What does nursery education mean to you? What did your little one learn at nursery today?

nursery education

I remember nursery as a really positive thing personally. I had this great teacher called Miss Bun who had the hairstyle to match. Mum got a break and I learned new things. That was in the days when you did not need to worry about paying for nursery education.

When my parents were unable to care for my son any longer due to caring for a poorly relative, I found a brilliant Montessori nursery. I loved the approach to learning and how they worked to the individual child. They used a child’s passions as a tool to encourage further learning. They had great resources and caring staff. I loved seeing my son in his cute little red and yellow uniform. I was sure we were doing the right thing as he made new friends and developed new skills including reading.

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Sadly my other two children went to a different nursery and I missed the Montessori setting which was idyllic surrounded by high walls and beautiful gardens. My other two went to a city centre nursery and if I am honest, I was not really impressed at all but needs must when you are trying to make ends meet. They only stayed there for a few months but long enough for my son to get toilet-trained easily something I always struggled with when parenting. Judge me but I just don’t seem to have the knack of persuading babies and tots to use the loo.

So I have had mixed experiences of nurseries and am keen to see that they are available so that parents can work without worrying if their child is OK and also so that stay-at-home parents can get a much-needed break. The big thing is to ensure that nurseries are not only available in an exclusive way based on wealth and that standards of education, care and security are high.

How has nursery helped YOUR child? Share your story on the hashtag #NurseriesGrowMinds with @savechildrenuk!

It’s time for my weekly summary of my reasons to be cheerful.

1. I finished a novel last night. This is huge for me as although I love reading, I find it so difficult to find time to do it. I may well write a review as it was not my usual sort of thing and kept me with it so that I finished it in just over a week. Makes me think I can do it again this week.

2. I am back to blogging my way being open and honest, getting it out there and not worrying too much who loves it as to be honest, that is how I started and I think that was probably my happiest type of blogging in many ways. It makes me feel reconnected with my old readers and it also makes me feel that I am contributing my thoughts to posterity should they be useful in any way.

4. I have found the most superb place for dog-walking with a sandy beach and gorgeous views. I have a fitness tracker on so can get back to monitoring activity and sleep patterns.

5. Decluttering has resulted in us finding a variety of phones so that we are now all hooked up which is great as the children grown and get more independent.

6. Everything seems to be getting more organised and more balanced.

7. It’s pay day so I had a trip into town and because the cash machines were playing up did not spend much at all but got a glorious white fluffy coat and some leggings for my daughter, a Footprints poem print and a doodle notebook.

8. I am learning to sketch and enjoying trying something new. It is wonderful too as my daughter loves sitting with me doing arts and crafts stuff and all too often I put it off.

9. I am still dreaming the big dream and think I can make it happen.

I have a problem with pornography. There! I said it! So I thought I would unpick it in writing as I am heartily sick of trying to work out the rights and wrongs of it.

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Pornography played absolutely no part in my home or school life. Let’s get out there now that I was brought up as a Catholic. Add in that I am adopted so always feel I have to prove I am good enough or until recent times anyway when I seem to be nailing the whole loving myself routine.

I campaigned against the Students’ Union at college paying for the Sun to go in the common room not because it troubled me personally but because other women asked me to do so and I was their elected Women’s Officer. We won the argument and most of the people who voted were men as there were far more men at my college than women.

The first time a lad put on porn in my presence, I found it laughable. Why would he do that? We were not a couple. He did not ask if I wanted to see it. I guess at that time I was more ballsy and just asked him to turn it off which he did.

In my first long-term relationship, porn played no part whatsoever. I do not know if my boyfriend used porn or not but he certainly did not push me into it. He was far from faultless and eventually left me for a younger woman but I lived an apparently porn free life.

When I met my husband there were erotic literature books in his bedroom which he laughed about saying they were his girlfriend’s at the time. Yes there was an overlap and nope, I am not proud of that at all. His daughter also showed me a porn magazine and said it was his presumably in an attempt to get rid of the potential wicked stepmother.

Porn disappeared quickly thereafter. Yes I felt pressured to play along and watch some stuff but it was never really my bag. Of course, it arouses but not half as thrilling in my view as a bond between two people who are really into each other rather than Uncle Tom Cobbley and all or the woman next door, near relatives or animals.

One day I went to the hairdresser’s and when I came home my husband was watching porn rather than enjoying quality time with our son. That’s where the problem with my husband and his porn use started. How can you choose porn over your own son?

That is 12 or so years ago and every so often I find him using porn. It’s a “cheap thrill” apparently but as someone who is not that far of retirement age, I find that a little pathetic to be honest. It causes conflict or my attitude and “skewed thinking” does to give my husband his say on the matter.

So I was interested to see Pamela Anderson describing pornography as a “public hazard” that affects men’s “ability to function as husband, and, by extension, as father”.

“We are a guinea-pig generation for an experiment in mass debasement that few of us would have ever consented to, and whose full nefarious impact may not be known for years. How many families will suffer? How many marriages will implode? How many talented men will scrap their most important relationships and careers for a brief onanistic thrill? How many children will propel, warp-speed, into the dark side of adult sexuality by forced exposure to their fathers’ profanations?”

I always get women telling me that all men use pornography. I also know some women enjoy it. I might question who introduced them to pornography in the first place. I might question how and why people find themselves in the porn industry. That does not seem to bother users one bit that folks might be there having being abused as children, found themselves cash-strapped or are under the power of men where the women’s interests count for little.

So here is why I would prefer my husband not to use porn

1. it has hurt me over the years. I have offered to compromise but am too often hit with anger, denial and lies.

2. I have found myself lying in bed trying to work out how to appear like a porn star. That is degrading and a real barrier to true sexual intimacy.

3. I don’t like the risks that have been taken in leaving stuff around that my beloved children might see.

4. During great days in or out, I get a little niggle in my head wondering if he has porn on his mind rather than the lovely experience we appear to be having.

Most of all, I would like folks to be honest. If it is so fabulous and life-affirming why does it have to be done furtively and be lied about? Why is a conversation not had right at the start of relationships about porn so you get a choice what you are signing up for?

I know lots of men and women will not like what I say here but I am celebrating myself enough to say I might have to live with porn but I can still return to the ballsy woman who will have her say.

Is a “cheap thrill” worth sacrificing your wife and kids for?

Are you in the mood for dancing? Perhaps you are inspired by Strictly Come Dancing?

I had a look at the dictionary definition of dance. Apparently it means to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps. Of course some of us have more natural rhythm than others.

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My parents danced a lot from waltzes to sequence dancing to the Slosh! I was encouraged to dance as a child and my Grandad wanted to send me for lessons but that never came to anything. I would love to be able to dance in the uninhibited way I did as young child to “Rock around the clock” but all too soon introversion hit and I avoided dancing in front of others including in nightclubs and at weddings. It’s a shame because I love music and have a fantasy of performing one of those top hat and tail “All that Jazz” routines some day. One of the very first decisions that I made about my own wedding day is that there would be no first or indeed any dance.

My teenage son and tween daughter take after me and don’t like to take centre stage.

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However, along came my 10 year old son my youngest who is a natural performer. He is an extrovert who simply cannot understand why people get nervous about anything. He has taken part in filming for adverts and drama with complete confidence. I am in awe of this quality in him. Whilst his sister bottled ballet lessons, he attacked street dance sessions at school with gusto!

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To celebrate Frubes’ partnership with the must-see family film of the year, The Angry Birds Movie, Frubes has created a squawksome dance-off between the Angry Birds and mischievous Pigs. Staunch enemies in the film, the dance off between the Birds and Pigs means you and your family can settle the feud for good – pick a side and find out who is the ultimate dancer! Will your family shake their tail feathers with the Birds, or dance their bacon off with the Pigs? Visit angrybirds.frubes.co.uk, where you can egg on your favourite character.

Frubes is the largest portable yogurt brand. These yummy yogurt tubes squeeze more fun into the day and are a family favourite. Available in Strawberry, Red Berry, Peach, and Banana flavours, they contain vitamin D and calcium for strong bones – great for those wanting to try out their own dance moves just like the Angry Birds and mischievous Pigs!

Did you know that as part of The Angry Birds Movie partnership, Frubes is running an egg-citing on-pack promotion until 31 October, offering families the chance to flock to the Bahamas for a fun-filled island holiday to spot exotic birds and swim with pigs? The competition includes a weekly draw to win a whole host of Angry Birds Movie merchandise, with a grand prize of a family holiday for four to spend six nights in the Bahamas! Now if I won thatI might get over all my inhibitions and gyrate with the best of them. Having said that my superstar son has informed me that “swaying your hips from side to side and moving your bottom to and fro is NOT dancing”.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes < https://angrybirds.frubes.co.uk

Menopausal Monday! What is that?

I am aware that I am entering the menopause. I think the signs were there a couple of years ago when I first started to feel hot for no apparent reason and without warning. Now hot flushes come and go and the odd night sweat sets in. Periods are erratic where they have always being regular. SOMETHING is going on here.

Hitting the menopause brings its physical symptoms but it also is making me reflect on my life and times. It’s a turning point. My children are now tweens and a teen. They need me a bit less or perhaps just in a very different way. This allows me more freedom to read, to do my own thing and just to be.

So in my mid-forties (spun for good measure) I find myself fascinated and also strangely liberated by the changes in my body and in my life.

I also start to wonder if I have on big adventure in me and just how brave I am really.

Is anyone else having a Menopausal Monday?

Received wisdom is that the menopause is yet another of those things we don’t acknowledge or talk about enough. Perhaps we need to change that. Perhaps I could start a regular blog hop sharing the life and times of menopausal women to share peer support, tips and achievements.

How does that sound?