Life

Marie Louise McConville: Pink for girls and blue for boys - what's the problem with that?

Marie Louise is a traditionalist who dresses her daughter in pink and son in blue and she refuses to apologise for it

The world has really gone PC mad.

It's not a word I ever thought I would use to describe myself but yes, I'm a traditionalist - and I'm not ashamed to wear that label (if I'm allowed these days).

I've never been one to ram an opinion down someone's throat but now it seems it's ok for others to do that to me. Well, it's not.

I'm a firm believer in each to their own - their own views, way of life, beliefs - but now it seems the politically correct brigade have gone completely bonkers with high street chain John Lewis jumping on the bandwagon too.

The department store announced recently that it will no longer be labelling children's clothes `boys' or `girls' but rather `boys and girls' and `girls and boys'.

Revealing its plans to introduce gender neutral clothing for children, the chain said it was making the change in a bid to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes, adding that they wanted to give customers greater variety and choice.

And while the move has been welcomed by gender campaign groups, others have threatened to boycott the chain - and I'm not surprised because I think it's all a load of rubbish.

Of course, while John Lewis feels it is being open and all-welcoming by reaching out to a very vocal minority, at the same time, the store is making traditionalists like myself feel ostracised.

What is so wrong with good old traditional boys and girls clothes?

What's the problem with pink for girls and blue for boys?

When I had Abbie, I had a little pink hair band in her hair the morning after she was born.

I've dressed her in various shades of pink and purple since the day she was born and I adore putting brightly coloured pink, white, purple and lemon bows, sprinkled with glitter, in her hair.

I did receive a gift for Abbie which was a little blue-coloured dress however it only lasted a matter of minutes before it was disposed of and recycled to the charity shop. It just didn't work.

And I'm exactly the same with James, who wears varying shades of blue as well as navy and green on a daily basis. Even when he takes a nap, he is wrapped in a baby blue blanket and I love it.

Abbie's room is pink, pink, pink with pictures of ballerinas, princesses and castles adorning the walls and her collection of toys includes numerous dolls, prams, princess castles, unicorns, tea trolleys, tea sets and a kitchen to keep her entertained.

James's room is blue with planets and stars on the walls as well as pictures of various animated vehicles, including a fire truck, digger and train. His pals include Thomas The Tank Engine, dinosaurs and robots.

When the pair eat at home, they each have their own plates, Abbie's are pink and James's are blue.

When I'm buying toys for them, I do so based on their gender so Abbie gets dolls and prams and kitchens and Barbies and James gets light-up JCBs, tool benches, garages and cars.

So what's the problem? And, don't bother telling me I'm doing some form of stereotypical damage to the kids, because that's ridiculous.

Of course, when they play, they usually end up playing with each other's toys so James is often seen pushing Abbie's little toy pram and Abbie can be seen playing with the little Toot-Toot cars - that doesn't bother me at all.

But I think this move by John Lewis has done nothing more that give a greater platform to a minority, who like all of us, are entitled to their own opinion.

At the same time, I should not be feeling that my beliefs are wrong as a result.

I have a little girl who loves dress-up and a little boy who loves building things and climbing.

So, John Lewis, you can keep your dresses with toy soldiers on - I'll be sticking with pink for girls and blue for boys.

As a traditionalist, that's my choice for my children and I won't apologise for it

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Competition

If you’re feeling downcast and still longing for the sun and summer, how about a `fascinating thriller' that is `too good to miss' to keep you entertained?

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon tells the story of Robin and Sarah, who weren’t the closest of twins.

Despite not even being similar, they loved each other dearly - until a cruel domestic twist saw them taken from each other.

Now, in her early thirties, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends the days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time, she watches - watches the street, the houses, the neighbours.

Until one day she sees something she shouldn’t.

Sarah got what she wanted, the good looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home.

But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all.

She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago.

And, to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin.

I have five copies of Don’t Close Your Eyes to give away to five lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is Tuesday, September 19, 2017

(Q) Who wrote Don’t Close Your Eyes?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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What's Hot?

New Music - Sam Smith has finally released some new music and while I've never been a fan, I think `Too Good At Goodbyes' is a nice easy-listening track. Check it out.

Festive Fun - The SSE Arena has announced it is to stage `The Spectacular Aladdin' pantomime this festive season. The show, which will run from December 14-27, will star country music star, Jake Carter, actress Nadia Forde and actress Nuala McKeever. Tickets are available online at www.ssearenabelfast.com

More Telly - Soap fans are rejoicing after learning that Coronation Street is to start broadcasting six times a week this autumn. From September 20, fans will get double helpings of the cobbles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Fab news.

So Not!

Return - Emmerdale actor John Middleton, who played vicar Ashley Thomas, has teased a return to the Dales as Ashley's secret twin brother, Luke. Despite a number of references, Ashley’s brother Luke has never appeared in the soap. I'm not sure about this. Sounds a bit daft.

Recovering - Popular former Corrie star, Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth, is recovering in hospital from a lung condition. The 78-year-old was rushed to hospital last week.

Awful TV - Has anyone else seen the trailers for new up-and-coming ITV2 show, BROMANS? Does anyone else agree with me that it looks absolutely awful. Apparently, it's a new Love Island-style show. Count me out. Enough reality.

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Competition

The winners of the Vita Liberata competition are Roisin Quinn, from Co Tyrone, Laura Trainor, from Co Derry, and Eimear Corry, from Co Derry

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Easy Peasy Recipe

This week’s Easy Peasy Recipe is Almond and Pear Tart

You will need:

Pastry

170g plain flour

85g butter

30g caster sugar

1 egg

Filling

2 eggs

100g caster sugar

3 pears, peeled and halved

100g ground almonds

30g melted butter

50g plain flour

1/4 tspn baking powder

To Make:

In a bowl, mix the butter and flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and egg and mix together so it forms a dough.

Roll out the pastry and then place in a flan tin.

To make the filling, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Fold in the ground almonds, butter, flour and baking powder.

Pour some of the almond mixture into the pastry tin and place some of the halved pears on top.

Pour the rest of the almond mixture over the top.

Bake at 180 C/Gas 4 for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Marie Louise McConville,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2GE

or

m.mcconville@irishnews.com

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