Guilty pleasures! What would you take to the island??

No, not Love Island, I’m talking about that desert island that has been in people’s hearts and minds for the past 76 years and absolutely counts as one of my guilty pleasures in life. Desert Island Discs.

To those of you reading this who are either not in the UK, it hasn’t reached your radar yet or are still professing to be far too cool for all this “old person” stuff, this is the Radio 4 programme where guests are asked to choose eight tracks (records, discs, call it what you will….) which you would take to a mythical desert island along with the complete works of Shakespeare, the Bible and a luxury item. A bit like “I’m a Celebrity” without having to eat any kangaroo appendages really.

Now I admit, whilst I’m not exactly an avid listener of Radio 4 and tend only to listen to the interviews where I’ve heard of the person in the first place, (which is rarer than I’d like to admit) I definitely have a soft spot for this radio institution and either listen to the podcasts at home or in the car whilst deliberating on which absolute bangers (I don’t think they call them this on Radio 4) I would pack in that mythical suitcase of mine.

Now this is not an easy task. It’s a little like when people ask what your favourite film is and you have the tough decision of “do I go with something everyone will think is really cool or do I just put it out there and admit how much I love Mannequin???” Pretty much each time I start thinking it over, I come up with different song options and really just want to cheat and ask for my luxury item to be an iPod so I can click shuffle and have thousands of songs at my fingertips like we’re all used to these days. But no, that’s not what this is about, so with that in mind, these are the eight tracks I would pick as of today. Next week or even tomorrow will probably be a different list. In five, ten or twenty years time it almost certainly would be. These have been chosen because they all mean something to me, or remind me of something or someone and just make me happy. Cheesy but true.

So, in no particular order, the first one I would go for is “Fools Gold” by The Stone Roses. Although I was pretty much the right age bracket and dressed accordingly (for accordingly, read “dreadfully”) at the height of their brilliance, I am ashamed to say I was too busy listening to utter crap in my teenage years and didn’t really “get” the Roses until probably the last ten years or so. I was reintroduced to them by my husband and, to avoid making him look as though he has excellent taste, I should add that some of the other stuff he’s tried to make me listen to has been utterly shocking. But the Roses I liked. I’d forgotten that they were constantly there in the background of my teens and trying to choose just one track was hard. But this one reminds me of desperately trying to be cool at house parties, failing miserably and then finally getting to see them live last year and having the best time ever.

Number two? “Superstar” by The Carpenters. Like many, I used to rifle through my Dad’s record collection (I gave up on Mum’s as “Peter, Paul and Mary” just didn’t cut it for me. Sorry Mum) and this was one of the few non-Jazz records he had. Whether it was bought because he liked it, bought for him or it was a little less blues-ey for all those eighties dinner parties I’ll never know but I listened to it, got hooked on Karen Carpenters’ voice and immediately committed all the lyrics to memory. I sing this in the car with my son and he hates it. Which makes me love it that little bit more.

At three. “Big Log” by Robert Plant. Fascinating fact, he bought me a drink once as he used to drink in my local. Lovely guy but to my eternal shame, at that point in my life at the age of around 20 I didn’t quite know or appreciate who he was. I only discovered this song much later and fell in love with it at first listen. I also like how at no point in the lyrics does he mention the phrase “big log”. (Another fact for you there, thank me later.)

Four – “You Do Something To Me” by Paul Weller. This was the first dance at our wedding. I would like to say we chose this because it had meaning for us and it’s “our song” but the reality is we were running out of time to make a decision on what to have, so we heard it, liked it and went with it. We wanted “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen but it apparently “wasn’t romantic enough”. Ah well.

Five – Depending on any given day, this can alternate between “When Doves Cry” or “The Beautiful Ones” by the bloody fabulous Prince, but for todays purposes I’m going with the latter. Possibly my favourite album of all time, Purple Rain, which I listened to until I broke the tape through over-use and promptly upgraded to CD. (I have since upgraded once again to vinyl in a slightly backwards fashion.) This track is best listened to with headphones, loudly, in a darkened room. Love it.

Six – “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks. Being eternally late to the party, I first listened to this thinking “Oh my God, it’s Beyonce” before realising that there was such a thing as Songs My Generation Didn’t Invent. This is a classic for belting out in traffic jams. Loudly.

Seven – “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. There had to be a Kate Bush song, I used to borrow this album from the library over and over until I got the type of tape player that could record (completely illegally most likely) other tapes. (Come on, we all did it, didn’t we!?) Again, I would attempt to sing along before realising NO ONE can sing like her.

And finally, in at number eight, it has to be “Starman” by David Bowie. I could have chosen quite a few Bowie tracks but this I have chosen because it is my six year olds favourite and because of that, it had to make it into my favourites. Hearing my son singing this and loving it just makes me very happy.

As with every Desert Island Discs Castaway, you are given the complete works of Shakespeare along with the Bible to while away the days but are allowed a book and a luxury to take along too. And, at the risk of sounding basic, I would ask for a coffee machine and an unlimited supply of coffee pods so I could wake each morning to a nice cuppa. (I would hope that the unlimited fresh water supply would come hand in hand with this, if not, the thought of saltwater coffee is a bit grim…..) Book-wise I would have to cheat a little and ask for a gigantic ruled notepad with a nice pen as I’d soon get bored of the same book regardless of how much I love it now and I’d have enough time on my hands to attempt to write my own. At last.

I have to admit, the thought of being stuck on a desert island really doesn’t appeal to me, because sand, sunburn, logistics, accommodation, I’m a fussy old bird these days….. but it’s definitely nice revisiting some favourites and creating a nice little mix-tape. I may have to revisit this post in a years time to see how my list might change, what would you guys pick?

 

IMG_1577

 

 

 

It’s not Christmas, it’s November…..

At the risk of sounding like an intolerant grumpy old woman (don’t…) is it me or does it seem as though the second the Halloween masks are thrown in the bargain bin and the pumpkins are starting to rot outside the front door, (seriously, they¬†stink) then out come the advent calendars, the gift idea catalogues and (this is the worst bit) the CHRISTMAS MUSIC!

Now, honestly, I’m not a scrooge but two words people.

IT’S. NOVEMBER.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like Christmas and I’m not a total Grinch. Honest. I just have some small issues with walking into a shop at the beginning of November and hearing Christmas music. On the flip side, I admit, I have¬†sort of started my Christmas shopping and also have somehow managed to do my yearly tradition of buying a few Christmas bits only to find that I already have some of these items stashed in the garage from last year and I now have two lots of Christmas cards and gift labels because instead of being organised, I’ve done that thing of “putting them in a safe place” and then forgetting all about it. I do this every year. Without fail. And never learn.

This is also the time of year I start getting Christmas cake stress-guilt. Anyone else with me on this? In past years I have been super stupidly organised and made my Christmas cake at the end of October, ready for it to be packed away and fed a little tipple of brandy every week until it’s unleashed in Christmas week ready to be devoured at any given opportunity. This year, with one thing or another, I haven’t got round to the cake as yet and the ingredient bag (yes, I got that far, go me…) full of almonds and mixed fruit are sitting next to that Bake Off Showstoppers recipe book, with Mary Berry’s eyes judging my lazy cake-dodging soul every time I walk into the kitchen.

And then I realise just why there are baubles and tinsel everywhere already and the incessant Christmas music (can you tell just how much I dislike Christmas music yet??) has begun. It’s for people exactly like me, who think they’re organised and they’re getting this Christmas stuff nailed but in reality are just faffing about, getting nowhere and start to wonder if they’ll end up like those mad folk on Christmas Eve running around like turkeys trying to escape Bernard. (Too much? Sorry….)

The thought of leaving it all until Christmas Eve genuinely makes me break out in a cold sweat, I can’t handle it. Christmas Eve, as far as I’m concerned, is for baking cookies, eating cookies and then heading off to the pub for the afternoon before tracking Father Christmas and using said tracker to engineer a nice early bedtime for the small boy so Mummy can have a G&T and get into the festive erm, spirit and Daddy can have a glass of whatever Father Christmas requested. Funny that.

So this week I have formulated my plan. I’m going to channel my inner Mary Berry and get those darned cakes sorted. I’m going to sort out the duplicate Christmas stuff stashed around the place and try and arrange it in some order that makes me look as though I am absolutely smashing this Christmas prep. I’m going to source some fabulous advent calendars (I hear there are gin ones…..) and write some lists to make myself truly believe I Have Got This.

But sssshhhhh, keep it quiet, it is only November after all……….. x

 

IMG_3891

 

 

21 things you notice when you’re off sick…..

  1. You think all this bed rest is going to be quite the nice little treat. You can watch all the boxsets, read all the books you’ve been meaning to for ages but the cold, brutal reality is you spend the majority of the day flicking through social media and watching Escape to the Country.
  2. You’re convinced the drugs will make you sleep and they’re great. They don’t. They’re not. They send you crazy and turn you into possibly the most bad tempered evil bitch you’ve ever been. Which the rest of the family just LOVE.
  3. You flick through magazines aimlessly, with precisely zero concentration until the joyous moment you come across a perfume sample. You immediately put on said sample so at least while you look like a hideous bed monster you smell like an actual supermodel.
  4. You have chicken soup for lunch on the first day because it’s what your Mum used to make when you were off sick from school as a kid. And my God, it’s still so good.
  5. You watch the squirrels in the trees from your window and start imagining what their daily life entails. At one dark point you start talking to them, before realising you’re nuttier than their entire winter haul and get back to reading the magazines quick sharp.
  6. You realise, whilst reading these magazines, you have absolutely no idea, and equally no interest, in either who the hecky peck these people are in OK Magazine or why they’re showing you round their house. But their kitchen units are quite nice.
  7. You start googling kitchen units and redesigning your own kitchen. That housewife in Cheshire and Laura off the property programme would definitely approve.
  8. You online shop. If my husband is reading this, you receive it all and promptly send it all back.
  9. You listen to music to try and chill out. You’re momentarily lifted by a Del Amitri song (remember them?!) that you’d forgotten how much you loved but it spirals into listening to Phil Collins and you realise you are not living another day in blinking paradise thanks Phil.
  10. You realise how many utterly wonderful friends you have and how kind people can truly be. Magazines, gifts of soup, squash, iTunes vouchers, candles, notepads, chocolates that you can’t eat yet, (and you need to hide before the hubby gets his paws on them*) a puzzle book, (see number 11) more flowers than you have vases. I’m all about that hashtag “feeling blessed” this week.
  11. You sit and do a puzzle book for the first time since you were a kid. Man, I am good at Arrow-words.
  12. You take daily selfies to try and convince yourself that you are getting better and aren’t quite as likely to scare small children if you risk leaving the house.
  13. You do leave the house after a few days because you are GOING STIR CRAZY and regret it almost immediately.
  14. You realise you haven’t been this tired since you had a small baby and thank the lord indeed for this small baby being now not so small and big enough to give Mummy a cuddle when she needs it most.
  15. You watch the leaves falling outside and hate them a bit for messing up your garden. And for getting rid of the summer. Autumn? Humbug.
  16. You are aware that everyone has said “please just ask if you need anything” but you still feel guilty even asking for a glass of squash.
  17. You put on your Apple watch and realise you’re nowhere near your 10,000 step target, more like just 10. In total. For the day. *sigh* *removes watch immediately*
  18. You realise that having to eat soft food isn’t as exciting as chicken soup for the soul and¬†Mr Whippy ice cream all day. It’s dull. All you really want is a massive steak and chips. Your husband makes garlic bread with dinner and you sit for approximately 10 minutes sucking at it like a frustrated toddler. Futile.
  19. You take raspberry jelly and all your drugs to bed with you at 8pm and wonder just when did your life become so rock and roll?
  20. You are asked very nicely by your six year old son if you could keep your face like that forever because “it’s a sick Halloween costume Mummy, but I still love you even when you’re ugly.” Thank you my darling.
  21. You are eternally grateful for a job you can do whilst lying in bed looking like a absolute monster. Still smelling like a supermodel though. Thanks Mon Geurlain.

 

These are purely my findings from a week of “enforced relaxation” after having emergency dental surgery following a teeny little impromptu¬†meeting my face had with a marble worktop after I fainted. I am very happy to say I am almost back in the land of the living and even had a coffee to celebrate this fact today. See you next week for “normal” ramblings coffee lovers! x

 

*update – I have checked said chocolates and I am sorry to say they have indeed been liberated by said husband. Sad face.

 

IMG_3659 2

 

Conquering the Big C………

Eight months, six chemotherapy and twenty three radiotherapy treatments ago, one of my very best friends was told the heart stopping news that she had breast cancer.

She came round to tell me and although I can’t remember everything about that night (I should add there was no alcohol involved, just the earth shattering news) I remember (after I stopped crying) laughing together and being really positive knowing she would absolutely kick the arse of this hideously cruel “thing”.

I think the first thing I felt afterwards was some sort of weird guilt. Why has this even happened? Why couldn’t I take it all away for her? An odd sort of grieving feeling for the first few weeks. A sense of it not being quite real, being in limbo until things got very real and operations and treatment began.

There is always that weird thing that people do when they find out someone has cancer. This generally involves a tilt of the head and the “look”. The look of pity, of not knowing what to say, of feeling trapped and using this odd mannerism as code for “I have no words, if I do this then surely she’ll know what I mean”. She’s had that a lot. It has happened a few times when I was with her, when I would become fiercely protective and either attempt to change the subject or get the hell out as quick as we could. All the times it did happen though, we would walk away, groaning but usually laughing our heads off exclaiming “Oh God, the look!”

Then there was the hair thing. She has always had amazing hair. Like ridiculously amazing. One of our hobbies, aside from sending each other pictures of tattoos we like or shots of David Beckham looking hot as per usual, is to send each other pictures of hair colours, styles, extensions, you name it, we would find it and usually plan to do it. So when the hair went it was, in the words of Ron Burgundy, kind of a big deal. But she trotted off and got some awesome wigs, some not so awesome and one in particular that she sent me a picture of, saying she had dropkicked it across the room for being shit.

The three weekly sessions of chemo were brutal and something no rational human would wish on their worst enemy. We planned nights out on the weeks when she felt vaguely human again and lunches for when she was almost there. In between I would send the daftest pictures, memes, messages, whatever I could find to try and cheer her up. I’m hoping that I never did the tilty head thing, it’s very true to say no one knows what to say in these situations but I just tried to take her mind off it any way I could find, followed up with a quick “you ok?” If I got a reply, we’d chat, if not, it wasn’t a biggie, I knew she’d talk when she wanted to.

In August we had a week in Cornwall together. Both families doing what we do best, spending time together eating, drinking, being generally daft and of course taking the Mickey out of each other as we always do so well. How the hell she coped with that week away, arriving just hours after having a chemo session and still managed to join in with pretty much everything we did, even playing an 18 hole round of pitch and putt I genuinely have no idea. Yes she sunbathed under a blanket, wearing a woolly hat in the shade as she felt the cold so badly, yes she couldn’t eat everything we ate because of those nasty little chemo side effects of everything tasting foul but the morning she announced she fancied a boiled egg, I set to work trying to make the best bloody boiled egg I’d ever made in the hope it might make her feel a tiny bit better.

Despite having two friends diagnosed with and thankfully out the other side of breast cancer, I still don’t think I truly realised the utter devastation it causes. Mentally, physically, you name it, it’s the gift you never want to have that just keeps giving. Her husband, her family, her friends have all been incredible but most of all, somehow (and my God, I don’t and will never know how) she has been incredible.

I hope to God that at some point in our lifetime there is a way to cure and end this evil disease. She’s been officially cancer free since the op in March but didn’t get properly battered by it all until the chemo began. Seeing someone you care about dealing with it all is mind-blowing. And I didn’t see her on her worst days.

But now, it’s over. It’s done. No more long trips to the hospital for 58 seconds of getting blasted by radiotherapy, no more feeling the worst you have ever felt through chemo. She has completed the very worst of it and then some, it’ll be a journey all over again coming out of this but here’s the recovery part. Here’s where your life begins again. Where things don’t have to be put on hold, you can have the holiday and enjoy it properly, you can move on and do what the hell you want.

I wanted to write this blog this week to say how proud of you I am my friend. In fact proud doesn’t even come close. Just as we predicted eight months ago whilst we sat crying on my kitchen stools, you absolutely kicked cancer’s backside. And next years holiday? I’ll even let you get a better tan than me, that woolly hats not invited. xx

 

 

IMG_0305

 

 

The unknown terrors of parents evening….

So this week brought that little slip of paper in the school bag that confirms just when you have to go and sit with your childs’ teacher for 10-15 minutes and discuss exactly what they do in those hours between 9 and 3.30 when they aren’t with you.

I like to think these hours involve making beautiful crafts and learning to write, spell and read at long last and generally learning to be a lovely little human but after seeing the state of my child when I pick him up from school each day, I do genuinely wonder if he’s just been studying “how to be a caveman” judging by the amount of caked on mud all over his school shoes that I only ever manage to wipe off in a fit of “oh God why didn’t I do this last night” at 8.28am that morning. (Top tip, baby wipes are your friend as a Mum…)

I opened his school bag to find a carrot the other day. A single carrot. Having a small moment of wondering if they have been brainwashed as there is not a single chance in hell of my child eating one of these cooked, let alone raw at home, I enquired how it appeared in the bag. “Oh we get them at break time Mummy, they’re lovely” he replies. Turns out my child is a totally different person at school than he is at home.

And I think I probably was too. Up until middle school I was confident and could honestly say I absolutely loved school. I think I had a little wobble to begin with when I started first school but once I got into it, that tiny little village school of mine was my little world for five years. I have fond memories of it and can’t even recall a parents evening, though presumably there must have been as my Mother was told by my reception teacher, at the age of four, that I spent far less time doing the arts and crafts projects provided and more time studiously reading the newspapers that were placed down to protect the tables. (I just hope to goodness it wasn’t the Daily Mail.)

This has never been an issue with my child. Being a “young” one in the school year, he has always been slightly behind his peers in all things academic, although he can definitely fight a good fight on the football pitch. Reading has not come naturally, writing has taken time, spelling is another matter entirely.

I wasn’t expecting great things, having being told in the past couple of years that “he’s a little character” and other such gems along the lines of “he literally doesn’t stop but we class it as him having a personality and hey, let’s just go with it” but I was more than a little blown away at being told that “he has incredibly neat handwriting,” he “is a lovely child to have in the class” and when the teacher asked them to tell him what their favourite thing about school was, my little man proudly said “I love my kind friends” which I have to say kinda broke my heart a little.

It appears that while I took my eye off the ball for a millisecond of parenting, as we so often do, my little guy positively embraced the whole idea of this school lark so when I gave him the choice of a little “treat” the other day on the first day of our half term week together, he chose a seemingly enormous book about fascinating facts on astronauts and crocodiles and dinosaurs. “I’m not sure sweetie” I’d said as I thought all this would be far too advanced and scare him off from this reading caper entirely. He then proceeded to read me the whole of the first page as we walked around the shop. I had to stop myself from having a little sob as I paid for it and then caught him in the rear view mirror on the drive home devouring his book.

It would appear in the days since finding this literary tome that this book is a bit of a hit in his little world. He has gone to bed with it, told me interesting facts from it, and although, if I’m honest, can’t really read as much of it as he thinks just now, the joy of reading is there somewhere. The utter pleasure that you get from picking up a fresh new book, the smell of the pages, the feel of the spine and the individual carefully printed new pages. What treats he has in store, I used to read everything I could get my little paws on at his age, I just hope this continues. And he continues having kind friends and loving all the things school and learning can give him. Fly high my little one. Fly high.

 

 

And yes, fully aware of the irony of the title of the book………

IMG_5728

 

 

Let’s just stop faffing about shall we…..

It feels as though all I have been doing in any spare time I had since about May is party planning. (I had a little bash for a birthday I had with a zero on the end of it recently, I know, I’ve barely mentioned it…..) This party took up a ridiculous amount of my time and although I kinda enjoyed planning it all, I never ever want to go into event planning. Like ever. This thing took over my life a bit, I created a monster but boy, it was a great monster. From caterers, calculating how much drink we needed (turns out my friends are basically alcoholics..) to portaloos and the frock of dreams, this thing took time but do you know what? It was awesome.

After the mammoth clean up exercise yesterday which involved just the four trips to the bottle bank, an obscene amount of binbags and almost a full can of Febreze sprayed liberally around the place, I woke up this morning sort of feeling like it was New Years Day all over again. That new term feeling, the kind where you want to sharpen a pencil and start a new leaf both in that shiny new notepad you have and in life. It would seem friends of mine have been following me in my crazy pipe dream of blogging and have given me enough stationery to see these little ramblings of mine perhaps move on a little and come to life. As one friends’ card beautifully stated – ¬†“Forty is about having fun, feeling fabulous and believing in yourself and your dreams….” Added in big letters underneath were the words “Write the book!!”

Last weeks post was centred around my bucket list, a list that began life as a couple of things I’d quite like to do and quickly turned into a very real list of forty things I fully intend to accomplish. “Write the book” was straight in at number 6, not that this list was in any particular order, falling two underneath “climb something high”. I know. Blog content at its finest.

I digress. Starting today as a new fresh week made me think “well let’s just crack on shall we?” After starting this little blog in April this year, it turns out that a few of you quite like the inane inner workings of a coffee infused mind and my God, that makes me pretty damn happy. I can’t promise great literature, I can’t promise you high brow but I can say I’m trying my hardest and I am loving creating content that you can sit and read on your coffee break that might just raise a smile and you might just tell your mates about. And somewhere in amongst that lies “The Book” Maybe.

So I’m embracing this “new year”, sharpening my new pencils, turning over a leaf in those beautiful new notepads and giving this a bash. You lucky people will get¬†a weekly supply of ramblings and updates along the way of any other possibly out of reach ambitions or crazy ideas that spring to my mind. These often appear, usually in the dead of night, around 4am when I can’t sleep and genuinely think that holding a play date for my son and 14 friends at home on a Monday night when I’ve hosted 120 people two nights previously is a good idea. Told you my mind was twisted.

If you’ve stuck with me for this long, or perhaps this is the first time you’ve found me, stick with it and lets see what on earth I can come up with next. In fact, if there are any ramblings that you would like to see my take on, why not let me know?

 

IMG_0104

 

The big 4-0…….

Somehow, somewhere between painstakingly applying nail varnish flowers to my Doc Marten boots, crying about being cruelly dumped on my 16th birthday (true story) and hard discussions about the best way to get your kids school shirt as white as it can be, I blinked and realised I was pushing 40. This week in fact. Ouch, I said it out loud.

I say pushing, I should say approaching with caution. Now¬†30 was just fine, I breezed through that one with barely a thought. 40 though seems like the age where you’re supposed to have all your life in order and start acting responsibly – you’re just¬†“supposed” to be grown up.¬†I talked about it back in August in¬†this post¬†but somehow along the way I seem to have embraced the very thing that I was so nervous of. 40 now feels “OK”. Short of lying about my age for the foreseeable future, which is going to be tricky as many friends will read this and realise my deception, I’m going for it. Bring. It. On.

So with that in mind, I have been creating a bucket list of sorts. I have obviously been faffing around far too much to do the “40 things to do before you’re 40” and unless I can stall time (now that would be an impressive thing for the bucket list….) I’m going to just have to go for this…….

My-40-things-to-do-after-I’m-40-because-I-didn’t-get-round-to-them-yet-list

 

1. Stop caring about my age. It doesn’t matter, no-one cares and there’s nothing I can do about it. Therefore, buy the eye cream and deal with it.

  2.  Run 10k. I managed 5k a little while ago, so only twice the pain right?

  3.  Lift some heavy weights. Like really heavy. And make it look good without making a face like a dying rat.

¬† 4. Climb something high. Not the kitchen stool when I can’t reach the Tupperware cupboard (another true story…) but something really high. Perhaps not Everest though.

5.  Read / re-read the classics. Create a list of an achievable amount to read in a year and do it.

6. ¬†Write. The. Book. Or at least coax it out a little more. Come on, I know you’re in there.

7.  Try a new drink or food previously unknown. I can confirm this year I have finally enjoyed an olive or two. The food world is now my oyster as it were. Not them though. Ewww.

8. ¬† Crochet a blanket. A few years ago I “took up” crochet. I made a scarf and more than a few attempts at garments that spectacularly unravelled and faced the rest of their woolly lives in the bottom of the craft basket. I have a granny square blanket in my head that is going to be beautiful. One day.

9. ¬†Watch more bands / live music. One of my absolute favourite things to do and one I don’t do nearly enough. I’ve seen bands and acts over the years as diverse as Janet Jackson to PJ and Duncan. (Yes, really) More please.

10. ¬†Dig out my Nan’s cookbook and cook something from it. As long as it doesn’t involve lard. (Why did so many include lard??!)

11.  Learn to swim properly. I am an expert at doing the doggie paddle whilst pulling the aforementioned rat face. This needs to change.

12. ¬†Learn how to say something more than “Can I have a beer please?” in a foreign language. Like “Can I have a Prosecco please?”

13. ¬†Dance. Really dance. Everyone watching Strictly at the moment is thinking this I’m sure but how cool would it be to rock up at a party and be able to actually do the American Smooth?? Which brings me nicely to…..

14. ¬†Perfect a party trick. Something classy obviously, I’m not talking about being able to neck a pint of ale in less than 5 seconds. Although that would be pretty cool. Drink responsibly my friends….

15.  Go to a really cool music festival. Glastonbury is and always has been on my hitlist but then I discovered the ones in countries that may actually have more than a chance in hell of a warm day.

16. ¬†Say “yes” more. Not as in “have you had an accident at work” but leave myself open a little more to new opportunities that I would normally make up some terrible excuse to get out of.

17. ¬†Embrace my own company. Go to the cinema alone, a spa day alone – I’m talking about a bit of “me time”. With my constant friend by my side – a large Americano coffee. (My MacBook just autocorrected that as having some “me” time with a large American. Which would be a very different option on the bucket list……)

18.  Be able to grow something plant or vegetable-like without condemning it to an early death. Or without planting it in the garden and then forgetting where I put it because I forgot to put the little name tags next to it. Or without planting it and then it getting obliterated by a small boy with a football.

19. ¬†Build a snowman. My son has seen snow here in the U.K only once in his lifetime and we just don’t ever seem to have enough of the cold white stuff to make a decent big snowman. With a carrot nose and coal eyes – old school stuff.

20. ¬†Drive a truck. A massive one. I’ve wanted to do this since the days of watching Long Distance Clara on Pigeon Street (Now there’s a throwback for you…) I want to go to a race track or somewhere where I’m in no danger of meeting any other traffic (God forbid) and just drive. Perhaps toot the horn a bit to show I mean business.

IMG_0002

21. ¬†Learn how to do the splits. I’ve done yoga for a year now and I’m still no closer. Or should that be further apart. One day legs, one day.

22.  Learn how to put air in my tyres or be able to perform any other car maintenance task other than just sticking some petrol in my car.

23. ¬†Go to the Edinburgh Festival. Again, it’s been on the hitlist for far too long, next year maybe?

24.  See the Northern Lights. Preferably in one of those glass igloos whilst sipping some sort of crazy liqueur that fights away the cold temperatures. And whilst looking fabulous in a (fake) fur coat, obvs.

25.  Swim with dolphins. Admittedly I may need to crack number 11 before I attempt this one.

26.  Go Zorbing. Kind of like a huge hamster ball that you are zipped into and then pushed down a hill. Ridiculous? Yes. On the list? Yes.

27. ¬†Go on the Orient Express. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I was a kid. And sip a Gin and Tonic whilst I’m on it. (That was not on the list when I was a kid, honest.)

28. ¬†Write my will. That’s a proper grown up aim surely? Someone needs to know who gets the coffee machine and handbags after all.

29. ¬†This is a biggie. Get my degree. I didn’t go to University. I regret it. Not sure what degree yet but one day gadget, one day….

30. ¬†Quit the paranoia. I’m the kind of person who worries constantly about what people think of me. Stop caring, I’m not going to be liked by everyone, that’s normal and that’s fine. Those who do, do and I love them for it. Those that don’t? Not on my radar anymore.

31. ¬†Celebrate with a big cake / glass of prosecco / great big coffee / new skinny jeans when I hit 40 blog posts. I never thought I’d be brave enough to post one let alone 40. I’m over halfway there, perhaps by then I’ll have reached my next goal?…..

32. ¬†Get a crazy amount of likes on a blog post. Go “viral” maybe! Turn this crazy hobby into something more.

33. ¬†Set up a monthly donation to charity. I don’t need to explain why, everyone could do this.

34. ¬†Adopt an animal. Husband, if you’re reading this, the animal does not have to live with us. Honest.

35.  Sing. I am not a good singer. I do not care.

36.  Learn how not to be a total technophobe. I might be from the generation that barely learned how to use a computer at school but I should really be able to do more than switch it off and on again.

37. ¬†Learn how to play the piano. I nailed the recorder, attempted the clarinet, made a passable attempt at the saxophone. Piano – you’re next.

38. ¬†Wear the dress / top / jewellery that you keep for “best”. Any day can and should be “best.”

39. ¬†Make jam. Make like I’m in the WI (again, not on the bucket list, sorry Mum) and make a few little jars of something passable to throw on toast.

40.  Live the cliches. The really cheesy ones. Live Love Laugh? Dance in the rain like no-one is watching because you just need to keep calm and carry on? Yeah those. All of those.

 

I feel like I should end this longest-skinny-blog-ever with some meaningful words. A quote from one of the greats perhaps.

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

So yes, come at me 40. I’m ready to lose myself, own it and give it a shot. Or is that down a shot?……. Cheers.

IMG_0001

Skinny Ramblings on…… Peony and Mint

I’m just going to put it out there – I love an accessory. A scarf, jewellery, handbags, (God especially a handbag…..) you name it, I pretty much want it and of course, need it in my life. So when my good friend Jo created her amazing business¬†Peony and Mint¬†showcasing all things us accessory addicts adore, I was right up there in the queue to see what goodies she had on offer.

And boy, are there goodies! Literally everything that makes me drool. Bags of all sizes, shapes, colours and fabrics. Ponchos, scarves, knitwear all in beautiful shades and the softest materials. Jewellery to cover all occasions from coffee with the girls, a night on the town to a wedding or day at the races. Beautiful gifts too, for adults and kids – Jo has saved my bacon on more than one occasion when I’m stuck for a last minute gift!

Last week she invited me and whole host of others to an accessory evening at the utterly fabulous¬†Max’s Coffee Shop¬†in Sutton Coldfield to showcase her collection of beautiful things and some lovely new stock that’s just arrived. Now call me old fashioned but a night of catching up with friends, having a nice glass of fizz (Oh yes, not just a coffee shop, can you see why I love this place??) and the chance to spend my hard earned cash on some pretty things? I’m in!!

IMG_3485

Prosecco in hand, it’s time to have a look round and the tricky part is deciding where to begin! I start with my absolute favourite – bags. Anyone who knows me knows full well I don’t exactly need any new bags but I’m no quitter – there is always room in the cupboard of handbag dreams for another addition. A couple of months ago I bought¬†this bag¬†from Jo and it’s honestly the bag I have used most all summer, it fits a ridiculous amount of stuff in and you can wear it with or without the strap so works brilliantly for day or evening. It also comes in just about every colour you can think of, I was tempted by rose gold, metallic grey and navy (to name a few!) but eventually chose berry which seems to be everywhere in the shops this autumn and a colour I am absolutely loving.

IMG_3451

Next up, scarves. I, like most Mums on the school run, love to rock a scarf and may or may not have a “few” in my wardrobe. (Hmm, there seems to be a theme here…) But, lets face it, like bags, there’s always room for one more. The¬†pom pom scarves¬†have been really popular for Jo and having one in summer colours already it goes without saying I just had to snap up an autumn one.

Another thing Peony and Mint is utterly fantastic for is gifts – and this was my ideal opportunity to start the dreaded Christmas shopping. There are so many choices, from gloves, socks, make up bags, compact mirrors and has options for every budget so it makes it a lot easier to pick up a few bits you know people are going to love. I managed to pick up some gorgeous gifts that will be kept hidden away until the big day, no peeking now!

IMG_3454

The jewellery is absolutely stunning, there’s a huge range of really unusual pieces and whether you are after earrings, bracelets, necklaces, chokers, pendants, you can definitely find something to cover everything from statement pieces (I’m a proud owner of¬†this beauty¬†which always gets loads of comments, I’ve had complete strangers asking me where I got it from!) to traditional, vintage and even multi tasking pieces (a bracelet that unwraps to turn into a choker anyone?)

These evenings are such a brilliant way to hunt down some really individual pieces at great prices, not to mention a perfect excuse for a catch up with friends over a glass of something nice! You can even host your own party, with some amazing discounts for the host. Anyone else further afield can simply order online at Peony and Mint  this even includes worldwide delivery!

Happy shopping! x

 

Disclaimer РThis is a sponsored post but all love of sparkly things and handbags are, as ever, my own!