Monday, June 30, 2008

You know how people have their dirty little secrets...

Mine is that as a teenager I was obsessed.. and I mean obsessed... with Bros. Not as much as Keris was, in fairness but that's only because she lived closer and could take her stalking to a whole new level.
I just admired from a far, and it was the saddest regret of my teenage years that I never saw them in concert.
Now, however, it seems as if my dreams could come true.
I received this email from a friend today..

We've had the return of New Kids On The Block, Take That and Boyzone - and now a Bros comeback could be on the cards.Former lead singer Matt Goss has revealed the three members of the former boyband have been discussing a reunion tour: "Being in a band is like being a politician, you've got to make sure everyone is happy. But Luke, Craig and definitely myself - we're all up for it."Speaking at the premiere of his twin brother Luke's latest film Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Matt explained it's mainly a question of getting everyone's schedules in sync: "If we can make the numbers work and the venues work, then we're all up for it."The group had 11 Top 40 singles and three Top 20 albums in the UK, with songs including I Owe You Nothing, When Will I Be Famous? and Cat Among Pigeons - and Matt reckons it'd be fun to play the songs live again."I had the best time," he revealed. "I think everyone that went to see Bros gigs had the best time and that's the one reason we all agreed it'd be a good laugh if we did it."He added that their army of passionate teenage fans may have grown up now, but they aren't any less crazy."They're still pretty insane," he said. "They weren't too cool for the room, they knew how to have a good time. That's the way I feel."

So Penelope, I see your Neil Diamond obsession and I raise you two bottle tops and a paisley patterned bandana.
I'm practising my husky "oooooaaaaahhhss" as we speak.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Apologies for the lack of posting

You know how sometimes you reach the stage where even though you aren't actually saying anything out loud your brain is going into overdrive all the time so it feels as if you are chatting nine to the dozen?
It's been one of those weeks so even though I've not been blogging as much as usual it feels very much as if I have gabbing non-stop to you all and filling you in on all the useless little details of life chez Allan.
Anyway, we bade (bid? Bidded?) the nursery school a fond farewell on Friday. It was a highly charged moment, saying goodbye to the teachers. His key worker hugged both me and him and then started to cry, which started me to crying all the same.
I'd like to think her tears were of sadness at saying goodbye rather than relief.
I'm now trying to explain to the boy what it means to have eight weeks of summer holidays where he won't have to go to school once. He doesn't get it. He is all set for P1 on Monday - it's going to be a long eight weeks.
I'm now counting down til the start of next week when I go to bonny Scotland for two days to see my gorgeous friend Vicki. I am stupidly excited, but mildly dreading the faff that is Ryanair. I tell you cheap flights are a thing of the past. The boy is going with me, and is also very excited - because Vicki is the owner of a surly cat. The boy likes all animals - surly or not - which is probably why he gets along so well with me.
Anyway, sorry this is boring, and random and all - but as soon as the voices in my head shut up, I'll tell you my potentially very exciting news in glorious technicolour.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just when I thought life was getting too tough...

I discovered that my local Sainsbury's sell the answers to all my prayers.

While in there today perusing the aisles for suitable gifts for the boy's teachers I happened upon the chocolate aisle.

While I was getting dizzily excited at the big old boxes of Green and Blacks, I found this little beauty staring out at me.

Now I've posted before about how Wednesday afternoon is a bit nuts around my workplace, so this was the perfect thing to bring back.

I'll let you know how long it lasts...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

So anyway.... back at the ranch

The damned fireman song is still stuck in my head - on a very annoying loop of NEENAWS. I don't even know all the words. I just make them up and the boy looks at me with a strange - and mildly disappointed - look as if I really should know better.
I went home from work last night after vay vay stressful day (will tell you all about it when I'm done with Therapy and written my bestselling book 'The Journal Years - How to Stay Sane in the Workplace').
You know that old sign you see in dodgy taxi offices and greasy spoon cafes which states "You Don't Have to Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps..." - well that's really, really true here.
Anyway - sorry have done Billy Connolly style tangent thang there - I went home from work yesterday to the smell (read that as stench) of sick. The boy clambered on my knee and told me he had a wee bug in his tummy which had climbed up and out of his mouth and he wanted only his "mama" to watch him. The boy does this you see, reverts to baby status when he is ill. He wants only his "mama" and he puts on a pathetic little voice with occasional whimpering and barking. (He refers to himself as the puppy, or pupster - should I be worried?).
I was delighted when he eventually went to bed but was less delighted when two hours last he puked all over his bed - and I mean ALL OVER his bed.
Now, I'm not good with puke. I don't handle it well, but since becoming a mum I've developed a little more of a tolerance. Generally I can manage to clean up the vilest smelling vomit without retching my guts out - last night?...Not so much.
I had to beg the husband to deal with situation while I tended to the child. It was him who had to (don't read on if you are of a sensitive disposition) shake the lumps off the bedsheets and sort the washing machine out. I was grateful beyond words to him - although he has quite rightly developed the hump over it. I may have to ply him with beer and expensive cuts of meat.
So today the pupster said he was okay to go to school, so I took him. There have been no reports of mass vomitings since. Although I do still feel quite queasy at the thought.

So everyone join in... NEENAW, NEENAW, NEENAW, down the pole we go...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Random things stuck in my head

I am a firefighter
I wear a yellow hat
And when I hear the alarm bell ring
I know there's a fire to put out
So I down the pole I slide so fast
And into my engine I go
Driving through the traffic with my siren going so..
NEENAW NEENAW NEENAW, down the pole I go
NEENAW NEENAW NEENAW, up the ladder I go
NEENAW NEENAW NEENAW, spray the water on
Rescue all the people, until the fire's gone.

I may be losing my mind. So if you see me, muttering to myself today, or rocking gently - don't worry. I'm just singing my song.

Slow down, you're moving too fast

I went into the boy's nursery this morning and they were packing up.
We have five days left and yet they were handing out the spare changes of clothes, toothbrushes and library bags and telling us to take them away on home with ourselves.
Do they not know it is emotional enough for us parents? (See how I'm thinking of us and not the kids - who seem most non-bothered by the whole thing).

Fasten your seatbelts blogland, we're in for a bumpy week.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Moving on

On Wednesday of this week I sat through my son’s farewell concert at Nursery School and left feeling not only immensely proud of him but also immensely proud of myself.

I didn’t cry, or gurn, or make a complete eejit of myself and I had been quite seriously concerned that I would. For the last year I have dropped him off each morning trusting the staff will care for him, educate him, treat him with respect and - if I’m honest - love him.

Letting your child take the first faltering steps into any school setting is daunting - especially when you are a control freak like me. From the minute and hour he was born I was able to, more or less, control his environment.

I looked after him the way I wanted him looked after and when I went back to work I made sure there was someone I trusted implicitly to shower him with as much love as I had.So when it came to choosing a school - picking teachers who would start him on his road to big school - I was utterly daunted.

You see, you can’t really interview a teacher. You can’t send them buckets of information on your child and then test them to see how much they remember before you offer them the gig. Yes, you can have a look around the school and talk to a few different parents but all the while a small voice in your head is shouting “but they’ve never looked after my child before”. I sat night after night and thought of all his quirks and wondered how could they ever know just how to soothe him, reassure him and encourage him the way I do.

A very sick and selfish part of me wanted them to fail - wanted him to cling to my legs and tell me that he wanted me and only me because no one looked after him as well as I did. And while I was glad that particular (and very, very small) wish didn’t come true it took a degree of restraint on the day I left him there for the first time - and watched him run through the doors without glancing back - to stop me from running after him and clinging to his legs instead.

The day my child started nursery was the day I realised he doesn’t need me quite so much as I need him.

That stung a bit and it took a leap of faith to leave him in the care of relative strangers. I was in serious danger of coming over all Gollum-like and cradling him to me whispering “my precious” over and over again in a creepy voice.

But he started to thrive there - he loved almost everything about it and would get annoyed at weekends because there was no school. (Yet again another blow to the fragile maternal ego). He would come home and explain his day to me and if I’m honest teach me a few things too.When I dropped him off in the mornings the teachers would talk to me and keep me informed as to how he was getting on.

They would laugh at his little quirks (Joseph has a habit of speaking ever so politely when he doesn’t want to do something eg: “No thanks, I don’t think I’ll bother with that today.”) and constantly ask me if I had any questions or concerns. I had a sense all the time that they did actually love him, and the rest of the 56 children in the school.So fast forward a year and it’s time to say goodbye.

I’ve been stupidly emotional about it, just as I have been about him starting “big school”. I have already, to my shame, cried at his induction meeting and had a mild meltdown buying his school jumper and tie.IndependentThis was all made that little bit more emotional when I met with his nursery teachers to discuss his progress over the year. It dawned on me, as they spoke, that he has learned a myriad of things over the past year and not only the educational basics like how to hold a pencil and how to count to 10.

He has learned how to be a more independent, caring and confident little boy. He is far removed now from the babyish, slightly spoiled, wee boy who walked in the doors of Galliagh Nursery School in September.I feel confident that he will move on and excel in his new school just as much - but parting is not easy, and again I think in many ways it will harder for me than for him. I have an urge to cling to the legs of his teachers and beg them to keep looking after him. I’ve got used to walking in the gates every morning and chatting with the other mummies.

Over the year I’ve learned how every toy in the place has an educational purpose and every activity has been pushing him on.When his teacher told me that letting go is difficult from their side too - that they in many ways like they have been gifted your child for a year - I was a lost cause.

My other half had to mop me out of the school car park and assure me it will all be fine.I never realised before how moving schools could be just as emotional for the parent as for the child. It’s fair to say that for me too it has been a steep learning curve, but I’ll always be grateful to the staff of Galliagh Nursery School for how they cared for that which is most precious to me. And I just hope his new school will do the same.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's time to bring Ouiser out again

Meet Ouiser. Ouiser is the woman I'm going to be in 30 years. Heck, today I AM Ouiser.

She is that very famous character from Steel Magnolias who said "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood for the last 60 years" (Or whatever that figure is, can't remember and can't be arsed to check because I'm in a Ouiser mood).

When I'm in one of these moods everything irritates me - and I mean everything. People breathe too loud. They talk rubbish when I just want some quiet. The price of petrol irritates me, as does the fact that the air conditioning is shite in my workplace. Keira fecking Knightly irritates me with all that "I'm not sick, this is my natural frame" bollocks. It is no-one's natural frame to look as if they might actually snap in two at a moment's notice. Eat some fecking Ben and Jerry's love - you can afford it.

It's almost Friday - House is on the telly tonight as is Gray's Anatomy but I'm so bubbling over with mad GRRRRRness I don't care.

I think I might just have to stop off at the off-licence on the way home, and some chocolate and maybe a chippy tea. Feck the diet - Ouiser would.

The saga of the chicken continues...

So last night I finished work at a more Christian hour and decided it would be the night for marinading the damn chicken. I set to work toasting my coriander seeds and crushing them, all the while wondering I couldn't just use damned coriander powder and save myself the trauma of hot, smelly seeds bouncing all over my kitchen.
Marinade made, and chicken soaking nicely, I put the boy to bed and set about preparing the rest of the meal. Himself was much impressed with the smell of it, but looked dubious about the physical appearance.
He was even more dubious when he saw the diet sized portion of rice I was offering him.
My "made for two" portion was smaller than his usual single effort.
After much toiling and using every utensil in the house I sat down to eat my dinner.

It was horrible.

Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do you ever get one of those days?

When you just didn't know what to write about?
My brain is just so all over the place in a completely floopy stylee that no matter how hard I've tried to think of a witty and interesting blog post - it's just not happening.
I think I might be weak from the lack of food (see chicken rissotto experience below). Either that or I just have to admit to myself that my life is actually very boring and nothing much happens on a day to basis.
I could write what last night entailed, but honestly you would shed tears of sheer boredom. More likely though I'm in the end stages of book three and it's just about all my brain can contemplate at the moment - yesterday I was obsessed with linear structure, even though I'm not entirely sure what that means.
But the book is wrapping up and all four characters are dancing around in my head like mad things shouting "my turn, my turn, my turn" while I'm sitting with my hands over my ears shouting "la la la la la, can't hear you" over and over again.
Normal service will resume shortly - I promise.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A healthy eating rant for today...

Yesterday I went back to my GI roots. I've been reading The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl and have been inspired to start treating my body nicely.
I've been fairly good the last few weeks but now, well, it's serious.
So last night I was armed with all the necessary ingredients to make the Tesco Diets approved Spicy Chicken and Rice. It was 7pm and I was STARVING. (Although not actually starving - just very hungry. Am always telling Joseph he is not "starving" and starving is much, much worse than not having eaten in five hours...)
So weigh out my ingredients, chop my onion, get my cumin and coriander out and a variety of pots and pans.
It's 7.10 now.
Read instructions (or constructions as my niece calls them) - yadda yadda make sauce, yadda yadda marinade chicken in sauce for ONE HOUR!
There was no way my tummy was waiting one hour, plus cooking time for raw chicken, for dinner.
Scrap that.
It's 7.15.
Decide to cook Chicken stuffed with Mozarella - put away Spicy chicken ingredients and start to sort out new ingredients- quickly realise have no fresh basil. The basil that sat on my windowsill has long since withered and died.
Scrap that.
Now have pile of dishes of ingredients which need packed away, cleaned etc. So do dishes.
Start again.
It's 7.25pm.
Realise (Hurrah!) I have all the necessary ingredients to make chicken rissotto in low fat stylee - including fancy Arborio rice. In our house rice usually comes in either white or brown.
Start cooking - gently heat onions, garlic, thyme and then chicken - brown it nicely.
Then start with the stock.
Pouring a small measure (let's call it a spit) at a time into the pan until it is absorbed in the rice.
Am not convinced it is being absorbed at all - believe it is simply evaporating despite pan being on a low heat.
Whole process should (that's *should*) take 15 minutes.
It's 8.10pm.
It's still not ready.
My spicy chicken would have been marinaded by now.
Meanwhile the child is going wild on You Tube watching Ben 10 videos - one of which I discover is named "Ben 10 porn". Have to, between stirring in the spit of stock, encourage him to watch Cbeebies or play with his toys while woefully neglecting our "quality time".
8.20 - it's ready.
Is Arborio rice supposed to be mildly crunchy? Perhaps it is. Am philistine and only know that white and brown is not crunchy. Actually don't care any more. Have started to eye up raw chicken with a fervently hungry glint.
Serve it onto plate... one of the boy's little eeny Thomas the Tank Engine Plates under the misguided notion that a fuller small plate is more psychologically rewarding than a empty bigger plate.
Plate is still empty - there is a small (about half a plate) lump of crunchy, browny, gloop staring back at me.
Eat it anyway.

It's 8.30.

Who said healthy eating was easy?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back from a short break...

Sorry for not blogging on Friday - I was doing something very exciting. (Not that blogging isn't exciting, ya know... but drinking and having a night off from being a mummy is marginally more exciting).
On Friday I travelled to Belfast to meet with some writer friends. These are the ladies I've been chatting to through the Write On Irish Girls site, Write Words and just on email and we had been promising for a long time together for food and drink.
And indeed there was food and drink (and lots of both).
End result is that on Saturday I was reduced to a snoring heap trying to wake up and not eat my body weight in Kentucky Fried Chicken. (I resisted - hurrah!).
It was deeply refreshing and lovely to get together with girls who chatted about all the same things I did - who's eyes didn't glaze over at the mention of edits and POVs. And while writing took up a lot of our conversation time, we also just had a damn good giggle.
Which was good really because I'm not very giggly today. I'm not all floored with depression either - just feeling mildly emotional as I've just bought the boy's school uniform. Surely he is too young? Much, much too young?

In other news I've written my "About the Author" for Feels Like Maybe... which will be released in two months!

Claire Allan was born and raised in Derry, where she still lives with her husband Neil and their four year old son Joseph. She is a self confessed homebird and spends more time with her parents than is normal for a grown woman.
She has worked as a reporter with the Derry Journal since 1999.
In her (very limited) spare time she loves reading, watching films with happy endings and drinking cold wine with friends.
Claire remains addicted to buying inexpensive handbags and shoes from Tesco and Next. She is actively seeking a 12 step programme to deal with her chocolate addiction.
Feels Like Maybe' is her second novel. You can visit her website at

Don't I just sound lovely?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ranty meme

Shamelessly stolen from Keris - this one is easy (esp when I'm in a grump already) - list your pet peeves... I'm going to enjoy this one!

1) People who do not use their indicators when driving. This especially relates to people driving Volkswagon Passats who seem to think that they own the road and that all other drivers (especially nervous almost 32 year old Corsa drivers) are psychic. If I pull out in front of you because you have NOT indicated that you were coming my way then do not beep your horn at me. YOU MADE THE MISTAKE, BOYO!

2) Now this is a good one - the whole bottlefeeding is poison issue. Stop ranting about ads on TV for follow-on milk. They are not bad and evil and the work of satan. They are advertising baby food. Not everyone wants to or can breastfeed. Fair play to you if can. I sincerely from the bottom of my heart am delighted for you. Breastfeed until your child is 23 for all I care, but shut the feckity feck up about how bottlefeeding is wrong. It's not perfect but it's NOT WRONG. Phew!

3) People who use the phrase "depressed" when they are just feeling a little down. For example "The Apprentice is over, I'm so depressed". No you are not depressed. You are fed up maybe, or a little sad. You are not depressed. Your misuse of the word depression devalues the seriousness of the actual condition and Lord forbid you are ever actually really depressed in your life - because then you would be... well.... depressed!
(I know I'm verging on not making any sense here, but that's what ranting is about).

4) Similarly anyone below a size 14 who complains of being "so fat". It's never just fat, it's "so fat". Get a grip.

5) People who do not say thank you when you hold open a door for them. Now I'm not expecting anyone to bow down before me and shower me with their gratitude - but please just a short "thanks". You don't even have to make eye contact. Just acknowledge that I'm not an employee of any shopping centre/ restaurant/ train station and I'm doing you a favour.

6) People who say "Everyone has a book in them". Like it's the easiest thing in the whole world to write a book. It's not. That's like saying "everyone could win Wimbledon", or "everyone has the cure for cancer" in them. Some people just don't. Accept it and move on.

7) Bank charges.

8) People who say "it could be worse" or "cheer up" or the double whammy "cheer up, it could be worse". You deserve a smack - or several of them. How do you know that it's not already worse?

9) The Daily Mail and the people who comment on the Daily Mail website.

10) Ditto the right wing eejits who comment on the BBC news website and bleat on about Gordon Broon and Rip Off Britain. Shut up and get on with it.

11) Jimmy Carr - go away.

12) Ditto the presenters of T4. You are trying too hard to be funny. You are fooling no one.

Now, that feels better...

Whatever gets you through the day

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week and sometimes when you are up to your eyes in designing pages, writing copy and planning your weekend (which is going to be REALLY good this week... will report later) you have to take a few steps to keep you sane.
For me that is plugging my earphones into my computer and listening to the selection of cheesy songs I have saved onto the system.
When it comes to Thursdays, this is my favourite. Just have to stop myself from singing along tunelessly around the office.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy birthday VBF!

*Before I start quick disclaimer - the photo above was taken last year before I lost weight. Yes, I know I'm a bloater in it. Yes, I know it's shocking. Yes, I was the fattest bridesmaid in Derry.. etc.

BUT that aside...

Today is my VBF's birthday. Her name is Vicki and she's Scottish. (Hence my knowledge of certain Glaswegian turns of phrases in RD&T)
Now I "met" Vicki four and some years ago when I was pregnant and she was also pregnant with her third child. (I know, she doesn't look old enough to have one never mind three!). We "met" on an internet forum and quickly clicked. She was very lovely when I was a snottery awful mess after having Joseph and then I was lovely when she was getting used to baby Dylan after only having previous experience of little girls.
We met proper that summer and we try to meet up several times a year. I go to Scotland or she comes to Ireland, or we both go to England.
She is the one person in this world who knows me inside out. She can make me laugh til I want to puke, but will hold my hand when all I want to do is cry. She understands when I just want to have some time to myself and there are no pretences. Even when we have done our Bert and Ernie impressions in twin beds in hotels, I feel comfortable enough that I can just have a wee lie down while she reads or vice versa. That doesn't sound very rock and roll but the fact that I can relax, entirely and without reservation, in her company means so much to me.
She is my cheerleader, my counsellor, my personal comedienne and I feel utterly, utterly bless to have her in my life.
When I have been going through the ringer with depression she has hauled me back out again. It is fair to say she has saved my life.
So Vicki - here's to you - my VBF. I glad fate brought us together. Happy birthday chick.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well that was a disaster...

Just back from the school.

Almost too traumatised to speak.

Visit fine.

School grand. Little F was a star and little F's mummy assured me that she is not child prodigy and my child a dunce. My child is fine. Little F just older.

Escaped unscathed.

Left J back at my aunts.

Tantrum commenced.

Hysterical, snottery "mammydon'tgobacktoworkIloveyouandwantogotoworkwithyouandpleasedon'tleaveme" tantrum.

Aunt peeled child off me and I drove away... slightly snottery myself.

I don't know who's more nervous

Well, actually I lie. I'm more nervous. I'm as a nervous as a nervous thing on annual nervous day.
Today at 1.30 I will stroll with my son into his big primary one classroom for the first time and introduce him to the teacher who will guide him through his first year at big school.
He'll be asked to draw a picture and write his name. He's not particularly good at writing his name - his writing is hugely big and the s is always backwards and the e looks a little mental so I'll be mentally weighing up his ability in comparison to the other kids in his class. And I know for a fact that little F from his nursery is going there too and her writing is amazing (seriously, I think she must get extra lessons)...
But of course what I should be doing is reminding myself he is FOUR - and a young four at that. He can read all his letters and numbers. He can read small words, recognise names of all his classmates and count really well. He can even do basic math. He is obsessed with books, and trains and cars. He can identify the make of a car at 50 yards. He is articulate, sensitive, loving, dramatic and hilariously funny. He is a great dancer, a brilliant wee cyclist and loves to sing. He has a remarkable imagination.
And yet here I am, nutty mum, obsessing about a backwards s. It's as if that backwards s symbolises to the entire world that I am a BAD MUM. And of course, I'm a working mum. (Even though F's mummy is also a working mum - we do that working mum's smile of solidarity at the school gates every morning).
So am I afraid of the teacher judging Joseph or the teacher judging me - I think probably the latter

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday funny

Donna at Barefoot in the Country always posts something funny on a Monday because, let's face it girls... Mondays are shite. (*Edited to remove dodgy apostrophe... sorry! It's a Monday).

Anyway, I got this tagged onto an email from my friend Fionnuala this morning and it did make me snort very loudly.

A recent scientific study found that women find different male faces attractive depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle.
For example, when a woman is ovulating she will prefer a man with rugged, masculine features.
However when she is menstruating, she prefers a man doused in petrol and set on fire, with scissors stuck in his eye and a cricket stump shoved up his backside.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Three random things..

From my house that make me happy....
1: My "Sunshine on my Shoulders" book - based on the John Denver song of the same name. My daddy bought this for me when I was pregnant (well, it was for the baby too) and it has pride of place on the shelf in his room. The song is so simply beautiful, it makes me cry.
2) My sister frame. That's my big sister on the left and me on the right. I think I was about four then and she would have been five. She gave me that frame on my hen weekend seven years ago. We've been through some ups and downs (living together as adults was a BAD idea) but we are best friends now.
3) My "Mummy You're So Beautiful" wall hanging. From the boy (via my sister) and since I've never (not even on my wedding day) considered myself beautiful, I like to remind myself that someone loves me unconditionally.
Anyone want to share?

(I know these are lazy blog posts by the way but my copy editing brain can cope with no more...)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Cliched in the city

Okay- hands up, I'm a walking cliche.
I went to see Sex and the City last night and I loved it. Predictable? Moi? Of course.
But then what is not to love? It's a story of four friends growing up and getting on with life. And there are nice shoes and gorgeous wedding dresses (some rotten wedding dresses too, and some dodgy shoes while we are it - but what the hey?)
I laughed - I cried - I laughed some more - and I cried some more and I felt utterly, utterly empowered as a woman as I walked out because even though there was Big, Harry, Steve and Smith - the primary relationship in all these girls lives was still their friends.
And the friendship made me bawl and I wanted to call up my bestest girl friends and tell them I loved them. I wanted to get on a plane and fly to see my VBF and tell her I loved her and laugh til we nearly pee. (One month til I see her woohooo!).
It was the ultimate feel good movie and today I feel good. So good in fact I might just go and see it again - with my friends.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wordcount woohooo!

90,000 words of current WIP (called Jumping in Puddles - so JIP if you prefer) are now written.
Actually it's closer to 91,000 if we are being picky and it's all getting very exciting.
I'm sure I've blogged about this book before and what it is about but it has without a doubt been the toughest journey I've taken as a writer. I've loved it, but God it has been a challenge and one which, I hope, I've met with gusto.

Anyway, the WIP that is JIP deals with four lone parents in a small coastal village in Donegal.
They are brought together when the mysterious Bernie sets up a support group for them and they meet each Tuesday night in the musty community centre for tea, letter writing and chocolate biscuits.
Our parents are

1) Niamh - a widowed yummy mummy of two twins. She lived the picture perfect life - big house, flash car, designer shoes until her husband crashed his car into a ditch and died. Stupid bastard. As she tries to piece her life back together she uncovers a secret that will change her forever.

2) Ruth is a definitely not yummy mummy of three. She married young and remained devoted to her husband - despite his violent tendencies and general arse-wipeness- until he ran off with Laura Cunningham.

3) Liam Cunningham is the husband of the aforementioned Laura Cunningham and is utterly devastated that the love of his life has run off leaving him heartbroken and with sole care of their 10 year old daughter Poppy. He's determined to do everything he can to get her back - but is this a case of rose tinted glasses?

4) Ciara is a teenage mum who refuses to tell anyone in the village who the father of her baby is. Will she find the strength to speak up, clear her name and take the shine off the village's golden boy (and the smirk off her boss' face!).

So yes, book three - quite the challenge (and here is the writer speak bit) four POVs, all third person (not done that before) including a man and a teenager - trying to make sure all the strands work together while trying to do justice to the issues of grief and domestic violence and still trying to be funny.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Random Conversations from a Newspaper Office

So we're sitting doing our work and it's all gone a bit Wednesday afternoon-ish. (We go to press on a Thursday - Wednesday afternoon is when things start to get interesting... cue hysteria, laughter and slightly manic banter).
From out of of nowhere we hear a blood curdling scream.
Of course, being cutting edge journalists we should investigate but a colleague just pipes up

"Where on earth is that coming from?"
to which my other colleague replies...

"So that's real? I thought that was just the voice inside my head".


My desk

I'm such a copy cat, I've stolen this from Donna and Penelope and I'm sorry but you don't get the full impact of the desk as I was taking this in my break at work and didn't want people to think I was a total loon - but I feel I have captured the essence of me.
I would show you my home desk except that himself has hijacked it entirely and most of my writing is now done on my laptop, on the sofa in my living room, propped up by cushions.

Anyway behold, the hub of my work.
You see before you, from left to right, my purse. I have no idea why it is sat on my desk except that I was at the shop earlier and was probably too lazy to put it back in my bag. It is sat on the top of an envelope which contained a press release which as you can see has been filed under "sit there for a week" as I'm in a lazy mode.
Behind that is my phone. I love my phone. It makes me feel very professional and important. Yes, I am that sad.
Now beside the phone is the obligatory "I love my mummy" photo frame - a necessary accessory for all working mothers to either heap on the guilt or remind us why we are working depending on our mood. I like to think of the episode of the Simpsons where Homer makes a little shrine in Maggie in his work to remind himself he is doing it for her.
In front of the obligatory frame is my Willow Tree woman - who represents courage. My colleage Erin bought her to me when I got my book deal. It means an awful lot.
And then we have the Diet Coke can. Yes, I'm addicted. I'm trying to cut down for caffeine over load reasons - honestly I am.
And then we have my work computer.. complete with model butterfly made by my gorgeous niece and two stones to represent the two stone I've lost (although I've put some of that back on - but hush... say nothing).
What you can't see is a pile of newspapers, a mug with my name on, a Matalan press pack, a copy holder crammed with press releases, books, sellotape and a spork and a signed note from an author friend. Nor can you see my sunglasses folded neatly beside my Primrose doll, some Clarins handcream (free sample!) and some of that Forehead stuff for tension headaches.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm having a day off...

Generally I'm a very chatty person. I love email, gabbing on the phone, sending texts, blogging whatever.
But occasionally, about once a month if truth be told, I retreat into myself and say nothing. I don't answer emails the way I should, I don't reply to texts and if you get me to answer the phone you are onto something.
And it's not that I don't care/ have something better to do / am an ignorant baggage - it's just that once a month I lose my belief in my ability to say anything at all worthwhile.
So I shut up.
Today I'm shutting up.

Monday, June 02, 2008

*Steam from ears*

Okay, in the words of Primrose from Fifi and the Flowertots, "I'm not having a very good day" (I have that wee doll on my desk in work, by the way... to remind me to laugh at myself when I'm being overly dramatic... which I am a lot).
Anyway..Took a sickie from work as I literally am wheezing like a fecker and went to the docs convinced I had a chest infection/ TB/ cancer and was told I most probably have hay fever!!! HAY FEVER for feck sake! I'm almost 32!
Who gets hay fever for the first time at 32?
Anyway I've enough pills and sprays to make me rattle and I'm home feeling like a gom for taking a day off sick with hay fever, but in fairness walk any further than the length of myself and I'm huffing like an old woman in an iron lung.

To top it off have discovered the boy wants to be an ancient egyptian and has created hieroglyphic drawings all up my (freshly painted) stair walls! They have great artistic merit, but holy Jesus! I can' t be coping.

And THEN we have the chimney sweep come out because oil is getting so damned dear who can afford it, and he tells us the fecking chimney is blocked with bricks and brings two of the feckers down for us to look at.
Hubby didn't think to ask does that now make our chimney structurally unsound (we paid to have the damn thing rebuilt 5 years ago) and the chimney sweep boy seems to think the house would require major surgery to fix.
Have just eaten three medicinal caramel squares to cope with it all (and ranted to the lovely Sharon Owens who didn't tell me I was cracked and should feck off).
And even though I'm now sprayed, medicined and anti-histamined up to my forehead I'm still wheezing and sneezing because of all the crap cleaned out of the chimney. (Clean job these days... my arse!)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I've been tagged by the lovely Karen at Fresh as a Daisy to fill in this author me me. (Have you seen the logo on her site - gorgeous. I'm not a bit creative so vay jealous!).

1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?
Anyone who reads this blog regularly will already know the answer. Marian Keyes is my favourite author. Her books inspired me to start writing again and made me see chick lit in a whole new light. However I do also have some emerging favourites and having actually written the guts of three books myself I now have admiration for ANYONE who puts pen to paper.

2. Who was your first favourite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?
My answer is basically the same as Karens. When we were growing up we were raised on a diet of Roald Dahl. The first book I bought with my very own money was 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. Roald Dahl could fire the imagination of children like no one else - and he was always able to bring you to the edge of disgust and then haul you right back. My boy is four now and it won't be long til we start reading Roald Dahl as a bedtime story.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?
There are a few. I really can't get enough of Melissa Hill at the moment and having read two of her books and finding "Revenge of the Wedding Planner" pant wettingly funny I have to say Sharon Owens.

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?
Pretty similar to the above, Melissa Hill, Sharon Owens. Also Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Hughes - esp the "Come Together" trilogy. Have also recently read Carole Matthews 'Chocolate Lover" books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Oh and Kate Long's "Queen Mum" is amazing.

5. Tagged
Rules: Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the Author questions, tag some people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.
Here are my tagees…

Keris at Keris Stainton
Fionnuala at Manic Muse
Penelope at It's Me Penelope
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