Monday, 27 September 2010


Had a great night on Friday night with my 1000heads' colleagues Lauren and Roxy, meeting up with some other family bloggers at the Miele Gallery in London. Because I work from home most of the time, I haven't spent much time with my fellow workers, so it was lovely to get to know them better.

We had a cookery demo of the Miele Steam Oven from the lovely Silvana Franco before sitting down to a yummy supper. It was fabulous to meet some of my favourite bloggers and get some tips on increasing my followers - Twitter it is then! Felt weird waking up on Saturday morning; my husband was away and the kids were staying with friends. It must be over ten years since I've had the house to myself in the morning; I thought I would relish it, but when I looked into their rooms I felt really sad to see their empty beds (yes, yes, missed Mr G too!)

My daughter is in a frenzy of excitement - she left at 6.30 this morning on her first day as an extra for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. We live close to Pinewood, and as she has already decided that acting is her calling, I accepted an invitation to sign her up to a kids' extra agency. I've had to carefully manage her expectations re: becoming Johnny or Pen's NBF. She may not even be in the same scenes, let alone meet them. While she's there she is expected to do homework with a tutor (I wouldn't let her do it otherwise); they are only allowed to work for three hours a day at this age. I was concerned that the school wouldn't be keen, but they are very open to allowing the kids these kinds of experiences. I would love to my son to do it, as I think it would give him a lot more confidence, but he's not interested.

The shoot is taking place at Greenwich Naval College - a two hour drive from Pinewood. The other kids she left with this morning had come from Bournemouth and Swindon, so they've already been on the road since 4am. I'm not sure I would be that dedicated to my child's ambitions - I barely made it out of bed at all. What is your opinion on allowing kids to do this work? I wouldn't be keen on her having a major role, and I definitely will not be taking her to any West End auditions either, but what if it was what she really wanted and she showed real talent? Tricky one.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Ok - quick post, need a rant:

My time is precious - I work 10 - 3 for 4 days a week, giving me one hour a day to sort out house, family stuff, finances etc. Fridays come round and I'm putting on the first wash of the week - you get the picture. Why oh why must I spend at least five minutes a day (or 30 minutes a week) tearing plastic wrapping off badly targeted mailshots (my kids are 10 & 8 and I'm still getting brochures from TGLT co. etc) and separating them out into the recycling. Then, come Friday, I spend at least another 30 mins at the tip throwing away said recycling (my council only comes fortnightly and there wouldn't be room to move if I waited. Plus I have to lug it all down our long drive, so I may as well). It wouldn't be so bad if Boden didn't send me catalogues/leaflets/even newspapers every three days.

I always tick the 'don't contact me with carefully selected offers' box, so God only knows how much those people are getting - and do they all recycle?

Today I received this brochure from the (drumroll..) 'House of Bruar'. As far as I can tell, you need to be popping up to the lodge (along with your pack of spaniels, no kids in sight) every weekend to need anything from this company, and only then if you're into theme dressing (see above). So that'll be me then!

Ok - rant over, I'm not drinking this week, so the tension has been mounting somewhat...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


I had a magic moment this morning. My son's shirt needed tucking in, and as he always makes a hash of it, I bent down to do it for him. He put his arms around me and the top of his cheek brushed against my eyelid. I was immediately transported back to his babyhood when our cheeks would touch all the time when he was in my arms. I told him, and you could tell he loved hearing about it. Kids love to hear about themselves when they were little. It seems like yesterday to us, but to them it must feel like the deep and distant past.

I remember being his age and looking back on the sixties (the decade I was born in). It really did seem like an ancient era - accentuated by black & white TV and shaky cinefilm. With technology moving on even more quickly in his generation, he must view say, CDs, as dusty relics from a bygone age. He simply couldn't believe it when I told him that email didn't exist when I began my career in 1990. I remember we had a fledgling internal system, and the day the IT Manager announced that we would soon also be able to connect with our clients caused massive excitement.

Mind you, coming back to work after ten years has also brought its own surprises. Everyone now uses email for everything - barely anyone uses the phone at all. When I worked in advertising the office was so loud, I would have to find a room to make an important call. This suits me actually, as I communicate so much better with the written word than the spoken. Yes, I have been told that this is because my brain works slowly....Presentations are now 'decks' and you never see a desk top computer. I actually went to a meeting without my laptop and got a few funny looks.

What other differences? Oh yes - no suits at all, not even for client meetings. Maybe that's my industry but I never see them in shops or magazines anymore. Finally we are freeing ourselves from the need to look like businessmen to be taken seriously. Doesn't explain why we religiously wore them to weddings though - Why?

It doesn't help that I am a good 13 years older than everyone else. I am so surrounded by fresh faces, that I am regularly lulled into a false sense of youthfulness and I get an even bigger shock than usual when looking in the mirror ...

Monday, 20 September 2010

PARENTAL GUILT (part 1...)

Well, all good on the birthday front. Presents went down well, and Fegos came up trumps with a new sausage Eggs Benedict, which hit the spot with me (am a secret Egg McMuffin fan).

We spent the morning watching Sam play football. It's always a frustrating experience; here is a boy who plays brilliant football in the back garden, but hangs back on the pitch. Of course it's a confidence thing (he's a good 3-4 inches shorter than most of the players), and he's not a naturally aggressive kid. It will come in time, but this season they're dropping boys who don't perform from the squad. Seeing as Sam genuinely believes he can be a professional footballer, this may come as a blow...

This is one of the hardest aspects of parenting for me. Dealing with disappointments - theirs and let's face it, your own, is tough. Nothing beats the pride you feel when your kid achieves something but you also feel their pain when things go wrong, and you don't always deal with it in the best way. It's a fine line between teaching them to take responsibility and damaging self- esteem. Then of course comes the guilt if you feel you missed the mark.

At times like these, I often think back to 'Little House on The Prairie'. Ma and Pa Ingalls had it nailed. No yelling or sulking (I'm talking about me, not the kids) just lots of cosy chats on the bed about misdemeanors, with lessons instantly learned forever....oh for life in The Midwest c.1870 (yes I know Nellie Olsen got whipped, but you would wouldn't you?)

Thursday, 16 September 2010


I've spent half an hour wrapping Mr G's presents. He works in interiors and is always brilliant at making an effort with these things so I've reciprocated this year. I've actually been out and bought coordinating gift bags, paper and boxes rather than scrabbling around for stuff I can recycle without him realising. I embarrass him when we are given things in gorgeous wrapping - if it's salvagable I will store it and use it again. I get the habit from my Dad. Last xmas our gifts from him were in the wrapping paper we had used the year before with the old creases showing.....I promise I'm not
that bad. For me it's less about being frugal, and more about not being able to chuck out lovely things. My heart sinks when I buy something which gets put in a lovely thick paper bag with ribbons, because I know I'm going to have to save it!

However, frugality is super-cool at the moment, so finally my Dad is fashionable. He's a war child, so I get it, but it drives MR G mad. We were offered a battered old suitcase with rusty locks the other day, and he still uses the same tea towels we had when I was growing up. It may be the same dish cloth too come to think of it...

Obviously we hang onto things for the sake of memories too. We hear a lot about clearing clutter from our lives, but there are some things I really regret getting rid of. Sometimes I don't even remember throwing them, I just get a sad hollow feeling when I remember they are no longer with me (I'm thinking specifically about a 50's style dress I wore everywhere in my early twenties - so many memories - where did it go?)

Tell me about things you've chucked out and regretted (or are you a secret hoarder?)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


What to write for your first post? It’s like the first line of a novel isn’t it? You imagine lots of fellow bloggers clicking away after three seconds determined never to return.

Today is my husband’s 41st birthday. He’s away and has been for the last three birthdays. We hid a card in his bag, and we’re having his birthday on Sunday instead. To be honest I’m birthdayed out. Both kids have their special days at the end of August, followed by parties once the new term arrives (you’re thinking ‘what possessed her to have them both in August? – hadn’t she heard of the school year cut-off?' Well, yes, and to this day I can’t explain why I did it once, let alone twice).

Poor Mr G; there I am collapsed in a heap from organising all the presents, family and friends celebrations (each with a separate homebaked cake), thank you notes etc. and I can barely muster the enthusiasm to shop for his card. Frankly it’s a good job he’s away because I need those extra few days to go online and spend vast fortunes in P&P getting stuff delivered in record time for his return.

I hope he doesn’t expect Eggs Benedict again this year for breakfast. I’ve attempted them three times in all, and I’ve finally admitted defeat. The hollandaise always curdles if you leave it to stand for three minutes, but even that was easier than poached eggs. I think of myself as a good cook but they are impossible. And don’t tell me to get a plasticy things for the microwave, or a metal thingy to hang off the side of the pan. I’ve tried them ALL, but never achieved that gorgeously plump cloud of delicious promise which gets served up all over America (and which Mr G tucks into every time). I thoroughly enjoyed it when Lisa Faulkener messed them up before going on to win Masterchef. Mind you, Danielle Lloyd did a great job, much to my disbelief.

I think instead I'll plan a brunch at our favourite cafĂ© – let someone else have the cold sweat (and no lunch to prepare - result!).