Joy – Will Young

Oh what a difference three years can make. Breakfast on the morning of 2nd April 2016 was served on the balcony of our hotel room looking out towards Tower Bridge where we would tie the knot a few hours later. Breakfast time this morning was mostly spent trying to convince a truculent little toddler that the Malties in the bowl came out of the same box as those he had consumed dry three minutes previously and that if he wanted Maltie flavour milk at the end he would have to leave the sodding Malties in the bowl. Fortunately the Weetabix Wonder kept her own counsel and only piped up when finished and felt that she deserved a banana as a reward for her silence.

Breakfast has been slightly later than usual the last couple of mornings I don’t really want to jinx it but it would appear that our little munchkins have not yet put their body clocks forward and so Daddy Simon and I have enjoyed a slightly longer than usual lie in. Had I known that this was going to be the case I wouldn’t have planned to leave the house as early as I had and when I quickly glance at one of the clocks it’s 0745 and everyone is still in their PJ’s. I pull out a couple of outfits for the kids and delegate dressing duties to Daddy Simon. ( I do sometimes let him pick out their outfits but it does generally have to be a day that we’re not going out and not expecting guests. There was a rabbit patterned outfit fiasco a few months back that three out of four of us are still recovering from.)I get myself dressed and prepare a bag for the morning ahead. I’ve got time for a bit of toast and another coffee. We’re meeting a friend for a bit of shopping so I can afford to indulge myself knowing the I’ll have a bit of cover for the kids and I might actually get a wee in peace if required later in the morning.

I can also afford to fund this shopping trip due to a £140 lottery win in the middle of last week. This means that I have been able to get Daddy Simon an anniversary present,was able to treat myself to a pair of new trainers and still have enough to treat the kiddies to a couple of bits and pieces from somewhere that doesn’t also sell milk.

I got Daddy Simon’s present sorted – good old Amazon – and whilst I was there had a look at a pair of trainer to replace to one’s that are starting to wear out. I liked the old ones so much I had a grey pair and a blue pair but decide to go a bit wild this time and try a different style. A sort of hybrid of trainer and casual shoe. Let’s face it – I’m not buying them to run in! I might have also picked up another couple of bits and bobs to put in my online shopping basket just to make my trip worthwhile and all that and then push on over to the checkout. Ooo-er. That’s a bit more than I thought it would be. I blame Postman Pat’s overinflated salary and hope that my lottery winnings are a bit more substantial next week and press ‘Pay Now’.

Daddy Simon appears to have forgotten that our Anniversary is imminent. I watched him rip into a card that had arrived in the post last week that I had put aside to be opened on the day – but I say nothing ( for a change).He later admits that it had slipped his mind and enquires as to whether we’ll be giving presents a miss this year. Senor Smug here admits that he’s already sorted a little something out which sends him into a bit of a tailspin which is quite entertaining when one is two gins down and counting. He’s asked for a couple of suggestions as to what I might like and we move on.

It’s only the following day when I’m going through my emails that I realise that my new trainers are going to arrive before his present. In fact it’s unlikely that it will be here much before the 3rd.I dial down the pomposity and confess and we all have a right good laugh while I work out a way to sneak a fresh pair of sneakers into the house.

A big box arrives on Monday afternoon. I know that it’s not for Daddy Simon and wonder if I’d ordered a pair of clown shoes in error. Nope it’s just a normal sized pair in a box twice as big as it needs to be. I confess to my own indulgence and explain that the ones were pretty worn and only fit for the garden .He’s good- he didn’t mention the other 4 pairs that are lined up at the door, so we both admire the new pair and I carefully find a space for them on the shoe rack at the door.

I decided to wear them today. I do really like them. They’re a good fit – really comfy and fit just like … well an old shoe really. Oh hang on.Now I know why I like them so much. I’ve already got a pair in an identical colour scheme and a very similar style – pretty much a boot version of what I’ve just bought. I have a wee think about sending them back careful not to stand on any of the mud as I put the kids in the car but not sufficiently careful that I don’t scuff them on a protruding slab. Guess that’s the decision made then.

I’m hoping that my luck will turn when we get into town to get the kids stuff. I’ve got a rough idea what I need to get and a fair amount of resolve about sticking to it but my lovely friend makes me park at the Debenhams end of the shopping Mall.Before I know it I’m at the checkout with two frocks, a pair of tartan leggings and a multicoloured check shirt that were on sale so it must be fate AND a bargain – but knowing that there is also flap all that is going to go with any of it and I’m going to have to rethink my list and just shoplift in Primani.

We pop into Clark’s on our way past – I’m still smarting from my duplicate Dockers drama so I only linger briefly at the sale rail in the men’s department. Calder is the same size as he was a few weeks back. Alexandra has popped up half a size but due to her higher instep will need to go a further half size ” for her to be comfortable.” But it won’t be here and it won’t be today.

We do get a relaxing coffee and cake while we’re out. I get to visit the men’s room rather than a baby change facility and return to the table to find Calder telling the waitress that “Daddy wee-wee” and so we pack up and get out before Alexandra starts harping on about her shoes being too small for her.

A quick zip round Tesco turns out to be not that quick because when we get back to the car I’m surprised to see that it’s 1220 already – we’ll be home just in time for lunch at 1300. I was completely unaware that Gloria had the ability to change her own clock without our prompting so it’s actually 1320 and therefore a very speedy drive home. I consider the McDonalds drive through – but given my track record on spending already this week I turn into our road and convince Alexandra and Calder how tasty last nights leftovers will be this (very late) lunchtime.

So to wrap it up…

“Joy” was the track that Simon and I chose to walk down the aisle to together three years ago.( it was only the chorus that we had played – it wasn’t a particularly long aisle.)

“Joy” is what I continue to feel every time I look at our wee family and the fantastic man that made it all possible.❤️

Here’s to many,many,many more.

“Pointless,Love – he never reads an instruction manual!”

On top of the world! Well …on top of Tower Bridge anyway.

When You’re Good To Mama – Queen Latifah -Chicago Soundtrack.

Just always be good to your Mama – that’s all.

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK and show-tune Sunday in the Berney-Edwards household.Daddy Simon has given me the day off.It’s been a busy week so wasn’t planning on doing much anyway. Have had a lazy morning – nap in the afternoon and now Daddy Simon is prepping dinner while Alexandra,Calder and I all watch ‘In The Night Garden’. I’m not sure that there’s any educational benefit that can be taken from it but if it calms them down a bit before bedtime then it’s good for me – though Iggle Piggle’s reluctance to settle down every night needs addressing.

Had a day tackling the back garden last Sunday. That time of year where the grass needs it’s first cut of the season and there were some brambles creeping out of the bushes that needed chopping back before the children got in amongst them. As always I got a bit carried away and ended up giving the whole hedge a ‘short back and sides’.Pushkin not entirely impressed as this was one of his garden hideaways – would rather take his chances with the thorns in the brambles than 20 little fur grabbing fingers and thumbs.

Once the heavy machinery is put away Daddy Simon releases our little wild animals out into the garden with me and goes off for his shower. It’s only when I see the giant crack in the bathroom window I realise that perhaps we need to revisit our thoughts on windows coverings at the back of the house. I need to remember to discuss this with Daddy Simon. Or perhaps he’ll read it here first.

The early part of the week sees us out at a family farm with a friend on Monday, a soft play date on Tuesday morning followed by a spot of housework in preparation for an overnight guest on Tuesday,my fabulous ‘ straight stunt wife’ from my days in the glamorous world of film extra work. Alexandra and Calder get to stay up a bit later and are fortunately in good form for our lovely guest. We give Twins Club a miss on Wednesday – two tired little widgets are starting to flag a bit and I’ve got a shed to build and would rather do so while we’re still enjoying a bit of good weather. Daddy Simon takes over Daddy Day Care duties and lets me get on with it. It’s not the first one I’ve put together so it’s a fairly straightforward task. All done by gin o’clock bar the felt covering on the roof but my interest levels have dropped and so decide to finish off the next day. Not surprisingly I’ve a ‘bit of a bad back’ the following day so I don’t get around to finishing it off until Friday. It’s now all done and the Keter storage unit under the kitchen window is now home to numerous outdoor toys that the children have ignored in favour of four plastic sticks….All garden paraphernalia has been rehomed in new shed at bottom of garden well out of reach of the fun loving criminals. Now that it’s up I can see that the shed has a kind of ‘Titanic’ tilt to it that’s going to make it so much easier to put anything on wheels away but I am beginning to wish that I’d reinforced the back wall a bit more.

The clocks went forward an hour here today so we lost an hour of sleep. The fact that this is intended to herald in the arrival of spring does not make up for the fact that I lost an hour of sleep. We had intended going to bed earlier than usual last night but got stuck in a ‘ let’s watch this while we finish off this glass’ and ‘ this is funny – do you fancy a top up?’ cycle that went on until eleven/twelve/one depending on which clock you looked at so I’m glad that we agreed on a lazy day about the house with the little ones.

They went down easier than I was expecting given that it was still light outside – hoping that it will be light again when they decide to get up.

Daddy Simon is just about to serve up dinner and open a bottle of red so I’ll sign off for now.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you fabulous,fantastic Mums out there!

Me and my lovely Mum – many years ago. She passed away almost twenty four years ago – but still think of her every single day❤️

Early morning selfies with our little Princess.

Calder loses interest as it becomes clear that Alexandra is in a photo-bombing kind of mood…

Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac

I managed to get slightly longer lie in this morning. Yesterday Alexandra was up at around 5 and wouldn’t settle so Daddy Simon brought her into our room – oh deep joy. She wouldn’t settle here either. Daddy Simon optimistically got back under the covers and tried to get her to cuddle in but she was having none of it and proceeded to climb and jump all over us both before getting herself down off the bed and going in search of something a bit more entertaining than her daddies. Fortunately there is very little in our room that is within her reach but its fair to say that what was lying about was brought to the back to the bed for us to have a very close look at. I did think about getting up and taking her downstairs but I was really warm and toasty.At least up here she was dividing her attention between the two of us .” That’s lovely, Sweetpea.” I’d tell her as she bashed me over the head with what might have been an alarm clock.” Now go and show Daddy Simon.” She would then toddle off around to the other side of the bed. I’d get a dig in the ribs and there would be a fair bit of grumbling from under the covers but I’d get a few minutes of peace before she’d be back with something else. Calder stirred at about 630 and so we all got up and headed downstairs to start our day.We were of course highly entertained when the early bird fell asleep in her lunch later in the day – and of course we caught it on camera for posterity. This morning it was Daddy Simon’s alarm that woke me at a slightly later time. He’d got up and gone for his shower before it went off – but he forgot to switch his alarm off – so it woke me twice as I had only snoozed it the first time I threw it across the room.
Despite having an office white board, a kitchen white board AND a family calendar Daddy Simon and I had managed to double book ourselves on 0900 appointments in different places. We had discovered this earlier in the week and had agreed a compromise. Whoever took the car took the children. I was off to the Doctors for my ‘Over 40’s’ health check and Daddy Simon was off to the job centre. We agreed that the kiddies were less likely to catch something contagious at the doctors so I won the car and Daddy Simon set off to catch the bus looking better dressed than I suspect most of the staff at the Job Centre. I’m not a fan of this smart/casual approach to workwear – what was wrong with a collar and tie…. oh I can feel a rant coming on so I’ll close it down and come back to it at a later date.
I had been for my blood test the previous week so today was just a case of reviewing the results with the practice nurse. We were all ready a bit earlier than I had expected for a change so I thought I would see what it was like to arrive somewhere early for a change. Gloria had been carefully reversed into the drive ready to catapult out into ‘the school run’ mum’s this morning but disappointingly we were too early for that show and would have to seek entertainment elsewhere. I parked up at Waitrose as was considering doing a bit of shopping there but a lack of twin trolleys made me move the car to the pay car park and get the little ‘uns into the their buggy. I was actually miles too early so decided to take the longer way round to the surgery to see if I came across any playgroups in the area for future reference.Well of course I got lost and of course I was late and out of breath when I burst into the waiting room at the doctors – how much exercise did I say that I took when I filled the form in???

Kiddies are starting to get a bit antsy so I start to drip feed them dried apricots whilst I catch my breath again.I’m taken fairly quickly so it’s too late to get a calculator out to work out how many units of alcohol I have to lie about in order that I fall within appropriate guidelines and I don’t have my reading glasses on so I can’t work out what the ‘10’ beside the picture of the wine bottle actually signifies – litres in a week? .

She starts to go through results and I will the children to start acting up a bit. Cholesterol is a bit high but my ‘bad’ cholesterol is very low. What the chocolate covered donut does that mean???? She gives me a traffic light coloured leaflet and a booklet that “will explain it all…” So she has no idea either.

There’s a possibility I have an underactive thyroid- can we just not say it’s a bit laid back and move on? Apparently it’s more common in women than men.Cheers love.What is wrong with these children- why are they being so quiet. Have a punch up so I can make my excuses and leave.Calder is having a right good look around and Alexandra is looking like butter ( that I can no longer have) wouldn’t melt in her unusually quiet mouth.

I stopped smoking 11years ago.Yay! Un point!

Diet isn’t bad – lots of fresh fruit and veg. Mainly home cooked – you know- tilts head towards children. Oh come on – could you not just fill a nappy or give us one of your toxic trumps,Calder,so we can get out of here.Maybe half a point.

Exercise – “ fair bit of walking,pushing the buggy and running about after these two.” Still no lifeline thrown from the two cherubic children.Maybe half a point.

“How much alcohol in a week?”


“Oh erm….well mainly at weekends- what’s that a bottle between mumble mumble mumble and that probably about it. The odd gin …..” I swear that’s a smirk on Alexandra’s smug little face. Should I ask if they can get a booster injection of some kind – they must be due something by now.

Now Nurse Ratched wants take my weight and height.I tell her but she’s got me rumbled as the local Hans Christian Andersen by now and wants to take her own measurements.I have to take my shoes off to get my height taken and I’ve got pockets emptied, belt and jacket off before I go near the scales. Ok not a bad BMI – “ You don’t look overweight” she says…

The good news is that I’m only running a 3% chance of contracting heart disease in the next ten years the bad news is that she wants me to see the doc about my woman’s problem and gives me two months to reduce my cholesterol. She is incredibly impressed at how well behaved Alexandra and Calder have been and the treacherous little gits bid her a cheerful “Bye-bye” as we leave.

We head back to the car and then over to Tesco – again. Frick and Frack are now in the mood for a bit of a ding-dong with one another – more of an audience you see.

I’ve forgotten to bring the shopping list but I find that multicoloured bit of paper that I had filed carefully in my back pocket. The stuff in the red column looks as though it could be closest to what was on my on list so I’ll go with that today. We’ll start at the ‘Krispy Kreme’ counter…

Pushkin loves nap time!

“Does my belly look big in this?”
“Who put the lights out?”

Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles.

Ok – possibly a tad dramatic – but Mr Tumble and his crew are certainly kicking the living daylights out of Zoe Ball, Ken Bruce and Jeremy Vine. I’m not so worried about Jeremy – sometimes he deserves it.

This only really started since we moved here. When we had been planning the refurbishment on the London house, pre children,we had just never bothered with a TV in the kitchen/dining area. At the time it was to be a place that we would hold sophisticated gatherings and dinner parties – we didn’t – well – certainly not sophisticated ones. When we brought Alexandra and Calder home from Canada our shiny new, white gloss kitchen had been installed but we still didn’t feel the need to get a TV installed in what had become our daytime living space. Daddy Simon and I usually dozed through our box set collection in the front room most evenings once the kiddies had gone down for the night. There have been a few trips away where the children had become aware of what a TV did but still didn’t have any great interest in it. I have to admit I felt a little bit smug. Obviously our children must be of a higher intelligence if their attention is not is not being drawn towards the multi coloured flickering from the 32″ screen in the corner of the room. I was blatantly ignoring the fact that they were licking a picture of an apple in one of their books.

We had decided at the first viewing at this house that there was sufficient living space for us all in the extended lounge/dining/kitchen area at the back of the house and that the front room would serve us better as a spare bedroom. Initially the TV sat inert and unnoticed on a low unit in the corner of the room and Alexandra and Calder were happy to be running around all this new space that they had to hide and lose toys, books and Daddy’s mobile phone. Then in a quiet moment one of them found a button on the side of the strange looking object that they had been throwing things behind. Daddy Simon had no idea of the existence of this button and Daddy Graeme could only ever locate it during an occasional heavy handed dusting exercise. It wasn’t much longer before the TV found itself in the middle of the dining room table and Daddies were required to consult their new best friends in Sweden to see if an alternative storage solution could be obtained. Remember that we’re only renting so we didn’t feel that a wall mounting was an option. It took a while and a little but of literal thinking but we eventually elected to go with a four foot tall cupboard unit that we found in the office storage range – white of course and reasonably priced. It was duly ordered, swiftly delivered and it only took me a couple of Gin & Tonics to assemble it couple of nights later.(So not long at all then.)

The little munchkins were somewhat taken aback by this new addition to the room the following morning and had a good old go at trying to reach the TV with absolutely no success. Unfortunately the cupboard doors didn’t put up much of a fight and relented very quickly but the discovery of the land line cordless phone distracted them long enough for me to fit a(nother sodding) childlock, replace the all the DVDs and wrestle the handset out of Alexandra’s grasp before she made any further crank calls.

I think that as a treat one evening before bed we put on ‘In the Night Garden’ and what a steep,slippery slope it’s been…

“ TV on???” is now the greeting we get from the cots most mornings and this has usually degenerated into a threatening chant by the time we get them downstairs,into their high chairs and shovel a spoonful of Weetabix into their gobs. We’ll optimistically steer them towards Toy Corner which is mysteriously crawling closer and closer to the centre of the room. But it’s not long – two mouthfuls of warmish coffee – before Calder is back with a more specific request for “Justin’s Ouse????” Alexandra has already claimed prime position in the sofa and is staring intently at the blank screen awaiting what has become her daily fix. It’s only 0720 so we’ve got an hour and 15 minutes before Justin opens the door of his noisy,messy “Ouse” so we’re drawn into the lives of many other characters for the next 4500 seconds or so.

I realise that it’s not ideal – but I can use this time to get breakfast dishes done, the washing machine loaded and sort out the food for the day. Sometimes I even get a couple of mouthfuls of toast to savour in peace.My line of defence is that I can get these chores done much more quickly whilst my little assistants are occupied elsewhere and that enables to have a bit more quality time later in the morning.Occasionally they will pop in to check my work, demand some of my toast but the threat of the TV going off sends them racing back to the sofa as fast as their chubby little legs will carry them.

It’s certainly all changed since my day –

Postman Pat can now pilot a helicopter and has access to quite a flashy looking 4×4 – no wonder a first class stamp costs as much.

Bing – is a little black rabbit with THE most irritating, whingy, whiny voice who always seems to be getting himself into all sorts of minor,self induced mini dramas. He needs to watch Watership Down and count his lucky stars.

The Go-Jetters has quite a catchy theme tune – Daddy Simon has been caught singing along on more that one occasion.

Sarah and Duck is dull. Even the writers weren’t interested enough in giving the duck a name.

Justin’s House has a live audience who seem to enjoy the slapstick pantomime of a life that he would have us believe that he leads – but I’m letting this slide because Justin has an alter ego that keeps Alexandra and Calder captivated later in the morning.

Justin hosts the “Something Special” programme at 0945. It’s no longer in production but there are 196 episodes so plenty to keep them on the sofa yet. Apparently it was designed to introduce children to Makaton signing and is aimed at kiddies with delayed learning and communication difficulties. Not that I think that either of ours has any difficulty in communicating but it is engaging to watch them totally engrossed in what’s being said and done on screen. There are a number of lesser abled children that appear throughout the programmes that make me even more thankful for Alexandra and Calder’s good health.

Trevor Horn ( The Buggles) is enjoying a bit of a revival at the moment- might be time for him to give us a wee tune about what ‘Reality TV’ has done to the Video Star.

Turn on and they switch off!
‘Does anyone still wear a hat?’
“Just stand down there – I’ll let you know when I need anything.”

Bad Influence – Pink.

In the interests of getting this started and published today as per my plan I’m kicking off without a title so if I seem to go off piste a bit it’s because I’ve thought of something and I’m then trying to work it into the story.
I got so carried away with writing last night that we ended up having a Dominoes for dinner – at least we abstained from wine and it was so late that neither of us had the desire for anything sweet afterwards – that counts as a good result in my book. Also the pizza was a thin crust so I think that makes it a slimline.
Pre-seven o’clock start today. There are some mornings that we waken to hear Alexandra chattering away to herself or sampling a mash up of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ which can be quite a sweet start to the day. However this morning Calder had lobbed Marmite the Monkey out of the cot and then decided that it was an action that he hadn’t fully thought through and was loudly seeking a bit of assistance in rectifying the matter. Of course Alexandra was awake too so no-one was going back to bed. As breakfast seemed to be going pretty smoothly I decided to juggle things about a bit and take advantage of the early start and see if I could squeeze in a quick trip to Tesco’s before pushing on over to Twins Club at ten. I leave Daddy Simon in charge and get showered, shaved and dressed. I select suitably co-ordinated outfits for the kiddies and return downstairs and try and catch one of them to dress in – hopefully – the right outfit. Now Cbeebies has made an appearance in this house of late.My thoughts on this matter will feature in a future post – but for now all you need to know is that I need to have everything and everyone ready and out the door before ‘Justin’s House’ starts at 0835 or I’ll not get either prised off the sofa easily.Dressing Calder some mornings can be like trying to get an oiled up,un-co-operative octopus into a lycra cat-suit and I have considered utilising duct tape on more than one occasion. Alexandra can be a little more compliant but it will depend on the size of the item that she has decided she MUST hold the entire time that I’m dressing her. A DUPLO brick presents no problem – the washing up bowl is a bit more of a challenge and harsh words are often exchanged. Shoes and jackets create enough of a diversion to get the TV switched off and before you know it we’re all in the car and ready to go. I fire up Gloria, our trusty wagon, and back her out the driveway in amongst the fray of abandoned 4×4’s that litter the street at this time of day – I’ll be covering ‘School Run Mums’ in a couple of days too – and weave my way out onto the main road.

Now some of you may have noticed that I avoid using naughty words in my ramblings but I’m no paragon of virtue in this department. However,both daddies are trying really hard to be careful what is said in front of impressionable little people now. So when a silver Ford Focus comes in off the main carriageway at a speed that brings them well over onto my side of the road I blast the horn, flash the lights and shout “TWIT!” as they rectify back onto the left hand side. “TWIT!!!!!” is repeated from the back seat from a very earnest looking Calder. Its very hard not to snigger which means of course that I’m not looking as indignantly righteous as I would have liked as the offending vehicle passes us.


Despite it being rush hour it only takes about ten minute to get to the local Tesco. We’re early enough to bag a Parent and Child parking spot right outside the store and I can spot a double trolley right away. Me and my little charges buy our winning lottery tickets at the kiosk and then commence our odyssey up and down the aisles fulfilling the list that Alexandra as taken control of. Calder gives us a running commentary/possibly requests as we go along. “Beans!” is very clear as is “Bananas”. I understand that “beeberries” mean blueberries and “omato” are Tomatoes. Unfortunately my fellow shoppers understand exactly what he means when he bellows ” DADDY’S JUICE !!!!” as we turn into the wines and spirits aisle. ( I needed a small bottle of sherry for a recipe and it was thriftier to buy the litre – OK!)

As I pack up I consider getting a coffee and maybe a wee treat for myself at the Harris and Hoole concession on our way out but I get distracted by Alexandra unpacking what I’ve just packed and so head straight back to the car, load up and crack on up to Twins club – almost on time.

We all seem to enjoy our Wednesday mornings at Twins Club. Alexandra always takes a bit longer to get in amongst it all than Calder. I’m assured that Daddy Simon was the very same when he was of a similar age. As I mingled among the other parents trying to find out if there were any recommendations for a further playgroupy type thing to occupy our little balls of fire on another morning in the week one of the Mum’s hit the nail smack,bang on the head – “ The thing is as parents of twins we’re used to seeing our kids rough and tumble with one another and so don’t really worry about it too much here. At an ordinary playgroup the parents of a single child can get a bit over protective and you end up spending the whole session making sure they’re not being too rough with the other kids.” I looked over to see Alexandra haul Calder off the slide by his shirt collar, whimpered and sloped off to a corner to google local soft play centres, ideally with a bar.

Being newish I wasn’t aware that a local hairdresser pops into Twins Club on a regular basis. Unfortunately I’d just had Calder’s hair cut two weeks ago and so couldn’t make use of this facility today. Calder has now had 4 haircuts – Nana did the first one and then the hairdresser at the bottom of the road did a couple. The last one there wasn’t great but in all fairness, anyone would have thought that he had ants in his pants for all the fidgeting he did. This last time I took him to the in store barber at the local Tesco.( I’ll say it – I love that place!) The chap was great and understood my brief of “ get rid of the mullet but don’t give him a bowl cut.”

Well he wept and sobbed ( Calder not the barber) throughout the whole cut- but at least he sat still. Alexandra looked on the way a Bond villain might enjoy watching 007 struggle with another shark,but I couldn’t be too annoyed with the little chap as I’ve cried my way through a couple of bad haircuts myself in my time. I disappointed that we all didn’t get a lollipop when we were done and that was reflected in the tip that I didn’t leave – but it was a decent cut.We’ll try out the lady that comes to Twins Club next time.

Time to wrap it up again….

Came home from Twins Club,unpacked shopping,fed the little rascals some lunch and made a meatloaf for Daddies dinner. Had some lunch,tidied up and headed up to the office to get on with some writing.

Now I do love being Daddy to twins but the down side is that I very rarely get any one to one time with either which they both absolutely love. This afternoon Calder woke himself up crying and as Daddy Simon was on a call and not wanting to disturb Alexandra, I took him out his cot and into our bed and snuggled in until he had calmed himself and drifted back off to sleep. It was only ten minutes but I could have happily watch him slumber on until he woke up again.

Alexandra woke up whilst Daddy Simon was out and Calder was asleep in our room. She looked somewhat puzzled and pointed at the empty cot opposite and did a little “Calder?????” As he was still fast asleep Alexandra and I had a few minutes alone just chatting and cuddling in before Daddy Simon got back and her wee brother stirred. I do so love these wee characters.

The Meatloaf was blinking lovely and if nothing else had sprung to mind I would always have gone with one of his tracks as a title!

Our own little Goldilocks in Daddy Bears bed.

“Did you know that this is what the one with the funny accent used to do for work ?” “Well that would that would explain why we only get about five minutes to eat the luke warm slop that he dishes up and his general bad attitude to everything.”

Erase/Rewind – The Cardigans

Its been a while hasn’t it? Not quite sure what happened – seemed to lose my mojo for a bit. There always seemed to be something else to do on a practical level that would distract from the time that I had set aside to do a bit of writing so it’s not as though I’ve been sitting about twiddling my thumbs. I can’t say that I’ve taken huge strides forward with my book – have had couple of false starts and now trying to structure a storyline with limited success. But I’m not going to give up. I’ve not quite erased the work that I’ve done so far but I am going to rewind a bit and do a wee run of blogs to try and build my confidence up again.

This is Tuesday 19th March – so its not quite the beginning of the week. I’ve lowered my expectations to a more realistic level on all counts. There is no point in declaring it a diet week as there is spreadable butter in the fridge, digestive biscuits in the jar and up until last night there was half a cheesecake left over from the weekend. I’d already been in at the kiddie’s jelly tot stash before 0825 and had several slugs of the chocolate brownie flavoured milk at morning snack time. The changeover from baby bottles to sippy cups/baby beakers/shot glasses is an ongoing, messy and unpleasant battle. I appreciate that a lot of it is a comfort thing and so we’ll still let them have their bedtime milk in the bottle for the time being. But during the day I’m digging my heels in and have a range of drinking containers at my disposal to trial. But the little blighters are on to me and will rarely finish breakfast or mid morning milk from anything other than the blasted bottle. The flavoured milk is a new ruse that seems to work with Alexandra – Calder is still a bit hit and miss but mainly because he’ll put his cup down and wander off and by the time I’ve chased him back to the table to finish it off – Alexandra has drained the contents and has gone back to watching Mr Tumble. Neither has any issue about drinking juice and water from cups – it’s just milk and it’s probably not worth any of us crying over.

So on to my next achievable(?)goal. Every Sunday night we pledge not to have any alcohol until the following weekend. Well it’s just not happening these days. Last week I got to Thursday – had a night out with Twins Club Mums so would have been rude not to have a little drinkie or five.This week I’m saying Friday – so technically – if we can hang off until after five o’clock it will be weekend-ish, in a manner of speaking, somewhere in the world.
I’ll look at my exercise plan next week – baby steps and all that.

We’re all continuing to settle into our new home. Child proofing is a constant work in progress.The TV is on a unit that stands about chest height and all associated paraphernalia is hidden away in the (now locked)cupboard underneath. Bookcase has been bolted to the wall and the contents that would once have been displayed in a minimalist style utilising the full height of the unit are now all crammed on three shelves that are all (currently) out of reach any passing little vandal. The lower shelves are used to store a range of decoy toys – at night anyway. During the day they are mostly strewn throughout the lounge/dining/kitchen area – so its good to see that they’re making the most of all the available space. Kitchen counters continue to be the ‘Lucky dip’ area where, Calder mainly, will just stretch up and grab at whatever he can reach. Initially his requests for “Cuddles Daddy???” were very sweet but it didn’t take us too long (actually it did!) to realise that he just wanted picking up so he could have a good look round from an elevated position at what was potentially there for the taking. If we got down to his level and outstretched our arms he would turn and walk off mumbling to himself. Alexandra is developing the child-proofed kitchen unit doors as a musical instrument and has so many banging tunes in her repertoire its like listening to Radio 1 all day.
I’m still continuing to reassemble a flat-packed Swedish forest in differing shapes and sizes – but always in white – around the house. Sven the factory joker decided to send us a wardrobe with none of the required nuts and bolts last week. It’s possible that I could have used some of the left over bits from earlier deliveries but that would have meant I would have had to dismantle the car-port section of the nuclear bunker that I’d fashioned using them.
So we just phoned their customer service department and told them to get their meatballs out of their lingonberries and get it sorted.

The baby gate is on the lounge doorway directly opposite the front door. Shouty and Loud are usually baying at the gate like a couple of starved bloodhounds by the time I get to answer the door to any callers. Visitors are welcome despite what you may have heard elsewhere.

There is another baby gate at the top of the stairs which is currently quite literally a pain in the nuts.For safety reasons it opens inwards onto the landing so that we’re not having to step back down a stair. However this means that we can’t have the bathroom door open while the gate is open. Are you following or do you want time to draw yourself a picture?During the day this isn’t a problem but in the wee-wee small hours it’s a different matter.Pushkin doesn’t want to sleep in his bed in the office upstairs.He wants to sleep downstairs on the sofa. But we need to keep the gate ajar in case he needs to use the litter tray which is also in the office upstairs. Now this is where the fun begins – take your drawings and add in our bedroom door.It opens in on the bedroom but is directly opposite the ajar baby gate.So if I need to get up during the night,I have to remember that the gate is there and open in order that I avoid rattling my family jewels on it. I then need to do the same in reverse on my return to bed especially remembering to close bedroom door properly in order that Pushkin doesn’t get in and stamp all over Daddy Simon’s head for an early breakfast. Funnily enough he doesn’t even attempt to stir me from my slumber which really ticks Daddy Simon off given that it’s my fault that he’s managed to get in.

Pushkin seems happy enough here.Spends most of the day asleep in the office occasionally venturing downstairs in the hope that he can sneak through the carnage unnoticed and get out for a perambulate around the garden. He doesn’t seem to venture much further than that but he is getting on a bit and probably has more than enough to deal with indoors without taking on any of the well established locals.

So there we go – time to finish up for the day and head to bed. But first some pics…

“ So just take a couple of bites from that one,put it back and help yourself to another one…”
“ He seems to have gotten himself nailed to the table you see…”
“I don’t know – it just doesn’t seem to be a particularly credible concept to me…”

I Feel The Earth Move – Carole King.

Actually I didn’t. I slept right through it. Apparently Wednesday night’s earthquake in Surrey was the fourth since the 14th February and the worst so far weighing in at 3.0 on the Richter Scale. We’ll probably get the blame if anyone sees our dear little Alexandra running up and down the garden.

We’ve taken full advantage of this little burst of warm weather and had the kiddies playing out in the back garden whenever we can. It was lovely to be able to get the bedding all washed and out on the line on Monday and I was only thinking to myself how proud my mum would have been if she had been able to see the dazzling white sheets neatly pegged out and rippling in the breeze. She would also have laughed her blinking socks off at my disbelief when her grandchildren appeared from within aforementioned,previously spotless whites,brandishing muddy sticks that they had dug up elsewhere in the garden.Perhaps I’d better look into a loyalty card at the local laundrette.

Daddy Simon volunteers to finish off breakfast duties on Wednesday morning in order that I can get a quick shower and start preparing for the day ahead. Wednesday is Twins Club day in this part of the world – this will only be our second week so I’m still trying to make a good impression. I’ve mentally put together Alexandra and Calder’s outfits for the day and am trying to think what I still have that is currently clean,ironed and fits when I hear the workmen next door start their hammering. Now that’s commitment to the job – straight to work at 0725. Oh hang on – we’re in a semi-detached now – it’s coming from downstairs – so it’s probably Calder the Handyman. He’s been stalking me around the house as I’ve been hanging pictures and childproofing everything lower than 1.5 metres and has taken to utilising all manner of toys and household items as tools. There have been a number of seemingly harmless items that have ended up in Confiscation Station because he’s insisted on banging them on the glass door or sticking them into keyholes, bits of flaky plaster and /or eye sockets. Think I might have a bit longer in the shower and let Daddy Simon deal with it. It does eventually quieten down so I get myself dried off,dressed and head on down.

Alexandra is pretty insistent on being dressed first. She’s already had a nappy change so it’s fairly happy and carefree up until footwear. We’d had their feet remeasured and dropped a considerable sum of money at the local Clark’s Shop on Saturday and I had pretty much insisted on getting them both welly boots at a less expensive retail outfit in order that the new pairs of Clark’s didn’t meet the same fate as the previous pair of Clark’s. What could possibly be a better way to demonstrate our fantastic parenting skills than to rock up to the new Twins Club in our shiny new Clark’s shoes. There was one minor detail that both Alexandra and Daddy missed on Saturday – the new shoes have buckle fastenings – this is a win for Daddies because Velcro straps are far too easy for little fingers to work and buckles might mean that we may even get to our destination with an even number of shoes.Alexandra looks perplexed as I buckle up shoe number two and round up child number two to get him dressed. I just about get Calder into a clean nappy when the initial cry goes up. She can’t work the buckles and she ain’t happy about it.She reappears at my non-buckle shoes and bellows “BOOTS!” We’d had a falling out about the welly boots yesterday as she was quite insistent that she should get to march straight into the house from the garden via a further muddy puddle ( where do they find them???) and stand on the sofa. I was equally insistent that she shouldn’t. I won. I’m bigger and I’m stronger and I have hearing aids that I can switch off. There is much further shouting and pointing at feet and “BOOTS!!!”are mentioned more than once. I know that the shoes fit. I check each shoe – including my own- for random bits of Lego and discarded food before I put them on -she’s just off on one. I’ve got Calder into his vest and a smart little polo shirt and the volume continues to ramp up. Zoe Ball seems to have something sufficiently important to say that requires a bit more volume and Calder busys himself with his new (Velcro fastening) shoes.It’s unrelenting. My compromise is the multi-coloured,glittery Tesco pumps.Alexandra is happy once again. She’s looking very smug but I make a mental note to remind her of her preference for supermarket footwear when she’s angling for a pair of designer heels in about sixteen years time and let her have this one as a win.

I’m actually still a bit ahead of myself so I’ll make a start on the dinner prep. I had ducked out of making a roast dinner on Sunday citing that I had been busy putting the last room in the house to rights and felt that I deserved a takeaway. The lump of lamb that had since been grazing on some out of date veg at the back of the fridge is rapidly approaching its use by date so it can see out its final few hours in the slow cooker today. Why is Zoe Ball still shouting? It takes longer to locate the slow cooker than expected and then I remember that I need to brown the meat beforehand.Just for a change I decide to read the cooking instructions – I wish I hadn’t.The lamb needs to rest at room temperature for thirty minutes before cooking. Why? If anyone need to rest for thirty minutes it’s me. Bumcrack! Ok – well there’s things I could get on whilst wee lambsie is putting his feet up. Quick tidy up in kitchen.Make sure nappy bag is fully stocked and ready to go to Twins Club. Quietly replace some toys whilst Mr Tumble holds the kiddies attention. Twenty five minutes is all he’s getting – quick all over tan in the pan and then into the crock pot with some onions and an assortment of herbs.I round up my own little lambs and herd them out to the car. I check the clock in the car. I know it to be accurate because it’s one of the few that the children can’t beggar about with. Yay! Still on schedule.Pants! I can’t remember switching on the slow cooker.Quick run back in to check – of course I had.

The Twins at Play group is only about a ten minute drive.I could probably walk there in about an hour and would imagine I’d be able to get a bus but I’m quite enjoying driving again now that we’re out of London.I notice that there’s a red light flickering on the instrument panel of the car – nobody panic – it’s only a ‘door open’ warning. Sure enough the interior courtesy lights are all illuminated. I pull over and get out,checking door on Alexandra’s side,boot and then notice that the back door on the passenger side hasn’t been closed properly. This is a bit odd – I load and unload both kiddies from the drivers side because the drive is as narrow so can only think that it must have been like that since the last trip out. Seems to have done the trick so we’re off again. We get parked up round the corner from the hall and kiddies are already reined up so it’s a fairly smooth exit and walk up the hill.If I point out doggies,Minis and planes it distracts them sufficiently that they walk in a fairly straight line in the same direction making it look like I’ve got a good grip on this whole parenting malarkey. Once we’re indoors we get our jackets off and I go to sign in. Once again we’re cheerfully greeted and Alexandra and Calder are encouraged to go on in and play. One of the lovely hands on helpers tells me that because the weather has been so good we can play out in the garden today. Calder has shot out the door in search of a bit of mud to christen his new shoes in and Alexandra gives me a “betcha wish you’d gone with the wellies” look before she too went charging out into the garden.

I did always enjoy watching our kids at play at the Blackheath Twins Club and perhaps it was because I knew that we wouldn’t be going there for long before we would have to relocate that I didn’t fully engage but there is something a little more welcoming and friendly about this one. It’s held in a slightly smaller hall and seems to be much busier. I’ve spoken to many more of the other Mums and Dads here (and what’s more remembered more names) in the two weeks that we’ve been coming than I had in the few months that we had been going to Blackheath. There seems to be a much more straightforward and honest approach to parenting our twins here and there are many more around Alexandra and Calder’s ages so I think that we’ll all enjoy our Wednesday mornings here. Kiddies are suitably settled running up and down the garden so I ask one of the other lovely Mums if she would mind keeping an eye on “that one and …oh where is he … oh yeah – that one over there – in particular that one – he’s a bit of a flight risk” and go get myself a coffee. None of your instant muck here – proper filter stuff AND a choice of grown up biscuits. I pop a chocolate digestive in my mouth in a oner – are they shrinking as well – and go to return to my charges. Another Mum approaches me and starts to engage me in conversation at the same moment that I discover there is a surprisingly unexpected layer of caramel between the chocolate and the digestive elements of the biscuit…

Please don’t ask me a question.Please don’t ask me a – oh there we go…

“How old are your twins?”

Try to smile.Hope that I’ve got that bit of stray caramel off my front teeth and respond “mmmgmpmphhh mmfitpphts”

She smiles,nods and heads off for a coffee and probably selects a much safer choice of biscuit.

I head outside to check on Whinge and Breakit but all is well. Both have something on wheels to push about so they’re happy. Probably need to get them in for snack time a bit sooner in future as it gets a bit cosy around the tables – so cosy in fact that Calder feels no need to have a plate of his own when he can easily help himself to the plateful that the wee boy to his left has. He’s learned the hard way NOT to help himself to the plate of the big girl sitting on his right. Family may be family – but food is food and it’s MINE!!!!

We get a bit more playtime before it’s time to help pack up and say our goodbyes. We have a good chat about our morning on the walk back to the car. Out of habit I load them both in from pavement side of the car and discover the source of the door issue. Unless he’s strapped in immediately Calder will lean forward and pull on the door handle – he’s not got the strength to fully open it but the intention is there. I’ve usually just put them both in their seats out of harms way and then gone back to strap them in and never noticed that Houdini was working on his next trick. Kiddie locks on back doors of car engaged – problem solved- much to our little boy’s disappointment.

They fall asleep on the short journey back home and are still in a deep slumber even after I’ve taken three/possibly four attempts to back the car into the drive. I make myself a cup of instant coffee and a have a non caramel chocolate digestive take them out to the front doorstep to enjoy the sunshine and the ever so rare silence.“Yes.I have out my sister’s pyjama top on thanks”“There’s not much up there – I’ve just checked.”