Tag Archives: England

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat

I’m scared of the dark, there I’ve said it. I am a grown woman, mother of two whom I reassure and comfort from silly fears yet if I need to use the loo in the night I have to turn on all four lights en route to the bathroom. Last night we were driving home over 30 miles of moor land with only the car headlights and cats eyes in the road to guide our way. Having driven the same journey earlier in the day I knew we were surrounded by miles and miles of barren farm land with nothing but the odd house and herd of bewildered sheep for company. For the majority of the journey I was fraught with anxiety and consumed by thoughts of disaster and chaos. When the rain wasn’t pelting the car the fog was so dense that Geordie was reduced to driving at just 50 mph (insert sarcasm here) on the twisting narrow roads and obviously this did nothing to help my nerves, he was also getting very agitated at me telling him to ‘BLOODY SLOW DOWN’. All I was concerned about was not getting stranded out in the wilderness in the pitch black and had to busy myself with eating Cheerio’s and malted milk biscuits from our daughter’s backpack. I know my fear is silly, I’ve been ridiculed my whole life about it, Geordie says I’m scared of my own shadow, well who wouldn’t be..it’s dark!

My silly fears don’t stop there either. I watched Jaws with my brother when I was fairly young and since then I have been frightened of swimming in open water. When I go abroad or even on that one day a year that the weather is warm enough in the UK to warrant a dip in either the sea or lake, I can barely manage to get thigh deep before the panic sets in and off I run like a great white is nipping at my heels. I can’t even stomach one of those fish pedicure treatments, yuck. The thought of having fish swim around my feet and legs makes me very uneasy. My Mum tells me that when I was born in a suburb of Sydney, Australia she took me down to the beach at less than 10 weeks old and unceremoniously chucked me in the sea. I’m not sure how long babies have the under-water breath holding reflex but it’s no wonder I’m not a keen swimmer, Jaws has nothing on my Mum!

As a Mum myself I appreciate the importance of not imposing my fears on my children and our two regularly go swimming in the safety of the local pool without fear of me launching them into the deep end without so much as an armband.

NaBloPoMo

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Last Place

Something I am absolutely terrible at is finishing a project. At the moment I have at least three things in the pipeline that I’ve started and just have no enthusiasm to finish. I know I will leave it until the last-minute to rush the finished article, be in a very bad mood with everyone in ear shot (as if its their fault) and then ultimately be annoyed that the end result isn’t my best effort. The fact that I can write three lines about how bad I am at finishing things just goes to show I have no real reason to not get off the laptop and just do it! But it’s too easy to find an excuse and now I am busy writing for the blog….

Project one is to finish unpicking the silk dupion wedding gown I bought for my wedding day back in January. You can see it here. It was ruined two days before hand and now I have vowed to remove the full skirt and train and remodel it into a mid-length cocktail/special occasion dress. I am quite capable of doing this, it’s just that so far it’s taken me three months to unpick two hems because I keep getting side tracked.

Project two is to complete the 40 metres of vintage lace bunting I am making for my little girl’s christening. We’re having a vintage tea party after the church ceremony in our garden and I refused to pay someone off Ebay £10 for three metres of mass-produced, poor quality bunting when I know I can do it better myself. So far I have laid the ribbons and lace out on the dining room table to begin cutting. The Christening is in August so no mad rush here, I bet I’m still saying that in late July.

The theatrical poster for The SpongeBob Square...

The theatrical poster for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Project three is slightly different but still as pressing. I started writing a series of children’s books when I first moved from the city and I am stalling on sending them to an agent for publishing. I don’t think they are good enough and I don’t know how I will handle the rejection when a professional confirms my fears. Should I just do it anyway and learn from the experience for next time? Will there be a next time?

I made ‘Procrastination is for Losers’ my mantra when I started this blog in March, but my fear of rejection and the ease at which I can pull an excuse out of thin air is holding me back. No time like the present rings in my mind, I’ve always been very competitive and I hate to lose. I was playing Sponge Bob tennis (Spongebob tennis racquet‘s and ping pong ball that belong to our girls) with Geordie in the living room during the England match and went off in a huff when I didn’t win, although I got my revenge by hitting him square on the nose with an excellent ace shot! Spoiled Brat much?It’s a lack of structure or routine in my life are to blame I think. I don’t have an employer to dictate what time I rise in the morning or what time I should eat lunch. I don’t regularly attend play group or baby clinic with my little girl because my stupid disc won’t allow me to sit down long enough to join in any conversation let along drink an entire cup of coffee.

I need to give my head a shake don’t I? I know I am very lucky to be in a position where I don’t have to work right now, and to discuss the lack of motivation I have just emailed the 5×50 Challenge to enquire about their Regional Ambassador opportunities, maybe there are others like me lacking that kick up the behind start we sometimes need. I also have my appointment for treatment this Friday! Yes, 13 weeks later I’m going to get better. And if my books turn out to be a pile of rubbish, then what have I lost? Nothing, and my kids think they’re great. I’m going to drag out my sewing machine now and finish the bunting…………honest!

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Three Piece Please

I’ve been engrossed in BBC drama Silk for the last few weeks, a series about life at the Bar, the dilemmas and problems that modern-day barristers have to face and what it means to become a silk. I’ve met my fair share of police officers and solicitors but my knowledge of the legal world ends there. I’ve found the characters fascinating especially Martha, the female lead who is strong, fiesty and so likeable, if she had come to career’s day at my school, I’d have wanted to be a barrister.

Another important element to the programme is that there is an abundance and very good-looking men in three-piece suits. It’s only now after episode 4, series 2 that I have come to realise just how a 3 piece suit turns an ordinary guy into a total babe magnet. Okay, so this is just my opinion, but on voicing this through the magic of online media, it seems I’m not alone in my thinking.

 Let’s take Daniel Craig, until he played Bond I had only vaguely heard of him. Stick him in a well-tailored three-piece suit on a train with a bond girl and pow, suddenly he’s catapulted to the top of the Sexiest Male Movie Chest Poll according to India Express. I think it might have more to do with the blue swim trunks, but I’d rather have the suit.

There is a new Aramis fragrance advert doing the rounds on ITV at the moment featuring model and Jennifer Anniston‘s ex Paul Sculfor. The Aramis brand focuses on what it is to ‘be a man’, and low and behold Paul is featured wearing a beautifully cut three-piece suit, the previous brand ambassador was Andrew Agassi photographed fastening cuff links into a crisp white shirt. The whole campaign just oozes sex appeal.

One of my favourite annual events is Royal Ascot simply because I love to see so many men of all ages dressing up for an occasion. The timeless Oxford stripe trousers, waistcoat and tails gives men of all ages an opportunity to pull off a classic gentlemanly look, even if it’s just for a day. Times have changed for the daily three-piece suit wearer with the loss of the bowler hat that would have completed the look, although I think it takes an older gentleman to stroll the city streets in a bowler hat and not look like a berk. I’m not a big fan of the grey shiny suit, nor the black skinny tie and white shirt popular ensemble, nothing worse than being mistaken for the waiter. I prefer my man to be a gentleman, and Geordie does look particularly good in a suit. I think I might be on to something with a new website……..www.threepiecesuitdating.com a new take on uniform dating??

As with all fashion trends, not all men would feel comfortable wearing a three-piece due to shape and size, but I believe that with a little guidance from a good tailor, and not a high street sales assistant who is more concerned with KPI’s, a three-piece suit can give even the most self-conscious a huge confidence boost.

I’d love to spend a few hours wandering down Savile Row learning more about the craft and skill that goes into producing top quality tailoring for men, in fact the next time I’m in London, I’m going to do just that. I have a feeling there may be a few girlfriends who will want to go with me on that trip. There’s nothing wrong with a little window shopping!

Hurrah! for 3 piece suits and even more so for the men who are confident enough to wear them, I salute you.

Gentleman wearing bowler hat and three-piece suit

Gentleman wearing bowler hat and three-piece suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Saint Who?

saint george

It was St.George’s Day yesterday and as per usual the day passed with little celebration other than the national breakfast news featuring tired school kids eating soggy cereal draped in flags. Okay so maybe some pubs dusted off a bit of bunting and had a special offer on British ale but it’s hardly St.Patrick’s Day is it? The only reason I remembered it was St.George’s Day was thanks to Google and their homepage animation featuring a pixelated St.George and a dragon wearing what looked like sunglasses. The St.George’s Day dedicated website is furiously campaigning to make 23rd April a public holiday in England, and it was for many years until the union with Scotland in the late 18th century when the day of rest/celebration ceased. Scottish Independence anyone?

I wonder how many of us would go all out with the street parties and daft hats to celebrate our national hero if we knew we didn’t have to fit it around work, the school run and the weekly shop? The part of the tradition that I particularly like and one I would love to see brought back into the annual event is wearing a red rose in your lapel, it’s so romantic. Sadly I’m sure I would end up with a white and red plastic bowler hat and a vuvuzela to annoy the life out of other reveller’s.

Well here is to St.George who I’m sure we will all welcome into our annual celebrations with much enthusiasm and gusto……when we get a day off.

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Swimwear…Urgh

I really dislike swimwear with a passion borne from having my first child at the age of 22 and not fulfilling my destiny to be a Sports Illustrated model…yeah in my wildest dreams. But without wanting to sound like my Mum, I had an awesome body before I had kids. I’ve always been lucky to have a fast metabolism and I’m tall so I carried any weight gain quite well through to my early twenties. Then I had two kids who both eat for England and are little skinny gazelles, it’s so unfair.

The time has come to get my wobbly behind back into shape, I’ve started taking small-ish steps back into fitness, with the slipped disc in tow I can’t get out running again yet but it wont be long. I have decided that swimming is going to be my therapy and work-out so tonight I will be frightening small kids and giving teenagers plenty to laugh at when I don my Special K-esque red swim suit and breast-stroke my way to a better body.

I’ve just had a skip through Glamour and Company magazines and yet again I’m dismayed at the sheer amount of bikini’s that are ‘hot’ this season. Admittedly the 1950’s inspired one piece swim suits are making a come back and gaining popularity year on year, and then of course there are the inbetweeners, tankini’s and cut away one pieces that cover up the bad bits and flaunt the best bits. On family holidays I have worn everything from frilly Barbie swimming costumes to my first C&A bikini which was turquoise tartan and I thought I looked amazing! Thinking back over trips abroad my finest hour was rocking a monochrome cut away one piece by Giles Deacon for New Look. It was swimwear perfection, cut away sides, hidden support and a one shoulder design. It really did make me feel like a young, chic girl on holiday with her mates, as opposed to a twenty-something harassed mum on an all-inclusive kid friendly week of hell. Now that I’ve had another baby its going to take more than a clever pattern and one shoulder design to hide all the junk in my trunk.

I know I’m heading back to the same conclusion as a earlier post or two, but once again it all comes down to confidence. I doubt I’m ever going to feel completely at ease in swimwear, so as long as Figleaves.com continues to stock 79 different varieties of shape enhancing one pieces I will be comfortable enough to bare my cellulite once in a while and teach my kids to swim……or at least float.

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Thank You!

It’s the first day of a whole new blogging month and I’m completely blown away by the response from readers in the last 30 days. Thank you for taking the time to read my words, it’s nice to know that among the thousands of blogs out there my page is read around the world from Australia to Alaska….yeah really!

I have a busy few days ahead, I’m heading back to the mecca of glamour today to cover The Grand National at Aintree, Liverpool. It’s my one of my favourite events in the North West because everyone makes a super effort to look their absolute best. Pics and words to come.

Also its St Georges Day next week which comes with union jack clad everything and following that is my sister’s wedding, lots of observational fodder in three jam-packed days.

Loyal Readers, I salute you!

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Country File

Country File

Is there such a thing as Country Chic? I just moved to a rural village after 19 years in the big bag fashionable city and rocking the Cath Kidston look has been at the forefront of my mind since I started packing boxes. Practicality is a factor that doesn’t seem to affect daily style choices in the city, but strolling through the village in my fave Kurt Geiger heels might look a bit odd here, especially because it rains, a lot! What do you think?

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There’s No Place Like Home

I was born on the other side of the world where the sun shines bright, the sea is warm and the beer is cold. The most popular question people ask me when they hear of my sub-tropical beginnings is ‘What on earth are you doing here’?

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The move to England was totally out of my hands, I tried as hard as I could to gurgle and blabber my wishes to stay in Aussie to my anglophile parents, but at just 10 weeks old communication wasn’t my strong point. The trip back to Blighty was fraught with the usual  tensions applicable to travelling 12,00 miles with a new baby and naughty toddler. During re-fuelling at Changi Airport, Singapore my elder brother, then 4 years old decided to sneak off in the duty-free toy shop and hide on a shelf behind a particularly large monkey teddy. This sparked a security alert, cue my Mum hysterically tearing the shop up, shouting his name and wailing like a banshee that someone had taken her little angel. On the verge of a full security lock-down the little sod meandered out of the toy shop where an eagle-eyed officer spotted him and an international air travel disaster was averted.

I recently moved house again but with my own little family, and just a few hundred miles away and not another continent. If I’ve reckoned it up right, and it’s taken consultation with 5 different people, I think I have now moved house 22 times. This includes various UK cities, as well as two moves abroad, and its only now that I can appreciate the military precision with which my Mum expertly organised and coördinated what we saw as ‘adventures’. For a long time it’s been hard to find a place to call home, I have emotional ties to many places but my roots are too entangled with trains, planes and automobile tracks to choose only one of my many past dwellings. One of my passports says I’m Australian, the other says I’m British, even the powers that be cant agree where I come from or more importantly where I belong.

Now I have similar plans for my brood, I’m keen for my children to see as much of the world as possible, my eldest daughter has been abroad 17 times in 6 years. I committed the ultimate sin and took her to the adult playground that it Las Vegas and to New York when she was just a toddler, trying to break down the barriers against taking young children on long haul city breaks. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she saw the Statue of Liberty, that made the 9 hour flight so worth while. (Ps, she did not bawl her lungs out during the flight, she was very well-behaved and the air stewardesses loved her….genuinely)

Newyorknewyork-corner

Newyorknewyork-corner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I may not have grown up with the same group of friends from nursery to university, but thanks to Facebook and other online social networks that’s hardly a worry. I believe that my gypsy-esque upbringing was an amazing adventure that has shaped me to be the out-going, friendly person I am today. To all of those who have a place to call their home town, cherish it, embrace its familiar ways and changing landscapes. To those like me, who are undecided, class yourself as a citizen of the world…always the new girl, never the veteran.

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