28 February 2010

Vlog: What's in Your Bag?

The lovely Carly from Wives and Daughters tagged me with the What's in Your Bag? meme.

Ooh, I thought, a perfect excuse for a vlog!


26 February 2010

A Day Out

It's 2006. I'm going out for the day with my best friend.

I'm wearing smart clothes, matching accessories and make up.

I take with me my handbag containing a mirror, lip gloss, phone, keys, purse and nail file.

I'm going to buy eyeshadow, lip gloss, nail varnish (I wonder who has free gifts on offer today?), a handbag, boots or shoes (or both), a top and a pretty cardigan.

For lunch we have posh pasta and a glass of wine in a bistro.

We spend our time chatting.

We end our day in a wine bar admiring our purchases.


Fast forward to 2010. I'm dragging the children to the retail park.

I'm wearing clothes with yoghurt on them, no accessories (matching or otherwise) and no make up.

I take with me my handbag/changing bag containing a mirror, lip gloss, phone, keys, purse and nail file AND nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, water, rice cakes, cereal bars, hand wash, changes of clothes for each of the boys, The Gruffalo (the book, not the creature), Milton wipes and bibs.

I'm going to buy new shoes for the boys (I will not weep as I hand over my credit card, well, not much) and Calpol, Vaseline, and baby porridge from Boots (ooh, the porridge is BOGOF - result!). I will walk straight past the Clarins Free Gift display without even looking to see what's on offer. I will look at my Boots points and mentally convert them into nappies.

For lunch we have sandwiches and cake in a cafe. I balance my coffee on top of the pushchair and pray there are two highchairs free. I clean the table before and after we sit down. I also clean the boys' trousers and pick up most of their discarded sandwiches from the floor. I wish I'd eaten the sandwiches and given them the crusts if they were going to throw them on the floor. They want my coffee, I won't let them have any, there's a scene. 

We spend our time saying 'excuse me please', ramming shop displays by accident, tutting at the lack of pushchair access, complaining loudly to no one in particular that you wouldn't get a wheelchair through that gap, checking no one has tried to shop lift each time we leave a shop, faffing about with the rain-cover and moaning about the lack of available parent and child spaces in the car park.

We end our day sitting in school traffic, one of us has a smelly nappy, one of us is still saying 'coffee' in between sobs and one of us is taking ibuprofen washed down with crumby water from a child's beaker. We get home, unload the car, realise we've been overcharged for porridge and decide we can live with it if it means never going back to the retail park ever again!

Photo Credit

24 February 2010

Manners Maketh Man (and Woman)

When did good manners go out of fashion?

I've written before about people who can't keep nasty comments to themselves and inconsiderate drivers. People are just as rude with shopping trolleys, the world needs to get out of their way. We jostle for position in queues or even - and this does happen, even in reserved Britain - push in!

When did we stop thinking of others and start thinking about ourselves?

I blame the television. Well, at least I think I do. Perhaps it just holds up a mirror to society and what you see on television is a true reflection of the way things really are. I hope not. Either way it is a big influence.

Look at Big Brother. When it started it was a fascinating social experiment. There were accompanying psychology programmes. It soon changed into, not only a freak show, but also a display of appalling bad behaviour.

In 2006 we met Nikki Grahame (photographed above). She was an adult but displayed the manners and self-control of a toddler. She had tantrums. She screamed and stamped her foot if she didn't get her own way. I'd never seen such lack of restraint in a grown up.

The following year we saw Chanelle Hayes. She copied Nikki's character traits and mannerisms as if they were normal standards of behaviour. This was the same series where we had the self-obsessed, argumentative Charley Uchea. Were these people vilified for their behaviour or did they negatively influence a generation of impressionable youngsters?

In 2008 (the last time I watched Big Brother) we saw Alexandra De-Gale threaten and bully her way to ejection from the series.

This was the first time I'd noticed the new obsession with telling it like it is or telling it straight. All of a sudden contestants were being unbelievably rude to each other's faces. Of course telling the truth is important, but where is the consideration for people's feelings? Since when did it become important to tell the truth all the time to complete strangers?

The internet makes it easy to say what you think, hiding behind your screen. You can even be rude to someone you have never met via the medium of anonymity. You can hurt someone's feelings to the point where they end up in tears. Would you make the same hurtful comments to their face? Maybe, but probably not.

I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating because I try to live my life by this rule, if you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. Or at least dress it up a bit. Good friends can gently tell you the truth without hurting your feelings. My good friends are considerate. My good friends have manners.

Am I being old fashioned and hankering for times gone by? Am I an old fuddy-duddy?

Possibly, but I really do believe that while it's nice to be important, it's more important to be nice. This is how I'll be raising my children.

This post was written as part of the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.1: What is your personal motto?

23 February 2010


This is a sponsored post

There are many times during an average day when I want to escape.

Take this morning, for example, I needed to escape to the loo. Presley and Cash decided they absolutely had to come with me. I don't really need an audience to perform, but they refused to be left behind. I was, erm, doing what I had to do, when Presley pointed at my nethers and shouted 'NO NAPPY!'. Cash joined in with the pointing and shouting. Nice.

I wish Presley had been as quick to shout 'NO NAPPY!' when his own dirty nappy had somehow come undone later and worked its way down his trouser leg to his ankle. It looked like a soggy gym weight or a chunky single leg-warmer. It was so much fun cleaning him up, she added sarcastically.

This is why I need to escape.

There are three things I like to browse on the internet, always have done, and these are handbags, houses and holidays. I have spent many a happy hour planning a holiday, some of them I've even been on!

How lovely to spend a few minutes dreaming about holidays in Italy or holidays in Greece.

I am sitting by a sparkling swimming pool, having just ordered another fruity cocktail. Shall I have another swim or shall I rest my eyes for a while?

*cue the jarring sound of a needle sliding across a record*

Neither. No time for that now, I have to tidy away the lunch devastation. Once I've done that I'll have another sneaky surf and leave the page of my virtual brochure open for Andy to see...

22 February 2010

Secrets, Sunshine and Being Published!

Do you like getting surprises in the post? Nice surprises, obviously! The lovely Heather from Notes From Lapland has set up a Secret Post Club. Anyone can join, there are currently at least 75 members from all over the blogosphere. Each month you are allocated a blogger to send a gift to and each month you receive a gift from  someone.

Today I received my first Secret Post Club gift. It's a book, 'Friends, Lovers and Other Indiscretions' by Fiona Neill. Such a wonderful surprise. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Huge thanks to Aly from Life's Laundry. Mwah!


I've been given a lovely sunshine award. Huge thanks to Solveig at Little Pong, Kelly at A Place of My Own, Susan K Mann and Ang at Mum's Survival Guide. You are all so kind.

I'm going to pass this award on to a few people that deserve some sunshine for being all-round good eggs:

I could have chosen dozens more good eggs, these were the first dozen that came to mind!


I'm delighted to have written a piece for the new Tomy guide 'Top Tips for Today's Parents'. You can see the guide here. It was distributed at The Baby Show. It's lovely to have been included alongside some of my bloggy buddies! Does this count as being published?!


19 February 2010

Affordable Glamour

It was my 40th birthday yesterday.

Even as I type those words I still can't believe it. I think I must be in denial. I'd been burying my head in the sand for weeks. I only decided a week ago what I wanted to do to celebrate and I totally made the right decision.

Of course there was plenty of this:

The boys were booked in for a night at Hotel Grandma and Grandad.

I had been searching for a hotel/restaurant to go to with my husband, Andy.

I found this place:

As you can see from the fact that he has his name emblazoned all over it, this is Marco Pierre White's The Swan Inn. It's in Aughton, Lancashire, off the A59 between Ormskirk and Liverpool. We stayed there last night and had one of the best nights we have ever had. Seriously. It was perfect. 

The Swan Inn has only been open for three weeks, the official opening (with MPW) is next week. Everything is brand new. The bar and dining room are beautiful. The bedrooms are stylish and comfortable. The service is impeccable.

We had a glass of champagne while we looked at the menu. The Veuve Clicquot was quite pricey at £11 a glass, but with our dinner we chose a £15 bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. It was very drinkable, quite moorish in fact!

So how was the food? The food was AMAZING! It was everything you would expect from MPW. I could easily run out of superlatives describing the starters, so I'll just tell you what we had. Andy had veloute of mushrooms and I had a fish cake. They were both wonderful.

For the main course Andy had a tasty fish pie and I had rump steak. I'm trying not to use cliches here, but the steak was cooked to perfection (as was the fish). It really did melt in the mouth. MPW's onion rings are wonderful too.

We were quite full, but it would have been rude not to look at the dessert menu. We both had the sticky toffee pudding. It was TO DIE FOR. 

We chatted to the manager after our meal and as soon as he found out it was my birthday he gave us a glass of champagne each on the house to take to our room. Here we are after drinking it:

You may be able to spot that I had changed into my pyjamas by this point:

We stayed up rather late drinking champagne. You can see the gorgeous flock wallpaper in this photograph:

We felt a little unwell this morning. We felt a lot better after breakfast. There was no breakfast menu, you could have whatever you wanted. A full English breakfast was what I wanted and even that was supurb.

The room, including breakfast, was only £75 for the two of us. Our food only came to £56. I'm not telling you how much we spent on alcohol! I've still got a headache this evening. There is also a set menu for £17.50. An absolute bargain if you ask me.

MPW calls this style of restaurant "affordable glamour". He is spot on. We were treated like we were the most important customers in the restaurant and the food was sensational. The price tag was more than reasonable. We loved The Swan Inn and will be going back. See you there?

17 February 2010


This time last year I sent a text message to my friend Sue.

"Hi Sue, haven't heard from you for a while. I hope everything is okay. Take care, love Sx".

This was the third message I had sent Sue and it turned out to be the last. I never heard from her again.

I was disappointed, but not surprised. We had become friends at the Baby Signing class I took Presley to. I was heavily pregnant with Cash and Sue texted me regularly asking how I'd got on at the antenatal clinic. We started to meet at each other's houses for coffee. We went to her son's first birthday party in the November, with baby Cash. Then I didn't hear from her. 

I sent a few texts and a Christmas card and had nothing back. She finally sent me a Happy New Year text as if nothing had happened and we picked up where we left off. We met weekly, taking our boys for walks in an attempt to get fit. We got on well. One day I even stayed in her house to feed Cash when she went out. I posted the keys through the front door when I left. She texted me when she got home to thank me for locking up.

I never heard from her again.

The significance of this story is that Sue is the only mummy friend I have made in two years living in Lancashire.

We moved here when Presley was three months old to be near Andy's family. We left behind, down South, our old friends and our new NCT friends. I met a few mums at our local Children's Centre, but stopped going when Presley started weaning. This was a bit silly, but at the time I felt I couldn't do both!

Baby Signing was the only other group I took Presley to. I wanted to make friends. I suppose when I became friendly with Sue I stopped trying to make other friends. I've never been comfortable with large groups of friends, preferring the company of one person at a time.

Mrs Scruff at She was not at all Domestic wrote a poignant post this week It's lonely being a mum. She describes so well how isolating motherhood can be.

As I had both babies within a year of each other I found it difficult to go out with both of them, but I knew I needed to bite the bullet. Once Cash could sit up and Presley could walk confidently and follow instructions, this was last Summer, we started going to our local playgroup and Bounce and Rhyme at the library. I now know a lot of mums. I know them to say hello to and to chat to, but I don't feel I've made friends with any of them. I haven't been invited round for coffee. 

Perhaps this is my fault. Perhaps there are others who feel like me. Perhaps I should invite someone round for a coffee. What if they say no? We're planning to move back down South this year, so there's probably not much point making friends now. Deary me, I'm making myself depressed just typing this! Snap out of it woman!

Another thing happened this time last year though. A Good Thing. I joined Twitter and three months later I started blogging. All of a sudden I had adult company during the day. I could chat to other mothers. I could ask for advice and offer it too.

In the last year I have made more virtual friends than I have ever made in real life. I love reading about people's lives. I love the connection. It's so easy.

Yes, there are occasionally arguments, there's bitching and upset, but that's life.

I love my virtual friends and I think that some of them are becoming real life friends too. We're like minded. We're open. We support each other.

Some people don't understand this virtual world. They think we're mad or sad. Crystal Jigsaw wrote a brilliant post this week we are what we are on this subject. Now I'm online I can't understand what anyone gets out of watching television all night every night, but I wouldn't make the judgement that they are mad or sad.

I have made real life friends through my creative writing group, courses and workshops. Some of these people are parents, but that is incidental. I found these friends because of the internet. I will miss them when we move.

Am I lonely? I suppose the answer is yes and no.

This post was written for the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.4 - What were you doing this time last year?


15 February 2010

My Child

I'm not here today. Well, I am here, but I'm also elsewhere.

I was interviewed by www.mychild.co.uk and the interview has been published today. Eek!

You can read all about me, their new favourite mummy blogger(!), here.


14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be a Hallmark day. You don't have to buy a card, although it would be rude not to buy chocolates, especially when Thorntons have been flogging 333g boxes for £3.49!

I made Andy this simple card by layering a few papers and sticking on a ready-made heart:

I also wrote him a blog post, What is Love?.

In return he wrote a 'What is Love?' for me and it made me cry. It was lovely and means more to me than any card or gift.

There's nothing wrong with taking a little time to appreciate your partner once in a while.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

You can find more Valentine's Day ideas in the Homemade Valentine's Carnival over on Make it, Bake it.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There is also a Valentine's Day Blogging Carnival over at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend x



12 February 2010

Current Affairs

I don't usually write about celebrities (unless I'm at a charity event or hob-nobbing with them darling), but I felt I had two-penneth to add on the subject of text affairs.

Vernon Kay has been caught sex-texting with some page three slappers models, allegedly.

Some would say that this is harmless. Some would say that nothing actually happened, that he wasn't strictly (see what I did there?) unfaithful to his wife, Tess Daly.

I disagree.

Six years ago I was Tess. Well, not exactly. I was only living with someone - let's call him Colin. We had no children together, although I was a part-time step-mother to his daughter. We'd been together for three years. He had asked me to marry him. I'd said yes. I didn't mean it. He wasn't my Mr Right, he was my Mr Right Now. We had been friends for years. We should have just stayed friends.

I must have had my suspicions about him. One morning, when he was in the shower, I had a look through his phone. I found a sex-text to someone called Jeff. Of course I immediately assumed he was gay. This lasted five seconds. The texts were quite explicit after all.

I stormed off to work, taking his phone with me. I rang 'Jeff's' number. A woman answered. She didn't sound happy to hear from 'Colin'. It turned out that she was in bed with her husband when I rang. Good.

Colin and I had a massive row that evening. I told him to get out. He drove around for two hours and came home saying he had nowhere to go. I relented and let him stay. He said nothing had happened, it was just a flirtation. It was me he loved. He was sorry.

I was FURIOUS. It didn't matter to me whether this was text-sex or a full blown affair. Colin had betrayed me. I would never trust him again.

The next night we watched the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you've seen it you'll know why I decided to let Colin stay. I didn't want to be on my own either. I know, what was I thinking?!

I diligently checked Colin's phone every day. Six months later I was rewarded for my perseverance. There was a text. Colin and his fancy woman had arranged to meet for coffee.

That was it. Game over.

This is why I feel sorry for Tess Daly. I hope Vernon Kay has learned his lesson and is at home with his family eating humble pie. I give their marriage six months.

Photo Credit


11 February 2010

We Love Pancakes

Hmm, pancakes.

My mum makes the best pancakes ever. Unfortunately she lives 12,000 miles away, so I'll have to make them again this year.

Thankfully I'll have some help. The lovely Kim Hong at Fleishman Hillard sent me a goody bag containing everything I'll need to make pancakes.

The goody bag included a cuddly lion, called Lyle. Presley pronounces Lyle as Lilo. It makes me chuckle every time I hear him.

I was also sent the recipe for The Perfect Pancake:

1.     If you can, make your batter either the night before Pancake Day or on the morning of the day, to let the flour in the batter relax – it makes much better pancakes.
2.     For an extra rich batter, place a small cup full of eggs, of milk and of flour into a bowl and whisk very well until smooth.
3.     Grate the zest of an orange into the batter when you make it – it gives a lovely fresh zing to the pancakes.
4.     Add 3-4 tbsp of Lyle’s Golden Syrup to the batter when you make it, taking care to whisk the batter well, for an extra luxuriousness.
5.     Whatever size pan you use, you want the batter to be about 2mm thick in the bottom of the pan – so it coats it but you can’t see through it.
6.     Remember: Unless you’re very lucky, then first pancake will most likely stick - this is perfectly normal – don’t worry! Give it to the dog.....
7.     Clean the frying pan out with a little kitchen roll, and add more butter each time – you’re less likely to get burnt bits that way.
8.     You can make a whole batch in advance – either:
o     Keep them warm or reheat them – just place them onto an oven tray with a piece of greaseproof paper between each one, stacking them up as you cook them.
o     Cover them with cling film and put them in the fridge for 1-2 days.
o     Discard the tray, wrap them in cling film and freeze them – they will keep in the freezer for 1 month. Defrost them in the fridge for a couple of hours before they are needed.
9.     To reheat the chilled pancakes, heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, place them in stacks of 3 onto an oven tray, cover with foil and heat for 10-15 minutes until hot.
10.  Alternatively, place 4 onto a plate, cover with cling film and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (dependent on your microwave).

You can find out more at welovepancakes.co.uk and at lylesgoldensyrup.com

I hope my nice ex reads my blog. He could do with this recipe. He once made a batch of pancake batter with six eggs.  In case you were wondering, yes, omelette with lemon and sugar is disgusting!

10 February 2010

My Ten Most Surreal Mummy Moments

If anyone had told me, before I got pregnant for the first time, that any of the following would happen to me I would not have believed them.

What you are about to read is true.  Some of it is not for the faint-hearted.

1) When I was heavily pregnant with Presley I kept forgetting I was pregnant. I was proud of my parking ability. One day I squeezed the car into the last space in the car park at work. You can guess what happened next. I couldn't get out of the car! Red faced with shame I drove off and found somewhere else to abandon park the car.

2) When I was in my third trimester of pregnancy with Cash, he liked to dance. I'm pretty sure he did the fandango every night whilst shaking maracas. He must have been somersaulting in my belly, so much so that Andy could feel the bed moving.

3) Just before Cash was born, as the exasperated midwife was trying to encourage me to push, I beckoned her over to make a confession. I told her that I couldn't push because I needed a poo. The midwife laughed, called me a comedian, told me the poo was my baby and took the gas and air off me. Cash was born a few minutes later. Not a poo.

4) I was sat in the hospital bathroom, four days after Presley was born. I heard dripping and assumed it was the shower. It was only when I looked down that I realised my milk had come in and was pouring onto the floor.

5) The first night at home with Presley was long and difficult. He was feeding constantly. Andy was being supportive. We were exhausted. For some unknown reason we laid Presley on a pillow between us in bed so we could lay down. When he finally slept we carried him and laid him in his carrycot - still on the pillow. What were we thinking? Do not try this at home!

6) I asked a complete stranger whether she would like to take a look at my nethers. She agreed. I laid down on the sofa. She had a good look. Luckily she was a midwife and she checked that my stitches were healing. No one was embarrassed.

7) I've flashed at my father in law, more than once. I didn't mind him being in the room when I was breastfeeding, after all I never wanted to shut myself away and miss anything. Now though it's a different story. I don't want him to see my boobs. Unfortunately Cash has other ideas and regularly pulls down my top. Just for a laugh. The herbert!

8) I can clean up snot, pee, poo and puke and no longer bat an eyelid. I can hold a sandwich in one had and wipe a nose with another. I'm immune to bodily fluids.

9) The Postman has watched through the kitchen window as I have performed the Makka Pakka dance for the boys, including the bum waggle. I no longer have any shame.

10) We all sit at the dining table for our Sunday dinner. Andy and I use our Rubik's Cube pepper mill. Presley and Cash hold a small (real) Rubik's Cube over their dinner and twist it. No, we don't think this is odd!

Photo credit - Firebox.com

9 February 2010

What is Love?

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I have been thinking a lot about love. I've decided to write about my love for my husband, Andy. I am dedicating this post to him. Don't worry, love, I've bought you some chocolates too! x

What is love?

That fleeting look you exchange with your husband when you are in public. The one that means did they really say that? We must talk about this when we get home.

The supportive shoulder stroke that means I know you're having a tough day, but I'm right behind you and as soon as I finish work I'll take over and entertain our children.

The glistening eyed smiles when, together, you witness the first steps of both of your children.

Being able to be yourself totally and completely. No embarrassment. No awkwardness. Being able to relax in each other's company.

Watching a father encircle two toddlers in his arms to read them The Gruffalo. Seeing their three heads bowed over the well-loved book and hearing the father do all the voices. Who knew The Gruffalo sounded like the late snooker commentator, Ted Lowe?!

Supporting each other's dreams and goals by finding ways to make them happen.

Having to pause a documentary twenty times to discuss what is being said. No raised voices. No one losing their temper.

Reading a poem your husband has written you and crying tears of joy and admiration.

Someone offering to clean the bathroom so you can spend more time having a bath than cleaning it.

Making time for each other, especially when you have children. Making sure life doesn't get in the way of your relationship.

What is love?

Laughing together
Singing together
Dancing together
Crying together
Being together

I heard this today and thought of you, Andy, my love.

Photo Credit

8 February 2010

Windowgate and Ambulancegate

Last month I wrote about an ex-colleague, Tina, in Cakegate. I mentioned at the time that there were two more Tina episodes, windowgate and ambulancegate. Here they are.

We've all worked with a Tina. They seem hell-bent on doing as little work as possible whilst creating the maximum amount of disruption in the office. They have personality clashes with colleagues. In the event of a Tina episode someone usually ends up in tears. I only cried tears of frustration when I couldn't find the corkscrew the second I got home from work.

Windowgate and Ambulancegate

Tina was always cold. To her credit she wore snazzy jumpers to keep herself warm. She also has a fan heater under her desk. I don't know how she made room for it, what with the footrest, two bins, shopping bags, tupperware containers, emergency photographs of her grandchildren (in case some unsuspecting visitor hadn't seen the albums yet) and the filing she hadn't done yet.

Menopausal Angie sat opposite Tina. Angie had more hot flushes per day than Tina phoned her daughter.

Every time Tina went to the ladies, Angie opened the window next to her as wide as it would go.

Every time Angie went to the ladies, Tina closed Angie's window and locked it.

This continued most days, whatever the weather, until Angie's daughter, Jo, started work at ABC Ltd. We needed someone to help with the filing and Jo was cheap and flexible. [HOW TO BE A MANAGER - LESSON 517: never employ a family member when a random stranger is available.]

Jo liked the window open, just like her mother. It was now two against one.

One afternoon Tina asked Angie to close the window because she was cold. Angie, who was having a hot flush, refused. Tina walked round behind Angie's desk and slammed the window shut. Angie burst into tears. Jo and Tina had a stand up row. Jo shouted at Tina "you're a f*cking b*tch". This was of course unacceptable. If Jo hadn't walked out never to return, I would have had to let her go.

Tina burst into tears. Apparently she had never been spoken to like that before. Really?

All the (male) directors peeped out of their office windows, too scared to come out. It's okay I gestured, I'll deal with it.

I asked everyone to calm down, which they did. The discussion over who said what to whom went on for a short while until Jo rang Angie to see how she was. Angie passed on Jo's verbal resignation to me. Tina asked for an apology. When Angie said that Jo wouldn't apologise, Tina started shaking and clutching her heart.

The other First Aider was called, luckily I didn't have to put my First Aider hat on as the Health and Safety Manager was in the office. He decided to call 999.

I rang Tina's husband. His reaction surprised me somewhat. "What's happened this time?" he asked. I told him there had been a row and asked if he was coming to see Tina. He said he would see her at home later. I thought he'd misheard me so I repeated that an ambulance had been called. "Right", he said, "thanks for letting me know".

The ambulance arrived. Just as the paramedics walked in the door Tina said she felt a bit better. No, she didn't need to go to hospital to be checked over. No, really, she was fine. She would sit quietly until 5 o'clock, then she would go home.

The next day both Tina and Angie phoned in sick. Some kind doctors signed them both off sick with stress. I had to do home visits. I managed to get them both back to work the following week. They agreed not to be friends. That was fine by me. It meant the office was quieter.

I'm shuddering at the memory of this. Every time I get wistful for my working life I think of cakegate, windowgate and ambulancegate and remember that the grass is never greener!

Photo Credit

7 February 2010

Baby Baby has a Makeover

After a weekend of primping and preening, tweaking and titivating, fussing and faffing....

Cue fanfare...

Baby Baby has a new look.

I hope you like it.

Just by chance I saw a tweet from Karen at A Rubbish Diet saying that she was trying out the Pages option in Blogger. I have copied unashamedly!

Baby Baby now has pages!

You can find the 'edit pages' option on the Posting tab in Blogger.

I've still got a tiny bit of touching up to do, then it'll be finished.

I'm hoping there's nothing missing and what is there is in full working order.

Please let me know what you think.

Thank you.

4 February 2010

My Word!

I've been tagged by Claire at The Life of the Twenty Something Mum to come up with my word of 2010.

The word I have chosen is FOCUS.

I need to focus. I'm always flitting from one task to the next, rarely completing anything. If I'm online I tend to flick between Twitter, Facebook, my Google Reader, my site stats (I know I shouldn't look, but I can't help myself), my various email accounts, British Mummy Bloggers, Judith's Room, the news, the weather and anything else I'm currently distracted by. This takes up so much time, but I'm not doing anything productive.

In my free time there are jobs that I have to do (housework, paperwork, dentist appointments, etc.). I leave everything to the last minute. I make endless 'to do' lists. I copy tasks from one list to another. Eventually some become less important and fall off the list. I know I'm procrastinating, but I love making lists!

I also have several hobbies. I don't really like the word hobby, it's a bit twee. It's the things you list on application forms to make yourself appear interesting (job seekers please note: we all know 'socialising' as a hobby means you go down the pub a lot, this doesn't make you out-going, it makes you unreliable). I'll get off my hobby-horse now. Sorry, couldn't resist it.

So, my hobbies interests are: reading, writing, blogging, card-making, yoga, song writing and recording and fannying about on the computer. Unfortunately the last one eats into my evenings and takes up far too much of my precious me time. 

So, I need to FOCUS. I want to make the most of my free time and enjoy it more.

How do you focus? Do you allocate blocks of time to different activities? Do you go cold turkey and just turn the internet off for a while? All suggestions welcomed.

One final aspect of focus that is particularly important, I'd like only soft focus photographs of me from now on!

As usual I'm not going to tag anyone specifically (you know I hate to leave anyone out). Instead this is open to everyone. If you would like to join in please let me know in the comments and I'll add your link here.

So, what shall I do next? I'll just have a quick peek at Twitter, then I'll phone the dentist!


3 February 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Windmill


2 February 2010

Look out!

In less than three weeks I'll be forty years old. Forty. The big 4 0. Oh dear!

All my life I've formed opinions and theories as to how you're supposed to look or act at a certain age.

For instance, when I was eighteen my Mum celebrated her fortieth birthday. She had a ladies' night party for her and her friends. There was a stripper-gram. They all loved him. I shudder at the memory of this. I felt that at their age they should have some modicum of decorum. I still feel like this. One day I'll tell you about the worst night of my life, when a friend persuaded me to go to a hen night with her. Oh dear. I think I'm easily shocked!

When I was in my twenties I thought forty was really old. People were middle aged at forty. They were ancient. I couldn't see that far into the future.

Back then I had decided that women over thirty with long hair looked scruffy and unkempt. I got my hair cropped when I was thirty and immediately grew it again. What a silly notion that was!

In my thirties I didn't think much about how I would look or feel at forty. I decided not to look that far ahead. Now it has crept up on me. I can no longer avoid the note on the kitchen calendar. 'S-40', written mainly for Andy's benefit, is getting closer and closer.

I've enjoyed getting older because I feel that I'm maturing. I'm not necessarily wiser, but I'm definitely more comfortable in my own skin. Does life begin at forty? Not for me. My life began the day I met Andy. Before that I was stumbling around, making mistakes, looking for something.

Andy was forty last year. How I laughed, safe in the knowledge that he would always be older than me.

I've delayed planning anything for my Big Day, for three reasons:
1) I've never liked a fuss on my birthday,
2) I keep changing my mind,
3) I've been burying my head in the sand.

So what will it be like the day I turn forty?  Much the same as being thirty nine I expect - only with presents and, of course, cake!

This post was written for the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop. This week I chose prompt no.1 - What's made you feel a little old lately?


To read more writing.... The Best of the British Mummy (and Daddy) Bloggers Carnival is up at Insomniac Mummy. A feast awaits!

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