Archives for November 2011

No sugar coating

Today my kids had jammie dodgers for breakfast.

And a cup of tea each. With caffine in it and everything.

Yesterday they had birthday cake with yellow and black icing just before bed.

Three times in the last week they have had chips with their dinner – Tuesday, best viagra chicken dippers and chips; Wednesday, buy cialis pesto pasta and chips and Thursday tomato ketchup…and chips.

On Saturday morning they will most likely watch television from when they rise (before the birds) to about 9.50am when I’ll shoe horn them into clothes and wipe their faces with baby wipes before the grandparents arrive at 10am. We won’t brush teeth as frankly it’s not worth the fight.

We’ll then all sit nicely round the table with Nana and Granddad and have brunch as lovely extended family unit, oohing and aahing over how excellently our five year old daughter has written her ‘sh’ words in her homework jotter and how our 2 year old son’s eratic scribbling with a green crayon on a yellow piece of card is a very artistic representation of a farm. We’ll ladle heavy praise at how wonderful our daughters French pronouns  are coming along,  how our son demonstrated great skill with the tennis racket at his ‘ball kids’ class earlier in the week, and how he is really showing positive signs to potty train.  We’ll marvel at how clean and tidy the sitting room and play room are, and talk excitedly about the itinerary for our winter break in a quaint little cottage in the countryside.

Brunch over, hugs and kisses will be dispensed, we’ll stand sweetly on the front door step like a mini version of the Von Trapp family and wave breezily with wide grins on our faces until Nana and Granddad’s car is round the corner and out of sight.

When the front door is closed (slammed), our son will most likely pull of his trousers and nappy in quick succession and pee on the hall floor. Then splash his hands in it.  We’ll move the small corner unit from the hallway that was covering up the green wax crayon and give it yet another going over with a soapy cloth to see if it fades anymore.  We’ll ask our daughter to find an eraser and remove the word ‘shit’ from her ’shop, shoe, fish, show and ship’ list in her homework book.  We’ll ring my friend to see how the bump on her sons head is going down after being rattled with a tennis racket. We’ll give the kids the lurid coloured, golf ball sized lollypops we promised them for doing such a good job of stuffing all the toys wildly scattered across the playroom floor into the toy box and lifting all six cushions from the sitting room floor and putting them back on the sofa in an orderly fashion at 9.58 this morning, whilst mummy ran to the bin with three empty wine bottles that were gracing the kitchen table.

The television will go back on and probably won’t go off until Strictly is finished, and then, over a glass of wine, we’ll give some long hard thought to just exactly what the hell we’re thinking we’re doing going to do with two wild kids in the freezing rural Highlands for a weekend in December.

Blub.Sniff. Blub. It’s Christmas.

Usually the top two things that would invoke uncontrollable watering of the eyes in this household would be the chopping of onions or the stubbing of a toe, try but last night, cialis sale taking me (and Super Daddy) completely by surprise was a new and unwitting force that had me sniffling into a tissue and bubbling like a buffoon.

The John Lewis Christmas advert.

Now, I’d seen some twit-twooing and tweeting about it the day previous but hadn’t paid particularly much attention trying as I was not to unlock the lid on the Christmas excitement too early for fear of peaking before the middle of December and being in Christmas meltdown by the 24th. But the posting of the ad on another fabulous mummy’s great Facebook site for her unusual and bespoke tree plaques had me curious.  There I was sat on one end of the sofa, legs and feet mingling with those of Super Daddy, precariously balancing my nearly overfilled wine glass in one hand, and my iPhone in the other, when I pressed play.  One minute and 13 seconds in, I was a wreck.  So much so my reaction prompted much concern and worry in Super Daddy – after all, he thought I was just faffing about on Facebook between the X Factor ad breaks – what on earth had provoked such a reaction?

With black mascara streaming down my cheeks and a voice that wouldn’t quite let me form words properly came a “ohthatissolovelyIneversawthatcominghowsweetjustwhatchristmasshouldbeallabout.”

Removing said iPhone gently from my hands for fear of water damage, Super Daddy had a look himself.  “Will this do the same to me?” He asked. I watched his face closely, especially his eyes. Super Daddy doesn’t do tears.

I knew when he’d hit that 1 minute 13 second point, I’m sure I saw some misting…..

In an attempt to detract from any possible outward showing of emotion, Super Daddy promptly passed the phone back to me for a second viewing.  Despite knowing what was coming, my reaction was the same, in fact it was amplified because I knew what was coming. Super Daddy always find my emotional reactions to things like adverts, songs, even smells, a little bit confusing. Particularly when I was pregnant and had hormone induced bouts of crying over someone being tackled in a Manchester United game and when being unable to decide whether I wanted Spicy Chicken pizza or Chicken and Mushroom pizza for tea one night. To add to the emotion of my second viewing, Super Daddy thought it was humorous to throw in quips like ‘Don’t you just wish our own kids had that outlook?’ and ‘Aw, bless, he probably made the gift himself.’ Of course he didn’t, you wally, he bought it from John Lewis. Duh.

He hit the nail on the head though with the posing of the ‘Don’t you wish our own kids had that outlook?’ because that’s the sentiment of the advert surely, it’s not about giving, its about finding that perfect gift for that perfect someone and putting that before your own wishes.  Yes, yes, of course John Lewis suggest you’ll find the perfect gift in their lovely glossy shiny department stores twinkling with sparkle and luring you in with warmth and promise of leaving their store happy and content and laden with every item on your extensive present shopping list, but I think back to the gifts we’ve been given by the kids over the years, and nothing from any department store would come close.  Ceramic hand-painted hearts, glitter-drenched stars, drawings of our family standing under a rainbow, I needn’t go on….

But well done, John Lewis, its fair to say this offering is certainly the work of some very wise men or women.  So the lid is off on the Christmas excitement reservoir, and it’s starting to gain momentum 2011….wonder what they’ll come up with for 2012… ?

Crikey, I’m in Christmas Meltdown 2012 already!

A useful equation – Mum Plus Business

I have long been a supporter, sick nay champion, discount of ‘mums doing their own thing.’ Like many others, I too grappled with the challenge of having a baby, considering career options and thinking about business ideas that would allow me to positively strike a balance between spending quality time with my family, whilst doing something for myself and earning a living to boot.

At the time I felt I had no skills to talk of which would naturally fit with home working or lend themselves well to business opportunities that could flex around my family.  What I did have however was passion, enthusiasm and buckets full of desire to do something. And so, whilst on maternity leave with my eldest, I set up a lovely little lifestyle business, which filled a gap in the local market at that time.  As well as giving me confidence to do my own thing, and proving the mantra I set down to the kids that “we can do anything we try” I could also work it fabulously around my family. Since then I know and have actively encouraged many other mums to do similar things and put their skills and talents to great use in their own business.

Five years ago, I’d have loved to have been able to use the services of Mum Plus Business, an innovative free online service to help local mothers form business partnerships. Mum Plus Business is a hugely useful resource for mums and expectant mums of all ages, backgrounds and with different levels of experience. The key aim of this venture is to connect motivated local mothers in a similar position, who can collectively support each other whilst also complementing each other’s skills. In certain cases an individual may be lacking the confidence, motivation or skill set to independently create their own company but can be very successful in a partnership. Maybe a mum has already thought of a business idea or she could be the perfect match for someone looking to launch a business. The site is brimming with helpful resources to support the setting up of a business, the writing of a business plan, as well as useful contacts, information and helpful tips that those in the know have shared. There is a quick online database search facility, which allows mums to select their local area and the business sector they are interested in, in order to generate possible pairings.

The response to Mums Plus Business has been very positive, and already they have developed partnerships with local Jobcentre Plus centres and single parent organisations such as OnlyMums, not to mention being nominated for the Mumpreneur Awards 2011.

I’m looking forward to hearing about many successful business pairings that have started with Mum Plus Business. I’m no mathematician but Mum Plus Business is one web resource which definitely equals fantastic!

Reach for the stars.

Dear Little Princess Pink, treat

This afternoon your Daddy & I attended your first parents conference at big school, whilst we were there  you had a play date at Marc’s house and had great fun with the light sabre (or light saver as you called it) and the little lego people.  You told me it was good to play with boys toys for a change, and Marc’s mummy told me it was a pleasure having you over.

At school, Daddy & I sat in little green chairs – the exact same ones as you sit in when you are in class. It was fine for me as I’m a little on the petite side, but all 6 foot of Daddy was squished and almost folded in half, his knees were nearly round his ears. You’d have rolled your eyes had you seen him!

Miss K had nothing but good things to say about you (and by the way, having seen her up close, I am quite certain she is 30 and not 7 or 10 as you had first suspected.) She started by telling us what a wonderfully well mannered and kind young girl you are.  She tells us not only are you caring and helpful, but you are considerate to the feelings of others, and will try to help them with their work in a soft and gentle manner if they get stuck, explaining to them as they go why the answer is what it is rather than simply telling them outright.

We hear that you have made lots of friends, and are well liked by everyone in the class.  It would appear that you have your fathers competitive streak, and often vie with your bestest friend Abbie to see who can eek the most praise from Miss K for good work.

We hear that you are patient, a trait that you most certainly don’t get from me, but one I am very glad you have. Don’t let that ever stop you from driving forward what you want though. We saw your writing that earned you the title of Star Writer this week, and the sentence that you compiled all by yourself – ” I like writing a story.’  You are your mothers daughter.

We saw Lola the robot displayed proudly outside the front of the school office along with her fellow robots who were equally fantastic.

We saw a great picture of you walking along a balance beam at gym, you were grinning from ear to ear!

I pointed out a photo of Ryan to Daddy, so he could see who you are going to marry when you are 16. It’s important that he knows. I can see why you told him today that he can be your prince and you’ll be his princess.

I saw your classroom from your perspective today and its exciting. I saw spark and drive in your teachers eyes too. She clearly loves her job and we know if you continue to be the keen, inquisitive, curious and diligient pupil you are, then she will support you all the way.

We’re super proud of you, you are blossoming my darling.

Reach for the stars.

Mummy & Daddy


I. am. a. robot. (Final Installment)

Production complete.

I’m delighted to report that Project Robot has been delivered to a satisfactory conclusion.

After sitting on the dining room table for over a week, buy viagra awaiting assembling, Lola’s disembodied head finally joined with her body and other remaining limbs and the masterpiece that is Lola the Robot came to life.

Having being tempted with the superglue once again, but managing to resist, copious amounts of pritt stick, just shy of a full roll of sticky tape and lots of finger crossing and willing it all to hold together led to a successful construction of said robot.  Needless to say, Super Daddy didn’t take the opportunity to flex any of his manufacturing engineering muscles as the mere mention of glitter sent him running, so all construction activities rested with the ladies of the house.  Under some clear direction from the mini project manager and designer, I was allocated the task of sticking it all together.  Being ever so confident in my abilities to deliver against this task, mini project manager was more than happy to delegate authority over that whole task to me whilst she attended a friends’ birthday party. I’m not sure if that says more about her delegation skills or my control tendency or whether she’d simply lost interest and I actually just wanted my dining room table back.

In an attempt to adhere to the blueprint as much as possible, some last minute improvising with the inner tubes of the kitchen foil and the jelly tots tube was required in order to give the tea boxes some inner strength to be able to support the weight of Lola’s disproportionately large body and head. I fashioned them into bones and slotted them nicely between the base of her body and in through the boxes. She balanced precariously for a while before I found the right position to allow her to stand. Super proud of our efforts, much photographing of the finished article took place once Little Princess Pink has returned from her afternoon partying whilst I’d used my only free hour and a half in the week to finish her school project. This definitely says more about me than her.

So arrived Monday – take your robot to school day.  The anticipation was just as high as it had been on the morning of the school Halloween party, only this time we weren’t building ourselves into a frenzy over the likely costumes of classmates, but of course, the turnout of many covered foil and glittered boxes. Lola had to be transported in a large blue Ikea bag as we didn’t have any other mode of transport quite big enough for her.  She also got to sit properly in the front seat of the car on the school run, with a seatbelt on of course, just in case we had any emergency stopping incidents which could result in Lola doing some slow-mo crash-test dummy style tricks.

Little Princess Pink was adamant that she should be the one to take Lola in her carrier down into the school playground, after all, it was her project and all her work.  Hhhm. I was relegated to carrying of school bag and lunchbox. There was much ooh-ing and aah-ing as the children started noticing one anothers’ robots, and the babble of exchanging of tales of how they had come up with their great design ideas grew louder and louder.

The display was spectacular. Pink furry robots, robots with purple plaited hair, robo-dogs, camouflage robot, Batman robot or would that be Robobat? Robots taller than their creators, dinky robots that sat neatly on the palm.

Lots and lots of silver foil.

But if you looked really, really closely, not at the robots, but at the faces of each and every parent standing in that playground, first you’d see pride in their own offspring’s creations, then slowly you’d notice the sneaky little glances around at all the other productions, you might see a little glint of ooh, not quite jealousy, but more of a ‘wish I’d thought of that.’ Then thankfully, and rightly so, a reversion back to pride. Because after all, even with a wonky head, wobbly legs, squint eyes and an arm that’s got about 3 seconds left before it drops off, every single robot was one to be proud of.

Well done class P1K!



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