Thursday, 21 August 2014


Much as I try to convince myself that my entire wardrobe has shrunk in the wash, there's no getting away from it: I have put on weight. Sigh. But how? How is this physically possible, when every single day I am subjected to a gruelling workout by my very own personal trainer?

That's right, my personal trainer. A real tyrant, even when I'm begging for respite he is relentless. Something of a maverick too, quite unique in his approach you might say. But his gorgeous good looks more than make up for it. Did I mention he is not quite 2 years old?

Yes I am at the mercy of my toddler who sees each day as an opportunity to put me through my paces. Just a few of the moves I've been subjected to this week:

The 100 yard dash.
A rurr rurr! A rurr rurr! Quick Mummy, don't you know there's a dog on the other side of the road?! Yes its a flat out sprint to stop T getting run over as he chases after the dog and its alarmed looking owner. Oh dear, the dog is disappearing into the distance and the only way to avoid a tantrum is:
A quick dive underneath the pushchair to find a toy, any toy, in the hope of distracting him from the doggy. Look darling, it's your car, how exciting! His face crumples. No car! Choo Choo! CHOO CHOO! Oh bugger did I bring the train? Another dive into the bottom of the pushchair to rummage around in search of his favourite train. For optimum health benefits this move should be carried out in a confined space- contorting oneself as you bend over will really work those hamstrings and... what, off again?!
Interval training.
This is the main cardio event. We've arrived at the park and the expanse of open space is overwhelmingly tempting to a toddler. We're off, running full pelt towards the swings, gaining speed, the wind in our hair...STOP! Hang on, we've stopped? Oh of course. T has found a leaf. A fucking leaf. T spends 5 minutes examining it whilst I collapse onto the nearest park bench. The park is getting busy so it looks like its time for:
Where's he gone? I leap up from my seat and scan the park, breathing a sigh of relief I spot him next to the slide. I lower myself down but before my posterior makes contact with the bench I'm up again. Where IS he? Ah yes, view obscured by other parents, there he is coming down the slide. Lower myself down again and...repeat for 15 reps or until...
Up! Up! Two arms outstretched and a wobbly bottom lip, exhausted. Time for home. Not in his pushchair though, where's the work out in that?! No, only a carry will do which means hoiking 2 stone of wriggly octopus all the way home.

Why am I not a size 8 after that?! Probably all the cake.

Monday, 30 June 2014


So Mr M scraped the car yesterday, making a hash of what can only be described as the world's simplest parking manoeuvre: driving straight forwards into an empty space. The embarrassing conversation with our insurers (its my policy) followed thus: "Can you describe the incident?" Me: he was parking the car and hit another car. "I see. Was there anything obscuring his vision?" Me: No. "Was the other car over the dividing line?" Me: No. "Were there any other factors involved?" Me: No, it was an empty car park.

I could feel a mix of disdain and sympathy that I am married to such an eejit emanating from the phone.

You might think, that with the car being only 4 months old, that I might have reacted somewhat angrily to my husband putting a dent in my shiny new car. Thankfully, I looked at him before letting loose the torrent of abuse about to spring forth from my lips. I could see instantly how sorry he was, how there was nothing at all I could say to make him feel any worse than he already did. I'm quite proud of myself as I'm not normally known for my self-control and understanding in heated situations (as my colleague who made the mistake of telling me he was 'tired' after I had had 6 months of broken sleep could attest. He still won't sit next to me in meetings and jumps at loud noises.) So I gave him a big hug instead and said don't worry, we'll sort it.

He obviously felt terrible about it as he was very subdued all day. Until I surprised him in the kitchen later with a guaranteed way of putting a smile on his face.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Turn off to turn on?

I read an article this week on the Guardian website (by the unfortunately named Hannah Slapper...) on University College London's National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles which says, in a nutshell, we are having less sex. ('We' being 16-44 year olds- I imagine had the survey canvassed the numerous panicked visitors to the Teen Sexual Health clinic at my local doctors the results may have been very different.)

Ms. Slapper cites increased use of technology as a factor in our diminishing sex lives and it can't be denied that often the only thing getting turned on come bedtime is your Twitter feed. Durex have also launched a new advertising campaign aimed at getting people to switch their electronic devices off and start connecting with each other instead.

For me though technology is just a small part of the bigger picture. Its a common refrain that we have such busy lives we don't have time for swinging from the chandeliers and hours of foreplay. I can't argue with that, being exhausted come 10pm most nights. But in a busy week you would still eat, right? Still have a shower? Still do laundry and wash the dishes? So would it really be that difficult to squeeze in half an hour for sex every couple of days. Apparently so, according to the NATSAL survey which found that on average, women are 'mingling limbs' (is this a recognised scientific term?!) just 4.8 times a month and men 4.9. That's barely once a month!

The point is, we naturally prioritise the seen over the unseen. If we have no clean clothes to wear, it has a direct impact on our lives. Not having sex tonight, well that's no big deal is it? True, there's no immediate consequence, but I honestly believe that long periods without sexual intimacy are devastating to the foundations of a relationship, widening the chasm between a couple until the spark that brought them together has been completely extinguished.

Overdramatic? Possibly. All I have to go on is my own relationship, where I know even after a couple of days without any action we start seeing the effects. We are more likely to snap at each other, less patient, less physically and emotionally close. For us sex is the glue that holds us together, the thing that sets us apart from the other relationships in our lives. Knowing this we strive to make sex a priority, even when life gets busy. That's my excuse for not doing the washing up, anyway.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

In sickness and in health

"Bake lurve to bee", I whispered throatily to Mr M this morning.

I was not, of course, urging him to engage in some bizarre culinary/sexual shenanigans (the painful climax doesn't bear thinking about!) with a stinging insect but instead trying to persuade him to DTD with his ill wife.

"You know you want...[cough] [splutter] [noseblow]!"

Well no,apparently he didn't. And who could blame him, for a pretty sight I am not- red-nosed, hoarse, reeking of Eau d'Olbas Oil and surrounded by used tissues.

I'm not too disappointed by the rejection though. In fact quite the opposite. In that rejection lies security in knowing that there will be other times for us to "bake lurve". If we don't do it today, we can tomorrow. And the day after and the day after. For that is a marriage.

Many couples embarking on their life together find the prospect of being with the same person 'forever' daunting. I am the opposite. I've never had a one night stand and to be honest the idea of being naked with a complete stranger is enough to bring me out in hives. Mr M and I were friends before we were lovers and I can't imagine it any other way. He already knew what made me tick mentally before we got physical and that was a huge turn on. We both knew from the first night that we were in it for the long haul and far from being oppressive I found this liberating-to have discovered the person who would spend a lifetime exploring me inside and out.

11 years on I can honestly say I've never had the urge to have a one night stand. The awkwardness alone would be enough to put me off. How do you know what they like? How would they know what you like? And-it bears repeating as frankly the idea is just so abhorrent to me- being naked in front of a stranger! Give me marriage any day, where your husband looks past your c-section scar to see the woman who he loves enough to create a new new life with. Give me a lifetime with the man who knows exactly what you want without you having to ask.

He doesn't get off that easily though. I have it on good authority (Cosmopolitan is a respected medical journal, right?) that orgasms are a cure for the common cold. Really, Google it. So sod tomorrow, I want rid of this cold now. And you did promise to love me in sickness and in health. Dot thad I'm bill. I feel find. Donest.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Top 10 Lover/Mother Fails...

Over the course of the last 17 months, I've inadvertently committed some fairly heinous parenting crimes, by trying to retain elements of our pre-T sex life. These are the 'On my god you'll never guess what T has done now' anecdotes I won't be sharing at Mum and Tots group. However thanks to the anonymity of the internet, you, dear reader, get to hear about them in all their icky glory. Below are my top 10 Lover/Mother guilty secrets...

1. The time I walked into our spare room, where we dry the washing, to find my 14 month old dancing with a pair of skimpy black lace knickers on his head.

2. Waking T up by being too, ah, enthusiastic during sex with Mr McGraw. Oops. This probably wouldn't score so highly but for the fact it happened more than once. The same night. Double oops.

3. Moving our 4 month old into his own room contrary to NHS guidelines which recommend waiting until baby is 6 months old. Not because, as we told everyone, we believed he would sleep better in his own room but quite simply because we were gagging for it.

4. Spending our first night and day away from T in bed. For 24 hours straight. Then being completely unconvincing when people asked what we did on our trip away. "Er, um, you know, er, museums and stuff?" I think even my own mother suspects the truth.

5. Finding my 17 month old using an "IOU Hot Sex" voucher as a toothpick.

6. Spending my free time reading dirty books instead of "10 ways to get vegetables into your toddler today!"

7. Using T's nap time to go back to bed ourselves in the afternoon. I know the books all say sleep when the baby sleeps but I don't think that's quite what they meant...

8. Unplugging the baby monitor in our room as oddly enough the sound of a snuffly, snoring baby is not an aphrodisiac. (If it is you should probably seek professional help. ) If he yells loud enough we will hear him.

9. When holidaying with friends and family, insisting on T having his own room as "he'll sleep better that way". Actually we are on holiday and I will be damned if I don't get a f**k on holiday. Sorry it cost you an extra £50, sis.

10. Writing this blog. My knowledge of teenagers nowadays is pretty limited, but I can't see it going down well in future years...


How to entertain a hyperactive toddler when you just want to sleeeeep? A disco of course! Close the curtains (no one needs to see me rocking the funky chicken at 10am) and crank up the volume on the iPod. T loves music, and is as happy bopping along to the Postman Pat theme as he is Prince ('Raspberry beret' a particular favourite, since you ask). However the song that got him grooving today was...

Zombie by the Cranberries. Not a natural choice on the playlist of most under 3's, I grant you. But the sight of my beautiful boy swaying to the tune whilst blissfully ignorant of the heartrending lyrics and the powerful message behind them was a sight that will stay with me. The song is evocative on so many levels, as it conjures up images of war-torn Belfast, but also the nostalgia for University days spent listening to music and nights spent dancing in indie clubs, taking every lyric to heart, thinking we could take on the world and win.

A long way from dancing in the dining room of a suburban house with a toddler. The juxtaposition of my old life and new life was stark. But I would trade any number of nights at the indie disco to spend one moment watching my infant son swaying to the Cranberries without a care in the world.

Post-holiday Blues...

So, following a much needed weekend away with Mr McGraw (more of which later...), T has decided that sleep is for wimps. Which means anguished screams circa 3am ( he does like to mix it up though just to keep us on our toes so really any time between midnight and 4am), arms outstretched and wails of "Mumma...Mumma...MUMMA!". The only cure appears to be a swift extraction from his cot to the marital bed- plonked squarely betwixt Mr M and I, where he metamorphs into his usual sunny self,shouting "Hiya!" at top volume.

Having turned nocturnal, day times with T have been no picnic this week either. Having left T for the weekend, he now sobs his heart out if I so much as disappear from his line of vision. A new low was reached on Friday when he insisted on accompanying me to the toilet at a friend's house. Then opened the toilet door- mid flow.

Suffice to say lack of sleep and a toddler between you in bed means that the glow of a weekend away soon diminishes and bickering sets in.

To me it seems a high price to pay for a weekend away to reconnect as husband and wife. 2 days 'off' (missing your offspring like crazy all the while) to then have 2 weeks of disrupted sleep and a toddler superglued to your side during waking it worth it? There can be no doubt that time away from being Mum and Dad is a key weapon in the fight to retain one's sexuality. But how to minimise the fallout afterwards? If I figure it out you guys will be the first to know...