Saturday, 27 August 2011

Stop Rhino Poaching

I cant believe the wickedness of some people in this world.
This epidemic of poaching of these awesome animals has to be stopped.
We stopped the ivory trade, now lets stop this barbaric trade.
These poor animals are being butchered while alive and left to bleed to death for the sale of their horns.
Please visit this site and take a look for yourselves, pleadge your support and if possible raise money or donate to this invaluable fund.

We all have a duty to protect our planet and the animals that live in our world, without our help future generations will be living in a barren earth with no chance of ever appreciating the wonders around all of us.
DO NOT TURN AWAY AND CLOSE YOUR EYES FROM THIS TERRIBLE TRADE - We all have a duty to join forces internationally and stop this NOW.
Please lets join together in whatever way we can, no matter how small, and do something.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Al Fresco Boys ............

I had a last minute opportunity to get my hands on some 1/2 price tickets to see my fav boys Westlife again, and this time it was going to be only 30 mins from me and in an outdoor performance. Could I? Should I? No question, of course I should, and even Maintenance Man said I should go. Within an hour I had bought 2 tickets and my best friend Ali (Lady List) and I were set to go. July 17, Broadlands outdoor arena in Romsey. A bit of girl time and a much needed time out for both of us.
Now, me being just a bit excited, spent the next 10 days googling everything from the weather to what strategy must be put in place to make sure we had half a chance of a front row place. Last time I saw them it was too far away for my liking and I was going to have to make a plan for success this time.
It was decided we would leave home by 2 pm (only 3 hrs to wait for gate opening) and then hopefully get a good place in the queue.
July 17 - 12pm I am ready and raring to go but 2pm was the sheduled set off time so I had to keep busy for a wee while yet.
2pm, Ali and I are off, coffee and bottles of water, biscuits and chocolate for the queue, garden chairs and umbrellas just in case.
2.30pm arrive at destination - OMG how did all those people get there already? So much for being first - Note to self - camp out the night before maybe? In fact there were only about 60 - 70 others in front of us. We put up the chairs, got out the coffee and biscuits and settled down for the wait.
The atmosphere was great and everyone was chatting and laughing, listening to bits of sound checking coming from the massive arena stage and trying to guess who's voice we could hear and how to get a sneaky look through the gates. 4.30pm - Ali and I decided we needed a plan cos when the gates opened it looked like it was going to be every man for himself to get to the front. So, Ali would take the chairs and I would run as fast as possible to the front of the stage and she would find me. All good.

Arena / Stage
Gates open and we are off. Well, it must have looked hilarious. Hundreds of  more mature (in years only, as we had regressed back to teenagers by the end of the evening), mainly female, fans racing like their lives depended on it, to get the best place to see the boys. No holds barred, and I was thinking that any minute now I am going to fall flat on my face and get crushed in the stampede. The last time I ran like that it was in the Mums Race at school sports day and I pulled a muscle in my leg, but it seems the gym work had paid off cos we made it - right to the front row, bar one person. Ali finally located me and we took a breather. Now, having never been to on outdoor concert before I was trying to be guided by what everyone else was doing. Behind us people were setting up camp again to wait for the start of the show, so we set up our chairs again too. Interesting views of the backs of peoples knees (I now remember what it feels like to be 4 years old). Well, there had to be one group of women who were not happy with this, probably because they didn't have a chair and the grass was wet, and they decided to moan and bitch very loudly about our seating (which were taking up less space than the people sitting on the floor etc all around the place. My initial thought was "Hey, stop moaning we all just want to enjoy ourselves" and Ali even reassured them that we would most definitely be putting the chairs up when things got going, but they continued to gripe and stare blackly at us. I was at this point feeling intimidated and quite anxious (these were scary women, who knows what they were capable of in an environment bubbling over with hormones and emotions..... and WESTLIFE !!)
Anyway, we held out til about 1/2 an hour before the support act were due on and then decided to put the chairs away and get ready for the show. Support acts were very good, but unfortunately I was getting concerned that the beer I had drunk was now taking its effect and I would most certainly need the loo before long. I decided to take my life into my hands and make my way out to the toilets before the boys came on. Getting out was not too much of a problem, although I was a little taken aback by the girl also going out behind me shouting "I am coming back in, take note of my face, no arguing on the way back". Toilet stop accomplished, now to get back to my spot with Ali. I now began to realise why the girl had shouted that stuff on the way out. How can, I assume normally quite pleasant people, turn into such agressive and animal-like beings in a millisecond? I was growled and sworn at, pushed and deliberately obstructed in my attempts to get back in (who knows, I may have been lying about my already having a space, God forbid). I made it back alive and decided I would have cross my legs if I needed to go again. Thank god it was only 1 beer.
The moment was approaching and the crowd was getting hungry for some action. We had been here for the best part of 6 / 7 hours now and we wanted what we had come for. Where were they? What were they doing? You look fine, stop faffing about in the dressing room and GET OUT HERE.
How to go from 44 to 17 again in 2.5 seconds. Lights up, music LOUD, and they were on. Even better than before and now within 6 feet away from me. In all seriousness (just for a second) they are really good live, they sounded brilliant and looked amazing. Definitely no airbrushing there I can assure you.  
We sang, we danced, we screamed and cheered. The park was electric. Half way through the show, Nicky did the banner reading - some very funny and others hysterical but too rude to write on here. They then decided to get people onto the stage. A girl who's 18th birthday it was, and her friend, another random girl and the couple in front of me who were obviously avid fans. The lucky few were helped onto the stage where they kissed and hugged all the boys (GRRRR) and then chatted a bit with them all. An amazing thing then happened, when Nicky asked the couple if they were married, the guy started to say he wanted to say something to the lady, was handed the microphone and proposed right there in front of everyone. Of course she said yes. How amazing to take an impromptu opportunity and make such a special moment even more memorable. Hats off to him and well done Westlife for helping make that happen.
The evening was fantastic. They finished all too soon but we left feeling so lucky to have managed get right to the front this time, even if we did have to be a bit hard core and strategic about it, but it was so worth every second. We had fun, we had a lot of laughs and we had a great girly day out just being girls again.
Cant wait for the next time and I would do it all again.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Does it ever change?

Exams, girlfriend, social life and being 15 don't exactly fall at the right time together.

Mother - "Revision and school work have to be just as much a priority as the other more exciting aspects of being 15"
Teenager - "Yeah I know" (thinks maybe if I just shut my eyes she will disappear)

Mother - "You need to revise properly"
Teenager - "yes mum I know, I am" (still closing eyes in the hope of mother vanishing)

Mother - "That's it ! I'm not happy with this - Rant Rant Rant Rant"
Teenager - "You don't understand, its not the same as when you were at school you know " (eyes now open and mother is still very much in his face and ears now)

Threats about grounding, social time, etc etc etc follow with much upset on both sides. 
It is, once again,  the day before a major exam and who is more panicked,  mother or teenager one asks?

So what is the answer?
Actually, as parents we know exactly how it feels to be 15 (we weren't born looking like this you know), and how it feels so hard to find the time, energy or willpower to work all day at school and then come home and be expected to work again for a few more hours.
Unfortunately, we also know how it feels to be struggling with life and choices after leaving school, and we know that these struggles make school days feel like a walk in the park.

How do we help, encourage and motivate our precious children without making them feel like they are drowning in orders from others? How do we help them to make the right choices willingly? Is it even possible?
Can they ever realise that we want them to do the best they can, that's all, nothing more, just to try their hardest at whatever they choose to do in life and then they will succeed.

I for one, believe in helping in whatever way I can. I will give up my time to revise with my child, I will help him to manage his time effectively so he can fit in the just as important social life as well as the schoolwork, and I will do whatever I can to encourage self motivation.
But, this comes with a challenge.
The challenge is finding the way to do all this while maintaining a relationship which doesn't feel like a war zone.
Finding a way to make our children feel supported and encouraged without feeling battered and nagged to death.
Finding a way to help them fit in their social relationships without it being at the expense of schoolwork and revision, because we know that their personal relationships are just as important to them and to their maturing.
Finding the way to let them know and believe that we actualy do understand, and we do remember the feelings they are having now and that we can be more than just a nagging in their ears.
Finding a way to accept that they don't want us to do these things now, but hopefully will be grateful that we did, at some point in their future.

I have no idea if what I do is the right thing or not. I do know that I try to listen to my son and I feel very lucky that we actually do talk a lot about most stuff. I know I can't just sit back and let him fail by not even trying, and I hope that one day, when he is doing something great in life which makes him happy, he will remember how it was and smile.
Smile, when he is a parent and my grandchildren are saying "you dont understand Dad, its different today than when you were at school".

Same Stuff, Different Day ---- many years on.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

I can do spontaneous ........

Bank holiday weekend, weather man says its going to rain in Verwood (now there's a surprise), so I decided to take the bull by the horns and suggest to Steve (M Man) that we do something a little different and just jump in the car and go somewhere different with the kids. After much discussion, and shock of the price of the original ideas we had, it was decided that we should hop in the car and go to London, stay overnight somewhere cheap and be complete tourists for the weekend.
Now I don't do spontaneous very readily, cos I am an organised kinda gal, and usually I preplan and pre-preplan everything with lists, many lists which must be ticked as we go. So for me, this is going off-road in quite a big way. Steve was a little worried I think, but he likes to fly by the seat of his pants so all good for him. The kids were very excited and of course it was suggested that Jamie (The Dodga) ask his girlfriend Alice (Squeak) to come with us too.
Car packed, hotel (I use the word very loosely) booked and off we go. Just over an hour on the road and we are in London which was very good time. Sat nav took us easily to the hotel which looked really quite nice on first opinion. Anyway, girls in one room, me, Tiddles (Gemma) and Alice, and then boys (Steve and Jamie) in the other ---- no nonsense going on here you know (thats you, Dodga and Squeak by the way). I know Im a fun spoiler, but hey, ITS MY JOB xxxx
If I tell you the rooms were basic it would be being kind. Very hot with fans that sounded like a plane taking off and not even room to swing half a cat.
DO NOT KEEP COMPLAINING ---- the conversation I am having with myself is not working but I remind myself it really doesn't matter as we are here to have fun.

Quick check in and its decided to hop on the tube and go to Piccadilly circus to find some dinner. Now Alice hasn't been on the tube before so its a real eye-opener for her but by the time we head back she is a pro.

Alice and Jamie

Really nice dinner in a little Italian place, Tiddles orders a pizza from the kids menu which is the size of an adult dinner plate - no arguments from Jamie about helping her to finish though. Hustle and bustle of the city, the lights are coming on now and its quite spectacular especially for the kids who haven't done this often.

Piccadilly Circus

No more shops Tiddles xxxx

After restraining Tiddles at every souvenir shop and reminding her that we have all of the next day to spend her pocket money, we decide to head back to the hotel and decide on a plan for the next day. Sometimes a little planning is required (honestly...)
Alice and I slept almost not at all in our sauna room, Tiddles on the other hand woke up with "morning mum, what a great sleep I had". Yes, Gemma, I got that as you were kicking me in the bed all night and talking in your sleep and snoring like a train. GGGGRRRRRRRRR. Not really, I am glad she slept , she is not good when tired (don't know where she inherited that from!!!)
The boys seemed to have had an ok night too, so that's good. Alice reckons she runs on fresh air and she obviously does as she was her usual giggly happy self all day. I want whatever she had.......
Good breakfast and we are off. First stop Science museum. Loads to see, not enough time, decided on the IMAX 3D short movie - absolutely brilliant well worth the visit. Wander round a few more things then off to Harrods. None of us had ever been there except Steve so it was purely for the new experience.

Of course the purchase of a bear was statutory requirement by both the girls, and some Harrods chocolate for Jamie, (don't remember that being shared out now that I think about it...???) 

Next stop Hamleys Toy shop. Tiddles has died and gone to heaven at this point - cuddly toys and bears everywhere. Even a live one to greet you at the entrance, how amazing is that when you are Gemma xxxxxx

Even The Dodga was impressed especially on the floor which was gadgets and RC toys.
Must have purchase - RC Helicopter. Really good buy as it turns out. Much fun will be had.
Steve on the other hand was losing the will to live at this point, so after what seemed like hours of purchasing yet another bear by Tiddles (build-a-bear is not the same as a regular bear mum), and her finally spending every last penny of her pocket money, we decide to find some dinner.
Quick detour into an amusement arcade (cant actually remember what possessed us to go there..!!!) but we had fun anyway.


Meal over, its back on the tube to go to Westminster to see Big Ben. Actually it was quite late by this point but getting dark so again the lights were coming on and it was fabulous.  



Home by midnight with a very tired brood but what a fantastic adventure.

Would we do it again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat.
Would I do it differently? Well, spontaneity has its excitement, but planning beforehand means getting the best deals, spending more efficiently and seeing more of what you want. Boring you say? Maybe but sometimes its the only way to go.

Cant wait for next time to show the kids the many other things our city has to offer - and it needn't break the bank either. -- HOPEFULLY.xxxx

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Precious people

Today I decided to get brave and try to add pictures to my blog. I figured a photo page would be good so I could update it as necessary - of course only time will tell if this will work long term.
Anyway, I did it!! I was a bit scared as the last time I tried to do something design-wise I managed to change all my settings and spent the next hour re-doing all my work. Anyway, its done and I have not been beaten. I hate not being able to do something and will generally consult my other best friend "Google" until I get the answers I need.

The reason for the photo page is simple.

People in our lives are too precious and we definitely don't take the time we should to enjoy our moments with each other. I have lost my Dad, mum, step dad and best friend in the last 5 years and have just realised how few pictures I have of our times together. The memories become a little faded round the edges and I hate that, so I have decided to start snapping more and enjoying the times we share with those we love so much, again and again and again. It also means we get to share those special times with each other .
That's the joy of pictures.

The emotions I felt when looking back and choosing photos were exactly as they had been on the day they were taken - allowing me to relive some truly funny and special times.

The other thing of course is that  looking back at the kids pictures also made me realise how quickly time flies (and how old I am getting.... :(  )

Unfortunately I don't have pictures of all of my wonderful family (Why?????  who knows?) and I now have a mission to get them. I will have to beg, borrow, steal or snap to complete my collection to date. I am lucky enough to have a big family in South Africa, and while its too far away for my liking, the Internet makes the world a much smaller place, so I will be able to get some through the wonderful world of email.

To every special person in my life........ I dont tell you often enough or strongly enough, but thank you for being part of my world.
I am blessed to have you all and I love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 23 May 2011

Faking it ?????

Someone asked me why I used pseudonyms for the people I mention in my blog, and I have to say I couldn't really think of a great answer.
My original thoughts were that it might protect people, but from whom or what? Now I am not so sure. My husband, children, family and friends have been mentioned, all under pseudonyms but would they prefer to be called by their born names I have to ask. Its almost like I am writing about fake people if I don't use their names, but is that what I want to do? I am proud of my life and the people in it and would never write anything derogatory anyway, and if anyone I know reads my blog, they will know who I am talking about anyway. Maybe they would like the world to see how important they are to me, which is why they have been mentioned anyway?

So -- what is the answer? Do I continue to write with the pretence of made-up people, or change the way I do it and hold my nearest and dearest up in all their glories for all to see?
I think I know but what says you?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I need my holiday !!

A new week. The exams that Tiddles had to sit last week (SATs) are over - thank god, I mean do 10 and 11 year olds really need the pressure of a full week of timetabled exams? I think not, the teachers should be able to use their daily assessments of these kids to formulate the information they need. But that's another story!! Tiddles is letting off plenty of steam after the grind of last week and so she should. I must say I will be pleased to see the summer holidays this year.

Anyway, the pressure is now transferred straight over to The Dodga who sits another GSCE exam next week and these then continue until end of June. YIPPPEEEE .....NOT!!
We battle on with trying to encourage revision and homework as priority, but when you are 15 and in your first serious relationship with a girl, the priority is clearly not with school stuff.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
I have yet to find a psuedonmym for the special lady in my sons life but I will keep thinking.
She is a very lovely girl, she laughs with him a lot which is great, the house is always full of giggles and squeals -- yes they are just being silly, I have checked !! She also fits in wonderfully with the rest of us. Tiddles thinks she is the best thing since sliced bread and honestly, she is a good role model for her to have chosen.
Well, the upshot is that they asked us if she could come on holiday with us this year.
My instant, no thought required answer? ABSOLUTELY NOT - you are 15, what if you aren't together by then? where will she sleep? etc etc.
Having then talked it over in much detail with M Man, we then decided that actually maybe it wasn't such a bad idea, providing there were conditions attached, (she will share a room with Tiddles, there will be no sneaking about into bedrooms in the dead of the night etc, we will be a family of 5, not 3 plus 2 etc etc). We figured taking her with us and having a potentially really great time was far better than going without her and The Dodga having a face like a slapped butt all week, with his attention focused solely on sending 100 texts a day and racing back to the hotel at every opportunity to access facebook on the free WiFi in case she has posted on his wall.
So, we go away this summer with 5 of us in tow. Actually, I am really looking forward to it. She hasn't been on holiday before and cant remember her only experience of flying as a very small child, so its quite an honour that her parents have entrusted her to us. She is as excited about the airport as the holiday, and Tiddles is very happy to be having a 'big sister' coming with us.

The obvious plus side also, is that it is now a major incentive for The Dodga to organise himself in terms of revision and homework etc or THE DEAL IS OFF...... Harsh I hear you cry, -- not really.
"Earning good things in life makes you appreciate them more, and if they want nice holidays etc when they have flown the nest and are having to pay for their own, they will have to be earning, and good jobs don't come unless you work hard at school. "
Here endeth the lesson for today.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Ready, Steady, Cook !

It was our anniversary (16 very full years) and Maintenance Man and I had arranged to go out for a very posh meal with our best friends next door, Lady List and Music Man. Their anniversary falls 9 days after ours (2 years for them now  -- yes ok they are much younger than us) and we planned to celebrate together. Last year we went to London together for the weekend which was amazing, but they have just had their first, very gorgeous baby, so this year was going to be at home.
Anyway, life can be a little cruel at times and their car decided to fail its MOT (talk about bad timing for them), and so we decided that going out and spending money needlessly was silly.
So, what were our options? chinese takeaway? hmmm not really; someone cook? hmmm ok, could do; then it was suggested that we do Ready, Steady, Cook.
For those that don't know or cant remember, this was a TV show where the contestant is given a sum of money and told to bring any 5 items of food to the TV chef who will then create a magnificent meal using these and a few store cupboard ingredients.
Now Maintenance Man makes a mean spaghetti bolognaise and great porridge (if you like eating concrete, which he does), but does not profess to be a chef, and I can cook family meals, but again I am certainly no chef. On the other hand, Music Man is a very good cook and Lady List has obviously cooked with some strange and wonderful ingredients as she is vegetarian. So it was decided the 2 teams would be boys V girls and Lady List and I would buy the ingredients for the main dish to be cooked by the boys, they would buy the desert ingredients to be cooked by the girls.
Budget - £10 per bag, all ingredients to remain top secret until the moment of cooking.
I must admit I was a little nervous to begin with, I mean what if it all goes horribly wrong? What if, what if? After a small chat with myself, and the reminder that we are with our best friends so it would even matter, (the phone muber for the chinese takeaway is readily available), I was looking forward to doing something different and exciting.

Bags on kitchen counter, music and stopwatch at the ready, what's in the first bag for the boys to create their masterpiece?

Avocado; haloumi cheese; Stilton cheese; pine nuts; filo pastry; tin of pears; mushrooms; asparagus.
After much discussion between the boys and choosing the staple store cupboard additions they needed,  they decided on their menu and set to work. Maintenance Man was doing very well, chopping, greasing, making dressing, and Music Man had his serious face on while focusing on the transformation that was to unfold in the kitchen. Trying to ignore the silly remarks being made by us girls (now having had plenty of liquid refreshment) and the random photo taking, they worked their magic. And magic it was ! Not only did they provide us with a wonderful main dish but they went one better and managed a starter as well. (Show -offs.)
 Maintenance Man showing off his chopping skills - and not a tear was shed with those onions.

 Asparagus preparation by Music Man - note the precision lining up of the spears before trimming !

 Wonderful starter of sliced pear and avocado with boiled egg and salad leaves, topped with toasted pine
  nuts and drizzled with Maintenenace Man's secret dressing.

The secret (very delicious) dressing.

Main course - Filo pastry filled with Stilton and mushroom, accompanied by asparagus spears gently nestled under a blanket of grilled haloumi cheese and a cheese sauce, with boiled rice.

I am not even joking when I say this was absolutely so delicious and how they did all that in 45 mins is beyond me.

Anyway, we ate the first 2 courses and then it was time to reveal the ingredients for us girls to conjour up something for dessert. Not forgetting that we had by this time, had 1 or 2 (or a little more) glasses of wine.

The ingredients in our bag were:
Chocolate; ginger nut biscuits; cream; Drambuie; ice cream; strawberries and a pomegranate.

Well, the biscuits led the way to a cheesecake base, with a layer of strawberries which we then coated with the whipped cream, melted chocolate and Drambuie mix and topped it all with the remaining strawberries and the pomegranate flesh.
 Ice cream - yummy at least we don't have to make that.

 Are you sure we should put ALL this Drambuie in?  Lady List looking slightly worried.

A wee dram of Passion-berry Pie.

I know not nearly as inspiring as the boys, but we were very full, a little tiddly and anyway we only had 30 minutes (well that's my excuse anyway).

We had the best evening, we laughed, we had wonderful food in fantastic company and we ate dishes not tried before and all for £20. Where else can you do that?

Everyone should try a Ready, Steady, Cook party -- I am looking forward to doing it again .xxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Its all good --- at the moment.

Parents evening for Tiddles last night and she has just sat some "mock" exams in preparation for the real thing in May. Now, she hasnt been finding Maths in particular very easy, and so when we got her results it was amazing. A whole level up in Maths; amazing results in Science (almost into top level) and amazing results in English, again almost into top level. Very proud parents are we, and her teachers seemed to be so excited for her too. Woohoo, long may this last. Hopefully she will now grow in confidence and only improve further. She was so excited.
Also, she has been invited to sing in the school concert following her audition. Her teacher was blown away by her singing. All amazing stuff for our very special girl.

Then there is The Dodga.
Started on Work Experience yesterday. 2 weeks working in PC World learning about sales, management, etc. Came home yesterday after day one, sitting right up there on cloud nine. Had a fantastic day, was given tasks and responsibilities along with all the other staff, as they have a store assessment on day two,  and felt fantastic. Its been a while since I have seen him really fired up about something and it was wonderful to listen to all the events of the day.
Who knows what life holds for him.  
15 and the world and all it's adventures waiting for him.

So there it is - one of those great days that make you gald to be a Mum, and remind you that the "not so great" days are worth taking so you can enjoy days like this.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

War on the wobble.

I have spent the last, I don't know how many years, dieting on and off, trying to transform my less than perfect body into some sort of goddess-like form. Success rate minimal.
I have come to the conclusion that its just not going to happen, so therefore I need to find peace and acceptance in my head for the lumpy-bumpy and wobbly parts of myself that are at the moment not very nice to me.
I had decided that the scales should go!!! How is it that a couple of numbers on a piece of machinery determine the whole mood of your day and possibly even the week? Why is it that a pound or a kg up or down is the difference between feeling like a sleek machine or a sumo wrestler? Its quite ridiculous really. And do I want my daughter to grow up with the terrible pressure that seems to be all around us, brought on by the media and fashion mags etc, where girls have to be stick thin to be beautiful? Absolutely not. So I am making a huge effort to rekindle the friendship between myself and the parts of my body which are less than perfect and a little more jiggly that I would like.
I go to classes at the gym for cardio work - body attack (yes it does feel like I have been attacked afterwards), circuits etc and classes for toning - body pump and flexibar (a long wobbly bar which you flex and move while moving parts of your body at the same time. I think I still wobble more than the bar but we shall persevere). Has it made a difference in the last 2 months? Not a flippin' bit. I am still as wobbly and jiggly as before and I definitely am not losing weight.
Aaaahh I hear you say, but I wasn't meant to be worried about all that. I know, I know, but its a thing in my head which says that if I don't do something I will spend the remainder of my life getting fatter and wobblier, so I must find a way of at least maintaining the level of wobble I have now, or you will see me on Sumo Wrestlers Weekly's front cover eventually. At 44, (apparently middle aged - I DONT THNK SO !!!), I keep getting told its all normal to have waistline thickening (sounds like some sort of disease), and that its all slowing down and getting bigger from here on in. Great ! Well NO I say. I will try to stop aspiring to look like a 20 something and concentrate on healthy living instead. I want to eat nice things, drink wine if I feel like it and not spend every waking moment calculating the calorific value and fat content of every morsel passing my lips, but I also want to look good. Exercise is good for my heart and bones, I know that, and it is meant to make you feel happy (although I dispute that when I am on the floor with the instructor screaming at me to to 24 more press-ups for the 4th time, and I am willing my vibrating arms to stay strong so I don't face plant the ground). I will have to accept that things are starting to travel south and my arms look like I am turning into a flying fox with my worsening bingo-wings, (not quite the "foxy" look I was aiming for), but at least I will be healthy. So my wobble and I will continue our 4 times weekly visits to the gym and there we shall attempt to become friends again, and if I do manage to reach 50 with the same level of wobble that I have now, I will be very pleased. xxxx

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Suitcase on my face..

I woke up this morning feeling relaxed. Tiddles was at a sleepover last night so we had a lovely lie-in this morning - not that we don't when she is here, just that the house was a little quieter. Anyway, having decided that I really should drag my lazy backside out of the bed and go have a bath, I took a quick look in the mirror to decide whether I should wash my hair or do a salvage job with the hair straighteners.
WHAT IS THAT? I'm not even joking when I say I had grown something below my right eye in the night. An eye bag (I think) the size of a suitcase, sitting on my cheek like its waiting to go on holiday, all packed up and ready to go. No joke, this thing is horrid. When I went to bed last night my face was normal, well as normal as it usually is, and now this thing has decided to join me in the night.
Even Maintenance Man, who is usually very good at lying about things such as "does my bum look big in this?", made a comment to the effect of "oh god what is that?"  Now I know its bad.
Make up - that's what we need. Wash face, slap on moisturiser and hmmmm yes, concealer and face powder. No, no, no, that's not good. Now it looks like a third eye, only this one is closed.  I feel like Scaramanga, even if he has 3 nipples not 3 eyes.  Wash face again.
Google it!! That's the way to find out anything. Google has the answer to any question you may wish to pose and I use it regularly. Google will save me. Google will give me the cure.
Apparently, I am getting old - like I needed stuffing Google to tell me that for gods sake. Inherited genes (cheers mum) and age, along with bad lymphatic drainage (maybe I should just make a few holes somewhere to help things along then) are the cause of this problem and it MAY, not will, sort itself out in a few days/weeks.
Great to I now have to carry my new friend around with me indefinitely. Hooo bloody ray... not!!
So I am destined to a possible life of luggage face. I am starting to imagine what life is going to be like if it grows, am I going to trip over the damn thing all the time? Will I have to tuck it into my jeans? Could I poke it behind my right ear perhaps? Its all too disturbing for words.
Any words of wisdom on a cure would be much appreciated. Until then, I reckon there is only one thing for it - I need MORE WESTLIFE..
Obviously I didn't have nearly enough Youth Serum so if you read this boys,

Friday, 18 March 2011

Westlife ................ the new Youth Serum.

I have decided that there is nothing like a bit of silliness to make you feel younger. Last weekend was the weekend I had been looking forward to for months. Yes, I am an unashamed massive Westlife fan. Sorry, but there is nothing wrong with a little boyband fantasy - even at my age !! Maintenance Man offered to be on kiddy duty for the weekend so I could go and indulge my fantasies with my sister, (we shall call her Spa Chick), who had also planned a day of retail therapy to follow. So a real treat for me, a weekend away.
The drive was spent visualising my idea of the forthcoming concert - you see, although I am a little over 25, I have only ever been to see 2 other music concerts and one of those was when I was 19!!  The silliness had started a few weeks ago when I happened to say to Spa Chick that I thought we should take some pants to throw on the stage during the show.. as is customary I believe? The conversation went on to figure out how far a pair of thongs might actually travel (not far we reckoned), so maybe a tennis ball in the gusset was the way to go. Now, at this point our sons, both teenagers, had decided that this was definitely not the way for their "respectable" mothers to behave. Of course, this was now a great game of wind-em-up, in repayment for all the years of tantrums and bad behaviour we had suffered from them. Talk of which kind of thong we should buy, whether we should write our phone numbers on them and of course the impending posting of the photos onto facebook and you tube ensued, much to their total disgust. Worried looks and requests for us to behave properly were quickly followed by comments about "middle aged women" caught on TV behaving badly. As we told them, we intend to grow old disgracefully.!
Well, having spent the afternoon trying to decide which outfit Shane (W) would like the most, with Spa Chick making comments along the lines of it not really mattering if it was going to end up on the dressing room floor anyway, (you see how things were getting very silly now), we ventured off to meet the boys - Westlife of course. After locating the bar at the O2 for some pre-show drinks, we decided this was the time to take the photos of ourselves with the thongs. Of course we had no intention of launching them - our seats were unfortunately too far away from the stage, even with a tennis ball, and we figured the people in the rows in front of us may not appreciate thong hats. Even so we had brought them in our bags to continue the charade, not realising there was going to be a security bag search on our way in. A little embarrassing for Spa Chick as hers were discovered by the doorman..... worryingly he didn't seem shocked or fazed at all????
Into the arena, find the seats, sit down, take a breath ---- who are all these people? Shane didn't mention he had invited 19,998 other people. Gutted!! Don't want to share. I feel like a sulky teenager. A voice somewhere in the back of my head reminds me IT'S NOT REAL!!! Shut-up, it's real tonight and I am going to block all these others out, just for a couple of hours. Converstaion continues between Spa Chick and I, trying to decide who will have who for the evening (cos we really DID have the choice you know), and whether Shane (W) would like the younger or slightly more mature model between us.
So, the lights go down, the anticipation is high, I feel like I am going to burst with the prospect of an evening with Shane, Nicky, Kian and Mark (well not so much Mark - sorry), and there they are. OMG -- they are small....... Oh well, look at the screen and they return to normal size, although it could be fun to have a pocket version. Well the show was amazing, we danced, we sang, we screamed like never before, and when the boys came out over the audience on a floating steel girder, bring them so so close, just a little closer, come on, come on..  Oh Bugger!!  Still too far away for my liking.  I really must get front row seats next time GGRRRR.
It was about now that Shane decided to say hi to his wife and kids who were in the audience too. You are joking right? You cant say that Shane. I paid good money for this and tonight you are all mine  -- not married (like me too). The sound of 20,000 hearts sinking was BIG. You can kinda go off someone you know, although this feeling went away real quick when I reminded myself there was always Nicky or Kian (prob also married but don't think about it).
Carry on singing and dancing, the mood is high again, peoples banners are being read out by Kian and I have to say I totally agree with the one that stated "The Tighter the Trousers, the Better the View". AND THEN... someone threw pants!!! Not skimpy thongs like ours, oh no, these were big. Very very big, and had a message scrawled across them not fitting for posting on this blog. I'm sure as Kian was reading this he was thinking "I would much rather have Liesl's thongs"??? Next time Kian, cos I will be getting front row seats for sure.
By the time it was all over, I was feeling like a 17 year old again -- (I know its not that long ago, ha ha I wish ). Do we need creams and potions, nips and tucks or jabs of botox to be young again? No - a little fantasy and an evening of complete silliness is without a doubt the way to do it. Well it worked for me.. just for a while. xxxx

                                 "Middle-aged" my A****


     The "wannabe launched Thong"                                  Spa Chick with her missile


                                                     Who needs L'Oreal? 
                                                      A dose of these boys
                                                    will do me xxx 

C'mon boys over here ...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Here goes nothing....

Well here we are at last. I have decided that I need to offload, dump and generally share the mixed up stuff in my world and blogging seems to be the way forward. I haven't done this before so if it seems a little odd to begin, please cut me some slack and I am sure I will get the hang of it soon enough -- fingers crossed.
I began by thinking I would have to have some incredibly interesting and unique subject to write about until I was reminded that actually what I do every day is exactly that..... unique. Bringing up a family whilst also working from home with my husband, running our own business, is the most varied and individual job on the planet.
Take today for instance. Today is auditions day for the Spring Concert at my daughters school, and for an almost 11 year old this is serious stuff. Last night her partner in song came to tea so they could practice the chosen number together in preparation. Tears of panic and "I'm not good enough" were shed amongst the really very good singing. This morning we continued the preparation while trying to dress, brush teeth, eat breakfast etc etc etc. I was under full instruction "not to listen" even though she was in full voice. Finally we manage to get into the car, now a full 10 minutes later than we should be, drive 1 minute down the road and ............ PANIC. The CD with the backing track is still at home. Trying to keep my yelling to a dull roar, we spin round in the next available turn point, grab the CD and race back to school (keeping to the speed limit of course). The last thing I heard as I watched her take off down the school playground was "wish me luck mum", leaving me frazzled in the car park.
I am keeping everything possible crossed for a successful audition.... watch this space.
This mornings events were of course only half the story, as I also have a 15 year old son who loves long showers, and I am not joking when I say long. Every morning its the same, bang on the door after 5 mins, again after 10 mins, by 15 mins I am beating it frantically. I am pleased he has such wonderful personal hygiene but c'mon, this is ridiculous. We have tried the threats and the appealing to his sense of logic, talking about the cost of heating the water, but to no avail. What he is doing in there remains a mystery as I am sure he is not washing for that long. Anyway, this morning was no different except for the auditions!!! So while I am trying "not to listen" to the singing practice, I am shouting through a locked door to a boy who is cutting it really fine for catching the school bus. Grumpy faces follow and much muttering under breath, last minute bag checks, lunch boxes, PE kits, (more singing) and jackets and he runs out the door muttering something about potentially missing the bus being my fault - hmmm really?
Of course then I have to shower, dress, clean up kitchen after breakfast has been demolished, fight my way through the fog and clean up the bathroom, which now looks like a sauna after the 15 minute+ shower (he says he doesn't have time to do it this morning - or many other mornings !!), and try to make a bit of a silk purse out of sows ear somehow (thank god for years of experience in how to apply a full face of make up in less than 2 minutes).
Welcome to school mornings in our house. Would I change it? Probably, but hubster keeps saying "one day we will laugh about these things". So when I am definitely not laughing, I will try to remember that when they are grown and gone, I will miss all of these things.....