Smoking in the car with children – should we legislate parenting?

So smoking in the car with children – it’s a no brainer right? Clearly we can’t have it, it’s not acceptable and anyone who does it should be subject to the criminal law.

Part of me can’t even believe there’s a debate about this subject. But the other part of me, the part that sits back and takes a moment, thinks that maybe those in disagreement have a point. It’s another debate which highlights how important it is that legislation is not born out of emotion.

Smoking in a car with children is hideous and those with an ounce of common sense know this. There is, however, an argument that when the state interferes to this extent we are taking parenting out of the realms of the home and handing squarely back to those in Whitehall. The idea of a Nanny State is nothing new it’s a concept bandied about for years but debates like this bring it to the forefront.

Most parents don’t smoke in the car but most is not all. Those children who fall outside this need protecting and yes, perhaps the parents need shaming into it. Now that using a mobile phone in the car is illegal I feel myself staring in outrage at fellow drivers who flout this – but do they really care?

Would those parents who feel smoking in the car is ok really care if they may, on the off chance, get stopped by the police. Sadly I don’t think so. Legislation does not a good parent make. Education is far more powerful and wide reaching without taking the emphasis away from the parents and handing it to Dave and his pals.

If I saw a mum or dad smoking in the car with their children it would make me feel hideously upset, it would hit at the heart of what we do as parents – to protect. But that, in a nutshell is an emotional response, my reaction is not the marker for legality. Are we going make it illegal to feed your children junk food? How about not holding hands when near a busy road?

I think, on balance, making it illegal is a good thing but I also think it’s a tightrope that’s getting ever so slightly more precarious the further we walk.  Education, education, education – to spout a somewhat forgotten political mantra – has to have many more far-reaching benefits than making parents criminals who will further resent the state and any intervention.

To those stupid parent I say: “Don’t smoke when your children are in the car – it’s crazy.” But I don’t suppose they will give a flying fuck. If you do this to your children it’s probably not the only area of parenting you’re struggling with and that’s the issue. Legislation puts a sticky plaster over this but education will help us address the why.

Cancer, family and what matters most

Over the past few weeks we’ve been dealing with a horrible illness.

Cancer has kicked it’s way through our door and laid on the sofa like an angry squatter – relentless in it’s mission and without thought or care for those living there.

Jonathan’s mum had throat cancer several years ago and sadly it came back. She’s had major surgery. Amazing surgery to be honest, they used an artery from her arm and tissue from the arm to rebuild her throat and create a clean blood supply. They did other stuff too which sounds hideous and painful and so intrusive it takes your breath away.

But it was all to help her live. She’s been in hospital six weeks, unable to eat or even do the most mundane of things and enjoy a cup of tea. She’s going home today and it’s a relief for everyone. She’s far from better and there are months of uncertainty ahead but it’s one hell of a step forward considering the severity of her illness.

I have wanted to say how brave and amazing my boy had been (the big one). Despite little or no support from other areas of his family, he has been determined to see his mum everyday and do all he can.  I’m so proud of him and it’s been painful to watch the heavy load on his shoulders as he battled on day in day out to try to hold things together. I haven’t told him because I don’t want him to lose the plot and breakdown because I know that would be awful for him.

His is a fractured family, torn apart through the years by actions, emotions and a mixture of weakness and stubbornness. These few weeks have only served to confirm what we all know. Family is precious, there is nothing more than it and its whole is certainly greater than the sum of it’s parts.

A wall without cement is just a pile of bricks.

Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring

Normally I hear my friends moaning about their partners and how they keep them awake snoring.

Well, confession time. In my house it’s me who keeps everyone awake. I know it’s been a bad night when I see his groggy-eyed looks of disgust in the morning.

I know if I sleep on my back I snore like a trooper – so much so that I can sometimes wake myself up. I blame my dad, I’m sure it’s genetic! For the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring. It’s a small ring you wear on your little finger when you go to bed. It works on the principles of acupressure on two points of your finger.

 I will admit I was sceptical. How can a ring actually help me stop snoring when someone elbowing me and holding my nose literally has no effect? I’ve been hugely surprised. It’s so simple, you just choose your ring size online and it arrived in a little pouch all ready for you to drift off in to a somewhat more silent night’s sleep.

Night one: Me: “So did it work? Did I snore last night?” Him: “ Not sure, ask me again tomorrow.” This was a good sign that continued through the next few days.

After a week. Me: “So, do you think the ring is helping me to stop snoring?” Him “Umm, yes, I’ve been sleeping through so it must be”.

Finally last week. Me: “I might stop wearing the ring to see if it’s working. Him: “No! Don’t! I’ve realised you’re not snoring”.

He did qualify it by saying when he comes to bed he can hear a light snore but in his own words “nothing I can’t deal with”. ’ I’ve tried loads of sprays and mouth things before but nothing ever made a difference and I’ve always steered clear of things like this thinking logically they can’t work.   

 It’s discreet, easy to wear and now just forms part of my night time routine. Shower, teeth, ring – it’s that easy. On a serious note, snoring can be awful for those kept awake and I’m so pleased to have found something that, so far, makes night times a little easier for everyone. When you buy you also get a 30-day money back guarantee which shows just how confident they are it will work.

Easter Shenanigans

It was very hard getting up and back into the swing of work this morning – we over slept and I think it was partly due to the fact I was refusing to believe the Easter weekend was finally over.

Why is it when you’re staring at a long weekend from the right end it feels like a huge expanse of time with days sprawling out in front of you. You plan activities, time with family, visits to the coast and crazy plans to cook up 15 different dishes you’ve never had time to attempt before (perhaps that’s just me). Once it’s started you’re so busy doing stuff that you suddenly look up and it’s over.

On Friday Arthur and I did made some dubious looking hand puppets, I’ve never been great with arts and crafts and I fear the little man has inherited my ‘crap at art’ gene. We both spent a lot of time looking at each other confused and a little bemused about what it was we’d actually created.
Jonathan looked at the mutant rabbit for a while and said: “Oh it’s a fun Easter thing!” Yes people we had created an ‘Easter thing’. To be fair it’s probably the best description and far less insulting to the endless stream of beautiful bunnies and chicks our friends have created. But we didn’t care!

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Next up was cake and bird’s nest baking – much better! I make a mean cake and this was a chocolate and banana creation topped with mini eggs and surrounded by Shredded Wheat nests. I do wonder, however, who these people are, the ones who have serene and wonderful baking experiences with their children where they work as a team and giggle and laugh while a touch of flour adorns their noses.
Ours was a battle of wits, would I be able to reach the spatula before he’d consumed the
full bowl of raw egg and margarine – he won. Next he had a small melt down when I refused to let him eat all the melted chocolate. Mind you it did take every ounce of willpower I had too so fair play – he’s only two! Giving him his own bowl with a small amount of ingredients was my next master plan. It worked for about two minutes until he tipped it on the work surface. I stopped to clear it up only for him to whip my bowl away and snuffle half the mixture – he’s a cunning fox my boy.

Eventually we emerged triumphant and glowing (though that may have been the egg yolk drying in our hair).

Arthur’s always so keen to see his cousins Florence and Jimmy so an Easter egg hunt at my mum and dad’s on Saturday was perfect. My dad had created a treasure hunt style event with clues and special Easter bags – it really was lovely. I get such a kick out of seeing them all together and even little Jimmy was able to join in a bit – he’s walking now so will soon be right in there. I love my dad – I know that’s a pretty standard statement but I really do. I never say it but he’s just amazing and no one can ever make me feel better than him. I love watching him with his grandchildren – he’s the rock in our family.
Mum – you rock too, more than you know, but it’s dad’s turn this week!

Arthur and Florence hunting for eggs

Arthur and Florence hunting for eggs

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Arthur is just starting to play with other children rather than that thing they do of playing side by side. It’s lovely to see and I can’t wait to watch this new skill grow.

On Sunday we all trundled over to my uncle in Suffolk – another great day catching up and increasing my warm family glow. Sunday really made me realise how important these days are. Moments when all the generations sit together, memories shared and created in the same moment. We realised it would have been my Grandpop Seppy’s 100th birthday this year. Arthur will never know him or my amazing Grandma who broke new ground and made decisions for her family for which I’ll be eternally grateful – maybe I’ll tell her story on here soon. Days like Sunday keep them alive and will mean Arthur knows the family I know and love and the stories that frame our world.

On Monday me, the boy and Jonathan heading off to the coast and it was utterly beautiful. Just simple and easy and Arthur loved it splashing in the tidal puddles and falling over in the sand. We had proper fish and chips and soaked up the last of the Bank Holiday loveliness.

My boy at the beach

My boy at the beach

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So it’s Wednesday now and I’m still a little sad but I’ve refilled the bank of fun and memory building for a while. Lots of people played a role in our wonderful weekend, mums, dads, grannies, nannas, grandpas, papas, cousins, brother – I could go on. This weekend reminded me that bringing up a family is so much more than just the people you live with. It’s the people who weave through our memories, cook our favourite meal because they’ve known you since you were born; tell stories, love you and your children unquestioningly. Thank you to everyone – it really was special.

Almost worth having another baby……
I’m really excited because Bugaboo’s latest collaboration is with the iconic creature of contemporary cool – Andy Warhol.
Who hasn’t seen the epic Marilyn images? His work continues to be influential so sits perfectly with Bugaboos passion for innovation and style.
In May 2013 Bugaboo and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts launch the Warhol-inspired pushchair accessories. The collaboration celebrates the artist’s love for children’s inquisitive and creative minds and his ability to create timeless work that transcends any age or time period.
The Flowers series
Warhol explored his fascination with the fragility and beauty of flowers. Showcasing an eclectic mix of bright red and charcoal black, the selected print is both sophisticated and fun. The Flowers print is used on the sun canopy and tailored fabric set for the Bugaboo Bee, Bugaboo Cameleon3, and the Bugaboo Donkey. In addition, Bugaboo introduces a striking Flowers parasol, including Warhol’s famous print in light blue and green.

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The Cars Collection
The chosen print origins from 1962 and represents a sense of movement tying in effortlessly with Bugaboo’s go-and- explore-in-style vision. The Cars Collection integrates a playful, bold and graphical print in black and off-white and is featured on the sun canopies and tailored fabric sets for the Bugaboo Bee, Bugaboo Cameleon3, and the Bugaboo Donkey.

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As I said…almost worth having a baby for! www.bugaboo.com

Ode to no. And how to look polished in ten minutes flat

I’ve not blogged for a while because we’ve been a poorly household. Well, Arthur has been ill and as such all of us have been running around rearranging work, meetings and generally catering to his every whim – oh to be a toddler. His demands would put Elton John to shame. I take your outrageous flower requests Mr John and I raise you four hours of Elmer books and wearing a small plastic chair on my head because it made him laugh.

Poor little chap is loads better now and I will share a little, slightly munchausen by proxy, secret – a little bit of me liked it when he was ill. His hot little body snuggled into me. Only I would do, mummy was number one. And, he would just sit on the sofa watching Cbeebies while I read magazines and ate chocolate.

He’s developed a love of the word no. “Do you want a drink?” ” No!”  Are you hungry?” “No!”…”Do you want some chocolate?” “No!”

“Ha ha – caught you out!”. It was a small victory but satisfying none the less.

After two weeks of being frazzled and sleep deprived I have been given some lovely new George at Asda makeup goodies. They come in lovely sleek packaging and I’ve been itching to try them for ages. Usually my make-up routine consists of slathering tinted moisuriser into the gaps, applying mascara and attempting to bring myself back to life with a rather enthusiastic amount of blusher. Well no more. I am now a goddess – or less frightening to those of a nervous disposition.

The new lipgloss range really is a triumph with fab colours that last. I used number 10 which had a lovely reddy hue without the hassle of colouring in your lips for hours. A quick slick and it lasted a good while leaving me looking like I’d just been eating raspberries – without the seeds and dribble. A really quick way to make yourself look decent without putting the hours in.

Yummy lipglass without the hefty price tag

I also used the highlighter and primer under my makeup, both great products which didn’t cost the earth but still performed. Perfect  for busy mornings and quick touch-ups. The packaging is sleek and the powder compact I tried basically looked like a far more expensve brand I usually use – you know the sleek black on with a couple of white letters. Makeup has come a long way and it does save time to be able to go food shopping and pick up some items that are not just inexpensive but good quality too – well done Asda!

Me all made up with my new makeup. Now the weirdo in the background is my wonderful other half. He thought his unexpected appearance was hilarious. I think – who’s laughing now sucker

Top tips;

Asda is now offering the flu jab for just £7. So go in, pick up your milk and bread and walk out protected from the lurgy. For £7 it’s such a bargain I’m going to conquer my needle phobia and go for it.