March 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm (Addiction, bipolar, Catholicism, Charity, Children's stories, Counselling, Dads, Death, Depression, dresses, Fashion, Fashion Icons, Female solidarity, Feminism, Friendship, Gossip, Health care, Homelife, Immigration, Inspirational women, Ireland, Market Harborough, mental health, Motherhood, Mummys, NHS, photography, Pregnancy, Relationships, Smoking, Style, Terrorism, The ageing process, The Potato Famine, Uncategorized, Vintage, Wine) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippie, http://www.coventry.gov.uk/ccm/portal/, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029583/, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120903/, http://www.mattelscrabble.com/en/adults/index.html, http://www.srtrc.org/)
- My sister reluctantly leant me this dress as she is rather keen on it and is saving it for the festivals. I do love it but felt like a cross between a pregnant sunflower and a fat fruit salad sweet. I wore it most of the day with a polo-neck but wish it had been warmer so I could wear it with flip flops outside. The photos were taken after a brilliant game of scrabble where we made the board wide open and where I got the highest scoring word of the night but still came fourth because I failed to get rid of my Z. I do love Scrabble but wish I could win just once.
March 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm (Back Packing, bipolar, Canterbury Court, Charity, Clubbing, Coffee, Counselling, Depression, Designers, Dress making, dresses, Fashion, Fashion Icons, Female solidarity, Feminism, Fine dining, Fitness, Football, Friendship, Gifts, Gossip, Holidays, Homelife, Inspirational women, Leicester, Long distance relationships, Manchester, Market Harborough, mental health, Motherhood, Movement to stop Uggs making the world ugly, Music, photography, Pregnancy, Relationships, Shoes, Smoking, Social Media, Student, Style, The ageing process, The boy, Transport, Uncategorized, Unemployment, University life, Vintage, Walking, Wedding, Wine)
Today I was out and about in Leicester with three of the friends in this two-part post. After having a girls sleepover last night where we all got teary eyed watching The Time Travellers Wife I was woken this morning by my friend’s son who decided that the best way to get his Auntie Ellie out of bed was to jump on top of her. Thankfully my other friend who I had fallen asleep beside came to my rescue and took him into the kitchen to play until I managed to come round enough to mumble a morning. I will never understand how people function without coffee or tea and do not take kindly to being woken up by anyone who is not carrying a pot of this liquid morning gold. This then is my excuse for looking decidedly dishevelled and as pale as a ghost in today’s images. I spent my day with my three lovely ladies feeling like quite the lady of lunches as we settled in to the sumptuous sofas at the slug and lettuce.
Monica Kenny: Monica has made an appearance in the posts in the past. She has been a great friend ever since our sixth form days. We can chat for hours on the phone and still have loads to say when we meet up for coffee ten minutes later. She is fiercely loyal and has stood by me through all of my episodes. She once came up to Manchester for the weekend on a surprise visit just because I’d told her I was struggling to make friends and along with the two pals she dragged along with her they cheered me up no end. During the weekend we somehow managed to knock a bottle of wine and a plant pot of soil into one of my drawers and it made me smile every time I went to wear something to find it smelled of Lambrini. No matter how many times I end up breaking down she is always there to help me feel better and cracks me up with her sarcastic sense of humour. Whenever I’m feeling too blue to go out in public she’ll come round to my house with flowers and even put on a pot of tea for us. She is a fabulous companion on a night out and is ever happy to join me in tearing it up on the dance floor and even puts up with my terrible parking and love of listening to hardcore gangs-ta rap in the car whilst I drive. She has supported me no end with this project and I love that she lives just a hill away from me. We have shared endless taxis home from Leicester after nights out when we were at college and somehow she always manages to bargain us the cheapest ride even when we spend the whole time singing and demanding the poor driver turns up the radio pretty please. She always makes an effort to get along with my boyfriends, even the eejots.
Suzanne Faulkner: Sue or Lady Susanna as I tend to call her is always able to crack me up. It is thanks to Sue that we used to get served in pubs when we were 16, she had the self-assured presence that most sixteen year old girls lack and had no qualms about going to the bar and asking for eight bottles of orange reef. Me, Monica and Sue used to hang out during free periods in the sixth form tuck shop and once when Monica had some rubbish news we shared a bottle of vodka and some chocolates before heading off to lessons where we eagerly got involved in debates about I’m still not quite sure what. When I went away to Cos with the girls, me and Sue decided we wanted to spend a day in Turkey haggling and hunting for fake designer finds; we even brought a bigger bag to help us smuggle them back from the mainland. Unfortunately when we got to the shore at dawn it was to find our ship would not set to sail due to severe weather warnings. After trying to convince random fishermen to stow us away on their ships we dug our bare feet into the sand and whilst we watched as the sun came up we decided to make the best of a bad situation. After finding the only place in Cos which did an English breakfast with drinkable tea, Heinz baked beans and tomato sauce we got on a bus to the other side of the island where we found an array of fake Louis Vuitton bags and wallets and some great actual designer deals. I brought a YSL skirt that was so tiny that whenever I wear it I have to put shorts on to protect my modesty and a rolex for my boyfriend as a treat. Sue now has a baby and a husband but she is still an absolute riot and makes the meanest cup of tea in the Midlands.
KI: I am not sure when me and Kat became friends but all I know is that by the time university ended I had found the one girl capable of keeping up with me on a shopping trip. Kat shares my love of beautiful indecently high heels, vintage finds and chocolate rich deserts. We have spent many a day pouring over vintage bags and scarves and she has an eye for a find which means that every time I see her she surprises me with Primark finds which could very well be from Prada. She is a great friend who is never afraid to voice her concern when I get on the wrong side of slim and never bothers to flattter me with nonsense. She christened me crazy Ellie but has never once made me feel embarrassed about my “issues”, indeed she somehow manages to make my troubles seem more manageable by making me find the funny side of them. No matter how long it has been since we have seen each other there is never need for apology or awkward silences and though I am sure we would be happy to sit in each others company without saying a word we rarely have time to try it out as we always have so much to gossip and gas about over our large glasses of white and red wine and the decadent deserts that we always share – 50 per-cent less fat don’t you know! Although she is a year younger than me she inspires me with her ability to save up her money for travelling, study and even home ownership. She is the anchor who will tell me when I am being an eejot and will help to pull me back to earth when I am flying too high. Shopping is never quite as good without her at my side.
EK: Whilst I was at Uni I was lucky enough to have some great course friends. The ones who have remained a part of my life the most have been Kat, Elly and Marie. Myself and Marie met in my first year and our ability to talk faster than anyone else on the planet meant we quickly became firm friends. All three of them helped me to somehow get through my degree by reminding me of essay deadlines, helping me to study and even lending me lecture notes from the nine am lectures I so rarely managed to make it along to; mornings have never been my forte.
The four of us together went on one of the most amazing holidays I have ever had to Venice after finishing our dissertations. We had a fantastic time; drinking dry white wine on St Marks Square, trying on diamonds in the glass houses and imagining the futures that lay before us.
I met Elly in my final year through a mutual friend and it was love at first site for both of us. Though we both often struggle to get on with girls on account of us usually getting on well with the guys the two of us clicked immediately. We spent our first day with one another lounging on the lawn outside the union drinking beer and bearing our souls. By the end of the day and indeed the end of a fairly booze fuelled registration week we were best buddies and she saw me through a year of heartache and hilarious affairs. The tragedy of our friendship and probably the blessing of the male population is we have never been single at the same time. She is the only girl I ever kissed and is the only reason I would ever consider moving to London town. We once went on a huge night out there where we didn’t pay for one drink but somehow managed to get completely hammered. At the end of the night whilst stumbling up the garden path we both managed to fall either side into the bushes. After lying there in hysterics for what felt like hours I somehow managed to pull both of us from the hedges. The next day we had to spend hours trying to locate wallets and phones in the undergrowth whilst nursing one of the worst hangovers of my life with a cold beer. When she went travelling around the globe I missed her like crazy and whenever we see one another we always end up having a great giggle.
Niki Steele: Niki has appeared in the blog before, most recently in the series about the boy and I. It is thanks to Niki that me and the boy got it together back in my final year at university. We met whilst I was working at a bar in Manchester and even after I quit we stayed in touch. We used to get together for coffee and roll up liquorice cigarettes to have a break from uni work and would end up spending the evening boozing into the early hours. Along with Ms Clayton she is my dance partner of the north and when she relocated down to London to start an apprenticeship in glass blowing I was heart-broken even though I was happy for her. I am the fairy god mother of her gorgeous baby girl and some of the best nights out I’ve ever had have been in fifth Ave with her dancing at my side. She is the girl who introduced me to Mac, the one who would always make sure I got home okay when I’d drank too much and would never bother to trouble me with the gory details if I’d acted the fool. She is more skilled at table football and pool than any girl or guy I know and is an accomplished glass blower whose pieces are the ultimate ornament for every affluent home across the globe.
There are so many more girlfriends I want to include but even if I had a hundred posts I could not thank them enough for all they have done and all they continue to do to make my life a brighter place. There is one quote I found whilst I was researching this piece which applies I imagine to almost every friendship I have ever had and to those who have stuck around in spite of my crazy I thank you a thousand times over.
“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you.” Rita Mae Brown 1944
And finally to every friend I was lucky enough to have had in my life: “You were the one who made things different, you were the one who took me in. You were the one thing I could count on, above all, you were my friend.” ~ Author unknown
- Today’s dress is an absolute privilege to wear. It is on loan from Belinda Smears and is designer. I wore it with tan tights and Kurt Geiger statement heels because it is just too pretty to drown in opaques. The photos were taken by the boy back in Withington after I got home from a long train journey and a lovely lunch with my Leicester ladies.
March 9, 2010 at 8:57 am (bipolar, Bitchy Girls, Cancer, Celebrity, Charity, Destructive relationships, Dress making, dresses, Fashion, Fashion Icons, Female solidarity, Feminism, Friendship, Homelife, Inspirational women, Live reveiws, Manchester, Market Harborough, mental health, Motherhood, Music, photography, Relationships, Style, The boy, Uncategorized) (http://uchalla.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/press-release-international-mens-day-2009/, http://www.carolannduffy.co.uk/, http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/wollstonecraft.html, http://www.tmaw.co.uk/joannal.html)
Today is International Women’s Day and though I was going to moan about how hard it can be to be torn between the boy up north and my own number 67 heavenly home, I decided it was too trivial a subject for a day when there are more important issues to consider.
When I think of being a woman and what feminism means to me what comes to mind is the women in my own life who have inspired me through their strength, creativity and kindness. Though I will always be grateful to the suffragettes and the bra burning, sexually liberating women of the 1960s and 1970s 1970′s for all they have done and all they continue to do, my experiences of sisterhood are firstly and firmly immersed in my own memories of the ladies in my life who have shown me the beauty of being a woman of this world and the importance and necessity of female friendship.
After reading reels of articles, tweets and re-tweets upon the subject of International Women’s Day I decided to focus today’s post on the women who are and who have been a major part of my life. I want to honour the friend who held my hand in the car as we returned to my house where my sister was dying; to share the tears and the laughter of the time my mother’s friend plucked my eyebrows to perfection or the time I sat on a stool in my auntie Bridgeen’s shop giggling like only a 13 year old girl can do whilst I waited for the sting of the pink gun which would pierce my ears. It is these women after all who along with the great women’s writers like Mary Wollstonecraft have shaped my understanding of what it means to be a woman.
Me and my mother had a chat about all the women who we thought would warrant inclusion in this celebratory chapter and in the end we came to the conclusion that trying to cram everyone into one post would be to do them all an injustice. Instead I have decided to do a women’s week where I will do my best to honour the women in my life who have in some way helped to shape me into the girl I am today. There will be a host of characters who you may have come across in previous posts but there will also be many who have not yet been mentioned. I have decided to divide the week up into six separate posts focusing on the following subjects. Friends, sisters (and cousins), mummy (and mummy’s friends), aunties, grandmothers and teachers. In the interests of equality when International Mens Day comes around I will of course do a small series on the men in my life; for better or worse I have enough subject matter to fill a week with them.
The main aim of international women’s day is to honour the accomplishments of women and press for equality between the sexes. Although much has been done to close the gap there are still so many women in need. One of the issues which today is focusing on is that of the death of women in labour. We are lucky in this country to have adequate provision of medical care during childbirth and pregnancy but in our world one woman will die needlessly of pregnancy related causes every minute. This is an unsettling statistic and is not one we should take lightly. If you want more information on how to help be you a guy or a girl you can find out more by going to the homepage of the white ribbon alliance http://www.whiteribbonalliance.org/about.cfm
Another thing I thought perhaps would be nice to do even though it is only a small thing is to try and do something kind for women in our own lives. This is something everyone can partake in today or throughout this week. If you remember and if you have the time it would be great if you could perhaps do something kind for one woman you know and one you do not. Even if you just help someone who has a buggy and a toddler get through a swing door you will at least have made one woman’s day better.
Lastly let me leave you with some of the most inspiring quotes I have seen today on the subject of international women’s day. May they warm your hearts and give you some food for thought, even if they are a little hard to swallow.
Joanna Lumley: “We in the UK have access to all we need: millions of our sisters have less than nothing, not even hope. We should offer them our understanding hearts, our helping hands and our generous purses.”
Eve Ensler: “Women are not some marginalized, insignificant grp.We are the majority of citizens.What happens to us determines everything.”
Lynne Franks: “Great for women to celebrate together and to discuss how-with men-we create a new kind of sustainable, harmonious world.”
Claire Rayner: “Safety for women having babies:unacceptable death toll from this normal human function in many parts of our small planet.”
Kathy Lette: “Any woman who calls herself a post feminist, has kept her wonder bra and burnt her brains.”
Carol Ann Duffy: “It’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day not only to remember the great female achievements of the past 100 years but to remind ourselves of the huge talent and potential of women worldwide which still needs to be unlocked.”
Madeleine K. Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”
- This LBD is on loan from my elder sister. In choosing to wear it today I am embracing one of the most wonderful female fashions of the past century and am feeling their fierceness and their strength on this day which celebrates them. Being a woman is so wonderful because as well as having intuition and a great sense of direction we get to wear beautiful dresses as well. In the spirit of the day I paint my lips a lovely red and paint my nails I make an effort and though I may be totally overdressed at the gig I am reviewing I feel fabulous, feminine and totally in love with being a girl.
February 20, 2010 at 2:18 am (Animals, bipolar, Charity, Crime, Designers, dresses, Fashion, Fashion crime, Fashion Icons, Friendship, Manchester, Movement to stop Uggs making the world ugly, photography, Shoes, Style, Uncategorized) (http://www.flannelsfashion.com/, http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/default.aspx?gclid=cmesxe2ogaacfv1d4wodghqala, http://www.gucci.com/uk/index2.asp, http://www.prada.com/)
Right this is going to annoy a few people, but enough is enough, as many of you may see from the photo on the left the Ugg problem; which is frankly just as important and unpleasant to view as the obesity problem; is being taken to a whole new level of hideousness. Usually I am not a huge fan of those ridiculous lists of what is in and what is not but if they were currently only publishing this on them as the only thing going down to the core of the earth I would change my opinion of them. Uggs it seems are encouraging their wearers to find equally unattractive clothing to accompany them. Gone are the cute little legs with thick black tights and a cute skirt, gone even are the front rump phenomena causing leggings, this monstrosity is it seems the only way to accessories something so bloody ugly. I am informed by Heat, that these things are jeggings or loggers but as far as I am concerned they are saggy elephant bottom pants. There has now been two occasions at the train station that have forced me to realise that the Ugg problem is worse than I had thought. The other day I saw a child who had been given Uggs and not even the actual Uggs themselves but fake Uggs. Good lord I thought, the poor tot is having her tootsies corrupted before she even has a chance to beg for heelage.
The other incident was during the snow season where I kept coming across examples of fully grown women wearing Uggs which were so filthy I was under the impression they had developed foot rot. Now before I upset too many people, Uggs are fine for the odd occasion when the weather is fine, but as soon as it rains they are best kept indoors with one’s dressing gown as they are essentially slippers. I only wear a dressing gown out of the house to bring something in from the car, and even then I will wear my Chinese silk dressing gown rather than my fluffy baby blue comfort cloak, equally one must apply this rule to slippers and dare I say it flip-flops.
I have in the past seen some men say they do not mind women in Uggs. They are usually saying this for the same reason a man tells you he loves you after one date, they want to get inside one’s delicates. When a man decides he wants to explore the secret world of a woman and get into the whole transsexual scene the first order he puts in for a size 12 is not a pair of sandy colored Uggs, it is for a beautiful pair of silk stilettos with delicate detailing and fine stitching. I recently saw a man in Glamour compare Uggs to, coital kryptonite which give the impression of waterlogged ankles.
Regardless of what men say however we have a duty not to upset our fellow citizens by the way we dress. I can not bear the site of men walking round in the summer with their bellies out and on display with their hairy fluff fest chests and it is time we acted to stop Uggs filling our beautiful world with similar unsightliness.
Yesterday whilst shopping for vintage bits and bobs with one of my Northern friends who is very stylish and understands the importance of putting ones best foot, face and frock forward we came across in Flannels outlet store in the Northern Quarter in Manchester we came upon some shoes by Gucci, Prada and even Missoni which were reduced by up to 70%. Each one was an individual work of art and as the bouncer like security guard watched me I nearly cried when I slipped my unworthy foot into it asking my friend why it was that people would wear Uggs when there were such beautiful alternatives.
For those of you who can not part from the comfort of the flat-footed shoe, I do not blame you, I haven’t felt my feet for years so I can happily run, skip, dance and duel in the highest of shoes but I understand that many women and indeed men struggle to master the art of walking in a heel and there is nothing quite as ugly as a woman wearing a shoe she can not walk in. There are alternatives to Uggs, I suggest getting yourself down to Dune or L K Bennett for some exceptionally long-lasting alternatives or even Kurt Geiger which will seriously last you a short lifetime. If you can not part with Uggs, please try not to wear them with something equally as Ugly and never for the sake of the memory of Jackie O and Coco Chanel, never ever wear saggy elephant bottom pants or worse still ever pair them with a beautiful piece of clothing. Dresses wherever possible, particularly lovely little black ones like the above (£3 from another sample sale) should be worn with the best possible accessories, otherwise it’s just cruel, to yourself as well as the innocent dress.