Monday, 31 December 2012

And so to bed...

My plan on this here post was to bleat on about hurrah! for 2012 is over... almost and bring it on 2013 - a year that I have a good feeling about. (No idea why, nothing concrete planned - but I just do). But rather than wang on about the shite things that happened - I'm going to focus on the great things that happened and the unsung heros of this year, who without them it would have been considerably worse.

Great things/unsung heros - indulge me if you will:

1. Meeting Taylor Kitsch. Call me shallow, I care not. Also I got to tell Peter Berg how much I love FNL - and that was thrilling. Thrilling I tell you. Watching Battleship? Not so much.

2. My best mate's 40th dinner - having weathered an almighty MS attack and come back fighting she is the most courageous person I know. To celebrate the big 4 0 she took Husband and I, her parents and one other friend for dinner - and we toasted her birthday. Privately I toasted her spirit - she is a lesson in bravery to me every time I watch her walk.

3. Husband lost his job. Yes, this was a good thing - because for a time he looked after the Diva and did my role in the family, while I earned the bacon. He had a new found respect for me after that. He apologised for not being there enough in Sproglet's early years. He changed. Things between us got better. Out of a hideous time, came something learned, something pretty good.

4. Sproglet joined a footie team and scored the first goal of the season. Watching his wee face light up as he tore down the pitch - golden. Sproglette became even more of a Diva - she also discovered the joy of accessories - handbags and bracelets being her new best friends. Watching these two hug - which they do daily - makes me happy and mushy - and Motherhood, for all it's relentlessness and difficulties - feels priceless.

5. Just as Husband lost his job - a friend of mine (an old colleague) called me up and offered me 4 months work. Thereby saving us, our home, everything. M is brilliant not just for this - but because she is one of the funniest, smartest people I know and working again with her (and being her bitch once more) is a joy. Working again - whilst hard at times.... is great. Makes me feel me. So I am grateful for my job and the laughs I have there - the great belly laughs that leave you giddy. Plus we won the xmas quiz at work... surprised I didn't mention that before...

6. I threw a Halloween party - again - and we trick or treated, semi pissed in the rain. It was fantastic. I am beyond delighted that I get to celebrate Halloween every year through my kids, when in reality, I love it far more than them. All that tat, the spooky decorations and the sweetie booty - what is not to love people?

7. Watching The Dark Night Rises.  I was blown away by the film - and the fact I actually got to the movies - a treat Husband and I miss. If I made resolutions - and I can't really be arsed - it would be to go to the movies more in 2013. Sproglette sat through Madagascar 3 (and if you aint seen it yet - you be missing out I tell you) so there is hope that she will join the rest of us as movie addicts...

8. Olympics, Queen's diamond jubilee - all those medals, all that excitement - all that shared pride. If it didn't get you excited - you don't have a heart.

9. Took Sproglet to an open air theatre showing 'The Twits.' It was all terribly British - sitting on picnic blankets, sipping wine as it poured. But it was also brilliant. The more I drank, the more the Twits made complete sense to me. Husband looked perplexed - having never read the book he hadn't a fecking clue what was going on. Sproglet loved it. Best evening of the year without question.

10. My friends. All those who picked up the phone when things were tough, who worried about me to others, who cared. Who came over for takeaway and sat in PJs. Who cooked us dinner and told us things would get better. Who brought bottles of red and cheer. Who had us over for hearty meals and banter. Who had me round when the boiler died... You know who you all are.

Included in this - all you lovely readers, followers, commenters. My blog is one of the best things in my life - I genuinely love writing in it - and hearing from you all.

So wishing you all a fabulous 2013 - whatever way you are ringing in the new year. It is the year I turn 40, the year I hope will be one of the best I have ever had. Wishing you the same.

Love CM x

P.S. Thanks to my mate Gez for her new graphics on this here blog. She is a very talented photographer, designer and camera lady.


 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Fearless

Most soft play areas are to me, the seventh circle of hell. But I have managed to find one that does good coffee, has huge comfy seats and decent magazines. I almost love it. Apart from the millions of nippers running around squawking like raving banshees, it is blissful.

Today, needing to exercise the kids - I paid my 2nd visit to Big Space in Harpenden this week. I always park up filled with trepidation - will it be packed, will I get one of those lovely seats, will the kids crack heads and will we end up in Casualty before tea time?

It was reasonably quiet. We got big seats and big cups of coffee and magazines and ahhhhhh rellllaxxx. But sproglette was having none of it. She wanted company while she hurled herself around the place - throwing herself head first down slides. I watched her with quiet amazement. She is the polar opposite of her brother. He loves people - is a social animal. She is suspicious of everyone and retreats from groups. He puts others first and always shares - she (just 2) refuses to share and puts herself squarely first. Where he is laid back and chilled and easy and does as he is told - she stomps her tiny foot and refuses, argues, throws tantrums and never agrees to anything. She is a challenge for sure.

But secretly I love this. I love that she doesn't give two hoots what folk think, that she barges at life - that she takes no prisoners, that she has balls. That she throws herself head first at every situation - that she is fearless. She is a girl - she needs these qualities to get through life. I wish in many ways I could be more like her. Ram stam ahead, fearless as I once was - determined to get my way.

I hope she always is like this - with a dash of empathy thrown in. The best bit of this Xmas? Not my ridiculous new shoes (let's call them 'taxi shoes' as you need to not really walk in them, but perch on a sofa showing them off) nor my brilliant Sarah Waters book - but watching my kids play together and love each other. The little one bossing the big one into next week, and him allowing this - his sweet nature acquiescing to her every whim. I never really show many pics etc of my kids - but this video sums up my daughter.... not for her going down the big slide in her brother's arms, not for her hand holding as they do it together - nope. The fearless one does it alone.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Expectation....


It all comes down to one word: expectation. Every person has a different expectation about how Xmas will be - what will occur - as if all that effort and wrapping and peeling and choosing and shopping and roasting and wearing will all add up to produce a day of perfection.

Rarely, if ever does that happen. So the expectation level is a 10 and the reality is about... a 2. Possibly a 3 while everyone is stuffing their faces.

I felt shattered by the time we filled the car, bathed the bairns and strapped everyone in for the 3 hour drive to York. My expectations were that everyone would scoop up the kids and I would be left languish on the sofa, eating an entire box of chocs watching Gone with The Wind and lusting after Rhett Butler. Husband expected sleep. Lots of it. Relaxation and the hope of not having to speak to anyone for most of the festive period. I'm not sure what my Mum expected - something resembling one of those made for TV movies - filled with cracker popping and static smiles. My Uncle, a generous kind man who invited us all at the behest of my Aunt - but really didn't want us all rattling around his house for 5 days - muttered grumpily and watched me like a hawk - was I in the fridge again? Minding my children? Attacking the cheese board?

It started off pretty well - carols at York Minster - what could be more festive? The choir were incredible, but I froze my ass off - and they didn't do 'Silent Night' and for me, that is like a party without Rhianna tunes - what's the point? That night - in spite of the pointed looks and orders to be home before eleven lest I be the hungover CM of Xmases past - Husband and I headed out to meet my cousin and his lovely fiancee. They bought me too many old fashioneds and that mixed with mulled and red wine - made me far from sober. I reverted to my teenage trick of trying to focus intently on whoever spoke to me. MUST PRETEND TO BE SOBER. Must remember I am a parent with Santa duties to fulfil. I proceeded to lay out the Santa booty like it was Harrods' window display - in case anyone saw through my faked sobriety. Then I fell into a slumber.

Until 3am when Sproglet wondered if Santa had been.

And again at 5am. Same question.

And then at 7:15. Within 10 minutes my display was ruined and the presents all unwrapped. And so began the lengthy wait for the lunch. Where we all drink bucks fizz and feel guilty for not doing more in the kitchen but being told everything is under control when we offer. So we sit nervously sipping the fizz, wondering if we are doing the right thing - or are we not being helpful enough - while the rugrats whizz around on a sugar high wanting some gawdawful present built and making a racket. The joys of Xmas!

Eventually you eat so much you think you will never eat again, and then somehow 'fit in' dessert - both of them. Then collapse on the sofa like you've competed in some physical event - to watch whatever everyone else wants to watch - thereby missing all the programmes that you'd wanted to watch. I watched my Aunt slave in the kitchen, only to complain that she thought the sprouts were mushy and the turkey too dry (when isn't it?) and it all seemed so much incredible effort, for ten minutes of wolfing... Uncle was annoyed the crackers had been opened by all the kids - and blamed me. I simmered, knowing my cousin had allowed her kids to pull them all apart in five minutes. And that is what Xmas is really all about isn't it? Someone simmering, someone guilty, someone angry, someone resentful - while we all smile and say 'pass the cranberry.'

Then there is the gift frenzy - all 'just what I needed' and then asking later for the receipt. Never sure anyone really likes anything you got them. 11 years ago Husband, in York for our first Xmas together - it snowed as well - bought me Agent Provocateur underwear. This year? Slippers. I know. Thank god I got a Sarah Waters book and I slunk away to immerse myself in it, toblerone in my other hand - whenever I could.


That evening we played waking kids dominos - one would go down, another would cry - they would all wake - then sleep then one would wake and then cry and they all would wake and repeat all evening. I drank too much port and threw myself into the cheese board with such force that it appeared as if I hadn't eaten for weeks - let alone shoved a huge Xmas dinner down my gullet not 4 hours before. We played some games - Husband being Australian was ridiculously competitive and was pissed off not to get 'Hannibal Lecter' as the name stuck on his forehead. My Mother spent the night trying to work out who she was and was furious to discover that her character wasn't Disney -"well what else could it be??" she snarled - and she was in fact Kermit the Frog. I got some obscure cricketer so gave up even asking questions. Bah humbug indeed.

Then, after you have got through 24 hours in the house with all your family - everyone slowly hating Xmas more - you get another day of it! Hurrah!!! Boxing day. We escaped into York - we didn't know what we were going to do, but we needed to get out. In the rain. Who cares what we do - let's just stand in the rain and be happy we aren't in the house couped up any longer.

Best bit of Xmas - bar the cheese boards obvs - was driving to Newcastle to see my old school buddies and their families. 20 of us - 11 adults and 9 kids all hanging out for the day. School buddy H is a foodie and the spread she laid on was filled with stewed figs and pate, thick creamy trifles, french onion soup, honey roasted hams - all home made. It was chaos - Rugrats everywhere - mostly undressed - snatched chats about life and plans for our 40th celebrations - news of a pregnancy (congrats C!) and attempts to talk above the din. Back to York again and we escaped to the cinema - Skyfall. Now, I'm sorry - but what was that third act all about? Grown ups Home Alone?? And a nod to Hannibal himself in the second act. It was like they had sat down and said 'Bond.. right  beautiful exotic woman who is dangerous - tick. Man eaten by shark - no let's do dragon lizard thing instead - tick. Gadgets - we'll tone those down eh? New bond - great! Big opening scene - tick. Martini scene - tick. Obligatory towel shot of bond - tick. Smart quips in terribly British accent - tick. Who cares for exciting plot or twists - nope, we'll just tick all the boxes and go all Culkin instead. What a load of cobblers...

Now we are home. Delighted to be here. I don't want to look at another chocolate. I hate the very touch of wrapping paper. All that expense for tat you don't need instead of things that you do - like a mattress for Sproglet's new cabin bed... I sound all bah humbug don't I? Apologies - it just all feels like so much effort, so much expense - for nothing really.

Next year we are staying local. Out for Xmas dinner at our favourite gastropub. Limited gifts.  Maybe buying goats for Oxfam and stuff like that. Simplicity. Minimal effort, minimal stress. And a cracking cheeseboard of course.

Seasons greetings y'all.
                                           


 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Tempted by the fruits of another.....

So, remarkably - I've managed to get out a bit, this here festive season. It is a bit of a heady time - slightly removed from reality with all the cheer and bonhomie oozing from everyone. Folk are a bit giddy at the thought of being able to throw on a bit of tinsel and sing some dodgy classics - escaping the rat race to eat whole terry's oranges for breakfast. A warmth pervades the air, heavy with the smell of cheap wine and tequila shots.

In the midst of all this - someone turned my head.

Now before you start wagging your fingers at me pointing out that I am married - I am well aware I am married. I loved him so much I married the fecker twice - and we've been together 12 years next year and yes, I wear my ring - so this I know. Thank you. The thing that shocked me most was the fact someone could turn my head. You see, it don't often turn. The only other time I think it did a spin was meeting Taylor Kitsch (obvs). If your head doesn't spin meeting Tim Riggins, then frankly you don't have a pulse.

I digress. I found myself *whispers* flirting like a teenager on heat. It was all very odd. Odd and tingly. It seemed to be reciprocated as every time he could he reached out and touched my arm, my back, my hand...

This never happens to me. Why?

Well... No1. Because I never find anyone attractive. I just don't. I was single (on and off - a few minor dalliances here and there) for 6 years before I met Husband. I just never liked anyone enough to take it past the 3 months stage. Also, I never really liked anyone who liked me (but let's not get all psychoanalytical on this one). Plus, since I met Husband I kind of shut off any side of me that dipped into 'flirtatious' territory. I am utterly loyal. I don't flit from man to man to feed my ego. I'm happy with what I've got thanks.

No. 2 I can't really flirt - I don't remember if I ever even knew how to - I'm all bumbling nervous blushes and awkward sentences and sweaty palms.

No. 3 Everyone who meets me knows I am married with kids and that kind of kills any potential flirting - why would you flirt with someone who is taken? Unless of course you are a player....

Which he was. Is. Anyway - it fried my head a bit. Because in almost 12 years I've never had a connection with anyone else. Never been a party without Husband and had some guy come on to me (or at least have never been attracted back), or stolen a kiss with a colleague at an xmas do, or had a drunken one night stand on a work trip. Nothing remotely like that. I did kiss a girl once in Amersterdam who I had a major crush on (her voice sounded like syrup through gravel) and she was an amazing comedian. We're still friends to this day - and she came with her girlfriend to our wedding. Husband thinks she is hilarious. Anyway... it felt like an out of body experience - something I am not. Something alluring.

I immediately told Husband. He doesn't possess a jealous bone in his body, sadly. His response: 'the guy doesn't live with you.' Fair comment.

Now for the record - nothing happened. Seriously. A few emails. Was I tempted? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. Not because I don't love my Husband. Not because my marriage is in difficulties - not at all. But because it all felt so new and exciting - and I wasn't talking about kids and bills and lack of money and chores and who should buy the sodding christmas gifts. You get to be that interesting person again... The one who tells witty stories with fabulous punchlines about 'that time Will Smith taught me to salsa...' It is like being young again. Young and single and SOMEONE IS ATTRACTED TO ME GODDAMMIT! 

It isn't real. Maybe that is why it is so intoxicating. It made me realise how people DO have affairs. Not that I would have - not that I did. But it is just a moment. That is all it takes. A little door opens - and wham - you could so easily get addicted to the flattery, the new-ness, the attention.

But it aint me. I need to look my Husband in the eye and know I have been faithful. There is something at my very core that remains loyal and in love with the idea that we have been together all this time and are still charging through the battle of kids etc together. As I write Husband bent and kissed my neck as he passed me and I asked what the kiss was for and he said 'because you are my wife.' I have been for 8 years and I intend to go on being.

So what if I had followed through with the flirtation? Texted, arranged to meet - had clandestine moments fuelled by lust - to be followed by eternal regret and shame... To face Husband knowing I wasn't the person he loved, the person who said those vows. Everyone always says I'm an open book - it is all on the table - what you see is what you get. Maybe that's why I have no shame in writing this blog. And any fucker who says they have never been tempted by another in 12 years of a relationship - then you are made of stone. Or have no libido. One or t'other.

There was a part of me - a ridiculous part - who for a second imagined my single self. The moment you unwrap someone new - the eroticism of such an encounter. Your fingers not coated with baby poo and your hair not matted and unbrushed. Being that person again - the one with the throaty laugh and dirty jokes - who has time for brazilians and to buy fabulous underwear. To even throw on fake tan and eyeliner.... and care what you wear. Remember that girl?

For a moment I wanted to be her. To be intoxicated by another - someone unknown, unexplored, untouched.

But I realised immediately I am not built for such foolishness. I have invested too much time and love and sweat and heart into my relationship and even though it aint perfect - it is a work in progress - not something I want to tarnish or destruct.

I left the Player alone. Maybe I'm wrong to blog about this. All you finger waggers can wag. I did nothing wrong and even if I had - who are you to judge?

Marriage is hard work. It would be too easy to pursue the Player - and have some tacky tasteless moment - that is just a temporary ego boost. Worthless. To be that girl again? Funnily enough, that girl just wanted to be me. To wake up with someone who loves me unconditionally. A family to nurture and raise. A life shared in every way. I am here and it tastes a helluva lot better than any brief flirtation. But I thank the Player - because he reminded me what is important in life. Why the Players stay single long into their 30s, and why the more safe path, the one filled with nappies and chores and a lack of romance - it may not electrify with excitement -  but it sure does bring a lifetime of joy.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

PANTS!

My husband refuses to wear underwear. Is that TMI? Well I am all about the TMI. He wonders why his suits wear out earlier than they should, or that I get upset and insist on washing his jeans every time I get my hands on them. I feel this is plain wrong. For so many reasons - not least the issue of hygiene. How can he not appreciate the feeling of security that a good undergarment brings. I get how the thought of attractive underwear doesn't really do it for a man - as they can't flirt round agent provocateur slipping into pretty pieces of lace and ribbons nor be grateful to world of spanx and all the goodness support underwear can provide.

The underwear a woman chooses says a lot about her - I mean really - who enjoys wearing a thong? It is only the slave to a non VPL who will suffer this cheese wire for any length of time. Plus - I think even a Victoria's secret model with an ass pointing to the sky - still looks bad in a thong. There is just too much cheek! At the same time - granny knickers, tum huggers - unless you are over 70 - why would you? Me - well since you are asking - I like a good short. Y' know boys short kind of thing. Too much lace is itchy and those ones with your ass cut out with a big tied bow at the top - they are strictly bedroom only... I mean who needs a huge bow pushing out of the back of their skinny jeans, like you've had some sort of dreadful accident? French knickers are just too much material all wafting about - and a pant feels like something you wore at school under regulation.

Plus knickers seem to get smaller and smaller and smaller - until you are wearing a postage stamp to cover your lady garden. This means of course you have to keep that garden in check - which costs a fortune and let me tell you - bikini waxing aint a walk in the park. It is biting down hard as some over made up barbie touches you in places that your Husband hasn't visited since before the kids were born... I say stand up to the small pants and refuse to give in. Comfort is key ladies!

But what of the men? Do you go for a pair of briefs? Possibly the least attractive piece of clothing to be made apart from a surgical stocking. Or a pair of boxers - but aren't they all comedy and festive and irritating? No man outside Alaska should wear a long john - ever. Fact. Jock straps and thongs should be banned - I think even if I went to bed with Ryan Gosling (saw him on Letterman and he is just hilarious and devilishly attractive - Taylor Kitsch is now my no. 2) and he wore said thong - I would have to make my excuses and leave.

Trunks are a bit - well, clingy. Everything on show - like the time at school when the boys started developing and they stupidly continued to wear white speedos for swimming - and you were like - now that is TMI. So what does that leave? I guess a boxer brief aint that bad. Clingy but not too much and they look comfortable and cosy. Everything in one place, tucked neatly away. Anything white, or with any festive greetings on - or some sort of novelty rudolph nose - has to go. There again - men's bits are well - funny, aren't they? So I guess the whole idea of male underwear is to draw attention to this fact. Women - having more sophisticated neither regions therefore suit more sophisticated window dressing. It has been along long time since a man bought me some amazing underwear - and even longer since my bra and knickers matched. Back in my single days I think I had the time to worry about this kind of thing - now I am just grateful to find clean underwear - than be concerned with any matching...

Maybe it is time to hint to Husband that for Xmas we should buy each other underwear - he could get me something exotic and yet comfortable (try finding that holy grail matey) and I could get him some underwear - any friggin' underwear - just as long as he starts to wear it!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

No words

I want to find the words. But there are none. I am utterly at a loss with what to say. My son is 6. He will be 7 in June. He is in Cedar class with 29 other beautiful sweet kids. I cannot even begin to imagine them gone.

I keep hugging him and weeping and I just can't find the words. I can't explain how sad I feel for those families and their overwhelming loss.

I stare at the photos of the Sandy Hook Elementary school victims - those bright little faces filled with joy and all that amazing potential and life.... and I just... can't think of what to say.

So I'm going to borrow a quote my friend Mat put on Facebook:

As the the late great Bill Hicks said "There's no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone. There have been studies made and there is no connection and you'd be a fool and a Communist to make one."






PS I read this post by Serge Bielanko - and I think it expresses everything we are all feeling just beautifully. Go read. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Dear Santa.... Taylor Kitsch in baby oil would be a great start to 2013

In sprit of all things festive here are ten things on my fantasy Xmas list (it aint about the cha-ching-cha-ching or the ba-bling- ba-bling) it's about stuff that makes me feel fabulous:

Dear Santa

I have been pretty good this year. well, apart from my occasional meltdowns, my inability to flush out my potty mouth and PMT charged rants at Husband - I have been just lovely. I always remember my manners (apart from when driving) and I try to be nice to my fellow men and women (apart from when driving). I am fairly sure I am on your nice list - so keep that in mind while you gather the below to fill your large sack before jumping down my chimney.

I would like (in no particular order):

1. Taylor Kitsch semi-naked wrapped in babyoil.  And that nice loin cloth thing he wore in John Carter - the film that I think only I saw at the cinema. Well, it was Mother's Day and Sproglet had just thrown up ice cream all over the local restaurant's floor - so we went to the movies with sick bucket in hand. Did I mention Santa that I met Taylor this year? Oh yes - March 29th. I think he'd remember me out of the millions of journos that politely asked about the gigantic turkey that was Battleship that day. I can make Taylor feel better about his falling star - as I still think he is a fab actor - even with the sound turned off.

So it would help us both I think, if you could deliver him to me. just for one night. Husband has agreed to this - he is my 'free pass.'  *smiles just thinking about it*



2. Willpower. Especially where cake is concerned. To feel that it is not my duty to finish every morsel on a plate, every bottle of wine that I open, every piece of food offered at work in celebration of whatever. To start running again in spring and to continue and not just give up and turn back to slobbing on the sofa watching box sets and eating the aforementioned cake. Therefore I will lose the 10 pounds I have gained since last chrimbo. That would be swell.

3. A great pair of black ankle boots that can be worn every day, suit both jeans and dresses and also are uber comfortable and do not make me feel like I am about to fall tits first onto the floor. I have searched but the holy grail of boots defies me.

Biker boots excluded - I am talking about a heeled pair that don't make your feet ache - have lace ups, are a bit chunky, a bit rough and make your legs look thin and endless. I cannot find these babies anywhere - mind you have nay money to buy them even if I did. I do love these beauties - by Tory Burch, but they are beyond my budget and last season I think. But they are mighty fine.



4. A holiday. Make that two. Well, it is a fantasy list so I'm allowed right? One weekend in Rome (for I have never been) with Husband - where we walk cobbled streets, drink red wine, and maybe remember to have sex. Ahhh. Ohhh and I could read a book too. And take in a bit of culture. And eat ice cream and a LOT of pasta. The other holiday we'll bring the rugrats - so somewhere with white sands and clear sea and an amazing kids club that stays open 24 hours. I feel more relaxed just thinking about it....



5. Lots and lots of hot, healthy, happy, baggage-free single men to rain from the skies, for all my single mates who deserve some love in their lives. I know so many great women who are single and so few good men to set them up with. We need to address the balance here Santa. Get on it.

6. A great massage. Not some woman rubbing a bit of oil across your shoulders and telling you that it is infused with virgin roses or whatnot - nope - a right good pummelling with fingers like mini power tools, so the next day you ache. It has been many many moons since I had a good massage and Husband refuses to give them. But when you have had a good one - there is nothing better. NOTHING.

7. White Company candles. The winter one is AMAZING. And maybe some of their cashmere bedsocks, or jammies. Because as we all know, you can never have too many pairs of PJs. Fact. And what is Xmas for but sitting around in your PJs eating giant toblerones. Plus, I want my life to be like the freakin' White company - and sadly, it is not... in ANY way.



8. Seeing as it is Xmas - there is nothing better than a Christmas Hamper. Fizz, crackers, yummy cheeses and quince, chocs and truffles, jams and pates - all wrapped in a fab hamper that you can then drag out every time you have a picnic. So once a year I guess.  I won one years ago in some ballot and it cheered me up no end. Every time I head into Waitrose I want someone to buy me one, but they never do. The Duchy one (the company wot Prince Charles owns) do a fabulous one. I'm not gonna even get started on their oatcakes - but if you have never tried them - give yourself a little festive treat.

9. One of those things to take all the dead skin off your feet. Sorry, is that a bit gross Santa? You should see my heels though... tougher than a Dickensian street urchin's. I can't afford a pedi - so one of these wee gadgets would be fab. Then I could sit on the sofa watching my Breaking Bad box set, eating my toblerone and sanding my soles. Bliss.




10. More time in my day. Preferably for sleep.


Thanks Santa - and have a merry old Xmas yourself. Pies and port will be waiting for you on xmas eve (extra large glass if you manage to get me this lot).

Much love and festive cheer,

Crummy Mummy xx
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, 10 December 2012

2Day FM DJs do not deserve this witch-hunt

I can keep silent no longer. I just have to talk about the Australian DJs at Sydney's 2Day FM Michael Christian and Mel Greig, who played a prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated - with tragic consequences.

Whilst the prank was far from original and ill advised in the fact it was attempting to glean information on British Royalty - it wasn't deliberately malicious or vindictive. You only have to hear their dreadful attempts at a British accent (pretending to be the Queen for god's sake) to realise that they clearly never expected to get anywhere near the level of information that they got. When a nurse began to reveal intimate details of a patients condition - no matter who that patient is - is the moment the line should have been cut. No one should have their medical cases discussed in an open forum without their clearance. Now there is a chain of command at a radio station - this was a pre-recorded interview - so it would have (and should have) gone through several tiers of lawyers/management before it was deemed broadcastable.

At no point could anyone have foreseen what was to occur last week, when tragically Jacintha Saldanha - a mother of two - and the dedicated nurse who put through this call, took her life. The media who had gleefully reported on a hoax call that had revealed tasty information about the Duchess's condition suddenly turned. The finger of blame was pointed squarely at two people - who let's face it don't seem to have had any basic media law training on what constitutes an invasion of privacy; two people who made a stupid thoughtless call - but who would never ever want to have caused anywhere within the vicinity of pain that they have.

No one may ever know what caused the poor woman to take her own life - what pressures she was under in the wake of such exposure - but one must ask - how did her employers react to her innocent mistake in putting through the call? It wasn't Mrs Saldanha who willingly gave details on how Kate was doing - and even if it had been - was there a point where the hospital officials/bosses realised that it had all been an innocent mistake and one that wasn't worth losing sleep, reputations, careers over?  The Royals were quick to state they made no complaint; the hospital quick to blame the radio station - the radio station to state they had tried to call 5 times to check if the call could be broadcast. Even if they had called 100 times - the point is, until they got through and got clearance to use it - why did they think it was ok to broadcast what they did? 

Watching the two DJs stumble their way through interviews today - shell shocked and filled with regret - I felt sorry for them. For there isn't one of us who hasn't played some stupid prank on schoolmates, or colleagues or friends at some point in our lives - and we never gave it any further thought. Obviously this was played out across the airwaves - not some intimate little tease in a school playground - therefore it has a much more responsibility. Is the point that we never know how our actions will be interpreted and therefore we must tread forever softly, lest we offend, or damage someone irreparably? 

How ironic that the press - those who have phone hacked, or doorstepped, stalked or harrassed can sit in judgement hanging these two presenters out to dry. They may have behaved stupidly - but they will have to live with this for the rest of their lives - they don't need the weight of the press bearing down on them to remind them of the terrible consequences of their actions. Are they to blame? I say not. It was not a live show - some big wig gave that go ahead - and they made a grave mistake. But you have to ask - what was the reaction of the hospital when the spotlight was shone so brightly on them - did they feel they needed to point their own finger of blame?

Maybe we will never know. Investigations are imminent.  Michael and Mel should be left alone. They look as devastated and upset as anyone could expect. They are not demons, they are not murderers - they played a stupid joke - they didn't know the moment when the joke had gone too far. That is all.

One hopes that the deeply shocked family of Jacintha are getting all the support they need at this time. The last thing they need is to have cameras on their doorstep, during a time they need compassion and privacy. May I suggest that the press allow the Sydney DJs the same courtesy...

Friday, 7 December 2012

The way we roll

Husband and I have a relationship that on occasion makes the War of the Roses look tame. Folk wonder why we stay hitched and sometimes - so do I. But he has nice eyes and is a good kisser, so you know, I stick around.

The other morning perfectly illustrates our relationship:

It was frostier than Jack Frost's nose on Thursday morning. I was running late as it was Sproglette's 2nd b'day and we had done the cake and all those kind of shenanigans to wish her a happy 2nd. We eat cake for breakfast on birthdays - is the rule. So I was dashing around all wet hair and lists and stress and remember to take the salmon out of the freezer, and pay Sproglet's dinner money etc and glancing out the window I saw my car was an icicle.

My de-icer spray is broken - so is more of a spill than spray, and with hair still dripping and a make-up less face (a sight no neighbour should have to endure),  I begged Husband to shuffle outside and de-ice the car. He refused.

I begged a bit, did the usual 'I'll remember that next time you ask me to pick up the dry cleaning... or make you tea or iron.... (then I remembered I don't actually iron - ever) blah blah' and still he refused. So I stormed out the door, into the Arctic air and strode across to my black car.

It was so icy that the door wouldn't open. I tried several times to beep the keys open and shut - but it wasn't doing. De-icer was IN the car. Damn! So I strode back in the house, cursed Husband again and grabbed a kettle (boiled about half an hour ago).

I marched back across the road, cold seeping into my very bones, and tipped the hot water over the windows and watched the ice steam away. Just as I poured the last drop, I saw through the almost clear windscreen and noticed the Audi circles on the steering wheel.

I don't own an Audi sadly. It wasn't my car. My car was a few feet away - black too - and still covered in a thick layer ice.

Fuming - steam coming out my own ice pop ears - I stomped back inside cursing Husband ever more - he thought it was hilarious. Then I opened car, sprinkled de-icer and about 15 mins later my car had thawed but my temper hadn't. As I gathered all the bags and blanket of Sproglette's and scripts for work, and moaned that I would be late - if only he'd bothered to help me with my de-icing hell, an unholy stench enveloped my nostrils and I heard Husband groan. Hurrah! Sproglette had filled her nappy and stunk to high heaven.

Karma! So as he cursed and used fifty million wipes to wade through the mess, I revelled in her perfect timing. Well done my girl! If only he'd offered to de-ice the car eh?

I gloated the whole way to the nursery.

And that is the way we roll at my house - happy when the other is up to their eyes in crap.


 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Tis the season to get the Tree and all the trimmings...

And so... as it becomes ever more frosty outside, inside the great freeze of last week has departed. Husband has thawed and by Friday night we were drinking wine and chatting. He is best left on his own - like a frustrated tantrumming toddler really - let him get out all the ARRGGGHHH ness and then he kind of collapses onto the floor, out of fire and angst.

He is even joining me in my festive cheer. Or rather he has agreed that this weekend - will be our 'festive' one, Which is sadly not us hosting some uber glam party where everyone floats around in a blurred state, eating can-apes and basking in the glow of a million fairy lights - a la Nigella's xmas soirees on screen. Nope, it means writing a gazillion cards until your fingers bleed, queuing until next xmas to see a grumpy man in a white beard and a red suit (we could do that at home, minus the beard) and fighting a tree through our small hall, without getting stabbed by hundreds of tiny pine needles. Hurrah!

The card bit doesn't thrill me - finding all those addresses and having to search for stamps and all that joy! Happy New years! And do I even know you any more? But my favourite bit - is decorating the tree. My Mum always, always had a real tree and for me, it aint Christmas unless you have the scent of pine wafting through the house, and those freakin' little splinter needles sticking in your socks and finding their way into every nook and cranny of your house.

Folk used to say that fake trees look real anyway - but they never used to - green tinsel on a plastic spine does not make you think of Nordic pines... However, now they do. They even come pre-lit! Not cheap mind you - but then, real trees aren't exactly cheap. We usually drive to this roadside wasteground that is set up in December with hundreds of trees and I make Husband walk up and down looking at every tree as he reminds me they 'all look the same' and then I pick the one I looked at first and we try to get it in the car for the next twenty minutes, while Husband curses and wonders aloud why we don't get a fake one...


Last year we visited The Wendover garden centre, primarily to visit Santa's grotto. We queued until I had almost lost the will to live and then were bundled into a portacabin style room to meet the big man in red - who was very patient and chatty and infinitely better than the humourless Santa we met Xmas '09 at Harrods. (Then we queued for just as long - looking at the Wizard of Oz emerald city - what is Xmassy about that you ask - me too... and when we tried to give Santa my son's dummies - he baiscally told us he had a script to get through and he didn't have time for such conversation. Through gritted teeth I told him to take the bloody dummies... and then he got all narky when we tried to take our own photos. Best bit was by the time Husband, my cousin and his lovely girlfriend, Sproglet and I all got in the photo - Santa was left perching on the edge. Where he belonged in my view...).

Anyway, it had the BEST grotto - all stuffed animals and reindeers making odd sounds that scared Sproglette (she refused to walk through it at all) and jolly elves ho ho hoping you'll have a merry xmas. If you leave there not feeling Xmassy you don't have a pulse.

Once the tree is home - and Husband has grudgingly got the decs out of the attic and I'm surrounded by all things silver, I'll put on the Xmas CD, nust out the mulled wine and light a few candles. Elf - the best Xmas film of all time (bar Its a Wonderful Life obvs.) is on this Sunday - so that is the festive movie sorted. By the time Buddy has saved Christmas, I'll be more festive than flippin' egg nogg!

 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Tis the season to be jolly.. falalalalalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaa

In the supermarket queue the other day I found myself saying to the poor cash register girl that "Xmas is a pain in the arse, I could do without it - it seems to spring up on you. One minute it's Halloween and the next, it's friggin' gawdawful tinsel everywhere... and all the stress...'

But fast forward one day - and I have done a complete U turn. It is like Marley in his clanking chains visited me for one night showing me all the ghosts in my closet... Forget the bah humbug - I am now ho ho hoping for a great chrimbo and loving everything to do with it. Why the change in tune?

 

Firstly, I offered to face paint at Sproglet's Xmas fair - and to my surprise I flippin' LOVED it. After one whole evening's practise - under the tutelage of a woman who was AMAZING with her brushes (a flick of her wrist and coil! A dolphin! Or a dragon!) and I was more nervous than on my wedding day. I wasn't quite as good as her and I dreaded the tears when my paint job looked less princess sparkle unicorn and more transvestite horse... Dealing with lots of nervous snotty kids refusing to stay still, with pushy parents standing over me watching every stroke, commenting as I worked - not my idea of a good time. Now, even though I only painted two Santas, and no snowmen (my best work I think) and about a zillion bloody unicorns (I just kept shoving glitter on - if in doubt glitter it up I say) - I had a ball. The kids looked over the moon and although my hands got sweaty and the paint got clogged and things smudged, it was just a joy to do.

 

Then we went for lunch at a local gastro pub and I saw mulled wine one the menu... Is there anything better? Simply no. As I dragged Sproglet to get his locks chopped I chanced upon a wreath stall - and before you can say 'they saw you coming' I'd bought a wreath decorated with orange pieces, cinnamon sticks in pretty tied bundles, and twinkly lights. It also hides the smashed glass in our front door - (I slammed it too hard after a row with Husband and it is 1930s glass - you can't get it anywhere these days...) which is a total bonus.

Everywhere I look, there are festivities happening - party invites, trees laden with lights and more adverts than anyone should watch in a lifetime. BUT - I've decided to embrace it and all it's tacky glory.  Sproglet is over the moon about getting a tree, writing his letter to Santa and all that jazz. Even Sproglette (who rarely deigns to smile about anything) breaks into huge grins at the mention of the man in the red suit.

So rather than moan about Xmas card writing and bleat on about the cost and commercialism - for once I am gonna get totally into the spirit. I'm exited about gettin' the tree and ordering everything on line, and everyone being that bit more jolly until Januray hits us with its barren bleakness. I've bought a cheap gold dress on ebay and I'm getting ready for all things festive. Don't like it - well begone humbug! Only 23 more sleeps  whoop!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

So whatcha drinking?

Last week my good friend Gez swung by for a visit. In fact Gez - gawd bless her -  is the reason I'm able to bash away on this laptop and y'all can have a squizz. Because Gez set up this here blog for me. In fact she is gonna do some new groovy graphics for me - when I get round to reminding her and she has time and all that jazz. Technically I'm a little challenged. Ok, more than a little challenged - but one of these days my facebook (crummymummywhodrinks - go befriend me!) and my twitter and all will all link in here. Until then, I'm muddling along.

Anyway, she brought me the best gift I have had all year (apart from sleep). She brought vodka, lychee juice and a tin of lychees. Oh yes siree - all I needed to whizz myself up a little lychee martini - my fav drink of all. (It is at he top of this blog no less). If I was really pedantic I would have run on out to buy that lychee liquor that you need to give the extra kick - but I am a tired harassed mother who is on the verge of marital breakdown - so I have no time for such luxuries.

Talking of marital woes (for we are back in Feb '09 times, and we all remember how badly that went - if not take a peek here. Now Husband can do feck all DIY. He never thinks to wash a sheet, or towel, a floor or a bath - but he can fix some AMAZING drinks. His old fashioneds are to die for. I normally do feel like I have died the day after drinking 6 of them... Which got me thinking about your fav drinks - and if you only drink them when you're out in something strappy, flirting up a storm with the pre-pubscant barman only to realise 3rd drink in, that you could have actually birthed him. (Happened to me the other year - he called me a MILF - praise be to god, and I told him he looked like Rob Lowe - he replied 'who is Rob Lowe?' Unbelievable).

So I looked up some great old cocktail recipes to share with y'all - especially if you are having some festive fun this weather and egg nog just doesn't cut it. (Never did). Who needs to go out when it is -12, in some dinky dress and hot itchy coat, and heels that simply won't make it through the winter frost without them breaking, or them causing you to have a breakage. My tip - stay in now until spring, when going out again is actually bearable and doesn't involve wearing comedy headwear and 20 scarves.

So let's start with the drink I always asked for when I used to go on dates - as it isn't some namby pamby girlie sunrise malarkey - this screams 'I am ragingly cool, I can drink men under the table.' Mind you, I often ended up under the table and I never got asked for date no 2 - but who cares. This drink rocks: The Old Fashioned. If it is good enough for Don Draper eh?


As  mentioned above - you just cannot go wrong with a martini. If you like the taste of alcohol - then having a straight martini with a twist is uber brilliant - be be warned - two and you're smashed. Basically you put 1 1/2 oz vodka and 3/4 oz dry vermouth in a shaker filled 3/4 with ice. Shake for almost a minute - work off those calories! Then strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with an olive or a twist of lemon - and serve. Lethal. As an aside, there is this amazing little hotel in London called Dukes - where the loveliest bar manager in the world works. His name is Alessandro - and I kid ye not - he made me the best martinis of my life. They bring out a trolley with a frozen glass, then spray in the vermouth and do the whole jazz in front of you. It is pure theatre and utterly delicious. The last time I went I met a poet from Canadian and we are still friends to this day - it's that kind of place.

Anyway, back to drinking.

So if you like your martinis a tad more fruity - and fellas, there is no shame in that - then may I suggest CM's fav - the lychee martini.



Just don't forget that it is also potent. It tastes like you are drinking fruit juice, but more than 3 and you might not remember your name.

So now that we're getting fruity - can I suggest some more exotic drinks? The pickleback sounds... interesting.  When I lived in New Zealand many years ago, I learnt a LOT about drinking from by good friend Hans - affectionately known as Satan. He used to by me shooters for baracuding someone he pointed out (which is biting them on the ass...). Never one to pass up a free drink I duly did as I was told - until a massive famous Kiwi rugby player nearly punched me for sinking my gnashers into his tight butt. Hans was a legendary barman - and he taught me how to make all kinds of shots - usually something nasty with Baileys on top, and Shakers: shakers being a cocktail shaker filled with loads of shots of alcohol and couple of shots of fruit juice to make it palatable. They all had names like 'liquid XTC' and 'Illusion' and 'Dynamite.' Whilst we lived there my best friend woke up the day after drinking with Satan, in bed with a man and woman (fully clothed thank god), missing a shoe, with a black eye and a rose in her hair. True story. So I guess the moral is - the more exotic the drink - the more lethal the hangover.

So drink sensibly (it is never cool to be the drunkest person at the family Boxing Day party - which I was last year after, you've guessed it - Husband's fruity drinkable martinis!); have water and headache tablets by your bed and neck them before you fall into a stupor. Wear comfy shoes; when weeing in the street - make sure you don't do it behind a parked car (as the time I did, the car moved off mid wee) and if in doubt - have another.

Let the festivities begin!
 

Friday, 23 November 2012

A cross on our door

My daughter looks like she has the plague.



It is a nasty case of impetigo... Picked up somehow at nursery, after her dribble rash became infected. Nice. Cream wasn't gonna cut it - seeing as it had spread to her ear. And now to her knee. So she is on antibiotics, 4 times a day - which she refuses to take. Have you tried pinning down a toddler and forcing medicine into them as they kick, spit, writhe and hiss like an alley cat? It aint a picnic I can tell you. She isn't eating - a big old tooth is cutting, so she winces every time she tries to swallow a baked bean - and she has a rotten cold. So our house at the mo - one big joy fest! Plus she is uber clingy - wanting to shove her slobbery poxy (but cute) face into mine.

No really November - you are spoiling me! Sproglet meanwhile is having 'scary dreams' every night and I either wake to hear him trundle in our room, or wake to find him snuggled next to me - wriggling like a worm, giving me not a moment's peace. And people have 3 kids???? Why?

At least I have made a breakthrough with non-communicative-only-emailing-grumpy-man I was dealing with. All it took was a rambling voicemail from me - because you see readers, email is the devil. We read emails and we can't deduce tone or empathy in an email - so we read into things what we will - often things that do not exist. The lovely warm human voice is much better. I am an infinitely better talker than typer. Even if I do wang on a bit. But it isn't his fault - nope, it is that old planet in retrograde I am sure.

This month more than any other I've had miscommunication, lack of response, people saying they'll help only to retract, things breaking, cards declining - the whole shebang. 5 days people - 5 DAYS and then the world will be right again! I am hanging for it I tell you. I am hoping that Dec is my best ever - because at the moment the Xmas spirit hasn't entered our house - and it wouldn't - not with a red cross on the bloody door.

At least tomorrow I'm going to have more needles in me than a pincushion as I am off to acupunture for the first time in over a year and a half. Plus I'm metting a good friend in Lahhdaaaan town - to eat fries and bitch about November and what a cock it has been.

But I must away to cream some pox (those plastic gloves for applying fake tan have really come in handy) and entertain a grumpy almost 2 year old for the day. Joy!

 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I need COMFORT

So this week I have discovered three things that may change my life:

1. Quilted toilet paper is really an underrated pleasure. I will never go back to any other type again. It really is the little things in life, eh?
2. Egyptian cotton sheets are FUCKING incredible - even from cheap Dunelm. With a new duvet cover and new pillow cases - OMG - it is like crawling back into your Mother's womb. They are all so soft.
Yes, there is a theme of the week here - and it is comfort. I bought a new duvet (had our last one since we married and ironically like our marriage - it has had it's day) and it too is 'supersoft' even though it is incased in a cover. Who cares, it had me at 'soft.'
3. When I am tired, I weep more than Gwyneth Paltrow with an Oscar in her fist.

The reason I know this, is after a pretty crappy Friday, and wine oblivion to help this crappy Friday end quicker - plus a teething child waking through the night and an early start - coupled with no heating/hot water, rain thundering down and grumpy kids equalled me in the street, sobbing, kicking a door - unable to get in to my best mate's house for a much needed shower. She had given me keys (before you think I was attempting my first break in) but they didn't work... and the code to her spare key box thing worked - but only produced one key - and she had double bolted her door. So I looked A. Mad and B. Like something out of a bad soap opera extracting revenge on my Husband's Ho in front of two stunned children.

Sproglet had to rub my back and say 'breathe Mummy, breathe.' At that point I realised something else: my life is currently not working. I am being a crappy Mother. Who sobs in the car in front of their kids? Who kicks a door in frustration because they can't wash their neither regions for day?

Something is not working. Nope it aint.

Something has to give. Husband and I are back in 2009 - playing the old 'who is the most tired?' row... and the 'who did the most today? Me! No Me!' game. We are tired and grumpy and stressed and when we get two minutes alone all we do is talk chores and what we should have done:
"Why can't you wash out bottles?"
"Are you ever going to put the Halloween decorations in the loft?"
"Did you get loo roll?"
"Your turn to deal with Sproglette's teething nappy..."
"Un un. Is yours. I dealt with her crapping in the bath yesterday."
"When are we having sex again?"
"When you stop nagging."
"When you wash."

Etc. So I am going to make some changes. Because I feel pretty ground down. I even looked at horoscopes. Yep - I was THAT desperate. And it turns out something is in retrograde that is pretty major and that means that all forms of communications are fucked until Nov 29th. So in 8 days - it all gets much rosier; finally people will start replying and talking and not being at cross purposes. Because trust me - I have had such communication issues with someone at the mo - that it is practically like we are speaking different languages. In fact that is easier - at least that would be speaking.

Maybe in 8 days Husband and I will have an actual conversation rather than a row. Perhaps folk will return my texts, calls, emails. Perhaps I will know what changes to make, to not be this crazzzeee door kicking person. Until then I'm all about the comfort. Trust me. Invest in that loo paper and those sheets.

You're welcome.

 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Shopping + Children = insanity never to be repeated

Last week I learnt an important lesson - never ever take a toddler clothes shopping, even if there is a gun is held to your head.

To be honest, I'm not a big shopping fan at the best of times - all that choice and then the hassle to find your size and the raging optimism that the 'fitted' frock will somehow make you two sizes smaller, just because it is black... only to discover with bitter disappointment, that you have in fact developed back fat - and its giving you two extra boobs you never knew you had. Miserable experience. Don't get me started on the lighting, the sweaty cubicles, the glares from the queue waiting as you pop out to get another size... blah blah...

Even shoe shopping no longer thrills me: I shove a trotter into some stilts that I wobble precariously across the store in, knowing it would only take three vodkas or a cobbled pavement and I'd be over on my ankle before you could holler 'mutton dressed as....' Plus, my life is spent running between kids, surfaces and dishes to wipe - so let's not pretend I would ever have an occasion to wear 'party' shoes.

So I get why my daughter was lying sprawled across the floor in ZARA kids - wearing a hat for an eight year old - refusing to take it off and howling like she was on fire. I shuffled off leaving my poor Mother to try and persuade Sproglette to get up, while all around other parents either tutted or gave sympathetic looks. I joined in, 'who does that child belong to?' as I hid amongst all the pretty dresses and funky coats. I'd never been in ZARA kids before (even though I'm a big fan of ZARA for myself) but I am a covert. The kids clothes are amazing - to the point that I wish they did them in my size. Not that I'd be rocking a tulle skirt - well not on the school run anyway. Anyway, Sproglette was having none of it - no matter how pretty or sparkly or fluffy an item was - she squirmed, wriggled and eventually caterpillared away from my Mother's grip - refusing to try on any garment apart from one silver shoe. I grabbed a few clothes and we beat a hasty retreat.

Previously I'd pretty much got most of the kids' clothes in GAP or a supermarket. Kids wear out clothes so quickly that I don't really see the point in spending a fortune on them - but I make an exception for a decent coat - that they'll wear day/day out for as many winters as I can get out it. With that in mind, and the horror of that day's shopping jaunt fresh in my mind I darted about online and found these guys. There is a parka there even Liam G would have loved back in his hayday before he went all country gent. Turns out they have a shop in north London - that I won't be venturing to until my daughter can drive us there and behave herself - but it looks gorgeous. White and bright and filled with things that you buy for your kids and secretly want for yourself. The kind of stuff that career mothers know about and you never do, because you're busy and hassled and usually grabbing some t-shirts of Sainsburies shelves thinking 'that'll do...' While I'm on the subject of shelves -  they also do the nicest bookshelves I've ever seen for any room, let alone a kids' one.

I also found this place - which opened in West Hampstead in London, annoyingly after I moved out of the area... the kind of shop where you wish you could tell everyone to buy you gifts from when you are up the duff, but you can't really be that rude. But if you have a mate getting ready to sprog, or like me has a toddler they don't like leaving the house with at the best of times, then you could do worse than swing by here and grab them something cool.

The moral of my tale, is that the internet was invented for a reason - so that Mothers don't have to stalk clothes aisles, stripping their children in the middle of Marks and Spencer angrily whispering 'no one is looking, just try them on,' or stuffing miserable toddlers with sweets just so they'll fight their way into a jumper or two... So grab a glass of vino, your credit card and a comfy chair and get shopping - and honestly, it is almost a pleasurable experience.





 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

No, I haven't had a sex change, but thanks for asking.

The great thing about Facebook and all those friends of old, god bless them, is that when you least expect it - your past comes back to haunt you.

So you wake up, flick on over to your Home page and voila! The horror. The horror. It's your mate's 40th and some old chum from school has put up a photo of you aged 13/14 (?) to celebrate.  Long before boys discovered you, (wonder why...) or you discovered make up. And a good haircut. A colleague genuinely asked me this week, upon seeing this photo - if I had in fact had a sex change. I am the girl, yes girl, who looks like a boy - at the front.



Saturday, 10 November 2012

Who's that girl?

Recently I was looking through a box of old photos... you know how you pop up to the attic/down to the basement to get something, pull out an old box overflowing with junk and before you know it, five days have past as you wonder what you were thinking dating XYZ and wearing florescent yellow/shoulder pads/red ginger spice hair/anything white on your lower half? There is a reason that the 80s shouldn't have a comeback...

The thing that struck me most (wasn't that having veneers was the best thing that I ever did, dear god, how did I ever get an onscreen job back in the day with teeth that pointed towards my left ear?) was that I used to be fun. With a capital F.

There I am in New Zealand, sweating in a dive bar in a fake leopard print fur skirt (??); climbing on to a bar in Hong Kong in a cocktail dress, dancing up a storm at a wedding here and there in dubious outfits, swimming in the sea in the Maldives, hugging friend after friend after friend (some I remember, some I am not sure I ever knew their name...), cartwheeling, hair stuck to my head, grin from ear to ear, not a care in the world... Everything feels so easy and carefree back in those days - 20s... early 30s.

Now, well now, I'm a world away from that girl - in every way possible. Gone is that genuine smile and 'I'm up for it' stance. Instead I'm ready to erupt at any given moment - always just on the edge... just one slip away from exploding. I just have so much on my freakin' mind, I feel overwhelmed. I write endless lists, yet all the time I am a headless chicken, chasing my tail - forgetting everything... I permanently feel like I've forgotten something - a child? My keys? My mind? I feel exhausted - am desperate to get some acupuncture needles spiking me - but never get the time. If I'm not at work, I'm working at home - washing/feeding/dressing/clearing up after 2 kids - and then collapsing in a heap on the sofa, hoping to raise the energy to climb the 12 stairs to bed.

I miss that girl. I miss being her so much. I just don't have the energy to be her anymore. Or the time. I don't even get the time  to pee alone (unless at work) let alone, do something worthwhile. I'm aware that my career has plateaued and I have been in the same job since 2008 and really, really, it is time to try and spread my wings - but the same issues remain - what to do that allows me home for bath time - that means I don't spend my life commuting and never seeing my kids. I mean one kid is such a diva, sometimes NOT seeing her is not bad thing (I climb into my car after dropping her at nursery and grip the wheel like my life depended on - just exhaling, that I have got through a morning at home - on to the next part of my day.

I never get a moment to myself - to THINK, to plot the next move - to pluck my eyebrows (sporting a monobrow Noel Gallagher would even recoil from at present) or to clear out the veg drawer in the fridge. Not that veg clearing is how I want to be spending my time. I'd like to watch a film; read a paper; catch up on Breaking Bad box set a writer friend gave me... Pick my blackheads... you know - just the stuff we all do when we get a moment. but I never do. Maybe if I had a different job - then I would have the time - but how can I find that - I don't have the TIME.

You'll tell me that it won't be like this forever - you know the endless work, the no money, no personal space, no time to cut my toenails... I know it won't. BUT it feels like it is forever. Now.

I wish I was that girl. I want her glowing skin and tipsy squiffy smile, her zest for life and hope that it will reward. Instead of the grumpy, frumpy, washed out simmering angry permanently PMT'd woman that I have become. I want a moment for me. So just maybe, for one second I can feel like she is still there - not that far away after all....

Monday, 5 November 2012

The one with.... The Giveaway.

Who didn't love Friends? It may not be the coolest comedy to subscribe to (no Curb, or The Office) - but it had heart. The Ross and Rachel love story spanned ten series - for that alone I salute the writers. Working in drama - I forever come across moments that remind me of a story from a Friends ep; through sheer osmosis I think we all picked up little inflections from the show... who hasn't has a Chandler-ism sprout forth in a moment of pure sarcasm? Really? I mean - Really???

Anyway - I have a giveaway! Again - I am not being paid for this post - and I won't be offering any old tat on this here blog - but Friends has a special place in my heart - so why not? All you have to do to win a limited Edition Friends prize package containing two oversized cappuccino mugs and a picture frame just like the one on Monica’s door ...

Is answer this in the comments below by Nov 28th:

What was the name of Ross and Rachel's daughter? Was it:

A. Emily
B. Emma
C. Rachel





Thursday, 1 November 2012

The rules of Trick or Treating....



Last night I strode around my neighbourhood, swilling wine in the pissing rain and chewing sweets that practically stuck my jaws together (some would say no bad thing) and yet somehow ended up having a good time. It could only be one thing: Hallowe'en.

Every year I throw a Halloween bash for Sproglet - loading the kids with sugar and the adults with wine before we trawl the neighbourhood, eyes peeled for a glowing pumpkin - the sign that folk want to play the game. The kids immediately scatter like cockroaches in the dark and in between screeching their names and hollering 'Happy Halloween' we barely have a voice left at the end of the night. But the upside is the kids have enough candy to do them until next Halloween, we've bumped into every neighbour we always want to avoid and secretly felt smug that our kids' costume was better than their tat (you call that scary?) and we feel we've been amazing parents, even though our lips resemble the dead due to the copious amount of red wine we've necked.

Now, I believe there are staunch, unbreakable rules when it comes to trick or treating and they are as follows:

1. You must dress up. By that I mean costume, make up, the whole shebang and not some flimsy 99p plastic mask that you wear with your usual daytime attire. That simply won't cut it. Why should you get sweetie booty for just sticking on some sweaty mask when your mate has made a complete twat of himself covered in bog roll that trips him up every third step and is less 'mummy' and more Blue Peter experiment gone wrong?



2. Women over 30 give up on the whole dressing like sluts and it's acceptable malarky. It isn't. Just because you stick in a pair of fangs and some freaky red eyeliner does not give you the right to hoist your sagging cleavage into some sexy devil costume with a leotard option that gives you a pronounced camel toe all evening. Mutton is still Mutton - even if it is Halloween. If you want a lesson on acceptable Halloween costumes - look to La Moss, who was an AMAZING Morticia Addams last night. Or if in doubt don a witches hat, a comedy nose and those plastic fingers that never stay on. Brilliant.

3. If you are treaters - you MUST treat. As in - if you are begging in the doorways of all your neighbours - then by rights, you need to have your pumpkin out and proud and your basket of goodies ready for the million knocks on your door. Tis only fair. Only the tightest folk pound the streets gaining enough candy to rival Wonka, leaving their house in darkness or hiding behind the sofa when they get home, refusing to give out any goodies. A neighbour called at my door last night and I noted she had no pumpkin outside her home. Nothing screams tightwad more than a lack of pumpkin. Bah humbug.


4. The minute you run out of booty - bring in the pumpkin. Trailing up steps, knocking and waiting (in the rain) to be rewarded with 'sorry, we ran out' isn't good enough. At least pretend to be out like the rest of the street does...

5. Mothers - there is only one way to get over begging in the pissing rain - and that is to drink through it. Nappy bags were invented to also hold bottles, of the alcoholic kind - so allow Mummy's little helper to make an appearance - it's dark, no fecker will see anyway.



6. By 8:30 no one with any sense wants to see kids at their door ever again. The curfew on treating should be this time - when all kids turn into bats or the like. So get out, get your goodies and get home. Just in time for the parents to scrub off the white paste make up that refuses to budge and to put you to bed so they can start scoffing the rewards you reaped as you will be knackered after all that treating.

7. I have yet to be asked for, or see anyone do a trick. Maybe we should expect more from our treaters?  Anyone asking for raw cash should be booed down the street - or the door hastily shut. It aint charity week, it's all about the sugar. Anyone over 12 shouldn't be treating unless to accompany a brood of squawking kids - it is tragic otherwise. Like haven't you got fags to smoke round the back of the garage or something?

8. By the next day - all signs of your cheap decorations and rotting stinky pumpkins should have magically disappeared. It's November the 1st and annoying folk are going to start pointing out that it is X many days to Xmas and will begin buying their advent calendars. Freaks. Before Halloween all decorations look suitably spooky and funky - but the minute the witching hours are over - they look like the tragic plastic flimsy Asda tat that they are. Get rid.



The ultimate joy of Halloween is that unlike any other holiday (Xmas, Easter etc) there is no pressure to join in. If you're in - get your pumpkins out for the kids. If not, turn off all lights, hide at the back of the house and refuse to answer your bell or phone. Easy. Not unlike how my Husband behaves on a daily basis really...

                                                                        Boo!

All photos on this post are by the very talented Louis Quail - contact him
www.louisdebenham.com or check his work out on facebook - he is uber talented!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Time for a change

So I'm a thinkin' of makin' some changes around these parts. You know shake it up a little. My little ole blog has been the same for 4 years and I fancy a bit of a change. Nothing radical - and certainly not a change of direction or my writing or any of that stuff - nope, just a bit of jazzing the place up a bit.

I have a good friend who has offered to help - so I'm clicking all around me to see what colours I like and why I like some blogs rather than others. Deep down I wanna keep it simple. My writing, a subscribe button, and a twitter link and I'm done. But... I have one thing in mind. Laugh if you will - but I have always wanted to be an agony aunt. NOT that I think my advice is the be all and end all - but years ago, I mean years - when I was about 9 years old, I was obsessed with a magazine called Jackie, and it's Cathy and Claire problem page. Every week when I got the mag, before I even looked to see if my Adam and the Ants poster was the centrefold - I checked the problem page and the fabulous answers. I used to pretend that I was Cathy - or Claire - and I would make up all kind of problems and then helpfully solve them.

I could do this for hours. I think a whole winter passed and I was still advising myself on my made up problem of what to do 'when your best friend copies everything you wear.' I yearned to do it for real. I've volunteered as a Samaritan, where you definitely DON'T give advice, and I've trained as a Life Coach where you absolutely do - and somewhere in between is the place I am comfortable with. You are never in someone's shoes, so you can't judge or advise totally - but you can support and suggest.

So I'm thinking of adding a problem page - for anyone to write on if they need advice. Maybe open it open comment wise... more a community of advice really. I won't be making money on it - just to let you know. Is just something I want to do. Be there you know, if anyone needs to share/chat/vent/wallow/explore how they feel etc. Friends always suggested I went into counselling and the like - I know so many dark secrets and moments from folk who needed to share - and although I have an enormous capacity to chat and rarely stop talking - I have kept all those secrets to myself - as trust in friendship is paramount. I guess it is also in some way giving back - it's all anonymous - and there is a comfort in that. Easier maybe to share with someone who you won't bump into at the fruit counter in the local store - or who will gossip with glee about your troubles to the neighbourhood. There are times I wish I'd kept this blog entirely secret to all those who know me in the flesh - as it sometimes odd to picture folk I know reading this. Part of me has held back on occasion - thinking 'but they know my husband' or the like. I usually reason that I don't care what folk think - by writing it and publishing it I am 'owning' it (without coming across all Ricky Lake speak) and therefore there is nothing someone can say or do that will affect me - as I put it out there.

Anyway - hopefully my good buddy (who is a designer and a mighty fine one at that) will be adding some colour - maybe a new martini picture or the like. Just a freshen up. When he does I think I'll set up the CM problem page and see how it goes. I don't assume that I'll be able to solve your woes - but I'm an ear, I'm a shoulder and I'm certain that a problem shared is a a problem halved.

Apart from that - I'm gearing up spooky style for Halloween (fave holiday!) and Sproglet is beyond excited about my his party on Wed. I'm excited about me and some fun Mothers drinking our way around the trick or treating, just getting in the spirit. Geddit? Nevermind. I've got a few new plans on the horizon after some meetings on Friday (hurrah - meetings in Soho - was like a part of my old pre marriage life... something I did every week and now do... er... never). So as the leaves fall and the heating is cranked up, as I give up pretending I will ever for a run again in this wintery weather and I settle into my cocoon on the sofa, I'll be tinkering and fiddling and making this here blog a prettier place. Stick around and see. 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

DVD giveaway - Hurrah!

So my lovely readers - I have a Halloween treat for you (and I swear on my kids' lives that I am not getting a penny for this post)! I was offered the chance to give something away - and as it is the work of the fabulous Tim Burton - I said yes. Anything to do with movies and I'm on it, like a dog on it's dinner...

I met Mr Burton once (when I say met, I mean I star bothered him at my local cinema and then my Husband dragged me away before Tim and his crazy hair ran for the hills). I've always been a fan of his work - if you haven't seen BIG FISH - go and rent/hire/steal - as it is a work of beautiful whimsy. I love Sleepy Hollow and Mars Attacks - and my son is obsessed with Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor. Plus he tends to use Johnny Depp in most of his films, in many weird guises - what's not to love?  Anyway, his latest movie is Dark Shadows - which I have yet to see...is it any good?

If you would like to get your mitts on a Blu-Ray Triple Play copy of the movie - answer me this question:

Who is the lead actor in Dark Shadows? Is it:

A. Johnny Lee Miller
B. Johnny Come Lately
C. Johnny Depp

Answer below in the comments section and I'll pick one at random (by getting a workmate to call out a random number) on October 28th!

Mwahahahahahahahahah..... Good luck!





Sunday, 21 October 2012

Alice, Barbour and lots of wishing

In the good old days, Husband used to have vouchers for Selfridges that he had been given by a vodka company (as a thank you for stocking their product in the bar he ran) - and he used to generously give them to me. So, once in a very blue moon, he would mind the sprogs and I would head into the Big Smoke and ohhh and ahhh in one of my favourite shops.

The only problem is that £250 doesn't go very far in a shop where folk like Will Young talk about dropping 5K in a matter of minutes; but still, there is much joy in grabbing item and after item and trying them all on. That's how I roll in clothes shops - I run around, grab as much as I like and then do one enormous try on session - unlike Husband who has no idea how to shop - and queues for an hour with one shirt and then says 'I needed a bigger size' after leaving the fitting room.... We no longer shop together - after the time on my 30th birthday that we had a row on Selfridges escalators and he went all the way home to discover I had the keys... and he didn't have a mobile phone. Fun times.

Anyway, last winter I was wandering around being sprayed with new fragrances, and then I headed up to the jeans department. I just don't get spending £300 + on a pair on jeans.. no matter how amazing they make your butt look. So I headed back down the escalator and arrived at the Barbour section. I'd always liked the look of the 'country walks on a wintery day' coats so I proceeded to try a couple on. A mother and her daughter were shopping near me and the mum liked the coat I was trying on so much on me - she lifted one and made her daughter try it on. Then we got into a discussion and her daughter preferred one with a hood - whereas I liked the Barbour International Biker jacket. It turned into a group shopping experience that usually happens when I am in the fitting rooms. If I see another woman try on something and loook amazing I always tell her. You can't trust a sales assistnat to be honest - they are always pushing you to buy - but you can trust a fellow shopper - so I frequently as other women if the item I have on screams 'mutton' or 'everything is too big in that.'

So that rainy day, I used the rest of my vouchers, bought the barbour coat and have never looked back. I've had more compliments in that coat than any other item I've ever bought. I'd a private fear that it was a bit Berkhamsted yummy mummy look (as I want to remove myself from that bracket even though that is where I live and yes, I am a mummy) but with a bit of baby snot on the shoulder and pockets stuffed with keys and tissues and toys - the coat is a bit more crummymummy look instead and I'm happy with that.

So imagine my joy when advertiser folk asked me to mention this! Alice Temperley, a fabulous slightly eccentric British designer who dresses the stars : from K-Middleton, to Florence Welsh, J-Lo, Katy Perry etc - joined forces with Barbour to produce The Barbour Gold collection. My favourite piece has to be the Gold label leather biker one - which is just stunning:


Pieces like this (which I know are expensive) are timeless keepers - you can wear this again in 10 years time - so think of it as an investment. If something is great quality you can have it for years. I own one item by Vivienne Westwood - a black pencil skirt bought in 2000 - and 12 years on I am still wearing it - to weddings, funerals, meetings, etc. It hasn't dated and still fits like a glove. So - sometimes, if is a classic piece - I genuinely think it is worth the splurge.

I've always liked Alice Temperley - ever since I saw a photo of her shop:



Her label has run for ten years - and in 2010 Alice by Temperley was launched; a contemporary sister line. I think the whole idea was to have a less expensive, more wearable range of clothes - as pretty frocks are all well and good - but you can't do the weekly shop in them. My fav item in this lot?

This mini black caberet dress. I think it's the pockets that do it for me. Sadly, I don't have any vouchers left, nor am I likely to afford some new threads for a long while - but if I could buy this dress - I would. I'd be hoiking it out of my wardrobe for the next ten years - to dress up for a party, or wear with leggings for a lunch with my mates. So check out the range - maybe write a nice begging letter to Santa. Failing that, there's overdraft, credit cards, or lottery tickets. I'm maxed out on all 3.