Summer Staycation: why holiday at home?


Summer is upon us. Your skin feels better and you can enjoy eating al fresco in your garden (balcony, yard, park?). Decisions have been made about where to holiday and you’re on the countdown. You might have even downloaded an app, screenshot it every day and posted it on social media to the envy of ‘friends’ scanning their newsfeeds. You might have already been on holiday, just about recovered and are now at your desk day dreaming about the next one. You might be like me and you could be Staycating this summer.

Having already been abroad in February, we sacrificed this year’s summer holiday vacation in favour of the so-called ‘Staycation’. No, not because of Brexit and the alleged drop in the pound and no, it’s not because of the rise of terrorist attacks reported in the media. In a bid to explore a potential ‘late deal’, I’d been told by a rep at the local Holiday Hypermarket that the price of holidays to Spain and the Balearics were up because “people feel safer there than in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt”. Scary thought. Poor tourist resorts too; it’s not their fault is it?

Our decision for a Staycation was much more straightforward; something else has simply taken priority this year.

Yes, I am somewhat disinclined to say that DIY, home improvements or whatever you want to call it, is the very reason why we won’t be holidaying abroad this summer.

Is this what real grown-ups do? Am I a grown-up? God. Help. Me.

3 (Obvious) Reasons for Vacation

  1. Weather – Much more likely to have a sunnier summer than at home (with the exception one solid week of sunshine – when was that again?)
  2. New experience and culture – always a good idea
  3. Change of scenery – if you’re at home there’s the temptation to do jobs

3 (Sensible) Reasons for Staycation

  1. Finances – Cheaper to holiday from home, money for other things. Can’t have it all
  2. Fixed dates – It’s more expensive at this time of year and we can’t change our holidays
  3. Foreign Currency – Rubbish exchange rate at the moment

At first, I admit, I was regretting the new garden shed and new paving slabs; I could’ve been sunning myself around a pool, indulging in some guilt-free drinking in the afternoon and enjoying a period of uninterrupted reading.

But once the decision was made, I decided I had to get creative and improvise. If you can’t be on holiday, you bring the holiday to you right?

Here’s what I did and what you can do if you’re Staycating too!



  • Smothered myself in sun cream and sat in the garden, melting Solero in hand and feet in a fluorescent paddling pool…which I’d bought for the sole purpose of creating ‘that holiday feeling’
  • Devoured a warm pain au chocolat for breakfast on the veranda (when I say veranda, I mean our patio in the garden…in Sheffield). A little taste of Paris in my own back garden
  • Devoured a croissant (or two) on the veranda/patio – Yes, many of these holiday improvisations are food and drink related!
  • Explored the highest waterfall in South Wales when visiting family – It could’ve been Niagara Falls. I don’t think anyone would know the difference, right?
  • Me, Lad and my sister dined al fresco on a feast of bread, meats, olives and more bread to create our own Roman Holiday
  • Me & friends were entertained at the music festival in the grounds surrounding our local church – Tribute to Madness, Adele AND Elsa from Frozen? We could’ve been at Glastonbury
  • Had cocktails at the Cuban bar in town – the Latin music, tapas and drinking in the sunshine created an atmosphere of Cuba – ‘Duz tha want ice in that, love?’ created a distinctive ambience that I like to think is a Cuban/Yorkshire fusion

I have to say, the best thing about Staycating this summer has been the chance to catch up with friends and family, people who I haven’t seen in a while and finding out what’s happening right on our own doorstep. Many of us seek opportunities for new experiences but sometimes they are right there in front of us.


Wherever you’re spending your summer holidays, I hope you have a well-deserved rest and have a cocktail or two for me will ya?

I’m off out for a picnic in one of Sheffield’s many parks with some friends. After all, it’s on my doorstep!

Happy half-birthday to my Blog!


My commitment has been a surprise…even to me!

Wow! 6 months of writing and I’m celebrating following this little passion of mine. Who would’ve thought?

When I decided to write a blog, I had written my New Year’s resolutions in my new 2016 diary and to my utter disappointment, I’d noticed that they were exactly the same as the year before. One in particular was ‘Make more time to write’. But it’d been a whole year and what had I done about it? After seeing a suggested post on Facebook, I worked out how to use WordPress and as a self-confessed technophobe, I was proud of this step. I began drafting my first post. It was strange telling people because blogging or writing is done by ‘other people’ isn’t it? I first shared it anonymously by Whatsapping the link to friends and family with a caption ‘Thought you’d like to read this!’

After surprisingly good feedback, “This is soooo me!” and “This really made me laugh!”, I started to tell Ordinary Lad and my Ordinary Lasses that it was me who had written it; it had been a boost to receive positive comments and it gave me the confidence to write a few more posts. I knew I needed to be committed though…


I swore that it would not be like the time when I was 22 and trying to learn guitar – I’d been given a shiny new book of chords and riffs from Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory album – My music career lasted 3 whole months. 

And it was not going to be like the time when I was 19 and an inexperienced sales rep for Ann Summers party planning which lasted 2 months…until the batteries ran out of that project.  

And it was not going to be like my commitment to Slimming World – which is an annual stint of approximately 6-8 weeks weight loss, where I lose about 7lb-10lb…and then put it all back on again.


“I will commit. I will commit” said the determined Yorkshire voice in my head.

The blog has now been going for 6 whole months. And it’s a miracle!

Thank you muchly for the kind words and support and most of all for taking time to read it.

Lots of love x

Eng-er-land! Euros 2016


It’s kicking off! Like it, loathe it or simply indifferent? As the hype reaches a crescendo, there’s no denying that Englishness (whatever form that takes) is everywhere.

Here are 5 ways, in which we, the average Joes and Janes, seem to be exercising our Englishness as a nation:

1.Fanatical Facebooking

Photos are being uploaded of little ‘uns looking lovely in mini England kits; their parents are keen to make them mini mascots in support of our national football team. I challenge even the most anti-Euros to tell me that they’re not utterly adorable.

Trending on our newsfeeds, are temporary profile pictures proudly displaying the slogan ‘Together for England’ in support of the team’s first match. I don’t mind this positivity; it’s a nice distraction from the comments made by the Defence Secretary reminding England fans to be ‘vigilant’ of terrorists if they’ve travelled to France to watch the football, ‘the threat level in France is at severe. An attack is likely’. Thanks for that, mate.

I’m sure the partners and families back at home aren’t having panic attacks about their husbands, fathers, brothers and friends currently abroad, now that you’ve reassured everyone…

2. Headlines about Hooligans

As with any competition involving our national side, our fans always seem to attract negative headlines. Is this sensationalism, just a minority of fans or are we really a nation of bloodthirsty football firms geared up for a scrap?

This morning, I read headlines from 4 different sources – Naturally, each had their own bias about the behaviour of England football fans in Marseille but they all seemed unanimous that English fans had some sort of involvement with the violence. Should you believe everything you read? One report had a sympathetic slant for a fan who was ‘thrown into the harbour’ and other reports used words such as ‘ thugs, goading police, hooligans, (who) shouted obscenities’ to describe English fans. Another source stated that ‘most were simply drunk and singing. Teargas (by the police) wasn’t appropriate’. Who knows?

If English fans were instigating the violence, then I feel sorry for the fans who don’t deserved to be tarred with the same brush and if they didn’t, then our own papers should stop sensationalising about the few nutters who forget that it is just a game. The phrase which should never, ever be uttered in the presence of The Passionates.

Like any social situation, there will be a diverse group of people thrown together for a united cause but is it fair to say they’re all the same? My advice would be to just go and have a few pints, cheer and behave yourself, alright?

3. Passion & Patriotism

“England til I die. I know I am. I’m sure I am. I’m England. Til. I. Die”. Songs will be heard from the terraces tonight on our television screens. Crowds of white, red and blue will be belting out the lyrics passionately. And we only hope the players will do the job on the pitch. No doubt we’ll see images of the colourful crowds – A sea of white and red painted faces. Men, proudly displaying inked images of bull dogs holding large flags with their home town or local football teams printed on it.

Earlier today, I’ve given Ordinary Lad my rendition of Baddiel and Skinner’s ’96 anthem to do my bit for the English passion. I began “Three lions on a shirt, jewels remain still gleaming”.

I was corrected.

“It’s Jules Rimet still gleaming!” (pronounced Remay if youre not sure, like me!) Cue his belly laugh. I then had to have a lesson about the trophy itself; it’s named after FIFA longest standing President. Who knew? I did wonder which jewels were gleaming to be honest? The lads’ crown jewels? Hoping that the ball doesn’t hit them in the jewels?

I’ll stick to the only bit I do know, where they sing “It’s coming home, its coming home. Footballs coming home”. That’s easy enough. And if all else fails, I’ll hum the rest.

4. Parties & Pubs

There’s a street in Sheffield with St George bunting connecting houses on both sides to show their pride. It could be likened to the street part atmosphere of the Queen’s Jubilee. Shops are selling England paraphernalia, paper plates, car flags and t-shirts for people to host their own England themed celebrations.

I know friends are having gatherings at home while others are choosing to go out to the pub to watch it. TV screens in testosterone filled boozers down town. Ladies, if you’re single, get yourself out and watch the match; bars will be full of blokes. I can’t guarantee that they will be your type, though.

5. Resilience & Hope

We simultaneously, insult and praise the players; this is a fan’s prerogative. The Passionates criticise the tactics of the manager, the penalty, the sending off. “Offside!” “Is the referee’s blind or just a w*nker?”.

And despite the fact that our national team have been unable to lift a trophy in my lifetime, we have a resilient belief that this year will be our time to shine. And I don’t think this should be discouraged. What’s wrong with having a bit of hope, belief and positivity?

I don’t fully understand the offside rule but if England win, I’ll be jumping on the bandwagon along with countless others. Not because I’m a massive football fanatic, but just because I like being part of sharing something positive for our country. And it’s any excuse to enjoy a night out. So come on boys! Come on Eng-er-land.


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Engagements & Marriage: It’ll be you next!

engagement pic

We’re both in our thirties. We’ve been together 7 and 1/2 years. Neither of us has ever been married. Any wedding or engagement, that we are in close proximity to, automatically evokes the same response, “It’ll be you two next!”.

But in response to well-meaning comments, I tend to nod, smile politely and shoot a look at Ordinary Lad – We usually make a speedy exit towards the bar in search of more alcoholic refreshments to distract us from the probing questions.

“If you’re not engaged by a certain age…it can’t be true love or some kind of BS like that”

I suppose it should be a compliment that we seem to be a natural couple and therefore people assume that we will be the next ones down the aisle. Or they could think that we have been together far too long to get married and therefore we have missed the window or because we haven’t already done it, then we should split up… because someone – somewhere will have written that if you’re not engaged by a certain age that it can’t be true love or some kind of BS like that. Some people even decide it’s their duty to tell my lad ‘to pull his finger out’ and ask him when he is ‘getting on with it’. What’s it got to do with them anyway?

It freaks people out that we aren’t married off with little ‘uns running around yet – Perhaps we should be a bit more inventive with our replies and see what responses we get:

  1. We’ve secretly separated and we just came as each other’s plus one today/tonight
  2. One of us is already married to someone else seeking British citizenship
  3. He’s secretly gay and we’re living a lie

Although, we’re comfortable with each other, a Facebook newsfeed full of announcements can sometimes make you wonder when it’s going to be ‘your turn’. You’re a certain age and society constantly reminds you of all that. With a click your phone, images of poster-perfect families and newlyweds can flood your screen before you’ve even had time to grab your morning mug of tea. But you have to remember that everything is not as it seems.

The truth is, like lots of unmarried couples, there is no real reason for our lack of vows; it just hasn’t happened yet. If we allowed outside influences to dictate our timescale, we probably wouldn’t be together.

We lived in his flat for a number of years and since progressed to owning our own house together. In between, we’ve had a break (like Ross and Rachel on Friends – except he’s not a palaeontologist and I’m not a waitress in Central Perk). We got back together, we’ve both changed careers and in between all of that, we’ve made countless lovely memories.

Our journey might be different to others – or it might well be the same – and what’s up with that?

Does it mean that we don’t really love each other just because we haven’t exchanged nuptials yet? And who decides how long is long enough?

We laugh, we bicker, we show affection, we’re lovers, friends and occasionally we’re enemies. But we can’t live without each other; Ordinary Lad is my Ordinary Love.

“Only you two know the score in your relationship and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”

There are no candlelit baths… Well, we both don’t fit in it together for a start and would bang our backs on the taps. Plus, there’s no way I want his long, hairy toes anywhere near my face.

Despite the toes, here are 10 reasons why I’ll say yes when the time comes… (in no particular order).

  1. Fills my hot water bottle for me when I need it
  2. Fetches the Chinese takeaway when we can’t be arsed to cook
  3. Makes me laugh a lot – sometimes at him, sometimes with him
  4. Tells me when I’m wrong (although this depends what mood I’m in, of course)
  5. Cleans the house – but likes to remind me often
  6. Dances like a wardrobe, much to my amusement
  7. Cooks the best omelettes ever
  8. He’s fit (but doesn’t know it)
  9. He is great with kids – they love him
  10. Fixes things – very important that he is practical because I’m more academic

I’m sure there are a million other reasons but who cares? Only you two know the score in your relationship and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

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Modern Love: Surviving the Traffic Jam

imageTraffic jams are beasts. We’re stuck somewhere in the Midlands and the M42 is laughing at us. Loudly. We’re bumper to bumper. We’ve got the same songs on repeat. Accelerate, brake, drive, repeat. Lad’s new work car has either radio or iPod connections but absolutely no CD player. “It’s how all the newer models are made”. Wtf! Bring back cassette players or CDs please otherwise we’ll have to resort to serenading each other all the way back to Sheffield. The thought is tragic. I’ve only got about 20 songs on my mobile so the shuffle via Bluetooth is short lived. We’ve heard enough of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and we’ve had to resort to car games. God help us.

Attempting to pass the time, me and Ordinary Lad play the ‘Guess who I’m thinking of’ game. My strategy is to try and be unpredictable. Not that I care who wins. Yeah right. Usually, I’d pick authors and he’d pick sports people. I’ve gone for David Hassleoff to throw him off – except that, other than his stint on Baywatch, I don’t actually know much about him so I can’t answer accurately. When you’re asked a closed question and the answer is simply yes or no, then “erm, I don’t know” makes you look a bit foolish. I knew I should’ve gone for Shakespeare.

We’re overtaken by a speeding car. I’m suspicious of this Volkswagen Golf with blue flashing lights. We move because we’re sure it’s unmarked police on a mission. My imagination runs wild and I’m soon picturing some sly guy using his illegal blue lights just to get further down the line. It’s all a conspiracy, you see? Perhaps he purchased them just to skip traffic jams. Lucky sod. Why didn’t we think of that?

Curiosity gets the better of us and we decide to use my Iphone to look on the Highways Agency website for the down low. An alert pops up, informing us of a 2-lane closure for the next 30 minutes due to a road traffic collision. The Rubberneckers ought to be ashamed of themselves – Hang on a minute, while I stop writing this blog just to check out the action on the hard shoulder…A smashed front bumper? oof.

We pass the aftermath of the accident and Lad manoeuvres into 3rd gear for the first time in forever. It feels like we’re flying now. It’s nearing rush hour and the possibility of getting stuck again steadily increases. I just hope my weak bladder doesn’t cause us another inconvenience. The empty polystyrene cup is beginning to look like a necessity.

The weather is getting worse as we head up M1 north, now that we’ve left the sunny, delightful Welsh scenery behind. The dull weather suits our mood; the traffic jams and the anticipation of the pile of washing await us when we unpack back at home. Still, I’m remembering a glimpse of us on a small boat in Cardiff Bay yesterday and our cocktails by the sea reminds me that the traffic jam is all worth it. We’ve been making memories.

Now, which celebrity can I think of, to throw him off so that I can be crowned the champion of our car game? It’s not about taking part; it’s about winning.

Saturday: I’m doing nowt!


How about today, I just post a photo of my ass on the settee doing bugger all?

I’m a cricket widow today while the other half continues his boyhood hobby and aspires to be the next Alistair Cook. I’ve spent the morning with my two year old godson. We’ve been bonding – putting the body parts onto Mr Potato Head and pushing round Postman Pat’s van. I’m always amused by his view of the world and marvel at his little, growing personality. He shouts “Come on!”to hurry me up. Ordinary Lad and I had a catch up with friends this morning and the godson has had a play date with their children in the garden. After his Mummy collected him (in one piece – yes, it was a successful babysit!), I then had some free time.
It’s now Saturday afternoon. It’s pleasant and dry outside, although there’s a cold chill here in Sheffield. I have a few choices for my time off from the working week: I could catch up and gossip with my friend, I could support my man and pretend that I am au fait with the cricket rules (I should be – he’s played for the last 8 years that I’ve know him). I could read a book because I often repeat that I never have any time to sit down with a magazine, let alone a novel. I should really do the food shopping but I could wait to go with Ordinary Lad tomorrow. I could do some work; there’s a stack of it in the corner. I might even clean the house – who am I kidding?
I decide to do none of the above. It’s quite the revelation.

Truth is, I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to do owt. I want to do nowt.

 I’m reminded of the Bruno Mars song about being lazy “Today I don’t feel like doing anything / I just wanna lay in my bed”.
As modern women, we’re programmed to maximise every minute of every day: at work, meeting friends, time with our partners. But because I’m not maximising every minute of today, I feel bad. Should I be out saving the world, bleaching the toilet, working out? Should I be doing other stereotypical things people think women do with their free time?
We live in a world where we have to justify how we spend our time and how worthy we are. We post pictures to prove how kind, lucky and hardworking we all are. We want people to be jealous of our achievements and life experiences. How about today, I just post a photo of my ass on the settee doing bugger all?
I am now curled up on the settee watching TV. I’ve bypassed ‘Say yes to the dress’ and ‘Real housewives of wherever’ and I’ve opted for a series binge of a drama on Netflix. Anything will do as long as it take my mind off productivity; I’m basking in the control of the remote and it’s all mine for – wait for a it – a couple of hours! Does that mWho’s going to stop me? I am having a moment to myself and do I feel guilty? Do I heck!
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What’s your excuse?


Excuses. Excuses. What kind of a writer doesn’t write? Me, it seems. Procrastination is a killer; it’s the reason that I’ve missed two weeks of blogs and have no real reason why. Don’t judge me, will you?

Possible excuses for the absent blog:

1. My dog ate my blog

Perfectly valid excuse, right? Except I don’t have a dog.

2. My computer broke

Except that I could just use the one at work.

3. I got a few shares and something published – fame has gone to my head.

“Pah! Thinks she’s bloomin’ JK Rowling that lass”.

4. I’ve been kidnapped

Let’s face it, who’d have me? Ordinary Lad will vouch for this.

5. All of the above.

All perfectly plausible?


I’ve been asked where Ordinary Lass has been for a fortnight. It seems that I’ve got a few followers who actually look forward to my weekly ramblings. Who knew?!

Someone call missing persons! Ordinary Lass has gone AWOL.

Let’s all imagine that she has been somewhere exotic, stylish and damn right sexy.

In reality, she’s been at work, adhering to deadlines and cleaning up at home.

Or it could just be the same reason why I missed a short story completion deadline – I’m too busy imagining scenarios in my life, things I want to say and do versus what I actually say and do; I’m continually making mental lists and ticking them off in my own head.

I’ve come to the realisation that Ordinary Life has simply got in my way. Who’d have thought it?

So here is my unashamed apology. Here’s to the failed drafts and the ‘could’ve been blogs’; this one is about my inability to write. There’s irony in there somewhere…


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