Saturday, 31 March 2012

Monday Night Bliss

I was going to write a blog about my first attempt at Zumba last week but other than looking like I was doing ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’ and flapping like a chicken at the same time as well as doing a very good job of looking like a demented Phil Mitchell by the second; I have nothing more to add. However, I decided to go for a swim this evening and that is a different story. . .   
Firstly it was a Monday. Monday’s are blah for want of a better word.
·         Tired from lack of sleep on a Sunday night due to a lay in Sunday morning.
·         Tired due to laying awake, worrying about not being able to get up at all Monday morning. 
·          Sore feet due to being on them all day.
·         And Monday! The worst day of anyone’s the week for no other reason than it being Monday.  
But I was convinced it was a good idea by Sis and it seemed better than the gym. Monday’s in the gym is ridiculously busy and with busy comes the horrid, stale smell of sweat. Yuk. So swimming it is. I just have to dig out swim suit from the depths of the wardrobe, last seen having fun and frolics on a Cornish beach several months ago.  Check that I can get away without waxing as run out of strips until payday which isn’t funny considering the weather we’ve had recently and I have legs like a rugby player and make sure I don’t attack the chocolate spread jar with a spoon before a swim because being tired and hungry is not a good combination but a combination that requires chocolate to function. 
So we trundle off and on arrival, we’re met by screams of delight from a billion kids in the pool.  By the way, that’s not screams of delight for us. Ok, so it’s open swim and not lanes. I can deal with that. It’s just gone 6 and surely these kids will be leaving for their tea? With this in mind we continue with our faith intact that the great British parent still has tea at tea time and should be vacating the pool.  No such luck as we zigzag our way down the pool; a length turning into 2 as we dodge balls, people jumping in and generally having a jolly good time because that’s what open swim is all about and we have to accept that. 
But as we’re swimming, we overhear that the local Cubs troop have just arrived for a swim. Fantastic!! Can this get any worse?
Well yes it does. The problem is men! Yes men! Now I know why I like the ‘Women Only’ session.  Like a torpedo, the men plough through the water with complete disregard to anything in their way. At warp speed, they home in on their target; the other end of the pool and do not stop until their destination is reached. If you don’t move quickly enough, you’re likely to end up clobbered like a battered piece of fish. Instead, you do move out of their way because your life depends on it, only to be met with a mouthful of water. You’re left spluttering and choking as you try to reach the other end of the pool only to go through it all over again. But then you reach the other end and it stinks like a urinal and you’re drinking that water! Yuk! Yuk and triple gazillion yuk!
You know there probably is the odd accident in the pool but you ignore it as if you did think about it, you’d never go swimming again unless you had breathing apparatus or jabs for every disease known to man and beast so you end up looking like a pin cushion. But the smell from the toilets is so pungent that all you can think about is the water you have just been forced to drink by the Duncan Goodhew wannabes.
 And then before you’ve even caught your breath from all the spluttering, you’re swimming back to get away from the smell only to be met by the man who thinks he’s at the beach as he plays volley ball and completely ignores you swimming by when his ball hits you on the head, of which he thinks is hilarious by the laughter that follows. Yes I’m sure it’s very funny. Be funnier if I had a pin to pierce said ball and deflate his ego.
Finally, after forty minutes of swimming, drinking gallons of water (hopefully nothing extra added) and dodging the budgie smuggling torpedoes, we decide to call it a night. And as we’re getting changed, it seems everyone has the same idea! And the pool is practically empty.
So the moral of the Monday night swim is really to have a serious case of CBA and chill out watching TV which is what Monday nights are made for.  . .well they were when RPJ was on in Whitechapel . . .  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Five Sentence Fiction- WICKED

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction. (
This week: WICKED
Although the sky was pitch black and desolate, the horse galloped confidently through the winding, rugged hills with its rider clinging on, shielding himself in the mane from the swirling wind. His pursuers had dropped back long ago, the sound of hooves and rifles no more; but the rider couldn’t relax until he reached his destination.

The flickering , dimming light in the distance gave off a warm glow of safety and refuge as the rider began to relax and the horse slowed to a casual trot. Patting the horse gently and turning off the warning lantern, the rider walked into the dilapidated building and saw his partner waiting in the darkest corner of the room, a single candle burning lower, the only light. Tipping a small, black velvet pouch onto the table, small, shining stones, belonging to the King, tumbled out as the Highway Man smiled knowingly.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Chelsea Girl

Hello 40 Something Undomesticated Devil followers and a hello if this is the first blog by me you have read.  This is a different style of post by me today as I’m in the mood for a bit of nostalgia. And to be honest, a bit of an understanding from Hubby as to why I love London so much. He hates it you see, more than I hate hoovering (if you’re new, you’ll need to read Not such a devil after all   . . .  . or am I? And this will explain to you what you need to know).
Hubby hates the smell, the noise, the crowds and the dirt.  He also hates the journey and who could blame him when he drives up there for work in West London near Heathrow; 66 miles to be exact and the same back (obviously) and sandwiched in-between is a twelve hour shift. He also says it’s because he’s a Sussex boy and the call from the city never came.  He is in fact a Country Bumpkin. 
I love London. Unlike Hubby, I was a city dweller until we had to move to the country ourselves but at 18 I was back, living with my grandparents just off the Kings Road! Awesome! I loved it! Paul Young ‘lay his hat’ across the road and I was guilty of running out to meet him for the odd autograph.
But Hubby hates it. Where he sees noise, I see excitement. Where he sees crowds, I see excitement. Where he sees dirt, well I don’t see excitement but I do not see dirt either. And the smells? All those restaurants and markets, the perfume halls, the smell of leather, new books. I could go on.  . .
But the real reasons I love London go deeper than the materialism of shopping in a flagship department store. And really there are only certain parts of London I truly love and these are the reasons why.  

1.     London is in my blood. I was born there in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea I’ll have you know, the same as my Dad, my Nan and my Great Granddad.    

2.    My mum used to take me to Peter Jones in Sloane Square to get my school shoes. My dad used to take me to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea. My Nan used to take me to Harrods so she could buy her bacon- she swore they sold the best bacon in the world! My Granddad used to take me to the Conservative Club in the Kings Road where a portrait of Maggie loomed. As a teenager, I would hasten into the premises with sideway glances to check no one (anyone) could see me walk in. As a kid, I didn’t care as I sang ‘Save All Your Kisses for Me’ by the Brotherhood of Man and made a small fortune from all the 10pences I was given. Maggie would have been proud of my entrepreneurial spirit.        

3.    I used to help myself to the sugar cubes on my Dad’s paper stall in the Kings Road opposite Chelsea Town Hall. Chelsea Town Hall was where my Great Granddad used to sit, watching the world go by and chat to the local police officers who then came to his flat for a cuppa. He wanted to be a policeman but couldn’t due to being ‘flat footed’.  I must have got it from him (wanting to be a copper, not being flat footed, which I am not) and also in seeing all those policemen and ladies in his flat. He would have been proud of me if he could have seen me at the Passing Out Parade at Hendon as a fully fledged police officer.

4.     Walking down the Fulham Road to South Kensington and the long tunnel walk to the museums with mum and seeing the amazing building that is the Natural History museum and being fascinated with the Big Blue Whale more than anything. How simple life was then to please a child. No gadgets, gizmos or fortunes spent.  As long as my brother and I saw that Blue Whale, we were made up.    

5.    Seeing Mary Poppins, Jungle book and Star Wars in the cinema on the Kings Road. Wow! How amazing was Star Wars! Everyone must remember when they saw Star Wars for the first time. I loved Han Solo (and still do). And seeing Punks down the Kings road as they gathered, showing off their plumes of bright pink, green and blue and more zips than a haberdashery.  

6.     Standing on my Great Granddad’s balcony with my Nan as she pointed to the horizon and talked about it glowing red during the Blitz as the East End was pulverised night after night. She told stories of friends who had perished  through a direct hit, how when Sloane Square got hit, the windows in Peter Jones were as good as the day they were put in. The silly rhymes and songs she used to sing to me that I now have passed on to my son. And the hairdresser’s my Nan used to go to every Saturday in Chelsea Manor Street where a lady called Chris with extraordinarily long nails, Hollywood white teeth and Farrar Fawcett hair (well styled like Farrar, but brown) styled my Nan’s hair  and always chatted to me. My Nan thought it was hilarious that Chris married a man called Bobby Cross and became Chris Cross. Love it! I never tired of hearing it.

7.    How on bath night, my mum would lift the kitchen work top to reveal the bath in our ground floor flat in Chelsea where I shared a bedroom with my brother where I told him I stayed awake all night on Christmas Eve and told him the truth about ‘Father Christmas’ (and got a right telling off for my trouble). And when we had ten pence for sweets and came out with a bag full to bursting of fruit salads, black jacks, shrimps and flying saucers (I know that was the same for you wherever you lived, but this is my blog and to be honest Hubby, Heathfield is not the same as the city).  

8.    I have taken my son to Stamford Bridge, walking down the Kings Road, sharing with him my family history, showing him St Luke’s where I was christened and used to play in the nearby park where a man called Willy would hang around daily and push us all on the swings. There was the ‘Slide of Death’ too; so high that people were sick when they got to the top, where children were said to have fallen and broken an arm or two. Needless to say, I never went on it, but never saw any of these children wrapped like a Mummy in plaster.  

9.    Shopping down Kensington High Street when River Island was Chelsea Girl and spending all my hard earned cash on their latesr fashions before hopping on the No 31 bus home. And wehn I was a kid, I wanted to be a bus conductor (Clippies) as well as a police officer as I loved the machine that churned out the tickets, loved the chance to ring that bell and generally meet everyone en route to wehre they needed to be.  

10. And then the corner shop in Knightsbridge – the one with the gorgeous green bags, the one all lit up like a Christmas tree and the one that is not Harvey Nicks. It has been a big feature in my life; my Nan’s bacon is where my love affair with the place started. Since then I have taken friends – my Nan let us stay with her for a week or two during the holiday (as when I was 8/9 we moved to Suffolk). How cool to a couple of teenage girls to be just off the Kings Road! But then I got a job at the ‘Corner Shop’ in the late 90’s. Couldn’t believe it. My Nan would have been extremely proud as she loved that place.  I really must take after her- she was also rubbish in the kitchen too. I met my now Hubby there, my son got his first haircut there and his first pair of shoes. He also loves it nearly as much as me. And their Danishes are the best ever! 

Every time the train pulls in to Victoria, I get a buzz. I see the World’s End Towers in Chelsea where my Nan’s sister still lives, where my son stood on her balcony on the 13th floor recently and looked all across London just like I had done  when I was his age and feeling the same sense of awe and excitement.  I think he definitely takes after me. He loves the city, is a natural on the tube and takes all the crowds in his stride. And we want to go back for a family day out but Hubby would rather have his ‘teeth pulled.’ So this really is to him, so he understands the pull the city has on me and the thrill it gives me and a reminder of a life I do not want to forget but want to share. So, Hubby, can we go to London please? xx

Love Me xxx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Chocolate Thief

Since January 1st, the shops have been full of brightly coloured foils covering little oval shaped chocolate. I am of course talking about the Creme Egg. Deliciously gooey centre wrapped in thick chocolate. Yum! I haven’t had the pleasure this season  . . . yet but I am hoping to indulge nearer Easter, if there are any left. And when I do, I eat them in two different ways, well the goo anyway. 

1.     Lick out the inside until I have a chocolate shell which is swiftly demolished.

2.    Use the wrong end of a teaspoon to eat the goo before demolishing the chocolate.
I would do anything for a Creme Egg or two and have done. Way back in the 90s when ‘I like to Move it’ was sung by a man and not a  ring- tailed lemur and the Ninja Turtles made living in a sewer cool, I was persuaded to jump off the lowest out of three diving boards. Now there are a few things you need to know here.  

1.     I do not like heights at all.                                                                            

2.    I can’t swim with my face in the water or even put my head in the water. I absolutely hate it.

3.    I can’t open my eyes in the water which doesn’t help with number 2.

But when a Creme Egg or two is placed into the equation, well it’s a different ball game. I was told that if I jumped off the bottom board, I would get three Creme Eggs. If I jumped off the top, I would get five. Think that’s pushing it a bit too far. But I agreed to the bottom board. That was the easy bit. It took a good half hour and cajoling to climb the steps and walk gingerly along the thin, springy board. I stood on the end and stupidly looked down. I’d seen people leaping off of this thing all day. I could do this. Three Creme Eggs would be mine . . . It was kind of peaceful up there if perilous, until I heard my friends chanting ‘Jump! Jump! Jump! And then everyone turned to look.  . . . No way back now . . . shaking with nerves, I closed my eyes . . . . and stepped off the board. . .

The water rushed over me as the noise of the pool disappeared. Like a tightly coiled spring, I burst to the surface to cheers and clapping. Woo hoo. I did it. I got my three Creme Eggs and never jumped of that board or another again. But it was well worth it!

Now I have digressed a bit but with reason. It shows that we would, or I would, do just about anything for a Creme Egg or any chocolate for that matter.  Because when you fancy chocolate, nothing else will do. Not a chocolate biscuit, not a low fat offering masquerading as chocolate and not a little bite of chocolate. It’s all or nothing. And when you want chocolate, you really want chocolate.

Now imagine you are an extremely organised person; so organised that the Easter Eggs you bought are sitting on top of the cupboards with a good layer of dust on them, almost forgotten about. I said almost. There’s no other chocolate in the house and you want it. Does it matter that you lovingly bought the Easter Egg for your nephew? Apparently not if you’re my sister. Just a nibble here, a broken piece there and before she knew it, she had gobbled the lot.

To be honest, you can’t give part of an Easter egg so to be fair eating the lot was the only option. And it’s amazing how quickly an Easter egg can disappear; all that packaging promising huge quantities underneath it’s glossy veneer but delivering very little in the actual content; bit like a politician really (ooh, get me with the political satyr). Surveying the damage of the broken box and screwed up foil, there was only one thing for it; hide the evidence and pretend it didn’t happen. Stuffing all the wrappings in the bin before boyfriend got home, sister continued innocently with her evening.

Nothing says ‘Chocolate Thief’ more than stuffing away the evidence! Shame on you! Stealing from your nephew. Oh ok . . .  he’s a teenager . . .  he’ll be happy with money . . . and he doesn’t know about it . . . unless he reads my blog . . . (highly unlikely) . . .  and technically, it’s your chocolate as you bought it and it’s not a gift until it’s given.

So on that note, I’m not sorry for buying chocolate for you (whoever that may be; too many to mention; oops) and then eating it. It was delicious.  It stopped a craving (for the time being) and more importantly . . . it was mine!

Happy Mothering Sunday (I hope any chocolate bought for you gets to you) and Happy Easter (if all else fails, tell the kids there was a recall on all Easter Eggs)

Love Undomesticated Devil xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Not Such a Devil After All . . Or am I?

I feel it’s time to be honest about what it actually takes to be an undomesticated devil as I do enjoy the kitchen sometimes, and I am house trained!

1.     Cooking not as often as I should but more often than I like.
2.    Whinging and moaning because I have to cook.
3.    Using every utensil, pot and pan known to man just for one dinner.
4.    Unable to cook from frozen without burning to a crisp or dehydrating so badly that the Kiev in the Chicken Kiev has evaporated and a hissing sound can be heard as the knife goes in . . . oops. 
5.    Cleaning the bathroom only when I have visitors.
6.    Tidying up like a whirlwind only because No 1 son’s girlfriend is coming over.
7.    The airing cupboard is tidy for the first time ever due to mother tidying it for me.
8.    Tidying up all the paperwork, magazines and just crap really by moving it to another place.
9.    If you open certain cupboards, said paperwork, magazines and crap will spill out after being stuffed in and door forced shut.
10.  Saying ‘I’ll do it in a minute/later/weekend’ so to avoid doing whatever needs doing at all.
11.  Not having used the hoover in 6 weeks. I know this because we had a new hoover and when I needed to use it, I didn’t know how and my hubby could be heard to spontaneously combust at this realisation, having had the hoover for 6 weeks . . . oops.
12.  Actually not knowing how to use the new hoover- results in number 11.
13.  Using hubby’s ‘study’ or ‘den’ as a ‘temporary’ laundry room whilst clothes await ironing which will be done at the weekend- see number 10 and number 11 re combustion.
14.  Closing doors to rooms like the ‘study’/ ‘den’ so to forget ironing- out of sight, out of mind, although it’s never on my mind in the first place.
15.   Letting the cat sleep on by bed- again refer to number 11 for resulting effect.
16.  Paying more attention to the cat- jumping, when he meows, asking for food and feed him without moaning.
17.   Answering the door/telephone to cold callers and signing up as can’t say no- even invite in for a cuppa- they’re the lucky ones.
18.  Can’t make a decent cup of coffee- ask hubby.
19.  Don’t offer tea or coffee to people as don’t drink it and never have therefore making me a social leper, unless of course you’re after money and a signature- see number 17.
20. Can’t cope in the realisation there is not an ounce of chocolate in the house when I need it. And yes it is a need not a want!

Wow! I got to 20 and I’m sure there’s more that I haven’t quite remembered because being an undomesticated devil, I only store useful information in my brain and housey stuff is not useful.

But I do know my way around the kitchen. In fact I have been known to spend hours in the kitchen, being creative, artistic and clever. And this is because I love to bake! And baking is different to cooking. Less time for a start so I can enjoy all the mediums of conversation in one go- Twitter and texting and Facebook which provides Words with Friends which is totally addictive and takes hours just for one move. It would make the   Chess championships look like speed dating.

1.     Baking always has a wow and ooh factor where as cooking is just demolished like we all have flip top heads- well actually that’ll just be me.
2.    Baking is often achieved with plenty of time and not after a day’s work. Cooking is not but even so, it still takes too much precious time.
3.    I do not have to make trips to the back of beyond that is the freezer in the garage when I want to bake, like I do for dinner.
4.    Rummaging in said freezer, getting frost bite searching for some mince whereas baking is all neatly placed in my kitchen cupboard- the only cupboard that is neat and no chance of getting attacked by a pack of self raising when door is opened.  
5.    Being scared witless in garage looking for mince when certain beasties come out to play. Cooking is not worth this!
6.    Cooking a meal for Hubby, No.1 son and No. 1 Son’s friend only for the teenagers not to want it as Ronald Macdonald has sufficed their culinary taste buds that my cooking could never do- obviously! And Hubby saying that he doesn’t want Spag Bol ever again. Like I cook it all the time. Mmmmm, ok, maybe it is a ‘favourite’ of mine - its sooooo easy peezy so of course I’m going to cook it! Why make life and meal times more complicated than they already are? Maybe something else with mince next time. I can bake a thousand Victoria Sponges or brownies and they would not moan about ‘having to eat this again’. Unless of course they were coconut chocolate brownies. But I like coconut so therefore, they must be made and these coconut chocolate brownies are demolished in seconds by any female that enters, especially sister! In fact the men of this household do not go for peanut butter either. But my friends and I love peanut butter muffins. So who am I actually baking for I ask? Maybe another blog another time to sort that one out! 
7.     A certain Meals in 30 minutes chef is a big fat liar as I have tried to do this and unless time stands still or Dr. Who takes us all for a timeless spin in the Tardis, it is not 30 minutes! Brownies are mixed and baked in 20! I have 10 minutes to spare which I can spend flicking through the said chef’s book, searching for the next 30 minute wonder that promises an undomesticated devil less time in the kitchen and more time for Words with Friends.
8.     Cooking at weekends is rubbish when the rest of the world seems to have take aways. We can’t afford take outs despite the kitchen draw being full to bursting with promises of stuffed crusts, kormas and crispy duck. Another reason to hate cooking!
9.    I never want to cook because I have to. I want to bake therefore never have to.

Now you’ve read this, I’m sure you’ll find that there’s a little undomesticated devil in all of you and maybe some well thumbed take out menus.

Love Me xxx
'Going to USA' white chocolate treats

Home made star topped mince pies    

Now I'm showing off! Wedding cake was 4 teirs but bottom collapsded enroute to Glastonbury.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The battle of the pickled onion Monster Munch

Once a month, I and five other intellectuals join together for the monthly sharing of knowledge, meeting of minds and sharing of ideas in an establishment that tests the mastermind in all of us. I am of course talking about the pub quiz. With much excitement and purpose, we deliberate, concur, argue and explore all the possibilities and because there are six of us all wanting to be heard and agreed upon, this takes longer than Brian Cox takes to explain the workings of the universe.  But eventually, we come up with our team name.  Serious business a team name. You want to come across intelligent and serious like your whole life revolves and depends on winning and therefore a team to be reckoned with and to be taken seriously.  But also, you want to ooze fun and excitement with a hint of cheek. Everyone loves cheeky and it’s the cheek that makes it acceptable to maybe get an answer wrong when everyone else on planet Earth would know it. In fact you’d have to be living under a rock for the past 40 odd years not to know. Yes, cheek is good.     

So with team name in place and our drinks ordered, we are nearly ready. There is just the sorting of the nibbles.  The pub is extremely generous in laying on assorted bowls of savoury nibble. We like this. It helps to feed the mind and concentrate.  However, the nibbles are randomly placed. On our table, we had onion rings and those little savoury biscuit bites.  We scour the pub. Another table had cheesy balls. We wanted them.  Cheesy balls are our teams favourite.  In stealth mode, the tables are discreetly visited and the plates of precious cheesy balls lifted. We would take them all but for the fact that there are only two bowls on each table. But our group also has the added treat of own bought nibbles of the chocolate variety. It’s a little picnic.      

Now we’re ready!  And the quiz master seems to know this as she begins . . .  

With abated breath, the first question is asked. In our excitement, we may be a little loud and are very sure that we have given answers to our opponents in this way.  But we have an answer and we are all 100% sure it is right. This goes for all the other answers too. We love this! We are so good! We are going to win this quiz! We will be victorious, as the questions are confidently answered. Our general knowledge is second to none. The other teams deliberate and we’re sure listen in on us (which isn’t too hard even though we are now trying very hard to whisper) and it takes them forever to write down their answer. We are restless with anticipation! We need this round to be over so we can get our wonderful 10 out of 10 and celebrate before the next round.

And we swap papers. Ours has little doodles over it and extra information too just to show that we know what we’re talking about and to put the fear of God into our opponents- a bit underhand? We don’t think so; anyone can do it, and they choose not to so in our favour it goes. Woo hoo.   And we begin to mark.  Slowly, the answers come to us as we tick our opponents.   These are words we haven’t seen or heard before. For a moment we think the quiz master has mixed up the questions and answers. Ok, so 10 out of 10 maybe a slight exaggeration, after all we have been working all day. And this is nothing new. We always think we’re geniuses and can’t be beaten. We always think we know everything. And it’s always a surprise when the paper comes back less than full marks. You’ve got to love our confidence and ego.  And the realisation dawns that the other teams are not listening to us or pinching our answers.

The paper comes back and it’s not too bad, more than 5, less than 10 but we’re still positive we can win this quiz, this time. We have been doing this quiz for about 5 months now.  And each month, we turn up with the very same high expectations; to win! And every month we have come. . . . . . Last!  And every month, we start off well and then by the 4th round, it’s all gone horribly wrong. The cheesy balls have run out too. Is this a coincidence?  I think not! Maybe more cheesy balls are needed to keep us focused. Watching the news occasionally would help.

So we now accept that maybe this is not the time to be thinking of winning, well this month anyway.  Last is good. There’s nothing wrong with last. At this pub quiz, last is celebrated with one bag of Pickled onion monster munch . . .  between us.  We love this! We get a prize! And on a Wednesday morning at break time when there are slim pickings in the staffroom, that bag sees us through until lunch! And then we start gossiping about the quiz and the answers and did we really answer with that?

Our aim has changed but is still high . . .  to now come last. But we don’t do this deliberately.  It’s either win or lose with us. You get a prize for both. And we love prizes. Who doesn’t? But we will not deliberately come last. Every question is answered truthfully, to the best of our ability. And to be honest, this week we were 4 and everyone else had the maximum of 6. There was only one team that worried us. They were a team of 3 (ok so we weren’t the worse off for numbers) and they were like half our age, at least. Now we have noticed that the winners of the pub quiz are always a mixed team when it comes to age or a team that has ‘experience’ amongst them. We do not. We’re all 40 something meaning music is the same and pretty much everything else. The only history we know is what we’re working on in school with the kids- which sometimes  is very handy; E.g. when the question came up about who walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong, as my team had just learnt this fact in class. The fact is we should have known this anyway without sitting in on a class of 6 year olds.

Anyway this team was struggling. You could tell with their gasps of horror when they got their quiz sheet back. You could also tell by the odd whoop of joy followed by squeals of delight that echoed around the pub. The battle for the Monster Munch was on! We were now fretting for our last place! This was unknown territory. How could this be? That bag of pickled onion Monster Munch was ours! We always celebrate coming in last and we get great applause! We assume out of a sporting nature, not pity.

Our demeanour sank, along with the Monster Munch as that honour went to the team of three girls. We were sad. We were disappointed. We lost the bag of Monster Munch by 2 points. Curse our knowledge and wisdom that age brings! Curse the limited amount of cheesy balls. Curse dumb arse questions on bloody British explorers! And curse the anagram round!

But there is always next month . . .  aim high to win or even higher for that bag of pickled onion Monster Munch! It will be ours!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

I Wish I had a Tree Fairy and Didn’t Turn into a Hippo

Down in the bottom of the garden where badgers roam, foxes prowl and Tree Fairies flutter there is a money tree. It is fabulous! Every morning, crisp fifty pound notes hang off its every branch, waiting for me to gingerly pluck and ravenously spend. The tree doesn’t take much looking after; the Tree Fairies see to that with their harmonious song, gentle touch and nurturing spirit. If you do not have a money tree, get one! It’s a must for the household with a growing teenager. 

And then I wake up! Reality bites, like an annoying flea and you’re left scratching it for the rest of the day!  Shame it bites you on the butt. But the teenager doesn’t seem to get that the money tree is a figment of your imagination or wishful thinking. And probably does exist in some parallel universe- typical!

 You may balk at the thought of all the money spent on a newborn. You trawl car boot sales, charity shops and local newspapers to help justify the brand spanking new car seat, cot and wardrobe full of clothes. Because no matter what you have, it’s never enough! The baby is only going to be in an outfit a few months and there are so many to choose from that you’ll probably only put your bubs in it once!

But it gets worse. The teenager comes into being. Over night the change is quick and dramatic. Gone is the pleasantness, the civil talk and the Queen’s English. In its place is grumpiness, one worded answers and groaning and grunting. The groaning and grunting is so severe that I hoped there’d be an evening class so to learn and converse with my teenager. But alas, education and translation hasn’t caught up with teenagerdom. And I so wanted to learn to speak grunt. Imagine if you could speak grunt. . . . No more cold calling on the telephone for one and of course, the understandings of teenage speak which would hold you in good stead when they bring their mates round. This would eliminate any ‘embarrassing parents’ situation and allow you to know exactly what is going on in their ever so secretive lives (which is apparent why they do grunt!).   

But the worse thing about living with a teenager, apart from the time spent in the bathroom, which I thought was only a girl thing – how wrong was I!, is money and how much they spend of it and how little they actually get for it!

So to keep number one son in the manner to which he has so quickly become accustomed, he has an allowance. This means no banging on at us for money and also means learning to budget. Mmmm. Seemed like a good idea at the time. But when trainers are £80 and gilets are £90 money disappears quicker than a banker’s bonus.

And because, like any parent you do not want your child to go without, you cut costs where you can so the household is as tranquil as can possibly be. 

 But the cuts come at a cost; mainly to me (number 2 in particular).  Who said being a parent was easy and cheap! Well, no one actually and I share why. Some cuts were more successful than others. . .

Cut 1

My Heat magazine. I cried!!!  No more celeb gossip or quirky TV guide. No more ‘best dressed’ or ‘worst dressed’ (which to be honest is much more fun).

But on the plus side, there’s and my gorgeous sister who buys Heat and shares. Yay!!!

Cut 2  

This cut is painful in more ways than one; do- it- yourself- waxing. Ouch! There are no plusses for this other than the money saved. I won’t go into detail as it’s not pretty or for the faint hearted! Needless to say, a 20 minute wax done by a professional, takes 2 hours by me and there is plenty of hollering like a banshee. Not to mention the language. No swear words are enough to represent the pain so I invented my.    

Cut 3  

The fabulous bread maker! A Christmas present some years ago sitting in the garage like a forgotten toy.  A machine that makes bread, so you save your bread! Cool! Even for an undomesticated devil, making bread is as easy as pie. Actually, it’s easier than pie. Everything is measured in a cup or a spoon, the wet ingredients in first then the dry, and then turn it on.  No sticky mess with dough as you’re saving your dough. Three hours later there is a steaming hot loaf sitting on the side, its aroma filling the house. So much so that people come knocking to view the house . . . enticing people to buy your home with a freshly baked loaf works! And I would have been chuffed if I was moving! Even pizzas are awesome out of this machine from heaven and so easy to throw together! So this is what it feels like to be a Domestic Goddess a la Nigella. Although, to be honest, she would never be seen to use a bread maker!

The freezer was stacked with loaves of homemade bread as I knew within a few weeks the novelty would wear off, however easy it was. But I needn’t have worried; the men of the household didn’t like it! And proceeded to buy their usual processed loaf. This cut was a disaster! Not only because of the space in the freezer taken up with umpteen loaves but also because it was me who devoured them with lashings of jam or chocolate spread, spread as thick as the slice itself! And when cutting your own bread, you end up with slabs, not slices! The consequences were obvious to see as I became the size of a small hippo and the scales were binned.  

Cut 4

Now this may seem strange. But it works and has saved us money. Swapping our supermarket brand cat food to the famous variety that 8 out of 10 cats prefer. The fussy eater only ate his food if there were sprinkles on it and then turned his nose up at it completely so we were throwing quite a bit away. Now the branded one costs more, but he eats the lot so we feed him less so save money and no sprinkles. Simples.

Cut 5

I have to concede that maybe hubby wins in the cuts department. Not only did he give up his weekly ‘lads mag’ but he gave up smoking!!! And didn’t I know about it! But just over a year in and he’s worse about smoking than me, a smug–never-ever-smoked, which is a pain. But at least he doesn’t smell!

Of course these cuts are now pointless due to the fact I’ve had to join a fat club and the gym for eating a month’s supply of bread in a matter of days. So if you do happen to see a twinkling at the bottom of your garden, be sure to investigate as that twinkling is a Tree Fairy and you just might have the answer to my prayers that grows little fifty pound notes.

Love Me xxxx