Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Happy Un-Birthday Wishes

Me and me mate Kim just chilling our in our slobs on an average day...
Tomorrow my best friend turns thirty.
It's a milestone. It's a special day. She's the first of our little group to hit the Big Three Oh. It's her first big birthday in "proper adulthood"*. It means that I've pulled out all the stops in terms of celebrations, presents and tributes. It means that I've spent hours and hours thinking about what we've achieved thus far in our lives. And all the things we are yet to achieve. Together hopefully.

It means that I got all slushy and sentimental.


I'm so proud of Kim and everything that she is, I'm so grateful for everything that she is to me, and I'm so lucky to have her as a friend, and for some reason have decided that her 30th birthday is the time to start spouting on about it. But to be honest I felt much the same way about Kim on her 16th birthday, her 23rd birthday, her 27th… In fact all of her birthdays, but for some reason Turning Thirty means that birthday cards and presents have been agonised over for hours when usually I know her so well that I can walk in to a shop and select her a great gift. The celebrations are less about a meal, a cake and a drunken night out with the girls and more about doing something meaningful and memorable and searching for hours for the right cake the perfect wrapping paper and the most special venue. For some reason this birthday is all about tributes and memories and "looking back as well as forward" (schmaltz alert). But really, shouldn't all birthdays be this special? In fact, shouldn't all days be this special? Then again, I suppose if they were I'd never sleep!

More to the point, why should Turning Thirty mean that only now I need to tell Kim how great she is? Maybe I should have given a speech at her wedding… or maybe not! I suppose what I'm trying to say is that this Milestone Birthday has become such a big event, and quite rightly so, but really, I should tell Kim (and indeed all my loved ones) these things every day, not just because it's her 30th birthday.  So, Mrs Sones, as it's NOT your birthday today and because I love Alice in Wonderland so much** and have never had the chance to celebrate someone's Un-Birthday before, here are some lovely things I'd like to say to you:

  • You are special to so many people in so many ways. You are an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, godmother, godchild, aunt, friend, colleague…
  • I am so proud of you, and everything that you have achieved
  • I am so confident that you will succeed in everything you put your mind to
  • I am so grateful that you have always been there for me in my times of need (and I am so sorry that there have been so many hours of need)
  • I am so covetous of your amazing hair
  • I am so sorry to have burdened you with so many of my neuroses and issues
  • I am so glad to have shared so many special life experiences with you
  • I am so baffled by your number jargon
  • I am so appreciative that you are there to help me with my number-dyslexia (and that you only tease me a little bit about it!)
  • I am so ashamed to have vomited all over you. And your husband. And your sister's floor
  • I am so pleased I took my camera to school all those times and captured our misspent youth so beautifully
  • I am so envious of your level-headed nature
  • I am so thankful that you use your serenity to chill-me-the-hell-out-when-I'm-freaking-out-about-something-ridiculous
  • I am so lucky that we bonded over pixie boots and atrocious hair accessories in 1992 in Ms Gray's form room
  • I am so happy that we are friends
Happy Un-Birthday Kim.


*18 being more about the ability to legally drink in bars and clubs, 21 being about getting in to "over 25s nights" and pulling older boys with better cars, 25 being about "only 5 years until 30" and being a wife, parent, home owner and business woman doesn't really make you a grown up until you're 30, does it?)

** how have I had a blog this long and not posted about my AiW obsession yet? SHOCKING?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I know what you wore this summer

Some people might think me shallow, and they might be right, but you know what? Clothes are super-important to me. I think every occasion through with far too much attention and then plan my outfits with precision. I love doing it, and the satisfaction of pulling off a great outfit makes me so happy.
Quite frankly I think my parents, husband, extended family, friends and colleagues despair of the amount of time I spend planning what to wear and they think my energies wold be best channelled in to more, erm, worthwhile matters like politics, science, world affairs, personal finances and uh, actual work.
Sadly, fashion is my passion, and it’ll never happen (did I just go all Tulisa there?). As you will have noticed from my post about some fruity little numbers I purchased at the beginning of the summer and the outfit arithmetic I did for all the weddings I attended…
So, here’s my round up of some of my fave summertime outfits.

And just to finish, how much do I love THIS VIDEO – fashion, history, dancing, shopping and London. All my fave things in one neat little package! See how many of your own outfits you can spot in there…Makes me want to Doop Doop. And dig out some combats.
I promise I’ll post something more deep and meaningful next week…

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Love is...

admitting that neither of us had remembered to buy the other an anniversary card.

And then both panic buying the same one.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Two years ago...

...Mr G and I tied the knot.

It seems like only yesterday, yet a lifetime ago.

Love is... admitting that neither of us had remembered to buy the other an anniversary card!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

One year ago

This week twelve months ago there was a lot going on in my life. I said goodbye to Ibiza in my twenties. Next time I go back I’ll be in my thirties, and will hopefully see less injuries and illness! Whilst I was there I missed the “R.I.P. Lehman” drinks, two years on and we still talk about it like it was yesterday. Then we jetted off to Las Vegas to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary and spend some QT together as husband and wife (and spend far too much in Abercrombie). The one-year gift is paper. Nick claims he got me “tickets”. I claim that they were e-tickets and so he still owes me…

But, looking back, the thing that I remember most was that a year ago my beloved Nanny went to sleep and never woke up. I know that she's still sleeping peacefully and, alongside my Nonna, my Granddad and my Nanny Upstairs (Nanny's mother – she lived upstairs at her house!), she is watching over me with love and affection, and also keeping me on the straight and narrow… like she did when she was here.

Some people think that nannies are the little old ladies who lick a hanky and wipe your face, who force you to eat your greens, smell of lavender, roast dinners and pears soap and knit jumpers by the fire. My nanny was all of those things, but also the best teacher. She taught me some of the most precious lessons I've ever had the pleasure, and sometimes the displeasure, to learn.

Nanny, these are the lessons that you taught me…

My nanny taught me not to be scared of the dog down her road – Buster the Boxer! He was massive, loud and bouncy but was really just a slobbery, loveable dope!

My nanny taught me that the scariest thing EVER is a mouse. I learned that she was wrong. The scariest thing EVER is ACTUALLY a spider (shudder).

My nanny taught me that even if you are scared, you still shouldn't hurt living things, when she held my hamster Nibbles that one and only time (he scared because he looked like a mouse…"but he's got no tail Nanny – see?" as I pushed him in her face). And so I learned that spiders should be put outside, not squished with a shoe/yellow pages/Pear’s Cyclopedia.

My nanny taught me to knit, but didn't teach me how to un-knit mistakes. Which meant I learned that no matter how big and clever you think you are there's always someone bigger and cleverer!

My nanny taught me never to lie, which means that sometimes I learned that honesty is the best policy, and also what it was like to get told off.

My nanny taught me to colour inside the lines, and that if you're good the fairies come in the night to do some colouring in for you.

My nanny taught me that the power of imagination is sometimes all you need to get through the day, but that if it gets a bit too over active you'll spend the whole night curled up at the bottom of her bed hiding from hungry, roaring lions.

My nanny taught me that pink tissue paper can be a raspberry milkshake, that Bic razor covers make good chips and that some cotton wool and bottle tops make a rather nice fried egg. Which meant I learned that not everything in life needs to be bought from the Argos catalogue!

My nanny taught me courage and bravery and how to face down your fears. At the same time I learned that there is more than one exit at Wembley arena, and we took the wrong one – in a time before mobile phones. Yikes! So she also taught me that when you need it, it's ok to ask for help, which means that I learned the special rescue route to the M25/A12 junction at 7am one Saturday morning.

My nanny taught me that Clacton was a magical place from far far away, and was home to a fantastical creature called Bruno, who looked suspiciously like a dog! Which meant that I learned not to fall asleep on the last train home, when tipsy, as I know how long it takes to get home from there…

My nanny taught me that swearing is bad... Especially in front of the bl**dy children.

My nanny taught me that Ireland is a little piece of heaven and that a face tickle solves everything.

My nanny taught me that toffees can be eaten for dinner, Polos are for crunching and that no meal is complete without tomato ketchup. Hmmmmmm.

My nanny taught me how to wrap presents, how to tie bows and how to curl ribbons. Which means that I learned to how to be a mini entrepreneur.
My nanny taught me that pounds are for saving, but that pennies are for sweeties.

My nanny taught me to always keep them guessing and to sometimes defy the odds. Twice.

My nanny taught me that sometimes your life is what it is, and to be thankful for the little things but sometimes hard work, determination, imagination makes life something to look forward to.

My nanny taught me that life is for living, your face is for smiling, and that although sometimes you have to say goodbye, memories are things that you have forever.

Keep smiling (and crunching) Nanny – we love and miss you.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Speech I Never Gave

Having spent most of my summer at weddings, I've listened to a lot of speeches, and have spent a bit of time reminiscing about our own wedding and what I would have changed, if at all. I'm starting to think that maybe I should have given a speech, you know, to pay homage to and thank the people that made me me. I did the right thing at the time, and chose not to give a speech ("thank god" I hear the congregation cry) as I went on extreme Mush Alert and wasn't sure I could control myself and I was NOT going to go all mushy on my wedding day. The blotches, the mascara, the puffy eyes… Nope, not for me. As it happened I still looked gross in the pictures from all the sweaty dancing, crawling through rose bushes, dropping lippy on my dress and in the end, drunkenness! But nearly two years on, and having shed some serious tears these past few weeks (I quite openly blame you, Liz!), here is an ode to the people that made me who I am today, and, if I'm honest, I quite like that person.
The Speech I Never Gave*
My mum and dad made me in more ways than one – they created my life and gave me my genes but they also nurtured my personality, taught me my values, forced me in to a reasonable education, and thus my career (I wanted to be a fighter pilot or a bunny girl), and helped me learn who I was and who I can be. Thank you!
Thank you Daddy for being my Ultimate Hero. For teaching me about chivalry, that "those guys in films" do exist, about tenacity, selflessness and love, and also about DIY (particularly Fatty Edges). Thanks for teaching me the disappointment that no guy will ever live up to the precedent that you set.  Yeah, cheers for that!
Thank you Nicholas for being the one that tried, though, and who keeps on trying. And then, on realising my expectations are unreasonable, set your own precedents for our future daughters' husbands to fail to reach. You will one day be our children's hero and because of that you are also mine!
Thank you Mother Bear for teaching me about girl power. About having your own career, direction and life plans. About relying on no one but you (except when you need a hero, obvs!), never getting your boobs and legs out at the same time (quite often ignored in my teenage years), how to blow dry my hair, how to bunk off PE, how to make the perfect GnT, about holidays and family celebrations and where "home" is. How to wrap Daddy around my little finger and, most importantly, about having your own bank account, but knowing how to borrow from my husband's until pay day**!
Thank you Grandpa for teaching me about simultaneous equations, DIY and about self defence.... Haaai-cha!!!!
Thank you Nonna for watching over me.
Thank you Nanny and Grandad for teaching me present wrapping skills (and how to charge for them), about colouring within the lines (and how the Fairies can assist) that not all toys can be bought from the Argos catalogue (but quite a few can!), saving not spending (this one is a hindsight one) and most of all, about imagination and how to use it!
Thank you Nanny Upstairs for teaching me about Guinness, toffee hammers and swearing!
Thank you to my Baby Bro for letting me get on with it, and for letting me be in control. For always being there to answer the questions my puny brain sends your way and for bringing my space cadet ideas back to earth.
Thank you to my mother's friends for listening to her while she ranted and vented and being her therapists as she dealt with me. We owe you some GnTs. Doubles.
Thank you to Miss Swan for teaching me about positive body image, accepting the truth of reality and working with what you have to be the best you can be. Please don't retire until I've sent my future children to you for ballet lessons.
Thank you to the many managers I've had since my very first paid job. You've guided me and opened doors for me. You've taught me everything I want to be professionally, and everything I don't.
Thank you to Wendy for being the most selfless person on the planet. Without you I wouldn't be sane, and nor would my mother!
Thank you to Marcella and Sue for being more than what you were employed to be. You are family to me... Though you might despise me with a passion - and anyone that knew me when you cared for me would say that that was a fair reaction – but I love you both dearly!
Thank you to my friends, just for being amazing. You water me when I need to grow, you applaud me when I succeed, you hold me when I need to cry and you bandage me when I need to heal. Hallmark isn't wrong when it says that Friends are the family you choose for yourself.
Thank you to my friends' children for the baby-squidges that soothe everything and put life back in to perspective.
And thanks to all the bullies, bad boys and haters in my life. Without wanting to go all female rapper or diva album cover at the end, without you I wouldn't have my strength, my character, my confidence, my self- belief, my wisdom, my persistence and my happiness. by trying to take those things from me you showed me I had them!
Let's raise a toast to friends and family…

* EXTREME mush alert!
** his is only one day before mine. Hmmmm