Seeking solace in a day job

Phew! I feel like a demented hamster just jumped off the spinning wheel. My head is also about to explode – if I was a computer my CPU usage would be maxed out. Feel in need of some primal scream therapy, but, I saved my neighbours’ ears by glancing out the window and noticing the crescent moon looking perfect. It’s either a crescent shape or the bottom of a ball that’s lit up – depending on which way you look at it. I prefer the ball as it makes you think that there is light somewhere that it is making it shine a bit like when the bedroom door is ajar and the light shines through from the landing. 

Anyway I am getting a bit carried away with that analogy. On another topic…… I was struck dumb when the manager of my baby son’s nursery said that she took no salary from the nursery’s income to keep the fees affordable for parents and to keep investing in the nursery. She works full-time so this is taking self-sacrifice to the limit. I asked “But how do you survive?” and she was embarrassed to ask the question so changed the subject to my son. She is not the only kind-hearted person who works in childcare for next to nothing. The manager of my daughter’s pre-school also worked all the hours possible to keep the nursery running and never took sick days. Her pay was negligible and she hadn’t had a pay rise in years. She put the children and the nursery before herself. I mentioned to my son’s nursery that I thought she was similar to the manager of my daughter’s pre-school. I mentioned that she used to do fostering as well as pre-school and the nursery manager said she would like to do that too. These people are few and far between and they are amazing. However, society abuses this generosity and makes it harder for people who do nothing but give.

I could have suggested she put the fees up so that she gets a fairer deal – I think I will tomorrow. The Government is making it harder for women to work with cuts to child benefit and the childcare element of working tax credit and I rely on that to make money after I have paid the nursery fees. But why should the Government and people like the nursery manager bust their guts to subsidise low wages? It’s a vicious cycle that is difficult to find a solution – maybe start looking at the salaries of fat cats and a fairer distribution of wealth and then you might be getting somewhere.

The nursery though gets no support from the company that it provides a childcare service too and that is shocking. So we have to do all we can to fund-raise for new facilities. For example we need equipment for a new outdoor area that we have finally been granted only through much protest from fellow teachers (the culprits are the senior management of a private school).

The nursery and pre-school managers are the ones who ultimately come out on top though. They have sought solace in their work through the positive effect they have on the young lives of those they care for.  That’s better than any pay cheque. But it’s wrong that those working in childcare work for low wages – they are looking after the most precious people in our world and deserve respect and reward even though they will never ask for it.

I am blogging every day for Unicef and aim to riase a £1 a day through this blog. If you can support this campaign please visit my page on the Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

A crumble a day won’t make my bum go away

OK so the recent cold snap is NOT good for the ‘watch what I eat’ campaign. My body is at odds with my will-power and is willing it in the wrong direction towards pile on the pounds to stay warm as opposed to shed the pounds and look great on a beach one day in the summer when it doesn’t rain in the UK. If I was pregnant I would say I was having cravings for fruit crumble but I’m not, so am just enjoying a crumble fetish. At work the other day the crumble looked so yum (and so naughty) that I just ate crumble – it was the sweetest bowl of ‘yum’ you could ever wish for. It also acted like porridge in that it kept me going for the rest of the day (well until supper time at least) so it staved off the ‘just got in from work and need to raid the cupboard now!’ urges.

That is what British food is intended for – to fill you up. The trouble is it is also high in calories and makes your bottom more comfortable to sit on. I have enough seating upholstery thanks very much, so, if anyone knows of a lighter option of a fruit crumble I would be very glad to hear it. I am also a sucker for bread, our village shop bread in particular, which is over-sized, fresh and has that yummy flour sprinkled on top that you lick off your lips as you bite into it – yum! It is even better with some butter and marmite/ honey (or even both) depending on your sweet/ savoury mood.

On a COMPLETELY separate note, I came across a current theme to day that parents are drawn into categorising their child. He/she isn’t good at sport/ is very good at sport or he/she is very good at maths/ is not that good at maths. I think it is important not to ‘write-off’ children on a couple of poor performances that can then develop into some self-esteem knocking emotional trend – in other words they then start to believe it themselves and lose the incentive to give it another go. I am trying the challenge mindset technique with my daughter so that when she finds something easy or does something very well I try not to go overboard on the praise but focus more on her effort levels and praising that instead. The mantra being you get out what you put in – a good lesson in life.

Maybe that’s what I am missing in my bum reduction campaign – either to stop thinking of it as big in the first place or make it wobble more to tone for the long-term.

I really hope its not crumble on the menu tomorrow…….

I am blogging every day for Unicef – if you can support the campaign by donating a £1 for this blog, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

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Disappearing daughters

I don’t have the precise number of calories I have consumed today (unlike the diary entry of Bridget Jones) but I do tend to have an approximate running total accumulated in my head. I was like this the last time I did weight watchers but now its every day (a bit like this blog). I just about gave myself a break from it over christmas but also felt really guilty. I also felt fat. I’m sure this pressure I’m putting myself under didn’t exist a decade ago. The scary thing is, it is filtering down to our daughters.

I was shocked yesterday to hear that a private school for girls has banned the salad bar at lunch-time because too many pupils were eating salad, in small quantities, in an effort to starve themselves rather than feed themselves until they felt full. My nanny friend who looks after two girls from the school has to work hard to get them to eat. These girls are only nine years old, they are not anorexic, they are very, very slim and they are very normal girls with no other issues. They are just submitting to the current social pressure to be as thin as possible.

I am conforming too and I can’t stop myself. However, I feel I am still a healthy weight – aint nothing gonna shift that ass. But, what does calorie counting do to a body of nine years old?

Thankfully my daughter loves food and eats well. However I am convinced that she picks up feelings about eating, body image and weight loss. So far so good but as she grows and becomes more aware of her ‘image’ I will have to be careful that she continues to eat a balanced diet.

Going back to discussions with my friend, we have known each other since school and I do not recall a single day when I thought “I’m not going to eat all of my packed  lunch or visit the tuck shop because it will make me fat”. I was at school in the early nineties. So what has changed?

I think part of the solution is to lessen the importance of body image in women and girls and to focus on other aims and achievements in life. Healthy eating is all our daughters need to know so we need to start flicking the ‘v’ sign to Heat magazine, Vogue and all those other rags for perpetuating the importance of how you look in a bikini over and above anything else. We need to start saying – ‘who gives a fuck about Kardashian’s arse pre and post baby’ We also need to start saying – I care less about what Kate Middleton and Mrs Cameron look like and more about what they have to say on topics other than high street brands and designer gowns.

Girls we are going backwards in time in our thinking and this is impacting on the next generation.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. Please donate a £1 if you enjoyed this blog by visiting my page on the Unicef site.

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The importance of male masturbation

If you have read on you either a) do not shy away from such ‘hot’ topics, b) curious and would like to know where this post is going or c) repulsed but intrigued.

I was feeling particularly horny last night (in women it is all down to hormones) but, once satisfied then expected hubby to quickly follow suit. This took a while, so went on with it for a bit…..took even longer and started to have to resist the temptation to roll my eyes and say the ultimate ‘kill the moment’ statement “are you not done yet?”. 

When I was a girl, my Mum and I drove through a safari park and got stuck in a traffic jam in the lion’s area. I had a look around and caught sight of a Lion mounted on the back of a Lioness having  what my mother used to call ‘his wicked way’. “What’s that Lion doing Mum?” (slight pause) “He’s, um..exercising”. “The Lioness isn’t joining in though” (another slight pause) then Mum says “I think she might have a headache”.

I felt like that Lioness. I was finished, done, and was starting to get a tad bored but was being the dutiful wife. Then when we eventually got there….it wasn’t much if you catch my drift. It then dawned on me why he had been so late to bed the previous night ‘working’ in the shed at the bottom of our garden. 

I had a chat with my friends about it today. My friend’s boyfriend masturbates every day. They can grow as large as ‘melons’, hence the need to relieve oneself regularly and of course not all of us girls are like the Playboy bunnys. We feel the need too but only when hormones are flowing in the right way, we haven’t got the hump, the sun has risen next to the star sign Capricorn and there is a full moon etc etc – in other words nowhere near as frequently.

That is one of the big differences between men and women – we (girls) have raging hormones that we have to control but can’t without artificial help. Men can sort themselves out. Too much ‘build-up’ in men can make them (apparently) quite aggressive as they OD on testosterone.

Going back to my war post yesterday – maybe that’s what was needed to stop the onset of conflict……a good wank.

Sorry if I offended readers today. If you are not offended and enjoyed the post please donate £1 to Unicef – the reason for this blog. I will then endeavour to touch on more ‘below the belt’ subjects in future. However, if you were offended, please donate £1 to Unicef I will then ensure I never go below the belt again.

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Women at War

I recently had the pleasure of watching The Iron Lady featuring Meryl Streep on TV the other night. I had settled down for a quick tour through the channels on a Sunday night expecting for there to be nothing but tripe. I wasn’t able to see it at the cinema as hubby would have enjoyed it as much as watching wallpaper hanging.

Two things struck me most about the portrayal of Maggie Thatcher: 1) the influence of Dennis Thatcher and 2) her lust for confrontation and war. There is a scene when she is writing to all the families of men killed during the Falklands war, sympathising with their loss by sharing the fact that she too is a mother. I’m sure that will have gone down like a lead balloon with many grieving parents. At the end of the film you are left with the question “Was it all worth it?” as she had to battle for absolutely everything to achieve in her position in that era hence the nickname ‘the iron lady’.

On my kindle I am reading the diary of a woman in her fifties surviving the WW 2 blitz in London. She is in a very unhappy marriage and blames all the ills of the world, including the war, on men. In her diary entries she states that ‘this is a fools war for men are fools’. I think she would have found it hard to believe that decades later the first female prime minister would start a war.

My daughter’s audio-book is written by Michael Morpurgo about a girl in WW 2, who loses her cat when her family re-locates so that British and American forces can practice the D-Day landing in her village. My daughter listens enthralled as we wait in the car for the school bus each morning to find out how the hunt for the cat is going and the girl’s terrifying journey into an area where soldiers practised with live rounds of ammunition. In the story, the girl meets an African American who helps her find her cat and her and her family become friends with this soldier and his accomplice and no longer feel hatred towards the ‘yanks’. The story covers loss as the girl waves goodbye to her father when he goes off to fight and hears of the deaths of her teacher’s husband, her friend’s father and the friend of the African American who was killed in D-Day practice. The girl wouldn’t have been much older than my daughter and the bravery that was forced upon everyone, no matter how young or old, was incredible. It is great that children’s authors like Michael Morpurgo can bring history to life so that children have a sense of what it was like in war-time through the eyes of another child their age.

On the whole it is women and children that have to tolerate life in a conflict that is beyond their power to stop. But women can instigate it too, as in the case of Maggie Thatcher….but all her advisers were male……was she just a puppet??

I am blogging every day for Unicef and am aiming to generate £1 a day for the campaign. If you would like to donate and help Unicef’s work for vulnerable children world-wide, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

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Consultants are ?????

I was about to put that consultants are c*****.after comparing notes with a friend on consultants who had a) cheated on their wives (and might as well have laughed while doing it for the little respect they had for their partner – or should I say partners) b) treated their patients with the most condescending patronising manner imaginable to women double their age. Just recounting their despicable behaviour made me want to grab them by the short and curlies and squeeze very slowly and excruciatingly until they re-discovered their little choir boy voice they last heard when at ££££ per term boarding school exam factory that spawns these idiots with grades but little else.

However I did encounter a consultant who went against the grain of these obnoxious specimens. I think this might be partly because he was in paediatrics – you can’t fool kids as they can see straight through the crap and haven’t been round in British society long enough to recognise the superiority complex. He was also a cardiologist – enough said. He had the most gentle manner, treated me like an educated adult and helped to calm my baby boy during his scan by singing ‘the wheels on the bus’ without a care in the world for how he may be perceived. It was very refreshing to encounter such a nice consultant.

Yet my friend had the misfortune to bag a baddun’ and after all the lies, deceit, affairs and shitty behaviour, it appears she has forgiven him. I won’t judge her because I am not in her predicament so cannot say how I would react (I would take a wild guess that he would at least be minus one ball). My friend chose to target the other woman (you know scrub the inside of the loo with her toothbrush, that kind of thing). This, I think, is the story of this particular consultant’s life – women have forgiven his misdemeanours throughout life so he believes he is invincible. My friend’s forgiveness will I’m sure just make his behaviour and infidelity worse in the long run. But, they fix people so they are God’s gift aren’t they………………..?

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to help the campaign and donate £1 for today’s blog, please visit my page on the Unicef site.

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Babies on benefits

I consider myself to be the left side of liberal. I was brought up on the mantra that the Tories help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am from a working class background and the chip on the family shoulder is bigger among some of my family members – its more of a ding with me.

So I am caught in the middle on the whole benefits argument that is raging at the moment. I do feel that there are some changes that need to be made to the welfare system. For example, a couple of years ago, my friend’s sister, a single parent, managed to find a nanny job that meant she could earn and look after her child at the same time – ideal situation. However she was advised by the benefits office that she was better off remaining on benefits rather than taking the job because she would be financially better off. That is just wrong. Another friend, and single parent, was recently told that she had to drop her course to be a teaching assistant, which combined well with her part-time role in a school. The reason? because she could get a full-time cleaning job thus putting a tick in the JSA box of ‘back in work’. This would be no good because she would have to fork out on childcare meaning her earnings would be negligible. That was why she was pursuing a career in childcare to earn around her daughter’s education. Not the case with today’s JSA – they just want you to up the full-time employed figures regardless of your situation and  how much you will realistically earn at the end of it.

In contrast to Daily Mail rhetoric, it is not easy to claim benefits. I used to claim JSA when my daughter was of pre-school age and I had to drive 30 mins twice a week to wait for what seemed like ages in a soul destroying environment to tell someone who was not particularly interested what I had done to search for a job. In my case, because of the industry I work in, they didn’t know anything about it so they were even less interested in my job search. They just ticked the relevant box so that I received my cheque. So many people, particularly young people, many of whom have low self esteem, look so helpless in the queue – with the expression and stature that shows very clearly they have already given up hope before they have even started. My youngest cousin has never held down a full-time job and he is in his twenties now. His schooling was shocking, he had so many learning difficulties the teachers just left him in the corner of a classroom to fend for himself in a packed classroom.

My other cousin, in his thirties, has five children and his girlfriend has just announced she is pregnant with number 6. They have a 3 bedroom house and they sleep in the smallest bedroom and the other kids share the other 2 rooms. He has a job but they obviously have state help. I also listened to an interview with a 21 year old on the radio who was a single parent and is expecting number two – she argues that it is hard for her and that she doesn’t want things to be any harder following more benefit cuts.

My granny had four children without state help, apart from a council house and was a single parent. She managed to sustain her family just about. My mum had an orange crate as a bedside cabinet so they did without life’s luxuries but she managed. If she had the option of contraception, would she still have had four children when there was no state help?

My argument is that we are in the luxurious position of being able to control conception. It makes sense to have a baby when you can afford it. Of course life has a way of screwing up plans and hard times can seek you out, but if you are a single parent struggling on benefits does it make sense to conceive another child? I watched a programme of a couple who were clearly in love but had a shit education and came out with no decent grades, no further career options to pursue, so were living on benefits. They were debating whether to interrupt the tedium of their day by having a child so that they would have to ‘change nappies every now and then’. What chances does that child have if the parents haven’t got jobs?

With many people on benefits for longer than they should be, it is a case of building self esteem. So I think anyone who has been on benefits for too long should do compulsory charitable work so they get valuable experience, gain confidence in their own abilities and help good causes in the process.

I am blogging every day for Unicef  to help children and families around the world who are not lucky enough to have a benefits system and do need help. Please visit my page on the Unicef site for more info.

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Christmas with Crisis

First day at work and delighted to see my baby boy is excited to be back at his nursery. As I approached the door he was kicking the air with excitement and a huuuge grin on his face as I carried him in on my hip. Life at work is bliss when I know he is happy. Later when I picked him up I caught up with the lady who runs the nursery. Like many people who work with children, she has a very big heart. Every Christmas Day she spends it working at Crisis – a London charity to give homeless people respite from the street at Christmas.

She was joined this year by her teenage daughter and son. The charity not only provides a Christmas dinner, but also has a hairdressers, team of counsellors and a job centre so that people are given the best opportunity to change their circumstances. They occupy a disused office block in the city so that they can help as many homeless as comfortably possible.

The nursery manager and her children helped serve the food and enjoy the day with the visitors. They also had lots of time to chat to the visitors. She mentioned that every year she is surprised how many of the homeless were no different to most homeowners – a regular job, mortgage/ landlord, family etc and then something catastrophic happens in their lives and the only option is the streets. Her children were shocked at all the different scenarios and that there was no ‘typical’ homeless person. Some have degrees, professional qualifications. One man they spoke to had split from his wife and couldn’t afford his own place so was living on the streets but keeping it a secret from his family. 

She mentioned that there were other teenage and young people helping over Christmas. One particular girl, who lived near her although she had no idea that she had also volunteered worked there for 4 days. She said that all the teens working there were from normal backgrounds not privileged, and that the girl who had stayed for 4 days she knew had been encouraged to help in the community from a young age and so recognised the importance of helping when she could.

I want to instil that in my children as my Mum did with me. I remember every Saturday helping Mum to collect for Oxfam and also doing door-to-door donation envelopes. I look back on my teenage years and wish I had done more.

Her point about the children of the privileged is a bit of a reflection on the direction today’s society is going. I don’t watch Made in Chelsea (my mother does for some strange reason) but I’m sure their viewing figures would be significantly affected if they spent a day with Crisis – but which way would they be affected – up or down? 

If you want to know more about Crisis visit their website.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign, please donate to my page on the Unicef site. I am aiming for a pound a day.

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Allo Aloe….

Woke up this morning with a pounding headache. I only had one glass of wine to drink last night but on an empty stomach it is the equivalent of a bottle (hence why I didn’t blog last night so am blogging this morning instead).

The occasion for the party was a company my friend has bought a franchise in – Forever Aloe Products. The evening was a display of their latest products. I like my friend a lot but couldn’t stand the sales woman who seemed to give off the impression that everything she sold was a cure all for everything – including some crass links to cancer “Unfortunately I lost 2 of my close relatives to cancer and it is such a shame that I didn’t have these products then as I would have been able to help them”. To use that line in general sales patter was poor taste in my opinion.

I had a lovely day yesterday enjoying being a Mum but today is back to work today when I return to the state of a headless chicken dashing around the countryside like a mad woman.

It is nice to get out though as I live in the back and beyond and a lot of the villagers are nice but some are crap (a few up their own arses sorts – the type that are happy to tell you all about their life but never enquire about yours – particularly if you live in a local authority area). Yes the class system is still alive and kicking in good old blighty.

Not that I can talk though, when coming out of my neighbour’s house after feeing their cat I caught sight of Wayne, Waynetta and little baby Wayne walking their 2 staffies and crossed to the other side – mainly because Im not overly fond of staffies but partly because Im not mad keen on Wayne and Waynetta types either. I should have stopped and said hello and asked how the baby is getting on – but I didn’t so I feel like a total bitch now.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you can donate a £1 for the blog that would be great, if not, maybe next time. Thanks for reading.

bog sponsoring

I am always on the look-out for innovative ways to fundraise and toilet twinning is one such initiative. For those who have yet to venture into a toilet that has been ‘twinned’, it is a fundraiser to improve sanitation and hygiene levels in places in India in Africa. The fee you pay to twin your bog with a bog in a developing country helps to improve sanitation levels in that country.

My local pub got me onto the idea (I say local pub but we have choice of 2 so it is best described as the posher one – more a la carte menu than pub grub). We were there on New Years Eve to celebrate Christmas (late as we were in Wales) with my mum and stepdad and we don’t usually go to this pub as it is a tad expensive (around £20 plus a head) but as it was once a year we thought we would indulge a little. For a while we were the only ones in the pub (until the made in chelsea crew rocked up- they looked a bit like those tossers anyway) and we had the undivided attention of the young lady publican and her soon-to-be other half (bit of a shotgun wedding as she is due in April).

When I went for a loo break there I saw a certificate proudly declaring that the toilet had been twinned with a loo in Burundi, complete with a picture of the loo which is basically a corrugated iron cubicle in the bush. Thankfully the picture was of the exterior of the loo.

I checked out their website when I got home (www.toilettwinning.org) and found that the money they raise from twinning goes to help install latrines and a water supply in some of the most deprived areas in Africa and India. You don’t often think about the hazards of not having access to loos but there are many, namely: diseases and illnesses caused by poor hygiene (such as diarrhoea) which can be fatal particularly for children and infants – I remember watching a sport relief report from John Bishop when a 6 year old girl died because of diarrhoea and John watched as her body was wrapped up and taken away while her mother screamed in despair – it was this that motivated John Bishop to do his marathon journey from France to England to raise money for the Sport/ Comic Relief campaign in Africa. Other hazards include girls and women being more susceptible to sexual attacks as they have to squat in public to pee and also snake bites!

So, I looked into the cost of twinning my loo and it costs £60 which is the cost of installing one latrine. Or you can pay £250 to install a whole toilet block for a school. Sixty pounds is a lot for us but when you think about it, its the cost of filling up our car with diesel so I’m sure we can stretch to buying a loo in Burundi or the DR in Africa. My birthday is coming up so I am going to ask my husband if he can buy me the loo….

I am blogging every day for Unicef – a charity that is also working to improve sanitation and hygiene in third world communities and schools. If you are able to support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef fundraising site.

Thanks for reading.