Category Archives: Socialising

Saying Goodbye

I’m not really one for social gatherings. I’m a fish out of water. I hate small talk, I’d rather get to the crux of the issue and have an in-depth conversation with someone I know than fanny about talking about jobs, schools, holidays or where they or us live.  300mmx150mm-exit-rightGive me a conversation on how people choose pet names or the criteria you use for choosing which toilet cubicle is the one for you.  Better still, be passionate about something I’m passionate about and we’ll wax lyrical about how passionate we are. Lovely.

However, like most of us, I’m often thrust into social situations because, you know, it’s the right thing to do.  Strangers are only friends you haven’t met before. Blah blah blah.  My hubby is very social and he likes people to meet me.  He loves a good social situation and can chat to almost anyone.  He’s a good barometer for shit people really, because if they aren’t happy chatting to him, they sure as hell aren’t going to like me!

So, in the 17 years I’ve been with him I have been to many a gathering, party or social event where I’ve known very few people.  Occasionally it has meant I’ve been introduced to the likes of Catherine Tate (“and this is Catherine”. “oh hi Catherine, how are you?” – like I DON’T KNOW YOU ARE!!), Chris O’Dowd and Andrew Lincoln. I should add though if you do get introduced to a famous person they do look at you like a rabbit caught in the headlights for the first 2 minutes of the conversation because they are waiting for the very next nanosecond which will define whether or not you are a nutter.  Gushing about how amazing they are (which I did on one occasion with Eddie Izzard (oh the shame) only makes them look for an exit.  On the whole though, I don’t get introduced to that many famous people and end up chatting to mates of mates of mates who endless droning on about their job which really doesn’t do them any favours.

It’s the goodbyes I have a big problem with.  The goodbyes at the end of the evening.  For the life of me I can’t quite understand why it has to happen.

A WHOLE bunch of people, some of which might be close friends and some of which most definitely aren’t and I have to go around saying goodbye to them. No thanks.  I’m drunk, I’m tired, I just had a mental picture of my bed, my homing beacon is on and I want to just turn around and walk out and head off to start the journey that will eventually lead me to that lovely bed. That lovely, soft, warm bed.

Hubby has other ideas.  “Oh we just can’t leave”.

“Yes we can”

“Not really.  Oh well, just let me say goodbye to John. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him”.

“Ok, you do that. I’m going to the Loo”.

20 minutes later I’m standing like a plonker at the door and hubby is still chatting.  He’s then intercepted by someone else.  Another chat.  I do the walk of shame over to him. Smile plastered on my face.

“Hi.  Are we not going?”

“Yeah, just a sec, I will just say bye to Margaret and we’ll be off”.

And so it goes.  Another hour can easily pass. I’m tired, I’m fed up and I just WANT TO GO HOME.

Now, when I go to a company party on my own.  I get to that critical “Homing Beacon” point in the evening and literally spin around and walk off.  Not a single goodbye. I had a lovely time, but its time to go.  Most of the time, nobody notices.  Which is fine.  The next day we have a giggle about who was drunk, who snogged who, who passed out and compare when we all left.  Nobody cares I didn’t say goodbye.  Why would they?

Bloody goodbyes.  Do you like them?


Freefalling into 40’s Facebook Faux Pas

See what I did there.  It’s practically the acronym FFFFF.

I know there has been quite a few of these recently, but it is Ranty Friday and therefore a perfect day to spout about MY rules for Facebook.  I think you’ll agree, they are pretty universal.

I consider myself to know a few unwritten rules of Social Media.  I like to abide by them because it’s the right thing to do and also it helps keep an equilibrium.  I make mistakes so I accept others do too.  However most of these Facebook mistakes below are often done over a period of time and there really is no excuses. Get your act together.

1. Don’t put up a photo about your child with the words “Isn’t she beautiful?” or something similar.  For starters, nobody likes to be preempted. Secondly nobody likes someone boasting about their own child. Thirdly I can’t believe people genuinely think their child is beautiful to everyone else.  I have never made that assumption about my own children. I think they are beautiful, but that has to be my mother bias.  After all, they are replicas of me.  😉  Let me be the judge and chances are I will say something genuinely nice or else I may lie. You’ll never know which, but don’t tell me what to say.

2. There is a “first baby clause” in my Facebook Rules.  I will allow you about 6-12 months of constant, boring, pointless and frankly often disgusting updates about your first child.  After that I WILL stop commenting and will probably hide your updates.  I do like seeing babies, I like watching them grow, but seriously, we’ve all been there (and for those that haven’t, they really don’t care) and therefore typing “Bailey just ate pureed pea” is about as interesting as watching paint dry.  Please stop. I once had someone accidentally complain about one of my statuses (she wrote it on a mutual friends wall) being about Open University assignments.  Fair enough complaint, except less than a month later she posted a poo in the potty picture. WHAT?  I know what I’d rather see.

3. Don’t have a Facebook Account if your prime reason for opening it is to be a voyeur.  Seriously!  I give you a peek into my house/dilemmas/achievements/fears/opinions and then you do the same. It’s only fair. You do that shit, and I’m putting you on my custom list. No status updates for you.

4. Don’t open a Facebook account, do all of the above and then 6 months later post your just giving page. It’s rude!  I will not donate to you on principle.  The idea that you only use Facebook for your own gain is wrong.  It is not a one way street.  This also includes anyone who posts about an event they are organising etc.. We all know what you are doing and we don’t like it. That’s why you only got 1 like.

5. Don’t post 5 status a day all about what you are up to, how fab your life is, what a gorgeous husband you have etc.. and then NEVER comment on anyone elses status.  That is also quite rude. It’s called Social Media. Be bloody Social!  If you keep doing that, I will put you on my custom list.  Oh and by the way, I’ve stop commented. You may have noticed everyone else has too.  We can only take so much.

6. I am not just an agony aunt.  I’m happy to help with all of your problems, but bloody acknowledge my response.  It’s like asking people to come over and paint your house and then going off to a spa for the day and hoping they’ll be gone when you get back.  It’s nice to reply to each comment, but at the very least, at the end of the day, write “Thank you everyone, that’s really helpful” or something.  AGAIN, I’m over giving advice if you aren’t going to thank me occasionally for it.

7. Don’t post anything racist, misogynistic or homophobic.  I won’t tolerate it. I don’t need that negativity and hate in my life and neither does anyone

8. The same goes for liking a stupid picture linked to a vague story that when you check with is a complete and utter lie.  If you are going to share something, check on a legitimate myths, rumours and urban legend busting site first. It takes about 2 minutes and stops me from wanting to punch you in the face.

9. Don’t copy your tweets onto your Facebook account.  I will hide all your updates you numpty.


10. When a Facebook page says “comment jump and see what happens to this picture” or something of a similar ilk, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use your bloody brain. I don’t have a computer background but even I know that this makes absolutely no sense.  If in doubt, don’t share, don’t comment and don’t like.  You look like a bloody idiot.

Any others I’ve missed?

The Generation that grew up with “Friends”

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like we are a little bit of the lucky generation.  Not lucky in that we have more money or more opportunity, but that we are considered in society and marketing, that we are a force to be reckoned with.  Don’t mess with those 40 year olds!  Bear with me, I have a few examples.

Take fashion.

My mum was 35 when I was born, so by the time I realised what she was wearing she was in her 40’s and 50’s and wearing REALLY mumsy clothes.  This was the 80’s and when she wasn’t wearing her “house coat” she was wearing stretchy leggings with open toe sandals and stretchy t-shirts.  When she went out, she would wear a knee-length A line skirt of some sort, a very old long-sleeved blouse and boring brown court shoes.  To me as a teenager she looked such a mummy. Soooooo embarrassing.  So old-fashioned.  Mums weren’t expected to be wearing the latest trends.  That was for the 20 year olds.

Then it got me thinking.  Where did she go for her fashion advice?  No internet, no bloggers.  Movie stars were glamorous but their styles were often out of reach to ordinary women.  Her magazines were Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own.  Jeez, no wonder she had no inspiration.

On the other hand we’re  the target audience for magazine companies.  In fact I think we are referred to as “Middle Youth”. As a teen I grew up on English “Girl” magazine, then the Australian title “Dolly” and then dabbled in Cosmopolitan and Vogue. All of them perfect for me.  Red MagazineAs I got older I wondered if there would be magazines to cater for me or whether I would have to be old before my time, take my magazine out of my pinny and read about how to make my weekly grocery money stretch further.  Thankfully by the time I got to my late 20’s RED magazine had appeared on the scene and contains everything I could possibly want for the complex 30-50 year old.  We all have very similar likes and dislikes but we have a lot of varying lifestyles and Red Magazine caters for that.

Fashion, Latest Trends, money, cooking, articles on relationships, sex, dealing with emotional issues, raising children or just how to start your own business.  Perfect.

So how are we represented out there?

We are the “Friends” Generation.  We had a whole show dedicated to being in your late 20’s and early 30’s.  From the age of around 24 there were people just like me having conversations just like me on tv.   We got to see them grow up, have babies, deal with death, self-esteem, family problems and relationships.  I don’t know about you, but I think you can pretty much live your life by episodes of that tv series.  As they got older, I did too, they were still good looking, had good hair, made mistakes and I loved that I was growing up with them all.

Then around 1998 whilst I was in my late 20’s Sex and the City started.  I started watching properly in my 30’s.  These were 30 something women who did glamorous things, negotiated men, love, sex and friendships.  This followed on through to their 40’s (Samantha was in her 40’s at the start of the series) and I was there, watching this gorgeous creatures who still “had it” despite being older.

Not forgetting that in the UK, we also had the delight of “Cold Feet”.  A later 20’s early 30’s series, again, with the trials and tribulations of relationships, marriages and children. These people hadn’t been chucked in the dustbin for being married, having kids or getting old. They were out there, living their lives, enjoying life. A whole series was written about them!

We must be a pretty important generation that we spawned all of these shows.  I can’t think of one that did that back when my mum was in her 30’s.  The Good life?  Hardly aspirational. (great show though, I should add).

When I was 30, 30 was the new 20.  Now 40 is the new 30.  We’ve all gained 10 years.  HOORAY.

Although seriously, I feel quite buoyant about all of this.  Our generation appears to be pushing things through. TV shows, fashion for the 40 year olds (see Emma Forbes new Saluting Style venture) and it keeps happening.  Clothing companies are opening up aimed at our age range and why not?  We still want to look fab AND we have the money to spend. Win win for everyone involved.

Some of us 40 year olds have kids and we quite fancy a bit of cake making Voila! They create “Great British Bake Off”.

I quite fancy going back to basics you know, perhaps a bit of sewing. Voila “Great Sewing Bee”.

Be nice to learn to love our wobbly bodies, wouldn’t it?  Take pride in our mummy tummy’s. Voila “How to look good Naked”.  It’s all for us you know.  They are pushing it all for us.

By the time I get into my 50’s (the new 40) We’ll be reading about how to change careers whilst still managing to meet up with the girls.  Our 60’s?  Pah. No problem. They’ll be a mag for us, giving us tips on how walk the red carpet without our corns or bunions causing us any pain.  How to wear our grey hair with pride, which Cath Kidston pillowcase fits a orthepeadic pillow. Care homes will be setup and run by fit, healthy older people who are working later because they need to top up their pension pots, but ensure we are taken care of in a manner that suits us.  New policies will be in place to ensure we get to do more of what we want.  Old people will be the biggest demographic. By the time I’m in my 80’s, the over 65’s will account for nearly 30% of the population.  Don’t piss the oldies off — they are your biggest customers.

We’ll be ok.  I have a good feeling about this.

The Joy Jar

I was recently reading my timeline and saw that someone had retweeted a Tweet. The original tweeter was not someone I know. The person the tweet was about, I didn’t know. It read:

“Go out, get drunk, be who you want, kiss who you want, be free, love madly & live greatly. @_____ only got 34 years. Don’t waste yours”.

It caught me at a particular time on a particular day where I was thinking about family and thinking about what I wanted out of life. It caught me and I spent a moment reading the words, I clicked on her blog and read her last post, a post written by a friend letting everyone know of her passing. I caught a breath in my throat and held on to the sofa and thought. A LOT.

Life can often be so short. I know this more than anyone. However, I’m a reluctant adventurer. I don’t like going to new places, trying new things, meeting new people. I do all of these things, but it isn’t comfortable. I rarely travel, certainly not to far-flung places.

There are, though, lots of things I want to do in my life. I wanted to run and I did. I spent 2 years before kids running 10ks and half marathons. I wanted to blog and here I am. Now I want to learn to knit or crotchet. I’d like to change jobs. I want to do some more further education, perhaps a Masters. I hope to get around to these “biggies” there are also smaller things I’d like to do. I want to do painting, drawing, creative things. There are some walks I’d like to do, stately homes I’d like to visit. How do I get around to all of these things?

So I went back to Pinterest and all those piccies where people decorated jars for particular reasons. Then I went off to a department store, got myself a lovely big jar and tonight Pickle and I decorated it.

The Joy Jar

The Joy Jar

So, the idea is that each member of the family writes down something they would like to do on a free day. Ideally we would pick from the jar when we know we have an upcoming weekend day that we have no plans for. They don’t happen often and I’m a bit of a sucker for staying at home, but I’m going to push myself.

Pickle kicked it off. The first one in the jar above is “Ice Skating”. Something she really wants to do and we keep fobbing her off. Which seems very wrong and perhaps we should just get on and let her try it.

So there you have it. Corny name maybe, but The Joy Jar is now sitting in pride of place in the kitchen ready for all our ideas. All we have to do is write them down, pop them in and grab it when we are looking for inspiration.

I’m trying to grab life with both hands. You just never know when it might slip from your fingers.

I’m supposed to like…..

….Breakfast in bed

I don’t.  I just don’t get it.  What really is the point of it?  If I’m having to sit up at all I may as well just get up and sit up at a table downstairs and eat.  Sitting up in bed isn’t particularly comfortable anyway, I rarely sit with my legs out straight and you have to stuff 100 pillows behind you to help keep yourself propped up and/or to prevent your head from resting at an awkward angle on the headboard.

On top of that, there is a precarious moment as fork or spoon makes it way from the bowl/plate to your mouth.  At a table, if it falls, it may fall on the table, or in the bowl or worse case in your lap.  In bed it is likely to fall down your pyjamas or on the bedclothes. I don’t know about you but if breakfast in bed is going to cost me 30 minutes in stripping a bed, washing, hanging up and re-making a bed, I just want to skip the bleedin’ breakfast in bed thanks.

Just don’t get it.

I’m supposed to like baths.

Twitter is awash with pics of people legs, reclining in a candlelit bath, bubbles galore with a glass of wine.  I CANNOT think of something that gets me more stressed that this combination of awfulness.  For a kick off, I find baths reeeeeallly boring.  After the excitement of the “ahhh ohhhh ahhhh” as you get into a bath that feels a bit too hot, but you know won’t stay hot for very long, you’re there. Lying there. Staring at a boring tiled wall that probably needs a good mould spray on it. You swoosh a few suds around and then say. “right, I’m done”.

Given the fact you are effectively stewing in everything you’ve just washed off your body (ewww) and if you shave your legs…(ewwww) and wash your hair (clean water anyone?) then I find the whole thing quite unsavoury.  I don’t find it massively comfortable either (see sitting in bed position above) and either your knees or upper body gets cold unless you have a sunken Roman bath of some sort that allows you to swim in it.  Glass of wine?  Where the bloody hell does that go? and as you move positions and your soapy arm gives way on the edge of the bath you end up with wine in your “stew”. Nice!  You can’t read in there because you have to keep one hand dry and learn how to turn pages with one hand, although if you had an iPad or kindle that would help, right up until the point you lose your grip on it and wave £100-£300 goodbye as it sinks beneath the soapy scum of your body soup water.

Sorry — give me a shower any day.

I’m supposed to like Massages

I find them very unrelaxing.  Except the ones where you sit in a chair and they spend 10 minutes on your shoulders and necks and head. Those are ok.  But the ones where you have to strip off and lie down and the pummel you as if you are meat that needs tenderising, you can keep them.  I once had a free full body Clarins massage before my wedding and I have never spent an hour being so tense.  The scrub made my skin hurt and tingle and even after that, all the oil or cream that was rubbed into my skin just aggravated it.  I was self-conscious of bits of my body as well, it was just ghastly.

I find facials relaxing.  They relax my whole body as if I have had a massage all over. I’ll stick to those thanks.

I’m supposed to like Picnics

Now this tends to surprise a lot of people. One close friend really grilled me about it one day and I think I worked it out as a result.  Honestly, I really do not see the point of picnics at all and I think if you really deeply asked yourself, you probably don’t either.

hmmm, that looks comfortable. Photo courtesy of tilly and the buttons .com

hmmm, that looks comfortable.
Photo courtesy of tilly and the buttons .com

Sitting on the floor! Really?  That’s uncomfortable right there. Legs at right angles again, needing to lean on something, sore bum or having to sit cross-legged.  It’s so…….uncomfortable.  You put your hand out to get up and stick it in dirt/ants nest/mayonnaise/a bee.  WHY CAN’T WE JUST SIT AT A BLEEDIN’ TABLE!

Then there is the food itself.  You spend over an hour creating lots of little bits of food that are wrapped up into little containers and then packed in a big container with cutlery and condiments all in little containers.  You lug it about with you for over an hour, to unpack it somewhere again, open all the tops of, spend 20 minutes swatting insects away from it. It’s warm, it doesn’t look nearly as nice as it did in your kitchen and hour and a half ago.  You can’t find a flat surface for your cup so you have to eat  with one hand, drink with the other and use your elbow to carry out any other important tasks, like not falling over.

It ruins a perfectly good walk to be honest.  I want to eat before or eat afterwards, sit somewhere comfortable, eat fresh well prepared food and then head off to enjoy a proper walk.  Stupid Picnics, always ruining things.

So, what are you supposed to like that you don’t?

PS: worth noting I typed unhappy picnic/massage/breakfast in bed into google images and couldn’t find a single picture.  Really?  Everyone, universally, loves these things?