Wednesday, 18 December 2013

his n hers

I recently noticed two identical cars parked side by side at a local sport centre. Slightly unusual, but not unheard of...then I noticed the number plates. One was MUM, the other DAD. My reaction was amusement, and I wondered if I would like to be a part of a his n hers novelty such as that. I think the number plates themselves are quite sweet, but the cars being the same model and colour made it a bit over the top. I suppose if they have a boy, they could carry on the tradition with a SON plate, but a girl would be more tricky...
I remember once bumping into my husband's friend and his wife, not long after they were married. The couple were both wearing matching beige trousers and red T-shirts. We assumed they were in uniform en-route to work. Imagine our embarrassment when they told us they were not colleagues, but just liked to dress the same. I found it hard to keep a straight face as it seemed very strange to me. In their case, matching clothes did not turn out to be the secret to a happy marriage, they are now divorced.
However, there are couples who have found dressing the same brings them closer together. Nancy and Donald Featherstone have worn matching clothes for 35 years, often incorporating a flamingo pattern!(although, there is a reason for that). I found the article interesting, and clearly they are very happy, but dressing the same as my husband everyday, would definitely not be for me. The article can be found here:

I would say the his n hers look is acceptable at Halloween. I think it would be lots of fun to dress up as a famous Hollywood couple, or characters from film and TV. I found a website with lots of great options, although not sure I could convince hubby on some of them...

The smurfs
Andy Pandy and Looby Lou
The link to the site, should you wish to release your inner smurf/smurfette, can be found here:

I was sure that since onesies are so popular just now, that there would be his n hers options. Indeed there are, plenty of them. However, I also found a site offering a "family pajama planner". After all, why should your pets miss out on the fun?! Yes, not only can you and your partner snuggle up in your matching jammies, your cat or dog can be matchy matchy too. I guess it has to be seen to be believed:

I'll be skipping this option, although if they made them for rabbits, it would make a great family Christmas card photo ;)

The site can be found here:

There are always lots of his n hers gift options. A few that I came across would not fill me with horror if I were to receive them. I liked these pillows available from

I like the his/hers and bride/groom bath robes you can buy as well. A calendar is another good gift which can use the his n hers theme,  it's split in two so you can write your own appointments and reminders side by side. In my house this would probably be pointless, since I'm always the one to write everything down and do the reminding. I wonder if that's a woman thing?

On the flip side, there are also horrendous his n hers gifts available. I found the following on Mashable, I hope if you bought any of these items that you kept the receipt. It's actually hard to choose which one is the worst, but tell me, how would you react if you and your partner received connectable knitted beards?!

What are your thoughts on the his n hers theme? Would you dress the same as your partner? I'm still on the lookout for a Christmas jumper for my husband...maybe, just maybe, I'll buy one too...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The "BFG" on bullying.

Have you ever been bullied? Have your children been the victims of bullying? Nov. 18-22 was anti-bullying week, with the theme "The Future is Ours: Safe, fun and connected."I was pleased to read about this initiative, and although the week has now passed, the website contains some useful information:

I myself was bullied at school. Thankfully nothing too terrible, partly due to my mum contacting the school (without my knowledge at the time), before things got out of hand. I was a quiet girl, and tall for my age, which I was very self-conscious about. I'm comfortable with my height now (5'9), but remember at times hating towering over my peers. At first it was pretty harmless, laughable really. I was nicknamed the BFG (big friendly giant), or occasionally referred to as Big Bird from Sesame Street. I grew up watching Sesame Street and The BFG was a favourite book, so I could cope fine with those silly names.
"The Big Friendly Giant"
"Big Bird"

However, as I progressed through school, things got much worse. One girl in particular enjoyed tormenting me to show off to her friends, I answered her back, and from then on things got worse. Every child wants to "fit in" as much as possible, and for children to pick on someone due to being different, can make life very difficult for them. We've all heard of people being racist, sexist, people being bullied for being seen as too fat or too thin...maybe there should be a new term, such as "heightist", for people who seem to have a problem with people being tall, or small.

History seems to be repeating 8 year old son is exceptionally tall for his age, and I feel his pain. I can see people making judgements about him, wrongly assuming he is older than his age. My son is a young boy, and likes to behave silly at times, as all children do. I hate to see people looking at him so disapprovingly, or thinking there must be something wrong with him. I bought him a winter hat recently, a novelty panda one which he was delighted with. Sadly, he no longer wears it as people were making fun of him. I'm sure if he were the height of an average 8 year old, no one would have said a word about it. I think it has also affected his confidence. My son was always happy to be involved in school concerts, nativities etc, he even went to drama classes which he really enjoyed. I was sad to see the change in him at a recent school event. A. looked miserable, and if he caught me looking at him, would immediately stop singing and mouth the words "stop looking at me!" I was hurt, and worried what had caused such a change in attitude.

I asked A. why he'd behaved that way and he said "I thought you'd laugh at me". I assured him there was no way I would laugh at him, and tried to build up his confidence. A. was to perform the same concert that night, and I told him he shouldn't go if he felt so uneasy. However, that talk we had seemed to make a difference, and he joined in as the happy little boy I know and love later on.

That particular event was one that I was very keen to support. The Royal Rockstars worked with the children at school to prepare for a concert. The older children even helped write a song for the school. The Royal Rockstars teach children moral values through music, and I think it is a great way to get important messages across, one of their songs was anti-bullying, and another taught them that everyone is different, and should be accepted as equals. You can read more about the work The Royal Rockstars do on their website here:

I think there are many people working very hard to stop bullying, a problem which will never have an easy solution. I've recently become aware of Julianne Moore's book "Freckleface Strawberry". The actress has written  a children's book to teach children that it's OK to be different, in this case, to have red hair and freckles. I have freckles also, currently hibernating during the Scottish winter. I was never bullied for having freckles, but I know there are lots of children who hate their freckles and are teased for having them. I've never really understood why people make fun of red hair. I think red hair is lovely, and shouldn't be something to be made to feel ashamed of. I haven't read the book as yet, but I like the sound of it, you may find my review on Goodreads in the near future.

I also like a project that was started by Merilee Allred. The "Awkward Years" project, features a series of photos (including Merilee), showing past and present images, in order to compare awkward photos from youth, with present day. Describing her project, Allred says "I hope that I can touch the lives of youth who are currently getting teased or bullied. Life is so much more than school or looks or popularity contests."(Huffington Post). More information on Allred's brave project can be found here:

Finally, how do you teach your children to deal with bullying? Personally, I have told my children if they are being bullied by name calling, it's best to ignore it and tell a parent or teacher. However, if it becomes violent, I've told them it's OK to hit back. I'm not saying get into a huge fight, but I think it's important for a child to know they have to defend themselves.

 I was very proud of my niece recently, who stepped in at school when her friend was being bullied by older children. I think it was very brave of her, and I'm not sure I could have done that at her age (9). That's an issue I find hard to advise on. On the one hand it's the right thing to do, but then the bullies may turn their attention on the person trying to help. My niece was called names, and hurt by the older kids involved when she intervened. Would you advise your children to step in, or should they always get adult help? I watched an interesting video on whether people should intervene when they witness bullying. "The Bullying Experiment" video which I came across on makes for interesting viewing, and I hope I would have the courage to do something were I to witness such a scene. Watch the clip here and tell me your views: