Kids TV: The Good, The Bad And The Put-Your-Head-Through-A-Wall Terrible.

I’ve watched my fair share of kids TV over the ages.

From watching it myself, as a child during the golden age of SM:TV, Mona The Vampire and MI High to watching it at University as “research” for a housemate training as a primary school teacher, to sitting in a dark room at 3am watching Bing Bunny whilst an 18 month old does grabby hands at ice creams on screen.

Therefore, I feel like I am competently qualified to give you the run-down of the best and worst kids TV out there today.

(This is inspired by the current Pokemon series Elliot is obsessed with that we’ve been watching for the past few weeks. FOURTY-TWO EPISODES PER SERIES. Can you imagine what the last series of Game of Thrones would have been like if they’d had that timescale to play with?!)

The Best:

Dick and Dom in da Bungalow: Possibly the best TV show ever created. Laid in bed last night until nearly midnight watching clips of this on Twitter and actually crying real tears of laughter. My favourite moment remains: the girl who rang the wrong number. Back in the day when you only had six channels.

Hey Duggee: It’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing for a kids TV show. They’ve definitely had an episode where everything looked like it had fallen out of a Wes Anderson movie, and it’s given us the true gift that is the Stick Song. I won’t link to that as it’s a serious ear-worm. Or ear-stick? Not sure if that works – ANYWAY it’s really quite cool and I don’t mind watching six episodes in a row.

Waffle The Wonder Dog: Probably a bit of a Marmite program, here. It’s about a dog that can talk. But a) in the first episode, they get married and when they discover a magical dog in their house the woman rips off her wedding dress to reveal her Vet uniform underneath. Second best outfit reveal since Violet Chachki’s tartan moment. There’s also really catchy tunes, the dog is voiced by Rufus Hound and I spend all my time wondering how their house works – it has a very intriguing layout. That’s what I think of when I watch TV shows now – the interiors.

The Worst:

Paw Patrol: I could truly write an essay on the shit that goes on in Adventure Bay but I like to try and keep these blog posts under 1000 words. To sum it up: the Mayor is even shitter than Theresa May, there’s this weird man that lives at sea who pretends to be pretentious by picking particular POINTS OF PHRASE THAT BEGIN WITH P and you could probably swim in the spit that he creates. It just drives me up the wall. Also, your child will be obsessed with it one day and you’ll spend £79.99 on a Paw Patrol Adventure Bay Play Set complete with all five pups and a Bettina the cow and the next day he’ll be interested in something completely different.

Peppa Pig: I don’t think I need to explain the show Peppa Pig as everyone ever has seen one episode, or at least that meme of Peppa hanging up the phone on her friend like a bitch. It’s just absolute shite, from the fat-shaming of poor old Daddy Pig to the madness of why they all live on hills and where they draw the line at eating other animals? We watched hours and hours and hours of this and I dread to imagine how many brain cells perished.

Fireman Sam: I’m not 100% sure that Pontypandy isn’t the town where the Wicker Man takes place. Absolutely terrifying place where things set on fire every single day, and everyone has the Fire Brigade on speed-dial. WEIRD. Also, note that Norman Price is Fireman Sam’s illegitimate son and he’s obviously fighting those daddy issues by setting fire to things. Which gives me some serious serial killer vibes, to be honest.

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The “Actively-Skip-This-Trust-Me”:

Patchwork Pals: The episodes of Patchwork Pals are only approximately five minutes long, but I would honestly make those five minutes the time when you go to the toilet or boil the kettle or hang the washing out because it’s excruciatingly awkward to watch. In one episode, a chicken gets an egg stuck…coming out of them. And employs the help of their friends, including an elephant to help them get it out.

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HONESTLY, I’M CRYING WITH IT.

Show Me Show Me: There’s just something really weird about a grown man playing in a playground with teddy bears. It just seems wrong. All you need to know is in one episode, they were talking about kites and it sounded like something else. Every other moment of the show is irrelevant. Please find said moment here. But trust me, it really does sound like Something Else so I’d recommend being careful if you’re watching it with children in tow.

The Furchester Hotel: I’ll be honest, this is more of a personal beef. I have a deep-seated fear of Elmo that has haunted me to my very core and the thought of staying in a hotel where he just appears from nowhere shouting “ELMO” is…ugh. I’d rather stay in the hotel from The Shining and share a room with the old woman in the shower, honestly. I do applaud their rhyming skills though, as they concocted a whole song around the word “catastrophe.”

Let me know what you think of my choices, and if there’s anything you’d add or change. I’m sure you’ll thank me later when you’ve fallen down a hour-long rabbit hole of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

 

Things That Have Made Me Cry Recently

I’ve had a bit of a funny turn recently.

Everything became a bit much for me, as life occasionally does and I took a slight step back. Not even from anything in particular, just a step back from everyone and everything and just hid for a few weeks.

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Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Couldn’t even particularly tell you why, just that I am still anxiety’s bitch and sometimes will still succumb to its will.

It’s been a bit of a write-off, so I’ve decided to ease myself back in gently by writing about utter tosh.

Whilst I was taking some time off from being a member of society,  laying on the sofa and ignoring the crust of Cheerios and dust that was covering my entire house, I seemed to be on an emotional rollercoaster. Having an anxiety moment meant that I was living on a knife-edge and the slightest thing could have me tearing up.

And I thought I’d share the pain, because if I don’t laugh I’ll cry even more.

Here are a few choice things I’ve cried over whilst hiding from the blog, from my inbox, from my friends and from myself.

  • One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to wear my dungarees. I got them out of the wardrobe, only to find that somehow one of the metal bits had come undone. I had no idea how to get it back on, no idea how it had fallen off and no idea what else I was going to wear. I sat there in tears before I realised a) that I could wear anything else in my wardrobe, including my leopard print culottes with the elasticated waist which are practically pyjamas and b) that my period had arrived.

 

  • Mrs Hinch’s Instagram stories where she videos herself folding baby clothes whilst We Belong Together by Mariah Carey plays over the top.

 

  • Reece and I started watching The Office US and I just thought about the Niagara episodes. The only time where Chris Brown can be played without judgement. It’s also Reece’s first time watching it, so I got to enjoy Jim and Pam for the first time all over again through his eyes and got a bit more emotional.

 

  • After writing that last point, I found the scene in question and watched it on Youtube. Now crying again.

 

  • Sir Terry Pratchett’s hat had it’s own chair at the Good Omens premiere.

 

  • At a seriously low point, I looked at some Father’s Day cards and an Ed Sheeran song came over the shop radio. I had to leave as I was getting a quivery bottom lip and it was actually embarrassing.  When I told Reece this story, he started laughing as I said, a bit wobbly, ” I just…people out there love their dads so much they want to buy them cards!”

 

  • I had a shower and listened to Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and cried in the rain so no-one could see my tears.

 

  • I spent a week listening to Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday in full, on repeat, as I’m seeing it live in two weeks time. Teaming that with re-living the pain of Jim Halpert in Series 2 of The Office meant I turned into an angsty 15 year old. I have since stopped listening to said album and have remembered I’m a happily married woman before I start making bloody Piczo graphics of Cute Without The E lyrics again.

 

  • Elliot put a baseball cap on backwards and started singing the Pokemon theme tune at me and it was just really, really cute. The first time. By the seventh time that day, I was wishing for a Charizard to burn me to death.

It’s been a tough ol’ week, I’ll be honest. Onwards and upwards, I spose!

Monthly Favourites #4

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I’m reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, and to be honest it’s amazing. It’s about a girl called Frances and her friend/ex Bobbi who get friendly with a couple and how things get more complicated as the four become intertwined. I didn’t know anything about it when I bought it, other than people online had said it was good – and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It’s amazing. I’m eeking it out for as long as possible, because I don’t want it to end. Frances is such a real character as well, if you’ve ever fancied someone you shouldn’t you’ll feel twitchy with recognition at how she feels.

I’m aware I’m probably going to be reading this book for the whole month so in lieu of other books, please take my advice and read this piece by Joel Golby about what the fuck happened in this house. It honestly has me screaming with laughter every time I read it.

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I have become completely obsessed with Buzzfeed Unsolved on Youtube. It’s true crime AND ghosts, two investigators – one skeptic, one believer go to all these creepy places and see if they can solve the ultimate question – are ghosts real? The Haunting of Hannah Williams is my favourite episode by far but they’re all hilarious.

Also, I don’t think I need to say much about Game of Thrones returning. Don’t want to detail what’s happened as ~spoilers, as I’m not that girl. However, if you haven’t watched it I’d get going straight away as it’s really good. One note is this series hasn’t been thaaaaaat gory yet, I haven’t had to hide too much. PLUS you get 10 points from me if you notice Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s five seconds of fame.

Movie wise, all I want to talk about is Avengers: Endgame. Oh my word. If you’re into Marvel in any way, you’ll have seen it anyway or are planning on seeing it but I cannot stress how good it is. If you’re not into Marvel, I’d recommend getting started. And get your skates on, as you’ve got 22 films to work through and I want to discuss them with as many people as possible ASAP, so hurry up.

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Although it’s not technically a podcast, I’ve been listening to Simple Creatures new EP on repeat. It’s the new creation of Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 and Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low – a recovering emo kid’s dream, right? Their EP came out on the 29th and I gave it the ultimate test – listened to it whilst cleaning my house and walking back from the school run and it passed both with flying colours. I’d most recommend the song How To Live, which sounds a bit like the new Bring Me The Horizon album (but GOOD!)

Podcast-wise, I would recommend Shagged, Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsay which I have been blasting through. I attempted to play it as the “Doing Housework” podcast but every time I’ve ended up sitting down cackling with laughter surrounded by piles of washing so it’s not going too well in that direction. Also: beware of listening in public, as it’s really hard not to laugh out loud.

Apologies that my favourites seem to be a bit sparse this month,  the Easter holidays really threw a spanner in the works and I’ve been sacrificing everything in my life to watch The Crown for the past week or so. Writing, cleaning, ….weeing, everything has gone straight out of the window for that show. But I’ll tell you more about that later…

Couch to 5K: Losing My Momentum

OK.

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

So I gave up on Couch To 5K. Only a little bit, mind, not completely.

But I’ve not been running for a few weeks because…life got in the way, basically.

That’s a terrible excuse, I know.

Actually. I take that back. I don’t need to excuse myself. I don’t give a monkeys if you care that I haven’t been for a run in a fortnight. I doubt you even care, so I’m doubly not going to apologise for that.

You might remember my last Couch to 5K post was a while ago, and I detailed how hard I was finding the jogs, and that I’d hit my own personal wall with regards to the entire running lark.

Life then got in the way, I got a weird cold, my period slapped me in the face and I never want to run when I’m cramping no matter how many articles will repeatedly tell me exercise is a healer. Reece went on holiday so I wasn’t able to keep my routine up, Elliot got chicken pox and turned into a velcro child so I couldn’t walk to the toilet on my own let alone go for a half hour run, I also got a stinking chest infection which just threw me back a thousand steps as well.

Overall, everything just went out the window and got blown away in Storm Gareth and I decided to just give up and let myself just be taken away by the wind. Imagine my will to live being Jack floating down under the water at the end of Titanic.

Unfortunately, I have realised that I felt better when I was running regularly. I was feeling more, that’s for sure.

Not like Beyonce style feeling myself but I would come home and feel proud of myself, which is a lovely emotion that doesn’t come out often. I would sometimes come home and cry because half an hour of running around with my own thoughts was like therapy (with me coaching myself through my own thoughts so probably not the best kind of therapy) and I felt stronger, both mentally and physically.

Anyway. Back to the actual point, this is me telling you. And myself, mainly because we already know you don’t really care. I’m telling the void that I’m going to start moving again.

It might not be Couch to 5K, okay! I don’t want to pressure myself into the timings of the runs, as I find myself counting down the seconds and the minutes instead of actually thinking about  and enjoying the physical act of running, which I think is the actual point.

I’ve been contemplating dragging the yoga mat out again. A few years ago I really enjoyed Yoga With Adriene and got really into it, I even managed crow pose one and was touching my toes on the regular. But then, as per usual, life got in the way and I ended up letting the yoga mat gather dust behind the sofa.

I even found myself staring at my swimming costume the other day, daring myself to pop down to the pool for a few lengths. Bear in mind, I haven’t done any proper swimming since I was about 12, so this would be a real jump into the unknown. My main reservation with this idea is that they haven’t sorted out a way that I can listen to music whilst swimming. I’m not here to listen to Barry in the slow lane huffing and puffing.

I’m going to tentatively dip my metaphorical toe into the metaphorical pool and see what works and what happens and, as always, will keep you updated when I inevitably give up on this new venture in three months time.

See you then!

 

My Guide To Clubbing As A 25 Year Old.

HAHAHAHA.

I’ll elaborate on the title in a second, but just know that I’ve been writing this blog post in my head since I got in the queue on Saturday night. My first queue for a club in about ….six years? Jesus.

I even went on the Facebook page that afternoon and put us on the guest-list so we qualified for a free Jagerbomb.

(The best bit: it wasn’t even a Jagerbomb and when we went to the bar, confused, and proffering these bits of paper that said Promo Drink, the barman had to explain what this weird other drink was. In the end he said “it’s free and it’s alcoholic – will that do?” …yes please thank you sir.)

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actual photo of myself

If you’re like me, feeling old as balls even though you’re probably statistically in the prime of your life, and normally treat yourself to a podcast in bed at 11pm, occasionally reminiscing the days where you went out before snuggling down with a hot chocolate – live through me and my Saturday night to know clubbing hasn’t changed since 2012.

I realised I was out of my depth when we entered the queue. This is a really niche reference, so if you get it please Tweet me and let me know but the girl in front of me in the queue really reminded me of Effy’s friend from her episode in Series 1 of Skins. You know the one that borrows tights off her mum and says “I don’t think many orgy’s happen in Luton?”

Oh, and I also couldn’t take my eyes off the guy who had dinner plates for pupils and kept trying to gnaw his friends ear off. He was pretty interesting as well.

Once we were inside, I instantly became aware I was wearing too many clothes. I was wearing a top AND a bra and I think now your options are one or the other?! I honestly need scaffolding to hold myself up so I think that’s me tapping out of that craze for now.

Also, do people not wear tights anymore?! They must have gone out of fashion when I was in baby-land because I felt incredibly overdressed with my 80 deniers on.

However, I did see someone wearing what looked like a Knickerbox for Ann Summers bodice tucked into some skinny jeans, so I guess she missed a memo as well. And the girl wearing obligatory denim shorts with patterned tights – good to know that 2009 style is still going strong. Big up.

I was standing there watching people not know the words to songs like I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness (honestly, this guy was stood there looking like Mark Corrigan in that picture above whilst all his friends were performing dramatic air-guitar solos, it was beautiful.)

Dog Days Are Over by Florence And The Machine as well. I realised it was a ~classic tune for all the people born in this millennium whereas I remember it being her only single on her Myspace page and Flo being on BBC Breakthrough Music.

One of the other highlights was, as we meandered from room to room trying to find somewhere to dance and/or people watch – a full series of Hollyoaks happened in the same corner of an emergency exit.

First I saw  a guy get cornered by a group of girls, and he was having to explain himself. Then I saw the girls in the toilets squeezing into the same cubicle to relay his message to whoever he’s offended. Then, in the final act, I saw the evident main girl confront the guy about whatever the fuck he’d done, and by the time we left they were getting off. The circle of life.

I also heard someone saying, excitedly, “we’ll stay here until about 2, half 2 and then we’ll go on to somewhere else, yeah? That sound like a plan?”

Mate. I was yawning at 1am and managed to drag my friend home at about 1:45 (that might be an exaggeration, it was probably half past.),

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ME

So my guide to clubbing as a 25 year old married mother of one is: go and be Mark Corrigan. Be Louis Theroux at the orgy.

Don’t get sucked in, because you end up drinking Blue VK (WHO THE BLOODY HELL DO I THINK I AM?!) whilst watching people born in 2001 sing Shotgun by George Ezra and hurting your neck dancing to Slipknot in the ~alternative room.

But still go, because it’s hilarious and you can always get chips on the way home.

Right. I’m off for a sleep because it’s Tuesday afternoon and I am still knackered from getting home at 2:30am.

Smear With A Little Bit Of Fear

The Internet has been awash recently with Fanny Chat. From that man who decided to mansplain what a vulva is to that Boohoo swimsuit that doesn’t seem to have a visible gusset, there’s been a bit of a hooha recent regarding …hoohas.

champ-neon-pink-boxing-uterus-sculpturepicture is from Zoe Buckman’s Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable

Obviously I’m a bit late to the party talking about this but a few weeks ago, it was Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and my Instagram was full of people talking about their smear test, Instagram story-ing their trip to the GP, complete with an interview with the nurse whilst she’s quickly swiping your innards.

It felt a bit like that scene in Mean Girls with the Sex Ed teacher. Every five seconds I was being told “Book your smear test now or you WILL get CANCER and you WILL DIE. NOW. BOOK IT NOW. It’s not scary, DON’T WAIT, BOOK IT RIGHT NOW!!!”

Which is fucking terrifying.

Now there’s nothing wrong with encouraging people with a cervix to go and get checked. It’s a necessary evil.

However the emphasis on cancer and what could go wrong and DEATH if you delayed your appointment at all is just too much pressure.

As someone who had booked appointment after appointment since November, when I turned 25, but had to cancel them due to my implant-affected cycle, the guilt and anxiety I felt all the time was overwhelming.

Being told in one second that a smear test was nothing, it was two minutes of your time and then in the next breath that it was really painful and you might bleed for the rest of the day is really confusing. If you’re already anxious about the appointment, that’s not what you need.

ANYWAY. The point of this blog post is that yesterday I was actually able to make it to an appointment. And…without sounding patronising, it was okay. Not the best way to spend a Tuesday morning but needs must, I suppose.

And here are my tips, as someone who has been sitting and worrying about having this done for the past five months, on how to get through your smear test with only a little bit of fear. Because #SmearWithoutFear is a bit out of my reach.

  • Don’t wear jeans. Because getting changed in the Doctor’s is embarassing enough, you don’t need to add squeezing in and out of your skinny jeans to your to-do list. I wore a midi skirt so I didn’t have to worry about taking anything off and faffing around putting it back on.
  • Just put your pants on the floor. This was the worst moment of the entire thing, let’s be real. I took my pants off and just stood there. The nurse was on the other side of the curtain saying “just let me know when you’re ready!” and I was stood there with my pants in a ball in my hand looking around panicking. In the end, I just put them on the floor near the bed.
  • Breathe through it. It’s a little bit awkward, but you’re best to just breathe through the actual act and then it’s over before you know it. It is a bit cold, even though the nurse ran the speculum under the hot tap for me. (Can we just have a moment to let that sink in. Fully ran it under the hot tap.)
  • If you’re really worried, take two paracetamol before you go. I was panicking about the horror stories I’d hear of period-style cramps afterwards and bleeding and how sore it was for the nurse to swipe your cervix. I popped two tablets before dropping Elliot to school and even if it was just a bit of a placebo effect, it made me feel better. About four hours after the appointment, I started to get a bit crampy so had some Nurofen after my lunch and went on with my day.
  • If you’re nervous, tell them. The first thing the nurse asked me was if I was okay? She explained everything to me and was talking to me throughout the whole appointment. I’ve heard some nurses can get a bit cringey and talk to your cervix like it’s a cat they’re trying to chivvy into the carrier ready to go to the vets. Luckily, my nurse just spoke to me like a human being. ..however she did tell me I have a lovely cervix which made me walk around like Tobey Maguire when he goes evil in Spiderman 3.

I know you’re going to have been inundated with blog posts, Instagram posts, stories (I can’t get over the interview with the nurse, speculum in hand!) and YouTube videos taking you along for the ride, but I thought I’d throw in my two pence and tell you my experience.

Have you booked your smear test? Are you due one? Did you feel pressured because of the recent influx in fanny chat or did you find it comforting?

Favourites of the Month #1

Normally I would write a post all about things I’m reading at the moment, or things I’ve listened to recently or something along those lines. However – this month I have really tried to take time for myself.

I’m not going to use the s and c words because we all know they’re thrown around like a hot potato and I don’t want to sound like a broken record.

Or an influencer off Instagram who spent £26 on soap and is singing the praises of a really expensive spa they went to for free.

I’m just making sure that I’m watching more than just Homes Under The Hammer, listening to more than just Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and reading more than just long Instagram captions.

I also would like to become one of those people who has important things to say. Who knows things about current affairs other than “ain’t Brexit a load of shit, right?” and popular culture that isn’t just Simpsons quotes from 1999.

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With regards to reading, I’ve tried to hit the ground running as I haven’t read a book for approximately 4 years other than the Very Hungry Caterpillar and wanted to change that this year.

Eat, Drink, Run by Bryony Gordon was a very good read, especially during that January slump where you’re thinking about resolutions but don’t actually want to DO anything about them.

It’s all about how she went from being a complete couch potato drowning in mental health issues to someone who ran the marathon (twice!)

I found it inspiring but not patronising and would recommend to anyone who suffers from anxiety (or other ailments) and can’t see a way out of the hole.

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge was an eye-opening read. I became very aware of my privilege and my ignorance and am very glad I read it.

I genuinely think this book should be handed out to everyone on like, their 16th birthday so that they can grow into adulthood being a well-rounded adult instead of someone who hashtags #savetommyrobinson and votes for Brexit. (Ain’t it a load of shit, right?)

I can’t read and watch television at the same time, I have to listen to music that wouldn’t be out of place at Rainbow Rhythms (from that episode of Peep Show?) and pretend like Jeremy Kyle isn’t just one click away.

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Normally of an evening, I’m either watching Reece play Overwatch on the XBOX or watching Silent Witness out of the corner of my eye whilst I’m really concentrating on Candy Crush.

However, this week I’ve been home alone of an evening, which means it’s the perfect time to sit and binge watch a good show.

And binge watch I did. I’ve (finally) started How To Get Away With Murder. OH. MY. GOD. I have screamed at the telly at least five times this week because it keeps TWISTING and TURNING. It’s the tale of Annalise Keating, a criminal defence lawyer and a group of students that work for her as part of their degree. And there might be a little bit of murder, clue’s in the title.

I’m going to be honest with you and say I haven’t watched anything else all week, haha. But I am looking forward to watching Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and the new Shane Dawson Conspiracy series.

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Music-wise, I haven’t listened to much other than Chill~ playlists on Spotify and reliving the joy of A Flash Flood Of Colour by Enter Shikari as I’ve been jogging around the block.

Podcasts, however, have pretty much taken the place of my husband. Whilst I’m washing up, when I’m in the shower, when I’m cooking, cleaning, falling asleep. I love having that chatter around me.

My favourites this week are Love Stories with Dolly Alderton. Her latest episode was with Stanley Tucci and honestly, I’ve never found someone talking about pasta sexier. It’s also heartbreaking and warming in the same breath. I’d definitely recommend.

As always, I’ve been loving All Killa No Filla. Two female comedians talking us through serial killers from near and far, recent and historic. Plus they’re fucking funny.

I normally listen to them when I’m falling asleep, so have only got half way through but found myself cackling at a very angry discussion about whether a Do Not Disturb sign actually works when you’re in a hotel.

I’m probably flogging a dead horse by telling you all about these things. If you’re a little bit later to the party than I am, then let me know if you’re going to listen/watch/read anything I’ve mentioned above and how you found it?

PS. Especially if you’re going to watch How To Get Away With Murder message me because I need to talk about it, and my one-sided Facebook conversations with Reece on holiday aren’t cutting it.