Wednesday, 27 October 2010


It's finally happened - Sam's worst nightmare. He's broken his ankle playing football. Not because he was bravely attempting a sliding tackle or aggressively fending off an opponent while tearing down the wing. No. Sam broke his ankle while stepping on a stationary ball. He has offered up a complicated explanation of how this occurred after a heroic save in the back garden of a friend's house. I have my doubts.

In spite of being in a fair amount of discomfort, he then went to a swimming party, where he was able to climb up and down an inflatable octopus for a good 30 minutes before he realised that the pain was not going away..... This was followed by a trip to A&E where the tiny chip in his ankle bone was magnified for full effect. Fortunately, he wasn't put in plaster as we are going to Paris on Thursday and the doctor felt that an elastic stocking and crutches would suffice. These he found an exciting challenge until the novelty wore off after a couple of hours. I have now had three days of full on whingeing, not helped by Amazon's failure to deliver Fifa 11 which was hastily ordered as a potential distraction, but has merely served as another source of frustration (his and mine - he has just asked me yet again if I did actually order it).

No doubt my next post will be telling you all about Paris and how we got on (and off the Batobus every ten minutes...)

All I can hope for is that it doesn't make him even less reticent on the football field than he already is (see post 'Parental Guilt part 1' below). You never know, it could make him fearless now the worst has happened and he didn't actually die - who knows?

Monday, 18 October 2010


I'm having a wardrobe dilemma. This is nothing new. I have always had problems buying clothes, but now I'm in my 40's, it's got worse. Let me explain. I am not one of those stylish women who effortlessly establish their signature look, which they update each season with the addition of a trend item which says, 'I'm not a slave to fashion, because I have my own unique style, but I do have my finger on the pulse, and will add pieces seamlessly when it works for me'. No no no. If you see me regularly you will know that more often than not my outfit will say, 'yes, here I am again trying desperately to dress with style, but not quite deciding if I am going to embrace my mid 40's and dress at Fenn Wright Manson or cling doggedly to my youth and insist on Top Shop'.

The age problem has not helped the fact that I have started being greedy with styles - one minute wanting to look all rock-chick, the next lady-like in a fifties suit, the next 70's in flares and wedges. I sort of try them all, but cannot settle on one, and it frustrates me. I have read interviews with women who have eclectic wardrobes, and they always say 'I dress to suit my mood; I never feel the same from one day to the next blah blah blah' - and position it as a positive thing. I just end up feeling fake and frustrated that I can't decide on one look and properly invest in it, rather than just bits and pieces of every look that only give me a total of four outfits, because nothing is interchangeable.

You would think that entering middle age would simplify things. You only have two choices really - classic or classic with a twist. Except when you're greedy. And it's very easy to be greedy when fashion is so fabulous and diverse - which let's face it, right now, it is. If you were in your twenties in the 1990's you will get this. It was the worst decade for fashion BY FAR. Look, I like minimalist clothes (as one of my looks of course....) but all we had year after year was dull shift dresses (hopeless on a pear-shape with hollow back), kitten heels (even worse with thick ankles), hipster trousers (flat abs anyone?) tops that barely brushed waistbands, only to reveal a not so tasty muffin top. Clothes were either coma inducing or designed to make your 20-something body feel 40-something. I didn't have the confidence to branch out, but I was desperate for prom dresses, platform heels, sloppy Joe jumpers, high-waisted flares - oh wait, that's what's trendy NOW - right?

So, therein lies my problem. I just want to stick my nose in the fashion trough and suck it up - gorgeous gladiator heels that make you feel fabulously confident (since when did a kitten heel do that?), voluminous layers that are comfy and flattering, whimsical dresses which cinch at the waist (hurrah!), sheepskin jackets that are tough but cosy, military coats which embrace your inner Russian heiress. But there's my perennial problem again - no one style, thoughtfully put together. Just a gluttonous desire to feast without sensible, budget controlled consideration for the merits of the capsule wardrobe. Urgh - even the phrase sends me to sleep. Capsule Wardrobe....snore...

It doesn't help that I am so influenced by my surroundings. I now work in Soho and am regularly exposed to Top Shop Oxford Circus and a myriad of even better boutiques. I buy say, some chunky ankle boots and peg trousers (not too 'mutton') and then won't wear it to the school gates because I'm afraid that the Boden mums in sensible shoes will think I'm trying too hard. Next day I'm in Old Amersham, buried in middle-England conservatism, pop into Phase 8 and find myself buying a nice little waterfall cardie which I wear to pick up the kids but instantly hate when getting dressed for work.

I know I've waffled on, but you can see my problem(s). Does anyone empathise with this double (triple? not sure which) life dilemma or are you all thinking I'm a total flake who needs to get a grip? Better still, and much more fun, just vote for your preferred shoe, and I'll get the picture.

Monday, 4 October 2010


I was having a lovely lie in with Sam on Saturday while reading The Times, which I love, but rarely finish until the following Saturday. I spotted him intently reading the back of the paper I was holding, and I got that warm glow we get when we realise that they do sometimes spontaneously seek to improve their minds all by themselves. After his eyes had left the page, I turned it over to read, ready to have a stimulating discussion about said topical subject:

'I have been faking orgasms for two years - shall I tell my partner?'

Okaaaaaay. Some of you may be aware that in the Times Weekend section, there is a sexual problem page. I was well aware of this, but clearly, in my smugness at having brought up a spontaneously mind-improving 10 yr old, had momentarily forgotten. It crossed my mind that this might be a good opportunity to have 'the chat'. I have been in a slight tizz about this ever since I got wind of a rumour that one of his school friends regularly tunes into the Adult Channel on Sky (yes - really. Apparently just women in sexy underwear rolling around on a bed, but still).

I had already talked about it with Mr. G and he said he was relaxed if I wanted to do it (the chat, not the sexy underwear - don't be ridiculous). Although slightly disconcerting, I welcomed this task as a parenting challenge which could only strengthen our mother & son bond. I now glanced at Sam. He was staring straight up at the ceiling in what I swear looked like slight shock. Then I panicked. I hadn't even planned on getting onto the subject of orgasms at all! I had in fact already sent off for a selection of 'let's talk sex'/'what's happening to me?' type books, but when they arrived I was so horrified at the graphic detail that I hurriedly ordered a 'how are babies made?' type book instead, which I hadn't yet received. Crikey - how could I have the chat without providing the literature for Sam to stare at, thereby freeing him from making eye contact? You see, I really had thought of everything. So I chickened, and put a swift end to our lie-in muttering something about getting Lils to ballet. What a wuss.

The topic remained on my mind all weekend; how I was going to tackle it, phrase my answers to awkward questions etc. However, while we were all lolling on the sofas watching X-Factor on Sunday night, Mr G casually mentioned that he and Sam had had a little discussion about making babies yesterday, and how 'you're all cool with it aren't you Sam?'. I couldn't believe my ears - not only had Mr G unceremoniously trumped me, but then neglected to even bloody mention it! Sam had clearly gone straight to his Dad. Well, I wasn't going to miss out. 'I have a book coming in the post for you Sam - and you can ask me anything you like - anything - you know, give you a woman's perspective and all th...', 'K Mum- whatever' he says, eyes simultaneously rolling while never leaving those of Cheryl Cole....

Have you gone through this parenting rite of passage? How was it for you?

Friday, 1 October 2010


...with my gorgeous new toaster from DeLonghi. This was a complete impulse purchase when my 12yr old Dualit began to consistently burn one side of my toast while barely warming the other. It was a wedding present, and I loved it dearly, but I cannot do with rubbish toast 7am in the morning. Funnily enough in a meeting with a colleague last week we were discussing offline word-of-mouth and she was laughing about her evangelism for her toaster. I quickly emailed her and discovered it was this one. Ten minutes later the white version was on its way.

It arrived just in time to do my lunchtime pitta - perfect! My son, who is poorly, likes his less crispy, so I was able to do that for him as there is a dual setting. What do you think? I do feel disloyal to Dualit - 12 yrs is a good run, but it has no bagel setting (toasts one side more than other). Also this one was £60 as opposed to £140 for the Dualit (gorgeous in Azure blue tho' above).

Let's have a poll - which one would you have gone for? (and, yes that is a bottle of voddy next to the toaster - you never know when a hair of the dog will be required!)

PS - This is not a sponsored post, and I doubt I will do them as it may end up being a conflict with my job.