Tuesday, 31 March 2009

AVEENO, AVEENO, AVEENO....won't you help me beat the credit crunch?

There is a particluar pub round the corner from where I live and every year, there is a fair in the pub car park. This year, emblazoned across the posters advertising said fair is the slogan "BEAT THE CREDIT CRUNCH ALL RIDES £1!!!!" S'cuse me but the rides are always a pound, EVERY SINGLE YEAR THE RIDES ARE £1; I know this because it's advertised, so far I have escaped having to take the kids by lying; telling them the posters are old and "no, that's not the fair in full swing, they're just testing the equipment before moving on". "All those people? Why, they just enjoy visiting pub car parks...maybe". This year, I think it'll be different, d#1 is good at reading, she told me when the fair was this year, adding only "only 3 more days mummy, I'm counting!!" Anyway, I digress, the credit crunch thing stuck in my mind, I guess our family unit hasn't been too affected, but then we have always lived a credit crunch-esque lifestyle. As Sig. Other runs his own business, I tend to view the crunch as a bit of a sword of Damocles. So last week, I came to the decision that I too was going to "BEAT THE CREDIT CRUNCH" and spend as little a possible, only teeny-weeny, small amounts and fill my days rediscovering free and fulfilling activities, far from the Temples of Consummerisim. I started badly, shelling out over £700 to various tradespeople BUT the work was pre-contracted, I was just unfortunate that it was all happening during BEAT THE CRED...ohhh you get the picture. Anyway pre-contracted work doesn't count, as it will, in the fullness of time, add some market value to the house; so, in a round about way, I actually saved us far more than £700. A supermarket spree hmmm...that didn't count either because it nourishment and you have to be well nourished if you're gonna "BEAT THE blah blah" plus I hate supermarket shopping thus I never experince the thrill of frivolity in the asiles of Asda (or Aldi...the recession supermarket of choice). I did the library, lots of Georgette Heyer/Doris Lessing/Mary Wesley bliss for me. Actually, I had to pay off my library fines too, but as I was being good and attempting to "BEAT THE..." the angel on my shoulder urged me not to diddle the good people at the public library out of their £1.60 for much longer (especially as I avoided my last fine by blaming it on the new born). What else? I walked and walked and walked a bit more, appreciating the burgeoning spring atmosphere and inhaling the fragrant car fumes.

Anyway, all this austerity was duly rewarded when the lovely Shiny Red people sent me my AVEENO, AVEENO, AVEENO freebies: Aveeno bath stuff, Aveeno cream and Aveeno moisturiser. The bath stuff claimed to "harness the power of oatmeal", hmmmm, didn't sound very "come hither", so I decided to try it on the kids; actually I had already come to the conclusion that I wanted to mostly use these products on s#1, he has a bit of eczema, nothing too significant but enough to make him uncomfortably itchy at night. I had heard about the benefits of colloidal oatmeal and I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed. An added bonus was that, in the words of s#1, it "smelt like breakfast": he loves breakfast, bathing in it must be in the realm of "Jim'll Fix It" type fantasy. Thus, the kids had fun bathing in breakfast and I loved the fact the kids' skin (especially s#1) was moisturised sans the filmy, oil slick effect that a lot of prescription products bring. Next up the cream...the cream was the main reason I was eager to sample these product, as I have heard a lot positives regarding it's effectiveness. So, s#1, s#2 and d#1 got the treatment, jo beaufoix, hit the nail right on the head when she talks of her skin almost drinking up the cream. It sank into their skin like a dream, wasn't greasy, dealt with s#1's little patch of eczema and, most significantly, he wasn't up in the night with dry, itchy skin. RESULT! I saved the moisturiser for myself, a little treat in return for all my credit crunch beating, for braving all those walks in near gale force condition and forcing myself to read "literature". I liked the cream, it felt good, it absorbed well and had the psychological "Ohhh, get me? Using natural products." thrill. I used it on my hands too, believe me, when I say my hands are the hands of doom and that's putting it is mildly. Having been ravaged by cleaning products and, with little in the way of little in the way of TLC, Aveeno had it's work cut out. It, however, rose to the challenge admirably and, I have to say, the cream did them the power of good (not out of the woods yet but I if I keep applying I can see a light at the end of the tunnel). So, all in all a resounding success AND, I believe that the products can be obtained on prescription so all you MAT leave mums can get your own little freebie! Final word to goes to d#1, "D#1" I said "make up a rhyme about Aveeno and I'll write it down for you"; "ok" replied d#1 rising to the challenge; "Aveeno, Aveeno rhymes with The Beano". Indeed it does and it's just as good.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Tired anyone?

I'm tired, really, really tired...grindingly so. Once again a baby has taken over my night time; I should have learnt after the first 2 to not let them sleep all night by my side, Ferberize 'em, drag out the Gina Ford, whatever it takes but no...once again I succumbed to the whimpers, the longing looks, the haze of hormones convincing me that my baby had to be at my side night and day. Well, I have made my bed and now I must lie in it, as I have sowed so shall I reap, made a rod for....blah, blah, blah.

One positive is that now me and sig. other can play the "who's the most tired" game. It's more of a competition really: and the prize? Gaining the right to bear the cross of being the most tired person EVER, in the whole world. He works hard, runs his own business....the day doesn't stop at 6pm it carries on and on and on....I look after the home, get up in the night to feed babs BUT I sense I will soon gain the advantage because I will be returning to work (a deputy head friend offered me a job, it's only a two day week thing but still...) SO I will be "working mother"; therefore I claim the monopoly. Actually, I'm far better suited to the game, he just doesn't put the time in. It's no good just telling me you're tired you have to demonstrate it; don't just walk wearily up the stairs, crawl, claiming a lack of oxygen to muscles (inventing symptoms is one of the rules), make sure it is known that you can barely hold a cup of tea, spend long periods of time staring at nothing, as if the ability to think has deserted (actually this is genuine). Write posts that make no sense and have the gall to publish. So, apologies to anyone who actually reads my blog...I only wanted to make contact, albeit in a rambling...forgot what I was trying to say...{yawn} ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzz

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Shabbalism or a load of old sh*$ ?

I've never been at the forefront of fashion. Oh, I've worn some nice shoes, owned a few nice frocks in my time; my taste in music is blinding but I've never been right there at the forefront of a movement...until now! For I have discovered the existence of shabbalism ...it's new, it's out there, it's cutting edge and I was bucking the trend as far back as 2004, when minimalism ruled, way before shabbalism was a bona fide, Wayne Hemingway endorsed, way of life. Shabbalism was first brought to my attention this morning, as I was reading the Saturday Guardian supplement, reading the weekend papers 3 days late is a very bad habit if one wants to be considered "current" but nonetheless...the article was by Gillian Rowe and shabbalism looks something like this . I must admit I read it with a certain incredulity as images not dis-similar to my own home leaped out from the pages: bare plaster wall...yes, wall paper half stripped, still clinging on for dear life...got that, chipped wood work...in abundance, peeling paint...yes,yes,yes!!!! I have it all, I am a trendsetter! So, here's my guide to achieving "the look", incorporating the basic philosophy of "taking on jobs you have no intention of finishing". My recommended starting point would be wallpaper stripping, all the better to discover not 1 but 3 layers of paper, this, of course, permits license to give up for a year or so; it's better to ensure a small child sees you in the act of wallpaper removal, as they will then recreate said act in rooms you had intended to leave well alone. Fireplaces, hearths, surrounds etc should be removed, leaving a gaping hole in the wall...better still to leave a pile of rubble/dust in the gaping hole. Paint work should be nicely chipped, I would recommend a regular battering with bike/ skateboard/ pushchairs. Accessorize with a vase of wilted daffodils, a few casually scattered DVD boxes (empty of course), a trail of tea cups and a few crumbs. The look is easy to maintain, simply survey the scene (ignoring the dust), sigh, raise your eyebrows and decide to put off 'til tomorrow what you could be doing today et voila: shabbalism at your finger tips.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Retro book club...

I recently purchased a copy of a popular women's publication (and having now embraced the new austerity, these purchases are few and far between). Anyway, I admit I was more tempted to said publication because of the free gift but did I manage to write them an e-mail waxing lyrical about their wonderful edition with the feeble aim of winning the expensive bag prize and expensive pen prize (would look good on ebay). Anyway, splashed across this popular women's publication (hereby to be known as PWP ...cut down typing time thus risk of repetitive strain injury) was the word HAPPY. It was the HAPPY issue, the issue to get us all smiling in these financially messy times (and the free gift was good). Great, happiness, a splendid topic but I don't really need anyone to tell me how to be happy; most of the time I am, sometimes I'm not. Simple. Nevertheless, it was tempting; promising me that "feeling good starts here" and I always listen to sound advice, so I purchased; quid pro quo...happiness tips for increased circulation figures. Right, did it make me happy...no I barely read it because I hardly ever read the publications I buy...I just get frustrated by the amount of advertising I have to wade through; I, however, drawn to the "uplifting reads" section: these are the books that would, apparently, "boost my mood" ( I tend to think a boost to my mood would be having the time to read 1 book, never mind 5 but that's just being sour and this if the HAPPY issue I'm analysing). There were 5 of them; all probably very uplifting in there own way, to some people BUT to include "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" PLEASE!!! Why would this make anyone feel better? OK, somewhat of an exaggeration there; it is a best seller so it must work for some but my inner domestic goddess has bolted (I'm using the fact that we are "being decorated" as an excuse to get out of that one). The other book which didn't quite do it for me was "Charlotte's Web" , now, I loved this book when I was a child...probably would still love it now but it's so unbearably sad. I cried like a leaky tap when poor, old spider Charlotte died and was denied the chance to see her babies grow up. It's like some sort of Greek Tragedy with animals...for kids... hmmmm...maybe going a bit too far but it IS sad.
Well, all this got me thinking that it would be an uplifting venture and, therefore, a very good thing to re-read some of my childhood favourites. The thrill of a good ballet book...pony stories never did it for me. I avidly read Lorna Hill, I think I inherited this from my mother. Oh, the thrills as Jane decided whether she should leave the Wells and marry Guy Charlton (she was 19 and hadn't even kissed him!), the agonies over whether Veronica would pass her audition and become a prima ballerina...this was 1950's Britain and it was all very straightforward. I also had a brief encounter with the absolutely abominable Sweet Valley High. Sweet Valley is awful, no one should aspire to live there. I read these out of loyalty to a "best friend" who was OBSESSED, maybe I thought we could share the experience; now I realise she should have paid me to read them; Sweet Valley High is tedious, actually, this is probably where I first discovered that romance had bypassed me: I didn't give a damn if they got boyfriends/wore purple shoes/had hair that shone gold on a summers day. I recently mentioned to by sig. other that I might have a stab at writing a Mills and Boon, purely as a money making exercise. He laughed like a drain, enough said. No, not for romantic, sunny, happy endings; I did have a thing for Judy Blume, nice bit of social realism mixed with controversy; any book that required a letter from your mum before you could get it out of the school library was worth a read. I am of course referring to the legendary Forever; Forever was one of those read that appeared everywhere, school, guide camp, youth club everyone wanted to read it and primarily read the rude bits...out loud to a group of giggling but slightly embarrassed young teens. The thing with Blume was that you felt she understood the teenaged you as opposed to doling out a fantasy that, lets face it, no one in 1980's Manchester was ever likely to experience.
My stepdaughter (SD#1...I only have the 1, I'm no Angelina Jolie, I don't collect kids) reads books about chavs, Diary of a Chav (each one with it's own subtitle) to be precise. She's an avid and very accomplished reader but she does like her chav lit. Would I read a chav's diary if I was 13 all over again, probably...I'd be curious, but my early encounters with Ms Blume's novel, Z for Zachariah, The Outsiders, even When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, all this and more has left a gritter edge to my tastes. Anyone else have any enduring bookish memories? Please share...

Monday, 9 March 2009

Kids will be kids...?

Blogging here in response to the Mothership's latest post, not sure if that's blogging etiquette, being very new to this and all; but I didn't want to use up all her comments space applauding her completely accurate and pertinent comments regarding the phenomena that is the tweenager . It's strange because I was actually pondering this same topic t'other day, when my daughter announced that now she's six, she can be a tweenager. WHAT!!!! "What's a tweenager?" was my response (curious to see her definition of the term, 'cos, to my mind, being a tweenager is in a different league to clip-clopping around in your mother high heels). "Well y'know, grown up and stuff" was the reply. "No sweetheart, you are a little girl and will be a little girl for a long time to come" I countered. Thankfully D#1 wasn't too downhearted and is now back to her grubby, tree climbing self. Where did it come from though? In part I think she was carried away by the pink stretch limo party she attended at the weekend (not slagging anyone off here as it was the lovely party of a lovely girl with lovely parents); I guess it put our little scout hut, games and disco party in the shade (although I thought hiring the local dance club lady for 80 quid was excessive but justified as I wouldn't have to host a party for 26 (very social is D#1) in my tiny home with added bonus of not having to tidy up) Additionally and as Mothership points out (far better than I could so I won't repeat but just endorse her words) the media plays a vital role in forcing our kids to grow up at such a rate by passing the experiences that make childhood special.
When I was younger there was a programme on the TV called Minipops, you might remember it. When it came out, everyone thought it was some kind of sick joke (and not sick as in "good" I may be getting older but I still understand the language... to some degree;) ) and it really was, so why has what was considered so unethical in the 1980's become so acceptable now? How often do you see children dragged around shopping centres dressed at "mini me" replicas of mum or dad? How many kids aspire to be a Big Brother styled "celebrity"? The other day me and sig. other were engaged in some harmless gossip about a friends rather "lively" child. "I wonder what people say about our kids?" I ventured. "Humph...scruffy and unruly" was sig. others opinion. Yep, hits the nail on the head but long live scruffy, unruly, tree climbing, wannabe pirates/space adventurers/dogs (S#1's career of choice should the opportunity ever arise), snotty nosed kids!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Tripping up in memory lane....

I was meandering around today; pretending to dust but really just passing it (the dust) from one corner to another corner; attempting to de-dust sig. others record collection (which is a trap darlings, a trap!)); when I remembered how, when I was teaching, I mentioned the word "records" to a class of Year 3 (first year juniors...or 7 - 8 year old's) during a music lesson and I was met by a row of perplexed young faces. There I was educating them with a bit of New Orleans Funk (sorry folks but it needs to be heard); which I must say they were embracing like troopers and I happened to utter "I'll put the next record on" we were working with Cd's but I was feeling the nostalgia. "What's a record Miss?" was the general response; "It's vinyl" was my retort "What's vinyl?" was the response; "It's a record" and so it went on...you get the picture; climaxing in "ohhh my Nan's got some of them record thingies!" from one small, bright spark. Great, I'm barely old enough to be your....hang on...I suppose, if you really push it, technically, I could be old enough to be his nan...Anyway, whilst engaged in dusting I got to thinking about something more interesting; what other things are future generations we going to lose sight of? Top of the Pops; Pans People; pop ex records; Wimpy Burger Bars; getting a fiver out of the ATM and having a really good night out; shell suits, ra ra skirts, puffballs and pedal pushers; collections...badges, key rings, I could go on but you get the gist; Dallas and novelty songs; oh oh taping the charts on a Sunday evening! Too many things...RIP