Smug Mummy’s Life Hacks 

Valet

Because I’m not 14 and need the pocket money, I never clean my own car. Because my kids aren’t going to grow up to be blue collar workers, I wouldn’t dream of getting them to do it either. I always get my car professionally valeted. Try and have it done by the foreigners at the John Lewis car park. That way you can hit the sales and feel like you’re doing a good deed. 

Ocado

No one I know actually visits supermarkets any more and I think it does the neighbourhood good to have Ocado vans coming and going. 

Mindfulness 

I pride myself on keeping a good home, a good body and a good marriage but I also know the stress of wearing all these different hats can take its toll. So, whilst he was on a business trip, I converted Jeremy’s study in to a home meditation retreat for us both. 

Gardener

Some people might be jealous of our seven acres of unspoilt Cotswold land, but it’s actually a real bind. People don’t know how hard it can be to grow leeks and graze sheep. Because of this, we’ve employed Giles. I teasingly refer to him as our ‘tenant farmer’ which he thinks is a hoot.  

Social media

I don’t have time to keep up to date with current affairs-who does!- so I get most of my news from facebook and Instagram. I try really hard not to be political, but my ‘Stronger Apart’ EU meme went semi-viral. 

Even on holiday, it’s important to have your ‘me’ time

Our Weekends

Homework

We spend a fortune on school fees for Nectar and so my expectation is that they will take care of all her learning. Sadly, Nectar’s teachers clearly deem it appropriate that we bear some of that burden and thus a portion of our weekend is spent helping her complete homework. The plus side is it gives me an opportunity to use part of my brain that has lain dormant since graduating top of my year at Cambridge. The essay I wrote for her on Oedipus complex in the works of AA Milne was very well received: ‘a work of almost unbelievable insight’

A walk

Last year, Jeremy bought us all matching Hunter wellies. For six months they lay spotless in the bootroom: the countryside is for instagramming, not meddling in. However, J wanted us to ‘do more as a family’ and now insists we walk each weekend so now we all pull on our boots and Barbours and walk to the shops to pick up The Telegraph on a Sunday. 

Playdates 

As much as I’d love to, my severe gluten allergy means I am unable to host play dates for Ambrose. Luckily his devoted sister Nectar lets him tag along when she visits her friends: she makes me give her £7.20 an hour in line with minimum wage. 

Relaxation

After my hard week of school runs I think it’s important for Jeremy to pick up some of the slack at the weekend. He has his long commute home to unwind so Sunday mornings are my me-time. I tend to do some yoga and practise my calligraphy by writing aspirational lifestyle quote for my Insta follower: I know they give people so much joy. 

Ambrose Gets Ill 

DS Ambrose is poorly. He just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’ve given him agave and bay leaf for his temperature and it’s not having any effect. He also seems to have a terrible rash but camomile hasn’t worked so it must be serious. 

I knew something was wrong when Ambrose slept past 5.30. He’s normally up and charging about letting off his creative steam by paint balling in the bathroom or nerf-gunning the help but he’s been ever so quiet this last week. 

I will try an olbas oil inhalation tonight and if he’s not better by tomorrow I’ll take him to the homeopath. 

Although, I am rather enjoying the quiet. 

Five Parenting Rules

 

Gaze Adoringly at Your Husband

In all the inconvenience of pregnancy and an emergency c-section it can be hard to prioritise the father but you simply must. During Ambrose’s birth (DS 6YO), I was careful to spend the lulls between contractions appreciating Jeremy. Even now, every time J reads them a book or butters their toast I realise how lucky I am.

Always Look Fabulous

Jeremy thought I was joking when I asked him to stop at Tanya’s Salon in Chipping Camden when I was four centimetres dilated but I knew the post-birth pics would last longer than the pain. It was the right choice and from then on I have endeavoured to always look perfect: even put fresh make-up on just before bed.

Wear White

When pregnant with my DD (Nectar, 9), I used Google images to create my aspirational post-birth outfit mood board. The rule is simple: summer baby? wear white linen, winter baby? wear white cashmere. I even bought a cream sofa to perch perkily on.

Smile 

Everything makes me smile. I smiled when Nectar stormed out of our family craft session. I smiled when Jeremy spent £4000 on a road bike. I smiled when Ambrose got expelled from prep school for lighting his farts. Mothers smile so I’m working on making mine beatific. Although I must be careful of wrinkles…

 

Judge Other Mothers

Motherhood is a minefield but luckily I’ve found the perfect way to parent so I can confidently say everyone else is wrong. If anyone is struggling with anything to do with raising children, just ask. You’ll know it’s me because I’m the one rolling my eyes in Waitrose or tutting in John Lewis.

sleepingwoman
Me looking fabulous in white whilst I lay next to my fabulous husband dreaming about my fabulous children. #blessed #keepsmiling

What I Got For Christmas

As you know, I’m totally against the blind consumerism of Christmas but many of you have been asking what my DH got me for Christmas.

As I’ve mentioned, I really just wanted precious family time but, just in case, I sent Jeremy an email with suggestions and web links.  I think he just forwarded the whole thing to his secretary because he bought me the lot. I think that’s a bit thoughtless, actually.

So, this is what J got me:

1) Cashmere cardigan (in cream)

2) White Company pyjamas

3) Designer bag (it’d be tacky to be specific but just keep in mind it was VERY expensive)

4) A weekend’s flower arranging course in London

5) Tiffany heart bracelet (actually wanted the necklace)

I put a great deal of thought in to Jeremy’s present and in the end commissioned a rather large oil painting of me. It’s a tad racy but I’m pleased with how it looks. Jeremy says he’s going to put it in the London flat. I was rather hoping he’d put it in our entrance hall.

woman-1757076_1280

 

How I Celebrate NYE and How You Should Too

Because I never drink or stay up past 10.30, my family have to do NYE a little differently.

Every year, Nectar, Ambrose, Jeremy and I put on our most expensive outfits, fill up our best crystal glasses with San Pellogrino and see in the new year at 9PM. We sing, laugh and have sparklers in the garden. It’s great fun.

By 9.30 I like to be in the bath, face mask on and musing on my resolutions. The children and Jeremy will curl up with a film and sometimes walk to the top field to watch the fireworks across the Parish. Jeremy says it’s his favourite part of the year. I think it’s irresponsible: late nights are catastrophic for Nectar’s complexion.

This year was just as delightful but I’m pleased to say the kids were in bed by ten. I bumped in to the local landlord on my run this morning. He asked if ‘Jez’ was feeling rough this morning. I think he was being sarcastic. People in the village envy our clean lifestyle. 

My Beauty Regime

First, let me start by saying I am naturally blessed with good genes so my make-up tends to be minimal, but a few of you have been asking how I look so flawless so here goes!

My first secret is water: I fully commit to drinking over five litres a day. I buy specially filtered water from my local whole food shop. With water you get what you pay for so cheaper bottles tend not to have such a high electrolyte count. 

My next secret is sleep. I’m so blessed because my children have always slept straight through which is lucky because the nursery was always on the top floor of the house and I couldn’t be running up and down two flights of stairs- however good it’d be for the glutes! Before I go to sleep, I douse my pillow with lavender extract and listen to a relaxing app called Sounds of a Quiet Office at Work. Jeremy says all my essential oils make him queasy and that’s why he often sleeps in the spare room. 

So that’s it really guys! Genes, water and sleep! That and at least three hours a week at Tanya’s Beauty Salon in Chipping Camden: she’s a magician.