Thursday, 28 October 2010

Côte d'Brrrrrrrrrrr

Every so often, I put my yearnings for Sydney aside for a few minutes and get kind of psyched about everything that London has to offer. What this generally means is that The Bearded One, desperate to relax on his own sofa after a week or two on the road, gets dragged out of bed early on a Saturday morning so that I can indulge my need to escape the confines of South East London and travel further afield with the children than I would feel comfortable doing solo.

Weirdly, when a visit to the in-laws on the outskirts of London is suggested, I am, like, in love with South East London. Seriously, why would you want to be anywhere else on a weekend?

So anyway, way back at the beginning of the year, I joined the Barbican Family Film Club and we duly set off to see The Wind in The Willows. Given that Master C had just upgraded to Big Boy Pants from a pull-up 3 days previously, my timing was, not for the first time, a bit off. It meant that The Bearded One had to keep harassing him about whether or not he needed a wee, and taking him out of the cinema to 'try'. It meant that when Master C decided to sit on The Bearded One's lap during a scary bit, he weed on him. Fine for Master C, who had a change of clothes. Not so good for the Bearded One, who didn't.

Anyway, for one reason or another, we've not been back since May and now all of a sudden it's coat weather. This is when my longing for Sydney becomes harder to ignore. I hate the cold, hate all the stuff you have to wear, hate it even more now that I have three little people to dress. I resent having to buy a coat, because to do so is an admission of the fact of that any semblance of warm weather is over for a good few months. For years, I shivered through the grey dismalness of October and November, as if my refusal to acknowledge the cold could somehow will it out of existence, as if retail abstinence could effect some form of climate control. Finally, I crack under the unrelenting pressure of frostbite in December, buying a coat in the sales that is just alright, saying that I don't need anything special because it's going to be warm again in a few weeks, isn't it?

With similarly perverse tendencies, the children only sat through half an hour or so of Cars on Saturday, preferring to hang out in the foyer and raid the art trolley for the materials with which to make their very own Lightning McQueen. When we get home, after lunch and much pigeon-chasing, I take out the felt tips and colouring books, and they clamour for a DVD. The Bearded One is already ensconced on the sofa having 'quality time' (read - sleeping) with The Bub. I take off my coat and hang it beside the three others I've acquired so far this season. When I catch on, I really catch on. And being cold sucks almost as much as having to do something on a weekend that you really, really don't want to do.

Wearing: Jaeger red wool & cashmere coat, Gap merino sweater dress in charcoal, Falke tights, Primark scarf and Belstaff boots.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Who gives a Falke?

Well, I do actually (although not so much about the state of my house, as you can probably tell). At £22 a pop, Falkes are more expensive than the sum total of either of the outfits (if such raggle-taggle assortments of clothes can be called such) shown here, but oh my, so soft and warm!! And really, when you spend half the day on all fours impersonating lions and brrrrrrrrrmmming toy cars across the floor, a bit of toasty texture on the knees is no bad thing.

On a slightly less appealing note, there's also the fact that having children, combined with my generally crap approach to time management, means that my legs err on the side of Neanderthalism more often than not. What better than a pair of thick, luscious tights to keep follicular activity hidden from public view? If only my Falkes could work such magic elsewhere, too, deflecting attention from the appallingly badly groomed state of my face and hair - seriously, at the age of 37 (okay, nearly 38), it's about time I started actually doing something about wearing makeup and at least brushing my hair, if not having regular cuts, colours and treatments. That dewy, unkempt, been-partying-all-night-but -still-pass-muster look that worked so well for me in my 20s is no longer relevant, really. And I'm doing that classic couple-y thing of growing more similar in appearance to The Bearded One as time goes on. I mean, I don't have a beard yet. (Yet). And the Bearded One is a handsome devil. But personal grooming? Ha!! Now there's someone who really doesn't give a flying Falke.

wearing Mango tweed shorts (charity shop), Zara sweater (charity shop) and Atmsophere biker boots (Primark) in first picture, same Zara sweater and Atmosphere boots but with Diesel denim mini (eBay) in second. Falke tights from

Friday, 22 October 2010

Matchy Matchy

So I'm totally down with the fact that matching your shoes to your bag is a big sartorial no-no. Big. Huge!! And it's fine by me, since I favour a slightly haphazard approach to dressing anyway. Some would jokily refer to it as ''getting dressed in the dark." I say, where's the joke? Fact of the matter is, I do get dressed in the dark. I set my alarm so as to have 20 minutes of shower, coffee and dressing before the children wake up - I mean, whatever people may say about the perils of co-sleeping, the fact that it hinders your ability to read in bed at night or survey the contents of your wardrobe in the morning is like, hardly ever mentioned.

Anyway. Shoes, bag, no match, natch.

But what about matching your daughter's new winter boots to your favourite bag? Is that ever okay?

I didn't mean to do it, honest. In fact, I didn't even have my pink Marc by Marc Jacobs bag with me on the day we bought The Princess's new boots. But Mini-Me matchiness aside, aren't they lovely? Just pink enough, just embellished enough to be fab and girly, not so pink or sparkly that they reduce me to the sort of trembling rage that bloody Snow White and Disney Princesses of her insipid ilk inspire in me.

A trembling lip though - that's another matter altogether. Suddenly realising that the new boots were, if I remembered correctly, very similar in colour to The Princess's first shoes, I dug them out of the cupboard and peeled back the tissue paper in which they've been wrapped for the last 3 and half or so years.

Look, just look - so diddy!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Toodle-Loo, Choos

When it comes to kids, some things change quite slowly: conventional wisdom about toilet-training, or attitudes to punishment/ reward, for example. Other things change more or less overnight, so that for me, who had my three in the space of three years (three years and eight weeks, to be precise) it was something of a shock to find that being pregnant with The Bub was going to entitle me to a £190 grant from the government aimed at being healthier in pregnancy.

"It's so you can buy more fruit and veg," explained my midwife, with a roll of the eye that more than ably conveyed exactly what she, for one, thought of such initiatives.

More fruit and veg?? All I bloody eat is fruit and veg. What isn't off limits, in my wheat-free, meat-free and, until I got pregnant again, dairy-free world apart from fruit and veg?

In my wisdom, I decree that The Bub and I are about as healthy as we can possibly be and have no need of the Health in Pregnancy grant.

No, Health in Pregnancy is not my issue. Mental Health in Pregnancy, on the other hand- yes please, can we sort out some kind of government initiative or grant for that? That, I could use.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby, I decide - and gaily, without so much as a glance at the Riverford website or the 2 for 1 asparagus deals in Sainsbury's, use my HiP grant to buy Jimmy Choo's utterly fabulous and totally impractical China Strappy sandals.

Actually, if I'm honest, I use the grant to buy a little less than one of them. The price for the pair? £435.

"Step into these Jimmy Choo sandals for a touch of Studio 54 drama," entices netaporter. "Partner them with matching accessories and your party LBD for disco diva decadence. Heel measures approximately 120mm / 4.5 inches with a 20mm / 1 inch platform."

Yes, because , as a woman who has 2 children under the age of 3 and is pregnant with the 3rd, my life just is full of Studio 54-style drama, isn't it? 'Can't Get a Mum and Baby Parking Space at the Supermarket' drama, yes. 'Really Want Some Raspberries with Greek Yoghurt and Honey Right Now' drama, yes. 'Can't Get Out of the Bath Without Assistance' drama, yes.

Studio 54 drama?? And as for the party LBD and disco diva decadence - my waters might break, I'm laughing so hard.

The shoes arrive, all mirrored loveliness. I try them on for all of 3 minutes, my pregnancy feet making even the 42s a squeeze, my shifting center of gravity making the 4.5 inch heel a terrifying proposition, even standing still.

Still! I won't be pregnant forever! The Bub is due in September; by my birthday in December, I decide, I will be svelte and gorgeous, and celebrating in suitably dramatic Studio 54 style.

My birthday was a lovely, lovely day, make no mistake. I weighed about 16lb more than the maximum that I consider acceptable and breastfed almost constantly. It was freezing, and I wore a purple Princesse Tam Tam dress with a deep button-front for easy boob access, tights and boots. We went for lunch at Jamie's Italian and had friends over in the evening for cake and champagne. It was great. But a Choo-appropriate occasion? Nah.

The Bub turned one 2 weeks ago and the shoes still languished, unworn, tags on, in the box. And, truth be told, I still teetered in them, despite being back down to a normal weight, and they still hurt my gargantuan feet, without the excuse of fluid retention to fall (literally) back on. As the list of things I have bought and am no doubt yet to buy for AW10 expands, the Choos are burning a £435 hole in my wardrobe. At night, they stand over my bed, glinting and winking metallically, maniacally, mocking my aspirational glamour, while my Ash high tops weep muddily in a corner of the porch, sighing that they have served me well; why do I treat them thus?

Enough's enough. I listed them on eBay and, sure enough, they sold. I actually didn't lose that much money on them. And I've gained some valuable closet space.

Now, what to fill it with?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A(fluffy)head of the pack

Fashion forward, moi?

Check out the Persian cat on the head of Stella Maxwell, on the right of Elle Italia's September issue

And then cast your mind back to my alpaca hat post

Master C, you are miles ahead of the game.

I actually don't think he gets it from me, despite the fact that I can lay some claim to having had my finger on the fluffball pulse as far back as 2001/ 2002. Indeed, I am so far behind the game that this particular issue of Elle was my holiday reading and, due to my disitinctly below-par Italian (and the demands that The Princess, Master C and The Bub put on my time) I am still plowing my way through it. We'll be in to SS11 before I've managed to get it into my head that "un vestito morbido" does not mean a sack-like dress for a morbidly obese woman (it's the word association thing, it's a killer).

Our Italian sojourn unearthed another fashion truth, namely that this H&M striped maxi was possibly my worst buy for SS10.

Don't get me wrong: I heart it big time. But let us chart its tale of woe:

I buy it for under a tenner. I am accompanied by Master C and The Bub; trying on is not an option. It looks insanely long - but I'm tall. It'll be fine. I get it home. I try it on - oh my god, it is insanely long, puddling around my feet in a molten pool of purple and white. I get it taken up. It costs as much as the dress. It's still too long. I get it taken up again. The alterations have now cost double the price of the dress, but the length is perfect. Unfortunately, however, the dress is completely see-through; that soft fine cotton I so admired in H&M feels lovely, but the sensation that people can see what I had for breakfast, rather less so. No matter! It will be fine over a cossie. I take the dress on holiday and debut it by the pool. The Bearded One tells me that I look like The Cat in the Hat. The Princess wipes gelato-stickied fingers on me. I wash the dress.

It shrinks to mid-calf length.

But hey. I've been ahead of the game before; maybe I will be again. Hot tip for SS11 - see through, shrunken and mid-calf will be key. You heard it right here from the Cat in the Hat.

So - 'fess up: what were your worst buys this year?