How do you tell the children? Talking to your kids about terrorism

New York, Mumbai, Ottawa, Kabul, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus.  Now Paris.

I love this poignant sketch by French artist Jean Julien in response to the attacks.

Poignant sketch by French artist Jean Julien in response to the attacks.

When most of those cities were hit by appalling acts of terrorism, my children were not old enough to be told, let alone understand.  Now they are 9 and 11yrs.  They are old enough. Continue reading

(End of Primary) School Report

Best Teacher cardMy daughter is about to leave primary school.  It’s an emotional time for us all, but particularly me as I know how she has thrived in the small, relatively cosy environment that she has enjoyed for the past 7 years.  My nerves about secondary school are probably greater than hers, but they’re mixed in with a nice dollop of excitement too.  More on that in another post!

We received her report the other day, her last one for this era.  I honestly don’t think I could’ve read a better, more glowing report.

Forget the SATS results, the new ‘Working Above, At or Towards age related’ levels system that the government have introduced, forget how well she’s progressed in ‘working mathematically’ or in ‘reading with understanding’.  Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t bad, in fact, far from it she’s done incredibly well.  But what jumped off the page for me were the teacher’s general comments: Continue reading

Seeing Red about Turning Blue – election results



They say a week is a long time in politics. Make that 3 days: you know, those 3 days before, during and after the election.

The morning after the night before, we woke up to the surprise of an easy (though narrow) win by the Conservatives; the SNP turned Scotland (and much of Westminster) yellow; voters turned out in unexpected droves; UKIP gained 3.8 million votes yet only 1 seat; and 3 of the top leaders resigned…..the list goes on.

Possibly the biggest surprise for me was the huge wave of what can be called at best ‘debate’ and at worst ‘vitriolic mudslinging’ on social media by those who didn’t vote for the triumphant Conservatives. The latter were remarkably quiet, at least on my twitter account.

All through the election campaign, uncertainty, cynicism and passivity seemed to be the order of the day. The sheer number of parties and policies to chose from and the predicted ‘no clear winner’ lulled us into apathy. But as the clock struck 10pm on Friday night when the exit polls showed a likely Tory win, twitter went mental and people saw red (well, Blue actually). Continue reading

Ladies, let’s vote!


This Thursday in between pick up, drop off, a meeting with clients, hockey, ballet, swimming and cooking the dinner, you have one more job: casting your vote.

I know, I know. We’re all sick of the election campaign, of too many parties to know which to vote for, of white men (mostly) “making it quite clear” about the economy and “balancing the books“, of last-minute manifestos and general lack of ideology.  Continue reading