Monthly Archives: March 2017

Be Kind

Last Wednesday we all experienced yet another attack on our fragile world. A world where we all strive for the greater good, working for ours, and our loved ones safe future. We make sacrifices; day after day. Go without, miss out on things, all got the bigger picture. How many times have you walked down the street and failed to appreciate the beauty of life? How many times have you rushed your children out of the door, snapped at their idiosyncrasies, and failed to notice their smile? I’m guilty. Guilty of missing stuff because I’m selfishly wrapped up in my own world of running a house and work. I think if Wednesday tells us anything, it’s to time time to appreciate our world which surrounds us.

Now, I’m not unique in this and suspect many of your experiences are very similar to mine. Living, as we now do, in an instant news world, I received the first alert at 2.40pm. Initially, I hoped it was just a failed attempt. Reading ‘gun shots heard near Westminster’, I felt anxious, but felt safe in the knowledge that security was high in that area. It wasn’t until I started to walk home, I started to realise what was unfolding; my phone vibrated constantly but I couldn’t look. Mind reeling off my friends in London, praying they were safe and out of harms way. Head down walk on, there was nothing I could do. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings of redundancy and fear. I just couldn’t bear to contemplate what was happening in the city.

We can’t have been the only family crowding around the iPad, awaiting updates, hoping that it would all be ok. Our children watched in disbelief as events unfolded in a place we have spent many a happy day. Then the real story was pulled from the confused state of our capital. As a parent, I lurched from placating and reassuring the children, to biting back bitter tears of anger, frustration, and ultimately sadness. Mind trying to fathom and crying with patriotic pride at our police and the courage of all those in London.

Many were quick to band about their opinions. Using it as a platform to air prejudices. Never once did I apportion blame on anyone other than the ‘extremist’ who believed he was doing it for the ‘greater good’. He is in a minority (later we learnt he acted alone). Hatred, we know, is born from ignorance. ‘Yes’, I told the children ‘we will go on our annual trip to London’. Why not? You see the defiant me will not give in to someone coined as a ‘terrorist’ as the very word suggests ‘terror’, and I for one have brought my children up to be brave. That we should never be afraid of the dark, monsters and ghosts. Therefore, why should we let ‘extremists’ meaning ‘a person with extreme political or religious views’, (as if any God would want to create hurt and destruction on such a scale) to stop us from living our lives to the fullest?

At this point I feel the need to apologise for my tone this week. You see, I didn’t want to bring the mood down, but I couldn’t really talk about anything other than the latest terror attacks. As much as we are being blessed with the first bursts of spring and we are spoiling those closest to us this Mother’s Day, it seems wrong to do any other. Or does it? I for one feel we need to stick our fingers up and embrace the brilliance that is life. So let’s turn this whole thing around and learn to consciously count our blessings…

Now, I do understand how difficult this can be; the daily grind can be just that, Monday mornings, are to me, the worst perpetrator of such crimes. Life is hard enough. So why should we allow those who commit cruel and heartless crimes on our world take sheer joy from our misery? Instead we should rise up. We should dissolve hatred and defy their ideology of causing deep divides in society and actually begin to love each other. You see, that’s what they want, division. And, after watching a documentary on white supremacy in the UK, could it be that they are getting what they want? A race war? For us to kill each other so as to save them a job? It’s like 1937, Mosley, black shirts, Hitler sympathisers. Look how that unfolded…

These small minorities (yes, a small group not an entire religion or race) threaten the very equilibrium of our beautiful world. How can anyone say, hand on heart, that they don’t want to live in harmony? How can anyone want to live in a constant fight? Conflict fuelling every action? It must be a very cold and uncertain world for those who do.

I am a fixer. I have to find a way to make things good in my immediate world. This is because, a) I’ve neither the power nor influence of Sir Bob, and, b) been offered automatic entry into Number 10 (of blinking love her job). Therefore, I’ve had to find my own solution. Two simple words.

Be Kind.

Simple, but inspired by the quotation on my classroom wall. (It’s the one I often turn to when making a point)

‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’.

This is something I often refer to on a daily basis. Children, you see, can often be cruel. It doesn’t matter how hard we work to bring them up, they are just trying to make sense of the world in the best way possible. Our job, as adults, is to guide and support them through the uncertainty of youth. Impart sensible and impartial advice. With the role of parent, providing unconditional and eternal love. You see, for this cruel world to change, we need to show and promote a mutual respect for all. The quotation is especially true when you consider what many children have to contend with. Vicious, off the cuff, taunts and comments can cut deep, when actually the culprit has no idea of the significance of the comment they made. They, very often, are copying the way their role models deal with life.

Children learn from their elders. When was the last time you said something you shouldn’t? Made a flippant comment and then realised that it was undignified and uncalled for? I’ll be honest, I have. Its something I’m not proud of, however, it’s something I am consciously trying to rectify as the years gallop away. I particularly hold the aforementioned quote close as I am a sensitive soul who battles daily. This means I live in a constant state of thinking no one likes me! (Him reckons that I will think this to my dying day). That’s my paranoid hang up…

The question is ‘How do we stop the bastards getting us down?’
There’s many ways. Being kind is a massive start. Along with appreciating the air we breathe, food we eat, hands we hold. My morning walk summed it up nicely. Little E and I walked the Rosie dog and met many a smiley person on the way. Brilliant sunshine, cloudless blue skies and the sunlight was shimmering across the shoreline this morning. Any warmer and I could have been in Greece (just don’t look at the colour of the sea). ‘Morning’, ‘what a wonderful day!’ and friendly doggies wanting some sniffy action with the local celebrity that R has become.
‘Mummy do you know these people?’
‘Ha! No, not one’. You see they were just people enjoying life. Being pleasant. Young, old, black, white, rich, poor, (and that’s just the canines…) they were just people simply being. Kind words cost nothing. Embracing life. What a brilliant way to approach those who threaten our free world – just being. I can’t think of a better way to fight back from my little corner of the world; teaching my children to Be Kind. After all, the biggest way to fight war is with intelligence, common sense and a well thought out strategy, They want to breed hatred. Let’s not let them win. Our strategy should be: Enjoy life. Be grateful and most of all ‘Be Kind’

So on that note.  Enjoy the beautiful sunshine and Happy Mother’s Day you all xxxx


Shoehorning, pigeon holing, labelling…call it what you will but everyone is guilty as charged. We can’t help ourselves; its genetic. Passed from generation to generation, from deep within our DNA, we are programmed to categorise and filter information into neat piles and boxes.

The OCD part of my brain gets this. However, the rebellious and emotionally intelligent side knows it’s wrong. The latter is especially true when teaching the phrase ‘not to judge a book by its cover’. I neither like to judge, and as someone who always makes the wrong impression, totally gets why we should look past the dust jacket and the first page. The former – my heathen side, wants to stick two fingers up to such rubbish. However, in my quest for acceptance and equality, I have had a label the judges…

Now, I could begin a massive diatribe about skin colour, disability and immigration. However, as important as that is, I’m sure we don’t want that heavy debate on such a spring-like afternoon (coughs) Therefore, I shall start by explaining about being a woman in a mans world…

I’m no bra burning feminist and would be a hypocrite if I said I was. Yes, I like a door being held open for me (but being well brought up I incline to do the same for otters), I thank the mothers of the men who have been raised well enough to offer me their chair in a busy bar (it’s just manners), and I have no qualms about being bought a drink (again I’d buy anyone a drink, so no argument there either). But, It wasn’t until recently that I realised chauvinism is living and breathing all around me.

Yes, I know men and women of my dad’s generation who allowed it to pass and I get it. Men got away with it as they didn’t know any better and women were taught by their elders that it was acceptable. Such guff as ‘a woman’s place is next to her husband’ and the ‘Truby King’ (ironically a male – who knew!!) school of parenting which suppressed any emotional input from the mother so she could concentrate on having ‘a hot dinner on the table’ and ‘a quiet and calm house’ so ‘the man of the house’ could relax after his ‘busy and taxing day’, we all know sends the modern woman into much eye rolling and hysterical laughter. Sleeping safe in the knowledge that this world of Stepford Wives was abolished to the history books.

So, how in hells name have I got to this unmentionable age, without realising that there is evidently a younger generation taking the misogynistic baton, is beyond me! I can only thank the strong females, who I have been lucky enough to work and socialise with, for my ignorant bliss. Also, because he will evidently read this (and he likes a mention), being married to Him – a man who treats me as an equal (he does the ironing in our house), has had me fooled that I was living in a equal world. Oh what a clueless ‘blonde’ i was. So, when I recently discovered such archaic attitudes in my micro -world, I couldn’t help but label them as ‘chauvinists’.

Male Chauvinists: (noun)

Men who feel threatened by the intellect and power of woman.

Often applied to the male species in various scenarios, such as: social encounters where a woman puts forward her opinion and the man raises his voice above hers, talks over her, then explains to her why she’s wrong.

Other examples include: when a woman makes a pertinent point in a meeting, the male tells her she’s wrong. Responding by dressing up the woman’s point as his own and basks in his reflective arrogant glory.

Origin: Late 19th century: named after Nicolas Chauvin, a Napoleonic veteran noted for his extreme patriotism. (There you have it – extremists!)

When I told my friend of this revelation she simply laughed and said ‘they make me make all the drinks in meetings because I’m the only woman’…?? Bright anc intelligent women being pushed into pigeon holes through antiquated ideas !!

So what is the solution? Like I said, my rebellious side likes to mix it up. It’s like the (some say non existent) class system. I passionately hate this system, to the point of encouraging inappropriate behaviour of my family, when finding myself in a place that is ‘too middle class’. I’d rather show myself up than be part of some snobby clique. The same could be said when people ask me what I do, I tell them I work in a school and let them think I’m a dinner lady. The thing is, I let people think what they like. I let the labellers have their day and retreat to the ones who love me and just accept me for being me. I’ve made the best friends this way and advise my children to do the same. Therefore, to I’m using the same tactic with the ‘male chauvinists’. I’m not really bothered what they think because as a mum of three, slightly crazy, strong independent young ladies, I will just continue to show them they can be anything they want to be in this mad, mixed up, most brilliant world. I tell them: Be kind as not everyone has been taught to look beyond the packaging.


This week we celebrated International Woman’s Day. A nod to all the strong female role models out there. The powers that be gave us an entire day to rejoice the great and good. How wonderful!

However, the pie got an entire week. Now I’m not being pedantic or self centred but a) a week? b) I never heard a GF option, and more importantly, c) as a nation are we really celebrating pies to that extent? Now I’m all for a pie. My all time favourite was Nana’s ‘meat and tatety pie’. Closely followed by the chippy Pukka pie. Although, developments over the past three years have scuppered my pastry passion, I do not necessarily begrudge the UK a week of worship (even if I am yet again prejudiced against due to my affliction to gluten). I do however have an issue with the females only getting a day.

This ‘week’ long jamboree, compared to a mere 24 hours of female solidarity, made me reflect on where we are as a society. Every day, week, month, we seem to be stringing up the bunting for something. Whether it’s one of the pagan style festivals or the latest fad to have s party. This week I learnt people have ‘baby reveal’ and ‘gender reveal’ parties. Both go alongside the now socially acceptable ‘baby shower’. As a mummy of three, I can honestly tell you I have had none of the aforementioned EVER!! It appears 9 years ago (last child born), none of the above actually existed. Or probably more to the point, they hadn’t been thrust into normal life and were something reserved for: Americans, celebrities and MTV reality shows. Do I feel cheated? No! I’m not bitter and don’t necessarily feel like I’ve missed out as missing out is my default setting.

I do though feel these ‘days’, ‘weeks’ and auspicious occasions pass me by. I feel I never make the most out of these events and that I’m always the one who missed the party. I inappropriately miss sending cards, presents and I always say the wrong thing. I’m sorry, but I’m just not made to socialise. I’m rubbish at it. Do not think I’m rude and ungrateful because I am positively thrilled for people when they have something to celebrate. I just feel awkward and as a result I retreat and pretend stuff isn’t happening! However, sometimes I need to stand up buck the trend.

So when I heard women got a day, I did feel cheated. I’d have like a bigger fanfare about this event, I’d have liked it highlighted a month before by Clinton Cards in a way all card companies like to guilt you into buying a card for new made up events (Grandparents Day? I thought everyone mucked in on Mothers/Fathers Day). I would have loved to send cards to beautiful women in my life; reminding them and informing them (as women we don’t get it) how amazing they are. I can easily count on both hands (and sets of toes) a list of stratospherically super women who put me to shame each and every day. Instead, I had no idea and by the time I did the whole thing was over and people were still eating pies. Therefore ladies, apologies. I will however find a way to make it up to you all.

Moving forward, the next special day is in two weeks: Mothers Day. Now that I do get on board with. It’s my favourite day of the year (bar Easter Sunday where you get all the fun of Christmas Day without the stress). I can’t wait to use the excuse ‘it’s my day so you have to run around after me’, every five minutes.

Finally, if you’re twiddling your thumbs (doubt it but you might be waiting around outside a club, for your children that you never had three parties before they were born), it’s worth Googling National Day of…
Tomorrow is: National Earmuffs Day and National Napping Day (I think that could be a top tenner). Tuesday heralds National PJ Day (I wonder if it’s too late to get a discretionary in at work?) and Saturday 18th is something I’m good at ‘National Awkward Moment Day’. I could have a party and retreat to the corner and everything. I’m also quite miffed because Him missed his festival of ‘National Procrastination Week’. He could have spent the entire week writing lists and thinking about stuff. Oh he did…
You can lay claim to some of these events. Put them in your diary and let’s start celebrating and rejoicing the little things in life, the small shite that gets us through the quagmire that life can sometimes be. March 19th is a total winner, National Lets Laugh Day, pencil it in today!

Growing Up Fast

Growing up is something we all rush to do, but when we get there we are desperate to turn back the clock! It’s also the case when we have children; we spend nine months wishing they’d hurry up and be born, excitedly await and count every little milestone and before we know it they flounce out of the door without a bye or leave. Like me, do you ever wish you could capture a moment in time and stay there?

I’d choose the summer of 2008; the year little E was born. Now to some of you, looking after three children under the age of ten, would not be your choice for ‘year of my life’. However, for me, it was. They were all so cute, well mannered, funny and we had so much fun. It didn’t matter to me that I was struggling to lose the baby weight, or that I was constantly covered in baby sick/poo/wee (delete as appropriate). I just loved having them around me. Extended maternity leave enabled us a guilt free summer where we hired a beach chalet for the entirety and spent hours swimming and in the sun. Idyllic days?

It could be argued that my rose tinted spectacles from 2008 need a polish. It was hard work. Bloody hard work. Maybe I could have chosen a different time? A time when all I needed was a glo-stick and a tenner to get in the rave? But I prefer to think about a magical time. A time where my children were children.

We live in a constantly fast paced world where it appears children aren’t allowed to be children for long. Also, when they are allowed to be children they are so restricted by ‘health and safety’ that I wonder how they can breathe?

Worryingly, in the last ten years, statistics show over 8.000 children under the age of ten suffer from depression and 68% of adults with depression were first diagnosed as children (see link below). This figure astounds me, as well I predict, will you too. My theory for this is that we are not letting our children be. We need to allow them to grow naturally

We can blame the media, Facebook, and Youtubers for presenting unhealthy role models for our children. We can blame the fashion industry for the sale of crop tops, leather trousers and strapless tops being pedalled to the pre-teens. We can blame the likes of Little Mix for singing about sex to a demographic ranging from four upwards. But really we have to think about how we filter these choices.

Same goes for the Super Nanny Police who judge our every move. What do you mean you don’t always sterilise the soother? What, you let your children stay up past 7? Look at the state of my granddaughter, her jumper is filthy!! 1. So what they need to build a resilience to germs. 2. Yes, they only see me and their dad for an hour a day otherwise. 3. She’s had a fantastic time and it’s nothing a bit of Fairy won’t get out!

You see I want my children to feel happy and content. They are never starved of cuddles. I tell them I love them probably more than once a day (I know I do). They explore who they are. Encouraged to grow into free spirits. They dance, sing, act. They live healthy and active lives. We encourage them to grow independently in this scary exciting world. So, as scared and fearful as I am at allowing them to grow, I am grateful, happy and proud to hold their hands as the become beautiful young adults.

You see, watching them grow is a privilege not a chore.