Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.


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Daily Prompt – Happily Ever After

“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?

This particular Daily Prompt just called out to me for two reasons.

Living happily every after is something that happens to every fairy tale princess after their wedding to their prince.

And of course – not only are we about to embark on our secret getaway to the land where fairy tales come true, but we are doing it in honor of our first wedding anniversary. Yes, one year ago I married my prince. Although I’m not sure anyone would describe me as a fairy tale princess, we did have a magical day surrounded by love, laughter, family, friends and complete with castle.

The problem with fairy tales is that they always end at the wedding.

No story of derring do, love conquers all, true loves kiss and singing birds, who can also curiously do housework without crapping on the windowsill, ever mentions what comes next. The bit that follows, where happily ever after gets tested.

Mortgages. Work. Redundancy. Debt. Kids. Finding time for each other amongst the stress. Living next door to your in-laws. (No? Just me then, that one?)

Reality!

Although, I suppose the whole fairy tale aspect precludes reality getting a look in. It’s an oxymoron.

Not to say that people can’t and don’t live happily ever after. But I do think that you have to take a good hard look at what that actually means, take away the spoonful of sugar and see what really grows from your magic bean.

For example – if my ‘happily ever after’ was to live in a palace with singing wardrobes, stables full of prancing ponies, fairgrounds in the garden and racks of glass slippers, I could be setting my prince up for a definite fall. To be fair to him, that’s a lot to provide.

If however, it was to have a secure home with a pretty good standard of living, money to treat ourselves and the kids to a holiday every now and then, well that’s doable.

In addition, if it means that my prince is my best friend; that he can make me laugh when I’m sad and cheer me up when I’m grumpy, love me when I am wearing sweats and haven’t washed my hair in days, bring me coffee and aspirin when I have a hangover and cook  sausage and egg for Sunday breaky  – well, he is a prince to me.

The goalposts on happily ever after may move as we age,  lifestyles change and the kids grow up. I’m just a fickle princess. But as long as I have my prince, happily ever after seems pretty ok to me.

Happy anniversary Mr G.

written for the Daily Prompt


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I love Mondays – Project Optimism

I love Mondays.

Really, I do.

It is possible that I have a touch of OCD, but I really like order. As a child, my books were categorised. An estate agent once remarked that my laundry cupboard was the tidiest he had ever seen. After Mini Monster 1 was born and I felt totally out of control, with a tiny baby running the house to her own clock, visitors popping in and out, piles of laundry growing like mysterious beasts in the corner, I tidied out my kitchen cupboards.

Yes, you read that right. I locked myself in the kitchen for a full four hours and emptied, washed and re-ordered my condiments. Glasses were placed according to size and type, tins stacked facing forwards so I could read the label.

The thing is, order helps me to feel in control.

I don’t mind surprises, but I do like to know what is going to happen next. Timetables are nice things to have. I planned every detail of my wedding and barely allowed my mother or Mr G a look in (seriously, it was mentioned in his speech).

So, back to my point.

I love Mondays.

Monday morning is the start of a fresh week. The house is tidy, the washing done over the weekend. There are no waiting chores. Mini Monsters go to their respective schools, the house is clutter free. I hate clutter, it makes me grumpy.

Everything is ready for a week of possibility. This could be the week I clear my workload. This could be the week I finish some coursework or discover a wonderful new job opportunity.

A Monday is a beginning and I like beginnings.

Beginnings are tidy, there hasn’t yet been time to go wrong, be distracted. Beginnings are the very start of something new and exciting, they can grow into great ideas, wonderful chances.

Mondays are the day we often use to tackle something different. Maybe we will give up smoking, start a diet, begin an exercise routine to better ourselves. Perhaps on a Monday we start school, enter new employment, go out to a new club and meet new friends. 

Which means a Monday is a day of optimism. A day of anticipation, expectation.

I am a naturally optimistic person – a glass half full kind of girl. I don’t like to dwell on negative possibilities, I believe in waiting to see what will happen and generally I believe things work out for the best. Or at least, for a reason.

(Is this a belief in fate? Do optimism and fate go hand in hand? I think I have an idea for next weeks post – what do you think?)

Why am I writing this?

So – this is a post about Mondays, but also a post about optimism. I wanted to put this together and join in a brilliant and inspirational new idea that began with Anka, Anita and WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion called Project Optimism.

The rules for this were fairly simple – one of them was to link to their starting post – here. I managed that.

Another was to post on Mondays. Erm – I love Mondays, did I mention that. But, today is Tuesday. Because I was just so busy being all optimistic and starting new things yesterday I didn’t get round to starting this one. So I hope they will forgive me for joining in a day out of sync – and forgive me again over and over as no doubt I will be appallingly bad at hitting that particular rule spot on.

However, I am optimistic that I will be able to post often, if not on Mondays.

So – if you would like to join in this wonderful idea and start your week with a happy kick, pop on over to the ladies blogs above, check out those rules and join in.

(Oh – and did I mention that if you join in you get one of the cutest little pictures of a monkey optimistically catching a two ton elephant. Which may be partly why I joined in, but shhh, don’t tell them.)

project-optimism


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Get off your backside and do something! 2

As voted for by Maddie and Dianne in my original post I am naming this post the “Get off your backside and do something” list. (GOYBADS ?!)

To save you having to read the original post, I decided that rather than have a New Year Resolution that I would not bother to keep, I would have a monthly To Do list and see how long that lasted.

I have to say, so far it has been pretty darn motivating. In the last week or so I have

  • organised photo albums of the wedding, honeymoon and family for the last year;
  • filled the photo frames AND (and this is even more impressive) got Mr G to get them up on the wall in the same weekend! Never underestimate the power of a good nagging.
  • filled that scrap book with the items we collected on our honeymoon in Sri Lanka;

Not bad going!

CHOICES

However, I did notice that whilst I spent the hours choosing photos and arranging albums I did not get to play with the kids or relax with the husband over the weekend. Something has to give – it seems it is always a choice between work or play, prioritising one job over the over.

Now I have the day to myself I have another choice. Coursework or paying work, blogging or job hunting.

So I am adding something else to my January GOYBADS list – to start noting down the time I spend on different tasks in the day and see where my life is going.

How are you all getting on with your resolutions? Ready to join me and GOYBADS?

(Do you think it will catch on?)


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There are Resolutions and then there is Reality

I wrote briefly about New Year Resolutions for the Weekly Challenge and stated the usual aspirations to spend time with my children, eat healthily and  . . . oh some other such promise to the world that I will no doubt fail to keep. After all, I made the same promises last year and no doubt the year before that. My never ending quest to be thinner has been chronicled in various posts about diets, the mandatory guilt I feel as a parent has been referenced in my promises to be a better mother, I even went so far as to make some September Resolutions.

But let’s face it, we all make resolutions at New Year and we rarely actually keep them. After all, if we did we would end up as perfect human beings by the time we hit fifty. And who wants perfection – it’s so boring, darling.

However, what I am going to make is a monthly To Do list (haha, we will see how long this one lasts) of realistic aims that I want to accomplish. Now – what to call this? We need a catchy title here that will spur me on?

Reality Checklist

Possible Purposes

Accomplishables

The “Get off your backside and finish something” List

 

Hmm- the name can come later. Suggestions welcome.

 

So – here are Januarys aims

1. Pick the photos from the wedding to go in the album – it was in March for goodness sake

2. Select photos of family and holidays to go in the numerous empty frames on the wall – the house looks freaky!

3. Complete the scrap book from the wedding so that the box can get put away

4. Do the next module in the course! There is a weekly reminder on your phone, read it!

 

I think that’s enough for one month – don’t you?

 

So, do you agree? A To Do list is much more realistic than a Resolution and may actually get finished? Who wants to join me? If you had to make a list of things to finish this month, what would it be?


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Are weddings a child free zone?

While planning my own wedding at the start of the year I joined an online forum for brides (and grooms) to be. There were debates about wedding etiquette. There were discussions over who should lead the procession down the aisle. There were panics over centerpieces and rants about the rudeness of not replying promptly to invitations or the ingratitude of a bridesmaid in not appearing desperately interested in every aspect of the table layout.

One constant topic that continuously roused strong opinions though was whether children should be allowed at the wedding.

Family Occasions

There are of course two extreme viewpoints. On the one hand are those who say that children are the life and soul and heart of a wedding. Weddings are family occasions and children are a large part of that.

The family wedding ensures that children are catered for in every way. There are pretty little flower girls and page boys in the procession. There are gift boxes for the children on the tables, with games and toys and presents and sweets.  Some brides plan activities that place the children at the centre of attention. One friend of mine had a balloon race for the children, another had a children’s entertainer.

Of course these ideas are dual purpose. They ensure the children play a part in the day whilst also making sure they are kept occupied. A bored child is a disruptive one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Adult Affair

On the other hand some brides who do not want sticky fingers on their expensive dress, or screaming throughout their speeches. The couple who ban children from their wedding face some criticism from others. But are they wrong to do so?

For a start, consider the cost. At even half the adult price, every child is an added expense, especially when you consider they most likely won’t even eat the food.

And add up the bodies. When the venue of your dreams limits your numbers, every child you have to allow is another adult friend you can’t invite.

You can guarantee that one of the little tykes will spill drink on your train, drop a fragile present or knock down the cake. They cry during the ceremony, run about during dinner and throw up during the disco.

Kids are expensive and a risk for the bride and groom to consider. I understand that they may want to exclude them.

However, before making a final decision, there are other considerations. The ‘child free’ bride will tell parents that this is a chance for them to have an adult only night. The parent will respond that finding a sitter for a full day affair is expensive enough. Not to mention that they have to be able to get home to that sitter, a bit problematic for parents who travel a long distance to attend the wedding.

Consider also the flower girls. The bride may want her best friends daughter to follow her up the aisle throwing petals. But now there is one lonely and bored child at the wedding. What’s worse, she is not a ‘family child’! What’s this, your friend can bring her child but your own nephews and cousins are not allowed.

OK, allow family children. Only the children who form part of the bride’s life. Not Uncle Arthur’s second wife’s granddaughter who the bride has never met. Only, where do you draw the line? The possibility of starting a family feud is looming closer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Happy Medium

At my wedding I aimed for a happy medium. Of course I invited children. My own kids were bridesmaid and pageboy. It was as much their day as ours, their parents. Well, almost. Close friends and family with children were allowed to bring them, but I did limit my extended family to the one generation, thankfully cutting the numbers of cousins on one side from seventeen down to two. They were keen to agree, having to pay for their own upcoming wedding very soon.

The children had their own table, hosted by my daughter who was very pleased with her position as head of the table.  And during the speeches I had a baby sitter arranged who hustled the children out, thereby avoiding the running and screaming during the adult parts. Off they went to their own room, set aside with paper, stickers and other non-staining entertainments.

I made it clear to all my friends, as politely as possible, that whilst I had a sitter for my own children to allow us, the bride and groom, to relax, I was not responsible for the care of the other children. Bring them they could, but they were to keep them under control. As far as I am aware no one took offense. The kids had a great time moving between their own chill out room and the adult’s disco and to be honest I barely noticed them all day.

Are weddings adult only occasions?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to this question. If a bride and groom chose to exclude children, well it is their day. Surely they have the right to choose. Unfortunately it seems that when you are planning a wedding your every decision becomes a matter for public discussion. Family, friends and colleagues all have an opinion and someone will be offended in the end.

Written for the Weekly Writing Challenge, DPchallenge. Yes, I already wrote one for this week’s subject matter, but I really had more to say, so I went for it again. 


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Some days are marvellous, some days are murder

Some days are unforgettable.

The day your daughter is born, and you see her tiny little scrunched up face for the first time. The moment in that day when the midwife tells your partner to tell you what you had and he says ‘It’s a boy’ because he is so overwhelmed with feelings. Every part of a day like that is etched on your memory in flashes of feelings, emotions, physical and mental stimulation. Seconds lasted like hours, hours passed in minutes. The day your first child is born is unforgettable.

Some days are one of a kind.

The day you married your partner, surrounded by friends and family and with your own ‘home made’ bridesmaid and page boy as the stars. A day like that flies by, as if the happiness, excitement, pride, love and laughter are just too much to absorb in one hit. A day like that has to be drunk in by reminiscing with every other attendee over the weeks that follow, to get a different viewpoint and make sure that every detail has been examined and polished before committing to the memory banks.

Some days are marvellous.

Fun family days out, trips to the amusement park for your son’s third birthday, where the parents are relaxed, the children are laughing, ice cream is flowing (down arms due to sunshine). Walks through the woods, kicking piles of gorgeous coloured autumnal leaves and watching the puppy bouncing through the streams. Sledging on a snow day, coming home to hot chocolate and a warm open fire. Days that are to be treasured as a brief respite from the mundane.

Some days are idealistic.

The day you look back on as a lazy, hazy summer day, when you think you had it all, but didn’t know it. Youthful escapades, giggling and joking with your friends. Finishing exams and the final day of school, sitting in the middle of the vast green park, music blasting. Spontaneously jumping up as a group to do the actions to Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ to the amusement and bemusement of passers by.

Some days are cold.

The day that the phone call came and woke you up. Hearing your mother crying, your father telling you your nan was out of pain.

Some days are murder.

Trying to work on a Sunday because of a deadline. Bored, restless kids sprinting through the house, shrieking and fighting, throwing wooden blocks down the stairs. Tantrums over cleaning the bedroom. Frustration and tears because of the maths homework. The puppy cowering under your desk to avoid being used as a pony while you try to just finish 5 minutes before going to referee, or provide more drinks or to produce food at the drop of a hat. Leaking nappies and angry cats. Jumping at the loud crash and the angry bellow that follows as the picture frame smashes to the floor and glass shards scatter across the room.

Whatever the day, it’s a memory worth keeping.


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Wedding cheesecake.

While I am thinking about cheesecake – again – did I mention the fabulous cake that we had at our wedding!

Mr George and I are just not that keen on fruit cake, or sponge cake. What we do like is cheesecake! (Well, I do anyway). So we decided to have a big cheesecake as our wedding cake.

Not having planned a wedding before, I didn’t realise that there was a new fad or fashion in having a cheese cake – as in each tier being made from a round of a different flavour of cheese. However, after some googling, I quickly learnt that this was a much more common request that the one I had in mind. In fact, only one company in the UK seemed to offer cheesecake as an option – and they did not offer a lot in the realms of decoration.

So plan B – I emailed all of the cake makers in the vicinity of the venue and asked whether they could do what I wanted. Only a few replied, and only one responded with enthusiasm, suggestions and better yet, questions about what I personally wanted. The fabulous Chris, from Dulcie Blue Bakery in Shrewsbury.

We emailed over descriptions of what I envisioned in my mind, and went to see Chris at her home. She had prepared a number of samples for taste testing – a chore which we happily got stuck into. And then we discussed design.

My intention was to have a wedding cake that looked like a cake – i.e., a normal 3 tier stacked cake. None of the guests were to know that this was a cheesecake until we cut into it. Now we came to the actual planning, a few questions came up that had not occurred to us before – and this was a first for Chris too.

Firstly, stacking the cake. Normally dowel rods are rooted in the bottom tier to support the weight of the tier above. A sponge or fruit cake is denser, thereby supporting the bottom part of the rods. But in a cheesecake, which is normally softer, the concern was that the foot of the dowel would slip sideways. While Mr G began to get a bit technical, drilling holes in the cake board and developing scaffolding in the planning department of his mind, Chris and I decided that the recipe should be amended to make a more solid mix.

Then onto the melting point of cheesecake. A room of 60 people combined with radiators and lighting can make a room pretty warm pretty fast. If the cake started to melt not only could it collapse, but we had concerns about losing the taste and texture. Chris set to over the next few weeks, experimenting with different mixes and leaving them around her home next to radiators. I imagine this was a unique form of torture for her husband and kids!

Meanwhile I went to speak with the venue. Rowton Castle in Shrewsbury – a beautiful location and fantastic staff. I discussed the issue with the manager, and (after a little confusion over the difference between a cheese cake and a cheesecake!) he rose to the challenge immediately, muttering about bowls of ice under tables and assuring me he could keep everything chilled until required.

 

There comes a point in wedding planning when you have to sit back and trust in the people around you to do their part. So I left it in the hands of the experts and went to fret about some other details.

The day before the wedding I understand that Chris had to empty her entire fridge, shelves and all, in order to fit the completed cake in (I found this later from Facebook!). However, the trial and effort was total worth it.

The first time we saw the cake was after the ceremony and just before the guests came in for the wedding breakfast. Mr G and I went in to preview the room – and there it was. Set up before the (open) window, in front of the radiator (off) and on top of a frozen table – the most beautiful wedding cake and even better than the picture I had in my head.

Oh – and it tasted amazing too!

 

 

So – here it is.

Tier 1 – chocolate honeycomb, Tier 2 -chocolate fudge, Tier 3 – chocolate orange. Surrounded by shards of chocolate, with a cascade of roses falling down the side.

                      

 

Many thanks to Chris for her amazing effort and willingness to try something new.

 

http://dulciebluebakery.co.uk/AboutUs.aspx

 

 

 


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Do women secretly enjoy a bit of PMT?

I woke up this morning feeling a little grumpy – 2 small children crawling over you in the dark and asking for the remote before the alarm has snoozed more than once will have that effect. One long hot shower and I feel a little less grumpy – until I see the clock and realise my indulgence has made us late in the morning program of dress kids, feed them, shuttle to school. So – shout at the kids to get a move on, ignoring the small voice in the back of my head telling me that it is my fault for spending too long in the shower.

Walk into the living room, tread on a small metal car and seriously damage foot, note the complete bomb site of a room I clear up *every single day* (cue mental scream), feel overwhelmed with a sudden rush of tears. Briefly consider curling up into a small ball under the duvet for the day. Responsible parenting mode kicks in – get the kids to school.

Walk dogs with my sister-(soon-to-be)in-law and acknowledge over a naughty cigarette that I may be feeling a little PMT today. Because – it’s ok to admit it to other women. They know!

Now it’s just me and a small 2 year old with a poorly tummy. Lots of sitting on the sofa watching cartoons and occasionally clearing up the results of a toddler in nappies with a tummy bug. That’s ok, I can cope with that. Even keel of numbness follows.

School run to pick up daughter followed by a quick dash to Tesco’s to buy emergency black leggings for tomorrows school play. Why don’t Tesco think 5 year olds wear black – all sizes start at 7. Mentally ranting at all staff and all those ignorant shoppers deliberately walking slowly and stopping mid-aisle, leaving trolleys in a block formation, clearly just to wind me up (although how they knew to be there at that time is a mystery we will ignore as irrelevant).

Evening wanders in and finally the kids are sat down eating easy dinners in front of the TV – cheating is allowed today. And in walks my lovely fiancé who’s crime for the day was to be. Nothing specific. Just being is enough. Irritation mounts.

He says hello. I grunt. He says how was your day. Oh dear – this could go either way – short and monosyllabic or rant about how hard I work to keep this house clean and look after the kids with no appreciation or thanks. He mutters something about it being that time. Tch, he could never understand.

Then a brief discussion about the wedding – logically this may not be the best time to bring it up, but I feel that now is the right time to point out all the effort I am making to organise HIS big day and make it as special as possible FOR HIM, because I want to make HIM happy. How nice it would be if he just had an opinion or offered some ideas. Perhaps a few minutes of just listening and discussing with me without sideways glances at the telly.

My poor, defenceless man stops for a minutes and says ‘You enjoy this don’t you? You actually are enjoying this.’ I have to laugh, a little. Because he is right, actually. A little part of me is enjoying the chance to rant, to offload the stress and to be able to shout all those niggling little irritants that are small and meaningless but build up inside throughout the month. Thats not to say that I, like most women, am totally in control right now. These hormones are buggers for making our emotions go mental and taking the edge of our self-control. But, at the same time I do have to admit it does make a good excuse for a bit of irrationality.

And after all that and a bit of a giggle, I feel much better again. After all, that’s what the man is for.


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Weddingitus

Planning a wedding is a daunting task. It is also one I never thought I would be doing. Not that I am staunchly feminist, determinedly single or for any particular reason. It is just not something I dreamt about as a child (which is, according to all those glossy magazine, a regular past time for little girls) it isn’t something I planned as I moved through university, I didn’t gaze into bridal windows or make note when hearing a particularly romantic song. When I met my then boyfriend and he informed me early on that he didn’t want to marry, I was fairly ok with that.

Move on 12 years and here we are engaged and planning that wedding. After all, we are allowed to change our minds.  I began tentatively, looking at local venues online and emailing relatively anonymous requests for brochures. Then driving around a few and having a quick look at rooms and gardens. And suddenly, perhaps a little belatedly, the wedding bug bit.

No detail is too small, no decision has ever seemed so important. Should the dress be floor length or have a train? Is a train even suitable for a thirty something with 2 children? How high should the heels on my shoes be? A formal long head table, or rounds? Ivory napkins or white? After three weeks of discussion, surely a decision should be made over bay or rose trees.

Less than 3 months to go – 86 days to be precise – let’s hope things are finalised in time. And please people – RSVP!


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You can call me ‘honey’

You can call me ‘honey’ but never ‘babe’. I will respond to ‘lovely’ but I am not a ‘bird’.

So what’s in a name anyway?

This is an issue that keeps coming up for me right now – from the irrelevant (well hey, the new Mini needs to be called something!) to the extremely important.

I am getting married in 3 months. That’s 14 weeks. And I just don’t know yet what my ‘married’ name will be. Let me explain. 12 years together and 2 children, we agreed that with no plans to marry the kids would have double-barrelled names. It made sense (to me anyway). We were not marrying, I therefore wanted our children to identify me as their mother in their name, just as much as their father was identified.

Roll on another year and nuptials are agreed, engagements are announced, the wedding planning is underway. And now we are in a quandary. What name will we have? Now, I can take my fiancé’s name. That is easy and straightforward. A woman in the UK can change her name by writing it on the marriage certificate. Done and dusted.

Then to the children. Because they would be taking on their biological fathers name, that can be changed on the birth certificate. A new birth certificate can be issued although be warned that you may always have to produce original and new as a means of ID. Please note, you fighters for equality, that while changing to the fathers name is allowable, changing it back is not.

But that brings along a few more issues. My daughter is 5 – she knows what her name is, she likes it and she is confused by conversations about changing it. Even just dropping the hyphen means she will be referred to differently at school or out and about. Is it likely this may cause her some deep-rooted anxiety or identity issues that will only surface in later life? Are we opening the door to advanced parenting failure (well, as we all know all parents are basic parenting failures! It’s a guilt ridden job.) My son is 2, he currently answers to chocolate, biscuits, car, here boy (he likes to play at being a dog and it saves me buying the daughter a puppy – I’ll go with the flow) – he isn’t going to care about his surname just yet.

Or my partner could change his name. A man cannot just change his name on the marriage certificate. Oh no, no equality in the law here either. A man can only change his name by deed poll. Not too much more inconvenient that for a woman, just a few more forms and an extra charge.

But for some, maybe most men, it strikes at them more personally than that. Women have been taught that they will most likely change their name when they marry since they are little girls. Whether you dreamed about the big day, walked round the houses in white towels and bed sheets or preferred to climb trees, all girls know when you marry you are most likely to take on the mans name. We might not like the idea, especially maybe as we pass the twenties, move through the thirties and start to approach the forties. We have got used to being ‘us’. For some women, myself included, it feels a bit like we are losing some of our identity, becoming a bit of someone else, a bit less ‘me’.

For some women there might be other considerations – children from a previous marriage may have a different name, and the mother wants to stay the same as them. Or maybe the man’s surname is just a bit odd, after all no one wants to lumber themselves with a name like ‘Alotta Fagina’ or ‘Hugh Jass’ on purpose.

But men, who suffer from what I commonly refer to as testosterone poisoning, also worry about ‘carrying on the family name’. Now, what does that actually mean? Is it relevant in today’s world. Well, I am not getting into that debate now, because it’s a long one and harks on to genealogy, inheritance, ensuring the father knows the child is his etc. And it only matters if the child is a boy. Everyone has an opinion on this one. But if this is the only concern, is it enough to justify the man refusing to go double-barrelled, or even to take on the womans name?

So, men are not only not expected to change their name, they are taught that the woman *should* take their name. It’s about being ‘the man’ in the relationship, who wears the trousers, protecting the family heirlooms. Ask them to change their name and some men see it as bigger than a slap in the face or a kick in the testicles, it’s more like being run down by a speeding train and knocked off the edge of the cliff in one foul smack down.

I know this is a generalisation. Some men will take on the women’s name, the majority of women still expect to take their husband’s. But in today’s world, does this have to be the case?

So, back to us. We are agreed that we want to all have the same name, a family name. So, do the children and I change to my fiancé’s name and risk confusing the kids? Do my fiancé and I both go double barreled, possibly hurling him off that cliff and risking offending his traditionalist parents? I should add here that he is considering it, my modern man! Note, I am not suggesting he takes mine.

We have a quandary, a decision needs to be made. But, which way is best.