Welcome back to the first post, post anniversary. Yes, from now on I shall pretty much be repeating everything that happened last year for your reading pleasure, mother's day, father's day, sport's day etc. Rest assured that all days will be making a reappearance. Hopefully there won't be quite the dramas there were with K's job, the gas meter and severe/chronic money shortage but obviously there is the new child's arrival which should make a difference this time around. Also last year I was about to start becoming a wibblies leader and now I am on the count down to Not becoming one. I am a little hazy over precisely when this will happen as it has all been done via text but according to me and my interpretations of the texts I am around four meetings away from The End. Hoorah! They are even carrying on my meeting which makes me muchos happios. That is something that has remained unchanged - apparently there has been no improvement in my language skills. G had a lovely Spanish speaking boy over for tea on Thursday and as we walked home from school I tried to impress him that I, an English mother, could speak his 'mother tongue'. I said 'my name is Alicia' in Spanish. He looked unmoved. I said hello, goodbye and how are you - also in, I thought, text book Spanish with an impressive accent. He did not reply. He told me he knew the word for toilet - I said, so do I! Our words differed massively. As we approached the zebra crossing he finally agreed with me that perhaps we were speaking 'different spanishes' as he didn't understand anything I had said. We did, however, agree on the word Vamos, as we approached the house. I felt happy we had found at least one word that overlapped in our different versions of a single language. It was even stranger when his mother arrived to pick him up as she spoke the kind of Spanish I thought I was speaking and I understood her perfectly - tres odd. I wonder if it was just the roar of the traffic and my accent that didn't help us understand one another? I am going to get him back over and try again.
Anyhoo, so here we are in the exciting second time round of a year. Now the only excitement you have to look forward to is the countdown to the big push. Ha Ha. 21 weeks left should you wish to keep track. I actually want to keep the 'new one' in for as long as possible as I had a crashing realisation a few mornings ago that I do not like broken sleep and if the last three are anything to go by, I shall not be sleeping through again for over two years. And even then it will be majorly hit and miss. And as a by product of the sleep deprivation I have realised that I will begin to look even older than I do already. I know that women are self deprecating as a matter of course but I can assure you I am looking older by the day - obviously I AM actually older by the day - but you know what I mean. Nowhere was this made more apparent than last night when I spent the evening surrounded by the great and the glamorous of my younger sister's acquaintance. It was SERIOUSLY like being involved in an episode of Footballer's Wives but with real, actual people. The older sister and I, who do usually make an effort when out and tend to scrub up quite nicely, even being faintly glamorous on occasion, were suddenly acutely aware of our age and appearance. I felt as dowdy, frumpy and out of place as Miss Marple at the Playboy Mansion. The 'theme' of the Hen (for that is why I was there) was The Only Way is Essex - the reality TV show set in a part of Essex where people do not wear tracksuits and trainers as a matter of course, but instead spend aeons of time agonising over their appearance, spending lots of money on themselves and their small dogs and talking about what other people are doing - oh and having plastic surgery. So naturally glamour was on the agenda, but I wasn't expecting so much. Not having any maternity wear in my new smaller size and no money or desire to buy a glamorous maternity dress, (which actually don't really exist if you are bigger than a 12 and a bit on the poor side) I went through my existing wardrobe to find something that still fitted over my sizable stomach and expanded uterus. The only thing I found, buried at the back, was an odd graphic/animal print stretchy dress I had bought in a moment of madness in a Per Una sale quite a few moons ago. It had been worn but once before being hidden as a. I lost weight and it was too big and b. I saw a rounded, short and much, much older lady wearing it at a gallery evening once and the haunting image of it made me finally and FOR GOOD realise that you cannot buy anything from Per Una and look young. Having assumed the dress had long ago been donated to charity it was a shock to come across it hidden away but it turned out to be the only thing that fitted comfortably and didn't become too short when stretched over my middle, so it was chosen as my dress for the evening. I had spent quite a while trying on various other options and showing Bea, my in-house fashion guru. With the first option she pulled a face and said 'sort of, with tights', before going back to the TV. The second dress prompted her to again remind me that I would need tights to look vaguely ok. The third was a no go and the fourth had a zip which stubbornly remained around my chest area and wouldn't budge. Although Bea gave up trying remarkably quickly. The next dress had no sleeves and Bea said yet again 'maybe with tights' before saying 'and you will need to shave those arm pits'. NICE. At that point my frustration over came me and I yelled - 'OK BEA I GET THE BLOODY MESSAGE' before I slammed the door behind me in my bedroom. I gave up showing her after that. They were all too tight or too short. Finally I showed her the Per Una dress and we settled on it as 'the winner'. I was so relieved I was almost grateful to the dress. Plus, on the way to the train I realised I was, in fact, going as a member of the TOWIE cast - I was Mark's grandmother, Nanny Pat. A wise old sage who makes a mean sausage plait and likes to iron her grandson's clothes. Although amusing, it did little to comfort me as all the glamorous ladies in the hotel room with us began to prepare for the evening with their beautifully manicured nails and expensive shoes and dresses. The make up was also in another league. They all looked like they were on their way to a film premiere - even the ones in short sequin dresses that barely covered their crotches (they had fully and bravely embraced the theme rather than dressing as a granny and putting sparkly nail varnish on like I had). It was fun to watch but I did feel like 'the old maid' in the room. Some of the ladies were only two years younger than me but it could have been a decade. No more so than my celeb-a-like younger sister who wore a skin tight beige dress Posh Spice would have been proud to don. What with the celeb hair and make up and precariously high shoes to boot the pictures of us together look like I am some crazy sad fan who has finally got her picture taken with her favourite celebrity. I shall stop boring you with how amazing they all looked - I'm sure you have the picture by now - and move on to the important stuff. The food was SOOO GOOOOD. Twice baked smoked haddock souffle and an enormous steak with chips and sauce. God damn. Even the bread was a cut above. Totally worth the train journey in to town. I was even too full to attempt pudding which we were forced to order to satisfy the private dining room's minimum spend requirement. There is something so sad about unappreciated pudding. They all just sat there looking at me all sad and uneaten. The others had to run off to get to the karaoke bar so the older sister and I sat there staring at the forlorn puddings as she polished off the expensive champagne we also had to order - I valiantly tried to inhale enough of the fabulous custard that accompanied the Spotted Dick but I had to admit defeat - the pain in my stomach had got too much. So, to summarise - an enjoyable hen. Minimum number of embarrassing questions in the Mr and Mrs game, lots of glamour, private dining, excellent food and a suitably exclusive venue. Oh and the most important element of any hen - I was in bed by 11pm. That is the key to success in my book.
Me in my Nanny Pat mask helpfully provided at the table to finish off my 'look'.
So, that is me as an old lady. I am a year older, getting fatter not thinner and ageing spectacularly. So much so that I am now 'too old' for Cosmopolitan magazine. This is odd, I remember quite vividly being too young for Cosmo. How did I now become the wrong side of the Cosmo readership? It's not that I don't think there is merit in debating the motion 'Can you have a Vajazzle and still be a feminist?' it's just that an awful lot of it is clearly aimed at a younger market than a 33 year old mother of 3.5. Although I shouldn't be too pious there are some great tips in the Cosmo Commandments which can be used by anyone of any age to help them with their lives - my favourite is 'Be true to yourself. If you prefer a DVD to a bar crawl on a Saturday night, say it loud and proud. Yeah!'. I just feel like these kind of positive affirmations and 'important' debates are unneccessary at my time of life. Which is so odd because a. the freebies on the front which made me buy the magazine after all this time were the Clinique products I use and b. Holly Willoughby was on the front cover who is around my age and a mother of two herself. I should have noticed the warning sign on the front cover, along the glamorous sexed up picture of Holly was the enticing headline 'Totes Amaze, 104 Handbags You'll Heart'. (Not that I'm impartial to the word Totes as you know - it's just I like to think I'm being hilariously ironic when I throw it casually in to conversation). The interview with Holly was a slight disappointment too - she is far too sycophantic about her husband, she twice mentioned that when people meet him they prefer him to her (ha ha ha) and she even put that she would rather 'eat her own face than break wind in front of my husband'. No man is that special. I used to think she could do no wrong and now she has. The rest of the magazine seems largely concerned with sex, feminism, periods and relationships. I think I should put in my subscription for Country Living now and be done with it. Actually K and I once graced the pages of Cosmo magazine - we answered questions and posed for pictures about how we fell in love. It was pre-wedding and children naturally and I did it for the nice photos which just turned out to be good of me - the one they used in the magazine unfortunately made K look like he had had an allergic reaction and his face had swelled up - it was quite cruel of them. They also added in fictitious facts about our sex life to 'spice up' the interview a bit which was hideously embarrassing - my poor father read it. Gross. I think all in all I can put the Cosmo part of my life behind me. I have moved on.
I think that is enough from me. You must want to get on. I shall be back in touch soon. I am going to check out The Lady and see if it is more 'me'. Adios! One hopes you are able to decipher that Spanish. xxxxxxxxxxxx