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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Let Us Smile

Sticking on the subject of being nice, here's one I wrote a couple of years ago for the fabulous fashion, beauty and lifestyle website  I Am Into This which is created by the gorgeous Teresa and Samantha. If you haven't seen the site already, you should check it out!

Let Us Smile 

As summer days get warmer and the temperatures rise, it’s clear to see we’re all beginning to feel a little bit happier, as we confine our winter knits to the back of the wardrobe once again. 

It got me thinking about happiness and how random acts of kindness are cropping up all over the place.

Recent reports claim that while everyone is pulling the belt in, a positive result of the more austere times have shown an increase in kindness to our fellow man. 

When talking to members of the wartime generation, they recall a similar thing. The 1940s and 50s were times of terrible hardship as a result of rationing brought about by WWII.

But it was also hailed as a time when communities pulled together in defiance against the common enemy. People left their front doors unlocked when they went out, neighbours all knew each other and people genuinely cared for one another. 

It’s clear that things are different now. Tragic news stories of our time have reinforced people’s fears for the safety of their children and themselves.

There are some really terrible things happening. But while this is true, there are also some amazing things happening. 

One example that really struck me was ‘suspended coffee’ – an idea which began in Italy several years ago that has taken off in coffee shops across the world. Basically, when you buy yourself a coffee at a participating cafe, you also pay for a second one - which can then be claimed by someone who cannot afford it themselves.

They don't have to "prove" anything to claim one, but the scheme relies on the good faith of everyone involved. It doesn’t have to be for just homeless people, but can be for anyone who is struggling to make ends meet.

Acts of kindness don’t even have to mean spending your money.

I sometimes slate the village I live in. It’s quiet, there’s not much at all to do. Let’s face it, it’s completely boring. But on pounding the streets with my pram, as I regularly do, I’ve noticed one thing. Everyone you pass smiles and says hello. Some even stop and talk to you like they’ve known you for years.

The bigger cities may have the better parks and the trendy cafes and wine bars, but people seem to look at the ground when they walk by. It’s amazing the response you get when you smile and it was wonderful to find how a smile from a stranger seemed to brighten my day.

For just a day or even a week, why not try and do something to brighten someone’s day and I guarantee it will make you feel better too. Who knows, that person you pass in the street, may not have seen someone smile at them for weeks. So why not give it a go?


As the old saying goes “mighty oaks from little acorns grow” and maybe, this time next year we’ll all be feeling a little happier.

Alex xx

Can we be a bit nicer? Pretty please?

Can someone tell me what is going on with the human race these days please?

Fact is, times are harder and we all have our crosses to bear and problems to deal with.

But does this really mean that taking it out on others is the answer?

Can nobody see that by just being a little kinder and more understanding to your fellow man, that it might just help you too?

Ok, so I'm slightly less tolerant at the moment.

I'm covered from head to toe in itchy red eczema, because I've developed an allergy to something and nobody's got a clue what it is.

And looking after two preschooler boys on my own for seven weeks of the summer holidays is, shall we say, testing.

But, fact is, being nice makes you feel better inside and that's why I still find the ability to be kind and sympathetic to others and I'm no saint by any stretch of the imagination!

Like in Sainsburys today. Pushing a trolley round with two little monkeys inside, tends to take your concentration.

So I pulled up to a checkout that had a tiny sign on it saying it was closing. Terribly sorry, I didn't see it, ok I'll move on.

Was it me huffing and puffing at the inconvenience? No, it was the (older) checkout assistant rolling her eyes at the (older) customer she was serving.

Did I deserve that? No. Totally unnecessary.

But, it seems people these days would rather be nasty than nice.

Another example - trying to pull out of my street onto the main road. Even though the traffic is coming to a halt, people would rather look at you like you're something they've trodden in and pull up in front of you than let you out in front of them.

Quite honestly it makes me feel a little ill. What is wrong with these people?

I know it can't be the case all the time but at the minute it feels like customer service, manners, friendliness and just a simple supportive smile have all but gone.

And I tell you one thing for sure, it's not going to get any of us anywhere.

On the positive side, minutes after the Sainsbury's incident, another assistant was chatting to my little boy, giving him high fives and making him laugh while my other child helped me unload the trolley.

Now, why can't things be like that more? It's so much easier for all concerned!

I suppose it's just down to the individual, but I'm still going to keep trying to be nice whatever, so there.

Rant over. As you were... :-)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Many an FFS moment to share!

My Top 10 Sod's flipping Law, kick you in the butt when you're worn out, things about parenthood...

Now, don't get me wrong, I love being a mum. My little men and their toothy grins, their quirky little mannerisms and the little songs they sing, are my raison d'être.

But, very often I find myself laughing cynically about how full of FFS, Sod's Law and irony this whole parenting lark is.

So I've compiled my top few "FFS moments" in no particular order, for your entertainment, in the hope that I'm not alone and completely insane!

Please add your own via FB or comment below!

* Labour  - most natural thing in the world - effing painful. Why, oh why, is this necessary?

* Crying newborns most often want you to walk around with them, when you've had no sleep yourself and all you want to do is sit down.

* When you're in a rush to dry your hands to get to a crying child, tea towels roll themselves up in your hands and become useless.

* Babies and toddlers sharpen their elbows especially for your boobs and other painful places.

* Current guidelines suggest making baby bottles fresh and letting the boiled water cool for half an hour before making them. How many babies will wait that long?

* When you're at your most tired and irritable, that's when children play up the most.

* The time with your newborn that you want to savour and enjoy is the time you're more like a worn out zombie and probably wouldn't notice if they'd turned into an elephant!

* Children have a natural predisposition to become daredevils and try new things the day before a big event.. See christenings, weddings, first day at nursery etc...

* It doesn't matter how hard you try, children are always programmed to wake up ready and raring to go for the day between 5am and 6am ... 365/7. Was I totally stupid when I was surprised to find babies didn't differentiate between weekdays, weekends and bank holidays...? Sounds silly now!

* Toilets, toilet brushes, sofa cushions, litter, mud, poo, play doh and felt tip pens are fascinating.

And all I'm going to do is smile sweetly, curse silently under my breath and carry on regardless!