..... Hello Forty Not Out! Thatgirl39 is all grown up (kind of), so it's time to flee the 39 And Counting nest and migrate to a more sophisticated abode (kind of)!
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
..... Hello Forty Not Out! Thatgirl39 is all grown up (kind of), so it's time to flee the 39 And Counting nest and migrate to a more sophisticated abode (kind of)!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Friday, 8 May 2009
Just like the Queen of England I have two birthdays - there's the small matter of turning forty on May 16th but today, 39 And Counting is officially one year old! Here was I, one year ago, greener than Kermit The Frog, a newbie to the blogosphere and without a clue what 39 And Counting would be. The only thing I did know was that it was time to satisfy a burning desire to write and seeing as a book was a little on the big side of huge for my mushy brain, a blog seemed like the ideal solution.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Friday, 17 April 2009
Despite being a self confessed fashion addict I know I'm no Anna Wintour; most of the time I'm more vague than Vogue, but may I ask a question anyway? Really, what's with all the jumpsuits, play suits and even flying suits gracing the pages of my fashion reads? Grazia keeps telling me, Obama stylee, "Yes You Can.... Wear A Jumpsuit - We'll Show You How!" No, No, No! They come from the era of Farrah Fawcett flicks, Bungalow 8, Charlie’s Angels, gloopy red lip gloss, flares and Cinzano Bianco...... and that is where they should stay!
To quote Ms Simon, who I'm sure sported, frequented, looked like, wore or drank most of the above seventies paraphernalia, there are a few things that have that legit "Coming Around Again" factor. I’m all for a bit of retro inspired cool from any decade. Fifties style prom dress? Yes. Pussy bow blouse? Of course. Oversize sunnies? Good enough for Nicole, good enough for me. Eighties style peg trousers? Why not? I even mustered the courage to buy a pair from Next recently and with the right shoes, they actually enhance the good bits and skim over the bad. Bonus!
But jumpsuits? Seriously? There are some trends that should stay buried for a reason, never ever ever to be resurrected by some designer struggling for a new take on an old idea to send down his or her catwalk. It’s entirely possible that as a child of the seventies I may have been dressed in one of these things. I say possible as I’m not sure, but this may be the reason behind my recurring nightmare of being desperate to pee and wrestling with said garment only to lose the battle at the last second if you know what I mean!
Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that some trends are only meant to be sported by nubile twenty somethings with honeyed limbs, long wavy hair and a catwalk stomp. Lets face it, these girls would look amazing in a sack but even on them, the jumpsuit is still a big no no as far as I'm concerned.
The full length version brings to mind the attire of a newborn who needs his or her nappy changing. And talking of visiting the ladies room, you’d better hope there is a way in to the crotch region or you'll wish you actually had opted for Pampers! Take the same garment, add in a few zips, manufacture it in khaki and voila, you can live the Top Gun dream all over again. As for the play suit…. isn’t that something that porn stars wear just before they are about to get down to the business of “making movies”? Or perhaps that’s just a hangover from the overriding image I was left with of Roller girl in Boogie Nights!
But hey ho... to truly love fashion is to love the good, the bad and the ugly and, despite it's bonkers mad side, for every micro trend there is one that is far more appealing to the mass market. Hands up who remembers the more wearable spawn of the jumpsuit, the body? This genius invention, courtesy of Donna Karen, was basically your average leotard with an easy access panel. The hassle of fiddling around with three poppers in your nether regions was far outweighed by the fact that it kept your tummy in check, you never had a drafty midriff and peek-a-boo thongs were unheard of!
Bloody hell... am I showing my age in this post or what?
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
One of the nagging fears that simmers beneath the surface of my normal, albeit slightly erratic train of thought lately, is for when Small Child starts school and the kind of world she will be opening herself up to.
Kids are so honest, open and direct to start with; pure and beautifully untainted by all the things that will inevitably plague them as they navigate the choppy waters that stretch from puberty to forty and beyond. I love how honest and accepting my girl is right now and like a million parents the world over, I’m not looking forward to witnessing the events that will bring cynicism, mistrust, disappointment and upset into her life.
Girls and indeed grown women, seem to have the jealous, catty, petty thing down to a fine art and I was wondering at exactly what age this starts. I know that it sure as hell still goes on now…… see here and here. And in case that left you in any doubt then you should read the dirt slinging, bitch fest comments left on Yummy Mummy’s recent post here! Seriously…… my jaw was on the table as I read the hurtful, nasty things that were said out of what I can only presume was jealousy, insecurity, or just plain spitefulness. Some simple advice to the venomous anon's out there....If you don't like a blog - stop reading it and write one of your own.
But all this jaw dropping disbelief has led me to digress. I was trying to fathom out my earliest memory of girls who had overnight, turned into hurtful little monsters. Sitting on a bench in junior school comes to mind when my friend asked me to sing her a song; when I finished she jumped up and said “Stop showing off, you can’t sing… that was rubbish”. This of course drew attention from the kids around us who started pointing and laughing; I think it was about then that I became shy and cautious and tried not to participate in anything that might draw attention to myself in a group situation. Teenage spots, trousers not narrow enough, lack of boyfriend and shoes not being stiletto heeled all bought unwanted attention and sometimes bullying in the years that followed.
Guess what Mean Girls, I’m just fine, you didn’t break me! Spots have been replaced with lines of wisdom, I have a range of jeans varying from skinny to wide legged and boyfriend schmoyfriend – try a husband! As for the shoes…. well I could whip your arse any day in the footwear stakes!
At my niece’s party over the weekend, I think Small Child may have got her first taste of what’s to come. It was at one of those play centre places – you know, the one that brings out my OPPS, meaning I cannot let her go off by herself but instead stand by and watch her climb to ridiculous heights or go down the slide with her!
I stood, coffee in hand, watching her fling herself at a large inflatable ball that was residing in a pool containing zillions of other tiny balls and some bigger girls. As she stood on the edge, ready for the first launch, the girls started pointing, whispering, and looking her up and down in all too familiar manner. They were no more than six or seven! One glanced at me and must have realised I was the over protective mother on sentry duty as she caught the look in my eye, nudged her accomplice and got on with the business of playing!
Confident that I’d averted a situation, I turned to talk to my brother. I tried not to be too proud, when turning back a minute later, I caught Small Child pinning one of them up against the side with the large inflatable ball!
Perhaps me and my girl will be different in that she will be able to stand up for herself and won’t let the Mean Girls get the better of her… I really hope so. Meanwhile I’ll be making sure I look after her shoe inheritance… just in case.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
It’s been a while…. how long exactly I’m not sure but its definitely time for post all things shoe!
First and foremost to these babies in the picture. T’was first we met in Grazia a couple of weeks ago… I opened the first page and they there were, all suede, fringing and exquisite beauty. Very nice said I, but you and I will have to live our lives apart for I cannot justify another pair of credit crunch defying, designer heels right now.
But no, wait…. high street you say? Dune? They have a website? But you won’t match my party dress and if I had you I’d need to wear you very soon. Oooh… the London trip! The promise of dinner a la Gordon Ramsey at Claridges…. that DVF dress that would go so well with you…. Oh go on then!
If only my blog provider supplied a scratch and sniff widget (even though I’m sure it would come in for far too much abuse), because they even smell beautiful and I need to share this with you. Has anyone ever been institutionalised for shoe sniffing do you think?
But it’s not just me… I know a few of you out there will understand where I’m coming from (Tara, Yummy Mummy and Auntie Gwen to name but a few!).
And, I learned yesterday that my good friend S has just purchased her first pair of Louboutins! On the back of her important announcement there followed an over excited text exchange on the merits of these red soled works of art for the feet, ending with me checking them out on Net a Porter. Like me, she has taken to wearing them around the house. We say it’s to break them in before they are officially “outed” but we both know there’s far more to it than that!
S... do not wear your shoes whilst washing up... the Fairy Liquid may do dishes and be kind to hands but it does not mix with Louboutins!
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Anyone in a relationship where kids are involved knows the importance of Date Night. We don’t make nearly enough time for this ritual as we should but this weekend we took ourselves off, sans bebe, to that most romantic of destinations…. Ikea!
I guess you could call it multi tasking… spending quality time alone together whilst improving the appearance, functionality and storage capacity of the home!
The news that the most wondrous of all Swedish stores was to open a branch in Southampton this year was met with mixed reviews in our household. Yes it would mean that we only had to travel for forty five minutes before we were able to stock up on church candles, tea lights and other delights but oh, the traffic! If you’ve ever sat in a queue approaching one of the London branches with the bright blue and yellow building colours taunting you from a distance, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
The fact that they were building it right next to West Quay, home of the mother ship John Lewis and other such retail-tastic destinations filled me with something akin to horror. There would be no more quick fix trips on preschool days or family friendly shop trawling Sundays unless we were willing to undergo a one hour traffic jam, eighteen chorus’s of “Are we nearly there yet?” and two parents ready to tear each others heads off!
So with some precision planning, having left enough time for the initial excited flurry of shoppers to fade away, we arranged for MM to have Small Child overnight. Having dropped her off at teatime we fled towards the city, hoping that everyone else would be fleeing in the opposite direction back toward their homes....... already full to the brim with Ikea bits and bobs.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? We glided around the store, holding hands and avoiding the screaming children, seeking out the items on our list. (Never go to Ikea without a list; it’s like going to the supermarket when you’re really hungry… you come out with all kinds of crap that you don’t need.)
High on value for money design and a sense of freedom, we then headed off to seek out pizza on the way home and whilst waiting for a table, actually found ourselves sitting in a bar having a drink on a Saturday night! Right on cue in crept the phrases “How short is her skirt?”, “God I feel old!” and “Small Child is not EVER leaving the house dressed like that!”
Still, a good time was had by all…. so good in fact that Other Half is making a return trip to blue and yellow land tonight after work. He has to return a chest of drawers that we picked up in the wrong colour – I blame it on all the over excitement!
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Who am I again? Why am I here? What is my purpose?
These are all simple yet valid questions that have been vying for space in my brain alongside the more mundane ones, such as where did I leave my keys, why has Small Child gone so quiet and what the hell can I get for dinner tonight?
I’m beginning to realize that the very reason these questions are seeping into the old grey matter is purely down to the fact that I have recently changed labels. Knowing me as you do you could be forgiven for thinking that I was referring to an upgrade from M&S to Moschino or French Connection to Fendi. Alas no…. it’s more about the change from being a part time working mum to one who stays at home.
There’s a funny thing that happens to me when people ask me the seemingly innocuous question of “So…what are you up to these days?” It’s never asked in a way that implies I am a less worthy being than the person doing the asking, but one that nevertheless, has the ability to get me searching for a justification.
I’ve come to realize that we live in a world where there seems to be an overwhelming need to label ourselves: working mother, single, stay at home mum, yummy mummy, married, divorced, redundant, shopaholic etc. With the exception of one, at some stage I’ve been (and in some cases, am still being), all of the above and some of them more than once! The thing is, our lives and circumstances change, sometimes at an alarming rate and just when you think you’re getting comfortable in your label of choice, it all turns on it’s head again.
The way that I am getting through this current identity crisis is to think of my life as a series of hats. Trust me, this is a rare occasion for me as my head is unfortunately just shy of the one size fits all mantra, meaning I never get to do hats!
I am wondering if I can make a success of being a stay at home mum or if at some stage, I will have to admit “earth mummy” failure and find some part time work. I know the underlying cause of this is my ingrained work ethic alongside the selfish need for daily adult interaction, but I also appreciate how lucky I am to be able to give the SAH Mum thing a go, so for now, that’s where you’ll find me. Doing my bit for motherhood, keeping the house in the best order it’s been in since Small Child came into the world, trying not to talk to myself too much, pondering the possible ways of ever make a living out of writing and aiming to try and give the smarter items in my wardrobe as many airings as possible.
Yeah…. that over dressed woman in heels, coffee in hand, pushing the trolley round the supermarket is me. If you didn’t know her you might look and think “Silly Moo… look at her… who does she think she is?!”
The truth is, she’s still trying to figure it out so be nice, don't judge and just smile back if she grins inanely at you.... she's not asking you to feel sorry for her, you just might be the first adult contact she's had all day!
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
It's something that I always suspected and am now absolutely certain of; I missed my vocation in life. I should be in event management!
The organisational high points of my glittering CV would be our wedding, the Hollywood themed send off party for my old finance team, numerous hen parties and the fact that I was a founder member of MOF. For those of you not in the know, and let's face it, unless you used to work in my old finance department you wouldn't have a clue, MOF stood for Ministry Of Fun. Seriously... stick with me on this one. We were a committee whose purpose was to figure out ways to inject a bit of fun into the workplace; not an easy task when you are surrounded by accountants, auditors and actuaries*. Gee.... what wacky kids we were before corporate mentality reared it's ugly head and stomped all over our team spirit with it's hobnail boots!
But back to the going over the top part of this post, there are two parties on my horizon - one 4th and one 40th! One is a Bounce and Play, the other is more of a Champagne, Canapes and Cupcakes affair. One requires that you take off your shoes, the other is black tie and will most definitely require some very glamorous shoes… for the female attendees that is!
The 4th is definitely the cheaper of the two and requires far less brain power to arrange. It's a small affair for small people and involves a leisure centre, some inflatables and organized games. Providing there’s plenty of opportunity for bouncing, consumption of sticky foodstuffs and party bags aplenty at the end, I think the majority of guests will leave satisfied and happy, not withstanding any hair pulling, eye poking or knee grazing incidents!
The 40th however has been fondly** christened “The Wedding – Part Two” by Other Half. And he has a point – all the critical elements are there! First came The Dress closely followed by shoes and bag, the venue, a guest list, invites and the excruciating choice between buffet or champagne and canapes. Then, as is often the case with a wedding, some optional extras began to creep in. Black and silver balloons floating on the ceiling, strategically placed tea light arrangements and don't tell him I said this but there's even talk of flowers... gulp.
As any party organiser worth her Scholl Party Feet Gel Cushions knows, there's also been the talk about what is not allowed. No phallic shaped cake complete with naff photo of me on it (anyone remember the episode of Friends with the bunny cake for Emma?), no banners with FORTY plastered all over them and no Come On Eileen on the dance floor. Nothing kills my dance vibe faster than Dexy’s Midnight Runners! Oh... and no hair pulling, eye poking or knee grazing incidents either.
I can slowly feel myself morphing into Monica and it's only a matter of time before you'll find me running around with a clipboard, headset, pile of of post it notes and high pitched, shouty voice. No doubt as the big day approaches you'll be hearing from me again on this matter so please accept my profound apologies in advance. It's not my fault.... I'm just at that age where I know what I want!
*Other Half is an actuary and would like to point out that he knows how to have fun. (He's right - he does.)
**Other Half says I should l use the term "fondly" in the loosest possible sense in this instance.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
I’ve found a way to get the ironing done so much quicker – escapism TV! Nothing cuts through a pile of laundry faster than the little gems currently found on my new best friend, SkyPlus. Knowing that my obsessions of Gossip Girl, Brothers and Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives are series linked, meaning I can watch them as and when, helps me to sleep at soundly at night. There is another recent addiction that is proving to be more than a fair substitute for the sadly missed Lipstick Jungle, The City… but more on that later.
Just my personal opinion here and no disrespect intended to anyone who feels differently but I don’t understand the attraction to the likes of Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale etc. The “Ay Up Chuck” worlds portrayed in these dismal little melodrama’s makes me want to…. well ….. up chuck actually! It’s slit your wrists TV at its worst. Why would you slop heaps of badly acted misery and gloom onto your plate when you could be presented with a gourmet arrangement of delicacies from the world of the beautiful, fickle and glamorous?
Lets face it, life has a few of its own mundane moments, tackling the ironing pile ranking right up there at number one. I would far rather let the antics of New York’s elite teen set ease out the creases on my shirts or let “Forever Ally” Calista Flockhart, the better with age Rob Lowe and the slightly unhinged Sally Field assist with pressing my trousers, than listen to another ear bleeding shout of “RICKYYYY” from that ginger one!
And so in my ongoing quest for more fantasy TV, I find myself glued to The City, starring Whitney Port of The Hills fame. I never saw the Los Angeles based escapades but have it on good authority from Grazia that they made excellent water cooler TV fodder. The new MTV series portrays a totally unrealistic turn of events that involve Whitney leaving L.A. and getting a job in New York working for Diane Von Furstenberg! I take it you no longer need to ask why I’m watching this?
It’s so obviously contrived, out of touch with the reality of living in New York if you’re a mere mortal and ever so slightly annoying in places due to the number of times the phrases “Like…. Totally” and “Oh My God” are uttered…. but nonetheless, I love it! It’s full of beautiful people, Olivia the NY socialite being the most beautiful of all, great Manhattan locations, and bucket loads of to die for fashion.
And if you fast forward the adverts, it’s a twenty minute, quick and dirty escape from the reality of ironing the sodding duvet cover… and that I would pay good money for!