Sunday, 31 August 2008

Labour Day!

In honour of Tara Dawn till Rusk's request for birth stories, I'm going to have to oblige and tell you mine! If you don't do birth stories, I suggest you step away from the laptop! If you don't like the analogy of something the size of a watermelon being passed through an opening the size of a lemon then this is not for you! But in the interests of free speech and the fact that it gives me the excuse to post a photo of a very small, Small Child, or Gilbert as she was known then, I'm going to tell it anyway!

Gilbert decided to arrive three and a half weeks early! That's possibly revenge for us nick naming her Gilbert but that only came from the thing that most expectant parents do when they find out what size the foetus is this month.  Oh it's a coffee bean, ahh now its a shrimp... oh look, now its the size of a grape! The movie with Johnny Depp? What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Not seen it? Well I'll just get on with it then!

As for the pregnancy itself.... whilst I enjoyed the excuse to eat two puddings at Sunday pub lunches, I can't say I had the "glow". More like spotty back, boobs that were temporarily different sizes and a nice bout of sciatica that meant I nearly got myself wedged under the Christmas tree for the entire holiday!
I left work with four weeks to go and had just started to make a pregnant sized arse imprint on the sofa when lo and behold, on the morning of April 1st, Other Half woke up and turned over to say that he really didn't want to go to work today. To which, my reply was "Well, either I've wet myself or my water broke, so either way you're not!" The unfortunate date meant that none of my friends and family believed me until much later in the day that yes, I'd really gone to hospital, yes I know it's April Fools day but no, these contractions are no sodding joke!  We arrived at hospital at midday, booked in and decided to venture off for lunch. Hah!  Sounded like a great idea until I made it as far as the petrol station just down the road and decided that I'd happily settle for a crappy baguette from there as it was within shouting distance of the maternity unit!  They must have been used to puffing and panting women queuing up for lunch, nonetheless, I still got some strange looks whilst hanging off Other Half's shoulder and uttering "cheese and ham please". 

I got to about 7.00 p.m. before starting to think about the seductive lure of an epidural; gas and air made me sick and the touchy feely midwife who wanted to rub my back was in severe danger of being thumped. I felt only good feelings towards the anaesthesiologist as he performed his miracle of medical science and the pain slowly subsided. No such feelings towards the woman in the room next door who was howling like a dog and whose husband was using loud swear words to encourage the passage of his offspring into the world. Apparently, she'd left it too late for an epidural the midwife informed me, secretly pleased I think that she was in my room and not hers!

As calm had been restored, perhaps we should have concentrated on getting some rest but Other Half spied the stirrups across the room and kept threatening to "do a Ross".... you know the one where Rachel was in labour and he just had to try them out!  Gilbert's drop in heart rate soon dispersed all such thoughts as the words emergency c-section were bandied about the room. We managed to avoid that but Gilbert was unceremoniously "vacuumed" out after many unsuccessful attempts at pushing whilst numb from the waist down. I remember the room going from peaceful and serene to a hive of organised activity that resulted in me going from peaceful and serene to mildly panicked! This only increased when she was taken outside with Other Half and didn't return until about five minutes later after being helped to breathe on her own. Never in my my life have I stared so much at a door, willing it to become transparent so I could see what was going on on the other side. The inability to move my legs or ignore the person carrying out cross-stitch at the vicinity of my nether regions didn't help much either!   
When my beautiful bundle was safely returned to me, Other Half says the image that met his eyes as he re-entered the room was not one he cares to remember as it was all a bit messy! People talk of the magic of childbirth but I have to say that we found the actual process itself quite brutal. The days that followed, when she became so jaundiced that she and I were rushed from the local maternity home back to the hospital at 2.00 a.m. were pretty traumatic too. I just remember standing there in my paper knickers, hormones having arrived with a vengeance and the midwife telling me that she'd called my husband and an ambulance and could I pack everything I needed really quickly. Err... actually no I can't because right now I'm not sure what planet I'm on yet alone which of this stuff do I need for an emergency trip!

But all that seems a minor issue when I look at my little girl now and feel a love for her that I never knew existed until she was born. (On April 2nd by the way.... she's no fool!) 
Whilst we'd rather it had been a more floaty, chilled, White Company catalogue type experience it makes you realise how precious your child is and we can't imagine life without her! And re-living it only serves to remind me of that, so thank you Tara.... I loved reading your story and look forward to some more!  

I Heart SAKS Fifth Avenue

You see.... I knew they would come through for me and the red soled objects of desire! Saks are sending me the heel tips and they said that if I fax them my receipt they will reimburse me for the repair! Now that is customer service! God damn it.... yet another reason to love New York!  Thanks Norma P, I will wear them out somewhere sophisticated in your honour!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Shoegate Update (Or.... Cobblers Continued)

Just look at my poor broken babies, lying there helpless on the dining room table - yes I know it's bad luck to put shoes on the table but seriously, can you get anymore unlucky than a Louboutin breaking on the first outing! 
If you can bear to look, you can just about see the silver screw poking out of the one laid down. OK, I know... cover your eyes again now!

So... nothing from the main Louboutin email address in France -Mon Dieu, Sacre Bleu, Merde!!  I did find a contact telephone number for a CL store in Knightsbridge, London but was slightly put off by the customer experience reviews. Roughly half said the staff were snobby and unhelpful and I had no wish to be treated to a Pretty Woman-esque "We have nothing for you in this store - please leave!" scenario over the phone! 

However.... in typical New York can-do customer service fashion, Saks Fifth Avenue responded to an email within a couple of hours saying they would look into it. And then just now they sent another saying that they would repair them free of charge if I sent them over and were extremely apologetic!  The only down side of that would be the cost of airborne carrier plus insuring them to arrive and be returned safely. Now I would have happily accompanied the shoes in person if they were prepared to stump up the air fare - obviously, seeing as they're Louboutins, we would have had to have travelled first class! Meanwhile back on Planet Reality.....

I think I will ask them to post me a few spare heel tips and just take them to a reputable shoe repairer if I can find such a place! If the lovely Norma P from Saks E-commerce team can deliver then I will be more than happy and back in Louboutin paradise once more!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

What's Your Dream?

Yay!!  Big Love to Wave 105 and Steve Power! They mentioned me and the blog today! (So this is what it feels like to be a ZZZ list celebrity?) Other Half had just done nursery drop off and was driving along when he hears his wife's, her blog and her child's name read out on the radio!  I of course missed it as I was in the morning meeting - shucks! 

It was a very positive way to start the last day of my job. I felt buoyed up enough to believe that with a lot more shameless promotion, a creative writing course and a gazillion more blogging hours under my belt I might get some more readers, ergo a career with writing opportunities, leading to a book deal..... leading to LOTS MORE SHOPPING! You gotta have a plan and see the positive side people! OK so I lost my job and left some friends behind today but I sit here, glass of Veuve Cliquot in hand, feeling excited about the next chapter. 

I also got to spread designer love too. Having succumbed to the new iPhone a couple of weeks ago, I gave my crazy blond work friend, Flippy, my old Prada mobile phone and she was overjoyed! It's amazing what a bit of designer bling can do for a girl! Talking of which, as all the entries on my favourite fashion and gossip sites never cease to remind me, New York Fashion week starts in a few days so excuse me whilst I just go and have a bit of a sulk that (a) I won't be anywhere near it,  (b) will not be purchasing anything shown on it's catwalks and (c) am still only triple Z list meaning I will not be blagging (or even blogging) entry to any after show parties! Still...this week Wave 105... next week Bungalow 8 and the penthouse at 60 Thompson!  

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Feel the L.O.V.E.

Shameless promotion to follow... look away if you are not a SATC fan!
I confess to listening to a favourite local radio breakfast show as opposed to the "achingly hip" alternative offered by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Call me an old fart if you like but I like what I like and I happen to like Steve Power at Wave 105!  
Whilst I was dropping off Small Child at nursery Other Half heard their deal of the day. Not only do you get to PRE-ORDER the SATC movie but it comes with the LOVE key ring!! Not the $6,000 18 carat gold version by H. Stern I hasten to add but what do you expect from Woolworths at £12.97? Click to partake and share your love!

Broken Hearted Over A Broken Louboutin

The wedding is over, the happy couple are enjoying their honeymoon as I type, some sense of normality has been restored to the house...and it all feels a bit flat! "Groomy" (the artist formerly known as BIL), stayed with us the night before the festivities with Small Son who, together with Small Child, managed to get so wound up with excitement that they reached screaming pitch just in time for bath and bed!

Other Half did a fab job as best man and took all his duties so seriously that he was like a cat on hot bricks all morning whilst BIL sat back and just let it all wash over him! With a little help from two glasses of champagne before the ceremony I managed to not fluff my readings and speak loud enough so that most people could hear. BIL and Other Half spend their entire lives saying pardon whenever I speak and accuse me of being too softly spoken, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's down to selective hearing as no one else seems to have a problem! Apart from Small Child of course but she's three so that doesn't count!

Disaster struck the Louboutin's - the sodding heel tip broke off which left me with a nice silver screw head poking out of the bottom of the heel! You can only imagine the expletives that were uttered as all my worst shoe horrors were bought to life in front of my very eyes! I took them to the shoe menders this week and they said that they don't have any tips that small so I'll have to have metal ones - no thanks! So, in the spirit of taking it straight to the top, I have emailed Monsieur Louboutin in the hope that he can come to my rescue and be my knight in shining red soles - I'll keep you posted! If any of you shoe-a-holics out there have any suggestions please let me know as I'm sure you can appreciate my dilemma; I shall not rest until my babies are restored to their former glory. Now I know exactly how Carrie felt when Miranda's water broke all over her beautiful pink pair!

Apologies for the lack of posts this week but what with weddings, bank holiday weekends and last day at job (tomorrow), its all been a bit crazed! Still, as of Monday I will definitely have more time on my hands to try and achieve all the stuff I can't at the moment, including writing. We'll see how this next phase of the 39 And Counting pans out! And it's the first of the month - you know how I love those "New Me" dates!  

Friday, 22 August 2008

Two Days Until Louboutin Day!

I mean wedding day! Not sure if I mentioned this before but it only took me three attempts to find a dress that goes with the infamous Louboutins! Aren't they beautiful? I couldn't find a picture of the exact ones but they are the same as these except in the softest silver grey suede! I know...I could have taken a photo but its late, I'm a mother, I'm very tired and out of excuses!  

At the point I made the purchase on that now distant, snowy day in Saks Fifth Avenue I was confidant that the outfit would come together based solely (pardon the pun) around the shoes! I must have been high on Veuve Cliquot and the smell of very expensive leather!
I did find a beautiful DVF dress for a more than reasonable price but having tried on the whole ensemble recently I decided that it was not "weddingy" enough. Yes there is such a word!

So after several failed on-line shopping attempts I came up with this little gem from Coast! Having the appropriate dress meant that I now needed the appropriate headgear! I don't normally do headgear at weddings seeing as a) my head is too big for one size fits all hats (natch!) and b) they give me chronic hat hair! But seeing as it is Brother In Law and Fiance's big day I felt some extra effort was definitely required! And so it came to be that I succumbed to the previously uncharted territory of the Fascinator!

My view on this particular accessory was that it was only worn by Ascot bound WAGS or the more mature woman; i.e. MM wore a rather large one at my brothers wedding. This seemed like a good idea at the time until the actual day of the ceremony when the Caribbean breezes threatened to aid it's take off from her head and send it flying across the beach to a watery end! Would have been a great photo op though!

Anyhoo, I digress (again!) I found one that I think finishes off the outfit, gives it a significant weddingy feel but doesn't look too much like a seagull on acid caught in a thunderstorm! I guess the wedding photos will be the ultimate test! Seeing as I fully intend to spend the day in a haze of champagne and happiness, I won't really care whats going on atop my head! And if any prospective wedding guests are reading this....leave at least a half metre exclusion zone around the Louboutins, especially if you are brandishing drinks, canapes or rug rats!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

If Small Child Could Blog....

... her account of our day off might go something like this!

I woke mummy up by coming into her bedroom wearing my PJ's and chef's outfit, carrying a plate full of plastic chips, pizza, steak and a roast chicken from my Disney princess kitchen and told her I'd made her Breakfast at Tiffany's! Think that might be her favourite movie as she's always rambling on about it!
Once I'd jumped up and down on her a few times saying that I was starving - she finally took me down stairs for breakfast but only after she dressed me in something kooky and not at all what I wanted to wear!

Mummy asked me what I'd like to do so I said the usual - why she even has to ask I don't know; the fact that she even suggested lunch at home for a change was beyond me! Purlease...when have I ever gotten babycino's at home?
Before we got to the coffee shop she dragged in me into four different shops where she tried on twice as many pairs of jeans! She was very specific about them being a certain shade and certain fit that would go with her tan Ugg boots for winter; if I was her I'd stick with the wellys! 
She also needed to go for a wee in Marks and Spencer's (she was muttering something about if I'd carried a watermelon that bounced on my bladder for nine months then I'd understand?).
But I didn't mind cos it meant that I got to ride on two escalators where I was able to turn around and grin inanely at the man behind me and act coy! It was only when mummy made a quick rescue manoeuvre that I realised I should have probably been looking out for the step off! oh well...maybe next time! 

We finally got to the coffee shop and I managed to grab some books to read on the way through - Jeremy Clarkson was one of them - I'm his biggest fan! All the old ladies and the waiter thought it was really funny when I yelled "wheres my babycino?" across the store. Well.... mummy was taking ages getting it! I've noticed that she just shrugs and looks kind of helpless when I do stuff like that; a bit like she did when I knocked over her water ten minutes later.
My favourite parts of the whole trip out were when mummy bought me some pink ugg type boots from Next.
I just look the absolute bees knees in them. Think I'll see if I can wear them to bed, nursery, in the garden, in really big deep puddles... in fact everywhere! It's a bit like Mummy's cost per wear justification that she's always going on about!  The other good bit was when I got to sit in the Barney Train outside the shops; I didn't want Mummy to actually put money in it to make it go but she only got that when I threw a major strop. Some parents don't know when they've got it good! 

My day was complete when daddy came home - I was so excited that I decided that I would do some naked bundling! This entailed me stripping off and jumping on him whist yelling "BUNDLE!!" at the top of my voice! Can't understand why he wanted to stop playing just because I let rip - I did own up to it after all!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Yay Times Three!

Yay number one! At the risk of jinxing it (cos it's not all quite finalised yet), I think I may have a job lined up!! And it proves the old adage... it's not what, but who you know! Boss Man Brother In Law's wife to be has a friend who owns her own inventory company. (I met her on the hen weekend in Amsterdam). She was looking for someone to help type up property rental inventories but when I told her that I was free for three days a week she asked me if I'd like to work with her doing the inventories too and generally help out!
It would be a mixture of being out and about and some work based from home which I'm hoping will fit in with being the demands of being a working mum. I think she has to run it past her business partner and accountant so we'll see!

Number Two - Boss Man Brother In Law has full blown wedding fever this week and consequently so does the Thatgirl household!  Going by this blogs (occasional) rule of initials I guess hereafter he should have been called BMBIL but seeing as he will soon be back just to BIL, I think I may dispense with that malarkey! ? He is on a countdown and nothing, not even the crashing property market, is phasing him! And rightly so! Other Half and I were on a permanent high before, during and after wedding and honeymoon so why not - it's good for the soul!

He was being so happy go lucky Mr Annoying at work yesterday that we decided to reek revenge on him by sticking his mouse to his desk, tape down the receiver button on his phone and lock all his desk drawers! He still shrugged it off with a casual "I'm off to the Maldives for a child free honeymoon" kind of attitude! We've decided that we like pre-marital Boss Man and he can stay!

And the final yay! Last week I got back in touch with someone who I haven't seen since just before I got engaged! She was a best friend who was like a sister to me and due to the complicated stuff of life getting in the way, we lost touch. I found her on a social networking site and we're going to meet up again! Last time we were together I was the perennial single girl and she was married with a little boy. Now she has two kids and I have one.... and an Other Half! We were joined at the hip, our hearts lodged forever in the eighties and thrown together by a number of prior hapless relationships! And boy could we shop when we went out together! I can't wait!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Not So Bright Stanley

Bad news abounds Chez Thatgirl...alas, poor Stanley the fan tailed, fancy looking goldfish is no longer with us. You'd think that the dummy fairy could do better and deliver a fish that lasts longer than four weeks! And I'd only found out the other day why Small Child decided to name one of them Stanley; her favourite book of the moment at nursery is Bright Stanley - a charming story about a very shiny goldfish.
I was in the bathroom this morning getting ready for "Role Swap Day" (more on that later!) when I was vaguely aware of Other Half asking Small Child if she would like to feed the fish. The next minute his head pops around the door and he announces that he thinks Stanley has "carked it"! Yep...after a quick (non-surgical) check, I confirmed that Stanley had indeed departed this life and gone to the watery planes of aquatic heaven. The fact that he was floating upside down on the plastic plant, little fins fluttering in the wake of the water filter kind of gave it away really. 

All joking aside, I felt really sad seeing him there, unsure of whether it was because it was Holly's first pet or if it was my mummy hormones kicking in. These are the very same hormones that make me cry at anything containing children, animals or anything remotely connected to motherhood by the way!

Back to role swapping; Other Half took a day's holiday to look after Small Child as nursery couldn't give me an extra day this week. They had a very exciting day planned including swimming, trip to great grandparents, food shopping and even a forage around the DIY store! Then there was the unplanned part, explaining about fish departures but not to worry because we all live longer than our marine life relations! When I got home, Other Half declared he was "totally knackered and it was harder than a day at work"! that the sound of guffawing from mums around the world accompanied by hand gestures of 'well hello?!?" No... surely not!    

Thursday, 14 August 2008


Oooh...hark... is that the sound of thatgirl bouncing back? I believe it is! Seeing as I am the eternal optimist and a glass half full kind of gal, it doesn't normally take me long to find the positive in a situation. Some people might consider that a good thing but I'm sure that others find it ever so slightly irritating! I am the one that Billy Crystal refers to when he accuses Meg Ryan of being "one of those annoyingly happy people who puts little hearts above her i's" in the movie "When Harry Met Sally"!

So, I am soon to be jobless again (from Friday 29 August to be precise)...well I've done it before and I can do it again! Maybe next time I'll get the tee shirt to prove it! As per the title of my blog, I did actually get to thinking (it does happen from time to time I'll have you know!), and, for now, I'm done with the world of work. By that I mean I mean going to an office for x number of days a week to work.
Small Child has one more year to go before school and by bizarre coincidence she's due to start pre school on my first non work day. I had already decided that I want to do something to fit around school hours next year so perhaps now is the time to start laying the foundations. I'm hoping to explore a couple of things that will allow me to do some admin work from home which means I actually get to be here more and keep on top of all the normal stuff that we can never fit in now (i.e. washing, ironing, food shopping, cleaning!). Pre school equals me time, so I plan to fit in more writing and a healthier lifestyle. I have a beach to run along for goodness sake which costs nothing except time and effort, both of which I aim to have more of.

Maybe I'll go crazy not having regular work inter-action with people who aren't really small and throw a tantrum because they have Marmite in their sandwiches instead of honey, but I'm willing to try it and see what happens! And for now, it will mean more Primark, less Prada but I think any fashionista worth her salt can adapt to that and still look good!
To quote my dear departed, wise Grandma again (she always did like the last word!) - "A change is as good as a rest dear"! No doubt I'll keep you posted on this new version of my life, interspersed with a few shoe and handbag rants and hopefully it will provide some more material for the blog/column/book deal/movie rights....oh be quiet......a girl can dream!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

It's Crunch Time

In no way do I profess to be a current affairs writer who comments on up to the minute, newsworthy issues, so I didn't think that I would ever include the phrase "credit crunch" in this blog!  If, for no other reason than I detest such media invented jargon that's spewed out to attract numb skull readers to a headline and subsequent purchase of material that should only be used as toilet paper!

But....the above phrase is resounding in my head as I have just learned that I am being made redundant for the second time! Joy of joys!! Only yours truly would go into real estate just before we enter what is predicted to be a recession and the housing market looks set to slumber for a while! You may think I am being flip but actually it's just "posturing" after a few glasses of red! In about five minutes time I will need to call on my late and wonderful grandmothers mantra of "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger".

I am fortunate enough to be in that place where my career is no longer the be all and end all in my life - Small Child and Other Half have pride of place there! I will find work in due course as I need "a bit of something for me" in my weekly routine. Meanwhile we will budget accordingly and I may also take the braver step of nurturing this writing bug on that seems to be growing at an alarming rate inside of me! 

But to Boss Man Brother In Law who is fantastic at what he does and my colleagues in my office who are also affected by this and whom I have grown really fond of these past few months....I am so gutted that things have gone this way as I know that we were onto a good thing there.  If you can hang on until things pick up then I know you're onto a winner! 
Apologies for what seems like a Dear Diary moment but you should know me well enough by now!

Grocery Groupie

Is it possible to remain cool and apparently unconcerned when you spot a celebrity going about the mundane duties of everyday life?

I repeatedly ask myself this question after getting over excited whenever I see a member of a certain boy band, currently enjoying a resurgence in the pop world, in my local supermarket? Seeing as they have been away for some time I guess that would now make them a man band, especially as the singer in question brings his daughter along food shopping.
Purely from an aesthetics perspective you understand, it's good to see that the years have been kind! In actual fact I would say that seeing him wheeling his very cute child around in her bugaboo, increases his "Sexy Domesticated Dad" and "Celebrity Dad" factor. A powerful combination is it not?

OK....if you must know it's Howard Donald from Take That; I'm impressed that I was able to wait for two whole paragraphs before name dropping! In order to preserve his private life and avoid him having to put up with grinning idiots like me bothering him whilst he buys bacon and broccoli, please note that I am not stating which supermarket or where! (Because my web presence is obviously increasing at a phenomenal rate!!)
Other Half first spotted him in there but neglected to tell me until they released their comeback single, Patience and started popping up on every television channel and radio station. He then casually piped up "Oh look at that...I saw him in blank the other day!" Um hello? Why was I not informed of this momentous sighting at the time? Probably because he knew that a broccoli and bacon incident would have been on the cards!

We were in there with friends on New Years eve gathering provisions for a night of food and festivities when he spotted him again. Having learned his lesson, Other Half did point him out this time, using the voice out of the corner of the mouth technique whilst begging me not to stare...or drool! Cue much elbowing, giggling and surreptitious glancing from me and aforementioned Norwegian friend!
I'm useless at spotting him myself - another time when he was apparently stood right next to me choosing pizza, I was so busy trying to keep Small Child under control that I didn't even realise!

So if you're a celebrity and you happen to see someone lurking in the cereal aisle with camera, paper and pen in hand, please run away as fast as you can so that I am not forced to make a prize pilchard of myself!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Pixie Boots Ahoy!

Oh how I loved the days of vodka and orange, legwarmers, new romantics, shoulder pads, ra-ra skirts, Flock of Seagulls hair cuts, Smash Hits magazine and John Hughes movies. Every decade resurfaces occasionally so it's no surprise that all things 80's pop up on my radar often, but imagine my sheer delight when I came across this's official, Molly Ringwald is still cool! She of Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club fame, is a style icon!

Weird Science, Some Kind Of Wonderful, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off were all examples of Hughes' genius.They were the feature length Friends episodes of their time, little slices of feel good, teen angst-ridden tales that I can watch over and over! Not to mention other such masterpieces as Flashdance, St Elmo's Fire, Footloose and Fame!

I survived my own teen angst era by channelling Andi from Pretty in Pink, wanting to be a female welder called Alex with a penchant for legwarmers and Flashdancing or imagining how cool it would be if I could play the drums just like Mary Stewart Masterson's character, Watts, in Some Kind Of Wonderful. Hhmm...have just noticed that all of these were girls with boys names...slightly worrying no?

I saw Duran Duran in concert twice, met Boy George and Steve Strange from Visage at a record store signing, dressed up as Lucky Star Madonna every time I was allowed out on a Saturday night and managed to get my hand on Paul Young's knee whilst he sang "Wherever I Lay My Hat"! Ah the heady days of my youth!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

How The Mighty Have Fallen!

On Friday, Banana who was over from Dubai came to stay with us; she bought Banana Junior with her so Small Child was happy to have someone to practice not sharing with! One incident of scrapping over a book ended with Banana Junior falling backwards and hitting her head on the coffee table and Small child wailing so loudly (from guilt I presume), that Other Half's turn for a lie in was instantly scuppered at precisely 8.00am.

Miss T and her man joined us for dinner the evening before and we reflected, over copious amounts of red wine, how things have changed in our lives. In far off single days, the three of us were usually to be found in the city, fuelled by one too many shots of something hideous tasting, getting up to ridiculous antics such as having a competition to see who could get their leg up highest on the wall. (We couldn't help ourselves - we'd just seen Charlie's Angels the week before and thought we were all arse-kicking Cameron Diaz type girls in pointy toed, high heeled boots!).

There we were reminiscing over old times when Banana stopped to admire the plastic hanging contraption sitting on our kitchen tap that holds a dishcloth and scourer! What happened to the days of cooing over new jeans/shoes/bag/lip gloss etc? I'll tell you what happened.... Life that's what! Banana wasn't the only one to admire this purchase; a friend from Norway who used to live in Essex, also enquired after the sought after domestic item! When they recently came to stay, she admitted that it hadn't fitted their last tap but she was hoping it would be compatible with the new Norwegian based kitchen tap! My point? One day you wake up with a family right there beside you... cue the Talking Heads "Once In A Lifetime" lyric! (Unless you're a sad music/film trivia etc addict such as myself that won't mean that much - sorry!)

A great weekend was had by all...Other Half even managed to do his usual injury thing that he likes to do when we have guests! For some reason unbeknown to man (or me), whenever we have house guests he always manages to chop bits of himself off! Pre marriage, my friend the Divine Miss C, was due for dinner and just before she arrived, he split his forehead open on the corner of the garage door. The local policeman who lives next door but one ended up coming round to put steri-strips on his head after I panicked at the alarming rate that the dent seemed to widen in front of my very eyes! This weekend he managed to cut his finger open with a razor whilst scraping plaster off the bathroom tiles - is there a tortured Van Gough thing lurking beneath perhaps?!

Banana and I did redeem our former illustrious selves by finishing the visit with a "stroking the Choo's and Louboutin's" session so all is not completely lost!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

How Many Is Too Many?

Welcome to the great debate that often rages around myself, Other Half and Small Child; notice that I say around and not amongst! We know how many children we want and we already have her - other people however seem to think that they should have a say in how many times I have to get pregnant! Which begs the question, exactly who's uterus is it anyway?! (Wasn't that a sartorial current affairs quiz on Channel 4?).

Anyhoo...I've always been of the opinion that a family can be of any size, shape or form. For example, seeing as my family tends towards the dysfunctional variety, I considered my friends my surrogate family before I met, married and propagated the species with Other Half. I remember we were walking along the beach one day just before our wedding and stopped to watch a family playing - one mum, one dad, one child and one dog. At that point we were both of the view that we would do the standard 2.4 children thing but as we watched them messing about on the sand, I remember saying that I didn't mind if we only ended up with one child and one dog. He was in agreement and the subject never came up again.... until the day after we brought Small Child home from hospital approximately one year later!

Having gone through some, what I now know to be fairly common but extremely worrying health problems with her, we finally got home, totally head over heels in love with her but shell shocked at the whole experience. To cut a long story short as it's one I could go on for pages about, for reasons of our own, we decided there and then that we wouldn't have anymore babies. Three years on we haven't wavered but'd think we were committing a crime against humanity by bringing up an only child! Even the phrase "only child" has it's own connotations.....depending on the emphasis placed on the word "only".

Parents, grandparents, well meaning friends and even complete strangers emphasise it the ONLY way they know how and seem to think it is their place to tell you how many Small Children you should or should not have. I would never dream of telling anyone how many kids to have or how to bring them up for that matter; some family members have intimated that they don't agree with our parenting methods too! To that I say "Butt out, take a good look at your own offspring and come back to me when you have something to add to the conversation"!  Whats good for Earth Mother Goose is not always good for Mrs I'm Doing The Best I Bloody Well Can Gander! Goodness I'm on a rant today, must be something in the air....apart from the sideways drizzling rain!

We didn't get the dog either by the way!   

Thursday, 7 August 2008


Imagine trying to get a three year old to take a sight test - actually imagine getting an 18 month old to do it! Small Child has worn glasses since that tender age to correct a squint that she developed just after her first birthday, which means regular trips to the eye doctor for check ups and a vision test...of sorts!

Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to the fact that she had to wear them as I didn't want her to have the hassle of it; both myself and Other Half are short sighted and wear contacts and glasses. (Mine are Chanel of course...any excuse to purchase something from that label that I can actually afford!) What I expected to be at least a two week game of lets pull them off for the millionth time, turned out to be a doddle, plus she looks bookish and cute in a Ray from Jerry McGuire kind of way!

The appointments are definitely getting easier now that she has the power of speech and, the first time she was able to say "duck, house, boot, lorry" etc when showed the picture card, I was so proud of her I could have burst! There is also an image of a cup on there and when the doctor pointed to it, Small Child piped up "Cappuccino!" Something tells me we spend too much time in that coffee shop! At least she didn't say "tall skinny caramelatte with an extra shot".

We went along yesterday and she was the most cooperative she's ever been; normally vast amounts of raisins or chocolate buttons are called for before she will let them anywhere near her. I think she still bears a grudge from the times when they had to practically hold her down to put drops in - not pleasant!
Reward for compliance was a babyccino at lunch (different branch of same coffee shop this time!). How cute does Small Child look perched up on the sofa, spooning chocolate covered milk foam out of an espresso cup, complete with obligatory milk moustache? The best part about it is the elbowing and nods of disapproval you get as onlookers think she's getting her caffeine fix too! Do you honestly know any parent who would knowingly bolster their three year olds already manic activity levels with an espresso shot?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Modern Romance

You may be wondering why on earth I would write about the 80's pop group of the above name who sported fetching blond wedge cuts and sang such lyrical gems such as "Everybody Salsa" and my personal favourite "Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey". You may be slightly relieved that this has nothing to do with them! (Or you may not have the slightest clue as to what I'm talking about).

I was thinking more in terms of how I refer to my relationship and marriage with Other Half. This occurred to me on Sunday when, whilst having lunch in the coffee shop we attempted to steal five minutes to read. His publication of choice, GQ, had a selection of not unattractive models on the front wearing leopard print bikinis and not much else. Other Half picks it up and professes that he feels "like a dirty old man sitting here reading this with these on the front"! By this point I'd spotted McDreamy on the back, fully clad in Versace...seriously... it is total eye candy, so I said he could carry on reading it if he held it up high enough so I could enjoy the view!  (Just so you get what I mean, I posted a picture of the Doctor in question)!

There's a lot to be said for a modern romance.... not only does Other Half do more than his fair share of getting up in the night and an equal share in the cleaning/cooking department but he also puts up with me in my most tired, most ratty, most hormonal moments. He loves me when I look great and he loves me when I look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards. He accepts my shopping addiction and is even a great has shopping partner! When I call to speak to him at work and wait for his voice to come on the line, my stomach still does flip flops and when he goes away on business, even for a night, I still miss him loads! 

I would never have settled for anything less than a modern romance - life is hard enough as it is and I'm afraid I have never been one of these women to put up and shut up! Previous relationships taught me that. Like fine wine (and not cheese as I once said when attempting to wax lyrical about my married life!), our relationship gets better with age. 

A bit like McDreamy really...for anyone who first saw him in the movie Can't Buy Me Love, you'll know what I mean!        

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

On Trend Tuesdays!

Tuesday is Grazia delivery day! Its my glossy beacon of non-mummy stuff that I look forward to all week. Once I've got home from work, tucked Small Child into bed and poured out a glass of Shiraz I sit down with this gem of a publication and try to get back in touch with my inner fashionista! In case you're wondering, "fashionista" and "on trend" are words that I learned exclusively from Grazia... along with WAG, Glamourista and Fug. Feel free to try and incorporate them into all your conversations from now on!

As well as some (tastefully done) gossip and beautiful clothes they also carry some serious stories and raise awareness of issues that might otherwise go unnoticed by a short on time, fashion focused filly such as myself! I like that fact that they don't just aim towards a younger market; flirty thirties, forever forties and yummy mummy's are all included on a regular basis. Other Half likes the travel and recipe section, although he may not thank me for telling my small but perfectly formed section of the blogosphere that he reads my mags!

In the interests of recycling I now swap my Grazia for my friends Look magazine. This one provides an instant, read-it-whilst-queuing-at-the-supermarket/post office/bank fix of everything a girl needs, plus they include loads of high street fashion. This means I have now, on two occasions, been able to utter those words "Oh this?...well I saw it in a magazine and had to have it"!

So along with my monthly must have subscriptions to In-Style and Marie Claire, it is little wonder that my bedside magazine stack is starting to resemble my bedside table! Some people collect stamps, I collect fashion magazines......and shoes.....and bags!

Monday, 4 August 2008

What Lies Beneath - Update!

Following my post which was basically about would seem it's a hot topic...even in The Times! I must have my finger on pulses I didn't know I had!

To Sleep Perchance To Dream...

... fat chance of that in our house last night! Small Child reverted back to her old habit of night time waking due to every known excuse in the How To Drive Your Parents Insane handbook. My personal favourite at about half past midnight, was "My legs are too sweaty"! This was a more out of the ordinary approach that followed the standard rendition of "I want a drink/wee/cuddle/kiss" (delete as appropriate as you work your bleary eyed way through the list).

She had lulled us into a false sense of security ever since last Monday when she started sleeping though again - bliss! The idea suggested by some friends, of the promise of instant next morning rewards seemed to be working - you can have your car seat in the front next to mummy, you can choose which cereal you can take to nursery etc. Even the night when, at the point I was offering up my bribe of the moment, she informed me "No...I want to ride in the back of the car forever so I can cry all night Mummy" she still managed it.

But here I am again...just approaching that post lunchtime slump that no amount of caffeine can get me through. I try and take comfort from the fact that she WILL eventually sleep through every night... but then before I know it she'll be in her teens, out on a Saturday night and I'll be sat up in bed reading, just waiting to hear the key in the lock! I guess that will be payback for every time I did that to my mother; including the one when I was actually racing the milk delivery cart (and the sunrise) up the hill to our house!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

What Lies Beneath

Whilst Other Half was off enjoying The Stag (Part II) last night, I turned off my chick flick of choice and caught the last half hour of Bridget Jones Diary... great movie and one that officially launched the phrase "Bridget Pants"!  Hands up... who owns a pair?  

I have to confess, that ever since watching such gems as What Not To Wear and How To Look Good Naked, I do now own a few versions of this oh-so-not-sexy garment. You have to experiment with what works best hence the different colours and assortment of styles that loiter at the back of my knicker drawer. Whilst they may not look at all enticing when you stand in front of the mirror in them, and I try really hard not catch sight of that trust me, they make a huge difference to any dress, trousers or slinky number that is the slightest bit unforgiving. Should I really be sharing this information with the world? Probably not if I wanted to maintain any sense of mystery/dignity/allure etc but hey.... life happens and then childbirth happens and if there's a way to contain the muffin top without surgery, then I'm all for it! 
Don't get me wrong, I am still a huge fan of pretty undies and these are the ones that live at the front, carefully arranged into shade and matching sets. A girlfriend spotted that once and said I was a bit anal.. rather unfortunate expression to use whilst referring to my underwear drawer but I digress!

In my heyday I was a big fan of thongs and as I type this I'm trying to remember why! All the women seemed to be wearing them (and perhaps some guys too but I never saw any) and I can't quite remember now what the actual benefit was! They used to peek out from the top of your waistband whenever you bent or knelt down.... actually I was mostly single at the time so perhaps that was the benefit!  Anyway, if memory serves there were three events that were instrumental in my decision to swap to underwear that was more pants, less floss. The first was when my BF spotted the aforementioned waistband overhang and thought that it would be fun to wedgie me... really hard! So hard in fact that she succeeded in ripping them (ouch!) and then felt so guilty that she slipped a £5 Marks and Spencer voucher in my handbag at work the following day so I could replace them! Bless! 
The second was when, after putting up  with what I thought was a particularly uncomfortable pair until lunchtime, I nipped to the ladies room at work. It was only when I spotted the label not where it should be that I realised I'd been wearing them sideways all morning!  

The last and perhaps most public mishap was at a charity ball when I once tried to tackle the VPL issue by not actually wearing any at all. This was fine until I happened to win the prize draw and on going up to collect my prize, the compare announced that I was indeed, totally pants free!  My date had decided to write phrase "no knickers" between between my first and last name on my ticket! My one and only shot at going commando ended with me wanting to disappear into the night quicker than a snapped knicker elastic! 

So there you have it. I'm old enough to know better... and better for me is no VPL under certain outfits. If that means Big Pants rather than any of the incidents above then I'll take the heavy duty Lycra option thanks!  

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Parlez Vous Bulgarian?

Have you ever pretended not to be from the country you're actually from? I have and I was reminded why whilst running the gauntlet from work to nursery yesterday! In front of me was a Hummer limousine (isn't that a contradiction in terms?) with two boys hanging out the back window, can of beer in hand, shouting obscenities at passing cars! I'm guessing that this was the prelude to the evening part of a stag party as it was only 5.00pm but they didn't look old enough to be drinking yet alone getting married! As I passed by whilst the harassed driver pulled over to reprimand them before shoving their heads back through the window, I was tempted to ask if their mothers knew where they were but for obvious reasons, thought better of it!

English stag and hen parties, especially those held abroad, are renowned for turning even the most mild mannered people into gutter barfing, body part exposing, dog in heat, beer monsters.... and I should know because I've been on a few in my time! We Brits tend to behave the same way whilst celebrating pre-nuptials over here, it just looks a bit more in your face when lit by the glare of summer sunshine and set against the back drop of families enjoying an early supper in a beach side restaurant! 

Why we also feel the need to ditch our normal attire in favour of that tee shirt with the name of the place we're holidaying in emblazoned across it in neon pink and gold glitter, I'm still struggling to understand. We then waltz into the nearest bar, order 'alf a lager an' lime, get stroppy when the bartender doesn't understand and start muttering away to the fellow English couple we HAVE to spend our entire holiday with about "bloody foreigners"!  I would like to say I plucked this scenario out of my head but unfortunately it's something I've witnessed on more than one occasion!  
I admit I don't speak any other language but do at least try the to master some basics of the country that I'm visiting. I've also been known not to utter a single word if I'm behind stroppy lager drinker for fear of being tarred with the same brush!

So as not to be accused of blatant generalisation, I would like to finish with the following disclaimer:
The "We Brits" does not apply to all; there are those that maintain a sense of style on vacation, some are not afraid to say a few phrases and have their pronunciation questioned and stags/hens do celebrate whilst managing to keep all their clothes on and food down, I should know because I've been on a few of those too!                

Friday, 1 August 2008

That's A First!

There's something about the first day of the month that always inspires me into a new start... it's as if New Years day happens twelve times a year for me! Past examples of my "This is the month when..." mentality are:

I will get fit and eat more healthily
I will drink less red wine
I will not let the ironing pile resemble Mount Everest
I will stop quick fix bargain shopping and only buy classic investment pieces
I will read more books instead of watching re-runs of Friends
I will start writing
I will not use bribery to get Small Child to behave

I guess one out of seven isn't bad in eight months!

What is it about the concept of reinvention that's so attractive? I would imagine that for the likes of Madonna it's become her trademark, a chance to further an illustrious career and continue to express herself and captivate her audience. For the likes of me it's the chance to try and right my irksome traits that niggle away in my head whilst I'm driving/trying to sleep/cleaning the bathroom! Perhaps it's an ingrained thing from my childhood when my mother would tell me "It's time to turn over a new leaf young lady and change your ways"!

So when I woke up on my shiny new day this morning, the handful of Small Child's Smarties that I ate yesterday were magically erased from my thoughts, I felt smug that I didn't have any wine last night in the company of Rachel, Monica & co and instead used the time to reach base camp of Mount Laundry! Perhaps I could stick to this new improved me if I wore more conical bra's and took up Ashtanga yoga?