Let’s hear it for the girls

Sorry I was absent last night. I hit my Thursday night wall again for the second time. I have this wonderful boss who is very charming and this helps in his powers of delegation. He askes me to focus on one project and then keeps adding to my task list, forgetting that I work 22 hours a week. I’m not the modern day Cinderella, my work more resembles the ugly stepsister trying to squeeze work into the petite shoe that is my part-time hours. I’m sure part-timers the world over are nodding their heads in sage agreement.  I also got a dose of what it is like to be a single working-mum, as hubby was away. Hence me hitting the deck as soon as possible. Single working mothers I bow down to you all in awe – hats off girls and keep up the good work!

Of course I also took advantage of hubby being away by organising a girls night in. I also gave myself a night-off from checking the nutritional info o the back of pre-prepared food, so just chucked some dips on the table and breadsticks and let the girls let rip. I had my fair share too plus a couple of glasses of wine. So I was incredibly puzzled when I found myself upchucking over the toilet bowl in the small hours – has my diet made my tummy completely intolerant of anything mildly rubbish? I don’t know, needless to say I haven’t touched the dips since, I am also a bit scared of the crisps …and rose wine.

In my bid  for the bed and rest, I missed the England Men’s football, what a shame….lost again.

But on the flip side, look how well the women are doing:

England’s Women are just one point away from next summer’s World Cup after a narrow 2-1 win in Ukraine.

Mark Sampson’s side have won all eight qualifiers to date and are five points clear of second-placed Wales with two Group 6 matches remaining. A draw in Wales in August will seal a place at Canada 2015. (source: thefa.com)

Read more here

I am already looking forward to next year when I am hopeful the women can show the guys how it is done….and on (shock horror) less than £300k a week (or whatever Rooney earns).

I shall tell that to my daughter when I pick her up from football after school today, she is gradually receiving more passes from the boys having inspired the girls to get involved, come on we are in 2014 people!

As I missed last night’s post another £1 to Unicef. If you can donate to the campaign – great!

Thanks for reading.

Own goal for Sports Direct

Dear Sports Direct,

Thank you for sending me another giant mug that I do not need and a magazine that seems to assume most of your customers are male. When I placed the order for football boots and socks, I saw that you had pulled your trick again of sneaking another item on the bill and was glad to see that you had the decency to allow me to press ‘the remove from bill button’. Last time it took me so long to figure out how to remove the unwanted items, that I gave up. This time round, however, it still snuck its way back onto the check-out section.

Searching for and finding football boots on your website wasn’t great. The only way to navigate the boots on offer was to click individually on each brand. One brand appeared to have wiped out 50 per cent of the population when displaying boots for ‘men’ and ‘boys’. I can’t remember exactly when women started playing football but I’m pretty sure it has been a while, so you might want to update your records, hence why my daughter is playing football (and why I was searching for football boots).

My daughter loves her new boots but i’m glad she didn’t read the magazine. I had a glance through it and came across the double page about Andy Murray playing tennis in ‘a dream world’ where all the ball girls are models. Next to the article was a full page picture of a woman in lingerie. It ended with a ‘loaded magazine’ style leer about this particularly scantily clad woman appearing on the tennis courts in future and once again the writer mused at ‘what a dream world’ that would be. To avoid ‘sexism’ he inserted the word ‘ball-boys’ although the picture of Andy Murray surrounded by lots of pretty ball girls did not include boys as well so that was an extremely lazy attempt to avoid being sexist.

Two things irritated me about this article. First, the writer assumed the readership is male and heterosexual (I am not a lesbian so, being a heterosexual woman, I do not consider female models being ball girls a ‘dream world’. Lets stick to boys and girls, preferably those kids who thoroughly deserve to get close to the action in professional tennis.) Second, I had to close the magazine when my daughter walked into the room as I was worried about her reading the article and thinking a man’s job is to play a professional sport and a woman’s job is to look good on the side-lines.

The magazine has now taken its rightful place in the recycling bin.

So in writing this letter, I expect you to think about the following:

– Review your customer base, particularly for football goods (I think you will find some of them are female)

– review your editorial policy for the magazine (I am assuming the editor is male, if so he should know better)

– stop putting items in the online basket that have not been selected by the customer

I hope you will take my comments on board.

If not I will shop elsewhere and forward this letter to a few people who may test the capabilities of your PR department.

With regards

Tom Marter

-ends-

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

What to do with a quarter of a million?

I fantasised last night.

No, not because I am reading Fifty Shades Darker (that requires no imagination at all) but because I was looking at my Lotto ticket with baited breath. I thought I had won, but it was my eyesight playing tricks on me, or my brain. So having not won the big lottery, I considered the next option still available on the ticket which is Plus 5 – the chance to win £250,000 all week. Some people would argue whether that is a life-changing amount or not. Well they are just damned ungrateful because I sure as hell wouldn’t  mind £250,000 (I nearly said dollars then for some reason the voice in my head that….says….each…..word……as……I………am………typing it switched in to a Texan Drawl – I have only watched one episode of the new Dallas and already it has taken effect.)

What would you do with that amount. My instant and very exciting reaction was “to pay off the mortage” the voice in my head said that in a David Walliams style “computer says noo” tone. My second reaction was “how dull can you get”? No, I would pick up the phone to Unicef (the reason why I blog) and ask them if there is a particular project that I could fund – one in the UK and one abroad. Now my husband is not as charitable as me and would have kittens if I turned round and said I wanted to donate some of it to charity. So, I would have to placate him with something that has wheels and goes very fast…….on the shopping list would be this……

 (Oh yes that’s me sat on the bike making it look even better         …I wish)

and then maybe something with a few more wheels………..

  (I wasn’t available for this shoot)

and then maybe something with really big wheels…..

After doing the necessay with the Kids (Disney etc) oh and i spose we better save some just in case they want to get massively in debt for 3 years, test the resilience of their liver and survive eating nothing but fish-finger sandwiches (university) ….My thoughts would then turn to my shopping list……

a horse that LIKES jumping, like this……

Not this….

And if I have any money left over a dinner date with someone like this…….

  But maybe not when he is like this…. (bruised eyes during filming)

Paul Walker can drive me to the restaurant, but this fella…..

can drive me home (very handy if you are remotely bulimic as it would be a challenge to keep your meal down).

My reaction might be a little like this….http://youtu.be/HH3WgpuHgfw mamma mia!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please donate to my Unicef page if you can – the whole reason why I blog daily.

Thanks

I don’t think I will ever use a train loo again – why?

Sorry got back yesterday waaay too late so missed my day’s posting – another pound in the pot.

So, we won tickets to the BT London Live event at Hyde Park courtesy of Cadburys. We jumped on the train to Waterloo and half way through the journey I needed to go to the loo – wish I hadn’t. The train loos have these bizarre electronic doors that are very large and not discreet at all. You press the open button and the door retracts to display the whole loo to you and everyone in that end of the carriage – nice! So I go in press the close button and stupidly assumed that it automatically locked. Didn’t see the giant handle that resembled something off a pump that said ‘turn to lock’. I lifted the lid to find a number of previous deposits from god knows how many previous passengers – lots of poo floating in lots of wee – delightful. The flush clearly wasn’t working but that didn’t stop me answering nature’s call – when a girl’s got to go and all that. So I decide to hover over the most disgusting loo somewhere between the home counties and the metropolis. It is not an easy feat to piss directly into the middle of a toilet bowl while swaying from side to side and avoiding any nasty splashback (sorry) …..it could be an olympic sport as it required fairly strong thighs. I was busily focusing on my aim when I heard a hissing sound and looked up to see a young boy and his father staring at me slightly mystified and possibly disgusted. Behind the boy and the father was the rest of the carriage. Now, as I explained earlier, this door is massive and opens slowly and will not stop until it reaches its full extent (a bit like theatre curtains). I was miles away from the button and due to my compromising position did not want to get up to touch the button for fear of exposing yet more of myself. So I relied on the boy’s father to push the close button, which he was frantically doing. This door was rather stubborn and would not close until it had opened completely so there was a rather awkward moment when we had to wait while the bloody door decided to close only once it had revealed the complete picture – a bit like revealing a scene on stage with a train window, basin, bin and loo with a semi-naked woman hovering over a toilet full of shit. It then took what seemed like 30 minutes to close. So I carried on hovering while one by one the passengers, the boy and the father gradually disappeared from my view again. Thank God this happened to me now as opposed to my teens – I think I would rather have jumped out of the window than come out to face all the people on the train again had I been younger. Thankfully as the years have gone by so has my sense of shame and after 2 children I have been poked and prodded by so many NHS health professionals that I feel every bit of me is public property now. Therefore, once finished, I opened the door for the 2nd time and felt the need to explain to the boy’s father and the rest of the carriage that the flush had well and truly failed and the poo in the bowl was not mine – I don’t know why that made things any better……….

Anyway enjoyed the Cadburys VIP experience at Hyde Park and watched the Olympic show-jumping on big screen. Once that was over though we got a bit bored of sitting on wood-chip and staring at a zillion different food outlets that left you in no doubt as to why England has obesity issues. So we took off, jumped on the tube to Covent garden, had dinner and then finished off the evening at the top secret comedy club – which was brilliant fun  – laughed loads and wished we could have stayed longer (we watched the first 2 acts Dane Baptiste and Prince Abdi who were excellent) but had to grab the last train home 😦

Loved being in the city during the Olympics you really felt the general buzz and vibe – transport system is very well organised – all the staff who spend ages pointing people in the right direction and ensuring everyone crosses the road safely and gets on the right train deserve gold medals too.

I’m off on holiday from tomorrow so this is my last post for a week so Unicef will benefit from my time-out contributions but hope you all enjoy the rest of the Olympics and I am already looking forward to the Paralympics – particularly as we have tickets to see the athletics in a couple of week’s time.

I hope you enjoyed my post and the embarrassing situations I sometimes find myself in – if so please donate £1 or $1 to Unicef – the whole reason why I do this blog.

Thank you.

Why aren’t the BBC wetting their pants like me? Disappointed with coverage of SJ Gold

I can hardly contain my excitement!! However I was bitterly disappointed that the BBC chose to leave out the absolute headline of the day in their summing up which was that the Show-jumping team won gold – their first medal since the 50’s. What twat at the BBC decided to leave the showjumping out of the summary of the day. It is the holidays so I am out all day with my children and do not have the luxury of watching it on TV during the day. Once they are in bed (try to aim for 8pm) I can then relax switch on the box and check out what has happened. I am relying on the Beeb to keep me informed when I watch the Olympic highlights each evening but clearly they don’t give a shit about equestrianism.

Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles

National newspapers seem to be better clued up on what the real Olympic headlines are as the Show-jumping team were emblazoned across every single tabloid and broadsheet on the news-stands today. WAKE UP BBC!!!!!!!

Thankfully BBC online is a bit more organised so I found out this morning that we had won gold and after a few determined searches was able to watch the highlights. Much to the amusement of my 6 year old and 8 month old as they watched me dance around the house in my nightie as I watched clear round after clear round (I was acting as if I was watching it live as I felt like I had missed out considerably).

Anyway enough Beeb bashing. This gold medal is just what British Show-jumping needed it is the answer to the sport’s prayers as it has been in the doldrums with dwindling TV coverage and sponsors for quite a few years now. Eventing has been centre stage for too long and it is time for Show-jumping to once again take the limelight and wow it is so well deserved – Nick Skelton and the team are an inspiration to all aspiring riders out there.

The dressage result is also fantastic – proof that we can be as precise and technically perfect as the Germans and the Dutch and that we know how to produce good gee gees.

Carl Hester

This Olympics just could not get any better…..or could it……could we really get individual Gold in the show-jumping too? I’m just getting greedy now aren’t I? Anyway I am off to watch it on the big screen at London Live in Hyde Park tomorrow thanks to Cadburys who gave us tickets following a competition and the chance to enjoy a tasting experience. I shall not eat all day tomorrow and just stuff my face with chocolate and ogle at the show-jumping (Mum is looking after the kids) i will be in heaven!!

Hope you enjoyed this post – if so it would be great if you could donate £1 or $1 to Unicef – the whole reason I am blogging.

Thanks.

Competitive mother syndrome is common ….. but in a Go-Kart?

I wonder if Lewis Hamilton was inspired by his mother putting pedal to the metal on a kart-track while he sat white-knuckled in the passenger seat. Was he a powerless witness to carnage as his mother took advantage of a kart bumping pile-up to overtake a teenage boy and a bewildered dad to take the lead? No….. I’m sure he had other more sophisticated and esteemed inspirations but that was certainly my six year old daughter’s experience today at a theme park.

I promised her, after convincing her that it would be fun to try out the kart-ride, that I would go slowly so as not to scare her and she just had to let me know and I would stop. As we were queuing up to be let in some teenage boys jumped in ahead of us so the only kart left was last on the grid. Once we were sat down and buckled in I grabbed the wheel looked at all the brake lights of the karts in front of me and that was it. When the guy said GO! I stamped my right foot down hard and we were off. All my promises to my daughter were waved goodbye as I tried to weave through all the slower kart traffic to overtake those bloody boys. When I got to the first one I sat on his bumper until he made a mistake and bumped into a father and daughter in front who were then pushed sideways. His kart was caught in the collision so I did what every responsible thirty-something mother would do –   put my foot down, claimed the outside line  and slightly bumped both of them out the way in the process. My daughter wasn’t screaming out of fright or jubilation so I figured she was OK so set my sights on the teenage boy in the lead. My sixty-something mother was filming the whole thing and I was determined to claim the lead so I sat on the boy’s tail until he made a mistake and I went up the inside to first place at which point my mother punched the air as she filmed the whole lot. When I got to the finish line and parked up I looked at my daughter who was quote pale and she promptly broke into tears – not quite the real Oh My God this is a disaster kind of meltdown but enough to make me feel guilty and a lot less cocky.

My mother on the other hand was saying well done you’ve still got it in you – meaning what exactly I don’t know but whatever ‘it’ is it came from deep down in the primeval depths of my soul where there is a little bit more competitive instinct than there is maternal. You never know my daughter may later be so inspired by my performance she may become the first successful Formula One driver – or maybe not……..

Think the competitive spirit of the Olympics has inspired me a little bit too much. I was tamer on the drive home though .. I came out of the fast lane twice.

Hope you enjoyed this post – if so it would be great if yo could donate £1 or $1 to Unicef – the whole reason why I am blogging every day for the rest of my life.

 

 

Thank you

Head games – getting in the right frame of mind for sport – but also for life

Becky Adlington’s Bronze in the 800m swim was brilliant. Her head however, wanted Gold, like the British audience. It was her head that let her down as she blamed the pressure from the British to win gold and that can only be a psychological issue. Isn’t it amazing how what we are thinking in our minds dictates our physical effectiveness? In Becky’s case it affected her technique so much so that she was way off her previous record. I feel really bad for her and can sympathise as we all know what it is like when you are there physically but not mentally. Not just in competitions and in situations when we are required to perform. It can affect us any time – like when you feel you didn’t get out the right side of the bed in the morning and it stays with you for the rest of the day.

I often find on days that I anticipate to be fun/ exciting/ good happy they turn out to be crap and vice versa – why is that? I went out last night with my husband. We were both knackered and didn’t really feel like going out but Mum was coming over to babysit so we had to grab our chance while we could although we just felt like nodding off. I thought ‘great we are so tired, we are just going to be irritable and snappy with each other and have a shit time’. On the contrary I just drove til I felt like stopping, saw a cool looking restaurant at the side of the road and we agreed to check it out and had a brilliant night. I bet you that if we had pre-booked a table somewhere amazing and anticipated a great evening it would have been shit.

With that in mind I try to assume that every day is going to be crap unless proved otherwise – and most of the time this kind of reverse psychology tactic works. If you don’t expect much then you might just surprise yourself and have a good time. Its got to the point that If I am dreading something I know that 80% of the time it will turn out well because I started off dreading it.

In sport it seems that emptying your head of all expectation and just enjoying the task ahead is key to winning over the psyche game. Charlotte Dujardin the GBR dressage rider performed an amazing test because she said she just went in the ring to enjoy herself and not ‘think’ herself out of the test by focusing too hard on each element of it. Being on top of your thoughts and feelings as a rider is particularly important because horses are hyper sensitive to changes in the rider’s temperament and this can make them play up and cock up too.

The fact that we have a team psychologist in Team GBR is proof of how powerful the mind is in winning medals. It is also true of how we enjoy life in general. I firmly believe that there are no limitations except those we create ourselves. Go Team GB!

I typed this while watching the women’s 400 metre final hence the olympic/sport angle and Christine Ohuruogou just won Silver – whoop whoop!

If you liked this post please donate £1 or $1 to Unicef – the whole reason for writing this blog.