Drusillas Winter Wonderland Review

Drusillas has kicked off our festive celebrations in spectacular fashion!

This award-winning zoo has always been a fixture on our December calender since our little girls were babies. Drusillas seems to up the ante on its renowned Winter Wonderland year on year. Adding to its huge collection of impressive illuminations is a whole host of Christmas goodness. Drusillas is bound to leave the you feeling so festive that even your pile of Christmas cards waiting to be written shall no longer seem like such a chore (although a substantial glass of mulled wine is still  advisable!)


Meeting Father Christmas

The girls and I took our friends Amy, who writes at Bean Musing , and her daughter along on Saturday to join in the fun. We  headed straight for Father Christmas’ cosy cottage, why wait?! We were met by Mrs Christmas and her elves before being taken into meet the man of the moment. I think at this point I was probably more excited than the girls. Each time we have taken them to meet Father Christmas I always get embarrassingly emotional! I probably need to get a grip, but I can’t help but wonder at their little faces. They are totally in awe of this movie star figure, sitting right in front of them. Despite of course, my toddler repeating that she didn’t want to go anywhere near Father Christmas and that in fact, she would be perfectly fine standing right next to the door thank you very much. The elf and FC made a great team and looked like the real deal. There were no fake beards and cheap suits here: right before our eyes was a miracle on 34th Street Santa. I just managed to stop myself muttering “I believe”.

“Is he real?” whispered Darcie.

“Oh yes, he is most definitely real”

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Did I mention that the gift is gorgeous?! The girls were thrilled to reveal a cuddly Husky dog, just like the ones they were about to meet in the real. They didn’t let go of them for the rest of the day. It makes a nice change to have a decent, good quality Santa gift. I don’t mean that in an ungrateful way, but we have paid through the roof for some SuperTat in the past.

Fabulous festivities

The Husky dogs and reindeer had taken up residence  right next to the huge sleigh scene in the beautifully decorated festive square. We were able to go straight in and cuddle up with these gorgeous Husky dogs before looking in on Donner and Dasher who seemed right at home being the center of attention.

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You won’t believe what happened next…

We had some time before the illuminations show began, so headed over to the Zoo. The girls love the stamper book activity and ran around searching for animals. The meer cats are usually my high point, however today that high was handed to the penguins…

We had coincidentally just arrived as the penguins were being fed. Despite my frozen toes we decided to stay and watch, and I’m glad we did. Not only because the Penguin keeper was lovely and very knowledgable about her water babies, but because of what came next. A silence came over the enclosure as the keeper invited one of us 8 in the audience to, “Ask the question”. before we had a chance to exchange confused glances, the man standing next to us proposed to his girlfriend! Thankfully she said yes, their 2 children clapped, so we all clapped, with open mouths, min you, the penguins couldn’t have given a monkeys!

What a moment to share, huge congratulations to them. Could there be a Drusillas wedding on the cards?!

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Back to the order of the day, and laden down with chips and hot chocolate we really got into the festive swing of things as the square came to life. Some of the best known christmas classics, filled the square, whilst the lights dazzled. Polar bears shone, ice caps sparkled and reindeer twinkled brightly. We couldn’t help but smile, sing and bop along with our little girls. It really did look beautiful, and yes, I may have welled up a little bit more – I can’t help it!

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Hurrah for Drusillas

Drusillas is a truly great day out at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas. They have pulled out all of the stops this year to get you in the festive spirit.

Don’t forget the Zoo, Hello kitty rides, the vast adventure playgrounds, indoor play, Thomas train ride, and the Maze are open for you to explore as usual!

Drusillas doesn’t do bored

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Visit the Drusillas website

Book tickets 

Drusillas Park, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5QS

 

 

 

 

Child-free zones at 36,000 ft.

We are living in an age where we can run our entire lives from our phone, listen to music via headphones sans wires, and enjoy processco literally on tap in some of our favourite bars.

But until last week we were still living in a world where grown ups doing adulting, grown ups doing parenting and kids doing the kid thing were all mixed up like a badly organised wash pile every time you dare to board a plane.

Well not anymore, not if you travel in India! IndiGo has adopted a ‘quiet zone’ policy which basically means if you are 12 or under you aint getting in.

HURRAH! It’s 2016, but we got there in the end! We have been enjoying air travel for over 80 years, but finally, FINALLY an airline has engaged brain and realised that Little Tarquinn, age 3, doesn’t like to fly. It makes his ears pop and there isn’t room for him to stand on his head while he sings the theme tune to Paw Patrol at levels that only dogs should be able to hear. This makes Tarquinn cry, he dissolved into full blownn Sh*tbag mode. This makes Tarquinn stamp his feet and kick the seat in front. It makes Tarquinn throw his crisps into the lap of the tight lipped passenger next to him -not Muma… she’s swigging Gin on his other side. Tight lipped passenger begins to tut, gradually the tutting turns to the intake of breath followed by loud breathaliser sounding sighs.

Sorry Easy Jet
Mumas no longer need to mutter “I hate my life” or “I’m so sorry” and “send me the dry clean bill” on a flight anymore! Because guess what – the passengers that really minded being sat next to the little Tarquinns of this world have paid a few quid extra to escape this particular endurance test. So long, huffers and puffers. So long, Muma-guilt. IndiGo, I salute you.

It seems it’s not just me that feels this way either. The concept of the Quiet Zones has been praised by both Adulating Adults and Parenting Adults. I asked a few of my fellow bloggers their thoughts on the subject (I was concerned I might be having a very unmumsey moment rejoicing at this idea!). Surprisingly it was almost unanimously positive feedback. There were some suggestions for other zones which I thought might have legs too. Kate Tunstall of Refined Prose suggested an area reserved for inconsiderate adults, after all, it’s not only children that can be irritating! I see where she’s coming from! While Alana Perrin of Baby Holiday did make a good point, and one that will probably have the air stewardesses drawing straws to man bucket class over at IndiGo; Imagine how noisy it will be when all the babies and toddlers kick off, because of their proximity it will be like a chain reaction… Ear defenders for the long suffering parents?! Frankly, the mind boggles. But that still wouldn’t put me off casting a vote for this genius division.

I wonder if IndiGo might be interested in a little ‘idea development’? Children’s entertainment packs? Disney channel on a big screen? Hell, how about a kids entertainer (Mark Warner are you listening?!) And while we are at it, a loo facility which actually allows the task of nappy changing to take place. One last life changer please airlines, could the Mumas have reserved seating in said Quiet Zone for the duration of the flight, along with several large bottles of Processco. Pretty please.

I am sending a plea to UK airlines to adopt this genius and absolutely nessesery Quiet Zone initiative. Please don’t let tourist space travel happen faster than this, the most basic of travel needs. Come on Branson – lead the way!

What are your thoughts? Would you be offended if an airline offered the option of a ‘Quiet Zone’ for 13+? Or would you breathe a sigh of relief?

Cuddle Fairy
Run Jump Scrap!
Two Tiny Hands

10 times a new Muma & a Fresher were the exact same.

I was reminded today by Grimmy off of Radio 1 DJ ledgeness, that it is Fresher time.  So, there I am driving toddlermonster to her swim lesson, my arm contorted in eye watering angles whilst I pass her various lunch offerings,  I cast my mind back to 13 whole Septembers ago and vaguely recollected a ‘Month of Blur’ (not the band). My mind then jumped to the only other time that I have endured a Month of Blur: The newborn days.

I thought I might demonstrate how actually, being a Fresher is the exact same as being a new Muma… Just you wait, Girls, you’ll be amazed:

1.Being awake in the early hours, to the thud of the base, or the squeal of a non-latching      newborn. Exact same thing.

2. Surviving on nothing but a packet of biscuits and a Twix ALL.DAY.

3.The suggestion that you left the house before lunchtime is met with hysterical laughter.

4. Jeremy Kyle is beginning to feel like an old friend, his gambling past, tragic ‘my  brother used to…’ stories, and lie detector suspense has kept you faithful at 9.25am.

5. You make frequent trips to the Dr’s for complaints you never knew existed, in areas you really rather wish had been left alone.

6. Cheesy pasta is a treat; Hot food, cooked in a saucepan.

7. Awkward ‘making new friends’ moments. Eye contact, going in for the kill: the SU or baby massage class. Exact same thing.

8. Surviving on minimal casheesh, student loan v’s mat leave allowance. Its a close call. Toppers should definitely offer a maternity leave 10% discount, students are spoilt.

9. Learning a whole load of new stuff. Text books / baby manuals coming out of your ears.

10. New timetable. Except the one major difference here is that ‘FREE PERIOD’ does not feature in the Newborn version. Almost, the-exact-same-thing.

So there we have it, those Freshers aren’t going to feel so darn rocking cocking now are they…

Mumas, as always, nailing life.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes
You Baby Me Mummy
My Petit Canard

Mummascribbles</div

http://wp.me/p6n0sM-sz

3 Little Buttons
Cuddle Fairy
Tammymum

10 reasons why being a Muma rocks

Welcome to my nifty fifty blog post!

To celebrate such a grand total of waffle I decided to turn the world on its head, and tell you why I think being a Muma totally ROCKS. (I’ve delved deep, and I’m ignoring the fact that I gave in and  fed my 2.5 year old daughter a bottle of milk at 2am last night – yep, I’m a sucker.)

So without further ado, I give you: 10 reasons why being a Muma rocks

  • Love: yes, I’m starting with a belter. That little voice that first says “I love you” has the power to move mountains: or at least make me immediately forget that my Chanel lipgloss has now become an abstract motif on my new wallpaper. LOVE ROCKS!
  • Endless supply of great big fat cuddles – even when you are on the loo! No boundaries here, just hug away, literally ANYWHERE.
  • You get to eat fish fingers beans and chips on the regular, and sometimes I treat us to  those alpha-bites (ohhhh I hear you gasp, you badass) occasionally I turn uber Bad-Mom and leave hubster a naughty word on his plate: scandalous! oh the endless laughter to be had…
  • The buggy / Trolley. No gorilla arms for me, I just load up: not sure if you need a coat, iffy weather? No need to ponder that big question – Just pop it on the buggy! The fact that my children no longer ride the buggy is irrelevant. I’m not letting go of my trolley. I’ll never let go…
  • Christmas. I thought Christmas was good as a kid, but having kids at Christmas is a whole other ball game. I love scouring the shops – and internet, mostly internet for little things I know they will love. Different little surprises and other ways to make it all magical. There is no such thing as OTT at Christmas time in our gaff.
  •  The excuse. Our little charges are actually little sources of some of the most watertight excuses you can find. Don’t want to go to that party? NO PROBLEM, flip the no babysitter card. Running late? NO PROBLEM, last minute nappy changed held me up… I mean 9 times out of 10 these are legitimate reasons, but for all of those times the lack of babysitter or lateness has seriously got my goat, I pay back with the occasional white lie… don’t hate me.

 

  • Friends. I’ve made some of my very best friends through my children. That immediate understanding between Mumas is a bit like a secret club. We nod and smirk at each other as our kids run around playgroup with their skirts above heads, only stopping to steal a scooter from a minor. Having kids has opened up so many opportunities to make some incredible new friends, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

 

  • Pride. More and more I am feeling a sense of pride. Especially as Darcie, our 5 yr old, is growing up. When I see her being kind, or cuddling her friends I literally burst. She has never been a huggy sort amongst her girl-click, preferring to stand back and observe. When I see her being affectionate now to her friends it makes my heart leap!

 

  • Kids days out: Who doesn’t enjoy a fun fair?! Days out, kid style, are pretty awesome. Zoos, farms, theme parks, fun fairs – fire engine open days…. y’know. Day trips rock – even with the tantrums and copious amounts of crud we lug around with us all day.

 

  • I am their Muma. The person I hope they will always be able to rely on. The person who will always be there for them. Their constants. Us Muma’s are someone’s rock, and that in itself is the No.1 reason why being a Muma is the greatest privilege I’ll ever have.

 

There we have it, 10 whole reasons why being a Muma rocks – I admit I struggled after the first 4!

Let’s have a few more… leave your “Being a Muma rocks because…” answer below.

I’ll be referring back to this when I am playing the go to sleep Toddler game later. Muma rocks, Muma rocks…

Mummascribbles

Cuddle Fairy
Tammymum
Mummuddlingthrough

Flower Fairies: a fresh party idea.

This summer we had the pleasure and privilege to be one of the first to experience a Flower Fairies Create  party.

From the creators of the highly esteemed Highgate Florist & Growers, this new venture is unique and oh so lovely.

‘Flower Fairies Create’ is an opportunity for the professionals to impart their secrets to us, (mere mortals who are only used to re-arranging a supermarket bunch.) whether you are an adult or a child, all in a relaxed setting. These parties can be held either at their effortlessly vintage chic main premises in Rotherfield – not far from the Nursery, or one of the senior Flower Fairies can come to your home or venue of choice at no additional cost – sound good?!

My daughters, aged 2 and 5 along with 2 of their friends of similar ages found themselves in floral heaven when we met with Kerrie to find out what Flower Fairies Create was all about.

We were ushered into a room which can only be described as a pintrest dream. I wanted to photo everything whilst making mental notes of how I might be able to re-create this vibe in my own house (possibly little or no chance: the sickly coloured plastic toys rather kills any attempt at the tres chic feel!) Tea in pretty china cups and saucers, a log burner, exposed brick, piles of wood, and of course: flowers, filled this pretty room. Kerrie clearly has an eye for design, which should come as no surprise as her creations have often ended up in glossy magazines.

The girls could choose if they wanted to make a flower crown, or make a flower jar arrangement, before being given the chance to select their blooms from buckets upon buckets of fresh flowers. This was the first time my girls had ever picked flowers out for their very own use- their big grins and eyes on stalks told us it wouldn’t be their last…

We had a Blue Peter style demo moment from Kerrie. She skilfully showed us how to attach the flowers to the hairbands using all the tricks of the trade. Us Mumas couldn’t help but get involved: it was so satisfying and oddly therapeutic, even with a 2 year old by my side! Said 2 year old was busy ‘arranging’ her floral offering into a jam jar- she had chosen every colour flower possible, with blue being the dominating shade. Hmmm. It was slightly Tate Modern-esq.

The results were truly stunning – even the most testing of kiddliwinks looks undeniably angelic when complete with a Flower Crown! I couldn’t help but get thoroughly snap happy taking hundreds of photos capturing my cheeky girls and their friends having butter wouldn’t melt moments.

The girls were beaming, they had had a blast.

Kerrie was so patient and kind to the girls, taking time to explain the next step whilst telling us how The Highgate Florist had been in her family for generations, and it was now her turn to take this renowned business forward.

Kerrie stayed with us throughout the party, helping the children and talking to us about all of the other workshops that Flower Fairies Create have to offer:

  • Hand tied Bouquet
  • Table decorations – particularly good for Brides to be for creating their own displays.
  • Jam jar decoration
  • Flower crowns

Flower Fairies Create will be hosting Hen Parties, birthday parties, Children’s birthday parties, fundraising events (such as wreath making at schools) and lots more besides.

There are plans to make it possible to hold parties within the extensive grounds of the nearby Nursery that belongs to the florist. This does conjure up a pretty wholesome image of children selecting their flowers to get creative with, straight from the ground. Stay tuned…

The parties vary in price depending on what you choose to create:

Children’s parties start from £5 per child

You can find more information on the Flower Fairies Create Website or  contact the very talented Kerrie:

01892 852783 / 07585004661

info@flowerfairiescreate.co.uk

Highgate Floris & Growers

1 High Street

Rotherfield

East Sussex

TN6 3LL

 

Huge thanks to Kerrie for welcoming us, buggies n all. We had a wonderful time trying something totally new. We shall definitely be planning another Flower Fairies Party, and I can’t wait.

Rhyming with Wine

Burkini, Bikini. Potato, potarto.

I’m sorry, have I missed something here…?

How on earth is wearing a Burikini a threat to national security?!

I have just been frankly stunned to read that French police in Cannes ordered a woman who was asleep on the Promanade des Anglais beach, wearing a Burkini, to strip down or risk being pepper sprayed. Has the world gone mad?

If you haven’t ever seen anyone wearing a Burkini in the real let me explain – it is basically a wet suit with a mid thigh length over dress which also covers their head.

Have you ever felt threatened by someone wearing leggings and a tunic with a hat on whilst standing in the Tesco queue? Me neither… so why on earth as soon as the sand and sea is involved everyone starts freaking out over this level of cover up?

Woman must strip to wear bikinis on the beach? p*ss off.

It has baffled me, and left me feeling pretty bloody sad actually.

The French are saying that the Burkini causes offence, so boobs and g-strings are totally fine on the beach, but my god if someone should dare cover themselves up in the name of their religion they shall be prosecuted. More like persecuted.

This summer we went to a very crowded indoor swimming pool complete with slides, waves, verruca’s. You know the sort of place. There were maybe 20 girls and women wearing Burkinis. We were all in very close proximity (think packed lift) so I got a really good look at the ensembles. Did I feel threatened by these woman playing with their children whilst covered up? NO. Did I at any time feel offended that they chose to cover up their bodies? NO. Was I slightly envious that they didn’t have their wobbly bits on show like I did? YES!

So are the French simply penalising these woman to make a stand against the Muslim communities in the wake of the terrible Bastille terrorist attack earlier this summer? Woman who are on a beach minding their own business with their families, but have just choosen not to show their bits off and cover their heads? Shall we also ban sarongs and hats too then?

Seriously, this has gone too far now. Drawing a line in the sand like this is surely going to push Muslim communities away, making more of a divide, sending the message to anyone not able to question the ridiculousness of this ruling, that Muslims are not welcome. Way to go France.

Do you know what’s even sadder than a woman being fined for wearing a long sleeved top and a head scarf? Not one person came to this lady’s aid on the beach. The pictures just show open mouthed on lookers, no one came to her defence. She was a middle aged woman on her own surrounded by 4 police officers, being humiliated and striped in public.

I’m off to the beach today, I’ll be wearing a hat and maybe even a long sleeved top as I burnt my arms yesterday (oh balmy blighty!) I’m not expecting anyone to site me a terror threat, or for the police to approach me and ask me to strip.

There’s got to be a better way to patrol your beaches France, come on. Think outside the box a bit. Making laws that are both racist and sexist is never going to end well. Stop dividing your country and targeting these Mumas. You are embarrassing yourselves.

Viva Las Blackpool: an unguidey guide.

Blackpool: A bit like Vegas, there’s a casino, a roller coaster or 2, loads of hotels, and a tower. Totally the same place.

Viva Las Blackpool.

I’m pretty vocal when it comes to the subject of holidays and kids. Our eldest is now 5, and toddlerMonster is smack in the middle of her twos. We have never, until this week, been away just as a family of 4. I’ll be honest: To me moving your family to a temporary alien location, kissing goodbye to normality, and undertaking this alone was a step too far. We have always gone on holiday with my parents and siblings – a bit like the Khardashians, but with Easyjet not the Learjet. In my book, this is by far the best way for everyone (except probably my parents and siblings…so just me then) to have a holiday.

Anyway, without banging on too much about the dear god merits of cross generational holidaying, I’ll get back on my Blackpool bandwagon:

We did it, we took the plunge, and scarpered to Blackpool as a family of 4, for 2 whole nights, and 3 whole days, amounting to a total of 12 hours of car time. I think I may have had a little too much Isla Negra the evening we booked.

Here’s a little summery of the trip, including our top tips, in case you fancy hot footing it up to January. Blackpool.

The Big Blue Hotel

It is literally big and blue. So it was pretty easy to spot. That and the fact that it backs onto the Pleasure Beach theme park, so has 3 sodding great rollercoasters for a back yard.

I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough, the location is great and has its own entrance to The Pleasure beach which is open between 10am-11.30am everyday. The hotel offers discounted tickets, AND more importantly 50% discount on speedy boarding. I’ll get onto this point later, but suffice to say it’s an essential add on if you value your marriage.

We opted for a family room (because we are mad) which consisted of bunk beds (aka climbing frame) which were tucked away by the door and buffered by the bathroom before reaching the main bedroom. Anyway, bla bla it had a bed, it had a bath. It was comfy… and clean. Big tick. Oh and room for our travel cot (which the 5 year old slept in. Don’t ask). The 2 year old slept in our bed and so actually it was a total waste of money paying for a family room after all. We may as well have opted for a sardine can.

The girls LOVED the hotel, although there taste is a little warped – they also loved being taken to PoundLand to spend their holiday money…

The Hotel’s Restaurant was a thumbs up – and another tinkle on the high chair. I fear this may be becoming somewhat of a signature move for ToddlerMonster, perhaps tablecloths make her nervous.The Kids were really well catered for, a really impressive full menu just for them. Most guests were staying with children, so I shrugged the Peepee incident off, as did I the red wine going all over the table and carpet; they just replenished my almost gone glass with a full one. FOR FREE. They totally get The Issue of Kid.

The Pleasure Beach

If you have really young children then this theme park is ideal. There are 19 rides which are considered ‘family friendly’ and as long as the Dinky is on board with an adult then there is no height restriction. We did have to purchase a speedy boarding pass pronto after waiting an hour for a truly shite racing car ride though. This was purely a move to save our marriage from the cursing pit of horrors into which it was falling after that queue.

As I said if you stay at the big blue then the speedy boarding, beat the queue, walk into the exits (feeling a bit of a tit for doing so) and ride with no wait, is half the price. Of course we only found the half price voucher AFTER we arrived back at the hotel. Law of the sod at work once more.

With an hours wait on most rides we would have only got a few in, with the passes we managed to ride everything. Every. Signle.one.

Yeh yeh I was getting my money’s worth and refused to leave before it closed, frog marching the fam from one Kiddie coaster to the next.

It’s raining its pouring, it’s actually January.

So what I thought to have been iffy weather the previous day was in actual fact the height of the Balckpool summer. Normality reigned for the rest of our stay in KissMeQuickLand, but actually that was ok because there is a tonne of stuff to do which is on the inside.

We bought a Blackpool Tower ticket which allows you access to all of the attractions which are inside the Tower building. I had no idea all of this was there – I assumed the tower was just that.

Anyway, this ticket got us access to the Blackpool Tower Experience which is a 4D film of Blackpool which strangely is all done to a background of sunshine and blue skies. Perhaps the makers were having an ironic moment. We also got to go and stand on the glass floor hundreds of feet up which totally freaked both girls out – and Dan. I don’t mind heights , just queues. It was alright, but let’s be honest, the view was just a grey town, with a sea.

Blackpool Tower Circus was also on this ticket and was one of the highlights of the trip – it was Darcie’s No.1. Set in a really ornate area at the base of the tower, it even had a sinking floor which flooded for the final act. I was impressed. ToddlerMonster slept through most of it. Bonus.

If you venture to Blackpool I really recommend this!

Blackpool Tower Ballroom was also included on our pass. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I certainly hadn’t been expecting to step into THE BALLROOM, The Strictly final ballroom. It was stop-in-your-tracks stunning. You are allowed to just rock up and take to the floor, lots of oldies were being persuaded around the shit-you-might-slip shiny dance floor. It was a hard sight to process. I just stared on hoping there wasn’t about to be a hip op situation. Darcie did cartwheels, ToddlerMonster got YouTube out, Dan bought coffee.

Soft Play at the Tower who sanctioned this? I thought we would escape the foam rollers and contagious ball pits for a few days, but no. Some bright spark decided to put a fat soft play IN the Tower. Christ… it was included, so in we went. I cannot recommend a soft play, it’s against my beliefs. (kid’s loved it).

The Blackpool Dungeons – obviously we didn’t take our girls into the attraction which has a severed head on the poster. That would be asking for trouble. So I can’t comment – I’m  just letting you know that if you want to take your kids into a living nightmare, then you can. It’s included!

The finale

Sandcastle Waterpark

We did this on the morning before we came home – the beach plan flopped due to January invading. That’s ok, we thought. We’ll go to that waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in the UK.

So did EVERYBODY else in Blackpool. The queue was out of the door to go in. If you venture here then arrive for when it opens at 9am, and book on line, 24 hrs ahead. You’ll also get a 10% discount. Obviously we didn’t do any of those sensible for-sights.

Again, the kids loved it. I felt like I was taking part in a capsized boat epic and we were all the extras. Hundreds of bodies, all bobbing about, water cannons going off, buckets filled with the wet stuff coming down on you, a lazy river which was actually quite the opposite, squatting whist a 5 yr old tags on for dear life (even though they can touch the bottom).

It’s worth a visit – just be prepared for The Masses.

 

Blackpool was brilliant, I honestly do mean that, equally it was great to hang out as a 4.  It’s totally geared for kids which is half of the battle when taking the fam away for a few days. I don’t want to see another chip for a while, but then, that’s not exactly a bad thing. If you are wondering about a few days away somewhere then there is plenty to keep a family occupied in Blackpool, come rain or rain.

Viva Las Blackpool!

Tammymum
My Random Musings
3 Little Buttons

Is Facebook becoming Toxic?

This is the very question that I have had on repeat for a while, but it’s been flashing in neon since the debacle which was the EU Referendum. (*shudders* just saying that phrase again…)

I’ve known for some time that I have an addiction to social media; It’s the last thing I will check at night, and the first thing I will check when I wake up (albeit through 1 eye!). I belong to a tonne of parenting groups from all over the world, follow my favourite bloggers, and have my chosen news channels on my ‘news feed’. All ready to bring the latest from the big wide world to my social media platform of choice. Behold The Facebook.
More importantly on Facebook are my friends, friends I have made at all different stages of my life, all clumped together sharing their highs and lows via Likes, Comments and statuses. When Facebook is good, it’s very very good: think wedding photo stalking, school reunion pages, birth announcements, holiday snaps, you know the drill. But when it’s bad its damn right Toxic.
We know SO much about other people’s lives, like it or not. And I LOVE it. I’m nosey by nature, being a fly on the wall through people’s lives is a bit of a dream come true; Thank you Mark Zuckerberg!!
But there is a dark side to Facebook;

A world where opinions and statements are banded around all safely behind the shield of a computer screen. Things are said which would never be said face to face. A screen is a buffer protecting those keyboard warriors. And yes, I am one of them – but learning the hard way to hold my… fingers.
I have seen families torn apart and friendship groups divide over a snide comment here, a controversial article share there, an outright offensive status elsewhere. And let me tell you I have seen some SHOCKERS. Some proper laundry airing shizzle, and we all have a front row ticket.
Facebook can be Toxic, and we play right into its hands.
It’s the perfect vehicle for making others feel uncomfortable, not least because it’s so public. The ‘fishing’ statuses are the ones that really get me. Those statuses which are implying that someone on facebook is responsible for their plight, but they don’t have the guts to confront them so instead issue a ‘Woe is me’ status. A call to arms for those paranoid friends to comment as quickly as their iphones will allow, sending sympathy. Is it sympathy or some sort of paranoid knee jerk reaction though?
It sort of goes a bit like this:
{Infill attention-seeking DULL ‘they are all bi*ches, my life sucks’ type status here}

Cue concerned / guilty ‘friend’ (delete as appropriate)
“This status can’t be about ME…??”

*5 secs later*
“Hmmmm, maybe this is all about ME?…”
*5 secs more – scanning memory*
“I don’t remember pissing her/ him off (let’s face it, it’s almost always a her) ”
*decision time*
“I better comment to keep face and show solidarity” *mentally thumps chest and high fives The Fisher.*
Urgh.
The medal for the most toxic place I have ever come across on Facebook has to go to our town’s ‘Notice board’ page. Does any other town have these?! If you are unsure what I’m referring to, let me enlighten you: The Notice Board was originally set up for people to post about events happening in the town, or enquiries about clubs – you know the sort of thing.
But Enter at your Peril. It is so abusive that if you were to join this group prior to moving to our quiet seaside town you would almost certainly reconsider. It takes good old fashioned slagging to a whole new level. I have seen people be quite literally destroyed publicly on this page. There is always someone ready pounce putting a controversial spin on even the most boring of enquiries. The EU referendum saw it turn into a battleground of Ins V’s Outs. A daily slagging between the 2 sides, only pausing to sleep and reload on the insults that were being banded around so vindictively. *Cringe*
It’s sad that it is becoming the underbelly of our society. Seemingly bringing out the worst in people, all packaged up with a neat little blue logo. As my wonderful friend over at Bean Musing  says,
“There is freedom of speech, and then there is being a tw*t” Nail.on.head. (Go check out her blog!)
Do you know what though, despite ALL of that, I can’t bring myself to delete my account. YET. At the moment the pro’s of keeping in touch with friends, family and the world at large outweigh those cons.

But only just… I guess I’ll just have to suck it up.
I’d love to know if I’m the only one that has a love / hate relationship with Facebook?

Best of Worst

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Secrets of a Reception Veteran.

I’ve done the time..

Darcie and I began ‘big school’ last year. We were rookie novices back then; eyes wide, shoes polished (her) make up always on (me) all ready and uncreased for every drop-off. Well my friends, times have changed, let me tell you. We are now old hands, reception veterans, if you will. And, as we are coming to the dying days of the summer term I am getting ready to pass the Newbie baton on to those unsuspecting preschoolers.

As part of this reception graduation I’ve compiled a list of my 10 essentials every Muma needs when entering the murky world of BIG SCHOOL…


The first 5

1) Sharpie Marker pen

Yes, I did it too: ordered meters and meters of fabric and Iron on name tape. Of course when I was getting ebay-happy with my order I never once stopped to consider that I have never sewn anything in my life (the frog in yr 4 doesn’t count). I was trying to be The Perfect Muma. How I intended to sew on a name tape to every pinafore, polo shirt, jumper, PE kit, and apparently pants and socks too, I’ll never know! But I didn’t sweat the small stuff. Surely these Muma skills arrive with the name tapes. They didn’t and the result  wasn’t pretty. Don’t fall for the ‘easy’ iron-on variety either. They peel, burn a bit and don’t survive the spin cycle. You heard it here first!

So step away from the bastard name tapes. This is all you need:

It’s Sharpie to the rescue.

2) Costume design degree

As you can tell from the above point, I am not a dab hand with a needle and thread. However you are about to enter a 10 month stretch of your life when you will be regularly challenged, often at short notice (that’s their favourite) to make some sort of costume. And of course ‘the children’ get a prize for the best one. What the actual F?! I sat up and safety pin a costume together while dream boat sleeps on and SHE gets the prize. Ok then…

I made an entire angel costume using just safety pins for the oh-so-sweet Nativity: thank you very much.

Please Note: World Book Day is the biggie, this is the Met Ball of the Primary school world. Big prizes are at stake here. Do not be fooled by any facebook chit chat which might suggest Jimmy’s Muma is just ‘throwing something together last minute’. NO SHE AIN’T. You know the story about the shoe maker’s elves… uh huh.

Find out the date your school is showcasing it’s World Book Catwalk and get over to ebay or Amazon pronto. (Unless of course you are blessed with talents like my amazing friend Holly at Oh Sew Dinky check her page out!)

3) Sunglasses

I’m not sure how to break this to you, but you’re going to cry. Possibly within the first few minutes of meeting the parents you are about to share 7 years’ worth of school runs with. Actually it took me a couple of weeks to shed a tear. I may have been in a euphoric state at first, as a result of relinquishing control of our little girl who was by all accounts a teensy bit of a handful: something along the lines of GOOD LUCK MISS SCOTT. After a couple of weeks it dawned on Darcie that this school gig was pretty repetitive and showed no signs of fading away. It made her bottom lip tremble, her face screw up and big tears fell from both of our eyes as we realised we would be saying goodbye at the same time everyday for a very very long time.

Anyway as luck would have it I was caught completely off guard no sunglasses- or my toddler to hide behind. I had to walk through the playground, thankfully flanked by my Muma Squad, sobbing. Save yourselves the ugly cry face, take sunglasses, ALL TERM!

4) Patience

This is a bit of a tricky one as you can’t just ‘add to basket’. Particularly for someone like me who lacks patience with ya know – most things. So this is an important one to practice over the summer hols: your patient face.


Here is mine. What do you think? You’d never know that inside I’m screaming any of the following,

“It says RAT EFFING NAPS not MOUSE SLEEPS. Please, for the love of god attempt to sound out the words before I loose the will to live”

Or

“I have marker penned several 4 letter words across your forehead with my eyes and If I have to listen to you harp on about how little Zachariah is far too clever for the class or that little flossychops is just plain bored due to her natural level of intellect I will reach for the Sharpie. And I will not be accountable for my actions.

5) Flexibility

I’m not talking leg above your head stuff, it’s trickier than that. I’m talking diaries.  All of a sudden one of 20 Parentmail emails will hit the inbox inviting us to attend a once in a lifetime rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk, or a ‘recital’ (in the loosest sense of the word) of various shaky hitty noisy instruments. Of course you don’t want to miss such delights. It’s a drop everything situation. An understanding boss / Toddler / friends and family is what’s required here.

So Reception sounds super fun right? Bet you can’t wait…!!

Ideas welcome for the final 5 items…post in the comments below pretty please x

Mummascribbles</div

Mummuddlingthrough

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If Fireman Sam did Tinder…

PROFILE


Samuel Jones aka ‘Fireman Sam’

Forever 25

Pontypandy, Wales

About Sam..

Action stations girls:

I am single and ready to mingle

I have extensive experience of using a double harness, and ensure I have my giant hose ready at all times to put out the hottest of flames.

Most of my time is taken up looking after a town full of arsonists and deranged inbred kids. It’s time to show bunny boiler Penny that I, Samuel Jones, is ready for some non-PontypandyPoon.

My spare time is spent waiting for the next shitstorm, I do this whilst keeping a close eye on that fuckwit Elvis.
So, swipe right, and let me show you a good time- in a village more dangerous than Midsomer.

Over and out.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes