Hama Bead Hell: When creative play goes bad….very bad indeed….

Once upon a time there were two children: Big Sister and Little Brother. And they were so excited when they were given this…

box hama

Their eyes lit up with delight and expectation as they excitedly drank in the sight of  thousands of brightly coloured beads –  “10,000” beads to be precise according to the boasty label on the side of the box.

They swirled their hands around the contents and ran their fingers over the hoards of little plastic goodies in shades of candy pink, lime green, banana yellow and alluring turquoise.

They planned what they were going to create. Would they make a dolphin like the one on the box? Or perhaps Big Sister could create a princess or a beautiful butterfly? Yes, a butterfly that she could stick on her bedroom door. That’s what she was going to do.

Soon they were hunched over their plastic mats inserting the beads carefully onto the little raised mounds. The minutes ticked by and turned into hours and still the two children carried on with their designs, their lips chewed in concentration, their brows furrowed as they agonised over their bead selection.


Before they knew it, it was bed time. “Come on you two”, their mum called, “Teeth and pyjamas.” (She was too tired to use proper sentences and was eagerly anticipating a glass of Clear Springs Sauvignon Blanc and an episode of First Dates). “You can finish these in the morning.”

The next day the children couldn’t wait to put the finishing touches to their grand designs. Big Sister’s was a sight to behold: an intricate design of rainbows and swirls while Little Brother’s was a simpler affair –  an orange robot with a scowly face, but, “That’s OK”, reassured Big Sister, “It’s actually quite good for a five-year-old”.

With the designs complete, the time had come for Mum to work the magic and run a hot iron over the beautiful creations so that the beads would melt magically together to form a solid masterpiece.


“Wow” exclaimed Mum, as she lifted Big Sister’s design, “This is beautiful.  You’ve done an amazing job”.

However …..disaster was about to strike!

Mum was a bad Mum and had not read the instructions properly. As she went to lift the beautiful design she had a momentary lapse of concentration.

Bad Mum was unaware just how easily the tiny beads could fall from their mat, and as she casually picked the plastic square from the table, she held it at a slight angle causing the beads to pour like a torrent of candy coloured hailstones to the floor.

“NOOOOOO”, Big Sister screamed. Her shrieks were so piercing and wild that Bad Mum recoiled in alarm and skidded on some of the scattered beads swirling in a hazardous fashion around the kitchen floorboards.

Bad Mum’s arm went flying sideways and her hand hit the hot iron where her thumb starting sizzling and the aroma of frying flesh peppered the air . “For F***k’s Sake!!!”, Bad Mum howled in fury proving that she was not only a Bad Mum who didn’t read instructions but a Bad Mum who swore infront of her children.

Tears of pain started welling up in Bad Mum’s eyes, exaggerated sobs of rage spewed forth from Big Sister who had recently started doing a Saturday drama class and was keen to show off her thespian skills, and soon Little Brother, who was shocked by all the howling, and shouts of “I HATE YOU” spewing from Big Sister, was crying too.

It was a very sad scene. The three people in the kitchen were all crying at once. Oh dear. What a to do.

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Luckily after some considerable time, during which Bad Mum had managed to hold her throbbing red thumb under the kitchen tap, dish out Penguins to appease her furious charges and allowed Big Sister and Little Brother to watch something mindless to do with Minecraft and a man called Stampy on TV, things got back to normal.

By teatime everyone was managing to speak to eachother. “Ok” said Mum who had slowly rebuilt her resolve and bead-confidence during the break in proceedings, “Let’s have a go at ironing this one” she smiled picking up Little Brother’s orange robot design with the care and attention of a hungover heart-surgeon surgeon poised with a scalpel.

The three people gathered around the ironing board. Bad Mum carefully placed the provided paper as instructed over the design and began gently circulating the iron in small circular motions over the paper.


There were excited noises coming from Little Brother, “Look they’re melting” he said as three pairs of curious and expectant eyes watched the robot start to take solid shape.

However, would you believe it? Yet more disaster was to strike. No! How could it be so?

Bad Mum had once again failed to read the instructions properly because some things never change.  Bad Mum held the iron down for too long and seconds later the plastic board was melting and starting to curve banana- like towards the sky.

The robot had become a deformed and slightly sinister looking blob melded to the plastic and Bad Mum’s newish and pricey iron had sticky black marks on it that looked dangerously permanent. “Jesus Christ!”, hissed Bad Mum under her breath, although probably not quite “under” enough. “I’ve had it with these f***ing things.”

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Little Brother was furious to see his masterpiece reduced to a piece of stamped on multi-coloured chewing gum and began pummelling his small fists on Bad Mum’s legs while a stunned Big Sister remained incredulous that the woman standing before them, this utterly moronic and incompetent lady also known as, “Mum”, had wrecked not one, but TWO Hama Bead creations in the space of few hours. The word idiot didn’t cover it.

Meanwhile a cursing Bad Mum was angrily ruing the day she had struck up a conversation with • Arty Mum Jo in the school playground and been convinced to purchase this plastic, nightmare-inducing “Creative Fun” from Argos. Everyone was sad and angry again and didn’t want to speak to eachother.

Bad Mum furiously bundled up the Hama Bead box and tossed it into the back of the “art” drawer upstairs to occupy a place next to the dried out Pritt-sticks, stiff-haired paint-brushes and bits of useless felt that no-one had any intention of ever using. This demonstrated serious restraint on Bad Mum’s part because what she actually wanted to do was hurl the offending creative play beads straight into the bin amid the rotting potato peelings and decomposing courgettes.

The weeks passed and Big Sister, Little Brother and Bad Mum never spoke of the Hama Beads again. The Hama Beads were dead to them. And then….


… one sunny morning, months later, Cheery Dad who had been spared the full Hama Horror Tale Of Woe, (on account of Bad Mum emerging from the sorry saga in a bad light), announced he’d been rooting around on Amazon for a birthday gift for Big Sister and Little Brother’s cousin called Poppy who lived in America.

“What did you buy her”, Bad Mum enquired casually while battling to detach some fish fingers that had frozen together to form a fish fist. “I got her these”, said Cheery Dad motioning to the colourful image on his laptop screen.

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“Oh.” said Bad Mum….”Oh dear”…… THE END.

• Arty Mum Jo (aka Dotty Cuckoo) creates beautiful things you can buy and is a million times more competent with beads than Bad Mum (aka me).  Have a peek at her lovely creations from colourful necklaces and pretty frames to original home decor here www.dottycuckoo.com


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writer, editor specialising in TV
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