Life Update: Fibs, Bibs and Turning Off the AGA

ruth crilly family life

Those of you who read The Uphill the parenting and family blog I write “in my spare time” (haha) – will already be familiar with my life updates. I do one every single month without fail, always on the same day of the month, and I’ve been writing these little round-ups of my family news, baby developments and personal triumphs/struggles since Angelica was born. So almost three years.

I absolutely treasure these updates – they’re an online diary, really, of all of my thoughts and experiences and I find them fascinating to look back on. Reading and remembering how I felt when I was in the depths of my pregnancy with Ted, worrying about gestational diabetes and vaginal-births-after-c-sections and all of the things that were promptly forgotten as soon as he was out and we were home; laughing over Angelica’s obsession with role-play, having a little cry over the mentions of my Dad and his sudden death.

So I love my updates, but times are a-changing and Ted is now a toddling menace – Angelica is turning into a proper little girl, complete with minor tantrums and chat-back sass. No longer are there any long-winded monologues on the merits of breastfeeding lying down, or conversational-starters about weaning; the things that occupy my mind now are very different to the words that I needed to get down on the page a year or two years or three years ago.

ruth crilly family life

I’m by no means saying that now both babies are out of the baby phase (*cries*) I want to stop writing about them (and I have an amazing project on the go, for those who want more baby stuff: there will be news on that soon) but I suppose that my attentions have moved more to the family as a unit, how it works, what doesn’t work, how I can possibly fit everything in that I need and want to do. Which is no less interesting and perhaps – dare I say it? – more interesting to a wider range of people, so here it is: the life update, in its new A Model Recommends home.

I mentioned a while ago that I was considering merging The Uphill blog with this one – so many people on here like my more personal posts and so many people on The Uphill seemed to enjoy features about fashion and beauty and my ridiculous ramblings about random stuff. Of which A Model Recommends is jam-packed. So it makes sense to start writing my family and personal posts over here so that everyone gets to see them.

If you want to read the whole back catalogue of life updates, then you can find them here on The Uphill, but for now, let’s get cracking on what’s been happening in my little world!

things to do to relax


I can’t quite believe that the AGA gets its own section in this update, but that bloody cash-burning cooker has – amazingly – become somewhat symbolic to me. Symbolic of what I have absolutely no idea – perhaps it has provided some sort of emotional warmth as well as physical warmth during that long, hideous winter that was full of such setbacks – but I have to admit that I felt quite sad when Mr AMR turned off the connection yesterday and shut down the oil-fired beast that has been solidly and stoically warming the kitchen since we moved in to our new house at the end of November.

It had to go off; it was bloody boiling in the kitchen now that the weather is warmer and there was no point having the equivalent of the UK’s largest radiator turned on twenty-four seven. I mean. Luckily, we have an extra module on the side of the oil-fired AGA; a four gas-ring burner (gas connected to a bottle somewhere, not the mains, as we’re not on mains gas) and then two electric ovens beneath.

The funny thing is; when we moved in I hated the AGA. I thought that it was a ridiculous idea. The only two benefits to it, as far as I could see, were the fact that it was on all the time and that it was nice and warm to stand against. In fact, the being on all of the time thing was also filed under “drawbacks” on my pros and cons list – because who needs their ovens and hob to be on all of the time?

Turns out I do. It’s brilliant having constantly heated ovens! Fancy quickly heating up a quiche? Just slide it in! Want to briefly warm up some tortillas or naan breads? Throw them in and forget about them for ten minutes! Need to dry out your trainers? Yep – you’ve got your ready-made airing cupboard right there.

So yeah, I miss it already. Although I have to say that cooking on gas is a hell of a lot more precise than cooking on an AGA top, which is sort of one step away from campfire cooking…

ruth crilly family life


Angelica – who is three next month – has started telling little porky pie fibs. Thankfully, most of them are relatively amusing, but I’m trying to nip the whole trend in the bud. I suppose it doesn’t help that we spend most of our time making up silly stories for her entertainment – trying to explain why some stories are OK and others are classified as lies wasn’t the easiest subject I’ve ever had to negotiate..

In other news, we have had to completely change the way we have adult conversations in the house. Little Miss Radar picks up on absolutely everythingwe say and sometimes comes out with snippets of chats, like a parrot, days after we said the damning words.

“Your bloody right of way, Mummy?” she said, the other morning.

“Hmm?” I said, frantically trying to think of what the hell I’d said next and whether it contained any sort of profanity. “Right of way? What do you mean?”

“Your right of way, Mummy,” she said. “In car! Lady in the car not wait for you!”

To be fair, I am surprisingly good at not saying things I shouldn’t in front of her. For someone who enjoys a good swear, especially when I stand on a plastic model of a Hammerhead shark or trap my fingers in the cutlery drawer, I manage to be good all day long – I don’t even say Oh My God, which is something I utter about twenty times a night when they’ve gone to bed.

But put me in the car and it’s like being in a swear-word pressure cooker. They long to burst out of me at every turn. I think it’s because I’m so used to doing journeys alone and shouting until the air turns blue.

ruth crilly family life


Ted, who is now sixteen months old, is staggering about the place like an overexcited fresher who’s had too much to drink. He’s solid on his feet (and generally just really…solid) but if he goes too fast he does that weird two-steps-forward-two-steps-back dance that babies do and then he falls over. (Sidenote: remember this Paula Abdul song? I’ve got it stuck in my head now!)

He’s also constantly teething and he really suffers with it. Angelica didn’t cry once when she was teething – didn’t really cry full-stop – but Ted has real problems. Red cheeked, most days, he dribbles through a bib every couple of hours, pulls desperately on his ears and gets really irritable. And the contents of his nappies are – how can I put this? – exotic. Fifty shades of brown.

God, that would be a non-sexy spin-off wouldn’t it? Haha.

Fifty Shades of BrownChapter One.

Christian walked into the room grasping the leather handle of a long, black whip. From her crouched position on the bathroom floor, Sarah tried to wipe baby poo from the shower partition but only succeeded in spreading the pungent human waste across the rest of the glass.

“Sod off Christian,” she said, as he ran the tip of his whip down her spine, “what an earth makes you think that I want to have sex?”

“You have no knickers on,” said Christian. His eyes were dangerously dark, but probably because he hadn’t had more than four consecutive hours’ sleep in eight years.

“Oh you daft git,” said Sarah. “The baby projectile-vommed on them so they’re soaking in the sink.”

ruth crilly family life

But Ted is infectiously happy when his teeth aren’t playing up, always chasing Angelica around in fits of giggles, and he is brilliant at hugs. He lays his head on my shoulder and sort of pats me, as though I’m the baby, and says “aaahhhhh”. Or “mama”. And then dribbles all over me. I need to start wearing absorbent shoulder pads. Are those a thing? Oooh, Dragons Den idea.

ruth crilly family life

And on that fascinating note I’m going to leave you: I had a whole load more to write about how crazy my work life has been and some thoughts on how the hell to fit everything in, but I think that’s another post. I’m trying to arrange my words into something relatively useful rather than just sounding as though I’m having a moan, so you can look forward to that one.

the uphill

Mr AMR is building a kids’ play area in the garden, complete with about eight tonnes of those bark chippings on the ground, a picket fence and a pirate ship. So I am on Full Kid Duty, which means that I can have a Coca Cola today because I need it for energy and sanity. I’ve been doing quite well with my healthier eating – only two Mint Choc Magnums in the space of a month and the other week I did a whole seven days without a can of Coke. I reckon I’m averaging three cans a week? Not too bad…


© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Abbey
    June 3, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Everything sounds so much more interesting in Queen’s English rather than our bastardized version. My daughter STILL, six entire months later, asks me why that damn lady turned into my lane. Three-year-old ears hear everything.

  2. June 3, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    May I say that I love your version of 50 shades of whatever MUCH better than the original? Even though I have only watched the first movie, so I am not an expert, and had to laugh the whole way through.

    • June 3, 2018 / 8:38 pm

      Hahaha!! I hated the movie but found the books oddly addictive despite the terrible prose. x

  3. Sofia
    June 3, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Oh god please more creative writing that had me in stitches! X

    • Kelly Glen
      June 4, 2018 / 9:06 am

      I couldn’t agree more, Ruth definitely needs to write more like this, I bet if she wrote a book it would be an instant hit because she seems to be able to make everything sound so funny.

      • June 4, 2018 / 11:36 am

        Thank you, you are too kind!! x

        • Mary Kai
          June 5, 2018 / 4:01 am

          I would buy a book you wrote on any topic. If I were a writer I would describe your words as strong waves of truth and comfort.

  4. Angie guest
    June 3, 2018 / 9:23 pm

    Great read as always Ruth you always make me smile and chuckle even after a particularly stressful week..( my niece had her baby on Friday ended up having an emergency C section after hours in labour and getting nowhere) mother and 7lb 7oz baby boy doing fine

  5. Liz
    June 4, 2018 / 8:57 am

    Please write a book about motherhood called 50 shades of poo!!!

  6. Danielle
    June 4, 2018 / 9:41 am

    Oh my the swearing radar!! My husband is a particularly sweary mcswearface and has let slip so many times- luckily my 5 year old has misheard most – I was wondering why she was calling the dog an astronaut for running through her toys then I heard her father use the proper word in the car.
    Just wait til ‘shut up’ hits her vocabulary especially delivered with venom!

    • June 4, 2018 / 11:36 am

      Wait: I HAVE to know what word was the astronaut word..

      • Danielle
        June 7, 2018 / 10:29 am

        Assbutt- it’s been one of his favourites since he heard Castiel yell it on Supernatural. He tried to justify it as less rude than other choices – seriously I don’t know what he’s thinking sometimes!

  7. Gillian Pidler
    June 4, 2018 / 11:23 am

    Firstly rofl at the Christian Grey snippet, just about wet myself reading that!!
    On the fibs thing, I used to be a dinner lady and although the kids I looked after were older, infant school age, I used to tell the children that I ‘knew’ were lying and you do know, that they wouldn’t be in trouble for what it was they’d done, but if they lied to me about having done it, then they’d be in trouble for lying. Worked a damn treat I have to say and I also of course used that with my own 3 kids, now all grown :(
    Loved this update Ruth, the kids are so alike and so gorgeous and I love your new home, it’s beautiful.

    • June 4, 2018 / 11:36 am

      Thank you Gillian, that is sage advice! xx

    • Laura
      June 5, 2018 / 1:20 pm

      My mum told me the same growing up and I still believe it!!

  8. Elena Yeates
    June 4, 2018 / 11:45 am

    OMG! 50 shades of brown – soooooo funny, loved it!

  9. Lisa
    June 4, 2018 / 12:18 pm

    Fifty shades of brown – love it!

  10. June 4, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    Bravo on the coke and ice-cream. I have a non-dairy chunky monkey Ben & Jerry addiction. It is even worse as it’s now on offer at Tesco. Terrible. Please Tesco stop the offer….

  11. Susannah
    June 4, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    50 shades of brown is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Please do a blog post on just 50 shades of brown. Thanks for the update

    • June 4, 2018 / 11:00 pm

      Maybe it’s a whole novel in the making…

      • Lowri
        June 5, 2018 / 5:19 am

        I’d love it if you kept writing it!

  12. Kirsty
    June 4, 2018 / 3:32 pm

    “bloody right of way mummy” absolute hysterics! I love it when kids go through this stage its so funny, incriminating, but really bloody funny! You’ve got 2 wee sweat hearts

  13. Sue Moran
    June 4, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Ah Ruth, love these rambles, so heartwarming and we laugh along because sometimes that’s all you can do, yes? ❤️
    When my oldest was about 3 or 4 (ages ago) I received a note home chiding me because she was calling all her casa mates “idiot!” and of course I was mortified. Even though I was relieved since I knew it could have been much worse I was puzzled because it wasn’t a word I ever used (idiot is worse than profanity IMHO). A few days later we were watching her absolute favourite Disney film 101 Dalmations and I had my answer! That word is peppered throughout the movie: the couple say it to each other often as an endearment and Cruella says it incessantly to her henchmen. As my mother used to say “little pitchers have big ears”.

  14. Marie
    June 4, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    My 23month old said “oh bloody hell” as the ice cream van went by without him getting a ninety nine. The shame of it!

  15. Kate Spanier
    June 4, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Turns out that I say FFS far too much.
    I was talking to the husband on the phone the other weekend, whilst he was living it up at a conference (nice hotel, no toddler – paradise?), he told me something that clearly vexed me. All I said was “For” and the toddler finished the sentence for me. I was mortified. He then ran round the house, fist pumping saying “f*cks sake, f*cks sake” over and over.
    We haven’t had a repeat incident….yet.

  16. Mona
    June 4, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    Gorgeous kids Ruth and I enjoy your blog every time I check in front instagram. Just a thought re T: would you consider withdrawing dairy for a while and see if it makes a difference to his dribbling/redness/ear pulling. Mine had very similar symptoms (complete with 50 shades of brown) and it turned out to be a milk protein intolerance. Just thought would mention it to see if it’s something you’ve considered. Good luck with the fib-busting….we’ve yet to claim success over that and the youngest is 8 now!

    • June 4, 2018 / 10:58 pm

      Oh really? Yes, maybe I’ll give that a try then!

      • Mona
        June 6, 2018 / 9:19 am

        We saw a very quick improvement (within a week for the rashes and redness on his face) and the sleeping (which was AWFUL – awake howling several times a night), dribbling and nappy-deposits(!) all improved in the following weeks. We’ve been able to re-introduce some milk as he got older, but he has a definite limit and when he goes all-in with the cheese pizzas etc. he gets tummy pains and skin rashes. Of course, T might have no issues with dairy at all but a week or two without it would soon let you know. Good luck!

  17. June 4, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    Loved your Fifty Shades interpretation, much better than the real thing! Those books were trash, however your version, I would read…too funny!

  18. Riese
    June 4, 2018 / 10:56 pm

    I’m with you on the magnum addiction!! Should really try and wrap it up too but right now they are my breastfeeding treat so telling myself I will quit it when I stop feeding.. as for Coca Cola… that was my saviour when I I’d severe morning sickness about this time last year and I still treat myself to it now & then. I think it might be the she exhaustion of motherhood that makes us crave sweet treats! X

    • June 4, 2018 / 10:58 pm

      Yeah you’re probably right!

  19. Julia
    June 5, 2018 / 2:59 am

    Fifty Shades of Poo had me cackling like a fool to the point it interrupted my husband’s sports on TV in the other room. He insisted I explain but I can’t read it to him because it makes me laugh so hard I can’t talk & then he started laughing because I was laughing. Well let’s just say I think you’re really on to something there, Ruth. Thanks for such a hearty giggle.

  20. Mary Kai
    June 5, 2018 / 4:05 am

    Lovely. You describe it all so well. My children are 15 and 12 now, but it all seems like yesterday. People told me I would miss the years they were little. I miss moments, but I sure wouldn’t go back. It’s nice to revist the memories through your experiences.

  21. Georgie
    June 5, 2018 / 9:41 am

    I stopped listening to hip hop in the car a while ago obviously! No one wants their children listening to ODB- what I didn’t stop listening to however was my 90’s indie album until I reLised my six year old now knows all the lyrics to sorted for E’s and Whizz…..
    My 3 year old says bloody regularly and in context! The shame.

  22. Rachel Mitchell
    June 5, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog ‘s I think from almost the start. This is awesome. Thank you for taking time to create this.
    I love your style or writing, you never fail to make me chuckle.

    Good luck with this xx

  23. June 6, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    Just as everyone else, I adore these update posts and this one was as fab as always. We haven’t yet turned our AGA off and it is toasty warm in our house, too toasty warm, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it yet – I need them to come next week! Lovely to hear updates on the kids, the giggling sounds glorious!

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  24. Lucy
    June 15, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Can’t believe no one picked up on you uttering all those ‘Oh My Gods’ after the kids are in bed! Not sure if it’s Mr AMR or mini mint magnums that should take the credit though!

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