Saturday, 12 April 2014


April has begun. This means three things. Easter Holidays, Easter and Anniversary time.

I have decided not to bore you with the ins and outs of illness, tiredness, child antics and poverty but instead I am dedicating this post to the long suffering (and cause of long suffering); K.

Last Saturday marked eleven years of marriage to the man. This is not a momentous amount of time in the grand scheme of long marriages, but it feels like a jolly long time. It is, I am pleased to announce, a year longer than the power couple Gwynnie and Chris managed. News of their 'conscious uncoupling' after ten years, means that we have beaten them. It may be wrong to feel a sense of satisfaction about that but I couldn't care less - I do. Other people have their careers to take pride in which would clearly be very peculiar for me to crow about, (although I was once responsible for making Kerry Katona Celebrity Mum of the Year which I think you will agree, is something of which I should be magnificently proud), so my ability to stay in holy matrimony affords me a small modicum of pride. I/we have, at times, found staying married pretty hard work. Over the years there have been times (as my blog will attest) where I have thought I might welcome his demise, other times I have thought I would jump in the ground after him, should the worst happen. Most of the time however, we just spend our days happily getting through them. As we were unable to celebrate the first major milestone of ten years last year due to illness and a small baby (we spent the evening in front of the TV with my mother....), I have decided to make a small fanfare over eleven years. To that end I planned a small surprise for him in the shape of a romantic getaway (I even booked a secret day off work and everything), I changed my surname (finally) on FaceAche and I had also planned to make an old fashioned 'mix tape' as a gift - although I failed in my task of trying to 'burn' things to a CD (all of this technology totally eludes me) and I have no idea where to start on making a play list for his ipod/iphone. Therefore, please use your imagination and open your ears to my 'Open Mix Tape' below. (Open letters seem to be very popular with the celebrities, so I thought I would emulate it - it isn't quite Sinead O'Connor to Miley Cyrus or Gordon Ramsay to his Mother in Law but then we are not s'lebs - but hopefully you get the idea.)

K's Anniversary Open Mix Tape

A Side

1. Common People,  Pulp

Do not be alarmed. I am not being rude. (I would never be so insulting to his mother!). However, at the time we got together, K was living in the most horrideous shared flat in Chelmsford with three other boys. It was a shit hole. I had never seen anything like it before and I was a student living in a shared student house. According to K this wasn't even the worst place he had lived since leaving home which seemed impossible at the time but he later showed me the window over the sex shop which was his previous 'home', so he was clearly telling the truth. However, and it shocked me to learn, but there was a bit of me that rather liked slumming it. I went all Charlotte Church in her wild days and revelled in being able to smoke inside and not worry about spilling things and eating in bed.  In return for me 'feminising' the room (I bought a whole new set of sheets for the bed and other bits to prettify his room) and in return he taught me more about Mcdonalds, Burger Kind and KFC and took me to some clubs I wouldn't normally have chosen to frequent. I found myself loving it all. The best thing was returning to my very comfortable, daddy funded, student house, which had a beautiful and large room I had had re-carpeted as soon as I moved in. And that is why I find this Pulp song so amusing. It was very 'me' at the time, especially the line in the song about 'calling dad' to stop it all.

2. Yellow, Coldplay

The words aren't especially important in this one although I always 'thought' they were rather lovely, (see later) it is the song as a whole that is noteworthy. When K and I first moved to London we lived above a launderette on Battersea Park Road, which sounds more glamorous than it was, although one of the advantages was the beautiful park just behind the flat. The first November after we moved in, we went to watch the firework display they put on every year. One of the songs that accompanied the grand finale of the spectacular display was Yellow, and it was so lovely, being there with K, near our first home together, watching the fabulous fireworks (which I totally love) and it just felt like one of those 'magic moments' and so from then on it sort of stuck as 'our song'.  After we got engaged quietly at home in the very same flat a few months later, we decided to go to Asda and pick up some treats and bubbles to celebrate (we have always been terrifically classy) and as we walked through the aisles this song came over the tinny tannoy and I took that as a very clear 'sign'. Clearly this was the official stamp of approval for this to be 'our' song and the universe approved of our engagement. It was also, inevitably, the song we had our first dance to as man and wife at our wedding eleven years ago.  Sadly someone has recently told me that the meaning behind the song is not that nice and Chris Martin wrote the song as a sort of joke, but I have decided never to find out as I don't want it ruining the song for me and so I try and forget that piece of information and not imagine what sinister meaning the words have. Instead, I look at the stars and see how they 'shine for me' with no hidden meaning.

3. Nobody Does it Better, Carly Simon

Embarrassingly, I decided to sing this to K at our wedding reception. I can only blame the folly of youth for this. I was in my early 20s and had clearly not matured sufficiently to learn that singing along to a karaoke machine at my wedding reception was not a brilliant idea. Worse still was that it was filmed so there is a permanent record of my epic fail. Luckily I have only seen the video of it once and briefly at that - enough to understand why people on the X Factor are shocked to learn they cannot sing having previously assumed that they could. Also, on reflection, it sounds a bit saucy. I wasn't going for that angle I can assure you. It was meant to be sweet. Although I was a big fan of  karaoke at the time, I would raise an eyebrow or two if I went to a wedding with that as the evening entertainment now.  Although in my defence, it did come very late in the day, after a professional singer had had a 'go' and everyone had had quite a bit to drink, so it was quite popular and I wasn't the only one to get up and sing. But still, hindsight and all that. It still makes me cringe a bit whenever I hear the song, although obviously I still sing along. Naturally.

4. Fix You, Coldplay

As most of you will know, Gwyneth and I have more in common than our skinny frames, blonde hair and bank balances (only one of those is actually true and only half of that as I can't afford a whole head of highlights); we have also both lost our lovely Fathers. Regardless of who you are, if you have a good and loving relationship with your father and he dies, the pain is really unimaginable. (I am sure it is the same for either parent but I wouldn't know about mothers as 'luckily' mine is sitting in the same room and making terrifically annoying comments to the TV as she watches it.  I know it sounds disrespectful to those who have lost their mothers but if you were here you would entirely understand. People who have received awards from the Queen have suffered less.) Anyway, this song always makes me stop and think. K can't write songs and he was pretty useless at times, but there were many more times when he was entirely magnificent. This song makes me think of both him and my brilliant Father whom I still miss.

5. All That She Wants (Is Another Baby), Ace of Base

I'm not sure this needs much explanation. After the first one came along I pretty much constantly badgered K for the next. Each and every one has been at my request, although naturally K was happy (ish) to go along with them all. He was always keen to have children, which was part of his original allure, and he assures me that if we won the lottery we would have a few more, but for now, this part of our lives is very much in the past. I heard the song the other day and it made me chuckle as I finally don't want another one and K is safe. Although we are playing the lottery a lot more. Just in case we change our minds.

 B Side
(It was a short tape - no pricey 90 minutes for me)

6. I Won't Give Up,  Jason Mraz

Again, do not be alarmed. The words in this song are more important than the title. Eleven years has seen a lot; four pregnancies (I don't 'do' pregnancy that well), four crying babies, a death, a miscarriage, poverty, house renovation, redundancies, four demanding children, a house that isn't quite big enough for us all etc etc With all this going on, it is, I hope, not hard to imagine why K and I might, on occasion weekly, have an argument. We have, on occasion quite a lot in the early days had huge shouting ones with storming-out type of outcomes. It is quite easy on those occasions to feel sorry for oneself and despairing of one's life choices. In the very early days I assumed it meant we were ill matched and should quite clearly divorce. I think that when Bea was small and we were broke and the house was still unrenovated and K was temporarily unemployed, I may well have mentioned it to him, because I assumed 'happy marriages' were nothing like this. Mercifully we loved each other enough that this was never a real option and now we are this side of ten years, being married feels a whole lot easier and a whole lot more fun. Not that there wasn't any fun in the beginning, it was just that there was a lot more to work on in between the fun. We married relatively young and had to grow up together, and fairly quickly, with an awful lot going on in the background. But we did. And we carried on. The words of this song resonate with me and stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it. I don't 'do' soppy or gushy but I do think 'we're worth it'.

7. Lady Madonna - The Beatles

This is 'me' as far as I'm concerned. Children at my feet, baby at the breast (although mercifully not for the past few months) and never enough money. Not only is it my ring tone but I think it should be my theme tune.

8. Happy - Pharrell Williams

Because, not only do the children and I LOVE this song, but because on the whole, we are.

(It's a very short B side)
(Apologies for the two Coldplay songs btw - I know they aren't 'cool' but then I am not. If K were doing this tape there would be far more 'Absolute Radio' type tracks and Elvis and The Prodigy and Esser and Rage Against the Machine etc. We have incredibly different tastes in music. I don't want you judging him by association)