Not suitable for people with irony deficiency and
cannot guarantee nut-free

Monday, 27 September 2010

Revenge of Planet Dork

When I claim to having been kidnapped by aliens (usually forcing me to go shopping instead of carrying out housewifely good deeds), I am not being exactly truthful.

The reality is that I am not so much being abducted as being contacted by my own people. Over time, I have come to realise that I am 30% human, 20% chocolate (85% cocoa bean), 20% arithmetically challenged, and 70% Dorkoid, from the Planet Dork.

Recently there have been many moments when my home planet has called me.

Planet Dork strikes back - Part 1
A while ago we hired a tree surgeon to cut down some trees in our garden. I was terribly impressed by the whole set up - chainsaw, climbing up trees, ropes, pulleys. I spent ages staring out of the window in a sort of delirium treemens. (Stop it, you have been warned about these godawful puns). Every time Treeman looked up, there I was with my mouth open, staring. But I think I got away with it, he probably just thought I had spent too much time watching daytime TV or had seen something nasty in the woodshed as a child.

A few months later Treeman returned to lop bits off our neighbour's tree. I spotted him high up in the branches of an oak. I decided to get a photo, but mindful of my earlier behaviour, I resolved to be subtle about it. I crouched down in Boy 1 's room, to take the picture unseen. After a bit of faffing about with the camera I looked up. It was then that Treeman gave me a jaunty wave. Being so high up he could see exactly what I was up to. Caught out, I sheepishly waved back. I then opened the window and shouted out the first thing which came into my head: "I'm not a pervert, honestly, I have a blog.."

Treeman hiding from Mrs Blighty; we are hoping he will feel it is safe to come down soon..

Part 2 - The Dark Hallways of Dork
During his summer hols Mr Blighty seemed always to have workmen round to quote for work on the house. One evening it was the flooring guy's turn. I left it to Mr B. There was a lot of discussion of sub-floors and sanding. I was busy doing supper (flame-thrower and drills) and encouraging the boys to play nicely together (straitjackets and Tasers). Then Mr B called me into the hall to consult me. I went up and leant casually against him, in a cosy, wifely sort of way. Except it wasn't him. It was Floorman standing next to him. I was somewhat surprised; Floorman got a hell of a shock. Mr B just looked resigned. If I explain that Floorman is the same height as Mr B and also wears, still Dorkonian and worrying that I can't recognise my husband even in my own hallway. And god help me if Treeman and Floorman ever compare notes..

Part 3 - Deadly Kiss of Dork
I recently read in some magazine that lipliner is the way forward if you want your lipstick to last. I knew I had some Chanel liner from ages ago. One morning before I took the boys to school I decided quickly to "do" lipliner. I was surprised how dark it was coming up, it had been a natural beigey-reddy colour, it must have darkened with age; never mind, I kept on. Gosh, really dark, very Goth, I needed to tone it down a bit. How odd. It was then that I looked at the pencil. Chanel - yes, Lipliner - no, eyeliner, brown kohl. "Look what silly Mummy's done!" I trilled merrily to the boys. "You look weird" said Boy 1. Boy 2 just screamed.

Part 4 - Dork hits rock bottom
We were staying with friends. I forgot my hairband/bath hat and needed something to keep my hair out of the way when washing. I improvised, very resourcefully I felt, by putting a pair of knickers on my head (clean ones, come on, I do have some standards). Mr B walked in. "Do you know you have a pair of knickers on your head?" he asked. And then " No, don't tell me, I'd rather not know.."

And finally....

The Dimness of Dork
I was sitting reading one lunchtime and realised I needed to go back to the opticians, my reading glasses just weren't strong enough any more. Also I couldn't seem to get enough light on the page. It was only that evening that I noticed my sunglasses lying on top of my book..

Is it just me? Or are there other migrants from Planet Dork out there? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Man in the Kitchen

Guess what? Even as I write, a man is in my kitchen, cleaning my oven. Don't worry, I haven't kidnapped him (I promised Mr Blighty I'd stop doing that). He is from Oventeam, he has a van and a matching T-shirt and he assures me that my oven will be gleaming by the end. Wonder if they have MummyRefit, too (waxing, polishing, tightening, replacement of worn out parts, corkscrew maintenance)?

This stems from my slavish devotion to Faux Fuchsia's lovely blog - she recently got her oven cleaned, so I had to copy her! ( I do try to emulate her where ever possible, and the oven cleaning seemed more achievable than the Pucci and Marlene Birger... ) Isn't it just amazing, the power of the blogosphere and the reach of FF's blog: Faux Fuchsia, the blog that reaches parts other blogs cannot reach, even your oven!

On a more serious note, today I have made a Bad Fashion Choice. I am wearing this top from H&M. At the time of purchase it seemed cool and sophisticated. In that annoying thing known as Real Life, it has turned out to be a complete liability. Things keep getting caught in the open weave - big things like passing fishing trawlers, light aircraft and the handles of my kitchen cupboards; I got hooked up on the latter about 5 times just at breakfast. Boys 1 and 2 found it most amusing. And they could shout rude things at me with no fear of retribution as I was firmly hooked up, powerless!

Meanwhile the weather has gone to pot: after autumnal sunshine early in the week we now have grey rain. This type of weather makes me want to give up, unhook myself from my kitchen units and watch escapist films. I do not want to see important films about single mothers in sink estates being terrorised by loan sharks; I want nice clothes, scintillating dialogue, full make up (possibly not on the leading men).
I "curated" this recently from the charity shop. I hope it might point the way to some classic films.
Below, Joan Crawford in "Mildred Pierce". I saw this ages ago and must re-visit it.

Below, still of the party scene from "All About Eve" with Bette Davis in full swing and a young Marilyn Monroe. I watched this one rainy afternoon not so long ago with Grandma Whacker and loved the witty lines and the elegant clothes.
I want more films of this ilk. Recommendations please ladies.

Grandma Whacker is on her way to visit. She is bringing her new laptop so that she and Mr Blighty can do some technical tuning and trouble shooting. It seems that BT is no match for Grandma W, they are undone by the novelty of providing her with email. On the plus side I am now being called daily by Harold from the Chairman's office (you can get email addresses for CEOs, how handy, opens up a whole new hobby for me). He is from the High Level Service team. Wonder if he is any good at cleaning ovens?
Must go ensure boys have not left crisps/water bombs/socks/school friends in guest room.
Have a great weekend everyone. I leave you with another essential public service announcement.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Strange happenings

Zara top from their new on-line shop; mmmm, give me more frills ..

Strange goings on at Blighty HQ: bikes, noises from the garage, Boy 1's sudden interest in personal hygiene, long multiplication...I don't quite know where to start.

Last night as I sat tiredly at the computer clicking in a desultory manner at the new Zara online store I heard banging and then drilling.

(Actually Zara looks quite tempting, there are some nice lacy top arrangements but like a jaded roue at a brothel it takes a lot to get my interest these days:"no, no, sheep and dwarves, done that, so dull").

First I thought the noise was Boy 1 messing about when he should be asleep, in contravention of the strict no power tools in the bedroom policy. I was about to charge up there with my riot shield and baton, when I realised the noises were coming from the garage. Mr Blighty had embarked on an ambitious DIY project, involving sawing up the nasty 70s kitchen units plonked in the garage as storage by the previous owners. These are to be replaced by some very rugged metal racking, which arrived in a huge TNT lorry. I think there may be some male competitiveness thing going on: when we visited friends recently, the husband had installed the same racking and I perhaps overdid the admiring of this. With hindsight, dissolving into tears and describing it as the most beautiful thing I had ever seen was possibly a bit over the top. The other husband had also sustained manly injuries to his hands, which no doubt helped underline the macho nature of the endeavour.

Steady yourselves ladies: manly shelving units

In fairness, the garage project has been kickstarted by the Blighty family all getting bikes. For a while I have been thinking that Boy 1's bike is too small for him - something about his knees around his ears gave it away. Mr B carried out intensive research, I got into the swing and threw around terms like "disc brakes" and "hardtail" and we ended up with bikes with exciting names like Saracen and Rockhopper and the Lady Glide Plus - er, think I made that last one up .... We also have a fancy bike carrier thing for the back of the car called a Hollywood Fourway, which has been worth the money just for the times I have made jokes about Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz etc. It' very simple to use - just 28 straps, and you are ready to roll in 5 hours.

It is a long time since I have been on a bike and I must say it's nice to be mounted, er, on wheels, again. (When I was a baby lawyer about 100 years ago in a City law firm, a posh girl I worked with told me she had met a nice man at polo at the weekend and he was going to mount her next weekend; my word, these posh types don't mess about).

Only a couple more hours now boys and we'll have all the bikes on the back of the car..

So we have been having family bikes rides, which I love. If we go walking Boys 1 and 2 spend their time hanging on me, nagging for chocolate, and generally messing with my mind; with bikes they have to concentrate on peddling (and Boy 2 is completely obsessed with what gear he should be in, he asks at least every 40 seconds); also I can peddle off into the distance, should I feel the need to escape. Yay!

Boy 2 appears to have lost focus and instead is torturing a piece of grass
I feel it's important not to let things slide sartorially even on a bike ride, so I donned these jaunty trainers. I feel my fashion choice was validated when a tiny girl shouted to her mummy "That lady's got pink shoes!" The tiny girl was probably one of those very influential fashion bloggers, Tavi or Tibby or Timotei.

The Blightys are very much in the Zeitgeist, bicycle -wise. Look at these Boris* Bikes we saw a few weeks ago in London - to rent and drop off. *Boris Johnson, Major of London, larger than life character, keen on cycling, went to school and uni with Dave, lots of blonde hair.

Meanwhile Boy 1 has started having showers in the morning before school. Up till now, he has wallowed for hours each evening in the bath, playing with Lego, using gallons of hot water, very busy with all sorts of activities except actually washing. But now, showers - another sign he is growing up! He is also going to his first disco soon, at the school. And there will be girls there, from the nearby girls' schools. Frightening. Even more frightening is the dance moves I have seen him trying in the kitchen. I had no idea moonwalking was so physically demanding.

Lots is happening for Boy 1. He has also started fencing. Should a child who often falls off his chair when just sitting quietly on it, be allowed near those pointy stick things?

And we have already reached the stage where Boy 1's Maths homework is beyond my intellectual level. Mr Blighty came home yesterday to floods of tears, quivering, and cries of " I can't do it" and " I am a complete failure".

"What on earth is wrong with Mummy?", Mr B asked Boy 1. "She tried to help me with my squared numbers and got all upset, poor Mummy, I think she needs to go to bed" said Boy 1, wisely.

Strange times.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Exciting times

Quick post today, as the excitement here at Blighty HQ is overwhelming.

Boy 2 has his first (tag) rugby match this afternoon so we are all turning out to watch. The boys got their bespoke custom fitted mouthguards yesterday so (if my earlier experience of Boy 1 and his peers is typical) they will spend most of the match standing around fiddling with said guards and lisping unintelligibly to each other, and all with profuse amounts of spit. The actual game will be very much a secondary event.

And I will be in state of angst that bespoke custom fitted mouthguard will get lost in depths of changing rooms and I will have to take out another loan to replace it.

For the price I expect it to come in a blue Tiffany's box

Further excitement as Mr Blighty has decided to buy a leaf blower thingie. He has been on the phone since early this morning grilling various garden equipment suppliers - the keywords seem to be "Stihl" "Blow" "Vac" "Shred" "Leafmaster Supreme Hero Deluxe" "The Green Commander Overlord"; you can get ones with just blow, or for an extra £30 you get ones that blow and suck and have an extra nozzle. How super! But why can't he just use my Parlux hairdryer? And what if the children get sucked up into it? Actually, what a great idea, I could market this as a toddler control tool! Mr B approves of expenditure on Important Manly Equipment, as opposed to fripperies like food and washing powder.

Meanwhile I have been getting up to speed with religious issues, in case the Pope drops by in the course of his UK visit - to chat, one spiritual leader to another. Say what you like about the Catholic Church, they sure know how to accessorise. Lovely use of gold and red and purple too.

Grandma Whacker ( my muvver) took me to see these films when I was a young Blighty ( a Blightling?) and I loved them, I was very into Tudors and Henry VIII ( a ruthless despotic wife killer is always such a great role model for children). I particularly loved these films as they featured heroines wearing lovely dresses who got their heads chopped off. Weird. Perhaps this explains my retail therapy followed by guilt/punishment issues??
I was particularly struck by the bit in Mary Queen of Scots where Lord Darnley is ill in bed with the pox and then gets murdered. I did think it was a bit sad he had chicken pox and his Mummy wasn't there putting on calamine lotion.

Finally, as if all this activity was not enough, I am off to clean the kitchen window. It's actually a beautiful autumn day here, not foggy after all (that' s just the window).

STOP PRESS: Mr B has returned triumphant bearing new leafblower. What a beauty. That should keep him busy.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

More aliens and nails

Since my last alien encounter, things have been getting very Mulder and Scully around here (used to like that programme). The very next day, having lamented my time wasting search for a top/blouse thingie, look what picture was on my calendar! Spooky. That's just the kind of top I need. It's French, from the 1620s. Wonder if Karl was already designing for Chanel then? Not sure that it's machine washable though.

And did you see the comment I got, allegedly from Beth at Mint Velvet, the company that makes some of the tops I tried on? Inviting me to a blogger's preview. But I wasn't fooled for a minute. Look at the name: bETh. ET! Those aliens again, planning to abduct me, rearrange my brain and send me home having pre-ordered the entire Mint Velvet autumn collection.

It was Boy 2's birthday earlier this week, he got a big pack of Star Wars Lego. More evidence of alien activity. On the subject of Lego, check out this comedy sketch, I love it (warning - contains bad language so not suitable for children, which is a shame).

If the link does not work, google Eddie Izzard Star Wars canteen sketch! I am not sure of my technology!

In other unsettling news, it seemed that my love affair with nail polish was faltering. I had taken a Wrong Turn colour-wise. The worst is the one on the far left, Revlon Posh Pink, a pearlised number, really not suitable, very Doris the older secretary who knits and always disappears to the hairdressers mid morning just when you need her most, not that I've ever met anyone like that of course, just imagining....; the one next to it is Essie Splash of Grenadine, too mauvy, next to that Barry M, Bright Pink, just too too pink, then No 7 teal colour, just too weird, and No7 golden thingie, not so bad. (Note to my mother and Mr B: most of these bought with money off voucher so only cost £2, honest) (crosses fingers behind back).

I think also the colours which suit change according to the seasons - now we are in autumn darker colours seem more attractive. And I read somewhere dark colours are more flattering to short nails.

The nail polish phase has also caused peeling nails. Maybe these products will help.

But I think my interest in nail polish may just have been rekindled, thanks to a trip to a beauty supplies wholesaler (BondLink in glamorous Hemel Hempsted). A nanny told me about it at pick up (nail polish, bringing people together). It stocks a pleasingly wide range of OPI.

Behold the dinky lusciousness of all those bottles.

I will report further on what I bought when Mr B has been prepared, emotionally.

I also merrily sploshed on some Chanel polishes when in Boots the other day. Excuse rubbishness of pic, looks as if I am climbing up kitchen wall. Oh right. I was.

L-R: Vendetta, Blue Satin, Rouge Noir, Particuliere (the latter is out of stock).

I bought Paradoxal. So now I have a little Chanel polish shrine. (Note to self: you are SO giving one of these to DD, you are NOT keeping them all for yourself. DD if you are reading, please insist I hand over the polish, ignore the death grip, it's just a reflex!) Please don't think I spend all my time obsessing about fripperies and nonsense. I continue to take my role as mother very seriously. Here is my latest motivational message to the boys.
I feel this covers the main points of classroom etiquette very nicely.

I am not neglecting my cultural side either. Mr B has been recommending this trilogy for ages. So of course I ignored him and read everything but. Now I have finally got down to it, it's good. Mr B, you really should read these books, they are excellent!

I have also found a helpful motivational message for Mr Blighty, courtesy of the beauty wholesalers. He was so moved when I showed it to him, he did not speak to me all evening. Bless.

I am a very caring person, I really am.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Alien abduction on way to supermarket

So it was Monday morning. I got the boys off to school bright and early, and set off for the supermarket. Imagine my surprise when instead I found myself once again in the Happy Meadows Shoppe Centre. Those wretched aliens swooped down and took me there, and brainwashed me by telling me it was vital I returned the 18 pairs of games shorts I had bought for the boys which did not fit, it was a matter of National Security, no less.

It started well and the shorts were returned, with plenty of time left for my housewifely duties. But then, those evil aliens forced me to go check out TopShop. They told me the planet would not be safe until I had a pretty blousette like DD's.

This one was on the "Buy it Now or Your Life will Suck" rail. But it turned out to be scary - see- through over the tummy, and with flouncy sleeves. The risk of a dishwasher related accident was high.

Despite its similarity to a stained glass window, the top below was actually quite flattering. The aliens told me it was all the rage on Planet Zog (goes well with green skin and tentacles).
Right, that's enough, now on to the supermarket. No more messing about. But those aliens are unrelenting, they forced me to check out Biba, recently relaunched as a brand within the House of Fraser store. (Biba was huge in the 60s, with a very happening shop in Kensington and patronised by people like Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg).

All very rock chicky, with a lot of purple and velvet. Just the sort of thing to wear when hanging out with Keith. Shame about the clearance sign in the background, sort of ruins the image!
First I thought this top was in leather, but it turned out to be in a matt satin. Life is full of disappointments.

This velvet dress was very dramatic, but I could not imagine it fitting into my lifestyle. My thermal vest would show at the back.

That blouse again. Very froufrou.

So now it was high time to hit the supermarket. Which is why I went into the changing rooms to try on some tops from a brand called Mint Velvet, or Velvet Mint, or Mint Green; something minty; or possibly green..

The aliens instructed me to pose like this, to show the voluminous sleeves. I think they were using me to try to flag down the mothership.

You can tell from my body language I was getting quite cross with myself and those aliens, why was I wasting time like this and why did I need a yokel type smock last worn in the wheat fields in the 19th century?

And of course this one was completely the wrong size, guess the aliens wanted me to hide their spaceship under it..

Enough. No more. I was out of there. Which is why I then tried on some numbers from Whistles. The red top below was promising, silk with lycra. Until I saw it was dry clean only and the aliens said that was no good, things could get very messy in the galaxy.

The top below, also Whistles, had weird pointy out bits on the shoulders. I guess I just don't understand fashion. The aliens tried to convince me it was designed with the spiked shouldered Beast of Gallifray in mind. The rivets also worried me. Would they require much maintenance? Would they rust?

Finally and by now I was seething at myself for wasting all this time, a leopard type arrangement. Not bad except so tight round the tops of my arms, I could hardly lift them. Which could make actually doing anything a teeny bit tricky.

On the way out I stopped and got Chanel Vendetta nail polish for DD. It's a deep purple. The sales assistant told me she had just sold the last Paradoxal. The aliens ordered me to hunt down the lucky customer but I resisted.

So a great deal of fruitless footling about. I finally did the supermarket and firmly resolved to be a better wife and mother. No more time wasting. Ever. I would do my tax return, make nourishing soups, and take an evening class in roofing or welding.

So, imagine my surprise when, during supper preparations, I found myself painting my nails each a different colour. Apparently, the aliens needed to know which colours would be most visible from Outer Space.

Do you ever get abducted by aliens like this or is it just me?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

How to be Truly Aristocratic

During our hols up in Newcastle we visited Chillingham Castle, for centuries the home of the Grey family and now the home of Sir Humphry Wakefield (whose wife is a Grey on her mother's side). The Earls Grey were a busy lot, what with giving their name to the tea and all; the 2nd Earl Grey in the 19th century seems to have been particularly busy - he was Prime Minister, had 16 children with this wife and another child with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

I found our visit most interesting and have drawn up a list of points to bear in mind should you wish to be aristocratic:
  • Make sure you have colourful and illustrious forbears, at least one of whom has a tea named after him and several of whom have been hanged, drawn and quartered but not within the past couple of years
  • Own a castle, preferably with battlements

  • Have a room in your castle where Edward 1 visited and signed a bit of paper giving you planning permission for the battlements

  • Your castle should have beams and windy staircases, pre-Elf and Safety Regulations style
  • A gun left nonchalantly on 3 legged antique chair is a must have (position under Elf and Safety Regulations not clear, probably ok)

  • Make sure you have good quality riding boots

  • A red huntsman's jacket and riding hats are essential

  • Did I mention you need riding boots?

  • You should have a wide range of hats and other accessories

  • And don't forget, you need plenty of riding boots

  • Don't skimp on the riding tack either

  • You need some beautifully decorated state rooms

  • The state rooms should preferably have been built for a recent Royal visit (James 1's)

  • Decorate with tapestries and antiques, do not go to IKEA; obviously your furniture should be inherited, not bought

  • You must take all the latest periodicals and magazines so you can keep up to date

(The nice caretaker man held the pages open for me to photo)

  • You need a formal garden kept in trim by faithful retainer

  • Finally, a lake really is de rigueur

Right, I'm off to dig a lake.