Sunday, 19 November 2017

Week 272- Sunday roasts, shaking like a new born deer and snoring at yoga...

Often the person you think you are and the person you actually are are worlds apart.

What I think- I’m well read. I read good books, books by Man Booker Prize winners, strong female authors who write insightful pros about the contemporary world.

What actually happens- I’ve got into watching Suits. I sit in bed watching episode after episode on the Ipad long after I should be asleep and have developed an unhealthy crush on a capitalist lawyer. I managed to watch an entire series in a week. If I had the same commitment to exercise I could run a marathon.

What I think- I can be sophisticated, I can do ‘posh.’

What actually happens- we went away for the weekend to a posh hotel and out for an even posher meal booked by my fantastic sister and brother-in-law as a wedding present. Before we’d even left the room I managed to twat my head on the wall turning around too quickly to see the results of Come Dine with Me and a bump the size of an egg developed immediately. We didn’t have any painkillers so I numbed the throb with multiple brandies and today I can’t work out whether the pain is hangover or concussion.

What I think- I can fit into my aspirational jeans, the pair that will make me look like Lily Allen.

What actually happens- Nancy asked me whilst I was lying on the sofa watching Madagascar 3 after we’d eaten a Sunday roast, and pudding of chocolate brownie and custard if I had a baby in my tummy. Like my sister. Who is seven months pregnant.

I’m going to be 40 next year. The mantra since turning 39 has been ‘fit for 40.’

That was the plan. Is the plan.

It quickly became something I just said whilst inhaling a share bag of Twirl pieces. Or driving to work which is a five-minute walk and probably takes longer in the car once I’ve spent forever trying to find a parking space.

Something had to change. I can’t afford a new larger wardrobe, the hangovers seem to last for days instead of hours now and I would like to get some Zen in my life.

So I signed up to a yoga class round the corner. It’s a 30 second walk so there was no excuse.

Turns out I’m the youngest person there by thirty years which is great because that should also mean I’m the bendiest and most agile.

Wrong.

Everyone else can seamlessly do a downward dog. I can’t even touch my calves let alone my toes. But never mind, this is step one of fit for 40.

It’s not going to happen overnight but this was progress.

The class was an hour and a half, which is a lifetime when you’re legs are shaking like a new born deer.

The best bit, as always, is the end ten minutes when you lie down under a blanket.

I’m lying there relaxing. And then I’m like, what the fuck is that noise?

What is that noise?

This isn’t relaxing, it’s distracting. It’s loud.

I’m lying there getting more and more annoyed. Then it dawns on me.

It’s snoring.

It’s me.

I’m snoring in a room of six other women.

Snoring loudly.

The Tibetan bowl rings and we start to stretch and get up.

They all know it’s me cos it was very obviously me.

So I don’t know whether I can go back.

What I think- I’m the kind of person that eats clean raw food and enjoys yoga.


What actually happens- I’d prefer to eat a king size Mars bar and drink a full fat latte in front of series three of Suits than ever go back to that yoga class.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Week 268- we NEED to stick together.

I had decided to stop writing this blog.

I couldn’t square the circle since my daughter started school about what I wrote and how that might affect her, as she’s not a baby anymore.

She told me yesterday I shouldn’t wear the dress I’d just bought from a charity shop as it didn’t look nice.

And she was right.

(More than right, it looked fucking awful and still smelt of BO from the last owner.)

This is a girl with an opinion, with taste (better than mine) and with spirit.

But the thing is, it dawned on me that I wasn’t writing this to document her life, or that of my three-year-old son.

This was about me.

Or more to the point, us.

It’s about the women I know, the women I don’t, the women that I’ve met through writing this, the women I read about or watch on TV who are fighting their own fight, whether it be parenting, work, family or just surviving to the end of the day without COMPLETELY losing their shit.

And how fucking brilliant we all are.

But also how much we need to look out for each other, support each other.

You only need to read the paper or look through your news feed to see how much we fucking need to look after each other.  

Right now.

The #metoo hashtag threw a massive blaring light on the shit we’ve all put up with.

The things we’ve accepted, laughed off, felt ashamed or normalised because that’s just ‘what happens’ to women and girls.

It made me think about how much we need to talk, to be open.

To celebrate each others successes, to congratulate the things that go well, and to be there when they don't.

To listen, to support and most importantly, most absolutely, without hesitation, the most important thing to do is to not judge.

We need to stick together.

We NEED to stick together.

As mothers.

As daughters.

As friends.

As colleagues.

As women.

Parts of the world are turning to shit, turning on women.

But we can’t turn on each other.

We owe it to ourselves to be strong.

Together.






Sunday, 11 June 2017

Week 264- Funk the Family...

OK, so I think it’s fair to say that for the time being, I’ve hung up my festival Bardot top, wellies and unflattering cut off, camel toe-inducing denim shorts.

I can’t really see myself spending the best part of £200 to traipse around a field half pissed on weak lager that cost me seven quid, watching some band that I should know, but clearly don’t as my cultural references appear to grind to a halt around 2005.

Which, lets be honest, was not a ground-breaking year for great music.

It also makes me feel so fucking old.

I watch Glastonbury on TV and everyone either looks too young to get served, or knocking on middle aged and could probably tell you about the first time they went to Glastonbury.

When you didn’t need to jump the fence.

 Cos it was that long ago that they didn’t even have a fence.

I don't want to be that guy.

So when my mate asked if me and the family would like to go to the festival she's involved with, Funk the Family, in Hove, with Jazzie B from Soul II ‘shit me I can feel semi cool again’ Soul playing, I was like, yeah go on then.*



The thing is, I want to do good stuff with the kids, but occasionally it would be amazing to do stuff that we all genuinely enjoy.

That’s not to say that I’m not having a ball at the soft play when I don’t see them for hours on end until they emerge from the scrum of kids now and then, sweating and breathlessly demanding another overpriced Fruit Shoot.

I do, course I do.

But the thought of going to something where it kind of feels like 'old me' and 'mum me' colliding would be refreshing to say the least.

To show the kids that there is something out there beyond the Trolls sound track that we can all dance to together, now that would be terrific.

(Terrific? Seriously, I'm even starting to talk like my dad.)

I’m not going to do the hard sell on this one, check out the website, see the line up and the other activities, and if you fancy a trip to Brighton (Hove actually) and free on Father’s Day (easy win!) then it’s totally worth going.

The tickets are also only thirty quid for an adult and a tenner for kids for the day, which is cheaper than a cup of tea in the Sealife Centre**.

Second thoughts I’m going to dust off those massively tight denim shorts, cos where else am I going to have the opportunity to publicly embarrass my kids by wearing them?


*I was totally uncool about it and e-mailed back within 30 seconds. 
** It’s not, but it’s pretty close.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Week 261- bad bras, baked beans and batteries for the Slendertone...

At what point do you stop blaming pregnancy for not fitting into any of your pre-children clothes?

When they’ve turned one?

When you go back to work?

When they’re out of nappies?

Or when they are in reception class?

I’m going to say the latter.

It is now eight weeks until I get married.

My friend is altering my wedding dress I bought second hand, just adding some sleeves to cover up the ham-hock looking bingo wings.

But I had also very confidently told her that I would be a stone lighter, (at least,) by the time I got married, so suggested there might need to be some serious darts as there is no WAY I’m going to fill the, at that time, snug fitting dress.

That was two months ago, and I haven’t been brave enough to pick it up as I’ve only lost half a pound, and that’s if I’ve been to the loo, take off all my jewellery and breath out before standing on the scales.

Seriously- how do people do it??

I know eat less, move more, blah blah blah.

But I’m moving all the time; even now I’m having a little sofa gig to radio 6 whilst typing.

That’s got to burn off the two bottles of beer and roast dinner I’ve just had, surely.

I know that it’s not cool to go on about wanting to be slimmer, especially if the sum total of what I’m doing to achieve it is just buying a shit load of fad diet books off Amazon.

But, if there’s ever a time when you don’t want to be all, ‘man what  did I look like, who let me wear that?’ it’s on your wedding day, right?

I kick myself for not getting it out the way pre-kids when I didn’t have a stomach like crepe paper and tits that need to be scooped into a bra.

I went wedding underwear shopping in London for a treat and I nearly broke the already stressed bra expert in John Lewis.

Thirty bras later, that’s right, thirty, she eventually strapped me into what looked like a bandage and said, exasperatedly, ‘it’s not pretty, but it does the job.’

I told her I’d been with my boyfriend for over 15 years, to which she shrugged and said, ‘well there you go then.’

Fantastic.

I like to think it’s because I’m a true environmentalist.

I don’t like waste.

So if the kids wont eat it, I will.

All of it. Fish fingers. Chips. Beans. Those squeezy yoghurts that are just like mainlining sugar.

I’d prefer to inhale it all than put it in the bin.

And then have my own tea on top of that, obviously.

The thought of going to the gym makes me want to punch myself in my own face; it smells like the inside of a trainer and I have no idea how to use any of the machines.

In fact the only time I go is when I’m meeting a friend there and then I mainly lie on the floor copying what she’s doing, but not as well, whilst gossiping.

So tomorrow it starts.

Of course.

I’m going to finish the Easter egg that’s been lurking on top of the cupboard, polish off the posh crisps and then develop a newfound sense of self-control over night.

Because in eight weeks I’m going to look better than I have ever looked and about twenty years younger.

And this time I mean business.

I’m not fucking about this time.

Tomorrow I’m buying new batteries for the Slendertone.


PS, If you enjoy my blog, please vote for me in the Brilliance in Blogging 2017 awards in the Reader's Choice category- the link is here: http://www.britmums.com/nominate-for-the-bibs2017/. MASSIVE THANKS! x

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Week 257- day time discos, shit reviews and holidaying like its 1983...

I’ve just been on a holiday for four nights for eighty quid for a family of four.

Let me recap. Four nights. Eighty quid. Four of us.

That’s a fiver each a night.

They say you get what you pay for.

Well.

I expected a fivers worth of holiday and I got at least that.

The offer was through the paper, and as an obsessive bargain hunter, I was all over it.  

Our best mates, who also like a good bargain, did the same.

You chose your resort online, put in the codes and Bob’s your Uncle, blah blah blah.

Thing is, I hadn’t really looked at what the resort was like other than it was less than a couple of hours drive and we had visited the nearby beach before, which was beautiful.

So it was a bit of a surprise when my mate e-mailed me one of what turned out to be thousands of awful reviews.

By awful I mean fucking horrendous.

The most recent of which, which must have been submitted whilst we were staying there, include:

The only good thing is the arcade if I'm honest but just bear in mind to bring plenty of money cause that's really all there is to do.

Food vile, staff were so rude, no activities were open. 

Please don't go here, I can't think of anything positive to say about the place.

I don't advise anyone to go there and certainly not if you have a medical condition. 

Or my personal favourite:

I THINK THIS PLACE NEEDS SMASHING TO THE GROUND.

‘Crumbs,’ I thought. ‘This is no Butlins.’


The local shop. 

But, bearing in mind we spend most holidays crammed in a hot tent using a rolled up coat for a pillow and squatting around a one ring gas stove to cook, this sounded like luxury.

And forewarned is forearmed as someone once said.

So equipped with our own bedding, pans, litres of Detol and enough booze to forget the whole holiday if necessary, we set off.

Now, the only thing I like better than a bargain is a bit of retro/ nostalgia.

And shit me, this place was bursting with it.

From the sticky-floored nightclub that stunk of fags where we were greeted by the Blue Coats who enthusiastically gave us our room keys, to the council estate/ prison-style layout of apartments.

It was like living out an episode of Phoenix Nights/ Prisoner Cell Block H. Both of which, I should emphasise, I LOVE.

OK, so the lawn in front of our flats was more fag butts than grass, but, as long as you weren’t planning to sunbathe there, then it was fine.

And a swing park on every corner meant the kids went absolutely mental for this place.

An all-time high for me was going to a disco at 11am with the children on the first full day, where the Blue Coats took them through the dance moves to Agadoo, Superman, and the Fast Food Song, all of which I knew so well I was half hoping that I might win the Easter egg prize for best dancer.

These songs would become the soundtrack to our holiday.

That and one about a Big Fish swimming in the sea that is set to a kind of gabba sound track.


Larging it in Lunars. 


Every time I walked past the reception the queue of people waiting to complain was getting bigger, whilst we were having a total ball.

And I realised, however obvious this is, as long as the kids are going nuts for it, you’ve got good friends to hang out with yourself, and enough wine to sink a ship, it really doesn’t matter where you are.

Even if you’re sleeping on a torn pleather sofa that doubles up as queen size bed.

So here’s to shit holidays.

And good friends.

And making sure that you never stay for longer than four nights.

As Donna from East London put it better in her review: Yes, the apartment is tired, and it is very basic, but if you want better.......don't be so bloody stingy and stay in a hotel! Let's face it, if you stay in budget accommodation here it's cheaper than the YMCA or a youth hostel at £69 for 3 nights. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!!!!