Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Hoola-anuary is officially over...

Well, one week into the New Year, and I‘ve lost a stone, sorted out my finances, and have organised play dates for the kids from now until forever.

Said no-one.

None of my clothes fit.

Not in an, ‘oooh that’s a bit snug after too many mince pies’, kind of way. I’m talking eye-wateringly tight jeans and tops that give you a mono-boob and stop the circulation to your lower arms.

When talking about getting fit this year, I’d happened to mentioned to my husband that I was good at hoola hooping.

Well, what I actually said, after several glasses of fizz, was that I was ‘fucking incredible’ at hoola hooping.

It was one of the skills I acquired in my early 20’s, along with twat wrapping (the art of wrapping embroidery thread around a tight plait in someone’s hair and charging a quid an inch) and fire eating.

These are all clearly life-skills that we’re essential in the 90s.

Anyway, fast-forward a few days from my show off conversation and the postman delivers this.

I wish I’d said I was fucking incredible at wearing Dior, or going out for posh dinners, but there you go.

I guess it’s good to be heard sometimes in a house full of loud children, even if it is to request a bloody hoola hoop.

It turns up, and there’s a picture of a girl two-thirds my age on the box. Give me a few weeks and I’m going to look just like her.

So I slot it together. It’s weighted. Like actually heavy. But if that pre-teen on the box can do it, I, a woman who has birthed two children, should be more than capable.

I give it a go.

Now. I have never been repeatedly hit in the stomach, but if I had, this is how I imagine it would feel.

The weights twatted me in the gut every time the hoop swung around.

Undeterred, I kept focus. Managing to keep it going for ten rotations. Then twenty. Finally ending up in a knackered heap after getting the bloody thing to swing round thirty times.

The next morning I woke up feeling like I’d taken on Mike Tyson, and on further inspection I realised I was covered in bruises.

Actual hoola hooping injuries.

This was meant to be an easy way to lose two stone without having to leave the house or turning off Coronation Street.

And I’m walking around like I’ve had a hip replacement. I’m sure this didn’t happen when I was hoola hooping at raves in 1998.

And to make matters worse, it turns out hoola hooping only really makes a difference if you do it everyday for a minimum of half an hour. HALF AN HOUR? Are you shitting me?

It only burns off 7 calories a minute, and I’ve been doing it for an average of three minutes a day.

21 calories.

That’s not even a cup of tea.

I give up.

Hoola-anuary is officially over.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Resolutions and reminding yourself you're brilliant...

Hello New Year. Hello new me. 

Obviously not starting on 1st January as everyone knows that’s the day to eat all the leftover chocolate and down a shit load of full fat coke to shake off the old, hungover, 2018 me. 

But January 2nd. Here we go. Deep breath. Well deepish.
I wasn’t expecting to wake up and be like, wow, I’m spiritually zenned out and motivated to run a marathon. 

I have, however, been preparing for my radical transformation.

I’ve been signing up to newsletters. Lots of newsletters. As well as diet websites, running apps and calorie counting calculators. 

These pledges for the better, improved version of myself have almost exclusively happened at about 2am when I can’t sleep. 

And today, the first day of the ‘new me,’ the only thing that’s altered is my massive inbox.

It turns out I’ve signed up to everything. 

The running everyday for a month one, the giving up sugar one, 5.2 diet, keto diet, Veganuary (how are you actually meant to say that anyway?) As well as the classic dry January, of course. 

I’m knackered just looking at all the unread e-mails, which doesn’t, incidentally, bode well with my ‘declutter in a year’ app, as I'm meant to start with sorting out my digital and social media accounts. 

By 10am, I’ve had a-fucking-nough. I can’t find my trainers and I’ve inhaled the kids’ left over crumpets without even realizing I’ve done it. 

I’m completely stressed and not sure if a glass of orange juice counts as part of a fruit only cleanse or it it’s contravening the no-sugar diet. 

And what the fuck is a coffee bullet? And how can cream and cheese make you thinner?

I think I’m losing my mind.

So instead I curl up with the kids, eat the chocolate coins my youngest has found down the back of the sofa, and decide to do none of these things.

I can’t resolve to be something I’m not. 

I like running. But not every day. 

I like veggie burgers, but also a big roast chicken on a Sunday. 

I like coffee, but not with butter and cream (surely I read that recipe wrong…)

And I like wine. I love wine. 

So this January, I suggest we just be a bit kinder to ourselves. 

Fasting every other day might work for one person, but it equally might not for the next. And actually, what the fuck does it matter anyway?

So whether you have a glass of wine in your hand or not right now, whether you’ve signed up to do a charity swim across the channel or live on raw food for the next month, remember to also give yourself a break.

 Allow your inner voice be your greatest ally.

Let her shout how brilliant you are and not how much you need to change. 

Whatever other pledges you have made for 2019, also resolve to be kind on yourself.

Happy New Year. 


Thank you so much for reading my blog over the years or months, or if this is the first time, ace as well! 
I have written a novel with the same name, You Can Take Her Home Now, which is due to be published by Orion in late Spring, but you can preorder it on Amazon now


*I am jumping around the front room with such gusto that the pelvic floor doesn't stand a chance every time I say this out loud.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Panic-buying presents, forgetting Christmas shows and losing your festive mind...

Christmas. A time for giving, for bringing people together, for the simple pleasures, right?

No. It turns out. Actually fucking massive no.

I feel like I’m losing my festive mind.

On a daily basis there’s another thing to remember for the kids.

As I was driving home from a meeting the other day I suddenly recalled they were both meant to be dressed as elves the following morning. I handbreak turned into the nearest gigantic Tesco, and purchased two pairs of Elf pyjamas. Double win. They can seamlessly wear them from day into night.

I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself until I got home to a crestfallen daughter who told me that I’d missed both her ballet and violin performances. I’D ALREADY BEEN TO THE RECEPTION CLASS NATIVITY THAT MORNING, HOW CAN THAT BE??

And then there are the presents. I’ve asked the kids what they want for Christmas, and the list is extensive.

Mainly from Father Christmas.

I’m starting to resent him, the big jolly gift-giving buffoon. He’s going to get all the credit, while the practical presents they’ll receive from us will be, almost definitely, met with shrugs of ‘I never said I wanted that, what does it DO anyway?’ (It’s a microscope. It’s fun AND educational. Like it any better now? No, thought not.)

I’m on first name terms with the delivery guy from Amazon who knocks daily to deliver another panic present I’ve bought at 1am when I suddenly remember another relative we’re due to see that I’ve forgotten to buy something for.

Thing is, by the time Christmas actually arrives, you’re kind of over it already.

See, low level excitement for children starts a good six weeks before the big day AT LEAST. No-one can remain enthusiastic about anything for that length of time.

It starts the first time you hear Jingle Bells in Sainsbury’s. There’s the squeal of anticipation from the children, and a heart sinking feeling from the parents as it’s only fucking November.

Then December 1st comes along and with it, the chocolate advert calendars. Who isn’t going to lose their shit if they’re stuffing their face with chocolate on a daily basis before they’ve even got out of their pyjamas? Ho ho fucking ho.

I’ve bought my Christmas outfit, a silver sequinned mini-dress from a brand waaaaaaaaay too young for me off e-bay. It arrived. I squeezed into it. It turns out sequins are one of the more unforgiving fabrics and I look like an adult bauble.

So. Hang in there. Get that wine mulling. Pour yourself into your snazziest, sparkliest outfit, and try and remember that it’s not about the gifts. It’s not even about family.

It’s about two weeks of not having to shout -brush your teeth, put your uniform on, find your shoes, get your book bag, where are your shoes? Do you want ham or Marmite? What do you mean you’re vegetarian now? Where are your shoes? CAN WE ALL JUST LEAVE THE HOUSE NOW??

So. Merry Christmas. And breathe…

Monday, 10 September 2018

Starting school, Google bucket lists and turning 40...

Today was one of those days where you go through all the emotions from skin tingling pride to ugly crying your face off.

My daughter turned seven today. Seven. How can I have a seven-year-old daughter? I’m only about seventeen (plus twenty-three) myself.

And best of all, she has turned into a kind, funny, empathetic girl who I genuinely like to spend time with 75% of the time.

As if that wasn’t enough of an emotional punch in the proverbials, my son started school today. For two hours, he was with his new teacher.

He, as always, can’t remember a thing he did, who he spoke to, what he ate.

But he did say it was ‘OK’ and gave me a weak thumbs up, although I don’t think he realises that he will need to go there EVERYDAY FOREVER.

As a treat I took them both to a charity shop to spend some of their pocket money.

My ‘treats’ alternate between the charity shop and Poundland, just to keep things fresh.
Anyway, the charity shop is always a bit magic, as depending on who has dropped off all their stuff beforehand, you’re either rifling through a load of old shit or someone’s treasure.

But if you’re four and seven it’s all treasure.

And today my son found his diamond in the rough.

A JLS oversized shoulder bag that doesn’t do up.

He likes nothing more than a bag. In fact his absolute favourite thing is a bag in a bag in a bag. So this massive bag can fit in ALL his bags.

It has the four band members embossed on the front looking all tough, arms folded and farmer hats on back to front. And my son couldn’t be happier, wandering around the house, filling it up with crap.

He has now said it is his new school bag, and, let’s be frank, which four year old wouldn’t want to be seen with a mid 2000’s memorabilia man bag of an R and B band from X Factor they’ve never heard of.

Show me the boy who says they wouldn’t want that and I’ll show you a liar.

So that’s it. They’re both at school.

And I am turning forty in three days time.

Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve been ugly crying on and off all day.

I GENUNINELY hadn’t seen that one creeping up on me (apart from the massive fancy dress party I had a week ago but that doesn’t even count, that was just a party, I wasn’t ACTUALLY celebrating an 0 ending milestone.)

So I’m going to set myself a challenge.

Forty things to do that I might not have maybe considered otherwise.

I know it doesn’t have the snappy ring to it like 'thirty before I’m thirty.' 

But I can’t really do 40 before I’m 40, cos that’s happening in three days.

And I work and stuff so I wouldn’t be able to get the time off to go paragliding etc.

But I guess that’s the other thing, it can’t be stuff that’s so expensive that I fuck off to Dubai to abseil down a sky scraper and as a consequence we can’t afford to get the kids new shoes.

So I think it’s stuff that makes me braver. And this 'bravery' will compliment the wonderful, insightful maturity that I am going to fully embrace in three days time.

Unfortunately, while sitting with pen and paper staring at my new beautiful stationary that I’d bought with the sole purpose of writing my amazing ‘forty things to do that I might not have maybe considered otherwise’ list, it dawned on me that I don’t have the imagination to think up anything cheap and brave that’s going to make me a better all round balanced person, beyond start doing yoga and eat vegan occasionally.

And I can’t Google a list of stuff to do, searching your own off the shelf ‘bucket list’ is about as sad sack as sending yourself an anonymous Valentine’s Day card through Moonpig (totally haven’t done that.)

So I’m going to have a think on, I’ve got days to go, loads of time.

But in the meantime, if you have any suggestions of life affirming acts that can possibly be done within the next twelve months that don’t involve getting a tattoo or taking liquid acid, let me know.

Forty, I'm all over you.