How to Waste an Hour: A Mother’s Guide


By a strange twist of fate and a rare alignment of the sun and stars on the unicorn new year, I have an hour to myself.

I regularly dream of this moment.

In the small hours of the morning when I’m rocking Little O back to sleep after a random spell of night-waking, I imagine the many wondrous things I could achieve with just a small amount of time to myself.

How productive could I be, how groomed might I look if I just had some free time?

When this extraordinary occasion arises, the reality doesn’t necessarily always match the hype.

Here’s how it actually goes:


A little voice in my head screams ‘sleep woman, sleep!’. However I generally conclude that an hour is not enough time to wind down, read a few pages of my boring send-me-to-sleep novel and have enough time to get through a full sleep cycle. I would need to set an alarm and I can’t bear that. I rely on Little O to wake me each morning, the sound of babbling is actually quite nice compared to the alternative of my nerve-jangling ‘laser’ sound effect iphone alarm.

I waste a good 10 minutes of my hour of freedom deciding not to sleep.


I constantly glance around my living room and wish I had time to tidy up the piles of tat that accumulate everywhere and to put away the small plastic toys that seem to attract the soles of my feet.

But, why would I want to spend ‘me’ time on chores? I could spend the time tidying, only for Little O to commando-crawl through the living room afterwards, dragging everything she can find along with her. It’s a futile exercise. It’s fine that I’ve lost one flip-flop and keep finding plastic ball-pool balls in inappropriate places. I’m ok with shape sorter bricks scattered on the sofa, it adds a dash of colour to the room.

I waste a further 10 minutes staring at the aforementioned messy living room from the comfort of the sofa and decide not to do any chores.


I’m so far out of touch with today’s TV that I don’t know where to begin with selecting suitable daytime viewing material. If it’s not ‘In the Night Garden’ or ‘Postman Pat’ then it’s basically alien to me.

Of course, one-hour episodes of decent dramas are reserved for evening viewing with Mr O. Thats how we roll these days.

After flicking through hundreds of channels, none grab my attention and I’ve allowed another 10 minutes to slip through my fingers.


Well, DIY grooming always seems a great idea but when it comes to it… ah no.

There’s an excellent salon near to where I live, with very reasonable prices. My own manicuring skills leave me looking like I’ve been finger-painting therefore it would be easier and safer all round not to spend my precious hour making myself look worse.

No appointments available at short notice, but I have a nice chat on the telephone with the receptionist. It’s nice to have an adult conversation.

There’s nothing left to do except….


Spending precious time looking at photos of people I don’t know, who people I’ve not seen for 15 years have ‘liked’. Yes.

Getting distracted by photos of other people’s weddings, babies and exotic holidays. Yes.

Accidentally buying more baby tat for Little O, to add to the mess in our living room? Of course! We have to keep up with the Next Big Thing

After 55 minutes, I realize I have yet again frittered away a free hour. I spend the final few minutes messaging my mum-friends to arrange a play date and a coffee, safe in the knowledge that it’s always more fun frittering time away together.

Next time I have a spare hour, I’ll definitely be more productive. I might even track down that missing flip-flop.

Stopping at two
A Cornish Mum


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3 Reasons to Love September

‘There are many reasons to love September. Especially when we are in it’ – Willie Stargell.

Here are my top 3 reasons to find it fabulous:

The Weather
The humidity condensing on my skin may still bestow the appearance of sweaty forearms but that’s ok because soon we will enter the most glorious few months of Abu Dhabi weather.

Yes, we have a few weeks to wait, but we all know it is coming. Long, lazy weekends enjoying beaches, parks and making the most of all those restaurants with amazing outside seating areas.

There will be challenges, the main one for me being how to stop Little O eating sand, but I am ready to rise to it.

My Little Sand-Eater

My Little Sand-Eater


I am desperately looking forward to being able to spend more than a few seconds outside and I’m dreaming of the first evening where I feel slightly chilly and need to wear a light cardigan. Bliss.

And no, I will not miss the moist forearms.



The ‘Back to School’ Feeling
Deeply ingrained since the new school terms of childhood, the month of September brings a feeling of new beginnings. Young and old, children or no children, the rhythm of the year seems to begin here.

Once upon a time, I would polish my Forever Friends pencil tin, cover my exercise books with pages from Smash Hits magazine and spend an unfeasibly long time colour-coding my school timetable using satisfyingly crisp new fluorescent highlighter pens.



As an adult (aside from the raging sandstorm currently blowing) the air seems full of potential. Life moves up a gear and normal service doesn’t just resume, it revs up. Personally, I’m getting ready to return to work and also planning plenty of time to escape into my little hideout, writing this blog.



Clearly I need material to write about, so the ‘term’ ahead brings beach play-dates, brunches, festivals, concerts, holidays and reunions of friends separated by the long summer holidays. Which brings me nicely to…


The Return of the Mums

Huge numbers of expat mums travel ‘home’ for extended periods during the summer. The coffee mornings stop, the soft play venues are quiet and facebook feeds are filled with pictures of cuddly new babies meeting family for the first time, toddlers running around on grass and the classic shot: child-in-an-aeroplane-seat (additional expat cachet for business class).

For those who’ve been there and done that, you’ll know these long summer trips are brilliant, fun filled, but non-stop and actually quite exhausting.

From mid-August onwards, the trickle of returning mums slowly gathers pace and becomes a veritable stampede of frazzled mothers very, very ready to return to our wonderful desert home. Or maybe that was just me!

Anyhow, I’m looking forward to sharing the year ahead with my mum-friends and blog followers. As always…. bring on the tea and cake!






Mami 2 Five