If you’ve heard that question before you’ve been through customs and immigration.
When presenting my passport and visa to an immigration officer for some strange reason I get really nervous and though I know for a fact that I have nothing to hide I feel genuinely afraid.
I enjoy watching border control programmes and I guess this adds to my chronic fear. Having passed through the united kingdom border agency too many times stepping up to the desk to make your intentions known can quickly have you tongue-tied after a barrage of questions by a highly efficient official. I sometimes think the staff are trained by the CIA to spot liars, cheats and all manners of deception. My worst fear is always being sent back to my country of origin because I just failed to make any sense. Fortunately this has never been the case.
Just thinking back to the many times I’ve been “interrogated” and the questions you face although they seem simple after being repeated in different ways can leave you flustered. Travelling with three minors adds further complications. So being good to your kids on the flight is very important because the last thing you need is a brat saying “I hate you, you’re not my mother” when questioned by the officials.
So passport stamped and bags picked up from the carousel at this point you’d think you’re home free. Oh no, now comes the ultimate choice. Nothing to declare or quite simply something to declare. Every traveller knows at this point there is no room for error.
Fortunately I have nothing to declare every time. With a spring in my step I float out of the airport!
I just watched the most moving documentary. It was the story of an egg donor who just happened to know at a very early stage who the recipients were. The recipient eventually gave birth to twins!
I’ve never really given any thought to egg and sperm donations but this really opened my eyes to the absolute joy it gives the recipients.
Thankfully for this particular woman who just happened to have a son who was conceived by a sperm donation she was welcomed by the recipient mom and seemed to have lots in common with her children.
I also got thinking about the many children who have no idea who their parents are. I wonder if it’s a bit like adoption because I imagine the feelings and questions are the same.
There are so many childless couples around and I’m just thankful for the many ways that people can come to realise the dream of being parents.
I wonder if I would be so selfless if it was required of me? I hope I would.
Have you ever tried to avoid a topic and it feels like the whole world keeps serving it to you on a plate. The last twenty-four hours I have been confronted with Arsenal Football Clubs tear jerking loss to a little known team-I think they call themselves the red devils. I can believe it because they took Arsenal to hell and back!
I first started supporting Arsenal in the mid nineties mainly because I wanted a rival team to my fathers-he supports Liverpool. The reason I chose them was because of a good-looking French player named Nicolas Anelka. It’s quite ridiculous in retrospect basing my choice on him. A quick glance at his career and I would’ve been dizzy had I followed him-I’ve lost count of the number of teams his played for. Fortunately for me Arsenal was a worthwhile choice and of course the arrival of Thierry Henry kept me interested.
When we arrived in England my husband and I decided to back a local team. Sadly Birmingham Football Club have since been relegated and I honestly decided to take a break from the beautiful game it’s a decision I’ve had to go back on.
Now as far as Arsenal go I’ll always have a place in my heart for them. Their record is amazing and they remain in the top three best premier league teams since this system was put in place. However, I believe the time has come for the long serving manager to leave the club. I think his fire has died and he has run out of ideas for taking his team forward. He seems clueless about the function of the team. Arsene Wenger seems hell-bent on making the club debt free at the expense of their reputation.
Come on Mr.Wenger it’s time to take us back to the good old glory days or do the honourable thing and take your coat and bag!
It seems like a simple enough fact that time marches on with or without us. The way time seems to rush off when we’re having fun and appears to slow down dramatically when life is unbearable.
Recently my life has been going very well and I love the predictability of my daily routine. So today I had a bit of a shocker when I suddenly found myself being criticised by someone close to me. Now I’ve always felt that criticism has its place but even constructive criticism can be quite scathing. I have yet to meet a person who enjoys being criticised.
So I’ve spent most of my day being upset that I’m not much better at the things that I do. My time has been on a go slow while I licked my wounds. I must admit I’m finding it hard to get going. Perhaps I’m not that tough!
Music is a very integral part of my life. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t entertain my 3 young fans. Does that mean I’m gonna drag myself to the nearest reality show? Definitely not!
Tonight I watched a music special with Will Young the first Idols winner-he took the crown over ten years ago. Since his win the British have begun their search for the X factor. While I do find it rather entertaining to watch I often wonder if the concept of hard work no longer exists in this era of instant stardom.
Is there really anything new out there? If we look and listen closer we will find it is just a reproduction of sounds we will find quite familiar. I’m certainly surprised by the lack of innovation. Perhaps the music industry is so flooded with passing fads that the incidence for monotonous sounds and lyrics are inevitable.
A typical example to me is the much talked about Adele. For everything that happens to be said about her voice it is precisely what you’ll hear being said about Amy Winehouse. The common denominator is the fact that they attended the same music school!
In the 80s we had Madonna and she sure pushed the barriers of the time. These days we have the likes of Lady Gaga and she is attempting to throw the barriers away.
The fame factor seems to have taken on a life form of its own. More people dream of being a star without doing any of the hard work! How can you value something you haven’t worked for?
Today marked the last Friday of the summer holidays. To celebrate I took my daughters to a cool cats disco at the local library. Personally I wished that the dj looked less like a prison warden and more like a music man. Nevertheless the girls had a fantastic time playing the musical games and the dance routines.
I can’t believe how fast the summer break has gone. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. I’ll be rather sad to wake up early in the next few days. The highlight of my day is always waking up rather late.
So our weekend has started off with a bang and we look forward to lots more fun as we count down the last of the summer holiday!
Why do good things have to come to an end?
Today Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive officer of Apple. He has been plagued with illness for some time. He has taken a fair amount of time off from his position. I’m not certain how much input he has during these absences but clearly the company has managed to get by.
Personally I think it’s great that he has stepped down albeit that he will continue to serve in some way. I imagine just knowing that he doesn’t carry the weight of that responsibility might offer him much-needed rest.
Of course as a dedicated apple user my hope is that the innovative technology that I’ve become accustomed to will long continue even after Steve Jobs walks away…forever!
Well it finally happened~I actually completed reading a book. It has been some time but the deed has been done. I just feel disappointed that it wasn’t really worth the read. It promised so much and just failed to deliver!
The promise was that the book would transform your perspective of parenting forever. Personally I think it was a bit of an exaggeration but of course that is just my humble opinion. What it did prove is that every child is unique and what is good for the goose is not always suitable for the gander.
A Chinese American mom chronicles the journey of her daughters and sets out to prove how Asian parenting skills are superior to their Western counterparts. So for more than half of the book she waffles on about what a perfect mom she is with outstanding kids. Just when I couldn’t tolerate her trumpet blowing antics any longer the tone of the book changed.
One of the daughters turned rogue and decided she no longer wanted to be a pawn in her mothers game of chess. The only conclusion I came to after reading the book was the fact that the mom was a controlling perfectionist. The job of a mom is hard enough without people claiming to know they have all the answers.
Check it out if you dare! Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
I’ve been watching a documentary on the lives and experiences of seven dwarves who live and work together. The more I watched the clearer it became that no matter how different we are our challenges are often the same.
We all have this need to be loved, accepted and appreciated. While their differences may be very obvious to the naked eye in reality whether publicly or privately we have this desire to be “normal” in many aspects.
The challenge for me is to accept myself the way I am and to give both friends and strangers the same courtesy. Having young children often means having to find the best way to explain the differences we see in each other. Respect for each other goes a very long way in this life.
The lesson I learnt from these seven people was to be the best you can be because people will always have their opinions about you! We hear this often but it’s sometimes worth hearing the reminder and taking the challenge to be your best head on!
Tonight Libya is on the brink of freedom according to the latest media reports. So the world is watching with bated breath to see the outcome.
Freedom comes with great responsibility and my only hope is that the Libyan people are indeed prepared for the challenge! After years of tyranny under a leader they referred to as a brother and friend the wheels of his heavy-handed leadership are now turning against him. The same way he usurped leadership is the exact way it’s being taken from him.
No doubt it is a very scary time for Libyans at home and abroad. It’s been said that change is as good as a holiday but the Libyan people have had change before and it turned out to be a disaster. Hoping for speedy change and peace for all the people of Libya.
Today I spent the day with some very special people. Having left my most amazing family behind in South Africa it was hard to imagine making England feel like home. I’m so happy to have met such wonderful people who make home not feel so far away!
It’s true that family can’t be replaced but when you find caring people like I have it comes pretty close to being family. So we shared good food and contagious laughter with wonderful memories being made.
While some things will always be foreign to me at least good friends will always make me feel like I’m home and this feels like home!
The joys of motherhood! In my opinion this phrase is often used inappropriately. People usually say it when you express a difficulty which you have experienced!
Today I had to deal with yet another “joy of motherhood”. This particular one is called the terrible two’s. This is my third experience with a two-year old but I cannot recall my older girls being this feisty and defiant.
It was a long time coming…my daughter has a high-pitched scream which is most unusual for her age. When she started this trick of hers some time ago I just chose to ignore her. Sadly it just got worse.
I don’t think any mother likes to find herself in a position where you feel like you can’t control your child. I was that mother today and needed the help of a friend to defuse the situation. Needless to say I was terribly embarrassed by my daughters behaviour. She eventually fell asleep but I promise you when she did wake she found a mother who was silent and staring at her with the eyes of a flaming dragon.
Children can be so innocent and she was as sweet as cherry pie. At that moment I wished that I could be like a child and wake up with no recollection of trouble I’d left behind.
I have no idea how much longer she plans to use this terrible weapon. I do know for a fact that I won’t tolerate it much longer. I’m hoping today was the final blast of those precious vocal chords. We shall wait and see.
Oh the joys of motherhood!
This is the best if not the only way to describe the dreaded migraine. If you’ve never had one you are most fortunate!
Now I cannot remember the first time I had one. The first I can recall that there was possibly something different about this particular headache was when I wore sunglasses at night to avoid the glare of oncoming traffic. I’m not entirely sure why Usher wears his sunglasses at night and inside at that. Maybe he does actually have a migraine and is trying to avoid the strobe lighting!
Sadly today was one of those awful days for me. Having gone to bed with an aura (the feeling just before an episode) I still hoped it would somehow pass during the night-it didn’t! So I spent most of my morning trying to trace the trigger which in my case is usually perfume. The guilty one this time around is a Vera Wang I happened to touch accidentally.
After hours of medication and headache patches I’ve finally found some relief. On the now rare occasion I have an episode I hope it will be the last. I guess that is the hope of all migraine sufferers to be free from this hell!
Having said those very words before I know for a fact that when you stand making that promise you believe with all your heart that you will be together until death!
Less than a fortnight ago a British couple said those very words and from news reports they were the perfect couple and very much in love. Sadly the promise to be together until death lasted just over a week. The groom was attacked by a tiger shark in the Seychelles and his bride is now in mourning. An absolute shock for her no doubt.How do you get over such an incident?
I was shocked to see the number of couples who don’t make it back home to start what is meant to be the most exciting time in their lives. Instead one party has to bury the other and sometimes families have to say goodbye to the bride and groom.
What also surprised me was the wide range of tragedies that befall the couples. Quad biking, parasailing and motor vehicle accidents as well as drownings and apparent robberies. I read stories of many more accounts of couples returning with tragic stories.
I know nothing lasts forever but is it too much to ask just to be content for more than just a moment. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody but we live in hope.
Some are born beautiful, some achieve beauty and some are… well beautiful in the eye of the beholder! The discussion on beauty is a very subjective one and it always seems that people who make the least effort with their appearance will feel like the person who rises at the crack of dawn to attend to beauty rituals is just vain.
Now I am a plain Jane and I cannot be bothered to lose sleep to look like I have access to Oprah’s vanity case. However I do have friends who wear makeup everyday and they look fantastic managing to “get the look” without much effort. I do make an effort though if I’m going somewhere special and on these occasions I often wish that I’d make the effort a little bit more. Of course my doting husband swears I am attractive with or without my aids! How can I not love him for that . Thank goodness I know better.
I once met a girl who told me her long-term boyfriend had never seen her without makeup and I felt really sorry for her because that meant if he pitched up unannounced she would be in a tizzy. It is this kind of scenario that scares me the most. I’m not sure if they eventually married but he must have got the fright of his life.
As most women know the right kind of makeup can cover a multitude of imperfections. This is the reason I’d like to believe makeup was invented. There are people who would like to think that we were never intended to cover our natural beauty to them I say “speak for yourself” My natural beauty ceased to exist with the first bout of acne!!
So here’s to many more years of finding ways (often very costly) to look my best…with or without makeup! Therein lies the secret I suppose is to look YOUR best.
Tonight in St Helier, Jersey a man was charged with the murder of his wife, 2 children and 3 other people. The reason hasn’t been made clear at this stage what triggered the attack but according to reports he suffered from depression!
I’ve often wondered what happens in a person’s mind that causes them to take a knife and stab their loved ones to death. How can it be revenge when you are left behind facing prosecution and probably imprisonment for life? The accused is currently in hospital with knife wounds possibly wishing that he had died.
This is just one of countless incidents that I’ve read about over the past two years. The horror sends shivers down my spine and I don’t even know these people personally. So for a while I tried to imagine the terror in the eyes of the people he loved when they realised their lives were in danger. At which point do you think this person will come to their senses. Sometimes I feel it is a blessing in disguise not to survive such an attack and to live with the psychological effects of such an attack.
A community are in shock after this awful incident and there are no answers at the moment which makes it so much harder to deal with. While no murder is acceptable I must admit that family murders are the hardest to accept!
*Rest in peace*
I was having a conversation with a lovely lady whom I’ve known for some time. Without any warning she asked if I knew that her daughters were adopted? Even more shocking was the fact that her daughter was standing right there. I must admit that they all look very alike. I asked her if she got to choose them which in retrospect makes me feel quite foolish! Of course she didn’t. The girls are six and fourteen years old so it came as a surprise that she was so open about it.
Now I’ve never spoken to people who’ve been adopted about their experiences and all the questions that are generally asked. The older of the two joined the conversation and asked some probing questions and I was fascinated by how much the parents had told them. Most of her questions were about the general wiring of her birth mother and just how much of her had been shaped by her adoptive parents.
There was so much love and understanding between them and I couldn’t help but feel this was the kind of open communication that should exist between families who choose to adopt. Of course all families are unique and have to find a way forward which suits them. It makes me quite sad when I read stories of adults who stumble across this information and their stable lives become turbulent with far too many unanswered questions.
I’m certain that there are statistics with regards to nature and nurture. This is what this amazing teenager told me: Biological moms carry babies in their wombs and adoptive moms carry babies in their hearts. That was the sweetest thing I had heard in a while!
I wonder who was the first author to demonize stepmothers? Why do so many fairy tales start with evil stepmothers? Surely there are some awesome moms who step into those really difficult roles and try to make the most of an awkward situation. If I had a stepmother I guess the first thing I would do is criticise her cooking.
It is a fact of life that some people are just difficult and very hard to please. I would like to imagine that they don’t plan to be this way. Difficult situations can have several effects on people. They either make you strong and resilient or angry and defensive. I can imagine that it could prove quite a challenge living with the latter!
A mother is such an amazing gift and that gift is somewhat extended when you get blessed with a second one. It’s a pity that none of those happily ever after stories don’t end with a reconciliation. That would be the ultimate fairytale to me!
Well not really, her name is Jo Frost aka Supernanny. I have long been fascinated with this rather popular program. The situation must really be at breaking point to call in an absolute stranger to teach you how to discipline your kids and enforce parental boundaries.
While at my local playgroup we were discussing the role of the supernanny because she ain’t a regular nanny…she is super. The fact that she isn’t a mother is quite intriguing and probably aids her in her no-nonsense approach. I guess it’s like going to an optometrist who has 20/20 vision!
After watching quite a few of these interventions I quickly came to the conclusion that the missing ingredient is often common sense. You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that if you have a cupboard full of treats and a child who ransacks those treats daily that you should refrain from bringing them home if you don’t know how to say no. Of course the nanny points out the obvious and has a 100% success rate every single time.
Being a parent is no easy task and that is a fact you will find yourself second guessing your ability at one time or another. Perhaps what is really needed are parenting workshops where we as parents can come together and discuss our daily challenges like eating habits, sleeping patterns and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
So while the nanny is entertaining to watch the situations which she deals with are not uncommon to many of us raising young children.
There is still an air of restlessness over the city. The constant sound of helicopters circling offers no sense of peace. I love living in the city but at times like these I’d much rather be in the countryside. While I haven’t had any contact with or witnessed any of the craziness personally it has had a definite effect on my livelihood! My local gym was closed and our place of worship was barricaded. After a trip to my local supermarket in my lousy attempt to stockpile (I’ve run out of juice already!) it became apparent that the trouble got closer to me than I realised.
Today was mainly a day of politicians and journalists trying to find reasons as to why this frenzy has taken place. Some of the reasons are social inequality, government cuts and lack of discipline to name but a few. I must admit that stealing and destroying people’s property and looting businesses is just plain criminality and there can be no excuse for this atrocious behaviour. Dare I say it was mainly sport, electronic and jewellery stores that were targeted by these mainly young looters. Why would people destroy their communities in this terrible manner? Probably because they don’t know the value of hard work!
It really sickens me and makes me quite sad that people would act in this barbaric way with no regard for the law. Wayward citizens are now being forced to take responsibility for this anarchy which has reigned for far too long by appearing in local courts and facing what I hope will be harsh sentences. Britain has been under siege long enough can’t wait for our streets to be totally reclaimed!
It has been a nerve wrecking few days here in the UK. Living in Birmingham it felt like a world away when the rioting started in London. Having finally arrived here in our city it became very clear that I was transported into a prison of fear and to a large extent even terror.
It is now believed that this spate of crime, lawlessness and thuggery was sparked by the death of a known criminal at the hands of the police. The family of the deceased have made it quite clear that he was a law-abiding citizen, a loving father and an all round good person.
A few years ago I attended the funeral of a well-known gangster in my native South Africa. The priest who led the service started his sermon by saying “his mother says he was a good son. the mothers of his children say he was a good father but the newspapers say he was a menace to society preying on innocent people” I guess the point I’m making is that people can be many things to many people.
So while the fires rage and many cities are engulfed by total madness. We hold our breath and look forward to calm returning to our city. On our journey to the pre rioting state we will no doubt be listening to the blame game which is gaining momentum like a wild-fire fuelled by the wind.
This has got to be the worst time to be a politician. Personally I don’t understand how they can be blamed for the damage we’ve seen across the country. I hope the full extent of the law will be enforced on all those hooligans and thugs who have sent us into an absolute state of fear!
Today my parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary. An awesome achievement in this present day. Their marriage is a model on which I try to cultivate mine. Admittedly it is not as easy to work on a marriage as I thought it would be. After all falling in love is just so easy-well it was for me anyway. Sometimes I think I sustained a head injury in the process!
I’ve been married for a miserly eleven years and while that is an achievement in itself it hardly makes me an expert. I often think back to the first year of marriage and never in a million years would I like to go back to that place of insecurity and trying to find my place in our union. I’ve heard it been said that marriage is like a fortified city and those who are in want to get and those who are out want to get in. The truth is that nobody knows what goes on inside those walls except for those involved.
I like to think of marriage like potty training. You make the decision to potty train and whatever happens you just have to stick with it until you get the desired result. Some days will be accident free and some will be a sequence of disasters but you have to reflect on the good of days gone by and be hopeful that the next day will be better. At some point it will seem like your goal is accomplished after weeks of toiling. Then out of the blue there is a mishap and you feel so disappointed but you have to offer encouragement and work through the difficult patch.
The moral of my story is that we all have good and bad days we just have to find ways to move forward and for some people it involves making drastic life changing decisions. Marriage is not easy by any measurement and anyone who says it is surely lives in a fool’s paradise.
Being the mother of three very young girls it’s so amazing to see their different personalities. My six year old is a sulker, the four year old is a cry baby and my two year old is an absolute screamer.
The challenge for me is to find a way to deal with each of them in a way that fits their fiery personalities.
There are many things they have in common like their love of crafts, swimming and all things adventurous.
However my two youngest girls love to play dress up. While the older would rather play computer games. Shopping is a real breeze for her and she is always very appreciative unlike the other two who have to walk away with Barbie, Hello Kitty or Dora the explorer.
They are all an absolute joy and although it’s something I soon forget when they are all screaming at each other and demanding their own way.
Their good manners, contagious giggling and warm hugs soon remind me why I think they’re made of sugar and spice and all things nice!
Tonight I watched a crime series and it had my absolute pet hate on display. I always wonder why these well-funded programmes don’t get medical experts involved when doing elaborate medical scenes. I lose interest immediately and a programme can go from a drama to an absolute comedy!
It got me thinking how many other people sit through programmes and have to tolerate all the made for telly action scenes.
This week I was speaking to some police officers and I mentioned how I like watching the “cops with cameras” series and they laughed saying they wish the work was that exciting. That’s because the production team don’t get the time to show us the heap of paperwork that follows a day on the beat.
I guess life is real enough without dragging it into a life of fantasy. So it may be a while yet before we see accurate depictions of everyday jobs!