Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Pucker up!

Last week I made a decision - it was time, aged 41, to finally embrace red lipstick. Now, I've always subscribed to the David Bailey way of thinking on make-up: go eyes or lips but not both (unless you want to look like a hooker or Katy Perry or a cross between both - not a good look). Therefore I've always favoured a smoky eye and er... no lipstick at all. Plus lipstick takes a LOT of care - otherwise it gathers little balls in the corner of your lips, or smudges so you look like you've sunk 7 martinis when you're only on your first; it leave prints on cups and glasses, it gets on your teeth so you look like a mad old lady and it stops any kind of spontaneous snogging.  In short, lipstick is work.

But.... everywhere I look women are wearing red lipstick and looking AH-MAZE-ING. Luscious pouts abound from magazines and the sidebar of shame. Iconic images always feature a well glossed red lip: Monroe, Athena in the 1980s, Madonna in her Who's That Girl phase - and where would Gwen Stefani be without her lipstick?

So, I wandered into Mac make-up on a way to a meeting, thinking, I can do this. I can wear red lipstick and power dress my face. Some kind salesgirl took pity on me staring blankly at the vast area of reds to choose from and told me to go Ruby-Woo. She then helped me apply said lipstick - using a lip liner to stop the old bleeding lips look. Now this Ruby-Woo stuff could survive the apocalypse - it grips your lips and never lets go. The woman stood back and let me look in the mirror.


I felt like my lipstick was wearing me, rather than me wearing the lipstick. Part classy (obvs) hooker, part Sandy in the slut stage, part 1950s starlet, part burlesque, part mutton. Arriving at the meeting my two partners looked at me and went, 'Jaysus. Get your lips.' They went into shock and stared at my mouth for well over an hour. After that they said they liked it. I felt like I was naked, rather than just wearing a bit of slap.

3.5 hours later another friend joined the now ended meeting - and said 'Look at you and your big red lips.' Now, that doesn't sound good, no matter how nicely you say it. I disappeared to the bathroom and actually used soap to get the damn stuff off. It left me looking liked I had just had an upper lip wax...a slight pink smudge everywhere. I was also slightly put off as a girl I once briefly worked with wore this vibrant shade every day TO WORK and was nicknamed 'blow job lips' partly for her lipstick and mainly because she desperately wanted to shag anything that moved.

I just couldn't do it. I never went back and bought the lipstick. I'm thinking maybe I haven't got the correct shade yet... but also - I worry that lipstick is ageing - and no one wants to look like Joan Collins until they are Joanie's age. I'm a couple of decades away from that, at least. Red lipstick is so powerful and mesmerising that it has to be worn ONLY when the situation requires it. The school run not so much... Red lipstick requires a lot of confidence (like wearing a white dress when you have your period). To wear it, you have to be well groomed and to have the time to 'upkeep' it. You have to dress around the lipstick - anything too short, or patterned or colourful and you are in the mutton territory and you will never leave. So much planning has to go around the lipstick - everything else has to be muted, preferably black, so the lipstick can be the dash of colour, the centre stage. I just don't think I can put that much time, energy and effort into accessorising my life around my make-up.

Maybe, if I spent my life at glitzy parties or at cocktail soirees, then I'd get the use out of a bold lip, paired with killer heels and a flash of diamond. But my life is more chapstick than lipstick. So to all you bold gals who can get your ruby-woo on (as an aside my daughter calls her nether regions her woo, so that kind of puts me off too) - I salute you and your perfect pouts.

Monday, 19 May 2014

No fucking idea

As soon as the kids come home from school I am dragging them by the scruff of their little necks and forcing them to go and eat an enormous amount of cake with me after the day from sucksville.

I'm a bit bleuurggghhh.

A bit like - what will become of me? Will I spend the rest of my days avoiding running, avoiding making any kind of money whatsoever and avoiding actually having one of them there career things that most folk have. It really is fun when you have 27p left in your overdraft facility. I mean, that is 27 1p chews just waiting to be bought! I know.. don't spend it all at once eh?

I've just read some Nora Ephron and Caitlin Moran and realised that I cannot write my way out of tampax box - and why am I even trying to shape this blog into anything because it has all been done before AND SO MUCH BETTER, so I may as well just give up and go and live in some monastery - and take a vow of silence. I actually think I could give everything up (like the nuns) but talking.

So, the highlight of my day was having my ear syringed. Truly. I can now hear again - but have had to take a rest from working today, to read the above books and remind myself that I am rubbish.

God most women my age have careers, and nannies and proper clothes that need ironing and go on hangers and everything... They have SAVINGS. And a 5 year career plan and are decently paid. I think I've kind of pin balled my way through my life - swinging from one fun place to the next job wise - and now the ball is shooting it's way back down the hole to disappear forevermore.

I just don't know what my plan is... I'm not good without a plan. Every day I put my keys, inhaler, card, tampax (you never know) and phone in my bag and think 'there is something missing' Oh yes, my plan.

I feel like I want to hide away and not go out and see all those sunny working people who know what they are doing and are planning vacations and trips and shopping and all the things people who have plans get - because they planned, because they structured - because they were careful.

These people do not read Shelley Von Strunkel and believe their lives revolve around her predictions. These folk do not think 'I will absolutely without a shred of doubt win the lottery in the next week or two.' They do not think 'something work wise will happen and work out and most likely come from nowhere and rescue me like a knight on a trusty steed.' They do not expect miracles. They do not write blogs. They do not change careers about 20 times and pick ones that are notoriously competitive and tough to break into. They do not have huge overdrafts and still buy Pimms with their last remaining pennies because life without Pimms is a life not being lived.

I'm meant to know what I am doing - and I kind of do. But none of it has any certainty whatsoever. I could try and write a trial script - and fail. I could tout my blog around and no one could be interested - after all a moaning mother of 2 in her 40s bleating on about hot young men and why we should keep our pubic hair and the like isn't exactly screaming 'BEST SELLER.'

All the energy has fizzled out of me like flat lemonade and I just don't feel like chirpy CM today. I don't want talk to mates, I don't want to see people, I don't want to hear about the world. I just want to  watch John Hughes films and pretend I am in fact 17 and can do the whole lot again. I wouldn't change meeting Husband, or having my kids - for anything. Nor the flatmates I lived with in my 20s and my school buddies. I wouldn't change them. But me, I'd change in a heartbeat. I'd have a word with myself and say - do something clever and exciting that will give you maternity benefits and savings and a pension and all that important stuff that you kind of missed... Don't be so aspirational CM - because you aren't as talented as you thought you were - and you'll kind of end up the jack of all trades and the master of only making martinis...

But I can't go back. I remember sitting in 2005 weeping just before House Of Wax came on (and it really wasn't that bad a film) at the movies with my (then) new husband and I said I just didn't know which way to turn, post presenting telly stuff. What will become of me, I wondered - at 32, when I wanted to have a family... I'm so glad I got through those years with the help of a fun fab job - that paid me peanuts.

But I feel I'm here again.

More than anything I wish I had some kind of mentor - some amazing woman who I could sink gin with and who would say, 'Do this CM and then that and then this and you will be fine.' It has to be a woman - I never trust men in any kind of power. Actually that's wrong, it is just I think women understand more - all the things you have to juggle, all the battles you have to fight. Especially those who are juggling work and kids or have done... - someone who has muddled their way through and come out the other side and says - it's ok not to have a plan. It's ok to be going for cake on a credit card aged 41. It really is.

But we all know it's not....

PS Even in my PMT addled state I know I am lucky - with my family, with my friends. I know this. But occasionally, we're still allowed to feel a wee bit sad. Doesn't mean I don't appreciate all I do have. xx

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Things I have learnt this week part 3

Things I have learnt this week in no particular order:

1. When your son has his bedroom floor painted, no amount of telling your children 'do not walk on it' will make a pick of difference. When the urgency of getting 'my toy car on the desk' is so great for your 3rd year old, the floor could be aflame and she would still cross it.

2. People without children, generally are having a better time than you - and if you really thought about it - all that disposable income and free time - you would agree. But unless you say otherwise, people mistakenly believe this constitutes you saying 'I don't love my children' - which of course is nonsense.

3. You can run further than you think. The key is to go slow.

4. You can run further than you think, but would do so better if there weren't so many folk with scary snappy dogs who race towards your ankles like they are giant bone to be chewed upon.

5. If people plan a gathering, and then you tell them 'I can't do that date,' but they carry on with the gathering, then they clearly didn't give a fuck if you attended or not.

6. Baking a cake looks easy. It isn't. It is at least half an hour of measuring, an hour of sweeping up sugar granules that cascade everywhere, with buttery fingers, half an hour of stress as will it/won't it rise, and then at LEAST an hour of cooling. Or else, I fear the jam will slide off along with the top part of the cake and that buttercream icing so lovingly crafted - will in fact just become runny butter again. After all that stress it will still end up looking like your 3 year old baked it: (NEVER AGAIN).

7. Two martinis is plenty on a school night. No really, it is. And that blog your wrote after 2 - proves this point entirely. Thank god I never hit 'publish.'

8. Everyone knows everyone else. A friend will call and tell you they know through work another mother who lives in your town. Another will know someone else because they worked together ten years ago etc etc. Everyone knows everything. TELL NO ONE anything. Or else, like me, tell the whole world on a blog and then no one gives a rat's ass.

9. No, May arriving does not mean that summer is here. Just as you thought it was safe to bear your cankles, forget it! Get that brolly at the ready - summer isn't here. Nor, in true British fashion - will it ever be. Dry your eyes or book a one way ticket outta here.

10. That life without a box set to watch is a a truly lonely one. Since True Detective ended I have been a touch lost. Time for House of Cards methinks. Otherwise Husband and I would have to have a conversation - and there where would we be?


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

I don't want to be a woman

This writing malarky is all well and good, but it don't half send you mad.

I'm one of those people that needs people the way you all need water. Or gin. So put me in a room, alone for 18 hours a week, and the rest of the time surround me with people who need fed, bathed, clothed and one who demands their arse wiped and quite frankly I go a bit stir crazy. I start talking to the folk on the till at the supermarket as if they are my best friends. Invite builders round just so I have someone to make tea for, and then grumble when they want to drink all my Nespresso capsules instead.

It's made me cranky. Like - why haven't you emailed me back in ten seconds? Can't you text at 7:25 in the morning like I can? And why on earth do you have something else to do - like a frickin' job? What do you MEAN? I mean, really - why can't everyone just run on MY time?

It has also turned me into somewhat of a Twitter addict. If I haven't heard that pleasant little popping sound once every 5 minutes I become twitchy. On the plus side, I have re-connected with the stuff I have been working on  - plus, due to a LOVELY email from a writer I worked with - I have another idea cooking. Well, percolating at least. So you know, I am making progress. Well maybe I'm not - I have NO ONE TO ASK.

The weather has been sunny - no rainy - no cloudy - no it's all sunny again - no - it just can't make up it's mind. Take shades or an umbrella on the school run, (up a hill so steep it should have a coffee shop half way up it)? Husband has been grumbling that I'm out too much - but if I don't get out - I go slightly cuckoo. Having LOVED being at home with the kids - I am now like - leave me ALONE small people. Particularly when I need to change a tampax... I have mentioned this before, but it is now reaching crisis levels...

Because you see, my daughter, 3 year old Sproglette, followed me into the bathroom a few weeks back and saw... you know... period stuff - though I did ask her to leave. Anyway, she is now announcing to anyone who will listen that 'I don't want to be a woman.' When then asked by perturbed folk as to why this is so, she practically weeps, 'because of the blood.' She then admits she wants to be a boy. Then said person gets confused as to what the feck she is going on about and I have to explain that she has seen 'womanhood' and aint that jazzed on the whole thing. Fair enough I say...

At least I'm not having the month that my mate Mark is having: poor bastard had his bi monthly botox and then went out and got hammered. He came home, slapped a load of gunky eye cream on his eyes (the gays love their creams) and fell into a deep sleep. He woke up to discover he couldn't see. Turns out he had put shampoo instead of eye cream all over his peepers - and they had swollen up to Quazimodo proportions. After seeing the Doc, the eyes went down - but the swelling had caused his botox to move and has given him a lazy eye for the next 3 months. Thank gawd he has a sense of humour.  If you ever thought that botox might be a bad idea - there is the proof.

Meanwhile, I popped to the lovely local cafe on Saturday for a much needed hazelnut latte, (minding 3 kids that day... I was a tad frazzled) whereupon I bumped into some mates. As I chatted to them, Sproglette disappeared to the fancy bathrooms upstairs. Having been many many times - as bathroom visiting is her favourite sport (on the Eurostar she managed to go 7 times) I let her go alone. A few minutes later, I was just about to send my son looking for her, when a nice lady tapped my arm and asked if my it was my daughter upstairs.

I stood and looked up - to see Sproglette, holding her shorts, with her pants round her ankles, calling me from the top of the stairs. Great, a half naked child wandering through a cafe, that belongs to me. I can hear you lift the phone to social services as I type. Turns out she needed her bum wiped and refused to hoik up her knickers until I had done so. We went down the stairs - a pure walk of shame if ever there was one - to disapproving looks from other diners and the staff frowning at me. Guess who WON'T be going back to the nice cafe for a LONG time?

What else? I'm rambling, I know. That is what being at home and in your own head does to you. Did I already say that? Gotta run - has been at least 5 minutes since I was on Twitter!