Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Monday, 29 December 2008


It's been lovely having everyone around over Christmas.But having dieted for a whole year why I decided to have a full blow out of fish, chips, mushy peas and bread and butter on Christmas Eve, I just don't know. The result has been four days of gripeing stomach pains - which began on Christmas morning -just to put me in the mood for cooking the mammoth five-course Christmas dinner. We were given some beautiful presents including vouchers for one of our favourite countryside inns; a digital photo frame with 200 images of Oscar on the memory card, and which I am mesmerised by and our daughter gave me a set of fantastic Bed Head products which have already transformed my split ends into glossy locks.

Mum and I decided that we'd tighten our financial belts and just exchange books - and it felt wonderful. We hadn't had to wander round shops deciding what to buy each other and we each ended up with something we really wanted. My book is more of the James Lees-Milne diaries. And my one resolution for 2009 is to keep a well-written diary. This resolution is going to lead to another - do more interesting things - otherwise my new diary is going to be deadly dull.

Oscar was as good as gold on Christmas Day and seems revel in camera flashes, which have been a major part of his life since he came into the world 12 weeks ago.





Oscar's puzzled mode - probably wondering why he ends up with things on his head as soon as he falls asleep

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


I haven't been feeling the slightest bit Christmassy so I was looking forward to last night's "Spirit of Christmas" at the Philharmonic. My old chum Angela Rippon was the presenter and the evening kicked off with "In the Bleak Midwinter" so far so good but then we were trailed all over Europe (Poland, Latvia, Germany, France.....) to hear carols in foreign languages. I daresay if I'd looked at the programme in advance I'd have been made aware of this fact but, and call me old fashioned,  I thought the Spirit of Christmas in Britain was to be found in good old British carols. So I left feeling cross not Christmassy.

I set the alarm for 6am (or I thought I did) because this was to be turkey buying day. I awoke at 7.05 am - already past M&S opening time and felt even crosser than when I'd gone to bed. Anyway my husband, now able to lift himself out of bed after man-flu - saved the day and set off in search of a big bird. He returned with a sparrow and then trawled the supermarkets for another. Now we have two turkeys - one fresh, one frozen and I'm sort of going off the idea of December 25th.

But my Christmas cakes were well planned (yes, Cheshire wife, I have not one but two Christmas cakes). I saw a recipe in a Good Food mag and bought star cutters and ribbon on eBay and I'm pleased with the result although we've not tasted it yet.


Saturday, 20 December 2008


My old school friend Barbara, who now lives in New Zealand has asked what happened to my birthday cake in the pic below. On second glance it does like as though there's been a massacre so I thought I'd post a photo of my real birthday cake.


Friday, 19 December 2008


I've just had another birthday and had a lovely time - Oscar visited, dressed as Santa and even signed my birthday card.


fortunately my daughter didn't buy the full complement of candles for my cake


But flu is the order of day - my husband is suffering and now our daughter has it and we heard from the London son on Tuesday who also has it. So I'm dosing myself with Vicks First Defence but I'm sure I must be fighting a losing battle. I'm just praying that the nasty virus misses me because I've got so many lists to get through that even half a day spent lying on the settee will kaibosh all my Christmas good intentions.

Friday, 12 December 2008





Oh the weather outside is frightful, 
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Thursday, 11 December 2008



When we finally reached the summit of Everest and took our seats in the MEN last night, my husband's face was green. He said that when it came to leaving time he'd be going down the steps backwards on the hands and knees - he never did have a head for heights. Coldplay were really good and even came up to the back of the arena to perform a set.

We enjoyed a mystery dining meal first which was also very good and I completed the forms this morning - only to receive a phone call from the Mystery Dining company to say I'd visited the wrong restaurant and so wouldn't be paid. Great.

I've just had my annual mobile phone upgrade so friends and family have been receiving unfinished texts as I try to fathom out a Nokia instead of a Samsung. Yesterday I thought the Rotary Christmas float was in the area and flung open windows to hear the carols, which sounded a bit modern for my liking. Nope, the music wasn't any louder with the window open so I walked from room to room - only to discover that my new phone had decided to show me who was boss by singing a song in Kylie-mode. It happened again this mornring, but because I don't know why it starts, I'm unable to stop it,  so I'm just hoping it doesn't do it when it matters.

Actually, looking back, yesterday didn't start terribly well. My husband left his dearly beloved wallet and his phone in the hall when he went to golf. I chased round the house trying to find my mobile so that I could ring him to tell him. My daughter says she doesn't know which of us is the more stupid.

Oscar paid a visit yesterday and was smiling and laughing for ages, until the bottom lip went. But I really have to hand it to him - he tries not to cry for as long as is humanly possible - he even let a few silent sobs out yesterday which made me want to cry with him.


at home with his dad

Saturday, 6 December 2008


Just back from beautiful Bruges. Every time we go there I come back bursting with ideas for decorating the house - especially around Christmas but then when I get home I realise that it would all look completely out of place in Southport.  The people there have such good taste and everything is so pretty.

The hotel - DeTuilerieen - must be the best hotel we've ever stayed at. French antiques everywhere, blazing fires and a breakfast to knock your socks off - champagne, warm home-made crepes with soft, runny jams; an enormous chocolate fountain; every cheese and fruit imaginable; smoked salmon; shrimps; light-as-a-feather almond croissants etc etc etc.

The hotel lounge - the cakes on the coffee table didn't last long

While we were there we walked for a mile through a snow blizzard to see the festival of ice - hundreds of larger-than-life ice sculptures, surrounded by walls of ice - it was minus 6 and my face and fingers ached. I've no idea how Eskimos survive.

Last weekend we went to the Classical Spectacular at the MEN. But first we looked round the shops and Christmas markets in Manchester. I have never seen the place so busy and if there's a recession, the people of Manchester haven't heard about it.

Meanwhile, baby Oscar, who is now ten weeks old, is keeping as snug as a bug in a rug