dropping the penny to pick up the £££

Finally a study that proves the minority holding wealth is not the best way forward for the economy. Of course, everything still has to be justified in terms of the economy in a society obsessed with the health of the economy. We are a long way from measuring alternative signs of success other than GDP, but at least the penny has finally dropped (Scuse the pun) that a lot of the focus needs to shift from welfare cuts and benefits reductions to tax on the other end of the pay scale too. See The Guardian news story below:

IMF: income equality would boost growth

A new IMF study suggests increased income inequality is bad for growth. The report dismissed “trickle-down” economics, and said that if governments wanted to increase the pace of growth they should concentrate on helping the poorest 20% of citizens. It claims the redistributive role of fiscal policy could be reinforced by greater reliance on wealth and property taxes, more progressive income taxation, removing opportunities for tax avoidance and evasion. The Guardian Page: 21

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Happiness is perfect yet perfect isnt happy

I read an article by actress and stand-up comedian Francesca Martinez. It was brilliant and inspired me to order her book ‘What the f*** is normal?’ It also made me re-evaluate some of my views, particularly relating to parenting disabled children. I had always thought that parenting a disabled child overwhelming, although I could never have brought myself to abort a baby based on a predicted disability forecast by health professionals – a predicament that would have no doubt finished our marriage. My husband’s views on bringing up a disabled child are in contrary to his own childhood, which was marred by severe hearing loss due to brain damage.

Francesca looks at it from a different angle, ‘Most parents-to-be still fear that their beloved Newborn will turn out to be -oh, the horror – disabled. My personal fear is that my future child will turn out to be unhappy. I don’t care what he or she can or can’t do, how they talk or walk or how many fingers and toes they have. Because I don’t think that is a good indicator of happiness. Forget aborting babies because of the suffering they might endure. What about the suffering they will create? Wouldn’t it make sense to develop a test to check for the arms-dealer gene, the advertising executive gene, the corporate-overlord gene, or the gossip-magazine editor gene? That would eliminate quite a lot of suffering.’

I wish I had read Francesca’s article in The Guardian before I passed judgement on my daughter’s maths test mark. She described the scale of marks to me with 6 being the top score. I cant pretend that I was disappointed she had got a 3, they then get a sub mark in the form of letters, with A being the lowest and D being the top. Her total mark was 3B. I couldn’t hold back this disappointment and said that I didn’t  think her mark was ‘that good’ and that if she wanted to get into boarding school (her wish not mine) she was going to need to get a 5 or 6. What made me suddenly turn into a mother with the support and encouragement skills of an amoeba? Why did I turn into one of those pushy mothers who focus so much on grades they don’t recognise their daughter’s anorexia and anxiety attacks because of this unnecessary pressure to perform. Most parents say they just want their child to be happy, but also gets lots of qualifications and a high-earning job, the stress of which will put them into an early grave? I managed to halt the destructive path I was proceeding down when she explained to me that she had done her best and I later described it to Daddy in front of her as a ‘good’ mark, to which he said, ‘well that’s OK, it’s average’ gah! So I quickly added that no doubt Mummy and Daddy would have scored a 0 or a 1 if we had taken the same test at her age. Then I thought about the research that found those  who doubt their own maths abilities pass this down to their children. A fine case of how not to support the school life of an 8 year old. Next time I will apply duck tape to our mouths.

So tests are meant to give the teachers a steer on how the child is progressing and what additional support the child needs. I just wish teachers would give parents a steer  as to how we handle the news of the scores and whether we do nothing, praise regardless or encourage to try harder.

I agree with Francesca that kids and adults should just aim to be happy, so why as parents are we so f***in obsessed with perfection, when we are anything but.

I am blogging for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.


Gilt edged donation

Hello fellow bloggers! I have only missed four days of blog posts but it seems like absolutely ages, if it was possible to get blog withdrawal symptoms, I was getting them. However I did enjoy a break from assessing whether there was enough going on in both my brain and life   each time I faced a blank blog screen.

But this blog is for UNICEF and they get a £1 per day of missed blog. The Guardian recently did a poll on whether charitable giving was selfish. The majority recognised that it was better than nothing but that very few charitable donations are given through altruism. There is always personal gain somewhere along the line.

This blog is not altruistic. I do it for 2 main reasons.

The first is keeping digital memories and to prevent boredom in my old age. I am writing this with a view to reading it when I am a little old lady waiting for God. I just hope I am not deaf and blinds when I reach old age – that would be a bummer.

I just had to stop typing to investigate my son’s potty as I thought it smelt, turns out my husband was on the loo, so I sprayed something round him to mask the smell and then closed the door to put him in quarantine – isn’t it lovely when you can’t decipher your son’s poo from your husband’s? I will love reading about that, or have my carer read it to me once I am old.

The second reason I blog for UNICEF is guilt. At the weekend while I was bobbing up and down on the little boat enjoying the sun glints on wave crests and taking in the blue sky, I read through Saturday’s Guardian. It should have the streamline, ‘observe all the snit going n on the world, pity the situation, then resume your existence, which is a whole lot easier than the people in the paper. I feel powerless so want to do something on a regular basis that donates to a good cause and raises awareness of other issues. The middle of the newspaper is where all the major issue stuff tends to go. The stuff that is easier to read in terms of our sensitivities tends  be put at the front and the back. I wonder how many people read stories about the conflict in Syria and the Ukraine, the schoolgirl abductions in Nigeria and the fact that the apartheid legacy lives on n Cape Town’s planning department.

So this is really a selfish blog for a guilty ageing woman to wax lyrical on random subjects of varying degrees of importance.

Even so better doing this than watching the Kardashians or a football game – at least this selfish act has some social benefits.

I am blogging every day for UNICEF – check out the campaign here.

Hanks for reading.






In search of ethical banking

My husband and I care about where we put our cash and look for a well rounded bank – one that invests ethically and supports social enterprises, charities etc. While the service it offers and interest rate is important, just as important to us is how the bank operates from an ethical perspective. I don’t think we are alone in seeking this. So, a few years ago we started banking with Smile and the Co-Operative. They have provided us a with a very good service and we have no complaints. However, recently, there has been media coverage of the decision by the Co-Op to pull-out of the bank branch deal with Lloyds. This caused significant media commentary hinting “Does this mark the end of retail banking for the Co-Op?”.

Then my father-in-law (who used to work in banking before he retired early on  handsome sum….although less handsome thanks to Equitable Life), mentioned that we may need to consider banking elsewhere because “the Co-Op’s gilt bonds” (or something like that) “are not good”. “Why don’t you try HSBC?”. Pfft to that – don’t like HSBC’s significant profits and question where they go. However, HSBC’s former Chief is taking over the helm at the Co-op to help them out so hopefully this is just a minor wobble.

We also received an email from Smile to let us know where we stand on compensation claims. We asked ourselves “Why are they sending that to us now off the back of the media coverage?”. So we are tempted to hedge our bets and open up another account with an ethical bank and are currently researching the best one. These banks only invest money in like-minded green or ethical organisations (charities/ social enterprises/ community businesses etc). They don’t support companies that are in to animal testing; arms provision; fossil fuels etc. Hopefully the banking sector will sit up and listen to the growing trend of customers choosing banks for green and ethical reasons – check out the Move Your Money campaign for more info. Also check out The Guardian’s list of ethical banks here.

I am also making blogs more ethical by running this fundraising blog – I hope through each blog post to raise £1 for Unicef. If you are able to support the campaign please visit my page on Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.

Primal scream therapy on a sunday


Well, that’s slightly better. 

This is the list in my head today:

Weather is shit, kid won’t sleep, hubby knackered and frustrated all at the same time, other kid has a zillion and one things to do for school, dresses to sort out, wigs to sort out, a bow and arrow, medieval fayre food, talent contest to compete in, rehearsals, dogs need walking and today just need to get out of the f*****in house even if it does mean battling with wind and rain while getting children in and out of buggies and cars just to meander aimlessly round lifeless, soulless retail parks to window shop kitchens, tiles, gadgets and then end up buying 2 junior pillows, a towel and a birthday card.

But what really gets my goat is all the shit you read in the papers. While I am busy stressing in my little bubble, war is rampaging in countries that really don’t need any more hindrances to economic stability and development; in the UK cutbacks are causing social issues with consequences that will last for decades and all we are doing is ignoring the issues like we are driving past road-kill – with a glimmer of empathy but not much action…oh and we are also apparently and unwittingly eating horse-meat.

Government and industry need to work together to make the Big Society happen so that we can actually do something for causes in the UK and even abroad. Western society should start switching from consumerism and asset acquisition to taking enjoyment from helping out with the community and making a difference. And finally, lets just hold off on the processed beef products until the food industry can actually work out whether the meat originated from Daisy or Ned. Also – why the fuck are we slaughtering horses in the UK for human consumption anyway? Its bad enough they do it in France. 

That’s my rant over and I’m still frustrated but feeling slightly better from having hammered it out on the keyboard.

I am blogging every day for Unicef to help them protect children around the world. £1 a day from a happy reader would be good and that is what I am aiming for. If you can help please visit my page on the Unicef website.

Thanks for reading. 

Can children in care go on to become Olympians?

I was reading an article today on Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds. Her achievements are an inspiration and the article features quotes from her family and her teachers detailing her strength of character, her competitiveness and her determination. Her mother said that she was always like this from very young and her teacher said that she is the same with her schoolwork.

Paralympians overcome physical scars to achieve their goals. What about people who have deep-seated emotional scars from a childhood that was far from perfect? Children who were forced to be independent and lead their own lives in order to survive from a very young age. Children in care have inconsistent emotional support and most of them have attachment disorders (they are incapable of forming bonds with parental figures because of abuse suffered earlier in life). If you were born determined and competitive does this stay with you despite a crap mum and dad who can barely feed you, let alone support your personal ambitions?

I read a column by Guardian journalist Lucy Mangan the other weekend that touched on the inequality in standards of education. More specifically, the percentage of privately educated children that go on to Oxbridge and Russell group universities. She quite rightly argued that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to educational inequality. There are children born into a world of domestic violence and abuse. Many just don’t have their most basic needs met, such as a bed to sleep on, a meal every day, a book read and are left to fend for themselves until social services are called in. Having gone through the first four years of life existing in this way can you imagine what these children must go through when they start school for the first time? As Lucy put in her column, these children are exhausted before their education has just begun because they have been too busy trying to survive the hell that they have been born into. That is the real inequality. They haven’t even got a chance in the first place.

The Olympics and Paralympics aims to inspire a generation and I wonder about the generation growing up in the care system  who have been watching the games? They may have been battered by their circumstances but do they have the strength to pull through and realise their ambitions? I would be interested to know of any athletes who have made it despite their childhood experiences growing up in care. Can you be born determined and still achieve despite suffering from attachment disorder? Adoption UK has a really good online animation – The Wall – that explains how abuse and neglect in a child’s early years can cause attachment disorder and other psychological conditions. Strength of mind overcomes physical barriers but does it work vice versa?

I hope you enjoyed this blog. If so please donate £1 to Unicef – the whole reason for my daily blog to combat child poverty and neglect worldwide. I am still hunting my first donation – so if you do donate you will be the first and I will thank you in my next blog. (the money raised so far is through the fee I pay to Unicef for missed blog days).

Thanx for reading.