No-one Told Me Life Was Gonna Be This Way

‘SEVEN!’, ‘Pivot!’ and ‘Janice’. Or perhaps you’re into the more obvious quips like, ‘we were on a break’, ‘how you doin’?‘ and ‘he’s her lobster’?

I settled on these two as my top faves:

Ross: “I went to that tanning place your wife suggested.”

Chandler: “Was that place the sun?”


Joey: “What’s not to like? Custard – good. Jam – good. Meat – good!”


Twenty-five years. 25! How did that happen?

Twenty-five years since ‘Friends‘ first aired in the UK. Call me pathetic, but I feel quite proud that I was there to enjoy it the first time round.


And the second time, when repeats aired.

And the third time when I bought the majority of the series on VHS. Re-runs on Sky followed, and I’m now living vicariously through my teen, who is watching it on Netflix.

She cried hysterically for days when it was ‘all over’ and chose to re-watch them all again. (Good girl.) She would come to me and ask:

“Who’s this?” (Chrissy Hinde)


Just call me Chrissy of the morning…

“Why did the audience cheer? (Billy Crystal (plus Robin Williams)


“Why did everyone scream?”  (…Oh come on. Do I really need to even make you guess…?)

Talking of Friends, it’s a beautiful irony that the series anniversary coincides with that of meeting some real-life friends. It’s 25 years since I started University.

I’m trying to get this blog live and if I go into my loft and hunt down a pic I will be gone for days. So here’s one just when we just graduated and hit Marbs. Bear in mind this was pre-GHDs and decent self-tan.


Mabfield Crew Summer of 1996

I’ve blogged about student life in previously, but this is a major anniversary and one that deserves some proper recognition.

I remember it like it was yesterday, and somehow, this weekend, my (exceptionally clever) nephew is off on the M1 towards a life of enriched education. (But first, Freshers’ Week.)


I can smell the innocence

If I had to write an episode, (life goals right there), it would be called:

‘The One Where the Kids Don’t Know They’re Born’.

Because this generation of Uni kids really have no idea how much better they have it than 25 years ago. I looked through a friend’s list of Uni requirements, just to see how things compared from back when I was a student.

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Duvet – most first year Uni dorms/halls have single beds, but I still say buy a double duvet. Far cosier and more useful/cost effective in the long run when you hit second year and hopefully bag a double bed.

Decor – We had little choice in 1994. Do students still buy the hippie scarf things and pin to their walls alongside rave flyers? All hail Afflecks Palace back in the 90s in Manchester. Now you can decorate your room with the cost-effective help of IkeaPrimark, Homesense and Dunelm, finished off with your Love Island duvet cover from River Island. Hello ‘Casa Amour‘.


I can still smell it…

Mattress/pillow protectors – you had to try and slide a mattress into what was basically a massive pillowcase. Thankfully now they come like a fitted sheet. I think the best protectors are from Dunelm – and I should know as the Allergy Queen.

Mattress topper – I don’t think they were much of a thing in the 90s, but definitely worth a purchase to plump up a lumpy mattress. Year 2, my housemate had to buy a new mattress after the landlord refused, because the mattress in question was only a year old. However, we knew the boys who rented our house previously and I wouldn’t have slept on that mattress for all the tea in China.


Don’t let the bed bugs bite?

4-gang Plug adapter. Much like a hotel, the plug points are never where you need them/enough of them. So useful.

Massive sports bag for dirty washing. You know the ones. Usually chequered patterns. These never go out of fashion and are great for shlepping dirty clothes down to the launderette (unless you’re lucky enough to have on-site facilities.) We didn’t have this luxury, so it was down to ‘Mr Bubbles’ launderette on the parade. (Now a property company, fact fans.)


FYI, this never happened

Kitchen stuff – was and is still my favourite thing to buy. I bought the basic necessities. Breville, saucepan, frying pan, cutlery – but I have little recollection of using much of it as we mostly dined on microwave meals, takeaways from Abduls and Pot Noodle. Much as I envy my nephew with apps such as Five Guys, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, nothing will beat queuing for kebab from Abduls in Fallowfield.

Am I envious of students today? With their smartphones, online food shop, takeaway apps, Netflix, Amazon. Not forgetting ASOS next day delivery. For sure, I’m envious AF of the immediacy of their lives.

However, some things should take time. Like friendships. So to all those embarking on this new chapter of your life, you may think you have your circle of friends all set. Perhaps friends since babies, or throughout school life, but if you’re fortunate enough meet a group of friends at Uni half as special as the ones I met, then you’re in for the best years of your life with memories to treasure for the next 25 years and beyond.

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The Mabfield Girls. Friends. For life xxx


PS. I had a re-think, and much as I envy what students today have available to them, I wouldn’t swap my student experience for the world.

PPS. You can keep your Uber eats and your Primark. We had the Haçienda nightclub and that is student goals right there, imo.


RIP The Haç



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.