Friday, 26 March 2010

Competition: Win a Deluxe Pamper Day!

Last week I mentioned that I'd be running a competition sponsored by Kia Motors UK - well here it is!

You may have noticed from the new TV adverts that Kia is extending its unique seven-year warranty to all its cars. Previously available on Kia's European-built products such as Cee'd and Sportage, the seven-year warranty will now apply to every vehicle in the Kia range from the Picanto city car to the range-topping Sorento.  I'll be taking the Cee'd SW 2 for a test drive next week so watch this space for more on that.

To celebrate the extension of their seven-year warranty, Kia have very kindly offered a Deluxe Pamper Day Spa voucher for one lucky reader.

The winner will get a blissful day of treatments including a full body massage, facial and a manicure, with lunch and use of all facilities.  The prize is a one person Spa voucher, redeemable at one of 300 spas nationwide from SpaSeekers.com. I think that's a very nice prize to have, just wish I could enter the competition!

To enter simply email your answer to the following question, along with your name and postcode, to notSupermum[at]hotmail.com

Question: How many European car manufacturers offer a 7 year warranty?

(for a hint click here)

I'll be keeping the competition open until Easter Monday, 4th April. Good luck everybody!


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Disney Blu-ray film review: Up


We've just watched the latest Disney film Up on blu-ray, and what a fantastic film it is.  It tells the tale of the newly widowed Carl Friedricksen, a retired balloon salesman, who ties thousands of balloons to his house and sets off on the adventure of his childhood dreams. He unwittingly takes along Russell, an 8 year-old Wilderness Explorer, and along the way they meet a talking dog - very funny - and a 13 foot-tall bird.

You may have already heard that it's a sad film, and it is in places, but it's beautifully thought-out and the sadness is there to emphasise the underlying message of love, friendship and adventure.  I loved it, as did The Teenager who gave it 5 out of 5 on our points system.  Tall Daughter thought it was a bit too sad - I think it may have reminded her too much of her own Nana and Granddad - and gave it a 3 out of 5.

We were all agreed on one point though: this is the best Disney film since Monsters Inc. and the animation is stunning.  The Teenager wants me to mention that we could actually see stitching on Russell's Wilderness Explorer badges, and the accuracy of the characters body language and mannerisms was fantastic.  I have to say that if you have never watched a film on blu-ray you're in for a treat when you do, they really are much clearer and vivid than DVDs. 

Here's clip of when Carl and Russell meet Dug the dog. 



The Blu-ray was sent to us by Katie at Thinkparents.  Image and trailer courtesy of Disney.

Monday, 22 March 2010

When is a hairband not a hairband?

This weekend. In the kitchen. I'm cooking, and behind me I'm aware of Tall Daughter fiddling with her hair. 

TD:  Mum, this funny looking hairband you bought for me is too big.

Me:  (looking to check what she's talking about).  Um, that's because it's not a hairband.  It's one of the wires from my bra, it came loose so I took it out. 

Oh. The. Shame. 

Saturday, 20 March 2010

This week I've been enjoying...



Film
An Education...a British film starring the Oscar nominated Carey Mulligan.  I rented this film for the weekend. I rarely buy films these days. The last film I bought was Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and the excellent Emma Thompson.  It's an unlikely pairing, but a really enjoyable romantic comedy.  Anyway, I digress. I enjoyed An Education and while I thought Mulligan was very good, the real star for me was Alfred Molina who played her dad.  His Bafta performance was note perfect, and during a scene where he talks to his daughter while standing outside her bedroom door I was holding back the tears.  The film is based on journalist Lyn Barber's memoirs of being a 16 year old girl and her education at the hands of an older man. I'm not going to spoil it by giving away the whole plot as the denouement was a surprise to me,
This film is a grower.  Although I enjoyed watching it, it was one of those films that lingers in the mind long afterwards and I spent the next couple of days thinking about it.  Recommended. 

Music
Soldier of Love  Sade's new 'comeback' CD and wow, what a comeback! If you have enjoyed her stuff in the past you'll like this too.  I always used to play her Diamond Life CD if I brought a new 'romantic interest' back to the house (this is eons ago when I was young, free and single.  Now I'm just single).  If, by track 4, they hadn't made a move they were shown the door. By my reckoning if he wasn't getting sexy by then there was no hope: he was a cold fish.  End of.  I was brutal in those days.  These days I'd probably play it over and over in the hope of at least a snog. 

I've had it on almost non-stop since first playing it.  It has the same feel as her previous CDs - which is fine by me - and the stand-out track for me is Babyfather.  Fab. 

Meditation
Since going on a Buddhist retreat last year I've been hankering after a regular meditation class for a sorely needed serenity top-up.  After a couple of false starts, I've started attending a class with my friend Dee on Thursday evenings. We've been to two sessions so far and are really finding it worthwhile.

It's going to take a while to feel the benefits I think, mainly because one meditation class each week just isn't enough.  I now need to start finding ten minutes out of each day to sit quietly and meditate.  Isn't it strange how easy it is to find ten minutes to load the dishwasher, make a phonecall or empty the bins, but to find ten minutes of self-preservation is so much harder.

 

Monday, 15 March 2010

Can children be born evil?

There's a lot of news coverage at the moment about the two boys who killed two-year old James Bulger in 1993.  Mainly because one of the boys Jon Venables, now a 27 year old man, has been returned to jail after breaching the terms of his release. 

In addition, James' mother Denise Fergus is calling for the children's commissioner Maggie Atkinson to be sacked following her interview where she claimed that the boys, who were ten when they killed little James, should never have been tried in an adult court as they were too young to understand their actions.

The Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, has now waded in to the argument by adding that that while Ms Atkinson's comments were "ill advised" he didn't think the boys were evil.  He clarified his comment thus: "I think we have to be very careful about labelling any child as intrinsically evil. Children are very affected by what happens to them as they are growing up. I think what they did to James Bulger was evil, but I'm not willing to say the children were intrinsically evil."

I agree.

This crime - the abduction, sadistic torture and brutal killing of a toddler - was, and still is, a very emotive event in recent history.  It's hard not to be moved by it, and not to have an opinion and I clearly remember having heated discussions with people about it at the time. 

Since then, I've gone on to have my own children and since 2005 have been working in a primary school in a so-called disadvantaged area.  Our school has more than it's fair share of children from broken and disfunctional families; of behavioral issues and emotional challenges; of parents who care not a jot of how their child is doing; of parents who cannot get themselves out of bed in the morning to get the children into school on time; of emotionally damaged children who want nothing more than to be loved. 

Children give away a lot of revealing information while they're at school without realising.  They share information about their home lives with their class during circle time, they write about their holidays, they talk about their families and tell us things that they accept as normal.  Most of the time they are normal but sometimes, sadly, we get a glimpse of a wretched homelife and a sad and neglected child.  Of course the school takes necessary action when required, such as calling in social services and so on, but the child is already damaged by then and it can be heartbreaking to witness.

This is a long way of saying that I also don't believe children are born evil.  I have yet to meet an emotionally damaged child who has not had a desperately sad upbringing  You only have to scratch the surface of these children to reveal the harm they have been exposed to, the physical and sexual abuse, the violence, the neglect.  You realise that most don't understand boundaries, they have never been taught what is acceptable behaviour, they are not brought up with tolerance for others, and they survive by doing what they know.  And what they know can be very unpleasant indeed.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Pick n Mix


I thought I'd put together a few different things into one post, hence the title Pick n Mix.  Sorry if you thought it might be a competition for sweets!

I went to the post office today to send off my first SecretPost Club package.  I enjoyed choosing the items to send off to my designated blogger, and really hope she enjoys them. I put the things into an old jiffy bag, and because I was short of cellotape I stapled the open edge to seal it.  At the post office I was told by the woman serving me "you can't use staples on anything being sent through the post".  Why?  "In case the postman hurts his finger."  So the woman carefully took out the dangerous staples and resealed it using parcel tape, while I stood shaking my head and thinking 'OMG, has the world gone completely mad?'

Following my post last week about being single since the ice age, I've been quite amused to receive emails from online dating sites offering me free trials of their services.  And this is where I have to make a confession:  I think I've probably joined every dating site in the country at some point over the last few years, and the same thing always happens.  I join...I start receiving emails... I chat, then as soon as a man suggests meeting up...I scarper.  I delete my profile in a panic and cancel my subscription and I reckon I've spent a fair bit of money on wasted memberships over time.  It's this experience which has led me to the conclusion that online dating is just not for me, so thanks but no thanks:  I won't be joining your sites, although I appreciate the offer :-)

Next week I'll be running a competition sponsored by Kia cars, with a very nice prize.  No...hold on, it's not a car but let's put it like this:  I'd like the prize for myself although I'm sadly not allowed to keep it.  Watch this space.

This week I made a date.  With a man.  A builder, in fact.  He's going to start doing my new bathroom on 5th of April, and I'm soooo excited.  Really.  My current bathroom is 'orrible, really 'orrible.  It's old, the tiles have been repainted twice and the paint is now peeling off in big chunks.  The sink leaks and has a bowl underneath to catch the drips, the toilet cistern leaks so there's a jug underneath to catch those drips, the shower is feeble and the bathroom airing cupboard doesn't close properly. The seal round the edge of the perished yonks ago so now when we shower we have to first put a bucket in the middle of the kitchen floor (which is directly underneath) to catch the drips from the bathroom above. Get the picture?  It's not really a place you would want to spend a lot of time. So on the 5th April I will cheering as Stuart the builder knocks the whole thing out and rebuilds it from scratch.  Can't wait.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Free tickets to see a special preview of The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock

This is not a competition and there isn't a catch, you can actually get two free tickets to see The Blind Side, starring the Oscar winning Sandra Bullock,  before its official UK release on 26th March. 

Holly from Seefilmfirst has contacted me and offered the free tickets on a first come, first served basis for a special preview screening next Tuesday, 16th March

For your chance to attend a special daytime preview screening (see the list of locations below), simply enter the below code at http://www.seefilmfirst.com/ to get your complimentary pair of tickets!

Code: 560634

About the film: Teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock). Learning that the young man is one of her daughter’s classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael—wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter—come out of the cold. Without a moment’s hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds.

Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. And as the family helps Michael fulfill his potential, both on and off the football field, Michael’s presence in the Tuohys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

© 2010 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Locations:
Colchester
Brighton
Beckenham
Manchester Printworks
Derby
Exeter
Guildford
Lincoln
Richmond
Worcester
Maidstone
Kettering
Kingston upon Thames
Norwich
Streatham
Epsom
Muswell Hill
Swansea
Camden Town
Edinburgh Wester Hailes
Greenwich
London
Hatfield Galleria
Huddersfield
South Woodford
Southend on Sea
Surrey Quays
Bristol
Wimbledon
West Thurrock

Good luck and let me know what you think of the film!