Sunday 30 October 2011

10 things that could only happen in my life

You know the 1 step forward and 2 steps back analogy?, that could have been written for your auntie. For me if a good thing happens then a not so good thing comes along to even up the score. A more Pollyannaish auntie would say that if a bad thing happens a better thing comes along and I do try and reframe stuff to that end but for the purposes of slight comedy value we will go with the 1 forward and 2 back.

Since the dawn of time I have been trying and failing to lose weight This is my lifelong battle as I am an auntie who loves cake with a passion. I am losing badly. Imagine my surprise and delight when I got thinner. Yaay, happy middle aged woman dance of joy.

The down side - it was my wrist and my hands that got thinner. My watch and ring are now hanging off me. Turn away now if you don't want to read swearing, what the actual fuckity fuck fuck?

Both The Beautiful Son and the Beautiful Baby Daughter were out at parties and sleepovers on Friday night. I had looked forward to this unexpected free night with an expectation usually only experienced by kiss and tell girls when they finally realise they are going to shag the footballer of their grubby little dreams.

Then Eldest Beautiful Daughter arrived home from university and that meant all my plans had to be accommodated to include her as she needs constant feeding and entertainment.

I spent a whole day making a presentation so that I didn't scare lay people about a disease. I normally only train doctors and nurses so I can talk about symptoms and side effects and no one turns green or cries.

Then the chairman of the support group showed up and spoke at great length and with astonishingly graphic detail about the scary bits and the side effects that I had been so keen to avoid.

I got a letter from the Inland revenue to say I had overpaid tax and they were sending me five hundred and something pounds.

The next day I got a letter saying I owed them four hundred and something pounds in unpaid NI contributions.

In a fit of unexpected efficiency I ordered 200 stamps from Royal Mail online. I get through stamps on an industrial basis and I am forever running out and then I have to drive to the village, find a parking space and wait behind the pensioners who hide around the corner and appear in a flash mob just before I join the queue. I smugly congratulated myself on such a time saving ruse.

I arrived home from work and find a Royal Mail card saying they had a package that they needed a signature for. I drive to the collecting office, have to pay for parking as it's conveniently situated outside of the village but just inside the city centre and tucked away behind the railway station. I wait in a very long queue and retrieve a very flat envelope. Which contained 200 stamps.

As I always say, my life is massively entertaining if you're not living it.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

10 things my children are quite cross with me about

I have spectacularly failed to be a millionaire and keep them in ponies and Jack Wills all the live long day.

Eldest Beautiful Daughter is cross that she is going to have to get a part time job. This is because she didn't get a job in the summer and save some cash for term time. She is extremely cross that I am not financing her drinking oops sorry studies this year. Her life would be so much easier if I just kept giving her £60 a week for food oops sorry supernoodles and alcohol, wouldn't it?

She is cross that she didn't get to come to Turkey with us last week and missed out on a free holiday. This is due to uni students not having a half term break. The point that it's the university that sets the timetable and not me has escaped her.

EBD is also cross that she isn't allowed to keep her bigger bedroom now that she doesn't live here, when she comes back in the holidays she will have to sleep in BBD's smaller room.

I will not let Beautiful Baby Daughter die her gorgeous titian tresses jet black. She is properly cross with me about this but I will not have it. Yes, I am aware that at 15 I dyed my hair jet black and at 15 her elder sister dyed her hair jet black, I just can't bear the thought of my baby dying her hair.

BBD is cross that I expect her to live in 1 bedroom, she has now spread her crap over her old bedroom and into the bedroom grudgingly vacated by EBD. That means there are 2 bedrooms that look like Beirut on a bad day.

BBD is annoyed that she always has her birthday on holiday, she sometimes has to wait for big presents until we return, she has to delay her party as most of her friends are away tooand she feels it's not as good as when you have a birthday at your own house. My conception of her was very poorly timed, in her opinion.

The Beautiful Son is cross that I won't leave him home alone overnight, especially now he is 16. EBD was at uni before she spent a night alone. I don't like to leave him alone for an evening.

TBS is cross that I impose an 11pm curfew during the school week, he thinks if he can get up for his paper round and school then he should be able to come in at anytime that takes his fancy.

TBS is cross if I go anywhere without him that isn't work or the supermarket. He gets very tetchy if I go out for a meal or God forbid, a gig or a weekend away. I so can't wait till he has a girlfriend and I'll whinge and whine to be taken with them. Everywhere.

Monday 24 October 2011

10 quirks my family has

I have lived in England for the last 11 years and I don't see my family often as it's a 700 mile round trip. Having spent the last week on holiday with my parents I am slightly more aware of their little quirks than usual. You know the things your family does and some of it is quite endearing, some of it is puzzling and some of it makes you reach for the gin. I wouldn't say it was stressful or anything but my jaw is beginning to unclench now.

My dad prefers to keep his holiday money in a cushion cover, that's as safe as houses for him.

My dad doesn't think the evening has ended until he's bought some more hooky dvd's. He was buying 10 a night, he has more films than blockbusters.

They both seem to be ambrosia to mosquito's, their anti mosquito protection going to bed routine takes quite some time. They have the plug in deterrents, they spray the room, they wipe stuff they buy from the chemist on any exposed skin, they wear full length pyjamas, they both sleep inside a net they bought in Ikea and they tuck themselves oh so carefully in and still they are bitten to death. I did nothing, not a thing and I wasn't bitten at all. This made my mother a tad tetchy.

My mother looked like a mafia widow most evenings, she has a tiny bite on her face which meant huge black sunglasses had to be put on when we went out. She said she was scared someone would think my dad had hit her. In my head, every evening went the refrain of "only the lonely" but her glasses weren't as nice as Roy's.

When I was in a bikini, they were in jeans and jumpers, my mum even had her tights on under the jeans, she does wear her sunhat though, as it was in the 80's, that is her concession to the temperature.

My mother can't speak to waiters at all, she would tell us what she wanted and when the waiter asked her for her order, she would look frantically at us and mouth what she wanted.

My mother never, ever enjoys what she gets in restaurants. No matter how good the food is, there is always something not quite right with it, if she enjoyed the fish, the potatoes were not right, too lumpy, too seasoned, too hot, too cold, too something. She would always leave most of her dinner uneaten and then we would have to have the conversation with the waiter, obviously she wouldn't complain about anything but she would make us explain that the food was lovely but she's just not a big eater, that's what she likes us to say. I just wanted to say sorry, she's a bit mental and fussy and she hates seasoning and any kind of taste in food at all, she only wants things to taste like porridge.

Silence is a big no no for them, they like to have conversation at all times, especially if you're trying to watch a film, most especially then.

They do insist upon telling you everything 3 times over, it's difficult to appear interested when it actually didn't really matter in the first place

As they are both tee total, they just don't understand why anyone would want to drink, at all. This means my holiday becomes much more sober. At a time where I need alcohol just so much more.

Thursday 20 October 2011

10 things I have learned about my youngest daughter

Today Beautiful Baby Daughter is 15. I have no idea how that happened, as clearly I'm only 29, ahem. The BBD is the most complex of the offspring and from the get go she required a more flexible approach to parenting. I wonder if this is true of other youngest children?

She is always right, even when she is clearly wrong, she will argue her point until you agree or your ears bleed, whichever comes first

She is startlingly and astonishingly messy, like no other child I've ever met and yet she is so fastidious about her work and her appearance

She is a brilliant young leader at Girls Brigade, she is adored by the little ones

She has a deep seated faith and a genuine belief that God will look after us

She is appalled by racism and truly astonished when she comes across it

She loves heinz tomato soup and would eat it every day

She thinks mayonnaise is the work of Satan

She has a frankly too high capacity for crap telly, Hollyoaks, Big Brother, Eastenders et al

She gave up her cheerleading place when she realised that she was holding her group back. That decision showed real maturity and thought for others, a fine example of team spirit.

She will rule the world one day, but only if she wants to. If she prefers she will stay in her jammies, drinking Heinz tomato soup from a mug and watching crap telly.

Lucy Abigail, your middle name is Hebrew for my fathers delight, which you are but as always, you are mo chridhe, my heart and every day I am thankful you are mine.

Monday 17 October 2011

10 reasons you should go to Turkey

I'm lucky enough to go there a few times a year, my house is on the outskirts of a fair sized village and really close to the beautiful Olu Deniz beach. Everywhere I look I can see the most amazing scenery. Let me persuade you to visit

It really is beautiful, the seas are crystal clear and the sand white

The mountains look so incredible, you don't have to look far for a great view

The people are so friendly and helpful

Nothing is too much trouble and people genuinely want you to have the best time

You can rent my house, it's lovely, honest

The local food is amaaaaazing - it's agriculturally self suffiecient and the fruit and veg have real proper flavour, you eat what's in season and it tastes all the better for it

The local cheeses, nuts, olives and oils are fabulous

Eating and drinking are very reasonably priced, it's not in the euro so it's a very affordable holiday

You will be given free bread and olives in 90% of restaurants before your meal at no charge. The bread is lush. You will nearly always be offered free coffee and sometimes a free liqour as well after dinner

Did I mention the sunshine? it's very sunny there.

Friday 14 October 2011

10 Things I miss

Apart from my sanity and youth, that is... More along the lines of things you can't buy anymore, this list appears to be food and drink related.

Cadbury creme bears - like creme eggs but you got them at Christmas. They came in a box made to look like a shop window, I loved them but very few people remember them, they were real, honest

Cremola foam - crystals that you mixed with water and it made a fizzy drink, gawdonlyknows what it did to my teeth and insides but as a child I loved them

Fry's five centres chocolate - milk chocolate with fruit flavoured cream centres, the fruit all mixed together, it never corresponded that 1 segment would have 1 flavour, just a bit mushed. We were easier pleased in the 70's.

Fruit toffos - lovely rot your teeth fruit flavoured toffees

Tudor crisps - so much better than Golden wonder which retailed at 2 and 1/2p per packet. Tudor were only 2p bargain and they had a great advert with paperboys and a strap line of "a canny bag of Tudor"

Tennants lager with ladies on the back - not to drink, I used to look at them in shops and pick my favourite girl, yep I was a strange child

Lucozade - when you were a poorly girl or boy you got Lucozade. It was only sold in chemists and the bottle was covered in orange cellophane. It seemed magic to me and always made me feel better.

Kraft macaroni cheese - came in a box, you cooked the macaroni and made the sauce from a powder in a shade of orange visible from space and in my house was always served up with chips and peas. That was my favourite tea when I was young.

Swiss nougat - I only had this when the Ideal Home Show came to the Kelvin Hall. We went every year and this was a strawberry flavoured non sticky version, the texture of fudge but less sweet. It was what I always spent my money on.

MB bars - chocolate with a cream filling but surprisingly firm in texture, a bit like a Frys chocolate cream bar but nicer.

So then, what foods do you miss from your formative years?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

10 steps to getting through

I made a mistake and it is consuming my every waking moment. If I am not in tears or shaking with worry I am apologizing for my mistake. It is inconvenient and expensive and causes a whole lot of people a whole lot of extra work but fixable. I am usually okay ish at life but when I am coming out from a whole load of stress I realise what pressure I have been under. In no means am I unusual in this, I have a busy job, I have children, I have a house, I am tired all the live long day, I am sure most of you will understand that feeling, that strength sapping sense of having total responsibility. At this moment though I have reached my wall, I cannot go on like this any longer. However I know this feeling will pass, I know that I will be okay and quicker than I know I will feel happy again. Tomorrow is definitely another day.

Here are the 10 things that are getting me through

My mistake is being sorted, I am taking steps to ensure it never happens again, no one is giving me a hard time about this except myself

My son and daughter are not being horrible to each other too much as they can see I'm fragile

I know I will be able to cope again

I am going to drastically cut down on my work load

No one expects me to be superwoman/supermum/superworker except me, I am going to cut myself some slack

I am going to go and see my GP, I think there is an underlying reason for how I am feeling

This week is halfway over

I fly out to The Beautiful House on Friday for a week of rest

My parents will be joining me and I will actually be able to rest, that rest will help me carry on

The support and love that my nearest and dearest and colleagues have given me has been immense. The fact that they all have their own stuff to deal with but still have found space to help me has been hugely appreciated, again I am so incredibly grateful that I am so lucky. Please say a good thing to someone you know today, the world can only be a better place if we are kind to each other.

Sunday 9 October 2011

10 last free bloggy thing I've turned down

I get asked to review stuff, give away stuff as competitions, promote stuff fairly regularly. Now I accept that you probably have to work your way up with reviews etc before you get a go of the good stuff like free holidays and shoes. I'm an instant gratification girl, I want the good free stuff first. I am more than happy to sell my bloggy soul (and possibly a child) for free holidays and shoes.

These were the last things I have been offered

A £500 baby hamper as a comp prize - not likely to set my heart a flutter as my youngest will be 15 in less than a fortnight

To be an adjudicator at a Guiness world record attempt - there was no mention of cake

Pregnancy vitamins launch day - oh I'm not going back down that road, thankyouverymuch

Free £100 voucher to promote a shopping site.

Book blog site - oh I read and I blog but would others want to read about what I'm reading?

Theatre trip - I was on holiday

Experience days - I'm not madly keen on experiences, when someone says "well, that was an experience" I tend to think that is nice lady speak for "well that was crap"

Another theatre trip - a family one, show more suited to younger children than mine, although their behaviour might suggest otherwise

A day out at a science museum - again been there when they were much younger

Diet and fitness app - stop bloody laughing

Free washing powder - I want more exciting stuff than that.

Now once again, please offer me squillions of free stuff to review and promote, especially free stuff that I like, eg cake, weekends away especially trips to Barcelona as Kellogsville and I have a cunning plan, holidays, plastic surgery, clothes, make up and other nice lady things. I will do it properly, honest.

Friday 7 October 2011

10 Worst Presents

Leopard print snood - birthday this year, I am not really an animal print kind of girl and I didn't even do snoods in the 80's

Black and white glass bowl - all fluted and swirly from the Colin and Justin range, Xmas present last year, I love my sis in law dearly but that was just hideous. It may have been an emergency present.

A ceramic lemon with a pot scourer inside - from my ex mother in law when I was still married as a birthday present, enough said.

A set of eyeshadows instead of an Easter Egg - I might have been 14 but c'mon, actually my mum still buys me an Easter egg now, she must be scared to stop in case I did another "you've really upset me" teenage strop.

Red lace g string and suspender belt - bought by my brother in law, the minister in an attempt to be "hey I might be a minister but I still know people have sex" It was the Christmas after I got married, I was only 22, and mortified.

Cream fake fur body warmer - the ex mr auntiegwen one Christmas, I looked like a small chubby polar bear

Candle shaped like a wedge of chocolate gateau - looked bad and smelled worse, from my sister

A trip to a Lake District hotel for my 29th birthday - the sentiment was great, the ex mr auntiegwen bought be a Joanna Trollope novel, a box of chocs and a night in a hotel by myself. Jack was 8 weeks old and as I couldn't leave my bosoms at home would have starved. The ex mr auntiegwen didn't think of that. Still I enjoyed the book and the chocolates.

The biggest box of chocolates Thornton's do - I could have had a frock and shoes for the money, (it cost £50 around 15 years ago) but oh no I had to eat them all and get fat (ter).

My 40th birthday trip to Barcelona - I love the city and had been before with friends but the ex mr ag took me and when I was there I/we realised that it was all over. I hope to go back under happier circumstances.

Sunday 2 October 2011

10 Best Presents

In October I like to do do 10 posts about 10 things, last year I was a bit tardy and had to do 11 posts of 11 things in November. This year I'm trying to get back on track. In no particular order

My teddy, given to me the day I was born by my auntie Gloria, he's called Michael and over the years he's gone from yellow to pale cream but it's the one of the few things I still have from my childhood.

My dolls house, with sliding glass doors and a roof that was hinged to lift up, made for me by my grampa who was a joiner, I was gutted when it rotted out in the shed and gadget mad dad threw it out. I was about 30 at the time. I'm still a bit gutted to be honest.

My bike, I had a Raliegh chopper, I was 9 and thought I was so cool, I think I was the only girl to have one, mine was purple.

My Kindle - God how I love it, wasn't sure if I would but I do.

My ipod shuffle, it's a tiny wee pink clip on one, and I can't run without it.

My childhood photos, taken from slides and made into prints, given to me as a gift when I had my first daughter so I could see if we were alike, we were/are.

My mothers day poems - written by my son and younger daughter and loved all the more for the spelling within.

My wooden hearts - each child wrote their message on their heart and gave it to me for my 40th birthday. They sit in a bowl on my windowsill that my niece Cat brought me back from her trip to Malawi.

My "Windows in the West" print by Avril Paton, hangs on my bedroom wall and is the first thing I see when I wake up.

My engagement ring - I looked at gazillions of rings and tried on a fair few. I kept saying I'd know mine when I put it on. I was right, it fitted perfectly and despite the cost, he knew it was mine and gave me it. I will cherish the ring and the memory of the love I felt at that moment for the rest of my life.

I'm a bit gutted I didn't have room for my sat nav, as it's been one of the most useful presents I've ever had, maybe I should have waited and did this in November. You see, even when I'm being efficient it goes agin me.