Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Spirit of Christmas


I hear you say, but hear me out.  I’m in a bit of a dither and you may be able to help me.

I need to kick this off by saying that, yes, I am an atheist, but by jingo those Christians know how to create a wonderful holiday.  I’m all for a bit of religion (my daughter is currently dallying in these notions) but it’s not for me.  I tried, honest guv, but my heart wasn’t in it.

However.  I am a M A S S I V E  fan of Christmas. I just love it. Everything.  The tinsel, the lights, the tree, the decorations, the giving and sharing, the eating and most importantly The Family.  It’s such a beautiful day.

I can’t think of a single day in the year where almost every single person is with their family. Whether they love them, like them, find them irritating, slightly dislike them or often hate them, we all share the commonality of spending Christmas day with each other. No mean feat for a lot of people.

However, I’m also a mum and I have a family and there is an awful lot of preparation involved in getting in the “Christmas Spirit”.  As such, I’m a little stretched.  So you can imagine my mood when my sister decided that this year instead of doing lists we were doing “surprise” presents.

I moaned. I complained. I took to Twitter. I moaned some more.  It’s an issue because she designs jewellery, so I can’t buy her any.  She has always been far more into fashion than I have so I wouldn’t dare purchase her a piece of clothing. She has much more money than me so I can’t imagine she wants for much.  Arghhhhh. I was so annoyed.  Why couldn’t she just give me a bloody list.

And therein lies the problem, dear readers.  I wanted the easy way out. The quick fix. The non thinking option.  I didn’t want to think too hard about buying something or giving it too much thought, because it was an inconvenience.  Now, admittedly I have bought her something that she doesn’t really need, but by goodness I put a lot of thought into it.  I’ve also bought her a jewellery travel wrap, something I’m sure she has, but this one is gorgeous and she has a lot of jewellery.decoration

It really occurred made me realise that I often go through the motions when it comes to Christmas and presents and I forget that moment when you are thinking of your loved ones whilst hovering over a shelf of goods in Debenhams and you imagine their reaction.

The same goes with the writing of Christmas cards.  I may have reduced my list of recipients as the cost of stamps have gone up, but every one of those cards took time to write, I have put a different message in each one. Some I’ve written updates in.  I ranted about the lack of Christmas cards writing last year here, but I donated to charity this year AND wrote some cards out.   They remind me of what it is all about, I realised. Each and every card that I have to take the time to fill in, gives me an opportunity to reflect on the person it’s for and what they mean to me, when I saw them last, how I feel about them.

So I think I learnt a big lesson this year. I think I may have managed to retrieve My Spirit of Christmas through a few lessons learnt.

Do you still have The Spirit of Christmas?  What does Christmas mean to you?

Liebster Award

I was recently tagged and nominated by @JoDC77 here for a Liebster Award.   This is a great honour as it means the nominator likes your blog and wants to tell their followers about you.  In good blogging network etiquette, I then should do the same and pass it on.

Liebster awardSo here are the answers to her questions and my nominations to pass it on.

1. What’s your daily motivation?

Being judged for being lazy.

2. Do you have a particular song that makes your day?

As I mentioned this week, anything on Radio One floats my boat.  I find it impossible to stay seated if “Reach for the Stars” plays and my all time favourite song is “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys.  Even weirder when you know I’m an athiest.

3. Name 5 items you always carry with you.

My phone.  Knickers.  Socks. Earrings.  Watch  :)

4. What was the best movie you’ve seen recently?

Silver Linings Playbook.

5. Full breakfast or breakfast on the go?

Full Breakfast EVERY TIME. The veggie option please.

6. What do you first notice on another person?


7. Do you agree less is more?

NO. I would have failed Maths if I had.

8. You can’t live without…

Air.  It’s essential.

9. First love is unforgettable but second love is lovelier. Do you agree?

I hope so. I can’t wait to meet him.

10. Last but not least, have you bought your Xmas gifts yet or at least made a list?

Oh yes.  Wrapped and under the tree. The list is in Excel if you want to see it.


And I’m tagging the following lovely bloggers who I enjoy reading but rarely comment.  I really need to sort that out.  All of them write thought provoking and/or funny blogs.





The Plough Sacks their head chef – Human Resources 101

There are many many rules to good Human Resource (Personnel) management.  I’m thinking The Plough in Great Haseley needs to pick up a HR manual and learn the basics after what unfolded last night on Twitter.

It started with a fairly innocuous tweet about Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and then delved into some bad ass tweeting that can only come about if the person who has the password for the twitter account is sacked with barely a week to go before Christmas.  See for yourself below (read bottom up)

Plough Pub 2















Plough Pub 1So, what did The Plough do that was so wrong?

Well, it is entirely possible that the chef in question left it too late, was demanding or had an expectation that he could just “hop it” over the Christmas period, just when The Plough were getting ready for an onslaught of hungry Festive fellows.

However, in my opinion, there is always a right way and a wrong way with these things and I wonder whether the proprietor (or proprietors) had explained the position, hours and holiday expectations up front.  If someone is expected to work over a holiday period, then they should be made aware of it.  Ideally in writing.  Now, I know that as a chef, that should be an expectation and assumption, but we all know the saying “Assume – Makes an ASS out of U not ME”

Secondly, if you fire someone, especially in the week prior to Christmas (and let’s face it – that is a really shitty thing to do and demonstrates a real lack of basic HR.  How did they not know they wanted to sack him?  If they were planning on sacking him, they should have bought the new guy in at Christmas to cover his shifts and then given the this guy some notice). A clear explanation is needed and a protocol should be followed.  Where I work (admittedly a big corporate, but this should work regardless of size) you are expected to hand everything back.  You don’t take a laptop, your pass card or any paperwork as you leave the building for the last time.  What company  or establishment in their own right makes a decision to sack someone who has access or, quite possibly, the administration right to their twitter account.

Thirdly, always ALWAYS assume that sacking someone is going to go terribly badly.  Think carefully about your strategy and try to mitigate for this exact sort of scenario.

And here is the really worrying thing.  As of 2pm today, the messages are still up and the company appears to not have any knowledge of what went down yesterday.

His first comment was retweeted 1881 times, favourite 368 times and was still being discussed 34 minutes ago.

His comment about the meat coming from Asda has been retweeted 2288 times and favourite 839 times.  It is still being retweeted!

Well, you can check the conversation yourself.  Needless to say, if his comments about the meat were anything to go by (and lets face it, they’d hardly be the first), you’d need to be bearing that in mind if you are eating there during the festive period.

The Plough?  The balls in your court.

Fuddy duddy? Moi?

Not bloody likely.  I am DOWN WITH DA KIDS.

Ok, I may have just ruined it with that sentence, but whilst I may be “getting on” I can at least have a conversation about some things that matter to teenagers.

I am vigilant about fashion. I remind myself, time and time again about the hideous things we did with clothing that was not flattering, but we considered cool. It was better to change your body shape for the worse than not wear the latest skirt/trouser/legging combo.  I say something like this to myself as I watch some street wise kid lollop down the road with his trousers belted at his thighs. I do the same when I see a young girl, curvy, delightfully plumpish wearing a crop top and low slung jeans which spill out “a la muffin toppish”.  I may choose not to wear that gear, but I now what it means to “need” to wear it.  I’m cutting them some slack.

I know how loud teenagers can accidentally be.  On the bus, in the street. They talk first, think later.  It sometimes really annoys me or makes me angry, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I was exactly the same. Saying something dorky at the bus stop, far too loud and far too annoying for those around me.  I too, remind myself of this A LOT.BBCRADIO1

What I am especially good at is music. I do not listen to Kiss FM, Radio 2, Radio 4 or Radio 5. I am a massive fan of Radio 1 and I’m not going anywhere.  The reason I’m not going anywhere is because I have a theory. A theory about old age and music.

Imagine that Radio One is a pair of tight jeans.  You look good in them, you feel bold in them and you wear them all the time.  You really like wearing your tight jeans, it makes you feel good. Everyone says how “cool” you are and you like it.  Then one day you put on a pair of jogging bottoms.  Ahhh, the softness, the give, the comfort.  You love the jogging bottoms because they are really safe and comfortable, but you wear the tight jeans a few more times, because, you know, you haven’t completely lost your marbles.  The trouble is, the jogging bottoms are calling to you.  You remember their softness. You remember how relaxing they were and you start wearing them more and more.  You forget how you felt when you wore your tight jeans. You start scoffing at others and saying out loud how uncomfortable the tight jeans were.  Why would anyone put themselves through that. You ignore the fact you now don’t look as good on a night out, you don’t care so much because you keep reminding yourself of your new comfort and you keep putting down others to make yourself believe that this is the right decision.  You have been converted.  Then one day, you pop your tight jeans on.  They are too small now.  You find them uncomfortable and unflattering. You cannot get your head around the fact you used to wear them.

THIS is why I can’t move radio stations. Not yet.  If I start stepping off the treadmill, consuming new music (albeit a particular kind) and keeping my head in the place where music continues to change, I’ll wind up like the person who puts on the tight jeans for the last time. It won’t make any sense to me. It’ll sound like noise and I won’t get it and then there will be no going back. I can’t let that happen. Not yet.

Having said all that, it makes it sound like I’m forcing myself to listen to music I don’t like. I’m not. I love Radio 1 because I love 98% of the music they play. I think this is because I haven’t stepped off the treadmill.

I’m just very conscious of the fact that I’m pretty unusual in my age group.  Most of my friends occasionally listen to Radio 1 but mostly listen to Radio 2. Quite a lot don’t listen to Radio 1 at all anymore.  Ask them who the Number 1 is and they’d look at me blankly.

I have switched over a couple of occasions when the breakfast show has a stand in DJ or when they are doing a particularly cringy prank (I’ve never been able to stomach these, even in my 20’s) and whilst I love the banter, I can’t be doing with the music.  For every old song I listen to, another new one is lost, passed me by.

So I’m staying put. I’m messin’ with Radio 1’s demographic and I just don’t care because the day I step off the treadmill I’ll be saying goodbye to ever being able to understand a teenager’s taste in music every again and I refuse to let that happen.  I’m hanging on by my last remaining tooth whether you like it or not.

Tired thanks to “Taken”

Beyond tired.  Ridiculously tired.  Can’t move, I’m so tired.  All this, and I don’t even have a newborn baby to blame. Jeez, I didn’t even have children waking up.

Why oh why oh why did I decide to watch “Taken” last night, on my own, through to the end.  What a noob.Tired

I’ve seen it before, mind. I know it goes into a whole load of nastiness that upsets me, but I also know it ends in a very cool way and you spend the whole time rooting for Liam Neeson.

So I watched it through to the end, had a shower, got into bed and then spent about 3 hours thinking about it when I SHOULD HAVE BEEN SLEEPING!  It started with the obvious over thinking of the actual predicament the girl had got into, to trying to remember bits or speculating over sections I had turned my head away from, to wondering how they explained everything to the authorities, the other girl’s mother, the person who owned the flat. What would have happened if the girl with the jacket hadn’t remembered the street name?  I think I even started working out how the authorities could work to prevent this sort of thing in the future. FFS!

Even when I did drift off, I then had a nightmare and got woken again.  It’s possible that “annoying girl next door” may have popped back at about 2am and had some hand in me waking up as well.

So, here I am, at work, trying to look like I am fully compos mentis when all I want to do is crawl under my duvet (which is taunting me at home).  There was a time, about 7 or 8 years ago when I would have contacted my boss and told him that I had slept badly and would be in late.  Oh yes! I was as bold as brass.  He would let me lie in and I would saunter into work having caught up on the lost sleep.

I couldn’t even contemplate that now.  Being tired is a state of being that, as a parent, you just have in your repertoire.  So I’m here.  Looking like I’m not about to collapse in a heap.

Bloody movie.