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A five day week – who’d want that?

20 Apr

Worked a five day week for the first time in nearly three years. What’s that all about then? I’m bloody knackered.

Give me my mad mummy juggle with 3 or 4 days work a week, screaming kids, supermarket runs, pick ups, drop offs, tantrums and nappy changes any day…

Have no idea how it was so shattering to sit on my arse and move my ginger fingers on this keyboard but nice to have current life decision reaffirmed.


Are high heels shackles?

2 Apr

Twitter’s not enough to explain the real rant I just touched on with the lovely Caryn Franklyn re women’s body image, the pressures/harrasment women in public life are under to be thinner and prettier and thinner and prettier. So here it is…

This time it started with the whole SamCam/Kate/Posh article in the Sunday Times suggesting they use being thin as a control mechanism in otherwise out of control lives where everything they do is controlled by the media. But all the judging then becomes on how they look, preened and rumple-free. Woe betide a grey streak, wrinkle or case of bed-head, it becomes a media scoop.

It is a terrible image to be presenting to our children and one I’m so frightened of for my little girl. At four, she’s already been brainwashed by the Disney princess mantra. Where are her role models and aspirational figures in which looks don’t figure?

Apart from me of course, handily my non celebrity status and hands-on lifestyle means my boobs look like spaniels’ ears and my tummy a Cadbury’s Flake – she call’s it a floppy cushion. I don’t mind – in fact I tell her I love it – and to a certain extent that’s true because it’s where she came from and that’s what I say.

So along with my changing body has come a change in body image and clothing. Now with my jeans and converse firmly in place, a looser top to flatter my rippling tummy, I find I’m actually much more liberated than before. High heels hurt and you can’t run or jump in them (unless you’re a pop diva, which I most certainly am not). I can do all those things in my new uniform. That’s the bottom line.

We all have a responsibility to our children to fight these aspiration-limiting stereotypes and show them that we are their role models. If I prance about in a perfectly groomed state 24/7, that’s what she’ll see as the norm. I’m not suggesting we all turn into slobs, but there has to be a happy medium. Little girls need to see that mummy works just like daddy, that she can run and jump and argue about politics and do maths and play football. We can none of us do all of it, but we can all try to do some of it. We have to, or the barbie doll aspiration will take over completely.

And back to SamCam, Posh and Kate M – I can only guess how hard it must be to live in such a goldfish bowl – but they would do better to be real women and a little less perfect if they really want to challenge the glamour-stereotypes that bind women in our world today.

Our Daily Bread…on the High Road

27 Mar

As a local Chiswickian I’m perplexed by the carb-fest that Chiswick is becoming. For a while now we’ve had the obligatory Zizzi, Franco Manca and Pizza Express, not to mention various ‘patisseries’ ranging from Gregs (admiteddly more bread than patisserie) to Pat Val, Bread & the other posh one on the corner, Gail’s. Did I miss any? It’s hard to keep track.
Now we’ve got Union Jacks and its ‘flats’ (a rose by any other name etc..), a Pain Quotidien and, wait for it, a Rosso Pommodoro coming to replace the much loved greek mini-market Adamou.
Am i the only one to’ve noticed this glut of bread-based eateries is actually defying the current trend to cut carbs.
What goes on here i wonder?

Boris Johnson’s new mini-me

21 Mar

So my son has curly hair. Full on blonde curly hair with ringlets. Yes he looks like a girl but having had dull dark brown straight hair all my life, I’m lovin’ it.

But hubby has dubbed him Boris – as in him of Johnson mad hair mayor fame – and so my daughter now calls him Boris.

Now today, when an old lady stopped him in the street and asked “What’s your name little girl?” He answered “Boris.”

Dear God, forgive us, for we knew not what we were doing? In ten year’s time this is bound to come out to his shrink – as is he, probably, given his current penchant for Rapunzel outfits and Barbie dolls.


Writing a la Sex in the City ain’t all it’s cracked up to be

13 Mar

Much of my twenties was misspent watching crummy rom-coms, Friends and Sex in the City – I now find myself the freelance journalist I aspired to be back then wishing I could be like SJP.

Funny how when you get what you want in life it’s never quite what you’d hoped it would be. That’s not to say I don’t like doing what I’m doing. No, it’s safe to say I love the work bit- dabbling in hotels, restaurants, food, mumsy stuff, flitting from subject to subject as the commissions take me – that’s great.

What I object to is being sold the SJP myth that you can write on your bed. I’ve tried sitting lengthways, cross-legged, lying down, on the edge, in the middle – you name it I’ve done it – it’s all impossible. You really can’t do it.

Well that’s not strictly true, you can, but if you’re the wrong side of 35 then within a minute your back starts giving you jip, your coxix goes numb and your neck gets stiff from being forced into the wrong kind of work position.

I can only imagine what those corporate work-station assessors would do if they saw me now – I can hear the tut tut tutting already. But then maybe I’m just being silly – it is a lap-top afterall…

Female Confidence

5 Apr

I have confidence in confidence alone, besides which you see I have confidence in me!

Lines from The Sound of Music, which I’ve recently been rewatching with Ellie. At the same time I was writing the women’s feature for Caterer which mainly finds that (apart from the obvious baby thing) women really lack confidence in themselves to go and get the success they deserve and are able to achieve.

It’s such a shame – we have so much to give the world and so many more – if I may say so – strings to our bows than many men. I still don’t get why we lack confidence in our own abilities.

I was reminded of this yet again writing the previous post. My husband also has a blog – who doesn’t these days – and he just writes it, gets on with it and knows it’s interesting and good. I, on the other hand, dither and faff and then need him to read it before posting and I’ve no idea why. Except that I lack confidence in my own skills and need someone external to give me approval.

I’ve often found myself wondering who could be bothered to read my mundane musings on life and stuff while writing these posts. Paul on the other hand has no such hang-ups. Granted he’s writing about politics and more intellectual arguments not everyday life but even so, I’m not sure it’s ever crossed his mind what the point of it is. And that of course is the point.

We women spend too much time worrying whether it’s worth it or whether we’re good enough, whereas the chaps mainly just get on with it and plough on with supreme confidence.

As my lovely dad often quoted: “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, but you can fool most poeple most of the time.” That’s good enough for me.

Blasts from the past – Mixed blessings

5 Apr

So a girl who used to torment me at school wants to be my friend on facebook. This isn’t the first time she’s done a friend request and it’s not the first time I’ve turned her down.

I find it so odd. I’m intrigued as to what would make her want to be back in touch with me. Is she bored, did she not realise she was a bully and thinks she is just getting in touch with old acquaintances, does she want to cyber bully me? I have no idea and I’m still scared. Of her.

Whilst i’d like to accept the friend request and see if she’s changed, I’ve decided it’s not worth finding out as she was so horrid at school and made me feel so small and insecure and generally crap about myself I don’t want to go there again. This time round i choose not to let this person affect me negatively, even though I realise this decision might mean that I’m not giving them the chance to show they’ve changed. The price of bullying perhaps. No one wants to be your friend when we all grow up.

On a more positive note, i was also contacted by an old work friend this week from Mosi days who had only just noticed I worked for Caterer – (only for the last five or so years and I’ve now left). Bright as a button and sharp as a tack he is! Just like me – which is probably why we got on. But it was good to hear from him, catch up on his news and can’t wait to meet up with him for a beer.

That’s the Yin-Yang of blasts from the past I guess.

Death changes everything – or does it?

27 Feb

As usual, I’m way behind with my reading – piles of things I want to or feel I should read are littered around the flat but, as I battle my way through days with the two babies, I very rarely get the chance to read a nib, let alone a full blown article.

So I finally got round to reading – in The Week, so at least a week delayed anyway – the back-story of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit and vegetable seller who set himself alight and was the spark who lit the tinder keg of the Middle East. I must point out that although I love both international and domestic politics, I’m by no means an expert – I leave that to politics teacher-hubby, but I wanted to share a more personal take on this.

When my dad died almost exactly a year ago, it was sudden and totally unexpected. For my mum, sister and I the world stopped and has never been the same again since. It was a cataclismic event that has changed our lives irrevocably.

Yet, nothing else changed. Not a jot. The very next day life went on exactly the same, the neighbour who’d been with my mum as the police and ambulance arrived went off to work, did a normal day’s work and returned at her usual time. My sister got two weeks compassionate leave and was back at work. When she returned her timetable was still exactly the same – so every thursday afternoon she was in the same lesson, in the same place, remembering that one, two, three weeks ago it was there that she had learned that our dad had died. 

It may seem a petty point, and possibly a ridiculous one given the horrific bloodshed now occuring in the Middle East, let alone the uncertain, possibly dire outcome of all this mess. But on a personal level I find myself wondering if Mohammed’s family take comfort in the fact that for once the world really has stopped because their loved one died. The world will never be the same because of his death.

I find it hard to believe that the world can carry on regardless after the death of my dad, we all felt something shattering should’ve happened to mark this momentus and awful event, yet nothing did.

That fact is, it’s one of the hardest things to deal with and Mohammed’s family are ‘lucky’ to have had his death marked by such momentus world events. Let us hope they have a happy ending too.

Christmas Tree Class Wars

15 Dec

I have a very middle class Christmas tree. Apparently. 

A friend came round last night for carols, mince pies and mulled wine in the (communal) garden – ok I’ll admit that bit is decidedly middle class.

But it was the Christmas tree class war that I wasn’t prepared for. Mine, according to the world of Blend, is an utterly Chiswicky-middle-class one, being covered in mainly red decorations, peppered with silver stars and baubles, and lacking totally in Tinsel. Even some of my decorations were branded posh and up market – till I pointed out they were from Tesco’s, which brought them down a peg or two in her eyes.

I do have tinsel over the telly but that a) isn’t good enough and b) is ‘posh’ tinsel given it’s fluffy and got tinsel drops hanging off it.

It’s not that I mind having a middle class tree, it’s just that I wasn’t aware there was a class war in the field of festive fir. But I suppose, thinking about it, many of my friends and I drag our families along for an annual gawk to the one OTT house in the area. We stand there ooo-ing and ahh-ing at its twinkling santas, reindeer, snowmen etc, while being secretly relieved that it’s not our neighbours who have doubled their lekky bill in a festive yet totally tacky way.

Similarly Blend was silenced on entering Ellie’s room, where a fake pink tree stands, proudly covered in tinsel, gold and silver bead threads and more decorations than the big tree, despite being a quarter the size. Definitely evened up the class war.

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.