The Manny

Life has got so busy recently with the husband’s work getting more hectic and my writing (not this) getting more commissions, juggling the children is getting harder. The other night when one of them came up to ask what we were having for supper (it was half past eight) I decided we needed an extra pair of hands.

I have watched Mary Poppins and Nanny Mcphee, who doesn’t love Maria in the sound of music? The woman makes dresses out of curtains for goodness sake. I’ve seen the difference these people have made to the families. Yes they are  fictional I grant you, but I have friends who have nannies and they all swear by them. Also Maria was based on a real woman! Long as she doesn’t marry the husband and trek over Parliament Hill with the kids and a goat I will be fine.

So it was decided a nanny was the way to go. The fly in the ointment is London appears to have a nanny shortage, or maybe they decided that a “Captain with 7 children” (I know we have more, humor me here) wasn’t the way forward.

Ready to give up someone suggested we look into a manny. Mrs Doubtfire immediately popped into my head, the husband dressed  in tweed with a prosthetic face, there’s an image! Got me thinking though, as the kids love their dad slightly more than me (shocking, I know)  having a male role model to look after them could be good.

Interview day arrived, I have to say interviewing people is not one of my favorite things to do, and obviously when your children are involved the pressure is on, the kids have to like the manny, the manny has to like the kids, we have to like the manny and the manny needs to like us. That’s a lot of love required in the room before we even start checking references!

I am being totally honest here when (apart from Mrs Doubtfire) I had no manny preconceptions. All the ones we interviewed were perfectly pleasant, I liked Jurgen from Germany lots, he showed me pictures of his village (in Germany obviously) his parents, his dog and his girlfriend. Then he started crying….(more sobbing if I’m truthful!) Turns out his girlfriend dumped him, he came to England to start a new life. Looking at the pictures had made him realize he still loved her, missed his life back home too much and on reflection was going to book the next flight back to Munich to fight for Heidi. I was particularly proud of myself as:

A: I just passed him tissues, while listening and nodding sympathetically like it happens all the time.

B: He spoke to me in German, he couldn’t speak any English. This was not flagged up by the agency but, luckily I am fluent, bit rusty I grant you but I got the jist. The husband just sat there looking a tad awkward not understanding a word. Needless to say Jurgen was crossed of the list. He and Heidi did get back together though.

It was a long afternoon, I was begging to wonder if it was all worth it, trying to find someone to look after the children was taking up so much time we weren’t getting any work done anyway. Maybe this whole thing was a tad counter productive, if I just remember to feed the kids perhaps we could forget it.

We had one more to see, I would like to point out here that I am 44 have been married for 26 years and have a copious amount of children. My face is beyond hope, my tummy lost all muscle memory years ago, I like an elasticated waist on a trouser and my claim to fame is being able to do a star jump without the need of a tenna lady.  I am that invisible age but happy. Not many people take my breath away but…………………

The husband was followed in by a six foot four Adonis! Think a cross between the bloke in The Pacifier and Arnie in Kindergarten cop. I had to sit down. It was either that or courtesy (which is a very annoying habit I have developed when I’m lost for words). He was Kevin from County Cork, life was getting better, I love an Irish accent. He definitely worked out, (in a good way not that he was so muscly he moved like a robot kind of way.) He was one of five (perfect) loved cooking (perfect) played all kinds of sport, but especially loved football (perfect), laughed at the husbands jokes ( you cant have everything) and the two year old loved him (perfect).

I would be the envy of everybody in Nw3, possibly the world. I could imagine having to gett an app just to book play dates, letting parents come and admire him at pick up. Honestly he was too good to be true, it was like having the diet coke man but eight million times better in your sitting room.

There lay the problem, nope it wasn’t that The Husband was worried Kevin was going to take me over a mountain (remember Maria)…….in fact he liked him as much as I did, turned out that Kev (he asked us to call him) has a very tight schedule,as an aspiring model he spent lots of time at photo shoots and in order to look like *that* a lot of hours in the gym. He wanted to work part time (again no mention of this from the agency) and was going to be a manny until his career took off, he was mostly interested in the room. He couldn’t do school drop off (gym) nor pick up (photo shoot) weekends were a bit tricky (oxygen facials and more gym) and while he was o.k to do the bedtime routine and cook supper it couldn’t affect his running schedule.

I was speechless on every level, talk about blinded by a muscle (Ohh err not that one)!!! Much as I loved Kev we decided perhaps he wasn’t the right manny for the job.To be fair he agreed too. I hear he has a modelling gig now so it was a good decision. He sent us a signed calendar!

After all that we decided maybe we would leave it for a bit. Kev was a very hard act to follow. Funny though, I caught The Husband using the 20 year old’s weights last night. Every cloud.


Mrs W


The Easter Bonnet

I have just under two weeks to create three Easter bonnets for the Easter parade. This might sound like a substantial amount of time, but trust me it isn’t. Events in NW3 are taken very seriously. World book day costumes are planned years in advance, (probably by a professional world book day planner) and are all hand made. Top tip NEVER buy something “off the peg” if you frequent the Hampstead area. That my friends is social suicide. It has to be handmade, hand sewn and involve some form of papier mache.

I know that this Easter bonnet thing is going to be of epic proportions. Its not just a hat with a chicken stuck on the top and a yellow ribbon. I checked out last years entry’s and had to sit down. Stupidly I didn’t gather a whole load of straw at harvest time during the summer months so that I could start hand weaving the bonnets. I’m considering breaking into the Henley regatta and nicking the boaters for next Easter but that’s not now!

My only option is to……..*sharp intake of breath* buy the hats then decorate them. I feel a bit sorry for my children because I totally lack any sort of artistic flair.In my head it looks amazing, in reality its shocking. While their friends parents have been planning their designs for months I am panicking and sticking my head in the sand.

I can see them now, bonnets of epic proportions, crucifixes, rings of thornes, a hand painted replica of the last supper painted in homemade organic paint round the brim. A field of lambs gamboling around in a field complete with hand sewn daffodils. The images are endless. White picket fences, tiny hand glass blown eggs gently stuck round the edges. A bonnet that wouldn’t look out of place in London fashion week.

Then there will be mine, lets face it these things are never for the children they are always for the parents. If I was a proper NW3 mum I would have a nanny and a nanny for the nanny in case one nanny got ill. All nannies would be fully trained in world book day and Easter bonnet making. They would have full knowledge of how to work a sewing machine, blow glass and practice Latin with the children simultaneously. I am lacking in all of the above especially the nanny.

I have an eighteen year old daughter who’s great at all that stuff but selfishly is in the middle of revising for her A-levels at the minute. I said to her I don’t mind if she has to resit, after all being a lawyer is so “last year” especially when there’s an Easter bonnet parade to worry about. If me or the husband were “big in the city” we would definitely not be having this issue. We aren’t and there lies the problem.

I have resorted to buying out most of poundlands Easter stock.(Have you noticed that you go into poundland, get so carried away that everything is only a pound and spend a fortune). The pressure was obviously getting to me when I walked up to the assistant with a six foot inflatable bunny and asked how much it was. He looked at me like I was totally mad and said “Erm that’ll be a pound” to which I replied “is that why this is called poundland”. He walked off, I really didn’t blame him.

The idea I was quite proud of was using chicks (pretend obviously) to hang round the hat like they do in Australia with corks. It would have been amazing and quite effective, not necessarily a work of art but original. Then I tried it out, you have to tie the cotton round the fluffy yellow chicks neck then tie it to the hat. The result was a bonnet with a whole load of cute little chicks that looked like they had hung themselves. It was like a mass baby bird suicide, that plan was nipped in the bud pretty sharpish I can tell you.

So the long and the short of it is I am the proud owner of enough colored eggs, plastic chicks and inflatable bunnies to start up my own market stall, I am sadly no closer to making my bonnets. Oh well, better go and make a start on the homework.


Mrs W

The Game

Maybe it’s because I’m older but to be honest I have never been that good at imaginary play with my kids.

The three year old has asked me to make him a watering hole. I put a blue towel on the floor, he wasn’t satisfied. In the end the bunk beds became a tent-like watering hole,which placated him a bit but not enough for him to say “Mum you really are rubbish at watering holes”. Looking at my handy work I am not going to argue. Three West Ham duvet covers and a blue towel hardly conjure up images of the Savannah. Made me wonder who buys green towels though, probably the kind of parent who factors in their sons animal obsession and has them lying around just in case. I have never met anyone with bright Emerald Green towels, mind you “what color are your general bath towels” has never come up in conversation. It might become my new opening gambit at cocktail parties. Once I have discovered “how big they are in the City” obviously.

Its not just the creating part I’m no good at, its the whole playing thing. I was supposed to be a “mummy gazelle” the plan was I drink at the water hole and a lion who is the husband is supposed to come and attack me. (Believe me this was not our idea, three year old’s are very demanding) I am then supposed to run away “startled” as the lion follows in hot pursuit. This is to be done on all fours while our son is a baby zebra accidentally separated from his mother. You couldn’t make it up.

There is something very odd about legging it from your husband out of a makeshift watering hole(that I might add for some reason had to be on the top bunk) and hot footing it down the hallway on all fours with him lumbering after you making lion sounds. The startled part of the whole enforced role play was quite easy to achieve. Nothing like your husband on all fours growling and moving quite fast, startling is an understatement.

Trust me that game was short lived, once and once only. I got away in-case you were wondering. I was quite a sprightly gazelle and locked myself in the bathroom for safety. The husband was taking the whole thing far too seriously for my liking.

My son is lucky enough to have siblings, this is why we had more children, so they could play together and take us out of the equation. I feel self conscious howling at the moon, I’m no good at Lego ninja go or being Peppa pig to Josephs George. I’m not keen on monster games, I’ve never been a good fire engine, and get bored playing playmobil. I am going to be honest here, I just don’t find it interesting.

I know people who have a nanny to look after the kids and another one to play with them. If that fails they just hire in an entertainer. People who are big in the city can do that sort of thing. The kids want a watering hole “voila” they probably get a company to come and put sand and grasses round the swimming pool. Maybe a pride of lions from the local zoo just for effect. They probably have a nanny on hand who used to be a lion tamer.

I’m not one of those people, we don’t even own green towels for goodness sake.

I love reading to my children, I am very good at all the voices, I am not adverse to a board game. Any excuse to beat them at Monopoly, bring it on. So I am not totally useless in the parent stakes, I just don’t do role play.

The husband is far more into it then I am, his lions only the half of it. On the whole we both try to avoid it.

The one good thing about this day and age is the internet, especially you tube. There is a whole new world out there were adults create channels of them playing with toys and my children watch them doing it. It keeps them happy for hours. Yes I agree that’s not the best parenting and maybe I am missing out on lots of levels, but my back wont ever cope with me being a gazelle again and Lord knows what would have happened if the “lion” had caught me, I didn’t like the glint in his eye.

I’m sticking to bedtime stories from now on, and considering getting the husband tiger p.js for his birthday. Happy playing.


Mrs W


Mothers Day

Firstly I would like to say Happy Mothers day to all you “M” for mummies out there.

Whether your looking forward to a pub lunch, cooking it yourself or traipsing round a museum with M&S sandwiches (cos the husband has pushed the boat out, he also bought macaroons and a strawberry tart) while you quietly seethe. I hope it’s a good one.

It got me thinking about how different our expectations are, which in turn gave me this blog. As you know I try to be slightly funny when I write (believe me I use the word funny loosely, nobody is more critical of themselves than me). However I also want us all to relate to it. Not easy sometimes, recently life has been getting in the way hence the lack of writing. Too much waffle already, but the material’s not always there, when you don’t have time to stop and think.

Good old mothers day, firstly the kids all made me cards. So sweet and lovely words, the kind that make you a little bit teary but very proud. The kind you want to tweet about or stick on face book but don’t, lets face it nobody likes a show off. Nice writing, hand printed, they even made the paint using hemp seed and pva glue. They spent all week making their own paper, the ink is organic while the words so poetic they give Wordsworth a run for his money.

Then theRE are the gifts, delicate hand blown glass objects that they made themselves in “that little glass boutique just of the Kings Road” while they spent the day at their mate Quentins house. All wrapped up in pale pink tissue paper while the box has obviously been hand sewn from hessian that’s been expertly dyed in rose hips (from Quentins garden) obviously. As you unwrap it you make a mental to take Quentin somewhere slightly more cultured than the Odeon and burger King next time he comes round. I’m sure he’s not handing his mum the remnants of the giant popcorn bucket we bought him…at least I hope not.

Once cards and gifts are fished with, it’s the main event. What have the husband and the kids organised. I dread to think what Quentin and Co are doing today. All of their parents are “big in the City”. I have no idea what they mean by this. I just nod in a suitably impressed “wow big in the city eh” kind of way. This will mean that most of my kids friends will be flying to the Maldives for a spot of lunch and snorkeling before coming home and turning up to school tomorrow morning, not only ten minutes early, but also with their homework, spellings and reading all completed.

We may amble to the park, (note to self we must get a Labrador or spaniel to complete the boden look so many families round here tend to favor), perhaps get a bacon sandwich from the cafe (hope nobody sees us) then grab a bright green “macha soya fresh air latte” that tastes gross , to hold while we watch the children play on the swings while discussing who the “biggest person” we actually know in the city is. Two points, at the moment Ed (2) has learnt to swear so, while holding said latte I am on high alert for any bad language, ready to pretend to faint to create a diversion should the need arise. Secondly I find all this “What level reading book is George on now? Felicity no longer has levels, it’s George Orwell for her” a tad tedious. Hanging out in the park has to be done, plus we can all compare what we are doing next. I feel like saying “getting rid of this green latte/ornament in my hand, high fiving Ed for not swearing, and reading War & Peace with George for six hours…. did I mention he reads it in Latin?” Instead we all smile make something up and head off home.

That’s when all the kids start arguing, nobody wants to do any home work, the husband goes upstairs to “work” on the computer, while I wonder why in this day and age where you can order ANYTHING on line, nobody has thought to create an opening for a Sunday roast for 15 people from deliveroo!

On the whole I am quite happy with my lot. Nothings perfect, everything has cracks and we will probably never go to the Maldives. But so far I have had a tip top mothers day (mind you I’m writing this at 10.00am). If you move the cards they made for me at school to one side you see the ones they made at home! All on colored card that Sally (11) told me she bought from poundland (along with the chocolates). They are in garish felt tip, all telling me how much they love me and ever single one I kid you not says “go easy on the wine”!!!!!

My children may move in bonkers circles now, and are lacking the dog and the mummy who goes to the gym, enjoys flax seeds and loves a bit of macha at any opportunity. They don’t have a nanny or extra maths lessons, they can’t speak Latin (yet) and I get one hundred parenting things wrong on a daily basis but they really know me very well. Perahps I’m doing a good job after all, if you squint I grant you! So I shall raise a glass to all us mummies while going easy on the wine.


Happy mothers day

Mrs W

The birthday party

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, I am blaming a bad back for affecting my writing!

My children recently started at a new school, it’s tiny only 105 children from reception to year six, everybody knows everybody and it would be social suicide to not go to every event that is put on by the parents in their homes. These houses resemble something from Hello magazine. They all have AGA’s, cleaners , gardeners and a labrador. They have huge outside spaces with decking and swimming pools. Most of them have a drive way and a couple have electronic gates, while I know this is not the bee all and end all in life I am trying to paint a picture of my new world.

For example the other day,one boy came round and said “Is that the size of your garden? We have woods”. I resisted the urge to point out if you lifted the back panel at the end of our garden into next doors their trees could count as woods at a push. He wasn’t being horrible just surprised we didn’t live in a stately home.

Please don’t think that my new found pals are not nice,they are absolutely lovely but  from another world. I have no cleaner, no woods to warrant a gardener (it takes the husband 20 minutes tops) to mow the lawn and definitely no labrador. That’s because the husband (annoyingly) is allergic to dogs otherwise we would have one, and I’m not that keen on an “doodle” or a “cockapoo” which to be honest would have been called a mixed breed when I was a kid. They all have nannies and a nanny for when the nanny has a day off. We have drinks and nibbles at six o’clock on Saturdays where we discuss (in all seriousness) our six year old’s progress as though they are finding a cure for cancer, not playing with lego all day. Handwriting is compared, as is your child’s times table recollection, they all are “something big” in the city and have a country house as well. They love a midweek Merlot from Waitrose and at only £10.29 its great for a Wednesday and when they aren’t being “big” in the city or sking in Switzerland they are running round Hampstead heath with their personal trainer, I have to admit he is gorgeous and if my back was slightly better I wouldn’t mind being screamed at by Geoffrey to “get those knees up”.As Aladdin and Princess Jasmine once sang “Its a whole new world” and I’m living the dream people.

They also take birthday parties very, very seriously. They are not so much a party as an event. No fairy cakes and pass the parcel with this lot. These are celebrations of epic proportions. The party has to be themed to with an inch if its life ideally by a party planner,it is never held in the house, never mind the forest out back. I have discovered that the rule of thumb seems to be the further away from where you live and the harder it is to get to the higher the party is rated. Everything from the cake to the plates to the balloons to the cutlery matches the theme and the colour scheme. A watts app group is created with all the information, directions and a form to fill in with your child’s individual dietary requirements as well as a disclaimer should anything go wrong. Gift suggestions are floated about with suggested colours for the wrapping paper so they all co-ordinate on the birthday table. Making your own wrapping paper would probably earn you extra brownie points but I’m clean out of hemp seeds to dye it.

So far we have had football, strictly come dancing with Karen Hardey who used (and I emphasize the word “used” to here) be on the show, a zoo party with a private tour, a cup cake decorating afternoon tea in a swanky London hotel, a swimming party where they played water polo, horse riding at a farm, and in five weeks time an ice skating party.

I was all prepared to take my chances and send the ten year old off on the day expecting him to come back soaked but happy from constantly falling over if he wasn’t clinging to the side. I was wrong parties are taken so seriously that the party guests it appears need to be fully trained to participate.One of the mums came to me the other day and said “Don’t worry I’ve booked Ben (my 10 year old) onto an intensive ice skating course with Tarquin so that they are party ready for Crispins day”. I kid you not, apparently all the parents are doing it, one and a half hours a week of ice skating lessons so that they are “skate ready”. There’s no holding onto a penguin at this event, if you can’t do a triple axle your a social leper it seems! We are not supposed to tell the other parents what we are doing this even though we all know that all our children are having lessons. At least Ally Pally will be fully booked for the next month. It’s cloak and dagger on the Hampstead party scene I can tell you.

One of mine turns seven in May and I am totally dreading it, not his actual birthday but the party. I was wondering if we would be considered “cutting edge” and quirky if we just had some kids round, let them trash the house play musical bumps and have jelly and ice cream. I’m living in hope. Otherwise I was thinking sky diving or wing walking………we don’t have a runway in the garden though….too many trees!


Glad to be back, thanks for reading


Mrs W