Friday, February 29, 2008

Good morning!

I feel joyous - buoyant - alive! I have just spent two wonderful days in Dublin promoting the paperback of Rainy Days and Tuesdays (out now folks) and it was a brilliant experience. (Apart from the bus to Dublin, which was not brilliant and I thought I might boke a couple of times. Seriously...only the king size bar of Green & Blacks secreted in my bag could assuage the nausea).

I arrived after two on Wednesday at Bewley's Hotel where I set about getting myself ready for an interview with Sue Leonard from the Indo. We were going to meet in the Merrion Hotel which is a very fancy place where people call you 'madam' and serve tea in china cups and proper cucumber sandwiches. I was looking forward to the sheer poshness of it all.

I had a shower - it was blissful - one of those amazing power showers that shoot out an environmentally unfriendly 3000 litres of water per second. It was so strong that when I stepped out I had to check the drains in case my nipples had been washed off in process.

I was just getting myself gorgeous when Sue phoned to cancel our meeting because her daughter was in labour. That was officially the best excuse I had ever heard! So while fancy tea in trhe Merrion was off I got to luxuriate in the hotel room for a couple of hours before getting dressed, walking down to the lobby and drinking a nice West Coast Cooler (od school stylee) reading my book and waiting for the Lovely Niamh from Poolbeg to pick me up.

I then met with Paula (Poolbeg boss lady) and Sarah (Poolbeg marketing lady) for dinner in a gorgeous Italian restaurant in Malahide. The food was gorgeous, and the wine was cracker. And we had mad craic and I got to talk over all my writerly insecurities in a supportive and funny environment. I also heard the funniest ever stories about platform wellie boots and Paula's twin girls, but I'll keep schtoom! I didn't once get that "Shite, what the hell am I going to say" feeling which was refreshing. I do however hope that because of the niceness of the wine I didn't talk a lot of horlicks.

The following morning (head only mildly sore) I received a text from Sue Leonard to say she was now a proud granny to the beautifully named Daisy Sofia. Coupled with the Irish sunshine, that was a great start to the day. I was picked up by the lovely Niamh in her very cool car which has not a trace of a Wotsit rammed into any surface and we did the rounds signing books, stopping for coffee, signing for books, stopping for lunch and getting my photo taken at St . Stephen's Green for Sue's Indo article.

We just had a great laugh and a good gossip and I'm filled with enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So long, farewell

I'm outta here for two days. Rainy Days and Tuesdays is now out in paperback and I'm off to Dublin in the morning on the publicity trail.
Have fun, play nice.

Feeling desperate

I have few pleasures in this life. Spending time with the boy is one - obviously. As are reading a good book, writing a good book (see the subtle plug there?), eating chocolate and watching Desperate Housewives.
I can’t express how happy Tuesdays make me. I wake up, tired and grumpy ready for another day at the office. I wake the boy and sit through an infernal episode of Noddy while he eats his breakfast.
I try to multi-task getting both him and me ready, and the house tidy, before we head out into the morning traffic. For the record the traffic from the Waterside to the cityside on the average morning does not help my mood. I’ve learned to control my rage that little bit to the point where I don’t actually swear like a trooper the whole way, but by the time I’ve arrived at nursery school I’m generally frazzled.
I then spend five minutes playing with my child and secretly comparing his abilities with the other boys and girls in his class before getting in the car again and hitting the rush hour traffic at St. Columb’s College before arriving at work just after nine.
It feels, as I’m sure many women know, often as if i completed a full days work before I’ve even sat down on my desk. And then, I have eight or nine hours of hard graft to ‘look forward’ to. My face is often as sour as they come by 9.30 and it is only when I look through the TV pages in the ‘Journal’ that I remember to my eternal joy that Tuesday is ‘Desperate Housewives’ night.
All of a sudden my day has a purpose. I start flying through my work, knowing that at 9.50pm I’ll be sat, glass of wine in hand, watching the latest dramas on Wysteria Lane unfold. I’ll be able to cry with Lynette, laugh at Bree and cringe at Susan. I will envy Gabby’s shoes and dresses and wonder just how much plastic surgery Edie has had. I will swoon when Mike is on screen and wish all men were as considerate and handsome as Tom.
And when it is all over, I’ll text my friends and they will reply contentedly that another Tuesday evening has delivered some top quality entertainment. I go to sleep on a Tuesday with a smile on my face. Except this week, it went wrong.
This week, Susan didn’t humiliate herself, Bree didn’t crack under the pressure of new motherhood and we didn’t see Mike take off his top. Because this week, there was no ‘Desperate Housewives’. This week, there was football. Fecking football. And it has left me so enraged that this is only one thing that I could write this column about.
Why, oh why, does quality viewing always have to be interrupted so that we can watch some overpaid ego-tastic men kick a teeny tiny ball around a field? It is, no matter how you try and dress it up with big pay cheques and glamorous wives and girlfriends, only a game. Why does it deserve four hours of televisual coverage on a night when ‘Desperate Housewives’ should be helping me cope with the pressures of the average working week? Surely a game of football is only 90 minutes long? Even giving some time for a half time break and a little commentary, there is no way it needs to be stretched out to four hours of utter boredom and frustration for some real life desperate housewives.
They say men aren’t great conversationalists but somehow it seems the men of RTE 2 had a staggering four hours worth of blethering to do about football. I mean, what in fairness is there in football that necessitates such rambling? Surely it’s a matter of someone kicking a ball, while someone else tries to stop him. And there might be some really fast running every now and again and someone might fall down and ‘pretend’ he is in the agonies when we all know he just wants a wee breather from all the running.
Do the programmers at RTE think this is acceptable behaviour? It was little consolation that they decided to show a documentary on Chick Lit featuring Poolbeg on the other channel while the football was ongoing. (See my other subtle plug there?). I was so disgusted that I went to bed early while I heard my phone pinging to life with text messages from friends as equally unimpressed as I was.
Of course we’re all worried they will do the same thing next week and Desperate Housewives will face the same fate as Coronation Street which gets moved around all the time to accommodate football matches. Now what I don’t get is why they can’t show the football on the channels no one watches anyway? Like BBC2...or Channel 9. That way it wouldn’t interupt our viewing pleasure one bit. You men folk could still watch it whenever the notion took you to tax your brain by watching the fast running and we women could still get out fix of quality drama. Everyone walks away happy and each Wednesday morning I’ll be in a much finer mood for having had my fix. It’s hardly rocket science - or the offside rule - is it?

Monday, February 25, 2008

We're playing a game!

Since some of my favourite bloggers (Keris, Diane) have done this I have to do it too (I can't be left out! I'm too insecure!).
Pick fifteen of your favourite movies.
Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
Post them here for everyone to guess.
Strike it out when someone guesses correctly in the comments, and put who guessed it and the movie.
NO Googling or using IMDb search functions.

1: Don't sing. It's OK, you know. Let's just walk. Can we walk?

2:Little wimp. He wouldn't know a new idea if it hit him in the pachenga - Lisa and Lois
Dirty Dancing

3: I'm sick? You're cheating on a vegetable- Pen in Western Australia- While You Were Sleeping.

4: If you're gonna name my... member, you have to name it something hyper masculine. Something like Spike, or Butch, or Krull the Warrior King! - BB!
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days

6:Listen to them, they're dying, R2. Curse my metal body. I wasn't fast enough. It's all my fault. My poor master. - Lisa
Star Wars

7: That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back. - Lisa
The Princess Bride

8: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

9: Well, I have a microphone, and you don't, SO YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY! Lois and Lisa
The Wedding Singer

10: Yes. They had the days of the week on them, and I thought they were sort of funny. And then one day Sheldon says to me, "You never wear Sunday." It was all suspicious. Where was Sunday? Where had I left Sunday? And I told him, and he didn't believe me.- Lisa
When Harry Met Sally

11: Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it. - Lois
Forrest Gump

12: Thank you, Daniel, that is very good to know. But if staying here means working within 10 yards of you, frankly, I'd rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein's arse BB Lisa and Lois
Bridget Jones' Diary

13: Now back up, put the gun down, and get me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious. Lisa
Bad Boys

14: I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries. Lois
Steel Magnolias

15: : It's all right, honey. Let her go. Let her go. You know, Miss Ruth was a lady. And a lady always knows when to leave. Diane Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Jeez, youse are fast!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman

Today I had to endure a smear test. Now I know that such things are a very important and natural part of the joys of being a woman. It's not a pleasant part, but most of have been there every three to five years.
Except the smear test fairy seems to like to completely take the hand when it comes to me and my experiences. I've had four or five of the feckers and more times than not they come back inconclusive and such like.
So I went today, a feeling of interminable intrepidation in my heart but thought I'd just get it the hell over with. I assumed the position, which is not dignified at all and then the lovely nurse decided to have a several minute long (felt like a lot longer) discussion about the weather. All the time I was talking about the wind and the slush falling outside while all the while thinking "My fandango is on display, get on with it woman".
And then she did and it was sore.
And I thought that next time. I definitely coming back as a man.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What a weird and wonderful day

The karma fairy has been messing with my head recently. It really has been making me think that in some previous life I must have been some awful Hitler type person who deserved heaps and heaps of rubbish things to happen to them.
While a lot of my 'issues' are as yet unresolved, yesterday pulled a blinder out of the bag. I got to work and took a phonecall from a very lovely journalist who waxed lyrical about RD&T and made me feel very comfortable and confident.
When work was over, I attended a parent/ teacher meeting at the boy's school and heard how he has been coming on in leaps and bounds. In some areas he is working at P1 level and he is a happy and confident little boy. What more could any parent want to hear?
When I got home I found a letter from Poolbeg waiting, with details of the marketing for the paperback release of RD&T. It may sound strange but I got all hyped up seeing the Eason Book News brochure with me book described as the "eagerly awaited bestseller". Me.. a BESTSELLER, officially in print.
To add to my joy, my sister then phoned me and asked me to be godmammy to her unborn baby.
It was indeed a much needed boost to my sadsack self!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What a lotto luck

Admit it, we’ve all thought it. At some stage this week - and perhaps even more than once or twice - a certain phrase, mostly likely involving the word ‘Jammy’, has entered your head.
Perhaps like me, you’ve forgotten it is the holy season of Lent and followed that Jammy with a swear word. Perhaps you’ve been a bit more restrained and used my personal favourite ‘Jammy Dodger’, or as my colleague just quipped ‘jambucket’.
There is no way to get around it. Ryan Magee is the jammiest jambucket in the whole of Derry and almost all of us have been wondering how our lives might have changed if we had bought that winning ticket last Friday instead. Would I still be here now? I very much doubt it. I would have handed in my notice with a smile and a nod and would be emailing this column from a secluded villa in the Seychelles surrounded by family and friends as I worked out how best to enjoy the rest of my days on this planet.
I would have already started scouring the property pages for a house to die for on the Donegal coast. (Although given the whole grannying shebang, I might have to rethink that life plan). And I would have traded in the faithful Corsa for a shiny new Corsa. (Wouldn’t be too fussed with a Ferrari to be totally honest. I think it might just a little out of place in the carpark at Tesco when I’m doing my weekly shop and I’m not sure where the baby seat would go.
Could you imagine how gutted you’d be the first time your toddler mushed a Wotsit into the seat?). I imagine there would be some frivolous spending. There would be probably be a pair of Jimmy Choos purchased - not because I’m any great fan but it just seems very ‘author lady-y’ to have some in my wardrobe.
And I would buy some handbags that don’t come from Next or Tesco and which last more than one season. (Although, I imagine it would be considered terribly gauche in the fashion world to use an out of season megabucks bag). I would be seriously tempted to travel round every bookstore on the island snapping up copies of my novel so that a huge buzz was created in the publishing world all about me.
But apart from that, a pair of diamond earrings would complete my material needs purchases for now so I’d dole out some to my parents and siblings and hand over some cash to some of the very worthwhile community groups in the city so they could breathe easy for a while.
But I can’t really, off the top of my head, think of any other material things which would improve my life greatly. And I fear there would always, always, be a part of me that couldn’t get used to having cash in the bank and the ability to buy anything without checking the price and doing some mental calculations first. (A typical example is me seeing some shiny new shoes in Next and thinking that if I’m really strict on my diet this week and don’t actually eat, it would be okay to buy them.)
Like a lot of Derry people I grew up in a house where money wasn’t exactly flush. We didn’t have car until I was nine or ten and even then, the car we got made my battered Corsa look like a Mercedes. We also didn’t have a phone until my late teens and even then, when we did get one, my parents installed a payphone to make sure we didn’t run up a huge bill. (Oh the joy when we realised if you banged the phone really hard on the right hand side you got free calls - but oh the horrors when the bill came in and my daddy flipped his lid.)
School lunches were home made ham sandwiches. In really tough weeks, we had jam instead. And our crisps were none of your fancy Tayto yokes. We had Yellow Pack or Value Snacks and instead of the cans of Coke my friends had we had diluted orange in plastic bottles. I used to turn pea green with envy at my friends who could get a hot drink from the, frankly bogging, drinks machine at lunch time in Thornhill.
That sort of keen living doesn’t leave you easily. My father still blushes when he reveals he has spent anything on himself. I remember with great hilarity the time he apologised for buying himself a hammer. Now, even when there is money in the bank (which is for precisely the first 24 hours after payday) I find it hard to relax enough to buy something frivolous. I can’t imagine ever owning a brand new car or living in a house that doesn’t develop spontaneous leaks approximately once every 15 minutes.
I have been known to stand in a semi-tortured mental state debating whether or not the budget can really stretch to the 3 for 2 offer on books in Eason that month or should I lift my lowly one novel and be glad of it. The old adage of “If you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it ”will forever ring true in my ears. That’s not to say that given the chance I wouldn’t do my best to shake off the shackles of my improverished state. I just would never go as far as buying a red Ferrari.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It hath arrive-d

And I'm so excited.

I've been holding off til payday to buy "The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl" after becoming hooked on Shauna Reid's blog towards the end of last year.

My own diet mojo has been slipping a bit. I seem to have stalled and have in fact put ON two pounds in the last two weeks as opposed to wriggling into my smaller size which I was so on the verge of doing.

So I'm hoping Shauna's story will spur me on.

I'll let you know how I get on with the book - but it'll probably take a while. I'm reading both Sharon Owens and Mary Malone's new books at the moment and trying to write my third into something people will actually want to read.

But ooooh, I'm fighting the urge to lock myself away with Diet Girl for a bit now!

It's never a good start to the day...

...when, as you walk into the office, one of the management team says "Well, I suppose it won't be long til your gone then, will it?"
Kind of baffled, I wondered was she referring to the re-release of the book and commented that yes, well I would be down in Dublin for two days next week...
But paranoia kicked in - did she know something I don't? Am I for the high jump? Shaking with fear, I sat down at my desk and told the same to my colleagues.
"You don't suppose she thinks you are pregnant, do you?" one asked.
Erm, looking down at my stomach - which has been shrinking - I felt the last ebb of confidence flow away.
I'm not sure which is worse - someone thinking I look obviously pregnant or being for the high jump at work.
Will keep you posted.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

That sounded a bit poncy, didn't it?

That stuff about song lyrics touching my soul... I mean, wtf does touching my soul mean anyway?
Surely you need some sort of degree in medicine and latex gloves to be allowed to touch someone's soul?
But that song made me cry and I've been listening to it on a loop ever since - to both the original Snow Patrol version and the Leona Lewis cover. (Can't decided which I like best. I like the Snow Patrol because it is somehow cooler, but the Leona Lewis version is breathtaking).
Anyway, I've been having some minor emotional issues lately and it's nice to even sing that song to myself and remind myself that I'm still there beneath it all and I'll be back someday. (Or does that sound even more pretentious that something which has been touching my soul?)
So I've spent some quality time with the boy, taken him for lunch and to the beach in the freezing cold to build sandcastles while rubbing my hands together to get a heat.
I've also been thrown up over. (The boy seems to be a on deathwish at the moment. Today he not only narrowly missed falling down some escalators, but ran in front of a car and fell over and cracked his head. It was after the cracking the head incident that he cried so hard she projectiled all over me, in the street - and I caught it in my hands.)
But I feel slightly better now - a little more relaxed - a little more like me. And that feels good.
So maybe touching my soul was a good idea?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

These words touched my soul today

I'll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done
And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here
Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you

In the interests of fairness...

And to challenge those scurrilous rumours regarding the rest of my kitchen... (Yes, that's you Sarah) , here is the business end.

It's still clean- one week after painting, a world record for us! This is at the end of a long day. The dinner is cooking in the oven and the washing machine is whirring.

Are you loving the Big Cook, Little Cook apron?

The music in me

There are certain things in this life that I do out of sense of motherly duty. They are not things I would normally enjoy or even bother with but when the blue eyes of an eager four year old look up at you pleadingly, it is hard to resist.
Today I took the boy to High School Musical on Ice - along with his cousin Abby and my sister Yaya (who paid for the tickets).
We left Derry just after 9am for the drive to Belfast for the 12 noon show knowing that parking at the Odyssey arena can be a nightmare. And sure enough we were stuck in a queue of traffic for 20 minutes inching towards the car park. Now anyone who knows me well will know that my 11 year old Corsa does not do queuing well. She (actually I think it's a he because only a male could give me so much trouble) tends to overheat and combust if forced to sit in traffic for anything more than a five minute limit - so my nerves were shot as the temperature gauge rose and rose.
We managed, by the skin of our teeth, to get parked and then we made our way into the 10,000 strong crowd for the show.
Now I get marketing and I get that business is business, but £7 for a fecking bag of Candyfloss? £8 for a plastic cup? £7 for a box of popcorn? Give me a break! It's the day before payday and my wallet was battered and bruised before we even sat down.
Now never having being in a crowd bigger than several hundred, the boy was agog with disbelief at the crowds swarming round us. He was even more amazed at the huge ice rink awaiting Troy Bolton and his gang.
Well, my verdict? It was all very Disney. The actors hugely overacted and some of the lip synching was truly naff - but the ice skating was amazing, the music was good and the special effects even made me ooh and aah.
Best of all though was seeing the wee man's face light up as he got his head in the game.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Can tell what it is yet?

Draw a line across
And a little hook.
Then a big circle.
And a squiggly snake.
The a small circle, with a tail
A line down, and a circle round
And the letter h.

Make any sense? This was the running commentary the boy gave while practising writing his name last night. It makes sense when you see it in the flesh.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The dentist part two..

I couldn't get out of work to take the boy to the dentist, but thankfully his daddy was available for dentistly duties. (So I didn't have to pretend to be big brave mummy- huzzah! Because the hormones are still raging and I would have failed- miserably).

But anyway, this pic arrived on my phone with the heading "Don't I look Cool?". You've got to agree - he does.

And his teeth were fine! So hurrah again! Despite his best efforts with Fruit Shoots and Caramels he has a gleaming set of pearly whites. I am doing something right!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Show us yer kitchen!

Go on bloggers!

Of course I only say that because at the weekend - when we had a boy free night - me and Mr Allan painted ours.

I had noticed it was getting a bit grubby, to be honest. But when I took the pictures down from the end wall I almost died of shame. It was a dirty protest - except worse. So we headed out to Homebase and bought some soft green paint and had our rock 'n' roll Friday night with the paintbrushes.

The new look gave me the chance to move my lovely framed poster of Rainy Days and Tuesdays downstairs and show it off - along with the boy's increasingly fab paintings and drawings from school. His wee people now have legs and arms and occasionally hair. I am so proud.

Anyway, here it is... the place I pour the wine before I start writing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday night film frenzy!

Keris posted a challenge to the blogging community - to discuss the films of our life.
Now I've only used some of her suggestions as obviously I have never watched a film with her husband or her mother for that matter (although that made me cry Keris - your post about your mum). Anyway, here are the films that have defined me.

Films that remind me of my childhood
You say childhood, I say Star Wars. We watched this so many times - too many times. I was in love with Luke Skywalker - before of course I realised he was a little wet and Han Solo was mucho more sexy. I didn't get the bad boy thing at seven or eight, but I get it now, trust me.
I wanted Princess Leia to be my best friend. Really. I would pray for it. I thought we could have the best of craic and maybe she would lend me some of her nice dresses. I still kind of want that white dress she wears at the end of A NewHope.
The films of Doris Day also featured largely in my childhood - especially Calamity Jane. I wanted to live in the cabin and paint flowers on the door. I wanted to wear the yellow dress and fall in the crick. I wanted Howard Keel to fall in love with me and I wanted to wear that GORGEOUS dress she wears to the ball. I still want to wear that gorgeous dress she wears to the ball.

Childhood films I had to be removed from because of the weeping
Not traditional childhood films, but Bill (Mickey Rooney was in it), Champ and Who Will Love My Children all reduced me to an hysterial wreck around the age of 10/11. My aunt would babysit us during the summer and we always watched these fecking films and it never ended well. NEVER.

Films that made me cry the most (not necessarily in childhood)
What Dreams May Come. I sobbed - nay howled - for a full hour AFTER this film ended. My husband, who was then my boyfriend, was deeply alarmed at my horrendous reaction. I mean I could not breathe, I was crying so hard. Snot was flying everywhere. It was the least pretty thing I've ever done (and I'm pretty sure I pooped in labour). But it was a very sad film. I haven't watched it again. Seems in adulthood I learned the lessons I didn't when I was wee. When a film makes me cry til I vomit I no longer watch it a second time.

Defining films of my teenage years
Skipping past the obvious Ferris Bueller, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink stuff... the films which I remember most from my teen years are

1) Top Gun. I loved Tom Cruise. I wanted to marry him. And have sex with him. His love scene with Kelly McGillis was the first time I saw a love scene on TV and felt certain feelings. I loved that film. It pains me to this day that he turned into such a godawful twunt that I now hate him and would not have sex with him even if he begged me, or sang 'You've Lost that Loving Feeling' to me in a crowded bar with Dr. Greene from ER. (Now this is strange, because in direct contrast to the Star Wars Luke/Han thing, I now rather fancy Goose from Top Gun and he was the nice one...pity he died.)
2) The Lost Boys. We watched this, a lot, when I was growing up. We (me and my friends) could quote you 100 lines from it and still I can't hear the name Michael without thinking "Michael's great. I like Michael" in a slutty voice. I could never watch the bit where the vampires ate people though - I'm a feardy cat.
3) Dirty Dancing. This is my dance space. This is yours. SAY NO MORE.

Films seen more than once at the cinema
Four Weddings and Funeral - I went through a Hugh Grant phase when I was 18, before I realised he wasn't a bit attractive and a bit foppish to be truly sexy. Although he did redeem himself in Love Actually a bit and I like it when he calls people a dirty bitch.
Forrest Gump. It made me cry - not til I vomitted, but not far off. I had to go back to see him declare his love for Jennnnnaaaeee one more time.

The only two films I have ever persuaded my husband to see at the cinema with me.
Life with Eddie Murphy and somebody else. Which should have been renamed Shite.
The Sum of All Fears. The sum of all my fears is that I would have to watch this film again.

Films that I will never watch again because they didn't agree with me.
See above for 'What Dreams May Come' information and the second film I will never watch again is Schindler's List. I saw this when I was 17 and it didn't really disturb me. In fairness we had been watching actual footage of actual holocaust mass killings in History so I was able to see that this was only a film.
But when I was around 23 I saw it again on TV and I felt physically sick. I was terrified throughout and I just won't ever watch it again. It is an amazing film, but not comfortable viewing.

Best recent cinema experience
Enchanted with the boy and my niece. It was magical.

The film me and my friends quote but no one else has ever seen
Sing - cheesy film where people sing songs to save their school from closing. The songs were good.

Random conversations with the boy Pt 7

J: "Mummy, why don't I have a website? I want a website. or
Me: uncontrollable laughter

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A kind of changing face of me type of post...

It.s 8.24pm on Thursday evening. My tumble drier is rattling in the background and I've just loaded the washing machine. I've just this second finished my dinner (a beef stew made my Mr. Allan) and I've put my jammies on.
I've cleansed all the make up and grime of the day off my face and I'm wearing house slippers. And I'm not ashamed to admit I love my house slippers. They are warm and cosy and soft and make me feel secure in a 31 year old kind of a way.
My son is getting ready for bed (yes, I know he should have been asleep along time ago) and I'll probably climb into my bed before 10pm.

Five years ago, Thursday nights were very different. I would finish my busy day at the cutting edge of journalism in Derry and put another paper to bed. (Yes, we really do use that expression.) Once we were off stone (yes, we use that one too) and there was no chance of anyone shouting "Stop the presses" (And sadly, no one has ever done that in my 10 year journalism career), myself and my colleague would nip into the bar beside work and crack open the wine.
We would sit, swear we were only having one, but have at least four. Most times we moved into a lovely wee bar in the city centre called 'Cosmopolitan' which was very Sex and the City and served wine in glasses, not those wee quarter bottles. They even served actual cosmopolitans and had the most amazing toilets known to men. (The walls in the cubicles had real marbles in them- which was a bit mad when you were pished).
Anyway, with no tea (because hardened hacks don't do food) we would end up sozzled and fall into a taxi. Unfortunately the taxi we would fall into would generally be from the same firm we used for work so we were often reminded of our misdemeanours the following morning.
Perhaps we would grab a pizza on the way home, or we would order our hubbies to go to the chipper while we fell in the door slurring but giggling and happy.
The hangovers were shite though.
It's weird to think how much our lives have changed in five years. It has been about 18 months since myself and this colleague last went to the bar together which is far too long given that it was a weekly occurrence.
Tonight, I feel very old.

Random conversations with the boy, part 6

(On the phone, while I'm at work on an exceptionally busy pre-publication day)
Joseph: Mummy, did you take down my birthday cards?
Me: Yes darling.
Joseph: Did you do it on purpose?
Me: Yes sweetie. Your birthday was on Sunday.
Joseph: I told you not to do that. You are so naughty mummy.
Me: Do you have your cross face on Joseph? (Honestly, I must try and get a picture of his cross face it's priceless.)
Joseph: Yes, I do. I'm so cross right now.

Upshot is, the cards have gone back up and I've to sit out 31 minutes on the naughty step when I get home.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Random Conversations with the Boy part 5

Tonight as he looked at this very blog and the pictures below of my weight loss
"Ooooh mummy. Look, big tubby mummy and little mummy."

I like being Little Mummy. (And I like that he considers me at my present girth little!)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hormones a go go

For two weeks now I've been on a relatively even keel with my hormones and moods.
And today - it all goes wrong, very wrong.
This morning I took the boy to the dentist for the first time. Now being the responsible parent that I am I put my fear (read that as terror) of all things dentisty to one side and smiled and cooed about how the dentist is a lovely, lovely person and how going to the dentist is the absolute most funnest thing anyone can ever do.
We left home on time, arrived at the dentists, read a little book about 'Susie and Sam Visit the Dentist' and the boy was almost hopping around the room with excitment.
Then, disaster struck.
The kindly receptionist lady came out and told us the dentist was sick and wouldn't be in and we would have to come back next week. Now ordinarily, as dentists to me actually do conjur up images of Steve Martin in the Little Shop of Horrors, I would have skipped out happily at that notion.
But I looked at the boy, and his petted lip and the tears pricking in his eyes and my heart sank. He tried to be brave and held his tears in but his disappointment was etched all over his face and as he wiped the wee tears from his face my heart shattered just that little tiny bit.
And every time since that I picture his face I have to be brave myself. My lip is a little petted and the tears are pricking in my eyes and if you look closely, every now and again you will see me brush a tear away.
It is no coincidence that my special lady visitor is due to visit on Wednesday.

Another changing face of me post

Me = one woman mountain at Emma Heatherington's book launch in October

Me = a wee bit skinnier this morning in my bed room. 29.5lbs down!

Quick- fix me

My name is Claire and I’m a quick-fix-aholic. I have become obsessed, perilously so, with reading about wonder diets and exercise systems guaranteed to drop the pounds in the blink of an eye.
When I meet friends we inevitably discuss what we’ve eaten, what we plan to eat, how ‘bad’ we’ve been and how we all think we are hideously, grossly overweight. And then we share stories of the people we know, or have heard about, who have lost a jillion stones in three minutes or other such impossibilities and we all get that faraway look in our eyes. Imagine, we think, we could lose a jillion stone in three minutes and finally fit into a size 12 (although I’d be happy with a 14 for that matter).
We’ve had that “I just wish I could wake up thin” conversation a thousand times and some of us have even gone so far as to try radical, and possibly dangerous, ways to shift pounds. From herbal tablets which give you palpitations to bizarre detox diets which leave you weak with hunger and more likely than ever to go on a chocolate bender - we’ve been there.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a large arse is always on the look out for a miracle cure.

Now I admit, I’ve been tempted by certain easy ways out myself. I’ve looked into gastric banding, but bizarrely am not fat enough for many clinics to take my hard earned (well, hard borrowed to be honest) cash. I have consumed a wide variety of diet pills from Adios to those prescribed by my GP. The only thing I’ve drawn the line at personally is Slim Fast as after months of guzzling Gaviscon when pregnant I now have an aversion to pink gloopy drinks.
I have found a method that works for me, in the form of the Glycaemic Index Diet - although it’s a long hard road filled with horrible temptations like Christmas and, this weekend, the boy’s 4th birthday party. Much as I approach all these occasions promising to stay “on plan” and nibble my salad and grilled chicken while everyone else tucks in, I inevitably fall from grace. This weekend I’m sure the allure of the fresh cake from the Lep, complete with oodles of squishy cream will be my downfall. So while GI works and it has been getting results I still can;t stop getting that faraway look when someone mentions instant weight loss.
I watched ‘Supersize Vs Superskinny’ on Channel 4 on Tuesday night after a friend recommended it. She said it would help me with my distorted body image. But in fairness to her the same girl said she didn’t think I needed to lose weight so clearly it is not my image that is distorted. Anyway, in the interest of research I sat down and watched as a 7 stone skeleton woman was forced to swap diets for a week with a 33 stone man mountain.
Neither of these people were particularly healthy and it was interesting to see their reactions to each other’s food - but quickly my attention moved to the segments where journalist Anna Richardson set about examining the quick fix weight loss methods.
Putting my low GI oatcake to one side I switched my attention entirely to her. Sure I could do GI - but if I could do GI along with miraculous quick fix wouldn’t i have the best of both worlds? First on her list was investigating tummy tucks. One lady went from a size 18 to a size 14 overnight - with just an operation! I was about to hit Google for some tummy tuck-tastic searching when she spoke to a lady who developed a horrendous flesh eating infection thing which left her with a 12 inch OPEN WOUND across her stomach. (I felt the need to emphasize the open wound bit ). When that healed, after a long time, she was left with an horrendously scarred and bumpy tummy - all in the name of being thinner. So, deciding that I am too much of a coward to take such a risk I watched on for what came next.
What came next was a Green Tea Tummy Massage. Now, please, please can someone offer this in Derry? I’ll be first in the queue, I promise! Basically Ms Richardson had her tummy massaged to within an inch of its life until she was just about to burst and - basically - pooed herself down a dress size. She lost an astounding 4cms off her tummy in just one hour. I could do with that kind of help! Of course poor Ms Richardson also blocked the toilet which perhaps wasn’t her finest hour but surely a woman has to suffer in the name of the body beautiful?
But then I suppose suffering - or working for it - is what it is all about. Losing four centimetres on a massage table isn’t going to promote long term weight loss if the first thing you do afterwards is fall into old habits and reach for a bar of chocolate (or a birthday cake from the Lep).
So I’ve come to realise, with a certain sadness I have to admit, that there is no such thing as a quick fix. Although I have just seen a lip gloss advertised that promises to curb your appetite and promote weight loss. Maybe I’ll just give it a wee go.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I'm sooooooo proud of me

Tonight, for the first time in precisely 4 years and nine months... I fitted into my pre-pregnancy jeans!
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