Friday, 21 March 2014

Ready, Steady, Lunch!

Friday’s packed lunches are always depressingly sparse.  One of us does the food shop (also known as The Big Shop)on a Friday, which means by Thursday night when I make the lunches for the next day (really, who has time to make it in the morning?), there are slim pickings.  Not for Daughter, of course.  She has the same every day – sandwich (egg or ham on strict rotation, and the exotica of egg has been a fairly recent addition), bear crisps, a mini chocolate bar that is apparently approved by mums due to the high milk content, apple juice and until recently a well-travelled pot of grapes.  It was well travelled in that she very rarely ate them and they went back and forth.  The lunch-box police would probably take me away, but they want to try living with a fussy eater.  So of course there is always everything that she wants, and let’s face it, I’d do a midnight run to the supermarket in my slippers if I discovered something missing for her.  Substitutes will not be tolerated!

But for me, it’s like a much scaled down version of Ready Steady Cook.  I empty the fridge of potential lunch fare and try and put something together.  Last night revealed a serious lack of salad and fruit, but at least there was enough to make a sandwich.  I was drooling during a text to L before, who was having a jacket potato with beans and salad.  The food of kings!  I have no access to a kitchen at work and so I’m pretty limited to sandwiches and sophisticated pots of noodles that you can make with water.  Not those!  I’ve got a degree, thank you very much.  My noodles come in cardboard containers for that extra bit of sophistication.

When I lived with my parents (or ‘at home’ as I still call it occasionally), my very wonderful Mother made my packed lunch for work.  Yes, work.  Those were the days.  There was never two days the same, and there was never a make-do day.  How?  She worked full time and did everything (more appreciated now than at the time, I think) and yet still had enough sandwich filling on a Friday.  And I’m no stranger to having discovered ham, soft cheese and grapes in between my granary.  The imagination!  The effort!

I don’t think Daughter will look back as fondly on her lunches.  How misty-eyed can you get over a boiled egg sandwich?!  To be fair to myself though, I do cut them into a heart shape.  I do hope she will entertain a ham, soft cheese and grape sandwich at some point, but I think I will be resigning my packed lunch maker role the day she leaves school.  Primary school.  No?  Grr.

I’m off to pester L with texts now while she has her jacket and beans. Ha ha!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Just Another Can on the Shelf

I have 24 cans/bottles/sprays etc of hair product on my shelf in our bedroom, so this of course doesn’t include the ‘wet’ hair products that crowd the bathroom (at least 9 that I can think of from the top of my head, pardon the pun).

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re imagining me with a different hairstyle every day, all carried off with that ‘just stepped out of the salon’ shine and gloss.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I wear my hair the same EVERY DAY.  Loose and straightened for work, palm tree style with fetching fringe clip when I get home.  So what’s with all the stuff? 

I’ve got nice hair, if it’s not too big headed (there’s another one!) to say.  But I live with the desire to have nicer hair.  Glossier, fuller, straighter, curlier, more defined…and clearly those 24 products have promised me a variety of those desires at some point.  And have they?  Mostly, no.  Do I keep falling for the promises?  Yes.  I am a marketing team’s dream.  Put a picture of Cat Deeley in a magazine and use words like ‘repair’, ‘softer’, ‘glossier’ and I’m sold.  I will peruse the hair product aisles of large chemists at least once a week.  I’ve been firm with myself lately and am taking a ‘Just Say No’ stance, but like any kind of addict, I’m tempted.  It doesn’t help that Sister, with whom I usually peruse the aisles, has an even worse case of product addiction.

Now don’t tell Husband, who has a more minimal stance to this kind of thing, but on any given day, I use two of the bedroom shelf products.  Two!  That’s 22 unloved (and dusty) products on the shelf.  But I can’t throw them away.  I might need them!  The fact that some of them have actually survived a house move four years ago means nothing.  I’m bound to forget why I’ve stopped using some of them at some point and no doubt be overwhelmed by a horrible gone-off hair product smell (apart from those that are really old and from the days when our products were loaded with stuff to keep it tip-top for a century).

It’s not just my head that has all the extra stuff.  I counted 11 body creams/butters/lotions on the go in the bathroom this morning.  And I have two vanity cases full of extras, although I did unearth my last Christmas body wash this morning.  It must have been a slow year.

It’s probably time to admit it.  My name is Joanne and I’m a product-holic.  But I have no plans to reform.  I’m going to chuck or use the hair stuff, I think, but life can be hard enough without just one body spray to choose from.  I’m anxious to build up the body wash collection as we speak.  And if I ever do run out, I can always cross the landing to Daughter’s room.  At five and a half, she’s already building up a collection of perfume (because who doesn’t want to smell like a Disney Princess?! Obviously not Daughter, who never touches the stuff!) and gooey lipgloss.  Like Mother like Daughter I suppose!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Retail Therapy

Daughter and I enjoyed a bit of retail therapy this weekend.  Well, when I say enjoyed, perhaps I should say 'participated in with only minor levels of discomfort' . First stop, Primark. I'd forgotten our sunglasses and it was a glorious day in Liverpool today, so in we went to splurge a couple of quid on some sunnies.  Despite having promised myself I wouldn't buy any clothes until I've lost some weight and saved some money, I don't get into Liverpool very often and the lure of city centre shopping was too much for me, and I had the clearly ludicrous idea of having a quick look. And quick it was, because Daughter was keen for me to know she didn't really want to be there. I'm used to her moaning, so I could have put up with that, but she tried to wander, and there's nothing to send my stress levels rocket higher than Daughter being more than about 10cm away from me. My fear isn't that she'll fall over or get lost, it's that she'll be stolen. She's so beautiful, you see. I know the statistics suggest it's highly unlikely, but I can't concentrate unless she's right in front of me. So, browsing for me was abandoned and we schlepped up to children's wear.  She tried four styles of sunglasses on, picked a bag and some jewellery and then was a pain when I was looking for things for her, so all she got was a pair of neon pink jeans. Her loss.

It's understandable that she was fed up, but the real reason was that there was 30 quid burning a hole in my purse that she had from Other Grandad (so called to distinguish him from Nanny's Grandad!) and Aunty T, who had come to visit, and a promise of another tenner from me, all to spend in Build A Bear.

We'd managed to get her to five and a half without ever building a bear. I'd let her spend birthday money on an outfit for a rabbit she'd got as a christening gift, but we'd never chosen one of the slightly alarming empty bodies and joined the queue.  There was no choosing, she knew what she wanted (Treasure, an eye-wateringly orange cat, who is Princess Ariel's pet, presumably obtained after her move to dry land) and we encountered the attempt to get us to include a scent and sound (no thanks!) and then joined the filling queue. Our helper, Alice, was so good and I hope she's enjoying a well deserved vodka (or whatever youngsters drink these days!) tonight. Watching Daughter work the foot pump with such conviction that she was filling Treasure was so lovely, but the heart ceremony choked me up. I appreciate that sentence alone could cost me readers, because it might sound like I'm overly sentimental and have bought into the saccharine ploys of cutesy emporiums designed to hike up pester power to the max (surely I'm not the only one that cringes at being called a Guest in another well known place high up on the pester power list? And, on that note, do they really need a character name? The middle aged grump that attended to us in another (not local) outlet was so far removed from her character ( can't remember who, but one of the Big Five Princesses) that I nearly sniggered). Anyway, I digress. The heart ceremony. Daughter selected her heart, and then performed a series of actions with it, the last one being to kiss it and make a wish. Her eyes were screwed up so tight with thinking and wishing so hard, and she didn't move that heart from her kiss until she was all wished out. And it's a secret, you know, so I don't know what it is. But I couldn't tell you if I did, it's a secret!

And of course Treasure needed clothes. And accessories. What self respecting cuddly cat doesn't accessorise? So we added our dress, tiara, necklace and tail flower. Daughter did make a bid for the shoes, but they only come in pairs and Treasure's got four shoeable feet, so point to Mummy.  Not buying shoes enabled us to go over to Cafe Thorntons, hurrah! Not for the delicious and restorative hot chocolate I had, you understand, but just so we could get Treasure out and dress her. What I did discover was that cats on four legs and bears/rabbits on two legs don't really share any physical similarities but are supposed to wear the same clothes, and consequently poor old Treasure's dress is a bit of a poor fit.

Fast forward a few years, and will we be firm shopping buddies or will it be a punishment for both of us? I suppose it depends how long I'm willing to buy things for her! I can't imagine future shopping being so cute as watching my little girl wishing on a heart though. I'm so soft!