Friday, 19 December 2014

Nearly there? Preparing for a large family Christmas - warning may contain unseasonable grumpiness.

If one more person chirps "nearly there" at me I swear I will actually punch them in the face. The same goes to the next person who asks if I am ready for Christmas yet. An actual punch. In the face.

Did I mention I am a mother of 7? *Points silently at banner above this blog post*. That means that the fun is multiplied all over this fecking festive period. More costumes and more teacher presents (although I cheat and just supply desperately exhausted staff with staffroom sweet treats to snarf in between making sheep costumes)
child in sheep costume
Grumpy sheep

You may have spotted me at the school play frantically trying to look in three different directions - thanks teachers for scattering my primary school aged offspring as far away as possible from each other on a large stage. My Christmas cookie offerings not good enough obviously.

You will spot me in church providing readers, acolytes and choristers and filling in when other people go sick/shy/senile. That reminds me I haven't written the script for our Christmas Eve crib service story yet - luckily I know the general theme of it quite well......

I have learned my lesson about excessive drinking on Christmas Eve. I may have had quite a lot of Champagne last year before heading to Midnight Mass. I was very relaxed. Some might have described me as incoherent and wobbling about like a newborn foal. I don't hold my drink very well.

 In our packed-to-the-rafters church I spotted the vicar not very subtly gesturing to me for help with distributing the elements for Communion (bread and wine) and had a slight panic as I realised I had forgotten what I was supposed to say when I tip the chalice. Cue eye rolls from my husband. I topped that by getting a highly inappropriate fit of the giggles when I realised that each time I tipped the Chalice I pursed my lips in a drinking motion - like how you open your mouth when spoon feeding a baby. Or is that just me?

I have enough wrapping paper, tape, brown paper labels and dried oranges (for smug mother homemade tags) to sink the proverbial battleship but no idea when I am actually going to have time to wrap anything.

And don't mention food - I foolishly agreed to shop for and cook Christmas Day lunch for 30 and make canap├ęs for a wedding on the 27th. And of course ALL of the delivery and click and collect slots within a forty mile radius have been snapped up. So that'll be me getting up at 1am for a hopefully quiet wander round the local superstore looking for giant featherless birds, army proportions of spuds and a small mountain of sprouts.

I suggest that unless you want to become intimately acquainted with my Christmas Eve companion, Stabby McSharpknife (thanks K!) then I would avoid my house on the 24th while I prep the veg. It'll be OK as long as I have relentlessly cheery Slade shouting "It's Christmas!"on repeat and a large glass of Baileys within reach.

So no food bought, not many presents wrapped. Don't even mention cards - my neighbours must think I am a right miserable cow because I never send any back. We do have decs up and I have finished buying pressies so that's something I suppose.

And at the end of the day does it all really matter? I know that at midnight as the 24th rolls into the 25th, standing (maybe swaying slightly) singing about love and joy in my church with the promise of fun and food with friends and family I will forget albeit momentarily all the stress.

The kids will love their presents even if they are still in the bags they were delivered in and anyway my Granny, sadly no longer with us, got away with wrapping her (re-gifted) presents in ancient ripped paper sans tape for years. We just thought it was endearingly eccentric. I still fondly remember the year when aged 11 I got extra large American tan tights from her.

So yes, I know we are nearly there and no, I'm not ready. But as always, it'll be alright on the night. In the meantime however if you catch sight of a wild-eyed frantic woman in the supermarket in the early hours desperately scrabbling for sprouts on the floor, run away.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Teachers! Schools! Get crafty, recycle and win with The Boxtrolls

I love it when my children's school ask for certain items if what I would call rubbish to use in a craft project. Last week it was plastic milk bottles and as you can imagine I get through a fair few of those in my house so was happy to oblige sending Grumpy with one a day until they begged me to stop.
However *looks around guiltily* I am less pleased when any of my children emerge glowing with pride and the effort of carrying some giant glued together pile of cr*p  art which I then have to display until such time as I can get away with "recycling" it.
Junk modelling is a vital part of childhood though so I was pleased to hear about a new initiative from Universal Pictures (UK) and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy who together have created The Big Boxtrolls Recycling Week Challenge with the adorable rubbish collecting movie superstars, The Boxtrolls. 

The idea is that from Monday 26th –  Friday 30th January 2015, teachers and pupils collect objects which would be suitable for recycling.Maybe each child could bring in a cardboard box of rubbish collected over the Christmas period?  I'm thinking not the turkey carcass or the drooping Christmas tree but I'm sure there will be lots of other suitable items  like cards, ripped wrapping paper and discarded boxes to bring into school.
The children then are supposed to get crafty with the "rubbish" to create their very own Boxtroll, whilst learning how to correctly recycle and care for their own communities.
The Big Boxtrolls Recycling Week Challenge is being supported by Kitten and mum of 4 Natasha Hamilton.

Natasha said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of The Big Boxtrolls Recycling Week Challenge. After Christmas, there’s always so many leftover boxes, discarded wrapping paper and Christmas cards lying around. We’re asking schools, families and friends to come together to reuse and recycle this material in the New Year by getting crafty together with the super cute and rubbish collecting boxtroll characters!”
Schools can enter by simply registering at the Keep Britain Tidy website  Once signed up, participating schools will receive fun and easy to use downloadable resource packs, which include  activity sheets and certificates to give to those taking part.
The school that follows in the footsteps of the thrifty ways of the Boxtroll characters and create the most impressive Boxtroll will win an amazing class trip to Universal Pictures (UK) in London for a special screening of The Boxtrolls, plus a meet and greet with the movie star Boxtrolls themselves. How cool is that?
To enter into the draw for this, registered schools should email an image of their crafty creation along with their school name to 
And that’s not all, every school that takes part will also be in the running to receive one of five visits from the exciting and giant Boxtrolls bin. No idea what this is? If you haven't seen the movie yet The Boxtrolls is released on 3D Blu-ray and DVD on 26 January 2015. 
With an outstanding voice cast,The Boxtrolls is a handcrafted animation by LAIKA, which follows the story of the adorable trash collecting characters, who have adopted orphaned boy Eggs and raised him in the amazing world that they have created by collecting junk no longer needed by the people above their underground haven, in the streets of Cheesebridge. 
I know - we had Wombles for that when I was young but let's face it there is enough junk to be recycled for the Boxtrolls to live happily along side the Wimbledon creatures.
Disclaimer; This is NOT a sponsored post.