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Um.... [May. 19th, 2009|10:15 pm]
...I'm back. After a hiatus of a whopping SEVEN months. I'm just one bad, lazy motherf*cker!

Please forgive me for not being able to catch up on seven months' worth of posts, but I hope you and yours are all well and having fun. I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things here on LJ...thanks for the nudge, probodie !

Love to all xxx

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Education, humilation, vindication! [Oct. 21st, 2008|10:20 pm]
[mood |angryangry]

Soz, this is a bit of a long 'un...

rant about GF's nursery teacher and the system in generalCollapse )

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Last of the summer cider...then back to school! [Sep. 2nd, 2008|11:39 pm]
[mood |nervousnervous]

::door creaks open to a stirring of dust::

Hello everybody! Just been catching up on all the posts and glad that most things are tickety-boo for most of my f-list.

* Glad to hear that L is healing nicely after the bike incident, probodie  *

Nothing major to report here, yet again, apart from, possibly...

I had a fabbo time a few weekends back meeting up with probodie , londonronnie  and lisaloveslewis  in a cool pub in the ultra-cool Bloomsbury for a few cheeky afternoon bevvies and a chinwag. So fabbo in fact that I didn't realise, until I boarded the train home at Euston, that I was completely and utterly as pissed as a fart. I then proceeded to fall asleep for all of the journey (no doubt with mouth hanging open and dribbling in a most comely fashion) and then some, 'cause the train went all the way to Watford Junction, stopped for a bit then started coming back again...all while I was asleep! Luckily I woke up just as it was pulling out of the station before mine, albeit now going in the direction of London. I was lucky I didn't have my bag nicked, come to think of it!

Me, J and the boys had an idyllic time at the weekend visiting dear old friends ('old' as in I've/we've known them for a long time) who now live deep in the heart of rural Derbyshire (nearest shops are 20 minutes' drive away). They've got a gorgeous cottage with loads of land and a lovely 10 year-old son who played with and made a huge fuss of G all weekend long, so everyone was a winner! AND we managed to soak up the last of the summer sun with a bottle of cider or two!

Now for the big stuff...G starts at "big" nursery tomorrow morning, at the primary school we hope he'll get into for Reception next year. The uniform is all laid out, name labels all present and correct...but I'm so nervous and excited and sad and...bloody hell! My little boy, my firstborn, in a SCHOOL UNIFORM!!!! West Ham colours too, as hubby has disdainfully pointed out.

Oh! And Matthew Wright is back, back, BACK!!! Dickie Bacon was an adequate stand-in, but really no more than adequate. Long may Mr Wright reign (and try saying that after an afternoon in the pub with londonronnie and probodie)!!!
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Birthday musings, ladies' willies and dreams of Lewis [Aug. 11th, 2008|11:40 pm]
[mood |amusedamused]

Well hello folks, just wanted to thank you - and, of course, The Lads - for the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a marvellous one, the best for some time actually. Hubby cooked a yummy Tex Mex meal for the extended family which was wolfed down with relish by all, followed by my fave chocolate fudge cake from Costco. If you’re a member of the wholesalely-type place Costco, I urge you to try one sometime – it's simply sublime (and absolutely huge - last time we had one we sliced up and froze the leftovers and it kept us in puddings for days). I had some decent pressies and a respectable wodge of cash too, always useful when you’ve got to the ‘unpaid’ bit of your maternity leave, although the mind did boggle a bit at one of the pressies my mother-in-law gave me: the autobiography of Brenda Blethyn. I mean, I’ve leafed through it and it's reasonably interesting and everything (she was born only three months before a certain Mr Collins, you know), but, well…isn’t that just a little bit random, since I’ve never mentioned anything about Brenda B to Mum-In-Law, ever?! Ah well. Better than a poke in the eye with a shitty stick.

However one of my fave bits of the day was when I took some of my discarded birthday card envelopes and wrapping paper outside to our recycling bin at 8am. As GF has been off preschool for three weeks now, I have become somewhat used to leaving the house later in the day and already forgotten how lovely it is to feel the early morning summer sun on your face (‘cause it was actually sunny ‘til about 10am on that day!). And there was a certain crispness to the sun’s warmth, just the littlest hint that autumn is not too far away…and I LOVE the autumn.

On Sunday we went for a hangover-busting pub lunch with the in-laws, the highlight of which had to be when I took GF to the toilet and then realised I needed to go myself, so staying in the cubicle, I did…only to have GF call out for the whole of the Ladies to hear (and it was pretty busy, being Sunday lunchtime): “MUMMY, WHY HAVEN'T YOU GOT A WILLY?” Mind you, my Mum In Law was right to point out that it would have been a damn sight more embarrassing had he shouted out “MUMMY, WHY HAVE YOU GOT A WILLY?”! (Which I haven't, of course...it isn't all an elaborate double bluff, honest!).

Anyway, onto the bit I’m sure you all REALLY want to hear about…and that’s a rather strange and convoluted dream I had last night about Lewis Collins…

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Where's my Mr Wright?! [Jul. 28th, 2008|11:53 pm]
[mood |distresseddistressed]

Oh noooo...I've found out this morning that my beloved Matthew Wright has gone on holiday (I'd love to know where to *g*) and won't be hosting The Wright Stuff for the next five weeks!!! Boo hoo hoo! How am I going to get my start-of-the-day lift now? Ah yes, Pros on ITV3! Still, it was nice having them both...

I'll just have to get my fix of Mr Right, er, I meant Wright, via YouTube 'til September. Let's hope there are enough hitherto unseen phone-ins and bits of panel banter to keep me going!
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New eras [Jul. 20th, 2008|11:37 pm]
[mood |chipperchipper]

Well, a few developments since my last post...

We've actually found a local childminder who charges a whole pound an hour less than the other one (and she lives nearer), which totals a saving of £200 a month, which means it will actually make my working for a living worthwhile. Yeay! So, we signed on the dotted line one week ago. Also, it turned out I had actually met her before, as she is a friend of another local mum I know. And this local mum I know has prasied her to the hilt (she used to use her herself for her kiddies). So that's a BIG load off my mind. The bad news is that I've got my work diary dates for the autumn and I'm working through the evening on FW's 1st birthday...POO! AND the evening after. Still, we're going to have a big-ish family knees-up the following Saturday, so hopefully that can make up for it, especially as he won't really realise the difference at this age.

FW has got a tooth coming through! At eight months old, a whole two and a half months earlier that GF was when his first tooth came through. He's also absolutely desperate to crawl, and he's not far off achieving it. GF was eleven months before he managed it! Still, they say the second child tends to reach certain milestones earlier due to aspiring to be like their older sibling. It's certainly true that FW adores GF, despite the increased amount of rough handling he's been on the receiving end of. Now that FW is a big, burly, upsitting baby with loads of hair, GF seems to assume he's therefore ready for a bit of boyish rough-and-tumble, poor lad.

GF finished at his preschool last Wednesday, after having started last September. I mean that's just too freaky for words. Where DID the time go? They had a leaving party with the usual bouncy castle, facepainting, consuming loads of e-numbers at long tables malarkey, and it actually felt quite emotional. GF took it all in his stride though...no sooner than the headteacher's leaving speech had finished, he loudly declared that he wanted to go to the "big nursery", and when was September coming?! I collected his uniform for "big nursery" the other week and I just know I'm going to well up when I first see him in it. A lot of name tags to be sewn on in the meantime though...

Lastly...am I the only desperate housewife (or desperate anything for that matter) to have developed a crush on Matthew Wright (off of 'The Wright Stuff')?! Maybe I've just been watching too much daytime telly. Better him than Jeremy Kyle though, you have to admit...
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A working mum's moan... [Jun. 24th, 2008|09:51 pm]
[mood |frustratedfrustrated]

Well, my friends, the time is fast whittling away as I knew it would, and on 27th it'll be no more than 4 months until I go back to work. POOOOOO!!!!

Luckily and thankfully, J's Mum has agreed to look after GF four afternoons a week, and my mum one afternoon a week (he'll be at nursery in the mornings), although FW will need full-time childcare. With this in mind, I've started to research local childminders and have drawn up a list of about 30, all with the same 3-digit telephone code after the '0208', so they should all be within walking distance or a very short drive away at the most. There's loads more here than there were where we used to live, and we're further out of London now, so I assumed that might mean they'll be a little cheaper. How wrong was I! I went to see one on my list yesterday, she was very lovely and seemed suitable, etc etc, HOWEVER: £4.50 per hour. Sounds paltry, but not when you need her for 50 hours per week. That would total a whopping £900 PER MONTH!!! Once we factor in my commuting costs, my half of the mortgage and bills etc, it would work out that my monthly outlay would EXCEED my take-home pay. I would be PAYING to go to work and to hardly see my children, rather than BEING PAID. WTF????????????? Still, trouble is, we could not sustain ourselves on J's salary alone. And besides, I am contractually obliged to return to my job for at least 6 months. 

So what the hell are we to do? The options are:

1) Phone around 'til we find a significantly cheaper childminder, with the hope that one exists. Go back to work full-time as planned.

2) Take a 12-month mortgage break and me take an unpaid 12-month sabbatical from work (if they let me), which gives us another year's grace. Only trouble is, apparently you're only allowed a total of 12 months of mortgage break over the entire term of the mortgage, so I'd worry that we wouldn't have a buffer if something really serious happened later down the line.

3) See if work will agree to me going back part-time, and see if our mums will agree to share childcaring duties between them.

Does anyone ever get the feeling they'd be better off if they'd never bothered trying to pay their way in this society, and just sat on their arse watching the benefits roll in and had loads of kids? For example, a third child isn't even an option for us financially, yet some just keep popping them out, knowing that the likes of us will pick up the tab because it never occurred to us NOT to work. Not that benefits shouldn't be there for those who genuinely need them or fall on hard times through no fault of their own, but really...why do the middle-earners keep getting screwed over whilst bankrolling everyone else?

Ahem. Rant over.

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It's me! I'm back! [Jun. 13th, 2008|12:29 am]
Well hello folks,

I've been out of circulation for a wee while due to a very pleasant holiday in the Isle of Wight, and although I've caught up with all the posts of my f-list, there's no way I'm going to have the time or energy to respond to individual posts as I would have liked.

Suffice to say:

londonronnie: I am eternally grateful for the many happy hours and magic moments that have been the fruits of your research labours! Oh, and G's mate was great in that Maggie Thatcher thing (as was the son of dear old and much missed Roy Kinnear). I'm not surprised you were gobsmacked - I was too!

probodie: I am so totally with you on the pop thing. Two contenders I would put forward for 'Greatest POP Song of All Time' (as opposed to 'Greatest Song' in an artier sense, although both categories would be equally valid): 'Please Please Me' by The Beatles or 'Dance Yourself Dizzy' by Liquid Gold. Actually, there are loads, LOADS more. Oh, and Two Songs I Would LOVE To Sing Karaoke But Sadly Have Never Had the Opportunity: 'You're So Vain' by Carly Simon and 'Silver Lady' by David Soul (although the titular gender perspective might be problematic for that one).

byslantedlight: So sorry to hear of your job and accommodation woes. Talk about an over-the-top, knee-jerk, horse-has-already-bolted-anyway reaction to whichever doofus it was who left those papers lying about. I'm keeping everything crossed for your luck on all fronts to change soon ((HUGS)) 

Anyway, going back to the Isle of Wight (which we have already decided we will be doing), here are some piccies that I think sum up our little soujorn rather nicely... 

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Another old friend gone... [May. 29th, 2008|12:21 am]
[mood |sadsad]

I don't know if any of you have known of, or ever had the pleasure of visiting, a coffee shop in Camden High Street, North London called The Bean and Cup. A little gem of a place, which absolutely craps all over Starbuck's and its likes. 

You've got the fairy-light festooned wooden shelves displaying funky greetings cards, chinaware and photo frames for sale. You've got the long counter, where the wonderful beverages and smoothies are concocted by the two gay owners, lovely and friendly blokes who remember what your "usual" is and deliver it with a smile (and often a quip). Then, at the back, you've got the piece de resistance: a skylit seating area with wooden floors, massive leather sofas and low tables with all the daily newspapers on hand. You really could while away a whole slothful morning or afternoon there. Utterly lethal for lunchours too.

Well, on Tuesday I had to pop into town for a dentist's appointment, my dentist being based on that very same stretch of Camden High Street. With baby FW in tow, and with an hour to spare before my appointment I decided to take a pit-stop to feed baby and recharge my batteries with caffeine. The Bean and Cup was the obvious choice.

However, despite seeing the welcoming signage as usual as I was going across the pelican crossing, it wasn't until I was right up close with my nose pressed against the glass that I realised the sad truth. The place has closed down. It was all empty - right down to those wooden shelves - and its once welcoming doors bolted shut.

This just makes me so, so sad. Even with a Starbuck's, a Coffee Republic, a Cafe Nero AND Costa Coffee all within spitting distance, I really don't think their problem was a lack of business. They had the edge over all those souless, "Emperor's New Clothes" (as I like to call them) coffee chains, and it seemed the whole of North London knew it, as the place was always packed. My guess is that their rent went up by some ridiculously prohibitive amount, something that has been allowed to happen BECAUSE all the big, bland chains are moving in to an area previously world-renowned for its individuality and quirkiness, and squeezing out its lifeblood. 

And my beloved Bean and Cup are not the only small business of its kind in Camden to suffer this way...

RIP The Bean and Cup, 104 Camden High Street, London NW1 (now shut - premises stand empty)

RIP Rose and Jack's Cafe and Grill, 61 Camden High Street, London NW1 (shut for months - premises still stand empty)

RIP George and Nicki's Cafe, Parkway, London NW1 (demolished, along with a few other local businesses, to make way for a multi-screen cinema, a Gap store and...a Starbuck's)
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A bit of self-pity... [May. 26th, 2008|12:02 am]
[mood |boredbored]


Seems everyone on my f-list have been doing lovely, exciting things lately. I've been doing the sum total of fuck all.

Even our Eurovison-themed weekend for friends coming to visit from Devon didn't come to pass, as their toddler daughter got ill at the last minute (nothing serious though). Typical when you have kids; you plan things meticulously months in advance (husband and wife are both doctors, so that planning takes some doing) and then one of them (the kids usually, not the grown-ups) goes and throws up at the crucial moment and it all goes to pot. Nothing personal against their daughter of course, my boys are just as bad. Still, at least they cancelled BEFORE we'd gone shopping for all the bits for the traditional Swiss fondue we were going to have and various European booze and choccie delicacies. At this rate, it looks like we'll be re-organising for a date in September!

Oh, and we got confirmation for our cheapo 'Sun' newspaper holiday...first choice of caravan park in the Isle of Wight, but third choice of date, i.e. 2nd June, which is waaay too far from next payday to avoid the plastic from getting a bashing. And according to the BBC website the weather's going to be shite too. Still, the Isle of Wight...I've never been there before, it's away from the mainland and it even gets a namecheck  in Sergeant Pepper (When I'm 64), so you can't say fairer than that! 
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