Saturday, 6 November 2010

Do you have Wonder Woman Syndrome?

How many things have you done today? Do you feel it was enough or are you going to bed feeling guilty for not having done more? Golly! If you are like me then you always end up feeling that the hill you climbed ought to have been a mountain. The constant battle with oneself is exhausting. My daughter has three friends for a sleepover this weekend and I gave them Pizza for dinner. However, I feel that I should have cooked them a more wholesome meal. They aren't complaining and are loving being here. See what I mean?
According to a new book called The Mindful Manifesto: How doing Less and Noticing More Can Help us Thrive In A Stressed Out World it is the process of continually reaching for more that makes us unhappy. The author suggests that the solution lies in 'being more' and 'doing less'. Apparently if we are too busy being Wonder Woman then we forget to pay attention to our body, mind and environment. Stand still and take stock.
While I agree with this I think it also misses the point that our lifestyles have changed and modern women are required to do so much more than their mothers did because of the changing societies. As an example, my own mother had an extensive support network of family when I was growing up. She didn't work and her life was confined to the house and the periphery of it. Modern Woman or Wonder Woman, by contrast, goes out to work, looks after the children, organises the home while maintaining our own interests. I am just thankful that we don't have to go the whole length by emulating the original Wonder Woman played by Linda Carter who took on the baddies and fought (literally) for truth and justice.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Secondary School- Yikes

My daughter starts secondary school in 3 days' time. Help! Why do kids grow up so fast? Don't get me wrong. I take great pride in watching her grow and discover the world around her. Being part of the process of helping her navigate her way through childhood is a privillege that I never take for granted. Still, when I read Mummy blog posts on your baby or toddler experiences it brings a pang to my heart. 'Once a Mummy always a Mummy' is a phrase that I am going to draw assurance from on 2 Sept as she walks through the school gates.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

A couple of days ago I woke up to what you would describe as a gray miserable looking day, I was disappointed I had planned to take my youngest child to Kew Gardens but then I thought about it for a little while and announced to my son "well its still warmer then winter" he agreed. So off we went to Kew Gardens it took us exactly thirty minutes to get there by train, which was great as I had expected it to take longer then that, much longer in fact.
Well as soon as we arrived to our destination the sun was shining brightly! it stayed like that for the rest of the day! It made me wonder how many people cancel arrangements because of a gray sky! Well I have decided as long as its warmer then winter in the summer holidays I will go to these wonderful places as its no problem slipping into a light jacket. As for Kew Garden the last time I was there it was about fifteen years ago and it certainly hasn't lost its beauty, I love the trees with so many to see well I was at my element, Heritage Trees the Arboretum at Kew is home to some of the finest specimens of trees from all over the world. It contains examples from as far back as the early 18th century to newly planted rarities from recent Kew plant collecting expeditions. Every specimen is a piece of history in the development of an ever-changing landscape, representing the generations of a great historic tree collection.
The flowers were beautiful and with peacocks strolling by that was a sight to see, I could go on for ever but I rather recommend you see it for yourself,But make sure you don't miss Kew's Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway takes you under the ground and then 18 metres (59ft) up in the air, bringing you close to trees in a way that will take your breath away. For those of you with small children they do have an indoor and outdoor play areas. At least three cafes with a whole range of goodies. Yes I will indeed return but this time a lot sooner then fifteen years.

By Vivian

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kids Go Too

I wish travelling abroad was a cheaper exercise than it is. Don't you just love it when you lock your front door behind you and head off for the airport knowing you will be in a new place some hours later? Visiting new places and seeing new sights is important for broadening one's view of the world and it is even more important for children to experience this. Hence, my wish for travel to become cheaper than it is. I want my daughter to see all the sights that she reads about in her books. Some years ago we visited Berlin before she started studying about WW2 at school. She was fascinated by the Berlin Wall. History came alive for her when she was finally doing it at school. It isn't just about history though. Meeting other people and empathizing with their culture and way of life is important to breaking down barriers between nations.

Monday, 2 August 2010

You can find beauty anywhere!

After a beautiful day in Hampstead Heath I wasn’t exactly pleased to be approaching my council estate, the blocks of flats looked so gray, in fact everything looked gray, Oh if only I thought, If only I could just bring the heath with me and plant it on my doorstep, how wonderful that would be When I noticed a beautiful rose just staring at me through the barbed wire next to the local football pitch. It made me think at how easy it is to just ignore the little things around us that have meaning and importance. Beauty is everywhere! you sometimes just have to dig a little to find it. Or even make a choice to see it. Not only did I stop to look at this rose I then took a close up shot, so I had the pleasure of looking at it again on this blog enjoying the experience even more! Life can be like that just taking the time to think and rethink about something that makes you smile even when you don’t feel like smiling! It makes a difference even if it just a small one. : )

Friday, 30 July 2010

Why do people call London a concrete jungle? With so many beautiful parks around us we are spoilt for choice!

I took my nine year old to a lovely park today, Golders Green Park after that we went to Hampstead Heath and just walked for hours, not without a quick visit to Kenwood House for a light lunch and a slice of victoria sponge cake.
It was a lovely day! The funny part of the day was watching my son roll down the lawn outside Kenwood House. The flowers were beautiful in Golders Green park, and the deers were well kept and nice to watch. The Golders Green coffee shop has great coffee and cakes, but as for it having the best ice-cream in the world I don't think so, my coconut ice cream was not nearly as good as the one I have at wagamamas,but my son did like his mango ice cream. Both parks were lovely with plenty to do. Tomorrow we shall go to the Hampstead Heath ponds and have a swim, and another long walk into the forest telling stories.

By Vivian

Friday, 23 July 2010

My Daughter and in my clothes! No WAY!!
Every now and then I have wondered what happened to an overnight bag with some of my designer clothes, At the time these were my favourite pieces and I wore them to impress, but eventually I changed my style and went for the more casual funky look , my daughter complained that I looked to reserved for my new neighbourhood I understood as I noticed that they tended to wear a more casual look , I actually felt better and more youthful in my new wardrobe which gradually changed over a period of time, I remember packing the clothes away thinking that some day I may wear them again and that was the last time I saw them.
The years went by and occasionally I wondered were id left them did I leave them in the basement I hoped not no way was I going down there with very little light and unwelcome visitors about (mice)!! Or would I be disturbing local teenagers, or worse still would I be sexually harassed by my then over eager neighbour, No I decided it wasn’t worth the bother, so I avoided asking my neighbour for the spare basement key.
It was only yesterday when I decided to clean out one of my cupboards, yes the one you dread most! Overflowing with stuff that you can’t throw away like your children’s school work that had being gathering over the last ten years and even longer, cassette tapes with memo ours, borrowed goods that you wanted to return but cant locate the owners, and toys that your child wants to keep, So there I was empting out the contents of the cupboard hoping to organise it better when I noticed a somewhat mouldy overnight bag , I don’t know why it was mouldy as the cupboard was dry, anyway I pulled it out and inside were some of my old designer clothes that had gone missing, Wow! How strange it was to see them again like old friends greeting me, it was a weird feeling and I wasn’t sure I liked it, that part of my life was over and some of it I wanted to forget! I suddenly noticed the padded shoulders not big pads but little ones like they have now, and thought I must show them to my twenty-two year old daughter, she is someone with expensive taste always like to wear the best and always works hard to make sure she gets the latest uggs, I don’t know why she makes such an effort as to me she’d look good in a bin bag. looking at the clothes she reluctantly took them to her room, about an hour later she came out dressed in one of the jackets and was very excited, she looked stunning!, my clothes fitted her beautifully! She noticed the quality and they looked vintage! She tried them on, and was so excited! I wore the jackets with smarts skirts she tried them on with jeans and they looked great! My daughter is a very generous young lady and I knew she wanted to give back in some way, I really didn’t want any thing, she disappeared into her room and after about an hour reappeared with a very familiar little top and asked if Id like to have it, I did not know whether to laugh or to cry, it was a top and id given her about ten years ago, it was a christmas gift, a Gap top but Id remembered that she’d never liked it but kept it out of consideration for me, I never realised she had kept it for that long and obviously forgotten the story behind it, probably found in the bottom of her own cupboard, I said id try it on and thanked her. Its a strange thing to me, My daughter liking my old clothes, I would never have worn my mothers, but then again she did have great bags and beautiful jewellery. Shame I never got to borrow them! Something you never did in my day! : )


Next Generation of Friendship

This is a picture of our children having fun in Trafalgar Square. We love it because it shows one child waiting for the other who is, in turn, making a huge effort to get up to the next level so he can be with his pal. Our friendship carries on through our children into the next generation.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Pass Kindness On

Especially in hard times, we need to remember how powerful one kind gesture can be. When people are losing faith in the economy and in trusted institutions, small acts of unanticipated kindness can help restore faith in the fundamental goodness of mankind.

I like to think of myself as someone who looks for the good in others. I must admit, however, that in the past few years, in a culture where individuals seem to be have become increasingly self-focused, I have gradually become more cynical about peoples’ willingness to reach out and help others but It’s amazing how one simple act of random kindness can create an ongoing ripple effect. We understand how these small acts can help those around us, but here are the reasons why reaching out to someone in need may also benefit you, personally:
•Doing so will help you, in the moment, to forget your own problems.
•You will be acting as a great role model for those around you, and especially for your children.
•You will feel better about yourself as a person.
•You will be helping, one deed at a time, to restore others’ faith in humanity.

This was written by Maud Purcell who is an American psychotherapist, as well as a trained Coach and Corporate Consultant. She is the owner of Maud Purcell & Associates Inc.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Dressing up for an occasion

For the last few weeks I’ve been hunting for a suitable dress for a wedding I thought that this would be easy and fun, but unfortunately it ended up being very discouraging, I was on a budget so that didn’t help, but looking for a bargain is part of the fun so that was not an issue at first.
I decided that Oxford Circus was the place to go shopping and my first visit was to Miss Selfridge! yes don’t laugh I did learn a lesson, I picked out some lovely dresses only to find that they were too shot, too tight, not suitable at all! having said that it really depends on the individual not your age, I’ve never worn a mini in my life and don’t intend to start now, I’m more of a pencil skirt lady, non of that in miss Selfridge! lots of pretty tops! But not suitable for a wedding!
So off I went to the big stores John Lewis, Debenhams, House of Frazer, but I was terribly disappointed nearly all the dresses were the wrong colour or worse still really boring I can only describe them as box like dresses I have referred to these already in my “what to wear when you hit forty” post! Dresses to depress you! Is what I call them? Anyway I must have lost a few pounds running up and down Oxford Circus, Refusing to give up I was desperate! At this stage I was really worried. It took quite a few visits to oxford circus before I managed to find the right dress I was subject to the changing rooms with their awful mirrors! My mirrors at home don’t upset me like that so I seriously wondered why these stores had mirrors that we’re designed to make you wish you had stayed at home or exercised a lot more ! Why don’t they have mirrors’ to flatter! Anyway I got over it as you do! Finally I spotted a Ted Baker dress it was peach and pencil shaped perfect! I was afraid to try it on unless it looked awful it had no sleeves which bothered me, not happy to have bingo wings on display! Well it was lovely even with the bingo wings. Great now I have the dress next come the shoes, I never realised just how time consuming it is to dress up for a special occasion! It’s so much easier to dress up jeans and shorts! It is however a great way to get fit! Providing you don’t stop to have that coffee and cake!

By Vivian

It's Special Education Week
Children with special needs don't have an illness, so there is no cure and it's not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.It's Special Education week and a good friend of mine asked if I would copy and paste this! So I have! as its something very close to my heart.

When I was a little girl I was dyslexic and I remember feeling very isolated and insecure.I went to a private school but they had no undertsanding about the issue back then, so I really suffered the consequences. I was lonely and very afraid. Thankfully by the time I was thirteen one teacher took an interest! her name was Sam! She was a quite women who used her break time to give me one to one support. I will always remember her kindness.

So to those of you who work with special needs children "YOU MAKE A HUGH DIFFERANCE"! THANK YOU! on behalf of all the children that you support! They will ALWAYS remember you!

By Vivian

Friday, 9 July 2010

My Daughter is LEAVING HOME

Ive just spent the last three days painting my daughter's flat! She is leaving home at the age of twenty four. Although she has left before to go to university this time it feels different.
She reached her twenty fourth birthday only a few days ago, how time flies. Ive watched her develop her skills, search for jobs, do volunteer work and it truly made me realise that the love and care for our children lasts a life time. Learning to let go is a journey in itself.
I’m blessed in that we have a good relationship and better still, don’t laugh, she has only moved around the corner. What’s interesting is that as a mother of five I realise I have to go through this with all of them so maybe this was to make it a little easier with one just living around the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to leave, sometimes I even fantazise about the peace and quite less housework time for myself.., but when you have been a mother for twenty four years that role becomes a part of your life, at times I never want it to end.
Loving your children can be painful because you get used to them to the point where they become a part of you and when they leave it feels like a piece of you is missing, but thankfully it doesn't end that way. Life does go on, you still see each other only you’re no longer living together, at least not at present. You never know with young adults they come and they go and then leave again you get used to it after awhile! Its part of life and you just get on with it. Right time to pop over for a coffee! I hope shes in :)


What to wear when you hit 40!

OK concerning this issue on how we should dress when we hit forty, this is what I have to say about the subject, Why do we suddenly have to change how we dress as soon as we hit forty, we're told not to wear short skirts, skinny jeans,and wear high necks, long skirts, and get rid of your long hair, get some highlights be prepared for old age, dress in box like dresses, basically be depressed your life is over , not when your thirty nine as thirty nine is your final year of youth no wonder some women go bonkers at this age and try so hard to look young when they don't even look old in the first place. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, women are not all the same, we have different personalities and goals in life, some of us are more fit then others, So why all the box like dresses!
I'm a forty seven year old single mum and I still wear skinny jeans but I'm aware of my body changing so I wear longer tops now because they suit me better, Its about your own personal style which you can have at any age, At our age we should be having fun with clothes as we have more experience with coordination and over the years a more understanding of what suits us, I have two beautiful daughters who often ask what I think about what their wearing as there still young and discovering what suits them and their personality. Personal style is something that can be developed and you can look great at any age without having to resort to dressing in a tent unless you like a tent,then no problem its none of any ones business, I do know lots of women who aren't that bothered and that's fine as long as your not conforming to something that depresses you. Another thing if you have developed your own personal style you will have realised that you don't have to spend that much on your wardrobe. So please don't conform to this idea that your life is over when you hit forty or should I say that your invisible once you hit forty, complete nonsense.
By Vivian

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Yesterday I went on a school trip to the seaside, Although It took nearly two hours to get there, and we only spent an hour and a half by the sea, it was well worth it! The children were so excited and although the journey was long they had fun chatting non stop, OK I admit on the way back two of the children were sick, but all in all it really was fun. Some parents felt disappointed that the trip was so far away and felt like it wasn't worth it, after all four hours traveling and only one hour to play, well I was there and they loved it. I think many schools get criticised for their trips unnecessarily, its a lot of hard work and the teachers don't complain when they return late, having worked longer hours, also I took note that the school organised the trip really well, it was actually the coach driver that had problems he seemed to be lost at one stage and took a good thirty minutes to find the parking place, that thirty minutes would have a made a big difference to play time! the parking area was was right in front of the seaside! how complicated was that I wondered! The teachers were patient knowing full well that they would get the blame for this delay, well I hope not. They were fantastic and so was the day!

By Vivian

Sunday, 4 July 2010

CyberMummy 2010 was an amazing experience

On the night before the CyberMummy conference I started to panic wondering what I was letting myself in for. My blog buddy Jane did her best to reassure me that I'd have a great time.
The moment I entered I was taken aback by the lively atmosphere, I looked around and saw what looked like lot's of mummies chatting, helping themselves to refreshments that were generously on display.
It was well organised with speakers from all walks of life,I was happy about that as I think blogging should be for all, not just for one exclusive group.
Not everyone was a mummy, there were some PRs, Sponsors, and even a few Daddy bloggers.
I enjoyed the talks and I especially enjoyed listening to the personal blogs written by some of the mummies present, I found myself laughing till the tears fell down my face. Some touching moments as well.
I also found it interesting to hear how important it is to be honest in your bloggs , I have a lot to say but I often feel like I should be careful about the content of my blogg , well that's about to change. Secondly I'm dyslexic which in many ways has discouraged me from writing, its as if I have so much going on inside my head but just simply don't have the language to express it, this can be very frustrating at times, but I know quite a few people who are dyslexic and I find myself telling them not to allow it to be a stumbling block in their lives I realise I must apply this to myself. Going to the cyberMummy conference really encouraged me to push myself a lot more. This I will do and I shall enjoy myself at the same time. Thank you CyberMummy : )

By Vivian

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A Summer Hoot - Silver Cross Days Out

A website that instantly gives you information on where to take the children to during the summer is something that I wish had been around when my daughter was little. It has some fabulous ideas and what makes it accessible is the fact that the attractions are categorised according to destination and type. Parents and guardians comments are welcomed on the site. Tell them about the attractions that are getting it just right, the places you visited that looked great in the advert but had you climbing five flights of stairs with a pushchair to get to them. Need an incentive? To celebrate the launch of the website there is a competition which closes on 31 July. All you have to do to win one of the five annual family passes for English Heritage as well as a choice of National Trust or National Trust for Scotland is to tell them about a venue that is not currently listed or write a review on a place you have visited. Get visiting and get writing.

Wish you were there?

Monday, 28 June 2010

Multi skilled children

The financial crisis has taught us that the concept of a skill for life does not translate into a job for life anymore. The scale of the crisis means that our children will be paying for the financial damage done when they reach adulthood. People under the age of 30 ought to be investing in a skills (plural) set that will equip them to meet the changing demands of the workplace environment. Companies are having to face fluid competition resulting from globalisation and the emerging economics of the world and will need a workforce that can adapt quickly, efficiently and easily. The educational establishments face a greater role than they ever did in teaching and imparting these skills to students. It has to be a joined up effort. Mothers have to take responsibility too especially in ensuring that youngsters have sufficient life skills to cope with the challenge of becoming multi-skilled. Traits such as being organised and being emotionally resillient enough to cope with a changing world can be taught at home to great effect.
That's part of the role of motherhood-to set our children up to face the challenges of the world.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Yikes-school sports day

will-you-be-doing-the-parents-race-at-sports-day.It has brought back ghastly memories of the first school sports day that I entered into. My daughter was in Reception year and a Mummy's race was held at the end of the children's events. I had been going to the gym three times a week and felt slim and fit. Hitching up my skirt I went for it when the starter gun was fired. My daughter was standing at the finishing line crying because...I came second to last! Oh yes, the family was humiliated and I have never run a Mummy race ever again. My daughter who is now 10 still remembers that day and makes me promise every year that I will not enter the race. It's an easy promise to make.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Mother's Skills-pass them on

Mothers have an enormous amount of 'transferable skills'. This is a buzz word regularly used in the work place to describe those skill sets that you accumulate which you can take onto another job. What a wonderful idea but it doesn't have to be confined to the workplace. All mothers can participate in this 'transferable skills' idea. I know of a mother who is teaching her 6 year old to touch type because she worked as a secretary before having children. Another mother who works as a Doctor has passed on the importance of empathy, to always listen to people and be considerate in their listening. You dont' have to be a working mother to have skills? Think of all the organisational skills that you need just to get through a day. You have to time manage yourself to get done whatever it is that you need to do to fit everything in. Children, I know, have no concept of time but the seeds of time management can be sown even if you say things like 'we have 10 minutes to get dressed before going to the park'.
Skills are on the political agenda in the lead up to the election. Skills in this sense is being used to discuss educational qualifications and manual/labour skills but the invisible skills such as organisation, being tidy and not doddering are just as important.
What skills have you passed onto your child that you are proud off?

CyberMummy Here We Come

We have finally set up a site that's easy to access and is user-friendly. After watching the rest of the mummy bloggers dip in and out of each other's blogs we realised that our www site wasn't the way to go. We look forward to reading your comments and sharing our thoughts with you.
School Dinners

Recently I was invited to a mother’s focus group to discuss the nutritional value of school dinners. I was willing to participate as the subject of healthy eating is one of my interests. So far I’ve had very few problems with school dinners, my nine year old son has a good appetite and enjoys just about anything on offer.

My only concern is that if he is still hungry after a school dinner he should have the option of seconds which is not always the case. I also like the fish meals to be fresh and am not so sure fish fingers are in that category; however the nutritional advisor present on that day did say the fish fingers were filled with fresh salmon.

I also suggested that as the children were mostly active during the day and using lots of energy it would be beneficial if they had a small health snack on the first break of the day and the last as this would keep their blood sugar at a good level.

We want our children healthy but also want them to be able to concentrate at school and focus properly on their work and to feel happy.

Some health foods are not filling such as veg and fruit, so this is the good reason why regular eating is a necessity. Junk foods such as chocolates, biscuits, cakes and crisps tend to be more filling but in the end lead to ill health and obesity if eaten in large quantities on a regular basis. What really annoys me is that many of these foods are a lot cheaper then the health ones and this is so discouraging for those on a low budget. I do think mothers can be very supportive over this issue as everyone I know always has something to say on the subject and lots of great ideas; I never tire of listening to them.

At the focus group many of the mothers voiced their concern on the lack of meals suitable for children with allergies. Some were unhappy for the children that could only eat halal meat, as the school did not provide this; the children were left with only vegetarian meals. There were others who suggested a budget rate for those with siblings in the school. The meeting carried on for a lot longer then planned whilst mothers complained and suggested more and more options.

I found this to be very interesting and learnt a lot but, at the same time, I could not help wondering if maybe we were a little ungrateful, with so many starving children in the world, and how grateful they would be to have our school dinners, I left the meeting feeling thankful that my children can have so much choice as they don’t just eat at the school, so what’s missing in the school I can provide at home. Although I still maintain the opinion that its wonderful schools are changing and monitoring our children’s menu