Thursday, 28 April 2016

What A Day! - Short Story

What a day!

By Emma Jones

An argument with the bank started the day badly. They wouldn’t accept my password although I was 100% sure. The irritating bank clerk wouldn’t have it and had helpfully froze my account. I now needed to complete a complicated reactivation form she was emailing me with bank details I didn’t have to hand. I rushed upstairs looking at my bulging filing pile and found a bank statement. The pile toppled to the ground. Paper swished all over the laminate flooring that I was now thinking was a terrible idea. I scrambled to pick everything up shoving it in an untidy draw and added another job to the growing list.

Back downstairs I fired up the laptop which whirled painfully slowly. Eventually I got on the internet and found the email from the bank. Ten minutes later it was completed and a new password would be winging it way to me no doubt made up of a mind boggling array of lower case, upper case, and symbols. I know the bank clerk was only doing her job but the inconvenience had now caused a 45 minute delay and I was late for my dentist appointment.

I rushed out of the house only vaguely wondering if I’d actually brushed my hair that morning. I turned up at the dentist late, hot and in a bad mood. The parking had been horrific. A lorry had been blocking the road and a man in a large Range Rover had decided to take up two spaces in the very small car park. The receptionist smiled and told me not to worry as Dr Khan was running late himself. I sighed and contentedly sat quietly reading a magazine until I was called 10 minutes later. The peace had calmed me down so I was quite happy as I sat in the dentist’s chair. “Any problems Mrs Wright?”

“No. Everything’s fine. Just a check-up.” I replied as I settled back. He began prodding and then I heard an ominous sigh.

“Looks like a bit of decay here Mrs Wright.” He poked a molar and I sucked in my breath sharply as pain surged through my tooth. “Does it hurt?”

“Only when you do that.” I said sharply. “It’s been fine.”

“It’s only a small patch so maybe you haven’t noticed. It’s best if we fill it today though to stop it getting worse or food getting trapped.” I sighed resigned to a large bill and numb mouth as he injected my gum.

An hour later I was back home sipping a cup of tea and feeling a little sorry for myself. My gum throbbed uncomfortably from the injection.

I got on with the housework ignoring the paperwork hiding in the draw upstairs. It would have to wait till another day. Before I knew it the time had flown by and I rushed to the school to collect the children.

Collecting the children from school was the usual cheerful stampede. My son held out an odd wooden structure excitedly informing me it was a bird house. He looked thrilled and couldn’t wait to put it in the garden. I turned it around smiling as I looked for the entrance and rubbed my fingers together as some of the glue was still tacky. My daughter pulling on my arm told me all about her role as the cowardly lion in drama. The school was doing a performance of The Wizard of Oz and she’d got a lead role. The only downside was the school wanted contributions to costumes in the form of cash or crafty parents. I did not fall into the crafty category only just managing to sew a button on a cardigan so knew a cheque would be required very soon. I was looking forward to the show in a few weeks’ time having learnt most of the songs myself helping my daughter rehearse at home. I smiled as the children continued chatting shooing them both out of the school gate and safely over the road. I located the car to find my wing mirror dangling sadly. I couldn’t believe it! I looked up and down the road but of course the culprit was long gone. A costly trip to the garage would be required and I mentally rearranged my week to allow time to get it fixed whilst trying not to swear and stamp my feet.

We managed to get home with no further problems although my wing mirror kept swinging into the car door. Luckily it was only a short journey and when my partner got home from work he managed to patch it up so I could safely drive for a few days. He offered to call his friend at the local garage. I smiled grateful he was sorting it out and checked my emails. The bank had been in touch and I was reactivated and I realised my gum had stopped throbbing. Things were looking up.

However I then noticed an ominous brown envelope from HMRC. It was my partners but he was allergic to post and over the years it had become one of my little jobs. I hoped it wasn’t an underpayment. My partner had a company car and as a result his tax code had been incorrect years ago and we’d been stung for £500. I ripped it open dreading what was inside. To my utter surprise a cheque was enclosed. It turned out his tax code had been incorrect again but this time in our favour. I rushed upstairs and located my partners P11D and P60 from the mountain of papers stuffed in the draw and double checked the figures. It was right. I smiled looking at the repayment for £423.13.  Even with the dentist, garage bill and school costume we’d still have money left. Today hadn’t turned out so bad after all and although my filing system was unorthodox papers stuffed in a draw seemed to work maybe I wouldn’t bother sorting it out after all. Bonus!


Monday, 25 April 2016

Dreading the weighing scales - my top (humorous) tips

Bad week & dreading the scales? Here's my top tips for getting an extra lb off ha ha!!!

Wear your lightest clothes possible. No socks or jewellery. Even ditch that wedding ring.

Don't drink anything (a lady at my class swears by this)

Wee several times before weigh in.

Don't eat anything (obviously)!

Walk to class that 10 minutes of exercise might make all the difference. Not!

Suck that tummy in (makes absolutely no difference but makes me feel better).

Do you have any weigh in tips or secrets?

Happy weigh in everyone. Make friends with those scales :)

Emma xxx


Friday, 22 April 2016

St George's Day Childrens Story

My alternative St George's children's story.

Happy St George's Day everyone.

Once upon a time in a land long ago,

Everyone was ready for the princess’s show.

But the show was halted by some terrible news,

A fearsome dragon had been discovered by Flo.

“A dragon is coming you won’t believe your eyes,

He’s big, green and ugly and breathing fire.

We better tell the King and Queen,

Before he burns down the Shire.”

Flo raced to the castle with her big brother Luke,

As they went Flo began to yell and shriek.

“A fearsome dragon is coming follow us quick”

They reached the castle and the door opened with a creak.

Luke and Flo quickly explained,

Everyone piled in and the door was locked.

As the fearsome dragon roared and stomped,

The ground shook and the queen looked shocked.                                               

The princess and her friends thought it was exciting,

They dreamt of a handsome prince coming from a far.

The King wrote a note and a pigeon flew for help,

It’s a shame it was the olden days and they didn’t have a car.

Three suitors arrived all brave and strong,

They didn’t get far as the dragon gobbled them whole.

The fearsome dragon’s eyes shone green,

Fire streamed from his jaw he was scarier than a troll.

The next person to arrive showed no fear,

The dragon roared but was quickly floored.

The princess was thrilled a brave prince was finally here,

Before long cheering broke out as the dragon was no more.

The suitor lifted their helmet and smiled,

“Hi I’m Georgina. George for short.”

The King and Queen were surprised but delighted,

“Thank you Georgina for your support.”

The Princess was a little disappointed

She’ been hoping for a brave prince,

She thought maybe she’d be married

She’d been dropping lots of hints.

She was soon smiling as a party was arranged,

The dragon was BBQ’d and everyone loved the feast,

Her show went ahead and it was brilliant fun,

And Georgina became a legend for beating the beast.

Emma xxx

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Motherhood is......

Motherhood is.........

Being the one able to locate lost things

Only watching PG rated films

Never going to the bathroom alone

Secretly throwing craft projects made by your children in the bin in stealth ninja style

Desperately searching YouTube so you can make a rainforest out of loo roll & crepe paper

Having to say everything multiple times before anyone does it

Being excited if you locate a new park as you've been to the other ones 200 times & you've lost the will to live

Not being able to sleep at night until you've checked the children are ok

Being super proud of the noisy energy sucking gorgeous little people & enjoying the couple of peaceful hours between sleep & morning.

What are your motherhood is.......

Emma xxx


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Party Wars - Short Story

I sunk gratefully onto the sofa. My feet ached. I was hot and bothered. I felt exhausted. I sighed rubbing my foot. “Who knew a kids party would be such hard work!” I said to Rob as he came into the room looking equally as tired.

“I did try to warn you.” He said light heartedly and slumped on the sofa next to me. “Ella is watching The Little Mermaid so we should get a few minutes peace.” He continued patting my leg and grabbing the remote control.

It had been a very hectic day. Ella our daughter had turned 6 on Friday so we’d decided to throw a party on the Sunday afternoon knowing Saturdays are horrendously busy for many families. Not being able to decide on a guest list we’d decided to hire the local community centre hall and install a bouncy  castle and ball pit. Invites were issued to the whole class and to my utter amazement 27 out of 30 children turned up. Parents happily deposited them at the door and sped off for 2 hours peace and quiet. The noise at times was deafening and I’d had to referee arguments, console children who had mysteriously fallen out with their best friend and tend to a twisted ankle. The party ended at 5 p.m. but it wasn’t until nearly 30 minutes later that the last child was collected. Ella had enjoyed every second but we had decided a low key event maybe required next year. My poor mum who had offered to help left looking traumatised and muttering that children were much more boisterous now a days. I smiled as I scanned through the photos on my phone knowing all the mayhem had been worth it.

The next day my best friend Megan pulled me to one side. “I think you’ve started something with your party yesterday.” She said smirking, “I heard Charlotte moaning. Apparently Bethany had an amazing time and wants a bouncy castle party too. Of course this doesn’t really go with Charlotte’s image. She’d earmarked Pottery Palace and afternoon tea.”

“What seriously!” I laughed glancing over at the mum in question. I must say the thought of Charlotte on a bouncy castle surrounded by screaming kids was amusing. She was definitely one of the yummy mummies. She always came to school with perfect hair, full make up, co-ordinated jewellery and very high heels. By comparison I left the house some mornings unsure if I’d actually brushed my hair.

“Apparently Bethany had a full on tantrum about it and you know Bethany usually gets her own way. Charlotte is not amused.” Megan said grinning broadly just as Charlotte sauntered past giving a faint smile.

Over the following months it was party wars. Most of us found it all rather amusing but a select few seemed to think it was a chance to improve their social status and their child’s wellbeing depended on it. I’d actually overheard one mum say she didn’t want her little darling scarred for life by a disappointing party.

The parties became more elaborate with each invitation. Roller skating discos, hiring an entire cinema for a private screening of the latest must see film, hiring Elsa and Anna lookalikes and a Harry Potter themed event were the children kept their cloaks which cost £20 each.

The following weekend brought yet another party this time at a house.  I was bemused when a parent dressed as a clown opened the door.  It was Grace one of the yummy mummies. “Come in quick.” She said grabbing my arm and shooing Ella through. “I don’t want the neighbours to see.” She said by way of explanation as she hurriedly slammed the door. 

“Um…Ok.” I replied as she ushered us into a beautiful conservatory full of children. Music was playing and several children were already covered in chocolate from the fountain that stood on a low table.

“The entertainer we booked cancelled at the last minute. Olivia would have been devastated so I had to step in. David is googling clowns. I can hula hoop but think that might only entertain the children for a few minutes.” She said shrugging and looking thoughtful behind the makeup. “Can you juggle?” She said looking at me hopefully.

“Well actually I can.” I said uncertainly, “Although I haven’t had a go recently.”

“Quick come this way.” Grace dragged me to the kitchen and thrust three balls into my hands. “See if you can still do it.” Tentatively I gave it a go and surprised myself by succeeding. “Amazing!” Grace smiled. “Can you manage four?” She said waving another ball.

Half hour later I was dressed as a clown and was entering the conservatory where the children were now seated looking happy and slightly baffled. I heard one child whisper to Ella, “Is that your mum?” Bizarrely it turned out Grace’s parents owned the fancy dress store in town and had supplied the costumes. Her dad had also been roped in as he knew a few amateur card tricks. The routine went ok, I dropped the balls when I ambitiously attempted six, Grace forgot the lines to several of the jokes, but her dad went down a storm and was brilliant with the children.

After face painting (by a professional) and food (that was brought in by caterers) the children were collected and I got changed leaving Ella playing with Olivia and all her new presents.

I returned to the kitchen to find Grace crying with her head in her hand. “What’s the matter? The party was brilliant.” I said feeling a little unsure. Grace wasn’t a close friend and I didn’t know whether to hug her.

“Oh…Um…I’m just being silly.” She replied straightening up and attempting a smile. “Olivia really enjoyed her party. Thanks for helping most of the other mothers couldn’t stay.” She said shrugging. Her eyes began to fill with tears again and she sniffed. “I’m being ridiculous. It’s just….well….Olivia said she didn’t know I was fun…..or had flat shoes.”

I nearly laughed but sensing this was serious kept a straight face. “I’m sure that’s not what she meant.”

“She did. She said I was usually too worried about messing my hair or makeup and was always telling her to be quiet as I have a headache,” She sighed and a tear fell down her cheek. “In my defence I used to get terrible migraines.”

“You don’t need to explain yourself to me.” I said quickly feeling a little uncomfortable. At this point David appeared and I silently left husband and wife together said a quick goodbye to Olivia and scuttled out of the house with Ella.

Monday morning at school I was chatting to Megan who was stunned by my clown debut when Grace appeared. Her makeup was stripped back making her look younger and she was wearing some beautiful linen trousers with flat ballet pumps. I saw her talking to Charlotte and another yummy mummy who both looked stunned by her appearance and clown escapade.

I had just said goodbye to Megan and was climbing into my car when Grace appeared.

“I thought I’d missed you.” She said breathlessly. “I just wanted to say thanks for yesterday. You were amazing and the party has taught me a valuable lesson. Do you know I’ve never taken Olivia swimming?” She said shaking her head. “Always too worried about my mascara.” Before I could reply she continued. “We are going to the new Aquadrome Saturday. I’d be happy to take Ella give you a couple of hour’s peace to make up for stealing your free time at the party.” Grace smiled.  Plans were made and phone numbers exchanged.

Over the next few months’ things returned to normal. It seemed party wars had finally ceased and lessons had been learned.


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Secrets and Lies

As I'm secretly packing the kids clothes for a mini break which they don't know about it, it got me thinking of all the little secrets and lies we tell our kids.

The biggest and best is Santa, Father Christmas, St Nick. I'm not sure my daughter 100% believed Christmas just gone. She is now 9 in and I'm sure she was just going with the Christmas flow. But how do I know? I can't really ask her? It's a parenting dilemma. The 5 year old is still firmly in the believing camp phew!

Tooth fairy. When does this stop? When all the milk teeth have fallen out? I once wrote my daughter a note from the tooth fairy in swirly multicoloured writing. She was thrilled! The 5 year old is eagerly awaiting his first wobbly tooth. Is £1 still acceptable?

Easter bunny. Thankfully I didn't go the whole hog with this & haven't made up a huge tale of giant bunnies which if you think about it would be quite terrifying.  I remember being scared of a rabbit mask when I was young. It was the teeth!

I have eyes in the back of my head. I say this often. My kids believe me. My daughter is amazed I can tell if she's sucking her thumb without looking and my son can't figure out how I can tell he's behind me.

You can only have fruit. Not a secret but I often say they can eat fruit as a snack if it's getting late. I however eat chocolate & biscuits instead of the healthy fruit! My children are definitely healthier than me.

We'll go without you. Obviously a big fat lie. You won't leave. You can't. Otherwise social services might turn up! This is sometimes uttered to the 5 year old. Through gritted teeth with steam coming out of my ears. Thankfully most outings are now successful we can usually leave the house without war erupting.

Emma xxx


Sunday, 3 April 2016

London afternoon tea bus review

The London afternoon tea bus is amazing & I would 100% recommend.  I was pleasantly surprised by the food and luckily we had a beautiful sunny day.  The company is The B Bakery and it is a converted double decker red London bus.

On board is a little snug but lovely. Please be aware there are no toilets so go before you board ( and have 30p handy as that's the charge to use the toliet at Victoria Coach Station!)

You have proper plates and silver plastic cutlery. You also have a plastic cup for hot drinks with a screw lid to avoid spillages. You can choose from several teas, coffee and hot chocolate. There's also orange juice and water. The presentation is beautiful and we had no problems with things sliding about.

London Afternoon Tea Bus

The staff point out several attractions as you pass but really it's more about enjoying the view and food.

It costs from £45 per person which given the high standard of food I think is well worth it. We had the traditional selection but gluten free, vegetarian and halal Afternoon Teas are available.

I would definitely do it again and am considering taking my daughter for a special treat next year (please note under 5's are not allowed).

View from the bus of sunny London town
Victoria coach station was easy to get to from Euston and although the letter states to be there 15/20 minutes before boarding you could get there with 5/10 minutes to spare.  It was extremely well organised and was a fantastic girls day out.

12:30 and 15:00 tours depart from 8 Northumberland Avenue, off Trafalgar Square WC2N 5BY.
12:00, 14:30 & 17:00 tours depart daily from Victoria Coach Station.

The website is below if you'd like more information

B Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus

If you need more cake or want to sample the products before booking a bus tour then visit the B Bakery in Covent Garden.  Afternoon tea is also available from £33 per person.

Emma xxx

London Afternoon Tea Bus
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