Do Do Dave and Na Na Nicky

So Dave has made the headlines for getting caught humming.

Oh the joy.  The joy of knowing that there is someone out there with my habit.

Music Notes. David Cameron. Humming

Ok – so I don’t have the luxury of a microphone at these times, nor a stage in Downing Street.

But hum I do.

The good news for you Dave is that I can identify with this one.

Bloody hell that must feel good.

I’ve got your back on this one.  I know that there are humming times.

Times that can only be approached with a hum.

And not just any old hum either.

It’s been a rough few weeks and whichever side we are on (and there are quite a lot of them), I’m sure you will agree that you’ve had easier times.

But back to this humming thing though, can you believe that I do it too!!

The annoying thing being that I often don’t realise I am doing it.  I believe this is how you got caught out.  Mine is not a tuneful hum either.  It’s the hum to whatever I may be doing at the time.  A dull, monotonous hum.  A working hum.  A hum that drives anyone around me completely insane.  Particularly Iron Man.

Can you bloody well believe that ye and me have something in common though?!

There will be others too Dave.  People come out of the woodwork at times like this.  A bit like when you buy a new car and suddenly every bugger has got one.  There must be a name for that.

Talking of names, some interesting ones in the new cabinet.  This must be like office gossip at its finest.

Obviously you don’t know me (but I know you) – now that must be kind of weird.  It’s less weird if you are on Facebook and Twitter though because you can be friends with people that you don’t really know. You can follow people too.

That’s known as stalking anywhere else but on Twitter, you can fill your boots.

Also, Facebook suggests people you might like to be friends with and I’m just thinking that would probably have been the case for us.   Certainly several reasons for an association.

Because I just see more and more things we have in common.

You are of course about to move and that’s a big upheaval.

You probably won’t have had a chance to read about my loft conversion (understandable) but we are about to go through a similar upheaval.

Actually if you do get a chance, can you have a look and see what you think of the bathroom idea.

I’m guessing that you also live in an older style house and I just wondered what your views were on the high flush cistern?

Maybe run it by Sam and whilst you are about it, ask her if she’s finding she is starting to get hot flushes too.  We are similar in age.

I could go on, there is a rich vein here.

But what I’d really would love to know though is what you think about the new cabinet appointments.  You’ve obviously not always seen eye to eye with Teresa in the past but I’m guessing that you are able to take an objective view. A bit like we all try to.

I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her leopard print kitten heel shoes over the last few days.

I don’t suppose she would have wanted to be in ours either.

Boris was a surprise though.

I’ve never really been a fan.  Of course I’d never be rude or pass up an opportunity for a photo though.  Especially if he’s going to hang out in our area.

And talking of Boris, I hear he is going to have to share a home.

That’s really unfortunate – but do not and I repeat DO NOT let on that we will have a spare room soon.

It won’t work.  Not with the snoring.  I really need to know that I have your trust on this one.

But anyway,  back to the microphone thing.

Most of us you’ll find generally use one for Karaoke rather than for our day to day business.  And oh you should see me at Karaoke.  Forget the humming – I’d see you off the stage before you could say I’ve had the time of my life.

And talking of having the time of your life, I’m guessing your kids are breaking up soon, like mine.

I suppose you will be around a bit more this summer.  I will too. You will be muscling in on the many day trips with Sam and the children to all the local sights and parks.  Your picnic hamper will be so used to going out that your bread rolls will be lining up at the door with their coats on.

Believe me when I tell you that you will not want to see another sandwich until Christmas evening.  Neither will you ever want to eat Pizza & Chips from a polystyrene plate with a plastic spoon in a canteen ever again.

Oh and don’t forget the 2 for 1 offers on the Rice Krispies.  They will certainly save you a few bob.

I’m guessing some of your children are similar in age to my daughter.  Tweenage.  I find I have to work a bit harder on the entertainment front these days.   As in, I’m not very entertaining.  Well I am – but just not to The Kid.

Anyhow don’t get too carried away though because that’s probably where the similarity stops.

I mean it’s not all of us that get our ditty turned into a rendition of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony on Classic FM is it.

I know this to be true because my sister-in-law told me.  She also knows you.  And she listens to Classic FM.

What luck you have!  Not that I’m jealous or anything.

Duet?

Thought not!

See you at the park then.

I’ll be humming away.

Nicky

 

 

Who’s Doll Is It Anyway?

The Kid and her doll

Our first foray into the American Girl Place in New York with The Kid was a bit of an eye opener and I have to confess that we did have a bit of a giggle at the craziness of it all.

Parents (mainly dads) carrying multiple red bags, sitting in the waiting room of the Beauty Salon (asleep!), families dining in the dining room, dolls that looked real – which collectively was a bit scary, little girls dressed in the same outfit as their dolls and multiple floors of pink candy stripes and well – more dolls.

However, if you see all of this through the eyes of a child – you will realise that we ended up being well and truly dragged in and five visits later, we did emerge through the revolving doors carrying said red bags and laughing the other side of our smug faces.

How?

You are quite right in thinking that we appear to be quite sensible people on the whole but in our defence this place is a whole new world.

On a corner of 5th Avenue lies a very unique shop for little ladies wishing to purchase a doll that looks a bit like them and with whom they can experience a world of activities and experiences that are equal to girl heaven – and some.

Dolls

Dolls can be selected to match a child’s skin, hair and eye colour.  The rest of the floors are a little bit like a department store for dolls in so far as you can purchase outfits, accessories, friends, more dolls, books, food and hair and beauty treatments.  I understand that there is also a dolls hospital should one be required.

So, armed with her birthday money, The Kid decided that she wanted to buy one of these dolls.  At $115 before taxes at the till, these dolls are rather an extravagant purchase.  However, it was her money and after we explained all of this, she decided to go ahead on the basis that it would always remind her of the holiday.

So which one then?

American Girl

That part took care of two visits at least.  When faced with an army of dolls, choosing the right one can be a very nerve-wracking experience for the uninitiated.

Our experience in the shop showed us that it was simply the best compliment if someone said how much your doll looked like you.  No pressure here then.

The Kid and the doll

At this point I should warn you that The Kid’s doll did not come with that outfit OR that hairdo.  We are only on Visit 4 anyway so keep up!

Toilet anyone?

Dolls holder

Doll holders can be found in cubicles and next to sinks.  No need for grubby mitts.

It was at this point, The Kid decided she would like to get the dolls hair done.  So up a few flights and we found ourselves here.

Dolls Hair Salon

Only to find there were no appointments.  I kid you not!

Dolls hair salon

Which meant that there would need to be a 5th visit.  As we pencilled in a 3pm appointment for the last day of the holiday.

Dolls hair styles

So for now, we could leave.

Doll purchase

Until the next day when we saw ourselves running down 5th Avenue in the 30 degree heat to get to the hair appointment.

Doll at hairdressers

Where the hair was beautifully plaited by a doll stylist

Dolls hairdresser

But there was no time for any further treatments

Dolls manicure

We had a plane to catch and this doll needed to get back to the UK along with her owner.

Dolls hair plait

And her lovely hairdo.

We had to miss this.

Dolls Cafe

And of course you won’t be surprised to see this.

Iron Man and the doll

Of course he couldn’t wait to muscle in.

And we made sure to walk far enough in front so that he looked like he was on his own.

Me thinks he may be needing this!

Babysitting

All told we probably spent a day of the holiday in this shop.  It was like nothing on earth, yet wonderful and crazy at the same time.  Pure jaw-dropping entertainment for the adult and the child.

The doll and her owner are now safely back in the UK and all is well.

No further beauty treatments have been necessary.

Would you have done the same?

Nicky

Keeping Calm and Going Camping

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The Kid and I were very made-up and flattered to be invited to go camping with some friends over Easter.

However, being a bit of a wuss by nature and given my love of all things homely – like my own bathroom and loo for example, I have to admit to rising panic at this forthcoming adventure.  I hate to be cold and public loos and showers bring me out in a rash at the mere thought.

Couple that with the fact that I’m a bit of a tidy freak and that I’d be living out of a bag in a tent with 8 others – well of course I bloody said yes!!!!

This probably surprised my beloved camping buds but the ‘give it a go’ in me, coupled with the fact that I knew The Kid would love it, saw me agreeing like I’d been a camper all my life.  I also knew we would have a really good laugh.

Too late to change your mind now girlies!!!

Iron Man found the whole thing hilariously amusing given my wimpy nature.  He generally wouldn’t put me and camping in the one sentence.  Glamping – yes, caravan – yes, treehouse – yes, lodge – yes.  Camping no.

He managed to contain his excitement about having two whole days to himself and I certainly didn’t begrudge him this as I know how much I love my own space.

So without further ado, a camping meeting was underway and a pitch secured at a Haven campsite in Clacton.

Wanting to be on top of things, I immediately snapped up this tea towel in Primark which was to become the camp mascot.

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Advice was forthcoming from another camping friend in the form of making sure you put something under the airbed and take lots of layers.

Let me tell you I could have single handedly done my own fashion show with one days worth of clothing layers.  No need to tell me twice.  She shalt not be cold.

A Dora the Explorer table cloth and a picnic rug for under the beds were also packed.

It would later transpire that Dora would be responsible for our redemption.

I was also usefully provided with an electric cable for hook up courtesy of my brother in law which Iron Man kindly converted and shortened as it was on a ridiculously long lead.

I was sorted. The camp would be sorted, with our combined strength, we would make Bear Grylls look like Barbie.

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And so came the day.

Generous lashings of rain leading up to our departure assured us of a nice soft ground for pitching.

Departure also gave us ringside seats to a police chase before we had even left home.

A taste of the excitement to follow.

As we approached Clacton, the sun shone brightly and warmly.  So brightly that it belied the fact that every tent on the field was surrounded by straw.  It had been a very wet week.

Not for us though.  Coats off and out came the tent.  It was at this point that I was humbled by the tent erecting skills of my pals.  This was to be my chocolate teapot moment.  I did not have a clue how to put a tent up and was happy to be the apprentice erecter under their expert direction.

It’s all about teamwork at times like this but on the basis that a team is only as strong as its weakest member (me on this occasion), it was somewhat shocking that the whole thing was done in an hour and we were sat drinking Prosecco in the sunshine laughing at how lucky we were.

Time to test the electricity.

It turns out there was a reason for the lengthy lead – to allow it to go into the tent and stay dry.  No worries here though, 8 beds were swiftly inflated and it was baking.  Thumbs up all round.

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We had a tightly packed schedule of forestry, swimming and rifle shooting that afternoon and by 7pm we all fell down in the entertainment lounge for food, drink and a show.

Time seemed to stand still while we were there as we seemed to pack so much in to one day.  This is one of the great things about camping.

I have to say as far as sites go, this one was pretty much spot on.

We also had a ban on technology for all, not a popular choice but also very liberating and it wasn’t missed.

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And did I mention shows?

It turns out that we were treated to another as we left the lounge to return home.  This time a lightning show!  The rain was coming down in stair rods and we had to get ourselves and the six kids back to base across the bog.

This is real camping.  None of this Prosecco and sunshine lark.

Mud, rain, dark, cold, loo runs and rain beating down on the tent with the occasional bolt of lightning.

flash-1043778_640

Needless to say, not too much in the way of sleep that night and a face full of rain awaited the first person to unzip the tent as they glimpsed the dark sky of the new day.

Three out of four rooms had wet bedding.  For some unknown reason, ours being the 4th was bone dry.

No beach today.

We were soon conferring and changing plans whilst sipping a lukewarm cuppa from the travel kettle that took 5 hours to boil, while attached to the metre long cable in the rain on a bin liner!

Not deterred, we set off with our list of indoor pursuits and had lots of fun.

It was during our game of chicken charades that the ‘bug’ came.  An  over enthusiastic charade was initially suspected but unfortunately for one poor member of our crew, this was not an isolated incident.  We had a poorly camper.

We were not deterred.  Rain and sick did not stop our play and another days events were enjoyed by all.

There was just a small matter of some of the children getting lost on site but a recent headcount shows that 6 returned home safely.  No flies on our childcare!

The rain finally let up and we were treated to a clear sky and plummeting temperatures for our final sleep.

The Dora table cloth was to save the day by going someway towards insulating us from the ice cold floor.  On reflection, it was probably Dora that kept us dry too.

A peaceful night ensued with the occasional snore and quack.

It was then time to do the whole thing in reverse and take down our house of fun.  Once again we were treated to wonderful sunshine.

Operation clear-up was another success.

And we all survived.  Happily.

Dora the Explorer emerged as a hero of the holiday.

I did it.  We did it.  I’d do it again.

I didn’t phone home once.

Best of all you can roam around in a fleece onesie and a funny hat looking like a teletebby and no one cares.  Imagine that!


There are a few tips that I would offer to any prospective campers which I shall be storing in my camping file for future reference :

If you think you are getting away from a snorer, think again – you will effectively be sleeping with everyone else’s snoring husbands (or wives).  There is no sound proofing in a tent.

  • Never take a pitch next to a caravan.  Not only will they piss you off annoy you for being dry and warm in a thunder storm but their ability to watch TV loudly until late will really get on your wick as you lay freezing trying to nod off.
  • They will also wake you every time they walk across the floor and when they get up and they bang their doors very loudly.  The only way to meet behaviour like this is with another caravan.  Canvas is no match in this relationship.
  • Take a longer electricity cable.  Short leads are for houses.
  • Do not wear wellington boots that no one can get off – even if they are fashionable.  They will hinder progress.
  • Research inflatable sick buckets.  One for Amazon.  Pack.

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And as if by coincidence, it would seem that we were not alone in our experience.  Even the PM was getting involved.

Here is the headline in the newspaper on our departure day.

So where were you Dave when the rain came in?

Trying to pinch my wellies no doubt!

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Such a memorable few days for all.  There are no barriers and secrets with camping.  I think we all know a little more about each other than before we went!

I wonder if I have changed your mind if you are a non-camping type like me?

Or maybe you are a seasoned camper and have seen it all before?

Either way, I would love to hear how you shape up under canvas.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time ….

Nicky

 

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

My Situation Is Vacant

Wish me luck in my new job.

I didn’t apply for it.  Neither do I have the appropriate skillset.

This job doesn’t take into account anything that I have done before.

In fact, I’ve never been more unqualified for a job in my life.

This has to be the only job that you don’t have to apply for.

How jammy am I?!!!

Let me explain.

work-1099985_640

As of next week, I am leaving my current job in search of a new one.

I’m treating myself to a bit of time off too – bit of this, bit of that, bit of freelance work, bit of blog maintenance, get the house in order, big old sort out – you know the kind of thing.

I am also very excited about finding my next ‘ideal job’.

In advance of this, I noticed that the paperwork at home was resembling a Jenga tower and given my Jenga prowess, I decided to take a few pieces out.

This resulted in filling a few forms in, making a few grown-up appointments and having a few meetings.

I was so good at all of the above that they offered me the job!

Imagine that.

Simples.  Check me out!

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My new job, according to the form filling ‘opinion makers’ is Housewife.

Now, before you congratulate me on my success, I urge you to spare me a thought because I’m actually quite worried.

I questioned the job offer on the basis that I’m not qualified to be a Housewife – was I obliged to take the position?

No choice apparently, homemaker perhaps, (lady of leisure was also touted) or unemployed.

I have to choose one.

What is expected of the ‘Housewife’ then?

I have been offered the job before when I was at home with my daughter as a baby but I wasn’t looking for work back then.  I was just getting by doing the best I could.

I know of others that have been given the job too.

It sounds like it involves commitment to someone.

I wonder if there will be a ‘do’?

This is not a feminist rant, it’s not my style and as for burning my bra – I don’t have enough bras to be so frivolous.

If it was Iron Man in the same position, I would be mortified if he was given the title of ‘House Husband’.  (The fact that he is in training as a Circus performer at the moment is beside the point).

So why am I worried?

Well for a start-off, I’m going on holiday during the first week of my new employment.pool-690034_640

Secondly, not only will I be working but I will also be looking for work.

Moonlighting and job hunting.  Not good for a new joiner that was on holiday the week she was due to start.

Also, I can’t work everyday because I’ve actually made plans.

Oh and there’s The Kid.

Who’s wife did you say I am?

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“Housewife”

That was it.

Who thought that job title up then?

Do I need to train?

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Wait for it though!

The best bit.

No pay!

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No bloody pay!

Only me.

What would you do? Would you take it?

Am I crazy to let this opportunity pass – the job I don’t want, the job that doesn’t pay.

It’s also just dawned on me that I’ve been doing this job all along anyway.

You probably have too but like me you’ve never given it a name.

My point here is that I actually want the job I described earlier.

That doesn’t pay either in the short term but that’s my prerogative.

There is no ‘category’ for this.

There are simply “No Vacancies”.

No box available to tick.  No delete ‘as appropriate’.

The Tick Box police have spoken and I have to be a Housewife.

I suppose I should get on as I’ve got a whole stack of things to do before I start this new job.

Did I mention I won’t be there for about the first month?

I would say hold the pay cheque but there isn’t one.

Just keep my seat warm then.pfirsischblute-746604_640

See you around April time.

Nicky x#

 

 

 

 

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SPF on the Beach

There probably isn’t a person in the world that enjoys applying sun cream. There are probably even less people that enjoy applying it on others – particularly when the ‘others’ happen to be children.

Applying sun tan lotion
Applying the stuff

Anyone watching our sun tan lotion performance pool side (or anywhere else come to that) will probably need to go for a lie down.It takes that long.

A conservative tot-up would be that about two days of our annual holiday are taken up in family sun cream applications.

Those of you with children will know that if they are very small, they will slide through your hands and leg it.   If you are very unlucky they will scream the resort down.

Those of you with older children will know that there are generally a list of 20 things that your child needs to do first if you mention ‘creaming up’.

If you have a daughter, you will likely hear at least one of the following during the act :

  1.  “you didn’t have to put it in my eye”
  2. “ouch, stop pulling my hair”
  3. “Why do you always have to hurt when you do it”
  4. “Stop”

You will see the connection in the following  book title and sun product and realise that the two are not mutually exclusive ……..

Dork Diaries and Nivea Suncream
Drama Queen & Nivea

If you have applied sun cream correctly, you will probably feel like you have completed your entire menopausals’ worth of sweating in one go and you will also want to go for a lie down with your fellow bathers.

SPF 50 has never been known for its blending qualities after all.  It’s a bit like trying to rub lard into a mirror and expecting it to be smear free.

Sun tan lotion evidence is also problematical for a 9 year old.

I’ve wondered on this holiday whether The Kid is of the age where she should really be doing it herself. This comes with an element of risk in so far as, we are responsible for the welfare and any attendant burn of said kid – the fault will lie clearly in our court irrespective of the applicant.

Hiding and nothing spring to mind and if a little charring occurs, it could potentially bring about the demise of the holiday.

Applying Nivea Sun Tan Lotion
Self-Application

I would liken our beach side shenanigans to that of a travelling circus.  The only difference being that there is no charge to witness our little spectacle and we would probably knock juggling and stilt walking into a tin hat.

Floating in Swimming Pool
Starfish

At this stage, I would like to make it clear that if anyone was offering to put my sun cream on, I would take their hand off and adopt Starfish position immediately.

No complaints from me – not one.

Can I go in now?

A Cornish Mum

Towels on Sunbeds – The New Rules

Beach and Sunbeds
The Sunbed Scenario

This weeks blog comes directly from the front line of the beach and swimming pool right here in our holiday resort.

Of course, being on holiday lends itself to a little reflection whilst laying on the sunbed.  This coupled with a good old stare up behind the sunglasses and book (people watching as it is fashionably referred to these days) is going to give rise to some gentle musings.

My little thought pattern is in over drive.

First up though has to be the towel on sunbed behaviour.  A behaviour which I’m sure has been covered tenfold but I bring this report directly from my privileged front line location with real time information.

For those who have no idea as to what or whom I refer, it is of course the past time that seems to have been adopted worldwide – that of placing towels on sunbeds in order to ensure that no one else uses them. I have to say the Brits seem to be among the worst culprits for this.

How on earth did this happen to a normally reticent race who are generally very happy to extend courtesy before comfort.  In fact, the only other time I’ve seen this behaviour exhibited quite so blatantly is when IKEA in Edmonton were knocking out cheap TVs on Black Friday.

So, when we are told that our hotel has a zero tolerance policy on reserving sun-beds, I feel a sense of relief.  The fact that it is also in writing – well say no more.   I do love a rule!

This rule sees ‘offenders’ articles politely removed and stored at Reception.  I am really liking this rule. They have Beach Ambassadors here, I assume for this very reason.

Picture of sunbed
‘Reserved’

You see, I’m not one of life’s natural sunbed baggers. I find it very embarrassing and aside from anything else it’s unnecessary.     I have never been able to lay down a towel and just walk away. I have to go through the motions of sitting on the bed for a reasonable amount of time before leaving.

I prefer to casually wander off, trying to look as though I’ve forgotten something even though i know I’m really going to breakfast.   It is hardly surprising therefore that I am looking forward to playing by these rules.

I have eyed up the prime bed spots and am looking forward to them becoming available.  Front row on the beach is where I aspire to be when it’s my turn under these new rules.

Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to somewhat disappoint you now, as to my surprise, I have discovered that the rules are being broken.

I can report from my front line undercover location that not only are the rules being flouted but no one is politely bloody removing their stuff.

This leaves with me with the dilemma of whether to do a large scale ‘dob-in’ or grab a trolley and politely remove offending articles.

Prime Spot
Prime Spot

I do neither. I feel duped.  Duped that I’ve played fair by these rules.  Duped that I thought it was a good idea.   So the gloves are off, it’s Day 5 and there is no more playing by the rules.

Front row, ocean side seats 4-6, we’re coming to get you.  The fact that we are in this wonderful country with its beautiful people makes my little musing so much more palatable.

The Kid and ‘the hunk in trunks’ (as he wishes to be known on this vacation) are fully engaged in life here and my next little sunbed thought should now be whether I might grab a t-shirt and become an undercover Beach Ambassador.

It would be rude not too really ……………

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