Saturday, 27 February 2010

"Mum, I think you should get a boyfriend"

Tall daughter came to me the other day and, completely out of the blue, said "Mum, I think you should get a boyfriend".  When I asked her why she said she thought I was lonely.  A few days later The Teenager said "Mum, why don't you get yourself a boyfriend then you might be less grumpy."  Grumpy?  Moi? Surely some mistake...

Hmmm.  I don't really consider myself to be lonely either, although I do occasionally miss having a special man to share life with.  On the other hand, men are such hard work - or at least the ones I've had relationships with have been, which brings me to the most important issue here:  I am notoriously bad - appalling even - at picking men.  My track record does not look great:

~ I was 22 before I had my first serious boyfriend;
~ when that relationship hit the skids after 2 years it took me another two years to get over it;
~ I then had a succession of short relationships with very unsuitable men;
~ I embarked on a 9 year on-off relationship with a distant but charming Irishman;
~ that was followed by my relationship and marriage to a high-maintenance, highly-strung man who became a nightmare to live with;
~ when he left, well when he was pushed, I had a short-term relationship with a man who then decided to go back to his ex-wife (yes, really);
~ since then I've been celibate single for over 6 years.

But where on earth are women in their late 40s supposed to meet men? The idea of even trying to find a boyfriend fills me with dread.  Incidentally, are you allowed to use the term 'boyfriend' when you're pushing fifty or is it contravening some obscure European law?  

I don't go out much and I don't fancy trying internet dating even though I know other people who have used them successfully. If I could just fill out a form and someone could arrange for a suitable man to introduce himself, well, that would be just perfect.

My lovely Mum used to say - half in jest, half in all seriousness - that I shouldn't be allowed to choose another partner.  She suggested that there should be a panel of people (friends and family) who should choose someone for me.  I think she had a point because I no longer trust my own judgement when it comes to men.  So, if anyone wants to volunteer to choose a man for me, please let me know.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Film review: Julie & Julia

Sony have sent me a film that I actually asked for.  I saw this on their list of future releases and knew I wanted to watch it, so they kindly sent it to me for a pre-release review.

Julie & Julia tells the true story of a dissatisfied writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who decides to cook and blog her way through Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which launched Child’s (Meryl Streep) career in America.  Setting herself a deadline Julie sets about cooking every recipe in Child's book: in total 524 recipes in 365 days.

I have to confess that until recently I'd never heard of Julia Child, but I imagine her to be an American version of our own Fanny Craddock. Anyone but me remember her?  Some of the grainy black and white TV clips featured in the film are reminiscent of Fanny's (did I really write that?)  Although come to think of it, Fanny was more of a TV star rather than the writer of a seminal cookbook, so perhaps not. Ironically, I only learned of Child when I read an article, a while back in my pre-blogging days, about Julie Powell the blogger featured in the film.

I really enjoyed this film.  If you're looking for a funny, enjoyable film with lots of food and blogging references, well, this is ideal.  I even liked Meryl Streep in it.  I usually find her a bit too actressy....not even sure if that's a real word, but you know what I can usually see her acting. But in this, she is very good as is Amy Adams who I think is a very likeable actress. 

Of course, one of the attractions of the film is that it's about blogging. At one point Julie says "that's what blogging is all about:  me, me, me, everyday!"  Sounds familiar. And of course the beauty of the internet is such that as soon as the film finished I logged on and was able to look at the original blog itself.   Now, where's my Domestic Goddess cookbook....


Julie & Julia is released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 8th March 2010 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Image and trailer supplied by Sony.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Camera Never Lies: my daughter, the dog abuser

Tall Daughter got a camera for Christmas, can you tell?  I've found the irrefutable proof that she is using Tess as a real life dress up doll.  I have the number for the RSPCA in my hands as I write this...

Poor, poor Tess.

Btw, Tess had a date yesterday with a young male dog called Paddy.  He's from the same charity Tess came from,  the Retired Greyhound Trust and he's looking for a home. He came to visit us for a few hours to see if he and Tess could get along together, and who knows, he might eventually come and live with us. 

Tess spent most of the day growling at him, but he was a big softie and just ignored her.  In the photo you can see his bandaged tail - he became distressed in the kennels and damaged it, so it's all bandaged up.  We liked him so much he's coming back again next weekend for another visit.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Soundtrack to my Life - Bonnie Raitt & The Pretenders

Long ago when the summers were hot and people still left their front doors unlocked, Britsinbosnia tagged me with a stories and music meme.  Well, I've finally caught up with it and have thought long and hard about songs that mean something special to me.  I'm going to start off with these two, and I might return to this as and when the inspiration strikes.  Hope you enjoy!

Bonnie Raitt - I can't make you love me
This song struck me like a bolt out of the blue.  I had been in a turbulent, on-off relationship with a charming but distant Irishman for 9 years and was at a stage where I felt, stupidly, that I loved him so much and had invested so much of my time with him that I had to stick it out.  He, on the other hand, was impassive.  He was happy for me to be around as long as I wasn't too demanding.  The day I first heard this song I was shopping in Woolies of all places and as soon as I heard it I was rooted to the spot for the length of time it took to play.  I knew, there and then, that my relationship was over.

Bonnie Raitt's voice is so emotionally loaded in this song, and I still cry when I hear it.

"I'll close my eyes and then I won't see
The love you don't feel, when you're holding me
Morning will come, and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then, to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight
'cause I can't make you love me if you don't
I can't make your heart feel something it won't "

I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
I've been a fan of the Pretenders for many years, but it was only when I had my own children that I realised the power of this song's lyrics.   I'm sure Chrissie Hynde must have written this for her own children as this sums up the mothering instinct beautifully.

"And when the night falls on you
and you don’t know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less
I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
Won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you"

Simple pleasures

Some of my simple pleasures:
  • a soft boiled egg with soldiers;
  • hearing a favourite song on the radio;
  • a beautiful sunset viewed from my own back garden;
  • bedtime cuddles with my daughters;
  • getting into a freshly changed bed;
  • taking my shoes off and putting my slippers on after a long day on my feet...ahhhh;
  • a glass of chilled white wine;
  • walking down the country lanes with Tess and taking more notice of the changing seasons;
  • getting a handwritten letter from a friend;
  • hearing someone compliment my daughters on their behaviour or manners;
  • looking at the stars on a clear night;
  • breaking into a new bar of Green and Black's chocolate

These are some of mine...what are yours?

Friday, 12 February 2010

Blu-ray prize draw: This Is It - Michael Jackson documentary

Those nice people at Sony have sent me another Blu-ray film to use as my next 'giveway' prize.  They've sent me this Michael Jackson filmed documentary which is not officially released for sale until 22nd February.

This Is It is the behind-the-scenes look at Michael Jackson's rehearsals for his ill-fated sell-out concerts at London's O2 Arena.  It was shot over the months of April to June 2009 and draws on more than one hundred hours of footage, featuring Jackson rehearsing a number of his songs for the show.   The pack also includes a 24 page photo booklet.

The Blu-ray is still sealed, and is rated PG.  I must admit to smiling when I read that it 'contains infrequent and scary images' which I imagine are the shots of MJ after all of his plastic surgery.  Sorry....

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment to say you want to be included in the draw, and I will choose a name out of the hat on Monday 15th Feb. 

In case you don't have a Blu-ray machine (and I can highly recommend them, the quality of picture is amazing)  the film can also be played on a Playstation 3.  If you don't have either, then it might look nice propped up on a bookcase.

Good luck!

Images and trailer supplied by Sony

UPDATE: Monday 15th Feb - The winner of this prize draw (done in the high tech method used previously) is Antonella!  Please send me your details to notsupermum (at) hotmail (dot) com and I'll post it out to you asap! 

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Winner of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Giveaway

Tuesdays's post featured a review of the film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the chance to win the Blu-ray and DVD combi pack.  Okay, so this draw was done in a very low-tech way!  But trust me it was done in a fair way.

All of the names were written out by my own fair hand.....

 ....and put into a bowl.....

...and one name was taken out, and we have a winner!

So, if Shootingstarsmag would like to send me their details to notsupermum (at) hotmail (dot) com I'll post the film out to you next week.  Thanks to everyone who took part, and there'll be another film giveaway on Monday.

UPDATE:  Shootingstarsmag very graciously suggested that I choose another winner as she is based in America, and therefore the DVD won't be suitable (it's region 2).  So....the second name out of the bowl (which I'm ashamed to say was still on the kitchen table....) was The MadHouse.  Get in touch!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The World According to Tall Daughter

Just to set the scene, The Teenager is 13, and Tall Daughter is 10.  The Teenager has always been....well, shall we say she is a high-maintenance child.  Her nickname is the Drama Queen, but she's lovely and has many other good qualities.    Tall Daughter is quieter and easy going, although just to balance things out I should also say she is know as Little Miss Moodypants :-)

Yesterday morning as we were getting ready for school The Teenager had one of her regular hissy fits.  She couldn't find one of her school books and she accused me, Tall Daughter, Tess the dog and an imaginary burglar of 'stealing' her school books to make her look disorganised.  She ran screaming up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, looking for the book until - oops - she found it IN HER BAG.

While this was all going on, Tall Daughter and I were standing at the front door. We were ready to go and waiting for Her Royal Highness to get her act together, when TD turned to me and said "I'd just like to thank you for being brave enough to have a second child." 

Today the three of us were talking about things we should do more of as a family, and decided to each draw up a list of things we'd like to do and then compare notes. 

The Teenager's list included playing more board games; walking the dog together; being more active and doing makeovers on each other.  My list included going on cycle rides; having at least one night a week without computers or laptops; cooking meals together and visiting friends more often. 

Tall Daughter was more concise and had only one item on her list:  draw pictures of fluffy bunny rabbits. 

Now why didn't I think of that?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Film review and giveaway: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

We recently received Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs to review for Sony films.
It's about a budding scientist called Flint (voiced by Bill Hader) whose invention can turn water into food.  When his machine runs amok and rockets up into the sky, food starts raining down on the town of Swallow Falls.  A weather girl Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) becomes involved and helps him to prevent a global disaster of epic food proportions. 

I think I'll just say that it wasn't our cup of tea.  The Teenager turned her nose up at it as 'not cool' and Tall Daughter got bored halfway through and turned it off, although we did enjoy using the interactive Splat button which lets you throw food at the screen while watching the film.  Not real food of course, that would be a terrible waste.

It's possible that it's aimed at a slightly younger audience (my girls are 10 and 13)* so I'll reserve judgement especially as I'm offering the combined Blu-ray combi pack as my first giveaway!  If you haven't got a Blu-ray player don't worry, because there's a separate DVD copy included.  So, okay it's slightly used and I've wiped the sticky finger marks off the front of the box but hey, it's still on offer!  (note to self: improve sales pitch for next giveaway...)

Which reminds me, I got an email yesterday from a very well known company offering me an item to offer as a giveaway on my blog.  They were offering a 'dual sensual massager' for couples.....which is a bit rich seeing as I've been single for donkey's years.  I declined the offer, although I was very tempted to ask for one for single women.  I mean, isn't there more of a need there if you see what I mean.  I'm going to stop there before I write something incriminating.  Ahem.

Anyway, If you'd like to watch the film and decide for yourself, please leave a comment and I'll pick someone randomly (if there is more than one comment, that is!) later in the week. Don't say I never give you anything!

*A Modern Mother's 8-year-old daughter also reviewed the film and she liked it.

Monday, 1 February 2010

I've installed a new comment system

After my recent debacle with Intense Debate where it ate all my comments and didn't spit them out again, I've having another go at installing a comment system.

This time it's Disqus comments - is it working?

Do you think this is a good addition to the blog, or is it a bit fussy?

I'll let you decide.