Fighting against complacency

Sorry about the lack of post yesterday. I got carried away with the Zumba and Powerhoop girls and what started out as one drink post class ended up as more. Got a little bit tipsy and had to go straight to bed. The last time I went to the pub for a drink was about 6 months ago so its not like I can’t stay away from the place.

So another £1 in the pot for Unicef……

Charities are vitally important and it was great to hear today that David Beckham is donating his salary to a children’s charity. Yes he is loaded but there are plenty of other people with as much if not more money than him who wouldn’t dream of such a donation.

If everyone helped a cause by giving a certain percentage of their income, would there be  less problems to solve of famine, disease, abuse, deprivation? 

Comic relief publicity is picking up pace and so starts the celebrity pilgrimages to Africa. As much as it is sometimes hard to stomach appeals from celebs who have ££££ in the bank balance and are enjoying the PR off the back of the campaign, it is necessary to maintain public interest in problems in this country and abroad.

Every day we have to battle against a natural inclination to be complacent when faced with the daily grind over taking action against injustice or wrong-doing. Whoever you are it takes courage to go against the grain and take action to help someone, a cause, a community or a campaign. Well done David Beckham!

I am blogging every day to help Unicef’s campaign and aim to raise £1 per blog post from fellow bloggers and readers. If you like the idea and want to join in, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

Going to great lengths

I have just signed up for the Swimathon Challenge this Spring to help raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. I did it last year and swam a mile (65 lengths) but this time I am doing it with a team of friends and family (family being my 7 year old daughter) and attempting a team total of 195 lengths (gulp!). It isn’t until April so have gone into denial about how many lengths I will have to do.

I am going to have to up the prep as currently I swim once a week in the pool at my work and only manage 20 lengths in my lunch break – I am going to have to do a whole lot more than that so that I am not relying on my daughter and friends to make up the shortfall!

So why do it? Well I took up swimming late in life after buggering up my collarbone in a riding accident and was told that the front crawl/ freestyle swim would be good for it. So I took a few lessons (having always been a breastroke swimmer, the idea of putting my head in the water frightened the living daylights out of me) and I eventually got the hang of it. So to then take what I had learnt and apply it over a distance was a great challenge to enter into.

I would like to be able to do 100 lengths this year, meaning my friends plus children can divvy up the 95 between them.

For those of you unfamiliar with Marie Curie Cancer Care, the charity provides nurses for people who are terminally ill, providing care for them in their homes or in a hospice. They are vital to helping patients and their families experience some respite from their illness and make life as easy and as pain free/ stress free as possible for all concerned. In addition they also campaign for better care for terminally ill people. One of my friends, who is joining my team, has just recovered from cancer and her mother is undergoing treatment for cancer at the moment. For more information on the charity and the swimathon, please visit the Marie Curie site.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I aim to generate £1 a day from happy readers. If you are able to support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.


Party girl

Morning dawns heralding the sound of my over-excited daughter chattering to her Daddy at 6am about the presents she is about to unwrap now that its her 7th birthday. Inconveniently, her birthday is on a schoolday this year so have to factor in pressie opening when getting ready for school. Like most men, my hubby does not have the capacity for glossing over the fact that it is 6am, the fire has gone out and he has to try and re-light it, make his packed lunch and take the dogs out plus sign a birthday card. So, despite my reminders the previous night with a big hint in leaving the card on the kitchen table with a gap for Daddy to insert  his name…..he forgot. Thank God for the female to fill in the gaps…..or do the men fill in the gaps. Think I will leave that debate for another post.

My daughter takes her Build a Bear Workshop Bear on the school bus with a warning from me that if she takes it in the playground and loses one of the bear’s trainers (which cost £5) then they will not be replaced. I turn up later to collect her and her 2 friends from the school’s ‘film club’ with a boxed treat of Krispy Kremes which are consumed at lightning speed. Once home, the girls get busy putting embellishments on their clothing/ pencil cases; tucking into far too many E numbers; having a go at a street dance DVD and watching a Barbie film.

My little chap had a busy day too causing havoc round the house, watching Mum make a prat of herself in Zumba class and checking out the local supermarket from the comfort of the trolley like Maggie out of the Simpsons.

My Dad’s return from the States and a cruise of the Carribbean heralded much excitement unwrapping pressies bought across the pond. A Furby, Monster High Doll, pair of Levis and Airwalks = 🙂

My daughter received lots of girly, glitzy cards but perhaps the best one was a photo of her and her friend Sam taken while on a day trip to London. Friendships at 7 are just as important as later in life.

Happy birthday to all you 28th of Januaryers out there.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

January in Brighton

The sun was out and glistening on the sea of Brighton as we headed down to the coastal town for my daughter’s birthday treat. It felt so good to see the sun and the sea glistening as if it was July rather than January. It gave us all a much needed boost of Vitamin E on our pasty complexions.

We had our first experience of the Build a Bear Workshop (our main reason for venturing to Brighton) for my daughter’s birthday. There were so many bear ‘skins’ for my daughter to choose from she was temporarily indecisive but in the end settled for the white flashing bear (not indecent exposure I hasten to add but flashing multicoloured lights). Then we joined the queue for the bear to be ‘stuffed’. As it was her birthday the girl at the workshop asked her to squeeze the bear’s heart (chosen by my daughter from a selection of fabric organs) seven times for her age and then it was promptly inserted into the bear and sewn up. Then came the very serious task of dressing and accessorizing ‘Snowy’. A very cool pair of bear sized Skechers trainers dictated the rest of the rather cool outfit, complete with knickers and socks and the very apt accessory of a snowboard. Although we had received a gift voucher from a friend the final total still made my husband gulp as we came to the end of ‘build a bear’ journey. I removed myself from the raised eyebrows at the till scenario by taking pictures of my daughter with Snowy bear and her school mascot (a hippo called ‘Ron’ who we had been looking after all weekend).

We then checked out the American Diner on Brighton seafront, which was packed with retro 50’s/ 60’s and 70’s American paraphernalia from signed pics of screen idols like Al Pacino to life-sized wax models of ‘Chips’. I resisted the pancakes and knickerbocker glorys only because I physically couldn’t fit it in. (The previous day I had bought a pair of trousers reduced from £75 to £10 and thought that AW12 on the ticket meant size 12 when actually 12 was the year, AW the fashion season and they were in fact Europnean size 34 which is a UK 6). So my tip to resist over-eating in American restaurants is to wear something round your waist that is 1 or 2 sizes smaller than you would wear normally – not quite cutting off your blood supply but close!

If you are planning to visit Brighton then check out JBs American Diner and if you are a kid (or an adult) visit Build a Bear Brighton.

Hope your January is getting brighter wherever you are too.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I am aiming to raise £1 a day for each blog post. If you can support my endeavours visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.

Aid the needy not the frugal

I do support the Government’s move to means test blanket benefits. For example, when I ran a pre-school, I couldn’t understand why every family was entitled to 15 hours of free nursery sessions a week after the child turned 3 regardless of their financial situation. When I was trying to mend the school’s finances with the treasurer, the nursery wasn’t even breaking even and the school was plunging further and further into debt. We took the decision to increase the fees to cover costs. This wasn’t a difficult decision as the school hadn’t had an increase in over 6 years and other nurseries in the area were also increasing their fees in line with market conditions.

So who were the first to complain about the increase in cost? The mothers who drove the Range Rovers and wore designer outfits. If they could afford to keep a 4×4 vehicle on the road then they could afford to pay the cost of childcare. The 15 hours free entitlement should only be there for children who are in need of a pre-school environment prior to entry into mainstream education. Children whose parents would not normally send them to a nursery or childcare setting prior to starting primary school. 

I believe the same should apply the NHS – it should be means tested. If your income is above a certain level then you pay for private healthcare and alleviate the burden on the NHS. It irritates me when I hear of people, who have more than enough money to afford private healthcare, complain about the wait for an appointment on the NHS. If you don’t like the wait then pay to be seen quicker and give the slot that you would have taken to someone else who doesn’t have the private option. 

Hence the title of the blog. There is a difference between people who need  state support and those who use it because they are saving money or being frugal.

I am blogging every day for Unicef to help vulnerable children around the world. I am aiming to raise £1 per blog post so if you can support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading. 

Indulging in some daydreaming

You have got to be happy with your lot. Sometimes we all need a little bit of reminding. I love my life the only thing I don’t like is the uncertain future. My biggest fear is that something fucked up might happen to fuck it all up.

Most people in the west look at the Joneses and wish for the bigger house/ car/ private school bill or dick. Reality in places like the Philippines shows woman working 70 hour weeks in the UK to raise enough money to send to their children back in their native country with the prospect of only seeing their children twice a year. They would be happy to live on the roughest council estate in the country to be with their children all year round.

So sometimes it is nice to halt questions of ‘if only’ with indulgence in some dreams. I have discovered pinterest – a wonderful site that enables you to select images of the very best of anything you are into or would like to be into. Fancy refreshing your kitchen? Upgrading your car? Planning a wedding? Anything that makes life enjoyable or the plans for your future life can be hunted down on this site and put on your own page for an ‘at a glance’ look at all that you love in life.

I strongly recommend this site to brighten up your grey and icy January day (the weather if you are in the UK).

I am bloggig every day to help Unicef improve the lives of vulnerable children around the world. If you can spare £1 for this blog that would be fab. To make the donation, visit my site on the Unicef page.

Thanks for reading.

My fabulous loo

I am very excited to report that my loo is now sporting a brand new addition…..a framed portrait of the loo it has been twinned with in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was my birthday present from my husband (my idea) and I was chuffed to bits to receive the certificate all framed and ready to display in my loo. The donation I paid for the twinning helps fund toilets in the developing world so that people can improve their local community’s sanitation and hygiene. A loo stops the spread of dangerous diseases and screens vulnerable women who are often at risk from rape when they have to crouch (sounds awful but true). If you fancy twinning your loo visit this site.

On a completely separate note, our quest continues for an affordable annual family holiday. We want to upgrade our tent to something more comfortable and toyed with the idea of doing up a campervan but the only issue is: a) they cost a lot to buy – even older ones and b) we are both rubbish at diy of any sort. We considered trailer tents but not convinced of how much of an improvement they are over standard tents and they are also pricey.

So dare we venture into the world much hated by Jeremy Clarkson and become a caravan owner? Well we already have the Skoda estate so some would argue we are half way there…. The only thing is they are all lumps of white plastic with interior fabric that looks like it has been puked on several times? Why can’t they design funky versions? 

Anyway the jury is still out on that one. We are lucky to have the option to get away in the first place so can’t complain.

I am boooored of the snow. Heating is finally working again (well sort of) but keeps cutting out for no reason. Feel like I’m running a fever with the constant hot/cold/hot/cold. Mother sends very helpful daily reports to my work email of the temperature in Spain (grimace).  Today she described a drive she is going to do that winds through orchards with the trees in full blossom. Apparently there are ‘hectors and hectors’ all along the route. I instantly imagined a lot of overweight men called Hector standing on the side of the road every few miles….then I realised she meant Hectares….aw bless (yes I am being very condescending but tis funny……is that how you spell condescending?)

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you can support the campaign and donate £1 for this blog, please visit my page on the unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

World Book night – have just signed up!

Well I was listening to BBC Radio Two…… (rather reluctantly as I feel I am going through the grey area of listener demographic in that I am too old to be the ideal target audience for Radio One but feel too young to be joining my parents and their generation in bopping away to Bowie) ….. and I caught the tail end of an interview talking about World Book Night and that volunteers are given some free books (not to read themselves) to distribute to people who don’t read or who just need the right book to get them into reading. 

As an avid bookworm (My dad will testify to the nights he spent knocking on my bedroom door when I was a child to tell me to “turn that torch off, I know you are still reading, GO TO SLEEP!… husband will also testify to the nights he spent nudging my side to ‘turn the bloody light off woman and stop reading that book I need some sleep’)……..I love the idea of helping others enjoy reading. If I get selected to be a volunteer, I am going to the Big Issue sellers in my local towns first (there are a few local towns near me) and give them a copy – I am not entirely sure that they all have English as their first language but nethertheless it will help them to develop their language skills. They may flog it of course but at least I have given them the opportunity. 

I am also going to hand a few copies to my husband to disseminate among his lumberjack mates who are all far too hairy and red-blooded to pick up a book and read some ‘pansy story’ so my first choice is the Number One Ladies Detective Agency which they may initially sniff at but its worth a try – I couldn’t quite stomach Andy McNabb – maybe I should give it a go as it is not normally a genre I read.

If you fancy volunteering for World Book Night (the big hand out of books takes place on April 23) you need to register your interest by this Friday (25) follow this link for more info.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I am seeking £1 a day to reach my goal. To donate please go to my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

Baby autism

Well we returned safe and sound from snowy Wiltshire. I have been offline since Thursday so that’s £5 in downtime fees to Unicef. We had a fabulous time in the winter wonderland of Longleat forest. I ate far too much on my birthday and the whole weekend for that matter. I also got wet and dry and then wet and dry far too much (owing to my daughter taking me down the outdoor rapids a few too many times). It is the most bizarre sensation being outside amongst the snow completely immersed in warm (ish) water. A warm body and a freezing cold head is strange.

We returned to a very very cold house (it read 6 degrees in my son’s room) and were delighted to find that the heating wasn’t working and the woodburner made the room warmer but not warm enough. How did people cope before heating was invented? They had baths in front of the fire and wore lots of woollen clothes and ate lots of porridge. My Dad is currently on a cruise in the Caribbean (well at least I think he is, his plane was due to take off on the day it snowed and he isn’t home). I keep imagining how warm it is there…….

I  must get to the reason for today’s title. My sister-in-law suspects that her son (my four month old nephew) is autistic. Why? Because his eyes don’t appear to be tracking her finger, he sticks his tongue out a lot and doesn’t smile at her or seem to respond to her. He is three weeks premature so can be forgiven for being a bit behind developmentally, but, autistic? Given the nature of autism, I was under the impression that it can only really be diagnosed from toddler age. Does anyone else have experience of autism? I would love to hear views and experiences for the benefit of my little nephew. With any luck it is just a case that he needs glasses. And as for the tongue, well, I know lots of babies who do that so don’t find that particularly strange. Some babies also take a while to smile too……

I am blogging every day for Unicef’s campaign to help vulnerable children world-wide. If you found this blog interesting please donate £1 to the campaign by visiting my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999

de de duh de de duhhh (wow) de de duh de de duhhh

(typing duh’s for the intro to the Prince song)

This is my last blog for the week as I am off for a weekend break to celebrate my birthday and the birthday, during the following week, of my daughter. She is very jealous that my birthday comes before hers – I spose Mums have to come first some time. We are going on a center parcs break courtesy of my mum and I am looking forward to a horse-ride, western style, during our stay. Western saddles are the best they are like huge armchairs on top of the horse. 

I am delighted to report that my husband has ‘twinned’ our toilet for my birthday, Our toilet is now twinned with one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will help improve sanitation and hygiene in the area and give privacy to female members of the local population. If you fancy twinning your loo with one in India or Africa visit the toilet twin website.

For my birthday post, I have drawn inspiration from a diary entry I wrote as a teen on my birthday…..oh how young, naive etc I was…..

Wednesday 20 January 1999

19 today! Mum and Dad gave me £600!. Went to Uni found out I got 70% for an essay. Went out for a drink down the Hogshead with Katherine and co. Got really pissed and hired a spanish flamenco outfit and wore it round the city. Walked home. Boyfriend wasn’t there and I had forgotten they key so fell asleep in the doorway with a champagne bottle in my hand! Boyfriend arrived and gave me a chocolate birthday cake. He then took me out to the Artillery Tower Restaurant on The Hoe. He bought me a Mariah Carey album and Virgin vouchers.

Oh to be 19 again….

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I will pay a daily fee for my down-time over my birthday. In the meantime, if you are able to donate a £1 to Unicef for this blog that would be fab just visit my page on the Unicef website. Not to worry if not x

Thanks for reading.