Monday, 31 December 2012

That Was The Year That Was, 2012 .... The Awards.

So 2012 sprints towards the finish line and a big hug with 2013 while the rest of us hold hands, sing a song we barely understand for reasons never fully understood, and kiss people who either have:
A) irresponsible whiskers
B) eaten FAR too much garlic
C) you wouldn't throw a lifebelt to if they were drowning at any other minute in the entire realm of time or space.
But the VERY BEST THING about the ending of 2012 is the chance to give awards out to Those and That which have gone above and beyond in their duty to make the past 12 months a better place to live so, ladies and gentleman, without further ado 

*Rips off dressing gown to reveal sparkly dress* 

*Drum Roll*

Film of the Year: This year I fulfilled a first by taking (nearly) all my children to see a film at the cinema AT THE SAME TIME. One had to go to a friend's party but, you know, I got close to fulfilling a bit of an ambition anyway.
That wasn't my favourite film of the year though, it was good but it wasn't Brave.
Brave was the Eleven Year Old's film of choice for her 11th birthday party. She took up archery shortly after. It's a fantastic film, but I AM very careful not to eat anything she gives me these days .... 

*Strokes own snout*

TV Programme of the Year: When deciding to make an award in this category I discovered I don't watch much TV at all so that's why only Red Dwarf X, Dr Who, one particular week of Come Dine With Me, anything with James May in, and a variety of popular reality shows *hangs head* are in the running.
.....And the award goes to that one particular week of Come Dine With Me for being the most talked about, tweeted about and heralded edition of  Come Dine With Me EVER, at least in Wakefield. Hurrah!.
Though Strictly Come Dancing gets a special mention for Artem Chigvintsev's chest  and Colin Salmon, of course.

Actress of the Year: Regardless of the fact that TeenTwin1 has, in the past, acted on the stage of the West Yorkshire Playhouse, that TeenTwin2 is currently preparing to appear in Antigone and that both of them are A* Distinction-With-Knobs-On drama students. Despite all that, Actress of the Year goes to the Eleven Year Old 
*Tumultuous applause.*
Awarded for her appearances in "Tearful" and "Sulks," the Eleven Year Old has demonstrated that she can live any role convincingly. At least, convincingly enough for Daddy.*Rolls eyes*

Actor of the Year: Same as every year. Hugh Grant. Special mentions to Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis. *lascivious face*

Comedian of the Year: For the sixth year running awarded to The Boy who ALWAYS makes me laugh even when I'm not supposed to and because he is so very himself, while also being partly me, his dad, three sisters, the voice of the Fat Controller and Dr Who. *Secretly worries*

Man of the Year: Mine, obvs.

Most Tear-filled Moment of the Year: So many to choose from in a year of human achievement sometimes quite literally above and entirely beyond expectations. This year has been extraordinarily emotional, the Olympics was just one huge tear fest from beginning to end and we, as a country, wallowed in it with abandon. 
By that time though, I was already at number three of the Likely to Get Emotional Any Minute Top Ten. My personal 2012 tear fest began in earnest at the beginning of the year, reached a small pinnacle literally minutes before THE PROM and has basically continued unabated ever since; the Eleven Year Old's first day at secondary school, the Eleven Year Old passing her piano exam with a distinction, The Boy getting 10 out of 10 for his spellings for the FIRST TIME EVER, me having a ruck with The Boy's headmistress, James Arthur winning X Factor.
But the best, the most and totally, completely tear-sodden moment of the year was when the TeenTwins got their GCSE results. They were *wells up again* really, rather, jolly good.
*Smug look*

Best Event of the Year: The Olympics and Paralympics are a shooo in for this award in every awards ceremony this year. Or should I say, in every OTHER awards ceremony this year. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Olympics. It made me proud, if only briefly *raises eyebrows at David Cameron* of the country in which I live. I bailed out of doing actual sport in about 1979, but for a few weeks this summer, I felt like an athlete... all that running to the telly to catch yet another medal winning performance can REALLY take it out of you.
The Olympics WERE fabulous and brought the entire country together but MY Best Event of the Year award goes to something that brought a community together, started new friendships, sparked ambition, fired dreams and lit the flame for new events. My award goes to @OssettObserver and Flock to Ossett.
I also got to make a sheep with my mum for which I will always be entirely grateful, if slightly surprised.

Which brings us to our final award of the year
Favourite Photograph of the Year: The nominees are basically me, me and, um, me because there is no point in having an awards ceremony if I don't get to win something too. *Shifty look*
AND the winner is .....

....Because this photographic award is not at all about skill but more about the warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside when you've captured something special.
So there.

*Runs off with trophy to a champagne reception for one*

See you in 2013..... probably.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Mummy v Christmas. And the winner is ......

Christmas is all about the children. I mean apart from the drinking a skipful of alcohol before breakfast and eating your own body-weight in food you wouldn't consider eating if you were starving at any other time of the year, Christmas is OBVIOUSLY all about the children.

For the past three months almost my every waking thought has been about Christmas. I have listened to hints carefully, even the ones delivered with a sledgehammer at 3,000 decibels. I have considered, mulled and faffed. I have scouted, sourced, sought out and shopped until if I haven't actually dropped, I've started to wilt dramatically.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

.... Or it is according to an ancient civilisation, a large section of modern (and let's face it, probably) mad people and my gorgeous, sweet, innocent 11 year old daughter.

She worries you see. Always has. 

Ever since she was a little girl every new step has been an impossible leap, right up until just after she's taken it and then she's fine. So she didn't want to go to school, she didn't want to go sleep at grandma's house, she didn't want to go on holiday, she didn't want to go swimming, she didn't want to go horse-riding and she definitely didn't want to go to piano lessons. 

The "I don't want to..." moments have moved on from screaming tantrums and heart-rending sobs to sticking her lip out and scowling through to now, as a pre-teen, a full-on stomp on the stairs and the bang of her bedroom door. *Sighs*

But I think she's always been quite a brave little girl because, cajoled, coaxed, jollied along and, yes, bribed, she HAS done all those things she really, definitely didn't, not-ever-mummy wanted to do. And bloody well enjoyed them.

But the end of the world, that's a different matter. She definitely doesn't want to do that and no matter what anyone says, and I really can't fault her logic here, she's knows she won't feel any better about it afterwards either.

It's a worry that has bubbled to the surface every so often for months now. Every time someone, somewhere mentions the Mayan prophecy she worries just that little bit more. And we have again tried to cajole, coax and jolly her out of it. 

We've explained about recurrent end of the world myths and that this is just another one. That she has lived through at least one supposed end of the world to my knowledge and all we lost then was a teaspoon. That the current myth is based on a calendar composed  by an ancient civilization that was barely used by the ancient civilization themselves (it being the long calendar and mostly used by priests and astronomers as we all know, of course). And that they very probably got the date wrong and if you take leap years into consideration the world was supposed to end last year anyway.
We've tried realism:
Well, if the world does end, you won't notice anyway because the world will have ended.
And we've tried humour:
They'd carved about 5,000 dates on a stone, they probably got bored and gave up  with a "Sod it, nobody'll notice." and went to the pub.
The TeenTwins, gawd bless 'em, have tried scorn. *Tuts*

But still. She worries. And she will worry. Probably right up until midnight on December 21st (though I AM crossing all limbs extant hoping that nobody mentions time zones to her). 

And I shall worry just a little about her instead of the end of the world. But when the world hasn't ended I'll tell her it's not wrong to be scared and if you ARE scared it's ALWAYS better to talk about it. And then I'll tell her I love her. And then I will tell her that sometimes she can be a right silly sausage.

Then she'll probably stomp off up the stairs. *Sighs again.*

Monday, 17 December 2012

A Festive Playlist ...

'Tis the season to be jolly, but not too jolly .. at least not if you're the designated driver so those lovely people at Britmums have laid down a challenge: Put together a playlist to keep your designated driver still  feeling festive while you're trying to negotiate yourself, five drunk workmates and an inflatable reindeer into a hatchback.

And as Christmas just isn't Christmas until Noddy Holder has bellowed, Brummily: "It's Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaaas" this is first, foremost and always my seasonal starter ...

....Sadly I remember the song being originally released in 1973, otherwise I WOULD be convinced that Christmas just wouldn't happen without Noddy giving it permission.

Likewise, it's not Christmas until you've swayed drunkenly along to this ....

.... although rather bizarrely The Boy's nativity production including a version of this with ENTIRELY different lyrics which was, um, disconcerting for a while. That while being mostly made up of these thoughts:
"Ooh, I like this one. What is it again? Dum de Dum, Dum de Dum. What? It's not? It is? It isn't? OH, it is and it isn't. Phew" or something like that.

And Christmas just ISN'T a proper Christmas unless there's a bit of brass* about and the only kind there's likely to be, *looks at depleted purse and sniffs a bit* is the musical kind so This ...

Because just a BIT of brass is, really, quite enough. *Tuts*

BUT choirs, ah well that's another matter. Christmas wouldn't BE Christmas if it wasn't for a bit of choral singing. And sobbing. Choirs and sobbing ARE actual Christmas requirements...

By now, of course, the designated driver might be feeling festive, but in a decidedly tearful way so why not go the whole hog. It's a classic Christmas song and gives me (yet another) opportunity to boast about giving Bob Geldof a kiss. Hoorah ....

And yes, I did kiss Bob Geldof.**

I NEVER kissed Cliff Richard, but I did once dance to "Congratulations" in an ill-fitting tutu in front of a Lady Mayoress but I digress. Christmas is just not ever, ever Christmas until you've wanted to trash the Christmas tree and strangle the turkey and THIS is usually the trigger...

*Grinds teeth*
Though if you are trying to wrestle five drunk colleagues and an inflatable reindeer into a car, this at least WILL deflect some of the exasperation that your chosen designated driver feels for you ONTO Cliff Richard. Ace.

But Christmas just really isn't ever, at all, even the merest twinkle in Santa's eye until someone, somewhere has sat you down and forced you to listen to (and possibly watch) this....

BEST. CHRISTMAS. SONG. EVER. #truefacthardwithknobson

AND your designated driver will be grateful that not only have you managed to deflate both Doreen from Human Resource's hair AND the reindeer but for Elvis Presley too. As should we all. *Bows head*

This post is part of the Britmum's Festive Song Linky

* hilariously funny colloquialism joke
**But only on the cheek. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Keeping the Christmas Magic Alive

With ten years between the birth of the TeenTwins and The Boy, as well as an 11-year-old Tween five years younger than one and older than the other in the house maintaining the magic of Christmas MIGHT have been a difficult manoeuvre to pull off over the years.

But, and this is the bit that baffles me, it hasn't.

The Boy, aged six, believes in Santa with a six year old's hand-clenching, eye-shutting, watermelon-smile depth of belief. And, possibly worryingly, the TeenTwins and the Tween seem to believe with an equal surety.

So how has this miracle of belief of Santa been pulled off you ask yourselves? And frankly, I'm buggered if I know.

Though, at some point in the distant past, around about the time the TeenTwins started looking knowingly at the sudden increase of festive carrier bags arriving in the house mid-December, I told a lie. It wasn't THAT big a lie, but it was a lie nevertheless. And over the years that lie has grown and developed and become much like the Dragon Door, a family truth that isn't at all, er, true.

My lie, the little one, so small to be practically white was, when challenged on the existence of Santa Claus by an inquisitive then-smaller TeenTwin, to be one of Santa's helpers. Not an elf OBVIOUSLY because there are some limits to which a child's imagination can stretch and me being an elf is not one of them.
"It's a big world," I said, "You can't expect one man with a beard to do EVERYTHING, do you?"

I may have tutted elaborately, looked a bit scathing and then changed the subject, quickly.

But that's not enough for a child's mind. Once they get an idea in their head, they WILL not let it go and so, over the years, and over the children, the lie has become:

"All mummy's the world over are, along with their newborn child, presented with a scroll inducting them into the Santa's Little Helper Club and there are rules. The first rule is never to tell anyone that you're a member of Santa's Little Helper Club. Obviously.
"The Mummy Division of Santa's Little Helpers are the ones on the ground, the ones in the real world. The Santa Agent Special helper giving constant feedback to Santa headquarters on who does and who doesn't get a visit from The Big Man. We're the ones tackling the shops, in at the kill at the cash register, fighting for Christmas.
*Brave, selfless look*
"And I wouldn't be doing all that if Santa DIDN'T exist, would I? Now, go to sleep."

And, strangely, they all seem quite happy with that. Well that and the flour and glitter wellington boot footsteps from the hearth to the tree on Christmas morning. And the half eaten carrot, crumbs of a mince pie and drained glass of sherry left on a plate. Oh, and the megafuckton of presents piled under the Christmas tree.

Yes, they all seem happy to believe in Santa, whatever their age.....

The Boy meets The Boss
....Though sometimes, not often, but just sometimes I get the impression, fleetingly, that somehow, in some way SOME of them might just be, well .... humouring me. 

*Eyes TeenTwins thoughtfully*

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Gallery ... It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" ...

But, er, no it isn't. 

The entire world may have been festooned in baubles since the clock struck midnight on December 1st but not in this house. No sir. There won't be a piece of tinsel strung until December 23rd so really it isn't looking a lot like Christmas at all.... except under my bed and in the cupboard and the other cupboard. *Sighs*

Not that we're a bunch of Scrooges, Bah Humbug-ging around the place. I like Christmas. Very much. I don't enjoy the several hours of wrestling with an over-sized turkey and juggling a fields-worth of potatoes and I bloody loathe peeling chestnuts but Christmas, ACTUAL Christmas? (For these purposes defined as THAT squeal when a child opens the present they didn't even know they wanted). Yes, I like Christmas.

But I had the bad judgement to give birth to the TeenTwins on December 22nd 1995 somewhere between Coronation Street and an episode of Red Dwarf. My guilt at this total lack of foresight made me promise that I would never, ever lump their birthdays in with the Christmas celebrations. This, over the past 17 years, has basically become me saying "Well, I'm not putting the tree up until after your birthday" and them saying: "Aw, go on."


ANYWAY, it's a tradition so no, it's not looking a lot like Christmas at all. My entry to The Gallery is The Christmas Tree *cough* 2011.

Please check out everyone else's entries at The Gallery

Saturday, 8 December 2012

#1000 Snowflakes ... A Story

Once upon a time there was a snowflake called Colin. Colin was not a very nice snowflake, he was mean to all the other snowflakes at Snowflake School and would push them around in the playground. "You're not properly symmetrical," he would shout at smaller, shyer snowflakes and run off laughing.

None of the other snowflakes liked Colin, he was never asked to join in their games or invited to their parties and he was ALWAYS the last snowflake to be picked for teams. Colin knew it was because all the other snowflakes didn't like how he behaved, but he knew he behaved that way because, really, he was a very lonely snowflake.

Sometimes Colin was very sad about this, but it didn't stop him being mean to the other snowflakes because, somehow, being mean made him feel just a little bit less lonely.

But soon Colin would have to line up with all the other snowflakes to get picked for their first Big Snow Fall, one of the most frightening but thrilling adventures of a young snowflake's life. They all longed to be picked, but they all dreaded it too.

Secretly Colin worried he wouldn't get picked at all and would have to stay in school on his own waiting for the other snowflakes to come home, but still he charged around the playground pushing and shoving and tripping the other snowflakes over.

When at last the day of the Big Snow Fall came, Colin lined up with all the other snowflakes and waited to be picked. He waited and waited and waited. One by one all the other snowflakes were chosen and taken away. Gradually the playground emptied and there was only Colin left, standing all on his own.

No one had picked him. No one had wanted him. One big icy tear slid down Colin's cheek. He wished he'd been nicer to all the other snowflakes. He wished he hadn't pushed them over and called them rude names. He wished a whole lot of things but he knew he couldn't change anything he'd done but maybe. Just maybe....

Colin flurried off. He had a plan but he needed someone to help him.

Colin had lots and lots of  brothers and sisters. They'd had to put up with Colin when he was mean but they all still loved him very much, so when he asked for their help and explained what he wanted to do, they all looked at each other and said they'd help him. As long as Colin was never, ever mean to any of them ever again.

But Colin didn't have the time to be mean anymore.
"We're going to join in the Fall," he said.
"But there's barely enough of us to be a flurry," said Cecil, Colin's eldest brother.
"I know," said Colin, "We're going to do something different. Something beautiful. We're going to Fall first and light the way for all the other little snowflakes from school who are scared."

And so they fell.

All the other snowflakes were stood waiting, slightly shivering, in the dark to make the Fall when they saw Colin and his brothers and sisters floating down in front of them.
"It's Colin," they whispered to each other, "What IS he doing?"

Colin and his brothers and sisters fell with a whisper and a hush through the night sky and settled gently on pillars surrounding a small well in the centre of a small town. They held hands together and concentrated really, really hard until they began, softly, to glow like frozen stars caught on earth.

Up above, all the little small shy snowflakes cheered.

"Look," they shouted, "Colin is showing us the way."

And they jumped.

Down on the pillars, there was a sudden rumbling from deep inside the well, an icy blast and Jack Frost climbed out.

"What are you doing," he said, his voice like a fingernail scratch down a blackboard.
"Showing them the way," said Colin.
"You don't do that very often young Colin," said Jack Frost looking doubtful, "Why would YOU of all the snowflakes be doing that then?"
" Because I know," said Colin, "What they're like when they're frightened."
"Yes?" said Jack Frost.
"I know," whispered Colin, "Because I frighten them too."
"Well then." said Jack Frost looking up into the night sky at the still gently falling snowflakes, "I don't suppose you'll be doing that again, will you?"

Only he, Colin and Colin's brothers and sisters could hear the excited squeals and laughter of the snowflakes as they fell.
"No. Sir," said Colin, "No, Sir. I won't."

And he never did.

Now at Big Snow Fall time, Colin is ALWAYS the very first snowflake to be picked and he waits by the well, patiently, until every single snowflake has fallen.
It's a lonely job,  he thinks, but someone's got to do it.
And then he goes home to his family and to his friends.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Fighting Talk

Walking The Boy home from school today he said something that made my heart twist inside a little bit.

"Sometimes I think," he said, "I don't have a very nice life."

Though of course he does, mostly. He is a happy, gregarious, funny, eloquent six year old phased by very little the world has chosen to throw at him during his short life apart from the one thing that prompted him to say he didn't have a very nice life in the first place.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Gallery ... Colour

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week, the prompt is Colour ....

In the summer, the good people of my hometown gathered together to knit and crochet up a storm as part of an arts event called Flock to Ossett. I've never before lamented that my knitting skills are, to put it politely, basic and that crocheting just looks like someone performing high level wool magic. *Sigh*

But I was beyond proud that my Mum, who DOES know how to cast on and off and other such arcane knowledge, joined in and was part of an actual yarn-bombing. My mum, ladies and gentleman, an arts terrorist armed with wool and a crochet hook ...

And the town looked glorious. Full of .. TA-DA ...colour

Though I DID make a contribution to Flock to Ossett, albeit a small (and badly knitted) one, for somewhere on this gloriously colourful bike ....

... is a two inch strip of knitting that I ACTUALLY knitted. All by myself. And without* my mum tutting and saying: "I've tried to teach her LOADS of times."

*Oh sorry, WITH -_-

This is my entry for The Gallery, check out everyone else's entries at Sticky Fingers.

By the way, if you're visiting there is a new installation in Ossett for Christmas called #1000snowflakes

Less colour, but just as beautiful.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Dear Santa...

So it's that time of year again ... no, NOT the season of goodwill to all men which, let's be honest, effectively lasts from 5pm on Christmas Eve until 3 o'clock on Christmas Day because there is a reason Boxing Day is called Boxing Day. And it's mostly because mother-in-laws have opinions on gravy that shouldn't be aired in public. *Tuts*

No, it's the time of the year when every mother in the land looks hopelessly at her offspring and wonders what to buy them for Christmas. *Sighs*

SOME of us resort to the age old tradition of making them write a letter to Santa and then really wish we hadn't. This year's crop of festive wish-list items from my own little treasures has done nothing but made me, well, boggle.

The Tween's list was, at least, predictable. An iPhone, an iPod, an iPad and anything else beginning with i because EVERYONE ELSE HAS GOT ONE MUM. An' a hamster. An' a dog. No, two dogs, because one dog would get lonely. And another cat because EVERYONE ELSE HAS GOT ONE MUM.

The TeenTwins lists are less ambitious but equally as exasperating. TeenTwin1 would like a remote control Batmobile, TeenTwin2 a 24" high Minnie Mouse soft toy.

No matter that the TeenTwins will be SEVENTEEN years old three days before Christmas and are in their first year of sitting A levels. Apparently a Batmobile and a Minnie Mouse are perfectly acceptable presents for two girls who have a special level of sneer if you so much as suggest they might not be totally grown up.

No matter too that TeenTwin1 has already purloined her brother's Batmobile for display purposes and TeenTwin2 has fifteen other Minnie Mouse soft toys. No, let's not worry about that.


And The Boy. All The Boy would like is a Diesel Shunter, but only because he wants to give it to his dad. Which is really cute OBVIOUSLY and all dead nice of him and that, but I have NO IDEA what a Diesel Shunter is or where to start looking for one. Well, it's a train thing obviously but you know. Trains. *Rolls eyes*

So, basically, THIS Christmas the children are going to get what I think they need rather than what they want. And yeah, I'm sorry about that. Not.

*Locks Santa in the cellar*

Sunday, 25 November 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll Swear if I Want To...

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Tomorrow I add a whole other year to the tally of ones I have spent on earth already. The great countdown in the sky is heaving another few grains of sand onto an already quite worryingly heaped pile of sand. There are clocks ticking loudly, and most of them have a pendulum shaped inexplicably like a scythe. *shudders*

So what does one do when one is 48 years old? 

Do 48-year-olds choose to weep and lament lost youth? Our own, or the fact that there isn't a snowflakes chance in a slow cooker that Tom Daley will ever look in our direction even once, never mind twice? Do we finally recognise our chances of becoming the new a) Kate Moss b)Rhianna c) Jennifer Aniston or d) the Queen are probably quite slim now? Do we give up and go gently into the dark night of middle-age? Do we become one of the invisible women whose voice is only heard in the supermarket consumer surveys?

Do. We. Fuck!

I, for one, am going to count my blessings and thank all gods extant I don't have to gyrate scantily dressed in a downpour or get dumped by Brad Pitt to make a living. Or at least not anymore. I'm going to raise a hand and shake a fist at the world and give the supermarkets a good kick in the bottom shelf while I'm at it. Then I'm going to go out and get pissed on gin.


Tomorrow is my birthday and I will be 48 years old.

Do NOT buy me slippers, a twin-set or American tan tights.

*Grows old disgracefully*

Silent Sunday ...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Rules ...

I've always thought that rules are there to be broken, but then I had children and developed my OWN rules and those rules, um, rule. Those rules are written on stone, with blood ... well not really because they'd wash off in a heavy shower but, you know, they're MY rules so you'd better abide by them *Stern look*

So just to make the rules absolutely crystal clear, because SOMETIMES it's as if my rules don't exist or anything, these are they. And the first rule of My rules* is:

Do not, under any circumstances, use ANY of the words on the Banned Word List. And yes I have a List of Banned Words. What of it?

Nite/ Tonite

The breaking of this rule will result in a three hour lecture on the beauty of the English language and the ugliness of certain words. And why I've got a thing about it. With anecdotes.

Don't wait and don't ask. Unless I want you to wait and want you to ask. This you will have to work out based on the imperative on what needs to be done and when divided by my level of interest. For example, you want to have a shower? You don't need to ask.You want to elope with a trainee accountant? It would be best to wait until you come to your senses.


Turn the bloody tap off.

It doesn't matter unless I want it to.

RULE  6;
Have a sense of humour, embrace tolerance, never judge without knowledge and treat everyone else in the world how you would like them to treat you in return.  

Don't ask for cinema refreshments, ever. I'm not made of money and it cost an arm and a leg to get in in the first place. *Tuts*

Do what I say and not what I do ...

 *Drags on fag, downs fifth gin*

And, you know, just be happy.

RULE 10.
Do not ignore the rules.

*D'ya see what I did there.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Listography .... Six Songs of Me

I'm joining in with the Listography over at Kate Takes 5 this week and the prompt is Six Songs of Me so here goes ..... *passes around earplugs*

1. What was the first song you ever bought? 

Yes it was released in 1975. I was 11 and impressionable. What of it?

2. What song always gets you dancing?  

I like dancing and I have danced to most things even *rolls eyes* heavy metal and YES it can be done *dignified look.*
And once upon a time the pub, local to the college where I spent my student years, offered me and a fellow student (male and a deadringer for Prince) £20  to dance "artistically" on disco night. No. Really.
Unfortunately we misjudged what was meant by dancing artistically and didn't stay there for very long.
"OH, you meant take our clothes OFF! Aaaah!"
*Exits pubs rapidly*
My clubbing, pubbing and dancing inappropriately on the table days are far behind me now OBVIOUSLY *cough* so this one took me a while to choose but if I wasn't going to pick Abba's "Dancing Queen" which is EVERY sensible woman's must-hit-the-dance-floor track and would be cheating, I will go with...

 And yes OF COURSE I can* do the dance

*But only badly and while laughing

3. What song takes you back to your childhood? 

I loved Elvis Presley when I was a child I did. I loved everything and anything he did. I absorbed his music and sat slack-jawed at his films. This particular song reduced me to tears then and reduces me to tears now.


4. What is your perfect love song? 

I've had quite a lot of perfect love songs unfortunately, one for every person I've fancied myself in love with. On the other hand I've an almost equal amount of that-could-have-been perfect and you-turned-out-to-be-a-bastard not-love songs too. *Sighs*

Nevertheless I've narrowed it down as much as I could. This is my perfect love song and I walked down the aisle to it when marrying the current husband..

But only because he wouldn't let me play this...


5. What song would you like at your funeral? 

AND I want everybody to cry buckets too.. while moshing a bit though. Obviously.

6. One song that makes you you? 

There is no one song that makes me me. There are two.
This ....

And this ....

Because I am a woman of many facets *Mysterious look*

Note: For a full list of the 3,000 plus songs on my iTunes that make me me, please send a stamped addressed envelope to .... oh, sorry.

*Shuffles off, finger popping*


Please check out everyone else's entries at Kate Takes 5

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas Dressing.. A Competition

I don't usually do much thinking about what to wear on Christmas day. USUALLY I'm thrashing around with a turkey in a dressing gown for most of the day before, in the three available minutes between the point where sprouts are palatable and sprouts are mush, I manage to throw on something, anything that looks vaguely Christmassy. Last year, for our festive family meal, I wore a bronze taffeta skirt from 1989 and wondered why I was getting funny looks from the TeenTwins...

But this Christmas Northern Mum is hosting a Next competition with FIVE HUNDRED pounds worth of Next vouchers on offer to the winning entry. And it's the best kind of competition allowing your imagination to run riot across the Next website and picking your favourite family looks for Christmas day. I COULD have asked the family and got everyone involved so they could make their own choices but then I thought: "Bugger it, this is my fantasy Christmas day and so you'll all wear what I want you to wear."

Yeah, that'll be my imagination running riot again. *Sigh*

But, nevertheless, this is my entry to Northern Mum's Next competition

The Eleven Year Old                                          Teen Twin Two                                 Teen Twin One        

This Christmas will probably be the last time ever that I'll get the Eleven Year Old into a sparkly party dress so I'm taking my chance. The jacket is for when she goes and sulks on the step for being told to wear a sparkly party dress. Obviously.

Of course as a cool mummy, I would never presume to tell the 16 year old TeenTwins what to wear. As if. Although I do seem to spend quite a large proportion of my time telling them what they can't wear. Mostly when they're heading out of the door. Oh. 

The Boy is six years old and at the stage where he can dress himself perfectly well but doesn't want to. *Rolls eyes* So we're going for a gorilla all-in-one for the day. I can just zip him in it and leave him there. 

The added bonus is that everyone will be able to grit their teeth, bite their lips and call him a "little monkey" when he gets *cough* over exuberant WITHOUT causing a Christmas argument. Hoorah.

As for The Man. I'm sorry but, this is MY fantasy after all, I've gone for the full on dressing up for dinner option but, you know, with a vest and shades because he IS a musician and he probably WILL be hungover. Though I've allowed him an all in one for the morning because I'm a nice wife like that.

And as for me. Well, I shall consign the 1989 taffeta to the bin and leave a TeenTwin in charge of the sprouts and, for once, make an effort. Though I won't need to make much of one because I've gone for the black skinny jeans that "lift, slim and shape" ...... *evil cackle*

And when the turkey has been stuffed, cooked and eaten. The presents been squealed at, exclaimed over and then broken, lost or ignored. When Dr Who has been oooh-ed at and The Boy has fallen asleep holding on to a piece of tinsel and half a cracker.... 

....Then I shall mostly be wearing this

I told you I was a nice wife and, well, it IS Christmas...

This is my entry into Northern Mum's Win £500 of Next Vouchers for the Perfect Christmas Outfit competition 

*Crosses fingers* 

The Gallery ..... The 80s

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is the 80s.....

It will surprise absolutely no-one at all that I was a student for most of the 80s *sighs* because I am SO DAMNED OLD so this was me, back then ....

Me, the student
Graduation, interview suit and in my first job 

*Weeps for lost youth*

And no, it wasn't a perm.

Please check out everyone else's entries at The Gallery

Monday, 12 November 2012

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger. A Review

We have a bit of a thing about David Tennant in this house. Or, perhaps, to be a teeny, tiny, little bit more accurate, a BIG thing. The Boy loves him because he was Dr Who. The TeenTwins love him because he was Dr Who but, at 16 years old, have also noticed he's VERY easy on the eye. I love him because he was Casanova before he was Dr Who and I, of course, have no thought at all on his general hotness. At. ALL *Cough* *Shuffles feet a bit*

So.. when we were offered the chance to review Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger by Mumsnet, we snapped their hands off and, lo, we were rewarded with not one but TWO David Tennants. Oh, happy day.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Comfort Eating ...Rice and Cheese

This week I had something done to my root canal at the dentist and it wasn't pleasant. It was the third in a series of root canal rootlings I've endured over the past couple of months ever since rocking the lop-sided hamster look complete with a jaw infection a couple of months ago.

Yesterday saw an end to the treatment *crosses fingers, legs, arms, eyes* but left me feeling like I'd done two rounds with Muhammed Ali and they'd told him he could only hit me in the face. I had eaten nothing all day, NOTHING at all, and by 9pm, with the children in bed or at least lolling around in their rooms applying nail varnish, and The Man thrumming a bass somewhere, I was not only feeling a bit sorry for myself but bloody starving as well.

And so I resorted to comfort food. Or at least my version which I could call something smart like Quick Risotto or Risotto Con Formaggio but it is rather unfortunately known as Rice With Cheese.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Little Bit of Politics...

Barack Obama has won a second term in The White House and whoo-ooo, thank the all-deities-that-be for that. Really. *Wipes brow.*

Generally my first and most abiding rule about politics is, basically, don't vote for any bugger who wants to be a politician because they're after something. It could be my natural Yorkshire cynicism. Or been-a-local-journalist cynicism, Or something I learned in psychology classes, though that would be surprising. Or female intuition. Or it could be common sense. Whatever it is, I wouldn't trust any politician, local or national, male or female, as far as I could spit in a tornado.

It does, of course, make voting for anyone extremely difficult, mainly because it tends to be the people who want to be politicians who appear on the voting form. So I, like I suspect most of the voting public who actually bother to vote, make the best of a bad job, and put a tick next to the one employing the policies that offend me least.

Well thank f*ck for that.

Barack Obama though I think one of the rare few. A politician who wants to make a difference to his country. I admire him more than I have ever admired any politician before but, to be honest, it's a very short list. Of one.

My abiding memory of this particular American election will not just be the relief, very real, I felt at some ridiculous time in the morning when someone somewhere in the good ol' U.S. of A said that Barack Obama was still president.

No. It will also be those moments running up to the election when TeenTwin 2 and I discussed it together. Her shock and horror at Mitt Romney's stance on gay marriage was enough to warm the cockles of this mother's heart and provoke a discussion where she started quoting me back at me. But in a good way.

Basically WE believe that it doesn't matter about race, religion, sex or sexuality, everyone should be treated fairly and equally. Live and, as they say, let live although that doesn't count  *serious face* if you're a murderer, thief, rapist or David Cameron. TeenTwin 2 says his eyes are too close together. I think that's the least of his problems.

But TeenTwin2 has long since been a bit of a worry, ever since she developed a bit of a thing for Baroness Warsi and started reading the Daily Mail. I probably have The Inbetweeners, TOWIE and Jedward *rolls eyes* to thank for it but at least now I know that TeenTwin2 won't be appearing in a blue two piece and a bad perm looking to lead the Tory party any time soon. *Phew*

And HURRAH for that.

And HURRAH for Barack Obama too. *Passes Superman cape*

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Gallery ..... Autumn

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is Autumn ....

John Keats wrote an actual Ode to Autumn in which he called it the "Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness" and well done that poet because he summed it up pretty much. I love Autumn, the cold crispness of mornings, the hanging mists that burn off into the last remnants of summer sunshine but best of all, I love the trees.

Trees the rest of the year are just THERE being, well, trees but once Autumn comes around they dress up in glorious colours for one ecstatic last dance before stripping themselves bare for the winter .....which is odd because you'd think they would be a bit cold.

Of course, once they've taken off their clothes there is only ONE thing you can do...

And then trees just stand there with NO CLOTHES ON until spring, but at least they don't forget to accessorise..

Hurrah for trees.

 Please check out everyone else's Autumn at The Gallery.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

Being a mother is a thankless task and I know that because I have a mother and I've never really said thank you to her at all.

I've said thank you for the little things of course, for daily interactions and presents and the unexpected good things that mothers do for you when you least expect it. Of course I have because, well, she brought me up to. Obviously.

But what I haven't thanked her for is making me the person I am. And even though she might roll her eyes and wonder where she went wrong, I think she did a damn fine job to be honest. My mum gave and taught me many things, and not all of them were intentional.

26.12.1963 - Mum and Dad's wedding day

She gave me my love of music. When I was young the little black discs of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard that she had collected as a teenager were little gems of happiness and to be allowed to play them on the Dansette record player was an honour and a treat. Dancing? She gave me an appreciation and joy for that too. And it wasn't taking me to Janice Reagan's ballet class for the under fours oh no, but the family parties where my mum and dad would do the jive. They used to clear the dance floor, but only because everyone wanted to watch.

It was my mum who gave me my appreciation of writing and my love of books. She taught me to read before I went to school and later had the foresight to work in a library thereby opened up a whole world where every single book I might ever want to read was obtainable and reachable and, shh, you never had to pay a fine.

And she gave me her suede mini-skirt. A genuine sixties patchwork suede mini-skirt that I wore when I was a student in the early eighties and for that, for reasons manifold and best not explained, I owe her and for my love of vintage fashion and *waits for Mother to roll her eyes again* mini-skirts.

She gave me my appreciation of the family that made me and the history we share. She taught me about loyalty and strength. She taught me, probably without noticing, everything there is to know about love. 

She even taught me that it doesn't matter how many times you've been seen swaying down the street singing after a dinner dance OR fallen over in improbable platforms in a Devon car-park after some Scrumpy OR worn a mini-skirt that is LITTLE MORE THAN A BELT, you can still claim the moral high-ground when your own children do similar. 

*Raises eyebrows at Mother*

Anyway, for ALL of that, I thank her. Deeply and very much.

Happy 70th birthday Mum x

Mum and Dad now

Friday, 2 November 2012

Now We Are (Nearly) 48

This month I will be 48 years old.

At least I think I will be. I KNOW I was born in November 1964 and I KNOW (if I take a quick look at the calendar admittedly) that it's now 2012. And I can start to work out how old I am but somewhere in between knowing the answer and saying it out loud my brain veers away and starts making a loud LA LA LA sound.... *sighs*

But in the pursuit of truthful blogging I asked a teenager to work it out and, when they'd finished giggling, it appears I am ACTUALLY going to be 48. For real. Forty eight. FORTY fucking eight. FORTY fucking EIGHT. FORTY FUCKING EIGHT. *Edvard Munch Scream face*

And so it appears that even though I feel no more grown up or wise in the ways of the world than my youngest child aged six, I must on all available evidence be, in fact, an adult just by virtue of being so old. Oh.

This is entirely unexpected. I always thought being old would be heralded with the desire to wear a twin-set and American tan tights, sensible shoes and, possibly, a perm. There would be groups to join, bridge to be played and I would KNOW things like how to make Christmas cake, the optimum temperature for Yorkshire puddings and what to do in the case of a fracas at the Cricket Club.

I don't wear, do or know any of those things and the only time I got anywhere near a cricketer I divorced him at the first available opportunity.

Me, two weeks ago. In a pub toilet.

I'm your wearing a borrowed tailcoat, skull t-shirt and 15 year old jeans kind of girl. And yes, I know. My mother has despaired for YEARS.

They do say it's children that keep you young but clearly they never met my children. The hilarity of being 48 years old is, apparently, endless when you're 16 and even the 11 year old thinks it's amusing: "How old?" *Snigger*
Personally I don't think maths should be encouraged in schools.

But do I woman up? Do I throw the jeans away and buy slippers. Invest in some American tan tights and join the WI or do I do what I AM actually considering doing which is, er,  taking up taekwondo with the six year old?

*Has mid-life crisis*

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Gallery ... Frightful

I'm joining in with The Gallery and rather aptly, because it IS Halloween *spooky woooh sound,* the theme is Frightful ...

I don't find many things frightful. The current government, the state of the world and people today *tuts* They are all frightful in their own ways but the usual frights ... Spiders? Pah, I wrestle them for fun even if it is down the plughole. Snakes? Pah, I've been wrapped in a 17 foot long python and I wore it with style.

But bats... I hate bats. They're basically mice who've learned how to use a sewing machine. And yes, I do KNOW that they're a conserved species. I would never harm a bat, I would be too bloody busy running away. Bats are the only mammals on the planet that can fly which tells you all you need to know about bats. They're weird and even the other mammals think so..... *nods wisely*

And it's not if it's an irrational hatred, they started it. Alright it is over 30 years ago and I don't suppose they wanted to be in my hair any more than I wanted them to be but, you know, BATS entangled in MY HAIR. It's not a good look..... except, maybe, on Halloween.

But this is why I was quite proud of this photo I took of some *squeals a bit* BATS ....

Alright, they were behind a piece of glass in a large display case but, you know, BATS.... if you squint a bit.

Bats, as we are all now absolutely agreed, are horrid and should be avoided at all costs but may I also suggest that moths are not just the annoying little fluttery things banging aimlessly into lights that they appear to be either....

They're ALL just Dr Who villains in waiting and that is truly frightful..... *SHRIEKS*

Check out everyone else's entries at The Gallery

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Pierced Heart ....

Last week, TeenTwin 2 got a hole in her nose and at the same time might as well have driven a stake through my heart.

Ok, so maybe that's a bit melodramatic but for the first hour after she came home with a shiny new nose stud I couldn't look at her for fear of the tears (mine). It was the culmination of a long mother/ teen wrangle that started some time ago.

"Mum," she announced one day apropos of nothing, "I want to get my nose pierced."

I didn't want her to get her nose pierced. Each to their own and all that but I don't like nose piercings. Or lip piercings, or eyebrows, chins and tongue piercings. Basically any kind of facial piercings at all. If people feel that they have to make a statement about just how alternative they are, I don't understand why they have to do something so un-alternative as sticking some metal in their face. It is total conformism, just of a different type.

And I'm sorry *whispers* but to me nose piercings always look like people have forgotten to wipe their noses clean after a violent sneeze or that they have a particularly odd spot that just won't go away.

But mostly I didn't want the TeenTwin to have her nose pierced in case IT WENT WRONG. Google, by the way, does not in any way assuage this fear. *Shudders* I gave birth to that nose, have kissed it, tweaked it and eskimoed with it for the past 16 years.. I didn't want her to make a hole in it that wasn't designed to be there. A hole that might, whatever the infinitesimally small chances of it happening are, go badly, disfiguringly wrong.

That first time we came to an "agreement." She had her bellybutton pierced instead. *Rolls eyes* And promised that would be the end of the piercings.

Three months later she her ears pierced again, next to the ear-piercings she had as a reward for passing her Year Six SATS, which of course means I must share the guilt of this sudden fascination with piercing. With five more small holes in her body than she set off with, we joked darkly about turning herself into a colander and she, yet again said there would be no more piercings.

But clearly TeenTwin 2 believes that my attention span can only maintain itself for three months at a time for three months after having her seconds done, she yet again wanted her nose piercing. 

At 16 years old she doesn't need my permission to have her nose pierced but she wanted my blessing and I was incapable of giving it. I didn't actually cling to her ankles crying "NOOOOOO" when she left the house but I wanted to.

She had it done anyway. And then she promised that she wasn't going to have any more piercings. At all.

Oddly enough I don't believe her.

But I AM getting used to this new piercing, sort of.  I have totally not asked, absentmindedly of course, whether she's got trouble with a stubborn blackhead though, to date, I CAN NOT have a conversation with her without staring at her nose.


*Surrenders title of Mummy Cool*

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Spooky Scribes: A Vampire Story

To celebrate Halloween George at ASDA are running the Spooky Scribes challenge, this is The Boy's story.

The Boy, aged six and a half.

On a dark stormy night there was a storm raging and I thought it was a bit scary and so I went outside and then a strike of lightning burst at me BOOM! And a vampire came and carried me away. I had a really good kung fu action and I kicked one right out of the window and right through the wall and one right in its tummy and it died.

So then I tried to escape but there were vampires all over the place. I kicked them in the chest so I ran outside into the misty fog and it got foggier and foggier. Suddenly I saw a man getting bitten by a vampire and he turned into a vampire too!

And then vampires chased after me and chased and chased me but then I standed and kicked one right through the door. Then I kicked the other in the stomach til my feet came out the other side and then the vampire king's guards came screaming out of the door and took all the dead vampires away.

Then I was in their castle with a flash where I saw a costume and I got dressed in it and I was a vampire and the sharp, sharp teeth worked. I bit one vampire right on the nose and bit one in the chest and then I bit one right in the ear and then I went inside and tried to bite the whole castle but it wouldn't work. So I hit the castle but it hurt my hand so much.

I bited the door down and there sitting in the throne was the vampire king and I bit him and bit him and bit him but it was no use. I tried and tried to escape but he made a forcefield around the door so I got out my two plastic swords and I threw them at the forcefield and there was a big explosion and I jumped out just in time and the big, big castle was done with. It fell down and all the vampires were dead.

I felled asleep and by magic I floated right into my bed and was hugging my penguin again.

The End.

Can you tell who it is yet?

Disclosure: The Boy was given his very stylish vampire costume by George at ASDA free of charge for review purposes. 
He MIGHT take it off after Halloween but I'm not putting any money on it.
Content and levels of gore are all The Boy's own work

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Gallery .... Books

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is Books ....

I have a bit of a confession. I really am quite fond of books. SOME people *looks at my mother reproachfully* might say I have a bit of a book problem. And this from a woman who spent her working life in a library and is totally, unequivocally and absolutely to blame. *Tuts*

But really, I can handle it. It's not a problem. It's totally under control. Totally....

I mean when you have shelves you have to put SOMETHING on them. Though when you run out of shelves, there's always next to the bed and, um, under the bed ....

Of course, I don't just buy books for me because that really would be selfish and I'm all for sharing the love.

The Tween's................................................The Boy's.........................................................The Teen's
So you see, it's absolutely no problem AT ALL...

*looks shifty*


*Runs to a book shop*

Please check out everyone else's entries at The Gallery.

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