed with lots of easy-wash, easy-wear trousers, knickers, potty, splash mats, toilet seat, and kiddies toilet paper we are ready to go. I even bought a reward chart but fear I've overcomplicated it. The rules are:
For sitting on loo or potty = 1 tick
For doing a pee = 2 ticks
For doing a poop = a big star
If she collects a certain amount, she gets a treat which is so far unnamed (I haven't sorted that out!)

She just wants to write all over it every time she looks at the potty. Looking doesn't count - just ask anyone who stands open mouthed in front of nice cake shops or in front of fashion shop window displays.
So far we have been having quite a few accidents but it's fun trying to run to the potty or loo in time. She will get it eventually I'm sure. In the meantime, I'll keep nappies for bed time and the washing machine on standby. Oh and the portable potty will have to wait as I'm not brave enough for her to get out doors without a nappy ...it's too cold anyway to have a wet bum.

Monday 1 March 2010

Art and craft supplies around Plumstead

Although I like to buy online, the recent bad weather has meant that we needed to replenish our stores of art and craft materials a lot more frequently so tot and I have been making trips to local shops. If we keep having today's sunshine, I won't have to do so. But in the meantime here is a list of shops where I have bought supplies that you may find useful. I would be grateful if you could let me know of any other such stores within a short walking/driving distance of Plumstead:

Annie's party shop - we have bought ribbon here for use in crafts but it's really for party gear than cutting up.
Phoenix trader - our local phoenix trader has a selection of cards but also paper and ribbons that can be used for crafts. Definitely worth a call.

Charlton Peninsular Retail Park - free parking. Avoid this place at the weekend!
Whsmiths - good for crayola and some papers but a tad expensive. Excellent selection of stickers that keeps tot happy for hours.
Smyths - another good place for crayola but was disappointed they didn't have chunky chalks. Also they tend to put things on high shelves which is not good for a shorty like me.
Office World - have a surprising if small collection of art things for kids. Also found they were cheaper with some items than Smyths.
Lidl - last week had acrylic paint and boards for sale. I also bought some crochet and knitting needles there plus some cheap wool. These are great for beginners who don't want to spend a lot - I bought packs of 100% cotton wool for £3.49 each and a giant bundle of acrylic wool.
Matalan - the party shop is good for confetti which we use instead of glitter, and also cheap paper cups and plates for painting. There is also a store in Erith

Thamesmead - free parking
Wilkinsons - I have a lot of time for Wilkinsons as they stock a wonderful selection of art/crafts things for the kids. I have had some fun making the animal masks bought from there. Also again sell cheap bright acrylic wool and a limited selection of knitting needles. There is also a store in Erith.

Eltham - parking at Sainsbury's charged.
Early Learning centre - a small branch where you can find lots of art stuff for kids.
Whsmith - if you need to go upstairs, it's best not to have a pram with you as there is only a staff lift

Bexley shopping mall - parking charges apply but low.
Early Learning centre - a large branch with very helpful staff. We found the much sought chunky chalks there for a bargain price.
Rymans - a surprising find. We got art aprons for a ridiculously low price here
The mall also has a selection of bargain book shops one of which sell art supplies but I've forgotten the name!

Bluewater - free parking?
John Lewis - excellent selection of wools and needles. Craft supplies can be expensive though

Crayford - Tower Retail Park - free parking
Hobbycraft - went for the first time last week. This is simply heaven for me and I could easily spend lots of dosh in there.