How to teach your kids how to sew….

Call in the experts

My 6 year old daughter has really taken to sewing.  This is definitely not something that she got from me.  I can sew a button on, took home economics in high-school but would be more likely to throw something out before I mended it.  The last time I tried to wind a bobbin I nearly blew the motor in the sewing machine.

In the genes?

My grandmother was a very competent seamstress and always promised to make my wedding dress for me.  However, I took too long getting to the alter and she had passed away by then.  One of my cousins is also good at sewing but this seems to passed me by.

Phone a friend

However, we are blessed that one of my lovely neighbours Eva from Sticky Fingers Stuff is an avid stitcher and all things crafty really  and been kind enough to take time out to teach Madame how to sew.

‘It’s a pleasure to spend time stitching with M, I feel I’m passing on some of what I learned from other women in my life.’

She even has a special ‘sewing room’ which is packed with bits and bobs, everything you could imagine.

They started with some simple stitches.  Apparently the stitches even have names but don’t ask me….

How to teach kids how to sew

She’s rather good

And now have moved onto more complex projects.   There was a bit of ‘adult’ prep behind the scenes beforehand.  I think the most touching thing is the scissors that you can see.  They were Eva’s Grandmother who had a love of sewing and she has now passed them down to our daughter who is developing a love of sewing.

Sewing projects with kids

Eva has also pointed me in the direction of  The Junior Embroiderers and Textile Students website for young people who are interested in stitching for fun or as a creative art.

I can’t wait to see what they get up to next.  We can’t thank you enough Eva.



Maybe being a perfect parent isn’t such a good idea….

Do I take my daughter to see her daddy in hospital?

This was a question I struggled with recently.  As many of you are aware my husband was involved in a road traffic accident and sustained substantial head injuries; not a phone call any loved one ever wants to receive late on a Friday night.  However, he is expected to make a full recovery after giving us all quite a fright.

Perfect childhood to blame?

Coincidentally, as I was whiling away time in the hospital, reading yet another trashy newspaper, I came across an article, but for the life of me I can’t remember the woman’s name.  However, she grew up in the 70s in the perfect house on a perfect street with perfect parents.  Growing up she didn’t know a single person with divorced parents!

She was never exposed to any of life’s challenges and now as an adult she’s unable to cope with further education, relationships, work and now being a parent.     Ironically, in a time when people wear a bad upbringing as a badge of honour, she blames her ‘perfect upbringing’.

Life’s lessons

As an adult, I feel I’m quite good at dealing with difficult situations as I was given the opportunity as a child/young adult.  My life hasn’t been anymore difficult than anyone else’s, I’ve experienced death, divorce, disappointment and disease, but my mother never sheltered us from these situations when they happened.  However, she was always careful with the amount she did share, telling us just enough to put us at ease.

The Conundrum

From the beginning, I was honest with my 4 year old and told her that ‘daddy had fallen off his bike and bumped his head and would need to stay in the hospital for awhile’.  After a couple of days they both started asking to see each other and I was really torn.  Do I take her or don’t I take her?  On the outside she seemed okay, but I could tell that she was worrying as she was a bit quieter than usual, which may be because the last two people she visited in hospital died.

In the end, I decided to take her.  A friend suggested that the best thing to do was to prepare her first.  My friend kindly sent me a photo of her own son; one with a black eye and another a few weeks later with it healed.  I showed these to her on the train,  explaining that Daddy looked different but in time he would be heal.

When we arrived she was very quiet and I slightly panicked that I made the wrong decision, but within minutes she climbed into bed with him, they shared a much needed cuddle and quickly began arsing around with the bed controls laughing and carrying on as usual.  Phew!

When we got home she did say that she ‘was scared when she first saw him’ but I could tell that a giant weight had been lifted off her little shoulders.

What would you have done?






What should I tell my daughter about religion?

My four-year old daughter skipped into the lounge last week and declared ‘baby Jesus’ is coming to school.  My heart skipped a beat as this was a conversation that I wasn’t prepared for.  It’s time for the Christmas Nativity.  As it’s not a church school, I do question why they’re doing the birth of Christ. However, I’m not anti-Christmas but, as a family we look at it as a time to celebrate family and friends with less emphasis on religion.

I’m an atheist, but I was baptised (can’t remember what religion) and I did attend Catholic School for a year.  However, my daughter was not christened, to the surprise of my mother in-law, as we felt that it would be hypocritical of us as we aren’t practicing Christians.

It’s not my intention to shelter her from religion but I will make it clear what I believe.  I love that schools have Religious Education in the curriculum, introducing children to many different religions thus, hopefully, fostering respect for people’s different beliefs.

I think that religion is a very personal choice, one that I don’t feel she can make till she is quite a bit older, at least pre-teen.  I’m going to do my best to remain unbiased and let her sort out her own belief system.  If she wants to regularly attend services we will support her.  Unless it’s some bizarre cult of course and then I’m totally up for an intervention.

This is why I probably turned my nose up when I was sent a copy of ‘Littlest Angels’ to review as it introduced the concept of Heaven and Angels.  It’s based on the classic children’s story by Charles Tazewell.  To be honest, I haven’t watched it from start to finish, hubby has and said it was ‘okay’ but Madame really liked it and has asked to watch it several times.  The Littlest Angel is out to own and download on DVD now

When should you introduce your children to religion?  What should you tell them?  I’d love to hear your comments.













Swimming is a life skill!

Swimming is a life skill and should not be optional.  According to ROSPA, on average 40-50 children drown per year in the UK.

I know someone who, when he was at primary school, hated swimming lessons, I don’t know if it was because he was self-conscious of his body or what, but his mother would wrote him a note so he did not have to participate in swimming lessons.  I don’t think she did him any favours.  As an adult he eventually enrolled in adult swimming classes but will never be fully at ease in the water, he looks like one of those water boatman, arms rigid and barely breaking the surface tension!

This is one of the biggest reasons we put Madame into swimming lessons at a very young age (4 months).  In the early days it was probably more of a social thing for me as a new mum but I’m now overjoyed that at 3.5 years old she can now swim 10m on her own.  This is one less worry for us now when we go on holiday or are around water as we know that if she falls in the water, heaven forbid we’re not around; she at least has a good chance of getting herself out.

Well done, Madame!  We’re very proud of you!