Saturday 29 August 2015

Ever felt taken for granted ?

That's a rhetorical question.

Outnumbered by 4 to 1 ( including the cat ) male: female ; is it any wonder as a lone woman in a tidal wave of testosterone and manopausal tendencies.

Take yesterday evening . A pleasant enough start with a culinary masterpiece of thoughtfully marinated Thai salmon - healthy for eldest teen , Asian infused for youngest son's preference , barbecued to husband's delight , with leftovers to boot for the cats. Procured, prepared and cooked to perfection, a crisp bottle of Chablis to hand and a little tossed salad on the side with a lusciously decadent loaf of olive oil and herb infused bread to mop up the juices. It's making me salivate just writing this.

The conversation begins un-menacingly enough with a lively debate on the wonders of technology ; a favourite topic for my gadget - hungry male household. I proffer up a harmless enough comment about the nonsense of remote-control overload ( we have at least a dozen in our house )  along the lines of 'We can put a man on the moon but we can't get a remote control to work properly ( telling my age I know,  I'm still stuck in the Apollo heyday of the sixties ).

Unwittingly , I have unleashed a Pandora's Box of an opinion which is immediately shouted down as an irrelevant interruption, a hackneyed gripe, an idiotic fallacy and many things , far worse, besides.
How's that for a conversation killer ? In short , I am wrong, they are right , I don't know what I'm talking about , I'm clearly an intellectually challenged Luddite and I've completely spoiled the entire evening.

My default response is to retreat inside my protective shell and venture no more verbal contributions to the 'discussion' whereupon I'm rounded upon for sulking, being sullen, and acting like a moody teenager - pot calling kettle black ?

I pondered on the days events, the lifts to the station, the ferrying to and from a myriad of last minute summer holiday optician's and orthodontist's appointments, the constant filling and emptying of the fridge and the clearing up after , the emptying of tenners from my purse for crucial expenses ( I have been keeping Subways and Shakeaway in business for the last 9 weeks) , the endless mountain of laundry and more besides and I realised that I had sunk t the depths of Dobby the House Elf. My response to the accusation of having contributed a moronic comment to the debate should have been to have gone outside and flayed myself with a bunch of birch twigs.

As I write this, I can hear hilarious guffaws coming from the TV room ( wonder if they've managed to switch it on with the remote control ) as the male contingent of our household are glued to Storage Wars, Jackass and ............. insert name of any banal and mindless US TV import here, whilst I am typing , having just cleaned the toilets and cleared bedroom floors of baked beans encrusted plates and dirty underwear.

This is the part of my rant where I should reconcile myself to the fact that they're only men/boys and therefore know no better and that I'm happy to enslave myself to their every whim because that's what mothers do . But I'm struggling.

Sunday 23 August 2015


Now that youngest son has reached the age of sixteen , I can feel this childhood slipping through my fingers like sand on a beach.

First it was the the big teddy bear clear out ( traumatic to put it mildly ) when youngest wanted to update his bedroom . I managed to secret a few of my favourites under my bed. The de-cluttering experts would have a fit and that woman who has written the Magic of De-cluttering or whatever its called ( don't pretend you don't know who I mean ) would be hyper-ventialting. They'd have us believe that if you haven't worn a clothes item in over a year, it's time to fling it out. So does the same apply to teddies? If they haven't been hugged in over 12 months it's curtains ?

The trouble is , every time I peer under the bed and see their beady little glass eyes peering out imploringly , I can't bring myself to suffocate  bag them up in a bin liner bound for the charity shop. We've already shipped out 3 carrier bag-fulls of soft toys and I had to get youngest to take them in to the shop, for fear I might attempt a last minute retrieval . I sat in the car and shed a little tear.

You see, bears are not just for Christmas in my view. I can remember buying each and everyone, the heartbreak of having to choose just one, leaving all the others on the shelf. I would have to look into all their hairy little faces and decide carefully which one was really meant to come home with me. It was usually a twisted ear or a wonky eye that would do it ... always a sucker for the under-dog. I can remember placing them on top of the boys' Christmas Santa sacks so that just their sweet floppy arms were dangling over the edge. Is it any wonder that I can't bear ( no pun intended) to part company ?

Last week, we lined them all up on bed and sealed their fate - stay or keep . How are you meant to make a decision like that ?

Jack the cat joined in , looking very smug at the back , knowing he was a keeper. See that wooly sheep in the middle foreground ? I bought that for eldest son ( 2nd Shepherd ) for his very first Nativity play. He wore the inevitable tea-towel on his head secured with a roped curtain tie-back and clutched his little 'sheepy-peep' toddling from one side of the stage to the other where all three shepherds seated themselves around the red and orange cellophane 'fire' .... and there he proceeded to roast it over the make-believe flames of what he thought looked like a BBQ ! Of course Shepherds one and three did likewise and they brought the house down, not literally but I wouldn't have put it past him. I was mortified at the time, thinking the other parents must have thought we indulged in a spot of live animal sacrificing at home and that the RSPCA would come knocking any minute. I can see the funny side of it now and much to his irritation I like to trot that story out from time to time. 

Then there's piggly wiggly - you can just see his curly tail sticking up at the back. His name had to be pronounced in a Tennessee drawl - don't ask me why - it was just what we did. You see they each have stories and memories attached - oh just spotted Hedwig's claw poking out. I've got to stop, I'm filling up.

So it didn't end there . Today I decided to clear out our enormous kitchen cupboard . We don't have many fitted kitchen units - it's all a bit free-style - we were way ahead of the trend. It started with the intention of clearing the top shelf to re-instate my cookery books which had ended up on another floor ( that's a whole other blog post ) but ended up with the Full Monty de-clutter ( yes Miss 'Magic of De- Cluttering', I can do it when the mood takes me ) which took around three hours. How many jars of honey can one family own and what's with my mustard fetish ?

So I ended this gargantuan task sorting through a huge enamel tin of paper cake cases. Most peeps will have a dozen or so but I seem to have acquired the National Collection. Time for some of them to go. Another tearful trauma. Much like the teddies, each one had a story . There were the Golden Jubilee street party red/white and blues, then there were eldest son's school Halloween party ones ( he was six and he's now twenty - do the maths ) and the chocolate truffle mini ones for the teachers last Christmas and the Easter bunny ones ... and the 8th Birthday party ones ... and .... and....

It was all a bit hopeless and I hadn't even started on the birthday candle-holders tin. Maybe I'll leave that for another day when I'm feeling stronger and go read a chapter of that wretched 'Life-changing Magic of chucking out everything that ever held a happy memory' book. I'm not converted ... yet.

Friday 14 August 2015

Hey Little Magpie Blog post for August

Up on the Hey Little Magpie blog today - not one , not two , not three but FOUR layouts - been super busy this month. Sneak peeks below.

Please take a peak here and if you have time, leave a comment.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday 12 August 2015


... or Great British Bake Off in case you've been living under a rock,  is back with a vengeance. Wednesday nights are now sacrosanct and the KitchenAid has been dusted off in honour although I don't think I'll be tackling a Madeira cake or a Black Forest Gateau any time soon.

I have decided to dress up in the style of the preceding episode's loser so this evening I will be sporting a natty little hat which I shall not remove for the entire evening even though I'll be indoors and am just off to the tattoo parlour for a quick all over with the ink injector. God help me if prison man ( Paul Hollywood / Richard Branson lookalike) burns his buns this week or I'll be having to grow a bread and have a sense of humour bypass op by next Wednesday.

Just wondering what our trainee anaesthetist might conjure up this week - possibly a spot of gas and air in his soufflé ?