My Dirty Little Confession…

There’s a new fad in town. It’s dirty, its fresh… it’s alfresco. 

I’m a slap dash kinda girl at heart, fads fly in and out of my life. (Although that’s not strictly true of the ‘Let’s have a baby’ fad, I’m still well and truely in the midst of that fleeting idea).
Hair extensions were an interesting fad – expensive, and created a nest effect at the nape of my neck somewhere between my scalp and those tiny bonds. It wasn’t a pleasant craze to live with, however the flicking of ones locks over ones shoulder was most satisfactory al la Cher off of Clueless… for a time. 

Anyway, I have a new fad I want to tell you about, a progression I suppose you could call it. A definite move towards middle age perhaps? The garden. My garden. Or ‘Outside Room’ as those exterior designers like to refer to it. 
This is entirely new territory for me. The only time I used to visit the garden centre was at the end of the school holidays when we’d run out of money and I’d pass it up as a fun day out to play in the wooden houses that we wouldn’t be buying. Or to look at the bunnies in their teeny cages. At Christmas time we like to just go and wander the decoration aisles taking in the tat n sparkle. Oh we have all the fun in our household. 

I’m not really sure why my attention has moved in the direction of our ‘outside room’. I have been obsessive about covering our ugly fence since we moved in 5 years ago, I haphazardly planted a few clematis, (spelling that carefully) and thought they would just grow evenly and beautifully just like they did in proper grown ups gardens, who are well seasoned at adulting.
It turns out that there is a little more to it. 

 

If someone had suggested I kept my perennials moist a few months ago, I may have thought of them as a bit pervey. I did raise some eyebrows at the garden centre when I asked Barbara of Shrubs to point me in the direction of her hardy Perineum.

I thought my growing addiction to all things green was just me. But this spring I have seen more Facebook updates concerning blossom than newborns. More lavender pots than ice cream faced tots and more ‘look at me on my new rattan BBQ set’ than new Prams. 

I’m entering a new era, and it seems my friends are coming along for the ride as well. 
Just last week one of my coolest, least ‘homey’ friends (No offence S!!) came right out and uttered a sentence which I had never expected to leave her lips, 

“Can we just talk about our Clematis Montana?” 

Once I’d managed to get past the shock of this lingering question, we sat for the next half an hour swapping not only tips for teasing tentacles along a wire, but we cooed over each other’s floral photos – that just so happened to be on our phones. 

Clematis Montana you woody, hardy, white flowering delight – you are the subject of our new Prosecco n skinny popcorn chatter.
 
We confided in each other that we like to nose over the fence of other people’s gardens and squealed in delight when we discovered we share the same ‘favourite climbing rose’ -which is freaking unbelievable I’ll have you know, outside a front door on the way to school.  Pink big blooms, climbing all around the doorway: Rose Di Caprio 😉

So it seems playground gossip (of which there is always a constant steam of, I might add!) and boys, well husbands now more than boys I suppose, are a thing of the past. 
I’m not sure this is going to work out to be a cheaper fad than my past infatuations. The garden still has plenty of space to add too! I do wish the names of plants were slightly easier though.  I did Latin at school, and even that isn’t helping me to understand these ostentatiously long names. It’s highly pretentious, Garden Snobbery. I’m still very much of the ‘tall pink thing’ vocab. It’s a whole new world out there, and I have whole lot to learn!

There is an upside to this green fingered lark – the last 24 hours has seen a deluge of rain. Moan I did not: 
“RAIN” I exclaimed, “That will save me having to get the hose out!”
Who am I, and where did I hide my cool?!

I’m sorry, but I no longer feel defiant.

As our country begins to piece itself back together after yet another terrifying and devastating act of terrorism, I have been watching the familiar pattern of defiance emerge. Candid quotes that love will conquer appear all over facebook, vigils take place, and the PM always, always, holds a COBRA meeting at 9am the following day.

In the past, when terrorists have struck around the globe I have read and  listened to Bloggers, Journalists and celebrities vow to live life to the fullest, refusing to let this rancid disease dictate how or where they live their lives. I have always fist pumped along with the best of them, not giving my next trip to the cinema, bar or concert a second thought.

But this time is different.

And this isn’t something I am proud to admit.

This time, this time has truly frightened me.

Manchester is too soon after Westminster, too soon after Brussels, too soon after Stockholm, too soon after Paris.

This time I am letting these horrific events make a difference to how we live our life as a family.

I know I should be strong, and should be shouting defiance along with the best of them from the rooftops, but this has scared me. It’s scared me most because I am a Muma and it is my job and instinct to protect my babies.  Despite my best efforts, these monsters are making me question that protection, and think again about how we lead our lives for the foreseeable future.

Crowded places will make me feel unsafe now: if somewhere as iconic and presumably hot on security as Manchester arena – the largest of it’s kind in the UK can be attacked, what hope do festivals, theme parks, cinemas, shopping centres… the list is endless, have?

For the first time ever I thanked God that we live in a tiny town that no one has ever heard of and bares absolutely no relevance culturally or politically to anyone. It feels safe here, and I feel like I can protect our young girls who are only 3 and 6 in this little piece of ‘nowhere’.

It makes me angry to think that when we plan our summer holiday trips this year my first thoughts will be ‘What is the terror threat level?’ and ‘Will it be safe?’

I can’t help it, I am just being honest.

We are due to go to Funk The Family festival in Hove Park in June. It sounds like a brilliant day, our kids would LOVE it. I’m even running a competition for tickets! But I don’t know if I can go.

I know I’ll be scanning the crowds, questioning anything that seems a little ‘off’, basically acting like a paranoid loonie.

With the terror threat level raised to critical  (I’m not entirely sure what this actually means- but it doesn’t sounds great does it?!) I just dont think I can put my girls into a potentially risky situation, if I have the choice. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that I can shield my babies from these monsters forever, their attacks are so random who knows what is around the corner. But at this very moment all I can think is that I must try, as best as I can, to avoid putting them in harms way. And yes, for us, that does mean avoiding crowded places for a while.

How on earth are we going to tackle this Terrorist Cancer? It keeps on spreading and growing. Neither have a cure, and all I can think is, ‘Where’s next’. 

20 Times my Toddler Out-Diva’d Mariah

Behind my toddlers big blue eyes and cotton wool hair lives a Diva, and I don’t use this word lightly. Occasionally Lila fools me into believing she has left the Divahood behind her and is starting a newly reformed existence.

Until I cut her toast into Triangles.

“You moronic human! I only eat triangle toast on Tuesdays. I want  my wellies on! Do I look like a pleb who eats Triangle shaped toast?! Don’t look at me! Where has my TRIANGLE toast gone too?!”

What comes out of her mouth is a protest of such high decibels that our ‘rotund’ Cavapoo  has long assumed that ToddlerMonster is his leader.


Let’s face it, Lila just can’t find the staff these days. I pander to her whims based on a battle to battle evaluation; The bottom line being how prepared I am to deal with a mini-person literally melting onto the carpet, creating a no-go radius of several feet as she kicks out in her latest protest.

I’m now fairly certain that there is a market for Toddler-Tantrums. Think about it – those political rallies, and staged sit-ins are a perfect opportunity to cash in. Throw a Toddler into the mix with the wrong shaped toast and you my friend will have the protest from hell on your hands, and decisions overthrown left right and centre.

Now we all know that Mariah has got herself a little bit of a Diva rep. From dressing room climates, red carpet requests, culinary requirements so specific they make counting calories appear positively dark aged, Mariah is without doubt the world’s No.1 Diva.

Until my Toddler came along.

Here are 20 reasons why ToddlerMonster has out Diva’d Mariah- all with splendid Hollywood style tantrums.

1) The toast thing. You got that though – loud n clear.

2) When you get photo-bombed


3) The blanket I covered her up with whilst she watched a pint sized YouTube star open their Christmas presents – for the 58th time, wasn’t quite covering her left foot.

4) The bath wasn’t filling up fast enough.

5) I offered her a custard cream with the corner missing.


6) She tried to call for extra staff from the house phone and the police turned up.

7) She wanted pink juice in the Lego cup. NOT the spider-man cup. *Tips it out and gives her  juice in updated preference of Lego cup* “I said I want the Spider-man cup”.

8) She washed her hands. And they got wet.

9) Madam wanted to use my Santaku knife during our play-doh Bake-off session.

10) I said ‘Good Morning’ before she was ready.


11) She can no longer fit into the oven part of the toy kitchen.


 12) Baby Annabel wouldn’t sing to her. No amount of explaining Baby Anabelle’s limitations made this OK.
13) Ketchup is Red not Blue. This is not acceptable – I know this from my walls.

 14) It was her sister’s birthday and not her own.


 15) Climbing the stairs is not on her agenda: ever.

 16) Finishing the packet of Percy Pigs – OK, she had a point with this one.

17) The pain au chocolat was delivered to her too hot. “I said warm Mum, WARM. Not hot and not cold” Yes, she who cannot usually string a sentence managed to make that perfectly clear.

18) The sun was in her eyes. She didn’t open them for the duration of that car journey. Her mouth however…

19) I gave her dinner.

20) Murray refused to learn her dance routine: Murray is the dog.

 

Over to you – can your Toddler out-diva mine? Hit me up with your tantrum tales…

 

 

 

What does Emma Watson & The Migrant Crisis in Libya have in common?

 

Choice. Freedom. Rights: Feminism.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to tackle my comeback to writing after a month long self-inflicted ban. That was of course until I saw Ross Kemp’s latest, deeply shocking documentary. I suddenly felt the compulsion to begin scribbling once again, in aid of International Women’s Day…

 ‘Libya’s Migrant Hell’ aired on Sky 1 a few weeks ago. Except this wasn’t Libya’s hell, this hell belonged entirely to the Migrants. Tears poured out of my angry red face as I struggled to process what Kemp was saying, and the horror he was witnessing.

I wanted to highlight not only the frightening injustice being dished out by the world’s governments to these Women and Children. But the truly shameful way the media have cast this grotesque crisis aside, in favour of highlighting feminism and women’s rights from the point of view of Emma Watson’s chest.

The ‘coverage’ Emma has clocked up is appalling. We shouldn’t be debating if a women who actively promotes feminism should be persecuted for showing half a boob: Who cares! It’s her body and she is choosing to show or not show as much as she wants. Emma Watson has the ability to exercise that right. Unlike the hundreds of female Migrants who find themselves caught up in this lawless Libyan nightmare.

What we should be debating and creating as much noise as possible about, especially in the run up to International Women’s Day, are the powerless women being forced into prostitution as part of a sick ‘pay as you go’ migrant scheme.

The Women with no choice. The Women who have been stripped of their right to choose as they succumb to a web spun out of the repugnant smuggling and trafficking gangs. Those Women who have been encouraged by their own families to run straight into the hands of the most evil of human beings.

These are the women we should be bringing into the media spotlight.


Or how about we make some noise about the hell-on-earth detention centres? An environment so hostile people are dying on a daily basis. These prisons, (let’s not mess about here, they do not deserve the name ‘detention centre’,) are being endured by the women and children who have either been ‘rescued’ from the sea or detained prior to getting on one of those inflatable death traps. Which by the way, the smugglers know will never make it to the advertised destination. The inflatable rafts aren’t hardy enough, instead the smugglers are relying on the Italian coastguard perimeter to deliver the dead-behind-the-eyes migrants to European soil. A sickening twist.


Libya is making the Calais Jungle look like a Center Parcs stay.  

This is Mum-guilt like I have never experienced before. Seeing pregnant women, babies and children, just like my own, being kept in a concrete box with no end date in sight is a revolting disgrace. Witnessing a mother breastfeeding her baby in a raft which had crammed in so many people that bodies lay on top of bodies. Those visible were whipped with a lasso so long it resembled scenes from the times of slavery.

Of course, by the time these women and children have reached the rafts they have already survived several hundreds of miles travelling in the back of a van across a desert, which is widely accepted to be more dangerous that crossing the ocean. Isis training camps are frequent, rebels patrol the area with check points, not to mention the blistering heat with temperatures of up to 45 degrees, contrasted to the frozen nights. Limited water, and just enough food to stop them starving to death. Oh and guess what – this cost them upwards of £4,000.


I am embarrassed and truly saddened that as I type this there is Toddler a few thousand miles away, just like mine. But they aren’t playing in a sand pit with their friends or about to eat so much lunch that they will feel full and happy. No, they are sitting lifeless waiting to live or waiting to die in these limbo cattle prisons reminiscent of a concentration camp. There is no joy, no warmth, no security for these toddlers. Their only crime was their Mother’s desire for a better, safer life.

Where are the UN aid tents? Libya is not a war zone – so what is taking so long? Their own African governments don’t appear to want these women and children back. There seems to be no attempts of repatriation;  The Leaders are simply turning a blind eye. It makes you wonder what these women were running from? What could possibly be a fate worse than indefinite imprisonment, abandonment by your home country, stripped of your nationality?

Individual identity is no longer relevant, for the term ‘Migrant’ fits all.

There is a stigma attached to the term ‘Migrant’- a nuisance, that just won’t go away. Governments fight over how many they will allow to stay as official refugees and locals rebel in droves about those coming to ‘take over’ their towns. My perception has changed, this documentary has changed my warped views. There is no way I could go through what these people are currently going through. If they make it all the way to Europe they should be welcomed with open arms. This is running the gauntlet like nothing I have ever seen before.

Thank God for the brave reporting by Ross Kemp and his team. Awearness is finally creeping into the lives of us ordinary folk, for we should never underestimate the power of ‘Ordinary’. I tweeted Kemp and asked him how we can help. In my mind I imagined an SAS escort as I boarded a plane for Tripoli to single handedly take on the most feared smuggler gangs in the world… Not surprisingly, his response was slightly more conservative:


International charities are putting increasing pressure onto governments. Funds are at last being pledged to help this crippling humanitarian crisis. The more noise that is made about this dire situation the better.

As Ross Kemp’s poignant words are still swimming around in my head, I’ll leave them here for you to ponder…

“I don’t care who you are or where you come from… As human beings we have a duty to try and stop this suffering”

Never a truer word.

International Women’s Day should be a day to celebrate being a Woman, and to take a moment to recognise those that desperately need our help.

The Sisterhood doesn’t care for creed or colour; if you can write that letter to your MP, if you can pledge that pound or 2 to Medicins Sans Frontieres, you can help give these women their right to choose once again.

There’s a new Witching Hour in town: it’s called Mornings.

I once saw a comedy sketch based in a nursing home. (I know, I know, this is a bit dark, but stick with me)

The old folk sat in front of the telly whilst yelling demands at the over worked wreck of a carer.

Buzz words were being shouted from the chairs, you know – the ones with those ridiculously high backs:

“Tea”

“Too Hot!”

“Corrie”

“Whiskey”

***

By some cruel twist fate I am now living out this comedy sketch in the real. Except it doesn’t give me all the lols. I am that haggard nurse running from task to task which is spat out by a ToddlerMonster and her 5 year old partner in Crime.

To be quite honest with you I am one tantrum away from fleeing this asylum and opting for a quieter life with the gypsy circus.  Not a day goes by where I don’t loose my sh*t trying to get a toddler ready for nursery and an unwilling 5 year old to school.

This is now how our mornings shape up these days: (And if anyone dare comment with “it will all be over in the blink of an eye”, I will not be responsible for my actions!)

There’s a new Witching Hour in town, and I loathe it more than the original…

“My Blankey, WAAAAAAAA MY BLANKEY NOW” More crying. More urgency.

ToddlerMonster has selected her desired seating arrangement to view ‘A Little Princess’. She is very cross that her blankey has fallen to the floor. But, Oh no! I am currently pouring out hot chocolates for their royal highnesses as instructed by the older of the leaders. I dutifully halt stirring  the lumps in and spring to action: operation, ‘Where the eff is blankey’ is launched.

As it was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER the task was executed swiftly so that I could answer the 5 year old’s burning question:

“But WHERE is our hot chocolates?”

“Yes, yes darling they are just coming!”

By this point in the morning my patience is still running at a positive 80%. The use of the word ‘darling’ is around 10 minutes and 6 commands off being hissed through gritted teeth.

I catch a glimpse of myself as I load up the tray with toast and their drinks. It’s still dark outside so the kitchen window is currently a mirror. My god. I make a mental note to consider washing my hair and using some eye cream.

“Mum, Mum, Murray wants to go out. Mum Mum MUM MUM MUMUMUMUMUMUMUMUM. MUM. Murray wants to go out.”

Obviously remembering one does have the use of their legs is tricky to recollect at such an early hour and so I forgive the 5 year old for this oversight whilst rushing to let out our lump of a probably-not-a-cavapoo. Phew, made it.

I turn around. Oh shit the bed…

“Why is your toast on the floor? Please NO! Stop rubbing your tongue on Mummy’s new cushion!”

(Mentally I scold myself for buying a cushion; I knew it would struggle to survive it’s first week in the field).

“I SAID TCHOKLIT. WAAAAAAWAAAAAAA” ToddlerMonster has blown her top. Christ, her body is beginning to convulse as I quickly (everything requires ‘Quickly’) cast my mind back to her breakfast order.

Hang on, why is water dripping off of the sofa?? Jesus that’s not water: Nappy overfill. I neglected to remove the night time pull up and now she is punishing me for poor service with a dry cleaning bill.

“I want toast With NO CUT. I wanna big one”.

“What do you say?”

“NOW!”

Wow, so it really is possible to be this much of an arsehole when you are 3.

I decline her demands of another slice. Time is of the essence and I’m now running at 30% patience, which isn’t a good sign because I still need to prepare myself for the Battle of the Uniform. Or more specifically the Battle of the Tights.

I dig deep for my happy face.

“OK girls, time to get dressed now! Yey for the new day” I muster a fist pump in proper MUM style. Only to be met by blank faces. Their eyes are fixated on which talent Peppa will show her class now that all of them have been taken!

I try again

“Yey come on, it’s a new day – it’s going to be a cold one… let’s go get ready!”

Still no response.

Alarms have gone off in my head. Patience level is now at ZERO. I have no back up reserves – they were all consumed 3 years ago during the Battle of the Dummy.

To the backdrop of a repetitive whine, which is not unlike some sort of rare animal mating call.

I loose it. The Trunchball is now hollering out of my mouth, and I am merciless to stop it.

My own buzz words begin to get fired at the two wide eye suddenly innocent looking dictators.

“UPSTAIRS”

“DRESSED”

“TEETH”

And finally, the killer question that hangs in the air:

“Why do you hate Mummy so much?”

Of course this is a rhetorical.  They’ve already pegged it upstairs to wake darling Daddy. Daddy who can do no wrong. Daddy who will cuddle them and tell them in a non-shouty voice that everything is OK and Mummy is just loosing the will to live tired. Daddy who will take them by the hand and calmly persuade Darcie that tights are not the enemy. That her preferred choice of black leggings are not school uniform and she just needs to accept this.

How the blazes…

I take my shiny fu*ked off face and dark root combo to the shower, silently repeating:

“I hate my life, I hate my kids. Why do my kids hate me? Why did I do this?”

I know how that sounds.  I know that makes me a bad person for even thinking those thoughts. But at that moment – for that fraction of about…2 hours (!): it’s how I feel. I can’t even douse my spirits with a mug of Sav Blanc. Apparently it’s not socially acceptable at 7.42am…

We make it to school on time. Somehow we make it to school everyday on time.

As I wave them both off to no doubt be angels for other people, little fireworks explode in my head. I know that for the next few hours I will be exactly the mother I always thought I would be…!

 

Why we all need to calm down about THAT Taylor Swift impersonation.

Would you let your 7 year old child do this?

 

 

Xia Vigor gave it her all in the hit Phillipino TV show ‘Your face sounds familiar KIDS’. She has single handedly sent social media, Piers Morgan and those Looose Women into melt down today as this video goes viral.

What I want to know is why on earth is everyone so shocked? Can we all calm down and take a deep breath.

We are living in a world where our children are getting older from a much younger age. Thanks to the abundance of social media, celebrities are more accessible, with some like Taylor Swift having huge followings of primary aged kids. My kids are a little too familiar with you tube. They love watching music and dancing, as well as far eastern women opening kinder eggs… They like that a lot.  The world is at their finger tips, and trying to ‘protect’ them from that is virtually impossible. Surely curbing their enthusiasm is all we can do?

Would allow one of my girls  to perform like this, aged 7?

The answer is yes, I probably would allow it. But that’s not to say I would out and out encourage it.

The reason for this is because to ban make up, to ban certain dance moves and to ban sparkly costumes would be entirely hypocritical. Whilst I appreciate that there has to be a line and crossing it would put a child in a potentially vulnerable position, I don’t see the issue with a little girl essentially mimicking her idol in this controlled environment. This isn’t a little girl performing in an entirely inappropriate venue like a club or in a situation which would put her in danger. This is a child who clearly loves performing, and is giving it her Taylor Swift best. On a stage. With proper adult supervision.

Xia Vigor is having the time of her life. And why shouldn’t she? How many little girls dress up and dance around their living rooms, dreaming of a big stage to perform on? Probably a large proportion, if my small window of experience around 6 year old’s is anything to go by!

My daughter loves to wear make up. She watches me bodge my eye liner on a daily basis. She questions which brushes are for what. She is genuinely interested to find out and to experiment with my make up. To save my Bare Minerals collection, I trotted off to Claire’s to buy her a more suitable kit. It’s her pride and joy, to Darcie she is mimicking me (please note I am not, however, her idol!). We have a rule that it’s only for the weekend, but I do let her wear it out of the house. It’s not like she has mastered the art of contouring or perfected a smokey eye, so it’s really not noticeable if at all (don’t tell her that!). But to Darcie she loves that she can add this to her weekend uniform of black leggings and black leggings.

If you have ever been to watch a children’s dance show you will know that the make up flows. Those backstage ninjas don’t hold back. We had our first experience of Darcie being in a dance show last year. She was plastered in make up, and wore a cute costume. It was in no way a sexual performance, it was just adorable 4 year old’s dancing their tap shoes off.

I think performance is a great way to grow a child’s confidence and for them to learn new skills. The Xia Vigors Taylor Swift impersonation, if watched with the right frame of mind, is adorable. It’s only when we add an adult spin on things that the waters get murky and the tutters get their pointing sticks out, ready to tell the world how little girls should act.

At the end of the day it’s all down to individual choice. No I wouldn’t trowel make up onto my little girls and teach them how to twerk. But if they managed to figure it all out by themselves, then I would have to give them credit for that.

What do you think? Would you let your child perform like this? Do you allow your child to experiment with make up? I’m genuinely intrigued to have other parents opinions on this one. Leave a comment and let me know!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Win an InfaCare Baby Bathtime Hamper!

Well it’s another dreary January Monday evening, so it must be Giveaway time!

This week I have teamed up with the popular baby brand InfaCare , to giveaway  a gorgeous baby bath time hamper which includes:

  • 2 bottles of InfaCare Baby Bath,
  • 2 bottles of InfaCare Night Time Bath,
  • 2  fluffy flannels!

It’s the perfect time of year for snuggling up and enjoying bath time (or staying behind the shower screen as I have to do, thanks to my highly enthusiastic little bathers…)

InfaCare comes recommended by hospital midwives and healthcare professionals to cleanse and protect your child’s skin. -What more could you want…

About InfaCare

“Both formulas are clinically tested and Ph balanced, creating natural levels of Acidity and Alkalinity in skin and hair. Reassuringly, each is designed to prevent irritation, helping with allergies in the process.

Recently launched, Night-time Baby Bath is now championed by mums across the country; up to 70% hailing it ‘ideal’ for their bedtime procedure.

Not only does it look great the product performs too. You don’t need much for it to produce masses of long-lasting bubbles, perfect for your little one to have fun with.

A gentle, powdery and oriental fragrance is sure to relax, easing your tots first into bed and then off to sleep.”

To win simply follow this link to my facebook page where you can Like, Share & Comment to be entered!

Best of luck!


xx