Guess Who?

So I couldn’t get internet access last night. Also couldn’t get access to my hubby after a little argument at the weekend (groan) so, guess what we are approaching our 9th wedding anniversary tomorrow and we are not speaking to eachother – aren’t we grown up? Oh well I got him a pressie and card anyway despite the grumps. Sorry for the sweeping generalisation coming up guys but it has to be said…..(drum roll) Men are all still little boys at heart and when things don’t go their way they throw all their toys out the pram. OK us girls aren’t the most reliable on the mood stakes but I think we are a little more, dare I say it, resilient? Well we have to be don’t we?

While I am on the feministic rant (I’m not sure that is a word but it should be), I opened the local paper today and viewed a rogues gallery of all the candidates in the forthcoming local elections. As I glanced at the pictures, I detected a faint similarity between many of the candidates. It was like a very crap game of Guess Who:

Does the political candidate have boobs? …..No

Does the political candidate have wrinkles and grey hair? ……Yes

(you get my drift)

– it is going to be such a hard job to decide between:

candidate a – white male aged 50 plus

candidate b – white male aged 50 plus

candidate c – white male aged 50 plus

candidate d  – white male aged 50 plus

okay so you mustn’t judge a book by its cover but I have a sneaky suspicion that their views aren’t too dissimilar either. A few weeks back I commented on how refreshing it was to have another old male as pope. Maybe once the candidates have fulfilled their ambitions to change the political landscape of the country (more policemen on the beat, tighter planning restrictions, tougher laws on immigration etc) they may want to move to Italy and practice catholicism.

Where are the younger people, the black people, the women – in short anyone who might have a slightly different view and actually represent more than 10% of the population? Where are they?……………………Too busy working. 

I think political candidates should be done on some jury/ sabbatical service where you are given some sort of paid leave to contribute to the community and disperse some of this fuddy duddyness that is choking the contemporary progress of local Government.

Rant over.

Another £1 on the pot to Unicef as I missed a blog post yesterday. I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. To see how i am doing and to support my campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.

Swimming for the team

We did it! Today we cracked the Marie Curie Cancer Care Swimathon challenge completing 200 lengths of our local pool between five of us (3 adults and 2 children). I had hoped to achieve a personal goal of 80 lengths but that would have meant tempering the enthusiasm of my daughter and her friend who were desperate to jump in and do more. At the end of each length they were nagging me saying “when can we jump in again?” So my friend and I conceded and did 50- 60 lengths each so that the girls could finish off the job.

It started off as more of a challenge in dodging the geriatric breast-strokers at the beginning of the session as my friend found she was expending more energy over-taking five older women than eating up the lengths. My daughter accidentally mowed one of the older ladies down with her speedy back-stroke, although soon returned to their pace again when doing breast-stroke as her technique is not quite there yet. 

It was a fantastic event made all the more enjoyable because we were working as part of a team and inspiring the younger members of our team to swim more lengths. They now want to do it next year and do it in their own team independent of the adults. My friend, who was a gala swimmer in her younger days, has only just returned to swimming and is hooked. She is keen to do the 5k by herself next year as her father reminded her that she did it when she was 11. 

Well done to Marie Curie CC for organising such a brilliant event and we look forward to doing it again next year in 2014 when sport relief will also be partnering the event. I might as well give 200 lengths a go next year too (gulp!).

I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for this important global charity. If you like this blog and would like to support the campaign, please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

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Big issues

Since yesterday’s post, I am delighted to report that I have enjoyed 11 hours sleep and woke up with a rare spring in my step this morning. Baby boy miraculously slept through the night and I felt as fresh as a daisy and in a much better frame of mind. 

My Mum and I enjoyed a rare day together, just the two of us, on a spa day at our local hotel. We had the place to ourselves and it was bliss. In-between relaxing on a sun longer and having the odd dip in the pool, we enjoyed a pedicure and mini facial. While Mum was having her treatments, I enjoyed a chance to read ‘Me before you’ a book written by Jojo Moyes kindly lent to be by my friend at work. I am hooked on it and enjoyed some uninterrupted time to read it as the only chance I usually get is just before I nod off late at night in bed and often only manage 2 pages.

Most of the day we did what most mothers and daughters do – gossip. It was a good respite from the demands of being a busy Mum and, in my Mum’s case, a doting wife (my stepdad is rather challenging!). It always amazes me how we are still learning new things about each other. My Mum doesn’t repeat herself all the time – she does have recollections that I haven’t heard of before. I too fill the gaps in my life that my Mum hasn’t always been party to (but not ALL the gaps, she can’t know everything). We could have continued right through the night and through to the next day. Over the past couple of years we have experienced a rocky patch in our relationship, one that has made her feel a little alienated and I feel sorry that she has had to endure heart-ache. But thankfully we have come out the other side. No-one should fall out with their Mum unless they have a very, very good reason. Although I struggle to find anything short of a situation when the Mum is a complete monster.

When the day drew to a close and we were waiting for a taxi home, we were sheltering from the rain on the doorstep of a shop and the local Big Issue woman said Hi as she walked home. I have mixed feelings about this woman as I like to help Big Issue sellers but the other day she asked if I could give her some of my children’s old clothes for her children. I asked how old her children were and she said she had a baby. Now this woman has got to be at least 60. So I felt that she was lying to me. Now, I could give her the baby clothes and no doubt she will sell them to make money – is that bad that she lied? I don’t know, it just doesn’t sit well with me. So when she complained of not selling so many magazines today, I didn’t take up the opportunity to buy one. I have helped her in the past by giving her a cushion to sit on as she was sitting on a milk crate and my step mum had bought her gloves during the winter. My step mum said once she saw some men from the Big Issue arrive in a very smart car all suited and booted and that she believed they took the lion’s share of the profit and that I would be better off giving her money rather than buying the magazine. So ever since I have been giving her money when I can. The last time I did I asked her for a second time how old her children were and she pointed at my baby son and said “like your boy”. So then asked for clothes. I don’t know why it is important to trust the person you are giving money too but for some reason it is important to me….

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you can help, please visit my page on Unicef’s website.

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A sleep deprived spirit

Its not just my body and brain that exist in a listless sleep deprived fog, my spirit and soul are running on empty too. Sugar rushes last 15 minutes tops, but then the descent back to feeling shit again is steep. I am a crap mother in this state and I find it much harder to cope wit a grizzly teethy baby. Thankfully my Mum was booked in to look after him today for a couple of ours so I could ride (although would rather have not cause that takes energy too) but at least it gave my baby boy some respite from his haggard and grumpy mother and time devoted to him by two retired and jolly folk who are happy just to sit and play rather than rush around doing housework and other chores while baby boy trails in the wake of busyness. I am looking forward to retirement already.

So, for the benefit of my family, I am turning in early this evening and this blog post is going to be a short one. I hope to report more positively tomorrow. Jobs, tasks and past-times will always be there but those special moments with the children need to be captured as frequently as possible before they disappear into the archives of childhood and a distant memory of what life was like as a young family.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. To support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.

Hitting a wall

Daylight and the requirements of a Thursday came too quickly this morning. I am not a morning person. When I was younger, my Mum would get so annoyed with nagging me to get up, that she would bring up a cold wet flannel and start running it along my feet and up my legs until I screamed and couldn’t bear it any longer and leapt out of bed. Maybe that’s why I don’t like mornings….she has scarred me for life.

My husband gave up in the end and, after dressing baby boy, put him next to me on the bed and said “Well if I can’t wake her up maybe you can (directed at baby boy), it seemed to work in the middle of the night”. 

I swam another 30 lengths today in my lunch break and am starting to feel half fish (although at least they don’t have to cope with being dipped in chlorine). My eyes feel like piss holes in the snow with a combination of late nights and goggle wear. I’m sure goggles are speeding up the wrinkle process.

I felt guilty as I drove past the Big Issue Man today who I intended to approach with a World Book night book. I was running late for work and didn’t have time to stop – so have vowed I will stop when I pass next week regardless of time, weather and other bullshit excuses.

The factory collapse in Bangladesh is catastrophic for humanity – humans failing other humans. So many workers lost their lives because they were working in a poorly maintained building. Let’s hope there is enough public outrage to shame the retailers that use them – I am not talking just about Primark, no doubt the ‘higher end’ brands such as Boden use un-fairtrade factories too – yet they have the nerve to claim huge profit margins. 

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. If you are able to donate to this campaign, thank you – please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.

Ramping up for the swimathon

Just returned from having swam 60 lengths in prep for the swimathon on Sunday for Marie curie Cancer Care. I have been enjoying doing the Swimfit programme, which breaks up the distances into manageable chunks of 4 – 20 lengths. Drills include pool buoy and float work focusing on stamina and strength. I went this evening with a friend who used to swim in galas as a youngster however I only started swimming seriously in the past four years.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been away from swimming, if you have a good technique that never leaves you. When my friend did her front crawl sprint, I couldn’t keep up with her, despite the fact that the last time she seriously swam was in the 90’s. I am more of a plodder, endlessly ploughing up and down the lanes counting as I go. I have had lots of support from friends and family so hopefully our team will raise a significant amount for the cancer charity. For more information on Marie Curie visit their website.

On the subject of charities, I get requests for money on my doormat every week. The latest was from the BUAV, an anti-vivisection campaign, which had listed all remarks made by people in the animal testing department at Imperial College London – it makes for very unpleasant reading. lets just say animal welfare is not high on the agenda at Imperial college London – they just sound like a bunch of freaks that get off on torture – nice to know the next generation of scientists are level-headed caring human beings? The place should be closed down.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please visit my page on their site for more info.

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Feeling bookish

20 copies of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency – check

10 copies assigned to self confessed non-readers at my work – check

1 assigned to my local Big Issue seller who has English as a 2nd language – check

1 assigned to my school-friend who hated reading at school and still hates reading today – check

1 assigned to a relative who only reads Penny Vincenzi (ugh) and has a rather un PC view of people from different countries – check

A proactive approach to distribute the other books among non-reading members in my village tomorrow after work, associate colleagues of motherhood and a neighbour who works at my local pre-school but struggles to read and write – check.

So by this time tomorrow I will have hopefully distributed my all-time favourite books to people that could really benefit from reading something a bit different – from those who need to build their confidence in English to those who need to expand their literary repertoire (and their take on the world). Thank you World Book Night!

Some of my other favourite reads include:

Seabiscuit: three men and a racehorse by Laura Hillenbrand

I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill

Shadow baby by Margaret Forster

The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult

Lets hope more people will be reading tonight than any other. Personally I can’t fall asleep unless I have read a book – it helps me switch off from the day that has been and jump into another world – escapism in its purest form.

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 website.

Thanks for reading.

Passion between the pages

This week I am going to be investing in reading. Today I invested money in reading through payment of library fines. You don’t get charged for overdue children’s books but you do get charged postage for the reminder letters “It has been over 2 months since you last renewed the items on your account”. It’s a price I’m willing to pay because when I do manage to squeeze a library trip in, my daughter is so excited to discover the books I have chosen for her. My baby son also enjoys his trips to the library and usually has an array of board books selected using the highly sensitive method of tasting and chewing on them first.

Tomorrow is World Book Night and my Step mum will be collecting 20 copies of Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ for me to distribute amongst the non-reading community to inspire them to read. I should have picked them up today while I was in the library but post twenties and post childbirth, I am a few brain cells short in the memory department so thankfully my step mum is stepping in to help while I am at work. I have a number of channels to my non-reader market – a school, friends who don’t read, friends who know others that don’t read, lumberjacks who really don’t read (not sure what they will think of having the word ‘Ladies’ in the title though) and local Big Issue sellers. If I could get just one person hooked on reading as a result it would be worth it. I think it is a brilliant initiative that recognises the fact that it is never too late to get into reading and that it opens up a whole new world.

World book night is funded by charitable donations and grants. It works by giving volunteers who are passionate about reading the chance to share their passion and inspire others to pick up a book through a few carefully selected titles to whet their appetite. For more information check out the World Book Night site.

In honour of World Book Night tomorrow, I will list my favourite all-time books. 

I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for this vitally important cause. To support my blogging campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading.

Searching for Elvis

Back late last night after a rare night out so £1 in the pot to Unicef and my apologies for skipping a post. We saw a chameleon like film by Danny Boyle called Trance. If they weren’t worried about censorship, they would have called it mindfuck. I liked it because it was different, unlike all the mainstream pap they were showing in the trailers beforehand. The unexpected stands out and commands respect and this film was riddled with it. 

Star quality is often borne out of the unexpected and I don’t mean just celebrities. The same can be said of individuals in companies, charities and other organisations. Those who think laterally and do something remarkable. 

I’m not a fan of talent shows, but I do quite enjoy the BBC’s ‘The Voice’ because the judges are all singers rather than promoters and I like that the auditions are blind so they make judgements purely on singing quality, tone and pitch. It was interesting that nearly all of the singers they chose took a mainstream song and altered it quite dramatically in style. The judges were looking for the next big thing and that wasn’t going to be found in copycat singing. 

There is a place for everyone in society but one of the key roles is that of Elvis – someone who has the confidence and ability to try something different to potentially create ‘the next big thing’. That talent is found more frequently in certain professions and not enough in others – such as politics, which is a shame.

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 website.

Thanks for reading,


The best feeling in the world (well after having a baby that is…and maybe after getting married)

Ok so babies and marriage aside, the best feeling in the world is riding a horse that transforms from tense and resistant to relaxed and supple – that feeling is a compliment to your riding style. The horse is basically saying “It’s not natural to have you on my back but, since I have to carry you, the way you ride makes it easier and I am willing to work a little harder so we both enjoy the experience”. The master of horsemanship comes in the shape of an understated cowboy – Buck. I don’t care if you are horsey or not – this film is a must see.

I had the pleasure of riding an ex-racehorse today an English thoroughbred – quite a complex character and not a push button ride. It helped in training to think ‘what would Buck do?’.

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

Thanks for reading.