Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

November 29, 2012

Rise of the Guardians - exclusive film clip

Very over-excited about this new movie 'Rise of the Guardians' which, just for clarification, is not the one about the owls. This is the NEW movie, released tomorrow - all about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny ... oh, why not just watch this official film clip. It looks FAB!


November 28, 2012

Shamrocks or Roses?

No, this isn't a post about horticulture, or a new selection of sweets for Christmas. It's about rugby and national pride. Yes, rugby and national pride. Not normally subjects which motivate me to write, but there you go.

Let me explain. Firstly, you need to know two facts about me:

1. I live in a very male house. Apart from me and the cat, home is an all male environment. This is, of course, the result of producing two sons - a fact of which I am very proud and extremely happy and am definitely not complaining about (except when they are a bit smelly).

2. I live in a very Irish house. This is, of course, the result of moving here ten years ago, marrying an Irishman and having two children here. I'm very happy living here and the fact that I no longer live in the country of my birth doesn't usually bother me. 

Except this year, it did.

2012 has been a (rarely) wonderful year to be English / British. There seemed to be an endless number of parades in London and fantastic fly pasts by The Red Arrows. The Queen's Jubilee event was quite magical (except the bit when it lashed rain for eight hours when all those boats went down the Thames) and then, of course, we moved onto the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics which, by any standards you care to measure such things by, were simply outstanding sporting events. I could go on and mention other momentous English/British events of 2012 such as The Great British Bake Off and Gary Barlow getting an OBE, but I won't. Suffice to say that I proudly displayed my red, white and blue bunting throughout it all, didn't give a hoot what the neighbours thought, and enjoyed being a 'Brit' abroad.

And now, we get to the rugby/national pride part. 

You see, my boys recently starting playing rugby (I say 'playing' but what I actually mean is running around a water-logged pitch on a Saturday morning and falling over quite a lot). They've always been very active, sporty kids and have played a lot of football and gaelic football, but their current interest in rugby happens to come at a time when the autumn series of internationals are taking place. We've always watched sport and my husband tries his best to take an impartial stance when it comes to encouraging the boys to support the English team as much as the Irish team - after all, I point out, the boys are half English and half Irish... 

Because, of course, the boys consider themselves to be Irish - they were born here and they live here, so that makes them Irish. It makes perfect sense when you are 5 and 7 and the issue of being 'half' something is extraordinarily tricky to grasp at such a tender age. Still, they do enjoy a bit of flag waving in support of 'Mummy's team' when England play. 

So, when I was invited recently to see the new Canterbury England team kit for kids, I stalled. Would the boys want to wear it? Would people throw rotten vegetables at them if they wore it 'in public'? Would a rose be an acceptable piece of flora to display in place of a shamrock? In the end, my own national pride won out. Why the heck shouldn't they wear the England kit? Does it really matter when we're sitting in front of the TV anyway? 

So, their new rugby tops arrived, my husband was surprisingly rational about it and the boys are looking forward to wearing their red roses this weekend when England play their next international. They'll definitely look the part, even if it means that their father disowns them for 80 minutes. 

And just to make sure it is all balanced out, they've asked for the Ireland kit for Christmas, which may cause a problem when England and Ireland meet in the 6 nations next year and country allegiances are challenged once again. Maybe they can swap kits at half time? Maybe me and the cat will retreat to the coffee shop.

As they say .. it's complicated.


If you have any young rugby fans in the house, team kits would make excellent Christmas gifts. For loads of gift ideas for sportswear, including the England - and Ireland - team kits (!) visit and for the England rugby kit visit

November 26, 2012

Missing: Christmas Magic. If found, please return.

I haven't posted an 'opinion piece' here on Hot Cross Mum for a while. There are many reasons why, some of which involve being limited to a meagre 24 hours in a day, some of which involve young boys hi-jacking my laptop and some of which involve pursuing my dream of being a proper, grown up historical fiction author, but anyway, I find myself needing to rant about Christmas and I feel that Hot Cross Mum is the best place for me to do this.

Rant about Christmas, I hear you cry! But why? Well, it's because of this - magic - or rather, the lack thereof. Perhaps I'm looking at Christmas through glitter and snowflake tinted glasses, but it all seems to have gone a bit, well, blah. Here's why:

1. It all starts far too early. Whatever about the shops stocking selection boxes in October, actual people have already put up their trees. I don't want to see Christmas trees in November - I want to see them at Christmas. Please!

2. Toy cataloguesI honestly don't remember a time in my childhood when I flicked through a toy catalogue to help me choose what to put on my list to Santa (the artist formerly known as Father Christmas). Put the catalogues down children. Step away from the catalogues.

3. Santa lists. Didn't these used to be sent up the chimney on Christmas eve? Now they're written and posted before the end of November and there is a special post box for them in the local Eurospar. From a practical point of view yes, I get this: we all know what 'Santa' is bringing and can get on with the shopping. But it still makes me want to poke rusty nails in my eyes.

4. Visits to Santa. I heard a conversation in a shop over a week ago where someone was saying they were going to see Santa at 'The North Pole' (somewhere in rural Ireland). They explained to their friend that they felt it was a bit early, but that was the only time they could get a booking, as the other slots were sold out since September. Maybe it's just me, but this feels wrong on so many levels.

5. Chocolate advent calenders. I've ranted about this before and I will rant again. Please bring back lovely, traditional, non choc advent calenders which have a Christmassy picture behind each window and a Christmassy scene on the front. Moshi Monsters and Angry Birds simply have no right to be on an advent Calender. Humph.

Maybe I'm deluding myself, maybe I'm a snotty, grumpy old cow, but Christmas seems to have all gone so hideously commercial. I even found myself staring wistfully at Christmas jumpers yesterday in a desperate attempt to get back to some good old-fashioned festiveness. Ah well, there's always hope I suppose that in a week or so, when I find the Christmas CDs in the attic and start making cinnamon cookies and I pour myself a 'small' glass of port, something may stir within and that old Christmas magic might just find its way down the chimney. Here's hoping ... bah humbug.

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