Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A kick up the writerly arse

I have a vay lovely friend called Fionnuala, who one of these days is going to be the most famousest writers in the universe because - trust me - her writing is that good. I mean I actually thought she was big Mazza in disguise for a while... only better.

Anyway, writing aside (and our plans for a WW Irish girls world domination type thing... like the Spice Girls only with more chocolate) she has become a very supportive and lovely friend and today I was having yet another "everything I write is shit and my life is shit and yadda yadda yadda" moment and she sent me a funny email - a vay funny email and I'm to share it because it made me laugh and anything that makes me laugh at the moment is just fine in my book!

‘So Claire……why do you think your book is shit?’
‘Because I’m just not sure it’s me…’

‘I’m hearing a little denial here Claire. Do you think you possibly just want to start writing the next one?’
‘Er, maybe’

‘And what makes you think that one won’t be shit?’
‘It won’t be. I’ll make it funny. I do funny better…..easier. It’s all about the worst year of my life and..’

‘Aaah, so you want it to be easier. Well I can understand that – you work full time, have a busy day, have a young son to look after. I can understand the attraction of easier’
‘Er I think it would also be better?’

‘Why’s that?’
‘Just would’

‘How old did you say you were Claire?’

Blatantly stolen from Keris

My life in review -2007

1. What did you do in 2007 that you never did before?
Had a book published.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn't make any. And no. (Same as Keris)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Nora gave birth to the gorgeous Finn in June.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my uncle, my sister's new FIL (on her wedding day!) and my own lovely father in law David.

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Scotland and the glorious republic of Ireland

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Keris said she would like more than enough money - I would just like enough money. And contentment and nobody dying or getting ill please. I've had my fill.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 21, RD&T was released on my 31st birthday and June 30, my sister's wedding day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It's between getting published and reaching my lowest ever post baby weight.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being able to make it better for so many people I cared about.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing serious *touching wood*

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I don't think I actually bought a whole lot last year... probably a nice handbag or something twee like that.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Mine! all mine! And Joseph for being a superstar at school, and all my friends who had books out, or wrote good books etc

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
So called 'slebs.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Down the fecking toilet...

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing Dirty Dancing the Live Stage Show in London. (Woohoo London Baby!)

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Bizarrely "Say a Little Prayer" by Aretha Franklin or "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Can change hour by hour
b) thinner or fatter? Almost two stone thinner!
c) richer or poorer? Richer in some ways, poorer in others.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Counting my blessings

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Being a mardy cow

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Up to my tits in Playmobil

21. What was your favourite month of 2007?
july - when I became a bestselling author!

22. Did you fall in love in 2007?
With Ben and Jerry? Yes!

23. How many one-night stands?
Chance would be a fine thing.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
House or Desperate Housewives.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a very strong word... but I dislike a few people yes.

26. What was the best book you read?
I'm not sure I actually read all that much in 2007. I was too busy writing!

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
James Morrison or Paolo Nutini.

28. What did you want and get?
A bestseller - much to my surprise

29. What did you want and not get?

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Enchanted - fabulous!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Had a book released and I was 31.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having enough money.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Jabba The Hut meets Oprah- before she lost the weight.

34. What kept you sane?
My friends, my writing, my boy.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hugh Laurie as House. Hubba Hubba.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The whole fecking nanny state obesity bullsh*t where airlines said they would charge bigger people more and all the sanctimonious feckwits in the world posted on BBC Have Your Say about how fat people were lazy big gulpens who should be shot at dawn.

37. Who did you miss?
Mostly my best friend Vicki who I only see once or twice a year.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
The Poolbeg team - all of 'em. And Suzi from Hughes and Hughes at Dublin Airport (in a non-stalkerish way) who made me feel like a v important and good author.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007
Don't swear on telly and remember bad and good, this too will pass.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
Each day I live
I want to be
A day to give
The best of me
I'm only one
But not alone
My finest day
Is yet unknown
I broke my heart
Fought every gain
To taste the sweet
I face the pain
I rise and fall
Yet through it all
This much remains
I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel
I will feel eternity

Une interview avec moi!

On Trashionista

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In out, in out...

During my journey through cyberspace today I read Shauna Reid's Adventures of Diet Girl blog, which I discovered a few months ago through Bloggers with Book Deals.
I've mentioned Shauna before because she lost 12 stone. TWELVE STONE. Which is a lot in anyone's book and, speaking of books, she wrote one about losing her TWELVE STONE and it's out now. (And I'm buying it all to myself on payday!).

Anyway, today on her blog she talks about those smug feckers who think losing weight is simply an issue of eating less and moving about more. Which, we all know, is a pile of shite. I read her post and it made me laugh, but it also made me cry. She talks of defining herself as fat. I do that - all the time. I sit and think of how to describe me and the first thought is fat. It's always been that way, even when I was 10 stone (a loooooong time ago) and more so now that I'm considerably more than 10 stone. It's a horrible place to be when your first thought about yourself is what you weigh - and what others think you weigh. I see myself as a person, yes, but as a woman - an attractive woman - no. I never have and I'm not sure I will.
But reading Shauna's post I'm determined to read her book and see if I can change that. That would be pretty amazing.

I know all there is to know...

about the waiting game...
The thing with writing is that you do a lot of waiting. You wait, in many instances, until the muse strikes and then - if you work full time like me - you wait until you get home until you actually have the opportunity to write.
Then you send your book off and wait for your agent to say whether she likes it which, even though you tend to get a response in a week or so, feels like the longest wait of your life. Until that is you send it to your publisher and wait to see if they like it ... and that's a longer wait. Every hour feels like a year. Every moment is spent paralysed with fear that they hate it and they hate you and they are scurrying away in the background trying to break your contract... and then you hear... and your breathe out... and do some rewrites... and send if off again.
Then, once you have sent it off you wait again for a publication slot. And it goes quiet and you wonder if the last year of your life has been a dream and while you do the day job and try and write something else you wonder can it really, really be true that you actually wrote a book at all?
Then you wait for it to be released, and wait for the reviews (and hope you actually get some reviews in the first place) and wait for people to tell you what they thought of it and then wait for the whole process to start again.
And all this time you are consumed with paranoia and fear and self doubt, with moments of joy. And some times you wonder if you have the mental strength to be a writer and cope with the waiting. As one who's middle names really should have been 'Instant Gratification' this is not something I cope well with.
But you remind yourself that you are in a priviledged position and being published isn't a right - it's a luxury - albeit one you work damn hard for.
But still, some times, in the horrible month that is January you wonder should you give it up and return to spending your evenings watching TV or chatting online. There's less worry and waiting in watching Corrie, but there is less reward.
Still... some times...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The changing face of moi


The difference is 10 months, 2 stone (in my favour) and the loss of brassy blonde highlights.
Anyway, the second is my updated publicity shot.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Random Conversations with the Boy part 4

On driving past an Estate agents:

The Boy : "Look mummy, at all the houses in the window of that shop."
Me: "Yes, Joseph, all those houses are for sale. You go in there it buy one."
The Boy (with a roll of the eyes): "Don't be so silly mummy. Houses are too heavy to carry."

He had a point.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Writers and jealousy

For some reason I can't link directly to the post by fellow Write Words member Nik Perring about jealousy so I've just given general blog linkage.
Anyway, visit his blog and have a wee read of his post about writers and jealousy. I'd like to put it better than he did, but I'm not sure I can.
We are all human, so it's not bad to feel a pang of the green eyed monster at another's success, but I think Nik makes a great point when he says that making it in the business is tough going anyway and anyone who gets anywhere deserves our respect.

Leave the celebs alone!

I love a bit of celebrity gossip. I’m the first person to admit that I’ll happily while away a lunchtime or two a week catching up on who is doing what to who, and where and what they might possibly be wearing while they are doing it. I like to see famous folk looking like trainwrecks and Go Fug Yourself is one of my favourite websites.
As someone on the dowdy side of average, I like to see that being skinny, rich and hugely successful does not necessarily make you immune to the occasional horrendous fashion faux pas.
It gives me a certain sense of glee to see that Tom Cruise (a vile, vile man) seems intent on sabotaging his own career with random acts of madness. I don’t like him and his ilk after he ranted on national TV about Post Natal Depression being a load of old hooey. So, I like that the Karma Fairy is biting him in the butt with his public losing of marbles.
That said, I’m also starting to feel uncomfortable with the way we invade celebville with our long angled lenses and desire to dig the dirt. Sure laughing at their wonky dresses and underwear malfunctions is funny. And yes, Tom Cruise lost all right to our sympathy when he launched that stupid rant about depression - but I think we have to draw the line somewhere and remember that while celebs have certain luxurious lifes we would all like a taste of, they are after all, only human.
It shocked me that a well known celeb spotting website had news of Heath Ledger’s death before his family knew.
It has also really horrified me that when it comes to the like of Britney Spears, the media doesn’t seem to care that she is clearly a woman experiencing a very public nervous breakdown. In the last week, we have pictures of her without underwear on, pictures of her covered in blood and stories of how her “boyfriend” has been trying to sell pictures of the pair of them in flagrante to make a quick buck.
A certain daily paper also seems obsessed with pushing singer Amy Winehouse to the brink of a breakdown and spends each and every day commenting on her every move. Oooh, shock, horror - she ate McDonalds two days in a row.
Well, I’d be beat if I was famous. When I was pregnant I practically lived on McDonalds as it was the only food that didn’t give me horrendous heartburn. (And yet, I wondered why I put on three stone? Now it all makes sense.)
Now I know neither Britney or Amy are icons of clean living, but all this pressure cannot help. If I was hurtling towards a breakdown, being treated like some sort of circus freak and hounded morning, noon and night would not encourage me on the road to recovery. More likely it would send me hurtling for the funny farm quicker than you can say “They tried to make me go to Rehab...”
It’s worse still, I suppose, when celebs are just pottering about doing their thing and the press decides - just for the craic- to speculate on their lives. I think I’ve lost count of the number of famous people in the last few months who have been forced to admit to being pregnant long before they were comfortable making the announcement. know where to draw the line Now, famous or not, being pregnant is about as personal as it gets. And in this day and age we are all only too aware of how things can and do go wrong.
In recent months Nicole Kidman - a woman with a history of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy - has been forced to admit she is expecting. Singer Lily Allen was also forced into making an admission of a pregnancy and then, when it ended in miscarriage, she wasn’t even afforded the right to be left alone with her grief. Just a few days later she was snapped out shopping and, God forbid, she was even smiling. So that makes it okay then, doesn’t it?
Just because she is smiling it means we are allowed to take her picture again? Although I imagine if she was falling into a pit of despair at her loss and going on a bender the pictures would have at least made more money for the scurrilous photographer. I know that perhaps I’m a little hypocritical. After all, I do love to read a good bit of gossip myself. I find it entertaining, but there is a line when entertaining just becomes disturbing and intrusive.
I don’t buy the line that if someone is an actor or singer that being under public scrutiny comes with the territory. Making the most of your god given talent does not give the world and his mother the right to know what you ate for breakfast (or even what you snorted for breakfast if that is more your bag). There are plenty of trainwreck celebrities out there chomping for the attention (Kerry Katona, Pete Doherty anyone?) so why don’t the paps just concentrate on those folks who are happy to bear their souls and their knickers to the world’s media and leave the rest of them alone.
More than that however, if we see someone in genuine distress like Britney or Amy, how about we show just a little compassion. It’s the least any of us as human beings deserve.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Defeating depression

The very kind people at Aware, a Northern Ireland based organisation which supports people with depression, have asked me to support their 'One in Ten' Mothers' Day Campaign which will highlight how one in ten women will develop post natal depression.
I developed Post Natal Depression after the birth of the boy, and I intend to write a full blog of my story in the coming weeks. It was not a pleasant time and I still have some emotional scars from it.
One of the biggest things for me at the time was that I felt there was no support out there. And even in this enlightened day and age I felt as if I was broken on the inside for not immediately falling head over heels in love with the J-man.
Of course, I got help, and I love him now more than anything in this world with a sense of pride so fierce I would do anything for him. (Die, walk over hot coals, give up chocolate. You name it!)
I still have depressive episodes, but I know there is help there.
And I intend to work with Aware over the coming month to make sure others know that help is out there too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

D'ya ever get one of those days..

When you struggle to motivate yourself?
My day started with the boy launching into one of his badly timed conversations at approximately 4am. Each time he lulled me into a false sense of security that he had drifted back off to sleep, I would start to dose off only to be met with yet another question. (Generally involving his approaching birthday).
So after an hour of insane babble, I managed to persuade him to go back to sleep and drifted off into some half world where I was having an affair with an unknown male who did, in fairness, have the most amazing pecs. Sadly the realisation dawned on me that I was married before I got to enjoy the pecs fully and when I woke up I felt kind of cheated.
And the lack of sleep and lack of, you know, has left me feeling rather meh all day.
Normally I'd reach for the chocolate to salve my weary mental state but I'm determined with a capital D to lose 2lbs this week and reach my two stone goal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rules- schmules

As some readers of this blog may have realised, in my spare time, when I’m not fighting off grubby handprints from the boy or working towards a nasty deadline in La Office, I’m a writer.
Now I say I’m a writer because I write. I have written almost three books - and countless columns and a jillion articles on everything ranging from depression to the monthly Diabetes Association meetings.
I’m not really qualified to be a writer. I am, of course, qualified to be a journalist and I follow certain journalistic rules - otherwise I imagine I would get the boot.
But when it comes to writing I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of a gal.
I was actually shocked when I joined Write Words to discover that there were all kinds of rules for writing fiction. I’m ashamed to admit my eyes glaze over when I hear people wax lyrical about narratives, POVs and “showing not telling”.
I have this notion you see that writing should be about doing what you enjoy. Most of us won’t make a decent living out of it. We won’t be able to quit our jobs or swan about the town in a pashmina declaring we are artistes.
Most of us, dare I say it, won’t even get published so for most of us writing is a hobby - albeit one we are passionate about.
I just think if something is a hobby you should enjoy it. You should make up your own rules - enjoy the process, live through your characters - EXPRESS YOURSELF! (Now I know I’m getting all Madonna, but that is how I feel).
We could all write by numbers. We can all learn the mechanisms of writing and the technicalities of what makes a good story, but without the passion and the uniqueness, it’s all for nothing.
Rules, schmules.
I would put it more eloquently than that, but if you want to read the literary argument, then visit Emma Darwin’s Blog, or The Mock Duck. Mine is just how I feel - which is basically how I write, rules or no.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thank you for being a friend..

Sometimes I love my friends.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ever fallen in love with someone...

You shouldn't have fallen in love with? This disturbs me, because about two months ago I had a romantic dream about Wilson from House (Robert Sean Leonard) and since them I'm a little obsessed with him and his, erm, stethoscope.
He is very handsome, but exceptionally clean cut and given the choice I imagine I would choose House (Hugh Laurie) over him any day of the week, but I can't help but go all weak at the knees when I see him on the TV screen these days. Underneath that cool, calm and collected exterior, do you think he really might be just a little deviant? Because I think I would like that.
Still, it beats the time I dreamt about David Walliams and became obsessed with him and it's definitely better than the horrendous nightmare that was my Barry from EastEnders dream *shudder*.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Evil, evil mummy

A debate (when I say debate read that as full on war) on one of the forums I use about the perils of being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mummy) as opposed to working.
It started innocently (ish) enough with a question about how SAHM's cope with comments such as "I could n't possibly do what you do. I would be sooooo bored", which I admit is a little insulting to SAHMs and indeed their children. (You could accuse my son of many things - being boring isn't one of them).
Now as a working mother, when I make "I couldn't do what you do" comments, its generally in a "Wow! You've certainly a lot more patience that I'd ever have" kind of way. I certainly have never meant to insult anyone.
Now as a working mother, I get my share of barbed remarks also. "Oh, how could let someone else raise your child?" "Why did you have children if you weren't prepared to raise them yourself!", and the classic "Well, if having a fancy lifetstyle is more important to you than being there for you child, then knock yourself out."
I work - I don't feel the need to discuss why, because it's no one's business but my own and at the end of the day a working mum is a working mum. But I can tell you my lifestyle is far from fancy - although I'll freely admit we are a step or two up the rung from benefits.
There is nothing as emotive in this world as telling a mother she isn't doing the whole parenting thing the right way. There is nothing as hateful (as yes, it's a strong word, but necessary in this instance) as implying a mother cares any less of her child because she works.
I've said it once and I'll say 100 times if necessary. We're all doing the best we can and the sooner we women stop bashing each other over the head for our choices (and indeed in many cases there is no choice) the better.
Perhaps we could all learn a lesson from our children and try growing up just a little.

The guilt factor

Well thank you Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mr Jamie Oliver. Thank you for heaping guilt upon guilt upon guilt about the very dinner on our tables.
Seriously, thank you because it’s not as if we don’t have enough to worry about anyway. And being good Irish God fearing people we are always looking for a new dose of worry or a new healthy helping of guilt.
Now, as I look at my Tesco Value chicken breasts I feel I am in some way condoning the wilful abuse of animals and am personally responsible for the suffering of thousands of baby chicks.
Two weeks ago, I thought I was doing good. Those chicken breasts were a good old price for someone on a budget and they featured strongly in my GI Diet friendly recipes. I’d have them stuffed with mozarella and cherry tomatoes, marinaded in lemon and olive oil with mixed herbs or grilled and served with assorted veg in a low fat fajita.
Now, I feel like a murderer.
So my weekly shop this week was a little more complicated. I’m not a big meat eater anyway and my husband (an uber carnivore) frequently beats his head off the wall in frustration at my fussiness.
Offer me some fish (except fish fingers or tinned tuna) and I’ll turn my nose up quick as look at you. Not for me are any of your scaley, icky creatures which swim about in our contaminated seas. I take no joy in seeing something served on a plate complete with 101 tiny bones and some slippery skin. Worse still is when the wee feckers have eyeballs.
Similarly, please, don’t try and serve me lamb. Yes, I know lambs aren’t technically the wee fluffy cloud like creatures that frolic through spring meadows, but in my mind, they are just that and I have no desire to eat them. Keep mint for important things, like Aeros or chocolate chip ice cream. We don’t need it slathered on some poor defenceless wee creature.
Duck is another of my no-nos. Perhaps I spent too much of mychildhood watching Keith Harris and Orville, or perhaps I just like the look of the creatures but the thought of eating one of them leaves me cold. Similarly, geese, pork in most of its forms (Bacon and ham excluded) and any form of liver, heart or (shudder) tongue make me want to gag.
My ultimate horror occured at Chirstmas when I read of a turkey (which I do like) stuffed with something like 25 other birds (which I don’t) and then carved up for dinner. No, no, and thrice no. It’s not right. All I could think of was bones and fat and greasy skin and other such culinary horrors. I almost had to have a wee lie down.
Which leaves chicken breasts and some cuts of beef as my only carnivore delights. About twice a week I’ll make a nice chicken breast, or griddle a wee steak and sit down assured that I’m giving my body the nutrition it needs to continue with my weight loss regime and feel better. And then those rich, do-gooder TV chefs come along and shatter my illusions.
Yes, I suppose I knew that to mass produce the vast quantities of chicken we now eat had to take some sort of extreme farming. When I was wee we were lucky to have chicken once a month. Usually Sunday dinner was pork fillet (which I now can’t eat... probably because of Miss Piggy or something equally irrational) or some Doherty’s Mince, cooked in gravy.
Now, the average family would, I imagine have some form of chicken once a week or maybe even more. So I suppose in my own head in the sand way I knew that perhaps wee chicken didn’t have the best of lives anyway. But, I consoled myself, sure didn’t the organic ones end up on the table anyway? I mean being reared for slaughter is being reared for slaughter- no matter now deluxe the pre-slaughter accommodation.
But with most things of a guilt-inducing nature, once you have heard something, you can’t unhear it. And now that everyone who is anyone is talking about how mean and nasty it is to buy cheaper chicken you can’t help but feel like a bad person even walking near the cheaper chicken section in the supermarket. And yet, an organic chicken (not just the breasts) costs several pounds more than the mass market version.
Of course, a couple of quid is no big shakes to Jamie Oliver and his ilk. But to many people trying to feed their families a healthy, fresh diet it all adds up. Sure isn’t it just cheaper to buy a couple of frozen ready meals than shop for your organic potatoes, veg and pure bred chicken? I
sn’t it more guilt free now to whack a thin crust pizza in the oven then serve a value chicken breast - no matter how healthy it may be? I’m not sure if I’ll cave and become an official evil bad chicken buying person again, but I do know that we could all do without being made to feel guilty for doing the best we can for our families. Unless, that is, Jamie wants to pop over to mine some night and prepare our dinner. (As long as there is no fish, lamb, duck, goose or pork).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bizarre things I remember from university...

For three years, from October 1994 to June 1997*, I studied at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown Campus.
Majoring in ethics and philosophy, I graduated with a 2:1 Degree in Modern Studies in the Humanities.
As part of this, I scored a first in my dissertation into the ethics of genetic selection and fertility treatment.
I also had a particular flair for political philosophy - and new all about the Rawlsian principles of justice, and indeed could have told you all you needed to know about Karl Marx and his believes.
I was fascinated with the notion of moral responsibility and the veil of ignorance which we should all consider when making our decisions.
That said, when you ask me what I remember most of my university learning, I can only really quote the veil of ignorance stuff and the words to "Little Boxes" **, which Dr. Bill Riches would refer to in his lectures on American history.
The experience was obviously really worth my three years of study, non?
* Oh God, I graduated more than 10 years ago!
** Thanks to Keris for putting the whole Little Boxes thing in my head again

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Random conversations with the boy Pt 3

Today, talking on his toy phone

"Hello Mr. Man. This is *insert address here*. My mummy's name is Mummy and my daddy's name is Daddy. Could we have some bananas from Buncrana please? Thank you."

Ma ma ma me me me me more Milkshake

For those who saw my mini nervous breakdown yesterday rest assured, I am much calmer and not as likely to kill anyone today.
There, that's better, isn't it?
So here's a little update on where we are right now. Book Three - the thus far named 'Jumping in Puddles' is about 43,000 words down and has had the seal of approval from the agent. The fact that the agent likes it is good. If she had have told me she didn't like it, i imagine I would not be posting a bright, sunny picture of a children's television presenter today. No, I would most likely be lying prostate, tearing at the ground below me crying: "Why God, why?".
This means I can now continue writing the book (except for tonight as Desperate Housewives is on hmmmmm Mike.... hmmmmm Tom) and hopefully finish it by the September deadline (or ideally earlier than that if at all humanly possible as summer will most likely be spent editing book two 'Blue Line Blues'.)
I have realised I define myself a lot my by writing.
I am not sure that is a good thing.
In other news, I attempted to do my Strictly Come Dancersize DVD at the weekend. I did the warm up - although seeing the flat stomach on Erin Boag was enough to make me want to hurl my gargantuan mass at the TV. Anyway, I rolled my hips when told and shook my booty. I then attempted the salsa work out, but by the time Karen Hardy explained the moves I had cooled down again and the boy was done his bath and demanding my attention.
Still... the warm up was better than nothing? Non?
I ate chips on Monday night. They were lovely. I had just been visiting my sick granny in hospital and didn't get home til 9 and by that stage the thought of my battery farm reared chicken breasts was unappealing (fecking Jamie fecking Oliver) so I went for some battery reared chips instead. With cheese. I felt all rebellious and wild and non-flat-stomachy. Ha, take that Erin Boag!
I realise I am definining myself a lot by my not-flat stomach.
I am not sure that is a good thing.
Yesterday the boy was, in his own words, "a little bit sick". He had a wee cough and a bit of a temperature. It was nothing that Calpol wouldn't and didn't cure so he was packed out to school as per normal and joyously told the teachers of his new prized possession - a pair of £3 wellie boots. He gets ever so excited when the weekend rolls about because then he can wear them again.
On Sunday we went for a walk together - him wellie booted to his oxters - and climbed a big hill using pretend ropes to pull us up. Then we walked through a mucky field and jumped in some muddy puddles and his rosy cheeks were red from the cold and from grinning so much at the simple fun he was having.
Because of his general cuteness and wee-bit-sickness I gave in yesterday and sent the email I had promised to for ages to Milkshake (Channel 5, Kids TV) to ask that he get the Milkshake Thumbs Up for being so good.
He did, this morning. They read it out (Naomi - our favourite was the presenter and thus is why she is pictured above) and his face lit up.
I realise I am defining myself a lot by my parental status.
I am sure this a good thing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Five things that have made me cry in the last 24 hours...

I’m very emotional (read that as hormonal) today. And it seems I have developed the ability to burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Things which have made my cry (fecking up my whole reasons to be cheerful shite that I’ve blethering on about recently) have included
1: The Cow and Gate ad - you know the one with yer man from the Royale Family doing the voice over about how he promises to be a great daddy and thinks his missus is wonderful.
2: Take a Break magazine - why I read this is beyond me. It is full of dead or dying children and tales of abuse. This DOES NOT make me happy. This does not encourage the seratonin in my depression fuelled brain to work in its proper fashion.
3: Filling primary school application forms for the boy. He is only three (okay, four in three weeks...), and the thought of him in a big proper school makes me feel like I’m losing him in some way.
4: The fact that Jack in nursery school would not return the boy’s hug this morning - even though they were playing happily five minutes later. DO NOT REJECT THE CHILD OF AN HORMONAL MOTHER!
5: The fact that my GI diet forbids chocolate and I REALLY want chocolate. NOW! Instead I shall be dining on chicken fecking salad which of course is now a guilt-laden task thanks to Jamie Fecking Oliver and his ilk. (Please animal lovers don’t hate me, but my budget does not stretch to free range organic anything never mind chickens).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

He's bringing sexy beke...

Much as I'm loathe to laugh at the afflicted, but this story in the Daily Mail did raise a smile yesterday morning.
Now I like Tony Beak (aka Anton Du Beke) but I can't help but feel he's just a little too straight laced and that his Mr Nice Guy attitude surely cannot be entirely genuince.
I have oftentimes (My daddy loves that word... oftentimes) ribbed my colleague Erin about her obsession with Mr. Beak and his dance moves, but now I have found out that I had good reason.
Anton, a wax would do you the world of good.

Got a book you want to submit?

Snowbooks are actively seeking submissions for this Autumn.

Here is the blurb

Snowbooks is actively seeking submissions for full length fiction. Rather than saying which genre and formats we're interested in, I'll say which we're *not*:

Short stories
Novellas (less than around 75,000 words)
Romance / Saga
Young adult

Oh, OK, I will say what we're particularly interested in:

Commercial fiction (make of that what you will)
Original fiction (ditto)
Horror, esp. vampires, werewolves, zombies, apocalypse
Sci fi
Historical fiction

But don't fret too much about genre. If you are worried that it's not right for us, send it anyway - what's the worse that can happen?

We require first three chapters to No synopsis, no extra bits necessary. This is for the autumn winter 2008 season so we'll be making relatively quick decisions.

Reasons to be cheerful....

In my new more positive frame of my mind (ha! I'm a wreck, really) here are today's reasons to be cheerful...

Keris has sent me a link to the new Dirty Dancing Work-out DVD. While I knew about this already, I'm now even more determined to get a hold of it and get fit to Johnny's Mambo myself...

Which leads me on to number 2..
Yesterday the sounds on my mobile phone mysteriously died and my ringtone - Johnny's Mambo (sad, I know) would not play. Today it has beeped back into life. This makes me happy.

And number three - which also makes me happy, is that the new series of Desperate Housewifes starts tonight on Irish telly. I'll be unplugging the phone, putting the feet up and not writing a word of book three or four while I catch up with the ladies of Wysteria Lane (and of course Mike and Tom...hhhmmmmm, Mike and Tom (said in Homer Simpson 'Doughnuts; voice)).

And finally, I lost 2.5lbs this week... which I may have mentioned yesterday, but if I did it's so noteworthy, it deserves to be mentioned twice.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Random conversations with the boy pt 2

The boy: "Mummy, mummy, go to the shop and buy me another doughnut" (4am this morning)

I cannot remember when he last had a doughnut, but I must remember to up my stock just in case of further nocturnal emergencies.

That monday feeling...

I'm becoming old. I have turned into Victoria Meldrew. All last week, as the schools were off on holiday, it took me a mere six minutes to get to work each morning. That's JUST six minutes. I could leave my home at 8.50 and be at my desk well in advance (well, four minutes) of that 9am start time.
Now, the schools are back and I left my house at 8.20am and it took me half and hour to travel the same distance. Then I had to leave my niece at my aunts, and the boy to school and make it to work, at 9.08am.
And everyone (not just me for a change) seems to be in a bad mood. The weather is awful which no doubt contributes, but January just seems such a meh month.
So I'll mention the things I'm tentatively looking forward too - in the hope that helps me smile.

1)(Cue soppy mammy alert) Seeing the boy when I get home this evening after work. Someone has taken my demon child and replaced him with a well behaved, wonderfully well mannered son who is affectionate to an unheard of level. The drive in the rain home will be worth it when I see his gorgeous face.

2) Seeing the husband when I get home. Last year was tough for him, and for us as a couple, but we seem to have pulled that little bit closer lately and I look forward to seeing him and seeing our fortunes turn a little.

3) On a wider scale - losing more weight! The christmas 4lbs is nearly gone and then I'll be hurtling towards my goal of a gorgeous pink handbag from Next as a treat for shedding 2 stone!

4) Holiday! We are going on our first family jaunt in April, to Spain for a week. I'm vay excited.

5) Book- "Blue Line Blues" is due for release this summer. I have to see the cover, read the blurb and all those exciting firsts again.

That's enough to be getting on with...
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