Friday 31 December 2010

Follow Friday #FF

As many of you know, we are emigrating to South Africa sometime in the next 2-3 weeks. I am hazy with the dates as we are at the mercy of the South African High Commission. We have had 13 weeks since we were asked to move with Hubbies job and in that time we have had the house redecorated, rented it out, sold loads of stuff and the rest is now in transit. The 2 boys are staying with their father and grand mother and hubby and I are dividing our time with our other 3 children, all adults now and family and friends.

I've not been the best tweeter recently and have been asking for lots of help and am aware I've made few replies. Internet use is now restricted to coffee shops and libriaries and neighbours we can bribe for their wep key.

This week I would like to say a big thank you and mention these lovely people on my #FF list

@Adrian_J_S @peterbrowning @CymraesCoch @onerubberband @iaingilmour @chris_swan @stephiemalverns @iflibble @EG75 @LJB41 @scrummycupcake @littlebead @deafdotty @LexxClarke @ethel_godrich @PembDave @LynnCherylEde @design_blah @valbarella @grealis @jobywanuk @littlebead @CaptainTom3 @Amarranth @FrauHopkins @Feroxtrout @thetechrevo @juliebrooke85 @7breaths_ @focusonsally @pennynash @stellian

Some of you I don't even follow but you replied with helpful links and advice for which I am very very grateful.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Life sucks sometimes

This is me and my step daughter Stephanie,she's 22, she's not coming with us to South Africa.

How can we leave her behind?

We'll let you know once we're out there

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Update-South Africa

The house is rented as from January 14th, they are paying 6 months rent in advance, the mortgage company have agreed, the buildings and gas insurance is sorted.

Off shore bank accounts have been opened and money deposited, old bank accounts will be closed in new year.

Visas ready for collection January 7th from London.

Furniture is packed and is being removed tomorrow.

New front doors are stuck in Yorkshire, but firm coming tomorrow to remove front door and rehang for removal firm.

What's left to do? Sell the car (tweet me if interested)several trips to charity shops and the tip before we depart, letters to write to inform companies of change of address and have to book oven, house and carpet cleaners.

Christmas is being spent in a hotel in Reading where my son works and has got us a fantastic deal, new year with neighbours and friends, a couple of football matches and that is it.

And to think we were only asked to if we would be interested in moving out there the middle of September.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Duty of care?

Sign in most supermarket car parks

'we take no responsibility for any damage to your car'

OK fair enough, it's not their fault if someone reverses into me....but it is their responsibility if the trolley man, damages my car.

You with me so far?

Is it the supermarkets responsibility, if my car is broken into?...No...but if they are aware of a string of break ins, surely they have a duty of care to notify me of this?

In most cases they do, they're not taking responsibilty for a break in, but they are warning me to take due care.

So airlines? What is your duty of care?

Hubby put spare laptop and camcorder in baggage to fly home from South Africa with Qatar airlines, business class. At Heathrow, bag drops onto conveyor belt, it is open and said items are missing. Assumption made...bag xrayed in J'burg, bag marked, lock broken as bag is on route to plane and contents stolen. Who's fault is it? ... Hubbies of course, the small print says to keep valuables in hand luggage and not pack in suitcase. We all know that.

But, when making complaint at Qatar desk in UK, who have taken responsibilty for ensuring his luggage is put on the plane and reaches the same destination as him, at the same time (if bag is delayed airline will re-emberse costs incurred) he is informed by the man at the desk. Sir, this problem is common flying from South Africa...did you read the small print? There in lies the duty of care, which I believe they failed in...What is the point of telling him after he arrives back in the UK, minus the contents.

And, what made it worse was the bloke next to him was making a claim for damage to his suitcase that was caused during handling en route to the plane and they were falling over backwards to assist him with a claim.

Friday 26 November 2010

One week later

As you probably all know by now, cos I'm sooo excited and telling everyone, we are emigrating to South Africa. We are due to fly out on January 3rd. This time last week I left hubby at Heatrow airport to fly out to meet the team and organise schools, house etc. All with full support from HR, he flew business class and stayed in a good hotel. He was collected and returned every day and all appointments were set up for him. The children are now enrolled in a lovely school, we have a short list of houses and all the paperwork is in place for the visas. I drove to heathrow this morning to collect him and we are now home, having had a Chinese for Tea and the boys are away till Sunday night.
And relax.......

But here's what happened behind the scenes. I'm not asking hubby for recognition for all mentioned below and he has told me many a time that he couldn't do it without me. But if I hear one more time...''ll all get done' one more time, I'll scream.

Saturday and Sunday decorators in to do two bedrooms, but where does the furniture go and the paint get stored? my bedroom and the landing, that's where. Where are the kids? here for me to look after, there's a football match Sunday afternoon and ironing and homework and a food shop to do.

Monday to Friday I'm working..full time in a busy and stressful job at the best of times. But I have to stop work several times to do the following.

Answer calls from South Africa, send emails to South Africa, contact current schools, email information, decipher faxes sent via email (actually sent it to @mediocre_mum who then read it out to me over skype)send faxes to South Africa, via the lovely Helen in the office as shes the only one that knows of hubbies transfer, whose fax machine is broken and then only 8 of 11 sheets arrive (twice) order carpet for bedroom after flood last week, rearrange work to be in when carpet is laid. Stop for football training (emergency call to coach to take and return son) empty lounge of all furniture, dining room and conservatory now doubling as storage and out of bounds. Put furniture back in bedrooms re hang curtains (with help from ex husband) Dental appointment. Up to this point I had spent most of the week in tears then I drove car into school wall after dropping son off and sat and just laughed at the stupidity of it all.
The lovely Emily came to clean today (the rooms she could actually get into) while I drove to Heathrow arriving as planned as plane landed, to wait over an hour in arrivals as hubbies suitcase was broken into on route and my laptop and camcorder was stolen. I have copies of photos stored on it, but really not happy with 8yrs worth of family pics now in the hands of someone else.

So that's it.....I'm tired, hubby is tired...did I mention he flew business class though. Child free weekend..and no...decorators in at 9am and we have all the immigration forms to sign and decide where we are going to live...oh and several trips to the tip adn the kitchen to empty as the decorators will be ready to start work on it on monday.

Sunday 21 November 2010


Spending most nights awake now with my brain spinning and lists forming about the move to South Africa. All I want is a date then I can set the wheels in motion. In the meantime, I'm just trying to keep on top of the mess. We have decorators in, there was a leaky radiator to sort so add buy new carpet to my ever ending list. I want the go ahead from Hubbies company so I can confirm the packers and movers and get them in early to start boxing stuff up as we decorate, sort and pack stuff we're taking with us. I need time to sell the rest of the junk.
Anyone want to buy a car, 3 bikes, trampoline, garden equipment...the lists goes on and on and on.

Fame? What's it all about?

Taking 15yo son to school this week I asked him what people are saying about Cher Lloyd in Malvern.

He asked me 'What do you mean?'

I said 'Well are people excited about it?'

His response 'Nah not really, everyone was going on about it when she first went on the show, but not anymore.'

Cher lives in the next street to us. There are two secondary schools for Malvern. Dyson Perrins and The Chase. Cher and her brother have been at both schools. I've had kids at both schools also.

It's a small town...I've only been here 8 years but it's like most places everyone knows everyone and as everyone knows Cher, noone is phased by it.

I did ask my son how he thought people would react if Matt or Katie were to move to the area. He said everyone would be why aren't the locals doing the same with Cher? After all, all Celebs are local to somewhere and everyone there knows them.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Why your teenager needs a cuddle.

We all need loving and we all love in return. We display our love in many ways and depending on who we are giving love to depends on how we show it.

My 11 year old stills comes in our room in the mornings and snuggles up on the bed....we're not stupid he comes in to get the sky remote, but still gets his cuddles.

The 18 year old has left home and has a girlfriend so obviously gets his cuddles, just not off his mum.

The 15 year old is too young for a proper girlfriend and is too old for cuddles with his mum, although I do get a quick hug when he goes to school its not the same as a proper cuddle.

Maybe this is why we have so many issues with him in regards to his behaviour. He just doesn't feel the love.

What do you think?

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Teenagers- The best way to tackle behaviour

I offered advice tonight in reply to a tweet about managing their teenagers defient behaviour. I realised I wasn't just talking from experience but talking from the point as a Mother thats not only been there and done that but as a Mother that has openingly asked for help and received great advice from friends and family and from twitter and I'd like to share some of the things that have worked for me, and worked well.

dont send a child away to grandparents.......she'll think shes getting away with it...

teenagers dont view things the same way we do...if i change my mind they dont see it as a victory or that youve backed down

pick your arguments carefully and when you say no...see it through to the end......we've just had to replace a door that the 15 yo

punched and kick in a row over the xbox, hes been docked £3 a week pocket money taking the money all in one go would have made

it worse...we talked about it 2 days later and he understood why i had banned the xbox and why he was paying for the door

dont tackle them when they are angry wait till things have calmed down take her out somewhere and discuss it she wont see it as a

a reward for negative behaviour as teenagers forget things and move on much quicker than adults..there endenth the lesson

always tackle a child about behaviour at least 24hrs later once they move on...thats my motto everything inbetween is damage limitation

we move on really quick and as you know from my blog and tweets it gets really bad here sometimes

Thursday 4 November 2010


Yesterday I joined in with the hastag (#) game #tweetyour16yearoldself I made one posting then thought of a million more.

I stopped after two (see below)

#tweetyour16yearoldself white stilettos with skinny jeans will NEVER be in fashion

#tweetyour16yearoldself dont sleep with him he's not going to talk to you tomorrow let alone be your boyfriend

when I realised that I wouldn't give myself any other advice than the route I took.

It has made me what I am today. But I live in fear that one day someone may

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Gadgets and kids

It's my own fault, 90% of the rows in this house revolve around the kids and their gadgets.
I violate my childrens human rights when I ban the use of xbox, internet or mobile phones.
WTF is going on?

Welcome to the real world

In reality, most women go to work, either for finacial reasons, for the love of their job or in most cases to meet adults and get out of the house once the children develop greater independence.

This is not meant to challenge and I acknowledge every family situation is different. I am also speaking from the point of view of the Mother as the Primary Care giver.
Sadly these days, we meet someone, we have children with them and often end up a single parent or divorced as the children get older.

You're not the first person to become a Mummy, you're not the first person to have dreams and aspire for great things for your child, you're not the first person to want more from life.

But, I'm afraid to say you can't have it all. Once a parent always a parent but you are still you and you will make mistakes.

And if I hear one more bloody time today the attitude.... I'd do anything for my kids....of course you would, we all would. Stop trying to be perfect, stop judging other peoples children by your standards, cos once your children get exposed to the real world, the world outside of your control, they will change, influences greater than yours will take over.

So sit back, enjoy this time as it's all going to change and you may not like the choices they make and I hope to god the next generation of 'Mummies' don't frown upon you in the same way.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Would you get the message?

Despite several emails and phone calls asking Vodafone to come to an arrangement with me to end my contract a year early due to us emigrating, only found out in September, they keep sending me the standard reply.

Today I lost my patience with them and this is a copy of the email I sent them. Do you think they'll get the message this time?

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I know what I can do and how to do it, as I am a grown up. The whole point of the email is that I believe Vodafone have no understanding of why people may NEED to cancel their contracts after 10 years continious custom. I am assuming that should I die you would also impose the same conditions on the account. Please don't bother to reply with the same information unless it differs from what is in the email below, what is written on my initial contract, what is available on line and what your call centre told me. I was hoping you could come to an arrangement with me taking into consideration the length of time I have remained a loyal customer and the fact that I am not moving to another service provider, nor do I want my PUK code or any other code from you.

FYI I have not had any issues with either SKY, Car & Home Insurance, BT Broadband, phone & Vision with which I am also in a contract with.

Monday 1 November 2010

Have you emigrated?

There is too much to do and no time to do it in. Despite handing my notice in with both my jobs and leaving work mid December, it will all be too late then. We are probably going to South Africa in late December/early January, but it is NOW that I need the time off.

Do you realise that to arrange for 1 estate agent to come round takes a phone call, then rearrange work commitments, be in the house at least 2hrs before they arrive to tidy. The appointment takes approx 1-2 hrs to show them round and go through the T&C's. The removal quote alone took 90 minutes this morning. And guess what?, none of them are able to come on the same day, so more diary juggling.

When D day does arrive the removeral firm will do all the packaging, the estate agents will either continue to market the house or find us some tennants and for 10% each month of the rent will manage it all and collect payments.

I need the time off work now, to sort and clear some of the crap out. It's a 6 bed house, only 2 kids left at home and several car boot sales already done, there's still an awful lot of stuff left to do.

Does anyone want to buy a car? 3 bikes? Garden furniture? Lawn mowers? White goods?

And would anyone like to help me with my students and assessing their NVQ's in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools? Would really like to get them all finished by the 10th December or at least have their folders up to date so a colleague can just step straight in.

And as for schools and rent and work that can all wait till be get t there, when ever that may be.


15yo son gave me his school report, he's had it since the end of term and 'forgot' I anticipated the worse or he would have given it to me earlier. No, I was wrong, had to double check I'd been given the right one.

The school claim he is at fault for his behaviour and he needs to address his issues and just issue sanctions in regards to his negative and disruptive behaviour.

This only occurs in Maths and Science and the school, despite numerous meetings, failt o acknowledge his reasonable average behaviour in his other lessons.

My suggestion was that after 4 years of the same teachers in these subjects that maybe a change of face may help....N, the school know best and can't swop teachers around to suit each child.

Behaviour, effort and homework last 4 years 3's and 4' (needs to improve and unacceptable)

Half a term with new teachers in MAths and Science and he has 1's for excellent in both subjects and the 3's he had in other areas have now improved to a 2, satisfactory.

Not going to bother pointing this out to the school as they will only claim they did it on purpose.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Saturday 30 October 2010

Thursday 28 October 2010

Only in America

If you get a spare 5 minutes and need cheering up, a dam good laugh check out... that is out there for the weird and wacky.
It entertained me for takeoff and the half hour we spent sat on the tarmac at Manchester.
Here are some of the best.
• The battery operated briefcase turntable – for the impromptu office party?
• The video recording sunglasses – discretely record all that you see...why? Who? When?
• The million germ eliminating travel toothbrush sanitizer – you what?
• The fold-away PupSTEP  FFS to help you dog climb up onto your lap or the sofa
• The indoor dog restroom with built in sprinkler – for high rise living or if you’re out all day...may I suggest you RE-HOME THE DOG
There are so many other things in there just as ridiculous but at 1am in the morning having been sat on a plane since 11am with another 2 hrs ahead only one cigarette and plenty of wine some of these items for sale are looking quite good and I am soooo having the Marshmallow shooter- yours for only $24.95.

Saturday 23 October 2010

Tweeting from the plane...

Ever flown with delta? You should excellent service, cabin crew, food; the plane was spotless as we got on, well managed and loads of leg room in economy. The flight from the UK to JFK was fantastic, originally we were asked if we’d take $1000 each to fly to New York via Heathrow, but we had to decline as it meant we would have missed our connecting flight to Las Vegas. So instead we got an upgrade and an exit seat, the wall was so far away I couldn’t touch it with my feet unless I slid down my seat and stretched my toes. Two meals provided, vegetarian or meat option, no pre booking, no additional cost, a large glass of red wine (white and beer were also on offer) dessert, soft drink and either tea or coffee. Second meal was a snack, slice of hot pizza, tub of ice cream, soft drink and tea or coffee. Plus during the flights complimentary nuts and water handed out. The head phones were free and the all films and programmes were on demand and again FREE...did I mention FREE? The only thing they charged for which I didn’t take advantage of on the way out was internet connection via the Wi-Fi with gogoinflight and they only charged $12.95. I shall be tweeting on the flight home that’s for sure.
I do hope you will all join me I’ll let you know when I start the 1st part of my journey home. It’ll keep me entertained and means hubby can read his book in peace...I can bug you lot instead and let him finish his book.

Body Scanners? What the hell you fussing about?

Lots of discussion and debate about the body scanners and how children should be exempt from it as it is an invasion of privacy for adults and considered by some as obtaining pornographic images of children, even though no image is stored, people are getting over confused with safeguarding their children and saving their lives.
In the past 2 months I have flown from Manchester airport, with 3 kids and just with my husband. I have not heard any one complain about the use of the body see you follow these very basic steps to avoid having to be scanned.
• Remove belt
• Remove all cheap costume jewellery
• Remove loose change from your pocket
• Remove sunglasses from head
• Put all liquids in a small plastic bag in advance of arrival at the airport (no more than 1 litre in total but no more than 100mls per pot
• Check you don’t have nail scissors or tweezers in your hand luggage, put them in your case you won’t need them on the flight
• Place all items in the trays provided
Hubby has been through the body scanner twice now, 15yo son has been through it, and I’ve followed the instructions above and avoided it every time.
Now the point of this post is Hubby wasn’t even aware he’d been through the body scanner and the 15yo commented that it made him feel grown up.
Son kept belt on and hubby had loose change in his pocket on both occasions which sets of the metal detector as you go through the turn style, you enter a glass box, the door slides shut behind you, then you either exit left....which will happen as long as you follow the steps above or the door slides open right if you’ve triggered the alarm. As hubby exited right this morning I sailed through on the left, collected all the scanned/x-rayed items and stood and waited while he went through the scanner......and do you know it’s only as he’s been reading this over my shoulder that it dawned on him...oh that’s the scanner is it?..I wondered what it was.

Monday 18 October 2010

Day one of a new life

Right, that's it. We're not moving..I am not going to South Africa...the rest of them can do what they like but I am staying put.

So, the family know all weekend the Estate Agent is coming today and at 7am this morning I am still hiding the ironing, shoving things in cupboards, putting all the k'nex away so we can get in the conservatory.

It started at 7am this morning when 15yo son and I were building a bed for his room. He has a fold out sofa bed and I know buyers can't see past that and can be very narrow minded, we broke it, it is now propped up on books covered with a double duvet.

I've tidied the computer room, cleaned the kitchen and spent last 20 minutes shoving crap out the garden into the sheds.

Ok, so that's normal isn't it....but hubby decided to pop in after taking kids to school for toast and coffee, he needed to grind some beans and couldn't quite understand my upset at my lovely clean kitchen, that wasn't clean any more.

He followed me around giving instructions, don't sign anything, make sure you tell them this, that, the other. Hang on a minute, I sold two houses to get us here in the first place, yes he signed the paperwork but when he works away who does he think does all the ground work.

I love hubby dearly and of course I am moving with him. I expected all of this and I just gritted my teeth and sighed..thankfully he left 5 minutes before the lovely Keri from Connells arrived, who did what she set out to do which is to make me her new BFF (she just wants to get the sale)

Sunday 17 October 2010

X Factor...don't click away it's not what you think

I don't know Cher Lloyd, I've seen her around town, she lives about 5 mins walk from my house. Her brother was at school with my 15yo and they play football around.

Before Cher shot to fame on the X Factor I'd heard of her, knew she had been bullied at school and had moved to the other school in town and her brother soon followed.

I'm not from Malvern so I don't 'know' families, but in all the time I've been here I've never heard anything negative about them.

Cher is a chav.....that's what the national papers are saying about her and also some very nasty and negative comments are being made about her on facebook. My 15yo son is her friend on facebook and has been way before the rest of the UK was made aware of her since her appearnace on the X Factor.

I went to her house on Tuesday night to see her brother to ask him if he'd seen my son (see previous blogs) Mum answered the door and Dad popped his head round.....I could have been at anyone's house and I was really. I never mentioned Cher or said how is she getting on, because I hadn't gone there for that reason.

My point in writing this blog is I do wish people would stop making judgements based on the way people dress and look. My 15yo calls his 18yo brother a chav and they laugh about it.

It's not a way of life it's more of a dress code, there are so many groups of people defined but what they wear and the music they listen to.

Personally I don't like the 'uniform' of middle aged, slightly over weight me the boots, legging, long woollen dress, choppy hairstyle is not a look I aspire to have, but it is a uniform, there's the 'yummy mummy' look I don't choose either, floaty skirts, hair scraped up on the head and carrying a Radley handbag, or the 'gym woman'.

We all have a uniform, for me, I personally look like I've just finished riding my horse, I like jeans tucked into flat boots, tshirt with plenty of cleavage and a floaty wrap round cardi....

I no more own a horse than Cher 'the chav' is a gobby mare and is hard.

So please stop judging people on their appearance and just accept that we are all different.

I am not alone.....guest post by @SunnyNici on twitter

My 14 year old son has inspired me to write this post as it’s just been one of those weeks, but first a little background. I have been a lone parent since my son was 2 years old, I used to work part time at an insurance brokers but decided that this was not the career I wanted to be in forever, so I took the decision to go back to college in 2009 to do an Access Course to give me the qualifications I needed to go to university. I passed the course and in September this year I started university studying the Social Work BA Hons Degree, with a view to working in Child Protection when I have graduated. I am only in university two days a week so am home when my son gets home from school and am studying when he is out with his friends at the weekend or whilst he is at school. I believe that I have got the balance right and certainly my son seems happy.

So imagine my surprise when I get a phone call from his school this week to ask me if I had been leaving my son by himself for the past two weeks whilst I was at uni! After assuring the school that I had in fact been at home and informing them that I was at uni as a student social worker, they were happy that I would deal with this statement with my son when he got home from school. Basically what had happened is my son had lost his school tie and instead of buying a new one with the money I had given him, he decided to spend it on food and borrow a tie from the Head of Year. When my son was approached by this teacher asking for the tie back, the *only* excuse he could think of was to say that I had deserted him so he wouldn’t get into trouble. After explaining to him that he cannot lie about things like that, he accepted that he was wrong and apologised not only to me but also the school.

Then on Friday, whilst he was at youth club, I recived a phone call from his girlfriend telling me that my son had been injured and I had to go there immediately. Once I arrived I was met by the youth workers and was told that he was listening to a live band, jumping around in the mosh pit and got pushed and accidently head butted one of this friends. An ambulance had been called and there was talk of him possibly needing stitches as he had cut his head. When the paramedics arrived, they checked him over and due to his paleness and feeling nauseous, recommended that he should go to A&E. So off he goes in the ambulance with me following behind. After 3 hours we were finally seen and luckily no stitches were needed, they simply glued him back up and was advised to take regular doses of paracetamol for the pain and the headaches. My son joked with the doctor that I had locked him a freezer and that was how he got the injuries!

I love my son dearly but wish he would rane in his imagination at times…. A student social worker with a son who says I left him alone for two weeks and then jokes that I locked him in the freezer when at A&E! At this rate I will be struck off before I even get started lol.


Preparation for South Africa

Well, I've written out my notice letter for The Football Association and Worcester College of Technology and will hand it in 1st thing tomorrow.

Wow, I found that very emotional. I love my job working for The FA in Worcestershire at County level in Child Welfare. I have met so many interesting people from a variety of walks of life, had some great successes and also worked some very difficult cases.

When I came into post 2 years ago this was a new venture for The FA and I had to find my feet and learn to work with others who had been doing different parts of my job for years. It was very hard to walk into an established office and 'take over' keeping people out of the loop, issue warnings to individuals for inappropriate behaviour, persuading people to re sit safeguarding courses and supporting 100's of volunteer welfare officers with CRB checks and suitability for roles with working with children. I've worked closely with the police, probation and social services and built some very good contacts with excellent two way communication and referrals.

I've been fortunate enough to attend meetings and trainings at various venues including Soho Square and Wembley. We don't talk about the day I spent training in the Vetting and Barring scheme that the government have since put on hold, at Villa Park (I'm a Birmingham City Fan)

I've spent three years at WCT teaching Skills for Work, Retail and more recently assessing NVQ level 2 & 3 for Teaching Assistants. I also used to support students with learning difficulties with work experience, including 10 weeks at a funeral directors and that was eye opening. I now have no fears of what happens to me after death, we had a laugh and that was the only way to get through it, but everything was done with such dignity and care.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Back to South Africa

We're another step closer to going. Hubby has been asked to go over beginning of November for a week to check out places to live and meet the team.

He told me it's time to get the house on the market, no rush, maybe in a day or two? oh and can you get some quotes for decorating as he'll be too busy to do it, but don't hand your notice in at work yet, you can work up till the end of November ready for a move around christmas.


Sometimes Twitter just isn't enough

Don't stop reading...stay with me....your children may be little now, but they will grow up and you will need help...please read on...and don't ever say it won't happen to you.

Yesterday morning I blogged about the lack of support for parents with teenagers. There is so much info outhe there for younger children, advice and support groups, but nothing for when they get older.

I had to go to one sons school yesterday and while I was waiitng a rummaged through their information rack.

Preschool places, holiday clubs, family activities, child care and baby & toddler classes.

The only information available for older children was support for parents returning to work now their child is older.

Yesterday I had cause to remove my 15yo sons xbox from his room after his refusal to do anything, even communicate and then it all kicked off big time. I have several brusies on my body, my bedroom was trashed and we need a new door for the spare bedroom and then he ran away.

I drove round a few of his mates houses, word was put around and one kind dad put him in his car and brought him home, having told him on the short journey that his behaviour was unacceptable.

The TV and game console are now in the spare room and he has to ask to use it, his mobile phone was returned this morning as I need a bargaining tool for future use and he has been allowed an hour on the lap top in the kitchen with me tonight.

I received lots of support from twitter and links were posted with some fantastic suggestions, however not one person or web site could tell me what to do when he says 'No' to every suggestion made.

So today I went to see my friend, it was a 100 mile round trip but worth every mile. Our children grew up together and were inseperable until 8 years ago, they are both 15 now, when we moved away and her son went off the rails. Haven't listened to her stories today about pupil referal units, alcohol, cannabis, violence towards teachers and both her and her husband being interviewed by the police and social services in regards to false allegations made by their son, I asked her 'waht help are you getting now?' her response was 'None'

So with help from @mediocre_mum who has taken control of my blog and face book to set up feeds and links etc etc (can't say what else she did as I don't understand it) I will be putting together a blog, a forum, a support page for parents with teenagers, where they can share advice, information and generally let off stem so they realise they are not alone.

With my psychology background I will endeavor to understand the mind of a teenager more and share my findings with those of you that are interested.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Kids and Technology

'Every one has one in their room, It's not fair'

My step son had a game boy...he stopped doing homework, socialising, lost the ability to communicate in anything other than grunts and became very aggressive if we asked him to come off.

We removed it from him.

He then took to spending all his time in his room, problems as above so we removed the TV from his room.

As a result, lesson learnt, Child number 2 didn't have TV or game console in his room till he was 16. He responded well, no rows, had loads of mates, a social life and helped around the house when asked.

So we gave next son TV and games console in his room at 15. He behaved like son number one. We tried negoiating the amount of time he spent on it and now that has been removed and won't be going back.

Son number 4 will never have a TV in his room.

I have set up the spare room with the TV and games console and I will keep remotes/controllers hidden. I will now manage the time spent on it.

By the way none of my children have ever been allowed to have internet connection to their consoles and they have never and will never have lap tops or computers in their room...God, imagine the hassle I'd be having with that.


I suffer with Chronic Neck pain....not Fibromyalgia which they keep trying to fob me off with.
14 years ago I was attacked in the work place.. I sued they paid me next to nothing..I spent a fortune re training and the last 14 years have been spent attending numerous hospital appointments and medication that has had some serious side affects.

It doesn't stop me from doing anything but it causes me immense pain. I live in pain and manage my life around what I need to do and what I want to do. I find it difficult to write anything more than an address on an enverlope, sit for any periods of time, drive long distances either as the driver or a passenger, sleep at night, household chores and even picking my kids up when they were babies.

So this is how it goes......I tried all types of medication but they only mask the pain...side affects, weight gain, loss of appetite, inability to communicate and function, creams that are impossible to apply when you have limited range of movement in your arm, lack of sex drive. I've had numerous surgical procedures including botox, which felt like I was being stabbed with a screw driver.

I have had physio, accupunture at the expense of the NHS and to myself and now because there is nothing they can do to make it better ..they gave up treating me...

I was at the Doctors yesterday and was given medication and told to book my own physio appointment. The clinic in Dudley that allow me to self refer when things get unmanageable which I did in August have just rearranged my appointment for the 3rd time till 30th December......Do you know what is going to happen next? I do and so does my Doctor.. The neck pain becomes unbearable the frequency of my migraines increase and I end up in hospital for any thing up to a week while they try to sort out what the problem is....I'm telling them what the problem is now but they won't listen...and this goes on every bloody year.

Fingers crossed I manage to get to my holiday to the States next week before my next stay in hospital.

Time to redress the balance

So your 3 year old has started weeing herself after you thought they were potty trained.

Should you take your baby to bed with you?

My 3 year and old has started nursery I'm feeling lost without them.

I have a picky child that won't eat anything I cook for them.

Go on twitter and read peoples blogs and these are questions there every single day. Accompanied by hundreds of answers, suggestions and words of support, from parents in the same situation, parents that 'come out' the other side unscathed and from grandparents, professionals and others.

Well now it's time to redress the balance. I've offered support, information, advice and posted hundreds of links and now I need something back please.

I have a 15 year old son who is taller and stronger than me. When he was little and didn't want to eat his tea/go to school/hid his wet trousers/wouldn't sleep at night. I followed all the advice, I read the books, I asked for help and it was possible to implement the suggestions.

There wasn't twitter or facebook. I went to playgroups and spoke to other mums. I picked up the telephone and asked my parents or took him to the Doctors. It outside his bedroom door listening to him cry, I put him in bed with me, I did a star chart and rewards for potty training...I could go on, you all know the drill.

So what now?

He won't go to sea cadets any more, he refuses to take part in family activities, won't do his homework, tidy his room, help around the house....he just wants to do his own thing all the time and I'm expected to pay for it.

So what was the point in spending his formative years making him go to school, encouraging him to eat his veg, getting him to tidy his toys away?

It seems it was all a waste of time...I spent his formative years encouraging independence, feeling like a bad mother if I didn't follow the latest parenting techniques, suggested by playgroups, grandparents and government...and all for what?

A child now, and I hasten to add he is still a child, who does his own thing, when he wants and how he wants, locked in a world of social networking sites and computer games. I face pressure from school because he's answering back in class, not doing his coursework, refusing to co-operate around the house and generally thinking he's in charge.

Yes I can take the lap top from him, I can tell him if he doesn't eat what I cook he can go without, he can live in a pig sty and not have clean clothes if he doesn't bring them down for wash.

But, either way I'm at fault, his behaviour outside the home is due to bad parenting? well, that's how the media view it...but I did everything according to what/how I was told to do it...and if I had my time again...I'd bloody well ignore it, after all no-one is advising me how to sort it all out now...are they?

Monday 4 October 2010

D day and counting

Well, it's nearly D day. Meeting in the states last week and one item on the aganda was hubbies job offer. If they say yes, then sometime soon we all move to South Africa.

Kids are pestering every day for news, they are itching to tell people. Everytime hubby walks through the door or puts the phone down one of them says 'well?' the answer is always not yet.

I've now moved to the 'it's not going to happen' stage and I'm starting to plan, in my head, what we can do instead to make up for the disappointment if it all falls through.

We shall move to a big house in the country with loads of land and have chickens.

Hubby will take early retirement and we'll buy and sail a yacht and sail around the world.

I'll apply for a green card and we'll move to the states where I will teach autistic students. (This is the only option likely to happen, but we love to dream)

As soon as we hear, yes or no the house is going on the market, we will sell my car and get rid of all the excess crap in the house. We will either move to South Africa or somewhere else, but either way there are going to be changes a foot around here.

Let you know as soon as I do.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Nothing to do

There are so many things we'll have to do if the move to South Africa goes ahead, but until we find out if/when we go, there's little point in starting anything. I've already stripped the house and the cupboards of all the stuff we never use...bread maker, old toys and books that the kids have finished reading. The clothes went to the charity shops, the books to the doctors surgery, they sell them to raise funds for an autistic charity. I've passed some of the kids toys onto friends and I'm selling the rest at boot sales.

I've tidied all my work files and caught up with cases. I've been assessing my students at top speed so I can finish them by the end of October rather than christmas. I've tidied the cupboard under the stairs and the cleaning cupboard to make sure everything gets used up. We've employed a cleaner ready for putting the house on the market and have sorted out 20 years worth of house hold bills and shredded everything we don't need.

And as a result I'm now bored and frustrated, bored about not being to start any new projects and frustrated as there is so much to do but can't start it yet. When we do get the go, go, go...I'm not going to know my arse from my elbow and I shall be chasing my tail in an attempt to get 'everything' sorted probably in a short space of off now to paint my nails and read a book. I'm not used to this 'me time' I need things to do.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

We're moving...well maybe

Hubby took a phone call from work beginning of September, youngest son was in the car...he was offered a job in South Africa...would I go?

Hell, yes I would..wouldn't you?

As son overheard we told middle son and they both said YES YES YES. It's something we've talked about as a family for the past 4 years we've just been waiting for it to happen.

We will find out next week.....or the week after...or the week after that.....and we are still waiting.

Don't tell anyone said hubby, and promptly told his best mate and the neigbours....I had to tell someone most of you on twitter know by now.....and had to discuss it with family in case the kids said anything. The hardest call was to the boys Dad to check he wasn't going to say no, but thankfully he said Yes, it was a great opportunity and he could always come and visit. (Didn't think that one through, did I?)

I then had to tell my 18 year old. He only left home 4 days earlier and there I was telling him we may be moving on the other side of the world. His response 'Well I'll be a proper Nanna's boy now, won't I?'

We've discussed renting/selling the house. What do we do with all the furniture, how much does it cost to ship stuff abroad? I'll have to sell my car.

Schools? Safety? Rent or buy? Rent, have since found out that if we buy we won't be able to take our moneyback out.

Financial advisor? Off shore account? Mobile phone contract, still got a year to run.

OMG what do we do first? What will we forget? We've thrown our lists in the bin, the excitement has died down. We'll end up jinxing it.

Now I've got Mum and Dad on phone most days...have you heard yet? Had the chance to develop my career, put it on hold. Do I cancel the next part of my degree? Can I continue with The OU in South Africa.

So we find out this week, sometime, big meeting in the states, many items being discussed. Peter is on a list of many decisions to be made.

All we can do now is cross our fingers, carry on with daily life, don't make any plans for the immediate future, replied Yes to a wedding next year knowing we won't be able to go to it if we move.

I've found something to do. South Africa or not we are decorating, repainting the outside of the house, new fence panels and got rid of all the junk and been having fun sorting it and taking it to the boot sales.

Watch this space I'll let you know soon what's going on, and Yes, we will be disappointed if it doesn't go ahead but it'll be for a reason and we'll find something else just as exciting to do, somehow.

Thursday 16 September 2010


My first wedding was a do for my parents...I borrowed a dress and we had the WRVS do the catering in the church hall, we ate, no disco then a night in a hotel. Hubbies 1st wedding was a massive do in a castle, the full works. But both of us said we never recognised half the guests or really enjoyed it that much.

My sister has also had two weddings, the limo was too long to go round the mini roundabout.

Don't get me wrong I love weddings, as a guest and spent the weekend with friends as they married. It was a lovely simple do, but not cheap.

Hubby and I got engaged in Las Vegas, in the car park of Maceys, he didn't fancy getting married there and then as we still weren't living together. So we sold both houses and three weeks before ours was ready, to move into, we eloped to Chester, just the two of us. On our arrival we were gate crashed by three sets of our dearest friends and afterwards we walked through Chester to an Italian restaurant and asked for a table for eight. They were fully booked, but the customers made way for us. One friend brought a cake.

Then it was time for the honeymoon. I spent the week packing and moving, with Mothers help and hubby went to Isreal 48hrs later, with work.

It has been eight years now of marriage and we keep saying we'll renew our vows and have a big do...but quite frankly, back then, it was all about us and still is now.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Being the first

In 2000 Steps sonstarted secondary school and step daughter aged 12 moved into care. It was a difficult time. In 2002 my eldest started secondary school followed by middle son in 2006. In 2003 youngest started primary school. In 2007 Step son turned 18 and left home. In 2009 Step daughter was 21 and in 2010 Step son turned 21, my eldest turned 18 and left home and youngest started secondary school.

Mother-in-law is fantastic treats my children the same as she treats hubbies two. Birthdays, Christmasas, starting college (helping with the funding) and leaving home.
I have two friensd who made a fuss of Step sons 18th, leaving home and 21st and with my eldest 18th but there it ends.

All our family and friends have kids younger than us and do not understand the significance of these events as they have yet to experience them but when I discuss it with them and explain my anxieties, excitement and nerves etc it just doesn't registar. Then it slowly starts to registar with theirs and they knock on my door and expect help and support and words of wisdom which I give freely.

I have cousins giving birth soon and I'm expected to give them things, advice and send cards of congratulations. I don't recall the last time they sent me a birthday card yet alone acknowledged the birth of one of my children or any of their life events.

So from now on I will not be rushing out to buy an 18th, leaving home, new baby card etc. If it's important enough for them to mention it in the hope I will acknowledge it then I will learn from example. Mine were first, I mentioned it, did they acknowledge?

Friday 6 August 2010

Missing the kids?

Every summer my 11yo son goes away for a month. He spends a week with my parents then 2 weeks with his dad then another week at my mums. I'm grateful for the break he is very demanding and extremely messy.

I spend the first few days celebrating my freedom...I can go to work and not stress hubby or 18yo out but asking them to look after him....I can pop to the shops without him demanding I spend a small fortune on him or spend the entire trip persuading him to get out of the car, walk up town with me and not have to resort to bribing him with a trip to Cafe Neros.

I then spend the middle bit feeling guilty...he's not that bad...really

Then I panic...OMG so much to do must get on with it...tidy his room and chuck the junk away (although what I call junk are his precious things)

Then I feel resentful he's coming home soon and I haven't had long enough and don't want him to come home and the guilt kicks in again.

He's home tomorrow and now I'm looking forward to his return...have been chatting with him this morning on facebook and he NEEDS to come back now.

By Sunday I'll be looking forward to the next holiday when I farm him out again.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Do YOU just walk on by?

I don't and it gets me into terrible trouble sometimes with Hubby and kids moaning that one day it will go wrong.

Sometimes one just has to say something. It's all too easy to tweet or say 'you'll never guess what happened to me today'.

Today in Stockport a woman aged mid 20's screached at her son....'do that one more time you little bastard and i'll get that woman to smack you one' I was the woman she was referring to, the child was approximately 7 years of age.

People tutted, shook their heads and walked past. Me? I challenged her there was no reasoning I just told her straight that it was unacceptable to call a child that and to threaten him in such a way.

Her response was 'Fuck off, you interfering bitch'. I politely told her I wasn't interfering as she had used me to threaten her son. She stepped towards me, pointing her finger in my face and screaming obscenities threatening to smack me out.

I remained calm and started to back off as it was subjecting her son and other children to even more abuse and at that point I was approached by two police officers.

While I quietly and calmly explained what had happened she continued hurling abuse and after giving my name and address I walked away...just far enough to see what happened the police woman took the child out of shouting distance while the other officer informed her she would be arrested if this behaviour continued.

Do you know what the saddest thing about all of this was? The child was not in any obvious distress it appeared to be normal and acceptable behaviour from his mother.

Sunday 4 July 2010

sad about leaving the kids

I've noticed recently how many people say they feel sad or guilty for going out without their children and leaving them behind with dad or grandparents and a list of instructions. mmmmm you don't have the sole rights to them you know. If things aren't done your way it doesn't mean that things are done wrong. If you miss them that bad don't go out. These are the same people that are going to end with their kids still living at home in their mid 20's with mum as their best friend....seen it so many times.

I left my son with my parents for a week when he was 6 weeks old..I won tickets to the Olympic games in Barcelona and guess what? people said it was wrong, how could I? I'd never do that.....these same people are now moaning at me that they never get time with their partner and want to have more in life than to be just known as a mummy.

Monday 28 June 2010

How did you meet yours?

I'm the eldest by a few months and with that comes maturity, responsibility and wisdom.

I have 5 children, she has one.

Three of mine have left home, two are in secondary school. Hers is just coming out of nappies.

When we first met I was dressed as a dalek, she was naked apart from a white paper hat.

She has no become one of my closest friends yet we've met three times..think I could tell her just about anything and probably have already.

No we weren't in Kindergarden we were 37 years of age playing fancy dress friday on twitter.
You can find her as @mediocre_mum (or in the pub)

Saturday 12 June 2010

Kids are spoil sports

1.The kids used to get in the bath with me, then they reached the stage where they would get in the bath water after me, then they insisted on clean they don't wash.

2. The kids used to insist the Christmas decorations went up 1st they know what they are having in advance.

3. The kids used to get me to make extravagant costumes for Halloween, decorate the house and bake goodies to give they won't even answer the door.

4. I bought the kids some England flags.....they won't let me put them up.

Kids are spoil sports...are yours?

Monday 7 June 2010

Lead by example

I've talked about this before in regards to my 15yo son, but it appears nothing has changed or is going to change.

'He is disruptive, he swears in class, he argues back and often storms out of lessons.'
(That's todays feedback)

Typical behaviour, no an absolute one off, no other child ever does this at his school. So tell me why he's never been excluded, tell me why I'm not called in week after week...go on I dare you.

He is not an adult, HE IS A CHILD. Yes he is responsible for his behaviour and must face the consequences, but his behaviour WILL NOT change when he constantly faces negativity from adults around him.

YOU make the first step, YOU are the adult, YOU demonstrate positive behaviour and he will respond.

Telling my son constantly it...'it had to be you didn't it?' 'here we go again' 'When there's trouble here you are' is not and will not help him in any way at all.

When the rest of the class speak up and say 'Sir/Miss, it wasn't him' and YOU ignore them. And you shout at my son and tell him to 'Get out your classromm' is not going to change his behaviour.

OK, I except on the last occasion the teacher had the guts to apologise, but guess what? They didn't apologise in a loud voice, in front of his peer group or indeed loud enough for the class next door to hear, but quietly and meekly in the corridor as they hurried off to their next lesson.

One final note. Yes, I do know what it's like. I do teach mainstream children and adults, students with behavioural and learning difficulties. I also work in Child Welfare and I am a Psychology student. So been there and done that and often under OFSTED conditions.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Bullying in school

For those of you that read my tweets you'll know I have lots of problems with my 15 year old and his behaviour, however I know that if I shout at him that will just make it worse. But sometimes I have enough with 2 other kids at home plus complicated visits home from step children, combined with an absent hubby in the week, a job and a degree.

When I send my children to school, I expect them to be cared for and treated correctly and certainly not to be shouted at and put down and made to feel useless by an adult in front of their peers.

I do not expect to collect my 15 year old son from school in floods of tears on a regular basis, due to the way he's been blamed and accused of doing things he has taken no role in. This is always evidenced by the other students, by this time though he has served the detention or break time consequence and no apology is given to my him by the adults involved.

To be told everyday by different teachers to shut up, get on with it, leave the classroom is not conclusive to his emotional well being.

I accept my son does wrong, I accept he has stormed out of lessons when hes been told off for doing something he actually did and I have supported the school with punishments at home reflective of the severity of the crime.

There are far too many incidents to trawl through and the school are never willing to go back and discuss anything other than the current one. But this is what happened today and is typical of his school week.

Lining up outside class teacher yells to stop messing around. He is shoved from behind and pushed through doorway of another class, he is yelled at for disturbing the class. In the lesson two girls giggling and screeching, he is told to shut up and tidy up the mess behind him. On his return from the bin a child shoulder barges him sending him flying. He is ordered straight outside the class where he sits for last 20mins with no work to do. Pupils in class complain to teacher immediately that it wasn't his fault.

At end of lesson when all pupils have gone home, Teacher says to him I accept it wasn't you and walks off. No apology, nothing. Silly boy answered him back and guess what Teachers word against his again. The Head can't see me till after half term.

Thursday 13 May 2010

'Gender Disappointment' : Coping with the 'wrong' baby

I read this on twitter today from @parentpages ‘Gender disappointment’: Coping with the ‘wrong’ baby >> do you want a boy or a girl >> why do we even ask?

I felt great disappointment when my 3rd son was born, not because I had another boy, not because I was a failure, but because I knew then I had to cope with the barrage of questions from family and friends of 'are you upset' 'never mind, you can try again' these thoughtless statements and assumptions came in thick and fast even during my pregnancy.

I do wish people would think before opening their mouths of the damage and hurt they can cause.

With my first pregnancy 19 years ago I asked if they could tell me the sex of the child. There answer was 'No, we can only tell you if there is a genetic reason for doing so'
In my second pregnancy I didn't think to ask, nor was I given the option. At that point my sister had just given birth to her second child and the comments of....'one of each now, she has the perfect family' haunted me.

When my second child was born comments of 'she had 'another' boy' and 'you can always try again' stay with me to this day.

By the time my 3rd child arrived I answered the questions of 'what would you like this time? A girl would be nice to complete your family' with 'actually I was hoping for a pony'

At my scan I was asked if I wanted to know the sex and I declined. The midwife actually said 'I thought you would want to know as you have 2 boys already' My response didn't go down too well, 'If it's another boy can I arrange the termination now' That wasn't how I was feeling I just said it to shut her up.

I was asked if I felt depressed at the thought of another boy and was offered counselling.

Even now as the kids are 18, 15 & 11 I still get asked if it saddens me that I don't have a daughter and apparently I'm missing out on so much stuff. But I have 3 healthy, loving and well adjusted boys (sometimes). That is what I was given and that's that....end of...but I can 'always hope for granddaughters' but 'what do I do if I only have grandsons?...ignore them?