Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bleurch. That's how you spell how I feel.


I wasn't at school yesterday and the only thing I am doing today is pushing keyboard buttons to type a blog entry.

I slept from.... well, I suppose I actually slept from 11pm on Thursday night to 4.30am this morning, give or take a 2 hour spot yesterday (timed nicely to coincide with the Chase and the Twitter feed) and then tossed and turned for a couple of hours before sleeping in until 11 this morning. My Saturday will be a quiet one, I fear, with Sunday being a chance to recuperate before school on Monday and another wearying, bone-tiring week. I am not feeling the joys of January. Not. One.Bit.

So apologies again; I am behind with my blog reading, blog commenting and blog writing. I hope to get a pattern in my life at last this week and be back with Menu Monday, Wind Up Wednesdays and Fridays. For now I am going to snuggle up and grab a hook to see if I can get any further with the Princess' blue blanket. I saw Posy's Instagram feed with a beautiful black edged blanket much like the one I have in mind for my bed and I want to make it NOW!!!.....

But I have to finish HER blanket first. Wish me luck. Can I make a blanket in a month? I don't know, but I will try....

Bleurch. Excuse me, I'm off again......

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Gathering Dust Bunnies..... and Being A Bad Mother.

I'm trying (failing; trying again) to gather up my dust bunnies and banish them. Somehow, going public about being a Bunny wrangler was not the best thing to do. All the OCD (by which I mean reasonable housekeepers) at school were disgusted, and the slobs like me have nothing but praise about my feminist honesty. Nuts really, we do all have dust bunnies, don't we?

And artist Susanne Proulx has a good idea; she takes the dust and turns it into dust bunnies. At $375 a pop, I won't  be diving out to add to my collection. I googled Dust bunny to see what I could find, and just love this idea. I took the link from a post you can get to here; Follow the Piper/Dust Bunnies

Peter says I should see if there's a market for them here. I think he just wants me to start making decent money in any way possible. I'm thinking something more bunny and less dust like these would be better!

And I have another confession to make... I must be a very bad mother. I am letting my 15 year old (and my 13 year old daughter) watch Game of Thrones. It was my Christmas present to myself. In years gone by I could have watched it as I did the housework. Now I have to squeeze it in when I can, and that's mostly when the kids are there. It turns out that the lads have watched it mostly via Youtube, but they're enjoying watching it from start to finish. Sarah.... well, she's watching parts of it from behind a cushion. And I can't help but think that the need to be so.... full frontal.... with the sex and violence is unnecessary. It's a darned good story and I think I'd be watching it just for that.

And don't forget;

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hibernating.... hunkering down for Winter

After the bright lights of Christmas and the excitement of The Chase (did I tell you I won the Chase? I must have!) I am finding myself looking forward to what remains of the winter. Whether it's because it's finally started to feel cold, with breath steaming in the air, or because I'm just feeling so positive, I don't know.

I do know I don't want to slip into my usual post-Christmas slump, so I'm desperate to make the most of the season. I signed up to an e-course, called Hibernate run by a rather lovely blogger called Heather of Beauty That Moves. Over the next four weeks it aims to help me retreat and restore, with a little activity every day. And it's another way of building friendships through the world of blogging.

I'll be posting about the beautiful, interesting things I do here, and putting pictures up on Instagram. Be prepared for lots of twinkling lights and flickering candles, with mugs of chai and frothy coffee a plenty. And bread. I love the Co-op's Red Leicester and Pumpkin seed bread, sliced and buttered or spread with red pepper houmous. It's a ridiculously enjoyable lunchtime treat on a Monday.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

I won the Chase, and Ruth Langsford tweeted about me!

I was on The Chase last Thursday (7th January) in the first big win of the year This was filmed last June, so I could watch myself on TV and read the live Twitter feed for #thechase. I wasn't in the habit of reading this, but it being my only probable appearance on TV (except for a 10 second shot of me in Songs of Praise) I was indulging in a deep case of curiosity.
On the Chase I introduced myself as "Jo, a learning mentor, aged 47 from Liverpool!" (you have to sound excited on the introduction, the production team insist you are, and make you film again if you aren't) And Twitter started.

C W North West, England
Jo advising Andy goes high what's the betting she goes for a minus offer - she looks the type #thechase

Steph is leading me to believe she's gonna be a LOW f******d #thechase

Cancel that last tweet, I meant Jo! #thechase

Jo is already talking about going low #TheChase

I'm predicting a thief up next! #thechase

Jo looks a BIG lass... #thechase

Got that horrible feeling Jo is going to be a c**k and go for the lower offer #thechase

seat 4 is defiantly a low offer w****r #thechase

Pamela Retweeted Roger "I'm predicting a thief up next! #thechase"
and added, "I'll second that #thechase"

And all of this before I'd answered a question. There's more (about me getting a Mini and a shoe horn, having a lot under my belt, following the advice of my cats, like I was a fat cat woman) and other comments about me and Steph, the other woman on the Chase. I was laughing my head off, because I knew that they would eat their words. I knew what I was going to do and what the result would be.

After my cashbuilder, I got given the offers; -£1,000, the £7,000 I had earned or £47,000. I knew what I wanted to do; and I knew I could do it, so I 'went large'. £47,000. Safely home, because I have a brain in my head and a good memory for Trivia. Give them their due, Twitter changed the tune after that.

Wow didn't see that coming from her...go Jo #thechase

I though Jo was going to go low. Good luck girl! #TheChase

Well I'm fucked, I take it all back! #thechase

thechase that told you lot !!

The F
GET IN THERE JO #thechase

Ó hÉ
Go on lad #thechase

l v b
Go on lass #thechase

#thechase lots of apologies coming up!!

Well that's a surprise.......Jo.......£47,000 #thechase

Hohohogogogojo #TheChase

Yes Jo! Someone give this woman a beer and a pat on the head. All or nothing. Absolute pioneer for all women on TV. #TheChase

And, just like that, Twitter had switched. I wasn't fat, or thick or a LOW (low offer w****r) but a Gladiator taking on the Romans, or a David against a Goliath of the quiz world.


#thechase Go Jo!!! Good girl. Good luck

#TheChase Jo brings home £47k well done left Paul well behind

Go on then love! #TheChase

Good lass Jo! #TheChase

And the rest of the Twitter feed was really lovely to read, a blast for me. Including a lovely tweet from Ruth Langsford of Loose Women.
  1. LOVE seeing people win on the Well done tonight's team.....especially Jo who was brilliant! £60,000 wowser! x

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But I thought how sad it was, that it took until I actually showed that I had cahones, or brains or the bravery/stupidity to go for it, before the crowd were prepared to let me be a bright lass. It's like the default position of the majority is that a big girl is thick and a coward. And I hate that. I teach children not to judge people based on looks, but to give everyone a chance. When does that change? Why is society set up to judge women by their looks? Andy (the marvellous Andy McSorley, currently on tour in the Full Monty) didn't get judged on his bulk, it wasn't a big factor in the brains of Stuart, but with Steph and me we both got judged according to our appearance first and had to prove we had the skills. I'd like to stand up for middle aged over-weight women every where and to say; GIVE US A CHANCE. We have more skills, sense and ability than it might appear at first.

I know this is a non-story, because such casual sexism and sizeism is such an everyday event it isn't even remarked on by the victims; it just is what happens in the world. But I wanted to write this post and ask; why does it take proof to overcome the issue? And how many women are silenced because they daren't risk the negative comments? I loved winning the Chase. It gave me a boost of confidence at a time when I needed it. I know now I can set my goals and go for it. I want to go on more TV quiz shows, and to have a successful career in teaching and with my husband's firm. I know you probably live the story and understand completely, but I wanted to speak out to you and to challenge you; could you stand up for brainy women who are judged by their body size and not their IQ or actions?

What actions can we, as women and men who value women, take to make life fairer? Do you have any experiences of times when your looks (good or not) affected how someone perceived you? And how far would you go to stand up against unfair criticism? I wrote nothing on Twitter in reply, because I wanted to see how the reaction would change, but I wonder if it had stayed negative would I have been brave enough to speak out? I hope I would have been, but there is a part of me that whispers that I would have been quiet, because speaking out risks being attacked more. Facing the Chaser was a no-brainer; facing a critical  mass public is a lot harder choice to make.

***And an addition; thank you to everybody who commented on Twitter and this blog, or Facebook or rang me to congratulate the team on their success. We did work well together, and I think we needed to be a team of three at least to stand a chance of success. It was a life changing amount of money; Steph got engaged and got the house she wanted, Andy and his Missus had a lovely baby boy and (I hope) made it to their honeymoon. I haven't got the Mini yet, but we had a blast of  Christmas and we have a fantastic 2016 lined up, with a new office for Peter Kneale Solicitor and other good times ahead!****

Monday, 4 January 2016

A Heads Up for next Thursday....

Image result for the chase

OK, heads up, friends; I shall be writing a post at the weekend, but for all my blogmates out there; I am actually on the Chase this Thursday (7th January) at 5pm on ITV. As a contestant!!!! No details (I signed the contract!!) but if you want to see a walking, talking Angel Jem and to have a really good laugh, then watch me. I'll see you here on Friday!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

My word for 2016; Aspire

  1. 1.
    direct one's hopes or ambitions towards achieving something.
    "we never thought that we might aspire to those heights"
    synonyms:desire (to), aim for/to, hope for/to, long for/to, yearn for/to, hanker after/for/to, set one's heart on, wish for/to, want (to), expect (to), have the objective of, dream of, hunger for/to, seek (to), pursue, have as one's goal/aim, set one's sights on;