Saturday, 21 September 2013

On having "sold your soul to Satan".

This is a feeling I get quite a lot.

I've worked hard to achieve certain things, only to discover that those things are ultimately a bit meaningless.  Swapping terrible business platitudes (that I was poor at doing anyway - I've wrestled the "Haway man, you *pause* are *pause* talking *pause* *emphasis* SHITE!" monster more often than I can count) is something I'm bad at.

I've offended a few people along the way, let's be honest. And I'm pretty diplomatic.

I have a kid now, and while I relish the head space of going to work, I also miss the little blighter so much at times that it hurts. I'm also aware that having structure through having a reasonably challenging job keeps me sharp, focused, and most importantly, not depressed which is a gift that means at the end of the day that I'm being as good a parent as I can be. So what...I don't spend 24/7 with him, but I don't take him for granted either, and have the patience when it counts.

But...that's the deal that you make with fate to a certain degree. We have to make a deal with the devil to ensure that we can keep ourselves fed and watered, with a something that resembles a roof over our heads. If you can do that solely by doing the things you love the most, that's brilliant, but for the vast majority of us that isn't the case, and we're not going to be rescued. We aren't going to win the lottery, we aren't going to invent something awesome and we probably aren't secretly the heir of Potloadsofcashrutania either.

There is nothing wrong with making a living, but you've got to assert where that stops and your *actual* life starts. The one where you get enough sleep, the one where you have enough energy to be loving towards those that you love, where you can exercise, where you can eat, drink and be merry and not feel like someone has their foot on the back of your neck. It's all about head space, and it's all about getting your head around what you *believe* you should be doing, and what you actually should be doing.

If you've got to do something that is intrinsically boring, for chuffs sake, don't let it eat your life. You aren't doing yourself any good, draw a line around your hours, say "no" and do some fun shit. Or just eat a random sandwich on a park bench somewhere pretty. Honestly, you'll feel better. And you'll realise that the world is not going to pitch off the mantelpiece because you decided to take your foot off the accelerator.

If you want to do something creative, do it, but accept the fact that this other thing (i.e. work) will prevent you at times. But when you do get to do it, do it well, do it freely and with joy.

You haven't sold your soul to the devil, you've just done what needed to be done.

Read, write, draw, play, rest, run, eat...the rules don't change because you're an adult. x

Thursday, 5 September 2013

I need a bigger house

Not because of greed or social status or any of that shite, but so I can get a bigger bed. So I don't get elbowed in the chuffing noggin late at night.

*grump, grump, grump*

Friday, 2 August 2013

Dear Sexist Child (A response to getting sexually harassed while minding my own ******* business taking my kid out for a walk)

Never has writing something in rhyming couplets been so therapeutic....

Dear Sexist Child
A mum, a child, a sunny day
Met some youths along the way,
While walking in the local park,
And it wasn't even dark.
First, there came a piercing whistle
(A finger raised up in dismissal)
When with unfettered erudition,
One made the mum a proposition.

The much maligned young Casanova
Yelled from a place that's quite far over,
"You've got one kid, do you want another?"
"Give that poor dear boy a brother."
"You know you wants it, yes you do"
"I'll even loan my special goo"
And next he offered explorations
Illegal in a host of nations.

The mum did think, "perhaps I'll dodge
that close encounter with your splodge,
Plus shouting filth behind a hillock
gives proof you are a total pillock.
I will not fear, upon my life
A fool too young to buy a knife,
Some youth today are running wild,
You grim and rotten sexist child."

The angry mum kept walking up,
To find a shirtless callow pup,
Say "He really fancies you, you see"
"So this should make my loins go "SQUEE"??
Thought mum, while praying to herself,
That spunky boy stays on the shelf,
Or least by order of this sweet lament,
Is grounded until retirement.

And so I end this sorry tale,
Of youthful misadventures (male),
I'd rather bite the cyanide tooth,
Than take up with a sexist youth,
You did not win, you sorry soul,
My peace you broke upon that stroll.
This mum can now take all her solace,
Because she called the Edgar Wallace.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

That bloody woman...

It's very difficult to talk about Katie Hopkins, primarily known for resigning from The Apprentice and engaging in al fresco sex with married fellas, without resorting to schoolyard jibes about her appearance and kicking all the furniture and pets within reach, while simultaneously frothing at the mouth and spitting obscenities.

Well that's the effect she has on me.

Her latest zinger is claiming that Kelly Brook is "a chubster" and that any working woman "can be a size 8" just like her, and that they should just "eat less and move about more".

So far, so simplistic.

I'm not tall, but even at under 6 stone 13lbs/97lbs at one point in my life, I was never a size 8. What I'd like to know, what would she recommend doing in my case, as I am blessed with a sturdy frame? Is someone going to come out with an all new bone-slimming diet? Should I grate myself on a full length sanding block to get my body down to achieve the necessary proportions? Or can I narrow my shoulders and ribcage purely by force of will?

Yet again, we see this lining up of slimness being passed off as virtue, or "if only they can exhibit the same amount of will power as me, then they will be perfect". Virtue is being kind to people, virtue is not the ability to get into a dress size. If the world is full of tactless TV trolls like Katie, I'm moving to Mars.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

New blog

One of the things that I tend to bang on about a lot is body image.

So I've decided to do something about mine and take up a challenge for 8-ish weeks and I'll be blogging about it here The 40 Ouch 8 Week Challenge. Weird that, not that the title isn't a giveaway.

At the moment, it seems to be me whining about the parlous state of my core muscles...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Talk about going full circle.

Crown Court Sentencings to be Televised

Every now and then, I get a creeping feeling that in 2010, I awoke one May morning into a grim political dystopia, probably muttering the entirely futile words "Look what you've done now..." and "I didn't vote for the bastards, it's your own fault".

Oh wait, oh dear, that did actually happen.

So despite driving 500,000 to such depths of poverty through benefits changes, under-employment or unemployment that they have to rely on food banks to survive, making it easier to sack the people who are, by their labour, underpinning your economy, doesn't appear to be enough.  Where A girl called Jack is faced with the challenge of raising a child on £10 a week.  Of course, all the while the 1% scoff the gourmet burgers, trouser their healthy bonuses/expenses and have a right old chuckle about how many people they've put out of work this week. (Apologies - Link to the Daily Mail).

We are in the tail is wagging the dog territory here. The government are meant to be serving us, sensibly and fairly, and to a certain extent, protecting the populace from their baser instincts. Besides if you fancy baying at the TV, we already have Jeremy Kyle so if you feel the urge to berate people with chaotic lives with an intriguingly loose moral framework, Bob's your uncle. Though if you prefer your vowels rounder and your suits better cut, you can always catch Boris on Question Time or HIGNFY - Or there'll be something on somewhere about Alan Clarke - Shaky grasps on certain social and moral subjects R' Us apparently.

I'm probably being terribly naive here, but I thought the mark of a civilised society was supposed to be that despite the level of your despair and desolation, if you committed a crime, you were treated soberly and respectfully by the justice system and not exposed to the indignities of public sentencing and public punishments. You know, like we used to do, and it was apparently terribly barbaric and unfair?

That is all this is, the government state that it appeals to the need to see justice done, but if anything, it appeals more for our desire for collective revenge. Our baser instincts. While all the time, our rights are eroded when we're distracted by a pantomime of justice.

Showing sentencing on television isn't constructive or likely to build trust in the justice system, it's public flogging or throwing rotten tomatoes at someone in the town square.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Stuff that I learned yesterday....

1. That the world really doesn't care that you've got a bit of knee stubble. This is real life, not Heat magazine and a gigantic red circle is not going to suddenly appear around whatever perceived mistake you've made with your grooming.
2. Fake tan, if applied with a cautious hand, does not necessarily make you look like a clementine in a frock. 
3. Sometimes accidentally buying a dress that's 2 sizes too small is not a disaster.
4. It's possible to bruise your pelvis.
5. That parents, who find that they rein themselves all the time, will, once the cocktails have kicked in, suddenly develop Tourette's (or is that just me?).
6. Eating like a ravening frothing carb beast is the key to preventing hangovers. Small child has been playing the tiny squeaky trumpet and due to general freshness, I don't want to curl into a ball and rock in a corner...
7. Newcastle is awesome x

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Golly, I end up talking about boobs quite often, don't I?

One of those "Mate, you are clearly having a giraffe" moments...

I read this...

Now Angelina Jolie is a bit of a divisive figure for some people, but not for me. She is an incredible advocate for victims of sexual violence in Africa for the UN and truly does use her fame to the benefit of the disenfranchised. She also seems pretty determined to dance to the beat of her own drum.

I like that in a person.

Her openness about her decision to have a double mastectomy is brilliant. My ghast is also truly flabbered that she worked through all this without a word to anybody.

What irks me are comments like this one...

love to Angelina, but if the cure to breast cancer is that woman have to get their breasts removed before they get cancer, we are in trouble

Where do I start?

An individual woman with a "highly-unlikely-to-not-be-life-threatening" gene mutation decides to have a radical procedure that will (unless she's hit by a bus mid op...) improve her life expectancy. The writers' assumption with this statement is that we're all going to start cutting our norks off willy-nilly because we're frightened of getting cancer. An 87% risk of developing breast cancer is a pretty compelling  reason to have a mastectomy.

(See also "Why do women have preventative surgery?" - I'm looking at you, HuffPo).

The wimmins are not a homogenous mass, solely defined by hair colour, "hotness" and breast size. Please get this into your pathetic noggin.

There is nothing whimsical about making the decision to have a double mastectomy.  The BRCA gene test was only made more widely available in the last 7 or 8 years, and this discovery offers a real life line to families whose mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers and aunts have died at far too young an age, or lived under the threat of a early painful death. Good treatments for diseases don't exactly fall fully formed from the sky. I once knew someone who had a full mastectomy and reconstruction aged 21, after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I think she'd rather have been on the lash, don't you?

I mean, what can be more selfish that not wanting your family (and children if you have them) to see you dying slowly and far too soon? And not living in fear that one day you're going to find a lump when you're idly showering? Having to tell your kid that, you're very sick, or that you are going to die?

Personally, I'd take the op. The ladies aren't having the boobies cut off to upset you, capiche?

*Previous breasty ruminations can found here...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Special K "How I've changed" challenge)


This is a new one for me, but those nice people at BritMums pointed me at the chance of free cereal, and I thought "Cool! Food!. People who say that I am motivated by my stomach are talking *nonsense...

*the truth

The new 3 grain Special K is actually really nice, not that I expected it to taste like wood shavings sprinkled with wee, but by comparison to the old variety, I definitely prefer the new one. The flavour is nuttier and rounder. I also think it was a bit more satisfying. I know I wasn't lasciviously ogling the digestives before 11am. To put that into context, because I have a 16 month old who gets up at the dawn of crack I eat early most of the time, then wonder why I'm ready to season my own left arm by 9.30am. I think that qualifies as two thumbs approval from me. And not just because it was a freebie.

Initially I thought "Yeah, writing about "#SpecialK30 How I've changed" will be a doodle". After all, I was 11-going-on-12 30 years ago, I'm going to have changed a bit obviously. What became apparent the more I thought about it was that, yes, there have been changes - like puberty (which is a biggy) but it's not like I've changed beyond all recognition. It's evolution, not the radical change that I'd imagined.

Believe it or not, the only photo I could find of myself from 1983 I was wearing a mask (and in fairness, I didn't have time to harass my relatives to find another) but here's one age 10 that will give you an idea of the material we're dealing with.

Not unattractive, but not in the least girly, and a bit haphazard...note the *jaunty* collars and the pink "Nashers" - NHS Specs....nuff said.  Duran Duran,  Ultravox, The Police, horses, trampolining and reading rocked my world. I was hopeless at the "being feminine" stuff and in fairness, I probably still am. I now know which bits work for me, and how to accommodate for the things I would rather keep hidden.

Age 40+ and...
...the smile is the same, the light in my eyes in the same.

 It's just that I've got better specs, have discovered straighteners and boobs (having developed some), but you'll notice there's still a strange cowlick carry one trying to assert itself. The bands have moved on, and horses and trampolining have been replaced by other stuff but fundamentally things aren't as different as I imagined they'd be at the time. I wasn't going to do kids or marriage for starters. Uh oh. That said, best of all, I'm less self conscious which works a bit like someone taking a heavy weight from my chest.

I think the question is more "what have I learned?" rather than "how have I changed?".

So what have I learned?
  1. Despite the fact I'm probably twice the weight I was at that age (I was 2nd shortest in my class and very active), I now *know* what I look like, and with not-epic amounts of TLC I can make myself look quite respectable. I thought my edges were significantly different to what they actually were.
  2. I now trust my body. After all, I've done some awesome things with it.
  3. That if a bloke likes the same bands as you, it just means that they like the same bands as you. They are not your soul mate, unless of course they actually are...see next point but one.
  4. If you are having misgivings about marrying someone, best to acknowledge that to yourself *before* you get married....#justsaying
  5. However sometimes Mr "Old Flame"was the right one all along, step forward Mr D x
  6. Depression is something you can fight.
  7. Do the study you were meant to do, rather than ballsing it up and having to do it later, it's much easier.
  8. Be nice to yourself.
Getting older, choosing to be happy, doing some stuff that scares you like becoming a parent or throwing yourself down a's what changing is all about.

Plus I must be growing up, I've completed a deadline 90 minutes before it was due to be handed in...see point 7..... :D

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

It was detestable in the 80's, it was detestable at the time.

The cropped top.

Why is this abomination back in fashion when only the very slim and very young can wear them, and most of them don't because some ass hat is likely to judge them and their body shape? Or that it's inappropriate because they're 13? Or it's cold?

Inevitably everything goes through the Northumbrian "Will I freeze me bits off later on?" filter...have you noticed?

Snowy madness

And thus I am in France, tired of limb and slightly afraid of cheese.

(I posted this one sentence BACK IN MARCH BTW while on a skiing holiday, on the worlds' shittest wifi, in an apartment above a night club and below a lot of youthful ski bums with a propensity for playing football in a room the size of a matchbox and only spotted it now in amongst my drafts).

In many ways I'm quite proud of myself about that trip, because I did a decent amount of skiing and I only cried about four times in abject terror. For those of you who actually know me IRL, and thus have probably seen some photos, I'm a nervy intermediate skier so "ye olde snow plough" is out quicker than a Howard Webb yellow card as soon as I get the fear. I didn't fall over all that much but that's because I'm paranoid about crashing.

So firstly, I love going to France, if I could foxtrot oscar anyway, that would be my first point of call.

Secondly, tired of limb...

It's been a real confidence boost that I've made this squidgy, scarred, injured thing I call my body do some really quite tough things, and keep doing them for a couple of hours. Over a number of days. And not be immobile afterwards. It also makes me very happy that muscle memory exists because I had a couple of really good days (and a couple of short ones - but always best to respect the limbs, though it pains me to admit it) where it flowed and I genuinely felt like I was flying. I can't help thinking though that I'm incredibly lucky considering how long it's taken to recover from having Mini D (c-section, SPD that didn't bugger off immediately post-birth)  injuries sufficiently nasty enough to involve extended periods of immobility and activity curtailment, weight, age and all that other shizzle. I can do it, though sometimes it hurts, and I want to be better at it, and I want to show my kid that just because of all of the above it doesn't mean you've got to give up.

Thirdly, slightly afraid of cheese.

The bright green pesto stuff they sell in the market in Val Tho.

Alpine food - Studio 54 for the cheese addict, I kid you not. *swoon*.

Thank FSM for plant sterols.

And I travelled to altitude with a small child and lived, but more of that later.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bodies - duffed and otherwise (Caution - Sweary)

I need to stop reading anything sleb-gossip related on the grounds that I go all goggle-eyed and dyspeptic with fury.

Here's why....

Celebrity Pregnancy

When a woman in the public eye is pregnant, I quite like to hear about it because I'm nosy and always up for displacement activity. (Explains certain "delays" in my education and career, does that...*cough*) Anyhow....what does make me want to shut myself in a cupboard away from all of the sharp objects for an hour or so, are the following phrases - "hiding her baby bump" or "showing off/flaunting her baby bump". I've blogged about the misuse of flaunt as terminology before but they never seem to learn.

Let's explore the actual interpretations based on actual circumstances, shall we? And not on the tenuous projection that all women with a public profile are constantly squirming with either a) shame about "their condition" or b) are in a froth of sexual excitement and showing off for the mens.

Hiding her baby bump (ACTUAL MEANINGS)

A. "Is wearing a coat because it's fucking cold"
B. "Boobs are two moons in a hammock thus distracting attention"
C. "Due to point B, clothing hangs from norks acting like a bump curtain"
D. "Comfort (due to being effing pregnant and as a consequence, always hot - not a la Paris Hilton before you ask)"
E. "It might give someone pause before they try to shove a long lensed camera up ones jacksie"
F. "Might keep the touchy-touchy brigade at bay"

Showing off her baby bump (ACTUAL MEANINGS)

A. "Might just be really happy about being pregnant"
B. "Is in a hot tropical country and is wearing a bikini - because it's fucking hot"
C. "Later stages of pregnancy mean that you (proportionally) have a much shorter reach than you have before so fastening stuff is an ask"
D. "Can't be arsed to keep hiding it"
E. "Please see "hiding - option D"
F. "Due to being the shape of a hot air balloon with apendages, the only way you could hide it was if you wore a barrel"

Oh FFs, it's not fucking magic.

Monday, 8 April 2013

So Margaret Thatcher has expired....

....And true to form, even in the infirmities of her final years and death, she remains a hugely divisive figure. In fact some of the threads I've read today on Facebook and Twitter have caused people of the same political stripe to turn on one another, such is the strength of feeling. Calls to be less celebratory in the wake of her death have been met with anger....and thus I can't help thinking that it's what ultimately she would have wanted. It would appear that she wouldn't have baulked at starting an argument in an empty room.

The thing with Margaret is that she was a born fighter, and her gender had nothing to bloody do with it. I've actually got the BBC obituary programme on in the background, and she was described as a "proper little madam" (being prepared to argue your point will get you vilified if you've got ovaries as we all know) from being a child and described by Carol Thatcher as "motivated", working far harder than everyone else and with "tunnel vision". Her certainty in what she perceived to be the truth of her beliefs, and a drive to succeed was the sledgehammer that she battered through the glass ceiling, to the top of the Conservative Party and ultimately through the fabric of British society, despite a personality that could, and the irony has not escaped me, turn milk into mature Stilton at a distance of half a mile.

As someone who lives in the heart of the South East Northumberland coalfield, Thatcher was the driving force behind entrenching the North East in the political left and despite the rhetoric, it's not just the unions who are responsible for this. Her single minded desire to bring the unions to their knees cannot be underestimated.  While we remember her, the wholesale long term unemployment, the closure of viable pits, the heart ripped out of a vibrant community that we've not recovered from, it's reasonable to say that because of her, there is a very serious and unbreachable loss of trust in the Conservative Party which has not been tempered or diminished by 30 years of time passing. It's grim when you see your friends ripping strips off each other, over whether we should or shouldn't be sparing her family from the rage that she still engenders.

We remember her as "The Iron Lady", all strength, bloody mindedness and tunnel vision but we need to also remember that you don't become an MP by the age of 34 (might need a fact check here) if you aren't a consummate politician. I don't know if you read this quote too, but there's something very chilling about the time when she was asked about what she felt was her greatest achievement. Her response? "Tony Blair". In my minds eye, I see that line being delivered with a distinctly Machievellian glint.

So forgive us all that while, yes it's sad for her family and I've no desire to add to the vitriol that has sprung forth today, you might for a moment consider that there are many who cannot bring themselves to mourn her passing.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Business and busy-ness

Ah, so much for me posting daily!

Life, house jigglage, professional courses, poorly child, scabby eyed mother, poorly husband, sleep disturbance and work have all conspired to keep me quiet. But to be fair to myself (and to anyone who reads this blog) at least, dear reader, who've been spared me giving it "I'm so tired/Mini D or Grand D is so poorly/I'm so busy" for 6 weeks.

I've also stocked up my corporate bollocks bank so those conversations with the customer are couched in appropriately meaningless terms...weirdly it makes me feel like I'm finally back with the programme...

Monday, 14 January 2013

58 days and counting...gulp...

This week, it goes up a notch and I'm rejoining my old gym. Would have done it earlier but old jelly pelvis here *weirdly* thought it ought to wait...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

62 days and counting...

This time one year ago, I was lying in the RVI waiting for labour to start. Bloody hell.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

63 days and counting...

3 walks in 3 days.

Took the small one for a push at Newbiggin-by-the Sea this morning, and just to prove that every day actually is a school day, I found out that when Newbiggin was a port, it was ranked 3rd largest after London and Hull for the import of grain...


Have a photo.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Ok, I had help but you just know I've been ears deep in a chocolate nose bag for the last week!

64 days and counting...*gulp*

I'm not one of nature's dieters. In fact, (even though I think horoscopes are intrinsically mince) I trot out the line "I'm a Libran, I don't do denial" as I slide a slightly podgy hand into the mega-tonne-super-skip of Celebrations with tedious regularity.

Ah, Celebrations, somehow an altogether dirtier chocolate than many of the others, that leaves you feeling like the Monday after a good festival. If you have more than one, you end up hollow, seedy, grubby and with a residual undertow of guilt because you've been dragged into a whirl of Dionysian excess, where somewhere in your head there are young oily men in short shorts and a glamorous woman riding a white pony through the room while wearing a silver lame' jumpsuit while you're eating them.

However it's a nasty come down when it's over. I went through the Festives patting myself on the back, for *somehow* I had managed to avoid the worst excesses and was feeling quite snappy. This is,however, due to the fact that getting up at 6am with a fractious toddler (with bio-hazard arse) with a hangover is hell on a stick and having tried it, the memory is a wonderful resolve stiffener when you're tempted to let your imbibing inhibitions down.

Then the Christmas sweets got opened and 7 days later here I am committing myself to weaning myself off the stuff like a penitent sinner. I also can't get out for a walk today because I went yesterday and I ache - ah, pregnancy, it's been about as good for me physically as being pushed down a flight of stairs wearing a suit of armour..

Monday, 7 January 2013

65 days and counting...*gulp*

Regrettably today is the day when the shizz gets real and I have to attempt to achieve a level of fitness before going skiing in 65 days time.

To that end, I've just joined

I've not been able to exercise properly since about July 2011 when pelvic girdle pain/SPD put paid to me having a nice active pregnancy and eventually put me on crutches for 4 months. Not forgetting getting pushed around Ikea in a wheelchair - now that was an experience. Not one I particularly want to repeat.

To add insult to injury, I had a C-section, the recovery was a bit arduous and extended and I have a  couple of other knackered parts that mean I have to exercise a bit of discretion. So chucking myself off a French Alp makes perfect sense. If you're bloody minded with a flagrant disregard for one's own physical well-being that is.

If losing weight is a side effect, great, plus I'd like to stop my chest's attempt at world domination in it's tracks if at all possible. I am Miss September in the 2013 Miss Unruly Norks Calendar at the moment.


Says she, chomping on a cracker smothered in black pepper Boursin...

(Edited because I can't add up)

*All opinions and comments made in this blog are mine and I am in no way affiliated with myfitnesspal or any other company*