Category: humour

Oh the joys of packing…


This an old post, but so apt for today when once again I’m knee deep in suitcases: The children may have changed, but the problems haven’t!


When the kids were babies I soon realised that to avoid the crying of souls (mine) I needed to be excruciatingly anal about packing, particularly as it’s not and never will be an art form that comes naturally to my psyche. The truth be told:

1. I hate it.

2. Even the impending thought of it gives me brain-swell.

3. I am a self-proclaimed light-packer. Until I pack.

4. I could just take cut off shorts, a white t-shirt and flip-flops..but why suffer clothes envy if you can avoid it?

5. How DO you take the minimum clothes for the maximum occasions?

6. I’m continually haunted by the idea it’s all wrong anyway.

7. There’s a profound anguish that the weather is undoubtably going to go through an unprecedented solar flux and be the opposite of what I’m reasonably expecting. Even though it never happens.

8. Will it really be hot/cold at the equator/in the mountains because it’s not hot/cold here (delete as appropriate).

9. How can I pack the stuff I’m wearing now?

10. What do people mean when they ‘throw a few things in’?

11. How do I know I won’t be invited to tea with the Queen or Beyonce or Karl Lagerfeld?

12. Why do I always have the most cases? I packed light..

13. And why do they never shut?

Burnt too many times, I learnt to make furtive lists on the computer in the hope that nothing vital in my then sleep-deprived-likely-to-find-hairbrush-in-fridge-state like nappies, nappy sacks, first aid kit, tranquillisers..would be disastrously and time/happiness sappingnly forgotten and there could be hope yet for my marriage.

Those days are (almost) gone, but the discipline has proved invaluable and certain rules still stand:

1. Start packing 5 days in advance and wear tea towels if necessary.

2. For a week or more pack 5 sets of underwear plus 3 of each for the rest (t-shirts, shorts etc)

3. Summer holiday for me…just dresses, the ultimate capsule wardrobe…beach dresses..other dresses..end of.


Now I just have to learn to take my own advice…

Laters, Kate xxx

The alternative Christmas x


Good intentions be damned, the only thing I’ve learnt since writing this post is that they never last and the only way to go is big, bad and ballistic..


With that in mind I will be fully embracing the anti-commercialism at Pencil Agency’s Rubbish Shop.…and buying all my presents there.


Who could resist Beyonce as an angel?


A set of fine minatures?


Or four handmade napkins?

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A multi-purpose iphone case for that person who always has little accidents?


Or a naivly crafted nativity scene?



(All pictures The Rubbish Shop)

Just pure elfing genius.

Laters, Kate x



It’s dark and raining heavily today as though even the Gods are crying.

And Donald Trump will be the next leader of the free world and President of America.


How? Why?

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You’ve really chosen a fascist over…a woman?

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The man who epitomises ‘if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail..’?

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(All cartoons from Google)

For all the grieving people in the States – we empathise: This is what it feels like not to recognise your country any more.

Who ever thought Isis could win via democracy?

Laters, Kate x

In celebration..

Of GB olympic success (whooo hoooo!), particularly in the cycling which finished last night (sob), I give you Jack Whitehall who manages to sum up both the brilliance of the athletes and illustrate  everything we Brits hold dear in the most stupid way which is just so effing clever.

You want more?? How about Jack meets the boxing team..

And possibly my favourite…Jack, the rowing team and Sir Steve Redgrave.  Enjoy!

Laters, Kate x

The Essex Taj Mahal x


Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

When was the last time you were touched by someone so brilliant they made your head start sub-dividing?


Stand back and welcome previous Turner Prize winner and national gem, Grayson Perry and his new project, a House for Essex: a collaboration with Charles Holland and the architecture studio FAT.  Built in Wrabness this huge marmite piece of art is a monumental shrine to a completely fictional character, a lady called Julie May Cope and is dedicated to the ‘Single mums of Dagenham, hairdressers in Colchester and the landscape and history of Essex’. The house holds testament to Perry’s visions of Julie’s life, through her birth in Canvey Island in 1953 to her two marriages, her children, her work all the way to her sudden death at the hands of a pizza delivery moped on Colchester High Street at the premature age of 61.


On the outside there’s a shining copper roof and 1924 glazed terracotta sigils of St jules.


Inside, the main room is in the style of a chapel to pay homage to the life of an ordinary woman.


There are biographical tapestries and pictures over the ceilings with snap shots of her history.


In pride of place and hanging as a chandelier is the very moped that killed her.


Upstairs, the two bedrooms are dedicated to her two marriages..the second of which was a story of true, tender love which permeates through the whole building and draws it together.


Kitsch, ebullient and eccentric it may be, but the joy of Perry is that in his work, as in his life, he describes the truth as he sees it.  Underneath the undeniable humour, there’s a deeper, thicker message running through.   This is a celebration of a modesty of aspiration and acquisitions that uses high art to pay homage to the notion of hard work and normality.  It’s one mans couture shrine to the silver linings and special moments that bless every single life, no matter how hard or down trodden.  Which ties up nicely with why it was commissioned in the first place: It’s part of philosopher and critic Alain de bottom’s (great name hashtag-childish-sense-of-humour) Living Architecture programme to allow members of the public – that’s you and me – to stay in buildings by world class contemporary designers. Click here for more details for your own personal taste of Julie’s life.

Imagine…a weekend away…here??

Laters, Kate x



Dismaland: Because this was a highlight last year..brings back a few memories…

Dismaland:The temporary art project set up by the street artist Banksy in an abandoned lido in the quietly rotting seaside town of Weston Super Mare. Banksy writes in his opening welcome: ‘Bertolt Brecht once said ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it’. Which is fine, but what if you’re in a hall of mirrors and the giant hammer is made of foam? This is the question raised by Dismaland Bemusement Park’.

And so it begins…



Birthed from the detritus of Disney, with bored attendants, patches of weeds and artistic despair, this decaying edifice to humanity is set on a 2.5 acre site with works from more than 50 artists from 17 different countries.  It’s an instagramer’s delight, a visual sensation and a walk on the whacky, dark, black side.


A play on double standards starts immediately, from the genuine bag search on the street (anarchy has it’s place, no spray cans allowed here) to the fabricated threat of Bill Barminksi’s cardboard screening room. What’s real and what isn’t?


Inside it’s hard to know where to look first..the children slide riot van?


The sadistic carousel? Tesco would be so pleased..


Or the Big Rig jig, defying explanation or gravity.


There are traditional stalls – each with their own unique twist.


Knock the anvil over – with a ping pong ball and yay! you win the anvil!  Hit the anvil and you win a red bracelet that reads ‘this is a meaningless bracelet’. Didn’t stop me wanting one. And then you ask yourself why even attempt the futile? Except we did.  And failed.


Or maybe hooking a duck from the muck has a greater chance of success – except the punters have run off with all the ducks – and it’s all for a paper fishfinger in a bag..


Dominating the park is the dilapidated fairytale castle of broken dreams. ‘Step inside’, say the downcast attendants,  ‘See how it really feels to be a princess’..


Through the darkness is the car-crash of Cinderella’s coach, her dying body illuminated by the flashes of pap’s cameras. We’re looking at them, looking at us..feeding us, feeding them..


Sometimes it’s the smaller, allegedly quieter stuff that catches the eye..

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Sometimes the message is so strong to the extent you feel sleazy and  ambushed with dirty fluids.  This isn’t a place that brands itself on palatable.


The art wants you to look, not just spectate. to take part and not just consume..which is a line that is all too easily crossed.  How many people are there walking around with the balloons stating ‘I am an imbecile’? Or actually taking selfies in the selfie hole?


Did these people really understand what they were doing? Did they nod sagely knowing they were doing this ironically? But then their ignorance becomes part of the point.


This isn’t a place for children despite there being works designed with them in the depressed, drunk Mr Rainbow puffing fumes over his tired playground..


Or The Husband’s favourite: Pocket Money Loans


Where the devil was in the detail.



Take a seat in a stripey deckchair and watch Punch and Judy landing a punch with a Jimmy Savile themed show..


Put up your feet at the Jeffrey Archer memorial pit fire.  He’s still alive but a book of his dies every day.

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Come into one of three galleries to wander round at your leisure. Meet the baby in the vending machine, covered in logos by Dietrich Wegner, guaranteed to make you ponder life.

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Meet Jessica Harrison’s distortion of suburban tranquility.


Wonder if Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene is her real name or is just another trick of the mind.  The art – tapestries made with power tools, certainly had a kick.


Banksy has pulled it off: It’s hard to be underground when you’re hailed as a national treasure by the very people you want to vilify, but that’s part of the conundrum that makes Banksy’s Dismaland so very special – it’s a spoof on the British holiday by the sea – take it seriously and you miss the point, and yet it quietly smiles through blackened teeth and grittily mocks: don’t understand this at your peril…

Impeccably crafted and precision cut, deeply unsettling yet strangely entertaining it’s so good, it can’t be legal..and probably isn’t.

Laters, Kate x