Saturday, 24 January 2009

Outdoor kind of lifestyle.

Determined to pass up the opportunity to sit in front of the television & eat rubbish we headed off to the coast for a walk along the pier.

Once we arrived I quickly remembered that the pier is actually a little over 1.5km long and it feels 10oC colder than at home and we have 2 children who moan consistently about being cold.
Never the less we made our way down the structure and were pleasantly surprised to find the kids all behaved wonderfully and were so interested in the history of it. Shamefully I know very little about it other than recent history of repairs, accidents etc.

It was definitely worthwhile as our crashed out little ones in the car testified.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Well done ladies!

'Pester power' at its finest!

22nd January 2009

Dear babyworld member,

Antenatal Clubs

Sometimes people make mistakes and, judging from your response to our proposals on babyworld, Facebook and elsewhere, we have made a big one!

I hope you will accept our heartfelt apology. There was never any intention to upset you, our members, readers and visitors without whom babyworld wouldn’t exist.

So what are we going to do about it?

It’s clear that this whole scheme requires a complete rethink. Many long standing members have made it clear that they don’t particularly need or want Amber or Grania’s expert input (although we believe that many newer members do) but desperately want to retain access to their chosen clubs and that the price quoted for future membership is unacceptable.

Therefore without further ado we are going to restore the ability of all currently registered babyworld Antenatal Club members to be a member of up to 6 Clubs, past or future, so that you can continue to visit and participate as before.

We guarantee that current Antenatal Club members’ status will not be eroded in any way going forward and neither will you be charged for access to any clubs or classes now or in the future.

February, March and April 2009 Clubs will operate as usual. From May 2009, the format will include considerably enhanced information offered in the form of classes. Indeed, we will refer to them as Antenatal Classes from then on.

Within the next three months, we will introduce a two tier arrangement for new members whereby they will be asked to pay if they wish to join an Antenatal Class. I believe that we can keep this cost below £10. In return they will receive a £25 discount voucher to spend in the babyworld showroom or online shop and a Goody Box filled with quality samples and products.

For new members who don’t want to join and pay for a “class” we will create parallel monthly Antenatal Forums as meeting places where mothers expecting at the same time can talk and offer assistance and advice and swap experiences. These forums won’t, however, receive Amber and Grania’s expert assistance.

We have listened and reacted to your opinions. I hope this solves the problems that we created and I am very sorry we upset you. I hope we can now all go forward in a more positive light.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Halfhead

Managing Director

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

What price for peer support?

There are many possible negative aspects to the internet, temptation, withdrawal, fast and easy access to just about anything you desire and the ability to submerge yourself in an online life + neglect the real life friends + family you have. My husband and I have been 'sad' enough as a teenager would say to sit in the same house and previously text each other and more recent IM each other on facebook.

But, four years ago while pregnant with my son I stumbled across a site called and ignored all the 'expert' articles and went straight to something which was at that time fairly unique; a forum for peer support from people expecting a baby at the same time as you and at the same point in pregnancy. Over the interceding 4 years our group has declined and whittled down as members found other forums, had new babies and joined new groups or simply lost the time they once had to spend online but we have maintained firm friendship bonds that we know we can call on for advise when needed. Together we've faced the death of parents, divorce, life threatening illness in a child, diagnosis of life long disorders and more bumps in the road than any of us can probably remember. We exchanged Christmas and birthday cards and hold meet ups and the webspace on which all this was made possible was free to join and use.

But in these tough financial times it seems nothing is without its price and now new members must pay for their opportunity of friendship, the exact price I'm not sure of, I've heard £35 and £50 and lots in between. The premise behind introducing these charges is that 'expert' advise is provided on the forums, and that these experts are on the payroll.

I am not entering into a debate about the quality of such advise but I will say I have found it neither timely or helpful in any circumstance and certainly would not pay for it, especially considering the NHS in this country is free at point of contact.

Its sad that new mums coming to the site may now miss out on the opportunities for friendship I have enjoyed, I hope babyworld can see its greedy behaviour will loose it members and therefore it will loose its advertising revenue as well, which I suppose will lead to higher fees for those who stick around.

Good job facebook is still free!

Monday, 19 January 2009

An inspired by facebook day....

Well, a short time ago a new facebook application caused a stir and a flurry of debates on another online community I frequent and that was: council estate gifts.

Living on a (mostly) ex-authority estate with a fairly bad reputation I found it hilarious I must say. The ability to send your friends 'white dog poos' and the like really made me smile!

So in that vein today, after the children's first trip to the dentist I decided to make a day of it + keep them both off for the rest of the day (not at all influenced by the 2 hour long round trip on public transport to my eldest's school...). So out we went with new babe in what I have lovingly termed my 'chav pram'. A whopping silvercross effort in beige with gold + silver embroidery on it, I love it but more importantly babes love it and sleeps, well, like a baby in it. I won its name when I took my much adored pram to baby clinic to find every other make & model of silvercrodd trotting through the door as well, all with frilly footmuff in situ (yuck).

Being a bit limited by weather and finances we had a most the most stylish day available, I trooped the kids out in our (unintentionally) matching beige coats, with our big bustling beige pram and faced the freezing cold and rain. 'Did' the whole dentist thing then marched on to find the kids some treats for being good to the highly celebrated establishment known as 'the pound shop'. After that we went to the town's most high class eatery - Morrision's cafe- to feast on sausage sandwiches, with kids and ketchup with blackcurrant and a mini packet of biscuits.

I think though I probably lost council estate bonus points for sitting breast feeding and not cracking open a ready-made carton of SMA gold.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Ever had your children put you to shame?

Originally uploaded by ela_jo2005 / Georgina
I have, just this morning. I'm not talking about the spine chilling supermarket screaming fit, stroking strangers legs to feel their tights or asking someone why they have a tooth missing - all of which I have experienced within the last 6 weeks. No I mean the (rare) moments where they act in a more responsible and respectable way than you.

This morning we took our family to church, on the journey there we lectured the children on proper behaviour, no shouting during prayers, no animal noises, no kicking, no hitting, no arson , the usual.

As the first song began I had my newborn daughter sleeping in her car sear beside me and my 6 going on 16 year old daughter begging to be picked up to read the song words, something my surgery and her weight precludes right now. I relented + suggest she stand on the chair next to me + I would hold her hand.

A few lines in I glanced across to check she was behaving and there she was reading every word to "Open the eyes of my heart" singing her heart out with her hands thrown in the air, worshiping with everything she has.

Honestly in that moment I was a little jealous of my lovely daughter feeling so free + able to let herself go in that way without caring if she looks a bit daft. During the sermon I realised she sets examples for me in so many ways, frequently when she is being 'punished' by being sent to her room I find her reading her bible and she keeps a bible I received for my confirmation next to her bed and reads it when she wakes earlier than the rest of the family. She is also much more thankful and less demanding in her prayers than me.

I learned through some teaching that God uses our children to sanctify us and today I have certainly found that to be the case. Thank you God for all the Blessings and challenges you have sent through our children and all those yet to come.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

End of an era?

Last day
Originally uploaded by ela_jo2005 / Georgina
I'm sure there are lots of people blogging about the credit crunch and all it's various effects and challenges so why not jump on the band wagon?!

This is/was our local woolworths, one of 3 that are within traveling distance of where we live and I can say I have visited all 3 within the last year, though whether I made any purchases other than soft drinks + sweets I can't say.

I'm not going to bemoan the fact that although 2 of my children consider woolies the fountain of all pleasure (while I consider it a den of temptation and source of many hour of moaning from the kids as well as the original inventor of pester power) the third will not know or remember it ever existed. Rather I wonder why or if we will miss it at all. Music + video was over priced compared to supermarkets, household goods no longer had a big enough range to draw my interest and toys ranged from noisy + annoying to shockingly bad quality.

So what will we miss it for? At this time of year, honestly very little but come september I will miss their uniform and in summer I will miss their pick + mix, or I would if my current gluten free diet did not preclude it. But mostly I will miss going somewhere with welcoming staff some of whom have been there many years and some who are young + experiencing work for the first time.

So long woolies.