Like mother like bitch (the doggy kind so not swearing)

The relationship I have with my 8 year old (nearly 9) daughter is very similar to relations between my 2 Jack Russells who also happen to be mother and daughter.

Sometimes they are very happy to be snuggled up in their bed, occasionally giving each other a sideways glance but overall enjoying each other’s presence. At other times they are at each other’s  throats (literally) and occasionally draw blood.  while these are severe examples in the dog world, it is only slightly diluted in the human (we havent actually drawn blood yet).

Today was an inset day, so daughter was with me while we met up with friends, went shopping, swimming etc. Twice today she was rude  to me in front of my friends. I tried to ignore it because I didn’t want to make a scene but inside I was stewing. It is hard to remain the grown-up in these situations, when all you really want to do is have a go at them in a fit of temper because you feel let down by their behaviour.

However they say children’s behaviour is just a mirror held up to your own. Which makes it all the more disappointing when they behave badly.

Of course a lot is to do with hormones and thats true whether you have 2 legs and a handbag or four legs and a tail. Combine young and old hormones together and you need o cordone off the area.

This blog is for Unicef.

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Old Stags rule

My Dad wants to go on a stag do in the run-up to his wedding on Valentine’s day next year. He has already appointed my husband as best man. While hubby is honoured to be in this respected role he is quietly pooping himself because a) he hates public speaking (I wrote his groom’s speech when we got married) and b) he doesnt particularly relish the idea of spending a day and possibly a night with a load of 60 plus men getting hammered.

But as a son-in-law he knows he needs to be supportive and do whats right for the old man.

So, what do you do on an old man’s stag do?

Karting was an option, but ruled out because of a few dodgy knees in the group. A visit to a strip club not good for weak hearts and marital relations.

For some reason, my Dad fancies going to Guernsey. But what do you do in January apart from freeze?

I definitely think there is space in the market for dedicated excursions for old stags.

I just need to find something that will remind them of what it was like to be young but within the parameters of old age…..

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Runway to school

School run fashion is a serious business.

I know Mums that make a special effort to look good at school in the morning. Its almost like a fashion parade. One Mum had a full face of make-up that wouldnt have looked amiss at a nightclub. She had clearly given a lot of thought to her clothing, layering the latest biker style jacket with coloured jeans and ankle boots…….and this was just for ‘meet the teacher’ morning.

Another Mum wears a completely different style every day. It might be the ‘Madonna does exercise’ look before bootcamp one day, featuring a black baseball cap, white long sleeved sports top and a ‘skort’. The next it will be a long black coat teamed with matching beret. Another day, the 60s ‘Mad Men’ look, with quirky glasses, brogues and turn-ups. In fact I quite like this complete change in fashion, it makes a refreshing change from jeans and a top, no make-up and hair scraped off the face, like most Mums on a weekday morning struggling to get the children out of the house.

This Mum has three children too, so how she fits in styling with breakfasts and getting ready for school, is a marvel and I say good on her, if she has the time and thats her thing then why not?

Sometimes its easy to scoff at Mums who take pride in their appearance. But for some Mums thats all they have got to retain their identity in amongst the daily routines of school runs, cooking, housework and other typical ‘housewife’ duties.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

A break from Diet Coke breaks

If there is someone ‘up there’ (as in amongst the clouds….not, the, um, other type), I am convinced they are setting up some kind of temptation challenge this week.

Thankfully the cycle course has finished so I can stop trying to resist the temptation to be an out and out flirt with the hot instructor (although I will have to see him again when he comes to observe one of my sessions……..as if I need more distraction).

My husband asks me to collect the guy working for him as he is out for the day and the guy doesnt drive. So, I show up and ask the guys from the neighbouring unit where he is. “He is log-splitting over there”. So I follow the track up to where they are pointing and as I turn to the woodshed the music starts up…..you know from the Diet Coke break. He is topless, check, toned, check, tanned, check, good-looking check and the cherry on top – swinging an axe in the Autumn sunshine.

I tried not to stare. But when he saw me I think I blushed, I also felt the desire to avert my gaze as I didnt trust myself not to stare for longer than was polite.

As he gathered his belongings and walked back to the car with the axe on his shoulder, I kept wondering whether it was me or the environment I suddenly find myself in where all these fit men have come out of the woodwork. But its not a good thing to happen because it reminds me of when I was 17 but Im not 17, Im more like Judi Dench in Ladies in Lavender.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Take or make a cake or fake?

It was hubby’s birthday today. In anticipation of the event my daughter and I took inspiration from The British Bake Off and tackled a cake.

It is always a time of tension for me when it comes to birthdays because the expectation to create a homemade cake is always present. I grew up with a single working mother. She didnt have time to bale cakes, they were bought. She didnt even have time to mash potato, no smash it was. In fact my favourite dinner (to this day) is fish-fingers, mash potato and tomato ketchup and beans – yum! It doesnt take much to keep a child happy. Meanwhile my Mum was always on a diet with her eating habits. As a result there was never any chocolate or crisps in the cupboards. To be honest there wasnt an awful lot in the cupboards except tinned food, tea bags and wine bottles.

So, growing up I didnt have much interest in baking and cooking, just eating. Therefore I am in alien territory with my daughter who loves to bake. She still loves to bake even when it goes all wrong. So, we attempted a four layer victoria sandwich. As usual, it went slightly wonky and wouldnt be found dead on the cover of a Waitrose magazine, but I figured recently that they thing about home cooking is that its made with love. Its also a brilliant tool for practicing maths (with a four tier cake we needed to do lots of buttercream, so my daughter had to work out how much of the ingredients we needed to use.

I had to temporarily pause my no sugar diet to tackle a slice of the victoria beast…..but it was worth it.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Crush course in cycling

Have you seen the movie ‘What Women Want’?

Today was like a scene from that movie if my mind’s burblings were anything to go by. I have been on a four day course learning how to teach cycling safety known as ‘Bikeability’. It is very serious learning a syllabus that has been devised based on accident statistics and what evasive action cyclists need to take to stay safe on Britain’s roads. It has been a very enjoyable course, where I have learnt a lot and made new friends. But there has been a rather significant factor that has made learning difficult….

The cycling instructor is HOT! It isnt often you encounter someone that within 10 seconds sends your jaw to the floor in awe at their gorgeousness. It did happen when I met my husband but I have been looking at him for the past 20 years so its a bit samey.

So, in our classroom discussion this afternoon, when we had been learning all day and my mind started to wander, this is what was going on in my head while he was talking……

Ok, turn to page 68 setting up meeting with school what should instructor have with them on first visit……umm……he must work-out those arms are quite toned at the top…….stop it!  ……….right think, a mobile phone…..ooh he just ssshhed me, I havent seen him do that before….was it quite a playful ssh? Ooh, he has gone round the room and got everyone’s comments now he is back to me….hes nudging the phone towards me and now wants me to say it……no I will be a tease and say ‘i dont know’ ….he just lurched forward and laughed …. is he flirting? No of course he isnt and stop trying to attract his attention, you have two children and a husband for Christ’s sake what’s a matter with you. I wonder if its the no sugar diet taking effect, maybe I should give in and have a bit of chocolate. I bet his girlfriend is stick thin……..and blonde………with a small butt. Yes he mentioned his girlfroend this morning so hes not gay….my gaydar is a bit rusty and I thought his ear piercings were a bit George Michael. Oh snap out of it women, hes taken, you are old and taken move on, right when to use cycle lanes, lorry blind-spots. Oh whats that buMp under his t-shirt? aaah its a clavicle fracture….his is wOrse than mine….I bet he dd it doing something really cool like a bmx stunt or snow-boarding or bike trialling. Should I ask him? God no he might wonder why I am looking at his t-shirt and collarbone. Hes looking at me while he is talking , right try to look serious and completely uninterested in what life is like under his t-shirt…….

It is exhausting having a schoolgirl crush. On the feedback form I feel like requesting the instructor wears a mask for better concentration levels.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

School run in reverse

I was on the school run, keen to get my daughter to school and my son at pre-school so that I wouldnt be late for the second day in a row getting to my cycle instructor training (a great part-time job to weave in school term time but still a bit of a headache getting anywhere fast at the beginning of the day).

I turned on to the road and was only a few hundred yards from the school and almost past the parked cars, when a guy in a BMW steamed towards me. He could have waited, but he didnt. I could see the school entrance, so near yet so far, with the Headmaster standing on the pavement to welcome pupils in. Yet this arrogant BMW man was determined to block my way.

I sat there for a while playing a stationary version of chicken. I was in it for the long haul in the battle of wills but then realised, the clock was ticking, the diesel was diminishing and the Headmaster was waiting. So, once again I felt like I was having to be the one to compromise in deference to the bigger picture. The fact I was submitting to a guy knocking around a big BMW without any passengers who was within a small reversing move away from a clear road did not sit well with me.

So extremely reluctantly I shifted into reverse. Aware that my daughter may be observing me submitting to an on-road bully, I decided to test his patience.

Like Mater from ‘Cars’ I am quite a quick ‘backwards driver’, but I figured I had just enough time to act out the granny reversing routine and inched back so slowly, that his bumper was virtually kissing mine through his impatience. Once I was in a position to let him past, I flicked up the most satisfying ‘up yours’ finger yet. Not that I make it a habit, but use only when there is no better way of communicating to another person that their behaviour equals the finger.

Jeremy Clarkson is right about BMW drivers.

But when I pulled up alongside the Headmaster, school memories of naughty behaviour made me think he was ready to tell me off, but perhaps he has seen worse on the school run.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.