Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Just back from a lovely weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. This is one of my favourite places anyway but combine it with 72 degree wall-to-wall sunshine, and you have perfection. Even the sheep were smiling.
We found a really lovely place to stay - the 16th century,  Borrowby Mill - set in the middle of hilly woodland, with rabbits running past the front door and spring flowers everywhere, this really was a find. The friendly owners told us that they were in the middle of filming for Channel 4's Four in a Bed, a programme where four sets of b&b owners visit each other's properties and try to find fault. The series is to be screened in August and I can't wait to see it, because there truly is not a fault to be found. Tea and cakes on arrival, a most beautiful bedroom overlooking hills and dales and an Aga-cooked breakfast on starched white linen with silverware and crystal.

We're going to book again pretty sharpish because I'm pretty sure that once the programme has been screened, there won't be a vacancy for months - if not years!

Oscar and Hugo have been enjoying the warm weather too

Oscar's daddy told me that while we were away he took Oscar to Halford's to get a pair of wiper blades. Oscar led the way and told his daddy that he'd find the man to ask. Apparently he went running off and found "the man" . "Excuse me," he said, "have you got a pair of errrm......."  ".......curtains?" well, wiper blades are pretty difficult words to remember at three!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


When Oscar comes to play, the first thing he does is check that no-one has touched his den. It is under the stairs and contains a number of items which give him his super powers. My husband and I are allowed in from time to time, as long as we get every inch of our bodies - right down to our toes - inside the den. I always make sure I take a couple of Neurofen before his visits.

I had another letter in The Times today.

Mother knows best
A reader suggests that if you want to know what your skin will be like you should look at your mother’s

Sir, While grateful for Sarah Vine’s suggestion that Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase might give me skin like the Queen’s, I won’t be splashing out on a jar (times modern, Mar 21).
Over the years I have followed the often expensive advice of numerous beauty experts and have come to the conclusion that it’s all in the genes, not the serum. If you want to know what your skin will be like — look at your mother’s.
Deb Atkinson
Southport, Merseyside

Monday, 12 March 2012


Oscar's pre-school group has a dinosaur bin with a "danger keep out" sign on it, underneath,  the sign adds "experts only". Oscar must have thought long and hard about this because today another line was tagged on proclaiming "Oscar is an expert", which is possibly why he's in the bin.

Sunday, 11 March 2012


There is nothing quite like a mum. For the past ten days I have been suffering from a variety of symptoms including sore throat, cold, catarrh, rash, sickness, lack of energy and loss of appetite (try keying that into symptom checker). I  shared a selection of those symptoms with my 81-year-old mother but despite that she managed, on a freezing cold day, to get on the train and then walk up a hill to our house, leaving a plant in the porch for me before doing an about turn and retracing her steps. Unfortunately she then realised she'd locked herself out of her flat and tried to ring me for help. I was out!

Just  as I held the camera up to take that photograph our new neighbours walked past the window and looked in as the flash went off. I almost rushed out to explain that I wasn't taking a picture of them, but I thought I might come across as a bit Basil Fawltyish. I wonder what they're thinking ......

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Yesterday we had a pleasant day out in Chester. Over lunch we heard someone talking about a big TKMaxx at a nearby retail park. On the way home I keyed the road name into the sat nav and we drove there. I could see the store tantalisingly close as we flew past first one entrance to the retail park and then another. I gave plenty of notice before the next well-signed entrance and my husband managed to swing the car a la Stirling Moss onto the correct road. But then "we" managed to take the wrong exit at the roundabout. The correct exit would have led us straight to TKMaxx's car park. Lo and behold, we were on the same road again - outside the retail park. We did another circuit of Chester's ring road and tried again, and missed again. "Right, it's had its chance"  shouted my husband as we zoomed away, following signs to the motorway and home.