Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The One with the Zoo

So the boy is two and spent his birthday on a day trip to the zoo with Mummy, Daddy, Nanny P and Granddad Atu!

The Zoo was an "experience"! 

To be fair if you keep telling a two year old "We're going to the zoo on your birthday" and he's never been to a zoo before how on earth is he supposed to know what the heck a "zoo" actually is?

The animals were secondary really. To be honest it wouldn't have mattered if they were there or not, he just loved running around in big open spaces, playing in the play area and dragging Granddad Atu about by his hand saying "Come come, in there" and taking him off places. 

It was a cold February day on Monday so if the animals were actually out and about they weren't doing a great deal. One red panda had been curled up in ball so long my Dad insisted it was actually a brush left by one of the zoo keepers. 

The lions however were "active" And by active I mean having a bit of nook just as we got there to view them.

Of course being the mature sensible people that we are, myself, hubby and my parents all got the giggles. The boy was blissfully oblivious thank goodness but matters weren't helped by my father shouting out to the lioness who was being mounted

"There you go love. Lie back and think of Africa!"

The lioness didn't look that bothered to be honest and I couldn't decide if she was bored or exhausted but either way she looked like she was about to have a fag and a flick through a Woman's Realm!  

I have to confess I've never been much of a fan of the zoo. I always found you spend half the time peering into seemingly empty cages and pens desperately trying to find an animal to look at. 

"Oh look there's it's tail" as a monkey disappears back into the warmth and safety of it's den lobbing a banana skin at you as he goes.

I once, to my shame, got out of going to the zoo for the day with my parents by telling them the local one had closed down. I was about 12 and quite frankly couldn't be arsed to trudge round all day only to be rewarded with a glimpse of a tigers bum! This was long before the internet and they didn't phone them up for some reason, they just took my word for it, so we didn't go!

However going to the zoo now does sound more inviting to me than to my pre-teen self so I have bought a pass for entry all year. The boy is free until he's 3 and all the NCT girls have passes too, so we are looking forward to a summer of animal fun.

Although not as much fun as the lion had......

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The One With The Boys Second Birthday

Two years ago today I was in hospital having the boy!

He didn't come until 7.12 am the next morning but at this precise moment I was in labour. 

For some reason I'm feeling the nostalgia more this year than last. I think I was so consumed with organising the variety of 1st birthday parties that he had I didn't have time to sit back and think.

But this year is much more chilled. As the song goes "We're all going to the zoo tomorrow.." and by all I mean, myself, Hubby, Nanny P and Granddad Atu. Then Lemon Cake Lady and Lemon Cake Boy are coming over for a low key birthday tea with cake, ice cream and balloons. 

But today, all day long, I have been doing that annoying thing you do when you reminisce about an event. You look at your watch and say to anyone who'll listen:

"Oh, this time two years ago......"

I was 14 days overdue and had gone in to hospital be induced. A process I wouldn't recommend to even my worst enemy. I was nervous and edgy about the whole thing and kept praying to go into natural labour but it wasn't to be. It probably wasn't helped by events leading up to my induction.

Oscar had recently got into a fight with another cat and as a result he'd had a trip to the vet, was on antibiotics and house arrest for 14 days. He was more "miaowy" than usual and desperate to go out. He wouldn't use his litter box and was quite clearly in some need to go to the loo. 

Neither Hubby nor I could sleep the night before the dreaded appointment with the pessary. Oscar's noise and the fraught situation had kept us awake all night.. Finally we could take it no longer and at 5 am I remember sobbing as Hubby was on his hands and knees, scrabbling in the litter box trying to demonstrate to Oscar how to use it. 

I have never been so happy to see a cat poo in my life!

However the damage was done and although Oscar was now quiet and content we never got back to sleep. The hospital wanted us there at 8 am so that was that.

The first pessary didn't work it's magic, even after extensive strolls around the scenic route that is our local hospital car park. At 5.30 pm the midwife had another go. So invasive was this internal examination my body went into shock and I shook from head to toe like some mad woman. By 7.30 pm I was having contractions but the whole of my left side was in terrible pain and I asked for gas and air to help me through it. The canister was duly bought but no midwife had time to examine me. Hubby was timing the contractions at every 12 minutes but the left side of my back and hips was now almost totally immobile. 

I was offered pethadine but still no examination. I declined. The gas and air was  making me trip to the point that I apparently told Hubby I could see bunnies hopping over bright green grass in front of me.

A different midwife came to see me. The third I'd had since I arrived. It was 8.30 pm. 12 hours since the first pessary went in and Hubby and I hadn't slept a wink now for 36 hours

"You shouldn't really have gas and air" she said "You're not in active labour yet"

"Well my contractions are every 10 minutes now and to be fair how do you know I'm not in active labour. No one has looked at my fanny for 3 hours!"

Good point well made!

"Oh, you're 6 cms dilated. You'd better come into a delivery room!"

And the rest, as they say is history. 

Actually the rest was a bloody nightmare but I'll leave that for another day.

So as I sit here with a glass of very pleasant red, I have to pinch myself that we have a two year old boy who has totally changed our world and made it brighter and more challenging. He's the funniest, most intriguing, cheekiest little man I've ever met and we love him more than anything in the whole world. 

I also have to pinch my left buttock on occasions as I've now got sciatica in it but who cares.

He's worth it.....

Happy 2nd Birthday to the boy! 

Friday, 17 February 2012

The One Where Every Little Helps

My little old blog has gone national this week! 

No. Not just national. International.

No. Not just International.


Can you tell I'm excited?

Well Tesco is a global phenomenon, and when they tracked me down on Twitter to ask me about doing a guest blog post for their online magazine, I was astounded and shocked.

How on earth did they find me?

Turns out they had read my blog and really enjoyed it, especially my previous post on Zumba classes which they found (and I quote) "hilarious" !

I then traded e-mails with a lovely lady called Tara who helped me shape and define my initial draft into the piece you can click on and read below

As my blog has gone on I know people are reading it, after all I do study my stats probably just that little bit too much, but it's good to be reminded of the fact. 

Some of you lovely people even leave comments either on here on on my Facebook page or on Twitter. Yet it's hard to imagine anyone is actually reading my random ramblings. Let alone enjoying them so much they want to get me to write some more for them.

I was enormously flattered and can't wait to do another piece for them soon. If they'll have me!

After all when it comes to spreading my randomness - every little helps!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The One Where I Will Always Love You

When I woke up on Sunday morning a little bit of my youth had died! 

In the early to mid 80's I was a new romantic with posters of Wham!,  Duran Duran and Boy George on my walls. By the late 80's I had abandoned Spandau Ballet and Bucks Fizz and I was more likely to be found listening to The Smiths, Depeche Mode or Everything But the Girl. 

By the early 90's it was Radiohead, Nirvana and All About Eve! 

But all the time, underneath all this, I loved Motown, soul and R&B. 

I always have. I always will.

I was never a great Whitney Houston fan. I had one of her albums on tape. It had "The Greatest Love of All" on it. I used to play that track over and over again. Apart from that she was a bit warbley for my taste. Give me her godmother Aretha Franklin or her cousin Dionne Warwick any day of the week. 

I always appreciated her amazing talent though. I just thought she was a bit neutral. A bit vanilla. A goodie two shoes from the gospel churches of America. All trills and no guts.

Mind you I never liked Madonna when she first appeared on the scene!

Shows what I know! 

It was a good job I never applied for a job as a music reviewer on Smash Hits magazine. I'd have been rubbish!

Of course any traces of being "pops swot" left the day she met Bobby Brown.

And that's when it all went wrong!

A concoction of drugs and alcohol took their toll and by the time she tried to make her comeback in 2009 she had knackered her voice and her looks.

I remember the ill fated X-Factor appearance when Dermot O'Leary had to rescue her dress from falling off and then try and interview this bizarre and quite clearly smacked off her tits woman.

I remember I took the piss. I felt sorry for Dermot. The press was full of it.

I loved the song though. 

Because despite of everything that girl could sing! 

I've just down loaded her Greatest Hits collection along with millions of others this week. I've got it on now and I realise something.

I was a fan. I just didn't know it.

I know every song. I know all the words. Each one reminds me of some point in my teenage years and early 20's. Fun times. Heartbreak. Going to see The Bodyguard at the pictures. I Will Always Love You being number for weeks and weeks and weeks! Splitting up. Getting back together. Smooching at the disco. Getting off with the boy you really, really liked. 

The sound track to my youth.

Whitney Houston was only 6 years older than me. She had more talent in her little finger than I could ever hope to have.

Was she happy with all that talent, money and success?

Obviously not!

God bless you Whitney and thank you. I hope you finally find happiness wherever you are. 

We will always love you! xx 

Monday, 13 February 2012

The One With the Hen Weekend - Part 1

When your weekend starts with a wristband that just has, "Butlins Big Weekends" and a 24 hour assistance phone number on it, you know you are in for a whole heap of trouble! 

Or a damn good time! 

Depends on your point of view.

Last Friday afternoon, as I travelled down to Bognor with my friend Maltesers, my point of view was still undecided. I had two whole days and three whole nights of god knows what ahead of me and the only thing I was certain of was it would involve a lot of gin! I'd got a litre bottle packed along with crisps, crumpets and cleaning items. 

Well you never know in these places!

The big weekend in question was Ken's hen do and as one of the four bridesmaids I'd been part of the organising team along with Barbie, Barbie's cousin Earthquake and Ken's sister Towie! I had boxes and bags stuffed with clothes, food and drink, party poppers, balloons, presents for the gift bags and enough sweets to start a shop! 

Maltesers is also a mum and we were both filled with a mixture of guilt at leaving our boys behind (she has two plus hubby) and a feeling of "whoo hoo" we're off duty lets go mad!

Mind you we didn't go mad until we'd first had a cup of tea when we arrived.

But it wasn't long before we broke out the gin... vodka..... Jager bombs..... wine.... spiced rum... pints of snake bite....Barcardi and every type of shot known to man. 

Dear god those girls can drink!

Everyone was a good 10 to 15 years younger than me on this do, but even so, holy mother of god, if I had consumed the sheer amount and mixtures of alcohol Ken did, over the course of those three days, I would've been in A and E on a drip!

The girl is a legend.

So we were there and the drink was flowing.

Let the games begin!

It was an 80's theme weekend with tribute acts a plenty and a few real old blasts from the past on the bill too. Aswad, Dr and the Medics and Belinda Carlisle were all promised.

With this in mind and as our flat was party HQ  we decorated it up Club Tropicana style with inflatable palm trees, guitars and beach balls. Plus there was the usual hen party paraphernalia of L plate confetti, streamers and balloons shaped like willies.

Maltesers and I put the party bags to together while Barbie, Towie, Earthquake and Sleeping Pill did all the blowing (!) and Ken was despatched to another flat with a few beers and the other chicks, wondering what on earth we were doing.

When finally we let her in she was delighted and overwhelmed at all our efforts. We hugged, cried and jumped about like a bunch of girls, which is what we are. So we poured another drink!

There was a knock on the door!

It was the guys in the flat opposite. Could we iron a pair of jeans for them? 

Ken took offence at the sexist nature of this request but some of us saw a chance to make a few quid so we negotiated a tenner for our trouble. Only thing was our iron wasn't working so the garment had to be taken upstairs to another flat to be pressed. So grateful was Tone (and I'm breaking with tradition here and using his real name ) that he came in to thank us wearing just a pair of rainbow coloured speedos revealing a tattoo of "Fuck off" on his arse cheeks! 

I don't know if it was the gin, the emotion of the occasion or the highly charged girly atmosphere but somehow it didn't seem out of the ordinary. 

I knew then I was ready to party!

All the other girls came down to our flat and as the party bags were handed out Ken got her special pressies from the Boys other fairy godmothers. A cake from Lemon Cake Lady (very apt) and handmade butterfly jewellery from Clementine, who had infact made all the chicks a little present of a bracelet to commemorate the occasion, such is her amazing talent and kindness.

Ken was stunned, grateful and overcome with relief to be there. You could see she was full of love for all her friends present and still back in Suffolk and the tears welled up. 

My little heart just glowed with love for her. Ken has over the years been everything to me. Some days she's like a daughter and I protect her, some days, when I'm a mess, she's like my mum.

Always she is my best friend.

The Friday night T-shirts came out. Black with red writing, they exclaimed, "Wham Bam" on the front (not asking for trouble having that emblazoned across your boobs!) with "Ken's 80's Mash Up 2012" on the back. All apart from Ken's T-shirt, which had "I'm Ken's Man" and a picture of Mr Ken wearing a George Michael mask on the back! 

So wearing our t-shirts and fuelled by pizza, copious amounts of booze and much laughter we set off to party Friday night and a good chunk of the early hours of Saturday morning away. 

Look out the night spots of Bognor Regis Butlins! 

Here come the girls.....

To be continued........