Review – Trespass Everyday Women’s Waterproof Jacket

I hate being cold.

I HATE it.  I don’t function very well if the weather outside is below 15 degrees – which means for 9 months out of the year I look like a toy that needs winding up.  I shrink into myself, wear layers and layers of clothing and sometimes go a whole day at work without taking my coat off.

Luckily for me, Trespass recently got in touch to ask if I would like to try and review anything from their online collection.

Erm. Yes!

I didn’t falter for a second.  Clicking straight onto the female coat section, I browsed and very quickly found something that I liked the look of.

Bearing in mind that my Other Half goes skiing with his school next week, he didn’t even get a look in.

“I’d love a new coat to put to the test on the slopes in Austria,” he said.

“No way!  My classroom is colder than Austria,” I said. “I’ll be reviewing the coat.”

The coat I chose was the Every Day Womens Coat in Navy (it also comes in grey) and at the moment it is half price at £69.99.

Review – Trespass Everyday Women’s Waterproof Jacket

Admittedly, I chose style and colour over whether it was durable in a storm, because the plan would be to wear it as a winter jacket over jeans and Uggs and not, alas, at the top of a mountain in Austria.

The jacket arrived on Tuesday evening and I have worn it every day since.  I modelled it in the English Work room at school, I bragged about it to my Year 10 form during a fire alarm drill.  Bless them, they were standing in line freezing, having been rushed from their lessons when I strolled up to them, pulled up my faux fur lined hood and casually took a register feeling as snug as a bug in a rug.

“Ere Miss, lend us yer jacket!” one boy shouted.

Feeling smug that I had managed to grab the jacket on the way out, I politely declined and continued checking that they were all present, correct and, most importantly, safe.

When the jacket arrived, my first thought was that the Internet picture did not do it justice. It was lovely and fit me perfectly.   Being 5ft 8in and a size 12, I chose a medium jacket and it fits like a glove.  The jacket comes with a faux fur lined hood, which I love, but if fur isn’t your thing – then you can easily remove it by simply undoing a button on the top.  The tweed pattern on the outside layer of the coat makes it look extremely neat and smart and not what you would expect from your usual waterproofs.  It is both waterproof and wind proof and with Storm Gertrude blasting at us this week, I certainly felt protected from the recent harsh gales that come charging over the fields outside our house.  In addition, I love the purple lining because it is my favourite colour and contrasts perfectly with the navy.

I have had a number of people compliment the coat – even the Other Half!  I wore it to work on Thursday with black trousers and heels and he told me ‘I looked nice’!  For anyone who knows him – that’s a compliment so I politely thanked him and gave a twirl!  The jacket is easy to dress up and wear casually.  Take today for example, I teamed it with a checked shirt, jeans and leather Uggs and went out to…a kids’ party.  While my daughter played happily with her school friends, I sat quietly in a corner party and marked books…with the jacket on! (Because I was cold – not because I am getting a little too attached…)

So all in all, I am pretty chuffed with Trespass, so thank you so much for offering me such a fantastic jacket to review.  I imagine come next Thursday night when the Other Half packs for Austria, he’ll be trying to sneak it into his suit case.  It’s just a pity that he is not a size 12 or a woman!

Relax! It’s From Yorkshire.

The Parent Bedroom: a child free zone, a place to escape the chaos of the rest of the house, a place of serenity and relaxation?  You what!  Not for us!

A child free zone?  You must be kidding.  Since having our son in January 2015, there has not been a night where he hasn’t slept in my bed.  I wish I was exaggerating – I’m not. Not. A. Night.

My partner, bless him, has been relegated to the spare room for the best part of a year. He tells me that he doesn’t mind though and when I think about it, I actually think he is getting the best part of deal.  Yes, I am the receiver of cuddles from my little man but he isn’t kicked awake every two hours by little feet pounding him in the stomach.  Also, while enjoying these sleep filled nights, my partner is tucked up nice and snug in fresh and clean bedding.  Me, on the other hand, I am having a fitful sleep in and among a milk stained duvet.

Firstly, let me me clear, I wash and iron my bedding every two weeks.  More often actually because sometimes my son decides that it is okay to throw up milk on my clean sheets.  He even thinks it’s comical to have a little wee on it too.  Remember when I said ‘bless him’ about my partner being relegated to the spare room?  I used to think I was lucky one sleeping in the big family bed, but upon reflection, it’s me who has drawn the short straw.  There’s just something special about climbing into a freshly laundered bed isn’t there?

A year of us feeding our boy to sleep in our room has meant that our once tranquil space has been somewhat neglected and our space – the parent space – needs some love, care and affection.

Relax! It’s From Yorkshire.

Recently, I have been researching and browsing the internet for inspirational bedroom decoration ideas.  I have browsed both popular high street and internet department stores such as Next and Very looking for duvets and cushions.  My searches however, led me to another company and being a proud Yorkshire girl, I like to support local businesses. That’s what drew me to The Yorkshire Linen company.  My favourite colour has always been purple and our bedroom currently is painted a very pale lilac.  Having looked at the website for ideas, I love both the king size Lexi Plum Duvet and the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet – both of which are on sale at the moment.  The great thing about the Quilted Rose Plum Duvet is that it comes with a matching cushion which I think would make my bed look even more inviting…the only problem is, my little man thinks so too!

Relax! It’s From Yorkshire.

Why Teaching Was My Saviour.

Seven years ago, I was asked by the PE Department at my previous school to accompany them on a trip to some army barracks in Yorkshire.  We took a small group of Year 10 students and stayed for three nights.

It was in January so as you can imagine, it was cold, wet, muddy and tiring – as school trips always are.  Teenagers on school trips believe that sleep is for the weak.

I shouldn’t have gone.

I shouldn’t have gone because I didn’t teach PE and was accustomed to the warmth of a stuffy English classroom.

I shouldn’t have gone because I spent the week in layers and layers of army khaki.

I shouldn’t have gone because it was cold, wet, and exhausting.

But mostly, I shouldn’t have gone because a week after returning, my Dad died.

I knew it was coming so why did I go?  Where on earth did my priorities lie?  If I could go back, I would tell myself to stay at home and spend some precious time with my family. I would convince the younger me, the me who was not in a good place, that I would not find the mile run across some scenic countryside in army camouflage and heavy Timberland boots invigorating.  I would explain that I hated sleeping in a grotty twin room on camp beds in a borrowed sleeping bag.  I would tell myself that the long walks through the woods chatting to my Year 10 students would not take my mind off things and I would tell myself that standing in darkness beneath a clear sky glittering with beautiful stars would not make things all right.

But still, I went.

I went because running in khaki got me outside.  I went because sleeping in some barracks took me away from hospitals.  I went because talking to my Year 10s about their lives, took me away from mine and I went because looking up at a sky filled with a multitude of stars made me realise how insignificant I was and how amazing the world could be if I just stopped, looked and took it all in.  Beauty around us doesn’t fade when life gets a bit tough – it just becomes distorted and it’s up to you to find it again.

My Dad would have been okay with my going, I think.  I don’t know.  I never got around to ask him.

A day after returning from the trip, my colleagues and I had a Friday drink in the pub down the road from the school I was working at.  I received a phone call from my Mum:

“Your Dad has fallen.  He is okay, the ambulance has taken him to St Gemma’s Hospice.”

The plan was for him to leave the hospice and come back home.

He never did.

Throughout next week I continued to go to work as normal. I was lucky enough to be teaching a phenomenal Year 10 class (some of whom had gone on the army trip) and without knowing it, they made my life normal.  I laughed with them, at them and they laughed at me – in between me instilling them with a love of English Literature and good grammatical skills, of course!

One Tuesday morning, I had stayed overnight at my Mum’s and she told me not to go into work that day. She advised that we should both spend the day with Dad.  The sad thing though was that she had to talk me into not going to work.  Like my Father, I have a very strong work ethic, and phoning in sick is just something that I do not do.  Reluctantly, I called my Head of Department and obviously she was insistent that I spend time with Dad.

I took some GCSE essays with me to mark.

I am ashamed to say that as we sat around my Father’s bed waiting for the consultant to come and see us, I sat with my head bowed low reading my students’ GCSE Film Reviews.  What kind of daughter does that?  My Mum told me afterwards that the Macmillan nurse asked her why I was marking and wondered if it would help if I had someone to talk to, someone to share my fears with.  My Mum assured her that this was my way of coping.  She told them that I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone – and she was completely correct.  Reading this back now, I sound heartless, but this is how I dealt with my grief.  Gathered around that bed on that Tuesday afternoon, the grieving process had properly begun; we all knew that the inevitable was upon us.  Nothing could change that, so the essays that needed marking might as well get marked.

I returned to work the next day.

Friday afternoon had arrived and it had been a week since the PE trip.  I was with my tutor group and I received a call from an unknown number.

I hung up.

I shouldn’t have hung up.

Instantly after hanging up, I knew I had just missed a call from the hospice.  After dismissing my pupils, I raced downstairs into the PE dept and I found the Other Half (as we worked together once upon a time).  He held me down in the eye of the storm and for a brief moment there was only us and silence.

My phone rang again and this time it was my Mum.

His time was almost up.

She told me to get to the hospice.  I had one big errand to run first: I had to pick up my 89 year old Grandma.

Grandma was sitting and waiting patiently for me dressed in her coat, head scarf and patent shoes.  Throughout Dad’s illness, my Grandma, his Mother, barely lost face.  I think I saw her cry twice.  She was a fiercely independent woman who, despite being 4ft 11 with a dodgy pair of lungs, was incredibly strong willed and, like me, wasn’t good at sharing feelings.

We left for the hospice.

But the detour meant we were too late.

I missed you go Dad, I’m  sorry.

Looking back, would I have done it differently?  Would I have picked up the phone?  Would I have left school without running to see my partner first?  Would I have left t’old Grandma to catch the bus?

Of course I wouldn’t.

I don’t think seeing Dad take his last breath would have made things easier for me.  It couldn’t possibly have made the end more final than it was or given me the closure I needed.

I sat with him for a long time afterwards.

I think it was all for the best really.  My Mum was with him and she was enough.  More than enough.  Throughout Dad’s short battle with Cancer, my Mum was a hero.  Like my Grandma, I never saw her break or falter.  She carried us completely.

As the first few years passed, I felt like I had just not seen Dad for a while.  Seven years, however, feels like a life time.  In that time, I have had my family, mourned my twenties and even hit my mid-thirties.  I have forgotten what Dad’s voice sounded like and yet I know that I would recognise it in a instant if I heard it.  He visits me in my dreams every so often and especially at this time of year.  Only last night, we were sitting at the dining table in our old house and he was ill (he is always ill in my dreams) and I was telling him how much I missed him.  Wiping away tears, I woke and instinctively I felt at my cheeks and they were dry – they always are.  The dining room, the talking and the crying are never real.  As distressing as they are though, I welcome the dreams.

On the 29th January – Dad’s birthday (he passed on the 30th), I will draw a heart around the date on my white-board at school – as I do every year.  It’s my little way of telling him that he will be in my thoughts all day.  No song and dance in my remembrance, I’m afraid; a little heart will suffice.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone on the army trip.

Perhaps I should have picked up my phone.

I am sorry that I marked essays beside his bed.

After losing Dad, I returned to work after two weeks.  Some might think it was too early and maybe it was.  I returned to my classes and I returned to my Year 10s.  We started studying GCSE Literature and began to read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.  I had never read or taught it before – but boy, did they get some good grades and do me proud!  It remains now one of my favourite books, not because it is so universally well loved and one of the ‘greats’, but because it reminds me of the time when teaching a bunch of Year 10 students saved me.

And I don’t think Dad would have questioned that.

Why Teaching Was My Saviour.

I don’t think you could get more of an ‘eighties’ picture if you tried!

Why Teaching Was My Saviour.

I keep him in my car too!

Please Don’t Slope Off!

This is a plea.

A persuasive speech if you like.

Please don’t go.

I don’t think I can handle it if you leave.  Not with the  half-term holiday coming up. Please.  For the sake of your family, don’t go.

I know I agreed over a year ago that you could go skiing with your school this year because I know how much you enjoyed it three years ago when you went when our little girl was one.  But, it was easier then.  We only had one child.  A child who slept.  A child who could not ascend and descend the stairs in twenty seconds flat.  A child who would let me put her down so I could shove discarded toys in the any old cupboard tidy up.

However, now darling we have two children – an intelligent and yet an incredibly strong willed little lady who can cry relentlessly for half an hour if she is denied a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a one year old Dude who, if given the chance, would commando roll down the stairs and leap unaided from his high chair.  Little did I know that when I happily said you could go skiing last year, that our beautiful boy would not have slept through the night yet.  Little did I know that when he does sleep, it is just for two hours at a time. Little did I know that he would be able to climb the stairs faster than lightning and reverse crawl right under his sister’s bed so much so that we think we have lost him because he has disappeared completely from our sight.

Please Don’t Slope Off!

Little did I know that he would be able to cock up his little leg and climb out of the bath, as well as destroy every toothbrush in the house by throwing them into toilets and baths that he has stood up and wee’d in.  Little did I know that he would be able to manoeuvre himself around the back of the television and pull out all the wires. Please Don’t Slope Off!

In addition, since your last whizz down a snowy mountain, our amazingly talented and beautiful girl has changed from being angelic one year old, who didn’t really notice Daddy had gone skiing three years ago, to a four year old who feels that it is okay to just go up to the freezer and take out a Smarties icecream any time she so wishes.  Who, when I told her no, looked squarely at me, sized me up and with her purple wellington boots she kicked me right on the shin.  She forced my hand; she gave me no choice.   I had to use my teacher voice on her.  I made her cry.  A lot.  Please don’t go, because if you do I may have to use my teacher voice her again, which, despite it working an absolute treat, it made me feel incredibly guilty – especially when she attached herself to my leg (the one with a bruise forming on it) and cried.  She didn’t get the Smarties ice-cream though. Please Don’t Slope Off!

You can’t go.  I fear that our children, the ones I am so lucky to have, the ones who make me feel blessed every single waking day, will push me over the edge.  I fear that when you return, you may find me wedged into a kitchen cupboard, surrounded by Weetabix and homemade Hipp Organic Jars shaking uncontrollably.  I fear that our girl will have taken her Crayola Marker Maker and made 1000s of the bloody things and taken to drawing her name all over the wall.  But, at least our girl is potty trained.  What about the boy?  I fear he will turn feral and crawl round nappiless and use soiled Huggies wipes as a lasso.  Even worse – what if he becomes territorial and starts marking his territory by standing up and p*ssing all over the stairs?  This may be the end of me.  The end of us.

What if I break our family?

Don’t go.

Last night, you had Parents’ Evening and you arrived home to find me laying on our bed with our children.  One was in an iPad induced sleep while the other was wide awake.  When you arrived, I had been singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ for at least twenty minutes and was slowly going mad.  I was angry.  Not at him and not at you.  No, I was angry at myself for not choosing a song with more lyrics to it.  I could have chosen a 14 minute Meatloaf ballad to sing to him or perhaps even ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ because at least it’s a song that can be made interesting, especially when Peppa, Batman, Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes (it was on TV during the last sing-a-long) have been known to ride on my bus in the past.  But no, I chose to sing a short song about a star that I was continuously in wonder about.  Just as I was using a simile (always teaching) to compare the star to a diamond, you entered the room and asked me how I was, how we were doing and if I needed anything.  I quietly asked you to bring me a towel as I had been sitting in a little bit of milk sick for the best part of an hour.  Lovingly, you passed it to me and then…headed downstairs to watch television.

A little while later, our Little Man fell asleep and as he was dozing off to the Land of Nod (where dreams only last two hours), he turned to me with closed eyes and let out a little wet fart.

‘It was just a trump’, I told myself.  ‘It was just a trump.’

It wasn’t just a trump.

Texting you, my saviour you, you came to the bottom of the stairs…and together we made an executive decision to let the Dude sleep in it for a while.  This sounds shocking, I know.  But we discussed the fact that he would probably wake up in twenty minutes anyway and we would tackle the situation then, as a team.

So twenty minutes passed and I had managed to iron at least two t-shirts and a pair of jeans, when we heard the stirrings of the Little Man upstairs.  You grabbed the nappy.  I grabbed the bag and together our hands touched as we reached for the Huggies.  We made it into the bedroom where we saw that our boy had just sat up.

“Grab a towel!” you cried.  “We don’t want poo juice on the bed.”

I grabbed the towel and placed it under our boy.

“I’ll do the changing and you distract him,” you suggested.

My hero.  I would not be getting my hands dirty for this change.

Please Don’t Slope Off!

Everything was going so well.  The bum was being wiped, I was keeping all hands out of the poo and I was even leaning down to give my boy a little kiss to calm him down.  But then it struck.  It struck me in the face.  His little dinker had been let loose and he had managed to wee in my face.  But you, my love, you didn’t panic.  You swiftly passed me a wipe for my face and then wiped your only son’s cheeks and continued to kick ass out of the task at hand.  It happened again!  Another wee began to flow up and out and this time it missed me, but went all over the boy’s sleep suit and our bedding.  Did you get angry?  Did you swear?  No, you gently picked up our boy, laid him on the carpet (as surely there was no more of the brown and yellow stuff left in there), put his nappy on, grabbed a new vest and sleep suit and dressed him.

Here comes the best bit.  You didn’t hand me the baby and go downstairs.  No, you handed me the baby and you stripped…

Please Don’t Slope Off!…the bed!  You pulled clean bedding from the wardrobe and began to put it on the bed.  While you were doing this, I was watching quietly, soothing our son back to sleep and secretly planning to hide your passport.

Don’t go.

You can’t.

Our little family doesn’t function without you.

Can you even ski anyway?

Please Don’t Slope Off!

This post, I am sure you are aware, has been  written with my tongue firmly in my cheek and I can assure you that my children will be thoroughly loved and cared for throughout the half term holiday – just as they always are.  I can also assure you that the Other Half going skiing during the holidays was a mutual decision and I would never stop him from doing anything he wants to do.  Over the last few days, however, I have become acutely aware of the fact that I am going to be doing this parenting malarkey on my lonesome over the half term and I just wanted to pay tribute to all the partners out there who are keeping us mothers sane and take my hat off *bows and takes pretend hat off* to the parents who are tackling this parenting journey alone; you are doing an awesome job because caring for little ones is tough, challenging and so damn tiring.  You are all a million times better at this than me.

In fact, what are your plans for the February half term?

Can I call you?

Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed.

My Saturdays used to be selfish.

My Saturdays used to consist of a lie in (when my body clock wasn’t being an absolute b*stard), some reading in bed, watching a programme that didn’t contain a bossy pig called Peppa or the ‘Pup Pup Boogie’ and eating food that wasn’t someone else’s left overs.

My Saturdays used to contain netball.  A huge heap of it in fact as I would both play and umpire and get paid for it!  After netball, and before the Other Half came along, I might even go out into town and feign enjoyment in ‘Reflex’ whenever the theme from Baywatch would come on and people would be dancing around with ‘Hoff’ pants on their head.  I have a vivid memory of a friend grabbing a nearby red clutch bag and using it as a float as I stood there longing for either the ground to swallow me whole or for the DJ to accidently play some Grunge song from the 90s.

My Saturdays used to be mine.

My Saturdays are now ‘ours’.

Who am I kidding?  My Saturdays belong to the Dude and the Princess.

Yesterday, I was kicked awake at 5.54am and there was no way on God’s earth that I was getting up at that time so I did what I do best and fed the Dude back to sleep.  YES, I am still doing THAT even though he has teeth. But, I’m lazy and wanted an extra hour in bed.

At 7.24am I was head butted and it was time to get up.  We ventured into the Princess’ room to find her already awake and playing on Daddy’s phone.

“You coming downstairs?” I asked.


Bugger.  I wanted to watch Tuesday’s ‘American Horror Story’.  Too bad.  I ironed instead. While the two were mesmerised by Nick Jr for half an hour, I ticked off one of my jobs for the day.

“Right, time to get you dressed for ballet.” I said after finishing the ironing.

“I’m bored of you.” My Girl said before racing back upstairs.  Glancing down at the ironing board and iron, I agreed.  Yes, I would be bored of me too.

The Girl had to be at ballet class for 9am. At 8.20 and still in my dressing gown, she informed me that I would be taking her to ballet today.  Brilliant.

At 9.35am I stood waiting in a little waiting room at our local Parish Centre for the ballet lesson to finish at 9.45am.  I arrived early because I have learnt that the Ballet Mums are brutal.

I once arrived on time one rainy morning to one Mum guarding door outside the building.

“Has the class finished?”  I asked, balancing the Dude on my hip.

She shook her head.

“Can I just squeeze past?” I asked, gesturing to my son.

She shook her head.  Like I said.  Brutal.

So now I arrive early because as well as picking up children, some mums are there to drop off their little dancers for the next lesson that starts at 9.45.  For a few horrible minutes, a sea of tutued girls, with perfect buns, descend upon the Parish Hall and picking up your child becomes a game of Where’s Wally.  On more than one occasion, my heart has leapt into my mouth when I haven’t been able to see my Girl and wondered if she has been accidently taken by a near sighted Mum.

Yesterday, I arrived at 9.35 and I was the third mum waiting in the tiny waiting area.  Slowly, a queue started to form.  I was standing next to the most gorgeous Asian woman who was wearing a short skater skirt, black tights, killer heels and hooped earrings.  She had a full face of makeup and was holding onto the hand of her equally gorgeous daughter.  Me?  I had Weetbix in my fringe and pyjama bottoms on under my jogging bottoms.  Thankfully, another mother took my attention away from Hot Mum.  This was Rebel Mum.  She ignored all the rules of the queue and marched up to the door and glanced through the little window to see if the class had finished.  It hadn’t.  Not to be outdone, her equally rebellious little ballerina daughters marched up behind her and opened the door to see if class had finished.  It still hadn’t.

Once class had finished, I stood back and let all the other parents enter before me (even though I arrived third).  Once in the room, I spotted my little ballerina, scooped her up, told her we had a party to get ready for and went home.

But first, I had to wash my hair.  After all, it had Weetabix in it.

The current problem with ‘the house that eats all our money’ is the shower: it is blocked, dingy, dark, cold and resembles a blue tiled torture chamber.  I started to run a bath.  Pouring in my some relaxing bath salts, my Girl thought she would assist by throwing in a jug, a pirate ship, a speed boat being ridden by a crocodile, a water pistol and various Johnson’s Baby bottles.  With the Other Half out doing the big shop, I would have an audience.  So between shampooing and and conditioning my hair I had to persuade the girl not to put bubbles on her brother’s head (I failed) and convince her not to strip because she got water on her ballet leotard.  (I failed.)

Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed.

After the bath, I realised that if we didn’t crack on and get ready, we would be late to meet JC in the pub before the soft play party.  We have an unwritten rule: Party at a soft play = pub first.

With the Other Half still out, we dressed for the party while simultaneously destroying the already untidy house.  I had a fleeting thought back to Hot Mum from 9.35am that morning and wondered if she had superpowers because after an hour of getting ready, my un- straightened, but dry hair meant I resembled Garth from Wayne’s World, the Girl had been wrestled back into her PJs to keep warm and the Boy still had some bubbles on his head.

Where was the Other Half?

Just then, the door opened and in he came laden with Tesco carrier bags – about £3.50 worth.  He then proceeded to put the shopping away, clean and vacuum the living room as he too had his own little party planned that afternoon.  One that involved him having the house to himself and watching the football sprawled out on the sofa.

We were eventually party ready and off we went to the pub and then to soft play for one of my best friend’s daughter’s third birthday.

It was a Frozen party and it was going great.  My only qualm was that somebody had put the mini party sausages and cold sausage rolls way out of my reach and when JC offered me a chicken nugget instead, I sulked and went in search of the party sausages myself.  I eventually found them being guarded by a group of mums who were gathering to help feed their own children while my child had been left to forage for her own party food while I hunted for sausage.

Then Elsa arrived.

Excitement reached its pinnacle point.

I had to settle for a chicken nugget.

Elsa sat with the birthday girl and the children speaking eloquently in a soft American accent.

“Do you think that’s her real accent?” One of my friends asked.

On cue, Elsa walked past and reprimanded JC for eating her daughter’s jelly and ice-cream in a low broad Yorkshire accent all while I looked on concerned about Elsa’s lack of a vest and wondered if she had central heating up in her ice castle.

Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed.

After I had gotten my fill of party sausages, I went to take the Dude into the soft play.  While we were in there, I noticed Elsa being backed into a corner by a group of pre-school age children with my Girl as the ring leader.  The poor woman.  There was a hysterical moment when Elsa made her getaway while singing ‘Let me Go, Let me Go, followed by a herd of children.

Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed.

Once she had escaped, both Elsa and the children gathered for some glitter tattoos.  Now the proud owner of a ‘Hello Kitty’ tat, my Girl proceeded to tattoo Elsa.  I think I had better teach her the difference between being a fan and being a stalker.

Saturday! My, How You’ve Changed.

As the party was drawing to an end, Elsa gathered the children for a final Frozen sing-a-long with a snow machine that blasted out fake snow at bullet like speed.

The Birthday Girl was in absolute heaven and I have never seen a child look so happy with her lot.

This is what my Saturdays are about now and they are awesome.


The Ballad of the Boy

So now you’re the big ‘one’,

I thought a poem might be fun.

Then I thought: ‘Do you know?’

You’re my only boy, so I’m giving this a go,

I thought I would attempt something original and new,

A group of poems where the subject is you.

Let’s be clear – poems don’t have to rhyme.

This is just my intro.  Please, lend me your time.


Let’s tell a story with my first poem,

A narrative tale we shall say.

We’ll journey back to the beginning,

You were due at the beginning of January,

Usually this is a cold,


depressing kind of month.

But, despite the rain falling down outside,

You brought sunshine into our lives.

The early days were such a blur,

days filled with

endless feeds,



and wees.

Then your Dad returned to work,

your sister went to nursery,

And it was just me and you,

My son.

Our days were now filled with washing

And making sausage casseroles.

Sometimes we went walking.

But, most days,

In we stayed,

And cuddled.

I love you.

The Ballad of the Boy

I love a Haiku,

Let me explain them to you,

They are Japanese.

The first line is five,

The second line is seven,

The last line is five.

They are a snapshot,

Of something you love dearly,

I love you dearly.

Your eyes are bright blue,

Your head still smells like heaven,

Your smile gives me joy.

You can climb the stairs,

Giving me a heart attack,

Must buy a stair guard!

You climb off the bed,

Who on Earth taught you this skill?

My clever young boy.

You love your sister,

I think she likes you also,

No major fights.  Yet.

The Ballad of the Boy

You make us happy,

Our precious number one son,

We are now complete.

Wow! I am on it,

So now let’s write a sonnet.

I’ll continue now.

Fourteen lines ten syllables and rhyming;

No waiting around you arrived so fast;

Waters broke in Natwest Bank – good timing;

Now you’re one, how quickly a year has passed.

We gave you a name we weren’t sure you’d fit;

Your middle name once belonged to my Dad;

Your Dad wants you wearing a Barnsley kit,

Whereas, I think Leeds. Would it be that bad?

But, seriously please follow your dreams;

And become whoever you want to be;

When life gets tough and things aren’t what they seem;

Recall how proud we are, your Dad and me.

Enough with the mush, please don’t take the ‘mick’;

I’ve tried to make light with some limericks…

…There once was a Ninja Flippin’ boy,

Who thought an electric toothbrush was a toy,

Take it away, with your sanity you’ll pay,

The non-stop buzzing, oh what a joy.

I once had a baby I nicknamed the Dude,

Because he was cool and calm and in no way rude,

Then when he would never ever sleep, into the pillow I would weep,

Screaming and swearing, but never saying anything too crude.

The Ballad of the Boy


When we decided we wanted another baby,

There were no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ or even a ‘maybe’.

The house is always dishevelled, my head is no longer levelled,

And no part of me looks at all like a lady.
Now for some some imagery…

With poetry, you can make the words dance across your page.   This here is a snapshot of you at a certain age.

Your laugh is chocolate to me, so sweet and so addictive.  Your smile is my sunshine with it such joy you give.

Your cry is a volcanic eruption from  deep within the earth, your heart is what I held from the moment I gave birth.

Your cuddles are my life line when things get a little too much, your little fingers are like locks gripping onto everything you touch.

I’ll be your guardian angel, your minder and your keeper, and in time, my boy, I guess one day you’ll be a good sleeper.

You and your sister are my light in the dark, you make my half a whole. The slushiness ends here, before it gets out of control.

There, ‘thank God’ you cry – I have finished.

You can breathe a sigh of relief,

I attempted a narrative, haikus, a sonnet,  limericks and rhyming verses –

but feel I was quite brief.

Don’t worry, you’ve reached the end and I am done.

But, no matter what, please remember this: no one loves you like I do, my only son.

The Ballad of the Boy

“Stop being so self indulgent and mushy, Mum!”

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

It’s the 3rd January 2016 and it is my birthday.  The morning started with a bang literally when I was woken at 2.11am by the little Dude falling out of bed.  I was ripped out of fraught sleep by a giant thud and a scream. Scooping my boy into my arms, I checked him, soothed him and he fell back to sleep cuddling in next to me.  Twenty minutes later, two tiny feet kicked me solidly in the sternum and we were awake, but you’ll be pleased to know that this is not another post about lack of sleep!

After being kicked relentlessly and yet afraid to let him go, my son and I snoozed, woke, snoozed, woke until we succumbed and got up at 7am. Last night, the Othet Half promised me a lie in and said he would get up with the children; I was giddy with excitement – although the dark circles under my eyes and the Pat Sharpe circa 1992 bed head did not give my giddiness away.

“Are you going to get up with Daddy and come down stairs?” He asked the Princess.

She peeled her eyes away from the iPhone for a brief moment.


The giddiness subsided and I was faced with the harsh reality that this lie in would not be happening today.  I was up, in my famous purple fluffy dressing gown and I was going downstairs with the Dude in my arms.  Dark Sunday mornings are not for arguing with the Girl.

As I switched on the lights, I was greeted with this lovely sight.

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

“Purple flowers – your favourite colour.  They’re not from Tesco you know!”

However, the Dude was heaving over by the desk, so nappy duty it was. A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

“Stop looking at your presents Mum and use these Huggies on my morning poo!”

We had a ‘breacher’.

“It’s a two man job!” I shouted.

And like a knight in grey jogging bottoms and a grey hoodie, the Other Half swooped in, grabbed the dirty nappy and stopped the Dude from flipping feaces all over the living room. My hero.

“Present time!”


“Don’t get too excited.”


My girl raced over to the table where two presents were standing next to the lovely purple flowers that were not from Tesco.  She grabbed the first present and started to rip it open.

“We’ve got you some chocolates, Mummy,” she said while she was mid-unwrap.

“Did you not un-wrap enough presents at Christmas?” I asked.

“No.”  It was a ‘no’ kind of morning then.

I grabbed the second present before she could put the huge box of Dairy Box down. (They would be devoured later.)

“They’re socks.  I picked them,” she said proudly.

I opened them and burst out laughing.

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

It’s 11pm as i write this in bed and I am wearing a pair!

“Because you’re always nicking mine!” The Other Half said.

‘Tis true, I am.  But still.  I laughed.  Over night I had turned from a being a woman in her early thirties to a woman who sleeps in bed socks.  And I have to admit, since returning home from the restaurant and as I type this now, I am wearing the purple spotty socks and my feet are indeed ‘toastie’!

At 12.30pm we were going to eat at a local restaurant.  My Mum arrived at 12 and I was still in my dressing gown, the Other Half was in the shower, the Dude was asleep and the Girl was at her other grandparents.  Clearly we were all set to go…

Before Mum arrived, we had spoken on the phone.

“I have to warn you, you may think your present is a little too young for you,” she said.

That sounded ominous.  What was it going to be?  The Cabbage Patch Kid I had so longed for as a child?  The cropped top I keep revisiting on ASOS and wondering if I can pull it off or a skirt that is just a little two short for a woman in her now mid-thirties?

“Well, I have just opened a pair of bed socks, so perhaps your present will even things out.”

So at 12 midday, we sat and I opened my present.

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

A skull pendant, a multi-pack of Huggies and my purple dressing gown. What more could you want from a picture?

I actually really liked the pendant, but wasn’t sure if I was too old for it.  Can a thirty-five year old mother of two pull off a silver skull?  The Meatloaf singing rock chick that’s buried deep inside me thinks so.  Off the dressing gown came and on the pendant went (with clothes, I might add.  Or that would be just weird.)

We picked up the Girl on route to the restaurant and with the rain beating down, we raced in and shown to our table.  Now I appreciate that eating out with small children is not something that usually runs smoothly. As we sat down, my Girl was suitably settled with her ‘Hi-Pad’ and was playing an (ahem) educational game called Plants Vs Zombies.

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

“Cheers! Don’t move the hi-pad, don’t move the hi-pad. Don’t YOU dare move the Hi-Pad’”

The Dude was strapped into his high chair and lasted a record three minutes and twenty seven seconds before he magically climbed out of the chair and into his Daddy’s arms.  He stayed still for at least another two and a half minutes before he started trying to escape from his Daddy’s clutches.  The Peronis arrived.  Good.  We were going to need them.

“Let him roam,” I suggested.

And we did.

Almost tripping up our waitress, the Ninja Flippin’ Dude crawled towards the bar.  At almost one year old, he successfully completed his first bar crawl. Ah, a proud Mum moment.

With the Dude, propping up the bar, we ordered our food. Now on my birthday last year, I was very heavily pregnant and was unable to eat a lot of things on the menu.  Today, however, I spotted the goat’s cheese and ordered it instantly. I barely chewed it as I ate it that fast.  Heaven.

My boy has recently broken his fish fingers and peas virginity so we ordered both him and my girl ‘fish goujons’ and hoped that they didn’t realise that they weren’t from Captain Birdseye.  As expected, the Other Half ate most of the goujons and the peas made a splendid pattern on the carpet.

A couple of hours passed and after three courses, we had to be rolled out to the car.  Once home, we waved goodbye to my Mum and settled down to watch a film.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  The boy was getting fussy.  Then, from nowhere, the Other Half spoke some words I haven’t heard in over four years.

“Why don’t you go upstairs and take a nap?”

He DID NOT have to ask twice.  Scooping the Dude into my arms, we both went upstairs and went to bed.  Cuddling my little man in my arms once again, I smiled and couldn’t help but think how this was a perfect end to a perfect day.  Why you ask?  Because I was warm and cosy in bed and wearing an awesome pair of purple bed socks.

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

Fruit shoot in shot? Check. Nappy bag in shot? Check. Nap Time!!

For a sleep deprived thirty-five year old mother of two, who is ALWAYS cold.  This.  Was.  Bliss.




(For an hour and a half.)

A birthday, a bunch of flowers and bed socks?

Happy Birthday to Me! Pack of Huggies just in sight…

NB – This post is not sponsored by Huggies.  We just have a pack in every room of the house.

School Run Ins

I started writing this post three weeks ago…that’s how long it takes me!

First up I’ll tell you that I am not a ‘School Run Mum’. No, I am a ‘grab all your bags and kids under one arm, race to nursery, realise your child has no socks on, forget your cheque book for payment again, apologise profusely again, run out of the door and drive to work sixty mile to the dozen Mum.’ But, of course, you knew that all ready.

This morning, after another terrible night, with my little Dude (a temperature in the 40s and an ear infection) we were turned out on our asses by nursery as he hadn’t been on antibiotics for 48 hours and I found myself suddenly facing a double drop off and a busy M62.


I was going to be late. Proper late. Now, perhaps only teachers will really appreciate and understand this, but to feel really in control of your day ahead, you should arrive a good thirty minutes before morning meetings and form time.  Before children, I would arrive promptly, sort my emails out, make sure all my resources were in order, plan my lessons for the next day and hell, I’d even get some books marked.  Nowadays my pupils are lucky if I have even have my coat off and dress on the right way round (I once had to do a mad dash to the toilets before staff briefing to change one black dress around.  I was twiddling with a button on my collar when I realised that there wasn’t usually a button there…) I can usually be found writing the learning objectives on the board while still balancing my handbag on my arm and with my car keys dangling from my mouth.

But, hey, at least my objectives are always on the board.

This morning however, I was late.  Five minutes late.  I sent a frantic text while sandwiched between two lorries on the M62. ‘I may need cover for my form,’ it read. ‘I’m stuck on the motorway.  I will review the situation in twenty minutes and text back.’

Twenty minutes later, I was zooming down a country lane determined to make it in time for form.  I did.  Just.  But I missed staff briefing.  Damnit. The briefing that all staff must attend.

Sitting at my desk during my free period, probably looking a little dishevelled and red eyed from the night previous, our lovely HR lady came to see if I was okay.

“We’re worried about you,” she said. “We know you’ve got a lot on and saw that you were panicking about running late this morning.”

“Will it go on my record?” I asked.


I sighed with relief.  I am proud of my almost perfect (one blip – which was the Dude’s fault a couple of weeks ago when he decided it would be fun to throw up all day) attendance record.

She explained that she was there as a mother to offer support and advice. She told me that if I needed anything, I only had to ask.

“Um, can you pay my mortgage for a couple of months?” I suggested.

She chuckled.

I was being serious.

This got me thinking.  What on earth do I look like to others?  It can’t be good if I have HR offering to pay my mortgage support.  Perhaps I don’t have quite the handle on mornings as what I should have by now.  Let me show you how I daily kick ass on a morning and when I say ‘kick’ I really mean ‘suck’.  Not only do I suck ass at getting ready on a morning, I am usually doing it with either milk, snot or poo somewhere about my person.  None of which is mine, I might add.  Well, at least I don’t think it is…

I wake before my alarm because, like my son, I am programmed to wake every hour.  However, unlike my son, I am hanging out of one side of the bed (the side changes in accordance to the last boobage) and one arm is often raised above my head, frozen there from the last lay down feed.  Each morning, I consider asking God for detachable arms in the next life.  Imagine it.  You can take them out of their socket like a Barbie doll, leave them at the side of your bed and roll around to your heart’s content without them getting stuck in awkward positions.  Detachable arms – they’re the future.  Now, whilst dreaming up the idea that detachable arms might be my way to make a million, (cos my writing sure ain’t doing it) I realise that I have stupidly left my phone right next to the Dude’s head and within seconds the alarm is about to sound.  Trying to move my numbed arm, and without waking the snoozing child, I attempt to reach my phone before it vibrates.  My mind wonders again as I see a flaw in my detachable arm plan when BEEP BEEP BEEP, the alarm sounds and wakes him up.  Once again, no private shower for me then.

Having finished my three minute power shower, I feel refreshed and awake. Not because the soothing hot water hammered it’s way into my skin and awoken my soul but because I am forced to play a mean tug o’ war with the Dude.  It’s mean because if he loses, he ends up with a shower door in his face (he doesn’t realise this as he continues to initiate the daily game) and if I lose, I end up flat on my arse in a dingy dirty shower which despite my weekly scouring efforts still looks like a bunker from WW2 abeit a blue and white tiled one, but still a filthy bunker all the same.  So after the shower comes the dressing. I’m not going to focus on the dressing of me.  I won’t lie – it’s not pretty.  It usually involves me half wrapped up in a purple dressing gown with the boy using me as a standing prop while trying to eat my mascara.  I thought I would focus on dressing the girl.

Or rather chasing the girl around the house, rugby tackling her and pulling her out of her pyjama bottoms as she lays on the carpet screaming for the ‘hi-pad’. It usually ends in tears.  Either hers, mine or both.  When dressing her, she likes to play a hysterical game of ‘dead weight’ where she just lets all her limbs hang lose and she flops over and often knocks me over revealing the big pants that hold up my tights to the Other Half who has just enjoyed a relaxing shower having already eaten his breakfast.  I have yet to eat.

Ah, yes, breakfast.  It is, without doubt, the most important meal of the day.  I do make a solid effort not to miss it and in order to make sure I eat, I buy Weetabix.  Not because it is the tastiest cereal on the supermarket shelf, but because it is the quickest to eat.  I can inhale two sugar coated Weetabix in less than twenty seconds.  Having already eaten a nourishing bowl of Jordan’s (And I quote: ‘It makes my poo look like a Snicker’s Bar’) Nut Crunch, you would think that the Other Half would wash up his bowl before heading upstairs to clean his teeth wouldn’t you?  However, the washing up is usually done by me.  By this time, I am usually running late so in order to quicken my pace, I put The Dude on the floor so he can crawl over to me by the sink, use my tights to pull himself up and scream, scream and scream.  Try it.  A five minute washing up task can be reduced to a 30 second job if you have a screaming child clambering up your tights and pulling out your fuzzy leg hairs.  Not only does your washing up get done but any need for an epilator is gone. It can sometimes however, just create more jobs for you later in the day when the Other Half notices bits of Weetabix or Nut Crunch encrusted into your bowls and just places them back by the sink and reprimands you for not washing up properly in the first place. Argh!

After breakfast, we race upstairs, clean our teeth, find coats and shoes and then switch off every light in the house.  I honestly don’t  know who switches them on.  I grab my bag, the baby bag, my girl’s school bag and sometimes my marking bag and stumble to the car.  The Other Half is long gone by this time as he is ‘on duty’ or ‘has assembly’ so it’s down to me to do the ‘school’ or Grandparents’ run.  As I put the kids in the car, my girl shouts for the ‘hi-pad’ again.

School Run Ins

Some people lift weights to keep fit. Me? I just carry multiple bags and children to and from the car daily.

“It won’t work without Wi-Fi; there is no point in taking it.”

“I want to watch Topsy and Tim!”

“It won’t work!”

“I’ll use the I-Cloud or check the downloads.”

“What?  You’re four!  You shouldn’t know these things.”

Holding out her hand:

“Hi. Pad.”

School Run Ins


If only mornings were like this. This is usually the evening scenario when I shout ‘Don’t go to sleep!’ over and over again.

Reluctantly, I head back into the house and retrieve the battered I-Pad and switch the central heating off at the same time (see, I needed to go back inside anyway.)

Then we set off.  And if we are heading over to my Mum’s, that is when we will inevitably get stuck in traffic.


“The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling way down in the valley tonight…THE LIGHTS ARE ON GREEN.  GO GO GO!  WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DRIVE? There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in eye and a blade shining oh so bright…OH MY GOD, IT’S A SPEEDBUMP, NOT MOUNT EVEREST!  B*LL*CKS, I’M GONNA BE LATE…”

And that’s when the frantic texting begins.

After throwing the kids out of the car (disclaimer: a metaphor for dropping off my much loved children quickly), I arrive at work at 8.29am and rejoice that I am not late and am fully prepared to face the day.

That is until HR come a knocking.

School Run Ins

Our bruised, battered, toddler abused Hi-Pad.

How to Turn a Blind Eye to Sleep.

A couple of months ago I admitted to my health visitor that I STILL could not get my boy to sleep in his room or cot; I promised her that as soon as the Christmas Holidays arrived, I would try and persevere with sleep training.

Well, the holidays have arrived.

As I begin to write this post, my son is standing in his cot and screaming. I am doing what was suggested by my health visitor and sitting by his cot silently in the dark.  Well, I say dark.  The current curtains we have in his room are just not cutting it and recently we have been looking into ordering some black out blinds.  In the past, I have been advised that if I want my almost one year old to sleep through the night, then his room must be dark.

Recently, bearing in mind, that the cold dark nights will soon be turning, once again, into lighter nights, I have been doing a little research into ways that I can help make my son’s room more sleep friendly.  We have painted it blue and added some rocket stickers to his wall.  He loves to reach out and touch a star sticker, but if I put him down and attempt a runner from the room, he crawls quickly after me!  There are teddies in his cot, toys in his room and a bunny rug on his carpet, but still he prefers it in bed with Mummy.  This may sound cute, but at 1am, 2am, 3am…when you are being kicked in the forehead with a foot or being woken up because you have a podgy baby finger lodged firmly in your right nostril, cute it isn’t.

Having conducted my research on ‘good sleep aids’ (and when I say research, I mean ‘Google’), I learnt that a baby’s room should be silent and dark.  So I started looking for some black out blinds.  Instantly, I found a fab website called VELUX and immediately looked at their blackout blind range.  Perfect, I thought, these will do.  But then it got better…

I found that VELUX Blinds also make Disney blackout blinds.  They don’t even have to be coloured black for them to work!  Who knew?  I really like the Mickey Mouse with the speech bubble for  my son’s room.  Just so I can write ‘JUST PLEASE GO TO SLEEP!’ in the speech bubble in thick black marker.  My thinking behind this: if Mickey says it – it’s cute!

How to Turn a Blind Eye to Sleep.

I wouldn’t really write in the speech bubble – it would be tempting though…

I have also had a look for my daughter’s room.  At four years old, she is an okay sleeper – not great, but okay.  We have recently bought her a new wardrobe and desk for her bedroom as we want it to become a room where she can sit and play – a room she can make her own.  At the moment, most of her playing is done downstairs in the living room and at the end of each manic day, when all I want to do it go downstairs, drink a cuppa and watch TV, all I seem to do instead is trip up over Barbie and her numerous accessories, pick up jigsaw pieces and put lids on discarded pens.  I think the Disney Princess blind would be a perfect addition to my little lady’s room and who knows, if the room is decorated to suit her and her personality then she might stay upstairs long enough for me to watch one of my own programmes on Sky Plus rather than being made to sit through yet another ‘Peppa Pig’, ‘Paw Patrol’ or ‘Ben and Holly’, (even if Nanny Plum may be the greatest character ever created…)

How to Turn a Blind Eye to Sleep.

Could this Princess be the one to keep my own Princess in her room?

Now that my son is finally asleep (I caved in, picked him up and rocked him), wish me luck with coming weeks.  We may have the interiors sorted, but not the sleep.  Hopefully, with these new ideas for sleeping and with a little bit of grit and determination, my son may sleep through the night some time soon.

A Laser Day in Manchester – nailed it!

I love Manchester.  Being a Yorkshire girl though, I hate Manchester United – not because I am a football fan, but because it’s in our blood.  It’s a rule you must follow – a rule written in small print on the back of the White Rose (plus my Dad was a Leeds fan – so any haters can see and understand the ridiculousness behind my reasoning!) BUT, I love Manchester City Centre.  It was my university town and between the years of my being 18 and 21, it was my home.  I’m not here to write about my university days as I fear the post will turn into one filled with regret as I clearly remember way too many times when I was more concerned about whether my Nike Air Max TNs matched the turns ups on my jeans than rather than analysing Blake’s ‘Mind forged manacles’.  Or I was too busy reading Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ instead of following Dante on his descent into hell.  No, university is long since over and even though I know I would do everything differently (like actually read the books I should have read), I can’t complain about my 2:1 degree.  In fact – I owe a massive thank you to one lovely lady for allowing me to become her revision buddy during my third year.  I honestly think she was the one who turned my 2:2 into a 2:1.A Laser Day in Manchester – nailed it!

Welcome to a pointless post about getting my nails done in Manchester – you’ll love it…

After finishing university, I never saw any of my ‘uni’ friends again, which is such an epic shame as university buddies are meant to be mates for life aren’t they?  I expected to make regular trips across the Pennines for reunions (I even expected that I would settle down in Manchester), alas that was not to be.  However, over the years, Manchester became a regular shopping haunt for me and my mum and before the time stealing sleep bandit kids came along, my mum and I would take a monthly trip over the M62 and shop until we dropped.

That was, of course, before I had a mortgage.

And when I still had a waist.

Anyway, as always, I digress.  It all began one rainy afternoon in Leeds.

“Guess what I’m thinking about getting done?” My Mum said.

“Your boobs?”  Was my reply.  It made her laugh – I like to make her laugh.

“My eyes!”

“That would have been my third guess after botox.”

I had my eyes lasered six years ago, just after we lost my Dad.  Once, while I was at university, I was on a bus going to a lecture and as the bus jolted, my glasses fell off and I was on my hands and knees looking in the aisles. My sight was that bad, I could put my glasses on my bed and the paisley patterns were the perfect camouflage.  Once the glasses were on the duvet, they were gone. I must have told my Dad this at some point and he always said he wished he could fix my eyes.  So he did.  Before he died, he gave me the money to get them lasered and I have seen clearly ever since.

After lots of umming and arrhing, my Mum made the decision to have lens replacement and the closest clinic that offered the treatment was Manchester.  So off we went.

I was thoroughly excited about the trip to Manchester as I don’t venture out from behind my ironing board that often these days, but more importantly, the Other Half had happily agreed (if I do all the bed times for one whole week) to have both children all day.  Not only was I going to my old university city for the first time in about five years, but I was going to be childless.  I could look in shops without the ‘Oh my God, where is she?’ fear that I get every time my girl decides to annoyingly walk directly behind me. I would be able buy a frothy over priced Christmas themed coffee and drink it hot without having to prise my boy’s grubby fingers from my fringe, eyes and nostrils. Oh yes, this was going to be great.  My Mum was, however, sh*tting herself slightly nervous.

Sunday arrived and I pulled up onto her drive.

‘Have you not had your car fixed yet?’ Was her opening greeting. ‘It will go rusty.

It was going to be a long day.

We were approaching the M60 and decided to use the map app on the iPhone.

“Get the post code and put it in my phone,” I suggested.

“No, I have already done it in my phone. It’s set to go.”

The map app man told us to get off the motorway.  Surprised by this sudden demand, I made a swift exit, but did not feel confident in my decision. The fact that all I saw were signs to Bury did not help shake the uneasiness, but the map app man could not be wrong could he?

As it turned out, the map app man was not wrong. He got us to our destination of a three bedrooms semi-detached house in Bury.

“This isn’t it!’ My Mum declared. ‘It’s on Deansgate.”

I am more than familiar with Deansgate so I thanked her for her observational skills.  Maybe she didn’t need her eyes lasering after all.

‘You’ve dropped a pin.’ I said. ‘When you opened the map you have accidentally dropped a pin to this area.’

“A pin? I don’t have a pin.”

I grabbed my phone, input the postcode and twenty minutes later we were running late, but we had made it to a very busy Deansgate.

Once we were in the waiting room, I pulled out my Year 8 assessments and my current book: ‘The Girl on the Train’. I was going to be there waiting for four hours so I was going to be productive and mark and I was going to do what every good English Teacher should do – I was going to read.

Mum was shown upstairs and I started marking my first assessment.

‘The writer uses a powerful adjective to show humour in the extract…’

No he didn’t, he used a verb…

I stopped reading and asked the receptionist if she would mind looking after my folder – she put it in the contact lens cupboard. I was going shopping.

It always rains in Manchester and Sunday was no different.  Umbrellaless, coatless and without a hood, I ploughed onwards and faced the adverse weather.

By the time I arrived at The Arndale Centre, I resembled a drowned rat. I headed inside, was swept away be a sea of manic shoppers and found myself washed up outside a nail salon.

“Do I need an appointment?”

A perfectly groomed, courageously coiffed young Asian man looked me up and down.

“No lovey. What do you want doing?”

I wiggled my stumpy nails at him that had the remnants of three week old purple gel on them.

“Shellac. Take a seat.”

I picked a lovely glittery red and off we went. I never get my nails done so couldn’t hide my surprise when he pulled out device that was not disimilar to the device that dentists use to buffer your teeth. In an instant, the top layer of my nails had been buzzed off and he began. I mourned the loss of my once strong nails but, hey, at least they would look pretty. And glittery!

A Laser Day in Manchester – nailed it!

Christmas nails  – melted finger not shown

The perfectly groomed young man placed the UV light in front of me and directed me to place my hand inside.  After forty-five seconds, it became hotter than the sun and my fingers began to burn.

“It’s burning,” I said.

“Yes, it does that.”

Only then did I notice that there was not a single hair on his forearms. Perfectly groomed indeed. Either that, or he had shoved his arms into the UV light once too often and singed his hairs right off. I began to ponder whether it would work as a hair remover on my fuzzy legs but then I smelt burning flesh and realised my little finger was melting into the metal; I needed to leave.

It was time for a coffee.

For once, I bypassed Greggs and decided that I was going to go independent all the way.  I found an independent delicatessen, went in, saw the prices, pretended to read the specials board and side stepped back out into the rain again.  Popular high street brand it was then.  I found a Starbucks, went in, queued at the wrong end, ordered a festive toffee nut latte, looked and pondered over the overly priced sandwiches, side stepped out of the door once again and wondered into the adjacent Tesco Express.

Being the good daughter that I am and knowing that my mum has a tendency to faint whenever she is scared, nervous or has sun stroke, I decided to buy her a sandwich.  Thinking that I was only nipping in to buy one item, I didn’t get a basket and held tightly onto my latte.  Balancing the latte in one hand, I then proceeded to buy a sandwich and sushi and was beginning to run out of suitable gripping digits.  While attempting to pick up a bottle of Evian with the only finger I had spare (my little melted one seeing as you asked), I dropped it on the floor as a hot young couple walked into the store.  The bottle landed at the girl’s feet.  She kicked it down the aisle, looked at me blankly, looked back at the bottle and walked off.  Her boyfriend did notice that I wasn’t the owner of a third hand that could retrieve the bottle and offered to help.  However, after a glance at his girlfriend and on the receiving end of a death stare, he too walked off.  Just to add insult to injury and to add to my own torture, I spotted some McCoy Salt and Vinegar crisps and tried to grab a packet from the shelf.  Alas, it was not meant to be because like the water, the packet ended up on the floor.  I sighed loudly.

A Laser Day in Manchester – nailed it!

Christmas nails comforting the bottle of Evian that was booted down the aisle of Tesco Express

“Oh no, I have done the same with the crisps now!”

Unfortunately, the boy had learnt from his mistake and failed to turn around.  I followed them to the till leaving a trail of food on the floor behind me.  After paying for the sandwich and sushi, I left.  Back in the drizzle outside, I realised I had left my latte in the bagging area at Tesco.  Returning to the shop and following the trail of food that some genius had left for lost shoppers to follow, I retrieved the coffee purely because I had gone all out and bought a venti.

It was 2pm when I returned to the eye clinic.  I collected my marking from the contact lens cupboard and started to mark.  Surely Mum would be almost done by now.

Two hours later, Pirate Pam emerged from her operation sporting an eye patch and a Penguin biscuit.

“I bought you a sandwich in case you felt faint,” I said with the halo lit above my head.

“I’ve had a penguin.”

She then pulled out a pair of Rayban sunglasses she had bought just to cover the eye patch and we got ready to leave.

The journey home wasn’t quite as eventful as the journey there, it was however, more perilous.  With the driving rain beating down on the car, the fog slowly descending and at least 1000 cars trying to get on the M62, I struggled to read the road signs.

“I think you need to be in this lane,” my Mum kept saying.

“Which one?  Which one?”  I asked swerving in and out of lanes.

“I don’t know,”, she said.  “I can’t see.”

Any that, ladies and gentlemen, is irony.

We return next Sunday for the other eye doing!

A Laser Day in Manchester – nailed it!

Christmas nails still looking good despite having to restrain the Dude.  Plus, I needed a picture of a cute kid to make this post interesting!