Tag Archives: funny

Communication, The Band, The End of Exams

A bit of a long-winded title, but I am not feeling inspired to think of anything witty!
It’s been a long few weeks and I am feeling pretty knackered. I hate the “rollercoaster” cliche but I really do feel like we have been up one minute and down the next. The extension is taking shape. We almost have a completed kitchen – I let out a whoop of joy yesterday when I saw a photo from K showing me a working sink! Amazing the things that can make me happy. I know it’s first-world problems and all that, but washing up in a bowl with water supplied from the kettle and outside tap for 2 weeks was almost more than I could take. When I washed up in the new sink for the first time last night I made a small silent vow not to take it for granted again, but I know I will soon forget the horror of it all – a bit like childbirth (not really, I will NEVER forget that!)..

The biggest issue we have had during this whole process has not been any of the niggly things that have gone wrong – not the need for deeper foundations than planned; not the issue with the ceiling when the steel was installed differently to the plans; not the delays when the toilet we had ordered was the wrong sort, etc, etc. – it’s been a massive lack of communication. It’s unbelievable to me that in this age of technology that we can’t get a simple answer to a question, or a call from someone when they are not going to be able to come and do what they are booked in to do. It seems that some people don’t know how to talk to others, to put them in the picture, to let them know what needs doing. They just don’t turn up. K was astounded, when he first met our builder, that he didn’t write anything down. He’s continued to not write things down throughout the build and it has caused a few issues – nothing insurmountable, but big enough to cause delays and worry.

I understand that things go wrong, delays happen, people hurt their backs and can’t work, but it doesn’t take much to pick up a phone and call the customer. It doesn’t take much for what starts out as a really good service to become disappointing and frustrating. Just for the sake of a call.

Anyway rant over and on to happier things. Back in November, K booked two tickets for The Band – a musical centred around the music of Take That. We didn’t watch the TV programme where 5 young men were selected for roles in the show but I am a huge Take That fan and mentioned that I would love to see the show. I had little idea what it was about, other than knowing that it wasn’t the story of Take That – just featured their music. Anyway, we went on Friday to see it. I really enjoyed it. It was funny, sad, great music (obviously) and a really good atmosphere. We had good seats, in a circle box, but unfortunately were joined by a group of ladies celebrating (loudly) a 50th birthday. The story-line was simple – a group of five teenage girls growing up in the north in the early 90’s and obsessed with a boy band (they are never referred to as Take That – they are only referred to as The Boys or The Band) and one of them wins tickets to go to a concert. They go, they have a great time, they miss their train home and on the way back tragedy strikes and one of them is killed. Fast forward to present day and the four remaining friends are in their early 40’s dealing with their own lives, having drifted apart and not having seen each other for many years. One of the four wins tickets to see The Band in Prague and contacts the other three out of the blue to make it a reunion of sorts. They meet and we see how their lives have changed, who they have become. There was some real humour and some very poignant moments but I didn’t cry (neither from laughter or sorrow). I did have a small moment, when the present day characters were singing to their younger selves, and wondered how it would be to be able to tell your younger self that all would be OK in the end? The music was great – the lads that were playing “The Boys” were not trying to be Take That, they were just singing their music and I think they did a good job. It was a fun night out and we both enjoyed it. And the icing on the cake was the 30 second walk back to the Premier Inn after it finished! Result.

T sits his final exam on Friday. It has been a long four weeks and I am pleased that it is nearly over. He has remained calm during the whole time and has been studying (hopefully enough) in his spare time. He has replied to my enquiring about how each exam has gone with “good” with the odd “harder than I expected” thrown in. On the whole, he seems to feel that they have gone ok. Only time will tell now. He’s got some time to relax ahead, but has been thinking about how he can earn some money to keep him in funds for the duration of the extended summer holiday. As he’s one of the youngest in his year (not 16 until towards the end of next month) he is struggling to find anyone to give him a job. Added to that, he has three weekends where he is either on his DofE expedition, or attending the County and National Cadet Competitions and then we are away for two weeks in August! Doesn’t leave him much chance to work and not many prospective employers are going to be happy to take someone on who can’t work for half the summer. My boss has offered him a few hours a week sorting recycling bags (of ink cartridges) which he is happy to pay him quite well for so hopefully that will give him enough money to have some days out with his friends!

So now we play the waiting game again. Waiting for the extension to be finished, waiting for exam results and desperately not wishing the time away. I can’t go back to my younger self and tell her to slow down and to stop worrying but I can tell my own kids to enjoy themselves, to not worry about stuff you can’t change and to be patient. And maybe I can take my own advice too.

 

 

 

 

 

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The beauty of it

Since she started at senior school, A has become more and more interested in make up. I’ve never worn much make up. I’m not very confident applying it and I don’t really like the way it makes my skin feel, so other than a bit of mascara and some concealer for the dark circles that live permanently under my eyes, I tend not to bother too much. I’ve found it quite interesting to see A become almost obsessed with it. I say obsessed – she rarely wears it to go out. She has bought quite a few (cheaper) items and loves watching YouTube video tutorials, follows make up accounts on Instagram and loves to film herself doing similar “looks” which she then posts on her own Instagram account(*) – she has one devoted to make up so that her friends who are not interested in it don’t get sick of seeing her videos!

I have to admit to finding it a bit irritating. She used to love to read more than anything. She used to sew and bake and colour and do crafty things. She still reads a lot but not as much as she used to. She still does crafty things but not as much as she used to. I quite often find myself asking her to do something else, when I find her filming herself again or removing make up in the bathroom again (we get through a lot of Micellar Water!) It normally leads to some sort of row but that’s OK, that’s what parents and teens do right?

I didn’t follow her make up account for quite some time. I get to see the effects first hand most of the time – she quite often comes down to dinner with one eye made up in some garish, amazing, impressive, beautiful design – so I don’t need to see how she did it or read the comments from her equally obsessed friends. Then I had coffee with a friend whose daughter is in the same year as A. She mentioned the make up videos and before I had chance to roll my eyes (it’s not just teens that are allowed to do that you know) and say anything derogatory, she went on to say how impressed she was when her daughter showed her one, how confidently A comes across and how much she liked watching her. Oh. I had to admit to not seeing any of them and actually felt a bit bad.

So that evening I requested to follow her and without discussion was granted permission. (I don’t generally follow the kids accounts – T follows A and I know he keeps a beady eye on any nonsense – and prefer not to have kids following mine, not because I post anything unpleasant but I’m 45, not 15, and my photos/posts are not of their world.)

I sat down and watched her latest video. I was impressed. I haven’t watched anyone else doing this stuff so have nothing to compare to, but watching my girl smiling and pulling faces at the camera, putting on this amazing make up design made me smile. She is funny and the way she edits the video – sped up and music playing, no talking, lots of waving – is brilliant. I loved it. My friend was right, she’s great. I didn’t read all of the caption listing which products she used, etc. but she had some lovely comments from other girls and other make up obsessives. I still wish she spent more time reading or doing something else but can see that this is creative in it’s own way and gives her a lot of pleasure. She’s good at it and she enjoys it. She washes it off almost straight away and she looks her age when she goes out. (Maybe a bit more than her actual age due to her height but age-appropriate).

This morning, I had a quick look at Instagram while I was waiting for the kettle to boil. She has posted a couple of pictures of herself with no make up on and she has written a long piece beneath them.

“For a while I’ve been feeling fairly insecure about the way I look, my teeth, how I run etc. In the long run these are all silly things that can be fixed or learnt to live with, braces can fix my teeth and so on. Recently, maybe over the last couple of year, have I really accepted myself and learnt to love myself the way I am, as I was born to look and be this way, and that no one can change who I am. This post is kind of a way to show and let other people out there who may feel insecure to know that you are you, and well you should be happy about yourself and maybe even find a way to turn these insecurities into securities because in the end they are what makes us stand out as unique and different, allow us to stand out. Now that I’ve said that I want to address another thing which is that some people think that girls and boys wear make up to cover over and to mask themselves. This is not true! Yes it can be a way to boost confidence and help someone feel good about themselves, but it’s also a way of expressing themselves and make a point through something other than a painting or sketch, it’s a way of expressing feelings in a creative way. Because at the end of the day it can be removed. It’s not permanent. Personally I don’t wear makeup every day and even when I do, most of the time I don’t wear out half of what I put on my face in my videos. I mostly just fill in my brows and that’s it for school, maybe pop on a bit of mascara or concealer if I feel like it or maybe do some eye-shadow for a special occasion or weekend. I rarely wear out a winged eyeliner or a smoky eye or a bold contour. Anyways, I hope this post has maybe inspired or supported some people. xxx”

Most of this I knew. I know she has always been very self-conscious of her front teeth, which are now as good as perfect and look like a completely different set of teeth to the ones she had three years ago. I know she is self-conscious of the way she runs – she has been under pressure from a (particularly unpleasant) girl in her form to take part in the school sports day, running the 1500m. She is only pressurising her because she knows of A’s feelings about running. Luckily, A is made of sterner stuff than that and has stood her ground, steadfastly refusing to be bullied into it. I know that she gets silly comments from some of the boys about her make up account. She doesn’t care – she loves doing it and she just asks them why they are watching if they are not interested!

She’s only 13 and like many other 13 year old girls she likes putting on make up. Big deal. What is a big deal is how much she thinks about stuff.; how sensitive and thoughtful she is; how much she wants to be positive and help others to feel more positive. She is my own personal cheer leader and makes me feel better about myself all the time. To me, she is beautiful inside and out. Make up or no make up, perfectly brushed hair or bed head. She may not spend as much time reading or baking as she used to, but this latest hobby (I won’t call it an obsession any more) has given her confidence, made her think about the bigger issues and it makes her happy. And that makes me happy too.

(* all her accounts are private and she knows to “vet” any potential followers and we talk – well, I talk while she rolls her eyes – about being safe online etc, etc.)

Did you hear that?

There’s been a thing going around on social media , a bit like the dress thing from last year where you either saw a blue or a gold dress (forgive me if the colours are wrong, I wasn’t that bothered by it), where you have to listen to a sound clip of someone saying a name. Depending on how you hear certain sound frequencies, you will hear either one name or another. We were talking about it over dinner last night and while I was aware of it but hadn’t actually listened and taken the test, K was completely unaware of it. T decided we needed to do it and, although I was sceptical, K and I heard different things. I could hear the higher frequency word and he could hear the lower frequency one. I was delighted that the explanation is that younger people are more likely to hear the higher one than older people. I am officially 9 months younger than K but clearly my ears are even younger! Or maybe I am just more “down with the kids” than he is 😉

It did get me thinking about the number of conversations that K and I have which, at a later date, are remembered differently by one of us. I always thought this was a man thing or a K thing or some thing that I just had to put up with. Maybe I just need to start speaking in a lower tone so that he is more likely to actually hear the words that I am saying? It also explains a lot about my hearing sensitivity. While I sometimes struggle to hear people talking – maybe they are talking in low frequency voices? – I also suffer from tinnitus from time to time (usually when I am stressed out) and often, normally when I have a headache, can’t bear too much noise. I have to turn off the radio (I love listening to music so this is a big deal) and often hear high pitched noises that no-one else can seem to hear. It drives me mad.

Interestingly A could hear a different word at different times. This is apparently not uncommon and depends on what your sensitivity is at a given time. T could hear the same as me. K got quite cross by it and thought we were winding him up that we could hear a different word. Fascinating. I wonder how much voice changers cost on Amazon…?

If you haven’t already, you can read about it here and take the test.

yanny

Hips don’t lie and FAITH.

Not sure the title is particularly relevant but its the only song I know with the word hips in it, apart from “hippy, hippy, shake” but there’s not been a lot of that going on.

The MRI showed that I have a cyst, stuck between my hip bone and my groin. It showed up on the scan like a huge tumour so I was really pleased that the consultant didn’t keep us waiting before explaining it is actually just a fluid filled sac and can be easily sorted out.

Sitting in the waiting room beforehand I had been lurching from it being osteoarthritis like Auntie B had or a tumour; to sciatica or nothing. None of these options were a particularly great prospect. Sadly, due to my profound lack of medical training, a cyst had not even entered anywhere close to my radar of thoughts so I only had extreme self-diagnoses to go on. Luckily, the consultant is incredibly knowledgeable and set me straight. I am going to have it drained tomorrow night, followed by a steroid injection to ease the inflammation. I am not looking forward to this, but I am focusing on the fantastic news that within 48 hours I should be up to going for a walk. A walk! Hurrah. I cannot begin to explain how much I have missed walking. It’s the only exercise I truly enjoy, it’s great for my head-space, and my body seems to like it too.  I can’t wait to be back pounding the pavements and fields once more.

Faith. No, I have not come over all born-again in the aftermath of the MRI results. I AM very grateful to whoever or whatever is steering my life but that’s as far as I am prepared to go on that score.

‘Faith: the Legacy’ is the name of a George Michael tribute act that I went to see last night at a local venue. The poor chap was suffering from “man-flu” (his words not mine) and his voice was clearly suffering a bit. He had a passing resemblance to the man himself but this was mainly due to his haircut and jawline more than anything else. His Brummie accent was a little off-putting but we weren’t there to listen to him talk, we were there to listen to him sing and to have a bit of a jig (hips permitting) to the old classics. We weren’t disappointed in the music, the singing was OK – fab backing singers – and all in all it was a fun night. One of the lovely ladies I was with pointed out – when we were singing along to one of the early hits – that we would have been around the age of our daughters when the song was in the charts. If my hip wasn’t making me feel old, that certainly did! It was great to remember how the songs made me feel when I was a teenager and how much joy George Michael’s music still gives me. It was a tribute, it wasn’t in any way a substitute for the real thing, but it was great fun and what more can you ask than that?

 

Darkest Hour at The Odyssey

Last night, K and I went to watch Darkest Hour at The Odyssey cinema.

I love The Odyssey. When I was a child and then a teenager, and even into my early twenties, The Odyssey was an Odeon cinema and the only cinema in the local vicinity. It was where we always went when we wanted to see a film. It wasn’t a regular event as a family (E.T., Crocodile Dundee are ones I remember seeing with M&D and P) but when I was a bit older I used to go regularly with friends. It wasn’t a brilliant cinema in today’s standards: it had 3 screens in it’s heyday, a small pick and mix shop next door and (more appreciated as I got older) a pub just a few doors away. But it was accessible; the bus was reliable and it was a good place to meet friends.

Incomprehensibly to my children, we had to wait for the local paper to be published on a Thursday to see what films would be showing during the coming week and we either had to wing it and hope that they had tickets when we showed up, or in later years, if we had kind parents with a credit card we could book over the phone. The films didn’t change all that regularly so when a new release arrived it was very exciting.  Equally, if we missed seeing something while it was showing, it was game over – wait until the video came into the local rental shop some excruciating months later. This would, without doubt, seem like torture to our youngsters now in the world they inhabit with instant entertainment at their fingertips: streaming services, downloads, multiplex cinemas with 10 plus screens, online booking, pre-booking, etc.

The Odeon shut down in 1995 when out-of-town complexes became the norm. I was sorry to see it go and there was a lot of opposition locally. But, going to the multiplex soon became the norm and now with 4 in a 15 mile radius to choose from we are not exactly short of options.

The Odeon reopened in 2014 under a new name, The Odyssey (in homage to local director Stanley Kubrick’s film A Space Odyssey) and it is beautiful. It has one screen – the original Main Screen of the old days – and has downstairs seating, with tables and chairs or sofa options, in addition to the normal, upstairs seating. You can buy a glass of wine, a gin and tonic, borrow a blanket or a cushion, the seats are generous and comfy and there is plenty of legroom. But, what makes it so special is the feeling it gives me when I walk into the auditorium: I feel 15 again and it evokes such strong memories of my childhood that it makes me very, very happy. There is no booming noise, no brighter than bright lights. There is a curtain across the screen, there is subtle, subdued lighting, art-deco finishes and the film is introduced by a real person who walks on and talks about upcoming films and the film you are about to see. They talk with passion about films and they clearly love working there. It’s fab.

We saw trailers for Darkest Hour when we went to see Murder on the Orient Express as a family late last year. K and I both said how good it looked and were astonished to find that it was Gary Oldman playing Churchill. I’m a big fan and it looked gripping, so it seemed a no-brainer to try and see it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get around to it, but I was chuffed when I saw it was being shown at The Odyssey. Just like in the old days, you have to either book in person, by phone or, a day later, online. I didn’t want to risk not getting seats so phoned on the day of general release and bagged two seats on the front row of the upstairs seating (an aisle seat for me, obviously). The front row has so much leg room, even I can stretch my legs out. Fab.

The film itself was very, very good. I deliberately hadn’t read much about it. I’m familiar with the facts of Churchill’s rise to power and knew it focused on the start of the second world war. The trailers we’d seen showed the epic “on the beaches” speech in Parliament so I knew it would have some standout moments. I knew Oldman had won the Best Actor BAFTA recently and there was no question it would be a stellar performance. He was phenomenal and so were the supporting cast. It was funny, emotional, clever and enlightening. It wasn’t epic but it was very good. I am glad I have seen it, but, in hindsight, I would have been equally happy if we had waited until it was available to stream at home. The problem with The Odyssey is that it is a little bit too comfortable: the temperature is just right, the seats are soft, you can stretch your legs. In addition to this, I had my woolly scarf keeping me nice and warm. Sadly, all of this meant that my eyes shut for a little bit too long on a couple of occasions. Only for a matter of seconds, I didn’t miss any of the film and I didn’t make any unfortunate snoring noises. But, it did make me wonder how much I was enjoying the film. I have this issue at home – I love Silent Witness and Shetland but they always seem to lull me into a sleepy state and I miss bits. It was on a par with that. Very good, but not enough to keep my eyes open the entire time.

So, full marks for The Odyssey; 8 out of 10 for the film itself. Not that I’m a critic. But the eyes don’t lie. Odyssey-42

Review Relief

The Work Review took place this morning. I was in the office incredibly early thanks to very little school traffic, and I found myself getting increasingly nervous. I don’t know why – I have known D, my boss, since secondary school and we get on really well as employer/employee. He’s a very relaxed person and we have a good laugh. But, there was something about the formality of having a Review that was making me a bit sweaty-palmed. And for someone with perpetually cold hands that’s quite some achievement.

He arrived in the office about half an hour after me and we chatted about Christmas, family, etc.  I made a cuppa; he did some paperwork; I answered some emails. I knew he was due to leave at 10 a.m. for a meeting and I started to wonder if he had forgotten about The Review. But no, with plenty of time to spare, he said “shall we have this review then?” and laughed. I laughed (a tad more hysterically than necessary) and he came and sat down at the desk next to mine. With his notebook. Palms sweating even more, I wondered if I should get my notebook in case I was expected to take notes. I looked across my desk and noticed my screen was still on my Gmail. Gah! not a great impression to give. I managed to flick it on to a work screen and by then I forgot all about getting my notebook.

I didn’t need it. As formal as it felt, and sounded, to start off with – ” we (the other boss was away, thankfully, so this was the Royal “we”) want to talk about your role, make sure everything is going as it should from both our perspectives, talk about how we can measure your performance and then look at new ideas we have for how to expand your role, does that sound OK?” it soon emerged that they are very happy with what I am doing; they think I am hardworking, conscientious; they are happy that I put in the hours; they have lots of ideas for things I can get involved in; and so long as I keep the required performance levels up on the accounts then they are happy. I squeaked out lots of “OK”s and “oh good”s and “thank you”s steeling myself for when it was my turn – what on earth was I going to say? Why was I being such a dribbler? The best part was that the other boss (the grumpy one) had allegedly said a short while ago that he wished they had come across me ten or fifteen years ago when they were first starting the business, as I am a superstar. I don’t think he said superstar, but I like to think that was what he meant.

My turn.

“Er, I’m happy with the work, most of the time. I like the flexibility and I like coming into the office a couple of times a week to break the week up”.

So lame. Think, think.

“I sometimes find some of it a bit mundane”

OK, I didn’t know I was going to go that route but I’ve started so I’ll finish….

“so some new stuff to get involved in would be great”…..

He’s already said that….THINK!

“I know it can’t all be interesting all the time”…..

“…..had lots of jobs so know it can’t all be fun, fun, fun”…..

“…..really like working here”…..”….happy to do anything really”…..

SHUT UP  – NOW!

I stopped. He smiled, “Great, so that’s all good. We’re going to give you a pay-rise starting this month.” I don’t kiss and tell, but suffice to say it’s not enough for us to start eating caviar every night (why would anyone want to?) and it’s probably going be hard to spot it on my payslip, but it’s the thought that counts and I didn’t take the job expecting to earn megabucks.

I have to admit to being on a little bit of a high after that. It was nice to hear nice things – it’s nice to know they know I am conscientious, and that I am capable of doing more. And, of course, that I am a superstar.

 

Limbo time

I always find these few days in the run up to Christmas a bit hard-going. I’m generally sorted gift-wise; the cards (those that I still send) are written and I don’t have much else to think about, EXCEPT:-

  1. The Food Shopping. I hate food shopping. The rest of the year I order our weekly food shop online – unless we are being even more careful money-wise and then we alternate with an Aldi shop fortnightly – because I hate supermarkets. I hate pushing a trolley around, not knowing how much it is all going to come to, having to unload it all, pack it all, unpack it all. I still have to unpack the delivered shopping but not having had the trauma of actually going to the supermarket makes this slightly less arduous. However, ever since the year when we had snow right before Christmas and my online shop couldn’t be delivered, leaving me massively in the lurch, I have erred on the side of caution and taken the decision to GO TO THE SUPERMARKET. I order a turkey from our local Sainsbury’s and as I have to go and pick that up I get the rest of the stuff, that couldn’t be bought in advance, at the same time. And, because I always tell myself it will be hell on earth, it is sometimes almost bearable.
  2. Keeping everyone safe. In the run up to Christmas, much like before any other big event (birthdays, holidays), I worry about people even more than normal. I worry that they will be ill and not be able to enjoy the event. I worry that someone will be hurt. I don’t like anyone going anywhere too far away and won’t really relax until everyone has finished work/school, are safely home. I particularly dislike anyone having to go anywhere on Christmas Eve. School finished last Friday. This is good, except of course I can’t keep the kids locked up in the house until Christmas Day. In fact, T is up in London today. Bloody London. I know, I know, we MUST NOT let threats of terrorism stop us living our lives and London is probably one of the safest places to be, with the increased police presence, etc, etc. He is visiting the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and New Scotland Yard with his cadets group so it’s an amazing experience and opportunity for him. But, I will not really be happy until he is home later. I love the Find Friends app as I can check in at points during the day and know where he is. Not in a paranoid, stalker-ish way, just interested to see where he is. A has gone over to her bestie’s house for a few hours and a mooch around the shops. I do the same with her – I like to know she is where she is supposed to be. Not every minute, just every now and then. It makes me feel reassured.
  3. Baking. A likes to make Christmas Biscuits, and last year we bought a mould that you can bake a series of increasingly bigger sponge cakes in to make a tree so she wants to make that again this year, and then there is the Christmas Cake itself to decorate. I have to make sure we have all the correct ingredients – see Food Shopping.
  4. Wishing I wasn’t working. As soon as the kids have finished school, even if Christmas Day is a matter of days later, I always wish I wasn’t working. There is so much I would like to do. I would like to go to the cinema, visit my Nan, go for a walk. I can only do these things when I have finished work and because I generally use all my holiday entitlement during the rest of the year, I rarely keep any for Christmas. Because I can (and do) work from home, it seems a waste of days to take them as holiday between Christmas and New Year. But I always forget about the run up to Christmas, these few limbo days when it would be nice to be able to do stuff. But, I am working and so they will have to be squeezed into my Friday and snatched hours that will need to be made up later. I really need to get to grips with this in the New Year. No, I’m not suggesting a resolution, just something to sort out.
  5. Hoping that it doesn’t snow. This pretty much goes hand in hand with number 2. If we get snow it will stop people visiting, make life harder, make things unsettled and plans will go awry. I don’t like plans going awry, but I especially don’t like it at Christmas.
  6. Hoping I haven’t forgotten anything. See Food Shopping, Baking.
  7. Wishing it was Christmas Eve tomorrow. I love Christmas Eve, probably more than the day itself. I love getting the presents out and putting them under the tree, filling stockings – yes we still have stockings hung on bedroom door handles to be filled overnight ready to open on our bed on Christmas morning. I love being at home, all cosy and safe and thinking about Christmas Day. We normally try and go out for a walk and a drink at the pub, sometimes with my brother and his family. As much as I would love to go to Midnight Mass (I don’t go to church unless for weddings or funerals but I love the idea of Midnight Mass) like every other year I will get home from our walk and not want to leave the house again. Maybe this year. But I doubt it.
  8. Watching Christmas Films. When the kids were small I loved watching Christmas Films with them. The Polar Express is my absolute favourite. I have to confess to not having seen many of the old classics. I have never seen Miracle on 34th(?) Street (I don’t even know for sure which street it is!) and last year was the first time that I watched It’s A Wonderful Life. But, I love Polar Express and Elf and Nativity. I love Love, Actually but that’s not one for small kids (or even teenagers really – Martin Freeman in the porn film bit – awkward). Unfortunately, as the kids have got older their tolerance of Christmas Films has waned and I find myself longing for the days when they were small again just so I can watch without feeling a bit daft.

Hopefully, the next few days will fly by – if today is anything to go by, they won’t – and it will soon be the magical time. And then in a blink of an eye it will all be over! So much planning, thought and effort for such a short time. But it’s worth it.