Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smoking in Cars - what else will we look back on and laugh about?

I see that in the news today the effects of passive smoking in cars on children is being debated.

Someones civil liberties are going to be eroded by any law passed or not passed, but whose will it be - parents or child?

I do take a second look at people smoking in cars with a toddler strapped in in the back seat. It just looks, well, wrong, in the same was that lighting up now on a plane would look. Trying not to judge here. Probably failing.

As an asthmatic, this is a subject close to my heart (or lungs). My mother smoked when pregnant with me. It was the 1970s and hey, a few glasses of wine for the road as well was the norm. She has cursed her younger self ever since. Nothing like having to schlep your wheezing, allergic child to clinic after clinic to make that Marlboro lose it's blissful allure.

And no, she didn't smoke with my siblings - all of whom are hale and hearty.

She was able to plead ignorance for the effects of smoking on me. Had she known, she would have given up without a second thought (or so she says).

So what are we doing nowadays that we will look back and cringe about with our children? Will the car seats of the future resemble full body casts of foam and we will laugh at our feeble attempts at safety? Will we find that fizzy drinks are the alcohol of the future, just one sip leading to the undiagnosed 'Foetal Fizz Intoxication'? Or perhaps, what we have slightly expected all along, that any mother who let their child go near a phthalate (a plasticizer in a children's toy, for example) is a BAD, BAD MOTHER.

What will cause future harm will probably come out of left field. An innocuous thing we are all doing and seems normal, like a Victorian mother letting a baby suck sugary gin-soaked rags as soothers. (Mmmm - gin soaked rag. I could just do with one of those right now...)

Occasionally, my mum will apologise to me about her smoking. I always hug her and tell her that having asthma, eczema and allergies has made me a stronger person, in a funny kind of way. Challenge is a good thing, right? But part of me will always point a little finger of blame at her for not knowing then, what we know now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coping with a disasterous haircut - help!

Dave Hill of Slade

Never trust a hairdresser who tells a thirty-something woman their proposed haircut will make them look 'edgy'.

It is impossible to look edgy when you have a face puffy from lack of sleep (thanks darling toddler) and lack the sharp cheekbones of Audrey Tatou. The concept of 'edgy' in these circumstances is about as likely as an outfit making me look 'fierce'.

I asked for a hairstyle that might make my standard 'Rachel cut' updated. (yes, I know it's all a bit 90's, but it really suits me. Honestly - I even look a little like her if you squint really hard after a glass or two of Pinot Noir) My perky 20-something hairdresser suggested an asymetric 'edgy' fringe and then lots of flicky layers.
It sounded so reassuringly nice...

...and looked great coming out of the hairdressers.

The problem is, in common with most mothers, I do not have the time (or finances) to apply three different products to my hair, use clips so I can pouf it up at the back and then flat-iron the hell out of it.

The asymmetric fringe has boinged up a centimeter so I look like a cross between Dave Hill (above) of Slade and the local village idiot. The flicky layers have removed any natural volume there was before so I now have, what can be best described as a limp mullet.

I have not had such a bad haircut since I requested my mum cut my hair to resemble Princess Diana in the mid-80s. At the end of that I looked like a boyish village idiot.

Why is there not a mirror at the hairdressers that doesn't show the hair as it is immediately after a cut, but as it will be when you have had a bit of a go at it two days later? I am going to develop one to save millions of women every year the trauma of FDS - Follicular Disappointment Syndrome.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Child goes to 'Alice in Wonderland' Scandal

Warning: plot spoiling blog!

What kind of fool parent takes a sensitive 5 year old girl to Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland' for a March Break treat?

(1950's Housewife tentitively raises hand to tutting from the audience)

OK, OK so it wasn't the wisest of cinematic choices. But when your daughter begged to go to the cinema as a treat and the two choices are 'Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 -Let's Give Mum a Migraine' or scaring your offspring witless with Johnny Depp and some dodgy highlighted hair, then there is no choice. One of us was going to have nightmares and I decided it wouldn't be me.

And possibly, just possibly, making her see it in an IMAX theatre in 3-D was also not sensible. Tim Burton could not work out if this was a film for children or adults so it was a bit like watching a Disney film crossed with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

My daughter held up well, fuelled by a vast bucket of popcorn, until poor Alice had to climb across corpses mouldering heads to reach the Red Queens castle. Even Anne Hathaway's white queen brought no relief for us - she made a potion, not from fairy dust, but whithered severed fingers.
By the time the Jabberwocky's head bounced down the stairs my daughter was curled up in foetal position on my lap, unsettled, mewling but refusing to leave.

Was it a good film for adults? Erm, not great. I found it to be a strange mixture of dullness and frenetic activity. Alice was bland in a flouncy dress at the beginning, her journey took her to a place where she was able to be bland in armour.

Tim Burton has a signature style of gothic curiousness, but one day I would just like to see him try and film a common or garden cop movie with Bruce Willis. Alice in Wonderland was recycled Edward Scissorhands, crossed with The Nightmare Before Christmas crossed with more than a bit of Sweeney Todd (boy does Tim love his bouncing heads.)

He is clearly deeply in love with Johnny Depp, not so much so with his wife Helena Bonham-Carter. The camera lingered on Johnny Depp at every opportunity. Poor Helena was quite marvellous as the Red Queen, but at some point she should give in to the fact that no matter how ugly her husband makes her in each film, she is beautiful.
Matt Lucas was a small beacon of light as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

All in all, I would not recommend this film to parents with children under 8. And in the same breath, I would not recommend this film to parents, unless you have had a couple of gins first and have a bit of a snooze.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Butter with EXTRA SALT - sweet mama it's so good...

There is very little left to say. Canada is surely the country of the Gods when there is a product, such as butter, where the unique selling point is that there is extra salt in it. Miraculous.
I just tried some on a buttermilk scone (homemade - see and I swear it was the best thing I have eaten. Ever.
Ever, ever, ever.
I have to weigh up the adverse effects of this extra salt. Cardiovascular disease, kidney issues and it is not exactly a friend of cellulite, but compared to the 1.8 minutes of bliss I just experienced, I don't give a tiny rats arse.