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