Friday, 28 June 2013

One year on... (part 1)

This weekend will mark the one year anniversary of two significant life events:

It started with prosecco in The Marylebone...
1) First time of complete drunky-drunk memory loss. Scary.

I accidentally got obliterated-drunk on gin mojitos in The Marylebone for a friend's 30th birthday (nope, not replacing the rum with gin, replacing the the soda with gin, and keeping the rum. I hold the naughty barman responsible), crawled on my hands and knees from Mornington Crescent to Camden High Street tube in a silk dress as my wedges made it impossible to walk on the cobbles (what the....!!!!! - I never ever take my shoes off to walk. It's just not classy... oh right... ahem), gave myself minor concussion from falling backwards, like a rigid plank, on to the station concourse, vomited on my parents' driveway (we were homeless and living there at the time) and face planted in to the ground. I then yelled at my rescuers (my Baby Bro, his long-suffering girlf and my husband - who had been stationed at various train stops to capture me as they had no idea where I'd got on, and where, or whether, I'd get off) to "STOP MAKING A SCENE!". I should add the word "apparently" at the beginning of all of these sentences as, for the first time in my life, I have complete memory loss.


Not my finest moment.

The next morning over breakfast my father reprimanded me like the naughty child I am, my husband got up at the crack of dawn to get to work and left a bucket by head, my tee-total bro smirked at me, my parents' friends looked at me with sympathy (and at Mr G with DEEP sympathy) and my mother extended an olive branch of Fanta, bacon and paracetamol in my hour of utmost need... and then laughed at my unfortunate state.

Why not hide away and sleep it off in a darkened room, you ask? Why not stay away from them all... at least until I'd sobered up?

Well, life event #2 was about to happen...

2) Moving in to our new house, with the help of all. The. Family.

Yup... including the parents-in-law who were NOT impressed with the smell of stale gin and prosecco seeping from my pores, my waxy complexion, my inability to temperature regulate and so huddling in corners in Uggs and a hoody whilst they tried to keep cool whilst lugging furniture and my feeble attempt to look upbeat and excited about "house moving day!!! yay!!!".

At one point my Baby Bro and Baby Sister in Law found me on the floor in the "blue bedroom" (there was no blue bedroom - I think I was hallucinating!), head between my knees and sweat beading on my forehead as I tried to keep from passing out.

I updated my Facebook status to read something about doing the LMFAO shuffle with one of the moving boxes on my head like the robot in the video (clearly whilst I was still morning-after drunk)... and shortly thereafter, grabbing a box due to a wave of nausea.

I was not flavour of the day. Or month. Or week.

There was only one thing for it. I popped open the "yay, we've moved in" prosecco and took a long cool swig to steady my shaking hands and get me through the rest of the evening.

... and ended with prosecco in our new garden!
One year on, I'm planning to keep it classy at our anniversary BBQ... I might vom in the loo, rather than all over the driveway this time.


That was gross.

I've let my family down. I've let you all down. I've let myself down.

I'll stick to the elderflower presse...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

I'm a Mini Me Maker

It was my gorgeous God Daughter's birthday last week so this weekend we celebrated with fizz and cake.

Of course.

It's also her Baby Bro's birthday next weekend (well coordinated Kim!), so after fizz and cake we celebrated his special day, in advance, with special edition blackberry and elderflower Pimm's and more cake.


For Isabelle's birthday every year I try to think about her presents as much as I do for her mummy and get her something cool, fun, something she wouldn't be expecting and something that's a bit of a treat. But she's getting a bit older now and it's hard to know what to buy for a head-strong, independent, girly-but-not-overly-so girl with some very specific interests. I've bought books, clothes, items that her mummy would appreciate when she was still too little to appreciate a present herself (e.g. the "reading" that Joey "performed" at Emma's first birthday in Friends! We were MASSIVE Friends fans!), fancy dress, toys, DVDs, donations to her future car fund...

This year however I think I excelled myself.

Upon her, I bestowed... myself! I jest, but it wasn't far off.

We all know I love a fifties-style frock, I live for afternoon tea and one of my proudest achievements in recent years is collecting the cutest set of pastel coloured vintage tea sets from which to serve it. It was only when I was wrapping her presents that I realised I had actually bought Isabelle miniature versions of everything I love.

A pastel tea set from Ikea, a fifties-style dress with Paris postcard print from Next and wooden patisserie.

anyone for cake?

I had accidentally attempted to mould Isabelle in to a Mini Me. Her poor parents!

Now, what is also interesting is that what I bought for her Baby Bro, Luke, mirrors one of Mr G's interests... cooking.

I don't go in for gender-stereotype toys, so when someone suggested these amazing food toys, I jumped on them for him. I bought Luke a Melissa and Doug felt sandwich set (complete with a bap, white sliced bread and a pitta, and then all the meat, cheese and salad fillings you can imagine) and a pizza set (with four slices, a pizza pan, cheese, tomato and all the best toppings - no tuna and sweetcorn here!).

I think this year Mr G and I had more fun with the presents than the kids!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Obsession: My New Mini

I like cars, but I'm not a car geek. I know nothing about how and why they work. I couldn't care less about fuel efficiency. My interest in emmissions is cash based.

I like my cars to be pretty and cute.

That's all.

Oh, and I also like a theme.

Old car: Minnie the Mini


New car: Mickey the Mini

I just bought a new Mini Cooper. Black, convertible, white bonnet stripes. Disco lights inside. Yip. You heard. Disco lights.

Mr G was trying to convince me to buy a proper grown up car. A car that could one day become a family car. A car that he could drive without looking like a wally. Basically sensible car. A grown up car. And then the sales guy showed me the pretty disco lights, and Nick's suggestions fell upon deaf ears!

I did my research though - one day this car could easily transport a small child. Potentially two small children. Sadly, it won't transport any kind of buggy, nappy bag or supplies at the same time as said child. Ooops.

Anyway, forget all that grown up stuff, the best bit is to come. I mentioned a theme... well my last car was a white Mini with black bonnet stripes.

Mickey the Mini and Minnie the Mini: Besties
See... I used to drive Minnie the Mini, and now I drive Mickey the Mini! Brilliant! Hurrah!

Disco lights and a character theme - grown up decision-making all the way!

Oh, and the key looks like a spaceship!

Old key. New key... in disguise as a spaceship!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Obsession: The Wal-Cey Wedding

This weekend I had the most amazing time celebrating with my wonderful friends, Claire Wacey and Richard Walsh as they tied the knot. I'm having serious Wal-Cey wedding withdrawal!

Was it amazing because the setting was Claire's parents' beautiful home, where we have already shared so many happy times with her incredibly welcoming, generous and gracious family over the years gone by?
Was it amazing because she's a stylist and so (politely) requested that we go to town on our outfits... and we all eagerly complied?
Was it amazing because my talented friend Jasmine set up some seriously brilliant Vanity Fair cover shoot style photography (and thankfully, the bridal party come complete with some Vanity Fair style looks)?

Was it amazing because she themed the day loosely on A Midsummer Night's Dream, a close second in my list of favourite tales, behind Alice in Wonderland (on which we themed her hen do)?

Was it amazing because the theme allowed for tumbling floral arrangements and twinkling crystals hanging above our heads, urns, jars and vases abundant with sweet scented blooms, a marquee worked into and around the existing flora and ornaments of her parents’ garden with an "enchanted forest" feel, escort cards fluttering in the wind on the boughs of a blossoming tree, ethereal bridesmaid dresses, fairy wings for the littluns, colourful canap├ęs appearing from all sides on giant platters, an incredibly genteel croquet and putting lawn for that  "Ye Olde Englishe" feel, Secret Garden hideaways, complete with love seats to escape the heat of the sun,  or for a stolen moment and photos taken next to a bubbling brook as ducklings floated lazily on the pond?

Was it amazing because of the delicious delicacies served up by her locally renowned caterers?

Was it amazing because there were M&Ms (or were they W&Ws?), which are my absolute fave, with their faces on?

 Was it amazing because there was a technicolour photo-cab outside?

Was it amazing because every tiny detail was so magnificently planned, executed perfectly and with such great style?

Was it amazing because the dancefloor was full from the first note until the last thanks to the incredible band?
Was it amazing because the whole place was filled with so much love, friendship and happiness our faces hurt from grinning, our sides hurt from laughter, our throats hurt from singing, our feet hurt from dancing (despite the overflowing flip flip basket) and our eyes stung with happy tears?
Was it amazing because the bride wore blue?

Well... all of the above really.
From the moment I woke up on Saturday 8thJune (not that I'd managed to sleep much, due to my excitement) I was buzzing with anticipation as to how all Claire's plans would come to life on the day. I thought I was holding it together well, until a heartfelt dedication on the local radio station sent me over the edge. Crumbs. A quick reapplication of mascara and I was back in the zone, the hair got bouffed, the dress went on and the hat placed neatly in my lap in the car, all in good time to head to the hotel, meet up with the WonderHens, squeal loudly in reception for a few moments, gush at everyone’s outfits and pose for some photos before boarding the bus to make our way to the ceremony.

As the sounds of the Trumpet Voluntary rang out in the beautiful church (a special one for me as I also walked in to this piece) the bridesmaids (a vision in white tulle and carrying my fave: blue hydrangeas) and the bride entered.
Mr G will vouch for the fact that I did an actual fist pump and an exclamation of “YESSSS!” as she came in to sight. Long ago we’d talked about a delicately coloured dress, I was sworn to secrecy and then it was never mentioned again and I was worried that she’d changed her mind. I was over the moon that she’d stuck to her super-stylish guns and made such a statement with her dress… albeit an understated, elegant statement, but a statement nevertheless.
Although, those curves. Nothing understated about those. No siree.  

Traditional vows, some emotional readings (a teeny tiny Pineapple Club reference even made it in during Liz’s poem), a few tears, a beautiful solo followed by Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Wedding March (another of my faves) a tunnel of confetti and cheers and we found ourselves waving off the bride and groom in their sleek and shiny Rolls Royce, followed by the ‘maids in their own version and the ‘men in a cream taxi.
Back at Ludham Hall the bridal party posed briefly by the water for their portraits while we guests mingled on the front lawn or explored the nooks and crannies and hidden alcoves in and around her parents’ lovingly tended garden, chatting, drinking, eating, looking for our names on the tree and posing for hat pictures. The refined summer garden party tableau was ruined only by my inability to keep my bubbles in my glass, instead pouring them all over my silk dress… and thus ruining most of the pictures.

As the afternoon began to close we were called through to dinner and as we entered the marquee I don’t think a single guest managed to keep their breath in their lungs. The entire marquee was festooned with flower garlands and bedecked in swags of petals and individually hanging stems twirling in the breeze. Thousands of fairy lights twinkled on the ceiling, chandeliers sparkled in amongst the flowers and hanging crystals winked in the late afternoon sunshine. The tables were overflowing with pink, blue and cream flowers in giant arrangements surrounded by fairy-sized bouquets.

Like I said… breathtaking.
We welcomed the newlyweds to their top table with a resounding round of applause, laughed along with the amazing video that Sister of the Bride Nicky made as a surprise [watch it here:] featuring a number of rather embarrassed guests (including yours truly in an Annie wig, on a shoe phone and singing out of tune an inch from the lens) and then settled in for a delicious wedding breakfast of salmon ravioli, guinea fowl with fresh veg followed by a trio of desserts, coffee, chocolates and then champagne.

We listened intently to heartfelt words from the father of the bride, emotional words from the groom, impromptu thanks from the bride and a bestman/groomsmen speech comprising five parts (he’s a popular guy) and by then we had cried, cheered, laughed and toasted our way well in to the evening.

The bride and groom invited the mother of the bride and her bestie to join in the cake cutting, which was only fair as they worked so hard to plan, make and construct it, and then word started to spread about a photo-cab outside… you can imagine the hysteria amongst Pineapple Club members and the Wonder Hens. Props were grabbed, poses were pulled and shrieks were emitted!

Then it was time for the big reveal… a curtain in the bar/dance/lounge tent was pulled back, the band sprang in to life and the first dance commenced. Cue more tears as the new Mr and Mrs cut some shapes on the dancefloor and shared a special moment, surrounded by their nearest dearest.
And then we let the good time roll…

… and roll…
… and roll!

In fact they rolled until the small hours when we waved off our newlyweds in a cab to their hotel and we took our leave of the house, letting her parents and sister get some well-earned rest. Although as we departed (at about 3am) there were shouts from Nicky of “if there’s an after party at your hotel call me!”… no chance. I left the hard core contingent in the bar and headed off to our room, which turned out to be occupied by someone else. Cue some curt conversations in reception – whilst wearing two fascinators, a pair of mismatched flip-flops and Mr G’s suit jacket over my (champagne-stained) dress but eventually they found us a new room and I slept soundly until check out, despite an odd blue glow emanating from the corner of the room.
You know it’s been a good wedding when you wake up with mild concussion (a freak dancefloor injury), glow sticks on your pillow and a stolen borrowed cone in your room.

A quick trip to Frankie and Benny’s for a Sunday morning fry up with Katy and R and then we were back in the swing at Ludham Hall, albeit a slightly more mellow swing in slightly more comfy shoes, excitedly talking about the events of the day before, swapping dancefloor/photo-cab/portaloo stories over BBQ’d meats, salads, cheesecake and strawberries. The girls enjoyed a few glasses of fizz (zy water for those on driving detail) as we watched and re-watched the video, pored over the photo-cab pictures, hen do album and wedding guest book messages, that got messier, gushier and more incoherent as the pages went on, while the boys challenged each other to giant Jenga and a putting session over a few hair-of-the-dog beers.

Later that evening I snuggled up on the sofa in my PJs and some pedicure socks with a bucket of tea and a slice slab of wedding cake and spent a happy few hours uploading my photos to Stalkbook and working out how best to put the wonder of the Wal-cey Wedding in to words…

I hope I did it justice. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Pineapple Club

After the pineapple-themed events of The Wonder Hen we formed a little club, led by Liz (of pink-word fame), to continue our appreciation of that wondrous fruit.

A Pineapple Club, if you will.

Coincidentally, everything I see at the moment seems to be pineapple themed, which means we are fast amassing a Pineapple Club membership pack and even potentially a uniform.

We seem to have found glassware, homewares, jewellery, socks, bags and even clothes

We all caught up recently at Barrio East (sister venue to Barrio North), of course, due to its pineapple themed light fittings, cocktails and salsas, and decided that it was in fact the first meeting of Pineapple Club.

Technically I'm breaking the rules by blogging, as the first rule of Pineapple Club is not to talk about Pineapple Club (mainly because people will judge us/think we're mental/be scared of us), but I don't think it's a problem, because if they kick me out, I'm going to start Flamingo Club and be the leader, and wear pink and stand on one leg at all times.




Oh, hang on...