Not Quite Supermom

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Jumper Fail

When your ex husband buys your child...

...A Carrot Penis Christmas jumper.

Friday, 22 April 2016

The importance of full disclosure

I was feeling flush the other day- so decided to take my 3 out for afternoon tea after school. We settled in to a lovely quaint little tea room and I ordered mini G a strawberry milkshake when the waitress came over. I didn't bother to read the menu. Not really any need.

She had nearly finished her milkshake when she suddenly jumped up and came over to cuddle me. She looked pretty concerned, so obviously I asked what was wrong.

MiniG: "I think I've had enough of that milkshake now. I don't really want anymore."
Notquitesupermom: "There's only a little bit left? What's wrong with that bit?"
MiniG: "My brain feels funny. Like my brain is dizzy. I think it's the milkshake doing that."
Notquitesupermom: "Ummm, ok? That sounds odd."

I decided to have a quick look at the menu.

Strawberry Milkshake

Ice cream, fresh strawberries and....


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Adventures of a NotQuiteSupermom

I took a big leap recently and decided to start a new blog- as a bit of a sideline to this one. I'd been stressing myself out feeling like I had humour block by trying to be over clever and share details of everything - which then left me so stressed out I could share nothing

So- I decided to separate blogs and give Wordpress a go as well (is that a rude word on here?)

Please hang around on this one as now the self inflicted pressure is off I feel able to just post silly, fun things and not write a giant essay about everything. But please go and check out my new blog too- which is all about the travel adventures, little trips and things a notquitesupermom goes on.

This is my first post:

I would absolutely LOVE any travel contributions you guys have- the idea is not for it just to be a self indulgent thing but a great resource for those of us who love getting out there- but are realistic how hard that can be! So feel free to send me blogposts, from whereever you are in the world.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

New levels of sibling rivalry

Just like many other mothers out there, I am aware that there appears to be some kind of divide between my middle boy and my youngest daughter.

I initially thought that divide may just be to do with the 22 months between them. Having sought advice from countless books and online "experts" I concluded that said divide was more to do with middle child envy of a newcomer to the family, and that they will "grow out of it."

Seven years later, after countless ups and downs, I feel I may have to reject my initial hypothesis.

Although my theory was based on a huge body of evidence supporting the proposition, I have finally conceded that this may have been, at the very least, an optimistic viewpoint.

It's funny. How evidence can be staring you right in the face for all that time. Until it does, one day, literally stare you in the face.

Ex Mr G and I were queuing up to say goodbye to middle son's teacher. It was mainly for show, as middle son is moving to a different school, but youngest daughter will still be at the same school. We will still see middle son's teacher. Daily. Bit of a shame as I think he's a prick. But we still queued up anyway to say our thanks and goodbyes.

As I was languorously leaning against the wall outside the classroom (this sounds sexy, but really isn't) waiting for our turn to say heartfelt "goodbyes" to Mr Prick, I noticed the pin board I was propping myself up on. It appealed to me in a Save the Children kind of Comic Relief "charity" way, as the big handwritten bubble font sign said: "The Diary of a Refugee."

I thought I may start to read the different entries. Languorously. To match my pose.

Then I saw the blu-tacked entry, stuck on the wall, written by middle son. I knew immediately it was his work due to:

a) the appalling spelling
b) the terrible grammar
c) the fact he had dogs and a sister called Gracie.
d) his name was at the top of the piece of paper

At that moment, I knew. Those books I read? They know NOTHING. My son just FICTIONED OUT his sister.

We have A LOT of work to do.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Marrakech: city, souks and siblings

Not going to lie and pretend I wasn't nervous about this little adventure. I'm not really a hippy kind of parent and most of the time I'm terribly middle class. My only real idea of Morocco came from Hideous Kinky which (for the main) seemed all lovely, middle class and divorced mummy adventurous. I MAY have confused Kate Winslet's character in Hideous Kinky with the actual Kate Winslet- who IS terribly middle class and actually appears to go on holiday to Richard Branson's Necker Island.

Sometimes, in my head, it's difficult to find the line between real life, fantasy and actually doing things with kids. In my fantasy world we were going to look like an intrepid Instagram family, all glamorous and Conde Nast Travelleresque.Or maybe like David Beckham's 40th. Suffice to say, we looked like we normally do, just in our "holiday wardrobe."

We had booked into a Riu...much as I would have liked to have booked a Riad, at least it began with an "R", AND it had a pool. We stayed at the Riu Tikida Garden hotel, which was an easy 10 min transfer from Marrakech Menara, has a kids club and a pretty cold pool. Food was great, with lots of choice for veggies and "fussier" eaters. It's an easy taxi ride away from the Koutoubia, you just have to make the distinction between getting a "big" taxi or a "small one".

We decided to book a tour of Marrakech on our first morning, mainly to get us orientated. I am so grateful to Abdul from Marrakech Guided Tours for opening our eyes to the city. I can't quite praise him enough. What started off as a bit of a drag for the kids, in their minds, turned into a full on experience. It was lovely to wander the souks with someone who has lived there all their life and could show us the real beauty and charm of the area through their eyes. It made it less so much less "alien" to us all and demonstrated the humor, fun, banter, and LIFE that characterises the area. Had we ventured out alone that first day, I'm not sure we would have gone back. Abdul gave us that confidence and showed us how to enjoy the experience. He taught the children how to barter for their Dr Who Fez hats with humor and grace, how it's OK to ask questions and be interested-how not to be scared, just because something is different to your norm.

Abdul has left a deep love of the city embedded in them. He was able to tailor the trip to cater all their needs: their little legs, the heat, the bustle- and show us pit stops along the way to navigate by and take a much needed orange juice break at places like Cafe Des Espices (which you will pass countless times!)

Parts of "The Tour"...

The local souk Bakery...

Hook the duck- Marrakech stylee...

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I just can't cope with another school sports day EVER AGAIN

I have just had the dubious honour of attending my ELEVENTH annual school sports day.
I am seriously expecting some kind of award to be handed out to me for long term service.

To put it quite frankly: I am bored of it.

The process never changes. Why would it? The school have this one NAILED DOWN. They won't be changing the format for anyone. Not even the mum sat at the back on the chairs who didn't look up once from her book. (That was not me btw, although I did look on enviously from behind my sunglasses.)

I explained my Sports Day issues to the children in the car one morning:

Kid 1: "Are you coming to sports day?"
Notquitesupermom: *big sigh* "Do I really have to?"
Kid 1 & Kid; 2: "YESSSSSSS."
Notquitesupermom: "no offence or anything kids, but if you aren't actually doing anything in it, then sports day is pretty boring to watch. If I wanted to watch you bounce a ball up to a plastic bucket, put the ball in the bucket then run back to a line, I could have set that up in the garden ANYTIME during the past years. And then I could have watched while drinking a glass of wine lying on the sunlounger."

My major problem with sports day is that my children go to a lovely, non competitive school. Sports day is divided into very PC and non discriminatory teams based on age. It's all about the team work.

It's soooo BORING.

I want to see proper competition. I want to know EXACTLY how rubbish my kids are, or alternatively, like I said to the ex MR G: "We could potentially have a Usain Bolt on our hands, but we will NEVER EVER KNOW as the children have never been allowed to compete with each other."

How well my children can run in a straight line or throw a bean bag into a hoop, is never going to make a difference to how much I love them, or how amazing they are. But GODDAMMIT I want some sort of gauge of their sporting prowess. Just so I KNOW.

There is also no DANGER. I remember school sports days when you would get red grazed knees from the sack race, skipping ropes would get tied together in a "never to be unravelled again" web of knots where you could potentially take your competitor down with a good strong tug. Ankles would be tied together and arms tied behind backs in the three legged race. The threat of face planting was always prevalent and you quickly worked out to work together as a team to avoid that happening in front of the entire school. As we got older we started to have hurdles, which are DESIGNED to trip you up and actual javelins that could ACTUALLY impale someone if misthrown.

At sports day now the children throw foam swords. They aren't the most aerodynamic of items. It's like the biggest let down ever to see the kids all geared up to throw them, javelin throwing stance perfected during weeks of PE lessons, and upon release they just PLOP down to the ground about a foot away from the thrower. I'm normally praying for a freak gust of wind, just to add a bit of oomph to the whole event.

There is not even the opportunity for potential humiliation to be used as a motivational tool for self improvement as they are all in it together for the good of the team. There is no obnoxious little shit bursting into tears because they ALWAYS win and this year they didn't. I want to see the really competitive kids trying to elbow other kids out the way in their race to be the best at the running race. I want to see which child is a sneaky little cheating bastard and PICKS UP the egg with their fingers rather than putting it onto the spoon using the side of their foot and some nifty leg raising. We spent HOURS perfecting this skill during PE. I'm still rather good at it.

These days, it's just dull. And I still have to sit on teeny tiny seats that can barely fit one arse cheek on, in the heat, pretending I care that some other person's kid can run while holding a ball because they are on my kids team.

Might take a book next year!

Egg and Spoon Champion 1986

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Marrakech with children. Yikes!

Funny how such amazing ideas always seem to begin on a cosy night at home with wine.

What is not quite so hilarious is that for our annual holiday I have booked 11 nights in Marrakech with my three children.

That would be ok, on its own, but it appears the wine bravado took hold, along with the worry that we might be bored (although for the record, I don't find lounging around by a pool in ANY WAY boring) and I decided it would be very Lawrence of Arabia and daring to do a 2 day Sahara desert camping trip. Arrival and departure by 3 hr camel ride.

Now I am faced with the prospect of ACTUALLY doing it and not just having some cool pictures for Instagram, I am getting mildly, yet increasingly TERRIFIED.

Sometimes I could kick myself for the ideas I come up with.

My eldest was very forthright in his opinion when I told him about our adventure (still riding high on the excitement of the idea).

Notquitesupermom: "We are going on a camel trek and camping in Berber tents in the Sahara!! How cooooool is that?!"
Notquitebutnearlyateenager: " I hate sand. I don't even like it on the beach. It gets in your shoes, your sandwiches and EVERYTHING. And it's going to be hot."

This is going to be like going on holiday with Karl Pilkington. But much less funny as I won't be watching it from the comfort of my sofa.

List of things I am worrying about:

1. Camel spiders. People at work have taken to Googling and Skyping me lists of nasty critters that will be awaiting me and my children. I'm not allowed to bring my own pop up tents so I can't just pop them and lock them and know they are safe from nasties. I can't even go to bed in my own tent, in the UK, without having a good old check for creepy crawlies...and possibly a sweep of the tent, before I can settle. How can I clean a Berber tent and check it is critter free?
2. Due to above I am not going to sleep. I get grumpy without sleep.
3. Going to the toilet. I am not brilliant at going to the toilet ANYWHERE except for my own throne (is that a general woman thing or just me?) I don't really think I can go in a hole in the ground, where camel spiders might be lurking, and I KNOW my children are not going to find it easy.
4. The fact that camels are quite tall and my children aren't. So it's a long way for my not very well balanced children to fall. At the moment I am wondering which one will be first
5. What on earth do we wear/ pack? At the moment I really want an all in one elasticated ankle and wrist titanium jumpsuit. With massive camel spider stomping Doc Martins. And crash helmets all round, with some sort of cooling system.

I am also not flavour of the month at school. I have been denied the right to take my children out of school for 2 and a half days. Including last day of term and first day back. It does not qualify as: "exceptional circumstances."

I hate to differ with the educational establishment but quite honestly I feel that potentially risking our lives and the comfort of my bum for the chance for my children to decide that they never again want to visit the beach, or that they develop a life long regard for the possibles dangers of creepy crawlies, must SURELY be "exceptional circumstances?"

I hate to sound so disillusioned, but do they NOT want children to learn? I am pushing my limits of my comfort zone because I don't want to raise children who don't want to see the world, or learn more about different cultures, or push their own comfort boundaries. Or are scared to.

I think it's as simple as to say: I COULD go along with the government and their "vision" of learning for my children. THAT would stay in my comfort zone. We could sit back, relax and watch the planet go about its daily business on TV. Or Ipad/ notebook/ tablet/ phone. Or use Google Earth and some good Youtube clips.

Or, we can throw ourselves out of our comfort zone, risk a sore arse and feeling disjointed from our "norm" and just start being a part of it all. Show our children there is more to the world and they don't have to just learn from a text book.

You can sign the petition below if you feel this is important:

And then find your local MP and annoy them too. That's what you pay them to do. Represent YOU.

Bon voyage,


Friday, 14 March 2014

Dealing with an online Facebook stalker

I know.

This isn't my "normal" post material. But I DO think it is important to share with you all, on the basis of learning about individual privacy and how to protect it. For everyone and especially fellow mom / mum bloggers who may be reading this blog. Someone has to be reading it, right?!!!! You may not even think it applies to you or has relevance. But it does. I felt the same as you: that this shit doesn't happen to me. If it IS happening to you, or someone you love...I can't stress enough: Get IMMEDIATE help and advice.

I have been dealing with, although "dealing" is a strong word and not entirely accurate. I have "coped" is a better description. I have had / still have an online stalker since 2011. I knew this person, I met them in real life. My stalker has got more IT savvy as the years have gone on, but he is still a twat.

Unfortunately being a twat does not automatically ban you from using the internet. Twats can use it. And cause great harm. End of the day though, they are still twats and they will mess up eventually. It just will take time, patience and a bit of work.

I wanted to share this post mainly because I have learnt some things I wanted to let you know about. Quite frankly I am sick to death of how many times I am asked "How do you know it is him?" or the times I let things slide because I thought he would give up. You know..... get bored and maybe get a REAL life.

It's the same with internet trolls. You think they might get bored.

Stalkers are one thing and trolls are another. But NEVER feed either. YOU are worth more than that.

1. Seek help and advice IMMEDIATELY. And I totally mean that. I waited three years of my stalker's up and down stalking routine before I sought help. You know what I was told when I did? I quote: " We cannot believe you waited so long to tell us." TELL someone now. In particular law enforcement. Don't wait to "get proof" or "build up evidence." You are just wasting time and losing evidence.

2. NEVER think they will get bored and move on. You are underestimating how crap their life is. They have NOTHING better to do. Their life, no matter how crap yours may seem at the time, is infinitely worse. Or they wouldn't be bothering with you. Remember that. ALWAYS. That is the number one mantra that should be going through your head. Their life is worse than yours. Their life is worse than yours. Don't feel sorry for them though. They MADE that happen. You didn't. You are better than them.

3. DO NOT EVER try and "make sense" of it. There is no sense. They are up the wall barking mad. You are not. Do NOT give them hope, do NOT try and "be nice", DO NOT try and empathize, do not try and "defend your position." Do not try and reason. You are trying to reason with a mad person. Success rate at that? Zero.

If you break up with someone and you make it clear in a SINGLE message you do not want to be with them, that should be enough for some people. By the time you send message 2 about not contacting you, and they still do? They are breaking the law. Make it CLEAR and don't beat about the bush. Use both your names in the message, save it, screen shot it and date stamp it. If you don't know how to do this then ask Google. Different laptops have different settings but normally a combination of the prtsc key and alt can do it. Or take a picture with your phone of your laptop. Get the date and time from the right hand corner of your screen included in shot.

4. Online Stalking is ABUSE. They rely on you being too scared or concerned what people will think to report it. Or what they might do. Or who they might talk to,message and tell stuff to. Especially relevant if you have been in a relationship, but my stalker didn't care about that and tried to destroy virtual strangers businesses. I ALWAYS tell my children, who are becoming internet savvy: I don't care WHAT someone says they will do, why you should keep quiet, or what you have done, or what "evidence" they are using against you. Like we don't know what grown ups do?!!! Or like we would look. I accept what my children...or my best friend/ mother/ boyfriend says to me, or tells me they are being blackmailed with. WITHOUT question. I don't need to view the "evidence." The fact that someone thinks they have "something" against someone they can use to abuse them is enough for me to know. NORMAL people DONT DO THAT. I repeat: NORMAL PEOPLE DONT DO THAT.

5. TELL EVERYONE. Break the "circle of fear." Stalkers thrive on that. Generally stalkers "know" you. Or think they "know" you. But, guess what? YOU knew enough about THEM to not want them in your life. You do not have to go into detail, but tell people. Communication is key. If someone doesn't listen or understand, then they are twats who are putting you in DANGER. My stalker liked to Facebook friends request all my friends and family. Then friends of friends. Then anywhere I "liked."

TELL EVERYONE you have a problem and ask them to close their friends list. Make sure you are not tagged. Don't comment on other photos. If a Facebook "friend" won't do that, then believe me, they are opening up their friend list to abuse by your stalker. Happened to me with my stepsister. An internet stalker will spend HOURS and DAYS friend requesting anyone in the hope they get to "mutual friend" status. I once roughly worked my stalkers requests out. I don't have many friends, but that worked out to be about 6000 people he has interacted with, via friends of friends.


Set your privacy levels to high.

Screenshot EVERYTHING. IMMEDIATELY. The second it happens.
(My stalker likes to friends request me from fake profiles, then write messages on the fake profile wall. Then delete them.)
When you screenshot try and get the url in the shot. Facebook need that number to prove where the account is coming from and once the investigation is under way they will be able to provide the police with every single bit of activity that took place from that account, plus the ISP addresses used.

Make sure your friends and family understand how to screenshot and what you need in a shot. You need your friends name visible and the stalkers profile, date and time. Screenshot any of the friends the stalker has managed to become friends with to show you are mutual friends, and the links back to you.

Report but DO NOT BLOCK them on Facebook. That may seem strange BUT your stalker wants to know you have seen it. They want to control you and force themselves into your life. If you block them they can't see your profile anymore. So they know they forced you to make an ACTION. So they will do it again, from a new profile. And again. And again. Much better to have them sat there wondering if you saw it or not.

You also want to be able to SEE their profile. That profile builds up your evidence. Screenshot and photo EVERYTHING. Work out the links between people he has requested and yourself. Look at the friends list on the fake profile. Do those people geographically link him to somewhere, via schools they went to, places they work?

Take photos of the stalkers real page, or copies of emails if you suspect who it is. Some stalkers will try and deny they have access to the internet. Make sure you keep emails if you had a relationship and note the TIME they were sent. My stalker likes to do his stuff between 10pm-2am but has also made the mistake of doing things on his REAL account during that time, or during a period of sustained abuse. I don't know of many 24hr internet cafes. And if I did, I bet the IP addresses, even if dynamic, will be coming from the same sources.

If you know where the real life stalker comes from, try searching on Google for the fake profile name with the same location. Your stalker is probably causing trouble to others as well. They may have mentioned it on THEIR page and left that public.

If you want to keep having profile pictures and cover photos on Facebook, as I do, make sure you remove comments or Likes from others. Or your stalker will have their names. Keep up with your admin and remove pictures from public view as a profile or cover picture when you change them. No point giving them more than YOU decide. To see how other people view your profile, go into your page on Facebook and click on the little down arrow on your cover photo. Next to activity log. Then select "view as."

If you have a blog then set a site meter, you can track all IP addresses. Use Google analytics.

Make sure your friends protect their friends. Facebook should not be a number gathering exercise to prove how popular or liked you are. Protect your friends, family and identity. Check your friends list is PRIVATE.

Remember you are not to blame. It is abuse. And I know you know who it is doing it to you. I wouldn't need to ask you to prove it to me.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Mouse Box

In anticipation of World Book day this Thursday, I read a book last night.

It wasn't what I was expecting.

At all.

All kudos to the writer, as I really had NO idea where it was going.

Little G had brought home a book from school called "The Mouse Box." Sounded innocuous enough. Quite sweet even.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Two kids find a dead mouse. They are sad. They would like to have a funeral for the mouse.

OK. Important to learn about death. In a subtle and tasteful way.

My brain wasn't really paying attention but my mouth kept reading.

After a while I really wished it hadn't.

The children's sister sees them holding the dead mouse (this part reminded me of my previous post about Gerry the Gerbil and the Curry Tsunami. Except their mouse is dead. Gerry was just acting.)

The big sister isn't very happy and tells them they need to wash their hands. The children still want to bury the mouse, so they start to look for a box. They go up to their sister's room and see she has an empty chocolate box. They put the dead mouse in the box. Unfortunately, children have a very low attention span. They get distracted and leave the box unsupervised. Big sister goes into her room, sees the chocolate box, gives it a shake and thinks she has some left. So she decides to take them to school. To share.

Which was nice.

It didn't go down well.

Not surprisingly when she is offering dead mouse carcass as a treat. What I love the most (spoiler alert) is that when the kids come to bury the mouse and can't find the box, they don't give two shits about where it might be and decide to just bury a tree instead.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Oh, to be a Disney Princess..just for one day...

"When the raindrops keep tumbling,
you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine."

Snow White

One of my rays of sunshine just turned, in her words: " A whole hand plus one."

Mr G (maybe that should now be X Mr G) and I, decided to take her for a Princess makeover at the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods, London. It was a long shot that she was going to get with the programme, as what she lacks in princess style tendencies, she more than makes up for in Light Saber and Nerf gun capabilities. She is, most certainly, the Disney Princess for a new generation. There is no waiting around for a handsome prince (she will just accost them and make them her boyfriend at breaktime in the playground), no beautiful dress (it lasts about 5 minutes on..then it is too itchy and annoying) and her hair is the epitome of Tangled.

Despite using more leave in conditioner, hair masks and wide tooth combs than Rapunzel ever did.

Still. We thought it would be an experience.

I had the whole "have I done enough as a parent" middle class debate with myself before we went. This was mainly due to the fact that there are four tiers of packages available, ranging from the "Royal" Experience at £1000, to the "Courtyard" Experience at £100 per child. Clearly the Feudalist system is still alive and kicking in Great Britannia. I very nearly convinced myself that I needed to pay the extra £300 to make the jump from the "Crown" Experience at £200 to the "Castle" Experience at £500. Then I decided the last thing I need in my new home is more Disney plastic shite everywhere. Seriously. I would only end up paying some "serf" to come round and clean it up twice a week. And you just can't get the "serfs" these days.

With the benefit of hindsight (it really is an amazing thing) I am glad I plumped for the modern equivalent of being on par with the Church. I don't really like the Church, then AND now, but it was a damn sight better than having my daughter flounce around in a pink frilly tutu. Or maybe they have their packages confused. I'm not sure.

All "jesting" was a really good experience. This is what the male contingent of our party thought:

And this is what the Princess thought when she was having her hair done:

That, my friends, is her expression of shock.

She was very pleased with the results though. Probably not as pleased as her wonderful "Fairy Godmother in training" was that the hair style the Princess chose covered up the massive chunk of hair the "X Mr G" chopped out as it was so Tangled. It's the lumpy bit sticking out in the photo at the back.

But the amazing "Fairy Godmother in training" did EXACTLY what was described on the tin, with a charm and efficiency I wish I had every day when getting my Princess ready for school. She really was the Fairy Godmother I wish could appear every morning. This is the result:

For all my slightly sarky comments, my daughter was made to feel like a Princess for the entire experience. If you arrive earlier your child gets given a pager and you WILL end up browsing the adjacent Disney store beforehand. (FYI you can buy all the Disney plastic shite in there for less than the upgrade price.) Every member of staff in the Disney store stopped and spoke to her, as did the staff in the Harrods toy department after. She didn't quite get the Harrods doorman with the umbrella opening the door on our way out, but that was possibly because some glamorous blonde "real princess" was making her way IN and he was otherwise occupied.

For the record, the next day I took her horseriding. She fell off. Into a MASSIVE puddle of cold wet mud.

So it just shows. One day you can be sat on your throne like a princess, and the next day lying down in a puddle of mud and horse shit wondering what went wrong.

I feel I am teaching her well. Not quite supermom style.


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