Saturday, 19 January 2013


Bonjourno! A good day/evening to one and all on this cold January day.

I have no idea what it is about January but it brings out the dog poo in droves. I'm not quite sure why bad dog owners feel the need to let loose (boom boom) in January just to make the month feel even more depressing but there is currently a poo-demic on our local streets. Seeing as my defecation stations never took off I have decided to put forward a new idea. ALL dog food sold in the UK MUST have a non-absorbent coloured dye added to it. Simple. It would mean that all dog poo would come out dyed a brilliant, bright colour - there could be all different colours depending on flavours/brand of food etc but I like the idea of a fluorescent dye if at all possible. This could mean that not only would our pavements be littered with interesting brightly coloured piles and smears of poo but it would also mean that the piles/smears would be easier to avoid. The problem at the moment is that the poos are hard to spot - sometimes leaves have been wrongly identified as poo and the other way round with more disastrous consequences. If you live in an affluent area of the world with uniform, light coloured pavement slabs this may sound a bit strange but our pavements are much like the area itself - a huge mix of old, new, posh, scummy, light, dark etc. No two pavements are the same and the darker ones make it particularly difficult to spot poo at a distance when travelling at speed on a scooter or pushing a buggy. (We sometimes even run when very late for school). Hence my new ingenious idea for colourful poo. It cannot be too hard to instigate, is harmless, fun and brilliant. Fluorescent excrement. I seriously have no idea why no one has thought of this before.

Luckily the snow has covered all the little pavement piles for a short while. One of the many benefits of the cold - for a few days all of London's streets are prettified by a dusting of the white stuff. Even non-uniform paving is at its prettiest. I love the look of the white stuff. I'm not so keen on anything else about it. I think snow is a bit of a waste unless you are either skiing or sledging. I used to love skiing. I mean the holiday. Not the actual act of skiing. I used to go away on a skiing holiday every year - (I used to think this was 'standard' behaviour) - but it wasn't for the sport, I just liked the pretty ski resorts, hot chocolates, wine and cheese. I mean I like swishing down the gentle baby slopes, wind gently rushing past my sun blushed, ruddy cheeks but I never liked to push myself on the skiing front. I didn't really understand the attraction of fearing for one's life. On one ski trip which was largely about skiing to a place we could stop and have a hot chocolate and a fag, the Magician Godmother decided she would prove that we could manage something more advanced. She took us (me and one other Uni friend) to the top of what can only be described as a 'near vertical' slope with a million big bumps (potentially refered to as 'moguls'?) on it. HOW anyone could have got down it in anything approaching a pleasurable fashion is impossible to imagine, so I, quite rightly, sat on my bottom and demanded she call for the rescue helicopter. She is a belligerent sort so refused. After a lenghty stand off I conceded the point and just slid from one bump to another slowly on my bottom until we reached the end and certain safety.  Ideally, if I were to ever go again (unlikely for another decade at least) I want a resort which entirely consists of gentle slopes and paths that all lead to a restaurant or a chair lift. I have never understood the need to pit oneself against the elements. I am very happy for the elements to reign supreme. Actually, and this is a true story, in my Junior school I made my parents pay for me to go on the school ski trip three times. Not because I used to like skiing as a child - no, it was for a. the fact that it was organised by the boys school (mine was all girls in case you are new) and therefore girls were in the minority b. we were allowed to take pocket money and it was to Austria where they sold Milka chocolate (you couldn't get it/my mother would never buy it for me in England) and c. the breakfasts were AMAZING - proper hot chocolate, amazing fresh white bread, delicious butter and jam - I can still remember the way it tasted now. I used to eat so much at breakfast it made skiing even harder work as ideally, I needed a jolly good lie down not a trek through the snow with my skis to the bloody ski lift. The ski lifts were good too. A chance to sit down. I seem to remember singing a lot of Jason Donovan as we sat there, enjoying the brief respite between leg aching runs.  "Too may broken hearts in the world" and leaving our wet towels out on the balcony to freeze - ahhhhh - such fun.

As for sledging - my new year's resolution is to make sure that this time next year all of the children have waterproof trousers, waterproof gloves and matching hats and scarves. Oh and we have a sledge or two in the house. Then the next time it snows I can be very excited and not panic and I can take them all sledging to make the most of it.  At the moment we have one pair of waterproof trousers in a size 3-4, one sledge at mums, two pairs of pink waterproof gloves, many many many odd gloves of the non waterproof variety and random scarves and hats. The same people who have non-twisted car seat straps also have children with matching hats, scarves and gloves and I am always very envious of them as we turn up to the gates with our mismatched gloves and hit and miss hat action.
My other resolution is going well so far. At my first weigh in I discovered the exciting news that I have lost 4 pounds. Hoorah. Finally I am going in the right direction. (I managed to put on 9 after the doctor weighed me at the 6 week check when he told me I needed to start losing weight.) I shan't keep going on about weight loss - it is terrifically dull for anyone but the person who is actually losing it. What I will say about weight loss is this though - it is flipping pricey. Yes, supposedly you are eating less than before but what you are eating is way more expensive. Budget biscuits, crisps and chocolate can be bought with pence not pounds - if you want more than one hit of fruit - you need pounds and lots of them. I noticed this phenomenon very early in life. In fact, as soon as I left home and had to buy my own food. During my year out between school and university - (necessary as I mistakenly thought I wanted to train as a teacher with a music degree - something like that anyway - there was definitely teaching and music in the mix but I forget the finer details - before I came to my senses and pulled out of the process to reapply to do English) - I went to live with a boyfriend in Plymouth. It was there that I embarked upon my first 'proper' job as a receptionist/secretary in a Solicitor's firm and earned the princely sum of around £550 a month. My rent was £145. I was attempting to repay dad £50 a month for some money I'd borrowed for Christmas. That left very little with which to live off.  I learnt a lot in a very short time. I wrote to my parents to inform them of my new found knowledge - my 18 year old self (who you mustn't judge as she didn't know any better) - wrote a letter which began, "I now understand why poor people are fat". Obviously I was generalising as there were an awful lot of 'poor people' thinner than I was at the time, but my point was thus - I could not afford a manicure as a treat but I could afford a bag of doughnuts from Tesco for 99p. It does irritate me. I notice the same now. I could happily and easily afford a big bar of Dairy Milk from the shop at the end of the road in order to cheer me up from the woe of illness and housework drudgery but instead I have to go further afield and spend more to find a mango or bunch of grapes or similar. I don't like to moan but it certainly doesn't help things. There should really be a tax on saturated fat and a subsidy for fruit and veg. It would make things so much easier.

Interestingly during my time living in poverty in Plymouth people would say I should get used to poverty as I was about to be a student. I would quickly correct them. In comparison I would be rich. And I was right. My time as a student were my richest to date. Back then 95% of my income was expendable. Not only was my kind dad giving me money to live on each week and paying my rent for me but I also took FULL advantage of all the 'free' money I was being offered. Student loans, credit cards, overdrafts, store cards etc. I took them all out. I went on loads of holidays and took up shopping as a full time job. Ahhhhhhhh. Those were the days. Such fun.  

Enough of the past and on to the present. In current affairs the news is this:

I have booked Cybil's baptism. Phew. If it is possible to be rude about a priest and not have too much bad luck thrust upon me I would like to say that the booking experience itself was very uncomfortable. I already feel heaps of guilt just being in the presence of a catholic priest (I am not catholic and I do not attend any church so I just automatically feel as if he will know and start telling me off). He was jolly rude about a. how old she is - clearly she should have been there with the placenta still attached - he wasn't thrilled about how long I had already left it and asked if she might have already done her A levels by April....(she will be all of nine months) b. the spelling of her name - when I explained my Syria/Sybil issue he asked me if I felt sad whenever I pass a Sycamore tree and told me she won't thank me for my choice later in life. Idiot. c. Refused to let us have the baptism in a separate ceremony so now we all have to sit through the entire hour long mass. So dull.

And finally. Another Godmother has popped! Ted's GM produced a healthy and beautiful baby girl on Monday morning and I am soo excited. Another new baby to squish and relatively local to boot. That is two GMs down and two to go.  And on the new baby news front I must also break the fabulously exciting news that I am to be Godmother to baby Harry! I know. Clearly I come in to my own later in life. First time as bridesmaid last January and now first time Godparent (outside of my family) this January. I am already godmother to my niece who is now 11 so I've been waiting a long time for the honour to be bestowed again. I am usually the bestower. It made a lovely change to be on the other side. It also makes me feel a little more grown up. Every little helps. 

Right, that's it for now. It's cold and I'm tired. I'm going to warm up in bed. xxxxx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Hello! And welcome heartily and merrily to 2013. (We are 13 years in to this millennium and I still don't know if I prefer saying it in thousands, 2013 or tens 20-13). So, I haven't bothered to check where I last left you but I know it was pre Christmas so I shall quickly catch you up. There was an AWFUL lot of Cava at parties, lunches and even at my very own Annual Curry and Cava night and more calories consumed than Victoria Beckham sees in two years. It was very busy. Hence my prolonged silence. If I wasn't worse for wear or stuffed, I was wrapping. Three nights pre-Christmas of solid wrapping - I didn't get to bed much before midnight. It was exhausting. Although totally worth it. There is nothing that matches that feeling of seeing it all finished and ready under the tree - it is my job satisfaction. Cybil has also been keeping me away from the computer with her sudden dislike to evening sleeping. It lasted for a good few weeks and was terrifically tiresome, although fingers considerably crossed, she seems to have packed it in and realised I am best in daylight hours only.  I have also been at the technological black hole that is my mum's so even though my week post Christmas was relatively relaxing I still haven't been able to inform you of any of my exciting comings and goings.

Although it already seems aeons ago I shall take you back to before Christmas. I was slightly concerned this year as Bea was trying desperately not to find out the truth about the big FC, even in the face of many careless indiscretions by me and a number of children in her class and year group telling her the truth in a very blunt fashion. Still, we managed to get this last year under our belt with them all believing and I was very grateful. I nearly blew the whole thing wide open after Bea's total prat of a teacher decided to fill in time before the end of term by getting all the children to email three things they wanted to Father Christmas six days before the big day itself. This sounds fairly innocent enough but miserably the lazy sod of a teacher didn't check out the site the children were emailing and unfortunately Bea took this opportunity to try her luck and ask for an iPad on the off chance that the big FC was real and magic can actually happen. The reply she got 'from Father Christmas' told her that he was so happy she had asked for an iPad this year as the elves love making ipads and they say they are so much easier to make than ipods because you just stick a few ipods together. (Bea repeated this back to me a lot as she tried to convince herself it 'could happen' as I promised her that it would absolutely and definitely, definitely not happen as 8 year olds are not allowed to have iPads. That's the law) The paragraph that followed was quite remarkable, it went something like this, "Oh! An Elf has just told me that he is even more excited that you have asked for an iPad as we have an app you can download on to your new ipad. We will email you after Christmas to remind you to download it." Now. If I was 8, and I still believed in Father Christmas and I believed that this letter had come from him and his minions (she did) then I would be monumentally excited about the prospect of Christmas and my new iPad which this correspondence had all but told her she would receive. I didn't do anything straight away but that afternoon I did make a beeline for the lazy-arsed teacher who immediately took the defencive and thought I was upset about the fact she had even asked for an iPad, assuring me that lots of the children had asked for one. I showed him the offending paragraphs and asked if he had seen them. He said he had not and was slightly surprised. He said 'I'll 'ave a word' (He is northern).  I suggested he never use the free emailing service again and not to bother as I would be having a few words with Bea myself. In the end, I opted to tell her that the email was not real, not the whole north pole shebang. She understood and all ended well.  Although I was a tad cross that my joy and excitement at how much Bea was going to love her presents had been overshadowed by the knowledge that none of them would compare to a flipping iPad. K and I even did a mad Internet search for cheaper tablet alternatives but mercifully came to our senses pretty quickly. That was the only drama pre-Christmas and it was fairly short lived. The rest of the festivities went off without a hitch - G even sang at his non-nativity 'show' where excitingly, he got to hold up the card for the Eight Maids a Milking during the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Christmas Eve with newly married sister, bro-in-law and mother was a total success. I find it a really tricky day usually as you feel the pressure to make it special, but the children are always so hideously over excited that their behaviour is appalling, but doing something new and totally out of our usual Eve routine meant that they were wrong footed and behaved incredibly well; Bea didn't even realise Christmas Day was the following day until 5.30pm and she made a hurried note to welcome the still believed in big FC and we put out some gingerbread biscuits and carrots.  Annoyingly, on the big day itself I awoke hours before the children at 4.30am and lay there worrying about what would happen if they woke up at that time as well. A most futile activity. The day was lovely - although hard work. Lots of building of toys, food preparation, clearing up and an ill advised new 'tradition' of getting the chocolate fountain out for pudding. I cannot get the melted chocolate right and the bloody thing is a total pain and took hours of fiddling-about-preparation for only about five minutes of fun. Their fun. Not mine. Then they ran off and left me with the mess to clear up. K and I didn't really exchange proper gifts due to budget restrictions but I did get tea towels, an oven glove and an electric hand whisk. A slight change from the luxury of last year but actually I am quite excited about the hand whisk as it will make cake baking and meringue making an awful lot easier. Boxing day was on to his mum's in Essex and more present opening. I arrived a tad late due to a ridiculously annoying lost phone incident. K went ahead with the big three and I stayed back to put the dishwasher on and finish feeding Cybs. After he left I did just that and then realised I didn't have my phone. I didn't panic initially. Then panic seeped in. Then it spread. It was nowhere, I had no way to communicate (we have no home phone - a connection for the internet obviously but no phone plugged in to it) and I was about to leave the house for a week. After forty five minutes of frantic and angry searching I eventually ran across the road and found some new neighbours were in and demanded a mobile phone (Obviously I was actually incredibly polite and grateful but I was cutting to the chase).  More searching with me ringing my phone from the neighbour's phone. Still nothing. I rang K. He was unimpressed and unsympathetic. Eventually I made the (incredibly) brave decision to leave the lost phone and drive to Essex regardless. I got there just in time for lunch and very quickly my saviour of a brother-in-law informed me of the 'find my phone' app, bought it on my behalf on his phone and within seconds told me that my phone was exactly where we were standing, safe and sound somewhere in one of our cars. Modern technology is truly remarkable.

So, on to a New Year and a new me. Actually I just want the old me back. She was great. She had loads of energy, great clothes and could be arsed to put make up on every day. Now C has turned 5 months I feel I ought to get my shit together. I can't remember if I have spoken of this before but I have taken on the appearance of a used candle. It is a term I created after we watched a bit of the US version of The Biggest Loser.  Quite often the contestants had a 'normal' sized head and face when they were doing their introductory interview with the camera in close up, but then it would pan out to reveal a body of colossal size which made it look like they were made of wax and someone had put a lot of heat above their head so that the wax had melted and dripped down to settle around their middle. I too have that look. My middle is disproportionately large and ungainly. My naked self is alarming and terrifying. I have to do something. So, it's back to Wibblies I go. For those who weren't here at the beginning, Wibblies is short for Weight Watchers. It came from Cupcake Sister who named it that because the people who attend 'wibble and wobble'. Cupcake Sister is doing it with me - although 'remotely' as we live too far apart. She is also wibbly at the moment. There is a lot of it about. I weighed in on Monday and it was a total shocker. It is now a nice round four stone I have to shift and double the amount I have put on with each of the other pregnancies. I will keep you updated with my weight loss progress you lucky, lucky things.

New Year's Eve itself was spent with mother. We had a nice meal and a nice bottle of wine and then went to bed. It was wild. As per usual. The only vague bit of excitement was that earlier in the day a friend of my mother's visited and when she walked in she proclaimed that she was scared of babies. It was most odd - I have never met anyone with an actual fear of babies.  I felt a little sorry for her as she must have been quaking in her boots as I sat there breastfeeding Cybs, and added to that scary sight, a neighbour who had popped over also had her small daughter with her.  I can understand being unkeen on babies - I clearly can't empathise but I can definitely see why people choose not to have them - but to be scared of them is strange. It has occupied my thoughts on and off ever since.  I wonder if it is like me and spiders - although I know they can't actually hurt me and are more afraid of me than I am of them, it is the unexpectedness of them turning up that freaks me out. That and because they are just actually scary and they move very fast. Although a key difference is that babies are unlikely to scamper over you after hiding in your towel. Anyway, I met my first person who was scared of a baby. She liked dogs. She called her puppy her baby. And yet I liked her all the same. It wasn't the most thrilling of New Years. However in other baby news - very excitingly - the first of the Godmothers has split in two and produced a child! Sporty Godmother (to G) - has produced a son, heir and little brother to her daughter, called Harry. I have been to see him and he is quite the most adorable thing. I DO like a newborn baby. This one in particular. He was not in the slightest bit scary and he didn't cry once in the entire two hours we were there. I might see if she would hire him out to help the poor woman who is afraid of them. It would be good for her. 

In other shocking news I have managed to kick my Real Housewives addiction. They made too many changes to the line up and I lost interest. All my favourites had left so I didn't have the determination to get through the arduous ten hours (minus adverts) a week. I do feel a sense of loss but I am glad to get the time back. It was rather taking over.

So there we have it - it wasn't really worth the wait was it? Not exactly a thrilling start to 2013.  I bet you thought with such a long wait all these dramatically exciting things would have happened to me. I apologise that you got a lost phone, a scared woman and a diet. It is not really adequate. Also apologies once again for the delay, I will be back much sooner next time. I need something to do with my hands to keep me away from the food so there may be many more thrilling stories coming your way - paint drying, traffic jams and how many times I wake up a night are all possibles for next time. Bet you can wait now.