Tuesday 28 February 2012

How do I look?

Recently, my husband and I dined out, just the two of us. Sadly, we were at a well-known fast food chain grabbing a bite to eat after a hospital appointment. I wore glasses on my make-up free face and as I chomped on a burger I mused: “I’d never let my friends see me like this”. 

He quipped back: “I’ve seen you looking worse”. 

It is true. He has. And it is true that I think about how I look when I see my friends...I covert their chunky bracelets and ankle boots and I am chuffed to bits when they like my new bag. 

Then, the other night, I was off out with the girls, and that old thing came over me – the frantic wardrobe scavenging. Hot, bothered and half made up, I searched in vain for the perfect outfit. The one that made me look very thin and right on trend. The one that didn’t exist. 

Sunday 26 February 2012


It’s a funny old thing, writing about stuff. It’s a way of trying to order and record things, and perhaps that is why I find myself being drawn to lists. And in the blogging world, I have discovered that this is not unusual. Over at Kate Takes 5, there’s a whole world of amazing lists, and I have decided to join in her listography on the top five things that make me happy.

I find I have gone for the big stuff, rather than ‘bright sunshine on a cold day’ or ‘carrot cake’. Intense or unimaginative? I make no apologies. Here they are in no particular order:

1. My little boy. The smell of his hair and the heavy weight of him falling asleep on me. And every word he says. Even “I’m ready for you to wipe my bottom” and “Daddy is my favourite”.

Thursday 23 February 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Adrian Mole The Prostrate Years

No other book makes me laugh like an Adrian Mole diary. This one had me snorting embarrassingly in a quiet waiting room in a way that might make the mother of all embarrassing mothers – Pauline Mole herself – blush.

The secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and 3/4 was recently voted Britain’s funniest book, but I’ve enjoyed the subsequent diaries just as much, and, in Adrian, Sue Townsend has cultivated the perfect everyman through whom she can deliver withering satire on every social issue and lifestyle trend in modern Britain.

From the smoking ban to laminate flooring, the workings of the NHS and the MPs expenses scandal, wittingly or not, Adrian chronicles the farcical elements of modern life to exquisite comic effect.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Top of the books

Don’t you just love compiling top ten lists? It’s definitely one of my top ten favourite ways to while away an hour (well, while it away in my head, anyway – there are any number of menial or not-so-menial tasks I could be doing at the same time).

So I thought it was very cool when one of my top ten favourite book club members (of whom there are ten) came up with a list of her favourite books as it stands at the moment.

I’ve put the list here. Put yours in a comment box – go on, as a total book geek, I love this information. I’ll post my own shortly, just as soon as I’ve perfected the final draft. I can do that while I reroute the electrics.....

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Trouble in the Library

When I spotted the poster at nursery I could already feel the smug sense of achievement. In an instant, I had decided to take my Darling Little Boy to meet the well-known children’s illustrator who would be visiting our local library.

Perfect timing, too, as we’d been reading lots of his books of late.  

I emailed friends and led the charge. I aimed to get there early and bag a good seat, which had the fortunate effect of causing me, for once, to arrive on time, just before it was due to begin at 2.30pm.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Time for some straight talking

Two things happened this week to give me a wake-up call as to the complex workings of my Darling Little Boy's mind as he struggles to make sense of the world. I know all you parentals out there will recognise the hilarity, wonder and awe you feel when you hear them make a dead-pan pronouncement about something they have taken in its literal sense.

Firstly, DLB started a conversation about ‘who we know in Birmingham’. This in broad terms includes my dad and step-mum, and my sister Rosie, who lives with them when she's not at university in Brighton. So he went through the list....Grandpa, Granny, Auntie Rosie.....then he came to Chris, Rosie’s one-time boyfriend with whom relations have recently become strained.

I never thought to explain Chris’s presence and then absence to Darling Little Boy until a thought occurred to him and he looked me straight in the eye and asked: “Is Chris dead?”
Following the death of his paternal grandmother’s dog, Ellie, who of course used to always be there when we visited, and now isn’t, I could see exactly how he had reached this conclusion.  

Miss Havisham, I can relate...

Of all the literary characters, it’s not ideal to find yourself identifying with Miss Havisham. But watching Gillian Anderson portray Dickens’ jilted spinster over Christmas, I suddenly had a startling realisation.

The untouched decaying wedding cake she lives with, you see, is a little bit like my cellar, which looks like an explosion in a Jo Jo Maman Bebe giant storage bag factory. We’ve got them all; the spaceship one, the paisley one, the dotty one. They’re full of baby clothes. There’s also a pram, a high chair, three buggies, a cot and toys. I’ve given a lot away but it still fills an entire room.

The trouble is, there is an emotionally-charged question mark as to whether they will be needed again.

Saturday 4 February 2012


Peter and Helen Radley live an inconspicuous life with their teenage son and daughter, Rowan and Clara, in the village of Bishopthorpe just outside York. He is a GP, she’s an amateur artist. They drive a people carrier and listen to radio 4. Rowan is being bullied at school and anaemic Clara has just turned vegan.
We soon realise, however, that this typically middle class couple are in fact abstaining vampires, fighting a daily battle with withdrawal from blood – a battle they have also forced upon their unknowing offspring.
That is until Clara is attacked by a classmate at a drunken party and finds her self-defence turns into a confusingly satisfying blood bath that her parents are forced to clean up and more importantly, explain.   
As the family’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel, we follow an energetic romp as suburban drama meets full-blown vampire fantasy.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Watch this space

I was afforded the perfect opportunity to spend the afternoon at home, with my feet up, watching several episodes of a TV series this week.

Wait a minute, what opportunity was that? I hear you ask. Well, I was taken to a clinic, sedated, and given a gynaecological procedure. As the nurse removed the drip, she fixed me with a stern gaze and said: “No driving, no cooking, no ironing and no cleaning for the rest of the day.” I replied: “No problem!” and was sped home by my husband, safe in the knowledge that our Darling Little Boy was spending the rest of the afternoon being dined and entertained by his uncle and aunt.  

So, there I was, relaxing in my favourite cardigan, on our very comfy new sofa, gripped by the quality Danish viewing that is Borgen. But it felt odd. Not because I live oh-such-a-busy-life and never get chance to watch television. No, it’s because a strange thing has happened to me. I have lost the knack of TV.