Book Review: Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Why Mummy Drinks

I arrived home from work the other evening to find that our lovely nanny had left a copy of this book on my desk to read.  I’m not sure if it is a bit concerning that she chose a book called ‘Why Mummy Drinks’, I’m hoping she realised it was a novel and wasn’t giving me a self help book?!?!?

Another friend had raved about this last year – and I have read some of Gill Sims Facebook posts about ‘Peter and Jane’ which spawned this book – so I was looking forward to it.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

“Why Mummy Drinks is the brilliant novel from Gill Sims, the author of the online sensation Peter and Jane.

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’

But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…”

I have to say I enjoyed it straight away!  There have been other books written about motherhood – Hurrah for Gin‘s springs to mind immediately as one I’ve reviewed – and they were good, but in this, Peter and Jane are 8 and 6 – almost exactly the same age as my youngest two children, and so it was sooooo much more currently relevant than newborn related books.

As well as laughing (and shaking in an attempt not to wake my sleeping husband)  – I was nodding in total agreement (I have a 6 year old who still wants to keep taking the lovely pink Calpol and not to have to have the 6+ version. Equally I have a 14 year old who insists on still taking the 6+ sweets style Calpol rather than proper paracetamol tablets – I’m not sure 6+ Calpol is designed for period pain…….. )

The book is written in the style of a diary – school year diary not calendar year diary – and all the major events are covered!  Christmas was a particular favourite for me – but I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what happens.  There was also a family trip to The Savoy – which we did last year (and the stress about not having WAG style luggage was real!) – and the swimming pool, that we loved, got a mention too.

Savoy bathrobes
Giving the Savoy bathrobes some good press for once!

There are people in it – from the school gates / friends / family – who you will recognise IMMEDIATELY.  Clearly I’m not going to name names (well, not unless you buy me a gin or two!) but you will totally recognise people you know.   I texted one of my sisters as I was part way through the book as I knew she’d love it (and she never reads my book review blog posts – how rude!) and she downloaded it instantly – and then texted me to complain she was not getting through any of her ‘to do list’ for the weekend as she loved it so much she couldn’t put it down!!

It’s a bit sweary, there’s a recurring alcohol theme throughout, it’s fabulously middle class and suburban – and just bloody brilliant!  It reminded me of the TV programme Motherland that covered similar topics (but I have to say, I think ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ is better, and I preferred Ellen to Julia as the main character.)

I’m not sure where this will fit into my 2018 Reading Challenge – but I don’t care!  It was worth going off piste because it was so good.  And I am DELIGHTED there is to be a sequel so we can find out what happens to Ellen, Simon, Jane and Peter next – in Why Mummy Swears which is out in July – hoorah!







Reading Challenge 2018!

Back in mid January last year I decided to join some friends in the Pop Sugar reading challenge 2017.  Now, I didn’t quite tick off all of the categories – but I’m quite pleased with what I managed, and you can look at all of my reviews in the ‘2017 Reading Challenge’ category on this blog.

2017 Reading Challenge
A book recommended by a librarian The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell
A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
A book of letters The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
An audiobook Crackanory – too cracked for TV
A book by a person of colour  …
A book with one of the four seasons in the title One Endless Summer by Laurie Ellingham
A book that is a story within a story The Forever House by Veronica Henry
A book with multiple authors Scummy Mummies by Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson
An espionage thriller  …
A book with a cat on the cover Family Ghouls by Alex A King
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym The Summer House By The Sea by Jenny Oliver
A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read  …
A book by or about a person who has a disability Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon
A book involving travel The Break by Marian Keyes
A book with a subtitle The Love of the Game:  Parenthood, Sport and Me by Mark Chapman
A book that’s published in 2017 After You by Mhairi McFarlane
A book involving a mythical creature The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile  …
A book about food The Wonder by Emma Donohue
A book with career advice Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
A book from a nonhuman perspective The Bees by Laline Paull
A steampunk novel Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
A book with a red spine Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
A book set in the wilderness  …
A book you loved as a child  …
A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited  …
A book with a title that’s a character’s name The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce
A novel set during wartime To My Daughter In France by Barbara and Stephanie Keating
A book with an unreliable narrator The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker
A book with pictures Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting To The Top by Karren Brady
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
A book about an interesting woman Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
A book set in two different time periods The Party by Elizabeth Day
A book with a month or a day of the week in the title  …
A book set in a hotel The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
A book written by someone you admire There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell
A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017  …
A book set around a holiday other than Christmas A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford
The first book in a series you haven’t read before Watermelon by Marian Keyes
A book you bought on a trip The Postcard by Fern Britton

A friend in the Facebook group we’ve set up to share book reviews and ideas said she’d downloaded the 2018 challenge – and of course, I couldn’t say no – so I’ve had to join in too!  I don’t think I’m going to beat myself up about it so much this year – and will read off piste if I want to. Equally, this year if I’m not enjoying a book I’m not going to persevere! Life’s too short and all that.

You can read more about the challenge itself here – but here’s the summary of topics:

2018 reading challenge

And in a paraphrase of Strictly Come Dancing – keeeeeeeep reading!



Book Review: Anything is Possible by Rob Osborne

I was recommended the book  ‘Anything is Possible’ by Elizabeth Strout by a number of ‘best books of 2017’ lists and by the author Elizabeth Day on Twitter (whose book The Party was one of my highlights of the year.)  I was clearly rushing on Amazon and accidentally downloaded the wrong Anything is Possible without realising:

Anything is Possible




“Matt leads an ordinary life, working at a bank in London. He whiles away the hours at his normal job, fantasising about a soap star, Abbey Jones – and can’t believe his luck when she arrives in his branch to make a cash withdrawal during a visit to London. However, during this once-in-alifetime moment, Matt makes a fool of himself and Abby is somewhat abrupt with him.
Following a stream of events and another chance encounter, Matt and Abbey begin to develop feelings for each other. After all of these years spent yearning for Abbey, Matt does not feel an ordinary man like him can develop a sustainable relationship with someone so famous, which leads to their relationship breaking down.

Will Matt and Abbey find a way to be together? Or will her fame destroy their chance of happiness?

Anything is Possible has been inspired, in part, by Rob’s jobs in banking – from Nationwide Building Society to Alliance & Leicester and then Lloyds TSB.”

On page 1 I was surprised this was such an acclaimed book as it felt like it had been written by someone in the pub whilst reading The Sun or maybe Heat magazine.  I kept reading, expecting it to improve – but after the first chapter wondered what on earth was going on and checked – and realised my mistake.

I hate giving up on a  book, so persevered for a few more chapters before deciding it was total dross.  It has full 5 star reviews on Amazon – but admittedly that’s just from 5 people, and I assume all must be friends or relatives of the author.  It really is formulaic and dire.  My 14 year old could write a more nuanced book. The sentence construction, storyline, character development, scene setting, relationships are all pretty awful.

Don’t waste your time reading this drivel.  What a downer to end my 2017 reading!

So I’m hoping the Anything is Possible I should have downloaded is infinitely better – and will feature in my 2018 Reading Challenge some how!!





There’s a moose*, loose about this hoose…..

Earlier today the 3 youngest kids and one of the boy’s friends were playing hide and seek.  The boy shrieked ‘I’ve just seen a mouse in the spare room’ – which made everyone come out of their hiding places – but he wasn’t that insistent about it, so we assumed he was just being a knob (not unheard of!!)

However, about 2 hours later, middle daughter realised the tube attached to her hamster’s cage was actually not attached any more.  She claimed she’d seen Oreo (he’s brown and white – you’d never have guessed would you?) earlier that morning – so we didn’t think he could have got far.  But the back door had been open quite often – so we feared he could have gone to play with the rabbits and guinea pigs outside (parent code for – disappeared forever….)  Much searching of the family room, where the cage was sited,  ensued – but there was no evidence of an errant hamster.

At this point we thought that maybe the ‘mouse’ sighting from earlier in the day wasn’t such baloney – but that would have involved the hamster covering 20 odd metres – plus a flight of a dozen stairs – all without being noticed.

Some investigations in the spare room found Oreo under a chest of drawers having eaten through quite a chunk of carpet!  Still not entirely sure how he made it up there – I wonder if he had assistance from those cheeky Elves?!?  But he is now safely ensconced back in his cage.


*Actually a hamster



Snapchat fail…..

Yesterday I tried to be all ‘down with the kids’ and send my son a Snapchat of where I was waiting for him at the station after school. Unfortunately I sent it to the incorrect Luke Price. #parentfail

IMG_1705 (002)

I was recounting this story to my daughter this evening and told her ‘but the other Luke Price was really understanding about it all when I apologised’

She was mortified, head in hands, ‘Mum, you should have just blocked him not gone back and said sorry’ – and she took my phone and blocked him for me (admittedly I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do!) so that I don’t make the same mistake again.

And there was me thinking I was being polite.  It would appear manners are not required for Snapchat.

Or perhaps middle aged women should just steer clear of it………






The top ten – telephone numbers I know….

I was thinking the other day that there aren’t many phone numbers I actually remember – most are programmed in to my mobile (I’m showing my age just by calling it that – my kids would call it phone without thinking of any other sort of phone!) and so I don’t need to know them.


So – if I lost my mobile – who would I be able to call (aside from the emergency services, the speaking clock and directory enquiries):

  1. My husband’s mobile.  One of the very few numbers I actually remember – probably from calling it quite so much.  Let’s face it – he probably wouldn’t answer it as he’d be busy on another call – the kids even know the voicemail spiel off by heart from hearing it so much.
  2. Our landline. Admittedly that would freak everyone out!  The only people who phone the home phone are my Nan or cold callers. Or other household members and the call usually starts with ‘why haven’t you picked up your mobile?’
  3. My parents.  They’ve lived in the same house since before I was 2 – and had the same number I’m guessing from when they moved in.  They answer the phone with the last 4 digits of the number – which used to be ‘a thing’ – but I’m not so sure is now?  Back in the day the neighbours all had very similar numbers.  I clearly remember once mis-dialling the last digit when trying to call my folks and then realising I was talking to Auntie Val from down the road!! Once, when my best friend from school had actually lost her mobile (not hypothetically for a blog post) she managed to get in touch with me as she also remembered my parents number from our youth!
  4. My best friend from school.  The aforementioned friend has lived in the French Alps for the last 15 years – and when she first moved there I had this fancy calling account that meant it was cheaper than just using the landline.  However, this meant I had to dial a number first before putting in her number, so it couldn’t be programmed in to the phone. Consequently I remember all 13 digits of her phone number off by heart – similar to knowing my credit card number off by heart too.  Although, in both instances, I can only do the number in one go – if I pause in the middle it completely throws me!
  5. My middle sister.  In a similar vein to 4, my sister has lived in Munich for many years – and so I’ve memorised her number too.  There’s been the odd time I’ve had fat fingers and miskeyed the number and ended up talking to a random German – but generally I get it right!
  6. The office number.  Now this comes with a disclaimer.  I can remember the number that we give out publicly and is on all of our headed paper etc. but when we moved offices 5 years ago we changed exchanges within Birmingham and so couldn’t move our number across.  But – we didn’t want to change the number all of our customers and staff knew – so it gets forwarded every time someone calls it to a new local Kings Norton number.  I have that number saved into my phone for when I call the office (as it’s cheaper!) but don’t know the direct number at all!
  7. My Nan.  Nan has had the same number as long as I can remember – I suspect as long as she’s had a phone in her home, and it’s moved with her over the years (she’s clearly lived in the same Birmingham exchange all that time).  Although it if was an emergency and I’d lost my phone I’m not sure my almost 89 year old Nan would be my immediate source of assistance!  And we won’t even mention Nan’s own mobile…….
  8. The doctors’ surgery. Our doctors are great – but getting through to them at 8am for a same day appointment is impossible.  I tend to use the landline on ringback – but at the same time keep pressing redial on my mobile, sometimes in excess of 100 times.  I might not have to physically key in the digits each time – but the number is burned on to my retinas from looking at it so much.
  9. My best friend from work in the 90s.  She – like me – has had the same mobile number since we started working together in the mid 90s – it has therefore been used MANY MANY times in the last 20+ years.  Our teenage daughters are friends now – but clearly they’d iMessage or use social media to contact each other, nothing so retro as actually CALLING each other!
  10. Number 9’s husband’s mobile.  Now admittedly this is not quite as weird as it sounds – as he and I worked together lots in the 90s too – surviving some audits on pretty much caffeine and Haribo.  For some reason his mobile number would also be one I’d remember in a crisis.  And he has been known to be my knight in shining armour in the past – and this story probably needs to be recorded on my blog as it’s been told many time!!  I’d been out for dinner with them both and came home to find my front door unlocked.  At the time I lived on my own and it was pitch black. So lovely friend’s lovely husband picked up his weapon of choice (a squash racket from the boot of his car) and came into the house with me to check for intruders. We searched the house and there was no sign of anything remiss – until I went in to the kitchen and found an ENORMOUS bouquet of flowers.  My now husband had not long had a key to my house, and whilst I’d been out with friends he’d let himself in to deliver me some flowers.  He’d just not realised my front door needed to be manually locked when you left. Needless to say the phonecall to ‘thank’ him for the flowers also included some expletives….

So there you go – my ‘squad’ if I needed to make my one phone call from jail or such like!!

Apologies to my littlest sister and any friend I’ve made since 1996 – but at least you’re off the hook for bailing me out!!





Training shoes

This morning I was off to a breakfast seminar to be technically updated about current changes in Financial Reporting legislation.  These seminars are great because I can tick the continued professional development box on my ICAEW renewal, catch up with old colleagues, have a lovely bacon bap* – and miss the morning chaos at home – winning all round!

Anyway – as I was getting ready the youngest said, ‘Mummy, where are you going?’

I decided the above was a bit verbose for a 5 year old, so went with ‘A training course’ – she looked at my feet and replied ‘I don’t think you’re going to be able to run in those shoes Mummy?’



At the seminar I bumped into one of the retired partners who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years – I had a momentary panic as I couldn’t remember which surname he knew me by.  Then I realised it didn’t actually matter, as he had once signed me in to a client as Libby Purves as he couldn’t remember my surname!


* In shocking news there were no bacon or sausage baps today!  The chef was trying out some fancy pants breakfast canapes!!  Whilst they looked and tasted great – you just didn’t have the volume of a bap – and some of the pretty tiny bowls required a spoon, and when you’ve got an essential mug of coffee in one hand (I’ve learnt you need a double caffeine hit before these things, having once fallen asleep and had the notes on my lap clatter to the floor!) you can’t faff with a spoon and tiny canape as well!!



Wonky wigs and sore feet!

Last Friday was a friend’s wedding 40th birthday party, and the dress code was ‘black and sparkly’.   One of my best friends, Mandy, was also in attendance – and we were asked if we’d been shopping together as our dresses were so similar – but we’re just girlie swots who do what we’re told when there’s a dress code!  I love this photo of us (even if we do look like we’re trying to be the next hosts of Strictly!)


And it’s a good job there was someone taking proper photos, as our selfie attempts (ok, my selfie attempts) were rubbish!  Our teenage daughters would be ashamed…


My lovely friend Mandy has had a pretty horrible year – having been diagnosed with breast cancer back in January.  It has been AMAZING how she and her gorgeous family have dealt with it – and you can read about just how amazing on her blog which has already helped lots of people going through the same.  Throughout this year, though, I have never seen Mand without a full face of slap and a wig on (she now admits to being a bit of a wig addict)  I may have to confess to initially looking straight through Mandy on Friday night as I’m not used to her with long hair, as she usually rocks a shorter one (thankfully when I realised that she was stood next to her husband I twigged who it was #somefriend!!)

It was really fabulous to be ‘out out’ together. Anyway – much gin (me) and vodka (her) was consumed and there was LOTS of dancing.

21765373_10159352604565174_2350232133826991131_o (1)

Totally not induced by the booze (ahem!) I told Mandy how bloody chuffed I was she was there and dancing with me.  She agreed, saying back when she’d been invited in February she’d said she’d come if she was up to it – but at the back of her mind she was actually thinking she’d come if she was still here……..

Obviously this induced weeping from me and an emotional hug – but I was clearly being a bit too ‘huggy’ as this voice piped up ‘Er, Lib, you’re pulling my wig off’!!

Thankfully the wonky wig was sorted out and Mand looked at stunning as ever, and I wiped up the snotty face from hysterical, tired and emotional weeping!

If recent years have taught me anything, it’s be grateful for the little things – like dancing with your mate until your feet hurt – and that 40th birthday parties are ace!!