Wednesday, 30 September 2009

An evening's work

5.10pm - leave work. I'm late - I should really leave at 5. Rush to the bus stop. Needless to say, no buses are remotely in sight.

5.20pm - a bus finally arrives. People are packed in like sardines, but this doesn't stop me pushing my way on. I have a child to pick up, you know. There is general tutting from those around me. I look defiant and pretend to look at my BlackBerry.

5.30pm - I think I could walk faster than this bus.

5.40pm - joy of joy, I arrive at my stop and then attempt the half walk, half run look that I have never managed to master.

5.45pm - arrive at the nursery out of breath and totally harassed. The gatekeeper gives me a disapproving look. I collect the pushchair and then literally run to H's classroom.

5.50pm - I am officially a 'Bad Mother'. The teacher (is that what they are? Well, they make me feel like a naughty 12 year old again, so I'm sticking with that title) looks at the clock and points out that I am 5 minutes late. I apologise, grab my son and try to exit with some dignity still in tact. I'm not sure that I managed it. Seriously, this is much harder than my day job.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

One would like to pass on thanks...

A big shout out to Hot Cross Mum who has awarded me the 'Queen of Alll Things Awe-Summm!!!' award - it's an honour!

As is traditional, I would like to pass on this award to some other blogs that I have recently discovered and enjoy:

Dulwich Divorcee
Some Mothers Do Ave Em
Nappy Valley Girl

Apologies if you've already received this award - but if you have, then you're obviously worthy twice over!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Sew exciting

I started my sewing course at the London College of Fashion on Saturday, and it was fantastic! When it comes to anything related to tailoring, I am worse than useless. But finally, I have become tired of paying over the odds for someone else to take up my trousers (I'm not short - or tall - and somehow trousers are just never the right length). Plus, Project Runway convinced me that it can't be that hard - some of the people on there are complete morons and they manage to make clothes (well, most of the time anyway).

Being slightly negative, everyone else in the class is about 12. And I was slightly taken aback at the lack of organisation - when the teacher came into the room and got the name of the class totally wrong I did think that maybe I'd made a mistake. However, when we got going, it was fabulous. It helps that all the machines are professional standard, but in just one class I made a bag. Really. Okay, not a full blown Anya Hindmarch number, but a simple tote bag that actually holds items without falling apart. It's brilliant. Not the bag, you understand - but the feeling that I've made something from scratch. Who knows, maybe I am the next Christian Siriano...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

It's birth, baby, but not as you know it

Yesterday, I took H for his health visitor check up and I was very pleased to discover he weighs 18lb 13oz - obviously, those four meals a day (plus all his milk) are serving him well. Or so I thought.

This morning, I read this and can't help feeling impressed. Seriously, one of my friends gave birth to an 11lb baby, and I thought that was hard going. This Indonesian woman makes my friend look like she wasn't even trying. "The baby, who is still unnamed and is 24.4 inches (62 centimetres) long, was born by Caesarean section on Monday at a public hospital in North Sumatra province." Damn bloody right! Can you imagine even attempting a natural birth? I think not. But all birth questions aside, what I really want to know is: how on earth did this lady carry around such a ginormous baby for nine months? She must be exhausted. Suddenly, my 7lb 8oz newborn looks like a walk in the park.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Farewell Summer...

It's refreshing to see so many positive posts regarding the onset of Autumn; Four Down, Mum to Go, Hot Cross Mum and A Life Reclaimed are all welcoming the start of the new season (and are all great posts too). All too often, people seem glum about the passing of summer - but not me - I love everything about the days getting shorter, the wind getting more blustery and the leaves starting to fall off the trees. Don't get me wrong - it's been a brilliant summer. How can you complain about winning The Ashes (although the less said about our ODI record, the better)? And the weather has been pretty good compared to previous years. And, obviously, it's been my first summer as a mother, which has been fantastic.

But this time of year always strikes a feeling of new beginnings in me - probably still from my school days and the beginning of a new school year. This time last year, I was four months pregnant and unable to participate fully (by that, I mean drink alcohol) in various celebrations - my 30th birthday, my hen do and my wedding. That's right, a shot-gun wedding. Which, apparently, causes a lot more of a stir than having a child out of wedlock. But that's another story.

So, this year, I'm looking forward to a decent birthday shindig (the babysitter is already booked) and some fun and games around Halloween. And I'm going to make sure I get some outdoor ice skating booked in too - I'm absolutely rubbish at ice skating, which is why I couldn't risk it last year - but it's become part of my Christmas tradition and I really missed it.

Best of all, it's 100 days until the end of the year. Which means, yes, it's only 93 days until Christmas. Personally, I love Christmas and so this is excellent news for me - but I appreciate that not everyone has the same attitude, so I'll keep a lid on it (for now).

PS I should note that I received my first Christmas mail shot this morning - a 'Gifts Delivered' brochure from M&S. Whilst I appreciate this effort for early business, even I think the Autumn Equinox is overly-enthusiastic, to say the least. Turn around twice and I'll be getting Easter Egg brochures next.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Thank God it's Friday

It's been a long week. In fact, it's been the longest week ever. Partly, this is because I cavorted around New York last weekend and then went straight into work on Monday but mainly, it's because it's my first full week back since having H.

This isn't a shock to the system - I was back in the office eight weeks after giving birth - but doing five days straight is much harder than I thought it would be. Not least because I miss the little guy - the morning routine of attempting to leave the house without killing either myself of anyone else does not count as quality time. But I'm amazed how tired I am. We have absolutely nothing planned for the weekend, which is good, because I'm going to be sleeping as much as humanly possible with a six month old baby.

However, this does worry me slightly for the forthcoming weeks. I signed up to do a short sewing course at the London College of Fashion months ago (I think it was just after H was born, and I was still full of the joys of spring), inspired by a combination of Project Runway and looming maternity pay. "I've got a sewing machine," I thought "how hard can it be?".

Having signed up, and paid the (very expensive) fee, I promptly forgot about the whole thing. Until this week, when I got a reminder that it starts next week and that I need to prepare for the first lesson by sharpening some pencils and finding an exercise book (okay - that's not completely accurate, but the email definitely had the 'school days / teacher' ring to it). The course lessons are every Saturday from next week until the end of November and last all morning. What on earth was I thinking? Maybe that combining childcare and a full time job wasn't enough - I needed another challenge?

On the other hand, it will give me some precious 'me' time - and maybe I'll be the next Vivianne Westwood. Admittedly, unlikely, but always worth a shot if the lottery doesn't come through. And, I'll be able to ride my new bike to the lessons - it's due to arrive a week today! Hurrah.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


There is nothing better than arriving at work to find a parcel on your desk that you weren't expecting. I'd actually forgotten that I'd ordered some new sunglasses, because it was so long ago. I'd been after some Tom Ford sunglasses for a while - ever since my brand new Lulu Guinness ones fell apart as I took them out of the box - but I couldn't quite justify spending the £300 (especially as I was planning on shopping for England when I got to New York). When I saw them on sale on Brand Alley it was too good an opportunity to miss, but when you buy items from that site, you have to wait for the sale to finish. They were worth the wait:

It might seem strange to be buying sunglasses at this time of year, but they can hide a whole multitude of sins at any time - plus, they go with anything. It's perfect. And I love them.

Monday, 14 September 2009

New York, New York

I love New York. I like the convenience, I like the choice and I like the people. My sister doesn't live in Manhattan (I have no idea why, but she prefers it out in the 'burbs) so we decided to treat ourselves and stay at The Gansevoort for the weekend. It was fabulous. Well, the location was. The hotel itself was good, but there was no full length mirror, no tea or coffee making facilities and practically no lights. It might be atmospheric, but these ridiculous low level lights do not help me pick out good clothes in the morning.

As I promised, following my recent 'You Are A Good Read' award (thanks again to Not Supermum!), a list of my highlights:
  1. Travelling Club (an upgrade, naturally. Much as I'd love to be in a position to pay £5000 for a business class fare, I'm not).
  2. The Great Jones Spa - what an experience! Lil' sis and I even braved the plunge pool - something I never do - and it was fantastic. The treatments rock too.
  3. Buddakan. Great atmosphere, fab food and the manager was Australian, so I could give him plenty of advice on how to win The Ashes. He loved me.
  4. The shops on Bleecker Street. There are shops all over downtown Manhattan that sell bling earrings, necklaces and hair clips. While some look distinctly like they've come out of a Christmas cracker, some of the items are great. The shops along Bleecker had the best offerings - I bought a wicked brooch, two pairs of earrings and two head scarves. For less than $40. Result.
  5. New York Fashion Week. Late night opening, free champagne. What's not to like?
  6. Pastis. Since we were staying opposite, it would have been rude not to.
  7. Chelsea Market. We stumbled on this quite by chance - what a find. Great food shops and even a wine store. Fabulous.
  8. The cinnamon buns at Amy's Bread. Probably not the best for my waist line but absolutely delicious. It's a good thing they are so far away - I'd be the size of a house if this bakery was on the Strand.
  9. I also had my hair cut at Hair Rules. The salon has only opened recently, so the whole experience is a bit hit and miss, but the stylist, Dickey, is an absolute genius.
  10. Coming home. I was only away for three days, but I almost cried when I saw little H and his father waiting for me at the airport. New York was great, but there really is no better place than home with your family.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

My first blog award!

When I woke up this morning, I was excited - I fly to New York this afternoon, for a girl's weekend with my sister. I thought I'd log on quickly to check my emails, and I found out that I've been given an award! How cool is that?? A great blogger, Not Supermum, had received the award from Hot Cross Mum and she wanted to pass on the accolade. I've got to say, I'm absolutely delighted that someone thinks I'm a good read - this is obviously the benefit of the written word. When I start ranting verbally, I seem to have an astounding capability to clear a room in five minutes flat. And that's with my husband, who's supposed to at least feign interest.

I love blogging - both reading other people's and writing my own - and I'm glad that others feel the same way. I need to do two things - list a top ten and nominate some other blogs for the award. The top ten will follow - I'm going to list my top ten highlights from a very short trip to NY - but these are some blogs that I have recently discovered that I nominate as a good read:
Right, I'm off to pack and then head to T5. Fingers crossed for an upgrade to Club...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Fashion Forward

A fantastic article in yesterday's Sunday Times by India Knight. We've all thought it at some point: “I wonder if you ever get to an age when you’re just bored with fashion. Since fashion is basically dressing up and pretending - it is to be hoped that eventually you get to the point when you think “ah, sod it” and potter about in comfy clothes that you personally consider non-hideous instead.” 

Don't get me wrong - I love my heels (the higher the better) but for a full on shopping trip, it has to be flats. Simple as that. Converse are my preferred choice, although there is something very liberating about flip flops. I'll be at Terminal 5 (Heathrow) on Thursday and this is another place where high heels should be avoided at all costs. I haven't checked the weather, but my usual choice in this situation is Ugg boots. Like slippers but considered appropriate for wear in public, these are my ideal travelling companion. Uggs, and a big cashmere jumper, because I always freeze on the plane.

I've travelled from T5 a couple of times, but on both occasions I've been late, and not been able to shop properly. I'm looking forward to getting there with plenty of time to spare, to make sure I can do proper research. I've heard the shopping is brilliant, but I'd like to find out for myself...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Not so Specialized...

I was really looking forward to swanning around on my Pashley bike - I had visions of drifting along with French bread in my front basket and generally looking very sophisticated. These hopes were dashed when I returned to Evans Cycles. Apparently, the 'helpful' assistant on the phone was not so helpful - in fact, he was misinformed. No child seat can be fitted to a Pashley bike (something to do with the position of the frame. I stopped paying attention at that point).

So, no Princess Sovereign bike for me. Instead, it looks like I'm going for a Specialized:

I'll have to lower the saddle so I'm reaching up for the handle bars and sitting upright, rather than leaning forward. Also, I'm going to put a wicker basket on the front (I will have that French bread) and add some mudguards to customise it up a bit. I am gutted - but naturally, H comes before the bike - just :o)