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 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.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Hello people. How is your day? My house should have a red X on the door - in one corner we have vomiting toddler - a never ending stream of cottage cheese (who knew a bottle produced so much?). In the other - a Husband with a bug (not a good patient it has to be said). Me in the middle with a stonking cold - working from home amidst the lurgys. So you know, I have had better days...

Anyway - I was wondering if I could ask you all a favour? If you have ever enjoyed a post of mine - or more than one - could you sign up and follow my blog? Is just down the page here... yep down yonder. You can sign up as long as you have a google, yahoo or twitter account. If you have signed up already - I owe you a beer (mind you I owe everyone at the mo so you might be waiting a while... but the thought is there). Maybe you have a mate, a co-worker, a mother-in-law, a sibling, a relative who might feel as crummy as I do sometimes - who finds Motherhood brilliant and a ball-ache, all in the same minute. If so - send 'em on over.

I've always written this here blog for myself and to reach out to like minded folk - to find the sublime amongst the ridiculousness of it all... Mainly to vent, as otherwise I'd go crackers in my head... so I'm not doing this for financial gain - never have been. But I would love to blog on sites for a living - or somehow write for a living. I'm not sure how to do this - but I'm sort of feeling through the darkness. I guess - like every mother, I'm trying to find that holy grail between work and life balance - where I work to keep sane (and because there are bills that keep a comin') and where I see my children and not feel enormous guilt. Although when my daughter is doing the impression of the story in Stand By Me (remember the barfarama one?) the guilt kind of goes away and I wish I could jump in my banged up car and speed to work at 80 miles an hour. The commenters are amazing - you all feel very loyal and supportive - and it really helps. Motherhood can be such a lonely old business - that we need all the support we can get. By support I don't mean attending the happy clappy classes with a bunch of uptight competitive women who think singing to a toy monkey is making them a better mother - but hey, whatever works for you. For me, the singing monkey not so much...

So, in case I forget to say it often enough - thanks for reading. CM x 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Yes, please let it be me.


Today hasn't been one of my better days. Sproglet has begun playing football for a local team - so he is up for training on Saturdays and matches on Sunday - so there was no chance of a lie in. I have the period from hell - either that or Tampax aint workin' like they used to. Too graphic? I don't care.

Then Husband and I sat down (well stood arguing in the kitchen) about who would be paying out nursery bill of a mere £1155.  For the month. Yes you read right - that is just a month. Then we did something we had dreaded doing for a while. We did our sums. those sums where you write down what you earn and then start subtracting your bills and direct debits from it. And the other stuff - petrol and food. And nursery. And all of a sudden, there is nothing left. No wiggle room, no 'pop to the shops,' no holidays, no weekends away, no decorating the peeling hall, no nothin'.

So I had a meltdown that would have made my daughter jealous. I sobbed that I felt like I was back in 2008 - when Sproglet was 2 and we had pennies to rub together - even both working full time. It just feels so unfair - to work so hard - to earn so little, to pay out so much. I didn't expect to be here at my age. I thought life would get easier - less complicated, once I left the emotional rollercoaster that came with a stupid presenting career. Why the fuck didn't i go back to college - I dunno, learn law or do something that would pay £££ so I wouldn't be such a goddamn slave to money.

Husband is loving his new job. Loving more regular hours, bring around at weekends, up in the mornings - being much more of a family - but feck me we have paid a hefty price for it financially. Why does everything have to come at such a compromise? Why can't it just be easy? How does everyone else do it? I honestly used to fantasise about knocking on all the brass knobbed doors in Hampstead and asking them 'so how did you get this here house? Are you bank robbers? Just bankers (so therefore robbers of sorts)? Lords? Lottery winners? My good friend M once said that she really did think that her only way out of the mire was a lottery win - which she truly expected. Not as a 'oh I hope I win' but as in 'I HAVE GOT TO FUCKING WIN.' I am now in that group. Husband said we need some luck. It has been a shocker of a year. I thought 2011 was tough but it was a walk in the park compared to this one.

How embarrassing is it at my age to not afford to do stuff that all your friends can do without a second thought? Obviously if Sproglette wasn't at nursery - we would be £1155 better off every month - which would buy a few threads and go well towards saving for a fab holiday. So you know, it won't always be this shit. But she doesn't hit school for 2 more years. That is a LONG TIME. A friend said recently to me, 'yeah but it's just stuff - you can do without stuff.' He has yet to have kids - and has no idea how hard it is - when you want to buy your kids stuff and can't. I'm not talking a freaking Versace winter coat here either. Or hard it is when you work so damn hard (evenings and weekends too) and then can't buy yourself a fancy moisturiser or just a new T shirt, or some socks. Oh I know, I have my health and stop moaning and all that - well, feel free to stop reading if you don't like it. I just kept thinking - when I go back to work, it won't be as hard as it has been since my daughter was born in 2010. Because after the £100 a week ran out 9 months later I didn't have a bean. But then Husband lost his job, and now we are back in work and then there's the childcare and it almost - not quite - but almost would make sense not to work. Except that would drive me mad.

God I made such a wrong turn in life. I am going to drill it into my daughter to get a secure profession - one that will give her maternity and a chance to carry on in a career post kids. I wish the government made it easier for us all to return to work, instead of penalising us by it costing so much to have childcare.

In case you are thinking - dry your eyes, just because you can't afford a pizza - it aint a big deal. But you see it is. Because without that little reward - that few drinks after work, the trip the movies or the new pair of pants - it all just feels a grind - a work to live. To just get by. I know we are not alone. I have a dear friend with twins who wishes she could work - but it makes no financial sense to do so. She looks forward to the day she can pee alone and something can be for her - and her alone.

I think I did things the wrong way round. I am angry at myself for some foolish childish belief that I should only do things I loved - felt passionate about - without any career ladder to climb. I feel I am always looking to what the next step should be and staring into the abyss.

Sometimes I feel so goddamn alone in this I could scream. I watch everyone else just get on and never seem to go through what I do. Husband today asked me for solutions and all I could do was cry and say 'we are back here again aren't we.' Because I insisted on a second child. Did I think it would be easy? well I never thought Husband would have to take such a salary cut... and that mine would be the same 4 years on.

I don't know what I thought. I'll just keep staring into the abyss, and maybe one day, my 6 numbers will come up. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Make over, over here.

I don't know about you guys but I'm fecked. It's Saturday night and I could nor more drag my arse off the sofa, than scale the Empire State building. Honestly, by the end of a working week, by the time I have done all my goddamn chores that I never got done during the week (today: Up at 8, worked until after 12, showered, picked up new Macbook Pro that I am currently typing on - yay!!!! Take Sproglet to party, go shopping for Halloween party tat and present for kid for said party, wrap gift in car, pick up kid, bath time, eat some rubbish, tidy house, sit on arse) I am officially good for nothing.

Is this middle age?

The other day, while searching through my limited wardrobe - which gets smaller every year somehow, I realise I have no 'going out' clothes. No strappy dresses - mind you with my boobs, I never did wear strappy dresses - but no glam dresses, no sexy heels (or any heels really), no big earrings, no new lipsticks. Nothing a bit well, foxy. Or stylish. Or anything-ish. Everything is.... well, not verging on comfy - but definitely in the 'school run' category. As I plan my 40th - I fear that middle age may have hit. I no longer flick through Elle (who wants to look like Kristen Stewart and wear day glo make up?) or relate to any item in Topshop that isn't knitwear. I read weather reports, talk at parties about local good carpenters and school statistics, buy magazines on cooking hearty roasts, and take days off work - to go to the cinema with Husband. Not have rampant sex in some boutique hotel (who has the energy for that?) but stuff popcorn down our necks before gobbling a thai meal at a place we used to go to practically daily. Now it is a goddamn luxury.

I fantasise about walls in our home being painted and someone sorting out our Jurrassic park of a garden at the front. Instead of getting my nails painted and my own bush trimmed. In my head I am still young - I can fancy X factor boyband boys and rock a JW Anderson bat jumper, sink several bottles of wine with my 19 year old neighbour on the eve of her beginning at Uni - but in reality, a mixture of kids and a full time job - lack of time and lack of energy, means I am now... a bit lethargic. 

Not quite verging on 'before' and 'after' photos - but not far off. 

What about you? Are you still kickin' ass as you knock on 40? Or not even 40, just saddled with Sprogs, or a gruelling job? Or just lethargy? I used to be a gal about town and now I'm a gal about my sofa. I used to cartwheel in heels for fucks sake! Now I can't even stand in them... Thank god for remote controls is all I say.... Now for another glass of wine. If only there was remote for that.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Ready, Steady, Bake off!

Team Brendan! No Team John! Oh god, does anyone care about James? Sex Symbol - really?? I mean really?

For those of you not in the know, I am of course referring to The Great British Bake Off - which is nearing the end of it's second series - tonight being the semi final; where 4 contestants are left to battle it out amongst the piping and the whisking and the glazing....

They are: Danny a doctor who was pretty darn annoying until the week John (handsome, left Oxford to bake - no, really he did) sliced open his hand and she went into doctor mode - making him keep his arm aloft and assessing the damage the tools in a kitchen can do - particularly an overactive blender.

Then there's Queen of puddings Brendan - in his 60s (?) calm, contained, with a twitchy eye that betrays the fact he is brimming with competitive spirit. He looks like he has barely slept he has been planning his petite fours to such a degree. Husband has some weird crush on him and is hoping to have fashioned a T shirt for next week's final with Brendan's 'on edge' features staring out from the midriff.

John - bakes with his Mum (bless) who made a Colosseum gingerbread creation that was nothing short of spectacular (and privately I'd like to see him take the baker crown). Finally we have James - who is 21 going on 45, and looks like he hasn't yet had sex. Even with himself. Somehow he manages to turn a collapsed gingerbread house into a 'decaying' barn and still get baker of the week.

Paul Hollywood (the sparkly eyed judge who seems hell bent on destroying Brendan's confidence) loves young James and all his scottish dithering. The other judge is now a bonefide style queen - wearing all the colours under the rainbow as she crunches in to another baking delight andthen checks the bottom of the baking to see if it has cooked - scratching a scrawny nail along it like she is digging for gold. How this woman remains the size of a bird while wolfing down all this sugary goodness is beyond me.

If you have missed this  refer to my earlier posts - this is middle class porn of the highest degree. Thrillingly British, unashamedly fattening and full of cliff hangers and hysterics - it is better than any drama on TV.

Why am I writing when it is on - I am away to unpause my Sky Plus - see you next week for the final - and I'm having a real life bake off party. Tragic - moi?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

One nipple or two with that?

Now I aint gonna lie: breast feeding was my Vietnam. Ok, maybe that was potty training my son. But it was up there in my least favourite things to do - ever, list. First time around my son completely rejected my right breast - the only man in my life ever to do so. Nothing would persuade him towards my saucer like nipple - and who could blame him? The other one he refused to leave - I felt that not only he had sucked the golden colostrum from me, but also my life. After 9 long days where I fought with a hand breast pump (it won) and my conscience, I finally gave up.

When Sproglette arrived I was determined - this time round I was going to be an earth mother. Even when the home visiting midwife recoiled in horror at the size of my mammeries when my milk flooded in, I was undeterred. She looked at my tiny baby and then muttered something about being careful that my cups that were running over, did not in fact smother my child. Yes, they were THAT big. She then leaned close to me and asked when I was getting a breast pump. Horrific memories flooded back of the hand pump - so I knew this time I needed the electric kind.
"I think my friend is bringing me one on Wednesday" I smiled. She winced. "Wednesday? As in next week? But today... today is Friday..." she whispered. "A huh." I nodded, proud of my decision to procure a pump, feeling slightly smug. Then she clutched my arm and gravely gazed into my eyes.

 "You need a pump NOW. Tonight."

A neighbour's Husband duly turned up with said pump - and he and my Husband proceeded to drink two bottles of wine in the dining room while I sat there buzzing away in the lounge feeling decidedly bovine. I expressed two full bottles that evening - with much pride. My breasts sighed and deflated in relief. Only at the point when Husband asked if I could 'turn that thing down a bit' did I get grumpy.

Now I'll spare you the details of sore nipples and waking up in the night to find breast pads stuck to my stomach and face - but I will give some advice: From my very limited experience, breast feeding takes time to establish - and even if you don't do it - you could always express. Hand pumps are for women who are already 'established' and electric ones make the whole shebang much easier - such as this one. In fact I wish I'd had a double pump - it would have made everything much quicker.
The other thing anyone breast feeding shouldn't be without (it was the elixir in my case and all the women I know who were much more successful at breast feeding than me):  Lansinoh. It is beyond soothing and smells lovely and clean.

I wish I'd known about their great website as well - just reading on it for this post - I couldn't believe how jam packed with advice it was. MUCH more helpful than the militant midwives I encountered when Sproglet was born. When I look back I felt so much pressure from them to breast feed, that when it didn't work out - I felt such a failure. I wish I'd read up more on al the things available to help me - maybe I'd have stuck at it longer. Things like this . SO much better than sitting with hot face clothes dropping down my chest, or cold cabbage leaves.

No matter what you decide to do ladies, know this. Whether or not you breast feed is entirely up to you and has no bearing on how great a mother you are. Ignore stroppy midwives, don't feel pressure by your friends or the creepy woman down the road who is still whipping out a nipple for her 5 year old and do what feels right for you. One day your boobs will be your own again - maybe not the same shape they once were, but yours again none the less!


Saturday, 6 October 2012

The end is near...

Next week I've gotta say goodbye to a few good friends. We've been hanging out for over a year - every Wednesday night - like clockwork. Ok, I admit, I've missed a few of our meet ups, but I've always caught up on them later... . I often wished I had the time to devote an entire day to them. I feel I've been loyal - passionate even, about them and yet, we have come to the end of the road.

In truth, I often don't like them. One by one they've been 'offed' or they've behaved in such a way that my understanding and support of them has wavered and I remember what cold ruthless killers they all are.

Well, all bar the real family of the boss, Mr Soprano.

I've got 3 more left and then, after 6 series and 86 episodes - we are done.  I'll be bereft. Never again will I watch Carmela flirt with the big nosed Furio, or rustle up some cawfee, or scrap with her brute of a husband - wrestling not only with him, but her conscience - how does the big T really make his money? Or listen to the banter at the Bing... always filled with an unspoken tension - which at any moment could erupt from 'I was just breakin' his balls,' to a a full scale beating - that at a later date would be excused, because that's just what happens, whadyagonnadoaboutiteh? Nor will I be privy to Tony's long sprawling conversations with Dr Melfi - where he would attempt to explain away his sociopathic tendencies, his egotistical need for control and his inability to remain faithful to his wife.

I miss Chris-toe-fuuuuuuuuuuurrrrr already - even though I've never really forgiven him for grassing up Adriana. Poor sweet lost Adriana... the moral compass for a show without morals. I held my breath for that whole car journey - with her sad little pink case on the back seat.. the one that ended in the thick of the woods.... Where Sil reminded us that in 'duh family' there is no room for sentimentality. Not where a FED informant is concerned.

It hasn't been an easy watch at times... I found series 3 particularly harrowing - Melfi's rape followed by Ralphie brutally murdering his stripper girlfriend Tracee in the carpark almost had me switching off forever. Misogyny in The Sopranos was rife - but the casual way women were discarded like pieces of glittery trash turned my stomach. A slap here, an almost strangulation there - getting into bed with the mob wasn't a walk in the park even if you were the fairer sex.

Of course I was never going to walk away. When you sign up, you're in for life. Between the whacks and the broken friendships, the veiled threats and the acts of revenge, were moments of incredible humour. You don't believe me - watch 'Pine Barons' (series 3 - episode 11. When Paulie loses a shoe in the snow after trying to murder an incredibly tall Russian, I almost wept with laughter.

My feelings about the boss are complicated - sure, I love the old bear - for his attempts at humanity (even if they weren't humane - when he murdered Ralphie I cheered) and his love for his family. For struggling with what was expected of him, and what he expected of himself. For his unfortunate ability to pick the craziest gumars on the planet to have affairs with and his loyalty to tragic Vito.

I'll miss the meals at Arti's, the family gatherings, the afternoons at the Bing and the shady deals done down by the river. Most of all I'll miss the subtext laced through each scene - so long after an episode ended I was still making sense of what the real story had been - not the one I was told, but the one I saw. For Sopranos never explained, never fed you the happy ending you so wanted. Stories just floated off, words unspoken, characters not sewn up. It left you to fill in the cracks. To mull over why they did what they did, and how they could live with themselves for doing so. Because deep down they all had a conscience. Tony had to go to Melfi to uncover his, Paulie's was with the lord, and Sil's manifested itself in panic attacks when he temporarily was the boss. At one joyful point Christopher was clean and rational and a movie producer (Cleaver - amazing - just hilarious) - with a family and sense of obligation. Then he shared a shot with Paulie and... well, it was never going to end well was it?

So 3 more eps and it's goodbye. I'm gonna my Wednesdays. I'll raise an Italian red and salute them all. It's been a blast.

What you gonna do - eh? 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

On your marks, get set - winter!

Every day something new is requested by my kids. If it aint Sproglet telling me "I have two left feet, no really I have - I don't have my right plimsole any more... I don't know why, it was there yesterday..." or him leaving yet another jumper somewhere never to be found,  it's the nursery requesting that my daughter wear wellies for an outdoor jaunt in this seasonal weather. For seasonal - read 'autumn.' Meaning it is mainly overcast, rainy, drizzly, pouring, windy or freezing. Take your pick.

So autumn is here and where are all the sunny crisp days? They appear to have vanished - like my son's P.E. kit. Suddenly we don't need to worry about back to school clothes - it is simply keeping them dry of a weekend. Because kids are like dogs aren't they? You need to get them out and let them run around a bit, until they tire themselves out... so then we can all just uncork a bottle of red and lie on the sofa watching X factor while they sleep. Bliss. That's all I aspire to on a Saturday night - and now that work are running a sweepstake on X Factor and strictly - I have a bonafide excuse for such sloth.

Anyhow, I've been checking out places where to get some decent outdoor gear for my kids. I don't want to spend a fortune as we are still not back in comfortable land after Husband's redundancy earlier this year - and anyway I kind of resent spending heaps of cash on clothes that kids will grow out of by next season. BUT I don't want something chip as chips that lasts only one good downpour and then shrivels to dust.

That is where these folk come in: Muddy Puddles. Now, I know, I know, I was asked to talk about products and stuff - but I swear hands down that I impressed with this brand. Not just because These wellies are only a tenner! Not just because they are a one stop shop for all things ski- tastic for kids (as frankly I can hardly afford a flight to Belfast let alone some luxury weekend skiing in the alps) but because of gloves. Yes gloves. When Sproglet was at nursery and I was heavily pregnant with Sproglette - we had a massive snow storm. The place was eerie and quiet and white. Sproglet went to school/nursery whereupon I was greeted by Mrs Huggett - a lovely if slightly scary woman who ran his little class. She informed me that my simple woollen gloves were not cutting the mustard - I needed padded waterproof gloves to keep Sproglet's hands warm in such biting weather. The woollen ones were wet and soggy and just prolonged the torture of having cold hands.

I felt like the worst mother alive.

I duly sent Husband out on a mission as I scoured all the local shops, posh kids boutiques, ebay and sports shops trying to find waterproof padded mitten things that would keep his hands warm. In the end Husband (who worked in Knightsbridge at the time - a tourist expensive mecca) went to Harrods and bought Sproglet these expensive Ted Baker gloves that I spent an entire winter fretting that he would lose as they cost the earth. Had I known about these beauties life would have been a whole lot easier!

So if you need macs, waterproofs, gloves, snow boots, wellies, all in ones, hats, jackets, tops, leggings or anything really to keep your kids warm all winter - I say pop on over here. Especially if like me, you need good affordable options - rather than guilty buying at the most expensive shop in London because you were made to feel like a failure parent...