Friday, 31 May 2013

Getting Wired ...

Craft posts on this blog, I admit, have been few and far between or perhaps, to be a tad more accurate, completely non-existent (unless you count the sheep making) but now .... *Blows fanfare*

It's half term and we're following the usual pursuit of finding Stuff-To-Do in a bid to convince The Boy that he doesn't HAVE to go to bed with the setting of the sun and up with the rising of it. Particularly when on a school day he has to be chiseled off the mattress. *Grinds teeth.*

So we ventured forth, in the drizzle, to a community arts and crafts event hosted by #MadeInWakefield where Faceless Company were holding a Wire Sculpture Workshop complete with the magic words "free" and "for all ages."

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Mother's Wisdom

I strongly believe that one of the most important parts of being a mother is preparing one's offspring for the big wide world and the passing on of wisdom that has been acquired during one's own life. But as the TeenTwins hurtle towards the age of 18 with indecent haste I find myself at a loss at what wisdom I've acquired that they might need. After all, they've always believed they know better than me about most things since they were 13 years old *Rolls eyes*

But not to be deterred, here's a few of the things I've picked up during my 48 years that they might one day thank me for sharing. (That several of these things are alcohol related has absolutely NO RELEVANCE to my own life experience obvs *coughs* *shuffles a bit*)

1) Never say yes when you mean no

2) Never say no when you mean yes.

3) When drinking, if you bite your lip and you can't feel yourself biting it. STOP DRINKING. YOU ARE VERY PROBABLY DRUNK.

4) Never kiss a man if he asks if he can kiss you first.

5) Never wear a pair of pants you wouldn't want to be seen dead in.

6) If anybody asks how you want your eggs in the morning, the correct reply is "Unfertilized."

And finally, but by no means least, there are two enviable life skills a young woman should possess to succeed in life; the first is being able to drink a pint down in one and the other is being able to drink a yard of ale.

So, and I'll say this only once.... To be successful at the first, never try it with a pint of lager, Guinness or vodka. And drinking a yard of ale is all in the twist of the wrist. *nods wisely*

*Sends TeenTwins out into the world*

Not the actual TeenTwins

A How To Guide To Making Rainbows.


1. One Small Boy.
2. A hosepipe.
3. A sunny day.


Connect the hosepipe and the Small Boy together.
Turn on tap.
Stand well back.

And TA DAH....


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Learning to Dye ...

One of the major thrills for the TeenTwins when they first moved into Year 12 was not the excitement at
expanding their educational horizons. Oh no, it was mostly because they would be able to dye their hair... *rolls eyes*

The Academy has, for lower years, strict rules about uniform. Every item, blouse, skirt, jumper and blazer MUST be embroidered with the Academy logo, a rule that necessitates only purchasing from approved uniform  stockists at three times the cost of the high street. From the thickness of the black tights (opaque, 40 denier and worn in the depths of winter as well as the heights of summer regardless) to the flat, black blandness of shoes and the colour of a hair bobble or school bag (in the school colours), the rules are all about not standing out from the rest. And there's a daily check at the school gates every morning just to make sure that no one sneaks in incorrectly clad.

In Year 12 (or the Sixth Form for old-fashioned non-Americans like me), the rules relax enough for students to wear appropriate "business wear," discreet jewellery and, as the TeenTwins interpreted it (having abided by every single rule throughout their tenure at the Academy) with any bloody hair colour you like.

So my naturally dark chocolately, glossy haired daughters have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into a variety of hair dye strategies. TeenTwin went temporarily green, has had dip dyed ginger ends and then a whole-over ginger do, for which I blame Ed Sheeran *tuts.*  TeenTwin2 went purple, then purple with dip-dyed pink ends which eventually faded to crimson and orange and then back to purple and pink. Though today, not many weeks later, she has dyed it again but this time back to a close an approximation of her natural hair colour as she could find on the chemist shelves. I only wonder what's coming next...

Meanwhile TeenTwin1 is planning on being blue because, well...

TeenTwin 1's Reasons For Having Blue Hair

1) She's going to Leeds Festival and if she has bright blue hair she'll be easier to spot on the telly.
2) She's camping over the weekend at Leeds Fest and it won't matter if her hair looks unwashed and rubbish because it will be BLUE!
3) It will match her Superman top.
4) It will match her nails AND she's already bought the nail varnish
5) She could put a light on top and pretend to be the Tardis to entertain The Boy (I think she's lying about this one)
6) It will be BLUE
7) It WILL be blue
(...continue to infinitude.)

Not that she needs any justification at least not to me. Hell, if I wasn't the respectable 48-year-old mother-of-four that I am, I'd have bloody blue hair too. Er, hang on....


*Runs to chemist*

The Gallery ... Drink

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

I do enjoy the odd glass of wine now and again *waits for nose to grow* .... oh, alright then. I like the odd glass and then think I should even it out by finishing the bottle.

And while wine-drinking is not something I generally encourage in the children (after all they might not leave any for me), it turns out that making wine IS fun for all the family.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Oldest Thing In My Wardrobe....

As part of some misguided, and subsequently abandoned (much like Spring itself), spring cleaning attempt, I have been into the very depths of my wardrobe and emerged slightly dusty but nostalgic after unearthing the dress that has been with me the longest of any item of clothing, ever. Longer even than my very first wedding dress, even if I got rid of that dress's particular husband 14 years ago.

The dress, my oldest dress, is one I bought from a second-hand market in the early '80s for the then vast sum of £5. At least it was vast to me, a then-impecunious student living on a grant cheque of £200 a term. It had, according to the man who sold it, been hand-made for a ballroom dancer. The dress spoke to me of sophistication and cocktails, only one of which I was overly familiar with but I always had hopes that I would achieve sophistication. 

Which is probably why I still have the dress hanging in my wardrobe. I'm still waiting. *Sigh*

It is, though, a beautiful dress, beautifully made and once upon a time it's ruffled semi-bustle gave me a sashay that said more eloquently than a knee in the bollocks that I was more than a half-a-pint of lager girl.

Thirty years and four children later, my sashay is more of a waddle and although I can still fit into the dress, it is in a very much don't-sit-down, go-out-in-public kind of way. That zip would never get closure, that's all I'm saying.

So I made TeenTwin1 put it on....

She hated it. She thinks it should be shorter. A lot shorter. *tuts* 

So here I am in the only surviving picture of me wearing the dress, aged 23, at the infamous Motorway Service Station Ball in my final college year, 1986 to 1987. 

And yes, it was a ball in a motorway service station. We WERE students.

What's the oldest thing in your wardrobe?

Are You Feeling Brave, Disney?

Last year, on my daughter's 11th birthday, I took her and a few of her friends to see the Disney/Pixar film Brave. She'd picked it as her birthday celebration of choice. That, and a trip to the local extravagantly priced pizza emporium. Obviously.

She and her friends, as is traditional on such birthday party trips, sat as far away as possible from me in the local Sinning-World after negotiating our way through the foyer with only the one major casualty (my purse). Gorging parentally unchecked on inflatedly-priced popcorn and buckets of ice with a dribble of fizz, my chaotically haired daughter fell in love with the equally chaotically haired heroine of Brave, Merida.

Flame-haired Merida is feisty, sporty, wild and unruly. A tomboy tearaway, she argues with her mother, resents restrictions and wants the freedom to be herself. There is nothing about her, including her hair, that doesn't make my Tween-age girl see her as a kindred spirit. I'm only thankful this particular Tween doesn't know the name of a local witch.

And now Disney want to take Merida, a proper girl's girl if there ever was, and transform her into one of the same vacuous, improbably-bodied, silken-haired princesses that they normally pedal to the world? *rolls eyes*


*Gets out drum, starts banging*

There is a petition. I've signed it, at the time of writing nearly 200,000 people have signed it, and you can sign it too. Organised by A Mighty Girl, the petition to Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Company (and co-incidentally father of two daughters) is a plea to save Merida from a future as a pale shadow of her former self, rescuing her from a makeover that leaves her newly sexualised yet strangely sterile.

And I've got just the way of delivering that petition. You see, The Tween identified with Merida just so much that she's developed an interest in archery, her name is currently on a waiting list to join a local club. Right now her aim needs some practice and we can always apologise for any stray arrows that land in the Disney boardroom, can't we?

The Tween aims to get her point across to Disney 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Leggings: The Rules.

I'm no fashion blogger I'll admit.

I'm not, if I'm being entirely honest, very taken with the idea of fashion at all. It smacks too much of being told what to wear and when and ever the rebellious soul, I gave up the idea of dressing like the next sheep in the field when I was about 16 years old. My wardrobe consequently is an eclectic dressing up box of entirely unsuitable clothes for a woman fast approaching 50 garnered from vintage emporiums, by which I mean second hand markets and charity shops obviously. And an awful lot of jeans.

But there comes a point in even the most fashion-unconscious when enough is enough. When it's time to stand up and point out, like the small boy in the Emperor's New Clothes, that fashion is well, taking the piss.

I remember the first time (and the second time) leggings were all the rage but in those days *looks nostalgic* they were worn with what can only be described as decorum. Camel toes as anyone knows being only acceptable on an actual camel. 

But leggings are back in fashion because if you haven't noticed, fashion repeats itself more regularly than My Dad after eating onions. Clearly this time around we're having a Save The Camel Toe parade. And we're not just saving the Camel Toe, we're also quite keen on protecting the Hippopotamus bottom as well.


So. Hello women of England *waves* I AM terribly sorry that you didn't receive the memo that is USUALLY sent out with every pair of leggings *exasperated face* but please remember:

Leggings are not a bad thing. Leggings are comfy, They're stretchy. They are the best thing to wear when you're pregnant. They're soft. Unrestrictive. And leggings can be embraced at ANY age. I wear leggings. I've always worn leggings....but there are RULES 


1: Do not wear a pair of leggings that you can see through if you hold them up. In candlelight. In a cave.

2: ESPECIALLY do not wear a pair of leggings that you can see through if you hold them up. In candlelight. In a cave. Whilst wearing a g-string.

3: Camel toes SHOULD be protected *supportive face* but that does generally mean putting something between one's particular camel toe and the general public.

4. If your arse stretches your leggings into transparency, WEAR SOMETHING ELSE...

5: You do not look like Rhianna #truefacthard

And this might not be a rule but please remember, flirty skirts, long swishy tops and jeans are freely available just about ANYWHERE *rolls eyes*

The Right and The Wrong

Next week: Teenage boy's bottoms and why I don't want them in my face.

Silent Sunday ...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Man At Work ...

Last week The Man went to work.

This in itself is not unusual. That he was leaving at 5am to go to Central America WAS slightly out of the ordinary but in his line of work, he tends to travel to where the work is. That usually means Europe, Russia or, much more frequently, somewhere in the UK for The Man is in that most nebulous of professions: Music.

We're used to it though. Not just the lack of money *rolls eyes* but that sometimes he is here and sometimes he is not, whether it's just for the night, a few days, a week or more. Sometimes it can be inconvenient, like the time he was called on to deputise for a recently arrested drummer whilst halfway through plumbing in a new radiator. He was in Ireland by tea-time and we were left with a large hole in the floor and no heating for a week. *Sigh*

Oh yeah, and fitting in the C-section birth of The Boy around the tour schedule of New York guitar-burning rockstar* Adam Bomb.

But the children have all grown up surrounded by instruments and music, which is a good thing, and musicians, which isn't always. *Has a flashback to TeenTwin1 ripping the shirt off a former member of Black Lace when she was five years old.* *Sniggers*

And sometimes because we're all so used to it, we forget that the youngest child of the four might not be as used to it as everyone else.... as I discovered when The Man went to Central America. The Boy, aged seven, sleepless at midnight, snuggled up with me on the sofa while I showed him a map of the world, where Daddy was (no educational opportunities knowingly missed) and, finally, what Daddy was doing which was this ...

..  So alright it's a Pink Floyd tribute band. What of it? The Boy was beyond impressed. His daddy (the good-looking one on bass and vocals) on an advert. An actual advert. JUST like the ones on proper TV. On the other side of the world admittedly, but boy The Boy was proud.

So proud that the next day he insisted on taking the link to one of the band's YouTube videos to school for Show and Tell.......

And we're still waiting to see how that goes down.

The teacher SAYS she has a problem with her laptop, her whiteboard and time. I SUSPECT she doesn't want a class of seven year olds suddenly discovering "Another Brick in The Wall" and frankly, I don't blame her ...

*wanders off singing "We don't need NOOOOOO..." etc*

Meanwhile, over in El Salvador...

*not an actual rock star, but should be

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Gallery .... Self Portrait

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

I'm not good at being in front of the camera and much happier behind the lens. I tend, if someone does point a camera at me, to develop a rictus grin and a then immediately grab said camera and delete the usually offending image. Thank all gods for the digital camera I say, so much easier than having a bonfire every time a roll of film is developed. And cheaper.

Though once upon a time, an artist drew my portrait ...

By Staz Johnson, mid-80s ish

Well, alright so he was a cartoonist  (and, on the evidence of this portrait, a total fantasist too). But he did end up having a career drawing for Marvel Comics which allows me to regularly waft said portrait around in front of an unutterably jealous, Marvel-obsessed TeenTwin1. *Happy sigh*

Thirty years later and this is my own self portrait  ...

By Me, 2012

It was shot in the mirror of the ladies toilets while at one of The Man's gigs at the end of last year. I'm wearing a tailcoat TeenTwin2 borrowed from the school's drama department which, for one night only, I misappropriated and is entirely the reason that I'm taking my own photograph in a ladies loo in the first place.  Not a habit, I assure you, that I usually have. The tailcoat had to be forcibly removed from me when it needed returning and I'm still haunting the charity and vintage shops of Yorkshire to find another. I'm also wearing jeans that are just about as old as the TeenTwins and a man's vest tastefully decorated with a skull. I am nothing, if not rock n roll.
You can't see much of my face but to be honest you wouldn't see much of it whether the camera was in the way or not, I am mostly hair with the occasional flashes of cheekbone and an eye. But I do like this shot, it reminds me of who I am when I'm just being me.


This is my entry into The Gallery, please check out everyone else's self-portraits over at Sticky Fingers

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