I am not always calm or firm or consistent

There’s a very nice lady who lives in the street and she has a baby and is about to have a new one and she said that she likes my calmness and if I wrote a book on kids she would read it. Or if I took a class she would come along, or something. Maybe she meant if I held a TED talk and it was kind of awesome and it went viral then she would listen to it. Something along those supportive, social media-related lines. So, anyway, I thought about that, especially in the wake of yesterday’s Tubegate, which happened just as we waved goodbye to her and we strolled along to Lancaster Gate to get the tube to the Borough Market to buy delicious things and to celebrate the end of a very successful Easter holiday.

I was wearing the ruined Cherry Lush and a silk bomber jacker with dragons embroidered on it, and I had asked Mark as I left the flat if the jacket wasn’t a bit too excellent to be brandishing casually about, and he said with the flick of his eyebrows (which is kind of his way of answering me all the time – one flick means all, and requires not much work, and I can take from it whatever I fancy -) that it was truly excellent, but perfectly appropriate for a Friday strut.

So it all started off so well, as these things tend to do. We got to the tube and managed the central line to Bond Street, and should have happily sat until London Bridge, but Ned and Casper did a musical chairs thing where they both ran for the seat next to the plexiglass barrier at the end of the row, and Casper got there first, and Ned went mental, absolutely batshit crazy, and Casper hit back. They were like dogs, pulling hair and screaming and crying and biting each other and throwing wild punches, kicking and shouting at each other to get off the seat and not to touch the shared armrest, and it was extremely ugly, extremely quickly. I had the other two and the baby in the buggy, so I put the brake on and tried to separate them, and pulled Ned away but his legs went limp and so I was left crouching over him in the juddering train with one arm on him and the other steadying the swinging buggy while Casper cackled with glee. Most of the people in the carriage were kind of laughing, kind of sympathetic, and Ned wriggled away and went right back to the fight and started throwing his fists around again and wailing. There was a woman sitting across from them who was trying to finish a game of Candy Crush, and she was obviously horrified and entirely inconvenienced by the violence. She would look up at the boys from the phone screen every few seconds, then up around at the other onlookers in the carriage clearly trying to meet the eyes of another similarly horrified person. She wanted some support in the crowd, someone to reassure her that what she was witnessing was unacceptable. She wouldn’t look at me, just at everyone else, with the most awful cranky outraged righteous face on. I was DYING inside, and trying to calm them down and kind of trying to laugh it off, but failing, and this big scary unhelpful ladyjudge watching us with such disapproval was putting me off my game.

So, I tried ignoring them both for a bit, in a shruggy kind of ‘whatcha gonna do? BOYS’ kind of way but the fighting was only escalating, and London Bridge was still about three stops away. I thought it was time to pull Casper away from the seat to stop the Crazy and to keep the mean lady from videoing the mentalness and sending it on to social services because that’s the fear, right?

So I yanked him off and over to the side and OF COURSE he turned on me, kicking my shins and walking up my legs and trying to wriggle out of his jacket, biting my fingers and screaming that he hated me and I should shut up. We must have looked like a group of special needs kids on a day trip from the Residential Home, with a serious staff shortage. I was holding him as best as I could, but telling him that he was hurting my legs with his kicking and no, I wouldn’t let him go because he was fighting on the tube and that wasn’t acceptable.  So London Bloody Bridge finally arrives and we get off and I line Casper and Ned up against the wall and tell them that they WILL NEVER EVER ACT LIKE THAT AGAIN WITH ME, OR ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT AGAIN AND SUCH DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR I HAVE NEVER BEFORE WITNESSED AND WILL NEVER WITNESS AGAIN BECAUSE THAT CAN NOT HAPPEN EVER AGAIN DOYOUUNDERSTAND? And Ned had big haunted eyeballs and he said sorry, but Casper told me to shut up and flounced off into a wall of emerging tube traffic and then we had to wait for him to find us again and so I squeezed his upper arms really tight. He said his arms hurt and I said

SO DO MY SHINS. THEY ARE BLEEDING INSIDE

I was shaking with my rage and fury and embarrassment and my total lack of control. I did quite a bit more of unhinged tube shouting, and went on and on in a wobbly voice about how terrible they had been, and when we got to the market I told Barnaby and Noah to choose all the smoothies and brownie they wanted, but Casper and Ned could only have water. Then Ned cried and said he was hungry, so I said he could only have half a roasted pork belly roll, but nothing else nice at all, and they should remember that angry mothers don’t give their kids overpriced artisanal products. That’s a natural consequence and an inherent parental rule, kiddos.

BUT WAIT

Then I relented because I am as firm as an overripe brie and as consistent as the Circle Line (read: not firm and not consistent) and I said Casper and Ned could buy a brownie for later if they improved and stopped being embarrassing and violent. That’s a stupid 360 right there, folks. What did they learn? Probably nothing. And it all nearly ruined me, once again. So I had better not do any TED talks because my kids are appalling in public and I am pretty crap at dealing with it and I have no wisdom to impart, just another story to tell of bruised flesh and incandescent fury.

Also, we went camping last week, which was colder than I thought, but also much nicer than I thought. And the baby had a proper barber’s haircut in the same 70’s vein he seems predestined for.

Here he is sliding down the pebbles in East Wittering:

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And here he is eating churros at the barber’s. Always something in that kid’s mouth, eh?

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Tenting. Mixed emotions:

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Just like me about this parenting gig.

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Being five and deluded

Apparently, Ned has been having disagreements with his little five year old buddy at school. Often, they concern things of a lofty religious nature, like who is right – God or Allah – and they get all het up and shouty and then spiral downwards into some sort of ‘you’re going to hell’ mudslinging, and the teachers come and tell us to have a word with the both of them.

Ned comes home and grumpily tells his side of the story, which never makes a lot of sense, and we give a gentle pep talk about not worrying too much about what other people believe, because we all think differently and that’s ok.  His little friend’s mother came up to me on Thursday before Easter breakup and said WHAT ARE THOSE TWO ON ABOUT? And I said I didn’t know, but not to worry, as they also argue a lot about whether gorillas wear shirts. This topic seems to cause Ned the most anguish anyway, and he mumbles about it quite a lot. He is determined that gorillas don’t wear shirts ever, but O refuses to agree, and they drive each other mental with the primate-clothing-conundrum. He told me today that they usually end their fights by blowing ferocious raspberries at each other and then swearing off their friendship for good. Religion, gorillas – it is all a bit awks.

BUT LOOK! The new generation of makeup destroyer is laying waste to my collection of overpriced beauty products!

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The baby has found my lipsticks, and he gouges them out with his fat fingers when ever he is let loose into the bathroom or anywhere near my bag. He smashed up a Barry M one and smeared it all over the toilet cistern, but I didn’t mind that, because they cost about £1. The Tom Fords are obviously a different story, and though it has been happening to me for years, it doesn’t feel any less painful when the newest and cutest member of the family learns the joy of soft highly-pigmented vanilla-scented tubes of overindulgence. Nothing is sacred.

The worst affected is Cherry Lush, an essential punchy blue-red, though in my advancing years, with the eyes sinking a little deeper and the skin looking a little like other people’s mothers did when I was a kid, a bit tarnished and worn out, like homework paper that has been in the bottom of a school bag for a few days, yellowing and with bits of food crusting the corners, I think Otis has done me a favour. Cherry Lush is for the young. Cherry Lush is for the hopeful, for those whose horizons still shimmer with potential career triumphs and unstained teeth. Cherry Lush is munted, frankly, and no longer works properly. It cannot glide over my lips – instead, it is like applying mashed potato to your mouth, soft and crumbly and RUINED. Like my stomach and my hair.

Here he is, the Bad Baby, stuffing a massive Easter egg into his mouth with no sense of shame.

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And here are our eggs, softly boiled in vinegar and water, and eaten really fast because the idea of hard boiled eggs sitting around in this spring warmish weather for days made me feel a bit food poisoning-y. But they looked good, and I thought it might show the children that I care about handicrafts.

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Then on Easter weekend we drove to Oxfordshire to Lasso, the reclamation place, and the kids tried to push over massive plaster columns and stuff, and we ate fried ox tongue and chips, and felt like we were properly in the country. Buoyed up and enthusiastic, we followed the yellow signs to the Thame Country Fair, and spent about £50 getting in, and then it hit me how much I really hate those sorts of things, with the jousting and duck decoys and the stalls of tweed caps and indoor displays of special kitchen equipment that you really wouldn’t ever need, not when you have a knife, and rows and rows of portaloos. Noah went in and fell out of one, and told me later not to do any ‘ureen’ if I went in, because it won’t be heavy enough to push down itself, and I would have to shove my hand down the toilet to release it. I asked him if that is what he did, and he looked a little bit shy and went quiet. Here they are at Lasso, giving me heart attacks with the casual climbing and touching and vampire-impersonating:

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And the awful country fair. Hot, boring, full of people who like watching ax-chopping competitions:

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And this week, Casper has had to wear his uniform and attend Easter school, so he can be more awesome at the SATS exam. All week. So the rest of us have been playing in the park and frequenting cafes for San Pellegrino and reading red tops. Tomorrow, we are going camping, which may break me.

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Woman, hairy, upper arms…

…was a search term some one used to find my blog yesterday. Well HELLO, you there, with your arm hair queries! While I do have verdant blonde growth atop my arms, it’s mostly forearms, leaving the upper arms quite bald. So I won’t be much help, though I have been reading fashionable magazine titles of  late that suggest hair is very of-the-moment – full waxing is no longer as stylish as leaving your natural hairy bits alone, so throw away that razor and let go of your waxing specialist, and instead positively encourage your greying sparse thatches of hair to sprout forth from your underarms, legs and pubis! I can’t think of anything more chicer than a lovely leg covered in downy fuzz.

Anyway, you won’t find any actual helpful information here, on anything really. You will find a photo of a volcano cake, decorated really inelegantly by the children, though I am fully responsible for the icing, which was a split mascarpone and butter effort, and which wept sweet tears of bad chemistry and looked like curdled brown sick. I was so zen about it, and they were delighted, especially as the icing slid off in sloppy chunks which they said was an excellent reinterpretation of lava. Still, I must reiterate that IT WASN’T ME WHO MADE THAT UGLY CAKE BECAUSE MY CAKES LOOK GOOD.

Here it is, after they riotously studded it with so many poisonous sweets:

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and then it languished a bit in the overheated flat, and it drooped and lava’ed itself into a pukey puddle of sadness:

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But no matter! When you are seven, the grosser and more poo-looking, the better. See the happiness on the Middle Child’s face. Overwhelmed with birthday cake delight:

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The Sad Bit

And yesterday was his actual birthday, and he was so incredibly horrible I cried, not just delicately, hidden away in a bathroom or something, but out in public, in the playground next to the school where hundreds of children were not hurting strangers while their mothers looked on. Oh no, that was just my small family of bandits, led by the Birthday Boy, resplendent in a birthday badge and a maniacal grin.

And that was immediately after I picked him up from school where he had gotten a Red Slip (that’s the baddest slip you can ever get and it leads to a meeting with the Principal) and he was banned from attending the after school gifted art class for being so difficult, and so when we got to the park and within about three minutes a mother was hollering “Where is your adult?” and I looked up from my phone (the shame!) and again it was my kid in the middle of it all. So I apologised to her for Casper pushing her kid, and I told him he needed to go into time out, sitting next to me, but he ran off, and I was incensed and embarrassed so I tried to chase him across the park, but he was quicker and shimmied up a climbing frame and left me at the bottom with shaking hands and heaving breathless bosom.

I called out, in my most menacing voice, kind of desperate now to grab him and slink off somewhere “Do you want a birthday cake tonight?” which got his attention, but then I remembered he wasn’t getting another one after the volcano extravaganza so I hastily changed that to “Do you want those M&S chocolate profiteroles tonight?” and he was like “YES, STUPID LADY!” And so I said “Then come down at ONCE!” and so he did, but I had to hold him fiercely in my human-straitjacket-hold to keep him from running off again, while he kicked and shouted and told me he hated me and that he had much more fun when he wasn’t born. Kick, scream, wrestle, stare from other mothers. Kick, scream, wrestle, stare from other mothers. It was very ugly and culminated in a swift exit from the park, but not before I broke and shouted “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!” And he said that it was everyone else’s fault for annoying him and that I hated him and then, for effect, he shouted out “Sex with Ladies!” and I just set my jaw and walked on, with the tears kind of bobbing out a bit.

Happy 7th birthday, Casper. Let’s try to make it to 8. Meanwhile, I am going to find a child psychologist to fix us all before we break into a thousand little sad pieces.

Moving On From That Bit Of Horribleness

Here is the dog and his nose, up close:

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And here is a pasteis de nata from the Lisbon Patisserie on Golborne Road. Really, they are like little bursts of custardy edible angels:

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Cheering Up Now

Here is a movie of Otis, who is cute and so far hasn’t learnt how to make me cry:

Now I haf too wok again. The baby is asleep! No time for lunch!

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Working

So, I got a job, in an office, with a desk, near an independent coffee shop with cool thin young people asking me which roast I would like (totally wasted on me, because they both taste like good coffee, but it is kind to ask), and there is a security tag which gets me into the building all official-like and it is on Fleet Street. Everything is clean and no one interrupts me.

This is me, not being interrupted, although not at work, either.

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Anyway. I found Ned playing with his friend Anna and they were at Mark’s desk, doing something that looked a little bit like what I do in my job. Kind of furious tapping and a bit of sighing and quite a few breaks for tea. And then I saw Ned had written this and was passing it to Anna, who may well have been chatting about things non-work-related:

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And I’m like “Dude, I hear you”, because when I am not going into the office in my disco clothes*, I am trying to work from home, in and around Otis when he sleeps or is otherwise engaged with non-sharp items. So I felt for the guy, you know, just a small little guy, trying to finish his tapping and clear his imaginary to-do list, and his chatterbox friend just couldn’t really understand the pressure he was under, and so he just felt the only thing left to do was to pass her a note, with a face that expressed his deep regret about the situation.

I would like to extend the same sentiment to you, and all the world, because the current employment setup feels as though I will never have time to write a blog post, or read the Daily Mail Sidebar of Shame, or check for split ends ever again. Of course, that is all utter nonsense, but I feel a bit like sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for. So it is all about tiring the baby out, so that he will sleep, and I will get a few hours at least to do my editorial chores. And it kind of works, but I do feel like lunch has become an extravagance I cannot afford. And so I have to eat while Otis is still awake, but I am not hungry then, only suddenly starving to the point of nausea when he has gone to sleep in his cot and I have cracked open the laptop and I have my finger poised to begin my ungainly typing. And I can’t stop. I must work on, even though I am feeling sweaty from the low blood sugar and concave in the belly. No Time For A Sandwich is my new mantra.

*As for my disco outfit, I went to work yesterday in my outrageously expensive-but-they-were-on-sale Celine wool wide-legged trousers and a bright orange Courreges-esque top from Zara and my Acne riders and my vintage rabbit fur coat and when I picked Noah up from school, straight from the office, no less, he said

“Did anyone say anything about your clothes today? Because it really looks like you have been dancing in a disco. It’s actually mostly your pants. And your jacket. And your top. And your boots. But it looks like it was a fun disco.”

And then Ned says:

“Wow! you should go to a wedding and dance with dad in those beautiful shiny long clothes!”

And I’m like “Did I dress like a bit of a dick today?”

Reader, I think I did. Because I am out of practice and clueless, and I have to cobble things together from my schizophrenic wardrobe, which is a mashup of mumsy, ballgowny, museum curator-y, dirty, and above all else, inappropriate for most of the situations I find myself in. But try telling me to put down the beaded green velvet flares the next time I find myself in a sample sale, hyperventilating with excitement and imagining all of the places I could wear them to. Not that I will ever have have the time to go shopping again of course. Though, if I do, I shall be a tiny bird-like person from all the missed lunches.

Here we are, eating donuts at Brick Lane, on the weekend, when I used to have spare time:

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And here is the baby, looking so edible in his combat gear:

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Hair News

I am delighted to say that Ronan, the beautiful tiny hair stylist, was right when he said that my micro fringe would suddenly sprout forth and fill my sparsely-folicled head with all the wonder and resulting warmth of a thickly tufted floor rug. I have this weird volume to my roots, like I have backcombed my whole head, which makes me look like a much older, larger version of Duffy.  I feel duty-bound to wear Breton stripes and thin jeans, as well as dressing for discos.

So thats all good, then. Now, I have forty three minutes left before the baby wakes to ruin my working plans, so you’ll have to excuse me. Frankly, I haf too woc. xx

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Everyone is a little bit mad with me

The children are furious with me, because I have banned them from any screens today and I am making them sit at the table and finish their homework. The reason for the discipline is because they cannot walk down the road without playing “Who’s Got The Lurgy?” which is a kind of frenetic homemade wrestling kicking violent tag, which sees them running in wide arcs away from each other, and often into frail pensioners or onto the ROAD where enormous vehicles miss them by not much. It is all hijinks and scallywags I say (and bruised old people), until one of the children gets dead, spread out onto the road like so much damson jam with chunky butter all through it. I tell them that being dead on the road won’t be much fun, but still the Lurgy game follows us where ever we go. Any lull, any moment where they can regroup, and BAM they start shrieking and careening all over Queensway/the airport/Marks & Spencers wine department/Staff Only areas, frothing at the mouth and shaming me. So they are in trouble, and they are really mad, and I can hear them plot against me.

Their plan goes like this: At 5pm, I have been invited to watch their Purple Paper Pirate Puppet Show (their alliterative strengths come from me, but not their violent games’o’stupidity), which is apparently an actual show, with Barnaby as Art Director, Noah as Producer, the other two in some sort of overworked and underpaid intern role, where they are responsible for making tickets and cutting out pirate shapes. The tickets this morning were  addressed to me. But now, I am officially Uninvited. They are maliciously very busy coming up with people to invite whose names rhyme with ‘Jodi’ so they won’t have to deal with too much ticketing admin, but I will still feel deeply hurt and snubbed. So they are at the homework table, loudly putting forth names like ‘Rodi?’ and ‘Modi?’, imaginary Preferred Mothers who don’t ban the iPad or force them to write holiday diaries like their Real Mother Who Sucks.

But they don’t know the power I hold. Rodi and Modi won’t come to see the play, because they are badly-named imaginary mother substitutes who couldn’t come even if they felt like sitting through fifteen minutes of unintelligible nonsense, because they aren’t real. There is only me – mean, still cranky about the public shaming, but actual flesh and blood, and the only non-performer in the flat. SUCK ON THAT, SMALL IRRITANTS! You’ll be laughing on the other side of your small faces when you realise no one else exists! This Audience Of One won’t be trifled with! Ha.*

So, there is more. On Sunday, we went out to Whiteleys to look for second-hand books and to get something for dinner. We left the dog outside, the gate shut, water out, etc etc, knowing the dog likes to stand at the top of the stairs and survey the passersby, getting a few pats now and then, barking a bit for effect when another dog or squirrel dares to get too close. We ended up eating at Pizza Express, so got home a few hours later. There was a mean note stuck to our gate:

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And I’m like WHY ARE YOU ONLY BEING MEAN TO ME? The dog is only 50 per cent mine. There’s a dad too, and he is perhaps also a discRACE oF ANY DAD’s, if you were applying the same standards. So whoever is watching me, all spooky stalker-like, is not seeing Mark. I carry the full weight of the bad-dog-owner burden. Then we had to think who had caught Magic roaming the streets, searching for bins to rummage, not once, but twice. Unfortunately, it is quite a few of the neighbours. They did leave a phone number, which I made clear to Mark that I couldn’t ring, because I would just start crying at the outraged mystery neighbour, so he tried, but they aren’t answering.

So we thought we could fix their spelling and leave the note on the gate, or we could give devil-eyes at all the neighbourhood until someone cracked from the terrible devil-eye pressure, but then Ned wrote this note which should read “No Burglars” but actually reads “nobogls”, and illustrated it with a kind-looking burglar whose arms are outstretched, desperate for a conciliatory hug. It is a work of genius – it is an unintentional shaming note of neighbourly LOVE, peppered with vowels which could mean anything, from “You Can Bugger Off, The Dog Is From Cold Nova Scotia” to “I’m Really Sorry About My Crapness At Caring For Animals”. It has been stuck on the gate since Monday morning.

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Jesus would totes approve.

*Sia, Miley Cyrus and Hozier have similarly uninvited. I have no idea what they did to the kids.

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J.O.B – A Slacker’s Lament

Amazing! I just paid £66.00 to wordpress and now you will be able see my really short, lame videos that you could see on my instagram account for free. You guys are SOOOOOO lucky. I could summaries my occasional videos thus:

Short, boring, lots of background noise, messy kitchen utensils littering the backdrop. Sound quality a bit rubbish. Maybe the kids doing something recognisable, but maybe, equally, probably not.

But onwards, onwards into the media world I keep boldly going, like a super internet girl with greying hair and a permanent crick in her neck from always looking down at my phone. With knickers on over my tights, and dungarees because WHY NOT? I’M ONLY NEARLY 40.

Here is a teaser, a sweet taster, if you will. Casper and his class went on a school trip to Pizza Express in Baker Street last week, and spent the morning wearing paper hats, aprons, and making margarita pizzas. Truly, what a wondrous school trip that must have been. And so he came home, full of pizza-making bravado, and wanted to make the whole family some pizza, because he knows how. Noah was kind of disgruntled, because years ago, he went to an after school cooking club, and he came home with a pizza for us all to share which had some sort of horrendous olive, ketchup, tomato, jam and honey mashup going on, and so they both had a smallish tussle over the pizza-making origin rights. So they compromised, and we all made the Jamie Oliver base recipe, and they took turns bringing it all together. See:

It’s important to note here that we don’t always wear much more than our knickers when we cook. It’s a very warm flat. And that we like to sing the wrong words to “Oliver!”. And that we probably didn’t wash our hands all that well.

Then we had two birthdays in a few days, one kid turning ten, the other kid turning five. We had a joint birthday party at a climbing wall, to save making two cakes and two lots of party bags and all the stress and yelling that always accompanies the terribly humourlessness of trying to be a Pinterest kind of person, and here we are, the first photo of all of us in about a year, looking kind of over-it. And I don’t know what my hair is thinking, really, I don’t. Ned is a bit annoyed by the whole thing, so scared of the climbing wall that he stayed out with the baby and I and waited for his guests to finish with his birthday party climbing wall instructor. He found the whole thing a total drag. And we turned up half an hour late after the instructing had begun, with the 12 assembled guests wondering if we had died en route. It was really just the cake making us late, as we drove to Ladbroke Grove while it slid on its nougat and rice bubble chocolate layers, my fingers firmly clenched into vulnerable icing-free sponge layers, swearing under my breath and hating everyone.

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Here is the cake – J.Oliver version, and then mine:

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And anyway. It’s now the holidays, and so my thoughts turn to jobs, and how I can get one really fast and legitimately leave the flat in the morning and have somewhere real to go, for an actual reason. I’ve been getting a bit itchy for some money and a job and a future, and thought I should clean up my LinkedIN profile and start looking for jobs.

What I Learned When I Went Looking For A Job 

1. LinkedIN Shows You Up As A Bit Of A Loser

It turns out, when one starts down that deep, dark, twisted, low-self-esteem-engendering wormhole, luring you with the promise of tailored jobs and a community of ‘peers’, that every mofo you find yourself connected to has an MBA or equivalent. And while you were pissing about in the lost years, thinking you were young and you had time and it would all be ok in the end, because of your clear natural intellect and your wit and your excellent way with multiple brooch-application, those other buggers actually had some sort of gameplay and now they are all like, Head of Marketing for Europe and the US and whatnot and you are most definitely not.

2. LinkedIN Pretends You Are Employable

So LinkedIN compares and contrasts you with more successful people in your network. That hurts a bit. Then, LinkedIN hurts your feelings further by offering up job applications for actual qualified people, but you think LinkedIN means you.

There is a list of these suggested jobs, and you may well be onto your second flat white and be very excited by the caffeine-high and the prospect of all these jobs that your great buddy LinkedIN reckons you could do. And you agree with LinkedIN, because you did do very well in your English exams when you were 15 and you did write a really great essay in 1999, which so brilliantly contrasted and compared Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, and you got like an A- or something, and so, yes, LinkedIN, your algorithms are right! I certainly COULD BE AN EDITOR AT THE BBC! LinkedIN also suggests you look at the Penguin Publishing jobs, and there are Senior Editing positions there, and there are marketing jobs paying £90k, and it is all so terribly overwhelming until you realise that LinkedIN is LYING TO YOU.

These jobs aren’t for you. You can’t get them. It is pretend, you fool. Besides, you have a baby sticking his finger into an electrical socket and who’s going to do the washing-up if you go galavanting about to interviews in ill-fitting officewear circa 2004?

That is what I learned.

So, before I stick my head in the oven, a la Sylvia Plath, here’s a photo of a salt beef bagel.

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Really awful amounts of voms

Oh yeah. So much vomiting, from everyone in the flat, except for the adults, and the dog, who have remained mysteriously unscathed. So much late night shrieking, followed by padding little footsteps, through the door, into the living room, onto the only place we have a floor covering, the Turkish rug we hauled back from Kas, where there have been projectile vomits like you wouldn’t have thought possible. Which gets really tiresome, really quick, and you forget to be particularly nice to the kid, the pale, sweaty, shaking kid, and instead you shout STAND STILL DONT WALK THROUGH YOUR VOMIT WHY DIDNT YOU USE A BUCKET GROSS THIS IS AWFUL PAUSE THE TV PLEASE AND PASS ME SOME PLASTIC BAGS REALLY FAST

and then you retch a bit. And you want your mum to come and help you do this thing because it seems unfair that you two are the only adults. Just because you are old, you have to clean up sick. And not even Magic, he of the I Eat Baby Nappies When I Have The Chance school of dog-thought, will come near. And how do you get it out of old Turkish rugs? I tried vinegar and baking soda, because it felt instinctively like the right thing to do, but I am not domestically-inclined in any way and I rubbed it in and then put a towel down and hopped on it for a bit, then thought nothing of it until Mark was searching for the TV remote under the couch right next to the place where the children like to vomit and said he could smell sick. I was like whoa! really? and my eyes went all wide and surprised and then I thought no more of it because the cleaner comes on Wednesdays. Man, I am slovenly and unskilled. And then we thought it was all over. Two weeks into the dual vomit/coughing fever thing, which every single day saw me at home with at least one feverish pale child, failing to do much comforting except for the occasional walk-by pat on the head, because I have an odd intolerance for weakness, even if you can’t help it and you are four, and I thought it was over. And then yesterday we get through the school gates and Otis starts a big coughing fit and then chokes and opens his mouth and a steady stream of weetabix comes out like a totem pole with steam. All over his buggy and wool jacket and I’m wiping it all off with wipes and feeling sick and hoping no one will notice the FILTHY VOM I AM ELBOW DEEP IN. And wishing I could go to a desk, in an office, with a small pot plant and sharpened pencils, with a computer and a short list of jobs to work through,  with a little lunch break and perhaps some office banter (maybe a tiny email flirtation with someone down the hall) and then I would not only get paid, but I would be clean and germless.

So, anyway, bad news on the fringe-front. After spending a quarter of a million pounds at Aveda, and bleaching my baby regrowth and being taught how to blowdry it back into a quiff, and gluing it there with mousse, two people have asked me why I have cut the world’s finest fringe into my hair. One of them said she loved what I had done with it – it looked different somehow – I thought she was referring to the cut and colour but then she said my new fringe looked lovely.

I WOULD NEVER DO THIS ON PURPOSE:

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It just grew that way after falling out a LOT, and I am doomed to look like a cheap, old imitation of Carly Binding from Truebliss. My beloved hairstylist from Aveda assures me that when it grows back more, my hair shall fall lushly like a many-follicled Rapunzel, though he puts mascara on his beard, so who knows if he is telling me the truth.

And then, lastly, on Sunday, Kerry and I ran in a 10k race and we are supremely awesome, getting in at 58:30 and only weeing ourselves the tiniest bit. We both said that our wombs were falling out, and would need swift readjustment in the loos, but the complimentary flapjacks were lovely and Mark and the kids came to watch just as we hit the finish line and my eyes watered with the love of it all. Here we are:

10423287_10153134628112577_8807576248544605469_nKerry is in the white shirt, though she said she’s quite happy to be that other girl, as am I. Shoutout to that other girl with raven hair and no accidental fringe whatsoever. It was fun, and I felt justified to buy a ready-made moussaka that evening, owing to my runner’s fatigue and displaced womb.

Sorry for the vomit talk.

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