Archive of ‘Life’ category

Oxfam Unwrapped

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to Christmas presents and huge lists of people who you *need* to buy for are written, on my list as ever is the huge number of teachers and teaching assistants involved in looking after my children at school, there is just loads of them! Teachers, teaching assistants, classroom helpers, students who come in every Thursday and Friday, its endless…. so who do you buy the presents for? Even if I bought a cheap present each such as boxes of chocolate, bottles of wine with the quantity of people to buy for the costs still escalate astronomically and I just cannot afford to do it, not with everything else! As for leaving people out and just buying the main person the present, that just seems mean…


So this year we’ve opted for joint presents… one for each child to take into school to give collectively to the staff involved in teaching in their class but we’re not buying chocolates… not because we don’t think they deserve them, more that by the time they’ve eaten their way through 30 boxes each…. it may just get a little blurrrrgh.

So we’ve nipped over to Oxfam Unwrapped and bought them the school supplies gift.  This gift basically provides a child with the supplies they need for school. The Oxfam Unwrapped website shows examples of the gift you’ve chosen actually in action and the huge difference such small gifts can make.

I don’t know how they’ll feel about not getting actual gifts for themselves… I guess I’ll find out if the children start to do *really really badly at school*, hopefully they’ll appreciate the gesture, I know I would, in fact I’ve asked for an Oxfam Unwrapped gift this year too.

So if you’ve not already bought a Christmas gift for your child’s teacher maybe its worth giving this option a thought, it really does make a huge difference and gifts are available from as little as £5.00.

Is childhood over entertained?

I recently read an article in the Telegraph about Getting Kids Cooking all about how if you want to get kids really interested in cooking and producing good food you need to take the fun out of it.  Well okay not all the fun, it details how Nigella Lawson was brought up ‘helping’ her mother in the kitchen to do functional food preparation tasks, not thoroughly entertained and overpraised during the construction of the fun formation of food.

And this got me thinking, so much of childhood is now overcomplicated to the extreme by this strange unnecessary notion that children should be entertained at all times  in every aspect of their lives.  It doesn’t just stop with taking on a TV presenter role in the kitchen and turning out a jacket potato fashioned into a boat with vegetable baton men at the helm this need to entertain has infiltrated every aspect of a child’s life.

A simple task such as cleaning teeth is now prolonged to unbearable length because a toothbrush just isn’t a toothbrush anymore it is shaped into an animal – it has plunger feet for inconvenient attatchment to any smooth surface in the bathroom.  Teeth cleaning now takes on epic proportions as a puppet show must be enacted prior even to the application of the toothpaste onto the brush.

A yoghurt.. comes in a highly coloured pot, wrapped in cardboard which doubles as a colouring sheet/educational ABC teaching aid. Eating a yoghurt now requires a box of crayons in addition to a spoon.

School shoes now take an age to put on because they are not just shoes, oh no, they are secret housing for dolls, stickers and cars. Just the simple act of putting on a shoe is now a 20 minute job.

That is just to name a few. It’s not that I want children to be miserable, it’s just I don’t think it did them any harm to just experience life as it was – simply without the ever growing expectation that a task is suddenly going to become entertaining. Life is going to seem like such a surprise as they enter adulthood.

Is the constant expectation of a child to be entertained and the constant demand on a parent to do so just getting a little bit too much? Wouldn’t it be so much more relaxing if firms could take on a ’simply childhood’ approach and produce a few items novelty free? Personally I’d be clamouring at the door to purchase them!

It does children no harm whatsoever to be bored, to experience life in a more simple form – shoe onto foot, toothbrush into mouth. Surely it would enhance their childhood – allow them to be more imaginative without having all the imagining done on their behalf.

And as a parent my life would be so much easier and surely cheaper as I wouldn’t constantly be paying for the unnecessary novelty addition.

Start… stop….start….stop again

Warning – this blog post probably contains too much information…. (for those of you of a sensitive nature…)

The past few days have been more than just a little hard going! I’m so close now to my due date and appear to be in a state of very slow early stop/start labour.  I’ve had contractions everyday, some days for several hours, moving closer together… then stopping again and of course the contractions are mainly at night which is meaning extremely disturbed sleep patterns and general tiresomeness.

I’ve been avidly working through the list of ‘natural labour inducers’ as recommended by errr well just about anybody who comes across me…

Pineapples, orange juice, black coffee, sex, bouncing on a gym ball, rocking on hands and knees, eating curry, drinking raspberry leaf tea, sloshing about in clary sage baths and every other obscure method anyone has mentioned.  I have drawn the line at castor oil, I just cannot bring myself to do it!  As I thought… none of which have actually worked and I remain very much still very very pregnant. All of which are confirming my absolute belief that only time or surgery truly move that baby out!

So with surgery being my last option I’m settling for waiting and waiting and waiting some more, interspersed with the odd bout of scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.

I saw my midwife today and she assures me I sound well and truly in early labour and that each contraction is doing its job, thinning the cervix… and that the presence of frequent loose bowel movements (TMI) is probably down to prostaglandin’s clearing out the necessary prior to labour… but as I said only time will tell.

And so there you have it, it’s all go, then completely stop, then go again, then stop.  I’m only grateful that I haven’t gone racing down to the delivery suite with my bags on each occasion only to come back with them still packed and the baby unborn… Although at this rate I’ll be so reluctant to go fearing more false alarms I may get my home birth after all!

Things I love

Inspired by the lovely Amy from and 1 more means 4…. and 1 more and the also very lovely Ellen from In a Bun Dance I’m doing a nice positive blog ooozing with things I just love!

So here it is… the things I just love…

  • the smell of rain on hot dusty pavements
  • getting into a bed made up with fresh sheets dried outside on a windy sunny day
  • uncontrollable belly chuckles especially the ones issued by boyo and girly
  • my lovely husband, who I probably don’t tell often enough!
  • going for walks on those freezing winter days with bright sunshine and blue skies
  • scones with jam and clotted cream
  • watching the sea come in on stormy days
  • flying kites
  • having the windows wide open and curtains billowing in the breeze
  • going on heads or tails days out where the toss of a coin decides what, when and where
  • my children when they are fast asleep tucked up in bed
  • Nigella’s tarragon chicken, with big fat chips and honey roast carrots
  • good coffee

Then if I’m feeling a tad materialistic….

  • Diptyque scented candles
  • Apple products
  • Pedlars
  • Selfridges food hall
  • Hunters wellies

So… what are your favourite things?

Pregnancy Diary!

When I was waiting to give birth to jack. I waited in lots of different ways…

Busily occupying myself with insane cleaning/nesting, yes polishing the kettle, wiping window frames and yes even washing dusters?!?!?

Impatiently occupying myself mainly by seething at inanimate objects, cursing and swearing doors which open too slowly, items of furniture suddenly entirely in my way, magazines for being too boring to fill the time it takes to drink a cup of tea…

Patiently and indeed beatifically, poised elegantly upon the sofa, stroking my enormous bump, imagining what the baby will look like, willing things to go well.  Yes okay this state quickly gives way to…

Irrational ranting “when oh when will this baby ever shift it’s bloody heavy head off my bladder and un-impale my heart from it’s feet”?  Shouting bad-temperdley at everyone who is in hearing distance and rambling obscenities like a muttering old drunk.

Sleeplessly due to utter discomfort and many, many trips to the bathroom whilst contemplating seriously that I am actually going to pee myself into a state of dehydration, I mean how, HOW can anyone need to pee upwards of 10 times a night??? HOW?

Painfully yes, today’s turn of events now see me with so much pelvic pressure it actually hurts to walk, to stand, to sit, to lie….

And so.. on the advice of the midwife I’ve taken my paracetamol and shall continue to wait for labour to start….could be a while…. it was 7 days and counting until DUE DATE

Bored? Are you?

Half term here already… The past few weeks have passed in a blur of sleeplessness, chocolate, coffee and more chocolate and a few more cups of coffee… and now all of a sudden it’s half term.

I always have such high hopes for half term, usually plan nice things (well technically I think about planning them, I may even write them down in a nice list, in a nice notebook… then get sidetracked and fail to plan anything).  This half term has come upon me so quickly I’ve not even had time to theoretically plan and so obviously have decided that I intended to have a care free (read as riotous, feral and out of control) half term for the children.

Monday the children managed all day to amuse themselves, lego, lego, more lego, baking, the obligatory game of hide and seek and yes frequent interludes of Ben and Holly. However today is Tuesday and it’s a whole different story, they are bored, bored, bored.  I have threatened that if I hear the sulky utterance of  boredom one more time then a huge cargo of their clearly very boring toys will be making their way to the charity shop. This threat along with my ominous waving of black bin liners and my endless recounting of how when I was a child I really knew the meaning of bored. I’ve lulled them into a coma with tales of how we used to play with a tin of buttons, throw plastic bracelets into a washed out paint tin etc.

So now they are not bored they are fully occupied building a magical flying machine from empty boxes (why yes I have been doing a spot of online shopping).  This flying machine also doubles as a bear cave and is currently flying en-route to the North Pole via China and the children are dressed in make-shift saris with cowboy hats on. Which can only go to show that a bit of boredom is great for the imagination.