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“At First Cock Crow, The Ghosts Must Go, Back To Their Quiet Graves Below”

30 Oct

I have a confession.

Until this weekend, I had never carved a pumpkin. NEVER.

My Mum doesn’t believe in Halloween as a holiday, professing that it’s an American tradition (a theory that I disproved in a previous Halloween post) and deemed trick or treating as begging, so we weren’t allowed to go.

It didn’t bother me all that much, given that as a child, the 31st October was always pretty cold and rainy, so going out knocking on doors dressed as a cat didn’t have the thrill factor to me.


my beautifully melty pumpkin creations

But over the past few years, Halloween has become a fun event. So this year, the boy and I dragged massive pumpkins home from the shops, and set about carving them.

The competition was fierce, and it was a messy duel. Bits of pumpkin goo adorned the walls of my flat, and brief tirades of swearing happened sporadically as one of us cut too far into the pumpkin, or alternatively, too far into one of our fingers.

The results were fantastic, and the pumpkins sat on my window sill, flickering eerily all weekend, until the heat from the candles turned them from scary idols to wizened old vegetables. Time for the bin.

We had so much fun, that this is now our new Halloween tradition. And I’m looking forward to a party in a cocktail bar tomorrow night – fancy dress and spookily themed cocktails. Watch this space!

Whats your favourite Halloween tradition?

What Time Is It?

19 Dec

What time is it? Its hammer time! Well, no it’s not really, but it’s pretty much Santa Time. I’ve read some fantastic blogs this week about the world’s worst Christmas songs, but I thought it a good idea to break from the crowd and do a rundown of Christmas films. We all have the ones we love (more on that later) but there are some truly terrible ones out there that we insist on watching. They may not be Christmas themed, but these three remind me of Christmas, and are terrible!

1)      The 12 Dogs of Christmas – I’m all for a Christmas film and I can even sit through some of the terrible ones, but a film about a girl who uses dogs to teach people about the true meaning of Christmas? Ah come aaawn! Stick to A Christmas Carol, and if you need to dumb it down a little, the Muppets version is a pretty good one.

2)      Bridge over the River Kwai – I’m cringing as I write this as my granddad will be so disappointed, but this and Platoon! Drive me insane. My granddad used to put them on after dinner on Christmas day, and fall asleep within the first five minutes, with the remote shoved up the arm of his jumper or somewhere as inaccessible, leaving us to miserably watch it when Robbie the Reindeer was on the other channel.

But there are some super good ones; too many to mention, so here are my top three:

1)      It’s a Wonderful Life – I never saw this till a boyfriend spent Christmas with us a few years back and insisted I watch it, as it was a family tradition for him. Like Forest Gump, I was so disappointed I had never seen it before! It’s a true heart-warming film, where a man attempts to commit suicide on Christmas Eve (ok, bear with) and is rescued by a guardian angel who shows him what life would have been like in his town without him.

2)      Raymond Briggs The Snowman – I hope this is one you can get the world over, it’s just so beautiful. I liked to think as a child that one day my snowman would come to life and take me flying over the city, but I think I slept through him knocking at my door. I particularly like the way that there are no words in the film.

3)      I’m leaving the best to last.. if you know me at all you will know what this one is….
ELF!!! I absolutely adore it.Buddy, on New York “Its just like Santa’s workshop!! Except it smells like mushrooms, and everyone looks like they want to hurt me….


“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

I was a bit slack over the weekend with my 12 days of Christmas, so it’s a bumper one today!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

Eight Maids A Milking! And my eight maids a milking recommendation is Miss Vix. Our minds are regularly twinned and we often write about the same thing on the same day. She was one of the first blogs I subscribed to, and I love her!

Seven Swans a Swimming: Sam at That Place in My Head. She might be across the world, but she is super fun and I think we have a bit of an affinity with each other.

Six Geese a Layin: Live, Nerd, Die, Repeat – I adore these posts!!

My five gold rings was: Dazzle Rebel.

My four calling birds favourite was: Go Guilty Pleasures.

My three french hens fav was: The Byronic Man

My two turtle doves were: Brooke and McKenzie

My partridge in a pear tree was: The Redneck Princess

The eighth maids a milking post I think you should check out is: Why You Shouldn’t Trust The Internet. Or perhaps, why I shouldn’t be so gullible.

My seven swans a swimming would have been:A Classy Lady Needs A Classy Hat! Yes, that is me. There is no hope.

And my six geese a laying should be:Great Phrases for Office Use. Something to keep you amused in the week before Christmas!

Its my last week of work today and Im getting geared up for the festivities. My Mum got me a real tree and its standing on the wrapped up hoover box (imaginative way to make it taller) surrounded by pressies for my family. Im getting excited!

How is your Christmas prep going?


7 Nov

I love bonfire night. I love the whizzing and the banging of the fireworks, and the crackling of the logs on the massive bonfire. I love the fact that it smells of autumn, and the bonhomie of everyone all gathering round a big pile of smouldering twigs to celebrate the catching of a man trying to kill the king. It doesn’t seem to matter to people that it is stems from religion and this isn’t something that most people in the UK are enamoured with, because Guy Fawkes was a Catholic trying to oust a Protestant King, it just matters that we all go to the nearest field to watch a scarecrow being ignited. Fab.

My cats, on the other hand, do not. I never got to spend a bonfire night with my kittens as by that time they were firmly in ex-boyfriend lair, never to be returned, but two cats live at my Daddy’s house. Jake is a three legged ginger Tom who is partial to walking with a limp in his front paw when in the company of strangers. This is often amusing, but takes the biscuit when perfect strangers knock on our front door to tell us that they think our cat got hit by a car. He then recovers miraculously and pegs it through the door, straight to his bowl. He is nothing if not a show pony. He is named Jake after the rhyme about Jake the Peg (the character had an extra leg rather than one missing, but my sister has poetic licence) and my Dad affectionately refers to him as ‘Tripod’.

The other is the little ball of mischief. She is a tiny little cat who we have had since a kitten, and she resembles a little owl. She has really long fur and these little sticky up ears that twitch and flatten when she hears something so teamed with her big, beady eyes, she looks like a bird. It’s quite amusing. They live in relative harmony, Rosie teasing the old man and nipping at his ears, Jake permitting her to do so until he loses patience and hisses so that she curls up like a hedgehog and goes shooting off to hide in the sofa. That is, until bonfire night. The loud bangs and sharp whizzes are fairly disconcerting for the menagerie, and they both become very loving and needy, as if to say “Help me, human! I don’t like all this noise!” we dutifully shut them in the kitchen and put our warm clothes on, ready to see the bangs and sparkles in their full glory.

What is your favourite holiday?

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer, is Singing Loud For All to Hear ~ Buddy The Elf

20 Oct

Most people think of the Christmas period as a festive time where they can roast their chestnuts on the open fire and lament with friends that they haven’t seen since the last time the Son of God celebrated a birthday.

I am not one of these people. I went into Sainsbury’s in September this year and backed out in horror; the aisle that had only yesterday had BBQ goods now was stuffed with advent calendars and selection boxes and all the things that make the inner fatty in me do a little victory dance. Hell. Has consumerism gone that mental that we need to start the slippery slope to Christmas day nearly three entire months early? This is a bad sign. The advent calendars and such bring on a cantankerous mood in me as they mean that it will start to be dark all the time, and I hate the dark and cold. Especially when it’s raining, which you may have heard happens from now and again in the UK. Ahem.

Suuure, I can get festive with the rest of them. I have a pair of Rocking Robin PJs that I insisted on wearing for some of December and January last year, and I don’t mind pulling a cracker and wearing a Christmas hat. My sister will tell you of the legendary Christmas when I managed to eat three entire Christmas dinners (who said thirds wasn’t OK?) and about an hour later started tucking into the stollen and mince pies. I have been accused of having hollow legs, and those bad boys teamed with some super stretchy leggings meant that I was the clear winner of the Christmas eating competition (there isn’t an actual eating competition, I just pit myself off against my Dad. If I manage to eat more than him, I am the clear victor).

But I really don’t like the whole convoluted rigmarole that leads up to the festive period. I think it harps back to the days of working on a beauty counter and having men come in in a panic to buy their loved one a present; startled men who understand that they need to get something, but have not thought any further. They didn’t have a clue where to start, and to save them from the prospect of a frosty Christmas day when their significant other opened a massive pot of cellulite cream and a hoover, we worked our magic. We wrapped and cellophaned and curled little bits of ribbon like elves prepping for the sleigh loading. We even offered a service where we would bash it up a bit if required so that they man looked like he had wrapped it himself. The thought of going into a department store now fills me with horror, mainly because they play the same three Christmas songs on a loop for six entire weeks. I still can’t listen to Kylie’s version of Santa Baby without wanting to go and throw myself down the nearest escalator as a matter of urgency.

But what I do like about this time of year is Bonfire Night and the turning of the lights on the High Street. I love the former with all the joy that the rest of you like Christmas; I love the chilly frost in the air and the wrapping up warm to trek down to the nearest field and eat a hotdog, while watching loads of massive bangs and cracks and booms. I will insist that we go regardless of rain or pestilence, and everyone will enjoy it. Rides on the horrifically unsafe fairground are optional. This is what it’s all about. Celebrating the survival of the King by burning a man on a bonfire.

The latter fills me with joy, mainly as it is a tradition amongst me and the girls. Wherever we are, we all gather back on that Thursday to huddle on the little high street and watch some Z list celebrity flick a light switch, causing the electric to rush into the twinkly little light bulbs and the streets be illuminated with the half-hearted glow of lights that haven’t been changed for twenty years. It’s not like Oxford Street where you gather to see what fantastic light show they will offer this year, oh no, we recycle down here thank you! But after that we might pop into the shops and buy a few bits, before deeming it all too much and heading to the nearest pub for the first mulled wine of the year. Bliss. And I don’t even like mulled wine!

What is your favourite holiday/occasion?

18 – 30’s ~ Part II

2 Sep

Inspired by watching The Inbetweeners film (if you aren’t from the UK I hope you get to see it, its hilarious) I decided to write some posts on my first holiday away from my parents. If you read Part 1, you will understand how we came to be acquainted with six lads who were, well, interesting. They were a few years older than us and therefore a bit of a mystery to seventeen year olds, yet they were also the sort of men who we knew we would never be associated with at home. But oh well, when in Rome!

Danny was bald and had a lisp but I found him amusing and he was my partner in crime for the trip. Whizzer was short and looked like he might have had an STD, and was completely mental. J was the gentlemanly dapper one, and Adam had a tattoo on his back that said ‘only God will judge me’.  This wasn’t true. All the Mums around the pool were eyeing him up with worry, and completely judging him for looking like he might kidnap one of their darlings. Aaron was the ginger one, and Ben was hot. So hot that you couldn’t really look directly at him. My friend took a shining to him and we were bound to them for the rest of the week.

In their defence, they took us under their wing and kept us amused. They also got us banned from one of the pools and gave us a visit to hospital, but that was the fun of the teenage holiday.

By day us girls would migrate to the pool after a short night’s sleep, meeting them there as they stumbled back from one of the clubs. We would reserve them a lounger where they would kip the alcohol off before starting again, burning in the sun as the effects of the night before wore off.

We had joined them the night before on a night out, and all got our sleep on the loungers in the sun, some suffering more than others from the effects of the massive fish bowls full of cheap liquor we had drunk previously. I slept peacefully until two of the lads decided it was time to wake me, picked up my sun lounger and flung me in the ice-cold pool. Cheers lads. I recovered quickly and positioned myself on a lilo, where I slept for a few hours, blissfully unaware of the hijinks happening around me. I awoke later when I felt someone groping my bum.

The defence story was that ‘it was burning’ and the lads were simply thinking of my well-being by rubbing in some sun lotion. Course you were boys. But I was quite pleased that I wasn’t going to have to perch on flaming cheeks for the rest of the holiday so reserved my retribution for a later date.

That night we went on a resort-organised bar crawl. I had never been on a bar crawl and didn’t really like the sound of it, but thought I would anyway. I didn’t really stand a chance as friend was in love, and as the boys were going, there was no chance we weren’t. It was horrific. The long and short of it is that we were plied with cheap shots and my friend swapped clothes with hot Ben. Funny, because he was wearing a dress; less funny when she fell off the bar thanks to a swift wrestle from Aaron and our night was cut short by a trip to a Greek A&E. She was patched up quickly and we were escorted off the premises, thanks to the rowdy boys. Job done.

The holiday went past with relative quietness, till we got banned from the pool. Whizzer had been spiking everyone’s milkshakes with shots of vodka through the hot and sunny day, and after a few bevvies had decided it was a great idea to host some pool Olympics. The lilos were set in a line across the water, and we took it in turns to run across them; the winner being the one who made it to the other side of the pool or at least the furthest without falling in.

Obviously it was dangerous, especially fuelled by alcohol, and something that the reps tried to break up. But the boys persevered with their new sport, until one fell funny and hit the side with a sickening crack. He went under for the scariest length of time, before shooting to the surface and gasping for breath. He has concussion and a broken arm and as he was whisked back to A&E for the second time that week, we were politely told that we were no longer welcome at the pool, and had to make do with the beach instead.

On the flight home I wrapped myself in my hoodie and tried to sleep as best as I could with sunburn and a hangover, and as soon as we got home housemate and I went straight to our rooms and slept off the effects of what should have been a relaxing holiday. Needless to say I have never been 18 – 30’s since!!

18 – 30’s ~ Part 1

25 Aug

Cast your mind back to the heady heights of your first holiday away from your parents; cheap, sunny and posing you with a wealthy of possibility. What a dream.

I remember mine. I went to Zante in Greece with my best friend at the time, determined to get a honey tan, have a laugh and enjoy myself in a great hotel. The freedom was liberating, I was going abroad!

On the plane there were a group of 12 boys with nickname t-shirts on. If I remember rightly (and thanks to some hilarious documentary photos we took) ‘hot stuff’ had an acne problem and ‘stud muffin’ needed to scratch his bum a lot. Seriously, what catches.

After listening to their raucous excitement for the duration of the flight we arrived on our island, and went to get our bags. Zante airport was, at the time, the size of my nans front room, and the organisation was seriously lacking. We found our luggage by identifying people from our flight and standing at the same courosel as them due to their being no signage whatsoeverm and soon we were looking for the shuttle.

We boarded the bus with the six of the lads, shivering at the thought of getting stuck on a bus with them as they chanted war cries about sex and beer. The bus took us on a whistle stop tour of the island, dropping off couples and groups at their hotels, until we nearly reached the top of the hill, where the bus stopped. The rep called out their names, advising them that they had to walk the rest of the way, as the bus couldn’t go up that far. They looked horrified, and we were secretly pleased that a) we didn’t have to share a hotel with them and b) it wasn’t our hotel.

The next morning, we got up early and went to the pool. There was an introductory brunch all new guests had to attend, but we thought we would rock out our new bikinis and catch some rays before going. About ten minutes later, Danny walked past in his pants and introduced himself.

Turns out, Danny was one of the boys from the bus. When we had chosen to go to bed, he and his mates had decided to go to the bars. They had got pissed, met some girls and he had gone skinny dipping with one of them. Drunk and unsure of his surroundings, when he got out of the water he couldn’t find his clothes, and had stolen some pants off a pile of clothes belonging to someone else. He then had slept in the bush next to their room, as his roommate had failed to come home, and had ambled down to the hotel we were staying in, as theirs didn’t have a pool so they were permitted to use ours. Oh joy! Not rid of them after all! We let him into our room and gave him a towel, and all made our way to the brunch, where his mates met us. Whizzer, roommate of pants-boy threw up on the table mid talk, and the holiday had begun.

The One With The Rain And The Tents

15 Jun

So the Isle of Wight festival has been and gone, and I had a great time. We got there, tents already pitched (thanks men) and went to bed, only to wake up the next morning and promptly start on the cider. It rained, it was sunny, and it was fun. We drank, we danced, we ate horrible junk food from stalls, we portalooed (not a nice experience) and we listened to some great music.

On Saturday a few of us took the trip to the beach to get some non festival air, some food that wasn’t of questionable origins and to use a loo that wasn’t overflowing. I have never been so pleased to see a public toilet! We came back and had some drinks and then headed off for a boogie. Slightly worse for wear, I managed to burn my face, only with massive shades protecting me I now have a little burnt patch on the tip of my nose, a la Rudolph. It’s a good look.

So we had fun! Until Sunday. We were woken as the sun came up to the sound of heavy rain, and it didn’t stop, so basically we were caught in a minor downpour for fourteen hours. A little rain wasn’t going to stop us though, although I much prefer to have a power shower in the shower, without two hoodies and a rain mac. Just sayin. We huddled in one tent until we decided it wasn’t going to get any lighter, and us ladies then decided now was as good a time as any to put the tent down and pack it into the car to save time later. The boys each took prime position inside the warm tent (one grabbing a bag of Doritos, cinema style) and unzipped the window to watch us in action. Glad we could be of entertainment! In all fairness, if my tent didn’t need to go down I would have been there with the popcorn too; such was the levels of rain and wind. It was so windy that folding the canvas was a bit of an issue and at one point it was like having a parachute, but we powered through with little injury, and made the slippery walk back to the car. There were recovery vans trying to dig people out of the mud, and people leaving in scores, with me concentrating as hard as I could on not falling over. I’m clumsy at the best of times, and the river of mud was worrying me.

Thing is, if you are wet, you are wet. The others had an alcohol blanket to make them feel better, but Char gave me pure gold with her comment “Tink if I don’t laugh ill cry, so LET’S DANCE!!” and much hilarity ensued. In record time we all had UV moustaches and one of the girls had managed to acquire some beer goggles from a man who felt it was time to pass the fun along the line. We were due to get the ferry back at 4.30 the following morning, but by sixish we were sodden and fed up. Plan B interjected a bit of humour and we danced in our best dad dances for a while, but finally admitted defeat and headed back to the car; when your pants are wet through and there seems to be no sign of the rain relenting you sometimes have to give up.

The ferry journey saw us doing a smash and grab of the shop to feed up on cheese strings, warm tea to melt the coldest of hands and in my case, a crème egg. You can t go wrong with a crème egg.

To quote my friend Ben “Thanks Isle of Wight Festival for reminding me how much I love my bed and other furniture”.

Things I have learnt this weekend:

My wellies let in water. I need new wellies. Unless I want to get used to trench foot.

Always take a blow up mattress and ample pairs of socks to camping trips.

I am surprisingly able to rough it for three nights. The Geordie will die when she hears this.

I don’t like the flobby bit on bacon, when the fat isn’t cooked properly.

I can’t drink all day; it leads to memory lapses (“you know when we went to Swiss’s tent?” “WE WENT TO SWISS’S TENT?? Oh yeah….”)

But I am cheerful in the knowledge that I can turn my heating on in my flat and be warm, that my bedding won’t be soggy and that my roof isn’t going to fall in in the night if it rains too much. My feet are now back to normal (weeeeelllll…) and my toilet flushes. Much better.

The Perils Of Camping

10 Jun

By the time you are reading this I will have already spent the night in a tent. I will be one night down, and two and a bit nights in a tent left to go.
This is a grim prospect for me. I am a lover of my bed (with approximately one million cushions, pillows and other bed related paraphernalia) and I like the warm, being snugly and cups of tea with fresh milk and not the suspicious stuff they called UHT. I mean really, milk is supposed to be refrigerated. How is that right?!
But last night I headed off to the Isle of Wight festival with a big group of friends, and as long as it isn’t raining I am still relatively happy. I hope. Because otherwise I feel sorry for everyone camping with me. I promise to try to be nice to everyone, but if I have soggy pants and trench foot then I am likely to be less than impressed with life.
On Wednesday night me and Emma, with Stuey (our cuckoo in the flar for the night) and Mel (who fancied coming to the shops for the ride, god love her) did the festival shopping. We spent over one hundred pounds, on what seems to be just alcohol, crisps and tins of beans with sausages in. I insisted that before we went we got bananas, but forgot, and I have a bag full of wet wipes, face wipes, plasters, hand sanitizer and spray. The idea of a portaloo makes me gag, but I never learn (read last year’s festival post !) and seem to agree to going to these things when they are but a fond memory. I’m sure come Saturday if someone asks me if I would be up for doing it all again next year, I will firmly say no.
I suggested last night to Mel that I stay at home and we pitch the tent in the lounge. We could put the CD player on and listen to Kings of Leon, the Foo Fighters, Chase and Status and all the other attractions, and then we could put a pizza on and watch Cool Runnings. Much better!!

Hold On, Baby!!

6 May

I went to Disney today, and I wished that Lou would wait to have her baby until I get back to London. I get on the flight tomorrow morning and I arrive back in the UK at 7.50am Saturday, so baby, this is a personal plea…. wait for me!! I cant wait to meet you.

And we all know that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!

PS Disney was pretty magical, more on that when I’m back in the homeland.

‘Belle xxx

Point Loma

5 May

A few days ago we went to Point Loma. Its the furthest most western point of California and therefore was a major part of the war effort, and the place where they watched for the Japanese in the First World War after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As you drive up the hill all you can see is rows and rows of military graves, and I couldn’t help but think if you had to be buried somewhere then buried watching out over such beautiful ocean wouldn’t be half bad.

You can stop half way up the hill and go down to sea level; we did and played around in the rock pools. We waded out to the rocks and played around in the water, it was so lovely to be the only three people in such a quiet and thought provoking place. We stayed there for about an hour; me and my Auntie perched on the side of a rock and my sister fishing in the rock pools for crabs, fish and other interesting creatures.

It was so pretty and the rocks looked like they’re designed by some clever interior designer, not faded from decades of the wind and water hitting the surfaces to shave it into tiny little shelves; layers of sandstone and intricate horizontal lines.

The lighthouse at Point Loma was interesting too; before the war effort it was manned by one solitary family who kept animals and used the rain water for drinking. They had two little children whose lives were spent carving wooden toys from logs to keep them occupied, and the family dedicated their live to ensuring that ships were guided easily into the by and sailors didn’t lose their lives on the treacherous rocks.

I found it really interesting to see how people lived their lives in centuries past and if you stood still enough you could almost feel the previous people around you; the hustle and bustle of soldiers moving equipment with the fear of the Japanese attack in the air, or previously the little children who made those quiet little rock pools their entertainment for the day. It was pretty humbling.