Friday, 30 March 2012

The day CM met Taylor Kitsch. Oh yes.

So yesterday I headed in to central London, to the fancy schmancy Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where I drank red bull and sat for almost two hours in a press suite, waiting for The Battleship interviews to commence. With director (god) and Creator of FNL (fav show) Peter Berg, Brooklyn (Sports Illustrated model and Mrs Andy Roddick) Decker and Mr Taylor Kitsch.

It was such a bind, obviously. It was part one of The Plan. I met Mr Berg first and kind of fell in love with his chat. He was super smart, seemed a tad tired/jet lagged/all talked out, but was fun, and the kind of guy you want to sink ten beers with. At one point he high fived me for my FNL knowledge, and said 'she knows her stuff.' I was desperately trying to impress him, with my Irish charm and thirst for info. I got a whole ohhhh five minutes or so with him - they kept telling me to wrap it up and I kept asking 'just another' question.

Then I met Mr Kitsch. Now at this point I want to to tell you he was wildly disappointing, or not as hot in the flesh, but that would be lying. He was funny, oh so incredibly sexy, and charming. I love him. If he had asked me to throw away my wedding ring and run into the sunset with him - I would have been gone in a shot. With him, and no ring. Rather than tell you all the ins and outs - I am hoping to get a copy of the interview and post it up here, so you can watch me try not to dribble, and banter for all I was worth with the hottest man on the planet TM. I didn't mention the 'C' word (as in Carter) but we did talk FNL, Battleship, Berg and also about his new house in Austin, Texas. As I left I offered to get all my buddies to come to the house warming and he said 'bring it, for sure.' But then he didn't actually ask for my email/number/vital statistics. Damn. I then said 'I really want to say 'Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, but is that tragic?' And he said 'No, you go for it - but I'm not finishing it!' I did say that I loved Kyle Chandler and was glad he got an Emmy and he said that Chandler was a close friend of his. I said the writers on FNL were great and he said 'The actors were pretty great too.' He was soooo likable.

So, let me try and get this up at some stage, if my dear mate Baz can edit it so it looks ok. I am probably 'gushing' through it, but hey.

Yesterday was amazing. No doubt. Husband had to go to the fucking Clip Clop class with Sproglette; I got to wander in London in the sunshine and feel like me again. I laughed with all the journo boys as I was no 10 in the queue to do my interviews, I got to flex the old brain again and I met Kitsch. Oh and I left my phone on the train but a nice guy handed it in and the conductress called my Mum and somehow, I got it back 2 hours later.

All in all, a damn fine day.

Friday, 16 March 2012


Sometimes Motherhood threatens to overwhelm me. Drag me under, down beneath it's relentless waves that crash over me time and again, until I am broken, no longer trying to tread water, no longer gasping for air. Just sinking under, down and down, waiting for silence. The peace that only comes at 8pm at night, when the house is finally still.

This whole game doesn't come naturally to me at all. When I was 9 months pregnant with my son I was still presenting live tv, still meeting friends in air conditioned bars (as a heat wave engulfed London and my ankles swoll to the size of hams), still popping into the centre of London on the packed tube, still hitting the movies, still singing to my own tune. Then I became a mother and my god it was a shock. I hadn't really considered that for the rest of my days, I would come second. That Husband and I would pretty much never be alone together. That the movies would have to wait, and the sunday papers and the meet ups in bars. That every minute of every day I would be responsible for someone else. I genuinely never really thought about - because if you did, no one would ever have kids.

I was so crushingly lonely that the TV became my closest friend. I dreamed of escape - of Husband having a regular job. I had a child minder then - 3 afternoons a week, and still I struggled. I missed who I was.... My local Italian no longer was the place for lock ins - when I'd fall from the bar stool after one shot too many - now it was the place where the sunny Italian waitress would hold our son so we could shovel some pasta in our gullets before holding him once more on a Sunday lunchtime. The fabulous Hampstead Heath was no longer a place to laze and sunbathe, to power walk and gossip - it was for getting the baby to sleep in his buggy. The tube no longer my quick book read, or a sneaky people watch - it was the nightmare - for a buggy up and down a million steps and escalators, the hell as the baby cried and the commuters failed to hide their annoyance - a place to be avoided at all costs. The world became smaller. My flat became the world.

Then I went back to work. I felt like me again. I felt guilty and stressed and always on edge, but it was the price I paid to feel ME again. I loved being a script editor at the soap I worked on - even though I was over worked, underpaid, forever stuck on the M25 going home, and always juggling the needs of my son against the needs of the job. My marriage slid - but then when he got weekends off it kind of balanced out again. Just in time for me to leave the job (because I had to - gawd bless the BBC and their reluctance to make anyone staff any more) and get pregnant again.

This time I knew what was coming. I wanted two, I really did - but I was afraid. Afraid to lose ME again. It would be inevitable. Especially with no job to return to - and no solution to getting a job. (That would involve nannies and basically working to pay a nanny and a huge commute to London etc etc). There seemed no solution. Suddenly, I was trapped again. The world became my village/market town. It became my world. The Mothers and the happy clappy groups and the coffees and the stroll by the canal and the baby cinema screenings.... A world of endless motherhood. Dressing and packing schoolbags, and gym kits, and reading books, and homework and Kumon work, and cooking and laundry and laundry and laundry, and folding laundry and bath times and press repeat over and over again.

Last September I felt low. I took the pills. The post natal depression always bites. But deep down I also knew it was the fear. How to find ME again in all of this? How to work, how to challenge oneself above cooking a great shepherd's pie for tea? I put it off - with this idea and that - maybe a book? Maybe a part time job in TV drama? (HA! because they SOOOOOOOO exist. Not.)

Now I have a plan. It is a crazee one. Possibly my craziest yet. One I can't talk about because you will track me down and call the nice people in the white coats and I will be rocking myself on a cocktail of pills before you can say 'crazy lady.' But it is my hope you know? It is my own little oasis. So I can't give it up, I can't let it go. I won't let it go.

And this week, I've been waiting - for people to come back to me - folk who can help me in my quest. Kind, kind folk who are willing to help the crazee lady. And in this waiting there is a moment when for a second, the whole plan comes into focus - so sharply and acutely that it seems impossible. The 'if you really thought about it what are the chances crazee lady?' thoughts. And in those moments, I drown. I feel like there is not a single part of me left. No one iota of hope. Because I need a plan, I need hope. I need to radically change my life and that of my family - to make us work, to make me happy, to make me ME again.

This week Sproglette has been teething, and wailing and moaning and grumping. Sproglet has been an angel and at his school teacher consultations, his teacher clasped a hand to her chest and told me 'I am so proud of him, and all he has achieved' and I thought my heart might just jump right out of my chest and land on the table between us. She called him a 'lovely boy' and talked about him jumping up two reading groups and how much he had settled and grown since Christmas. He was young in his year and has now 'come into his own.' I left that meeting walking on air - so proud of my son, and his happy little face, delighted with his own work and progress. That is the good stuff. The stuff where you feel that all the reading practice and homework and spellings when you want to be watching the news, are in fact worth it. Likewise when Sproglet and I (as he calls it) huggle every evening after reading time. Or when he loves my home made chicken schnitzels and says I am a 'better cooker than Daddy.' (Which I may add, I am not).Or when Sproglette opens her electronic book and spies the cow that jumped over the moon and says 'Moo' loudly but it sounds more like 'Mow.' Or she giggles, or lays her fluffy head on my shoulder when she is tired. There are many many moments that make it rewarding and amazing and something that you know you were lucky enough to do. Lucky enough to have these little people in your life.

It is just an eternal struggle to find oneself amongst the poo horror stories, amongst the drudgery of running a home, of raising two with a Husband who does crazy hours. To rise up out of those waves, to climb up onto a rock. To breathe, take in the view and see that once the storm passes, there is calm, and there is peace.

PS To all you lovely lovely commenters, thanks so much for taking the time to just say hello, or what you think of the blog. It is appreciated more than you know. xxx

DVF for Gap kids - Yay!

So I am seriously coveting stuff from the new Diane Von Furstenberg collection for Gapkids.

Seriously how cute are these:

Whilst I have never afforded DVF for myself - I can so see Sproglette rockin' a funky dress this summer. The Diva, I am hoping, would approve of such stylish threads. I went online to per-chase one dress (credit card at the ready) only to find NO DVF. There it was on the American site in all it's colourful snazzy glory, but not a mention on the UK site. Which was odd as all over blogs, supplements and magazines there has been a huge PR drive with 'March 15th' everywhere.

Alas no. After phoning 3 Gaps and then complaining to their head office, I was told that in the UK it would launch on the 28th. Yes, I have too much time on my hands, obviously. But I couldn't believe that Gap - such a HUGE company - had gone to all the PR effort and then in the UK my phonecalls to Gap were greeted with 'What is DVF???' And odd that their website didn't even mention it's existence. Great work Gap on the whole web/PR/shop communication link up there!

Anyway, if you are in the States - go grab. The sneakers looks especially cool. I hate prissy girlish clothes - all fru fru and thunderously pink - so this flash of bright colours zinging up a wardrobe are right up my street.

If you are in the UK save your pennies, or in my case, your credit, until the 28th. Just maybe, I'll fit into something for myself.... *sigh*

Perky Mothers....urgghhhhhhhhhhhhh

Perky friggin' Mothers - dontcha just hate 'em?

I do. They are just so damn perky with their lot that I want to run over and pull their luscious pigtails out of their heads. Let me explain what they look like: they wear no make up, or at least look like they wear no make up BUT THEY STILL LOOK INCREDIBLE. Not a hint of tiredness, no circles so deep you grow potatoes in them, no weird sun spots, no stressed out vein threads, no lips torn apart through endless chewing. Nope, they are all milky skinned with a hint of rosebud cheeks, wide eyes framed by roadsweeper eyelashes and swooshy swishy hair 'just thrown up' into a perfect pony. They are tiny. I mean tiny. All eeny weeny waist and pert bum and clean sneakers and expensive jeans and a casual stripey top (I wear a lot of stripes but I don't do this look so well) - that looks like they 'just picked up this old thing' and they still look amazing. Gwynnie is their hero. All organic cooking and my kid likes sprouts (NO ONE LIKES SPROUTS, LEAST OF ALL KIDS) and everything so clean and wholesome that their kid's nappies only contain rose scented poo.

Now every thursday I go to a happy clappy class. Yes I do. Let's call it Clip Clop. The folk who run it are theatre types, whose careers maybe haven't panned out to plan and instead of a bit part on Casualty, they are childrens' entertainers. They are savvy enough to realise there is far more gold in the happy clappy class hills than there is pretending to have a stomach ulcer and then bleeding from the eyes for one episode. Anyway, I go there with a good friend who is a nanny and she pisses herself at the looks on my face as I cope with the 'singing' and all the perky fucking mothers.

I sing like a man. I sound like cat dying slowly. A cat with a man's voice. It aint good. Mercifully the singing bit only lasts about 3 minutes - feels like 30 - and then the actor folk to their bit and sing so we may all be spared. Of course the PMs - they keep on a singing! Oh yes, they join in. Sroglette and I don't - although yesterday she let go of my hand and wandered up to the front and got amongst the singing throng. I am sure she was just looking for the end of play obligatory biscuit that they serve, but still, she has started to enjoy it, even though she walked to the door three times and pointed to leaving. Like Mother, like daughter.

The biggest PM there is all bright scarves and singalong fun. She has a daughter called Olivia who has a permanent dummy in her mouth, but the most exquisite shoe collection a child could ever want. Or indeed an adult. Head PM looks like she has it all together, with her virgin white converse and her perfect highlights and yes, I admit, these folk make me feel so inadequate - as I never ever am as scrubbed and shiny and happy clappy as they are. Whilst surviving Clip Clop though I fake perky. I march with the grand old duke of York, I hunker down and shake my rattle for the band moments and I swing Sproglette around like a sack of spuds as we 'hunt for fishes' and sing the hokey kokey. It is the longest 45 minutes of my week. A smear test goes quicker. Come to think of it I'd rather have 45 minutes with a swab swishing around than have to deal with the swishy ponytail brigade, but hey, the kid seems to dig it so I have to keep going. Let's all clap along.... 'If you're happy and you know it, shout we are.... WE ARE!!!!'

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Three small stories

Story 1 Shit happens

Oh it sure does. Literally. So yesterday we went to swimming (Sproglet has a lesson). Now I endure this weekly event, rather than enjoy it. The changing rooms smell like an old lady's pants and when you get to the drop off point by the pool, you feel like the menopause has hit early, when you sweat out every last toxin you ever ingested, long before your kid yells 'bye Mum.' Anyway, we get to the weekly hell zone and Sproglet says he needs a wee - which he always leaves to the last minute. He runs off and I get Sproglette out of the buggy and do all the obligatory sorting of bags and kit and coats and stuff and I'm thinking 'He sure is taking forever...' and I go into the men's loos and there Sproglet is - crying with his pants down. First thought - is there anyone in here? No, thank god, he is alone. Second thought - ok, so he has peed before he got to the loo, fine, we can still go swimming even thought it will look mighty odd that my kid aint wearing pants when he dries off. Then I notice a tonne of poo hanging from his bum - and he points over to an area I can't yet see. I take two steps in front and there to greet me on the floor, like a steaming brown welcome mat, is a massive turd.

He was weeing and 'it all fell out Mummy.' So I'm thinking, 'do I wipe his arse first? Or the floor?' Then I notice that in his 'clean up' mode the sink is also a fetching brown shade. Dear god, I am surrounded by poo. There is no paper in the cubicle, so I am running about trying to get loo roll and then I pick up the poo and it gets all over my hands... The sticky kind of poo that welds itself to you - determined to never leave. You could get tar off quicker. Then poo sticks to loo I am trying to disperse of it in, and I am then wiping a sink furiously, and the floor, and my hands, and my son's legs - but they are too covered so I am fighting a lost cause and then a man opens the door to let in a wailing toddler - my daughter - whom I have forgotten about in my poo hell. She walks in and stomps straight over into the remaining poo - so then poo is on her, and my hand and the swim bag and I am cleaning Sproglet and screaming and wanting to kill someone, anyone, preferably poo shaped. Just as I am realising we have to abort all attempts at going to swimming and just take Sproglet home for a bath, a man walks in and starts to get his penis out. I scream - 'hello, hello! Sorry, my son had a poo drama and I am here! I AM HERE. NO REALLY, I AM HERE.'

And he carries on pissing in a urinal. 'No worries love.'

So I drag Sproglet out, followed by a wailing Sproglette and everyone is crying except me, which is ironic as all I want to do is CRY, loudly. The folk at reception in the gym give me looks like I am crazy woman - why am I staking out the men's loos - and wondering what the fuck I am doing running around with wipes and shit on my hands??? I explain there has been a poo drama and they give me weirder looks. It only dawns on me later that they thought I had the poo drama. GIVE ME STRENGTH.

Anyway, post bath and homework and dinner I then give Sproglette her own bath. She plays and fluffs around with the foam and then she fixes me with a gaze that means business. Yes, of the no 2 sort. And for the first time ever she craps in the bath. Joy. I have to scoop tiny yellow nuggets into my hands and into the loo and I am thinking 'get me away from all this shit!!!!!!' Then, finally, she is all clean and dressed and snuggly and we come downstairs and Sproglet is eating an apple - so naturally Sproglette wants some. She eats and stuffs herself so much she toddles over to me, with an unhappy look on her face. She begins to spit apple into my hand and then she hacks, and for a split second I know what is coming - but it is too late - she vomits all over herself, me and the sofa. I have held her poo and now, I have her hot sick in my hand.

Next week is Mother's day. I want a naked Taylor Kitsch with a ten carat diamond between his teeth. Nothing less will do.

Story 2 Good Samaritan

So I had another car prang on Thursday. Yep, my car just had to make love to a steel bollard on a pavement, as I was turning in a car park and trying to get away from a man in a Merc who was stressing the fu*K out of me. He told me to go back, so I went forward, and kind of up, and around and CRUNCH. Brilliant.

So I met my friend for coffee and then showed her the spoils of my pavement mounting. She said (adopting a worried tone) 'That isn't so bad.... really.' As she said this, a car drove past and an Irish guy shouted to me 'You're Fucked love!'

Bless him.

So I said 'Don't say that! My husband will murder me...' And then he got out of his car and took a closer look. He vowed to help, and then, well he kind of adopted me for the rest of the day. We visited 2 different mechanics, who quoted £650 and £600... and then he suggested going to a farm nearby where he had heard from his wife's stepfather's Dad that I could get it done for £130. I followed him and his family out to this farm, miles away, thinking 'am I going to be kidnapped and sold into a life of slavery?' or 'is this Texas chain saw massacre happening in deepest Hertfordshire???' The farm certainly looked 'odd.' But a Hick like man with about one tooth in his head, did proclaim that my car being fixed would in fact cost '£875'!!!! Not so hick when you think about it.

We drove away. So nice Irish man Rory, suggested we go to Halfords and buy some wax/polish stuff and then he set to work, polishing my car to make it look a tad better. He did a grand job - refusing to let me help, instead I minded Sproglette and his daughter - both of whom were intent on toddling off to play with the traffic, so actually polishing a car was the easier job - and an hour later when I drove home - with a demented Sproglette who was hungry/tired/cold/grumpy - my car looked a tad dented, but not as bad as it had done, with white scratches everywhere. Bless Rory, he and his wife had taken time out of their day - over 3 hours in fact, to help me. A good Samaritan indeed. It wasn't their fault I had crashed, but they cared. A rarity. I will be sending them something as a way of saying thanks... But you know, this whole paying it forward is underrated. He helped me, just because he could. Try it, it is amazing how great it feels. Rory looked at the newly polished car as if he had birthed it himself. 'Will you luuuke ah dat!' he said in his fetching Oirish accent. My own little leprechaun - who said they don't exist?

Story 3 The Star.

So before Christmas I did a little bit of work for my old company and although funds are indeed tight, I decided to treat myself to a little xmas gift, especially as Husband and I agreed not to do them this year. I bought a little bracelet, from a Californian company called 'Dogeared.' Apparently you make a wish on the bracelet and every time you look at it you invest more in your wish... and when it breaks your wish comes true. I liked the sentiment, the embodiment of a wish. I knew exactly what I wanted - a wish that I have long harboured but rarely discussed. My bracelet was a thin turquoise string holding a little silver star, with the words 'joy' engraved on one corner. When it arrived, I said my wish, popped it on and let the universe do the rest.

Less than 6 weeks later it had fallen off. I had almost forgotten I was wearing it - so thin and tiny it was. I had a vague memory of some time in January feeling something break off my wrist and pulling up my coat to see and thinking 'but my watch is on my other wrist.' When I finally clocked that my wrist was bare because the bracelt had fallen off, I realised it could have dropped off anywhere, so there was no point in searching under the sofa, in the street, etc. I should have felt happy that my wish was on it's way to being fulfilled, but I felt a bit sad that the cute bracelet only lasted such a short time.

Yesterday, I was trying and failing, to put a new lampshade on the bare bulb that has hung from our bedroom ceiling for... oh... almost four years. Sproglette was toddling around being busy, grabbing stuff and creating her usual carnage. I heard a crash - and she had spilled out a small little box that I have, that I fill with coins so I always have a spare £1 handy if I get a chocolate craving or have to donate to some charity on the doorstep, or need a quick coffee at the Kings Arms (coffees £1 all day!!!) etc. I hunkered down to gather up all the small coins before she shoved them in her mouth and choked - and as I scooped them up - there, winking at me from the floor, was the little star. At first I didn't realise what it was, but then I remembered. I feel like it came back to me. I never put it in that box; I have taken coins out and put them in that wee box many times in the last few weeks, but I have never spied it; and there was no sign of the string it was once on. But there it was, out of nowhere.

All spells a good omen methinks. Hopefully no more crashes, no more crap and a bold wish coming true.