A short rant about inappropriate training bras

I was having a browse in the Marks and Spencer lingerie section this afternoon. I don’t personally find that M&S bras fit me terribly well, but with Belle approaching those awkward teenage years I thought I would check out the training bra section, just to see what I was getting myself into.

What I was looking for was that next step up from the crop top – something that’s barely worth wearing but that makes the teenager wearing it feel like they’re not just wearing a vest. What I wasn’t expecting to find was padded, underwired bras in a size 28AA.

Padded and underwired??

28AA isn’t even a size, so why on earth does it need underwiring? What the hell would a child need padding for??

I kept looking, sure that I must be missing something, but absolutely every entry level bra they had was either padded or ‘moulded’. I’m not sure what the technical definition of moulded is but it basically seemed to be another word for padded. It certainly wasn’t the soft, flexible cotton I was hoping for.

I asked a member of staff, wondering if I was looking in the wrong section, and even they were confused.

“Hmmm,” she said, “it doesn’t look like we have anything without wire. You don’t really need underwiring at this age.”

No, you do not, so why make teeny tiny underwired bras at all??

“I was really looking for something a little less inappropriate,” I said, “something without padding.”

The sales assistant agreed.

“Absolutely,” she said, “you want something soft and without wires.”

We both looked at the racks of mini push-up bras sadly.

“We don’t have any of those,” she said.

Am I being unreasonable to be so outraged by this? At what point did a design team sit down and think “I know, let’s create a range of underwear for pre-teens, girls barely out of primary school, that completely sexualises them unnecessarily and is uncomfortable! Hoorah!”

Just awful.

Have you thought about planning your funeral?

I was 25 before I went to my first funeral.

It was my Gran’s, and a bit of a steep learning curve, as I was in charge of writing and reading the eulogy. I say reading, what actually happened was that I read about a sentence, and then stood there in front of everyone, sobbing and sniffing, until my mum came up and read it out for me. I stood next to her if that counts.

I had a hand in the funeral planning and although it was a privilege to be involved, I was at a bit of a loss – my Gran hadn’t left any specific wishes or plans, so how did we really know what she would have wanted? When I was little she always said she wanted to be pushed off a cliff at 65 and she quickly changed her mind about that one, so without any explicit instructions, who was I to say what music she’d want played at her funeral?

Funeral planning is a bit of a taboo, something we don’t want to talk about, but it shouldn’t be – we’re all going to die after all, it’s the one thing in life we can be certain of, so why not plan for it? Making a will last month really brought it home to me.

“Do you have any preference over whether you want to be buried or cremated?” the consultant had asked me.

“Not really,” I said, thinking I was being helpful and easy going, “I don’t mind either way.”

“OK,” she said, “but you might want to give it some thought as it’s often much easier for the people you leave behind.”

Do you know, as obvious as that sounds, I had never thought about it like that. If anything, I thought I was being accomodating by not stating a preference, but the more I thought about it, the more obvious it seemed. I thought back to my Gran’s funeral planning, when we were all so overcome by the stress and emotion of her death, and about how much simpler it would have been if she had laid it all out for us and all we’d had to do was say ‘yes, go for it.’ View Full Post

REVIEW: Lifetile – create a digital shoebox of memories

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately. (It’s tiring.) A lot of them feel fairly random but actually there is a bit of a theme. I think it must be an age thing, but lately I have become much more aware of my own mortality.

It’s kind of scary, but at the same time I figure it’s a healthy thing because at least then you can start planning. I was writing a will recently, so that’s one good thing to tick off the list, but then my mind wanders and I start thinking about stupid things like work – what would happen if I died and didn’t get to finish a piece of work? I wouldn’t want the clients to think I was rubbish and not use me again. Should I tell someone my Twitter password now so that in the event of my death they can log in and explain that I’m not just being rude by not replying to people?

I think I may be missing the point a little bit, but still, these things do worry me.

Then there’s my memory. My boyfriend was asking me some questions recently about my grandparents and great grandparents and although I knew that I had at some point known all the answers, they just weren’t in my head any more. Early onset dementia perhaps? All the more reason to write my Twitter password down quick sharp. View Full Post

A short rant about age inappropriate video games

I know that I’m not always the best of parents – Belle eats more chocolate chip brioche than is probably good for her, and I’m not known for my consistency – but there are some things I just think of as wrong. Kids playing adult video games is one of these things.

children playing adult video games

Belle likes video games as much as the next 12 year old, but she plays games that involve her designing a stable for a pony and racing it to win rosettes, she isn’t on the streets of America, raping and shooting prostitutes – she is 12 years old.

I was appalled to read today that a shocking 30% of parents admit to buying adult video games for their childrenThirty percent?? Let’s think for a minute and put that into perspective – that’s nearly a third of parents happily letting their impressionable children arm themselves to the hilt and spend their spare time being violent and abusive. I know it’s not real life, but the whole point is that at that age, how easy is it for you to make that distinction? How can we possibly be sure that exposure to violence like this isn’t going to have an impact on our children’s growing minds?

The research was conducted by My Voucher Codes and some of the other findings are just as scary – only 23% of parents would stop a child going to a friend’s house where they knew they would have access to adult video games and only 64% would stop a visiting child playing age inappropriate games in their own home; it seems our children aren’t safe anywhere.

These games have age ratings for a reason – they have been looked at by experts and deemed unsuitable for children. What parent would deliberately want to let their children immerse themselves in these worlds?

How do you feel about children playing adult video games?

Photo credit – video games from file404/shutterstock

Read All About It

19 places to visit before you die

This week I signed up to Stumble Upon. I suspect I may be about 17 years behind people on this one, but to be honest my life is so full already of useless information that I’ve resisted adding to it. Other bloggers keep telling me how useful it is as a way to get new readers though, so I thought I should give it a bash.

I picked ‘travel’ as one of the categories I was interested in and was immediately bombarded with beautiful posts with titles like ’47 places so stunning you won’t believe they are this planet’ and ‘The 26 most colourful deserts in the world’. I don’t know what it is about posts like this, but they make me feel slightly inadequate. In my mind the titles translate into ’47 places you’d have visited by now if you were cool enough, loser’ and ‘The 26 most colourful deserts visited by all those people in the world who are braver and more interesting than you.’

I think this could be my problem.

*glosses quickly over self-esteem issues*

With some spaces still up for grabs though on my 40 things before 40 list, I have been inspired to think about unusual places I’d like to visit. They don’t have to be on the other side of the world, although I do fancy a road trip across America, but they do need to be a little bit unusual – I don’t like travelling only to feel like I could be in the middle of the UK. I love the idea of somewhere like Iceland, where the scenery is dramatically different from the Somerset countryside.

I turned to Twitter for ideas, as I do for most things in life, and here’s what my online chums suggested… View Full Post

COMPETITION: Win beautiful nursery wall art from Witty Doodle

When I was pregnant with Bee, aged 16, I didn’t have a lot of spare cash for decorating the nursery. In fact I didn’t have a nursery, just a corner of my bedroom with a cot in that I’d bought at a car boot sale. Still, I wanted to make it a pretty corner, so while my tummy grew I made my very own nursery wall art.

I was a little lacking in the paint department, but managed to mix up a good palette with a few basic colours. I took about five sheets of plain A4 paper, cut them into thirds lengthways and joined them together to make a long strip. Then I drew every single one of the Mr Men by hand and painted them.

It was a triumph.

I wish I had it to show you. For years afterwards I kept it, rolled up and tied with a piece of leather that I was wearing round my neck when Bee was born, (because I was super cool and into grunge), but somewhere along the way it has been lost. I’m not a sentimental person, but it’s one of the only things I wish I still had. View Full Post

Quiz: Do you have adult ADHD?

I’ve been really struggling with my focus over the last few weeks and am slightly concerned that I may have some sort of adult ADHD. Normally I’m pretty flighty, but today has been ridiculous. Work has gone something like this:

10am: Open Twitter. Worry that I’m not interesting enough, tweet a bit of random nonsense.

10.02am: Open blog analytics to see how much traffic comes from Twitter. Worry that my traffic sources aren’t diverse enough.

10.04am: Ask friends how to increase traffic. Set up Stumble Upon account. Start to read article about making the best use of Stumble Upon but decide I don’t have time. Check emails. Open another tab but immediately forget why.

10.13am: Start reading article about link building. Check all external blog links. Decide to launch link building campaign but then change mind.

10.17am: Worry that blog will never be awesome. Check ebay for nearby ottomans.

10.20am: Check emails and worry about lack of link building campaign. Wonder if I should make a living instead by writing other people’s dating profiles. Browse available URLs for new business. Get as far as checkout and abandon purchase.

You see what I mean? It’s not a style of work conducive to productivity.

After several hours of this I’m feeling exhausted and have only done about half an hour of paid work. My head hurts from the heady mix of adrenalin and constant frowning and all I want to do is lie face down in some grass. I decide to do a test to see if I have adult ADHD. A quick Google of symptoms suggests things like forgetfulness, mood swings, repeatedly starting but not finishing tasks, risky behaviour and lack of motivation.

You can do the test here, if you dare.

My results are in…

Adult ADHD quiz

OK, that doesn’t look so bad. It’s probably out of 100 right?

Oh, apparently not. View Full Post

Some reflections on five years of blogging

I was doing a bit of work on my blog this morning and found myself reading back through my first couple of months of posts – December 2009 and January 2010. I was all ready to cringe with embarrassment, but actually they weren’t bad.

What was clear straight away was just how personal they felt; too personal if anything. The posts were short, (like this one), but they were like little glimpses into my mind; reading them I felt almost like an intruder, stealing a peak into my family life. They felt a little bit sad, and although funny in places, they lacked the tongue-in-cheek style humour that has developed over the years. There was a sense of loneliness, particularly during the first month, of having been on my own as a parent, emotionally if not physically, for a long time.

What I also noticed was how quickly I seemed to get into my stride. Even over those first few months I could sense myself growing in confidence, moving from stories of Christmases alone with my children and stolen moments of quiet in the early mornings to complaining about the children’s disgust at being asked to wear coats in January.  View Full Post

Thoughts from a first time festival goer

Today I have another guest post from my boyfriend. My sister and I decided we should from now on refer to him as Rupert. He is not called Rupert. If you like the cut of his jib you can follow his ramblings on Twitter.

Standon Calling festival camping

“Have you ever been to a music festival?” Jo asks.

“Of course!” I scoff.

A few seconds later, I look up to see if Jo is observing me for signs of a caveat to my reply.[I was.]


“I’ve been to the Proms”. I add. “And the Three Choirs Festival. They’re both music festivals”.

I’ll say it for you. What a dick. [A little harsh.] View Full Post

6 spring fashion trends for children at Melijoe.com

I was sat working this morning with the kitchen window open. I could hear children outside playing the street and it gave me a real feeling of spring. Then some small boys started kicking a football repeatedly against my wall and the images of daffodils and gambolling lambs where replaced with an urge to throw a bucket of cold water out of the window at the offending footballers.

Still, for a minute there I was very nearly full of the joys of spring and was beginning to imagine the spring time adventures Belle and I might have, skipping hand in hand through a flower filled meadow, pretty summer dresses flapping around our knees, the air thick with the sound of her laughter.*

A mummy can dream can’t she?

To continue the fantasy, I spent a happy hour browsing Melijoe.com (whilst Belle played on her laptop upstairs), dressing up my springtime family in the latest spring trends for children. And yes, before you say anything, I do know what the spring trends are.**

Spring fashion trends for kids at Melijoe.com View Full Post