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Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Crash

You’re like a windup toy 
That winds in the night
And flies into action early in the morning
You’re like a windup toy
With emotions
Big emotions 
Zooming through the air towards me with so much force that I have to hold onto things to stop me from whizzing away
You’re like a windup toy
A dog with a bone
A bat with a ball
Never stopping until the lights go off
You’re like a windup toy which tells me it’s every move
I’m going over here mummy
I’m drawing you a picture mummy
I just did a fart mummy
I’m hungry mummy
Windup toys don’t have a pause button 
Windup toys suddenly move when I thought they had run out of energy, making me jump
Windup toys don’t shout as loud as possible at 6 in the morning.
I’m glad you’re not a windup toy really but sometimes it would be good just to have time to pause so I can windup too.
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Holiday

Is a holiday a holiday when you wake up at 5.30am
Is a holiday a holiday when I’m looking forward to another holiday to recover from this holiday
Is a holiday a holiday when we leave our air bnb at 6.50am ready for the day
Is a holiday a holiday when I’m looking forward to bed
Or are these signs of a good time
Of adventure
Of excitement 
Of newness all around that blows your mind
And where I lose mine.
I’m trying to see a holiday through your eyes
And I’m wondering what time tomorrow will start. 
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A Snapshot In Time

Budge up
You say
As you clamber into my warm, cosy bed
The street lies quiet, not yet awake
Thoughts of the working day flood my head
Play Mummy play
And I remind myself 
You won’t do this forever
So enjoy it while I can
You clutch your lamb
In your dimpled hands
Play cats Mummy
Your laughter fills the room 
As I throw your lamb
Across the bed
You pounce on it like a cat
And put it on my head
A simple game makes you smile
A gem in time I want to pocket 
And cherish for a while
And I remind myself again
You won’t do this forever
So enjoy it while I can.
Featured

Honest Conversations

Have you done a poo yet Mummy?
You ask loudly as we eat our Saturday morning croissants
At the outside cafe near the park
A small and busy cafe
With just a few tables
A queue beginning to form outside
Your voice loud
Loud and excited on a Saturday morning.
I could lie or I could say it as it is
I’ve never been very good at lying
Yes I say
Did you?
Not yet you say
And so the weekend begins
With everyone around us up to date
With the movements of the day so far.
Featured

What If…

Diary of a solo mother
Pack things in, there’s no time for error 
You’re away at Granny’s for 48 hours
A list of things to do builds up in my head
All I really want to do is curl up in bed
But with so much to do each and every day
Time filled with tidying and putting things away
I ponder what if I didn’t go out
What if I didn’t get up
What if I stayed in bed
What if I slept for 48 hours
What if I didn’t contact friends
What if I didn’t make arrangements
What if, what if, what if...
But time is precious and too good to loose
So pack in what I can in the order I choose
And I enjoy every moment
Knowing you are doing the same
And soon enough we’ll be together again.
Featured

Remembering Summertime Adventures

(Our trip to Glastonbury)

The roof of our van leaks
The fridge doesn’t work
We have one ring working on the gas cooker
I start my period as we drive in the gates
It rains torrential rain
You know that word torrential now
And you like me to say it again and again.
We’re at Glastonbury which is a campsite 
Without the festival
For one year only
Because of Covid.
We wake up to thunder
You paint yourself with stripes
And say you’re a tiger
We make friends with another mum
And her son
We play corn hole together 
And I wonder why it’s called that.
We find the stone dragon 
You sit on a stone at the stone circle
We don’t get stoned.
We climb up to the pink castle
I get friction burn on my ankle 
From the pirate ship slide
We stand under the pyramid stage and shout
Whoo Hoo Glastonbury 
We get transfer tattoos 
We make a magic rainbow with tissue paper
We go to the pub which I didn’t know existed 
When it’s the usual 200, 000 people enlisted
In this magical place.
We laugh, we shout, we dance about
We ride the bike all around 
The site 
Each night 
When you’re in bed I feel like shouting from the van top
From the tent roof tops 
From the pub roof
We managed another day
Without getting washed away
You say you’ve forgotten what our house is like
And you want to live in the van for more than 
Seven nights
We are immersed in the camping extravaganza 
And we’re making memories which will be part of us forever.
Now it’s cold and dark with winter sun
I remember last summer and all that we’ve done.
Featured

Say It In Three

How many conversations can I have 
while I walk down the never ending 
stream of parents at pick up.
Moving with the ebb and flow 
of the tide of tired children 
hot on my heels, eager to get home.
There is no time for Hello how are you
How is work going, oh what do you do?
Dive in there, forget the small talk
Exchanging the headlines, turning while I walk.
Three word sentences seem to work quite well
Questions and answers flying, no time to dwell
Birthday meal successful?
Sleep any better? 
Roof on shed!
Bit chilly - park?
Sausages and mash
Sea swim Friday?
Nice jacket - new?
The Tourist, iplayer
Meet outside gate
Early pizza - pub?
Done test, negative
Finally I’m at the front of the queue
Your smiley face appears in the door 
Cardigan, book bag, ear muffs spilling out of your arms 
Together once more
I love you.
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Dinnertime Chat

‘Do you want to be buried or burnt’
You ask me at dinner
You could have asked when we were driving
When I could get away with being distracted
‘Probably burnt but remember I’d be dead already, 
I wouldn’t be alive’
But now have you got an image of 
me being burnt alive...
‘Bodies get turned into ash when they are burnt
A bit like the ash from the fire’
Suspiciously you glance at the wood burner
Your face creases with sadness 
as your mind begins to whirl
‘Who will be at my funeral mummy,
You’ll be dead’
Spaghetti shows itself again from your mouth 
as you stop chewing 
and  your tears take over 
You crawl into my arms
Such big thoughts for your little heart.
Featured

Carrots, Broccoli and Potatoes

Parsnips in disguise
Cut into strips
To look like a chip
They do not pass your lips.
Cauliflower finely grated
Blended between macaroni cheese
Mushrooms chopped up small in spaghetti bolognese.
Thank you carrots, broccoli and potato
For being there
Loyal through all the year
Especially in the winter months
When other vegetables and fruit
Have faded into summer skies.
And thank you cucumber and celery
Even if you’re extra watery out of season
But I don’t need a reason
As long as you eat them
Then we’ll reach your five a day.
The faithful apple and tangerine
Waiting patiently with the grapes
Easy peelers not so easy
But we eat them anyway.
Never would I have thought
We would have so many discussions about watermelons
And their ability to vanish when autumn arrives
You cry for watermelon, the queen of all fruit in your eyes
My secret weapon I can use to bring a smile to your face.
But carrots, broccoli and potatoes
What would I do without them
Even when you say ‘not again Mummy’
I still feel pleased they are in front of you
All year round
As three of your five a day.
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First Term

Your first term at school
Keeping it together is taking its toll
Six hours on the trot without a shout
The moment we get home you let it all out
You flop on the sofa, you scream and roar
You release the day and lie down on the floor
Others manage to do after school activities
You’d be on your knees
Begging me please 
To go home
People suggest playdates
Which is about as far away from a date as I can remember
I haven’t had a date for many a September
Not the most relaxing thing to do
With a tired and grumpy little you
Your brain must be working overtime
Always on the go, you’re a buzzing sunshine
I try to make sure we have quality time
I cram in work between drop off
And pick up
Remembering to make food,
Clean and wash up.
When we do get home from school
There’s more than enough to do
Like make dinner
Have a play
Practise your reading
And writing your name
It’s absurd
How much you’ve learnt
In a short space of time
With the never-ending things to do
Of places to be and people to see
We’ll get there eventually
You and me.
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Big Feelings

You’re an emotional roundabout
With so much to think about
You’re up 
Then you’re down
You go round 
And round
I’m dizzy
With this ride
I feel I’m being turned inside
My parenting is going under
I feel like you’re a big ball of thunder
Roaring through the sky
Ready to take off and fly
I know it’s only because you’re tired
Starting school, you’re feeling wired
Keeping it together for 6 hours a day
Learning social skills all the time through play
But my oh my my head is hurting
Trying to balance everything with working
For now I have some hours which are all mine
I’ll miss you but I will definitely cherish this time.
Featured

Who Are You?

Are you Miss, Mrs or other?
Kev at the garage asks
No I’m a mother
I think to myself
Just do the MOT Kev, what does it matter.
But if you really want to know then
I’m a solo mum
Who didn't find the one
I was determined not to give up
And just sit on my bum
So I went to a clinic
They gave me a cup of tea
They showed me a list of donors
Suitable for me
Quite a different scenario 
From what I thought it would be 
A choice I made 4 years ago
Is that the information you really want to know?
So no Kev
As nice and kind as you seem
I’m not a Miss or Mrs or a flavoured ice cream
I’m a person with a name just like you
I know you’re just doing what you’re told to do
But I’m only here to get our campervan fixed
I didn’t expect an internal dialogue thrown into the mix.

Featured

The 3am Wee Dilemma

I wake from a deep dream and need a wee
No need to look at my clock it’s probably just past three
I think about whether to go
The floorboards will creak if I tiptoe past your room
The noise of my wee might make you want to wee 
Then it might overflow in your nappy
And wake you up.
If you wake now you might not go back to sleep
I wait a bit longer, I’m not sure what for
I still don’t move
Now It’s probably nearly four 
Two more hours and you’ll start to stir
My mind starts to stir
A mash up of thoughts and ideas
Leaving a blur
And I still need a wee.
If I leave it any longer
It’ll start to get light
Then I may as well wave goodbye to the night
Five is danger zone
If you wake then you’ll insist on not being alone 
I could have been there and back by now
It takes less than a minute
Tick tick tock
I want the clock to stop
I still don’t get up
And I still need a wee.
I’ve never really procrastinated before
But now it seems I do but only between the hours 
Of three and four
At last I get up 
I do my best not to make a noise
I’m there and back in record time
The relief heavy as my pillow engulfes my head
Feeling the safety of my bed
I hear you cough and snuffle about
I lie still and try not to breathe
That’s not going to help
Then no sound
Back in the safe zone
No need to look at my phone
To check the time
Comforted by knowing the next couple of hours
Are hopefully just mine.
Featured

Starting School

You run through the bubbles to your classroom
And you don’t look back
I feel the tears run down my hot face
And long for your little warm hand
Safely holding mine
3.15 is when I’ll see you again
But for now it’s just past 9.
I walk across the playground
Which is still full of noise
People saying ‘Good luck’
‘You’ll be fine’ and ‘don’t be scared’
It feels like you’re off to war
And the parents are left on the shore
Only this is a different war
The war of the system.
F**k the system I think
A sudden anger makes me blink
Whoever made up these rules
Who said children have to go to school
So young and for so many years
I wipe away the rush of tears.
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
Pink Floyd shouts loudly in my head
Update the system, I think loudly,
This one is old and soon to be dead.
You’re in a class of 30
And a year group of 90
With 6 teaching staff
And you’re 4 years old
How is that possible
Will all the parents do as they’re told?
Rules are there to be broken, I think,
I let my imagination unfold.
I want to book a trip away for us
Anywhere really, I’m not fussed
Can the teachers ask me why
You’re not 5 until July
Could you be part time
Or shall I home educate
And give up my job
We could go away in our van
Live in the moment, do whatever we can.
But am I thinking of you or me
You who went off so happily
You who loves learning
Who is surrounded by friends
But you are still so young
So innocent and small
Although you do a good job
Of looking older because you’re tall
But you still call a bridge a fridge
You like to take your clothes off and be free
You think the grass gets dizzy when we drive by it
You call Wallabies Wobbilies
You say udder for other
You say you have a fast forward duvet cover
When you mean reversible
And it kind of makes sense.
I notice my tears still there
I see the learning mentor who I sort of know
I try to wave and say hello
But I cry and can’t seem to stop
And she gives me a reassuring hug
I leave a wet tear mark on her shoulder
I try to wipe it off as I hold her.
So off I go to work and off you go to school
I’m left with my thoughts of what to do
And all I can think about is you
And the hug when I see you again
When we meet at your classroom door
That is all I am waiting for.
Featured

Camping

Packing
Endless things
In the event of things
That may or
May not
Happen.
Clothes for rainy days
Sunny days
Cold nights
Warm nights
Upstairs
Downstairs
Back upstairs forgot the toothbrush
Downstairs forgot warm socks
Back upstairs
So much effort for 
Two nights on our own
In a field next to Alpaca’s 
And a camel called George.
It rains torrential rain
Then thunders
Then the sun comes out again.
On our misty van back window
You write your name
With a smile on your face
So proud of what you’ve done
And in that moment the effort 
Pays off.
We explore
Cook food
Wash up
Find the toilets
Discover the rope swings
You draw endless drawings
I whizz you around on the picnic blanket like a magic carpet 
You shriek with laughter
We make a campfire and toast marshmallows 
And then it’s time for your bed.
You fall into a deep sleep
I’m totally shattered.
I sit by the fire 
In a daze of the day
And listen 
To people chatting
Corks popping
Music playing
I see people around their campfire
Laughing together
Tiredness sweeps in
I close the van door with a loud bang as it’s the only way to shut it.
You keep on snoring
The noise of other peoples evenings drifts around the van
I roll into bed 
And wait for unconsciousness.
Featured

Crumbs

Everywhere you go, you eat
So there are crumbs in my bed
There are crumbs on the floor
There are crumbs in my bag
There are crumbs in my coat pocket
There are crumbs stuck to my socks
There are crumbs in your hair.
I remember a time without crumbs
In my bed.
That's something I miss
An uncrumby bed.
But then if I had an uncrumby bed
I wouldn't have you
So I'll live with a crumby bed
Even though
In the night when I roll over onto crumbs
I swear and try to brush them out
But they never fully go.
There's always one or two
That stay.
So for the next 10 years
I'll probably have a crumby bed
Unless we stop having breakfast in bed
At the weekend
But I hope we never stop that.
I haven't considered the issue of crumbs
In so much depth until now.
Featured

Graze

You fell over your scooter at nursery
And grazed your knee
The teacher put a mesh thing on it
The blood dried and got stuck.
That was a new experience for you and me
Oh the noise when you looked at it
"Stop looking at it" I say
"You stop looking at it" you say
And you wail at the horror of the unfamiliar 
Graze.
You took ages to go to sleep that night
Crying in pain with all of your might
The walls seemed to shake
And so did my brain.
When you were finally quiet
I lay in bed thinking
I really need to take the mesh thing off
So it can breathe.
I crept into your room
In the depths of the night
And as you breathed out
I pulled it
And didn't stop until it was off.
You woke and groaned
"My graze, my graze"
And I stopped still
Then you started snoring again.
I crept back to bed
Breathed out and finally slept.
Featured

Growing Up

People say "You look so tall
You're growing up
You're one of the tallest 3 year olds I know"
And so the comments go
And yes you are getting taller
And yes you are growing up
But today you fell off the toilet seat
For no apparent reason
And I thought to myself
Good, you might be getting taller
But you're still 3 years old
And you won't do that when you're grown up.
You still put your head in the arm hole
Of your T-shirt
You still fall to the floor and shout 
When you can't put a pen lid on
You still dress up as Cotton Tail
And eat dinner and chat 
As if it's the most normal thing ever
You still refuse to let me wash your hair
You still burst into tears
When your bottom and legs get stuck to the chair
Because you've decided to wear 
Nothing at breakfast
You still make up your own language 
And think it's the funniest thing ever
You still like singing the Spanish version
Of 'Let It Go' at the top of your voice
Running down the street in fairy wings
And a witch's dress and no pants
So please grow up slowly
And continue to fall off the toilet seat
Because I don't do that now
And I wish I still did. 
Featured

All I need is a wee

You shout out my name
The volume makes my ears ring
Unable to think.
You shout it again
This time louder and with force
“I’m doing a wee”
I shout down the stairs
“I just need a wee, hang on”
You shout out my name
Again
And
Again
And
Again
It sounds like you're ready to explode
I walk back down the stairs
Feeling anger bubbling away.
"You knew I was going to do a wee,
Why do you have to shout like that?"
"I want plaits in my hair today"
You say
And I have to remember, you are 3 
Living in the moment
Is really what you do
And what people spend a whole life time
Remembering how to do it
But it's very hard to think that
When all I needed was a wee.
Featured

Patience Of A F***ing Saint

No-one really mentioned patience
Before you came along
It wasn’t top 3 of people’s top tips
They seemed to miss out that one.

Why oh why I wonder
When patience is what I’m always after
Patience not just from anyone
But patience from a f***ing Saint.

Brushing teeth is fatal
A place where my patience dies
Getting you dressed is also a time
When patience finds a place to hide.

Putting footwear on for some reason is tricky
I look for patience but it’s gone
These are the times in the day, everyday
When it’s tricky me being the only one.

When I’m tired or hungry or just a bit low
When my patience is depleted 
It’s got nothing to show
That’s when I need a Saint to show 
With a seed of patience I can plant and grow.

When you’re finally in bed
At the end of a long day
I say I Love You and shut the door
Patience has long since drifted away.

I take a breath in and I breathe out slowly
I tumble down the stairs 
And say to no-one 
Please 
give 
me 
the patience 
of a 
f***ing 
Saint.
Featured

Working It Out

“I want a Daddy” you shout at the top of your voice
The tidy looking woman next to us pretends not to hear
Sipping her double latte wishing she’d not sat so near 
How you gonna deal with that one
She must be wondering 
I’ll show you I think to myself
“Why don’t I have a Daddy,
Buy me one” you continue
And I remember quickly back
To the book I made for you.
I’ve memorised the lines
To use in these times
“I really wanted to have a baby,” I say
“I didn’t meet the right man
To be your Daddy
So I went to a clinic which is a bit like a hospital 
And they said they could 
Help me”.
You look at me intently listening to each word 
“There is a way to have children
Without needing to find the right person.
So that’s what I did.
They helped me have a baby 
And that baby was you”.
That was the abbreviated version
Just to calm you momentarily 
Although now I wish I’d gone into more detail
And included the words
Sperm and Egg and Donor in a loud voice
Just so I could’ve see the tidy woman’s reaction.
“I love you Mummy” you shout
“I didn’t want a Daddy anyway”
You say
That’s how I deal with that one, tidy woman, I think.
Fast forward a year and a half
We’re at a friends house
“Where’s your Daddy?”
Your friend’s sister asks
For a second I look at you to check
Your reaction
Then I step in and repeat our story
And the friend’s sister listens, taking it all in.
You look at me 
And with our eyes we have a conversation 
While we carry on eating our tea.
We check each other’s reactions
We know we’re both just fine
These conversations will keep happening 
From time to time
So it’s good to practise and know what to say
We finish our baked potato
And you all go off and play.
Featured

Half finished sentences in the par…

Have you been to Lak...
Where did you say that par...
How’s your Mu...
What did you get up to at the...
We went to ...
What’s that place called near ...
What have you got for dinner, I need some inspirati...
Do you want to share some ca...
Next weekend we’re going to stay in a...
I’ve booked 3 nights camping at a We...
Thinking of going to the festival near ...
Do you ever end up wondering about wha...
Fancy going out next Sa...

One day I’ll get to finish my sentences 
to friends in the park but for now I’ll 
just have to be patie...

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Threenager

You shout in my face
You say I smell of poo
You try to bite me 
You say “I don’t like you”
You wail on the floor
You go bright red
You throw your shoes around
And shake your head
You look explosive
It’s hard not to match you
With your threenager roars
I try it out 
I get on all fours
And I roar my terrible roars 
Like the Wild Things do
With Max when he says to his Mum
"I'll eat you up".
I stomp about the kitchen
I slam doors
I match your behaviour 
And forget all my chores
I hit the door 
I lie on the floor
I’m a Wild Thing after all
And I realise you’re looking at me
As if I was three
For a moment there’s silence 
As you try to work out
What the hell I’m on about
Then you carry on
And I collapse in a heap
Until I find the energy 
To try every technique 
To help you out of this rage
It’s like you’re stuck on the same page
Over and over you go
And then boom you’ve stopped
Just like that
Something must have finally snapped
You out of your trance
And into a dance
As if nothing happened
And I’m left wondering if I just imagined
Everything I saw
I feel like I’ve been washed up on the shore
And so the day continues
And finishes 
And another day starts
And your roars keep coming
Again and again
Never failing to leave me wondering
Is this just what happens 
And I have to remind myself
You’re three
I’m not
So just keep loving you
And remember we are so lucky 
With everything we've got.
Featured

The Voice In My Head #2

Am I enough
I ask myself regularly
In my head
When I’m in bed
When I say night night to you and your lamby
Am I doing enough with you
Playing enough
Being fun enough
Nice enough
Or am I snappy like a crocodile
Roar like a lion a bit too much
I thought I’d be a Fun Mum
Wild and whacky 
Driving around Europe 
When you’re still in nappies
Sleeping in campsites 
Which we just come across
Finding idealic places when we get lost
Going off piste
Up a mountain
Into a forest
Sleeping in a meadow field
Eating what we find
Berries in the hedgerows
Apples from an orchard
Grapes from a hidden tree
Catching fish from a stream
Camping out under the stars 
But no
I can manage 3 nights away in our van
With next to no sleep
And very few plans
We can make it up on the spot
Improvise
Be spontaneous 
For a bit
Toast mashmellows around the campfire
Feel the grass
Beneath our feet
Before looking forward to coming back home
Where old toys seem new
The place doesn’t seem as messy
I don’t feel so stressy
I see our house with new eyes
Your eyes
My eyes
Our eyes
And the park that we go to nearly everyday 
Seems fresh and new
Even I want to play
So maybe 
A few nights away suits us for now
And we can dream of being 
In far off lands
The day will come
When we make it to Africa
And Denmark
France and Spain
When we immerse ourselves
In other cultures
Again and again
But for now we’ll try to conquer
Short breaks away in the van
And be grateful for doing as well as we can.
Featured

Noticing Things

The first night away from each other for months. 
You’re staying at Granny’s. 
I’m noticing things which I don’t normally have time to notice.
I notice there are cobwebs on the wall
I notice there’s dust on the skirting boards
I notice the plug in the sitting room makes a high pitched noise
I notice the oven clock sometimes ticks even though it’s not working. 
I notice the tap in the kitchen drips more than I though it did
I notice your hand prints on the sitting room window
I notice a line of crumbs at the edge of the carpet
I notice Suzy sheep poking her head out from underneath the red pouffe
“Hello Suzy, I wonder how long you’ve been there”.
I notice the bump under the bathroom rug 
Which I’ve been stepping on for months,
I realise I have time to investigate. It’s a 5p.
I notice red pen on the sofa cushions
I notice pasta sauce in folds of the curtain
I notice the travel books on the shelves and wonder if we’ll ever use them 
I notice the birds chirping in the evening light
I notice how I’m looking forward to sleeping more than 6 hours in a row
I notice I’m missing you but I know you’re enjoying yourself
And so am I.
I notice I keep reading the same line in my book 
I notice how tired I am
I notice your familiar snuffles as I drift off to sleep even though you’re not here
Snuffle snuffle 
And off I go
To sleep.
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Thank you Michael Palin

(Written during lockdown)

Hooray for the Clangers
For Michael Palin’s 
Soothing voice
As he translates Tiny and Smalls Clanger language
With curious accuracy.
He understands the Clangers
And I think I do too
If I could live anywhere else I’d live on 
The Clangers planet
Where the Iron Chicken sings lullabies at bedtime
The Sky Moos flap their 
Ears like wings 
The Singing Flowers help out with Tiny’s orchestra
And the Cloud rains musical raindrops.
“I want to watch the Clangers Mummy” 
“Yippee” I shriek with excitement 
And we bundle ourselves up together 
In front of the fire 
With covers wrapped around us.
You sit on my lap while I smell your hair.
We laugh as Froglets change colour and
Bounce about like you.   
Mother Clanger walks around in a daze like me.
Granny Clanger makes me laugh, 
Sitting on a green pouf meditating
With oversized cotton balls stuffed in her ears.
While Major Clanger invents 
Pointless pieces of equipment 
To try to solve problems.
When there’s a breeze or the Clangers are running 
Their ears flap back and forth
And I laugh and wonder 
Who had the final say 
On their ears flapping that way. 
For 11 minutes we are in harmony 
No rushing, no cross words between us
Just the warm fuzzy feeling 
Of shared enjoyment after a day of 
Riding the rollercoaster of solo parenting.
So thank you Michael Palin 
For allowing myself permission 
To find my inner child 
With my little child in these tricky times.
I believe you live in the Clangers Planet
Maybe one day we’ll see you there.
Featured

Letters

(Written during lockdown)

You read your name on your blanket 
Made by Granny 
“That’s the letter 3”
You say as you reach the ‘e’
Your brain tick ticking away
Making connections in curious ways
And it kind of make sense
Without over thinking
“They look similar”
You say.
You burst into a rendition of 
The alphabet song 
At full volume
All signs of sleep
Quickly gone.
L M N O P
Turns to
Lemon Ellow Pea
And I think of Elmer in yellow 
Eating peas.
It kind of makes sense
Without over thinking.
You finally reach Z 
Your head touches the pillow
Still humming away
We say goodnight
And I leave your room
Hoping the alphabet song will follow
So I can throw it out the window 
It’s jingling tune going round in my head
L M N O P L M N O P on repeat
As I walk down the stairs with Elmer 
To find some peas and something yellow.
Wondering if this is lockdown fatigue setting in
Or just regular tiredness
Or if my mind is slightly loosing the plot 
In the world of a 3 year old
Which would kind of make sense
Without over thinking.








Featured

An Ode to Ivan

(written during lockdown)

“Can we get a toastie Mummy 
 And then an ice cream?”
 You skip along 
 Innocently oblivious to the doom of 
 Drizzly Sunday mornings in the park. 
 “If Ivan is open” I say
 If Ivan is there, all will be fine.
 Ivan who always wears a white T-shirt
 Ivan who doesn’t know our names
 But we know his.
 Ivan who doesn’t know he is a household name
 In our house.
 It’s the only time in our week during this 
 Never ending lockdown
 Where I don’t have to make 
 My own cup of tea.
 He cuts up a chocolate tiffin 
 Into 4 pieces 
 Because I asked him to do that once 
 And he remembered.
 The park is bearable on cold winter mornings 
 With Ivan in his hut.
 A reassuring presence without many words 
 And a cup of tea
 Made for me. 
 That makes me so happy. 
Featured

Deja Vu

(Written during lockdown)

I think I say the same things at roughly the same time 
Every day.
Often starting the day with
“Poppet it’s early, come and lie down in my bed for a bit”
“I won’t lie down I’ll sit up” you say
“Ok sit up and play with your toys while I lie down”
“I want you to sit up too Mummy”
And so the day begins
When I’ve given into the fact I won’t go back to sleep, 
We get up.
We do a 15 minutes Joe Wicks high intensity workout 
“Mummy I wonder if he’ll have a pony tail today”
And you’re pleased to see he does.
“Grab a drink Mummy”
“Hang on a sec, we’ve only just started”
“Come on mummy you can do it”
You say as you push my back and poke my ear
I say thank yous to keep you in a good mood
While trying to keep my cool.
After battling my way through physical harshness
And flashes of intense emotions
At an unreasonable hour in the morning
Our workout is complete.
More predictable interactions anchor our morning
“Can I watch the Clangers?”
“After breakfast”
“No now”
“After breakfast, it’ll be ready in a minute”
“Muuuuuuum”
And we continue
Our predictable morning routine
With 5 minutes to go before we leave for nursery
You predictably need a poo 
I try to keep my cool
“Chill with the will Mummy”
I think to myself I didn’t know I said that
Enough for you to remember it.
We finally tumble out of our front door
“What a dark, grim day” you say quickly followed by
“It’s only rain, we can still have fun”
And you skip off down the road
“Mind the poo, go around it” you shout
And I hear my voice in your voice
As the day has begun, ready to set sail 
For another day
The same day
Just a few hours on.
 
Featured

Reflections

(Written during lockdown)

“Look”, you say as we sit in my bed,
“I can see the flerections of the fairy lights in the window,
They’re red and the sky is black,
It looks like they’re dancing in the sky”
And as beautiful as it sounds
I think to myself 
We can only see the bloody ‘flerections’
Because it’s still so bloody early and it’s still so bloody dark.
And so the day starts.
Featured

A Tribute to ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley

(with motherhood in mind. Written during lockdown)

On my way back from nursery 
Swinging your lamby in the air
I walked past a woman
And I tried not to stare
At her young baby
Being pushed in a pram
While the woman
Chatted to her friend 
About making fruit puree
And painful breastfeeding
And sleepless nights
And I was transported back
To our flat
In those early months 
With you
And it made me think…
'I remember when
I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place
Even your emotions have an echo in so much space
And when you're out there without care
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Possibly...'
And so the lyrics continue in my head
Summing up some of the early days of 
Motherhood
You being out there without a 
Care, just being there
While my mind free flowed 
As the hours went by
In a haze
And I was out of touch with reality
For days
And fruit puree is no longer in my 
Everyday vocabulary 
Sadly sleepless nights are
Which continue to 
Make me crazy.
Will they ever end
Possibly...
Featured

Mainstream

(Written during lockdown)

We seem to have gone mainstream.
We have Joe Wicks in our lives in the mornings
You ask me if we can visit him at his house.
I have Gogglebox in my Friday night landscape 
And The Voice on Saturdays 
I like the American rapper will.i.am.
We have roast chicken on Sundays
Fish and chips on Fridays
Sausages and mash at some point
Pasta when I can’t think of anything else
Which is quite often.
Pizza makes an appearance maybe on a Thursday
As does Macarooni cheese 
And baked potatoes.
Ham and cheese toasty after nursery
On a Friday as an end of week treat
Sometimes followed by a mini milk.
Is this our life now
Mainstream
Mainstream food.
We dance around to Taylor Swift ‘Shake it Off’
And shout Woo Hoo George Ezra
When he comes on the radio.
Will we look different if this continues for much longer
Have I lost my identity and moulded you into the world of
Mainstream.
Will people no longer describe me as quirky
Or a bit different
Individual
Left field
Off piste
On her own road
Track
Path
Or will mainstream have an expiry date. 
Does it still count for something that we say
‘Off they go on holiday’ 
When we put our clothes in the washing basket
Or am I just grasping at hope that
Left field is on the back burner
Woodburner
Fire pit
Out of bounds
Just for the moment.
Come on quirky
I never liked that word
But I’ll invite you back
If it means I’m still different.
Featured

Roundabout

(Written during lockdown)

The roundabout goes on
Never stopping
Round and round
The roundabout can’t slow down
You don’t slow down
No time to think 
Just do
And keep going
Never stopping 
I start making dinner
“Muuuuuum I need a wee”
You sit on the potty
I carry on cooking our dinner
“Muuuuuum I’ve finished”
You finish on the potty
I carry on cooking our dinner
“Muuuuuum I want to watch something”
“Please, say please 
It makes all the difference”
“Please can I watch something”
We decide on Daniel Tiger 
I carry on cooking our dinner
“Muuuuuu I’m hungry”
“Please say please 
It makes all the difference” 
Repeat 
Repeat
Repeat
I give you a snack 
To help buy me time 
To continue cooking our dinner
So close to eating and so far away
“Muuuuuum” and so it goes on
I listen to the radio
Zoe Ball and Sara Cox bookend my day
I’ve grown to like them
It feels like I know them
I dance in the kitchen
You look up from Daniel Tiger
You laugh and run in to join me 
We giggle and dance 
Around the dusty kitchen floor
That needs sweeping
And save that for another day.
This roundabout is dancing now 
My favourite thing to do
Dinner can wait
Dancing can never wait
This roundabout goes on.
Featured

Daydreaming

(Written during lockdown)

I see the white wall 
In the garden 
That I painted 
In the summer. 
I stare at it 
Each time we eat. 
In the white wall 
I see festivals
Trips in the van 
Dancing in fields 
Picnics with family 
The sky as I go running
And swims in the sea 
With the sun shining 
In the early morning.
Daydreams happen 
In that white wall 
Just for seconds 
At a time. 
In between conversations 
About Elsa, Arna and Olaf 
Or chatter about our plans 
For the day ahead, 
Who we’re going to see 
Or what we have done. 
It’s my white square 
Of white wall 
That I see as I 
Daydream
With you always 
Nearby
Chirping away.
Featured

Locked Together

(Written during lockdown)

I know there’s a world 
That goes on around us
But for now I am in it
With you, my 3 year old.
Absorbed, emerged, sunk in.
Deep down, under water.
The rest of life continues
And every now and then 
I come up for air.
It’s been months now
I’ve been waking up between 5 and 6am
I’ve been going to bed by 9.30pm
To make sure I get enough sleep.
Trying to read a few pages of a book
Before collapsing into a deep
Brief sleep
Which keeps me going,
Until the next night.
I’ll look back at this time
As the intense, engulfing torrent 
That was lockdown.
Working at home, living at home
Trying to be present with you
At home
Knowing that a tidal wave of work
Hides behind the laptop
And the work phone and I'm always
Within earshot of its shrill ring.
Put that out of my mind, my head
My busy head full of thoughts
Flying along 
Like lorries on a motorway
Looking for the next service station
Where they can pull in and take a break
But that break 
Is still a little bit far away.
Maybe the next week
Or week after.
Come on lockdown, ease up
Before my mind freezes up
And me and you
Merge into one.
Featured

Patience

(Written during lockdown)

I’ll be there in  a minute
Just coming
Hang on a tick
Nearly there
Wait a min
On my way
I’ll meet you over there
Two mins
Give me two seconds
I just need five mins
Ok yep just...
Two ticks
Just need to do this
Two secs
Hang on.
You’re learning the art of
Patience.
And so am I.
Featured

Campervan trip #1

“What will I eat mum”
You say in your sleep
Our first night away in the van.
The next words are at 4am 
When you start a cheerful
Rendition
Of ‘Father Christmas 
Is Coming Down The Chimney’.
This time not asleep
But fully awake.
“Sleep some more please poppet”
I say
“I can see a bird on the fire pit
Is the fire out?”
You say
“Where are all the men’s and woman’s?
I like you mummy,
I love you mummy,
We love each other mummy”
“I love you poppet.
Please can you go back to sleep”
“But it’s light”
You say
“It’s daytime”
You say
“Not yet pickle,
People are still asleep.
It’s still very early in the morning”
“It’s quiet mummy”
“Yes it is.
Please go back to sleep”
“We can sing together,
Sing with me”
And so this carries on 
For what seems like a very long time
I drift in and out of sleep
Like a fever
My body so heavy
It feels like a pack of sand
And I can’t work out how I’ll function
Until bedtime.
By lunchtime we’ve done everything
And you ask to go to sleep
And you’re still asleep 2 hours later.
Bliss.
But I think of the night to come
And the panic
Of being woken again
I need to wake you up
But you’re like a pack of sand
Dreaming of parallel lands.
Featured

My Beach

(Written during lockdown)

I saw the sea today 
Madeira Drive closed 
Open only for exercise 
I ran down the middle 
Of the road
Along the white lines
And looked at the sea
And my beach
Every day I swam
With you growing in my tummy
Now you’re at nursery
Running about
While I run to the sea
Before I start work
I couldn’t imagine that before
But it’s happening
And one day you’ll be at school
Running about 
While I run to the sea
Before I start work
But that’s not happening yet
So I’m going to choose
Not to imagine it
Yet
So I keep on running.
Featured

Countdown

(Written at the start of lockdown before daytime naps stopped)

The clock is set
The time begins
Now that you’re asleep
Ticking down the minutes
Until you wake again
There’s many things to do
Clean the dirtiest part of 
The house
That’s the most noticeable
Cook the next meal
Plan what to do when you wake
And think of what tomorrow 
Might bring
Look up what epoxy resin is
Start making a bug hotel
So it looks exciting enough 
For you to help
Do some work
Finish writing a children’s book
Keep in touch with friends 
And family
Order something from 
Amazon which,
At the time,
Seems impossible 
To live without
Remember to drink water
Sit for 10 minutes 
I see the time
I hear your noise
The countdown theme tune 
Starts in my head
With Carol Vordermon and 
Richard Whiteley 
Singing loudly in my ears
And nap time is finished 
Once more
Da-da, da-da, 
da-da-da-da 
Boom.
Featured

Wild Side

(Written at the start of lockdown)

My wild side looks similar 
To when we went to Glastonbury 
I haven’t showered since Sunday
I’ve worn the same clothes on 
And off for nearly 4 weeks
Apart from my pants
My hair remains unwashed 
Since maybe end of last week
We’re eating what we have 
And buy what we need
I’ve got a suntanned face 
From unexpected sun
I fall into bed completely 
Shattered 
And sleep deeply for a few hours
Then wake with a start 
And rub my eyes 
And put on the same clothes 
And repeat
And repeat
And repeat.
It’s the wild side for now
And it’s becoming normal.
Featured

Stop, Look, Listen

(Written during lockdown)

We’ll make play dough
Of all different colours
No you said
We’ll draw rainbow pictures 
And put them all over the window
No you said
We’ll make banana muffins
And have a teddy bears picnic
No you said
We’ll make our own ice lollies
We’ll put fruit in them
No you said
We’ll make a den with boxes
And paint them bright colours
No you said
We’ll paint our face and be animals
No you said
We’ll make a daisy chain necklace
No you said
I mix pink food colouring 
into white sauce 
Just for fun
Don’t do that again mummy
I make a rainbow 
and put it in the window
Take it down Mummy
No I said
I make muffins 
and forget to add the butter
They taste a bit funny mummy
And so we walk on the wall
Around the park
We watch ice cubes melt
You make a nest with cushions
We water the plants
You water the ground 
And make patterns 
To jump over 
You know what you want
The clue to what we do
Is you
Not ideas 
But the real deal
In front of me
That’s the clue
To deciding what we do
 
Featured

The voice in my head

(Written during lockdown)

Mummy can you play with me
Just need to brush my teeth
Mummy...
And so it goes on
And the voice in my head says
She‘s asking to play, 
Don’t ignore that invitation 
And the other voice says
Don’t worry about brushing your
teeth
But the other voice says 
she can wait, 
it’s good for her to wait
And the other voice says
Put yourself first and brush your 
teeth
And the other voice says 
she can help  
brush your teeth and 
do hers at the same time 
And the other voice says 
Bollocks to that I just want 
2 minutes 
to brush my teeth alone. 
And it will be 2 minutes because 
it’s an electric toothbrush
And the other voice says 
2 minutes is that all you’re 
going to give yourself
And the other voice says 
maybe I’ll play first 
then brush them
And the other voice says 
you’re overthinking 
just brush your bloody teeth
And so it goes on 
in a split second
And that’s only one 
tiny weeny thing 
at the beginning of the day
And is it bedtime yet?
12 hours to go
And many more voices come and go
And I’m so lucky to have 
your voice speaking back at me
I just wish sometimes time could 
pause 
And I could have a breather 
From the familiar
And travel with my thoughts to 
wherever they want to go
Before they are stopped mid 
thought so abruptly
With a question from you
And the voice in my head 
never goes away
And there’s nobody else there 
to talk to 
Apart from the voice in my head
Am I up to the job of being a 
solo parent
If I am thinking like this
Is it normal to be thinking 
like this
I think so 
says the voice in my head
If there was someone else there
You would share
But there isn’t so you carry on
And do the best you can
And so it goes on
And the clock ticks on 
Because it can’t stop
And so it goes on
But one day soon
Hopefully we can see family
And friends and they can
Be that voice that talks back
But for now
Time goes on
the clock ticks on
You and me together
And we go on
And on 
And on...
Featured

Patterns

‘Want to come in your room’ 
you say at 5am
Oh no, I think, 
please, please not again 
‘Want to come in your room’ 
you say with a whine
Be strong I think, 
she’s not coming in this time

I say ‘just lie down 
for a little bit more
I’ll come back soon 
and open the door’
‘No, no 
want to come in your room’

You voice echoes in the dark
‘Ooh Little Roo, 
it’s such an early start’
‘I’ll lie down and go to sleep’ 
you say with a plead
2 years ago you used to wake 
for early feeds

The pattern of waking changes 
from time to time
At the moment 5am 
is not a favourite of mine
‘But no Little Roo 
it’s just too early’
‘But I want to come in your bed, 
it’s so cosy’

‘Well we can make a deal 
which is you must lie down
Please be quiet for a while, 
it’s too early for sound’
‘Yes yes’ you say, 
‘I wuv you Mummy’
That makes it harder 
and also quite funny
‘Come on then’ 
I say with a yawn
We clamber into my bed 
where it’s still a bit warm

I lie down and say 
‘lie down too’
‘Books, milk and animals’ 
‘Oohhhh Little Roo
We made a deal, 
I just need a bit longer’
‘Nooo’ you say 
leaving me no time to ponder
And so the day starts 
too soon once again
Better plan the day 
and find a friend.
Featured
I roared like a lion in your face
You didn’t flinch an inch
You told me to keep still
I told you to fuck off
You didn’t flinch an inch

I roared like a lion in your face
You didn’t flinch an inch
You told me you’d do the epidural
You skilfully timed it in between contractions
You didn’t flinch an inch

I roared like a lion in your face
Then the drugs kicked in
I looked at you and felt bad for what I’d said
You knew what I was thinking
You smiled
You didn’t flinch an inch.