Do not leave car windows open after you’ve left the car

I know we all know this but last week was a rush, I had the kids and the dog in the car, it was hot, we had the windows open and when it was time to get out, we were busy gathering book bags, school jumpers, finding the dog who had run off onto the riverside lands, etc.

It was the next morning, after a very stormy night, that I opened the car doors and water poured out. Great. It was stormy for the next couple of days so no chance to dry the car out. The resulting car journeys were humid and the car stank of wet dog.

By Saturday the weather had turned, it was scorchingly hot and I thought, finally, a good chance to dry the car out so I left it on the drive, opened all 4 windows, all the way and promptly forgot about it.

Later that night I was running across town for the night bus in monsoon like rain after a great night out and it was only at 2am, as I was going to bed that I remembered that I’d left all car windows down. Bugger. You’d think I’d have learnt the first time.

In a ‘locking the stable door after the horse has bolted’ manner, I shut the car windows and dreaded the journey I was due to make at 11am. Luckily, after having to sit on a folded up beach towel (that still soaked through to my jeans), the weather turned again, the car has dried out and with the help of a ‘magic tree’ air-freshener, the kids will consent to go back in the car.

If only they made self window shutting cars for forgetful people.

5 Things isn’t just a weekly blog post

You can read on my 5 Things page where it came from when I thought of it at the end of last year. It popped into my head after spending the summer with a friend where we were both going through some tricky times in our lives. When we were lamenting together I used to say ‘quick – 5 things’ and it could be anything from ‘5 things about you that are really good’ to ‘5 songs you’re really into right now’. It was a great way of changing the mood and how we felt about ourselves.

I started this 5 Things list because I wanted to get into the discipline of writing every week and I wanted to have some sort of format for writing about my crazy life (if you haven’t noticed I can go off on wild tangents and then never get blog posts finished or published).

5 Things can be the highlight of my week. I love writing to you guys. Documenting the crazy stuff my partner and I have been up to (soldering an Iron Man chest piece at midnight with no experience was, I’ll admit, a low point). Since starting this blog, 20 lists ago, 5 Things seems to have become so much more than just a blog. A close friend read one of my lists on a Friday morning and within an hour had sent me an email with 5 Things she had learned that week. She was having a tough time and I responded with 5 Things I knew about her that made me know she’d got this and it was just a bad week. Not a bad life. The same friend went away (with no wifi! – who does that?!) for nearly 4 weeks and every Monday morning I’d email her with ‘5 Things I learned while you were away’. She said it was awesome to come home to.

Try incorporating 5 Things into your week and see if it changes how you feel about anything. 5 songs you like. 5 awesome things about you. 5 reasons you’re going to enjoy the week. If you’re feeling brave enough, email me your 5 Things. I’d love to hear from you.

Aldi’s blackcurrant squash tastes like Ribena

I became an Aldi convert a couple of years ago. I was probably one of the last of my tribe to cop on to Aldi, not because I’m a snob about where I shop, it’s because it’s way across town and we have Sainsburys and Tesco down the road. Originally when going there it reminded me of supermarkets from my early childhood. Not too big, nothing fancy and once something’s gone, it’s gone. No rows and rows of alternatives. Then I started to really like it – less confusion as there’s pretty much only one type of everything and I started to learn which products were also produced for other manufacturers, just had a different name.

I was well aware that I was in a rut with food shopping, buying the same old thing week in, week out and for some reason I never thought of buying blackcurrant squash until a friend gave it to me mixed with lemonade. I hotfooted it to Aldi to pick up my very own and it’s only when I got home, had it a few times (minus the lemonade) that I realised it tastes exactly like Ribena but at a fraction of the price.

I never needed any more reasons to love Aldi, especially the weeks when they have the Lime, Basil and Mandarin candles in, but if I had needed a reason, this is it.

Do not book outdoor performances, no matter what the weather forecast is

A couple of weeks ago I saw the perfect thing to do with the kids during half term. Thanks to my Facebook feed and sponsored ads, I saw that Horrible Histories was performing at Hampton Court Palace. It’s basically educating the children on a nice day out, with a picnic at an affordable rate. Win-win.

There was only one exception to this. It was an outdoor performance and at the time of booking the weather looked good. It’s been a long time since I checked the weather app on my phone as much as I did and then hourly blow-by-blow weather reports on the BBC weather forecast and all was not looking good. The wet weather policy at Hampton Court was practically non-existent – basically no refund if it rains so, being British, we packed the pac-a-macs and soldiered on.

We found a spot, settled down with our picnic and rather than being stormed off with the threat of thunder, the sun shone so brightly that I started to worry that I hadn’t packed suncream. I think there were 4 drops of rain in total during the hour long performance and a lot of the audience were moving to the shade because it was too sunny.

The performance was brilliant, the kids enjoyed it and I’ll definitely take them to see Horrible Histories again, just maybe next time at an indoor venue so I don’t have to waste countless hours on weather apps and coming up with wet weather plans.

Red hair dye stains clothes weeks later

After 3 years as a blonde it was time to shake things up and go back to being a redhead. This isn’t my natural colour so takes oodles of time and patience to achieve. Luckily my partner is a hairdresser so I usually delegate colouring to him after he’s spent a long day at work. I’d like to say he loves it. He doesn’t.

I timed the hair change to coincide with having to dress up as the Black Widow from the Avengers (I say having to – it was great fun) and went to great pains to recreate the vibrant red that Scarlet Johansson had. This is all well and good and every couple of weeks the long suffering partner is greeted after a 10 hour day at work, by the site of me with a tube of colour and mixing bowl waiting for him. Dinner is very noticeably absent as a way of cajoling him to getting on with it.

Having been a redhead for 8 years previously I know that you can’t get it too wet, go swimming etc otherwise the colour washes out. What was totally unexpected was when getting caught in a downpour (thank you weather for saving up your stormiest storms and monsoon like rain for half term), my hair colour (last done weeks ago) ran out of my hair and onto my clothes. 3 washes later and I think I’ve just got to accept that my previously cream maxi-dress will forever have an orange hue around the collar area. This never happens as a blonde. Perhaps it’s time for a colour change.