I am finding things tough at the moment. I am tearful and cry at everything from Come Dine With Me, don’t ask, to One Born Every Minute. I am seeing my CPN tomorrow and in many ways the visit feels long overdue. I do not know why I am feeling so down. Things are good, they really are but here I am sad and blue not really knowing what to do.
A visit to the CPN always helps because I get a chance to offload and work out a plan for how I’m going to deal with life generally. At the moment things are tricky because the boy is not here and my parents are in Ireland so I have far too much time alone with my thoughts.
The one thing that really sticks out is the moment is my lack of a regular photographer. When I did the 365 Dresses project my mum and the boy were regular snappers and it became part of the fun of the blog and made sure that even when I was down I still had to make the effort to smile. The boy is always full of advice about how smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, is great as it releases endorphins.
When he tells me this when all I want to do is run away and cry .I want to yell at him but I’m usually just to low to summon the strength to do so.
Today saw good progress in terms of footwear. Four days in I have mastered the art of these heels and no longer waddle but stride on my way to the office. Although I am getting the hang of the courts I could have hugged the estate agent when he offered me a lift to the second viewing. As soon as I got home I slipped my purple tights into my silky red slip on shoes and heard my toes breathe a sigh of relief.
The photos will be taken tomorrow as I am too low and too tired to put on a show, even in front of a mirror.
This post has been difficult to put together, not because I have too few friends but because I am blessed to have so many. The only way I could think of to prevent this post turning into another never-ending essay was to try to decide which of my wonderful friends I would choose as bridesmaids if I was ever to get married. Although I am sure this list will put the fear of God into my parents financial five-year plan I couldn’t help but include so many and would have included more if I had not been trying to stop this post becoming a bore. Here in no particular order, other than the first who will always be my best friend, are the women in my life who have moved me to tears with their kindness, their generosity, their jokes and anecdotes and by always being there to clasp my hand tightly when everything around us has been falling apart.
Katharine Ryland – Whilst I was at university myself and Katherine lost touch for some time. It was inevitable in a way, although we had been the best of friends since we were 13 we both had such busy lives and it was hard to find the time to stay in touch. If I’m honest I always felt it was my fault that we’d drifted apart, she had started going out with a guy who I struggled to get on with and though I tried to hide it I’m sure she sensed it and ultimately I’m sure it effected our friendship. In spite of this we still saw each other from time to time and on my twenty-first-birthday she called me up to tell me she was pregnant. I was delighted for her but I still had another year of study up North and it wasn’t until I moved back home that we got properly back in touch.
We went out with her beautiful baby boy to Cafe Bruxelles and ended up having such a great day that I remember feeling really rather sad about all I had missed sharing with her and I made a decision to make more of an effort to get on with her partner; she was too good a friend to lose and after all she loved him and he made her happy so how could I not.
Not long after this lunch she got engaged and I was so pleased I got to share in her happiness when she told me her news. A few months later whilst out on a girls night in Leicester she turned to me and asked if I wanted to be her maid of honour. I can honestly say that even if I ever get engaged this will remain the happiest moment in my life; we had made a promise to one another when we were 16 in a bar in Lanzarote over a jug of sangria to be each other’s bridesmaids. I had assumed when she got engaged that she might ask someone else to take the job as we had been out of touch for so long so when she asked me I was ridiculously happy.
Although my dress ended up being made by her mother, when we first went shopping to find a dress I could wear she assured me I could pick anyone I wanted and whilst we were in the shop she tried on the dress she had chosen and I started to cry like a child at how beautiful she looked. The night before the wedding I stayed the night at her parents house and we shared her bed together as we had done years ago when we were kids. In the morning I helped her with her make up and getting dressed and did my best to soothe her little boy when he had a tantrum minutes before we were due to leave because he wanted to try on Mummy’s veil. There is a picture of the two of us arm in arm leaving the church and it looks as though we have just emerged from a civil ceremony and still cracks me up when I see it. She made a beautiful bride and I was inspired to give a speech after her husband and father had said their piece about what a wonderful woman she was and how truly lucky her husband was to have her by his side.
We have always shared everything with one another, although to begin with as an only child she did struggle with the concept of sharing clothing. We once had a massive fall out because she refused to let me wear her top as she was convinced I was going to stretch it. There was no secrecy or privacy between us when we were younger; after we got badly burnt on an overcast day in Devon after falling asleep together on the beach we got home and had to rub after-sun into each others ridiculous tan lines. As we soothed each others skin with aloe vera and very gentle application we were simultaneously cracking up with laughter at how silly we both looked.
We found the results of all our exams together and when we were on holiday in Lanzarote we crammed into a telephone booth on the sea-walk of Lanzarote giggling in disbelief at the amount of As Katherine had got. We also helped each other through the dark days; through heartbreak and troubles at home. It was Katherine who held my hand on the way back to my home after my parents had rung hers to ask if they could bring me home straight away because my sister had gone downhill fast and the doctors were concerned that she wasn’t going to make it through the night. She is hilarious, intelligent and caring and even with a baby boy to care for she did so well in her degree that when she graduated she had two jobs waiting for her. I will always be pleased we got back in touch, my life would be nowhere near as fun without her. I will save sharing some of my favourite memories of our friendship as she has asked if she can write a post about her three favourite memories of us but I imagine they might include the time I went skinny dipping with my sister on my sweet sixteenth in Eastbourne at midnight. Other than my sister it will be Katherine who I will tell if I ever find myself knocked up and it will be her who I will want by my side on the day of my wedding.
AC: When me and the boy first got together i always felt a little lonely when I was round at his house. he lived with six other guys, nearly all of who had long-standing girlfriends and I felt a bit of a spare wheel. The one girl who I immediately clicked with however was Anna. She had dreams of being a musical theatre star and although she enjoyed singing as much as me, people actually enjoyed it when she sang. This shared love of singing and a tendency to live our lives in a rather dramatic way means we have spent many a taxi ride home singing away even when the boys beg us to stop. When I met her I remember speaking about her with one of my friends and concluding that she was a natural beauty and that we were actually really rather jealous of her perfectly shaped eyebrows, white teeth and dancers figure. In the early days of our friendship I was rather worried that I might be a bit much for her, when I bumped into her in the library one day and started talking at her at a mile a minute about dissertations and exams and nights out I had been planning she appeared to be somewhat terrified. We became firm friends however after the boys moved to a smaller house and I think it may have helped that I opened my entire wardrobe to her and did my very best to put aside my reservations about vegetarians and would happily make her hippy friendly food whenever we had a dinner party.
The time I realised I had a friend for life was when she agreed to join me in getting dressed up as a witch to go and queue outside Waterstones for the release of the last Harry Potter book in the series. There are few friends who will partake in this kind of humiliation just to keep someone company but Anna came with me in spite of never having read any of the books. We spent the next fortnight driving the boys mad by shutting ourselves away in one of their rooms and banning them entry until we had read at least another four chapters. I think it was whilst we were lying on a bed repeating lines to one another which made us giggle that I realised I had got myself a friend for life who felt as much like a sister as my own blood.
Anna is one of those rare friends who will be by your side even when you have done everything in your power to try to hide away from the world. Three nights after I’d had a nervous breakdown and ended up in hospital I went to the launch of the boy’s first single. I was only able to do so because I had Anna with me the whole time, holding my hand reminding me that I wasn’t crazy and that everything was going to be OK even if it didn’t feel that way at the time. She is able to make me laugh at life events which are otherwise tragic and when me and the boy were having a heap of troubles last year it was Anna who held me whilst I cried my heart out over loss and love still to raw to share. We have both followed our dreams in life and I am sure I would not have had the guts to carry on going for mine if I hadn’t had her for inspiration. She never once gave up on her dream of playing a role in a musical and now she is touring the country playing the part of Neil Sedaka’s wife in the hit play, Laughter In The Rain. She is my Scrabble companion and the only one who is sweet enough not to tell me how dreadful a singer I really am.
In spite of my efforts not to make this an essay I have noticed that all to quickly the word count has crept us and so I will save the other five for another day, I promise you they are worth the space.
- Today’s dress has been donated by my Auntie Bridgeen. It was originally from Primark and thankfully has a slip to preserve my modesty. Katharine and my friend Monica took the photos and the reason I am cracking up in them is because Monica has just told me that I am in trouble with someone because of something I have said on the blog. The gingerbread man was made by Katherine’s son. Katherine gifted me another dress to wear whilst I was at her house, proof indeed that her issues with sharing have been resolved.
Day 48 – Mysterious strangers in motion calming down the commotion and one hell of a Valentines day gift
Today’s dress was brought for me not by a mysterious stranger but by one of my most generous friends, she is like father christmas but all through the year and is always the first to put her hand in her wallet and the last to complain about parting with cash for the sake of treating friends to a coffee, a bottle of wine, baby clothes or in this case a pretty dress to keep the project alive.
We once had an argument back when I was ten-years-old, I can’t remember exactly what she said, it usually comes to me after a couple of glasses of wine but this being the first day of lent I am stone cold sober and all I remember is that I think she may have insulted my cardigan which was white and knitted and I cried. Anyway back then I was well-known for my mood swings and my darling sisters coined the wonderful and truly inventive song to compliment my sudden sulks which was; “see-saw, mardjeri-door, Ellie’s gone off in a mardi.” Kids can be so cruel.
Anyway thanks to my ability to sulk and us being placed on different buses and in different half of the year at school it wasn’t until upper sixth when we were learning, mainly how to drink, that we crossed paths again. She had a bit of a thing for one of my friends and as she was a lot of fun and her friends clearly lacked the staying power and general hilarity factor of my circle we adopted her and since then she has been one of my best friends and my closest, in proximity (she lives just down the road) and “emotionally”, Harborian friend.
Today has been a bit of an odd one, most of the time I have felt great, really happy and quite positive but I have also been rather frantic at times. I am getting a little tired of going up and down the country and am feeling torn between my two homes and missing the security of waking up in the morning and knowing whether I am beside my darling boy or at home in a single bed reaching out for a warm body which isn’t there. Also the side effects have started once more due to the increase in medication and it is truly one of the worst so far, nausea. On the train I am constantly holding my stomach trying to settle it and ignore the hot and cold flushes which keep coming over me.
Arriving at the train station all a flutter I find the ticket machine has failed me once again and knowing I can get a ticket on the train with my railcard if this is the case I board without really thinking. It is not until I get to Sheffield that I realise I have not got my railcard or my ticket with me and that my debit card is still up in Manchester. It is rubbish because I start to go red and realise I am going to have to face the full wrath of the train manager. After speaking to my Mum and telling her what is going on she tells me not to worry as the peak district is very pretty so I can take the opportunity to be at one with nature, thankfully I go through a tunnel at this point so am spared any more positive prattle.
The train manager turns out to be a darling, extremely understanding and issues me with a not paid slip and refuses to take my laptop as a down payment. I have just started to settle down and am in the middle of finishing the final few paragraphs of my carefully constructed feature on the state of the railway network when I am accosted by the mysterious stranger. She asks me whether I know the lady who was sitting next to me in what is it must be said a rather urgent aggressive tone. I tell her I have no idea who the lady is but she persists in questioning me and just when I am about to start crying for fear I have become involved in a low-budget crime movie I remember the lady in question had been speaking to the man opposite us and like a traitor I point at him and cry, “He knows her.” The heat is instantly taken off of me, it turns out she is a ticket dodger and that the mysterious stranger is just trying to protect the kindly train manger who has a good heart.
The mysterious stranger later checks to see if I have survived the difficult ordeal and after I jokingly mention that the two of us should receive citizens award for policing the railway she mutters something about well I was ready to pull it out. Good god I think, I am fraternising with a bloody terrorist. Luckily it turns out she is in-fact a copper not as I had thought just another nosy sod like myself. I must admit it really reassured me to know there are people on the trains looking out for us. Though I am pretty sure she was just in transit herself and was not necessarily an undercover transport cop, I was impressed that this lady had gone above and beyond her duty to protect a lovely lady who was being taken advantage of.
The dress I am wearing today is from Next and I must say due to the nausea and the ridiculous cleavage and tummy room it gives one I am not surprised when during the Midlake gig when I have to run to le loo at one point to be sick people are happy to let me back through afterwards assuming I must be as the boy so joyfully puts it, up the duff. Later on the bus home from the gig the nausea comes on once again and in spite of having drunk nothing but delicious Mancunian water I have to sit with my head in my hands with the window open. I am upset because a girl in front of me watches me judgementaly and mutters loudly enough so I can hear to her boyfriend about girls who can’t handle their alcohol. I’m more upset for her than anything as I often find that women who lack confidence in themselves are more likely to turn on other girls and unfortunately I think it hadn’t helped that her boyfriends rattish eyes were drawn to my cleavage. I try not to care and for once I manage to hold my tongue, but I am disappointed in this fellow member of my fair sex and feel sorry for my cleavage which really wasn’t doing any harm to anyone.
Although I have previously waxed lyrical on my lack of any burning desire to pro-create; thank the stars I hear you think; there are three children who I fear will eventually change my mind leaving me a child wanting wreck of a woman. The children in question are all those of three of my closest girl friends and are also the offspring of some of my oldest friends. The first with whom I chose to accessories with today is Isabelle Faulkner the child of my married friends Sue and Chris. Isabelle ran the risk of being called Smedley by her father but thankfully when she arrived into this world, her dark hair and dastardly cute behaviour ensured Isabelle was a more proper choice. In the photos Isabelle can be seen in the early stages of a fashion addiction which will bring her parents as much joy as it will pain. She became fascinated by my shoe especially when teamed with the shoe song, you really don’t want to know. Unfortunately whilst trying to kiss or possibly chew the shoe; she is teething; she somehow managed to head-butt it and turned from giggly angel to crotch patch in a split second.
The other two children are Ben Slessor, a four-year old who rises about the same time but who has a very pleasant way and who when he is told it is bed-time will go with minimal fuss leaving myself and my friend to gossip well into the early hours of the night; and Olivia Nicholson Steel, the curly blonde toddler who stole my heart back at Christmas when I taught her The Pogue’s Fairytale of New York and carried her with a blanket over her head through the naughty section of an art exhibition I had gone to with her mother at the Tate. She is ridiculously advanced for her age and gives both her parents Niki and Marcus endless pleasure with her sing-songs, sticker art and bed time run about. She is a fashion forward young woman with a wardrobe which puts even my collection to shame and already owns a matching fur coat and hat; gifted to her by yours truly; and a leather jacket with sheepskin lining; all animal friendly of course.
One of the greatest things about these children is that becoming a part of the smug parent clan has not resulted in them becoming smug or horribly mature at all. Though they are all wonderful parents who go out of their way to meet the needs of their child without spoiling them they are still all bloody good fun. Kat in particular is my oldest friend, I was her maid of honour at her wedding and we opened our GCSE results together after a holiday in Lanzarote where I had a rather foolish affair with a Greek waiter called Eric who was utterly gorgeous but had extremely limited English other than “honey vodka?” or “Ellieali”. We still go out on the town on the odd occasion but are equally happy to stay in for a bbq or cook a meal for one another. Kat is utterly hilarious and in spite of being scarily intelligent she never makes anyone feel foolish for being ignorant on any point. On arrival at Sue’s house on Saturday on being asked by my friend Monica whether she had read my blog, she promptly lifted up her long checked shirt dress to show carefully covered leggings beneath. Although I was traumatised I was very pleased to see she had made time to read.
Isabelle’s mother Susanna or Sue is one of the sweetest people one could ever meet. She is a wonderful hostess, relaxed but generous with her home and delicious cups of tea and when wanted pink rosé wine to satisfy both the drinkers of red and the drinkers of white. Katherine and Susanna are as I said are some of my oldest friends, and the fantastic thing about old friends is how well they know you. There is never a need to put on a fake smile or hide how one is feeling. When around old friends I find as I imagine many people do that I can relax and become part of the furniture or join in with the banter and tales of past naughtiness as much as I wish. Older friends are also thankfully never afraid to give you a good telling off if they think you have gone astray; I was carefully questioned by my friend Monica over what my problem was with the legging lovelies as well as my dig at Moyles. They also had no qualms about asking me whether I had abandoned the 365 dress project for the day and was instead going for 365 slightly longer than average tops. I covered myself with a sky blue scarf when sitting down and did all in my power to stretch it out once more.
The dress I am wearing, yes it is a dress, today is by Topshop from their autumn / winter collection 2005-2006. I bought it during a rather large spending spree at the beginning of my last year at Manchester University. It was an extravagant buy at £40 but we were having a cops and robbers themed house party and it seemed worth the green. It was longer to begin with but has I believe shrunk now a little. As you all know by now I am not one to shy away from high hems but I would recommend that if one was to wear a hemlines this short that you do so with longer slouchy boots or perhaps thicker denier tights or dare I say it leggings; so long as you have no plans for front rump flashing.
I shall end the posting with a joke from one of my oldest and bestest friends and mother of the beautiful Isabelle; “Look Ellie, it’s a horse shoe”.
Hey guys and girls, this is a preview of my first ever live gig reveiw for citylifers, you can see the rest and other music reveiws as well as particular focus on the scene up North at citylifers.co.uk Do note I had to miss the derby for this one and though it was a tough choice it was a great gig and think I made the right decision.
In a performance which draws mainly from new album, July Flame, Laura Veirs lulls listeners along on a barely lit journey through songs of the seasons. A glow of contentment surrounds Veirs which is particularly visible during I Can See Your Tracks, and there is something near spiritual about the silence which descends on the eager crowd which is assisted by the haunting beauty of the viola player. The trance is only broken by comical conversational tit-bits from Veirs, among which are her observations on the joy of keeping chickens; apparently a new trend sweeping America.
The audience sways back and forth with a look of awe and attentiveness more commonly seen on children sitting still on the back porch of an old run down house at sunset, waiting for tales of old to be told…….
….she presents herself as a singer songwriter and has no qualms about coming on stage fresh faced with plaits and a blue polka dot dress. She is fairly heavily pregnant and will be nearing her final weeks by the time the tour ends in two months, but Veirs refuses to let this define her or the performance. She jokes about the awkward position of her guitar, and other than answering questions from an intrigued audience on the sex of the child (they don’t know), and her due date, she puts her music forward far in front of her protruding bump. As one man says in awe, “I never thought I’d see a pregnant lady playing a banjo.”
As a child, Veirs used to camp in Colorado and this has had an ongoing influence on her music. Much of the current album draws first and foremost on the high which comes from being in love, her love of the land though remains clear during the set and is most prominent in To The Country, the highlight song of the evening. Veirs’ vocals awake us from the spell her harmonies and soft voice have cast. She demands our full attention and opens our ears and our minds to….