Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy International Women's Day...

I wished my six-year-old daughter a Happy International Women’s Day before she slept, and she asked me from her bed if that meant it was a day for her.

And I said yes.

Of course yes.

And she asked me if we should have a party. She likes a good party.

She also likes spinning out bedtime.

But it got me thinking, International Women’s Day is a day for celebration of women’s achievements, of all our successes, but also all the sacrifices women have made so that we can enjoy the lives we lead now.

It can also be a marker in the sand to see how far we have come since the last IWD. 

Looking back over the last 12 months, it has been a complete shit storm of abuses of power, cover-ups and collusions.

From Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Max Stafford-Clark, women have, for decades, been compromised and abused in the pursuit of their careers by men in power.

The #metoo campaign gave people a voice to come forward and out men who have got away with this for far too long. And women did come forward. In their hundreds, thousands, to share their stories and gather strength from one another.

But where do we go from here?

How do we continue to strive forward, to gain momentum, to feel like things are getting better, becoming fairer, more transparent?

It’s starting to happen. Women are forcing things to happen.

A group of women have taken the power back when a majority female investor group bought the Harvey Weinstein company. Weinstein won’t receive any of the $500 million sale of company assets, and despite taking on about $225m worth of debt, the women are setting up a $90 million victims' compensation fund.


Another group of women are campaigning to buy the Theatre Royal Haymarket theatre with the aim of making it a venue that showcases female-led work, making it a supportive space for women to create work.

 As women we need to support each other. To celebrate each other.

Because there is nothing stronger, more terrifying, more powerful, than a fucking incredible group of women who look after each other, who listen, who protect, who nurture each other.

Who celebrate each other’s achievements, and support each other through the shit times.

The women who have gone before us have fought for our places in the world now.

We owe it to them and our daughters and granddaughters to finish this.

To not turn a blind eye, to not accept that things are so because it is ‘just how it’s always been.’

Let’s support each other and know that our voices are louder when they are in chorus.

So deep breath.

Put your best fighting foot forward…

And Happy International Women’s Day brilliant women.

Thank you for being in my life.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Week 289- Dry January, Sugar-free February, bullshitting me.

Dry January. That went about as well as I could have anticipated. I didn’t drink for as long as the New Years Eve hangover lasted.

Which was cruelly lengthy.

But definitely not 31 days.

So I decide that I need to get a grip.

With the big 4-0 looming this year and the broken resolutions ringing in my ears, there was only one thing for it.

Sign up for a 5k run.

Week one of training goes by.

By ‘goes by’ I mean, I think about running but, Christ on a bike, it’s cold.

So I, instead, buy a new sports bra on line. That’s progress.

Week two and I sign up to a motivational running app. A mere £7.99 a month to listen to a woman who is shouty and really fucking harsh.

She’s all, ‘right lets sprint for two minutes and then you can relax into a revitalising jog.’

That’s the relaxing bit?

Are you shitting me, Rochelle? The last app got me to jog for a minute then walk/ have a sit down for the rest. 

I’m not jogging for a fricking rest, thanks.

Week three and it’s definitely too cold. It’s been snowing for fucks sake. No-one jogs in the snow, do they?

I’ve got a much better idea. I’ll sign up to no sugar February. That’ll do the trick. But keep the sponsorship low because I can’t really ask anyone to sponsor me to not eat a Twirl when other people are swimming the Channel for charity and stuff.  

It’s week four of  ‘training.’

I have been for one and a half jogs. Avoided eating anything mildly tasty. And thought about how I have one month to get fit for a race*.

It’s going well. 

Tonight I’ve watched three episodes of Suits in sportswear. I missed my window to go out for a run after episode two, so I’ll probably just get out of my unused sweatshirt and leggings and have a bath.

I feel like 2018 is going to be my year.

*As I’m making a MASSIVE deal about doing a 5k, it turns out my husband is doing a marathon several weeks afterwards that he’d forgotten to mention. Slightly regretting making SUCH a big deal about this now.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Week 285- pets, babies and double decker hutches...

Get a pet, they* said. It will be good for them.

So we did it.

We bought the kids two female guinea pigs and an outdoor hutch.

I used to have guinea pigs growing up so I’m all over this shit. I like the weird noises they make, they are totally low maintenance and cost next to nothing as they mainly eat all the vegetables you buy from the January health-kick-rush-of-blood-to-the-head and then keep in the fridge until they smell like a compost bin.

The kids named them Snuffles** and Bella and they were due to live outside and rub along with us with minimal disruption.

Until hurricane Brenda or whichever one it was started to blow a gale and I realised that the guinea pigs would die of hyperthermia before they reached their 2-month birthday.

So we moved the massive hutch inside.

Not ideal but two clicks later and I’d bought an indoor hutch on-line. This was starting to be a slightly more pricey endeavour than the occasional bag of hay and pet food but hey ho, it might be easier to look after them/ harder to ignore them, if they are just at the bottom of the stairs so we have to breathe in to squeeze past them every time.

The new hutch arrived.

It’s huge.

And the outdoor hutch went outside again, the children declaring it’s their holiday home ‘like Pontins.’ Perfect.

The first thing I noticed now they’re inside is how fucking noisy they are.

And nocturnal.

They reach optimum squeak at about 3am.

Never mind.

We’ll get used to the noise I tell myself. We might even start to not notice it at all; they will just become part of the house.

They start to grow. Like really quickly.

These guinea pigs are gigantic. I don’t remember them being this big when I was a child.

And then we realise why.

‘Mummy, Snufffles has shrunk!’

I look in the hutch.

No she hasn’t.

That’s a baby.

And there are two more.

Bella was pregnant when we bought her it turns out. We have five guinea pigs for the price of two.

And the massive hutch doesn’t look so massive now.

We plan to find homes for the babies, but after Ben referred to them as ‘family’ we couldn’t do it.

We couldn’t split up ‘the girls.’

When did we start calling them ‘the girls’? Kill me now.

But one trip to the petshop later confirmed that they are indeed all girls and so the chances of them procreating further are biblical.

Come Christmas and the kids are putting together their unrealistic lists of things they’d like to appear under the tree, and we’re trying to convince them that perhaps what they’d really like is a gigantic guinea pig hutch.

A double decker, two story, block of flats style hutch.


They’re both slightly disappointed but it’s the only way we can keep them all.

So what started out as a lovely exercise in empathy and looking after another creature has become a quick lesson in teenage pregnancy and incest.

You can’t win them all.

*The voice in my head and Yahoo news.

** I have never met a creature who is less like her name. She bites. And if you look at her straight on she reminds me a bit of General Wooundwort from Watership Down.

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.


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.