Category Archives: Blog Post

We’re All In This Together

We’ve been social distancing for 13 days today and I’ll admit, the wheels have fallen off a bit. With a 5, 8 and 14-year-old to entertain, it was never going to be easy! 

Two weeks in and today has been the laziest Sunday of them all. We’re bored, I’m tired and I have brand new respect for all educators, this shit is exhausting. That said, we’ve crammed in quite a few fun activities and having a garden and sunshine has played a major factor in our harmonious isolation.

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The weather has turned cooler this weekend and being inside the house, rapidly draining the electricity has taken its toll on us all, in just 24 hours. A reminder of how lucky we are, along with the arrival of my first delivered Sunday Times in months, we’ve had a big tidy up, we’ve made some snacks and we’re currently drawing portraits.

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Monday brings routine again. We’re back starting our day with PE with Joe Wicks, The Body Coach at 9am. Then it’s breakfast, showers dressed and ready to start home school at 10:30. At 1:30pm we stop for lunch, tidy up and then it’s free time. No Ipads or tech til 4pm. Tea is at 5:30pm, bed at 7:30pm for the little ones. Repeat.

Here are a few activities and tips for getting your hands on crafty/fun stuff without breaking the bank:

Picasso Painting

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I found some old wallpaper and wrapping paper and instead of trying to contain the mini artists at the kitchen table (it always ends up being trailed into the living room carpet or flicked up the fridge) I hung the paper over the garden wall and washing line and encouraged the kids to flick and chuck the paint. They loved it! More arty ideas here. 

Garden Circuits 

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I’m definitely loving PE with Joe more than the kids. Making the most of the garden, I set them a circuit challenge including simple things like jumping and skipping, stepping stones and collecting coloured flags (tea towels) from different places. This works on the washing line too, give them a sheet with a colour or pattern sequence on it and peg them out. Fastest wins.

Garden/Kitchen Bingo

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I made the kids some Bingo cards for the Garden. They had to find stuff like the slide, a blue peg, a tree stump, a flower, and a spider. Until they actually pointed out a spider (caused a fair bit of drama this one) I refused to declare a winner. Good fun. You can do this in the kitchen too.

Master Chef

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Getting the kids involved with cooking is usually a massive ball ache but now that there’s excess time and we’re gonna have to start making our own bread, it’s a great boredom buster. We managed to get our hands on some strong flower and yeast and so we had a crack at making our own pizzas. Ballsed up the dough but it was edible. In or around Liverpool? Get your kit delivered from Baytree Catering here.

Masking Tape Motorways

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I set this up for my little boy but it turns out the girls were willing to ‘play cars’ too! Get yourself a roll of tape, doesn’t have to be masking tape, anything will do and mark out a big old spaghetti junction on your floor. Masking tape is super easy to pull back up too. Then all your need is a car or two, or lego or hot wheels or whatever. I taped our roads up over the sofa, under the coffee table, and around a bookcase to mix things up a bit. This tape from Amazon looks ace. 

Catwalk Creations

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I stocked my little three drawer freezer up the week before last, and to make the most of the space I took everything out of the boxes. This was handy when looking for crafting bits. The kids decided to make robots from all the bits and bobs and then made them catwalk down the garden path making for some fun boomerang videos!

Diva Make Overs

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My eldest is a dab hand with a set of makeup brushes and has gotten the kids involved in some brilliant diva makeovers. Face paint, makeup, nail varnish, hair accessories have all helped to break up the monotony this weekend. Convinced my boy will end up on Drag Race!

Hope some of these ideas will prove useful. Please feel free to send me yours too, looks like we’re in this for the long haul! katejamesblogs@gmail.com 

 

 

 

 

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On The Box

TV is a window into the world we’re no longer allowed to play in. Thank god for Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Cartoon Network. I’m all about that Cupcake & Dino life. 

I don’t really watch tv. Well, I don’t watch anything regularly. Soaps and reality tv shows don’t interest me. In fact, I’ve just realised I’ve seen more episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball and Apple & Onion than anything even remotely grown up.

That was until life as we knew it was blown out of the water and we were all banned from going outside for three weeks. Yes, I know we’re officially ‘allowed’ one 30 minute window for exercise, but that still leaves 23.5 hours in the day to fill. Good old telly.

I still don’t watch anything on mainstream TV. Cartoon Network is my go-to. It’s mindless, it’s fun, it totally counts as a ‘family activity’ and who doesn’t love watching UniKitty lose her shit at Puppycorn and Hawkadile for 114th time an episode?

When the kids go to bed, I’ve taken on some recommendations in the form of films and series. Here’s 7 films and series I’m watching on lockdown while awaiting the second season of The Umbrella Academy;

Ozark

Netflix series which first aired in 2017. Starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Jason plays Marty, a financial advisor who gets into some shit money laundering for a Mexican drug cartel. It’s really good. I’m 5 episodes into season one, with seasons 2 and 3 now available on Netflix too. Give it a whirl.

Pretty Woman

I know, I know. It’s ancient, it’s corny af, but it had the power to pull a bunch of us together on social media on Wednesday night to watch it and reminisce together. Work it baby! 30 years since it’s release, we were all singing and quoting along. You can rent it for £2.49 on Amazon.

Indian Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark

The hilarious Joe Heenan @joeheenan started #RaidersTweet on Twitter last week and got a shed load of strangers together to watch this absolute classic. Having tried for years to get my kids into this franchise, my 14-year-old finally sat up and paid attention when she saw young Harrison Ford in his three-piece tweed! What a style icon Marion is! Get it on Amazon Prime.

The Split

Season two of this BBC drama had me on a countdown for almost 12 months. The story follows a highly successful divorce lawyer, Hannah, her crumbling marriage, her affair with the hot, blonde America, her sisters and mum. It’s London, pre-pandemic and a woman who is in love with two men. Get season 1 and 2 on the BBC Iplayer. Brilliant drama.

Casual

I binge-watched all three seasons of Casual on Amazon Prime Video before the pandemic became a thing. It stars Tommy Dewey and Michaela Watkins as brother and sister Alex and Valerie. From their messed up childhood to raising a teen, dating, sex, relationships, the adorable Leon and the LA life. Addictive stuff.

Metro

Metro, starring Eddie Murphy and Michael Rapaport first hit cinema screens in 1997 and I love it as much today as I did then. Eddie plays another smart-mouthed cop, a la Beverley Hills cop, but this time he’s a negotiator who’s pissed off a jewellery thief. It’s got some great stunts. Another £2.49 effort on Amazon that’s worth a watch.

True Detective

I appreciate that I’m WAY behind the times when it comes to this Sky series. I’ve heard so many people rave about the first series that I’m going to treat myself to it and feast on the heady mash-up of Hollywood giants, McConaughey and Harrelson in the coming weeks. Let me get three seasons of Ozark done first! If you want to stream it, you can get it on Now TV.

What are you watching to get by? What are you thoughts on binge-watching a long-awaited series as opposed to resorting to an episode a day/week? like back in the good old days? Were those days really that good? Drop me a line with your recommendations katejamesblogs@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Life Jim, But Not As We Know It

Following on from my previous blog post, A Whole New World, I did indeed make it to my first day in the new job. And in an instant, it was gone. 

I started my new job, met the fab new team and received a warm welcome to the office. It was something of a baptism of fire as clients began reacting to the news that a global pandemic had been announced. The boss gave the small team the option to work from home as it emerged that traveling by public transport and working in close proximity was aiding the virus growth.

We had a team lunch, tried to keep spirits high while all churning over the breaking news. Major shops closing, high profile cases being reported, death tolls in China, Italy, Spain and then at 5pm, instead of rushing home, we waited and watched the first UK government live press conference.

On Monday 16th March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation that COViD-19 had been declared a pandemic and the UK was about to take drastic measures to stop the spread among the elderly and infirm. There were tears, I felt for these girls I’d met just a few hours ago, and my boss. Caring, worried about her staff and clients as well as her own family. We went home with a plan to give clients more support than ever before.

On Tuesday, I brought my children home. My daughters and I have a vascular disease. We’re not at increased risk of contracting COViD-19, but my middle daughter had lung surgery a little while back, and I wasn’t taking any risks. Tuesday 17th March became day one of Social Distancing for us as a family.

On Wednesday 18th March, I was let go from my new job. Contract terminated with immediate effect as I was still in the probation period. I don’t blame my boss at all. It’s a scary time for everyone in business and at this early stage, the support package from the government hadn’t been announced. She assured me that once this was over, there would be a role for me.

On Thursday 26th March, we made a poster, with a rainbow on it and a message of thanks to those on the front line, our incredible NHS workers. At 8pm we stood on our front doorstep and we applauded and cheered as a way to give thanks to those making huge sacrifices for us. It won’t ever be enough.

It’s now Sunday 29th March 2020. We’ve adjusted to life, for now. My mum and step-dad, friends Michelle, Kate and Paul have become our lifeline, delivering shopping, helping with school work for the kids and my brother and sister have kept our spirits up thanks to Whatsapp. The Ble Room podcast, which I’ve contributed to for a year this month, has also kept me sane, utilising Skype to catch up with the lads and chat all things Everton and COViD-19 of course. Houseparty is a great app. Get it.

It’s day 13 and while we’re having a lazy Sunday. Tomorrow we’ll be starting a new routine. 9am PE with Joe, 10:30 – 1:30 school work, no Ipads or tech until 4pm. Everyone is helping to prep lunch and tea. There will be baths and bed and movie night on the projector thanks to Disney+ and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

I don’t know what’s to come. The prospect of it scares and excites me in equal measure. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. I’ve learned some serious lessons these last couple of weeks, and I’ve no doubt there are more to come. For me, going back isn’t an option.

I hope you and yours are safe and well.

To every single key worker and volunteer, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for everything you’re doing, you are incredible. 

 

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Quiz of the Decade – You Coming?

There’s a big old quiz night on down the Baltic next week and I’m bloody hosting it! 
Tickets are now live for the Future Boss Club International Women’s Day/Big Birthday Quiz! It’s taking place at Tusk Baltic on Thursday 12th March 2020 from 6pm and you’re invited.
Future Boss Club goes all out to mark the occasion and together we’ll be celebrating the icons, moments and achievements of the last decade. There may also be super cute dogs, lush food and bevs from the lovely team at Tusk and a proper good laugh guaranteed. 
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The event marks three hugely successful years of the dynamic Liverpool based girl gang, Future Boss Club. This group of women, friends, and colleagues continue to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs and support them to believe, achieve & become future leaders in their own right.
The girls get together for all kinds of social, educational and business events throughout the year. From regular dog walks at Sefton Park to beauty demo’s, seminars and book clubs. There’s something for everyone.
They also held my hand as I took my first steps into hosting last year’s event – my first solo hosting gig, and I loved it!! Check them out and see what’s happening in 2020 with Future Boss Club here
Proving female empowerment is a force to be reckoned with, we’re back again for more. The Quiz of the Decade is open to everyone to take part. We want your crazy ass team names, we want winning attitudes, those who go the extra mile for an extra point and a sing along or two to finish the night. What’s that you say? SWEEEEEEEEEET CAROLINE, da da daaahhhhhhh.
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Here’s all the event info:

Single tickets are just £12 each and include food and a welcome drink. If you’re booking a team ticket, the 6th person goes free!

We recommend a maximum team size of 6. Don’t worry if you don’t have a team when booking as we will find you a team on the night.

Date: Thursday 12th March 2020

Time: Doors open at 6.00 with the quiz commencing at 6.30 sharp

Venue: Tusk (next to the Baltic Market)

Tickets: £12 each or £60 for a team of 6 including food and welcome drink
*plus eventbrite fees.

 

Head this way to get your tickets. You can follow Future Boss Club on Twitter here or Instagram here. I’d love to see you down there for a few drinks and a fun night with the best company.

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Delete As Appropriate

There’s an article in the Sunday Times magazine today about the new rules of midlife dating. Not gonna lie, they read as the exact same shit we’ve been putting up with for the last decade. 

I love writing about dating. Aren’t humans really weird? We are, aren’t we? Like we say things we absolutely do not mean, we go in with the best of intentions, well, most of us, and then poof, in an instant, you’re ghosted/sent an unsolicited dick pic/they’re married – delete as appropriate.

Here are some stats from the article in which researchers polled 1,000 men and women age 35+.

50% of women polled have been ghosted. 85% of men polled are open to dating someone 10+ years younger vs 40% of women. 53% of respondents want dating with no commitment. 58% of respondents agree that sex is more adventurous than when they were younger. 

Oh hey, fellow cougars! Seriously, none of those stats, or others such as 36% of respondents are looking for casual sex or 40% of daters have sexted each other, surprise me. It’s been the done thing since at least 2010. So how are these the new rules?

Ghosting needs to get right in the bin. It’s utterly shitty behavior. If you can make a connection with someone, invest in chatting, texting, emailing, sliding into DM’s or whatever and then pretend it never happened, you should automatically contract herpes. Guys and girls, find your balls and dish out the goodbyes, it’s just good manners.

Dating sites are a false economy. Yeah, they give you access to loads of single and obviously married people looking to flirt, sext and once in a while, actually get together. But from the off, you’re met with an uneasy gut feeling that you’re most definitely not the only fish in the sea. It’s a digital cattle market where dick pics are traded freely and little white lies such as height, career, and er, wives seem to fall by the wayside.

How can anyone expect to create something real on that foundation? It’s not just the likes of Tinder, Bumble or Match.com either.

LinkedIn? Seriously, sending slimy messages about meeting up for a ‘mentoring sessions’ wink, wink is not acceptable in 2020. The bottom line is, dating sites are a breeding ground for everything that is wrong with dating right now. Frivolous, commitment-free, distractions from real life. Just get Pinterest and plan a trip or redecorate your bedroom. It’ll make you happier, I promise.

For us, 35+ ers, life post first (and second) marriage, with kids and careers to juggle can be pretty heavy. I fall into a few of those stats myself. Like most of those polled, I’m not looking to get married ever again, and I don’t necessarily want to live with anyone full time again either. But it doesn’t mean I should have to settle for the likes of dirty dick Dan who’s throwing pics of his junk around like news blasts from Love Island #IGotAText sigh.

Is there no such thing as a fairy tale ending for those ticking the 35-40 box? Are we destined to be slightly less wealthy Samanthas? Are we okay with that? Slide into my inbox (bork) KateJamesBlogs@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Rescue Me

I spent some time in hospital this week but it turns out being in the comfort of my home proved more dangerous. 

I’m typing this with a concussion. Sadly there’s zero chance of a ‘No Win No Fee’ payout because the whole Scooby Doo style escapade was entirely my own fault. It all started back in December.

The lovely people at Whirpool recalled my washing machine due to some faulty whatsit or other and my shiny new, non-french speaking replacement (don’t ask), arrived today. It’s rare I move my washing machine to brush or mop behind it because I’ve convinced myself the dark corner of my kitchen resembles the set for Arachnophobia back there.

With the new arrival imminent I decided an act of heroism was required. Move the machine out, detach the overflow and cold water feed, pull out the plug and mop the empty space. Also, potentially run like hell and set fire to the house, should a spider appear.

Steps 1 – 4 went swimmingly. No spiders either which makes me more suspicious than calm. As I finished my Mary Poppins routine, my phone rang on the other side of the room. I leaped into action, forgetting the floor was awash with Zoflora and proceeded to skid, slide and tumble to the floor, hitting my head, knee and hip off the kitchen cabinets and lastly, off the floor, before welcoming swirly patterns on the inside of my eyelids.

Oh my word, it hurt so badly and as expected with any kind of trauma, my nose exploded and bled all over my top too. My poor mum is heading for a heart attack any day now with the stress I’ve caused her this week alone. Paramedics, appendixes, kidneys oh my! And that was just Sunday! Now concussion. It’s been one hell of a week.

I’m bruised and sore. I’m also in awe of the fact I’ve managed to keep three children alive and well for as long as I have considering my personal safety and spacial awareness skills are f&cked.

Here’s to the NHS, incredible front line staff who work their asses off, still manage a smile and a bit of banter throughout grueling shifts. Here’s to the bed managers at Aintree Hospital – I was parked up next to these women on Sunday night while they tried to get me a bed and I’ve genuinely never seen a work ethic like it.

Here’s to the paramedics lining the corridors with their patients, waiting to be transferred before once again going back to fore for those in need. Including the impromptu case of my 14-year-old who collapsed watching a cannula being inserted into my wrist.

Here’s to mums. Bloody superstars.

 

 

 

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In the Deep End

Jumping in with both feet is something I’ve done most of my life, rarely giving a thought to the outcomes or end results. Who knew that doing it, literally could be so daunting. 

I did something scary this week. But let’s get a bit of context first. I spend a fair chunk of my day alone. When I’m writing I need peace and quiet to hit the keys. Even the radio gets binned off. And so the solitude is welcome. I work alone, I do the weekly food shop alone, I run alone, I go to meetings and appointments alone, I iron school uniforms late at night alone, I read the Sunday Times alone, I sleep alone. It’s nothing new. For the most part, I like it.

So, doing something new, alone shouldn’t come as much of a shock to the system. But as I plunged, feet first into the water at my local pool, without my kids splashing about, or my friends telling me to behave and get some lengths done, I felt like I’d made a terrible mistake.

I’ve been feeling self-conscious of late. Probably the insecurity with my work situation and losing a bit of faith in the job application process. I decided to move my ass, instead of sitting around eating myself into a diabetic coma. I’m absolutely loving clocking up a few miles again. each day. I’m unlikely to challenge Shelley-Ann Fraser Pryce any time soon, but the mileage is coming along.

When I walk or run, I listen to this amazing podcast from APM Reports. It’s called In The Dark and you can check it out here. I’m on Season Two now and it rocks. But along with listening to true crime podcasts and reading a lot of crime/thriller novels, comes an uneasy feeling around secluded places. Like, my run route.

To mix things up again and get the thought of being dragged through some bushes to an ugly demise in my own backyard, I decided to squish my aforementioned ass into a swim suit and go to the pool. It seems so alien to be there without the kids. I’ve literally never gone to a swimming pool on my own, set myself a challenge in terms of how many lengths I want to wrack up, and achieved it. It’s so normal, yet so out of my comfort zone. I’m also 100% less likely to be dragged through bushes at the pool. So, win win.

I paid my entry fee. Faffed around with the locker. Damn lockers. And walked out to the shallow end of the pool. My eye sight is absolute pants and without glasses I couldn’t quite read the time on the clock at the far end, 25m away. But sure enough, I pushed off and swam. Minding my own business. Clocking up some exercise. By 25 laps I felt a bit less weird. When it was around 40 minutes later, I decided I was done.

Walking home afterwards I felt like I’d reached a new level of adulting. Look at me, I went for a swim, on my own! I’ve never felt like this about the weekly shopping or when all 15 uniforms are ironed and hanging up on a Sunday night. It felt scary to walk out there on my own, especially in a swimming costume – aint no body got time for that!

I’ve decided I’m all for little victories in 2020. Doing stuff for the first time. Doing the scariest thing or most dreading thing on your to do list, first and revelling in the sense of accomplishment. I hadn’t made a single New Years resolution. But now that I’m a fully fledged adult, who goes swimming alone and everything, I’m going to add a few more ‘scary things’ to my 2020 list and make it the most terrifying year to date.

 

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Weekend Caos

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS), part three, dropped on Netflix on Friday and having binged the whole 8 episode series, here’s why it’s well better than the 90’s original. Oh, no spoilers.

Sabrina and Harvey, Zelda and Hilda, Salem, Jenny, Mr Pool – ahh all the 90’s nostalgia as this teenage witch, played by Melissa Joan Hart, was thrust onto our TV screens. And we loved her.

If you missed it – the American kids show premiered in 1996. The former Archie Comics story focuses on the teen witch as she gets to grips with her new found powers. She’s also crushing real hard on hearthrob Harvey Kinkle, while her crazy black cat, Salem is hell bent on taking over the world – mainly with clever puns and funny one liners.

It was a class, post school show that you could stick on and watch mindlessly. She wore wacky clothes and her spells constantly went wrong – thankfully her two aunties were on it. And Hilda baked.

The Sabrina reboot which launched on Netflix in 2018 turned this, relatively innocent post-school hang out show, into a supernatural horror that has audiences chomping at the bit for a follow up instalment.

Kiernan Shipka plays Sabrina, a half witch half mortal who, in pretty much every single episode, fights some kind of evil force that theatens her family and friends. Seriously, this teen is worldly, sub worldy and other worldly wise – like never before.

Gone is the ditzy, happy-go-lucky, cheesey all American girl we knew and loved. In her place, Sabrina of the 2010’s is a bad ass. Her wardrobe is to die for, Harvey got seriously hot, and then there’s Nick, Ambrose and well, Lucifer himself! If you’re at a lose end this weekend, make a start on parts one and two and get to grips with the new Spellman layout.

There’s a whole host of amazing actors involved including; Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Michelle Gomez, Richard Coyle, Miranda Otto, Lachlan Watson and more. The storylines are dark AF and pretty jumpy at times, but part three brought a sense of urgency as the Spellmans come to realise they’re not as fearsome as they first thought.

There’s a whole load of teenage lust and angst woven through this 8 episode series. The mad happenings of Greendale make it difficult to date stamp. References to cult music, culture, films etc make you assume modern day, yet styling, vehicles and 1950’s ice cream men, mess with your head.

Talking of styling, the costume department of this show deserve an Oscar. From scores of cheerleaders to Aunt Hilda’s mismatched tights and shoes combo’s, Nick and his brooding black shirt, jeans and leather jacket look and Harvey with his all American boy check shirts and chukka boots.

By far the stand out fashion icon of CAOS part three is Prudence. Played by Tatti Gabrielle, Prudence absolutely knocks her character development out of the park this series. The Hare Moon outfit she wares would make headlines at Coachella, her Highlands get-up is surely straight off the runway at Westwood and channelling her inner Mummy heroine ‘Evie’ with twin blades, leather pants and silk shirt – comes second only to her New Orleans lingerie look, that I couldn’t get enough of. Hats off.

Part three is different. It takes Sabrina’s story to new heights. Everyone grows up a little. There’s moments of emotion that really sets Salem amongst the pigeons. If you know your Greek Mythology, your friendy neighbourhood ice cream van driver and you’re a lover of fairground rides, you’ll love this most recent instalment.

Hell needs a make-over fellas, and I’m 100% sure Sabrina’s going to be at the forefront of it.

 

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Women On The Ball

This brand new venture, from hugely popular podcast and Youtube channel, The Blue Room, shines a much needed light on Everton Women and life as a female pro footballer. 

It’s just shy of a year since I made my debut on The Blue Room. The Everton FC dedicated podcast and Youtube channel has been discussing all things Toffee for almost a decade now. The brand was created by Sports New Journalist Dave Downie and Football Writer and Broadcaster, Matt Jones (obvs both massive Everton fans), The Blue Room produces an incredible amount of quality, engaging content across the website, Patreon podcast, Youtube and social media – on a daily basis.

the blue room podcast

Podcast episodes cover all manner of current EFC news, players, signings, managers (CARLO FANTASTICO), fixtures, results, former players, historic games, cultural connections, you name it, if it’s even remotely related to the club, we’ll gab about it. The contributers are global blues. From Australia to the US and the Wirral.

Aside from reliable, daily content, The Blue Room also offers the likes of Mailbag – this weekly show gives fans the opportunity to ask questions for the panel to discuss. It also starts a totally unique conversation on social media among fans too, sometimes with absolutely nothing to do with Everton whatsoever. We’re never going to agree on what constitutes the perfect Christmas dinner! Onions in vinegar? Seriously Jack?

As a first generation blue, I was nervous to join ‘the lads’ in discussing the game. These lads are devout. Between them, they go to every game, home and away. They can recall results, handballs, unbelievable reffing decisions, away fan clashes, international escapades, last minute screamers and last minute screaming. It’s pretty incredible.

the blue room

I began my Everton fan career age 18 when I met my husband and started going to the game with him. Sat behind the goal in the Lower Gwladys Street, my first game was against Sunderland. I almost missed the winner because I was so preoccupied with the fella sat three rows behind me who spent 80 odd minutes simply shouting ‘You’re shite’.

My lack of confidence aside, the lads invited me over to the Radio City tower to record and a new passion was born. We had a good laugh and still do. They’ve taught me so much and I’ve taken a real stand on topics I’m passionate about, such as Sam Allardyce and the brilliance of Dominic Calvert Lewin. I think I take a lot more stick than I give, but that’s subject to opinion.

The Blue Room has had a desire to cover more of the womens game for a while. I was truly blown away when Matt and Dave offered me the opportunity to host a new strand of the podcast focussing entirely on Everton Women.

women on the ball

Women On The Ball was launched in November 2019 with WOTB Episode 1 and featured an hour long chat with Everton Women captain Lucy Graham, Simone Magill and Maeva Clemaron.

The podcast gave us the chance to get to know the players, how they got started in football, what the team dynamic is like behind closed doors, who the jokers are (Simone for one!) and the challenges that lay ahead as these girls pave the way for a new generation of girls who can now visualse a career in professional football.

We had a good laugh and WOTB Episode 2 followed in December with equally good viewing/listening figures. Stories such as the one from Everton Women defender, Kika Van Es genuinely shocked us. With no provision for school age girls to pursue football, in her native Holland, Kika took extreme measures to follow her passion. Watch here to find out more. 

Everton Women are flying this season. Currently sitting 5th in the Barclays FA Womens Super League and with a FA Cup fourth round draw game against London Bees tomorrow (Sunday 26th January 2020), the girls are back from the Christmas break and ready to battle. There’s also the small matter of a historic Merseyside derby taking place at Goodison Park on 9th Feburary, but that fixture is deserving of a blog post all of its own.

Just 14 months after taking the reins, Everton Women Manager Willie Kirk has steered a successful January transfer window to futher strengthen a team that has shown ambition. In a recent interview for Women On The Ball, he said: “It’s been a great January. I think we’ve maxed out, we did exactly what we wanted to do in terms of ins and out. I don’t think it could’ve gone any better to be honest.”

With three players incoming, including a return to USM Finch Farm (Everton’s training facility) for Goal Keeper Sandy McIver and Midfielder Izzy Christiansen, plus a transfer backed by former blue, Tim Cahill, in Hayley Raso from Portland Thorns via the Gold Coast, the second half of the season is looking bright and blue for Everton Women.

There’s loads more to come in the weeks ahead. To find out more about The Blue Room and to catch up on WOTB episodes so far, head to the official Youtube channel here, and get subscribing to the podcast, here.

 

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Malted Milk

I dunked my malted milk a little bit too long and en route to my mouth, it landed with a splat, in my pen pot. Saturday mornings in bed with my laptop – summed up in one FFS moment. 

I woke up with an urgency to write today. Which is awesome. I made a coffee, grabbed a haul of inspirational prompt books which sit on my bookshelf and dived back into bed with a stack of biscuits and a determination to get 500 words down on the page.

What started out as a desire to create, it slowly turning into a procrastination exercise to avoid having to clean my pen pot. All my good pens, the ones I keep from the kids, the hotel pens my boyfriend has swiped from hotels when he travels with work, and all the ace freebies, now coated in a thick layer of malted milk and coffee.

Is it considered old school to still write with pen and paper? To put a blog post live I obviously have to transcribe my writing into digital format, but it feels more personal and real to write a first draft on paper.

I got a tonne of photos printed out yesterday too. Is that old school now? I’ve reverted back to my teens and stuck a load up on my wall above my desk. Pics of the kids, the dog, the boyfriend, snaps I took in Paris a few weeks back. The woman in the photo shop explained that people rarely print now unless its to go straight in a frame on the wall. Or in a cute keyring, snow globe or Valentine’s Day gift (yep, it’s almost that time again), but more on that later.

Playing board games, that’s old school. ALthough I heard yesterday there’s now a 10 minute game of Monopoly available. Probably because no one can afford to buy anything and they’ve swapped out Jail for moving back in with you folks.

Speaking of board games, I took the kids to see Jumanji: The Next Level, at the flicks last weekend. Since watching the original and first instalment reboot featuring Karen Gillan, The Rock and Jack Black, they’re been obsessed. I found myself saying “You know it started out as a board game, right?” quite a lot, as the digital SNES looking game in the film, brought the story up to the modern day expectations. Still, at age 5, 8 and 14 it was a refreshing change to find a film we all wanted to see.

SPOILER ALERT: Danny Devito and Danny Glover are in the latest film and make it a must see if you’ve followed the franchise.

Back to the old school. Tell you what else I absolutely love doing, hold on to your hats here people, it’s about to get raucous. I love doing Sudoku in the free Metro paper you get on the buses and trains. My commute into town seems to go much quicker while I’m wracking my brain trying to get the squares lined up with the correct digit. It’s probably the only time of the day I’m not talking, or listening to music. I’m fully engaged, kicking myself for not trying harder in GCSE Maths and wondering if the woman next to me is silently screaming out ‘YOU’VE F*CKED UP THE TOP RIGHT HAND BOX, YOU TIT.

I dabbled a bit in Brain Training on the DS when I could be arsed remembering to charge it. But providing I’ve got a pen, which come on, who hasn’t got a random biro in their bag? I’m good to go, even if it needs a wipe clean first. Malted Milk, FFS.

 

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