Mama

It’s show your ma you love her day here in the UK and I do, I do love my ma. She is an absolute peach.

But before I Iaunch into an ode to my dear old mother (she’s not old, she’s only, like, 66), I think it’s only fair to take a moment to think about those who can’t be with us today. Days like this are all well and good but there are people out there who have lost their parents, some recently and it’s understandably hard to keep cheerful on occasions like this. Believe me.

So, to all the mums that can’t be here with us, I’m thinking of you too; all those left behind and you, my Nana.

1
Photo credit: Imagining the City

Back to Penny M, the greatest lady in my life. Everything I know today and every good quality I have, I learnt/inherited from my mother. If I am anything at all, I am my mother’s daughter and I wouldn’t change that for the world, because it’s blimming awesome. Here are just a few reasons I adore my mum:

3
Photo credit: Claudia Rose Carter
  • She very, very smart and has a thoughtful answer for everything, which I admire. I like clever but I love subtle intelligence that doesn’t feel the need to announce itself loudly and arrogantly.
  • My mother reads more than anyone I know and this is where I got my passion for the written word. I started reading mature titles early on because I had access to them and Mum never tried to stop me reading them, which is amazing.
  • When I was 18, Mum bought me my own TV for my bedroom and it was here I started to watch amazing films late into the night, thus cementing my adoration for some of the greatest ever film makers. And horror. Lots and lots of horror. Thanks ma!
  • When she swears, I die. It’s the most hilaire. But she’ll still slaps me around the head if I use a really bad word, even though I’m 37 years old!
  • I can talk to her about absolutely anything.
  • Whenever I am going through a shitty time, she’s right there telling me that it’s all good material for ‘the book’. This is the book she truly believes I have in me, even though I’m not so sure. She also doesn’t judge me as hard as I judge myself, and tells me I’m just as brilliant as other people who have actually done things like further education, great careers, etc.
  • My mum understands me and even though sometimes it shoves my nose out of joint, when I go back and really think about what she’s said, it’s normally spot on.
  • Sometimes she calls me or sends me something when I most need it, and I don’t understand how she just knows.
  • She did shots at my brother’s wedding (below), the first time I have ever witnessed that. Plus, later on she was getting low with some of the bridesmaids on the dance floor, which was amuh-az-ing!
2
Photo credit: Imagining the City

My mother, the legend. I love you Mum, more than ever and forever. Happy Mother’s Day!

All photographs from Madeleine and Tim’s Whitstable Wedding, December 2014, by Imagining the City and Claudia Rose Carter.

The Wild Card*

melissa-mccarthy-dancing

Just a quick one from me. I shall be back in touch around the weekend but from tomorrow morning I shall be wearing my Bridesmaid head!

Sadly, I didn’t manage to halve my body weight before the big event and my skin is far from flawless. My chins aren’t singular, my hair not perfect.

I didn’t even manage to get the contact lenses I was planning to unveil at the ceremony, that would have the congregation gasping “My God, you’re beautiful, Mrs Bass!”

None of that matters. I know this more than ever that the most precious things in life aren’t things at all (no matter how much toot I get from ASOS).

Friday is all about joy; pure unfiltered joy. And dancing to early 00’s R&B in a great dress.

Obvs.

*Melissa McCarthy is ‘The Wild Card’ according to the Bridesmaids film posters, hence the title of this post. I think I’m most like Megan (with a dash of Annie)

Things & Inc

An update post if you will, as boy do we have a lot going right now.

What, it’s Christmas and everybody is buzzing around like bees on ecstasy? You’re right, my bad. How’re you coping?

Here are a few of the things I am thinking about right now.

02-lena-dunham-2-b.w529.h352.2x

  • Lena Dunham

I’m finally on Not That Kind of Girl and haven’t even passed the Introduction yet. But I’m looking forward to it.

6a00d8358081ff69e201bb07b4f23d970d-800wi

Sadly, the book already has a reputation that proceeds it, given the uproar it has caused over the last few months. People are forming new Dunham shaped opinions all over the shop due to some of the subject matter (and how it has been sculpted by Lena’s choice of language), but I am remaining on the fence until I have a context to relate it to.

I love her style and I can’t see that changing any time soon, but she might allude to stabbing puppies in the final segment, so you never know.

  • Christmas Shopping

I’m done! Did it all in one sitting with the help of the trusty internet. The lovely, lovely internet.

*SMUG FACE*

ChristmasCupid

  • Christmas Movies That Retell A Christmas Carol (And/Or Feature an Alternative Universe) From the Perspective of a High Flying Business Woman (Always American) Who Has Lost Sight of What Is Important 

See Christmas Cupid (TV Movie 2010), Holidaze (TV Movie 2013) and, from this afternoon, It’s Christmas, Carol! (TV Movie 2012).

All, you might have noticed, straight to television masterpieces. And yes, I do love them more than Coco Pops. Amusing because, of course, no woman can climb the career ladder without transforming into a total bitch of epic proportions!

(If any of you know of any more films of this ilk, please let me know).

Screen-Shot-2014-10-07-at-2.33.32-PM

  • Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud

I am obsessed.

  • Family

This week hasn’t been easy and some new news has made it even more difficult and emotional (which I’m not going to go into) but I have been reminded that I have a fucking wonderful family who are strong and incredible people, come rain or shine.

It’s easier to deal with the shit stuff when you have an army of rock stars on your side, that’s for sure.

nightcrawler-main

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

We recently watched Nightcrawler and I really enjoyed it. Following the last of Jake’s films I absolutely loved, Enemy and Prisoners, he’s now pretty much my favourite. Such a talented (and fit) actor.

Nightcrawler follows creepy Louis Bloom into LA’s underground as he becomes interested, and then really quite good at, the business of crime journalism.

  • Ready Player One (the Movie)ready-player-one

OMG this book is fantastic and so completely up my alleyway, that I #canteven! But if I could, I would tell you that the fact that Christopher Nolan has been offered the film version of it is knicker-wettingly exciting and I squeaked a little when I heard.

Cannot wait.

(Even though the scriptwriter has admitted to have taken ‘liberties’ with the original source material, so you know, boo to that).

So, that’s me. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the lead up to Christmas. I’m not feeling that merry yet, I have to say but that has to be because I haven’t seen enough Christmas movies yet (I accept non-Dickensian rehashes too). Soon to be rectified, I hope.

Sad Happy

I’m so sick. Again.tumblr_ndwzxopc701r5gmiko1_500

Just as I was weaning myself off liquid centered throat sweets (cherry, natch), I caught another cold and this one’s a doozy. I feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has taken up twerking in my brain.

I’ve had a shower, I’ve watched a film Mr B would hate whilst shoveling Chocolate Orange segments into my face (he’s gone bowling). I have tea; and I’ve talked to my mum on the phone.

I’ve done all my comfort bits and even though my eyes and nose are still leaking, I feel okay.

My grandfather passed away last weekend. It was to be expected for a 98 and a half-year old but the truth about life is that you are never that prepared. Expecting things to come almost adds a new level of panic to the event when it does arrive, like you’ve had too much time to think about how you will feel and how you will react.

We’re all pretty sad. I’m sadder than I thought I would be. He’s been such a huge part of all our lives forever, in good and bad ways. And now he’s gone and that’s a big thing. I’ve talked about him before. I was truthful but not very kind.

And now he’s gone, it doesn’t feel that good. It’s sad. Sad for him, mostly.

When people die it’s normal to think hard about your own mortality. This makes me think about my legacy. Who will I be when I’m old? Will I still be a decent person? Will I be missed?

I hope nobody says I am better off gone. I hope when I do toddle off this mortal coil people will at least say that I was funny. Or sweet.

Nice is a bit boring, but if that’s what my legacy is destined to be then so be it. I can live with nice.

But don’t think I’m sitting home crying into my comforter. Well, I am crying into my comforter but it’s because of my cold, not sorrow.

Cue the Violins

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album? Via The Daily Post (21st November 2014)

tumblr_naa2ac3rpn1r2x63jo1_500If my life had a soundtrack, I hope it would be make me feel exactly like Pitch Perfect‘s does. You know, good.

I’m all about feeling good and being stirred. I love an anthem. I like to listen to songs that make me imagine myself in certain scenarios. A dance off in the aisle of the night bus with twenty strangers, for example.

Showing an old (and beautiful) ex-boyfriend how amazing life has been without him. The high school reunion I couldn’t bear to attend in real life. Am the only person who does this?

Don’t expect anything too high brow from the Soundtrack of my Life. You would get some Shaggy, ‘Superfreak‘ by Rick James, a bit of Prince (because who can stay still when Prince is up?). You’d get Alanis Morissette because ‘Jagged Little Pill‘ was amazing.

You’d get the very best of The Cure, epecially ‘Close to You‘. Depeche Mode’s ‘Strange Love (Blind Mix)‘ would swing by and hold hands with The Smiths.

There is a Light That Never Goes Out‘ is my favourite and would therefore play whenever I gazed upon my true love. ‘Milkshake‘ would be my personal theme tune whenever I entered the frame. Or maybe I would prefer ‘Edge of Seventeen‘?

A bit of ‘Faith‘. A lot of Spice Girls. ‘Express Yourself‘ by Madonna. ‘What It Feels Like For a Girl‘ too.

How is it even possible to choose what 12 songs? My life would have to be a trilogy, at least, just to fit it all in.

What about you?

In other news, it’s the weekend before my birthday and I’m heading back ‘home’ tonight. It’ll be very family heavy and that’s exactly what I want and need this year.

Call me a sentimental old fool if you like, but I want good company and quality time rather than drunken debauchery or, more likely, self-loathing because I’m no longer young.

Happy Friday all!

Ten

What, just chilling over here with my mirr'r
Wha? Just chilling over here with my mirr’r

I didn’t do yesterday’s 101 challenge because I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. This may have been down to being at work and having time only for a cursory glance over the Community Event Listings.

I am trying to play better, I promise. I’ve found some lovely blogs over the last few weeks. I lieu of the assignment, I am going to study my navel and ponder the fact that my stepson in ten years old today. Ten!

It just doesn’t seem possible that the tiny boy I first met, from whom I so desperately wanted just one sign that he thought I was okay, has grown into a beautiful, fiercely smart and hilarious bigger boy.

He was four when he first came into my life and I will be the first to admit, although I wasn’t against the fact the love of my life had a son, I definitely hadn’t prepared for it. Of course he lives with his mum so it wasn’t as if I’d walked into a scenario where I was expected to be Mum but still. I guess I hasn’t really thought about how I would handle it at all.

My previous relationship had involved two girls from a previous marriage and I cringe when I think how awful I must have been when they came to stay. Not because I was horrible, though I am sure I had my moments, just in that I was so detached for most of my six-year reign that they must have wondered if the lights were even on (They weren’t).

We now all enjoy a good relationship albeit from afar since they are in Derbyshire and I’m here, down South (minus the horrid boyfriend) so something went right in the end, but I think of that time often and would change the way I was then in a heartbeat, if I could.

With B, it was different. He’s a boy for a start, so an alien (or so I thought). His mother is local, so she’s more present in our lives. Which is a good thing for B, of course, to have us all within spitting distance.

You might know this, you might not, but I have never wanted children. All I can say when people ask me why is, “I just don’t”. It’s not a witty retort to the eternally irritating and over personal line of questioning people assume they have the right to use, however, that’s the truth.

But I do love my stepson.

It has taken us both a long time to get to the point we’re at now. It’s taken tears and heartache (mine). Utter bewilderment and slight annoyance (his) but we’re here; both in one piece.

It’s not easy to give your love to a person who is too young to understand it, who only sees things in black and white. Or share your loved one with somebody else, even when you know it’s a completely different kind of love.

I doubt it’s easy to go and see your dad as a child and have to deal with a woman you don’t even know, for that matter.

Now we have a funny kind of dynamic; I play my role of the desperate Step Mom vying for his affection and he gets it, plays along. And when he shows love, or appreciation, or admiration – I die.

Happy birthday B. You’ll likely never read this but this one’s for you, kiddo!

Red or Dead

tumblr_nc72uaorcJ1rlvym3o1_500As with my enormous bottom, I always thought of my red hair as a hindrance.

There were times I would curse my mystery benefactor, the one who bestowed the ginger gene upon me without permission and skipped maniacally into the sunset never to be seen again. His myth was replaced with the one about the milkman and I cursed him for decades.

Aunts and relations I had never seen before, nor since, would come out of the woodwork on special occasions to gush about it.

“Women pay thousands for hair the colour of yours” they would repeat, over and over; and I would stand there with my faux-family smile taped on until it was over.

Nothing if not polite.

I was not what you would consider a graceful young person and my teenage years were particularly horrific. I have hair that can be controlled by no man, woman or warrior and even my mother, in all her glory, couldn’t tame the beast.

While my cousin’s strawberry locks were wrestled into delightful french plaits and swinging ponies, with pretty accessories that made her look like baby Carmen Miranda, mine was as coarse as a horse’s. It wasn’t the kind of hair one simply twisted up and before long I ended up with a very unbecoming crop, courtesy of Mama.

Picture the scene. A toothy ginger girl with an orange short back and sides sent into the world to find her way. It was soul affirming (eventually) but then I felt ugly and unique in a freakish way; absorbed in my own adolescent self-pity.

As I grew up and the reins of control vis-a-vis my head follicles passed into my own hands, I took it through a series of experimental phases as all teenagers do. I regret not colouring it better and am highly jealous of all the pastels wafting around today, but I did visit every possible shade of red from pillar box to maroon. You could say, although I dyed it a lot, I never really veered off the crimson path.

Except for once with the blue-black. We don’t talk about the blue-black period…

My new crazy Brighton life saw it cut into the ‘Kelly Osbourne’ circa The Osbournes and that was lovely. I would slap on Directions hair dye like it was going out of style and our white bath took on a vaguely pink tint as the years passed.

As I travelled and settled then moved on again, as my life took many twists and turns, the one constant was my hair. I would always take the time to keep my colour fresh. When I started talking to my now husband whilst still in Canada, I was working Scarlet Power, a dark red that would glow like lava in the sunlight.

In the end I decided to try my natural shade back on for size. It was a decision fuelled by my age, if I’m honest. I didn’t want to be ‘brassy’ coming into my mid-thirties and I’m not one to go to a hairdresser to have it done responsibly. Plus, I have a perfectly okay colour so before it starts to turn grey, I might as well enjoy the window.

Now I get the same compliments I did as a kid but this time round I can appreciate them. My best friend said I looked like a mermaid the other day, and there’s no higher compliment than that, is there?

It’s taken me over thirty years to be okay with who I really am and I’m going to enjoy it now, dammit.

*swishes hair and flounces off into the sunset*