Cold hard cash to quit the fags

So should we be bunging pregnant women some vouchers to stop them smoking? I say ‘we’ as the presumption is that this money will be from tax payers – but before you think I’m heading full throttle into a Dail Mail rant, let me say that yes, perhaps we should.

It’s all very easy for those of us who don’t smoke to espouse our outrage that anyone would need, what amounts to a cash, incentive to give up. Pregnant women should give up.

Of course they should, just as alcoholics should quit and heroin addicts should stop jacking up. But it’s not black and white. It’s a fag ash shade of grey – if it weren’t no one would continue with an addiction. We’d all be smuggy smugsville from smuggyland.

Smokers aren’t idiots per se, it’s a choice then an addiction. You’d hope they had the strength to stop because it’s revolting and dangerous for your baby but the sad fact is many don’t.

Our wonderful outrage isn’t going to change that but if the thought of cold cash does then absolutely we should do it. It’s not going to suddenly be the only weapon in the NHS’s armour – it’s just another approach. And if your cigarettes are a crutch you use because you’re knackered, alone and skint then perhaps the vouchers might just tip the scales in the favour of giving up.

We all know education should be at the heart of helping people give up or never start but this is ignoring a whole band of hardcore smokers who, maybe through social reasons, maybe because they like doing it, need something to turn their heads.

Sometimes relying on a moral compass is not enough. Be outraged they smoke when pregnant. Be annoyed we have to pay for it but that doesn’t make it wrong and if it does work then maybe we’ve found a way of getting to those mums and improving the health of those babies they’re growing.

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Keeping safe on the roads

A couple of weeks ago we took our car in to get a bearing fixed. Little did we know we’d be walking out with four new tyres! All our tyres had a lot of wear and two were below the legal limit. It’s scary to say the least. We drive round in these big old metal boxes and sometimes it’s so easy to forget what’s at stake.

The mechanic was a lovely guy but said the tread on tyres has a huge impact on stopping distance, ability to drive in icy conditions and loads of other heart stopping stuff. We know this, of course we do. But I don’t about you, I’m so focussed on car seats and seat belts that I sometimes forget about the actual mechanics of keeping us safe. I’m keeping a few names and numbers handy, I guess they are as important as my dentist or my massage therapist! One of the leading tyre networks is Point S! They have a presence across the country from down south to Point S Leeds.

We do so much in the car as a family, holidays, camping, days out and the one place I really need to feel safe in in there. You can’t do anything about other drivers but you can make sure everything on your car in in tip top condition.

Last year I spend hours cruising the Internet looking for the right car seat – it’s hugely important but if there’s something I can do to stop us getting into an accident in the first place then that’s exactly what I’m going to do.we all go to places like Halfords for car seat fitting so why not pencil in a service or get them to check your tyres, while you’re there.

MOTs lull us into a false sense of security, it’s once a year – a lot can can happen in 12 month. So if there’s one thing I’m adding to my New Year’s resolutions this year it’s to think outside the box – big metal box I get in and drive around with my baby in the back. I’m going to get my tyres checked every six months – why wouldn’t I?

Post- Christmas Slimming World update

It’s been two weeks since I skulked back into Slimming World wearing very little – anticipating the heave of the scales as I huffed my post – Christmas body on board.

“Two and a half on” said Jean – who’s newly trained on all things weighing following a complaint to head office about the lack of expertise in our little Saturday morning group. Apparently one old age pensioner who’d attempted to join had been unable to buy the SW highfi bars as no one was on ‘shop’ duty, plus his weight had been written down incorrectly.

Quite frankly the bit that stayed with me was it was a little old man who’d emailed SW head office – it was a little cloud of comedy and while others were scowling at this outrageous accusation, I was having a little chuckle to myself.

Anyway, back to the two-and-a-half poundage.

“Well done”, said Jean. I could tell from the sparkle in her eyes that every gain she registered today made her own horrendous Christmas pudge a little easier to bear. I know this because during holy communion ( group discussion) she said she was going on a refresher course following a slight gain. For this I read HQ had ordered her to explain her bulging waistline and no doubt force a six week boot camp under threat of having her SW posters torn down from all lamp posts.

I was quite chuffed with my gain.Curly Wurly hidden in jumpers woman put on five pounds and one, it has to be said humongous lady gained nine. I fear I may have clapped in the wrong place when this was revealed because. Well because that’s just bloody impressive! The woman who stopped taking her depression medication has not been seen for weeks – I suspect she may be under a duvet with a large bar of Dairy Milk preparing poison pen letters to Jean using cut outs from this month’s SW magazine.

So here I am, I’ve lost that weight plus another three and I’m on a roll. I just have to make sure it’s not a sausage one.

Bunny Jump review

This week it’s mostly been about Christmas films and games in our house. So when we were asked to try out Universal Games’ Bunny Jump gam it seemed a perfect addition to our Christmas countdown. It’s proved a big hit with boys big and small! The premise is a bit of a take on the old classic, Kerplunk.

A little bunny resides over his fields of carrots and you are each given a basket. The idea is to keep your nerve and remove the carrots for the field, until the bunny jumps. Each player spins for a go and to see how many carrots you need to remove from the field.
Arthur loved trying to catch the bunny when he jumped up – it did mean some of the rules of fame were lost amid the excitement but hey ho, we had fun!

Although aimed at 5+, it was very easy to play with a three a dabble year old and it held his interest. He loved the idea and once he’s seen it jump up he was hooked! It has that element of surprise which even managed to keep me and Jonathan occupied for a few games too.

Easy to assemble and quick to get up and running it’s a great addition to our family games and one we’ll definitely be getting out over the Christmas holidays.

It’s that time again – gym mats at the ready!

So, it’s January 1. The television has turned from warm scenes of festive treats to a berating barrage of Activa yoghurt and that Flora stuff that lowers your cholesterol. Oh how it laughs at our pudgy self- induced slumber, knowing at a flick of an adman’s switch,it’s all yoga mats and gym memberships.

Enough of my anthropomorphic relationship with the TV. I was planning to write my New Year’s resolutions but I can’t really be bothered. I know what I want to do but I’m not quite ready to let you all know. So, in a shameful fit of laziness here’s what I wrote this time last year…the disclaimer still stands.

NEW YEAR…here we go again.

So it’s over. The tree is down in some kind of symbolic needle-fuelled end to the festivities. My bank balance is a quivering wreck and my thighs are hoping for a speedy detox before the increased chaffing causes a small bush fire.

Now it’s time to get through January and yes, yes, there are brisk walks and ooh, everyone loves it when it’s sunny and frosty and bright but it sucks. It’s the motel month to November and December’s sumptuous 5star hotel. It’s ages until anything good happens and February is just as awful. Toddlers and bad weather is another reason to want to run into the arms of Spring. Already this week Arthur has rolled in dog pooh- not directly January’s fault but still.

Plus all he wants to do is go outside and splash in puddles and mud. According to many a Pinterest board this is fabulous but the reality is shed loads of washing you can’t get dry anywhere and constantly having to wear your ‘big’ coat and being on the look out for mud relating incidents.

So while I’m in such good spirits here are my New Year’s resolutions:

1 Sleep as much as possible through January – if it’s good enough for tortoises and all that.
2 Invent a mystery illness that prevents my going outside
3 Increase the level of guilt I place upon Arthur’s dad to take up the mantel and do stuff outside.
4 Buy unashamedly large pants in which to tuck Christmas until Spring when I regain motivation
5 When someone asks what I’m doing this weekend I want to have the courage to say: Nothing, I’m desperately sad it’s January and will be inside until it passes.

*Please note this post is in association with a tongue firmly placed in my cheek.