Fairness, Loyalty and RBS.

“It’s not fair! He gets a bigger muffin than me!”

“It’s not fair! She gets to stay up later than me.”

“It’s not fair; we always read his story book first.”

“It’s not fair. I never get to sit in the front.”

“It’s not fair. I always get more homework than he does.”

If you’re a parent, viagra buy this will sound all too familiar (perhaps more so when accompanied with a whiney intonation and the stamp of a foot.) The fairness debate is one we have in our house on a near daily basis. At any given point, ed one of our two will likely feel aggrieved that they’re being treated differently – usually less favourably – to the other. I often hear myself rationalising the disparity leading to the perceived unfairness, sometimes sensibly, other times less so, but always with the intent of explaining the difference and minimising the feeling of the lack of fairness, or factually stating why it is that someone is being treated differently.

“Well, your sister is older so she gets to stay up a little later, and remember you had extra time with mummy this morning because you were up first.” (Usually a time beginning with ‘6’ and on a day beginning with ‘S’)

“Yes, he might have got the biggest muffin, but yours had extra chocolate chips on top, so that balances it out.”

“She gets to sit in the front because she is taller and weighs more, so it’s safer for her to do so than it is for you.”

“Yes, I see that the yellow cup is bigger, but the orange one is really fun with the lid and the straw

Okay– I’m not sure I’d buy that last one either…

Mostly the rational explanations will suffice and are understood, but the initial feeling of unfairness is very real. Our five year old might claim it to be unfair, but as yet he hasn’t laboured the ‘she gets to stay up later than me’ point when his eyes are repeatedly closing and he can’t string a sentence together for yawning his head off. That’s what getting up a silly o’clock does for you.

Whilst most of the ‘it’s not fair’ grumbles from the kids don’t relate to the big things in life, I feel the lessons from these minor things are indeed important for our children. Playing fair, with one another, friends at home, classmates at school and in the sports teams they are part of, is something we encourage. The same goes for loyalty to the passionately supported football team, even when they’re on a losing streak; loyalty to a friend who has been there since day one despite the new girl next door having a new flicker scooter she lets you play with. Respecting one another, our views and opinions, our space and our possessions is equally important. Respecting others to the extent that you would only ever want to be fair and equitable with them feels basic.

As I’ve gotten older, and had to deal with grown up stuff like buying a new car, engaging with utility companies, meeting the kids teachers, sorting mortgages, general banking, dining out – I’ve become more attuned to what’s permissibly fair and what’s not.

Being loyal to an insurance company for over ten years but discovering my insurance premium continues to increase year after year, despite no claims, but new customers are guaranteed no premium increases in the first five years seems unfair.

Dining out and finding that the couple at the table beside us are tucking in to 25% off their bill simply because they booked on line (as they later told me, via their smart phone whilst standing directly outside the restaurant) whilst we just walked straight in and requested a table – that’ll make your Pollo Rigatoni stick in your throat.

Being greeted warmly by an enthusiastic and exuberant salesman and offered an attractive package to a TV subscription service as I wander through the local shopping centre trying to keep my eye on two kids who are compelled to run in completely opposite directions – only then to be told the super duper extra special offer wouldn’t apply to me as we already had the service in our family home (my husband being the existing customer whose name was at the top of the monthly (exorbitant) direct debit.) He didn’t seem all that warm to me after he determined I was by default already an existing customer. Perhaps I should have followed the kids lead and ran in the opposite direction at that first over the top ‘Good Morning Madam!’

Thankfully, one Bank getting it just right at the moment, and recognising loyalty by not ignoring existing customers is RBS. They’re saying goodbye to their top offers only being reserved for new customers (just as I should have done to the shopping centre salesman). They are saying goodbye and good riddance to the practice of hiding the best deals online, they are banishing 0% teaser rates that work out more expensive in the long run and are simply now saying hello to fairer banking. This I warm to.

Check out this fairness experiment from RBS:

Funny Fairness Experiment #thatsofa

The kids found this video hilarious – a talking sofa – who’d have thought?! But they got the point. It wasn’t fair that existing folks got chivvied along just because some new punters were approaching. They didn’t think it was fair that some people were getting things and others were not. Fairness in their words is making sure everyone feels good about what they get or have. It’s about treating people in a kind way and not differently to others. Fairness is about everyone having the same sized muffin – or at the very least a muffin that is just the right size for them! And whilst we were on the topic, our little monster thought it was a prime opportunity to remind me about the time nigh on three weeks ago when his sister got to play on the Xbox for a whole five minutes more than him, and he’d like that time recouped, thank you very much. It’s only fair after all!

 

 

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I’m working with Britmums and RBS on this project and have been compensated. All opinions are my own. (Especially the one about 6am being too early to get up!)

The Germinator

Nothing says back to school like shiny shoes, look a new pencil case and a manically smiling mummy who is glad to have some law and order back around these parts. For us, it’s a big back to school year too as the not-so Little Monster made his debut appearance in primary one. Following in the footsteps of his big sister, he’s been excited to join the ranks of shirt and tie wearers (minus the nine to five and the office politics) and has already spent many a morning doing his hair and spiking it up into a ‘cool big boy’ style before mummy then ruins it by ruffling it at the school gates instead of giving him a kiss. Not permitted by cool big boys.

So they’re back in the classroom and I’d like them to stay back until the next half term at least, so keeping them germ free and healthy is a priority.

Easier said than done when our digit-ill age brings an increase in little germy hands pawing at iPads, kindles, tablets and parents phones, and busy lives see more ‘grab and go’ type snacking on route from school to social clubs without proper hand washing opportunities in between. Hail the antiviral hand foam! The handy, squirty tube carries nicely in your handbag, or glove box and the magic of how it dries without a towel impresses my two every time.

The rise of the selfie of course supports free flowing international travel for flighty headlice looking to explore new destinations. The little blighters are far freer to frolic from head to head whilst unsuspecting kids squash in closer to one another so they both fit in to camera range for the perfect selfies. Luckily, we’ve not had any of these little visitors to stay……yet, but at the slightest sign of a scratchy noggin, I’m out with the nit comb for a quick once over. A fellow mum (in fact, a few) tell me tea tree spray through the hair once a week and the occasional scoosh on pillows helps keep these nasties at bay. That sounds far easier to me than lengthy de-licing activities of a Sunday evening.

In homage to the selfie (minus the headlice) and to say thanks to Boots #bootsbacktoschool for keeping our cupboard well stocked with everything we need for back to school germinating, we’ve taken a few selfies (or germies!) of our own in a bid to get the kids thinking for themselves about things like good hand hygiene, wiping noses on tissues rather than sleeves and covering mouths when they cough. So here’s their selfies depicting what they think nasty germs look like……

Eeeeeeuuuurgggh!*

Let’s hope we don’t see an influx of these this school year!

*ah, they’re actually still cuties aren’t they?

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Day 36 – Day 42 #100happydays

Day 36 was a mammoth day. I can be the queen of busyness, check but this took the biscuit. Falling in the door at 18.10 having been on the go since 06.00, then bathing and reading to the kids before tucking them up tight and back out of the door by 19.15 was a challenge. But the reason for my evening outing was to catch up with these girlies.

My ‘mum’ friends as I like to call them. Our friendship formed as we all got to grips with our foray into motherhood, some seasoned professionals, others complete newbies, but all with a need for the comfort that comes from just knowing that someone else knows what you’re going through. Years have gone by, and nappy chat, weaning woes and toddling tales are now part of our shared history. But what remains ever present is a bond that goes beyond those baby ties. And memories of pole dancing, glamping, ‘drive by jazz hands’, outdoor hot tubs, ‘mixtapes’, choreographed dance routines, planking in pyjamas and the rest are just as important!

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Day 37 – Tweeting the Celebs!

I’m a huge Jill Mansell fan. I also like to tweet. Combine the two and I had a lovely happy moment when upon tweeting Jill about having worked out the plot twist in her latest book, The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, from a simple throw away comment from a character, she replied back with as much excitement as me about my working out the twist. This happy moment really does go someway to showing that it can be the teensiest little things that make us happy.

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Day 38 – Valentines Day

One could think ‘cue lots of happy lovely dovey chat’ as today’s #100happyday, but actually not so much. Having handmade the kids a Valentines card each – yes handmade, and yes the kids – not SuperDaddy (his was shop bought after he asked if last years extremely thoughtful handmade anniversary card was made by one of the kids), I presented them with a flourish alongside their Valentines breakfast (ok, grapes in a heart shaped dish).
The Little Princesses’ card had mini love heart sweets glued in a heart shape on the front and inside read ‘I love you sweetheart’. I know. Clever. Thanks Pinterest.
She was less than impressed, “but mummy, I can’t eat those with glue on them!”
The Little Monster didn’t react too well to his card decorated with lots of pieces of pink tissue paper, again in the shape of a heart, and reading inside ‘I love you to pieces’ (once again, I thank you Pinterest)
“I don’t want you to cute me into pieces!” He wails.

Harrumph. Not the reactions I’d hoped for, but made me smile and hey, the cards look pretty cute even if I say so myself.

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More #100happydays Days 29 –

Day 29 saw me at home, hospital feeling unwell, with a little boy feeling under the weather too. Duvet, Ice Age 4 and snuggles on the sofa would have topped the happy moments were it not for the snotty noses and scratchy throats that accompanied it. An impromptu delivery and a feel good motivating note was a smiley spot in the day.

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Day 30 #100happydays

Dancing in the kitchen is a regular occurrence in our house. Dinner done, music goes on, kids Dance For Their Pudding (it’s in our family rules, this one input by them!) anyone who watched Big Brother circa 1999 (?) will remember the ‘grab one leg behind you and hop whilst puffing out your chest’ move. Kids mastered it.

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Day 31 #100happydays

I won a teapot in a competition, and it was delivered today. Teapot gorgeousness right there.

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Day 32 #100happydays

Growing my business, whilst having a hoot.

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Day 33 #100happydays

Saturday nights on the sofa, glass of something cold in hand, make for a top spot in the week. Berries and bubbles on this occasion. Ooh and it’s a lovely pink colour.

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Day 34 #100happydays

Trying hard not to count up the years since I agreed to be the girlfriend of this guy. Only because that makes me feel old. (Sssssh, more than 20)

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Day 35 #100happydays

Loving my work colleagues for knowing me so well and leaving this colourful page opened on my desk. Featuring my favourite piece the Norah pendant too.

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But again, I peaked too early! THIS overtook.

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The Justin picture is purely gratuitous. ENJOY.

#100happydays Days 25 -28

I’m way behind on blog entries charting how the #100happydays challenge is working out for me. So much for my best intentions to update daily. Days 25-28 bring me up to last Monday. Must try harder. On the plus side, ambulance I’m loving the challenge and even when days are not so hot, buy viagra finding something to be happy about is still easy. I feel very blessed. So, on to business….

Day 25 #100happydays

Day 25, a 1/4 of the way through the challenge! If only I’d been doing sit-ups for every day of 100 happy days too, I’d have been making my way towards some kind of ab happiness into the bargain. I may not have the faintest glimpse of an definition going on, but I do have a pretty warm and healthy glow that is coming from my happy moments. One that has featured highly this year is reading time. A New Years resolution of mine, to read more of what I want to and less faffing about on social media. Tonight I finished reading the latest Louise Mensch book (previously Bagshawe) and it was everything I expected and took me right back to when I read my first Bagshawe book.

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Day 26 #100happydays

This particular happy day was brought to you by one of my bestest girls in the world and her sweetheart of a daughter. A two hour drive separates us, which a London friend pointed out is nothing, and we’ve only just realised the wonders of driving 1 hour 20 mins each and meeting in a pretty fabulous spot St Andrews. My little princess joined us for girlie time too, coffee, book shopping and lunch (hold the wine please) was just the tonic, and I remember only ever bring happy in the company of this gorgeous and incredibly funny lady.

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Day 27 #100happydays

I might have peaked too early on this one; by 9.30am upon showering and dressing I’d already decided my #100happydays moment was layering my Stella & Dot Piper Necklace in silver, with a birthday gift from my best bate (see day 21!) which has cute personalised charms. This simple lovelyness did make me very happy indeed, however we then went book shopping. My favourite type of shopping. So I’ll sneak in another couple of happy moments today if that’s not too greedy!

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Day 28 #100happydays

The little monster was poorly. He really didn’t want to go to preschool. The little princess had an allergic reaction (randomly to a scarf) she really didn’t want to miss school. Missing school is not cool when you are seven and have a big rashy neck to show off to your pals.
My head hurt too, and my ears, and my neck. Mr M rang to say ‘I’ve found a holiday deal, ticking every single one of our boxes, it’s cheaper than last year, I think we should book .’ and I said ‘book away, book away’
Easy as that.

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Big Bushy Ones

I dread to think who might find their way to my blog with a post title like that but if you have, viagra generic and you’re looking for something altogether different, decease I do apologise, but be on your way. This post is about eyebrows.

Yep. Eyebrows.

This week I found myself frantically trying to forward an email to my personal account that had randomly popped into my work email inbox, and cursing profusely as too many attachments to work mails were causing my sent items to get stuck in the ether.

It was a matter of extreme importance that I forwarded this email on for further research that night in the confines of my own home. The headline ‘my eyebrows got so bushy I had to stop using it’ was just way too intriguing.

What, pray tell, was this person using to bushify their eyebrows? Was it a deliberate beauty attempt or a rather unfortunate outcome of something else? How bushy was too bushy? How did I get my hands on this wonder product?

You see, eyebrows are kinda the thing of the moment, aren’t they? Not quite in a Noel Gallagher mono brow kind of a way (just yet) but the bigger and darker seems to be the better. I’ve become quite transfixed with eyebrows. Oh the shapes, the widths, the variations in darkness.

My eyebrows are frankly, a bit of a let down. One beauty therapist, when I was in my twenties, told me they were too curly to do anything with. More like pubic hair, she said. I’d be lying if I said I’d brushed that comment off and moved on with my life.

In high school (and I ask my school friends to correct me if indeed this is actually an outright lie and I have dreamt this) I was nominated or perhaps even awarded ‘Best Eyebrows’ in the final year book awards.

Where did it all go wrong? I scan photos of my late teens, when clubbing was a new adventure, and I glaze over the bright orange and turquoise shiny satin shirts that were oh so of the moment and I desperately pine over those dark, well shaped brows. And look, below, the ‘styles’ actually have names! Sadly I’m a ‘dramatic thin’ with some individual lower sprouters). I’d rather be an ‘attractive thick’ hhhhm.

I think I’ve been waxed to oblivion. I recall an encounter in a back street salon, not my usual pan piped, trickly waterfall kind of a place, where I was left with a mere 7 individual eyebrow hairs on either side. We’ve never recovered, my eyebrows and I. So now, I’m craving bushiness, and alas I have none.

This folks, is the reason for my fringe. I thought I was so clever, disguising my failings in the eyebrow department with a heavy just above the eyelids fringe. And with my hair darker than its been before, there’s no way of revealing quite how bad these babies are. And of course there’s the plus point of it hiding the spectacularly long white hair that likes to appear just slightly to the left of the middle of my forehead on the odd occasion too.

So I’m off in search of this wonder product that will give me the bushiness in the brow that I desire so much. I will however have to be extremely careful that I don’t mistakenly land some on my chin as I apply it. At the rate I’m already going, I’ll be growing a beard to, erm, cover up the hairs sprouting from my chin.

Somebody somewhere is really having a laugh.

What are you in eyebrow terms? And have you a beard to match like me?!

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Girl Power

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Us women folks get a hard time don’t we? We give ourselves a hard time. ‘I’m not good enough’, buy viagra ‘I’ll never achieve that’, ‘I’m not as beautiful / funny / clever / wealthy / skinny / curvy / creative / artistic / educated / powerful / wise / selfless / witty……’
We try our damnedest to teach our children about the important things in life. We love our friends more than we love ourselves. We put others before ourselves as we try to carve out a path in life that’s meaningful to us, our own journey. We rise up together when tragedy strikes, we come together in unison to fight for causes and make the world a better place. We believe in girl power. We try to show our daughters (and sons) that they can be anything, do anything that they dare to dream. Why wouldn’t we?

Yet sometimes, amongst all this, lurks something borne not of goodwill, something radiating negative feeling not positive vibes, something unpleasant and unnecessary. Something downright mean. The woman vs woman challenge is nothing new, and it’s not just restricted to the workplace where women grapple to gain and retain positions generally the reserve of their male counterparts. It’s much more widespread. It’s the snidey comments about what another woman is wearing, it’s the gentle digs at another womans’ choices, it’s the compliments to their faces and the jibes behind their backs. It’s the passing of a comment about someone or something they really know nothing about.

Women get it in the neck in the media daily – ‘too skinny, must be anorexic’, ‘needs to watch her weight, have you seen that cellulite’, ‘breast feeding in public, how dare she’, ‘bottle feeding her baby, not doing the right thing by her child’, ‘staying at home to look after the kids, giving up on herself’, ‘going back to work full time, thinking only of herself’, ‘seeing another new man, shameless’, ‘never goes out and meets anyone, will end up on the shelf’. I could go on, but I don’t need to.

Women like to play down the choices other women make. But I’m curious as to why? (And hey, I know I’ve been guilty of this*) Is it a touch of the green eyed monster? Do we minimise other women’s choices to make us feel less guilty about ours? Is it an attempt to cover up the fact that we didn’t pursue our dream, that we ‘sold-out’?

Having been on the receiving end of this lately, having heard some ‘Supermummy?! Pah! Who does she think she is?’ type chat behind my back, I was surprised, REALLY surprised, with myself and my reaction. Where once upon a time I would have stewed, and fizzed and felt stupid, and stewed again, and worried, and then worried some more about what people thought of me, I only did that for about 5 minutes. I grumped to some of my girls, they shared their experiences of similar sh*t from fellow women, and then, I moved on.
Because, my choices, are my choices. I write for me, I work for me, I pursue other opportunities for me, and if I can’t be true to myself, then something is far wrong.

*So, I’ll fess up.
I skim over Facebook posts on my timeline from a friend of a friend, because I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t pursue a similar business idea to that which she had, and seeing her success makes me crosser with myself for not being brave when I needed to be. I wish her all good things.

I see women around me in the workplace, on social media, doing their own thing, for their reasons, for themselves. And I’m going to buck the women bashing women trend, and support, and champion what they do.

Who’s with me?

Days 18 – 24 #100happydays

Yes, pharmacy it’s another mammoth post which captures the last weeks worth of happy days all at once! It’s been a fairly hectic week all round here, sovaldi sale with few opportunities for mindful moments, but I’ve found this far in to the #100happydays challenge that each day throws up a whole range of happy moments, that it’s becoming tricky to settle on the top moment of the day.

I guess this was the purpose of the challenge. It’s no secret that you attract what you wish for or spending time thinking of and planning for; so it follows that when looking out for happy moments in the little things, more and more of them crop up. I guess it’s a little like when you buy a new car, in a colour and style you’ve never seen widely before, only to drive past three just like it on the way home from the garage! When you’re trying to get pregnant, or in those early stages and all you see everywhere you go is pregnant lady bumps.

So my #100happydays this week are just like this.

Day 19: Spending a Saturday with my bestest friend. She loves in London, I don’t. Time spent together is few and far between. A day of lunching, ceramic painting, bath bomb making and soft playing with the little princess and this lovely lady’s’ little niece was a pretty happy way to spend a Saturday.

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Day 20: Who doesn’t love white chocolate cookies? Believe me they taste even better when brought by a friend and still within your daily weight watchers pro points allowance.

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Day 21: The little monster decided to eat his entire dinner using chopsticks in light of learning about Chinese New Year at preschool. His determination made me smile, and he managed better than he sometimes does with a fork!

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Day 22: Standing under a hot shower completely undisturbed by little ones needing to use the loo. For a whole 17 minutes. Mums will know.

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Day 23: New bedtime stories that we’ve never read before. The little princess got a few of these books a couple of years ago, Santa not quite realising she was still a little young for them, but now we’ve reached the perfect age. Lauren Child is quite fabulous in my view.

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Day 24: A final addition to our new family room, this wall sticker foxed me earlier in the week, but I eventually sussed it out. The happy factor actually comes from this being the song I sing to both the monster and the princess when tucking them up at night. One of the best parts of the day 😉

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Days 9 – now! #100happydays

When I set out to complete the 100 happy days challenge, cialis I won’t lie, cialis generic I saw it as a good opporchancity to get better at updating my blog on a regular basis since it’s become a little unloved in recent times. But in amongst looking for and enjoying all the happy stuff, I’ve continued to forget to post it all here. I’ll give short sharp summaries of days nine to now (I can’t quite count up what day we’re on!) in order that I catch up, and here forth I’ll adopt the mantra that tomorrow is another day.

Wishing you all happy things,
Julie-Ann

Day 9 – the one with the ESPA back, neck and shoulder massage courtesy of a great local salon, The Retreat

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Day 10 – the one with splashy fun at bath time. Wow, these guys are growing too fast.

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Day 11 – Friday G&T. Enough said.

And if you look closely enough you’ll see the G&T Photo has made its way to the very bottom of this post and I don’t know how to fix it! This must mean I have to have another tonight!

Day 12 – Growing my Stella & Dot business

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Day 13 – the one where my little sister turned 30. 30 presents for each year.

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Day 14 – the one where I escaped from my desk at lunchtime and *gasp* went for a walk. This view is five minutes away from my desk. Very lucky.

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Day 15 – I love Tuesdays. Flexible working means I get to pick this bundle of gorgeousness up from school. And we drink hot chocolate.

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Day 16 – ‘just because’ flowers. The best kind.

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And then there’s today – Day 17, it would appear. It’s nearly 10pm and therefore nearly bedtime… And I actually have a list of things that would make it on to the list today, some family oriented, some relationship wise, some professionally, some really personal, some business focused and some friendship based. So today, I’m just taking it all in, and this sums up exactly where I am.

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Days 5 – 8 #100happydays

Well, sildenafil it would appear I’ve been too busy being happy to actually post here on a daily basis! So you get not a double, not a triple, but a quadruple whammy of happy photos in today’s entry!

Day 5 – the one where the girls (and their bairns) came over, we drank tea, ate cake and drooled over the boys from One Direction (much to the little princesses horror!) I decided Zain / Zayne (?) is my favourite. Much love for Harry too however.

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Day 6 – the one where I got to spend an unexpected afternoon with this handsome guy. He’s my husband, so it’s not that juicy, but given he usually spends Saturday afternoons at the matches of the Under 17s football team he coaches, it’s a rare occurrence. Thanks Jack Frost for the frozen pitch.

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Day 7 – the one where I got to choose the movie. Sunday movie night, no sci-fi, no thriller, no cop dramas or aliens. Just Bradley Cooper. Sweet.

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Day 8 – today! A whole 20 minutes listening to the radio on the car journey home from work, good tunes and bad singing in equal measure. And no refereeing of back seat squabbles or a million ‘but why?’ questions to deal with. Turn that volume UP!

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