Friday, 18 November 2011

On or off the bandwagon?

I haven’t seen any of the Twilight films. Not one. I suspect there will be few people out there who think that’s a bit weird. Like when I was 21 and found out that one of my friends had never tried cheese and onion crisps before. How can you get to 21 and have never tried cheese and onion crisps? The same way as getting to 33 without watching a Twilight film I suppose. (Incidentally I didn’t try a Pot Noodle until I was 23, which some people also thought weird, but it wasn’t that nice anyway so I haven’t tried one since).

One of the reasons I haven’t watched any of the Twilights yet is because they are supposed to be so amazing. Everyone seems to love them. It’s like one big Twilight bandwagon. And it’s not that I’m being strange for stranges sake, but in a weird way when loads of people love something it tends to put me off. There’s a sceptical part of me that feels like I’m just playing into those money makers hands by liking something. It’s not as if I’m the kind of person to end up buying a Twilight toilet roll holder, or some other equally pointless and offensive merchandise, but I would like to think that film makers need to work a little harder to impress me.

But the trouble is, as it often turns out, the masses are usually right. And the bandwagon is usually worth the ride.

It happened with the Harry Potter books. I didn’t read them at first because everyone was going mad about them, you couldn’t move for people saying how good they were. I was convinced Harry wasn’t my thing at all, and flatly refused to read them. Me? Like books about wizards and giants? Purrr-lease. But then I couldn’t take it anymore, I did read them, and realised that everyone kind of had a point. I hate it when that happens.

This week I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It was another of those books that years ago lots of people were reading and saying how wonderful it was. So when I started my list of books I should have read by now I put that one down so that if people started talking about it again I could say I’d read it. I secretly hoped I would hate it, but I loved it. Grrr.

Anyway, this weekend is the man’s birthday. I always complain about his birthday because there’s nothing he wants and there’s nothing he wants to do. Not like my birthday. I make it nice and easy for everyone involved because I know exactly what I want and I know exactly what I want to do. But the man says there’s nothing he wants, so I end up buying him something rubbish and taking him somewhere that he’s not impressed with. And because it’s so much more satisfying to give than to receive I end up feeling rather cheated out of the joy you get from giving someone you love something they love. So, having managed to secure a child free 24hours (and as he has been on at me for years to watch the Twilight films), as a birthday gift to him, we are going to watch all three back to back. And I’m kind of looking forward to it. I saw a trailer for the new one and actually thought it looked good until it got to the end and it said it was the new Twilight. It kind of grated that it had tricked me like that.

There has got to be something good about it right? I have been reliably informed by many of my friends that they are worth watching just for the sexy men alone. I am yet to be convinced. From what I’ve seen in magazines I have not seen anything in R Pattz that presses my buttons, but everyone else seems to be in love with him so there must be something happening in the films that makes him irresistible.

But these things always get me in the end. Harry Potter, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Pot Noodles… maybe I should just save myself some time and start trying these things when they first come out. Because when something is good, it’s good, and it makes no difference whether I refuse to get involved, it just means I could miss out on something really cool. But you will never, ever convince me about Pot Noodles.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Christmas Countdown

The festive period has started. Don’t hate me for mentioning it but there is only 40 days until the fat man comes down the chimney to stuff our stockings. I’m sure there are plenty of hotshots out there who have already done their Christmas shopping (and wrapping no doubt), smugly sipping a mulled wine and listening to their Michael Buble Christmas album while the rest of us run around like lunatics looking for the obscure and incredibly rare Lego set requested by son number one, and trying to think of something more exciting than socks or novelty mouse mat for Grandad.

Some people don’t like it if you mention Christmas before December 1st. I love Christmas, so the sooner the better for me. And I am glad that advertising starts in September because otherwise I’m likely to leave everything until Christmas Eve, the kids will end up with presents from the pound shop, and we’ll all be tucking into M&S Christmas dinners for one (x 8) on the big day.

The first sign that Christmas is coming, and indeed the first thing on my festive to do list every year, is to stock up on chocolate covered gingerbread from Lidls. I’m not quite sure what they put in it but I can’t stop eating it once I’ve started. Wow, just thinking about it now my mouth has actually started watering. I know people who start their Christmas stores in the summer, squirreling away barrels of sweets and chocolate biscuits. These people must have some serious will power (or have not experienced Lidl chocolate covered gingerbread), because I’ve already bought 4 boxes of gingerbread but only 2 remain untouched. And if it wasn’t me eating the gingerbread, it would be the man eating the barrels of chocolates. No matter how I hide them, even if they are gifts for other people, he will find them, and say “Oh but I haven’t got anything nice to eat, you can get some more can’t you?” And as I’m easily guilt tripped and don’t like saying no to someone I love he eats them, starting in October.

Maybe there are some men (and children) out there who take an active interest in Christmas preparations but in our house, apart from feasting on the spoils of my labour and putting up the tree (the best bits), everyone else’s input is rather small. I’m sure all men have been in the situation where a guest has said “Thank you so much for our gift, we loved it” to which the man replies “You’re welcome, we just saw it and thought of you” before turning to the woman and whispering “What did we get them?”

Apart from the big presents, for the kids and myself, the man isn't really interested in Christmas shopping. I always ask him “what shall we get your dad/mum/sister etc this year?” and at best get a suggestion of exactly the same thing as last year or at worst know that he’s not even listening to me (his ears glaze over anytime a birthday or Christmas is approaching and I start my sentence with “what shall we…”, I don’t blame him my ears do the same the minute he starts explaining the rules of UFC). Son number one wants more Lego, despite already having enough to build our house extension. Son number two wants, well he still can’t tell us what he wants so I’ll spend weeks trying to decide which of the latest brightly coloured plastic items will engage, entertain and educate him only for him to spend the whole of Christmas day playing with an orange.

I know there are people out there who are so organised that they save for Christmas from January. I buy two or three savings stamps from Tesco, usually in February, then completely forget about it until, oh about November, when I start waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat wondering how on earth we are going to pay for the turkey, which by the time Christmas dinner is served, I’ll be so sick of I’d rather eat my own arm.

The other burgeoning to do list I have in my head is the “stuff to do on the house before Christmas decorations come down from the loft and take over” list. Because as much as I love getting my Christmas tree out, and festooning my house with tinsel, fairy lights, holly and home made decorations, I do worry that they are just providing more hiding places for kids to leave half eaten sandwiches, and Expensive Cats to leave rotting animal carcasses, so I need to ensure that the place is as clear as possible to help keeping the place clean, and lets face it, sanitary, while the decorations are out.

I love Christmas, I love the preparations and I even love all the work that goes into it. My favourite time of year has officially started, and I can’t wait.