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Posts Tagged ‘blogging mums’

It’s a wonder any single parent can get out from under the duvet, let alone show their face in public with all these hideous media stories about. Oh, but hang on a minute, we’re all too busy bringing up to children to give a hoot.

No one can have missed the raging debate about multiple birth and underage parenting. I’m not upset by these stories, but I know people really who are. Who are we to decide if a woman has a right to bear 14 children? Well the chattering classes think not and Octomum Nadya Suleman is getting a bashing in the media (we all know she’s got 14 but the moniker for the latest litter just makes better copy).

Can a boy be a father at 12? Well depending the on the results of a DNA test, for now, little Alfie Patten is believed to be that very thing. And yes, people are horrified. And the Mum is only thirteen. The mind boggles at how they even managed it at that age!

These pantomime stories won’t last long – and they fall into the deep dark well of what I call Plastic Parenting. In the same way that glamour models will go up to a FF cup with plastic surgery to get the biggest boobs (and bucks) on the block, these people will go to any lengths to exploit their fertility in what can only be described as the new sport of extreme breeding.

These stories are just fuel to the fire when it comes to single parenting or in fact conceiving children outside of the bedroom. But this goes on everyday without the grabbing headlines. In fact, the real stories are being pushed to the back pages.

The charity Gingerbread published a story recently about it’s research into what happens to families once they break up. Apparently many children lose contact with one parent, about one in three are left with a big question mark above their heads. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault?

The Children’s Society also published a report, damning selfish parents and working Mothers, because it was so sensationalist, it got covered everywhere and I’m pretty disappointed about the whole thing. The Gingerbread story, a more realistic and poignant snapshot of our times has received a lot less media exposure. If they had decided to run with a sensationalist headline, say, one in three Mothers loses contact with their children after family break up, instead of one in three Fathers, I’m sure a tabloid witch hunt would be underway by now.

Now, I’m just going to get on with the rest of half term and put the newspapers away…

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Still no job interviews, so what’s a girl to do? Well, best to get some great inspiration to keep away the out of work blues; first, one of my fabbest friends is a teacher so I told her about this fab offer from Lucky Voice – key workers get 2 free hours of singing like a cat’s chorus at this super glam karoaoke establishment – so we did and it was super fab…

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Take a look at this great cover – is he the new Elvis?

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Brush aside those frumpy fash mags and get hold of this super inspirational title, Wonderland, my top favourite magazine

And have you seen this great ad? It’s such a feel good few seconds, I think I’m going to have to dig out my old shell toes

And last but not least, spring is nearly here and that means, cherry blossom everywhere and I got these today from Graham and Green, so pretty and fluffy, they can’t help but bring a smile to my face – and don’t worry, I didn’t spend a penny, I had a £50 voucher to splurge…

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There’s a photo in The Sun today of a very frail Jade Goody in a wheelchair on with her boyfriend Jack this Sunday just gone. She’s outside the Armani store on Brompton Road and about to go in and choose her bridal gown.

It struck me that while we may walk along the same streets, we are all on different paths. For this is the very same place that Miniminx and I were standing outside of and having a laugh on Saturday. The store has a massive video wall with male models wearing the latest collection. Miniminx was pointing at it and laughing and joking about the dogwalk (her thinking; women walk on catwalks, therefore men must do dogwalks).

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As the weeks go by it’s hard not to think that Jade Goody is being subsumed by a cancer with tabloid newspapers and reality tv at the heart of it’s DNA.

I’m reading her story daily and I can’t believe it’s happening so quickly. We’ve been living in a world where there are many high profile stories of people living with cancer, and beating it; Kylie Minogue being one. It just doesn’t seem right or fair that someone so young is fading so fast.

Initially, I wasn’t sure about the story and wondered if it was just a Max Cliffordism to bring her back to the hearts of the British public with a sob story. But then again, who would engage in such a ploy to further their careers? It seemed so strange, such a bizarre quirk of fate, that the Big Brother reality TV show that launched, and then destroyed, her career would then be the place her death sentence would be announced. I wonder how the production team feel about this? How will they remember her? And will this tragedy make them think a bit more about what they are really signing up these contestants for? I doubt it, they will probably find a new way to spin it and make money.

Do you remember the Kylie effect? Women everywhere got checked for breast cancer and lives were saved, I’ve not seen any evidence of this happening with Jade Goody – although I will be making an appointment for a smear this week as I couldn’t bear to face the same fate. In true tabloid fashion, I am convinced that The Sun will sell many more copies of the paper when she goes – and she knows this, which is why she is doing the deals now. It’s extraordinary.

Jade Goody is England’s guileless icon and quite incredibly, has achieved global fame. She’s a funny girl, a business woman, Mother and soon to be wife. I’m not sure I’ll tune in to Living TV to watch her final hours, but we’ll all miss her. And let’s not forget that she’s a hard working Mum with two young children. That’s the true reality.

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Are you a label conscious, ethical, organic shopper?

If you want to know, here’s a little simple quiz for you.

1. Do you decorate your trolley with Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade and Soil Association labelled products?
a) yes always, my shopping saves the planet
b) maybe, depends who’s looking
c) never, it’s too bleeding expensive and a rip off

2. Do you make a pont of checking for the Soil Association label?
a) as a matter of course (I only buy products with it on)
b) why would I need a Soil Association label, is this the gardening centre?
c) oh god never, it’s far too pricey

If you answered yes to c) that means you’re a canny bargain hunter, yes to b) means you’re absolutely normal and yes to a) means you are a total shopping freak suffering from organorexia like me.

I spend an inordinate amount on organic produce and even though the supermarkets are pretty good, it does irk me that organic costs more but I wouldn’t trade down on many items, especially milk, meat, vegetables and eggs.

If we’re caught short of milk and I can only get non organic, standard pasteurised, I’ll pass – even if we have to have dry cereal and black tea for breakfast. And that’s why I’ve coined this malaise organorexia.

It’s by no means life threatening but it’s very inconvenient at times. And I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking, if it’s not organic, I’ll go without.

And it gets worse once you have a child – with the epidemic food scandals and health scares, organic food seems the only option. But where do you draw the line? I used a very expensive organic milk formula after breastfeeding, and I had to order it in to my local health food shop. It was a real pain, but I would never have touched any other products.

Motherhood tests your mettle when it comes to health, especially when you want to give your child treats. I’ve tried all the wholefood sugar free sweets and they rate very high on my Crank-o-meter. Carob coated raisins result in on thing for Miniminx and that’s a good few trips to the loo and no sugar buzz – which misses the whole point of scoffing a bag of sweets. The same goes for corn syrup lollies and Panda Liquorice, so I just can’t buy into it all 100%. Green & Blacks will just have to suffice but I’m not by any means going to pretend that we avoid the sweet shop on high moral grounds.

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At kids parties, I have found myself surrounded by frenzied Mums who have shunned the party bags and passed round gelatine free organic sugar free sweets ‘Oh the little pet adores them’ they say smugly (and I’ve secretly wondered if it’s the non-organic botox that gives them the smug look). While it does really annoy me sometimes, and it seems like social oneupmanship, I know they’ve got a point.

So if you’re organorexic and feeling lonely, you can always check out sites like Hippyshopper to find that you’re not alone! Please send me your top vegan and organic sites, I just can’t get enough!

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I always tell Miniminx that to get what you want, Rule Number One is to be nice and always smile – try it, it’s free and it works. And Rule Number Two; if you don’t ask, you don’t get. While I’ve since come to mildly regret passing on these wise learnings (I’ve been at the mercy of them on a daily basis ever since), I’d rather have a little charmer on my hands than a petulant pouter.

In this crazy world, it’s my firm belief that it still counts to live life by your own rule book and in times of trouble I tend to resort to what I call Freebie Alchemy. In the good old days, this would mean blagging my way into VIP areas, getting backstage passes and bagging designer clothes samples (when I was thin enought to squeeze into catwalk offcasts). Now, the parameters and priorites of my life have changed but, I still remain very committed to practising the Art of getting something for nothing.

So, here’s the thing. This week I’ve managed to get in a major haul of goodies without even going to the cash point. Not being much of an accountant, I’ve made my own little calculations and in my world, it all adds up to about £465!

It all started early this week. I’ve been awaiting the delivery of a mock crock leather drinks bar which I bought last July. I snapped it up at 30% off in the Summer sale. It’s something I’ve adored from the moment I set eyes on it a year ago, so the wait has seemed worth it as I know it will bring years of joy, admiration and tipsiness.

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I have diligently called the company weekly this year and kept my cool while the promised delivery date has continued to slip. I dutifully called the company on Monday to ask if it had been delivered to their warehouse yet but it was still ‘on it’s way’.

‘Hi, I’m calling about the delivery of my bar I bought in July’
‘Oh, let me just check’
‘Thanks’
‘It’s not in yet’
‘Hmmm, I was told it would be this week’ In despair, I gasped audibly ‘Can’t you offer me anything to say sorry? A voucher for the shop or something? It is nearly a year I’ve been waiting.’
‘Um, hang on a minute, let me check’. Ooh, I thought, there maybe a little gift on the way here.
‘Hi, are you still there?’
‘Yes I am, I’ll hold’
‘Let me just check something, thanks for your patience.’
‘Hello? Thanks for holding, I can offer you a £50 voucher – is that any good?’
‘Oh that’s so kind of you, thanks very much!’

And I got a call today to say the drinks bar is coming on Friday and even better the price has now gone up £300 since I bought it. (Value £350)

TodayI have a free luxury facial and massage which I won in Miniminx’s Christmas raffle. (Value £85)

I’m not counting the blow up sunbed session from the other day, it’s just too traumatic. (Value 0)

I am counting the free replacement gym card which they gave me without charging a fiver (I’m just too great a sideshow to not have around) (Value £5)

Now a girl’s gotta have shoes – especially with job interviews in the offing, so how about three pairs for free? Well, yesterday, after a gorgeous lunch at Dial, I wandered around Covent Garden, well that’s stretching the truth – I just made a beeline for Poste Mistress – the best shoe shop in the world – to buy my new ‘interview’ shoes.

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After a couple of hours of trying on the most magnificent shoes and boots, I left with 4 I-can’t-live-without-these pairs neatly packaged in very conspicuous bright pink bags; mock croc high heeled court shoes, knee length shiny black leather boots, green suede high heeled ankle boots and flat black suede mocassins.

The ladies in the shop were lovely, especially at the till.

‘So here they all are’
‘Oh great, thanks’ I beamed handing over my card
‘Well, the way I calculate it, with all the discounts, and I’ve given you an extra 10% off the non sale shoes’ Lucky me eh? ‘This whole lot is still £20 under the original full price of the knee length boots. So basically you’ve got three extra pairs of shoes for free!’
‘Wow’ I said, ‘That’s so clever!’
(Value £20 + three free pairs of shoes)

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As I sat down to enjoy my beautifully prepared lunch yesterday, things took a drastic about turn. My cosy domestic bubble burst in the manner of a very large party balloon being pricked by a very large, sharp pin.

My mobile phone trilled, !NUMBER WITHHELD! flashed on the screen – Ok, better put my professional/together voice on!

‘Hi, can you talk? It’s me, how are you?’
‘Yes, sure I can talk, fabulous thanks and you?’
‘I’ve got something for you’
‘Great, what it is it?’
‘It’s a blah-di-blah-di-blah at blah-di-blah? Yeah? Interested?’
‘Wow that sounds great!’
‘Read the spec, I need to send your CV to them today, they want someone to start immediately’
‘Sure (choke on flapjack silently) I’ll have to you within the hour – I need to change it. I’m not sure it’s working – I’ve had my CV appraised and was told it would cost £350 to put right’
‘Yeah, that social media thing on it, no one gets it.’
‘OK, I’ll dump it’
‘Good idea – get it over, be quick’

And then three job specs came through on email. Three job opportunities! What a bloody shock. I caught myself suddenly having to think. Life could change imminently. This little adventure of unemployment could soon be over. Shit.

As with all things work related, thought was quickly galvanised into action and I dragged my CV out of the document folder – grrrrrrrrrr. I gave myself an hour to rewrite it in a comprehensive and chatty fashion – yes, I’m a dyed in the wool deadline addict.

I began removing all links to my work on the worldwide wonder web which I’d lovingly searched out in my first jobsearch sojourn. Boo hoo – my social media CV was lame and had to be put out to pasture.

Then taking the advice of my CV appraiser, I dumbed down the font (apparently it was distracting and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin), I removed the bolded type (apparently incredibly distracting and annoying and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin) and I added some editorial around my work (apparently just listing it would be incredibly annoying and distracting etc. etc.). The finished work was much better and I spotted a most embarrassing typo – I’d spelt Communications as communciations – which I swiftly changed. Cringe – my usual faves are brest regards and daft copy which never go unnoticed, thankfully I’ve never committed the cardinal sin of typing pubic relations as many of my (former) colleagues have. I digress, as I pressed send message, I breathed a sigh of relief and waited ten minutes before calling the recruiter.

‘Hi – I’ve sent you my redraft, it’s much better’
‘Thanks, I’ll pop it across’

Ten minutes later, !NUMBER WITHHELD!, I knew it was her…

‘Darling, what was your last job title? I can’t see it on the CV…’

Oh god, in my panic I’d left it off.

‘Don’t worry I’ll change it and pop it over.’
‘Thanks (choke), speak to you soon!’

With that done it was time to pick up Miniminx – we did the weekly shop and went hideously over budget. By the time we got home I was feeling tired and irritable.

‘Sorry, Mummy is feeling a bit cruddy’
‘Don’t worry Mum.’
‘It’s just that there’s all these job thingies.’
‘Yeah great, you need a job.’
‘I don’t know if I want to work, I like being at home and doing my blog and writing.’
‘Well it’s tough Mum, I’d rather be at home all day but I have to go to school. Sorry but you have to go to work’

And so I heard a small version of myself deliver the bare naked truth…Mummy needs to get a job.

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Miniminx’s Grandma gave me this recipe ages ago and I’ve had a tinker with it. It’s very simple to follow and it’s something you can keep in the cookie jar as a mid morning snack or serve with soup and salad to make a more substantial meal…see here for for the full works…

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