Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Blogging with substance

Clare at A Modern Military Mother has very kindly bestowed this lovely award on me.

In truth I would have thought this blog less deserving of such warmth and praise. Possibly a 'Blog with Sarcasm' would have been more appropriate?

Never mind - I am touched, honest I am. Explaining it to the kids was a tad less straightforward.

"What does substance mean though, Mummy?"
"Well, you know the stuff I put in your sandwiches for your packed lunch?"
"It's a bit like that. A filling."
"What, like ham and cheese?"
"Err, yes, sort of."
"So do you write about ham and cheese then Mummy?"
"Not quite."
"But you do write about sandwiches, don't you?"

(LCM thinks of another analogy akin to 'rubbish in, rubbish out')

"In a manner of speaking, yes. Just a bit more of a grown-up version."

Having dispensed with the explanations to minors, I am now duty-bound to follow the rules that go along with accepting this award.

And here they are:
  1. Thank the blogger who awarded it to you
  2. Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five words
  3. Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance
So firstly, THANK YOU CLARE! (I did post the cheque but you might find the envelope confiscated as it had a skull and crossbones across the seal. Sorry, only one I could find amongst the children's paraphernalia at the time. Bit of a rush as usual.)

Secondly, my blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience in five words or less:

'Occasionally engage brain before writing.'

Thirdly, ten other blogs that I believe have substance (*laughs hysterically then remembers aforementioned philosophy and pulls self together thinking "Act AGE, not SHOE SIZE...despite them being almost same thing... oooh brain overload..."*):

Pants with Names (formerly Brits in Bosnia) - one of the two bloggers who inspired me to start my own
Bloomin' Marvellous - the other one
Ladybird World Mother - love this woman
Mothership - tells it as it is, often tongue-well-in-cheek
Potty Mummy - who probably already has this award, but if not, she certainly deserves it
Troutie - rude, funny, never misses a beat (except when it comes to effective contraception)
Expat Mum - wry observations from the other side of the pond

Is that ten yet? No? Well, my report card did once say "makes occasional slips in maths".
Guess this is one of those times.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Emotionally charged - The Gallery (week 17)

The combined theme for this week's gallery is a Tara-Josie special.

Personally I think it makes for a great cocktail name ("I'll have a gin and tonic and the lady will have your Ta-Jo house special please"), or even an exotic holiday destination ("We went to Disneyland Florida for our trip this year!" "Really? Well, we went to Ta-Jo Fantasy Island. It was, like, you know, amaaaaazing!").

Anyway. The theme is emotions. And the mandate is (I quote) "to challenge conventions and get you to flex your photographic and writing muscles."

Right. Just as well no-one reads my creative writing blog then. I am at a slight impasse there - too much to do, too little time and all that malarky - although plans are afoot for the next installment. Never mind.

So. What to show and what to write? I have decided to be totally self-indulgent here (quiet in the back rows now). Here goes.

The once was a girl with a Honda
Whose love of big bikes just got fonda (bear with me) 
She got all decked out
In leather-clad clout
'Til babies cast fast rides asunder*

And if you are wondering about the hair-and-glasses-doctoring effect, it was just to reassure the general public that this is a true photo of LCM. If you don't believe me, have a look here.

* And I would like to dedicate this verse to Dulwich Mum who 'fainted' when I first tweeted her this fact.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

(Not) Super-technology-mum - volunteers wanted

Less than a week to go and CyberMummy will be upon us. Members of the Robotics Anonymous community will be converging on West London like a swarm of locusts.
Partners will be lumped with offspring, grandparents will be bribed into babysitting, and glad rags will be dusted down for showing off to new friends.
Hairdressers have been booked, mani/pedis scheduled, and age-defying potions invested in, all as we aim to look our very best for the day.

After all, you only get one chance to impress, and that first 'look' counts for everything, right? Photoshop in the flesh does not quite have the same effect as the real thing. Personally, I am experimenting with blue-tack, superglue and elastic bands, combined with a few clothes pegs and one blonde curly wig (much coveted by another blogger, I hasten to add).

So with that in mind I had the brilliant idea of trying to install a new comments format on my blog.

Did I ever mention that I am technically incompetent? Useful really, considering the arena I work in (financial services technology).

But, unlike our male counterparts (*cough*), I do follow instructions. It seemed that everything was working fine and dandy, I was feeling very pleased with myself, with the new format looking very swish and comments appearing the way they should until...
  • comments suddenly needed moderating before they would appear (contrary to settings)
  • old comments from previous posts 'diasppeared' (having been there moments before)
  • newer comments reverted back to the old format (of their own free will)
  • all remedies suggested by the FAQ page made things worse (or got me totally confused)
I guess this is what you call in our industry a configuration issue.

Better known as a bug.*

Never mind. I will persist. Help welcome. Minimum wage offered. Just sorry to lose so many valuable and lovely comments, they make my day.(*goes to sit in the corner and sob quietly to self lamenting lack of geeky knowledge*)

* Or possibly this is divine retribution for my happy snapping.

Friday, 25 June 2010

What the eye sees.... Take two

Ready? Right, here we go. Oh the joys of London town and the daily commute.

Is it obvious that this woman is wearing a rather short skirt and appears to have forgotten basic etiquette about keeping your legs together when seated? Strange man in specs also adds to the allure.

Long day at work? Yes. Tired? Yes. Uhmm, sorry, why are you wearing your husband's shoes?

It's the man in black: black suit, black shirt, black tie, black socks, black shoes. And not a funeral parlour in sight. Played manically on his iPod non-stop for twenty minutes, much to the disgust of his neighbour. Check out the sneer!

OMG! Miss, miss! Your legs are being attacked by giant moths! Oh, sorry, fancy tights only.
As you were.

And this lady could not resist the fake turquoise plastic flower she saw in the loos of the local cafe. Choice. Matched the eyeshadow but I could not quite manage to photograph that without being obvious.

And this WAG went AWOL. Thought she was en route to Sarf Afeeka, innit, but then realised the tube line did not go quite the distance. Bit like some of the football teams (ahem).

This is what I call the 'boobs as bum' phenomena. I just don't get it. And this is a pretty tame photo. Tara knows what I am talking about (Tara, back me up here before I come across as a total pervert).

And last but not least, it is - drum roll please - the Tandem Twins again. Complete with matching outfits of course. I must get round to introducing myself before they catch on and have me arrested. Although Expat Mum did offer to pass round the tin for collecting my bail money...

  Over to you viewers - comments welcome. Don't be shy now.

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Award nomination. Apparently I am funny. No, really, I am.

So I get this email last week 'out of the blue', as you do (and you do, we all know that).

No, it's not the weirdo Chinese sex blog pest who likes to spam me with unintelligible comments (most recent "I can give you hand if not knowing where to go to..." - DELETE).

It was from the tribe at gurgle who stated (I quote), "We love your blog... You always have us giggling, and we want to join your book club!"

They want to join Kevin? Seriously? I mean, I know we have pretty low standards (ie reading the books is not a pre-requisite for coming along to our meetings, but you must be able to talk ten-to-the-dozen about any chosen subject), but surely they are not that desperate?

Anyway, I read on.

"Congratulations! You have been nominated for a gurgle blog award in the best funny mummy blog category.
Our judging panel includes Dinky Winky, La La (names have been changed to protect the innocent - Ed.), and celebrity gurgle blogger Mylene Klass."

Right. So despite my routine slagging off of anything to do with 'slebs, they appear to be immune to my sarcasm.

Never mind.

So I bask in the afterglow a little (Wow, fancy that! Little me getting a nomination! Must prepare an acceptance speech... what will I wear... who do I thank... do I get a statue to take home and is it child-proof...) until it dawns on me that there are other nominees.

And they are bloody good.

Bugger. Well, there goes my chance at fame and fortune. Award winners will be announced on July 3rd - same day as CyberMummy, handy coincidence, that.

But, as they say, "You gotta be in it to win it."

Now, where's my Chinese spammer gone? Might direct him to Pippa's, Hazel's and Emily's.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Get out of my hair! The Gallery - week 16

Creatures, monsters, cherubs.

Whatever you call them. But yes they are mine, all mine!

This is called "Please-find-a-way-of-entertaining-yourself-so-Mummy-can-have-a-chat-with-her-friends-for-ten-minutes-with-no-interruptions-thank-you-very-much."

Thanks Tara - was just looking for an excuse to post this photo and as always you come up trumps.

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Spanish inquisition - those questions you always dread

It's an interrogation Spanish inquisition tag no less, courtesy of Very Bored in Catalunya who seems to think I have some beans to spill.

She's not too far off the mark actually.

So here are her questions:

1. If you could possess one super power for a day, what would it be?

An automatic mute button. I would point my finger at the offender and they would be struck silent for at least ten minutes at a time.
Instant relief from tedious long-winded meetings, whinging children, obnoxious tube passengers and the noisy neighbour who thinks sitting on his balcony at 2.30am on a weekday and singing loudly out of tune with his mate to a stringy guitar is okay. Zap!

2. In the next life you want to come back as...?

Daniel Craig's swimmers.

3. First item on your shopping list is?

Something illegible. Looks like this.  

Think it means this.

But most likely is this.

That's what happens when you are right-handed and break your wrist.

4. Can you speak a foreign language, if not what language would you like to be able to speak?

I speak English, Australian, Kiwi, South African, Irish, American... Oh, sorry, you mean proper languages? Yes, a few. And I shout a lot in all of them.

5. What was your favourite subject at school?


6. What's your party trick?

I am very adept at knocking glasses of red wine over guests whilst gesticulating wildly to illustrate a point.
And then being asked to leave shortly afterwards.

7. What age were you when you lost your virginity? What??? Come on, just spicing things up.

Aha! I know a trick question when I see one. The answer is the Peloponnesian War, which marked the dramatic end to the fifth-century-B.C. golden age of Greece (thank you Wikipedia).

8. What do you do to relax?

Organise military-precision marching for the children en route to school and back. Uniform is mandatory and they have middle-partings for added severity and mock medals on their breast pockets to contribute to the allure. Shouting (by me, in any language) is optional - see point 4 above.

9. What's the job/chore you keeping putting off that really needs doing?

Leg waxing. Long story. So are the hairs.

10. What's in the cupboard under your stairs?

I live in the caravan on our driveway. OH has banned me from the marital home until I sort out point 9 above and I am on daily rations of Pedigree Chum and Doggie Treats until I am able to convince him that hirsute women are all the rage now. This may take some time.

So apparently now it is MY turn to ask ten questions of other unsuspecting bloggers... hahahahaha (*laughs manically and then notices the men in white coats getting nearer*). Right, quick as you can then:

1. Name of your first pet?
2. Your most delectable piece of lingerie?
3. Be a famous person for a day - who and why?
4. Your neighbour's dog chews up your prized, and very expensive, Manolos. What do you do?
5. If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
6. Caught speeding. How do you get out of it?
7. Secret crush as an adult?
8. Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
9. Tom Cruise: kiss, marry or send to live permanently with the Pope?
10. Rudest word you have in your (child-free) vocabulary?

And I am sending these to: Nickie at Typecast, Carly at Mummy's Shoes, Tattooed Mummy, Heather at Notes from Lapland, and Nudie Princess

On your marks, GO!

Friday, 18 June 2010

How do you do?

Okay, okay, I give in. Carly has put forward the idea to invite Cybermummy attendees to post a brief intro about themselves in order to facilitate identification at the event.

So following some heckiling from the back row (you know who you are) I am complying, in a fashion.

Name: London City Mum, alias Captain MacJackboots. Also known variously as Teenage Witch (long story), The Boss, and Whinge-a-lot.

Blog: you're here, aren't you?

Twitter ID: @LondonCityMum

Epithet: in the making

Career: "more jobs than hot dinners" (comment courtesy OH)

Height: enough to see over the steering wheel when driving

Hair: yes

Eyes: two, more when angry

Likes: photographing unsuspecting victims and turning into blog fodder, looking like nutter all for the sake of a good cause, reading and telling it as it is.

Am sure I will stand out in the crowd now.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

So, how was it for you? The triathlon (and training) revealed in all its glory

Let me ponder the question for a moment. Actually, no need. One word should suffice.


But aside from that, it was also amazing, invigorating, challenging and exciting. And that was before I even got in the pool.

Which, by the way, looked less like this:

And much more like this:

Yes, I kid you not. LCM had a serious sense of humour failure when she realised that 4 lanes into 10 metres' width goes.... well, very narrowly, that's what. Topped with approximately eight to ten people doing laps in each lane, swimming over, around and about you, and you can probably understand why in my haste to set off and start my stopwatch simultaneously, I failed to, err, pull my goggles over my eyes.

Yes - first lap. LCM - nil. Goggles on forehead - 1.

Never mind! Onwards and upwards. If you cannot beat them, join them, so I am embarassed to say that I actually resorted to breastroke for a few laps after being kicked in the face twice (apparently this goes with triathlon territory) and failing to a) go any faster, or b) see where the hell I was swimming.
Whatever, I completed the swim albeit not in the most competent of manners.

And so into the first transition.

Now, I will admit that both BB and I had been practising (the mockumentary will bear testament to this in due course when OH finishes editing it, subtle hint), but while I was waiting to rack my bike I watched as the male competitors exited the pool and proceeded through their swim-to-bike transition.

Oh dear. Talk about faffing, these guys were toweling down, drying between their toes, brushing their hair, changing their shorts and t-shirts, putting socks and shoes on...
It did cross my mind to yell at them, "Com'on guys, IT'S A RACE!!" but I refrained from doing so (yes, I know, unheard of). I just told BB when she joined me that we need not worry if that was the standard.
So much for practice making perfect.

Hence my own 20 seconds-or-so transition to pull on socks over wet feet, slot these into my cleated shoes, throw my cap and goggles into the bag for collection, jamm on the helmet and sunnies, and run with my bike to the 'mount' area. Preferably without stumbling or falling over in front of the adoring crowd bemused locals loyal family supporters. And then try oh-so-subtlely to get on the bike and click my shoes into the pedal clips and set off. Easier said than done when you have Mr Man, Blossom and Widget standing on the side lines (the eldest video-ing... less said about that the better, you'll eventually see what I mean) saying in very loud voices, "Mummy hurry up! Why are you being so slow?"

"F&@~#£g bl@#*y h#%l!!!" That's why.

Loved the bike ride. Two laps totalling some 25km, I even overtook other competitors (a couple of them unbelievably having a good old natter about what they were planning to do for the rest of Sunday as they proceeded at a - ahem - leisurely pace round the course) and felt pretty upbeat until the serious triathletes whizzed past me without so much as breaking a sweat. I wished them punctures.
Just as I was starting to think "I could probably manage another lap," the filter lane leading to the second transition appeared at the crest of the hill and next thing I was off the bike (without falling, result), out of the cleated shoes, into my trainers (hooray for lock laces) and heading on to the running course.

And who should come literally sprinting at a speed of knots round the corner of her last lap than BB who - lucky bugger - had started some 17 minutes before me. Despite always having been the faster runner, I could not touch her. Not even her pony tail. What had I done to deserve this? As if that was not bad enough, the lovely Wine Writer (my former rowing crew member) then came bounding down the course behind me, overtook me, and left me looking at the soles of her shoes gradually disappearing on the horizon. And she had set off a mere two minutes earlier at the start. Knew she was always fast on her feet but this was ridiculous. Ho hum. Time to pump those arms and pick your knees up.

Salvation came in the form of Blossom, aged 6, who (I later learnt) had not only already completed a lap with BB, but also then proceeded to run alongside me for two whole laps (there were four in total), cheering me on and smiling in delight. Punchline of the day came when I ran past another competitor and she blurted out, "Mummy, well done, you just overtook that lady!" To which the woman answered, panting heavily, "Sweetheart, I don't quite have your stamina."

Not sure who she was referring to.

So to the finish line. Elapsed time 1hr 42min and 8secs. Considering I was aiming for 1hr 40mins, I am pretty pleased with myself. Of course BB thrashed me - as I had long predicted - in 1hr 38mins and the Wine Writer upped the ante altogether by coming in 9th place at 1hr 29mins. Told you I have competitive friends.

Most importantly however, I enjoyed taking part and it was for a brilliant cause. If you would still like to sponsor me, the link is here.

And in the nick of time OH has edited and posted the mockumentary. Excuse the filming (Mr Man and Gorgeous Niece did the wobbly honours), but I hope it entertains you. We had fun making it.

Finally, I give you the ladies post race. Don't we look grand?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Freedom of Speech - Vix, this is for you!

Or why I have Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights listed on the side panel of this blog.

A question recently posted in a comment from my virtual-soon-to-be-tangible friend Vegemitevix had me thinking about this. There is a whole story behind the reason for it being there in the first place, so I figured enough time has passed now for me to illuminate you a tad more.

For those of you who are relatively new to this blog, let me recap, very briefly, work-related events of the past year. Now pay attention closely.
  • LCM has senior position with tech company which she thoroughly enjoys: great team, super boss, lovely colleagues, challenging clients, innovative products
  • firm is taken over by B'Stard Company
  • everything starts to go tits up
  • LCM is made redundant
  • LCM finds new job
The end? Well, not quite. Aside from the huge disappointment with regard to the 'new' management style (or lack of it), the whole experience did provide LCM with great fodder for the blog - from an observational perspective as to how not to run a company. All very tongue-in-cheek, as per the tagline here and at the Evening Standard where I also write.


Except that LCM had underestimated the level of obsessive distrust by the Paranoid Former Employer (aka PFE) which - despite their name never being mentioned, nor those of any employees of the company past or present - decided to take issue with the matter and insinuate all manner of libel and slander and the like. They even threw in the kitchen sink (metaphorically-speaking) for good measure.

Which, considering I was insignificant enough to be ditched, is, well, pretty pathetic really.


And the new job LCM landed put her right back in the firing line (as in 'cause for contention', not as in being laid off again or placed in front of a firing squad - although PFE would have relished that I think) as it entailed advising a key client on new technology for which PFE was one of the two vendors bidding for the business. (Are you confused yet?)

Did I mention that I had also done the original pitch for PFE with this client? No, I thought not.
So, despite my new role being that of an 'impartial advisor' on the project, PFE went ballistic, got their knickers in a total twist and started spitting chips at every available opportunity. And then some.

It was ugly. Worse than this.

Anyway, to cut a looooooooooong and very boooooooring story short, legal advice put things to right, a standard compromise agreement was signed and that was that.


However, since PFE have a tendency to play nasty - and sadly other former colleagues have also borne testament to this, so it was not 'just me' - and still like to come by and have a snoop (*waves*), I have put the Freedom of Speech article on the side, as a subtle reminder.

It's a bit like children really. You have to keep on repeating yourself until the message finally gets through.

p.s. Of course, as part of the compromise agreement I had to remove all posts mentioning PFE or anonymous nick-named associates, a huge shame as some of them were very, very entertaining, even if I say so myself. But possibly too close to the mark which is why they took exception to them. Never mind. There will always be the book one day.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Like mother, like daughter - Gallery week 15

Know that saying? Thought you did.

Taking a different spin on the Gallery's topic this week which is Motherhood.

Can you guess who is who?


Of course, I did tell Nickie in an earlier post that I am the one who shouts a lot, is frequently in a bad mood, and has a lower tolerance than a worn piece of elastic...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Brilliant blogs

Isn't the blogging world amazing? So many new (virtual) friends, so much (harmless) fun, so much far too much distraction. In a nice way, of course.

Nickie has passed on the Brilliant Blog Award to me - an extremely kind gesture which she will probably regret if she ever meets me in person and realises that I shout a lot, am prone to bad moods, and have the lowest tolerance level this side of worn elastic.

Never mind - what the eye doesn't see...

Now I just have to pass the award on to five other worthy recipients. Pah! Easier said than done with all the talent out there. This may take some time.

(A few hours later)

Here's your lot then - and trust me, this was no easy task, so if you already have this award, consider yourself lucky blessed repetitive:
North West London Girl
and the very funny Bored in Catalunya

Be nice and spread the love to five others each now.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What Kevin did next - again (or how a new book award was created)

Kevin reconvened last night.

Typically the conversation took a variety of diversions (trips, triathlon, work, food, bondage... made that last one up, just to check you were paying attention) before we got down to the serious job of discussing books. Proper, serious, grown-up themed books. No Kipper, Chip or Biff in sight.

The banter went something along these lines:

LCM (throws crap book on floor, kicks it forcibly) - Aaarrrggghhh!

Belfast Blonde - Are you doing a Greek dance?

LCM - No, I am expressing disgust that this book was ever even published.

Doctor of Psychology - Just finished it on tube this morning. Good manners in public stopped me from hurling it on the floor and stamping on it.

Lovely Radiographer - Oh well, that's one less book for me to bother with then as I had not read it yet.

LCM - Here, have my copy.

LR - No thanks.

LCM - You can keep it.

LR - Nup.

LCM (looking at Dr of P, who was hosting, and pointing outside) - Barbeque fodder?

Dr of P - It's raining.

BB - Donate it to charity?

LCM - I could never be so cruel to charity.

In the end it came home with me and I intend to make a 'secret Santa' present of it at some stage. You have been warned. Either that or compost for the garden. Although it is that bad it will probably kill the plants.

Anyway, rubbish aside, we discussed the other books. One which was akin to reading 'an author on acid' (my own comment, not at all opinionated of course) and another which we were mostly ambivalent about, more than anything because 'we' could not understand how it had won the Booker prize. One critic had also expressed doubts at the time which echoed our own.

So, to the point. Kevin has decided to launch a new book prize. The rules are very simple:
  • in October, we review the books we have chosen over the previous twelve months (the most recent ones are listed down the right hand side of this blog)
  • each member (there are eight of us) selects two favourites
  • we then all vote on the top nominees, and....
Ta-dah - a winner! Who will be sent a very nice letter telling them that they are the proud recipient of the Kev Curl T'ongue Award*.

Of course what goes on behind the scene (tantrums, foot-stomping, gratuitous swearing and the like by the 'judges') will be covered exclusively in this blog.

I may even put up a poll so that other readers can cast their vote. Although that might be a tad too democratic for Kevin's liking.

* The origin of the name from a comment by the Lovely Radiographer about the ability to speed read being akin to curling your tongue: you can either do it or you cannot. Simple. Appropriate analogy to writing a book, methinks.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Eat your Kipper, have a Chip or I'll Biff you. New books please!

Please tell me I am not the only person with primary school-aged children who abhors the characters in the Oxford early reading books, not to mention the ridiculous names they have?

I mean, honestly, have you ever come across a Kipper (aside from breakfast), or a Chip (without fish) or even a Biff (unless you were throwing a punch)? No, I didn't think so.
And let's not even talk about the political correctness that pervades the pages. Or Floppy the most idiotic dog that ever existed.

Maybe it's just me. Although even OH (who does the bulk of the reading with the kids as his tolerance level is far higher) can be caught on many occasions rolling his eyes skywards.

However, I was sent some fabulous books recently by Jo at Bayard Press - what a revelation!
Bayard produce three monthly books for school-aged children: StoryBox (3-6 year olds), AdventureBox (6-9 year olds) and DiscoveryBox (9-12 year olds). They are jam-packed with exciting stories, characters, games and activities and can be enjoyed on their own and as a teaching aid. And in the July edition of DiscoveryBox, there is a great competition to win a WWF tiger adoption pack!
Stick that in your pipe Biff and smoke it.

Suffice to say my three pounced on the books, the eldest is sleeping with 'his' ones (so his siblings do not nick them), the younger two are democratically 'taking turns' reading theirs, and I have lent some to our neighbours as well to get their input. If that does not make for a positive review, then I don't know what does.

Now I just need to convince the school to diversify and invest in books with characters that do not sound like members of a dance troupe on Britain's Got Talent.

Who said I don't relish a challenge?

Monday, 7 June 2010

Five of a kind

You know when you attend a job interview and the inevitable question arises, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Yup, that one. The one anyone with an ounce of common sense should never ask an interviewee. (A far more interesting question is to turn the tables and ask the company/person interviewing you "Why would I want to work for you?" - the answers I have been given over the years are worthy of a whole other post).

I have, in my lifetime of (numerous) job applications, expanded on traditional versions of the standard reply - which, for the record, is typically a safe and predictable "Oh, well, ideally continuing to contribute valuable expertise and profitability to your business..." - but for the sake of the tag by my lovely antipodean virtual friend Vegemitevix I will stick to the questions and not digress. Again.

So, let's see.

Where were you five years ago?
Heavily pregnant with Widget, moving house, juggling solicitors, banks, vendors, purchasers, builders, toddlers (aged 2 and 1), nurseries and pick-up/drop-off, removal vans, shopping, laundry, nappies, cooking, hospital appointments and imminent visit by parents.
Oh, and we had no flooring in the new house (concrete dust for two weeks, anyone?).
And OH was at a three-day conference up north (left the old house, returned to the new one - ta-dah, just like that).
Oh yes, almost forgot. I was also still working full-time. Looking back I must have been bonkers. Still am probably. Which is why I continue to work full-time. Preserves some semblance of sanity, as per my tag line.

Where would you like to be in five years time?
Now, if only I had a tenner for every time I have been asked this question, I would not need to bother with the last one on this list (the billionaire one). Okay, slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.
Five years, five years ... *nods off in distraction*

Sorry, dozed off for a minute there. How about not being particularly fussed as long as I get to have a lie-in every now and then? Preferably one that does not entail a small person standing by your bedside at 5.30am and scaring the bejeezus out of you while they ask in saintly tones whether they can wear their bridesmaid's dress to school today for show and tell pleeeeeeease mummy? (Answer: nogobacktobeditismuchtooearlyzzzzzz...)

What is on your to-do list today?
List? What list? I dealt with everything yesterday.
Now why is my alarm beeping on my phone... Oh yes. Lunchtime. Must remember to eat.

What five snacks do you enjoy?
  • Ice cream, preferably made with best quality Madagascan vanilla, none of that artificial sugary stuff
  • Spicy wasabi peas.
  • Ice cream
  • Panda Finnish Licorice
  • Ice cream
 What would you do if you were a billionaire?
  • Send Ant and Dec to a deserted island with no viable means of transport home
  • Paint the London Eye flourescent pink just to annoy everyone
  • Give Simon Cowell a tongue stud and a mohawk
  • Put Katie Price on a space mission to Mars and then forget she was 'launched'
  • Make TfL drivers and guards go on compulsory training courses so they can make announcements in intelligible English, or alternatively belt out popular tunes to keep waiting passengers amused
  • Ban cars from Richmond Park
  • Make four-day working weeks compulsory by law
  • Have anyone who persists in talking about the weather/Royal family/'slebs (delete as appropriate) during dinner parties or other social gatherings perform renditions of 'Time of my life' in the middle of Trafalgar Square. On an elevated stage. In their underpants.
Aside from that I would pay off the mortgage, divvy up the rest between the family and live life to the full.

So who to tag now?
How about Ladybird World Mother, Expat Mum and Milla at Country Lite? Am sure they will have a more serious take on this than me.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Laundry, laundry, laundry. And then some.

Where is the laundry fairy when you need her? Half term and supposedly there should have been a tad lower volume of dirty clothes to deal with. That is, if like me you attempt to send your kids to holiday club in the same kit day in, day out, hoping that the grass marks, food stains and assorted grubby embellishments will be less noticeable on casual clothes than on school uniforms.

Hah! No chance.

Being 'out' of uniform of course means having the opportunity to demostrate innate designer tendencies, especially as far as Blossom is concerned.

Cue new fairy costume, recently received hand-me-down t-shirts, Capri-style trousers, crop tops, hot pants, fleeces, cotton cardigans, an assortment of head gear, and other accessories.

Plus with my own triathlon training regime seeing the pile of 'kit' grow on a daily basis, it has not even been a case of 'it can wait'. Who enjoys exercise when the whiffs that greet you are reminiscent of past workouts? Not me. Although I do recall university days when a certain member of the men's squad wore kit so disgustingly stinky that you had to run through the boat house if he were present out of fear of suffocation. Gave a whole new context to the phrase 'control your breathing' during outings.

I digress. The purpose of this post is actually to thank the lovely Aimee for sending me a very generous sample of Ariel with Actilift to trial. It is fair to say that it does what it says on the box.

Now if she also has a spare laundry fairy to send my way, I would be grateful for that too.

Friday, 4 June 2010

What the eye sees the sarcasm comments on

I think it fair to say that I love to people-watch. Those of you whom are fellow twitterers will have seen frequent comments appearing that more often than not are notes on sights and sounds (and smells) around me as I travel to and from work, meander about the office, or take the opportunity to venture outside and see natural daylight.
I therefore am taking advantage of a break in my training schedule (oh, and a day off work) to download some of the photos I have taken recently with my phone during these perambulations. Apologies for the quality which is not always the best, but then again I am also subscribing to the paparazzi school of photography whereby I 'snap and run' before anyone notices.
If you hear headline news of a London business woman being arrested for inappropriate camera behaviour, that'll be me.

Ok, I think this was a case of an Amy Winehouse wannabe that got confused with Ivana Trump. Not sure. You decide. It looked pretty plastic, either way.

Harem-style pants as office attire? Even I know that looks ridiculous.

I just wish I could have caught this on film. Very tall woman, very tight skirt, very high (and very awful) pink shoes. Could not walk to save her life. There was a contingent of people around me watching and just waiting for her to go arse-over-tit. Which she almost did – twice - in the time it took to snap this photo.

Heard the term 'vomit inducing'? I give you 'vomit coloured'. OMG woman, what were you thinking?

Bit blurry, but I give you Toupee Tom. One comment here: guys, just go bald gracefully. Wigs are just so not appealing.
And finally...

Again, apologies about the quality but it is, nevertheless, the Tandem Twins. One day I will get a decent photo of them. I may even ask for permission next time as they have probably also spotted my lurking movements when our paths cross at the tube station.
EVERYTHING they wear/carry/use is exactly identical. From the outfit and hairdo right down to the earrings. Marginally spooky.

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Still life? Try this for starters

The Gallery - week 14. How time flies!

My version of still life: two out of three cherubs sitting down quietly for more than five minutes.

Of course their elder brother was busy running round the rugby training pitch like a nutter.
You cannot have everything.

Yadda yadda yadda...