Monday, 31 December 2018

Farewell 2018 Holla 2019

Things I did for the first time in 2018:

Trained for and ran a half marathon - I did it in just over 3 hours.

Cut off all my hair and donated it to a cancer charity.

Had a mammogram - it was fine, just a bit daunting really to be old enough to require one !

Went back to work full time after being at home with my kids for years - that was a bit of a shock to all of us.

Challenges I faced in 2018:

Spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than I would like.

Shed more tears than I knew possible, not always at the right time or in the right place.

Apologised for my feelings and myself and for things I cannot control. Too often.

Gave my time and energy to others who needed support - it helped me avoid my own stuff.

Saying no when I needed to rest.

Wanting to do everything and to see everyone and to be everywhere.

Promises I want to keep in 2019: 

Take better care of my health.

Train for and run another half marathon (in under 3 hours if possible).

Swim regularly again.

Eat well and cook proper food.

Look after myself and get more sleep.

Prioritise myself some of the time.


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

I'm letting it all go

Wow, it's almost over. This year has been so long and so difficult and so very painful for many reasons. You will have noticed I haven't posted as much as I usually do. Partly that was due to my emotional state and partly because my MacBook came to the end of its days. I have new, shiny and absolutely beautiful kit (hence I am typing now) and it's time to deal with the other thing too. 

I started the year on a high having had a fantastic skiing holiday with the boys and an almost stress-free Christmas. I don't enjoy Christmas. I wish I did, but I just don't. If I could just not take part it would make my life so much easier. Then a few days into the new year as I was driving to Lewes to do my first radio show of the year I found out my friend was ill. I had no idea how serious it was at that point. Then she died. I didn't know what to do so I went into doing mode and have been in that ever since. 

A lot of things fell by the wayside when this happened.

I stopped teaching yoga, then I just didn't practise yoga either. I also didn't meditate. I haven't been sharing my skill and I haven't been benefiting from it myself. 

The garden hasn't seen me at all. I love my garden and I haven't set foot in it all year. 

I've gone from someone who holds it all in and puts on a brave face to giving in to all my emotions all the time. I have apologised for my feelings more than I have ever known. I've been a wreck and yet I'm the one saying sorry to others for daring to not be ok so I can protect their feelings. This self indulgence has become boring to me and - I am sure - other people. 

The realisation has hit me that I really cannot rely on anyone else to take care of me. My well being is my responsibility. More than once this year I have been promised some support or help and it just hasn't materialised or it's been taken away from me at the last minute. If I want to to get a break it's up to me - no one else. 

I've been ill over Christmas. I have had to lie down and rest. It's given me time to think about what I should do next. 

So, I'm letting it all go.

The grief

The sadness

The fear

The need to apologise for my feelings

The relentless search for reasons. 

That is enough. Time to pull up the braces and roll up my sleeves. This is done with now.

I'm putting the brave face back on - no show of weakness means no risk of being taken down. 

The only way I can get better is if I protect myself. 

Thursday, 20 December 2018

What are you doing for Christmas ?

I have been asked this question literally every day this week. Mostly by well meaning individuals and colleagues. I am baffled by it though. It is one day of the year. It's one meal and yet people go on a diet for it. They go into debt and seem to go loco about it. I just don't get it. I have had a cough for over a week and a few people have said. "oh you don't want to have that for Christmas." Really ? What difference will it make ?

Ok, to be clear I am not bah humbug about Christmas and I don't have any problem with it. I just don't get why it's such a big deal. Why people eat so much food, why they spend so much money, why this one day is so significant. I get it if you have a faith and it means something to you in that regard, but if it's a celebration of food and presents then that is just beyond me. It's not cultural. I grew up in England and my parents always celebrated Christmas. It wasn't the biggest day of the year for us though. 

In some ways I do envy people who have that whole excitement about it all. The family side of things, the social side, the dressing up, the presents, I do get that. Brown Bear was only 3 months old for his first Christmas and our house was filled floor to ceiling with presents for him. He had absolutely no idea. I dressed him up as Santa and we took him to visit my parents on Christmas Eve (my Dad's birthday) and then Hubbie's parents so they all got to see the baby for his first Christmas. 

Now I am a parent I do like to make a fuss of the boys and to get into the whole spirit of the thing. We go to see Santa, we have a roast dinner at home, we have presents. However, we don't fill the house with tangerines, bowls full of nuts or masses of sweets. I will confess I have three fruit cakes bought at the school Christmas fair, but that is because the TA who made them has form and her cakes are absolutely amazeballs. 

Don't get me wrong there is no deep-seated trauma or childhood memory behind my lack of enthusiasm for end of year festivities. It is all tied in with anxiety and depression that always reaches a peak around this time of year. I know I'm not alone in that. The enforced socialising and jollity is just too much to take for some of us. I'm not saying anyone else shouldn't have a good time. Just don't expect me to be as enthused. I can't do it. 

It is this expectation of plenty that makes me uncomfortable. This year we have donated toys, food, clothes and I also gave a bag filled with make up from my days as an Avon lady to a refuge that requested gift items for the women. People donate to the children in refuges, but seem to overlook the women. At a time when it seems that we are being pushed into spending money and eating too much I am painfully aware that there are people who are struggling to manage to basics. 

We have enough and for that I am so very grateful. I have made it to the end of this year a significantly different woman from who I was this time last year. So much has altered in my life and for people I care about. It isn't a time of celebration for me. It is a time of gratitude. I am thankful.   

I have friends who will be experiencing their first Christmas without a partner, a parent and in the case of my brother in law his first without either of his parents. In my family we will spend time together knowing that we are so very lucky to have each other. My gorgeous baby niece will have her first  Christmas and Blue Bear and Brown Bear will fuss over and spoil her rotten.

The other day I found a post I had written in December 2009 when we were childless and desperate to be parents. It was titled, "Christmas is for kids." I had no idea how prophetic that would prove to be. Less than a month later I found out I was pregnant and the following Christmas we had our much longed for baby son. The point is nothing is forever. It's just a moment in time and that will pass. I won't stop having anxiety or depression, but I won't feel this way forever either. 

If you struggle with Christmas please don't suffer alone. Here are some organisations that will be open to help if you need it: 

Monday, 17 December 2018

When enough is still not enough

The belief that we are enough is one I think a lot of us struggle with. I have a lovely bracelet engraved with the word 'enough' on it that is to remind me that however badly I think I'm doing it's ok. I don't feel that way though. It's been a struggle to get through this year and I previously wrote about how it felt like I was on a relentless upward ride that I was not in control of. If I'm honest it now feels as if I've hit the buffers. I kept going and going in the hope that this would not reach me, but it found me.

In the last year I have been running regularly - training for a half marathon - and this was helping to stave off the feelings of sadness. In the last two weeks I have been too unwell to run so my moods have been unpredictable and unstable. I'm not at my best when this happens. My emotions are all over the place and I get all sorts of weird physical symptoms that make no sense, but add up to anxiety. Then I have the outbursts brought on by self-loathing. Pushing people away so that they don't have to deal with my unreasonable needy self. The worst thing is I can't control who this happens with and often it's the wrong people who see this 'faulty' version of me. The ones who have little empathy or who like to say, "I care about you," so long as it doesn't involve actually doing anything. I care about people in a practical way - you know hugs, cups of tea, silly little gifts,  sending them a song to make them smile or an invitation to do something to cheer them up. Not just saying the words and getting on with my day.

At the moment I am not doing well at parenting. Since I returned to work the boys have had a change of routine that seems to have unsettled them (and us to be honest). It isn't as simple as saying if I was at home things would be better. After all we did that for years. I was fortunate enough to be around for the early days when they needed a lot of care and attention. Of course they still need that, but they are also independent, confident and at school all day so I decided I was ready to do something else. Now I have that dual guilt that comes from thinking about home when I'm at work and vice versa. I get the calls from school to tell me Blue Bear has bumped his head, but he's ok or Brown Bear has been in trouble during football club. The frequency of these calls has a direct impact on my ability to concentrate on my work. I realise I should be able to 'compartmentalise' these different areas, but for me it's all interconnected.

I went back to work full time this year which has meant the whole family has a new routine and new challenges. It is tiring. I leave the house before my kids wake up and some days I don't see Blue Bear at all if I'm out after work as well. It's not what I wanted for them and it is costing me in my relationship with them. I feel so disconnected from my sons sometimes that I really want to spend more time doing the mundane things like dropping them off to school. Not just the frantic pick up in the dark just before the cut-off time for late charges. I know they are in safe hands and they love being in after school clubs, but sometimes I would like to be there a bit more. I know they put up with the absence because they have to, not because it's what they want.

It feels like I am losing my grasp of the 'brave face,' I have been putting on for so long. If anyone asks how I am I barely hold it together to answer them. The banks burst open and I break down in tears and then I feel really embarrassed. I can't really justify being upset about the thing that has made me cry, but I find myself apologising and trying to find explanations to assure the person that it's ok and they didn't do anything wrong. They feel better and I'm still in bits and now I'm too ashamed to talk to them because I made a fool of myself.

The safest thing to do is to retreat into a space that is not filled with judgement or the potential to hurt anyone else. If I just keep myself on safe ground - silly jokes, amusing gifs and familiar memes I can turn their gaze away from how out of control it all feels. I can go through the motions of doing all the things you're supposed to and make small talk. I can't have any deep and meaningful discussions until this passes. I don't know when that will be.

For now I just want to get through one day without crying.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas fun for the family - part one

There are so many wonderful things to look forward to at Christmas. The food, the parties, avoiding Last Christmas so you are still in Whamageddon (I'm out as of last Friday thanks to Chris Evans !) and of course all the fantastic seasonal shows. My favourite thing has to be taking my family to watch a show that is fun, silly, entertaining and really puts everyone in the mood for Christmas. From all those years ago when I took my younger sisters to watch Christmas Cat and the Pudding Pirates - written and starring Christopher Lillicrap - at the Warwick Arts Centre I knew this was something special. The smile on my Mum's face as she clapped along with the songs and cheered at the good guys and booed at the baddies just made me light up inside. 

We have been fortunate to been to so many great shows over the years and the Snowman is a classic that I'm surprised not to have seen before. I'm pretty sure that Brown Bear saw it with the school when he was 4, but he was kind enough to come along again with his brother. We were invited to watch this production in its 21st year at the beautiful Peacock Theatre just off Kingsway in London. You will know the story of the Snowman I'm sure. The Raymond Briggs story has a timeless appeal and when it was on this afternoon I still burst into tears at the end - as I always do. 

The Snowman features all the familiar music and is a gentle and loving story for the youngest of children to the most jaded of adults (yes I am looking at you Hubbie). It would take the hardest of hearts to be unmoved by the scene where we see the snowman and boy fly together over the stage and when snow falls onto the audience there is an audible gasp. My children absolutely loved this show and I did too. It captures innocent childlike wonder and joy in the simplicity of a short lived friendship. Oh and there is a very special character you will know who they see at the North Pole too. 

If your children are a bit young for pantomime this will appeal as it's just the right length of show with an interval for ice cream (or comfort breaks) and there isn't dialogue to follow or jokes to understand. All in all the magic of Christmas is captured perfectly in The Snowman. 

Pantomime is a specifically English phenomenon - so much so my son's Irish teacher had never seen one until last year and I was shocked. I love the silliness, the camp and the overall sauciness of pantomime and love to take my kids to see it. Last week I went to watch Cinderella at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. The good fairy is played by Lesley Joseph and I was so looking forward to seeing her as I last watched her as Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein and she was fabulous in it. Joseph has comedy chops and as the 'name' in this show she proves she's more than capable of leading a whole show while also being happy to partake in the slapstick side of things. The ugly sisters are wonderful with their over the top outfits and end of the pier humour. Any fan of Strictly will be taken with Claudia and Tess - even though there is a scene that left me shaking with fear so I can't imagine how the younger audience members must have fared ! 

I love the story of Cinderella - it's my favourite fairytale. I mean what's not to like, pretty frocks, a search for love and shoes are the star of the night. Not for nothing was the Slipper and the Rose my favourite movie as a young girl. I wish I had taken Brown Bear to see this - I didn't as it was on a school night - as he would have loved all the songs from the Greatest Showman and it finished at a respectable time too. Often pantomime runs on quite late and it's difficult to get any sense out of a tired child the next morning. Mine have been going to theatre since they were very young and adore it. The spectacle, the humour and of course the treats in the interval all add to the appeal of a night out. 

Often pantomime relies on big names stars to carry it off and to bring audiences in. I can honestly say that the cast of this show all are fantastic and while Lesley Joseph is the 'star' this is a genuine ensemble piece. The laughs are shared and there isn't a duff moment in the show. I would recommend this one for a family trip and I fully intend to take both my boys to see this as I could watch it again and I just know they will adore it. 

Disclosure: Thank you to the Peacock Theatre and Churchill Theatre for inviting us to press nights. All reviews are genuine and my own opinion. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

When the end is also the beginning...

This evening I went for a swim and rushed back to see Brown Bear before he went to bed. I asked him to help me move the things from our old car to the new one. He put on some shoes and came outside - a bit reluctantly admittedly - and then helped lug car seats and random water bottles and leads from one car to the other. As we worked together I explained that it was the end of an era and this was the car he had come home in as a baby. He smiled at me and we carried on. When we had emptied the car, remembering to take out the eighties CD which has some songs he and Blue Bear like on it, I asked him to get the booster seat from the new car. He asked why and I said, "put the booster on the passenger seat and get in. We're going for one last drive."

We found some rock and roll on the radio and I put my foot down. We drove down the hill (a bit too fast if I'm honest) and went round the car park of the golf club. "Do you remember when Blue came to live with us and he cried so much ? I drove round here a lot that night." "To make him go to sleep ?" "Well to help calm him down, but it didn't really work. He missed Auntie so much." We talked a bit more about his brother then I told him how magical it was to bring him home for the first time as a newborn baby. One day I will tell him about how desperately we wanted him. How we cried and wished and prayed for him and when we knew he was real it was the happiest day of my life. That I talked to him every day in my tummy and sang him songs. When Neo miaowed at 4 in the morning the baby kicked me from inside and I knew they would be a force to be reckoned with.

It's not just the car that is old now. Neo is frail and ill. He can't sit comfortably as he is stiff in his back legs. He sleeps on our bed all night and can't bear to be left alone. His kidneys are failing and it's breaking my heart to think he's not the lively boy who came home with us over ten years ago from Battersea Cats and Dogs home. Brown Bear loves him very much and it makes me sad to think how much he will miss him when he's gone. Recently Neo has started to sleep on Blue Bear's bed. He is an excellent babysitter and will stay until his charge is sleeping, then he comes downstairs and miaows at us to tell us the boys are asleep in bed.

Things that I've taken for granted are coming to an end right now. The car we brought our baby boy home in is being replaced. The cat who made our first house a home is growing older and weaker. The year is coming to an end and it's taken all of my energy and strength to make it to this point. I don't want to remember the lowest points, but I have to in order to get past them. This time last year my beloved friend Soraya was in hospital with kidney failure. She downplayed it on the phone, but it was as serious as it sounds. I didn't see her as she didn't want visitors in hospital. I was preparing for our first skiing holiday in France. We were really excited and hadn't told the boys yet. I was waiting for Blue Bear's birthday party to be over before I made it all about Christmas in the snow. Soraya was so pleased for us and I promised we'd speak when we got home. I think we did only once more before she died.

Saying goodbye is difficult. Not least when you don't expect to have to do it. I've told my boy that this car was special to me because of what it meant in relation to him and his brother. It's now time to make some new memories for all of us.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Scream if you wanna go faster ? What if I wanna get off ?

Apologies for the extended and unexplained radio silence over here. There are reasons.

The practical one is that my MacBook finally gave up after over 9 years loyal service. The other one is more involved. Since the start of this year it feels like I've been like sitting on a rollercoaster that is slowly creeping up the incline with the fear and anticipation that comes with it. Just as I think it's about to go over the top and gain momentum it turns out there is further to climb. Now in the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that I am not a fan of rollercoasters or 'scaring yourself silly in the name of fun.' I don't indulge in horror movies or chase thrills of any kind. It's just not my bag baby. So when I say that's what it's been like I mean it's involuntary participation in something that I can't predict and that I didn't want to be doing in the first place.

The incessant journey has included bereavements, family illness, starting a new job and the stresses that go with all of these things. At each stage I've gone into practical 'doing' mode so that we can get through it. Then it's become too much. After a while being on the edge of your nerves becomes the 'new normal.' (I hate the word normal - it's so judgie, but it's apposite here).  I've never needed much sleep and it's possible for me to function on very little, but I am at the stage where forming thoughts escapes me. Every day seems to present a situation that needs to be solved. A child who needs to be in two different places so there's the logistical planning. A work thing to attend or plan or deliver. Add to the mix the guilt at not being around to help with medical appointments or give sufficient time to listen to friends who are in difficulty.

All my energy was going into training for a half marathon and then it was done. My body kept going and going without enough rest. Each time I thought I'd get to rest it didn't happen. I gave up trying to get a break, it was pointless. Each time I think I will get to stop and rest something else happens. So I just keep going. It's like making a tower out of playing cards on a table with one slightly wonky leg. You know you're just putting off the inevitable. So I balance one more card on top. Yeah that's fine, it's only one more thing. I take another card because if I'm doing that I might as well just do this as well. The structure starts to look a bit wobbly. It's still standing though. Just.

I hate that whole, 'I'm more tired than you' competition that we're all supposed to be into these days. Everyone is busy - we're all doing too much. I'm not asking for sympathy. The reason I mention it now is that now I have a sense of a year having gone by without having had a chance to blink. The feeling of being in panic mode for the entire time has caught up with me. I am exhausted. My body aches and I am rarely coherent. This has been going on all year. No one can sustain that level of stress and be unaffected.

It's almost the end of the year and if I think about what has changed since this time last year it's been momentous stuff. Soraya was still alive this time last year. We were making radio shows and making plans for the radio station. I was at home and took my sons to school and picked them up and we were planning our first ever family skiing holiday (which was epic by the way !) I had more hair then - ok I know that's mundane, but it was a big deal to me.

So to go back to the rollercoaster analogy I am still in this rickety carriage that I don't want to be in. With fewer companions than I had before. The ones who are there are who I want to be with though. The sense of fear hasn't subsided at all. If anything that anticipation of something awful about to happen is ever present. I'm don't know when I'm going to arrive at the end of this ride, but I have to stop holding my breath in fear. After all, with everything that's happened surely I can deal with whatever comes next ?

Sunday, 21 October 2018

It’s the tea towel anniversary !

It's not going to come as a surprise to anyone that I have two boys. I was raised in a mostly female household and as a result I was baffled by some of the mechanics of bringing up a baby boy. I can braid hair like a boss and co-ordinate outfits with shoes, handbags and jewellery in the time it takes anyone else to send a text message - a normal one, not one of those mammoth ones you send when a phone call would have made more sense.

My two have always had friends who are girls and they have even called some of them their 'girlfriends.' In the parenting manual that I have yet to write the rules are thus: Hubbie deals with the stuff like teaching them sports, helping with maths homework and generally plays to his strengths. I deal with the practical stuff and the emotional side of things.This includes how they relate to other people and especially relationships with people who matter. This began with teaching them to treat their grandparents and other adults with respect. I also instilled them how important it is to be kind and considerate to Daddy - it was of course implied that he would ask them to do the same for me.

Then I talked to them about being kind to others and being part of a community that cares for others outside of our family. That was supported by community activities in their school so it was a bit simpler to get them on side with this. The one that is proving more difficult is the one I think I can do the most with. I've been thinking a lot lately about how men and women relate to each other and the dynamics of relationships. I am not assuming that they will both have relationships with women, far from it. Brown Bear often talks about how men can marry men and even asked if he would marry a boy and I said if he loved a boy and they wanted to marry each other of course he could. I'm like the mother in the movie 'The Family Stone' who wished for all her children to be gay.

More than anything I hope my children will be caring and thoughtful in their relationships with others. That they will be loving and kind. It is what I try and instil in them and help them to cope with the heartache of loving someone who doesn't feel the same way about them. Or to deal with the day to day business of life with or without a partner. It isn't a given that they will be with someone, but if they are I expect them to be respectful and considerate. This applies to all friendships, neighbours, family and - of course to a significant other. We hope that our marriage serves as a positive example to them of how people who are different can make a life together. Despite all the challenges - and let's face it we all have those don't we ?

Hubbie and I both have parents who have sustained long-term relationships. Both couples will be celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries next year - that's right they have been married 50 years. We both had what we jokingly refer to as 'starter marriages.' The one that wasn't quite right, but didn't result in any lifelong ties (which is a blessing let me tell you !) In our marriage we have experienced infertility, miscarriage, bereavement, familial ill health, but also great joy, hilarity, family closeness and love beyond our imaginations. It isn't all wine and roses - well not since he gave up drinking anyway - and we don't always look at each other with lust and longing. What we do have though is a loving partnership that is based on mutual respect and understanding. We both want the best for each other. It is also immense fun. He still makes me laugh until I can't breathe. He knows when I need a hug and when it's best to just steer clear. I know what food he is going to order from a menu and can tell when he is worrying about something.

Yes being married is hard work. Hubbie has been with me through thick and thin - and I don't just mean my waistline ! We co-parent like professionals and share pretty much all the tasks in the home - well not ironing. I don't do ironing. Yesterday he phoned me mid morning when I was at work to ask if I was free for a tea. He paid me a surprise visit at work. I was so happy to see him and we had a little bit of time together without talking about the kids or the cat.

I suspect when our kids look at us they see a walking wallet and a full time snack dispenser. What I hope they also see is a partnership and a couple who enjoy being together. A Dad who cycles to work and has impressive calves and a Mum who swims and runs with the enthusiasm of an Olympian, but not as much skill.

Here's to the first 12 years !

* 12 years is traditionally marked with linen ie. teatowel anniversary 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Show your true colours with the #ACEforschoolchallenge

At the end of the week the boys will finish for half term and the washing machine will do the last uniform wash for a while. I've only just finished hanging up the latest pile of washed clothes and it was mostly items they will need later this week. I made sure in September that we had plenty of everything so that I didn't have to keep doing laundry. Now I'm working full time I have only limited hours to get household chores done. However, with Brown Bear in year 3 and Blue Bear in reception they get through a lot of clothes in a week. I am so fortunate that Hubbie irons all the shirts for the week on a Sunday evening. He does his own and enough for the boys too. I don't wear anything that requires ironing so I stay well out of it all.

I pick them up when they have had clubs and tea after school. I can tell what Blue Bear had for lunch and tea just from his shirt. Ketchup, chocolate, pasta sauce, it all makes an appearance. Brown Bear usually has pen marks on his sleeves and often the evidence of whatever playground game they played at break. I wish I could say that a shirt lasts more than a day, but frankly some days it looks like this is what they have been doing.
Color Run GIF - Colorrun GIFs

It's not like I can comment - my school socks were always filthy and I had no idea how all the other girls had such bright white knee length socks when mine were greyish. Thankfully my sons wear grey or black socks so it's not that bad. They do have white sports socks, but they are underneath sports kit so not as obvious if they resemble my manky ones. I love that my kids are active and enjoy playing outside.

Now it's Autumn there is also Forest School and weekend football so there is always a layer of mud on their shoes and random leaves trodden into the carpet. We also have a cat so at times it feels like I live with a family of swamp things. I guess this is what I get for making my Mum's life difficult with my inability to keep my socks clean.
Image result for swamp monster gifs

To be fair to Mum she suggested to me that I should try Ace for white clothes to get the shirts sparkly clean and she even bought some for me to try. I am now a complete fan. When I was asked to try out Ace for colours I was keen to see if it was equally effective. The promise is:
  • ACE keeps garments bright, robust and clean meaning clothes last for longer
  • Keep those colours bright and fresh with ACE for Colours
  • Tackle germs, grease and stubborn stains with ACE Stain Remover 

All good an nothing bad so far. Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy so the true test was a pile of washing at the weekend after my herberts had done their worst. Also I been training for a half marathon so I have regular muddy running kit to add to the mix too.  In the years I've been parenting I have learned a thing or two about this so here are some ideas I hope you find helpful.

Top Tips for removing stains:

  • Check what it is first. Ask your child, but if they are anything like mine it will be a shrug and "dunno" in response. 
  • Soak the stain as soon as you spot it. If you can stop it from setting you have a better chance of winning this one. 
  • Ask my Mum. She is the one person I know who can do anything. It's beause of Mum that I know to put talc on an oil stain to soak it up. True Story. 
  • If it is really impossible to shift and you've tried all the stain removers you can, embrace the beauty of the now unique garmet. Yep, go with it.  
  • My top tip for removing stains is pretty facetious. Just don't do anything. That's right. Do nothing and your clothes should remain pristine. 

 Of course in real life we still have to send the kids to school in something resembling a respectable uniform. Ace makes it possible to spend less time doing laundry and more time playing football, collecting acorns and conkers, cycling through mud and chasing a leaf that looks pretty. Of course if there is also the option to scoff a cake and get chocolate on your top it can deal with that too. I'm happy for people to see my family's true colours.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. 

Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper. or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s.