Sunday, 30 October 2011

Call me Nanny McPhee

Well as my pal's text me, asking about Yang Sing in Manchester, because they are there about to go and see Katy Perry tomorrow night at MEN; I myself have just returned from the Loire Valley. This weekend was supposed to be about me shaking my arse at Californian Girls, several jaw dropping rows in the MEN but I have to work so couldn't go. Instead my beau took me away to the Loire Valley. If anyone has ever been its exceptionally beautiful.

Its a place that fairy tales are made of and indeed its alleged that Sleeping Beauty's castle was there. A beautiful chateau where she pricked her finger on a spindle from  the spinning wheel of death and die, a thoughtful gift from the wicked step mother!. Fortunately a fairy reversed the curse so that beauté dormant fell asleep instead for 100 years. Although  I am sure that Charles Perrault hadn't  anticipated that many years later some chap called  Walt would get his hands on his story and make it as worldly known.
In the same way I hadn't anticipated how much work being responsible for children is. All you parents out there deserve a medal! So the fairytale weekend was not one of romantic getaway but spent with my beau's two children. Fortunately they are quite lovely.

I felt quite nauseous leading up to the weekend. What will I feed them? How would I entertain them? What if they saw me as some horror from Nanny McPhee and viewed me with suspicion in case I gave them a spinning wheel?

I am quite good around children and they seem to like me. I pride myself as being the cool grown up but this felt quite different because essentially if they didn't like me then I was doomed. Which in turn meant I would be single again and have to go trawling with a kebab in my handbag wafting the odour of armour commonly known as chili sauce.

I couldn't just be the fun grown up toasting marshmallows on an open fire, making toffee apples, jelly skulls and popcorn. In addition to such festivities luring them with home made rocky road and chocolate muffins sprinkled with red glitter. OK OK so I did do all those things, it doesn't hurt to get off on the right foot!

The beau thought it would be amusing to check the red glitter on the muffins was edible (he knew it was, he just likes to be or thinks he is amusing at times). So I sparked back "No I got it from WHSmiths glitter glue section for making Christmas cards. See how well its stuck!" Then it happened I panicked inside. What if they burnt themselves on the fire, ate hallucinogenic jelly (nope that wouldn't happen as I would omit the vodka), or loose an eye because I forgot to put the lid on the saucepan whilst making the popcorn.

I like to think of myself as responsible, but my last conversation with my ex about contemplating being parents ended up with "nah lets get a boat instead".  When we used to take my nephew out to the cinema we thought it was OK to eat anything you could get from the cinema then go to Blackpool and go on rides then do the walk of faith at the Tower. Returning him to his parents slightly green was never our intention but shockingly it always happened.

Fortunately they have been returned in one piece and rumour has it they actually like me and think I am a good cook. Me, well I am worn out. Its exhausting work being a carer of children. How you parents do it 24/7 is any ones guess. I have no doubt its because they give you untold rewards and unconditional love. I will settle with "she is a  good cook".

So I am in it for the long haul it would seem and there is something quite endearing watching a grown man brush his daughter's hair. Maybe I am lucky and have the best of everything; children in my life that I never had to push out myself  and a man who valued and trusted  me enough to allow me to be with his children. 

Anyway I don't look good in purple; so maybe I will be less lady Tremaine and more Nanny McPhee when beautiful not the one with the wart!!!!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Return to sender if lost!

Ruddy hell its nearly the end of October and I have only blogged twice. I need to get my finger out. I had my party and that blog will follow shortly; I am awaiting pictures!

Winter is drawing in but the sun is still shining. this is my favourite time of year because all the best stuff happens in Autumn/Winter. The leaves change to a lovely orange, mornings are crisper and who doesn't like Halloween and Bonfire night? Not to mention Christmas will be soon upon us, and Christmas Eve is my favourite evening of the year. I have an obsession with baby Jesus, mulled wine and Ella Fitzgerald singing Christmas tunes.

Its been 16 months since I relocated to this island and if honest I didn't think I would still be here. At the moment I am glad I am. Although I am a bit peeved I won't be returning to the North next weekend because work is busy and I can no longer go to see Katy Perry. Oh well, rugby final is looming, I will have to enjoy that. I hope the French win, as I am off to the Loire Valley instead next weekend and I want them to be in a good mood. My French is a bit rusty and " Moi J'ai soif je voudrais un Orangina" won't get me some croissants and a chaud chocolat.

Anyway you would think being here on this small island I would have the measure of the geography. It would appear not as a total stranger told me 2 days ago " I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag".

The girls in my directorate try and help me, advising me the best way to locate things. Unfortunately I don't give them much to go on. For six months I described this bar I had been to where the roof opened up. Their response "oh that's La Cala". "Nope I respond its somewhere else". Of course they were right and I was wrong. I also remembered another bar I wanted to go to and told my girlies it was next to an African gift shop. Weeks went on and they still couldn't work out what I was on about. Of course it was no where near the African Gift shop. Its become a running joke about my lack of sense of direction.

So imagine my friend's amazement she found me wandering round a part of town I had no reason to be close to where where she lives (She possibly thought I was trying to locate the  African gift shop!). She was so excited in her frantic waving trying to get my attention, she nearly mounted the kerb! Apparently I was trundling in a little world of my own.

I was making my way across town to meet my beau at his business. Its about a 10 minute jaunty walk from the hospital. It however took me 45 minutes!! Indeed I was lost and found myself outside a park in the pitch dark with a gentleman in an anorak swiftly approaching. He decided after I told him where I needed to be it was possibly wise to give me a personal escort. When I said he need not trouble himself and just point me in the general direction; he responded with a "no love, you couldn't find your way out of a paper bag".  Cheek of it! On arriving at beau's business with the kindly gent shouting " does she belong to you?", I was mortified. Talk about feeling special! It was like he had hooked reins on to me and then delivered me like a package or one of those small nursery children who is threaded to the next child. Beau asked me why I hadn't rung him and he would of come found me? See that's the issue I am bloody minded. I wouldn't dare say I am lost and require assistance. I would rather have a total stranger collect me outside a park, frog march me down dark side streets, then deliver me than admit I am a numpty. I have done something like this before. 

On realising I had lost my passport 2 days before a little girlie holiday trip, I set off to get the train to Liverpool passport office. I missed it!! So rather than ask for assistance and call a pal I had a weep on the platform. I am sure the chap who approached me to ask if everything was OK, wish he hadn't.

"If I pay you will you get me to the passport office in 1 hour?". He did and I weeped and chattered all the way there. I wasn't concerned if I would end up in a wheelie bin chopped up as he looked more terrified than me! He was most certainly a Samaritan and he waited for me and delivered me back safely. What kind of halfwit does that? Well this half wit obviously does that kind of thing.

I am always lost and always have no concept of where I am going. My sister is testimony to this after again lost in the dark she asked if I recognised anything. Of course I did I recognised a tree. It wasn't distinctive and was growing with several hundred trees. In honesty I had no clue where I was and couldn't say so. I thought recognising a tree would illustrate some sense of direction!

It would seem I have no spatial ability. I would never of passed my Duke of Edinburgh award, as I would of still been recognising trees whilst others were finished back at camp toasting their marshmallows round the  fire. Fortunately those that lack such spatial awareness have a superior IQ ( coughs, that will be me then!). They also have super reasoning skills, oooh I do have those!

Perhaps I should prepare myself before I embark on a new journey and look a bit   like Paddington. I could have a sign adorned round my neck "if found please return this numpty to the nearest tree. She will find her way back from there."

So if you see me wandering looking vacant and scratching my head its possible I am trying to locate an African gift shop. Yes I may be in another parish, or looking at trees or hanging round parks and if you ask if I am OK, of course my response will be yes. Its best to send a stranger in an anorak to guide me to my destination, as it would seem I am happy to wander off with them!     


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Come Dine With Me

Well I am nearly caught up on blogging and I returned back to Jersey yesterday. I am quite tired as I ordered breakfast in my room yesterday morning so I could  lie in and watch the rugby. Getting up too early and eating a poached egg is quite knackering. Oooh I am such a Diva. Anyhoo as some of you will know we are out of the world cup, possibly because we don't know how to keep hold of a ball. My heart sank until I realised that Phil Vickery is through to the semi finals in masterchef. Yes I know he has the worst cauliflower ears, but come on with a name like Raging Bull, what girl wouldn't get a loin stir?

So I am still following the rugby but I am now routing for Phil on masterchef, rugby and food what a lovely fantasy combination. This principle does not apply to the boob jiggler known as Mike Tindall. Queenie is so going to ground him. Anyhoo I digress. I just love masterchef and thank god I can watch BBC i on my lappy. However its not my most favourite culinary show. Come dine with me is the god of them all. I know its less culinary and more oddbods, but I just adore them and cooking oddbods is a winning combination. A bit like rugby players and masterchef. The reason I like it is quite simply Dave lamb the commentator and his dry wit. Its a tonic for the worst misery. Most of you will know that most of my adult life has been spent in Preston, although I am not originally from there. Imagine my delight when come dine with me or CDWM to fans filmed an episode in Preston.

I have copied the link from my most favourite Prestonian, Bernard for you as you really need to watch him. Its quite cringe worthy in parts but it amuses me none the less

So here in Jersey my colleagues and I decided to do come dine with me a much classier version of course than Bernard.. Some time ago I wrote about an Indian feast fit for a Maharaja. That was episode one and went down a storm. Episode two was last night and was just lovely. Entertainment wasn't supplied by a half naked butler or wearing fancy dress or even some wailing wannabe singer. Oh I have to retract that last bit as X Factor was the entertainment. Seeing Johnny Robinson in a bacofoil mac was hilarious. Video below for your delight.

The highlight for me was the effort our host had put into the most girlie cheesecake ever. Baileys infused, coloured pink with glitter on and heart shaped was the most adorable thing ever. A bit like her really. She can make a faux pas and get away with it because she is so adorable. So hearing her tell her friend on the phone "they are just having a hot drink and going", I can't remember getting my coat, but these youngsters need to be out clubbing on a Saturday night. So once fed we dropped her off to strut her stuff. Her cheesecake sagged a little but it was just scrummy and seeing her little face when she put it out on the table was just priceless. I love those girlie dinners when you just talk forever with a few bottles of wine. Although on the way home the party appeared to continue when I am sure passing people may of thought there was a wild orgy going on at the traffic lights. My pals are Zumba mad they just can't help themselves when they hear the beat. Vigorous dancing in the car made it wobble like a weeble. Stop, Drop and Pause was the echoing mantra, of course I would of joined in but I had two pieces of cheesecake to digest so I just ignorantly texted whilst being rocked to abandonment. So the evening was a success and I am looking forward to my next come dine with me event.

I am not sure if my girlie chat roulette night counts for my episode so may have to repeat an event. I could suggest my party is my come dine with me night but then my pal's husband is doing the cooking. Menu below, how fab is that! Maybe if I shove x factor on in the corner on my lappy I could get away with it as being a come dine with me affair. OK, OK, I will do a proper night and not pretend I can sushi roll.

Its too ruddy big to fit, ah well it deserves a bigger coverage!

Well that's next weekends events, so no doubt I will have a tale to tell. Meanwhile this cleaning isn't going to get done by itself. I am trying to excite myself with my new pink, extendable pole furry thingy. Oh hang on retract retract that doesn't sound right!
Maybe just one more episode of masterchef then I will get cracking. Someone has to cheer on Raging Bull.

Its great up t'north

I have been sooooo busy that I haven't had time to write. I have been back in the North for the last two weeks on and off  re- validating my Newborn life support instructor status and teaching on the generic instructor course. Its been fab!

Since living in Jersey I have started to miss the things I didn't really seem bothered about whilst living back in the North. Those things being, Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco. Here in Jersey we have the co-op and waitrose. I like waitrose as its a bit like Sainsburys but ruddy expensive. So imagine my delight when I got a field trip to Asda. One word, hideous! living on an island that is only 9ft by 12 generally means things are more compact. I think Asda could lead to trolley rage and a massacre in the fruit and vegetable aisle. Its soooooooooooo big and busy. I realised I didn't miss it at all or I should of gone to Sainsburys.

Blackpool turned out to be the same way. generally whilst living in the north I never really frequented Blackpool too much but I did always love the illuminations. Driving through with the top down in the car then finishing in Bispham with  bag of chips I quite enjoyed. So my sister and I set out on a Thelma and Louise trip. We used to do these trips often but the theme of them was that they were generally late at night. Consequently arriving in Blackpool post 11 pm they were flamin switched off. Can you imagine my disappointment readers?  Blackpool with no illuminations is generally a bit ghastly, ( apologies if you live there but you have to agree the front is a bit hmmnn dreary in winter).
You have to admit though when switched on they are quite lovely.

Not one to be foiled we decided to go look at the piers as they were still switched on and make video diaries. My sister is quite good at doing this and I am awaiting the finished product for my blog. We got strange looks as we had conversations with plastic casted clowns and cried laughing at the gift shop with nothing but Eddie Stobart paraphernalia in. Its a recession I can't imagine he has much of a turnover. Having said that his line of gonks might bring the mortgage money in. I am glad I took my Thelma and Louise trip to Blackpool just for the simple reason  I got to laugh a lot with my little sister. Watching her trying to get in a weird booth whilst reciting lines for the lion, the witch and the wardrobe was quite endearing. She was obsessed with C. S Lewis's beautiful book as a child and watching her was like seeing her when she was 9 again. She doesn't apply the same lovely principles to Blackpool food and insists that you haven't been to Blackpool till you have had the doughnuts. Arggghhh they are a passport to a cholestectomy. They are quite minging and I always worry about the possible E coli one might also get from the less than clean kiosk. So buscopan at the ready we indulged. All I can say my gall stones rattled and the nausea set in. Thank god I only ate one.

Teaching back in my old centre generally always makes me cry when I leave. I miss it terribly. However I was quite composed and didn't cry once. I suddenly realised that an hour 's plane trip can get me back to where I came from without any hassle. I have always subscribed to the view never leave a place you can never return. I feel like there is more than that for me, its like I never left when I return to teach. Catching up is a hoot and I learn more about my fellow instructors I never had time to find out. Like the fact I will be returning to the north in February to see my fellow GIC instructors debut of the play  he wrote. I can't wait. Please see the link below for an over view. I am so excited for him. Oooh you could take your valentine dates. Oooh I could do a review like a proper writer.

So Asda, Blackpool and playwright pals, a very busy return to the north schedule. However my favourite part of returning is only about 2 foot high and when last spotted looked like an alien. My friend's daughter who I affectionately call Honey Bee is my little jewel in Preston. Watching her snuggled in her Cinderella frock whilst listening to me reading bedtime stories was just the best moment. I always worry that she will grow up and forget me but apparently not as she still chatters to me. Blowing a kiss  and saying see you soon was heart melting. I thought I wouldn't see her on my last return as I was so busy, but her mummy surprised me at my hotel with her face painted as an alien. I made the faux pas of calling her a frog, she promptly corrected me! At the age of 3 1/2 she has a very independent personality but putting her little hand in mine gave me a lump in my throat.

Having my little fix of Honey Bee always makes returning back to the north worthwhile and it will be a while before I go back but when I do I can't wait. Maybe it will be February, on a valentines date to the best little night club in chorley.