Monday, 28 February 2011

Life In A Day

After 9 days of waking when we damn well want to, instead of when a digital beeping clangs our senses into wakey-wakeyland, its back to early starts. The 11 year old snoozed and snoozed and snoozed some more, then finally got outta bed, droopy and lagged. I marvelled at it suddenly being light again in the mornings... how did that happen.

Fast forward an hour, and he's checking his hair, grumpy that he's the only one who has to go anywhere today. Well, I would if I could, but my talents are not required at the World of Work today so what can I do but have an Official Day Off? I have a LIST to keep me busy, and a lot of ways of avoiding doing any of the things on it.

Tomorrow is the Day We Find Out how the 13 year old will spend the next 4 years.... if he gets a place at the media-friendly school he might hopefully go back into the system. Alternatively, if he's allocated a place at the chav hell on the hill, then its time for me to get clever with the gcse curriculum.... So by tomorrow morning I will need the password I created when I did the online application many many months ago.  This is somewhere on a bit of paper in the cupboard of doom. I spent yesterday afternoon shredding many, many archaic and redundant ex-important pieces of paper, but failed to find it. Will have to rely on it being something easy-peasy that I use for most other passwords when I log on tomorrow...

Another thing on this list is to find a way of wriggling out of a 2nd mobile contract my phone provider seem to think I wanted. Saving myself £8.50 a month is a big incentive to seeing this one through, but I don't feel bouncing from one call-centre to another is going to be much fun. Or productive. Even if I speak to someone pretending to be called George.

All this tidying up and chucking stuff out is causing me to lose weight. I am staggered about how I have lost 4 and a half pounds since December, given the truckload of mincepies I ate over Christmas, and the amount of chocolate I eat on a daily basis. High metabolism has a lot to answer for. A sinister cholesterol level is probably one of them.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Stripes... Again

I've developed a bit of a thing for stripes at the moment. Branching out from monochrome, this is my new favourite thing. Too nice to use!

 And how tidy is this! No more rubbish on the table.... taken mid-week, post-late-morning-breakfast, when the kids weren't yet up. Bliss. The hint of red behind the table is my bubble-wrapped kitchen cupboard doors, waiting For The Man.

Another favourite thing - purple crocuses. Yeah, yeah, crocii, but that just looks wrong. So, crocuses it is. The garden's absolutely full of 'em.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Oranges Are Not The Only Fish

From watching the Channel 4 news the other night, with William smuggypants Hague getting a hard time, you'd have thought the only people who could have done a worse job of getting people out of Libya would have been the people at the Premier model agency. If it didn't involve swearing or crying, it appeared that they couldn't do it. Well, that's how it looked on the documentary about them. Of course, they probably all thought they were fabulous.

I have had, separately, visits from my parents this week. My dad gave us 6 and a half hours of monologues, a bit like having Ronnie Corbett round for lunch but without the garish jumpers. One episode was about the new, unforgiving, concrete steps in his local football ground. We had tangents of tangents, involving the respective swimming accomplishments of the daughters and the weekly house-share arrangements of the commuting father of a family, before we got to the mother helping some of these old boys get safely down said steps. Priceless.

I have been trying to get my dad to try life online, and got information from his library about sessions where you could dip your toe in and try mucking about on computers. For some reason, today my mum was in fits about the image of her ex-husband as a silver surfer. How they ever got together I will never know...

Other events this week, apart from the skating, have been a funeral for a goldfish. Man, I dug that hole deep and then we planted a bright green mexican orange blossom (for an orange fish), to make sure no cat would try to dig it up and play keepie-uppies with the poor departed thing

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ice, Ice, Baby

Oh I do not do mornings! My travel advisor informs me (well, we agreed yesterday) that we are leaving at 10.30, to go skating. He's up with the larks, dressed, plus the sensible 2 pairs of socks, and with total confidence that I will produce a pair of gloves on the way out the door. Meanwhile, I have cunningly fooled him into thinking I am dressed - he can see grey out of the corner of his eye instead of the usual pink of my pjs, as I have come downstairs in a pair of trackies. Ho ho ho..... So, not only do I have to put on a set of clothes For The Big City, I also need to rejig some money online, make lunch for the 13 year old otherwise he will exist on biscuits all day, plus do some imaginary online curry-buying. Of the latter, my dad is visiting tomorrow and asked if we could have curry. I've made things in the past that have accidentally turned out like curry, but when I think about it, I've never actually set out to make one. Oh stuff it, I'll do a la Caroline Quentin and nip to Marks and Sparks in the morning...

The other thing I've been doing is reading the news about the awful earthquake in New Zealand. Lots of thoughts with people who are caught up in that.

Stripes and School's Out

Isn't he gorgeous! Came home with this little zebra money box a couple of weekends ago. Will have to make do with him, as there is no houseroom for the huge papier mache zebra I saw in a magazine the other month.

At last, the Week of No School has arrived. For the 11 year old; for the 13 year old it's No School 24/7 anyway, as some of you may have spotted. Brilliant timing for me to come down with lurgy - lugged myself in to the World of Work on Friday, just so as the 17 year olds could try to find the rudest lyrics on youtube, wore a billion jumpers plus a coat all day Saturday, then felt extremely overheated most of Sunday, and today I'm fine again. Hoorah for short-lived lurgies. Even went out and did some digging and getting rid of squelchy leaves. I lurve getting all muddy - though the garden never looks any better for it.

Have, of course, been keeping up with my usual excessive amount of tv watching. Including the Celebs Prancing About In Frocks For Charity one. Colin and Justin gamely did Xanadu, with extra spray-tan and a lot of pink chiffon. Although Justin was being Olivia there was a definite Grayson Perry angle about the get-up. I did think my tv needed resetting, such was the over-orangeness, until the pallor that is Ed Byrne came on, proving my colour contrast was in fact ok.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Laziness Saves Me From Untold Embarassment

It doesn't take a lot to persuade me not to leave the house. And the weekend forecast of rain on Sunday was enough persuasion. I did feel restless though - an inexplicable need to buy a pile of clear storage boxes to re-introduce some order and visual sobriety to the junkheap that is my bedroom. There was also the strike-while-the-iron's-hot rationale that goes with buying a black'n'decker dustbuster (the mini-est of mini hoovers!) the day before which had died a pathetic squealing lame death after hoovering up some toast crumbs. I wanted to take it back and get Customer Satisfaction from my broken toy. It was not on! But, people drifted past the windows with brollies and hats, and that rain was obviously not going to relent. So I stayed put, comfy on my lovely dry landraft of a sofa, with some dreadful do-up-yer-house telly. It was that or the Titchfield Thunderbolt...

Yesterday the boyfriend helpfully mentioned that said dustbuster is meant to be charged up before use. I did think the lead was pathetically small and not much use if I was trying to hoover anything on the floor.... Thank f**k for that rain on Sunday or I'd have made a right t*t of myself at the shop.

I have fallen hook, line and sinker back into the netherworld that is soap addiction. Well, just corrie specifically. I do have standards, y'know. I found myself counting the hours during Monday afternoon until the double episode at 7.30... A lot of drama, and a lot of not-great acting and timing of line deliveries. But heck, we lurve it.

To while away the can't-wait-until-8.30 interlude I endured half an hour of a 60 Minute Makeover. A family of 5 in a sterile, spotless, unadorned 4 bedroom house, whose children were not allowed posters on the walls, tellingly revealed that they deemed the bare dining room with 4 photos* on a side table cluttered. Without seeing the end result I can safely say the family, ergo the decision-makers that were Mr and Mrs Clutterfree Clean Freak, would have had a minor meltdown when they came back to orange walls and dodgily painted horizontal stripes throughout the entire house.

* One of the photos was Mrs Clean Freak in her graduation clobber - I just thought what a waste of an education to end up scared of mucking up the house a bit.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

It's Gonna Be A Bright, Bright, Bright, Sunshiney Day

It is so definitely spring! Blogland is alive with it, and I took a shortcut yesterday from the World of Work and walked past The Posh Houses... buds, and catkins, and shoots galore in the gardens. I have a hankering to buy some freesias today; tulips are gorgeous but they don't have a scent. Freesias, which we always used to buy on the way to my grandma's, are deliciously scented. Hell, I might even buy a tiny car-type hoover so I can keep the floors Properly Clean. (Don't tell anyone, but the henry's been up on the top floor since the christmas tree nicked its spot...)

Of course, I am already overjoyed by this morning's news that Jedward will be doing eurovision for Ireland. And that Colin and Justin are going to be on Let's Dance for comic relief. Oh, the aching sides I can feel coming on in the weeks to come, and the finger poised on the button to dial-a-vote for them all...

Some more sunny-colourification came our way yesterday in the form of itv's May The Best House Win. A former male model, now head to foot in yellow in Margate, with not only his own nude photos  splashed over every wall in his kitchen but with permanent christmas decorations everywhere. He was quite endearing, but couldn't stop himself bitching at the magnolia clunch walls in the minimalist's house.

Moving a notch up the colour spectrum, Mary Portas of the Tangerine Hair was on the back of some norf london estate agents this week. She mocked the bed-head look of their star salesman and got him to realise that while west may be the new south in terms of house-orientation, taking a good look at a property before trying to flog it was a better way to do these things. There are probably many fashionista blogs, from which we may learn how to source Ms P's exotically-patterned hosiery, but in the meantime here's some stripey legs:

We also liked the way a few notes of Bela Lugosi's Dead were slipped into the Andrew Graham-Dixon piece on Westminster Abbey on Thursday's eye candy that was the Culture Show. That'll be 17p in royalties then....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Trashsparkle's Perfume Reviewette

Yep, that's right. Reviewette. I may very well have just made that word up. For the purpose of not making this post look like I got any further with the Fragrance Forays. No Viv W - the Boots in this town is not grand enough, so I tried Jimmy Choo instead. Light, giddy and not unlike the swanky, pungent talc that was in abundance in the 70s. I have not yet found the One. Idly wondering what a perfume by Spend Spend Spend Viv Nicholson would have been like; stale babycham, players no.6, crimpelene, with a heady note of peroxide and a dash of disappointment?

The bouncy sunny afternoon is very apt for playing the new Adele album. Full-bodied production qualities.

Tomorrow is an Official Day Off. And what a stupid day to arrange to have the boiler mot'd. It means I'll have to clean the bathroom and hoik all the stuff out of the airing cupboard at some point tonight. I don't mind doing that kind of thing, but only when I feel like it, not because a man who will try to flog me a carbon monoxide detector is coming round.

And the kitchen will be happening soon - the man who is doing the plumbing did not suck air thru his teeth, and is sending a chap round later this week to look at my not-to-scale scribblings; the only proof  that everything will fit is the big pencilled arrows I have drawn on the walls. There will be room to swing large feline creatures, and more vitally, room to get to the sink without long-jumping over the open dishwasher door or risking a hot pan attaching itself to your sleeve.

Alice, Don't Give It Away

Cracking on with the how-disgusted-am-I-at-my-own-laziness angle, I cleared yet another heap of unhomed rubbish off the dining table this evening. The kids were getting confused about being expected to eat there, and seeing as our lifestyle has evidently instilled social deviancy in the one who is no longer going to school, the function of the dining table seems fairly pivotal in lessening the slide into ruin.

There wasn't anything greatly exciting lurking there; 2 weekend's worth of papers, and the latest Telegraph cuttings that my mum sends, after she's cryptically highlighted sections in yellow. This batch were about Brighton, doing up old tat, and the over-prescription of ritalin. There was also last term's unread school newsletter, 3 old brass doorknobs that might get turned into a bag-hanging thing, picture frames left there the last time I thought about framing some fabric, and some broken necklaces that I'll fix if I could find those jewellery pliers.

Getting more unfinished things done, I will return to the Boots perfume counter sometime this week, to sniff the Vivienne Westwood violetty, musky, black rose one. Don't fancy the idea of telling people it's called Naughty Alice though.

At the World of Work I did a grand job of putting my foot down about words being written like what they is spoke. The lady who used to announce Watch With Mother would be spitting teeth if she knew what it's all come to these days, so I hope I'm making her proud...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Prawn In My Side

Well, I've been out twice this weekend. Both times daytime, so no soirees of pickled octopus or owt like that. And, to be frank, the exertion has left me just wanting to lie down and eat cakes in the 7 or so hours left before it will become officially respectable timewise to do more lying down. The cakes may not be a terribly good idea, as they will probably lead to more dreams of misbehaving hamsters and wild and frantic attempts not to be late for work.

Yesterday's experience of exposure to the elements was urban and shiny, hanging out in bijou shoe shops and glorified treasure troves. And man it was blustery gustery, havoc-playing and affirming the need to retouch my roots. We did some art too - although that was a late dash through the gallery - but a dash was enough to see the paltry 6 pieces that comprised the exhibition.

Today was haircut for the 11 year old and running into an acquaintance, plus buying some instant lunch in the form of prawn salads and sandwiches. I know, lazy, lazy. All part of my new rule about only cooking once a day at weekends. The acquaintance tried to gloat about the wonderful pudding her son had made, so I threw back a glowing review of an equally successful cake my 2 had whipped up. I do not like parental one-up-womanship, so I think we left it at 1:1.

Someone asked yesterday why other people blog. The nearest answer I could agree with was its what you do when your facebook statuses start getting over-wieldy. Mine is just letting out the stuff that goes through my brain at random points*. So far it is acting as an appalling record of how little I really do, seeing as most of my posts are about a)avoiding other activities and b)reporting how much activity I have managed to avoid.

This is not good, or life-affirming, or productive. A random point may well be the duration of Take Me Out, aka an over-egged version of Blind Date. Cilla's shoulderpads have been updated into Paddy McGuinness' sharply-angled lapels which emphasise the spock-like nature of his ears. And each week, as all but 5 lights get turned off, we nearly get rid of the lovely, short, but very desperate, welsh girl. But not quite.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Salsa Spaghetti Arms

I know spending Friday night overdosing on rolos never used to be my idea of fun, but hey. I've got old german footage of Echo and The Bunnymen on, and that storm that only Scotland were supposed to get is raging on outside, part 2. Dreams tonight may be random, as they will be sugar-fuelled and broken by the crashing of loose debris on the roof. Last night, unaided by sugar, alcohol or indeed any stimulants at all, I conjured up a wilful hamster, stage-diving into a water dish then rolling in sawdust, plus my mum getting married again, with my cousin particularly enthusiatic in a rainbow-hued flamenco dress.

No idea where either of those came from, given that I'd watched something about Abraham Lincoln earlier. Mind you I couldn't seem to get that into it. Electric 6's fault.

Before that I checked out what was irritating Mary Portas this week: phone shops. Some grey wigs, and lots of striding about like a praying mantis on heels. We learnt that one man with waxed eyebrows plus his body-popping brother equals a lamborghini.

Am praying deeply that parents' evening is not imminent, as the 11 year old has told his design teacher that mum met Lee McQueen where she used to work. Like the leopardskin coat, that might be a detail they aren't ready for round these parts.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bag of Pixies

Feel very lucky today - have had double-day-off time this week, so all very chilled and trying to be focussed. On sorting my life out a bit more. Bigger. Better. Faster. Go....

Of course, I had to have a few Pixies tracks to start today off, but am playing Frank Black to get more of his vocals, while figuring out a faster way to sell my vintage stuff. I am hopelessly undisciplined at listing stuff, the photos-in-a-good-light and the description malarkey, but its easy-peasy really. But imagine how brilliant it would be to have an app like in the tesco advert, but sort of in reverse. You scan your phone over a mid-century coffeepot, and 3 seconds later, its on eBay, beautifully photographed, accurately described.... Oh, please someone, invent it now.

Have been in to town for coffee and cake and was intending to try out some perfumes, but waylaid by the sale rail of acrylic goodies elsewhere I felt too bag ladyish and lost my nerve. Not sure what scent a bag lady should wear, but the one squirt of O' de Lancome I sneaked before backing out of Boots is not quite it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Doolittle. Again

Now that we are in February we'll have a bit of colour here. These are the tulips from last week.  
This week's flowers are as kitsch-as-hell. Coasters, in perfect nick. They smell just like they've been at the back of someone's sideboard for 50 years....

I think the parenting skills inspection went well. If that's how you can describe a psychologist clutching at straws. I'd hidden all the Tizer leftover from Christmas, and the empty pot noodle cartons anyway. They basically think he'll go back into a school somewhere, but not the current one, in his own sweet time. So, no problem there then. Apparently.

Last night's online grocery shop was a fail, as I was drawn instead to checking out a blog of old film and tv stills. This meant The Supermarket. Again. So, I put the blinkers on, got myself banned from the jewellery aisle, and managed a well-disciplined haul. Although the super-sized, stubby 720g jar of Branston was chosen for vase-potential so a swift decanting will need to be actioned.

Swift and action are words that are going to have to enter my vocabulary, replacing sofa-time and laissez-faire. Slapdash and slack are not getting me anywhere fast. In fact, I would like my life to be wireless, streamlined, less messy. But in the meantime I can't stop playing the Pixies....

...and uploading the odd photo of glorious buildings.