Tag Archives: mum

My baby brother turns 21 tomorrow.

I grew up an only child, until at six and a half, I became the proudest big sister in the world. I was used to having my parents’ full attention and only having stuffed toys to play with. I was a very mature child as I spent all of my time, until starting school, in the company of adults. Likewise, I was very independent, happy to entertain myself by making up dance routines, reading and writing stories.

When my mum told me I was going to have a baby brother or sister, I was over the moon. I remember lying on my mum’s tummy, getting kicked by the baby and laughing. The summer of 1990 was one of the hottest on record. Every morning, I took my mum a glass of water as she struggled in the heat. She never let it stop her though, we went to town on the bus, I played in the paddling pool and she took me to swimming lessons, all without a car.

If the baby had been a girl, I was allowed to pick the name – I chose Louise. Gavin was always going to be the name for a boy.

On the date the baby was due, I ran home after getting off the school bus at lunchtime, bursting through the front door shouting “Is the baby here?!” My mum, who looked about ready to pop, was standing calmly at the hob cooking my lunch. It was three days later that my dad woke me up in what appeared to be the middle of the night (6am) and told me I was going to stay with the next-door neighbours while they went to the hospital. I was super excited.

Later in the day, I was taken to my Nana’s house and then my uncle dropped me off at a friend’s roller disco party. Did I want to roller skate? Did I heck! I wanted to see my new sibling and my mum and dad. I went back to my Nana’s, had dinner and my dad rang to say my mum had been put on a drip. I remember bursting into tears as I thought that meant she was going to die. I was only six, remember. I watched ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ with my Nana and, at nine twenty pm, my dad rang to tell me I had a baby brother. I sat on my Nana’s knee and cried with pride.

The next day, my dad and I bought a little blue teddy bear and I was introduced to my brother. He had a shock of black, spiky hair and he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Tactfully, I asked my mum if she “still had another one in there” as we left. I went to school on the Monday morning but was allowed to go home at lunchtime to bring my mum and the baby home from hospital.

From then on, I wanted to hold my brother. I think initially I was disappointed that all he did was eat, sleep and cry but I liked to help feed him, bathe him and so on. On a Saturday morning, I would prop him up against a cushion on the sofa and make him watch the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ cartoon and yell to my mum “Look Mam, he likes it” despite the fact all he could probably see at that time was the colours.

As my brother got older, he became far more rambunctious than I had ever been. He climbed everywhere. He was irrepressible and remains so to this day. He was obsessed with Fireman Sam, asking my dad every weekend to take him to the local fire station to see the engines. He loved tractors, buses and the Lion King.

Throughout Gavin’s life, his hearing hasn’t been the best and so he has provided us with a lot of laughs. “Optician by Calvin Klein” was one of his gems.

Gavin and I are so different in many ways, he’s gregarious and an all-rounder. At school, lessons came so easily to him – no matter what the subject. He’s so popular and I have never met someone who didn’t like him and rightly so. My brother has grown into a man to be proud of.

Gavin is a guy who loves being with people, he loves partying and is a total hedonist but he is also a thoughtful, caring soul. He still gives us hugs and spends time with the family.

I am so grateful for the relationship I have with him. We still go to concerts together and I enjoy the time I spend in his company.

When he was young, I was the protective Mother Hen but now it works both ways. I know so many siblings who, for many reasons, don’t get along and I am so happy that our relationship has always been good. We do have spats – who doesn’t? – but I know that I could not ask for a better brother.

I am so proud to say he’s my brother.

Vic x

Advertisements

Going where I’ve never gone before…

Tomorrow, at the grand old age of twenty-seven years, seven months and four days old I shall attempt something I have never done before. I am cooking the family meal. Ok, of course, I’ve made salads, beans on toast, cheese toasties and even the odd jacket potato but tomorrow I am planning something major: Mexican night!

Usually, if I eat Mexican it’s at a restaurant or The Boy Wonder cooks for me. I know, I’m a lucky girl. Tomorrow, though, I’m taking it upon myself to cook for my mum, dad and younger brother. Now, many of you who read this blog will know that not only am I a picky eater but I am not a domestic goddess. I prefer to spend my time constructively – reading!

So, what’s on the menu?

Well, fajitas. And the worrying thing is, every time someone has attempted to make fajitas in our house for the last twelve months, it has appeared to be the catalyst for some argument in our house. So it is with double trepidation that I plan to cook them. Pray for no conflict! Sadly my brother refuses to eat peppers or onions so that will mean cooking them separately from the chicken. I feel argumentative already….!

Also, I intend to make my own potato wedges. Risky, I know seeing as I am not a domestic goddess in the least. Having been given instructions by TBW, what could possibly go wrong? 

I’m also going to make some cheesy nachos and attempt to make quesadillas.

This experiment is mainly because I fancy a Mexican tomorrow but I know my family will be waiting with bated breath. And possibly the takeaway on speed dial…

Vic x

Review: ‘The Inbetweeners Movie’. ***Contains spoilers***

Having been a fan of ‘The Inbetweeners’ since it first appeared in E4 in 2008, I had high hopes for this big screen adaptation. ‘Why?’, I hear you ask. After all, any TV to film swap tends to be disappointing to say the least. Well, the writers and producers of ‘The Inbetweeners’ so far appeared to have dodged the pitfalls associated with cult success and so I hoped their foray into movies would prove successful.

So before I talk about the film, let’s think about what makes ‘The Inbetweeners’ so popular:

  1. Jokes about Will’s Mum and all the others wanting to shag her.
  2. Mr Gilbert, Head of Sixth Form, and his undisguised hatred for his students.
  3. Jokes about Neil’s Dad’s sexuality.
  4. Jay’s lies about how much sexual experience he’s had.
  5. The gross-out humour. Remember that episode with the bollock hanging out of Simon’s pants?
  6. John, the paedophile teacher, who has to be led away from Neil on several occasions.
  7. The boys’ appalling attempts at pulling girls.
  8. Will’s sheer squareness: this is the boy who wanted to celebrate his 18th birthday with a sophisticated dinner party.
  9. Simon’s dad sharing too much, inappropriate information.
  10. Utterly embarrassing moments involving spewing on siblings, Will having an accident in an exam and Will abusing a group of special needs kids at a theme park.
  11. The honesty of the portrayal of teenage life. It’s not PC or pleasant but it sure is fair.
  12. Catchphrases like “Bus wankers” and “ooh, friends”.

So, all in all, what people seem to like about ‘The Inbetweeners’ is its vulgar humour as well as its accurate portrayal of teenage life, the sheer embarrassment of puberty and the utter desperation felt at times.

It was with high hopes that I visited the cinema and with a cloud of disappointment hanging over my head that I left 90 minutes later.

The film starts off promisingly with Will discovering that his father (Anthony Head) didn’t invite him to his second wedding to a girl that is only six years older than Will because he’s “awkward with people”. Simon is snogging girlfriend Carly until she tells him she wants to break up. Meanwhile Jay is busy trying out online porn when he gets some bad news.

The boys decide on their last day of school that what they need is a lad’s holiday and so book up to go to Malia. From there, the usual chaos ensues but throughout the film there were very few laugh-out-loud moments. Sure, there was gross-out humour and bad language but the characters were two-dimensional and the storyline was weak, with the ending being just like a bad rom-com. Fair enough, the first 30 minutes were promising but it declined from there.

DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

After meeting four girls in a nightclub, they meet up with them at their hotel and seemingly every night on the strip. This seems fairly likely in a place like Malia but I think the cast could have been beefed up a bit more, with a few more bit-parts thrown in. Simon spends the whole time mooning over Carly despite being with a girl who is quite clearly interested in him. The boys’ attempts with the girls are quite pathetic but not in a funny way.

Will doesn’t even attempt anything cultural which I found quite unbelievable. Although he’s as desperate as the rest of the group, he still tries to maintain an air of intellect. This is, after all, the child whose own father would not invite to his wedding because he’s so square. It would have been funnier if Will had made the guys go on a bus trip and Mr Gilbert happened to be on the trip.

There were no jokes about Will’s mum or Neil’s dad which is a staple of the show and knowing lads on holidays, those jokes would continue. The small scene featuring Jay’s dad isn’t funny, it’s just depressing – he’s obviously a bully. The scenes with the parents would have been better if it came out that the parents had been watching them throughout the holiday a la BBC3’s ‘Sun, Sea and Suspicious Parents’.

Charlotte doesn’t feature at all although I thought it would have been interesting to see her as a cage dancer or PR girl in the resort.

I thought it would actually have been more funny if Jay’s usually untrue stories of how many girls he’s been with actually turned out to be true on this holiday but the lads refused to believe him.

The storyline didn’t explain why Simon didn’t have to go to live in Swansea, nor did it tell us how he and Carly got together. I would have liked a bit more info!

The ending, where each of the lads ends up with his female equivalent was so unrealistic. The woman playing Will’s “love interest” was way out of his league, not to mention several years older than him.

I felt this script was quite obviously rushed and therefore completely let everyone involved down. It was an easy way to spend 90 minutes but within an hour of leaving the cinema I’d had so many ideas about how it could have been made better, I was wondering how hard it could be.

Vic x

An appeal to all women.

After a conversation with some friends on Twitter today, I felt compelled to write this post.

I remember as soon as I got my first ever weekend job, aged 16, women talked to me about anything – regardless of the sensitivity of the topic. I remember a 19 year-old colleague telling me she avoided getting her smear test carried out because it was “uncomfortable and embarrassing”. I have heard variations of this excuse ever since.

OK, so having a smear test isn’t my idea of a good time but, thanks to my mum, I have always been aware of the importance of having it done. Depending on your Primary Care Trust (in the UK), you may be asked to go for smears every three years from the age of 21 or 25. Age is a contentious issue – some medical professionals say that cells are not mature enough to check before the age of 25.

If changes are detected in the cells, you may be recalled for annual smears. After that, you may be referred to Women’s Services for a colposcopy, where a camera is used to inspect the cells. They squirt a little vinegar on the cells and any that change from red to white; they take a punch biopsy of. They then send these to the labs for grading. Within four weeks you will hear whether they want to see you again in a year or whether you require further treatment. Sometimes, a loop biopsy is recommended to permanently remove the afftected area. This can be done under local anaesthetic but you can request a general anaesthetic. These procedures are uncomfortable and you may feel a little bit of pain afterwards but it does subside.

The good thing about being referred to Colposcopy is 1 – You are in the hands of people who deal with this every day. 2 – Most (if not all) of the staff are women so they perhaps have a bit more understanding than some men would, having gone through some of the processes themselves. 3 – The staff are sensitive and very empathetic. 4 – You are in the right place if you do need treatment.

If you carry on with this process, it should never get to the stage of requiring treatment for cancer as the cells that are removed are pre-cancerous so haven’t been allowed to develop.

For anyone who is scared or embarrassed, I understand but it is far less painful having these things done than having cancer treatment or planning your own funeral.

Some people may cite the case of Jade Goody, who died aged just 27 from cervical cancer. However, Jade herself admitted in an interview with Heat magazine that, having had a previous form of treatment (laser treatment) to get rid of pre-cancerous cells earlier in her life, she had ignored smear results saying there had been changes in her cells. Only when she began to become ill, passing out and experiencing bleeding, did she seek help. If Jade had gone for the treatment earlier, she may have been saved.

Please endure those five minutes of embarrassment and have your smear test.

Vic x