Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Random things about Breaking Bad

We love breaking bad in the casa Very Bored, we've just finished watching the final series - but I promise no spoilers.

Anyway, biiiiiiitch(es), aside from thinking how remarkable Jessie's teeth are for a meth addict and how accommodating his neighbours are, here are a few things about Breaking Bad that seem to distract me from the main story...

Poster boy for Meth - don't do kids!

Marie's Love of Purple

I love purple, or rather I did,  Watching Marie constantly wearing purple tops and later on in Series 4 seeing her kitchen and home punctuated with purple accents and electrical items, I'm rather off the colour now. Perhaps Marie was a big Prince fan, or as we know him as 'the purple pervert'.

Skylar and Marie's names

One has a hippy name, the other a biblical and traditional name - odd?

The Big Crochet Rug

OK, not watched the final series yet, but so far no-one has taken off the massive 'what the fuck size crochet needle did you use for that' blanket off the back of the sofa, much to my annoyance as I'd really like to have a better look at it.   Seems I am not the only one who is affected by the rug - check out this website!

The most famous afghan on TV
How Hideously Bleak New Mexico Is

Not that it ever was on my bucket list of places to go to, but seeing how deserty and lack of all colour except desert orange it is, I'll think I'd just keep on driving to either Mexico or California should I ever find myself road tripping in the area.

How I wish everyone spoke Spanish Like Gus

Slow, concise and without any regional accent.  I understand almost every word, and that's without reading the subtitles.  If only folk spoke like that here...

The Song 'Windy' by the Association

Never heard it before or the band despite considering myself a big 60s music fan, t'husband downloaded the whole album after hearing it.

How Much?

I hadn't realised that real estate in Albuquerque was so eye-wateringly expensive, and this probably explains why Walter had to moonlight in the Car Wash in Season 1.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Open Letter to the Woman Begging Outside of the Supermarket

To the woman begging outside of Mercadona supermarket this afternoon...

I knew as soon as we approached the trolleys that you wanted the coin I was going to use.  You were skinny, scruffy and dark; the type of tan that only comes with hard outdoor grafting, not from frolicking on the beach.

You smiled at me, helped me get Amber in the trolley and let me pass.  I smiled back, thanked you and then forgot about you.

You didn't forget me.  You appeared stealthily at the side of my car as I was unloading the trolley. I would have given you the coin anyway, because  every supermarket has someone looking for spare change where the trolleys are parked - it's just an extra 50 cents or €1 on top of the shopping cost.  No questions asked, no thought process involved.

You asked me where I was from, confused I think by the Spanish number plates on the car and my obvious non-Spanishness.  We chatted a while about England, you said it was a good country, with good benefits.  I agreed, particularly compared to the Spanish social security system.

I asked you where you were from, I thought maybe Romania, but you said you were Spanish - from the Canaries.  You had lost your home last week, there was no work and you had health problems.

I believed you, you looked like life had forever kicked you in the teeth, barely pausing to let you get over one knock-down before it pummelled you back on your arse again.

Scrawny and probably aged much beyond your years, you somehow had a cheery disposition about you. Life was hard, but you'd get by somehow.  I couldn't begin to imagine how I would be able to cope in your situation let alone be able to raise a smile.

I gladly passed over the trolley to you, annoyed that the coin was only a 50 cent one and not a euro. Annoyed that I didn't have any change with me as I'd paid for my shopping with a card.

I noticed as I was driving out of the car park that someone had given you a bottle of water, I kicked myself - why hadn't I thought to do that, or some food?

I got back in my car and now I can't forget you.  There were so many questions I wanted to ask you—how did you end up here, where are you sleeping, are you safe, how can your situation change for the better?

The unfairness of the benefit system in Spain compared to what is perceived as over-generosity in the UK, where you have to work for 6 months before you can get unemployment benefit.  But, you can only claim benefits for six months then you're cut off - nothing, nada!

I think of one of the boys in Joseph's football team.  His brother has cerebral palsy - we've been collecting plastic bottle tops for years now to help raise funds for a machine that helps lift him in and out of bed - sparing his poor mother's back as he gets bigger and heavier.

In the UK, would you be forced to beg outside of a supermarket, would Ferran have to raise funds for vital pieces of machinery that make his and his parents' life more bearable?

The benefits system is there to help serve and protect people.  Yes, there are many who abuse the system in the UK, but stepping away from the mad rantings of the Daily Mail - the majority of them don't.  The benefits they receive just about keep the wolf from the door, feed their children, help with mobility and provide vital care to give a better standard of life.

It's not perfect, far from it.  Many people in the UK struggle on benefits, inept handling of their claims means they can often go weeks without receiving any money and be forced to rely on food banks and charity.  But this is an exception rather than a rule.

You struck me as the type of person who would gratefully accept the benefits, but look to right yourself as quickly as possible, using the money to find a roof over your head and put food in your hungry belly whilst you actively looked to better your situation and find work.

I hope that something comes your way soon, that a change of fortune means that I never see you again outside of Mercadona, but maybe bump into you inside pushing a trolley load of food throughout the store.

Yours hopefully


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting Back on the Blogging Horse

I want to start blogging again, I miss it.  I miss the early days of blogging where out of nowhere a post would practically fly from my fingers, typos and all, and practically write itself.  The latter days where I felt the need to pad out commercial content with stuff people might actually want to read by staring intermittently at the computer screen and the middle distance searching for subjects, those I don't miss so much.

As with many of us so called 'mummy bloggers' opportunities came to me to earn money from using my social media skills, so I became a social media manager for a few small companies and wrote blog posts for other people.

Whilst the money certainly came in handy, and it was a great thing to be able to do whilst my daughter was a baby.  But I soon got so bored of Facebook, Twitter and blogging for others that it had the effect of making me turn my back on my own blog and social media accounts.

Twitter, once my favourite means of communication, has recently been relegated to only being used when something interesting or at least opinion forming would be on the telly.   My blog, which at the beginning was a mostly humorous take on expat life with some serious shit every now and again, had become pedestrian, commercial and hard work, I lost my funny somewhere along the line.  The unimaginable had happened, I had fallen out of love with blogging.

However, of late, with my daughter just about to start school (far too young, but that's a different blog post to write) and my workload slowing down due the ineffectuality of Facebook pages I suddenly have more time on my hands.  Time that needs filling in other ways than reading the sidebar of shame in the Daily Fail or all of the 40 pages of comments on any given Guardian article.

I am going to take tentative steps, ease myself back into it.  No pressure, no desperately trying to come up with something, if it doesn't come naturally then I'll go back to trying to work out what happened to Tulisa's face and occasionally doing some housework.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Your Favourite?

Joseph has a new thing, he likes to constantly ask me what my favourite thing is.  Most of the time I think it's a ruse to get me to admit which of my children I prefer, but I am always a step ahead of him and reply before he finishes the sentence (obviously I say his sister...  joking, I don't really).

However, because he's got wind of me getting wind of him he's decided that he'll quickly switch it up and add on a random item that I have to choose my favourite from.  Here are some of my favourite 'what's your favourites?' and my honest and sometimes sarcastic replies.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Full English fry up with hash browns

What's your favourite 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates' character?

I don't know son, I don't watch it.  And it's who's your favourite Jake and the Neverland Pirates character!

What's your favourite socks?

The ones on my feet

What's your favourite colour pencil?

The yellow one

What's your favourite thing to do?


What's your favourite drink?

Wine of course!

Obviously! But aside from wine, what's your favourite?

There is no aside from wine!

What's your favourite time?

10 past nine in the morning

What's your favourite donkey?

Erm, I'm not that knowledgeable about different breeds of donkey, what's your favourite donkey?

Donkey Kong!

What's your favourite donkey?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Listography: 5 Simple Pleasures

It's been a while since I took part in one of Kate Takes 5's listographys - one of my previous attempts actually went viral - but that's a story for another day if I can ever really be arsed to tell it.

Today's is all about simple pleasures, which I like because I like pleasure and I like simple...

So here are 5 of my favourite simple pleasures:

Children's Laughter

Obviously there is nothing nicer on the ear than the sound of my own children giggling, especially when they are laughing with each other.  But, the sound of any child's laughter, particularly a baby is such a simple delight that is totally infectious and you cannot fail to smile.

Cooking Smells

Sticking with the senses my second simple pleasure would have to be cooking smells.   The smell of a Sunday dinner roasting in the oven, bacon frying, fresh bread or cakes baking, the waft of t'husband rustling up a curry...

Listening to the Radio

I like this for two reasons, firstly (and maybe the most important) is the fact that the kids are at nursery and school and t'husband is out earning some corn so I have the house to myself.  But I like the background noise peppered every now and again with a song you love but haven't heard for ages while I work or clean.

Prior to UK television channels switching their signal and us poor expats not being able to pick the signal anymore unless we erect a satellite dish the size of a small country on our roofs I was a Radio 2 fan, but I've since discovered Absolute radio which has a fantastic mix of music from the 60s to present day without any boy band or other manufactured shite to murder your eardrums.

Colouring In

Sadly the boy isn't the slightest bit interested in colouring in and considers it a massive chore when he has to do any for homework, and the girl is still at the scribbling stage so I have to take advantage of the few times I see my niece to do some colouring in.  There is something very therapeutic about colouring in, so long as I have decent felt tips and nice paper in the colouring in book, I can quite happily entertain myself for hours.

Friday Evening

My work for the week is done (or I've rolled it over till Monday) the dinner is made or even better t'husband is cooking, the house is reasonably tidy and it is now officially WINE TIME!

What are your simple pleasures?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mannequins with Muffs

Obviously there is no such thing as bad publicity and US clothing retailer American Apparrel are no strangers to courting controversy, being regularly accused of using very young models in unnecessarily provocative and often half naked poses. However, I am loving their latest stunt.

They have decided to add pubic hair to their shop mannequins.  And not just a little 'if you squint hard enough you may see a bit of dark shading pubic hair'.  No, these have gone hard core, spraying out of the side of your knickers, big lady garden, pubic hair!  Yay!

As someone who can barely be bothered to 'trim and edge' every now and again to tame what is supposed to be there, I applaud this.  I'd love for women veer away from this waxing everything off culture that makes women look like porn stars or pre-pubescent school girls.  Get with the hair, let it grow and flow, that's what I say.

The company have defended their excessive use of pubes by saying that they want to 'start a conversation about society's concept of feminine beauty'.  And it will undoubtedly work.   No doubt there will be teenage boys and young men who walk past a window of American Apparrel and balk, after all with their internet porn use and probably their own experience of women at their tender age, they probably don't realise women have pubes, or that pubes don't grow in some straight neat little line.  Hopefully, more than a few will actually embrace womaness in all it's hairy glory and learn to love a muff.

More over, I hope that this is the start of the tide turning and that this particular fashion outgrows itself.

Guest Post - Cycling in European Cities

****Guest Post****

I love cycling, round where I live is perfect for cycling - not only are we blessed with good weather, but flat terrain, along with miles and miles of good roads stretching into the Ebro delta, meandering through rice fields with little traffic to bother you, all add up to a very pleasant afternoon.

However, cycling as a way to discover Europe isn't something that I'd ever considered before, but it makes perfect sense to do so.  So many capital cities now offer great cycling schemes where bikes can be picked up and dropped off at various locations around the city.  Hiring a bike means that you can totally tailor your sight seeing to your taste.  Rather than have to board a bus along with lots of other babbling tourists, you 
can decide your route, spend as little or as much time as you wish at a destination and all in the knowledge that you're doing it in an environmentally friendly way. 

This great infographic which was sent to me by Momondo and shows how easy it is to tour 5 of Europe's biggest cities by bike.