First week in Edinburgh

Rod and I sat eating steak and ale pie today in a little restaurant called Mackenzies, with no children. It was peaceful. The noise of the last seven days had finally subsided and we could eat, talk in full sentences and stay seated. It was nice.

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The wallpaper in the wee man’s room was unexpected…

Not to say our first week in the capital hasn’t been nice, it’s just been a bit mental. The biggest problem has been the stairs. We have lived in a bungalow for the last three years, so the wee man has turned into George of the Jungle and KD has become a penguin, sliding down on his belly at any opportunity. It’s been tricky carrying boxes up and down and preventing A&E trips (again. See last post.)

We’ve had the inevitable sleepless nights as the big one plays musical beds and the wee one cries for no apparent reason, we’ve had the hourly shouts of “have you seen the…?” and we’ve been trying to only put things in the attic when the wee man is distracted otherwise he demands to ‘help’.

But now that everything is unpacked and the boys are in nursery for their first full day, Rod, who starts his new job tomorrow, and I can congratulate ourselves a bit. We’re here – we made it! We’re still standing and still married. We LOVE Colinton and we were pleasantly surprised with the size of the house, which actually fits all our stuff.

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We were delighted to discover a lane between our neighbours’ houses which leads almost directly to the Water of Leith and a fantastic playpark. The local shops, which we can walk to, include two pubs, two restaurants, a coffee shop, a post office, a dry cleaner and an art gallery (we are in Edinburgh after all). We walked up to the nursery this morning and we can drive to our fancy-pants new gym in 15 minutes. (I might give the gym its own post I’m so chuffed with it.)

I think, though, the best thing about being here has been the people. On Monday night we pretty much turned up at Karrie and Andy’s demanding dinner. They live a 12 minute walk away and we had only just got the keys and the kids were hungry. Their little poppet, who’s two and a half, even offered her booster seat to KD. Love.

On Wednesday my mum came through from Glasgow for the day and on Sunday my sister just popped by with her boyfriend – I can’t tell you how much I love that they can do that now. We even got a lovely welcome from friends we’d made on holiday this year who live in The Grange in a fabulous house they’ve recently extended. They gave us coffee and cakes and didn’t even fuss when the wee man mistook their daughter’s treasured snow globe for a bouncy ball and hurled it against the wall. Mortified, I helped search through Amazon for a replacement – only to click ‘buy now’ and casually charge it to our friends’ account. Guys – again – I’m sorry – we will make it up to you. *cringe*

Tomorrow I’ll wave Rod off with his new schoolbag, take the wee man to nursery and have my day with KD. We’re booked into a baby singing class at the gym (told you it was awesome) and then I’m looking forward to a long walk exploring my new city. I think we’re going to like it here.

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On the move again

I’ll need to change the blog tag to: Mummykimmy – a Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh blog.

On Monday we get the keys to our temporary new home in the capital and I am very nearly excited.

See, I thought we were doing it the right way this time, with Rod taking some time off between jobs and our Little Orange Book of Lists keeping us right. But life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

We haven’t sold the house yet, we only sorted the lease on the rented house today and my youngest child swallowed a glass pebble yesterday so we had an unscheduled overnight at the children’s hospital in Glasgow. We’ve also spent rather more time planning our social engagements than our packing schedule – do you think I could ask the babysitter to empty a few cupboards once the boys are asleep?


Bright as a button after the glass pebble was removed under general anaesthetic

Basically it’s all on Rod. In a dramatic role reversal, I will be in the office tomorrow while he stays at home organising. He loves a trip to the dump so I’m prepared for some of our stuff to disappear forever. He also thinks packing just means chucking everything in boxes so I’m prepared for some of our stuff to get crushed and destroyed. Other than that, I’m delighted he’s doing all the heavy lifting while I have a farewell office lunch and get my nails done.

I feel I deserve this day – I did all the groundwork after all. I found the rental, the nursery and the gym, our top three priorities and only descending slightly in difficulty. The rental had to be in the catchment for the right school, be on the right side of the city, have three bedrooms, not cost the earth and be available this month on a 6 month lease. Tick – we’ve got a lovely, tiny, semi-detached in Colinton. The nursery had to be excellent, nearby and with availability for two children before Christmas. Tick  – we’ve enrolled the boys in a super friendly nursery a fifteen minute walk away. And the gym, well, it has to be David Lloyd, which has a creche.

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I’ll have this one please – it’s only £2m

Driving around Colinton last time I was down made me so happy. I still can’t really believe it’s going to be our home. Our plan is to buy a place in the area (if we ever sell up here) and I got quite carried away driving along Spylaw spending Monopoly money on a mansion overlooking the river. Just being in the capital, with its ridiculously located castle, its impenetrable traffic system and its boutique businesses in abundance, made me convinced the hassle is worth it.

Five days to go.


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McDonalds Roald Dahl partnership

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I take my kids to McDonalds.

It’s like the trump card you play when you’re dangerously close to losing the game. The last time I sat in with a Choc Chip Frappuccino (my weakness) and a Happy Meal a woman came over with balloons and I could have kissed her. Another woman appeared with a free fruit cup and I could have kissed her too. The Wee Man, who’d been driving me nuts the way only four year olds can, was miraculously transformed. Even KD, one year old and bouncing around in a high chair gnawing on an apple slice, wasn’t causing any trouble.

So when McDonalds’ PR person asked if I’d like to an advance pack of the Roald Dahl goodies planned for the Happy Meal box this month, I was only too happy to accept and write about it.


The boys were very interested in the golden package mummy brought to the table and gleefully emptied it.


Mr Twit’s beard

Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox


The accessories were great fun but it was the pocket-size books with excerpts from all the novels I loved as a child that really got me.


Not only did the boys love them, I found that I could actually remember whole lines. I must have read each book a dozen times as a child. I slipped them into the changing bag when we were done, they’re a great size and another trump card to play should the golden arches be out of range. Thanks McDonalds!

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Ten year time warp

My friend Karrie and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary this month.


She informed me of this while suggesting a celebration – even though we both know organising anything with three kids to consider and 150 miles between us is a big ask.

Luckily I will see her in a few days when she becomes KD’s godmother – yep, that’s how far we’ve come since we first met on our post-graduate journalism course.

Karrie meeting KD for the first time. She got his first ever smile.

Karrie meeting KD for the first time. She got his first ever smile.

Being journalists, we both wanted to check the facts of our story – what exact day and time did we meet? Where exactly were we? What did we say to each other? Luckily a fairly solid source of information exists – my 2005 journal – which I climbed into the attic to find this morning.

Yep – there it was. September 28 2005.

“My course started properly today and I’ve already made friends with some lovely girls. Carrie and I have kind of bonded – after an hour of shorthand we went for a coffee……Carrie’s really sweet, she lives in Kelvinbridge so she gave me a lift home.”

I remember her wee curly head sitting in front of me as we listened to the course leader describe the module outlines and thinking “she has hair like mine, I wonder what product she uses?”

I read on to see what else I recorded, then went back to January and read about my whole year. It was a big one – I did my finals, I visited Chile and Argentina, I got a 2:1 with distinction in Spanish, I got engaged, I started my post-grad and met friends for life… Pulling my head out of that particular “penseive” was a wrench.

I sat on the couch pondering.

Ten years ago the only person I had to look after was myself. The only things I had to worry about were passing my exams, travelling safely in South America, getting into the post-grad, working on my coursework… me me me. Even though Rod and I were living together at the time I didn’t feel like I was looking after him. He was working on establishing his own career. We spent any extra money we had on nights out. I didn’t have my own car, I took the bus or walked. I didn’t spend much on clothes. I saved every penny for my trip to South America and then backpacked around. Long lies sometimes went on past lunchtime. The things that upset me were trivial – my sister’s perceived preferential treatment from mum and dad, missing out on a night out cos I was skint, lecturers marking too harshly…

And now?

Now my life is full and I am fulfilled. I mean, sure, I moan about lack of sleep and never having a second to myself, but my life is now a full paella, not just a prawn cocktail. All the groundwork of ten years ago has paid off. I got my post grad and a job as a journalist and now I’m running my own company. I visited the countries I’d read so much about, learned so much, and continue my love affair with the continent. I married Rod and we have two beautiful boys. Reading about my life a decade ago has made me realise how happy I am and how hard I’ve worked to get to this point.

On Sunday – just three weeks before our ten year anniversary – Karrie will officially join my family and I’m aware how blessed I am to have not only her, but all the wonderful people in my life.


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5 things I love about my second child

The second child is always easier, they say. They have no choice.

It’s true poor KD has been left to his own devices a lot more than the wee man ever was. I only have two hands and 24 hours in each day. He’s always been a very chilled out baby, thank God, cos the wee man is the same whirlwind he’s always been.

In the last week, though, KD has suddenly steamed past several milestones, so I feel like I really have to dedicate a whole blog post to the little boy he’s becoming. So here are five things I love about KD:

1 He’s always exploring

exploring KD mummykimmy

Ever since the day he starting rolling – which was front and back within fifteen minutes and off he went – KD has been into everything. He had a wee wobbly up-on-all-fours test run for a few days, then tried putting a hand out – and suddenly he was crawling. Now there is no stopping him – or finding him, sometimes. I caught him escaping out the back door this week and grabbed him before he nosedived off the one step in our bungalow yesterday. His favourite destination is his brother’s room, where he empties all the toy boxes and chews on shoelaces.

2 He contents himself with anything.

at Tesco KD mummykimmy

He can find the fun in anything – a label on a blanket, an envelope on the carpet or a little flicky sign in Tesco. He amuses himself for ages and is the least demanding baby I’ve ever known. He’ll sit in his high chair just watching us with no toys on the table (because he’s thrown them on the floor) for ages. Admittedly his brother’s antics are very entertaining which leads me onto no.3

3 He adores his brother

brother love KD mummykimmyHis face splits into a huge grin whenever he spots the wee man – and the feeling is mutual. He’ll tolerate the kissing and cuddling and grabbing and general roughhousing – but he’s also very good at rolling on top of him and pinning him down. If KD is in the middle of his lunch and the wee man is behind him, he’ll lean backwards out of the high chair, craning to catch a glance. He reserves his belly laughs just for his brother, which the wee man adores, and which makes me all teary. His new trick is to try to copy him dancing in a shoogly wee side-to-side shimmy which totally cracks me up.

4 He has a sense of humour

comedian KD mummykimmyHe knows when he’s done something clever and takes great delight in getting my attention to appreciate his genius. Like the time he managed to roll into a rucksack and crawl towards me with it on his back. Or the day he figured out how to play peekaboo and lay with a muslin over his face giggling and waiting for me to pull it aside. I’m convinced he is an exceptionally smart child (as every mother is) which leads me onto point 5.

5 He’s a genius

standing KD mummykimmyPerhaps it’s because the wee man was quite late to hit all his milestones that it seems like KD is miles ahead. He was eight months old when I realised he could stand against something for ages. He observed my delighted face with a nonchalant “yeah – and?” look on his face. He said mum and dad in the same breath and picked a very stressful, hungover day to demonstrate his new trick – making me the happiest woman in the world. He seems to understand a heck of a lot already – responding instantly to ‘clap your hands’ or ‘dance!’ – and reacts to words like ‘daddy’ even when he’s nowhere nearby. He loves other children and will go to anyone without a fuss.

In short, he’s a brilliant wee dude who makes us all very happy. I’ll try to give him more blog space from now on!

KD and mummykimmy





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They grow up so fast…

Until recently I could have happily throttled anyone who dared say that cliche to my face.

The wee man turned four last month and I was like “Only four? Shouldn’t he be about 12 by now?”

Six month old KD, on the other hand, has been quietly morphing into a giant in the background. He’s bursting out of his 9-12 month clothes, he’s rolling so far and fast that I’ve sold the cot top changer and he no longer fits into the beautiful pram. I picked up a brand new City Mini today and was Christmas-Day-excited –  until I realised he’d be facing the other way. Why did this break my heart? I mean, I didn’t even cry on his first day at nursery.


Maybe it’s finally dawning on me that this isn’t actually forever, no matter how much like Groundhog Day it can sometimes feel. These days in sole charge of my two boys may be draining, but they’re also enriching. With every minute that passes they are learning and growing. Every small battle actually moulds them into future adults, so that one day they can fly the nest and make their own mark on the world. It’s the most intensive learning experience there is – like getting a law degree inside a month.


I had never understood friends who wailed “but one day they’ll grow up and leave me!” I mean, do you want them to live with you forever? Because that’s a thing now. I certainly wouldn’t want two stinky boys hanging around my house too late into their twenties. But who knows? That’s a long way away. Right now I struggle to think past tomorrow, and I only do that because I need to be a few steps ahead with clean trousers for the mud-loving big one and clean bottles for the milk-guzzling small one.

We’re also pretty sure we’re stopping at two. The joy of donating, selling or simply chucking out things as KD expands has started to become kind of poignant. I am literally binning a huge part of my life. Time has become tangible. I’m finding this odd as I’m always moaning about time – either not having enough of it to accomplish my endless list of tasks, or having far too much of it as a rainy afternoon with two crabbit children gapes in front of me.


The one thing I can say with confidence is I’m getting better at it. I’m getting pretty good at pre-empting dangerous situations. I am stricter about discipline with the big one and routine with the small one as it’s the only way to have any kind of control. I’m coping pretty well with the sleep deprivation. I’m less precious about the soft furnishings. I’m less guilty about the time the wee man spends in nursery. I hope I’m more chilled out with Rod – though he may disagree.

I suppose the boys aren’t the only ones growing and learning. I am definitely more compassionate and more patient. I judge people less – in fact – I don’t judge people at all. I take every chance to say “God, I’ve been there, do you need a hand?” I wave at my elderly neighbours and chat to that annoying woman with the dog because these things take a few minutes but make a difference. They make me feel good.

I’m also aware how lucky I am. I may spend a lot of my day repeating myself, cleaning up poo, cooking while singing while confiscating knives while sterilising bottles while rocking the bouncer chair with my foot while not tripping on the toy cars, lifting, tidying, washing and repeating myself – but I have two beautiful boys who make my heart burst when they kiss and cuddle me. Ahhhh, they grow up so fast.


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Giving to Grampian Women’s Aid

I’ve been struggling a wee bit adjusting to life as a mum of two. Mostly because I’m knackered but also because there are a million hormones making me crazy and I’m living in a city 150 miles away from most of my family. When you’re feeling low and a bit lonely, all you want is for someone to say to you, “It’s OK, I’ll help you.” I find it hard to ask for help, but as soon as I do, I get it, from my husband, my family and friends.

Not everyone is so blessed.

KD is growing so fast that I have a load of beautiful clothes he”s only worn once. I wanted them to go to someone who needed them, so I called Grampian Women’s Aid. The girl on the phone listened to me describe what I had and said: “Well we’re moving offices so we aren’t really accepting donations right now, but I can think of a woman who would really appreciate all that.”

That really got me. I immediately felt a personal connection with this woman and went back to the cupboard to find more to give her. After all, it had turned so cold, she’d need hats, mitts and blankets too.

I dropped off the bags this afternoon. I knew I couldn’t ask for any personal details, but I was told there were actually two babies on their way. “Are the women OK, are you supporting them?” I asked a bit pathetically. “Well obviously the circumstances aren’t ideal, but yes,” I was told. I suggested I could bring more clothes as KD outgrows them and she smiled and said that would be great.

I felt quite teary when I got back in the car. My gorgeous wee boy was asleep in his carseat and I had Christmas with my family to look forward to. Meanwhile one in four women are suffering from domestic abuse. It was too unfair.I wish I could do more. All I can hope is that these two women enjoy having some extra clothes for their beautiful new babies and that they feel like Women’s Aid has said “It’s OK, I’ll help you”.

I also hope that anyone reading this considers donating to their local Women’s Aid this Christmas.

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