Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The New Year Cometh....

I am falling to bits
I take a tablet every day for indigestion
I have arthiritis in my hands
My IBS is legendary, and extremely embarrassing and inconvenient in turns
I have a little bit of carpal tunnel in my wrists
And I have had a cold every other week since September.
I am overweight
I get out of breath climbing the stairs
I am not fit
I drink way (no really, WAY) too much coffee
and intermittantly too much wine
I could eat more healthily

Enough is enough
(in the background, fade in 'Eye of the Tiger')

Christmas is nearly upon us and inevitably there follows the new year. I need to make some dramatic changes to my lifestyle. And possibly my diet (I love food so I am struggling with this a little..)

Four years, 3 months and 8 days ago (not that I am counting) I gave up smoking. I did this, primarily, to live longer. So I could see my children grow up. Unfortunately, I liked smoking (a little rebellious part of me still thinks it looks cool..I know it isn't but...shhhh lets just not tell anyone that) I miss smoking. I don't miss it's power and the way I planned my day around cigerettes, but I miss the quiet moments, the sitting outside looking at the stars (and thinking I look cool). So I replaced cigerettes with food and wine - mostly twiglets. It has taken it's toll. I was supposed to get fitter when I gave up, instead I have put on a load of weight and now my heart is fighting with vast amounts of lardy colesterol and carrying around XXX stones of extra weight (I love you all but I am not sharing that with you - I am still angry with the Wii Fit for telling me how much I weighed with ne'er a by your leave, but that's another story!). I still worry about cancer (20 years of heavy smoking makes you worry about cancer - unless you are a complete idiot). So now I worry about cancer and heart attacks, giving up smoking is brilliant. I am a worrier.

So not just a change of lifestyle and diet, but a change in attitude. I need to stop worrying and just start doing. And concentrate on the primary goal. Live longer, watch my children grow up - and participate in that.

But how?

New years resolutions...that's how - obviously.

So what do I need to do and change and stuff?

  1. Reduce coffee drinking to two cups a day
  2. Stop eating the fried, high in fat food
  3. Twiglets every day...really...No!
  4. Exercise is not a bad word
  5. The Wii Fit is my friend
  6. So is the bicycle in the garage that has quite literally got ivy wrapped around it.
  7. Say hello to salad and soup without cream in
  8. Say goodbye to my old friend cheese. I love cheese, but sometimes when you love something you have to let it go...
  9. Yes volumptuous is sexy, but weezy is not.
  10. Less is more ... whoever said that originally was talking rubbish, less isn't more, it's less....Rubbish
  11. Remain positive, if I have a pack of Twiglets or 3 cups of coffee it is just a glich and not a reason to give up.
  12. If I exercise it does not mean I can eat more
  13. Make my portions smaller
  14. Do the yoga, not only will it make me healthier it may actually relax me and help with the IBS.
  15. Go swimming, walking, biking more with my lovely children and husband
 There you go, a plan of sorts. I will happily take on any further suggestions, medical advice or general words of support. (In my mind a tiny little voice is screaming 'Help Me'..Pitiful but true) I will let you know how I get on.

PS - Smoking is not cool, I did not look cool smoking and anybody who does smoke is rubbish. Honestly.

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Nativity Factor

My seven year old daughter loves to sing and dance, mostly to Hannah Montana and Demi Levato. And she has been singing all the songs for the Nativity play to us and showing us the dance moves.
So today, I go to the nativity play and my daughter is happy to be part of the massive ensemble that is ‘Nativity’. She knows her friends lines as well as her own and is genuinely full of Christmas happiness.

I find myself looking at the leads in the play and noticing that the majority are blonde and blue eyed. Traditionally pretty. I start to wonder, why isn’t my child the Star or the Angel or Mary or even one of the little dancers? Why can't you see her singing?

Am I being paranoid? Is this just a horrible flash back to my own childhood where I desperately wanted the leads but just didn’t get them?

My daughter was happy with her part and loved the whole experience.

Dear God, am I going to be one of those hideous pushy mother’s?

Then again studies have shown that the more attractive you are the more successful you are likely to be, and the hierarchy of the society begins in the playground.

Karen Lorenz of Careerbuilder.com said;

‘Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. But how much do looks matter at work?

The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5 percent to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3 percent to 8 percent less than those deemed good-looking..
Good examples of this recently are - The X Factor - not a single fat person in the final. Then there is the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown comparison. I mean really, who did we all like best originally. 

This all sounds like I think my daughter isn't beautiful, she absolutely is both, bright and beautiful, she has lots and lots of friends at school, but she isn’t blonde, she doesn’t look like a child Barbie. She is not doll like and subservient she is spirited and independent.
Is she going to miss out on opportunities at school because the adults sub-consciously or consciously pick an outdated view of beauty and behaviour in British society?

OK deep breath.
I suspect I am reading way too much into it and have just turned into a typical Mum who knows how fab and talented her child is and just can’t understand how nobody else can see it? You all thought the same when you went to your childs nativity................didn't you?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Give Blood...

I have been trying to give blood for years, my Mum has a gold medal in it (seriously, if you do it so many times you get badges), I am quite competitive with my Mum, so I was keen to get started with the badges.

During my twenties I was invincible and selfish, so I didn't bother then.

Then in my thirties I started thinking about other people and contemplating my own mortality and so away  I go.

First attempt... they wouldn't let me. Trying for a baby.

Second attempt.....they wouldn't let me. Just had a tattoo.

Tattooing is addictive so several years passed and several tattoo's and you have to wait a year since your last one before they let you give blood. I finally had a year off tattoo's.

Third attempt - they won't let me. I have had a minor medical procedure.

Fourth attempt - about a month ago. I answer the lengthy questionaire about my health and what I have been up to sexually and in what country did I do this sexy behaviour, they now know more about me than my husband or closest friends.

And after much careful consideration and sideways glances, and a needle prick in my finger to see if I have enough iron in my blood the nurses finally deem me worthy and healthy enough to give blood.

Yay me.. So chuffed.

So I lie there and lie there and lie there. And they get their pint.

Then it all went a bit wrong. I sit up, nausea and much whirlyness. Dear God. Did they inject me with pure alcohol?
Yikes more sitting up, then lying down and no...Moving is not an option.

I reach a real low when the nurse says that it might be good to throw up.

This is not good. I am in  a blood mobile in my work car park, with people I work with, some of which are on my team. Mortified. And it smells of diesel and the blood mobile moves, alot...whirly whirly whirly.

They finally get me into the recovery room at work - everybody is lovely, but still I am desperately embarrassed.

It takes me about 4 hours to get to the point where I can get myself home.

I go to bed and sleep.

The next day I feel like I have been softly bruised all over and have a headache (still think there were injections of alcohol!)

What they didn't ask me was; 'what's your blood pressure like'.

If your blood pressure is a bit low, it may not be such a good idea to give blood if you haven't eaten or drunk anything for a while.

They think that was what happened to me, and I don't want anyone put off by my tale of woe. I am just feeble and useless (the more you read of the blogs the more you will realise this to be true!).

Normal healthy people give blood with no problems at all.

Do give blood if you can, it save lives...My one measley pint might make all the difference to someone and that makes all my nausea and embarrassment worthwhile.

I just might give it a miss for a while, and probably not do it at work. (And watch those nurses..syringes with alcohol, I tell you!!!!)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Queen of the Goo

I have found my gaming level, I am queen of the Goo. On the Wii we have a demo called World of  Goo. I am the champion in our house (currently) being the only one to complete all the demo levels.

We now must purchase the whole game so that I can become hideously competitive with my children and not care when I beat them, and completely not notice that this actually breaks their hearts....No really... this is why I tend not to play on computers, Playstations, Xboxes etc..I have history...

Before gaming was affordable for all, I was Queen of the pool table, take no prisoners, toy with boys when they didn't know me - I made quite a bit of beer money this way.

Then I got a playstation. I liked the fighting games (the signs were there). I liked the release of expletives. I liked the cut and thrust of the kill.

So should we buy World of Goo (which reminds me of worms, similar sound effects..thats for you gamers out there)? Probably not. Not if I want my children to grow up without emotional scars.

Just from today, they have picked up my motto (said through gritted teeth and a bit of a grimace and in times gone by with a fat cigar at the side of my mouth) 'Never give up' and are chanting it with me, Rambo styley, next thing you know I will have them wearing camo gear and taking me on at Tekken...I am just concerned what new words they may learn.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Things I have said to my daughters today

I have blatently stolen this idea from Tara at Stickyfingers who was inspired by Millennium housewife
Here are the many and varied things that I have said to my beautiful, well behaved charming girls today.

  • Lola, please stop wearing my boots you'll fall ov...Oh  dear.
  • Heather, use a tissue, don't do what you've just done..that's disgusting.
  • Stop making yourself straight (whilst trying to lift Lola out of a shopping trolley)
  • Lola NO. You are covered in flour...
  • I am glad you like girls best...(then as an after thought)..but if you liked boys best that would be OK too.
  • Heather, please...just look where you're going, No, fine, just walk behind me then!
  • Lola stop being Mummy
  • Yes Boba Fett is Daddy's favourite....(from the Kitchen, No actually it's Hans Solo)
  • (to both) Please put some clothes on...(anyone who knows my children will realise this is not unusual)
  • Lola please stop using Mummy as a tissue.
  • Heather stop touching everything
  • Heather stop picking up everything
  • Heather stop running up and down the travelator
  • Heather that's dangerous
  • Heather yes, we will do biscuits, but only when Mummy has had coffee...
  • Yes we can watch Alvin and the Chipmunks but Mummy needs to make a coffee first
  • Heather don't do the farting noise with your armpit..it is not funny in any universe.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Trying to do something with my Monday

OK I have compressed my hours at work so I have Monday off. This was so that I can take my eldest daughter to school one day a week, save a bit of money on the childminder and have some 'me' time.

Tomorrow is my third Monday.

So far my Monday's have gone like this:

Monday Number One - Had a really horrible cold and if I wasn't off anyway, would have been off sick. Harumph.

Monday Number Two - Really horrible cold was still with me so much of the day was spent on the sofa - although I did update my Christmas spreadsheet, which cheered me up a bit. (OK, OK I know that sounds exceptionally nerdy...nope, searching for excuses on this one, I have none. Hi, my name is Jane and I am a nerd).

Monday Number Three - Right this is tomorrow...Here are my ongoing plans for the 6 hours I have to myself:

  1. Write my masterpiece (I anticipate this will take a few Monday's. I am realistic I can't complete this on the one day)
  2. Wrap aforementioned Christmas Presents (preferably whilst listening to the Ratpack singing Christmas tunes with cinnamon scented candles smelling lovely and maybe a smidge of mulled wine)
  3. Remove and dismantel the cupboard in the bathroom whose base is rotting from too much bath water spilling and soaking into it.
  4. Remove broken sofa, mattress and travel cot from spare bedroom.
  5. Move daughters bookcase as have realised that there is a better place for it which would give them more room in their bedroom.
  6. Put up picture that has been down since the loft was done. (In April)
  7. Go to the tip.
  8. Declutter the whole house so that my house looks neat for an hour or two
  9. Add as much of the 'clutter' items to eBay so that I make a bit of cash from all my hard work.
  10. Actually use the Wii Fit that I brought for me and is actually only used by my husband and kids.
  11. Feel incredibly productive...and a bit smug.
Here is what is actually going to happen:
  1. Take eldest daughter to school
  2. Get home, make a lovely filter coffee
  3. Catch up on all things Sky+ that husband doesn't like - House & Fringe.
  4. More Coffee
  5. Puruse Sky Anytime to see what films are on - watch films
  6. Get Coffee
  7. Take long bath. Read book in bath, maybe have little nap
  8. Tidy up a bit, put some laundry away. More Coffee.
  9. Fetch daughter from school
  10. Complain to husband about how little time I have and yawn for effect.
  11. Feel a little bit useless and very lazy and unsmug.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Ten things you didn't know about me..

The lovely Rebel Mother has awarded me the Honest Scrap award

Thanks - I think?

Here are The Rules:

1. ‘The Honest Scrap Blogger Award’ must be shared.

Here you go folks, I happily share this with:

Muddling along Mummy
Is there a Plan B
Bad Housewife
Sticky Fingers

2. The recipient has to tell 10 (true) things about themselves that no one else knows.

OK Here goes. Deep breath.

  1. If you were a Yuppie between 1989 and 1991 and went to the Brahms and Liszt in Covent Garden. It was me that stole your bottle of wine. Sorry.
  2. I can play the trumpet, although I haven't done it for a while.
  3. It was me that knocked down the lamp post in Copthorne in Shrewsbury (this was about 1986)
  4. My first car was an maroon Allegro with a sun roof.
  5. Sorry to the garage attendent at Monkmoor in Shrewsbury  from about 1996 -1999, I realise that my visits may have appeared strange and happened at odd times in the night and I may not have been completely sober, but some times you just need a fag.
  6. I secretly loved the attention I got for some of the outfits I wore clubbing.
  7. I hate that aging bothers me so much.
  8. The one time I scived off school I got glandular fever and didn't go back for 6 months.
  9. I chucked a fella, I had met one night, out of my flat because he smelt funny.
  10. I have no regrets.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Why I don't like Disneyland

Am I weird? OK all those who know me don't answer that.

Am I the only person in the world who doesn't like the corporate giant that is Disney?

I have just got back from Euro Disney; I went with a grumble in my heart, comfortable shoes and tales of very expensive food. They were not kidding about the food. A meal for 2 adults and 2 children cost a hundred pounds a pop! This is extortion. They have you captured in this strange little world and there is no way out. Talk about feeling trapped!

I tried to have an open mind but queuing for everything really annoys me at the best of times, but when I have paid a fortune for the privilege of being there.... and then there is the piped music, ugh, ugh, ugh...I mean, really? I wouldn't mind if was varied but no, the same songs over and over again.

Then there are the shops. So many shops. You have to walk about half a mile through shops before you even see a ride, and then my 3 and 6 year old really only had a choice of about 8 rides that they could go on.

In true grumpy old woman style; I was disgusted and appalled.

Everybody said to me but, ah..the children you will see their little faces light up etc etc... I have seen my 6 year olds face light up more when she has discovered a snail in the garden. In fact when I asked her what she thought at the end of the holiday, her response was 'it was alright'. I tried to get her to elaborate, and she did like the Peter Pan Ride 'because you could see lots of shadows in the town'.

We were there for Halloween and were really looking forward to the parade, but even that caught my daughter off guard and scared her (I think it was the dancing Nightmare before Christmas fella), so she wouldn't watch that anymore.

I have just asked her again, if she thought it was magical there, and she said 'Yes, because I saw fairy dust on the floor and Tinkerbell'. The trouble is I know that’s down to her own imagination and has absolutely nothing to do with Disney.

Then there was the Hotel. We stayed in the Disney Hotel, it smelt odd...artificial, like air freshener or shake 'n vac. The TV in the room had no volume control, so we couldn't watch it quietly when the kids went to sleep, and there were no coffee and tea making things in the room. I paid a FORTUNE to stay in this hotel and no coffee in my room! The good things about the hotel where; the staff, they were lovely and really helpful, the breakfast was great, and the magic hour, where we got to go into the park an hour before everybody else.

Why did I go in the first place, it's a long story but I made my eldest daughter a promise. Do I regret going? No, I think I had to experience it for myself, and I really enjoyed all the time with my family, but in terms of value for money against magical memorable moments like they promise in the adverts ... hmmm not really.

Finally, and what highlighted the scary commercialism of it all, we left on the 1st November and saw Disneyland changed from Halloween to Christmas, overnight.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Hallowe'en

We are off to Disneyland Paris tomorrow. But most importantly we are going there for Hallowe'en, my eldest daughter was given the choice of the summer holidays or Hallowe'en and Hallowe'en won hands down.
So we have been preparing for this pagan festival as you can see from the photos below.

I think we are ready.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

42 - Yikes!

I am 42 on tuesday. 42 the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (according to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

How did that happen, my Mum and Dad were old when they were 42..weren't they?

Who else is 42....(Imagine a 5 minute pause here whilst I go off to Google. This would be the point where you go and make a cup of tea)
OK so it's 10 minutes later just consider yourself lucky I got bored by the letter N.

Benicio Del Toro (this is a good start)
Carrie Ann Moss (her that was Trinity in the Matrix) 
Emily Watson (world renowned British Actress - excellent)
Christopher Judge (Alien off Stargate - look it means something to me, keep your Sci fi geek comments to yourself)
Gordon Ramsey (but he looks so old...UGH)
Helen Chamberlain (she presents the Saturday football thingy on Sky 1)
Henry Cusick (plays the Scottish fella on Lost)
John Barrowman (He can do as much musical theatre as he likes, and he can keep telling himself he is Gay but he will always be Captain Jack to me!)
Kate Garraway (GMTV Lady who can't dance)
Kurt Cobain (well he would be if he was alive and I bet he would be cool, much cooler than being dead, anyway)
Kristen Johnston (From 3rd rock from the sun)
Laura Dern (Do you remember her in Blue Velvet?)
Les Ferdinand (Is he the one who was horrid to Ulrika, I am useless on celebrity gossip!)
Lisa Edelstein (Stern boss lady of House)
Matt LeBlanc (Nice but dim off Friends)
Moon Zappa (pretty sure she is the daughter of Frank)
Nicole Kidman (No explaination required)
Noel Gallagher (the more talented brother of Liam)

OK feel much better now - I am clearly in good company, apart from that Les fella and horrible Mr Ramsey (although his recipe for pannacotta is very good - the book was a present!)

Do you share a year with anyone exciting?

The Picture is me on my 40th doing a Pink thing for Breast Cancer Awareness

A Momentary Lapse in Judgement

A friend of mine recently had a momentary lapse in judgement.

This lapse in judgement has meant I have spent quite a lot of time apologising to people.

My friend created a stupid (and strange and definitely not funny) comment in an email, and hit 'reply all' instead of 'reply'.

In fairness I wouldn't have thought much of the comment had he just hit reply.
Unfortunately by hitting 'reply all' he sent his stupid comment to nearly my entire personal address book (including my 80 year old Mum, people who work for me and some acquaintances as well as close friends).

And although the consequences of this have been difficult, challenging and emotionally draining, it has got me thinking.

This really bothered me, but when I tried to explain this to my friend, he said sorry, but I could see that he didn't really understand (or seem to really care) why I was upset or bothered.

Most people I know live by the motto 'do as you would be done by'. And that's the thing. If I had done to my friend what he did to me 3 things would have happened:

1. I would be mortified

2. I would have apologised - profusely to him and everybody else affected

3. He would have been really angry

So why doesn't he get it - he is an old and close friend, who I know would be up in arms if someone else had done this to me...Has my friendship become something that is such a constant that it's now taken for granted?

So what has happened - I had a couple of sleepless nights, I was angry and quite emotional and said quite a lot of bad words. I spoke to him on the phone and asked him to send an apology out but didn't say the bad words to him. A day later he sent an apology. I tried to tell him how I really felt but did it in such a way that he probably thought it was OK.

So who am I really angry at?

Me, I should have told him how upset he had made me, and all the real consequences of his actions.
Now what?

Probably nothing, we will just move one and I will tuck it away. Let’s hope all these things I tuck away don't make me explode one day.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Picture Perfect Meme

Here are the pictures my daughter's drew of me,  for Tara's Yikes! Is that meme?  - Forget everything nice I said about you in my previous post. I take it all back..this is just cruel.

I have either no arms or clubs for arms...On Lola's I look ridiculously grim.
OK I am passing this task on to...


I am sorry...in advance

Thanks Tara

Thanks to Tara at Stickyfingers I have been reading lots of blogs this week..My goodness aren't we a clever and articulate lot!

Having babies hasn't fried our brains after all (thank you which every deity or spiritual thing gummy bob you prefer), but released a load of creativity out there in the blogosphere. The blogs make me cry, laugh and realise that whether you work or not we are all Mum's and experience similar feelings and thoughts.

I never really liked all those NCT things or organised baby groups, I used to say that I didn't need new friends just because I had had a baby. I did go to my post natal sessions and I can honestly say that all I got from it was how to do baby massage and resuscitate a choking child (OK - both these things have been handy, but the point is I didn't make any friends).

I was wrong, I was incredibly, cripplingly lonely when I had my first child. I didn't live close to my old friends and the friends I had made through work just wanted to carry on clubbing (the dancing kind, not the one with seals - that would just be weird).

My problem is, as I told Tara, I don't like people...I have to be social, gregarious and friendly everyday at work. When I am not at work I just want to be with my kids and husband, drink wine, eat Twiglets and be grumpy...Is that wrong?

God (Or other deity etc, you get the picture) bless Tara and my other new Mummy friends for persevering with me, when I had my second child, I found out where to breast feed comfortably whilst shopping, I learnt how to lunch** I found out it is quite nice to go for long walks in parks with prams. It's nice to visit friends and chat and not just about babies but other stuff too.

The thing is, I hated the social events, first at nursery where all the parents are pulled in for a 'disco'. Then you start to get the invites to children’s parties, at the local Wacky Warehouse*, again enforced sitting with other parents just because your children share the same room at nursery or class at school, does not make you instantly friends with the parents. The conversational one up Mum or Dadship..I have a TrippTrapp this.. a Mama's and Papa's that..UGH! Then there is the 'knowledge'..not like the London Taxi Drivers, but your little person has given you the full gen on all the other little people - little boy 'Tom' says bad words, Little girl 'Brittany' pushes, Little boy 'Harry' bites etc..So before you even meet these people you have your preformed (mis)conceptions of who they are and what they are like.

So I love this blogging this is a great way for me to be socially acceptable without having to be accepted socially - and I have also realised that I can make new proper friends, out there in the real world.

Thanks Tara. You are a good friend to me; I only hope I do the same for you.

Just for the record - this was not the aim of this blog, to go all sappy and embarrass my friend, but like most of my blogs I start off with a thought that ends up some where else.

*Note to self: must remember to blog about Wacky Warehouse's at some point...like the wire that wraps up children’s toys..soft play areas with adults and alcohol, how wrong is that

**To lunch - a verb, a doing word, a social thing you do with friends - I aspire to lunch all the time, I also aspire to be independently wealthy, so I could lunch everyday, unfortunately my aspirations remain just that. Damn it.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sausages

Last BBQ of the season. Here comes Autumn.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

To work or to blog..?

I have had a week off poorly from work, was it piggy flu? Possibly, I felt awful.
Second half of the week I realised that I was well enough to sit on the sofa, blanket over me with laptop intravenously attached so that I could feel back in the world.

I have had lovely time reading blogs &Twitter posts, so I could actually follow conversations. It is a great world of bloggy twitteriness out there, which usually work stops me from participating in properly. Silly work.

Then my children would get home, with husband from school and nursery and annoy me as I was engrossed in my laptop world. Silly Kids and Husband.

Hang on ...what is going on here, suddenly all day at home on computer and I am no longer able to socialise with my, right here in the real world, loved ones as I am too busy following twitter..Yikes!

And, my work is not silly, I finally have a job where I make a difference, I protect the public working for a regulator (that sounds rather grandiose, but it is basically true).

But I do love all this social networking, I chat to people I would never of chatted to before and hear interesting thoughts and opinions in blogs. It's kind of like starting college where I knew no one and had to make friends and hear new views and beliefs. I enjoy it because I am learning things from the many bloggers and twitterers out there, I am continuing to expand my mind.

So on Monday I am back to work (assuming I can get rid of this cough). I expect I will get my balance back then. Unfortunately,  there is never enough hours in the day. How do you manage your balance?

Thursday, 1 October 2009

This is me (Or hairstyles I have had)

OK, I have been blogging a while and I think the time has come to share...Go on, you know you want to too, I would love to see your photo's.

This is me

1969 (approx)
A time when I was still fit and healthy and cycled everywhere

1975 (approx)
I loved that top

(and yes those are Dulux Dog and Paddington posters.. I was deeply enmeshed in the 70's and an adolescent - not a stylish combo!)
Don't be fooled by the guitar, I am not musical.

This was my interpretation of my school uniform..and I still wonder why they wouldn't let me be a Prefect

1983 ish
It appears I briefly became a Nolan.

 Permed for my A levels
This may look like I was drinking before I was 18...I very much doubt it, although that period of my life is alittle bit blurry.

Gloomy college girl (I did this very well)
 Loved that jacket, brought it off an ex-boyfriend for £30.
Still have that jacket.
 Can't wear that jacket
Jacket has shrunk as I have grown older - who knew leather could shrink!

Still gloomy
And what was I doing to that poor top?

1996 ish
At a friends wedding.
Most of the 90's were pretty dull

Until the clubbing years
(I know, I left it a bit late I was mutton before I even started)
I had a ball!

Got married, continues to have a ball.

Got pregnant, turned into a ball

Back having a ball, but now with bingo wings...classy
Being fab at forty

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy's Girl

My eldest daughter is a Daddy's girl, he can be really strict with her, but she loves him - totally. She believes he can do anything. And most of the time he can. It's lovely and I love them both.

Do I feel jealous? Nope - I still feel the same about my Dad, it's a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Autumnal money savers for Christmas

The leaves are falling off the trees and autumn is here...So now it's time to think about how to save money this Christmas. Here are a couple of things I will be doing.

Helpful Tip number 1

Take your sunflower heads and dry them out a bit (for about a week). When the top feels dry to touch pop out the seeds. Then leave the seeds to dry out on a plate on a sunny window sill (you may have to sort out the seeds from some chaff, but get your children with their little fingers to help with this, they will love it)

Print out lots of pictures of sunflowers (or cut out from magazines) and glue them onto little envelopes. Put 10 seeds in each, great as gifts for all your children's school friends or into hampers.

Helpful Tip number 2

Dry out your herbs (just by hanging them in your kitchen) then crush them up a bit and pop them into little glass pots (4 for £1.99 from Ikea). Buy some sticky labels, cut to size and hand write your labels (best handwriting, please).

Helpful Tip number 3

I have nicked this idea off a friend but I think it is worth sharing. If you want to make hampers for friends it can be quite an expensive exercise. Why not buy something for your friends and family's hampers every week leading up to Christmas so it isn't such a massive expense - one suggestion is these Green and Black chocolates from Ocado they are on offer so if you need to buy a few of each item (I usually make 6 hampers) this kind of offer is fab.

Have you got any hints and tips you could share in the blogosphere to save money this Christmas?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Blasting off about expensive toys

My baby girl turned three last Sunday. She isn't really a baby anymore, but a big girl.

One of her presents was a voucher for a well know toy store, so off we all troop to get her gift.

After much serious consideration we got something we knew she liked and she was thrilled.

So we get home, spend several hours with pliars untwisting the wires (that is a whole other issue, that infuriates me so much that I can't actually talk about it!)

Finally, she has the toy, plays with it for nearly a whole 5 minutes and then moves on...marvellous.

Later, I am reminded why a child's imagination is better than any toy.

Lola (my 3 year old) wonders into the house and asks me to draw a rocket. I ask her why, and she says 'so I can go to the moon' - Obviously, I am clearly an idiot for not realising it.

So off I go, and do my best illustration in chalk of a rocket (with moon and stars), which I have to say I am quite proud of.

There follows about an hours worth of good play, with lots of counting down, blasting off, martians and buckets for helmets.

So the key to a great afternoon with your kids - chalk and a bit of imagination. Expensive toys..forget about it.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Futurologists, Balaclava's & Strange days

For work last week, I went to the BT Centre in the centre of London.

I was their to find out about Workforce Optimisation and it was really good (because, I am not very secretly, extremely nerdy), although BT were actually trying to sell us some really spangly software (which, if I was the queen of the budget, I would buy without hesitation), they talked to us about other things.

A lady called Dr Nicola Millard is a Futurologist, she looks at the psychology of people and technology. She talked about Generation X to Generation Z (I didn't even know there was a generation Z), how we communicate and our relationship with technology. She was fascinating and animated and reminded me why I enjoy my job so much.

Anyway, whilst we were there, protesters broke in to the building in balaclavas, protesting that because BT have a contract with the Ministry of Defence and are therefore arms dealers, allegedly. (and just for the record, I did have a moment of 'this could only happen to me')

So, although I was loving the information that was being shared, I had this weird sense of; Oh yeah, they are a big corporate business and yes, they probably do things for money that I would be less than comfortable with. Which got me thinking.

As I have got older, I have noticed, that things aren't black and white anymore and compromises are made. When I was younger I was vehemently anti-war (probably not to the storming buildings in Balaclava's sense, but still..).

Now, if I thought anybody was threatening my children and their lives were at risk, I would put myself in the way of any harm and if necessary use any means necessary to defend them. I am sure anyone would.

So the futurologist is talking about the up and coming next generation meanwhile another generation is unhappy with the now..and I am thinking what buttons would some one have to push to make me kill...It was an extremely strange day.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Girlymers - Part 1

These are some of my friends, at a Christmas Girlymer.

What is a Girlymer?
A Girlymer is a meal with my friends.

These are not just any friends, these are my oldest friends , there are seven of us.
My newest friend, I have been friends with for 24 years, one of them I have known since we were babies, the rest I either went to junior school and or secondary school.

We have been together whilst having children or choosing not to have children, whilst getting married, getting divorced and getting re-married.

We have lived close together and far apart, I have shared a house with one of them, shared boyfriends with none of them and my brother has married one of them (please see: http://howilikemycoffee.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-best-friends-wedding.html)

With this length of friendship, our friendships have changed, developed and evolved. We can argue like family as we know the love is unconditional, they can frustrate me, like family, and they can show their love in the most unexpected but great ways.

I am lucky to have them and appreciate them and think about them often (as I don't live close enough to pop around for a coffee).

I am currently trying to organise the next girlymer at my house, I will let you know how that goes soon ...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

365 to 42: Blog of the week - Pictures, Poetry & Prose

365 to 42: Blog of the week - Pictures, Poetry & Prose

Plaster Removal, The Ice Rink & Ferris Bueller

Today we had the appointment at the hospital for daughter No 1 to have her plaster removed. Hurrah, there was some concern that they may have to put a new one on after being checked - but no, all was well. And because of this I was on a promise to take daughter No 1 to the ice rink for a session ice skating.

So off we went, with me thinking that I haven't done this for years and may end up in plaster myself, but husband and I had decided I was the best man for the job (so to speak) as his limited experience of ice skating resulted..... whoops, have just asked him to tell me the story again, but he has vetoed me, as he doesn't want it 'out there'. Suffice to say I have limited experience but it is more than him.

So daughter No 1 and I turn up and the ice rink is closed...till October, secret victory dance goes on in my head, whilst I solemnly explain that it is closed. Much disappointment but a promise of painting when we get home cheers her up no end.

So painting happens and ends, what next (Blimey, 7 weeks of school holidays is a long time to keep a six year old entertained - what do teachers do in this 7 weeks?)

(There should now be a red triangle warning - bad Mummying follows):

So I suggest we watch a film, what about Ferris Bueller's day off? She is keen when I summarise the plot, although I do wonder why it is a 15 rating? I don't remember anything bad in it.

So away we go, Ferris has fooled his parents that he is ill and is in the shower with Mohican hair preparing for his day out, when the first s**t is heard, and so it continues. Do you remember loads of swearing in Ferris Buellers day off? I certainly don't. My God. 10 minutes later we are watching the Disney Channel and Daughter No1 is trying to work out which words were bad (all of them!).

Thank goodness for teatime, the return of husband from work and daughter No 2, and general ensuing chaos...

Smoke and mirrors boys, smoke and mirrors..

Sunday, 30 August 2009

What are your five top wedding tunes?

Why oh why oh why do wedding discos play only pants music.

My gorgeous bridesmaids daughters may have liked it - but they are 6 and 2 - their idea of a good tune is the theme to Peppa Pig or Hannah Montana (bless 'em)

So you run a Disco, that plays at weddings, does this mean that suddenly you can only play soft rock and big Celine Dion Ballady things. NO.

Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of retro, play Martha and the Vandellas or some Jam and you will see me going Motown with the best of 'em...but no...like any hen or stag nights we are suddenly stuck with:

Oops upside my head
Rod Stewart
Black velvet (I have done some research and apparently this was sung by Alannah Myles)
And if we are really lucky a bit of Chas and Dave.

I was fortunate enough to have a room directly above the disco so when my daughters had to go to bed, off I went with them. They slept beautifully, I was left to listen to the fun downstairs.

In fairness, later on they did play poker face (Lady Gaga) and In for the kill (La Roux) which I enjoyed through the axminster.. but that was it really for the post 1980's music.

So my question is - If you ran the disco that did weddings - and you had to play songs over 20 years old what would you play?

Here are my five:

Volare - Dean Martin
Mad about the Boy - Dinah Washington
Feeling Good - Nina Simone
Rainy Day - Brownie Mc Ghee (because I like a bit or irony, me..If you don't know this one - try it)
Don't it make my Brown Eyes Blue - Crystal Gayle (this one is personal)

However, my five for the young popsters out there would be:

Love Lockdown - Kanye West (close your eyes and turn it up - LOUD)
Filthy Gorgeous - Scissor sisters
Brain Stew (Godzilla Mix) - Green day
Rockerfella Skank - Fatboy Slim
And now I am torn between; I like the way you move (Bodyrockers) or, The Creeps - (Camille Jones vs Fedde Le Grande) or, Song to the siren - (Chemical Brothers)...there are more, oh so many...

Anyway ...what would your top five be - Old and New (please no Rod Stewart). And is this just me?

Saturday, 22 August 2009

My 1st X-Ray

The Injured party - above - fully aware she was having her picture taken.

Today, after realising that my daughter may not be making a big deal of her arm injury, just to get attention. I gave in.

So on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, I spent two and a half hours in A & E. Not just with daughter No.1. but with daughter No.2 as well.
So how do nearly 7 and nearly 3 entertaining themselves in A & E

I think the highlight for No.2 daughter's (just for the record, No.2 only in order of when she joined us, not in order of importance - as we love them both equally - obviously) visit to A& E was crawling across three cast iron chairs, jumping off the end and shouting Taa Daa!!


Apparently Taa Daa is impossible to whisper.

She told me.

(and I truly did try...there were really sick people there).

Highlight for No.1 daughter; the X-Ray...literally afterwards shouting joyously to anyone who would listen (again, the really sick people) " I have had my 1st X-ray" clearly a right of passage.

Note to self: must spend more time with daughters on the art of quiet conversation.

And was, I hear you ask, this a valid trip or a desperate plea for attention? Has she got a fracture?

Well kinda...

If she has, which the doctor implied she had, it is very small and only recognisable because of an additional fat deposit and contusion (???). She isn't in plaster, but is medicated with Calpol and Nurofen. She is in a sling, and we do have to go to the fracture clinic on Monday. So yes, it is valid (Thank the Lord. She isn't a total Drama queen...!)

One day I will explain how this all happened... but it is probably best not to right now as I am full of spit and venom.

All I will say is Wacky Warehouses - Children and Beer - in my view, a bad combination.

And finally an apology:

I would just like to say sorry to all the people visiting Solihull A & E between 1pm and just after 3pm - the Taa Daa girl who also may be recognised by her impression of a person with a broken leg was mine, sorry sorry sorry, I hope if you were feeling dreadful she and her older sister did not make it worse ...imparticularly the limping lady they jointly bumped into...again sorry.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


I am preparing for the arrival of my Mother-in-law, from Ireland. She is coming to look after my 6 year old for the last couple of weeks of the holiday. Which is really kind of her.

I really like my Mum-in-law but she sometimes have views that have surprised me, for example:

She visited the herbal remedies shop and asked the shop assistant if Evening Primrose Oil would make you fat!

Breastfeeding, why would you? They don't do that in Ireland.

Put a rusk in the milk, and just make the hole a bit bigger, and do this from birth!

Is your child waking up really early? Just keep them up till you go to go to bed, that will stop them.

There are some other opinions she has which I could tell you, but they may cause an angry mob outside.

Her views used to bother me, when I had just had my first daughter and didn't really know what I was doing. Now I realise that she means no harm by it and is just trying to help, I just occasionally have to bite my tongue. And, miraculously, I have two healthy bright girls who seemed to have survived without taking all of my Mum-in-laws advice. And a Nan who loves them very much.

My husband is in the doghouse though, he is away 'with the lads' for one of the weekends she is here (He does have incredibly valid reasons for this - best friend back form Australia after 9 years away..etc etc)So I may take her for Sunday lunch at my parents.

Maybe my Mum will tell my Mother-in-law her theory on Global Warming - It isn't really real and just something some of the scientist thought of...Apparently?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Tenuous Links

I was reading rebel mothers blog hen I started thinking about something that happened today, which has a tenuous link to rebel mothers blog.

I was taking some photos of my kids and noticed that there was an opportunity for some pictures of legs (a pet project where in my imagination I see 12 of my photos of legs hanging 12 foot high at the Tate - example above)

I suddenly notice that my lovely hubby was cringing, embarrassed that someone might notice that I am taking photos of strangers legs through his legs, as you do.

It would never occur to me that this might appear odd, but my husband was brought up by an Irish Mother who worried/worries about what everybody thinks...all the time.

By marrying me he rebelled against it (God bless him), but it is still deeply entrenched in him, tucked away for special occasions.

How do I feel about this?
Love him that he married me knowing what I was like (on the whole, I don't really care what people think)
A bit gutted that I embarrassed him (because I do care what he thinks)
But, know that he still loves me, phew!

Tenuous link to Rebel Mother, I do enjoy my stuff, but it does sometimes have consequences - hope that makes sense?

Friday, 7 August 2009

Things that should never happen

Today I ate lunch with my sunglasses on because of my eyes being a tad sensitive after the laser. Inside a resturant. I am ashamed, this is something that should never NEVER happen. And it made me think of all the other things that should never happen or are infact, just wrong...

1, Wearing socks with sandles
2, Having ketchup and gravy together on your plate
3, Wearing red and green together
4, Spitting (anywhere, anytime..just horrible, especially if accompanied by a hacking noise)
5, Touching velvet (this is probably just me)
6, The material on the seats in coaches, ugh, hideous
7, Random humming, whistling or singing, especially when done at work, nobody wants to hear that.
8, Musical snobbery...give it a go, you might like it.
9, Tea, what is all the fuss about?
10,Fatty meat, or the meat of things that we keep as pets - no need to eat that, we have lots of other choices.

However, what I have learned today. There is always an exception to every rule.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

My 3 Best Sunday Moments

Today has been a good day...

Best bits were:

  1. My Mum coming for Sunday dinner and genuinely enjoying the pudding I made (Vanilla Panacotta with blueberry sauce..just in case you were wondering).

  2. Sitting outside with my 2 year old on my lap, just chilling, watching bees collecting pollen on the lavender, whilst she spread her toes as the breeze caught her feet.

  3. Eating the courgettes for dinner that I grew from seed...and they tasted good.

What were your 3 best?

PS - The photo is of Lola (my two year old), having one of her best moments today.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Music that remind you of smells

I would first like to apologise profusely, apparently it was Goldfinger with the Laser and Blofeld who had the cat. There he is there..How I could have got him confused with Doctor No, who in fairness looks nothing like him, I don't know.

Anyway onwards and upwards. Today I have been thinking about music that reminds you of smell, Sheryl Crow's ,Run Baby Run', reminds me of the smell of coffee and toast...Is this only me??

Radiohead's 'Street Spirit', smells of burning plastic & the Prodigy's 'Smack your Bit*h up' reminds me of the smell of new magazines. So am I weird or is this normal?

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Bond, Lasers & Big white cats

I was gutted when my optician told me I needed varifocals and there really wasn't any other choice.
varifocals..the word makes me feel old, along with arthritis. So I was not happy.

But my brother recently had laser treatment on his eyes and said it was fab, so I thought why not. So off I went yesterday, knowing that just for the consultation they would put drops in my eyes that could cause blurriness.

And yes, I signed up, sounds brilliant, lifetime guarantee and everything!

But why can't I stop thinking of Dr No, holding his big white cat, saying 'And now Mr Bond...it is time to die!' whilst Sean Connery lies spreadeagled as a laser comes closer and closer to his gentleman parts.

It won't be like that will it?

PS I would like to apologise to all James Bond aficionado's if any, or all, my references are mixed up

Monday, 20 July 2009

My Best Friends Wedding

My best friend recently married my brother.

The initial reaction that I normally get to this is; aaah.
Or how sweet, lovely etc

Then I explain how they met.

I grew up in a very small village in sunny Shropshire.

I went to sixth form in the slightly bigger, but still ridiculously quaint medieval town of Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury; Home of the pie pie (reference Lee and Herring - Fist of Fun), and more well know biscuit.

There wasn't a lot to do in Shrewsbury as a teenager in the 1980's.

So the plan was:
go to sixth form
get some A levels and
get to college in that London

thus escaping:
the boredom
middle classes and
my Mum and Dad (no offence M & D..I was a teenager!)

So, not a lot of choice on the boyfriend front either. The really good looking ones weren't interested and the nerds and geeks, and there were many, I really did not want to get to know.

Unfortunately one of the nerdish geeks took an unhealthy interest in me. Would I call it stalking...not in the '80's.

Long and short, he won me over (I was v.bored) and ended up being my first love. There followed a torturous/passionate 18 months resulting in 2 E's at A level and my love affair all over. With all to show for it, a new bestfriend, my ex's sister, whose had a 20 year crush on my brother.

So I went out with her brother and now she is married to mine...

Now close your eyes....

Imagine the sound of duelling banjo's
squeal little piggy.

hmmm... I may have some unresolved issues

PS - I still blagged it into college in London!

Blame Tara meme

Here you go Tara..I have finally created a blog, just to answer your questions!!!!

Here are your questions:
1. Who is the hottest movie star? Stewart Grainger (Dead) James McAvoy (alive)
2. Apart from your house and your car, what's the most expensive item you've ever bought? Our holiday to Disneyland
3. What's your most treasured memory? Giving birth to Lola...because it was such a long journey to get her.
4. What was the best gift you ever received as a child? A watch off Paul (my husband), the first time a boyfriend brought me something that showed they actually knew me.
5. What's the biggest mistake you've made? Martin
6. 4 words to describe yourself. Smiley, talkative, Mum, Manager
7. What was your highlight or lowlight of 2008? Getting a job after 18months off, that paid more and was a higher grade than I did before having babies...get in!!
8. Favourite film? Practical Magic
9. Tell me one thing I don't know about you. My middle name is Margaret?
10. If you were a comic book/strip or cartoon character, who would you be? Betty Boo (on a comic day) Aeon Flux (when I transform into my supernerd persona....In both cases, I would kill for their figures!)

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