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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My Love Affair with Prams

When I was little, I wanted two things. Firstly to be a mummy and secondly to be a nurse. Both these were achieved by the time I was 24 years old and my obsession for both continues. Every year until I was at least 12, I had a dolly for Christmas. There are too many to remember but here are a few. Does anyone remember:

  • Tiny Tears (of course who doesn't?)
  • Amanda Jane
  • Pippa
  • Sindy (Barbie was too trashy!)
  • Baby Alive
  • Carrie and Christopher
  • Penny Puppy Walker
So of course I had the baby dolls and then I needed what every girl and wannabe mummy needs - a doll's pram. My love affair with prams was born and as I said, it has never stopped. As a child, one of my favourite outings was to the nearest big town and it's department store. Children these days are deprived of the wonders of a department store for they take trips to John lewis as part of their birth right. Or perhaps that's just my children! If I ask them, I am sure they will say that John Lewis was as much a part of their childhood as fish fingers. 

In the 1970's, our department store was Williams and Griffin (nicknamed Willy-Gees). My favourite department was not the toy department. Oh no. It was the baby department. Those prams. Oh my goodness. See I am still getting excited; can you feel it? My favourite pram was the the big bouncy coach built sparkly blue hard bodied pram with the white and blue decorative pram blanket (*takes a breath*). It was probably Silver Cross or Marmet. That pram became my gold standard. One day, when I was Kathryn McCrone Staff Nurse and Mummy....I would own that pram.

Let's not jump ahead though. I have owned 9 prams in my life, starting here.

I look about 3 years old so this would have been 1971. I have been in this position ever since, tending to a dolly or a baby. As you'd expect, I can't remember this pram but I do remember the next one; unfortunately there is no photo of it. Perhaps I was 7 years old and perhaps it was my birthday when my grandparents bought me a blue dolls pram from Howlett's toy shop in town. It was so gorgeous. How proud I was to push it home from the toyshop, flanked by my adoring grandparents. The pram was much loved and adored; I can't even remember what happened to it sadly.

Come the teenager years prams were replaced with boys and Duran Duran (as previously mentioned). I waited until I was 24 to purchase this baby ..

Don't worry, I'm not going to post a photo of every pram, just the highlights. This was delivered after a trip to John Lewis Oxford Street. It was my pride and joy. We can't wait to take our prams out of the boxes can we @bumpmoirs (her pregnancy blog inspired this post Finding The perfect Pram ).  A few months later, this Bebe Confort pram transformed in to a push chair.

Along side my proper prams came the essential umbrella buggies, of which I have owned two Maclaren numbers and a light weight Bebe Confort one. Baby warning - two very cute photos to follow so I want to hear some collective ooooos and ahhhhhhs or I shall be offended that you don't think Strong and Silent and Mr Moule were cute.

Strong and Silent, 1995.

Mr Moule, 1994. (plus some chocolate ice cream I think).

Now I am a Proper Mummy and Proper Mummy needs a double buggy. So another trip to John Lewis . We're still talking pre-internet here so I actually had to visit John lewis Kingston. That was fine though. As I used to say, it was my second home.

All these lovely prams and buggies became redundant as my children grew up and I passed them on or sold them until eventually I was pramless. This could not possibly be right. I love babies so much and couldn't quite believe that my family was complete. This is how Willy Wonka came along in 2000 and therefore the excuse to go pram shopping again. This time it had to be my Gold Standard of that blue Silver Cross in Willy-Gees. My husband took some convincing but in the end he gave in to my childhood dream. His childhood dream was to be a premier league football player (errrr, Div One in those days) and if I could have waved a magic wand and made it happen for him, I would have.

This Silver Cross pram came from a shop in Queenstown Road in Battersea.

I was 7 years old again, pushing my pram proud as punch, home from the toy shop. Ok it wasn't practical for popping in the car but I pushed that pram for miles and miles. Every time I went out with it, someone would stop and talk to me and comment about how lovely it was to see a proper pram. The ladies in the dentist on recepetion still talk about it every time I go with Willy Wonka for check ups, and he is 13 now. He used to sit up against a pillow, under the sunshade, secured with a leather harness with a sheep illustration on. My blond, blue eyed boy wearing his Patricia Smith smocked rompers.

I have a feeling that this is not the end of my love affair with prams. With three children, I am hoping to be a Granny one day.My next ambition is to own a Silver Cross traditional dolls pram which will live at Granny's house and get played with only at Granny's house. I hear that being a grandparent is all about bribery and spoiling the little darlings. I'll let you know about that if I am still blogging in 2020. 

Friday, 8 November 2013


At school I was teased. A lot. Could it be called bullying? I don't know. I didn't think it was at the time. Children tease each other and can be down right cruel to each other so on balance I don't think it was serious bullying. It did however leave a scar. I have never been blessed with the sporty gene, in fact I don't know what genes I was blessed with. I was reasonably bright at school but didn't probably reach my full academic potential due to poor teaching and a healthy interest in boys and Duran Duran. I wasn't in with the cool girls - you know the ones - pretty girls who were sporty and petite. Being tall and gangly with no boobs wasn't a recipe for popularity at secondary school in 1982.

My worst momenst were in sports lessons, or P.E. as it was called. You may or may not know how it feels to be last to be picked for a netball or hockey team or ridiculed by the P.E. teacher for not having breasts (glimpses self running through post hockey showers clutching towel). Athletics was a hoot. I must have looked like Pheobe running through Central Park. No wonder the Rachel's of my school days thought I was funny!

The sporting attempts of my school days left me with the belief that I couldn't run. After Mr Moule was born and I was very over weight, I knew I had to do something which resembled exercise and so aerobics classes became my friend. That was aged 25 and I haven't stopped since, introducing gym and swimming and spinning and boxing and pump and...................   everything except running. There was still a mental block about running. I looked at all the girls in the gym who were runners and thought "I want a piece of that"; never thought I could do it though.

Then my life changed when someone (Bare Faced and Blonde) was listening to my moaning at the gym and said "of course you can run". I thought she'd lost her mind! I came up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn't run like joint problems and shin splints and flat feet but Bare Faced and Blonde (BFAB) just looked at me as if to say "yeah right". Almost under the cover of dark I got on the treadmill and did what she told me. Boy was it hard work. All I could manage was 30 seconds running and 1 minute walking. This went on for about a month until I could manage 1 minute running and 30 seconds walking racking up 3 km. This was last January and by the end of February I was seeing no progress. "What you need is a goal" said BFAB. We booked the 5km Race for Life that evening which gave me 4 months to train. This race is literally a walk in the park for BFAB but she supported me all the way. It was booked and I couldn't let her down. Her life is not a walk in the park at the moment and I dedicated my race to her and her family.

Smultz over. BFAB had enough of my treadmill antics and her next plan was to get outside and see how different running was out of the gym. The result was 3km straight off! BFAB was almost at walking pace (she's a pro) but I was running. Actually running. With both feet off the ground and everything. The whole shebang. The adrenalin was flowing, I just couldn't believe it. How many times is that round the track I wondered. I did a 3km once more and then went straight for 5km on a route shown to me by BFAB. Religiously I ran 5km three times a week until the Race For Life with BFAB by my side.

This is us about 500m from the finish line. You may guess that I'm the taller one. Olive Oil I used to get called at school. I hated it at the time but now I wish I was that slim again. I didn't know how lucky I was at the time. And I'm  not THAT tall, a nice 176cm.

Since the race I have kept up my running, my next goal being to run 10km. Slowly slowly does it.The fittness side is a bonus but the most important change has been mentally. I'm not saying that now I think I can conquer anything, but I have grown in self confidence. Pushing myself in to something that I was convinced I could never do has taught me that I don't have to believe what other people say about me. Really it is up to me to find what is inside, no one else can tell me who I am or define me. With my life changing so rapidly from one stage to another, my children growing up and some of them leaving home, this self belief could not have come at a better time. Move over Forest Gump, Kate is going for a run!