Monthly Archives:

March 2024


SWB on Facial Festooning

Apparently Jennifer Aniston has taken to smearing salmon sperm to her face in an effort to retain her youthful glow. Don’t know if I fancy it myself, but then again, a quick squiz on Google and there’s all sorts out there to slow down the ravages of aging. Placenta anyone, from a sheep no less. It claims to do wonderful things.


But I’ll tell you this; if it came to it, I’d sooner apply placenta than go under the knife. Life’s hard enough without having the face carved off yourself, and I wouldn’t want to be bandaged up like a mummy afterwards. I’ll keep my crow’s feet, ta very much.


I’ve no plans to resort to the Bo-tox either, although if I do take a notion, it will be discreet. I’ve seen too many faces recently that look blown up like a pufferfish, and lips that resemble the work of a caricaturist on a plaza on the Costa del Sol.


But as yet, I’m still covering the greys and having my gel nails done, and I wear good makeup; wouldn’t be without it. And boy do I need to.  The dereliction of my face, (and believe me, I’m not being hyperbolic) is down to my own stupidity, or sloppiness at least.


I firmly believe that prevention is better than cure, so here’s what I SHOULD have done, starting in my twenties.


In the immortal words of Baz Luhrmann, wear sunscreen. Slather it on, every single day. I was an awful eejit, and when I headed on my year out to sunny Reunion Island in 1999, I paid scant regard to my Factor 50. Sure, I took more care when sun-bathing, but on a day-to-day basis, I was anything but prudent. Readers, the ravages are evident.


My mum had me well-warned, because she too spent her twenties in the tropics, and in the 1970’s no one paid much heed to the UV rays. Hence, she got a terrible shock when she took at close look at her arms, and compared them to those of her aunt’s, who was thirty years her senior. Aunt Emma had never ventured further than the Isle of Man, and had arms which were smooth and wrinkle free. It’s not an exact science by any means, but evidence enough, methinks.


Reckless choices are also responsible for the wreckage that stares back at me in the mirror each morning. And no, I’m not referring to an excess of wine, coffee and sugar, that unholy trinity which leads to tiny broken veins on my nose and cheeks. No, I’m talking cats, mine in particular. My furry despots demand attention at 3am, disrupting my sleep. There’s also the small matter of being slightly allergic to their hair: which makes my eyes itch and water, leading to much rubbing and ensuing redness. It’s both uncomfortable and unbecoming. But I’m stuck with my cats, and will just have to wait until they die of natural causes. Maybe I’ll fork out for the placenta cream in the meantime.


But it’s all a bit reductive really, worrying about our looks. Sarah Jessica Parker, now in her late fifties and just accepting the greys, pout it very succinctly when she said:


It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”


How I love SJP. When I saw her in ‘Plaza Suite’ back in February at half-term, she was skipping about that stage, lithe as a leveret, all gorgeous and gleeful.


Anne Lamott is another one of my heroines, and I don’t think she’d have any truck with inflated lips and frozen foreheads. As she said in her Ted Talk, ‘It’s an inside job,’ and I take this to mean that I should focus my attentions inwards rather than out, and to that end, I look infinitely better when I smile, and when I’m not complaining about something. And in these dark times, if I can still manage to find space for joy, then I’m going to celebrate every one of those laughter lines.




SWB has fun in spades

SAYIT J1 USA🇺🇸🇮🇪 on X: "Happy Bank Holiday Monday from everyone at  #SayitJ1" / X

I had a word in his ear yesterday. ‘The front garden needs a proper sprucing. It’s making a pure show of us in front of the neighbours’

Himself looked up from his coffee. ‘That’s the most Protestant thing I’ve ever heard.’

I ignored this. ‘So I think we should go to a garden centre.’

‘Now THAT’S the most Protestant thing I’ve ever heard,’ said he. ‘And on St Patrick’s Day too.’

He has a pure hatred of garden centres, has my husband.  That is, until he enters one, and starts buying all round him. Case in point, earlier, when we traipsed down to Homebase, spurred on by some unsatisfactory time outdoors yesterday afternoon.

He had given in to my griping, (ALL I AM ASKING FOR IS THIRTY MINUTES OF YOUR TIME) and out he came, having donned appropriate footwear, because in 2019 we went to Majorca and I’d had him out digging a flower bed and a creature had worked its wily way into his shoe and devoured his foot. He said it really compromised his holiday enjoyment, and no antihistamine seemed to quell the itch so he took to the beer by way of distraction instead.

Anyway, no sooner was he out when he started questioning the tools at hand. In he went to the shed, but no amount of rummaging revealed the ‘Pokey’ device to dig the pesky weeds from between the paving stones. ‘It’s a patio knife we need,’ said he, having done a cursory Google search.

So it was down to Homebase this morning and poking devices were purchased as well as lavender and rosemary so we can be greeted by olfactory pleasantness at the front door. ‘While we’re here we may buy drain buster for the bathroom sink,’ he said, so off we moseyed and met Cruikshanks the Homebase cat on route, curled up on a padded chair, all supine and ginger and gorgeous. Cruikshanks has a perfectly good home in the housing development behind the store, but Homebase seems to hold a particular charm for him.

In the detergent aisle I was excited to see a storage device for organising saucepan lids. Into the trolley it went, quickly followed by a Super Powerful Toilet Cleaner and a Citrus Plughole Freshener which apparently ‘cleans and deodorises.’.

As I sit here typing this, I am treated to the sound of the power hose, while the Patio Knife and Pokey Device remain in a bag, while he blasts away merrily while wearing his new manly garden gloves. Our own cats are livid.

Never say we don’t know how to live it up on a Bank Holiday Weekend. Welcome to middle-age, everyone.


The Down-Low on Dishwashing

Anarchy abounds, but guess what the UK public need, a bit of insider information on… wait for it… drum roll… domestic   duties in the Sunak-Murty House! Of course, knowing that Rishi darts up between meetings to check if the duvet’s on straight and if the dishwasher is stacked to his satisfaction is going to make him infinitely more likeable, isn’t it? It’s still a firm NO for me, but I do have to admit that maybe I do have something in common with a multi-millionaire Tory after all. Turns out, I’m pernickety about the dishwasher too, just like Rishi, ‘main man of the moment.’ He likes to get in there and do a bit of rearranging, if Akshata has been let loose and things have been flung in awry.

So what are my pet peeves about the dishwasher? Let’s go:

Number one is a biggie, because my machine has a temperamental ‘on’ button. In other words, you think you’ve put the fecker on, then you come down the stairs, open up and instead of gleaming crockery you get a whiff of last night’s Tikka Masala. It drives me bananas altogether.

Numéro Deux- and this relates to Number One. If LSB has been at the stacking, you always know, because he hasn’t rinsed. Hasn’t bothered his arse and so there’s crumbs and smears and itty bitty grains of rice clogging up the filter. RINSE THE BLOODY THINGS! I’m not talking a scrub, just a quick rinse. A tiny rinse, that’s all, a quick PHSST from the hot tap. IT’S NOT HARD.

And then we have Deary-Me-Number-Three, the perils of over-stacking. That’s a nonsense and a half. I used to a determined over-stacker, because I was trying to be a conservationist, in the same way that you don’t want to do a half load of laundry. But, it’s a fool’s errand and don’t be at it. Stuff comes out and it’s not half washed, and on one occasion, I smashed a glass trying to wrestle it out and PING went it’s little stem, and alas, it became an ex-glass.

What’s better, and I believe better from both one’s mental health AND the environment, is to get the fecker on DAILY, and on a shorter cycle. Don’t let it build up: bish-bash-Bosch,-and-a-speedy -little-wash-and-on-your-merry-way-you-go.

Now, Number Four is less of a point and more of a pry and it’s this, do you put the pans in? I was always scandalised by this, thinking that you hand-washed the pots and pans and just complained about it Ad infinitum. But then I witnessed an increasingly number in my circle just firing their Le Creuset into the dishwasher with wild abandon- not a bit of bother to them! It was something I’d always have felt guilty about, as though one had to pay a penance for enjoying a coq au vin* of an evening. And then, didn’t I spot an Instagram post, and a sensible and compassionate person suggested, that if the pots, pans and paraphernalia were all too much, then just give them a second cycle. Now, I know, that some of you may, and perhaps justifiably so, take me to task on this and say WHERE? WHERE IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS GREEN HAVE YOUR ECO-CREDENTIALS GONE? And you’d be right. Not a leg have I to stand on. Except this: recently I have been feeling shite, brow beaten by flu and besieged with sadness on account of the rotten, stinking world as we know it. And I thought back to reading KC DAVIS’s book, How To Keep House While Drowning, and I thought, you know what? Someone you gotta stick the load on for a second cycle. Haven’t we got the solar panels and don’t I use the SMOL tablets to take the bad look off it?

I do believe I’ve reached the end of my dishwasher dictat. I know  I haven’t even got to the finer details- do you pop the cutlery in wily-nilly or with blades all pointing up; I haven’t settled the debate of whether cups should EVER be on the top layer or if it’s morally right to shove a chopping board in that you’ve only sliced a cucumber on and could just be SHOWN THE TAP (A Mothership phrase.). We haven’t got all day. But please, if anything here strikes you as OUTRAGEOUS and your blood is all a bubble and a-boil, you know where to find me: I’ll have my feet up while my Bosch whirls away in the background.

*not as fancy as it sounds, just chicken thighs, onions, a few carrots and a generous slug of Harvey’s Bristol Cream.