Fifty shades of……………….what exactly?

Ok a bit late to this one but I am still seeing all sorts of ‘anti’ 50 shades stuff over social media.

Firstly,  I will admit that I am going to go see this film ( this week hopefully) and I have read ALL of the books ( my views on these you can see here) so you can judge me right there if you like.

Secondly, I DO get the ‘domestic abuse’ issues/ angle totally and can only imagine what a living nightmare it must be to find yourself trapped in that situation.

However, that said I am a 44 year old woman who has been married for almost 21 years, I have two teenage boys and feel that I am sensible enough and have enough ‘life’ experience to be able to separate a so called ‘romantic fantasy’ from an actual real life ‘loving relationship’.

I know there are people who will see these books and film as being what ‘real’ romance or relationships should be like. The ‘excitement’ and ‘obsessive control’ being mistaken for what love is. But surely that’s where we come in as parents ( for our teens at least). As I mentioned I have teen boys aged 14 and almost 17 years old. Surely one of my parental roles is to show them what a ‘normal’ loving relationship should be like. So, whether married, or in a long term relationship, same or different sex it doesn’t matter in my eyes provided the relationship is stable, consensual, equal, respectful and loving. I think that’s what’s important here.  Obviously there are those who like to live unconventional situations in which BDSM is part and parcel of their normality and again that is great providing it is consensual and no one is in danger obviously. Let’s face it the world would be pretty Stepford Wives and boring if we all liked the same things, had the same opinions and lived the same way.

So with my boys I will aim to teach them that they should take a responsibility to practise safe sex when the time comes for them both, covering both unwanted pregnancy or STD’s for either party. Also I think it’s important that we teach them that what they may see in pornography films or magazines is a far cry from what a real loving relationship is like. I will as the only female in the house impress on them to respect the opposite sex and treat others how they would want to be treated themselves. They will experiment as they get older I am sure but hopefully they will learn to see what they are comfortable with and what they need from a relationship.

With all the talk around this film at the moment I will make sure my eldest is aware that your average old married’s do not all have a hidden ‘red room of pain’ locked away in the house somewhere! Let’s face it Hollywood will romanticise anything from war or sex to relationships or jobs to bloody vampires and zombies and everything in between. But I can see also how teenage girls could be taken with the ‘excitement’ of someone who ‘loves’ them so much they are almost stalked and totally controlled. I don’t have girls but I know my close friends with girls would be making sure they didn’t allow them to fall into the trap of perceiving Hollywood romance to be what’s expected in everyday life. I adore the horror genre of films but I do realise that vampires and zombies are NOT real ( although in saying that I would be EPIC in apocalypse- just saying).

I do not want to seem flippant in any way about domestic abuse which I have been very lucky never to have experienced myself or know of any of my friends who have, however, I do not think that’s what the film/books are fully about. Yes they are graphic in what they take part in but surely one of the main threads is that Christian Grey actually starts to change and become reliant on her love over what he had experienced on the lead up to their meeting.

So what I am saying is that of those of us who ‘choose’ to go and see the film or read the books should not be hounded, shamed or ostracised as though we do not take domestic abuse seriously. Our choice is exactly that- our choice. We may not be condoning or advocating either side of the discussion but merely happy to escape work, family or stress for 90 minutes of total Hollywood escapism with the gorgeous Jamie Dornan thrown in for good measure. Let’s face it we all adored him in the brilliant The Fall where he was a fecking murderer for goodness sake.

The great thing about the film is that it has us all talking, whatever the views, surely that can only be a good thing raising awareness of domestic abuse but also opening conversations about teaching and educating teenagers of what is considered acceptable or not in a long term loving relationship.

fifty shades

House Envy

So yesterday I was at a house in West London with my son who was filming there which gave me total ‘house envy’. It wasn’t particularly decorated to any high standard or anything but it had the most amazing rooms and layout. We didn’t get to go upstairs so this was solely based on the downstairs. But it had a ‘sunken’ kitchen, one that you went down a step or two into with a gorgeous range set back into the wall. The dining area was large but they had left it sparse. There were beautiful wall dressers in there that had absolutely NOTHING on them apart from a small tea light candle or two………I couldn’t believe it.

I would kill for a house with that amount of character, with nooks and crannies, beautiful spacious hallways with bookshelves all over!! This one had all the space, nooks and crannies you could shake a stick at- none of which had anything in them. Their hallway was fitted with a full wall length shelving unit perfect for books of all shapes and sizes, yet it had been left empty.

One thing I would adore is a place in the house just lined with books. Somewhere you could just go into a chill out, be cosy and read whatever took your fancy. I though, live in a 1930’s terraced gaff that has been extended and revamped to within an inch of it’s life. But the rooms are small, either just square or rectangle without any character as such. I have decorated as I liked when we did the work initially and now everything is a little tired and slowly but surely we are revamping again. However, as much as I would love it there is just no spare room for that elusive wall of books. I have started to add storage and furniture that incorporates shelving that I can now use for my books, even though my ‘library wall’ is still a dream.

Still when I win the Lottery my ‘new’ house will have all the character I can fit into it, in fact I may just offer those people from yesterday’s house a ‘not to be refused’ offer on their gaff!

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a Featured post

Child free relaxing!

Has there ever been such a thing? ‘Child Free Relaxing’?

Those of you with children of baby and toddler ages will know that this consists of a quick wee alone, a 2 minute shower if your lucky, and catching up on ironing, washing up and house cleaning when they have managed to settle for the evening!!!

Tell me…………..am I wrong?

But funnily as kids get older and find their independence (my 2 are 12 and 15 yrs old now) you do tend to find more time to yourself. They sometimes meet friends at the cinema, or have a mate round to xbox with or even they just want a bit of time on their own in their rooms doing……….well nothing really.

Therefore you find yourself being able to get on with either the jobs you need to get done or chill out in  your own way, like blogging, social media, reading, playing candy crush ( lol I hear it’s quite addictive *cough*), playing online apps- anything from solitaire to Chitchat  online bingo , catching up on your favourite box sets or whatever takes your fancy!

For me, I take the time to treat myself to a yummy cappuccino while I blog and catch up on the social media that goes with it!! That means in the evening when everyone is home and around I do not have my head stuck staring at a computer screen! My other secret indulgence to relax (apart from eating chocolate and drinking wine of course) is listening to audio books. Not that I am lazy and cannot be bothered to read them myself but with M.E my head can fog easily after reading a couple of pages, so I go up to bed of an evening and have a book read to me!!! BLISS

Well if it’s good enough for our kids ie: we have all read to our babes when they were little haven’t we? It’s the same luxury- a soothing voice telling me the story LOL

Yesterday we had a very rare child free afternoon and evening! My eldest has gone to stay with his Nan and the youngest went to a friends for a sleepover. The world was our oyster so to speak. So we treated ourselves to Gallery seats in Bluewater cinema and then an indian takeaway when we got home!! Ok it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll but we enjoyed a film of our choosing ( this rarely happens LOL) and we had an indigestion free meal without the constant teen bickering……………………….that in itself is a real luxury you’ll agree!

So what’s your way of relaxing when you are child free?

 

Disclosure: this post is in collaboration with Chitchat online bingo

The Teenager Manual

No I’m not kidding I actually found this in the library today!

Yes the Haynes Teenager Manual!! So I couldn’t leave it on the shelf. I have 2 boys aged 12 and 14yrs and dealing with them is a complete minefield. They are both VERY different in character and also deal with similar situations in different ways. It is true that they cannot breathe the same air and DO NOT get on in any way!

I don’t want them to grow into delinquents or become estranged in any way and yet I do believe that it comes down to us as parents to do something about it.  WE must be doing something wrong if that were to actually happen and  to be fair I would be distraught.

So, in true fashion of ‘prevention rather than cure’ I saw this and thought………………well it worked out OK for cars didn’t it.

Well it can’t hurt can it?

 

 

 

50 Shades……..or a cuppa and a chunky KitKat?

Yes, Yes I know I’m sooooooooo behind everyone on this but just got the last book as one of my Christmas pressies.

To be honest I jumped on the bandwagon initially to see what all the fuss  was about. Now I couldn’t say that these were the best books I have ever read, but I will admit I did enjoy them as a trashy, no brainer, quick read!

However, by the time I got to the 3rd book I had to constantly remind myself that they still had only been together a few months and therefore they would have been ‘at it’ like rabbits.

But it did start to get on my nerves (jealous, me?…….NAH!) I found it was wasting my time a little to get to Mr Grey’s back story of his mother and adoption etc.

I did actually enjoy the last bit telling the story from his point of view and would have liked a little more of that as you would have been able to understand him a bit better.

Anyway, my point is, in the 3rd book I was really asking myself………….AGAIN……..REALLY??  2nd or 3rd time now in one day……………I THINK I WOULD BE SAYING ‘LOVELY AS THE OFFER IS ANY CHANCE OF A CUPPA AND A CHUNKY KITKAT INSTEAD!!!

So what I want to know is am I on my own with this and therefore my long suffering OH is just deprived……….or would you be in the cuppa and Kit Kat club?

 

AWOL……….GUILTY AS CHARGED!

MUM IN MELTDOWN– You are charged with being Absent Without Leave since your last post in the summer!!! HOW DO YOU PLEAD?

‘ Guilty m’lud!!!!! I have no excuses………………..what’s the penalty?’

A few weeks of HARD LABOUR getting your blog up to date and caught up on the social networks.

Like I’ve said I have no excuses, like everyone else life sometimes just gets in the way.

There have been :

CAMPING

TRAVELLING TO SEE FAMILY

A FAMILY WEDDING

BIRTHDAYS

NEW SCHOOLS

SCHOOL ROUTINE

CLUBS STARTING BACK

FISHING

KNITTING

READING

DECORATING

So in between eating and sleeping and all of the above I have failed to keep up to date on the social networking side of things.

So be warned, things to come…………….reviews, update to my knitting page, and more blog posts and updates on the crafty side of things from this end.

SO THE BIG QUESTION IS…………

HOW ARE YOU ALL?

 

 

 

 

World Education Games

Are you smarter than a 10-year-old?

Lets face it most of us would like to think that we are, right? Well truth be told I struggle with my son’s yr 9 maths homework ( I’m better at spelling and literacy I think!), but thankfully my OH is good at maths so we get by with helping out with home works. So do you have a bright spark at home? How do you think they would fair against school children from across the world with maths, spelling and science?

This is what the World Education Games is trying to do.

 

To celebrate the World Education Games we put Britain’s best young Maths brains to the test against the general public and then the world famous ‘Human Calculator’
This March, hundreds of thousands of school children from around Britain will pit themselves against students from around the world to find the best young Mathematicians, spellers and Science brains in the universe during the World Education Games ( 6th– 8th of March).

The three-day global competition will test students during a variety of online games set against the clock and our best young brains will be battling for honours during World Spelling Day, World Science Day and the opener –  World Maths Day.

The games are being backed by world famous Maths entertainer Scott Flansburg AKA ‘The Human Calculator’ who holds the world record for the for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than a person could do with a calculator.

So to see how our British competitors are likely to fare during the World Education Games we challenged some of the big hopefuls to a ‘calculation off’ with ‘The Human Calculator’ as well as members of the public.

This originally started in 2007 with a World Maths day but has progressed since then with popularity to include spellings and science.The World Education Games are aiming to unite children from across the world in education and learning.

So take a look at the video below to see if you can answer some of the questions posed to people in the street!

Are You Smarter Than a 10 year old?

For more information visit the website at: http://www.worldeducationgames.com/

 

Reading for kids…………..how important is it?

 

I have a love of books and reading. I don’t know where that came from as it’s hard to remember if as a child I was read to or not. However, as a teenager I definitely remember reading a lot( mainly Stephen King and the like!). Thankfully, that love of reading is still as strong today.

When both my boys were tiny it was part of the bedtime routine to have a story, and when they started reading at school it was religiously done everyday.

All of that has paid off as now at the grand old ages of 11 and 13 years they are both avid readers in their own right. My youngest actually got a Kindle for his Christmas present.

However, I do know families where the kids are totally uninterested in reading and no matter what they have tried along the way, it hasn’t worked.

So does it matter whether you start early or not? Does it matter if the parents are avid readers?

Does it matter if you don’t have lots of books at home?

Top tips on how to get your children reading

Watch our video with Jeff Brazier where he gives his top tips on making story time fun

http://www.youtube.com/embed/lXs5k7UZKYM

 

For some parents, a seemingly simple task like reading your children bedtime stories can send them into a nervous panic. But, it’s never too soon or too late to get your children reading and needn’t be a stressful experience. 

 

That’s why celebrity dad Jeff Brazier has joined forces with the National Literacy Trust today to launch a new campaign to try and help the four million children in Britain who don’t own a book to start reading.

 

Almost a fifth of children who don’t read say there are no books in their homes, which is why the National Literacy Trust is backing the campaign from  McDonald’s UK and Harper Collins for a new partnership to help get kids reading.

 

McDonald’s UK is to hand out around nine million popular children’s books with its Happy Meals, as part of a new partnership with publishing house Harper Collins. The promotion aims to get books into the hands of families and support mums and dads in reading with their children.

 

Watch our video with Jeff Brazier and Jack Sallabank from the National Literacy Trust where they give their top tips to get your children reading. From funny voices to involving your children with finger puppets, watch our video for Jeff’s great tips which is sure to be a success with any child.

So what strategies have you tried to get your children interested in books?

What age group where they when they started showing an interest?

Do you buy books or rely on your local library?

Parent Fail……………….or Just Life as we Know It?

Recently I have been asking myself this question virtually everyday.

I have two boys, one aged 13 and the other is 11. THEY DO NOT GET ON!!!!

They are very, very different personalities, which I think is great. They like different things but also like some similar things too. So why can’t they get along together?

I truly do not know!!!

Now I don’t just mean a bit of sibling rivalry, or fighting one minute and then friends the next. NO they are never friends…………………….EVER.

My youngest is a very loud and outgoing character. He has a lot of personality and loves to be centre of attention. My eldest is quieter, more mellow generally and tends to go with the flow (until it involves his brother).

But it is starting to affect the family dynamics. A family day at home or out is just horrendous. We know it will end in tears (namely ours!!). It seems as a family we cannot simply enjoy time together, just chatting, laughing and having a joke. My eldest can get very stressed by th whole thing.

At the moment our family life is generally our boys taking themselves off to their separate rooms and shutting their doors to be away from each other.

As parents we try to be fair with their disputes. However, we have noticed more and more that it generally stems from our youngest. He makes fun of his older brother and although we all have jokes at each others expense, his delve into what we believe to be bullying!

Whenever my eldest says anything, and I mean anything, he will be sneered at, or laughed at or belittled as though what he says has no relevance.

We have approached our youngest and explained  how he is behaving. What makes it worse is that our oldest has very mild Asperger traits ( not fully diagnosed, but noticeable). Again we have tried explaining this to our youngest and have used some books to show him how his brother thinks. IT DIDN’T WORK- IN FACT IT MADE IT WORSE.

Now I know you will all be thinking he must be attention seeking. However, he gets a lot more time devoted to him on a 1 to1 basis because of his acting. I am always with him for auditions and shows. Everything tends to revolve around what he is doing, our Christmas this year was dominated by the fact he was acting in Panto everyday of the holidays.

So I need help. Where are we as parents going wrong?

I cannot see any other reason for it other than our total parent fail!!!

We try everything, we take things ie: Ipods / TV away. We stop him sometimes going to a party or to friends if he has been particularly bad. We also stand by our word and if we threaten something, we ALWAYS carry it through. So you would think he would get the message.

Our main concern is how he treats his brother.

TOTAL PARENT FAIL…………………..surely there is no other explanation.

Where do we go from here…………….it’s quite depressing, for everyone apart from my youngest son!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012….I get my life back!!

 

Well, relatively speaking anyway.

My son has now finished his run in panto this season and my body is very, very thankful it is all over!

The last few days have been spent looking through all the presents again, taking time to read through books and listen to CD’s and actually play with some of the games that the boys got.

Decorations have come down and put away until next Christmas and the house has resumed it’s normal look and feel. It has been the boy’s last day off today before they return to school and OH returns to work………….tomorrow will be blissfully quiet for me.

I managed to enjoy a fabulously chilled Christmas day with the family and my Mum and brother who had come to stay. That was until my cat made a quick escape past us and caught my mum on the face millimetres away from her eye!! ( these events are not unusual in my house as a few years ago she came and fractured her pelvis trying to play tennis with the boys, and last year we were all ill with ‘Swine Flu’……………..your getting the picture now!).

Anyway, the last panto show was on New Years Eve and we headed off to Bluewater for a nice meal and a cinema visit before returning home to see in the new year and let off our lanterns with 2012 wishes on.

I haven’t caught up on all my blog reading and Twitter following yet so haven’t seen all of your New Years resolutions. I have decided to learn new skills this year and not only get back to my knitting ( something I really enjoyed doing many years ago) but also to learn how to crochet (something I have never attempted!!).

I cannot go down the route of exercise and diet as my body is taking a long time to recover from the panto schedule and exercise for me is out of the question at the moment ( as I suffer with M.E).

I would also like to do more reading as this is something I have neglected for some time. I have been given ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ as one of my Christmas gifts and I’m really looking forward to starting that.

So, that’s me back to normality, with a regular routine about to start from tomorrow.

A New Year.

A New Start.

A New Skill.

How has your New year been so far and what are your resolutions?