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.

Thanks for reading.

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.

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. 

Nativity at night-time

Nativity, it’s the month when parents, grandparents and carers get the chance to see their little loved ones sing and do their best to say words they have been practicing for weeks. 

For us, it was our son’s last nativity at pre-school. He was a Roman soldier. My husband asked if he needed a sword and my daughter said: “He’s counting the folk not killing them!”

When we arrived the other soldier had a sword and the teacher had to occasionally swipe it away as she was helping the children with their lines.

My son was acting like a teenager, with his spiked up hair he pulled faces all the way through, barely said his lines and didn’t sing one word.

Then after it was all over he ate a mince pie and then larked around with the three wise men, playing with cardboard crowns and lots of running around in circles. The adults meanwhile drank mulled wine and listened to the results of the raffle.

When my son went to bed, he then sang all the songs perfectly before drifting off to sleep…..typical!

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Christmas greetings to an Alzheimer’s sufferer

How do you write a Christmas Card to someone who is consumed by Alzheimer’s?

My husband’s Auntie was diagnosed with the condition 2 years ago. In that time she has gone from a busy, intelligent, chatty retired secondary school maths teacher to a bed-ridden spirit of her former self, with zero recognition of her husband or children. 

How do you write to someone who has resigned themselves to their fate through refusing to eat – Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

I write in the hope that as her husband reads it out to her she will enjoy looking at the picture on the front. 

I am also going to send her the biggest brightest bouquet of flowers I can find for her room. 

Alzheimer’s is cruel in every way to the sufferer, their friends and family.

I hope one day they find a cure.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Christmas bugs

I missed my blog post last night because I was busy examining both of our toilets on a frequent basis, the attack of tummy bug mark 2. By midnight my head was throbbing because of dehydration (it was both ends) and frankly I just wanted to be switched off. Then I overheard my hubby trying to catch the sick from baby boy when he was mid tooth brush and I was more upset for him as you would suffer twice over if it meant your children didnt get it. Thankfully it was only the once for him, he slept soundly and was right as rain by morning. A couple of ibuprofens and  dioralytes later and I was finally on the mend too. This came as a relief o hubby who had managed some serious multi-tasking on Saturday: tree work, log deliveries, dog walk and christmas food shopping all with kids in tow.

I remembered all the times myself and my family had been ill and it had been mostly over the Christmas period. The bugs, the colds and the lurgys are worse in this country over winter because we are all inside more exchanging more germs. It made me hanker for the sunny states of America, Australia or anywhere else where the sun shines and people are happy and healthy. One year before I die I would love to experience Christmas in the Sun.

This blog is for Unicef, for every missed post I donate £1 and fellow bloggers are welcome to donate too.

Thanks for reading.

Faith in overcoming hurdles

Last day at work and school and I was hairing it around this morning like a turkey without a head (have just lost my train of thought as my hubby just came down the stairs stark bollock naked to load more logs on the fire). It has made me reflect that after ten years of marriage, we hardly admire each other naked for very long – there just isn’t the time. So it is a rare treat (particularly in the winter). The difference between newly weds and a 10 year in couple is a few years back I would have rugby tackled him to the ground in the nod, whereas now I pause to admire and then carry on typing this blog.

Not much happened today to pass comment on except that I took my powerhoop into work and encouraged my colleagues to have a go with comical consequences. Desks were bashed, paperwork went flying and at one point it was used as a form of warming up through exercise when we lost our heating temporarily.

This evening I was excited to be able to watch the best of showjumping on mainstream TV, well almost, the good old BBC red button to see Olympia’s puissance live. It is basically high jump for horses and as they scale each height level, the fence is jacked up even higher. What made this year’s winner special was the untidy but effective way in which the little mare (small compared to the other horses) jumped the intimidating wall leaving her rider and the audience stunned that all the bricks were left intact. Before every new height the Italian rider walked her up to the wall and peered over the other side with a smile as if to say – ‘lets do this’. He was also the only rider not to use a martingale or drop noseband on his horse, allowing her as much freedom as possible short of riding tack free. He trusted her to do her job so gave her the freedom to do it. A comparison can be drawn with the programme Educating Yorkshire and the relationship between the students and teachers. The teachers have faith the students can achieve and the students try because they know their teacher has faith in them.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please donate here.

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The best Christmas

I enjoyed observing my daughter and my son spending time with my Dad today. My lovely stepmum kindly collected my daughter from the bus as my Mum-in-Law wasn’t able to do it this week because of a garden opening for over 50 people. She kindly sorted dinner and pudding out for my daughter and had kept enough aside for baby boy so there was one less thing for me to worry about when I arrived after work to collect her. 

As I walked in Dad was sat on the sofa next to my daughter watching one of my favourite childhood films, the BFG. I remember it was shown as a Christmas special on TV when I was about 11 or 12, It marked a very special Christmas with just my Dad. A year when it was particularly difficult to return home to my Mum after spending a magical Christmas with Dad. I remember gazing out the car window afterwards with Mum and her boyfriend sat in the front of the car on our way to a very uninspiring shopping trip and willing my body to just fly up and transport back to the cosy living room of my Dad’s cottage with its crackling fire, multi-coloured glistening christmas tree in the window and shiny dangly decorations hanging from each corner of the room. I remember feeling a bit like Sophie in the film disappearing off to live with the BFG (or in this case my Dad). I have never felt the same about Christmas since. 

So to see my daughter enjoying the film sat in the same sitting room with my dad as I did over 25 years ago was very special to witness, which is why I am attempting to capture it in this blog post so that I can recall it in another 20 years time.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please visit my page on Unicef’s site for more info.

Thanks for reading.