Thursday, 20 December 2012

I Cant Tell You How Sick I Am of my #Festiveplaylist

This is my #FestivePlaylist.

I add to it each year and I play it in the shop from around the 10th December. Believe me when I tell you that by 12th December, I want to NEVER HEAR THESE SONGS AGAIN! By 24th December, Ive been carted away in a special T shirt that ties at the back for my own safety, muttering inanely something that sounds like the bastardized version of "Santa bring my Baby Back to Me" - complete with sneer.

So, if anyone is in the least bit interested, here it is:

1.Something Stupid - Robbie and Nicole - mainly because - WTF? Robbie WILLIAMS? and Nicole KIDMAN? Where did that come from. Truth to tell, they nailed it. But did they nail each other????

2. Santa Claus is coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen version (I love Bruce for his sheer determination in the face of the universally unspoken adversity ie he cant sing!)

3.Santa Baby - The Eartha Kitt version. I went to see her sing once with my GBF - she was sooo cool!

4. Snowflake Boogie - Jools (The God) Holland

5.Christmas Bop - T Rex

6.Mary's Boy Child - Boney M (Because Im that old, I remember them doing this to death on Top of the Pops)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen - always must be sung in the car on the way to parents house in the style of Bill and Ted

8. I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes - because I HONESTLY thought Mommy was a proper adulteress until I was about 24.

9. Stop The Cavalry - Jonah Lewie - Used to love this song

10. Last Christmas - Wham - George, we love you George! How could she not love George! What a beatch! What? George is GAY? Noooooooooo (circa 1986)

That'll do for now folks..........get back to stuffingmince pies!

All available here, of course!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Parenthood Quiz of the Year

 Christmas Parenthood Quiz of The Year

 Take part in our fun quiz and see what kind of parent you most identify with! Dont forget - its just for fun!

1. This Christmas you have done most of your shopping:

a) At Mary Howard Christmas Fair - thoughtful, expensive gifts for everyone. If all else fails, Harrods deliver
b) On line - half of it has to go back and half of it doesnt arrive in time!
c) You are making Christmas presents this year, from pine cones and glitter. So much more thoughtful

2. Your children have written a letter to Santa. in it they ask for:

a) An iphone 5 and a Kindle Fire for English homework

b) A Wii U and Call of Duty Modern Warfare

c) A goat for Africa. And an iPad Mini (but they wont get it)

3. After school one day, your youngest complains that their teacher has set them too much homework. Do you:

a) Say "Dont be silly, its all about time management darling" Sit down. Do homework yourself. Realise your child is perfectly correct and stomp into school next morning to "have a quiet word"?

b) Shout over the sounds of FIFA 12 - "Dont worry darling, Mummy will help you!" only to find after you've cooked, cleaned, done 6 loads of laundry and cleaned up the cat sick in the utility room that your child has fallen asleep and the homework gets done in the car on the way to school.

c) Say "Dont be silly darling, you wont need maths when you go out into the world anyway."

4. Your children are fighting over the last chocolate biscuit. What do you do?

a) Nothing. Consuela will sort them out

b) Yell " Will you both stop it! Ive been at work all day and I dont care who started it!" Then go to late night Tesco and buy more biscuits

c)The children are only allowed ethically farmed chocolate from Guatemala. They would never fight over the last biscuit - they would obviously break it in half and share it

5. Your husband's mother wants you to go to her for Christmas. You always go to your parents for Christmas. Do you:

a) Explain to her directly that it is family tradition that cannot be broken and if you dont go beating with your father on Boxing Day he will write you out of his will.

b) Get hysterical, tell your husband to ring her, then hover in the background making sign language telling him what to say. Cry. Tell him she's an demanding bitch.  Invite everyone to you instead, to avoid conflict and then work yourself into a nervous breakdown trying to get all the food and beds sorted out, whilst buying extra presents and Waitrose crackers (the good ones!)

c) Say thank you, but this year the whole family is going to help at the local Shelter and make Christmas dinners for those less fortunate. Its good for the children to learn that Christmas is horribly commercial and not everyone is as lucky as they are.

6. You and your husband have a child-free weekend to yourselves. Do you:

a)  Pop over to Florence for some art and culture

b) Take a trip to a family-run hotel in Devon, where you drink to much wine, talk about other things for a change and realise you do actually have quite alot in common. Feel guilty and phone home 17 times.

c) Take the camper van and go off for the weekend. End up making another baby. Call him Bodmin

Mostly a) 's You own the company that Charter's the Helicopters!

Helicopter parents leave nothing to chance. When you fall pregnant, it has been meticulously planned so that your baby arrives at a convenient time of year, not Christmas, or Summer hols! And when Hugo is on gardening leave between his Financial Director jobs in the City, so that he can help cant really trust him to do anything, but you're sure an extra pair of hands will be helpful after the planned
C Section.
Your children can read before most of the other NCT babies can sit up and you dont allow TV EVER! They're like sponges, you know, you have them fluent in Mandarin before they finish (private) nursery.

Your children sleep through the night from 6 weeks old, even though they are breastfed, because you understand the importance of routine. You helpfully share your tips on a good routine with all the other mothers who are struggling, because its nice to be helpful and they are looking sooo tired. You might also suggest a relaxing massage, such as the one you have every Monday at the Spa, while baby Saphire is with the nanny; it really helps you relax!
Saphire and Andre wear "outfits" every day and enjoy lessons in piano, violin, judo, drama, singing, ballet, horse riding, fencing, swimming, pilates, rugby, tennis, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Latin (just for fun!) oh and yoga - its very important for children to learn to relax!

You only buy organic (The Wholefoods Market is your second home) and for Christmas, you will all make perfect decorations as a family whilst singing carols round the tree. And post pictures of them on Pinterest for everyone to admire!

This Christmas the whole family will gather at your parents country farmhouse for a huge goose from the farm, cooked with all the trimmings. Your mother has decorated the place directly from this months Good Housekeeping and the recipe is Delia (you cant go wrong!) Afterward, you will fly out to Mustique for a well-earned break, Virgin Upper Class of course!

Mostly b)'s  You are Muddling Through and doing an OK job

Your baby arrives in a flurry of late night phone calls and a last-minute shout-out for the anaesthetist. You would have liked to have a natural birth, but the birth-plan went out the window at the second proper contraction! You struggled through  the first 12 months, surviving on coffee and your babies always ended up in bed with you at some point during the night - up until they were about 7!
You and your husband disagree on virtually every parenting issue you can think of - which has led to some pretty heated debates on nurseries, restaurants and his mother!
A weekend away just the two of you every year to a modest hotel in Devon has kept your relationship going through the toddler years and you realise you do still like each other - you're both just tired and stressed most of the time.
You went back to work after both babies, but are beginning to find the juggling too much. When Freya starts school in September you're going to do a class in Photography or Interior Design or something and start a business. There's bound to be loads of demand for that kind of thing and all your friends are thinking of doing the same - anything that fits in around the children.
You will probably find out the hard way that there isnt and end up as a teaching assisstant in your kids' school - the holidays are such a bonus.
Your children are popular and happy and Max is turning out to be really sporty, so dad is happy. He has a tendency to be too loud on the touchlines every Saturday, but he feels his opinion is valid and he's keen to help out with coaching.
Your family holiday is a mad scramble onto Easyjet to Majorca or Ibiza where the kids go mad at the all-you-can-eat buffet and you both collapse exhausted for a week, before you go back home and begin again.

Mostly c)'s Earth Parents

You gave birth to Mozarella on a kibutz with no pain relief and were back packing through the rainforest of Uruguay 6 months later. When Gazpacho came along a year later you compromised and bought a VW Camper van - totally restored and very cool.
Now the children are school-age you have settled in a tumble down quaint cottage in Somerset, which your grandmother left you. It needs loads of work and is haunted (obviously) but the village school only has 14 children, which means you dont have to go down the route of home-schooling, which quite frankly, fills you with horror. Even though sending the kids to an institution like a school is the polar opposite of everything you believe in, and have rammed down everyone's throats for years.
The children only wear organic cotton as their skin is very sensitive and you are so proud that they have both chosen  to be vegetarians, because they love animals so much. Although you never married formally, this year the whole family will go to Hawaii (thanks Granny) and have a traditional Island ceremony on the beach, with the girls dressed in white organic muslin, with lilies in their hair.
This Christmas, the children will make presents for family members and you will donate a goat to an African village instead of buying expensive gifts for everyone else. The commercialism of Christmas makes you so  angry, although you're not religious, but "spiritual" You are raising your children to be kind to others and hope they will grow up to be Youth Workers or Fundraisers for Unicef.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Funniest Christmas Pictures!

 Just to make you smile


For your viewing pleasure (and mine) I have trawled the wonderous internet for some of the funniest and down right scariest Christmas pictures, families and Seasonal cards that are well..........have a look and tell me your favourites!!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Henry's 12th Birthday - with James Campbell

Yes I know - 12 already! I can't stand how fast they are growing up, up and away!

This year, having spent close to £300 on a day paint balling for 10 kids, plus bistro lunch because it helpfully rained-out my July picnic plans, I jumped at the chance of a joint party.

My lovely, incredibly organised friend Lou did all the legwork so I can take no credit for the great gathering we enjoyed.

The whole year group was invited, which was so lovely, as I hate having to pick and choose friends and leave other friends out.

Siblings and parents came too and a sugar fix for the kids and white wine fix for the parents ensured maximum hilarity.

James is a comedian and story teller for all ages. He is a Dad himself and really engaged the kids - surely a daunting audience, with a low boredom threshold and a sugar rush!!

Such good "wholesome" fun, the children got very animated telling their own funny stories (only in Gloucestershire!) James somehow struck the balance of keeping them enthralled whilst challenging their imaginations and rendering them incoherent with giggles!

Thank you James, it was amazing!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Raising Boys

Hands up if the friends you have made via your kids/school have predominantly been parents of boys as well!

An extra shout out if you've ever gone through a phase of ONLY hanging out with friends who have boys! Because they "get it"

Have you ever been asked any or all of the following questions:

"What's wrong with him?"
"Is he going down with something?"
"Have you thought he might be autistic?"
"Doesn't seem to get tired does he?"
"Is he always like this?"

I've had them all and a few more besides! My boys seem pretty well adjusted these days, which I realise is asking for trouble, but I shall enjoy it while it lasts. But they were pretty full-on when they were smaller.  No, they weren't austistic, they didn't have ADHD, or react to certain foods, or have any kind of developmental issues - they are just boys!

Best advice I was given and I pass on now:

Read: Steve Biddulph Raising Boys

To reassure you  that you are a good mother, not mad and your son/s is normal!

Do: Trust your instincts
Don't: Listen to "constructive criticizers" (I made that word up!)

If in Doubt: Treat as Puppies - That means:

Take them out and exercise them until they are exhausted! Whatever the weather.
Give them boundaries to make them feel secure.
Unconditional love and cuddles - you will reap the reciprocal affection in spades!

Boys are awesome! Now I just wonder how much my future daughters-in-law will judge, criticize and moan about me!