Archive for January, 2009

New Alcohol Guidelines

England’s chief medical officer has today released new guidelines, advising that children under 15 should not drink alcohol at all, and that from 15 – 17, they should only have alcohol under supervision, and only in very small amounts.

To me, this is very sensible advice. I appreciate that some people feel that if young children are allowed limited amounts of alcohol, it can demystify it.. but surely that can be done by spending time talking to your children, about alcohol and it’s effects? By allowing, and even encouraging, young people to experience alcohol, are we not giving them the message that it’s totally acceptable, and even expected?

Let’s not forget that alcohol is a drug, with many effects on our physical and mental health, so it’s certainly not something that I’m going to hand to my daughters.

Yes, alcohol is part of our culture, and is part of society, but surely it should be part of our adult culture, with our children being taught this?

My 9 year old is very inquisitive about the world, and we’ve already started to discuss issues such as this, as well as smoking and drugs. I’ve explained some of the effects of these substances, and I’ve also told her that whilst I very much hope she will steer clear of smoking and drugs, that I know that she will wish to try alcohol.. but I certainly don’t expect her to do this until she is much older.

There’s a good website about alcohol and drinking, run by The Drink Aware Trust – it’s a good place to find the facts.

How about the other mums out there.. do you let your young children drink, or do you think these guidelines are a good thing?


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Jury Service

Hubby finally got the call.. to go up to London for jury service. He sorted out his two weeks away from work, which included trying to make sure his team would be ok without any management support, and left early on Monday morning to make his way there on the train.

By lunchtime he was on his way back again, after being told he didn’t have to go back until Thursday! He went to work on Tuesday, then took a day off yesterday.

Today he will find out if he’s been chosen for a particular case. There are 20 of them, and 12 will be chosen. Those chosen 12 have been told they can expect the case to take 6 – 8 weeks. If he doesn’t get chosen, who knows…?

Having him up in London for 8 weeks will cause child care havoc. I work late on a Monday night, and he picks up the girls. Those last few appointments of the day are popular, and get booked up early. If he phones today top say he’sbeen picked, I will have to contact my manager, to explain that I will have to leave early on Mondays, and that the patients will have to be cancelled.


I did get a smile from it this morning though, as I imagined the selection process running like some sort of reality/talent show. Each name gets called, they step forward, then there’s this long dramatic pause, until they are told whether they are chosen or not! 😉

Oh well, it made me giggle! lol

It does seem a strange process though.. some will remain there for many weeks, whilst others waste a couple of weeks, going through the process, but being sent home each time they’re not chosen.

Have you ever done jury service.. was it a good experience?

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Twilight – how did it happen?

I was wondering today whether there’s anyone else out there who hasn’t read Twilight? I feel like a huge minority, and yet I still can’t bring myself to pick it up!

I’m aware of the argument that I can’t possibly judge it until I’ve read it, but I now feel as if I’m almost being forced into reading it, and forming that opinion.

I have both writer and reader friends – some who like it, and some who feel it’s poorly written. Then there are a few who agree that it’s poorly written, and yet they still like it. It’s confusing!

Beyond that is the amazing way that the hype built up – was it clever marketing, or pure damn luck? And that is one of the main reasons for my frustration with this series.. I know some very good writers who can’t seem to get the recognition they deserve, and yet one of the most popular books around is apparently not that well written.

So maybe it’s not about the writing? Is there something in the storyline that teens (in particular) seem to want to grab hold of? I understand the book to be rather ‘sweet’.. does this mean that our youngsters today are actually fed up with our harsh world, filled with gangs and knives etc, and are craving something else?

I do remain a little divided.. there’s a part of me which wants to read the books, so that I am able to make that decision and judgement for myself. But at the same time, I don’t really want to support an author who’s probably got more money than she deserves, nor do I want to waste my time when there are so many other books calling out for my attention.

So, a few questions..

For those of you who have read the books, when did you pick them up, and was it just because of the hype? And what are your honest thoughts, good or bad?What exactly is the pull of these books?

Anyone else who hasn’t read them yet.. what are your reasons, and do you think you’ll give in?

Should I?

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A – Z of 2008

I’ve been inspired by Paige’s A-Z post, but I don’t think mine will be as good! Anyway, let’s see what I can think of…

Abba – After seeing a tribute band, Beth decided that she rather liked Abba, and so we were treated to Abba Gold quite a few times this year! In the summer we both went to see Mama Mia, which was great fun, then the girls bought Abba Singstar for the PS2!

Books – Goes without saying really! I read far more this year, tried lots of new authors, and got to read a fair number of ARCs. The list is here.

Cats – Good and bad here.. Bethany has fallen in love with soppy Louis, and she even cuddles him in bed like a teddy bear. However, for the bad.. no, I can’t do it, I can’t bring myself to mention the ‘F’ word again! 😉 (Just in case you were wondering, the ‘F’ word is fleas, nothing else! lol)

Dolce Gusto – My new coffee machine, which is very nice. {grin}

Exhibition (Dr Who) – A special treat for Bethany, which I also happened to enjoy. 🙂 Photos here.

Friends – The subject that I can make whole posts about! LOL  I think the main thing to come from the year is the realisation that I have to accept various friendships as they are, instead of trying to make them something they’re not.

Guitar Hero – This just about sneaks in, as Beth was playing it on New Year’s Eve! hehe  Once we discovered that you could get it for the Wii, I got dragged out to buy it.. and she loves it!

Hair – Sigh.. no matter what I do to it, I am rarely happy with it. My fringe has gone, which was a good thing, but the overall style subtly changes all the time!

Impressed Mum – Bethany was once again placed on the ‘Able and Talented Register’ at school, and Amy is apparently like a sponge! They also behave well at school, and seem popular. I’m impressed!

Juggling – Not literally, of course, but rather juggling work, school, child care etc – see this blog post.

Karts – As in MarioKarts, which I love having on the Wii! And did I mention that I beat my husband!? hehe

LibraryThing – This site has allowed me to keep myself organised over the year, when it comes to books. I can see what I’ve read, what’s waiting, which publisher it’s come from, etc. I’ve just started a Goodreads account, and that may also be helpful.. time will tell.

Maxalt – My wonder drug! Previously a migraine meant leaving work, going to bed, being thouroughly miserable etc. Now I just need to take one of these, and after about an hour, the migraine starts to lift. It leaves me feeling a bit ‘odd’, but that I can cope with. My gratitude to whoever discovered triptans!

New Car – Well, for hubby, anyway. He has a lease car, but due to rising costs, he had to drop down from a Golf to a Fiesta!

Orchard – As in The Orchard Theatre, which we’ve started going to occasionally. We’ve seen some good shows, and we have some more booked for this year too.

Phone – I finally got a contract, and so I have a shiny new phone! Generally it’s pretty good, but the camera is a little disappointing, and I can’t seem to get any email accounts working on it! Surprisingly for me though, it’s pink! LOL

Questions – These are ffrom Beth – she’s very very inquisitive! We’ve had some rather in depth discussions about various issues for a nine year old,  but she seems to take it all in.

Reviewing – The highlight of my year, really. So many of my books have been review copies, some from authors, some from publishers. Some have even been ARCs, which I love reading.

Stalling – My car suddenly decided that it was going to keep stalling. And no, not when I was stopping or starting, but when I was going along at full speed! Scary! Thankfully the lovely people at the garage sorted it out for me, and only charged me £28! 😀

Themes – For my various blogs.. I’m terrible at deciding what I like, and they change often!

Uh Oh – The title of my post when poor Louis got crystals in his bladder!

Viewing – TV, that is – I don’t watch much, but over the year I did enjoy Lost, Dr Who, Desperate Housewives, Survivors and Fringe.

Wii – A very sucessful Christmas present, I must say – I love MarioKarts, Amy can play Mario Party, Glen is enjoying the sports, and of course, Beth loves her guitar!

X – Factor – Beth decided on the first live show that she liked Alexandra, and we were both quite happy when she won. Ok, so we have plenty of female singers, and she is rather like Leonna.. but hey, the girls can sing!

Yuck!Sewerage in in the back yard – need I say more?

Zoo – During our visit to Chessington World of Adventures! 😀

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So, I do enjoy blogging, but I’m rather intermittent about doing it; comments are rather rare now.. and I’ve never liked talking to myself! So, do I keep going?!

For the time being, what’s been happening since my last post? Well, Christmas was quiet, but nice. The main present was a Wii, so that has certainly kept us all occupied. It’s nice to have MarioKarts back again!

On the Sunday after Christmas we had friends here, then last night we went up to them, to see in the New Year. Beth discovered that she likes Guitar Hero, so off we went today, with early birthday money, to buy it for the Wii. She hasn’t put it down since!

Looking back, how was 2008? Unfortunately, it was a sad year.. one friend lost her mum, another faced her nephew being killed in an accident, and just before Christmas, my great aunt passed away.

On a more positive note, it was the year that Amy started school, where she seems to be doing great. It was also an excellent year for books.. the vast majority of my books have been sent to me to review, including a number of advanced copies.

I can’t look back on the year without mentioning a friendship that has grown and grown.. Katherine, you may be many miles away, but it means the world to me to have you in my life!

So, 2008 is gone, and 2009 is here – it’s the year that my eldest daughter will reach double figures, but I have no idea what else is in store. I can only hope that it is going to be a good one.. for me, and for everyone I love.

And for all of you who take the time to read my ramblings, whether or not I continue with them.. I hope you have a fantastic 2009!

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