My Werewolf Has Arrived

I just galloped down the stairs and whisked this delectable beauty from the hands of an unsuspecting mailman. Isn’t it gorgeous?

It is so soft, has so much space inside, plenty of clever storage compartments, is perfect Mum-Size for all Parental Emergencies and it has a werewolf on the front.

P.S. Sorry about poor focus but “real” camera’s battery is dead.

My life is complete.

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National Rail First Class Revealed!

This morning Pie brought an incredibly amusing fact to my attention. She looked up the cost of a first class train ticket from Paddington to Terminal 5 (Heathrow) and it cost £50. Now I’ve seen first class on the trains here and it really isn’t anything to write home about.

The cabins are colder, the seats have a different label and, in the event of a train drama which results in crowded carriages, you are likely to get a seat.

If you go peasant class the ticket costs £32.

Now both tickets cover anytime trains for return within a month.

However, and here’s the funny bit, for the extra £18 you get a copy of the Financial Times.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Financial Times costs £18 on National Rail. Make sure you frame yours when you’re done reading it…

Tragedy: Face Fell Off

Today, in a small town by the sea, Tamsin’s face fell off.

It wasn’t as if she didn’t know this was coming,” said her face, “I’ve been warning her for a while now. I mean, just look at my under-eye wrinkles! What did she expect?”

Tamsin is unavailable for comment but the local newsagent has reported a woman wearing a veil coming in to buy out his stock of coloured paper bags.

It was very strange,” said Mikhail, “She came in, bought all the coloured bags and then started cutting holes in them. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Boots spokesperson said that their online supplies of anti-ageing cream were sold out at 6am this morning.

Honestly, some women should just learn to pay more attention to their diet and sleeping habits,” said Emelda Markhurst, 48, “I’ve had sixteen Botox sessions and sleep in a foil mask packed with nutrient rich, collagen injected, anti-wrinkle gel and never leave the house during the day. This is why my face is still intact.”

Tamsin’s friends, Pie and K, are appealing to anyone who’s seen a woman roaming the streets wearing a paper bag to please contact them urgently so they can get her to counselling.

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Ten Things That London Commuters Have Taught Me

My time of the commute is nearly at an end and the wide-eyed considerate human that I once was has been replaced by a woman that goes, “Tssk“.

1. No matter how relaxed you are when you get off the train, the tube will get you. I swear, you could have meditated the entire time on the lovely overland train and arrived in a state of blissful calm, and it will be ripped from you the moment you stand up. The wave of “I must get off first, I must walk faster, get out my way, oh for Pete’s sake” will hit you the second you get off the train.

2. Your elbows and bum are weapons of mass destruction. When pushed into a corner by surly men in suits a deft nudge with your elbow (note: I said nudge) can get you room to breathe. If this fails look at man in question with horror in your eyes, catch his eye and then look at his hand and then your bum. He will think he touched it. He will move rapidly away. Use in emergencies only.

3. After three days you will go “tssk“. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Those people who you labelled as rude and unfriendly when you first started commuting to London are now YOU. At first I was astonished by how many people tutted at me under their breath because I just wasn’t fast enough. Today (and yesterday) I tutted myself. I am ashamed.

4. You will sit next to the freaks. On my first day it was Mad Snot Flicking Man who sat next to me and leered at me the entire way home. On my second it was Strange Growths Man who wanted to play footsie under the table. Now, as I approach the train home I think to myself, “Do I sit in the single seats next to the loo and endure the smell, or do I risk it and sit on a normal seat and see who sits beside me?” To be honest, the answer depends on whether or not I’m eating my dinner on the way home. And even then it’s hit and miss…

5.  If you are running late everything will stop working. Train tickets demand that you get there on time. Miss your train and you pay again (and out your nose). Usually you need to catch two tubes to get to the rail station. If one tube grinds to a halt because some [insert adjective here] human has pulled the alarm or tried to eat the conductor, the rest will follow suit. Or your next tube will be so full that it should be entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

6. Pretend you can’t see anybody else. I have been stood on, crushed, bumped and elbowed, and that’s just trying to cross the main station to get to the tube. I have noticed that those who escape unscathed are those who just walk and pretend they can’t see anybody else. You either get a briefcase in your eye or you leap out of their way. That said, if you are thin or short, adopt this strategy at your own risk.

7. Rational thought is abandoned in favour of the chase. It’s insane. You can see that the queue to get through the ticket barrier is about 30 people thick in all directions, but there are still people shoving past you to get in front. Why? The queue is just as bad on the other side! It bewilders me. I end up overtaking/catching up with these Furious Flappers five minutes later and my eyes aren’t bulging in fury. They’re cardaic arrests waiting to happen.

8. People are fabulous. You can be forgiven for thinking that I hate everybody on the commute so far, but actually there are some really lovely moments. You can meet new people, have fascinating conversations, and die with delight watching children giggle with their parents on long train journeys.

9. By the time you get to work you need a lie-down. I am filled with admiration for people who do this commute every day, every week, for many years. I am. They need awards and special holiday retreats. When I get to work after my two hour commute I’m almost incapable of coherent thought. The people I’m working with think I’m an idiot. They’re not entirely wrong…

10. You can fit 100 people into a space the size of your toilet. And then you can stop at another station and squeeze in a couple more. And again. And again. Then, when you have an armpit in each eye, an ass on your hand, a handbag exploring your spine and sweat pouring down your face, the tube will stop and a voice will come over the intercom and say, “Sorry for the delay folks but there appears to be a faulty train at the next station and they’re just moving it onto the siding.”

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The Great Escape[s]

It appears that exotic pets around the world have received a memo – Escape And Scare The Natives. I am finding it hilarious.

So, on Tuesday Panjo the tiger escaped from the back of his owners’ bakkie in South Africa. While on his way to the vet, Panjo broke free from his cage and went off to explore the surrounds of Pretoria. It wasn’t the fact that there was a 140kg tiger running loose that got me but rather the news coverage that surrounded it.

The radio stations in SA were all chatting about there being a tiger on the loose the same way you might discuss some tea leaves having come loose. The online coverage was hysterical. My personal favourites are this one from the BBC where they felt it necessary to point out that tigers are not native to SA. HAHAHA. And this one where they talk about him having a bottle on the sofa like a baby.

I guess I just found the fact that the owner was really worried about Panjo’s cuts and bruises very amusing. Not because I want a tiger to be hurt, no no, but because it’s a TIGER. These animals roam jungles and kill us with a pat of their paw. And we’re worried about him wandering around the bush for a few days?

The second animal that has decided to amble off into the wild is a pet boa constrictor in Essex. 

What is with these people and their insane pets? A tiger I can kind of understand. I mean, tigers are cool and a pet tiger is somewhat awesome. But a pet boa constrictor? Can you even train it not to eat you?

Again, I am demonstrating my dark sense of humour by finding this entire article hysterically funny. I started giggling at, “bathroom window”, and was almost crying by, “It is possible the breeding season could have encouraged the reptile to go out hunting and it may have left the town“.  I am aware of the fact that  laughing about a rogue boa constrictor is A Bad Thing, but I’d like to assume he will be found, won’t have injured any Yorkshire Terriers, and will be safely home before long.

However, on a slightly more arachnaphobic note, I have often wondered whether any of those completely insane (in my opinion because I am terrified) people who collect deadly spiders have had any escapes? What would happen if someone accidently knocked over a glass case with a hairy nasty in it? What would happen if they knocked them all over? I mean, that can happen. Anything can happen.

Would these spiders get loose, breed and start a reign of terror in a country that is not prepared for toxic spiders? Would they die because the weather conditions are not ideal? I know this thought gives me the creepy crawlie terrors. I can only hope that this “accident” happens in the middle of winter so any escapees freeze to death.

Shudder.

 

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The First Film

Today we went to see Toy Story 3. It was Squidge’s first movie ever! Well, by first movie I mean actual going to a cinema, buying popcorn and sitting in the dark. She was initially quite apprehensive and didn’t like how loud it was.

I summoned the courage to go and ask them to turn it down a notch, after all the cinema was full of kids and it isn’t good for any of them, and even my ears were ringing a bit.

Yes, I am a total paranoid mother. Yes. I won the award.

Toy Story 3 was a success! She cuddled in my lap the entire time and loved every minute. I loved every second of the cuddles and contact. Total win-win brilliant morning.

The afternoon was spent with S and her two tots, H and M. S is a total breath of fresh air (if you’re reading this S, I already told you this today!). She’s from Barbados and she’s straightforward, easy to get on with, and so darn chilled. When I’m with her I feel completely relaxed. It’s rare for me as I’m usually quite, well, paranoid.

It was on this lush afternoon of relaxing on the beach, pootling through Brighton, and meandering through the mall that two other lovely things happened. Well, three actually.

The first was the purchase of a Buzz Lightyear toy exactly the same as the movie toy. He does all the same things! I’m not entirely sure who I bought Buzz for because the two of us have been playing with him ALL afternoon. Shooting his laser at each other, making his wings pop out and flying him around, saving each other from the evil pink teddy. Awesome. Pic above is Squidge flying him around after supper.

I had decided this morning that I had to cave and visit Schuh. They’re having a sale and I adore, adore, adore their shoes. This is the same place I got my Zombie Shoes I mentioned before. And you’ll NEVER guess what I found. Oh yes. I found MORE ZOMBIE SHOES. Except these ones are pumps. These Zombie shoes I can wear every single day. The other ones are reallllly high and I can’t wear them for long stretches, which is obviously gutting.

Now, oh oh oh, NOW I can wear them as often as I want. It took me all of ten seconds to buy them. How often does that happen? And the other great part? They’re called Zombie Stompers. I actually can’t stop laughing.

And then I found another pair of shoes. A pair that have a moderate heel and just delightful design. I slipped them on and my feet finally understood what it was like to be wrapped in a curtain. They are incredibly soft and clutch my feet perfectly.

Obviously I bought those too. All the pics you see here are of these amazing shoes. Thank-you Schuh for being in existence. I heart you.

P.S. This is finally completing another step in the 31DBBB challenge!

Gender [Non]Specific

Thanks Garrettc

I have an issue. One that has just been reignited by this post from one of my favourite bloggers. It appears that in spite of our best efforts, things continue to go full circle in the gender debate/divide.

She’s objecting to the fact that a popular UK children’s store has now become the seller of plastic tat and, not only that, advertising that continues to gender stereotype our kids.

This is not the first time I’ve been enraged by this issue. Not at all. This very evening I started to read a story to Squidge. It was from the Orchard Book of Magical Tales, retold by Margaret Mayo. I started seething from the first story and haven’t bothered to read any further. In fact, the book has been removed from her libary and is to be burnt ceremonially (kidding!).

The first story is called the Lemon Princess and starts off by saying that the Prince needed to find a wife, but no woman was good enough for him because he wanted the most beautiful woman in the world. No normal babe would do.

He gets told where to find her from an old crone (oh, fabulous), he finds her but loses her thanks to the machinations of an ugly servant girl with coarse hair and dry skin [insert irate bad word here], but beauty wins out in the end because our magical princess is not only super stunning, but she can cook, weave, clean, and serve her man too.

This book is written by a woman! What on earth? I was fuming. Then I read Vonnie’s post above and sighed. After all the hard work that the original women did to get us equal rights, it appears that it has all sort of stopped and started stagnating.

Partially dressed women are still used to promote “male” items such as cars/computers/gadgets. Youth is more important than the funny wisdom of the older woman. And women who want to stay at home and care for their families are attacked and vilified by their own gender. What’s that all about? I thought feminism was about giving us a choice? Not about deriding each other for not being some kind of ideal. That’s just slapping another stereotype onto us.

It is something I ponder a lot. My daughter is hugely into pink. She loves Disney princesses, she loves froofy dresses, she loves all girly things. All on her own bat. I never said, “You is girl. You play Barbie,” she just loves pink. She also loves Doctor Who, Toy Story, climbing and other such pursuits that should, theoretically, clash with her girliness. But why should they clash? Can’t she be a princess who likes computers? I have (I hope) allowed her to be whoever she wants to be and I’ve done my best to let her know that she’s capable of anything.

But, one day (not now obviously), should I tell her that all things are not created equal? That mummies don’t get the same pay as daddies? That many men (and women) will judge her on her looks and not her brains? Or do I hope that, by then, things will have oozed outed of the stone age and that women will have stitched the gender divide right up?

And just to leave you with something to ponder, apparently a study held in 2008 shows that toys are more gender specific than ever before.

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