Dubz turned two in May. We have had months of terrible tantrums, and all the shouting and crying that comes with this stage. But there has been a great shift in the past two months. Yes, he still has some tantrums, but they do not rule our lives. Dubz is finally able to express himself in words, though sometimes he is difficult to understand. But he can eventually make himself understood.

So I thought I would share some of his recent silliness.

Last week I asked my Husband to do a wee in front of our son, so that Dubz could see how things are supposed to 'work' when it comes time to potty train. Rather than just watching his Daddy, Dubz tried to touch the wee and was shouting 'apple juice, apple juice!' If only we had apple juice on tap. Haha

Dubz loves growly animals, aliens and monsters. But his favourite things are dinosaurs. But he cannot pronounce it properly, so he calls them 'dino-roars'. It is absolutely adorable.

Dubz got a trilby in July. He wears it constantly, from the moment he gets up in the morning and only takes it off for naptime and for bedtime. Last week he threw it out of a window at pre-school. We were unable to find the hat. Dubz was very cranky about this for a day, but has since tried to find a replacement hat (basically he has been stealing my hats and wearing bowls on his head). He looks ridiculously funny.

Dubz Dubz






Terribly cute, no? I am linking up to Wot So Funee. Pop on over to Stressy Mummy for more silliness.

Wot So Funee?


My daughter, Moozles, is six years old. And in her short life, she has taken part in many clubs. There was Ballet for four months. Street Dance for three months. Ballet again for three months. Gymnastics for one year. But there seems to be one common denominator in the activities she has engaged in during the past two years. She has quit them all.

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When is it okay to quit? This is a dilemma that most parents must face. We all know how beneficial it is for children to engage in extra-curricular activities. And it can be terrific for children to be able to take part in many different activities. It is a great chance to find what you are good at, what you enjoy. But what if your child wants to quit the activity they had previously begged to join? How long is enough before you allow your child to quit? One month? Three months? One year?

I understand the importance of learning persistence, perseverance and commitment. If children are allowed to quit activity after activity, they might not learn the importance of steadfastness and dedication. Surely this will influence them later in life, quitting relationships and jobs at any sign of adversity. I certainly do not want to raise a quitter.

But I also think that children's opinions and feelings should be taken into account. It is tough, especially when you are little, to judge which activities you will enjoy. The image of doing beautiful ballet dancing might not match up to the real life of practicing a plié and a jeté. I remember being made to continue with piano lessons, as a child, long after I wanted to quit. I do not regret quitting. I do regret that I never got to try dance classes or gymnastics. Maybe I would have wanted to quit those too. But I will never know as I was busy playing the violin and piano.

As parents, we are constantly bombarded with the 'best way' to raise our children. But I think it is important to understand your individual child, to examine what makes him/her happy. Sometimes our children are driven by fatigue, laziness, fear, lack of ability or just a lack of interest. We need to pay attention to our children, rather than expecting them to persevere.

Some children are lucky enough to find a beloved club or activity early on. Some children need longer to find the activity they really engage with. No one wants their child to be a quitter. But we all want our children to be happy. Sometimes, it is okay to quit.



We bought our fixer-upper home last February and have been refurbishing it slowly, room by room. We have done the major renovations needed, including a new kitchen, an entire re-wire and a new first floor bathroom. Next month we are going to sort out the children's rooms. Moozles is six, and has several ideas as to how she wants her room to look. She wants one wall to be in a different colour, a big rainbow, paper lanterns and a sign with her name. Well, I have a head start on the latter.

Last month, Illuminated Canvas contacted me about their canvas wall art. They make  unique canvas prints, many of which can be personalised. The best part of the wall art is that they are illuminated (hence the name). There is a switch on the back of the canvas, so that you can have the light on or off. I ordered the Personalised Graffiti Heart canvas for Moozles. Not only is it super cute, but it is cool enough that she will still want it on her wall when she's 13.

Husband put up the canvas on Moozles' wall, even though her room hasn't been renovated yet. As you can see, one of the walls has been painted a glossy pink (yuck) and the door has been painted black (even yuckier). What you can't see is the 40-year old green carpet or the false ceiling covered in ceiling tiles. But the canvas has made the room look nicer and I can't wait until the room is properly renovated. The lights on the canvas are quite soft and pretty when on, and could even be used as a nightlight (I am unsure how long the two AA batteries would last).

Illuminated CanvasIlluminated CanvasIlluminated CanvasIlluminated Canvas

I have smudged the photos so that you can't read Moozles' real name, but I promise that it looks fab in person. Moozles was so pleased to see the canvas on her wall. She said it was 'sooo awesome'. Apparently British kids say 'awesome' quite often. *shakes head*

Illuminated Canvas has a wide array of wall art, for the home and for children. The personalised graffiti heart that we have comes in three different colours and in two sizes - the small costs £55.95 and the large costs £75.95. It is a great way to add a unique touch to your little one's bedroom. What do you think? Do you like Moozles' new wall art? Or is there another canvas you prefer from Illuminated Canvas?



*Photo credit: Illuminated Canvas website

We were given the chance to choose a canvas for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.



Since I have a blog and am a bit active on Twitter, sometimes people ask me for advice. They think, 'Oh that Californian Mum, she sure knows a lot about being a mum and a wife, I bet she has many pearls of wisdom to dispense'.* So when I received this email from a reader, I thought I would share:

Dear Californian Mum in London,

I love your blog, especially the advice on parenting for partners. My husband, George, is a wonderful father to our daughter Judy, but he is not very good at helping out around the house. I am a SAHM because I want to look after our daughter, not because I want to clean and tidy all day. Can you please tell me how to get him to do his share of housework without me having to nag him?

Best wishes,


Dear Californian Mum in London

Dear Jane,

I feel your pain sista'. My Husband wouldn't notice if there was mould growing on his side of the bed. And if there are toys on the floor, he just walks over them or kicks them to the side. So here are some tips that will hopefully help your partner join in with the housework.

1. The house shouldn't always be tidy. How will your partner know that you need help if you kill yourself cleaning/tidying every day?

2. What's nagging? A term that men have come up with to make us feel bad for having good memories? I don't nag. I remind.

3. Communicate. Does your partner know how you feel? I don't mean when you scream 'pick up your damn pants off the floor you ass clown!'. But tell him, calmly, one evening over a bottle glass of wine that you would prefer it if he takes a more active role in the housework.

4. Yes, you are a SAHM to be at home with your daughter, but you should do a few things around the house too. Come on, get off the sofa, stop watching Jeremy Kyle and start mopping. But really, don't just vaguely tell him to help. Men need guidance. Maybe your partner could be in charge of one thing - perhaps dishes or cooking?


If all else fails, hide the crisps and lager and then see how quick he starts doing the dishes.



*No one has ever thought this! No one asks me for advice. Ever. I am delusional.




Moozles and I had a Mummy-Daughter Day on Sunday. We used to have these days every few months. But at the tender age of six, I feel like Moozles needs a special day once a month. She has been showing signs of jealousy towards her brother (Dubz is two and utterly cute and hilarious).

So we each decide on one thing we want to do and we have a day out. I picked stationery shopping (Moozles needed pencils for school so we went to the Hema in Kingston - I love that shop!). Moozles wanted to have sushi for lunch. She used to only eat cucumber rolls, but now loves raw tuna just like her Mummy. Husband hates fish so it is so nice to have a sushi buddy. I tried to get a nice photo of Moozles having lunch but she was stuffing sushi in her mouth so quickly that most of the photos looked like the above. Still a lovely reminder of our special time.




Ham House

Two weekends ago we decided to pack a picnic and enjoy the summer weather before Autumn settles in. We joined the National Trust five months ago and have only visited two properties so thought we would explore somewhere new. We decided on Ham House for the simple reason that it is only a 10-minute drive from our house. Since we arrived soon after they opened at 10am, Moozles and Dubz were free to run around without getting in anyone's way.

Ham HouseHam House Ham House Ham House

Ham House is a lovely 17th-century house and gardens. The house is supposed to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain, but unfortunately we did not get to go in and sense the other-wordly vibrations. The thought of our two-year old son, Dubz, in a house full of breakables, was just to scary. *shudders* The gardens are nice. Not too big, but there was plenty of room to let the kids run around in but not worry about them getting lost. There was also a a spot with sticks where one could build a den. Moozles and Dubz loved this bit. And as I had never built a den before, I quite enjoyed it as well.

Ham HouseHam HouseHam HouseAll our running and den-building made us quite hungry so we sat down for a home-made picnic. We brought our favourite picnic food: French bread, Parma ham, cheese, olives, carrot sticks and crisps. We also brought our super-cool Baguette Board. Our French oak cutting board might have been a bit fancier than our picnic, but I don't care. I wasn't about to wait for guests before using this lovely board. Moozles thought it was so nice that she wanted to carry it around (kids are weird).

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I can't believe I have spent years slicing French bread on a short cutting board. Quelle horreur. The cutting board is £27.95 from Dassie, which is a specialist eco-friendly and fair trade online shop. One really special touch is that all Dassie products have a label that is made from growing paper. The paper is embedded with either flower or herb seeds and can be planted. The baguette board is really well made and I can see it lasting for many years. It has a leather thread so that you can hang it up in your kitchen. Our city kitchen is tiny, so we have it hidden away. But the next time we have friends over, they will be served French bread just so I can show off this baguette board.

Dassie baguette board

Who knows when we will have another outdoor (and not just in our garden) picnic. But this was such a lovely outing and a lovely picnic. It was a perfect way of saying goodbye to a wonderful summer. I can't wait to see what adventures we will get up to this Autumn.

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The Baguette Board was sent to us for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


Okay, I know that British people call this season 'Autumn' and not 'Fall', but for the purpose of alliteration in my title I had to go with 'Fall'. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that I love John Lewis. They're an all-round great department store and they also have a fab line of kids' clothing. John Lewis Boy, John Lewis Girl, Kin by John Lewis and the new Donna Wilson for John Lewis range - these lines are fashionable without breaking the bank.

I have picked out some of my favourite items from the kids' Autumn clothing. The girls' clothes range from ultra feminine to funky tomboy to Scandi-cool. My six-year old daughter, Moozles, edges towards the latter two so these are our top picks.

Buy John Lewis Girl Brittany Tripple Buckle Hi-Top Trainers Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Girl Herringbone Shorts, Red Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Girl Contrast Sleeve Denim Dress, Light Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Girls' Tree Leggings, Black/Multi Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Stripe Dress, Multi Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Rabbit Ear Muffs, Grey Online at johnlewis.com

Buckle high-top trainers, £19-£20    Herringbone shorts, £16-£18    Denim dress, £20-£22
Tree leggings, £10    Stripe dress, £25    Rabbit ear muffs, £9


Boys' clothing is a bit more difficult to source. Just because you have a son, it doesn't mean that he must be dressed for a play in the mud. I like Dubz to wear more than just tracksuit bottoms and hoodies. But he does not want to feel constricted or be dressed too formally. John Lewis have some super cool boys' fashion. The boys' hats, gloves and scarves are especially cute. I mean, ridiculously cute. I could probably do an entire post on the accessories alone. But I have included my favourite, the balaclava below (Dubz just adores monsters).

Buy John Lewis Boy Spiders Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Robot Jumper, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Kin by John Lewis Colour Block Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Charcoal/Yellow Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Skull and Crossbone Pyjamas, Pack of 2, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Boys' Badger T-Shirt, Grey Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Monster Balaclava, Navy/Red Online at johnlewis.com

Spiders t-shirt, £11-£13    Robot jumper, £16-£18    Colour block t-shirt, £10-£12
Skull & crossbones pyjamas, £20-£22    Badger t-shirt, £15    Monster balaclava, £12-£13


So those are my favourite Autumnal pieces from the kids' clothing lines from John Lewis. Do you like the pieces that I've picked out? Have you seen any items that are making you get your purse out?


Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com


Can one judge the value of parenting by gender? Are there biological benefits to being a female that makes one a better parent? Are women more nurturing, caring and loving? Are women born with an instinctive ability to better care of children? After all, women are the ones who grow life. Surely they are better able to take care of the people they have brought into the world? Right?

Wrong. Being a great parent is about showing love and understanding, not about your gender. Though Husband helped to 'make' our children, let's be honest, I did most of the work. But that does not mean that my love is any greater. As a Stay-At-Home-Mum, I spend a great deal of time caring for my children. Husband works 45-55 hours per week. I know more about our childrens' routines, their likes and dislikes. But this does not make me the better parent. Husband is an amazing father. He gives our children so much love and attention. And if he was the Stay-At-Home-Dad, and I was the breadwinner, we could not care for our children any more or any less.

Parenthood is an equalizer. None of us are ready or prepared. We have children and we either thrive or flounder. By thrive, I mean that we do our best and love the hell out of our kids. My flounder, I am talking about the parents we read about in the news. The ones that make us cry and shudder, and hold our children a bit tighter. There are some great mums and equally great dads out there. Being a great parent is about doing our best, loving our children and helping them grow up to be happy adults. What do you think makes a great parent? And do you think gender makes any difference?

Have a look at Mum Turned Mom for more posts discussing this week's topic, 'Are Women Better Parents Than Men?'



Wicked Wednesdays

I was trying to take a nice photo of my daughter, Moozles, in her Rainbows uniform. My son, Dubz, had other ideas. He doesn't like to miss a photo opportunity. But then he realised that his hat had fallen off. So he started frantically looking for his hat while Moozles patiently smiled. I did manage to get a couple of cute photos of the kids together, but couldn't get a photo of Moozles on her own.  Oh well, better than nothing.




My youngest is two years old. And his greatest love, besides me, is Mr Tumble. Dubz watches 3-4 episodes of Something Special every day (please don't judge, but if you do then you can F*** right off). I don't think there is just one thing Dubz likes, but he seems especially enamored with Mr Tumble's red nose and the use of sign language.

But let me be clear, this is not a post bashing Mr Tumble. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I love Mr Tumble. He is kind and silly and funny. He makes my son laugh. And in the past few months, while Dubz has struggled to speak, Mr Tumble's sign language has engaged him. Dubz has begun to use some sign language and the words have finally come.

But when you've watched as many episodes of Something Special as I have, you inevitably have questions.

1. Home - Mr Tumble used to live in a big country manor with his extended family. But he has recently moved to a terrace house. Why has he moved? Did Lord Tumble gamble away the family fortune on a high stakes game of croquet? I know that many people have had to downsize and watch their pennies in this economy, but I wish I knew what exactly had happened.

2. Family - Mr Tumble has such a strange array of relatives. Granddad Tumble is a working class cockney. Lord Tumble is a posh aristocrat. Is Aunt Polly a relation by marriage? Why don't we know her surname? Fisherman Tumble and Cliff Tumble (pop star)are also quite random. And what about Mr Tumble's parents? Did they die in a horrific clowning accident? Or are they travelling the world as international clown spies. Why are they never mentioned? I need to know.

3. Narrator - Who is the child speaking to Mr Tumble and Justin? Is he/she trapped in the telly? Or is he/she a figment of Mr Tumble's imagination? Instead of laughing along to Mr Tumble, should we consider calling a mental health professional?

4. Justin & Mr Tumble - Why can't there be an episode where Justin and Mr Tumble hang out? Why are they never in the same place? They seem to know each other, but never spend time together. It makes me wonder if Justin and Mr Tumble are perhaps the same person. Hmmmm.

5. First Names - What is Mr Tumble's first name? Gary? Rupert? Toby? He is awfully formal for a clown. Why don't we know everyone's full name (except for Cliff Tumble)? Is the Tumble name an alias? Are they all on the run from an international drug cartel?

If you, or anyone close to you, knows the answer to any of the above questions please contact me as soon as you can. I can't handle another night lying awake in bed and wondering.



*Photo credit: BBC website