Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Have you eaten the hair clips?

Any parent of girls will understand this problem.

Hair clips / grips / bands / elastics - they get EVERYWHERE.

Except that is when you actually want one - then they are nowhere to be seen.

In an attempt to corral the girls stash and get they to take some responsibility for tidying up I decided to make them a hair clip holder each.

I asked each of them what shape they wanted and Miss R wanted a Heart and Little Miss L a cloud.  So one wet and windy day I set about making something out of bits I had lying around.


Handmade Hair Clip Holder

I drew templates onto paper and then cut out the shapes from my felt stash.  I found some pretty ribbon to make a loop for hanging and some extra for attaching the clips to.

Then I attached them in between the felt shapes as I blanket stitched them together and stuffed them.

If I were to make them again there are some changes I would make but not bad for a quick Monday morning project.

And MOST importantly - the girls love them :)

Bex x

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Politics of the PTA

There are groups of parents around the country who are continually fighting a battle to raise funds for schools.

They are not fighting the school governors or local authorities for funds - they are fighting the apathy of other parents who do diddly squat for the school.

PTAs / Friends Associations

I'm talking about PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations) and Friends Associations - whatever name they are going by.

I've been the Treasurer of our school Friends Association for the last 2 years.

PTA's have a reputation for being cliquey - I certainly haven't found it that way.

I didn't know anyone on the Friends before going but I still went despite feeling nervous and worried.  I have made friends on the Friends and acquaintances.  We don't always see eye to eye and there are arguments.  But we carry on.

And why do we carry on?

To raise funds to purchase items for the mini human beings at the school that they wouldn't otherwise have.  Not just our own children but ALL the children.  We do it for ALL the children.

We have provided outdoor play equipment that the children LOVE.  We have provided games for wet weather play. We run Discos, Summer Fetes, Christmas Bazaars.

And we do it all in our own time.

We have jobs, we have families, we have our own businesses, we have our own lives - yet we still make the time to help.

There are LOTS of different ways people can help their PTA.

It doesn't have to cost £ to help

  • If parents cannot afford to donate an item they can donate their time to help in the planning and preparation or running of the event.  They could come along to a meeting to share their ideas.

  • Some of the fundraising we run costs NOTHING to the parents.  For example - we have a textile recycling collection a couple of times a year.  A chance to clear out those old worn out clothes and shoes and yet every collection we see the same old faces bringing items along.

  • We use Easy Search as a search engine which earns the Friends Association a couple of pence for each search completed.  This costs nothing to parents to use.  Just change over from Google / IE / Safari to our own search engine (to be completely honest it's a rubbish search engine but I still use it every day to do a search and then look on Google for a proper answer!).

  • We are members of The Giving Machine.  It works a bit like a cashback website where if you do your shopping online via The Giving Machine we (the Friends') can earn some money on your purchase.

I'm not holier than thou - I don't use it all the time.  I use TopCashback for most of my online purchases but anything I buy from Amazon I do via The Giving Machine.

Our school has 480 pupils on the roll.  Allowing for siblings and single parent families we must have 600 parents who could be signed up to use this service + grandparents, Aunts, Uncles etc.  We have 29. Less than 5%.

We needed 36 people to attend our Friends AGM in September to enable us to make some changes - we couldn't get 36 people. OUT OF 480!


This little rant has been brought about because we have had to cancel an event tomorrow.

We had planned a Nearly New Sale for after school.  We asked parents for donations of any unwanted Christmas presents or nearly new items we could sell.

We received a little over a dozen donations.

The Year 6 Council were going to help run the event after school and the Teaching Assistants were kindly going to man the tills.  All parents had to do was donate a small item for sale.

I am left with the feeling of 'why do we bother?' - but one of my friends summed it up perfectly

It is so hard not to not get angry (I'm sure I would be the same) - especially when you have probably put a lot of time and effort into already organising this event only to be let down at the end! 
I think this probably happens in pretty much every sc
hool - it seems we are all fighting a battle to make a little bit of money to help the children. It's such a shame as those that want to offer their time and support are getting disheartened and angry and less likely to help in the future.
You are not alone though Beccy - there are lots of us out there that feel your pain. All we can take away from it is that we are trying our hardest to do good and I know my children see me helping and they notice.

Thanks Jennie.  We do carry on.  I want to do this for my children.  I want them to see me helping and volunteering.

I want to be a good example to my girls.  Miss R and Little Miss L - I do this for you. 

Memory Jar

For the past couple of years I've said that I would love to do a Memory Jar for the year.

I'm good at saying I want to do things - it's the actually doing them that I have issue with.  But this year I have done it!!

We have a 'Things That Make Us Smile 2014' jar for us all to put little anecdotes and funnies in to.  I've cut up strips of pretty scrapbook paper and left them beside the jar for people to write on.

The plan is that on New Years Eve we can tip it out and read all the lovely things that have happened over the year.

Even Miss R is on board with it - I saw her writing something down the other day and popping it in the jar.  I can't wait to read it.

I dare say it will be mainly me who puts things in there unless I bully Mr H into doing it but I love the idea.

There are always little things the girls say that make me chuckle and I think I'll remember them but hardly ever do.  Now I have no excuse!

Bex x

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Is Crochet the new killer?

Well well well.

Who knew I had chosen such a dangerous hobby to take up as one of my New Years Resolutions.

Before I head off to the library to find myself a book on learning to crochet I thought I would arm myself with the tools of the trade.

Lots of bits of left over wool from my Mum and I was off to buy my first crochet hook.

Not as easy as you might think!!

Mr H and I were out for a mooch without the little H's and decided to call in at Dunelm Mill for a mosey around.

They have a haberdashery section and I selected what seemed to be a 'medium' sized crochet hook having been advised by my Mum not to get one 'too fat - or too thin'.

I felt a sense of accomplishment - this was my first step towards achieving one of my new years resolutions.

We queued up to pay and I handed it over.

Do you have ID?

Me - "I'm sorry. ID?

Sales Assistant - "Yes, I need photo ID to be able to sell this to you"

Me - "Huh?"

Sales Assistant - "do you have a driving licence with you?"

Me - "for a crochet hook?"

Sales Assistant - "Yes - I need proof that you're over 25"

Me - "Are you kidding me? It's a crochet hook and I haven't got any ID on me. Just my credit cards which prove I'm over 18 and my face which clearly shows I am over 25.  I'm 33 for gods sake"

Sales Assistant - "I'm sorry - I can't sell it to you without ID".

Mr H and I left empty handed, thoroughly baffled, slightly bemused and a teensy bit shocked that apparently crocheting is such a dangerous pastime that you need to be of a certain age in order to take it up!

Crochet hooks - the weapon of choice?

Have I missed a spate of crimes where the main weapon has been a No.4 Crochet Hook?

I remain baffled about what damage I could do to another individual with a crochet hook that I couldn't achieve with, say, a pen....or a stick.

Please don't tell me next time I need to buy a Biro I'm going to have to take my passport and utility bills with me to W H Smiths?!

Was it April 1st - was this a prank?  Sadly no.

Perhaps I'm not destined to learn.  Maybe Crochet Hooks have to be bequeathed to you by a loved one. It is a skill which must pass via the generations.  Have I missed my opportunity to learn?

With slight trepidation we headed off and called in at my favourite shop (and Mr H's least favourite shop) Hobbycraft.

I gingerly approached the till with my crochet hook in hand (subtly covered by many other items which I needed) and I covertly checked around me for a sting operation in case I had been reported to the police for attempting to purchase a dangerous weapon.  I placed down my goods - they were scanned and I paid.


I am now the proud owner of my VERY OWN CROCHET HOOK.

I have no plans to use it as a weapon.

Dunelm Mill - you are idiots!  There are occasions that common sense must come into play and this was one of them.

Hobbycraft - I love you - very much (big sloppy kisses to YOU!)

*skips off to library to find a book on what to do with this hook thing*

Bex x

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Years Resolutions

OK - 1st of January.

Time to set lots of new goals that will have fallen by the way-side by mid January.

So here goes:

Lose Weight

This is a given.  I have turned into whale over the last few years and it has to stop.

Eat more healthily

I think this is important for the whole family.  We don't get our five a day at the moment and we should.  So there.  << goes off to eat banana. Distracted by a stop at the leftover Christmas chocolates >>

Learn the photography basics

Have posh camera already - need to learn how to take it off Auto mode and produce pictures that aren't blurry.

I've made a good start. I've bought an online photography basics course - now just need to start it!

Take part in a 365 challenge

As part of my photography resolution I want to take part in a Photo a Day Challenge.  There are lots of them out their on the web but I've found one over at Fat Mum Slim which looks right up my street (mainly I am swayed by the pretty graphics - I am shallow, I admit it!).

Even the kids are wanting to take part so today we have pictures of 'lunch'.

Watch Die Hard

For no other reason than I haven't seen it.  It doesn't appeal to me at all but it appeared in the top 10 list of Christmas films (random I know!) and I feel I should now watch it. And Gone with the Wind - haven't seen that either.

Read More

Mr H and I both have a mahoosive stack of books that we need to read.  Some I've had since before I met him so it really is time to get them knocked off.  I would like to read 2 books a month - lets see how it goes!!  I'm over on Goodreads if you want to keep and eye on me.

Learn to Crochet

One of my good friends made a gorgeous crocheted Christmas Wreath last year and I would love to make one the same (sorry Tash but imitation is the best form of flattery!).

The one I would like to make is on Attic 24.  To have a look click here.

I have one teeny tiny snag - I don't know how to crochet!  So 2014 is my year to learn!

Have you got any great New Years Resolutions?

Bex x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Elf on the Shelf - Days 14 & 15

Well - Christmas is now well and truly over, the decorations are down and the January blues have hit so I thought I'd just do our final post for Elf on the Shelf for 2013.

Day 14

Every year my girls like to get Magic Reindeer Food.  Usually we buy this at a Christmas Bazaar or something similar but this year we never got around to it.

They were very disappointed that they didn't have any to sprinkle in the front garden on Christmas Eve - and the elves must have heard because low and behold - the Elves bought some magic reindeer food for them!

I found the labels here and made a cone each out of festive scrap booking paper.  In hindsight I should have made long, thin cones for the food but the stumpy little ones worked OK.

I mixed some porridge oats, sugar (I dunno why - just thought it would add some crunch!!) and some magic glitter (OK - just glitter!) and it was done.

The girls came down in the morning to find the Elves perched on our home-made postbox with the food in hand.

The girls on Christmas Eve 2013 sprinkling their magic reindeer food.

Day 15

I can't believe that on their last night here both Mr H and I forgot to photograph the elves who had been making snow angels out of flour in the kitchen.  Grr to us!

We had to retrieve the elves from the flour (using tongs of course - don't touch!) and put them back on the mantle for Santa to collect when he called on Christmas Eve.

And so that's it for 2013

Next year I might try to be a bit more organised so they arrive of 1st December and do a bit of planning.

Some people think it's all a load of faff but the look on the kids faces makes it totally worth it.

Their joy is priceless.

Bex x