Thursday, 31 January 2013

Muffin tops and spring cleansing

'I can't bear it,' I say to Lily on viewing myself in the bathroom mirror. 'I've got a muffin top.'

'Is it blueberry?' she enquires sweetly.

'Do you actually know what a muffin top is?'

'Not really.'

'Well this one's pinky-white and fleshy and fatty.'


'Precisely. What am I going to do?'

'You should go to the gym.'

The thing is, I hate gyms. The only time I had a personal trainer, and paid him jolly good money I may add, he gave up on me.

'I give up,' he said. 'When we work on a muscle in your calf, your thigh hurts. When we work on your triceps, your neck aches.' I only stayed with him because of the final stretch at the end of the session, where I'd be on my back with my knees up to my stomach and he'd lie on top of me, gazing deep into my eyes with his beautiful green-flecked eyes.

He turned gay soon afterwards.

Ah well. It's a toss-up between the 5:2 and the Alkaline Diet. Except. Darn. Just remembered that delicious lemon drizzle polenta cake Lily made at the weekend. Ah well. I'll start tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Winter warmers

Honestly! I feel like some sort of Nanook of the North these days. And that's in the house.

Today Eliza is wearing: one tatty silk vest c. 1997 from Vietnam, one Uniqlo thermal vest, one Uniqlo lambswool polo neck (not a recommended item since it looks 10 years old after 2 months), one rabbit fur gilet from some posh country barn sale, one Cosi cashmere blanket from Nepal and one wool hat from Morocco 

What's everyone else wearing to keep life and limb together in the freeze?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Zips, golden shotguns and shampoo

I know, I know. Where, you may well ask, have I been? Well, I've been coaching my poor child throughout the Christmas 'holidays' for a school entrance exam and music scholarship. I know, I know. Since when was I a tiger mother? A pushy Chelsea parent? I, who manage to achieve practically nothing in my day? Yes, yes. Good points, well made.

Anyway, Lily has now returned to the Manor, and I offer you a brief digest of choice morsels from the past few days.

1. The Golden Shotgun

As a post-exam treat, Cousin Jaz and I take Lily to see Les Miserables (OMG, btw! Hugh Jackman, once he's ditched the beard and the brown teeth, is a dead ringer for Duncan, with his salt and pepper curls! Mmmm!) followed by en plein air crepes and cocktails (well, chocolate milkshake in Lily's case).

Lily instantly bags the seat facing the patio heater. Except she doesn't say, 'Bagsy,' or 'Bags I this seat'. She says, 'Shotgun this seat!'

'What?' we demand.

'I've shotgunned it, so you can't have it!' she cries, throwing her head back with wild laughter.

'Shotgunned it?'

'You can use your shotgun to shoot down a bagsy. We all do it in the Com. If I shotgun the sofa, then nobody else can sit there. Unless they Golden Shotgun it and then they can have it. Except I've Golden Shotgunned the sofa, so I've got it for the whole term!' She dissolves into self-satisfied mirth.

'So why don't you just walk into the room and Golden Shotgun it straight away?' asks Jaz.

'Because people bagsy or shotgun places and then go and get changed, and you can't take their seat because they've shotgunned it. You have to Golden Shotgun it when they're there.'

'It's a pity there wasn't a philosophy paper today,' notes Jaz, 'because you'd have done very well.'

'But basically,' Lily continues, 'nobody wants the sofa anyway. They like sitting on the piano.'

'So you shot your bolt unnecessarily,' I say.

'Whaah?' asks Lily.

So much for my marvellous English tuition over the past weeks.

2. Zip

Fortified by our caipirinhas/mojitos, Cousin Jaz and I are quizzing Lily about her exams.

'Zip! Zip! Zip!' says Lily, miming a brisk zipping of her lips.

'Oh come on, darling. What did you write in your English essay?'

'It was about a Margarita and a Mojito and a Bloody Mary which were all £4.50,' she says, reading off the happy hour menu chalked on the blackboard.

I change tack. 'Did you have to do any algebra?'


'And did you remember to do the same to both sides?'

'Zip! Zip! Zip-zip Golden Shotgun zip!' declares Lily, eyes blazing.

'How can you Golden Shotgun a zip?' I accuse.

'That's an inappropriate use of a Golden Shotgun,' points out Cousin Jaz.

Lily glares at us with more than a hint of menace. 'Zip!'

3. The Pantene Scandal

'And another thing...' I'm having a satisfying putting-the-world-to-rightsy breakfast with Cass, with whom I'm staying after delivering my darling back to school. 'Pantene! The shampoo and conditioner bottles are exactly the same!'

'I know!' she squeals. 'And you need your glasses to read whether it's shampoo or conditioner...'

'...which obviously you're not wearing in the shower!' I finish triumphantly.

'Piers has been washing his hair with conditioner for years,' Cass adds. 'He didn't realise there was a difference.'

You see? I blame it on the young designers. Someone who needs reading glasses needs to take charge! Maybe this is my new vocation? Design adviser for the over 50s market!