Monday, 27 June 2016

Class Lines

I tend to look at life from a Marxist perspective. I believe that the world works along class lines. I am from a working class background and always will be.

I also have this strange notion that people are good. That people will work together for the common good.

I believe that the aim of a Tory government is to divide and conquer. To make life better for people who have money. I believe that Labour, by comparison to the Tory party, will generally make more of an effort to facilitate the advance of working class people.

Divide and Conquer

I believe that this Tory government (with the aid of the media) have effectively created a kind of sub-class. They have demonised the unemployed working class to create this "benefit culture" myth. TV programmes like "Benefit Street" add fuel to the fire.

So we have a sub-class.
For the working class to blame their problems on.

We also appear to have developed this mysterious middle class. Like an affluent working class (of which you could probably add me to but I don't eat avocados and I call my evening meal my tea.)

The "middle class" look down on the working class and abhor the sub-class. Whether these class lines are real or imagined, they are divisive and they are man made.

Working tax credits used to be an entitlement. If you were a single parent earning a modest wage for one, then you got your tax credits to "top it up." I mean, you pay tax, so you were only getting that back. Now working tax credits are "benefits." Even if you are working - you are "on benefits." It's only over the past couple of years that this notion has crept in.

Everything is eroded. People are demonised. Especially the poor. Phrases like "drain on society" are bandied about and we hate and we hate and we hate.

The Daily Mail

The Sun

Hate, hate, hate.

The bloody foreigners coming over here and taking all our jobs. Or all our benefits. Even this new "sub-class" can blame their problems on the outsiders, the aliens, the foreigners. Or are the immigrants part of the sub-class? Who knows, it depends which way the wind is blowing.


Dividing people, giving them something to hate makes taking power easier. Give the people something to blame their problems on and away you go. Chuck them a big juicy bone. Scare them, distract them with big tellies. Big tellies with advertisements saying BUY BUY BUY and consumerism takes over, distraction engulfs them. They are apathetic sheep while chaos reigns.

Suddenly these divisions are real.

The Polish people working the same job as you are no longer part of your class, they are not your colleagues. They are the enemy. They are the cause of all the ills in your life.

The EU Referendum

I believed in people. I believed that ordinary working people - from whatever class, would vote to remain in the European Union. Mainly because:

a) This Tory government has worked hard to divide us. I thought that people would have seen past that. We are stronger together

b) Economically, the EU is a strong entity. Neither you nor I is an economic expert. Let's leave the decision to the experts

Instead, people voted against their own people. They believed the lies. They FELL for the same lies that divide and hurt our communities. The Tory government WANTS TO PRIVATISE the NHS. They always have done. False promises of money to the NHS were just that.

Leaving the European Union will not mean that we can "close the borders." It is not that simple.

You will not be able to "Take control." You have no power. That money that will be saved from the EU will have to be put back to plug the gap left where the EU funded. If it is not, then believe me, thousands of jobs are at stake.

EU laws protected the environment, women's equal pay, maternity pay, human rights... Do you think for one minute that a Tory government is going to create laws that mirror that of the EU? The same Tory government that has tried to divide us for years and years?

They have played us like puppets and we have gone like lambs to the slaughter. They have played such a blinder that even they are afraid of their own power.

The worst thing for me is that, I believed that in the end, people would try and help themselves. That they would see that the hate that has been peddled for years about immigrants, borders, poor people - I truly believed that we could pull together on this one, along class lines.

You know who will be hurt the most by this referendum?

The people who voted out.

And so I swing from angry to upset, angry to upset. At the people who did this, blindly, foolishly and with their heels dug in so far they don't even know what for anymore.

The Collector

I'm a collector. I collect things that I love.

I like second-hand ornaments, trinkets. I like owls. I like mementos from other countries, I like culture. I like art. My prized possession at the moment is my set of Russian leaders, the proud Matryoshka dolls in a line on my books shelf. I have badges, Lenin, Guevara, Marx, Engels. They gather dust. I touch them with my finger tips.

I like books. I read books like you've never seen. I break their spines and consume them. I carry them with me, like my guardians.

I keep a small pot of caviar that we were given on Red Arrow train from Moscow to St. Petersburg six years ago. I keep a hand-painted Russian Faberge egg. I keep old tickets to shows, train tickets from Germany, church admission tickets from Venice, a decorative bowl from Spain, a beautiful scarf from Belgium.

I collect culture, our house is full of it and our books contain it.

There are many many reasons why I am sad abut the UK leaving the EU. One of them is culture. The reality may be that we are not removing ourselves from European culture; but the perception is. There is the perception that we are now "free" of our European shackles. We are free and we didn't need them anyway.

I love Europe. I love cultures of the world. I immerse myself in it. I love colours, fabric, nik-naks, dusty old used items from years past. I love people and places.

A European Union to me meant that we shared a common culture. Or at least there was a perception of a common culture. It was not "us" and "them" like it was "in the good old days."

I run my hand along my collection of representations of a culture that I thought we all shared.

My heart is still open to Europe. My heart is broken for Europe. All we have is division and confusion.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Review: tastecard

We were very chuffed to be sent a tastecard to review. We often go out for meals together as a family and any money-saving that we can do is always appreciated! We often go into Liverpool at the weekend. We usually visit the museums and have a walk through the town centre as well as popping into one of the great restaurants in Liverpool - there are some amazing places to eat.

tastecard offers you the chance to save money on restaurants, entertainment, days out and cinema trips. What's more they are now offering a Tastecard for just £1 for three months. Definitely worth a go to see how much you can save.

We used our tastecard last week. We looked on the list of restaurants that accepted it and were surprised to see that the list was really huge - plenty of choice and the discounts are fantastic. In the end we settled on Amalia in Liverpool. Amalia is an Italian in the centre of town. We had never visited before and the card entitled us to 2 for 1 on the main meals. It was the day of the Liverpool marathon and Warren was playing in his band in the morning. We spent a lovely morning in the sun watching the runners and the band, and then we walked into town.

Watching the runners in the sun

The kids absolutely adore pizza, we often order them pizza if we eat out as we know that they will eat it, and it's a good treat for them. They also dip into our food too - we are a sharing-eating family!

We saved around £13 on our visit to this restaurant thanks to tastecard. It will definitely prove to be a useful card for us and will able us to save a lot of money over the course of a year on our days out.

We will definitely be using this card again - especially in the summer holidays when we will be able to make some great savings on our days out.

Disclosure: We were sent tastecard for the purpose of this review, all words and views are our own.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Great Imposter

I sometimes feel like I am an imposter. In all areas of my life. Like I am not good enough in whatever I do, I'm just a faker.
I play a lot of roles and wear a lot of hats. I am a wife, a mother, a worker, a student, a cook, a cleaner, etc. Oh and a ridiculously inadequate  blogger.

In each and every one of these roles I quite often think that I am just a great pretender and that one of these days I am going to get found out. 

I hope it is all in my head. 

Here are some examples of what goes through my head on occasion

When I tell the kids to eat their vegetables, to tidy their toys away, when I read them bedtime stories I think... who is this person? Is this me? It's not me. Someone is going to tell me off for pretending to be an adult soon enough.

When I read theories of socialism, revolution, second wave feminism. I understand it and I wonder how and I thing "oh well EVERYONE understands this" and when I realise they don't I think that maybe I don't after all, and one day real academics will point and laugh at me and say "You don't belong with us MWHAHAHAHAHA!"

Blogging - blogging has brought myself and my family so many adventures. Did I do that? No. I never. I'm just a faker and pretty soon everyone will know and I'll just go back to my books pretending to be clever.

At work. I'm organising events, I am trying to be professional. Pretty soon they'll figure out that I am not professional at all, I'm completely incompetent and I'm just pretending. I know I'm qualified to do my job BUT THAT SLIPS AWAY from my mind as I think I am absolutely just blagging my way through my job.

I try to make our home a lovely home to live in. It's not perfect, it's not always clean but I try. When I make the effort to keep things clean I can smell air freshener and I think who is this great pretender I have become? Pretending to be a fabulous homemaker, tea on the table every night and a kiss for her husband. One day they'll all know that I am just useless at this and pretending to be something that I am not and in any case I'm useless at it anyway.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Review: Toby Carvery, Formby Liverpool

We were delighted to be asked to visit Toby Carvery in Formby, Liverpool. We love eating out as a family and were really looking forward to our visit. Formby is a lovely part of Liverpool just a short drive out for us. We picked a Wednesday half term day for our visit, Alice and Rosie were their usual excitable selves! Emily was off camping with her friend so unfortunately she missed out!

Toby Carvery offers a full menu, including breakfast, but I know Toby Carvery as "The Home of The Roast" so of course, we were all in for a yummy roast dinner. The kids are pretty good in restaurants. They are 4 and 3 so they don't make too much mess and they tend to stay calm most of the time. We know now that we can easily take them out without too much worry. I do remember the days of throwing a meal down our necks and taking turns chasing them around - McDonald's seemed like the only option at one point!

However, all "grown up" and ready for our meal, we set to. Warren and I had starters. I had the soup of the day which was a lovely mushroom and vegetable. Warren had garlic mushrooms with crusty bread. The starters were lovely - Rosie stole some of my bread and soup and I stole some of Warren's mushrooms. (We are definitely a picky sharing family at home and in restaurants, we love it that way.)

While we waited for our starters we got up and ordered Rosie and Alice's roast dinners. They both picked pork, with a giant Yorkshire pudding. They had sweetcorn, peas and mash and lashings of gravy. Both girls ate well and were kept amused by an activity sheet and some crayons.

Next up, we took turns to get our own main meals. I picked turkey and beef and chose lots of vegetables - everything was there - green beans, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese... all this was topped with lashings of gravy and some wholegrain mustard for the beef. Warren chose a larger plate and had the same as me, but more of it and extra meat - he had a bit of everything on offer; turkey, gammon, beef and pork.

We also chose some desserts. I opted out of this as I was well and truly stuffed. The food was great, and the desserts looked amazing, so I decided just to steal some of theirs instead of having my own. Warren chose the chocolate brownie with whipped cream and the kids had ice cream topped with Oreo biscuit pieces. They all wolfed the lot (I had a couple of spoons of theirs.)

Me and Warren had a couple of bottles of Peroni each and the kids just had plain tap water. We really relaxed and had a lovely time. Staff were very friendly and helpful - Steph was particularly lovely - nothing was too much trouble and she was lovely to the kids, they really liked her.

Our bill came to under £50 for all four of us including drinks. I don't think you could fault it for that price. We were all fed and happy, with desserts and starters to boot - the price is brilliant.

Disclosure: We were invited by Toby Carvery and were given our food and drinks free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Treats Wishlist

I am the worst in the world at shopping, I really can only be in a shop ten minutes and then I have had enough. I am definitely not suited to walking around picking things - I just don't have the time, and even if I did I can't ever imagine spending my free time shopping! 

Now that rant is out of the way, I'll tell you what I do love and do have time for - picking up a bargain online. I know that there can be an issue with sizing, but in my experience, most clothes do fit and if they don't I find that I would rather have spent the time exchanging them via the post than stomping around shops. There are some brilliant sales on at the minute and I have been having a good look through the sales myself. Here are some of my favourites:

I am particularly loving this belted red dress at the moment. It is a real bargain at just over £30.

I find that clothes from Dorothy Perkins fit really well. I often buy smart clothes for work from here, and I also love their handbags. I often flick through online and see if I can grab some bargains from there.

I love Ralph Lauren dresses. (Although I am happy to admit that they are a little out of my price range.) I do love the current dresses that they have on sale at the moment. If I fancied a little treat I might purchase a bargain Ralph Lauren dress. Everyone deserves a treat from time to time don't they.

3) Shared Earth on Bold Street in Liverpool

This is a little independent shop in Liverpool. It sells lots of lovely nick-nacks: candles, ornaments... I have bought a few little owls from there - a candle one and a camper van. I am like a little old lady really, I love my nick nacks, I love having inexpensive pretty things all around me, and that's what my real treats are. I honestly have no problem walking around nick-nack shops and spending time picking what I want.

I know, I'm a strange thing aren't I. Have you grabbed any bargains yet?

This post was written via LovetheSales, all words and views are my own.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Review: Denman Fairy Tale and Vroom Vroom Tangle Review Brushes

We have three girls we very different styles of hair. Firstly, we have Emily who is the eldest and has medium thick but very long hair. Alice has very thick hair on top and thin and the bottom, and Rosie, who is the youngest has very thick hair.

All of them have one thing in common: their hair is oh-so very knotty!

My baby girl having her hair done

The girls run around all day and get sweaty heads, their hair tangles and it can be a nightmare to comb and unravel. With Rosie's hair being the thickest, she suffers the most. I was very pleased to be asked to review two new brushes from Denman - the Fairy Tale and Vroom Vroom Tangle Tamer brushes.
The brushes are quite small and easy to use on all of the girls' hair. They have layers of soft bristles set at different levels to easily comb through tangles. We tried these brushes out a number of times on all three girls hair.

We really love the brushes. They did easily tame the kids' hair and there was definitely less of a fuss made about hair-brushing!  These brushes retail at £8.50.

Disclosure: We were sent these brushes for the purpose of the review, all words and views are our own.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Review: Evo iPhone Protection

Warren and I both have iPhones and with having the kids around it is really important that we have proper cases for them. The kids often watch Youtube on our phones or use them for Facetime. They can be pretty clumsy and often drop the phones so I was chuffed to be asked to review some protection for one of the phones. Warren has a new iPhone SE so we chose to review the Evo glass screen protector and the Impact clear case.

The Impact clear case promises to be light, secure and scratch resistant. It delivers. Warren said the phone is completely protected by the case, with no user interference at all. It fits very snug to the phone itself. Warren prefers a smaller phone and also needs a small case, no bulk. He said that this was the perfect case for him as it adds virtually no bulk to the phone itself and allows him to continue to carry the phone in his pocket. It is easy to put on and off and costs £24.95.

Warren tends to carry keys in his pocket along with his phone. This is disastrous for phone screens and his last phone did end up scratched. The Evo Glass Screen Protector is popped on to the screen to protect it. Warren used the phone when he is gigging for setlists and as a metronome, so it tends to get bashed about quite a bit. So far, there are no marks on the phone. The screen protector is very thin - the thinnest we have ever seen and is absolutely crystal clear. It costs £29.95.

Overall, we are very happy with these items. Incidentally, Warren did drop his phone the other day. (And there was me blaming any damage on the kids!) The phone was unmarked. These cases really are brilliant.

Disclosure: We were sent these items to review from Tech21 free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own. 

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