Teach your children not to live in fear

So, the last few months have seen us endure some pretty horrific terrorist attacks around the world as well and 3 in 3 months in this country alone, and I hear more and more people online sharing their fears for their children’s future in such a world. I too share those fears even though I have older teens now I wonder what will become their ‘normal’ in say the next 20 years with regards to terrorism, policing and our country’s safety. What will they be bringing their future children into in many years to come?

However, I am  from Belfast, born in 1970 and lived my youngest years into my teens throughout the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. The absolute full extent would probably never have been covered in the national media forums unless it involved the mainland itself, but still it continued on a very daily basis in my area as well as many others. My parents back then probably had the exact same fears about our future as children with armed police and the Army patrolling our streets and wondering where it would all end up.

Yet here I am! Old enough to have my own family and worry about their future in the way my parents did before me. Coming from a very loyalist area ( being Protestant) my parents never discussed religion or politics in front of us. We were never brought up with extremist views one way or the other. They never stopped us playing outside, or going anywhere or doing anything…………………life just carried on. We were never brought up to actively ‘hate’ anyone just because a paramilitary group had decided to plant a bomb,or  kill innocent people, or shoot a single person in retaliation for another attack. We were not brought up to think that ‘tit for tat’ killings where OK. As kids we had been segregated to either Protestant or Catholic areas to live and for schooling etc. Yet I remember how excited I was when I got my first part time job in Belfast city centre working inn Argos knowing that I would be ‘mixing’ with Catholics and working in a ‘mixed’ area. I had a blast in that job. The people I met and the friends I made just made my time there brilliant fun.

What I am trying to say is that my parents never made religion and the issues surrounding it in Northern Ireland and issue for us growing up. We were not brought up to ‘hate’ a person just because they were a different religion to ourselves.

So  if you are afraid of what the future holds for your children then teach them that not everyone of that race or religion believes the same as those extremists. I never once thought that all Catholics ( back in the days of The Troubles ) were affiliated or believed the same as the IRA and I can only thank my parents for that.

Do not get me wrong, my absolute heart goes out to each and every person who has been affected by these atrocities and yes I would love to see an end to them too, it’s a total heartbreak that most of us cannot even begin to imagine or understand what they must be going through.

It is a scary world, but do not pass on your adult fears to your children before they are able to comprehend or begin to understand. Instead, teach them to see and take everyone on face value, to not be afraid when they see armed police or possibly armed forces on the streets- these people are here to protect us. I was in my mid teens on holiday in Plymouth when I saw the very first policeman in shirt sleeves with no body armour, unarmed and on his own!! Until then armed police and Army on the streets was my normal- and yet here I am a normal person. I haven’t suffered any detrimental affects, all grown up with my own family.

Our world is always going to be scary with everything that is going on across the globe, but for your children’s sake concentrate on the everyday normality and the good. I have seen a great quote online telling us to ‘look for the helpers’ in those awful situations and it’s true. There will always be many more people willing to help than to harm. Never let those people affected be forgotten but celebrate those who go to selfless measures to help in the most awful situations regardless of the danger they put themselves in.

In short, I am proof along with many others, if you teach your children to live without adult fears and teach them not to hate a race of people or a religion because of the actions of a minority of extremists then your children will adapt and live normal lives too. It’s possible, we as adults have to make it possible.

 

Smiggle- Gift Voucher Giveaway

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I was invited recently to the Smiggle branch in Bluewater to open the next window on their Christmas advent calendar and see what treat could be waiting for me.

Anyone that has been to a Smiggle store will know it’s an explosion of colour and a total must for all stationary lovers. The store there is not huge but is very well stocked with both lots on the shelves and underneath the display tables ( so I cannot see you having any trouble getting a particular item you may be after).

At the moment they have lots of their fabulous Christmas Advent Stockings, that retail at £28. That may sound a little extravagant but is in line with Lego or even Yankee candle (if you buy yourself one!). However, the goodies that are in the advent would cost around £40 if they were bought individually, so a bargain when you consider that and also a great alternative to just more chocolate.

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There are the typical colour assumptions, pink for girls and blue for boys, but there are also lots of alternatives that can be gender neutral. Some of the bits can work out quite expensive but there are also some fabulous gifts that would be perfect for Christmas presents that work out at just £10-15 which is very budget friendly.

I particularl
I particularly liked this design on a black background and perfect for little monster lovers!

There is also a wonderful little colouring area set up in this store which was in use most of the time I was in the store and it was constantly busy in there. I was given the chance to peel off the next advent sticker from the window outside to get the next prize ( which I will include with the gift voucher giveaway as a little extra, it’s a Goo Glopper………………!

The store manager there, Linda, has a great manner about her and she will find out if it’s your birthday and get the whole store to sing Happy Birthday to you, I heard the singing even before I reached the store as I came down the escalator towards it. You will recognise her as she has a huge whistle hanging around her neck and she’s not afraid to use it- so be warned.

So I have a lovely £25 gift card and my Goo Glopper from behind the advent to giveaway to all you lovely stationary loving peeps. All you have to do is comment below with what you would use the voucher for and fill in the normal Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yes I am still here!

You may have thought I had given up on my little blog it has been so long since I have posted on here, but no, I am still here I have just been having a little break.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, there have been loads going on in the past few months in my little corner of the world, it is just the fact that I haven’t had the inclination to put it all on here, call it lack of blogging mojo but I have had a total break from my site although I have been active on my social media sites. Last night, however, I attended a lovely event down in Kent which got me back in touch with the blogging community. It was fun, it was nice to meet new people and get a bit of that missing blogging mojo back.

So, what has been happening while I have been away (and I do not mean the obvious political stuff that is all over social media at the minute). In my little bubble, I haven’t been active on here since attending a review for a local spa, which I have now joined myself and try and go there at least twice a week. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is using the heat rooms ( sauna and steam) there and how lovely that has been for my poor M.E/Fibro muscular pain.

There’s been 18th birthday celebrations for my eldest ( in April) before all the madness of his A level exams recently.

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There’s been more sewing for me as I attended another sewing class learning more skills and meeting new people.

dress collage

There’s been a lot of ‘new to me’ furniture buying and upcycling as we have started to redecorate our lounge from a modern look to a more old style/ country appearance..

Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter

There is still a lot to do as the walls need repainting and the feature walls need re-papered and some soft furnishings still need to be sorted, but the majority of the change over is done.

There’s also been a trip to Royal Ascot (which was amazing) for a friends 50th birthday.

That's my friend and I all togged up looking posh!
That’s my friend and I all togged up looking posh!

This was something I always wanted to go and experience and I am glad they invited us to enjoy their special day- things are always enjoyed best depending on the company you go with. This was a fabulous day that I will not forget for a very long time…………….did I mention how close I got to the Queen????

There you go - just in case you didn't believe me!
There you go – just in case you didn’t believe me!

Recent weeks have been tough health wise for me, I felt I was having no relief from my Fibromyalgia pain at all. It was making me more exhausted than normal and was just never ending. I finally managed to get a GP appointment and she is very understanding and finally changed my medication to a slow release morphine ( the strongest thing I have been on ever). However, the detox from the years of Tramadol onto slow release MST was just horrific for about 5-6 days in total. I have never felt so rough in my life, hardly able to hold myself up yet unable to sleep  ( I was literally awake all night on the 1st evening watching films!), there was lots of nausea and dizziness and a bloody awful crushing headache that lasted days. A week or so on from there and things have settled and things are on the up and I am slowly but surely getting back to what would be relative normality for me.

Then last night was a huge milestone when my 18yr old went on his 6th year school leaver’s Prom, having officially left school and now just waiting exam results ( do not mention Edexel A level Maths………….there may well be a meltdown here!) and hopefully for him ( definitely not me) off to uni.

Here he looking handsome and dapper being  forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!
Here he looking handsome and dapper being forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!

So there you have it! There have obviously been lots of normal life thrown in too, ( nothing is ever straightforward or stress free with older teens in the house) but for now I will leave it there.

I look forward to catching up on all the blogging goings on now that I have a little blog mojo back!

Walk to school

With all the talk on Twitter and Facebook about kids returning to school this week I’m asking the question:

Do You Walk To School?

My 2 boys are at secondary school now and at age 15 and 12 (almost 13) they STILL walk to school! (well one goes on a bike)

For the whole of their time at nursery and primary school we walked to school- always. It is about a 15 minute walk away from where we live. Their secondary school is about a further 5 minutes away from there.

When it was raining we still walked as the roads would be far more busy and we would have to park about 5 minute walk away so we would have got wet anyway. I found that by the time we had walked to school we had beaten all the traffic and could get undercover ( let’s face it that’s why we have UMBRELLAS!). Also It was a quiet time to chat without too much distraction from telly’s. We began to meet friends on the way, the kids would maybe take scooters etc and in the summer we would go straight to the park on the way home.

I do appreciate that not everyone is in this position, maybe the school is further away, or the parents both work and therefore haven’t the time to walk there and back before work. But you and I know there are loads of parents who live close enough to walk and yet chose to get in their cars to drop their kids outside the school gates!! The operative word being ‘CHOOSE’. So from there their kids then are trained to expect to be driven everywhere.

Check out this video below by StartRite taken from a child’s point of view about walking to school.

Great British Walk To School

So I will ask you again……..Do you walk to school?

Love a bit of record breaking???

Then check out this new CBBC show due to start 11th March, it will run on weekdays at 7.45am.

Now I know this is rather early and lets face it usually a manic time on school days! However, thank goodness for the record button LOL. So put it to good use if your house is as manic as mine in the mornings.

In the meantime have a look at the link below to get an idea of what to expect, cross the original Record Breakers, with all the mad and awesome stuff people get up to nowadays and your will be getting close!

Officially Amazing starts this week so don’t miss it!

So you will see things like……

Longest fingernails

Longest distance dog surfs on wave!

Heaviest sportsperson,

Most people crammed into a Mini

……..and much more!

So check it out here before the show starts

Teaching your children through Apps

Teaching your children through Apps

So what do you think? A good or bad idea? Unfortunately we are in a technical age where this is becoming second nature! In fact I have to ask my boys how to do some bits on the laptop occasionally. But it doesn’t all have to be Play stations and Xbox’s and kids zoning out to mindless shoot ’em up games. With I phones, tablets and I pads children from a very early age can get in on the act for educational stuff and learn to be comfortable with technology at the same time.

Check out the web show below for tomorrow:

Log onto our live and interactive show where Jon Bentley discusses how to make sure your children are getting the most educational benefits from technology

Show date: Tuesday 29th January 2013

Show time: 12.30pm

There’s no denying that smart phones and tablets have become an essential part of life for millions of us, changing the way we work, socialise and communicate. Whilst they use to be solely the domain of businesspeople and the most technologically advanced, now they’re popular throughout the generations and even amongst pre-schooles.

Research from Vodafone shows that savvy toddlers first start using smart phones or tablets at a tender 2 years 4 months and that many parents are using Apps to help their children learn to read, write and count.

But how can parents make sure their little ones are benefitting from the technology and aren’t accessing inappropriate material?

Log onto our live and interactive show with Jon Bentley, former Gadget Show presenter and Libby Pritchard from Vodafone, who will discuss how children can benefit from smart phones and tablets and how parents can make sure their children are using these devices safely.

Jon Bentley and Libby Pritchard join us live online at www.studiotalk.tv on Tuesday 29th January at 12.30pm

Click here to submit questions before the show

 

 

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!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children and their pets.

 

Kids care about their pets more than their siblings

I think this is definitely true in our household!! I have 2 boys who literally cannot breathe the same air ( I’m SO not joking). However, they both love our lovely cat Tilly more than anything. They are happy to feed her, let her in and out, brush her, give her treats and play with her. In fact I don’t really have to ask them to do any of it, apart from fill her food bowl!!

This is her the day she arrived at our house aged 12 weeks old!!

How could anyone resist her?? You would have to be heartless!!

This is her in her favourite sleeping place! But don’t be fooled by the cute face she has worked hard and now at the grand age of 1 1/2 yrs she has earned the title ‘Tilly the Terrorist’!! ( from the neighbours).

She has been spotted on my neighbours roof at the top of her chimney!! She terrorises next door’s cats from their own garden, and don’t even start me on the birds!!!

Yes that's her at the TOP of the tree!!

I’m sure you all have your own pet stories to tell, but surely you will agree well cared for pets aren’t pets at all but part of the family!!

Wilkinson Petcare found the following results after a survey about children and animals, and also provided Top Tips for Petcare below:

We’re often referred to as a nation of animal lovers and now a new study shows that our love of all things furry is firmly being passed on to our kids with a poll of children revealing they care more about their pets than they do about their brothers and sisters and their friends.

Over 70% of the children surveyed have a pet, with cats and dogs and goldfish the most likely animals to be found in British homes, but snakes, lizards, frogs and sheep are also getting pampered by their youthful in homes around the UK.

When asked what animal they would most like to have, dog’s were a clear winner, followed by followed by rabbits, hamsters and cats.

But it’s not just their own animals that British children care about with. Our fauna also looks to be in good hands for the future with over 90% of kids saying they are concerned about wildlife.

And their knowledge of what can be found in our backyards is also excellent with the majority saying they would recognise a robin, pigeon, blackbird, magpie, blue tit and a sparrow if they saw one frolicking outside.

Over 90% say they have visited a farm and more than 70% a wildlife sanctuary.

Nearly half of the 7-15 year olds surveyed by Wilkinson Petcare have helped an injured animal, while a quarter have fed a wild hedgehog.

 

Top Tips for Pet Care:

1.       Pay your pet attention. Pets need love and affection as much as people

2.       Exercise – The more exercise the better prevention of your pet becoming overweight

3.       Visit a vet regularly to maintain your pets health

4.       Get your pet Vaccinations. This will prevent them from catching any diseases that could affect their health.

5.       Give your pet a comfortable and spacious home/bed – This is where they will sleep and get the rest they need so it needs to be somewhere they want to go

6.       Go to a Vet to check you are feeding your pet the right food for them. I.e. the food you give your dog depends on the breed of the dog you have, so it is vital you check.

7.       Allow your pet to adapt to its new environment and dogs/cats/horses allow to interact with other animals at an early stage in order for them to know how to react in social situations properly.

8.       Watch your pets teeth, bad breath could mean digestive problems

9.       Give your pet toys, your pets need to have something to interest them as you cannot be there 24/7

10.   Clean and groom your pet regularly, this will maintain their health and help prevent catching disease

 

For more information visit : Website: http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/pets/icat/catdog/