This time last year I lived a charmed life.
Sure, I still got up around 6:30am, and it’s always pretty dark at that time of the day at this time of year, but I didn’t have poke my head outside until around 8:30 when we left for Primary school. Unless it’s raining or snowing heavily, there was usually something resembling daylight in the sky.
But now DD1 has started secondary school, it’s a different story. Now, I usually find myself staggering to the car just after 7am so I can give my eldest a lift down to the bus stop. It’s only 10 minutes walk away, and when the mornings are lighter, she can walk. But at the moment it’s dark and cold. I take pity on her and usually give her a lift.
It’s usually a matter of minutes before I’m home again, but yesterday morning the temperature plummeted for the first time this year and I was confronted with this.
I’d forgotten that I might have to defrost the windscreen before we set off. Of course I couldn’t find the scraper anywhere, so had to resort to using the side of my residents’ card in a blind panic. We nearly missed the bus.
Still, as I drove home after dropping DD off, I looked in the rear vision mirror and got an eyeful of the most glorious sunrise.
To see who is a morning person, and who isn’t, check out this week’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.
An Amazon Addict.
I do 90% of my shopping through Amazon, as I love the way I just need to press a button to buy anything. I don’t need to remember any passwords, or enter any card details. I don’t want to visit dozens of different websites, compare prices and delivery terms before selecting the best deal, then have to wrestle with my credit card details and passwords in an effort to pay. Basically I shop with Amazon because I’m lazy.
At this time of the year Amazon is a godsend. Over the year I’ve been compiling wish lists for the kids, so now Christmas is approaching, all I need to do is work my way down the list and press ‘add to basket’ a lot. Even DH will happily put together a wish list, so I don’t have to worry about getting him a book he’s already read or a CD he already has.
I have an Amazon Prime membership ( £49 / year) which must pay for itself during the month of December, let alone the other 11 months. Oh and if I have to return anything, it’s not too much hassle that I just don’t bother. I figure this saves me money in the long run as well.
Do I feel guilty for not supporting smaller retailers and shops on my high street? Yes, a little. I do try and buy locally when I’m on the high street, but I’m not going to drive anywhere especially to buy something, when it can be delivered the next day for cheaper.
I also feel bad about not supporting bookstores but we already have too many books in the house, and I now have a kindle for my books. And of course you buy kindle books from Amazon.
I also happen to hate shopping ; if I’m doing it online there are no crowds, no rude shop assistants and no sorting through the stock trying to find what I’m looking for.
I know Amazon is a retail giant that doesn’t pay enough tax, and doesn’t treat its staff particularly well. I watched that Panorama program and was prepared to be horrified but actually, I didn’t think it was that bad.
So here I am, still sitting firmly on the fence. I love Amazon for its easy payments and fast delivery but feel uneasy about the ethics involved.
What it comes down to is that I don’t feel bad enough to try and do anything about my Amazon habit.
And besides, where else would the cats get that many boxes to play in from?
Christmas has got so commercial hasn’t it? Now the adverts start in November, urging us to spend, spend, spend and buy things. But do things really make us happy? So many people look so stressed during this time of year.
Here’s something to help you feel REALLY Christmassy. An Advent Calendar where you give instead of receive. Sign up here and each day of December you will be emailed details of a small task of kindness.
This is my first year of doing this, but I’m assured that I won’t be asked to do anything difficult or unpleasant. The examples given are ‘phone a friend’ and ‘thank the postman’. Most people can stretch to this kind of thing, can’t they?
And I’m going to open each day’s task in front of my children and get them to think about how they could participate too.
Does anyone else want to join me?
It’s almost December, and one of the Christmas Traditions we have in this house is the daily opening of the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. I’ve used them for their excellent ecards for years and certainly got my money’s worth out of them, but their Advent Calendars are the most fun you can have online at Christmas.
Last year we enjoyed every day of the Alpine Village calendar but this year we’ve chosen the new Edwardian Period calendar, as something different.
‘Our new Edwardian period Advent Calendar will transport you to a grand English country house as the staff make the elaborate preparations for Christmas. You can even help with the decorations yourself, while every day there’s a delightful little animated story to watch, or a fun new game to play. Explore the magnificent house and gardens, settle down in the Library to read fascinating facts about the period, and enjoy our gorgeous artwork, beautifully observed animation, and atmospheric Christmas music.’
And thanks to Jacquie Lawson giving me a free Calendar when I renewed my annual card subscription, I now have one to give away. If you’d like it, all you need to do is have a look through Jacqui Lawson’s Christmas/ Winter Cards and let me know which is your favourite in a comment below.
It’s going to have to be a speedy giveaway so that you can have the calendar uploaded on their computer ready for Sunday, therefore I’ll draw a winner at 8 pm tomorrow.
Only two days to go until we can start exploring our calendar. The kids are hugely excited.
And the random number drawn is number 8. SaraJ, please email me on email@example.com and I’ll send you the code and instructions.
When you have children at different schools, I suppose it’s inevitable that there is going to be a clash at some point.
We’ve been spoilt by having ours at primary school together for so long. Even though up until this year, 2 were technically in Infants and two were in Juniors, the schools co ordinated their concerts and parents’ evenings and there was no clashing.
Now DD1 is at secondary school in a different county, there is no such consideration. And so, it was with a sinking heart I opened the weekly Parentmail and read the date of the music concert. It is the same date as DD3′s Christmas concert.
Our youngest daughter’s concert is selling tickets for a daytime session as well as an evening show, so theoretically DH and I could go and see her on stage at 9:30 am, and then both attend our eldest’s concert that evening. But first we’d have to find a baby sitter that can get to us for around 6:15pm and is happy to put the kids to bed, and then find someone who can pick up DD3 for her show and drop her home again. And we mustn’t forget DD2 who needs dropping off and picking up from Brownies as well.
So it’s probably best if one of us goes to DD3′s morning concert, and one goes to the evening one. That means only one will go to the secondary school concert and we’d still need a babysitter for the younger ones as they can’t really go to the concerts.
Or maybe we could both go to the morning show and one can stay home during the evening to do all the picking up and dropping off, as well as bedtime.
But will DD1 be upset if we don’t both come and watch her sing/ perform? Will DD3 be upset if she has to perform when there is no parent to watch her? When you have more than one child, you can’t please all of the children all of the time, that’s for sure…
It’s all too much sometimes, so I’m going to file it away in the ‘Too Hard’ box for a couple of days and hopefully the answer will eventually become clear.
In the mean time, can anyone out there tell me if they have a family plan for diary clashes? There must be others out there that this happens to!
This November, I have been watching the weather.
I’m really keen not to have a repeat of last years very wet winter; as a dog owner I was thoroughly sick of mud by the time spring decided to arrive. Instead I want cold, frosty weather with maybe a good spell of snow for the kids to enjoy.
There has been a lot of talk in the tabloids about how this winter is going to be the coldest in years but I’m a cynical old bag these days, and want to have proof of things before I go repeating them. So everyday I log onto netweather, look at the forecast for my area and then I check out the Jetstream.
The Jetstream is an extremely fast, very wide, ‘river’ of air that flows around the earth from West to East, high up in the atmosphere. Landmasses and the rotation of the earth stop the Jetstream from flowing in a straight line, and cause it to meander in waves instead. In the picture above, the Jetstream is moving more quickly in the red areas and more slowly in the yellow areas. Warmer air usually stays South of the Jetstream ( nearer to the equator) and cooler air stays North of it ( closer to the poles).
So what happens when the Jetstream is right over the UK? Look outside. Wet, windy weather is typical.
You can learn more about the Jetstream and how it works here, but for the purposes of this post, all you need to know is that the picture above suggests a good frost is unlikely in the next few days, at least in or around London. For a cold frosty winter, we need the Jet stream to move South of the UK, so some of the cold weather from the north can reach down across the country.
To join me in keeping an eye on the Jet Stream, take a look at Netweathers Jetstream Forecast now and again. Of course, watching the weather doesn’t influence it in the slightest, but at least you’ll be well informed.
To see what others have been up to this November, pop on over to This week’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers.
DD1 is eleven years old. She’s just started secondary school and we’ve upgraded her from a basic call-and-text only Nokia to a bottom of the range Samsung smart phone. She thinks it’s the bee’s knees.
She can now take photos and send them to her friends. She can now go online and watch YouTube videos. And she can now worship at the alter of the great god Social Media. Or can she?
Our problem is that all of the sites she wants to join have a lower age limit of at least 13. WhatsApp, Facebook, Pinterest and her personal favourite, Instagram. For all of these you are supposed to be 13 or over, but her friends who are mostly 11 and 12, all seem to have them on their phones.
‘I’m the only one who doesn’t', wails my daughter. And I think she may be right.
So what’s going on? Do their parents not know there is a lower age limit to join these sites? Do their parents not care?
I don’t know, and I can’t really ask. Secondary school is not like primary school. These mothers are not my friends. I am lucky if I have their phone numbers and know their names. If I start talking to them about why their children have lied about their ages, that’s not going to come over terribly well is it?
So I’ll stay quiet. DD will be 12 next month so she’s not going to be 13 for another year. She really wants Instagram on her phone. She has researched it well.
- You must be 13 years or older to use this site.
- You may not post nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photos.
- You are responsible for any activity that occurs under your screen name.
- You are responsible for keeping your password secure.
- You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Instagram users.
Apart from number 1, these all fit in well with how I’ve told her she must use her time online. It seems harmless doesn’t it? And she keeps pleading. Sometimes she has tears in her eyes…
So what should I do? What have you done? And if you’ve let your child have access to Social Media and allowed them to lie about their age, how do you justify it?