Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Farewell 39 And Counting.....

..... 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)!

Here is where I cut my blog teeth and there have been so many things that have made it a blast... I have loved, loved, loved all of it. I fear that now I am officially old there is a higher risk of repeating myself; in fact I think I just did because I know I got similarly gushy about blogging here!

I do however have to mention a few names because without them I would never have snorted so much wine and coffee out of my nose or had to be literally prised from the Mac hot seat by Other Half so many times!

Tara over at Sticky Fingers is my long lost English twin sister. I swear if we ever met it would be like looking in a mirror and I just know we could wile away many happy days watching brat pack movies, drooling over McDreamy, playing with Benefit make up and scoffing cupcakes. Of course the kids would have to get on and entertain themselves!

YM over at Diary of A Yummy Mummy in Boston is my American baby sister that I never knew about until last summer. I should have known because I could feel some sort of missing piece in my soul... of my Louboutins! This shoe loving, fashion obsessed, gossip reading, coffee drinking babe brings a sparkly ray of sunshine to my dull days.

Actually... thinking about it if I won the lottery and took Tara and YM shopping we could clean out any major city between us in half an hour!

Then there's my lovely Auntie Gwen whom I want to be just like when I grow up! She is the coolest Auntie you'll ever have and I reckon she could dance on her high heels much longer than me!

And not forgetting all my regular reads who I'm taking with me in my blogroll suitcase:

You make me feel like I'm catching up with old friends whenever I stop by, so in lieu of cupcakes I'm sending out multiple web hugs to all of you! Please come and stop by the new place to say Hi.

There are tons of other great blogs that I read and comment on and will continue to do so as long as they keep on writing. I'm going to be making a concerted effort to find some more via all of your blogrolls too so apologies in advance if you catch me snooping!

So.... what are you waiting for? Come on.... follow me to Forty Not Out...... go on.. you know you want to..... CLICK!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Oh What A Night!! (Part Two - The One With Slightly Less Sophistication!)

Not Quite So Sophisticated After The Speech!

After the champagne had been polished off and sugar highs from the cupcakes kicked in, everyone started to let their hair down on the dance floor. I remember asking the DJ to play Untouchable by Girls Aloud and demanding that  two of my girls get on and strut their funky stuff with me to get things moving!  

The Girls!

Cupcake and balloon posing lead to some interesting photo opportunities and by midnight there were a few pairs of heels being discarded to allow for safer navigation of the dance floor! Mine were so high that I was quite proud of lasting until just gone 12.00am. My toes had gone numb so I didn't care how many "God you look really little now" comments I had... blood flow to the extremities is far more important.

Not What The Cupcakes Were Intended For!

Other Half In The Zero Zone!

My Bro And D Getting In On The Act

I think I did my usual round of "I really love you guys... no seriously... I really DO LOVE YOU" speeches to my nearest and dearest people but they know what I'm like so that's OK!

Just before 1.00am the stragglers, (us, D & S, Mr and Mrs Cousin It and my bro and his wife) decided to call it a day. We accosted the doorman on the way out who was an American ex basketball player therefore possessed sudden undeniable cool factor before bundling into taxis.

I remember a fleeting thought of "Oohh... I feel so Carrie Bradshaw.. hic" as I walked barefoot into the hotel bar trailing six helium balloons behind me. I suspect that the differences between Carrie and I go far deeper than knowing when to STOP DRINKING but that kind of clarity only comes with the morning light!

And so to bed at 3.00am, feeling, as my friend Banana says... very broken! I think drinking a litre and a half of Evian was the thing that helped me get up without feeling totally hideous... that and the handful of almonds eaten before the champagne fest even commenced. Seriously... try it... it does work! I was able to partake of breakfast before S and I went off for an aromatherapy massage in the hotel spa to assist with the detox process.

I saved my pressies until Saturday morning... seeing them piled up on the dining table on Friday was agony but I managed some restraint! I was such a lucky Thatgirl and felt totally spoilt to receive, amongst other things, an original Vogue magazine from May 1969, a years subscription to Vogue, a Links of London Sweetie bracelet, nine bottles of champagne including two vintages, some Clarins, Estee Lauder, White Company and Space NK goodies and vouchers for Selfridges, Next and Hobbs. 

So... with all this and the promise of Manolo's hanging in the air for the London trip next weekend, I can honestly say my fortieth has been the best birthday ever! But without my husband, daughter, brother, brother in law, cousin and best friends in the world it wouldn't have been anywhere near so special. Celebrating with loved ones is the best gift a girl can have!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Oh What A Night!! (Part One - The One With All The Sophistication)!

My balloons... before everyone started wearing the zero!
Where do I start? I guess a good place would be in the hotel room, with a glass of Veuve, our good friends D and S who arrived looking respectively dapper and beautiful and presented me with this beautiful book! 

A quick taxi ride to the venue to the venue provided the first of many SATC-esque moments! S noted that actually getting me in the taxi in The Dress was like "pushing a creme puff through a keyhole"!

The creme puff in all it's glory!

The room was fantastic, filled with twinkling tea lights and silver and black balloons floated from the ceiling. This provided many SATC valentines day dinner scene moments as they attached themselves to my guests at various points in the evening!

As more and more people arrived I got more and more excited and a couple of very happy hours passed far too quickly as I caught up with so many dear friends and family folk. The ladies all looked gorgeous in their various party and cocktail dresses and the men were all very James Bond in DJ's! 

The cupcakes provided by The Divine Miss C from Sponge Cupcake Boutique were an absolute hit both in terms of looks and taste! I did a quick impromptu thank you speech beside the sugary tower which hopefully was not too garbled. I seem to remember becoming very closely acquainted with the champagne after that and things probably became a little more blurry!

The Divine Cupcakes!

For the less sophisticated part of the evening, come back soon!

I'm Done Counting!

6.30am.... Small Child climbs into bed with us...

"Is it your real birthday now instead of your pretend party?"
"Good....then can I have one of your cupcakes later on?"

It's here.... I am Forty!!! I will be back later on with party details but right now, presents await!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Red Carpet Ready

I admit that I've always taken my time to get ready for going out, I'd like to say that it just takes me longer these days due to extra effort that's needed to achieve an acceptable state of glam but I've always been this way.... never was a step out of the shower and be ready in five minutes woman! When I was a single gal my old colleagues used to constantly rip the what-not out of me about taking an afternoon off to go home and preen for very special events. Even standard Friday girls nights warranted a 4.00 pm office escape at the very least. 

It was never the actual coiffing and grooming itself but more about taking my time and enjoying the whole shebang. There was usually loud music, a glass or three of wine and a gaggle of girls in my flat to add to the proceedings. 

These days, on the (far fewer) occasions of a parental evening out sans bebe, I have learnt to master the art of looking presentable in a much shorter space of time. You know the drill - squeeze in a shower when you can, blow dry your hair if you're lucky, maybe once in a blue moon get to straighten it whilst a Small Child hangs off your left leg. I do confess to sometimes employing the cheating tactic of putting on Lazy Town which guarantees at least ten minutes of uninterrupted make up  and nail polish time.   

But none of those short cuts for me here tomorrow people... I am going all out to be Red Carpet Ready! Prep began in earnest at least a week ago and has involved some of these:

Smelling like a biscuit thanks to fake tan applications.
Doing the ironing and building Lego houses whilst wearing high heels. Technically the Lego has nothing to do with the party but Small Child begged me to build one whilst I was wobbling round the living room breaking in the event shoes!
Extra tricep dips, lunges, sit ups and anything else that might bring about a firming quality.
No carbs after 5.00 pm for the last three days (stops me looking 4 months pregnant)!
Mass exfoliation followed by buffing, polishing and copious amounts of body lotion lavishing.

And tomorrow morning... ooh I cant wait! Having dropped off Small Child at preschool I am off for a facial, manicure and deluxe pedicure followed by a flit back home to pick up Other Half, the bags and a sneaky bottle of Veuve to take down to the hotel.

As Rachel Zoe says, if you can't create your own red carpet moment once in a while to take you away from the hum drum of life then what's the point? Whilst I don't agree with all her suggestions and tips from Style A to Zoe, this one I will do my best to uphold tomorrow night. In which case I'd better only have one glass before we get to the party!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Super Furry Animals

Slight change of pace from all the party talk I know but.....I smell a rat! Actually I didn't smell him... I saw him bloody sunbathing on our deck. After imparting this information to Other Half, the only thing I actually can now smell is the onion-like fragrance of the natural rat deterrent powder liberally sprinkled about the garden. The stench is supposed to make them pack their rat bags and leave pronto...it doesn't work but it has put me off onions!

We've now had two visits from a very pleasant pest control chap from the council, who by the way, is possibly the tallest man I have ever seen. I wondered if he got the job because he's able to intimidate them into leaving with his giant stature? If that's the case then Ratty Ratterson must have a rather large set of kahunas cos he's still hanging with his homeys, possibly wearing a rat hoodie and swearing at passing field mice, despite the tasty poison-laced food that was left for him. The Tall Guy is due back this Thursday but will be getting his rat progress report via a note due to the impending celebrations. No rat is going to make me late for my own party!

Thinking about it, this is might be karma as a result of the now infamous rodent debacle from my childhood. Having rescued a mouse from the neighbours cat, I was firmly instructed to "put a bloody lid on that box" before MM went out that night. I forgot and it escaped, much to hers, my but not my little brothers horror. We presumed it had made like Elvis and left the building as nothing was ever seen or heard of it again..... until the midnight saucepan clanging incident some weeks later. Despite hastily shoving the neighbours cat in the kitchen and shutting the door, more clanging was heard the following night.

I knew I was in real trouble later in the wee small hours when MM yelled at me to "get in here now!". On arriving in her bedroom, I found her standing in the middle of their bed, hysterically pointing at the wiggling curtain whilst ringing my father who was on night shift. Needless to say by the time he got home there was no sign of the errant mouse and I was in deep Doo Doo! 

As I sleepily went to the fridge the next morning to put away the milk used to make a conciliatory cup of tea, I caught sight of a pair of legs hanging down from some pipe housing. Having taken my turn to scream "Get here now", my father reassured me to stop panicking as it was clearly dead. Well you would be too if you'd crawled up between two hot water pipes, split your difference and got stuck there until the water heater came on in the morning! As dad's do, he fetched a pair of pliers to pull it out.... and it kept on coming, and coming...... and coming. 

The mouse that I had rescued some weeks earlier turned out to be a baby rat; a rat that enjoyed it's childhood in our house and proceeded to grow to extreme proportions. This also explained why the dog had been getting thinner  - small wonder when we discovered the pile of biscuits and food that had been stored away behind the dishwasher. Can you even begin to imagine how popular I was for a long time after that little lot?

No rats have been harmed in the making of this blog post..... yet!

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.

For the past year I have subjected you all to stuff that moves me, irks me, makes me ponder, makes me pull a face like this (think yourself lucky you can't see me), all with a pinch of parenthood, shoe lust and a clothing obsession that would put Victoria Beckham to shame, thrown in.

In my first year I have made the best bloggy friends and read some stuff that has made me both laugh so much a little bit of pee came out and cry like I just broke a pair of Louboutins. Oh yeah... that did actually happen. 

Who knew that you can end up feeling like part of a community just by baring your innermost thoughts and hitting enter? I never imagined how much fun you can have with the commenting, the tagging and don't even get me started on my first award (more pee)!

It's fueled my dreams of writing, of being "discovered" and of making people sit up and take notice. Whilst I know that, in the real world, the chances of that happening are about as likely as Karl Lagerfeld making a dress for me, it's taught me to be passionate about something that is mine alone. And when I have seen the big time happen for bloggers, I get so excited for them it just makes me want to... well... pee.... again!

No matter where it does or doesn't go, I absolutely love this blogging lark and have no intention of ever shutting up... there's just so much more to say, even with 136 posts under my belt! One thing I do hope is that I get to meet some of my favourite bloggers in person one day... you know who you are! Without you this would never have been the journey it has been so far and I can't wait to experience millions more happy hours glued to the Mac. (Sorry Other Half!)

I know that I can't remain 39 And Counting forever so a blog plan is afoot to allow me to warble on without appearing to be in denial of my true age.... watch this space soon! At this point in any celebration it would be usual to crack open a bottle of Veuve but seeing as I have an important event to attend next Thursday, I'll have to be content with talking about it as opposed to quaffing it. Let me leave you with this quote from Madame Lily Bollinger herself:

"I only drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I am thirsty".

Now that was a woman after my own heart - Happy Blogiversary 39 And Counting!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A Tale Of Two Shopping Trips

Given the choice of scenario a) or b)... which would you choose?


A pre-arranged Monday with all appropriate children being appropriately looked after, the promise of a girly lunch, a trip to Space NK (yes, yes, yes!) and as much wandering up and down, in and out of shops as that days chosen heels will allow.

The day dawned early but not bright. My friend and fellow shopping addict E, thought I might call and cancel... as if! When has a bit of rain ever put me off a child free retail therapy day? Having fought the urge to go with the wedge sandals because they are high enough to get you over the puddles but provide enough comfort for even the most exhaustive of trips, I went all sensible and wore some that would actually keep my feet dry. 

No such sensibility for the jacket; I refused to wear a raincoat as my Gap jacket would look much nicer with the New York jeans reserved for special shopping occasions and anyway... I had an umbrella and of course the rain wouldn't last all day. It did. The umbrella didn't. I got out of the car, it blew inside out and went permanently lopsided which provided a convenient path for the water to run either down inside the collar of my jacket, into my handbag or  directly onto E, depending on which way I turned it!

But you know what, none of that mattered. Due to the good girly company, purchases in Space NK (see here, here and here), a bargain pair of black gladiator sandals from H & M and a strawberry cupcake and skinny latte from Starbucks; no amount of wet clothes, sore feet or stupid pink spotty handbag sized but useless umbrellas would have ruined my day! Plus... this trip was nothing like the one below!

(A Bargain!)

A sunny Saturday and Thatgirl, Small Child and Other Half set off to their local shopping mecca in search of kiddy vitamins, lunch, new sportswear for me and some good old fashioned family quality time! Vitamins successfully tracked down in Boots, lunch inhaled at Caffe Nero without any tantrums, spillages or major breakdowns and suitable sports wear that covers all necessary parts located, I stood in line to pay at M & S.

How nice think I, to stand in a queue without a small person hanging off my leg demanding that something be wiped/bought/eaten, at the same time basking in the brief sense of freedom bought about by the fact that Other Half is on duty.  So it's OK for me to just vacantly stare at all the knickers whilst letting my mind wander off elsewhere. At this point it might be worthwhile explaining that the queue was shorter at the underwear department cash desk, hence all the knicker gazing!

Having added a pack of M & S's finest seamless, no VPL under garments to my basket and completed the transaction with the nice sales lady, I wandered back to rejoin my small but perfectly formed brood.

Beside a shop dummy attired in something far more sexy and come hither than I have just purchased, is stood my husband, looking at me in a somewhat helpless fashion, shrugging his shoulders. Beside him is my daughter, tee shirt lifted to flash her entire top half, dancing around and repeatedly chanting "Boobies, Belly, Minnie...la la la la"!

Apparently she had been told by an assistant to stop wheeling around on her scooter in the shop, because "those were the rules". Having asked Daddy what rules were and why couldn't they be broken, she decided to break one of my old favourites;  never, ever, ever dance around flashing your bits in the lingerie department.

Overall, I think I probably enjoyed scenario b) as much as a), just for very different reasons! 

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bloggin' Hell! Where Has The Time Gone?

I can't believe it's been nearly two weeks since I last posted; it's a good job I'm not Catholic cos I reckon I'd be seriously bad at the whole confession lark! And for someone who generally has a fair bit to confess to I imagine I would end up being banished to hell pretty quickly.

Anyhoo, I'm not in hell but alive and well.... how the devil are you and what have you been up to? Any of it worthy of confession?

Following the bedroom decoration/wardrobe building project ( x 2 ), there have been many sorting, editing, tidying and rearranging sub-project deadlines to meet. Anyone would think spring had sprung! In order to allow Other Half time and space to work his DIY magic, Small Child and I have had some girly days together which have, in turn, allowed me to ruminate on both the agony and ecstasy of motherhood. We then despatched him off to the golf course one Sunday as a thank you and a much needed chance for some Him Time. 

He's also managed to get Small Child interested in the Grand Prix, so much so that he can watch some of it without too many demands for Dora, Diego or Chuggington. She pops into the kitchen at regular intervals to tell me who's on pole position, who's crashed into who or who is driving with the new go faster turbo boost thingy! I'm so impressed with Other Half's involvement technique that has bought him some alone time with the remote although I'm not sure I could get away with selling her Gossip Girl in the same way! 

And then there's the whole countdown to no longer being 39 And Counting which is, after all, how this blog began nearly a year ago! Two weeks today till the party, two weeks and two days till the actual big Four Zero and three weeks and one day to the London trip, sans enfant! If I said I was knee deep in party plans I'd be exaggerating slightly as most of it is being handled by the very nice lady at the venue. Invite chasing is done, final numbers are ready, hairdresser who can come to the hotel is booked, a suitable up do has been trialled, The Dress has been fitted and cupcakes are ordered. Damn I'm good!

Now I just need to find a way to ensure that non of the guests go down with swine flu! Over zealous media coverage aside, I'm more worried about it than I care to admit. Even more so now that I am a parent but apart from following guidelines as and when they're issued, I can't do much about it. 

Ho hum.... better go and check that there's no pork products amongst the canapes......

Friday, 17 April 2009

Would You Jump?

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

Mean Girls

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


.... is apparently French for "a thousand leaves". And also the name of a dessert mais non?

After having been describing my party dress in terms such as "Fru Fru, Flossy, Frothy, An Abundance Of Ruffles, You Know.... A Bit Like That Dress That Carrie Wore In The Paris Scene Right At The End Of The Series" I was pleased to learn that the official name for That Dress actually is The Mille-feuille Dress!

Where did I find this nugget of information? Why, in the official SATC The Movie book of course! So, according to Wikipedia I will be going to my 40th dressed as a custard slice - you can't get better than that!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

4 x 2 = No Blog For 10 Days

I know that a child's birthday is no excuse for a ten day absenteeism from blogging but that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

My baby girl turned four on 2nd April which, to summarise,  involved a pink micro scooter, a trip to Monkey World, copious amounts of birthday cake and much over excitement.

This is us making our own monkey business

Then came the party on the Sunday which involved lots of scooting around, a whole other bunch of monkeys, bucket loads of birthday cake and tons more over excitement. In addition to that there were grandparents back to ours for grown up food, whom I have to say, required far more cleaning up after than the small monkeys at the Bounce and Play venue! 

The candles got blown out before Happy Birthday was sung!

In between we had Cousin It, her man and little boy stay over for dinner followed by breakfast at the beach so it felt as if Thursday through Sunday was one long celebration!  Seeing as I intend making my 40th festivities last at least two weeks, I have to say I'm mighty proud of Small Child's party fest efforts!

On top of that we've had the pre planning for our biannual Easter house decorating tradition (not intentional, it just happens that way), which we are now in the thick of. 

So, after attending two kids parties today whilst Other Half was busy painting Small Child's room a very precise shade of marshmallow pink, I am now taking the opportunity to catch up! 

Incidentally, I wish I had live web cam feed for, as I type, him, his brother and brother in law are having boys poker night. As Small Child is occupying the spare room due to the fresh paint in her room, my punishment is to sit at the dining table and endure comments about fetching beer, waitress service, roller skates etc etc! I think retiring early to bed is looking more appealing but first I have a date with some well earned red wine!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A Woman's Right To Shoes

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

Saturday Date Night

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

Label Of Choice

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

This Is My Thursday

Would you like a tiara with your toast madam?
In our house there's no such thing as overdressing for breakfast!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Its My Party And I'll Go Over The Top If I Want To

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

This Is My Thursday

This is one of those times when I'm glad that I'm a stay at home mum at the moment.

It's also why I'm glad we live just a five minute drive from the beach. These early spring days, before the hordes of tourists arrive, are priceless.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Healthy Dose Of Non Reality

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!