Jubilee Related Costume Issues

Schools. They’re a helpful bunch, right? 

They’d never give you just 4 nights to run up not one, but two costumes for the Jubilee.

Yeah right!

Now, I knew the school’s Jubilee Picnic was approaching on Friday. It has caused much bemusement amongst the Mum’s I speak with. First off, all the school, bar the Littlest’s Nursery year, were off to another local school for a picnic lunch, and were required to wear red, white and blue.

Then, about two weeks ago, the school changed tack and decreed that Mini’s year is also too small to walk to the next school (about a 5 minute walk away), so they would just wear their uniform and have a picnic in the school field. Which isn’t actually a field at all, its Astroturf. Modern or what?!

Fine and dandy, I thought (as did a few others of us).

Then it was changed again to add the simple to achieve clauses of bring a teddy (what relation that has to the Jubilee I have no idea), and that parents were welcome to come along and join the mayhem with a picnic of their own. For “welcome” read “you must come or else we will all talk about how you have no concept of school spirit”. I even persuaded Elder to come along. 

Today, I picked up Littlest, to have a note shoved in my face along with the days paintings and other kid related tat. “All FS1 children must have a King or Queen costume for the Jubilee on Friday Morning”.

Now you tell me. 

I wasn’t too phased, and, on deciding that his knights top with a  pair of shorts will suffice, I set off to town to look for a Crown and a possible King costume suitable cape.

The cape was easy enough, and I settled on a Union Jack window flag, thinking I can alter it and use the already present round holes (for a flag pole usually) to place a piece of ribbon so he can wear it just long enough to get to school.

Maidenhead High Street is pretty crap for most things these days, there are no really good retail outlets or haberdashers to be had. I popped into 3 separate shops to look for a boys crown- could I find one? Despite the Jubilee, not a chance.

Its going to be make your own time.

Then, I picked Mini up, to be met with the same again. They must have a costume, again by Friday. And the Mum’s are, shall we say, fond of doing things better than the next Mum.

I have the plan that I will use Mini’s existing Snow White princess outfit, which has a hoop skirt. However it has a yellow skirt which I need to cover up for the red, white and blue Queen theme. 

Taking another flag, I plan to sew this Union Jack to the skirt.

One problem. I can’t sew for toffee. I wish I could, but as my Textiles teacher once told me “Thank heavens we live in times of cheap ready to wear, else wise you’d be buggered for clothes for life”. Bless her.

I did think I had a cunning plan, and asked Elder to phone his sister, my middle sister in law, to see if she had a sewing machine. I hoped that she would take pity on poor, pathetic at any form of house and kid related stuff, and offer to sew the skirt for me.

Damn it. She wasn’t in, and now I have a new issue.

Her lovely husband was in, he’s great (and makes the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever had). He said they do indeed have a sewing machine, and he’ll grab it for me. And leave me to do the rest. 

Except I haven’t set up a sewing machine since 1996. And even then I wasn’t very good at it- I nearly electrocuted myself once. Christ knows how.

Why? Why can they not tell you weeks in advance so I can cheat and buy a serviceable outfit from Ebay? Why are the Mum’s so competitive at my kid’s school, and why have I joined their ranks? Oh man, I am going to stuff this up, I know it. 

Bloody schools. If it’s not cash, its costumes.

Have a great jubilee guys!


Is It Just Me: Who Would Definitely Sell Their Torch?

Every so often, the country goes so mad about a topic, you’d think that something really pretty terrible had happened. Something so far reaching and catastrophic that life, if not the world, will never be the same again. So many people are so incensed (and not just in a Daily Mail way), that you can almost see the steam coming from their ears.

Its that kind of moment.

Over the weekend, another of these “why do you get so miffed over something so petty” moments erupted as the Olympic Torch relay began in the country.

Now, to my mind, the whole Olympics, especially The Shard, is a joke, and worthy of moaning about. We are in a  recession, we can barely feed ourselves, the trains cost a bomb and you can never get a seat and there are not enough school places, nurses and houses to go round, but let’s spend billions on an Olympic Games which we will lose, as usual is a worthy whinge topic.

That, however, is not what has got the collective forces of Angry of Great Britain’s knickers in a twist though, oh no.

Some absolute scoundrels have been selling their Olympic Relay torches. On Ebay. For hundreds of thousands of pounds. In most cases for charity.

I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock of that news there.

My view? So what. They got picked to do the relay, for services to their community and/or charity, they are obviously pretty sound people. The fact that they have done, or will have done, their bit to pass the flame (why can they not just light the bugger on the day with a Zippo? It is held in London after all), so after the limelight moves on, and they have a picture of them with the (particularly ugly) torch, its kind of theirs to do with as they wish.

Apparently, many have been scandalised by this lack of understanding for UK history and why they should keep the torch. They should show it to their grand children. Well, I’m sure they’ll show the grand kids a picture of them holding it right? What one earth are you meant to do with a torch once you’ve jogged down your local shopping centre with it? 

I have no idea what the fuss is all about, especially not after hearing some of the nasty and abusive messages sent to one woman who is selling her’s for charity on Ebay. A charity she set up, this being the reason she was picked for the task in the first place.

People sell War Medals everyday by auction, and no one bats an eyelid- that to me is worse than some torch which looks like Argos would sell it with a thick gold chain round it for chavs to wear round their necks. But no one sends nasty messages to these people, do they? The organiser’s don’t give a flying fudge what they do with them, there are no signed contracts saying they must remain on their mantel piece for 50 years and then be passed to the first born child of the first born child, so what’s the problem?

There are worse crimes you can commit than selling something you’ve been given, for lots of money. I only wish I’d have nominated myself now.

That, to my mind, lies the problem, the issue most have- that they didn’t get to own one and flog it for over £150,000. 

We have more important things to be miffed about than a gold torch being for sale on Ebay. 

Please, moaners, put your collective misery skills to better use and ask the questions that need answering. 

And leave people to do what they wish with their own class of junk.

Me as a Teen- Finally Some Pictures!

I don’t have many pictures of me as a kid or teen, which is sad, because I know there are definitely pictures of me around somewhere. My parent’s always had a camera and snapped at will, especially on holidays, and I had a snazzy pink camera from Boots for my tenth birthday- I remember that because I won a school photography competition when I was eleven.

Obviously, back then taking photos was a far more expensive business than now. There were no digital cameras with handy mega Gigabyte memory cards to stick inside them. You had to buy a roll of film which took 24 to 28 pictures and hope that all 28 came out properly, and that you’d remembered to plonk the flash on. You couldn’t let the film get wet, be exposed to light, and you couldn’t leave a film half used in a camera or it went out of date and you ended up with an expensive roll of film all weirdly coloured and over exposed. You had to pay a fiver, at least for processing, and the cheapest option took 4 days to get back to you. There was nothing instant about it. There were no camera phones either.

Recently, Elder’s brother brought him a pile of photos of his youth, and he had a nice time showing The Bratlings the photos, and telling them who everyone was. It made me pine for my own happy memories via photograph, but for me it’s not as simple as phoning an older sibling to get my hands on them. 

Just as I was about to get in touch with my parent’s, I found out some catastrophic news, and it was neither the time nor place to stamp in and demand copies of all the albums they have that I feature in. 

I also know my ex had pictures of me, as he had quite an expensive camera, but I’m in no way going to ask him for these either. My friend Lou had some too, but when she moved out under a cloud, they all got binned. 

Basically, I have photos a plenty of the Elder and I years- including the flat days before kids. I have next to no pictures of me as a kid though, bar one of my Grandad, my sister and me in my grand parent’s back yard when I was about 5 or 6- it’s definitely eighties as I’m wearing a maroon cord dress with a white blouse that has the most enormous bow at the neck. That sits on my dressing table.

The great thing is, being such a geek, I had hoped that I’d find old newspaper cuttings from school events etc, but my school doesn’t have an archive and the newspaper from my old home town has been less than helpful despite me emailing them.

Then, I hit the jackpot. My youth parliament days.

I love my Home-Medway Pin board on Pinterest and had been searching google for images for it, and, what should pop up but the current Youth Parliaments website. Complete with an archive, featuring yours truly in photocopied front pages.

They were slightly blurry, so I sent a little email over to the site, I wasn’t sure who was running the parliament  or if they’d even remember me age 16/17/18. I was so happy when an email popped up from Jackie, who very much remembered me and, better yet, said she’d dig out some originals to copy for me and post them up.

It was so nice to come back from a kids party yesterday to find an envelope with photos as promised (and hi to Jackie’s daughters if you are reading this!), and I really hope to pop in on the new members in the summer, and tell them what it was like to be the very first Youth Parliament (and scare councillors in my goth clothes- the parliament used to meet a few doors down from the goth club I went to, and, as it was held on Friday nights, I often used to come to meetings in full goth splendour, including black lipstick and fake lip piercing).

So, here I am, age 16, when I was picked as Vice Chair, in January 1999:

I’m in the purple and blue shirt!

Its appalling but I can only two of the names! In front is Samantha who was chair, and next to me is Ewa.

The one above is from 2000, when I won, along with the gang, a Try-Angle award for service to the Youth of Medway. I’m back row, third from left.

It is great to finally be able to show the Bratlings that Mummy was once a sensible teenager who used to dictate what my fellow teens wanted to improve life in the town to adults. I am also really happy that it’s not been shelved by councils who are probably desperate to slash budgets, but there are many Youth Parliaments now. 

Thanks Jackie!

Get A Mothers Ramblings to Britmums Live!

Britmums has a little competition going, what with five weeks until two days off from the Bratlings for a crazy weekend in London  of learning new blogging skills and meeting lots of my fellow blogging rockstars, to win one of three tickets to Britmums Live (not Cybermummy. Must stop calling it Cybermummy. Apart from to Elder who has no idea what its called anyway).

Well me being, erm, not shy of asking for stuff, I have a sponsor for my ticket, and usually I get as many of my chums and anyone else who asks me a sponsor as I can manage.

However, this year it has been decidedly difficult to do that, what with double dip recessions, redundancies and everyone, brands included, being a skint. Which means Pippa D, better known as A Mothers Ramblings, and Vic, who is Glowstars can’t come. Which sucks!

Pippa and me in the ill advised Maxi dress at The Gurgles, after Cybermummy 10. 

The thing is, rightly or wrongly, I have a big circle of chums who have been in attendance at not just the two Cybermummys, but also the London Zoo meet up too. That’s how long we’ve been bothering the Internet.  So, whilst some complained about some of us being cliquey last year, its not that, not at all. 

Its just we’ve all known each other for ages, don’t see each other as often as we’d like, and despite full moon moments in blogging (and worse), babies, husbands, divorces, house moves and blog layouts, we’ve survived and we get on really well.

Glowstars, Cybermummy 11. Who can forget the shoe challenge?

So, basically, I am not entering the competition to win me a ticket (that would be daft, I have one, there have been many suggestions I have split personality but not to the point I believe I need two tickets), no. I am entering to win Pippa a ticket.

And, if I can be cheeky and win two of them, I’d like Vic to come too.

It wont be the same without them, cackling in the corner with a cuppa, sending inappropriate tweets, and generally behaving a bit naughty like school girls.

Better yet, if you are a brand who wants to get the gang back together for another conference, I am happy to offer free ad space for one whole year right at this very blog in return for the price of Vic and Pips tickets. I’m sure they’ll offer the same. 

The SchoolFeed App and Why It Can Bugger Off

School days are, according to the saying, meant to be the happiest days of your life. Its meant to signify that the carefree days of school are shortly replaced by bills, adult worries, job hunts and stinky nappies a plenty.

My take? Give me the adulthood slab of supposed misery cos school was pretty damn nowhere near as fun as it was held up to be for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do remember some bits fondly. I made some friends, like Nursey Natalie, Eskimosie Josie and Bestie Mate Zoe, to name a few. 
The issue I had was I was a bit (Understatement alert) of a geek, and instead of hiding in the library, I put myself out there for further torture by joining in with Athletic Club, Dance Club (and its subsequent shows for the whole school), School council and was a Prefect too. If there was something to join up to, I was always at the front of the queue like a 90s Patty Simcox, wielding a pen to put my name down for it.

By far the worst part of school, though, was “No Uniform” or “Tag” day. I can’t remember why it was called “tag” day in my school, so if your school used that definition and you know why, feel free to let me know. There was also the dreaded “Activity Week” which mixed no uniform horror with a week of “fun” (the teachers term, not mine) at the end of the school year. Basically, every year until Year 10, the classes divided up and took part in a contest, including Netball (awful at it, inexcusably bad, which doesn’t do well when you factor in the competition element), or scientific competitions like the well remembered (note the lack of “fondly” affixed there) “get an egg across the netball court without breaking it” test. Fights would break out within class groups, and some kids would bribe losers like me and my fellow geeks to fake illnesses for that week so they improved their chances of winning a Yorkie bar each. Plus I had no sartorial elegance and my parent’s had no funds to supply me with designer sports wear, so it wasn’t something I looked forward to.

I walked through the doors on my final day with untold glee, knowing that, save for bumping into a few of the worst bullies the odd time in town, I’d never have to see the shower of losers I put up with between the age of 5 (in some cases) until the age of 16 ever again. To the point that, when I organised the school reunion, I asked the people I actually liked along.

Its all been going very well- especially since I hot footed it out of Medway five years back. I have avoided becoming a regular member of Friends Reunited, and have all but ignored friend suggestions on Facebook too. Especially since it never suggests people you’d want to add, just ones you forgot to add to your block list (so I suppose it does serve one purpose).

I have an ex-school friend, Marie, and she is lovely. She was near the top of the reunion list, such was her ability to be nice to everyone. She always looked nice at school, like the bullies, but was just a happy smiley person to be around.

She kind of keeps the home fires burning when it comes to what our year, Class of 1993-1998, are up to, so, when she invited me to try a new app on Facebook called “schoolfeed” (all one word, lower case), I thought I’d have a nose.

Why, why did I think that was a good idea? 

I can only assume it was the after effects of no carbs and 3 gin and tonics making me feel warm and fuzzy towards school.

All that has happened is, besides finding one girl who I had tried to find but had been unsuccessful due to her having changed her name, I’ve been added by the worst possible offenders for school abuse. The ones who, to put in bluntly, I would not save from falling off a cliff edge. Or spit on if they were on fire. You get the idea- I really do not like them at all.

Why do these no marks think that I want anything to do with them? It would have been fine if they had of just ignored me, but these were the kind of nasty people who went out of their way to be abusive, and/or violent towards me. One girl was so nasty to me over Infant, Primary and Secondary, that on the last day of school before our GCSE exams, I punched her in the face. Then ran home and hid. But this was after daily abuse- she would seek me out to be violent to me, throwing basketballs in my face and nearly breaking my nose, throwing tennis balls at me (and knocking me out), or the lovely “board pins in playdoh on a chair” trick. 

What possesses this person, a part from she is obviously still as intellectually challenged as she was at school, to think I want to reminisce on those heady days of daily kicks, punches and thefts of anything she could nick from my bag while I cowered from further blows? 

Frankly, I will be ditching schoolfeed pronto. It makes it worse that you can deny their request, yet they can send it again and again. If they are that thick that no doesn’t mean no the first time, then they really need to get out more.

Schoolfeed. Why do we need it? In this day and age of social media, if we want to find a specific chum, it doesn’t take that much effort. We don’t need another pointless app.

So, dear schoolfeed, you shall be buggering off soon. 


Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Carb Free is No Longer For Me

This is a cautionary tale for all dieters out there. Read it and take note.

Britmums is coming. I am so excited, and, as is customary, I want to look nice.

Not nice in the sense of the Mama Cass ill advised tit flashing maxi dress, but nicer than the jeans and top combo of last year. Also, I wont have Glowstars there with a suitcase of shoes this year, so will have to buy my own. 

Unlike the last two years, I have cleared up the eczema on my legs which has plagued me for the last 6 years straight- those with easily upset skin, do not buy Banana Bubble Bath- so can actually wear a knee length skirt this year (the orange peel thighs having sadly not gone despite many supposed lotions and potions. Occupational hazard of child birth I feel).

I went off to EBay for inspiration, and found not one but two very nice dresses. 

However, one of them created a bit of an issue. 

It is a “keyhole” dress, which, by keyhole, as the name would suggest, I expected a tiny little gap at the back which would be hardly noticeable. Except it isn’t hardly noticeable, and means I can’t wear Spanx either.

I wasn’t worried (and Elder, bless him said he couldn’t see any issues with the dress at all, hole in the back or not. Just to wear tights with it as its a bit shorter than I’d anticipated too). I embarked on my firm diet favourite, the Carb free one.

I was eating fine, just not having bread, rice, spuds and noodles, so having some scrabbled egg for breakfast (when I remembered), a pepperami for lunch, and then having some chicken and as many veg as I could fit in a pan for tea. I cut down on coffee and stopped buying sweets and crisps. 

So far, so good and my jeans were getting loose again within a week- that’s how well it works for me.

Except Saturday I was busy, I went out with the Bratlings, walked around the town, came back and then did all the laundry I had put back due to the sodding rain we’ve had for weeks. So, by 5pm I was starving hungry. I fired up my chicken and veg and had something to eat, with a glass or three of a well deserved Gin and Tonic. 

Sunday. I couldn’t get up.

I tried to get up at 7am, and felt like I was going to faint. I felt sick, sweaty, and had the kind of headache that makes you think a steam roller came in and drove over you in the night.

I couldn’t look at the screen of my phone, as it was swimming in front of my eyes.

Elder, bless him, looked after the Bratlings all day, and brought me Nurofen a plenty. Then, in true Irish style, demanded I eat a plate of chips. But apart form that and a few slices of Garlic Bread, that was all I managed to eat without being sick. 

I feel slightly better this morning, and ate some toast before the school run, but I still feel a bit ropey. 

So, the diet I have used for months before has decided to not play ball.

I’m told by Elder to stop being daft and just to eat properly, but lessen the portions and not eat sweets and other crap, like he does. I think I may have to listen or I’ll end up in Hospital, rather than in London for britmums related fun. 

Diets. They truly, truly suck.

Out of the Mouths of Babes, the 2012 Edition.

Readers, I need your help.

I have to add that in no way are my kids the most angelic in the world (hence the nickname “The Bratlings”) so please do not think I’m suggesting they are infallible.

Anyway, I digress.

Mini has been going to school now with relative ease since September. We’ve had a few blips, like diva-gate and slightly nasty girl picking on her-gate, but so far she has made a lovely little group of friends both boys and girls and they are a very nice bunch. They have their quirks, like most kids, but behaviour wise they are great. The party which I thought would be tantrum filled hell ended up being a joy as every kid there was nice and polite, no upsets at all during the two hours.

However, there is one kid in her class who, and I’m struggling with how to word this, has an interesting vocab. And way of showing what he means with said vocab.

I’m not daft- I know when kids reach a certain age, the differences between girls and boys bodies because interesting, a giggle. They know they are different. 

But this one boy in her class goes beyond what I would think is funny or acceptable, and I’m no prude.

Basically you’d think this kid had read 50 Shades of Grey. Or had had it quoted to him.

The thing that really annoys me is that Mini, who has no idea about anything that, frankly, kids age 5 shouldn’t know about, has now had certain information thrust on her by this child.

A few weeks back, she was sucking her thumb- not something my girly has ever partaken of purely because I sucked my thumb until I was 7 and now have the mother of all overbites due to it. So I’ve always flicked her thumb out her mouth. I asked her if she was tired, and she said no, she was sucking her thumb like this particular boy had shown her. 

So far, so fine.

Until she turned to me again and said “(Boys name) said this is how you suck a willy”.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Parenting hell!

Anyway, I told her, calmly, whilst trying to calm a livid Elder, that that wasn’t a very nice thing to say to people and she shouldn’t play with this child who shall remain nameless.

It carries on to today, when she now tells me that this same child has shown her his willy. And last weekend when she was explaining the finer points of Barbie’s anatomy, all courtesy of this slightly more informed than necessary at 5 child in her class.

So, what do I do?

I don’t know his Mum, but what I have seen her English is pretty poor. I talked to one of the other Polish Mum’s and asked her what I should do, but she looked aghast and said she wouldn’t know where to begin having that conversation. She’s right though- how do you start a conversation with someone- “excuse me so and so’s Mum, your son is a sex pest in the making, might do to lock up the porn indoors or have sex when he’s out in future?” Maybe not.

Anyway, I talked to a few other Mum’s this evening, and,  a braver one than me is going to have words with the teacher, but my goodness, what must that boy be seeing at home?

Had a similar experience? Please let me know how you dealt with it!