Coffee

17 January, 2013

 

An average trendy coffee shop makes about £3,000 a day.  Amazing isn’t it?  I mean there used to be one coffee shop in Witney a few years ago.  I remember taking a friend there and her laughing at its hard wooden dining chairs, it was a café not a “coffee shop”.  In the past two years the market for designer coffee has grown exponentially here and across the UK.  We now have Costa and Café Nero, both bursting with relaxed chatty caffeine-fuelled customers. Plus four independent ones, that’s not counting the likes of M&S opening them instore  and various pubs also selling posh overpriced coffee.  This is big business and it is an entirely created need.

They used to run a coffee shop in the Church on the corner. I went in there once with the kids, I couldn’t face dragging them back across town to Costa.  I remember watching a disabled woman on sticks walk up to the door, when we got there behind her, she held it open for us.  Sweet eh?  The coffee shop was in the church hall,  square formica tables with table cloths, laid out with little flower arrangements on each one.  There were even some toys out for the children to play with.  The other customers were older, some disabled, some disenfranchised and those ever-so-kind churchy ladies bustling about.  I remember I ordered 1 coffee, 3 juices and 3 large slices of sponge cake.  I handed my tenner over and there was a flurry of anxiety behind the tea hatch, as two grey haired ladies looked in the pale green saucer they called the “till”.

“We really sorry, but we don’t have nine pounds in change”, they said.

Ten seconds later, when my mind had processed  I was being charged £1 for all that,  I offered to leave and get change to pay them.  By this time though, the kids were halfway through their cakes and starting to bicker over who was going on the ride-on tractor first.  It wasn’t going to be easy to get out.

“Don’t worry, bring it next time.”  They said.

As I turned to sit down, still incredulous that I could get all the free cake I wanted, so long as I never came back.  I realized that the disabled woman on sticks was still waiting patiently behind me.   And when she paid for her cup of tea, she handed over an extra pound and paid for our coffee and cakes too.

You know, that never happened to me in Costa.

Getting dressed can be difficult when you’re on crutches.

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Reputation…………

16 January, 2013

I’ve forgiven you, Mr Ex, for your abandonment.  It’s ok, you went and we are both happier that way.

I’ve forgiven you for not caring when I was pregnant with your third child.  Others were there with support and real love.

I’ve forgiven the time I asked you for £20 a week for food for me and the children,  you couldn’t afford it. Someone else stepped in and saved me from the abyss.

Ha, or that time when I was in labour and asked you to collect the kids.  Remember?  You said no, cos you were going out with your girlfriend that night.  It’s ok, I’m not holding on to that one, water under the bridge now.

It doesn’t matter to me that you left with thousands of pounds of debt, which I’ve managed to slowly clear over the years, even though you were working and I wasn’t.  It’s ok, life’s not about the money.

 
That you lied to the Child Support Agency and paid £7 a week for your three children. You spent more on coffee on your way to work.  But it’s ok, I really don’t care anymore.

 

That you’ve broken Sami’s heart so many hurtful times, I’ve picked up the tearful pieces and repaired his love for you.  He’s ok, a deeper, more thoughtful person for it.  I understand you’ll never know what you’ve done to him.

That you didn’t watch our 2 year old on the riverboat and took the kids to drug fueled parties.  It’s ok, guardian angels were on hand to tell me what was going on, I was lucky.  I accept that part of you that thinks that’s ok.

I accept that you side against the children with Mrs Ex., instead of protecting them from her bias opinions.  I forgive you, you have a relationship to manage, it’s ok.

But, Mr Ex, I had only the one thing left.  You’re tearing it to pieces, deliberately.  There’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Reputation; just another attachment – one I didn’t even realize I had.

I forgive you for bringing me back to the sad, angry place.

Only I can set myself free.

 

Xmas: it’s a wrap

28 December, 2012

Earth Mother flew off to Bali this Xmas, so for the first time in years, I realised it was me cooking the big lunch.  I did a Sainsburys run on the 20th and bought the frozen veggie stuff I can’t get elsewhere.  Upon entering, I realised my error, the check-out queues were 3 miles long, so I grabbed the little bits I needed and promised myself I’d finish the rest in Tesco Express (which I did –  empty of people and full of food).  My hot tip for getting out of the supermarket quickly at Xmas is, simply drag your bulging trolley towards the 10 items or less queue and divide your load up into individual baskets on the conveyor belt.  There are no supermarket laws about how many baskets you can pay for in this line – so long as each one stays within the 10 item limit.  Simple.  (Expect to be attacked by the person queuing behind you when you get to the car park though).

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Some supermarkets provide covered parking, ideal for rainy winter days.

This year, Mr Ex and I worked it so that he had the kids from 10 till 2pm on Xmas day and I had them basically the rest of the holiday.  This meant that after they’d woken up, opened all their presents, gone mad on chocolate, they disappeared.  So, my friend Sri, my mum and I all went for a lie down, just in case we were doing-too-much.  Then I got up and started cooking without anyone hassling me about who’s had more chocolate off the tree, or whose go it was on the Scalectrix.  Yep, Mum and Sri played really nicely after a little nap.

So it turned out to be a good one.  The kids loved their presents.  Afforded with some clever charity shopping, a bit of ebay and a generous refund from Southern Electricity -who I’d overpaid by several hundred pounds. Ah, isn’t it funny how those “estimated” bills work out so well in their favour?  Sami got a sledge which he slept with (hey, he’s only ten).  Amba got a second hand ipod which cost £20 and she sang her heart out, like living a day in the X-factor auditions. Asha got micro-scalectrix, which they all loved.  They built an epic series of ramps by using the various remote controls, boxes and general stuff lying around the living room together.  UF and Kat, who’d blown in from New York, were taught a lesson in speed that they won’t forget in a hurry.

If we were a typical American TV family I would be expecting that either, Mr Ex and I would finally realise that we can’t live without each other and be reconciling.  Or, the kids would realise that their step mom had their best interests at heart all along and we’d all spend Xmas lovingly together.  Happily for me, neither of these scenarios came true, but I did have a little miracle of my own.  Mr Ex, bought me a present from the children this year.  Shocking but true; having ignored me for some time, bringing them home on days like my birthday and Mother’s Day without even a folder bit of paper with “Mummy” on it, I was certainly awe-struck to hear this generous news.  Wide-eyed, Amba confided that he’d spent “seven pounds” on me this year, so I’d better get him something amazing in return.  (She also mentioned that he had specified “no liquorice”, fussy eh?).  So our haul of riches for him began with a very expensive packet of Guiness crisps (£2.87), Sami chose these.  Amba got him a set of chutneys from Cargo (half price but I didn’t tell her, £3) and Asha chose him an ex-library book (20p) about South African freedom fighters which he’d really like (because he fantasises that he was one, even though he was posh white boy in a Surrey boarding school at the time).  I also suggested that the kids get their Stepmum and her kids presents; they mentioned this to Mr Ex, who told them I should buy them myself, so I did.

There were two reasons for this.  Firstly, because they go to her house every Friday, which I really do appreciate.  (It’s technically called “their” house, but we all know he only has lodger’s rights).  Secondly, she’s been, what I can only describe as,  a “fairytale stepmother” to them recently.  I thought I’d tackle the problem with a bit of lurve (for now anyway).  The kids discussed it and chose her some organic chocolates.  Nice.

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Initially, the kids loved visiting their stepmother’s house.

I received a box of fresh macaroons which had sat under the warm Xmas tree for a couple of days.  Amba recommended the sooner I ate them the better.   We had our annual traditions  such as showing up at the village carol service embarrassingly late on Xmas eve, and playing “losing-the-money-Sakti-has-sent-us” on Xmas day. This year, Sakti excelled herself, we didn’t located it until 27th, thus setting a new family record; a perfect end to an Olympian year.

The other great present was a “Now, That’s What I (don’t) Call Music” cd which Mr Ex bought the kids.  Unfortunately, by Boxing Day someone had removed the power cable from the cd player (and hidden it in the kitchen), so the kids spent a few days, sitting in my car playing it at top volume, sharing their festive joy with our retired neighbours.

After Xmas I asked them if Mrs Ex had liked their present.  Unbelievably, they shook their innocent little heads at me.

“No?”, I cried.

“No”, they replied, “She didn’t.”

I looked down at my three angels, so, so, brave – even when faced with so much rejection.

“Y’see, she hates chocolate and we didn’t want to get her anything she liked.  So it was perfect.” They eagerly explained.

Their little faces beamed up at me, bright with Xmas spirit.

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How to Leave Feedback

26 April, 2012

My basic rule of thumb with leaving feedback has always been; the worse the event – the better the feedback I leave it.  Sort of like leaving reverse feedback actually.  So if I go to something that I think is utterly, mind blowingly shite, then I often just feel sorry for them and tell them it was good.  I mean if they don’t know how crap they are, then they’re a long way from change.  So, instead of shattering their reality and spending months resetting their dysmorphic self belief (back down to zero), I tend to leave them happy in ignorance.

I once received a copy of Oxford Montessori’s school brochure (when I  only had one child and actually cared about that sort of thing – his education and stuff).  It was full of spelling mistakes, incorrectly used words and even a map which had one of the schools located on the wrong side of the street.  Here’s a quote I remember;

“We will inform you if your child is illegible for the government voucher scheme”.

Illegible instead of eligible?  I think they were offering my child the chance of their amazing education skills for only £5,000 a year.  I thought the brochure was the best indicator of the school they could possibly send out to be honest.  I didn’t ring up with corrections, I rang the local state school and had a look round instead.

With workshops I’ve enjoyed, I’ll often leave a bit of feedback on small things that could be improved like, “move the venue from East London to Birmingham” etc., all helpful stuff.   Generally speaking, it’s received by the host with, er, hostility.  This happened recently, so I’ve decided to have a bit of a re-think on feedback and how to leave it.

My new forumla for feedback is based on my many years of research, trial and, oh-s0-many errors.  I think I’ve now developed an exciting new approach which will give you incredible results.  Soon, you will find people hanging on your every word and inviting you to be a public speaker at their events.   Please feel free to copy it, or expand on it in your own intimate style.  Although no two situations are ever exactly the same, with this method you will get massive-results-which-blow-your-mind. The conversation should typically go along these lines;

Host(ile) facilitator:  Hey, How was my workshop?

You:  “Oh your workshop……” (pause for thought, like you’re thinking back to the actual day, instead of remembering your lines.  Basically the more you pause at this stage the better the overall effect.  So fill that pause with something like imagining yourself walking backwards through your whole house – include garage and/or sheds).  Then when you’ve done that, you can begin…

You: “Oh it was, well, really fantastic”

Host(ile): Really?  Do you really think so?  I mean I know I’m relatively new to this but….

 You;  (interrupt with enthusiasm) “Oh, yeah, you’re not the biggest, that’s true, but OMG! you’re so the best, the best, it was fan-tas-tic. Really, really good.

Host(ile): Wow, that’s so nice of you, I’m so glad you liked it.  We’ll be doing some more later in the year…

You: (interrupting enthusiastically)  More! (a slight scream should enter your voice now)  Oh, yeah, I’d like more, yeah more.  I’m just going to keep coming again and again and again it was sooooo amazing.  Thanks. (Deeply exhale and if light up a cigarette if you’re outside). 

 

Host(ile):  You’re welcome (he looks happy). I’ll tell you what, shall I put you on our mailing list.

You:  Yes, Yes, YES!

I guarantee, you’ll get a much better result if you use this method anytime you’re asked for feedback.  If you need to practise this complex technique before you use it then write some feedback about my blog below.  (Just scroll up if you need help remembering the formula.)

Introductory price: £7,777.99  (cash/paypal)

H x

Wembley Great Hall, 1st and 2nd Oct 2011

You’ve probably heard of Paul McKenna (McK) right, but might not have heard of Richard Bandler.  He’s something of a big guru in the world of NLP and hypnosis.  A controversial character for many reasons, none of which I can be bothered to bitch on about here.  His innovative techniques for phobias, metaphorical language and personal change, I’ve used with success.  I’ve never seen him because his training seminars are way out of my price range.  I have read some of his books one of which “A Guide to Trance-formation” I rate highly as a guide to learning hypnosis – if you ever want to.  Overall, I didn’t really know what to think, other than he’s got quite a dedicated fan club who dangle on his every hypnotic syllable (eugh).  So when the chance to see him for two days for £188 arrived in my inbox I took it, well I bought it from NLP Life actually.  Most of his training seminars cost thousands of pounds to attend (hence I haven’t done any of them) and this seemed (comparatively) a good deal.

In terms of “getting the life I wanted”, well when I booked this seminar I have to admit I didn’t really think that was something I particularly needed.  I’ve been feeling pretty happy with my life for a while now.  I do struggle to understand the pseudo spiritual culture rife at the moment like “The Secret” where the goal of life is – getting what you want.  If I was leading a seminar it would be called “Want the life you’ve already got” (and no one would come).  The real “secret” of a lot of this bull is about giving people unattainable dreams and then convincing them they can have them.  Then if they aren’t able to attain that dream (because it’s totally unrealistic and implausible and unachievable) then the problem is that they didn’t “believe” in it enough to make it happen.  So it’s their own stupid fault they’ve failed again.  I think there are kinder ways of seeing the world than this.  To be honest, I think it’s probably better for people if you just cut out the middle bit and told them at the start that the “Secret” is it’s all their own fault.  I think if you did it in a slightly mystical way with some soft music and a faraway look in your eye then it could be really effective.  I’ll try it out on people over the next couple of weeks and let you know how it goes.  Maybe in the playground, next time one of my mum chums comes to complain about her husband leaving dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, I can go into a slightly altered state and tell her that I “feel” (because a lot of this stuff runs on how we “feel” about things), yes, I feel that ultimately she is creating this situation and that only she can resolve it (because there is no longer any such thing as “fault” only incomplete solutions).

Ok, so you can see that I wasn’t the most ideal candidate for this seminar, but by the time it actually came round, I have to say I was feeling pretty uncertain about some of the decisions I was making about my future.  I’d lost my mojo somewhere around early August and blamed it on six weeks of holidays with my three darlings at home (what to speak of two weeks in a tent with them).  But it wasn’t really true, I had properly lost my mojo and didn’t know where or how to get it back.  I was happy enough, but just not as sparkly as I normally feel.  For example, I’d look at my blog and just not write it, even though I used to love it.  So I was sort of curious by the time it came round to see if it would help me, or if it would fill me with impossible dreams and then leave me on Sunday evening, waiting for a tube in the rain with big fantasy umbrella keeping me dry – if you know what I mean.

The first thing about the seminar that made a real impression on me was that McK opened it alone.  Yep, Bandler hadn’t bothered to get out of bed for 1,300 people (at an average price of £270 pp).  Unbelievable.  None of the “Hi, it’s like really lovely of you all to be here, this is gonna be so fabulous” etc etc ad nauseum.  I had to admit I sort of liked it him for it.  I mean how many of us sit through all sorts of shite just for the social nicety of it all.  Bandler didn’t.  I think I was envious as I was sitting through yet another McK enactment of his dream life as Sean Connery.  (He obviously hasn’t seen Megamind yet).

McKenna smoking during the break

McKenna smoking during the break

I think it went a bit like this the night before:

Bandler:  “Fuck it, McKenna you do the fucking morning, I’m not getting out of bed and driving all the way to fucking Wembley till I’ve had my fucking brunch.”

McK: “Er, ok, I’ll warm them up using my rather fabulous James Bond persona.  The natural charm and confidence I adopt will spread good feelings through the audience and……”

Bandler (interrupting) : “Do what the fuck you like, make them cluck like fucking chickens but don’t expect me there before 3pm”.

McKenna: “Ok M, leave it to me, ”.

Bandler: “What did you fucking call me?”

McK : “Nothing”

So McKenna did the morning.

Now I have to say I’ve seen McK a few times in the past.  The first time I saw him he was in a really bad mood.  I don’t know what was up with him – he was living the Bond life he wanted after all. Wearing a Bond suit, telling the time on a Bond watch, driving a Bond car, planning his career with a real life Money Penny;  and dating Bond girls – who turn in psychos and stab him in the back – hey what more could a guy want?  Anyway, I went to his I can make you thin event a few times, I bought tickets, I won tickets, I couldn’t get away.  And I couldn’t get thin either.

Ok, so let’s get back to Bandler, when he eventually got up and had brunch (he’s American and I believe they all have brunch every day; then hot dogs with yellow mustard in the afternoon when they’re doing their police jobs; then they have dinner somewhere swanky in the evening. Trust me, I’ve seen it ont’elly).  He managed to spur himself towards our event and arrive mid afternoon.  No rush, no rush.  Then he proceeded to tell outrageously funny (and seemingly embellished) stories of inventive therapy sessions he’d conducted.  Couldn’t help but like his stories and his irreverential style.  During all this he was spinning something called “nested loops”.  It’s a hypnotic technique where you begin a story and then digress with another story, and another etc building different levels within each story.  Then you do some subliminal work on the clients (us) and close the stories one by one in the right order.  Well, that’s how Bandler teaches it, but it’s certainly not how he does it himself.  I have to say many of the loops were not closed and I have no idea what the hell he was doing with them all over the place.  But I sure felt good by the end of the day and felt like he actually gave a shit about people’s mental well being.  This was also reflected in the imaginative and kind work he did with people on the stage.  Humble he is not, but skilled he certainly is.

On the second day there was an interesting exercise with McK where we looked at our values and from there our goals (yes, yawn, is there anyone who hasn’t done that a thousand times before), but then we put them on a time line and played around with them on there.  A timeline is an imaginary line depicting your life in chronological time.  You can move stuff around on it, change things and do interesting stuff with it therapeutically.  Anyway, eventually we went to the end of our lines (metaphorically our old age) and looked back over the part we’d been planning with our values etc and checked we were happy with it.  McK, then asked a few people in the audience about theirs.  Now a lot of the audience were NLPers (you can tell cos they look like estate agents.  “Height phobia Madam? I want you to imagine yourself in a low lying bungalow in Southend, feel how big the rooms are, notice how small and grey the price appears, would you like a viewing?”).  So, from the audience we got all the typical  I want, I want, I wants.  There were famous writers, famous musicians, famous filmmakers and famous photographers (notice a theme anyone?). Fine.

But as I looked down my own timeline there wasn’t anything famous on it.  I saw myself responsibly bringing up three children on my own, who I love.  I saw myself working as a hypnotherapist, which I love.  And I saw myself spending an inordinate amount of time getting a science degree from the Open University, which I will love.  Nothing sexy, glamorous, award winning, rich or famous along this line.  But as I looked back from my old age perspective I felt an incredibly powerful sense of well being, I felt the reward of being responsible to my children, the joy of helping people with their problems and the challenge of study.  And I felt an incredible sense of simple satisfaction that I’d spent those years of my life on those things.  And to be honest, there’s something a bit priceless about feeling that good about the life you’re living; the one you’re already actually living, not an imaginary life that you wish you had.  And right at that moment, I realized I’d found my mojo again.

Paul McKenna

Richard Bandler

The other good news is that I’ve picked up my blog and started writing (obviously) and begun to manically walk everywhere I go.  I’ve stopped over-eating and one week after the seminar have lost 5lbs.  I have also more strangely found myself doing stomach crunches at 5am in the living room before going back to bed (!!). I don’t know if it was Bandler or McK, but I have to say, I’m really glad I went along.

Bye xx

Crazy Sexy Gym

31 January, 2011

I have found the ultimate gym experience.  Before you ask, no, it’s not on YouTube or anything remote where you don’t actually have to move your body.  It’s a real life, get off your arse and move around gym.

Ok, it’s not a gym, but nearly.  There are a few little differences,  my Crazy Sexy Gym beats a traditional gym hands down on all the differences.

The first thing about Crazy Sexy Gym is it’s not called IRON BOLLOCKS, it’s actually called “Curves”.  You know, curves, like on a real body that goes in and out.  I’m just beginning to work on the “in” bits, but I’ve got all the “outs” nicely sorted, so I’m halfway to the perfect body already, which is why I’m not even going to call it “Curves”, but Crazy Sexy Gym.

Crazy Sexy Gym has a circuit of exercise machines, about ten of them, with some aerobic (sprung) boards in between them.  The idea is that you work your way round this circuit  Curves workout circuit three times.  You carry a little electronic tag which you plug into each machine.  This tag sets the machines to your individual resistance and off you go, a full body work out takes 30 minutes.  The really brilliant thing about this is that every time I think to myself, “I hate this, I totally hate this and I can’t carry on,” a recorded voice says “change stations now”, indicating that my full 30 seconds on that machine is over and it’s time to do 30 seconds on the next machine.  Cool isn’t it?

The ambience of Crazy Sexy Gym is unlike your normal sweaty, pushy, gym.  As you work your way around the circuit you will converse with the other women there.  (Did I mention it was women only?)  The discussions are about holidays, shopping, puddings, the amazing sale on at Evans etc.  This goes on for the entire duration of your workout, you will be breathless by the end, but you’ll know everything that’s happened in Corrie and EastEnders (but not Holyoaks).  One of the reasons I joined Crazy Sexy Gym was that when I did my trial workout, everyone else in there was at least 25 years older than me.  As I jogged heavily on the sprung boards for 30 seconds, they made comments to each other like “Oh, it’s wearing me out just looking at her” and “It’s alright when you’re young.”  I felt like I was on a Cindy Crawford exercise DVD or on in a wet Baywatch swimsuit.  I hadn’t felt that fit in years; that’s a pretty good start I thought, so I joined.

Compare that to last time I was in a proper gym (I mean exercising, not using the loos).  I was ambling power walking on the treadmill when some 26 yr old, size 8 pentathlete started sprinting right next to me.  I was trying to watch 60 Minute Makeover on the flat screen at the time.  (Have you seen it?  It’s where a load of people ransack your house in the name of home improvement.  But, they only spend 60 minutes doing all the renovations.  So literally like 30 people charge in, paint the rooms, refit your carpets, replace major appliances and install a new kitchen.  Then when the buzzer goes, indicating they have fulfilled their 60 minutes of unskilled destruction, they stop and leave it exactly as it is.  Personally, I can see a few problems with this methodology, but they’ve never shown the owners crying and the house falling down, so it must all be ok).  Where was I ?  Watching daytime TV as a skinny, fit, thin bird sprinted a quick marathon next to me.  Now, one thing I know about a lot of these “perfect” body types is that they are actually desperately insecure about how they look and genuinely think they’re fat and ugly.   I considered sweetly saying; “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but do you realise your fat legs are thumping your feet so hard on the treadmill that I can’t hear this show?”  But she wouldn’t have heard me as she had some cool music on her iPod frying her Crazy Empty Head.  So instead, I decided to leave.  I stopped walking and next thing I knew I was lying on the floor behind the treadmill.

Another interesting thing about Crazy Sexy Gym is the changing rooms.  Apparently, they let the members decide what facilities they wanted.  The members opted for a kitchen rather than showers, which says a lot really doesn’t it?  Personal hygiene is taken seriously though and there is a free supply of wet wipes and deoderants for everyone to use.  Believe it or not, no one nicks them either.  The changing rooms are carpeted not tiled so  there’s no danger of a fall.  Instead of ugly metal lockers, they have nice little pine cubby holes, each one filled with a pair of very white trainers.  There’s a pair with big labels in the soles saying “Susan Whitingale”, I’ve found they fit me the best.

Changing rooms at Curves

Typical changing room at Curves.

So, now for the science.  They weigh and measure you once a month.  I worked out there twice a week for the first month, half an hour each time.  Then I had a month off with Xmas and heavy snow.    When they finally measured me, I’d lost 4 inches over my body.  That’s including an inch of my stomach, half an inch of each thigh and one off my boobs (but you’d never know it).  And I hadn’t even been for a month.  Pretty amazing I think.

You know what they say, you can’t argue with success.
Can’t recommend it higher than that.  Cost is £34 a month, give Crazy Sexy Gym a go.

Byeeeeee x

Dutchess of Skid Row

23 May, 2010

I have three of the “oh my god” children here wreaking havoc for the day. With mine, there are six kids under eight in my fairly negligent care. My neighbour, has very kindly, just added chicken wire to the gate to stop them escaping, keep them safe in the garden.

My current number of godchildren is nine, for no good reason. I haven’t got any money to lavish on them, let alone leave them in a generous will. They get some (god) motherly tough-love and a share in a dvd at Xmas. Sometimes, I remember some of their birthdays and, if there’s special offer on in Poundland, they might even get a present. I’m thinking of declining any further god kid applicants, (and handing out free condoms to my friends).

A mum from school said, “Nine, that’s like Royalty”. Yup, I’m sure you’re thinking, Princess Grace of Monaco, I know.  But, believe it or not, I could be a lot more Fergie – inappropriate humour used to make situations that are bad, far worse. I read an article on her this week in the Daily (it must be true) Mail. She is apparently on skid row again since she lost her job running a Weight Watchers meeting.  Although, during the interview, she bought the £1,300 chair she was sitting in, as a spontaneous present for a friend. Her latest business venture went into liquidation owing £600,000, plus £200,000 to her solicitors and a few others who are owed smaller sums (like £20k).

Now, I always quite admired how Fergie survived the 80s and 90s. I’m not normally one to knock someone when they’re down. But the woman does get £250k a year from her ex-husband. On top of that she earned £2 million A YEAR representing Weight Watchers. Is this really the ex-princess who went into a “deprived” housing estate to help normal people get their lives together? I can’t believe no one thought of pitching that show the other way round? Normal hard working people, show hopelessly out of touch ex royal, how to manage her life and live on under £2.25 million a year.

It would go something like this:

Common (sense) bloke: Don’t worry luv, I’ll help you. I can teach you a bit of common sense with money. How much do you spend a year right now on non essentials?
Skint Fergie: I only spend on essentials. Nothing else.
CsB: Ok, then, how much is yer mortgage?
SF: My more gauge? Quite high, I suppose, about ½ a mill.
CsB: Half a mill, great, I used to work in’t mill. How many ton of flour do you get through a year?
SF: Well, I had to cut the cakes right down when I worked for Weight Watchers. But I have to admit, with all this stress, it’s gone up a quite a bit .
CsB: . So that’s in full productions, great. And you say you worked at Weight Watchers?
SF: They let me go.
CsB: Too fat?
SF: No. I was made redundant and since then, I’ve spiralled into a bit of debt.
CsB: Easy to do if yer not working. Do you get any support from that ex husband of yours?
SF: Two fifty a year.
CsB:. Well that won’t go very far. I’m sure it helps, with little extras though, like clothes and shoes.
SF: That’s exactly what I told him.
CsB: What about benefits, are you entitled to any?
SF: I get a lot of criticism about this. But yes, I take all the benefits I can get and that’s basically what keeps me going.
CsB: Aye, it’s hard surviving on benefits. What about family, do you get any help there from your parents or your in-laws?
SF: None. My side are poor polo players. His family live the life of royalty, but they won’t help me.
CsB: That’s terrible. Do you need help with housing? Where do you live?
SF: My ex husband was left a house by his granny. I’m in his spare room.
CsB: You don’t have to live like that luv. I’ll get you on the housing list. But, you’ll have to go into B&B for a few weeks.
SF: What? A hotel? That would be amazing.
CsB: Well, it might be a bit hard, but it’s just for a few weeks.
SF: Oh fabulous. Be a darling and book me for Mustique.
CsB: Don’t be daft luv, you can’t go to focking Spain.

Come on Sarah; how many people have your sort of disposable income, with no overheads? For now, just stop promoting yourself as a role model and guru of social change. Focus on strengthening your tenuous link with the real world first.

Girl, get a grip.

I'll never give up, (my Harrod's gold card).