Tuesday, 30 August 2011


... in Argos.

Woman buying a bracelet....

"If I get it engraved, can I still bring it back?"
"Erm, no."
"But it'll only be a name..."

The Day After Tomorrow...

... is Back To The World Of Work. Although seawater getting into the streets of New York over the past few days does seem a bit familiar too...

What have I done to prepare for re-entering the World Of Hectic? The life that is getting myself into a fit, presentable and coherent state, and managing to prise 2 similarly prepared offspring out the door at an unholy hour of the day? Which I have not had to do since early June? Well, not that much really.

  • Last night I dreamt that the 13 year old's friend, who will also be at his new school, was driving a milk float whilst trying to learn Polish by linguaphone. The friend has autism, and the multi-tasking was not going well.
  • Tomorrow is the day the 13 year old becomes 14. Having a birthday the day before going back to school is a bit bleurrggghh at the best of times. It being the day before, when he hasn't got a settled sleep pattern, a teetering inclination to go to the new school anyhow after dropping out for a year, etc, is perhaps not the best day to fill him with chocolate, birthday cake 'n' all that. Luckily he hasn't discovered booze or drugs yet...
  • So we have a Sort Of Plan. Yesterday we went out and did some lovely spending on things that currently make him happy - hoodies, lego, lunch... so we can spend tomorrow a bit more quietly (but still stuff ourselves with cake). And I will keep my fingers crossed.
As for myself, my sort-of plans to sell, sell, sell lots of vintage loveliness during the summer panned out into procrastination, as I ignored the plastic crates piled high that prevented me from getting to my wardrobe area, and thus forced me to create even more piles of not-put-away clothes. Not a good scene. All that I managed to tick off the list was some speedway badges from the 70's, a wooden chair, and a book. Not much of a dent in the mess that has overtaken my room...

With typical good timing I have, at the eleventh hour, gone into decluttering overdrive, and decided Its All Got To Go. Now. I've spent 2 evenings brutally sorting out what to get rid of. 3 bags for the charity shop, and a 4th ready to fill today of more stuff I don't wear.

Oh, and I did some stupid thrifty fence mending on Saturday too - which involved creating a support for a rotten fence post out of a plastic dustbin filled with bricks from a skip. The neighbour is American, and likes his yard Tidy. Part of his fence leaning into my garden was not doing it for him. And given the hurricane conditions over his homeland, I thought having the fence nice'n'straight would give him a bit of zen. 

So I'm a bit tired, have muscle fatigue, and will probably oversleep on Thursday. Or not be able to sleep a wink in a blitz of over-exhausted insomnia.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Who's In The House?

The Very Big Important Occasion of channel 5 relaunching Big Brother is only one sleep away now (insomnia permitting). I have peeked at footage showing previews of the house. Ample opportunity seems to have been made for some of the celebrities to climb up onto the roof. The diary room is technicolour and I'm praying the celebs will think of us, the poor viewers who will be enduring this colour-fest, by co-ordinating their outfits accordingly... But the one thing I'm most looking forward to (in that way where random trivial crap fits into your general everyday life of sophisticated culture doing a stocktake of the freezer and paying the window cleaner) is seeing Jedward's hair in the mornings. Unless they both hide industrial-sized hairspray under the duvet, they could be emerging looking like a pair of Draco Malfoys.



Meanwhile................................. Since when did they give rosettes to small children who might possibly want to become adhd-lite pop stars?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Good Timing

What a good weekend for this image to be the front cover.

D'ya think it gave anyone ideas?

Guardian Weekend magazine, Saturday 6th August
btw the tagline for the story was "the people vs the supermarkets"

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I'm Just Angry...

...about the riots.

My grandma would have been 100 tomorrow. She used to leave her shoes upturned at night for her husband to notice the holes in the soles before she could get a new pair. Children not that many decades ago walked miles to school without shoes. People used to be hung for stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving families. People were deported for similar minor crimes.

Around the world there are so many countries entrenched in poverty, dictatorships, suppression, civil wars. There are droughts, famines, lack of infrastructure. People seeking democracy are mown down by government tanks or guns. The countries we have criticised for their barbarism are now laughing at the situation we currently have, at the Oxbridge graduates who've lost control of the country.

We are seeing British kids, seemingly unaware that compared to most places they could have been born, they've actually got it quite cushy. Ok, the jobs situation sucks, and their prospects are not great. There are growing divisions between rich and poor. Public services are being cut. But essentially these kids are alive, safe, fed, housed, living in a democratic country with human rights... and they're taking advantage of safety in numbers to wreck homes, endanger lives, to get their kicks, to get flash tvs and trainers.

I am angry that they have caused all this fear and damage without being stopped in their tracks. CCTV and social networking are leading the police to the doors of some of them, but its too late - these kids have burnt people out of their homes, ruined family businesses, stuck their fingers up at the notion of working for what you have.

In Birmingham last night 3 young men were killed by some idiot who drove into them. The crowd of men were protecting local shops. I'd quite like to have words with the driver of that car, and with a few of the other idiots who've been having their fun this week.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday Inspiration

 Ok, I just wrote, and abandoned, a post moaning about it being halfway through the holidays, feeling unspecifically frazzled, and generally getting all glass half empty, so instead there's going to be some Lovely Pictures.

I was looking at this magazine on the train and just gawped at this photo
The colours, the stuff, the dark grey, the white mirror...

Love old tile patterns. Even though this one's decided to be the wrong way round

Opera wallpaper, Cole & Son 

We're getting a bit of a purple'n'blue theme going on here.
Purple tumbler by Evitavonni.
It's only £82.21...
And I'd quite like the stairs too

 Hayworth sofa, John Lewis

And this velvet one
Ackroyd sofa for Marks and Spencer by Conran

I'm going to have to make do with a velvet cushion I have in this colour
It was from Woolworths...

 Another variation on the Royal stamps theme
By Annie Little

And I love this light fitting
RGB pendant lamp, Fredrik Mattson at InForm
Very naughtily working out how to make a tribute version...

I sort of like this table-bench idea
Very space-saving

So much that I've been wasting a bit too much time 
working out if I could do something like it

Now these two images are for Kim and her Eiffel Towers
Have a look at her fabulous European kitchen here:

Conran Shop

Kate Thornton Design - "We Love Paris"*

And these are just because they are sooooo cute...
No one would notice if I sneaked them into my kitchen, right?

All images from September's Living etc, except for *

Saturday, 6 August 2011

1970's Wallpaper

This is the wallpaper at my Dad's house.
It's from the first time these designs were in fashion.

Thankfully the carpets are not from the same era....

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Bit More Travelling

Wiped out. Away from home for two days and a night and it feels like weeks. Would feel more energetic had I not shared a room last night with The Snore Monster and The Contortionist. Family rooms should be heavily discounted to take into account that you shouldn't have to pay that much to be kept awake most of the night. It didn't help that everytime TSM gurgled, grunted and emitted other alarming nocturnal sounds I was instantly primed, lest the sounds augered the return of The Dreaded Upchuck Episodes. Not on someone else's carpets...

My unswitched-off brain did the Chucking Ideas Around In My Head Allnighter - where would I be now if I'd done x instead of y then, and said this instead of that another time. It hit me that I'd allowed myself to have a pretty shit time on each Significant Birthday - a stingy, emotionally-challenged, ex-boyfriend and ending up buying my own bottle of cider on my 21st, shopping on my own on my 30th while my then husband spent the afternoon in an amusement arcade - divorce followed fairly swiftly - and getting off my face on pints somewhere in Holland on my 40th with a bunch of people I hardly knew. Don't get me wrong - other birthdays go brilliantly; its just those 3 were weird. Decided I'd better make sure the next Decade-Marking one will be amazing.... ;) I'd write a novel, except that I have a floor to lay.

Anyway, apart from nocturnal non-sleep and birthday revisits, we had a good day with my dad. Apart from him having a very particular way of filling up the kettle. Clearly, I did it the wrong way. And him not believing that I could change a washer in his cistern. Turns out there's been something wrong with the toilet for a few months now; he can't change the washer himself at the moment as he's done something to his thumb, won't call a plumber in, and won't let his family do it either. Next time I'll take some tools and just get on with it. The same goes for a second banister to go up his stairs - I once offered to sort it out for him and he told me no, I want it done properly. Only he won't get anyone in to do it properly. Hmmmm.... see where this is going? I once arranged for him to be assessed for some social care, or whatever they call it, after he'd had an operation a few years ago. He didn't like the way they suggested putting the banister on, and he sent the woman away because she didn't seem to be dressed for cleaning his house. She was probably only the bl**dy assessment person....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Time To Be Wonder Woman (Again)

 OK, I have just looked around me and seen the following state of slovenly mess.
Be quietly appalled:

Look, more activity-avoidance blogging. And ice cream eating.
And generally living like a pig.

Rough pile of paperwork on the left is the Important Stuff I Should Get Done.

Such as, get school uniform sorted, cancel a magazine subscription, get the unused Tesco tokens exchanged for a day out AT A WELL KNOWN CHOCOLATE FACTORY, book the 12 year old in for the filling the dentist told us a fortnight ago he needed, plus various nonsense to do with utility people, pension schemes, etc....

(I'd be lying if I was ever to put on my CV that I'm good at prioritising)

The pile on the right is a diagram to work out, in my mathmatically-dyslexic way, how many floor tiles I need for the dining room/kitchen, a map of Brighton (the boyfriend was trying to show me the Wrong Way To His Hotel he once took when Very, Very Drunk), a fan letter from Domino's Pizza addressed to  "Valued Customer" (aka Slutty And Undomesticated), more random bits of paper loosely relating to the first pile, and a load of floor tiles.

To the right of the laptop is some random carrier bag that seems to always be in my handbag - apart from today - and a London A-Z. Oh, and the EXTRA SUNBLOCK I had to buy last week when I forgot to put it on everyone one day. This stuff's brill - Solait, factor 50, it rolls on green and smells like melon. Can't get better than that...

The wooden cd box at the back of the table is from an idea I had while watching Cars 2 yesterday - I'm going to put it on the wall and put my tacky 60s Blackpool metal ashtrays and some vintage seaside postcards in it. I tend to get idle ideas like that while watching colourful films... you know how the mind just drifts.

These are my excuses for The Mess:

 I've made a start on the flooring - it will be slate-effect vinyl all the way through the dining room into the kitchen. You can see the ancient, chipped, mish-mash of the 2 floorings I'm replacing. More upheaval, and more things in the wrong place for a while.

The printer is dumped on the table as I was copying stuff for the school bus pass malarkey. The ink was too low to do more than 2 sheets. So,off  to the old-school photocopying shop I went. And then came back with ink and another fan for this humid-beyond-living-memory weather.... assembled the fan, decided we all needed late afternoon ice cream... browsed some blogs, and realised that I was going to have to get a move on to get us down to Kent to see my dad tomorrow. No packing done yet! A bit of Wonder Woman magic needed here....

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Breakfast At Heston(ys)

Got to share this. I have just tried to jog the 12 year old into having breakfast... there is no milk. This is due to me not being able to carry any with the groceries yesterday, owing to having already bought a pack of floor tiles en route to the supermarket.

Therefore, the breakfast options are as follows:

  • Toast. He's not a fan.
  • Cereal bars
  • Dry bowl of cereal - its the yummy mini weetabix-with-sticky-choc-bits, so I can vouch for their nibbliness.

Or my suggestion..... a bowl of said cereal, to dip into a bowl of ice cream. Could be quite nice, and who doesn't love ice cream, particularly at 11am?

I have just been yelled at, and accused of trying to feed him something Heston Blumenthal would come up with....

(Heston is it m'lad? Now then, how gross can I go when it comes to dreaming up your dinner tonight???)


Post-script - he is having a fried egg sandwich

Monday, 1 August 2011

What To Do On A Monday, Part 107

What I Should Be Doing:

  • sorting out the unspent tescos restaurant tokens from last week - how badly did I overestimate the boys' appetite for pizza? we only used them ONCE!!!
  • sorting out sending vital financial gubbins to some woman in a dark, windowless office several miles away so that the 13 year old will get a bus pass by the start of term
  • ordering school uniform so said 13 year old will have the right clobber, also by the same deadline
  • throwing away last year's scraps of paper from school. obvs books and other testimony to the 12 year old's achievements will be archived in a box under the bed...
  • mending a collapsed billy bookcase so that the books on the floor can go back onto it
  • taking old books and STUFF from their rooms to the charity shop
....umm, so thats pretty much all the boring not-done things that were on my pre-holiday list.....

What I Am Doing:
  • slowly realising that the urge to Get A Medium-Sized Dog is the same urge we get every holiday, seeing so many cute dogs at the seaside. It is Not Practical and must be denied....*
  • realising that it is Not Big and It Is Not Clever to reveal on here how last week I showed the kids you can eat Tunnocks Tea Cakes by putting stuffing one whole one into your mouth. To avoid dropping choccie bits on the carpet of our rented flat, y'see...
  • craving some metal old-school style reading lamps. Now then, white or red? Or both?
  • wondering how on earth I let myself get talked into going to see Cars 2 tomorrow - it was meant to be the 12 year old and his mate, having a bit of independence. My friend, aka the mate's mum, wants to come too... perhaps its not too late to persuade her we should just go for a nice long coffee while they get blasted by 3D cartoon nonsense...
  • spending ALL morning so far catching up on posts I didn't get time to read last week. It has now been over 2 hours....

Oh well, at least the fidgetty, restless mood I was in yesterday has subsided. I had NO concentration span all day yesterday, and couldn't settle down to do anything. Apart from 2 boring loads of laundry...


* The To Get A Dog Or Not Get A Dog issue may be decided by your voting yes or no.
I'd sort of like people to say yes.....