Thursday, 31 May 2012

Flat Tyres, Leaky Boilers And A TV Show

This week ... the bad ...

My silver blue Peugeot felled itself with a flat tyre. It happened last Saturday morning as I was driving back from an appointment with a regular client. The steering lost its power and I could feel every abrasive bump and lump of chewing gum on the tarmac. Although it happened on Talgarth Road, one of London's "quieter, urbane" routes, I managed somehow to will my limping vehicle onto a back street behind Barons Court Tube. Fortunately as it was a Saturday the parking was free and double fortunately Younger Dad had returned from an over seas trip so he was available to rescue my sorry car. We forgot to renew the RAC membership last Summer so I'm not quite sure what I would have done if it'd just been me and Little A. H, my best buddy, assured me that you can call out the RAC regardless. That's good to know.

Our ancient boiler sprang a watering can of leaks which flooded boxes, gym clothes and a pair of boxing mitts. Water is currently dripping into several plastic containers. Our usual plumber ironically named Mr Nice won't touch it and protested at the meniality of the job by gruffly putting the phone down on Younger Dad. We are now on a hunt for another plumber before we escape London for the Jubliee weekend. Younger Dad is convinced its a broken seal that's causing the waterworks but its looking like we may need to buy a new boiler. This is not good. We are currently preparing the anti tardis, our cramped London Flat, for sale and could do with out this extra enormous cost.

But here's ... the good ...

Last week we started toilet training. Little A now mostly bypasses her potty in favour of climbing onto her step stool and clambering like a mountaineer onto her toddler toilet seat. As to be expected we've had puddles on the carpet. But thanks to a heap of reward stickers she's getting the hang of it.  I've decided upon a laid back approach of daily training sessions with the intent of building her time on the potty and toilet gradually.

Potty Training - An up hill climb

The sun shone gloriously on West London. After nap time Little A and I took afternoon strolls around the block picking dandelion clocks and buttercups. One late afternoon we also bought a Cornetto. Little A and I sat on a shady grass verge and quietly shared the ice cream. It was a sublime moment.

Work has begun on the entrance and porch area of our flat. The pathing has been retiled, a new gate attached, the exterior painted, new frosted glass panels fitted and a new front door, which I want painted in teal, will arrive next week. This is all part or our mission to get the flat on the market. We had hoped this would happen this Spring but life happens and now we are aiming for the Autumn.

One of my favourite bloggers announced in a lovely post that she's pregnant again. I was over joyed by her news as I know from her blog that this is something she's wanted for a while. Happy tears welled in my eyes when I read her story. I was really moved. Its wonderful to hear about the good fortune of others.

On Tuesday I was a contributor on a short pilot for a chat show. This is the first time I've ever been on televised camera. As you can imagine I was very nervous. The topic under discussion was older mothers which is something I know a little about and the reason why the production team contacted me. The actress Natalie Cassidy (Sonia from East Enders) hosted the show and I was pitted against journalist Carole Malone to argue the case for older mums. If the pilot is commissioned I will be invited back to film an hour long show which will be broadcast on Channel 5. If you're interested, Today Was A Different Day tells the full tale of my adventures on screen.

On balance the flat tyre and leaky boiler have been eclipsed by all the great things that have happened this week. A lot to be grateful for and plenty of reasons to be cheerful. I'm linking up with the lovely Michelle from Mummy From The Heart where you'll find other uplifting posts.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Today Was A Different Day

The taxi rumbled outside as I finished my last mouthful of Cheerios and closed the lap top lid. I was as prepared as I could be. I knew my research. I knew my view point. Most importantly I had my personal experience to draw upon. As I hurried out of the flat dressed in a plain purple T-shirt, jeans and a new pair of Converse trainers Younger Dad tried to reassure me, "you'll be fine, you really know your stuff". I didn't feel totally convinced as the latch clicked shut behind me.

The chauffeur, a very burly, down to earth man named Dave held a rear door open for me. I settled myself on the back seat and gulped from a bottle of complimentary water as the cab drove away from the curb. En route to our destination Dave and I put the world to rights. We talked football. We talked Princess Diana. We talked conspiracy theories. It alleviated my nerves and kept me calmly distracted.

After an hour of crawling through rush hour traffic my carriage finally parked outside a modern building somewhere on the Isle Of Dogs. The towers of Canary Wharf engulfed the skyline nearby. I couldn't quite believe this adventure was happening. Only two weeks before some one had contacted me from a television production company. They'd asked if I would like to be a contributor on a fifteen minute pilot for a new chat show on Channel Five. The subject matter was older mothers.

A youthful assistant greeted me at reception and I was escorted to the Channel's offices upstairs. There, I was debriefed by the production manager, offered a croissant and juice, and then shown to the make up department. Heated tongs straightened my ruffled hair and a natural look applied to my flushed complexion. I wasn't so keen on the liner applied beneath my eyes. It appeared too heavy. But the overall effect was camera friendly. My armpits on the other hand couldn't be tamed in the morning heat. No amount of deodorant was going to prevent the two large wet patches appearing under both my arms. The make up artist kindly offered tissues to stuff into my armpits. It helped ever so slightly.

A blond, animated character burst into the small mirrored room. She greeted me with a blustery "so you're the woman I'm debating with today". It was Carole Malone, journalist, broadcaster and celebrity Big Brother contestant. She's a vivacious, articulate woman and I began to doubt whether I had the intellectual muscle for a televised exchange with her. To her credit, Carole was very reassuring. She actually agreed with my positive views on older mothers but today she was going to play devil's advocate. What had I let myself in for? Facial enhancements applied, Carole vanished like a whirling dervish in black patent heels to warm up the small audience gathering in the studio. Meanwhile I was left stuffing more tissues under my sweating armpits.

Get ready. I'm debating with YOU today Older Mum. 

While I was having my makeup touched up another bright face entered. I instantly recognised the female form in the light floral print dress as Natalie Cassidy. She's the actress who played Sonia in East Enders. Natalie recently became a mum herself. She was hosting the pilot show and we went through some of the prompts she was going to ask. Natalie had a vested interest in the topic of older mothers. Her own mother was aged forty four when she had given birth to her. She tragically died from cancer when Natalie was nineteen.

In the studio a microphone was attached to my t-shirt and its battery placed in my back pocket. I looked apprehensively at the round plinth that housed two black chairs. Now I felt woefully under dressed. I had hoped for a table to conceal my jeans and trainers. My complete casual ensemble was going to be broadcast. But then I reminded myself that this was only a pilot. I was authentically dressed. In character. As a mum.

Carole and I took our places. My arms were pinned to my sides to ensure no exposure of the pools of perspiration etched onto my t-shirt. Then we were off. Natalie introduced the show and the debate began; how old is too old to become a mum? I don't clearly remember the exact words that escaped my mouth but I do recall not stumbling over my sentences as my heart pounded and my head drew an anxious blank. I definitely didn't swear. I actually surprised myself by holding my own against Carole. I was sparky. Lively. I had expected a panel discussion but this was a tabloid debate. Very Punch and Judy. And fun. I engaged with the heckling from the audience. I even received claps when I made a salient point.

After twenty minutes, it was all over. I hadn't even started. I wanted to express more opinion. To champion older mums. To thoroughly lay my argument out. The production team were pleased though. I came across well. I was concise and enthusiastic. I listened to the audience. 

And then I was out of the studio and back in the make up room wiping my face on again.

Dave was waiting outside. I was relieved to see him again. We talked about the nature of celebrity all the way home. He regaled me with tales of notable passengers like Annie Lennox and the first patient to receive a heart transplant in the UK. After another crawl through central London the cab pulled up outside my flat and I bade my jovial driver farewell.

And what was the first thing I did when I got home? I had a shower of course and can thankfully say that my lawless armpits have been restrained.

If the programme is commissioned I'm going to be invited back for an hour long show. Older Mum In A Televised Muddle might be transmitted into your living room.

Watch this space .....

Friday, 25 May 2012

#Once upon a time - Don't Touch That Dial

Once upon a time .....

DJ Tantra's velvet tones were heard on the FM frequencies of West Yorkshire. I was a radio DJ. A pirate radio DJ which made it all the more cooler. I played on Dream FM from the early nineties until around '96.

It was the Summer of '92. My graduation Summer. A time of lounging, partying and occasional consideration of my career options. Dream FM was holding a club night. I got talking to one of the the DJ's who invited me along to his show. From there I blagged my own spot. It helped that I was an aspiring female DJ. A rare commodity back in the day. But I was good. Talented.

I grew up on Dream FM. It was my first residency. I discovered my niche experimenting with mixes that blended together contrasting genres of house music. I really indulged my tastes. It was the spring board to my true desire; to spin deep house and techno to clubbers all over Europe. Dream FM was the crooked fairy godmother that granted my wish.

Every week H, a heavy box of twelve inches, and I made the pilgrimage to the station. We parked the rusty maroon VW, braved the stench of the public lifts, before finally arriving at the summit of the tower block. Dream FM was situated in the foisty living room of a flat that I guessed belonged to someone associated with the darker shades of grey. An ex criminal probably. The radio equipment and record decks were set up on a sturdy trestle table in front of a large rectangular window. From this portal, the urban sprawl of Leeds stretched before me as I spun my show for two hours. H manned the phones while I played my records, coordinated adverts, and spouted shout outs, and mostly nonsensical nonsense over the microphone. I preferred to let the music do the talking.

Because Dream FM was a pirate station it periodically moved location but the police never really interfered turning a blind eye to the illegality. The station became so popular that it often featured in the local press. One year it applied for a legal license but lost out to competition over the Pennines. This outcome sadly meant the abrupt sinking of Dream Fm's ship. I moved onto another pirate station, Frequency FM, based in the South.

Dream FM was a blast. I made friends, propitious connections and even became the voice over for many of the station's adverts. My voice was thankfully dripping in reverb so I was rendered virtually unidentifiable. I even had a fan base. Most of the fan mail I received came courtesy of the inmates from Armley jail. These were not serious criminals but petty offenders, young adults who I presumed had started out on the disadvantaged side of life. Rereading some of the letters made me think about what set these characters on their paths. Poverty? Lack of opportunity? Exclusion? Who knows ... And now after all this time I like to imagine they got out and got on with their lives. I hope they became wiser, discovered insight, found new purpose, retrained, had families .....

"I mean when you put that top tune on and said "this ones for you" I couldn't stop myself jumping up and giving the door a good old bang. Thanks very much as it was. Totally appreciated." 

"Nice one for the Shouts and Toons. Keep me going and many alike. So once again keep it coming fast .... I used to go to the After Dark at Morley. I'm sure you know the place. Kicking ant it?.  That's how come I ended up in this predicament. Just a sound geezer trying to keep the smiling faces around."

"So just like to set one thing straight, if it wasn't for your set Armley jail just wouldn't be the same at the weekend. So keep doing what you do best and keep those kicking vibes coming our way. So from all the inmates and especially myself. Max respect."

"Dearest Tantra ... Well I'm listening and kicking and its down to you. You can imagine it would be a downer in jail but know there's always hope and mine is your set so do your best and put my shouts over the air." (female)

"The show is excellent as ever so keep them sounds coming. As long as you're playing them. I'm smiling."

I even dare to think that my radio show - the emotive power of the music I played - gave these inmates hope to start afresh, or at least to imagine new possibilities. Was it conceited of me to think that? I hope not.

Thanks for tuning in .....

So once upon a time, what did you enjoy (or dislike) doing, seeing or creating? It could be anything. What were you like many moons ago? Do you have a once upon a time story to tell or picture to share? It could be a happy, sad or humorous tale. The skies the limit. So do Link up below and grab the badge code ... and don't forget to tweet #onceuponatime. This is a monthly meme.

Once Upon A Time
Grab the badge code ...

<a href="" title="Once Upon A Time"><img alt="Once Upon A Time" height="170" src="" width="150" /></a>

Monday, 21 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - Just Disappear

The waitress placed the latte and croissant on the table.

David barely registered her. His eyes were caught by the bait of the financial news.

The coffee had bitter overtones and was barely warmer than the life left in his blood.


It mattered no more.

He closed the laptop. The finality of this action brought sweet relief.

Unrelated memories surfaced. Mainly women.

"Just disappear" she'd said.

David smiled at the irony.

He'd noticed her flat mate. Their eyes once met in silent recognition. The flame flickered before Charlotte, oblivious, had wrenched him out the door.

David shook his head.

Time to leave.

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was ... the flame flickered before ... 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Reasons Not To Feel So Mardy

So I'm not in the best of moods at the moment.

Younger Dad is currently overseas on business until the beginning of June. He makes brief appearances at the weekends before heading back to Heathrow.

It continues to rain.

I haven't worn any of my new t-shirts yet owing to the lack of sunshine. Its cold. The thermostat is turned up even as we rapidly head towards the longest day of the year.

Stephen wasn't fired on The Apprentice.

And ... The PMS storm clouds have rolled on in much earlier than anticipated.

So I thought it a sage idea to reassess the weeks events and discover some Reasons To Be Cheerful as an antidote to my morosity.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Reasons Not To Feel So Mardy ....

Last weekend was actually very pleasant. The sun made a successful challenge to the overcast grey and so we went out and about. On Saturday Younger Dad, Little A and I went on a family adventure to Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park. This is where we got married so it evoked some very fond memories and warm feelings. They were actually preparing for a wedding reception when we arrived. It was lovely to see the organza bows wrapped around the chairs and beautiful displays of wild flowers on the tables. The theme appeared to be silver and purple. We all went for a relaxing stroll in the woodland area adjoining the Lodge. Alice picked blue bells and ran around in circles while Younger Dad and I held hands and chatted. After kicking a ball around we drove to a local pub for a hearty lunch. Some much needed family before Younger Dad flew out on yet another business trip.

Then on Sunday Little A and I called upon my best friend H and her toddler, Little M. They live on the other side of London. The journey took us down the A40, through West Central London and then up through Camden and Finsbury Park towards Crouch End. Little M is only ten months younger than Little A and I really hope they strike up a long lasting friendship as they get older. We all had lunch together; the girls ate cheese on toast while us mummies picked on pitta, hummus, olives and salad.  We spent the afternoon in the communal gardens warmed by the mottled sunshine. Little A and Little M ran around kicking a ball and tumbling down the toddler slide. This gave H and I a chance to have a much needed catch up. I always feel refuelled after time spent with her.

Tuesday, we bought some new shoes for Little A. I loved watching her face light up as her feet were measured and the way she proudly stomped around the shop testing her new footwear. We purchased some pink pumps which should last until the early Autumn. Her new shoes guaranteed a cheerful Little A for the rest of the day. Happy toddler. Happy mummy.

On Wednesday I met up with another good friend for lunch. We always rendezvous at the Natural Kitchen in Marlebone as its an easy destination for the both of us, and the food is delicious. I had organic chicken, sun dried tomatoes and brie on warmed ciabatta  followed by strawberry cheesecake. I'm very partial to cheesecake. My friend also studied on the same counselling course as I did so it was good to talk shop. I felt very satiated from the cuisine and company.

I've been having difficulty writing this week. Creativity and ideas have eluded me. So on Wednesday night I switched off the PC and relaxed with a novel on the sofa. I often find myself  just dawdling on the laptop and not doing anything constructive. So it was good to switch off the technology and  indulge myself with a good read.

Today I received an email from some one from Channel 5 who is looking for contributors on a pilot for a new audience discussion show. They are looking to discuss the fact that births in over 45's have doubled over the last decade. Now I'm not over 45 but I do have plenty of opinions on this subject and that's why I set up Older Mum last year. Must be why they contacted me. Watch this space ...

Finally after having checked the weather outlook I'm feeling a little cheerier again .... warmer climes are on their way.

Head over to the wonderful Mummy From The Heart for some more Reasons To Be Cheerful posts.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Legs Eleven - Part 2

At the beginning of the year I was tagged by Making It As Mum and Mummy Plum in the eleven questions meme. This formidable meme sent bloggers everywhere running for cover including myself. I procrastinated. I stalled. My legs shook in their dated Uggs. Finally five months later I mustered the chutzpah necessary to face the task at hand. You can read the first instalment and meme rules here.

In this, the second part, I've done my utmost to answer the wonderful Mummy Plum's questions with colour, flair and a dash of cinnamon.

1. Which song gets you in the mood to party.

I think this has to be Once In a Lifetime by Talking Heads. Love the music. Love the lyrics. Its become something of a morning ritual for Little A and I to shake our booty to David Byrne and Co.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

2. What's your favourite dish to cook for friends and family.

Strawberry crumble. Its my signature dish. You may not know this but hot strawberries taste otherworldly. They're utterly divine. I guarantee your taste buds will back flip in delight. My crumble has silenced many a dinner exchange. And its perfectly complimented with custard or a generous scoop of Green and Black's vanilla ice cream. I often add oats and ground almonds to the crumble mixture for a more textured, sweeter taste. Nigella ... read and learn.

3. Which of the books you've read recently would you recommend as 'good reads'.

To be honest I can't say I've read anything currently that would be considered a good read. Over the last couple of years I've mainly had my head buried in parenting books. Of those I can highly recommend What Every Parent Needs To Know by Margot Sunderland and Why Love Matters - How Affection Shapes a Baby by Sue Gerhardt. Recently I've been immersing myself in fiction again, and have to admit to reading the Twilight series, yes, at 41 years of age. Its not particularly well written but its still a great yarn. It takes me back to the yearnings, obsessions and hidden desires of my late teenage years. This can only mean one thing; the beginnings of  a mid life crisis ...

4. What's your must have beauty product.

Well actually I have two. 

Firstly there is this ....

Vaseline Lip Therapy

Its cheap but does what it says on the tin. It keeps my lips moisturised and plumped come wind, rain or shine.

Secondly there is this ....

Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream

Not so cheap but a real treat and probably the best cream I've lavished the delicate skin around my eyes with. No puffiness. No grease. Just deeply moisturising and rejuvenating. Honestly, its worth every penny and one pot will last around five months.

5. Do you have a favourite mantra/proverb/saying.

No not really but being the domestic hub for the persistent demands of an ego centric two year old I find myself frequently repeating the word calm, caLM, CALM.

6. What is the most romantic thing you've ever done.

I wouldn't ordinarily class myself as a romantic. I'm more of a nuts and bolts girl at heart. But one year I made Younger Dad a special gift for Valentines Day. I bought an A2 black spiral bound album and transformed it into a little book of love for him. In silver pen I told the story of our first encounter, our first date, all the qualities I admired in him and why he was, at the time, such a wonderful boyfriend. I then embellished my gift with an array of red and gold love hearts and photographs of happy times together. Needless to say he kept me hanging around.

7. If money were no object, where would you like to go on holiday.

Unquestionably the Maldives. It was the destination of my honeymoon. I would love nothing more than to spend three weeks, no, lets make that four, on the idyllic, sun soaked canvas of a Maldivian Island.

8. What's your most treasured possession.

Any photograph of my late grandma. There is one that really stands out though. Its a polaroid of my grandma and grandad on their ruby wedding anniversary. They are stood shoulder to shoulder, heads angled towards each other. Their hands are joined around a knife as they're about to cut the cake. They look so fulfilled and at ease in their marriage. But the most special aspect of this portrait is the gentle love emanating from their matching expressions as they smile at their children and grandchildren. How satisfying to look upon the legacy they created.

9. When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand.

Sad but true this is challenging to pinpoint. But you are in luck as the curtain is rising on the platform of my consciousness. Drum roll please. I can clearly recall that the last letter I penned by my fair hand was during University. The year was 1990. That was twenty two bl**dy years ago!

10. Which 3 famous people (alive or dead) would you like to 'Come dine with you'.

I'm going to cheat and invite five to my feast. From Hollywood Royalty it would have to be Kevin Spacey and Johnny Depp because they don't fit the mould. From psychology luminaries it has to
be existential psychotherapist Irvin Yalom. Additionally I want extend my fine hospitality to JK Rowling and Margaret Atwood for guidance on writing fiction.

11. If you could rub Aladdin's lamp and make one wish ... what would you wish for.

A British Summer where the rain clouds part and let some mood enhancing rays in. Is that too much to ask?

I did it! I made it to the end ...... now for a well earned cup of tea and homemade banana muffin.

Monday, 14 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - The Closing Hand

"Can I get you anything love?"

David cocked his head at the waitress trying to ignore the nauseating brilliance of her yellow cotton blouse.

"Latte and croissant."

He stared at the Apple folded on the table and with resignation opened it for the last time.

The news was the same. Markets crashing. Banks collapsing.

He'd built an empire once. And then destroyed lives.

Now they were coming after him.

But he would play the final card. The closing hand.

For a brief moment he felt omnipotent. Enormous.

Then shrank into irrelevance.

Soon he would taste liberty.

Escape from his pathetic shell.

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was the inclusion of four words; apple, empire, enormous, liberty and yellow. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Bitmums Live 2012 Ultimate Meme

Last Christmas I received a fabulous present from Younger Dad; a ticket to Brit Mums Live 2012. Although the ticket wasn't purchased until February it still ranks amongst one of the many favourite gifts I've received from him. You see this golden ticket buys me two days of freedom. Two days of being solely me. Younger Dad will look after Little A while I go and meet some of the wonderful mummy bloggers I've been reading over the past ten months. I am so excited to be attending the conference in June!

Anyway the Ultimate Brit Mums Live meme is the brain child of A Boy With Aspergers. The lovely A Party Of Seven and Older Single Mum both tagged me to answer some questions about the event.

The meme rules ask that you copy and paste the questions, answer them, then tag another two to four bloggers to do the same. Also don't forget to link your post back to A Boy With Aspergers linky.

Questions ...

Q: What’s your blog title/URL and how long have you been blogging?
Last Summer I started Older Mum as a supportive resource for mothers over 35. But then I muddied the waters by blogging about everything other than subject matter relating to older mums . So the beginning of this year I decided to start a separate personal blog, Older Mum (In a Muddle), a space  where I can ramble about anything and everything. I've been blogging for about ten months now.

Q: Will Brit Mums Live be your First blogging conference?
Yes, and that is why I am so excited!

Q: Did you bag yourself a sponsor?
No, just me on my lonesome.

Q: Are you attending both days?
But of course my dear! I'm not going to lose out on two toddler free days!

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
This is my first conference so I'm really looking forward to meeting parent bloggers in person for the very first time.

Q: Are you wearing Branded Clothing ( you’re sponsors brand)?
Er no ... does Marks and Spencers count?

Q: What is your planed style for this event?
Middle aged glamour!

Q: Are you hoping to be nominated for a BiB award?
A little late for that now ... the recognition is always nice but I don't think my blog is that well known.

Q: If so what category?
A nomination or two for writing would've been cool ... I think the category was LIT.

Q: Will you be looking to network with Brands?
Yes, as far a Older Mum is concerned since this is more of a commercial venture.

Q: What do u hope to walk away having gained from the conference?
Inspiration, confidence, ideas, connections and new friendships. But most of all some time to myself as a woman and person as opposed to the role of mother and servant.

Q: Will you be dressing up in the toilets for the Friday night BiBs?
Er, probably not, no. But you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties! Cue monotoned one hit eighties pop classic ...

Q: Are you speaking at the conference and if so when, where and how do you feel about doing so?

Q: Will you be joining in the early morning bloggercise on the Saturday?
What with a hangover? I don't think I'll be joining in anyway as I'll be travelling from West London in the morning.

Q: What speakers are you most looking forward to listening to?
Lordy! There are so many great speakers. Highlights though have to be Ruby Wax, Jane Blackmore (Northern Mum) and Katie Davis-Holmes (Kate On Thin Ice).

Q: What workshops will you be attending on the Friday (Day 1)
There are some really good workshops and I'm totally torn .... a toss up between 'Getting Yourself Published' or 'Crossing the Chasm - bringing your blog up to the next level'.

Q: What Workshops being held on the Saturday (Day 2) have grabbed your attention?
So far four have piqued my interest; 'Beginner Blogging Essentials', 'How to Create an Ebook', 'Perks and Pounds', and 'Writing About Your Life'.

Q: Are you booked into a hotel for the Friday night, if yes which one?
No. I will be returning to my humble abode in West London.

Q: Will you be looking for after party drinks?
Now let me see?

Q: Are you worried about not knowing anyone or being confident and socialising on the day?
Yes, very apprehensive indeed. I'm worried that so many mummy bloggers already know each other and that I'll feel like a spare part. I know a few bloggers who are attending *wink* and will be meeting them for the first time. I'm a very friendly warm soul. I don't bite - promise! Come over and talk to little ole' me!

Q: What are you most likely to be found doing while attending Britmums Live?
Talking gibberish and listening hard, studiously taking notes, connecting, smiling, feeling overwhelmed, feeling over excited, matching face to blog, networking, being brave, finding my feet, believing in myself as a writer, and hopefully making some genuine long lasting friendships.

All the bloggers I know who are going to Brit Mums Live have already completed this meme apart from one, I think, so stand up and be counted Lynsey The Mother Duck. You're IT.

See you all at Brit Mums Live ...

See you at BritMums Live! 2012

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

100 Word Challenge - The Undead

"What? Your fault?" I intoned aghast.

"I liked him. I did." Charlotte began. "He was just so intense. He kept calling. He ..."

Charlotte's thoughts trailed off. 

Without a word she disappeared into her room.

She returned pressing the newspaper into my hand.

The story reported a suspected suicide. It was grimly offset by an editorial at the bottom; an advertisement for an exhibit of prehistoric relics. The caption read The Undead.

"I'm going to phone David's brother."

I looked up at Charlotte's troubled expression.

"Why?" I asked.

"I have to go to the funeral. To make amends. Come with me Chrissy?"

I'm linking up with JB47's 100 Word Challenge. This week's prompt was ... this picture;

Old Bones

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Realigning The Pendulati

After two years of threadbare maternity tops and over stretched grey nursing bras, the reconstruction of Older Mum has begun.

My wardrobe currently lies achingly forlorn and abashed by its nudity after I discarded and bagged up most of my tarnished, misshapen clothes. The woman at the charity shop raised a curt eyebrow at my faded rejects as if to say those won't be making it onto our hangers.

Anyway, refashioning ones identity is like building a new home; you have to start with the foundations first. So I've bought new hip hugging knickers, stripey socks, a navy jacket, a polka dot rain mac and a fabulous Mia Tui handbag. I've dyed the many inelegant silver strands that line my face dark blond. I then tamed my overflowing mane by having it reigned in to shoulder length. Thank you patient hairdresser.

Last week I went shopping for new tops and blouses but that was a disaster. And the reason? The Pendulati, my breasts, sat sagging miserably far below the correct eye line demanded by the garment I was trying on. Nothing looked right. Not even a basic t-shirt. Every item was humiliatingly returned to the shop assistant ...

"So you won't be purchasing anything today?"


So it was time. The Pendulati needed realignment and fast.

Now I've always been amply bosomed. This is something I've not appreciated being only 5' 3" in stature. My late grandmother once enlightened me to the perils of old age; that I would undoubtedly require re enforced scaffolding to assuredly hoick my breasts to a respectable level above the ankle line.  Before Little A arrived the Pendulati weighed in at a hefty 32F. When I fell pregnant they grew like prize winning pumpkins to 32GG. Finally the Pendulati ceased their expansion at a cleavage defying 32H when breastfeeding got under swing, pardon the pun. The Pendulati had effectively colonised and claimed sovereignty over my fleshy limbs and overhangs.

So yesterday Little A, the Pendulati and I boarded a bus to the Big Brassiere Shop in Ealing. Before we left home I looked longingly at my old 32F bras in the hope that my breasts would be reunited with their former cups of residence. Not so as it transpired.

Upon arriving at the Big Brassiere Shop we were shown to a cavernous fitting room downstairs. The assistant was excellent in measuring my bust size. She even helped stuff both my breasts into the many voluminous lacy brassiere cups she proffered. Meanwhile Little A felt it her duty to hold onto my grubby old bra while the Pendulati were being rehoused. Each time the assistant disappeared for a new selection of bras, Little A and I shook our booty to the treble heavy pop classics shouting from the shop speakers. It felt like a cheeky insubordination behind the head teacher's back.

So what size were my new bras I hear you ask?

Alas, after breastfeeding, the Pendulati had only shrunk to a GG cup. I had dreamt of being a smaller size. Was an F cup or even, dare I say it, a size E too much to ask? I felt rather crest fallen. Still I ended up purchasing an assortment of very supportive bras which now finally make the Pendulati appear like they are reaching towards the heavens. Well at the very least they hang higher than my waistline.

The highlight of our adventure though was Little A's reverent observation whilst I paid for my items. She'd spotted a picture of a young brunette modelling her firm, plentiful breasts in a plunge bra and brightly commented, "that's a picture of you mummy."

Bless her.

The Pendulati can breathe a sigh of relief

Friday, 4 May 2012

We're Going On A Bra Hunt

This post was inspired by ...

1. Today's adventure to the Big Brassiere Shop (details to follow).
2. Michael Rosen's and Helen Oxenbury's brilliant We're Going On a Bear Hunt.
3. Bibsey's very witty rendition of the same story.

We're Going On A Bra Hunt

We're going to the bra shop
We're going to buy a big one
What a beautiful H cup
Am I still that big?

Uh-oh! The 607!
A great big double decker with a bad tempered driver.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.

Oh no!
We have to get on it.

Excuse Me!
Excuse Me!
Excuse Me!

We're going on a bra hunt
We're going to buy a big one
What a beautiful H cup
Am I still that big?

Uh-oh! The big bra shop!
A jungle of gargantuan booby holders with pert chested, petite assistants

We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.

Oh no!
We have to get measured.

Blush Flush
Blush Flush
Blush Flush


Two mile wide straps!
Two colossal cups!


Quick! Back through the jungle of gargantuan booby holders ! Blush Flush! Blush Flush!
Back on the double decker! Excuse Me! Excuse Me!
Get back home. Open front door. Big brassiere brochure on the mat. Run upstairs.

Oh no!

I forgot the brochure.
Run downstairs. Pick it up.
Back upstairs. Sit at the table.
Have some rescue remedy. Make a cuppa.
Turn the laptop on. Order on line .


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