Saturday, 9 July 2016

From Roots to Boots!

A few months ago, I began to realise that I am nearing that time of life (27) when I'm going to have to start wearing make-up to hide my MASSIVE WRINKLES.  As each attempt to apply some made me look more & more like a clown, I quickly reached the conclusion that professional input was required so I impulsively booked myself onto a three hour make-up tutorial/course.

I thought it would be a bit of a lark; that I might learn some useful tips while having a bit of a giggle but instead I was completely bewildered by some of the mind-boggling things that were said. I thought you might like to hear them too.

Things I learned in my make-up lesson today:

1. A 'basic' brush set consists of 8-12 make-up brushes and is likely to set you back £200 (I'm not even joking. I'd want a flipping car for that much money! 😳)

2. You should NEVER leave the house without wearing concealer & mascara, even if you're only going to the corner shop for milk (because apparently this is the time you will bump into that 'hot guy' you've been daydreaming about for months)

3. ALL WOMEN need to perfect the 'five minute routine' for occasions when said 'hot guy' will ring you to say he's on his way over for a coffee (assuming you were daft enough to give some random idiot at the corner shop your phone number & address)

4. Contouring isn't about being fat or thin (said whilst directly eyeing up my fattest bits). It's only ever about accentuating your best bits (which by definition are unlikely to be your fattest bits)

5. ALL WOMEN ought to have their 'colours done' because we can't possibly navigate our way through life unless we know whether we're Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter.

6. We should ALL change our look every day. Some days we might want a muted look (that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to speak) whereas on other days, we might want to 'grab life by the throat and make it take notice'. (Apparently 'grabbing life by the throat' primarily involves the wearing of red lipstick. Who knew it would be that easy!)

7. We should do our make-up and THEN pick our outfit for the day because our make-up guides the outfit selection (this has nothing to do with whatever happens to be clean/ironed/within arms reach/the least stinkiest thing from the bedroom floor etc).

8. If our faces and our outfits match, we are 'channelling a look' and it's very important that we do this 'from roots to boots' if we want to be TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

9. If you are trying to lure 'hot guys' from nightclubs, like some deranged stalker-type wifey, you will need SMOKEY EYES. They will make you win at everything in life. Seriously, everything!

10. In the main, it's best to 'live within one palette' to obtain each look however, it's occasionally acceptable to throw caution to the wind and wear bright green eyeshadow with bright red lipstick. Apparently this is just like 'Christmas on your face'.

11. No matter how much you believe points 1-10 above, there is always a danger that your 'look' will turn out to resemble Pennywise the Clown.

17. If you come home wearing the clown face your cats are likely to run away from you and you will have to resort to buying them a £5.60 cooked chicken from the rotisserie in Asda in order to get them to come to you again.

B. It will take a good half hour to remove the Clown gunk from your face and you'll still find bits of it in your ear later that evening 😔

I hope you lot appreciate me. I only do this stuff so you don't have to 😒

Friday, 10 June 2016

Two Years Later

It's been over two years since I last updated this blog. Life just became too difficult to muster the energy to write and I've been dealing with an awful lot throughout this time. Maybe I'll share more about that later but for now, I'm just leaving this here to mark a return of sorts. If you're reading this, thanks for continuing to check in.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I haven't blogged much over the last six months. 

Actually, that isn't strictly true. I've blogged a lot but I've been pretty low and none of it has been fit for human consumption so I haven't actually published anything I've written.

That can be an ongoing problem for me and my scribbles. 

I try to keep this blog reasonably active, which I use as a forum to share my latest escapades with family and friends in different locations. I also keep a private journal which is more for the really personal stuff and absolutely not to be shared with anyone else. 

The journal is a really good way of offloading and maintaining perspective when life is crowding in and I can't see the wood for the trees. When I am faced with an issue, it often helps to get it out of my head and onto a piece of paper where I can make more sense of it and reach a decision more clearly. 

It's also a good way of keeping a record of life's ups and downs so I can see the constant ebb and flow of good times and bad. Feelings and emotions are transient but writing them down in black and white makes them more permanent and, when life is tough, provides a clear reminder that life has been tough before and I survived; that I'm more resilient than I think I am; that it does get better eventually. 

Mark was so good at keeping his daily journal. He always claimed that getting too far behind with it affected his equilibrium and made him feel off balance somehow. I really used to admire his commitment but I never quite manage it myself. I tend to write in my own journal when times are stressful. It helps but in the process, I build a written record of all the bad experiences in life without any of the good. In turn, when I flick back through my journal, it appears to show that I've had a dreadful, angst-filled life which, of course, is not the case at all. 

So, the aim of this post is two-fold:

1. It's a reminder to myself that I need to start blogging again. I'll  publish the entries I've written over the last six months but I'll clean them up first, sanitise them a little so they remain true but aren't quite as dark as the place they were written from. 

2. It's also a reminder to myself that I need to develop a daily practice of writing in my private journal, thereby capturing both the joy and the difficulties of everyday life. I know that it works for me. I just need to establish a decent routine. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Little Heroes

In the early hours of this morning, while it was dark and still and very, very peaceful, I read a few extracts from Woody's journal and found a whole section called 'Little Heroes'. 

It contained details of people he'd encountered in everyday life; people who'd inspired him because of their attitude to life or because of something they'd said at the time. 

It was lovely to read it and I even remembered some of the people he'd included. There was a terminally ill man that we once met on a ward when Woody was in hospital. He was being discharged at the end of that day because he didn't have much time left and he was desperate to die at home with his wife & dog to keep him company. He wasn't at all maudlin. He was just very much in love with his wife of 56 years, grateful for the life they'd had together and really happy to be allowed home so that they could chat as long as possible before he had to go. Can you imagine being with someone for 56 years and still being excited to see them? Desperate to chat to them? Isn't that lovely? 

Another 'Little Hero' on Woody's list was an old guy who once helped us out when we were hopelessly lost in Teesside one night. We'd stopped to ask for directions but before we'd even finished the sentence, he'd opened the back door of the car & hopped in because the route was complicated and he didn't want us to get lost. He gave a running commentary of interesting landmarks until we arrived at our destination twenty minutes later and he hopped out again, eyes twinkling with laughter as he refused all offers of a lift back to our starting point, insisting that we'd only get lost again and reassuring us that he was enjoying his adventure and fancied a walk anyway. 

People who are kind, helpful and positive make the world a better place and I'm sitting here, eating my lunch and counting my blessings because I have an abundance of people like that in my life. 

All of my friends are kind and good and I'm especially lucky to have those boys next door, even though they're always calling me a "stupid looking c**t". Little charmers... 

Then there's Gill.

Also known as John (and various other daft names that I've given her over the many years that we've been friends) Gill is the best mate anyone could have. She's more placid than anyone I've ever met in my life, although she's got a stonking right hook when she (infrequently) does blow a gasket. Normally though, she's so laid back I'm almost sure she sometimes forgets to breathe! 

She's done so much to keep me going this last year, since Woody died, that I can't even begin to list it but I know I'd have been lost without her. 

On holiday recently we were trying to work out the day of the week when she was born because I was convinced she must be a Friday child - loving and giving. As it happens, she's a Saturday child - works hard for a living, but either of those descriptions would be equally as appropriate. She's the most diligent, conscientious, reliable, thoughtful, loyal person I know, a real grafter and usually very resilient but she's having a crummy time of it at the minute and I feel powerless to do anything to help. 

It's a rotten feeling, especially as she does so much for me. We both had such a good time on holiday and I'd dearly love to take her away again, somewhere hot and relaxing, so she could get away from the crappy stuff in her life at the minute, but I'm too skint. 

I never buy into that stuff about praying for people but I know lots of you do so if you've got any positive vibes, can you send them Gill's way or give your crystals an extra rub in her honour as you dance around your cauldrons tonight.

She's a little hero who needs a little bit of love, support & good fortune at the minute. 

Thanks, folks!

Monday, 12 August 2013


I've had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. We organised a 'mini festival' and lots of my lovely friends descended from various parts of the country to pitch their tents in my garden and recreate 'Woodstock'. 

It wasn't too difficult to organise. The Cheeky Boys from next door are the masters of the barbecue so they kept me on the straight and narrow. They helped me make a list of everything I'd need, hassled me where necessary to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything and then set up the seating and tables to make the best use of the gardens. 

I'd asked everyone to dress up in keeping with the Woodstock/Hippy theme and first to arrive on the morning was this gorgeous specimen.

I was just sitting on the garden bench, enjoying the sunshine, when she walked through the gates dressed as flower power. I laughed so hard I almost fell off my seat! Unlike my postman who, without batting an eyelid, greeted her with a cheery "Hello flower!" before handing over my post and wandering off to continue his round. 

Next came the guys with the bouncy castle and sumo suits, which I have to say were absolutely hilarious. I'd definitely hire these again. 

They weigh a tonne so if you fall over in them (and believe me, you definitely WILL fall over) it's virtually impossible to get up again without someone hauling you back onto your feet.

We're obviously quite a cruel bunch because we tended to leave people thrashing around like upturned woodlice, laughing ever harder as we watched their frantic, futile attempts to scissor kick themselves back into an upright position. 

They were so heavy that some people found it easier to squeeze themselves into the kids suits. I doubt it made them any easier to manoeuvre but they certainly looked funnier.

Friends continued to arrive over the course of the day and I was really pleased to see that everyone had gotten into the spirit of things and dressed up. 

Some of the guests even took the time to co-ordinate their outfits!

But without a shadow of a doubt, the pièce de résistance had to be these two. 

I think they'd gotten their decades muddled up but groove was definitely in their hearts and they looked stunning as they strutted their way around the garden. Or at least they were stunning until they saw the bouncy castle, at which point any semblance of 'cool' evaporated in the sheer unadulterated joy of a good old slide!

One of my friends made a great job of painting everyone's face and her husband had researched the lineup for the original Woodstock and made up a playlist to suit our theme so we had great music to accompany our food and entertainment. 

My culinary skills are appalling but luckily, everyone joined in to make sure the food was cooked perfectly. Many thanks to everyone who brought 'extras' to complement the barbecue.

This pic was taken by my friend, Howy
Note the difference in quality between his swanky camera and my half arsed iPhone pics.

It really was a superb day although there was obviously a tinge of sadness. At one point, late in the afternoon, as I looked around at everyone having such a good time, I couldn't understand why I felt as if something was wrong. Then I heard my friend telling the story of her burned poaching pan from the weekend before last, when I'd gone to visit her, and I remembered that the last time she had visited my house, Mark had made us both poached eggs for breakfast and the thing that felt so 'wrong' was that Mark isn't here anymore and I was hosting the party on my own. I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all and I had to take myself off for a mini weep as I realised that this is my life now and I'll always have to host parties singlehandedly but luckily, a couple of friends spotted my 'wobble' and talked me back to good humour quite quickly.

As the night drew in we moved round to the smaller garden at the back of the house and huddled round the fire to toast marshmallows, chat and sing - the usual drunken shenanigans really - until rain forced us all into the kitchen and conservatory for the final wind down before everyone drifted off to their respective tents and I went up to bed, only to find it was already occupied. My options were to squeeze in the middle of the snoring, sleep talking occupants or take my chances on the sofa. Needless to say I chose the sofa!

The next morning, as everyone began to surface looking slightly worse for wear, a seemingly endless round of bacon butties and hot drinks were required to get us all into gear and ready for the big clean up. Luckily, the breakfast worked a treat and the job was done quickly and efficiently so many thanks to everyone for helping out. I had very little to do and my house and gardens were soon restored to their former state, leaving us with plenty of time for a walk along the sea front to clear our heads. We even had a little paddle in the FREEZING North Sea before returning home for an early night for the friends who stayed over an extra day. Perfect!

I wish Mark could have been there this weekend. He'd have thoroughly enjoyed having everyone over to stay and it felt very strange to be having a party at home without him but I suppose it's another milestone and, now I've gotten the first one over, the next should be easier and feel more normal. Small steps eh?