Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Disney - the Return II

Gosh it's been a while since I last wrote, I have been so busy studying that I have kind of lost track of time.

I got back from Paris on Wednesday with my family, we were there, as my youngest daughter, Lola, was dancing at Euro Disney, which we were all very excited about. So it was a 4am start last Friday to get us to *Disney.

We had a decent flight with Air France, there was minimal turbulence and you got a free pain au chocolat and coffee and the offer of a pillow, which after numerous flights to Ireland with other airlines was a very pleasant surprise.

All of this lovely service, and perhaps the ungodly hour of the day managed to waylay my fear of flying (mostly), the fear being that the very heavy big metal object is held up by air. AIR!

Now you can explain aero dynamics to me as much as you like but I prefer to think about the very real, non-Disney, aeroplane fairies holding the plane up, thank you very much.

Then our mini-bus was where we were expecting and we were in Disney by midday. Hooray, everything was going to plan, Yay!

We couldn't check in to our hotel until 3pm, so we went exploring around Disney. Much walking, much excitement from the kids and my travelling companions.
Excited kids

I had made a promise to myself to keep an open mind and try to be positive, and to just get on with the  Disney thing.
Me, trying to embrace the Disney thing

So I engaged with it, I had my picture taken with Disney things, after all it's not Mickey Mouse's fault that his ears are quite literally on everyone's head but mine. I ignored the thirty euros we spent on three hot dogs, and walked the miles and miles of Disney and waited in queue after queue for the rides (which I don't go on because I am a mahoosive wuss). Ignoring the chill in the air (I did not take the right coat for this trip).

Eventually, we made it back to the Cheyenne Hotel and got to see our room, which was fine if you like Woody from Toy Story, and didn't need a remote control for the TV and only two of us to sleep under a duvet. 

That's right, no TV remote and only two out of three duvets, and the kettle we had requested (because you don't just get one) wasn't there either, so after a few calls to reception, this got resolved. 

I put my ankle up as it was quite swollen by now (after the break in 2015 my ankle doesn't like lots of walking) 

I did some deep breathing, trying to conjure the magic of Disney, couldn't, had a grumble in my head because I didn't want to ruin it for the kids, and tried to find a non-pre-menstral Zen place and slapped a smile on, when it was time to go out again.

We had arranged to meet our friends and go out to Planet Hollywood for dinner. This went without a hitch and was lovely, but by the time we had finished I was exhausted, to be honest I would have slept standing up at this point, so duvet or no duvet - it wouldn't have been relevant, maybe that's what Disney do? Just make you so exhausted that you just don't care about anything when you get to the hotel, another example of their evil geniusness-ness?

We had discovered earlier that the wonder that is Disney had put breakfast on for us between 7am and 8am for both days we were there, my non-morning person head was very grumpy about this, particularly the Sunday one when we didn't need to be up that early. Gah.

Anyway, up we got, Lola had to be at her meeting place by 9am with costumes, dressed in her tracksuit and ready to go, luckily, my pal Sarah is excellent at hair and did Lola's bun for me, because now her hair is shorter there is no way I would have got it looking this good.

Lola, ready to dance.
 So, off she went with the other dancers and their teacher, Debbie, looking very cold, with me quietly cursing that I hadn't wrapped her up warmer (she had a tracksuit jacket over this but nothing else). Bad Mummy. 

I spent the morning just with my eldest, who I am proud to say I have taught to mooch and meander brilliantly, and that is all we did. We wondered around the castle and Alice in Wonderlands maze, looked in a couple of shops and popped back briefly to our hotel for a coffee at the Starbucks as it was quieter there than at actual Disney. It was a lovely morning. 

Heather, on our morning of mooching, enjoying the Halloween decorations
Then it was time to get back to see Lola dance.

This has been 18 months in the planning, six months of rehearsing, lots of dedication and hard work, I was so excited. And it was wonderful, the dancers are between 6 and 21 and Debbie had choreographed some brilliant dances for them. Lola getting to dance with the big girls and the little ones. And then after 30 minutes it was all over, with lots of Mum's in tears, full of pride for their girls.

Lola tapping her heart out with the rest of her dancing pals, she's front left.
And there it was, my best day at Disney, ever.

Afterwards, we went for a meal at the Ratatouille restaurant and had another lovely meal, and after the kids had gone on another roller coaster we called it a night, and I went to sleep dreaming of my girl in the West End, feeling super proud.

On Sunday, we went to Paris, and stayed for a few days to do all the tourist things.

*Please note, I am not a fan of Disney, I realise that this may stop you in your tracks and I may have lost you at this point. This is a tale of how I tried to remain positive at a place that I honestly think is the devils work, where grown adults wear mouse ears, where everything is phenomenally expensive, where it is all about the merchandise, the advertising and the sale, and you are trapped like a monkey in a zoo, rocking and tearing out your hair out one follicle at a time.....or is that just me? For more reasons on why I am less keen on Disney please see here.

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Saturday, 29 September 2018

My 20 Guilty Pleasure's

Oh we all have them, and aren't they wonderful, because they are always naughty and always nice.

I have loads of guilty pleasures, and sometimes when I am feeling rebellious I don't even feel guilty, although mostly, I do.

But here is a lovely long list of all of the many things I love, guiltily;

  1. Marmite - Love it, Love it, Love it, Mmmm gooey yeast extract. Nom.
  2. Which is why I also love Twiglet's, which don't need to be a guilty pleasure as they are low in calories and a great snack, I love these so much I have blogged about them previously, here. There is a Twigletty GIF I made and everything. Got to Love a Twiglet. (I realise, that by point two I am already off Piste, will try to refocus...OK)
  3. Big Brother, I have watched it from the beginning, I did stop, for a couple of years when it went to Channel 5 but it pulled me back in, because I LOVE Emma Willis (I mean, who doesn't want to be her) and I want to be besties with Rylan. And the people are so stupid and occasionally, there is a non-stupid one that surprises you. I used to use the old 'social experiment' as an excuse for watching it, but now its just nonsense with wannabe F list celebrities.
  4. America's/Britain's/Australia's Next Top Model - My excuse with this is, I'm interested in the photography...That's it, I'm sticking with that.
  5. Beef Hula Hoops - Why? Because I can eat them off the ends of my fingers...Doh!
  6. Cheese, all cheese, well maybe not the blue kind, unless it's in soup. Yum
  7. A big old fry up, with sausages, bacon, white pudding, fried eggs, mushrooms canned tomatoes and toast. I am making myself hungry just thinking about it.
  8. Scented candles that cost too much, my favourite and best one is The White Company Winter candle. It has just come back into stock and it is lovely, my kids completely associate the smell with Christmas and just sit for hours sniffing the candle, which is probably a bit wrong...
  9. Molton Brown Hand wash and Body wash, just for me in my bathroom and not for the kids. Expensive, yes, but it lasts a really long time and smells so nice.
  10. Greg Davies, gorgeous, can't help myself, I like a big man who can make me laugh, #thatisall
  11. Blackwing Pencils, these pencils were used by Hemingway, and are beautiful to write with, again more money than a pencil should ever be, but once you have Blackwinged you can't go back. (and you know if you write in pencil it will stay on the page for hundreds of years without fading, unlike any Biros or ink pens)
  12. To go with my pencils, I love a Moleskine notebook, and no, the covers aren't made of mole (a point I had to clarify with the kids). There is something about the paper, it just makes you write nicely.
  13. I don't really have a sweet tooth, if I go out for dinner, I will have a starter over a pudding any day of the week, but if pushed I do have a favourite chocolate, and that's the, 'oh Ambassador you are spoiling us', kind, yep its the Ferrero Rocher. I like a nutty chocolate, and if I get the craving for one, well that's that, I have to have it.
  14. When I go to the cinema, one of the things that make the trip worthwhile, apart from the film, is the hot dog, and boy, do I get stroppy if they haven't got any, or any ready or I have to wait, cinema hot dogs are vital to my whole cinema experience, even though I know they are made of head meat and gravel, I don't care, they are great.
  15. Napping. I have always loved my sleep and my bed is a sacred place of sleeping and reading. But in addition to the standard sleep you get, a swift afternoon nap, in the quiet of the living room, whilst kids and husbands are elsewhere, is a beautiful, beautiful thing, it makes you all warm and fuzzy, and because it's a bit naughty it's even more special. These can of course be ruined completely by loud children and inconsiderate husbands who have the foot noises of giants and seem to be only able to speak to each other with their shouty voices.
  16. The lie in. Please see above. Anyone who says they don't like staying in bed are doing it wrong, they either have a crap bed, bedroom, partner, duvet, pillows, bedroom colour, or something. 
  17. Foraging, it's like stealing from nature. I live in a city, but the back road to the garages, for my row of houses has blackberries, fallen apples, raspberries and strawberries, and they are all free, it's brilliant.
  18. Being a bit of a boy racer, there is nothing I enjoy more than 'taking them at the lights'.
  19. Singing loudly (and badly) in the car, what is it about cars that make you think you are invisible, you are surrounded by windows, so people can see you when you are going full on Whitney, or in my case Wiley (I like Grime). 
  20. Sometimes not socialising when I have said I will. When I am tired or snuggly or all settled and can't be arsed to slap on some make up and make an effort to be friendly, nice, and sociable. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood.
Now I am sure I have more of these and I may return to them, but for now this is it. I would love to know what yours are? Feel free to comment.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

11 Things that have Changed in My Body

This blog has been prompted by the post suggestion, My Body, from the lovely people at Post 40 Bloggers and also because of a conversation I had with the lovely @thinlyspread on Twitter.

Up until my late 30's I happily slipped between a size 12 - 14, then kids happened, and giving up smoking, (in that order, lets try not to judge). And then a child who just wouldn't stop breast feeding, which for anyone who has done it, makes you ridiculously hungry and thirsty ALL THE TIME.

The end result, by my early 40's I was more like a size 18 - 20 with two small children and a healthy affinity with a large glass or two of red of an evening.

Now before I go any further, I would like to say I am still a size 18 (on a good day and depending where I shop), and I still like a nice glass of red.
Me in the North Sea, at Cromer in Norfolk, bloody freezing, but loads of fun

This is not a weight loss story, this is what has happened to my body in the last 10 years.

I think a list is probably the most efficient way to do this.

  1. With the birth of my first child, all my time working on computers got the better of me and Carpal Tunnel (repetitive strain) flared up for the first time - this is ongoing.
  2. Similarly, with the birth of my first child, which lets face it wasn't exactly whale music and gentle massage - I developed piles, again, this is just one of life's daily joys
  3.  At 40 I was diagnosed with CML (Chronic Myloid Leukaemia) which I have spoken about before. The some of the side effects of the drugs, are fatigue and joint pain.
  4. At 46 I broke my ankle, quite badly, I talk about it here, I learnt how awful it is not to be able to walk and have ended up with a permanently weird looking ankle with some impressive scars.
  5. At 48 I started to show signs of the peri-menopause (the bit before the  menopause itself), irregular periods, mood swings.
  6. At 50 the peri-menopause, or it could be the real menopause, I no longer know or care, is fully underway, with weird sleep, strange moods, uncontrollable crying, and ridiculously heavy and frequent periods. I may also have the more well known, sweats, but that is also a side effect of my CML drugs, so who knows. At least I don't have the dry eye's when I sleep like @thinlyspread.
  7. I am currently typing this in a wrist brace having had a steroid injection in my wrist for the Carpal Tunnel, yesterday (Apparently the last one I can have, after that it's the op which I am not keen on).
  8. I have troublesome knees. After I broke my ankle I walked and moved differently for a time, this impacted on my knees.
  9. I suffer from stiff achy shoulders, again, years in front of a computer, whilst people shout at me on the phone.
  10. The holding in of wee, seems to have become an issue over the last few years, sneezing and giggling have embarrassing consequences.
  11. And then there is the general ageing, the sag of the face, the wrinkles, the lack of boob pertness, and bingo wingedness (so much I am planning my first flight).
So, it's been a bit of a downward spiral, however, on a positive note, over the last 18 months I have been tap dancing again. I can't walk the next day as both my ankle and my knees are completely knackered, but I love it and I get all that good endorphin joy.

Similarly, I have been doing Pilates every week to improve my core* since January, and although I find it hard, I quite like it.

In fact, I have been generally healthier this last year, despite my body firmly telling me, I can't or shouldn't do things, I just ignore it and carry on, because in my mind I am about 18 and so my stupid 50 year old body can go and do one!

And as for the menopause and all it's weirdness, much as I wanted to, I can't avoid it, it's coming for me anyway. As women, we need to talk to each other about it, so we don't feel so isolated and share our stories.

After all, in many cultures, this stage in our life means that we have now reached wisdom and are considered the wise women in our tribes (can someone tell my kids that?).

*So I stop weeing myself!

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