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Tis the season to be…

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Taking on a festive role, at this time of year, involves making a list of those you really 'need' to gift. Basically Thank YOU packages for those who persevere with our offspring and their ludicrous spelling, others who put our homes back together after an overly-sociable weekend or he who delivers weekend newspapers when none of my housemates want to walk down the road in their PJs. But, what I'll now call tactical giving, is reaching an all-time peak... mostly because our gifting competitors are ensuring the how to show your appreciation bar is unbearably high.

The way I see it, there's an opt IN or opt OUT tick box system going . If I opt in, I'm going to end up spending more on the form teachers, the music teachers, our drycleaners (not my idea, His) than I will do on my nearest/dearest – because, in all honestly, Father Christmas only half heartedly drops by our gaff on the eve of the turkey-eating marathon. Plus, I'd need to immediately buy shares in Jo Malone, Space NK or even setting up an affiliate marketing programme with JohnLewis.com to enter this gift-rat-race.

Opting out has its own set of risks: will the teachers think I'm only semi-grateful? Or will I look like the meanest, tightest, not in the least bit involved mum if I simply fling a bottle of something strong their direction – in exchange of their detailed school report and exhausted faces?

So I've decided that my logic is to be instinctive and personal. Gifting doesn't need to be excessive. In fact, the more excessive, the more uncomfortable so while the most curious of mothers – laden with more gifts than Santa – totter up to the school gates, I'll hide behind their reindeer and watch the teachers squirm.

Rodents

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 05 November 2015
I was never very good at being that hostess with the most-est. All the excitement up front – the invitation, stocking up the fridge, fresh flowers by the bedside and the sweet-smelling bread in the oven. But then, as soon as the guest has unpacked, I start glancing at the clock, waiting for this long-awaited friend to depart. You see, home is my sanctuary; a place where I totally switch off, shuffle around in slippers and wear BAD tracksuits.

But this particular guest was never invited. He simply dug his way into our lives and now seems to act like he's ruling our roost. OUR casa is HIS casa, or so it seems.

Of course I immediately called in the 4th emergency service to get this furry (non)friend evicted. Traps were set and poison laid down. But no, he still reins on; over us mere lodgers in his castle.

Now known by our other 5* hotel guests as 'The Other Him', the pest is dead (if only) keen on midnight feasting, tireless scurrying and general frolicking. In short, TOH is living it up chez nous. And I'm now not seeing the funny side of this intruder. So another appointment has been booked and this time it's HIM or ME.

I know, I know. Those who live surrounded by green fields have many such infiltrators, some even with longer tails. I know that he's a great deal smaller than me. I know he's potentially harmless (if you don't count the countless health risks carried by these pests) but I absolutely refuse to cohabit one more day with an overly curious, entirely intrusive, trap-dodging RODENT.

Those Jones-es

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 26 October 2015
I just wonder if they think I'm a DREADFUL mum?' a self-crucifying (yet highly successful) mother confessed to me earlier this week over a steaming cup of hot coffee. And she wasn't referring to her children's assessment of her parental skills either. This inherent fear of judgement was attributed to those other mums at the school gates. I quickly reassured her and moved on.

'Do you think that they think that we are totally MAD?' a friend asked me a couple of days later as I sprinted to catch a bus in the pouring rain. I honestly had no idea who or what she was talking about but pacified her all the same.

'But what will THEY say if we book a holiday THERE?' He asked me last last night. I was too tired to even respond, let alone question.

But, right here and now - after these three questions and so, so many more - I am realising that I (quite frankly) don't give a damn what the next person thinks about any personal decisions I make in my life. Anyone disapproving or querying or even daring to judge me is quite frankly irrelevant if that decision works for me and us and them. Actually, it doesn't even cross my mind to peer over the garden fence to see how and why others lead their lives.

Am I'm in the minority and do most others care about those ever-present Jones-es. In reality, I can't see how this over the shoulder glancing could ever work out well. Of course it's human nature to want to be liked and accepted but a burning need to 'fit in' will absolutely prevent you from being YOU. Besides, all humans are constantly in a state of flux so, just when you're finally slotting in, someone somewhere will change their view and you'll be flung back out in the cold.

Mum on the Run

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 30 September 2015
I was chatting away on the phone to a client who lives up in Scotland. She was wondering if any of my blogger friends might want to visit her business and learn more about the great Scottish tartan tailoring. And right then and there, I saw my chance to plan a 48-hour escape.

Because the reality is that this mum doesn't really business travel. My work is always within a tube journey of the Smalls and often needs to be completed before the end of school bell sounds.

So a small bag was packed, minutia arrangement made and some train tickets booked before six of us travelled into a land of chequered colour. We visited a mill, learnt how to make a kilt, picnicked by the Tweed, drank good wine and laughed. Really really properly laughed until our tummies hurt.

And as I'm now travelling home and already excited to cuddle those Smalls, I've realised just how much we all need to escape from time to time.

Socialising for the under age

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 21 September 2015
As London Fashion Week rears its pointed toe, most of us in the digital fashion world will have our cameras and iphones at the ready in every effort to snap, post and share those most likable instagram pictures. But is our world in squares, along with the other social platforms, a suitable place for our Smalls to play? When, where, how and WHY I'm asked repeatedly – perhaps because my day job – should we allow the underage into our mindless playground?

But it's not as easy as that. In fact, it's a debatable topic that none of us are knowledgeable enough to give any proper advice on. Many of us can see the advantage of children understanding how social media works and there is always the argument that – by denying access – you are over hyping it and therefore provoking the naughties to go behind your back... perahps one dark day.

The truth is that a great deal of what's out there being shared by closed communities (those with privacy settings) is harmless and therefore very dull for the Under 13s (the recommended age). But there are of course those ugly bits. From what I hear, children mostly stumble across these on YouTube and mine have been given this strict advice: if it's horrid, turn it off immediately and tell an adult.

For better or for worse, my Mini loves Instagram. She loved scrolling through my feed for more than a year before I conceded (read: fought Him) and allowed her to open her own account. With 20 followers and a passion for taking and editing her photos, it all feels pretty harmless. My logic is that when the rest of her peers are allowed access, she'll behave like a normal social media freak rather than one feeling the need to push boundaries and behave inappropriately. The novelty is here and now.

But, as I said, there's no right or wrong answer to this debate. It's highly personal and with a close eye, privacy settings to keep out the baddies and limited screen time, I think she might just survive.

Our sense of humour

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 07 September 2015
What really tickles you? And your Smalls? Do you laugh at one and the same - or are you mostly amused by each other's presence? I only ask because, after 8 weeks of living in close quarters, I'm a little overly finely tuned into our family sense of humour ... as well as (occasional) lack of...

My first observation is that only the most curious will make us all laugh simultaneously. This could be an air steward with a high-pitched voice, any food ordering miscommunication and absolutely includes any cheeky queue barge.

More often than perhaps we should, the three of us tend to find Him pretty amusing. Over zealous sun cream application, temporarily hiding his 'precious' sunglasses and the way he deal with intense heat can have us rolling in the aisles.

Small, in contrast, isn't so keen to be the butt of any joke, which brings me conveniently onto the geek that is Mr Bean. One of the most successful British cultural exports ever, this character is a real divider in our family. The males find him sidesplittingly hilarious, particular Small whose uncontrollable laughter can be heard in the next street. Mini and I feel utterly stressed out by this hapless, awkward, self-conscious, childlike, disaster-prone weirdo.

Last weekend we tried our hand at Mrs Doubtfire. I'd actually forgotten just how funny Robin Williams is when his first-time boobs ignite. Again, the Smalls were divided. Mini couldn't quite see past the male-female conversion to find any of the film the least bit amusing. Small is still giggling in his bedroom when he remembers certain episodes.

The bottom line is that finding life amusing is more important than I think we all realize. It binds and reassures us to know that we were, at that moment, on exactly the same page. Bearing in mind the strains, stresses and lack of comic moments in everyday life, I think we ought to take laughter that bit more seriously.

Imagination versus knowledge?

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 24 August 2015
For those who don't follow my blog, I should explain that we've been doing a little globetrotting. If I'm totally honest, it hasn't really been the backpacking + hostel-type of roaming. But there's little more that He and I adore more than showing our Smalls the world-at-large and so this year we tackled parts of Asia.

But this isn't a travel journal post; I'm simply making the point that having just spent a fortnight 24/7 in close proximity (mostly sharing a room) with my tribe, I have plenty of blog fodder for the rest of the year, and beyond.

Mealtimes, long journeys, early mornings, lights out, on the beach and all the bits in between have meant we could delve a bit deeper in our chit chat than manic London life allows.

During one particular meal, Small asked if we thought that imagination was more important than knowledge? I almost choked on my coconut juice as this boy's random thought process throws me every time. And so the debate was opened: I was interested that my Him thought that knowledge was always king as it gives you the power to know how. I disagreed (of course) stating that, within reason, knowledge can be acquired and yet imagination is harder to come by. Surely imagination must be life's differentiator, I ranted on.

But I soon realized why Small was asking this question. He's pretty confident that his vivid imagination is all he needs to get by. I quickly swayed my reasoning and set him on the straight and narrow; there are too many school years for us all to get through...

And I was once more reminded that these discussions (whether or not they are on a sandy beach) are precious and valuable and the essence of family life.

Parental supervision…

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 27 July 2015
I remember my first holiday without my parents as if it was yesterday. Aged 16¾ , I ventured around Israel with a rebellious youth group. The memories, friendships and a few of those piercings from that momentous adventure still remain. But it is the feeling of that thrilling freedom that reminds me most of the trip.

Thirty odd years later, more accurately since Smalls entered our lives, and I now have no issue with the odd parental supervised holiday. Not only do I enjoy their (sometimes quirky) company, I am endless indebted to anyone who can lend me a child-rearing hand whilst feeding me with home cooked (as well as restaurant) treats, washing all of our clothes and allowing me limitless sleep.

So, at the start of each summer I put 'real life' on hold and three generations escape to an undiscovered (by us) part of the UK. For one week, I properly reset my on/off button. Catching up with their news, aches/pains and political thoughts, I also really relish observing the Smalls enjoying their company too. The whole trip feels properly precious.

This week we pressed flowers, walked in the rain, read books and ate a certain number of roast chickens. Story telling always features high at Yablon mealtimes. Tales of my youth, our ancestors and some amusing recounting (from all age groups) of 'what happened when' regularly reduce us all into full flow giggles.

Last year Camber Sands, this year Lake Windermere. Who knows where next year – let's just hope we're all still together and laughing.

Internet Free

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 20 July 2015
I've always wanted to holiday somewhere remote with no Internet access. But never bitten the bullet nor been actually brave enough to subject my nearest and dearest to such a 'hardship'. However sometimes fate is written in the sky and so today we have arrived in a remote part of the Lake District to find that a recent storm has destroyed the rental cottage's connection to the world wide web.

So basically I'm jumping up and down with glee. It's my dream come true... in a curious sort of 'need to do this before I die' way. One whole week with no emailing, googling and tweeting. He might as well leave his iPad in its case and forget Bloomberg, Sky News and the cricket score. Mini can't email her friends and Small can't drum up those infinite word searches (his latest obsession). Plus we're on holiday with Lord and Lady Y too. Lord Y is talking about writing emails offline and walking his laptop down to the local pub to press SEND.

We don't even know what the weather will be like tomorrow. (Better not to know if it's back-to-back rain anyway). Emails from the tail end of Friday's workday are falling on deaf in-boxes. There is no functioning TV and even the phone reception is non existent so there's no way of knowing if anyone might be trying to get hold of any of us.

But all three generations are embracing this social experiment. Besides, we have tea, chocolate, a Roberts radio and a football. Nothing else is needed when holidaying in England. Not least Internet access.

Are they our future?

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 10 July 2015
I’m generally an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. But some of the ‘modern parenting’ I have witnessed recently is seriously alarming me, and could even suggest a serious crisis on our hands.

I think most of it boils down to a parenting fear of offspring. The mother who turns up at the school gates with a choice of snack, unsure which one little Peter might want after his long, trying day. I watched as Peter reprimanded his mother. Both sugary alternatives were wrong. She lowered her head, apologizing to this 6 year old tyrant.

The bar is continually lowered, when the brats misbehave. Whether it’s a public outburst or private surliness, the adults shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘That’s kids for you!’ But of course it doesn’t have to be. These minors need manners and a little self-control, basically nothing a table clearing, bed making or even car cleaning couldn’t sort out. The only reason they tantrum (past the age of 3) is because they are being allowed to.

Before I appear smug, nanny-know-it-all and horribly preachy, one final example of this certain tribe of the next generation. In the playground last week, one of (9 year old) Small’s friends was slapped across the face by a boy 3 years his junior. The incident was completely unprovoked and a shock to the older boys. However much the authorities tried to ensure this boy apologized, he failed. Is this normal? At all acceptable? Simply attention-seeking ploy? I have no idea any more but, at the every least, seems to me to be a worrying sign of the times.

Are they our future?

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 10 July 2015
I’m generally an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. But some of the ‘modern parenting’ I have witnessed recently is seriously alarming me, and could even suggest a serious crisis on our hands.

I think most of it boils down to a parenting fear of offspring. The mother who turns up at the school gates with a choice of snack, unsure which one little Peter might want after his long, trying day. I watched as Peter reprimanded his mother. Both sugary alternatives were wrong. She lowered her head, apologizing to this 6 year old tyrant.

The bar is continually lowered, when the brats misbehave. Whether it’s a public outburst or private surliness, the adults shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘That’s kids for you!’ But of course it doesn’t have to be. These minors need manners and a little self-control, basically nothing a table clearing, bed making or even car cleaning couldn’t sort out. The only reason they tantrum (past the age of 3) is because they are being allowed to.

Before I appear smug, nanny-know-it-all and horribly preachy, one final example of this certain tribe of the next generation. In the playground last week, one of (9 year old) Small’s friends was slapped across the face by a boy 3 years his junior. The incident was completely unprovoked and a shock to the older boys. However much the authorities tried to ensure this boy apologized, he failed. Is this normal? At all acceptable? Simply attention-seeking ploy? I have no idea any more but, at the every least, seems to me to be a worrying sign of the times.

Infiltration of emojis

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Wednesday, 01 July 2015
I'm a little bit concerned about this overwhelming infiltration of emoji. These weepy/winking faces, clapping hands and dancing women have taken over our heads, words and minds. Even those with ridiculously high IQ seem to be substituting curious pictures for wordy description and true emotion and, to be honest, I'm wondering if this can end well for our world at large.

Emoji first entered our vocabulary in the mid 90s. A Japanese tech developer dreamt up the colourful team way back in that pre-iphone-era. Of course there really wasn't much demand for the technicolour smiley face cult before we had the tools to litter them. Now billions of emoji are flung through the ether each year and I'd say that we're now pretty symbol obsessed.

On any given night out, Mini (back home) can send me anywhere in the region of 50 little characters (via email) to express her love and longing. I return around 30 of the damn things hoping that this will coax into putting down her screen and placing her head on the pillow.

Instagram is infested with the latest craze of these pictograms. Thumbs up for something impressive, fire for this heat wave, ice-cream at the ready and any assortment of multicoloured hearts to tie in with real words, an image or both.

So, should I be concerned? Is it not enough that we now dream in photographic squares, communicate in status updates and tweet more than we speak? Instead of finding the words, we seem to reach for the icon. I'm all that smiley faced with tongue hanging out about the emotionless-emoji thing.

Social Sharing

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 12 June 2015
Are you a sharer? A partial sharer? Or maybe an over-sharer? In our social dominant world, it feels imperative we fit into one of these rigidly defined categories.

For example: He's not a sharer. Private remains under lock and key and He finds the world of over sharing a little ludicrous, but (thank goodness) in a non-judgmental way.

I suppose he has to – while still married to me. He's grown to accept that I'm an over-sharer because, even before social media was an integral part of my work as well as more-leisurely life, I couldn't help myself. Intricate operations, deepest darkest feelings, property purchases and silly tales of family life were spread far and wide. With EVERYONE.

And then came along a number of platforms where I could draw, snap and describe in words ... indiscreetly. Over-sharing me couldn't have more satisfied. Of course, I'm not alone. Social media is awash of people like me and, while mostly the others don't give a damn, there are always those who whine - perhaps as they try to share but can't.

Pushed to explain to the Smalls, I rationalize that these social playground antics are my escapism and that, in reality, no one is really any smugger than the next. Crafting, editing, dreaming... none of this is really about seeking approval or counting those likes. In a nutshell, it's just like drawing a picture or writing a story before seeing it (proudly) up on the classroom wall.

Paper Love

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 05 June 2015
I recently wrote an article for a magazine about my love of paper. It wasn't until I started typing that I realized just how intense my love is. A book before it is opened. An unscathed sheet of textured watercolour paper. Even a glossie magazine with a clean spine.

But then I grabbed a notebook (there's always a pile here on my desk ready to crack open) and my new Palomino Blackwing pencil (look them up... beyond...) and decided to note down my paper passion over one given day.

My paper diary with yellow matching ribbon, greetings cards (usually homemade alongside Mini), notes in meetings, lists at home and rolls of brown paper and string to wrap the never-ending stream of presents leaving this house.

My impulse book purchase on Amazon is already an addiction. But I also can't resist a newspaper in a coffee shop. Plus the paper certainly doesn't have to be new. Old, yellowed vellum in a dusty shop is just as delightful.

I suddenly started to panic. Where would the Rotering ink, Pritt stick and digital prints fix themselves if we had no paper. Orbiting aimlessly around our heated screens and furious keyboards? So, don't let anyone tell you we're ever going paperless. Not without kicking and screaming from my camp...

Master Pan

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 01 June 2015
This week I've mostly been thinking about Peter Pan. Ever since I sat less than two miles away from Kensington Gardens (where J.M. Barrie first introduced this mischievous character to Wendy in her pretty nightie), I have been reliving the magical story of the boy who could fly. Seen through the eyes of dramatically creative directors, Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's vision is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Of course, the story is one which we all know only too well; Never Land, the Lost Boys and a mystical escape from the Darling. A firm believer in fairies, dreamland and even the odd pirate, I have never felt the need to drill down any further than the familiar all's well that ends well fairy tale.

Perhaps prompted by the recent shocking James Rhodes headlines, I have done a little extra curricular reading into Scot Barrie and his childhood. And my naïve head has been turned as the 'boy who never grew up' has taken on disturbing significance. James Matthew Barrie, it transpires, identified strongly with children in a way that these days would certainly rouse suspicion. On top of this hideous thought, I discovered that Barrie's older brother was killed in a skating accident aged only 13. Attempting to copy the mannerisms and manners of his lost brother, Barrie had tried his best to comfort his grieving mother and – in a similar way to Michael Jackson – he went on to show all the signs of someone who had lost their childhood. Of course, Pan was never allowed to leave boyhood as this was where his brother life had cruelly been cut short.

But curiously this wasn't the part that most disturbed me. What hit me hard was the level of powerful adult regret and longing not to grow up. For Peter Pan, growing up is some kind of death sentence. But death is not the only negative theme in this world famous book. The terror of forgetting and being forgotten is highly prominent too.

And that is where the dagger digs deepest, for me. As these are questions I often become fixated on: who are we when we are gone? how will we be happy to be remembered? or will we simply be one of those lost boys?

Saying Sorry

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 21 May 2015
The way I see it, there are two camps: those who can and those who can't. And those who can, perhaps say it a little too readily. And those you can't are simply missing that apologetic gene as, more of than not, generations before them have trodden an unrepentant path. But just how important is it to be able to ask for forgiveness? How much is too much on the sorry-front? And where would be without the word 'sorry'?

It wasn't just the incident at school that made me think. Although I praised the concept of last night's homework being an apologetic letter to the teacher in question. Being able to craft a sincere and appropriate apology will stand them all in good stead. Whether or not they 'did it', is actually irrelevant.

Does it ever make anything better? One of the Smalls enquired. Yes, I think it does – if delivered with proper thought and ample qualification. A tail between the legs or relevant non-self-justification rationale can go a long way.

On the other hand, saying it too readily, too loudly or totally unnecessarily, is equally futile. London Underground is full of them. Terribly British over apologetic middle-aged one-journey-a-month travellers. SORRY they shrill when a commuter steps on their toe.

Lastly, up there on the high shelf sit those who lack no remorse whatsoever. The ignorant, the bad and the ugly. The man who mugged my dear friend. The terrorists. The pedophile. They don't feel the pain they cause. Perhaps because they are already feeling too much of their own pain? Either way, one day they'll be sorry.

The evils of perfection

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 11 May 2015
Small brought me his maths homework last night.

'I know this answer isn't right' he correctly volunteered. 'But I don't know how to do it so I guessed a number and added 2 to it.'

I took a closer inspection and the rest of the homework was pretty much in line with what the teacher had requested. And I have this thing about perfect homework so I immediately agreed that he could kick a football in the garden.

Honestly, there really is NO place for perfect homework in this world. Not only does it feel manufactured, bad and wrong, it also happens to be poor preparation for any future life.

In fact, from where I'm sitting, perfection in general is a bit of a curse. Unrelenting, non-authentic and with very few upsides, I'd strongly advise those who feel the need to dot every i. Because the harsh reality is that nothing perfect is sustainable, especially as we live in a society flooding us with unattainable expectations around every topic imaginable. How often we eat our greens, have sex, save money, spend time with our children/elderly parents, exercise, cook from scratch.... the list is nothing short of exhausting.

So join my gang in being slightly messy, that little bit imperfect and do add a random 2 to that sum you don't know how to do...

Dating Schools

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 01 May 2015
I know we're not allowed to talk about it. I know that - along with tutors and scholarships and everything else in between – the whole damn subject is COMPLETELY taboo. However 'horses for courses' and 'go with the flow' are all very well in theory but I do need to tell you how I put 2 and 2 together and BING! right there and then I had my not-so-academic revelation....

In fact, it was while I was touring a possible senior school for our Mini that this award-winning realization hit me. You see, I'm approaching school-hunting much as I did (all those years ago) when I might have been husband-hunting. And THIS is sure to be the reason why my emotions around secondary school viewings are proving a little leftfield. I'll give you an example: I never could dig those men who couldn't look me in the eye – especially if their hands dug around in their pockets. Nor could I date the smarmies, the intellects and... what a utterly hideous turn off those A grades could be. No. Absolutely not. I was looking for someone properly fun, definitely not stupid and more than able to handle any social situation I might fling in their direction.

And – as it transpires - that's what I'm looking for when considering our Smalls and their education – at large. Yet instead I am find myself faced with exam factories, overly-keen teenagers, pushy parents and droves of stressed out over-achievers. I just can't fancy that.

Power of calmness

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on Friday, 24 April 2015
Why is keeping calm one of the hardest things to do? If only there was a special vitamin pill we could pop each morning to (non-synthetically) adopt our brains to think of open fields, pools of still water and perfect sunsets. Just think how much more effective (not to say happier and more pleasant) we would all be.

And, of course, the knock-on effect would be dramatic on those around us. Having recently spent a very calm go-slow weekend with some ridiculously calm friends, I decided to try a little experiment at home. NO screaming on the stairs to encourage the Smalls to hurry up. NO manic multi-tasking. NO rushing. NO stress. Just for one day.

I won't lie. It really did take some incredible self-control and most definitely didn't feel very me. But... the results were dramatic. At first my fellow housemates looked at me curiously, as if I had been embodied by a half-absent soul. Before long though they too picked up on my calmness.

A psychotherapist might suggest that I was 'deconstructing the ritual'. Personally, I'd just say I was less of mad woman.

Breaking Rules

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 16 April 2015
Are you a rules person? It's a bit like Marmite. Either you love a good rulebook, those double yellow lines and that naughty step or ... well, you simply can't look a police man in the eye.

Our Smalls have been raised for the last decade on RULES. Coats are hung by the door, shoes in the shoe basket, bed time rarely wavers and we certainly don't entertain any fugitives after lights out. But – as they enter their second decade – I'm wondering if we need to shift into the back seat... just a little.

Because breaking rules and escaping that proverbial box is what gives us the freedom to be. (Besides, I know how much I personally need to break any rules to turn a fun evening into a proper dancing-on-the-table session). And if these Smalls can't 'be', how will they grow up to think for themselves, risk for a thrill and feel that all important dubious doubt?

So that's my parenting rulebook utterly broken. In fact, I might even go as far as developing a blind eye. But - if you happen to see some (small) people who look a bit like me on Oxford Street swinging from a bottle of gin, please send them home immediately.


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Oundle School is one of the country’s premier co-educational boarding and day schools. The School is spread throughout the historic market town of Oundle, which is approximately 12 miles from Peterborough. [...]

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