9 harsh truths about being the mother of a teenage boy

They seem to go from your cute baby to a lanky thing that’s all limbs and taller than you in a matter of weeks.
It creeps up on you. Blink and you’ll miss it. Before you know it you have a darn teenager on your hands with a deep voice and hairy legs.

Seriously, the summer holidays? Prime growing season.
They come out of their bedroom one morning and you’re suddenly shoulder height and having to look up at them.
It’s quite a shock.
So what do you need to know when you become the mother of a teenage boy?

  1. The smell
    If it’s not teenage boy sweaty smell, its a fog of Lynx you have to fight through just to get in his room.
    You either have one that never washes or one that is in the shower ALL THE TIME. I have the latter and spend all my time moaning about wet towels being left on the floor, so don’t go assuming I’ve got the winning end of the stick here.
  2. The clothes washing
    They put everything in the wash basket even when it’s been worn for 30 seconds. “I sweated lots in it” Really? Did you run a race against Usain Bolt because if you haven’t there’s no way you’ve sweated enough to warrant it going in the wash again. I’ve pulled a freshly balled up pair of socks out of the wash before now because it seems to be easier to dump them in the wash basket than back in the drawer.
  3. Social media
    Listen, I get it. It’s my job, I LOVE social media. However it’s 24-7 it never stops, they never switch off. He struggles to watch the TV exclusively without checking in on what’s happening on line. When you ask them to put. the. damn. phone. down you’re greeted with “one sec”.
    It’s never one sec.
  4. Family time
    We just don’t spend as much time together as I’d like. Granted I want us to do EVERYTHING together and granted I want him to be independent and spread his wings and go out with his own friends too…
    But still, a family walk wouldn’t hurt. WITHOUT the phone.
  5. Food
    There is literally never ever enough food in the house. Ever.
    I cannot believe how much money I spend on fresh food only to have the ‘there’s no food in the house’ whine.
    I swear he inhales food it goes so fast. WHERE does it all go, he’s skinny as anything.
  6. Holding hands is now social suicide
  7. Crap
    You thought plastic toy crap was expensive? Pft, this has gone up another level. I’ve just had to spend £45 on a T-shirt. A T-SHIRT.
  8. Attitude
    I love that he’s feisty and questioning and willing to stand up for himself. BUT if he could just not do that to me that would be great!
  9. Growing Up
    One day they will have to learn how to shave and right there you can see your baby boy slipping away from you! Prepare for it now or it will hit you hard.
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Our home renovation. The update, the dust, the hair pulling, the dust. Did I mention the dust?

I scoffed when everyone told me our home renovation would mean every corner of our house would be filled with a constant layer of dust and it would send me into a mild rage.

I’ve hardly blogged here because quite frankly I ignored everyone at my peril and it has  taken over my life.
Sure I’ve photographed the hell out of it all, but other than a few Instagram Stories here and there when I got super excited, I’ve kept away.
Here’s why.

On March 27th we embarked on a major home renovation and like good Scouts preparing for an impending challenge, we puffed out our chests, smiled and just got on with it.
Pft we said. We’ve been through stuff. We camp for goodness sake. We’re hardy.

Turns out we’re not as hardy as we thought.

For a while now we’ve been toying with the idea of moving house because as the kids have grown and changed so have our needs as a family. But we love our house and the environment we live in – so close to schools and friends – so we opted to renovate our home instead.
It started with ‘let’s update the ailing kitchen’. It moved on to ‘Well, if we’re going to do that, let’s replace the crap conservatory with a room’. And soon it was ‘let’s make the downstairs bigger’. ‘Well if we’re extending we may as well extend upstairs too . . . ‘ etc etc.

And so the major home renovation started.

I think the breaking point for me was when my husband declared to friends who were asking how it was all going 14 weeks in “it’s really not as hard as I thought it would be to be honest. In fact it’s been quite easy”.
I have spent weeks trying to keep the house something approaching hygenic, washing the bed sheets constantly so it doesn’t feel like they’re liberally dusted with dust and desperately trying to feed us all healthy ish meals with no cooker and no hob and no space to store anything. My prep table is the ironing board.
He’s either pretending it’s all a walk in the park or he really is THAT stupid.

So, basically the whole of the back of our house was being worked on. That’s the children’s bedrooms, the spare room, the kitchen and the dining room. We’ve pretty much lived in the lounge (although when I came home one day to find the new cooker and tubs of grout piled up in there I nearly lost it) and our bedroom.
For a while the kids had to sleep in a bunkbed in the dining room while their rooms and the spare room were being bricked up/plastered/overhauled.
That’s a teenager and a pre-teen in a bunkbed together. It could have been the stuff of nightmares, but they were ACE.

So the conservatory came down (and we managed to sell it as we’d taken really good care of it and it was in great condition), the patio was decimated, great gaping holes were dug and a new concrete floor went down.
It’s too small, I lamented to the Husband. What have we done? It’s so small.
The builder reassured us all was well.

Then the block work and the bricks started to go up and we could start to visualise what our renovated home would look like.
But the mess. Oh the mess. And they hadn’t even knocked through at this point.

Up up up the bricks went (no, she’s not supposed to be on the scaffolding. Yes I told her many many many times. Yes she thought it was her own personal gymnasium.
Soon they were in the bedrooms, putting the biggest beam you’ve ever seen in your life up there, creating new wardrobes, new space and KNOCKING THROUGH. Argh, the dust. 

Then the builders finished upstairs and we had to ship the kids back up to their rooms, then empty the dining room and the kitchen ready for them to knock through and create a whole new dust hurricane downstairs.
We did it all one Sunday afternoon and it nearly killed us.
Then I lost use of the kitchen and had to decamp to the pantry. Thank goodness for my big pantry. I used the ironing board as my work top!

It’s been a long, a really hard slog but I can finally I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I can see my beautiful kitchen taking shape (it’s wonderful and I feel like all my Christmases have come at once) and the concrete slab wasn’t too small after all!
The garden is still a builder’s yard and the new cooker is currently in my living room but apart from that we’re nearly there.
And I can’t wait to share it with you!

Our first meal in the new kitchen; got to be fish, chips and a curry sauce 🙂

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How to tame a teenager

When your kids become teenagers you despair a little.
Did I say a little? You despair a lot. Here are a list of the things you will say on a regular basis:
Please get off your phone.
No phones at the dinner table.
You can’t watch the movie and message your friends at the same time.
Life doesn’t revolve around that damn phone.
Get. Off. Your. Damn. Phone. Etc etc etc.

Here are the responses you’re likely to get back:
One sec.
I’m just checking out what homework I’ve got.
Really, just one sec.
I’m hardly ever on it.
I’m not on my phone (said phone is under the hoody next to him on the sofa and he’s surreptitiously checking it out every now and again and I can totally tell as the screen lights up his face. Dope).
One more sec.
I’m reading
(Snapchat totally doesn’t count).

So if ever they get the chance to go away on a school camp you grab at that opportunity by the scruff of the neck and with both hands and don’t let go.
Because that means either there will be no phone signal or phones aren’t allowed.
WOO HOO. Nirvana!

So Dan went on a three-day camp and didn’t use his phone once.
I’d even given him permission to get it out to take some photos for me, but it didn’t leave his perfectly packed rucksack (it wasn’t perfectly packed by any stretch of the imagination).

But I wanted to take some photos to show how much he’s grown as I haven’t featured him much on here at all lately. And he’s so different!
And also we were sent this awesome pair of Salomon walking boots from Millet Sports for him to wear during the camp and it was a great excuse for a bit of a photo session!

Here’s the problem with teenagers, well, my teenager anyway. Everything has to be pre-approved. Vetted. It has to be ‘cool’ or he’s not going to touch it with a barge pole let alone actually wear it.
He will say the words “you don’t expect me to wear that do you?”. Emphasis on the THAT and with the sort of distain you’d expect if you produced something from the 1800s with a ruff.
I wasn’t holding out much hope for the boots. They also needed to be light, versatile and withstand never been looked after ever again. Because, you know, teenagers!

However, he poured over the website and picked this pair of Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX and he absolutely loved them. They’re lightweight, waterproof and pretty much teen proof. Toe bumpers because they never pick their feet up and I’m told they look pretty cool too. So there you go, high praise indeed!

So he made it through camp and now we’re hurtling towards Bronze Duke of Edinburgh. Let’s just hope his feet don’t grow too much or I’m hoping Mia likes them just as much as Dan does! #handmedowns


Posted in Dan & Mia, Fashion Review, Reviews, School | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment