Although the images are full of smiles and flowers today’s posting for a time was in danger of becoming the most bitterest yet. I had some issues with my family to put it lightly, and the long and the short of it was that when I boarded the train to Manchester I was seriously wondering whether relocating up North was my only option.
The difficulty with splitting one’s life between two homes is that inevitably both will suffer to some degree. I often find myself neglecting friendships because I am in the wrong city at the wrong time and I never get a chance to properly adjust before I am on the road again. Today’s dress is an example of the chaos of my life at present. I thought I had enough dresses to last me until today, but unfortunately I do and I don’t. In spite of my director friend’s comments I can not help but think that wearing a ball gown or bridesmaid dress so early in the project would be a bit of a shambles so instead I do what I do best, I rummage. I find in my mother’s wardrobe this fabulous summery dress it is an old one and though it is the wrong size I find a number of brooches to make it into a form-fitting fabulous frock. The brooches are all gorgeous, my favorite being the harp with the gem-stones in it, a sign of one’s Irish heritage.
Perhaps it is because the dress is rather mumsy; there are times I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror and honest to God think I am with child; or maybe it is because of the difficulties with the giant but today I am thinking a lot about the responsibilities of being a parent. In an ideal world one has a child when one has saved up enough to give said child the things one never had (horse riding lessons, French tuition etc) and one has said child once one has met the man, woman of one’s dreams. Accidents do happen and in-spite of advances in baby-making technology the reality is most of us were allegedly pleasant surprises. It is apparently an awful thing for a parent to tell their child they were a mistake but I have no qualms about myself as planned pain in the backside, but am just grateful for the fact I wasn’t sent away for adoption.
So many of my friends have had their lives turned over because of that little buggy of a blue line but all of them were, once they got over the shock, overjoyed at the thought of bringing a Baba into the world and I think this shows in how good they are with their children. I wonder though about the parents who have a child and all goes well up until the point where the child, inspired by the parent, begins to answer back and argue like any independent minded being does. Is the child still the sweetest little thing or does the parent wonder whether they made the right choice in being a childer couple.
I am a massive fan of Super-Nanny, I am terrified of being an awful mother and seeing how she is able to turn around the lives of families no matter how much the situation may have deteriorated gives me hope that I wont be too dreadful a parent, and worse comes to worse I will just have to hope my hubby is one of those stay at home types who will be able to compensate for my lack of maternal skill.
Yesterday whilst around about Manchester I saw some dreadful examples of children who were loved but not adequately watched over. When I hit 13 I became extremely aware of my body, of my self as a being able to command the attentions of boys. I took pride in boys who glanced at me and as much as my mother would ever allow at times I dressed in a way which were designed to draw attention to my curves. The difficulty with wanting to seem attractive to the opposite sex is there are times when no-matter what precautions my mother might take, and no matter how intimidating the giant might be, it is still a very real possibility that on shall attract the wrong kind of attention On one occasion in particular I remember being in a supermarket with my mother wearing a silk summery dress and flip-flops. As I went up the bread aaisle my mother spotted a man there with his wife and child, double-backing from his family to sneak a look at my 14-year-old figure. She waited till he had followed me to another isle before she jumped out from behind the shelves, waved and suggested he return to his wife.
There is of course nothing to suggest he knew of my age, but the fact remains that the way a teen dresses is dangerous no matter how innocent one’s intentions. Yesterday whilst walking from Piccadilly train station I noticed two girls who were causing a stir; semi-drunk men broke their necks to turn and leer at them and they muttered filth about what they would do if they spent a day with them. It wasn’t until I had over taken the girls, both with long hair, both wearing tiny denim hot pants and tied up shirts, that I realised the reason their legs were so slender wasn’t because of a dangerous eating disorder but because they were all about 13 at a push. It frightened me because I do not know if these girls were aware of the responses they were getting or if they had only donned these outfits for an activity they were off to in the afternoon. Either way I found myself hoping that rather than being allowed to have left the house like that they had snuck the clothes into their school bags and changed into them once they had left home.
When I was younger I fought tooth and nail against children’s clothing and apart from a couple of years where I wanted to wear tight tops and short skirts I pretty quickly transformed my uniform from blazers and rolled up black skirts to knee-length pencil skirts, Marco Polo fitted crisp cotton shirts and Sisley ribbed fitted jumpers which revealed little skin. Every child has to go through a rebel stage but I hate to see when shops encourage children to dress like little adults with slutty trends such as low-cut dresses and teeny tiny skirts. I started noticing kids out around the town which you had to take a second glance at to make sure they weren’t in early adulthood and since then the trend seems to have grown and I often see children in skin-tight leggings and low-cut tops when there is nothing to-be-low-cut-for. As much as I didn’t approve of the heel issue I do like the way that Suri Cruise is dressed as a little woman and not as a little teen. Teenage years are hard enough without encouraging your child too quickly towards them and as I remember from visits to my sister when I was a 15-year-old girl, there are far too many predators for them not to be noticed and they are men which need little encouragement to try their luck. My first serious boyfriend was 21 but I met him when I was 15 and he first kissed me on New Years Eve on the turn of the millenium, admittedly nothing really got started till I was 16 but still. I thought my parents and sister were overreacting when they heard about it and were convinced we were just like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. He was a nice guy and I still to this day just think we got on quite well and having lost a sister the previous year after 18 months of illness I did probably behave older than my years but today looking back on it I wonder why it was that he did not want to be with someone his own age.
Last night when having dinner with friends we got on to the topic of the boy to discuss my boyfriend, who was also at the meal. I have never been a fan of the term partner, it just seems a little too grown up and ambiguous. Alternatively to refer to him as my boyfriend feels too personal for me and he has said from the start he does not want me using his name for similar reasons. And so I settled on the boy when I started the blog because to me at least it sounded cute and similar to “the one” which if I believed in all that rubbish, I might say he was but I don’t so it just sounds cute and nice.
I am surprised I admit by the amount of male backlash to the term, girls seem to understand it is used affectionately, but male friends and readers, whether seriously or just to play the devils advocate, TE you know who you are, suggest they view it as a derogatory label and one reader even suggested he gave up on the posts because one of them “went all feminist”. A lot of them have a problem with the term because they think it suggests I see him as below me as being under the thumb. They also support their argument with historical about to times gone by when slaves were called boy by the masters in the plantations of the American deep south, which upsets me as I have studied the history and literature of the time and it is a rather upsetting comparison. I had never considered any of these issues so I guess I wanted to know whether any of you my lovely readers have an opinion on whether the boy should be no more. I have come up with several other terms including: The Drummer, GP, Mi-guy, C-dawg (his not mine I assure you) but am open to suggestions and your thoughts. Until I get any particularly strong reaction however I will be sticking with the boy, as both myself and my guy are happy with that and as everyone knows there are only two people who ever know what really goes on in a relationship so if those two are happy it really has no bearing whatever anyone else thinks, unless you are in an open relationship or have a lot of threesome of course.
The dress I am wearing today is from John Rocha, my mother got it for me last year in the Debenham’s sale, and though I first put it to the back of my wardrobe with little thought I have really warmed to it. I wore it to death during my journalism course in Manchester as in a city where rain is the natural forecast it is lovely and bright and the burnt oranges mean you can get away with wearing it in winter and throughout the year. It is one of those dresses which makes one feel feminine and free simultaneously. The colours on it and the pattern is fabulous and the unusual length makes it rather lady-like whilst preventing it getting covered in the tar which coats the jeans and hemlines of every pedestrian in the city. Usually I love wearing it with flip-flops in the summer and patterned black tights and ankle boots in the winter, today though I had only slouchy boots, green shoes or pink tights so I spent most of the day looking like I had an unfortunate affair with the easter bunny and telly tubbies combined.
My greatest memory of wearing this dress was one wonderful day in March last year, which I think will always rate highly in my top hundred memories of all time. Myself and some of my closest friends from my NCTJ course had decided to take a trip to the countryside bringing with us every newspaper on the stand, a couple of blankets and wearing ridiculously unsuitable gear. We took my little red lupo Freddie which was a fabulous car which could usually zip past a Porsche in seconds but with the weight of five people and the press struggled to make the speed limit. Freddie, named so because he looked like a little frog with his cute eyes and ribbit mouth was my first car and though I was devestated when my brother sold it late last year I would not have been here writing this now had I crashed whilst driving the little red one. He may have been zippy but he was nowhere near as boxy as Foxy and could well have crumpled by the third spin.
We went to Lyme Park on the outskirts of Manchester and spent the day walking, frolicking and lazing in the grass reading the papers. One of my friends had a camera and the photos from the day are spectacular and really show how well we were feeling. it was at the beginning of the course and we all felt so full of possibility and delight at finally following our dreams and having met such good friends along the way. We were also joined by one of the girl’s boyfriends; they were in the first flushes of love and I think myself, the other girl and the other guy took pleasure in watching them together as they were so cute and couldn’t keep their hands off each other – play-fighting and cuddling all the day.
The best part of our day was when whilst walking we came across a lake, or possibly it was a reservoir hidden from view by a strong stone wall and some tricky looking barbed wire. Me and my friends climbed over, stripped down to our underwear and went for what was the shortest swim of my life. The water was gorgeous, so clear and ice-cold. It was the kind of experience which shocks all of your senses into acknowledging the beauty and splendour of the world in which we live; even if we had to leave the city to remind ourselves of the beauty of our county. Heading back to the car after I wrapped the dress round me and pulled on a warm cashmere polo-neck thankful to be alive and to have such fantastic friends but shivering nevertheless.
One of the difficulties of writing a new blog every day is when you plan to write on a particular subject events will usually conspire to prevent one from doing so. I began the morning thinking it would be appropriate to do a blog on the wonder of YSL touche éclat after looking in the mirror and being greeted with a god awful blemish, it wasn’t long however before I realised it was just a stain on the mirror and after spending an hour on the boy’s new toy, the wiiii I thought this would be an appropriate topic as in spite of the only game I have ever been addicted to being The Sims, I must admit I was rather taken with the various sports and surprised to find out I am a terrific archer. All of my plans were abandoned however when I came across what is surely th most ridiculous statement in fashion to date; joggers are now in vogue. Well I was not about to let such a ridiculous statement go unchallenged and began to scribble furiously. I was just about to post when the boy returned out of breath and babbling about some scally wags who had apprehended him on his way home from the post office. I must admit it my jogging bottom outrage I had neglected to notice he had been gone longer than expected and felt rather guilty.
The naughty boys had turned around to face the boy who had wondered along behind them happily whistling The Shins. Perhaps they were not fans of his musical melody or maybe they are just big fat meanies but either way they turned around and assuming a rather aggressive stance asked him what his problem might be. The boy admits he was rather bemused by the two of them seeing as they were all about fifteen and though tall looked rather malnutritioned. Luckily however he remembered being lectured by both myself and his father on how the best thing to do in such situations is a combination of fight and more importantly flight. As they were not ready to let him pass and responded to his reasoning that he was just out to post his brother’s birthday card by telling him that they were going to, “Rob him up, yeah!”
Well broken down Britain connotations aside I believe the bard would have turned in anguish in his resting place had he heard this grammatically flawed statement. The boy luckily had not been carrying his wallet or prized i-phone and when they refused to move he responded to their cries of “What you gonna do about it, yeah?” by shoving the nearest scoundrel hard in the chest and running a fast as he could. Luckily a diet of crisps, chocolate and Strongbow does not lend itself to athletics and they resolved themselves to call abuse after him than giving chase. Though the boy is I think annoyed at himself for not putting up more of a fight, I must say I am very proud of him for the restraint he showed. He has worked out of late and though I am sure he could have stood his ground my greatest fear would be that the rumours of such naughty boys carrying knifes would turn out to be true and the boy would be no more.
Thankfully he bumped into some community support officers whilst on his way home and told them of the threat which lay ahead for other innocents. This additional patrolling presence is extremely welcome in our area as this is not the first time we have had trouble with scallywags. I find the whole situation extremely frustrating as though a small part of me wanted to go out on the hunt and avenge myself on these toe rags; I admit the archery and sword fighting may have given me a slightly flawed opinion of my fighting strength; there was also a huge part of me which felt painfully sorry for them. To be out on the streets on a cold miserable day than at home with one’s loved ones is a sad state of affairs indeed especially as it was the time I remember as a teenager when I would share the trials and tribulations of my school day with my family. Yes, the dinner table would usually dissolve into a bickering mass but at least we knew we had somewhere to go and someone to go to if we were feeling blue.
When we were dropped off at guides or ATC when we were teenagers me and my sisters would often pass children who would hang out at the bus stops and although they often looked intimidating my overriding feeling when I saw them was that more than anything they looked sad. I am not for a second suggesting one hugs a hoodie or worse still starts wearing this ridiculous trend. They are nearly as terrible as joggers for goodness sake and should exist only in the gym or when running the streets in pursuit of improving one’s fitness or physique. My real problem is that there is no clear answer for how to deal with this problem which is satisfactory to me. Though I detest more than anything the idea that my safety is in jeopardy and walked to the train station by myself at nine last night just to prove to myself I would not be affected by the scallywags, I can not deny I felt scared all the while.
There are thankfully many outreach programmes in the boy’s area which try to tackle these problems but after yesterdays unpleasantness I can not help but feel that the government and we as a society need to do more to stop these children becoming so disillusioned with life that they feel the only thing they have to do is to attack. One of my friends is looking to volunteer somewhere this year and I wonder if by doing so myself I can be of help to such scallywags, even if I can not give them a hug perhaps I can help with a programme which finds some way to engage them in activities which do not involve menacing music lovers.
The dress today is from a shop across the road from 111 Piccadilly in Manchester. I stayed at the boy’s house one night and had forgotten to bring anything for the morning. Having borrowed a pair of his jeans and found a couple of vest tops I was just about fit for going into town but there was no way I was going to spend the day looking like a roughian. I had less than two penny’s to my name so ran across the road to a brightly coloured bargain boasting shop and picked this up for a £5. It has a brilliant drop waist which leaves ones bottom looking rather minimal whilst the cotton material and cut keeps it looking casual. Today it needed a tad of modification to get me through the wintry winds when I went to meet a friend off my course for a drink come the evening so I paired it with a pink jumper from Topshop which my mother bought me eight years ago! With boots and black tights it proved suitable for wiii playing, drinks at Piccadilly station and a night-time walk home on high alert.
As a child I used to love travelling by plane. Me and my sister used to marvel at the air hostesses, giggling about the amount of make up they wore but being secretly impressed by their constant smile and cheery nature. There was something so brilliant about getting on a plane, and with our father carrying our boarding passes and often carrying us to the car there was no stress in travelling at all. As I got older and started to travel by myself I always had an idea in my mind of travelling by plane as being a very glamorous kind of adventure. In magazines I read at the time, celebrities would lend their tips on how to emerge after a long flight feeling refreshed. I dutifully carried white T-shirts in my bag to change into prior to touch down to give off the appearance of cleanliness, drank nothing but water on the plane and even invested in Evian spray for my face; it seemed very luxurious but I was dissapointed when I checked the label and found its only magical ingredient was H20.
I still feel the magic of flying and always try to make an effort to look presentable when I leave the country and arrive in another. There is obviously some ingrained memory of teachers on school trips reminding me and my schoolmates that we were representatives of our school and should look and behave as such. It is this perhaps which inspires me to try and look my best when landing. Usually I like to wear pretty but neutral coloured heels, a tan mid length skirt and a black cashmere polo neck or long fitted cardigan with a black or white t-shirt underneath for when it gets hot in the cabin. I like to carry a leather bag big enough to fit in a book, a pair of soft socks, some make up and any duty-free purchases.
The problem with flying with a budget airline is that although it gives you the opportunity to fly more often and spend more on your holiday when you get there; freeing you from spending hundreds ona part of your holiday which takes you only several hours on average; it does rather remove the romance of flying which I so loved as a child and teenager. When confronted with miniscule baggage allowance you have little choice; other than to check your bag into the hold of course which is plain madness by anyone who has watched baggage handlers at work; but to bring little and wear much. You spend much of your time at the terminal feeling semi naked in spite of wearing as much weight as possible due to being handbagless. You must also show your toiletries to strangers on demand. I have a gorgeous red patent YSL toiletries case which now lies at the bottom of my wardrobe gathering dust. If it had feelings I imagine it would use them to resent the plastic sandwich bag which has replaced it.
Prior to budget airlines I remember rejoicing at the arrival of the meal with its warm rolls, miniature chocolates and choice of tea or coffee to end. We looked forward to the time after take off where the drinks trolley came round to gibe my parents a tiny bottle of Gordon and a mini can of tonic whilst we had nuts and a can of coke served with ice and a napkin. Although the cost of these little pleasures was of course incorporated into your ticket they still felt special and part of the experience of going abroad. When traveling by budget airline, your drink is usually delivered in plastic sachet which at least have the effect of ensuring you chase down several to banish the depressing realisation that your alcohol is coming from the same place as a condiment. Although much can be said for the cheapness, reliability and availability of budget airlines there is no question that whilst standing at security, removing one’s boots, laden with layers of warm clothing whilst simultaneously attempting to work out how best to use the pockets of a coat which you never noticed were even there, the last thing to come to mind is that you are traveling in style.
Virgin Atlantic seem to have style at the forefront of their commercial conscience when they designed their current advertising campaign. The smartly dressed women, the styled hair and make up all scream luxury to the other passengers lazing sluggishly about the terminal. They do not scream cheap tickets for certain but they do all look like they are about to board a flight which will be a lot of fun and if I could find the designer who made their uniforms I would plead for them to make me a dress.
And so we come at last to the dress I wore to travel in and give me a boost on board. I went with a tartan silk dress from Marks and Spencer for the last day of our holiday which is fitted but not clingy and rarely creases. Tartan is a difficult trend to wear without looking like an aged schoolgirl or St Trinnian’s trollop but I think whoever designed this particular style hit the right balance with this dress. Although it is ever so slightly lower cut than I would usually wear with such a short skirt, the frills and dark pattern prevent it looking too garish. I apologise for the styling, I had to have a nap after the trauma of this mornings flight and was rather dishevelled by the time I woke up having had to abandon my Evian spray and moisturizer due to it being a threat to the over 100ml legislation.
Tartan has made its way on to the runway for Spring/ Summer with Louis Vuitton combining thick tartan material into one dress, with pink silk and leather worked in to the body to prevent the pattern being too overwhelming or wintry. The effect is strong but feminine and has a great punk edge with those who are keen on such a look. If you do decide to merge it into your wardrobe, note that you wear pig-tails at your peril and should only wear a tartan kilt if you are Scottish, of school age or going to a costume party.