Saturday, 28 June 2014

Adulthood, Wasps, Ants, Dogtanian and the Hole of Eternal Stench

Yesterday, I was at my 'day job'. I work at a preschool once or twice a week; mainly to keep my hand in education and to earn a few extra pennies, but also because the kids are hysterical and it makes me smile. So, there I was yesterday, giggling with the littlies and doing some top colouring in.  I don't like to boast, but quite honestly, I am a colouring in legend.  My colleague was finding my enthusiasm for my pirate picture to be amusing, so she took it upon herself to do this:

Oh, how we laughed.  But every time I saw it up on the wall, my eye was drawn to the number next to my name.  36.  Thirty bloody six.  I am Lisa and I am 36.  

I can remember my mum being 36.  She was a school secretary with 2.4 well presented children, a smart detached house, a dog and an entire wardrobe full of 'clippy cloppy shoes'.  I am a sweary writer with a ramshackle house, one eccentric 5 year old, two chickens whose one true ambition is to take over the world, and a pair dilapidated of flipflops.  I suck as a grown up.  36 is the sort of age that says "I have arrived as a sensible, mature adult", not "I'm just pretending", which is clearly what my husband and I are doing.

This is neatly summed up by this week's escapades:

Lets start in London, where I was last weekend for the Britmums Live conference:  What do you really want to hear at 9pm on a Friday half way through the month when you're starving, drunk and 3 hours from home, which you have to return to the next day, with very little petrol?  I'm betting that "Um, we've got 40 quid to last us the month" isn't it.  Yet that was what my husband told me.  Excellent.  Adult fail #1. 

I'm going to take a moment here to point out that I have had the Dogtanian theme tune stuck in my head for the entirety of last week.  This is another sign that I possibly haven't improved or matured at all since I was, like, 9.  I have handily provided it below so you can read the rest of the post with the soundtrack that has been in my brain during all of these activities.  You can thank me later:

On to fails #2, #3 and #4: We're back home now.  I've noticed for a couple of weeks that the odd wasp was getting into Rory's room even though all the windows were shut.  The same thing happened a couple of years ago, and it turned out to be down to an enormous wasps nest in the roof.  We didn't work this out until we came home one day to find the bedroom full of hundreds the little fuckers, buzzing angrily and displaying their arse daggers.  This time, I was on to them.  I phoned Richard at work to let him know that his wasp extermination expertise would be required, because, you know, that ended SO WELL last time.  It was about this point that I started to notice a vague eggy smell emanating from the kitchen...or the conservatory...or somewhere.  I took the executive decision to ignore it because I am completely crap at being a responsible adult.  

Firmly closing Rory's door to prevent an influx of flying minions of Satan in the house, I went downstairs congratulating myself on my excellent disaster prevention skills and went through to the kitchen to knock something up for tea out of 3 mouldy carrots and half an onion (no money, remember).  Hmmmm, how did that black patch of stuff get on the ceiling?  Oh, and there's some on the walls.  Wait, what's that moving on the cupboards?  Oh.  The ants are back.  ABANDON CARROTS, ABANDON CARROTS, ANT EMERGENCY.  At this stage, it became obvious that the ants (both normal and flying variety) were spewing out of the cracks between the cupboards like some sort of minibeast lava.  

"AWESOME! Are the ants back?"
"They are indeed. Now where's that insect spray?"
Now imagine an hour and a half of ant homicide with a can of Chemical Evil, a vacuum cleaner, the Dogtanian theme tune on repeat in my head (complete with key change) and a small child hopping excitedly from one foot to the other shouting "BRING ON THE KILLING."  Imagine the carcasses of ants dropping in my hair and down the back of my top.  Imagine the ceiling dripping with ant spray.  Now stretch your imagination to its very limits and imagine that this really isn't as bad as it sounds because - hurrah - it is detracting from the sulphurous stench of doom, which has suddenly reached a whole new level of wrong.

At this point, my friend Claire turned up at the door to drop off a bottle of fake Aldi Pimms, and I could have dry humped her, even though she's a proper grown up who has a tidy house and mint growing in her garden.  Imagine.  Anyway, what a star.

So, I returned to the kitchen to clean up the devastation and bleach everything with a Pimms in my hand.

Richard arrives home, having spent our last 20 quid on wasp busting equipment.  He pulls on his patented Wasp Killing Hoodie, goes up his ladder and does unspeakable things to wasps.  There is an angry buzzing noise and then blissful silence.  He comes downstairs, sweating.

"What's that repugnant smell?" he asks, before I've even had a chance to tell him about the ants.  He eyes my Pimms (second glass) suspiciously.  Obviously I now look like the sort of useless housewife who ignores a fetid stench all day long, doesn't bother making dinner and sits around eating bon bons and drinking.  I mean, obviously I am that kind of housewife, but I do my best not to look like it, plus I had slayed the ants, so I am a little crestfallen.

"I think it might be coming from the conservatory, under the floor," I venture.

At which point, Richard decides to start hacking into the floor and ripping it up.  On the up side, I was right.  On the down side, we now have a massive hole in the conservatory floor and the smell has reached toxic levels.  I do the only sensible thing that I could do at the time:

"Wait, tell me you're not instagramming our festering hole?" shrieks my exasperated husband.  Er, yes.  Yes I am.

He pulls up the drain cover and pokes half heartedly about with a stick.

"What are you doing daddy?" asks our son.
"Trying to see if anything's blocking the drain," replies Richard. "Or maybe something's died under the ground and is rotting and making the smell."
He gives up on the stick and pokes his arm down the drain and has a feel about.


I don't really know where to go from there.  The cause of the smell was never found.  I emptied a load of boiling hot water and bleach down the stink hole, and that seems to have worked, although I fully expect it to be a temporary solution.  We still have a floor-less hole in the conservatory.  I have solved the ant problem by sellotaping up all the cracks between the cupboards, which looks ace, I can tell you.  I fully expect Cox & Cox to start stocking a rustic kitchen accessory range to complement it, such is its charm.  As far as we know, the wasps are all dead.  And we had to chuck away the carrots because I forgot to put them in the fridge while I was ant killing, so they got covered in chemical warfare.  We had toast and Marmite for tea that night.  Dogtanian continues to play in my head.  This never happened to my mother when she was 36.  This never happens to anyone else I know who is 36.  Still, at least I'm really really good at colouring in.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A revolutionary tip to make your house look less crappy.

I know guys.  I know.  This is not the sort of post you've come to expect from me.  But don't stop reading; it's all going to be OK.  I have simply discovered a superb home makeover tip that is completely free, doesn't involve much effort and has made my living room look remarkably less shit.  That's right: remarkably.  Now what sort of terrible person would I be if I didn't share it with the masses? (That's you lot by the way - I've just turned you into 'the masses'. It sounded better than 'the three people who read my blog').

Now, my living room always looks particularly messy.  That could be something to do with the fact that it is particularly messy most of the time.  Yours might look particularly messy too. (PLEASE say it does).  But there is a way to make it look less messy with a swift bit of organisation and not much actual tidying.  For this, you will need a book shelf.  If you don't have a big shelf full of books, you may be able to apply this to a DVD shelf or similar, but really, what are you thinking not having books in your house?  Books are one of the greatest pleasures there are.  All three of us are book obsessed in this household.  Get some books.  Read them.

Our main bookshelf is crammed three books deep on some of the shelves.  Before the makeover, it looked something like this:

Kind of untidy and chaotic.

Now it looks like this:

Loads better, right?

And all I did was remove all the books and put them back on the shelves in a variety of piles and rows until I was happy with the way they looked.  You need to choose a few with pleasingly designed covers to face the front, and you might want to add a couple of trinkets to give the shelf some more interest, but really, that's all there is to it:  A tiny change with huge impact.  Now even when the rest of the room looks like a heap of of the brown stuff, the bookshelf looks perfect and your eye is drawn to it, away from the mess.  It kind of acts like a well made bed in an otherwise messy bedroom.

Give it a try and show me your Before and After pics - I want to see if it makes such a difference to everyone else's rooms.

Incidentally, do you like my hessian dragonfly cushion?

 I made it a few weeks ago and it was the easiest make ever.  If anyone's interested, I'll stick a tutorial for it on at some point. But never fear - I'm not going to turn into a craft/home style blogger.  It's still business as usual here in Disgrace HQ: yesterday I returned from being away for the weekend at a conference.  Within hours of my return, my son was sobbing because he missed the babysitter and one of the chickens climbed on my head and crapped on me.  So.  Yeah.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I'm Going to Britmums Live

So I thought I'd better join in with this linky thing on the off-chance that maybe one person will see it and know who I am.  Because oh my goodness, it's daunting.

Blog: How to be a Domestic Disgrace.  You know, the one with all the swearing and the gin?  With the fly on the cupcake?  And Dave the OCD Knobhead?  No?  Oh well.
Twitter ID: @LisaJarmin
Height: 5ft 4
Hair: Dark brown, mid length, usually looks like hairstyle of someone who's just been groped in a bush.  (Inaccurate as I have a child. It's been many a year since I was last groped in some shrubbery).
Eyes: Green.
Is this your first blogging conference?  Yes. Oh God, the terror.  
Are you attending both days?  I am.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?  Um, so I hear Lindemans is a sponsor...
What are you wearing? An interesting and colourful array of bruises, having fallen over yesterday afternoon and really really hurt myself.  I am black and blue, and I had to be looked after by the teachers at my son's school as I nearly passed out when I went to collect him because of the pain.  Oh, the humiliation.  
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014? Again, I hear Lindemans is a sponsor...
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? No, because I haven't been before either.  Eek.  And now I'm terrified all over again.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Secret Life of Teachers

It's been over 5 years since I hung up my drywipe marker pens and left my last teaching job to go and have my baby.  I was always going to start teaching again when he was six months old, but I did not reckon on having a child who refused to sleep through until he was three.  After that, I just didn't want to pay someone else to look after my child while I spent all my time and energy on other peoples kids.  He's at school now, and I am often tempted to go back to it because I loved it so much.   I still wake up with amazing lesson plans pinging into my head - something that only fellow teachers will understand.  But at the moment, something's holding me back, and I won't return to teaching unless I'm 100% certain that I want to, because it demands complete commitment.

During my NQT year, I wrote (anonymously) about my experiences as a new teacher, and I revisited some of these pieces recently in a fit of nostalgia. I thought you might like to read one of them, if only to give you a sneak peek into the secret lives of your child's teachers.  Well, new teachers anyway. (Disclaimer:  I did get better at it):

7.30 - Arrive at school in poor shape after staying up half the night to catch up on marking and waking up face down on a pile of assessment with a highlighter pen stuck to my face.  Survey classroom and wonder why it looks like 30 hyperactive seven year olds have rampaged through it with a leaky vat of PVA glue,several handfuls of twigs and leaves and most of the contents of Hobbycraft.  Then remember that this exact scenario happens on a daily basis.  At some point I will get around to tidying it.  Maybe even before I retire.

7.35 - 8.30 - Photocopy stuff, suppressing urge to photocopy arse on whizzy new photocopier.  Wrestle with newfangled interactive whiteboard.  Set up for first lesson.  Sharpen every pencil in the vicinity and wonder where all the yellow pencil crayons can have gone.  Make list of possible yellow pencil stealing culprits.  Realise that must get life.

8.35 - Hear Teacher Next Door exclaim about the UNHOLY STATE of our shared art area.  Remember, with horror, the paper mache/banana skin/bobble hat incident of yesterday afternoon and slink into cupboard to hide.  Teacher Next Door is super organised, efficient and neat.  I am basically this person:

8.45 - Interrupted from cupboard dwelling solitude by Deputy Head, who's come to check that I'm up to date with my maths assessment folders.  Yep. Right. 100% on it.  I'm completely up to date with those.  

8.50 - There are maths assessment folders???

8.55 - Get kids in from playground.  Ahhhh, look at them.  I properly love my class.  Best class in the school.  Dodge large sand covered splodge of sick on the way in.  Caretaker has been busy.

8.56 - Child from my class jumps straight into sand covered sick, shouting "WAHEY!  SAND!"

8.57 - Follow jumping child around spraying Dettox apple scented disinfectant everywhere he has been.  Make him hold his shoes up to be sprayed too.

9.05 - Have to take register in the corridor as nobody can breathe due to apple scented disinfectant spray.

9.12 - Child having asthma attack.  Self having asthma attack.  Inhalers all round.  Mental note to complain to makers of Dettox.

9.20 - Have put register down somewhere and lost it.

9.25am - Long suffering secretary pokes head around the door, concerned as to the whereabouts of the register.  Locate it under a child.  Send it to office.

9.35 - Send a child to the office to get register back as have accidentally marked someone absent who was "having a big poo."

9.40 - Jesus. 9.40 already?  Was supposed to start Numeracy 20 minutes ago.  OK.  Here we go.

9.41 - SHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT. Supposed to be teaching division on a numberline today.  CANNOT for the life of me do division on a numberline.  Makes no sense whatsoever.  Meant to ask someone to talk me through it but forgot about it due to all the cupboard hiding/maths assessment drama.

9.42 - Is OK.  Will set them off doing a division activity with giant packets of Skittles (the sweets, not bowling pins) while I discreetly search Google for a crash course in Year 3 maths, teach self division on a numberline, then get the class to check their answers using my newfound knowledge.  I can style this one out.

9.45 - Swear everyone to secrecy about the Skittles as PSHCE coordinator has spent a lot of time and effort getting us the Healthy Schools Quality Mark and my life will not be worth living if she finds out that I've been teaching Numeracy via the medium of confectionary.

9.55 - "Now I'm going to teach you a brilliant way of doing division using a numberline.  So, you..."

9.56 - Recorder club starts tuning up in the classroom across the corridor from mine. Noise like nasal passages are being cleared through a rusty pipe with a microphone on the end while a cat is repeatedly kicked up the arse.  Pained expressions on everyone's faces. Doubt anybody can concentrate on division on a numberline now; I certainly can't.

10.01 - "So if you use the chunking method, then..." Recorder club now attempting to play the Wallace and Gromit theme tune and I'm pretty sure I just felt a bit of blood come out of my ears.

10.05 - Recorder club summoning Satan himself from the fiery bowels of hell.  Kids rocking backwards and forwards, muttering "make it stop, make it stop" and making eerie twitching movements. Give up on division on a numberline.  Sod it, lets all sit on the carpet playing maths games and eating Skittles.  We'll try again this afternoon.

10.25 - Break time.  Am on playground duty.  Worst bit by far about being a teacher.  Some sort of polar wind going on outside.  Also, token kid with head stuck between railings and someone puking into a bin.

10.50 - Back inside.  Literacy.  'Ways to start a story'.  Love teaching Literacy, especially writing.  Brilliant lesson - everyone engaged, on task, happy and doing some fantastic writing.  Smooth as silk.  And that's a similie. Or is it a metaphor?  Back to Google for me.

12.00 - Lunch time.  Boot class out into the playground and peg it to the staffroom to bagsy first go on the microwave.  Shovel down soup, then back out of staffroom, giving two thumbs up in reply to question about how my maths assessment folders are going.  Bugger bugger bugger.  Wonder where they are.  Wonder what they look like, come to think of it.  Perhaps they're in my cupboard.  Oooh, what's this underneath that pile of display stuff?  Will just pull it ou...GAAAAAAAAAHHHH.

12.30 - Classroom set up for afternoon lessons.  Start marking Literacy work.  Will have good hunt for maths assessment stuff later.  SENCO sticks head around door.  Had I remembered that all IEP reviews are due in tomorrow?  Had I buggery.  Add that to mountain of never ending tasks to do tonight.  Now, where were the IEPs again?

1.00 - Kids coming in from playground.  I am in the cupboard sniggering to self because I've had a funny episode and decided to hide and jump out at them and shout "BOO" when they're all sitting down and waiting for me.  Finding self hilarious.  Ahhh, this was why I became a teacher.

1.05 - Register saga all over again.   Same child as this morning engaged in process of having a poo.  I have concerns for his bowels.

1.10 - Science - Rocks and Soils introductory lesson.  "What do we know about rocks, everybody?"  Oh.  Sweet FA.  There's a surprise.

1.15 - 
"I know about rocks!  I know about rocks!  If you call for rocks when you're in trouble, they'll help you and do things for you."
"Riiiiight.  Are you thinking of Labyrinth?"

1.20 - 
"Rocks are scary.  Because they can have faces and shout at you and the Nome King comes out, and..."
"Return to Oz?"

1.25 - 
"Does anybody know anything about rocks that isn't from a 1980s fantasy film?"
"OK then."

1.40 - Observational drawings of rocks.  Have cunningly only provided pastels in rock-like colours, to maximise chances of getting pictures that actually resemble rocks.

2.00 - Child has found a blue pastel on the floor and lent it to half the class while I was doing my teacher thing with my focus group on the other side of the classroom.  Blue rocks it is, then.

2.25 - Time to rehearse for our class assembly.

"If we forget our lines, do we have to go and stand in the bin?"
"Errr, no."
"Can we stand in the bin if we forget our lines?  Please oh please oh please."
"Fine. Whatever. Go for your life.

Kids are bloody weird.  They have strange obsession with standing in bins.  They love it.  Any opportunity and there they are, being in the bins. Weirdos.  They also desperately want to be prodded with the massive pole that I use to open the upper windows.  "Please poke me with the poking stick" they all say, as I open the windows.  What is up with kids?  I am going to be screwed when Ofsted come.

2.30 - First child gets in bin.

2.35 - Bin is full of children.

2.36 - Can't work out if they genuinely don't know their lines or if they're pretending because they want to get into the bin.  Feel like abandoning all attempts at a class assembly as it's beginning to seem like this half term's antics would be better summed up by everyone watching us all sitting in bins, eating Skittles and poking each other with sticks while someone attempts to play Frere Jacques by farting into a recorder.


2.45 - Assembly.  We are last in because I made them all go back to the classroom and walk down the corridor to the hall again without tapdancing this time.

2.55 - Children are singing beautifully today.  Feel a little bit tearful because their voices are so wholesome and sweet and they look so earnest when they sing.  Also because I can see the deputy head and the Numeracy coordinator whispering to each other and looking in my direction.  I think they're on to me re: the maths assessment.

3.00 - 20 minutes until home time.  Know I really should attempt to speed-teach division on a numberline at this point, but it's story time and it's our favourite part of the day, and we're just getting to the really good bit in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  We'll have another bash at division tomorrow, minus the recorders.  For now...20 minutes of book related bliss.

3.20 - Wave kids off to their parents.  Everyone all smiles.

3.30 - No staff meeting tonight.  Tra la la.  OK, really must find that maths assessment stuff.  And the IEPs.  And my diary.  And tomorrow's planning.  And...

3.35 - Will just have a biscuit, though.

3.40 - Reappearance of a child due to lost school jumper.  Haha, good luck with finding that.  Classroom is veritable bomb site.


4.45 - OMG, do not believe it.  Have found maths assessment files.  Right,  Now, easy does it, I'll just sneak out of the classroom and creep down the corridor and if I'm lucky nobody will see what I'm carrying and I'll have them done and on my desk first thing tomorrow morning and nobody will be any the wiser.  OK, sneak, sneak...

4.46 - Colleague walks past and makes a gesture at me which clearly says "are you coming to the pub for a gin and some chips?"

4.55 - IN THE PUB WITH COLLEAGUE.  Gin and chips forever.

6.30 - On bus going home and planning work for the evening.  I've got that Literacy marking to finish, lessons to evaluate, IEPs to update, tomorrow's planning to check, a resource to make, art stuff to cut out, data to input.  Oh, and that maths assessment.  Which I have left in my bastard classroom.  Guess I'd better go and put myself in the bin.

Monday, 9 June 2014

This month I have been mainly...urine sprinkling. Not in a kinky way.

It's that time again:  Time for me to crack open the bag of generic cheesey puffs and write about what the family and I have been up to over the past month, so that you can feel grateful that you are not us and get to feel pleased with yourself for a bit.  I really should do these at the end of every month or the beginning of every new month and not just whenever I can be fannied.  But I don't even know what day of the week it is usually, so that's not going to happen.

Here we go....

1. Shooing chickens out of the house.  One of them managed to sneak in between Rory's legs when he opened the door, peg it upstairs and get into the bathroom without me noticing.  I found it dossing about in the sink, scoffing the artisan soap.  This is the tip of the 'chickens getting into house' iceberg.  Chickenbastards.

2. Trying to get my son to spell his surname correctly.  It's Jarmin.  Jarmin.  NOT JARMINGE.  Seriously child, you're setting yourself up for a super bad nickname there.

3. Getting Mr Disgrace to dress up as Venom for our son's superhero birthday party.  He took very little persuading actually, which is slightly worrying.  Photo below for your enjoyment - the only evil overlord I've ever seen with VPL.

4. Facing some harsh dieting truths.  Mainly that piling half a jar of jalapeno peppers on top of leftover Dominoes pizza does not count as "upping my veg intake" and that reading The Famous Five to your child every night before bedtime gives you unbelievable cravings for cream buns, bread and butter and lashings of ginger beer.  I can take or leave the shrimp paste sandwiches, though.

5. Piss sprinkling.  I am told that the presence of human male urine should deter foxes.  I panic quite a lot about foxes getting the chickens, so will try anything that's supposed to keep them away.  So I've been making Rich wee into an ice-cream tub, which I then take outside every evening (seriously, don't worry about it - the magic and mystique of our relationship was dead and buried years ago) and sprinkle it around the border of our garden.  Obviously, John From Nextdoor has been outside while I've been on my wee distribution missions.  He hasn't said anything yet, but the look on his face has clearly said "oh for the love of God, will you please just move house, you bunch of crazies" recently.  It may be worth noting that he's also witnessed me appearing to drink from a plant spray bottle one day when I was trying out a top household tip which involved spraying clothes with vodka while they hang on the washing line to get rid of stubborn food odours. And scraping mashed potato out of Rory's trainers with a spoon.  And Richard's precarious rooftop wasp extermination shenanigans.  I could go on.  We basically need to win the lottery or inherit an awful lot of money very soon so we can leave our poor neighbours in peace.

What have you been up to this month?  Extra points for leaving bodily fluids in your garden or having livestock in your bathroom.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

On the Shelf

Amidst the 'to do at some unspecified point in the future when we magically have enough money' projects and crumbly bits of my house is the odd area that doesn't look as if it's due to be condemned.  Much of the living room falls into this category, although it's still far from finished. My favourite part of it is these shelves that we put up a couple of years ago: (Cue #shelfie - that's like a selfie but with shelves, you know).

We had a lot of bare space on the walls, and I had the idea of using shelves as a sort of piece of 'art' (inverted commas very necessary in this instance).  They were a handy place to shove lots of bits and pieces, so I just made sure that they looked 'curated' (more necessary inverted commas) rather than functional.

The shelves themselves were seriously cheap and from B&Q.  I painted them up with a couple of tester pots of pale green paint to match our wallpaper.  Richard helped by cack-handedly drilling the wall at random and swearing a lot before phoning my dad and getting him to put them up instead.  I then piled them high with some of our favourite things.

First up were books - old books.  Lots of these belonged to my mum when she was a teenager and are fabulous 1960s stories of the jolly exploits of schoolgirls.  I devoured them as an 8 year old, which led to me having the vocabulary of Ann from The Famous Five for quite a bit.  Jolly good, what what?  A friend sent me the Naughtiest Girl in the School trilogy when I got my first teaching job as they were (quite accurately) certain, that even at the age of 27, I'd be the naughtiest girl in the school.  The jar contains lots of olive oil and a photo from our shoot with Hannah Millard .  It kind of looks like I've pickled our family, but I like it.  

Over here we have candles made by my mum for our wedding, a frog of indeterminate origin and a balloon powered car made by Rory on a school trip. 

The wine bottle is there because we bloody love wine it says Barrington Estate on the label, and Barrington is a family name.  Then there's  precious photos of Rory when he was younger and still had his baby curls, more candles, an alphabet abacus thingy that he learned his letter sounds on when he was teeny and the old wooden box containing Victorian bric-a-brac that I got at an auction.  On rainy days, Rory and I like to empty it onto the floor and go through the treasures like pirates.

Also on the shelf are various cards that I've saved, Rory's Roary Lion wooden toy given to him by his Godmother, a little decoupage hen house that was my birthday present from Rory this year (because my present from Richie was chickens, you see), a heart garland that Rors and I made together one boring day, a button box, a torch which was a gift from a friend who knows my taste in retro floral prints perfectly and a ceramic heart made by my friend, Sarah.  

I think these shelves sum up my interiors style (which, according to my husband, is 'hipster knobend').  I popped over to the Victoria Plumb website to take their quiz to see what they had me down as so I could prove him wrong.  If you'd like to find out what your style is, go the Victoria Plumb quiz and take the quiz.  Then share your results on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and leave your details to be in with a chance to win £250 of John Lewis vouchers.  Incidentally, it told me that I was Mrs Quirky Cool.  Which kind of proves Richard right.  Damn it.  Although I'm pretty sure that Zooey Deschanel doesn't have a giant hole in her sofa or awful 90s orange carpet on her stairs.  Mrs Massive Slob wasn't one of the potential outcomes though, so maybe that's it.