Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Scottish Coke

When I was a child in the early 70s, growing up in the rather posh Glaswegian suburb of Newton Mearns, we called any carbonated soft drink lemonade - orangeade was a type of lemonade, as was cola. We didn't call them Fanta and and Coke back then. Mum's best friend was bringing her daughter up in the slightly less leafy Glasgow suburb of Glasgow - Castlemilk. Heather and I were the same age. When we entered the chippie at Heather's house I soon learnt that asking for 'orange lemonade' provoked howls of laughter and queries of 'Is this your cousin the snob?' After flooring them on several occasions, I learnt you had to ask for a 'bottle of ginger' and you sure as hell, didn't pronounce the double 't' if you wanted to survive it out the shop alive! I also quickly understood that just as lemonade was a no-no there, mentioning ginger back home made my teachers' eye brows rise and their lips curl in disgust. Newton Mearns back then was a great place to have the Scottish cringe beaten into you (sometimes literally). Gladly, my kids are now less self-conscious here, it is ok to be Scottish now, and they even learn Scots songs and poems at school.

Yesterday I was shopping in ASDA. They had these on special at the checkout. It made me laugh out loud and I just had to buy it for obvious reasons - I expect it tastes bloody awful, but it made me smile anyway!

Friday, August 04, 2017


Phyllis the photographer

Anna and Amaia were lying in bed lasting night singing along to Lady Gaga's Paprazzi together. Suddenly Amaia stopped and asked 'Mum, what's a paparazzi, anyway?' Before expanding into Italian grammatical plural explanations and the finer nuances of the word, I simply said 'Well, it's a kind of photographer who...', to which Amaia replied, 'So you're like our family paparazzi, then?' I suspect my older kids might even agree with that definition (if I put it into the singular, anyway!)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Phyllis Buchanan turns 100

Saturday would have been my granny's 100th birthday. Of course, most people don't get to 100, so it's not surprising that we didn't need to have a family get-together this weekend... but July 29 was not a date we celebrated in my childhood at all - not like my other three grandparents - 26-2-16 (gran), 29-2-16 (granda), and 21-3-21(gramps - the baby of the bunch), granny (or whatever I would have called her, had we met) died the week before my birth. She only made it to 50. I don't think I actually knew when her birthday was till I was 29... I remember when I found out; I announced my pregnancy to my parents and told dad the baby was due on 29-7-97 - he looked surprised and shocked - 'That would have been my mum's 80th birthday', he told me. As it happened, Marcel was in a rush so turned up two days early.

So as this Phyllis rushes towards her own 50th birthday (next February), I hope I will be a bit luckier that the original model, and make it at least a little closer to the 100 mark than she did.

Friday, July 21, 2017


So there I was the other day in COOP in Bibbiena (Italy), with Amaia, shopping. Suddenly she stops and shouts me over...

Amaia: Italians are weird, mum!
Me: How?
Amaia: Well, I don't know about you but I sure wouldn't buy a candle that smells of dog or of cigarettes!

And there was me thinking that 'Elimina gli odori di...' was fairly self-explanatory.

Monday, July 03, 2017



Charlotte's always had a bit of an obsession with watermelon - from the annual family watermelon-eating photo, to watermelon, feta and mint salad... Whenever we find watermelon motifs, we end up buying them - Amaia has watermelon pants, I have a watermelon swimsuit...

Charlotte is due to leave school next summer, with a lovely graduation ceremony and of course a prom in a top hotel... This just randomly popped up on my Facebook sidebar! For some reason, she thinks my suggestion is tongue in cheek!