I’m back in the room! It’s not really as though I can go anywhere else, to be fair. Sorry for the slightly prolonged absence; I’ve been trying to get my head around the new working day, which consists of twelve hours of shared cat-herding (childcare) with Mr AMR followed by two hours of frantically trying to get admin done and, if there’s any time left over, work.
And I decided to distance myself a bit from social media for a while, mainly because I didn’t want to come on here and pour out my feelings and potentially add to your anxieties or feelings of doom and gloom. I wasn’t really in great shape the week before last.
You should see the post I wrote on Monday 16th, when we took the kids out of school early! It was a full four days before they officially closed and I just felt so weird and alone and had no idea, at that point, whether we were doing the right thing.
So the diary entry I wrote (and decided not to publish) was absolutely bonkers – more the sort of thing someone would write on the battlefield, knowing that they were living their last moments, than the diary entry of a woman faced with the prospect of home-schooling…
“Into the fray I go, not knowing what awaits us. I am locking down my family and battening the hatches and I feel as though we are preparing for the end of the world.”
Needless to say I’ve managed to gain some perspective in the eleven days we’ve been in isolation; not only do I feel incredibly lucky to have a healthy family, a relatively flexible job and a solid roof over our heads, I’ve managed to eke out some positives from the sudden, unexpected plunge into round-the-clock childcare.
I just need some time to think them up.
Haha. Only joking. It is a privilege to see your kids grow up and so a bit of extra time together should be seen as a blessing and not a curse – I think it’s the intensity with which we have all been thrown together, isn’t it? The sensation of not being able to escape or have a moment’s peace.
I feel as though I’d just got into a place where I could have a bit of my own life back when the kids went off to school and pre-school – I was even managing to work some “me time” (UGH) into the schedule – and now those windows of opportunity have been completely removed, so we’re all basically in a relationship pressure cooker.
But I shan’t moan – I’m reserving that particular click and collect slot for those that need it. NHS workers and people who have lost their jobs and those who are vulnerable and worried for their lives. Bit of home-schooling is a cinch by comparison.
Not that we’re doing any home-schooling – I mean, the phrase itself brings me out in hives. It’s my worst nightmare. I have no patience with even the most mundane daily tasks when it comes to the kids, so trying to get them to sit in one place and read sends me over the edge. Today I tried to keep things “exciting” and made “nature crowns” with them, which basically involved me burning myself multiple times with the glue gun, sticking my fingernail to the table and getting dried leaves and dead twigs all over the kitchen floor.
Did they love their nature crowns? No they did not. They think that their nature crowns are shite and they would rather be watching Mia and Me (don’t ask) on Netflix. I mean I don’t blame them, because if someone gave me the choice between making an origami dinosaur at the kitchen table or kicking back on the sofa watching Tiger King then I know what I’d choose.
On the subject of Tiger King: please discuss. If you haven’t yet seen this bizarre documentary about bat-shit crazy exotic cat owners then do add it to your busy social diaries. I know it’s difficult to fit in Netflix at the moment, what with all the garden parties and drink soirées and so on, but if you do find yourself stuck in the house and at a loose end then it’s one to have a bash at.
I’ve honestly been transfixed. But also dismayed. There are some bad, bad people out there aren’t there? It’s worrying. You can lull yourself into a false sense of security that the world is lovely and blah blah blah, and then you watch Tiger King and it’s like walking into a Thieves n’ Liars conventional. Leave your morals at the door!
I’d love to do a proper review of the series but everyone on the documentary is quite nifty on social media and I’d be genuinely worried that they would hunt me down, shoot me with a Lion-tranquillising gun and put my body through the meat grinder.
On that note, I’m off for a four-way.
Not that kind!
Social distancing has ruled out that particular pastime (LOL! Joke!) and so I’m having a Whatsapp video call with three of my friends. (I’m writing this on Saturday night.) We have a monthly (ish) dinner together and tonight was penned in as the latest date, but as we can’t see each other in person we’ve decided to be all modern and woke.
There will be wine, but I’m limiting myself to two glasses because the idea of a hangover when there is no recovery day in sight for at least two weeks is just to grim to contemplate. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Hello, dearest readers. I’ve been at a loss to know what to say to you this week; my usual humour seems to have deserted me and I’m struggling to find the right words. I’m sure that most of you feel the same way as me – overwhelmed and displaced – and so I don’t want to add to your anxieties or write something that doesn’t do justice to the enormity of the situation.
Which is why I’ve called in the expert to say something useful rather than blather away aimlessly at you. I asked psychotherapist Marianne Johnson about how we could stay calm and less anxious in these rapidly changing times – her answer below will be a useful read for so many people. Please do share it, pass on the link, post on Facebook. I’ll be back – no doubt to blather away aimlessly at you – in the next few days.
Coronavirus and Coping with Anxiety.
We are all reeling from the coronavirus outbreak. Each day the world looks a little less recognisable and a little less safe as the numbers of people infected tick up and the isolation measures take hold. In my job as a psychotherapist I am increasingly finding that the focus of my work is now around the anxiety that clients are bringing and how that is impacting their lives.
Fear and panic can build up easily with our non-stop media consumption so it’s vital that we take some control of our own mental health and put things in place to protect and care for ourselves.
I’m finding that anxiety about coronovirus takes on different shapes for different people. Some experience profound existential fear about what might escalate globally in the long term, others are deeply concerned about how people can protect their livelihood and loved ones. And I am also hearing plenty of hope. Many people are expressing a desire for a profound shift in ideology as communities come together and the focus moves from a consumerist stance to a more nurturing one. I hear people longing for better, deeper connections to the people close to them, and also to a deeper sense of themselves.
So what practical measures can we put in place to help ourselves? Firstly, it’s helpful to acknowledge that some worry is inevitable. These are uncertain times. We have to give ourselves a chance to think feel and talk to others about our concerns.
Our brains are wired to avoid uncertainty and this is where anxiety can become problematic. If left unchecked, understandable worries and stress can become converted to overwhelming and unmanageable feeling of panic and dread. It can he helpful to imagine what is happening inside the brain to create this response.
Fear is a primitive and essential emotion. It keeps us safe from harm as we manage immediate threats and react accordingly. Our early ancestors needed this mechanism to escape the dangers in their environment. As our brains became more complex we became able to think ahead and creatively predict what might happen in the future, based on past experience.
Faced with a lack of certainty this more advanced function of our brain presents different versions of what could unfold, which we then process and rationalise. This can run into overdrive when we consume a vast range of speculation in the media. With so much opinion at our disposal we are able to stew in a pot of collective panic and then become compelled to search out more and more information pushing that button of dread.
Here are some suggestions
1) Be aware of how your thoughts are affecting how you feel. You have a choice about which thoughts to hold onto, and which to let go of. We can find ourselves unhappily attached to the negative thinking, feeling as as if the more we think, the more it will help us escape the uncertainty. Keep bringing yourself back to what we do know and try not to catastrophize and ruminate about what might happen.
2) Focus on bringing yourself back to the present, which for some might be meditation and others finding a project that they can immerse themselves in. Purpose is better than distraction. If you can find something really absorbing it will be more helpful to ground you.
2) If you are worried about how much time you are spending on news channels, choose one daily news outlet that you trust and have a dedicated slot that you use to check for updates. Some people may choose to avoid all media for a period of time.
3) Think about human contact and the different ways you can connect to others. It is going to be really important to carve out ways to get support. This might require taking a risk and saying to people ‘i’m here’ but it will be worth it. You can return the favour.
4) Practice a really simple but effective breathing exercise (they really do work). The nervous system can be calmed by just a minute of mindful breathing. I like the 4-7-8 method. You exhale through your mouth completely, then breath in quietly through your nose to a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale competes through your mouth (making a whooshing sound if you like) for a count of 8. Repeat this at least 4 times but as many as you like. This also really helps insomnia.
5) Be gentle with yourself and make time for things which soothe you. It can take a really concerted effort to do this. It’s so much easier to dive into our laptops or phones. Put on some music, watch a film, plant some seeds, bake a cake, do something creative, do whatever it is that can take you into a happier frame of mind.
Marianne Johnson AdvDip MA UKCP
Let’s take a look at Chanel’s Spring 2020 collection. It all looks so beautiful, especially photographed against the huge booklet they sent along with it – mauves and vibrant sandy corals and pale shimmering champagnes. The colours of a desert as the sun goes down – the collection is called Desert Dream and I think they’ve captured that perfectly.
But what’s worth snapping up and what can you afford to miss, if you’re a die-hard Chanelophile and like to have something from each collection?
Well, I shall get straight to the point – no beating around the proverbial bush – I’d put my money into the foolproof products you’ll use year-round. Or at least into the summer – if you use them at the rate I have been then they’ll never last a year!
First mega-buy; the Baume Essential, at Boots here*, which has been reinvented in a warm, coppery-golden shade called Golden Light. This is a great highlighter for darker skin tones, adding a really grown-up sheen with minimal “glitter”. On lighter skin tones it’s more tricky to get placement right, but it’s not impossible – I’d move away from the traditional “swipe along the cheekbone like a snail trail” and blend in well on the areas that the sun would hit, really making the glow part of the skin rather than sitting it on top.
Anyway, the non-pearlescent Baume Essentiel (my review is here) is now firmly one of my favourite makeup staples – it just gives the most amazingly natural dewy finish – but the limited edition Golden Light version is beautiful for the warmer months.
Next best buy would be the Stylo Ombre et Contour eyeliner and shadow pencils, which I’ve used in Mauve and Brun. I know that these aren’t a brand new launch but I hadn’t really had a good try with them and I was surprised to find that the staying power is immense, despite the fact that the liner feels like a soft crayon to apply. I thought it would wishy-washy itself off after an hour or so, but it was stubborn, refusing the cleansing balm and the flannel and only shifting when I went in with a dual-phase eye makeup remover.
You can find the Stylos online here* – if you love a smokey eye look but hate applying liner then this might be your way forward. Scribble on like a child, blend with a dense little brush (this one* from Charlotte Tilbury is excellent) and you’re done. The Mauve is a good colour if you’re really, really low-key and want something barely-there, but opt for brown if you want impact…
Now the lip colours didn’t suit me so much – I tried Rouge Brulant and Endless – and I didn’t get along too well with the shadow quad (the coral shade and one of the mauves had hardly any payoff, which is unusual for Chanel shadows!), but I did become quite enamoured with the Ombre Premiere in Rising Sun; a liquid eyeshadow that left an extremely pretty, warm and flattering sheen.
Do excuse this photo, I took it early on in the makeup routine proceedings and I look a bit like an experiment. But do you get an idea of how youthful and fresh the sheen looks?
You can find Desert Dreams in its entirety at Boots.com here*.
I just can’t seem to keep away from favourites videos. I stop doing them and then I start again, always returning to make just one more. I stop because I think that they’re generally a bit formulaic, but then, a few months down the line, I start to miss making them. I find myself compiling little lists throughout the month, noting down the brilliant products I’ve used and wishing I had a video to talk about them in.
In a way, it’s sort of like Brokeback Mountain, sort of. (It’s not.) I’m like Heath Ledger’s character, and Jake Gyllenhaal represents the favourites videos. We just can’t stay away from one another.
I don’t go off on camping trips with my favourites videos, obviously, although I have edited them from a tent at a festival once, so maybe that counts.
Anyway, Five Favourites for the month of February, which is pleasingly alliterative, and there’s a real corker of a face cream in it if you have very dry skin. Also one of the best high street foundations I’ve tried, though it’s at the top end of the price range for a high street base.
I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises so just watch the video – I’ll list the products below for those who can’t stand watching videos. Although now you know the special relationship I have with them, perhaps you’ll give them more consideration.
I wish I knew how to quit you…
John Masters Hibiscus Hair Mask, £39 here*: https://amzn.to/3au3WS9
No7 Protect and Perfect Foundation, £17 here*: http://tidd.ly/4db5de40
REN Overnight Balm, £40 here*: http://bit.ly/2VM0Bde
Lumene Nordic Hydracare Rich Day Cream, £26.90 here*: http://bit.ly/2PQ3aqS
Dior Rose Plumping Lip Balm: THIS IS DISCONTINUED! WTF! It’s so, so nice. Bring it back, Dior!
Well this is a very joyous revisit; I’ve reviewed Murad’s brilliant Retinol Youth Renewal range before, but they’ve reformulated and relaunched it and it’s now even more of a find.
I say find, but this skincare trio (there’s a serum, an eye serum and a sumptuous night cream) is hardly a secret – the Retinol Youth Renewal Serum is the number one retinol product in the US! Nevertheless, I bring you this news, that two of the products have been reformulated and all three have had an appearance makeover, and I also bring you (why am I writing this like a medieval bard?) an updated review.
Actually two updated reviews, because in an unprecedented feat of spectacular organisation, my Mum and I have been testing the new range at the same time. Yes that’s right; my Mum (seventy next year) and I (forty this year) have been syncing our nightly skincare routines and applying eye serum, serum and night cream every other night and recording our thoughts.
I have to say, before we go any further, that my Mum is meticulous when it comes to researching what she puts on her face. She Googles every ingredient on the list, she looks at other reviews and she reads the instructions on the box twice. How on earth then, she managed to end up applying the serum in the morning instead of the night and the other products twice a day every day for weeks, I have no idea.
It’s surely testament to the quality of the formulations that her face didn’t slowly peel itself off from her head, like in a Tom & Jerry cartoon – I should add that Mum does have quite sensitive skin, and my own (comparatively hardy) face has had bad reactions to far less potent treatments.
Murad do make a point of the formulations being suitable for sensitive skin – they urge caution, obviously, but the newly reformulated eye serum can now even be used on the eyelids. The lids! Imagine. I can tell you that it was something of a leap of faith, patting a retinol serum into my eyelids, but there was no stinging, no irritation whatsoever. The serum was instantly hydrating but not greasy (basically my Mum’s idea of a Holy Grail beauty product) and I did rather like the idea that something might get to work on my lid crepe.
Lid crepe. It sounds like a disease. I’m absolutely not wanting to add any sort of extra skin “concern” to the list of ones we’re already supposed to worry about, but I do quite like it when you use a lid primer and it makes things all smooth and velvety – the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum makes them feel a little bit like that.
Although obviously there are longer term benefits! In fact, I’ve just realised that this post launched into a whole thing about Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal Range but didn’t really explain what an earth retinol is, to the uninitiated. My Mum had no clue why retinol was so special, even after she’d done her Google research. Mainly because she’s so sceptical, which is a good thing. But in the case of retinol, you can almost entirely place your scepticism to one side, because this is an ingredient that really and truly delivers.
With the right strength and a good formulation, retinol can help to smooth out fine lines, even skin tone, work on deeper lines and creases and make skin generally look plumper and more elastic. Murad’s range takes things one step further by using their tri-active retinol technology; a retinol booster to kind of prep the skin and make it receptive to the main ingredient, then a time-released retinol to deliver a steady level to the skin and then a fast-acting retinoid, which is much more powerful than the retinol itself.
Triple-whammy effects and boy does it make the products feel racy and exciting! I properly get the tingle with Murad’s range, the sort of tingle that makes you wonder what state your face is going to be in the next day – will I look as though I’ve drunk four litres of rosé and passed out on a Magaluf beach at midday in August? Thankfully not – no irritation, no redness, not even any discernible dryness, perhaps because the super-serums are always followed by the rich and buttery night cream.
The night cream has also been tweaked; still with the tri-active retinol technology, it now contains Niacinamide and Picolinamide to strengthen skin’s protective barrier. I like that it’s not just shooting high-powered and transformative ingredients at your face – it’s looking out for the longterm comfort and quality of the skin.
The Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream was the product my Mum loved the most – she’s always hunting for creams that are incredibly rich and moisturising but that don’t leave a greasy residue. She hates grease. Especially around the eyes. I can’t even count the number of times she’s told me this fact over the years – I sometimes feel as though I should make it into a poem and put it on her birthday cards – but it’s a big issue for her. It goes in her lashes and then into her eyes, it’s all most upsetting, but not, she was delighted to report, with any of the Murad trio.
So yes, the night cream was her favourite – she likes to be able to use one product and be done with it – but she did marvellously well at testing all three. She has noticed a good difference to the firmness of her skin, especially under her chin and on her neck, and in turn the wrinkles there are improved. These are her exact words:
“I LOVE THIS AND IT HAS WORKED A DREAM ON MY NECK AND CHIN (whether it was aided with serum also, not sure)
Yes, it is so lovely and smooth to apply, smells lovely, absorbs well, and it has so, so much improved my neck, jowl and chin wrinkles, both the fine and the deep ones. Thankyou Murad.
Could you tell me whether I can just use night cream alone and get those results? Also can I try on lovely hubby, His face is craggy ?
Lots of love
I need to tell my Mum that the serum increases results by three times when used alongside the cream – in fact, if I had to choose one product from the range on results alone then I’d probably plump for the serum, just because it’s the most potent. This is the one product that hasn’t been reformulated – it’s still maximum tingle, minimal fall-out and a lightweight, easily-absorbed texture that’s a joy to use. Same tri-action deal with the retinol, retinoid and the skin-prepping element for quick and visible results.
Now you may already be a fan of this range, in which case you’ll appreciate the tweaks, I think! If you’re not then prepare to be charmed – the Retinol Youth Renewal range is the sort of skincare line that’ll have you doing double-takes in the mirror, especially if you have (or are starting to get) those vertical lines between your eyebrows and horizontal ones to the sides of your eyes.
It’s been so interesting testing the same products as my Mum – we’re (obviously) at different stages in terms of how our skin is behaving and what we expect from our skincare, yet both of us couldn’t be more pleased with the results. I love a smoother, plumper, fresher-looking face that allows me to use minimal makeup and my Mum appreciates the firmness and feeling of elasticity that using retinol has given to her skin.
If you would like to try Murad’s Retinol Youth Renewal range then you can get 25% off with the code RUTH25 here. In fact this gets you 25% off everything on their website! I can highly recommend their range of sunscreens, especially if you are going to be using retinol, and they have an amazing anti-blemish line.
If you’d like to read my review of the original line then that’s here – you can also take a nifty little skin consultation quiz on the Murad website, that’s here. For some reason I find these online evaluations quite addictive!
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It’s life update time again, and rather than bore you with all of the tantrums and CIA-level negotiation we’ve been having to do around here, with our three and a four year old, I thought we could talk about bedtime routines and (more specifically) some of the crazy things I’ve done to get the kids to bed over the years.
Because the other day I suddenly realised that I’d almost forgotten the first little baby bedtime routines. The ones that we started right in the beginning. Those halcyon days when you could just plonk them in the cot and they couldn’t get out. Bliss! Now the routines are more like challenges on Crystal Maze; “can YOU get your three year old boy into his racing car bed without cracking a dent into one of your shins and saying F*CK F*CK B*GGER at the top of your voice whilst managing to give him a drink of fresh water and not allow it to spill which would mean changing his duvet? Work it out, release the crystal and I’ll stand here outside the bedroom door tootling away on my flute.”
I’m not saying that the baby days were easier – the crackling of the baby monitor, half an hour after you thought they were asleep! The feeling of utter weariness at having your three hour window of “me time” interrupted again! – it’s just that bedtimes now are so much more demanding. I’m like a court jester crossed with a minimum security prison officer. I love it and treasure the moments, because I know that in the blink of an eye they’ll be teens and I’ll be barred from even entering their rooms, but my God is bedtime intense!
I’ve nearly always done my daughter’s bedtime, mainly because my son, who is eighteen months younger, never used to go to sleep until he had breastfed from me for hours on end, and so when he was about ten months old Mr AMR started to give him a bottle to make things easier. We then inevitably ended up splitting off into our separate teams in the evening – one child each, and each of us with our own little bedtime quirks and (probably inadvisable) habits.
We’re very lucky in that – mostly – both of us are around for bedtime and so we’ve kept up this “girls’ team / boys’ team” sort of split. Trying to put two young children to bed on your own is chaotic and soul-destroying in equal measures, like herding cats, and I absolutely doff my cap to anyone who does it on a regular basis. Or all the time.
But let’s rewind back to the first proper bedtime era that’s still reasonably fresh in my memory: we can call it the Robot Head Cinema Era. I had bought the kids an Early Learning Centre plastic robot that was large enough to house a moon buggy (toy, not real one) and spacemen figurines. I worked out that if I opened up the doors on its head, the resulting space was exactly the right width for gripping my iPhone horizontally.
And so I used to fire up iPlayer, select a trippy programme called In The Night Garden (if you don’t know what this is then I recommend a viewing for research purposes, but only if you’re not taking mind-altering drugs. It would be enough to send you permanently bonkers) and we would watch baby TV from inside a plastic robot’s cranium.
Total madness, really. I would sit there hunched over, watching along with her (I have no idea why we did this on the world’s smallest screen when we had a huge telly directly beneath us, and a comfy sofa, and a roaring fire, etc etc) and I would feel my neck begin to slowly fuse to my shoulders and my lower back go into spasm, but I was always too tired to shift position.
Then there was the “rap song nursery rhyme” phase. I have no idea why I started this, and it’s the sort of thing that really you should take to your grave, not write about to hundreds of thousands of people, but anyway: I used to do this very bad “beat box” thing and then rap out a version of Little Miss Muffet.
Don’t even ask me to do a rendition, it is never happening and so it’s pointless going there. (I can tell you though that after the “whey” I did do a very funky “hey, hey-hey-hey!” I also did a vague form of twerking when the spider “sat down beside her”.)
The rap rhymes started off a new phase, what is now known as “doing the lullaby”, and we’re still going strong a couple of years down the line. Ah, that’s sweet! you might think, especially as my daughter is going to be five in the summer. But no. It’s not sweet. It’s a magnificent feat of poetic improvisation, that’s what it is. Because not only do I have to make up a new song ON THE SPOT every night, the song also has to rhyme and it also has to be relevant to the chapter of the book we’ve just read.
So, for example, we did a great lullaby about George’s Marvellous Medicine and the horrid grandma, although admittedly I did completely crib the tune (and some of the words) from the CBeebies Christmas panto. (Sniff-Sniff, Delicious Children!)
I sang about Grandma’s puckered mouth looking like a dog’s bottom and her face being as hairy as a mole, except that I had to make “bottom” rhyme with “mole” so ended up saying “bottomhole”, which isn’t ideal.
But it’s actually a very good brain workout, making up rhyming songs with no notice. Firstly you have to think of a tune (usually I nick one from an advert or popular song du jour) and then you have to – completely on the hoof mind! – come up with some lyrics.
And it’s not like Baby 1 is a particularly easy customer – she frowns at anything resembling a half-rhyme and definitely picks up on nonsense words that I’ve just thrown in because I’ve gone into panic mode.
George stirred his pot all day and night
Grandma was really in for a fright!
He stirred it with his wooden spoon
And even put in some of the moon…
“Mummy what? How did he put in some of the moon? Are you sure he did that?”
Anyway, it’s fun and I wanted to write it down because one day she won’t want the lullaby, she’ll say “ugh, you’re so embarrassing, get OUT OF MY ROOM!” and my heart hurts to think of that so I want proof that it happened.
Mind you, some nights I am totally not up for composing what amounts to an eighth of a low-budget West End musical on the spot. Especially if the chapter we’ve read, the chapter that must (it’s the rules) provide the inspiration and bulk of the content, doesn’t quite lend itself to a lullaby.
Last night I read the bit in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Grandpa Jo uses his last pennies to buy a chocolate bar for Charlie, in the vain hope that there might be a golden ticket inside. It’s called Chapter 10: The Family Begins To Starve.
Not so jolly.
“Do a lullaby about the chapter, Mummy!”
“Why don’t we do yesterday’s chapter, about Charlie’s walk to school and the smell of the chocolate? Sniff-Sniff, Delicious Chocolate?”
“No, it has to be about the old people in the bed and the cabbage soup and the snow. And don’t sing it in the Oompa Loompa tune again!”
Last night’s lullaby tested my artistic talents to the max, I can tell you. I’m the flipping lullaby master. I know you’re desperate to hear some of these lullabies, but again: not going to happen. Satisfy yourselves with the knowledge that I sang about cabbage soup to the tune of a Les Mis hit and managed to rhyme “cabbage” with “baggage”. That has to be enough.
The current nighttime routine doesn’t end with the lullaby however; I then go into Baby 2’s room, negotiate his floor, which should be called “The Torture Garden” because you can’t go two steps without spearing your foot on the upright plastic ladder of a toy fire engine, or the spines of a toy Stegosaurus, and I have to sing him a lullaby.
He only likes two tunes: the first is Soldier Soldier (won’t you marry me with your musket fife and drum? Oh no sweet maid I cannot marry you for I have no [insert item of clothing] to put on)
and the second is Five Little Ducks (went swimming one day, over the hills and far away. Mummy duck said “quack quack quack” but only four little ducks came swimming back).
With both songs, I have to think of more and more outlandish versions to keep him satisfied. In terms of the soldier’s clothing, we have moved on from actual items (pants, socks, a gaberdine) to abstract ideas (sadness, time, reluctance); last night the solider had “no happiness to put on” and had to get himself a “loud thunder” from the grandfather’s chest.
In the “five ducks” song, the ducks have become dinosaurs. Which would be find, except that they don’t quack, which totally bollocks up my rhyming pattern. I can’t work like this. The pressure is too immense. Especially now that “five little dinosaurs” have become “five big stegosauruses” and they stomp instead of swim, roar instead of quack. I should be paid for this level of superhuman lullaby effort.
Anyway, I’m sure this is boring you to absolute tears, so I leave you with the comforting fact that the bedtime routine, including fetching dolly from two floors down, then coming back up and going back down to fetch Calpol, then coming back up and going back down to find Batman, Bumblebee transformer and Heat Wave transformer, then going to the bathroom to collect fresh water – cold tap run for forty-five seconds to ensure suitably icy temperature – and then supervising various toilet trips and so on, consumes approximately 2,300kcal, which means that the many chocolate-based “evening snacks” I subsequently devour are completely A-OK and justified.
What’s your bedtime routine? Kids, no kids, dogs, no dogs; I need to know any weird, over-indulging stuff you do. If it involves a robot’s head, all the better.
You know the drill with these, by now: it’s a real-time (ish) try-on of my latest clothing order, this time from perennial favourite, Hush Homewear.
It wouldn’t really have been such a big order, but I have to get everything in both a size 10 and 12, because I sit between the two and never know how something is going to turn out. I actually think that Hush runs ever so slightly on the generous side, which means that more often than not I’m a 10, although I have to say that it was touch and go with one of the dresses – I kept it, and I’ve spent the week breathing in so that the middle button over my stomach doesn’t completely pop off!
Anyway, here’s the try-on; in case you’re curious, I kept the cashmere pink sweater (it’s just such a good shade of pink, really uplifting and non-twee) and the Sophie star dress. It’s rare I manage to find a cashmere jumper with a low-ish v-neck and so when one crops up I grab it. The low v’s are good over dresses and shirts, rather than a high round-neck that can make everything look a bit bunched up or matronly.
Links to items are below the video pane – enjoy! If you want captions on then just press the little CC. Although this one is captioned by Youtube so God only know what hilarity might ensue…
Leopard Sweater, £79*: http://bit.ly/32Cdkk6
Pastel Camo Sweater, £69*: http://bit.ly/32CS0es
Green Camo Sweater, £69*: http://bit.ly/3a8f3QC
Pink Cashmere Sweater, £135*: http://bit.ly/39c3IiC
Sophie Star Dress, £99*: http://bit.ly/2Trzgdk
Sophie Turtle Dove Dress, £99*: http://bit.ly/2Trzgdk
Leopard Kensington Dress, £75*: http://bit.ly/2PyhcNL
Me+Em Satin Trousers, £160*: http://bit.ly/2tSovYT
Me+Em Green Cashmere Sweater, £195*: http://bit.ly/2PycRKh
Adidas Primeknit Trainers (SO COMFY) £89.95*: http://bit.ly/2wXztO3
The leather jacket is a very old Whistles one.