Monday, 8 August 2016

Big Kids Say the Funniest Things

In an attempt to drag my 13 year old away from You Tube, Hubby offered him the chance to earn a bit of extra pocket money sweeping the yard at work and giving the outside area a general tidy up one morning,this would not only get him away from a screen but would also solve the problem of child care for a couple of hours at least. As I tried to get him to wake up at 8AM, 3 hours before he had been getting up most mornings, I could see persuading him out of bed was not going to be easy. A mug of tea and regular 5 minute count downs were doing the trick but as I walked away from his room I heard him say, with feeling, "Why does money make you do things you don't want to?!"
I did laugh to myself but it is very true.
I was reminded of an incident a few months ago when number 2 son, aged 16, had had a few friends round and had been allowed a couple of beers. On hearing him throwing up in the toilet before he went to bed I raced upstairs to check on him. This was the first time beer had made him ill and funnily enough he swore it would be the last. (As if!) "Alcohol should not be legal!" he cried, again I smiled, even whilst rubbing his back, knowing that he may think that quite a few times before learning his limits, if ever.
As little ones they were forever saying funny things and my mum was always saying we should write them down as it wouldn't happen forever. We never did. But it seems that even as teenagers, they continue to amuse, even though they don't always mean to. EJ

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

I Can't Believe You're Not Bored!!

Well school holidays are here again already and I'm sure I speak for everyone who isn't a student or a teacher, when I say these things come round alarmingly quickly.
I've mentioned in previous posts that I used to enjoy the holidays when my boys were little but now that I have a 20, 17 and 13 year old I think I hate the holidays.
Numbers 1 & 2 are obviously old enough to do their own thing and this year are away on either holidays, work experience placements and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions for most of the summer. When they are home I find I am increasingly irritated by their need for food at ridiculous times and their inability to sleep when I need to, namely at night and not in the mornings.
The fact that they are not here however has highlighted how difficult it is to keep a 13 year old amused, not to mention how much we all miss them too.He is apparently too old and too cool to go anywhere with me and organised activities and clubs are a complete no no once you're past 11. The poor boy can't win though, as I'm either worried that he is out too long with his friends or equally worried and irritated if he stays in watching You Tube all day.
For the first time ever I have attempted to work in the mornings, leaving him to lay in and attempting to be back at around lunch time to supervise whatever activities he has up his sleeve, give lifts, hand out money etc but it seems he is more than happy to still be sitting in his PJs watching rubbish (in my opinion), TV.
I end up nagging him relentlessly, I can hear myself but I can't stop and I know that when school starts again in September I'll hate myself for it. But for now I'm pressing school trousers, checking PE kits and buying books off of recommended reading lists in preparation for business as usual in a few weeks time. Sad but true..EJ

Friday, 22 July 2016

Plastic Bags

I am a huge fan of on line supermarket shopping, anything that means I avoid fighting my way up and down those aisles has my vote but what is going on with the plastic bags?!
Obviously when you go to a store you are able to take your own bags (if you remember), and if not, you can buy some. I have a cupboard full of "Bags For Life" but I think that cutting back on plastic bags is a good thing.
With your on line shop however, there is not and I doubt will ever be, the ability to give your own bags to the driver to take to the store to pack for you, hence, the need to deliver in plastic bags.
Now, up until very recently my shopping was packed very efficiently in said bags and the driver always asked if I had the bags from the last shop to take back to recycle, perfect. Now I have the choice when I place my order to not have the shopping in bags at all or pay a 40p flat charge regardless of how many bags I use. I realise that I should opt for no bags for the sake of my children's children's children, but in the interests of time, I choose the bag option and if this had remained as it used to be I think all bases, time and planet saving were covered. However, I now get copious amounts of bags delivered, one, this time, containing just stamps!!! Whoever does the packing is no longer worried about the planet and the driver has to be asked to take the used bags back with him, so recycling is clearly no longer the flavour of the day.
I'll keep giving them back, though I'm not sure the drivers are best pleased...not as pleased as the people making the bags thats for sure.  Sorry Sainsburys, but I think this was a step backwards. EJ

Friday, 15 July 2016

What's for Dinner?

I have been asked this question at breakfast before now or at the latest as a hungry boy gets in from school or college. Hubby used to try and ask but I banned him, I think because it reminded me of a pleasant but socially challenged bloke that I worked with when I first left school. He would phone his mum ten minutes before he left work every evening and ask this very question.....ugh!
The thing is, that now I have a pescetarian, with a pescetarian girlfriend and a son not eating red meat, also with a pescetarian girlfriend, the answer to this question is a difficult one.
Number 3 pointed out last week that he, in fact, still likes red meat and misses the old days ( 2015), when he got Toad in the Hole, Spag Bol, with mince, not Quorn or a roast dinner. Oh the guilt.
Hubby had been pointing this out since February to be fair but I had tried to convince him and myself that avoiding red meat was healthy. Anyway, Tuesday saw sausage and mash back on the table but only 3 of us to eat it.
This got me thinking about the many things we stress over when our children are little, only to find them obsolete once they've grown. I prided myself on family meal times, all at the table, all eating the same food, none of this cooking 5 different dinners in my house... oh the irony! The same goes for bed time, the bath, story, sleep routine a well oiled machine for many years, only to be overtaken by teenagers who stay up longer than us. The meticulous teeth cleaning, forgotten at every sleepover. No sweets before meals, ignored as soon as they are able to go out without you. The list is probably endless. We can only hope that some of it got through and some of it did them good. Just wish I could of told that young mum of three little boys not to stress too much. I doubt she'd have listened, much like this older mum of three young men who should probably just cook what she wants for dinner.  EJ

Friday, 8 July 2016

Prom Season

I haven't officially got a prom this year. Number 2 had his Year 11 prom last year with Number 1 and the nieces a couple of years before that. I have friends who have had a Prom this month though and am sorry to say that the painful experience shows no signs of going away,so Number 3 will undoubtedly have one in a couple of years from now.
Before I'd actually lived through one I must admit to having been a bit envious that we didn't have them when I left school, my prom equivalent was a couple of bottles of cider in a friend's back garden, listening to Dire Straites, but hey, we thought it was fun.
However, having lived through them I'm quite glad we didn't have them and have to say that it is another one of those times when as a mum of boys I get off very lightly and very, very cheaply.
Both my boys went with hubby to chose a suit and were back home in what felt like minutes, kitted out with suits, shirts, ties and shoes....done. There was a haircut strategically booked the week before and that was it. The girls on the other hand seem to be having a practise "wedding", in fact, their weddings probably won't take as much planning. Dress, shoes, bag, make up, nails, hair, tan and so on and so forth. It costs a fortune and puts the girls and their families under such a lot of pressure. Then there is the business of how to get there and who with....it really is a social minefield.
I got the job of hosting the pre- prom gathering and taking my son and 5 of his friends to the event. This would have been a breeze had 2 of the friends not been girls. The pressure I felt to get these girls and their dresses to the Prom on time and in one piece was immense. I actually had night mares that the car door wouldn't open....Why would a car door not open?! Anyway, I got them there. But what really adds insult to injury is that they care almost as much, if not more, about the "After Prom Party", and need a second outfit for this. Then there's the dilemma about who goes where and who doesn't have an invite, the upset about which lingers on long into the A levels.....my God. Give me cider and Dire Straites any day of the week. EJ

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Mother Of The Driver

I am now the proud and oh so very concerned, owner of two drivers!
When Number 1 passed his test (3rd time lucky), it was clear that he was not that interested in driving and as the pass coincided with him going off to uni, we happily put off getting him a car until he was home for the summer.
Number 2 has been a very different kettle of fish, passing first time and making sure he was on the insurance 10 minutes later, to be honest, we haven't seen much of  him since.
They are supposed to be sharing a car as we don't feel it's worth taxing and insuring two of them but with Number 1 home for the summer , things are getting a little bit tricky. Number 1 is keen to stake his claim on the car, which in fairness, was bought for him but Number 2 is keen to be out and about on an almost 24 hour basis, offering lifts to his non driving friends and frantically cleaning and generally loving the car to bits.
I now miss the days when they couldn't get to places without me and find myself listening for sirens for up to thirty minutes after they leave. I hadn't realised how many good things I could find to say about public transport until trying to persuade my precious offspring not to taake the car.
Somewhat vindicated, Number 1 had a prang this week, no one was hurt and it really wasn't his fault, the driver pulled out on him and held her hands up immediately, ironically it was a learner driver whose instructor forgot she had dual control! Little does she know, she's done me a favour, as he now can't drive to London this weekend! Oh dear, he'll have to take the train! What a shame. Anyone else recognise this dilemma?  EJ

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Answer Your Phone!!

So, your 13 year old son goes out with his friends, plays football, chats, buys some lunch and is told that he has to be home by 5pm. At 5.15 you text him to ask where he is, no answer. You text again, no answer. You call and phone goes straight to voicemail. You know, that phone, that is permanently attached to the end of his arm!! The one he stares at for every unoccupied waking hour!!
 Getting increasingly worried, you text one of the friend's parents, to check if their son is home. He is. At 5.40 you get in the car and drive the route you think he will take home, you find him and he tells you his phone is out of charge! Apparently, no one knew the time, he was on his way home but it "wasn't his fault" that he couldn't let you know.
What would you do?
I explained that in the interest of safety he needs to be home on time and if he knew his phone was out of charge he should of made sure he got home sooner. He is, however, convinced that it couldn't be helped and he had no way of knowing the time.
I have taken the phone from him for the remainder of the evening as a "consequence" and have said that I will charge it and give it back tomorrow. I feel totally justified but he is very unhappy and clearly feels I am being unjust and unfair. You'd think I'd cut his arm off!
Further proof that mobile phones are a double edged sword. As a parent it's great, if and when, your kids answer straight away or are able to get you when they need you. The opposite is true, however, when this sort of thing occurs and panic sets in quicker than it would in the pre mobile years. (Remember them?!)
When you then take into account how much our children rely on their phones for their social lives the mobile phone becomes a poison chalice. What do you think? EJ

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Where is my Charger?

I know I'm not alone. The proof is there to see in the homes of many of my friends.....The mystery of the disappearing phone charger!!
I think it's fair to say that this a problem unique to the mums of this world, just look next time you pop round to a friend for a coffee or a chat and you'll see the charger, marked out in some way as belonging to MUM!!!
I've tried everything I can think of:
Writing my name in permanent marker.
Covering both plug and lead with pink stickers. (Pink has always been my first line of defence when protecting pens, pencils, binders, sports socks etc)
Hiding the damn thing in our bedroom.
Nothing works. Somehow, the one person who only takes her charger out of the house if she goes on holiday, is the person who manages to "lose" her charger! How?
The best yet was last week, as Number 1 went away for a few days and as he left, called over his shoulder, that my new charger would arrive tomorrow!
"But I don't need a new charger?!" I replied
Apparently I did, as mine had just left the building!
If anyone has found a way to hold on to their charger, without having their kids adopted, please let me know.  EJ

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Model Looks

Now it's not often I get a compliment off of number 3 these days, back handed or otherwise but I'm choosing to see this latest little giggle of his as one whatever he says.
As we drove away from the Chinese take away last night he decided to tell me that he and his friends had seen mannequins, in a shop window nearby, that they all agreed look like me!
"Really?" I replied, expecting some sort of joke about age or clothes.
"Yes" he replied, "They are all made of black plastic and they haven't got eyes or anything but they've got your sort of face and hair and shape."
This reminded me of a visit to a soft play area years ago, when my friend's son had lost us and found an employee who asked him what his mum looked like. "She's got hair and a face." he replied. Somehow, they managed to find my friend. Anyway, I digress.
Call me vain but I've been back to sneak a look at these mannequins, yes they are made of black plastic, which I am not and no, they don't have any features but as far as a mannequin goes they're not half bad.
 I've decided to take this as a compliment as it is certainly the closest I'm going to get to being told I look like a model! Thanks Number 3. EJ

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

School Holidays Are Here Again

Well it's been a good day "Clean Eating Alice", wise, actually had a breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe today which went down well with the three out of five members of the family that ate them. I'm missing two of my "Chicks", as Number 1 is staying with his lovely girlfriend in London for the week and since Number 2 passed his driving test a couple of weeks ago (oh the worry), I've hardly seen him.
I think I've mentioned before how hard I'm finding this emptying of the nest and it's so apparent during school holidays! It's such a strange feeling, knowing that they have to be independent, wanting them to be but wishing they still realised they needed you, just a bit.
Number 3 is at that horrible in between age, coming up for 13, thinking he knows everything but in fact, knowing very little and finding everything about me totally un-cool.
 I still habitually make sure I am around as much as possible during the school holidays but find I am, for the most part, redundant. I actually feel like the mother birds nesting in my garden, on hand to feed the noisy chicks but not really achieving much else.
 That's not fair really, she does teach them to fly of course, which, in my own way, I hope I am doing too.  Really wish I'd had a Number 4, but of course I would only be writing exactly the same thing in a couple of years time wouldn't I?
Of course, there are plus sides to all of this....more time with the hubby, more time for hobbies and friends and the ability to get to know your boys as young men and hopefully find that you like them as much as you love them. It's not all bad, but a pause button would be nice at times. EJ

Monday, 30 May 2016

More Wine anyone?

Like many others my age, if my own friendship group and national statistics are anything to go by, I like a drink. I don't believe I have a problem, I don't drink at all in the week but come the weekend I do enjoy a few too many glasses of wine.
Hangovers are definitely getting worse though, leaving me feeling absolutely dreadful all day, sometimes unable to get out of bed until mid afternoon and once I am up, I have no energy at all! Hubby says, often, that if alcohol made him feel like that, he wouldn't drink, but it doesn't make him feel like that, so he can enjoy as many drinks as he likes in the knowledge that he will be absolutely fine when he wakes up the next day.
There is a lot of press coverage about alcohol limits and middle aged drinking at the moment and just this week we watched a programme that suggested taking Star flower Oil before an evening out could limit the effects of a hangover. Well, it didn't work.
Not only did I have a terrible hangover, I also awoke with the terrible guilt of an alcohol fuelled political discussion, which had ended with a lovely friend of mine in tears!!!!
Now before you go thinking I'm a monster, I must stress that said friend would not have cried had she not had too much to drink too and she has assured me that she did not take my comments personally, however, I do feel like said monster and that's a horrible feeling.
So, I'm vowing to not drink again (again) and hope this time I can stick to it but lets be honest (those of you that like a drink), its so boring being sociable with a diet coke!!!! Know what I mean? EJ

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Home From University


So, we picked Number 1 up from Uni today after having spent a lovely day yesterday, sight seeing, shopping,eating and drinking.
 Sorry, Clean Eating Alice, I'm afraid I've strayed a bit this weekend!
We loaded him and the contents of his room and kitchen cupboard into the car and marvelled at how quickly these 2 years have gone. Scary to think that this time next year he'll be finished and looking to go out into the big bad world, armed, hopefully, with an excellent degree and a ton of happy memories. The problem is that he'll also be armed with a huge £27,000+ debt too and we can't be the only parents amazed at how little time our offspring actually spend in front of a tutor/professor/lecturer/anyone!
Then there's the fact that nothing else is included in that £9k per year, everything else costs extra money, gym membership, football training even tickets for end of year celebrations!
Landlords are making a pretty penny out of our kids too. Do the maths. 6 people sharing a very mediocre house for what amounts to 9 months of the year, pay approximately £450 each per month for 12 months. That's approximately £32k a year paid to the landlord !!!!
Parents and students alike should be protesting far louder than we are, especially when government think tanks want to know why kids from poorer backgrounds are choosing not to go to university and they're employing more think tanks to find out why???!!! Madness!
 It's daylight robbery... which coincidentally, I learnt on the historic boat trip we did whilst sight seeing yesterday, was a term coined during the days of window taxes.
 Well at least I've learnt something for my son's £27k!!!!!!!  EJ

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Exam Stress

It's that time of year again, when parents across the country open every conversation with a question about, "How are they doing?"
This is my 5th consecutive year of exam "stress", next year will be the 6th, then I have a year off before having another 3, possibly more if Number 2 and 3 follow Number 1 to university!!
All told, I should be an expert on the whole stressful process, especially if I draw on my own experience from the dim and distant past too.
Thing is.....I'm so not!
You see, I have boys (I may have mentioned that before) and rightly or wrongly, in the main, they don't really stress, not about education anyway.
 I realise that is a sweeping statement and that some boys obviously do worry a lot, but speaking to most of my mum friends over the years and definitely the experience in our home, suggests that when it comes to exams, us mothers of sons get off lightly.
If I'm honest, I'd actually like a bit more stress about the whole thing, at least then I'd have some proof that they were taking it seriously and I could also join in with my "Mums of girls" friends, talking about "coping strategies", melt-downs and trauma.
 The only melt downs and trauma in my home over May and June are mine.
 I'm constantly checking the exam time table, scheduling revision and feeding the boys up before they set off , no matter how early a start they have. I kid myself that this is why they do OK but really I know, they do OK in spite of me, not because of me.
 As mums we can't help ourselves can we?
 We want the best for our kids, its only natural but having been round the block with this a few times I'm beginning to doubt that arm loads of GCSEs and A Levels are what is best. (And don't get me started on Uni fees)!!!!!
Best is what makes our kids happy, healthy, well rounded individuals and for many of us that isn't found or achieved in accademia. Social skills, personality and integrity are far more important skills than an A*. We'd all do well to remember that and I will try my hardest to practise what I preach! Promise.EJ

Is Anybody Out There?


Obviously I can see from the distinct lack of followers and or comments that no one is actually reading this blog. I'm telling myself I don't care as I really enjoy writing it but it would be nice if someone saw it.
Number 2 son suggested following other like minded bloggers, of which there must be loads but they all look so glitzy and professional in comparison, that I'm embarrassed to draw attention to myself. I haven't got a product to sell or a company to launch, just little old me and my observations. Of course it doesn't help that I am a complete" technophobe", as I mentioned before, and have no idea how to promote this or make it look any more interesting. Oh dear, never mind, I'll crack on, and if anyone does actually see this, I'll be chuffed to hear from you.
Am continuing to use "Clean Eating Alice" recipes to feed the family, mixed reactions but in the main it's going down well. Number 3 son isn't impressed but has informed me that he "doesn't like change" and hubby is on board but asks that we have "Fish Fingers, Chips and Beans" as a treat every now and again. Honestly....why do I bother?
 Oh  yes, because it's good for them!
 Number 2 is a fitness fanatic at the moment so he is very enthusiastic about clean eating and Number 1 comes home from Uni this week, a relatively new pescatarian (Code name "Nuisance"), there are lots of fish dishes to try, so hopefully he'll be happy too. And I haven't had a glass of wine for 2 weeks! That could all change this weekend though. I'll let you know. EJ

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Feeling Broody?!


I know. I'm far too old to have another baby but just sometimes I really, really miss the weight of a tiny baby in my arms, little head on my shoulder, the warmth, the smell, the feel of a tiny hand curling round my finger and looking into those loving, trusting little eyes. Sorry, I'm getting sentimental but with three teenage sons you have to remember how lovely they used to be. They're still lovely, but you know what I mean.
Nothing makes you more aware of your age and the fact that you are no longer able to re- produce, than sitting waiting for a Gynea scan, which just happens to be done in the same place as the pregnancy scans, surrounded by expectant young and youngish mums. Some looking really excited, others not so much but all waiting with full bladders, to see an image of their baby on the screen. Wow, that was so amazing and ironically even more so, when fast forward what seems like a very few short years and you're in the same place, same cold gel on your tummy, same sounds, same uniforms but this time no blurry picture of a little person you can't wait to meet but the news as to whether or not your reproductive bits are going to be taken out!
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back to sleepless nights, toddler group, potty training etc etc, I'd just like to still be young enough to have the choice, know what I mean? EJ

Friday, 20 May 2016

Clean Eating Alice


Along with many others, I received my pre- ordered "Clean Eating Alice" recipe and exercise book by Alice Liveing yesterday.
I like to think that I feed the family a well balanced, healthy diet and I try to exercise regularly but recent food scares have made me more aware of what we are eating and the effect it has on our bodies and well being.
As a Macmillan volunteer I obviously meet and speak to a lot of people suffering from or recovering from cancer and until the day when a cure or cause for this awful disease is found, I personally think it makes sense to think about what we are eating. I for one would love to have more energy and really like the fact that this book is not a diet book but a book about nourishing our bodies with tasty, healthy meals. Today I have tried the Portobello Mushrooms with Goat's cheese and the Super Simple Prawn Curry and have to say they were really easy to make and tasted great.
 I'm not sure how strictly I'll be able to stick to clean eating as it would seem that neither alcohol or chocolate figure very highly in Alice's day to day life but I'll let you know how I get on.
Thanks Alice. EJ

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Shoes and Knickers.


What is happening?
I can see no obvious reason as to why two very necessary and previously easy to find wardrobe staples have become so hard to buy!
It happened with Jeans a couple of years ago. Suddenly the cut wasn't quite right and I really had to shop around for a style to suit, what I suppose, is a changing body shape!!
In some respects Jeans were easy as it seems quite common and perfectly acceptable to need a different cut of denim to the one we wore in our 20s, I mean there is actually a brand called "Not Your Daughter's Jeans", or something like that anyway and Lorraine Kelly has definitely addressed the problem over breakfast before now.The problem is though, to date, I have not seen anything that refers to itself as, "Not Your Daughter's Knickers or Shoes". I would say there is a big gap in the market as there is quite a jump from 6" heels and thongs to sensible flats and big drawers......What about those of us caught half way between the two, still perfectly happy in the former for a night out and secretly hankering after the latter by the end of the day, there are, however, a lot of hours where I am finding the choices of foot and underwear severely lacking!!!! Am I alone?? EJ

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Am I being Paranoid?


Has this ever happened to you?
I wanted to use the station cashpoint machine and happily noticed there was just one lady using it. As she finished she asked for directions to a taxi rank and I moved forward to make my transaction...so far, so normal.
As I start a smartly dressed gentleman appears at my shoulder, a little too close for comfort and talks to me about cancelled trains and disrupted journey times, nineteen to the dozen.
I was very aware that he could see what I was doing but I had already started to enter my PIN as he started talking. I took a minimal amount, didn't get an on screen balance but continued to listen as he told me he was now getting money out for a cab.
I glanced back as I walked away....he didn't get a cab.
Convinced that I had been scammed in some way, I hot footed it home to call the bank and block my card.
The lady on the other end of the phone was very helpful, cancelled the card and confirmed that the only transaction made was my own.
"You know, he might have just been a very friendly man." she said.
 And of course she might be right and I'm left feeling torn between wanting to have been wrong but wanting to be proved right.
Sorry smartly dressed man!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Beautiful Faces

Today I had the privilege to observe a "Look Good Feel Better" workshop for ladies living with or recovering from cancer. In my capacity as a Macmillan Volunteer, I recommend this to patients that I speak to and have had some really positive feedback about the experience. Today I learnt why.
This world wide cancer support charity runs free skincare and make up workshops with products donated by some of the biggest brand names and most importantly, is run by ladies volunteering their time and expertise to help other ladies when they need it most. Wearing make up and indeed applying it, can have huge therapeutic and psychological benefits even when we are well, these benefits are immeasurable for a lady coping with, what can be, demoralising and upsetting side effects of cancer treatments.
This afternoon I watched a dozen ladies enter a room, understandably, nervous and unsure  leave, 2 short hours later, rejuvenated and confident, thanks to  a dozen or more beauty therapists of all ages who gladly gave their time and advice to them, gently and calmly. They were beautiful when they arrived but when they left they were even more so and not just because of make up but because they had been given permission to be themselves again and not just a cancer patient. It was a very humbling and uplifting experience and one that made me realise that we should all be very proud of what we see in the mirror regardless of what we think we look like. True beauty really does come from within. EJ.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Are You Collecting School Vouchers?

For almost as long as I've been old enough to do my own food shopping, supermarkets have been giving out vouchers to be used by schools for various equipment. Back in the day, before I was married with kids, I remember being quite put out by cashiers asking me if I was collecting them. I would politely decline, whilst inwardly seething that they should think I was old enough to have school age children. I also remember wondering why the person behind me was always so keen to have mine if I didn't want them.....fast forward a few years and I was that person, eagerly collecting vouchers at different points in the year, counting them out and happily handing them in to the school. Oh the poor secretary.....no wonder she didn't look as pleased to receive them as I did to give them!
The thing is, I've started to notice that I don't always get asked if I want them anymore.
 I  wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been fiddling with another Bag For Life and happen to overhear the cashier offer vouchers to the lady behind me!
Now, I know I don't look too young to have children but I'm hoping I don't look too old either! I suppose, at least, I don't look old enough to have school age grandchildren!!!
I now have another reason to love on line grocery shopping.....the nice delivery man always gives me school vouchers, admittedly they are stapled to my receipt before he gets here but even so....one less thing to worry about....mind you, he's never asked for ID before leaving me with wine or Ibuprofen either!! Oh well! EJ

Saturday, 23 April 2016

I'm seeing my Mates!

So, it's official, we no longer have any children to take to the cinema with us!
I was looking forward to seeing Jungle Book tomorrow, perhaps having some lunch out before or after but no......our youngest is "seeing his mates!"
As a mum of sporty,out doorsy boys the cinema was one of the things I could share and enjoy with them. When they were all younger I don't think there was an age appropriate new release we didn't see. We started them young, sitting on those plastic booster seats and explaining the importance of being quiet and not kicking the back of the chair in front.
 How I've loved  Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine,The Toy Story trilogy, Up, Harry Potter, Ice Age,The Minions, oh the list is endless......exorbitantly expensive popcorn, drinks and chocolate. Trips to the loo once sometimes twice during the film, tip toeing and crouching down so as not to disturb others.
Over the years we've progressed to James Bond, Star Wars and The Hunger Games but at least we did it together. I am bereft and quite concerned about how I will see "Finding Dorie", the new Finding Nemo film.....I think my husband and I will look a little sad going without any kids...... perhaps our boy will let us sit behind him and "his mates"!EJ


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Technophopia

You can probably tell from the absence of anything other than words on this blog that computers are not really my thing! In fact, technology as a whole, completely bemuses me. There is only one TV in the house that I can watch if I'm home alone as I've never worked out which button or remote control works the other one and quite frankly I can't be bothered.
I miss the days when there was one remote, 3 or 4 channels and videoing was the height of modernity, don't you? How simple home entertainment was. How bored would our kids be now? With so many screens, computers and phones to choose from, they are constantly watching, listening, playing and just keeping up with friends, often all at the same time. Its exhausting! It is also very hard as a" technophobe" to police what your children are seeing on line. My policing involves creeping up behind them and watching over their shoulder, or listening at doors, basic, but so far its working!
Of course they have the perfect excuse to be on them all the time, as most homework involves using a computer, work gets submitted on line, research is done on the Internet and teachers recommend different sites for different subjects. How can you take a lap top away when homework still has to be done? How I miss pens and paper!
This afternoon I spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone waiting for a teacher to find a test result for my son. Her computer had crashed and until she could get it to restart she had no other way of getting the result. "I wish I had it written down!" she said. Indeed....much quicker all round. EJ

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

What Did You Do Today?

Every Mum, Dad or Carer asks this question of their primary school child when they start school and in most cases will carry on asking until they leave full time education and yes, I mean University too! Sometimes we're advised not to ask, for fear of making our children anxious about what they should be doing or what answer we expect, but, in fairness, it's very hard not to worry when your little one says they've done "Nothing" for 6 hours.
Sometimes it's a sinister question, those of you who have been listening to "The Archers", will know what I mean.
 Mostly, however, it's totally innocent, a conversation opener or a genuine interest taken. That is unless you're a "Full Time Mum" or nearly "Full Time Mum" of teenagers. Then it feels like a loaded question! All is fine if you can answer that you've been working all day, it seems that anything involving food shopping, ironing your teenager's clothes or trying to clean and tidy their room are also acceptable chores to undertake while they are busy learning. But, woe betide you if you have dared to go to the gym, had lunch with a friend or indeed have anything more than a half hour slot unaccounted for.
To be fair, mine have never actually voiced anything negative but there is a look they give, a sort of, "Nice work if you can get it", or,"It's OK for some", type of look.
I know this comes from years of paranoia on my part, having given up a career (hanging fast and loose with that term), in the city, to stay home and bring up our" babies". I learnt early on that no one, other than fellow stay home mothers, had any respect for the "job", the least impressed being men at dinner parties or, worse still, working mums!!
 "Lucky You", I hear you say, and yes, I have been incredibly lucky. Not everyone can do this I know and some choose not to even if they can ( I'll rant about them another day!), but if you can stay at home with them I'd urge anyone to do so. They grow up so fast and you can't get those years back. Since mine have been  at school I've worked with my husband, helping to build his business and used spare time to volunteer in various roles. So, lucky yes but lazy,no....... Honestly I'm not.
 But try convincing a hungry teen, just in from a day at school or college if you dare to mention that you grabbed a coffee with a friend this afternoon! What did you do today?!! EJ

Monday, 18 April 2016

Hello!

Hello out there.
I have to be honest, I'm 48 years old and I've never read a blog before, let alone try to write one, so in other words, I apologise if I get it all wrong. Its just that stuff happens on an almost daily basis that I think I'd like to sound off to you about, sometimes it's stuff that makes me smile sometimes it's stuff that really, really doesn't. I'm just finding this stage of life a bit confusing and I'm sure plenty of you must be too. The kids are growing up and away so fast, even the youngest  picks and chooses when he'll be seen in public with us ,yet he's not old enough to be left over night if his older siblings aren't around. With no school run to do, no PTA or helping in the classroom ( no, I don't want to help in the secondary school....and funnily enough the kids don't want me to either), I feel a bit redundant. Your own parents and parents in law start to get older, every teacher, doctor, policeman etc looks about 12 and to add insult to injury you start getting hot flushes!! All this, when in your head you're still about 30 and could easily wear the outfits that Amanda Holden wears on Britain's Got Talent.
And today..... I got called "Love" in the supermarket!!!"Love?!"
Now don't get me wrong I often resort to calling people "Darling" when I can't remember a name, they may not like it but I think it sounds friendly, in an Eastend Barmaid sort of way, and I've been both, an Eastender and a Barmaid, so I think I can get away with it. But "Love" is for old people...And I was wearing my gym kit, so the boy should of given me points for trying if nothing else. "First World Problems", I know, but like I said, I just want to sound off. Thanks for listening.
EJ