Hero in My Household

I am a hero. (If only within the four walls of my home.) Why? Because I got our new TV hooked up to Netflix!

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I may not have been awarded a medal, but I have had a whinge-free day.

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The Internet: Proof That It’s Better To Be Online

Well, it seems – touch wood! – that we’ve avoided the potential nightmare of HAVING NO HOME INTERNET. Talk Talk has taken over the reins and Teflon Man didn’t make a hash of connecting up the new box, so we’re still all online. (Now just to work out how to connect it up to the TV so at least we can watch iPlayer on a proper screen rather than on my phone. For those (rare) nights when I don’t just fall into a sleep of the dead at the same time as the kids. Which is why iPlayer is vital!)

But Phew! Because just the thought of no internet as a possibility makes me shudder. No access to Google to search for anything/everything on a whim. No chance to vent my feelings or catch up with friends without the need to actually speak to them. Let alone confronting how so much of my entertainment – and I that of the kids! – comes from the little box of electronics that we carry in our hands. What would I do with all of those hours? Would I actually accomplish things in the real world?!?!

Or would I be too busy pacifying small people with too many hours in their days with no zoning out time? Would my house survive with an even greater deluge of toys and crafts? Would my family survive having to engage in mutual pursuits and conversation?!

After all, we are addicts. Internet junkies. It’s the first thing I check in the morning, the last thing I do at night. It’s worrying.

But it’s also wonderful! It brings the world to our fingertips, opening up our options and making everything accessible. How did we cope before it? Back when we used to just have to wonder about stuff or flick through books or make phone calls or venture outside to find things out! Who wants to go back to a life like that?!?!

I mean, imagine the difference the internet could have made to these people:

Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane in Psycho

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One glance at Trip Advisor would have warned her away from Bates’ Motel. Drive on another five minutes, sleep soundly for the night and make a clean getaway with the money.

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Snow White

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It can’t be easy preparing meals for eight in the middle of the woods with no supermarket to hand. Maybe that’s why she was so eager to accept the poisoned apple from the beggar woman.

An Ocado delivery would have been far more reliable. Their ready-meals selection would have cut down on all that time slaving over a bubbling pot of stew for the dwarves. Plus, they don’t sell poisoned apples, which would obviously have saved a lot of trouble.

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Shirley Valentine

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No need to talk to the Wall when you could talk to other bored housewives online on Mumsnet. Perhaps realise that flitting off to Greece and shagging an accented and moustached Tom Conti isn’t the answer to life’s doldrums. Or maybe it still is.

That kid out of Dead Poets Society

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Ok, he didn’t want to go to medical school, instead wanting to be an actor. But one look at Harvard’s faculty website would have shown a wide-range of extra-curricular activities. Go to uni, join the drama group. Don’t hang yourself.

Harry and Sally

Could they have fallen in love so much sooner had they not kept losing track, instead stalking each other’s holiday photos and funny GIFs on Facebook? Harry’s Twitter feed would have been full of witty quips of 140 characters or less. How could Sally not have been smitten?

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Or would Harry have just got fed up with Sally’s constant stream of foodie Instagram pics with everything ‘on the side’? (Cos you just know she would have definitely have done that.)

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Cruel Intentions’ Kathryn

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Rather than being outed as a bitch she could have just laid it on the line with a catty blog and witty pseudonym. Everyone expects bitchiness online, so she could have been proud of her mean-spirited machinations rather than being undone by the revelations of her secret diary. It’s worked out for Perez Hilton after all.

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Elsa

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Feeling my cut off due to ice powers that she doesn’t know how to control, she’d have only been a web forum away from other sufferers with sympathy and solutions. The fear would have been taken away, and she’d have stopped freezing everything in sight.

The trolls would have found themselves fighting a blackened reputation however.

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Harry Potter

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Is it just me, or was it a bit weird that you could have a whole school of teenagers after the internet revolution and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM had a laptop/smart phone?!?! Ok, they were witches and wizards, but still, a lot of them came from Muggle backgrounds. Surely, someonewould have had an iPhone?

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Flying broomsticks and magic wands are cool, but surely Skype is better than trying to talk to a face in a fire and Facebook better than that annoying wizard wireless that drives them insane in the woods. Google could have sorted out How to Destroy a Horcrux easier than Dumbledore’s riddles and with his rejection of all things Muggle, Voldemort could have been felled by Snapchat!

Jesus

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Imagine how much easier it would have been to spread the word with a blog, Twitter account and Facebook? Imagine all those miracles going viral on YouTube!

He’d have still ended up being punished for our sins – look no further than Raif Badawi to see how authorities handle outspoken bloggers even today. Sorry, Jesus. Kim Kardashian may have broken the internet, but we would have still broken you.

Teflon Man Comes Good

Remember last year when I wanted a Pandora bracelet for my birthday but instead got this:

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(I may have mentioned it a couple of times.)

Well, Teflon Man has upped his game. And in a good way.

Not only did he take me out for the best meal of my life last night…

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…he also got me the exact watch I was lusting after…

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(Daniel Wellington: tick. St Andrews model: tick. In rose gold: tick)

and he found his way to the Pandora store with Boo to buy her present for me. (Generosity charm also pictured above.)

10/10, Teflon Man. I’m impressed.

Why Having a January Birthday is Harsh…

This one’s in honour of my fellow blogging Aquarians The Dancing Professor at trophos.wordpress.com and Claire at Lifeloveanddirtydishes.

1) It’s cold. And going out means going out into the cold, when rather sitting inside in the warm would be the go-to option. (Except, my house is cold also. But the cold makes me miserable and I don’t want to be miserable on my birthday.)

2) Plus, unless you’re a teenager or from Newcastle, it means you’re going to need a coat. Which then means carrying it around all night, which, frankly, is just a pain in the arse.

3) It’s possibly also rainy, which is not good for the hair on a night out. And you just know you’re going to leave your umbrella in a taxi.

4) As for snow: pffft. It snowed on my 30th birthday. I did go spectacularly arse-over-tit. Whilst carrying my birthday cake. Most of the time I love snow (or, at least, the thought of snow). But on my birthday it’s evil and not my friend.

5) Nice restaurants offer seasonal menus, which in January features such in-season delights as kale and Savoy cabbage. Firstly, such greens taste like old socks and secondly, I’m already feeling older than I’d like without a menu that encourages farting like an old woman.

6) Everyone’s still suffering from a post-Christmas hangover. Whether they’re physically hungover and having a dry January or financially, having maxed out the plastic over the festive season, asking friends to sacrifice all that frugality in favour of a night out can seem like a big ask.

7) The January sales don’t offer the best gift-buying options. Things you didn’t get at Christmas are now being handed over in gift bags and you know full well that they had 70% off. But the shops still aren’t offering normal goods, so what are you gonna do?

However…

Reasons it’s GREAT to have a January birthday:

1) Everywhere has central heating rather than sodding air-con.

2) It’s an excuse to buy a new coat. The furry one I bought for my night out on Saturday was particularly lush.

3) It doesn’t always rain…

4) …Or snow. My 21st was just unlucky.

5) Body fat helps protect against the cold. Bring on dessert!

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6) Abstinence is boring! You’re literally doing your friends a favour by giving them an excuse to break all the bleak January rules. Anyone who wants to be a killjoy can just stay away from the celebrations. Or be the designated driver. Either way you’re onto a winner.

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7) You can get your party gear in the sales too! So why buy one coat when you can have two? Plus new shoes!

8) Friends are ace whatever time of year and celebrating is always fun.

To be fair, I’ve just had the best weekend! Dinner and cocktails with some fantastic friends last night…

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…and then a BAFTA exhibition and 2 Michelin-starred dinner with Teflon Man in London today.

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Which takes the edge off the bleakness of winter, as well as the whole getting older thing, to be fair.

Claire and DP, I hope you’ve had equally fabulous birthdays!

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Twenty Minutes

Things to do with the twenty minutes whilst your DIY hair dye takes:

1) Clean the bathroom of all dye splatter. Wonder how you’re going to get it off the ceiling. Consider a job as a blood spatter forensics expert and ponder as to whether this could be deemed to be training.

2) Pluck your eyebrows. They haven’t been touched since Christmas Day after all and are clearly never going to become Delevingne-esque.

3) Paint your nails ready for your big night out tomorrow.

4) Half-heartedly wipe down the bathroom, get as far as plucking one eyebrow whilst contemplating your nails before being summoned by your 3-year-old, whose only been asleep for an hour, yet who now refuses to settle back to sleep a) because he has a cough and sore throat and b) because you smell funny from the hair dye. Become increasingly frantic about trying to get him to settle back down because you sense not only is your time up, but also the ‘bonus’ five minutes for excess grey hair. Wonder how long it could be left before your hair turns bright orange/falls out. Try to cuddle your child back to sleep with smearing hair dye over every available surface – walls, bedding, your child… Contemplate sacrificing the bedding

Thankfully Noodles did go back to sleep and even more amazingly he did so before I fell asleep too. And my hair hasn’t fallen out, although it’s dark, so I can’t vouch as to its non-oranginess. I’m already convinced it wasn’t the exact shade I used last time either. Why do I never make a note when I find a colour I like? But, yeah, bright orange wasn’t what I was aiming for, so here’s hoping I shan’t wake up tomorrow to discover a barnet the colour of carrots on my head.

I’d also better not forget to pluck that left eyebrow. Preferably before work!

If You Can’t Stand the Cold Get Out of the Kitchen

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I think I must be the anti-Elsa. Because the cold really really bothers me.

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Which is very definitely NOT GOOD at this time of year because it’s cold ALL of the time. Cycling to work, waiting at the school gates and particularly AT HOME.

Draft-friendly doors, crumbling window frames and a lack of heating (central or otherwise); it’s bad. The fact that everyone seems to have been born in a barn and thus incapable of CLOSING THE SODDING LIVING ROOM DOOR really doesn’t help matters. (The living room being one room that is heated and thus of imperative need to stay as toastie as possible.)

You’d think having your blood boil in rage would be warming, but apparently not. Instead it’s just hard to tell whether I’m trembling with fury or shivering with cold.

Boo’s bedroom the other night was a goosebump-inducing 13’c. Thank god for duvets and body heat. Getting up in the morning though is a battle of epic proportions. As if getting up when it’s still dark isn’t hard enough.

And as for showering…don’t even go there.* The bonus is that you don’t smell so bad when all sweat has retreated to your very core in a bid to regulate your body temperature.

(*Obviously, I do go there – I have to share the world with people with olfactory functions after all. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea about me. But it’s not fun.)

But my very most hated place to be at the moment is the kitchen! Even with gas burners roaring I’m still chilled to the bone. Surely that’s not right? The plug-in electric heater has given up the ghost after all of three weeks and, as we’ve got contractors in fixing the roof , the patio doors are left ajar whilst they’re here. The walls seem to absorb the chill like an 80s supermodel faced with a line of coke and a rolled up bank note.

2015/01/img_2565.jpg15′ in the kitchen…and that’s with cooking going on!

It comes to a point where you can be boiling the kettle and feel tempted just to pour the scalding water over yourself in the hope of warming yourself. (Although, not really, obviously – more like when you’re at the top of tower or on the edge of a cliff and feel compelled to jump. Please say that that’s not just me!)

I’ve been trying to wrack my brain for a single positive reason for living in the domestic equivalent of an ice hotel:

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That I can justify the copious consumption of warming cocoa (although I’m struggling more to justify the lashings of squirty cream added to the top)?

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That I can positively look forward to work, where my little office is heated to sauna standards? Ahhhh, bliss!

That my seasonal (ok, perpetual, we’ve all seen the photos) layer of blubber now has a reason for its existence? Imagine how much colder I’d be if I was skinny!

Maybe I should just take the my lead from an ice hotel, actually, and justify a dependence on VODKA on my only-14-degrees-away-from-sub-zero house? Although that surely suggests how bleak it is when alcoholism is the positive spin!

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At least if I was drunkenly comatose I wouldn’t care about the living room door being left open all of the time.

Enforced Hibernation

If I’m not around for a little bit I’m really sorry. It’s not personal, it won’t even be by choice, and believe me, it will all be Teflon Man’s fault.

He’s decided to change internet service providers for a cheaper deal, so has cancelled his direct debit with our current one. The next payment is due tomorrow. The new magic box hasn’t arrived from our new providers. Let alone us being able to set it up.

I may be gone some time.

Or maybe it will all be ok. Or maybe I can sneak onto WordPress at work. (Just don’t tell the boss!)

Otherwise I may as well just go and find a bear to go and see the rest of winter out with.

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If I am forced to live in the real world instead of online, at least I’ll be able to plan my Happy Places post for A Prompt Reply. Yes, I may definitely need to retreat to my happy place!