Monday 29 June 2009

Love and Marriage...

Picture the scene. I'm talking to Husband who is in Moscow, via Skype. (Bear with me, that detail is important...)

Me: "So, The Potty Diaries is featured on the Alpha Mummy website again today."

Husband: "Really? That's great! What's the web address so I can take a look?"

I tell him, he clicks away whilst we chat about other stuff...

Husband: "I see it."

I wait for him to ask me what it's all about, where the details I wrote about came from etc. There is a long pause.

Husband: "Gosh, so she died too?"

Me: .................... ???

I start to laugh.

Husband: "What?"

Me: "Unbelievable. I tell you about a post from my blog being featured on the Times Online site - which is a pretty big deal, by the way - and you are more interested in checking out a photo of Farah Fawcett directly beneath it..."

More laughter.

Husband: "You're going to post about this, aren't you?"

Me: "You're dead meat."

Happily, I think there is very little chance of my ever getting carried away by a sense of my own importance...

Sunday 28 June 2009

British Mummy Blogger of the Week

Somebody stole my Sunday.

I know it had it, I was just looking at it, all shiny and new in it's cellophane wrapping as I sat up in bed this morning. I was happily planning what I was going to get done with it, and then I turned around to do the laundry, the shopping, the tidying, prepare various meals, go out and buy a newspaper, and - oh yes - look after the Boys on my own for the 7th day on the trot, and somebody sneaked up behind me and nicked it.

Now it's 6.30pm and I haven't even had the chance to get started on writing my ground-breaking first novel or to discover a fat and calorie-free replacement for chocolate that does't make you obese and which in fact weans you off the original version...

Oh well, I suppose that before I rush to take the Boys out of the bath, blink, and discover that it is next Friday already, I had better tell you about this week's British Mummy Blogger of the Week.

Iota's blog is called 'Not Wrong, Just Different' and she writes:

"That was the mantra I taught myself in preparation for our chapter of life in America's Midwest. We moved from a small village on the coast of Scotland, to a large city pretty much as far from the sea as you can get, with our three children aged (at the time) 9, 6 and 2. That was in December 2006.

Will I go on saying 'Not wrong, just different' as time goes by? Or will it become 'Not wrong, but not quite right either'? Or perhaps 'Home on the Range' after all?"

Check out her fantastic writing here.

To check out the British Mummy Bloggers Ning, click here. (Note: It's called 'Mummy', but we're not fussy. Dads can be members too!)

Friday 26 June 2009

They're coming to take me away, haha!

So... who have I been today?

Early Riser Mummy - to negate the fact that the car was at the garage, Husband was away, the school run called, and some personal grooming was required as doing the drop-off in my gym kit just wasn't going to wash for the third time this week...

Stressed Mummy - when it took ages to find a taxi to take the boys and I to school (and don't say I should have taken a bus - it would have taken just as long as walking... And don't say I should have walked; arriving for a school day starting at 8.15am after a 30 minute walk was just never going to happen. Especially after the effort I put in on the grooming front.)

Yomping Mummy - walking the 30 minutes back from school through rush-hour traffic pushing an increasingly heavy Boy #2 in a buggy on it's last legs. Who needs upper arm exercises at the gym anyway? (And personal grooming? What personal grooming?)

Domesticated Mummy - washing, tidying, admining, ministering to an increasingly bored younger son...

Organised Mummy - heading off to buy supplies and a present for Boy #1's girlfriend's party this afternoon. I had been issued with strict instructions that my usual present of choice - a talking book - was not acceptable for the object of my son's affections, and that anything fairy (except a book) was quite the thing.

Relieved Mummy - when I found 'quite the thing' in the ELC.

Yomping Mummy - again - heading off - via the park to placate Boy #2 for all the to-ing and fro-ing - to pick the car up from the garage (I worked out that I walked around 5 miles today. And in the wrong shoes, of course).

Relieved Mummy - for the second time - that the car was ready to be picked up.

Frustrated Mummy - that despite the fact that the exhaust had been repaired (meaning our car no longer sounds like an Alfa Romeo - which secretly I quite liked), by the time I reached the end of the road it became clear that the sinister clanking noise the car makes when I apply the brakes is still occuring. Our mechanic had assured me that it would have been fixed, but also gave himself a let-out clause with the following non-pausing for breath sentence; "Is not serious, see, because PM, I check, you see, and everythin' is sol-id, I mean sol-id under there PM, and you drive it, right, you drive it an' if eet still there you come back in week or so PM, and you take me for test-drive and we work it out..." Fabulous.

Delighted Mummy - to take the boys to a birthday party this afternoon that was not in Gambado, downstairs in a pizza restaurant or similar but OUTSIDE, thank god!

Domesticated Mummy - again - clearing up wee on the floor of the bathroom when a post-party Boy #2 was too exhausted to make it to the loo, and simply delivered where he sat as I ran the bath (will 'my potty hell' never end?).

Scientific Mummy - when, after putting the Boys to bed, I decided that I needed to do some research before I could put on my Jimmy Choo's, satin slip dress and resume my occasional role as...

Disney Blu-Ray Ambassador Mummy.

'Research' I hear you say? What kind of research could I possibly do? I simply need to put the disc in the machine and switch on, surely? Well, I could have done that. But the disc I was going to review was Sleeping Beauty (Platinum Edition), and what's to review there?

Everyone knows the story of how poor old Maleficent, that outrider for female empancipation, expelled from Elysium for refusing to pander to male egos, decides to make her point about the emptiness of a life lived only for beauty and grace by - admittedly slightly excessively - cursing the only daughter of King Stefan and his wife to die before she reaches her sixteenth birthday. (His wife, by the way, who's name I'm not even sure we're ever told, but what the hey, she's only a woman, right?)

OK, OK, I don't really see this movie like that. It's beautiful, and a classic, and yes my sons have seen it already. But that's not what I was going to write about. Because I have no doubt that you do already know the story.

No, what I realised is that I have repeatedly said in my reviews of the Blu-Ray technology is that whilst it is fantastic for live action movies, I really wasn't sure it made that much of a difference to animated ones. And then I realised that I have both a normal dvd and a blu-ray version of Sleeping Beauty. And it was not such a large leap for me then to think; well, why don't I put my money where my mouth is and watch both? Not all the way through, you understand. Just for long enough to see if I could tell that one was high definition and the other was not.

(Initially I had an even better plan. We still have both our normal DVD player and the blu-ray player hooked up to the tv, you see. Nothing simpler, surely, to put them both on simultaneously and flick between the two.

Nothing simpler, that is, assuming you can find the remote control for your DVD player.)

After a fruitless search when it took me all of 10 minutes to ascertain that yes, the remote control for the DVD player was indeed lost, I gave up on that idea, and had to watch the first 15 minutes of each, one after the other... (Because, btw, you can do that on a Blu-Ray player.)

And the results?


I was wrong. You can tell the difference. The Blu-Ray version is clearer, brighter, and oh, alright, higher definition.

Curses. (But in a good way, obviously...)

Thursday 25 June 2009

Beware Wolves Online

Here’s a question for the parents reading this. How hot are you on internet security? Is the computer your family use where you can see it? Have you switched on the parental controls? Do you know what it is your children are looking at when they spend hours online? Do you even know if they are surfing or chatting?

Boy #1 is not really into computers at the moment. At 5, he has other interests, or at least I Iike to think he does, so apart from watching the odd excerpt from Disney films on youtube, or visiting the C-Beebies site from time to time, his on-line exposure to-date has been limited. But I’m reminded that this period of grace is running out every time that ad for pc’s using an 8 year old girl pops up on tv.

The laid-back parent in me says not to worry, there’s plenty of time to fret about it. Which is true, I suppose. But at what age should I worry? I think that it’s probably sooner than I imagine.

This concern was highlighted yesterday when I read Frog in the Field’s post 'Always Use the Green Cross Code' where she writes about some worrying statistics concerning parent’s attitudes to their children’s online activity, and also lists some helpful hints on how to make the whole thing a little safer.

Now, I know what those of you with slightly older children than mine might be saying. ‘My child’s much too sensible to do anything silly.’ ‘I would know if anything was wrong.’ ‘He/she’s just too normal to get involved in anything I wouldn’t be happy about.’


Because that’s just what a good friend of mine thought about her early teenage daughter. She’s given me permission to write about this in the hope that it will prevent similar things happening to other children.

Her daughter was signed up to a social networking site when visiting some friends, who told her that it was great fun and that they could message her through it. Being a good parent who was aware that the internet can be a dangerous place, my friend discovered this from her daughter when she got home, and the outcome was that my friend – let’s call her Sue – asked her daughter not to use the site.

Sue’s daughter didn’t seem interested at first. Then she came home from school one day saying it was fine to use the site because people could only see her details if she gave them permission. It wasn’t public, it was safe, and only her friends would be able to see what she wrote.

Still Sue wasn’t happy. But her daughter said she was just fussing and that her mum didn't understand it all like she did. So the site got used early in the mornings before breakfast. And it was at this point that what I think of as the ingredients for a perfect storm began to gather.

Sue’s daughter was having trouble with a girl at school. She mentioned it online to a ‘friend’. She thought she knew who this person was. It turned out that she didn’t. He was simply someone who had looked through her group of friends’ profiles and had started sending messages to all of them. And being young teenage girls, no warning bells rang. No, being teenage girls (and don’t judge, we’ve all been there), they thought it nice attention, fun, and harmless.

So, Sue’s daughter began to pour her heart out about the troublesome girl at school to this 'friend'. She started talking to him about the music she was into. Also harmless.

Until he wrote to her about cutting herself. She was young and impressionable, and feeling lonely. So she tried it.

He said he'd like to meet up sometime in the future. So she gave him her school e-mail address. Then she gave him her home e-mail address.

Now – thank god – my friend Sue is no fool. By this stage she was becoming very suspicious, and had even asked her daughter if she had given out personal details to anyone, which was of course denied. One morning though, after her daughter had not logged out before going to school, Sue looked into the browser history and was able to read all her conversations. In her own words: "I thought I was going to die. My well balanced, intelligent daughter was cutting herself and had given her school email address and private email address to this person."

Luckily, Sue had found out in time. Her daughter had only given this ‘friend’ her details that same day, and by swift action she was able to deal with the situation. Sue immediately followed her daughter into the school and had her email shut down, then they both sat and talked with a trained counsellor. The so-called ‘friend’ was warned that parents were aware of his activity, and her daughter’s social networking account was closed.

Sue’s final word on this?

“My daughter is happier now, more outgoing, no longer cutting. Thank heavens, it could all have been so much worse, and we're sensible parents, or so we thought...”

Please. Check out Frog’s post for the guidelines. And turn on the parental controls.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

What's your story?

In the words of the tv programme, The Spice Girls, and no doubt countless teachers and parents across the ages; Who do you think you are? Nationality-wise, that is?

I know who I think I am. English / British, plain and simple. No mystery there. My parents are English, their parents were, and their parents before them. You can't get much more straightforward - nationality-wise - than our family tree. And yet, delve a little deeper, and it turns out that of my grandparents' family names, only one - the one that I had thought was Scottish - is English. Of the other three, one is Irish, a second is French, and a third is south European. And when my mother researched her family it seems there's some Romany blood in there too. Not quite so straightforward, after all.

And my British passport holding sons? Well, if you throw in the fact that their father is Dutch but with Indonesian, Chinese and Russian blood, and a family name that originates in Germany, things start to get really interesting.

What's my point?

It was Refugee Week last week. It's a little after the fact, I know, but this morning I recieved an e-mail from the pr company handling the publicity for it telling me about the Simple Acts campaign to highlight the enormous contribution that refugees have made to the UK.

They wrote:

'The campaign is called Simple Acts, and is part of Refugee Week 2009 (15th-21st June) which is a countrywide programme of events including concerts, film screenings and exhibitions...

'This year the celebrations take on a new twist as people are invited not to raise funds, or make huge gestures, but to choose from 20 Simple Acts such as cooking a dish from a foreign country or reading a book written by /related to refugees, which brings them closer to refugees. Every Simple Act will be contributed to on an online total at Refugee so people can see what a big impact they are making collectively.'

Click here for more information about the Simple Acts campaign. Everyone from Oxfam to Amnesty was involved, it seems, and even Paddington Bear (Peru's most famous bear refugee) got involved with a new story and a Simple Act of his own.

What did I do? Well, you probably worked out from the opening to this post that I took the option of finding out just how 'English' I am. Which is, as it turns out, not really what I am at all.

It's so easy to look at those who arrive in your country as 'other'. But do a bit of digging and you'll find that your family were probably 'other' at some point, too.

Tuesday 23 June 2009


Having observed how, at school in the mornings, Boy #1's teacher achieves quiet in 10 seconds flat simply by clapping her hands in rhythm (clap - clap - clap-clap-clap) I thought I would try it myself. Yesterday evening, when marshalling the troops to get them to go and brush their teeth before bed, I did what I thought of as a more than passable imitation of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, dancing and clapping my way into the hall. I made it as far as the bathroom before I looked behind me.

I was, of course, entirely alone.

Sometimes, I even embarass myself.

Now. There's been some press coverage over sell-by dates recently, and it's got me thinking about so-called 'advice' from companies who's main rationale for delivering such guidelines is often - guess what - to sell us more product.

Having said that, I have to admit I'm a bit of stickler on best-before dates for food, although that is often tempered by my own in-house highly scientific risk-assessment known as 'the sniff test'. (Food hygeine certificated, me. Do my talents know no end?). For example, I see jams etc as pretty-much exempt from any instructions to use before a certain date unless they have developed a beard and are requesting a razor...

With other stuff though - milk, meat, fish - I tend to do what I'm told and get rid of any that are out of date (not that this happens much nowadays with my list culture). (I just had to put that link in to pre-empt comments from everyone taking part in Recyling Week this week, by the way...)

Our grandparent's generation however, were conditioned by a youth in the desperate times of World War II and a more general 'waste not, want not' ethos to stockpile petri-dishes of food in their fridges. These domestic experiments often live on in splendid tupperware-enforced isolation until they reach one of two outcomes. Either the elderly person gets a visit from younger relatives, who systematically go through the fridge on a search and destroy mission, or the said petri-dishes develop personalities, form a trade union and start campaigning for better working conditions with more access to light and fresh air, all the better to plan their drive for world domination...

However, whilst I might be a goody-two shoes on the food front there are plenty of pieces of advice from companies supplying consumables that I ignore...
  • Replacing my toothbrush every couple of months. I mean to, you understand, but it practically has to be threadbare before I get round to it. Which is probably why I spend more money with the hygeinist than I should...
  • Updating my sun cream every time I go on holiday. As in, once a year. If it's still in the tube, I use it. (In my defence, the Boys' suncream gets replaced far more regularly. Mainly because I'm always leaving tubes of the expensive organic mineral sunscreen at other people's houses. Ssshh. Don't tell Husband.)
  • Emptying the filter on the tumble dryer after every use. I know, I know, it's dangerous, but I'm hoping the condensing drawer full of water that I also never get round to emptying will melt and put out any flames before a fire takes hold...
And so on. I know, a wiiiiillld list, huh? I live life on the edge, me. Rock and roll, baby.

How about you?

Sunday 21 June 2009

British Mummy Blogger of the Week

Sunday again, and I'm swimming up through a creeping hangover to share the following with you...

1. Thank heavens my sis can only be 40 once.
2. Champagne is the devil's work.
3. Chocolate does not help undo the damage those innocent looking clear bubbles can cause, even it is from The Chocolate Alchemist and is arguably the most delicious that I have ever - EVER - tasted.
4. It's time for another British Mummy Blogger of the Week
5. It's very lucky that I gave this some thought before yesterday's champagne-fest began...

Now, how often since your children arrived have you taken time out? And I don't mean grabbed 5 minutes to sit down with a cup of tea and the crossword. This week's Mummy Blogger of the Week, Melissa at More to Life Than Laundry writes:

'My new year resolution for 2009 was to make time for me. This might sound easy, but as a mum to two young boys aged 3 and 5, a wife doing the normal household juggling and a ‘mumpreneur’ running a demanding business, time for me hasn’t been something I’ve had much of in the last five years.'

Have a look here to see what she decided to do...

To check out the British Mummy Bloggers Ning, click here. (Note: It's called 'Mummy', but we're not fussy. Dads can be members too!)

Saturday 20 June 2009

With this post you are spoiling us, Ambassador...

Or, perhaps not...

So yesterday evening I pulled my Marc Jacobs dress out of the cupboard, got myself a mani-pedi, dug the Louboutins out from under the bed, and settled down on the sofa in my role as a Disney Blu-Ray Ambassador again.

I have to admit, the movie I'm about to write about was not one that was high on my list of priorities. In fact, the very thought of watching it sent Husband scuttling away on a business trip to Holland for the night. But still, a deal is a deal, and I turn you to now with Ferrero Rocher smeared lips (as befitting all ambassadors) to tell you all about High School Musical 3.

Before we start though, I have a confession to make. A number of them, actually...

1. I have not watched High School Musicals 1 or 2.

2. I have no intention of allowing my boys to watch any of them (until at least next month when they are bound to start asking due to the High School Musical themed party they've been invited to, anyway).

3. But I want Gabriella's legs. (Although I suppose that they might look a tad out of place on my body, if I'm honest...).

4. Zac Ephron is a better dancer than I expected him to be.

5. Previously I thought basketball players were generally giants but most of the actors supposedly playing them here couldn't have been more than 5'10".

6. I guess that I might be splitting hairs, but that is probably because, in spite of this, I'm embarrassed to admit that...

7. ...I actually found myself getting a little bit carried away by the Wildcats theme tune.

8. Although that might have been the box of Burnt Sugar Original Fudge I ate whilst watching the movie kicking in...

Seriously? The movie was better than I expected it to be, but still not something grown women should admit to watching on their own on Wednesday evening. Having said that, I think it would be fine for tweens to watch, and I know that a lot of parents think it's fine for kids significantly younger than that.

Overall, it's harmless fun, and the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is handled sensitively without too much physicality (if you worry about that sort of thing, which I do). In fact, there's probably nothing in the film that would make my dad jump up in embarrassment and change channels should the moon turn to cheese and he found himself watching it.

As with the other films I've watched, I can't comment on how this would look on a normal dvd, or the improvements that watching it on the Blu-Ray format make. However, with this new technology it is possible to see every blade of grass, every perfectly groomed hair and every teenage spot. Or it would be, if any of the actors were actually teenagers...

So to sum up, HSM3 was actually alright. (Sorry Disney, but I am so the wrong audience for this one...). And I have no doubt whatsoever that as the Boys get older and I lose control of the remote this sort of movie will appear on our tv with alarming regularity.

Friday 19 June 2009

Who? Where?

It's very confusing, this blogging business. Aliases flying about left, right and centre. Which is why, if you check out Powder Room Graffiti - where I am today - you'll find me posting under another name.

It's not my real one, of course, but apparantly no-one would believe that my parents christened me Potty Mummy...

You will also find some other bloggers you might recognise - but I'll let you work out who they are for yourselves.

Apologies for the short post, but I'm trying to get organised for the weekend, and as Boy #2 is running interference it may take a while...

Thursday 18 June 2009


...what do you do when your 3 year old son, sitting naked on the potty and doing anything he can to avoid getting into the bath, answers your statement that in 3 - 2 -1 he will be getting into the tub with this?

"No. When I blow my whistle Mama, in 3 - 2 - 1, you will start running...

"3 - 2 - 1! (Blows whistle. I think he 'popped' as well, but by this time I was laughing too hard to be sure)...

"START RUNNING! Why aren't you running, Mama????"

Or, what do you say when your 5 year old son, watching a middle-aged lady comforting a toddler who has just fallen down in the playground, turns to you and says, at the top of his voice;

"Aaaah... Look... She really cares about that baby, Mama..."

Now, I've been tagged. Twice, blast it. And this isn't one I can just brush off, no, it's the Recycling Week tag. You know. The one that gets you to put your money where your mouth is on the environment and doing your bit to save it.

Karen from the Rubbish Diet and Don't Tear Your Hair Out has set all mummy bloggers a challenge: how many can she get to take a recycling pledge and write about it? Well, two for starters are A Modern Mother and Rosie Scribble and they've tagged me on this one (thanks both. No, I mean it. Really...)

I've promised to recycle bottles and cans whilst I'm out and about. I know, I know, it seems a bit lightweight, but I already do most things on the list of possible pledges, with the notable exception of composting, but since I live in a flat in central London I figure I can pass on that one.

It's not as simple as just making the pledge though... I have to do a forfeit if I don't deliver. And mine? Take a deep breath. No chocolate for a week. NO CHOCOLATE FOR A WEEK! Am I crazy?

Want to join me? Then this one works as follows:

1. Visit and sign up to one of the pledges to waste less.

2. Share the details of your pledge on your own blog.

3. Chose five other bloggers, who will also be up for a bit of recycling fun.

4. Come back to this post at The Rubbish Diet and share your pledge with others, by placing a link to your pledge in the comments field.

5. Optional - as a thank you to all involved The Rubbish Diet will be publishing a British Mummy Bloggers' Recycle Week carnival on Monday 29th June. To be included, simply submit your favourite post revealing the progress of your pledge by Saturday 27th June - email to karen[at]therubbishdiet[dot]co[dot]uk.

So, who do I tag that hasn't already been hit (sorry, blessed) by this one?

Amy at And 1 more Means Four (because you don't have enough to do, obviously)
Tasha at Wahm -Bam!
Melissa at Moretolifethanlaundry (in your spare time...)
Nixdminx (because it's not like you've got a fab new job or anything)
and because I know she's just going to love this, Pig in the Kitchen. Let's test out those French recycling facilties, shall we?

Right. I'm off to line my handbag with plastic so I can wash it out when the drips from my diet coke cans spill all over the inside of it, as I desperately hunt for recycling facilities and end up carrying it home instead...

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Here be Dragons

Around 5 1/2 years ago I was Christmas shopping with Boy #1. Barely 3 months old, he was the perfect companion; unable to complain about the trekking up and down the Kings Road looking for the perfect gift for my 90 year old grandmother who has everything, and ridiculously grateful every time we stopped for a tea break somewhere warm and suitable for either a nappy change (thankyou, Peter Jones, for your 3rd floor baby room), or a light snack.

At the time I was both breast and bottle feeding him, and when it was time for the latter I pulled in at a cafe, parked his buggy, dug out my (still luke-warm) bottle of sterilised water, ripped the top off a sachet of formula, and bob's your uncle, had an instant snack for a hungry 12 week old baby.

As I fed him and cuddled him close, I looked up to see a middle-aged lady picking her jaw up off the floor. She leaned over and asked, in a friendly but almost affronted tone of voice: "When did it get so easy?"

At the time I found this amusing but thought that this was probably something that would never happen to me. I mean, I had all the mod cons for my kids, right?

Well, I had them for then.

But now? Well, twice in one week I've thought to myself; that's not fair. Why didn't I have these when I needed for them my boys...?

Yep, it's review time. Look away now if you're not interested - although if you have babies or toddlers, I think you might be...

Example 1; Silver Cross

Last Sunday Silver Cross sponsored a get-together for some bloggers at a restaurant in central London. You might have picked up on it if you've checked in at the British Mummy Bloggers Ning recently.

Being an industrious little creep I had checked out the Silver Cross website beforehand - only for a moment, I swear - although aside from the Boden-esque visuals (which I quite liked) not a lot about their range of prams, buggies and high chairs had sunk in. The presentation on Sunday from their team, however, did. And as I sat and watched their light-weight Halo buggy collapse down into an easily carry-able kit and oohed over the tactile and yet machine-washable materials used to keep lucky little princes and princesses snug and warm on their travels, I did find myself asking why these 'mod cons' weren't available 5 1/2 years ago.

Things got even more surreal when the head of design at Silver Cross demonstrated the Doodle High Chair. I watched him detach the seat from the base to make a handy small person chair and play table (complete with storage basket, gosh what a good idea, can you tell the madness is taking hold yet?), and I actually found myself thinking ''Maybe it's not too late to do the whole thing again, after all...?'

Example 2; Little Dish

I hate to admit it, but I'm a bit precious about what my Boys eat. 'You're at home with them', the little voice in the back of my head reasons, 'why feed them crap when you can make them a healthy and nutritious meal yourself? And no cheating. From scratch.'

Now, bear with me. I have at least moved on from those mad Annabel-Karmel fuelled days of preparing home-made chicken stock (don't do it; your house will stink, you will stink, and the baby can't tell the difference between that and the perfectly acceptable no-salt Waitrose alternative, I promise), and pizza is regularly on our menu as are sausages and fish fingers, but I still can't bring myself to give them chicken nuggets.

So when a company called Little Dish got in touch to offer me some free 'home-made ready meals' for the Boys to try, I was a little sceptical. I had tried them with similar things before, you see, and whilst the meals were organic and healthy... frankly? They tasted like shxt. (No names, no pack drill, but Whole Foods? I thought you were better than that..). And I am a strong believer in the fact that just because they're children, that doesn't mean my boys should eat boring bland meals.

However, you live and learn, and I figured that if Little Dish were prepared give me a night off cooking for my little angels and to risk a bad review, why not?

Last night the Boys dined on Little Dish's Fish Pie and Cottage Pie. The pocket critics gave mixed reviews; Boy #1 was not keen. However, since he is not keen on most things, people at Little Dish, you can ignore that one. Boy #2 (the critic you want to impress) was delighted, and stuffed it all down muttering 'yum yum' and 'I'm going to be the winner' and 'this will make me big and stronger than Boy #1...' (or similar). And, never one to miss out on a good thing, I tried them too. My feedback? Do you sell the fish pie in adult size?

Having said that, I would say to potential consumers that the consistency of the meals - whilst immeasurably better than most other ready made product in jars and packs for children - is more suitable for younger children than my two. Nowadays they tend to eat what we eat, but if this range had been around when the Boys were first weaned and up to about 2 1/2 years, it would have saved me much angst and late night preparation of chicken stock and similar...

So where were you then, Little Fish? Huh????

The envelope, please...

Well children, what have we learned?

Nothing, really.

Except that - as expected - I am unable to keep schtum on the matter of underwear on the bedroom floor.

My intentions were good, but then I woke up to find that the day before yesterday's boxer shorts had been joined by their friends from yesterday, and for all I know were planning on setting up home and making lots of little boxer-short babies...

(Is that the rustle of money changing hands I hear, or was no-one foolish enough to even consider betting on me...?)

I think I handled it pretty well, though. I simply made the comment 'Just because I haven't said anything about the pants on the floor, that doesn't mean they don't bother me. They do bother me.' And then I swept majestically out of the room, the dignity of my exit only slightly compromised by the shriek and stumble as my bare foot met the lego shrapnel scattered across the doorway...

Monday 15 June 2009

And for my next trick...

We're conducting an experiment, here at the Potty Laboratories. Husband is the subject, but he doesn't know it yet, and won't if;

a) I can keep my mouth shut - unlikely, but I'm giving it my best shot. Duct tape may be required. Or wine. Although the latter may have the opposite effect if I get the quantities wrong...

b) he doesn't ever get round to reading this post. This is highly possible as I don't as a rule carry stories from the FT, and am not featured on Top Gear.

The experiment is:

How long can Husband leave a 'set' of underwear (i.e. a pair of socks and one pair of boxer shorts) lying on the floor by our bed?

There is some clarification needed here, however. Does it count as just one 'set' if at the end of each day the previous evening's 'harvest' (for want of a better term) is picked up and put in the laundry basket (admittedly by the afore-mentioned Husband), only to be immediately replaced by the updated version from today?

I only ask because the cleaner is coming tomorrow. Which is of course where the experiment gets really interesting, because it then becomes an exercise in my self-control in not picking them up before she arrives...

Sunday 14 June 2009

British Mummy Blogger of the Week

Bing bong, British Mummy Blogger of the Week calling...

Another beautiful Sunday, but this time I actually got out to enjoy some of it with a bbq at some friends after the Silver Cross sponsored bloggers' meet up at the Rainforest Cafe this lunch time. More of that tomorrow, but in the meantime I just wanted to say thanks to Amy of Wolfstar, Susanna of A Modern Mother and of course the guys from Silver Cross for organising it...

Now, on to this week's British Mummy Blogger of the Week. I spent yesterday evening (a Saturday night social life? What's that?) going through yet more new joiners on the network and as a result my eyes are square and I am WAY behind on catching up on my blogroll. The flip side of that however is that I did get to discover some great new blogs, and this weeks's recommendation is that you visit the blog of a Brit living in Orange County, California. Lorna of CalifLorna says:

I write about my life here in the US, my family, travels and what I miss about the UK (and why it’s better - sometimes).

And being the proud posessor of a recieved pronounciation accent (aka 'Queen's English) myself, I have to admit to particularly enjoying Lorna's most recent post. Or should that be 'one' must admit to having particularly enjoyed her most recent post? In any case, you would never catch one pulling the same trick one's self and hamming up one's British accent when one thinks it might make a difference. That would be plain wrong. Obviously...

To check out the British Mummy Bloggers Ning, click here. (Note: It's called 'Mummy', but we're not fussy. Dads can be members too!)

Saturday 13 June 2009

On grief

Pushing Boy #2 back from the shops this week, I bumped into an acquaintance. I don't know her well, having met her only a couple of times at a mutual friend's house, but it was good to see her. I asked how she was. It was as if the floodgates opened, and I learned that this year has not been good to her family since it started with her husband losing his job. I wanted to hug her and make that and all the subsequent events go away, but held back because I thought that if I did, she might lose it completely, then and there on the street. I made do with just squeezing her arm and expressing all the sympathy that I could.

We spoke briefly about how she was feeling about everything that had happened. Angry with her husband, apparantly. And whilst she knows it's not rational, and that it's not his fault that he was made redundant, she can't get past this feeling.

I suggested that perhaps talking to an unbiased third party might help and that I could recommend a counsellor if she decided to go that way, but I know that she won't do that. Not yet, at any rate. Quite possibly she believes that her anger is the only thing keeping her going, and I sympathise as I understand that; it is how I felt a while back.

I tried to explain to her that how she is feeling right now is part of a recognised pattern of human behaviour and that she shouldn't expect too much of herself. At the same time though, I worry for her, because without assistance it's so easy to get trapped in that stage of the grief process - and it is a process. How do I know this? Having been lucky enough to benefit from counselling over recent years I can identify each stage from personal experience.

This chance meeting has started me thinking that many, if not most people, may not have heard about the Kubler-Ross model for the 5 stages of grief, and that it might not hurt if I outlined it briefly here; it certainly helped me to understand what I was going through.

This model was originally developed for people who had been given a terminal illness diagnosis by Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book 'On Death and Dying', and describes the five stages of how people deal with grief. It was subsequently updated as it is now widely recognised that personal tragedy can strike in a number of different forms and is not limited to those specific situations. Nowadays this structure is applied to events as widespread as miscarriage, losing a job, ending a relationship, the death of a loved one, oh, the list is endless.

I don't know about you, but if I am able to label or categorise what I'm feeling, then often it helps me to move on through it. And I know that everyone, at some stage of their life, is touched by grief of some kind or another. So here, in brief, are those five stages, in the hope that it may help people currently going through them...

1. Denial: This can't be happening, not to me.

2. Anger: Who's to blame?

3. Bargaining: Can I just have a little more time to make it right?

4. Depression: What's the point of anything?

5. Acceptance: It's going to be OK.

Please be aware, however, that these stages do not necessarily run in order, and that you may not only experience each of them just once; it's possible to jump backwards and forwards between them, and even to be dealing with more than one at a time.

There is some good news, however. If you don't force the process (i.e. if you ignore the 'pull yourself together' advice that is sometimes so misguidedly - if kindly - dished out), and work through each stage, you will eventually reach the final one; Acceptance.

And, speaking from personal experience, then you can move on.

Friday 12 June 2009

The difference between...

... hangovers pre and post children.

Pre? A minor and unpleasant inconvenience.

Post? Hell.

What, you want more detail? I can barely lift my fingers to the keyboard and you want more detail? Oh alright then. But only as a cautionary tale, a kind of Aesops' fable for the noughties.

Once upon a time there was a mildly Potty woman. She worked (more than) full time, and had a busy life outside office hours. Every now and again she used to go out after work with her friends or colleagues (or friends and colleagues), and get a little gazebo'd. (Click on the word for the reference if you don't understand...). The next day she would pull herself out of bed, after a particularly bad night unstick her contact lenses from the inside of her eyelids, go to work, moan softly into her keyboard and pray for the day to end. Which it would, eventually. Then she would go home. Or alternatively go out and do it all again. The End.

Fastforward a few years...

More recently there was a completely Potty Mummy. She used to be only mildly Potty but had pushed almost all of her sensibleness out along with her second child. (The doctors thought it was the placenta. Ha!). One day PM decided it would be a good idea to invite some friends over for dinner on. A. School. Night. (Cue scary music and screeching violins from The Shining).

Much white wine was drunk. Not as much as she might once have done, but definitely more than she was used to. Due to the large quantities of food consumed at the same time however, when she went to bed PM was convinced that she would probably be OK in the morning. (And now? Cue hollow laughter).

When she woke for the first time in the morning it was 6.10am, and Boy #1 was on a quest for a missing toy. Lifting her head from the pillow she realised, as the sledge hammer hit, that making an assessment of your own level of intoxication whilst still intoxicated the night before might not the be most accurate way of going about things.

When she woke for the second time at 7.00am she pondered the intransigence of the school run and worked out a cunning plan (based on her son's coughing fit the previous evening) how to negate it. Call him in sick. Of course! She closed her eyes.

When she woke for the third time at 7.30am and heard her perfectly fit and well and son rampaging through the house she realised that a) he was not sick and b) a few extra minutes in bed really weren't worth the subsequent need to deal with 2 rather than only 1 small boy at home during the school day, so she bit the bullet and swayed out of bed.

I won't bore you with details of the rest of the day, but I will just say thank god for Carbohydrates. They are only things getting me through this...

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Hope Springs Eternal...

It's been an enlightening few days. Last week, after reading an unnecessarily damning indictment of stay at home mums in The Times, I posted this, in which I wrote of my disappointment that the working mum / stay at home mum debate was still - after all this time - alive and kicking. I asked why we can't just support each other and why, if I can respect the choice of another mother to work, she can't afford me the same respect in return when I choose to stay home.

So far, so good. There were some interesting comments in the box.

Then, on Monday, for some reason I haven't quite fathomed out yet, I forwarded that post to Alpha Mummy, at Times Online.

I can see you throwing your hands up in horror at this information as I type. Why on earth would I do such thing? Everybody knows that some journalists love an opportunity to set off a good debate, and surely I should know that all they will do is take excerpts from my post (rather than using the whole thing) and use them in isolation to add fuel to the whole WM / SAHM cat fight?

Which is, of course, exactly what happened.

The comment box for this post on Alpha Mummy is now up at 54 - not the highest they've ever had, but a respectable showing, I would imagine - and if you want to see examples of prejudice and grand-standing on an astounding scale, I suggest you check in there for a master class.

Or not. It might make you feel rather cross.

It's an interesting experience, being lambasted in the way that some of the commenters have chosen. At least, it's interesting for me, because what it has shown me above all is how I am secure in the choice I've made, and how I know that it is the right one for my family. It makes no odds to me if someone chooses to see me as leech on my husband's side. Or if they want to paint me as the feminist equivalent of a class traitor because I have chosen to stay home and look at my children, rather than going back to work and utilising the opportunities and education I've received. Frankly, if that kind of shortsighted bigotry and blindness to another's needs is what it takes for people to justify their own choices and live comfortably in their own skin, so be it.

But here's the thing. These people are not saying these things exclusively about me, Potty Mummy. If they were, bring it on - I can take it. And just because I haven't descended to their level and brought out the big guns and made criticisms of their choice, that doesn't mean I couldn't . It's just that I am holding on by my fingernails and telling myself that it's not worth it, it's unproductive, and none of my business what they do. If it works for their family, then it works for them full stop. Step away from the keyboard, PM. Let the polarised few stew in their own prejudice.

But it's not just about me. These people are in fact making these inflamatory and ill-informed sweeping statements about all stay at home mums.

And that's not right. Because there are people out there who won't raise a wry smile when they read the claptrap some of these people are writing. There are people out there who this will really hurt. Who will find themselves -yet again - making excuses for what is just as viable a choice as paid employment, and will feel even more isolated and uninvolved as a result.

I've been given lots of advice following all this, and some of it has been of the 'disengage, don't read it, don't comment on it, you'll never change their point of view' type, and it's tempting to do just that.

But I don't think I will.

How on earth are we ever going to impact on the ridiculously wide-held view that staying home to look after your children is a second-rate choice and simply not something an intelligent person does, if we just shut up in these situations? Because I live in hope that changing that viewpoint is possible. And Hope, to quote my counsellor yesterday, 'participates'. It doesn't stand on the sidelines, wringing it's hands and saying 'it's all going to end in tears, be careful, oh be careful, you're going to break a nail!' Hope gets involved.

So here's my take on this. Some women work outside the home, and some women work inside the home. Working Mum or Stay at Home; whatever your decision they're both choices that make valuable contributions to a family. Let's acknowledge that, cut the crap, and start being supportive rather than simply knocking each other down at any given opportunity.

Of course, that's not likely to happen any time soon, so until it does you'll find me trying desperately trying to emulate a 'still small voice of calm' and standing in the centre of the maelstrom, wittering on about how other people's choices in this matter should be respected...

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Back to Reality...

...oops, there goes Clarity (yes, yes, I KNOW it's supposed to be 'gravity' but 'clarity' is more relevant to the following post).

Pulling together a steady stream of conscious thought is tricky right now. It's been a busy couple of days (more of which later), so instead of a thoughtful and insightful post, I'm afraid instead I offer you a couple of snapshots from my week spent 24/7 - otherwise known as half-term 'holiday' - with my boys. Actually, whilst we're at it, I would like to know who originally called the half term break a 'holiday'? Because, whilst I love my sons, having them both at home all day ever day is not particularly holiday-like for me...


Snapshot 1

The Boys were playing with their cousin. Boy #2 - as the youngest and therefore the bossiest of the three - had appointed himself in charge. He was a doctor. Of course. After prodding his older (male) cousin in the nipples a few times - with what I am reliably informed were ice-cold fingers - and tapping away on his imaginery key board to investigate his findings, he decided to operate. At which point, older cousin decided he had had enough, and announced that he - the patient - had died.

My 3 year old son's response to this shocking news?

"Quick! Hide the body!!"

Whatever you do, don't tell the GMC.

Snapshot 2

Boy #2 was playing taxi drivers in the parking spot outside my parent's house, sitting in my car with the windows open. My father walked past. Boy #2 poked his head out of the window and asked my father - very reasonably, I thought - if he wanted a ride to Egypt. Very cheap, only 2p, he added. No thanks, responded my father. I have to mow the lawn.

The taxi driver was not impressed by this shoddy prioritising. Leaning out of the car window again, he shouted out at his disappearing fare "All right, mate. It's your choice..."

And I had thought his older brother was the comedian...

Sunday 7 June 2009

British Mummy Blogger of the Week

It's that time of the week again. And this week, that time is a bit later than usual, so apologies for that, but let's get on with it and unveil this week's British Mummy Blogger of the Week.

Well - I say 'let's get on with it' but first I have to tell you that I had every intention of taking the easy way out this week and just sticking a pin in my personal blogroll and nominating one of them this time round. I mean, we've gone from 235 bloggers to choose from back at the beginning of May to 331 now. Who on earth can keep on top of those numbers? Especially when this week I've had two boys home from school on half term and a Husband out of the country... (He's back now, and paying for it. Or he will be when he wakes up.)

I couldn't do it, of course; I did look through the list of members, and still I ended up with Grit. Who, in the interests of full disclosure, is on my blogroll, but that doesn't a) mean I have claimed or off-set any expenses against it, or b) stop her blog being both fascinating and entertaining.

She writes:

'If you don't know anything about home education, here's one approach. It's not school at home. It's not autonomous. It's a bit of this. It's a bit of that. It has itchy feet, a love of history, science, art and learning, a husband somewhere in Asia, and triplets. That last one sometimes makes things complicated.'

Prepare to have your eyes opened. Especially about Milton Keynes...

To check out the British Mummy Bloggers Ning, click here. (Note: It's called 'Mummy', but we're not fussy. Dads can be members too!)

Friday 5 June 2009


I am sick of this.

Sick, sick, sick.

We are staying at my parents at the moment, and since they are more organised than I am and buy a paper every day, I managed to get a look at today's Times, and read this.  Boy, did I wish I hadn't.  Not because I disagree with Sarah Vine's overall point that equality of the sexes isn't quite the Holy Grail we were promised it would be, and that whilst having choices - as a woman - doesn't necessarily mean a guarantee of happiness, we should just get on and enjoy what we can whilst we have it.  I think, on those points, she's absolutely right.

No, what gets right up my nose are the cheap shots she takes at 'mothers who don't (work, of course).'  She's grandstanding, in the worst way.  Apparently, as a 'mother who doesn't (work, of course)' this is is my life:

'...the endless coffee mornings, the loneliness, the intellectual invisibility, the simmering resentment, the gin-soaked afternoons; and I thought, not in this life. I may be considerably more grumpy and a lot less groomed than if I had been born a few decades earlier; but at least I’m not off my head on tranquillisers, or drowning at the bottom of the dishwasher.'

Pardon me if I take exception to those sweeping generalisations, or to the assumption that I DON'T WORK.  I do work.  Bloody hard.  Certainly harder than I ever had to do whilst I was in paid employment, as a working mother. 

But you know what?  Tempting as it is, I'm not going to get into a mud-slinging match between 'mothers who do and mothers who don't (work, of course)', because that is in fact the aspect of her article that I take most exception to.  (And I know that's not great English but I am currently too cross to work out how to improve it).

For chrissake.  I thought we were past all that.  Sniping about who does and doesn't work, who is and isn't doing the right thing for their children, who has and hasn't made the right choice.  Surely the one thing that we should all have learnt as mothers is that whichever choice you make - to be a 'mother who does, or a mother who doesn't (work, of course)' - it is one which at times you are bound to regret (should I have taken that promotion?  Should I have kept the job?), and to which there is no finite solution.

What's right for one family would be completely wrong for another.  We are ALL working mothers.  I am a working mum. It just so happens that, for now, my work is to stay home with my kids.  

I understand Sarah's choice, and I respect it.  Hell, it was my choice until my younger son arrived.  But now that I have - temporarily at least - chosen to step away from a career to look after my sons, I'm sick of apologising and keeping my head down in case, by admitting to that, I attract the ire of the working mummies.  

And I would like to ask if, just for once, there's any chance that my choice could be respected too.

Daddy cool?

The Potty Diaries is unashamedly a 'mummy' blog. 

It's mine, mine, all mine, but every now and again 'the Daddy' does get a mention.  In spite of the fact that he features on this blog only when he's on best or worst behaviour, in reality he's always there - even if often from long distance - and it strikes me that I don't often acknowledge this. I sometimes wonder if he feels a little uninvolved on the rare occasions that he checks in here, with The Potty Diaries' tales of small boys and their harrassed mum, and only the odd guest appearance from him. There are probably hundreds of men out there who might feel the same, watching their partners tap tap tapping away on the keyboard, recording and commenting on daily life, rewriting history (at least in my case) with themselves as the star...  (I'm ready for my close up, Mr Demille.  Or I will be when I've tidied away the toys, straightened the duvets, done the shopping & laundry, scraped the dried-on peas off the floor and got back from the school run)

But it's Father's Day soon, and here's a chance to show them that we do care  (despite regular complaints about tissues in shirt pockets shedding all over the rest of the laundry, or wish-lists that include dirty plates and used coffee cups actually making it into the dishwasher rather than just lurking plaintively on the kitchen top...).  Tara at My Child e-mailed to tell me about a competition she's running to show much dads are appreciated.  She writes:

'I’ve set up a Dad of the Year competition which encourages mums and kids to write in to us with reasons they think their dad should win the Dad of the Year award. Ten winners then get a Kodak video camera to keep and can make a short video of what makes their dad the best dad in the world – the best judged entry then wins an all expenses  trip to Orlando, Florida (worth £2500!).'

If you or your children would like to enter, click here to take you through to the relevant page on the My Child site.  And good luck!

Wednesday 3 June 2009


A few of our friends have recently been blessed with newborns. Now, before you click away, this is not another post from me regretting the passing of time and the fact that we aren't going that way ourselves. In fact, since simply picking up a tiny 6 1/2lb baby was enough to freak me out at the weekend, I think that I may be on the road to recovery on that front - finally. I don't think the mum noticed how eager I was to hand her gorgeous but oh-so-fragile bundle of joy back - I don't think so...

Anyway, it's not about that. Totally over the baby thing. Totally...

No, this is about one of those ?????????? moments you experience as a mum.

Due to the sudden influx of tiny, mostly breastfed babies (have you worked out where this is going yet?), my sons have seen a little more 'equipment' on display in working order than they have done for some time. And consquently, have been paying rather more attention to mine. All well and good, we're not a prudish family; they ask questions, I answer. Although I do rather take exception to having my nipples called 'tubes'. (Which they most certainly aren't, and do not resemble in any shape or form, I would just like to make that perfectly clear).

So, we've been discussing the fact that babies get milk from their mum's boobs. Not always, obviously. (And not for that long, for various - private - reasons that I won't go into now, for either of my boys). So I don't know why I was surprised by what happened one morning this week. (Come on - you must have worked out where this one is going by now).

6.30am. Boy #2 climbed into bed with me after he woke up (Husband is travelling). It was early - too early - so I told him to lie down, go back to sleep, and that I would get up shortly and fetch him some milk.

As I lay there dozing, he was clearly pondering the milk problem. He wanted some. I wasn't jumping to and fetching it. What to do? Well, he reasoned, why go to the fridge when there was obviously a supply of it lying right next to him?

It's a bit of a shocking way to wake up, I can tell you.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

A spoonful of sugar...

The Boys and I watched WALL.E last week. On a weekday. On a weekday afternoon, in fact. Normally tv for the Boys is a late afternoon/before bed wind-down activity in our home, or a weekend treat. It never goes on in the morning, and especially not during the day in glorious weather such as we've been having recently. In fact, I think Boy #2 still looks back on the one morning he ever got to watch C-Beebies whilst I writhed about on the floor waiting for the doctor to come and diagnose my appendicitus as possibly the best day of his life, so how did last week's anomaly come about?

Well, firstly because the nice people at Disney sent me a copy of the film on Blu-Ray and asked me to put on my glamorous kit once more to be an Ambassador and review it. Which I will, in a moment.

But mainly because we needed a calm-down treatment and we needed it quick.

I had picked Boy #1 up early from school to take him to the hospital for both his and Boy #2's annual allergy check. 'Previously on ER' as they said on the late great tv show, these allergy checks had taken the form of blood tests. Not pleasant when you are holding your frantic child (and even less so if you are the frantic child), but once the blood is drawn, done and dusted until the results come back from the lab.

This time, however, the consultant had decided that pin-prick tests were a 'better' idea. He won't be taking that decision again in quite such a cavalier fashion, methinks. There definitely are advantages in doing it this way: if you test a person's blood for allergies you need 1ml of blood for each test. So, for example, if you want to test for 5 different types of nuts (which you need to do because it is by no means certain that if you are allergic to one, you are allergic to all), you need 5 mls of blood. With a pin-prick test, however, you only need one pin-prick for each potential allergen. Easy, huh?

Well, it was. For Boy #2. The procedure works as follows;

1. Allow nice smiley consultant to draw a number of circles on your inner arm. Watch in interest as he does so, and then applaud after he finishes of with a smiley face at the bottom of the row.

2. Allow the consultant (still smiling) to place a tiny droplet of different types of allergen, one inside each circle.

3. Show a small amount of discomfort but be generally stoic whilst the consultant then proceeds to prick your skin through the allergen inside each circle (using a clean needle each time).

4. Climb down, announce you're fine, and wander off outside the room to play with the train track for 15 minutes, at which point the consultant checks your arm, looks at the resultant swellings / whelts / rash etc and announces that you are - as expected - allergic to nuts.

5. Carry on playing.

During which time, your older brother is going through the same process... Except it wasn't - the same. Boy #1's test resulted in his being quarantined in a special room with soft surfaces and glowing lights and bubbles, to avoid his wails scaring the other children.

The end result, of course, was the same. He too is allergic to nuts. And in fact, is allergic to more of them than he was before. Fabulous.

So as you can imagine, when we finally got home that there was some distraction required from the trauma and resultant itchy arms, and WALL.E was it.

Boy #1 had already seen WALL.E at the cinema and was delighted to get the chance to watch it again, but Boy #2 had not, so it was all new and fresh to him. (Well, it was when we could get his older brother to stop telling us the story in advance...).

The story of the last remaining clean-up robot left behind to deal with the mess humans had made of Earth was spot on for the boys, although as usual with most kids' films nowadays there were plenty of jokes for the adults too. And the crush that lonely WALL.E develops on the sleek uber-robot Eve who is dispatched from the mothership to find out if Earth has recovered after 700 years of being left with only robots to tend to it was nicely handled - as was her tendency to be (how can I put this?) a bit of a... bxtch... if things didn't go her way.

So yes, I enjoyed it. And Boys#1 and #2 laughed their little socks off, which was the point, after all...

Format-wise I can't say how much improvement Blu-Ray offers over the normal dvd for this movie, as I haven't watched the standard version. However, Disney-Pixar's normal animated offerings are always such high quality that I'm not sure I would go to the added expense of forking out for Blu-Ray (an extra £6.00 according to online vendors), even with the special features. Which, I haven't watched, if I'm honest. (I'm far too busy blogging and being an ambassador, floating around in cyber-space eating Ferrero Rocher...)