There’s less than a week to go until Halloween. Are you feeling spooky yet?

To get her in the mood, Belle has been reading some scary Halloween stories this week from Miles Kelly. They are aimed at 6-9 year olds, beautifully illustrated and each book includes four or five individual stories. They include a mixture of classic stories with a creepy twist, plus lots of lesser known tales that have been imaginatively retold for children.

"Halloween stories"

To win your own set of three books, which includes The Wicked Witch of the West, Jack the Giant Killer and The Little Mermaid, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favourite book was as a child.

A winner will be chosen on 31st October.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my competition to win a pair of Cheekyshoes too!


Tuna and mushy peas on rice cakes.

I know, sounds delicious right?

I was feeling a bit uninspired by the thought of another ham sandwich, so had a rummage through the cupboards instead and found a can of tuna from the Reel Fish company:

Now I’ve not eaten much tuna lately since it started becoming a bit on the pricey side, so when you do buy tuna, you want to buy something Proper and Good don’t you? The Reel Fish company catch all their tuna one by one, using an actual pole and line, so nothing else gets caught that shouldn’t be. Plus, it’s really delicious.

I also found a tin of mushy peas, a bargain at only 9p from Aldi, and half a pack of slightly squidgy rice cakes that needed using up.

And then my delicious recipe came to me, like a bolt of lightning!

I like tuna, but I find it a bit dry on its own. Mayonnaise is yummy, but has about a million calories. Mushy peas on the other hand – all the moistness of mayo without the fat! Plus you get a bit of pea goodness too. Foolproof. I mixed them up together, and piled my mixture on top of my rice cake.


"Tuna and mushy pea rice cakes"

Not only was it very tasty, but one of these works out at less than 100 calories and is really filling. Nigella eat your heart out.

If you have any other ideas for interesting ways to use a can of tuna, do let me know…


I knew it would happen eventually, but she seems to be a little annoyed with the number of posts* that feature her being annoying or angry or frustrating in some way.

I wanted to write a post then just to explain a bit.

Belle, I don’t write about those things all the time because that is how you are all the time. I write about those moments because they are interesting and cute and make other mums and dads laugh and realise that all children are annoying or angry sometimes, just like all grown-ups are annoying or angry sometimes too. (I know I am annoying quite a lot).

Can you imagine if I wrote posts that began ‘Belle was very well-behaved this morning. She got up nicely and got herself some breakfast and went off to school.’ It would be pretty boring wouldn’t it?

I write about those moments when you feel angry or say something naughty because even though it might make me cross at the time, afterwards it sounds funny, and is just another part of the person you are, which all in all is pretty adorable. Plus it’s always good to laugh about things, even if they might not seem funny at first.

To make up for it though, here are a few other things about you, things that I don’t normally write about, because everyone who knows you knows already how kind and generous and thoughtful you are:

Ever since you were a baby, you have loved me with a passion and intensity that although at times a little overwhelming when it meant I couldn’t leave the room, is all a mummy could ever ask for. Plus you had the fattest cheeks ever.

You have always been very pretty, even when you were small and had no hair and people thought you were a boy, even though you were wearing a skirt.

When you were little – about three – and went to Alby’s, they would always tell me when I picked you up how helpful you had been during the day. When anyone new started, and cried because they missed their mummy, you would get them a tissue from the toilets without anyone asking you.

Whenever I feel a bit sad you always notice and ask if I am OK.

When you meet new people, you are amazing – full of confidence and excitement. You make the other person feel very special and pleased to have met you. Plus if they come to our house, you always draw them a picture, or do a show, or wrap them up a little present from your room.

If you have money, you always want to spend it on someone else. (Part of it at least). Like when you made me distract Bee while you bought her that One Direction keyring.

You always play so nicely with smaller children, especially Finn and Mia, even if you would rather be on your own, lying down and reading Malory Towers.

So, next time I write a post about you having a tantrum Belle, come back and read this post too and then you’ll remember that I’m only teasing, and that I love you really.

Mummy xx

*All of them


Today I want to talk about Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Trouble is, there is so much important stuff to say, I really don’t know where to start.

First off, shock tactics. Breast cancer kills 1,000 women every single month, yet new research from Breakthrough Breast Cancer has revealed that only 2% of women can name five warning signs of breast cancer. That’s right, there are five signs. It’s not just lumps you’re looking for. I was definitely one of the 98% there.

Find out what the five signs are and get your free Touch Look Check guide from Breakthrough Breast Cancer now.

It’s scary isn’t it to think how unprepared we are?

The trouble is though that knowing the signs is only the first step. You then have to remember to check yourself too. Breakthrough Breast Cancer can help here too. I’ve decided to cover all the bases and get reminded left, right and centre. I’ve followed them on twitter and facebook, and even downloaded the cool breast check app, which not only has a TLC guide, but also a handy reminder service.

That way hopefully I’ll remember, wherever I am.

Where do you do it?

The other thing you can do to help of course is go shopping. (A chore obviously). Shop before the end of October and there are absolutely loads of products that will help raise money for breast cancer research. I did some Christmas shopping today through the BCAM shop to prove just how easy it is, and was going to do a little list for you here but then I remembered that quite a lot of the people I bought presents for would read it, and that would spoil the magic of Christmas rather.

Needless to say there is a pretty impressive range, with everything from popcorn:

"PROPERCORN Sweet & Salty"

To this beautiful Coast dress:

"Coast Siara Dress"

Basically what I’m saying is look after your boobs and go shopping. Not tricky is it?


When you get to the point where you are only comfortable sleeping in one particular position, curled up on your right hand side, one leg drawn up to your chest, you know it’s probably time to get a new mattress.

(Or seek psychiatric help.)

Perfect timing then, in lieu of an offer of counselling, for a post about Dreams Beds.

(Oh yes, I am so smooth!)

I have to confess that I’ve never been terribly good at spending money on things like furniture. Apart from my current bed, my sofa is about the only thing in my whole house that I have bought new and paid more than about twenty quid for, and even that was a bit of a whim.

I bought my bed about ten years ago, but after all this time it would be fair to say that the mattress has probably seen better days. Wear and tear I call it. Who shares a bed with a breastfed toddler and doesn’t have a few dubious stains?

*looks slightly ashamed and hopes no-one ever sees*

So, time for a new bed.

I thought I’d have a look at the range at Dreams Beds, pick a few of my favourites, and then if you, my faithful readers, should want to club together to get me a Christmas gift, you’d know where to go.

Here then is my top three. First off, a bit of a classic – a sleigh style bed in solid oak. Pretty lovely isn’t it? Plus at the moment it is a bargain at only £599 instead of £1,499:

"oak bedstead"

Next up, the hi-tech choice. Not only does this bed include a TV, it is also upholstered in a “sumptuous metallic-weave fabric which features rich tones of taupe, mink and silver, with the addition of subtle nickel and amethyst hues”. I thought that sounded very Star Trek:

"TV bed"

And finally, my favourite, (and actually the cheapest, hint hint), the totally decadent option. Who wouldn’t feel totally desirable lying in this absolutely gorgeous dark purple velvet bed?

"velvet bed"

Sweet dreams!


I have been to London twice this week. No matter how many times I go though it still feels like an adventure.

Growing up in a selection of small towns and villages, cities in themselves have always held a fascination  for me – the huge buildings and shops, the hustle and bustle of so many different types of people, so many Actual Proper Things.

London though remains one of my favourite cities. Even just walking through a tube station or crossing the street there is a powerful sense of being part of something bigger – a strange feeling of being important yet at the same time being very tiny.

And everyone is so stylish! Smart black suits and black thick framed glasses jostle for space on the train alongside those men looking effortlessly stylish in jeans, shirts and tweed jackets – the ones who look like they are too wealthy and influential even to need to wear a suit. The click of heels echoes through the underground and smart ladies’ coats, belted around tiny waists, waft Chanel No. 5 at me on every corner.

In my ill-fitting jeans and waterproof mac I feel like I stand out a mile. (Because I do). I may as well open my map out full size on my lap and pop a sign around my neck. ‘I don’t come from here,’ it would say. ‘I am obviously not cool enough to live in London.’

I don’t care though, I revel in it. I stare (carefully of course on the tube) at all the grown up ladies with their glossy hair and lovely shoes and try to guess where everyone is going and has been.

Simple things please us country folk.


Can you guess what I was doing yesterday morning? OK, the title gives it away a bit I guess…

I was in London, learning to tango and samba with Total Greek Yogurt. (Not actually dance with yogurt you understand, that would be difficult. Especially if it were not in a tub but just loose.)

We were taught by the very lovely Dee Thresher and Jesus Reyes Ortiz and I had a really brilliant time, not least because after two hours of dancing, (for dancing read ‘tripping over own feet’), we were treated to a delicious yogurt inspired lunch, and we all know that lunch is one of my Best Things.

I thought I’d share some of the photos from the day with you, and if I have inspired you to get up on your feet, Total have some video dance lessons you can copy too.

Our wonderful teachers looking hot

We put our best tango faces on

It’s hard to look elegant when you are concentrating so hard on your feet

We look on admiringly

And smile ladies!

Delicious yogurty lunch

Muffins. Nuff said.

As well as nursing slightly stiff shoulders today, I am also recovering from being told that there are apparently ONE THOUSAND recipes on the Total website! Who’d have thought there was so much you could do with yogurt??

Photos courtesy of Satureyes


“Hello Jo,

I’m a Canadian musician, living in Mexico, married to a Bristol man, mother of two and about to release my 5th independent album.”

Now that’s a cracking start to an email isn’t it? If someone sent that to you you’d definitely read on. I know I did.

The email was from Camille Miller, asking me to have a listen to a track from her new EP called ‘Tiniest of Hearts’, written while Camille was pregnant with her first child, Hannah. Now I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to identify with most modern music. You’ll not often find me ‘in the club with a bottle of bub’ or anything like that, and I find it difficult to get my head round exactly why Rhianna would love the way somebody hurts her and lies to her. That’s not a thing is it? Come on girl, pull yourself together.

Pregnancy and parenthood though, that’s something I know about. Why are there not more songs about that? Sure, the day-to-day logistics of it might not be terribly glamorous, but actually becoming and being a parent is a very powerful, emotional thing.

Camille is going to be in the UK over Christmas and the New Year doing some shows, so why not have a listen to Tiniest of Hearts, and maybe check out her website for show dates, buy an album, or just leave some sort of lovely comment telling her how much you like the song.*

*Only if you do obviously. I’m not asking you to lie. If you don’t like it though, probably best just to keep quiet.


Dear Mummy,

(What do you think by the way of grown-ups who use the word Mummy? I’ve always thought it came across as childish, but an ex-boyfriend of my sister’s used to say it made us sound terribly posh.)

How are you? I hope you are well.

As I’m sure you are aware, the festive season is nearly upon us. Hoorah! I know you find it hard to choose presents for me, so this year I thought I would write you this little note to help you out.

I was just doing a little spot of work and got rather distracted looking at all the Christmas tea gifts on the Twinings website. I thought I might start a collection of decorative tea caddies to compliment my collection of ‘jugs that look like birds where the milk comes out of their beaks’.

I have stacked these tins from the ‘floral collection’ in order of preference, favourite first. Simply click here to purchase the tea gifts or your (my) choice.

"mulles spice tea"

Mulled wine tea

"Lavender earl grey"

Lavender Earl Grey

"Rose Garden"

Rose Garden

"Blossom Earl Grey"

Blossom Earl Grey

"Jasmine Earl Grey"

Jasmine Earl Grey

Fondest regards,

Your beloved first-born daughter xx


As you know, I’m a big fan of comfortable shoes. Even if it does mean my children scoff. I don’t care – rather that than bunions.

How do you feel about shoes though? Do you have a life-long favourite pair? A pet peeve? A ‘must have’?

Cheekyshoes are a brand new company, who want to create fun and funky shoes that are comfortable enough to wear every day, yet colourful enough not to make you feel like you’ve been relegated to the ‘cushioned sole, wide fit’ corner of Clarks.

You can see for yourself that they’ve definitely checked the colourful box:

I have a red pair, and can verify that they are succeeding on the comfy front too. So far so good.

Cheekyshoes really want to know though how you feel about shoes. What is important to you when choosing shoes? What colours or designs would you like to see? What do you struggle with when trying to find shoes that are both fun and functional?

Cheekyshoes have given me three pairs of shoes to giveaway, in return for your honest feedback. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post with all of your shoe thoughts before the end of October, after which a winner will be chosen at random.

If you’d like an extra chance to win, you can tweet the following:

I’ve just entered to #win a pair of @cheekyshoes1 courtesy of @Mummyblogger – you can enter too now!

If you’re feeling super lucky, you could follow Cheekyshoes on twitter as well. I’d suggest you follow me too, but I’m sure you already are. *stern look*

That’s it!

That was easy wasn’t it?

Open to UK residents only – sorry!


Do you ever get one of those moments when try as you might to be terribly grown-up and clever, you can’t help but snigger at something really childish?

I had one of those moments last week when a flier for ‘Blow Me’ hairdressers came through the door.

"blow me"

I used to get it too every time I walked past the dog grooming shop near my old house that was called ‘Doggy Style’. It closed down quite quickly, goodness knows why, but they obviously weren’t the only dog groomers with such a sophisticated wit.


"Doggy style"

As much as I like to pretend otherwise, my mind is clearly in the gutter. The gutter just outside the salubrious looking Doggy Style.

I decided to conduct some careful market research – (I had a quick google) – and discovered that Doggy Style and Blow Me are not the only companies pushing the boundaries. Fancy being an employee of Flange Entertainment Limited?

Or how about getting yourself a little tattoo down at 4skin?


What is it about rude shop names that is so hilarious? And why would you call your shop something so obviously filthy? Is it just to be memorable? If it is, then it works on me. Next time anyone compliments me on my hair I know what I’ll be thinking.

Blow Me.

Do let me know if you have any ridiculous shop names near you, I always like a giggle.


It’s Friday! Hoorah! I think we all deserve a bit of a treat don’t you? Today then I’m going to show you how to make a quick and easy chocolate mousse. (That’s the theory anyway).

Although I am no Nigella in the kitchen, Belle is really keen on baking, so I was happy to sign up for the Anchor cooking challenge. We were given vouchers for cream, butter and squirty cream, and keen to rise to the fat-laden challenge I looked for a recipe that involved all three!

I found this easy chocolate mousse recipe in Nigella Express. So, here’s what you need:

  • 150 grams mini marshmallows. (We could only find normal size marshmallows so we just chopped them up a bit.)
  • 50 grams butter (soft)
  • 250 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces. (We used Dairy Milk as it was on offer in Sainsbury’s – three bars for a pound. Bargain!)
  • 60 ml water (hot)
  • 284 ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Squirty cream and chocolate shavings for decoration. (We added this bit ourselves. Nigella doesn’t make a lot of use of squirty cream in her recipes as a rule.)


  • Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan. Pop any leftovers in your mouth for safe keeping.

"Chocolate mousse"

"Chocolate mousse"

  • Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.

"Chocolate mousse"

  • Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.

"Chocolate mousse"

This is where it all started to go wrong. When Nigella says ‘remove from heat’, what I think she really means is ‘leave to cool for ages’. We didn’t do this. When we added our cream to our chocolate mixture, the cream just melted. It became less a mousse and more of a drink. Still we persevered, hoping that if they spent a bit of time in the fridge they might mousse up a little bit.

  • Pour or scrape into 4 glasses or ramekins, about 175ml each in capacity, or 6 smaller (125ml) ones, and chill until you want to eat. Instead of ramekins, we used our new Anchor silicone cup cake moulds, which I think makes them look very pretty indeed. However, this amount of mixture was more than enough to fill all 12 cup cake moulds, so Nigella must be serving big portions.

"Chocolate mousse"

"Chocolate mousse"

We popped them in the fridge and hoped for the best…

*an hour later*

…Success! Sort of. Our chocolate mousses (or should that be chocolate mice?) were definitely a lot firmer, so much so that Belle could finish them off with a squirt of Anchor. I don’t think you could call them mousse though. They were fairly thick and sticky. If I was a chain pub I would probably call them ‘Indulgent chocolate pots’ and charge £4.95 for them.

"Chocolate mousse"

Warning: I have done a rough calculation and there is approximately one million calories per serving.

This is a sponsored post – I’m working with Anchor to promote their brand new rewards club. Pay them a visit now to find out how you can get some of their kitchenware as well as prizes.