Auction junkie?

Its late because I want to return the commitment my daughter demonstrated earlier today when she very carefully laid out all her unwanted toys, games and shoes and took pictures of them for eBay. My daughter is a capitalist. She wants to buy but knows her mum and dad wont turn her into a spoilt little brat and will only buy things if it is a) Christmas, b) birthday or c) a reward for a significant achievement. So in-between these events, she has to work for it.

I am an only child and I was spoilt. I received pocket-money from each parent (as they were divorced) and I grew up with no awareness of budgeting (as my mum wanted to ensure I never had to worry about money because of her own childhood experiences).

So on the flip side after a few debt car crashes, i want to ensure my children are aware of the value of things and what it takes to earn and therefore be more responsible about buying.

So in addition to housework my daughter is thinking up other ways to make money and has discovered eBay – hence why I have to keep hunting for my tablet round the house. The only problem is eBay is quite addictive – am I encouraging an auction room junkie?

Best go now as an item I am bidding on is about to run out…..

This blog is for Unicef.

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Are video games good for you?

I’m still a bit of a kid. Being a parent means I can act like a kid (sometimes) in a socially acceptable way. As a kid I loved playing games with my dad like Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive. We would stay up to 2 or 3 in the morning going up the levels (Mum wasn’t around to say no because they divorced and Dad didn’t care about being in bed on time). Of course back in those days you couldn’t save your progress, so the pressure would be on not to cock up. We would swap in-between the levels and the atmosphere would get so tense between me and my dad. I would feel my Dad tensing up every time the little blue hedgehog made a giant leap over chasms with hot lava or spikes at the bottom. I remember my Dad swearing at Dr Robotnik.

We also enjoyed the Sonic and Tails duo (I always played tails) and other Sega games like Ecco the Dolphin and Flashback. I only saw Dad at weekends and the Mega Drive stayed with him until I returned so I used to look forward to our gaming sessions.


On the PC I enjoyed Prince of Persia but often wondered if the character grazed his nose every time he jumped up a wall to the next ledge and my friend and I used to laugh about it.

We now have a Playstation 3, which we barely have time to switch on let alone play. But I am looking forward to when my daughter and son are older and then I am going to stay up till the small hours with them just like my Dad did with me. It wasn’t easy to find common ground with my Dad when I was 13 but we both really enjoyed eachothers company when we played the Mega Drive and in that respect it brought us together. Proof that video games can be good for you.

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Thanks for reading.


Awkward siblings

It was my hubby’s birthday today and we celebrated by jumping on our motorbikes and cruising to one of our favourite pubs for dinner and drinks. It was bliss. The day was slightly marred, however, by the arrival of our nephew. Don’t get us wrong the arrival of a baby is always fabulous news. But the inconsiderate little bugger decided to share his birthday with his Uncle. My hubby doesn’t do sharing. What are the chances? 365 days of the year and he chooses the 18th September.

This situation is further exacerbated because sister-in-law is the type of Mum that falls into the category of ‘oh shit I am over 40 and haven’t had kids yet’. Her first child is only 14 months old and no sooner had she been born then it was ‘oh shit I am still over 40 and have an only child’ hence the arrival of child number two. Maternal she is not, but thankfully a nanny is on standby to sort out all the stupid routines she has got herself caught up in (afternoon milk, giving sweet alternatives because child won’t eat etc etc). They have recently moved into the most child unfriendly place imaginable (short of being in a lighthouse  – stairs and water aren’t a good combination). This house has three storeys and sash windows on the upper floors that open at your feet – it gave me nightmares just looking at it.

Anyway she is just a bit irritating, likes everyone to dance to her tune (first born syndrome) and very endearingly announced her second pregnancy on the day we were celebrating my other sister-in-laws 40th birthday (didn’t occur to her or my mother in law in fact that the news might rain on my sister in law’s parade?). Now the birthday clash. Right griping over – that feels a lot better.

Its just all a bit awkward because no-one has ever addressed the issue. To put it bluntly my hubby and his middle sister don’t feel as ‘special’ as the eldest. I think that is a hard issue to address and one that is a common problem. Awkward is a great way to describe it as it is awkward even to talk about it but therein lies the problem – everyone dodging the fact that they need to tell their parents how they feel. I did it recently with my Mum and it felt like a humongous load had been lifted off my shoulders. I hope that my kids tell me when they think something is unfair – sure they will do it in their younger years over a toy or a game but its much, much harder to do in adulthood. If everyone was straight with each other there would be nowhere near as many family feuds – do you agree?

I am writing this blog everyday to raise money for Unicef – if you are able to donate please view my fundraising page. If not thanks for reading – I try to write something entertaining or intriguing each day, no matter how dull the day has been.

Only child syndrome missing a sibling

I’m feeling sad and I don’t know why.

I am sitting in the garden on a glorious day. Cloudless blue sky, soft gentle breeze, warm but not hot, birds and butterflies flitting about – perfect. I have just been told my baby boy has been given the all clear by the cardiac consultant – I knew he was fine but I’m glad he has finally been discharged. After my baby being poked and prodded for the last time (he was such an angel and endured it with a smile) I met up with my friend since schooldays for lunch.

But something has changed between us. Something so subtle that it can’t be discussed or explained. We find things to talk about but it no longer comes naturally any more. So keen am I to try and improve things that I am thinking what we can talk about that will switch the old best buddies magic on again. Its difficult to describe the feeling that I am hunting for. But something more than that of acquaintance making small talk. I want us to be kindred spirits again. But something has definitely gone from our friendship. I am hoping it is temporary…

I worry its just me. Throughout my life I have asked too much of my friends. Wanted them to be there when they were not. That’s the difference between friends and family. Most family members are always there in the background but I find friends come and go. Friends are also a bit like a drug after you first meet and the friendship blossoms you are then forever chasing that first giddy ‘hit’ when you initially discovered you both had so much in common.  Then life’s problems hit and you try to be there but its  never the same.

I think I ask too much of my friends. Someone once told me that children who have no siblings (like me) are always on the search for their surrogate sister or brother and that is my problem. I adored my friends when I was younger they gave me respite from my parent’s break-up and my mother’s relationships with other men. They introduced me to their world and showed me a different way of life. I didn’t have to rely on my imagination alone when I was with friends. I was always more comfortable with one or two friends then a large group because I craved the in-depth relationship. I found having too many friends was just too superficial for me I couldn’t get to really know them. It sounds a bit sad in a geeky kind of way. However I was a confident kid on the whole.

As an adult I am really not very good with my own company. I think that must come partly from being an ‘only’. I like interaction with others but not just anyone – people I know really really well. I used to have a good friendship thing going with my own mother but time has faded that now and it doesn’t help that she is in Spain most of the year. The mother/ daughter chat isn’t as good on Skype.

I don’t want to mope, I just want to reflect on what I have discovered is a side effect of being an ‘only’.

But the real test of happiness is this scenario – look around you, if your life was taken away now would you be happy with where you had got to in life? I am not talking about achievements I am talking about levels of happiness and right now I would say yes and I hope my friends and family would say the same.

If you have read this and answered no – then figure out what is bringing you down and change it NOW!

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