Thursday, 31 January 2013

Thicker than water?

It's dark. Wintry for April. They predict it will snow. My Father stands on the doorstep, cheque book in hand. He scrawls my name across the top in his swirly loopy writing, and then brandishes at me.

'Happy sixteenth' he smiles.

I take the cheque for £25 and kiss him goodbye on the cheek without mentioning that five days ago I was in fact 14. After all, the card he gave me on my 12th birthday said 'Happy 14th.' It doesn't matter I tell myself.

But it does.

I go back into the kitchen, start to make myself a sandwich, when I hear Al's car pull in the driveway. I feel relieved that he and Dad haven't crossed paths; my father always wary of the man who does a better job of the one he is supposed to do.  It's a Friday - I haven't seen him since Monday, when he dropped me off at school.

He comes in undoing his tie, and smiles when he sees me. He fixes himself a drink, but before he starts to drink it, he tells me he has something to show me - my sandwich can wait. I follow him outside to the double garage. The little cul-de-sac where he lives is quiet. I watch him disappear under the garage main door and then light floods out into the darkness. I shiver slightly, wondering what I'm doing there. He calls out to me, and I step off the porch and peer inside.

There I see the most wonderful sight my 14 year old eyes can imagine. A beautiful white bookcase, made up of cubes - 4 squares, then three, then two then one. (I'd spent a day designing it several months back - as was my hobby in my teens. I'd draw and design furniture all the time - bizarre chairs and elaborate desks that I dreamt of one day owning).

But there it is. Beautifully made - my drawing come to life. I squeal. I race over to it and run my fingertips on the cold smooth surface. Then I throw my arms around him, full of questions: How did you make it - did your friend Tommy help? How long did it take? How did I not notice?

He just smiles and wishes me a belated happy birthday.


By Christmas, Mum is packing. I refuse to. There is nowhere for my bookcase to go in the tiny house she has bought. I can't imagine living there, or ever loving that house as much as I love the home that Al created for me. The room he decorated; the carpet I picked and he put down; the furniture he made. It's my room. The only bedroom I never had to share with my mother. It means everything to me.

The following year, on my 15th birthday, Al has fashioned a beautiful mirror on the wall - surrounded by lights - the type you see in the movies: backstage in a theatre or a circus. Lights so blinding that you have to blink when you turn them on.  I had sketched out the desk beneath it to my requirements: 3 drawers, shelves, a secret compartment, an L shape desktop, so I can stare out the window as I work on my GCSE art... Then I work on my A level art at that desk, and my essays home from Uni.

I started staying at Al's house at weekends, when my Mother starting seeing him; I was 11. We moved in when I was 12. We moved out when I was almost 15. (She didn't speak to him again until they made up as they both stared at my wedding cake 16 years later). Meanwhile, I went back to staying there every weekend until he sold the house when I was 23.  I was the kid with 3 homes. 3 phone numbers. The funny stories to tell about the crazy parents - yet when I look back now, they aren't so funny any more.

The day I went to pack up my room, in the summer of 1996 will forever be ingrained in my mind. I went alone. The house was quiet, empty. He was out. I walked into every room, savouring all my memories and then slowly made my way up the stairs - hating every step - to the room above the garage. A fine layer of dust had settled on my bookcase. The spiderplant was miraculously still alive. The ancient wooden covered TV still spluttered into life. The black and white wallpaper felt dated - very 80s - replete with my posters: Fatal Attraction and Prince 'Parade' (that my friend Anthony bought me for my 13th birthday). I carefully rolled them up. Took my Oscar Wilde books from the shelves of the bookcase; carefully and meticulously took down a collage I had built up over 6 years on my middle wardrobe door: concert tickets (Michael Jackson, U2), Obsession perfume pictures, photos, trinkets, stubs to movies,  - my entire teenage life on one door. I emptied the wardobe of some clothes that no longer fitted, leftovers from a different era - all shoulder pads and florescant colours...

The tears fell. How could they not? It had been my safe place, my little oasis, the most protected and loved place I had ever known in all my life. Al was selling up - starting a new life with his partner. It was time to say goodbye to the house that I shared with him, and his daughter  - at weekends. But it was so much more than that to me. I wrote him a note to tell him what it had meant to me.
He still has it. Then I said one last goodbye, got into my car and left.

Occasionally when I am in Ireland, I drive by the house. Somehow, I never let it go.


Oddly  - and I'll never be able to put into words why - I don't even know why - but writing this post has caused me to shed more tears than any other I have ever written. I can't find the words to say what this father figure - this man who calls me his 'adopted one' means to me. I doubt I ever will. He was there for me when others weren't. He is still there for me. He always will be. He is not my father - never even became my step-father - they never married. He isn't related, his daughter is not my sister.

But they are my family. He gave me a home.

And to me, blood isn't thicker than water -  and family is what you make it.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dear Esther...

So I'm a bit late to the debate. But that is just par for the course these days. I am the woman who discovered Oasis about a year ago, and am just getting to grips with wedges - so you know, forgive me.

It all started when Esther Walker wrote an article in the hideous Daily Wail - stating her fears about perhaps having a baby boy. Ironically - or sadly, not so ironically for them - the Mail then got it's maternity bra in a twist along with 3 million other yummy mummies and they all poured vitriol and contempt on this woman for daring to speak of the ultimate taboo....

Every woman wants a daughter. Unless they are one of those mens' women types (the kind that only  talk to the men in the office - and when I say talk, I mean flirt - they try to be one of the lads and spend most waking hours putting down and belittling other women) and I don't trust them at all. Women understand women - ergo they want to have a mini me. Boys are a totally different species - they like dirt and football and wee in arcs. A whole new world. So whether or not we admit it, most women find the thought of having a girl somewhat easier.

So, Husband had found out the sex of our first born - and I decided to keep in the dark - wanting the 'surprise' - not realising that motherhood is so much of a fucking shock to the system that one should really be as mentally prepared as possible. I used to quiz him, try and trip him up, threaten and cajole him into telling me - but he is very good at keeping secrets.( Maybe not such a brilliant skill for marriage - but let's move on).  Then I persuaded a policeman I happened to know, to interrogate Husband - as although I had opted to NOT know - there were many times I was curious. (Woman who is fickle - shocker).   I dreamt of tutu skirts and stripey tights, glitter and hair bobbles... The Bobby reported back that it would be a girl, for sure. Hurrah! Acupuncturist said the same. As did dodgy fortune teller. I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then I had a son.

As I lay there on the operating table - drugged to the eyeballs, with my half shaven nether regions smiling at surgeons like a garden gnome, and my boobs hitting the floor, I struggled to compute what I had just heard. A... boy???

I cried silent tears and the midwife/nurse/someone in a blue gown, held my hand and said 'yes, yes you have a beautiful son.' Yet I sobbed more - not for the son I had, but for the daughter I had expected. I rang my Mother the minute I was out of theatre, just before a midwife clamped my baby to my boob -  and said 'Mum, it's a boy.' My Mum started to yell with joy and I remember saying, 'no...Mum... a boy.' She replied 'and you will love him all the same.'

I am ashamed to say, I honestly wasn't sure I would. I was so determined to have a girl that this curve ball totally stopped me in my tracks. The whole future I had planned disappeared, as I lay there, catheter in and suppositories planted. I had to grieve the child I had wanted before I could celebrate the one I had had. I genuinely remember Husband looking at me all teary eyed and saying 'we have a son' and if I hadn't been so wired to machines, I would have thumped him. He let me believe we were having all things pink...

Now before the finger waggers start wagging - I'd like to say that my son is the love of my life. Easily the greatest joy and surprise I could ever have wished for. And, in subsequently having a daughter - who refuses to wear any freakin' tutus and loves cars - I can totally appreciate the joy in both sexes. Second time round - I came prepared - but would have been totally happy to have another boy - as Sproglet showed me just how amazing sons can be.

He used to wake at 9:30am when he was 18 months. In fact I used to complain when he woke at 8:30am. I would go back and slap myself if I could, I assure you.  He is the easiest child in the world to mind - he is happy to play alone, or be a team member; he goes to bed and then sleep with ease; he has exemplary manners; he is ridiculously social and full to the brim with empathy for others. He gives the best hugs and is wildly affectionate. I won't lie - potty training was my Vietnam - but bar this - he has been the dreamiest kid to parent. When Sproglette was born we dusted the 'toddler taming' book off the shelf and set to studying it like we had an A level the next day.  She who must be obeyed had arrived. Sproglet acquiesces. We try not to.

So Esther - fear not. Yes, your life may soon involve trucks and Ben 10 and football and a lot of volume control - it will also be full of spontaneous hugs and simplicity - as boys are one thought - one action. They are hungry - they eat. They are tired - they sleep. Not all the over thinking, deeply calculating, endless procrastination of girls.  Let's face it, you married one boy* - another is a doddle. Oh and for all those who abused your searing honesty?

Load of old cock...

*(I say this not just of your critic Husband, but of all men....)


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Django Unchained - simply brilliant.

I'm so annoyed, because as I fell asleep last night - my head all a spinning after a visit to the flicks, I wrote (in my mind) a fab review of Django Unchained. But then I fell asleep and promptly forgot everything I had mentally written.

Now y'all know that my favourite way of spending time, is taking in a movie. Even better when the movie rocks. I feel like running up and kissing all those cinema usher folk (although on that note - where is a fecking usher when you need one - those fab people with torches, or those women who stood down the front of the screen selling cornettos when you were a kid?) and thanking them, as if they personally made it. Getting out is such a palava - with sitters and bedtimes and bottles and all that jazz - that getting my arse on a cinema seat these days is rare. So it has to be worth it. And last night, it sure as hell was.

Not I'm not a massive die-in-the-wool Tarantino fan. Sure, I loved Pulp Fiction, and Inglourious Basterds - But Kill Bill 1 & 2 and Jackie Brown didn't float my boat. Husband had been banging on for weeks about seeing this one though - so off we went. Plus, I don't really dig Westerns. All that mumbling (without Brando - save his own slightly odd Western - One Eyed Jacks) and spitting and shoot outs and whores - sometimes feels like you seen one, you seen 'em all...

But I loved it. From start to (slightly over-extended) finish. Infinitely cleverer writing than such fare as Silver Linings Playbook - with Tarantino-isms in full force (funky soundtrack, zooming shots, monologues galore, ingenius humour, cameo appearances and lots of bloodshed) it was a joy to listen to - let alone watch.

Husband argued that Christoph Waltz played much the same character as he did in Inglourious. But that's where I disagree. Whilst yes, he was prone to charming explanations for his actions - they came from a good heart this time - so we got to see the other side of the coin. The actor looked like he was having a blast - and had invited us and Django along for the marvellous ride. Such a wonderful pairing - the virtually silent Fox and the eloquent and knowing Waltz. I loved that Waltz never patronised the slave that he had freed - nor abused the gift that he had bestowed upon him. Fox simply walked like he was the coolest man alive - even wearing the most hilarious Austin Powers style outfit I have ever seen... truly, I'd have followed these partners in crime across every state... oh that's right - we did.

Midpoint - and Di Caprio. If anyone ever argues that he cannot act - then I'd like them to imagine any other actor giving such rich characterisation to what could be perceived as a pantomime part. In other hands this would have been seven shades of bad. In his hands - a masterpiece. He barked and twitched and sucked on his cigarillos and I was utterly mesmerised. He steals every scene he is in. From the minute we lay eyes on him we seek our own vengeance on a man capable of such brutality - with such a lack of respect for human life.

Tarantino is known for reviving careers - and here Don Johnson proves he still has got it - even with such remarkable facial hair. In fact - and no spoilers here - he is in one of my favourite scenes from the film - when Tarantino the alchemist turns the mundane into the sublime as a bunch of Klu Klux Klan townsmen plot to ambush our heroes...

Husband thought it was overly long - and yes, there is act 3 part two... A moment where it could have ended but rises like the phoenix to charge again - as if Taratino realised he hadn't given himself a cameo yet and so tacked the end on. And probably decided he needed just a teeny bit more bloodshed. But no matter - I am not quibbling - because I enjoyed every tiny second of the whole sprawling piece. The wit and warmth he gives two bounty hunters is simply astounding...

So if you fancy a night at the movies - why bother with things like The Hobbit, or trite rubbish like Skyfall - or even the oddly emotionless Silver Linings Playbook (as nice as it was - memorable? Meh...) - and instead hunker down for this wonderful (quirky as ever) Tarantino-at-his-best delight.


How we met

My friend Katy is a total lush. She could drink me under the table and then on top of it again. She can also bake great cakes, offer fabulous advice, and has impressive legs. She is also an amazing writer. Hilarious on the page - as well as off - she has written her 3rd novel.

It is also her best.

HOW WE MET is a story about friendship, love, loss and hope: Liv Jenkins had been meticulously planning her ultimate to-do list – from the outrageous to sensible – of everything she longed to do before her dreaded thirtieth birthday, but when tragedy struck and she dies...

Two years later, Liv’s five closest friends have come together on the anniversary of her death and have made a pact: they will complete Liv’s to-do list in tribute to her memory.
But along the way they unearth deeply buried secrets, silent guilt, unrequited love and years of lies,  rocking their friendships to the core....

But that is just the book blurb. What I know for a fact is this - Katy writes honestly - about real people - who fuck up, who lie, who deny, to try and get through it all... She has more empathy than a whole team of Samaritans on new years eve. If you want a book that you can not put down - that makes you laugh and hell - it will make you weep as well, then pur-chase this one folks! I have started to read it and regret the fact I have a job to go to and children to feed - when all I want to do is eat chocs and find out what happens to Frazer and Mia...

You can buy it here.

Go on - you deserve it.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Room 101

The time has come. I have thought long and hard about what would enter my Room 101. Rather than my phobias, worst nightmares, extreme fears etc - I am talkin' pet peeves. Not serious stuff that should be obliterated from the world (guns, nits and paedos) but more like stuff that, should it jump off the face of the earth - I would smile that bit brighter. the problem was condensing the list because my god there are a fair few things that get my goat.

Good reader people, you can judge - do these things make into room 101 - gone forever more?

No1. Snow.
Now I know it looks purdey and kids love the white fluffy stuff because you can roll around in it and build snowmen, and sledge and all that fun malarkey - but in reality it means simply that you are trapped. Unless you live in London. So I will amend this peeve - to snow anywhere outside the M25 in England. Snow is bearable in London - because you can still get everywhere pretty much, no matter how much of the white stuff falls. I lived in London for 13 or so years and never really remember it snowing. (Apart from once, when I was out one night with a mate drinking fine beer - and on route home managed to get the tube to Baker Street - whereupon I was told that no tubes were running any more, anywhere. So I shuffled out onto the street hoping to find a cab - but all cabs were full and anyway the traffic snaked the whole way up the street in a constipated chain. There was nothing else for it - I had to walk, past Baker St, into St John's Wood, through Swiss cottage - to lovely West Hampstead - home. Along the route I made friends with an Aussie lawyer who was having an affair with 3 men - clearly he was busy, a Japanese business lady, two randoms and a drunk. As we passed St Johns Wood - folk were handing out plastic cups of tea. It was like the war effort - all terribly civilised. By the time I got to my road, I felt like I'd been in a made for TV movie - we promised to be friends forever, and never spoke again).
Meanwhile, 4 years in Hertfordshire it seems to snow badly every winter causing me great amounts of stress. I've written off a car when my Protestant work ethic made me attempt to drive to work through 7 inches of danger - so trying to organise child care and get to work when the roads are like an ice rink sends me over the edge. Literally. Everyone races to the supermarkets and stocks up as if the Apocalypse is coming - and you practically have to sell your children for a pint of milk. 'You can't do anything except freeze your ass off and eat bad food - 'to keep your energy up.' Your heating bills go through the roof. Everyone stays indoors and rattles around the house going stir crazy.
Begone soft white killer - you plague my winters and have no place being here. Go and play in the alps where you belong.
No.2 Any kind of romantic declaration on facebook status updates.

Vomit inducing, sphincter clenching tripe that couples spew to one another is NOT romantic. Such messages aren't even intended as love notes to the people on the receiving end. No - it is where self publicists wang on about how great their other half is - merely to have everyone look at them and think how romantic and fabulous they are. If you love someone - tell them. Face to face. Don't purge on facebook for all to see what a winsome, charming character you are - you aren't. You are a sad narcissist who uses a social media site to express sentiment. Get a life.
No. 3 Wasps and cockroaches.

They have no purpose in the universe but to sting and terrify. I am sure a cockroach I saw in Thailand was holding a gun. The world would be a better place without them both.
No. 4 Selfish drivers.

By that I mean anyone coming along my street at around 8:30 am. Picture the scene - cars parked on the left and right - so only one car can drive along, in one direction. So you see that there is a car on route already. So you wait. You know they'll wave and thank you - and they do. The forty cars that have jumped on their tail and are taking the freakin' piss out of your patient nature - do not. I simmer with rage as these people flagrantly abuse the code of waiting because I hit the obstacle second. So I wait for the person who has rightfully got right of way - and they all just race behind him - and act like they were there all along. DRIVES ME MAD. Sometimes if they begin towards me I push the pedal down and race towards them - like Kevin Bacon in Footloose - in that digger truck thing - and I think 'bring it on your muthafuckers.... I get so mad. My daughter has taken to shouting sporadically in the back seat 'come on PEOPLE!' so I must rant a lot when driving. There is an etiquette and I abhor those who wilfully ignore it. I feel they should be banned from driving forever more.
No. 5 Top Gear

It is a car, it has wheels, it is expensive... so what? I just do not get how 3 over the hill men in bad shirts blethering on about cars is in any way exciting. Most of all - how is Jeremy Clarkson in any way attractive to watch on screen? If he were a female presenter he would have been put out to pasture long ago, what with being over a 'certain age' (as tragically happens to brilliant female presenters)  and also the fact he looks like his face is melting off. He also talks like a Royal and finds himself hilarious. He was so far up Tom Cruise's backside when the short one ventured on the show it was a wonder he hasn't converted to Scientology and disappeared to some temple in LA LA land. The hamster one looks like he has had an electric shock and the other one in the worst ever shirts appears to be stoned, from another era or has wandered onto the set and somehow is still there, years later. Dull, blokey in an unoriginal manner (not in a jolly caper like the wonderful ENTOURAGE) and so pleased with itself - it makes me feel quite violent. Plus the fact that Husband has it on at every moment possible, also adds to my hatred. Sling them all into the depths and show Sex and the City re- runs instead.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Kinky Fuckery

Otherwise known as Sexual Healing OR Something is healing over that's for sure....

Boom boom! No, but really....

I imagine that everyone else in the world is having lots of exciting, olympic gymnast style, uber exotic, wildly erotic, chandelier swinging sex. With soft lighting and sexy music and everything. Every night. And morning. And phone sex at lunchtime in the office toilets.

Here is also what I imagine - everyone is always immaculately hairless in all the important regions: men - nose and ears (although I do know one friend who trims his pubic region to make his willy appear bigger. Honestly.) women: lips, eyebrows, lady garden, underarms, legs, and in specific cases, arms and thighs too). Everyone looks amazeballs naked, with all that grooming and fake tanning and their ability to hit the gym all the time. (Something I, full time working mum of two doesn't even get to sniff).

And that everyone is having a thoroughly romantic time - with flowers and cocktails and weekend mini breaks and stuff. Diamonds, whatever. And it is all 50 shades of grey - all kinky fuckery and paddles and feathers and love balls and all the tasteful things one can aquire from shops like Coco La Mer. You never been there? I think I went back in oh, 1999... Certainly I had too much time on my hands - time to peruse feather lined corsets and glass blown dildos and actually hold a conversation with the owner of the store about erotic literature.

Yes, I read that book last year - oddly addictive, badly written. Well that's what I think you are all doing. Yes you. Why? Well everywhere you look - and by everywhere, I mean when you go to the movies -  there is some immaculately toned, hard bodied fittie is getting in on with an equally hard bodied fittie - albeit one with fake boobs and some hair extensions. Not that I have any urges to shag such hard bodies - it would be like fucking a coffee table - Ryan Gosling aside. But it makes one feel inadequate.

So I feel this immense pressure that my own life should mirror this. But the reality is oh so different. Things wobble. People sweat. Pubic hairs get caught in all sorts of places. Positions are hard to hold. And that is before I'm even undressed. Plus, I have children. It is nothing short of amazing that people with one child actually go on to have any more kids. Where on earth do they get the time? I am sorry, but for the first year of my son's life if you had promised me a side splitting orgasm or 10 hours uninterrupted sleep - I know what I would have chosen and it didn't involve screaming.

When you first meet it is all passionate and thrilling and butterflies in stomach and 'will he call' and shaved legs and 'no eating garlic' and all that jazz. Cut to 5? 10? Years later - and you are hoping he never calls (only means something is wrong with the A. boiler, B. children. And actually due to cost you'd prefer it was B.). You haven't shaved your legs since '89 and you complain if you eat anything WITHOUT garlic. 'Where is the seasoning?' It is dodgy stomaches (children at nursery - dear god if only they would stop licking each other and then returning home to lick you) and passion - well what does that mean? Is it a fruit?

Sometimes we lie in bed on a Sunday night and I think 'we should be having all that passionate sex that everyone else is having.' But the Culture section has great reviews and my back kind of hurts and we have to get up in the morning and oh! There's a small child crying for a bottle and another saying 'Mummy I had a dream you were shot by an alien, can I sleep with you and Daddy?' And it all seems so much effort...

By passionate sex, I do not mean a quick legover to do wifely duties. (It isn't the 1870s). I mean the nights were you first met and you talked and shagged all night and you lived on air and tequila. These heady lust filled days when life was responsibility free and you could afford to not really give a damn.

It is very hard indeed.... to feel sexy with infant poo on one's jeans. Sick in your hair. Leg hair so long you could braid it. An abdomen riddled with C section smiles and boobs that point in different directions. After all sex starts with the mind doesn't it?? How does one feel vaguely hot (again - if ever) with all of the above? Drugs? Cocktails? Gym membership for Xmas? It really is the last taboo isn't it? No one talks sex any more - not even Dr Ruth. No one shares. So it leaves us all thinking that everyone else is all 9 and a half weeks, when according to some statistics, sex in marriage is more 9 and a half months...

Why don't we talk about it? Why do we all wander around thinking the above? Oh you don't. Whoops, just me then.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013


It crept up on me.

Maybe started with The Notebook, but in all honesty - it was schmaltz (good schmaltz, but schmaltz all the same) on toast. So it didn't register.

Then came Drive and The Ides of March. And you know, Drive was my film of that year. You seen it? Amazing. A director's movie - normally I'm all about the script. But he could do so much with just a slow soft gaze. He practically became a silent movie star in that film.

But it took until I saw a clip of him on Letterman, to really come to the conclusion that Ryan Gosling is a SEX GOD.

Why didn't I see it? He has a sexy voice. Voices are very important. Hot man, squeaky voice - never gonna happen. In fact, a voice is a deal breaker - no? So he always had the sexy voice.

In Ides - he gets his kit off. Not that it is all about the guns - but yes, he has impressive guns. Impressive everything. He seduces Evan Rachel Wood's character and he seems very very good at it.

Facially - he isn't memorable. But yet, he is interesting. Twinkly eyed. Cheeky.

Husband often watches Letterman clips on the i-pad at night - and he brought up Taylor Kitsch being interviewed - and Kitsch - smokin' hot but my god - he used the same lines twice and his timing... not exactly razor sharp. Whereas Gosling - drier than a decent martini. Smart. Sexy. Very.

BOOM! It hit me. Kitsch is not Tim Riggins (sadly). And whilst charming and sweet (did I mention I interviewed him - yes once or twice), Gosling - he is a whole other world of smooth charm. And in real life? He saved a woman from being run over by a cab in New York. He dated older women - Sandra Bullock included. He tells funny stories about Peter O'Toole hitting on his sister at the Oscars and how he got all protective. He built a table in preparation for his role in The Notebook - so you know, he is good with his hands too. He took his Mother to the Oscars as his date. I think he respects women... At the point in his life that he lived in a trailer while being on the Mickey Mouse club show - he supported his whole family.

Finally, this is a quote he said that seals the deal for me "I mean, God bless The Notebook (2004), it introduced me to one of the great loves (Rachel McAdams) of my life. But, people do Rachel and me a disservice by assuming we were anything like the people in that movie. Rachel and my love story is a hell of a lot more romantic than that."

So there it is. My crush is official.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Gawd bless Sinead

Damn technology.

I mean obviously yay! Big Yay! For social media and losing years of my life staring at wedding photos of people I don't even know, or holiday snaps of ex work colleagues that make me feel green with envy - and yay for the pressure to be hilarious in 140 letters and all on twitter - but my god the rest of the stuff is all gobbledegook to me.

For ages I've been wanting to get amongst the agony aunt thang - having been a Life Coach, Relationship show presenter, Samaritan, teen dating show presenter, all round advice queen to buddies and someone who has had a fair few knocks in life - I feel I'm up for the job. But they aren't the kind of jobs that you can find in the dole queue... So decided to create the role for myself - on my blog.

There were two problems to this - no.1 Crummy Mummy has rarely been seen. Now folk will know who I am - or at least that my roots need done and the spot that has been brewing the whole of xmas is soon to rear it's yellow head... Plus you can read a lot into how someone writes - but when you SEE them - warts and all (and their messy house) and hear their annoying Irish nasal twang - you can get a whole new picture. Is that a good or a bad thing? Only you can decide.

No. 2 I am technologically backward and every way. At work they played a trick on me once that the new Exec producer liked his scripts formatted in a special way and they didn't tell me how to do it. I sweated for what felt like hours until they all pissed themselves and then showed me how. And by 'showing me how' I mean they did it for me and I continued to ask them to do it forever more. Meanwhile two brilliant ladeez I work with - both helpfully called Jen - have at last taught me how to use the scanning machine. They spoke to me like I do to my two year old - and had the patience of Saints... So when I decided I wanted to record the problems and answers - I had NO IDEA how to do this.

Cue - Sinead - a jovial, smart superwhizz at all things techno. She offered her services for free  (madwoman!) and I bit her arm off. So on a dry Sunday prior to Xmas she had a look at all things Blogger (cursed manys a time that the new updated format is INFINITELY harder to navigate - some things not working at all - than the old one. Her fav saying 'why do they update technology only to make it less user friendly?' Quite.). Anyway - we fiddled for ages and then she suggested (as had another friend) that the problem page should be a video and not another blog page.

So she set me up with And then she put it on this here blog. But of course it wasn't that straightforward. While her two kids and my two ran around creating mayhem and her kind Husband played unwitting creche manager - she calmly sorted things so you would in fact not have to watch 4 bloody you tube videos of bizarre things under my face... It aint  a good look having a cow's arse give birth as I am talking about relationship stress... She also sorted all the dimensions so you could actually see ALL, not half my face. Maybe that is a bad thing...

Then came the hard part - teaching me how to video myself! My life in telly has always been about lovely make up artists and fab camera men putting on 'gels' (both to face and camera lights) to make me look better. This was me, some daylight and the warts and all look... I am totally happy with that - as long as I could steady the damn i-pad. Without it crashing to the ground and Husband divorcing me. At first I stared straight at the middle of the i pad - so I looked slightly unhinged in the test videos - then Sinead kindly pointed out where the camera lens was - a good start would be to look down it I guess....

Then the even harder part - telling me how to upload and order and all that jazz. Sinead - a woman of serenity clearly - spoke in a calm, understanding voice, without ever having to resort to sending me to the naughty step. So - Ta dah! Tis done. The first one anyway. Be great to hear what you think. (Please let more than one person comment in this post - please!!!) If you have any thoughts - please please let me - know, I can only make this better if you tell me what you think, and if Sinead does some fiddling for me again. We'll be fine tuning it over the next few months. I genuinely want to help folk - and I do know that a problem shared is one halved - and I promise not to judge. Now you have seen me in all my glory you know that this aint the kind of broad who should be judging anyone!

So thanks to Sinead, I owe you manys a drink lady.And you ever patient husband James.

Looking forward to sharing more stuff - all in the agony aunt vain. If you want to drop me a line - is Or you could could send a link to a video of your own.

It is a new year - time to try some new things. Fingers crossed you like it. Happy Noo Years!