Playing with fire is dangerous. Should we do it and if so under what circumstances?


I like candles and my son was watching me light them the other  day. He wanted to have a go. All my protective instincts screamed no. Then I reflected that he will need to strike a match (and out on his own!) at some point in his life. So I let him try and after a few failed attempts he was delighted to see the flame.

Today he said he wanted to do some science and burn different types of material. Again, this sent me into a panic and then I decided to just go with it. We had over a hour of playing with fire and noticed how different  materials really do burn in a very different way and at different speeds. He even learned what a Tampax was for the first time as I had heard they are great for getting a bonfire going.

Whilst we marveled at the different shapes of flames we listened to a Horrible Histories audio book about the Rotten Romans noticing how often humour was used and also alliteration. There may have been a role-play session on the murder of Caesar!

In the end we had a full morning of full on fun and learning.

So as I have a cuppa and a think, I compare home education to playing with fire. So many people tell you it is dangerous to go down this route and nobody more so than yourself sometimes. Yet when you stop stressing it and throw yourself into it with gusto, it is a delight and memorable learning takes place not just for the child but for the parent too.

There is movement and laughter. There is risk-taking and caution too. That sounds pretty much life life really and that is what we are educating our kids for right?

Cuddle Fairy

There was a sad woman on telly
who hoped she was shrinking my belly
She said Brand New You
I escaped to the loo
And went to the kitchen for jelly!

brand new you

Dedicated to Lorraine Kelly.

Prose for Thought

Treating nosebleeds is something most parents have had to do at some point. Do you now what to do if your child has a nosebleed?

treating nosebleeds

I find my daughter is prone to nosebleeds. She used to have the odd idea that they came every Halloween! My sons don’t have  them often at all. In fact my 11 year old had one this morning and it took him totally by surprise.

I remember the first time my daughter has a nosebleed my husband said she should tip her head back and  I disagreed drawing on some distant memory of my first aid training at Brownies.

So here is what you should do when you are treating a nosebleed.

If your child is under 2 year of age, seek medical advice immediately as this is rare and may suggest something serious.

Encourage your child to sit down and firmly pinch the soft part of their nose just above the nostrils.

Don’t rush it – they should do this for at least 10 minutes.

I was right. Your little one should lean forward and breathe through their mouth so the blood does not go down the back of their throat.

You could place an ice park (or pack of frozen peas or veg of your choice!) on the bridge of their nose covered by a towel.

Staying sitting up discourages further bleeding.

One of the most vital things you can do for your child is not to panic. As in any situation  if you act confidently they feel safe and secure.

If the bleeding does not stop are your child has recurrent nosebleeds, seek medical advice.

Once your child has stopped bleeding, recovery and prevention of infection is helped by:

  1. Not blowing or picking their nose
  2. Not engaging in any major exercise.
  3. Avoiding hot drinks for 24 hours
  4. Avoiding  anyone with coughs or colds

For help on any health matters, check out NHS Choices.

What is your experience of treating nosebleeds in the family?

This post is brought to you by the ex-pert mum by no means an expert but definitely ex-pert.





I have a lost bank card. It has gone off on some adventure and at first I did not realise it was missing. My purse has a broken hinge and kept popping open. I knew this was an issue but instead of moving everything into another purse that I had upstairs, I was silly.

lost bank card

I went to my purse this morning and my bank card was missing. Bank cards are like gas, electricity and water, taken for granted until they don’t exist any more. Perhaps my bank card was feeling unappreciated and went in search of a more loving  owner.

I retraced my steps and visited several shops  and a cafe to see if I could find it.

I tried cancelling the card but initially had problems as the bank was experiencing  technical difficulties. You and me both mate!

When I finally got through to the bank a lovely woman called Zoe helped ensure the card got cancelled and ordered me a new one.

Facebook friends told me I should have cancelled it immediately but of course I would lose the card on a day when the banks are closed!

Of course, with the right care I would not have lost it in the first place and here are some quick tips so you don’t lose yours.

  1. Ensure the purse or wallet you are carrying the card in is secure.
  2. Keep an eye on  your card and have it in sight or at least the place you keep it in sight.
  3. Never write down PIN numbers. It is tempting but it is silly and keep PINS secret from family and friends too.
  4. Have an emergency cash account and leave the card for that at home until you lose your first card which you won’t because you are not as daft as me.
  5. Ensure your card is signed as soon as you get it. Don’t make life easier for potential thieves.
  6. Have lost card numbers readily to hand or check the internet site for the bank which will give you the  number

Of course knowing my luck the lost bank card will now be found but it is not worth taking the risk of it being misused. Cancel your cards as soon as you know they are missing.

If you need money advice generally, check out the Money Advice Service.

Cuddle Fairy

Birth plans seem like such a good idea when you first hear the concept. As a mum-to-be we have a vague idea that birth might involve a lot of pain and screaming so surely it is best to have a plan.

Before I experienced the reality of childbirth, I thought the pain was a rite of passage and that mums were exaggerating the level of pain involved. I dutifully went to antenatal classes and read books galore on what to expect.

I then went into labour. Did my waters break of their own accord? Nope! Did my contractions get progressively nearer together? Nope! Was I sent home from hospital due to lack of progress? Yup!

My husband sat all night long recording every contraction but they did not fit any of the patterns the pregnancy books told me about

My baby was  lying with his back against mine. This is known as an ‘occiput posterior’ (OP) position. So much for birth planning as mine involved listening to tranquil music, seeing contractions come relatively quickly, a bit of screaming and maybe biting down on a spoon like in old films.

It didn’t get any better when I decided I really must go to hospital again. My husband put me in the car and after travelling for about half a mile, the car broke down. So as the contractions finally sped up I had to walk home in the dark and cursing my husband. Sepia image gone right there!

After hours waiting for a taxi, I screamed all the way to hospital with the encouragement of the driver who was superb and told me to scream away whilst he played the Beatles. Talk about “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away ..”

It all worked out well in the end and that back to back baby is now a strapping 16 year old.

I am not saying making birth plans is silly because it does give you some level of control so long as you accept that life might take a different turn.

NHS Choices even gives you a draft birth plan so you can write it all down. They advise that you might want to discuss your birth plans with your midwife, the baby’s father and other key players in your life.

Think about pain relief options, birth partners and how  you feel about intervention such as forceps or ventouse delivery.

You should also choose “I will survive”as your musical choice because us mums have a knack of coping with what life throws at us.

This post is brought to you by the ex-pert mum by no means an expert but definitely ex-pert.

Cuddle Fairy