So Who Is Inspiring the Tweens to Vlog? 

If you are the parent of a Tween and you have noticed them talking to themselves and making weird facial and hand movements very animatedly into a device, the chances are you have a Vlogger in your midst.

That is, of course, if they are not just taking a selfie!

So for ease, I am going to start with a couple of definitions.

Tween – a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.

Vlogger – Video Blogger – One who records a video blog.

A vlog or video blog is a blog (short for weblog) which uses video as the primary content  A video logger who creates video content about their life and travels!

Source : Urban Dictionary

Vlog It!

Has the world gone mad I hear you cry.  First Blogging and now Vlogging!

I may be preaching to the wise and converted here but for those of you that are wondering what it’s all about, I am about to explain my findings.

I thought this would be useful for parents, who like myself, find themselves and their daughters becoming a part of this ever growing phenomenon.

So, as a Blogger myself who comes into regular contact with Vlogs, Vloggers and Vlogging, I thought I would take a peek into the world of the Vloggers and Bloggers that are capturing the attention and imagination of our Tween’s.

As a parent of a 10 year old daughter, as well as being interested in finding out more about these Vloggers, I also have one eye on my daughter’s safety online and the other on making sure that she is viewing appropriate content.

So first up – the lovely Zoella (Zoe Sugg).

I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  You may not have seen her channel but she is often in the news and is always very prominent in the Tween magazines along with her fellow Vloggers.

Zoella reached the milestone of having 10 million subscribers to her You Tube channel this year.  Starting as an accidental Blogger five years ago at the age of  19, Zoella now has a very successful career as a professional Blogger and Vlogger.

As you may or may not know, one can earn money from V(B)logging through brand sponsorship and endorsement as well as from launching their own product ranges and public appearances to list but a few sources of income.

Zoella has had several books published and as I understand it (!) part of the appeal is that she is part of a group of Vloggers and Bloggers that are friends.

I have read the blog and seen her You Tube channel.  The content is varied and covers everything from days out to hair do’s, make-up & skincare tutorials, recipes, friendships, girly stuff, pets and having fun.

Zoella is very sweet in a girl next door kind of way.  She is also squeaky clean which is a thumbs up for parents and she is also very likeable.  Not a bad role model to have in my opinion. She is also very successful through her own sheer hard work.   Another positive.

Some other facts :

Brighton seems to be the mecca for these Vloggers with some of them being based there.

You will also come across the ‘haul’ trend

Haul  a shopping spree

a vlog titled “Makeup Haul” or “(Store Name) Haul” is a video showing a shopping spree in that given area, showing products or clothing that will usually be featured in future How To, or tutorial videos

Source : Urban Dictionary

Of course any ‘haul’ is mainly going to be brand endorsement or sponsorship and is therefore marketing by definition but we have had no demands for purchases made as a result of this.  Also very important when the pound is in the hand of the parent.

Here are some of the other VFFs (Vlogging Friends Forever) who you may stumble upon.

  • Zoella’s boyfriend, Alfie Deyes (Pointless Blog) is also a Vlogger
  • Her brother, Joe Zugg (Thatcher Joe)
  • Marcus Butler (Alfie Deyes friend)
  • Tanya Burr (Zoella’s friend)
  • Jim Chapman (Tanya Burr’s boyfriend)
  • Louise Pentland (Zoella’s bestie) SprinkleofGlitter
  • Caspar Lee (Friend and former flatmate of Alfie Deyes)

And here is Zoella on her You Tube channel with some of her VFFs in case you have no idea of what I am talking about.

 

So What Is The Appeal?

I took the opportunity of asking my daughter this question and I was really interested in the answer.  Obviously I know why people Blog and Vlog in the adult world and why people follow them but the younger Vloggers have been a bit of a grey area for me up until now.

I wanted to understand

Q    Why the appeal?

A    Zoella is likeable, relatable and homely

Q    Do you feel you have to buy/have the things she talks about?

A     Of course not

What Does Mum Think?

From what I can see with my mummy head on, it’s all harmless fun and entertainment.

There is always lots of laughter when Zoella is on and it’s really no different from watching the TV or reading a book to an extent.

Obviously it can be addictive viewing which we will always monitor.

And then there is the marketing element which is, unfortunately, going to be present wherever the kids are looking and watching and there will naturally be some kind of influence.  Thus far I don’t feel that this has been a problem.  Nor does it mean we have to rise to it. What I have seen my daughter and her friends do in this regard is to create their own haul with their own little products.

Any Vlogging that is done by my Tween is monitored and will only be shareable amongst those that we know.  I am mindful that this point in particular is a bit of a moveable feast but our current parental control settings don’t even allow access to Amazon!  We are all over that one.  For obvious reasons.

All in all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

And Finally!

I would just like to add that we had the fruit picking idea first (*BAE) but I am happy to concede that any future visit to Brighton will be solely for the purpose of being groupies.  I have no choice but to #hashtag along – really!

I can also testify that Tanya Burr’s Chocolate Cornflake Cookies are divine and if this cooking behaviour continues then I would be a fool to complain.

Tanya Burr's Chocolate Cornflake Cookies

What Are Your Thoughts?

Are you familiar with this crowd and the world of Vlogging?  If not, I hope this post has helped and I would love to hear your thoughts.

And, if you are already converted “we’ll see ya in Brighton with your haul”!

Nicky

 

*Before anyone else!!!!

 

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Exercise – Getting My Just Desserts 

I have written in recent blogs about my quest to find clothing to accommodate my new shape and flatter my new curves.

You may have noticed that I have very tactically avoided the very delicate subject of exercise and diet, other than the odd reference to Prosecco and salad.

I have noticed!

For the record, I have been one of those annoying people that has glided through life eating all of the wrong things in excess and never putting on a pound.

I’ve also glided through life as a bit of a fair weather exerciser.

So really you could call say that I am getting my just desserts.

And that is of course where the problem starts.  With the desserts.

But I’ve had my moment and it’s time to give something back.

To shape up or ship out.

The problem I have, quite simply, is that I do not like exercising and I do love eating.  And generally I love eating all of the wrong things.

So in my cosy little corner, I have continued to do all of the naughty things very well.

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with exercise.  Interesting in so far as I’ve never really found an activity that has interested me.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve loved a lot of the classes that I’ve done over the years but probably not enough to continue ad infinitum.

And it’s the keeping going that has been the sticking point.  I am very easily able to find a million things I would rather be doing and a further million as to why I shouldn’t be exercising.

I have never been a person that has enjoyed exercising.  I have waited my whole life to experiencing the ‘high’ that people speak of from running but it seems to have just run straight by me – literally.

I guess I’ve always assumed that everyone else is enjoying their efforts and that is why they do it.  So I suppose I’ve always been a bit embarrassed to admit that I don’t enjoy it.  A bit uncool even.  Because whenever I see people showing up either by running or going to a class, I assume that are enjoying themselves and experiencing the ‘high’ of which people speak.

If I had a flag with me, I’d wave them on.

My current loves are Yoga and Walking.  Exercise of course but not the toning, fat burning, pulse racing kind of thing that perhaps I now need.

It was somewhat timely that I noticed an advert for bloggers to participate in a free private coaching session in return for an honest review with Samantha Hadfield, Fit & Flourish, Body Transformation Expert.

Wonderful, I thought.  This ties in perfectly with my series around body changes for the 40+ woman.

I had no idea what to expect from this Transformation Session but I guess in my little heart, I probably had high hopes that I was going to return home sylph like having dropped two dresses all toned and lovely.  In an hour!

See what I mean about my ideology around exercise.

So off I went to meet the lovely Samantha at her new location in Covent Garden.

Samantha Hadfield

Samantha is a Body Transformation Expert who helps women who are fed up with feeling fed up, tired of feeling tired, have tried everything and nothing has worked and who just want to do something to transform their bodies once and for all.  The key is to provide women with the tools and knowledge to not only reach out to their body, health and fitness goals but to also maintain their new body for life.

We talked about me, my hopes, my pitfalls and we went through the usual tests and checks to establish my body metrics.

I was weighed on proper scales and not the set that I move around the room until I get my desired weight.  How cruel!

We also did a brief fitness assessment to establish where I was at with my fitness levels.

And then the results.

And I needed to hear the results.  Because actually, deep down in my trainers and in my cosy little eating place, I knew that it was time for some action.

And this is where someone like Samantha comes in.  Because it’s all about accountability.  About knowing that someone is going to hold you to your commitment.  Knowing that when you can’t be bothered, there is someone waiting for you to turn up and help you to achieve your goals.

It was also music to my ears to know that actually most people DON’T enjoy exercise.  This was a revelation to me and it made me feel so normal I wanted to hug this wonderful lady.

Samantha went on to talk about the different exercises she introduces to her clients and how they tend to work in groups.  The main focus being on having fun.  Because actually no one wants to be doing exercise but it is necessary and it does take us to the place we want to be.

We also talked about food.  Again, I love it eat but do I spend time considering what I am eating?  No I don’t.  Again, not unusual.

We then went through a mini training session which I have to say I did thoroughly enjoy.  I also found it difficult which is testament to my current level of fitness. And I ached the next day so I really felt that it had done some good.


There was just time left in my session to set some goals which was a great focus for me.  I talked about what I didn’t want to have to do anymore – keep buying larger clothes and what I did want to do – feel comfortable and get back to wearing the things that I wanted to.  To be able to look in the mirror and say ‘yep, I’m happy with that’.

Unfortunately, I am unable to participate in a regular programme with Samantha because the location doesn’t suit my current commitments but if I was working in London I would have been able to accommodate the schedule.

Samantha has recently moved from her premises in South London to Covent Garden so that she can focus her attention on helping people like me.

People that have a goal, that have struggled to commit to a form of exercise and that need to work with someone that can tailor a programme that suits their individual requirements.  Samantha offers a very flexible programme for working women that allows them to exercise at convenient times (ie before and after work and during the lunch period).  Most importantly, she is there to cheer you on and will be depending on you to turn up.

I have seen some of Samantha’s success stories that she has shared on her page and it is heartening to see the people for whom her programme has really made a difference.  Here is a link to Samantha’s page.

I gained a huge amount from the time I spent with Samantha.  She told me what I needed to hear and in turn I heard what I needed to be told.

My action started from the moment I walked out of the studio.  Knowing that I would be unable to get into town regularly, Samantha shared lots of ideas of alternative exercise programmes that may be suitable for me.

I have started to look at what I am eating first of all because I know that I can do this.  I’m a big advocate of making the change you want to see and this is no different.

It’s not going to be easy, nor am I about to embark on a life-changing journey but now I know that I’m not the only one that finds it a drudge, I do feel a bit better.

So please do smile sweetly if I should pass you whilst I’m out for a spot of ‘mum’ running!

Exercise eh!

Do you love it or hate it?

Nicky

I was gifted the Transformation Session for the purpose of providing a review of the service offered by Fit & Flourish.   All thoughts and opinions are my own and in line with my expectations as if I were a paying client.

I only review products and services that are in keeping with the content and ethos of this blog.

 

 

 

Do Do Dave and Na Na Nicky

So Dave has made the headlines for getting caught humming.

Oh the joy.  The joy of knowing that there is someone out there with my habit.

Music Notes. David Cameron. Humming

Ok – so I don’t have the luxury of a microphone at these times, nor a stage in Downing Street.

But hum I do.

The good news for you Dave is that I can identify with this one.

Bloody hell that must feel good.

I’ve got your back on this one.  I know that there are humming times.

Times that can only be approached with a hum.

And not just any old hum either.

It’s been a rough few weeks and whichever side we are on (and there are quite a lot of them), I’m sure you will agree that you’ve had easier times.

But back to this humming thing though, can you believe that I do it too!!

The annoying thing being that I often don’t realise I am doing it.  I believe this is how you got caught out.  Mine is not a tuneful hum either.  It’s the hum to whatever I may be doing at the time.  A dull, monotonous hum.  A working hum.  A hum that drives anyone around me completely insane.  Particularly Iron Man.

Can you bloody well believe that ye and me have something in common though?!

There will be others too Dave.  People come out of the woodwork at times like this.  A bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly every bugger has got one.  There must be a name for that.

Talking of names, some interesting ones in the new cabinet.  This must be like office gossip at its finest.

Obviously you don’t know me (but I know you) – now that must be kind of weird.  It’s less weird if you are on Facebook and Twitter though because you can be friends with people that you don’t really know. You can follow people too.

That’s known as stalking anywhere else but on Twitter, you can fill your boots.

Also, Facebook suggests people you might like to be friends with and I’m just thinking that would probably have been the case for us.   Certainly several reasons for an association.

Because I just see more and more things we have in common.

You are of course about to move and that’s a big upheaval.

You probably won’t have had a chance to read about my loft conversion (understandable) but we are about to go through a similar upheaval.

Actually if you do get a chance, can you have a look and see what you think of the bathroom idea.

I’m guessing that you also live in an older style house and I just wondered what your views were on the high flush cistern?

Maybe run it by Sam and whilst you are about it, ask her if she’s finding she is starting to get hot flushes too.  We are similar in age.

I could go on, there is a rich vein here.

But what I’d really would love to know though is what you think about the new cabinet appointments.  You’ve obviously not always seen eye to eye with Teresa in the past but I’m guessing that you are able to take an objective view. A bit like we all try to.

I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her leopard print kitten heel shoes over the last few days.

I don’t suppose she would have wanted to be in ours either.

Boris was a surprise though.

I’ve never really been a fan.  Of course I’d never be rude or pass up an opportunity for a photo though.  Especially if he’s going to hang out in our area.

And talking of Boris, I hear he is going to have to share a home.

That’s really unfortunate – but do not and I repeat DO NOT let on that we will have a spare room soon.

It won’t work.  Not with the snoring.  I really need to know that I have your trust on this one.

But anyway,  back to the microphone thing.

Most of us you’ll find generally use one for Karaoke rather than for our day to day business.  And oh you should see me at Karaoke.  Forget the humming – I’d see you off the stage before you could say I’ve had the time of my life.

And talking of having the time of your life, I’m guessing your kids are breaking up soon, like mine.

I suppose you will be around a bit more this summer.  I will too. You will be muscling in on the many day trips with Sam and the children to all the local sights and parks.  Your picnic hamper will be so used to going out that your bread rolls will be lining up at the door with their coats on.

Believe me when I tell you that you will not want to see another sandwich until Christmas evening.  Neither will you ever want to eat Pizza & Chips from a polystyrene plate with a plastic spoon in a canteen ever again.

Oh and don’t forget the 2 for 1 offers on the Rice Krispies.  They will certainly save you a few bob.

I’m guessing some of your children are similar in age to my daughter.  Tweenage.  I find I have to work a bit harder on the entertainment front these days.   As in, I’m not very entertaining.  Well I am – but just not to The Kid.

Anyhow don’t get too carried away though because that’s probably where the similarity stops.

I mean it’s not all of us that get our ditty turned into a rendition of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony on Classic FM is it.

I know this to be true because my sister-in-law told me.  She also knows you.  And she listens to Classic FM.

What luck you have!  Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Duet?

Thought not!

See you at the park then.

I’ll be humming away.

Nicky

 

 

Silly Mummy, Silly Daddy

Baby in a Bath Tub

I was at a bit of a loss for what to write today for many obvious reasons.

Not that I haven’t got lots of ideas on the go but more that I felt the need for something light.

Being a blogger means that I get to read lots of great stuff by other bloggers and it just so happens that a particular post by a dad blogger made me spit out my ham sandwich today and laugh out loud several times.  All as I sit here on my own at the keyboard.

The post has provided me with the much needed light-hearted inspiration that I was looking for.

And like any blogger on a Monday afternoon I have managed to spend the rest of the day giggling to myself whilst writing this post and taking a trip down Memory Lane.

I recently wrote about celebrating 10 years of parenting and how wonderfully rubbish we have been at getting The Kid to her 10th birthday.

Having read Bad Dadu’s post about attending the NCT class with his wife made me think back to our own days of new parenting.

Thank god we can laugh.

Being a new parent can be fraught with difficulty but in our case I think we have to concede that we made our own luck.

A recent airing of some baby videos were testament to the fact that we had our ‘new parent voices’ completely off-pat which made for very cringe-making moments as The Kid howled and fell off the sofa watching us try to carry out parenting in the early days.

Happy Father's Day

It’s a wonder that she has turned out so well really.

The voices that we used by way of communicating with her and each other while caught up in this new baby bliss were quite frankly wrong.

We drew the line at me calling Iron Man ‘daddy’ and he calling me ‘mummy’ but we failed to realise that our squeaky ‘coochy coo’ voices were far, far worse.

I assume you know the voices that I mean if you are a parent.

Generally, a child will go on to speak to her dolls in this voice all being well.

It generally involves saying hello in numerous different ways with a bit of tickling under the chin.  It is generally reserved for babies, dolls and I suppose people that don’t talk back.  Thank goodness.

Or maybe it’s just us.

The thing that really stands out to both of us is how incredibly stupid we were.

Being clean out of ideas on how to do anything normal was our normal and that was about as good as it got.

But there is always room in the world for a trier as my dear old dad used to say.

So, when faced with needing a passport photo of our precious bundle we did my dad proud and had a bloody good try.

We went through the various motions of trying to prop our baby against a blank wall.  The fact that she very foolishly kept sliding down the wall and laughing (whilst still looking like Charles Kennedy) didn’t stop us from trying.

Of course, we’ve still got the photos because it just so happens that we have about a million photos of every single moment of the poor child’s life.

These photos are proof that we obviously tried this on more than one occasion (clock the different outfits).

Oh the shame!

Enough OK!!

Screaming kid

Realising that our efforts were fruitless, we then engaged in a very logical exercise involving a sheet, a photo booth and the local supermarket.

I’m not sure who can take credit for this idea but it basically involved sitting in the booth with a sheet over our head whilst holding the baby.

This was fraught with problems as the person covered by the sheet couldn’t actually see where the camera was and whether her face was in the correct position.  Let alone whether she was smiling or wearing a hat.

This involved the other one trying to judge from the outside whether the face was correctly aligned.

We carried on though.  Several attempts.  Took it in turns even.

I really cannot remember to this day whether we even laughed at the time.

What I do remember is Iron Man emerging from the photo booth with the sheet still over his head and me making a comment that he looked like a ghost.

On reflection not only did he look like a ghost but we were also doing this in full view of the Sunday shoppers in the local Sainsbury.

We saw nothing wrong with this and I can remember just feeling frustrated when the photos dropped down the chute and The Kid was peering in from one corner looking a bit scared.  She was also sitting on the lap of a nutter wearing a sheet over their head.

I would share these pictures but their whereabouts in unknown.  A wise man may hazard a guess that they are on the Sainsbury staff room notice board.

I think we must have attended a few counselling sessions after this because we somehow found ourselves in a camera shop where they took baby passport photos as part of their day job.

If my memory serves me well, I think Iron Man and I probably made reference to the fact that we wish had known about this earlier.

Note the continued sense of humour by-pass.

Five years we had to live with that passport.

Silly Mummy.

Silly Daddy.

You know what I mean?

So I have to thank Bad Dadu for his wonderfully funny post and for the inspiration to sift through the Memory Box.

Do have a read of his post Come for the biscuits, stay for the friendship.  In fact, while you are there it’s probably worth reading a few posts as he is a really, really funny guy.

Maybe not whilst eating a ham sandwich though.

And if you are in further need of a smile, have a root through your old video footage.

You may not recognise yourself!

Nicky

The Kid and her doll

 

 

 

Who’s Doll Is It Anyway?

The Kid and her doll

Our first foray into the American Girl Place in New York with The Kid was a bit of an eye opener and I have to confess that we did have a bit of a giggle at the craziness of it all.

Parents (mainly dads) carrying multiple red bags, sitting in the waiting room of the Beauty Salon (asleep!), families dining in the dining room, dolls that looked real – which collectively was a bit scary, little girls dressed in the same outfit as their dolls and multiple floors of pink candy stripes and well – more dolls.

However, if you see all of this through the eyes of a child – you will realise that we ended up being well and truly dragged in and five visits later, we did emerge through the revolving doors carrying said red bags and laughing the other side of our smug faces.

How?

You are quite right in thinking that we appear to be quite sensible people on the whole but in our defence this place is a whole new world.

On a corner of 5th Avenue lies a very unique shop for little ladies wishing to purchase a doll that looks a bit like them and with whom they can experience a world of activities and experiences that are equal to girl heaven – and some.

Dolls

Dolls can be selected to match a child’s skin, hair and eye colour.  The rest of the floors are a little bit like a department store for dolls in so far as you can purchase outfits, accessories, friends, more dolls, books, food and hair and beauty treatments.  I understand that there is also a dolls hospital should one be required.

So, armed with her birthday money, The Kid decided that she wanted to buy one of these dolls.  At $115 before taxes at the till, these dolls are rather an extravagant purchase.  However, it was her money and after we explained all of this, she decided to go ahead on the basis that it would always remind her of the holiday.

So which one then?

American Girl

That part took care of two visits at least.  When faced with an army of dolls, choosing the right one can be a very nerve-wracking experience for the uninitiated.

Our experience in the shop showed us that it was simply the best compliment if someone said how much your doll looked like you.  No pressure here then.

The Kid and the doll

At this point I should warn you that The Kid’s doll did not come with that outfit OR that hairdo.  We are only on Visit 4 anyway so keep up!

Toilet anyone?

Dolls holder

Doll holders can be found in cubicles and next to sinks.  No need for grubby mitts.

It was at this point, The Kid decided she would like to get the dolls hair done.  So up a few flights and we found ourselves here.

Dolls Hair Salon

Only to find there were no appointments.  I kid you not!

Dolls hair salon

Which meant that there would need to be a 5th visit.  As we pencilled in a 3pm appointment for the last day of the holiday.

Dolls hair styles

So for now, we could leave.

Doll purchase

Until the next day when we saw ourselves running down 5th Avenue in the 30 degree heat to get to the hair appointment.

Doll at hairdressers

Where the hair was beautifully plaited by a doll stylist

Dolls hairdresser

But there was no time for any further treatments

Dolls manicure

We had a plane to catch and this doll needed to get back to the UK along with her owner.

Dolls hair plait

And her lovely hairdo.

We had to miss this.

Dolls Cafe

And of course you won’t be surprised to see this.

Iron Man and the doll

Of course he couldn’t wait to muscle in.

And we made sure to walk far enough in front so that he looked like he was on his own.

Me thinks he may be needing this!

Babysitting

All told we probably spent a day of the holiday in this shop.  It was like nothing on earth, yet wonderful and crazy at the same time.  Pure jaw-dropping entertainment for the adult and the child.

The doll and her owner are now safely back in the UK and all is well.

No further beauty treatments have been necessary.

Would you have done the same?

Nicky

Happy Birthday To Us

On 19th May 2006,  12 days overdue, The Kid came very slowly into the world.

Giving Birth

I realise now this was intended to prepare us for the fact that we would spend much of the next 10 years waiting.

I also realise that the next 10 years will involve a lot more waiting.

Probably late at night.  Outside.

There were questions about parentage when traits of Charles Kennedy were spotted.

Charles Kennedy

We wondered if she would ever stop laughing.

Picture 1433

She hasn’t and has the most infectious laugh.

She is also showing traits of having my sense of humour which can only be a good thing.

We also wondered if she would every stop crying.

Baby Crying

The 10th Battalion of the South Woodford Mums Baby Group (Est. 2006) wondered too.

Along with both sides of the family tree.

We wondered if she would ever stop eating.

Child Eating

Not for long though, turns out she’s the fussiest kid on the planet.  Chicken curry will always haunt the locals.

However, she is truly loyal to her Cornish and East London background and eats Pie ‘n’ Mash and Cornish Pasties in equal measure.

We did wonder if she would ever stop hitting people when she was two though.  “Excuse me is that your daughter?” was a popular question at playgroups and parent and baby gatherings.  Child that hits

I was that parent.  The Kid was that child.

Hard to imagine as you wouldn’t say boo to a goose now.

And I also feel that an apology is due to all those thinking that the many potholes around the country were a result of the British weather.  You were wrong.  It’s because of the amount of times that the ground has opened up to swallow me.

The Kid from a very young age has had an uncanny knack of saying precisely what she thinks at precisely the wrong moment.

All those things that everyone thinks but doesn’t say.  Nice one.  Absolutely no filter whatsobloodyever.

So fed up with apologising and giving you the ‘stare’,  I now just pretend that I have gone into a coma.

I feel very smug having transitioned into the guise of being an ‘uncool mum’ and I know that I will not have to try very hard to return some of these embarrassing moments.

Dad with new baby

You have a wonderful dad in Iron Man.  You have always been a daddy’s girl and the fact that I have always been the one that had to sit on my own or behind – think nothing of it.  I have always been more than happy to be the crowd.  Never feel bad about that.

Particularly when you’ve got your grubby little hands in my make up bag.

Know also, that the mirror in the bedroom is yours.  It is perfectly fine to stand in front of me when I am getting ready.  I do not need to see what I look like from the neck down.

And don’t be so generous with your perfume when I am behind you.  You have a fabulous taste but the Superdrug So……….In Love range, So ……..  doesn’t work with mummy hormones.

We wondered if there would be a brother or a sister.  There hasn’t and any attempts to change that now would probably put me on the front page of The Sun.  Some things are best left (see embarrassing parents).

And of course we will always be wondering.

Because despite having done 10 years, the parenting lark does not get any easier.

Having said that I don’t think me and Iron Man have done too badly.

We have met and made the most beautiful and lasting friendships.

Although, as you rightly point out, we wouldn’t have all these friends if it wasn’t for you!

I guess you think we sat in before you came along!!

Out Out

Whether they are your friends or ours, they have all been bloody troopers through thick and thin.  There are some people that you just cannot shake off and we all love every single one of them.

And parenting has caused us to question our sanity in later years.

Quite frankly, we’ve been rubbish at it.  Still are.

But we’re oh so glad we got to have a go as we really have got so many amazing memories.

We’ve also done some of the craziest things.

It’s amazing you are still here really!

Don’t take that the wrong way though.

There is no need for you to be still here once you are an adult.

We know that you have designs on a place at Elderly Acres for us.

And that you have been eyeing up the Bluebird Residential Care van.

All I can say is that there is no need.  Keep the inheritance for best.

A caravan on the drive of your family home will suffice.

You can then sleep very soundly knowing that we will always be waiting outside.

Cheers to all 3 of us!!

Just The 3 Of Us

 

 

 

 

.

Keeping Calm and Going Camping

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The Kid and I were very made-up and flattered to be invited to go camping with some friends over Easter.

However, being a bit of a wuss by nature and given my love of all things homely – like my own bathroom and loo for example, I have to admit to rising panic at this forthcoming adventure.  I hate to be cold and public loos and showers bring me out in a rash at the mere thought.

Couple that with the fact that I’m a bit of a tidy freak and that I’d be living out of a bag in a tent with 8 others – well of course I bloody said yes!!!!

This probably surprised my beloved camping buds but the ‘give it a go’ in me, coupled with the fact that I knew The Kid would love it, saw me agreeing like I’d been a camper all my life.  I also knew we would have a really good laugh.

Too late to change your mind now girlies!!!

Iron Man found the whole thing hilariously amusing given my wimpy nature.  He generally wouldn’t put me and camping in the one sentence.  Glamping – yes, caravan – yes, treehouse – yes, lodge – yes.  Camping no.

He managed to contain his excitement about having two whole days to himself and I certainly didn’t begrudge him this as I know how much I love my own space.

So without further ado, a camping meeting was underway and a pitch secured at a Haven campsite in Clacton.

Wanting to be on top of things, I immediately snapped up this tea towel in Primark which was to become the camp mascot.

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Advice was forthcoming from another camping friend in the form of making sure you put something under the airbed and take lots of layers.

Let me tell you I could have single handedly done my own fashion show with one days worth of clothing layers.  No need to tell me twice.  She shalt not be cold.

A Dora the Explorer table cloth and a picnic rug for under the beds were also packed.

It would later transpire that Dora would be responsible for our redemption.

I was also usefully provided with an electric cable for hook up courtesy of my brother in law which Iron Man kindly converted and shortened as it was on a ridiculously long lead.

I was sorted. The camp would be sorted, with our combined strength, we would make Bear Grylls look like Barbie.

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And so came the day.

Generous lashings of rain leading up to our departure assured us of a nice soft ground for pitching.

Departure also gave us ringside seats to a police chase before we had even left home.

A taste of the excitement to follow.

As we approached Clacton, the sun shone brightly and warmly.  So brightly that it belied the fact that every tent on the field was surrounded by straw.  It had been a very wet week.

Not for us though.  Coats off and out came the tent.  It was at this point that I was humbled by the tent erecting skills of my pals.  This was to be my chocolate teapot moment.  I did not have a clue how to put a tent up and was happy to be the apprentice erecter under their expert direction.

It’s all about teamwork at times like this but on the basis that a team is only as strong as its weakest member (me on this occasion), it was somewhat shocking that the whole thing was done in an hour and we were sat drinking Prosecco in the sunshine laughing at how lucky we were.

Time to test the electricity.

It turns out there was a reason for the lengthy lead – to allow it to go into the tent and stay dry.  No worries here though, 8 beds were swiftly inflated and it was baking.  Thumbs up all round.

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We had a tightly packed schedule of forestry, swimming and rifle shooting that afternoon and by 7pm we all fell down in the entertainment lounge for food, drink and a show.

Time seemed to stand still while we were there as we seemed to pack so much in to one day.  This is one of the great things about camping.

I have to say as far as sites go, this one was pretty much spot on.

We also had a ban on technology for all, not a popular choice but also very liberating and it wasn’t missed.

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And did I mention shows?

It turns out that we were treated to another as we left the lounge to return home.  This time a lightning show!  The rain was coming down in stair rods and we had to get ourselves and the six kids back to base across the bog.

This is real camping.  None of this Prosecco and sunshine lark.

Mud, rain, dark, cold, loo runs and rain beating down on the tent with the occasional bolt of lightning.

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Needless to say, not too much in the way of sleep that night and a face full of rain awaited the first person to unzip the tent as they glimpsed the dark sky of the new day.

Three out of four rooms had wet bedding.  For some unknown reason, ours being the 4th was bone dry.

No beach today.

We were soon conferring and changing plans whilst sipping a lukewarm cuppa from the travel kettle that took 5 hours to boil, while attached to the metre long cable in the rain on a bin liner!

Not deterred, we set off with our list of indoor pursuits and had lots of fun.

It was during our game of chicken charades that the ‘bug’ came.  An  over enthusiastic charade was initially suspected but unfortunately for one poor member of our crew, this was not an isolated incident.  We had a poorly camper.

We were not deterred.  Rain and sick did not stop our play and another days events were enjoyed by all.

There was just a small matter of some of the children getting lost on site but a recent headcount shows that 6 returned home safely.  No flies on our childcare!

The rain finally let up and we were treated to a clear sky and plummeting temperatures for our final sleep.

The Dora table cloth was to save the day by going someway towards insulating us from the ice cold floor.  On reflection, it was probably Dora that kept us dry too.

A peaceful night ensued with the occasional snore and quack.

It was then time to do the whole thing in reverse and take down our house of fun.  Once again we were treated to wonderful sunshine.

Operation clear-up was another success.

And we all survived.  Happily.

Dora the Explorer emerged as a hero of the holiday.

I did it.  We did it.  I’d do it again.

I didn’t phone home once.

Best of all you can roam around in a fleece onesie and a funny hat looking like a teletebby and no one cares.  Imagine that!


There are a few tips that I would offer to any prospective campers which I shall be storing in my camping file for future reference :

If you think you are getting away from a snorer, think again – you will effectively be sleeping with everyone else’s snoring husbands (or wives).  There is no sound proofing in a tent.

  • Never take a pitch next to a caravan.  Not only will they piss you off annoy you for being dry and warm in a thunder storm but their ability to watch TV loudly until late will really get on your wick as you lay freezing trying to nod off.
  • They will also wake you every time they walk across the floor and when they get up and they bang their doors very loudly.  The only way to meet behaviour like this is with another caravan.  Canvas is no match in this relationship.
  • Take a longer electricity cable.  Short leads are for houses.
  • Do not wear wellington boots that no one can get off – even if they are fashionable.  They will hinder progress.
  • Research inflatable sick buckets.  One for Amazon.  Pack.

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And as if by coincidence, it would seem that we were not alone in our experience.  Even the PM was getting involved.

Here is the headline in the newspaper on our departure day.

So where were you Dave when the rain came in?

Trying to pinch my wellies no doubt!

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Such a memorable few days for all.  There are no barriers and secrets with camping.  I think we all know a little more about each other than before we went!

I wonder if I have changed your mind if you are a non-camping type like me?

Or maybe you are a seasoned camper and have seen it all before?

Either way, I would love to hear how you shape up under canvas.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time ….

Nicky

 

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback