Friday, 29 July 2011

Fame and fortune - sort of...

I don't know about you but I've only got into Twitter relatively recently.  It was a godsend on my iPhone when I was doing night feeds with Penelope as you could practically guarantee there would be someone tweeting in the wee small hours...

I follow what would appear to be a fairly random selection of people but when you look closely they fall into quite defined groups:

1. Friends - well it's only polite isn't it?  One of my friends (a work colleague) has the handle @cheeseyweasel - at some point I'm going to have to ask how that came about

2. People everyone else seems to follow - Stephen Fry, Barack Obama, Piers Morgan

3. Actors etc from my favourite tv programmes - Castle, House, Desperate Housewives, Glee, Bones

4. Golfers - I think that must be Paul's influence....

5. Various Organisations - BBC, Tatton Park, CBeebies

6. And the random ones - like Max and Penelope's nursery

It was whilst reading tweets that I found my route to a small amount of fame (no fortune sadly - maybe that will follow) when Practical Parenting Magazine tweeted asking for interesting baby name stories.  I duly replied with the story of how Penelope came to be named.  I got a reply asking for a photo of me and my gorgeous girl.  The new issue has arrived by post (I subscribe) and on page 77 there we both are!

Yep - that's how my beautiful baby girl got her name - two seemingly responsible adults let a not-quite 3 year old choose it!  Could have been worse I suppose.  If she was being named now I'm sure she'd be called Lego :)

And in case you were wondering I'm @lynnemaxpen.  Mind you most of my tweets seems to be replying to a certain @JoTwoOwls......

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Oh no she's at it again....

No not blogging!  This is the reaction of Paul when I have found something new to complain about!  It takes a lot for me to complain about something but over the past few years my complaint quotient has rocketed - perhaps it's a sign of my advancing years :)

The first memorable complaint was to Marks and Spencer about some appalling grammar/spelling on a pair of slippers that I happened to see when looking for a birthday present for my Dad.  The slippers were billed as "armchair referee" ones.  One slipper had a yellow card and the second slipper had a red card with "Your off!" on it - honestly if Marks and Spencer can't spell things correctly....  I duly emailed M&S as I felt so outraged by the basic failure of their quality control systems.  I got a nice email back saying they were sorry I felt so disappointed in them and that they would pass my comments on to the relevant person/department. It would appear though that they haven't learnt their lesson as I have felt the need to complain to them again recently....

The second complaint was to the BBC after an episode of "The Apprentice".  It was one of the episodes where the candidates have to buy a variety of things as cheaply as possible.  This particular one required them to buy a rabbit.  The programme then showed them putting the rabbit (in its carrier) in the boot of the car - disgraceful!  I complained to the BBC that they shouldn't be putting bunnies in car boots and that it wasn't a good way to promote responsible pet ownership, showing how easily you can buy a rabbit without any regard for the responsibilities involved in caring for one.

This especially riled me as rabbits are one of the most abused pets in this country.  People think that they make good pets for children but then leave them stuck in a hutch 24/7.  Yes rabbits can make lovely pets (I should know I've had several!) but they also take a lot of work and they need lots of space to run about in.  Anyway I'll get off my soapbox...

The BBC duly replied that the rabbits hadn't stayed in the boot of the car for the entire duration of the task (well that's something at least) and that afterwards they went to pre-arranged homes.  That's all well and good but I kind of feel they missed the point about promoting responsible pet ownership.

The third complaint was to the Advertising Standards Authority.  In Manchester XFM were launching the radio station and there were many billboards showing babies/toddlers dressed as particular rock/pop acts.  One such baby was dressed a Liam Gallagher and shown giving the "v" sign - you know the one.  Well I don't know about you but I don't appreciate seeing anybody doing that anyway, let alone a baby (although I do appreciate it must have been photoshopped!) and particularly not every day on my way to work.  Apparently I wasn't the only one as I think the ASA got about 170ish complaints although they didn't uphold them.

My most recent complaint has been to M&S again.  And yet again it is for their poor grammar.  I purchased Max some new underpants recently - a nice set in navy and grey with monkeys on them, somewhat appropriate for my monkey!!  The first pair of pants were fine, just monkeys, nothing to upset me there.  The second pair of pants were a different story altogether - here they are

Can you spot the problem?  Yes it's an errant apostrophe.  Just because it's plural doesn't mean it needs a flipping apostrophe.  I have to admit to having a "thing" about apostrophes.  I think it's because I wasn't taught how to properly use them until I did my A-Level in English Literature and one of our teachers was so astounded by our inability to use them correctly that she spent an entire lesson teaching us how to use them, rather than discussing Thomas Hardy's poetry.  To be honest the apostrophe lesson as served me in greater stead than any discussion of Hardy.

I duly tweeted that I was contemplating complaining to M&S about the poor grammar on Max's new pants.  I was somewhat surprised to receive a tweet back from M&S asking for the product code and advising that if I wanted I could return them to the store for a full refund.  OK I am annoyed about the apostrophe but not quite enough to return all the pants!!  How would I explain that to Max??

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Slimmer World??

I've been "doing" Slimming World since January, inspired by my friend J who has lost about 7 stone doing it and started her own group.  I did the other one (y'know WW) before I had Max and lost 24 pounds.  Two children later and that 24 pounds has been put back on with some more to up the overall weight loss required to 2 and a half stone :(.  Since January I've lost 19 pounds so only another 16 to go....  

Every week I go and get weighed and I need the knowledge I will get weighed by someone else to stick to the eating plan.  To be honest it doesn't feel to much like a diet which is the beauty of it as you can eat as much "free" food as you like.  Brilliant for someone who has portion control issues - Paul (see not Hubby - happy now dad??) can't understand how I can get away with eating so much food but it's all about eating the right food.  

A few people have commented in my weight loss so far (including our neighbour A who says even her husband S has noticed "so I must have lost a lot for him to notice"!) which is good for giving you a boost and keeping you on track.

I fear though that I have reached the mid-diet rut where it all seems too much like hard work and biscuits call me at every available opportunity.  I need to get my groove back on and push forward.  It's been difficult of late as the end of June/beginning of July is known as "party season" around here - we end up with about 5 or so birthday parties and, along with a long overdue Mothers' Mafia night out (wine tasting and pottery painting at Coffee Au Clay), the diet has been put on hold for a couple of weeks.  

There is however a pair of "pre-Max" jeans that I want to get back into - they're those kind of jeans that make you feel good just wearing them.  I spent a small fortune on them and once memorably told Paul that "I'd marry these jeans if I could"!  So must keep to the diet if I want to get back into them and then think about something to reward myself with when I reach target.  Last time it was a Coach bag and I'm thinking if I did that last time then I must do the same this time - now what bag shall I go for this time??

And just because most of the posts seem to have been about Max, here's a picture of my beautiful Penelope

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sure enough...

It was Max's graduation at pre-school today and sure enough when it came to singing the graduation song (that he had been singing for weeks in the back of the car) he remained completely and utterly mute.  I think the whole thing was quite overwhelming for him - it must be quite an ordeal when you're only just 4 coming into a room full of adults, all of whom are staring at you, and then having to perform.  When it came to handing out the certificates and gift (a very handy copy of "Topsy and Tim go to school") Max was the only child that refused to get up and collect them - instead he made the pre-school teacher come to him!

Here he is in his cap and gown, just think how I'll be able to embarrass him with it when he's 18 

On and on a final note I have been told off by my dad (via my mum of course!) who has said I shouldn't refer to my hubby as "Hubby" so, being the dutiful daughter (!) I'll make sure Hubby has a name in future posts!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

The End of an Era

My big boy Max starts school in September and we are now entering a series of "lasts".  This week was his last swimming lesson where I get in with him.  In September he starts "big boy" swimming lessons and goes in on his own.  I expect much tantrum-ing that day!

Next week is his last Friday playgroup - a weekly date that has been a fixture in his life since he was about 15 months old.  I haven't had the heart to tell him yet he won't be going after next week.  I'm certainly not going to tell him that Penelope and I will still go whilst he's at school.

Next week is his graduation from pre-school.  Everyone asks (with a degree of amusement) whether he will be wearing a cap and gown.  It tickles me to be able to say "yes".  OK it's a bit ridiculous for 4 year olds but it just amuses me.  It's a bit of fun to acknowledge the end of an era, and something that is definitely more for the parents than the children.  He's been practising his graduation song for weeks now and I have no doubt that on big day he will remain stoically mute.  He doesn't actually finish at pre-school until the very start of September so I have a while yet for that "last".

Every time I think about him starting school I cannot believe how fast the last four years has gone.  It feels like only yesterday he was the tiny baby handed to me post emergency section and here he is a big boy almost ready to start school.

Here he is on the bouncy castle at his birthday party last week

Pretty much every new experience at the moment is pre-faced with the words "big boy" in an attempt to make it sound vastly more exciting than it actually it.  I wonder how long it will be before he catches on???

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A new career?

From time to time I contemplate the fates that led me to become a solicitor.  Frankly at the root of it all I blame "LA Law".  Susan Dey and Harry Hamlin made law look so glamorous and exciting, when the reality is that it is neither most all of the time.  As I was finishing my GCSEs, law, accountancy or teaching seemed the way forward.  Teaching was quickly scrubbed - not enough money to fulfil a handbag obsession and not enough patience to deal with kids.  I'm not entirely sure why accountancy moved off the agenda.  So a law degree it was, after making sure it didn't entirely bore the pants off me by doing an AS Level in law first.

So a law degree ensued with enough options to keep my career aspirations open, including a semester of revenue law - perhaps accountancy hadn't left me entirely!  This was followed by the Legal Practice Course, a training contract and then qualification.  And that was nearly 12 years ago.  Technically though when you consider my two lots of maternity leave, I've actually worked for less than 10 of them.

Whilst on each lot of maternity leave, both my friends and I have tried to come up with alternative careers, completely unsuccessfully!  Whilst on mat leave with Max, the wedding dress shop in the village was for sale - hmm could I make that a career?  I could take Max to work and he could crawl about amongst the wedding dresses all day?  Maybe not, I'm not sure prospective brides wouldn't appreciate trying on dresses with chocolate handprints all over the bottom.  Whist on maternity leave with Penelope, the soft play centre down the road closed.  We were all gutted as it was the nicest one in the local area.  So perhaps we could all club together and buy that?  Maybe not as the rent apparently was extortionately high.  

After making Penelope's and then Max's birthday cakes, my sister-in-law C suggested that I start a new business "Cook's Cakes"

The only problem is that each one takes me so long I would have to charge a fortune!!

Ultimately I have yet to find a job that will pay me as much as mine currently does for doing 3 days a week.  That's the problem with being a solicitor - you get sucked in with the salary and then find it hard to leave as you get used to a standard of living.  I'd like to think I could live without shopping/far flung holidays but the materialistic side of me knows that I'm not quite ready to yet.  Mind you I'm still working on Hubby to let me give up work entirely, maybe once Penelope has reached school age he might have given in!

On the plus side, it appears the premises for the soft play centre have now been let, fingers crossed it's a new decent soft play place and not a furniture showroom!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Are you having another?

Having had two children, and only recently having returned to work after the second lot of maternity leave, one of the questions I seem to get asked a lot is "are you having any more children?".

It seems to be once you get to a certain age people in general think it is acceptable to ask you when you are having children.  The first time I was asked I think the Hubby and I had been married for all of about 4 hours - I kid you not!  At Father-in-law's 60th birthday party, a perfect stranger told me that we really ought to get on with it.  At this stage I was, I hasten to add, all of the ripe old age of 31.  Clearly my biological clock must have been ticking loud enough for everyone else to hear.... We were simply waiting until we were as financially and emotionally ready as we could be.  Having said that there are still days when I do not feel old enough to be a mum!

Anyway the new topic of choice is whether I will have a third.  Having been blessed with one of each, the general assumption is that I probably wouldn't need to.  And my head says the same thing.  Both the Hubby and I are one of two and I'd always kind of assumed that I would just have two children.  My heart however has a slightly different take on the matter and whilst I am not intending to go through it again I wouldn't want to do anything permanent about it.  The thought of not being pregnant and having a tiny baby again is quite sad, and this is said by someone who did not have an easy second pregnancy at all!

So no, for the time being I have no plans for another, I shall just enjoy my new nephew, my other nephew who's due to arrive shortly and various friends' small babies safe in the knowledge that they can be returned to the appropriate parent and I can then enjoy my two beautiful healthy babies.

Now if the question was "are you having another handbag?" that would be a different matter entirely!

And because, as Jo would say, no post is complete without a photo, my furry baby Daisy relaxing in the sun x

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

To blog or not to blog?

That is indeed the question.  But that's enough Shakespeare for now!  I have been reading various blogs for quite some time now, with one of my favourites being Two Owls Design, the blog created by my friend Jo who I consider to be one of the most talented (and nicest!) people I know.  Her posts inevitably make me chuckle and wish that I was half so interesting......

Having been encouraged by Jo that blogging was indeed a good idea I thought I'd give it a try.  So what to say for a first post?  A little about me to explain the title?  Two of my lifelong obsessions (not babies in handbags - although given small dogs in handbags perhaps it's inevitable that if Paris Hilton has a baby it's only a matter of time...) - my babies, Max and Penelope

(I also have a furry baby, Daisy the bunny, although I can't locate a photo of her at the moment so I'll post about her later)

And the second obsession is handbags and one brand in particular, Coach.  It started in San Francisco in 2004 and has made its way through New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Thailand and Dubai.  I can't resist a sneaky look at the website from time to time and fantasise about what bags, shoes, sunglasses etc I would buy if funds permitted! This is my most recent purchase from Dubai and my first full leather bag

I'm not sure Hubby has realised that Coach have recently opened their first shop in London.  All I need to do now is find an excuse to visit without Hubby confiscating the credit card :)