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LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Crushed fingers and karma


Be grateful I spared you the shot of what’s under the bandage…

Sooo, there was meant to be a really fascinating (!) blog post coming your way over the weekend but then on Saturday I decided to shut the car door on my hand. This happened just as I’d met up with a friend and her four-year-old for lunch, and yes of course I had the baby with me and of course it was my right hand and of course I was parked somewhere I shouldn’t have been about half an hour from home. And of course it was a Saturday and Oli was at work until 10.30pm.  So that was quite fun. We made it to lunch in the end, and everyone in Pizza Express was very kind and no one said anything about the fact that one of my hands was wrapped in a muslin soaked in blood. Hope it didn’t put anyone off their pizzas.

The upshot of this moment of clumsiness is that I am now unable to use my right-hand ring finger – I don’t think it’s broken as it’s not wonky and I can bend it without it hurting too much, but my fingernail is clinging on somewhat precariously and underneath it is an interesting black-blue-red pattern, complete with dried blood that I’m too scared to pick off. Oh and it keeps oozing too. Lovely. So, I’ve been trying to type as little as possible, hence the lack of blog post this weekend. I have to say, it’s amazing a) how painful just crushing even one finger is and b) how much you need your bloody fingers. OK, I know that sounds really obvious but even washing my hair in the shower has been a challenge. I also seem to constantly be knocking it on things and it feels as though someone is electrocuting it each time – unbelievable how many nerve endings are bundled up in your fingertip. Ouch ouch ouch.

Along with that joy, I have also caught a cold and given it to Daph. Just last week I was smugly telling Oli that I ‘never get colds’ (while he was sniffling away) and so I am now a walking, snotty example that karma does exist and karma will get you. Daph seems to be faring better than me, but she still has a little bit of a chesty cough which sounds so cute and heartbreaking all at the same time.

So yes, with that cheery update, I will bid you farewell till next week!

PS I am up to 22k words on the novel. Woo!

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Writing and Dancing


Look it’s a photo of me for a change! And my sister. At The Last Tango press night 🙂

Hello hello, sorry I haven’t done a midweek catch up for a couple of weeks (and this one is a day late). Sometimes I get all cringey at myself and think, god Charlotte, midweek musings, what are you on about, who the F cares? But then I remember that, er, I care, and it’s nice to have these little diary entries to look back on. Especially since I have the memory of an aged goldfish.

So, yes, it’s been a busy old week or so. Oli opened with his show, The Last Tango. In case you haven’t heard about it, or seen the posters on the tube, it’s another dance show from the very lovely Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, and Oli sings all the songs for it. On stage. He had to learn 17 songs for this show, which made for an interesting (read: stressful) two weeks when he was in rehearsal… But it’s opened now, and is going well, and he’s had some fab reviews which always makes me all proud and glowy inside. I went along to the press do last week with my sister and it was full of folk from Strictly, who are all universally lovely, it seems. There were also a few slebs there, but I’m pretty shocking at having a clue who people are (I swear I could be stood next to Angelina Jolie in Boots* and have no idea who she was), so my sister had to fill me in. Unlike at the press night for Oli’s last show, she didn’t get drunk and offend Brendan Cole (long story). No gossip, everyone was very well behaved. And everyone I spoke to told me how proud I must be of Oli, and how fabulous his singing is, which is always cheering.

On the subject of dancing, someone else in our family has decided to try it (I say someone else, Oli can’t dance for toffee, and neither can I). We noticed this week that little Daph has now started bopping her body about when she hears music – it is SO. BLOODY. CUTE. She can even keep time pretty well – it’s sooo sweet and funny. Especially as she doesn’t really smile while doing it, which makes it seem like some kind of strange involuntary reaction – CAN HEAR MUSIC, MUST MOVE BODY kind of thing. Babies are amazing.

In other news, I started my six-month Writing a Novel course at the Faber Academy last week and am enjoying it immensely. Aside from anything else, it’s so lovely having something to get a bit dressed up for (this sounds wrong, afear ye not, I’m not turning up in stilettos and a ball gown – I just mean putting on something other than stained jeans and a t shirt) and it’s fab to be using my brain again and talking to creative types. We’re in groups of 15, and my group is a really eclectic mix of screenwriters, actors, lawyers, journalists, film producers and even an architect. The best thing about this course so far is that every exercise is focused on the novel you are meant to be writing, so everything is relevant – there’s no pointless academia or tests or anything like that. I’ve been making quite good progress with my novel, and I’m up to 12,000 words now. I’m setting myself a target of 10,000 words a week, which is pretty ambitious, but I’m at home five nights a week alone while Oli is working on this show, so I figure I ought to be able to get 2000 words done each time. Obviously this is creating the very model of a shitty first draft, but that’s OK. I want to get my first draft finished by Christmas, so I can edit it next term. Fingers crossed!

*an unlikely scenario, granted

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: eBay agony and parenting solo again



My god I am knackered! Oli has been leaving for rehearsals this week at 8.30am and getting home at 11pm (which I am sure is against EU working hours but anyway). And Daph has suddenly turned into Mrs Clingy/Whiny, and now shrieks if I’m not in the same room as her and looking at the exact same thing as her ALL THE TIME.


She’s also started pulling on my trouser legs, which is kind of cute but actually quite painful when she decides to headbutt my shins. I need ALL the gin tonight, I tell you.

I have to say too what an ABSOLUTE IDIOT I was for gloating about her sleeping through the night in my last post, as she has now decided to do the most weird random wake ups ever. Her naps have also gone to pot over the last few days – 20 minute crap naps are the order of the day and then she wakes up screaming. God knows what’s going on in her little brain but I think it must be developmental as I can see her personality changing a lot too. Oh, and she is very definitely pointing – hurrah! And also giving ‘cuddles’ (launching herself at you and biting the nearest piece of your clothing with an impressive intensity as she buries her head in your shoulder) and ‘kisses’ (blowing raspberries against your cheek) if you ask her. Which is just about cute enough to stop me leaving her out for the bin men.

In other news, we decided to sell some furniture on eBay last week and my god, what an absolute pigging palaver it has been. I do NOT recommend it. Not only is eBay’s UI ridiculously un-user friendly, trying to sell something is also the most complicated process ever known to mankind. I just want £300 for this furniture right? I added a Buy it Now price but missed the fact that there’s a ‘Best Offer’ button you need to untick, and so I am receiving offers left right and centre, accompanied by passive aggressive emails from strangers telling me to ‘get back to me soon yeah so we can get this thing sorted’, even though they’ve offered £100 less than I wanted. Then there’s another handful of cheery chaps who keep trying to offer me cash and do it all outside of eBay, excusing the derisory amounts they’re proposing by claiming I’d pay the difference on fees if I went through eBay officially. Then there’s people asking me to arrange couriers for them. I did actually manage to sell one piece for the amount I wanted but now eBay keeps deleting my messages to the buyer because I want to include my contact details (which is fair enough right, when you’ve already sold something!?), causing all manner of bloody confusion.

I just want someone to buy this friggin furniture for the price I have asked and come and collect it themselves. How can it be so complicated? HOW! I want to defect to Gumtree (in hindsight I should have just done Gumtree to start with) but eBay keeps telling me I can’t cancel the listing because I have offers I haven’t responded to or something… I mean, god. Life is too short to spend two hours a night emailing people called chelseaponies354 and cables4u976 haggling over a tenner. How do people do this for a living?!

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Exciting news and Daph updates


She’s OBSESSED with sunglasses at the moment

Phew! It’s been a busy old week. Oli has started rehearsing for his new show, which has meant childcare musical chairs for everyone so that I can still do my in-house office work. Again, thank god for my mum. It’d be so much easier to get Daph a childminder sometimes but I don’t think anyone would have us with our annoyingly inconsistent hours.

But anyway, the future is looking a bit different (read: exciting!) for me, as I found out last week that I got a place on the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. I applied a few months ago and it’s been literal agony waiting to hear if I got on – I even googled myself into insanity by finding someone on Mumsnet who had applied for the same course and was offered a place about a month ago. I was convinced, therefore, that I hadn’t got on.

For those not in the know, it’s a six-month course, run by publishers Faber & Faber and based in their Bloomsbury office. It’s spawned a load of exciting writers, including SJ Watson (Before I Go To Sleep) and numerous book deals. It’s not cheap, and even though a few of my friends said I was mad to apply because a) one of its main aims is to get you a literary agent and I already have one and b) I could just spend the money on clothes and write the damn book on my own, I really really love working with others and meeting new people and collaborating and just sharing experiences. I’m a bit of a sucker for training/education in that sense. And it gives me a goal – I’d like to finish the first draft of the new book I’ve just started by the end of the course, and doing it also means I HAVE to take writing seriously for the next few months. It’s so easy with writing to let it fall to the back burner in favour of bread and butter stuff (which is obviously essential!) but I feel a bit like it’s ‘now or never’ for me. I’m really lucky in that I’ve still got money left from selling my business so I can afford to have a career break right now. Although I am still working a couple of days a week too, as well as doing my half of the childcare… hmm, hopefully my social life will still be there when I’m done?!

Oh, and eeep, the course I’m doing is run by Joanna Briscoe. Even more exciting. If a little intimidating.

Anyway, before I found out I got a place I started writing something new. Something a little bit different and a little bit risky but I’m feeling fired up about it which is such a great feeling after so long. I forgot how addictive and obsessive writing can become when you’re excited about something!

In other news, we took Daph for her development check up yesterday. The doctor was pleased with her progression re crawling, but she’s still not pulling up to stand, or standing by herself if we pull her up. She also always rests her weight on her tiptoes – in fact sometimes her feet kind of curl right over so that she’s resting on the top of her foot which looks so painful and wrong! He said she has really tight calf muscles (weirdly so do I) and in fact her muscles are a little ‘too strong’ so we have to massage her feet and ankles to try to get her to put her feet flat. He seems to think she’ll get there eventually, but she may walk on tiptoe for a few months. Like I’ve said many times, she ain’t gonna be an Olympic gymnast, bless her.

He actually said he was more worried about the fact she wasn’t using specific words for specific people/things yet. She’s thirteen months old on Saturday and a few of my friends with babies of similar ages don’t seem to think theirs do either, but perhaps they’re being nice. Daph says LOADS now – makes a huge range of sounds and lots of baby googledegook with mixed consonants/vowels etc. But nothing really specific. She says Dee Dee and Daddy a lot, but not at anything or anyone in particular. She also says ‘Dink’ which my mum thinks means she wants a drink but I’ve yet to really truthfully spot a correlation there. So a bit concerning but I still think she’ll get there – we know she’s running on a slightly delayed schedule but she does seem to always find her way in the end. The doctor even said she might just be a bit shy at trying to do things she’s not good at, which kind of makes sense, she’s definitely a cautious soul! Anyway, he told us to come back in two months if she still wasn’t using five or more words with meaning, and then he’d ‘refer her right away’. So another little target for our little girl – fingers crossed she can do it!

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Hedgehogs, Childcare and (not) Working 9 to 5


There were no hedgehogs in Colliers Wood

Did I mention before that we have hedgehogs in our new garden? Every evening they scuttle past the French windows on their way to two doors down, where our neighbour leaves food out for them. They’re really fast as they zip back and forwards! Yesterday Oli did some gardening and we unearthed one hiding under a plant – he didn’t look very impressed to see us but wasn’t obviously injured, so we left him there. I was worried about him though, because it said hedgehogs that were out in the daytime were probably in trouble. And this morning he had moved himself about a foot onto the lawn and was just lying there not moving, so we phoned our local Wildlife Rescue centre and they told us to bring him in. We’ve left him there overnight and we find out if he made it tomorrow. Fingers crossed, poor mite.

In other COMPLETELY unrelated news, today we went to view a nursery. Oli and I have been back and forward on the subject of childcare for Daph – we both work pretty random and unconventional hours. For the past few months I’ve been working one and a half days a week for a company – one day in the office and half a day from home, and then freelancing as and when stuff comes in. So Oli is usually able to look after Daph when I’m working in the office. Then the rest of the freelancing I do when she’s napping or Oli takes her out for the day, or I do it in the evenings. Either way, it’s worked quite well so far, except for when Oli’s been working away and my mum’s had to step in (my mum is a lifesaver!).

However, Oli starts a new job next week – he’s going to be the vocalist for Vincent and Flavia’s (of Strictly fame) new show The Last Tango. Thankfully it’s only in the west end, not a tour (he was offered the tour of the same show last year but given that rehearsals started the day Daph was born, it wasn’t really feasible. Plus I’d been a tour widow for most of my pregnancy and it’s a bloody lonely life so I confess I did do a bit of weepy pregnant woman emotional blackmail). But anyway, he’ll be leaving the house at around 4pm to get to work, which means I can’t work do my full day in the office any longer. Most people would just get childcare and we have considered it, but it’s so expensive and feels like a bit of an indulgence when we can probably make it work with a bit of juggling (luckily my office job is flexible!).

As for work… I’ve actually been trying to work less over the past few months – in hindsight I was crazy to start trying to work when Daph was only four months old. I think it was just my pride taking over, trying to prove that being a mother wouldn’t stop me from carrying on as before. But now I look back and think why the hell didn’t I just have a proper break and relax?! I remember going in to do a freelance day when I’d had about three hours’ sleep – it was such a struggle to get through the day and I just felt dizzy and disorientated thanks to the bucketloads of caffeine I’d thrown down my neck. I’ve turned down quite a bit of freelance work in the past month or so which is terrifying (usually if you turn stuff down you don’t get asked again) but at the same time quite liberating.

I really want to have a proper break and thankfully I do have something incredibly exciting planned for the next six months (more on that soon). But long-term I need to focus on what the heck I am going to do next. As I’ve mentioned before I didn’t plan on having no job to return to after having a baby but thems the breaks. Freelancing is great for the flexibility but boy is it lonely, and I really miss being part of a team and, well, office gossip in general. So, I’m seriously considering retraining, but that’s a whole other blog post…