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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Reasons to be cheerful

Ok so now that Ian Dury and his Blockheads are earworming your head in its good to count your blessings.
This week I have been thankful for the following:

  • a big solid wood John Lewis wardrobe bought on ebay for £50 and now in pride of place in guest room
  • my BiL & Step dad for putting up said wardrobe
  • A daughter who is so happy in following her dream its a joy to see. This has meant late nights every night this week when I have to do a 30 mile round trip to pick up daughter post Christmas show but to see her face. you guessed it its worth it.
  • 10 hours sleep in 1 go. This is unheard of in my house, well for me not the teenager. That's a typical weekend
  • 2 runs in 1 week. I haven't managed this for ages plus I also got to the 4 mile milestone I had set for myself a week earlier than planned. I hated every step of the way and really have lost my running mojo but somehow still got my butt out there
  • getting the rarest hot roast beef sandwich with rocket at work. Normally it is so tough and chewy but this week. Ta dah!
  • for sticking with Homeland - its finally coming together but so little of Brodie
  • a clean fridge. Sad I know,. There was  strange smell. I had to find the source. We have 2 fridges side by side each looking a guilty as the next. The integrated bastards. I hate them. Source found. Source exterminated.
  • buying not 1 but 2 Christmas magazines at great expense, Ideal Home & Homes & Gardens if you want to know. Then having the audacity to veg mid afternoons and read them . The audacity I know!
Small pleasures...


Silent Sunday

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Tagine, taxi and bush trimming

Just a typical week for me that I thought I'd share in the hope that someone says "snap, me too"

Work is very very busy. I don't talk about work on here in case they are watching. I know they are watching. I am have become  regular with the taxi company for early morning lifts to train station. Sadly I still get a kick  out going to London as if it's my first time ever. It is  FAB.U.LOUS city and I love it. I do not love the train in front breaking down on way back leaving us stranded for 2 hours outside Peterborough. And yes the only thing for it was to have gin and crisps for tea

The ironing pile has gotten so huge that it could be listed as a newly discovered Munro. Care to scale it anyone? I am sorely tempted to investigate getting a lady what does in. However as I equate everything back to how many shoes I could buy with same money I think I can turn a blind eye a little longer.

The shower ceased to work during the week and I managed only by keeping my finger on the on/off button for the whole time. You should try early morning contortions you really should. One dismantled shower later and it seems to be working.

The builders are still to finish painting the outside of the house and also most of the ground by he looks of it.

There has been little laughter this week and I miss it. It keeps me up, keeps me going. She-ra spends most of her time in her room "studying" ( knowing wink)

The dog has hardly been walked due to my over extended working days and is either sulking or waking early for revenge.

Finally I hired a mahoosive van to collect an equally mahoosive wardrobe won on ebay. No body messes with a lady in a van I can tell you! At least that's guest bedroom done ( as Gordon Ramsey would say)

My Sunday will be filled with being teenage taxi, beef tagine maker and bush trimmer. And scaling a large ironing mountain.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Probably the best Banana cake in the World

I don't often do recipes, But you know when I do that it has to be a good one. I give you Banana & Ginger Cake....


 175g caster sugar
   25g dark treacle
300g bananas
125ml sunflower oil
4 eggs
75g chopped ginger - we used crystallised stuff
200g wholemeal plain flour
3 tbsp baking powder

Line a 20cm cake tin. We used a loaf tin and made 1 large and a baby one out of this mixture

Put sugar and bananas in a bowl. Mash to smooth
Add treacle
beat in oil, eggs and stir in ginger
Add flour and baking powder
Stir well
Put in tin
Bake at 170C or 150C fan for 50 - 60 mins
We then iced said cake with a butter icing

I am not a fan of banana cake,preferring its carrot cousin but this has gone to number 1. I will deliberately not eat the bananas now so we have enough to make this

Enjoy

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Unguents



Face creams I love you. I am in search of the best lotion. One that could roll back the years or hold them still for a wee bit anyway. I think I am blessed with reasonably good skin but still lavish cream on morning and night. That said it's no Creme de la Mer here. Think more Palmers Cocoa butter (£4). The really thick stuff. However I find that a bit too thick for a day cream and for the past year or so I have been trying out these.

Liz Earle Day cream - pot (£20)
I love Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. I have also discovered her make up and am in lipstick heaven. The clay mask is also a hit. However I wasn't over impressed with this cream and it didn't last that long either. Maybe I need to go a level and go for full strength superskin?

Biotherm - Blue Therapy Serum (£38) and Biotherm Skin.Ergetic Anti-Fatigue Concentrate Serum (£27)
Skin,Ergetic Serum was pretty good, leaving skin feeling lovely and radiant. Gets my vote though a bit pricey for my pocket.

Healgel (£37)
Sent to me to try out, unlike the others which were funded from my own pocket. I have been applying this gel to eye area, forehead for those attractive wrinkles and generally anywhere else where I feel I need Healgel.Does it work? I'm not sure. It tingles when you put it on, it smells fresh and absorbs quickly into the skin. I've been using it a month and I still have frown lines but  its pretty reasonably priced. It also works as a primer. I was in Space NK the other day and found it stocked there too. The staff all swore but it but then I find Space NK staff swear by every product in the shop.
The blurb says
"Apply HealGel Intensive to any area of troublesome, unbroken skin, two or three times daily. When used sparingly, this hard-working skin care essential also acts as the perfect base for make up. Originally developed to improve the appearance of scars and relieve bruising and swelling, diminish redness and irritation, HealGel Intensive addresses and resolves a whole host of common skin complaints, such as rosacea, acne, eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin and sunburn too. It’s also a great emergency repair for stressed skin or when you feel your complexion needs a little extra loving care to restore its radiant glow. HealGel Intensive is a true multi-tasking medicine and beauty cabinet essential."
Would I buy it again? Probably

Boots No.7 Protect & Perfect moisturiser (£23)
I love their serum not so much their day cream. I would probably opt for Liz Earle day cream given the choice. The serum is great as is eye cream

Olay Day Total effects 7 in 1 moisturiser ( varies as often on offer approx £10-15)
I have been using this one most recently and think its ok for a day cream. I don't look like Thandie Newton yet but give me time. It does have a slight iridescence to it which if I don't rub in properly ( happens regularly ) it looks like  slug has danced across my face.

If anyone has a top tips beauty regime please do tell. I also refer you

Friday, 25 October 2013

Year of Comedy

Four years ago my sister and I decided this would be the year of comedy. We would book and go see said comedians, together. We love to laugh. We failed miserably.At least going together that is. Until this year. Jimmy Carr I thank you. A pre-show supper at wagamama;s with my wagamama virgin sister. An amble down to the venue. Sat close enough to the stage but not close enough to be a victim of said comedian. Surrounded by convivial hecklers my sister could not help herself, shouting BAGUETTE as I shrunk into my seat.
Our cheeks hurt when we left. Before I had come up for air sister dearest has now booked is in for 2014 with Sarah Millican. This year of comedy maybe gaining momentum? A tradition now set? Now she's 35.....?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Dating update #597

Can I show you my bowls?

This is not  a euphamism. I fell in love with these at my local Waitrose. (Also with most of the houseware department) After a crappy first date much earlier in the year I decided to treat myself to one of the bowls with the promise that every time I had another crappy date I would acquire another. I had no more dates crappy or otherwise. I gave up. No more I decided. We've tried blind dates, dating work mates and dating sites. On line dating depresses me on a mahoosive scale. Here the rules of attraction just don't seem to apply. When you do find a profile that makes you pause you discover they live 200 miles away, they lack in witty banter or worse they are no bigger than you. (I am a self-confessed heightist)
I have not been on a date for some months now and as the evenings are drawing in I am sorely tempted to give it ago again, on line or otherwise.
It's that or join the W.I.Alternatively I can hang out a lot more in Waitrose and look for a possible soul mate over in the bread aisle. 
My Step mum bought me the remaining set of bowls as a parting gift. They dont give witty banter.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Elysium, Oblivion, Bladerunner

Last night we had an impromptu trip to the cinema. We love the movies. We are a family exceptionally nerdish about cinematic facts and IMDB app is on our phones to help fuel the "wasn't that actress in such and such a film?" along with " when was so and so made?" to knowing dialogue and the directors  full back catalogue. Yes we also suffer from cinema script Tourettes ( that is to go with the Petrol head Tourettes) such as " I only meant to blow the bloody door off" as someone accidentally slams the door - you get my drift. As I settled down to watch Elysium  ( Rotten tomatoes rating  68%)I felt like I had been here before; many times in fact. From Oblivion, to I am Legend,  with slight detours to The Road,Terminator series, I-robot and ending up at Bladerunner; the future looks so grim. Sometimes it looks orange too with all that post apocalyptic burning in the skies. And as I look round the cinema, the walk home, at the happy smiley faces of those around me I am not sure I believe I all this future hype. Human spirit, the pleasure in the small things is what will save us.Be it from robots, some unseen super power, cannabilism or Tom Cruise.

My daughters summation of the film was simple. " Its just about borders mum"she said solemnly, " instead of Mexicans trying to cross the borders into the US they are now trying to get into the the giant hula hoop in the sky" Nuff said.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Happy Birthday Mum

Friday 13 September may strike fear into the hearts of many but for me it was mother's birthday. She would have been 69. 26 years gone and I will never forget. I was but a bairn, a young adult on the cusp of life, and my sister much younger still when she died. I'd love to be able to spend time looking for the perfect gift with my sister, planning the family birthday gathering and listening to the hilarity of our banter. I wonder what she would have worn, what hair style she would be sporting, what gift she would have treasured that year. I wonder a lot.
She was a lover of wry and humorous and introduced us to Roald Dahl and ironically the 13 September was indeed Roald Dahl Day. My sister posted one of our favorite quotes from The Twits. Happy Birthday mum.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Preparations for VIP Guests

In a few short days we welcoming back grandad and Mrs Grandad ( long suffering step mum LSSM)  This involves preparations.

  • Firstly I buy tonic to go with the gin. It has to be the teeny tiny tins of tonic or even better the teeny tine bottles of fever tree if I am feeling particularly flush. I am not feeling flush.
  • Speaking of flush.. The toilet paper has to be thick, quilted, embossed, expensive! We have it in vast quantities
  • Liquid hand soap is eschewed for small tablets of soap
  • Banish spicy foods although Long Suffering Step mum loves spicy. We never ever call anything curry or it wont get eaten
  • The refusal to use the main bathroom for a morning shave in preference for the guest bathroom means that the smallest room in the house is rammed full of more toiletries than the average Boots.
  • Superglue is bought and at the ready for all the things he may or may not break
  • There will be at least one clumsy incident
  • There will be at least one item, usually quite important ie medication, underwear, that they forget to bring. 
  • All dentists, hairdressers and local garage or on stand by for the regular visit.
  • As is their old local pub, ikea and every single supermaket chain going
  • A visit to the bottle bank pre arrival is essential as the numbers  of corks a popping every night is significant. They are on holiday and thats what you do. I am more than happy to partake as is She-ra
  • The local bacon consumption will increase significantly
  • We will have more cheese than a counter in Selfridges
  • Cakes a plenty
  • The dog will have extra long walks in the morning and therefore will loiter noisily outside their bedroom from about 5am
  • 5am is usually the first rising of grandad.
  • The house will be noisy - we love it
and then they're a gone and we miss them terribly.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Introducing Dog

Its a Pets theme of Tara blog today. So I had to give you a wee snap shot of our lovely hound, Lola.She of "the Dog" in my blog title.
She who is sat at my feet right now.
She knows when I wake there is a walk at early doors where she can meet her doggy pals.
She knows on returning home from work there is another longer one, maybe even accompanying me on a run.
If she's really lucky she gets taken out by the kids too.
Every day is like groundhog day, she bounces down the stairs with such velocity that its like her very own helter skelter.
He-man plays with her far more than I do. I get the cuddles, the burrowing, nuzzling under my arm pit. I get the sad come to bed eyes when she has been on her own all day.
She-ra has a night buddy for it is her room alone that she likes to hunker down with.
Moulting, smelly, squirrel chasing, yappy, we love her to bits.
She's our rescue dog, in fact all my life our dogs have been waifs and strays. I love a good breed as the next person but give me a rescue dog any day.








Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Friday, 23 August 2013

Shoes and Biker Jackets

I have a passion. That passion is foot wear. I cannot help it I should go to a self help group. Whilst I have a jar for the Louboutin fund it regulalry gets raided for the window cleaner fund or the milk fund; you get my drift.I prefer a bargain. However I also believe in paying for quality and apply the relative spend theory to any purchases that might make you gasp/roll your eyes/inhale a wee bit. That theory being if you are going to wear that said item to death then it will have cost you pennies as opposed to that item you wore once ( you know the one I mean ) and cost your £50.

With that said I bring you shoes. We have a shoes calendar in the kitchen that with every turn of the month there is much pondering of which shoes we would buy. That is how I came across Aperlai. They have a particular pair of boots that I am now pining for and nothing else comes close.

My beautiful biker jacket of softest leather bought many moons ago needs replacing. It is bigger than me after I have shrunk somewhat with my running and anxiety diet. I look like I am playing in my mothers wardrobe. It's time for a new one. This is one area where you would definitely be able to apply the relative theory of spending.I have had my nose stuck against the window at Reiss, All Saints and have now discovered BLK DNM. Do you think they might send me a sample of leather of I can test the softness before I buy?






Tuesday, 20 August 2013

What did you do tonight?

HI think we have been taken over by the spirit of Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer. This is a pretty typical evening chez nous.

First there is the run. The warm up exercises seem to take almost as long as the run these days and are becoming more bizarre as I accumulate more injuries. We were especially careful today following the major knock on the ankle 2 days earlier. I ran like Forrest  Gump.

Post run She-ra makes a mockery of mother. She especially loved my "Victor" face (see The returned) whilst tucking tee shirt into shorts pulled up very high. No there are no photos. 

Then came the cry. "Great British Bake Off " whilst eating our own baked goods we sniggered at some and "ooood" at others. The show is euphemism central providing us with great giggles. The Chocolate Show Stopper nearly had a wet pants moment.

Some how during the show snap chatting body parts with She-ra sat 2' away became a norm. As did daughter hiding en route to bed only to jump out to scare me. Licking my face and realising I tasted of salt because 3 hours later I was still dressed in sweaty running clothes. My retort is to sprinkle her hair with water shouting "Monica hair" or "frizz"! She had a genuine look of horror on her face.

"Escalope" she-ra says in such a funny fashion that our bedtime routine ends in hysterics over 1 word. Repeated several times makes it even funnier.

God I hope no one is watching. 



Sunday, 21 July 2013

Into the archives

A bit late to the game this week but none the less I am here with Tara's "the gallery" Into the archives.

I give you three decades of me. 60's 70's & 80's. I can hardly remember anything surrounding any of these photos.

60's - My grandad. Or as my sister renamed him Da. Poor poor man. He was treated terribly by his wife and her family aka Bonkers Nan who renamed herself from Grandma to Nan leaving me very confused. Long since dead, former soldier of the Black Watch, master french polisher. Brilliant card games but couldn't remember your name. Liked a lot of potatoes and drank from a pint pit of tea. Tha'ts him no tme.


70's
 A rare one of me and my drug dealer. Oooops, sorry no that was mother rocking the all the leather and raybans look. She is very thin so must be divorce diet.


80's
Rather fitting it thought given that She-ra has just come back from a holiday in Bulgaria with another family and WITHOUT me to protect her! Been in Liam Neeson mode for past week - I will find you and when I find you I will kill you etc... This is me same age clearly with sex traffickers, NOT.  What goes n holiday stays on holiday right?!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Monday, 15 July 2013

Dating game

After 3 months on e-harmony I am delighted to announce that my subscription has finished. I can now breathe again. It was getting to the point where I didn't dare look to see which dick head I had been supposedly expertly matched with next. During my 3 months I discovered that there are a lot of men called Stephen of my era, or thereabouts as I did seem to get a lot of very old men thrown into the mix ( what's all that about ?)  This made it very confusing for me as I found one Stephen morphed into another. This of course led to the embarrassment of accidentally texting one Steve as if he was another. Oops! No date there then. E harmony asks you over 500 bleeding questions. 500! This is supposedly to help with compatibility. So a tip to the guys out there, answer the bleeding questions. Also put as many photos of you as possible up there to give us at least a clue that you might be normal. The more information you put out there guys the less you look like a weirdo!

I now take it as read that men lie about their height. Maybe there should be a category called " I am 5'10 in heels just for dwarves."In fact I think there is a lot of lies going on, white or otherwise. Determined to be as open minded as possible and not judge people just for their looks or profile or lack of banter I had hoped to be swept off my feet. Had I wanted to travel 100 miles for a date then one guy almost orgasmed when I rang him and he had planned our first date with such meticulous detail that it was off putting, that and a 200 mile round trip for what was already doomed. Another fell foul of not being able to read a tape measure properly and I was taller than them in heels. And I am the smallest in the family I am repeatedly told. Another Stephen of big chin, big wallet threw a wobbler when I inadvertently made an innocent quip that he decided to psycho analyse to death having been on a "relationship course." Give me strength!

One guy, I think I will call him Steve, good looking chap was clearly on the lash and started sending me suggestive messages. Oo hello I thought. We've pulled! And then he got all apologetic for being a rude boy just as it got interesting. Wimp.

The age thing really got me hacked off. My ex husband was a decade and a half older than me. I have tried antique and I am wanting something a little more youthful. Not a decade and a half youthful but you get me? So I am sorry to all those grandads out there who I never responded to. Im in my 40's not 60's and dont want to go there.

No sooner had I plucked up the courage to part with my hard earned cash to go on this supposedly best matching site I regretted it. What am I doing?! I am actually quite happy not going on dates with poor matches, dwarves or Steves. I am less happy at not having bloody great sex or having someone to try out a new bar or restaurant but hey ho it's not keeping me awake at night.

I am not bothered about profession, within reason, manual types are good with their hands right? ( See Hot Date blogs of 2010/11) Kids are ok - ish, older teens preferred but its not a deal breaker. Wallet size is not a deal breaker either. Height is though, I tried to lower my preference to 5'8 but sorry guys shorties leaves me cold. Banter is good. A top class sense of humour laugh-me-all-the-way-to-bed kind of humour is essential; its rare to get that vibe from a formulaic web site.

My lasting image of e-harmony was of a very happy man called er Steve. There was just one picture of him. At work, Driving his bus. He looked so happy with his big belly touching the steering wheel and his big ears sticking out like saucers. I wish him all the very best in finding his love match.

My Sunday

Weekends have fallen into a new rhythm.  Fridays nights seem to be rushing to an evening out somewhere, Saturday is busy busy busy mainly housework; leaving a very relaxing Sunday. Spent mainly in the garden. Lounging. Snoozing. Reading. Pottering. Listening to the Sounds of the 70's ( which is unlocking so many memories for me as a child of the 70's with 0 recollection.) Dog walking. Cooking. Drinking vino. Perfecto, long may this last!




Monday, 24 June 2013

Quads & Hams

People run for all different reasons. It's not just about keeping fit. For me it's a great stress reliever.  No sooner have I walked in the door from work or just got up I'm out the door. I come back a better person. The dog is happy too and can tell my running gear from any other item pulled from the wardrobe. Recently I signed up for a 10k; my first since the great Achilles' tendon rip of 2010. Only there's been knee pain. And as we know the knee bone is connected to thigh bone etc. Resting it didn't seem to make much of an impact. This time I needed extra help so took myself off to a sports physiotherapist. It's not the knee it's the quads and hams. And it's the quads and hams because of the Achilles' tendon of 3 frickin years ago. A slight alteration in my running style apparently is stressing elsewhere.
My run is in July weeks and I haven't done a single step for weeks nor am I likely to for the next few weeks either. Whilst I joke that I run so I can eat cake and drink beer it keeps me sane. Without it, without that endorphin hit, I can feel the black dog pulling at me. So forgive me if I start doing my exercises whilst we talk, I have to get back out there!  

Monday, 3 June 2013

When She Loved Me


She-ra is 17. She has old head an old head on young shoulders. When we moved to this current house she was just 14. As we unpacked boxes things got put into wardrobes and there they stayed. Bags full of teddy bears. A library of books from the Harry Potter obsession that was accompanied by the board games, a desire to be a wizard through to Darren Shan, the "gory" phase and more books on horses and ponies than you could shake a stick at. There were handbags, shoulder bags, bags we had made together. All stuffed with stuff that young girls like. Scoubis galore. Stationery, pens, pencils and a multitude of bits of paper with writing on. Diaries with one page written in wobbly attempts at adult handwriting with touching recollections of her day. First forays into fashion. Old photos and newspaper articles cut out as keepsakes. They were all piled into the middle of the room. As she piled them high I found myself sorting through and looking at all the things she no longer wanted. Keepsakes of her child hood. I had a Jessie moment. My daughter knows me so well that without me even saying anything she said " Mum this is just like Jessie in Toy Story". I maintained a brave face. But you trying keeping a dry eye when you hear this song and think of your own children growing up. Go on I dare you.




Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dr Who?

There's a lot of chat on twitter on who the likely candidate should be to take over from Matt Smith as Dr Who. ( He's down with Sylvester McCoy as my least favourite) As a child, Dr Who,  had me hiding behind sofas. It then fell off my viewing spectrum as I grew older before arriving back with a bang with Christopher Ecclestone. My own children watched, grew scared and the generational glue of tv culture is still sticky. The best baddies we always found were those that were most lifelike/realistic -Blink for example. Or that scary one with the dolls? Oud, daleks, or cyber men they just don't scare me.

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/80/Versions_of_the_Doctor.jpg/251px-Versions_of_the_Doctor.jpg


So who can step in to those time travelling shoes to entertain us on a dark autumn Saturday, offering respite from "Britain's Got No Bleeding X Factor Get Me Out Of Here?"

I give you my list;
1 Idris Elba - licks lips says no more
2 Miranda - hilarious incidents all over the galaxy. Such fun
3 Jack Davenport - voice like chocolate, useful when hiding behind a cushion
4 Dame Judi Dench - what she could do with a raised eyebrow...
5 Omid Djalili - my favourite Iranian. He can dance too something the Daleks can't
6 Dr Sheldon Cooper - why not have a "real" doctor in da house
7 Matt LeBlanc - how you doin'? To a Dalek, great stuff
8 Maxine Peak - we can go all northern, fab
9 Phillip Glennister - maybe he could resurrect Gene Hunt?
10 Ron Weasley - I don't think there's been a ginger in the lead role yet?

I doubt the BBC will take note of my list. There will be too much political correctness hand wringing going on. I shall watch with interest who Auntie Beeb appoints. Who would you like to see in the role? 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Silent Sunday


Chapel Hat Pegs

There was a fair bit of Lycra, iPod, and running shoes. Warm up exercises were taking place in kitchen whilst I waited for She-ra's Spanish tutor to arrive. The British summer was giving us one of our cold spells again. The kitchen door opens and in comes Miguel, the only gay in the village. Pleasantries are exchanged and off they go to study. I am about to head for the door when daughter hurtles back into the kitchen and in her best stage whisper says "NIPPLES!"
Yikes! It is cold in here ! Jennifer Anniston eat you heart out! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Drink Drink Drink!

Taras theme is drink for the Gallery this week. Seriously, drink!


There is a drink for the morning,
There is a drink for the night,
A drink to say "I love you with all my might"
Drinks for celebrations or commiserations 
There is a  for every occasion.
Coffee for the morning
Tea for the night
what I love best is the popping sound of a cork,
Pop bang fizz, glug, glug glug
It does the biz!
From high days and holidays,
 a cheeky glass of wine at lunch is a treat not to be missed. 
That first glass of something ice cold,
Gin and tonic through to a sharp Sauvignan Blanc or a beefy meaty red, the occasional cocktail or a pint! 
There is little that I dislike.
 ( save Pernod and martini - bad bad teenage experiences )





Digest some of my drinky poo photos why don't you. Drink anyone?









TheGallery

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Independent Lady


My daughter is beside herself with glee. Her provisional driving licence has just arrived in the post. The one she has saved up for. She is happy with the photo as it is linked to her passport ID. The one she posed for for HOURS! in the booth at the supermarket. She is blessed that her Grumps is a driving instructor and has been hankering to get her behind the wheel. The lesson is booked and she is only just 17! Knowing how good he is at getting students confident behind the wheel and through their test I think we could have an independent lady, mobile of own means before the year is out. He-man was a different matter. Unfortunately despite showing the promising signs of being an excellent driver the lure of his bead proved too much and he could never get up in time. Oh the embarrassment of being dumped by your driving instructor particularly when they were your Grumps!

Will Britain's roads be safe I ask myself as She-ra takes to the wheel? Actually I think they will she has an old head on young shoulders. Course I know that the minute we start with the lessons the next thing will be car and insurance.  Given that she has to travel about 30 mile round trip to her college this actually could be a blessing in disguise. No more checking on the times of the last bus home, or having to do a a massive out of my way journey to pick her. Not that that happens very often. Plus her post 'A' level options at the moment may also involve travelling if she doesn't opt for student halls.

Knowing how focused my daughter is I can see that she will have passed her test before she returns to her final year in September. Being a bit of a Top Gear junkie and regular readers of Driving in the Sunday Times I know that the car is the least expensive part of the next stage of getting wheels. It's the insurance that's going to be the killer. Clearly its time to compare car insurance  and get the best deals and minimise the "ouch" factor. Some companies offer teenagers deals that are tied into mileage and some kind of black box that tracks your every move to try and bring the price down. Do you think Black Box is similar to those found on planes that track your every move? Actually I don't want to know; its a whole new area of parenting that I need to get my head round.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Interview Advice for Teenager from Grandad


He-man is in the throws of finding full time employment having decided that a college life was not for him. I only wish he had decided this sooner rather than later. But hey ho and away we go. Grandad as ever is administering advice. Please read on.

".....  here are some suggestions which may give you an ‘edge’.
 1)      First impressions count! Fortunately you are almost as vain as I am so you are unlikely to be scruffy or poorly turned out. Always look your best.
2)      Be confident. When first greeted by the interviewer, approach with a smile and hand outstretched ready to shake. Even if you are shitting bones sideways, as you may be early in an interview, always try to look the ‘part’. Old school interviewers always take note of clean shoes.
3)      Be yourself. Do not adopt any false persona as any half decent trained interviewer will spot it immediately. Try to avoid the worst excesses of the Northern accent we both share. Avoid slang especially street slang, it impresses no one.
4)      Wait to be invited to sit down!!!!
5)      You will be asked various questions and your answers will have significance. So always listen to the question carefully without interrupting. If you are not clear on what is being asked of you, ask for the question to be repeated.
6)      Always, always, allow a second or so to consider the question before you say anything at all.  I've lost count of the number of interviewees I have seen fail due to anticipating (often incorrectly) the end of a question or giving a rushed ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.
7)      See above. Try to avoid wherever possible definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers and seek to develop the question. This will show the interviewer that a) you are intelligent, b) you consider problems before acting, and c) you have some maturity.
8)      It is a good idea to ask a question of the interviewer yourself at some juncture towards the end of the interview. If you can think of one before the meeting and make a note of it, so much the better. What are the prospects for advancement please? Are you part of a larger company? How many branches do you have? Does the company have any sports or recreation facilities? This last one gives the opening to discuss your rugby, swimming and football prowess if it has not been raised earlier.
9)      I often used to have a small note pad with me to make notes of important or significant points raised during the course of the interview. But I am not sure if this practice is now frowned upon and suggest you consult with your mum before deploying that particular technique; it may not be appropriate any more especially at your age.
10)  One thing I always deployed immediately before every interview was breath freshener; Gold Spot or Boots own brand are best and last for ages. That is never a bad investment and will be a great  and enduring source of amusement for your mother for years to come. 
11) Best of luck! "

I have to say times haven't changed much. As much as my father at 18 would have had a multitude of suits to choose from He-man has a nothing in that field save a few smart shirts, a couple of ties and 1 pair of smart shoes and pair of trousers. I would gladly kit him out in the suitable attire but whilst he is behaving like Kevin the Teenager I will wait for the arm flailing etc to abate and reality to kick in.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Putting the fun into fund raising

I am writing this post on behalf on my good friend Anne and all the good work she does. It's not a sponsored post but a helping hand to Yorkshire Cancer Centre and in memory of mum. I can recall the support we were given as a family when mum was diagnosed over 25 years ago and without people like Anne and organisations like Yorkshire Cancer Centre it would be a much tougher time for all those affected by cancer. Please take a moment to read Anne's story and if you could tweet or pass on the good word that would be fantastic. And if you fancy a trekking trip even better! At the last count there were still a few places left so sign up now! What else could you possibly be doing on 4 - 13 October this year or 1 - 11 March 2014?!

In April 2008, Anne was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer and went through a year of gruelling treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It was pretty tough, but it was during that time that she was struck by the great work that goes on at the hospital.

For the last year she has volunteered in the fund raising department of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre (YCC), based in the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and has seen at first hand the fantastic work they do to support the many cancer patients & families from the huge catchment area which the charity serves (2.6m people across Yorkshire, over 2000 patients treated daily at the centre).

To her credit Anne now manages the International Trekking Challenges side of their fund raising, which increasingly plays a vital role in generating funds that directly benefit the  local cancer patients, and is currently promoting our Great Wall of China Trek, October 2013, and Trek Nepal, March 2014.  But – they really need more people to sign up for these challenges, and as soon as possible. 

Both treks are proving very popular:some participants are looking forward to tackling China's great Wall, one of the modern seven Wonders of the World, others cant wait to witness the awe-inspiring Himalayan Annapurnas of Nepal. But Yorkshire Cancer Centre is still looking for more people to join up, and advise would-be trekkers not to worry about their fitness levels or the fund raising - both are definitely achievable

Maybe these guys could inspire you.

Don't think about it just do it! You will not regret one moment. Make the commitment. Enjoy the fund raising and enjoy the whole experience. it will be one of them best things you ever do
Kevin Pickering

The cheerfulness and enthusiasm of the YCC team together with efficient and excellent organisation made the whole experience very rewarding on every level
Kay Nicholson

A wonderful experience that totally exceeded all our expectations. it was a privilege to be part of a team dedicated to raising money for such a worthy cause. a life-changing journey!
Catriona Lyon


So if you fancy China, or Nepal or would like to be more involved in Yorkshire Cancer Centre Anne would to hear from you.

Twitter - @YCC_Appeal
Email - anne.o'reilly@leedsth.nhs.uk

Monday, 29 April 2013

Shit shit shit



We love a good shit in this house. There are certain phrases to do with shit that have stuck like shit to the white porcelain of verbose banter. He-man came out with a classic one year - something about being as dark as the shit stuck on a ubend. My own is ... cosmic shit.... Currently Shit tip can be heard through out the house. Life's a shit tip, you're a shit tip, you're room is a shit tip, I have a shit tip literally. Ew
She-ra refers to certain people with Shit inserted into thier name. See Nicole Shitslinger




or Michael Shitmacher



Naturally I do not approve of this kind of talk and after a chastisement I will try to hide my smile.




Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Happy as a.....


This week's Taras gallery brings us the theme of happy.

I spend a lot of my time searching out the happy. The joy of the small things; sunshine on a cold day ( any day in fact ) the foam on top of a freshly brewed coffee, a shared smile, the feel of fresh clean bed sheets the smell and feel of a brand new yet to be read book, the joy of seeing the first seedlings push their way through compost, the pop of a cork,  the pleasure of seeing your offspring discover something new and exciting. I have a long list. I could go on. The biggest most important thing in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD that makes me happy is my family. They are a mad bad crazy bunch and I love them all to bits. We roar with laughter nearly all the time. Because behind the laughter there are tears and as a family we have had too many tragedies to mention. My family makes me happy.










TheGallery