Don’t argue before getting on a plane 

This probably sounds obvious because of the whole ‘if the plane goes down and we haven’t made up….’ thing but I’m not talking about that.

The reason I very definitely learned not to argue before getting on a plane is because once you’re in seat of your plane with your warring partner, the space is really, really small. Hmmmmm should have thought this one through.

So we’re sitting on the plane, having a ‘hushed’ argument, I manage to hit the right inflection of harshness to my whispered tone as I clocked one of the guys in the aisle across from us, flinch. Perfect. We’re now the street theatre for the other passengers. Just what I always wanted.

With neither of us willing to back down, being in a space that was approximately 20cm square and right next to each other, was not the best. Storming off to sulk, or my preferred method of voice noting my bestie, wasn’t an option. Instead we had to wait it out. Using my second best option of listening to Bon Jovi until I could be reasonable again worked well but I had to deduct points on the fact that I couldn’t put it on speaker and irritate the other half.

By the time we arrived in Frankfurt, with hours to kill before our connecting flight, we had hit the right level of maturity to make up and not make the remaining hours in the airport hell for each other. This was an extremely good decision as the flight was delayed, I am not known for my listening to tannoy skills and needed to rely on my partner to have any idea of where we were going and when to get on the plane.

Making up before getting on the connecting flight also worked because by the time we landed at Heathrow, hours later, and were waiting for the (frankly appalling) car service I’d booked our car into, it meant my partner wasn’t thinking mean thoughts about me or blaming me for the lack of our car to take us home. I say this but actually he’s never blamed me when I’ve booked crap services or things haven’t quite gone to plan. If he’s thought mean thoughts about me and my booking capabilities, he’s always kept them to himself. Note to self. Be nicer to him and don’t start arguments before getting on a plane.

*for authenticity and transparency – I wrote this on the second flight home, until the air steward (quite harshly) asked me to put my laptop away so the plane could land. Final paragraph was written at home.

Real books are still relevant

The Kindle vs paper books has been a debate in my household ever since my partner entered it. He is old fashioned. A lover of paper books, cluttering up the place, gathering dust and once read, never looking as pristine as when you first bought it. I’m guessing you can tell which camp I’m in.

I’ve had a Kindle ever since they became affordable (2011 for anyone who’s interested) and have not been a fan of paper books since. A Kindle is so much easier: less bulky, an almost everlasting battery, you can store thousands of books on it, plus if you’re a member of bookbub and/or Amazon Prime, you can read a lot of books for free. You can also pre-order titles and have them arrive on your Kindle on the day of release. Oh and you can have the Kindle app on your phone, desktop, tablet etc and when you switch between the two, it will take you to the last page read. What’s not to like?

For all the reasons above, I will never stray away from my Kindle totally as I like to be able to read on my phone/laptop etc anytime/anywhere. However if there’s one thing this summer of camping, going to Portugal and spending a lot of time on beaches has taught me, is that whilst Kindles are fab, sometimes paper books are better. They don’t overheat on the beach. They don’t use up all your phone battery, you don’t have to worry too much about them getting sand in them and there’s something nice about having a proper, chunky book in your beach bag. Now that I’m back in London my Kindle will be working overtime but the next time we go away, I’ll take a suitcase full of books.

Tattoos don’t have to hurt

In the past I’ve had 3 tattoos – my memory of them is that they’re so painful, it takes a long time to build up the courage to go again. Last year I got a tattoo for the first time in 17 years and oh my goodness, the only things more painful were childbirth without anaesthetic and when I broke my wrist and my ankle. I actually have a very high tolerance to pain so if I find something painful it feels like it hits in a big way.

I first spoke to our friend who we were staying with in Portugal, who is a tattoo artist about getting a new tattoo, last March. Then chickened out. I promised that I really would stick with it and get the new design when we visited this summer so it was with great trepidation and kicking myself for not taking any paracetamol before going in, that I offered up my tender skin at the tattoo studio.

My partner (who’s best friend is the tattoo artist) told me that Giada is ‘very gentle’. Hmmmm very gentle in the same way dentists are with their drills? How can anyone brandishing a needle be referred to as gentle?

Then it was my turn to get tattooed. Promise I am telling the absolute truth here. I really didn’t feel any pain whatsoever. Yes I was distracted as I was interviewing Giada (more on this later) with my iPhone recording but seriously, no pain at all.

With this in mind, I think I’m going to quit while I’m ahead and call this my last tattoo. However, Giada said he’ll add to the watercolour of this one next time we see him and I’m not nervous at all.

Alcohol masks tiredness

Earlier this month I embarked on ‘One Year, No Beer’. I’d glanced at a couple of Facebook ads, seen people looking 10 years younger at the end of a year of not drinking and decided that I wanted a piece of that. So I binned all the alcohol and won’t be touching it again until August next year.

I’m nearly 4 weeks in and I don’t look 10 years younger. I’m not sure I even look 10 days younger. I’m pretty certain I can contribute this to tiredness. My partner doesn’t drink and he often (constantly) complains of being tired. I remember reading in one of Marian Keyes’ books (think it was Under the Duvet) where she talks about her alcoholism, she says experiencing life fully sober is great but she’s also done and in bed by 10pm. That experiencing life in it’s technicolour glory, without any form of anaesthetic, is exhausting. I’m starting to see where Marian’s coming from. But, she looks amazing for 50 something and if I start actually going to bed at a reasonable time and my five year old starts sleeping through the night, you never know, I might manage to negate the alcohol-free tiredness by getting a whole night’s sleep.

This is all a new experience for me as there’s been many an evening where I’ve stayed up, hours after the kids are in bed, drinking wine and chatting on the phone to friends, where the average bedtime would be 1am and other than finding it a bit difficult to get up in the morning, I could have stayed up much longer whilst drinking wine the night before. Now, only a couple of hours after the kids go to bed, I’m done for the day and pretty much always in bed by midnight.

Let kids serve themselves & the smallest portion of vegetables makes the cut

This week’s learning comes from my beloved step-daughter who, I promise, usually eats tonnes of vegetables. Especially as her dad’s a vegetarian. My kids are the same and the most requested food in our house is what’s known as a ‘snack plate’ – a plate of cut up fruit, salad and vegetables. So why is it that the minute kids are given a meal and allowed to serve themselves vegetables/salad, that only the tiniest portion makes the cut? This picture is from Thursday night’s dinner of fish, potatoes and salad. That’s the total amount of salad that made it into my step-daughter. Needless to say, there was room left over for ice-cream. Perhaps during mealtimes vegetables should be served first, with the main meal served afterwards to ensure the kids don’t keel over from vitamin deficiencies. Anyone who has this getting kids to eat balanced meals thing down, please feel free to send tips on a postcard.