Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday Frivolity - As Seen On TV

Friday Frivolity

I'm way behind from last week on commenting - I will be doing double time this week, so if I haven't been over yet, it won't be long. (Scout's honour!) In the meantime, this week we're talking about 'As Seen On TV'...

As Seen On TV
You know the type of thing - adverts for weird stuff you never knew you, or anyone else in the world, needed. But now you know of its existence you're kind of thinking of ordering a few. The car cane for instance, and those blenders with 7,000 different attachments. Even more than the actual ads, I love the spoofs based on them. Like Peter Serafinowicz' take on Barry Scott and Cilit Bang - of 'bang and the dirt is gone!' fame -

Or this jab at some popular games consoles from The Kevin Bishop show (and starring the totally awesome Jim Howick) -

To be fair, I just love spoof commercials in general. Like the infamous Schaeffers New Zealand Style Deck Sealant and Caulk ads -

Do you have any favourite adverts, spoof or otherwise? :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

It's The Thought That Counts

It's The Thought That Counts

The figures vary in every article I read, but they all agree that parents / carers are going to spend at least £150 per child on Christmas presents this year, and many will spend way in excess of this. When the year's hottest toy - the Hatchimal; a Furby baby in an egg, essentially - is being resold for more than that by anyone able to get hold of one, it's hardly surprising.

Kids are expensive anyway. Really expensive. They need clothing, and feeding, and no matter how grown up and sensible they are, it's kind of hard to fob them off with Pollyanna's 'Glad Game' when the mass media is constantly bombarding them with images of everything they need Father Christmas to bring them. Nobody's immune to that. I'm a grown ass adult and I still want every toy I see in the TV adverts.

So instead you try to talk about the real meaning of Christmas, the concepts of peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Except, in a family of atheists, rank commercialism actually is the real meaning of Christmas. It keeps the economy going and provides an excuse to eat way too much and not go to work for a few days. Not exactly a winning argument against overspending.

I want you to spend a lot
Doesn't have quite the same festive feel to it...

To help combat that I read about the sweetest idea in a blog post I found via Pinterest - because in the modern world that's where all sweet ideas originate - whereby you get your child to ask Santa for something they want, something they need, something they'll wear and something they'll read. By drilling down to these basics you don't end up buying mountains of junk they won't remember they own anyway.

Except I think I'm being overly optimistic, and even if they do stick to the plan, what if they want a pony and need a top of the range games console for when the weather's too bad to go out riding it? Then it would come down to willpower. My willpower. Would I really be strong enough to say no, even to the slightly less ridiculous option once we've discussed why we can't keep a pony on a council estate? I dunno, man. I can feel the mummy guilt building already.

Marianna is going to be almost two this Christmas and I had no intentions of buying her anything. Between my parents, Anthony's parents, friends, relatives, and the totally 100% real St. Nick in the grotto at the local shopping centre, she will have more than enough to be going on with. But then I started reading how much other people were going to spend on their pre-schoolers, on their newborns, even, and suddenly the solitary toy I won in a competition seemed like a really stingy gift to give my only child.

Martina the Turtle
Marianna's Christmas present - I won't tell her if you don't.

Intellectually I know that even if we had no relatives to spoil her, Marianna still wouldn't need more than that interactive plush turtle. In fact, the cardboard box it comes in would probably be just as exciting if I wrapped it up and stuck a ribbon on it. Maybe even if I didn't. Marianna doesn't really understand what Christmas is, nor her birthday which karma has decided should fall just six days later. If I spent more I'm the only person I'd be doing it for because, at the end of the day, what a toddler receives from the man in red is nobody else's business.

Whether you want to spend £0 or £1,000 on your toddler, on a child of any age, it's your decision. And if you want to spend more but can't, remember that Christmas is about more than presents - even in an atheist household. It's about spending time and making memories together, and if you can't afford to buy anything it doesn't mean you can't get crafty or write up a whole bunch of IOUs for fun things you're going to do throughout the year. (Or, for teenagers who'd sooner spontaneously combust than have to spend more time with you, get out of jail free cards which guarantee them a free pass from some family shindig or other...)

They might still be a little disappointed, but that's okay. That's natural. If it wasn't every house would be home to a couple of labrador puppies, a pygmy goat, and a pony. I know that it's going to a hundred times harder to accept that once Marianna works out that adverts aren't magical pretend things, like vans which sell ice cream and the idea that it isn't only grandparents who are legally allowed to buy babies sweets in supermarkets. But I also know that I have to.

Materially, my daughter can't have everything.

Love on the other hand, they tell me that's priceless - and it's something I can shower her with.

For more like this, please click the below image:
Family Life

Monday, 5 December 2016

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls Christmas Blogging Tag

This blogging tag is actually from 2012, and originated over on the Family History Across the Seas blog. Still, it looked like good fun so I'm reviving it for the 2016 festive season. :)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

This Week #59

Only you can hold yourself back - Eddie the Eagle quote, found at momontheside blog

Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday Frivolity: Book Wishlist

Friday Frivolity

This week we're talking about reading wishlists! Here are a few books I can't wait to read -

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much
The Reporter Who Knew Too Much - Mark Shaw.
I love true crime and mysteries, and this sounds exactly like my kind of read: "Was What’s My Line TV Star, media icon, and crack investigative reporter and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen murdered for writing a tell-all book about the JFK assassination? If so, is the main suspect in her death still at large?" It's due out on December 6th so it might make it into my December reading round-up.

A Very English Scandal
A Very English Scandal - John Preston

Jeremy Thorpe MP stood trial in 1979 accused of conspiracy and incitement to murder; he had allegedly attempted to silence Norman Scott, a former homosexual lover from the 1960s (i.e. before it was legalised), who wanted to damage his political career. Thorpe was leader of the Liberal Party until 1976 - a household name - and although he was found not guilty, the scandal shocked the nation. I'm really looking forward to this account which is due out next April.

The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane
The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane - Jane Housham

This actually came out at the beginning of November, but I haven't had chance to get to it yet. It's another true crime title - sensing a pattern? - this time looking at a 1866 child murder case, and what it tells us about the Victorian justice system. I really enjoyed Kate Summerscale's The Wicked Boy earlier this year, which also used a murder case as the basis for exploring the realities of the criminal lunatic asylums, so I'm particularly psyched to get started with this one.

What is on your reading wishlist?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins and November Movies

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins was one of the world's greatest opera singers - by her own reckoning, at any rate! She began her musical career as Little Miss Foster, and gave a piano recital for President Hayes before she even hit puberty. But, sadly, it just wasn't to be. When her father refused to let her study music she eloped with an older man who infected her with syphilis on her wedding night, and when she left him to support herself through piano tuition she injured her arm and had to move back in with her mother.

Things finally began to look up in 1909; her father died, leaving her a substantial sum of money, and she met the love of her life, St. Clair Bayfield, a mediocre Shakesperean actor played by Hugh Grant in the movie. Bayfield encouraged Florence to live her dreams when it came to music, becoming her manager, and supporting her in singing lessons. Lady Florence, as she liked to be known, became a fixture of wealthy New York society, helped along by her generous patronage of the musical arts and her lavish tableaux vivants. From 1912, already in her 40s, Florence began giving recitals - much to the astonishment of her audience.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Sunday Blog Linkies

Monthly Blog Linkies

Blog linkys, hops, parties - whatever you want to call them! - are a great way of connecting with other bloggers and becoming a real part of the blogging community. Here are a bunch of Sunday linkys you can get involved with.

For other days of the week, please check out my Connecting With Linkies post.

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