Wednesday, August 31

Presents I got for my 30th Birthday

Well, being 30 really isn’t that bad, especially as I have a house full of gorgeous things. I feel very lucky indeed.

Here’s what I got (in no particular order):
  • Pink sparkly handbag
  • Cath Kidston flowery shopping bag
  • Bottle of champagne
  • Voucher for George at Asda
  • Amber bracelet
  • Nice underwear
  • A tapestry of my cat
  • Case of chardonnay
  • Sparkly broach
  • Weekend in London, including tickets to see Guys and Dolls with the lovely Ewan McGregor
  • 5 novels
  • Gorgeous antique marcasite butterfly necklace
  • Groovy mug, sugar bowl and milk jug, decorated with women chatting and eating cake
  • Theatre vouchers
  • A funky notebook with spotty pink dogs on
  • A hand-knitted bee
  • Aveda soap and body lotion
  • Nut Body Butter from Body Shop
  • ’50 Walks in Wales’ book, plus an ordnance survey map
  • Cool cake decorating book
  • Baking book full of yummy cakes
  • Picnic hamper full of goodies
  • Tsunami charity cookery book
  • Crystal vase
  • Automatic corkscrew
  • Lush face mask and foot mask

What a spoilt 30-year-old.

Friday, August 26

The Friday List
Why I’m depressed about being 30 in four days time
  • I wanted to be 7lbs lighter so I could be ‘thin and 30’. I’m not.
  • I’ve got a hair growing out of my chin and fear this will soon happen.
  • Exercising alone no longer keeps the weight off.
  • Carrying Hello Kitty and Miffy handbags probably has to stop.
  • Can’t go on bonkers nights out, as have to spend the whole of the next day recovering.
  • You’re supposed to have the big house, the dream job and the babies by now. I am a long way from getting any of them.



Wednesday, August 24

A great start to the day

This morning I sat down with my perfect yummy breakfast of blueberry and banana smoothie, with some lovely seeded toast and marmite. The cat was sitting next to me, being all purry and furry. The flowers in my garden were looking colourful against the dreary sky. I turned on the radio – BBC 6 Music were playing Freakscene by Dinosaur Junior, followed by the fab new White Stripes song. I got up and did a funny dance around the kitchen.

“I’ve been thinking about the doorbell, when you gonna ring it, when you gonna ring it…”
De-frumping the nation

There are two girls where I work. I don’t know either of them, but I see them on the train and wandering about the place.

One of them, Bex and I have christened ‘Frumpy’. She is about 30-ish. Her hair epitomises ‘mousy’, is rarely washed and hangs in a limp, one-length bob. Her clothes are baggy, trousers often half-mast, and in some lovely shades of black (or, for her summer collection, brown). She wears gold glasses and her skin has the hue of the first undercooked pancake on Shrove Tuesday.

Her figure is ever expanding – I’d say she’s gained about four stone since she first showed up on my ‘Frumpdar’. I heard her talking to a colleague about going to visit a chocolate fountain on the weekend, and I have seen her in the canteen chowing down on a pastie (I kid you not).

(Oh, and I feel justified in being a bit horrid about her because she was once very rude and patronising to me.)

Anyway, that’s Frumpy. Hours of entertainment can be had planning Trinny and Tranny/Dr G-style makeovers. But then a few months ago, along came Frumpy 2.

The appearance of Frumpy 2, meant that Frumpy has been renamed the Original Fat Frumpy (OFF).

Frumpy 2 is smaller and thinner than OFF. She has short, browny-gingery hair in an Anne Robinson-type ‘do’. She also favours the half-mast, but sets them off with a nice pair of walking sandals.

She wears very thick, wire-framed glasses that make her eyes go all googly. Her colour scheme is mainly beige.

Neither Frumpy has befriended the Touche Eclat magic stick (or even the Boots cheap copy of it for poor people like me).

I dream of getting my hands on the Frumpies and transforming their lives through sparkle-power. Here’s the de-frump plan:

  • Eat for sparkliness. They need to ditch the pasties and eat food that gives them a bit of life and some colour in their cheeks. I’m thinking fruity smoothies, big gorgeous salads full of avocado loveliness, food that’ll banish their frumpy shuffling about and put a spring in their steps. Cakes, of course, are encouraged – especially ones with pink icing.

  • Exercise. See above – you need energy to be sparkly. Dr Meep prescribes a course of silly girlie exercise, like Bellydancing or Dance Aerobics. These girls need to release their inner giggler. Dancing round the kitchen to Spice Girls CDs while sipping pink wine will also be encouraged.

  • Beauty. Dr Meep would write a prescription for the following: magic stick; berry-coloured lip gloss; mascara; blusher. Slopping on liberal amounts of Body Butter to smell fruity and be moisturised all over is a key element of the defrump plan. Glitter is essential for the evening look. Hair will be blonded and tousled in a ‘post-shag’ fashion.

  • Fashion. Oooo, the best bit – out with blacks, browns and beige and in with rich reds, warm oranges, gorgeous blues and lots of pink, pink, pink. Handbags will be sequinned; trousers will be the right length; tops will be fitted to show off their womanly bits; cardigans will be beaded; shoes will be cute. Oooo, get me to Monsoon now!

  • Smiliness :-). OK ladies, it’s all very well being clever boffins, but skulking about being professionally frumpy is not going to get you friends or fellas. Stop and stroke a passing kitten! Put your science text books down and sing into your hairbrush to Grease! Giggle at the celeb gossip on! Skip through the park with a flower in your hair (this is advanced stuff – not for sparkle beginners)!

If only I could meet them – their lives would be transformed. Or maybe they would get me arrested for stalking them and being a general cowbag.

Monday, August 22

Why don't you need a licence to have children?
Why do these people insist on breeding so furiously? It's "Wales' Cutest Kids" competition in the Wales on Sunday newspaper again. Here are a selection of names given to these little "bundles of joy".


Ashlee Jayd
Tylishia Saffron Lorran

As a wise man once said, you can't bottle class.

Friday, August 19

The Friday List
Books I have read this year
  • Rebecca - Daphne Du Marier (Good start - modern classic)
  • Shopaholic and Sister - Sophie Kinsella (Er...)
  • Can you tell what it is yet? - Rolf Harris (Mumpet!)
  • Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquival (Mexican book, don't you know)
  • The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman (Too clever for kids)
  • Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman (Ditto)
  • Small Island - Andrea Levy (Funny and sad - lots of tears)
  • The Family Way - Tony Parsons (Made me broody)
  • My Life in Orange - Tim Guest (Bonkers - I've gone right off joining a cult)
  • The Timewaster Letters - Robin Cooper (Hilarious)
  • The Other Side of the Story - Marian Keyes (Look, I was on holiday, OK?)
  • The Promise of Happiness - Justin Cartwright (Worth the fuss)
  • The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford (Aren't posh people funny?)
  • Minus Nine to One - Jools Oliver (A literary gem)
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss (Clever)
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - JK Rowling (Haven't finished it yet but way too many hormones flying about. Harry's just had a dream about doing things to Ginny - eeeeuuuuuw!)

Thursday, August 18

The most hideous thing is happening. There is a big huge snake on the loose in our workplace.

I can't put my feet on the floor and I'm scared to open drawers and boxes. I phoned Mr Meep to come and collect me but he just laughed - hurumph.

Anyway, I have got my 'Emergency Snake Attack' plan ready.
  • Wear bicycle clips on bottoms of trousers to avoid 'snake up the leg' incident
  • Shake handbag before leaving work, in case it's slipped inside the latest Harry Potter
  • Check all door frames - it may be lurking, ready to pounce
  • Always go to the toilet in pairs - imagine the whole 'snake attack, knickers round ankles' scenario
  • Carry scissors with me at all times, to cut it in half if it attacks

Rumours I have heard about the snake so far, include:
  • "It's 2 foot long"
  • "It's only small"
  • "It's a grass snake"
  • "It's an adder"
  • "It's in the corridor"
  • "It lives in the pipes"

Well, I have just seen a photograph of the beast and it is huge, has a big snakey head, and is probably a boa constrictor.

Or maybe I am being slightly hysterical.

Monday, August 15

Thursday, August 11

30 crisis diet not going so well...
Things I have consumed in the last two days include:
  • Scoop of Ben and Jerry's (was looking at me seductively when I opened the freezer)
  • Giant cookie (office birthday - was v disturbed to see cookies that were almost the size of my head. Had to eat some to avoid some kind of mutant cookie global takeover)
  • Glass of wine, piece of passion cake (the last two in bed, at 6.30pm, while reading Harry Potter - oo, the shame)


Wednesday, August 10

The Original Eco-Warriors
I love The Wombles. All that wombling about, making good use of the things that they find.

We could all learn something from Madame Cholet, Great Uncle Bulgaria and the gang. They were recycling furiously as far back as the early 1970s, a time when putting your chewing gum in the bin was seen as progressive. They were the original eco-warriors, finding uses for things that the dirty humans left behind.

Mr Meep went to Wimbledon Common to try and spot Wombles when he was a child, but he didn't see any.

But now he has his very own Womble living in his house, making curries out of old vegetables and keeping the same sparkly cardigan for 10 years.

Do something Wombly today. Give your newspaper to someone else on the train when you've finished with it. Use an old sink to plant your Busy Lizzies in. Or just sing the Womble theme tune as you womble your way home tonight.

Tuesday, August 9

Day one of the ‘Gah, I’m turning 30’ diet went well.

2 toast and marmite; orange juice (1 portion fruit and veg); apple (2); nectarine (3); corn cob (4); Quorn burger in a brown roll; salad (5); spinach bruschetta (6); pasta with tomato sauce (7); 1 ‘Celebrations’ choc (teeny tiny); lots of water; 1 green tea; 1 black coffee.

Exercise was 50 minutes walking.

Monday, August 8

A dieting emergency
With only 22 days until I hit the big 3-0, drastic action is needed.

I've had the in-laws to stay for a week, so have been scoffing and boozing for Wales. Here's a sample menu... choc cake with Ben and Jerry's, red wine, pink wine, pizza, passion cake, Kettle Chips... Michelle McManus (pre-Dr G) would be proud.

Here are the 22-day diet rules:
1. No booze (am skint, so this will be quite easy). Oh, can I change it to 'limit booze' as the thought of a nice sunny weekend with no wine-drinking in the garden is very sad.
2. Exercise daily (definitely do-able, even if it's just lots of walking).
3. No cake (a tad more difficult, but will pretend there is a national cake shortage or something).
5. As much fruit and veg as possible. Let's go mad and say 10 portions a day. Maybe that will mean I'll be so stuffed that I won't be able to fit any other food in.
6. Avoid the evil cheese.

Tonight, I am going out for dinner to my favourite Italian, which would normally mean a festival of cheese and wine. However, I am going to order the healthiest thing on the menu. Am thinking stuffed tomato/spinach bruschetta for starters, followed by tomato-based pasta.

How saintly. I feel better already.

Wednesday, August 3

The best line from a news story ever
When she announced to her former colleagues at a housing advice centre that she was leaving to pursue her studies in air guitar, "the whole room fell silent".

Tuesday, August 2

Test your real age
I'm 27.8. But of course, I look a lot younger.

Mr Meep is 31.7, so he is very lucky to be married to a sprightly young thing.