Book Review – From January to May 2017

Back in January, I wrote a list of  the books that I wanted to read this year.

Before I had children, I would read frequently and quickly. Reading on the train, on the tube and before I went to bed. Now it seems to take forever to get through a book. Small children, work and life seem to get in the way, but I’ve been slowly plodding on and noticed that I seem to be steadily reading about a book a month.

As an aside – how cool is this book exchange? What a great use for the now defunct red telephone boxes!

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Songs That We Sing Wrong

Last week, my youngest sister sent a text to me and my middle sister in a frenzy asking, “What’s the name of the person in Michael Jackson’s song Smooth Criminal?”  I immediately sent a text back saying “Annie.” She was gobsmacked. It turns out she’s been singing “Eddie are you OK?” for the past 30 odd years and only discovered it was wrong after her husband challenged her mid chorus on a car journey.

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Sarcasm. Love it or Hate it?

Sarcasm is a funny thing. And I don’t necessarily mean funny hah-hah. The difference in meanings used when we make a sarcastic remark often conveys disapproval or scorn which some people find hurtful or a bit below the belt. No doubt, in certain instances, sarcasm can be quite cutting but it can also have impact. For instance, if I said to my husband, “Thanks so much for all your help with cleaning the house,” whilst he was sitting watching TV, he would probably take more notice of my sarcastic tone than if I was to say “Can you help with the cleaning please?” which would no doubt fall on deaf ears.

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Mindfulness – What I’ve Learnt So Far

I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. Like many mums, I suffer with a nagging guilt that I don’t pay enough attention to the present, that I spend too much time on my phone whilst my children are growing up fast in front of me. I also liked the idea that mindfulness might help with my lack of patience and that it might help me to calm my brain from the constant thinking, planning and worrying; to enjoy more of the here and now.

After a taster session in July, I got hold of the book that was recommended by the tutor, and was immediately put off by the fact that you had to follow mediation exercises every day whilst reading the book. I was sceptical. I came up with a load of reasons this would be impossible to do, mostly revolving around having 2 young noisy children in the house. But in January with my resolutions for books to read this year, I decided to give this book another shot and MAKE time to do the meditations mostly whilst the youngest was at pre-school.

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How NOT to do The School Run

You might think that the trick of getting your child out the door and into school should be a relatively easy one right?

On the good days it can seem effortless to get everyone fed and dressed without too much whinging, out the door on time and deposited into school without any clinginess or crying. Then there are the more hellish weeks where everything goes wrong.

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What The Comeback Kids do to Our Memories

Memories are a funny thing. Triggers like songs, films, people and even smells can transport you to another time, another place from years ago. It’s amazing to think how strongly memories and emotions are re-called over something so fleeting.

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Music is a powerful reminder. We all have certain songs which instantly spark a memory of what we were doing or where we were and who with.

Here’s just a few songs which bring back instant memories for me:

  1. Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite and Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap – These songs always makes me think of driving around in a battered car with my school friends after we had passed our driving test.
  2. The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield – Was the first dance at our wedding and always makes me smile.
  3. Time to Say Goodbye from The Phantom of The Opera – I always found this song emotional but will never be able to hear it again without shedding a tear as it was played at my father in-law’s funeral.
  4. That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings – This reminds me of the summer before I got married and how it was played constantly at the festivals I went to as well as on my hen weekend in Bath.
  5. Anything by Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man album – This CD was played continuously on family holidays to Devon and Cornwall. They bring back happy memories of us on holiday as well as fighting in the back seat of the car with my sisters!

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Dealing with My Lack of Patience

Let me start by saying that generally I am impatient about most things. Impatient to get the kids out to school, impatient to hear back from a client about work, impatient to get the kids to bed, impatient to get the sodding decorating finished!

I may or may not have inherited this particular trait from my dad who is  not the most patient person I know either. But this week has seen my levels of impatience reach a new high (or should that be low?!).

Refusing to Get Dressed

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For some reason the youngest, who has always been chatty, over confident and loves pre-school, has now decided that she doesn’t want to go. Her avoidance tactics this week has ranged from refusing to get dressed, to hiding around the house when it’s time to leave the house. I’ve tried to deal with this calmly. I wish I was one of those jolly mums who laughs at such behaviour and joins in the game of hide and seek, but I inevitably end up losing my temper and insist on her getting dressed and going to pre-school because “I’ve got shed loads to do today!”

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Books I Want to Read This Year

I love reading but in between managing two small children, trying to keep on top of my freelance writing business and keeping up to date with the latest boxset viewing (currently catching up with House of Cards Series 3), there’s precious little time left. I often collapse into bed too tired to read at the end of each night.

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Bah Humbug! 9 Reasons This Season Sends me Crackers

Before you all think I’m a complete Ebenezer, let me start by saying that I adore Christmas. I love spending time with family, seeing the kids faces as they get excited by the tree, the presents, the advent calendars and what not. I love the fact that it’s an excuse for more drinking, eating and partying with friends. BUT there is no doubt about it, this season is, quite frankly stressful! So here’s my list as to why this season sends me slightly crackers:

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Sod’s Law

The last blog post I wrote 2 weeks ago was about changing schools for our daughter. We knew that if we were going to move schools for Alice we would have to it before we applied for a primary school for our youngest daughter Eva in January 2017. So when the chance came up 2 weeks ago to move her to a lovely little village school a couple of miles away, we didn’t hesitate.

We thought that would be the end of it and we’d all be hugely relieved that there would be no more blog posts mentioning any issues with schools again.

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But NO!

Just 8 days after moving Alice into her new school, just 8 days after stressing myself out about the transition to the point where I couldn’t eat or sleep, the unthinkable happened. We got the phone call from our local primary school down the road to say that a place had become available. This was our original first choice of school. The one I’d fought hard for a place for, the one I’d written countless letters and emails to MPs, councillors, school admission team members and even the Department of Education about. The school that all my local neighbours and friends go to. The one we were seemingly excluded from. The one I’d given up ever getting a place at before the all important January deadline.

Primary School Gods

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Holy Crap! You literally couldn’t make this sh!t up. I could not believe my ears. Some primary school God was literally looking down on me from his playground of alcohol and debauchery and pi$$ing himself laughing. At us.

The timing absolutely stank. Just a week earlier I would have moved Alice to this local school like a shot. I would have been jumping for joy and over the moon. But now that we’d already gone through one transition, as a family we came to a fairly difficult decision to not move her again because a) she had settled in so quickly and brilliantly seemingly loving her new school and b) we couldn’t face the upheaval of going through it all again. It just didn’t seem right to unsettle our 5 year old for a second time and risk the fact that this move may not be so good second time round.

I THINK we have made the right decision.I certainly hope we don’t live to regret it like some people have suggested.

Sod’s Law

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Since this phone call last Tuesday I seem to have had Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic’s lyrics going round in my head. You know the one that goes.

“It’s like raaiiin on your wedding day. It’s the free advice you just didn’t take.”

With me adding the line in “It’s the local primary school you’ve always wanted,  get offered just days after you’ve already switched.”

Or something like that.

A few people have since said to me “That’s sod’s law.”

Which got me thinking. What exactly is this term and where does it come from?

Wikipedia defines it as being “If something can go wrong, it will.” And the British culture have added “that it will happen at the worst possible time.”

Well yes, that sounds about right to me. The timing on this couldn’t have been any worse.

I’ve also been pondering what other notable (if less stressful) circumstances of Sod’s Law I have experienced recently? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Spending an afternoon making a lovely home cooked dinner for the kids only for most of it to go nowhere near their lips and a huge proportion end up on the floor.

Spaghetti Bolognese

2.Trying to get the kids to bed early because of having loads of work to do in the evening only to have one or both of them up and down the stairs refusing to sleep.

3. Meeting up in London with some friends who I hardly ever see only for them to get lost and be very late so that we had far less time to catch up.

4. Queuing for a taxi to get home on a night out to find out that our cab driver was going on a break.

5.Thinking your child is potty trained so removing the last pair of spare knickers from the handbag only for her to have an accident that same very day.

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So there you have it. The classic case of Sod’s Law!  Always lurking around threatening to bite you on the bum when you least expect it.

Have you got any tales to add? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

 

 

 

Pink Pear Bear

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday