Gluestick Awards 2014

2014 is nearly done. And, as the Quiz of the Year type things on TV/in the papers keep reminding me, I remember almost none of it. But then, until they show the news on CBeebies that’s largely the way things will remain.

Still, we were very definitely on board with the whole Frozen and Loomz things. Boo is more than happy to jump on a bandwagon as it rolls on by. The Ice Bucket Challenge passed me by though (at the time I didn’t know whether to be relieved or to feel offended that I hadn’t been nominated) as did having a thigh gap. In hindsight, maybe there was a correlation. After all, who wants to watch a non-celeb with thighs that touch (not to mention muffin top and double chin) wear not many clothes and get doused in cold water?

But, whether for the history books 2014 is remembered for Ebola or Isis or George Clooney getting married, for me, it will be the year that WordPress opened my eyes to blogging and it wouldn’t have been the same without you. And not just the relief at having people laugh at the absurdities of my life (although I shall probably use it in my defence in court/as they try to commit me one day: ‘But they agree with me, m’lord! I’m not insane, but quite justified…’). But also to seeing the world through others’ eyes, be they the beautiful refraction of West 517, the ever-punny Little Miss Menopause, the nod-laugh-nod-laugh of Lifeloveanddirtydishes and Louisa Simmonds, awe-inspiring awesomeness of Surgery at Tiffany’s, heavenly creatures from Katie MorningStar or the views of The Dancing Professor who broadens my understanding of worlds both ancient and modern and also provides goats. 2014 has been a better year for discovering them and more.

But I wouldn’t be here without my crazy, frustrating, funny family. And thus I would like to thank them for the past year with the inaugural Gluestick Awards.

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Best Newcomer: Teddy

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The starting point of the whole blog. Nobody else could possibly come close in such a category.

Prize for Cinematography: Indy

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Hopefully in 2015 she’ll realign my old iPhone to her Cloud. In the meantime I keep receiving her photos on my feed. There hasn’t literally been a picture of her gazing at her navel yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time!

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Best Dressed: Indy

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However, she’s a student, so should surely be stepping away from the changing rooms of posh shops. At least until she’s not inadvertently sending me dressing room selfies.

Award for Hair & Make-Up: Eve and Indy

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Indy’s eyes and Eve’s lips both seem to have been drawn by Disney animators. It’s not fair.

Best Acting in a Dramatic Role: Noodles

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Particularly commendable for the Tantrum Trilogy: Tantrum in a Supermarket, Tantrum in a Café and Tantrum So Loud at Home It Could Be Heard Down the Street.

Best Supportive Role: Eve

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Not only is she a great helping hand, her hands are also beautiful.
Whereas Teflon Man and Grandy will grumble and snipe, Eve is the one person who will accept a situation for what it is and get on with it. Although she may well be grumbling and sniping about it on her phone that’s perma-attached to her hand. Still, it’s a deserved win for not making me feel perpetually guilty. Without her, my life would be a mess.

Best Song: Frozen soundtrack, performed in the car by Noodles and Boo.

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With it being the soundtrack of choice in the car, 2014 saw many repeat performances, but to see Noodles throw his arms in the air as he sang ‘love is an open dooooorrrrr!’ was (just about) worth the onset of insanity. (Sadly, though, no pictures of this exist as it only happens when strapped in the car and driving at speed. #NotAGoodTimeForPhotography)

Best Performance in a Foreign Language: Boo
Yep, we’re still giggling about ‘sechs‘. Sehr gut, Boo.

Blue Sky Award for Creative Thinking: Boo

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Whether arguing why it’s best to only ask for lots of small presents for Christmas (‘because then you’ll not lose everything if you’re just a bit naughty and probably won’t even notice’) or why being a panto actor has to be the best job in the world (‘you only have to work during December and get the rest of the year off’) you can’t argue with her thinking.

Lifetime Achievement in Suffering Award: Grandy

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Ok, he grumbles and snipes (and still does the thing he used to do when we were kids of singing/humming after he’s just sworn under his breath to cover it up). But he’s still remarkable. When others his age are retired he’s still working, but then the alternative of being perpetually around small children is probably enough to keep him in work forever. I can’t say I blame him!

Golden Raspberry: Teflon Man
He nearly redeemed himself with the best Christmas present ever: membership to the V&A in London (which I’m guessing comes with permission to go to London as much as I like…although that remains to be seen). BUT, the house is still falling down, he’s the only one still suffering from the Christmas lurgy and there was the incident of the green plastic ring that very much wasn’t a Pandora bracelet. Thus the raspberry belongs to him.

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Without them all though I wouldn’t have half as much to write about. And without you reading I’d have lost the will to keep it up. So thank you.

Happy new year! Here’s to a fantastic 2015!

Running in Heels: a Festive Workout

Ah, Christmas: the time of over-indulgence. But for the under-prepared it also offers a chance to improve stamina and weight-lifting ability and elevate the heart rate…which all have to be good things, right?

What’s more, this simple exercise programme can be squeezed into your lunch break. Ok, it has to be squeezed into your lunch break, because when the hell else are things going to happen?

Step 1: Hit the High Street

You have one hour to make multiple purchases. On an ordinary day this would be no problem – you’d even have time for a latte/flirt with the nice barista with the twinkly eyes. But this is not a normal day. If Hell is other people then the gates are right here on your high street.

They say the high street is dead? If people don’t get the fuck out of your way a lot of the people on it could well be.

Using key coordination skills and engaging major muscle groups, dodge all the slow idiots who don’t realise what a rush you’re in, building your pace as you go. Remember to breathe: in through the nose, out through the mouth with under-the-breath expletives.

Step 2: The Price-Hike Heart Rate Increase

Hang on a minute. That Elsa doll*/games console/bottle of perfume was half the price last week. And you know it’ll be reduced by 70% by Boxing Day.

But you can also sense that mad-eyed woman still wearing her slippers is after the very same item. You can feel her breath down your neck. She’s prepared to take you down if you don’t decide within the next 30 seconds.

You may as well place yourself under a burning spotlight in front of a studio audience, ominous music underscoring your emotions. Except you can’t phone a friend. Your heart could well explode at any second. Gah!

*Elsa doll? Who are you kidding?! They sold out weeks ago! You may as well waste your lunch hour looking for unicorn tears. And no, your own tears don’t count.

Step 3: Carry Half Your Body Weight in Gift Purchases

Concerned about muscle strain/leg bruising/flesh wounds to the fingers as those over-stuffed carrier bags weigh you down and crash about your legs, sharp corners of boxes tearing through both the bags and the top layer of your skin? Suck it up! No pain no gain!

Step 4: Running in Heels

Your lunch hour is almost over, there’s five minutes until your boss’ Spidey senses will be twitching at your tardiness. But you’re the wrong end of the precinct. Time to leg it for all your worth, taking out any and all OAPs, ditherers and carolling buskers in your wake.

On the plus side, running in heels burns more calories than running in trainers. Fact! (Unless you trip over a toddler and break an ankle.)

Step 5: And Stttttrrrrrrretttttccchhhhh

Last-minute Secret Santa gift amongst your purchases?

Then use your cool down to wrap said gift. Single-handedly contort your body to hold down curling paper whilst fixing the stationery cupboard door shut with your foot. Realise you don’t have scissors/sellotape/that you need to answer the goddamn phone thus increasing the exercise to a minimum of 25 reps and multiple swear words.

Step 6: Unusual Bruising

Ah, yes, that’ll be from you kicking yourself for not doing the whole thing online with a company who offers gift-wrapping services.

The Bonus?

You’ve had NO time for lunch, resulting in you NOT purchasing the 560 calorie M&S Turkey Feast sandwich and 135 calorie Festive Brownie Bites. Now all you have to do is stay away from all the boxes of biscuits and chocolates kindly gifted by grateful clients/feeder colleagues who want to look skinnier than you in the Christmas party Facebook pics. Oh. Too late.

The Advanced Programme

For extreme endurance repeat said Steps but change the setting from the office to the home and include a nosy child released from school for the holidays and an errant toddler. The toddler also offers additional weight-training as he/she will refuse to go in the buggy on the trip into town, but will require carrying the second you’ve made your purchases. And, no, your older child will NOT help carry any of the shopping as it all needs to remain a firm secret. Once home, multiply both amount of presents that need urgent wrapping AND scale and frequency of interruptions. Not for the faint-hearted.

Follow this programme and you’re guaranteed to lose pounds. But only in the UK, otherwise you’ll lose dollars/yen/euros…probably because you’ve left your purse in the last shop and the Christmas temp assistant is about to go to town with your bank account.

Ok, so you still don’t fit into your party outfit without the judicial application of multiple Spanx options, but the drained, windswept look is so this season. Or at least you tell yourself that. Just avoid Facebook for a bit after the Christmas party.

Good luck! May Santa be with you!

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Five Minutes

Three more sleeps! That’s all – just three more sleeps til the big day! (Well, unless you’re from Scandinavia or Eastern Europe or anywhere else that celebrates on Christmas Eve, in which case it’s only TWO more sleeps. Or if you’re Jewish, in which case you’re mid-celebrations and I can only admire your stamina and lust after your deep-fried goods. Or if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, in which case, bah humbug.)

Here in the Gluestick house the decorations remain unfinished, none of Teflon Man’s friends will be getting a Christmas card and nothing is wrapped (partly because it would be inappropriate to wrap stuff whilst it’s still sat on the shelf in the shop and I can’t be bothered to wait in a queue for more than five minutes to actually buy anything without wanting to kill someone). Because, although the pressure is mounting as the deadline looms, at the same time it only takes five minutes before the novelty and excitement of ‘oooh, let’s get ready for Christmas!’ changes into a massive ball-ache.

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It LOOKS like he’s helping. He’s not.

Eve helped put the lights on the tree and then sat back down. Boo helped put the decorations on the tree and then went back to her Kindle. Teflon Man…well, you can probably guess what Teflon Man contributed , but it didn’t stop him from complaining that I hadn’t offered up any suggestions for what presents he should buy. When I’ve already got to choose from both myself and the kids. And he’s banging on for ideas when I’m in the middle of making party boxes for Noodles’ birthday party.

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The minion cupcakes were a success though.

And then, when I take into account time left minus commitments to work/child-wrangling/socialising/sleeping (sleeping? Who am I kidding?) I’ve got approximately five minutes left to get everything sorted.

Oh well, sweeping under the TV and getting the ironing mountain done will just have to wait. After all, it’ll only take five minutes of present-unwrapping for the living room to be covered in paper and toys so that you won’t be able to tell the difference between the old clutter and the new. And maybe I could hang tinsel on the ironing and call it a Christmas feature?

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Fairy lights and glass baubles in a desperate bid to detract from the desperately-in-need-of-work kitchen

Five minutes after the breakfast champagne and I don’t suppose it will matter a jot anyway.

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Boo’s Clues

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Boo’s last letter to Santa was incredibly sweet and lovely (albeit hideously in need of spellcheck!) and, in the words of Noodles ‘it did come true!’

So, she’s probably now hoping her more mercenary list will also come true. After all, having settled on half the toys in the Smith’s catalogue she ‘helpfully’ drew pictures and assigned items to different people.

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I suppose at least she did say ‘please’.

Thankfully I had the foresight to label the items as she drew them.

‘So, what’s on the list?’ Teflon Man asked as we sat in bed, laptop poised for the exploration of toy bargains.

‘Riiiight, errrr, a Barbie unicorn.’

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One Google search and we found the exact unicorn. Ah, this would be easy!

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Gosh, that is special.

‘Ok, next?’

The Disney Princess Lego wasn’t too hard to find either. But then we started to come a bit unstuck.

‘She’s got a Draculara doll on the list.’

Except there are about a hundred different Draculara dolls out there. The pressure was on to find the right one.

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‘What does the picture look like?’ Teflon Man asked.

‘Like this:’

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‘Oh.’

We can only hope this is the one she wanted:

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That said, it’s been assigned to Santa, so it’ll be the big man’s fault if he gets it wrong.

We had equal fun looking for Romi 2-in-1, with her wings and massively over-developed wrists…

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…and an Elsa doll that has clearly been on steroids.

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Just in case dolls aren’t body-dysmorphic enough already!

With only six more sleeps to solve all of the clues here’s hoping we’ve been on the right track. At least she hasn’t declared that she’s changed her mind, unlike a friend’s daughter! (So much for being prepared!)

Maybe next year I’ll request product codes too though. Just to be on the safe side.

A Christmas Wish

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A letter to Santa from Boo:

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I’ll translate:

‘Dear St Nicholas,

Please can my gift to Mrs Hothersall [her headteacher] for her to be shocked and smiling at our Christmas Nativity at the church. And to all the other teachers there.

From [Boo]’

What a sweetheart!

(Personally, I wish the school would teach proper spelling, but hey ho.)

But let’s hope we’re all ‘shocked and smiling’ later this morning.

Unfortunately social media and child protection means we can’t take photos. So, instead I shall have to settle for this one of my little angel in her reception year:

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Oh, and if you think that’s very altruistic of her, don’t worry – we have received a more mercenary list too. We like to refer to it as ‘Boo’s Clues’…

EDIT: It did have us smiling…and blubbing. What is it about the combination of tinsel and tea towels that reduces me to tears?

And, thankfully, this year, I didn’t have Noodles doing his best Omen impression, melting down in a temper tantrum from Hell the second he crossed the threshold to the church…like last year! (Seriously, I was checking for 666 on him after that one.) No, instead, he loudly declared ‘I enjoyed that!’ as we left. Phew.

Box of Delights

A box arrived in the post addressed to me. (Home delivery has to be THE best thing about internet shopping the; receipt of packages makes it feel like a present, even if you’ve paid for it yourself, know what’s in it and the contents are actually for someone else.)

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It was a larger box than I was expecting though. Noodles’ party supplies must have arrived. Yay!

But…the label said ‘Graham and Green’.

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Not party supplies then. I had placed an order with them though, but not for anything to warrant such a massive box. I was expecting three snow globes and a pair of angel wings trinket dish.

There was surely only one explanation: I must have received someone else’s goods! Someone else with more money than me who can afford the bigger ticket items from Graham and Green!!!

Maybe, in an act of cosmic ordering actualisation, it was a Beatrice chandelier…

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…or a beaded mirror…

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(Even a small one would be gratefully appreciated and would look beautiful in the smallest loo.)

…or pair of large angel wings, all of which I’ve always coveted.

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Maybe, like when Amazon cocked up a lot ad of Black Friday orders (including HD TVs) they’d just let me keep it to save the hassle of exchanging it all. YAAAAAAY!!!

I ripped off the sellotape, pulled back the flaps and…

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…was greeted by an abundance of protective packaging.

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29 cell-o inflated pillows and three bundles wrapped in bubble wrap, to be precise.

And in those three bundles?

Three snow globes and a pair of angel wing trinket dishes:

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Maybe, you’re now thinking, they’re exceptionally large snow globes/angel wing trinket dishes.

Well, no.

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I think that might be called packaging overkill.