Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Yes, I know, its goodbye to Blogger and it's clunky interface and not very web friendly layouts, and hello to wordpress.

You can still find my opinions on life and everything else over on the new site at

I will keep this one open for a while but if you follow, do so over at the new site. All the old posts are there and look out for some new ones.

Good bye Blogspot. Its been epic :)


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dear Mini: With These Teddies, You Are Taking the Piss.

This is kind of a post for Mini, but as I'm kind like that, I thought I'd share it with you all readers. Think of it as a support group for parent's afflicted with bears as I am.

No, these are not my bears, they are Mini's bears. There are fecking loads of the buggers. Or to be specific, its not just teddy bears. We have Hello Kitty. We have Beanie Bears. We have soft bodied dolls.

She has also stolen my childhood bear, Mrs Ted. As well as the three Mothers Day bears she has picked, supposedly for me, but which were pinched within five minutes of being handed over.

It takes me 20 minutes to remove and replace said Bed Bears (as this is just the bears etc on there, I'm not even sure how many are in the toy box under her bed, along with various variations of Barbie, Monster High and Bratz). If I fail to put them back in their "section" (I kid you not), she knows and moans at you whilst removing them to put them back.

Yes, they have categories and sections.

We have the Hello Kitty section. The Cat section. The Teddy White Family (not a section and sounding like a minor furry version of the mafia).

The one that makes me laugh the most is a recent variation. She got around £10 in birthday money, and a few days after, we popped into one of our local second hand shops. It was there that she spotted something she has coveted, and pleaded for, for months.

A Baby Oleg from Compare the Meerkat.

At one point, when we didn't have transport, she tried to explain why it was perfectly reasonable for me to make up a car to purchase Insurance for simply so she could get a Baby Oleg. She saw no reason why this was completely ridiculous.

Seeing a brand spanking new one, in its box for £4 when she had £10 of her own made her jump up and down with glee.

However, this has started the newest "section" down to Oleg's cot/box. The "Under ones" section.
Just a small selection of the bears.......

Included with Oleg is a George Pig, a Me to You Bear with her initial, amongst other little bears. They must stay in their box and they go every where with her indoors.  

I know later I will get told off as I changed her bedding. And I accidentally managed to knock the buggers out the box and I have no idea what bears go in bar Oleg and George.

So, despite me putting clean bedding on, that is new One Direction set, and I've put all the books back on the shelf that Littlest knocked off, she will not notice that, she will notice the bears being  in the wrong place.

How long does this bear nonsense last?  The only bears I had on my bed were the aforementioned Mrs Ted (a mothercare bear given to me a day after my birth in 1982), an orange bear I think I was given by a cousin and have no idea what happened to, and Roland Rat.

Littlest is just as mad about dogs.

Save me from the scourge of bears.

One more bear and neither child will fit in their bloody beds, and if they think they're pitching up in mine, they can take their bears and sleep in the shed.
These are all the ones she wanted to take to her Aunts for ONE NIGHT!

Littlest and his Dog collection. Ridiculous
I think I may need to slyly lose some of the furry critters, especially as Boot Fair season is upon us and will no doubt bring in another influx.

No more bears. Just no. Or dogs. Or Hello Kittys. Enough children!

(Looks shiftily at the enormous pile of records I bought in the last two days and denies all knowledge of hoarding responsibility).

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Actually Those Who Knock People with Mental Health Issues Should Wear Wrist Bands?

......You know, so we can throw shade on the idiots when we see them come by?

A story in the Independent  today proves once again just how out of touch the Tories really are with potential voters. Despite increases in the amount of people aged 15-34 suffering from Mental Health Issues, one of their Parliamentary Candidates has voiced that those with Mental Health Issues- any and all- should be made to wear a wrist band.

Yes, you read that right. Wrist bands. For something you can't be blamed for.

Chamali Fernando is now facing calls to resign or be sacked- and quite right too.

It is already hard enough for those with these issues to access help, and to come forward and admit there is an issue. I should know, as I've suffered depression in the past and, as a result of being too scared to admit I was struggling, suffered a Nervous Breakdown after Littlest was born.

According to this abhorrent waste of air, wearing colour coded wrist bands would help Police better identify those suffering. She says this as a seemingly intelligent Barrister.

Does she not realise the full ramifications of this? Firstly, straight away, you wear a wrist band and sadly we live in a country that has prejudice fuckwits in it who already make life hell for your race, your sex, and your size, not to mention your orientation.

You could end up losing your job as no doubt employers wont want to employ someone who may need time off if they relapse.

As for the Police, not to be rude, but no doubt if you have a crime committed and there is someone with a wrist band on marking them out, they are immediately going to heap blame regardless of whether the wearer is responsible.

The most worrying effect is whether those who are yet to be diagnosed will go and get help at all for fear of wearing a wrist band. Then, those who really are a risk- to themselves or to others if untreated- will have that potential risk more likely.

There is already enough stigma around depression and similar illnesses. Why make people wear a band to mark them out for scorn?  I fail to see what it will achieve for the wearer?

The thing that makes me sick is there are plenty of groups who I would prefer to be marked out for my safety. How about paedophiles wearing a wrist band to warn me if they happen to be in my area? Or rapists?

Suffering a mental health issue is not a crime. Its not a weakness. Its a bloody awful illness that not one sufferer would wish on themselves or anyone else.

How about putting more effort into de-stigmatizing mental health problems? I'm sure that's a vote winner, right there.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Dear Mini. No, I Am Not Embarrassing (Yet)

As I said in the last post, its my darling daughter's birthday on Friday and her party Saturday. It seems we should be OK with attendees now as we have around 25 kids coming to dance, stuff their faces with food and generally have a good time (well, that's the idea anyway).

With that in mind, I'm baking up a storm in the kitchen, trying to make sure everything is completely allergy OK for Littlest (after all, you don't want to have to call 999 in the middle of a kids party).

I was doing just that for the last hour, aided and abetted by my MP3 player.

At which point, Mini, never shy of telling us what she thinks, caught me in the kitchen dancing to Taylor Swift. Which is only on my MP3 player for walks home with her in the first place.  In my defence its a nice sunny day, all is good so I do tend to sing along to anything that happens to pop up on it when my hands are covered in biscuit batter and I can't skip the song.

If looks could kill, readers, I would be pushing up daisies and my biscuits would be handed round as a teary eyed last hurrah at my wake.

Back in the day (when she was under 6), she would love coming in the kitchen and dancing and singing with me. Not anymore.

According to her strict law, if I dare dance, sing, or horror of horrors (as I did suggest it) twerk, she will never speak to me again, and her name, even worse, will be "mud" at school (I kid you not, her words, not mine).

She flounced out the kitchen and grabbed her iPod to no doubt diva strop up in her room.

Surely, fellow parents, the whole "my parents are so embarrassing" thing is not really meant to rear its ugly "yes you can pay for and organise my party at great cost but please fade into the background pronto" head until she turns 13? Not 8!

Nope, not in our house.

It was the same at the disco, which I stayed at as there were quite a few lovely Mums from school helping out and actually, for a school disco the DJ played some top tunes at the Junior part.

I got death stares, all night. Despite one of the year 6 girls telling her "your Mum can really dance, how cool", I think Mini would have much preferred me to bugger off home and stay there in my slippers.

I'm only 33. I don't even feel like I'm in my 30s (I actually have good excuse for that as I'm constantly asked if I am travelling with a student bus pass). So frankly, I don't consider myself in the OAP, embarrassing parent bracket quite yet.

I think I shall just hide at the party and dance in the corner. Behind a curtain. Quietly.

How about you guys? Do you get told you're embarrassing? How old is your child?

:) Enjoy the sunshine :)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Organising Parties: Pre-Kids and After

Can you believe it, Mini is 8 next Friday. Eight! Where did the time go?

(Although, to be fair, sometimes she acts far older than 8. I have to remind myself that she is so young still).

Thus, after much moaning by Mini discussion by us parents, we decided to have our first party for a birthday since her 5th one.

Its taken three
At the last party. No those aren't very big 5 year olds at the front. 
years to get over that one. The mess, the screaming masses of kids running around and the cost- blimey the cost alone could have paid for a small weekend mini break away from the Brats. Which was frankly what we would have liked to have done directly after said party but no such luck.

However, being that she's still relatively new, we thought that to aid her in the fitting in process we'd throw a kick ass disco and up her cool points. Or at least give me an excuse to go baking mad in the kitchen for the first week of the Easter holidays.

Invites went out at the end of last week, and I did expect a few yays and a few nays quite swiftly as I put my email and mobile number on them and a request for a response. After all, an email costs nothing, and, as with the old school, when we swapped numbers we'd immediately add said Mum or Dad to Whatsapp.

No such luck. We did get a few no answers as some folk (it would appear half of Earley) go away to far flung haunts the minute anyone cracks out the Easter Decorations. We have had a couple of yes votes, mainly though from Littlest's little contingent of friends we've allowed him to invite so he doesn't get too pissed off by the no doubt questionable music that Mini has personally chosen.

So now I'm kind of twiddling my thumbs, not quite knowing how many party bags we need, or how much food. I was going to collar some of the yet to answer lot yesterday but, alas, both the pair of them had succumbed to plague like symptoms so were confined to the sofa.

In desperation, I even group emailed all the rest of the Brownies that she had not had enough invites for to at least up the numbers. Responses thus far? Two. One yes, one no.

It makes me remember that organising a party pre kids was so much more easy and fun.

Before kids, you needed some crisps, perhaps some chicken nibbles from a very cheap box from Iceland, at the most a bit of a pasta salad.

Now, you have cupcakes with obligatory cupcake toppers. Ours are sadly and unforeseeably out of date now being that they feature the original line up of One Direction before Zayn buggered off to go in a, erm, another direction shall we say. If it wasn't bad enough that him leaving made Mini bawl her eyes out (he was her fave that week), they cost me a bloody fiver for 10.

Then you have to make sure as not to offend anyone with certain food groups they don't eat, or poison those with a genuine allergy, like Littlest.

Back in the heady no kids days, the main ingredient of a party, a barbecue or just a Saturday night was a good amount of alcoholic beverages. No one cared what type, if it said Vodka, Lager or Wine, so long as it didn't feature Tesco Value stripes, it was all good.

Now its sugar free, organic, no fizzy, no added shite stuff. Preferably with bits of fruit in it. When I was a kid, no one cared how radioactive it looked, but now they do and folk prefer their kids to keep their teeth intact for as long as possible.

Then there is music. Pre-kids tunes were tunes, the bassier and throbbing the better. Turn it up loud, turn off the lights, Bobs ya Uncle. Party.

Now I have to spend 5 hours going through every single rubbish song that my daughter has liked since age 6. Swearing in music and sexual references are a complete no no. Which you'd think would mean spinning a Pop Party album as they're meant for kids.

Hell no.

It was a good job I checked owing to the amount of use of the words "sex", "fuck" and "shit" amongst others and variations of those that were peppered on these albums. Sesame Street words of the day these were not. One record started with the rallying cry of "Fuck you Muthafucka" shouted at top volume. Lovely.

No one wants to be that Mum who allowed the offspring of other Mums to come home swearing like a docker after their do. So even though the music is enough to bring me (and Littlest) out in a rash, it wont lead to children learning new vocab.

Then we have the hall hire, the disco hire (although we do luckily know a very nice mobile DJ so we do cheat a little on that one) the outfits and the party bags.

The bloody party bags. We didn't have those bastards at parties before Brats. Can you imagine leaving a party as a young, child free adult and being given a party bag (or tat bag as I like to call them).

No such luck with this day and age.

Its not difficult to find stuff to shove in the buggers, in fact God bless Amazon and Job Lots on eBay for saving me cash. Its the stuffing the buggers afterwards. Its a military operation  of checking for anything sharp, anything inappropriate, and do you put sweets in or not? If so, how many and what do you do about allergies and religious food no nos?

See, its a mental minefield.

I can already feel new wrinkles and grey hairs sprouting with every day that passes before this sodding party. And its not even here yet.

I'm off to make 50 soft baps, and find more music.

I'll let you know how it all goes down.....


Monday, 23 March 2015

Dear NHS: Get Your Priorities Straight!

I'm not going to lie. I've had more than my fair share of rubbish treatment from the NHS. I'm not an "NHS basher" far from it, and thank my lucky stars I live in a country where I don't have to pay for most of my treatments.

Just recently though, more and more stories have been popping up in the press regards the use of money, which to the NHS is precious, for vanity surgeries.

Take the shocking admission just this weekend of the at least £330,000 the NHS paid out for laser tattoo removal.

I have a tat which I kind of regret now I'm old enough to know better, but I'm wise enough to know that I should not have been hasty to have it done and that it's my own fault and no one forced me. Hence, if I did go down the route of having it removed, which costs thousands, I should quite rightly foot the bill myself.

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular, with people seeming to go all out to ink their selves until you can barely view actual skin. Not to mention the rafts of people who have a relationship for 5 minutes and get a tattoo as an ode to their significant other only to split up within weeks.

So, why should the NHS pay for these mistakes? Simple answer, they shouldn't.

In fact, anyone having a tattoo should be made to sign a form saying that, should they regret said tattoo, its their legal and financial responsibility to pay to have it removed.

We then hear that a patient who the NHS failed, Ashya King, has now had his Proton Beam therapy in Prague, and is making a great recovery.

Why should children like Ashya have to go abroad for decent levels of care and treatment? Yet other's can fancy a boob job (eg Josie Vile Gibson) or regret a Tattoo and the NHS can't wait to step in and pay out?

Ashya's parent's went through hell, were arrested and accused of neglect for taking the best option, remortgaging their home, and running away. They now look justified as Ashya would have no doubt been significantly effected for life had they not, or worse.

I have had to beg and plead with the NHS before now to help us with Littlest. He is 6 and a half and we still, still, do not have a definite diagnosis of his problems. We are pretty much left to fend for ourselves. Then you have the absolutely amazing Young family from my native Kent who are forced to fund raise and scrape as many pounds together to raise £500,000 to send their daughter Ruby to America for life saving treatment.

How do gastric bands, tattoo removal and boob jobs compare to improving and saving the lives of young children? We have postcode lotteries for IVF and cancer drugs, hospital waiting lists that are an embarrassment, yet we can fund idiots who mess up their own bodies and laugh that the NHS will see them right?

Its a national disgrace.

The NHS should seriously get its priorities straight, and stop wasting money on those who don't deserve it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Is It Just Me: That Wants to See An End to Mum Shaming Over Breastfeeding.....

...And no, not just in the "I breastfed so I am better than you" sense of the word.

I will remind any tits that I have done both- one breastfed child for one whole year (Mini) and one not a hope down to being very premature (Littlest). Again, I can see both sides.

This morning, the press has been full of two breastfeeding related stories.

Firstly, Facebook, who for some time now has played some very double standards over boobie pics which they deemed acceptable (very nice, often tan, impressive norks) and one's it will be shocked by and thus ban you for (breastfeeding norks and those post-cancer).

We have all shouted at them for a long time. At least with the likes of Instagram, all boobies, bouncy nice ones or one with babies attached have been an outright no.

So, finally Facebook have realised that all tits, for the titillation of teenage boys or those used to empower are all good actually. And of course, if you are going to have one's which are there just to perve over, bikini'd or otherwise, you are going to get grief should baby feeding offend you.

Gratuitous Norks :)*

I loved breastfeeding, and I do feel its time it was celebrated for those who do it. Not of course to shove down the throats of those who choose not to, but it's a natural thing and its free and lovely.

Its tiring, of course, and when they get teeth, well, I think that has scarred me mentally and physically for life (at one point I felt I could put a ring through the marks Mini and her sharp little gnashers caused), but its not dirty and rude, and you certainly shouldn't be made to feel like you have to feed in a loo or be cast out of a shop for feeding your wee one.

Then we have story number two which always comes up and always makes me shake my fist.

Some boffins have decided that, after coming back to a set of children who were breastfed or otherwise 30 years ago, they have proof that the longer breastfeeding occurs then the more likely your child is to go on to get a good job and grades (and apparently, no doubt although not voiced, then join Mensa and be less likely to wear a tracksuit and go on Jezza Kyle).

For gawds sake.

Yes, whilst the people you happened to test oh wise boffins, have ended up with careers etc, there are other factors which aren't mentioned. Did they come from upper class backgrounds? Did they go to private school? Were they in a supportive and well off enough to send them through higher education family?

I was breastfed. I didn't go to Uni. I did OK at school but I went to a comprehensive and no doubt there were those who were brighter than me.

Mini was breastfed and she's about in the middle for her peers. She does really well at reading and writing, but she gets  a little intimidated by maths (like me. Nature I feel).

Littlest wasn't breastfed and despite having time off for illness that you'd think would put him at a disadvantage, he's doing exceptionally well and is above average on most subjects.

There is enough pressure on new parent's, especially Mum's to be superhuman. I was made to feel like a failure by a Nurse at Littlest's SCBU for failing to breastfeed. They never gave me medication which would have helped (which I've since found out about but knew nothing about at the time). At a time when I already felt like shit for in my view "failing" to protect him and birth him at  the regular 40 weeks, being made to feel like a double failure didn't help my confidence.

If you breastfeed, great stuff, no matter if you do it once and give up, if you do it for a few months, or a year. If you can't down to health or jobs or any other reasons, then there's no reason why these bloody boffins should make you feel like crap and like your little cherub will fail at life as you've failed to nurse.

I say, dear Boffins, how about concentrate on something worthwhile like curing diseases rather than kicking Mums for no good reason with so called "studies".

Kids are kids. Bring them up right, and they will thrive.

Now let's have an end to this stupid debate.

*Image courtesy of stockimages at

Friday, 30 January 2015

Is It Just Me: Wondering What The Fuss Is About Kim Sears Swearing?

If you've missed the headlines, the lovely fiancee of Andy Murray, Kim Sears was caught by the swing of a camera, swearing at his opponent during a heated match.

So what? I actually think the headlines this morning should be "Young, Attractive Woman Swears on camera".

Seriously, have we got to the point of being back in a 1950s society where the women should be indoors, doing nothing more taxing than a bit of sewing and cooking her hubbies dinner?

Is it wrong to swear in the heat of a moment, as with Kim? No one is exactly sure of what she did say, but she did drop the f bomb at least twice.

She's now facing a massive backlash, with people suggesting she should be banned from the crowd to even suggesting she needs a slap off her other half (oh yes, lets really push the boat out, a woman swears so lets solve it with a bit of domestic violence. Of course).

I say good for her. Why is it still fine to moan about us woman saying words that men say all the time and no one bats an eyelid?

I love a good curse in the right surroundings, in fact, there's nothing better for when you've stood on the third piece of Lego of a morning to make the pain go away than shouting curses at said Lego.

In times of stress, I have been known to go to a quiet spot away from other folk and shout the F word very loud. You can keep your Valium, to me, shouting out an obscenity works for me every time.

Maybe its down to her being posh? Or what's expected of a Wag? I'd rather someone with spirit to match her intended than a dead behind the eyes piece of fluff who is there on looks alone.

Andy himself is a typical Scotsman in that he is direct, and not shy of telling you how he feels, swearing and all. So why should Kim be any different?

I say, good for Kim, you tell them girl!

After all, she was only showing support.

Fuck 'em.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Yes, You Should be Invoiced If You Miss a Party

....With no good reason.

I couldn't help but be quite surprised at the backlash the family involved in this story have received.  If you've not seen it yet,  what happened was that a child was invited to a party at a ski run. He then didn't go- not down to illness, but because he decided to go to his Gran's instead.

Which is fine.

Except instead of being entirely normal about it, and phoning the party's hosts, they didn't bother. In fact, they made no attempt to contact them. Thus, they received an invoice for the amount their child;s ticket cost.

Quite right to!

Anyone who has organised a kids party will know how stressful it is. It takes months to organise even if you just do a small shindig in the garden. There's food to consider (and allergies/dietary requirements), party bags, bouncy castles the whole nine yards.

The invites are the biggest stress and parent's of the invitees don't help. First off, you have to hand them out via teachers so as those not invited don't get upset (and if you don't adopt this method, you are, frankly, mean). Then, you have to wait for the yays and nays. If you get 3 invites back you are lucky. So, you then try and track down Mums and Dads to check whether their child can come.

On the day, the stress doesn't end until the last party bag is handed out and the mess is tidied. As usual, there are always kids who turn up who said no or never answered (in other words, their parent's realise you can be a free babysitter for 2 hours of a Saturday evening and dump their kids last minute), and one's who said yes and then never show up, never phone, nothing.

Its rude!

In the case of Mini's party, our Gerbils died of Face Paint poisoning after being fed a set.

So, yes, when someone doesn't show, doesn't call, it is annoying. Of course, if you have organised an outside party, as with this family, you still have to cough up the cash should people not show up. Hence the invites in the first place.

I don't buy the stories from the supposedly shocked parent's that they couldn't tell the hosts. For starters, they say that the Dad forgot he was taking their daughter to Grans for the day, but yet the boy's mother surely could have taken him? Then you have the "didn't know the phone number- well, that's what Facebook is for isn't it?

They then said that the Mother tried to find the hosts parent in the playground but missed her. Surely then, a note could've and should've been past to the teacher to go in the book bag?  Clearly they knew in advance the boy wasn't going.

It sounds to me that they just didn't bother.

That they then got a sealed envelope in the book bag- which the boy would not have been party to hence why he'd be upset- well, tough!

Why should the family pay for their bad manners?

Yes, its a bit far to suggest going to a small claims court, but it's also a bit far going to the press to complain!

Apparently, lazy Mum has suddenly remembered that Facebook exists and messaged the, well within her rights, Mum. Perhaps she should've done that before messing the party hosts around!

If you book to take part, you have to pay. Simple.

Next time, show some manners and show up!

What's your take? Have you had costly no shows or do you think its part of parenting paying out? Let me know in the comments :)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

#JeSuisCharlie- Freedom of Speech and the Fear of Saying What You Feel in 2015

As longterm readers and friends know, I don't tend to not voice an opinion, no matter how much shit I know it will generate if not held publicly and widespread by the majority.

I'm not just talking about blogging issues. I've given my views on politics, why I think Medway was bound to vote UKIP down to being a town populated by people told what to think by The Sun. I have voiced negativity about the behavior of the McCanns and how they were wrong to go away from their children for a drink.

I did touch on issues surrounding ISIS, in the respect that I don't believe those who disappear over to fight with these Extremists should automatically and unquestionably be allowed to decide to return the second they miss their iPods and meals in Nandos. I made my feelings known on the Paedophile shame in Rotherham last year too.

However many times I have sparked debate, or disagreed with others, I have always without question called on my right to opinion. To freedom of speech and expression.

The horrifying, and so very needless deaths in Paris at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo go against everything the majority of us hold dear. The ability to make light of an ever more bloody situation brought on by religion. The ability to say what we feel via the medium of witty art.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but as more and more cases of extremism against social commentators, both threats and actions, occur, one is left with the fear that, should my posts, or posts of friends, or other media people offend someone in a supposedly peaceful religion according to their religious texts, do we too run the risk of freedom of speech equaling death?

I am proud that the people of France peacefully took to the streets with flags, holding pens aloft. No doubt though this will antagonise certain very mentally unbalanced people further.

I personally hate the idea of a world where a joke will end with violence. Fear of reprisal meaning art and opinion, the ability to spark debate, goes underground and hidden.

What do we do next? How do we claw back our freedom in a peaceful way, and can we? Do our Politicians have the answer? I fear this is doubtful, and that there is no longterm answer let alone a solution to bring about peace in all religions and races.

Let's hope the light of debate, of art, and commentary never goes out for good, and long may freedom of speech and disagreement reign true.

Je Suis Charlie

La plume est plus puissante que l'epée