Friday, 29 January 2010


I was stopped dead, literally in my tracks earlier today. Stunned. Gobsmacked. Shocked even. And I'd like to think I'm fairly unshockable.

David has been at home this week, using up his annual leave before the end of March (his mother wants to know why he didn't take the week off after The Wedding so he could help Jack Next Door move into her residential home - I think you know the reason why) and has spent most of the week at Borough Market which is roughly, ooh, ten minutes walk from his office. Why? I haven't the foggiest.

Anyway, he was out in the kitchen, unloading today's booty (ham, green things with dirt on them) and Mac was watching him, fascinated by seeing things not coming out of plastic bags with Sainsbury's written on them. "Ham!" he bellowed as, presumably, ham entered the fridge. I was in the living room at this point, trying to work out whether or not I could get away with ordering the ridiculously expensive Emu boots from QVC without David noticing but was smiling at my boys enthusiasm for all things edible. "Brockley!" he bellowed as, again broccoli was no doubt released from the confines of David's hessian bag.

"Mummy, daddy said I can't have any ham!" came a voice from the doorway, bottom lip wobbling precariously five minutes later. Note he wasn't bewailing the lack of broccoli coming his way. "Well, you can't, not on it's own. Wait and have some for tea" said I, quickly turning QVC off (am even now hiding my shopping channel addiction from my son). "Oh God!" he sighed.

Now, this is something that's worrying me. He wasn't saying "God" as in how I would say it, like "Oh God, what have I trodden in?" or "Oh My God, look at the price of that!" but "Oh God" as in they've started doing Religion at school and he's merely "expressing his wish to communicate with the Heavenly Father". According to his form teacher, Mrs W.

But it sounds like he's saying "Oh God......" and then revving up for a moan. Which threw Bea on Wednesday and had Amelia clutching her throat yesterday. "You're raising a blasphemer!" she insisted. I must admit I have my doubts and am hoping that he'll get out of the habit of chatting to Him other than in his nightly prayers (which, incidentally start with Dear Lord) which is what I say on a daily basis but for the other reason.

Are you following me?

So, he wasn't moaning because of the lack of ham, he was communicating with Jesus' dad. Right.

So, onto what completely discombobulated me earlier. Not two minutes after the Ham Incident I heard David mumble something and then Mac yell "Jesus!" at the top of this voice.

I shot off the sofa, leapt over Senior Dog who was having a snooze in the middle of the room and skidded into the kitchen. "MACKENZIE!" I bellowed, shaky of knee "Don't you ever, EVER, ever.........."

I trailed off when I focussed on David holding aloft a bag of cheeses and my once again wobbly lipped son happily chomping on an an illicit bit of cheddar.

Cheeses. Indeed.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Everyone, it seems, is in a bad mood at the moment. Charlie is threatening all kinds of violence towards the outgoing family who are in "her" new flat and who are unable to move because their removals firm had double booked and can't "provide any vans until the "twenty fird love". She's also threatening violence to the incoming couple who are moving into her "old" flat as they're raring to go and she's still got her life in packing cases all over the flat. I questioned this sheer level of aggression as she moved the "essentials" into our spare room on Sunday. Quietly, lest she flare up again. She's okay at the moment though, she's glued to the football with David - if she asks him once more to explain the offside rule I suspect he may get a tidge on edge.

Frank and Marjorie Stewart are in an equally bad mood - they requested (from Lydia, their landlady) that they be able to build a conservatory - "only a small one, we're not ostentatious, just big enough to house the hot tub" - and she's refused. According to Marjorie "my friend" doesn't want what is effectively a greenhouse tacked onto the back of her house. I've pointed out to Lyds that if it shields the poor unsuspecting neighbours from any hot tub shenanigans it's got to be worth it but she is adamant. She's just as adamant that Freddie has his five a day every day - each time I see that child he's got a carrot stick in one hand and grape in the other. Three times on Sunday I extracted the former from his left nostril.

Amelia is also not backwards in coming forwards on the bolshy front (when is she ever?) and is insisting that Mac wear a proper three piece suit to her wedding. He refused to try the waistcoat on on Saturday and received a lecture from his Granny about "children being seen, not heard and doing what they're told to do!" - he rolled his eyes and slouched over to the television, muttering ominously.

Me? I'm all sweetness and light at the moment, the dreaded headaches from caffeine withdrawals are slowly abating and, although I would once kill for a latte, I'm not actually actively missing coffee on a day to day basis. Cut to Bea who, this morning, thoughtfully rang me up and asked me if I wanted to meet her in Sainsbury's Starbucks for a "skinny latte".

"I'm not drinking coffee" I pointed out. Sharp intake of air from my darling sister "Darling. Are you sure? Is that wise? I couldn't get through the day without a latte and an expresso first thing in the morning". I advised her, for the nth time that I am not her and that I was managing just fine without it. I left her puzzling this and she rang off. Two hours later she biked round some alternative "hot beverages darling" in a hamper for me to try. I love my sister.

Anyway, must dash. Our house guest is working up a good old head of steam - an estate agents advert has just flashed up on the round-the-pitch hoardings - and she's bubbling over. She'll be okay if I steer her in the direction of the biscuit tin and Bea's hamper.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Gone a bit......

I’m a bit disheartened. Discouraged, even. There’s been no change in my body weight/shape since New Years Eve. I’d decided that, along with my Healthy Eating Malarky, I wouldn’t weigh myself as I’d become obsessed with the dial and its position and use the Jeans Method instead. That is, fitting into a pair of jeans that, as at 31 December 2009, I couldn’t do up without bulging and being unable to breathe.

I’d cosseted the jeans, prepared them lovingly. They’re clean as I washed them before I put them on my Can’t Wear THOSE Any More shelf in my wardrobe a few years ago. But as we all know, washed jeans are tighter than normal and need wearing in a bit before we can define whether or not they actually fit. So, just before Christmas I put them on along with a long line top to hide the bulges and wore them about the house to “stretch” them. After wearing them for two days (and having them leave an imprint around my waist that actually hurt) they had stretched considerably. I’m not kidding myself, I’m never going to wear a pair of skinny jeans but I do at least want to fit into my Pre-Mackenzie pair.

So, having got them ready to accept my current body shape, and having spent the previous two weeks eating healthy foods (with the odd lapse), walking to and from school in the morning, taking the dogs twice round Dulwich Park on Saturdays and Sundays and clenching whilst cooking, I had high hopes of this morning’s little experiment.

I got them on but struggled to pull them up. I could do them up (like before, lying flat and then attempting to stand up straight without bending) but the bulge was worse, they were twisted on my legs and the pockets were sticking out alarmingly. In short they were worse than on New Years Eve.

I walked around a bit to check their flexibility but only succeeded in catching sight of myself in the mirror and emitting a small sob of…..I’m not sure what. Horror? Frustration? Mourning for all of the food I COULD have eaten?

I got out of them as quickly as I could (not easy when they were clinging to my flesh like leeches), threw them on the floor of the wardrobe in a heap and flopped onto my bed. Five minutes – and a good wallow – later I dragged myself downstairs and kicked the exercise bike.

That was at half past eleven. You’ll be pleased to hear that I didn’t delve into the biscuit tin, nor did I hunt out the last of the Quality Street that David has hidden from me. Instead I made myself a Cup A Soup and rang Charlie who is having monstrous problems with her new flat (as in, she’s ready to move into it but the current occupiers aren’t ready to leave it yet) for a good bitching session. We’ve concluded that two weeks isn’t enough time for anything to happen and that I should carry on as I have been and not worry too much about it. She’s going to pop round later with a small bar of Green and Blacks as a treat but I’ve got to promise not to eat it until the weekend as a “test of my willpower”.

Sometimes I wonder if she knows me AT all!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Well, I have my penguin Pandora charm but David won't let me have it as I cycled without witnesses (you can't count the dogs, apparently) on Monday. So now I have to "go again" as they say in certain circles while David watches. I fear that as my Pussy Cat Dolls DVD has yet to arrive (damn snow) he is getting his thrills elsewhere. Excuse me, but I'm just about to push some Buttons.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Can you feel it?

Apart from arranging wedding flowers, cars, a buffet and trying to convince Mac that he's not losing a granny, he's gaining a grandad, whilst assuring him that, what with his, current grandad he'll have the grand total of two grandads, I'm trying to sort my life out.

You know me, I do love setting myself these impossible challenges.

I've booked a hair cut next week and plan on asking my hairdresser Amanda for a shag. She won't bat an eyelid, that woman has seen it all and come out the other side smiling. At the moment, any style that doesn't mind being washed and conditioned, straightened to within an inch of its life and then scurfed up into a scrunchie gets my vote. But I've decided that this year is going to be my year, the year that I allow the thin, witty, wonderful, gorgeous, classy woman that I know is inside me somewhere come out.

I just have to convince the chubby, sarcastic, alright-in-small-doses, (very) moderately attractive, Sarf London accented woman to let her out.

I'm doing well on my Health Eating Malarky. I'm not calling it a diet as that's a sure fire way to propel me to the biscuit tin via Ayres and the chip shop. It's not that I'm never ever going to set foot in the hallowed establishment but I shall be perusing the granary bread with maybe just a little wander along to the gingerbread men as a treat. I'm not denying myself anything, I'm just being sensible. I'm not sure if it was in fact sensible to open a bag of cola bottles at ten past ten on Saturday night while I watched Most Haunted Live but hey, I didn't deny myself the ten I had. Had I denied myself, David would not have been able to partake of any on Sunday as they'd have all gone. Therefore, if I want an Ayres doughnut, dripping with raspberry jam and covered in sugar, then I'll bloody well have one. I'll just be careful the day after. Y'see? It's a piece of, erm, cake.

My reward for getting on the exercise bike once a week (for now) for twenty minutes is another Pandora charm for my Pandora bracelet that David bought me for Christmas. My aim is to be on the damn thing every other day for half an hour but the dogs seem extremely keen on my legs as they whizz round and its a bit dangerous. David has faith in me, or so he claims, but his smirk when I showed him the (rather long) list of what I'd like to be rewarded with (at his discretion) seemed more than a little smug. I'll show him.

I've ordered the Pussy Cat Dolls exercise DVD and have started eating Oatso Simple for breakfast - no wonder it fills you up, it has the consistency of glue. I'm exfoliating, cleansing and moisturising and drinking 2 litres of water a day and Janey's popping round tonight with a copy of her pre-wedding diet plan "It wasn't a diet as such, just what foods to eat with what foods and what foods not to eat with, erm, some foods" she rabbited on this morning "Terry at my gym did it for me, and he's had more than one minor celeb on his workmat y'know".

I can but try!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Mop and bucket

I washed my kitchen floor this morning - you're right to be surprised, it doesn't happen that often. I got that weird feeling that you get when you've done something worthwhile and you can see the benefits. I even stood admiring it for a few minutes, inhaling the lemon zestiness from the Flash I had swabbed all over my laminated area, leaning on the mop in a weary fashion.

Cut to ten minutes later, the smell of lemons still in the air and an off-school Mac charged in from the garden bringing with him excess snow on his feet which instantly turned into water. I sighed and reached for the mop to wipe up the drops. I didn't castigate him (but I did castigate the stupid school that couldn't quite work out that snow + cold weather = turn the heating up a bit).

For lunch I made a quick "soup" of left over vegetables which smelt heavenly even if it looked a bit, erm, odd. Still, Mac was quite happy to eat copious amounts of it and, with about six spoonfuls left, asked for some more. I was so delighted that he was actively requesting vegetables that I hastened to fill his bowl and dribbled the best part of a bowlful onto the table and therefore onto the floor. Cue Senior Dog (he gets first dibs on all leftovers/table to floor mishaps) who gobbled up the hot soup and went off panting. Out came the mop again to get rid of the vegetable smears.

More garden frolics for my son (we have a range of varying snow creatures) and the return of snowy feet, this time accompanied by a little "snow hedgehog mummy" that took great exception to being brought into the warm and promptly melted all over my poor beleagured kitchen floor.

More mopping, but was getting bored of it all by then.

Imagine my horror, nay disgust, when the soup that Senior Dog gobbled made a reappearance on the (yes, you've got it) kitchen floor, right by the fridge. More hot Flash-y water and the fifth appearance of the day from my mop. It's never been so well used in its life.

David arrived home from work just after six, moaning about cancelled trains, slippery platforms and the fact that his shoes are "sodden". He left them to get even more sodden - I don't even have to tell you do I? - on the kitchen floor, ironically right beside the mop and bucket. I swear I heard the cleaning implements groan as I approached.

I was planning on giving the loo and bathroom a good old clean tomorrow (using my steam cleaner that Amelia bought me for Christmas "to help you with the housework dear") but I'm a bit worried what I'll invoke!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year Reservations

My body is rebelling. I'm not sure if it's rebelling against

a) my family descending and causing havoc over Christmas - highlights included calling Bea's niece Carella (named after her parents Carson and Ella) Cruella because they didn't "get" the meaning of her name, my mother in law Amelia taking in huge intakes of air every time Mac opened a present and Uncle Jim choking on a a mince pie on Boxing Day and going purple.

b) the fact that I've eaten so much rubbish (chocolate, pies, copious amounts of Pringles) to get over point (a) or

c) the fact that my mother in law is getting married to my next door neighbour and expects me to arrange everything.

Is it any wonder I have a cold, a cold sore the size of Australia and permanently cold feet? I am also sluggish, irritable and "don't want to do anything". I've therefore given my self a swift talking to this afternoon while Mac and David were at football and have a plan

a) ignore my family - they will always be there, will always cause me grief and so it's pointless to get stressed about them. Hah!

b) attempt to eat healthily and drink more water. I think, to be honest, that will have to start tomorrow because I've just polished off sweet and sour chicken and rice, six Roses chocolates and a Baileys. I've also promised that I will stick to my Philosophy skin care regime come hell or high water and there will be no more of this "falling into bed at half ten with a cats lick and promise to my mush" lark. I outlined this aspect of my Plan to Bea this morning and she shrieked down the phone "PROMISE me you'll always exfoliate darling, PROMISE me" in a slightly hysterical fashion.

c) try to get out of arranging the wedding of Amelia and Jack Next Door.

This latter bit may prove to be a bit difficult if I'm honest. It's not helped by the fact that everyone around me is so pleased that "they've found love together at their time of life" that I feel a bit mean not wanting to get involved. When they announced their impending nuptials just after the after dinner mints on Christmas Day you could have heard a pin drop. Then the comments/questions started:

Bea: "How, erm, marvellous!"
David: "Erm, right, okay.......right"
Janey: "Oh lovely, when is it?"
Auntie Ivy: "June's nice for a wedding"
Uncle Jim: "Ere, you haven't got her up the duff have you?"
Me: "Where will you live?"

My question/comment was, I felt, the most valid. My mother-in-law is barely tolerable in deepest darkest Kent: to have her next door would be impossible.

She graciously accepted all the congratulations, squeezed Jack's hand on one side and David's hand on the other and fixed me with a piercing look. "Jack will be moving in with me at the residential home, we've managed to get a double flat"

My relief was extremely visible and I shakily put the mince pie down that I was about to stuff into my mouth.

She later revealed to Ivy, whilst poking around my fridge, that they managed to secure the double flat because "Florrie William's husband John died and they've moved her into a single flat. Poor soul. One minute he was scraping the ice off the birdbath, the next he was face down on the privet". Jack, a lovely man, watched her fondly as she pulled out a wizened old lemon from my fridge and asked me "Do you need this for anything?". Ggrrr, ggrrrrr.

"It'll be odd, leaving my garden, but they've agreed to let me look after their gardens now, what with poor old John not being around any more" Jack revealed as we sat down to coffee. "You'll help out with the arrangements won't you Joanna? You did such a good job with Darren and Janey's wedding" he went on, gesturing for Ameila to join him at his side.

What could I say other than yes? Bea has offered to help (although I think her budget wildly exceeds what Jack and Amelia have in mind) and so has Janey. "I can get the limo we had" she promised, entering the reminder into her newly received Blueberry "When were you thinking of? June?"

"Ah" said Amelia. "We've had a cancellation, we were lucky. So, put the 6th in your diaries."

"Of June?" asked Auntie Ivy

"No, February" said Amelia. And then started writing me a list that will take me until February to read, compute and act on.

All about me

My photo
Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.