Sunday, 31 October 2010

I'm not too old for hallowe'en

Mini Cup cakes for Hallowe’en

House decorated

Pumpkin carved

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.