Sunday, 30 January 2011

Has the world gone mad recently?

On the news for the past few weeks there has been a lot of crazy histeria going on.  This week there is the uprising in Eygpt going on.  The week before that there were the floods in Australia and then there were all the reports about birds falling out of the sky and loads of fish dying on a beach!

My saving grace this week was watching The Secret Shopper with Mary Portas when she went into furniture stores to investigate into their bogus statements.  At the end of the programme she was in one of those shops sat on a sofa with a cup of tea, when one of the sales guys was getting irritated by her and she said, "Where is that sofa that is £10, I would like to see that one,", it made me laugh so much.  She is absolutely right that these retailers treat us like we are idiots.  I have today braved the dreaded supermarkets on a Sunday and low and behold everything was a price cut!  There were dish washer tablets that were £9.00 down to £4.00.  These discounts were all over the store.  Who do they think they are kidding, we all know they were never that price in the first place.  A nice dose of honesty pleace rather than properganda would sit with us nicely.

I have had one of those weeks when most things get on your nerves, hence I am on one today, however, I do feel a lot calmer.  Another thing that has ticked me off this week was that in a magazine I saw some lovely measuring cups from Next.  I truck on into the shop ready to order my lovely cups.  The shop assistant looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked for them.  Looked through the catalogue not in there!  Had no idea what I was talking about, tried to look online but the internet was down!  Now I have seen them I want them!  I need them in my life (a bit like the waffle maker I bought recently that I have used once!).  This is not the first time this has happened when I see things in magazines, after all is that not the point they are in there so you can go and purchase?  May be the only send them out to London stores and a few in The Highlands!  It is annoying to say the least. 

My last point of aggrevation is that living on a busy road has it's draw back sometimes.  Our extension has started and we now have a skip on the drive.  We must have had at least 4 people knock on our door asking for stuff out of it!  Yesterday a young lad knocked on the door asking if he could have some doors that are on the drive.  Now these doors are not ours the builder has left them their.  I informed him of this and said to come back in the week and ask him as they are not ours.  My Husband then looked out of our Son's bedroom window and this guy gesticulated rudely to him, how charming!  I will do another blog shortly about the comings and goings on our road!

Anyway, I hope I have sufficiently downloaded all of my annoyances for this week and that next week will be less irritating.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Mary Portas shopping Queen - our High Streets need you!

I have a deep admiration for Mary Portas.  She is challenging the status quo of the High Street.  We are fed up of poor training and Management.  When we shop we want to feel appreciated that we are spending our money in that store.  Where did the pride go in our shops?  After all, most people love a bit of retail therapy.

My local High Street is definitely flagging in the current economic climate.  There are a lot of empty shops out there.  I live in a large Town not a big City and I have been told that all retailers brand shops by their post code.  Therefore, London will get all the best gear and everyone else gets the scraps. 

If I want to buy an outfit I drive 40 minutes to a bigger City to get the choice and the range I want.  The shops on the local High Street are not inspiring.  When I go elsewhere they have better ranges of clothes and more choice.  Therefore that puts where I live in further demise as it has been tarred with a stock of rubbish.  It is a vicious circle, it would be great to get out of it.  Everyone I know travels further a field to get their clothes.  Hence the Town Centre is a wash with cheap horrible shops.  Where I live it is very affluent the retailers are not doing anything to entice us to the High Street. 

The best shop used to be House of Fraser, since the fiasco with the Icelandic banks it is now a HOF outlet store.  When you walk in it is like a jumble sale and the toilets are a disgrace.  Last time I went in one of the taps was falling off the wall.  No wonder no one is going down to the High Street. 

Watching Mary Portas strut her stuff was a refreshing change, to see someone have the balls to stand up and put things right.  I would love her to come down to our High Street and give it the once over, she would have an absolute field day.  Mary if you read this, come and visit and bring the TV crew, it would make great viewing!  Your humble fan Tracey.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Thread worms.....Ewe!

Last night my Daughter who is 6 years old kept getting up in the night which is unusual for her and then she said my bottom is itchy.  My Husband new immediately it was thread worms.  We checked her feaces and there were two of them wriggling around.  It is distigusting.....yuk.

I went on the internet to read about the delights of threadworms.  Mainly spread by Children not washing their hands after they have been to the toilet.  My Daughter has never been great at it.  I would always ask her, "Have you washed your hands,", she would say, "yes,", and I would reply, "Let me smell them,", she then would retort back up the stairs to wash them as she new I would not smell the soap.  The problem is you can not do that when they are at school.  I am hoping this is a turning point as she has been distressed about it.  This morning she wanted to get into our bed and we said, "No,". 

Luckily my son is not showing any symptoms.  This morning as soon as it got to 9.00 am I got my joggers on and stomped up the road to the local Chemist.  We have all now had the medicine.  I am now straining the national grid with the electricity I am using on my cleaning frenzy.  I have been washing everything, sheets, towels, dressing gowans.  Hoovering under the bed and have just finished hoovering all of our matresses!  My hands are getting dry from the constant washing.

This weekend I will be mainly washing and going to the shops to buy more washing liquid.  It is a shame it did not happen in the Summer as I then could have dried it all on the line.  Last night I was sat in my lounge watching relocation relocation and all I could think about was my mind playing tricks on me that my bum was itching!  My Husband thought his was!  It makes you feel horrible, there is this little parasite in my little girl and possibly the rest of the family.  I texted three friends to let them know who she had seen in the week and will let the School know on Monday.  It is funny for a moment I did feel ashamed and did not want to tell anyone.  I hope my Daughter has learnt her lesson.

Best go now and do the dusting and more washing!  Yuk yuk.  How ironic as I went to press publish there was a google ad for a parasite buster for your home!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Good friends

I went out with a group of my girlfriends on Friday night and laughed all night.  I am incredibley fortunate to have come across a great group of friends who I have met through my Daughter's primary school.  I never thought I would find my own circle of friends in the playground.  Most of them are in walking distance to my house.  It is great we all are like minded and get on really well.  In my circle of friends there are about 6 of us.  I am truly blessed to have a great network of friends.  I do feel the school has a very special bunch of Mums and Dads.  I have heard of friends who have not been so fortunate and have found the playground not to be a pleasent experience.

We all pitch in together when we need help with the school run or if there is a dancing competition.  The help is there for all of us as and when we need it.  I feel fully supported and I am sure they do to.  The help is on tap for everyone.  We all muck in when we need to and know that it is recipricol and not part of an exchange of you did this for me so when is my turn.  I know I am very lucky to have this as I have found a new social life, that I was not expecting.

When my Daughter was a new born I never found a group of friends to go to playgroups with and I felt isolated.  I had what I call transient Mum friends.  We were friends for a short while and then the friendship waned.  I realised that I was friends with them because we had children, other than that we had nothing in common.  I was niave to think just because we had kids we would get along.

On Friday night we had a few glasses of fizz and got onto the topic of friends.  I likened it to the imprint on a misted window.  Some imprints last forever, others are there for a short while, and the rest go quickly.  I have come to the conclusion that some people you meet come into your life for a short while when you need them and then go.  Others are there for life.  One of my best friends lives in London I rarely see him but when we do we revert immediately back to the days when we used to live together at University and have an amazing time.  I think if you have lived part of your life with someone and they know you inside out it does not matter how long you go without seeing them, they simply get you.  Some leave a bigger mark than others.

We weave a rich tapestry in life and should not be angry at the ones who got away, they duly served their purpose. 

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Child Stars - why?

I find Child stars nauseating and do not understand why they exist.  I am baffled as to why Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith have shoved their 10 year old into the lime light with the irritating song whip my hair back and forth.  After all, it is not like they need the money.

You do not have to look too far to see the accidental debris of Child stars deprived of their Childhood, dare I mention Britteny Spears, Drew Barrymore, or Michael Jackson.  If someone is that talented surely they can wait a few years and learn their craft.  We all know that spoilt kids who have everything at the click of a finger do not become well rounded adults.  I fear for the alleged Justin Bieber's diva like behaviour.  He is probably a ticking time bomb on the path to destruction.  On his recent trip to the UK he was rude to Fearne Cotton on Radio 1 and was eating during her interview.

Mark my words it will not be long until he is in rehab.  Sad but a likely outcome for a young lad that has been capitulated into mega stardom at the blink of an eye.  I dare say him or his family are not equiped to deal with the trappings of fame and all the Management Company want to do is make a fast buck and peddle him out where ever they can.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

2011 a time for Austerity

My dwindling finances mean that I can not continue to spend the way I have been for the last year.  It is grim when you have always worked for a living and now find yourself in a position of merely treading water.  My disposable income is severly diminshed.  I will not be bolstering our flagging retail economy this year, simply because I have not got the means to do it.

I work part-time to fit in with my family committments and have never been in a position where I can not fund the odd luxury, but I am there now.  I am now going to have to think hard about the way I spend my money.  It is easy to see how people can slide under with their finances, over spend by a few hundred pounds every month without realising and you are there.  I know I am not the only person feeling the pinch.  Over the past few years without any significant pay rises my salary has been left sorely behind and out of kilter with inflation.  Year on year petrol has been going up and food and lets face it no-one's salary is matching it.  As of January 2011 there is the extra VAT on everything to add to our woes. 

The sad thing is I have always lived relatively frugally.  I own my car which is not flash by any means, I don't have a contract mobile phone, I don't drink, I have a modest 3 bed house, and I do not have a gym membership.  However, I am determined to fight my way out of this.  I will ask my boss for extra hours and if there is any project work that I can do from home.  It is a tricky balance managing the hours you do versus paying for Child care. 

When is our time of prosperity coming?  I have a vague memmory of the booming 1980's and remember the phrase champagne Charly and that people used to have gold debit cards as a sign of wealth.  The generation before us have been positvely rich compared to us.  Most of them owned their homes out right and were not saddled with large mortgages or debts, and they had more job security.  Most of them will start enjoying their pensions soon and when we get to that time there will be nothing left in the pot!

On a more positive note, not rushing out on weekends for some retail therapy is making me appreciate life in a different way.  As a family we are spending more quality time together and doing cheaper things such as going out on our bikes or for a walk.  Funnily enough I do feel more relaxed for it.  May be that is what this current squeeze is all about, making us think about our spending habits and re-evaluating our home life.  I do feel more wholesome for it.  I am even going to start home baking!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Sad news!

I received some really sad news today.  A close friend at work 17 year old Son committed suicide the day before yesterday.  When I found out via a text message I burst into tears.  I can not imagine the pain his family is going through.  There is something profundly wrong with your Children going before you do.  I do not know the circumstances yet of what happened.

Whenever he used to speak about his boys his face would would light up.  It is poignant that going forward that beam of light will not be there.  He adored his family.  We spend all of our time nuturing our Children and wrapping them up in cotton wool and then something like this happens.  Having been through Cancer and fighting for my life I do not understand why a young person would want to throw it all away. 

As a parent in this situation I can on imagine the burden of guilt you must feel.  The questions must be roaming around your head, should I have done this or that to change the outcome.  It puts all of your silly little worrys and concerns into perspective.  Compared to something catastrophic like this happening everything else seems insignificant. 

I sent a text message to him and I did not know what to say.  What do you say to someone who has been faced with the death of their Child by their own hands.  All I could think of was to say I am here for you as a friend to support you.  You want to say something meaningful and to ease their pain, but the fact of the matter there is nothing you can say or do to make it better.  It makes you feel helpless.

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Year - Thinspiration

No doubt there will soon be a sea of celebrity exercise DVD's telling us all how we can be as thin as them and how they lost 10 stone in a month, but they will omit to say it was with the help of a personal trainer, oh and a Nanny!  I do not know anyone who has ever bought one of these DVD's.  Actually, that is a lie I think my Mother had the Rosemary Connelly one bought for her when she was in her hay day.  She watched the entire thing once while being sat on the sofa.  I do not know anyone who has ever bought one, so do they work or gather dust on the shelf.

I know if I had one I would not do it.  It is hard to force yourself to do these things in the comfort of your own home and all to easy to say, "I'll do it tomorrow,".  If I am going out for a run I know I have to go out and do it, and not procrastinate.  Exercise is better when it is part of a routine, you have to do it and not think about it.  A friend of mine has started a free running club in our local area.  It is great because you know you have to turn up to not let others down.  Even when it is cold and wet outside, it forces your hand to go rather than, "I'll do it tomorrow,".

I have two really good friends that are a thinspiration to me.  They have both had 3 children and they work at being slim.  They exercise regularly and do not given into the all too easy biscuit barrel.  They have motivated me to cutting out the junk food (except on weekends of course!) and I feel better for it.  Lets face it, it is easy to come up with excuses not to exercise.  Even with the credit crunch on all you need is a decent pair of trainers and then you can do as much exercise as you like.  I realised that my own worst enemy was myself.  You can always make excuses not to go out, so now I just get on with it.  Running fits in with my life style I can do it when I want (as long as my Husband is home).  The ludicrous thing is when you have done it you feel amazing all those endorfins running through your system and of course feeling smug that you have managed to prise yourself off the sofa for 45 minutes.

My friends are my inspiration, instead of watching TV they exercise, they juggle working and looking after Children and as a result they look fabulous and have bodies that an 18 year olds would be proud of.