For all the woes of the world.

For aches of the body and soul.

For warmth and comfort.


Bed and a hot water bottle.

That’s where you’ll find me.


Sidey’s weekend theme is simplicity.



To show affection, empathy, love.

To boost, support, bind together.

To encourage, support, celebrate, console.

The children my limbs and heart wrap around while they hug back, succumb wearily, or fidget.

The child I never got to hug.



Good morning hugs.

Work hard, have fun, be kind, love you, have a good day at school hugs.

Hugs from family, friends and colleagues that help us through dark times.

The discovery that hugs can be mental, or virtual- we can feel the supporting vibes even when we don’t actually have another’s arms around us.

That longed for final hug from Herself- a gift; a moment of joy in the grim sunny days of early July.

Welcome back hugs, even when we’ve only been to the shop.

Be brave hugs.

I’m proud of you hugs.

Night night hugs.

I will not play Tug O’ War,

 I’d rather play Hug O’ War;

Where everyone hugs, instead of tugs,

And everyone giggles and rolls on the rug.

Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins;

everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.

~ Shel Silverstein

a birthday party

Some people do themes.

Some people bring the whole class.

The McSpecs do neither. For years our m.o. has been to bring three friends (what our car can carry) to a soft play place and let all 5 run loose for a few hours. We feed them there, in the middle of the chaos. Eventually we bring them back to ours, give them cake, and send them on their way. It works for us. Fun, games, mess somewhere else.

So on Friday past, we planned to load up the car with the usual suspects and set off to the seaside. The weather had been pleasant, so extra walking on the beach was scheduled.

The morning news was full of traffic accidents caused by torrential rain and sleet. Well, of course. I’d just bought a deckchair. What else was the weather going to do?

not that day

We drove round gathering children on our way. The car was a riot of Converse, Hollister and noisy phones. Then, the added rattle. A distinct lack of oomph from the car. Practically going backwards when trying to go uphill.

A birthday treat for Girl1- a trip to the garage with all her friends. Aren’t we good?

Sidey’s weekend theme: Friday 13th

pictures from the bbc and flickr

let them eat cake

This time last year I was baking regularly. There were many reasons for that- comfort eating, the need to achieve something, yumminess. I blogged about it then.

I was never going to be a housewife. Even Betty Draper didn’t want to be a housewife. I’ll keep the top layer of grub away and spend ages looking at design blogs, but I’m never actually going to be creative. As well as two left feet, I have two left hands and a lack of interest in the presumed housewifey activities.

Then I left work. I’m at home most of the time. If reading blogs and sleeping during the day are part of the job description, then I might have turned into a housewife. I’m still not sure how to process that.

In many ways I’m like my grandmother. I’m taller than she was and have opted for blonde rather than raven black, but I have her pear shape and pointy nose. I’d love her domestic abilities. She spent her working life in service- as a maid, cook, housekeeper. She fed her family by developing and using her domestic skills. I wonder now if she had to train one of her left hands to do what was required to survive in that world? I have so many choices that she never had. She was renowned for her baking, while my children have only recently discovered that cakes don’t have to come from shops.

Inspired by food blogs such as The Glutton, Italian Foodies, Donal and others, I’m beginning to look at receipes- the easiest, quickest ones that everybody will eat, it’s true- and at food as something which might be a bit more than just nourishment.

And I have discovered what generations of women have always known- the value of cake. I get to beat the shit out of vent my frustrations on a load of ingredients. I get to feel all pleased with myself that ‘look, I made that cake’ and then. There is cake to eat. The gift that keeps on giving.


Now, I’m avoiding such sweetness. I’m trying to lose weight. I haven’t baked in months. My family would love to eat cake. Instead, they’re recognising what it says on a coaster somewhere about “Help, Mummy’s on a diet and we’re all going to die!”

Top parenting there, Speccy.


Sidey‘s weekend theme: let them eat cake