Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The One In Which I Wonder If I'm Having A Mid-Life Crisis

I had to google what the average life expectancy for the UK was this week, in a quest to prove to myself that my current woes were all down to the great Mid-life Crisis. I'm all for absolving myself of any kind of responsibility for anything and giving in to fatalism, after all.

Bad news, however, as it seems life expectancy has risen to around 87 (as opposed to the 82ish I had firmly fixed in my head). This means I won't hit the halfway stage in life for around another five years.Still, as the big FOUR-OH looms in the distant future (it goes without saying that the end of next year is of course MILES away, and there's no way I look a day over 29) so I guess I'm allowed a little wobble every now and then.

Here, then, is proof that I am officially middle-aged:

1) I've started wearing a lot of beige. Oh, it's dressed up with fancy names like "taupe", or "camel", or "ecru", but we all know it's just shades of beige.I made a conscious effort to banish black from my wardrobe as much as humanly possible a couple of years ago, and my standard "base" colour is now navy. When I'm feeling colourful, I team it with a jaunty red, but when I'm aiming for a "effortlessly elegant" a lot of khaki seems to be creeping in. It can only be a matter of time before I slip into some nice comfortable farah trousers...

"Pantyline 300", no less
2) Remember those sitcoms involving middle-aged people like Terry and June sitting in their beds with a book each, her in a little bed jacket? Well, that's me on most nights. Occasionally my husband joins me and then we really rock the whole Morecambe and Wise vibe. Of course, now he has bought himself one of those new-fangled tablet devices he is more likely to be surfing the web, but I can still be found tucked up at 9.30 with my library paperback. None of that kindle nonsense for me, no sirree, I like the smell of musty paper that has been thumbed by hundreds of middle-aged women before me.
(As an aside, my library has recently started loaning e-books - it's a slippery slope. Also - what's with the tiredness? I thought humans are supposed to need less sleep as they get older? Why then, do I find myself craving 12 hours and still waking up exhausted? I'm supposed to be the morning person in this relationship.)

3) Despite my previous protestations to the contrary, I recently found myself lusting after a certain Zac Efron. (I know, the shame). There I was, minding my own business when I saw this trailer:

Now, I like to think that the two years since my previous post featuring Mr Efron have made all the difference in terms of his maturity - I mean, he's all of 24 now! -but I also have a sneaking suspicion that a sudden interest in younger men must be a sign of the mid-life crisis sneaking up on me. It's not just Mr Efron you see....I find myself humming along to tunes by boy bands half my age and can only assume that I am somehow regressing to a teenager in an attempt to staving off the ageing process.

4) Aches and Pains. I have a permanent crick in my neck, a pain in my ankle, and am on enough allergy medication for asthma, hayfever and eczema to open my own pharmacy. Next step - HRT!

5) Forgetfulness. I've been mentally making notes for this post for at least two weeks now. I even got as far as scribbling several bullet points down on a piece of paper, which I last remember seeing in the pocket of my terry towelling dressing gown silky negligĂ©e, from whence it appears to have totally disappeared. As I can't for the life of me remember what points five and six were supposed to be, you'll just have to trust me that they were REALLY GOOD.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Conflict Management, or Do Men Do Housework?

There's not much I hate more than argument or conflict. You might say it's my Libran love of balance and harmony, or an introvert's dislike of offloading, but either way I'm not one of these people that can put forward my gripes in an apparently neutral and constructive manner. I try, oh dear me yes, I try. I'll run through little speeches in my head that sound reasoned and calm - yet when it comes to the crunch, 9 times out of 10 I am likely to burst into tears after I have sounded nagging and depressing (even to my own ears). Therefore, I'm likely to let things stew until they eventually explode in a weird irrational sulk (or tears, viz above). 

I'm explaining all this because essentially this blog post is an argument with my husband...Before you are all horrified that I'm washing my dirty linen behind his back, I have to state that my husband reads my blog, and I figured getting things down in a carefully thought-out manner might help get my current gripes off my chest. He often says that reading my blog is the best way for him to know what I'm thinking anyway. 

I think I've stated before that my husband works,  relatively long hours, exacerbated by an hour's commute every morning and every evening, often not returning until after the children are in bed. It is physically impossible for him to do housework, sort the children, cook meals, do shopping, laundry etc etc during this time. My rational mind understands this. Yet if I am completely honest, my irrational mind has recently become resentful that I not only have to do all these things but also hold down a full-time job, that, to be honest is currently looking quite unstable and therefore pretty stressful. The thing is, Mr Tin is very good if I ask him...it's the fact that I have to ask him in the first place that is getting me down.

There was a survey in the news around a year ago, undertaken by esure that stated that couples argue almost two and a half thousand times a year. I looked at this list of things and instantly felt better by how petty and insignificant they actually were (77 arguments a year about parking the car? 90 arguments about walking past stuff that is at the bottom of the stairs to be taken upstairs? Not closing cupboard doors, etc etc), and instantly felt better that "it's not just me". I'm sure my husband has plenty of little things that annoy him about me. (Leaving stuff ON TOP of the dishwasher instead of putting it straight in - yes, I've been known to do that, but he does it more... ;-p)

Does there come a point where we need to realise we are never going to change our partners? How long do we need to spend "educating" them in the things we want them to do (or stop doing)? At which point do we give them up as a lost cause and come to terms with the fact that some things just aren't going to change? Can you train men, or should I just get a dog; or would we then just argue about whose turn it is to walk it...?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review - Team Barbie

I'll be the first to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with Barbie. The feminist in me blames her for the pinkification of girls' toys that seems to have taken place over the last twenty years - a subject I could rant on about for hours, but which might have to wait for another post. The problem is, however, that there is an eight-year old girl inside me that comes out to play and gets very nostalgic about certain toys that I remember fondly from my childhood, of which Barbie is one (Lego and Playmobil being the other two).

Does every girl remember her first Barbie? My first - and only (they were expensive in those days!) - Barbie was "Superstar Barbie" complete with feather boa, long evening gown, necklace and earring, and star-shaped stand. My daughters are spoilt in that even at their young age, thanks to friends and relatives they own several dolls each. When the guys at Mattel therefore offered me a full set of the new Team Barbie dolls in exchange for a review, I hesitated slightly as to whether they would actually be appreciated or not!

It cannot have escaped anybody's notice that there is a large sporting event taking place in London over the summer, and just in time four new Barbie dolls with a sporting theme have been released (although not official O.l.y.m.p.i.c.s merchandise) - a swimmer,

a hurdler,

 a gymnast

and a tennis player.

The last three are similar in terms of construction , all having jointed limbs that bend at the arms and the legs for added movement (a vast improvement on the rubbery bendy legs that some Barbies have, I must say).

The swimmer doll differs slightly from the rest of the collection in that it not only comes with its own dog, but in that both dog and doll possess a clockwork windup mechanism that means they both actually swim. I have to say this was definitely a big hit - not only with my daughters at bathtime, but also for my husband, who took great delight in setting both figures up and racing them around the bath, exclaiming that they swam so much better than a lot of the wind-up toys we used to have at bath time. Whilst more expensive than the other three dolls, this little gimmick definitely made swimming Barbie the favourite of the four.

Even if she does have a pink swimming costume.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

In Cyberspace, No-one Can See You Pout

(or - "My God, is she actually still blogging?")

TMI Alert (and no, this post doesn't really go anywhere, sorry)

The past month has seemed more hectic than usual - work is picking up again (new boss, all change etc etc), weekends seem to have been filled with a strange social whirlwind that shows little sign of abating at the moment - there are literally only two weekends between now and back to school in September where our diaries are completely free - but to top it all off, I have been laid low twice with a horrendous stomach bug that, without putting too fine a point on it, involved torrents of Biblical proportions of things that should not be torrential.

The second bout took me completely by surprise, after I assumed I had fully recovered from the first bout, and I can only describe as "miffed" my mood when it turned out I would be spending a couple of extra bank holidays in bed . NOT EVEN BECAUSE OF A HANGOVER. How unfair. Anyway, much as I am happy to moan on here, I decided to keep my moaning away from other social media platforms, using the principle of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it.

The problem with platforms like Twitter etc, however, is that people come and go all the time. This week has been half term, so lots of people have been away anyway, including a lot of the people that I converse with the most, so it seems fair that nobody would really have noticed that I hadn't tweeted in a couple of days. (By day three I have got a bit miffed though...I COULD HAVE BEEN ON MY DEATHBED, PEOPLE!).

Also this week, I had an email from the lovely folks at google with an annual renewal for my domain, and it got me wondering what it would really be like to withdraw from the online world altogether. I know other people have done it, and a couple of relatively high-profile parent bloggers have deleted their blogs recently and considering the infrequency with which I actually post anything here I am hesitating as to whether I really want to fork out the vast sum of $10...

The bad news for anyone reading this, however, is that my list of ideas for posts appears to be growing.

To misquote another famous film - I think I'll be back.
(Assuming it ever stops raining)


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