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Present Politics

6 Nov

There are 30 kids in Ellie’s class, then there’s the kids she knew at nursery, then there’s the NCT group, then there are old friends who have kids of a similar age, then there are the neighbours -and then there’s the same for Josh.

Kids parties are therefore a constant feature in our weekend lives and present buying can break the bank if you’re not careful. I don’t want to be mean, but I do try to have a sense of perspective – they’re only five after all and Josh’s peers are only 3 – how much do they really need?

But using this philosophy and living in the glossy environs of west London, I’m sometimes found wanting.

Awful moments come in many forms – major, life changing ones we can’t do anything about – and the little ones that are merely mortifyingly embarrassing – like when the going home present in the obligatory goodie bag is the same as the gift you’ve just given. Gulp.

#busted as a cheapskate

A cheeky little plucker

1 Nov

No, the title’s not a pun about chickens or a random tie into the game season, it is me, ‘coming out’ about my unfortunate addiction: plucking.

Like any addiction, it started innocuously enough, the odd rogue eyebrow hair – hardly Denis Healey but rogue none-the-less. A quick pluck with a pair of tweezers and boom! eyebrow control once more.

Now the mention of control obviously rings alarm bells. I’m no psychiatrist but aren’t all proper addictive behaviours: bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, drugs, self harming etc –  either fundamentally or in part about control or loss of it.

I realised tonight, as I undergo my now daily plucking session before bed in the quiet of my own bathroom – the only time in fact I ever really get in the bathroom alone these days – that this five minutes of plucking has become my sanctity – my refuge – and my ‘me’ time. I need it, I crave it, I’d panic if I couldn’t find my tweezers, yikes –  It’s true, I am addicted to plucking.

I love nothing more than getting a sneaky hair by the tweezer tips and plucking it out, full follicle and all. The excitement and rush – it’s a mood changer, enhancer, whatever you like to dubb it. But woe betide the breaker – that horrible moment when, despite a good grip with the tweezers the hair snaps at the root, leaving a tiny stubb, too small to grab again, too long to create a smoothe finish.

Maybe I should try going cold turkey to get over my obsession – or perhaps, with Christmas coming up, I could just pluck the turkey instead. (boom boom)

Middle Aged Drunk Dialling

9 Oct

I’ve long been a fan of Caitlin Moran, and having enjoyed her articles & book, I then finally got round to reading this piece “I got the infant from Time Out drunk”

I would just like to point out to the juvenile puker at Time Out, that although he may have vommed, Ms Moran was not exactly immume to the effects of the vino. As any slummy-mummy will know, Boden shopping to mums is essentially mummy porn for the middle class, slightly tipsy mother – or maternal drunk dialling if you will, for want of a better equivalent.

Better we shop online & spend a small fortune while fantasising about perfectly coiffed kids than fantasise about other men, dialing up old flames or generally causing more trouble for ourselves than need be.

Boden can always be returned & refunded. No harm done.

Mumisms

12 Sep

I just did it again…

Definition of a mumism: A fact your mum told you years ago, probably as a child, that stuck in your head which you randomly use in grown up conversation years later without thinking – only to realise that it’s not a fact at all and you just took it as such because YOUR MUM SAID IT WAS SO….AND YOU BELIEVED IT HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.

My latest mumism:

To my friend: “The only reason stopping me moving to Bristol is that it’s the wettest part of the UK, got it’s own special micro-climate” – even without googling this, it’s a pretty safe bet this  isn’t actually true but i said it with my default – I-trust-my-mum – head on and then had to admit I just fell foul of a classic mumism..

A quick google seems to suggest Cumbria .

Thanks mum. So Bristol’s back in the running then.

Get your rocks off, honey

11 Jul

And so it dawns on me as I lie awake at 3am from too much of a mumsy coffee day yesterday, that solitaire diamond necklaces are the new must-have yummy mummy accessory . The bigger the diamond the bigger the yumminess, clearly.

At Ellie’s open day for big school yesterday, the de rigeur necklaces – or uniform for mums if you will – were these little jewels. A single diamond on white gold/platinum chain. Understated little and not so little trinkets but no variation on the theme, that’s it. The recessionary jewellery of choice perhaps, in that they’re not too flash although they do splash the cash for those that want an extravagance but without being too obvious. You could say they even cost an arm on a neck (OK maybe that’s just 3am brain humour).

After officially becoming ‘Mrs Goldsmith’ on my passport this week (two kids down, I can protest no longer), I feel religiously obliged to sport one as proof, not only of my obvious yumminess (?!), but also of my newly acquired Jewish princess credentials.

Oh yeah – and we saw Primal Scream in the pouring rain at Regent’s Park outdoor theatre during a Jimmy Carr gig on Sunday, hence the blog title. They were really old & total crap. Luckily Carr was brilliantly funny & offensive, although at least 1% of it went too far.

Picture perfect

16 Dec

We got a freebie the other day.

Venture photography offered us a free photoshoot and free picture no strings attached. So we trundled along to Wandsworth with the kids, did the shoot, trundled back two weeks later without the kids for the viewing, having arranged childcare, with a quivering cheque book…only to view a set of spectacularly rotten pictures.

Not a single good one of the four of us. Paul and I managed to have no chins at all, our noses (mainly in profile, which, being two well endowed Jews, we’d specifically briefed against) were carbunkles that made us both consider having a nose job, I looked like I was wearing a badly fitting wig in the family shots and managed to get myself a nice set of sideburns – a facial hair issue I must admit I wasn’t aware of till those AWFUL photos.

On top of this, the kids looked wierd – there wasn’t a nice one of Ellie – almost impossible – given she’s the most photogenic child I’ve ever met, but to be fair there were a couple of nice ones of Josh, but no better than I’ve got on my own camera.

If you’re gonna charge £200 – £1000+ for pics, you’ve got to get the shots. The catch, of course, with offers like Venture’s, is that you’re meant to fall so head over heals in love with loads of pictures, that you end up buying more than just the freebie.

Luckily in this instance, we managed to leave, cheque book intact, and three of the better pics as compensation for no family shot.

Boys will be boys

10 Dec

Josh – 11 months old – has one hand in tub of sudocrem, another on a chicken drumstick (plastic) covered in sudocrem and is licking it.

Paul – 37 years old – has one hand down trousers – other on the phone to mate – barking at the telly and mate simultaneously about Watford FC who are about to lose a 3-nil lead – in the last five minutes – yet again.

Boys.

Austerity Xmas

10 Dec

In keeping with the times, we’re having a ‘careful’ Christmas this year. Hubby and I agreed presents under a tenner and my sis and mum went for no prezzies for grown ups –  only for kids.

Hubby got all left wing on me years ago while teaching at state school. I’m not allowed to overdo it on the stocking front (santa not leg related) or go over the top on prezzies under the tree.

But it’s hard. First you have to fill the kids stockings. What I’ve ordered from amazon in my money-saving frenzy came half the size and doubly as crap as I’d hoped, making me feel like a cheapskate and forcing me out of the door to buy yet more junk in a guilt-trip extraordinaire.

Then I remembered  that not only do I have to buy prezzies for the hubby and kids, I’ve also got to do the hubby’s family, the nursery, the caretakers (of our flats), the odd friend – and all their random children. I managed to dodge the cleaner this year by curtailing services earlier this month.

On top of this Hubby is now questioning the no presents for grown ups rule and I’ve realised I should really get a present from Ellie to Josh and of course from Josh to Ellie, oh and from Ellie to Daddy and Josh to Daddy.

It does seem nuts. And don’t get me started on the tree – a small/medium one in Chiswick high road’s gonna set you back £30 without blinking. Is it just me or is that a lot of money for something that’s essentially going to die and also poses a breach of health and safety to my grabby 11 month old.

I love Christmas and normally really look forward to it, but this year, I’m struggling to shed my bah humbug crustiness.  Perhaps it’s ’cause I’m trying to do it on the cheap and it’s just making me feel bad. I think I’m just going to be extravagant and hang the consequences, if it makes me feel better, it’ll be worth the money.

Tickly pox – I’m a mummy get me outta here

19 Nov

Poor little Josh, he’s got it, the dreaded chicken pox. It’s ravaging through his little body – I’ve never seen anything like it – except when Ellie had it. This horrible lurghy just coarses through their bodies, and they’re helpless little victims, wondering why, all of a sudden, they’re so itchy.

But apart from the sypmpathy that one naturally feels as a mummy, comes the dreaded puke-factor. Yesterday alone I got covered twice in projectile vomit from hip to knees the first time, the second down my top, welling up in my cleavage. Nice. He was covered, I was mostly covered, it was dripping off the leather footstool and a puddle was seeping into my carpet.

It was one of those moments as a mum when the world goes slowly for a minute. I simply had no idea what to do, where to put myself, my dripping jeans or my puke-soaked child or where to begin the clean up process.

I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a moment at times like these where a thought flashes through my brain: “I’m may be the mummy, but get me outta here.”

Girl power ain’t what it was

16 Nov

Men get paid more than women. Fact.

Why? Because women are like me. I took hours today writing an email to a friend of hubby’s who runs a media training company. I spent what seemed like an eternity diligently sitting at my computer composing what was meant to be the email of all emails. I said what I thought I wanted to say, nearly sent it. Got cold feet. Sent it to hubby instead for approval.

He replied within 2 minutes. Slated it. Asked why I was apologising for myself. Reminded me I was sucessfully editing a national magazine not so long ago. Suggested re-writing in a totally different tone. What happened to me?

Maternity leave happened – twice. It seems to sap every ounce of belief in oneself. You’re left with the shell of who you once were, with no inner core or strength to believe that you can do anything other than the most menial of tasks.

There was a job for an admin assistant at Sam’s Brasserie the other day. I genuinely found myself wondering if I should go for this role and whether I’d even get it. This is the kind of job I did when I was 18 and knew nothing and still managed to do it ok.

It’s impossible to pinpoint when this change occurs. You’re fine leaving work, then the baby comes, the sleepless nights happen, you realise you know nothing about raising kids and you’re spending your whole life flying by the seat of your pants.

Perhaps this is what drains us, or maybe it’s just DNA. I know so many women who think “I’m not up to the job, when will the world realise this?” and so many men who’ll just happily bullshit their way along until they get found out – and even then it’s water off a duck’s back.

Whatever it is. I wish I didn’t have it. I used to be a sassy chick, now I just feel like a battery hen. I need to get back into my groove.