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Monday, 28 May 2007

Distraction...

I am working hard, I promise... But I just found this on the East Dulwich Forum!

When Dulwichmum had a book launch,
she had to work hard on her paunch (no offence, purely for the rhyme).
So she stopped eating cake,
for cake eating sake,
and stuck with the creamy blancmange.

Thanks to CitizenEd, Asset, TillieTrotter and Ant.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Dog Roast

Why, oh why, oh why did I let my mother in law convince me to allow her to take the munchkins away to Wales for a week? I shall never forgive myself. The poor babies will be scarred for life!

They looked as cute as two buttons in the back of Grandpa's Range Rover, waving goodbye - DVD of Babe ready to play, tucking into raisins and banana chips. It seemed the perfect opportunity for me to finish off my book. James has gone to some European car race, no doubt he is probably being ousted from some bar or another without his trousers as I type. My darling husband is so predictable.

This evening at bed time when I called to say good night, the poppets were distressed and howling in the background. Grandma Elizabeth explained that one of her staff was having a wedding celebration in the grounds tonight, and that she had popped over with the darlings to say hello before bed time. Everything had been going well until the munchkins had become inconsolably distressed.

"Please put Max on the phone," I begged. "Please. Please now Grandma Elizabeth" ...

"They are eating dog, those dreadful Welsh people are eating dog!" cried Max.

"I beg your pardon sweetie?" I replied rather puzzled (but trying not to laugh).

"They are eating dog!" he shrieked again.

"Grandma Elizabeth, Max says they are eating dog over in the marquee," - I eventually explained trying to maintain my composure.

She misheard me and merely barked; "Yes it is a hog roast," but clearly she was not listening to Max or Freya and their distressed cries.

"They are eating dog, take us home to Dulwich, Welsh people eat dog!"

Then I heard a small sweet voice (Freya) say;

"No Max stop, grandma said 'hog'. What is a hog Grandma?" she asked calmly, instantly consoled.

I immediately remembered the DVD they had been watching earlier in Grandpa's car.

OHMYGOD!!!

"Goodnight then my lovelies" I chirped as I hung up.

By the children's bed time I am always ready to get out the cork screw, it doesn't actually matter where the children are...

I shall be hard at work for the next five days, finishing off my book. See you all soon!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Interview with the South London Press

Really though, I genuinely thought lovely Tom Parnell (the reporter) was from The Times Style Supplement. He arrived with a bottle of my favourite Chablis, and a super boxed bottle of Krug for the fridge! How could I resist? On reflection, perhaps I was a touch naive, but hey, sometimes you just have to take the opportunities that present themselves. My lovely friend Piers took this super photo of me looking out over the trampolines in the back garden to go with the article!

This is his the interview Tom published in his sweet little paper this morning:

For the uninitiated what is Dulwichmum's blog about?

It is my online diary which I started as a result of a particularly traumatic experience with a psychotic, surgically enhanced au pair. I am a working mother in my late thirties with two small children living in leafy Dulwich, south east London. I just poured out my heart in the blog, and the rest is history!

How did you feel when your blog took off?

Puzzled really, I couldn’t work out how people were discovering it. I am a complete technophobe and find it difficult to do anything with a computer other than use “Google” and indulge in a little on line shopping. My site wasn’t even coming up on search engines yet, and my readership was increasing steadily – I suppose by word of mouth.

Who are your readers?

I get a large number of hits from big financial institutions in the city and a good proportion from the USA, I also have lots of new chums who read it from the super East Dulwich Forum. I get stacks of fan mail from darling city type men who ask me if I am in fact their wife. I also receive a number of abusive comments on my blog entries, no doubt from people who are jealous of my luxury vehicle and spectacular figure for a woman of almost forty years old.

What does the mysterious Dulwichmum look like?

I suppose physically I compare favorably to Liz Hurley, but to be fair, facially I bear a striking resemblance to Cilla Battersby off Coronation Street.

What are the essential accessories of Dulwichmum?

A designer handbag is a complete essential, as are white jeans and an enormous luxury four by four environmentally unfriendly vehicle. Why I just click the central locking on my super car and entire families of polar bears plunge to their death through melting arctic ice sheets.

Do you have a favorite blog entry?

“Wholemeal”, from November 2006. This entry chronicles how very stressful and competitive the school gates can be. When I was at home full time I obsessed about every minute detail of the children’s upbringing. From vaccinations to organic food, fish oils to play groups and school selection, my life was a complete neurotic nightmare.

In one of your posts, you describe how you caught your husband gawping at your au pair as she tried out one of your children’s trampolines, do you think the two things mix?

Only if you don’t mind losing your self esteem, your au pair and potentially your husband too. Au pairs tend to be young, pert and energetic. Husbands seem to admire those characteristics in teenage European females leaping about on their trampolines.

If you have a super slim young attractive au pair, she will look great on the trampoline but will not cost that much to feed. Yet, if you select a fuller figured au pair, although she may be reluctant to take exercise and your husband may not be attracted to her, her dietary requirements could well cost a small fortune. Feeding her could be like throwing buns to an elephant!

It may be for the best to do the family food shop on Ocado, but have a monthly delivery of frozen carbohydrates from Iceland in this situation. Oven chips really are a God send.

What is the book going to be like and when will it be out?

My book “Sex, Lies and Sellotape – confessions of a betamum” will be out in April 2008. It is the diary of an average Dulwich mother – treading the fine line between conscientious mothering and complete insanity.

Will we be seeing Dulwichmum at celebrity parties and dining out at The
Ivy with the likes of Daniel Craig?


Clearly! Although I met Daniel at a private party recently and he has ginger eyelashes and halitosis. I shall make it my business to meet Gary Barlow and Ray Winstone – yum!

What are Dulwichmum's plans for the future?

I am looking forward to writing a sit-com based around the neurotic independent school mummies of South London. I have so much material for it! Do you have a corkscrew?

Thursday, 24 May 2007

PRESS RELEASE

SEX, LIES AND SELLOTAPE

By Bea Parry-Jones

To be published by The Friday Project, 18th April 2008

Have you ever wondered what is going on in the life of the perfectly groomed, thirty something, 4 x 4 driving, ‘it bag’ toting, career mother who has just parked so badly outside an independent school near you?

Based on the hugely popular, satirical online diary Dulwichmum; www.dulwichmum.blogspot.com.

Sex, Lies and Sellotape takes a peek behind the designer curtains of the so-called ‘Dulwich Supermums’, whilst treading the fine line between diligent mothering and complete lunacy:

‘The next set of party bags distributed by moi, shall contain sweet cigarettes and a can of Coke (a can, not a line, although as far as other Dulwichmums are concerned - they may as well be one and the same)’

‘I suppose physically I compare favourably to Liz Hurley, but to be fair, facially I bear a striking resemblance to Cilla Battersby off Coronation Street’.

Laugh out loud at the satirical musings of pretentious middle class mother Dulwichmum, as she experiences school yard style bullying by a rival blogger due to the unexpected popularity of her blog. Now it gets personal, who shall get a book deal first?...

For extract, feature and author interviews or for further information please contact Madeleine James at The Friday Project on 020 3008 8471 or email maddy@thefridayproject.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Exposure

James came home from work tonight with a lot on his mind. He is deeply troubled by the exposure he says our relationship "endures" on my little bloglet. Apparently the writer Nirpal Dhaliwal blames the collapse of his marriage to newspaper columnist Liz Jones on the fact that she catalogued every aspect of their relationship on her column for all the world to see...

"James", I explained - "no one reads my tiny little blog. It is not at all like being in a newspaper column - anyhow, we are virtually anonymous".

I suppose tonight was not the right time to show him my super sweet new publishing contract, I shall save that until he has calmed down. I wonder if he would be happy if I changed his name in order to protect his identity?

The publisher suggested that I should discuss the possible negative aspects of press exposure with James prior to signing the contract. But then, we discussed the possibility of Daniel Craig playing the part of James as a condition in any sale of the screen rights, and well, if that was a possibility - I would obviously play myself...

OK, so I lost my train of thought at that point and signed it on the spot. My agent was over the moon!

What damage could a little publishing contract cause?

Have you any idea of the size of the cash advances that bloggers are currently being offered by publishers? How could James possibly object?

I have tossed my silver Sweetie Bracelet on the kitchen counter and told Ana to feel free to wear it or sell it on Ebay. I have ordered the Fashionista gold charm bracelet on the internet this very evening. I can pay for it myself now with a completely clear conscience.

Botox here I come!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Excuse me

Please forgive me for not posting again tonight. The Peter Harrison Planetarium at The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is opening this evening. I must dash to collect my dry cleaning and have a blow dry at Nicky Clarke... Tomorrow I promise, normal service will be resumed.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Summer

I am afraid that I cannot post today, I shall be at the super Chelsea Flower Show gala dinner this evening with my handsome husband on my arm. Before we know it, Ascot will creep up and then Wimbledon. The summer is almost here.

BOOH!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Relaxation

Parenting is just the most stressful thing. Indeed, I run to work every day. In my opinion teachers should all be Knighted or honoured in whatever form is appropriate to mark outstanding personal sacrifice to the nation.

Last year in an effort to reduce our stress levels and become nicer kinder parents, my good friend Vashi arranged for us to join a yoga class at "the local comprehensive school you pay for". We bought ourselves super trendy new yoga outfits, mats and water bottles and headed enthusiastically to the sports centre.

We bounced into the studio, where it seemed every affluent menopausal lady in SE21 was stretching eagerly in anticipation of the forthcoming exertions. Honestly, if women must wear their diamonds to an exercise class, they should at least ensure that they are clean and sparkly.

When the instructor Adam eventually arrived, the fawning students drew a collective intake of breath. Every woman in the room (and they were all women) appeared to be completely in awe of him. Adam began the class with an excessively lengthy description of his recent holiday on the Italian Island of Stromboli which he informed us was volcanic, erupting virtually on the hour. He was rather too obviously suggestive in his chronicle of pyroclastic flows, and made me feel slightly nauseated with his excessive depiction of the phallic fiery emissions and his sense of "oneness" with "primal mother earth"...

When he detailed Sciara del Fuoco, and his "night time ascent" I almost swallowed my veneers!

Adam, was wearing rather too close fitting cycling shorts, and a well washed organic cotton off white T shirt. He had a head of untamed sausage curls and two hands full of chunky arty looking silver jewellery, including one of those enormous silver wedding rings on his thumb.

We began to assume our various stretch type positions, while Adam worked his way around the class, admiring the various positions the women achieved, from far too many contrived virtually gynaecological angles. At one point the beast was suddenly behind me and clutched my bottom in order to ensure that I was stretching and relaxing in the appropriate areas. I swear I had constipation for a week afterwards. The ladies in the class seemed to positively relish Adams physical attentions.

When the other students began to let out moans and groans as the various positions were achieved, I wanted to laugh out loud. The last time I heard such involuntary noises I was living in University Halls in the late 1980's...

At the break I expressed my feelings of unease to Vashi who was rather dismissive. Her attitude changed dramatically however when Adam was over familiar with her inner thigh during the second half of the lesson.

I saw a not dissimilar scenario played out in Eastenders recently when the yoga instructor was over familiar with the character played by Barbara Windsor. I wondered when watching that episode if it had in fact been written by one of the other students who attended Adam's class. I swear he will get himself arrested one of these days.

Friday, 18 May 2007

A Limerick from the East Dulwich Forum

"A lady called Dulwich Mum
had a classic 'east dulwich bum'
Which was trim but yet bouncy
The best in the county
and admired as she lay in the sun."


And another...

"While walking the dog late at night
I saw the most terrible sight:
DM, clad in black,
Shouting: Batdog! Attack!
And some rozzers tooled up for a fight."



I love these guys...

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Wine

I am sorry to whine, I do realise how very lucky I am, but this whole parenting thing is just so bloody hard (please excuse my bad language). The boy wonder is not pleased with me at all right now.

I do love sweet Max, but he does like to throw a jolly good tantrum. This morning he had a tantrum of complete 'epic' proportions. The darling wanted to come to work with me, and I could not allow this, my boss is so demanding at the moment.

I spent the entire day feeling sad and 'prickly' inside, as my baby boy likes to say. I really would have loved to have been able to bring the darling to work, he so loves to use the shredder. He usually wants nothing to do with me, and pays no attention to a word I say.

If I could personally thank the man who invented Chablis, I would kiss him warmly on each cheek. I was so very flat this evening when I returned from work that if I had been unable to find the corkscrew, I could have sucked the very cork from the bottle - such was my appetite for anaesthesia.

My mother has returned from Lourdes with tall tales of healings and miracles. Oh how she described the joy on the "cripples" faces at being immersed in the freezing holy waters...

"I am your mother" she insisted, "you are not listening to me. A mother is the most sacred of things to be - like The Blessed Virgin Mother, I BORE you, show some respect for the truth I am trying to share" -

"Yes mother, indeed, you bore me", I replied, grrr...

I shall rot in hell. Brenda will see to that personally... I married a protestant and she will never let me forget it.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Simple Pleasures

There really is nothing more satisfying to me, than to see James playing with the munchkins. I love to observe the pleasure he takes in reading them a story, or even just lounging on the sofa with sweet Freya perched on his head, and darling Max lying across his knee, all three engrossed in an a volume of Charlie and Lola.

I can huff and puff that James hasn't noticed I have had my eyelashes permed, or lightened my hair a shade, but he loves my babies and notices every single simple thing they do, and it makes me feel super secure and safe.

My next door neighbours married just last year. They are both in their forties and are partners in the same GP practice. Antonia has no children, but Crispin has little twin girls from his first marriage. The girls are six years old and come to stay every second weekend. Antonia carries on so if the girls take up too much of their fathers time and affection, it really makes me cringe.

I feel so very sorry for these sweet innocent little children. It really is shameful and should not be this way. I would hate to think that if James and I for some reason ever divorced, a new woman would begrudge the time my children spend with their papa and could actually compete with my tots for his time. I so loved my daddy, he was just the best part of my childhood.

I happily sacrifice aspects of my own fulfillment in order to maintain stability in my children's young lives. I enjoy the simple pleasure of watching as the full focus of James' attention rests on our two children...

Actually, I do not have the inclination or physical stamina to let the little darlings perch on my head, and I find reading with the poppets dreadfully tiresome, those endless theatrical voices are such a bore. Praise the Lord for super daddies!

Have you seen the latest Boodle and Dunthorne catalogue? Don't you just love the Raindance rings?

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Bad mother

I brought the munchkins to nursery school personally this morning. Freya insisted on walking so I drove the Audi Q7 with Max, while Freya walked with Ana the au pair. I had a meeting at London Bridge first thing, and needed to drive to North Dulwich Station straight from school drop off. The poppet will learn in the fullness of time that it is necessary to avoid the elements if one wishes to look remotely well groomed or attractive.

Having delivered darling Max safely to his delightful class room, I collected Freya from Ana and headed down the corridor to deliver my baby girl personally to her perfect teachers. It is so nice to catch up with all of the other mothers and hear the wonderful things that the children have been doing since I last had the opportunity to visit.

To my horror, the charming teachers informed me what a dreadful shame it was that we had been unable to attend Freya's special class assembly yesterday to witness her reading a story book to the entire nursery school! Freya is only four years old. What a terrific achievement for this tiny girl and we her parents (and our super DVD recorder) were not even there to witness and record it...

A great torrent of tears immediately sprang from my eyes. Overcome with emotion (mostly shame) I dropped my enormous hand bag and plucked my baby girl from the carpet where she had already settled down, sitting cross legged for her story time session. I cared not for my perfect Prescriptives mascara which was surely now coasting down my cheeks.

"Darling girl, I am so very sorry, Mummy let you down. I did not know it was your special assembly. I so wish I could have been there for you sweetie, to witness your special moment. You must have been crushed", I cried.

Freya struggled from my arms, gave me the most filthy look (she can do the whole 'mono brow thing' at will) and replied:

"Get a room!"

The embarrassment could have been crushing, but sometimes you just have to laugh.

"Please continue the story Mrs Tamworth, and Mummy go to work," she insisted.

I wonder where she got her dreadful phrase from? Whatever would Grandma Elizabeth say? Sometimes as a working mother, I can forget things. I must prioritise better in future, and be more vigilant with the children's diary.

I really love that tiny girl. I am sure I will eventually get over missing her special assembly. She certainly has...

Note to self: Chastise au pair and point out to her that in future she should remind me of all significant child related dates 24 hours in advance … hmph!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Lies

I have a secret that I cannot share, well I shall tell you. I can trust you, can't I? This is the Internet after all, we will most certainly never meet... I cannot even tell my best friend, she would think I had lost the plot entirely.

Katie Bancroft would denounce me as not in her league, she would say I had gone soft and would surely end my days burned out, abused and let down. My mother and sisters would fear for my future mental health.

The secret is - I love James far more than they would possibly consider to be healthy.

My mother loved my father just the same way as I love James. She didn't really have opinions before he died, I know I was young, but I remember clearly how she would always refer everything on to him - in a reverend and adoring way. She sat by his hospital bed reading him books and kissing his big strong hands in the months before he passed away. My darling father never reached his fortieth birthday.

"Your daddy will decide sweetie," she would insist, looking at my papa lovingly. She was destroyed by his death, she has been trying to protect my sisters and I from the pain of loosing real love ever since. In our teens and twenties Brenda was forever giving us self help books to read, like "Women who love too much" and "I'm OK You're OK" if we had even a slight tiff with a boyfriend resulting in tears. Brenda endeavoured to ensure that her girls never gave their hearts to anyone.

Poor sweet Brenda is happy to believe that I married James for his money. I allow her to believe this lie in order to ensure that her equilibrium is maintained.

Katie Bancroft has always insisted she will never allow herself to fall in love, she considers it a sign of weakness. I was smitten with James from the moment we met. He told me he worked for Comet selling printers - I really couldn't have cared less. He had a Hermes tie and hand made Italian shoes, so yes, it had been unlikely, but genuinely, I adored him. I really didn't care.

I hounded him to propose to me for years, and when he did eventually, he used the immortal phrase "If we must..." I was simply over the moon. On reflection, he had been concerned that I was focused on the same goal as my chum Miss Bancroft. She wanted to marry a wealthy man, or take a rich lover, nothing else would suffice.

One day in the weeks running up to our wedding, James took me to Claridge's for drinks so that we could talk. The conversation that we had completely spoiled the happy final weeks of preparation for our wedding. I remember how I recoiled in horror, the skin on my face felt numb, I ran to the lavatory, splashed water on my face, and hoped that what he had told me was not true... James was in fact employed as a private equity type fund manager - OHMYGOD!

James told me how much he earned, he told me that I had been looking at entirely the wrong type of house for us to buy, he told me I could double the budget and add a zero! All that I could think was:

"What if Katie finds out?"

I was sure that she would try to seduce him. I had nightmares about walking up the isle on my wedding day to find her kissing my darling James at the alter wearing an identical stunning Vera Wang wedding dress to mine. It was most unnerving.

When it all came out afterwards, Katie accused me of being a "calculated minx". She said that I had been plotting to marry James since the moment I met him, aware of his means.

Moi? Calculated? How could she be so cruel? Katie said that I went up in her estimation when she discovered how wealthy James was. For this reason, I allow her to believe this lie. The staff of Comet do not wear Hermes, Oswald Boateng or Patek Philippe do they? I simply assumed he was a branch manager or something...

Well you believe me, don't you?

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Bon appetit

On Saturday afternoon, Freya and I drove to East Dulwich for a little distraction as the boys had gone to cricket practice, bless! My husband James and darling little Max (mini me), it really was the sweetest thing to observe, and far more healthy for them than being locked in the study for the afternoon 'fishing' on the Wii games console.

Tiny Freya and I decided to visit Stella B shoe shop, in order to buy some more cute Jibbitz badges for her ugly sensible Crocs shoes. Freya chose a skull and a number seven.

"This is my most favourite, favourite number", she insisted. I have tried to encourage her to choose some pretty flowers or Disney princess characters, but no.

We always call into the super little traditional sweet shop Hope and Greenwood where Freya loves to select a lollipop and I buy a bar of Fry's Chocolate Cream for myself. Freya never bothers to eat the sweets;

"they rot your teeth mummy,"

but she does enjoy the occasional glass of warm milk from one of the little coffee shops along the road. We decided to try a coffee shop we had not visited before, and we were happy to observe that as it was before mid-day, the afternoon rush had not yet begun. The staff were warm and friendly, and they had an Apricot Danish (a personal favourite) the size of my head. Freya looked at me in disgust when I ordered it and requested a simple slice of bread and butter for herself. My darling sensible girl.

We were settled into our comfortable chairs, enjoying our drinks and working our way through our "Fun in the Flowertot Garden colouring and Sticker Book" when three enormous unkempt ladies trundled through the door with three children between them.

The double buggy was thrust aggressively into the shop, virtually hurling a pair of old ladies face down into their Earl Grey without ceremony or apology. The first woman had a son the size of a teenager strapped to her back, and the second was heavily pregnant but appeared to be in awe of the other two. The third woman was pushing a Phil and Teds three wheeled double buggy complete with cumbersome side saddle type bag accessories. They all appeared to be exhausted, too exhausted to have brushed their hair.

Initially I was filled with empathy for the group. Pregnancy and small babies, it is just the most difficult time. How the woman who was pregnant managed to display the vast expanse of flesh on her tummy while wearing such an enormous fleece was a source of fascination to me, my word she was hairy!

The group set up court at the next table to ours, and promptly ordered three soya milk organic lattes while two of them commenced breastfeeding the three children. "We are all allergic to cows milk - just pop to Somerfield if you don't have soya milk" insisted the third woman (breastfeeding two children simultaneously).

"Do you have pain aux raisins?" she enquired. "It must have been prepared in a nut free environment, Hugo is allergic to nuts. Anaphylaxis is a huge issue", she continued.

How dreadful I thought to myself, quite distracted. Food allergies must be the most stressful thing. The poor little boy.

Hugo screamed to high heavens when he saw the delicious pain aux raisins on display, which the lovely waitress humbly explained were prepared in their own kitchens next to almond croissants, so poor Hugo would be unable to have one. The little boy screamed like a character from The Exorcist when he was informed, but amazingly within five minutes the mother relented, and said;

"Oh I suppose on this occasion it will be fine, sometimes it is simply not worth it".

Not worth it? I was alarmed...

She would rather see the boy die from anaphylactic shock that endure his cries of anger and annoyance???

Hugo had his pain aux raisins and was indeed a happy boy.

I most perplexed by this. Why would anyone choose to make their child to stand out and endure a special diet? Why would anyone claim their child would suffer from anaphylactic shock when obviously he would not??? I know a super little boy who genuinely is tortured by this issue. What is going on around here? Every one of these women allergic to cows milk? The local GP must be doing a roaring trade in anti-depressants!

This group went on to insist that the staff of the shop stop using the milk steaming machine for cappuccino's as the noise was upsetting the baby. They seemed so very stressed, so anxious and angry with everyone, including their children, each other and themselves.

When we were eventually leaving the shop, as little Freya was packing away her crayons and stickers into her handbag, she looked up at me and said:

"I don't want big boobies or babies when I grow up mummy, it just looks like no fun at all".

The poor darling, and you know I couldn't argue with her? Sleep really is a wonderful thing. These women just need some sleep, perhaps several weeks worth.

NOTE TO SELF; Ensure that Freya settles down with a nice man who can afford to pay for a nanny.

Missing Madeleine

Saturday, 12 May 2007

REWARD FOR MADELEINE INFO TOP £2.5M

SKYNEWS Updated: 16:22, Saturday May 12, 2007

A reward of £1.5m for the safe return of Madeleine McCann has been announced by the News Of The World newspaper - bringing the total to £2.5m.

The cash is the biggest ever newspaper reward Businessmen Sir Richard Branson and Sir Philip Green are among those offering the cash.

The reward is for information directly resulting in the safe return of the four-year-old who was abducted in Portugal nine days ago.

Showbusiness personalities and leading business figures, including BHS boss Sir Philip Green, Bill Kenwright and Sir Richard Branson, have joined together in an unprecedented show of support for the family.

Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann said: "Anything that can be done to publicise that Madeleine is missing and help with the search is very welcome."

Portuguese police have also endorsed the reward offer.

It comes after British businessman Stephen Winyard offered a £1m reward earlier this week.

The co-operation of the backers means this is biggest reward ever offered in a newspaper.

Pledges are still pouring into the reward fund - which will be paid out for the crucial piece of information that leads police to Madeleine.

Sir Philip Green, who matched the News of the World's £250,000 contribution, said: "My wife Tina and I have children, and anything we can do to help to bring this beautiful little girl back we will of course do without hesitation.

"We are praying for Madeleine's safe return and can't imagine what Kate and Gerry are going through at the moment.

Madeleine was snatched from her parents' Portuguese holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on Thursday May 3.

The offer is subject to standard News of the World reward offer conditions.

Anyone with information should contact:

Portuguese Police: 00 351 282 405 400

Portuguese Crimestoppers: 00 44 1883 731 336

WE ARE ALL THINKING OF MADELEINE AND WISHING FOR HER SAFE RETURN TODAY ON HER BIRTHDAY

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Sellotape

Ever since I was a teenager, my mother has provided me with a sealed envelope containing a crisp new £5 note to tuck into the pocket of every new handbag I have owned. Brenda says;

"a lady must always carry emergency cash in case she needs a cab to get her out of trouble!"

I laughed when mother did this again only recently.

"Look Mother, please don't bother. I have an Oyster card, and £5 will not pay for a cab anywhere today".

Brenda always insists that she be allowed to "handsel" every new handbag in this manner, it is a family tradition and her special little ritual. I still have every single envelope she has given me over the years, and until today, all remained unopened. Every one dog eared, old and torn, some smelling of perfume no longer available, others smeared with traces of cerise pink 1980's lipstick and long forgotten telephone numbers written with smudged eye liner.

The sellotape seal remains in tact on all but one. I always feared that if Brenda noticed a seal had been tampered with, I would be forced to explain to her the exact nature of any emergency. I never ever used the cash to pay for an extra drink, or buy some magazine I could not find the change for - the envelopes were strictly for emergency use only.

This afternoon I crossed Lambeth Bridge on foot with the Big Boss (BB) in order to attend a meeting. He insisted that exercise was required;

"good for our constitutions and environmentally responsible".

It was rather gusty by the river today, and I really was not prepared for the elements in my light silk knee length dress and box jacket. I always feel so awkward when alone with BB, he makes me feel inarticulate, inadequate and a complete air head.

I was walking rather briskly (in my red patent Louboutin peep toe wedges) while BB chugged along not far behind me. Suddenly a young girl in front of us had her ugly acrylic smock dress blown virtually inside out by the wind. I tried to maintain my composure while BB laughed loudly in the manner of a Harrods Santa Claus on crack cocaine. His behaviour could only be described as shameful.

It was actually rather funny, but as I tell the darling children it is simply NOCD to laugh at the mis-fortune of others. The unfortunate girl was wearing dreadful chewing gum grey coloured cheap underwear and no slip! How very embarrassing for her. Vast expanses of the flesh on her bottom cheeks had the appearance of orange peel! Cellulite is clearly the most dreadful affliction for some.

Suddenly the wind took my skirt and made every effort to lift it to my waist!!! Much to my relief BB didn't initially acknowledge the occurrence. When we had almost reached the other side of the bridge he announced:

"I do like to see a nice pair of Aubade lace knickers on a girl."

My facial expression turned to stone.

"Well this is only mid-week work wear Mr Hargreaves, I save the La Perla and Agent Provocateur for the weekends," I replied.

When our meeting was over, I immediately summoned a cab. BB objected and insisted the fare would not be paid for from his budget.

"You may join me in my cab if you wish" I said,

"I have a budget for exactly this sort of eventuality", tearing open my brown envelope.

On the journey by black cab back across the river, BB sulked and sat bolt upright gazing out the window, in search of poor unprepared females exposed by the weather, no doubt. What a dreadful old devil!

It is hard to admit, but it was worth all the years of carrying small brown sellotaped envelopes in the inside pocket of my various bags for that one occasion...

My mother is indeed a wonderful wise woman.

Did I tell you I will be forty years old this year?

To whom it may concern

Following a lengthy phone call yesterday afternoon, Mrs Parry-Jones (dulwichmum) was obliged to leave the office to attend an urgent celebratory meeting at the Blue Bar of the Berkeley Hotel. As this meeting extended into the early hours, Mrs Parry Jones has taken a day’s annual leave today, and has asked me to inform you that she will be posting on her blog as usual tomorrow.

Kind regards

Lydia Smythe

PA to Mrs Parry-Jones

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Innocence

It was too hard to work today. My heart is heavy and my mind races just thinking of that tiny girl Madeleine, hoping she will be fine, and unharmed and happy. I cannot begin to even imagine the horror this young family is enduring.

How can we possibly hope to prepare our little ones for approaches from potential abductors or molesters? I am terrified of filling their peaceful nights with bad dreams - as bad as my own. Max heard the sad story on the news in the car yesterday and announced that he would beat up anyone who tried to make off with Freya. How innocent and sweetly unaware my five year old boy is. I tried to discuss this issue rationally with the children, it really is not easy.

"Never run too far ahead, or go out of sight of myself or daddy or Ana", I have instructed.

"Would these peoples have special cloaks and outfits? Would they wear gloves and ride horses?" asked Max.

"No", I replied, "they could be our friends I suppose, even our neighbours - never leave our sight for anyone. Not for sweets, or kittens or new toys or anything else".

"Why mummy, what could they do to us?" asked Freya.

I changed the subject. Is this the beginning of the end of their innocence?

We said a prayer for Madeleine and her family last night and this morning and tonight again. Please God - every God in heaven, bring that child back to her family.

Monday, 7 May 2007

PLEASE DO NOT HURT HER

By SkyNews

The mother of missing Madeleine McCann has pleaded with her kidnapper: "Please, please do not hurt her."

Kate McCann said: "Please do not scare her. Please let us know where to find Madeleine or put her in a place of safety and tell somebody where."

As she was speaking she clutched a picture of her daughter and the child's favourite soft toy.

It is now four days since Madeleine was snatched from her family's holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

Sitting next to her husband Gerry, Mrs McCann said: "We would like to say a few words to the person who is with our Madeleine, or has been with Madeleine.

"Madeleine is a beautiful, bright, sunny and caring little girl. She is so special. Please, please, do not hurt her.

"Please do not scare her, please let us know where to find Madeleine or put her in place of safety and tell somebody where.

"We beg you to let Madeleine come home.We need our Madeleine."

Speaking of their two-year-old twins, she continued: "Sean and Amelie need Madeleine and she needs us. Please give our little girl back."

Mrs McCann then repeated the final sentence in Portuguese, saying: "Por favor, devolva a nossa menina."

Portuguese police later held a press conference - only their second since she disappeared - but gave no more details.

A spokesman said the search was continuing, and Interpol was now involved in the hunt.

He added: "There's still a very strong commitment to this search. They are collecting information, they can't however give any further information to that which has been given."

When asked by a British journalist whether it was likely the girl was still alive, he answered: "I can't make any kind of supposition."

Please pray for tiny Madeleine. This is just the most dreadful horror imaginable.

Sex

This is a perfect relaxing bank holiday Monday. The skies have opened and the rain has fallen in great bucket sized rain drops all over the lawn. James took the munchkins to Gambado to catch up with a couple of other school daddies for lunch and to ensure the darlings took some exercise. I spent the afternoon quietly cleaning out my make-up bag, and joy of joys I re-discovered a couple of super lip glosses and eye pencils I forgot I owned! I opened a bottle of my favourite Petite Chablis and caught up on some essential reading (Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine) while relaxing my feet in the aromatherapy foot spa.

Ana our au pair is a simple sweet Lithuanian girl. She tells me she that is from a very rural hamlet type place, and she is fascinated by British culture which is a complete contrast to her own. Ana spent the afternoon lounging in the playroom on one of the enormous Cath Kidston beanbags watching TV. She has apparently become addicted to The Jeremy Kyle Show, and is fascinated by the large blingtastic velour tracksuit wearing bleached haired women who seem to have difficulty remembering the names of the possible fathers of their multiple offspring.

Ana observed disapprovingly;

"British women love to have lots of sex, and babies for many men".

"No darling, not in Dulwich, that is more Mitchum and Wolverhampton. Anyhow, none of the women on the Jeremy Kyle show are ever married." I reassured her.

"Everyone knows you stop having sex when you are married!"

I have insisted that she stops watching day time TV, and instead immerses herself in the joys of Radio 4.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Love

I am posting late this evening as I fell asleep lying next to darling Max in his lovely new Stompa bunk bed. He really is a perfect, gentle and kind little boy. I am more than proud. I am aware that when it comes to the munchkins I completely lose touch with reality.

I spent most of this afternoon watching diddums and his daddy practicing bowling in cricket nets at a local club. My love for that boy is without boundaries you know, there is very little that can coax me out in public without my heels.

Indeed, the super minimalist interior of my perfect Poggenpohl kitchen has recently become cluttered by Freya's 'Worm Farm', 'Ant World' and horrid 'Triop Lagoon'. She is growing great ugly triffid like sunflower plants in pots just inside my super bi-folding glass doors, and has just requested a larger tank for her stick insects! Our home is turning into the set of 'Wild at heart' as I simply find it impossible to say no to the darlings.

The sacrifices I have made for love...

NOTE TO SELF: Those parents who allowed their children to dispense these gifts (from the back of the toy cupboard no doubt) to darling Freya for her birthday will receive baby scorpions and tarantula spiders in tanks when their darlings' birthday's arrive. Children adore pets and I sooo love to repay kindness!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

"Lover"

I always envied Katie Bancroft. I would simply have a boyfriend, but she would "take a lover." It all seemed positively glamorous and tasteful.

Roger was based in New York, in The World Trade Centre actually, it was all rather a while ago. Out of the blue, Roger would phone Katie from Heathrow, and announce that he had just arrived in London and was sending a car to pick her up. He would whisk Katie away, perhaps three or four times a year. They would stay at The Hempel, or go to Milan, Barcelona or Rome. Katie would return with lots of shopping, a broad smile, cystitis and beard rash.

I thought she must love Roger,... I hoped. My mother said there was a name for girls like Katie;

"A Mistress?" I suggested wistfully,

"A call girl" sneered my mother.

You see, because you are sitting at your desk in your house or office reading this, you are not thinking this is anything outrageous. You have heard of well educated pretty girls having rich older unattractive lovers before, no big deal. We have all become accustomed to tall tales in books, but this was my flat mate. She was pretty, and bright, and this is true!!! This guy was rather unattractive, rather middle aged, rather boring and terribly well off. He would provide Katie with little light blue boxes of diamond "trinkets" on a regular basis.

Shortly after I was married and moved out of our shared flat in Gainsboro Court, the dreadful terrorist attrocities of 9-11 occurred. Poor Katie was frantic with worry and in a state of shock and mourning. Roger's mobile phone number and direct line to his office were not answering.

Then joy of joys about two weeks later, Roger turned up on Katie's doorstep! He had luckily been made redundant in the days before the Twin Towers were destroyed, and had been too depressed and ashamed initially to tell any of his chums in the UK. Then there had been the chaos that followed the attacks...

Well, Katie was completely overwhelmed. I remember saying:

"Katie, what are you going to do, is Roger going to move in? You must be so relieved?"

"No", she replied curtly.

"I have put an end to the relationship. There have been so many job losses of late in the financial sector, Roger will clearly be unemployed for an age"

James was not in the least bit shocked. I suppose there really is no love involved when one is simply a "Lover"...

Friday, 4 May 2007

Gdansk

On the journey home through the petrol fumes and menace of Brixton this evening I noticed an advertisement clearly intended to inspire a short refreshing break in a European city. It featured the following words:

"Gdansk,
Maybe something special will happen,
Maybe you will leave as planned,
Maybe you won't...
Take a chance, see for yourself..."


The young man on the poster was standing beneath a statue of some kind of gargoyle who was holding a spear directed at his head!

I had no idea that Gdansk is now being promoted as an appropriate location for a short break. The name conjures up images of a ship yard, police brutality, freezing temperatures, big overcoats, functional shoes, the 'Solidarity' union, handlebar moustaches and Lech Walesa.

Has Gdansk changed dramatically of late? It really doesn't immediately inspire me to pack my Mulberry weekend bag for an indulgent, cultural or care free break. Have they recently opened a branch of Fenwick?, or a profusion of chocolate shops? Have they launched an opera festival?, or has it become the destination for cheap dental work and microdermabrasion? Is there some attraction I am unaware of?

In the middle of the squalor in rush hour Brixton, packed onto the number three bus like a sardine, Gdansk does not appeal as an obvious escape destination... As a matter of fact the suggestion of never getting to leave seemed rather like a threat, and the image on the poster was very odd indeed!

Whatever are they trying to imply? "Maybe something special will happen?" Do they mean that you may not have to queue up to buy bread if you stay in a hotel?

Give me strength.

I think I fancy vodka this evening...

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Old Bag

I almost used my new Anya Hindmarch "I'm not a plastic bag" today, but it occurred to me how it was actually on reflection rather naff.

It is the equivalent of carrying a sign saying "I am a fashion victim," or "I queued up at 6am outside a supermarket" or "I got ripped off on Ebay," or even God forbid "I support abusive manufacturers."

No, it is not me at all I decided, and gave it to Ana the au pair. It is best to keep my enemies close - the girl now completely adores me. I have arranged for her to go out on a date with the children's trampoline coach from "the local comprehensive school you pay for" this weekend. Why would she ever be interested in an old man like James?

My God, that trampoline instructor is so attractive I would almost risk giving birth to quads myself!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Fertility

Last night before I went to bed, I carefully applied my Fake Bake false tan. I wanted to wear a short skirt today, and ensure that James enjoyed the view from his jet lagged bed this morning as I was leaving with the children for school. I was (on reflection) rather heavy handed in my application, as I woke up more Shirley Bassey than Eva Longoria - oh dear! James is just back from Barbados, and I am substantially browner than he.

I looked stunning, tanned and willowy with my shiny new Links of London Sweetie bracelet on my arm. I insist on nice little trinkets as gifts when James goes on his corporate sporting jaunts without me. James objected as he handed it over - he bought it on the way out from Heathrow in the Duty Free shop as instructed:

"I will not have any money to retire on at the end of the year at this rate if you keep insisting on these little gifts".

He is a cheeky devil. If he must fuss so about spending a few pounds on a bracelet for me he certainly will not be retiring at Christmas. Before you know it, he would have us wearing woolly hats in the house in Winter, the heating turned off. I do not intend to live in squalor and deprivation simply because James longs to be retired by forty!

What kind of example will he be setting for the children? I care not for the goings on in the stock market, James will not have enough money to retire until he is 65, and then he can write a book or do some after dinner speaking or something...

I trotted into the school with the munchkins this morning, looking uber fabulous - just to let anyone with treachery on their minds see that I am a force to reckon with. My man has everything he wants at home already.

Straight from school drop off I went to see my consultant who told me the result of my recent battery of tests. Apparently I am ovulating three to four times each month!!! And to think, I simply thought I had gall stones. He seemed really shocked by this. Mr Papachristadoulou told me that I am "a hot little pot of oestrogen," the flirt!

I must admit I wasn't particularly surprised, six of my mothers sisters have twins, and one aunt has triplets. Indeed my cousin Julia who was married only two years ago, had a son nine months after her marriage, and triplets ten months after that! Four sons in ten months!

OHMYGOD!!!

If I was to have triplets now, we would have five children to put through school and James would have to work forever, indeed, three is a nice (if exhausting) number, but five? That is positively Vicky Pollard territory.

Mr Papachristadoulou said I am a top candidate for a multiple birth.

James says I have been in bad humour for the last six years since I was pregnant with Max, well if I became pregnant again - I would be apoplectic with rage for the rest of my days!

I immediately telephoned my darling husband and informed him that from now on I am dead to him in the bedroom department. He curtly replied that I have been dead to him in the bedroom since I conceived Max! Oh, he is so very funny, how we both laughed, and laughed and laughed...

If he touches me again, I shall break every bone in his body.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Flight of fancy

I have been sitting here this evening, missing my man and awaiting his return. I am without James far too much of late. He really is a rather lovely, terribly attractive, super considerate and handsome husband. I do love him you know.

I rummaged in the children's book bags earlier, in order to ensure I have not forgotten to answer one of the many letters or invitations the children receive daily from their nursery school. I have been so very bored this evening.

In Freya's bag I found a card addressed to James! It appears to be a "Thank you" card for my super husband from one of the other parents, how very sweet. James really is a super papa. He spent the day recently at the zoo with the nursery school. I am sure that all of the mothers were impressed by his sensitivity...

I was just checking my email to see if my lovely man sent me a message from the airport earlier today prior to catching his flight home from Barbados. No message for me, but oddly one for darling James! Well actually three for James, all from various mothers at the nursery welcoming him home to the UK - hoping he enjoyed the cricket 'holiday' in Barbados! I do hope these lovely mothers from my daughters class are not flirting with my perfect husband.

James is not particularly charismatic, he is not a fabulous conversationalist if you understand me, he is rather 'cerebral', but he does drive a sporty Aston Martin DB9 ,and he has a super job. I like to think of him as aloof with an air of authority.

It's not fair, a girl marries herself an attractive and powerful man, and before she knows it - every female on the planet with a pulse is hounding him for attention!

Whatever next?