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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

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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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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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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I’ve been burying my head in the sand, and this week the snow, and it’s time to face facts. Staying at home with no income is a fool’s paradise.

I’m a bit lost without the social, intellectual and fiscal stimuli of working. Miniminx is bored of me being at home – she’s missing all the goodies I used to bring home from my travels and the general haphazard nature of our life which we’ve grown accustomed to.

Going to school is a bit of a grungefest these days, instead of arriving to drop her off in a cab with darkened windows and tottering in the playground fully made up, with glossy hair and crazy heels, it’s now a walk along the River clad in parka, jeans and biker boots (yes, of course I wear a top!) and lucky if I’ve managed to grab a shower yet.

She’s going to be in for a fright when she starts to notice that my purse strings are going to be much tighter, even though the heartstrings are still tuggable, Pester Power moments will be played out on deaf ears – you know the ones ‘But I really, REALLY need it, I reeeally do – it would make me so happy. You know you’re the best Mummy.’

Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had in this downtime but being at home hasn’t made me tidy the house more or start knitting – I still spend most of my day, mainly out of ‘Im-not-working-but-I-know-I-should-be’ guilt, sat at my computer in search of the main chance! I think I’ve lost my gall these last few weeks and I’m wondering if I will ever work again, it’s a crisis of professional confidence and it’s eating away at me day by day.

It was easy to keep busy in January as it was all very novel – fabulous in fact. But February? It’s time to take stock and hit the refresh button on my reality check page, I’ve got to take a sharp look at our expenses and start making cutbacks;

Newspapers & magazines (now get them online)
Lovefilm subscription is gone (£10 per month)
Virgin Wines Discovery Club cancelled (£80 per quarter)
£8 per hour baby sitters no more (£80 per month)
cut back on the food bill (cut back to £60 per week – difficult when there’s no Aldi or Lidl in walking distance)
designer clothes can wait until I get working (thousands!)
taxis only when necessary (hundreds)
no more cinema (£50 per month)
or eating out (a lot)
no holiday (a massive amount)
personal trainer (£400 per ten sessions)
beautician (back to doing my own pedicures etc)
turn off the heating in the day when I’m home and wear scarf and gloves (well, I’m not really going to do that)

And that amounts to my lifestyle down the drain. My gym membership could go but that’s my sanity, and the cleaner, well it’s a minor expense and there’s nothing better than a loyal cleaner. I’ve also got Miniminx’s afterschool lessons to pay for; Stagecoach £315, guitar lesson £45 and all the school trips, plus it’s her birthday soon which will have to be downsized this year. At least there are no school fees to pay.

So how will I make any cash without a job in the credit crunch? Blogging – I wish I could but why pay a blogger when they do it for free?! Selling stuff online? I’ve signed up to Music Magpie to ditch my CDs, and while I buy on ebay, I don’t tend to sell on it. Carboot sales?

I’ve hit The Wall – like Simon Pegg in Run Fat Boy Run – and I’m wondering if now’s the time to find a different way to make a living…answers on a postcard please!

I’m going to grab my iPod and hit the treadmill in hope of inspiration…

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