There you’d be, innocently savouring your summer freedom, when It would happen. Shopping with mother, you’d suddenly notice that first, dreaded Back to School advertisement. Your heart would sink, your happiness blighted. That moment would trigger re-entry from the dizzy heights of holidaying. One minute you’d be carefree; the next, nose-diving on a collision … Continue reading Jugglers of the World – Unite!
It wasn’t the cat’s fault. Well, it was … and it wasn’t. Like everyone else, I’d been itching for the warmer weather to arrive, but now it had, I was still itching. I peered ruefully at the rash of angry, red bumps on my arms and told myself it was just a heat-rash. It … Continue reading A Matter of Some Irritation
“I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it,” says Elaine, “but you’re air.” At this, the freshly-permed and tinted Julie becomes very defensive. “My hair?” she splutters (a trifle brusquely, I thought). “What’s wrong with it?” So Elaine explains that no, her hair’s fine; it’s Julie’s element she’d meant. We look completely blank. Elaine, … Continue reading Elementary, my dear …
I’ve got PMS again. No – Pre Merrymaking Syndrome. You get it at the time of year when you have to sit down with a coffee, pen poised, to compile the family’s Christmas present list. I already have a few bits and pieces hidden away which I kid myself no-one’s discovered, but there remains much … Continue reading Present Tension
People have very short memories, don’t they? Perhaps it’s just as well. There’s probably no mother who hasn’t sworn (often quite forcefully) during labour that there’s no way she’s ever going through that again, only to find the whole shattering business fade into insignificance as, awash with feelgood hormones, she cradles her new arrival to … Continue reading (No) Thanks for the Memory
In some countries you’ll find a pot of fresh chives standing in the middle of the dinner table beside the salt and pepper pots. Great though it looks, it’s not just for decoration – the chives, too, are a seasoning. And the freshest (and hence the most vitamin-packed) possible! Once the food’s arrived, a quick … Continue reading Grow a Chive Pot for your Table
Here’s an enthralling activity for pre-schoolers. Not only is it a great activity to tackle together, but it provides a springboard for all sorts of learning opportunities as you explore the world of nature together. This cheap-and-cheerful kitchen gardening project looks at how plants grow. It takes a humble onion, and brings it to life on your windowsill. As … Continue reading Roots and Shoots
I’m taking a break from housework, idly pondering over a coffee how many pieces of Lego would fit into a vacuum-cleaner (and – more importantly – what percentage of them (once in) you’d realistically be able to fish out again) when the phone rings. It’s my mother-in-law. “We’d like to buy James a couple of … Continue reading The Long and the Short and the Tall
Don’t discard the pits from your boxes of dates - they can be germinated to produce elegant palm plants. Your kids will enjoy the challenge of making their own mini-incubator and watching the seemingly-dead stones sprout into life. Here's how you do it ... Clean the flesh off the stones Leave them to soak in … Continue reading It’s a Date!
Children will love growing the unconventional peanut, or groundnut. Peanut plants are attractive, quirky and - best of all - easy to raise. Even if they didn’t do anything offbeat, peanut plants would still be worth cultivating for their delicate little yellow flowers and penny-shaped paired leaves which close, as if in prayer, every bedtime. But it’s … Continue reading How to grow a Peanut (Groundnut) Plant