Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Shopping Trip...

So this week I have gone Christmas shopping with both the other half and my mum.  Not at the same time I might add, that would possibly be hell on earth, probably more stressful than taking the boys food shopping.

Now there are merits in both these adventures into the foray of Christmas present buying.  For instance going with the other half was lovely, we don't get a chance to do much together alone and we were out early enough that we were able to sit down and have a cooked breakfast together.  Never mind the fact it was only a Tescos cafe one, it was simply the fact we were doing something normal, together and without being constantly pulled every which way by the kids wanting our attention.  After our relaxed breakfast we set about the task of purchasing presents, we probably should have had a plan.  But as usual with us it was all a bit spontaneous and impromptu.  We hit Boots the chemist first (does anybody else think that, Boots is a strange name for a place that dispenses medicine ??) and was able to in one foul swoop present buy for 8 nephews, 2 nieces and 2 sisters without breaking a sweat. Good job you might think 12 presents in under 20 minutes.  But Boots wasn't the reason we'd gone to this place of wonder called a shopping centre, no, we had vouchers for Tescos...

After our first success we headed over to the "big" store and quickly ascertained that there was a machine were by a few presses on the screen we would be able to effectively double our vouchers.  A no brainer you may think, well it was up to the point where we had to decide which department we were going to choose to receive our hard earned cash.  Now I don't know about your family but for us it seemed that with every department we chose what we would actually want from that department was, of course, excluded from the double up deal.  Toys and Games, no dvds, no pc games, no game station games, bugger.  Clothing, no pj's, no accessories, no shoes..Tescos are you trying to drive us mad, Health and Beauty, no make up, no skin products, no perfume or gift sets, hey Chairman of Tescos you do know its Christmas don't you ??

Having now spent 10 minutes randomly pressing different parts of the screen we decided that before we could even vaguely think about which department would we get the most value from, that we had to go see for ourselves what each one offered.  So off we went and headed for Toys and Games first. I would never want to argue that one of us knows the kids better than the other because that would just be a foolish statement. But as we walked around the aisle looking bewilderingly at the amount of plastic that was on sale in one moulded form or another.  I came to realise that we know our kids in slightly different ways.  What I mean by this is.  It has become apparent that if daddy and I were to make the same statement to the kids, but at different times, and not when we're together, I have a very strong suspicion that the kids would react in very different ways to both of us.

I don't know why this hasn't occurred to me sooner, but its something I must be aware of I think when I am making a judgement call, say when an incident at school has happened or a problem has arisen. I think if they came from school one day and said they'd got in to trouble for not doing as they were told, I am pretty sure they'd spin the story of events according to which ever parent they were speaking to.  What I mean is, with me I think it would be more slanted on their emotional upset, but with daddy I think the emotional upset would still be there but also a sense of bravado would also be implied.  I don't know whether this is just a male thing or whether it is the same for a girl. Its hard to tell now as the 16 year old is all bravado all the time with both of us, though actually thinking about it, it is less so with daddy.

Ultimately this whole epiphany of thought came to light because we had differing opinions on what the boys would like as their Christmas presents which surprised me somewhat as we discussing the same kids. Happily we compromised on most of it and eventually got through the whole voucher processing and then subsequent queueing and paying for the goods without to much hassle and hopefully we have struck a good balance of parental influence and child personality with each kid's gifts.

Well we'll find out Christmas morning, won't we :-)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I quit smoking today....

Ok so its a little late for Stoptober and I am kinda only doing it to prove something to myself but I am finally quitting again.  10 years ago I quit and stayed off the fags for 5 years then through all sorts of reason I started again.  This time it will be for good I hope.  He's doing it also, and to be honest the way he coughs in the morning has always worried me and having only really just got him back I don't fancy losing him again to any nasty diseases.  He's on day 4, cold turkey and a tinsy whinsy bit snappy, I'm not that strong.  I have no will power to call my own so I am trying the e-cigarette option.  So far today, I haven't really been ratty or had massive cravings but then the kids have only just got home so that may change shortly.  To my credit though I have managed not to flip a lid at the state of eldest bedroom and have remained calm even to the sight of her sitting in the squalid mess, on her phone "too tired" to sort it out tonight.

So how's things with you ?? have you been up to anything exciting recently.  Are you like me now in a state of panic of the fast encroaching Christmas season with thoughts of crap my family has suddenly grown again and my wallet has considerably shrunk.  The last few years the buying for friends kids has tapered off somewhat, now the kids choose who they want to buy for in the friends stakes. Also the whole nephews thing is just a swapping for £20 notes.  This year however I am back to buying for the extend family, mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, nephews, nieces and grand nieces.  Little ones are always a pleasure to buy for its the older ones that kinda only just want money really.

Thinking about it, there will be 10 nephews, 1 niece, and 2 grand nieces, 3 sisters, 2 mothers, and a partridge in a pair tree.  I wonder if they will all descend on us this year ? The house is big enough to take them all, and the dining table seats 12 easily so definitely some of them can come up.  In way it will be nice to reunite the family, ultimately the ripping apart was never something any of us wanted.  Well maybe not this Christmas, this Christmas will be saved for just us I think, 5 people, loving each other, communicating and spending time together, catching up, reminiscing and creating new memories.  There's always next year for the big family gathering.. :-)

Oh and I will be added a blueberry Shisha pen to my Christmas list :-)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Aaaahhggghhhh This frustrates me so much !

Right, before we begin, please don't get me wrong, I am in the business of making people feel good about themselves. Admittedly not in the direct way, a make up artist or a hairdresser does, but I still capture people at a given moment in their lives. A place they can look back on and bring back memories, and ultimately I don't want those memories to be bad ones. So for this reason I aim to make people look good and in turn feel good. OK? we clear, you know where I stand now ? fine we shall carry on.

As I am progressing with my photography I am discovering the different "types" and I don't mean to be sexist or anything but I am talking about women here, men there seems to be only one type, the one that doesn't want to be in front of the camera at all, and who refuses to smile, just in case they look silly, so would rather look like miserable grumpy old git instead. Anyway I am digressing, and while most of us fall in to the "ooh I really don't like having my photo taken, but I know I will regret it if I don't, so I may as well make the best of it" section.  There are a minority that will inevitable fall in to the polar opposites of this spectrum.

Now what I find absolutely fascinating and sometimes a little sickening is the fact the ones who you'd think traditionally would be a "Girl, I love myself" types, ie young, pretty, slim, flawless complexion and whole life in front of them are usually the ones that want to run away and hide when the camera comes out, whereas the "cougar generation" namely single older women who think that just because they are over 40 all blokes are going to be salivating at them because they've "experienced" life but actually, have to wear makeup, hide the fact they've eaten a chocolate eclair, and can't leave the house until everything has been pinned, stretched, sucked in and pushed up are all in my face with a "get my good side love !"  errrrr would that be behind the door then ?

Now before you go shouting and calling me out, remember paragraph 1.  These extremes I am talking about aren't your average woman, lady or girl.  I have had beautiful young things coming to have their photos taken because parents are insisting, who look as miserable as sin as soon as I hold the camera up and I know their photos will look stunning, but for some reason they feel so damn ugly inside it hurts. Why do they suffer so? yes I know media has a lot to do with it but this isn't a new phenomena.  Girls have been told from day dot they must make themselves presentable if they want to "find a man" which is fine, being clean, tidy and healthy is a good thing.  But why do so many younger people find it so difficult to like themselves and then there are these middle aged women who think they are the dogs boll*cks when actually they come across as a little bit sad trying to convince everyone they are still as young and vibrant as a 20 year old.

If only I could give these younger people, a bottle full of what these older people think they have, allow them to be confident and sexy without fear of being judged in anyway. Its like life's kick in the butt, when you have it you don't realise it and when you realise you had it, you are already past it (well at least you do if you have any self respect lol) I know I know, but seriously do you think Madonna is doing herself any favours, do you really think Cher has got it right.  Would you approve of your 60+ mother trying to make herself look 20+ or would you tell her she's being ridiculous?

I think what I am trying to say is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the camera lens as in my case.  So when I look at you through the camera, yes I see your imperfections ( we ALL have them), and yes I can see your worries but also I can see the sparkle in your eyes, the genuine warmth from your smile, the gentleness in your face.  These are the things that make a beautiful photograph, these are the images, that stop people in their tracks and say Wow you look lovely there.  It doesn't matter how much make up or sucking in or pushing up you do if these genuine emotions aren't there, or if you are trying to be something you are clearly not then this shows through the image and every image you take will look fake and unattractive.  Do you see what I am saying, be yourself, because yourself is beautiful and worthy no matter what your head tells you when you see your photo, as the people around you will tell you, you are loved and cherished for YOU. So next time you have a camera pointed at you and you are feeling unsure, look at the people around you see them smiling at you because they love you, then face the camera and SMILE :-)