Pearls of Wisdom Just for You (You’re Welcome)

Someone really ought to learn from my mistakes, so please consider the following life lessons my gift to you:

No matter how much your brother tries to convince you – it is never cool to staple your own thumb.

Swimsuits don’t respond well to being ironed.

Fish Fingers only take approximately 12 minutes to cook. Not 4½ hours.

Cut your own fringe at your peril.

As an A-level student, resist the temptation to change your answer-phone message to something seemingly witty and hilarious, like “Hi this is the tumble dryer. The answering machine can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave a message after the beep”. University officials prefer not to liaise with kitchen appliances to congratulate you on your A-level results.

You will not make friends and influence people in University Halls of Residence by singing along to Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman” at 140 decibels at 4:00 am, regardless of the fact you split up with your boyfriend 20 minutes earlier. Nobody cares that you bought the shoes on your feet, the clothes you are wearing or the rock you are rockin’.

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck’. This methodology is particularly useful when applied to picking a mate: If he looks like a Neanderthal, walks like a Neanderthal and barks like a Neanderthal, I assure you he is a Neanderthal. No need to waste time testing this theory; I’ve done the ground-work for you.

If it looks like it might rain – this is because it is going to rain. Unless you want to model the ‘drowned rat’ look for the third time in a fortnight, I strongly recommend you bring your blasted umbrella.

Always check yourself in the mirror before leaving the house for work. You can just about get away with odd socks, but wearing your top inside out in the boardroom will start rumours.

Never be afraid to try new things – apart from cottage cheese with pineapple. Big mistake. Huge.

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“Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family”

1989 ROCKED

  • I was 7.
  • Kylie still loved Jason.
  • Alice bands, shell suits and scrunchies were in vogue.
  • I mastered handstands, cartwheels and cat’s cradle.
  • My troll collection quadrupled to an outrageously impressive: 4.
  • Wallace took Gromit on a grand day out and they ate lots of cheese.
  • A big wall fell down in Berlin and all the grown-ups got very excited.
  • My youngest brother Mike was born.

Admittedly, I didn’t necessarily greet the latter with the enthusiasm it deserved. I actually recall telling my parents in no uncertain terms to send him back.

My three other brothers failed to sympathise, as unlike me – they were delighted to have another man about the house.

After a year or two – I grew to love, adore and mother him.

Not just 2.4 children

There was a Simpsons’ poster on display in my father’s study for several years when I was growing up. It read –

“Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family”.

I was never entirely sure what constituted ‘normal’ but I was pretty confident we weren’t it.

  • Oli was a nerd.
  • Chris sang. At all times.
  • I was the only girl and as such – terribly misunderstood.
  • Joe was into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, aliens and dinosaurs.
  • Mike liked whatever Joe liked.
  • Dad worked roughly 87 hours a week.
  • Mum was the glue that held us all together.

There were certain logistical advantages to being the only girl – I got my very own room for example. I also got a lot of sympathy from strangers. “Four brothers? You poor thing. They must pick on you an awful lot”. God no. I was a red belt in Tae Kwon-Do, they wouldn’t dare.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing however:

  • Oli’s bedroom was next to mine. He played Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ on repeat at 140 decibels for about 3 years. I played Boyzone.
  • Chris decapitated my Tiny Tears doll. I punched him.
  • Joe shot me with Nerf bullets. A lot. I locked him in the garden shed.
  • Mike copied Joe. He also ended up in the shed.

Grown-ups (well, almost)

I’m pleased to report that Oli is still a nerd. A wildly successful one (they’re the best kind). As far as I know – he no longer listens to music that makes his ears bleed.

Chris no longer rips heads off dolls. He gets paid to buy stuff (genius I know) for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

I am still claiming to be misunderstood. On a positive note – I no longer have cause to punch my brothers or hold them captive.

Dad confiscated Joe’s Nerf gun on a Sunday afternoon in 1992, following an unfortunate incident with our neighbour’s pet goat. I don’t believe it was ever returned to him. He’s currently a Team Leader for Costa, loves playing host and is highly domesticated.

Mike no longer copies everything Joe does. He closely resembles a Wookiee and favours music that makes his ears bleed.

Families rule!

2011 in a (larger than average) Nutshell and Plannage for 2012

2011 Highlights  

  • Celebrated the New Year with my fiancé, friends, SingStar and a deranged Springer Spaniel.
  • Planned our wedding. Saved for it. Sold numerous worldly possessions (including semi-vital organs) to help pay for it. Talked a lot about it. Wouldn’t shut up about it. Narrowly avoided being stabbed with a biro by work colleagues for going on about it so much. Toned down the wedding talk (a teeny bit).
  • Lovingly hand-made 67 invitations for the wedding. Suffered roughly 3 billion paper cuts in the process. Wished I hadn’t committed to making my own invitations. Posted invitations. Received lots of praise regarding said invitations. Glad I made invitations. Felt warm and fuzzy inside.
  • Announcement at work: Redundancies likely. Oh dear.
  • Attempted to lose half my bodyweight in preparation for the wedding. Actually lost roughly 9½ pounds (not half my bodyweight).
  • Received evil death stares from my brothers for not shutting up about the bloody wedding.
  • Had an amazing Hen Doo to celebrate forthcoming nuptials, during which I captained my own ship, went ape and allowed fish to eat my feet for breakfast. Loved my girlfriends even more as a result. Returned from Hen Doo. Collapsed with exhaustion. Slept for a week.
  • Enjoyed sampling my fiancé’s practise wedding cakes. Worried that I would no longer fit in my dress.
  • Had a manicure with my mum. Collected the dress. Forgot the veil. Did not sleep.
  • Leapt out of bed at stupid o’clock in the morning. Had a fabulous time being beautified with my bridesmaids. Reunited with my beloved veil – courtesy of one legendary best man. Wedged into my dress by bridesmaids.
  • Fashionably late (by almost an hour) I skipped up the aisle and married the love of my life.
  • Posed for photos. Got my leg out and embarrassed my new in-laws as a result.
  • Posed for more photos, without my leg out.
  • Managed to eat almost 2 whole spoonfuls of our 3 course wedding breakfast, due to corseted dress squishing my entire digestive tract into 4 square millimetres. Laughed at the speeches. Cut the cake. Ate cake.
  • Did an impromptu speech. Danced with hubby. (Got the distinct feeling we were being watched).
  • Friends and family joined in and there was a Take That dance-off.
  • Honeymooned in Cyprus. Sweated more than I thought was medically possible. Cooled off in the sea. Ate prawns the size of my head (and I have an abnormally large head). Loved every minute.
  • Returned to work. Did not love every minute.
  • Husband was made redundant from work.
  • Watched The Lion King in the West End as a birthday treat. Sang the first line from the “Circle of Lifeout loud repeatedly for 2 weeks. Really must learn the next line.
  • I got placed at risk of redundancy from work. Had a proper grown-up conversation with my brother about career options.
  • Husband found a new job.
  • Husband surprised me with a beautiful pine tree two weeks before Christmas. It died within an hour. Have spent most of the festive period extracting pine needles from my right eye.
  • Put milk and cookies out for Santa. ­W­as dutifully rewarded with magnificent gifts, so wrote a charming letter of thanks to him, like a good little girl.
  • Started my blog. Asked friends and family nicely to read my blog. Thanked those who did. Bugged those who didn’t.

2012 Plannage                       

  • Live, love, laugh and eat Jaffa Cakes.
  • Continue blogging.
  • Shamelessly plug said blog at any given opportunity.
  • Annoy people less and therefore avoid getting stabbed with a biro.