Saturday, 27 February 2016

7 Easy Costumes To Put Together For World Book Day!

I cannot WAIT for world book day! Said no parent. Ever.

I've done World Book Day for about 7 years now. I've listened to some pretty spectacular requests, from wanting to be a T-Rex, to being a zombie penguin. Neither one could I recall being in one of her books? Thus convincing me once and for all that they were some sort of test, to see how far you can push your Mum before she breaks.

It was the Zombie penguin for me, not going to lie.

I know you can buy some spectacular costumes, ones that will probably be thrown to the bottom of the dressing up box that night, never to be seen again. You can hand sew costumes that get mistaken to something your 7 year-old has sewn herself, and get judged by your 7 year old for going along with it. “Yes she did a good job didn’t she…”
You can stay up all night gluing and sticking, crying, swigging gin and mentally vowing to never put yourself through this again, but you will. But I decided ages ago, to just stop putting so much pressure of myself when it comes to world book day. You see I'm crap at sewing, S never wants to be a character that you can just buy a costume for - the zombie penguin being a case in point, and I really don’t want to be THAT parent on the school run. The one whose eyeing up everyone else's costume, hating yourself for being bitter about the ones that look like they have come from the BBC costume department, and hating yourself even more for being grateful when you spot someone’s that’s worse than yours! (Not that I've done that) 

All your child will really remember about world book day, is that you made the effort to make them a costume, honestly.

It might not feel that way tomorrow, if your child has changed their mind last minute, and doesn’t want to go as Cinderella anymore, now they want to be a dragon, and why didn’t you KNOW already? But they will.

SO, just in case you're struggling with a costume idea, or your child HAS changed their minds last minute, here are 6 super easy costumes you could probably throw together the night before! Honest.

1. Greg Heffley-Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Easiest costume ever. It's basically a P.E kit!  You will need:
White T-shirt
Black shorts
Black backpack.
You can even draw a picture of his head on a piece of card for them to carry around!Check out the how to video here!

Suitable for all ages

2 Tom Gates.

Again it's just a plain white t-Shirt, preferably one that you don't mind your kid drawing all over. Cos it aint going to wash off! Because you will also need….a box of sharpies! Let them go crazy with colour, just like the front of the Tom Gates books.

Black shorts or leggings for the bottom half,  and again you can even produce your own Tom Gates mask.

Suitable for all ages

3 ANY character from The Famous Five

For a boy you will need:
A pair of grey/navy/brown shorts.
Short or long sleeved shirt in white/pale blue/stripes. Whatever you have to hand.
1 pull over or cardigan
A pair of knee high socks
Ruddy reddened cheeks and a backpack are optional.

For the girls you will need
1 Summer dress - school pinafore perfect or even a plain skirt.
A shirt and either a cardigan to go over the top - an oversized one of your own? Even better.
1 pair of knee high socks.

Sinister bearded person and Timmy the shaggy dog are also optional extras.

Suitable for all ages

 4 Georges Marvellous Medicine

1 pair of jeans
A red jumper
1 wooden spoon
A couple of medicine bottles - empty ones obviously.

Suitable for all ages.
5. Gangsta Granny.

You have probably got the costume for either character lying around, black skirt, blouse and a cardigan for Granny. A walking stick and a wig would be amazing extras if you could source them last minute.
For Ben, long sleeved T-Shirt and Trousers - it really is the extras that make these costumes and the masks are easily done with card and string, and I would just use a pillow case and a good old sharpie for the swag bag!

Picture probably subject to copyright. Please don't sue me I'm poor.

6. Triss/Four The Divergent series.

The costumes for both characters are so easy as they are basically dressed all in black!
Black trousers, black top, black jacket and boots. 
In fact this could apply to any of the characters from the Divergent series, which are meant to be YA books but I loved! There couldn't be an easier costume to be honest, I've spent weeks trying to convince my daughter to go as Triss. Not happening sadly.

Again, pic probably subject to copyright laws.

7. Katniss The Hunger Games

I would have LOVED to of gone as this character!
Again, if your daughter wants to go as another kick ass, strong female character like Triss, then I suggest.
Black leggings or cargo trousers
Black long sleeved t shirt
Black Boots
Hair in a braid

Bow and arrow, complicated love life and furrowed brow optional.

Remember you can probably BUY all of these costumes but the idea really is 7 costumes you could probably throw together the night before and still look like you had World book Day sorted for ages. Well kind of.

And if all else fails then pretty much ANY fancy dress costume will do really....

Knight costume - Prince Caspian, King Arthur, The Knight from Charlie Cooks favourite book.

Princess dress - Let's face it basically any Disney story or Fairy tale.

And everyone's got a Halloween costume languishing around which can be adapted.
Pirate - Captain hook
Dracula -Well, you know Dracula!
Witch -The Witches, The Worst Witch, Room on the Broom

Oh and If your little darling hasn't actually read the book and helpfully announces this as you're ushering them inside. Loudly and proudly say "No not yet Darling but it IS on our reading list for at home this term isn't it"

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dear Me aged 17 and 3/4


How's it going?

If you are reading this at 6.05pm on a Tuesday then I know I've interrupted Heartbreak High on BBC2 , I'm sorry! I was going to call but I know you unplug the phone so you aren't disturbed. Feel free to put this letter down and read it some other time, I just thought it would be nice to say hello to you from the Future.
You are now 36 years old and I'm sure to a 17 year old 36 sounds really old doesn't it? but it isn't. I honestly don't feel much different than you do now, the reflection may have changed a bit though. Yes I totally stole that line from the old lady in Titanic.

For instance you still love the Stone Roses, you still enjoy a wander around W.H.Smith in town to buy a new book. You're still sensitive, always think your right, and your mouth STILL gets you into trouble. I think it's best you just accept now that it's never going to change. However Heartbreak High is no longer your favourite TV show, you no longer wear an asthma inducing amount of CK One, nor wear Rimmels Heather Shimmer lipstick. Oh and you still can't drive, but don't worry the hedge in the village you drove through on your driving lesson? It did grow back OK, well it did eventually.
The main thing is,and I'm just going to come out and say it.......

Rachel you don't become an actress and marry Leonardo DiCaprio.


At 17 you probably think that being 36 brings with it a certain level of maturity, you know like throwing dinner parties, wearing sensible shoes, having pensions and generally just having all your shit together. Well at 36 yes you do have dinner parties of a fashion. I mean you have a kid now, your friends they all have kids now too so it's not so much an elegant little affair with candles and cocktails, It's more necking wine, eating, chatting, laughing and ignoring the fact that the kids are trampling crisps into the carpet upstairs.
However you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up, you still have an obsession with Spike from Buffy (is it the long leather coat perhaps)  You do have a pension but listen Mum was definitely lying when she says those ridiculous high heels you wear will give you bunions, they don't! She was just bitter about her's so carry on.
One warning though - if someone tells you to run quickly over a cobbled street in six inch wedges when you're pissed, DON'T! Your ankle will never be the same.

I really miss your innocence  though, the way you always saw the positive side to things, so carefree and laid back. I hate to say it but you are nothing like that now.The thing is certain things will happen that are completely and utterly out of your control, and they will somewhat chip away at those qualities. I wish I could tell you it won't hurt Rachel, that it won't be hard and it won't change a part of you forever but it does and I'm sorry. These things will also make you strong though, stronger than you or anybody else ever thought possible.
So Rachel I am writing this letter to you to give you some advice, some serious, some not so much.
I am sure as the stubborn, know it all that you are that you will ignore a lot of them, but if you could have a read and at least take some things on board I am of no doubt that some day, may be of help to you.

1. Stop plucking your eyebrows and dying your hair blonde with Sun-In. Seriously stop it NOW! 
No-one believes that overnight you went from a brunette with slugs across her forehead, to a platinum blonde who looks like she pencils her brows on. Styling yourself on Annaliese from Neighbours* is not a good idea. Mum is right your eyebrows never look the same and your hair really does take years to recover!

See a totally natural transformation which happened almost overnight......

2. Do not drink Drambuie at the Sixth form Christmas Party, you don't impress anyone by doing it you make yourself look like a complete tit, and yes everybody does talk about you behind your back.
And who the hell let you wear floor length sequins to a sixth form party?

Yuck the smell of Drambuie still makes you feel queasy 20 years later.

3. Don't put things off because you are scared of leaving your comfort zone, just go for it. You may hate it (Like when you tried going Veggie for one month) You may be crap at it (like driving) you may even make a massive fool of yourself ( LIPA audition) but you also may find it's something you are good at and and enjoy.
It's better to of tried and failed than never tried at all. 

4. Which brings me to LIPA. Do not lie on the application form about singing to a professional level just be honest. Don't be embarrassed to tell people either or show them how excited you are either, it is a big deal and you should be proud of it.
If you do insist on lying on the application form though, may I suggest some practice beforehand? No you really can't just get through it by belting out "There are Worse things I could do" from Grease with a smile and a Wonderbra. 
Don't let that put you off though, keep trying you will regret it otherwise.

5. Trying to end a relationship by ignoring phone calls and acting like a complete bitch, in the hope he'll do it for you is not the way to go about it. Please do it with kindness, he deserves it.

One day in the future karma will come back and bite you on the ass, big time.

6. This is very important. You know you have a bad feeling about the owner of that modelling agency in Manchester? Trust that feeling and leave, straight away.
In fact always always trust your gut instinct believe me when I say it hasn't been wrong yet

7. Stop being so horrible to Mum because you have to move. Stop shouting at her, crying and refusing to speak to her, she really isn't doing it to ruin your life. It is hard for her too.
Be supportive, help her pack, have a cry together. She works so hard and it's not her fault, please appreciate her one day she'll be your best friend,

8. Take That get back together, and split up again. And get back together and then Robbie comes back and then leaves, again. By 2016 you're over it all to be honest. Oh and Gary is the hot one, seriously.

9. Stop worrying about your flat chest, ignore the pancake jokes because you boobs? They get bigger, much bigger without the need for a stupid boob job either. By 2016 your rack is quite simply magnificent, I'm not even ashamed to say it.

10. When you get your student loan do not do the following things with it:

  • Waste it in Topshop and Warehouse - no that Chinese print dress will not be a 'classic' you'll wear forever, and you spill black ink all over the beige leather coat.
  • Do not spend it on a hotel for a few nights because the heating and hot water went off in your student house.
  • Do not spend it on black cabs instead of buses - you are very unlikely to be murdered on the bus in broad daylight.
  •  Do not put your weekly foodshop on your M&S Chargecard - that doesn't class as an emergency and it take you years to pay off.
Maybe spend the money on you know rent, food, actual books for studying.

11. University - This is a hard one, on one hand I want you to stay, don't quit because you're homesick (in Liverpool ffs) just move home it isn't a big deal! And you will always, always, always regret not finishing your course. However by coming home you get to spend lots more time with your family than you have done in a long time, which is very very important.
There is no answer here I'll have to let you figure that one out for yourself.

12. You will get your heartbroken and it will hurt, it will hurt a lot. Have dignity, don't beg. You are worth more than that, always.
You will get over it and it actually makes you a better person - makes you realise a few things about yourself too. You do forgive and forget (no really) and move on.

13. That lad that you think is too quiet? Too nice and well, blonde? You know the one I mean? He thinks you're a cocky, gobby, well spoken hamster? Go on a date with him you might actually like him, never know he could turn out to be your soul mate :)

14. Do not lend out your only copy of your wedding video this  is very important! You forget who you lent it to and you won't get it back. If you do then at least make copies first! 

15. There is a weekend when you are almost 5 months pregnant and Dad rings you to invite you go somewhere, and you don't. PLEASE GO. I can not reiterate this enough GO. Hug him hard, tell him how much you love him, remember every single detail, 

16. Don't hold in your feelings, cry please just cry and cry lots. It won't hurt the baby and it causes you far greater damage in other ways further down the line.

17. Childbirth does hurt, Bloody liars.

18. DO NOT sell those matchbox cars for 2p and 5p at the car boot when you're a teenager!There is a reason the man gives you a £1 and tells you to keep the change and he wasn't doing it because he was nice. Git, you're still bitter about this 20 years later.

19. Give up Dairy sooner. You won't believe how much better you will feel!

20. Record Heartbreak High, you can't find the DVD's years later and it gets a bit awkward when your husband wants to know who's been googling Drazic on YouTube.

21. Invent YouTube.

So there we have it Rachel, a few words of wisdom that may help you to navigte the next 20 years. You know what even if you choose to ignore every single bit of advice given,  you still make it through OK

I really would try to invent YouTube though.


Aged 36 and 3/4 


*Actual Annaliese from Neighbours. I didn't copy her wardrobe, but I did own this top.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Kids TV shows that I can watch without my eyes bleeding and those that I can't!

Let's be honest, Kids TV shows evoke two reactions when we see them switched on.

1 "Oh ffs not this crap again"

2 "Oh this is OK  I can watch it without my eyes bleeding or wanting to stab myself in the ear with a pen" 

Well it does with me anyway.
Of course Kids watch too much TV these days, mainly because it is everywhere
There aren't just 4 TV channels like there was when I was a kid, when children's TV was only on before or after school (if you were lucky) Or my personal favourite time to watch kids TV, on Saturday mornings. God I mourned the loss of Going Live for such a long time. Nowadays there are channels and channels dedicated to kids TV, and its on 24 hours a day.
Thanks to Sky Plus we can also have a planner full of Operation Ouch episodes and Austin and Ally, so you never have to miss a second, and all these shows are available on tablets, Iphones, Ipads, laptops, YouTube so there's just no escaping it however much you try.

Obviously it's up to us as parents to monitor how much they watch, and what they watch, and I do try. However I'm not going to sit here and tell you my little angel is only allowed 30 minutes a day, because although that is what I always say to myself (and I do say it every single morning) It simply never happens. I also think so much pressure is put on our children at school these days, with after school clubs, homework, and with the change to the SATS it's only going to get worse, they need downtime.
Seren especially needs to unwind, she can sometimes find School difficult, so when she gets home it's her safe haven. It's where she feels she can let off steam, where she needs to relax and to be herself.
If she wants a snack and some TV time? Then that is OK with me.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Mum's guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

With the return of The Walking Dead this week after THAT cliffhanger (Don't be Abe please don't be Abe) it's got me thinking about my own Zombie apocalypse plan. I mean everyone has one don't they it's not just me? Oh it is just me.
OK well If you don't love your children enough  don't have one or don't want to prepare for the Zombie apocalypse then that's fine you can also apply this plan to surviving Kids Soft play, because let's face it it's kind of the same thing. A lot of manic running around, snarling, screaming and biting each other in a tense and sweaty atmosphere. You survive on what you can gather quickly, and that just might have to be overpriced quavers, fruit shoots or coffee. Everybody shuffles around with a slightly dead look behind the eyes just wishing for it all to be over quickly.

Not an actual picture from kids soft play by the way...

I first realised my need to prepare for such an event a couple of years ago after our Village suffered a 24 hour power cut, our daughter quite simply fell apart.
At one point she was found wandering from room to room wistfully stroking various electrical items and clutching her Ipad to her chest. Whimpering softly about how things would never be the same again. 

I think the electric had been off for less than an hour.

Yes I am sure there are some kids who are perfectly content to play with nothing more than a stick and a ball of wool, but just in case your kid aren't you know, cats, and do enjoy some of life's electrical wonders you may just feel my pain and need to prepare.

Now before you start hoarding water and buying stun guns  (I'll explain later) you need to be realistic about who in your family will step up in a Zombie apocalypse and who is going to be Zombie food within hours of it all going to shit. Then tailor make your plan around that, because you can't really leave any of them behind without looking a bit on the unreasonable side.

Let's look at my family for instance

My Mum
Well unless the Zombie apocalypse was all about her she probably wouldn't show any interest in it at all. If I rang to warn her she wouldn't believe me, she believes nothing unless she's heard it from her next door neighbour or the man at the Post Office who knows bloody everything.
The Zombie apocalypse would most certainly be all my fault somehow.
She'd spend a lot of the Zombie apocalypse complaining about them loudly and tutting at them but not actually doing a great deal. 
She probably wouldn't be able to outrun the zombies, or fight them off not with her arthiritis like she says, but she always has an excellent supply of tea bags, and you know she gave me life, so she's not going to get left behind.

My Brother
Again would not show any interest in the forthcoming apocalypse, in fact he would steadfastly ignore it all and hope it'd go away without him having to actually do anything. 
He might leave a Facebook status taking the piss out of it perhaps, but until it was physically affecting his life (as in the Zombies start trying to eat his face) he genuinely wouldn't care. 
He's my sibling and my Mum would go batshit if we left him behind so he'd have to come.

My Sisters
Well M would be utterly furious with the Zombies for actually being real and if any dared cross her path she'd either turn them to dust with her death stare, or ignore them so hard they would genuinely be confused at their own existence and leave.  She is an incredible cook, very practical and resilient so I've no doubt at all that she'd survive so she's coming like it or not.
H is a teenager, and so like most teenagers will probably be in her room when the Zombies attack, If she has her friends around they'll be an unbeatable bunch, because once a group of teenage girls realise they have no electricity essential to personal hygiene and grooming, then honestly the Zombies stand no chance.

The Dog
The dog is literally the most useless guard dog ever, he rarely barks so wouldn't be able to alert us to danger. He would definitely try to hump the Zombies leg and sniff their crotch as they'll be too slow to get away. Or pee on them. Wouldn't last 5 minutes.

The Cat
Cat would not be affected in the slightest. She sleeps all day anyway and only surfaces to eat, lick water out of toilet (despite fresh water being in her bowl I hasten to add) and scratches the shit out of anyone who dares touch her,
She was made for the Zombie apocalypse, she'd out live us all.

Mr O
Upon hearing about the Zombies he'll be gutted not because they may eat him, no but because it will mean I was right all along and he'll know he'll never hear the end of it.
He's quite tall and strong and very protective bless him so  have no doubt he'd protect us and himself from the flesh eating Zombies, however he is also very nice and would want to help everyone he met along the way which would be a source of tension between us. Mainly because I have a list of questions to ask possible survivors and as a man who refuses to stop to even ask for directions he'd hate it.

Seren has a tendency for the dramatic so upon hearing about the Zombies she would automatically assume we are all going to die and would vocalise this very very loudly. In fact her screeching would probably alert all the zombies to the house where it again, would all be my fault.
She would desperately check the battery life on her Ipad and ignore my requests to move quickly and take only the essentials. She'd pack her own survival bag containing Lego, Minecraft figures, slime and then make me carry it. Would probably ignore the Zombies as they attacked as she'd have her headphones in watching Minecraft, but once the battery life on her Ipad hits 2 per cent any Zombies around would be ripped apart limb by limb.

I would secretly be pleased I was right all along, but if the Zombies attacked during wine o'clock and Real Housewives then they stand no chance, no none at all.

So as we can see your family and their skills determine how you prepare and execute your plan. So what is your plan.

Do you stay at home or run?

You can barricade yourself inside your home and sit it out but you would have to ensure you had enough supplies and access to fresh water/ Water in the taps will only last so long after the Zombies eat everyone at United Utilities (actually I think the Zombies might have already attacked them after the conversation I had with one employee last week)
Also all you neighbours will all eventually turn to Zombies, especially if they haven't got an apocalypse plan (shakes head sadly) Can you really take out the old lady from number 19 who watered your plants for you when you went on holiday? Really? With a knife to the head if it comes to it? How will you protect your home from looters?
I would say pack up and leave ether move into a supermarket - Costco is your best bet they literally have everything you need to survive, or find an abandoned farm in the middle of no-where (I've a couple eyed up) maybe build a moat around it.

Me? I'm leaving. I'm packing up the car with supplies and heading for a cruise ship, because Zombies can't swim and it will have loads of food and booze already on it. Also always wanted a house with an indoor ice rink,  private cinema and swimming pool so kind of win win really.

Who goes with you

We've established that you have your family, yes even the ones that will be useless (looks bitterly at the dog) but who else do you take with you?
I have a list of professionals who'll be needed to ensure the survival of mankind such a Doctor, Dentist, a really smart scientist type (as with that sentence I prove I am obviously not) a teacher, chef, pilot, farmer, vet...for the stupid dog. Probably a psychologist too as we'll all be a bit screwed up what with the flesh eating zombies and close proximity  to my Mother.
Tom Hardy, obviously.
Will loot  various Supermarkets, Primarks and Boots along the way. Ahhhh looting will be the best part of the Zombie apocalypse, I'll bloody love it. I've worked 20 years in the Xmas sales it's pretty much the same thing.

What do you stockpile

You need the basics, water, lots of canned food, jars of things such as peanut butter, crackers, cereals pet food for the bloody animals. So you need to rob a supermarket, however Tescos will be overrun with people straight away so maybe try the less obvious places first - so farm shops (lots of preserves and sauces) Pub kitchens (you can also stockpile gin and wine here) Other peoples cupboards, even Poundshops

Personally I have no fear of the big supermarket during a Zombe apocalypse, I've said before I've worked in retail for 20 years, seen middle aged, perfectly reasonable women physically fight over the last bag of sprouts one Christmas eve so nothing shocks me anymore.

Wine and gin we've already touched on briefly but you'll need it. A lot of it.
Rob a pharmacy you'll need it all, especially me if my Mum is going to be trapped on a cruise ship with us, I shall need a lot of Prozac, we all will.
Candles - if you go past an Ikea pop in it'll be the one time your husband is guaranteed not to moan about going into Ikea and coming out with nothing but bloody candles.
Clothes/blankets/coats - just loot a Primark, actually we're not paying so what the hell loot Selfridges!
Weapons - knives/guns/stun guns/swords anything you can get your hands on - unsure of where?Maybe try peoples garages and sheds. Or a police station evidence room saw that on a TV show once thought it was a good idea.
Seeds - pop into a local garden just in case you find an abandoned island and need to start again, this is why I'm taking Tom Hardy you see it's for Mankind!
Animals - not like in the Ark two by two scenario, I mean would you fancy sharing a cruise ship with an elephant crapping everywhere? But Chickens, a pig, maybe a goat. A few cats to make it feel homely.
Seren is also insisting we stop at Toys R Us and Hobbycraft.
W. H. Smiths - you can stockpile on books, maps, medical journals, educational workbooks, stationary, and all those bloody sweets and half price chocolates at the till points will finally come in handy.

Mark has always taken the piss out of my Cruise ship plan, he thinks a small yacht will be easier to clear of Zombes and he is right, dammit. So we'll start with a yacht and cross our fingers the Zombe apocalypse happens off season so the cruise ship will be full of elderly Zombies - easier to take down that way.

So to summarise

  • Pack a few essentials so you can leave quickly or as quickly as you can with a husband, child and a dog.
  •  Have a backpack ready to go with; clean clothes water bottles, water purification tablets, penknife, first aid kit, some food, matches and a torch. Not to include any lego, minecraft figures or slime!
  • Steal a suitable vehicle that will get you to the coast (eyes up neighbours motor home)
  • Collect family members, yes all of them.
  • Stop at various shops and supermarkets and stockpile - would avoid Cheshire Oaks the traffic there is always bad it'd be total mayhem during the Zombie apocalypse.
  • Somehow gather weapons - will leave this to Mark.
  • Find Tom Hardy - might be a bit awkward if he doesn't want to leave his wife and kid. Regret bringing pretty Sisters along, consider leaving them behind.......
  • Locate suitable yacht and move aboard.
  • Send out my Brother and Mark to find suitable survivors - whilst I drink gin with Tom Hardy
So apart from being stuck aboard a yacht/cruise ship with my Mother who gets sea sick, the complete breakdown of society oh and the flesh eating Zombies of course. The Zombie apocalypse isn't sounding that bad really, 

A cruise ship, no work, stockpiles of food and Gin, an opportunity to loot W.H.Smiths and Selfridges, no-one moaning about going to Ikea for Candles, Tom Hardy! Not too shabby if you ask me!

*If you are applying this plan to Soft play just take out looting, cruise ships and weapons but keep in the Gin, Prozac and bringing family members along. Soft play in undoubtedly better with those three.

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Secret Diary of Oscar O'Kelly aged 12 3/4

Monday 8th Feb


A loud fart wakes me up from my slumber. It could be mine, possibly Mr O's who knows. Either way it alerts him and the wife to the fact I've snuck into the bedroom.
Decide it is therefore the perfect time to lick their hands to let them know how much I love them, they don't sound too impressed. They aren't all that impressed when I to to climb onto the bed either so they send me out.
Go into the kids room to lick her hand to tell her how much I love her too but the cats curled up on the bed giving me evils, I hate the cat. Make a mental note to have a good sniff of her bum later, that'll piss her off


I'm awake now so I may as well have a wee whilst I'm at it. Will just make as much noise as I possibly can to alert them to this fact by firstly walking loudly in and out of their bedroom knocking into as many things as I can. When this doesn't work I start whining. When the lazy still don't realise I need to go for a wee RIGHT NOW I just go downstairs and stand at the back door barking.
Spend some time listening to that them arguing over which one of them gets to come down and let me out, bless them.


Whilst I'm outside I might just have a nice slow amble around the garden, sniff around to see what's changed in the past 5 hours.Nothing. Nothing has changed but I still need to check.
Mr O is standing at the door waiting for me, he's pulling faces but he's not saying anything so I'll just carry on having a good old sniff, and pee on everything I come across. Even If I don't have physically have any pee left in me I still like to try.

I do this until Mr O starts jerking his head and waving his hands at me. I stand deadly still and look at him blankly wagging my tail, this carries on until he looks like her may cry so take pity on him and come inside.


He leaves me in the hall telling me good boy and to  "Go get in your bed"
I get on the sofa.


Woken up by Mrs O tripping over me as she gets out of bed. Oh here we go potty mouth! You didn't want me on the bed either so make your mind up love!
Do the trick she loves the best by rushing down the stairs in front of her then stopping dead still in my tracks because I think I've heard something outside. Do this a couple of times, it's fun.Not for her, but it's fun for me.


Eat my breakfast. Keep one eye on what everyone else is eating in case it's better than mine.
Stand as close to them as I possibly can, move around under the table and nudge them with my nose in case they can't see that I'm still hungry. Try to lick the toast that's in their hands or off the table if backs are turned. The kid takes pity on me and gives me her crusts, thank goodness was about to regurgitate my breakfast in desperation.


Vigorously lick balls and bum hole for several minutes. Try to lick someones hands or face sharing the love. Get pushed away, quite aggressively. Debate calling the Dogs Trust place we see on TV and makes everyone cry.


Kid goes to school, get a big hug from the kid. I love her.

Me and the Kid - I love her.


Cat comes downstairs have a good sniff of her bum as she tries to eat her food, she hisses at me and takes a swipe, she doesn't like to share her food, she is very, very selfish..
Mrs O has mopped the floor so decide that is the perfect time to go outside stand in some mud and walk back in. she mops the floor again. She must like doing it so make mental note to do it again later.


Someone new comes to the house! I greet her at the door by sticking my nose in her lady parts, she laughs although not very enthusiastically and moves away. I take this as an invitation to do it again but with a bit more force this time. She laughs, less enthusiastically.
I notice she is wearing black, black is my my favourite!! I find my golden hairs look best on black clothing so I ensure I rub myself all over her many, many times until I'm made to "get in my bed" again.

I really wish they'd stop the charade of 'my bed' we all know I sleep where I like.
When they are drinking coffee and ignoring me I take this as an invitation to plonk myself in front of them and roll all over the floor until I am fussed. Eye up the cake, no ones offering me any so I lick it. I would never do this so obviously, but I like showing them up in front of guests.
Sent out to 'my bed' again, so I sit on it with my penis sticking out and staring at them proudly, making everybody feel really, really uncomfortable.


Locked outside now. So just stare through the window at them instead, Get bored so go and do a poo at the bottom of the garden try and hope everyone is watching.
Make mental note to lick whatever that puddle was off the patio before I'm let back in.


Throw up whatever that puddle was off the patio, all over the kitchen floor. Look at it, paw at it, lick it and decide to eat it.


Vets! I love the vets! I love walking up there sniffing and licking everything I come across.
I love sliding all over the waiting room floor with Mrs O manically shrieking "Good boy Oscar!Sit"!When we all know she has no control over me WHAT. SO.EVER.If I can manage it, I like to try and do just a little pee on the floor.
Get lots of fusses as I'm so cuddly, and fluffy and cute.
Turns out I need more tablets again. No they aren't covered on the insurance. Again. She is asking questions about the cost, so I take this opportunity to look at everyone with my beautiful big brown eyes and wag my tail, so everyone thinks she's a heartless bitch who doesn't love me. A Dogs for life remember!
Mrs O has a little tear in her eye and she's gone a bit of a white colour as she's paying, maybe she needs a vet too. I particularly enjoy watching Mrs O try to keep her cool in there, when we all know she's secretly wanting to lose her shit.

Get home have a treat, eat what is left over in the cats bowl and have a snooze.


Mrs O is upstairs making the bed, Oh new bedding you say? Get down you say? Well just you wait lady because once your ass is at school pick up I'm going to make that bed my bitch.


Wake up from nap in 'my bed' no-ones at home so go upstairs and roll all over the new bedding,


Kids at home having a snack and she gives me some, winner!


Kid gives me a new ball, I run around and around in circles for several minutes and wag my tail for a very long time because I just bloody love balls! Drop the ball at her feet, she throws it. Drop the ball at her feet, she throws it. Never gets boring this game!


I don't always sit underneath the table as they eat tea and fart loudly, but when I do? It's when they have company.


Everyone sat down, watching TV? Good. I want to go out.


I want to come in


Cats gone out? I want to follow her but apparently they are "Sick of this" so I am not allowed.


Kid cuddles me before bed and gives me my treat, she's given me about 10 since she finished school but the parents don't know that so I just eat each one like it's the best thing I have ever tasted and shake her hand she loves this game. I love the kid.


Kids in bed asleep and I go in to tell her how much I love her, Cats on bed, I weigh up my chances and lick kids hand. Cat turns her back on me in disgust so I niff cats bum, cat scratches me. Whatever,. Worth it.


Go for a walk with Mr O. I could have a poo at any point really but nah I wait until I'm outside someones front door and do it then, like to try and time it just as they're coming out as well.
Will try and catch their eye as I'm doing it try and make it more awkward if at all possible.
Also like to try and pull away to sniff something as Mr O's picking it up too.


Tied up outside the Co-Op so try and mount the dog that's next to me, get all tangled up in the leads and yelp until Mr O rescues me.
Stop and sniff every single thing on the way home.


Mrs O  lets me watch TV next to her on the sofa. This is nice...oh right the wines open.....start to lick bum hole mine not her! So made to get down.


They are going to bed, they open the back door so I can go for a wee but I'm comfy in 'my bed' so I just look at them blankly as if I don't understand.


They tell me night and "In your bed good boy" Wait til they're upstairs get on sofa.


Go upstairs but the cats on stairs and the bitch won't let me pass, she'll just stare me out for hours, we've been here before so I just start barking loudly as if we are under attack. Hear swearing and heavy footsteps, cat still on stairs so Mrs O stands on her tail as she's making her way down to me.
Cat screeches and runs off, Mrs O swears and I walk past her to sleep on the landing.
Swearing and dark mutterings continues for a bit, like I said, total potty mouth.


Need a wee.......

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Dear W H Smith

Dear W.H.Smith,

This is a difficult letter to write, considering how long you've been a part of my life, but the truth is we need to talk.
Now before I go any further I don't want you to panic, I'm not breaking up with you, I just think it's about time you and I have a little chat about our relationship. Things haven't been great for a while have they? And yesterdays Which? Survey voted you the U.K's worst high street store.

Ouch. That's got to hurt.

I'll be honest, I've seen the signs over the past few years, but you see i'm not willing to give up on you just yet. I think you and I could STILL have a long future together, but you've got to listen alright. No sulking, no rolling your eyes. Don't try to distract me with the half price chocolate at the till, that's one of the reasons we got here in the first place.

I think I knew you were always going to be a part of my life when I was about 7. I used to visit your store in Chester every Friday after school with my Dad and little brother. We would go to McDonald's for our tea, and then would come straight to you afterwards. We were allowed to pick one book or magazine each whilst Dad went off to read the Boxing News. I used to go upstairs to the section that's now a Costa coffee and spend ages picking my book, I would spread them out all over the floor whilst I pondered which Enid Blyton,or later which Sweet Valley high book to read next.
A nice lady, with a perm and glasses would always come over and help me. The reality was that she was ensuring I wasn't shoving one up my jumper, or wiping snot inside the covers, but whatever the actual reason was for being there  she never rushed me, she knew what she was talking about, and would help me chose my next book. And then take me back down to my Dad (Again probably ensuring there was not going to be any snot wiping or book smuggling)
She made the whole experience a pleasure and it became the favourite part of my week, I used to enjoy seeing her each week. I forget when I stopped seeing her now and that makes me a bit sad.

Chester  branch of W H Smith

After a few years my trips to come see you became less and less, but I always remained fond of you, I still believed in you and would ask for vouchers for Christmas and my Birthdays.
The changes, they happened gradually didn't they. One day I came in and you had put in a fancy new lift, then you ripped out my favourite section upstairs and put in the Costa. You did this whlst I was away at University. I felt like I had lost an old childhood friend isn't that sad?

The biggest shock for me was when you changed your logo from brown and orange to blue! My Dad had to warn me on the walk there, he was so worried about my reaction.

It didn't go down well.

You know I always come back you though don't you? You pull on my heart strings.

One of my favourite things to do is still to come in and see you. I buy a book and sit in Costa (I soon forgave them ripping out my favourite section when I found out it was one of the easiest places to go with the pram and sip an Americano) I probably do it once a month now payday it's not enough I know but it's all I can give you at present. I won't lie to you, either as I got older I met someone else. Amazon. I always feel a bit guilty if I use him for books, you see I still get the same excitement buying a new book, as I did as a child. However, sometimes I have no choice.  I went into your store to buy Hurrah for gin, you wanted £9.99, he (Amazon) wanted £3.99! 
But it's not just money problems making our relationship difficult,  there are other things too....

Where's the staff? Where did they go? 

In Chester store, there is usually one member of staff manning the tills downstairs, and one hovering by the self service tills, and then that's pretty much it for the entire store! I'm going to be honest the self service till panics me. I'm shouted at to use it and hurried through if I'm so much as 5ft away from the thing, still deciding on my purchase. 

Maybe that's the cunning plan?

There are never any staff upstairs either, not even in the actual 'Book' department, No nice lady's with perms and glasses to advise on book purchases. you can't give great customer service without any staff to give it.

Or any customers, obviously.

Chocolate at the tills 

Sometimes I think I've stepped into Willy Wonka's choclolate factory, not W.H.Smith!

I'm going to be honest If I've managed to avoid eye contact/pretended I've not seen/blatantly ignored requests to use the self service tills, then I'm asked a hundred and one questions at the till. And confectionary is almost always involved! Do I want stamps? A bottle of water? Half price chcocolate Oranges and mini bags of Thornton's Chocolate? Jelly Beans?  No! I can probably get them cheaper in Tesco.

I went to but the Divergent books for my little Sister (and when I say little Sister I mean me) and they were £7.99 each. The Works had all for £10 it was a no brainer. Yes sometimes I use The Works too, I'm a bit of a tart.

There's too many vouchers I can't be arsed with them all, it's usually 20 per cent off something I've just bought anyway. I always take them as I feel I'm being rude if I don't .
A loyalty card would be better, didn't you used to have one? What happened to that?

People selling things in front of the store
I physically have to dodge them sometimes to get in, A.A (not the boozy one the car one) Make up, phone providers, there is no getting away from them they pounce as soon as I approach the entrance. I can't cope with the pressure of making up a lie as to why I don't want overpriced make up I've never heard of, it's very off putting.

It's just so cluttered now, I walk in to the Chester store and I'm met with greeting cards not books, you're not Clintons what's that about? Then there are displays of Sharpies, everywhere, the basement which used to house music and DVDS is now a bargain basement with 50p post it notes, and autobiographies from realty TV stars.
I like your top floor though, it's nice and open plan and I enjoy shopping there.
I do not enjoy shopping downstairs, it feels like an obstacle course.

You hike up the prices in airports and Train Stations.
Come on now, admit it.

So now you know how I feel where do we go from here?

I want you to know I'll always be here for you, I'll continue to come in and see you, but that's just me W.H.Smth and my personal connection to you, You need to consider other people as well, I'm sure other's feel the same way as I do, we don't want to lose you and see another shop disappear from the high street.

I've got faith in you W.H.Smith, don't let me down. If you don't want to change for me, then do it for yourself.

Love  Rachel x

P.S When I was about 12, I did once accidentally rip the back page of a Sweet Valley High book called Double Trouble, I wanted to see how it ended and our Tom jumped out and scared me so his fault really but It's always played on my mind. 


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

What I didn't expect when I was expecting.

When we were pregnant....

Sorry but I have a serious dislike for this phrase, it physically makes me cringe when people say "We''re having a baby" or "We're pregnant" erm no buddy, you may of helped get me here, but i'm pretty sure I'm the one with a tiny human growing inside of me. Of course your partner will be supportive, or at least they should be anyway. They will come to all your appointments, hold your hand, shed a tear when you look at that life changing first scan picture.They'll rub your back, massage your feet and run to the garage for Pickled Onions and Magnums at 2 am,  and they should do all of these things by the way, if they don't then you really should consider raising the tiny human with them.
What they do not get is everything else pregnancy brings; The morning sickness,the urge to pee 12 times a night, or suck on ice cubes. Backache, siatica, leaking nipples and if you're unlucky enough piles. Nor do they get to experience the pure and utter joy that is labour "We're expecting a baby together" Congratulations! That is always wonderful news, but unless you are physically carrying a teeny tiny human inside your uterus then "We" both sure ain't pregnant.

When I was pregnant we were ecstatic we had planned it and wanted it for a long time.
I started off by treating my pregnancy like my wedding; with a military like operation. I honestly made Monica from Friends look laid back, I must have read every single baby book that I could get my hands on the good ones and the bad ones.I went to ante natal classes, I researched birthing plans and prams and if pregnancy vlogs had been a thing when I was pregnant I'd have followed them all, in fact I'm pretty sure I would have done one myself.

When Seren was diagnosed with D.D.H  as a baby I read everything I could, researched everything I could find and joined the incredibly helpful S.T.E.P.S forum.

Nits going around the school? Well I can tell you, and in fact draw you the life cycle of the little critters, as well as every single treatment and old wives tale* under the sun

*F.Y.I I use my Granny's method, fill a spray bottle with water, a couple drops of tea tree oil and I spray on every day, finish off with hairspray( as apparently they don't like the smell)
 Hair up, and a load of cheapo conditioner and a nitty gritty comb about once a week. Ta -dah! Seems to of worked s far (quickly touches wood)

If we could afford it I would certainly take flying lessons despite being terrified of flying. 
You know why? Because somehow I'd feel I was in some sort of control in the giant metal tube hurtling through the air.

The simple fact is I feel as if I can 'cope' better if I'm prepared.

I have a big family and 2 much younger sisters, in fact I was 20 when my youngest sister was born so I was used to being around babies. I changed nappies, I made up bottles, fed them, winded them, dropped them (joking girls) and if I'm being honest?  Was a little bit smug about it all. Someone asked me if I was feeling nervous not long before I gave birth and I actually said  No as I already knew what to expect, because you know I had little Sisters duh!

God who was I kidding?!!

It turns out it doesn't matter how much you prepare, how much you read, how many classes you take (I actually didn't take that many in the end because you know, I knew it all remember). Certain things come along to throw you a curve ball. I'm just going to look at a few that knocked me off my pregnancy pedestal and those crazy myths I would never have thought would have turned out to be true. I just want to point out that these are my experiences and obviously not everyone will be the same, It's just a bit of fun, apart from piles of course. Piles are never fun.

1. Morning sickness

Exactly what it sounds like right? feeling sick/being sick in the morning. If you are lucky this will be you. I started off waking up every morning dizzy, lightheaded with an overwhelming nauseous feeling, like I was incredibly pissed but not having the fun of drinking. For some reason I couldn't actually BE sick though so instead would just retch over the toilet until my throat was sore. Fun! This changed to starting mid afternoon, and then carried on  until early evening where I would just give in and go to bed.
Luckily mine pretty much stopped altogether after about 16 weeks, but I've known people who were terribly sick and even hospitalised due to severe "Morning sickness" The truth is it just occurs whenever it pleases.

Of course you will always come across women who suffered with no morning sickness at all, and went through their pregnancy with nothing more than a light glow and ankles that don't balloon to the size of elephant hooves. Annoyingly they do exist *bitterly looks at pregnancy photos of myself resembling a sea lion*

2. You can prevent Stretch Marks. 

Nope I don't buy this one sorry, I was HUGE during my pregnancy, so big people genuinely believed I was carrying twins, however I have very few stretch marks considering.
I was so big I struggled to get out of the bath unaided to towel myself dry, never mind remember to put Palmer's Cocoa butter on my bump. I've read and seen other women who claim to of covered their bodies in all manner of lotions and potions religiously and yet the stretch marks still arrived, the buggers.
I honestly believe it's down to your skin type and genetics.

3.  You will stick to your birth plan.

I thought I would, 
I really wanted to try and aim for a natural birth as possible, managing with just breathing exercises, a birthing ball and just gas and air.
I had my hospital bag packed for weeks and along with the obvious essentials I packed;
A soothing cd of music, my favourite cushion to make the room feel 'homely' - seriously I know WTF, soothing creams and lotions to help me relax, lots of healthy snacks and books. Yes books, because obviously whilst your trying to push something the size of a watermelon through your vagina, a bit of Bronte is ALWAYS a good idea right? 
Then my waters broke 10 days early, and my birthing plan? Well that pretty much went straight out of the window

I laugh now as I recall walking into the hospital with my pull along suitcase announcing "My waters have broke I'm here to have my baby now" If only it were that simple.
This was a Tuesday, our daughter arrived by emergency C-Section Friday morning, she is still always known for making quite the enterance.
There no was no gentle laughing as we listened to the CD and the cushion didn't make the room feel homely, My Mum, husband and myself were trapped in the same hot, stuffy room for almost three days sweating, cursing and grunting, like an episode of tenko.

I felt like a bit of a failure after I had Seren, an emergency C-Section just wasn't in the plan, I compared myself to friends, and other Mums on the ward who had a more straight forward birth and it almost felt like I'd cheated. Maybe they wouldn't think that I'd experienced the wonder that is childbirth after all?
 That first night though as I held Seren in my arms, I realised that in the grand scheme of things birthing plans don't matter, there are no medals it's not a sport! Competitive childbirth should not be a thing, getting your baby out into the world safely is all that really counts. 
If birthing balls and nothing more than gas and air does it for you great, if stabbing birthing balls, an epidural and a c -section is what it takes then that is fine too.

Picture of stupid birthing ball that hasn't been stabbed with a pencil, yet.

4. You always go over with your first baby, they never arrive on time.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard this, and I believed it too! Seren arrived a whole week earlier than her due date. I am very grateful S did come early, at 8lb 20z a whole week before she was due? I dread to think what she would have weighed had I gone two weeks over!

5. Pick a nice nightie/dressing gown to put on after giving birth you'll feel better.

If I had chosen a nightie this may have been somewhat true but I was not having a c-section according to my birth plan remember! So I bought a beautiful 3 piece P.J set from M&S. It was chocolate and baby blue bottoms, vest and wrap. However due to my  emergency C -Section I only got to wear the top half, couldn't get the bottoms anywhere near me due to the delight of having a catheter bag for 24 hours. I was so off my face for those few first hours post birth I honestly could have been lying there butt naked for all I knew, what a delight for the visitors.

6. Soothing music and birthing balls help.

I had a CD of soothing music I intended to listen to, I had the lotions to apply to help relax and calm myself but it turns out that after several hours of contractions you actually don't want the dulcet tones of Enya. You want silence, and drugs. 
The lotion also gave me a rash and it had to be washed off- so maybe try it before you pack it would be my advice.
As for the birthing ball? Well I tried to deflate mine by stabbing it with a pencil because it does not ease the pain of contractions, the bouncing does not distract you from the pain of contractions either. Contractions hurt actually. They do not feel like slightly more intense period pains, that is complete and utter bollocks. 

Oh and Nurses don't like you joking about whether you should try crack to help ease the pain either, who knew.

7. Craving Orange m
eans your having a girl

Well I craved Oranges throughout my pregnancy and had a girl!

My Mum craved petrol when pregnant with me so who knows, pretty sure my craving was safer.....

8. Heartburn means your baby will have hair. 

I actually think there is something to this.

I had no heartburn at all, not a touch of it and Seren was born with no hair, in fact she didn't get any hair until she was almost 2 bless her. Friend suffered awful heartburn, baby had a full head of hair. I've watched this with subsequent friend/family members pregnancies and those who suffered heartburn?Babies born with hair!

9. Never wake a sleeping baby

The episode from Friends was correct in every way, don't do it to let granny have a hold, or for Uncle Ted who has to leave and will be upset if he can't get a look at her. No put your foot down, you'll regret it if you don't.

10. The phrase" Oh you've been pregnant for ages" will make you want to punch someone

It does, it really really does because erm I'm making a human being here! So piss off!

11. Your belly doesn't go down straight away.

It doesn't. I was actually so shocked at how big it still was, I mean I wasn't expecting to get back into my skinny jeans right away but I wasn't expecting to still look well pregnant, less pregnant, but still pretty pregnant!
I'd packed a nice outfit to come home in,  put some make up on as feeling good and so glad to be home, I told myself that I actually looked alright.

That is until I got out of the car and a neighbour came out and said "oh have you not had the baby yet then" I burst into tears, and Mark and my Mum ushered me into the flat very quickly before I could reply in my hormonal state.

12. Curry brings on labour.

Well I had a curry the night before my waters broke so, worked for me!

13. You forget the pain of childbirth once you hold your baby for the first time.

This is difficult to say considering I was so heavily sedated but aww yes I'd like to think that's true.

And on a last note? When you're being rushed down to theatre with various Dr's and Nurses and your husband is crying, you do actually think to yourself "Ooooh It's a bit like Casualty"

Or is that just me?

Rach x

*Picture from internet - not me and birthing ball. There is a picture of me somewhere stabbing mine with a pencil, never to be seen....