Last week was horrible; heinous in fact. And not in a ran out of shampoo and milk on the same day, stepped in dog poo and put my knickers on inside out kind of way but in a truly heart breaking, soul shatteringly cruel kind of way. In a way that I can’t quite share with you, a little because I just don’t possess the skill or verbosity (thought I’d made that word up but spell checker, he say yes) and a lot because the story belongs to the people I love most in the world and it’s not mine to tell.

So in what has become a trademark of mine – good luck with that amateur Freuds – I’ll use pith, whimsy and quirk (incidentally I think that’ll be the name of the bookshop I’ll buy when I win the lottery, it’ll be filled with the most beautiful books and all of the cake and sofas and coffee. And there’ll be puppies everywhere. And unicorns) to reflect on the tiny little moments of light that punched through the darkness. Moments like:

  • Shovelling Sainsbury’s Millionaire Cheesecake into my face. Eat it. Love it. Smear it all over yourself and have a roll around in it.
  • Buying a fedora during a lunch hour. I’d just listened to Eye of the Tiger, it was a panic purchase. Fedora was from M&S so there’s that.  Wonder if they sell the courage to wear a fedora in public in M&S too.
  • Faking it (nails and eyelash wise only) for a family wedding up North and feeling over-dressed…until I arrived at the wedding that was.
  • Pete also had a makeover and looked delectable. He was ever so proud of himself too. Maybe I bought him a bow tie. I didn’t, husband said I wasn’t allowed…maybe I went and bought it at lunch time today anyway because life is too short, buy all the dog bow ties you can. Betty didn’t have a makeover because she hates people.
  • I got to hang out with Molly. That’s Molly up there, the sexy blonde ^^
  • R came home from uni for a flying visit, she’s like a real live adult and it’s freaking me right out.
  • I passed an(other) exam and treated myself to the most amazing 80s album in return. Nothing says ‘go me’ like belting out Total Eclipse of the Heart in a traffic jam.
  • I spent A LOT of time drinking tea by the sea. It’s where my soul should always be.

And  this conversation I had with the husband on the way to dog agility classes (no need to comment on that, we take them to agility, let’s all move on):

Me:  I’ve made an enormous error, I had a pint of squash and a whole cup of tea five minutes before we left. What if I need a wee?
Him: Go behind a tree.
Me: Most people have eyes that can see, not sure I can get my foufou out on the farm my love.
Him: Oh just stand there and do it then, we’ll tell them you’re drunk.

I just pulled a face and then promptly fell over my own feet as I got out of the car thus making his suggestion infinitely more plausible. I didn’t wee though. High five for the pelvic floor. Anyone?

How are you? Tell me something new.


Dining Alone

IMG_6177So as busy as I’ve been lately, the husband has been twice as frantic. He told me so. Repeatedly.

Being double busy is what resulted in me eating dinner by myself last month. Out in public no less, where there were OTHER ACTUAL PEOPLE. I forgave him once I’d reminded myself that his busyness was probably harder on him than it was on me, he was probably more tired and it probably wasn’t a personal slight against me. Marriage advice there folks: now and again it’s NOT all about you! The rest of the time it most definitely is.

Weirdly, I was a bit afraid to eat alone. I talk a  good confident woman talk and I’ll happily throw myself into all kinds of solo adventures without fear but there was just something so conspicuous about sitting at the table alone. I felt a bit exposed and not in a particularly good way.

Being waited on at a fully laid table felt frivolous and grandiose. Let’s face it, if I’m eating alone at home we’re lucky if the Pot Noodle is allowed to cool enough before I pour it straight down my throat whilst praying I don’t get third degree burns.

The thought of going through the ritual of perusing the menu without comparing choices or bartering over who orders what so you get to try a bit of everything was weird and unsettling.

In short the whole experience freaked me out a bit.

Once I’d stopped over thinking it and double checked that I didn’t have snot on my face or knickers tucked into my skirt (‘no need to give the voyeurs more reason to voir’ said the narcissist frighteningly close to the surface who was of course convinced that no-one had anything better to do than look at me – seriously, what’s with me and thinking it’s all about me??) I started to enjoy myself.

Armed with a large glass of wine, a cracking book and my trusty canine companions I sat, I relaxed, I watched the world pass by, by which I mean I eavesdropped on some BRILLIANT conversations and spied on people a bit over the top of my book. Instead of feeling conspicuous, I started to feel invisible and oddly empowered. I think my soul enjoyed being anonymous and pretending it was an astronaut or a writer or just a crazy dog lady on an adventure (minimal pretense required, granted). It enjoyed making small talk with strangers. It enjoyed ordering precisely what it wanted to eat a full portion of without sharing and it enjoyed being leisurely over eating it. It enjoyed having a bit of space to read and breathe and just…be.

I haven’t had dinner out by myself in the longest time and it turned out to be most excellent. People genuinely don’t give a crap about the woman on her own in the corner, shoveling down fish and chips like it’s going out of fashion. Once you realise that, it’s ridiculously good fun.

Dining alone – do you? WOULD you?


Marriage Chat: The Walking Dead Edition


Love is a safe place: a place where you can be entirely yourself, sharing your deepest darkest secrets; your hopes and dreams for the future; your most worrisome fears. A place where someone else will royally take the p*ss out of you for their own amusement.

This, my friends, is why our marriage doesn’t watch The Walking Dead. We tried.

I shall set the scene.

It was a cold, dreary winters’ night in Devon (in all honesty I can’t remember if that’s true but it fits). Wind howling, lights flickering intermittently, you get the gist. Mr and Mrs Outside London are sitting in their lounge browsing a new Amazon Prime TV subscription and wondering what to choose to watch on the tellybox to fill the void between Homeland seasons.

M:   What do you fancy?

C:    Wilfred*loves The Walking Dead, shall we try that?

M, hesitantly:      Well….I’ve heard it’s good but you know you don’t like zombies. Remember how much you hated World War Z? And not just because it was utter utter cobblers. It was the zombies. You don’t like ‘em. Why though? Why don’t you like them?

C, ignoring incessant questioning:       Yeah but Wilfred* has pretty good taste, we like the same stuff. It can’t be that bad. Can it?

M:     Yeah….but….but….the zombies.

C:       Meh, let’s do it.

Mr and Mrs Outside London watch season one, episode one. Mrs loves it. Mr feels a bit queasy. They decide to take a break. Mrs exits stage left for a bathroom stop.

Five minutes passes (it was just a wee but she was plotting and cackling to herself in there).

Mrs leaves the bathroom and comes back down the stairs in the style of a Walker: head at a funny angle, slack jawed, arms outstretched, vacant murderous flesh eating eyes. She makes the noise too. You know, the throaty, evil, dead zombie noise.

There is no more dialogue in this story. None that I can repeat to you anyway.

Husband pooped his pants spectacularly, Betty dog turned into a demented, barking protector hound. There was much shouting and barking and all the terror. The wind howled on outside. Mrs went a little hysterical with mirth, doubled over at the bottom of the stairs.

Mr and Mrs Outside London no longer watch The Walking Dead together.

Mrs decided to have another crack at it today and still loves it whilst Mr remains a blissfully zombie free zone.

Blog post not sponsored by Amazon (tax dodging purveyors of all things) or zombies.

How about you and zombies?

*pseudonym, although I do very much wish that I had a friend called Wilfred.

^^ The eagle because, erm….she looks a bit mean?


6 Things That Happen When You Wear New Pyjamas


There’s something magical about pyjamas. All pyjamas wield a certain calming mysticism but new pyjamas? New pyjamas are the mutts nuts. New M&S pyjamas received as a gift? Akin to Dobby’s sock in the preciousness stakes. I’ve even persuaded the husband (after many MANY years of trying) that pyjamas are the future. He’s gone the whole hog and also wears slippers. I win.

So this weekend I got me some new jimjams didn’t I? M&S ones. As a gift. Here’s how that played out:

1) I was utterly convinced that the second I put them on I would fall instantly into the BEST. SLEEP. EVER.

2) They found their way onto my body (as if by magic) at 6 p.m. or thereabouts. After a crafty Instagram featuring a book I’m about to start and an unwilling spaniel. ^^

3) Whilst leaning over to laugh at the dog wagging his tail as he slept I dislodged the carefully balanced cuppa on the arm of the sofa spilling tea all over my new pyjamas. I wailed. Husband laughed and told me to put them in the wash immediately. I contemplated leaving them on and just drying the soggy arse with a hairdryer.

4) I relented, and headed for the washing machine before returning to my manky old Primarni jimjams that were once beautiful and which would now not look out of place on Dobby the house elf.

5) I drank wine in memory of the beautiful, soft, glorious pyjamas with the brown butt stain. Husband laughed as I attempted to balance the wine in the same ill-fated tea balancing spot…

6) Suspect I will not have the best. sleep. ever.

It’s a cruel cruel world.

My pyjamas were a gift from my husband but if M&S wanted to send me a replacement pair without the tea stained buttock marks you’ll hear no complaints from me. 


Marriage Chat Two


As before this is not some wondrous marital advice, just a collection of the most fun bits of our little life of late. I like to think I’m vaguely amusing but really this is just a collection of things that my husband comes out with that are funnier than anything from my mind tank.

Him: “What? Have you never seen a man body popping in his slippers?”

It’s a good question to be fair and no, I hadn’t. I have now.

Me whilst clearing a hairbrush: Ewww, so much hair. It looks like a merkin.

Him: “What’s a merkin?”

Me, innocently: “Why don’t you Google it….”

Him: I think Alan might be my new best friend.

Me: Erm, who is Alan exactly?

Him: That guy who came to measure our kitchen.

Me: Why is Russell Crowe in St Helens?

Him: If I was Russell Crowe I’d just stand in the middle of every room and shout ‘ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?’ Wouldn’t you?

Yep, probably.

In the middle of the night after I’d been out for delicious french dinner with someone other than my husband and when he’d been responsible for providing his own sustenance – a quiche and hash brown concoction, ick:

Him: are you awake?

Me: weird nighttime not really awake at all noise that might be spelt thus – nnnhfghh

Him: are you alright?

Me (slightly concerned and more awake): “Erm yes, are you?”

Him: No, not really.

Me (even more concerned): Why? What’s up? Is it the dogs…?
I didnt really ask about the dogs, does it amuse you to think I did?

Him: I still can’t believe you went out for a six course dinner and I ate hash sodding browns. Alone.

I think I read something saccharine on Hello Giggles about how the sign of a good relationship is that you talk about stuff. I think we pass that test husband, high five.

Have you ever seen a man body popping in his slippers?