Sunday, 16 October 2016


There’s nothing like some incessant train-like snoring on a camping trip to hammer home that at least one person in your tent is in deep slumber and you are definitely NOT. They are completely comatose while you lie wide awake rapidly getting more and more pissed off. It goes without saying that this is totally unfair; if that number of decibels is coming out of them then they should be the first to wake up. How can they possibly sleep through a sound as loud as a pneumatic drill coming out of their own head? Half the bloody campsite is probably awake because of it! The snorer is so asleep that the persistent, thunderous vibrations in their throat don’t wake them.

On a recent camping trip, I was subjected to some monstrous snoring. It made me resort to entombing myself in the sleeping bag in a vain attempt to block out some sound, but if anything it seemed to reverberate around the bag and get even louder. So there I was, lying helplessly awake on the other side of the paper thin canvas feeling very sorry for myself. I was so tired but it was impossible to nod off. I debated with the idea of going to the loo so I could noisily search for my torch and unzip and zip up the tent as loud as physically possible, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

You see, it wasn’t just the noise pollution that was proving a problem. The bitter cold was compounding my distress. I was wearing leggings under my pyjama bottoms and a jumper over my top. I had a blanket and three towels over my sleeping bag (I ended up with the thin one) and I was still cold. (Note to self: never fall for the vintage flower print over insulation properties.) My nose was so cold it was like having an ice cube stuck to my face. My body was so tense partly because of the snore-stress but also because my muscles were desperately contracting in a valiant attempt to generate some much needed body heat. 

Being in the middle of this snorezone was just too much. In the end I whispered through the canvas divide to Mum who was on the other side. “Mum, are you awake?” Of course she was. “Please can you kick him? Please.” We both felt really bad about it but it had to be done. And then there was peace. Blissful serenity and a golden chance to drop off.  I knew it would be a brief window of opportunity so I felt an unhelpful wave of pressure to fall asleep quickly, but I was so pooped that the silence was enough to soon lull me off into my own deep slumber. Allelujah. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Kirstie vs Caitlin

The Husband to Be has joked about a money saving strategy he has come up with for the wedding. It’s like a wedding ‘swear box’, if you will. His suggested banned words are: DIY, blank canvas and put your own stamp on it. You see, I've recently been heard to say these word quite regularly because when it comes to planning this wedding I’m thinking like a pro – Kirstie Allsopp.


‘Kirstie Allsopp’s Whimsical Handmade Wedding’. I can see it now. A patchwork of carefully crafted rustic loveliness all so fondly collected from car boots, grown, arranged, upcycled, glued, painted, appliqued, shabby chiced, sewn, baked and presented on the big day in a fairy light filled tipi for the lucky bride and groom – me and The Husband To Be. 

It has crossed my mind to post her a letter outlining this idea in the hope that she’s looking for inspiration for her next hit TV series. She would love it and more importantly so would her producers. Her people would call my people and we’d be filming in the chintzy craft studio of her country cottage the next week. With Kirstie onside, this wedding planning business would be a breeze. There’s just one hitch – I don’t want to be on telly. (As a teenager at Twickenham, I was made to sing ‘Oh When The Saints’ on TV next to my overzealous parents and am still mentally scarred.) So, I don’t think we’ve got much of a chance enlisting Kirstie to magic up our perfect DIY wedding with her own fair hands.

But that’s ok, because as it happens, the wedding industry is tuned in. You can buy whatever wedding paraphernalia you fancy in this homemade style. If you’re prepared to pay over the odds, it’s a cinch to create that dream DIY look without lifting a finger. But that defeats the object doesn’t it? Surely you couldn’t spend the day pretending you’d spent hours labouring over the sewing machine fashioning the bunting from floral vintage tea dresses and knickers, when actually you re-mortgaged your house so you could buy it from  Surely for it to be authentic it should all be borne out of your love, and creativity should pour out of your loved up hearts to create a day that is truly ‘you’. 

And herein lies the problem. Every now and again, Kirstie’s handcrafted world of sugar and spice and all things nice becomes a little bit too much to bear. We’re still over a year away from saying “I do” and on one occasion I've already found myself with my knickers in a twist over a planning predicament. Another time, my brain was in wedding overdrive so much that it took me over an hour to get to sleep. I hasten to add that this wasn't stress induced insomnia but rather as a result of revelling in my first (champagne fuelled) foray into the wonderful world of wedding dress shopping and unexpectedly finding The Dream Dress within five minutes of being in there. Result! (Apart from the fact that for an equivalent price I could buy something with four doors and a roof.) I very much dislike it if it takes me longer than five minutes to drop off so I decided I needed a cure for my wedding fever. Who would help me see perspective? I decided to turn to my favourite book – How to be a Woman – written by my second favourite famous woman: Caitlin Moran. She’d have some wise words on the matter, I thought.


“Of course, people discovering true love works out badly for everyone, really.”


“I mean, it’s OK in the end – once everyone settles down, and stops making a big fuss about it.”


“But fairly near the beginning, there is a massive test of everyone’s patience and love – a wedding.”

Okaaay, I guess I did say I wanted a wedding antidote...

“Weddings are our fault, ladies. Every aspect of their pantechnicon of awfulness happened on our watch.”

Well, that’s a bit extreme.

“Weddings do women no good at all. They’re a viper’s pit of waste and despair.”

No, hang on - I needed some perspective, not to be put right off.


I’m lost. I got the impression you weren’t a fan.

“There are two hitches with this.”

Got it. Actually, I agree with this. Go on...

“The first is that you should always be distrustful of days that are preordained to be legendary.”

This is it! I KNEW she’d make a good point. She’s got it spot on - this is what is at the crux of my problem with Kirstie. If you’re not careful, all these wedding magazines and wedding blogs and wedding TV shows suck you in. They suck you in! They suck you in and leave you feeling pressure to make The Big Day into The Best Day Of Your Whole Entire Life EVER. But this is a problem! If you put too much emotional investment and too much time and too much money into trying to make this ONE day (actually, more like ten hours) perfect, there is a hell of a lot of factors which could leave you disappointed. 

What if you wake up with a streaming cold or an unsightly blemish in the middle of your forehead? What if you find that the cat’s vommed in your shoes? What if the wedding car breaks down and you end up in your dad’s Honda? What if the photographer gets stuck in a traffic jam and arrives after the ceremony has finished? What if it’s pouring with rain and blowing a gale-force? What if there’s a crisis and someone who you really want to be there can’t make it? What if you sleep so badly the night before that you wake up with a raging headache? (I couldn’t sleep the night before Kate and Wills got hitched so who knows what state I’ll be in on the eve of our wedding! I’m doomed to be baggy eyed!)

Caitlin makes a very good point. I got a dose of perspective and this was what I needed. But then she spoils it. Her sermon about “demented wedding lust” goes on. And on. And on. This was perhaps a little too far down the other end of the spectrum to feel comfortable – I felt myself defending Kirstie and the blogs and the desire to spend money on it all. Caitlin gave me a much appreciated smack of reality but if Caitlin and Kirstie got in a fight, I’d side with Kirstie. Bring on the bunting!

Crap, I’ve forgotten to mention something. The wedding. No, the wedding. See, perspective needed!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Commentary Gold

Earlier today, Jenny Jones may have won bronze in the women’s slopestyle final but the commentators were commentary GOLD. A brief round up of the highlights:

1) "That smile would make bread rise."

2) "Can she hold it down for the Queen?"

3) "They're earning their £6.50 free lunch."

4) "That was literally just like Spiderman and Doctor Octoman hugging up there."

5) "Her smile would hatch chicken eggs."

6) "I've lost the ability to use my arms!"

7) "I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine."
    "That's not your pulse, Ed."

8) "It feels like someone's sewn my liver and pancreas together."

9) "Can I stand on my chair now and scream?!"

10) On watching the final competitor stack it on her last run, securing Jones the bronze: "WAAHHHHHHH! JONES WINS THIRD! Are we supposed to do that? Probably not..."