Category Archives: Truth In Parenting

You Ever Seen A Cat In A Bikini?

Hands up if you’ve been a bit of a bloggy shitbag? A writing-wrong ‘un? A copy-dodger?

Yep. It’s safe to say that, when it comes to updating this here blog ‘n’ ting, I’ve been a gigantic douche. I’ve been rubbish. I’ve made excuses, I’ve totally blogged off. And for that, I’m really honestly very sorry.

It’s not like I haven’t been thinking of the blog though. In fact, a few weeks ago, I pretty much had my next online offering planned and perfected by way of the shenanigans that were my first ever family holiday. I mean, when it comes to the bleak, black comedy of my family life, a trip abroad with two ‘spirited’ toddlers was surely going to be ideal blog fodder, right? And really, it pretty much was. Yes, I was all set to tell you that, while the world, his wife and her right-royal highness were basking in the drizzly glow of British skies, bunting and a four day boozathon, me, my husband and our two kids turned our backs on Union Jack and his piss-wet Jubilee, headed to France and…

…drank wine that came from this fetid-looking tap in a wall, the fear of contracting typhoid totally trounced by way of the fact the booze cost just TWO EUROS A LITRE….

God Bless The French

…on a similarly grubby tip, bought sangria in an old lemonade bottle, from a stall at the side of the road….


…wrestled my daughter’s head free, after it became wedged in this here chair-back….

Where There’s Blame, There’s A Claim

…got a lot of mileage (pardon the pun) out of this comedy numberplate…

Good, Clean, Family Fun…

I was thinking of relaying the story about how, not even ten minutes into our three-hour journey to the airport, a can of de-icer went off in our boot and, already running late and not wanting to stop the car, I tried to convince my husband it was actually our kid making the weird hissing noise.

I was also considering mentioning the bit about my son yelling ‘WE’RE GOING DOWN’ as the plane began its descent, much to the absolute hilarity of the jittering wreck of a plane-o-phobe sat across the aisle from us. I would probably have then thrown in some kind of comment relating to the bizarre-but-oddly-compelling 10ft Sexy Cat statue in Toulouse airport and my 3 year-old son’s fascination with her kind-of-inappropriate-for-a-public-space, sticky outy nipples…

So, You Know How Everyone Thinks ‘Like, Cats Are OK, But Sometimes I Just WISH They Were Sexier’?…

…All before rounding-up with the at-the-time-quite-miserable-but-in-hindsight-ho-ho-ho-how-funny-are-my-anxiety-issues? tale of my ‘what the FUCK happened to my life?’ panic attack as I, my husband and various other parents with children too young to be left at the campsite’s kids’ club stood in the middle of a baking hot field, dicking about with two nonchalant holiday reps, a clutch of toddlers and a parachute whilst all internally asking ‘is 10am REALLY too early for a drink?’. I mean, I get it – you can’t leave your kids if they’re below a certain age. Fine. But please, beautiful Dutch reps with awesome tans and the BEST of your years ahead of you, can you not just take some pity on me and leave me to sit here on this scorced patch of campsite and read a book/catch some sun/swig neat Campari straight from the bottle while YOU work out the parachute game WITHOUT ME? Christ, if the ghost of holiday future had paid me a visit five years ago with that little vision – my 33-year old self, sweating over a swathe of mutli-coloured Early Learning Centre polyester while singing This Old Man – it’s more than likely I would have had my tubes tied on the spot…

Anywaaaaaay. Anyway. That was my plan. To chirpily tell you about the occasional lows, mainly highs of my trip. But then we got back. And the happy aura of a week on the continent kind of got its arse kicked the moment we arrived back in the UK. Yes the weather. And then normal, day-to-day life. And then me, being a bit of a cock-end and forgetting that whole ‘don’t dwell on the past, live in the moment’ bullshit I promised to abide by on New Year’s Eve. Because while holidays are lovely, that huge low I feel when they’re over sometimes makes me wonder if it’s a worthwile pay-off? 7 days in the sun in exchange for one month+ of feeling really, really sucky? It’s not ideal is it?

So. Yes. There you go. The more time passed, the more I struggled to get my shit together for long enough to write about my jollies.

If you have read this blog of mine before, you’ll probably have gathered that, while I like to look for the funny stuff in the crappy side of life, there are also times when the lift of a laugh doesn’t come. Having been pre-disposed to some pretty grizzly depression in the past, being a mum and all the emotions that come with that (well, the emotions that come with that for me, in my self-destructive, out-of-proportion mind) can mean there are moments or days or weeks when I find it almost impossible to shake that sense of gloom that likes nothing more than punching me in the knackers. Having been a huge fan of the benefits of meds in the past, more recently these little tablets of joy haven’t been doing it for me, so I have decided to deploy Plan B – a bit of therapy. Therapy. I hate that word. I think the connotations are of me being some sad, shaky wreck, seeking spiritual guidance from some kind of sentimental-spouting weirdo with a dead-gaze and manic smile. A bit like Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise maybe. But therapy is what it is. So there you go. A couple of months back, I swallowed the fear and got me some therapy.

Anyway, so far, so reassuring. Talking to someone experienced about the things that fuel my anxieties is hugely helpful, but so too is the way the lovely woman I visit gets me to look at stuff. She makes me realise that, while a lot of my low moods may be based on unwarranted fears, as standalone things they are real because they do, definitely make me worry. i.e. The way I think isn’t wrong or weird – it’s just the way the world works to me. For the first time, in a long time, rather than berating myself for the stuff I do/say/think, this whole concept of being allowed to regard things in my own way, rather than the way you’re supposed to look at them has been kind of liberating. Obviously this works well for the mum stuff – i.e. just because a lot of ladies love the mum-job, doesn’t mean I have to – but it also ties in nicely with other walks of life too. It sort of takes the fear away when it comes to saying or doing things that go against the grain.

Before this turns into some kind of crazy-fest, I’ll get to the point. Recently, I was talking to a friend about getting older and the weird shit you do* and we were joking about mid life crises. And then it struck me – what if a mid-life crisis is just that defiant part of you who thinks enough is enough, I’m sick of going along with things, I’m old enough to know what I want, I’m confident enough to pursue it. If that means digging my BMX out of the shed so I can bomb around my tiny village on it, so be it. That tattoo I quite fancy? Bring it. Those 90s dance compilations that I want to blast from the car when I have the luxury of a journey without the kids? Dario G – let’s DO THIS.

Full-time mum. Working mum. BMX. Bike-with-a-basket. Dario G. Darius. The top-line of this VERY long-winded entry is that I’m starting to realise the importance of going with what you want to do, rather than what you think you should do. It’s all good if it makes you happy.

And yes, sexy cat sculptor of Toulouse, that includes YOU**

* her: wear false eyelashes to work; me: dress like Jesy from Little Mix

**you mad bastard


If You Liked It Then You Should’ve Put A Ring On It

This time last year it’s not unreasonable to say the life I was living was pretty bloody stark. Devoid of any real purpose, I was bouncing from day to day, feeling like nobody understood me. That I was a misnomer. Lonely and stuck out in suburbia, my only real portal to the outside world was Facebook and that…well, in retrospect, that only really made things worse. Inane statuses updating me on an hourly basis about the bowel movements of the kid of this girl I used to sit next to in double maths (all of which were punctuated with a smiley-face emoticon (nobody get me started on emoticons )); LOLs for things that so did not deserve LOLs; photo after photo of an old media friend who’s now living the high life in Sydney, sipping mojitos with his unfeasibly HOT boyfriend and going to showbiz parties with Kylie – none of these things were good for any mind, especially one that had been left a bit fucked-over by no sleep, too much gin and a lingering concern over dicky pelvic floor muscles. I felt like an outsider. From posts about potty training; to wanky thumbs-up ‘likes’ for things that were neither funny nor interesting; to someone else’s carefree Antipodean lifestyle that only served to highlight how shit my existence of kettle descaling, arse wiping and Dairylea dunking was – this time last year, it’s fair to say, Facebook was bringing me down.

But then, out of the murky depths of despair shone a light. A glimmer of hope that slowly started to talk me round to thinking that maybe my anxieties about being different were unwarranted. That perhaps, just perhaps, an irrepressible potty-mouth, obsession with M&S cocktails in cans and, yes yes, a somewhat inappropriate fantasy about me and the boys from The Wanted AND One Direction stuck in a cable car over the Swiss Alps with only a Toblerone, bottle of brandy, and LOVE to keep us warm, were not solely exclusive to me.

That light, you good, good people of the internet, was Twitter.

Twitter. Gorgeous bloody Twitter. Having been dragged into a mad-ass suburban world with a vernacular peppered with phrases like ‘Pilates apparatus’, ‘engineered wood flooring’ and ‘charity barn dance’, Twitter was like a breath of fresh, sweary air. If the world of social networks was high school (go with me on this one) then Facebook was the goodie goodie superswot and Twitter was my fifth-form mate Erin Wilson. Erin Wilson snogged boys in the playground, had a ‘Set U Free’ tattoo as a tribute to the N-Trance song of the very same name and introduced me to the wonders of Sun-In and Silk Cut. Me being the girl who’d never put a foot wrong her whole school life, Erin Wilson was the much-needed naughty-but-nice in my life. She was the person who showed me that not everything had to be perfect and smell of fucking roses.

Fast forward ten years* and what Erin Wilson did for me then is exactly what the awesome people of Twitter do for me now. Twitter reassures me that not only is the way I think ok, it’s actually quite normal. Yes I swear. Yes, pretty much every Friday, from around 11am, I obsess over which Marks and Sparks ready-mixed tin of booze I’ll be buying for the train that evening. And no, I don’t have to talk with the twee kind of whimsy that some people think a woman in her mid-thirties with two kids, a Skoda estate and subscription to Good Food magazine should. All of the above? Perfectly acceptable. Because, you know what, girls are normal, and they’re bold and just because some out there obsess over the Boden catalogue as though it’s some kind of smiley-smiley, robo-woman guide to how ladies should dress (in pastel stripes. Vertical, obvs), behave (always laughing. At something in the distance, preferably) and live (in a beach hut), Twitter has shown me that it’s them who are in the minority. Real women do not fucking think like that. Real women swear, and find boys a decade younger than them fit. Real women are FUNNY. Now let me show you why…

About a week ago, following a drink with a friend, I tweeted this:

True story.

The response was a whole world of AWESOME. Replies that not only brought a smile to my tired little face, they actually made me laugh. As in proper LOLZ. And right now, here for you, are the highlights. For blogging purposes, I’ve tried to categorise them into The Food, The Med** and The Ugly***. Bitches, let’s DO THIS.

The Food

Don’t get me wrong, I like food. I love food. In the right circumstances, I’m like some kind of record-breaking, speed eater. Chuck a cheese counter my way and I’ll show you something quite, quite special. However, food in exchange for having just expelled an entire person from your muff? No, men, NO:

The Med(ical)

These responses fall largely into the category of ‘ways having a baby screws with your body’. Some are physical, some are emotional, all are way less fun than a Porsche. Broken biffs, colostomy bags and shattered dreams…sounds like the title of a Mike Leigh film, doesn’t it?

If only Hermes made colostomy bags…

The Ugly

For ugly, read: ‘rubbish’. Really rubbish. And actually quite ungrateful: Hello darling. You didn’t get drunk for 9 months. In fact, you drove me around for 9 months while I got drunk. You developed cankles. You cried because your wedding ring got stuck on your water-retentive fingers. You committed numerous selfless acts to procreate a little piece of me, and for that I am truly grateful…now here, have this shit ‘gift’.

The following ladies? I implore you to siphon off some hard cash from your joint bank account, bob down to Selfridges and piss it up the wall on selfish tat purely for you. Go. GO!

So there you go. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is not some snooty rule book or smug ‘how to’ guide to life. It’s a conversation. A confession. A little reassuring, non-judgmental, honest bunch of people saying ‘we’re in the same boat too’. Right now, hanging out in my laptop or kicking back in my mobile, are my kind of people. I’m sorry it took so long, but I found you in the end.

*ok. Twenty. TWENTY. Yeesh, what are you, my birth certificate?


*** I know, it’s a terrible pun. Big sozzes for that.

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A Break From The Bitching

So I could start this post with 40-odd excuses as to why I haven’t blogged in ages. AGES. Like, proper ages. The last time I blogged, a lot of stuff had not happened in the world that has now very much happened. The Kim Kardashian/Kanye West love-in was just a twinkle in Twitter’s eye. Samantha Brick and that terrifying French marksman she’s married to had not been invented yet. The “Where’s Me Keys, Where’s Me Phone” man off Britain’s Got Talent had yet to make it to the heady fame heights of a Simon Cowell half-bored, half-irritated eye-roll and was probably still sat at home, working on his other, often overlooked track “I Was Sure I Had A Tenner In My Wallet. No. Wait. I Think I Used It To Buy That Pasty At Lunch” (sure, it’s not as catchy as his BGT follow-up but if you can get hold of a copy on eBay, I think it could become a collector’s item one day). Where was I? Excuses. Yeah, what’s the point? What is the point in my lame excuses for not writing? For one, all 40-odd of them would largely be variations of “I’ve been really busy” and seriously, when addressing a bunch of people who are also “really busy”, is that going to wash? Is it hell. Do you ever get that? Do you ever get people saying to you “you know, I am SO busy” and whilst on the outside you nod and sympathetically smile and make little mewing noises of “poor you, you need to take it easy”, inside you’re shouting “busy? BUSY? Oh, you’re busy are you? BOO HOO, poor you, you can’t possibly be THAT busy because look at you, you’ve managed to find time to put mascara on both sets of lashes. BOTH. That kind of luxury I could only dream of. Not that I do dream, obviously, because I am so busy, I can only sleep in 30-minute, dream-free stints. Do you have any clue what busy means? I’m SO MUCH BUSIER THAN YOU”. Do you get that? Do you sometimes (always) genuinely believe you’re the busiest person EVER? Or the tiredest? No? Are you still reading? Shall I get my coat?

Um yeah. YEAH. Anyway. Busy. Working working working. Things are still going well. I’m enjoying the job and feel like my kids, husband and I have settled ok into the new routine. There are still moments when the big, dirty guilt-bombs drop  – usually when my son is asking me why I’m going to work AGAIN (but why mummy? Why? WhywhywhywhyWHY?) – and I suddenly find myself struck with an overwhelming panic that my selfish needs are effectively turning my children into woman-hating psychos, but the majority of the time, I successfully drop-kick these ‘am I doing the wrong thing?’ anxieties into oblivion – usually with some reminiscing about the good old days when I didn’t work and could often be found weeping over a pile of felt tip pens with their lids missing because my mental state was so screwed-up – and get on with it.

Guys, has anyone seen the lids? Guys? GUYS?

I won’t lie, having a job is tricky, but it’s not anywhere near as tricky as being with my children full-time and I’m pretty sure this was the right decision for me…much to the chagrin of some of the mums I know from round my way who seem genuinely disappointed when they ask me, again, how things are going and, again, I tell them things are going good. Take this conversation I had the other week:

How’s the job going?

Yeah, good thanks. I’m really enjoying it.

And how’s the commute?

Yeah, it’s fine. It doesn’t bother me to be honest, I quite enjoy it.



You must be tired though. Are you tired? It’s a long way to go. Are you tired?

Um, yes, I suppose but I’m always tired, working or not. Honestly, all in all, it’s going well thanks.

Well, the novelty will soon wear off I expect. I must say, going back to work isn’t something I’d consider doing just now, while the kids are so little.

And that was that. I was left stood there, feeling like a bit (a lot) of a twat while the mum in question sauntered off, smugly. Smug that she’d put me straight. Smug that she’d chucked some passive aggressive shit into the equation about me leaving my kids. Smug that she’d told me there’d be some point in the near future that the enjoyment of my job would wear off and I’d come to my wretched senses. Brilliant. BRILLIANT.

What a bitch.

Seriously, what a bitch. What a tactless, unnecessary thing to say. And of course, rather than taking the sensible route of shrugging off the comments, flicking the Vs at her as she drove off in her wanky car, and carrying on with just doing my own thing and not worrying too much about what other people (particularly people I hardly know and don’t especially want to know) think, I started to wind myself up about it all. Why are women sometimes so horrible to each other? Why do some feel this need to turn everything into a fricking contest over who’s doing the best in life? It drives me insane. This one time a while back, I was talking to one mum I knew (note the past tense) about food shopping (I know, I’m a right laugh, me) and happened to mention this farm shop I’d found that sold decent, cheap veg (stick with me on this one). It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t organic, I wasn’t applauding their fucking globe artichokes and hand-foraged truffles – in short, I had no hidden agenda, I was just passing on what I thought was a nice little tip about somewhere that sold cheap spuds. Big wow. Do you know what she fired back with?

“I’m quite happy with Tesco, thanks. Lucky for me, I’m not a food-snob”

No word of a lie, that is what she said. Somewhere in between coming out of my mouth and being processed by her ears, my thrifty (albeit mind-numbingly dull) chit-chat had somehow become:

“oi, Tesco twatface, my veg is better than yours”.

I’m so over it. I’m so over this competition. Life as a mum is hard. In fact, life is hard – mum or no mum-stuff – full stop. Everybody in the world knows this – it’s an actual fact – yet so many women refuse to acknowledge this to one another. And, yeah, I know that really it’s a case of taking the moral high ground, shrugging off the idiots and only hanging out with the people who make you smile rather than those who make you seethe but still, I’d like to make a little plea for a break from the bitching. It’s ok, I’m don’t want to cuddles or anything, I’m way too anxious and uptight for physical contact with strangers, but still, a smile and a little shared, sympathetic nod towards the tough stuff in life can go a long way.

Failing that, be nice to me and I’ll tell you where you can get a good deal on Maris Pipers. Yeah? YEAH! Come here, let’s hug this out.

Because The Term ‘Big Trunk’ IS FUNNY…

So, including the couple of weeks I did from home prior to venturing into the big, wide, often grubby but jam-packed with enough badass clothes and food shops to counteract any hygiene concerns, world of London, my one month trial as a full time worker is coming to an end. Yesterday, it was review time. Was my boss happy? Was I happy? Did I want to carry on?

No….I didn’t…..

Sorry. I don’t know why I did that. I’m just dicking with you. Of course I did. Of. Course. I. Bloody. Did. I’m having the time of my freaking life. And I’m really sorry because that might sound gloaty or showy-offy and I know, nobody likes a smart arse (yes, smug mum acquaintance who, after my request for hangover cures on Facebook, responded with ‘I’ve never had a hangover so I can’t help you on this one’ – THAT MEANS YOU) but if I tell you that, prior to coming back to work, I largely spent the previous two years crying, enduring 4am anxiety attacks and repeatedly berating myself for generally being shit at life, then hopefully me saying ‘actually, yeah, things are pretty good right now’ won’t make me seem like such a wanker.

So yeah, things really are pretty good right now. The job is ace, I work with a lovely, funny bunch of people – not one of whom has ever told me anything remotely passive aggressive about their kids and what they’re capable of – and as a result I am laughing a lot. Like, proper laughing where my face hurts, not manic laughing that has been instigated by my daughter rubbing yoghurt up the wall and, as a result of me being so exhausted, I can’t do what I want to do, which is cry, for fear of passing out (because obviously, me passing out = nobody to stop the kids getting those indelible ‘children’s’ paints out = another fucking wash to put on when I come round).

Where was I? Oh yes. So all good. Getting the work done, raising a lot of eyebrows (ok, raising BOTH eyebrows, that’s pretty much the maximum eyebrows any one person can raise) when anyone apologises for the heavy workload because seriously, compared to 6.30am-8pm of pure, unrelenting kids, a full-on day or writing and researching is genuinely a doddle in comparison, and feeling a whole lot better in myself and what I am capable of. Sure, I have guilt and there are still flashes of ‘my children, I have ABANDONED MY CHILDREN’ panic that run through my mind each day but I find I can usually stamp on these with a quick text to our lovely nanny to see how everyone’s getting on. Failing that, I just bob out to Urban Outfitters and look at pretty things until the worry dissipates (‘ooh, fake-vintage necklaces….Children? Eh? What?).

Anyway, chat with boss went well, I’ve signed up for another few months and hopefully many more will come after that. And, in celebration of this very news and of life generally picking up a bit, and in a kind of farewell to the stay-at-home mum in me, I thought what better way to remind me that I’m doing the right thing than with a little review of my SAHM cock-ups. The clangers. The bollocks I dropped. The opposite of highlights. Basically, the shit that happened when I was with my kids. I like to think of it as not totally dissimilar to the part in the Oscars where they show you a montage of who died and their work. Although obviously in this case nothing died. Except my soul, obviously, but I think I might have resuscitated that so dry your eyes and cancel the wreath. It was touch and go at one point, but soul hasn’t taken its last breath yet.

No. I’m not on drugs. Well, not illegal ones anyway. I’ll shut up now. Here are my motherly balls-ups:

After a particularly stressful day at home with the kids that had seen them throwing Whiskas around the kitchen, we had to then go to a bonfire party at the home of my husband’s boss. Through no fault of my own, and through every fault of the boss for having rosé wine when EVERYONE knows you should never EVER give a highly emotional woman with a screaming child on her hip rosé wine, I got drunk. About an hour into the party, I thought ‘sod this’ and, grabbing the nearest available stranger, handed them my baby, briefing them with the words “if her hands smell of fish, it’s because she’s been eating cat biscuits”. And off I fucked to get more wine.

Social Services In A Glass

Getting a serious, and somewhat inappropriate attack of the giggles at the local music class when, as part of ‘Africa Week’, the teacher encouraged the kids to join in with the words “come on kids! Dangle with me. We all like a big trunk don’t we?”

One Christmas, attempting to make my own mincemeat (don’t start), I had just bobbed in to Tesco Metro to buy a quarter bottle of whisky. Trying to channel my inner green goddess, I decided to say no to the plastic bag and just chucked the bottle in the nappy bag. Naturally, seeing as I apparently live in sitcom-world, who did I bump into just moments later, whiskey bottle sticking out of my nappy bag? That bitchfacesmuggysupermum who, just the day before, I’d been telling how fraught and desperate for a drink I was. ‘Hello alcoholic’ – that’s pretty much what her eyes said to me.

Scrambling around a church altar during a playgroup nativity service as my errant toddler, complete with bulging shitty nappy, took the opportunity of the diversion of every other child angelically singing Away In A Manger to leg it from me. There was a plus point to this, however – as we all filed out of the church, the hot vicar complimented me on my rugby tackle. Phwoarrrr, hot vicars totally dig a woman who knows how to floor a stinking 2 year old in a place of all that is holy. Get. IN.

Crying, in front of the kids, at Subo singing Both Sides Now on This Morning as they rubbed Sudocrem into my good coat. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? RIGHT?

Shit. Scary.

The moment when, as I was loading one kid into the car, my son decided to lean on the horn one morning after a particularly stressful playgroup that had witnessed me breastfeed my daughter CONTINUOUSLY for THREE FUCKING HOURS. This would not have been so bad if we weren’t parked up outside a church. Which we were. Or if there had not been a funeral taking place. Which there was. Or, had he not taken the precise moment the coffin was pulled from the hearse to start his honkathon. Which he totally did. My son heckled a corpse. Is it any wonder I quit full-time motherhood?

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Dirty Dancefloor

I have officially been working for over a week now. A WHOLE week. In my terms, that’s usually more than enough time for me to have loved something, grumbled about that same something, reconsidered it, got itchy feet and started planning my next move. I wouldn’t say I was fickle, more…ambitious?…ever in search of life’s challenges? Ah, fuck it, I’m fickle. However, in the case of this lovely job stuff, I haven’t for a minute thought ‘should I really be doing this?’ or written a pros versus cons list (I used to do that a LOT) because it has, just naturally, felt right. I hope that doesn’t sound smug. It’s really not meant to and if it makes any difference, I am shattered and a little bit missing the lazy mornings when the kids were at pre-school and I could watch 90210 under the pretence I was doing some terribly important research on teen surf boys and their abs (good teens, you know, like over 18 and allowed and stuff). But, BUT, on the whole the ‘feeling right’ thing and not spending a good part of my day questioning my existence and worth is quite nice. It’s really nice, actually. After generally being a bit incompetent at being a full time mother, it’s nice to remember there’s something out there that I’m not so shit at.

Anyway, wanky-wanky-my-fragile-soul-wah-wah-wah-you-have-heard-it-all-before rubbish out the way, here are some other things I have learned this last week:

The GAP near the office is open when I walk past in the morning. Ditto Urban Outfitters. This can only point to one thing and that thing starts with me building a collection of more jeans than any one person could ever need and ends with the kids having to wear clothes I’ve made. Speaking as someone who once used staples to mend a hole in her top, I think you’ll agree that that is more than a fair trade-off and my children are actually very lucky to have such an innovative, creative mother. Who will make them new clothes out of staples and plastic bags

That, although yes it is still dark outside each morning, the blackened windows of the train carriage act as an excellent mirror for when I’m putting on make-up

Eyeliner application and a moving train do not a happy combination make

In order to get out of the house in time each morning, I need to plan my outfit the night before. A bit like when it was out-of-uniform day at school only this time around, I’m trying to work the ‘young enough to get asked for ID’ look, as opposed to the ‘old enough to get served Hooch at Bargain Booze’ look

Binge Drinking: The Glory Years

There is a really fit guy who gets on my train two stops after me. I must make sure to apply my make up within two stops

Bob, the buy in the ticket office, is my new best friend. So far we have talked about the snow, made noises of derision at the guy on the bike in just his shorts and skinny top (Australian?) and discussed a couple of South West Trains’ policies – namely pricing. I’m a little fuzzy about the details but it ended in Bob suggesting I dress as a schoolgirl to get discount. I went and waited on the platform at that stage

There are more places of lunchtime glory near the office than any food obsessive/anxiety sufferer can stand. Today, I think I will go the whole hog and do a supermarket sweep style run around them all, piling noodles, superfood salads, gourmet burgers, falafel, low gi, high gi etc into my mouth as I go. That is genuinely the only answer to this dilemma

If I don’t bankrupt myself on jeans, I’m going to do it via lunch

Four years ago, a Thermos cup in public would have been the social death equivalent of doing a poo on a dancefloor (anyone?). Fast forward to today and I refuse to leave home without it. I still, however, would not crap on a dancefloor

Stand Tall, Stand Proud: My Insulated Capsule Of Geek Glee

A lot has changed in music since I was last working and I’m not talking about The Zingzillas. Lana Del Ray, Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks – I’ve heard these noises before but just presumed they were things young people said like ‘tings’, ‘bare’ and ‘you messing around in the wrong manor, blud?’ (no?). Turns out they’re actually real people what make songs. To get up to speed, this weekend I will mainly be watching a lot of YouTube

Either the lighting in the loo at work is really bad or I need to wear a lot more makeup

In my efforts to outwit a similarly apostrophe-obsessed, punctuation-enforcer, I have discovered a website called Oh yeah, it’s like ASOS but better because it teaches you about adjuncts and doesn’t make you feel fat

My Kind Of Woman

While four years may have stripped me of any current musical knowledge, it seems time, and the mum thing, has taught me a lot of good stuff in return. Namely:

I don’t hang around. Having had to master the art of dressing and feeding two toddlers, sorting my own pallid face out to make it bearable for the good, good people of the outside world, make two reasonably decent lunch boxes AND leave myself five minutes to watch, then grumble, about Lorraine Kelly on morning telly, all in the space of 45 minutes means my mode is very much permanently switched to ‘time is of the essence, hurry the fuck up’. This, teamed with an occasional fall off the caffeine wagon into a double espresso, has made me quite productive within limited time scales. Handy when trying to knock up a 4-page pitch document within the space of a train journey

I can deal with noise. The radio, over zealous banter from very typical telly people who should be on stage not behind a desk, 16 different conversations going in, around and across me and the guy from IT talking me through the ins and outs of the intranet? It’s fine. I can concentrate. In fact, compared to Upsy Daisy and that ffffffucking trumpet, it’s like Enya’s whispering her harmonic sweet nothings as I work

Whilst still very much doubting my ability etc etc blah blah blah, I’ve also returned to the workplace with far less fear and much more of a ‘let’s have it’ attitude than I had pre-children. I imagine that is because nothing could be as shit-scary as raising children. NOTHING

Have a great weekend y’all.


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For The Love Of Cher, What Have I Done?

So, Thursday is IT. The big day. This week, after almost 4 years of being a stay at home mum, I am going back to work. Like, WORK work. In exchange for money, in an office, with a commute and an expectation to produce stuff other than Play-Doh-dog-poo and four-letter words with the alphabetti-spaghetti. And you know, it’s a good job I’m naturally such a laid-back, whatever-will-be-will-be, kind of person, otherwise I’d be totally crapping it right now.

Alright. I’m totally crapping it right now.

Anyway, in honour of my angst and all-round obsessive, anxious nature, and to explain the mad-ass run of emotions having a house party in my head, I’ve created a little pie chart. Would you like to see it? Would you? No. WAIT. Don’t make that snoring sound. See it. It’s got colours and everything. Go on, give the pie chart a chance…

For The Love Of Cher, What Have I Done?

Firstly, can I point out that the Cher to whom I refer is Cher-Cher. The Cher. The one who straddles cannons in her knickers and once closed a show by riding on stage atop a life-size papier mache elephant. Not X Factor boo-hoo-er and jagger of the swagger, Cher Lloyd.

Secondly, as the big slab of red pie suggests, What Have I Done is definitely my overriding emotion. A real sense of what the FREAK am I thinking? It’s a lovely little combo of worry, fear and confidence issues, all of which join forces and like nothing more than to wake me up at 3am, asking me a gazillion different questions. Will the kids be ok? Can you manage the commute? What about the work? It has been FOUR YEARS Abby, can you do it? Do you think maybe your employers made a mistake? Hey? Do you? Do you? Oi Abby, take the pillow off your head, WE’RE TALKING TO YOU.

The kid stuff, I try to reassure myself by thinking of the pros. The weekends that will be more fun because I’m not so stressed or frustrated or plain depressed. That their dad will be spending more time with them. That I will still get to see them every night and that the time I am with them, I will appreciate more. And hopefully, that they will appreciate me a bit more because right now, as things stand, the days we are spending together are getting increasingly stressful for all of us. Is it bad to say that? I think it might be. I just find it hard to hide my emotions and when those emotions revolve around me being so bloody bored and miserable, the kids respond by getting equally pissed-off. We need this time apart so that the periods we do have together are more fulfilling and enjoyable. I’m aware this all probably sounds quite mean and selfish and completely un-maternal but all of the above is not meant to suggest I won’t miss them, because I will, a lot, and that’s another corner from which a worry creeps.

Then there is the work itself. For anyone who ever had any long-lasting doubts as to the validity of their achievements, you need to read about Imposter Syndrome because it seems it could be an actual bloody condition. Right, I know this sounds a bit bollocky but a friend put me on to it and reading the details made me go all shivery with recognition:

“The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalise their accomplishments….despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others”

Seriously, Wikipedia may as well have just put a photo of me with this piece (a nice Instagram one. With a sepia tint and red-eye reduction) because this is how I feel EVERY SHITTING DAY. That I’m going to be found out. That people have got me wrong. That any praise I get is because people feel sorry for me. That any success is a fluke. Yada-yada-does-this-make-me-mental-are-you-backing-away-slowly-making-excuses-about-having-left-the-oven-on-just-so-you-can-escape? So yeah, another worry is that I’m going to go to work, get in a meeting and the only impact I’m going to make to my new colleagues is that of a mis-hired, bungling goon. My writing? They’ll think it’s shit. My ideas? Laughable. You know that time Alan Partridge pitched his ideas of Inner-City Sumo, Cooking In Prison and Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank to the guy from the BBC? That’s how I imagine my first day will be. Me clamorouring for good, witty, intelligent ideas and instead shouting out a load of random words.

You know what, I’m even getting on my own nerves now. Let’s move on to the next one.

What To Wear

Moving seemlessly from borderline emotional disorders to clothes. A bit like the time I was on LK Today and they preceded an ‘in-depth’ talk about body issues with Kool and The Gang miming Celebration. Or like when Pip Schofield interviews a domestic abuse victim on This Morning then moves swiftly on to a feature about swiss rolls. I’m digressing. Anyway, you know, for anyone starting a new job, officewear is an important matter. And of course, an always-welcome excuse to go shopping. So yesterday, that’s what I did. What you need to know is that I’m re-entering the world of telly. A realm that, from what I remember, is populated by people who look like T4 presenters. Boys who look like younger, less drug-ravaged Pete Dochertys and girls who rock the dress-down look in a way I never could. Their version of festival chic channels the likes of Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. Mine takes inspiration from Charlie Dimmock and Mr Bloom. Yep, if memory serves right, my colleagues are going to be a good decade younger than me and at least 3 stone lighter (probably following a tapeworm they picked up whilst travelling around India over Christmas) and was with this notion in mind that I hit the high street. Thankfully, the one thing my age-cultivated wisdom told me was that while the high street offers a treasure trest of fashion wonder, it also tells lies. Yesterday, the fibbing little shitbag tried to convince me that the Kat-Slater-does-Hammertime look was very much the one for me. It wasn’t. Nor were the Little-Mix-esque patterned leggings or the sequinned knickers. Ha to you, high street, HA. I may be emotionally wonky but I’m not blind. Instead of all of the above (and a whole lot more – neon bandage dresses? is that a wind-up?) I took my chances and purchased an AMAZING pair of coloured jeans and badass top to match. Something a little bit different from what I’ve been wearing the past 4 years (bobbly leggings and a hoodie) will surely help get my worky, creative juices going?

Not a joke. Not part of a Mel B fancy dress pack. Actual clothes.

Ooh, Lunch

This could easily have been titled Ooh, Pret. I love Pret. I love food. I love lunch. I also love choice and where I live now, in the middle of nowhere, you’re lucky to find much else in the way of takeaway food outside the culinary confines of a ham roll. Dairylea Lunchables have to be shipped in from the north round our way. A pasta salad? Are you out of your mind? Um. Anywaaaay, the promise of almost unlimited lunch options in lovely London town where I will mostly be based is something that cheers me right up. Add into that the factor of being able to eat said lunch in peace with nobody asking me to wipe their arse or put Jim, Jam and Sunny on the fucking ipad for the fifteenth fucking time that day is a veritable dream. I’m sorry for saying fucking so much in that last sentence, it’s just I’ve seen Jim, Jam and Sunny do their wigglewigglewiggle dance 876 times and the resulting emotional paralysis has affected the bit of my brain that stops me using the F word.

Giddy Excitement

While the worry and the panic does take precedence in my little ginger head, the excitement does very much come a close second. I’m thrilled to be going back to work for a company that I genuinely admire, with people I know will inspire me and in a role that I would have never in a million years expected to be in when I was fresh out of uni and wondering what the mothership to do with my life. I am excited about using my brain. About earning money. About feeling worthwhile rather than worthless (my own failing-as-a-mum issues, not how I think ANY stay at home mother should feel, EVER) and about taking this next step in my life – a life that, while full of achivements in the sense of ‘I made two people and kept them alive’, has kind of felt on hold the past few years. My children will always, absolutely take priority – always – but the idea of devoting a bit of time now to the woman I used to be is the biggest thrill of all. I just hope she’s still around. I hope she has waited for me.

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Olive Sucker. Shouter. Dishwasher Bitch

Man, you bloggers out there, you’re so GOOD. Not only do you write well, you write often. Power cut, earthquake, Dont Tell The Bride marathon on BBC3 – I bet there’s not a household crisis, natural disaster or the distraction of an enraged woman in a white dress screaming “what the FUCK am I doing at Thorpe Park on my FUCKING wedding day?” that would stop you from writing your posts-of-glory on at least a weekly basis. Usually more.

I, on the other hand, seem to be starting more and more blogs with lame sorry I’m late-type apologies, despite not knowing if anyone could really give a flying shitbag anyway as to when my next rant was coming or how long it had been before I last bleated on about getting tanked up on boozy Vimto / Peter Stringfellow’s motorbike / KirstiefuckingAllsopp. But you know what, if it helps or matters or makes anyone feel even a little bit better, I have had a mega week from dilemma-hell with a lot to think about, fret over and use as an excuse to cry about. Here’s what happened…

Right. Tuesday, I went on a train. This might not sound like a big deal but let me explain three things about this train:

1) It did not have a smiley face on the front of it, nor was it plugged into the wall outside Tesco. This train did not involve me putting 20p in a slot for 3 minutes of underwhelming entertainment
2) It was a proper bloody train. More importantly, my children were not on this proper bloody train
3) It was taking me to London. To London to talk to someone about me going back to work

Thomas The Tank Engine's tranny cousin. The one nobody talks about.

Pretty fricking exciting. And then terrifying. Because it’s me and for every good thing there has to be a good three or four or fifty bad things. But I’ll go into that in a bit. Wahoo! I just promised you some upcoming gloom and anxiety, don’t say I don’t treat you right, bitches.

Anyway. The good stuff

Two hours on a train. It was amazing. I had my coffee, I had my computer jacked up to the hilt with sitcoms (for research purposes, you understand), I had my book, I had clothes on that neither smelled of shit nor had any dubious is-it-yoghurt-is-it-spunk? stains on (NOTE: that question is always posed by the onlooker. I know it is ALWAYS going to be yoghurt). The only concern I had about these two hours would that they would not be enough to do all the exciting stuff like reading, eating and sleeping that I had planned. What I also dug about this trip was the distinct shift in my role and identity for the day. To the untrained eyes of the commuters sat around me, they didn’t know me for being a mum and that felt amazing. The incident the night before where, having dealt with an angry, constipated kid all day, I’d found myself involved in some kind of deranged, grotesque horror-movie waterbirth where, to a chant of ‘come on, come on, you can do it’ my daughter had crapped directly into my hands – my fellow passengers knew nothing about that. That I had sat sobbing in a car park the other week whilst frantically sucking the red pimento bit out of a tub of olives because it was the only way to placate a screaming toddler who loves olives but hates pimento? Yeah, they didn’t know about that either. Nor were they aware of my meltdown when, just moments later, I’d had to fill out the ‘occupation’ part of a form and written ‘Olive Sucker. Shouter. Dishwasher Bitch’. To them, I was part of their gang – just another person, on a train, on their way to work. To me, this train journey was a lovely little reminder of what I used to be (and maybe of what I still actually am, given half a chance) and I liked it. I felt free.

Well, free right up until the moment that the bitch who lives inside me and likes nothing more than punching my positivity square in the face pitched up. And promptly tried to shit me up.

First came the panic about the kids. I hadn’t left them in the car or anything – they were with their dad – but then I started thinking about exactly what that meant. For one, my husband had seemingly channelled ‘off-duty lapdancer’ as his inspiration for dressing our daughter that morning. Secondly, the last thing I’d seen as I left the house was him – and this is 100% actual truth – stood at one end of the kitchen, lobbing loose grapes and jelly babies into the kids’ lunch boxes at the other end of the kitchen. ‘My GOD’ I thought ‘nobody will ever look after my children as well as I do, what the hell am I thinking? I can’t go back to work’.

And that brings me to childcare. When I’ve had a bad day and I’m calling my husband at work, weeping ‘she just brushed her teeth with my FUCKING Beauty Flash Balm. I can’t do this anymore’ down the phone at him, I tell myself I couldn’t give a hoot who looks after the kids. My husband; an unqualified, slaggy au pair with a sex addiction; an affable chimp with a basic grasp of communicative grunts – a lot of the time, I’d happily hand them over to any one of these. However, this day, on the train, with the guilt of momentarily enjoying some time on my own weighing heavy on my selfish shoulders, I started to brick it. What would I do about childcare? Like sure, there are nannies and childminders and pre-schools but, after three years as a stay at home mum, would any outside influence just make my children hate me? You know, like, even more than normal?

Alright, kids? I'm your new mummy

These disproportionate feelings of guilt and fear of doing the wrong thing by my kids and my role as a mother probably aren’t helped so much by the fact I live in a village where 97% of families are run by stay at home mums (I totally made that statistic up but you get my point). Women who wouldn’t dream of working and who rank me with my vague career aspirations somewhere between King Herod and that woman who bought her daughter a boob job for her 7th birthday on the ‘who’s the shittest parent?’ scale. I made the mistake of mentioning the whole job/London thing to a local mum at a toddler group before voicing my worries and fears in a misjudged search for some reassurance. Tilting her head to one side and scrunching up her nose, she reacted with ‘ooh, I know, it can be frustrating sometimes but they’re only really teeny-tiny and you do have to think of the kids first’. Think of the kids? Think of the fucking kids? That is all I have done for the past 3 years and all I still do now. I think of them every waking moment. I lie wide-eyed at 2am, crapping myself about stuff I do and how it affects them and yes, I know a kid is for life, not just for a year or three but sweet Jesus, I’m not suggesting I sell them to someone on Gumtree, I just want more from life. I WANT MORE.

Her hand is MASSIVE

Anywaaaaay. Anyway. There was that. And then there was the job itself. A really, really brilliant job with an amazing company, doing something I would love. Like actually, properly L-O-V-E. But whether I could do it was another issue. Three years out off work can do a lot to your confidence and while I’ve been doing little bits and pieces of writing and stuff on a freelance basis for the last few months, this has all been done remotely from a hidden corner in my local Caffe Nero. It didn’t involve an office, colleagues or the daily pressure of earning money by creating work that a lot of other people then have to like. It felt like I was kidding these potential employers. And kind of like I was kidding myself. Despite having a really lovely meeting, I left their offices feeling like a big, fat fraud. Who did I think I was? I wasn’t the woman I used to be. Time had changed. I had responsibilities and priorities that top-trumped anything I wanted to do. Returning to work was never going to happen and I was a massive prick for even thinking for a second or two that I could somehow pull it off.

So, with all of the above and a whole lot more running rampage in my head, I turned the job, with the brilliant company, working with brilliant people, down.

And they came back to me and told me to think about it.

So I thought about it and went back with another polite, somewhat apologetic no thank you.

And they suggested I have one last think about it.

And that is exactly what I did. And by ‘think’ what I could easily have said is that, between the hours of 8pm and 10pm last Wednesday night, I turned my life into a big, ridiculous, all-wailing, all-hating drama. A bit like Eastenders but with added doom. Eastenders at Christmas, say. Honestly, it was full-on. I cried, I got snotty, I told my husband it was all very well him saying to go for it, he was ’emotionally devoid’ when it came to our kids (sorry John). And then, after two hours of me being a bit of a wanker with no perspective as to what constitutes a real problem, things went quiet and a new thought fought its way into my head.

What if I did take the job?

What if I just stopped cocking about and gave it a go? What if, I figured out the childcare, sucked up my issues, tucked them away into a little corner in my brain and let them fight amongst themselves for a bit. And then all the other good stuff came flooding back. That this could be an amazing chance to prove myself, to myself. That yes, it would be tricky on so many levels, but maybe a chance to reaffirm the shit I am good at, rather than spend all day berating myself for the things I am bad at could really kick what has been, and kind of still is, a really stubborn bout of depression into touch. And you know, as much as the idea of doing this is scary, there was one overwhelming thing that terrified me far, far more – the thought of not doing it.

Holy crapbags Batman, I think I’m going back to work.


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Watch Your Back 2012, I’m Coming For You

“YEEHA-Mexican-Wave-Let’s-Smash-It-UP! It’s 2012! Year Of The Olympics! Year Of The Dragon! The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee! Let’s have it. No, seriously, I’m totally cool with this. LET. US. HAVE. IT”

So that was me on New Year’s Eve. I’d drunk enough vodka and fizzy Vimto to get over the pretty depressing fact that a) we were watching TV’s 50 Greatest Magic Tricks on a night when every other fricker we knew was at a party, having actual, proper fun that didn’t involve Debbie McGee and b) the other TV viewing alternative for such a momentous event as the beginning of a whole new year was The Cube. The bloody Cube. A show that sends shooting pains of angst through my very core. There’s just something about that spooky mask woman who demonstrates the games and the stern voiceover and the floaty graphics-in-space that Pip Schofield makes the contestants pretend they can see that leave my already frazzled nerves shot completely to shit.

Are you ready for The Cube? Not with that creepy bitch in it, Phillip, no.

Anyway. Digressing. What I’m saying here is, for a short while, largely because of alcoholic Vimto and the fact my kids had finally gone to bed, I was totally up for 2012. After what had been a pretty rotten year, I kind of welcomed the start of something new because new = exciting, yes?

Well. Yes. And no. Because new also = the unknown. And the unknown? Well, for anyone of a vaguely wobbly emotional disposition (ooh, that’s me! *eagerly puts hand up and shouts ME! ME!* *realises a wobbly emotional disposition isn’t actually such a good thing, puts had down, looks sideways to check nobody saw that*) the unknown can be a bit terrifying. One minute I’m a big fat mass of giddy motivation and positive enthusiasm – essentially, a walking, talking exclamation mark – ‘YEAH! 2012! So many goals I’m going to achieve, let’s DO THIS’. The next minute? I get the energy-crash of the ‘what ifs’. What if I my daughter doesn’t adjust to pre-school? I won’t have time to do half the things I have planned. What if I do find the time and what I then do is rubbish? What if that dirty black dog that has been known to piss on my happy parade scuppers the whole motivation thing? What if I get so tangled up in my 2012 to-do list that my brain gets overloaded, I can’t figure out what to do first so I just end up spending my childfree hours mumbling incoherently at daytime re-runs of Diagnosis Murder and Escape To The Bloody Country until its time to pick the kids up? THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

Call it the sobering-up process. Call it Sandie Shaw in her hotpants on Hootenanny looking like Jessie J’s mother. Call it the sneaky side of my brain that acts like it’s trying to help me with its words of ‘advice’ but is actually just trying to screw things up (a bit like the time this girl at school suggested I’d look good with a perm when really she just wanted to get off with this boy we both liked who, it transpired, was very much not into the whole ginger-Anita-Dobson look). My mood switched. Something was trying to smack-down my zest for the oncoming year and I had to act fast.

How I imagine Hilary off Dragon's Den to look on a karaoke night down the pub

So, pissed-up, emotional and with a good two litres of full-fat Vimto-sugar coursing through me, I wrote a list. I won’t say resolutions because, let’s face it, the second you mention the R-word, people tend to roll their eyes, smirk and look at you with a smug combo of condescension and ‘bullshit!’ glinting in their eyes. Instead, it’s more of a list of stuff I intend to face up to or knuckle down and do before the year is out. 12 months to feel the fear then do it anyway. A bit like a Bucket List that doesn’t involve me dying at the end. A Fuck-It list, if you like:

Finally turn that sitcom idea I have in my head into an actual script. This will involve me a)not wetting myself with worry that it’ll be dreadful and people will laugh at me, rather than at what I write and b) in the name of research (no, HONESTLY), watching so much comedy, it seeps into my eyes, infiltrates my brain then falls out of my ears (jesus, you’d have thought I was on acid, not vodka)

Do everything I can to stop dwelling on stuff from the past, stop panicking about what could happen in the future and just go all buddhist on my outlook and live in the now (it’s ok, if that’s a bit new-age and wanky for you, the next one should sort that out)

Get someone famous to follow me on Twitter – Gino DiCampo? Barry Chuckle? One of Same Difference? I could not give a hoot who it is. I’m not picky, I just want someone who is/was once on telly once to be in my followers list. Is that too much (read: too shallow) to ask?

Get some official exercise because 1) it helps with the depression thing and 2)I’ve a bridesmaid dress to get into for my sister’s wedding in September and I want to pull a Pippa Middleton out the bag for it. Zoe – if you’re reading – that’s a joke. Everyone else – that’s so not a joke, I want to look hotter than my sister on the biggest day of her life, is that really SO wrong? Is it? Is IT? It is? Oh.
Note: Attempting to pull some BodyRockers Shufflin’ moves in front of the Viva channel on a Saturday night does not count as official exercise

Should the exercise thing not work out, wear M&S magic knickers every day and night until my body learns to stay that shape without the aid of reinforced control-lycra

Failing that, just do that diet where you chew food up then spit it in the bin because, you know, that’s healthy. I think maybe Geri Halliwell got skinny that way? Or was it Liz Hurley?

Learn to take criticism well and look at is as a positive and constructive means of improving myself. If that isn’t possible, learn to FAKE taking criticism well, whilst inside thinking ‘this person has no idea what they’re talking about. I am right, they are wrong’

Give Zumba a go. Solely to prove the point that not everyone likes it.

And finally…..(it’s quite profound this one, steady yourselves)

Accept the fact that cleaning products from the 99p shop will NEVER tackle limescale in the same way as Viakal. In the words of the great Status Quo, ‘you pay your money, you take your choice’ – never a truer word spoken when it comes to cheap bathroom cleaners

It’s not a long list by any means but hopefully that’s a good thing in the sense of making it more achievable. Of course, the 99p shop thing will be a stretch because, you know, they’re very clever. They know how to make the labels on some random bleachy stuff look like proper Cif from a distance so I’ll have to watch out for that one but otherwise, I’m feeling pretty hopeful.

Anyway, I’d love to stay and chat but I’d best crack on. I’ve got a boxset of 30 Rock to get through and a pair of control pants to wrestle my arse into. Look, you can’t argue with the Fuck-It list


P.S. I’m not sponsored by Vimto. I’m from the north – I just really like Vimto. It’s akin to the whole Scottish/Irn Bru thing. Is that racist? I hope not. Most of my friends are Scottish. That’s not actually true, I have no Scottish friends but that’s not a conscious choice, it’s more of a geographical thing. Shall I stop talking now? Yes? Ok. Bye then…Big-up the Scots. Etc.

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Mistletoe and Whine

Bollocks. Sorry. I haven’t written in ages. In my defence, I’ve had work on (like, actual, paying work, HIGH FIVE!) and then, you know, it’s coming up for Christmas and we’ve all been ill and my husband has been working late and then, well, my dog ate my homework and I’ve got my period so my mum says I can’t do swimming today. I’ve got a note somewhere. What do you mean that looks like my writing? It’s totally my mum’s…

Anyway. If it’s any consolation, I’ve been feeling bad and generally a bit panicky about the whole lack of blogging thing. I’ve bored my husband to tears with my guilt. Wah-wah-wah, I haven’t done the blog in AGES and he’s all ‘Abby, it’ll be fine, chill out, it’s no big deal, let’s talk about it later’ and then I’m all ‘that’s typical of you, we never talk anymore, are you having an affair, is that what this is all about?’ and then he’s like ‘it’s 4am, please stop talking’. He’s quite selfish like that my husband….

But yeah. Working. Whoop whoop. That’s nice. Nice to earn a bit of money and use my brain and have conversations with people that don’t end in ‘and then she crapped in the bath. I’d only cleaned it five minutes earlier, what a waste of Cillit Bang’. All good.

What’s not so good is the fact I work for myself, from home. Sure, it’s flexible and I’m my own boss and sometimes, when I’m tapping away on the laptop, I like to smoke a pen, diffuse my hair and pretend I’m Carrie Bradshaw but you know, it has its downsides too, especially at Christmas. In fact,  I’d say this is probably the worse time of year to work on your todd, namely because you totally miss out on all the good shizzle that goes with working in an office over the festive season.

For one, there’s no office party. Or, more specifically, no festive buffet action. Let’s get this straight – I ROCK a buffet. I’m from the north-west, buffets are in my blood. It’s what we do*. Cold pork pies, soft Wotsits, curly sandwiches – these are the very essence of my soul, not to mention the foundations on which all good office Christmas dos are built. Yet what do I get? Nothing. Not a sniff of a vol-au-vent, no hint of a prawn ring. My booby prize is a quick mine-sweep of fish finger scraps and burnt oven chips from my kids’ plates after tea-time and frankly, that’s shit.

Instructions: Defrost prawns under the hot tap; keep sauce in the plastic pot; serve. Right nice.

There are of course some people who will say ‘ooh, well, no Christmas party, no hangover’. And to that I reply – ‘have we ever met?’ Who needs a party – I’ll drink to anything. Getting free delivery from Asda online; discovering they sell coconut milk at the 99p shop**; having a coil fitted – these have all been known to give me a reason to pour a big, fat glass of booze come 6 o’ clock. Hell, my kids have a hide and seek toy that says ‘let’s celebrate’ when you find it. ‘You don’t need to ask me twice’, I’ll often respond as I pull the gin out the cupboard. Give me some mulled wine and Olly Murs’ Ye Olde Christmas Carols on VIVA and I’ll gladly get as pissed as the best of them. And as hungover. Which brings me to the next sucky thing about the whole stay-at-home-mum at Christmas business.

Hangovers. When you work in an office, yes, it’s a bit rubbish having to go in with a cracking hangover but at least there’s always someone in some nearby canteen that’s going to fry up the necessary lard-arsed carb-fest you’re going to need to get you through the day. At home? That person is you and a dirty great bacon bap isn’t the same when you’ve had to cook it yourself inbetween waves of nausea and to a backdrop of Peppa Pig’s Madame Gazelle singing that fucking bingly-bongly-boo song. Plus, PLUS, with a hangover, there’s not even a minute of respite from the usual day-to-day child-rearing, home-making bollocks, is there? You’ve just got to get on with it. Not like when I worked in an office and one of my greatest tricks when suffering from the consequences of a session the night before, was to tell people I was off to a meeting, set the alarm on my phone for an hour later and go and have a sleep on the floor of the disabled toilet. You know, kind of like how a tramp would.

But then, you know, t’is the season to be thankful and all, so while yes, I do totally miss these things, I’ll quit it with the grumpy old woman act for a second, hold my hands up and say there are some nice things about living in Stepford come Christmas time. The lovely man who grows a beard each year especially to play Santa for the local kids; my amazing butcher who never seems to tire of my stuffing and chipolata-based innuendo and the annual tree-lighting service in our village. Sure, it involves a bit of religious stuff and some proper carols rather than the Slade-fest I’d usually opt for but the local committee also provide free booze for everyone who comes along. Free. Booze. Amazing. Although if maybe I hadn’t got quite so delirious with excitement over the prospect of complimentary alcohol, I wouldn’t have sank those three mugs of badass mulled wine quite so fast and could have probably avoided going on to heckle the Salvation Army band as they played to the crowd. As it happens, no, they don’t know the Cheeky Girls’ Have A Cheeky Christmas and yes, in hindsight, it probably would have been better if I’d saved my own, personal rendition for when I got home.

Man alive, I really need to get a proper job in 2012.

Santa touching up the Cheeky Girls - that's the true meaning of Christmas right there

* years ago, I had a summer job at my local  M&S and always remember the manager telling me that, of all the Marks and Spencers across the land, the Stockport branch sold the most meat paste – proof right there, doubters

**have you seen what Tesco charges for coconut milk these days? That and butter. I get very Daily Mail about it. Tesco are playing us like fools. FOOLS

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Where There’s Fame There’s A Claim

Like, OMG. WTF. Totes shitballs. I’m one of those women aren’t I? One of those women I bitch about. Who spends her whole life talking about her kids. Well, her whole blog anyway. I’m spending my whole blog talking about my kids. Not that my blog is my life you understand. Hell no. I mean, I have LOADS of other stuff going on outside of the blog thing. Like. Well. Um. Desperate Scousewives on Sky+. My daily Groupon email. Learning to talk ‘street’ (see above). I mean, jesus, I’ve got an appointment with the dental hygienist later. Fullofloadsofexcitingstuff, that’s my life for you.

I’m lying, of course. My life may be full. But of terribly exciting stuff? Not so much. The dental hygienist? Despite me resenting the fact she speaks to me like an 8 year old** and my deep-seated fear of dental floss, I’m actually quite looking forward to my appointment because it means half an hour out of the house and a chance to read the waiting room copy of Grazia. Life wasn’t always so lacklustre though. Shall I tell you my claims to fame? Shall I? (if you’re shouting ‘NO’ at your computer, you should probably stop reading now). Ye-ah boyee. Kid free and all about me, fill yo’ boots:

  • After helping out at The Soap Awards one year (a career high never to be equalled) I challenged Ben Freeman of then-Emmerdale fame to help me start a fight between The Dales and Coronation Street. He seemed up for it but wouldn’t swing the first punch so I think maybe he was just humouring me. At the same party, the man who used to play Mr Cunningham in Hollyoaks (anyone?) climbed onto a speaker and, to a backdrop of Starlight by Supermen Lovers (again, anyone?), took off all his clothes and thrust the bit that most men like to thrust when they are 100% naked until security had to forceably remove him

Mr Cunningham. This man's genitals will stay with me til the day I die. Not literally, of course. That'd be weird

  • I once posed in a women’s magazine with no clothes on. It was an article about body issues, was tastefully done and motivated by the sole fact I got fifty quid for it. Because of this, I then appeared on GMTV with daytime TV’s queen of condescension, Lorraine Kelly, who conducted an in-depth discussion with me and a plus-size model on body dysmorphia. I like to think the fact our chat only lasted 5 minutes and was preceded by a performance of Celebration by Kool and the Gang didn’t deter from the seriousness of the subject…
  • I used to write mucky sex stories for a national magazine. You know those ‘and then he put his spanner down and shagged me up against the dishwasher’ real-life confessions? Very much not real. Ditto the letters page
  • I once gave Pat Sharp an antihistamine and then took that as an open invitation from him to me to go on a massive rant about how much I hated Dr Fox. Shortly after I rounded up my ten-minute diatribe with ‘I mean, he’s not even a real doctor’, Pat Sharp revealed that while Dr Fox may indeed not be a qualified member of the medical profession, he was in fact his daughter’s godfather
  • For whatever reason, most probably as a result of me lying my face off, I once ended up on some PR lists as the editor of the magazine I worked on, rather than the lowly editorial assistant I actually was. As a result of my bullshitting, I got invited to the re-launch of Stringfellows and, after drinking a lot of free wine, me and my mate ended up sat atop a motorbike with Stringy himself. ‘Come on girls, mount the Harley’ he said. No word of a lie, that’s what Peter Stringfellow actually said. FUCK. ING. AWESOME.

If loving him is wrong, I don't want to be right

Of course, based on the Stepford circles I find myself moving in these days, I’m not really meant to admit all of the above and, even if I do, it’s supposed to be done in an ironic-roll-the-eyes-‘ha-I-used-to-think-this-kind-of-shit-meant-something’ way, whilst simultaneously professing my spiritual awakening to the really important stuff in life. Like, you know, Boden, pilates, PTA committee meetings… If truth be told though, just like X Factor, Beyonce’s bumpwatch and Teen Mom on MTV, I love the trashy stuff today as much as I did pre-kids and nothing gets me more giddy than another person’s tale of a time they met a celebrity. That’s your cue – dish it. Give me gossip. The grubbier, the better.

**Hygienist: So now I’ve shown you how to brush properly, we’ll all be happy bunnies at the next appointment, yeah?

Me: #looking behind me for the toddler I presume she’s addressing# Sorry?

H: YEAH! Cool bananas! #goes to high five me#

M: Can we not do that please

P.S. I’m tucking it down the bottom because I feel a bit of a knob about it and everything but I’m now on Twitter. I don’t know if it’s the website for me, I’m not convinced it’ll catch on…Anyway, should you be also on Twitter and would like to make an old woman happy, give me a little tickle or whatever it is they call it. A twickle? I have no idea.!/upyoursginaford

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