What a Christmas,

I can now breathe a sigh of relief as Christmas came and went with the following achievements:

1) daughter still fervently believes in Father Christmas (there were a few wobbles which I managed to save) each year I am having to up my game (and get hubby to follow suit)

2) son managed to contain his excitement and wake-up at a decent time in the morning and not complain when we asked him to steady up a bit on present opening- we managed to eek it out so they both opened their last present at 4pm rather than everything at 6am!

3) hubby and I did not have any arguments – apart from a small one relating to photos on the phone going awol – I subsequently ‘accidentally’ broke the phone so hubby had to buy a new one…

4) None of us were ill and all our family were well …..touching wood 1000 times on this

5) we actually felt like we had caught up with each other after a year of rushing around like blue arsed flies.
Now looking forward to 2016, a new house, new job, new schools and an amazing volunteering opportunity that I hope will help.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Alternative viewing this Christmas

If you need some alternative viewing this Christmas, check out Vimeo for inspiration….

Click on the mood screen anywhere you fancy and see where your mood takes you..

Enjoyed a day with a Canadian friend today, a fellow adult who also still believes in Father Christmas – the Canadian coffee certainly helped inspiration for reigniting the Christmas spirit in my 9 year old daughter. A bit of Baileys goes a long way.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Preserving the belief in santa claus

We were on a budget last christmas. As a result my husband bought a present on the father christmas list second-hand instead of new. Unfortunately it looked second-hand and was ever so slightly damaged.

My daughter said at the time that it didnt feel like Christmas. Now, approaching ten, she recalled seeing her dad’s ‘ebay bought list’ and saw the present was listed…..let the father christmas doubt and distress commence.

I was angry at my husband for not forking out the extra money to get her the new present. This must be a pressure tolerated by all families on a budget. But it is heart-breaking when you realise it is lack of money that has broken the father christmas spell.

Thankfully she still wants to believe, and was wiling to accept our explanations for why Santa delivered a damaged present. But even so, I was resentful to my husband for not paying that extra £20 which would have made all the difference.

I have a young son and I am keen to preserve the belief for him too. But its horrible feeling like a fraud to keep the memory of past Christmases alive.

This blog is for Unicef.

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Gingerbread and pine

At the moment we have the heady smell of pine Christmas tree combined with Gingerbread house.

My daughter had the most fun with a £3 budget spent on a gingerbread house making kit. If yiu have children, no matter what age, I strongly advise getting one of these…


This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Age old obstacles

It’s not easy to know how to entertain a teenage boy. 

I have volunteered to learn and I hope to succeed through go-karting and general motorsport shenanigans. Thankfully it is a hobby I enjoy too.

However, I am on the cusp of old ladyness. Inside, I am still 17 – as is everyone. But when you approach 36, you can no longer attempt a level of coolness. I have a friend who is pushing 37 and she still races – which I think is cool but is there a point when it definitely won’t be? What age will that happen? Bit like when you realise clubbing is definitely a no go area because past a certain age you may look a bit ‘sad’. 

So, I’m not going to be ‘down with the kids’. I am just me. Slightly old, slightly bonkers with her heart in the right place. Hopefully I will get some ‘respect’ for that.

Oh, and I like UK garage music. I loved it as a teenager but now Im in my 30s I still love it…..but not sure I allowed to….

This blog is for UNICEF.

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Too little too late for cut offsets – 2016?

A bit worrying to be working in local government going in to the new year: 

Government announces further 6.7% local authority cuts

Councils will be subjected to two years of further cuts from April after Greg Clark, local government secretary, announced that town hall spending will fall by 6.7% between 2016 and 2020. Critics said measures designed to offset the cuts would raise too little and come too late to address the immediate social care crisis, and warned they would not prevent an estimated £3.5bn shortfall in social care funding opening up by the end of the decade. The government said councils would be given the option of a four-year funding settlement to give them financial certainty as the proportion of money they receive from central government shrinks over the next four years and they become solely reliant on funds raised locally through council tax and business rates. The government has been accused of unfairly targeting northern urban councils, historically more reliant on central government support, as grants to rural councils will rise. Financial Times, Page: 4 The Guardian, Page: 18 Yorkshire Post, Page: 4 The Sun, Page: 2 

2016 is going to be a challenging year for many, lets hope the cuts don’t run too deep…..

This blog is for UNICEF.

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The right way to start Christmas

Tonight we got a fantastic dose of community in the shape of a school carol service in our local church.

The church hasn’t seen so many people in generations and the vicar said that if the number of people attending a carol service continued more frequently he would have to apply for an extension. 

Although I am not religious, I am a sucker for a Church. I got married in a church and people quite rightly say that it was hypocritical. However, to me anywhere else wouldn’t have felt right.

Same with Christmas, the original reason for Christmas is religious, but for non-believers it is a chance to take a pause from the daily grind and appreciate time at home with the people you care about. It’s also about taking a pause from the general shittiness that life brings, getting rid of all the hate, helping others and showing care to one another. But it’s still hard not to trivialise all this through an obsession with the High street and online deals. Which I think is where places like the church come in. It cuts all that crap out and just focuses the mind on the good stuff. 

I went to a catholic school so was put through Jesus of Nazareth on an annual basis and ‘hail Mary’d’ my way to December 25th. But for the first time ever, this year I am going to church on Christmas Eve with the children. I am not religious but it seems like the right way to start Christmas.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

A destructive cycle of a destructive motherhood

One of the major challenges of modern day society for social work practitioners….

“Huge rise” in newborns subject to care proceedings

There has been a “huge” rise in the number of newborns who are subject to care proceedings in England, according to new figures from the University of Lancaster with 2,018 babies involved in such cases in 2013, compared with 802 in 2008. In 2008, of 672,809 live births in England recorded by the ONS, 0.1% of babies entered the care system. The proportion had increased to 0.3% in 2013 – out of a total of 664,517 births. Lead researcher Prof Karen Broadhurst suggested: “Some mothers are caught in a destructive cycle: their child’s taken into care, because of neglect or abuse, they quickly become pregnant again without changing their outlook or circumstances”. Karen Goodman, from the British Association of Social Workers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We do know that all the services are under a great financial strain and resources are an issue. You can’t get away from the situation local authorities find themselves in”. David Cameron said the Government is “trying to help and make sure the right models are in place to inspire great social work and innovative practice.” BBC News The Times, Page: 12 The Guardian, Page: 7 Daily Mirror, Page: 12 The Sun, Page: 4  

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.