Thursday, 29 May 2008

High Tea

As so many of you liked the idea of afternoon tea...and those of you with little boys, felt you wouldn't ever have this sort of it is! Hope I haven't made you hungry!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

My Girl

Little No 2 had a birthday today....and I have to get my head round the idea that my baby isn't a baby anymore!

She's ten!

All parents think their offspring are beautiful... but this one really is!

When given the option of what treat to choose for her big day she chose -
  1. Having a 'flicky' haircut.
  2. Lunch
  3. Shopping for a new dress.
  4. Buying lip gloss
  5. Taking afternoon tea and cakes at a lovely hotel.

So over the course of the day, my little one transformed - butterfly like into a elegant, older miss. 
We watched while she got her first proper haircut (cringed when she told the hairdresser that I normally do this, at home, with the dog scissors), we laughed and enjoyed our lunch...then wandered through the shops in relaxed mood. We watched, amused while little miss was taken seriously while choosing her first lip gloss and trundled off for the most delicious tea, cake and mocktails, collaspsing after too much cake, happy and complete! Hugs, cuddles and 'thank you's' then home.

It was all very simple stuff - what made it lovely was that we were all together, she wanted us to be together - Daddy, Big Miss, Little Miss and me...
... I found it hard to believe ten years ago she was a tiny little scrap - time has flown so fast.

She can be challenging, high maintenance, but the love she gives us is so huge, so overwhelming. 
That was a very special day, that day, ten years back....and she's made it special ever since.

For me, she will always be my baby, but baby, how she's grown!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Do you have good bladder control? Yes? Then read on -

Joking aside - ha,ha! I felt we were all in need of a little humour - some of you gorgeous gals out there in Blog world have had exams, illness and worse.....what better than to have a healing giggle?

In order to blog about this subject, I had to first get over a huge stumbling block - I'm a girl - and girls can never remember jokes - seriously it's something I really struggle with, If I tell a joke, I either give away the punchline too early or worse forget the punchline altogether!
That said, I really love a good joke, whether it's stand up, rude, religious, dark, sexist or best of all (and hardest to remember) the shaggy dog story.
But here I can joke without the pressure - I can 'phone a friend' if I get stuck and give you an altogether better performance...I hope you enjoy the following mixture - some of you may be of a delicate nature, and be offended - I truly hope not.....what I'm hoping for is a few unrestrained belly laughs and lots of snortling!

Two cannibals eating a clown. One says to the other "Does this taste funny to you?"
Tommy Cooper

What's a Hindu? Lays Eggs.

Going to war over religion is basically like killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend.
Richard Jeni

The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.
Ronnie Barker

A vampire bat comes flapping into a cave covered in blood. All the other bats smell the blood and begin hassling him about where he got it "OK follow me" he says and flies out of the cave with hundreds of bats behind him. Down through a valley they go, across a river and into a forest. Finally he slows down, and all the other bats excitedly mill around him. "Now do you see that tree over there?" he asks "Yes, yes, yes" scream the bats "Good" says the first bat, "because I didn't!"

I went to a restaurant the other day called "Taste of the Raj". The waiter hit me with a stick and got me to build a complicated railway system.
Harry Hill

A middle aged man took his wife out to dinner to celebrate her 40th birthday. He asked her "So what would you like dear? A jaguar? A mink coat? A diamond necklace?
She said, "Darling, I want a divorce"
He said, "Gosh, I wasn't thinking of spending that much".

A Chicken and Egg are lying in bed together. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a satisfied smile on it's face, and the egg is frowning and looking put out. The Egg mutters to no one in particular, "I guess we answered that question."

I split up with my last girlfriend because she was terribly hypocritical. She used to say, "I love surprises,"....but when I slept with her sister...
Jimmy Carr

A redhead, a blonde and a brunette escape from Jail and hide in a barn. The police close in, so the three women each hide in a sack. The police search the barn and to check each sack, a police officer kicks them as he walks past. The officer kicks the redhead's sack and the redhead says "Meow!" The officer kicks the brunette's sack, and the brunette says "Woof, woof!" The officer kicks the blonde's sack, and the blonde shouts "Potatoes!"

Two lions are walking down the aisle of a supermarket. One turns to the other and says "Quiet in here today isn't it?"

A philosophy professor and a sociologist are holidaying at a nudist camp. The Philosopher turns to his colleague and asks "I assume you've read Marx?"  "Yes," replies the sociologist, "I think it's these wicker chairs".

I have a nut allergy. When I was at school the other children used to make me play russian roulette, by force feeding me a packet of Revels.
Milton Jones

Men are like carpet tiles. Lay them right and you can walk all over them for the next thirty years.

I'm a fairly modern man - I've got no problems buying tampons. But apparently they're not a 'proper present'.
Jimmy Carr

Feeling better now? Good!!

The above jokes are from "The Naked Jape" by Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves
ISBN: 9780141025155 Published by Penguin books. I highly recommend it!
Stocked at all good bookshops - Mr B's included!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Artistic License

The other night we watched a re-run of Sex in the City - you know the one where Charlotte has her 'bits' painted - in large scale, and only slightly abstracted.
(BTW I'm only using the phrase 'bits' to avoid grubby mac wearing, anonymous, googler, commenters)
The Husband and I hooted with laughter, firstly because SITC is very amusing, but mainly because his Cousin A actually paints 'bits' - professionally - ooh I should clarify -
she paints pictures of bits....very large paintings...which aren't immediately obviously 'bits' - in fact we've always wondered if it were possible for some slightly shortsighted old lady to purchase one of A's paintings without realising the content....get it home.....stand back to admire the view.....and then say 
"Oh MY!!!!" 
It would be very funny!

That was as far as that little thought process went - until today when the glorious Mrs G wrote a very interesting piece about nudity and art, which prompted us to question "What is acceptable?"  Her example being the apparently now frowned on "Slutbucks" logo.

This made me think of all the prints and paintings we have of nude women....oh and the odd man....In A's early days she painted a sketch, now hanging on our wall - it's fondly titled 'Rob the nob'!

Cousin A comes from a seriously artistic branch of the family - her mother painted this-

Having started our family nudes collection, we started buying other peoples - I'm particularly fond of this one by Trevor Price -

Examining these, I'm left wondering if I feel differently about traditional painters like Botticelli or Gauguin, they painted beautifully, tastefully....
...although the exception to this rule would be 'Dejeuner sur l'herbe which is in my opinion an expensive version of a 'top shelf' mens magazine (is that because the men aren't naked?)

I suppose that at the bottom (excuse the pun) of the question of 'tastefulness' is how you see any form of nudity - do you object to seeing babies with bare bots or are the rows of slowly roasting bare breasted women on foreign beaches objectionable?
When I started questioning my own parameters, I came to the conclusion that we see nudity as funny - because, let's face it our wobbly bits are ridiculous - there's nothing elegant about men's dangly bits or their hairy bottoms... for us, apres childbirth, I'm not convinced any one of us would request being admired sans clothes even if it was sur l'herbe!
Airbrushed size zeros may look more 'tidy' - but they have no shape - so would simply be dull...which brings us straight back again to funny.

I think bare is funny! Which probably explains why our little collection of nudes are just that!
But is that how the rest of Britain thinks? 

Recently English Burlesque has had a resurgence - this is an art form I love, and isn't funny - it's ironic, but very beautiful.
But do I think that - because they don't actually get entirely naked? 
Seeing an hourglass figure, dressed in beautifully constructed corsetry, surrounded by ostrich feathers - does send me into a jealous spin - what I wouldn't give for a pair of white Sally Rand style fans! 

Shape courtesy of Velda Lauder.

For me Burlesque is dance and art and body combined - the more covered the better - it's far more subtle, more clever than nudity. 
In fact Burlesque Queen Immodesty Blaise is rather famous for her reverse strip - she actually puts her clothes on!
What does that say about the British psyche?
Although I have to say this reaction amused me a great deal (If you nip over to You Tube to take a peek at this clip - check out the female judge's badly concealed micro expressions....oh, and her badly concealed nipples!) Girls - you're going to have a field day with this clip!

Camp weekend.

We've had another lovely weekend.

Friday night we pretended to be 'away'......and camped in the garden - the children loved it, but the husband who previously has been a big advocate of the great outdoors, has obviously gone soft in his old age! He whined all night that camping was really uncomfortable ...ha,ha,ha,ha, - that's just what I'd been telling him, all those years that we actually did go on camping holidays!
For me - I enjoyed the change, sleeping under the stars, all that fresh air and noises of nature....the birds, the trees, the sheep...OK, so it wasn't all that peaceful  - but it was fun!

Saturday, the children clamoured for another night under the stars - but we had friends to this involved major military style manoeuvers to erect larger tent (when I say larger - for this read big - very BIG). Then of course, the children wanted to fill it with furniture - including the kitchen sink. 

We left them to it while friends arrived and left (they left some of their children behind - it's OK they're not forgetful, just on their way to wedding!) 
We spent a relaxed afternoon, my Gorgeous Godson being an absolute angel child - at 18 mths old - and no hint of a temper tantrum....
...mind you this could have been a result of having his favourite toy to play with - my vacuum cleaner, sadly he doesn't like it turned on, shame,  I could have ended up with a seriously clean house!
Some of the older children squabbled... but I ignored this, working on Suburban Correspondent's theory of childcare - that you don't intervene unless blood is shed! It worked!
GG a baby and woke ready to play with a huge smile - why weren't my babies so easy?
We had a campfire supper, and fell asleep early - including the children - easiest sleepover  - ever!!! 
Maybe it was the fresh air?

Sunday, GG awoken by No 2 and friend - not too bad - it's 6.30am and GG has been asleep for 11 hours - WOW - why did neither of mine do that
Happy GG sits eating boiled egg and soldiers, then continues playing with the "oover".
Husband and I prep lunch for 10 and tea for another 5 - we never seem to do things by halves!
In the midst of this organised chaos I get a phone call from the Chair of the Village Committee - can he come round now to discuss my ideas for a village show?

Well, dear readers, I have been trying of late to learn when to say "no", but I find it very hard - and often I say "yes" -  I have ended up doing things I didn't want to, or feeling put upon, but this year I had resolved to myself that I would try harder in this department and avoid the feelings of frustration which happen when I say "Yes" but really mean "No".

So, I opened my mouth....I willed the word "No" to come out, I almost managed it, but instead a hysterical cackle emerged... thankfully the chap in question must have realised he caught me at a busy time, and he enquired to this effect....
I gave him the low down on our Sunday plans....and you won't believe how quickly he went off the idea of visiting me on a day when we had 15 guests - 9 of them children......and you would be so proud, I managed to follow through with  "......No, today isn't a good moment."

We had a lovely day - relaxed lunch with very, very dear friends, then had tea with inspirational ones... we watched the children's psuedo 'gangster rap' video, starring GG as '25 Cent' (well, he is only little) - this was a complete hoot...
...and I have learnt to say "No" - all in all, an excellent weekend!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Costume drama.

This evening I read Motherscribes blog - she had written a very funny piece about swimwear - it made me think that buying swimming costumes is one of the most punishing pastimes EVER!

When you are pear shaped, long bodied and short legged with a chest that could best be described as insubstantial, it's quite difficult to find certain things - full length coat buying has been known to leave me drear, purchasing jeans is worse than a case of nits (seriously Mrs G it really is). Evening wear is worse than water torture, but topping the chart of most unpleasant shopping experiences is swimwear.

There is something truly horrible about seeing your semi naked bod in a scarily lit changing room (torture chamber) - I really prefer to see me looking back at me from the mirror wearing something 'A' line and subtle... the dreaded cossie is never this - it is you at your most exposed...your most vulnerable.

Added to this trauma of over exposure, I have an additional problem - every time I try to buy a new swimming cossie, I want a one piece costume - you know the sort of thing - tastefully covering one's rear (for this read cellulite), and one's tummy (for this read flab and stretch marks) in a dark colour (for thinning purposes, obviously) really doesn't appear to be a very demanding request - it's only a cossie after all.  

Well, forget it - it's an impossible task - believe me I've tried every brand possible and they are all the same - I am Amazonian in the body department - sadly the legs don't match (such a shame, that they are the legs of a gnome), the result is little old me in the aforementioned nasty changing room with the overly blue lighting: bent double by the rather beautiful designer cossie - well it looked 'fabulous darling' on the hanger - and great when the size zero sales assistant held it up against her.

On me it's just tragic...the stomach wrecked by 2 children bulges in a very unattractive fashion, the shoulders are hunched as a result of a dangerous shortage of fabric. Where a voluptuous chest should heave, is empty ruched triangles. None of this vision is improved by the white unshaven legs (so embarrassing when size zero puts her head round the changing room door to tell me they don't actually make anything bigger than I've tried on. Oh, God, please tell me she didn't clock my lack of Brazilian, or the fact that I walked in wearing jeans and boots (which had socks underneath).....and I have seriously attractive welts round my ankles where the socks cut in).

Actually I have to admit that blonde 'Miss Size Zero' last time was kind....she did find me something - eventually - a very beautiful two piece - with a padded top, which does actually give the illusion of something....and a  bottom half - large enough to cover at least some of the parts I'd rather not expose.....but the top and bottom are 4 sizes apart!!!!!

Did I feel wonderful, sexy, confident - hah! what do you think? Girls I will confess, I went and bought a long, black cover much kinder to the rest of the beach and the friends we holidayed with than viewing my wobbly bits! 
My other option back at the villa was the Kikoy - to those of you who haven't come across these wonderful things - get one - they aren't expensive, and you get an instant tummy tuck when wrapped tightly round your midriff!

This year I have failed again to buy the desired one piece - but it's ok I have worked out a cunning plan.....I'm not going abroad - which this 'broad' will inform everyone is for 'green' reasons - you know - flying = bad carbon footprint - but my dear friends - only you will know the real reason....Greenpeace or whoever really haven't got the time or resources to rescue a rare beached white whale!


If you would like to join us in choosing our next read pop over to see us at the virtual bookclub.

Celebrating this week ( and they really deserve it) are Nic, Juliette, Caroline and Harvey and Vlashka at Mr B's bookshop - 

They are officially The UK's Independent Bookshop of the Year!

Congratulations to you all, and a huge Thank You for giving us so much booky pleasure.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Slow and happy!