Fully Loaded…

Everyone’s heard of Desert Island Discs  – the Radio 4 show that quizzed a celebrity guest on a luxury piece of music they’d choose if stranded on a desert island. (Bill Gates’ was Jimi Hendrix ‘Are You Experienced?’. Freddie Flintoff’s was Elvis.). The interview format grew to encompass other luxury items and I know there have been haters, arguing how could you listen to music on an island without a power source? It’s fantasy! And here’s mine:

Music: Justin. Not Bieber. Am talking the original Justin, aka Timberlake (including his *NSYNC back catalogue.)

Chocolate: red Lindor. (Swapped in for Creme Eggs at Easter.)

Food: thai green curry, with pea aubergines

Beauty: self tan. Forgive me but I don’t tan well, sun-drenched desert island or otherwise.


My legs on holiday. Crab stick anyone…?

Electrical essential: MY DISHWASHER!!!

You can keep your washing machines, coffee machines and vacuum cleaners. There is always a friendly neighbour, a Starbucks or a Dyson handheld. Nothing beats the decadent feeling of throwing a sink-full of dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and pressing ‘start’.

I look after all of my household appliances as if they were extra children. I know how each one ticks, hums and whirs. I respond when my dishwasher communicates to me that it needs salt or rinse aid. It gets a regular cleanse cycle and I often undo the filter to check for things like sweetcorn (sometimes), spiralised courgette (often) and sticky labels from tupperware (always).


And yes, I use the salt funnel.


My kids use it as a Shopkins chute

I love to cook and on the days that I am entertaining, I can often go through a complete cycle just of the prep-paraphernalia alone. It’s usually at this point, even with the blue light on the floor, the swishy-swirly noise and the fact he’s seen me load the machine and say, “Just putting a load on before friends get here, doll”, that husband will finish a yoghurt and open the dishwasher mid-cycle to put his spoon in. Apparently he ‘didn’t realise it was on’. Most days he will leave cutlery in the sink, or within 5cm of the dishwasher door and yet these are the times the machine isn’t on yet, the door is ajar and the spoon could go in. (I use my Pilates breathing technique here.)

I had friends over for tea recently and as I was stacking, my friend pulled me up on my cutlery-loading technique. She’s a good friend so I allowed her this critique and I listened intently as she talked me through it.


Here she is, all ready to go. With the blue light that has no function but is sooooo pretty

I think my handicap had been the fact that I had come from the ‘caddy school’ of loading with my previous model:


Fork up? Fork Down?

(Always fork up. If you can’t avoid stabbing yourself, then you shouldn’t be operating a dishwasher.)

When I moved house, I couldn’t give two hoots about planning permission, RSJs and where the main Sky box was going to be. My kitchen was my main concern and most notably, whether to opt for another caddy-style model or a new fangled cutlery tray.




(My kitchen designer truly loved me…)

The cutlery tray model won but only on the condition that I could add some anal retentiveness to the design. So upon opening the dishwasher, the cutlery tray now serendipitously meets my cutlery drawer for ease of transferring.


See? They’re almost kissing…

It gets me every time – which is in fact every morning, when I unload. Every night, I set the machine to delay start at 4:30am for 2 reasons:

  1. By the time I come down in the morning, the cycle will have finished and had enough time to cool down. (Just-dishwashered spoons are very, VERY hot and no-one likes a warm glass of apple juice.)
  2. Husband leaves for work at 5ish and finds the ‘hum and slosh’ of the dishwasher comforting when he comes downstairs (it’s the little things…)

My unload method is always the same  – new capsule in (yes. I do that) everything out and piled into groups on the worktop ready to put away. Unless you are my husband, in which case there are always anomalies that he has no idea exist in our house, nor where they live (nor what their purpose is), so they get left on the worktop for me.


A selection of leftovers from husband’s unloading. (Yes. I own a blackbird pie funnel.)

Whilst most men don’t seem interested in anything remotely domesticated except perhaps the barbecue in the Summer, lots of them are actually quite ‘into’ the dishwasher thing. I have a friend whose husband is so load-specific that she’s relinquished all dishwashing duties to him. He says, ‘load from the back first and work your way forward’.

Great idea! I tried to instil this in the family home but there was mutiny in the ranks. I think the cutlery-loading induction day had pushed them to their limits and I was duly told to ‘fork off’ or words to that effect.

Crunches or Crunchie?

Now that we are officially in March, you know what that means, right?

Yes. The weakest newbies at the gym have been weedled out.

“Thanks for the thoughtful 3 month gym membership for Christmas, darling.”

“New Years resolution – must get fit.”

“The 40th/Bar Mitzvah/Wedding is out of the way. I can quit the gym now.”


All of that basically.

Exercise is everywhere and everyone’s at it. Private PT’s, 24/7 gyms, non-membership gyms, boot camps, 30 minute HIIT fitness, al-fresco army-style training… endless choice. Personally I like the gym, but for the month of January and February I did not like the gym. A massive influx of new members trying to grasp the fact that a burpee is an exercise move, not something they do with their newborn. Bottlenecks at reception with confusion about how the swipe cards work (FFS…), queuing for equipment at peak times and the introduction of an app for bookable classes which was great in theory, but horrific in practice. To be in with a fighting chance of a leg lift at Booty Barre, you had to book on at 6am. (Class fully booked by 6:01.)

I am a creature of habit so about 3 times a week, I go to the gym and meet a man. I’m pretty sure we’re not ‘exclusive’ as I’ve seen him interacting with others. But he’s wonderful. We laugh so much and he really helps me get through my cardio fix. His name is Frasier. (Channel 4 for a double bill at 9am.) I used to meet a man called Raymond. Everybody loves him. (“Debraaaaaaaa!”…)

Once my cardio blast is over, I normally roam the gym to mess about on the equipment. I set my iPod to shuffle and go into my own world, unaware of all around me. A little U2, some Stereophonics, Florence and the Machine, Rolling Stones…

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve got Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris and the soundtrack from Flashdance seeing me through my squats, whilst I observe every little thing around me. Such as:

  1. People look much better than they used to when going to the gym. There is major effort going on. Natural dewy (Jew-ey?) make up, fabulous active wear and serious trainers. Leading neatly into number 2…
  2. A larger proportion of spend now seems to go on gym-wear as opposed to general clothing. With lots staying the in their gym gear for the rest of the day, it’s often worth investing in something durable. Don’t get me wrong, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty and all that expensive jazz is great, but nought wrong with some of the sports ranges in H&M (their hairbands are amazing), Primark and even Tesco (it’s Davina-endorsed don’tcha know?). I have sleepless nights that some of you haven’t seen the hilarious Active Wear spoof video. (FYI, I am blogging in my active wear.)
  3. I have a favourite locker at the gym. It’s mine without question and I get terribly irritated if it’s occupied. The downside to ‘my’ locker position, is that it’s often blocked by the lady who likes to dry-off starkers doing the ‘towel floss movement’. You know the one. With one leg up on the bench? Oh to be so uninhibited…
  4. Boob, wedgie and ball adjustment. It happens. Most girls at one time will do a cheeky gusset-check to make sure there isn’t a hole in her leggings and on the subject of leggings, black ‘fashion’ leggings are not acceptable gym gear. Yes, sheer is in fashion but it needs to be area-specific. Maybe if the rest of your kit is in the wash, your black Topshop leggings will do the trick on the running machine, but during downward-facing dog they’re as sheer as 7 denier stockings and I don’t need to see the outline of your upward-facing-you-know-what. Steer clear of sheer. (I’m hash-tagging that.)
  5. I’ve made lots of friends at the gym. I say ‘friends’ but in all honesty I don’t even know their names. TRX lady with the great arms, cross trainer girl with the same blue leggings as me, older man who has lost tons of weight. I smile. I nod. But we don’t know each others names. It’s a silent mutual agreement.
  6. Following on from that, I also have a ‘gubbie’. (A gym hubby.) He is about 22 and has no idea that he is my husband. We smile. Say hi. He wasn’t around last week, no explanation nothing. I think he’s having an affair…
  7. Someone farting in a class is still absolutely hysterical. It just is. Mobile phones on buzz mode in a class are not hysterical.
  8. People are territorial about being FROW in their classes. Don’t mess. Don’t try and be clever. It’s vicious. I’ve seen it
  9. A large part of peoples’ social media now follows nutritious foods, healthy lifestyles and gym tutorials. Thanks to my sister in law, I am currently obsessed/depressed in equal amounts by SBC on Instagram. This stands for ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’. Be warned. You can’t unsee it and you will most likely end up following it. I watch the videos whilst eating chocolate brownies to spite them


  1. I feel slightly disappointed when I see gym husband/’friends’/PTs outside of their gym habitat.

Basically, the gym is like Disneyland to me and I expect everyone to remain in character at all times. I don’t want to see them handling the tomatoes in the supermarket or heaven forbid, in their civvies…