Wednesday, 7 October 2015

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

The twins turned six this last weekend.

Picture the scene (well, actually you don't have to because there's a picture below)...

Two brand new scooters which, by the way, were not cheap! Cards and balloons.

You can ignore the fact that we didn't bother wrapping them, how do you wrap a scooter anyway?

The ingredients for a fantastic birthday surprise you would think?

This is the moment that they both saw their (much anticipated) new scooters...

Ah, note the look of joy on one child's face while the other dissolves into tears.

The reason?  He said he wanted a scooter for Christmas.  Not his birthday.  Which is sooner.


Twins - total proof that you can't please all of the people all of the time.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Schools could win £1,500 for their breakfast club!

It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I always make sure my children all set off for school having had theirs.  

With a potential return to work on the cards for me I have been thinking about the breakfast clubs that are run at school as an alternative, as I don't want my children to miss out on this important meal before they start the school day.

85 per cent of schools in the UK have a Breakfast Club which gives schoolchildren the opportunity to get something to eat in the morning so they go into the classroom with a full tummy and ready to learn.

The Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Awards recognises these great clubs that are running every morning across the UK and the people that make them happen.

Did you know that schools could win up to £1,500 and other great prizes for their pre-school club by entering the Kellogg's national Breakfast Club Awards?

A specialist panel of experts has been hand-picked to judge the awards and winner and runners up will be announced via a web broadcast on 9 November, by the star of Educating Yorkshire, Matt Burton.

Each winning school will receive £1,500 for its Breakfast Club, with runners up winning £500 and the 2015 Breakfast Club Awards Grand Winner receiving £2,000. Winners will also be invited to attend an awards ceremony in The Houses of Parliament.

Tonnes of other prizes will be given away too including George ASDA school uniforms and Hasbro Gaming Bundles for winners and runners up.

Lindsay Graham, School Food and Health Advisor said: “I am delighted to help judge the 2015 Breakfast Club Awards. The contribution of Breakfast Clubs to children’s education is tremendous. They offer a great start to the school day with a good breakfast which helps contribute to attendance, wellbeing, concentration and achievement, all being vital components of attainment.”

“They support working parents, feed hungry children, offer opportunities to extend informal learning with activities and socialisation. I am really looking forward to seeing this year’s entries and would encourage schools and community groups to enter and share their stories about their Breakfast Clubs.”

Kellogg’s Breakfast Club Awards spokesperson Alison Last said: “We’re pleased to announce the return of these awards. Not only do Breakfast Clubs provide children with a friendly and relaxed environment in the morning, but they also provide a lifeline for many parents who may not be able to work without the ability to drop their children off at school a little earlier.”

“This year we’re asking schools to nominate their club for our Breakfast Club Awards, which hope to find the best clubs in the country.”

Kellogg’s supports 2,500 breakfast clubs across the UK with training, cereal donations and funding so that schools can run a sustainable pre-school club.

To find out more about each of the categories and to submit a Breakfast Club entry, visit: Entries close on 12th October.

This is a collaborative post.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The seven ages of the nit checking parent

So we're back into the swing of the new Autumn term at school now.

If your children's school is anything like ours is then this also means that you will have probably had at least one letter telling you of a head lice infestation in your child's class.  Joy.

How you deal with this will depend on a number of things, but in my experience it largely comes down to how much of a nit checking veteran you are.

Welcome to the seven ages of the nit checking parent.

1.  The 'Be Prepared Pre-School Parent'

"We just think we ought to let you know, there's been a case of head lice at the pre-school" says the Manager when you go for pick up one day.  So on the way home, before you have even checked your own child's head, you pop into the chemist and buy the most expensive head lice treatment they have (nothing but the best and most effective treatment will do), and a nit comb.  Just in case.

Of course, none of your kids ever get nits in the whole of the combined time they are at that pre-school.  The nit treatment goes out of date eventually (what a waste of money).  You keep the comb though, so you are always prepared.

2.  The 'Slightly Smug (because we've never had nits) Parent'

You've survived the first year of primary school with not so much as an itchy head from your child.  "What's all the fuss about?" you think. Obviously the parents whose children have nits are doing something really wrong aren't they?

You, on the other hand, are clearly doing everything right, and so you stop remembering to check your kids' hair and relax...


Big black blood sucking creepy crawlies on their scalp!!!!  WTAF????

How on earth has that happened?

You feel a bit sick as you realise that the infested child also spent the last two hours after school sat on the sofa with their two smaller siblings.  They won't all have them though, will they?

You hurriedly phone your husband and tell him that he needs to go to the chemists on the way home or there may be a divorce "because b**tard nits have infected everyone, buy BIG bottles of the strongest stuff they have" you yell.  You also need a new nit comb because the one you bought three years ago is actually a load of rubbish and couldn't remove nits from hair even if they were the size of boulders.

Bath time looms...

You can't put it off.  One by one you check each child's head.  You shriek and grimace as every stroke of the comb yields a crop of eggs and a few dozen adult lice.  It takes hours to complete this task.  Your hands are numb. Your head... feels a bit itchy?

After a further hour and with greasy hair (that head lice treatment won't wash out no matter how hard you try) you survey the nit slaying devastation in your bathroom and vow that this will be the last time you get caught out like this.

4.  The 'Paranoid Parent'

Every week for the next six months you check everyone's hair, even your own.  You also know every trick in the book to ward away lice (you tie your daughter's hair back for school and cover everyone in a solution of tea tree before they leave the house), and any child that dares itch their head in your presence gets frogmarched to the the bathroom for immediate nit inspection.

You also own the Rolls Royce of nit treatment - the Nitty Gritty Comb.

Did you just scratch your head?

5.  The 'This is just how it is Parent'

The letter comes home, you crack out the conditioner and the comb and get on with checking through everyone's hair.  You do this week in, week out for months.  You spend so much time with a nit comb in your hand that you briefly consider having it grafted into your knuckles like some sort of lice destroying Wolverine.  This is just how it is with Primary School aged children isn't it?

6.  The 'Why can't other High School Parents check their kids hair, FFS! Parent'

Really?  Why can't they?  You feel like you are the only parent in the whole of Year 7 checking your child's head every week.  Always there are nits.  It must be someone they are sitting next to in class.  Can nobody else be bothered to check their kids anymore?

When will this madness end?

7.  The 'Voice of Experience Parent'

"It is every parent's responsibility to check their child's hair weekly" says the letter from the headteacher.  You don't even need to read it anyway.  You know the drill so well that each child gets a perfunctory check in the bath every night already.  Nits are occasionally found and quickly dispatched without worry.  You know that this is just something that you need to keep on top of because you have been through this with all your older children.  Your last child is now in Reception and the end might just be in sight but probably not.

Either way you let all of the new to the school parents with Reception age children know about the need for a Nitty Gritty comb and a big bottle of conditioner.  You are a nit combing expert now.  At least, that's how it feels to you.

Of course, we don't really get nits here these days... don't be daft, this blog is all about me, I am all of these parents and this is my most dreaded time of the year, stupid bloody things.

But it just goes to show, nobody is ever safe from the horrors of head lice until their kids leave home.

But one day, one day I'll reach my nirvana - no more nits... *itches head*

Bleurgh... B***ards.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Mid-life Mum Crisis

"Life begins at 40", they said.  "Your forties will be fabulous".

I was optimistic at first.  After all, my children are not babies anymore, they are all in school.  It's time I did something new with my life.

But lately I feel as if I'm stuck swinging between 'old before my time' and 'mildly ridiculous for a woman of my age'.

I've come to a conclusion.  The people who tell you how great life is when you reach your fortieth birthday are liers and they probably don't have children.  Smug bastards.

I was really looking forward to my new fabulous life as well.

Instead I think I might be having a mid-life mum crisis of some sort.  I don't know, but these are my reasons...

1.  Earlier this year I took up running.  Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have never liked to exercise. But now I run, three times a week (dressed head to toe in black, like some sort of middle aged ninja).  I run because its good for you isn't it?  I run because I worry about getting older and fatter.  I run because everyone else my age is doing it and I run because I enjoy it, I think?

If I was still in my twenties I would have bought all the gear, run for about two weeks and then given it up as a bad idea.  In my thirties I would have just scoffed at the thought of even doing exercise - I didn't need to do that, I was invincible (plus who has the time when you have children?).  But now I must do it.  Because I have a family and I don't want to die early of being fat.  So sensible and yet so not me.

2.  When I run I listen to music.  I even mouth the lyrics and sometimes do jazz hands at passing motorists.  This is definitely not normal for any woman (let alone one in her forties).  One of the songs currently on my running playlist is Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.  (I'm so down with the kids.)  They sing:

Bang bang there goes your heart (I know ya want it)
Back, back seat of my car (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)

This is the back seat of my car:

The back seat of my car, which is nothing like Jessie J's.

The only things that anybody takes to the back seat of my car are tantrums.  Nothing else is happening there.  Nor is it ever likely to.  I am not in my twenties anymore FGS.  I have children now.  Why am I listening to this?  Ridiculous.

3.  I have recently given up gin and wine (and all booze, FML).  This may be a major revelation to some, especially as I have mentioned my love of gin hundreds of times on this blog since I started writing it.  Why have I done this?  I worry.  I worry about how much I drink and how it is affecting me.  I worry that if I drink, I won't be able to do things like walk in a straight line go running the next day.  Which I obviously enjoy... and I worry that if I can't run I'll get fatter.  If I get fatter what will my children think of me?  What sort of message does this give them?  Worry, worry, worry.  No gin for me.

4.  I get inordinately excitable about daytime TV.  Then I send tweets to that effect and sometimes I write blog posts too.  Just the other day I sent this tweet:

The Judge Rinder people favourited this.  I was so happy...

Why on earth am I so excited about this?

I'll tell you why.  15 years of children's television.  That's why.

Now I finally have the television to myself in the daytime I don't even know what to watch.  So I watch lighthearted programmes that make me laugh and fit in with the times of the school run.  I like it.  It's kind of like the grown up version of watching CBeebies.  Ultimately having children has ruined my ability to concentrate on anything more complex than daytime TV.

And I also like to wear slippers and use the ad breaks to make myself a nice cup of tea to drink while watching.  Like an old person.

5.  Conversely I have also become inexplicably drawn to watching 'Tattoo Fixers' on E4.  I am 41 years old and have never had or wanted to have a tattoo.  I don't even like the majority of the ones I see on other people all that much.  But?  I love this programme such a lot.  I love it because, well I'm not really sure why. There's just something about watching it that sets this middle aged mum's heart a flutter.  Maybe its the part of my own youth that I never had or possibly the pretty male tattooists (ahem)?  It just seems to suck me in every time it's on.  And, it's on after my bedtime.  See, I don't even know myself any more...

6.  I had what can only be described as a hot flush when One Direction were on TV the other night.  I said to my husband "Is it hot in here, or is it me?".  It was me.

7.  My wardrobe.  I have started shopping in White Stuff which I thought was a bit more edgy for the average mum than M&S.  This is not edgy.  It is old.  I know this because Mumsnet told me so.  And they know everything.

8.  I like looking at crafty things on Pinterest with a view to buying/attempting them myself.  This is lovely but I cannot do craft.  I also have children who still break things a lot.

9.  I still get misty eyed at the sight of a branch of Mothercare.  Even though I am done with babies.  But something always pulls me back, momentarily.  Like I suddenly think that it would be a really good idea to do it all over again.  As if I could.  In my forties.  Loon.

10.  I harbour a small fantasy of saving up for a soft top car one day, just to have "for fun".  Let's just be clear that whenever I drive anywhere there are usually at least three or four other people with me (also see the picture of the back seat above).  We never go anywhere that could be described as "fun".  This is unlikely to change until they all leave home.

Fabulous forties?  Or, just the realisation that the time warp of looking after small children that I've been in for the past 15 years has suddenly spat me out, feeling old before my time but still young at heart, with not a clue what is supposed to happen next?

The thing is I'm kind of enjoying it really.

Perhaps everyone who told me my forties would be great were right?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to go and tweet the Tattoo Fixers and tell them how much I love them...

I may have another hot flush too ;)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

New Teen Delivery - a guide

Thank you for your recent order for your new teen, girl model (early years).

As an existing customer of ours we understand that you are already familiar with some of our other teen models, however the following guide will address the additional features specific to your new teen, girl model.

Packaging and optional extras

Your new teen (girl model) has been packaged with the optional pierced ear attachments.  Moving on from the pre-teen years, this model is now proficient in the removal and replacing of ear adornments, however owners may notice that when the updated model has been lying down for some time that small parts may become detached temporarily.  Your new teen may become distressed at this, however missing parts can usually be found tangled in your teen's hair.  Alternatively replacement earring backs can be purchased from any branch of Claire's Accessories.


Your teen, girl model (early years) has been issued with a varying temperament.  The fluctuations of which can be anybody's guess.  Users may note that removal of internet based devices can be a trigger for extreme anger in this model.  Because of this, we advise that the mobile phone interface should be plugged in at all times and credit topped up just in case.

Hand-me-down Moan Chip

This feature allows the teen to communicate with users in a unique manner regarding their disapproval of being given a P.E top previously owned by an existing teen model.  This also works with barely worn Converse trainers and other outgrown items of perfectly acceptable clothing.  Users should be aware that the usual command, "I'm not made of money, you know!" has little effect on this model.  This is especially so when they are schooled alongside 'deluxe' teen girl models.

Should you wish, you may upgrade to our 'deluxe' model at any time, but it will cost you.

Interaction with existing teen units and users

Very little spontaneous interaction can be expected between this model and any other models that you may own.  We have added a handy feature that allows any teen units from the same household to track each other on the way home from High School, so as to avoid crossing each other's paths and jeopardising this.  There is a standard 10 second delay between the arrival home of one unit and another.  This setting cannot be altered.

Users should also be aware that following your teen, girl model (early years) on any form of social media is strictly forbidden.  Doing this will result in a 'blank screen of death' on your new teen.  You can try rebooting and unfollowing but this usually has no effect.

Never do this...

Foreign Language Chip

Your new teen has been fitted with the foreign language chip (street version) to enable them to interact with similar models while at school/using social media.  Users cannot however, enjoy interacting with their new teen using similar language (see 'blank screen of death' in the interaction section above).

In particular, use of the following words are ill advised:


No, we have no idea what these mean either.  It may be some sort of binary code anomaly and our programmers are currently working on a fix for this (estimated to be available to download during the start of the adult years).

We hope that you continue to enjoy your new teen, girl model (early years) and once again thank you for choosing this model.

We look forward to your continued custom.

Teenagers Inc. (est.  2013)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tidy your room!

Regular readers may remember the war of attrition ongoing struggle that I have with my two older boys and their bedroom, which for the most part resembles a post apocalyptic Legoland crossed with some sort of teenage grunge den (it isn't pleasant).

Over the weekend, I tried to reason with the pre-teen in that I told him that I would be vacuuming up the Lego myself if he couldn't be bothered to put it away properly.  The carpet in there hasn't been vacuumed for about a month owing to the lake of small multicoloured bricks and assorted models strewn across it, never mind the teenager's floordrobe.  It could really do with a proper clean, but baby steps I say.

Anyway, he assured me that he had tidied at least half of it on Saturday, which was a start I suppose.

Armed with my Dyson, on Monday morning I proceeded to attempt the vacuuming of the now free floor space.

When I said tidy the room, what I actually meant was put things away, not push it all underneath the furniture...

Oh, for the love of God...

*gives up*


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Five reasons why I'd like to be Mummy Pig

I reached a defining moment in my parenting career earlier this week.

It wasn't the usual sort of defining moment, like witnessing first steps or applying for a place at school (although as it goes, I've done that one this week too).

No.  This week I finally unfollowed Peppa Pig on Facebook.

It's been a while since the twins watched Milkshake in the mornings and to be honest, having the porcine one appearing in my news feed every day had become a bit annoying.  It was time.

But, as I clicked the unlike button it made me a little sad.  Sad, because despite how irritating I've found Peppa and friends there is also a character who I've admired and come to envy.

She puts up with Peppa's whining without going totally insane, and George's tantrums and despite being married to Daddy Pig she always seems so cheerful.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be just like Mummy Pig?

Here are five reasons why her life is quite a bit nicer than mine:

1.  There is NO MINECRAFT in the world of Mummy Pig.  For anyone that does not have to deal with this computer gaming phenomenon on a daily basis (and my god you are lucky) Minecraft is like crack cocaine for school aged children.  It is also 99% of the reasons why my children argue.  But Mummy Pig is lucky.  Her life does not contain Minecraft.  Instead Peppa and George play something called Happy Mrs Chicken, where a chicken lays eggs on the computer screen.  This is good, because nobody can kill each other or get blown up by a creeper or whatever.  AND, they all laugh while playing it.

2.  I wash at least one load of clothes a day.  Mummy Pig hardly ever seems to do any laundry (maybe its something to do with the fact that she once dyed Daddy Pig's football shirt pink).  Everyone wears the same outfit day after day and so no huge washing pile ever gets generated.  I'd really like to know how she managed to persuade everyone that this was a good idea.  I also wonder how she's going to cope once Peppa hits the teenage years (and maybe gets a piggy boyfriend) - teenage girls change their outfits every five minutes, never mind when they are trying to impress a boy!  But for now I'm just really envious of her lack of washing pile.

3.  My twins share a bedroom.  Peppa and George share a bedroom.  At no point in the time I've had to watch Peppa Pig have I seen the two siblings fight over sharing.  I have also never heard Mummy Pig yell at them tell them to be quiet or stop hitting/biting/kicking each other or hiding each other's things. *sigh*

4.  Mummy Pig has no Facebook to distract her (which begs the question, why is her daughter taking over mine?).  She never has to put up with Mrs Rabbit telling the world how Rebecca has "Star of the Week" at school again, or Mrs Sheep adding 872 photos of the school picnic to the duck pond when she went as a parent helper.  This is probably a good thing, bearing in mind that whiny annoying Peppa is never likely to get "Star of the Week" anyway.  Mummy Pig at least doesn't have to be reminded of how perfect everyone else's kids are and what a terrible parent she is for never volunteering on school trips.  I would quite like this myself.

5.  Mummy Pig has amazingly thin legs.  It is probably because of all the hills where she lives.  Walking up and down them must be such good exercise.  I live in Cheshire (which has a plain, nice and flat you see).  *looks down at wobbly thighs*

I won't miss Peppa, but Mummy Pig I will always have a soft spot for.

On the whole I think I'd quite like to swap places with her for a bit.

Apart from one reason.

I couldn't ever give up bacon sandwiches.