Archive for the ‘parenthood’ Category





Filed under: parenthood

Are Mazdas mad?

Do Bentleys bend?

Do Seats see?

Do Rolls Royces roll?

Are Toyotas toys?

Are BMWs bees?

(He’s five and he really likes cars. And asking questions.)






how hard could it be?

Filed under: about me, parenthood

So Fecklet wanted a car theme for his birthday party. And I figured I’d make him a car cake. As they’re always saying on Top Gear (and I should know)—how hard could it be?

I bought a car-shaped cake mould and some never-fail non-stick stuff. Followed the recipe, which said the cake would take about 50 minutes to cook. An hour and a half later, the cake was done, more or less. But it wouldn’t come out of the tin. I tried everything—gentle cooling, slight persuasion with a knife, tentative tapping.

Finally I went with the Jeremy Clarkson approach: I hit the thing really really hard. And it came out. In pieces.

Fortunately I had three things. Chocolate buttercream frosting. Smarties. And a large glass of wine.

I think a four-year-old could tell what that was, don’t you? If he squinted? I mean, he habitually mistakes a pile of cushions for an aeroplane and keeps on telling me that I’m James May, so he might just fall for it.

I should mention, by the way, that my mother is an AMAZING cake decorator. She has a barrage of icing tools, bags, nozzles etc and used to make wedding cakes and things. As a child, my birthday cakes were works of art, and there are photos to prove it. I was really proud of her.

Fecklet, on the other hand, has me, so he gets the wonky clapped-out chocolate Mini glued together with frosting.

(Meanwhile, I’m going to finish my glass of wine.)





as a parent, you just live for these moments of vindication

Filed under: parenthood

Me: Okay, it’s time for a nap now. You’re tired.
Fecklet: No! I’m not tired!
Me: Well, just lie down for a minute and have a rest.
Fecklet: No! I don’t want to lie down! I’m not tired.
Me: But it’s nap time and you’ve had a busy morning.
Fecklet: No.
Me: Fine. We’ll go into town and get some Post-It notes and maybe when we get back you’ll have a nap.
Fecklet: I don’t need a nap!
Me: Okay, put on your jumper please.
Fecklet: No! I’m not cold!
Me: It’s getting chilly out there.
Fecklet: No. I’m warm enough.
Me: All right, suit yourself.

Twenty minutes later in town, Post-Its still unbought:

Fecklet: Mummy, I’m cold and I’m tired.





in the bath

Filed under: parenthood

A conversation between plastic penguin Zippy (me) and a plastic lion (Fecklet, age three and a half).

Zippy: I’m a little scared of lions.
Lion: I don’t bite penguins.
Zippy: You don’t? Why do you have those big teeth?
Lion: If a tiger comes along and bites me, then I’ll bite him! And he’ll go away.
Zippy: You don’t bite penguins then?
Lion: No.
Zippy: Not even penguin feet? (puts foot in lion’s mouth)
Lion: No.
Zippy: Not even penguin wings? (puts wing in lion’s mouth)
Lion: No.
Zippy: I taste a little bit like chicken.
Lion: (look of consternation)
Lion: (pause)
Lion: I only bite tigers.





proof that television advertising does work

Filed under: parenthood

I caught the Fecklet dancing around the house singing “WE BUY ANY CAR, DOT COM!”


I’m running my book giveaway till Friday, so you’ve got plenty of time…






Filed under: about me, parenthood

My apologies to those of you who may visit this blog looking for thought-provoking posts about writing, the universe and cemeteries.

Because this morning I am going to write about shoes.

My Facebook friends may know that I faced a shopping dilemma this week: I needed a dress to wear to the fabulous glitzy Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 50th Anniversary Awards Lunch. I’m not up for an award this year, but several of my friends are (hooray!) and it’s a great occasion and opportunity to meet with fellow writers and many publishing professionals. So, y’know, it deserves a new frock.

I bought myself a scrummy little black dress, quite little and plain with just a tiny bit of lovely embroidery and beading, and so I needed some shoes. And hence the dilemma. There were these gorgeous purple ones which had flowers all over them and also a big ribbon bow at the back, and were comfortable, but slightly too low in the heel and also fairly expensive. Then there were these gorgeous grass-green ones which were high-heeled Mary Janes and cost half as much as the purple ones, but weren’t as comfortable or quite as OTT.

I posted this dilemma on my Facebook page and it is a testament to the excellentness of my friends that many of them actually commented, from the UK, the US and Canada, giving me their advice on which pair to buy. (Consensus was that I should buy both, but the bank account won’t bear up under that strain I’m afraid.) Two guys commented too, something along the lines of their heads exploding and sympathising with my husband, but I forgive them. Men just don’t understand the importance of these things.

Well I debated and debated and it really did distract me quite a bit from my writing yesterday (oh I am so sad) and I did make it a dinner table discussion between me, the Rock God and the Fecklet (I am trying to educate them both to care about shoes despite the Y chromosomes). Fecklet said “The green!” and then five minutes later, mid-bite of noodles, he said “The purple!” I tried to convince the Rock God that this was yet another vote to buy both pairs but he wasn’t having it.

In the end, I decided that the green ones would look better with my dress and also if I bought them for half the money, I would have more to spend on a handbag!

Me? Shallow? Surely not.

Anyway I’m sure you are now positively frothing at the mouth to see these shoes, which were in fact quite a spectacular bargain, and are a teensy bit tight but I am going to stuff them with socks etc to stretch them out. Here they are:

And of course, the Fecklet had to try them on. I think they go rather smashingly with his Lightning McQueen pyjamas:

Now, what does this have to do with Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, which is published TODAY!? I’ll be posting later today and revealing all!

Stay tuned, dear readers, to learn all about the tantalising connection, and also have a chance to win a signed copy!






Filed under: parenthood

Last night, Fecklet and I had our Thanksgiving dinner (lots of stuffing, a bit of chicken—I am a stuffing addict and I’m hoping to bring him up the same). And I talked with him about being thankful, and after I’d given him some examples, I asked him what he was thankful for.

Here is his list:

Grandma and Grandpa
His lemur from Monkey World.





uh-oh. we’re in trouble. biiiig trouble.

Filed under: about me, parenthood, The Bad Twin

Ferrari EnzoAston Martin Vanquish

It has all gone too far. But I couldn’t help it. Too many forces were working together to push me to this. And now…it’s too late.

I love Top Gear.

In my defence, let me plead two extenuating circumstances. One: my heroine in The Bad Twin is a stunt woman. She specialises in flying, martial arts and especially, stunt driving. She loves fast cars. So of course for the book, I had to research cars. She crashes a Ferrari Enzo in chapter one—one of 400 only ever made. A Porsche 911 Turbo and a BMW L740 are also important to the plot. The hero drives a Aston Martin Vanquish in British racing green. And the climactic scene happens in…well, in something very like this.

Concurrently, my son is also completely obsessed by cars. His favourite film is Cars. He wants to be Lightning McQueen. He pretends to drive when he’s in his pushchair and he holds imaginary toy car races all over my house.Lightning McQueen
So as, you know, a sort of bonding thing, we started watching Top Gear together.

It was the beginning of a slippery slope. The Fecklet is now convinced that The Stig is his friend. We have conversations about who’s faster, Lightning McQueen or The Stig. Fecklet yells “Top Gear!” the minute he hears that Allman Brothers song. We choose our favourite cars in every episode and talk about them.

And now, the worst has happened. Last night I dreamed I was having sex with Jeremy Clarkson.

I fear it is too late for me.

(Actually I’d much rather have sex with James May. How about you? Which Top Gear presenter would you do in your dreams? And no…you can’t say The Stig. It only counts if you can see his face. Besides, everyone wants The Stig.)

Top Gear Dudes

From left: Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, James May

EDIT: I bought a copy of Heat magazine at the station on my way to the RNA Winter Party and they had their “Weird Crushes of 2009” poll results. Jeremy Clarkson was at number 9, James May at 6, Richard Hammond at 4, and The Stig at 3. See….I’m not weird.


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