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Edinburgh Evening News
Thu 16 Oct 2003
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30 little things that would make my day



NOT being greatly intrigued by the inside workings of a car engine, or what Meg Ryan looks like in fishnets, I would usually rather read the school uniform policy booklet than Man About My House’s monthly male mag.

But a chance encounter with page 37 and a "list of 30 of life’s small pleasures" which included "A referee falling over", "Giving incorrect directions" and "A dog hanging out the window of a moving car" confirmed my suspicions that men and women indeed hail from different planets.

The fairer sex fail to fathom why the supposedly stronger sex are still seduced by novelty ties in their 40s, want a whoopee cushion for Christmas and rate Police Academy 2 as their "all-time favourite film".

Men, meanwhile, can’t see the point in curtain tie-backs, don’t understand why we women spend hours choosing "the right birthday card" and enjoy buying candles.

So in the interests of sexual equality, and so that men can enjoy shaking their heads in disbelief at what makes the weaker sex dizzy with delight, here is the alternative, if not definitive, list of 30 of life’s little pleasures from a female point of view.

1. Buying the cheapest cleanser to qualify for a "buy two items - one to be skincare" complimentary bag stuffed with samples at a make-up counter.

2. Seeing cellulite on celebrities.

3. Getting green lights all the way on the school run.

4. Nabbing the last two buy-one-get-one-free packs from the supermarket.

5. Putting more than 10p in a charity tin at the check-out.

6. Hearing that George Clooney is single again.

7. Hearing that George Clooney could be filming in Scotland.

8. Turning up at a party in the same dress as a fellow guest - but looking better in it.

9. Getting three loads of washing off the whirlygig and into the house seconds before a downpour.

10. Weighing under nine stone on a set of digital scales.

11. Reading that you use the same mascara as Kate Hudson.

12. Ordering a dish in a restaurant which everyone else overlooked, but are now eyeing enviously.

13. Getting in there first when a new check-out suddenly opens.

14. Carrying everything you need to take upstairs in one go.

15. Cashing in Boots Advantage Card points on a fancy bubble bath.

16. Getting a cancellation at the hairdressers.

17. Being told you need the smaller size by a loud sales assistant in a busy shop changing-room.

18. Mini sausages at children’s parties.

19. Reading the paper first.

20. Eating the Maltesers from a box of Celebrations.

21. Successfully stuffing an extra bag of rubbish into the wheelie bin.

22. Posting a birthday card on time.

23. Overhearing two people you don’t know on the bus indulge in a juicy conversation about their workmates.

24. Mark Austin reading the ITN evening news.

25. Unpeeling the lid off a yoghurt pot without ripping it.

26. Surprising a friend for lunch on the 40th birthday she was "keeping quiet" (happy birthday Lesley Edgar!).

27. Discovering a "hand-wash only" top survives fine in a 40 degree load.

28. Hearing a Barry White song on a car radio.

29. Dishing up a recipe which actually looks like the photo in Delia’s book.

30. And finally . . . finding a tenner in your Other Half’s old coat pocket - a small pleasure which would also be appreciated by our men, if (and as they keep reminding us, we are so forgetful) we remember to tell them.

Hot topic is being served cold to children

AS I predicted, the Government’s "healthy eating hotline" has been a fat lot of use.

Serving up advice on whether mung beans or chick peas are better in a low-fat hummus may have been helpful to harassed dinner party hostesses but has done little else to improve the dire diet of the average Scot.

Why didn’t they spend the cash wasted on this slick campaign on giving free fruit to low-income families, re-introducing cookery lessons in schools or really putting their money where our wee one’s mouths are and improving school dinners?

This week is national school meals week and superchef Jamie Oliver has announced plans to train up a number of school cooks in deprived areas to "infuse school grub with taste and nutrition".

Good for him, but the reality is that without beefed-up budgets, even the most imaginative dinner ladies can’t be expected to continually produce tasty, tempting and healthy hot meals.

Until the few pence that the politicians are prepared to fork out per head in the school canteen is increased significantly, even Jamie can’t turn a sow’s ear into a pork fillet and school dinners are I reckon, despite his skill and enthusiasm, set to stay more pukey than "pukka".

Catherine blazes the trail

DESPITE being drop-dead gorgeous, Catherine Zeta Jones is one of those celebrities which we women admire as she admits to having to monitor every morsel that she puts in her mouth and to hating the gym sessions which keep her slim.

This week, while revealing her imaginative, if extreme, method of getting out of kitchen duties, she’s shown that as well as being beautiful, she’s also pretty clever.

When a fire broke out in their Manhattan kitchen, Mrs Douglas revealed her reaction was "not to use the fire extinguisher which is right on the left-hand side of the cooker but to run out of the apartment and wait by the elevator".

This, she said, inspired husband Michael to say "Please honey, don’t go in the kitchen anymore".

Even if she’s unlikely to win any awards for her choc chip biccies, this reluctant cook has affirmed her status as one hell of a smart cookie.

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