Egg on the hips

I am guilty about a family tradition passed down from Mother to Mother at this time of year – the task of absorbing some Easter egg calories so your children don’t have to. 

Easter is a bad time for women who have a weakness for chocolate (and are trying to remain/return to sugar free). If you have children it’s even worse. Eggs, chocolate bunnies, sweets, cakes (helped by a birthday party thrown in for good measure) are all sitting in the kitchen saying ‘eat me’. Cadburys chocolate are the worst, I can consume a small Chocolate egg in seconds. Today I ‘helped out’ baby boy with his chocolate buttons egg – I had the egg and he had the bag of buttons – I was taking the brunt of the calorific hit to retain my son’s health ( well that’s what I kept telling myself). I then felt so guilty I wanted to run a mile in shrink wrap before it had a chance to adhere to my hips…

My Mum did the same thing. In fact when I was older I had to hide the eggs so my Num couldn’t get to them. In an effort to save us both she put them in the bin one year. Then later that night retrieved them out of the bin… was a new all time low but resistance was futile.

If you go back another generation, my granny was nearly 20 stone …..gulp….you can understand why we are trying to resist – a good metabolism is not in the genes….

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Free the robots

It is 10pm and I have baby boy sat next to me chattering away about superheroes, monsters and dinosaurs. He has a cold that is particularly snotty and not conducive to lying horizontal so is far happier sitting upright on the sofa…moments ago he was snoring. 

I have spent most of this evening firing out messages to all available childminders and nannies in the area as I have been offered the job. So now the reality has hit home that both children will need to be cared for from 7.30 til 6, with school and pre school inbetween. I want to try and keep them together if possible hence the search for a local childminder. If they could also take the dogs out and run the Hoover round the house that would be great too, as I am not fancying spending my weekend as Mrs Mop. I’m not OCD but I can’t quite bring myself to leave the cleaning until the point where I need to ‘muck out’ the house.

Because it will fall to me, I am under no illusion that just because I will be working, my other half will pick up more of a share in housework. No, I am a woman therefore I must do EVERYTHING. 

Maybe by the time our children are our age there will be robots to help or women will be emancipated from all assumptions of domestic duties….no I think robots are more likely..

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Working for spare change

Oh the guilt! Just went for another job interview. Although I hope we get it because we need the money it will mean baby boy going into full-time childcare 8.30 til 5. He has been in a childcare setting of one form or another since he was 9 months old but I have always managed to keep it to no more than 3 days per week. My only saving grace, if I get the job, is that he is now 3 and a bit years old so able to enjoy more of the typical activities on offer at nurseries.

As I browse through potentials though, I start to recall excerpts from a childcare documentary and the grieving family whose daughter suffocated to death in a Wendy house at a nursery. So any websites showing pictures of Wendy houses, particularly those with an upstairs (because the little girl suffocated on the window-ledge/step of the upper storey) made me wobble. 

You cannot put a price on a setting where you know your child will have a good and safe experience while you are working. But when this cost eats significantly into your earnings you wonder why you do it in the first place.

Then there is the issue of the dogs, we can’t bear to part with them so that will be £200 per month so they get a decent walk everyday. 

With any luck I will have some spare change at the end of the month to pay for parking at work..

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

ladies of many ‘leisures’

School fundraising, cake sales, second-hand uniform sales, raffles, fairs, bingo nights, quiz nights, wine tasting, barbecues, drinks nights, sponsored walks, car boot sales, guest speaker nights, barn dance nights, band nights, silent auctions….. How many of these can you fit in an academic year?

I have just returned from a meeting of our PTA, which seems to take place at various mums houses that are all considerably grander than mine. In fact following the meeting I felt a bit like Rodney from Only Fools & Horses when I asked the Mum dropping me off home in her luxurious 4×4 to just set me down at the end of the street (Unlike Rodney I wasn’t going to pretend I lived in a mansion). This particular Mum is a northerner so a bit more grounded. In fact regardless of money and who does what, I found myself in a situation where we were all working together to achieve the aim of getting our Headmaster his all singing all dancing white boards. But at £3000 each for every year group, it’s quite a bit of money to raise. The events you organise tread the fine line between providing entertainment and making lots of money. There will always be one (or several) that complain they have been ‘fleeced’ at an event but you go to a fundraiser to have fun and help the school – that’s the trade-off for having fun isn’t it? People like myself can’t afford to make big donations so I donate my time instead. 

Of course the Mums that are part of the committee are not, as you might think, ladies of leisure, but Mums who do have a day job or jobs as well as caring for their children. Which makes it all the more challenging. 

I wonder what what the so called ‘ladies of leisure’ do? I think it is a myth..

This blog is for UNICEF.

thanks for reading.

Charity is the future high street

I love charity shops.

Just a stones throw from where I was volunteering today there was a street, a little spur off the main high street, which was not full of so much Christmas footfall. Almost like a little B road off the main road of shopping where you could take a little stroll down at your own pace and have the chance to look carefully at things around you without the pressing of elbows and the feeling of pressure to hunt for a particular gift.

Along this shoppers’ haven I found Age Concern, Barnardos, YMCA, Cats Protection League and a couple of other similar shops all nestled together. Within 15 minutes I had bought wrapping paper and four gifts at a fraction of the price of the high street – brilliant! I also confess to indulging in an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie, which I could not ignore at £5.

I found myself wondering why myself and one or two other people were the only ones browsing along this little row  of gems while the crowds all fought to get items on the high street they could have bought online anyway.

In my view, charity shops are the future high street, where people can regain pleasure in browsing, not break the bank and do good for someone else all at the same time.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Post sugar ramblings

Oh dear my no sugar diet is starting to slip as we approach Christmas. My daughter won a tin of Cadburys Roses in a raffle and they have started to talk to me from the cupboard.

On the flip side my daily morning anti-love handle exercises are starting to pay off and I have started a new part-time job which involves a lot of horse-shit shovelling then pushing it in a wheelbarrow through mud as deep as the trenches – kind of like a poor girl’s gym -perfect!

I have paused this post to watch Celebrity Juice contestants spit brussel spouts at a plate on the end of a table, which is surprisingly entertaining.

Even more entertaining, the contestants having to guess what each other are saying about Christmas as if they have just gums and no teeth. I think I might give that a whirl as a game on Christmas Day, reminds me of my granny.

Later this week I am on the hunt for an alternative Christmas Tree, in other words something vaguely tree like in the woods which wont cost anything. Artificial trees are around £100 and real trees less than 6 foot start around £30. I can think of better ways to spend that money  – such as a donation to the charity Tree Aid which empowers the poorest communities in some of the countries worst affected by climate change to combat its effects.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

UK for Syria

Following my email via the Oxfam and Amnesty campaign regarding supporting refugees in Syria, I was pleased to reveive the following response from my local MP:

Thank you for your e-mail about refugees from the Syria crisis.   I share your concerns about their plight and I believe that we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to help alleviate the immense suffering in this country.

The UK is leading the world in responding to the humanitarian disaster.  We have provided £700 million for the Syrian relief effort so far, the most of any country other than the USA.  This is helping to provide food, water and shelter to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians every day.

The Vulnerable Persons Relocations scheme announced in January is up and running, and has already welcomed many Syrians to the UK.  This scheme will make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable Syrians by giving them protection and support in the UK.  The Government will continue to bring groups to the UK on a regular basis and envisages that several hundred people will be helped through this scheme over the next three years.

This is in addition to the asylum claims which the Government has been considering – and will continue to consider – under its normal rules.  Since the crisis began we have taken in around 3,800 Syrian asylum seekers and we are a leading contributor to the EU’s Regional Protection Programme, which provides refugees with education, training, water and sanitation, and promotes improved access to basic rights and legal assistance.

I have provided for your interest, a link to the factsheet issued by the Department for International Development which details how the UK is supporting the Syrian people.  You may access this at:

This blog is for Unicef, thanks for reading.

Two minutes

That’s all it takes to email your MP via charity websites to help save lives before the end of the year.

If you have two minutes to spare online visit:

Amnesty – to ask your MP to do more for the 3.5 million Syrian refugees who have nowhere to go


Oxfam – to ensure your MP is present to vote on a bill on Friday that will provide 0.7 per cent of the UK’s GDP to international aid.

Lets get them thinking about more important issues than fighting UKIP’s bullshit.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Good news gives

I received an email from Oxfam today. I clicked on it, wincing, in preparation for what horrible headlines and images would greet me to make me feel bad and want to do something despite money being tight. Refreshingly the newsletter led with an incredibly positive story about how people were successfully rebuilding their lives following Typhoon Haiyan. Another story followed about how the charity’s team are pulling together successfully to fight Ebola. I then wanted to click on their website and find out more. Other good stories popped out including children in a UK primary school who had used their points for good behaviour to buy an Oxfam gift to an African village of a chicken. Other gifts include a goat, seeds, medicine, food etc. Oxfam even offer a wedding list service to buy resources for people in need – makes a refreshing change to John Lewis.

In fact, it is not penguins that should be making us coo with sentimentality during Christmas adverts, its people pulling together to help others.

With the opportunity to buy vintage designer wear through the Oxfam site and even wedding dresses there is now the opportunity to indulge in some shopping and know that you are helping society in the process – genius!

I received a letter from the NSPCC and on the envelope there was a picture of a depressed child and a slogan about tears not joy at Christmas. I couldnt face opening it, so decided to wait until later. Now I cant find it and suspect my husband may have put it in recycling for fear of the clash between our budget and the calls from an increasing number of charities to give. I now have over 10 missed calls from one charity call centre over a one week period asking me to set up a Regular donation. Im not in a position to do so But give when I can.

But this is never enough and the bad stories keep flooding in.

Charities like Oxfam know good news in many ways can be more motivating for people to lend their support. If something good is happening, you want to help to keep that good flowing.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

£164 and counting..

I have been absent from blogging this weekend, so £2 in the pot for Unicef. Friday night I went out with some fellow Mums and realised how much of a lightweight I am compared to the others. It was difficult to keep track as my glass kept getting re-filled but it was around 4 glasses of red. For me thats a drinking marathon. Why is it that despite making the same mistake throughout your life, you dont finally learn as you get older? I woke up on Saturday morning and felt like s***. Whereas in my late teens and twenties, I would just lie-in and wait for the symptoms to pass, as a Mum its up at 7 and the usual dash round the house and hurrying out the door for reasons according to what day of the week it is. By the time I dropped my daughter off at Theatre school and walked the dogs in the rain, I was ready to lie down in a darkened room, the closest I could get was leaning over a very large americano while baby boy let rip in soft play.

Saturday night my mum babysat so hubby and I could go out. Armed with Tesco clubcard voucher print-outs, we had a meal and watched a film for the grand total of £18. The waiters saw us coming a mile off, no doubt thinking ‘well wave goodbye to a tip from those two skinflints’.

Gone Girl was the film. A surprisingly funny thriller, which, at times, had the whole audience laughing. It was macabre and funny and well worth the trip out.

Its worth saying that this blog has so far raised £164. Not bad for a series of ramblings from an average Mum. Unicef helps protect children in crisis worldwide. At the moment there seems to be too many crises, the 250000 children starving in South Sudan and the children suffering conflict in Syria, the scale of the famine, lack of shelter, safety and healthcare is crazy in a society that has supposedly progressed over the  centuries. Which is why organisations such as Unicef are so crucial. If you want to find out how you could contribute visit Unicef.

Thanks for reading.