Monthly Archives: October 2013

False Widow Spiders

STOP PANICKINGmr-skinnylegs

We were informed this morning that the nursery had found some false widow spiders in their shed in the garden and we were offered the chance to use their nursery in Teddington.  My husband, quite rightly, asked if they intended shoving the children INTO the shed. When the answer was no, he said, well in that case, as long as they are kept away from it, I’d like to keep him here.

Unfortunately I was phoned up at 2pm asking me to pick The Monster up by 4pm as the whole building our nursery is housed in, was going to be fumigated.  I’m obviously really annoyed this couldn’t be better planned and I’m about to head off on my holiday, so my last day at work was quite important.  Anyway, I did manage to move some stuff around, grovel to my boss and get off early.

The bottom line is though, that these little buggers have been around for quite some time.  They are more prevalent now than ever before, but there are generally more spiders around than there used to be.  The weather is warmer now, insects are abundant and quite naturally, there will be more spiders.

The false widow is venomous, but there has been NO reported deaths here or in Spain and France, where they’ve been around a lot longer.  If you get bitten by anything and start getting symptoms, you should always go to A&E to be on the safe side, but I spent 25 years in rural Australia with 100’s of spidery nooks and crannies and I only recall being bitten once, by an unidentified critter trapped in my clothes.  I went off to a party that afternoon with the instruction to tell someone if I felt unwell.

Here are some Aussie tips on avoiding contact with ANY TYPE of spider:

  • Don’t stick your hand in somewhere where you can’t see inside. If you have to, put on a glove.
  • If you need to get into a bunch of old pots (it might just be me who has a tonne of these at the end of the garden) then I find banging them, chucking them and generally smacking them around with a stick usually sends most spiders packing.
  • Wear gloves when you do any gardening around trees or bushes
  • Before you put on your welly boots, tread on the toe, give the heel a bang on the floor and tip the welly up. If there is anything in there, it’ll either be dead or you can knock it out.
  • Check all the places around your house where they can get in and fill them in.
  • If you have trees or bushes up against the house, they are more likely to use that to gain access to the house (accidentally, you understand, they aren’t burglars) so if you want to prevent that, keep them tidy, cut them back.
  • If you have a spider in the house, by all means spend the time pfaffing around lifting him on to a card and out the door. My approach is kill first, ask questions later.  I love spiders in the garden, but if they are in my house, they are likely to be squished. Sorry.

Or better still, get some chickens. We’ve not had any spiders in the house, for the first time in years and I think it might be because my chickens eat them first.

I think we just need to brace ourselves for a bit of spidery fun in Autumn.  :)


PS:I’m not going to adorn this blog post with an actual picture of a spider. I don’t know about you, but when someone does that on Facebook, I literally can’t look at my timeline for an hour, until it disappears.  I therefore have put up a pic of Mr Skinny Legs from Peppa Pig.

When He Said the Wrong Thing

I do often feel a teeny bit sorry for my husband.  Sometimes.  He often says something that riles me, that results in an argument and afterwards, if I really thought about it, the opposite thing he could have said, probably would have riled me as well. He was in a bit of a lose/lose situation.  In the interest of open, honest conversation, I have told him that. Just so he knows, I know.

HOWEVER….I do worry about where his head is at, when he pipes up with some real beauties, thank quite frankly are very very brave, but could only end in tears.

Like, last night.  We are both tired. He’s had a full day rehearsal on his secret BBC project, then spent the evening lugging furniture around in preparation for our new carpet fitting.  I’m tired, because, well because I always am.  Light off, head on pillow and he says “We really do have a lot of crap in this house. We need to sort it out”.

*Deep Breathes”.  I don’t know about you, but in my house, I’m the sorter.  I’m the one that buys new kids clothes, packs away old clothes, sorts through old clothes and, when I’m in the right “sorting” mood, I will sort through them and send some off to friends, some to charity and  some to the bin.  The same with toys and furniture.  Hubby is not the least bit interested in doing this.  He’s never done it. I have NEVER seen him declutter.  Once every few years he grabs a load of his own clothes and takes them to charity, but that’s it.  He has no interest in anyone elses.

So you can imagine how well that comment went down.  It came from a good place. He was merely commenting on what is actually the truth, but I’m a doer not a talker and I’d just prefer it if he said “We have such a lot of stuff and I know between us we have no time to sort it so I’m going to spend a few days sorting stuff into piles and if you could give them the once over we can get rid of a load of crap upstairs”.  That would have been more useful wouldn’t it.charitybags

Unfortunately he didn’t say that. He made a comment about something he has never ever sorted and quite frankly he got it with both barrels.  Nothing like having the grump with each other as you fall asleep.

Two weeks ago, he did a similar thing.  What was more frustrating was that after the argument ensued, he said he’d been quite worried about saying something but decided to say something which was the STUPIDIEST decision.

He had gone out with the kids for the afternoon so I could have a bit of down time with a small hangover.  In that time I had cleaned a bathroom and done 3 loads of washing.  I did get a 2 hour nap in as well, but that was the point of me staying at home.  I don’t tend to blow my own trumpet when I do everyday, normal, family maintenance jobs like this, so when he got back and started to get the bath ready for the kids, he was clearly in a grump. I could see it. I didn’t ask and then he couldn’t help himself.  “You could have emptied the dishwasher while I was out”.   ARGGHHHHH.

Needless to say, the poor bugger got an earful from me.

Anyone else got a better award for the “Stupidiest thing to say to a Spouse”?


I’ve linked this back to Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday. Click on the pic below if you fancy reading more rants.


Shopping in Blues and Greys

I hold my hands up.  I have bought some new clothes.  I have blown the budget.  Yes – I’m now having to do a packed lunch for work because I have spent my lunch money as well.  However – I have made some lovely purchases, so I thought I’d share.

My first purchase was this gorgeous coat by John Rocha for Debenhams. I got it in the 20% sale, so it was under £100.  Bearing in mind my last expensive winter coat lasted nearly 6 years and cost me £200+, I was fully prepared to make the investment again.  Makes more sense than buying a coat each year, which is what I was doing.

I wandered into Debenhams and there it was, calling to me.  This is what it looks like in the catalogue.


I chose not to wear the tie. For some reason, these types of “dressing gown” ties aren’t very flattering for me, so when I wear it, I tie it behind me.

My second purchase was this lovely cardigan from Mint Velvet.  I’m unlucky lucky that Mint Velvet have a concession stand in the department store opposite my office and, quite frankly, I would buy almost every piece, every season, so I often just have to step away.

No matter how many pictures I took, I couldn’t show this cardigan in its true, soft, gorgeousness.  Here is the pic, alongside my new coat.

coat and cardigan

Ahh, you spotted the scarf!  Yes, I may have bought a scarf as well. I’m not a scarf kind of girl, but I thought I should.  This blue and the slight off white looked like it may tie in with a lot of my outfits, so I took the plunge. I have worn it twice in the last 2 weeks.  I think I love it.  This was a Mint Velvet purchase too. £35.

Last pic is a close up of the scarf, which I think is really pretty (hence my overdoing on the photographs) and my last purchase, was this gorgeous bird print tunic/top from Mint Velvet which I wore out with my River Island Plether strip tight skinnies and ankle boots.  I really like this outfit (photo taken just before I left, in the dark, so apologies).  It felt dressy, without being too dressy and whilst all the other nursery mums were wearing dresses and heels for a cocktails, I felt a little edgier, a little younger (despite actually being the 2nd oldest there).

scarf and bird

The bird design on the top, pretties it up a bit and the fabric is shiny, so definitely a going out top.

There you have it. My October purchases.  Purchases that make me very very happy.


I’m an Introvert

Believe it or not, I spent most of my life believing I was an extrovert.  Honestly.  I’m feel incredibly stupid for this, but I don’t know whether it has been the ageing process that has accentuated the traits and made it much more obvious or whether I’m just better educated now.  Maybe both.

The reason I thought I was an extrovert stems from my teens and 20’s.  I had relatively queit friends and I am very talkative. I am a chatterbox. I looooove to talk. My aunt rang my mum once to check up on my throat infection and asked if I had stopped talking. The answer was no.  As well as the talking a lot, filling the empty silences that people insist on putting there (why, why do they do that?) I quite like having the floor with friends.  I have very fond memories of having one too many drinks and practically doing a stand up routine or often a bit of improvised slapstick for the amusement of those around me.  It took me a while, but I started acting in my early 20’s, eventually coming to the UK in the 90’s to study drama, meet my husband and do a bit of professional acting before realising I wasn’t up for the struggle and quitting.

That sounds like an extrovert doesn’t it?  Attention seeker. Drama queen. Actress.

It always confused me when I did quizzes or a Myers Briggs personality test in early 2000 and I didn’t come out as an extrovert. Why do they keep getting it wrong?

So, it’s taken me a while, but in the last 5 years I think it has slowly trickled into my head.  Around the time I had children and found myself in situations where I was meeting new people for the first time at NCT antenatal classes or at children’s birthday parties.  It probably wasn’t until this year that I made the jump to actually realising I was an introvert. To go from being an extrovert, right the way down the scale to the Introvert was a bit of a shock to the system.  It has helped me though.

I’m no longer critical of my inability to make new friends.  I’ve stopped getting annoyed at my anxious disposition about a night out with people I don’t know very well.  Best of all, I’ve started to find like minded people on twitter and in real life who are just like me.  I’ve been able to give advice to my husband, advice that wasn’t obvious even to me (like this picture), to help him understand why I am the way I am.introvert

There are quite a few myths out there about introverts and on my googling, I found this really interesting blog post  by Carl King.  In it, he had the exact same realisation and found a book that helped him to understand it better.  Here are the myths he outlined. I shouted “yes” to everyone:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

These made perfect sense to me.  I often engage with people at my daughter’s school, because we have a common interest and our children are in the same class and I like to be inclusive.  Just because I do that, doesn’t mean I like to chat to strangers.  It depends on the circumstances and my mood.

What has been the biggest realisation this year, along with my understanding of my anxiety, is that not EVERYTHING I do is a result of my anxiety.  Quite a lot of it is just my personality, my introversion.  This blog post about my daughter, helped me realise that. I’ve always encouraged her to be social, so the fact she finds it hard sometimes is another example of our genetic makeup, hers and mine.

We can’t change it, nor should we want to.  I’m planning on using my new found knowledge to be kinder to myself and accept how introversion is part of who I am.


Debenham’s Dream Bedroom Competition

We have now lived in our house for 4 and a half years and inevitably the only room not to have been decorated was ours.  I couldn’t justify the cost and I guess in the grand scheme of things only Hubby and I saw it and it therefore wasn’t as high a priority as our living space downstairs or my daughter’s bedroom (parents often come up to retrieve their children from there!)

So we’ve put it off and put it off but I have had a few ideas.  Next week we are FINALLY getting some carpet fitted over the 2 different toned laminate that the previous owner had put down for her asthmatic condition.  Maybe then I can start to envisage the room of my dreams.

Regular blog readers will know that I don’t do sponsored posts, reviews or competitions, but I’m hoping you’ll excuse this competition on the grounds that it is research. RESEARCH PEOPLE! and I’m actually amazed that despite a £5000 budget to play around with, I did this so cheaply!  It really is my dream bedroom.  Lots of grey/silver hues with black accents and adding a zing of colour.  The description on the yellow items were marked as “green”. Maybe because I’m colour blind or perhaps because they are borderline, I just love them. Perfect to create that 60’s colour scheme that I’m so craving at the moment. I’d probably pop one of my mum’s Ercol dining chairs in there too.

The nickel bed? Well, I’ve always wanted one and I tried the design with a more boxier bed and quite frankly, I didn’t like it. This lends a delicate edge to the bedroom, making it less masculine.

So, what do you think?  Do you like it?

Debenham's Dream Bedroom Competition


  • Antique nickel ‘Isabelle’ bed frame £468
  • Slate ‘Savoy’ snuggler chair with dark feet  £352
  • Cotton ‘Whitworth’ One-Drawer Bedside Chest £275
  • Cotton ‘Whitworth’ Five-Drawer Tall Chest £378
  • Green textured throw £40
  • Green large textured Leaf Cushion x 2  £32
  • Grey textured striped faux fur throw £68
  • Betty Jackson Clear and black glass bowl £48
  • Designer black French bulldog cushion £22
  • Black and white newspaper printed dog lamp £45

Total: £1728