It is Freddie Mercury’s birthday.

I am joining in with this blog hop for the first time. I love music, always have and have eclectic tastes too. So I hope to be a regular for this particular linky.

I have to select a Queen song today in honour of Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday.

Freddie is a hero of mine. I became a fan when I realised that I liked every Queen song ever made. So how do I choose just one. I like his solo stuff too so that gives even more to consider. Can I have them all please? After all, it is a very special day.

Don’t Stop Me Now has played loudly in my life whenever I need a particular boost to my self-belief. Education, jobs, public speaking, parties – it works well for them all.

Killer Queen is another favourite but as soon as I say that I think of a load more I love. I think I would like as my epitaph, “Perfume came naturally from Paris …” I don’t live a glamorous life but, hey, there is time yet.

Barcelona is special because my mum loved it. We both cried when Freddie died. Even Dad had to admit that Freddie had a great voice even if he did get very grumpy when we ended up in the traffic for the Knebworth Queen concert when I was a kid. He said to me, “Couldn’t you have bloody told me and I could have taken a different route?” Mum and I smiled at each other slyly and enjoyed the impromptu Queen party as people got out of their cars, danced on the road, laid on bonnets and sang along to Queen from their car radios.

When mum herself died, I turned on the radio and heard Radio Ga Ga. I played it very loud and the lyrics took on a whole new meaning. I found it quite life-affirming on the most difficult of days. It made me think things would somehow be OK. Freddie there for me in my hour of need again.

I don’t just like Freddie’s music. I like the things he said too. When asked if he was good or bad, he replied “Both, just like everybody else”. That is true sanity and so many people identify as one or the other when actually we are all a unique concoction of the two.

Well, I could go on and on but I think you get the message by now.

Happy Birthday Freddie. I bet there is a huge party going on in Heaven today.

With love from the Striking Mum x

The Pramshed

I love charity shopping.

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Saturday saw me at the hospice shop. Pricing seemed a little weird with some things going for a song and some priced up at more than they would have been new.

Some lovely orange and lavender scented incense cones from Ashleigh and Burwood 50p

An academic diary and pen set – £1 new in box

A Bratz pencil case – 50 pence

A Frustration Game – £1 and in new condition

A folding file thing so I can organise my paperwork – £1

Photographs will follow tonight but my camera is currently out of batteries so check back later.

Things I was tempted by included some old-fashioned weights and scales for £12. Might pop back for that later in the week.

There was also a size 38G Katie Price brand new bra for £2.50. I keep toying with the idea of selling on ebay and wondered if this might make a good start. I did not buy it but did some research. The trouble was I spied a bra and knickers set in my size and then made the mistake of looking at the seller's other items which were all lovely and all in my size. So my plan to invest £2.50 with a view to making a profit very almost resulted in a £50 loss straightaway!

On the pricing thing, it is important for charity shops to get these things right as later in the day, we visited a Yorkshire Trader store where they had brand new toys for really cheap prices.

This was in Whitby where I spied a Magpie Cafe with a huge queue outside and a Magpie Kitchenware Shop. Made me think of the regular Magpie Monday-ers.

Of course, the best bargains of all are the freebies. A couple of weeks ago, we collected Angel our hamster with a cage via the Netmums website. I understand they do not accept pet adverts anymore but it might be worth pet-seekers looking at Pets4Homes, Preloved or Gumtree.

Tomorrow night, again via Netmums I am picking up a bundle of ladieswear in my size.

Last week, again via Netmums, I picked up 7 pairs of school trousers and a load of school shirts for £20.

So a very mixed bag for you this week and I look forward to sharing the pictures later.

Love from the Striking Mum x

Top tips to make kids feel better when they are poorly include lots of cuddles and I find a duvet on the sofa works a treat.

There are two aspects to make kids feel better when they are poorly. Firstly, you need to get a good diagnosis of their condition either from a GP, a specialist or good use of NHS Choices. That will point you to the right treatment. However, children can find being ill confusing and scary so it is vital to look after their mental wellbeing too.

What I learned from my family

My parents loved me very much. I think because I was adopted they took parenting so very seriously not wanting to let my birth parents down. However, I think my Mum would admit she was not a natural carer and I find that I am not either. When children get poorly, I tend to want them to recover very quickly so things can get back to normal. I always wanted my Dad when I was sick as he had more patience and also we had the same GP whereas Mum insisted on having a different practice. I had older brothers and they were good at keeping an eye on me too and bringing me treats like bacon butties. Although Mum did not have the finest bedside manner, she was a mine of information on what would get you better and this included apple cider vinegar for sore throats,  Nivea for just about anything and that faithful tub of Vicks Vapour Rub which she used to rub on me liberally. I think these products that have stood the test of time are brilliant not only in what they do but also in how they provide reassurance for the not quite sure what to do parent.  Comfort food also included lots of soup especially my favourite which was Heinz Tomato soup although Mum was sure chicken was better for me.

 

Vicks Tricks

 

Of course, times move on and Vicks have new tricks to make children feel better including a series of magic trick videos that are simple, fun and easy to replicate so that you look like a really clever parent. At core though, Vicks remains your go to treatment to relieve congestions, coughs and sore throats due to colds. Vicks have carried out some research into what comforts children most and it was great to hear that traditional love and laughter works best of all.

It is shocking the first time you baby is not well and colds seem so much bigger in tiny babies. I thought Vicks was the answer but then realised it is for children over the age of two. My first son was so active from the start but when he was poorly just wanted cuddling up close on the sofa. It really was as simple as that!

 

Looking after school-age children

Vicks comes in to play for coughs and colds and is so effective. I recently was told be a friend on Facebook about putting it on feet to shift coughs and I have to report that although cynical, the results of this were amazing for all the family. When my kids are poorly, you will find them snuggled up on the sofa with pillows,  duvets and a range of colourful fleece blankets. As the Vicks research confirmed, rest is vital with 52 per cent of parents seeing this as the most important way of comforting kids. Rest combined with snuggles is even better!

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Days can be made better when they are awake with family films. If my children are talking or laughing, I know they are on the way to recovery so anything that stimulates these is great. It is one of the huge benefits of staying at home with children that you can relax and give yourself over to your children and what they need without stressing about the 9-5. In our house, there is lots of word play and giggles all the time and I genuinely believe these help keep the kids distracted from their symptoms when they are less than 100 per cent well. Also never think your children are too old to be taken back to early childhood with books and finger puppets because my tweens loved the package we received from Vicks. Be honest – we would all want to return to early pleasures if we could.

 

Looking after teens

 

My son recently had two operations for a condition he had had for months. I really under-estimated how much of a shock to his system this would be. He is 16, very tall and hairy and more of a man than a boy these days. However, he needed comfort food and he asked for cuddles a lot more than usual. He was clearly feeling vulnerable and I had to step us as a mum and carer. It is probably terrible to say but I quite enjoyed him needing me more than the X Box and his mates for once! I am pleased to report his biopsies came back clear and he is on the mend.

This post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign and here is a trick with a banana that will inject fun into the most poorly household.

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Caption this photograph for me please on Saturday Caption Day.

Love from the Striking Mum x

I thought I would try a little positive thinking.

I am joining in with the wonderful blog hop on positivity over at the Mummy from the Heart blog at http://mdplife.blogspot.com

I used to do this regularly on my old blog and have every intention of keeping up the good vibes on this one too.

1. I love my new blog look and that I am starting a new chapter in blogging and on other fronts too.

2. My son set off happily with his bag to join his friend’s family for a holiday in Northumbria today. It is fabulous that he is popular and that he has the self-confidence to go. I was 22 before I had that sort of get up and go. By am amazing coincidence, he is staying in the place I did twice with Mum and Dad when I was little. I remember listening to Paul Young’s “Wherever I lay my hat” as number one on the crackly radio so it dates the holiday period and me! Tomorrow is 2 years since Mum died and it is lovely to remember happy memories at this time.

3. We have a scanner and I am looking forward to learning how to use it and to saving photos and art for posterity. It might also be good to share some of those old photographs on here.

4. My daughter is sleeping in her bed through the night now. This is a major move forwards for her and for us as a family.

5. I am getting ready for the back to school thing next week. It will be good to have time to pursue new interests and have some me time along with trips out with my Dad. This must be the first year that I have actually being quite organised about it all and a £15 competition win voucher helped a lot.

With love from the Striking Mum x