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.

video

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!