Tuesday, 30 December 2008

All Things Weird And Wonderful!

Or in my case, just plain weird!  Some time ago now, lovely Tara over at Sticky Fingers tagged me. She had multiple tags (lucky lady!) and so being the renegade that she is, decided to make up her own rules. Seeing as I am easily lead astray, I too will now blatantly flout the rules and do my own thing!

We were on a seven's theme but I'm beginning to wonder if there are actually seven strange things you don't already know about me; I guess that's the danger of baring all via the wonder web on a regular basis!

So here's a few random bits....

I hate, hate, hate sellotape on my fingernails; for me this could easily pass as a form of torture! If I worked for MI5 (which I don't by the way),  you'd have no trouble getting state secrets out of me if you applied a little of the demon stuff on my nails and threatened to rip it off!

I nearly drowned when I was seven. Thinking back, I do wonder what on earth possessed MM to let me play in the river when a) she can't swim and b) she was heavily pregnant with my brother! But it was the seventies so I guess they had a bit of a hippy attitude to child safety in those days. Anyhoo, I fell down a large hole and went under several times, watching all kinds of crap (and I do mean crap), floating around under the water with me. If I shut my eyes I can still picture it and hear the roar of the water, alternated with the sight of MM screaming hysterically on the river bank as I resurfaced - brrgghh. Some older kid pulled me out and I got a bag of marbles for not crying!

Back on the torture theme, I hate buttering toast or the feel and sound of an emery board on my nails - it gives me goosebumps and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. For me it is the equivalent of fingernails scraping down a blackboard or whatever the politically correct version of one of those is called these days. Both of these facts are quite annoying as I love eating toast and getting a manicure, though obviously not at the same time.

Aubergines, I have decided, are fruits of the devil - hideous purple objects that quite frankly remind me of an internal organ. So moussaka can prove to be a bit of a gamble for me. I quite like it and if the freakish things are chopped up within an inch of their miserable lives then that's fine. But if I lift that top layer and come face to face with a huge slice of squidgy yuk-ness then you wont see me for dust. And don't even get me started on ratatouille!

I was nearly born prematurely in a Cliff Richard concert. That would explain a few things I guess!

Tea has to be made the soft Southern way for me. Milk in first, with tea bag and only then can you pour in the water but make sure it's whipped out before it gets a chance to mingle too much. Other Half calls it builder's tea. I prefer to call it high maintenance.

I periodically do this thing where I think I must fold my ear over on its itself when I'm asleep and eventually wake up in absolute agony cos I've cut all the circulation off. OMG it hurts when the feeling comes back and I end up writhing about in agony, biting the duvet so as to keep from screaming out loud! My ears are a perfectly normal size but I do have a big head (apparently) so I'm guessing that the sheer weight of it must be the problem! If this happens to anyone else, please tell me so I don't feel alone in my freakishness!

Will you look at that... I have seven! But I think I'll stop there for fear of frightening you off for good! 

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Why would I be blogging on Christmas Eve you might ask? Well.... the last visitors have just left, Small Child is surrounded by new Lego and Other Half is joining in, building all manner of technical stuff so I thought why not?

I have a snowball beside me, complete with a shot of Bacardi in it for extra Christmas warmth, the candles are lit, everything that possibly needed doing is done which satisfies my inner control freak immensely and Polar Express is on. It's official, Christmas has arrived!

I hope all of you lovely  people out in Blogland, many of whom I have come to think of as friends, have a wonderful Christmas and get to spend some time with your loved ones, relaxing and just taking it all in. I love Christmas.... so much so that Other Half has a serious worry that my head is going to explode with all the excitement anytime now! But I wouldn't be loving it half as much if I wasn't spending it with my two fellow musketeers; so whilst we will be enjoying beautiful gifts and wonderful food tomorrow, I know that the best presents are sat right there next to me. 

A Merry Christmas to all.... and to all a goodnight!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Please Hold.. We'll Be Reconnecting You Shortly...

God Damn it! I've been such a bad blogger recently but once again I'll take the cop out option and blame it on stuff that is clearly out of my control! Being the self confessed control freak that I am, (trust me, there aren't many things that manage to escape the domain of Thatgirl's organised little world), there are few things that send me off track. But these following little blighters have taken over....

Shopping/Wrapping/Card Writing demands of the festive season.
Contracting the pre Christmas lurgy that seems obligatory when you have small people living with you (that would be kids, not elves).
Other Half deciding that he would be born on December 13th thereby necessitating that we interrupt festive celebrations to partake of a birthday celebration! 

I haven't even responded to the tag from my bloggy mate, Tara at Sticky Fingers yet, but promise to do so in a later post entitled Weird & Wonderful. Clearly this is something designed to lure you back but quite frankly I wouldn't blame you if you said "Feck Off Blog Slacker!"

Anyhoo... back to this one... 
Due to afore mentioned birthday celebration, here is where we spent our Sunday night, courtesy of the Hotel Du Vin...

... and it was truly heaven! 

You know how life just sometimes gets in the way and you forget to take stock of what bought you to the one you love in the first place? (Yes, I see all parents nodding furiously!)
Well... we were lucky enough to get some re-connection time amongst all the festive mayhem that is Christmas this weekend just gone..... and boy did we need it!

We enjoyed a 3.00pm check in, a bottle of Veuve Cliquot in a double ended bath with bubbles, an amazing dinner and, best of all, each others company. I had the time to talk to my husband, laugh at the stupid things as only the two of us do and glance at him across the table and take a mental picture of the stuff that still makes my legs turn to jelly.  
Then later, as we snuggled down to sleep in a bed that was nowhere near as good as our own, (cos we're old gits now!), I made sure I took a deep breath in, just to remember the smell of his skin.... and the moment.

.... Because reconnecting is what makes us remember how we got here and ultimately, makes the two of us better parents. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Back Again For The Carnival!

Yep... just to prove it... two posts in one day. Actually this is in aid of the Best of British Mummy Bloggers carnival...read em, weep (or giggle) and vote for your favourite! The lovely Part Mummy Part Me invited me to submit a post last week so I was chuffed as nuts to take part. Click to PMPM's page and get voting! 

Absent Blogger Back From Overhaul Gets Tagged

Due to feeling and looking like 100 last week I decided to check into a spa and emerged looking like this......

Not bad huh? Some might say I now resemble Heidi Klum  but I can't see it myself!

If truth be told I've been half busy and half lazy but have missed my cyber rambles and reads! So I shall make a pre New Years resolution, as I'm notoriously bad at keeping the usual ones, and vow to post more frequently from now on!
I should start by replying to my lovely taggers... Mom/Mum today and Tara at Sticky Fingers tomorrow!  Especially as Tara has told me off for being a rubbish blogger! (She's right!) But that young lady is a fine one to talk - she went and changed all the tag rules so I might make up some of my own!

Today... Mom/Mum's Festive lucky Seven!

7 Things I Must Do Before My Parents Arrive
1. Actually no worries here....parents not crossing the ThatGirl threshold this yuletide season but instead we will all decamp to my brothers house for Boxing Day! 

7 Things I've been Doing Instead Of Preparing For Christmas
1. Reading Grazia.
2. Watching Lipstick Jungle which is my new addiction - its Gossip Girl for grown ups. And can I just say that Brooke Shields looks even better with age!
3. Flitting about at The Clothes Show with my cousin and two best friends being totally girly and loving it!
4. Catching Small Child's cold and watching it develop into a cough that makes me sound as rough as a badgers arse!
5. Attending some pre Christmas social shenanigans with best friends whom I used to work with.
6. Shopping for a dress for said shenanigans - actually this turned out to be more of a saga involving a broken zip, store discount that refused to apply itself due to new VAT, a pair of control tights and me going out with my shoes on the wrong feet... yes really!
7. Continuing to deal with Devil, sorry, Small Child's testing behaviour in a composed and proper manner when all I want to do is throw myself on the floor and out-tantrum her!

7 Things I Can't Do This Christmas
1. Overeat - I will be going with mantra of a little bit of what you fancy - with the emphasis on the little.
2.  I can't not watch my Christmas movie selection - The Holiday, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Family Man and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
3. I can't stop myself from getting ridiculously over excited about the whole thing and possibly imploding. I've been burning my White Company Winter candle, placing Mulled Wine air fresheners about the house, playing my Ally McBeal Christmas CD repeatedly and checking the use by dates of the brandy butter so that I can buy it as soon as possible without it going off!
4. Fall asleep after Christmas dinner in a happy drunken haze -  does not compute when you have kids.
5. I refuse to let Small Child rip in to all the gifts she has amassed in one go - we've decided to spread them over a couple of days and a few at a time to ensure she enjoys them and takes it all in.
6. I can't resist cheese.
7. Due to number 6 I can't be totally inactive!

7 Christmas Wishes
1. Like Mom/Mum, to be a better mummy. I vow not to rise to the small things and just concentrate on the important stuff when it comes to discipline. I also vow to spend more time doing Small Child stuff on our days off rather than dragging her around getting jobs done.
2. I wish to fall asleep and wake up a size 8!
3. To be the proud owner of a pair of Manolo's in 2009! (If you say it enough times it will happen!)
4. To have enough spare time to get all the stuff done that we've been meaning to do for ages - redecorate Small Child's room, sort out wardrobe storage, print and frame some more photos etc etc. The list is endless.
5. That all those close to me remain happy, healthy and loved.
6. To follow the yellow brick road and get to Westfield!
7. That someone invents a non fat cheese that tastes like REAL CHEESE!

7 Things I Say As Christmas Approaches
1. No.... I don't know if the Grinch has a minny.... yes I know he's a boy who appears not to have a willy...and I don't know why he doesn't always wear clothes.
2. It's now only ** more sleeps to go
3. Those presents under the tree aren't for you, they're for other people and no you cant open them (this to Small Child and Other Half!)
4. No, you can't have another chocolate tree decoration/open another advent calender door/have another mince pie (this to Small Child and myself!)
5. More sherry please!
6. What's in the bag?
7. One year we will go somewhere where's there so much snow we can do snow angels!

7 Celebrities I'd Invite For Christmas Dinner
1. Jamie Oliver so he could cook it.
2.  Patrick Dempsey - just for table decoration of course!
3. Jennifer Anniston so I could advise her to stay away from bad boys and tell her that I think she should be my new best friend.
4. Angelina Jolie - well.... I'd invite her in, give her a slap and then send her packing.
5. SJP and her shoe collection - I know Mom/Mum said the same but seriously... how could I not?
6. Cheryl Cole. I love, love, love this woman! I would try and convince her to dump the useless husband, get her to promise to come shopping with me and apologise for the fact the Other Half is drooling into his dinner!
7. Peppa Pig - Small Child would be over the moon!

7 Favourite Festive Foods (all of which I will of course be eating in moderation!!)
1. Smoked salmon and scrambled egg.
2. Baked gammon ham, cold with....
3. Pickled onions - the strongest smelliest ones you can buy!
4. Cheese
5. Champagne
6. Brandy butter
7. Cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon...hhmm....

7 Other Bloggers Who Can Play Festive Seven (if they have the time)!

There... I feel I have purged my blogger absenteeism for good..... I'm Back!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I Am 100

This is my 100th post! Cue whooping, joyous celebration, popping of champagne corks etc.... you'd think wouldn't you? Erm.... no. I actually feel 100 at the moment and the stupid thing is I have no idea why! Perhaps it's down to an unexpected hormone rush as a prelude to an early onset of the menopause - can that happen at 39? Perhaps it's down to the vicious onslaught of temper tantrums from my three and three quarter year old Small Child this week? She has decided that it is not to her liking to do anything I ask her, tells me constantly I'm not her best friend and has taken to hitting me when I put her in the naughty corner for hitting me! 

Perhaps it's just a bad reaction to all that exercise I did last week? You note that I say last week.... this weeks efforts have only included some dancing (and very bad karaoke) at one of my best friends 40th birthday parties and a full on Christmas shopping attack yesterday. In a most unlike me moment of common sense I even wore comfortable shoes and still got blisters after so much shop trawling! 

Perhaps I'm being a grumpy scrooge and getting a pre Christmas Grinch attack - except I love this time of year and start embracing it full on festive mode on the 1st of December. I am that annoying variety of holiday cheer-meister who would bath in egg nog if she was allowed so that can't be it.

I have found myself avoiding Blogland all week and now I know why... all I've done is whinge! So I'm going to take my 100 year old, whiny arse off line now and hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible! 

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Progress, Endorphins And An Over Inquisitive Dog!

As I'm officially one week into the all new and improved super fit me, I went for another beach hike this morning after dropping Small Child off at preschool. In case you wondering if I'm playing hooky and exercising (or blogging!) whilst I should be working, I'm not... honest! My inventory typing skills are surplus to requirements at the moment as the busy lettings period is over for a while. So I feel really lucky to be able to invest some time in my BlogToFit project as well as being a proper housewife! There'll be no excuse for not being ready for Christmas this year - baked gammon ham with home made chutney anyone? Just kidding - Martha Stewart I ain't!

Anyway.... back to the beach. I drove to a different stretch this morning and made it a bit more challenging by walking beside the water. Hopping over big shingle piles, dodging waves and schlepping through soft oozy sand sure adds some extra effort into the walk I can tell you!

I bounced along enthusiastically for an hour, music on, smiling and saying good morning to all the passers by and dog walkers. This, together with the fresh air and endorphins had me in severe danger of breaking into a "Flashdance - What A Feelin'...." type episode at any second! Seriously... every time a euphoric dance track came on I had to clench my fists and keep my arms firmly by my sides to stop me from leaping up and down and dancing about on the shore like a demented, almost forty year old raver! Perish the thought... and without my leg warmers too!

And the dogs.. bless 'em! Having been bought up with them throughout my childhood I love dogs, I really do; however, this doesn't mean that Small Child will be experiencing the same I'm afraid. Being mildly house proud with tendencies towards Monica-ishness, we decided some years ago that she wouldn't be having any canine siblings. We've been through the wee all over the floor stage already, I like hair.... just not all over my furniture and the smell of wet woof permeating the air does not do it for me anymore. As it turns out, she's actually scared of dogs anyway so we don't feel we're depriving her too much!

But I was more than happy to greet all the four legged friends who came over to say hello to me this morning; the cute black lab pup who offered me his stick, the wiry haired mongrel who licked my hand and the over excited Springer Spaniel (is there any other kind?), who wanted me to throw his ball. Loved 'em all... apart from the brown Labrador who tried to greet me in the way that dogs often great each other.... nose to tail if you're not getting it! The faster I tried to walk away, the faster he followed, keen to exchange canine pleasantries! Still, perhaps the extra exertion was the reason why I'd shed 2lbs of muffin top this week when I jumped on the scales! I can highly recommend the running-away-from-over-friendly-dog workout!      

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Send In The Clowns

Between you and me, I'd rather you didn't send them in; in fact I would much prefer it if you got them the hell away from me! They creep me out, they actually are not the cheery tokens of jollity they're made out to be and always have a menacing, maniacal look about them. Don't even get me started on Stephen King's "It" as I have never been able to steel myself to watch it. The film poster says it all for me!

So you can imagine my untold joy when Small Child was presented with yet another birthday party invite a few weeks ago with the word "clown" contained in the detail.
I did try and wriggle out of it by including today's date in a list of available visit slots sent to some friends but alas they didn't pick it and so off she and I went this afternoon with Other Half electing to stay in and do some DIY.
DIY Schmee-I-Why... trust me, I would have rather stayed in and hung curtains using my teeth with my hands tied behind my back than gone for some clown fun but sadly it was not to be. Instead I found myself hesitating on the front doorstep, my cheery departing wave belying the fear that was slowly beginning to snake it's way around my gut and tighten it's grip on my insides, all the while gee-ing Small Child along to build her up for some sugar-high induced excitement.  

As I'd predicted, she started protesting the minute we got out of the car and all the talk of "Yoo-hoo, party on down with the the clown" swiftly evaporated and she started jumping up and down dementedly on the spot demanding to be carried. Hhmm...picked up the fear vibes perhaps?!
Just at the point he was due to arrive in his comedy car (yeah right Clown, you don't fool me - it's just a disguise like the vehicle driven in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by the child catcher), she decided she needed a poo! Definitely feeling the fear factor now!

By the time we surfaced from the ladies room, he was in full swing so she sat on my lap as near to back as possible, head half buried in my shoulder. If Other Half had been there it would have been ditto for me. 
However things did improve, so much so that by the time he'd made her a balloon dog, she seemed to actually fall in love with him. She volunteered to take part in the magic tricks, walked up to him whilst he was in full flow and interrupted him just so she could show him her new shoes and then shared her sandwiches and crisps with him at tea time. That never happens - Small Child is like Joey - she doesn't share food! I could only put it down to the fact that he'd put her under his evil spell!

I, on the other hand, decided that clowns are like cats - they just know that you don't like them and so make a bee line for you on purpose. He came up behind me and put his arm around my shoulder during tea; seriously you have never seen me jump so high without anyone shouting "Free Choo's this way!"  And then he took me by surprise by throwing something to me during one of his tricks - which I actually caught! Trust me, that never happens either - in true girly fashion, I always miss a catch and throw like a total spaz! He then got everyone to applaud my lucky break, leaving me slinking off, red faced to the nearest corner. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed, me or Small Child!              

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Weigh-Hey... It's Wednesday!

... or as it's otherwise known chez That Girl, Cut The Crap & Add More Activity! Yes, I have decided to join my blog sister Tara and the two Dave's over at BlogToFit today. Click on over and have a read - it's inspiring and it's not even one week old yet!

Tara and I, being of a similar age have discovered that having kids later on in life has many advantages...but also one small disadvantage - things no longer "snap back" like they do in your twenties and early thirties! And seriously... snap back? That phrase must have been invented by the likes of Nicole Ritchie, Victoria Beckham et al who make a living out of being a clothes horse and can therefore employ a personal trainer, chef, nutritionist and a nanny who can look after the kids whilst they get snapping! The only thing snapping in this house is possibly some old knicker elastic but what the hey! I have conceded defeat that I now have to work a bit harder if I want to keep in shape and also that I'm never gonna make a living out of being a clothes horse..sniff.  

Reading through their blog, I have decided that my approach will be to stop eating as much naughty stuff (cheese, red wine, things covered in cheese, red wine, cheese flavoured crisps, red wine... you get the picture) and add in some regular exercise. Nothing too drastic or anything that requires a degree in maths to work out calories/points/how many star jumps equals a biscuit with cheese on it. Maybe it's my age but I can't be arsed with all that and I want this to be a lasting change in lifestyle that will get me fit and healthy. Different things work for different people so I say go with whatever it takes but I'd lose interest in anything that doesn't allow enough brain space to think about shoes, bags and the latest Mac lip gloss shade.

With the Big Birthday approaching and The Dress hanging in our spare room, I have decided that it deserves to have its first outing with toned limbs as opposed to bingo wings, a pert bosom instead of a pair that have fallen down inside the bodice and some skinny malinky ankles! Obviously so that they can be adorned with a nice pair of Manolo's... Other Half... are you reading this?

In order to start my campaign and celebrate the fact that the only muffins for me from now on will be the (occasional) low fat, bran variety as opposed to one that sits atop my skinny jeans, I went to my local gym this morning...

Not bad huh? And it's free! I walked, very fast, for an hour in the sunshine with my i-pod on for motivation and despite the jelly knees at the end, I loved it! Will keep you posted as to how the new soon to be fit and healthy me is doing - wish me luck!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Late Night Reading....

......... courtesy of A Confused Take That Fan. She found it at Times Online, where I can often be found browsing such profound-aties. (I know it's not a word - I just invented it but go with it) . Just read this ... it says it all for every generation, perhaps just reflecting or moving on to the next stage... a subject very close to my heart right now!

Farewell Rusk.....Hello Sticky Fingers!

I nearly choked on my coffee this morning when I sneakily sat down to check in with some of my favourite blogs and discovered that one of them....shock, horror... was saying goodbye! The lovely Tara Cain over at Dawn Till Rusk would no longer be blogging there as she had left her job at Coventry Telegraph.

No...No...No.... this cannot be! Both her and I are convinced that we were separated at birth due to our shared love of shoes, shopping, Grey's Anatomy, Grazia and lots of other stuff that doesn't begin with S or G! Just as I was about to throw a complete girly strop and chuck all my lip glosses out of the make up bag, I read on to see that she is now going solo at Sticky Fingers! Praise be to Christian Louboutin and all the other shoe gods, for I can still get my daily dose of Tara! 

Tara was my first fellow mummy in the UK to comment, the first (and now second) person to give me award and was the first to blogroll me which made me so excited that a little bit of pee almost came out! She has always been so supportive and encouraging of my ranting at 39 And Counting so I would like to say a huge thank you to her and send a great big giant hug to end all giant hugs! God... this feels just like when they aired the last episode of Sex And The City... except at least the movie has been released straight away which helps to numb the pain! 

So...if you haven't visited yet, what are you waiting for...get on over to Sticky Fingers now!  

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Daddy's Girl

I am sure there are many reasons why Daddy takes precedence over Mummy in the favouritism stakes, the most simple one being that he is a new face at the end of a long day. A whole day of the other face that has been saying "No" and "Stop that!" and "This is your last warning young lady!" 

If Small Child could write a list, she might add these to it....

  • Because he lets me choose what I'm going to wear and never insists that it either matches or clashes just about enough to look trendy in a kooky kind of way.
  • He actively encourages me to run about naked after my bath with a pair of pull ups on my head going "Aarrgghhh!!!" really loud!
  • Because he's willing to lie prone on the floor, without flinching, all the while knowing full well that I am about to body splash him in a WWF style to make Hulk Hogan proud.
  • When he cuts my finger and toe nails he manages to do it without nicking my skin and sending me into a wailing fit. This also means I don't have to mention it again later on in public.
  • He does all the interesting jobs like cutting the grass and washing the car - this means that I can help and get really messy at the same time. There's only so much fun you can have wiping the bathroom tiles with a damp cloth.
  • He's really rubbish at hide and seek; he takes ages to find me and asks so many loud questions to try and find out where I am. Even though we've played it hundreds of times, he always forgets that I'm hiding in my bed and sits on it which makes me giggle. The other day it made me giggle so much that I pee'd all over the sheets; Mummy stopped the game after that and went off muttering about being a bloody washer woman. 
  • He doesn't mind that I've become obsessed with his two Jeremy Clarkson books and lets me look at them, carry them everywhere I go and sometimes take them into preschool. I've even been known to be able to persuade him to read me a chapter or two at bedtime!
  • When he looks after me for the day he plays with me straight away and not in a minute after he's hung up the washing/finished this bit of ironing/blow dried his hair/put on his make up. Come to think of it he takes far less time to get ready than Mummy does!

I'm glad she as all these reasons and hundreds more to be a Daddy's girl and I think I can see a George Banks in there in years to come!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Nostalgia Rules OK!

You know how they say that you can take the girl out of the 80's but you can't take the 80's out of the girl? Well, it would appear that you can't take the 80's out of my younger brother either!
After the trip to try on and pick up The Dress yesterday afternoon, we hot footed it down to my brother's house for fireworks, winter warming food, kiddie play time closely followed by kiddie bedtime and winter warming alcohol!

My brother is seven years younger than me and as all kids do, we scrapped and fought our way through childhood, only to get on like a house on fire after I left home. Even the actual way in which I left home involved us having a sitcom scrappy sibling moment! At the age of eighteen, having had enough of being designated babysitter for my little bro whilst my mother went out on dates in search of The One, I decided enough was enough. Not of him you understand but of being put upon whilst I watched my teen years slipping away faster than a pair of roller boots down a very steep hill! 
After one particularly nasty row, I stomped upstairs,  filled three black bin liners with all my worldly goods and dragged them down the stairs with as much stealth as I could master. I had just opened the front door when the little bro dobbed me in, yelling "Mum, she's leaving and she's got three black rubbish bags full of stuff"! 

I don't remember what happened immediately after but I do remember setting up camp at my best friend H's mum's house for the next couple of weeks which was only about ten doors down the hill! And I distinctly remember the letterbox flap opening several times with little bro's face poking through saying "Mum says you have to come home now... or else!" Looking back now I can laugh but I feel sad for what he must have felt about all that at the tender age of eleven; what makes me sadder is that I didn't consider the impact on him at the time. I was too caught up in my teenage angst to think about what my leaving might mean for his life.

I never went back except for two weeks after the first marriage came to a messy end and those two weeks turned out to be a huge mistake that left me running, funnily enough, back down the hill again, this time to a bedsit. It was only many years later when we were chowing down on Chinese food at his house and the conversation turned to "those times" that I started to understand what he dealt with. Now that we are both parents and have shared our innermost feelings about that era, we have formed an unbreakable bond and I don't think he knows how truly proud of him I am for building his own life on what were pretty shaky foundations.

Last night was a cheery testament to how much detail he remembers about my teen years! In advance of our get together he had downloaded a ton of 80's tunes that he remembers blaring out of my bedroom, half of which even I'd no recollection of! As the wine flowed and we all sat there in full on on pop quiz mode, he reeled off a load of anecdotes that I had completely forgotten about too. Coupled with the music which always has the power to bring back vivid memories, I was transported back to the time of fingerless gloves, Frankie Say Relax T shirts and my music centre with the graphic equalizer that I thought was the dog's danglies!

One of us may have left back then but she will always be there for him now if needs her. 

Friday, 7 November 2008

She's The One

Seeing as I'm almost at the halfway point of my countdown to becoming a Forever Forty, I have began to think about what I might wear to the party.... 

Oh who I am kidding? I fully admit that I started thinking about it this year on my 39th birthday and now I'm having "The Dress" dream so many times that it's starting to remind me of how I was right before I found my wedding dress!   
I hadn't yet begun to imagine any detail and I didn't think for one minute that it would be a black dress - possibly because one of the other fashion fixations vying for space (!) in my head at the moment is my LBD quest! But more on that another time....

And so it came to pass that, yesterday, I took the opportunity of wandering into Monsoon whilst Small Child had unexpectedly fallen asleep in her push chair. I mean... who am I to pass up a bit of window shopping that isn't accompanied by the normal anthem* of "I wanna get out of the push chair/I'm hungry/I wanna go to the bookshop/I wanna wee/I'm bored/I'm three and a half and REALLY good this!" *Delete as applicable... or not!
In times gone by, I wouldn't have thought about shopping in Monsoon as I always associated it with "Dahling.... Have You Seen My Tiara?" type frocks or slightly hippy-dippy creations. However, since they bought in their Fusion line, I have made a few much loved and well worn purchases there, plus Accessorize calls out to me like a poolside Mojito in a heat wave! 

So you see, I hadn't gone in there with the purpose of seeking out The Dress, but there it was on the first right hand side rail of the store - yep, that visual merchandising trick sure worked a treat on me! A beautiful, black satin fru-fru confection of frothiness that reminds me of the one Carrie wore whilst waiting for The Russian in her Parisian hotel suite. He stood her up by the way... what a waste of a dress! 
I stroked it lovingly, sighed at it, wandered round the store trying to ignore it and then came back for more surreptitious fondling, only this time the store manager came over to add yet more oh-so-subtle sales techniques into the situation - trust me, she didn't need to, I was already smitten. Either that or she possibly had concerns that I was about to dribble on it and thought she'd better intervene! She encouraged me to try it on but I had to decline for fear of Other Half coming home that night to find me wearing it to do the washing up, muttering something about cost per wear again.  

Having left the store I found I couldn't stop thinking about it and started seeing every passer by wearing my dress, even the men which was slightly disconcerting! What are the symptoms of being in love? Sweaty palms? Check! Heart pounding? Check! Constant feeling of Euphoria? Definitely! There was nothing left to do but confess all to Other Half when he came home and show him Flossy 40 Frock on the Internet to see what he thought. 
He seemed fairly enthusiastic; well as enthusiastic a man can be about an inky, slinky Mille-feuille of a dress, so we're returning to the scene of the crime tomorrow to see if trying it on will prove that She's The One!

She will be mine... Oh yes.... she will be mine!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

If Fairies Wore Shoes....

... they would come in little boxes like this and be sparkly and gold just like these, although obviously smaller! These beauties are pretty darn high and they did render my feet somewhat uncomfortable by the end of the wedding to which I wore them! At one point I feared I'd lost them having kicked them off to dance, and then, due to a few glasses of bubbles, I couldn't remember where I'd left them. I think I managed to have at least four people looking for them at one point though I'm almost positive that none of them were as frantic about the missing footwear as I was!

But ignoring the shoes (and I never thought I'd hear myself utter those words)... don't you just love the little black box that arrived courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue, all the way from New York City? It contained the much blogged about replacement heel tips which I was very pleased to receive but, me being me, I was far more excited about the miniature shoe box with that infamous postal code on it! It contained no less than seven pairs of tips that mean my Louboutin's will live on for as long as I have the inclination to wear them, which right now is just about every day! Yes I know I can't wear them for food shopping, preschool runs or to feed the ducks but I'm busy trying to create some suitable alternatives in my social diary that will fit the bill! So far I have come up with Christmas party, Other Half's birthday dinner/hotel stay and my 40th bash next year.... any other ideas will definitely be considered! Cost per wear basis needs a little work here!

They say that good things come in small packages and any package with the postal code 10022-SHOE on it is definitely up there on my list!

P.S. Don't know about you but I'm impressed that I've gone three weeks without posting about shoes! 

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Great Expectations

You remember that movie Sliding Doors where you get two scenario's playing out alongside each other? Well here is my interpretation for this evenings events! Gwyneth Paltrow would, of course, play me! 

In My Head
Local pub in the village plays host to fireworks event courtesy of PTA of Small Child's future school. Myself, Other Half and Small Child all rug up in appropriate clothing and set off at dusk, happily chatting along the way with the expectation of an evening spent in the company of friendly village folk. We arrive to warming fire, good bonfire fare and the welcome light of the beer tent and look forward in anticipation to the gunpowder spectacular ahead. Rosy cheeked, we stand side by side oohh-ing and aahh-ing as the PTA does us proud with green, gold and silver sparkles that light up the night sky. I glance across at Other Half and he looks lovingly back at me and then down to Small Child as we both remember our third get-back-together-date on bonfire night six years ago with fireworks set to James Bond music. I remember the point at which he was stood behind me and Sheena Easton was crooning For Your Eyes Only in perfect synchronicity with diamond shattering explosions. It was then I realised that this was it... I loved him and was not going to let go this time. (That bit is in my head cos it did actually happen that way!)

Meanwhile... Back In The Real World...
Local pub in the village plays host to fireworks event courtesy of PTA of Small Child's future school. Myself, Other Half and Small Child all rug up in appropriate clothing and set off at dusk, Small Child finally happy after a day of whinging because Daddy caved and gave her a lolly from one of yesterdays party bags. (Yes, she had two parties in one day. Sugar high? Don't ask!) We have agreed to meet Village Friends there before fireworks start and are in plenty of time, so stroll along, all the while us prepping Small Child that the fireworks may be quite loud but very pretty etc. 
Arrive to roaring bonfire and head straight for food. I blow healthy eating regime with cheese burger whilst Small Child happily munches on a hot dog, then yomp over to barn where beer and wine is served. As we join the queue for alcohol I am filled with happy thoughts as this is the place where we had her Welcome To The World Party; more happy thoughts follow as Other Half buys me a bag of roast chestnuts. We had these at Bond/Bonfire spectacular as I forced him to ride a rickety old Ferris wheel with me! 

We manage to find the furthest spot away from launch pad and mission control due to the fact the Small Child is starting to protest... quite a lot! At this point I have a sneaking suspicion that it's all about to go arse about face! 
Village Friends arrive and before we get a chance to say a proper hello, the fireworks begin.... and Small Child looses it in a spectacular fashion of her own! Chocolate buttons are offered, the hood on the push chair is put up in order to provide some additional sound proofing and it's pointed out the Under Two Year Old of Village Friends is not crying.... but all to no avail! Five more minutes of hysterical screaming followed by a smearing of snot and chocolate into the shoulder of my Hobbs jacket (aarrgghh!) as she tries to climb onto my head to escape, we decide to call it a day.  I head off inside the pub to console her with crisps and relative silence and myself with a large Merlot whilst Other Half makes our apologies to Village Friends. 

As she switches back to Normal Child and I sit calmly sipping my red, I wonder why she appeared to be the only child in the village who hated it. Then I remembered another little girl who always cried on Bonfire night for about the first seven years as her family did the back garden ritual of lighting the touch paper and standing well back...... yep, that would be me! I guess the seasonal bobbing apple never falls far from the tree after all!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Is It Just How The Cookie Crumbles?

Saturday found me doing my best impression of Natural Born Mummy, baking Halloween shaped cookies with Small Child. As a hangover from my career days I congratulated myself on my multi tasking approach to this scenario. Not only was I doing something that I find totally alien, i.e. letting Small Child make a mess in the kitchen but I was also embracing a festival (albeit an American one that seems to be sneaking it's way further into our culture year upon year), in a very Natural Born Mummy fashion indeed!

In my opinion, and others have disagreed with me on this matter which is kind of comforting, I think I am officially missing the NBM gene. I try my hardest to be a good mum and most of the time I do a good job but here's the thing... lean in cos I'm going to whisper it...... it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm whispering because being an NBM is to the noughties what being a yuppy was to eighties. Only, the red braces have been replaced with slings that hold your child steadfast to your bosom, stiletto's have been superseded by Crocks, pads have slipped from your shoulders into your bra because everyone HAS to breast feed and heaven forbid if you are not at least a member of one mother and baby activity group that involves teaching your little one to sign/play an instrument/swim under water aged 2 weeks/crochet pot holders!

The more I read lately, the more I see the whole "You can be a working mum and have it all" concept being shunned for the option to stay at home and be a "Have it all/make it all/do it all Super Mum"! Don't get me wrong - I think we should choose to do whatever is right for us as individuals and bugger what anyone else thinks.  Having tried both I much prefer my current mix of less work, more Small Child time. It's just that, like my cookies, I just crumble under the pressure sometimes! I really try and be Laid Back Mummy but find myself trying to retain vestiges of control that really aren't appropriate when you have kids!

I hate it when Small Child makes a mess! Art/cooking/creative stuff always has to be done in a controlled, supervised environment and leaves me hopping about like Monica at a cocktail party without drinks coasters! I'm sure you would have laughed if you'd seen the look on my face as I let her spoon the icing sugar into the Magimix and watched in despair as little clouds fluttered to the floor, via the worktop/stool/apron/my feet! 
I lose my patience far more than I should when we get into those debates that only come with a three and a half year old girl who wants to do dolly steps to the bathroom when you're itching to get downstairs for a glass of post bedtime wine, put on both tights and socks at the same time or wear a fleece when its ninety degrees outside!
I really do try and suppress my inner control freak and pick my battles but Oh My God do I ever find it hard! 

I know I'm not the first mother to admit to reading Grazia over the top of my child's head as she sits on my lap watching pre bedtime television or opening a bottle of wine at 5.00pm on a Sunday because I really need to numb the pain of numerous return trips to the naughty corner, but sometimes it sure does feel like it! If I were at Good Mummy School, my report card would read "Must try harder" and "Could do better". So I'm working on it but I'll never make Head Girl! 

Although.... I do admit to feeling somewhat smug as the smell of chocolate cookies permeated the air in our house for a brief period on Saturday; that was until I accidentally doctored one of the cat shaped cookies by shoving it into a container with too much force and breaking off it's tail! 
And needless to say, it was the inner NBM gene that made me photograph the best three cookies from the batch!  

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Things That Make You Go Hhmmm...

Click these to see which kind of Hhmm you get!

Hhhmm... not sure how it will translate but we can all now be Carrie Bradshaw by shopping at Marks & Spencers!
Apparently whilst stocking up knickers, winter tights and prawn sandwiches, you will be able to channel your inner Carrie, Charlotte or Miranda and get yourself a slice of your very own Patricia Field apparel! I know it may not appeal to all but personally I can't wait. I have always been prone to a bit of fashion freakishness now and again!

Big news or maybe I've been asleep and you knew before me but Madonna and Guy Ritchie are officially getting divorced. Hhhmm... I think that, if it's true (and I've read it so many times in Grazia already!), that it's really sad. I am also amazed that with their life, high profile and constant press intrusion it didn't happen years ago. 

John McCain and Sarah Palin. They make me go Hhhmm.... a lot. I don't profess to know a lot about American politics but from what I do know and see... those two make me uncomfortable and I really hope Obama gets in. 

Shoes....Hhmmm! Look at these Dior babies from the movie of the year! I love them even though they would make me look more hooker than hottie Manhattan babe! But a woman can dream can't she?! Which leads very nicely onto Lipstick Jungle. This has more than filled the empty Gossip Girl void in my viewing selection. Brooke Shields has come a long way since Blue Lagoon... Hhmm... dig that curly hair!

And finally,who sang that bloody song "Things That Make You Go Hhmm.." anyway? Answers on a blog postcard please!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Once Upon A (Second) Time...

It’s rare that real life echoes a fairy tale; especially one that comes good on the first attempt! I had to kiss a few frogs and have three serious relationships with lily pad dwelling amphibians before I found my handsome prince. Me being me, I even stupidly sent my prince away before I realised he was The One. But whoever said that the path to true love was a smooth one had obviously been at the “special” fairy toadstools!

As mentioned previously, one frog was a first husband who really shouldn’t have been allowed to leave the frogspawn pool, as he clearly wasn’t ready to interact with the human race. One was a good frog who taught me a lot and helped me grow into the rounded, (sometimes) levelheaded maiden I like to think I am now. Unfortunately we ended up being more like Hansel and Gretel than the happy king and queen so things came to a natural end. Although… his mum and I are still in touch and she is truly my real life fairy godmother! And then came the evil two timing, lecherous toad who really did deserve to be banished to a place far, far away where time should always forget. I never quite managed this but after I kicked him out, twice, he did feck off to Australia, which is a pretty good alternative as far as distance goes!

It was actually after evil toad hopped off that I sorted my life out, bought my first flat and quickly met Other Half – I’d admired him from afar at the office but to no avail as he was courting another princess at the time. Unbeknown to me, him and this particular princess were not all about happy endings either and it wasn’t until at the office Christmas lunch party that my lovely, match making friend J came running up to me to gleefully announce that she’d heard my office crush was newly single – as of three days ago!

Not one to waste any time I made a move – well… I am no strumpet, but seriously, I would’ve had to slap him around the face with a wet fish to make him realise I was flirting with him! To cut a long story short, we got together at the evening version of the above party a few days later and had an amazing couple of months before I got a huge attack of cold feet and ended it. Only later, when we got back together did I realise how much I’d hurt him and it makes me sad when I think about it to this day.

Fast forward to eighteen months later, me being essentially single apart from some random dates, a couple of very short term boyfriends and also having been working on some absent father, unhinged mother and evil toad issues, I finally had my epiphany. Other Half had been working in another building for a while and although we’d said brief, curt hellos at various office do’s, I hadn’t seen him properly for some time.

He walked in, on a Cowboy and Indian’s office fancy dress day no less, and I took one look at him and nearly hyperventilated when it hit me what I’d given up. (No – he wasn’t dressed as the Marlborough Man before you ask, although he might as well have been!)

I emailed him, he emailed back, we agreed to meet for a non-date (which would be a whole other blog post!), and a week later we knew this was it – here and now and never mind what happened before. Within four months we’d moved in, three months later we were engaged, (definitely another blog post) and married a year later with Small Child arriving less than a year after that! You can ask me how I knew he was the one after 33 years of searching and I could either list a million things or just resort to the classic fairy tale ending of "you just know".

Either way, I will be telling my little girl that you should always believe in happy endings… sometimes it just takes a while before you find yours. 

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Ouch...and... I Beg Your Pardon?!?

It turns out The Freckle was not to be beaten into submission as I had hoped it would! Yesterday, I took it's dainty arse off to the dermatologist just to be sure that it was nubbin... I mean nothing! That one will only work for die hard Friends fans - sorry! 
But... hooray ... it was declared that, as it was growing again (WTF is this thing I begin to ask myself at this point), they decided to lop it off! So, one large needle into the side of my nose, right near the bone, and the smell of burning flesh later  - sorry if it's too graphic but I was there and you weren't - my little friend was gone and whisked off to be examined under the microscope with results promised in three weeks!

I ripped the plaster and dressing off this morning as it was driving me crazy; I could see the darn thing just under my lower lashes - only to see that what was causing the discomfort was not the removed object but the big lump where they'd jabbed in the local anesthetic! Oh well... two lumps are better than one!

As for the second part of today's post - classic conversation with Small Child in front of the local priory today. No - I haven't gone all religious on you... we just happened to be walking that route back from feeding the ducks. 
SC - "Can I run  over there by those stones?"
Me - "No you can't"
SC - "Why not?"
Me - (at this point I was sorely tempted to say "Because I said so" but I didn't - foolishly)
Me - "Because they are grave stones"... pause... wait for it .....
SC - "What are grave stones?"
Me - "Well... when people die, sometimes they choose to be buried and they might have a grave stone to mark the spot so we shouldn't run about over it out of respect"  (At this point am thinking sh*t... why did I get into this?!?)
Me - "Now get back in the push chair and let me do the straps up"
SC  - "Why?"
Me - "Cos if I bump you off the kerb with no straps you might fall out"
SC - "Will I die?"
Me - "No sweetheart - you wont die - I'm sure you'll live to be ancient - 100 even"
SC - "Just like you mummy"

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Small Child In The City

Saturday morning came around not bright but definitely early, as we set off to London for Small Child's first ever city break! Technically it was not the very first as she did accompany us to Barcelona as a foetus, though I doubt she would remember much! Other than perhaps how she temporarily put me off Spanish food... and I love Spanish food! Every time I got so much as a whiff of chorizo or smoked ham I wanted to throw up! Even more mortifying was that in a city of culture, great food and trendy eateries, my main mission of the weekend was to seek out a bloody McDonald's - god damn pregnancy hormones!

Anyway, back to London! Seeing as she'd been building up to the trip for weeks we had no worries about it not meeting her expectations; that's the beauty of being three I guess - far more easily pleased than her mother. Unless it involves shoe shopping, champagne or just shopping at some stage of the game, I would be setting myself up for a fall!
After a quick photo op with Big Ben, we wandered through St James' Park where she was enthralled with the inquisitive squirrels. Not so long ago she would have climbed up my leg if one had so much looked in her direction but not so now, my brave little Dr Dolittle! She was highly amused that they were willing to come so close and nearly burst with excitement when one tried to climb up into her push chair. Mind you she wasn't in it at the time, I think it may have been a different story if she was!

A quick taxi ride, (one of the things on her list of must do's) past Buckingham Palace bought the expected questions of "Where is the queen?", "Is that her house?", "Why can't we go in?" etc etc. One of the preschool ladies had the forethought to pre-empt this and said that if we didn't see her it would be because her madge-ness was probably taking a bath - go with whatever works I say and it did!
Onto Frankies in Knightsbridge for food.... great venue for a family lunch and then, once Small Child was napping due to far too much stimulation for one morning, we visited The Mother Ship... aka Harvey Nichols!! I was good and stayed within the boundaries of the cosmetics hall and actually only bought something I had gone in there for! At the risk of sounding like a complete beauty product junkie (which I am), I Love, Love, Love my new Eve Lom cleanser... it's only taken me thirty nine and a half years to find it but it was worth the wait! 
Small Child then had her own shopping epiphany at Hamleys! "Mummy it's the Biggest Toy Shop in the World!" And her prize possession? A Bob The Builder phone... she's slept with it ever since!

The hotel room was excellent although the promised kids VIP pack took some tracking down so service not that great. This didn't matter as we choose to hole up in our family room which consisted of two separate sleeping areas, bathroom and kitchenette all in a minimalist, modern style. It had the added bonus of the two of us being able to crash in front of the TV with wine and M&S curry whilst Small Child slept soundly around the corner! (We know how to live!)  
Sunday bought the rain so it was coffee on Regent street, a fruitless search in H & M for kiddies jeans to no avail, a new winter coat for me from Reiss, followed by lunch at John Lewis on Oxford Street. I think Other Half was secretly relieved that poor visibility meant that the London Eye was off the cards - not good with heights that one! 

One taxi cab, a train ride, another taxi, (good old engineering works) and a car journey later, we were back home. It's good to go away but it's great being back home and now I just need to catch up in blog world... once I've caught up with work, washing and normal life in general! 

Friday, 3 October 2008

Breaking All the Rules!

Who says you can't mix vertical and horizontal stripes? I think Small Child demonstrates here that you can break the fashion rules and still be perfectly stylish! The chosen outfit was specially selected by her good self, for our open day visit to the village school that she'll attend next year.

I must admit I went along with some trepidation as my school days don't exactly hold the same happy, fluffy, secure memories  that nursery and preschool have provided for our little girl so far.
I'm pleased to report that we were completely blown away by the environment, staff, happy atmosphere and year six pupils who showed us around. My... how things have changed! I don't ever remember being that confidant, eloquent and polite at the age of ten!

Small Child had been counting down the number of sleeps until the school visit and woke up full of beans.... at ...(fanfare please)... 8.45!!! Complete bonus on our sneaky mid week day off! She then informed us that she didn't want us to come to the school with her but to "leave me there on my own please", and when it was time to leave... she flatly refused! At some point during the proceedings her and Other Half disappeared; upon their return when asked where they'd got to, he leaned in and whispered "Biggus Dumpus" in my ear! After I'd recoiled in horror and shot him a "You Didn't?" look, he shook his head and gestured towards the culprit,  seeming quite proud that his daughter had already made her mark in the school toilets!

Feeling completely buoyed up by a great day, we then snuck across the road to our local for a quick drink, bumping into the wedding coordinator from our reception venue who was also in there with his wife and same age daughter. This made me feel slightly less of a bad parent for going from school to pub for a sneaky afternoon half!  I wonder if they would go for holding the PTA meetings there?