Tag Archives: Geordie

Absence Makes The Heart Grow…?

Do you believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Do you think that long-distance relationships can last?

I never thought I would marry someone who spends half of every year thousands of miles away from me and his family, and the first time Geordie went away with work I felt like my heart was ripped from my chest. I didn’t sleep for a few nights and stopped eating apart from consoling chicken burgers thanks to my house mate who realised I was drowning in sorrow. Honestly, the way I was carrying on you’d think we had split up, but as we’d only been together for 6 months I wasn’t 100% sure we could survive the enforced separation. Fast forward three years and obviously we did get through it and now I’m his girl.

In the last 11 months I have spent at least half of the weekends away from Geordie and he has been away for a few weeks too, and although I don’t enjoy that time alone, I have the kids to look after and keep busy so the separation doesn’t get to me quite as much. Initially we made rules about not arguing over the phone and remembering to consider the conditions when could only call once a week for a few minutes. We still argued and I still went through bouts of doubting his feelings for me when he didn’t ring. There are a couple of positives to come from time spent apart, the first is the return of the honeymoon period and well you can read between the lines there I’m sure, he holds my hand a lot! The other positive aspect is a having a whole stack of bluey’s (airmail letters) to cherish forever and I love to sit and read them when we fall out to remind myself that if we can get through those times I should stop being a cow to Geordie and apologise.

I’m not sure if I believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I do think it can do wonders to revive a relationship. I also believe that long distance relationships have to be built on something other than social media to survive. Grab a pen and just for a change write your words in your own unique font, nothing says I love you like black ink and  (not comic sans)

NaBloPoMo

 

 

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Lest We Forget

You probably wont be surprised to find I am going to dedicate today’s blog to Remembrance Sunday.

As usual I have bought at least 6 poppies and managed to lose most of them, apart from the three proudly worn by me and my two daughter’s this morning during the local Remembrance Service. I think it’s important that my children understand what Remembrance is all about and why we give thanks for those who gave their lives, often without choice, to ensure our freedom.

We have a strong military connection within both sides of mine and Geordie’s families and most years we all come together to have dinner and swap stories of time spent in camouflage. Each of us counting our blessings that we’re all here and in relatively good health.

To all those who have serve, thank you and all those who have lost their lives, we will remember you.

 

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We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat

I’m scared of the dark, there I’ve said it. I am a grown woman, mother of two whom I reassure and comfort from silly fears yet if I need to use the loo in the night I have to turn on all four lights en route to the bathroom. Last night we were driving home over 30 miles of moor land with only the car headlights and cats eyes in the road to guide our way. Having driven the same journey earlier in the day I knew we were surrounded by miles and miles of barren farm land with nothing but the odd house and herd of bewildered sheep for company. For the majority of the journey I was fraught with anxiety and consumed by thoughts of disaster and chaos. When the rain wasn’t pelting the car the fog was so dense that Geordie was reduced to driving at just 50 mph (insert sarcasm here) on the twisting narrow roads and obviously this did nothing to help my nerves, he was also getting very agitated at me telling him to ‘BLOODY SLOW DOWN’. All I was concerned about was not getting stranded out in the wilderness in the pitch black and had to busy myself with eating Cheerio’s and malted milk biscuits from our daughter’s backpack. I know my fear is silly, I’ve been ridiculed my whole life about it, Geordie says I’m scared of my own shadow, well who wouldn’t be..it’s dark!

My silly fears don’t stop there either. I watched Jaws with my brother when I was fairly young and since then I have been frightened of swimming in open water. When I go abroad or even on that one day a year that the weather is warm enough in the UK to warrant a dip in either the sea or lake, I can barely manage to get thigh deep before the panic sets in and off I run like a great white is nipping at my heels. I can’t even stomach one of those fish pedicure treatments, yuck. The thought of having fish swim around my feet and legs makes me very uneasy. My Mum tells me that when I was born in a suburb of Sydney, Australia she took me down to the beach at less than 10 weeks old and unceremoniously chucked me in the sea. I’m not sure how long babies have the under-water breath holding reflex but it’s no wonder I’m not a keen swimmer, Jaws has nothing on my Mum!

As a Mum myself I appreciate the importance of not imposing my fears on my children and our two regularly go swimming in the safety of the local pool without fear of me launching them into the deep end without so much as an armband.

NaBloPoMo

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When I Grow Up

It’s Sunday again, officially the start of the week, to me it represents the end of the weekend, kids go back to school, Geordie goes back to work and I go back to well….writing the blog! I’m definitely ready to go back to work now and my baby is ready to join nursery. I’ve been very lucky and managed to have 16 months off work from just before my youngest was born, although surviving on one wage has been a real challenge.

When I was 5 my primary teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I know this because I still have my work book from Mrs Gallagher’s class of ’88 and look at it now and then to critique my hand writing. I answered the question and drew accompanying illustrations of my career aspirations; a hairdresser, a nurse or a waitress. When I ask my little one the same question now her answers are teacher, shop keeper or hairdresser, what is it about lopping off other people’s hair that we find so attractive? Weird.

I’m asking myself that same question again now (for those trying to do the maths that 25 years later) I have had a lot of jobs over the last 13 years. I started my journey into the world of paid employment aged 17 for the local police authority, within four months I was greedy for the money and went from 2 hours a day after college to 40 hours a week and spending my wages within minutes of them hitting my bank account. I’ve just made a quick list and to date I have fulfilled the following roles;

Cleaner, catering assistant, telephonist, receptionist, sales assistant, project manager, administrator, office manager, estate manager, PA and Mum. I can honestly say that working as a hospital ward cleaner was easily the worst to bear. My favourite role so far was working for Puma, however that was purely down to working with an amazing retail manager and a fab bunch of people who made every shift comical.

If I was starting all over again and about to embark on my first foray into the world of work (providing I could find a job in the current economic climate) what would I want to do? Well ideally I’d like to be a published writer sitting day after day in my studio typing my next best-seller, although I think I would really miss having company. Maybe publishing? I could while away the hours reading manuscripts and losing myself plots and characters until 5pm on weekdays very easily, now that sounds like the job for me. Another variation on the books/reading theme would be a librarian but I think with a mouth as big as mine and with such a love of talking I would be getting my p45 quicker than I anticipated! I know I’ll have to grow up properly at some point and most likely stick to a job that I don’t really like but pays the bills and means we can go on holiday, however I’m hoping to knock out a best-seller before I succumb to that fate.

Have you ever known anyone who moans about not having to go to work? I know its absurd isn’t it? Well I will make you this promise, when I go back to work in the New Year I will not dare to moan even once about how long the hours are or how the daily commute is hell or how that woman in HR has definitely got it in for me. Nope not once. Promise.

NaBloPoMo

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Day 10,934

Is it just me or did October literally fly by? See you later Halloween, shame our village ran out of pumpkins two days before the event and we only had two trick or treater’s all night. Boring!

Well here is day one of the November challenge NaBloPoMo where I have pledged to write a blog post every day for the entire month. Thank you to my cousin and fellow blogger for the heads up on this event! I’m looking forward to reading what ideas she comes up with for this mammoth task! You can read it too here

It’s going to be a very busy month for me, as you might have guessed from the title I’m counting down/up to a big event, my 30th Birthday, surely then I will have plenty to write about?! According to a super accurate Google search I am 10,934 days old and my have I packed a lot into that time. If you’ve read my About page or know me personally you’ll already know the ins and outs about my disastrous first attempt at marriage, dating and the ups and downs of being a divorced shared-custody parent.

Today I am going to write a bit of a round up…here goes.

First and foremost I am going to put cushions on my bed. I realise that from the seriousness of the last paragraph to something as frivolous as cushions is a might leap but stay with me. I am sewing pointless, pretty, girly coloured cushions and Geordie is just going to have to like it. For the last three years our bed linen has been a limited palette of black, grey or white and I have yearned for colour and pattern and accessories for far too long, if Geordie doesn’t like it he can sleep in the kids bunk beds. He never makes the bed anyway so who cares if I have to pick up a few extra cushions? Oh yeah, it’s on!

The second thing that’s going to change is that our wonderful, beautiful children are going to sleep in their own beds, both of them, all night, every night. If I have to wake up in the early hours nursing a tiny size 4 foot against my throat once more I’m going to lose the plot! So kids beware, it’s definitely on!

The last thing that’s going to change at the moment is that I am going to commit much more time to writing. I have started already but accepting the NaBloPoMo challenge and by viewing the local nursery so that I can leave my little one is good hands for a couple of hours a week and not have her sticky, pudgy fingers tapping away on the keyboard at the same time as me. For a 13 month old she has a very good typing speed, just need to work on the accuracy.

So coming up this month I will be focusing on Movember, Winter Fashion trends, Remembrance, Thanks Giving, my 30th birthday, Christmas preparation, Christmas party etiquette (also known as office Christmas party gossip) and of course the ever reliable Geordie. Hope that’s ok with you?

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Suits You Sir

We had a fight yesterday, well actually I had a fight, launched a half ironed shirt at Geordie and stormed into our daughters room to play with Lego to calm down. By now most of you will have worked out that Geordie is a constant cause of distress to me, and while I love the scruffy sod he gets on my nerves so badly sometimes I could cry. Here’s how it went down.

‘Should we go for a walk around the village, get a bit of fresh air?’

‘Yeah okay then I’ll stick the iron on to sort some clothes

‘Why what’s wrong with what I’m wearing?’

You can probably guess which side of the conversation belong to whom? During this exchange Geordie was sporting a pair of Adidas navy blue track suit bottoms, with marks on, a long sleeve blue training top with a white marathon finishers t-shirt over the top, also with visible marks on it. Plus he wore the same clothes the day before (hence the marks). While we were conversing I started ironing a plain white t-shirt for him and silently bullied him into finding a clean pair of jeans. I pulled out a blue shirt and began to iron the collar when I stupidly asked ‘What’s up with you?’ to which I got a very terse reply resulting in me chucking the shirt at him and cracking on with my Lego building in the next room.

It’s so frustrating, why go out dressed like a retired P.E teacher when you have three, yes 3 wardrobes full of clothes that are perfectly clean, well-fitting and on trend? Arghhh I’m actually getting annoyed again writing this! Twenty minutes later he saunters out of the bedroom wearing jeans and the t-shirt, clearly ironing the rest of the blue shirt was a step too far and would seem like I had won that particular battle. Okay so he’s spent the last 10 years in the military being told what to wear and how to wear it, so what difference does it make if I give the orders? Oh dear that doesn’t sound like a recipe for a long and happy marriage does it? Just call me the domestic chief of staff.

If Geordie had no decent clothes (which lets face it would never happen) it wouldn’t bother me so much, but I’ve bought him shed loads over the years and its a constant battle to get him to take some pride in his appearance and to give a crap about how I feel walking down the street with the northern version of Worzel Gummage!

We’re off to a farmers market this morning, I’m genuinely worried someone might try to buy him to frighten off the crows!

 

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The Climb

I think I am actually starting to lose my marbles you know!? I can hear the voice inside my head (It has a Scottish accent?) telling me that I’m not actually in control of anything that’s going on in my life. Let’s start at the beginning…

My kids decide what time I get up, usually pre-6am thanks to their unforgiving skill of making it through the day unscathed on less than 7 hours sleep. Geordie needs a high protein lunch ready for work by 7:15am. Yes, he can do this himself but as he will ask me every minute detail about what he needs to do (What can I have tuna with? How long does pasta take? How do I cook porridge?) it’s easier to just do it myself. The kids/monsters must be fed before 8am, similar repercussions of a Gremlin if this timetable is overlooked, the dog needs to be fed and walked and all of this is before 9am. Somewhere within all the chaos I should eat something, shower, get dressed and breathe.

Postman Pat

Postman Pat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is going to be different, I am having a day all to myself. I am going for a consultation with a surgeon/magician who is going to fix my back once and for all. This is going to be a monumental day for me and my 7 month relationship with my broken spinal disc, he’s totally getting me down, suffocating my hopes and dreams so I’m calling it off. Ordinarily Geordie would drive me to the hospital which is about 50 minutes away, however I am going to take the Postman Pat bus that takes….wait for it……2 hours 14 minutes to get even close to the hospital. I will see the lovely surgeon/wizard and then happily skip back down to the bus stop and take the return journey through the wandering dry stone walled lanes of deepest darkest Cumbria, arriving home way past dinner time.

I need to switch off from being a wife/mum, most of the time just half an hour to sit and watch Eastenders or walk the dog with my ipod set to ‘blaring’ without thinking about changing the baby, or washing uniforms, is enough for me. I absolutely adore my girls and Geordie but I don’t think I would be human if I didn’t need some Me time just a couple of times a month? My friend Caz throws all her energies into Boxercise and climbing bloody big mountains as her way of chilling out from her busy schedule to a mum of four. Another friend dedicates one evening a week to staring at naked people, oh sorry I mean life drawing classes (Which involves staring at naked people) and reliably informs me she strolls home feeling thoroughly relaxed and much more confident about her aging body shape!

So in short, I have decided to sit on a public bus for approximately four hours tomorrow for the sake of being left well alone with my ipod, my kindle and a packet of Minstrels that I’ve managed to hide from Geordie for the last three days behind the biscuit tin in the cupboard. Can I get a whoop?

 

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The Lending Library

Following on from my earlier post/rant about lack of money I am reminded of a saying my ex father-in-law used to say when I was off work on maternity leave ‘Another day at the lending library is it?’ Meaning, another day whiling away the hours doing nothing basically. Who’d have thought that I would go on to focus on the lending library quite so much 7 years later?

Cover of "George's Marvellous Medicine"

George’s Marvellous Medicine

I have now read every single children’s bookin the 0-3 and 4-7 age group at the local library (for research purposes of course) as my own short series of tales for the 4-7’s has finally begun to take shape. This is the first step in a very long process and I’ve still got some work to do before getting myself a literary agent however I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to a few people who have helped me to push forward with my writing dream and make it a reality.

You’ll not be surprised to read that my first thanks are to Geordie and our beautiful little girls. The girls have given me so much inspiration and they’ve often trashed what I thought was my best idea with the blink of an innocent eye. Geordie is just well…Geordie, always super positive and encouraging me to do random things such as rowing (?!) for the sake of gaining a fresh approach to my writing, I wouldn’t have even started the blog had it not been for him.

Thanks to my lovely sister Caroline for all the free advertising she’s done for the blog, and for allowing me to recall some of our childhood mishaps for all the world to read. To my super talented brother Andrew for agreeing to provide some illustrations for the books on completion, thank you and I will be calling in that favour very soon!

To all the people on Facebook that always answer my crazy research questions and who take the time to read the blog. Watching those viewing figures gives me a ton of hope so thank you very much, I hope it’s made you smile if not laugh occasionally? Last but definitely by no means least (I really mean that) thank you to anyone who has ever read the blog as this site is basically writing practise and experience to help me to break into the big bad world of publishing.

Wish me luck!

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When The Ends Don’t Meet

What do you do when the ends won’t meet, money-wise I mean, when you work, you care for your family and have next to no social life yet the money is still never enough? Look for a better paid job, yep good luck with that in the current jobs market. So if there’s no prospect of more pay you have to tighten your belt on all the things that money has to cover right?

Every month Geordie and me sit down with the kitchen calendar and plan out what needs to be spent for the month. We’ve resorted to walking around Tesco using the calculator on my phone as we shop to make sure we don’t go over budget, it’s embarrassing as hell but it’s got to be done so our kids can have birthday presents and school uniforms etc. You might think well why don’t we both work? I’m still at home with our youngest who is 1 now and would have no trouble in going to nursery. When you do the maths I would be going to work for £1.26p an hour once childcare and travel costs are covered. Is it worth it to pay someone else to care for our daughter, not to us, no.

Recently we were a little short for our daughters birthdays which conveniently follow one after another in fairly quick succession. In the last few weeks we needed a small cash boost following our washing machine breaking, the girls snapping their bunk-beds into pieces by jumping on them to Jessie J and our car breaking down 150 miles away from home…September has not been kind to us.

Classic Tiffany inspired 6 claw setting design...

(Photo credit: Jewels Globe)

From past experiences I’m very wary of accumulating debt and friends have warned me against the dangers of the quick pay-day loans that are popping up with their 400% interest rates all over the place, so I decided that my engagement ring made for good collateral against a short buy back loan with a national retailer. Apparently this way of raising cash against items you own seems to be the way forward, there are no credit checks, small interest rates and basically if you don’t pay back the money as agreed in the contract, you lose your goods. I’m new to this whole thing so I thought I’d wander around a little and find out what the best deal was, five stores later I was starting to lose hope.

According to the bored looking staff in every store I wandered into, diamond solitaire rings are ten a penny! I hope Geordie won’t mind me telling you this but I know he paid almost three thousand pounds for my engagement ring which to me is a hell of a lot of money. It’s just 18 months old and has certification and paperwork etc. The best possible price I could get to either sell or secure a temporary loan was £200. My beautiful ring that means the world to me is worth £200 to Cash Converters! Gob smacked isn’t the word. Another retailer offered me £60 for the white gold band but said they would chuck the diamond! On hearing this I put the ring back on my finger and as I type it is shining proudly like it has done since the day Geordie asked me to marry him.

I am all for finding alternative ways to make money while I’m not physically working, I’ve used Ebay and Preloved to sell some items to make a little money but it’s back pocket change really and not a reliable source of income. I’ve done some pretty crappy jobs over the years and I’m far from work shy, it’s just increasingly difficult to find a job with a good salary and affordable childcare.

I suppose I’ll have to rush the little one into potty training to save money on nappies next?

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I Have A Dream

I was talking to my Dad yesterday, he was telling me that he’d had a rubbish night’s sleep as he had dreamed about my Nan who passed away 8 years ago. It would have been her 97th birthday last week had she battled through a broken hip as she had countless heart attacks and strokes. The last few nights I’ve had some random dreams too, random but very vivid. The most interesting one was EastEnders character Jack (Actor Scott Malsen) pursuing me through Venice desperate for a date?! I watch EastEnders around twice a month and rely on my Mum to fill me in on the story lines that I’ve missed so as I’m not an avid viewer I though my subconscious choice of love interested was indeed random?! PS I knew it was Venice because of the gondolas!

When I was about 6 I watched an episode of Casualty (yes it’s been going that long) that featured a patient who looked a bit like Frankenstein after sustaining a nasty head injury. For about two weeks afterwards I had nightmares that he was in the cupboard under the stairs and was trying to break free to get me! See vivid, it’s 24 years later and I still remember it well. Also around this time I received a What’s New Scooby Doo? annual for my birthday, one of the cartoon strip stories involved a rope bridge and the villain of choice this time was a very angry giant gorilla. Once again my over active imagination decided we’d be trying to escape the giant gorilla who was shaking the nuts out of the rope bridge as I held on for dear life. Stupid Scooby Doo.

Don’t you just love those dreams where you fall off a cliff or bridge and wake up a split second before you hit the ground? No me neither. Geordie certainly doesn’t care for being kicked/kneed/slapped in various body parts in the middle of the night as I simulate ninja like moves to combat the rapidly approaching ground. As a Mum it breaks my heart when my girls wake in the night in floods of tears because they’re had a nightmare. My youngest stays asleep most of the time and just whimpers which is particularly heart wrenching to hear. My eldest comes tearing into the room as if whatever horrific monster disturbed her sleep really was under her bed. Although by the state of her bedroom most days the monster would do himself more damage standing on Lego or Lalaloopsy dolls before he reached the door, good get away plan for a 6-year-old.

Sweet Dreams!

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The Reward Chart

Earlier this week and at the request of my 6-year-old we made a reward chart and hung it in the kitchen. The tasks were all about good habits as we rapidly approach the start of the new school year so things such as manners, bed times, homework and nail-biting. After two days she got a full sweep, a smiley sticker on all 8 tasks and she was completely elated! This morning I lay in bed listening to Geordie banging things around in the kitchen while getting ready for work. He came upstairs to stuff his third lot of stinking gym kit this week into the washing basket probably knowing full well that I’d be laying there fuming because he’s broken our little agreement. At least this morning he’s managed the potentially dangerous task of washing his own breakfast dishes, so why didn’t he do it the rest of this week? Can you see where I’m going with this?

A Cadbury Dairy Milk bar in 2006.

A Cadbury Dairy Milk bar  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could formulate a reward chart, only slightly more advanced than the junior one, where the reward for a full sweep of stickers was a happy marriage do you think it would work? If he can complete, lets just say 5 easy tasks such as putting a wash of your own stinking clothes on or hanging your soaking wet towel over the banister properly so it will actually dry. We could live in peace and harmony and happiness, small price to pay if you ask me. I came down after he’d left this morning to avoid any confrontation and to watch Fifi and the Flowertots (with the kids). I found a Dairy Milk next to the phone in the living room. Obviously I’m eating it….but I think I might have been done over. Is this my reward for not starting an argument? For not moaning on about his lack of help or thought for me? So he could go to work with the hope that I might have forgotten/chilled out by the time he gets home? I don’t know what the intention is but I’m eating it ………and putting a boil wash on. Bleurgh!

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Mum Knows Best?

The Pink Panther cartoon character

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please help me! My daughter has been asleep for the last twenty minutes and yet I am still sat here watching Raa Raa the Lion on CITV and I can’t bring myself to get up and turn it over. I’m fast becoming a champion of theme tunes, celebrity voice overs and episode names for the majority of Cbeebies and CITV cartoons and it’s not really what Geordie wants to hear about when he gets back in from the adult world of work. He moans about the monotony of his daily routine and not getting to the gym, I moan that the episode of Horrid Henry when Henry makes his Mum some nasty perfume was on AGAIN! It’s hardly a match made in heaven.

I am pleasantly surprised that with all the cartoons on the TV 24/7 that my youngest has taken a shine to some real classics, Sooty and The Pink Panther raising the highest squeal as soon as the theme tune kicks in. Are you humming The Pink Panther now? I do…in my sleep. There have been many heated debates over the dining table about which Atomic Betty theme tune is the best, I’m so old school but my girls are rolling with the times. Pah! what do they know, they’ve never even heard of ThunderCats, Trap Door or Willow The Wisp!

My Mum has offered to buy my eldest daughter a TV for Christmas for the last couple of years but I’ve always declined because I’m positive it will become impossible to get her out of her bedroom and into the fresh air without resorting to blackmail. Not a situation I want to tackle until she’s at least at high school, and while she still believes that you get square eyes from watching too much TV I’m going to usher her in the garden in her wellie’s to play as much as possible, especially when my cartoons are on.

What’s your favourite cartoon?

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