Waiting For That Lightbulb Moment

Now I’m  the wrong side of fifty, I notice that I’m getting more intolerant,  although if you asked Mr D, he would probably say I’ve been an intolerant old bag for years.  But let’s be honest, life seems to be getting more and more complicated in this 21 century where technology is supposed to be making things easier. Sadly I have a massive list of things that piss me off these days, but the one that’s really getting to me right now, is light bulbs.

This morning I stood in front of a shelf in Sainsbury’s,  trying to retrieve five dead light bulbs from my handbag without looking like a shoplifter, feeling completely and utterly useless as I tried to find  new bulbs that vaguely resembled the ones I had in my hand. It used to be simple once, 40w for lamps, 60w for your average overhead and 100w if you didn’t care about unflattering harsh lighting  or  going blind. Most were bayonet, occasionally  you had to buy a racy screw in. Now, quite frankly, it’s bloody ridiculous.  How can there possibly be such a huge selection? Every lamp in our house seems to require a different bulb and I can’t even work out what wattage they’re supposed to be. Led, halogen, GLS, Eco, long life, C rating, E rating, A Rating Eco Stick, blah blah bloody blah. Even the box doesn’t give a clear picture so you have to take a massive risk and open the box hoping you’re not going to drop it on the floor, then measure one against the other while trying to juggle the dead ones, a handbag and a basket. And when you give up and in desperation ask an assistant, they don’t know either.

Thankfully in our wee Highland toon, we are fortunate to have Pat Fraser’s TV and Electrical, a proper shop that has the answers to  all things reliant on the national grid and if it hadn’t been a Sunday that’s where I would have been, handing over my dead bulbs and in an instant they would have been replaced and I would have headed home happy. Instead I headed home in a very bad mood with a random selection of bulbs, of which I now know two are wrong. Frankly I’m past caring, it’s easier to light a frigging candle.

So whose fault is this? How did it start? How have we gone from three bulbs to what seems like a lightbulb free for all? Why do we need so many? Who is to blame? Europe? The French? Donald Trump? It must be Donald Trump.

Please someone  enlighten me.

 

 

 

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Step 1. It only takes five minutes girls……

And I’m not exaggerating. It literally only takes five minutes to throw together a cocktail of goodness with the added benefit of hardly any peeling and no cleaning apart from a quick rinse under the tap. Such is my love for my Magic Bullet, and no it wasn’t purchased from Anne Summers, that I seriously miss it if I have to go away. For so far over the past year, it has kept the bugs from my door, improved my skin and hair and most importantly helped to keep the dreaded hot flushes at bay. It’s not the only factor, that’s in the next post, but by adding the right ingredients, it has certainly helped.

I am aware that it’s an investment, the cheapest I can find at the moment is £79.99 from John Lewis  but I can honestly say that my purchase of the Nutri Bullet, that was wisely recommended by personal trainer Jim Russell,  goes down as my best buy of 2015 along with my tickets to Cafe Mambo s opening party. It has now become part of my life and trust me, I have the patience of a rabid wasp, so if I can find five minutes a day to throw this goodness together, anyone can. We all know we should be eating our five a day, green leafy veg and all that, but quite honestly it can be a bit dull munching through it all when our lives are busy and we’re struggling with our culinary creativity. Well the joy of the Bullet is that you could get twenty a day if you wanted to and still make it taste like a pina colada.

The trick is to keep it simple and don’t go marching in all Lara Croft and hard core at the beginning. One third veg and two thirds fruit is the best option, as if you wade in, all kale, broccoli  and cabbage for your first smoothie, you may never touch it again. You can keep it simple by buying frozen berries and veg. Not only is it cheaper, it’s easier. You won’t get much waste, you will always have ingredients to hand and they contain just as many nutrients and arguably slightly more than the fresh variety. The other joy of the Bullet is that unlike other juicers and blenders, you don’t have to do much peeling or chopping, obviously use a bit of common sense, no one likes avocado peel, and you can throw in seeds and nuts and frozen stuff and it just blends it to a lovely, yummy, healthy pulp.

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Just throw it all in and fill to the max line with water or pressed apple juice.

So my suggestion for starters is:

2 balls of frozen spinach

2 large florets of frozen broccoli

handful of frozen or fresh berries of your choice

1 small banana

A dollop of natural, full fat yoghurt (it’s not fat that’s the issue it’s sugar and it’s great for your digestion)

a handfull of mixed seeds, especially linseed as it’s great for menopausal symptoms.

water or pressed apple juice

add mint as it will make it taste like a mojito!

If you buy the bullet you get a recipe book and there are loads of ideas on line.

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Now, if you put in a lot of fruit, your smoothie will contain a few calories so I would suggest that you have it in the morning as a breakfast substitute or take it to work. It is perfect if you have it half an hour before exercise. You don’t want to be drinking it in the evening after a meal while watching the Telly. I usually make it up the night before so it’s ready and waiting for me in the fridge and if you are using frozen ingredients it won’t be too baltic to drink.

It’s not a miracle cure all, it won’t stop you going grey or turn your husband into Brad Pitt but it will help to keep your immune system healthy and balance your hormones. As I said, it’s part of a jigsaw and getting exercise is equally important as well as cutting down on a few bad boys with a record of triggering hot flushes such as caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol. Sorry but you can’t have it all ways, there has to be a bit of give and take.

But that’s for another blog……one step at a time girls, one step at a time.

 

 

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

 

As part of our therapy into adjusting to being fifty something, Mr D and I have recently made a pact to use our remaining time on this increasingly chaotic planet constructively. I realise that we may actually have another fifty years to party but as some of our dear friends have already departed to another world, hopefully one more peaceful than this one, it’s better, I think, to hedge your bets. And it’s not been easy recently, my Scotrail Thrifty Club 50 card arrived and I became a Great Aunt. Now don’t get me wrong, I am delighted at the arrival of the gorgeous wee Gracie but the ‘Great’ bit, they can just forget. I am not yet ready to morph into Maggie Smith.  The same way I am not yet prepared to ask for a free cup of coffee with my Club 50 card. Discount on my ticket? Yes. Asking for a sympathy coffee because I’m the wrong side of fifty? No.

But I digress. As we are now down to only one fledgling in the nest and the washing basket no longer resembles The Magic Porridge Pot, (wash little mummy, wash, confused? Look it up) so it was that Mr D and I, amazingly found ourselves with a free Sunday and as the weather has been so uncharacteristically  beautiful,  we took off for a walk to a place I hadn’t been since the children were small, The Dunearn Burn walk in the Darnaway Forest, off the awful A96 between Nairn and Forres. A truly magical walk that takes you through beautiful deciduous woodland and if you are up for it, down the west side of the gorge  to the mysterious River Findhorn.

And magical it was that day. The sun was low in the sky which only served to intensify the rich  metallic glow of the leaves and the absence of wind allowed the ancient song of the Findhorn river to reach our ears. A word of caution, however, it is not a walk for the feint hearted or those uneasy on their pins, as the path is at times steep and slippery, with unnerving drops down to the Findhorn below. What actually amazed me on revisiting, was how I never managed to lose any of my children as I regularly dragged three small Power Rangers along those paths for a bracing, healthy walk, as they maniacally tried to kill each other, me or themselves with stick swords and pine cone hand grenades.  If I murmured to myself, “what was I thinking?” once as I looked over another vertical precipice, I murmured it several times over as we got closer to the river. For as you finally descend to the river itself, an enticing network of steep steps and ropes, guide you down to the pebbly beach below. How I ever got three small, excitable ninjas and a badly behaved Cairn Terrier down there on my own, I’ll never know but the madness of a tired mother, desperate to get out of the house and  de-energise her children before bedtime, knows no bounds.image

But once again it was worth it, especially as waiting at the bottom of the steps this time, was a battered wicker chair, obviously used for fishing but which soothingly whispered, come, sit, rest a while and take in the view. And so we did. Mr D being the perfect gentleman and to be honest wanting to keep the peace, let his darling wife have the chair and served me a nice cup of tea. The fact that we had brought a flask with us unnerved me slightly, thankfully we hadn’t brought a tartan rug,  but it was very welcome nevertheless and as we sat and took in a beauty which I cannot possibly  describe, Mr D was inspired into poetic creativity, enthusiastically describing the River Findhorn as resembling Prince of DarkNess, a new smooth, deep black imperial stout, brewed by the Loch Ness Brewery  in Drumnadrochit. The power of nature to inspire hey? Robert Burns would have been proud.

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Back at home I asked the fledgling whether he remembered the walks and how much fun it used to be? “Nope” was the usual teenage monosyballic, I can’t be bothered to think about your question, reply . I didn’t bother arguing. He’s too young to start reminiscing but hopefully when he’s older and finding himself far from home, he’ll remember our crazy walks down to the Findhorn and thank the universe that he actually managed to survive.

IT’S A HANDBAG JIM BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!!!!

Dear friends. I have just emptied my handbag onto the kitchen table, as quite frankly the daily rummage for my car keys was getting beyond a joke and sadly the realisation has dawned that one of my youthful aspirations will never be achieved. So, I have looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror and told myself, gently but firmly, to just let it go, to free myself of an unrealistic goal and to never again be burdened by the gnawing and psychologically damaging effects of guilt. Today I allowed myself to confront the full horror of my handbag’s contents, acknowledge that it will never, ever be power woman tidy and that it is, in fact, ok not to be perfect. To be honest, the fact that it looks like an exhibit for the Turner Prize is actually quite satisfying, as the more I look at it, the more I realise that this mad pile of stuff is my reality, an honest reflection of who I am, a little snapshot of my life.

So let’s start at the beginning. Throat sweets, 3 varieties of, in ripped bags. Yes I had a sore throat this week and I am happy to report that the Jakemans of Boston, Original and Famous Throat and Chest Soothing Menthol Sweets, tasted very much like Sambucca. However, it’s the ripped bags that say more about me than the throat sweets. Not for me, a carefully opened bag, nicely folded and secured tidily. Oh no, these bags are ripped open by a woman with no patience, who holds no truck in finding a pair of scissors, which if she had, would have prevented the bag from splitting straight down the middle. Why I’m trying to keep the sweets in the ripped bag is a complete mystery because most of them are lying in a sticky heap amongst the other bottom-of-handbag detritus. My packet of Ibuprofen is similarly distressed, not for me a neat, un-squashed packet that other women seem to have, along with tissues, nail files, handbag-sized umbrellas, neatly folded shopping bags and other useful, womanly things. I’m trying hard not to be bitter.

Then there’s the lipstick, five of the same type, in a safe, natural pearl, plus one slightly off-piste racy red. I think I put the red one on once, then promptly calmed it down with the pearl, complete coward that I am. There were also two lip glosses, obviously  in case the other six got mislaid, as well as a three year old concealer. I think my game plan here, was to have one lipstick in an evening bag, one in the car, one in my handbag and one spare but somehow eight lippies seemed to have found their way into the same place. How? I have no idea. It breaks my heart really, as I do try.

I also have two notebooks, one with a lovely William Morris pattern, bought as a present from a dear friend. There were three. No idea what happened to the other two. Sadly there’s not much of interest in it. And then there’s a little battered one I bought in Ibiza, a replacement for the Spider-Man one I initially bought which turned out to be full of graph paper. Why any child would want a Spider-Man notebook full of graph paper on holiday, I have no idea, but it’s probably not as strange as a grown woman buying a Spider-Man notebook in the first place. If you must know, it was the only one the shop had. To go along with the notebooks, I have three pens, a blunt pencil, two pink golf tees, one broken golf tee, three 5p coins and a golf ball marker.

The toothbrush, still in it’s packet is from a vending machine at a Premier Inn, remnants of a weekend away. You actually get two, plus toothpaste for your 2.50 and this is the spare, which will now, no doubt, sit in the bathroom cupboard for the next three years along with the other might-come-in useful mini shampoos, shower caps and body lotions. There’s a bracelet, a little bit of sunshine and sparkle,  bought at The Hippy Market in Ibiza and there’s normal stuff like hairbrushes, hair bands, keys, reading glasses (sadly), sunglasses, a calculator and perfume, aptly titled Flowerbomb.

The garden vouchers, however, are looking at me accusingly, as my August birthday present from my Dad is supposed to have been spent on bulbs which should, by now, have been planted and snuggled up cosily underground before the frosts come, ready to remind me of me old Dad when they appear with a glorious hurrah in the Spring. I meant to plant some last year too. As usual, the best laid plans and all that, mañana mañana. Guilt, guilt and more guilt.

When I’ve finished writing this, I will tidy my bag. I’ll throw out the receipts and the sticky sweets, put the various bits and pieces where they’re supposed to be and move the garden vouchers to my car, which will hopefully remind me to buy the bulbs tomorrow. And for a short time my handbag will be clutter free and compartmentalised. I know it won’t last though. Next week it will be back to normal but hopefully full of new stuff, new stories and probably several lipsticks. Because, quite frankly, if a woman’s handbag is supposed to be a reflection of her life, I now realise that I  wouldn’t actually want it any other way.

DO YOU REALLY LIKE IT? WE’RE LOVIN IT, LOVIN IT, LOVIN IT…..

When one of your kids utters those immortal lines, “for God’s sake Mum, you’re so embarrassing, you’re not 15!”,  you just know you’ve had a really good time and as I reflect on the night that the gorgeous Mrs W introduced me to Dubsmash, it still makes me laugh. Quite honestly ladies, this phenomenon should be prescribed on the NHS. It should be a part of every girls night out or even better, a spontaneous girls night in fueled, of course, by a  sip or two of Prosecco.

For those of  you unfortunate enough not to have discovered  it yet, obviously because “you are far too old“, Dubsmash is the app that brings the age old art of  miming with a hairbrush in the bedroom mirror straight into the 21st century. What’s fab about it is you can mime by yourself and annoy your friends,( my little sister thinks I’m funny), or what is much more fun is to gather some pals, then record, trash, re-record, trash, re-record etc etc to your hearts content  until something resembling perfection, or more usually, complete carnage is achieved. Then you can save your efforts and bore your friends senseless with them on facebook. And trust me, it is seriously funny watching them back. I, for example, had no idea I was such a nodding dog and I plead guilty  to complete over-characterisation whereas Vikki was the expert, the glam coordinated one, the Posh Spice of the group assisted by Victoria, who managed to look cool, beautiful and serene despite knowing absolutely none of the words.

Seriously though, if anyone had told me that an app had the capability of entertaining three grown women for five hours and reduce them to tears of giggling hysteria, I would never have believed you, but it did and for that I am eternally grateful. I am also grateful that our creative offerings ranging from DJ Pied Piper, Baccara and The Spice Girls to Doris Day, Tammy Wynette and dodgy lines about beautiful lips from Abigail’s Party, performed prone on the sofa by this point,  can be saved and churned out again and again and again  to make us giggle once more. Luckily for you, dear reader, I can’t seem to upload our productions, which is  mercifully a very, very good thing.

Yes, my child, I do realise that I am, in fact, 52, but for five hilarious hours I was 15 again and back in my bedroom, and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong but absolutely everything right with that.

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