Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Mum took me to the doctors
I don't think she told me why
But she mentioned chocolate buttons
And Grandma's chicken pie

That's my favourite combination
So I did as I was told
And walked into the nurses room
And said “I'm four years old”

I quickly thought something was up
I couldn't see the food
I had to take my jumper off
I thought it rather rude

I sat on Mummy's knee and wondered
What would happen now
The nurse then said that “it might hurt”
She wasn't lying, “OW!”

That mean old nurse she stabbed me
Right there in my left arm
What's worse nobody stopped her
They told me to keep calm!

You wouldn't quite believe it
She did it once again
Then tried to cheer me up with
A free sticker and a pen!

It's a good job that my Mummy
Had chocolate in her purse
Or I'd have grabbed that flipping pen
And thrown it at the nurse

It wasn't enough chocolate
To take away the pain
My arms are sore, I have been duped,
We walked home in the rain

Since we got home things have improved
With pie, TV and cake
And some rather tasty medicine
That I'm supposed to take

But next time I won't trust them
And that's especially
If chocolate is mentioned
Or chicken pie for tea.


They are knocking walls down today. I just came in the front door and ran my finger along the top of one of the pictures in the hall. Presumably to see if the dust made is ruining the state of cleanliness in my house.

This is hilarious seeing as I haven't dusted that picture in about eight months

I'm hoping that my low cleaning standards will set me in good stead for living amongst the dirt for the next few weeks. I haven't exactly got far to fall on the dust front.

Disorganisation is pretty standard too in the Hilton house although Paul and I do seem to be spending most of our time in a state of complete confusion which is a bit different. This is in part due to the fact that I tried to have a system for our box packing and two days too early packed most of the kitchen into different labelled boxes and put them in the dining room:

Condiments (yes really)

You get the idea. Well you've got to have a system. The only trouble is most of the other related items were still in the kitchen. A cup of tea required items from at least three boxes and a drawer we aren't used to using in the dining room, the kettle, milk and bin in the kitchen and therefore a round walk of at least three miles. And it wasn't worth it. Tea made with brown sugar is, shall we say, interesting.

It's exciting though. But for some reason I felt a little sad last night. Maybe it's because we are changing the house we love and fear the changes will blur the memories. Or maybe it's concern that the bathroom might fall into the kitchen. Either way I'm going out to see a friend and drink coffee and try not to think about it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Lantern Theatre

Paul and I went to see Criminy at the Lantern Theatre. It was an odd evening to say the least. The show started at 7.30 and only lasted 45 minutes. It was a silent comedy about a bank robbery. You see I said it was odd.

It was funny throughout - some of it very funny - although we couldn't help but think it's success at the Fringe might have been to do with a later post drinking start time. If I'd have been drunk it would have been hilarious. As it was I was driving and Paul was ill so we went straight home afterwards feeling a little bemused. Which was nothing compared to how the babysitter probably felt when came back after only an hour and a half.

The brilliant thing though is that we have discovered the Lantern Theatre. I can't believe we have never been before. It is a fantastic tiny theatre, a bit tatty around the edges but with bags of atmosphere. It made me smile just sitting there. Now I just need them to show more regular children's shows please.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Grumpyumpus

The Grumpyumpus is a curious beast,
She's not very cheerful to say the least,
She stomps and she growls and she throws things about,
If you get in her way she might start to shout.

She can be pretty scary, monstrous and cross,
Snarly and frightening, she's clearly the boss,
No-one would think that an hour ago,
She was calm and delightful from head down to toe.

At 5 o'clock she was seen reading a book,
Telling a story with an innocent look,
Tucking her dollies up into their cots,
Drawing a picture and joining the dots.

But at 6 o'clock there is a glimpse of a glower,
For then begins Grumpyumpus hour,
It's the time after dinner but well before bed,
When the Grumpyumpus lifts up her grumpyus head.

She will not take her clothes off or get in the bath,
Even her daddy cannot make her laugh,
She will not clean her teeth or undo her hair,
She yells when she can't find her favourite bear.

She doesn't want Daddy but Mummy's no better,
She wants chocolate biscuits but no-one will let her,
She fights over choosing a book before bed,
And nearly ends up with no story instead.

But once the book opens as well as the arms,
The Grumpyumpus visibly calms,
Her breathing it shallows, her head it now rests,
As the pirates they dig up their lost treasure chest,

And dreams of princesses fill up her head,
She finally says it is time now for bed,
The light is turned out and the door pulled to,
But Grumpyumpus has one last thing she must do.

"I need a hug now" she shouts at the end,
Finally that's something easy to mend,
There are cuddles and kisses, then turn out the light,
And Grumpyumpus closes her eyes for the night.

Sleep sweet Grumpyumpus 'til we meet once more,
Between dinner and bedtime when you stomp round the floor,
You are lovely and gorgeous, I'll remember that when,
We have to go through this tomorrow, again.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


So far this morning:

1. We didn't wake up until 7.45. So that's 45 minutes to get ready, feed everyone and make two lunches. Unsurprisingly I went to school with wet hair and a Hello Kitty clip in. Back to the normal state of affairs then.

2. I had difficulty getting the girls ready due to lack of clean school uniform. Tilly has gone to school in a purple jumper. But it's not a multicoloured stripey top and matching tights so I'm sure it's fine.

3. I had difficulty making lunches due to lack of ham, cheese, tomatoes - in fact anything remotely interesting to put in a lunch box. Jam sandwiches then.

4. Phoebe had a meltdown because Tilly "always gets to feed her dog at the table" and apparently she doesn't.

5. I ate half a slice of toast standing up.

6. Paul couldn't find his wallet.

7. We all got wet in the rain on the way to school. Who the hell designs boots that leak and charges £100 for them?

8. I returned home and immediately attempted to make my first a cup of tea of the day but forgot to put the tea bag in.

I wish I could go back to bed but I have to wash uniform, find Paul's wallet and restock the cupboards (that we'll only have for the next five days anyway) otherwise tomorrow will go the same way.

The day has to get better right?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Pete McKee's Pub Scrawl

I was going to post about this event yesterday. But I couldn't. Because the typing noise hurt my head. I was in a bad way to say the least, but having had the best night out in ages made it all worth it.

Pete McKee posted about "Pub Scrawl" on his blog before Christmas, saying that he was arranging a night with ten artists in ten pubs in Sheffield and that you could go on the tour by buying a ticket for £5. Since Christmas presents for men are a bit tricky, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets for me and Paul, and also some friends. In the end 8 of us has arranged to go along.

Before it happened I must say we were a bit confused. You can't stop people going into pubs so what was the ticket for? I knew we were getting a programme but I had no idea what else was lined up.

We had a minor hiccup when the info came out a week before the event because it started at 6pm. Thank goodness for Grandparents. Of course we also had to fit in eating something so we ate the fastest pizza known to man at 5pm. The waitress looked confused as we punched in pin codes while still gobbling pepperoni.

Anyway what followed was brilliant. It was well organised, and well worth being on the tour. We had about half an hour in each pub. Just enough time for a drink and a good look at the eclectic mix of art on show. It had been carefully selected to represent different media and we had a great start with Ian Anderson from The Designer's Republic and had an introduction from Pete Mckee before setting off.

Everyone's favourite of the evening was probably Warp films in the Washington (named the Warpington for the night). They recreated "This is England" with loads of the actors drinking, chatting and even pulling pints. There was even a nod to "Four Lions" with a bomb carrying crow on the wall.

Paul and I loved Tado in the Bowery with their cartoon representation of Sheffield and a Panda DJ to boot. Our little group of eight moved on from the Bath Hotel a bit quicker than we should have because it was packed. It was a shame because I liked the brief look I did get of what Lord Bunn had created. You can't beat faces on vegetables in my opinion.

There was loads more. I personally love Faunagraphic and have been banging on about one of her works for ages. It's a shame she couldn't be using a spray can - I would have loved to see her at work. Maybe next time a graffiti artist could have some boards outside somewhere.

We nearly got left behind in Bungalows and Bears. Mostly because we had found a table and got a bit too comfortable but we soon caught up and ended up in DaDa. The Zoe-tropes were a nice touch but I'm not that big on penis related art myself. The night ended with the Everly Pregnant Brothers and some standing on stools to get a good view.

We drank way too much. But I guess that was inevitable. It event was an innovative idea, well executed. That coupled with how wonderful it was for Paul and I to go out properly with good friends, old and new, I couldn't have asked for more. Buying tickets made it an event that we planned for so didn't pass up and having the wrist bands meant we could always get into a venue.

Just like Tramlines this made me proud to be from Sheffield. The talent here deserves to be shouted about, as do the pubs. But oh my word my head hurt afterwards.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Apparently my lack of pub quiz ability was held in my hair. Well either that or it was way easier last night than usual. I'm guessing the latter. We even managed to get the anagram - although that wasn't my contribution I hasten to add. Ok so 10 out of 20 is still a bit hopeless but it's a bit less disheartening.

I like Wednesdays. I go out with some good friends and have a laugh. But it fell on an odd day this week and reminded me of a time past.

I was thinking of a very good very old friend yesterday (I don't mean she's 102 just that I've known her forever). We used to go to a music pub quiz together an age ago. And we often actually won that. Although that was often nothing to do with me (I'm sensing a theme).

It was a time in my life that I remember so fondly. That was a time when I drank ale out of a pint glass and could remember stuff. We won quite often and collected the beer tokens with the idea of having a free proper night out with them. We collected them for so long that the landlord ran out of tokens and had to print more. We arranged to go out without the aid of a mobile phone and it was extremely rare that any of us failed to show up. We threw money away in a quiz machine.Every Monday with some of my oldest closest friends in the world I laughed, talked and sat in our favourite pub drinking while we did it.

So here is to a time when we knew some of the answers but probably less of the important ones. I still love you and only wish that my hugs were less virtual now.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Mark Radcliffe

One extra pub, just for the hell of it...

We went to the Greystones last night to see Mark Radcliffe. It seems like a great pub and a lovely small venue for gigs.

I can't say we knew what we were letting ourselves in for. The last time Paul and I saw Mark Ratcliffe he was performing in the Shirehorses in Stoke-on-Trent.

I have loved him on the radio for years, ever since my Dad used to record Mark and Lard's 10 o'clock radio show to listen to in the mornings on the way to Thomas Cook. That was my post university purchase ledger period. It wasn't my forte. The journey there and back was the best bit.

Most people didn't like their morning show. I did. Because in those days if I committed to an artist of any kind it was all or nothing for me. Just like I positively rated any Billy Bragg song regardless of whether it was up beat and angry, or falsetto (yes really). I suppose in retrospect Mark and Lard seemed a bit edited, and based on what he said last night their hearts weren't really in it but I found it all hilarious at the time.

Since then I occasionally listen to him on Radio Two and one Six Music with Stuart Maconie. He makes me laugh more than any other DJ I listen to.

Anyway we didn't know what to expect last night but what happened was fantastic. He told anecdotes and made off the cuff remarks that were very funny as well as introducing and singing self penned songs about drinking, Manchester, London and emotions among other things. I thought it would be extremely unlikely to find a gig that me, Paul, Mum and Dad equally enjoyed. But this was it. It finished with Martin Simpson joining them on stage. We weren't expecting that at all.

I just wish I'd taken my book to ask him to sign. Oh well at least Paul asked Richard Hawley the way to the toilet. Our brushes with fame just keep get better and better.

Friday, 13 January 2012


It appears I now frequent pubs in Sheffield again. Of course it helps that three new ones have opened within a mile of our house.

The Ale House is run by the previous manager of the Sheaf View. It has all the character of the Bull in Spalding. Which never had any. But I liked the Bull because it had people I liked in it. I like the Ale House because on Wednesday nights it has people I like in it. Well the ones in my failing pub quiz team that is. It also has good beer, a juke box and judging by the records stuck around the ceiling the manager has quite good taste in music.

I tried the Millhouses a few weeks ago with a friend. I felt a bit like I wasn't posh enough to be there, which apparently is a surprise based on it's chequered past from way before it reopened this time. The food is supposed to be good so I'll have to go back and test it. Maybe my new hair style and make up will make me feel more at home. And it has staggering distance from our house in it's favour. But someone told me the beer they sell is from Cornwall which is a bit odd.

Then on Friday Paul and I went to the reopened Broadfield on Abbeydale Road. The interior is great. Character and comfort. I saw a few people we knew, and spent much of the night sitting with Tilly's reception teacher and Phoebe's pre school teacher which was really good fun. Both girls thought us having a night out with their teachers was hilarious.

The pub was really busy and we spent a fortune on wine, but the place had a really good feel to it. And it sells the best pies in Sheffield apparently. Better than all that Paul was with me in a pub, which happens pretty rarely these days. We walked home looking at the clear sky trying to ascertain which light was Jupiter, which isn't easy with blurred vision even when you have got an app.

And we drew smiley eyes on a frozen windscreened camper van. No I am not having a mid life crisis.

Hair today...sorry I couldn't resist.

Those of you who know me will also probably know that I'm not very good at the beauty regime stuff. Every now and again someone invites me to a home party where upon I convince myself that this time when I purchase the very reasonably priced (if you buy it all together and only right then and there) cleanser, toner and moisturiser I will actually use it. "Yes" I nod in agreement when the beauty consultant asks me if I can spare a minute a day to get beautiful skin. I get my credit card out, and when I get my order I look at the bottles lovingly and put them by the sink. Where they stay relatively untouched until they gather dust and get relegated to the back of the bathroom cabinet. Two years later I throw them away.

And then there's my hair. Up until Friday morning it was long, thick, ginger and, well, pretty much the same as it was when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, just like my attempts to have flawless skin I've flirted with change in the hair department. I had a terrible short hair cut when I was 19 for a while, and every now and again I had a bob that I couldn't maintain or a long "sweeping" (irritating) fringe that I was constantly blowing out of my eyes and which always resulted in me clipping it up with whatever pink Hello Kitty clip I could find in the girls room.

Every time I had my hair cut I would feel better and agree that absolutely I would be back in 6 weeks to maintain this beautiful new hair style. Which I failed to do. After a couple of weeks I'd resort to tying my hair back a lot, probably making me resemble an older, and frankly more haggard, version of myself at 16. Occasionally I'd go out somewhere really nice and so I'd straighten it. Mostly I didn't.

I finally committed to cutting it off and it hit the hairdresser's floor on Friday morning. The reaction has mostly been positive, apart from Phoebe who looked at me like she'd never seen me before in her life and frankly didn't trust me either. She told me twice that she wanted me to put it back the way it was.

I'm a little freaked out by it. It's cold, very confusing when I catch sight of myself in a mirror and has made me feel like I need to wear make up all the time for fear of being mistaken for a boy. But that's probably because that's what happened when I insisted I had my hair cut off at 6 years old. At least this time there is no chance I'll also be wearing my brother's hand me downs.

Anyway I am reliably informed by my husband that I don't look like a) a boy or b) Anne Robinson, which is a bonus. So it's all good. Apart from the fact that I'll have to commit to going back to the hairdressers more often than twice a year. Oh and the fact that now I need make up lessons.

Monday, 9 January 2012


I can't take it. My pulse is racing and I'm sweating.

No it's not that I worked particularly hard at the gym, but that the builders are finally taking our roof off.

There was just an extremely scary loud bang and a collapsing sort of noise. I daren't look. Well outside anyway. I checked the room beneath the noise and it still has a ceiling so that's good then. I was then really brave and went and had a sneaky look in the upstairs cupboard, directly beneath the roof removing activity. Just as Mark was saying "be careful" to one of the lads.

Yes please. Be careful. I don't want injured builders or collapsing ceilings and walls. Thanks.

And on that note I'm going out. It's blinkin terrifying.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Me: "Tilly you could spend your birthday money at the weekend, or you could decide on something you might like that's a bit bigger and save up for it.

Tilly: "But the only thing I really want is a rabbit."

Phoebe (starting to cry what seem to be real tears) "But I really want a kitten and we can't have one because they make Daddy sneeze"

Me: "That's true sweetie Daddy is allergic. Maybe we can think about getting a different sort of pet like a goldfish."

Phoebe (stops crying) "Can we get an elephant?"

Thursday, 5 January 2012


What better to write on a Thursday but an update. And in a Thursday kind of way it isn't very exciting but you can't have everything.

1. Our builders have not built anything since before Christmas. The weather is to blame. On the up side they haven't wrecked my house yet. I don't suppose I would have wanted the roof off during a gale. On the downside the end date is a moving goalpost. If the extension is finished for Spring I'll eat my hat.

2. I went to the gym for the first time in 6 weeks today. Perhaps unsurprisingly I couldn't lift the weights that I could lift 6 weeks ago. It hurt. And that's nothing compared to how it will feel in the morning.

3. I have lots of washing to do. Phoebe still hasn't worked out that actually sitting on the toilet when you need a wee is preferable to weeing in her underwear, on the bathroom floor, or even better on mummy's trousers, jumper, floor and sofa cushions.

4. Our pub quiz team is getting worse. We got 4 out of 20 yesterday. The first and second answers were the "Clapping Song" and Shirley Ellis respectively. What hope did we have?

5. Tilly has been back at school two days and I now know very little about what goes on in her life. Except that she's been painting a number and she got a sticker...but she can't remember what for.

6. Diversifying dinner options at home is going...interestingly. Tilly will still eat pretty much anything I serve up. Phoebe will eat anything that doesn't look "yucky". Apparently a homemade veggie burger in a bun falls into the "yucky camp". Out of the bun it doesn't. Go figure.

7. I went to the library with Phoebe and am now regretting checking out two more puzzle books. If I have to find another minuscule compass in undergrowth I'll scream.

See I told you it was a dull update. I'm off to try and work out what anyone is saying in The Wire with a glass of wine. Instead of doing my tax return. Wow January is exciting so far. You don't need to worry though I'll try to keep my tax return blogging to a minimum...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year

Well 2011 is over.

We thought it only reasonable to create a new tradition in the Hilton household by letting a sky lantern go in the garden before the kids went to bed and all making a wish for the next year. After we had negotiated the somewhat treacherous route to the back garden sustaining no injuries, we set light to the paper at the bottom. I had explained that you need to think your wishes without saying out loud so they have more chance of coming true.

As the lantern lifted up Phoebe shouted out "I wish I was a princess". Good job she pretty much is one already.

We were slightly concerned as the lantern drifted forwards rather than up for a bit and I was wondering how I would explain a burning bush to the neighbours, but then all was well fortunately. I can't tell you my wish of course but it's the same one I always have.

It was a lovely day yesterday. Hare and the Tortoise with Paul and the girls and then a visit from my favourite family (well other than my own of course). Playing, tea, hugs and cake.

And New Year's Eve proper? Was it spent in a pub or at a busy party having a riotous time? Of course not. It was spent having a riotous time in our living room with our friend Graham playing Wii Beatles Rock Band and getting drunk. Great fun. And we did make it to midnight. The fireworks were spectacular. I wonder how they'll top them at the Olympics.

I should I suppose end with some resolutions. I imagine blogs everywhere are full fo them but no, I'm not going to do them this year. I just set myself up to fail.

I'd like some change though. Change to a healthier me. That will do.

Happy New Year to all my lovely friends and family, and to anyone else who's passing through the blog world. May 2012 be full of happiness. xx