Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The 12 Steps of Checking on Your Sleeping Children

Step 1

Loiter outside bedroom door, suddenly aware of how loudly you breathe. Decide to go in.

Step 2

Immediately regret decision when you remember how creaky the floorboards are.

Step 3

Creep ninja-like across bedroom to child's bed, trying to avoid creaking floorboards.

Step 4

Look at child in bed.

Step 5

Realise you can't tell if child is breathing or not. Poke child to check.

Step 6

Hold breath as child suddenly, but not unexpectedly thanks to the poking, stirs.

Step 7

Wince as you watch child re-settle. Release breath.

Step 8

Begin to creep back out of the room, moving in a way which suggests there are laser beams across the room like a strange sort of parent Crystal Maze. Those floorboards again.

Step 9

Freeze as child makes noise. You're probably doing unintentional yoga at this point.

Step 10

Sigh with relief as you realise child is still asleep. Continue ninja-laser walk across bedroom until you reach the door.

Step 11

Sigh with relief. Again.

Step 12

Pour wine.

Proudly linking up with
Pink Pear Bear
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Letter To My Body

Dear post-baby body

The other day I felt myself looking at you in disgust. I was focussing on my wobbly tummy, my big thighs and my less-than-perky boobs. I decided I should start eating better - perhaps just have a smoothie for breakfast and salads for lunch and dinner. I felt like I needed to change you.

But then my children cuddled me and I realised something much more important than having abs and a thigh gap.

You are not just my body. You are not just a vessel to hold all my organs together so that I can function on a daily basis.

You are amazing. You carried, cared for and gave life to my babies. Not just once, but twice.

You endured discomfort and pain for nine months whilst you carried my babies. They made you feel sick. They stretched you. They made your hips ache and your ankles sore when you stood up for too long. They made your boobs grow and hurt and, towards the end, you could barely sleep.

And then you gave birth to them. You pushed my babies out, each time enduring increasingly painful contractions. And you just 'did it'.

And then afterwards, it still hurt. You bled for seven weeks before having a week's reprieve only to be rewarded with your period which, in typical post-labour fashion, lasted five weeks.

And whilst you were bleeding, your boobs were growing. They hurt and leaked and I couldn't find anything that made us feel comfortable.

So whilst I sit and complain that my tummy wobbles a bit, I'll remember how you grew our babies.

And whilst I moan that my boobs have shrunk and they are not quite as firm as they used to be, I'll remember how you fed our babies.

And whilst I beseech my big hips, I'll remember how those hips helped birth our babies.

Because they are our babies. You gave them more life than anyone.

And I'll look after you. But I wont deprive you. I wont force myself to live on smoothies and salads in an attempt to get you back to how you looked when I was 21.

And I don't really want to. Because when I was 21 I didn't have my children.

You have been through a lot. And you should be rewarded not deprived. You have given me the best thing in the world. Better than being a size 8 again and better than having cellulite-free legs.

You have given me our gorgeous children.

So I'm giving you a break.

Now let's have a biscuit :)

I've been nominated by Mum and Working for a Working Parent Blogger of the Year award. I know this post isn't about my 'work' but if you've read any that are and if you think I'm doing an ok job of writing about both teaching and parenting, I'd love your vote. Or if you just fancy being extra nice to me today ;) Simply click the link underneath the picture below and it'll take you through to vote :) Thanks. I'll send you virtual biscuits.

Pink Pear Bear

Thursday, 12 May 2016

I'm a Mum. And Working.

I'm a Mum and I'm working.

Not just working and being Mummy in isolation from each other.

But, because I'm a primary school teacher, I am a Mummy and a teacher all the time. I am always nurturing my own children. And when I'm working, I'm nurturing other people's children.

And when I am working I am teaching other people's children. But when I'm at home, I am also teaching my own children.

They are intertwined in a way I could never have understood before having children. My role of teacher has taken on a much higher value since having my own children. I feel honoured that other people are putting their child's education, development and well being in my hands every day. They are trusting me to stand in for them when they are not with their children.

When I reflect on what this means to me as a parent, I am almost floored by the level of trust they have in me.

And I feel the responsibility but I also accept it with enthusiasm and an eagerness to prove I'm a very safe pair of hands.

If you're a teacher you will know what I mean when I say this; I really care deeply about the children  I teach. Not just about how they learn academically. But how they develop as people - socially and personally, above everything else.

Because of this, I've written quite a few blog posts on the importance of my job and things I want people to know about it and I have a whole category on my blog devoted to 'Being Teacher'. I wrote a letter to the parents of my new class back in September. I also wrote an open letter to Nicky Morgan about my concerns as a parent and teacher regarding the recent SATs debacle at primary level. And I wrote a post on the day of a National strike organised by the wonderful parent movement Let Kids Be Kids. But it's not all serious and mushy ;) I also wrote a post highlighting the signs of a teacher-parent which got a lot of teacher-parent love on Facebook.

Recently though (Monday), I wrote a post to the Department for Education on Facebook as me, not as a blogger, which currently (Thursday) stands at 1.1k likes and 450+ shares. These numbers are rising every few minutes. This is an unprecedented number of likes and shares for a post which was essentially just me speaking from the heart as a parent and a teacher about the state of education in this country.

When the likes calm down and I have a more realistic idea of how many people agree with me, I intend to write a blog post. Because for the thousand plus who agree with me there are a few who disagree. Who believe my reaction and my post was over-the-top and unnecessary.

And I want to address those disagreements when I feel they are in their totality.

Because, as I politely told one of them in the comments, I will not stop 'moaning' as a parent, or a teacher, until I feel the children I raise and the children I teach are given the best education possible.

Look out for this post coming soon (presumably - the SATs topic will only be relevant for so long so I'm expecting the likes to calm down soon - my notifications are off the scale - how do people cope if they go viral?! I'm barely keeping up with a few likes and shares.)

The same day that I posted my DfE post, I received an email to say I'd been shortlisted for an award by Mum and Working. It was very fitting. The day I had defended the children in my care (both at home and at work) was the day someone was recognising that I was maybe doing a good job at raising and educating both.

If you think I am doing, even an adequate job at both (!) then I'd love for you to vote for me in the Working Parent Blogger Award category.

Simply click the picture below and it'll take you straight to the website where you can vote.

Thank you if you do. It means a lot. As a teacher. As a blogger. As a parent. But mostly as all three.



The Butterfly

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Daddy's Boy

Something strange has started to happen in our house.

My children have always been 'Mummy's boys'. They come to me for a cuddle. They want me to put them to bed. They want me to play with them. They want to stay with me at home if Daddy is going to the shop but they want to come with me to the shop if Daddy is staying at home.

But in the past couple of months it has all started to change.

The Big One is becoming a Daddy's boy.

He wants Daddy to read him his bedtime stories and he wants to go to the café for breakfast just him and Daddy. He wants to do whatever Daddy is doing. Sometimes this is filling a skip with crap from the garage. Sometimes it's doing their Euro 2016 sticker books. Sometimes it's watering the plants.

But he wants to be just like Daddy.

I'd love to pretend I hate it and that I miss him wanting me so much.

But really?

I bloody love it! For a couple of reasons:

a) because it gives me a very welcome breather. For a long time we would walk the rocky path towards tantrum territory if Daddy was doing the bedtime routine. The Big One was just not having it. But now? Sometimes I can put Little One to bed and be downstairs with the gin poured by 7pm :)

b) because, mostly, I love watching their relationship develop.

Daddy is much more fun than Mummy. Mummy doesn't tackle with as much 'oomph' as Daddy when we're playing rugby. Mummy is actually worse than Big One when we go to crazy golf so it is left to Daddy to teach him how to hold the club properly. Mummy does not appreciate the Euro 2016 sticker book as much as Daddy. Mummy does not take him to the café for breakfast as much as Daddy.

So, naturally, he is becoming a Daddy's boy. And I'm ok with that. He still wants Mummy cuddles when he falls over or if he is tired. For now.

They might not last forever. But while they're here? I'm taking every last one of them.

I've been nominated by Mum and Working for a Working Parent Blogger of the Year award. I know this post isn't about my 'work' but if you've read any that are and if think I'm doing an ok job of writing about both teaching and parenting, I'd love your vote. Or if you just fancy being extra nice to me today ;) Simply click the link underneath the picture below and it'll take you through to vote :) Thanks. I'll send you virtual gin.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

When I Watch You Sleep

Sometimes, boys, our days are long.

Sometimes I have waited for bedtime since midday because I've been tired and so have you and it's made us all cranky.

And even though we've played in the garden or been to the park or painted a picture, it's still been a really long day.

Sometimes all I can think about is how tired I am. Or how difficult it is to carry you around all day Little One because you're going through a Wonder Week. Or how hard it is to remain patient when you're having a tantrum Big One because you wanted to open your own banana, but you gave me no prior warning so I've opened it and it's the last one and now you want me to "zip it back up."

Sometimes all I can think is how frustrated I am that you're refusing to eat your spaghetti Bolognese which you always eat Big One or how you're not really eating anything at the moment Little One except bread sticks.

Sometimes all I can dwell on is that the house is a mess because you get toys out, play with them for six minutes and then move onto something else, leaving what resembles the aftermath of a tornado on the living room floor. Sometimes I huff and puff and pick them up whilst muttering about not being a slave because I don't even have the energy to battle with you if you refuse to do it.

Sometimes all I dwell on is that I haven't washed my hair for a week. Or that the closest I've come to 'me-time' is a day at work or a half hour bath surrounded by a floating Lightning McQueen.

Sometimes all I can focus on is how I feel. I'm selfish, I know.

But then you go to bed and I sneak up to check on you. And when I watch you sleep?

All I can focus on is still how I feel. And I feel so full of love that I could just wake you up to cuddle you back to sleep. I feel such an urge to guard and protect you with every ounce of my heart. I feel so unbelievably blessed that I have everything I always wanted.

When I watch you sleep, I forget everything I felt in the day. It is replaced by my heart wanted to burst from my chest with contentment.

When I watch you sleep, everything is worth it. It is more than worth it.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Day I Stopped Breastfeeding

Day 28 of my 365 day diary of having two children

Today I made a decision.

I'd like to say I had no choice. That I was forced into it because Little One was losing weight. Or he was terribly jaundiced. Or I had mastitis or thrush like with Big One. I could blame his tongue tie.

But that would all be a lie. I totally had a choice. And I made it.

Based on what?

I could tenuously blame my physical health. I could blame the fact I feel like I have flu for three hours after the mammoth two hour feed at 10am. Or I could blame the five hour cluster feeds in the evening for being so exhausted and making me feel like a cow.

But really? They are crap excuses. There are women a million times the world over doing this day-in day-out without moaning about the exhaustion or the weakness. They are not moaning about feeling like a cow. They are enjoying this precious bonding time with their baby.

And I am not. I have started to resent feeding. I have started to cry whenever I need to feed. I am fed up of giving Big One excuses for two hours because he wants to play car races and I can't play with him because Little One is eating. I have stopped enjoying the peaceful night time feeds and this morning I burst into tears when I woke up with a pyjama top soaked in milk.

I am just not cut out for this. I always wanted to be because I wanted to do the very best for both my babies. I feel guilty that I lasted over twice as long with Big One but I know I cannot sustain this beyond today.

Today I decided to stop breastfeeding.

I felt relieved.

I felt guilty.

So I did what I always do when I need someone to make me feel better. I phoned my Mum. My Mum is amazing. She breast fed me until I was a year old but has always advocated choice when it comes to feeding your own baby.

And as I sobbed down the phone to her, she reminded me that I have done a wonderful thing and that if this is how it makes me feel then I am right to stop. It is not worth sacrificing my mental wellbeing.

In short, she talked a bit of sense into me.

I still feel guilty that I have chosen not to persevere. That I am too selfish to put my baby's needs before my own.

But after that phone call, I made Little One a bottle. It was expressed milk and the organiser in me has worked out that by feeding already expressed milk, Little One can continue to have breastmilk for another two weeks.

But the most wonderful thing happened. I fed him a bottle of milk. And instead of sobbing and Googling forums on my phone to find out whether I'm the only person who feels like this, I held my baby's hand. I stroked his face and stared into his big blue eyes. I kissed his forehead and sang him 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'. And in that one feed, I bonded more emotionally with him than I had done in any others I have provided so far. I was mindful of that feed. I was mindful of my emotions. And I was mindful of my gorgeous little boy.

I still feel guilty and part of me always will.

But mostly? I just feel relieved.

The Pramshed

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Parents Strike - Children Learn!

Today it is 3rd May and the day when lots of parents have taken an amazing stand against our government and what they are doing to education in this country.

The wonderful movement Let Kids Be Kids (here on Twitter and here on Facebook) has seen a small community of parents grow into a National campaign to protect the welfare and well being of our children.

And despite what Nicky Morgan said about this campaign being about ignorant parents trying to damage their children's education, it is actually the opposite. It is about parents and many hundreds, even thousands of teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and education unions standing up for their children. It is about these people saying that Nicky Morgan's model of education is fundamentally flawed and that it is damaging the well being of the children they are raising and teaching beyond measure.

It is about these people having to use a last resort of taking time off work to keep their children off school because the government will not listen in any other way.

It is about people being the opposite of ignorant. It is people knowing their children and knowing that learning does not always happen in the same way for every child, in the same environment and definitely not on a piece of paper which decontextualizes everything.

So what can we teach our children by keeping them off school today?

We can share a book and teach them, not just to read themselves, but to enjoy reading and to relate reading to cuddles with Mum or Dad or Nanny or Grandpa.

We can go on a scavenger hunt. We can find things in nature and talk about how they grow, where they live, what they need to survive. Because, Nicky Morgan, it's all well and good putting the emphasis on maths, reading and writing but there are qualifications to be gained later on in life in other subjects you know. And whilst these will require a good grasp of reading, I doubt a science GCSE hinges on the identification of a fronted adverbial.

We can go to the shop. We can give our child pocket money and let them decide what to spend it on. We can let them choose which coins to use and work out if they will get any change and how much it will be. Imagine that? Handling real money in a real life situation for a real purpose. You know what that is? Real learning. Not circling coins to make 45p on a piece of paper.

We can go and play football on the park. We can teach them about good sportsmanship and good tactics. We can praise them when they score a goal and teach them to be humble. We can help them deal with the disappointment of the other team scoring. Because these disappointments do happen in real life (just ask Tottenham Hotspurs). But failing to identify the correct subjunctive is not a real-life disappointment which needs addressing.

We can take our kids to a museum and teach them about Ancient Egyptians or dinosaurs or old transport. Believe me, they will learn more from an interactive display and riding on a real steam train than reading about it (and then probably being forced to write about it, despite having no real experience of it).

We can take our kids to soft play and teach them how to play nicely with others. Because it's all well and good trying to force a generation of robots who are able to recognise an exclamatory sentence but it's not much use if all these future adults have zero social skills.

But the most important things we can do?

Just be. Just make the stand. Show our children that we care too much about them to let strangers dictate tests which will make them potentially depressed, stressed and withdrawn.
We can build them up. We can refuse to let ridiculous testing tear them down.

We can show our children that we are prepared to do everything in our power so that they don't suffer the consequences of Nicky Morgan and co.

We can show our children that actually Nicky Morgan, we are the informed.

It is you who is ignorant.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dear Husband: I'm Sorry

I'm sorry that some days you get through the door and I bombard you with words. With questions, with anecdotes, with any conversation I can possibly think of. Sometimes when I'm with two little people all day, one of whom has the conversation remit of 'ga-ga-ba-ba-da-da', I am desperate to speak to an adult about 'adult things'. Not Thomas the Tank Engine.

I'm sorry that some days you get home and I don't really speak at all. Sometimes when I'm with two little people all day (see conversation remit above), and I have spoken in great depth about whether Skye in Paw Patrol was really necessary in that emergency situation ("they didn't really need Skye in the end Mummy did they? They just climbed down"), I don't really want to chat anymore. I just want to stop talking and stop listening and just be in my own head for a bit.

I'm sorry that some days I just want to go straight to bed without a 'cuddle'. Sometimes, after a whole day of being pawed at by two children, of being dribbled on, leapt on and clung to I just want to reclaim my body for a few hours before I get up the next day and it starts all over again.

I'm sorry that some days we go to bed and I don't accept no for an answer. Sometimes, after a whole day of being pawed at by the kids, I just want you to touch me in a way which reminds me I am an attractive woman.

I'm sorry that some days you are stressed and I can't understand because I feel happy and relaxed. Sometimes it is a huge success that I've made it through the day with a good nap for the Little One and no tantrums for the Big One.

I'm sorry that some days you come home happy and looking forward to seeing us and I am moody and fed up. Sometimes I have prayed for bedtime since 11am and the day has been tough.

I'm sorry that some days I am unpredictable. That you don't know whether to hug me or leave me alone. Sometimes I don't know what I want either. Usually though a gin and tonic will do ;)

I'm sorry that some days I am entirely predictable. That I'm already in my pyjamas by 4pm and that the kids are having popcorn chicken for dinner again. Sometimes I am too tired to be anything but routine.

I'm sorry that this must all make me such hard work. But there is one thing that is constant and unwavering no matter how I am behaving:

I always love you and I always appreciate you.

Even if my show of appreciation is shutting myself in the bathroom reading Game of Thrones with a cup of tea.

Proudly linking up with
Pink Pear Bear
The Pramshed
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Rhyming with Wine

My Kids Have Made Me A Badass

When I was younger (like, four or five) I was definitely, what my mother would call, 'a little madam'. I was assertive, I spoke my mind and stood my ground and I wasn't bothered if no-one wanted to play with me; I was happy in my own company.

And then I went to secondary school. And suddenly I had to have the right shoes, the right bag, the right version of the uniform and I had to listen to the right music. 

And I stopped speaking my mind. I stopped standing my ground and I let people throw yoghurt at me on the school bus because I didn't dare assert myself against the 'cool' kids. In short, I cared too much about what other people thought of me to remind them that I was awesome.

And then I grew boobs and ceramic hair straighteners became a thing and I wasn't such a geeky, frizzy-haired teen with dental braces anymore.  

So I became a bit more assertive and I stood my ground a little bit more.
But this new-found confidence was still only based on what was on the outside. And it annoyed me that my inside was the same as it had always been. It was just that now the braces were off and the hair was sleek, it was deemed more acceptable for me to stick up for myself.

And then I got pregnant.

And I got fat (90% pregnancy, 10% crisps). I didn't have my appearance to make me feel super confident. I couldn't drink wine (sob). All I had was me. Me and my insides and the amazing job they were doing of growing a human being.

And then I had kids.

And suddenly nothing mattered quite as much as these little humans I had grown and produced. And that made me prouder and more assertive than anything else in the world. At first, it was just regarding my parenting. I am only accountable to my kids for the way I parent and they still seem to be alive, thriving and happy so I think I'm quite bloody successful on that count. It doesn't matter if a stranger on the internet thinks I'm wrong for giving up breastfeeding at two months or if the woman in the supermarket thinks I should have co-slept until my kids were three years old. 

Now I KNOW and I TRUST my intuition and my instincts.

And this means that sometimes I tell other kids off at soft play for pushing my child over. It means I don't explain my parenting choices to anyone anymore. It means I stick up for myself when someone suggests I indulge my children.

It means that this assertiveness and 'I don't give a shit' attitude has permeated all other areas of my life. It means I send cold food back in a restaurant without batting an eyelid. It means I complain if the bathroom smells in a hotel room. It means I accept nothing less than perfect for me and my family. 

Because, even though we are not perfect ourselves (my 3 year old said “for F*ck's Sake” in a public swimming pool changing room last week - I don't know where he has possibly heard that.....ahem), we deserve perfect or as near as damn it.

And I'm not scared to say that anymore. Because, when I was thirteen, my worst fear might have been someone throwing yoghurt at me on a bus, but now? That has nothing on my worst fears of my children coming to harm. Even when I'm tired and they wake me up at night, or scream all day, or make me shout at my husband because we are tired and the kids are screaming. Even then, I will not tolerate anyone or anything making them feel threatened, anxious, scared or inferior.

My kids are not inferior to anyone.

And, just by being them, they have taught me the most valuable lesson in my life:

Neither I am.

Thanks kids.

Mummy is a badass again. Just like she was when she was four.

Rhyming with Wine
This Mum's Life

Liz Jones - Just Jealous?

This is a bit of a different post for me because, on the surface, it doesn't seem to be about parenting.

But actually, it sort of is.

Because it's about how I believe women shouldn't tear each other down. About how people shouldn't tear each other down. And that's an attitude I really want to instil in my children.

Yesterday, I saw Liz Jones' comments in the Mail on Sunday about Kate Middleton's Vogue shoot. And I was annoyed. Even a bit angry.

She has ripped, not really Vogue, not really the photographer, not really the setting but Kate herself apart.

And as a woman who wholeheartedly believes that women should lift other women up, not bring them down, this doesn't sit well with me. At all.

Don't get me wrong; I completely believe it's ok to dislike people. But I think it's a pre-requisite that you have actually met them, spoken to them, watched them do things with your own eyes before you make the judgement to be downright rude and disrespectful about them. (Obviously you might not have met them to watch them 'do things with your own eyes' but you have might have seen them on, say, 'Celebrity' Big Brother. Luckily for Kate Middleton I don't think that's something she ever needs to concern herself with.)

Liz Jones first tears apart the outfit. Apparently Kate is "wearing a far-too-wintry suede Burberry trench we've seen everywhere, a white shirt, also by Burberry, that will never cause retail sites to crash, and a hat, of the sort Camilla might wear to muck out."

Well the tagline under 'Vogue's 100 years' actually says 'Celebrating the faces and fashions of  a century.' So, actually the fact that we've seen the Burberry trench everywhere is then fitting if we're celebrating a century of fashion: Vogue doesn't want us to see new fashions. They want us to rejoice in the existing ones. And, by mentioning Burberry twice in one sentence, Liz Jones has linked Kate Middleton to their brand pretty emphatically, a fact I imagine Burberry are not exactly crying about. Especially if you read the article on the Daily Mail website where it gives you a nicely situated little link to the £4495 suede coat so you can 'Buy now'.

Next, Liz Jones compares this shoot to Diana. If I had £1 every time someone compared me to my mother-in-law I'd have.......nothing. And I'd be blooming happy about that. Not because my mother-in-law is not an inspiration to me (she is astoundingly strong, warm and selfless) but because I am a completely different person who happens to have someone (my husband, her son) in common. Just because Kate shares similarities with Princess Diana (beauty, charity work) it does not mean she has to replicate her every move. I think they both appeared on the cover of Vogue for different reasons, despite Liz Jones deciding that there can only be one reason to appear on the cover of Vogue: "you want to become an icon and have your ego massaged." Newsflash Liz: I think Kate is already considered an icon. And it doesn't mean that, because you may disagree with her 'look' on the cover, you should bash her ego instead.

Then Liz moans about the countryside setting saying "this is a woman whose natural habitat was once the Kings Road, and the inside of Reiss!" True Ms Jones. However, ten years ago my natural habitat was the student union eating a Pot Noodle and drinking Lambrini. I am not the same person I was then. Another newsflash: people change. Kate has grown up. She married a Prince and has become a mother twice over. Maybe now, instead of sauntering down the Kings Road, she actually enjoys walks with her family in the countryside.

But then? Then Liz Jones gets personal. She says that "it's hard to blame Vogue", as she "can't imagine Kate was easy to handle." Er, why not? According to Liz, Kate vetoed Mario Testino for being "too Hollywood" though the article doesn't make it clear as to whether this is Liz's impression of Testino or Kate's. If it's Liz's then it's ironic as earlier in the article when she's busy bashing the countryside, she claims that "we were waiting for something red carpet", which is pretty synonymous with Hollywood these days. Liz is also happy that Kate vetoed Demarchelier "(too airbrushed)" and comments that she is glad we can see Kate's wrinkles on one of the pictures.

Liz Jones says that Kate would have "called the shots" when it came to wardrobe, "not wanting to expose too much skin, fearing she would look too thin." Really? Does Liz know this for sure or is she making assumptions? Because maybe, just maybe, Kate doesn't want to come across as overly sexy and a "dishevelled slut" (Jones uses this phrase to describe the transformation Josh Olins - the photographer - managed to create for Emma Watson last year). I'm pretty sure that; a) Emma Watson has fewer parameters on her public image than a member of the Royal Family; b) Josh Olins does not just specialise in photographing 'dishevelled sluts' and actually prefers to have a more versatile portfolio; and c) Kate Middleton, as a Princess but more importantly a mother, does not want pictures of herself looking like a dishevelled slut splattered across the internet for her Grandmother-in-Law (The Queen) and her dear children to see.

So why did Liz Jones write this? Is it because she loves to be controversial and wanted to get people talking about her? (Mission accomplished here Liz.)

Or is it that she really does believe all of this? In which case, where does it stem from? Ignorance? Fashion snobbery? Jealousy?

I tend to think all three. I genuinely would like to believe that Liz Jones is not really this unkind. I think she should be able to voice her opinions and if she thinks the Vogue shoot is a bit dated then she's entitled to say so. But not in such a disrespectful, catty manner.

Perhaps she is jealous that Kate seems to be happily married. Or that she has two beautiful children. Or that she is beautiful. Or that she is admired across the world. Or that she always conducts herself in public with such poise and dignity. I suppose we'll never really know.

Ms Jones writes that the whole shoot "is not aspirational". But the irony of the whole thing is that Liz has kinda hit the nail on the head when she says that "Kate looks beautiful, and happy."

Happy. If that is not something to aspire to, then what is?

Click for source
*Update* - interestingly there is another article on the MailOnline today by Karen Kay which says mostly the opposite of what Liz Jones says. Is the Daily Mail sitting on the fence?!