On The Brink of Bedlam!

Parenting - Peaks, Troughs and Random Life Experiences

Fighting with Zombies
Rare night out
Joy of joys!  Poor  D has got a horrible sick bug.  She spent most of last night throwing up, so I slept in the spare bed in her room and kept her company.  The night before that I slept in my own bed, and the two nights before that I slept on S's floor because he's been ill with an awful cough and high temperatures.  I felt very sorry for both of them.  Having said that I felt and still feel quite sorry for myself too. I miss sleep.  Can someone please remind me of what it is and how to 'sleep', because I seem to have forgotten.

I seem to spend vast amounts of time clearing up horribleness due to potty training too, but the less said about that the better. You don't wanna know!

In addition to this we have an elderly cat who keeps vomming, and although I think the world of our pusscat, I'm finding it hard not to think he's vomming vindictively.  His last target was our bed and our duvet - and his target last week was S's duvet.  This is handily coupled with our heating becoming knackered, so duvets could not be washed  as they could be dried outside in monsoon weather and cannot be dried inside with no radiators.  S is tucked up in bed in an unzipped sleeping bag, and OH and I are using spare duvets until we can find a launderette at the weekend.  Or maybe we could just go and sleep in a tent, poor S is virtually camping already.

A gas engineer came today and fixed our heating, so that has helped a great deal.  We have a warm house instead of one potentially inhabited by polar bears and penguins.  It has been so cold these last few days!  Having said that, the engineer said that regulations have now changed and our air vent is not big enough now and we need to have it enlarged or stop using the gas fire - so that needs dealing with asap.  I may just burn the furniture instead, he didn't say not to do that.

It has been raining in through the back window, and I don't mean drips, I mean pitter patter rain.  Living at the top of a huge hill prone to high wind and driving rain, is not ideal for old, crappy windows.  The leak from the bathroom has led to plaster coming loose on the walls in the living room, and we've had to remove black mould and spray copious amounts of Mould and Mildew remover at it to try and get it to stop.  The good news is, I'm thinking of growing mushrooms in the corner.  I'm all for home-grown veg!  We were having horrendous difficulty finding a plumber, but I finally managed to get hold of one today and he's hopefully going to sort the leak on Friday.  If they can't fix the leak, I think in future I will make sure everyone just goes into the back yard with a bar of soap and stands in the rain to wash.  Problem solved!

The cooker supplied by the lurvely Homebase is still shorting the entire house, they were supposed to send someone round today with a spare part, but no-one turned up.  Gits.  I hope they send the same person round who came to look at the cooker originally, he was funny.  I commented that the cooker always shorted the house when I cooked sausages on the grill, and maybe the cooker didn't like sausages.  The poor guy looked at me sideways and said 'It's nothing to do with what you're cooking on it, love' and looked puzzled.  I think I must have looked amazed at his reaction and slowly a smile spread across his face and he said 'Ah....(long pause)........you're being facetious aren't you...'  I said I was and he continued to prod the grill.  I didn't make polite conversation after that.

Our dishwasher broke yesterday too.  Not because I used washing up liquid instead of dishwasher tabs though, that's another story entirely - let me just say there was a LOT of froth in that instance.  I may as well recite the tale, I've told half of it now.  You see I ran out of dishwasher tabs and Fairy Liquid seemed the obvious choice.  I didn't dare tell OH I'd done it, and had to keep sneaking into the kitchen to wipe up the bubbles oozing out of the bottom of the dishwasher.  He came up to bed after me and I have a vague recollection of him muttering about the dishwasher making wierd noises, beeping lots when it had finished and being filled with bubbles.  I think I sniggered.   I had to admit to it the next day when I publicly announced my idiocy on Facebook.  OH was thankfully amused and the dishwasher did work afterwards.  Until day before yesterday when a bit fell off the inside of the door.  Can I just stress, that was nothing to do with me, it was not my fault.   Nobody saw me do anything, you can't prove anything.  

We can't get out of the backdoor either, which is nice.  The weather has been so damp that it has swollen the wood up.  It is a stable door, so I can at least open the top bit to shout 'Help!' out of.   (I'm getting a bit sick of everything dropping in bits you see).  OH decided to open the door at the weekend and had to shut it by kicking it really hard and using a hammer.  That's not normal is it?

The handle was falling off the front door too, but my dad took pity on me and bought one and put it on for me.  So that was fabulous.  I say 'Yay for parents!'.  So it's not all bad news. 

I've lost my iPhone in the house somewhere too, or should I say my kids have shoved it down the back of the sofa or in a random box in the bottom of a dark, dark, box....in a dark, dark, cellar,.......in a dark, dark, wood etc etc etc.  Needless to say, I can't find the damn thing anywhere and it is gutting as I recently bought myself a gorgeous new iPhone case, but have nothing to put in it (sobs).

Lots of little niggles that have built up to big 'Raaarghs.'  In the grand scheme of things I shouldn't really let things like this bother me, but I have let them bother me and I have been struggling recently.  Pathetic really.  I have a loving husband, beautiful kids and so many things in my favour.  I should count my blessings - which is what I have been trying to do.

The nice lady at NHS Direct was very sympathetic when I rang and had a meltdown down the phone, and I can only say how wonderful and reassuring random strangers can be.  I don't know who she was, I can't remember her name, but she listened and was calm and helpful.  If any of my blog readers work for NHS Direct, and this  sounds familiar.  Thank you! x

As mums I think we're expected to cope and carry lots of things, physically and mentally for our children - and the winning combo of sleeplessness teamed with everyday pressures is enough to nudge us over the edge sometimes.  Or maybe that's just me.  The other day I had a dream which I think typified how I've been feeling recently.  I don't often remember my dreams, but when I do they tend to be long, complicated, adventure type dreams where I'm running away, or hunting for something, or trekking around strange places.  This last one was about zombies - they'd taken over the world and I was trying to escape from them.  Only it was a very short dream, because I simply turned round to a bunch of the half-deads and said 'Go on then, bite me.  I can't be arsed to fight you off anymore'.  Talk about apathy!  

I casually mentioned this on Twitter the other day (as you do!) and someone said that kind of apathy isn't good enough when it comes to zombies.  You apparently need a chainsaw to deal with them.   So, I intend to get one and fight off my zombies, or my personal demons or whatever you want to call them.  I'm not going to let a bunch of stupid everyday, things-that-don't-matter-really issues bother me.  I'll have to get me a chainsaw!

(at this point I now start to worry that you're now doing a 'gas-engineer' on me, and are now worrying that I'm going to go out and get a chainsaw and go hunt fictitious zombies.....I'm not really!  It's just a turn of phrase midear)

Sani Hands Review - Cleansing Hand Wipes
Rare night out
 Sani Hands - Cleansing Hand Wipes

Before you ask, no I'm not OCD when it comes to clean hands, it just so happens that the lovely people at Sani-Hands sent me a sample to review, and it is just a co-incidence that I have also reviewed other wet wipes.  Well, go on then, just call me the wet wipe girl!  Does anyone else want me to review wet wipes?  Anyone?  Anyone?....

The thing is, it's not an especially interesting subject really is it.  I wonder how many of you jumped on this link with a beating heart and thought, I MUST read up on wet wipes.  But, it is a very practical subject, and especially so when you have kids and when it is this time of year, and all and sundry seem to be coming down with colds.

Every now and then I take my kids to a wacky warehouse style place in this area, and they go out and have a load of fun, and invariably come home with some bug or other.  I swear those places are breeding grounds for the norovirus.  I always try to remember to get the kids to wash their hands when they come home - but considering they usually have something to eat there and D sometimes sucks her thumb (poor love can't get out of the habit), the damage has probably already been done by then. This is a prime example of where antibacterial cleansing wipes are a godsend.   You can use them whilst the kids are still on the go, you don't have to badger them into going to the loos to wash their hands.

This particular little pack of 12 has been everywhere with me, rolling around in the bottom of my handbag.  I shan't take a picture of what the packet looks like now as I fear it would not be fair on Sani Hands and their reputation to do so, it is a shadow of its former self.  My son raided the packet and ripped the bit where you get the wipes out and it is now cellotaped rather than being sealed with a handy waterproof seal.  (resists the urge to come up with random seal joke ....arf...arf).  The cellotape isn't half as effective as a proper seal, but what can you do!

They are very clever little wipes in that they are spotty, which is certainly a new concept for me.  The tiny spots are blue and slightly raised up, which is great as they do help to remove actual grime, rather than just invisible germs and surface level stickiness for example, they actually have a bit of grip on the muck so to speak.  They smell nice too, not too strong or overpowering.  I particularly like the small packet, it's just really convenient and slots into a handbag very easily - although the wipes themselves could maybe do with being a bit bigger to deal with really mucky faces and hands. 

My main concerns are that these wipes contain Methylparaben and Propylparaben, having also reviewed HalosNHorns products I am aware of some of the risks that may be (I stress 'may be') associated with prolonged use of parabens.  I have sensitive skin and I wonder if I used this product for any length of time if I'd end up with rashes.  So far so good though!

There's also no mention on the packet on the subject of animal testing, a subject that is close to many people's hearts. 

All in all, a very practical product and one I may well buy again.  The raised spots are a brilliant idea for really mucky hands and faces and if they stop us getting the dreaded sick bug then I'm all for them! 

Here's a link to their website which explains a little more about their product.  SANI-HANDS - Anti-bacterial Cleansing Hand Wipes

Barefoot Books - The Story Tree - A Review!
Rare night out
 Barefoot Books - The Story Tree - Tales to Read Aloud

At this time of year, I start looking thinking about ....(dare I whisper it......) Christmas.  It comes around all too quickly and every year I decide I'll be more organised and get all my presents bought and wrapped by December 1st.  That has always been the plan!  Carrying out the plan is a different matter entirely and usually I end up panic buying stocking fillers in pound shops and grabbing stuff that will 'do' from high street shops at the last minute.  To my great shame, I bought my husband a meercat last year.  He's not a fan of cuddly teddies, or meercats, I just lost it whilst wandering around Toys r Us in late December.  So, my point is -   I publicly declare...this year will be different!  No more meercats!

My first task is to put together the kid's stockings - In particular, I love buying new books to roll up and slot in the top of them.  I used to treasure the ones I got in my stocking when I was a kid because they were 'special' ones that Father Christmas had brought for me.  Even now I can remember reading stories about 'Pip' the fairy, written by Enid Blyton, in my mind's eye I can still see it poking out of the top of the old grey woollen stocking my sister and I used to tie at the bottom of our beds.  I always think books are wonderful presents that last the test of time, if they are loved and appreciated they are read and re-read and passed on through the years.  Plastic toys get broken, chocolate gets gobbled, but books tend to last.  

If you want to get on with organising Christmas in advance too and if you have kids, maybe you'd like to consider Barefoot Books?  I have in my possession a copy of 'The Story Tree' Tales to Read Aloud retold by Hugh Lupton, and illustrated by Sophie Fatus which comes complete with CD and absolutely gorgeous illustrations.  Personally I think this would roll up perfectly and fit in the top of any child's stocking and make for a very lovely gift.    It also comes with a CD at the back of the book, so you can tuck your children into bed on the night of the 25th and they can listen to the dulcit tones of Hugh Lupton reading the tales, leaving you to crawl downstairs and drink a well earned glass of sherry.

This book is written for children under five apparently, but my daughter is beyond that age and still thinks this book is fantastic.  I read a few stories and both she and her brother actually sat still, didn't try and attack each other for once, and actually listened to the tales and commented on the illustrations.  A little island of calm for a couple of minutes at least.  

There are 64 pages, and 7 stories originating from all around the world.   There's the 'Three Billy Goats Gruff' from Norway, 'The Magic Porridge Pot' from Germany, Monkey-See, Monkey-Do from India, 'The Sweetest Song' from Africa / America, 'Little Red Hen' from Blighty and 'The Blue Coat' which is a Jewish tale.   Every single page is illustrated with people and animals and places, all in great detail.  The perfect bedtime book!  And I'm not just saying that because I'm reviewing it, it genuinely is.

If you would like a copy you can click on this link to access the online shop : Barefoot Books.    Speaking from personal experience, the delivery is quick, the packaging appropriate, and the price reasonable.  Start your stocking shopping early!

This month Barefoot Books (through this link only) are also offering to donate 10% of all profits to the NSPCC - in addition to this every person who places an order this month will have their name put into a hat and will have a chance at winning a £20 voucher of their choice.

One lucky person can have this book free of charge though!  I have the review copy to give away.  All you need to do is comment on this blog. Please remember to put your Twitter or Facebook name on here.  To make the comments more interesting I'd like you to mention on of your favourite ever stocking presents.  Books aside, I used to love licorice swirls with sweets in the middle, they made my tongue go black which I always thought was amazing!  Simple pleasures eh!

I'll choose a lucky winner on the 1st December.  :O)

Halloween Parties and Rampant Child Zombies
Rare night out
Halloween Parties and Rampant Child Zombies

Halloween costumesHalloween has been and gone and all that remains is a fluffy, mouldy pumpkin sticking out of the top of the compost bin.  It has been fun though!  I do enjoy the build up, the buying and making of the pumpkin and the cobbling together of costumes - my daughter thought it was all very exciting, especially when I started trying to sort an outfit for her. The lovely lady from @thedressingupchest had a fantastic little spidery, taffeta tutu which we added a black vest top to, and black leggings.  We decided she was a 'Scary Fairy!'  We even got a little wand for her, which her little brother immediately adopted.  He kept grabbing it and whacking anything and anyone with it - including our TV.  Husband was not amused.

I decided this year not to go down the home party route, last year was great but it did involve masses of organisation, panics over what was and was not 'spooky food' and a lot of tidying up.  Mind you, last year, we played the 'Oh Mummy' game where the kids had to wrap each other up with toilet roll and I didn't run out of loo roll for a very long time afterwards (I did have to spend a very long time re-rolling the stuff though, just call me Scrooge!)

Anyway! On Halloween I planned to take our kids to a crafty Halloween lantern making workshop, and then onto a Halloween party at a wacky warehouse style place.  Minimum effort for maximum fun, hopefully.  October 31st arrived and so did both of D & S's cousins, very soon we had a 'Scary Fairy,' a 'Zombie,' a 'Pumpkin' and 'Spiderman' running around the house like mad things screaming 'I'll turn you into a zombie!' at each other.  S couldn't manage shouting that, but did manage to hit people with the wand in a 'I'll turn you into a zombie' kind of manner.  S wouldn't keep his pumpkin hat on and Spiderman (younger cousin) was a reluctant superhero so took his cosume off before we got out the door.  We still managed a cute photo of three of them though.  I'm sure you'll agree they look cute as anything, if a zombie can look cute that is.  

The lantern making workshop was packed, but the kids found a space at one of the tables and generally mucked about with half plastic bottles, tissue paper, sparkly stars and excessive amounts of glue.  D very carefully made herself a lovely lantern, S made one which was very haphazard and had a 'sqoshed pider' (squashed spider' decoration on it.  I've never seen him so proud of anything before.)

We hurriedly finished the lanterns, wolfed our picnic down and then headed over to the party.  It was absolutely heaving and full of children running round in circles yelling and clambering on everything.  I must confess to wanting to turn around and go straight home.  Luckily we managed to find a table, got ourselves coffees and watched the whirlwind of kids be entertained for an hour and half.  It was nice not having to organise food or games, and the kids seemed to enjoy it.  One of D's friends was a bit wary of the play area for the older kids as they had simply switched the lights off and installed disco lights here and there.  Not ideal for kids who are a little worried about the dark, as many are at this age.

At this point I have to comment on Halloween costumes, I found it downright disturbing to see so many kids wandering around looking like they'd been injured in horrendous accidents, fake blood abounded and I think I must be a wimp or something.  I much prefer witches, wizards, spiders and ghost outfits.  I wondered whether I should call an ambulance at one point (shudders).

We prised the kids away at 7pm and drove them home whilst they raided their halloween party packed lunches in the back of the car.  It had been a very fun, very manic day.  I am very relieved Halloween only comes once a year!  

Although an organised party at a venue was a bit of a change to what we usually do, I don't think I'll do anything like that again.  It seemed impersonal, crowded and sweet ridden (sorry, but there's got to be a limit to how many E numbers a child can eat before they risk exploding).  I dont think it was half as nice as the parties we've had at home where time, effort and at the risk of being sentimental, love, has gone into organising everything.

Next year it'll be bobbing apples in a bucket, trick or treating the neighbours, silly games with loo roll and buns with spider icing on I reckon.  No more Wacky Warehouse do's for me!  I'd rather stick pins in my eyes, which is rather appropriate for Halloween as it happens.  

Unfortunate Language Development....
Rare night out
Unfortunate Language Development.....

Once again this is just a quick blog.  I'll waffle for as long as this packet of chocolate raisins last for, and then I really should actually go to bed on time.

I neeeed to record this, because it cracked me up no end.  I don't think any god-fearing, responsible parent should be amused by this, but I can't help myself.  I apologise for my immature sense of humour in advance. (grovels)  I suspect this is an example of bad parenting, but then I've never pretended to be perfect. 

OH took S to the park the other day and when he came home he told me about S's newest linguistic trick / development.  S has learnt to say 'Faster'.  Problem is, he doesn't say his 'F's' properly, he uses 'B's' instead; in addition to this he adds a 'd' at the end, for reasons only known to himself.  I'll leave you to work out the word, although I'll give you a hint.  It sounds very like the word 'Bar Steward'.

Consequently poor OH had a son shouting 'B*sterd Daddy!' over and over again, as he pushed him on the swings - there were tons of other parents there too.  I think they were probably too polite to say anything and maybe sniggered about it afterwards.  OH was a mixture of embarrassed and highly amused.

We decided we needed to help him get over his 'F' problem and spent a while trying to get him to say 'Faster' properly.  This did not go to plan at all.  It just meant that he repeated the word after us incorrectly every time, to great comic effect.  OH and I ended up nearly crying with laughter and S just sat there looking at us like we were mad, repeating the word 'B*sterd' every now and then.  The more serious we tried to be, the worse it got.  Very, very, unfortunately funny.  D was thankfullly in bed at the time or would no doubt have been taking notes.   She's taken to shouting 'For God's sake!' and looking very proud of herself recently.  Looks like both my two are learning the linguistic ropes a little too quickly for my liking.

I don't think I dare take S to the park until he's mastered the 'F' sound, I'd either die laughing or have to find a hole to curl up in.  On the up side, S said last night before bed....'Mummy boves me' which was frankly adorable. 

DaisychainBaby.co.uk 2nd birthday Baffle in Honour of The Children's Trust
Rare night out
DaisychainBaby.co.uk 2nd birthday Baffle in Honour of The Children's Trust

This is blatantly a copy and paste from @Mummiafelice's blog (with her permission of course).  I just really wanted to help out with publicising a really good cause, and what will no doubt be a fabulous event.  Why not go along.  I would if I could! :O)

'On Wednesday 3rd November 2010, online eco-friendly kids store DaisychainBaby.co.uk will be hosting their 2nd birthday baffle in honour of The Childrens Trust.

The event, to take place at London's Museum of Childhood from 6-9pm, is set to be a fun & FREE evening as the DCB team celebrate two years of trading and raise funds for their chosen charity partners.

Join them for champagne, nibbles, the chance to win some great prizes at the raffle, networking, and to see the DaisychainBaby.co.uk collection at heavily discounted prices (10% of all sales made on the night will also go to The Childrens Trust).

For an invitation to their party, please email Lins Drabwell - lins@daisychainbaby.co.uk - and she'll pop you onto the guest list :)

Such a great cause and hosted by an amazing company. As a customer myself, I can tell you you're in for a treat!

Happy Birthday DaisychainBaby!! I hope you all have a fabulous evening and lots of funds and awareness are made for the awesome The Childrens Trust charity!!'

Columnist Competition!
Rare night out
This blog is basically a competition entry.  @Beachrambler very kindly forwarded an email about a magazine looking for a columnist.  

The email stated that they they will select six people who will have their column featured in the magazine, it will then be put to a public vote to decide who they would like to hear more from - the selected person will then be asked to write five further (paid for!!) columns.

I ummed and aahed, and had personal confidence crises, and generally told myself off for being too cocky and thinking I even have a chance at this kind of thing - but I also managed to write some babble and email it to them.

The biggest problem is that that it is a Scottish magazine so they will probably want a Scottish columnist.  Having said that, I am just holding onto the vague hope that lots of their readers are dyslexic and will read 'Lancashire' as 'Lanarkshire.'

I finished writing this at 2.30am this morning as today was the deadline, I've not done something like this since exams many, many years ago.   Thank god for coffee!  This will probably be the last I'll hear from them, but I'll never know if I don't try.  In it to win it an' all that! 

The subjects closest to my heart are my family, and comping - both are my passion and my solace when I feel fed up (I won a ton of books yesterday!!  Woohoo by the way!) - so that was the topic I chose to write about.

So anyway.  Here's what I wrote.  If any of you could hassle the Comping Fairy for luck on my behalf I'd be most grateful.  

A little about myself:

I am a 35 year old mother of two young children, wife of a PC and 'retro' games addict, feeder of cat. When I had kids I gave up work to dedicate myself to looking after them and the house - which I do approximately. If asked I often say that we live happily and chaotically on the Brink of Bedlam in Lancashire at the top of a huge, pushchair unfriendly hill.

Throughout my life I have always loved being in the thick of things. I enjoy being with people, doing new things, seeing places and generally being active. I don’t like to sit still, life is too short to waste.

I have a quirky sense of humour and like to look for the sparkle in the ordinary day to day slog. My hobby is ‘Comping’, and I think that goes alongside my optimistic nature; to quote Forrest Gump ‘Life’s a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!’. My passions in life are my family, my comping hobby and nature. I love nothing more than climbing a huge hill and taking in a fantastic view, with my, more often than not, reluctant family in tow.

Column 1 The Weird and Wonderful World of ‘Comping!’

Quote from my diary in June, 2010 - 'S woke me up at 5.45am, threw everything he could pick up out of his room, screamed 'I am a poo' for about an hour, and the cat was sick. Postman then delivered an empty jam jar in a posh box.'

This is a typical diary entry for me, on a normal day believe it or not! I have a 2 year old son who refuses to sleep; a thankfully near angelic (in comparison) five year old daughter and an occasionally poorly cat. I also have a hobby that sometimes means I receive weird post, such as the above – apparently a jam jar is considered traditional Moonshine ‘glassware’ in certain parts of America. I may be an uneducated idiot, but when it turned up on the doorstep I thought it looked like something to keep jam in, or at a push, tadpoles.

You see, I ‘comp’ which basically means I enter competitions an awful lot. Basically I spend hours glued to my computer entering prize draws, trawling magazines for competitions and entry forms and scouring supermarkets for products running promotions, with varying results. The empty jam jar was one of the ‘varying results.’ Sometimes I win lovely useful things, sometimes I just end up with odd prizes I just don’t quite know what do with.

The other half of my life is spent keeping my family fed, watered and happy as best I can, while my husband works. We can just about manage on the one wage, but I ‘comp’ to help ends meet at Christmas and birthdays. You may have heard about ‘comping’ in the papers or on the news and have wondered if it really is a way to make money - that is the way these stories are often angled. Well, if you ask me, the answer is definitely no – I do not make money, but the hobby does make my life more interesting (said with tongue firmly placed in cheek), and it helps out a little.

I definitely think that it helps to be an optimist too. If you think positively and work hard (and when I say work hard, I mean enter as many competitions as you can – I do a minimum of 50 day on the internet, from magazines and on Facebook and Twitter) you will eventually get a result, whether it be a years worth of Twiglets or a book of stamps, something will turn up. Until then, prepare for no-one to take you seriously. My family and friends mercilessly teased me about my wins or the lack of them, until I won a washing machine, a years worth of Haagen Daaz and a weekend cruise. It can be done!

Comping certainly makes Christmas more interesting for relatives….. I don’t actually know how popular I am with the in-laws and extended family these days as I make the most of my wins and tend to hand out slightly bizarre Christmas presents that will ‘probably do’ for them. My Auntie Jill has never shown much enthusiasm for birdwatching, but I decided she would benefit from a bird feeder, bird food, bird table and accompanying stylish bird bath last December 25th; I won them earlier in the year and couldn’t seem to find a home for them. I think she liked them…. (crosses fingers)

By now, I’m presuming you’re sat there thinking I’m a geek, but considering the current financial climate which is cool to say the least, I really couldn’t give a flying pig about what people think of me as long as I’m helping keep us afloat.

My kids positively pounce on the post these days, and can unwrap any amount of brown paper and cellotape in milliseconds, my husband has a varied and interesting diet made up of whatever food is currently flogging a competition on the packaging, and I get post that isn’t always a bill, a free newspaper or a leaflet for double glazing. I say ‘Yes!’ to the weird and wonderful world of comping, and ‘Bring on the jam jars!’

Column 1 - The Weird and Wonderful World of Comping. (see above)

Column 2 – What makes a Comper?
I’ve met many interesting people whilst Comping and I’d love to chat about some of them and the personal circumstances that lead them to this hobby. They come from all walks of life and yet all share an enthusiasm for this incredibly unpredictable and sometimes life-changing hobby. Compers tend to be more optimistic than most, and in some cases more competitive than most. I guess it goes with the territory. I’d like write about compers’ attitudes to luck in particular. I bet you didn’t realize there was a Comping Fairy did you!

Column 2 – How to kick-start your Comping Career.
I’ll discuss about how to find competitions, is it essential to subscribe to a competition magazine for example? I will try and outline the very basics of comping and comping equipment. Personally I couldn’t do without my internet connection, but then again I’d go mad without my regular celebrity gossip emails, let alone doing without my online comping links. It is possible to comp without a computer. This column is about where to start, where to look for comps and what groups are available to get you on the right track.

Column 3 – Unusual or Random Prizes
It’s important to focus on what you want to win, if you find a mine of pet competitions and enter all of them, without owning so much as a hamster – you may very well end up with wins that you don’t know what to do with. Even if you comp carefully, you can still end up with bizarre prizes occasionally. Over the years I’ve enjoyed seeing people win some fantastic things, but I have to admit I’ve found it even more enjoyable to hear about the odd things that fellow compers’ have either inadvertently or purposefully won – eg, the severed hand which was a prop from a horror film (talk about bills being scary!).

Column 4 – How to make the most of your wins.
I save most of my wins for Christmas, for birthdays and for random treats for my kids. This does mean I have to race the kids to the postbox every now and then. I can hear a ‘thunk’ of something that isn’t junk mail from the other end of the house over the sound of that god-awful JLS song that my daughter keeps putting on repeat and my son shouting gibberish about potties, every time – I have to get there first or the parcel is ripped open and ‘bagsied.’ Here I’d like to write about the aforesaid, racing to the postbox, what to do with ridiculous amounts of health food drinks (I won a huge box of Aronia Juice earlier this year) My son loved the stuff, although it turned his poo slightly purple which worried me for a while!

Column 5 – The Holy Grail of Comping – Foreign Holidays and White Goods
It is possible, although I’ve never managed it (looks bitter and stares at feet).

'Swimming & Silliness & Sentimentality versus Reality'
Rare night out

Swimming girlpoolleaves 

Today it was my turn for a lie in so I snoozed till 10.30pm. Heaven! I could hear the kids downstairs with their dad, and all the yelling and shouting and laughing and banging around – I didn’t have to supervise them, or feed them or anything. I love my lie ins.

Eventually I got up, ambled downstairs and had breakfast and a lovely, scalding hot cup of tea. On school days I usually manage to gulp down half a cup of lukewarm tea – I always feel cheated. So, yes, I love lazy Saturday mornings with toast and a brew.

By lunchtime I’d got dressed and D and I headed out to the swimming baths. Earlier this week I missed D’s swimming lessons because I’d simply lost her swimming costume. It turned up shoved in the bottom of S’s pushchair. Anyway, she missed her swimming lesson because I’d been an idiot, so today I made up for it and took her myself.

We arrived, got changed and I very gingerly climbed into the freezing water. Daisy is a much tougher cookie than me, she wasn’t bothered at all about the temperature; I, on the other hand, am a complete wuss. I also hate swimming. A couple of years ago I swam the distance of the channel, over a period of three months and I swam so much I think I made myself swimming-pool-phobic.

Anyway! D loved it, and I did eventually - once I’d stopped shivering. D swam a width and I was very proud. We had fun trekking up and down the pool – me walking up and down the pool with her piggybackingand inadvertently near-drowning me. I noticed the pool attendant watching us and I think it was more to check I didn’t drown than to check D was ok. D kept getting over enthusiastic and jumped up and down on my back. Great fun for her, mouthfuls of water for me!

We managed to get hold of one of the huge square floats they give out. Fabulous stuff. I hauled D onto the float as best I could and then she tried to stand up. Every time she fell over with a huge splash and I dragged her up out of the water. It was lovely to laugh and muck about like a 5 year old. When I’ve been swimming with friends we’ve always just swum up and down, all respectable like, and it’s nice, but it’s nothing compared to splashing around like a mad thing. To my shame, I actually ended up trying to climb onto the float too, although I couldn’t get to the standing up bit, or even the kneeling bit to be honest. I just tended to haul myself onto it and then me and the float would tip slowly backwards while I giggled loads and flailed about. Very immature, but who gives a damn!

There was a lovely moment when me and D were clinging onto the side of the pool. A shaft of sunlight came through the window, right where we were. Daisy commented that it was lovely how the light shimmered (I think that was the word she used) on her arms and on the side of the pool with the reflections from the water. What a sweet little observation. It seems far too easy to just run around in ever decreasing circles ‘organising’ the kids and not ever taking the time to actually listen to them.

We clambered out of the baths and walked home with our hair soggy and chlorine soaked.  Once back, we set off to see my sister’s new house. She’s moving and is in the midst of the chaos. I commented that it was nice that she’d prioritised the Cake, which puzzled her a little. Instead of plain cardboard boxes, my sis has used boxes from her work, all of which are labelled ‘Cake’ if you view them from the side. That’s what I call sensible packing. Who needs boxes labelled with boring things like ‘kitchen’ or ‘ornaments,’ when you can simply pretend they're all full of Cake.

H (sister) and I stood looking out the window at my two kids and their two cousins playing in the new back garden, chucking autumn leaves everywhere. I had a sentimental moment, and said ‘Aren’t they playing well, we’re so lucky to have such great kids!’ At that very moment D started yelling at her brother for nicking her leaves – as if there weren’t enough of them! S then decided to take his annoyance out on his older cousin, quite literally grabbing a fistful of his hair and yanking it. Cousin started shouting and the idyllic picture was shattered.  I ran out into the garden doing my shouty mum thing. Floods of tears ensued and we took that as our cue to leave.

I am prone to being overly sentimental, problem being, reality shatters it all too quickly. No sooner do the kids look cute, than they start hitting each other with sticks or something.

And on that note, I'm calling it a day!  To summarise, D and I spent some quality time together without her brother harassing her for a change; S decided he'd like to remove Tyler's scalp; I got all soppy about kids and then got reminded all too quickly that they're little monsters in cute kid costumes sometimes.  End of! Speaking of which....

I’d just like to say thank you to Simon Blake for allowing me to guest blog this week, and thank you to his readers and mine for accompanying me on my marathon blogging mission! I hope you’ve enjoyed the reviews and the waffle, and that you’ll visit both the Bloggity Blog and The Brink of Bedlam once again. I supply virtual tea and biscuits on demand on my blog on a virtual comfy sofa too by the way…. ;O)

Blogger's Block
Rare night out
Blogger’s Block!

(Guest blogged on @sim999's blog too!)

A quick mindless blog, from a mindless blogger. This evening I’m afraid I’m all blogged out. I have never managed a week’s worth of blogs before and my brain is bashed and bruised from brainstorming blog topics.

Apologies in advance! I need to blog for 300 words, so according to Word I have another 240 to come up with. The temptation is to try and come up with as many words that begin with ‘B’ to follow on from the aBove paragraph – with this being a ‘Blog’ this is at least appropriate. One very rude one comes to mind, but I shan’t put that for fear of censorship. Instead I shall resort to ‘Badger’ ‘Brie’ ‘Brick’ and ‘Big’ and erm……(racks brains)…..’Biggles?’ (I haven’t thought about that book for about a ‘Billion’ years, dunno where that came from!

I think I have ‘Bloggers Block’ which actually sounds far more impressive than ‘Writers Block’ due to the neat alliteration. So here you are…a full on demonstration of the ‘Block’ in question….see blank space to follow.

Good wasn’t it. An actual physical representation of what is going on in my head. A mixture of fresh air, space and non-inspiration neatly encapsulated on a small piece of page.

It’s not that I haven’t done anything today, it’s just that I’m struggling to string a sentence together in any kind of logical order. Let me try….. I’m afraid you may have to concentrate in order to make sense of these.

‘Swimming I went.’ (Actually, that sounds almost ‘Yoda-esque’)

‘Training-toilet I did Horrid’ (and it was!)

And that is about the sum total of my day. There were brief periods of Pingu, and cups of tea, but nothing more exciting than that.

S poked himself in the eye with a stick and caused me to worry unnecessarily for a while. D ate all her dinner. Very exciting.

Tomorrow I plan to blog properly and with gusto and enthusiasm! Watch this space…this space right here though, not the blank space up there – it’s not very interesting.

Ups and Downs!
Rare night out
Ups and Downs!

Today's blog entry is an overview of my week to record for posterity. When I’m old and grey and look back on the kids’ younger years with rose-tinted glasses, I want to remind myself of how it really was.

Yesterday I wasn't woken up by an alarm clock, I was simply jolted out of sleep as D raced up the attic stairs shouting 'Mum, he's been throwing poo at me!' I groaned, rolled out of bed and crawled downstairs with D listing a huge catalogue of terrible things S had done, toothpaste on teddies, chucking her toys on the floor etc etc.

I think S knew he was in trouble because I couldn't find him at first, and then I noticed the duvet on D's floor heaving about a bit and a foot sticking out. He got a severe telling off and I had to change all D's sheets and get the Dettol out. Luckily it wasn't quite as bad as I imagined, but it was bad enough!

Poor D is putting up with a hell of a lot at the moment. Today I left the room and returned to find S threatening D with the pepperpot - and I'm talking arm raised aggressively, with her holding her hand over her face in case he went for her. Not funny at all to be honest. Just downright worrying.

I told him off and put him on the naughty step for a while, while he raged at me and tried to slap me. I love being a mum, I really do. But today I had enough! Terrible twos! Terrible, terrifying, torturous, twos more like. I long for the 'Threes' to arrive. I'm hoping they'll be easier, and if you're a parent and know otherwise - just don't tell me! I'd rather just hope in ignorance thank you very much.

What really tipped me over the edge earlier this week was something really stupid. I was late, I wanted to put some washing in, but couldn't. The washing machine couldn't be opened because of a pile of washing just in front of it; I couldn't move the washing without moving the chair that had been put on top of it, and S was stood on it refusing to get down and was happily shouting aggressive gibberish at me. I just wanted to cry. It just gets so frustrating not being able to do the simplest of tasks.

Our cat has had enough of our son this week too. S seems to have a thing for moisturiser cream. I suffer from excema so constantly have the stuff next to my computer desk or generally lying around (should keep it out the way really) as I need to remember to apply it as often as possible. Anyway...S keeps getting hold of it and oozing the stuff all over the place - including the cat. So we've had the green kitty episode and now we have the moisturised kitty episode. Kitty was not amused - I was, against my will of course.

The problem is that this fascination with moisturiser cream is combined with a love of the expresso coffee in the fridge. Recently we've really struggled to stop him from raiding the fridge and have resorted to putting bolts on the kitchen door to keep him out of the kitchen when I have to leave the room. The other day I forgot and returned to the front room where thought he'd be happily still watching Pingu, instead I found piles of espresso coffee scattered around the living room like mole hills - including a particularly large pile on OH's computer chair, where S had previously plastered moisturiser. Coffee sticks to moisturiser pretty effectively I've found. OH has to now sit on a chair that looks like, well…. like someone's had a terrible accident on it.

I've just had enough this week. Tonight I decided to bath S before bed, S did not want to be bathed! He screamed and struggled while I undressed him - cried hysterically and tried to clamber out of the bath whilst I washed him - then he yelled and screamed and tried to climb back in the bath while I tried to dry him. I eventually got him back in his room and tried to get him into his pyjamas - whereupon he fought me and undressed himself as fast as I could dress him. Then he proceeded to slap me whilst I was putting his pyjamas on so I said he was not going to have his usual breast feed (only has one feed a day now, trying to wean him off it). Cue absolute hysteria! He threw books, he refused to climb into bed, he went mad. Eventually I calmed him down, and we both ended up sat in bed sobbing - him curled up in my arms saying 'Sorry mummy' over and over again. He is so incredibly frustrated at not being able to do what he wants, and I can so understand how he feels sometimes.

On a more postitive note, I found out this week that my daughter is to be put in the year above to study maths, because she is so good at it. I may be boasting, but frankly, I don't care! I am so unbelievably proud of my little love. She certainly doesn't get her talents from me. Having failed GCSE maths three times, even with private tuition, I'm now beginnng to wonder if the fairies secretly swapped her when she was a baby. How can any child of mine be good at maths? I can't add anything over ten without having to take my shoes and socks off and count my toes. If she’s doing so well, maybe I'm doing something right after all. I certainly hope so. Fingers and toes crossed.

This is how I've felt all week! 


Log in