Monday, 28 September 2009

Tip 18 - 28 lifetimes in a summer

Tip 18 - Don't over burden your lives with work you don't get paid for

This week I shall be mostly gallery-sitting. Otherwise known in the trade as 'invigilating'. Although I did think that was something people did at school exams. This doesn't feel quite the same but perhaps equally as boring.

Dearest blog followers, many many humble apologies for not having posted over the summer months. It has been a fairly hectic one with Hobbits on school holidays, trips to France and way too much work. Quite frankly I feel that I have aged at least 28 lifetimes over the past 10 weeks.
However, Hobbits are now back ensconced in their relative educational establishments (Medium Hobbit now having moved up to 'big school' or The Holy-land as it ought to be known since he visits on a daily basis still thick in the euphoria of freedoms, variety and being allowed to take mobile phone to school!)

This time of year in sunny Somerset, in which the Hobbit clan reside, it is Artweek! A fortnight (I know, I know report us to trade descriptions why don't you) during which the artists and galleries of said county open their doors and welcome all and sundry to peruse, criticize and hopefully purchase. For 2009 Artweek I agreed to organise and man (or should I say person) a gallery venue at a lovely local conference/cafe complex. Which is what i am currently doing. I am in my second week here and apart from having drunk copious amounts of coffee (thank you for keeping me awake with your wonderful cappuccino!) I wouldn't say it has been the most successful or profitable two weeks of my life. The concept being that I get commission on what I sell. Hmmmm, sounds excellent in principal, but in the current economic climate perhaps not the wisest of deals to have made. I wouldn't say the art is selling like hot cakes, a bit more like tepid porridge.

Oh well, at least it has given me a grand opportunity to partake in one of my favourite hobbies - People Watching! I have been quite staggered to see the variety of people that visit these types of events. And I feel really obliged - Dear Blog Reader - to tell you about some of my favourites.

One common group of art venue visitors is the lesser spotted middle aged lady. Often to be found in small groups, chirruping to themselves as they spend what appears to be hours closely inspecting the works of art but never actually purchasing anything. My particularly favourites (said in the loosest sense of the word) would be a group of three 'ladies' who visited last week and without exchanging any sort of pleasantries with me wandered aimlessly around the gallery for a great length of time commenting in tones of authority on the paintings. Comments including 'Well she's obviously used the wrong sort of paint as it has soaked into the canvas and gone all blurry' about a lovely piece of work by a very renowned Somerset artist known for her soft-focus interpretation of the landscape and also 'This one must have run out of paint because this bit (pokes wildly at canvas) is a bit blank'. Visitors like this I can do without!

A lesser common visitor would be 'The Family'. This to a point is a huge relief because (and I apologise in advance to any families of young children - I have been in this same situation with my boys so can't hardly complain) whenever parents with small children wander in I have some kind of icy cold descend over my heart and I spend the next few minutes, or however long they stay, in a state of constant anxiety. Parents of said young children are usually overheard saying things like 'Charlie, please don't touch that' or 'Rebecca, walk don't run, this is an art gallery you know' but then their attention reverts to the paintings, leaving Charlie and/or Rebecca to run, touch and cause me major heart failure.

Some visitors like to peruse in silence and some love to chat. I enjoy the chatters. Some stop for hours on end and join me for coffee. These ones i like. We indulge ourselves in random topics of conversation from the weather, to music to Brazilian art (of which I know very little). If I had more visitors like that I would very happily while away my days in the gallery. Come visit me more often!!

So here I am, for one more week, hoping to sell lots, earn myself a descent commission and looking forward to enjoying next weeks lay down in a darkened room to recover.

Quick plug for for whom I am working this week. Thank you for all your support in putting together this exhibition. I hope it turns out successful for all of us. So don't forget to come visit me at or visit our sister exhibition at where there are equal amounts of lovely artwork on offer.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Tip 17 - Second voyage to the bright lights!

Tip 17 - Do not underestimate the impact of cosmetic surgery on your social life

Did I ever tell you the story of when I got a new nose? No, well make yourselves comfortable and I'll begin.

The story begins with my second trip to the bright lights of London in a space of two weeks. A bit like buses, I don't go for months and then twice within about 7 days. Unfortunately on the second occasion it was not nearly as much fun as the first (despite the hours of VAT research I did on the last trip - please see previous blog post!) but far more 'life changing'.

Regular blog readers will already have heard all about the process of 'picking' my new nose so I won't bore you with the finer details but pick up from the point at which my pre-surgery preparations were meant to begin. Apparently one week before surgery, 'clients' (they are not called Patients, not sure why) are instructed to cease intake of all alcohol, aspirin, tobacco and other such pleasure in life. I'm by no means an alcoholic but ONE WEEK! Dear God. Nearly managed it!!

The night before the op Hubby Hobbit and I travelled nearer to the big city to stay with Grandad Hobbit. We couldn't possibly travel all the way to in one day living so far away as we do in the proper countryside. We might of got stuck behind a convoy of tractors, or a herd of cows or anything! Stayed the night in the relative comfort of relatives home and ceased intake of anything remotely solid or liquid at midnight.

Travelled on to posh sounding private hospital in the middle of very posh housing area of Highgate! Almost missed said private hospital as it was disguised as a posh house. Once inside it takes on almost tardis qualities and turns into enormous corridor threaded hospital. How they did that I have no idea but found the whole concept quite disconcerting.

Settled into lovely private room whose dimensions were astonishingly larger than dodgy Elephant and Castle hotel room from previous week. Then promptly sat around waiting until 3.30pm (!!!) before lovely nurses escorted me to anesthetic room where I burst into tears. This is not an unusual occurrence since I am utterly petrified of general anesthetics. Random thoughts of not waking up fill my mind and I was only slightly reassured by very odd foreign anaesthetist telling me stories of her own eyelift and liposuction surgery. Do you think staff get a discount? Might have to investigate that!

One and half hours later, battered, bruised and bleeding (sorry!) I was returned to lovely private room and waiting Hubby Hobbit complete with new nose, gorgeous blue plaster cast adorning face and blue padded plaster in slug like proportions hovering intently on upper lip. Mmmm, attractive!!

The first thing that kindly nurses do when you wake up, after offering greatly appreciated sips of cold water (I should tell you that this was the hottest day of the year so far and I had been starved of liquids for nearly 16 hours so had the most horrific dehydration headache on planet earth) is to 'encourage' you to force down extremely cold and nastily margarined toast. I have never quite worked this one out. Why should they do this? Surely ice cream or something equally as tasty would do the job far better. Answers on a postcard please.

Dinner followed but slug like plaster and lack of any taste buds whatsoever really precluded any appetite so didn't bother. Such as shame as private hospital food looks much more appetising than previously suffered NHS offerings!

I really am rambling on here, sorry!

Hubby Hobbit disappeared off home back to Grandad Hobbits and left me, remote control in hand to enjoy the rest of the evening on my own. Fortunately I had been allowed the comfort of a fan as it was extremely hot, to put it mildly. And since I was in central London, on the ground floor with strangely busy pathway alongside my room, I really couldn't leave the window open. I did hear afterwards that said fan was a luxury not allowed to other 'clients' on my corridor. Not sure what I had done to deserve the privilege but I ain't arguing.

My biggest comfort during my stay was, however, my newly acquired Blackberry. Otherwise known as the BB, the Blueberry or 'that bloody annoying buzzy thing', it was my lifeline to the outside world and kept me very well entertained that night and the following morning. I had some lovely messages and Tweets during the following hours and days which kept my spirits up and my sanity in place. I should thank fellow twitterers @Belle_lulu @coffeeplus @Jaxonthepc @PSB_xxx @feline9 @Neets68 for keeping me going and also @wardotron for the unlimited alternatives for the word 'Nose' he managed to come up with over a fortnight period.

Having to stay in the house, grounded, not allowed to drive or indeed not wanting to face the world for the following 7 days was pretty troublesome. Once again my army of lovely friends leapt into the brink delivering Hobbits to various locations and popping in with flowers, chocolate and DVD's to brighten my days.

The day of the grand unveiling arrived only 7 days after surgery and having the plaster cast removed proved to be a head spinning experience. Not from the delight of seeing the new me but more from the physical feint feeling I got when it was removed. They did warn it would happen but being my usual 'I'm made of sterner stuff' self I thought it would be fine. Fine it was not, head between knees and cold water required!

Still it's all over now. Bruising has just about disappeared, nose still slightly swollen, feeling and nasal breathing abilities not entirely returned but progress has been made.

If you're really bad I might just post the evidence!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Tip 16 - London twice in a week!

Tip 16 - Try not to arrange two trips away from the family in the same week (or at least if you do - have lots of lovely friends to pick up the childcare slack)

This blog really picks up from the last one, my train journey to the 'Big Smoke' two weeks ago when I went to the Charityfair conference in Whitehall.

I must confess that although the conference itself was all about finance issues and really productive if a little dull, I did have a fab time in London. There's something fascinating about London, particularly Whitehall area, to us country folk. Apart from the bloody tourists, which we in the West Country are well used to. Having said that, I did enjoy a good giggle watching the random things foreign tourists will take pictues of. I walked past the same red phone box a number of times whilst I was there and on each occasion a completely different set of tourists in vaguely similar poses having requisite photo taken.

Whitehall is full of politician types, PR's, PA's and miscellaneous suited and booted glued to their mobile phones. Being an avid people watcher myself I had a whale of a time sitting in St James Park eating my sarnies at lunchtime. Although could quite happily have done without the groups of school children playing 'tag' or some such ALL AROUND ME!!! Felt like I was in the middle of some strange shrieking and wailing ritual. Peace shattered so back to conference to talk VAT for several hours!! Mmmm, fun.

Returned home following evening on train, just about managed to stay awake all the way home with some sharp arm pinching and digging in of nails. Avoided going all the way to Plymouth which would have proven troublesome at gone midnight. Descended from train into one of the most horrible thunder, lightning and rain storms West Country has seen in a long time. Glad to be home but one of the scariest drives ever.

But I'm going off track a little. The testament to this blog must go to the wonderful women who support this working domestic goddess in her occasional jaunts to business type events. Who tirelessly scoop up small and medium hobbits from school and deposit them in the correct location. And of course to hubby hobbit who rallies, organises, feeds and waters hobbits, bobbit and the feline furries and still rings me to ask if all is well in smoky old 'Town'!

Have completely run out of time for tales of second trip to London of which more will follow tomorrow!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tip 15 - Country Folk come to the Big Smoke - 1

Tip 15 - Don't get up at 5 am, it's way too early

So here I am stuck on a very early morning train off to London with no wireless (silly British Rail or whatever they call themselves these days) with little else to do until the man comes round with the cups of tea, for which I am desperate, other than to do what I should have done last week and write a lovely new blog piece. Having said that, since I can’t get wireless and am writing this in Word, I have no idea what I was writing when I last blogged so I’m going to go random.

Today’s adventure to the big smoke started way too early for my liking, involving rising from the comfort of my bed at 5 am. For those of you who know me, you will realise that this is not a time of the morning I am entirely used to. I am not known as an early morning person. One shower, one cup of tea, menagerie fed and watered and I hit the road, barely conscious.

Managed to get to the train on time, panic of being late avoided, took my seat and here I am, watching out of the window at the early morning dog walkers with their Dalmatians and Poodles looking on suspiciously at the train as it passes, seeing the enthusiastic joggers pounding the countryside and the delivery drivers getting the world ready for the day ahead.

Blimey, I’m sounding almost poetic! Must be the early morning air, something my body is so unused to it is having some strange allergic reaction. That combined with the slightly sleepy light headedness and lack of caffeine makes for an interesting concept in the morning. Maybe I should do this more often, ummm maybe not.

Going to get my head down for a quick snooze now and return imminently, perhaps with less inspiration and far less vocabulary but that is a risk I am prepared to take.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tip 14 - Working or Twittering?

Tip 14 - Do I work or do I tweet? This is the question. (sorry that's not a tip today other than to suggest that bloggers perhaps need to be more decisive)

Well, its been a funny week so far.

Readers of earlier posts will know that this long suffering blogger is also a 'mature student', which I think is the polite way of putting it when someone of nearing 40 decides to rekindle their youth and return to university. Having said that, I can hardly say that studying accountancy is rekindling much youth in me. Rather the reverse. It makes me feel jolly old when the 18 year old young lady I sit next to corrects my addition and helps me out when I get stuck.

Anyway, exams are in full flow this week. One down, one tomorrow and last one next Tuesday, by which point I will be utterly frazzled and in need of a good lie down and a stiff gin and tonic or two.

The big question, revising or twittering, revising or twittering. It's a bit like Daddy or Chips? Although I never quite worked out what answer the advertisers wanted us to give in that instance. Anyway, so I have given up on both counts and blogged instead.

Summer holidays are looming and I am dreaming of luxury hotels in Paris. Oh yeah forgot, have kids, perhaps nice caravan half an hour away from the Sacre Coeur instead of overlooking it. But we might venture in to the big city and give the hobbits a taste of french cuisine, although they have made me promise that taste won't involve Snails, Frogs legs or Horse. No fun!!

What else is new. Suddenly and inexplicably have developed a desire to listen again to the music of my formative years. Have had to dig out the old INXS CD and delight in hearing dear old Michael again. I went to see them some years after my teens had well and truly ceased in Birminham, only short months before his tragic demise. I will never forget the evening for two reasons. One, I was pretty pregnant with my first hobbit which necessitated much sitting down during their set and the other was their live rendition of one of my favourite songs 'Never Tear Us Apart'. I can't listen to it now without it envoking memories of an utterly wasted but much enjoyed teenage, inclusive of angst and clearsil.

Perhaps listening to this sort of stuff is only going to remind me how old I am getting. Or maybe I can just close my eyes for a while and drift back to sunny days, cigarettes and alcohol.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Tip 13 - And the birthday party

Tip 13 - It is eminently not sensible for two 6 feet adults to attempt to sleep in a children's pop up day tent!

I must admit that I totally forgot in my last blog to tell you about the events surrounding Hubby Hobbits' best pals 40th birthday party. Having been reminded of events I feel it essential to pass on the details of this spectacular event.

The event in question fell slap bang in the middle of our Devon adventures during half term week but in view of the importance of said event we felt it advisable, nay imperative, that we attend.

I should explain. Birthday boy, Jock, and his lovely lady wife have been friends of mine and Hubby Hobbits' for many years. Since comparing bumps at what was humorously labelled 'Parent craft' classes and following each others lives since the birth of the bumps (which turned out incidentally to be both boys who are now and have been best friends since birth), they remain our best pals and the turning 40 of our friend Jock was not an event that could be missed.

So we hauled ourselves back from the peace of the Devon sunshine in an effort to be a double surprise at the already surprising birthday party. I should say it was even more surprising because Mrs Jock is not renounded for her secret keeping skills. She really wouldn't blame me for saying (and I really hope not.....please don't be offended Mrs Jock if you are reading this!!) but she has been the butt of much joshing over the years for her completely unintended 'putting her foot in it' as far as secrets are concerned. However, in this instance not only did she manage to keep the party and all the massive amounts of organisation it entailed a secret but also planned several other birthday surprises, including the visit of the entire clan from bonny Scotland on his actual birthday, go-carting the day after and rowing down the River Exe the day after the party (more of which later!!). More credit to her! We all feel totally reassured that our secrets are safe with her from now on.

Anyway I digress, Hubby and I arrived at the house, ahead of the main party to spring our surprise on our friend, only to find that unfortunately, unknowing of the party that lay ahead of him, he had already been the pub for 'one or two' with his clan and already slightly worse for wear was rather non plussed at our arrival. Offence wasn't taken.

More guests arrived and the evening wore one. Food and drink consumed in it's usual vast quantities and the summer sun shone.

Now to the crux of the story. Hubby and I had, in our infinite wisdom, decided, having deposited small and medium Hobbit on friendly auntie for the night, that we wouldn't accept Mr & Mrs Jock's kind invitation of a comfortable sitting room floor for our nights accommodation. Oh no, we thought it would be fun (for fun read pure insanity) to camp in their back garden. Fortunately the weather was kind to us. This was in no way any compensation as it turns out.

The only tent we could lay our hands on in our hurry that particular evening was one of the children's 2 man (HA!) play tents. I am sure you are aware of the variety of which I speak.... the kind that two six foot adults really shouldn't attempt to sleep in! But sleep, or attempt to sleep, in it we did. Much alcohol aided the process and turned the entire evening into general hilarity until about 6 in the morning at which time the inside of the tent, which probably isn't designed for actual sleeping in, was condensed up so much that it felt rather like sleeping in a sauna, only colder. In addition, cramp had set in and the possibilities of return to sleep with the birds, chickens and horse all making their presence felt was fairly remote. At this time wisdom took over and we did retire to the generously offered sitting room floor.

A couple of hours later we emerged to face the detritus of the party being professional cleaned up by Mrs Jock who was totally lacking in hangover.

The days activities, rowing or at least floating, down the River Exe ensued. Clan and assorted hangers on took their places in the two or four man boats with requisite reluctance and rowed their way down to the nearest public house where we all took solace for lunch, together with most of the populous of Exeter, it being a lovely sunny day and that is the only thing to do on a day like that.

The return rowing trip back up the river was slightly more ridiculous with several clan members having declined to re board the boats. Their replacements were smaller children with more enthusiasm than actual rowing ability. The members of each boat where adjusted so that Medium Hobbit, Master Jock and their other friend Cap'n Jack (all aged 11 incidentally) could row themselves round in circles for the remainder of the afternoon.

It should be said at this point that I successfully managed not to involve myself in the actual rowing process, choosing to excuse myself by offering to walk Bobbit along to the toe path and laugh in the general direction of the rowers at their efforts.

Birthday events came to a close with Mr & Mrs Jock taking a brief trip, without childer who parked themselves in our spare room for the period, to Cornwall for two days. The sun smiled on them and I believe they had a wonderful time.

All in all.....a classic and well orchestrated 40th birthday event. Mine...when it comes will be spent hiding in a darkened room, avoiding all and every contact with the outside world, continuing to convince myself that I am actually just 19 years old, which is what my brain remains to believe, and not the 40 years old that my body reminds me daily that I have become.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Tip 12 - And the need for a holiday

Tip 12 - When feeling at your most frazzled, take a refreshing holiday

Which is exactly what I did, and a jolly good one it was too. Went to Devon, lay around in the wonderful, and slightly surprising, half term sunshine, drank white wine at lunchtime, let the kids and the dog run riot and generally 'chilled out' with Hubby Hobbit and the smaller Hobbits.

Having not been on holiday with Bobbit before I was slightly concerned that having him around might restrict and frustrate our usual holiday routine but I am pleased to say that, typical Labrador that he is, show him the sea, a river or even a puddle and he is happy which kept him entertained for most of the week. The only minor cause for disturbance came when we attempted to take him to Exmouth Festival along with several thousand other people, mostly with dogs, at which point he thought he had gone to doggy sniffing heaven and pulled and pushed us around on the lead for more than an hour before we gave up and went to the solace of the caravan and the pool.

All in all the holiday was a grand success and I have returned, refreshed, invigorated and determined to work harder over the coming weeks.

This week has been pretty successful on the whole. Caught up with lots of work, of the boring but fairly well paid variety, and had a very good meeting with Lulu during which we got really focused on the business. If you didn't already know Lulu and I had this notion of working together, pooling our skills and those of other working mums with fantastic business skills but the lack of anyone who would give them a part time job for a decent wage, and forming a company providing business administration services.

We are pretty intent on this business which, if you know either of us, is a pretty startling achievement. Normally together we end up drinking coffee, twittering across the desk to each other and discussing the merits of various child restraining tools such as good old fashioned television, slightly more modern 'Club Penguin' (yes I know, it sooooo 2008!) and the newest variety of children entertainment... 'Go tidy your room and I'll give you a pound' which I find works wonders with mine.

Anyway I digress, Lulu and I finally completed the first version of the website (if you are interested in our new business activities please visit - I know, I know shameless self promotion but if I don't do it who will?) and thrashed out the business and marketing plans as well as putting dates in the diaries for a mountain of meetings. The business is coming on really well, we have our first clients already and are slowly getting our name around. It's amazing how dedicated we can be when required. I think it's maybe because we both really want this to work and are incredibly motivated people.

So if anyone knows of an organisation which needs business assistance you now know who to send them to.....(self promotion over now, I promise)

Other news from the Hobbit front.....

The now testicularly challenged Bobbit has finally stopped attempting to make babies with random assorted bits of furniture and Hobbit legs. This has come as quite some relief and I am slowly recovering from the bruises he inflicted in his more rampant moments!

Small and Medium Hobbits managed to survive their holidays without killing each other and have returned home with renewed determination and staggering creativity in the nature of implements in their assassination attempts. New to the top 10 this week would be the TV remote control, a school bag and the dog, although I think that one has been in the top 10 before and has just made a reentry this week following a blood thirsty episode on the trampoline.

Countdown has now begun to the grand Nose Job!! (please read Tip no 10: if you want to find out more) I would give this it's more technical term but its pretty gruesome I don't want to put you off your dinner! The op is scheduled for 30th June so maybe nearer the time I will be posting some 'Before' pictures so that after the op and recover I can post 'After' ones and you can all give me your professional opinions. Nice comments only please though....

Have spent this morning de-griming the house and so am planning to take Bobbit and assorted Hobbits off for lazy walk this afternoon, as long has it doesn't rain. After the minor blip during half term we appear to be back to the more traditional British summer with cloud coverage and rain imminent.

PS If anyone has any tips for how to make small males keep their bedrooms tidy I would be very pleased to hear them. Mine seem to be completely lacking in any skill in this department and I would be delighted if I could achieve even a small measure of success. Full acknowledgement will be made in the blog for successful tip-pery.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Tip 11 - And the wet walk

Tip 11 - When planning to do a very long sponsored walk make sure it's going to be a sunny day - No, don't just do it anyway

This morning I was awoken by the alarm clock at 6.30am, which in itself is a ridiculous thing to do on a Sunday morning, but there was a reason. I had agreed to undertake sponsored walk with my sister to raise funds for the local hospice, a cause which is very close to our hearts.

Now this is not the first time I have done this walk. We both did it two years ago, an occasion which was marked more for the torrential rain than anything else. It hasn't put her off, she did it last year when I was sunning myself on a Cypriot beach and 'encouraged' me to do it again this year. I couldn't honestly believe that it would be as wet as the last stupid!!

This year we took good precautions. Decent comfortable trainers, sportswear, raincoat and backpack full of essentials such as plasters, water, cash (in case of tempting pub en route) and the greatest essential of all, Chocolate!

Unfortunately the biggest precaution was a little out of our control, that being arranging for sunshine and not rain.

Needless to say, I am now returned from walk, only one blister, one small collection of nettle stings on right shin, half a large bar of Galaxy down and COMPLETELY SOAKED TO THE SKIN!

We started well. The kindly hospice walk organising committee (who incidentally man the checkpoint posts in their warm fleeces supping hot tea in warm sheltered buildings) break the route down into 'manageable' chunks. The first 'leg' was 4.1 miles...OK we thought at the second checkpoint, that wasn't too bad let's crack on. Second leg, a little longer at 5.5 miles, again in the optimistic belief that we could walk all day without problem. I should say at this point that thus far the sun had been out most of the walk and we were in fact niggling about the number of layers we had worn. This is the point at which we finished the walk last time because we had been warned that the next leg, 7 miles in all, was long, over populated by stinging nettles and flying biting things and quite muddy.

This year however, we thought in our infinite wisdom that we would 'have a bash' at this third leg, to beat past performances because, of course, we are much fitter than last time and the weather was looking good. Oh how stupid can a pair of 30 something women can be.

Once we had left the third checkpoint and negotiated our way along the cryptically signposted route, reaching the point of no return in some random Somerset field somewhere, the heavens opened. Sorry did I say opened, I meant fell on top of us all at once. And bless..... continued to do so for the next 2 and half hours. This particular leg of the walk is extremely picturesque, rambling along the beautiful River Parrett on the Somerset levels. Of course, one forgets that the levels have absolutely no shelter from the horizontal rain and howling wind (literally! I had never heard actual howling before and thought this was just a myth, but no!)

Seven miles of this we had. Until our hands were so numb we couldn't operate mobile phones to text for moral support. Our shoes had gone beyond squelchy and were actual swimming pools of water slowly osmosing into our skin. Our legs, arms and torso's were so wet that we might as well not have bothered to wear clothes at all (that would have been a totally different kind of walk - might suggest this to the hospice for next year).

Finally coming within sight of the final town a mirage appeared coming towards us. Hobbits en masse had parked at final destination and were walking back towards us, arms outstretched with anticipated hugs. I cannot begin to describe what a sight for sore eyes they were because not only were they coming along to congratulate us on our effort and aid us in our last mile or so but they also indicated that the end was genuinely in sight.

Finally made it....last checkpoint.....17 miles in all....desperate need for hot bath and cup of tea all about to be fulfilled. What an amazing sense of satisfaction.

So that's it for another year. I think we have decided that next year we might do a Marathon instead. Or throw ourselves bodily out of an plane (preferably attached to a hunky airman) because at least that would be over and done with in minutes instead of the long hours we spent today in the teeming rain.

One last plea for donations, if you haven't already been pestered enough by me for cash for this walk, please feel free to visit our fundraising page at and give us some dosh.

If you don't I will be forced to visit you with my soggy wet washing from today and deposit it on your doorstep!!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tip 10 - And the new nose

Tip 10 - When planning cosmetic surgery, always take hubby with you and have a good glass of wine at lunchtime

Talk about surreal day......

For those of you who don't already know, I am planning to have Rhinoplasty at the end of June. For the uninitiated that would be a 'nose job'! Today, hubby hobbit and I went to visit the surgeon to, as described by hubby's boyish humour, 'pick a nose'.

The surgeon was a lovely fella, albeit Italian so I did struggle to understand when he was talking all fast and technical. However, he had obviously taken his 'blatant truth telling' medicine this morning and I was almost offended, until I remembered that I was actually there to discuss the size and shape of my nose. In alternative circumstances I may well have broken down in tears but I restrained myself today on the basis that it is his job to remind me how hideous it is and how wonderful it will be once he has worked his magic. I would really rather he hadn't had to go into medical technicalities though - think septum grafting, internal stitches and cotton wool packing and you may well be joining me in the naseum.

Anyhoo, operation all fixed. Pre-op medical screening done ('How much alcohol do you drink in a week?' reply 'Ummmmmmm, well I had a glass of white wine at lunchtime, will it show up in my blood tests' - have never quite worked out how truthful one should be in these situations) Weighed, measured and photographed for pre-op posterity.

Cannot wait for the actual op now, just have to get through hideous accounting exams first. Revision aplenty at the moment, VAT still not sticking in the old brainage but I am sure that I can skip or make a fairly educated guess on that subject. The worry is that when you get one sum wrong in the exam it leads disastrous consequence whereby all following questions will begin with the incorrect answer which can't be good. Oh well, just have to cross all fingers, toes and available body parts in the hope that adding up will be successful on the day.

Post exams, post op am looking forward to a summer of new nose joy, introducing the new me to all and sundry. Will have to keep kindly blog public posted as to how many people actually notice the change. Bets are that menfolk won't figure the difference and womenfolk will be too polite to say. Bring on the flattery, that's what I say!!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Tip 9 - And the need for a lie down

Tip 9 - Don't commit to writing a blog if you really don't have time to keep it up

Firstly an apology to my lovely blog followers, I am truly sorry I haven't written anything in a couple of weeks.

To be honest, I haven't had time to breath let alone sit down in a quietened room to gather my thoughts into sensible wordage. Whoever said 'If you want a job done well, ask a busy person' quite frankly ought to be shot. Please stop asking!!!!

What's news in the Hobbit household? Well....

Bobbit is no longer a real man. The appendage removal went well but unfortunatly doesn't seem to have rid him of his agressive toe chewing and leg humping tendancies. Someone told me that it takes about 2 weeks for all the testosterone to leave his system. I wish someone would tell him that!! It has been two weeks and no sign of let up yet!

Small and Medium Hobbits continue to want to kill each other. Impliments in the last week include; a fishing net, the shed door, the dog, bicycles and small pieces of random square plastic block. I think you know what I mean! Nothing is safe!

Hubby hobbit working hard as ever and commanding the small hobbits rugby team with his usual efficiency. Nearly the end of the season, looking forward to the odd lie in on a Sunday.

As for me....well I have been to meeting after meeting without earning very much money (how does that happen), have been re-elected treasurer of the scouts, been to a very wet Rugby festival with hoards of small muddy boys and finally completed one website, for which I will at least get paid.

Oh, i nearly forgot, and I did two days filming work on a major hollywood film!!

Before you get too excited, it was on film extra work. But totally fun. Spent a huge amount of time sitting around looking not dissimilar to Farrah Fawcett/Lady Di reading, chatting to other extras, sorry Supporting Artists, and drinking coffee. All this whilst being paid! It's a hard life isn't it? However, having worn a pair of boots for the two days which are at least one size too small, I do have the blistered heels to show for my time. Did do a modicum of work in the afternoon, walking up, down, past the camera in one direction, past again in the other, round and round in circles. Remains to be seen whether I will actually feature in the film itself. Will keep the blogging public posted. It doesn't come out until next year so am not holding my breath!!!

Spoke to my agent (get me!!!) on Monday to try to source some more work. Keeping all fingers and toes crossed. Might be more discerning over the choice of boots on the next project though!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tip 8 - Patio and what to put in a plastic bag!

Tip 8 - When laying patio, always make sure you buy enough cement on the first trip to the DIY store

Well it's been a few days since my last blog, I am getting lax, but my excuse is simply because it's been Easter and I have been doing lots of lying in bed in the morning, reading books and eating and drinking with friends. Oh, and laying Patio's!

To explain, hubby hobbit last weekend decided that it was timely to rid ourselves of small hobbits sand pit seeing as they are now distinctly too large to use it and it only now gets used by Bobbitt and the feline furries as a pooping place, so obviously wouldn't be too hygienic for visiting young people either.

So off he goes, sledge hammer in hand and destroys the whole thing in a matter of a couple of hours leaving only bare patch of mud, which when you have a 6 month old puppy who digs everything in sight is like a red rag to a bull! 'So,' he pronounces 'We shall have patio!'

Just to fill you all in, the first time any patio was laid in our garden hubby hobbit did it and only 12 months later it was rocking like some kind of strange square concrete fairground ride. So we ended up having to dig the whole thing up and relay it. Which is when I discovered my talent for laying patio.

Now this is not a usual talent for a 30 something woman I know, and my patio laying style does involve vast quantities of cement which will have to be removed by pneumatic drill and excavator should we ever want to get rid of it, but talent it is all the same. Not a talent I am exactly keen to encourage being as it gives me aches and pains in places I never knew I had. I am only a weak and feeble woman after all!

So when Patio laying was announced as this weekends highlight activity, I can tell you I wasn't exactly thrilled. Off we set to local DIY store, in two cars I should say because you can't fit 20 patio slabs, several million bags of cement and an entire hobbit family in one car, I think the back axle hasn't been built yet to accommodate such a load.

Returning several hours later having toured more than one DIY store for the best deal and complete with new power washer ('Well I did need one') we set to work.

Unfortunately we had massively under estimated the amount of cement that I would require for my newest creation and what followed was yet another trip to said DIY store for more supplies ('Get me some more BBQ coal whilst you are there, oh and and some turf to patch up the holes, oh and some goggles for when you're cutting the patio slabs') It's really quite amazing how many things come to mind when you are on your second or even third trip to a DIY store in one day!!

In any case, we still ran out of cement and had to go without laying one slab ('Well I didn't want one there anyway') by which point my poor feeble body was wracked with aches, in dire need of a relaxing soak in the bath and a stiff gin and tonic.

Fortunately all of this activity occurred on Saturday so I have had a couple of days to get over my patio laying experience, whilst vowing NEVER to do it again, and continue on the over consumption of food and drink bender which is compulsory at this time of year.

For readers of my earlier blog posts, you will be pleased to note that Bobbitt is going to have his 'Ting a lings' off on Thursday and I have threatened to bring them home in a plastic bag to show the kids. So any suggestions for what to actually put in the plastic bags to make it look realistic would be appreciated. Of course I am not going to ask the vets for the real ones, that would be truly disgusting but probably quite fascinating to younger hobbits of the household. Yeeew!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Tip 7 - And the new washing machine

Tip 7 - Always consider carefully the amount of chocolate one wishes to purchase small children at Easter time.

Well, the new machine has arrived! So I have spent many happy hours loading and unloading the thing since the nice man from online electrical retailer (which will remain nameless) delivered the thing at 8.15am yesterday morning.

Expecting, as I was, to wait in all day for said machine and it not to arrive until 5 minuites before last delivery time ie 5.55pm, when the nice man from online retailer phoned at 7.45am to say he would be here within the half hour I was surprised to say the least. Totally unprepared would certainly be an expression, still wearing pajama's and reading lovely historical novel whilst sipping tea in bed. Of course, leapt out of bed post haste, threw on clothes and readied myself for impending delivery.

Oh, the joy of getting through the washing pile. I know they say that little things please little minds, but this is bordering on the ridiculous! Too see the bottom of my washing basket by tomorrow evening would be just heaven! The only problem is that the machine has so many buttons it looks like something that has been delivered by NASA and I really have not got time to read the huge instruction booklet that comes with. Oh well, keep pressing buttons until it makes a washing type noise, that would do it for me.

The new machine has, of course, inspired hobbits to parade around the house singing, at the top of their voices 'Washing machines live longer with Calgon!' which does make me somewhat concerned that they are watching too much tv these days.

Anyway, Easter approaches complete with regulation over consumption of chocolate and compulsary nausea towards the end of the day. The case in point would be my lovely friend who has, without exception, given up chocolate, bread, cake and anything that is considered any fun in the world for lent. (Hobbits belive she is truly mad!!!) I am convinced that by about 10am on Sunday morning she will have received from the Easter Bunny EC chocolate mountain and will be happily trawling her way through it, can't wait to join her! I might even invite her round to enjoy a chocolate fountain hour or two with large spoons! Chocolate induced vomiting, here I come.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Tip 6 - And the necessity to buy plasters

Tip 6 - Make sure you buy lots of plasters at the beginning of school holidays

For once I took my own advise and popped into nearest superdrug and stocked up. Knowing as I do that school holidays usually involve lots of glue, paint, cardboard and scissors I thought, this time, that I would take the sensible option and prepare for minor disaster.

Disaster this holidays is taking the form of a Lancaster Bomber airfix kit which granny 'kindly' bought hobbits last Christmas. How difficult could it be I thought? Silly me! I am now sat surrounded by millions (and I really am not exaggerating) pieces of grey plastic ranging from the small to the microscopic all requiring industrial strength glue and extremely steady hands. Plasters become a necessity when detaching said microscopic grey pieces of plastic from the bizarrely shaped frames in which they arrive. Not only are all the pieces not in numerical order (designed by a man no doubt!) but they need precision cutting with extremely sharp scissors.

Ah ha! Both medium hobbit and myself are now sporting plaster-covered fingertips as if starting a new craze. I imagine by the end of the holidays, the craze might have caught on as hobbits friends catch the 'I need to make something creative' bug which is the bain of any mummies life at this time of year. 'Yes of course you can paint an egg/attach bizarrely coloured feathers to everything/make chick shaped chocolates/cut out anything remotely Easter related from magazines and make strange and surreal collage' (delete as appropriate).

That said, we had a lovely weekend visiting hobbit relations. Did a bit of shopping (medium hobbit just developing his own taste in clothes but does need some guidance to avoid hideous hoodies which seem to be all the rage), various hobbits went to watch rugby match, went to a 40th birthday party and danced like a loony with 15 year old niece wishing I was still her age, and spent a sunny Sunday reading newspapers in the garden before returning home to ever increasing washing pile.

New washing machine due to arrive tomorrow so, sadly, am looking forward to loading and unloading washing for the entire day, assuming of course that it does arrive at allotted time! Will wait to see before declaring state of washing induced euphoria.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Tip 5 - And the carpet that is my kitchen floor

Tip 5 - On a sunny day like today, find something to do outside

I, unfortunately, have been stuck indoors all day, which is pretty daft when you think about it since the wonders of modern technology allow us with wireless laptops to comfortably work outside.

Having said that, had a lovely and productive meeting this morning with Belle Lulu about our new business. I'm sure you'll hear plenty more about that in due course, as and when we have finished the website, done the business and marketing plans, set up the bank account blah blah blah, there is so much to do when you start a business but hopefully it will be worth it when we are multi millionaires (I wish)

Returning home with pedal power laptop totally lacking in battery (I know, I should pedal harder) I return to domestic tasks which have so far this week eluded me.

First of all is tackling the kitchen floor which at this time of year looks more like a carpet than the lovely shiny wood laminate I started with. The cause of this furriness would be our Lab/Collie puppy. Funnily enough breeder didn't mention the huge volume of moulting hair that would detach itself from his person as soon as spring appears. So, regular sweeping of floor necessitates. By the way, the hobbits have decided on blogger name for puppy, Bobbitt, which I think is entirely suitable since he is shortly going to be carted off to vets for 'Ting-a-ling' removal, as small hobbit puts it, although I'm not sure that was their motivation when naming him, at least I hope not!

Following this I get a sudden spurt of mummyism and feel the need to cook comfort food for the hobbits. However, domestic goddessism hasn't extended into the realms of shopping for food this week so will have to be inventive with frozen peas, some custard powder and a lump of unidentifiable cheese. Recipe ideas would be appreciated.

Check back tomorrow for useful tips and hints on what to do with small persons during the seemingly endless Easter holidays which are looming (Oh, dear god, repeat prescription for Valium required)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Tip 4 - And the need for a new washing machine

Tip 4 - Think carefully before committing to collect 6 children from school

Which is obviously something I forgot to do today. Usually it would be no problem, I have a theory that if you have 1 - 2 kids already, having 5 - 6 isn't really any different. However, in this season of springtime exuberance when the kids decide it is timely to exersise their 'I want to kill you!!' tendancies on each other, adding extra friends on both sides of world war three is not a wise move.

Small/Medium hobbits therefore in full battle mode were told not to get wet whilst playing outside on the 'green' which is a small patch of park with a stream running through it. Of course, this is a red rag to a bull and I should be thoroughly chastised for even attempting to bother. Needless to say, hobbits and assorted clan returned soaked through, necessitating yet another change of clothes.

Now I am usually a fairly chilled out mummy, not too worried about a bit of mud and mess, but following on from visit from friendly washing machine repair man when he proclaimed the machine to be beyond ecomonic repair (I do hate these P.C. terms, I would have said screwed personally!), hobbits covered in sludge, dog poo and grass does not fill me with the joys of spring.

Slowly but surely, assorted clan of children have returned to their own homes allowing me to reclaim some of my comfort zone and, as I write, I am waiting for friendly neighbour to pick up small hobbit and his friend for cubs at which point I can breath a sigh of relief and get on with ordering myself a new washing machine.

Meantime, my amazing friend across the road, also known as Wishy Washy, is assisting with necessary occasional baskets of washing in a token gesture effort to avoid poor, deprived children (and hubbie hobbit of course) from having to wear the same pair of pants two days running.

Roll on next tuesday when new machine will arrive and smell in the hobbitt household will dramatically improve!

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tip 3 - And the need to understand VAT

Tip 3 - If you know you've got an exam coming up, revise for it, LOTS!!

I realise that sounds really obvious but you'd be surprised at how many people in my accountancy class didn't. I for one, certainly didn't revise enough, particularly on the subject of VAT.

But then, who in their right mind would want to spend hours of their precious and very valuable time reading chapter after chapter on VAT thresholds, imports and exports, schemes.....need I go on?

So when the exam came, answers to questions such as 'Input VAT on a VAT control account appears on the debit side of the T account, true or false' have an amazing way of escaping me. Really and truly, who honestly cares? You have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right anyway so I plumped for one. Luckily I think it was the right one. Not sure about my twittering friend @belle_lulu, better check on her blog later to see how befuddled and bemused she was about the whole thing ( - hope I got that right)

So after a long day slaving over an extremely dull and tedious accounts paper I have returned home to be greeted by overexcited puppy (you'd think I'd been gone for years), small hobbit whose only communication was 'Can I go on the computer?' not even any attempt at 'How was your day, mummy?' or 'Can I make you a cup of tea, mummy?'. (I know that latter one was a bit on the hopeful side) and only half an hour before I have to fetch slightly larger hobbit from his homework club (you can only imagine how thrilled he is to go to that one!).

Anyway, big question is, do I have time for a quick G&T before returning to school again for Parents Evening or indeed whether it is appropriate to turn up at said Parents Evening in Gin soaked condition. Perhaps not. Will have to wait for afterwards and then I can comiserate the completion of crappy exam and celebrate the wonderful school report small hobbit is going to get from his truly amazing teacher (I do love her - she is a star).

Perhaps if hubby hobbit has had a day like mine he will want to join me, so I think I had better wait until he gets home before hitting the bottle. Cheers y'all!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Tip 2 - And the hunt for post it notes


I think this tip is pretty self explanatory and for obvious reasons today's blog is going to be a short one.

Had friends over last night for impromptu bonfire, marshmallow toasting and red wine feast. Perhaps in hindsight, not such a wise move when yours truly is meant to be working today. Accounts are not so much fun with a hangover.

So, here I am sitting in my tiny home office staring at the computer screen, trying to make it stop blurring and hunting for post it notes which seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. It could be that small male hobbits have 'borrowed' them or indeed the dog may have eaten them, he eats most other things. But total absence of post its is not exactly making my day easy. That'll teach me for relying so heavily on the silly little yellow things to organise my work.

The key to efficient worklife, apart from the missing post it's, is lists. I am a big list maker, to the point that I have a list of all my lists. Sounds excessive I know but it works for me.

Top of current list - Don't buy any more red wine!!!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tip 1 - And the ironing pile from hell


Particularly if you are as clumsy and accident prone as I am, otherwise you will end up with bruises similar to those received in a title fight with Mike Tyson.

Sorry, perhaps I had better introduce myself, I am a mummy, not quite as yummy as I would like, I could say 6ft blonde and, although that is true, it would be a little misleading and might give you the wrong image of me. I am a blonde bombshell trapped in the body of a 30-something (Oh god, nearer to 40-something) . Having said that, I don't think I've ever been described as a bombshell, more like a doodlebug, you know, the ones you have to be careful of when they go quiet.

I live in a household of men. One husband, two sons, one male dog and two male cats. Not sure exactly how that happened but here I am in domestic servitude to a male menagerie of assorted creed and colour.

I am indeed horribly accident prone. Probably because, as a working mummy, I am always on the run. Hence always bumping into things. I hold down about 6 jobs at once, the penalty of being self employed, as well as running the house, walking the dog, taking the kids to school, being treasurer of the local scouts, being an amateur thesp, teaching voluntarily at school, studying at Uni and trying to retain my sanity in my spare (HA HA) time.

The one thing I am good at is that I am extremely organised. 'Of course' I hear you say 'Otherwise how else would she be able to do all those things'. The trouble is that I end up taking on too much and rush around injuring myself en route.

Domestic Goddessism is a talent which has taken many years to cultivate and has resulted in a whole pile of tips and hints for daily life, almost as big as my ironing pile which currently stands at about Snowdon proportions but aiming towards Kilimanjaro in the near future. Did I mention that I hate ironing! The fact that my washing machine is currently broken is in no way my fault and nothing to do with my reluctance to create yet more ironing for myself.

Dog crying out for a walk so must dash (ouch, hits knees on desk on way out). Remember, be careful over doggy stairgates otherwise your legs will end up a mottled shade of green and purple just like mine!