Visiting the Folks

9 09 2013


On my most recent visit to see my family in Northern Ireland they expressed their dissatisfaction at how rarely FFOMC and I visit. It was pointed out to me that August marked my first visit in two years and we struggled to recall when FFOMC was last in Northern Ireland to visit his in-laws.

However an opportunity has presented itself and my Mother is in the process of sorting out flights for us to stay for a couple of days over the Halloween half term. I could not be more excited.

When I was still living at home Mum and Dad started throwing an annual Halloween party. They really went for it with decorations, sparklers and fireworks, bobbing for apples and other such festive activities.

I love the idea of introducing FFOMC to this tradition. I can picture him nestled in the family fold, competing with my brother-in-laws, assisting my Dad with the more troublesome fireworks and donning the mandatory mittens before spelling his name in the air with his sparkler.

Mum has been super organised and has started rallying round and sending invites and has already secured verbal RSVP’s with intentions to attend.

It is great to have a big family event to look forward to especially at the beginning of the school term when the summer holiday already feels like it was months ago and Christmas is still a far off dream.



What Baby?

24 08 2013


We can all be guilty of making poor decisions.

Sometimes the worst kinds are those designed to protect other people.

I found myself making just such a poor decision whilst holidaying in the Dominican Republic.

It was the second day. FFOMC and I were searching for a table in the buffet restaurant for breakfast. It was rammed with people but we tumbled upon a table that had recently been vacated by its previous occupants and was being made up by one of the countless waitresses swarming between the crowds of hungry tourists.

I loitered next to the table to communicate my intention to occupy the table as soon as it was ready whilst FFOMC went in search of coffee, toast and tropical fruit juice.

The waitress (whose name tag read Vanessa), smiled and acknowledged my presence. She politely inquired about my health on that particular morning, cupping her stomach with one hand whilst she skilfully arranged cutlery with the other. I nodded that I was in good health.

The next question came as something of a shock.

“And how is the baby?”

In a heartbeat my mind raced through a number of subsequent thoughts.  What f**king baby? Do I look fat in this outfit? Who do you think I am? Do I have a pregnant doppelganger? Are you mocking me? How embarrassed will you be when you realise I am not in actual fact pregnant?

Having made similar errors in the past of enquiring about pregnancy and due dates with non-pregnant woman, my heart clenched in sympathy for this woman so desperate to please and engage with guests. Despite the multitude of responses competing in my brain, my overwhelming gut reaction was to spare the poor woman’s feelings and save her from embarrassment – after all she does not know me and after a fortnight was never likely to see me again. Even so, the response that issued from my mouth surprised even me;

“The baby’s fine.”

I don’t know what I expected but of course this was not the end of this conversation.

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Err…it’s really much too early to say”

(Gushing) “Oh…you must be so excited – it will be a wonderful surprise”

“More than you can possibly imagine…”

I had a lovely morning breakfast. As a “Mum-to-be” I was treated like royalty by the gushing staff and received approving, knowing nods of approval from the waiters. FFOMC laughed when I explained the reason for these knowing glances and rolled his eyes in merriment. Yes for an hour or so, I enjoyed being “pregnant”.

However, my amusement was short lived.

After a sinfully blissful day of drifting aimlessly between my sun lounger where I caught up on the romantic exploits of Damien Stark and my time in the Jacuzzi FFOMC and I dressed for dinner and made our way to dinner followed by the bar. As I was about to place my order for my usual red wine I met the beaming face of the lovely Vanessa. Despite my earlier reassurance that I would not ever see this woman again after my annual fortnight in the sun; I baulked at the idea of being branded the world’s worst parent as I necked wine by the gallon load putting my “unborn child” at unnecessary risk.

This was the start of a very long fortnight.

We ate at the buffet restaurant and all three of the Al La Carte restaurants in no particular order. At each venue we were greeted with Vanessa’s smiling face.

I abstained from ordering alcohol in her presence. I approached other waiters when her back was turned and took large gulps under the table when she went into the kitchen to collect food orders. I guzzled water and soft drinks when she was in my sight lines and refused to partake of the liqueur trolley when it was wheeled to our table.

It became a standing joke with the holiday friends we made and this farcical routine continued until the day we left.

All in all it was a great holiday but for much of it, I was significantly more lucid than I had intended to be.

On my return to England I have thrown out the offending outfit that resulted in this gross misunderstanding and I am hell bent on catching up on lost units.


Post Holiday Haze

23 08 2013


I have just returned today after a fabulous holiday in the Dominican Republic.

I have been very twitchy about not posting for two weeks but I have always found it difficult to access the internet when I am abroad, irrespective of the strength of my motivation and my commitment to the postaday challenge.

So despite another trip planned in the coming week to catch up with my family in Northern Ireland – I am back with a vengence – totally refreshed and with some news ideas that may or may not be worth pursuing and developing in my writing.

As soon as I can shake off this jet lag, watch this space!

Agent Zehira

25 07 2013

secret agent

Following his attempts yesterday to fill my summer days with housework and chores; FFOMC came up with a more creative way of leaving me today’s task –  although I found this one much less objectionable than yesterday’s list of dull cleaning jobs.

I woke up to find a letter marked TOP SECRET for the Attention of AGENT ZEHIRA.

Marked as classfied it read:

It has come to our attention that today is HDAY.

Your mission should you choose to acept it, is to track down and book a top secret location to secure as our base of operations from 8th August until 22nd August.

The location must be safe from Pygmes and preferable in a Carribean location.

This message will self destruct in 5…4…3…2…1…BOOM!!!

Mission Accepted! Dominican Republic here we come!


Project: Book Summer Holiday

2 07 2013

raising moneyProject “Summer Holiday 2013” is in full swing.

Usually FFOMC and I book our summer holiday in January as a way of beating the Winter Blues. But this year for a host of reasons – I wont bore you them – with we have delayed until now.

Having realised just how close the summer break is, I decided on Saturday that the time had come to book. You may have realised from previous posts that although I take my time to make decisions – once a decision has been made I expect results immediately!

We found the perfect place, just within our budget, adult only, all inclusive for a fortnight. FFOMC then threw a spanner in the works when he revealed that his confidence in his ability to book any time off that he pleased, was just a tad niave.

I waited with baited breath until he got home on Monday evening to make our booking. But as I updated the intrenet booking forms, the little extra costs started to mount up. I started to reconsider just how flexible my plastic wallet friend actually is, especialy this early in the month.

The problem is not lack of funds as such, but more getting access to these funds at a moments notice.

Holiday plans are currently pending and I am growing increasingly frustrated as the desire to book our next great escape mounts.”

Delayed Gratification

29 06 2013


I have never been good at delayed gratification.

When I decide I want something – it has to be NOW.

Spurred on by my sisters departure in the early hours of the morning to a much anticipated family holiday I decided to finally go ahead and book my own summer vacation with FFOMC.

We picked the destination we wanted, found a hotel with terrific reviews, established that we could book the dates we wanted and were lucky enough to get a late booking deal.

Iwas at the point of selecting my seat on the online image of the plane when FFOMC (who had previously assured me that he could pretty much take his leave at any time) chimed in with, “I better just check with my boss”.

I have decided that his boss is a bit of a meanie pants. Despite his confidence that the dates we had selected were fine, he aparently needs to check the calendar on Monday.

I am officially sulking.

Flashing Lights and Trinkets

1 06 2013

Arcade Machine

On our trip last week we visited Brighton Pier.

It was a day full of nostalgia for me.

I fondly remember my family holidays to Portrush as a young child. These holidays always included two absolutely compulsory events:

1/ Dinner at Grahams

2/ A day at Barry’s

Grahams was a family restaurant clearly intended to keep children pacified so their parents could enjoy a meal in peace. Tom and Jerry was played on an endless loop, and when you cleared your plate you were rewarded with an image of a disney character smothered in bean sauce and ketchup and there was even a toy shop downstairs to visit on the way out.

Barrys is a funfair and amusement park. I remember being too frightened at age 6 to go down the helter skelter so my Dad had to come to the top to carry me back down, I loved the totally naff ghost train, almost threw up one time after being on the waltzer and couldnt visit even now without a ride on the merry go round.


Brighton transported me right back to my 6 year old self. None of us expected to spend so much time on the pier but the second we saw the coin machines we were as mezmorised as each and every one of the children enjoying a family day out over half term. FFOMC has always had a weakness for anything with flashing lights and it was only minutes before a crisp 5 pound note was exhanged for a tub of copper coins. I begged him to try to win me a Nemo on the claw machine but he failed in his quest so I set my sights on a keyring monster composed entirely of colourful elastic bands resting on top of a sea of copper.

One coin after another perfectly timed worked its way through the maze of pins until it finally came to rest and edged my prize ever closer to the edge. My heart stopped whenthe monster finally fell – only to have his elastic talons wedged under the weight of the coins – robbing me of victory. Try as I might I could not release him from his flashing perspex prison and walked away disappointed. FFOMC giggled at my failed attempts. My persistence was largely due to an experience on another family holiday to Spain  – it was our last day and although I didnt realise it at the time Mum and Dad had clearly run out of money. My Dad always had a soft sport for our well rehearsed puppy dog eyes and frittered away the last few Spanish pesetas on a pink and blue elastic band monster for each of his girls. Had I won a similiar monster last week I would have posted it to my Mom – although she probably doesnt remember my joy at this simple gift given on a Spanish holiday many moons ago.

The Brighton trip came to a conclusion only after we took many photographs with our faces wedged through spaces provided in comedy caricatures, FFOMC and bromance partner FNOMC (Future Nanny of my children – all will be explained in a future post); took a ride together in the Ghost Hotel and we all ate chips out of a paper cone.

I love that such simple pleasures kept four 30somethings entertained for such a long time and the way in which the fondest memories of childhood are quick to resurface and take us back to the endless summers of youth.