Sailing away into the sunset…

…was not how my weekend turned out. Our boat was definitely built for speed, not comfort.

My cabin would have made Thumbelina feel claustrophobic, add to this the joy of sharing said cabin and, as you can imagine, sleeping became difficult.  I now know how it feels to be buried alive, the sheer fear that you will run out of oxygen at any minute, or, in this case, be otherwise drowned whilst trying to escape from a tiny space. Our cabin was, naturally, equipped with top-end luxuries: a fire extinguisher; torch; first aid kit; and even a ‘bed’ (the cabin was more a cupboard with spot lights (you could not see anything) and a damp, uncomfortably firm surface, that took up the entire floor space save enough for one set of feet, dressed up as a mattress). The whole experience has made me have sympathy for all big boned people; never in a million years would a chubster have got inside the cabin and even the most determined would have been leaving in an ambulance after being cut-out by the fire brigade.

I am not sure the photograph truly does justice to the complete lack of space (the gap between my face and the indented ceiling was roughly 20cm.

The actual sailing was fantastic fun. All the people were friendly, helpful and informative. The weather held out for the duration, with sunglasses being an essential piece of equipment, and the winds were, so our skipper told us, perfect. Unfortunately, despite all these marvellously wonderful factors, I was sick, repeatedly. I imagined the trip would be a couple of hours tops, given the boats were built for speed, so once I got through the first hour happy, contented and learning to sail like a demon I was like “oh yes, I’m half way there and doing fine; I rock.” Unfortunately, this was when I started feeling queasy; this was shortly followed by continued throwing-up for the duration of the trip, which was actually another four hours. I was thoroughly disappointed in myself wondering why I was suddenly one of those annoying people who suffer from sea-sickness. Fortunately I am still thoroughly ill, so I am not set to be forever parted from sailing trips, ferries, barges and pedalos (although I am not really feeling very blessed or fortunate now, it is clearly a case of short-term loss but long-term gain).

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On this, the very day that I will be boarding a boat equipped with sleeping bag, waterproofs and thermal long-johns, I am struggling and longing for heat, sun and all things beautiful about summer. If I am not to be blessed with glorious sunshine and sweltering heat (which looks highly unlikely), I just want to stay in bed and have a duvet day. This, alas, will not happen. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, the Boston Legal box set and my duvet will have to lay in wait for another miserable Friday and the, soon to be purchased, sleeping bag will have to take their place.

When talking with my little sister to ask if she owns a sleeping bag, (the sheer terror that entered her eyes upon hearing the question made me realise that none of the sisters in the Fashion Foreplay house are particularly outdoorsy and I am likely to die attempting to sleep al fresco all weekend), the inevitable question (after the rabbit in headlights look) was: “why on earth do you need one?” I explained I was off sailing and needed a sleeping bag; the response has left me wondering if I will ever return back to solid ground.

She said. “This weekend? Don’t you think you should have started collecting sponsor money sooner; you could have made loads if people knew you were doing this earlier. What charity is it for? NSPCC?”

Good god, what have I signed myself up for. I am still completely unequipped, although I have found some warm clothes and white-ish soled wellingtons, I am entirely at a loss for boat shoes (and I am not happy about not being nautically themed when on a boat).

Anyway, this fear led me to flick through old pictures to refresh my memory of my life, so that if my whole life flashes before my eyes in this life-threatening experience I will be able to remember all of it (my memory is not the best when in a contented state, I should imagine a near death experience will have me completely flummoxed and preparation is the key to nearly dying successful).

I thought I would share some pictures from a lovely summery vintage shoot to warm the cockles on this cold, drizzly morning.

Photographer: David Swailes; MUA: Sukhi Panesar; Stylist: Pam Cheema at Frock on Vintage.
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Grease is the word

Images from a self-styled Grease-themed shoot.

Right – the outfit.

Left – the image.

Talking about Grease makes me reminisce for by-gone days of girlie sleepovers. Clad in brightly coloured fluffy pyjamas; adorning a gooey green facemask of porridge consistency; scoffing chocolate; slurping wine; and gossiping about all manner of mind numbing, usually factually incorrect, recent incidents.

Lucky for me, BFF 1 and 2 still enjoy acting like teenagers as much as I do ( We obviously need more advanced planning to partake in our sleepovers now, which makes it much less spontaneous but still highly enjoyable, well apart from the now necessary military preparation. Not only do I need to pack all the vital girly essentials (nail polish, face masks, fatty treats, magazines, films, pjs and the obvious: outfit, underwear, toothbrush etc.) I also have to be fully equipped with teddy; cars; postman pat moving night-light; little pjs; 3 little clean outfits; wellies; slippers; sleep socks; activity bumper pack; wii (with remotes and games) and children’s DVDs.

The girls also have new found responsibilities. They have to check with respective partners; get a dog sitter; ensure they’ve cancelled yoga, or whichever other activity should have taken place that evening, in time not to be charged as a non-show; ensure the house is tidy enough to have guests, so they always plan for the night after the cleaner has been (although we never care what the other’s house is like we still all ensure it is spick and span upon arrival – the morning after the night before is a whole other kettle of fish).

Today, I am adamant that I will be able to arrange a date where both BFFs can come to a sleep-over, preferably during half-term or on a weekend so we don’t have to wake by 6.30, although with Christmas and New Year coming and both BFFs birthdays in-between we may be scheduling for February!

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Days merge together

You may have imagined my inability to post new content was due to being unbelievably busy with numerous invites to fabulous events and lots of other unexpected joyful excitement. The reality is not so; each day seems eerily the same, resulting in a calamitous case of déjà vu. Each inevitably involves some minor variation on doing the school-run, having lunch with a friend, a fun-filled family activity (park, play-centre, safari park, zoo, funfair, boat trip –you name it we’ve tried it), doggie duties, some kind of shopping (both food and retail in general) and other indispensable family chores.

I am writing this whilst also cooking cannelloni, playing cars, having an in-depth conversation about playground politics and a completely separate conversation with BFF 2 and cleaning spilt yoghurt from the floor. I know, Super Woman has nothing on me! The cannelloni is a peace offering to mummy-dearest after last night’s devastating-doggie debacle; this involved a prepared dish of cannelloni awaiting a pre-heated oven being mauled by an over-excitable seven month-old German Shepherd and the family having to endure a barely edible ready-meal instead.

I have been given some good news that allows me to gloat a little today. Following a recent rendezvous with my lovely but sadly label-loathing ex-boyfriend, he has, in fact, confirmed that he likes the outfit he purchased after I took him shopping as his stylist (better late than never). As you can imagine it is rather difficult to make an ex-boyfriend listen to your sterling advice. It is never easy to shop with a man; they bore easier than young children, detest spending money on clothes unless it is absolutely essential to do so (e.g. their mum/girlfriend/cleaner (delete as appropriate) has not done their washing in time and they need a non-smelly t-shirt to go out in), feel nauseous at having to change numerous times and take advice from women badly even when in the most agreeable of mood.

Add to this the ex-boyfriend element of the situation and you’re off to a poor start, as an ex not only do they no-longer have to fain interest in your conversations and nod in agreement purely to maintain the peace even though they disagree with every word that is flying out your mouth they have this new-found confidence to tell you that they no longer have to do this. Trying to style someone who will disagree with every choice you make purely to prove a point is, to say the least, tiresome but I am not one to be ignored, a persistent little **** (as described by ex-boyfriend) I battled on till I eventually just forced him (I know his pin code) to buy the best outfit. Weeks later and ex-boyfriend is finally loving his new glad-rags.

Ex-boyfriend 0 – 1 me

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Today’s Outfit

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Today’s outfit

In hindsight this may not have been the most sensible outfit but I really wanted to wear my boots which have been cooped-up in a closet for about 4 years. They turned-out to be less than practical for the school run, which involved chasing after my darling little Munchie up a rather steep muddy hill and were also completely impracticable for playing with the dog as that also involved running, is anyone else shocked by the need to run whilst playing with a dog?

The general demeanour of the outfit was fine for a friendly but upmarket lunch (the outfit was actually perfect for lunching had the sizes been more forgiving,  but they weren’t, so the trousers ended-up a little snug after eating and the boots were skin-tight and rather uncomfortable throughout).

The area the outfit failed me most, however, was whilst shopping for a super sailing outfit (which is yet to be found). Every time I got changed I had to untie and then unwind the string encircled around the boot and then try to re-force the, now much weaker and bent, zip round my gigantic post-baby calves and finally re-cross and re-tie the cords to a standard that would ensure they do not unravel and cause a grave injury to my self or an innocent passer-by. This palaver added approximately 10 minutes to every outfit change; leaving me grumpy, uncomfortable and not yet in possession of a sea-worthy outfit and left my poor, previously angelic, child wicked, bad tempered, screaming and uncontrollable. Needless to say, these boots will not be worn again until I have lost at least 3 inches from around my calves and, even then, only to an event which I know they will remain on my feet until the end of the outing.

A clear victory for style; where my need for colour co-ordinating and pattern clashing triumphed jubilantly over lower-leg blood circulation.

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Last night, me and long-term bff decided to re-live our youth…

…this morning my feet are killing me!

This was an impromptu, completely unorganised and chaotic evening. We decided to go out whilst driving back from Bridgnorth, which was also a spontaneous trip, decided spur of the moment, whilst out for lunch in a completely different county. We only went to Bridgnorth to look round some vintage shops, nearly killing ourselves in the process whilst attempting to negotiate some  treacherous stairs in sky-high heels in a shop even less organised and more cluttered than my closet. Our first plan of action for the evening was to go to Birmingham (not that ‘plan’ can really be used to describe frantically debating where to go as driving to bff’s house to pick-up her clothes). We then decided, with a little persuasion from bff’s fiancé, to head-out in Worcester and boogie, and behave, like teenagers.

Lethal stairs and pure chaos:

Bff is half my size, but as I have no teenie-bopping clobber lurking in my tip-esque car, I, naturally, try to squeeze my much larger derriere into bff’s most ‘I am 13 again’ attire. A solid hour, a bottle of wine and, at my best estimate, 50 outfit-changes later, I am appropriately-ish (we really do not look anywhere near 13) dressed.

Bff’s outfit (I told you she looks like a supermodel; if she wasn’t my oldest friend I’d hate her – skinny cow!):

Bff looks, as ever, like a superstar supermodel (hardly a 13-year-old’s idea of looking good on a night out as there was no practically non-existent skirt involved). I look like I’m having a mum’s, hopefully a yummy-mummy’s, night out but at least I did not stay in the spandex, sequinned leggings that I tried on which made bff squirt wine from her nostrils and fall from the bed with laughter. All things considered, I was looking pretty good.

So bff and I hit the dance floor. We were looking fierce and busting out all manner of groovy moves, proving to all the kids (hopefully they were actually around 18) that we have most definitely still got it. We are going great-guns, arms flailing widely and footwork so fancy that any onlookers would have thought the late, great Michael Jackson personally taught us how to get-down. I am now extremely cocky and even throwing-in some line-dancing heel slaps; unfortunately, this is when T-Pain’s apple bottom jeans comes on and I decide to ‘hit the floor’. The first time I ‘drop it like it’s hot’. I am looking simply fabulous. I even get that multi-level ass-shaking thing down to a tee and snap back up like a freshly released elastic band. This is when disaster strikes. I go down for the second time hoping to get even lower than the first and teach the children how the pros do it. I find myself practically sat on the floor but unable to get back up; my legs have completely given up on me and bff has to help me up. The youngsters snigger and I retreat to the bar.

We then move on to a club where we find so few people it is not at all farfetched to picture tumble-weed blowing through the central dance floor. Thankfully it livens up just in time for us to slink back to bff’s equipped with pizza to watch Sex and the City in bed.

At 7am the deafening alarm awakes bff and I, after what feels like 5 minutes sleep, so I can take munchkin to his first proper birthday party. As soon as we enter my brain starts to throb as screams, howls and high-pitched laughter echo through my fragile head. As newbies at school we know absolutely nothing about anything or anyone. All of the parents are stood around talking and drinking coffee, not rushing back to their car to make use of two-hours of child free bliss. Slowly the realisation that I will have to stay the entire two hours sinks in. Nowhere and I repeat NOWHERE on the invitation did it state that parents should remain at the party. I know none of the mums so look around sheepishly for another newbie to chat to. I am lucky; one is right beside me and turns out to be lovely – phew.

Half way through the party I realise I have in fact got one of the party boys names wrong. I have missed the ‘o’ from his name on the otherwise perfectly picked out card. I beg forgiveness rather awkwardly from the mother of said misnamed child and she tells me that Roberto is often called Robert when she is stern with him. Great – now I feel bad. I laugh it off and tell her I hope he does not think I am angry with him and apologise some more.

I remain on good terms for the duration of the party, until, upon departure, my little cherub is the only child not to thank the mothers for his goodie bag. I enthusiastically thank all the hosting parents and exit after short farewells. I have survived my first school party with almost no hiccups despite minimal sleep, a hangover and server brain ache and did so in relative style.

Today’s outfit:           Yesterday’s Day-time Outfit:      Yesterday’s Night-time Outfit (Bff’s):


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