Monday, 25 May 2015

Elie the missing Elephant

Elie was bought for Scarlett when she was born.
But 'she' hasn't seen for over a month and this is causing much angst, particularly when the day has been long and a good sleep is needed.
We are not really a family who lose things (I am actually quite uptight so never really take anything too precious with us when we go anywhere and undertake a beachcomb before we leave).
I am so surprised that this has happened I just keep thinking I will open a drawer/bag/box and there 'she' will be.
We have been offered replacements by really kind friends - typically the style has been discontinued - but Scarlett is now of that age when she won't be fobbed off. She doesn't want a new one, she wants Elie back.
She wants Elie, smelling like Elie and looking seven years old.
So all I have left is to turn this into one of life's platitudes - that sad things happen, we do lose things that we love but we carry on and we do learn to live without them.

I'm sure there's another drawer I haven't checked.......

Friday, 22 May 2015

The right knickers

Imagine the scene. It is New Year's Eve 2011, Scarlett is three and we are visiting friends in Bath. The children are playing at a play park just on the outskirts of the city centre when Scarlett announces she really needs the toilet whilst standing at the top of a very tall slide. By the time I have retrieved her, the inevitable has happened. Faced with no change of clothes (I have never been that sort of mother) I have no choice but to run to the nearest shops - almost closing, no pressure. It being Bath, these are The White Company and Joules. I have to buy knickers and jeans - and this event is subsequently christened The Most Expensive Wee in History.
Four years on. Scarlett has outgrown the £35 Joules jeans but The White Company's £10-for-two 2-3 year knickers are still going strong. They fit perfectly, as do the 3-4 and 4-5 pairs that I have bought in subsequent years. We have been through packets and packets of supermarket and high street knickers, some very pretty, some with characters, some with bows but all very soon faded, twisted and leaving marks on the skin.
We can't manage a week with just 6 pairs so we need more.
Imagine my horror to find that the 6-7 pants, in fact all the pants, have been sold out on The White Company website FOR AGES. I have tried Customer Services - they congratulated me on my love of their product and suggested I keep checking. Hmm.
A girl can't manage her day in the wrong knickers so I'm afraid we have gone with Johnnie Boden and his £24 for seven stripey pants (with great reviews) after he sent me a £10 enticement this morning.
Knickers have made me very middle class.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Outrunning a good diet?

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at

I am feeling frustrated.
The age old problem of weight loss.
A few weeks ago there was a load of press coverage on something that I have known for a while - that exercise is really good for you but it doesn't always cause you to lose weight. So the science goes along the lines of - if you run for an hour, you will only burn enough calories to cover one meal a day. A day. So you have to run an hour every day, if you believe in the scientifically challenged theories of cutting 500 calories to lose one pound in weight a week.
Or you can just eat less, or you can do both.
But what if you eat really well, exercise a lot and the scales don't shift?
Questions buzzing around my head at the moment are:
Am I eating the wrong type of food?
Should I be fasting?
Do I have an intolerance?
Is it OK to eat some carbohydrate?
Should I eat no carbohydrate?
Are my portions too big?
I have spent so much time and money on these questions and still I am getting on and off scales and letting the number consume me.....

Monday, 18 May 2015

Going with the flow....?

Yesterday marked the end of my second year back at university - and the end of Level 4. I am pretty sure I have passed....
This academic year has been much harder for me than the last. Starting undergraduate sociology modules with no background in the subject has been hard hard work. There has been little time for anything other than family, work and study since October but now I am standing in the light at the end of the tunnel.
In fact today has been a rare day with no appointments, nobody expecting me, no work to do, nothing at all.
I had some mad idea that I was going to have some kind of detox day, surviving only on pureed vegetables and water but that was over before it had really started. I have however read yesterday's newspaper, finished the novel I have been slowly working through over the last few weeks and started on this month's Psychologies magazine.
There has also been a visit from the plumber (ultimatums do work), a leaking conservatory, a smashed bowl of risotto and a weepy daughter - but overall it has been a Good Day.
Unlike last year, I don't feel the need to fill my university days with something else.
I am going to work (of course), visit friends, enjoy (and care for) our lovely new home, do some exercise, read and just try to chill out a bit more.
Can the target-driven side of me just give in and do it?

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 - learning more about me

This time last year, I decided to study me so I could end the year with more answers than questions and go into 2015 with no rules or restrictions.
In January I signed up for Suzy Greaves' 12 month Life Upgrade course and dutifully looked into my personal, financial, health and home habits to see what was and wasn't working for me. I also had a couple of one to one sessions with Suzy which were invaluable.
A few months into the course I decided to investigate my eating habits. I dusted down my copy of Eating Less by Gillian Riley, read it cover to cover and made notes.
A very good friend leant me a copy of The Happiness Project over the summer and I used this to compile my very own list of Commandments and Secrets of Adulthood.
My final piece of the jigsaw came through a chance conversation relating to frustrations around food. I contacted Jo and I really think she is one of those people to have changed the course of my life.

So this is what I have learned:
Sleep solves most things.
When food is controlled I comply but then I rebel.
It's important to me that I always do the right thing.
My inner critic needs to be karate chopped neatly and succinctly.
I have used alcohol to numb and soothe.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.
Food plans, diets, regimes and restrictions made me feel safe.
If it's hysterical, it's historical.
I can get an awful lot done in ten minutes.
When I think I don't need yoga, that's when I really need yoga.
If in doubt, hum "Let it go"

Friday, 29 August 2014

How I solved the Spanish Tweet Crisis

It happened on the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest.
I tweeted Spanish.
I said "MD 60 Bienvenido a Details&Chic. Descubre nuestras creaciones para tus grandes momentos" or similar.
[Interestingly, some of my friends - and how I love these people - just assumed I was bilingual.]
In the midst of Eurovision-related tweeting, laughing and (a little) drinking I must have clicked on one of the many Spanish spam tweets I receive at weekends.

The Spanish continued, unabated over the next few weeks. I read all the help issues on twitter, I set my account to protect my tweets, I changed my password, I changed my password, I changed my password.
But still my imposter continued.
I contacted twitter, I was given a case number - and they suggested I change my password.
I gave up.
A few weeks later, I realised that I spoke Spanish when I accepted a new follower.
I contacted twitter with this revelation, I was given a case number - and they suggested I change my password.

Last week I hit desperation and removed the twitter app from my phone and iPad via Settings - and as I did this I noticed that the password was my old password........
And then the penny dropped.
I had been tackling the problem via the main site but the new password wasn't registering on the twitter app despite logging in and out each time.
I changed my password once more for luck - et voila (I really can't speak Spanish) - it's over.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Leaving our lovely home

After 8 years living on a street I love, with wonderful neighbours, we are moving. We stalked a house that we liked for a few weeks and then - in one of my impulsive moments - I arranged for us to view. Within 4 days we had sold ours and had an offer accepted. 
How long did the euphoria and prosecco last? 
Around 36 hours.... and then we entered a world of mortgage applications, surveys, random surveyor comments, reports to counter surveyor's comments and generally high levels of bum covering. 
I read that moving house was as stressful as Christmas, death and divorce. I thought I could do better. 
I failed.