Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Oh, I have so many first times this week that it's going to be hard to recount them all.. I think I'll do them one by one over the next few days. I'll start with my first ever trip to the Chancery Court Hotel spa this weekend. Now, until I had little George I was a bit of a spa afficionado. Now that I'm a Mum, spare time is as rare as the holding-of-the-Winter-Olympics-in -hell, and I never ever go to spas. My idea of spare time involves getting to sit on the sofa for more than five minutes. However, last week it was my birthday and my lovely DH (probably on the basis that he's fed up of my hairy legs and pasty complexion) decided that three hours, yes, three hours of pampering was what I needed. So off I trotted.

Now for those of you who don't know London or the spa, the Chancery Court is a fairly posh but fairly boring five star in central London; I can tell you, the whole 'boutique' thing really passed them by. Rock stars do not smash up suites there. I was also a bit sceptical when I heard that the treatments I was having were 'inspired by' Pearl Lowe, whose main claim to fame appears to be that she managed to have a baby (the very glam Daisy Lowe) with someone whilst married to someone else. But the 'Black Pearl' massage and 'Crazy for Daisy' pedicure (actually, who cares who her Dad is?) sounded good, so I reigned in my scepticism (I know. Can you believe it?).

I tell you - fabulous. The spa is utterly wonderful. The relaxation room (pictured) was in itself a work of genius. Beds that reclined with the push of a button, headphones for listening to tunes of your choice, a good selection of fruit and drinks, perfect-a-gorgeous. The Crazy for Daisy was a bit ruined by the French lady who was administering said foot-treatment ranting on about how London was so dir-tee and cray-zee! Oh, le qualité of life, she is Oh-FULL! (and I am French, so I can get away with this comment) but the Black Pearl massage (which included massage with hot and cold stones, which sounds awful is strangely brilliant and invigorating, much like jumping into a cold lake after a sauna) was an incomparable delight. In total, three hours of total self-indulgence. Mums of the world take note. Pampering = sanity. I came home happy, full of the joys of life and in the best ever mood with my lovely DH. And the quality of life in London is just fine, French lady.

Comigng up... DH's silk ceremony, roll on the Daimlers, bowing, 'do you move'?, first ever meeting with Jack Straw etc...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Just as I was starting to panic that I was not going to achieve anything for the first time today, my friend Sam came in with a stick of Blackpool Rock for me, from her recent trip north. So as I type I am polishing it off - oh yes, an entire stick in one sitting for me - I'm not Scottish for nothing.

Only 6.5 working days to go until my holidays now - 2 whole weeks of first times which I shall faithfully report on. But for now, this pick of this week's first times:

  • For the first time, I know someone called Spike (great name), courtesy of my lovely friends A and B, who have disappointed me somewhat by not having a baby whose name starts with 'C', so that I could have referred to them as A, B and C (but hey-ho)

  • I had my first ever 'grown up' birthday, with lunch, dinner and friends (actually strike that, it was not grown up at all, watching Match of Day at midnight whilst having had fourteen glasses of wine too many and rewinding the bit where Rooney gets sent off too many times just because it was so funny) probably isn't very grown up at all

  • Learning for the first time that there might just be different lyrics to Itsy Bitsy Spider (Incey Wincey apparently) despite betting the mortgage that I was right, and losing face quite badly over the whole incident

  • Eating 'dappled dandies' for the first time - yes, apparently they are plums, I'd never even heard of them before, but they're yum.

Until the next time, first-timers!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Last night, DH and I went to the Arsenal v Hull City game at the Emirates stadium. Although we won (on the basis of a dodgy offside goal) I thought Hull played well - although the amount of moaning they are doing this morning in the media has put me right off them. Spitting? Whatever. Dodgy refereeing? Get over it.

However, I was distracted throughout most of the game by the boy next to me asking me questions: "Hey, do you think we're going to score?" and "Hey, who was that who was fouled just then?" and "Do you think that was offside?" - and I was trying desperately to contain my language in front of him as well. For some reason, I swear like a trouper at these events. Then at the end of the game, his wee friend came up to me and said "My mate thinks you're gorgeous. Are you single?" Now, I tell you, this is the first time this has ever happened. Asked if I'm single by a 12 year old? And clearly one who has trouble in the eye department as well - not only was I wearing a wedding ring, but I was with DH, who I hugged and kissed after each of the two Arsenal goals (and we held hands at half time). Genius. Bless. I told him that I was not and was old enough to be his granny, which was met with a grin.

Anyway, I enclose a photo of our new player Ashavin next to our striker Adebayor. Apparently he's as tall as Pele...

Monday, 16 March 2009

It's been a very slow week for first times. Just feast your eyes on my achievements to see what I mean:

  • I bought a dark green crochet-ed (spelling?) frog pouch to hold my camera in (and I know this says nothing good about me at all).

  • I have become obsessed, for the first time, with 'statement belts'. I bought my first one yesterday at Spitalfields. It's blue and sparkly and has a gold clasp. It's the kind of thing you'd find in your mother's closet and weep (and not in a good way) but I love it.

  • I went to Hounslow for the first time. For fear of offending anyone, I'd better not report on this.

  • I started reading a new author for the first time (Stieg Larsson) but given that he's from Scandinavia and definitely modern, this has done nothing whatsoever to challenge my prejudices in favour of novels which are both modern and European (see one of my very first posts).

So in desperation today for the first time I made a list about things I am deeply cynical about but would like to be less cynical about. Now I know what you're thinking: I am deeply cynical about most things, so how could I choose? But here's the best I could do:

  • Modern indie music. Are you having a laugh? 'Indie'? It's about as independent (which is what indie stands for, but this has been lost in the mists of time) as David Cameron and Michael Winner's love child. Or turkeys voting for Christmas to be cancelled, take your pick of the analogies. Er, a big A+R outfit discovering you playing in your local pub and then three months later you're playing Wembley (and it sold out in three minutes) is not independent, it's slick marketing rubbish and you've sold out and no-one thinks you're cool. Not even your mates.

  • People who write articles in newspapers taking some outlandish stance on something: you know, "Pregnant women are killing their children if they have one glass of wine in 9 months" type efforts. You're just doing it to sell newspapers and anyway who cares about your opinion anyway.

  • People who read and get upset by the articles (set out above). Who cares? Just do what's right for you. Stop writing in to the paper, getting upset. It's bad for the blood pressure and gives more publicity to a subject that everyone else finds dull anyway.

  • SuperMums. Don't even get me started. The truth must be that you silently weep into your hot drink at night and you haven't had sex since the birth of your fifth baby.

  • Rugby. Do I need to say anything more?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Yesterday, I decided that for the first time since I moved to London some light-years ago, that I would speak to my neighbour. Now, for those of you who don't live in London, I can hear you say - what? You don't speak to your neighbours? My neighbours are my best friends! - but trust me, in London it's one of The Rules. You do not ever speak to your neighbours. Speak to someone on public transport and you're clearly a lunatic. Give someone eye contact on the street and you're a serial killer. You get my drift. But as I arrived home last night, I saw my neighbour come out of his house and I thought: shall I do my usual thing (i.e. run into my house, pretending I haven't seen him) or shall I let someone new into my life and actually engage in converation? Well, I wish this story had a happy ending. In the film of my life, my next door neighbour would turn out to be Jarvis Cocker's best mate and as a result of talking to him, DH and I would be invited to lots of intimate soirees at his house, not to mention tiny unannounced gigs, international festivals and the like. Jarvis would become my new best friend. But sadly, no. My next door neighbour is one of the most boring men in the world. He drives a BMW and said 'goody' a lot during the course of conversation (and not Jade Goody, that would definitely have been a conversation-starter). I found out that he likes red wine and owns a timeshare. I tell you this for free: knowing your neighbours is fundamentally over-rated.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

It's been a horribly long time since I wrote, apologies. There's too much to tell and I won't even try. I have become obsessed with making lists and with the whole Julie Myerson debate. For those of you who don't know, Julie is an author who has recently decided to publish a book based on her and her husband's real-life decision to throw their 20-year old son out of the house on the basis of his problems with drugs. Skunk, mind, not heroin. She has been absolutely vilified in the press, accused of everything from being middle-class about drugs to 'letting down the concept of motherhood'. Her husband Jonathan wrote an article in the Guardian about it today which prompted me to do something else for the first time: write to someone I've never met about a subject I know nothing about. His article was, in my view, exceptional. 'Exceptional' is an over-used word but it's a useful one in this context. His article was full of pain and love and hard facts. I know nothing about having a teenage son or the effect of drugs and to be honest neither are things I worried about, but I was compelled to write to say how exceptional his article was. It will be etched on my mind for a long time, for sure.
Anyway, on to lists. Yesterday for the first time I made a list of things I like which are deeply uncool but which make me who I am:

  • Francis Cabrel (see photo): wrinkly old French folk-rocker who sings songs about women's eyes, the beauty of children, ladies who live in wooden chalets in the Alps and always appreciating what you have. Subjects so uncool that they're almost cool again. Desperately uncool, but strangely brilliant.

  • Cheryl Cole. Now I know that this one divides the nation. How can any woman like someone who was once convicted of assault on a nightclub attendant (although cleared of racist charges), is a UK size 4 (size zero, US-dwellers) and is married to Ashley Cole, the most stupid footballer of all time? But there's something about her, isn't there?

  • Eating peanut butter out of the jar with a teaspoon. Preferably whilst watching 'Coleen's Real Women'. And only the crunchy variety works here.

  • 'Coleen's Real Women'. For those of you who have not sampled this work of genius, the premise for this TV show is that Coleen (married to Wayne Rooney, a footballer of uncertain physical attractiveness) finds 'real women' to star in ad campaigns, often 'beating real models' to the job. I love it for the simple fact that models around the UK probably detest her - "Hey Coleen, rack off! How are we going to get jobs if real women are taking them over!" (see also American's Next Top Model, Stylista and so on).

  • Bed socks. Cashmere. But I never wear them in bed, as surely this is the end of marriage?

Anyway, see you soon. x