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Things we should know how to do by now

Driving home from London last week with the two monkeys asleep in the back of the car I got a puncture – we have had plenty of punctures in the past but on this occasion I didn’t have my big strong husband with me to jump out of the car and change the tyre for me and no we do not have road-side assistance. The result obviously was that I had to change the tyre myself and although I consider myself fairly self-sufficient this is not something I have ever done before.  I rang Jon at work and he had to talk me through changing the tire it went something like this…

  • Get everything out of the boot and onto the hard shoulder of the M3 – overnight bags, travel cot, pram, coats, toys, blanket, shopping bags, random beach shelter and a Frisbee!
  • Pull up the base of the boot and remove the spare tyre and tools.
  • Return most of the contents to the boot to reduce the risk of a motorway pile-up caused by our floral picnic blanket taking flight across the motorway.
  • Take the little cap off the front of the tyre that hides the nuts.
  • Attach the tyre iron to the nut and un-screw – simple? No it involved me holding onto the roof of the car whilst jumping up and down on the tyre iron to release the nuts (insert swearing and cursing until complete – nothing like the image above!)
  • Remove the wheel – I discovered that wheels are quite heavy especially when they are boy-racer wheels that belong to an Audi estate car!
  • I must admit that by this stage I had broken into a slight perspiration and but was also feeling that I was accomplishing the task, I was just about to start putting the new wheel on when I was startled by a man saying hello. So startled in fact that I let out a little yelp and dropped my phone and experience a minor heart attack as I did not want to smash the screen – the screen was fine you will be pleased to hear.  Now the man must have thought that he had frightened the poor little lady and whipped out his ID double quick – he was a member of the army and asked if I needed assistance.  I told Jon (who had been on the phone to me all this time) that my knight in shining armour had arrived and hung up on him.  The army man (we will call him The General) put the new wheel on, gave me a little talk about the importance of getting the bad tyre fixed, assured me that the wheel would be safe to drive even though it was only hand-tight, mentioned the possibility of roadside assistance or a warning triangle to put further up the road, wished me a safe journey home and returned to his car.
  • I then set-to removing the contents of the boot once more before putting the bad wheel in the bottom and re-loading the boot once more.  I was just about to close the lid when The General returned and handed to me – wait for it – a wet-wipe to clean my hands!  I didn’t want to say that I literally had seven million in the car with two children under three in tow you are never more than arms reach away from a pack of wet-wipes. I took the wipe gratefully and thanked him once more for his help.
  • Beau, Wyn and I then drove very slowly home (maximum speed 50 mph with a space-saver tire) – the entire journey took us 5 and 1/2 hours door to door.

Two things stuck me as I drove home, firstly as grateful as I was to The General I think I had completed the hardest part of the task and was feeling quite pleased with my progress when he arrived – I think I would have quite liked to have completed the task by myself and secondly how I reacted by saying to Jon that my knight in shining armour had arrived – like I needed to be rescued – I shouldn’t need to be rescued.

As a result of my motorway adventure I have complied an (incomplete) list of things that we  should know how to do by the time we’re in our mid-thirties or in my case by now.

Things we should be able to do by now.

1. Change a tyre

changing a tyre


2. Change a fuse in a plug and re-wire it

changing a fuse

think back to school I sure we covered it

3. Change a washer to fix a dripping tap

dripping tap

very annoying the drip, drip, drip

4. Know where the fuse board is in your home and how to reset a tripped switch

fuse board

this one is particularly important when the chances are it will be your hair-straighteners which will have tripped the fuse in the first place!

5. Iron a shirt

ironing a shirt

this one is especially aimed at myself because I do not iron

6. Sew a button back on

sewing on a button

I can do it just don’t look too closely

7. Open a bottle of champagne without wasting a drop

champagne cork

this I can do

8. Mix a couple of great cocktails

cocktail mixing

a life skill which will take you far

9. Use chop-sticks

using chopsticks

you just look foolish if you can’t as your noodles slide down into your lap

10. Smile for the camera

smile for the camera

just smile for goodness sake!

11. Listen


sometimes it’s all you need to do – keep your mouth shut and open your ears!

12. Tell a good story or one good joke

telling a joke

One good story or a joke will get the conversation flowing

13. Multi-task graciously

multi tasking

there is a lot to do no use complaining just get on with it!

14. Keep a simple house-plant alive

keeping plants alive

we will call these orchids

15. Keep a couple of children alive

happy children

so far so good!

Like I said it is an incomplete list but a jumping off point – what have I missed?


Photo credits
photo credit: <a href=””>Rickydavid</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>♔ Georgie R</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>tico_24</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>mark-vauxhall</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>comedy_nose</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>Indy Charlie</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>Jonathan_W (@whatie)</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>Thomas Hawk</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>scribbletaylor</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>Photosightfaces</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>Orange_Beard</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>dMadPhoto</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=””>JoséPedro</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Funambulism, Juggling and other circus skills

Recently I have been thinking about life being a circus which sounds quite negative but this is not necessarily the case and I think the following three circus skills relate rather neatly to family and specifically to being a parent.

‘Funambulism’ to me it sounds like a ‘Fun’ – ‘Embolism’ and right there is a massive oxymoron.  There is nothing fun about an embolism and there is nothing surely nothing fun about walking a tight rope and finding the elusive balance to enable one to do it.

  •  The goal = balance between work and home
  •  The reality = I’m scared of heights and wobbling about on a bit of rope

‘Juggling‘ the manipulation of one of many objects using one or many hands – I have many objects and not enough hands!

  • The goal = keeping all the balls in the air and not letting anyone down
  • The reality = feeling like the balls are only a millisecond from crashing to the floor

‘Clown’ a comic performer who employs slapstick and physical humour, often in a pantomime style.  I try not to live my life as though I were a character in a farce, lurching from one crisis to the next however there are times when one must embrace the clown.

  •  The goal = happy clowning taking time out to laugh and enjoy the moment
  •  The reality = rather scared of clowns and of being a fool

 I have outlined the goals for me and the slightly less epic realities! The conclusion I have reached is that it is vital to create a balance in order to allow the juggling of tasks (in a controlled manner) and it is absolutely vital to keep your sense of humour in order to relax, enjoy the precious moments of childhood with your children and be their clown. There is nothing that brings a wider smile to my face than the belly laughs and little giggles from my children.

I recently read the following quote from fashion guru Clinton Kelly and I have adopted it.

“I realized this week that I cannot do it all. So I will choose to do what I can, fabulously.”

You cannot do everything it is not possible so lets just choose what we can do create a life balance but do those things fabulously shall we?

My key point plan to achieving living life fabulously

  1. Relax and look objectively at what is required of you – draw up a weekly planner and begin to fill in the slots where time is used up already e.g.. nursery, swimming classes and so on.
  2. Accept that no one can do everything and with a small family some things will have to be put aside in favour of more important items.
  3. Talk to the people who can help  – husband, family, friends, is there someone who could help you create time?
  4. Make the best use of the time you do have – in my case rather than juggling a baby at work all afternoon, find the help for a few hours which will enable me to focus entirely on work and achieve double the amount that I would have with a baby on my hip!
  5. Realise that it is totally acceptable not to want to be at work as much at this stage in your children’s lives – this does not make you a bad feminist!
  6. You are not letting people down because you cannot do everything – you are letting yourself down by piling an unrealistic amount of pressure on yourself which in turn will limit what you can achieve.
  7. When you do have the precious family time moments enjoy them – get down on the floor, make a mess, enjoy the chaos and be the clown.
  8. Let yourself be the fabulous person you are by giving yourself a break – you are doing great!

A little about me

Welcome to Code Brown – my very own shiny new blog.

"Do you have a blog?"
"Why yes, it's called Code Brown"
"Code Brown?"
"If you're a mummy you'll understand!"

My name is Jen – I am in my mid thirties, a married mother of two who is trying to keep everything together / going / moving…

I am a mummy to two amazing children a little two year girl called Beau


and a not so little six month old son called Wyn.


The other quarter of our family is my fabulous husband Jon and together we run a country house hotel in rural West Dorset.

This blog won’t concern our business too much as I want this to be about our family story and how we manage to cram everything in – Have you ever said,

"Right the baby is asleep, I don't have to pick up the 
little lady until one so I have {glances down at wrist 
only to notice watch must still be beside the sink} exactly 
an hour to fit in one weeks worth of work"? 

In fact you don’t actually need to have said it (although I did to one of our waitresses just the other day – crumbs work has been mentioned already!) but if you are a mummy I’m sure you will have thought this and probably on numerous occasions. Well, that seems to be how life rolls on around here trying to fit everything and get everything done before bedtime with lots of fun and laughter, some tears and tantrums (not too many of these please) and the odd code brown thrown into the mix! I hope you will enjoy the ride.