Friday, 29 July 2011

Pirates and Parties

My eldest turned 4 yesterday. For weeks we ummed and aahed about throwing him a party. Was he old enough? Was it necessary? Did we have to? We came to the conclusion he was old enough to make the decision we couldn't. We asked him if he wanted a party or a big present. He chose "big present" and we swallowed him up in a group hug.

When he started nursery he would regularly come home with a piece of cake, "It's Violet's birthday" the teacher would tell me handing me a squished parcel of goodness wrapped in a tinkerbell serviette. A week later "It's Gabby's birthday" as I was handed a cupcake that had more sparkle in its icing than a Claire's Accessories' hairpiece. It seemed they were getting bigger and better as the year went along. "Thank god my children are born in the holidays, I don't need to get involved with this" I smugly thought.

But I did.

"Seen as you're not having a party, do you want to take some cakes into school for your school friends?" I asked him on walk home one afternoon.
"Yes Pleeeeease! Pirate ones."
There was no going back. I had asked. And I hadn't thought about it. Somewhere in that question I should have included 'plainly iced' or even 'shop bought'.

Pirate cupcakes. Right.

A friend suggested gold coins on the top. "Brilliant!" I thought, that's easy. (I had left it till the morning of the penultimate day to do this.) Just so you know, in case you need gold coins in Summer, uou can not buy Gold Coins outside of the festive holiday. Our little town as 2 traditional sweet shops, 1 bargain pic and mix shop, 1 supermarket and many convenience shops with rows and rows of sweets.  Sweet shops we have. Gold coins we don't. "How about skull and cross bones?" I asked  the shopkeeper scratching for ideas. "Only at Halloween." The smiling assassin replied.

So I went back to the drawing board... And bloody well surprised myself!

Do you know how many there are in O's class?... 40! Something I didn't ask till the morning of hte marathon cake bake. I took me all afternoon. It's a good job I don't work, as with all the demands of showcasing one's talents as a parent I'd never be able to hold down a job.

His teacher asked me, as I handed them  over, weeping, if I had done all the little faces myself. "No the shoemakers elves did it whilst I was alseep."

Here's some of the others. Notice the multicultural ones in the top left? I got extra praise from the teachers for those. As you can see it was quite time consuming doing the pirate faces, so I mixed it up with some skull and cross bones. The last 10, which I'm not showcasing, were, just a chocolate buttons stuck on some butter cream with some silver ball tossed on  in a flurried after thought.

(Note to self and fellow bakers. Natural food colouring may have less 'E' numbers in, but it will not give you pirate red icing, the closest you will get is a terracotta colour.)

I triumphed, broke my own rule and posted photos of my success on FB, as my recently departed followers muttered "poser" under their smug breaths.

I did actually devise a pirate treasure hunt on Litte O's birthday for him and his 2 best friends, who are equally pirate infatuated. After obsessing all week about the weather and whether we would be trudging for clues in festival style rain, we discovered Little O is born under a lucky star and it was the nicest, sunniest day it had been for weeks.

The FH set off first, with strict instructions of where to place the clues. And in no time at all I was at the starting point with three pirates (authentically attired) brandishing wooden swords and excitedly roaring "C'mon Me Hearties". I rubbed my bump and whispered "Sorry about this."

The first clue had been attached to the railings in the park, but as we were distracted fixing one of the swords with electrician's tape, a skanky little skinhead dressed in Kappa had pulled it off. Luckily my teacher's eye had spotted it. I retrieved it from him whilst he was trying to make it into a comedy joint. "I didn't stay up most the night laminating these so they could be used for that" I told him, in my teacher voice, reattaching it onto the railings.

We set off. Full speed ahead. I devised a "waddle run" thus managing to keep up with them. It was brilliant! We ran, screamed and roared between clues, brandishing swords at passers by, who were jumping into rose bushes to avoid being knocked over. My only regret was that I hadn't attired myself  in a wenches' costume (don't think they do them in Maternity though.Shame.)

At the bottom The FH and our beautiful toddler (Fearless) were waiting. The last clue was a map of the wooded paly area and a red cross in the sandpit.The FH and Fearless were at  the edge of the sand pit, spades ready. The three pirates furiously unearthed the sand, as we tried to shield surrounding children sat nearby, stunned at what they were witnessing.  Eventually, they found the treasure chest, full of...  alas, not golden chocolate coins, but golden chocolate Fireman Sam lollies instead.  They loved it!

I congratulated The FH on placing the clues exactly where I said, he recounted that it would have been a piece of cake if Fearless hadn't been making a run for it every time he stopped to tie one on. At one point, whilst tying a clue to the bridge railings, Fearless had made a dash for it and was momentarily caught by a female passer by, just before he plunged into the beck. The FH, full of gratitude for rescuing his son, tried to explain he was trying to tie a pirate clue onto the bridge. This explanation was only met by the scowls of a disapproving parent. 

Later that day we had the family for tea. Another chance for showboating as I attempting to recreate a Treasure Chest Cake. This, in the book, is filled with  Gold coins. So I sent The FH, out into the land of sweet shops, only to come back defeated. We improvised with smarties. It wasn't up to cupcake standard though. I feel I may have peaked too soon.

I leave you with one final scene,in case you didn't catch it on Facebook. Good enough to be repeated though.

Scene - first thing this morning.

Me:        Happy Birthday Oscar.
Oscar:    Is it my birthday?
Me:        Yes you're 4.
Oscar:    But I don't feel 4.
Me:        I know exactly how you feel.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Idiosyncrasies? What idosyncrasies?

Before we had children The FH declared he was not a 'weerdo' and had no 'weirdo habits'. He was referring to what I fondly call my idiosyncrasies. "Go on then" he demanded "What do I that is weird?" Four years later and I am yet to challenge him on this. He doesn't even have a "side of the bed" we sleep where we land. We're a crazy like that. Sometimes, when I'm searching for sleep, this conversation replays itself in my head - there must be something.  I'm then awake for hours... "You don't like it if I cut your sandwich is half". I'll nudge him awake to tell him.
"That's a preference, not a necessity" he'll murmur through his pillow. It's true, if he was forced to eat triangle sandwiches for the rest of his existence, he wouldn't be broken or any less The FH than he is today.

Me, I'm full of them. They bubble away inside me.

Soggy cereal. I can't eat soggy cereal - it makes me gag. If I do delve into the breakfasting world of cereal (which is rare as I'm a tea and toast girl) then the cereal has to be perfectly placed in the centre (picture a lone Weetabix with a generous  sprinkle of sugar) and the milk has to be dribbled down the edge of the bowl. then it is to be eaten at full speed to ensure minimum sogginess.

Same for soggy bread, soggy toast. *bork* After 8 years, The FH has finally learnt that you do not put the beans on my toast, They are first placed on the plate, and the toast placed around them - NOT touching the beans. If I was given nothing in the mornings but soggy toast and cereal for the rest of my existence, I would be broken. A mere shadow of the woman I am today.

I don't like answering the phone.

I can't clean my teeth last thing at night. It wakes me up. The clean minty freshness contradicts my bedraggled, lethargic persona. It must be done early evening or not at all.

I usually fondle my head in a weird way when I'm nervous. My fondle this means pat, pull, stroke, rub, pick, knead etc. I can't help it. I have no control.

Floaters (in my drink) freak me out.

I pull a funny face and flap my arms like a penguin when I look in a full length mirror. Don't ask. I have no idea.

And there are a hundred more that I can't yet confess to or I am unaware that I do,

The boy's are already starting to emerge. One sucks his bottom lip when he's tired. The other runs with his hands behind his back when he's being disobedient. But The FH - I still have nothing.

What are your idiosyncrasies? Or your other half's? Let me know, I may be missing a trick.

Friday, 22 July 2011

I'd forgtton...

how much I Love eating soup after being caught in the rain. Children, like dogs, need to be taken out. It's easy to say the weather’s awful; we're staying in. Or take them to a germ breeding ball pool and spend the following two days wiping their noses or wiping up their vomit. But a bit drizzle, or a bit of summer rain, doesn't bother them. Only us. But when we return home, slurp a bowl of soup, with damp tendrils of hair clinging to our foreheads and our t shirts suctioned against our skin,  we are suddenly softened.  Ideally, the soup is homemade, simmering on the Aga, and the bread, badly cut wedges hacked at with slabs of butter. But I don't live at my parents anymore, and I am never that organised. So here in our 2 bed terrace, we slurp Heinz tomato soup and dip in bagels which are  flecked with melted cheese. No complaints this end – even though an orange rim glowed around their mouths all afternoon.

why we don't have a tumble drier. We have managed for 5 years without one. In winter our radiators buckle under crinkled washing and in summer the washing line is a convey belt of colours. But usually it works. This summer, however, it hasn't. There may be some factors here that are making it harder; firstly my maternity wardrobe is about a twentieth of the size of my regular wardrobe and econdly, I am pregnant.   Sometimes I forget to put on washing machine on, sometimes I put detergent in, sometimes I don't, sometimes I put a dishwasher tablet in instead, or sometimes I think I've hung a wash out, when I've actually left it crumpled on the decking. All these factors make it difficult, especially when you a reliant on brief flashes of dry weather. But still, never in five years have I had such difficultly in finding clean clothes for us all or been so disheartened by the over flowing linen baskets (notice the plural).
the satisfaction of fixing things. This week I fixed the boy's toy storage in their room, a small but tedious operation. I sorted and returned missing toy components to their forgotten owners and discovered changing the batteries is not always the military operation it first appears. They had a wonderful afternoon playing, rummaging and exploring in a very tidy and organised bedroom. And they soon managed to return it to chaos and disorder. However, the satisfaction of fixing things stayed with me all week. Next week - the rest of the house!

the joy of dipping bread into mum's homemade curry. In out teenage years, we'd all stand on the hearth in front of the Rayburn. Thawing our hands and bottoms against the oven doors and developing the art to dip and not drop. Who wants curry stains on their school uniform? Or who wants to find soggy bread in their dinner? Also we got a bollocking if it was Dad's dinner "what the bloody hell is this?"  So we dipped, without dropping, defrosting are bodies, always with a cover up in mind should we hear the footsteps in the hall (i.e. quickly rush to the sink, pretend to be filling a glass with water, allowing enough time to swallow mouthful and deny everything). The other day I popped round to pilfer some cooking ingredients, only to discover a lamb Rogan josh simmering on the stove and a fresh loaf sat with bread knife on the chopping board. I couldn't resist. "What are you doing?" shouted Mum from the sitting room.
"Nothing" I replied through curry soaked bread, with brown splodges glowing on my T shirt. Clearly the art of dip not drop is one that needs to be practised.

how much I miss wine. I do miss going out. But I can live without it. But when I do go out, I love getting ready, I love deciding what to wear, trying out new make-up, having newly styled hair, and feeling glamorous whilst drinking a glass of wine. I don't see my friends enough. I email them more than I ring, text or see them. But face to face - it's always worth waiting for, there's always a forgttent ale to tell. There’s places that I still really enjoying going when pregnant; clean stylish, quirky places - that serve food and aren't full of nobs. Luckily we have one our doorstep. So, there were friends, giggles, location, atmosphere, food, laughter, nibbles, stories and.. lemonade.  My God I still miss the wine! Especially when somebody says "How we doing for wine? Shall I get another bottle?"
"Yep" I reply nonchalantly. "And a funnel please." Chuckle, chuckle.
I'm not laughing.

how mind-blowing feeling the baby move is. Three pregnancies later and I'm not blasé; it’s still the most incredible moment. The first real kick. Routinely followed by 10 minutes of incomprehension, whilst trying to picture another being living inside your tummy, a tear, a giggle, a shout to The FH, a patient hand placed upon the belly, an awkward moment, a disheartened retreat, another kick, another squeal, another patient hand... Never gets boring. For me anyway.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Extrovert Verses The Introvert

If we only had two categories to define every one's personality, then these are two my sister would use. My sister, Curls, who is as a self confessed Extrovert. She declares her nightmare would be to be trapped in a room full of introverts whilst her partner would say his is to be on a night out with a group of extroverts (women extroverts would make it more hellish).  But they fit together perfectly, blowing apart many relationship psychologist's theories.

I find myself torn. My life consists of a battle between my inner introvert and my outer extrovert, which ever one is stronger that day dictates how I respond to situations, people... Life. I think in my youth I was more of an extrovert - forever described as "outgoing" and "sociable" on school reports. But the older I get the more the introvert wins.

My theory is your personality is defined by three main areas; genetics, upbringing and experiences.

 You can't do much about genetics - it's decided before you're here and unfortunately that's your lot and how you use it is up to you.

 As far as childhood goes I had a pretty great upbringing, I have happy childhood memories, was loved unconditionally and given lots of opportunities that I know other kids didn't get. However my dad is a classic introvert and Mum an extrovert - although the older they get the more they seem to be changing roles. They would probably say the other had driven them to it. I learnt from them the perks of both, the introvert and extroverts. Also as a middle child, I've always found my personality to be moody, swinging from extremes , always pulled in different directions, the role of the middle child is a contradiction - to be the younger and elder sibling at the same time means their role is constantly changing due to demands put upon them.

Then there's experiences; where school was a breeze. sixth form a blur and university a self-discovery. Throughout these I have made some brilliant friends, who I still have now, but I also some bad choices - you know the ones who will value others feelings above your own, The friends who slowly shoot holes in your self confidence until it's clinging together with shreds. The friends I was glad to grow apart from. This is where the introvert triumphed, as the extrovert sat in the corner, over analysing the details.

The FH is in many ways a classic extrovert, he's a risk-taker, from a family of big personalities, but he has to be an extrovert on his terms, he's very territorial and our house is his retreat. Only with reluctance, would he invite parties, social gatherings and fellow extroverts in through his front do  or. But once there, he would find comfort in the limelight. So sometimes I hide in his shadow and sometimes I steal his limelight. Either way we work.

Introverts need the right platform to come out of themselves. My fathers was teaching, mine acting, when I was younger, writing now. A lot of  men would probably say any sporting platform.  But sometimes, with me, it just takes a glass of red

Extrovets:-  Will cross a busy street just to say hello to someone they vaguely know
Introverts:- Will pretend they haven't see you, as you directly walk past each other, even though you've lived in the same road as them for five years.

Extroverts:- Will make up an excuse to throw a party.
Introverts:- Will make up an excuse not to go.

Extroverts:- Want to talk to you on the train, even if you're reading, have your back to them, , continuously texting, have head phones on, asleep, pretending to be asleep or rude.
Introverts:- On a train will be reading, have your back to them, , continuously texting, have head phones on, asleep, pretending to be asleep or rude.

Extroverts:- Don't get Internet Dating.
Introverts:- Invented Internet Dating.

Extroverts:- Take forever at checkouts, divulging to the checkout their reasons for choosing Maris Piper over King Edward and explaining how the shopping basket is in fact the ingredients of a romantic meal in for two, and exactly why they are having this meal, what they will be wearing and the music that will be playing.
Introverts:- Use self-serve tills.

Maybe most of us fit somewhere on the scale below, or like me, a bobbing up and down it. I wonder what Carl Jung would make of this? Probably just content that I have dumbed down his theory, and missed out the science and math. But I do like this quote, taken from Wikipedia, where else?
'Introversion does not describe social discomfort but rather social preference'
So the next time Curls declares I'm "in an introverted mood". I can reply with, "I just have higher expectations of socialising than you." Brilliant!

The Extrovert Scale.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Planning a camping trip.

1) Rain, rain, go away fuck off!
2) DS lite/Netbook  (My argument to camp was that we'd be outdoors and way from TV/Laptop so I guess these aren't coming)
3) Print off directions to all local indoor play areas
4) Work out how to make toast on a camping stove. (Toast is one of 2 year olds 7 word vocab. He will shout it louder and louder till he gets it)
5) Bastite dry shampoo
6)Maternity Camping Clothes. Erm...Consider what items of my wardrobe can be classed as Maternity Camping Clothes.
7) Sow stock cubes, salt and pepper into under garments Gillian Keith style. Or just take them with the kitchen stuff.
8) Notepad (aka diary) for scribbling blog ideas
9) Work out what you can do on campsite if child wakes at 5.30 am
10) Reconsider taking Netbook/DS

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Doomed before they even opened their mouths?

So Victoria Beckham has finally got a daughter, and David, once again, got the lucky job of announcing the name to the media. Normally, he stands outside the private hospital and squeaks out "Muvver and baybee are doing weerly well. We're all weerly pleased." However, this time, like many of us, he decided to announce the birth on Facebook. David |Beckham shy away from the media? There can only be only explanation for this - the name was Victoria's idea.

You'd think after the choosing the names Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz that they would be hardened to mass mocking and name baiting. However, since their last child was born, the social network has allowed a new platform, and indeed a new level, of celebrity ridicule to take place. Is there anything they could have named this long, awaited daughter that wouldn't have resulted in a twitter frenzy of bad, and sometimes cruel, jokes?

Well I have to say I think Harper is a beautiful name. I'm not really a fan of surnames for first names, however, this traditional Scottish name has more to it than the Harrisons and Jacksons that are appearing on maternity wards. For a start there is its most famous namesake Harper Lee, I'm not sure if the Beckhams are fans of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', or have even read it, but for me the name Harper will also evoke the courageous and powerful words of Harper Lee (even though she was originally christened Nelle Harper Lee). And also it doesn't end in 'son' like many of the others, which makes it sound less surname, more forename.

But then I heard the middle name – Seven - and a little bit of my love for the Beckhams died. Seven? Yes, I get it after David's iconic football shirts. But Seven?  Harper Seven Beckham. I can't even say it without falling over the words. Apparently it is a name, a boy's name originally, now growing in popularity in America - where else? I suppose it will be really cute when she is, actually seven years old, but what happens when she turns eight? But who am I to judge, as Harper Lee said, you can't understand a person till you've walked a mile in their shoes. So come on Victoria, hand over a pair of your Christian Louboutins and I'll give it a go, it might not be pretty though (picture glass slipper dangling from ugly sister's big toe).

Off the rocks? On the rocks?

 Turns out love isn’t as straightforward as marriage and divorce. Cheryl Cole (wonder why she never went back to Tweedy?) is entertaining public displays of affection with her ex-husband, just eight months after the divorce was finalised. And JLo is getting divorced… Again! Third time lucky? Maybe this divorce is "the one".

Even now, as Cheryl and Ashley are rekindling, rumours of EVEN more infidelity are circling (note to self, never marry a footballer). And, I’m afraid, Cheryl I have no sympathy; a cheater does not change its spots, certainly not in eight months anyway.

Now "our" little northern Cheryl is only 28 and she just wishes "the media wud leave us alone" but I’m afraid by being beautiful, and successful, that means it’s never going to happen, we’re all just far too damn interested. But there is only so far the Cheryl – Ashley saga can go before it becomes tiresome and we’re already wading through the "been there" territory. I was quite excited for the Cheryl journey – who would be the man who taught her to love again? And I’ll be very disappointed if it is going to be the uncharismatic, unfaithful (equally disloyal with football clubs) Mr. Cole… Yawn.

So JLo are we still not to be fooled by the ‘rocks that [you’ve] got’? Was this lyric always referring to engagement ‘rocks’? If so, that went straight over my head? I’ve never really got JLo’s taste in men – P Diddy? Eugh? The first husband, Noa? Who? Exactly. Chris Judd – could have been any other dancer. Ben Affleck – out of shape, self-indulgent actor. And the latest fatality, Marc Anthony, which I expected great things on hearing his name and then was very disappointed to discover he looked like a Spanish Billy Crystal. Not at all the forceful Roman General I was expecting. And JLo’s next move? Well I’m not at all excited, or even that bothered. I think she parallels her recent TV adventure American Idol, the best has been had.

Monday, 11 July 2011

To FB or not to FB?

I have a love- hate relationship with Facebook. I have declared this before. What I probably haven't admitted is that I am probably guilty of committing all the FB sins I hang upon fellow users. *hangs head in shame* I'm an FB hypocrite. But there was a time, in the early days, I loved all things FB, I would log on and see a friend request and get a little excited "ooh who is it?" Now if I see a friend request a little bit of dread plummets into my stomach and I think "Oh god, who is it?" Do I cut my losses and give it up before I become too cynical, or is there still mileage in the old runner?

Reasons to FB
  • Birthdays Reminders. Thank god for this! My favourite aspect of FB is that it reminds me of friends’ birthdays, a couple of days in advance, so I have time to get a card posted! If it could just take into location as well (i.e. let me know a fortnight in advance I need to post my brother's card to Australia, then it would be faultless.)
  • As a source of information it is very useful (by information, read gossip)
  • I am a nosey bugger - therefore I do like to look at other people's pictures, know where they're going on holiday, who they've been on a night out with etc etc. If it wasn't for Facebook I probably would have turned into a curtain peeper to get my fix.
  • I have managed to keep in touch with many old friends, who I know I would have completely and utterly lost touch with. I know the other argument is that's part of life, people come and go in and out of your life, but I like it. I like the odd comment each year we put on each other's page. I like their occasional updates that remind why I liked them in the first place. I may never meet their children, or attend their weddings, but hearing nice things about their life is enough. Makes it worthwhile.
  • Searching for people who you've left in your past, not to befriend them, to see if what they look like now. Oh we've all done it - good isn't it?

Reasons not to FB
  • Phishing/Scams/Viruses. Especially the most recent ones which use hard-core porn images, Nice! I actually hid the last one that cropped up on my page, saying that 5 of my female friends had liked it, and as I crossed it, it took me to a scam website and then flashed up on all my friend's pages that I had liked it. Grrr!
  • Facebook Assumptions. (Usually wrong). When somebody tells you some gossip which starts, "Well I saw on Facebook that..." there's usually a tall tale attached and a lot of assumptions, which usually results in somebody getting upset. I once wrote on a colleague’s wall "I feel rough. How much wine did we drink?" this was after we went for spontaneous drinks. Through FB whispers this got back to my boss (who is not on FB) who thought we had had a department night out without her. I felt terrible.
  • Relationship status. So you've broken up with someone, or worse been dumped, without thinking you log on, without a second thought change your relationship status back to single. On all your friends news feed it pops up with a broken heart symbol telling them you're now single. Ouch!
  • Not making The Cull. This I can handle, as I'm quite a ruthless person, I have clear outs in my house a lot, and if it's not been used in the last 6 months it goes, I can see why people would have a similar ethic on Facebook. Also I am quite a self-indulgent Facebooker so I'm not the sort that makes an effort with FB relationships. However, two things which I don't like. 1) When you realise someone's had a cull and you haven't made the cut - but they friend requested you, and you ummed and ahhed whether to accept and then accepted as a sympathy friend. They culled me! 2) When it's family! Yes Family. Ok they are 2nd cousins (or whatever the current term is) but still our grandparents were sisters, we spent many summers together, our parents still send Christmas Cards to each other, you met my brother for lunch in a another country, but you cull me!
  • Because I don't like being called chick or hun.
The Facebook Users:

Too Cool for Facebook
Oh these people will never lower themselves to FB. You know, it's beneath them. They look down on us with superiority as they still value the art of conversation and champion snail mail. But do you know what they will do? Search for people on their partners account - isn’t that right The FH? I have actually had to befriend his friends because he is not on FB but would still like to use it to see what his old school/uni chums are up to. I also have been befriended by ex-uni housemates' wives, because they are too cool for FB, but use their wife’s account for their own benefit. 

The Voyeuristic Facebooker
You'll all have one, a Facebook friend who never updates, never comments, never post pictures…is never on chat. Clearly this person never goes on. Huh? But one day you'll bump into them, in a fine drinking establishment, or your local, and you'll talk to them. as if they know nothing of your recent life. But you realise they do - they know EVERYTHING. They've read every update, seen every picture... you see they look, but don't touch. They are voyeuristic. You have been lulled into thinking they weren't really that into FB, but they're knowledge throws you off guard. They're the dark horses, the quiet ones. Knowledge is power and they unnerve me..

The Facebook Stalker
You met them once at a friend of a friend's party, or shared a taxi with them 5 years ago, or worked in the same call centre as them at uni, but never spoke to them. But they've remembered your name, they've hunted you down, they've sent you a friend request? Do you accept? Do you hell? *Click Blacklist*.

The Boaster
Because everything is just so amazing, Read their updates - they're just so perfect, so is their husband/boyf/job/kids/car... blah blah blah.

The Poser
Do you take pictures of yourself and post them on FB? I say no more.

The promoter
Guilty as charged. They use Facebook for the sole purpose to promote their business, events, ahem... Blog. Well, actually I was on Facebook a long time before I started writing a blog, but actually I have no problem with The Promoter. Free advertising? Who's going to say no. I have more of a problem with the people who are self-employed, freelancing etc and when you suggest to them "Have you thought of advertising on Facebook?" they pull a half smile and say "no I don't really like Facebook." OK pay for advertising then, much better option.

The Updater
Because we need to know what time you got up, what you've eaten, how much work you haven't done today (because you're on FB) and exactly when you feel happy, sad, tired, grumpy, hungry...

The Gamer
I have been a bit addicted to some games in the past, but in my defence it usually coincides with breastfeeding/maternity leave and REALLY bad daytime TV that has driven me to it. But I have not succumbed to farmville, cityville, holidayville etc, so I shouldn't really comment, but I will, just to say it does really piss me off when I log on and my news feed is reams of reams of gaming updates I don't understand or care for. *Click Hide*.

The Teaser
Example: 'Wow! Just had the best news ever!' lots of people comment “What?" and a day later they reply with, 'My mum's got a new cat'. Great! Or they put 'Today had been too horrible" lots of concerned comments follow until they reply with "Just the rain, it's been horrible! Really? Was that it? You tease.

I don't write this with superiority or innocence - I am probably guilty of all of these at different point in my FB experience. And as much as I criticise the social network, I am aware they are a growing power and I never like to be left behind. There are downsides, bigger than the little irritations mentioned here, dangers that lurk behind the newsfeed and the keyboards, but with this one I think I’ll keep my enemies close.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


I feel by being pregnant that this blog is in danger of becoming overrun with pregnancy/parenting posts which I made a conscious decision at the start I didn't want to do. This is a space for my scribbles - good or bad - but encompassing all of me, not just the Mum. Therefore I have created another blog, controversial I know, which solely focuses on this aspect Some people have said "I can't wait to read your preggers posts, where others are quietly thinking I'm bored of them already. This blog will continue to run as it always has - with a little bit of everything, so please if you've enjoyed reading so far, please continue - every new follower, or comment really does make me want to burst into song (out of tune of course).  And if you do like the "Mummy Blogs" check out the other site - warning I am little bit more opinionated though, I'm using in it more as a vent of hormones at the moment!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Finished. Finnito. Done!

So the marking is over. Which to be honest, I thought I handled it quite well, however, my nearest and dearest have all looked at me, head cocked to one side, wry smile upon lips, desperation bursting out of the subtext, and said "you're not going to do it next year are you?" So they may have a different outlook on the whole experience.

Here's some Highs and Lows from the last four weeks of roller-coaster marking Hell.

Low: Falling out of love with some of my favourite poems as they were unsympathetically pulled apart by students scratching for marks.
High: Reading this, "When Duffy says 'diving for pearls' she clearly means William Shakespeare is giving Anne Hathaway a bit of oral." *tick*

Low: Not being able to watch anything decent on TV as at 9.00pm (when all the best things are on i.e. The Apprentice, Luther). At 9.00pm  I was either frantically trying to finish last few scripts of the day, or tucked up in bed. Exhausted. Snoring.
High: Discovering all episodes are on the i player ready to watch in my own convenience. And being eternally grateful we are not still in 1990, where I would be reliant on a VHS recording, done by dad, and then whilst halfway through a gripping episode of Twin Peaks, witness with fury that half of it had been recorded over with London's Burning.

Low: Missing watching my eldest first swimming lessons. *wipes tear from eye*
High: Not having to sit behind steamed glass, watching my eldest reluctantly remove his arm bands and splutter his way across three lengths, fighting back the tears, until he ducked his head under to water to hide his tears. The recount was enough to break my fragile parenting heart. *wipes away BIGGER tear*

High: Completely and utterly removing myself from any household duties. (Can you hear The FH in the background - "Er, isn't that technically your first job as Housewife/Full time Parent?". No, it didn't have much impact on me either.)
Low: Losing our bed under a mountain of clean laundry; the two us frantically throwing clothes over our shoulder "It must me around here somewhere"

High: Not being able to drink, and enjoying the superior feeling that my scripts weren't to be returned to schools with red wine glass rings upon them.
Low: Not being able to drink.

Low: Not having the time, inclination or motivation to Blog. Resorting to publishing "draft" posts which weren't considered "good enough" the first time round. For all those who stuck with me - thank you, for those who didn't - *flicks the V's*.
High: The delightful and enthusiastic return to the blogging. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Unfortunately that statement does only stick with Blogging, not cleaning, shame huh?

High Finishing in time to take Little O on his first school trip.
Low: Finishing in time to take Little O on his first school trip. (It was a day of two halves)

High: Finishing the final batch, packing them up, enthusiastically parcel taping them up, with an excessive amount of  parcel tape, enjoying the knowledge the unhelpful office staff would be cursing me the other end. 
Low: Dragging heavy parcels round to parent's, borrowing parent's car,  driving around town until a parking spot near the post office appeared, bullying another car to get into said spot, dragging heavy parcels out of car, into post office, queuing in hot, stuffy, smelly post office line,  only to discover parcel force labels were not in handbag. Returning home, searching my house, my parent's house, numerous handbags, parent's car - only to resort to ripping apart excessive parcel tape, whilst cursing, to discover labels were inside parcel. Not the first one I opened either. They were in the second. Of course.

 (Confessions of a Magpie: this Highs and Lows format is unashamedly stolen from the marvellous Belgian Waffle, who has all the best ideas, even though she calls hers Up and Downs.)