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Silent Sunday: April 14, 2013

By |April 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Comfy shoes: the thin end of the wedge gets thicker

If my plastic glasses were the thin end of the wedge, then the wedge has just got thicker. Decidedly thicker. Check out my latest shoe acquisition. Designer? No. Gorgeous? Sadly not. High heeled? Don’t be silly. It is with the greatest regret I must admit, for the first time ever with the exception of trainers, I have bought a pair of shoes based on their comfort, durability and affordability. From Clarks. They look like the sort of thing my 87-year-old Granny would wear. Worse, they are the sort of thing my 87-year-old Granny does wear. Even my 91-year-old Granny, who owns a pair of Ugg boots, is more on trend than I am. Worse still, my new pair of shoes boast WaveWalk technology. Attractive. […]

By |April 12th, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Fashion|2 Comments

Passport photo shocker

I’ve done it. I’ve scarred BB for life. Despite best efforts, this is her first passport photo. It’s going to haunt her for the rest of her life. And she’s going to hate me for it. Kissable lips and delightfully chubby cheeks aside, how is it possible that she looks as though she’s been shouldered into the frame with her hands behind her back by a burly police officer having done something she knows she really shouldn’t? And how is it possible that what was a fairly expensive salon bob looks like I’ve put a pudding bowl on her head and cut round it. Badly. […]

By |April 10th, 2013|Beauty, Family life|2 Comments

When I grow up I want to be…a gardener or tree hugger

She’s only 19 months old, but I already know what my daughter is going to be when she grows up: a gardener. The seed of thought was first sown in my mind when I caught her singing, yes singing, to a pot of campanula while stroking the leaves. She jumped when she saw me, and then smiled and carried on, making her way from one plant pot to another in our sun lounge. The process is now repeated several times a week. Her Granny then bought her a miniature gardening kit for Easter, which she didn’t pay much attention to until we got home. I put it away in her bedroom, and the following morning, realising things had gone Very Quiet, I discovered she had extracted the watering can and fork from the kit, and was in the sun lounge pretending to water the flowers. While singing. […]

By |April 8th, 2013|Family life|0 Comments

Silent Sunday: April 7, 2013

By |April 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The joy of…chocolate

I think the picture speaks for itself...

By |April 5th, 2013|Family life, Food|0 Comments

I’ve finally committed Tesco suicide

I’ve committed Tesco suicide. That is, online Tesco suicide (vowing never to shop at any Tesco, ever again, is likely to inconvenience me far more than it will inconvenience them). The action comes after our home shop was late for the second time in a row, the third time in a month and the fifth time this year. I don’t just mean 10 minutes late; I mean three hours late. Of course things happen: first the delivery van was in an accident. Then it broke down. Twice. Then it never arrived at all thanks to the snow, and after being trapped on the M23 for eight hours in blizzard conditions I’ll give them that. Then the delivery driver fell down a flight of stairs. All I can deduce from this list of excuses is this: we must have the most hapless delivery drivers in Christendom. This ‘service’ incenses me beyond belief. What is the point of offering a one hour delivery slot if you can deliver the groceries at any other time except the allotted – and paid for – time? Why run such a service without a contingency plan for when things break down or said hapless driver finds him (or her, but highly unlikely) self in an accident? Why only text to tell your customer their order will be late half an hour into their delivery slot, when you must have known hours ago? And why not offer to refund the delivery charge? Anyone other than a supermarket giant would have gone out of business, and deservedly so. […]

By |April 3rd, 2013|Family life, Food, Uncategorized|6 Comments

The real meaning of Easter is…?

Feeling slightly guilty following our Easter celebrations. Not I-ate-too-much-chocolate-and-now-regret-it guilt, but what Misery Guts would call my Catholic guilt: the feeling I really ought to have carried out a duty, but didn’t. I don’t mean Easter bunny duties – BB was left in no doubt the Easter bunny had graced us with his (or her) presence. An Easter egg hunt, complete with shiny arrow signs, glossy bunny footprints and printed paper bags to collect the spoils (when did Easter Egg hunts become so sophisticated?) was planned with military precision, and discovering foil wrapped chocolate among the daffodils (pictured) had to be the highlight of her day. But after chocolate cornflake nests were eaten, the hours-old ring of chocolate around her mouth had been wiped away and BB was asleep, bunny ears next to her cot, it suddenly occurred to me the real meaning of Easter had not been mentioned. Once. […]

By |April 1st, 2013|Books, Family life|0 Comments

Silent Sunday: March 31, 2013

By |March 31st, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Who does Gwynnie think she’s kidding?

It’s been niggling at me all week, and it’s no use, there’s nothing for it but to have a good rant. I’m talking about Gwyneth Paltrow and the promotion of her latest cook book, which reveals her kids live on a gluten free, low carb, low sugar diet. That’s right, no wheat. No bread, no pasta, no rice, no ice cream, no chocolate and no cow’s milk.Apparently they eat raw fennel as a snack, kale chips instead of crisps and carob bars instead of chocolate. Lucky them.But it’s not what she is (or isn’t) feeding them, the poor souls, that bothers me – it’s the way her lifestyle is portrayed as ‘right’ and the implied pressure that puts on everyone else. One particular newspaper printed the recipe for ‘Gwyneth’s breakfast smoothie’, ingredients of which include half an avocado, half a courgette, chia seeds, flax seeds, dark fruit concentrate, almond butter, etc, etc. […]

By |March 29th, 2013|Family life, Food|4 Comments

Let’s get ready to rhumble…again!

It looks like a minor victory is about to be won. Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble is set to become the UK’s number one single this Sunday – 19 years after Ant and Dec, aka PJ & Duncan, first released it. This is the sort of thing (my) dreams are made of. The song only made number nine in the charts the first time round – when did Ant and Dec suddenly become so cool? They certainly weren’t cool in my neck of the woods in 1994. The only teeny boppers in our school, my partner in crime and I were routinely ridiculed for our love of PJ & Duncan and, mainly, Take That. To be fair, we didn’t help ourselves. All of our pocket money was spent on concert tickets and haring around the country in pursuit of our idols, with some interesting results. Sitting on Robbie Williams’ lap, aged 17, in the passenger seat of my aforementioned partner in crime’s Ford Fiesta has to be the highlight, although there were lows. Like standing outside the Top Of The Pops studio in the pouring rain for a glimpse of I can’t remember who, only to get a glimpse of Ian Beale from EastEnders instead, the set of which was at the same studio. […]

By |March 27th, 2013|Family life, Music, News|2 Comments

Oops…I’ve been Outlooked

Unless you’ve been on another planet for the last six months, or are otherwise engaged in the fug of new motherhood, which, let’s face it, is like living on another planet, you’ve probably heard that Microsoft has been automatically ‘upgrading’ Hotmail users to its new Outlook programme. Whether you like it or not. I’ve finally been Outlooked, and while I can see the benefits, there is one slightly alarming feature: a profile image of the email sender now appears next to their name. This is all well and good, in theory, however said image is programmed to be taken from your social networking sites, meaning if you’ve (unwittingly) saved a picture of yourself on Twitter or Facebook, it will automatically appear next to your name when you send an email. I’m not sure whether a picture of me peering out at my recipients through my plastic framed glasses with an ‘is this webcam working’ expression on my face (pictured) is a good idea or not. If I’m sending an email to my mum its harmless enough, but a managing director I need to interview for a story?  Presumably I could disable the function, if I knew how. This is continuing to trouble me, but in the meantime it’s an endless source of fascination and entertainment. I’ve finally got to see the faces behind the emails of people I’ve been communicating with for ages, but have never met, and of course no-one looks like one had imagined. And the pictures popping up range from the boring to the deranged to the frankly pornographic. Does the PR girl from one particular agency I deal with realise what appears to be a picture of her having had one too many while wearing a very short skirt on holiday in Torremolinos now pings up alongside her professional emails? […]

By |March 25th, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|0 Comments

Silent Sunday: March 24, 2013

By |March 24th, 2013|Uncategorized|16 Comments

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

I usually steer clear of dipping my toe into the subject of politics, and I may well regret it, but on this occasion I can’t resist. I have to say I was delighted to hear Nick Clegg getting a rollicking from an angry mummy on his live weekly radio phone-in yesterday. The stay at home mum, known only as Laura from East Dulwich, was calling in response to the government’s budget announcement that families with one earner bringing home more than £50,000 a year will lose their child benefit, but extra help with nursery costs will be offered to families where both parents work, bringing home up to £300,000. ‘You probably think what I do is a worthless job’, she told a flustered Clegg. ‘Child benefit was a fair way of recognising everybody’s legitimate choice either to work outside the home or to work inside the home. You’ve essentially abolished that for families like me.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself, and hats off to her. I’m not knocking the extra help with childcare costs – I know as well as anyone the fees can be crippling – but the proposal seems incredibly unfair and weighted against women – and men – who choose to stay at home and raise their children. At what point did this not become work? […]

By |March 22nd, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|2 Comments

Batch cooking: a licence for smugness

I have discovered the secret to feeling like the best mummy in the world, even if it’s just for half an hour: batch cooking. Pictured (left) is the product of yesterday afternoon’s endeavours – half a dozen handmade miniature Shepherd’s Pies, each in their own little tin and each with their own little label. There’s something about cooking for BB which seems more important than cooking for anyone else, even (diabetic) Misery Guts and even though she is likely to be the least grateful. Have I cut the carrots as neatly as possible? Check. Have I made sure the cheese isn’t spilling over the side of the tin? Check. Does this dish offer the right balance of protein and carbohydrate? Check. Is omega 3/some other form of fatty acid/at least one of her five-a-day present? Check. […]

By |March 20th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|5 Comments