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!