Monthly Archives: April 2017

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures.

I first started thinking about stuff after being under the weather for a few days, I’d been laid in bed and crying into my pillow about ‘missing out on life’. You see exhaustion and illness can do that; scare you and remind you what you’re missing. I’m not talking about the big stuff re. Life’s journey. No! I’m ruminating on the little things that make our existence bearable and smiley. The stuff that can turn a grey Monday into golden opening to the week; like finding a tenner in a jeans pocket whilst doing the laundry (holiday shoebox appeal). So I got to thinking about guilty pleasures, we all have them. However, as the weekend has progressed I’ve needed the comfort of these pleasures to distract me from the deep feelings of sadness and loss that are encompassing me. Yes! No shit. Life can be utter poo at times. So rather than continuously crying, I’m dusting us all off and taking us all on a journey of, what I’m calling ‘silly stuff that makes life ok (when it’s clearly not sometimes).

Guilty pleasures. Mine are neither Steps, reality telly or eating my own body weight in chips, cheese and mayo (do like this but not that much). However, I’m no whiter than white holier than though coolster. I have a fully fledged list that
a) you might be aware of in places, and
b) will also surprise you.
Love it/hate it, I don’t care, because you too are welcome to have your very own list (not that you ever needed my permission) which you will never be judged for (not by me anyway) as it’s allowed as the clue is in the title.

Here’s my top ten. Read it and (yes I’ll allow it) weep with laughter:

1. Literature and cinematography (books and films): The English graduate in me should lend herself to serious fiction and films. I do read the Booker prize shortlist (and long list) yearly. Furthermore, I am no stranger to an arts festival, gallery or obscure foreign films (actually love them). But…How educated would I come across of I told you two of my favourite top ten films of all time are Coyote Ugly and Sweet Home Alabama? I love the pure abandonment of bar top dancing in the former. My goodness, how wild and wonderful my life could be if I could do that every day? Imagine the freedom of just ‘going out dancing every night’ BUT GETTING PAID FOR IT!! As for the latter, Reece Witherspoon and a fab country (yes I know! Country music ahem) soundtrack, wrapped up into a romantic comedy with some gorgeous guy called ‘Josh Lucas’ . Both throughly exciting films and make me feel warm, cuddly and like changing my life every time. (This category also includes all eighties films for muchly same reasons (it’s the tried and tested formula). As for reading? Who doesn’t like reading trashy and mindless fiction? Life is too short! Yes, escapism.
2. Musicality: I’m a shameless Manilow fan. When I recently heard he was going to do a one night at the O2, I wad straight on it!! However, as much as Him likes to join me in the Bazza love, he’s not biting (at the minute). I just love his vibe (pre too much plastic face which looks like it might melt and prompting me to moniker him ‘plastic melty man’) plus: Copacabana, Looks Like We Made It, Could it be Magic?…need I say more? Also, this love extends to another man (sadly deceased) in the music world ‘Johnny Cash’. If you need convincing I’ll just point you to ‘Walk the Line’ (song and flick). Niff said.
3. Dogs: Rosie Dog keeps me smiling all day. This fog came to me at a time when I thought the sun would never shine again. Gone are the days of me staring into nothingness; numb, empty, feeling let down by people I loved and trusted in the world. My goodness, don’t let anyone ever tell you that pets cause work. They just breed love, provide strength and support. They also give unconditional love; needing only feeding, walking and in Rosie’s case, cuddling! No drama, no stress and never have I once felt excluded from her life. She’s my best friend (apart from Him). Therefore, I’d call her my guilty pleasure (but do not feel guilty and she’s always a pleasure)
4. Food is a must. I can eat (if prompted) hourly. I exist on mini snack attacks. Top food items are: cheese, crisps, cold meat, sausages (to name a few). In fact I’ve had a bag of Wotsits whilst writing this. You might think ‘heffer’ re. Amount of food I actually consume but I counter balance with lots of exercise and healthy (not health freakish) choices (never quinoa or nuts and seeds as don’t like boring food). Food and eating is good for you. Just don’t exist on lots of Maccy’s
5. Apparel. Well, what I mean by this is not what I wear on a daily basis but all the stuff I covert and store in my wardrobe but hardly wear. I’m talking about the dresses and shoes that never see the light of day as never go anywhere. The £150 secret that’s never been worn. The dress I’m about to order as ‘have to have’ but know might only get one outing. The surprise in hide from my face when I forget about the item which is ‘found’ when one of the children needs an outfit for a night out. I might just open a store…
6. Refreshments: cup of tea. Can’t function without one. Can’t live without Him as Him makes me cuppa every morning. I can also make tea but find myself struggling as feel that he has outclassed me on tea making duties. Awh, but that tea moment can be bliss. Especially after a hard day. Best cuppa ever? The one in hofpital after having Little E. Nothing beats in. Don’t think I need go on…
7. Bathing: twice a day. Love, love, love the ritual. Bubbles. Water on skin (I’m a cancerian and also love swimming) it all makes me relax and feel cocooned. Can’t wake up without a bath/shower or feel like a tramp all day. Can’t sleep without one or feel like a scruffy dirty uncomfortable thing all night. This is with the caveat that after all bathing ‘moisturising head to toe is a must’. Followed by perfume and deodorant. Everything has to smell nice and feel clean. Maybe that laundry pile is my fault???
8. My family. Am I allowed them? Hardly guilty to love them is it? But I feel guilty I can’t always give them what they want. You see, love is in abundance in our house. Cuddles are a must (can’t sleep without them – please see below). However, all that love and affection can get lost in the wicked web of crappy life. They can push you away. Unkind words can slip out, a bad look can make you feel like the worst parent in the world. I love them all, no strings, would die for them (dramatic), so why does it feel like it’s never enough? So, the guilty pleasure for me is all those stored up memories, photos and footage of them when life was uncomplicated. When all we worried about were feeding, changing and keeping clean. Annual zoo visits, shopping trips and holidays were filled with laughter. All before teens hit!
9. Napping: whether on the sofa, after a bath or a cheeky eye close at the cinema. Napping with cuddles is the ultimate. All children trained at an early age to nap with mummy on the sofa whilst watching CBeebies. If it all gets too much? Take a nap
10. Sunbathing. So uncool. So dangerous. So bad for my ageing skin. Guess what? Don’t care! I feel of the warmth of sun on my skin is pure bliss. I’m sure what harm it goes is blasted away by the increased serotonin in my body. Greek beach is not essential but massive plus. It’s the thing that gets me through the other 340 days of the year (I’ve subtracted annual holiday plus approximation of days summer in UK). Therefore, as bad as it is for me, I think I’ll take my chances

So, there you have it. Super indulgent but I’m making no apologies for it. Sometimes we need that hug and it’s not there. So short of turning to cigarettes and alcohol, it’s good to have a list of things to make you smile. All the other stuff I do – exercise, eating chocolate, writing, reading so much it drives him mad – that’s all just to help me function. My list takes me one step further; protecting me in the scary grown up world, where, let’s face it, we’d sometimes rather retract from. No one wants to grow up really (I tell my girls this when they have ‘I’m growing up and don’t like it’ wobbles. So get yourself some guilty pleasures and you will always be able to come out smiling in the end.

PS As it is a Bank Holiday I suggest you have at least one self indulgent moment on this bonus time.


Confessions of a Bag Lady

Am I eating enough avocados? Need summer ready legs? These were just a snapshot of emails I’ve received this week. I guess they must know me well enough to guess that I’m not getting enough nutrition and that my body needs a month in a spa to get it anywhere near ‘ready’ for the five days of summer we are desperately awaiting.

Recently a friend (ahem) posted a rather awful picture of me age 21. The hair, the eyebrows, the chubby face; my goodness!! It was a stark reminder to me that ‘I must always up my game’. You see, those of you who ‘really know me’, know that I’m no ‘natural beauty’. I take a great deal of time, money and effort to maintain. Only yesterday I let matters slip. A very busy morning fielding workmen, making countless hot drinks, doing school work, shopping and organisation of the children resulted in me turning up for my fortnightly nail appointment (see money and time) looking like the abominable snowman: jeans, jumpers, big Timberland boots and my puffy winter coat. I was met with hilarity and comments such as ‘what you come dressed as?’, ‘couldn’t you be arsed to get ready?’ and ‘you do know it’s really warm today don’t you?’ My defence being it was cold earlier was met with ‘Well that was four hours ago when you WERE MEANT TO BE HERE!’ (It’s a good job I love those ladies).

Today I’ve been no better, I’ve spent the first part sweating in my running gear. Hair not brushed and hairy legs out (yes I do need summer ready legs). I cut quite a dash on the seafront. Since then I’ve been out-and-about in paint spattered jeggings, old top and converse (my boiler suit was too warm and daren’t wear it with just underwear as people here.) So I have to ponder where it all went so unstylishly wrong…

As a former touter of beauty products I was always catwalk ready. Even when giving birth my legs would be hair free, nails perfect, fake tanned and make up would be applied within an inch of its life. My hair was coloured every four weeks and blow dried every morning. Now I just scrape through and long for a day where I can just ‘look nice’.

I’ve contemplated all this whilst stripping and sanding a hall and living room bigger than your usual type (not bragging they’re just loooong! So much so that you could do circuits down my hall and I frequently do when going to the loo in the middle of the night). I thought about all the memories each layer of wood and paper holds, peeling back the years so to speak, a bit like an onion, peeling away layer after layer (it’s been a long one) to reveal some god awful fashion paper from an era that time forgot. It made me reminisce about outfits of the past. For example: my crushed velvet play suit with sequin halter-neck collar (I used to rave in it – speaking of which I also had a feather boa, silver back pack and a green PVC skirt), burgundy cord flares with gold belt and a little fake Chanel jacket which I threw out and can’t for the life of my remember why? (BIG MISTAKE). First two I would not be seen dead in now but at the time ‘highly acceptable’. With this in mind I truly believe, before Him leaves me (he’s not that shallow and was with me through awful picture and clothing stages) and friends start referring to me as ‘the bag lady’ and I’m met with whispers of ‘ooh, she’s letting herself go’ that I need an overhaul.

So, where to start? I’m going to buy some avocados. I’ve already bought a ton of fruit and am trying to drink a litre of water a day. That’ll be skin sorted (today I found I was flaking old paint off my cheeks whilst waiting to pay in B and Q). I’ve been running and yoga tomorrow. I’m also going to carefully plan my outfits (this will be my biggest challenge as if I misjudge the weather thinking it’s warm and it’s not I’ll be mega mardy). I’m going to make sure I carefully apply make up and look in mirror when leaving the house. Finally, summer ready legs? I’m going to be so ready that when the sunshine eventually arrives I’ll be like am over plucked chicken.

Once I’m ‘back in the game’ I shall then try and find a way to revive my social life. I might even start communicating properly again. Rather than just ‘thinking it’ I am ‘going to text/ring/mention it’. (Sorry I’ve been coco-loco my friends but I’ve been a bit absorbed in stuff. No excuse I know). You see, I do care and am very good at thinking of you all, I might just not be explicit in my thinking.

May is therefore ‘life overhaul month’. Stay tuned…

An Easter Message

No! I’m not going to discuss that ridiculous Trump person. What with him wielding his power crazed baton, the future is screwed, the future is orange. And, his wotsit finger poised over the big red button; poking his small weapon at North Korea, dropping £22 million pound bombs and riling up his ‘allies’ (I’m not sure he has any left) with his administration insinuating that the ‘Holocaust never happened,’ I think it’s time to close our eyes and think happy fluffy thoughts this Easter. After all, 2000 years ago major conflict was also kicking off. Same triggers: immigration, war, religious and cultural conflict and power crazed dictators all vying for top spot. Therefore, without dissecting the Easter story, I think (religious or not) that it’s worth considering the symbolism of Jesus dying on the cross and his resurrection two days later: after tragedy follows hope. Positivity is the name of the game.

The new mantra is:

Don’t think too much, just do what makes you happy.

I recently stumbled across this quotation and decided it was very good advice indeed. Especially when your monthly expenditure could support a small African nation out of poverty. You see, I have to laugh or I’d cry…’Buy a project, do it up, it’ll be fun,’ (that reminds me of that Boyzone? Song ‘find a girl, settle down’ – please correct if wrong) we both said. So we did. And yes, it is fun. Highly exciting is the fact that in the past month my house and garden are becoming presentable, in some aspects unrecognisable and certainly more modern. But what is the price I pay?

Well, firstly it’s the mess. When I say mess I don’t mean the children treating the house like a rubbish dump and hotel come food bank facilty (it’s the holidays, I’ve spent more time in Morrisons and being the unpaid skivvy ‘get me back to work NOW’ than I have relaxing). No, I’m talking the mess you’d see on DIY SOS, where people have gaping holes in walls, bits of plaster stuck to the carpets and a skip full of enough rubble to rebuild Bedrock (if Hanna Barbera want to remake the Flintstones anytime soon…). Admittedly, I’m the worlds worst at coping in a messy environment (ask anyone who knows me about finding my classroom messy). I have slight chest tightening panics over clutter and have regular (I’d say weekly, Him would suggest more frequent) hissy fits at non-use of bins, piling stuff onto sides, putting things to one side and ‘just thinking maybe I’ll put it away next week’. But, I think, and I’m sure they will all agree, that I deserve a round of applause for my calm and patient demeanour. I’ve only had one wobble and that was at the beginning when I was tired and it felt like there was a mountain to climb. Once we started, the anxiety melted away and as scary as it had been I’m still sane and married with three children and a rather large nosey dog who likes to supervise all workmen. See, smiling, not thinking, enjoying bigger picture!

Now, at the very beginning I mentioned money. You are probably thinking ‘she knew what she was getting herself into before she started’ and so I did (I haven’t slept since) However, I do need to point out that writing it all down, working it all out and making plans is very different than handing over large sums of money when you are effectively still ‘living on site’. My builder knew I’d get agitated at some point so he suggested a big move early on so I’d see results. A bit like ‘Obese: A Year to Save My Life’ where it’s tough at first, they lose over 90kg in the first 90 days, (most of episode one) but then it slows down so the year speeds up, surgery ensues and makeover included (last bit of episode one and all of two) All to keep viewers interest. However, if you fast forward you get to see the weight dropping off very quickly. (This is one of my favourite programmes and makes me want to put on 200kg just so I can meet Jessie and Heidi). In real life we can’t fast forward though so instead we knocked a wall down and dented the budget with lintels, skips and extra tea and coffee to keep us all chipper. So good advice indeedy as big impact; so much so, it has kept me in fine spirits all week! Still happy (although tired and jaded) and looking forward to the future,

The other issue has been the disruption. My lot like to congregate and relax in front of the telly. Cue my king size becoming television central and me not being able to get an early night as all is on the bed. Even the (some might say ‘spoilt’) dog (who is a gun dog meant for the life of assisting a gamekeeper, kipping outdoors and racing around an estate in Scotland) has decided that laying on my bed is preferable to the plaster encrusted carpet in the now rather large, sparse, dirty living room (beautiful space though) Not only have I nowhere to hide now (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I live my entire life for my bed and sleep) but I’ve also nowhere to go. I’m constantly hanging about for people to appear tooled up or with wood (I used to wait for pretty shoes to be delivered and friends used to come to socialise. This is because no money left for nice things, plus no visitors as I’m a building bore and not really liked – inbuilt fear). So this week we went to see my favourite musical to fill us with giddy cheer.

Joseph, to me, is like drinking Sunny D on a rainy January morning. It makes me laugh, dance, sing and is by far the best musical this Swannie has ever experienced (there’s been a few and don’t mention the Mary Poppins disappointment). In another lifetime, one before children, Him, large overbearing dog who thinks she’s human and complicated building matters, I used to dance. Ahh, such simplistic times of joy and merriment where my only problem was learning the routine and not losing my ballet shoe (I think it must be hereditary). If Dance Teacher said ‘we are doing Joseph in ____ show’ I’d be Cock-a-hoop. Go, going Joseph until my mother would have to inject me with Ritalin to settle me down. I just love it! Even though I’ve seen it countless times it never fails to make me happy. Him had never seen it before until last night. At half time (as they say in our house as they all think football terminology trounces all other vocabulary) I was punching his arm chanting ‘told you, told you, told you’. He gave me that ‘I’m humouring her smile as she’s being slightly deranged at the moment’ (good job no visitors) but by the end was singing ‘jo jo jo joseph’ and all the wrong colours in a peculiar order. Showing his ignorance for all things Joseph, but loving it all the same.

So, in these adverse and trying times I’ve lots to be happy about: Him, kids, dog and future lovely house. If I push all the angst (mess, money, upheaval…) into the far corner of my mind and pull the shutter down I can be very happy. I’m smiling that in two weeks time my house will be in such good order that we shall be able to a) watch telly on the sofa
B) sun bathe on our new decking (being able to sit in the actual garden is a plus as it was a weedy grey stoney hell pit of dust and destruction but three hard days of mine and His muscle power plus a fabulous joiner have put that right)
C) we are on course for a midsummer shindig (might not invite anyone for scared no one will turn up – I’ve form for organising events and cancelling/not inviting through ‘the fear’)

So if you see me ‘lalalaing’ I’m just pretending all is good. If I’m being a crappy friend (yet again) it’s because I’m housebound and if I do have a mini meltdown at some point, don’t judge, it’ll just be overdue.

My project might not be on the scale of nuclear war, no one is dying and I’ve been a generous boss with tea and butties, but it has turned our mini insignificant world into chaos. So in these weird, anxious and uncertain times, don’t think, keep smiling and be happy.

Also, I’d advise cramming as many chocolate eggs into your mouth as poss.

April Fools – the one that got away!

Good Friday Feeling, Enjoy this missing blog bonus…

Crazy world we live in; ain’t it? April Fools Day and scanning the news this morning, I can’t sift the fools fiction from the hilarious factual stories circulating the press. My favourite article was one on stories which should be fake but seriously aren’t. The list of the 10 hot stories (see link below) had me howling into my bacon and eggs. Maybe it was just the hungover me, but how funny is it that beards have been banned in China? Can you just imagine all the queues at the barbers? Hundreds of hairy men waiting for their facial fuzz to be removed. What about the activists? Would the police uncover a secret safe house rammed full of hairy ones refusing to conform? Maybe we should set up a helpline…???

The BBC are, to me, the trail blazers when in comes to April 1st. Being a fan of the Beebs hilarity of trying to pull the wool over the years, I always turn to them on this auspicious day. My childhood favourite was spaghetti trees becoming endangered ‘oh no!! What will we have with our bolognese?’. I do believe that sparked hundreds of calls (pre internet days when you either had to call on your circular dialling phone or post a letter) to Television House with offers of donations to help save the trees!! This year they were advertising new BBC3 show ‘David Attenborough: Life of Grime’, where the great one gets down and dirty in the musical genre, not the filthy streets of some shanty town on the outskirts of capitalist central.

As a previous activist for ‘days’ (did you know it’s National Pillow Fighting Day?), you might be surprised how much I love April Fools Day. I find it truly funny that we just ‘have a laugh’ and ‘wind people up’ and get away with it. As I said right at the beginning, it’s a crazy world we live in. Laughter, is quite arguably, the thing which keeps us all going.

Over to Channel Four for another one of my all time favourites, where the biggest and brightest brekkie show of the nineties played a blinder! The Big Breakfast were running an outside broadcast from some ubiquitous rubbish dump. They had a couple there who had thrown away a highly valuable lottery ticket. Cue many people turning up to help them look. Oh the laughs, the greed!!

That’s it though isn’t it? Humour, making a fool out of someone is very often at the expense of their vanity, pride, embarrassments…all the things we don’t want others to see (or hope they’ve noticed). Stripped, laid bare, oh how we like to giggle at another’s stupidity. Maybe it’s to make us feel better about our own sad selves. Maybe you can laugh at yourself (it’s the only way I get through it sometimes). Life is so incredibly short that I don’t mind others laughing at me, as long as I’m in on the joke too! I’d be a hypocrite if I said any different. I’m the worlds worst at pulling legs and don’t need a day to sellotape a friends stationary supply to their desk.

There is much ambiguity over the how it all began. One theory suggests April Fools originates from as far back as biblical times. Therefore implying that we’ve always liked a laugh. Apparently someone thought it would hilarious to tell Noah that the waters had receded, so he let the dove go!! More boring examples are that it comes from starting the new calendar and symbolising the changing of the seasons. I prefer to think of there being a pair of tricksters on the Ark.

Other past favourites are like the time it was reported that fracking was to happen at Buckingham Palace. As a royalist, I’d have chained myself to the giant railings and marched for the protection of our heritage.

One of my best friends is so on it it’s unreal. She can sniff out an April Fool at the opening headline. When I sent her an image of my £250,000 winning scratch card last year, she was straight onto me. Whereas the father in law was online looking for flights to America! This year we were both sent a story about ‘puppy mudder’. I felt sorry for the little ones. She was April Fooling it straight away. Which is strange as she’s always so literal…

So, fact or fiction?

Pamela Anderson loves Assange. Stating he’s freeing ‘the world by educating it’.

Strangely fact! I’d think the former Baywatch babe (still labelled after 20 years out of the red swimsuit) must have forgotten how the world was educated by hers and Tommy Lee expose!! Maybe that’s it though. Maybe she wants us all free of the shackles of secrets.

99p coins to become a new denomination.

Hilariously fictitious! What would happen to the humble penny? It would be out of business.

The new five star hotel in the Netherlands: A Crane.

Well, you crazy travellers guess what? It’s fact! Can you imagine? I love a good hotel room; particularly the luxurious beds. Can you picture yourself laying prostrate in a drafty cabin? No, me either.

Iceland to sell frozen flowers.

Unfortunately, this is fiction. I would have simply loved this. I’d much rather fill the chest freezer with blooms than steak, ice cubes and lasagne. It would have given the mid week dinner term of ‘freezer surprise’ a whole new meaning to the children’s dinner choices.

Finally I’m going to leave you with a sadly false story, which provides the most hilarious image:

‘Chinese zoo under fire as passing off hairy dog as a lion.’

April Fool’s Day: 10 stories that look like pranks but aren’t

The Tastiest Quick Chicken Pie Gluten Free (of course)

This is a tasty mid-week treat to fill you all up. Always popular in our house and can be made whilst doing a million other things. As it’s low maintenance you can even make it the night before and cook it in the oven the following day. You can serve it with extra gravy and vegetables it needs be.

You will need:
2 large chicken breasts
Three carrots (chopped julienne)
2 sticks of celery
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
3 medium potatoes
Mashed potato (either make yourself or buy two packs of the ready stuff)
1 bunch of asparagus
1 lemon
Black pepper
2 glasses of wine (one of which for you)
1/2 pint water
1 chicken stock pot (knorr are the best)
3 TBS GF flour for thickening

1. Dice chicken into bowl. Add the juice of one lemon, sage, oregano and season with black paper. Mix all ingredients and leave to the side
2. Roughly chop celery, shallot, garlic and carrots. Chuck into a large pan. Sauté on a lowish heat for three minutes (in olive oil) until soft
3. Add bowl of chicken and continue to stir until chicken is sealed (this will probably take about 5 minutes).
4. Add wine, water and stock cube. Cover and bring to the boil.
5. Add potatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. Mix the flour with a little water to make a runny paste. Gradually add to the pan, stirring continually as you do, to avoid lumps. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes.
7. Meanwhile, line a baking dish (I use my lasagne one) with asparagus. When ready, cover with the contents of the pan.
8. Cover with mashed potato. Wrap in foil and put in oven: gas mark 4, 180C for 30 minutes. Removing the foil five minutes to the end for crisping the top (you can put cheese on topping if you like.
9. Serve and enjoy!

Saying Goodbye

This week I’ve said farewell to an iPhone, au revoir to a wall, goodbye to my hoardings and we are about to say Bon voyage to the Big E – our first born, to some Mediterranean resort for the foreseeable…Also, as I write this, I suspect that I’m on the verge of lamenting the loss of a few quid at Aintree.

All this got me thinking about how sad goodbyes can be – even if you don’t give two hoots about the subject or the leaver! Take moving for example, I was desperate to move. Years I’d been trying to sell my house. Two days before we signed the deal, I sobbed into the bubble wrap and packing tape. Distraught at the thought of leaving; but was I? In hindsight I think I was more distressed about the unknown. You see I’d gone through a spate of having nightmares about living in a cold house (the old one was oven-like). , it possessing a negative aura and it falling to pieces around me. In fact it was quite the opposite and I felt instantly happy. I’ve not bothered about my old house once (sorry). Plus, more to the point, I’ve not shed a single tear that I’m not still waking up in the house I brought all three of my babies into. It appears all those silly tears were for nothing!

Also, how many times have you said goodbye to people you love? Now, some souls are, arguably, the type you’d say farewell to and hope its good riddance. But, the good ones, people who you actually like (they don’t have to be perfect. In fact far from it), are like footprints. Some footprints (the imperfect sometimes dog shit smeared ones) leave a lasting imprint on our hearts and souls. In this respect I feel incredibly lucky to have some of the most wonderful friends and family, who, may not see each other as often as we would all like, but know I love them and would do anything for them. Living proof of this are the goodbyes which have never had a finality. Those people are the ones I love and cherish the most. Those people are the ones who I miss, don’t see for over a year and when I do it’s like we’d never been apart (you know who you are). This even applies to the goodbye I said ten years ago. That person stays with me forever. Although I will never see her again in this lifetime, she is never forgotten…xxx

Sorry for the cliche but ‘life is way too short’ for regrets and dull mundanity. We should never choose the easy option , or forget our sense of fun and adventure, and should almost certainly enjoy making the memories. So let’s turn my goodbyes around and smile enjoy the journey.

The fact is I’ve given everyone a good laugh with my phone in the loo story. Further to this they’re all loving my courtesy phone – a nostalgic nod to a phone I had back in the year 2000. It takes me an hour to send a text due to the number key pad and the hilarity of that I keep pressing the wrong button and manage to keep deleting my laborious text. Little E loves it though so she doesn’t want to kiss it goodbye.

The wall, on the other hand, keeps waking me in the night. You see, once it’s gone, there’s no going back. I would also argue that we are past the point of no return; an eight yard skip and a 2.4 steel lintel (both blocking the drive) have seen to that. The crazy thing is that as soon as I saw the house my first thought was ‘get that wall down!’. It’s exciting and I’m sure it’ll be fine!

The parting of the hoardings? Well that’s more them than me. However, I do have a little tear when I throw out stuff which holds memories. Maybe life won’t be the same if I chuck Lillie E’s white dress. The one which I bought from Primark for a tenner. Looks like a confirmation dress, made a lovely Greek lady slam her brakes on at a T-junction, get out of her little Fiat and fuss over how beautiful the ‘mikró korítsi’ was. All this happened whilst strolling through in a little Greek fishing village called Kolmybari on the island of Crete (gorgeous holiday). See, do I need the item for the memory? Dressed binned but I’ll never forget our precious times yogether.

Just like saying Bon voyage to the big one. No matter how big she gets, I can tell you all her firsts, describe all her birthdays until the age of sixteen, and recall hundreds of funny stories about her growing up. Although I know I’m not going to worry about her being successful (as she will be highly efficient and organised in her new job), she will be missed. She will be a natural at getting all those tourists whipped into shape. My goodness, the way she used to do do roll call at the age of five. She’d line her teddies up, call their names out, put them in order with such a bossy tone, I can’t imagine anyone would dare step out of line, refuse an excursion, or miss flights with her in charge – they’d be too scared…Her new bosses can sleep well in the fact that she was also trained in airport and plane etiquette by her two little sisters playing ‘Sass Airlines’ – the most stylish airline this side of the Atlantic. Where, for €50 you could buy earphones, a diet coke and a packet of crisps (I renamed it Rip Off airlines) However, it never had legs as they never had a plane so the passengers never went anywhere.

Like I said happy memories, no one can take them away.

So that leaves me with the race card for the big one. You’d think practically growing up at the race track and having a dad who’d put his bobbos before everything, I would be fully equipped for winning success. However, although I am a gifted studier of form guides, when it comes to the Grand National it’s anyone’s guess. It won’t stop us all picking one each, cheering very loudly and hoping that it won’t be the last I’ve seen of my twenty!!

All this shows that life is for living. Grabbing experiences and learning from them are what I tell my three to do all the time. The simply best things about goodbyes are that you made memories to get there.

Since writing this:
1. I now have a new shiny phone. This means my missing blog has been recovered, so watch out for a Easter special.
2. The wall came down and well, WOW!
3. Feel lighter from dehoarding. Going to book a holiday to make new memories (already bought Little E an outfit
4. Big one gone. She’s not rang once!!
5. First and fourth on the National – get in!
Sent from my iPad

An Apology

I would like to start by apologising for my tardiness.  Besieged by misery and despair, it is with a heavy heart that I bring you this week’s blog. I nearly didn’t do it.  Crashed into my tear sodden pillow and pretended it had never happened.  Pretended that I haven’t done the unthinkable; you see, last night, I dropped my phone down the loo..


Now, I am no stranger to breaking stuff; especially phones. However, when your whole world is listed and catalogued onto various apps, along with, ladies and gentlemen, this week’s blog #1.  You see I spent yesterday lunchtime researching and writing a highly engaging and witty piece about April Fools Day.  I thought it wasn’t too bad a write and with just the job of editing to do this morning, I felt, for once, home and dry (what have I said about being smug?)  Yes, pride does become before a spectacular fall from my six inch pink suede stilettos.

Again, I am sorry that this week’s little gem is precariously teetering between life and death. I am sure you would have enjoyed it.  Angry is the word I think.  I’ve been slowly simmering like the spring lamb stew, which I am currently cooking for the masses this afternoon.  However, I realised, when coating the gammon with a rather glorious honey and mustard glaze, that life goes on and so should I.  You see, on occasions like this I have to check myself.  Maybe I had been inspired by a book I am reading.  Set in war torn Paree, they had to guts and balls to rebuild on many an occasion.  Oh how the women of Paris had to cope in the desperate deaths of depravity in World War Two.  The fact that life continued and they had to survive one way or another shamed me.  All I’d done was lose my phone whilst having a wee; hardly grounds for PTSD.  Therefore, with reflection and shame I dusted off the old laptop and here I am.

It is now nearly two and I am acutely aware that my best friend and nearest and dearest, might think I am dead. Had this have been an orindary day I would have logged onto some device by now and set myself up with a temporary contact.  However, this is certainly not an ordinary day.  Him stunned me late last night with the mention of an impromptu hot buffet to be served as a late lunch today.  Therefore, I have spent most of today readying the house for such a shindig.  All the while becoming tenser and tenser as the phone continues to lay in A and E –  a bed of brown rice.

What upsets me about this whole scenario isn’t the fact that I didn’t take my own pearls of wisdom and take a bag out for my phone (the children say, if this was us…).  Neither do I feel embarrassed that I had to fish it out of the loo.  I am actually mad with myself for being so attached to my bloody iPhone.  How did I get to the point that I prioritise the thing ahead of everything else? (this is where I weigh it up against my own children) Yes, how sad that it contains everything.  I am fully aware that I tend to use it for photos, videos (so my camera is currently redundant and languishing at the bottom of the drawer), email (work and personal, although it is relief that I cant view the former),notes and lists (I tend not to put pen to paper so much these days) and of course all my contacts.  I can remember a time I would go away and have a phone, camera, address book, notepad and pen within my bag.  So really it’s , my own cocky fault for not carrying everything in my bag.

This crisis has prompted te question (and hand on heat here), how did we get so reliant? I am durprised at myself for being at such a loss.  I am the first to advocate chucking it ito the safe on holiday.  Or, even, leaving it in my bedroom with a ‘devil may care, I don’t need my phone attitude’.  This is where my case falls down; it has transpired that I actually need it.  That said, I am determined to turn this around.

As a result, much to my children’s horror there will be a new amnesty. I have decided that all   Much to their utter dismay, they will be relinquishing all electronic devises from 8pm each evening.  I hate the blank faces they pull when staring at the virtual world they are enraptured with.  Now we have done this before.  However, this time I am determined we will all break this terrible habit of relying on a phone.  Not to get too evangelical about it, I think iPhone cleansing is the way forward.  Let’s see who can cope, who can care and who can ho;d a conversation, or settle an argument without Googling it.  It’ll be like the Apprentice on the shopping round.  Everyone will have to go back to reference books.  Libraries will have to reopen and the printed press would increase circulation (oh the romance).      So the following might sound selfish;  I however think it will promote an awakening.  Give it up.  Just for a day.  Give it up.  Ring people on your house phone (you might need to dust it off).  Send a letter (I long for the days when my friends used to write).  Do you know what?  Call someone for a cuppa!  I bet they’d love it.  You see personal, effort-like gestures mean more than some quickly fired text or photo do any day.  Now at this point I neec to point out that I am, inno way, trying to get people to share my misery.

Instead, like I said, let’s turn this disaster around; let’s find ways to converse and communicate without the aid of a phone.  Let’s enjoy the sound of each other’s voices and find new ways to answer questions.  And if you’re realy bored (because lets be honest, you will be) cross our fingers you get a mid-week bonus blog.  Pray for the magic bag of rice.