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Issue:- 03/04 February 2009


DIRTY clothes dumped next to the washing basket and toothpaste left in the sink are the top bug-bears for mums.  A new survey of 3,000 mums unveils the top 50 irritations they have to contend with on a daily basis.  And over-flowing bins, wee on the toilet seat, skid marks in the toilet and tissues left in pockets in the wash all drive British mothers bonkers.

Other bug-bears to make the top 10 list include leaving empty toilet roll holders, leaving the toilet seat up, empty cartons and boxes in the back of the cupboard or fridge and leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor.  Indeed, 8 out of 10 mums say they never realised they did so much for their families, and 79% admit they mutter their way through the days complaining about everything they have to do.

Kathryn Crawford, spokesman for,  who conducted the poll said:- “These irritations might seem small and insignificant to other people, but when mums find themselves doing absolutely everything for their families, the endless list of tasks soon starts to grate.  Mums already have enough to do without cleaning up after dad and the children.  It would make life so much easier, and the housework would get done so much faster, if other family members chipped in and tidied up after themselves.  The fact of the matter is that many mums in the UK are taken completely for granted, and because of this they find themselves ‘mothering’ everyone who lives in the house, including dad!”

The survey shows that 36% of mums can’t stand picking up the phone to find out they are on the end of an automated phone call.  33% hate to see crumbs in the butter, and the same percentage often find themselves tripping over shoes which have been left in the hallway.  And lazy blokes also get the blame for leaving a room and not turning off the lights, leaving curtains closed when they’re the last out of bed, and pubes in the bath.

Dads are also accused of shaving their hair or beards over the sink and then leaving it there, dumping muddy shoes outside the back door and failing to wake up in the middle of the night when the kids start crying.  And children are also at fault – as mums hold them responsible for storing dirty cups and mugs in their bedroom, and leaving toys scattered all over the floor.

Other bug-bears endured by mum daily include narrow shopping aisles, finding the toothpaste has been squeezed in the middle and not the end, and lack of ‘me time’.  The top 50 list of bug–bears also includes skinny jeans as mums find they can no longer fit into them, low waist trousers as mum’s saggy tummy hangs over the top, and school paperwork.

Kathryn Crawford continued:- “This poll shows that it isn’t just household chores which annoy mums.  There is nothing more maddening than making your way to the shops with the children happily strapped into the buggy, only to find there are two steps up into the shop and the aisles are too narrow to fit round.  Similarly, shops which don’t have lifts and escalators are a nightmare for mums – who either have to leave the buggy and other personal possessions in everyone’s way while they shop upstairs, or ditch that particular shop altogether.  And talking about being out and about – why do people think it is acceptable to touch and talk to a child who they don’t even know?. Mums understandably get really upset when their child is approached by a total stranger when out shopping!”


1. Dirty clothes dumped next to the washing basket
2. Toothpaste in the sink
3. Over-flowing bins
4. Wee on the toilet seat
5. Skid marks in the toilet
6. Tissue left in pockets in the wash
7. Leaving empty toilet roll holders
8. Toilet seat left up
9. Empty cartons and boxes in the back of the cupboard or fridge
10. Leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor
11. Automated phone calls
12. Crumbs in the butter
13. Lack of time to get everything done
14. Shoes lying in the hallway
15. Teabags left on the kitchen side
16. Leaving the washing up
17. Pubes in the bath
18. Muddy shoes dumped inside the door
19. Leaving lights on when leaving a room
20. Unopened curtains
21. Leaving dirty glasses and mugs in the bedrooms
22. Overflowing washing baskets
23. Crumbs on a newly vacuumed carpet
24. Lack of ‘me time’
25. Shaving hair over the sink
26. Cut bread on the kitchen side
27. Unmade beds
28. Bunched up socks in the wash
29. Thinking about what to cook for dinner
30. Forgetting to clean down the kitchen sides
31. Narrow shopping aisles
32. Partners who never wake up when the children cry in the night
33. Chewing gum on the carpet
34. Wearing shoes in the house
35. Low waist trousers
36. Shops without lifts or escalators
37. Teabags in the sink
38. Strangers commenting on why your child is crying
39. Other mums interfering about how you raise your child
40. Heavy doors
41. Shops with steps at the font door
42. Squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle not the end
43. Narrow doorways which don’t fit pushchairs through
44. Nursery fees
45. Toys scattered over the floor
46. Putting a glass down without a coaster
47. Strangers touching and cooing over your child
48. Skinny jeans
49. Wonky rug
50. School paperwork


THE government launched National Apprenticeship Week, celebrating the commitment of North West employers to recruit apprentices and urging people to look at the benefits to their skills and career of becoming an apprentice.

New research commissioned through the National Apprenticeship Service and the British Chambers of Commerce shows that over half North West businesses plan to recruit this year, while 67% of businesses who currently or have recently employed apprentices said they made a positive contribution during the recession.

The good news for young people considering Apprenticeships is that drive and enthusiasm is the trait most prized by North West employers (91%) while having someone they can train to fill business needs is also sought after (73%).

Major UK employers are expecting to hire thousands of apprentices in 2010 and the government is encouraging smaller businesses in the North West to take on an apprentice with 750 of the new Apprentice Grant for Employers (AGE), which offers a Ł2,500 grant for each unemployed 16 or 17 year old apprentice taken on by the end of March.

Business Minister Pat McFadden said:- “For so many businesses to be planning to recruit in 2010 is good news for the whole economy. It shows employers increasingly recognise the benefits they get from hiring apprentices. Undertaking an Apprenticeship is a great way of learning a trade and gaining vocational experience. In 1997 Apprenticeships had dwindled as a route for people to gain new skills, today we have 239,900 starting Apprenticeships and businesses of all sizes are reaping the rewards of having a highly skilled workforce.  Skills will be crucial to a strong economic recovery and I urge employers across the country to take the chance apprentices give them to boost their competitiveness, innovation and growth this year.”

Morrisons will be creating more than 20,000 Apprenticeships in the next year, and offers training in Bakery, Butchery and Retail Skills, at level 2 (equivalent to five good GCSEs).

The supermarket is just one major UK employer making a commitment to Apprenticeships this week. Crossrail has made a commitment to take on 400 apprentices in the next year through its contractors, and B&Q has said it aims to double its Apprenticeship intake to 300 this September.

Apprenticeships Minister Kevin Brennan said:- “In the last year we have seen a record increase in the number of people starting an Apprenticeship. The benefits are clear and this week I am urging businesses and young people alike to take a close look at what they can gain from them.  Skills will be key to the recovery of the UK economy and apprentices can be vital to businesses looking to innovate and grow.  I am proud so many businesses are hiring apprentices already. Last year 143,000 people completed an Apprenticeship, helping to give them the skills and experience they need to get on at work.”

Sue Price, Regional Director for the National Apprenticeship Service in the North West, said:- “The time is absolutely right for businesses of all sizes to take on apprentices. Our research shows that firms who take on apprentices have been in great shape to face the downturn. Last year saw a seven per cent increase in apprentices; that’s 240,000 people starting their careers with the best possible training and the determination to succeed. A key part of National Apprenticeship Week is reaching businesses who still haven’t considered recruiting apprentices and letting them know about the value they bring to businesses.”

David Frost from the British Chambers of Commerce said:- "The recession has taught us two key things: that businesses' long-term commitment to investment in their workforce really pays off, and that young people must be effectively brought into employment. Apprenticeship programmes offer both of these factors.  We would strongly advise our members, and indeed all businesses, to consider Apprenticeships as part of their recruitment strategy."

The homeless have put Liverpool in to focus

AN exhibition of winter photographs of Liverpool taken by homeless people are going on display at Sefton Park Palm House.

Around 60 images of the city taken by a dozen people aged eight to 80 who are living temporarily in hostels and family centres go on show for one day only on Friday, 5 February 2010, from 10am until 4pm.  The project – titled ‘Cold Snap’ - has been organised by the city council’s Housing Options Service, which helps place people into long term accommodation.

The group were given disposable cameras in December (2009) and were asked to take photographs that show their view of Liverpool.  One of the people who took part is 49 year old Colin Freckleton, who is based at a hostel in Aigburth. 

He took shots of Sefton Park while it was covered in snow during the recent wintry weather, and enjoyed it so much he is planning to take up a digital photography course. He said:- “I’d never taken any photographs before so this was a new experience for me. I am looking forward to seeing my shots exhibited at the Palm House and I am really pleased about it.”

Councillor Marilyn Fielding, executive member for safer stronger communities said:- “This project gives people the chance to express themselves using photography. I would urge people to go along and have a look at the thought provoking exhibition, which gives a remarkable insight into the lives of people who for a whole range of reasons find themselves homeless.”

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