Second Opinion

What are some (or one) of the things about which you usually don’t trust your own judgment, and need someone’s else’s confirmation?

I remember those terrible teenage shouting matches after his advice was ignored or not sought at all. My Dad has been my chief advisor for as long as I can remember – he is always honest and frank with me, and I know he has my best interests at heart. He, sometimes gingerly, passes on his experiences and words of advice to me like it’s his life’s work which, I suppose, it pretty much is. I have always turned to my Dad for advice on the decisions I’ve made, from homework to home life.

I’m not sure if this is necessarily because I don’t trust my own judgment, thanks to him and my Mum I think I have a good sense of what’s right and wrong and I’m a big advocate for trusting your gut feelings. I am usually confident when making decisions, but I love to talk. It’s probably the thing I do the most, I could talk for England.

And I think because of this, my life is in a constant state of discussion one way or the other. I have a non-stop dialogue with my other half either by text or in person, and I chat to my Mum almost every day. Advice slips back and forth on a daily basis, shaping all the decisions I make.

I do tend to actively seek advice, though, on anything to do with my son and his relationship with his Dad. From the beginning of his life, when my emotions were running high and any type of contact with his Dad was painful for me, I turned to my Mum and Dad for advice on what to do next. He’s got a cold, Mum, he doesn’t seem himself, should I let him go today? Is a whole day away from me too much, Mum? Do you think I should put an extra layer in his bag, just in case?

They have supported and advised me from the beginning of my very existence, and I expect I’ll turn to them for guidance and a second opinion ’til the end of it, too.



Not Lemonade

When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

One day I was walking past a park, when I saw a young girl being attacked by a dog. I panicked, then realised I had a cricket bat with me, so I beat that dog to death. Just kidding. I can’t think of a time I solved a problem in an unorthodox way, I sort of feel that every way you’d solve a problem would be unorthodox – to me the problem isn’t really a problem if there’s an easy solution. So instead I am going to tell you about a time life gave me lemons, and depress you all instead.

Once upon a time I was a cake decorating enthusiast, and I was asked by a school friend’s sister to make her daughter’s first birthday cake. Not just any old thing, she wanted a three-tier Minnie Mouse ensemble complete with a figurine of the female rodent bursting through the top tier. To say I slaved over this cake would be an understatement. I Whatsapped her some photographs of the cake because I was so proud of it, and she had been very sweet in texting me to say how excited she was to receive it.

I had to drive for over two hours to deliver it back to where I come from (no, not under a rock, thank you very much) and to save time I stacked it in advance. This meant this three tiered thing of beauty was sat in the boot of my car for 130 miles of motorway and A-roads, with a series of speed bumps thrown in for the for the fun of it. ‘It’ll be fiiiine,’ I told myself. I’ve done this loads of times!

I pulled up outside her house, nervously climbed out of the car and opened up the boot. Now, when I say my heart sank I think what I mean is my heart literally fell out of my arse as I stood aghast at what I saw in front of me. The cake had collapsed. The whole fucking thing had fallen over. Minnie was almost screaming at me as her decapitated head rolled around the bottom of the cake box while buttercream oozed out of the torn fondant, the blood-red jam leaking from its wounds. It was like discovering the aftermath of a train crash in Cakesville.  A sweat broke on my brow as my heart rate quickened. “Shit!” I thought. “Shit!” That was literally all I could think.

I took a few deep breaths and strode to shakily rat-a-tat-tat on her front door. She answered with the brightest of beams on her face, excitement flickering in her eyes. I broke the news: “I’m so so sorry…I…the cake has collapsed.”

She looked at me blankly.

“The cake has completely fallen over in the boot of my car, I just got out to check it over and get it out but it’s collapsed. It’s ruined.”

She followed me to the car and I lifted the lid of the boot again. She stood open-mouthed for a few seconds, then turned to me and shook her head. “I just, I don’t know what to say” I said, mimicking her head shaking like some pathetic, angst ridden fool.

Then, out of nowhere, my face involuntarily stretched into a goofy grin and I laughed. I laughed and laughed and laughed! I couldn’t stop laughing. She looked on, disgusted, as I attempted to stifle my guffaws. “I’m sorry! I’m really sorry! I think I am in shock.”

I drove to my in-laws’ and relayed the whole stupid tale as we tucked in to smashed up Minnie Mouse cake with a cup of tea. I swallowed the shame with every bite as I convinced myself this happens to all the best cake decorators. That losing the time and money was fine. It was fine! It happens to them all.

That was a time life gave me lemons and I didn’t problem solve because there was no way of solving that problem – she hadn’t paid me yet so I couldn’t even give her money back. I just laughed. I accepted it, and laughed.


Sounds Right

This is clearly subjective, but some words really sound like the thing they describe (personal favorites: puffin; bulbous; fidgeting). Do you have an example of such a word (or, alternatively, of a word that sounds like the exact opposite of what it refers to)? What do you think creates this effect?

My favourite word that sounds exactly like what it describes is ‘plop’. Hahaha! It gets me every time. I just love it – it’s childish, funny and almost always refers to the act of pooing. It’s guaranteed to make my five year old laugh, and I try to emphasise the end ‘p’ as much as I can for maximum effect. Plop!

On the other hand, I always think the word ‘hark’ sounds more like a description of a noise, rather than the act of listening. I think it should mean ‘to sing a long, operatic note’, like this:

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