Waving goodbye to our mattress

Recently one of the furniture companies was running radio adverts saying you should replace your mattress every 8 years.  Then I was stabbed by a spring when sleeping – and so decided, after discussions with the husband, that our long serving super kingsize mattress should be replaced.

We’ve been through a lot with that mattress!  Whilst I moved into the house my husband had shared with his ex wife (she’d vacated before I arrived – before I’d even met her ex, actually!) we did replace their bed pretty smartish – but that means the bed has been with us for over 13 years.

It’s been through 4 pregnancies (not all 4 conceptions – half of those stories involve a Premier Inn near Blackpool and Centerparcs Longleat!), 4 lots of breast feeding, 4 lots of potty training and numerous illnesses – not to mention some (although definitely not enough) sleeping.  In fact after writing all of that down, perhaps we should have considered replacing it sooner?!? ** Might not put all that info in the Ebay listing to flog it **

So once we’d decided to look for a new mattress – I went to my usual source of all things for the house – the John Lewis website.  I searched for a super kingsize mattress, and then ranked my search from high to low in terms of price and was SHOCKED to see that the most expensive mattress was £15,500!!!  I posted my shock at this on Facebook to which friends made various suggestions as to why it was so expensive – it being gold plated, or coming with a sesh with Magic Mike being my favourites!  Anyway – we decided we couldn’t decide without trying the mattress out – so off we went to good old John Lewis.

Mattress John Lewis

I was disappointed that John Lewis in Solihull didn’t have the £15,500 mattress in stock.  Who would spend that much money on a mattress without first having a chance to lie on it?!

Anyway – we tried out everything the store had to offer.

Mattress testing

Memory foam still seems to be popular – but I really struggle with it. I suffer from pretty bad motion sickness (I threw up after the Harry Potter ride in Orlando this summer, and have even been known to feel sick on a swing or a lilo!) and it seems that the way the memory foam ‘settles’ when you turn over makes me want to vom – so they were ruled out pretty much straight away.

In the end we went for a mid range sprung mattress – that should arrive just before Christmas.

The husband is now coming up with suggestions of what we need to do on the mattress before it goes.  Oh dear…………..

The #hashtag goes at the beginning

My husband is not as prolific on social media as I am.

He has a Facebook page (where most of the entries are him being tagged in posts or photos by me or family members!)

He has a Twitter profile which he (actually I) set up during the labour of our 4th child to pass the time, but he’s tweeted only a handful of times.

Anyway, the other day he finished an email to a few of us at work with ‘what is the point#’


a) I assumed the hashtag was a spelling error / fat finger issue

b) it was at the end not the beginning

c) there were spaces between the words

But hey – at least he tried – and now he knows it should be at the beginning.#smallsteps



Book Review: Life After You by Lucie Brownlee

Life After You

“He crashed on to the pillow next to me, heavy as a felled oak. I slapped His face and told Him to wake up. Our daughter, B, appeared in the doorway, woken up by the screaming – I must have been screaming but I don’t remember – and she was crying and peering in. I told her the ultimate adult lie; that everything was all right.’

Sudden death is rude. It just wanders in and takes your husband without any warning; it doesn’t even have the decency to knock. At the impossibly young age of 37, as they were making love one night, Lucie Brownlee’s beloved husband Mark dropped dead.

As Lucie tried to make sense of her new life – the one she never thought she would be living – she turned to writing to express her grief. Life After You is the stunning, irreverent and heartbreakingly honest result.”

I saw this book being raved about on Facebook (and subsequently as a Richard and Judy Book Club book)  and so thought I’d download it.  It seemed particularly poignant as a Dad in my daughter’s class at school had recently died – albeit after an illness and so not suddenly – but I still thought it might be relevant and give me an insight into someone being a young widow.

Despite being such a difficult topic – I really enjoyed reading this book, and couldn’t wait to get back to it.  It was so well written – and I can imagine being a mate of Lucie’s.  She writes amazingly – and I hope goes on to write more after this first book.

She deals with the aftermath of her husband’s sudden death – and the effect on her, her young daughter (the same age as my youngest child) and her friends and family with great emotion and passion – but also with humour and irreverence.

Whilst it is written in her context – losing a husband very suddenly – I think it is relevant to anyone going through the hideous emotions of grief.  And whilst I sincerely hope it’s not something I have to go through in the near future (the fact her husband is ‘Mark’, like mine, added an extra dimension) -I also hope it’s given me more empathy for people going through this, or similar, traumas.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone (and it’s alter ego version ‘Me After You’).

It makes me very grateful for my Mark and our brood…….


Book Review: My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge

I reviewed the first book in this series, Game of Scones, earlier in the year – and was pleased when this sequel dropped on to my Kindle.  I also liked the play on ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ theme for the book title – just like ‘Game Of Thrones’ before!

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

“Things don’t always run smoothly in the game of love…

As winter comes to her sleepy Greek island, former hot shot city girl Pippa Pattinson loves her new life of rustic simplicity, running a quaint teashop with her hot fiancé, Niko. But it’s been a quick change to slow living – and you can’t blame a girl for wondering as Christmas approaches, ‘how did I get here?’

As her Christmas wedding approaches, a trip back to snowy England for her ex’s engagement party makes her wonder if those are wedding bells she’s hearing in her mind, or warning bells. She longs for the excitement of her old London life – the glamour, the regular pedicures. Can she really give that all up to be…a fishwife?

There’s nothing for it but to throw herself into bringing a little Christmas magic to the struggling village in the form of a Christmas fair. Somewhere in amidst the sparkly bauble cakes and stollen scones, she’s hoping she’ll come to the right decision about where she belongs…fingers crossed in time for the wedding…”

I have to say I’m a sucker for a sequel – I always like to see how things have panned out for the characters of the previous book, and it feels  like revisiting friends.  This was great – catching up just a few months after the end of Game of Scones – and I still liked Pippa (although occasionally found myself shouting at her just to talk to her fiance!)

I liked the way it was mostly set it Greece – but with a brief trip back to London – it showed the real difference between the Christmas season in both places.

The Greek austerity issues were dealt with well in the book, and you really felt for the families and their fight for survival in the smaller towns of Kos.  However, I felt the refugee crisis was kind of shoe horned in,  It felt as if the book had been written, but then the author felt she couldn’t leave out the current issues facing Kos with refugees, so it had to be shoved in somehow.

I also found it quite odd with the Greek people in the book sometimes speaking perfect English – and at other times complete pigeon English – it just seemed a bit strange and inconsistent (although in both cases way better than my Greek would be!!)

Another random thing – the actual book finished at 84% on my Kindle (which was a bit disappointing and abrupt – I know that they often don’t go to 100% but I was expecting more than it suddenly finishing so far before the end.  This additional 16% (see, geeky mathematician like Pippa!) was preview chapters of another book which I didn’t want to read.)

Also, I’ve ended up ‘unfollowing’ the author on Twitter.  I realise that Twitter is often used by authors for self promotion – but she was posting literally every hour about the book – or her other books – and it all felt a bit exhausting.  It’s a shame – as I do like following authors on Twitter to see what they’re up to, and when new books are going to be out – but perpetual advertising does not make for an interesting feed.

Overall the story was fun, and it was an easy read, and if there is a 3rd book in the series I will probably read it (and look forward to which TV series / film the title is a pun of!)

Time to step off the wagon?

So – my 30 days are up (well, they are tomorrow morning).  I’ve managed not to have a drop of booze for a month. I am pretty proud of myself.

I have to say I may well have given up if I hadn’t been so public about it – or said I was doing it to help Fin fundraise but I have stuck to my guns (despite people trying to tempt me, and the universe conspiring at times) – but a month on the wagon is done.

I am going to *try* not to slip in to the bad habits of wine every night, as I feel so much better for not drinking – and have even lost a bit of weight – but it will be nice to share a bottle with my husband, have a G&T with visiting friends, or numb the frustration of a child with tonsilitis refusing to take her medicine!!

But you can still make a donation if you’d like to recognise this achievement – and help raise money for Brain Tumour Research.  Thank you to those who already have too.

Concorde Room - with vintage champagne!


Today I parked at the ‘wrong’ side of a railway bridge, so I could march up the stairs and across it and walk down into the village to go to the Post Office whilst waiting for my daughter’s train home from school.  Part of this was to rack up lots of steps and flights of stairs on my Fitbit.  A great plan.


Until I got half way back and went to check my steps and realised my Fitbit was still plugged into my computer at home being charged.


Social media recognition

Today we were out for lunch, and totally randomly, the Dad of the family sitting on the  table behind us was someone I used to work with 20 years ago – and I probably haven’t seen him for 15 years!  He had his back to us – but popped over to say hello. I was concerned he had heard my familiar dulcet Brummie tones (we sat next to each other for 3 years studying for our Chartered Accountancy exams)  – but actually, it was his wife who’d recognised us!  I’d never met her before – but she thought we were familiar from her husband’s Facebook…..

(And obviously you meet someone you haven’t seen for many years when your 5 year old has got herself dressed and appears to be channeling a refugee whilst wearing school tights, denim skirt and white tank top with boots that are too small so she takes them off to walk in just her tights, with a bizarre flowered headband and scruffy hair …………)

My husband isn’t as prolific on social media as me (not many people are!) but has still been recognised at rugby matches and shopping with the kids by people who’ve never met him in person because they’ve seen photos of him on my profile.  Actually – when our daughter first started at her new school last September, one of the mother’s commented on first meeting him that she’d seem him naked – from behind sat down working in a hotel in New York on one of my photos I should add!!  Although having starred in a charity calendar this year – an awful lot of people can say the same (in fact a local estate agent came up to him at lunch today to say he was on her kitchen wall in the buff ………)

Calendar 1

Calendar 3

And if anyone would like a calendar (raising funds for one of Finlay Church‘s charities – Brain Tumour Research) – then there are just a few left!!