Thursday, 26 April 2012

Word up.

Word of the day:

Splendid.



Use it. You will automatically sound a bit more posh. 


Here are some ways you can use splendid today and people will automatically think you are that touch classier than you really are.


"That was a splendid lunch. What a splendid idea."


So many people get excited about the new words going into the English language; text talk, slang speak, tweenage twang.


NOT I.


I am excited about the words we used to use. Words we need to bring back.


My favourite words at the moment include:


1. Furtle. Verb To furtle. Noun. Furtle
Example. Have a furtle in your handbag and see if you can find it.


2. Codswallop. Not even in the thesaurus.
Example. That's a pile of old codswallop. Or simply use it as an exclamation. Codswallop!  (when you have split your coffee).


3. Marvellous. See splendid. It's a marvellous word. Use it more often. Get your tongue wrapped round the syllables.


4. Giddy. I'm feeling giddy. Giddy as a kipper.


5. Tittybottlish. I'm feeling tittybottlish. It means I've come over all strange, a bit wobbly, not quite myself.


These words are indeed splendid, magnificent in fact. 


Far better than today's inventions. In fact I would go as far as to say they are well sic and the youth of today should be weljel of our beautiful emotive old school words.


Go use them with pride.


Now.


Go on.



Monday, 23 April 2012

Kitchen secrets

Family and friends found here


Last weekend was the official friends and family birthday party for my very nearly ten year old.

Twice a year I open the house up (there's also tours of the west wing on bank holidays) and throw an afternoon shin dig. The first one is just before Christmas and it's always mulled wine and mince pies.

The second is around the nearly 10 year old's birthday. The weather is always nice (I specifically order that) and the 'garden party' culminates in a crazed four to five hours where grown-ups eat food, drink wine and small things run like crazed loons in the garden and around the house.



The garden party - when I say garden party, I actually mean I open the french doors onto the square of grass and decking that can be called a garden and hope for the best.

Planning for this event is not something I plan.

It usually involves:

1. Small thing announces to a few friends when the party is planned

2. I frantically check the calendar

3. I send out text to family saying come one over

4. I meet various friends and say come on over

5. Small things randomly invite friends and say come on over

6. I mention it to the neighbours and say come on over

7. I take no notice of who can and can't come and make no note of numbers

8. The morning of the event I spring into action and muster up various dishes
(This year I actually made a chilli the day before as I had sensibly planned to undertake a car boot sale the morning of the party.)

9. On the day, everyone arrives (late) and leaves (late)

10. All conversation takes place in the kitchen (with the exception of a few men folk who can be found discussing football in the garden).

You generally can't move in the kitchen, it's full t'brim of people. People catching up, chatting away, discussing the state of school, the country, the latest relationship, pregnancy, marriage and/or divorce. Pass-the-baby, that well-known game, is played well and wine is consumed.

I have three rooms downstairs; living room, play room and kitchen and everyone still stays in the kitchen. The hub of my home.

All important conversations take place in my kitchen, news is consumed in the kitchen and issues debated (and sometimes resolved).

There's only been one real disaster at one of the bi-annual events. This occurred when various adults had strangely strayed into the living room and then shouting was heard from the bathroom.

A small thing (she was three at the time) had managed to lock herself in the bathroom. At this particular event (it was a Christmas gathering) the grown-ups were all pretty laid back (drunk) as we tried to encourage the three year old small thing to open the bathroom door. It was not successful. The other small things got quite stressed whilst the grown-ups got the giggles (drunk). Luckily trauma was averted as one of the dads (also a fireman) successfully broke the door to save the child (who incidentally was happily playing with the two boats and some bath crayons she had found).

The difference at this occasion, people had strayed away from the kitchen. People were in the living room.

We learnt a  lesson from the bathroom incident.

We should stay in the kitchen. (you can't hear if anyone is locked in the bathroom from there).

Monday, 16 April 2012

Where has Judy Blume gone?

A lesson learnt

I've been a parent for nearly ten years. 


When I had been in my 'career' for ten years, I pretty much knew what I was doing. I knew how the world of work worked, I knew the tools of my trade.

After ten years as a parent, I still often find myself completely lost. 


And this weekend was no exception. This weekend, I found myself floundering in unchartered territory, feeling my way through the fog of parenting with all the skills of someone who had never met a child before let alone been parenting for a decade.


My story is a classic tale, a tale as old as time and one that every parent must greet with some apprehension. And one I have been putting off.


Just when do you talk about 'growing up' to your small things. It appears I left it too late after curiosity got the better of my nearly ten year old - and the internet proved to be an all too willing cat.


The world of technology - one I embrace - this weekend became the big bad world of technology  where information is just too readily available and of course unfiltered and left me craving for the good old days of Judy Blume.


When I was growing up 'back in the day,' when me and my friends wanted to know about romance and sex we had Jackie magazine.  We could imagine what a relationship was like because there was a giant speech bubble explaining what the boy wanted from the girl. Then when we really wanted to know about sex we simply read Forever by Judy Blume. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forever..._(novel)


The romance, the power of words (combined with imagination) and of course the introduction of Ralph into our lives allowed our innocent (ish) minds to imagine relationships of the future.


Forever was passed from friend to friend, read under bed clothes with a torch and provided core conversation territories for us girls for many an hour (well many days, well years possibly).  


Fast forward 30 years and it doesn't seem quite as easy to ensure that my nearly ten year old learns about romance the same way I did. 


Fast forward 30 years and the joys of school-based sex education is on the curriculum. 


This weekend my nearly ten year old decided (with her mate) she wanted to research a 'real live snogg' (she had of course spelt snog wrong) and she naively put the word sex into google on her iTouch. You can imagine what it threw back.


Luckily for me and thanks to a open relationship with the nearly ten year (not to mention the fact I snatched the iTouch out of her tender grasp and shouted like a fishwife) the disaster whilst still huge was nipped in the bud.


But for me I felt that she was very quickly robbed of her innocence and tonight we had a very long discussion about relationships, what sex actually was and the importance of talking to me. 


This was done with the help of two great books.  This one 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svMO5VXOBYw called 'Mummy laid an egg' made us giggle quite a lot and 'What's Happening to Me' (version for boys and girls) http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?area=S&subcat=SFL&id=1985 allowed me to talk about what will happen to her body as she grows up. 


The reason I am sharing this with you is not because I've got a funny story to tell.


Not tonight.


Tonight, I am sharing this because I have once again learnt a parenting lesson the hard way because I wasn't aware (stupidly) of the locks you can put on iTouch to ensure that your child is protected. I also wasn't aware of the child friendly browsers that can be downloaded so that when curiosity gets the better of the child, she/he still remains (a little) protected.


So if you are a parent, if you are fighting through the fog of new experiences as your child grows and develops you might find the following links useful to help maintain your child's innocence that little bit longer.


Me - I'm off to re-read Forever and remember the good old days when technology didn't make EVERYTHING too easy.


Have a look at the link for a good 'how-to' to add parental controls on Itouch and the safe browser inforrmation http://content.mobicip.com/content/how-setup-parental-controls-iphone-ipod-touch



Monday, 9 April 2012

Bank Holiday Guilt

Lazy days



This morning I promised myself that today would be a lazy day, we would have a full on day of mooching, of doing nothing.


And already at 11.24am I am edgy, I am feeling the need to do something. 


When I say lazy, I have of course already tackled the washing mountain and the dishwasher, made smoothies and had a full on zombie battle with the small things.


They are now settled with the Xbox and I am wondering what happened to that feeling of sloth that I used to wallow in.


Today I have to give myself permission to do nothing and even then it feels wrong. It feels even more wrong on a bank holiday when we should be making the most of the day. 


What happened? Have I just got so used to spinning plates that when they stop spinning my natural reaction is to try and make them spin again - all at the same time. 


And why should I have to give myself permission to do nothing? Why does it feel so wrong to do nothing, to 'chill', to just mooch around the house.


The small things always end the evening with: 'What are we doing tomorrow?' and begin the next day with: 'What are we doing today?' If I say nothing I am met with blank stares. I'm sure in those rose-tinted days of my growing up, my parents didn't make plans to do something every day that we were off. I am sure that we spent many an hour just making up games in the playroom with the aid of the Sindy doll (we were never barbie girls).


Maybe I need to train myself and my small things in the art of doing nothing, in the art of day dreaming, of staring into space and just letting random thoughts take over.


I think it's a disappearing art in today's manic parenting. You start the day thinking of what you need to do, the list you have written and the jobs to be achieved.


Today I am embracing bank holiday mooching and I'm not giving myself permission to have nothing planned. 


I am just not planning anything.


*sits, stares into space, daydreams

Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter dieting secrets

Get your summer body the easy way.

As I sit here happily scoffing one of the small thing's Easter eggs for breakfast, I thought I would share my keep fit secrets with you.


Who needs Davina when you have these little secrets under your belt:


1. Sleep in your gym gear. Your body will believe by the very nature you are wearing your gym gear that you are exercising and will therefore burn additional calories as you dream a little dream. 


Note: you must also wear your trainers so your feet believe you are running through the night.


2. Watch exercise DVDs - the harder the better. I always find that Davinas are indeed the ultimate in exercise hell. By watching these videos alone you will burn fat. 


Note: if you tap your toe to the music = extra calories.


3. Go to the gym. For a coffee. The mere act of walking into a place of exercise counts as exercise. By walking into the gym and meeting a friend for a coffee (in your gym gear) you will burn calories. What's the point of meeting in a local coffee shop when you know a coffee in the gym will result in weight loss!


4. Read recipes to help you lose weight. As you are eating the third Easter egg, it always helps if you flick through weight loss magazines reading and planning those recipes you would make if you could be bothered planning your food diary for the next 10 years.


5. Wine tea. Now this is really the best secret of them all. Substitute your final meal of the day with a bottle of wine. Simple, easy weight loss.


Now I have given away my secrets for weight loss success I'm off to find another Easter egg - in my trainers.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Spinning Plates

Spinning plates

I spend my life spinning plates, jumping from one plate to another trying to keep them in the air. As I am sure most people do. In fact, at the risk of alienating people, as I am sure most mums do.


Many is the week that I end it with a to do list that not only includes the jobs I need to finish for work but also the jobs I need to start as a mum. Not to mention the whole household jobs (my front door has needed painting for two years).


I sometimes feel like weekends are about ticking boxes - mainly in the mum box. 


Be good mum, drink wine, play with small things, drink wine, see friends, drink wine, ferry small things to sporting activities, then drink wine and so it goes on.


And then there is the odd weekend when it all just comes together. The perfect weekend culminating in the perfect Sunday.


This weekend was my perfect weekend.


And the reason it's been a perfect weekend is simply because I feel like I have been good mum without having to think about ticking any boxes. In fact I haven't done much thunking all weekend.


The washing basket is still full, the ironing mountain is still high (not that I do that anyway) and the dentist appointments still need to be made but this weekend has just worked.


It started on Friday evening with an impromptu night out with a couple of girlfriends putting the world to rights over a bottle of Shiraz and some tapas. Saturday was all about some quality time with the nearly 10 year old and her inaugural concert involving JLS and thousands of screaming girls.


A lie-in on Sunday followed by a netball match where the nearly 10 year old got 'man of the match' has been followed by the arrival of my cousins and their little ones. The afternoon - an afternoon of house wrecking for the small things and gossip and catch up for the grown-ups.


The french doors were open, a tent was erected (sort of) in the garden and the Sunday dinner was inhaled. And this was all followed up by a glass of wine over the garden fence with the neighbours. 


The small things are now in the land of nod and I am at one with the couch. 


The best bit of this weekend - I don't feel like I have ticked any boxes.


I don't feel like I have done something I had to to keep the plates spinning. I just did.


The weekend just happened and I am content.


Here's to many more weekends like this.