Monthly Archives

October 2011

Is It Ok For Teachers To Swear?

Posted on 13th October 2011 in discipline/ schools/ swearing/ teachers

Had coffee with a friend this week who told me that a teacher at her child’s school had sworn at the class. Apparently during a lesson, when losing the attention of the class, the teacher shouted “I’m not a f***ing foghorn”.

Another day, another teacher, apparently put her middle finger up at a child who was messing around.

I can’t help wondering how they can ever discipline the children or expect them to behave as an air of hypocrisy must make any such conversations impossible.

The more I think about it, the more shocked I am that this happened. It has made me wonder if I’m just too idealistic – in my head teachers gain the respect of their pupils and peers through well tempered, well managed behaviour. Leading by example and creating an ethos of personal safety and mutual respect.

Am I wrong? Is it now ok or even ‘the norm’ for teachers to swear at their pupils to regain control?

Big Blue Cuddle #CharityTuesday

Posted on 11th October 2011 in #charitytuesday/ big blue cuddle

This week for #CharityTuesday let me introduce you to Big Blue Cuddle. Name sound familiar? You’ve probably seen tweets in your timeline for #bigbluecuddlehour where people can mention their favourite children’s charity from 6 to 7pm every tuesday and Big Blue Cuddle will donate a £50 voucher to the charity with most mentions.

Big Blue Cuddle is a new online baby and children clothes store with a big difference: it generates big donations for children’s charities without costing a penny to the customer and offers an eclectic range of colourful, original and imaginative clothes for babies and children up to age 10.

Lara Soetekouw, the founder and London based mother of 3, teams up with unusual brands, mostly not yet widely available in the UK, who embrace the idea of giving and therefore offer great prices on a few selected items.  The clothes are sold for their regular retail price creating a margin that’s donated to charities.  In fact between 15% and 50% of the total value of each sale is donated to a charity chosen by the customer at the end of their purchase.

Suppliers only sell a limited amount of clothes through Big Blue Cuddle, so every garment is virtually unique in the UK. “It’s almost like a gallery” Lara explains “where you’re never quite sure what you’re going to find and once something is sold, it is gone!”

Big Blue Cuddle is therefore the perfect store where to buy gifts who will stand out, for example for newborn babies: the clothes are truly different from anything you’ll find on the high street and the gift will feel extra special to the new mother too, as the greeting card (or the gift voucher) has a discreet writing that says which children’s charity has been selected to benefit from this purchase.

Big Blue Cuddle has decided to support 4 wonderful and relatively small charities to make sure they are really making a difference in diverse areas such as medical research (Children with Leukaemia), buying medical equipment for premature babies (Ickle Pickles), providing counselling in schools for children with behavioural problems (Place2Be) or providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable children in deprived areas of London (Kids Company).
At check out the customer selects the charity that will receive the donation on their behalf. It’s big – purchases of £100 will see Big Blue Cuddle donating £25 to the children charity of their choice.

So at the end everybody wins:

–      Suppliers a great way to launch or get noticed in the UK, offer their stock for a good cause and show a big heart
–      Customers discover new brands, buy one-of-a-kind clothes and have the satisfaction of having helped raise funds for a good cause without spending anything extra
–      Charities receive funds that can make a big difference and raise awareness about their projects and cause.

To learn more about the concept and the charities they support and to browse Big Blue Cuddle’s colourful and original selection of clothes please visit their website

More about founder Lara Soetekouw and what made her start Big Blue Cuddle

Lara Soetekouw is half Italian, half American and has lived a bit everywhere across Europe before settling down in London 10 years ago, with her Dutch husband and their 3 multilingual children.

Lara is also a former strategy and marketing consultant who always dreamt of starting her own business and, at the same time, doing her bit to make the world a better place, especially for children.

The initial idea for Big Blue Cuddle came from the frustration of not being able to find in the UK the colourful and imaginative brands of clothes that she so enjoyed buying for her children in the Netherlands and finding that everybody was buying the same brands in the UK.  Lara thought that any stock of these brands that are not yet well established in the UK had a real market value over here because of their originality and that a margin could be created and donated to charities.

Comment Editing Etiquette #GuestPost

Posted on 10th October 2011 in #guestpost/ blog comments/ comment etiquette/ Editing/ Grammar/ Her Melness

Is It Wrong To Change Someone’s Comment On Your Blog?

This is not as wicked as all that but, while I make mistakes with the best of them, I do have a ‘thing’ about grammar and spelling. I don’t go as far as to correct a commenter’s grammar per se, but I do occasionally…once in a while…all the time change a spelling mistake if I catch it. Now, one of the members of The Gibberish Generation who is related to me thinks this is outrageous. Something about human rights and the long struggle for the right to misspell words. Not sure, since I stopped listening after the second “OMG, Mum!!”

But is it wrong to change a commenter’s spelling on your blog to maintain the quality standards you might have set for it? I don’t think so. Unless it is obvious the misspelling is there for a purpose, I am very happy to change the word ‘complement’ to ‘compliment’ when the clear meaning is to give someone a polite expression of praise or admiration. (Don’t worry, my children call me a ‘saddo’ later on this post, so don’t feel bad that you just thought it.)

However, I am being told it is far better to not print the comment rather than change the words of someone else. Now, that doesn’t work for me as I tend to print all comments I receive unless they are particularly offensive for the sake of offence. Even then I might change the gratuitous use of the word fcuk to, say, duck and publish away, but mainly to piss off the spammers sending me fcuk clothing adverts all the while.

When I make the odd spelling mistake on another writer’s blog, I am grateful when they correct any misspelling in my comments. It keeps the quality of their blog alive and makes me look less like a fool who cannot maintain her own standards. I find this far less stressful than posting a second comment correcting the first comment and then making a mistake in the third comment which was correcting the second comment. By the time I get to the fourth comment correcting the third comment, I’m a sweating, gibbering idiot who can’t remember if it’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’, or should that be accept it’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ and not after ‘c’? Oh, God! Who cares?

Well, the point is, I do, and as ‘saddo’ as that makes me (thanks kids for the new word to add to my vocabulary), I am a saddo who freely admits she would prefer to split hairs on this subject rather than split infinitives. How sad is that?

Guest post from HMS HerMelness Speaks (@HerMelness)

E&OE ~ Errors and omissions excepted…or should that be expected?

The Kitchen – National Theatre Live – A Disappointment

Posted on 7th October 2011 in National Theatre Live/ odeon/ One Man Two Guvnors/ The Kitchen

I love the concept of being able to see live theatre at my local odeon – think it’s truly inspired and feel very lucky to be able to take advantage of it.

I recently saw One Man, Two Guvnors which I thought was sensational – without doubt the funniest play I’ve ever seen.

Last night I saw The Kitchen. I am genuinely surprised by the glowing reviews I’ve read about it as I found it really quite weak and felt the first ‘half’ dragged on beyond measure. The, albeit well choroegraphed ‘busy kitchen’ scenes just went on and on and on with no obvious purpose – could easily have been a 15 minute scene.

I couldn’t help but notice some empty seats after the interval, it seemed that some people had give up on the play and gone home. I thought about it and actually wish that I had done too.

After the interval the pace picked up somewhat and Paul the pastry chef became a very engaging character. However the scenes between main characters Peter and Monique took a very macabre turn and it became obvious that you were meant to feel sympathy for Peter despite the fact he’d been a bullish, selfish character up until that point.

Monique’s soliloquy about her dream in the slaughterhouse was unbearably brutal and I would imagine that any woman in that audience who was unfortunate enough to have suffered either a miscarriage or an abortion would have gone home feeling quite haunted. In my opinion, it was unnecessary sensationalism to cover an otherwise weak play.

All Things Bacon And Beautiful

Posted on 5th October 2011 in bacon

A post dedicated to @cosmicgirlie

For putting on owies, bacon plasters…

For a hot night out (or in) the bacon tuxedo….

No outfit is complete without a bacon bracelet…

Breakfast just doesn’t work, without bacon jam…


Now any time can be bacon time with this classy watch…

Never lose that taste of breakfast, slick this balm on all day long…

Attract a man with taste by washing in bacon soap…

Look sizzling every day with these bacon earrings…

Be the envy of the school gates, tell them how you likes your bacon…

And finally, you bet I saved the best till last – be smokin’ in the bedroom with bacon lube…

Warum Ich Dich Liebe

Posted on 4th October 2011 in German/ poetry/ reasons why I love you

Ich liebe dein Gesicht
Deine lächelnden Augen
Die Tiefe deines Herzens
Deine bezaubende Seele

Ich liebe dich für deinen Mut
Für die Intensität deiner Gefühler
Ich liebe, dass du solche Barmherzigkeit zeigst
Und, dass es nichts gibt was du nicht teilen würdest

Ich liebe, dass ich an dich glaube
Ohne Frage, ohne Zweifel
Ich liebe, dass du an mich glaubst
Es scheint mir, du kennst mich in und auswendig

Ich liebe deine Geduld und dein Verständnis
Die Tiefen deiner Liebenswürdigkeit, egal was passiert,
Ich liebe, dass du dich als unzerbrechlich zeigst
Obwohl ich weiss, dass du es nicht bist

Ich liebe deine Zärtlichkeit
Die nur mit deine Stärke konkurriert wird
Ich liebe deine Gerechtigkeit
Und, dass du mir über nichts ausführlich sprechen musst

Ich liebe dein Optimismus,
Dass du glaubst, weil du glauben willst
Ich liebe deine Großzügigkeit
Dass du gibst ohne etwas dafür bekommen zu müssen

Deine Freundschaft zu haben ist für mich eine Ehre
Und ich hoffe dieses kleine Blog dir zeigen kann
Dass du der liebsten Mensch bist den ich überhaupt kenne;
Ich fühle mich geehrt, dass du in meiner Welt bist.

Pillowcase Dresses #CharityTuesday

Posted on 4th October 2011 in #charitytuesday/ craft/ kenya/ pillowcase dresses

My post for #CharityTuesday this week really sums up how the simplest of ideas can have a wonderful and inexpensive affect. 

I’ll now hand you over to Louise who can tell you all about the pillowcase dresses – if you think you can help her please get in touch xx

Earlier in the year an article in a sewing magazine about a charity in America called ‘Dress A Girl Around the World‘ caught my eye. People who could sew were asked to make simple pillowcase dresses which were then delivered to girls living in poverty in the developing world.

Girls in countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Haiti, India etc. The charity felt that every little girl should own at least one pretty dress. As the mother of a little girl with a wardrobe full of pretty dresses, this struck a chord with me and it didn’t seem too much to ask to make a dress as I could sew and had loads of fabric lying around. I made a dress and roped in some of my blogging friends to make dresses too thinking that would be it. Little did I know that 6 months later I would be the UK International Partner for the charity having collected over 300 dresses from lovely people all over the UK and Ireland!

I am still looking for people to make dresses! The charity in America have distributed over 48,000 dresses so far so we have a way to go! Its a very simple pattern to follow and there is a great link to a tutorial and pattern on my blog. Once you start its a bit addictive and people often end up making more than one dress. I have 2 lovely sisters who between them have made nearly 100 dresses for the charity! We also have sewing groups who make dresses together, a local college is hoping to involve their textiles students soon and The Craft Studio  in Nottingham is running free dress making workshops in November which is fantastic! Every dress I receive is photographed and put on my blog with a link back to the maker. Its been such a pleasure collecting the dresses and seeing what people have made. Some use new fabric, some recycled pillowcases (hence the name) and some upcycle old clothes into new dresses. Most are made from the same simple pattern but they are all individual and each one has been made with love.

The charity and I agreed that it would be more cost efficient to get people in the UK to take the dresses to developing countries if possible rather than post them to America and so far 100 dresses have been taken to two different projects in Malawi including the Home of Hope Orphanage and 50 dresses to Kenya. I am always looking for people in the UK who are visiting charitable projects abroad who can take and distribute dresses for me so if you know anyone please ask them to contact me! The highlight so far has been seeing photos of girls wearing the dresses and realising that the dress you made is now being worn by a little girl on the other side of the world. Its made it all worthwhile!

If you would like to make a dress or find out more please check out my blog or facebook page or email me for more info. If you can’t sew but would like to get involved we are happy to accept donations towards the cost of posting the dresses in the UK.


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