Saturday, 27 August 2011

Farewell My Lovelies

Darling ones, it has been a terribly long time since I have written a single word or communicated with the online, virtual world. I have a jolly good reason though. Before I explain, I will firstly say that it is with great sadness that I must say farewell, this will be my last entry.

In past entries, I have expressed an interest in politics and at the beginning of this year I was head-hunted to represent the good people of my ward at District Council level, and stand for public office in the May local election. Well I felt honoured to be given this opportunity, so with my usual enthusiasm and vigor I began my campaign, and I bloody well won, I beat off the opposition with grace and charm and an elegant array of appropriate outfits (thank you Joseph), manicured nails and bouncy blow-dries. I knew I was in with a chance as I glided around the district and raised admiring glances as I chatted to residents while out canvassing, they smiled and said how refreshing it was to meet a young (oh thank you Dr Zelens) woman who would understand the needs of local people with young families.

Election night was terrifying and exciting as we watched the Count as ballot papers were tipped onto the table, I felt nervous and hoped I had done enough pavement pounding, and I clutched Handsome Husbands hand as they began to sift through the little bits of paper. He was confident and kept telling me it was a no brainer as I was gorgeous, intelligent and far better looking than the opposition. As the night went on, and the results began to role in, it was clear there was a great big blue swing and I began to feel a little more hopeful and at 5am on May 6th this year it was announced to the world, that I had won my seat. I cannot begin to explain the sheer joy and feeling of triumph I felt, it is a moment I shall never forget.

So I won, and I have been getting my feet under the table, making my mark, and taking my role extremely seriously as there is much work to be done, people to help, places to go, and meetings to attend, and time is very short. Life will be a little more serious for me, and I think it is what I have been searching for for some time. I'm good at this, I have come in with fresh eyes and a commercial view and I do believe things can be done if you put your mind to it.

North West London Girl in The Country has found her place in the world, and it is a happy and fulfilled one.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Mini World

I am a girl and am not interested in cars, I see them as a means to simply get me where I want to go in the safest way possible. However, I am lucky enough to own a beautiful Mini Clubman (that's an estate version of the Mini), and it is the ideal vehicle for me to zip about the countryside and squeeze into small spaces when I am in London, it also fits in the small herd, two dogs and Handsome Husband, so is a multi-tasking beauty, just like me.

I recently had to take my lovely Mini in for a Service. Normally this is a tiresome event, and does not take long enough to warrant a courtesy car so I have to wait about reading out of date issues of What Car, Classic Car or Top Gear, none of which are normally on my reading radar. To top that the showroom seating is uncomfortable and there is a ghastly coffee machine, that splutters out something that looks more like weak ale than coffee and I cannot tell you what it tastes like as I surreptitiously poured it into the plant pot next to the brochures.

This visit turned out to be a little more interesting than I had expected, as I decided to take a look at the new Mini Countryman which was proudly displayed in the showroom. The eager salesman (Julian) was more than happy to talk me through this Mini beast, and he talked enthusiastically about all sorts of technical issues which went straight over my pretty head, but I nodded, smiled and agreed with everything he said, but after about 5 minutes of his waffling I began to glaze over a little until I spotted something I had to enquire about.

"What on earth is that" I asked pointing to what looks like the accelerator handle on a small speedboat. "Aaah that is the handbrake" he said in hushed tones, and then continued "I know, it's horrible isn't it"? It certainly is a ghastly looking thing, and frankly spoils the whole look. It was then that I gave this Mini a critical once over and decided that it is all wrong, it's huge and I thought Mini was supposed to be small, and despite having four doors it offers no additional leg room than my current gorgeous little Mini, its body design also resembles and clumsy London Taxi and there are some strange poles which run all the way down the middle of the interior of the car which give the appearance of it not being quite finished. Julian then began to give me the sales talk about Mini being a brand and that they had listened to what customers want and this is it. Well not me Julian, I don't want one at all I shall be sticking to my Clubman, although when the very helpful man on the Service Desk re-appeared with my keys he gave me the bad news that my little car will need new front and back brakes in about 1000 miles, so what with that, the newly due MOT it may just be cheaper to get myself a new little Clubman.

As I've been a very good girl this year, maybe Santa could be persuaded. What do you want for Christmas? xxx

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Rugger Buggers

The Gorgeous England Rugby Player, Ben Cohen

My eldest and middle chap both play the game that mummies often find difficult to watch, rugby. It is difficult on three levels for me, firstly it is mostly played when the weather is cold, sometimes wet and often windy, and having sensitive skin the combination of these elements can prove challenging, but I have found the perfect barrier to shield me from the assault, a rich cream from Dermalogica (Intensive Moisture Balance) which not only protects but also gives my skin a healthy glow.

Another difficulty which is impossible to avoid is that of the injured son. Does one dash onto the pitch with Belstaff jacket flying behind you to tend to the wounded, or does one stand silently looking on as the boy lays on the ground gasping in pain and being ignored by everyone, until he drags himself up and limps on. It is a dilemma, and I have been told that unless the paramedics are called on, I am to stay rooted to the spot and not even show a flicker of interest. So far I have obeyed my instructions but I will be honest with you and say, I have found it extremely difficult to do so, but I do understand that there are unspoken rules which must be obeyed or my son will be ribbed endlessly by his team mates.

The final challenge is that of the Rugby Dad, who I have been able to observe at close range for nearly a whole season. Although they may vary in height, age and looks they all share some defining characteristics, an extremely loud voice, a complete disregard for the instructions and directives from the referee and a need to pace the field roaring at his own son, particularly if he makes an error. They are indeed terrifying and I have on several occasions felt quite tempted to kick one or two of them very hard on the shin, but being a lady, I haven't.

Should their sons team win they gloat boorishly during tea, should they lose the are like great big babies skulking around, and then admonish their son when he arrives looking battered and bruised from the gladiatorial battle he has just lost. There is one feature I feel that these bully boys must also share, although I have no evidence for it, that these sad excuses for men all seem to have very small bulges and I'm not talking about their wallets.

My very own Handsome Husband, I'm sure you will be pleased to know, neither paces nor shouts loudly, and chats gleefully to the other normal dads while watching with one eye while his son is being crushed, pulled, winded and occasionally scoring a try. Perhaps that may have been why he has had no trouble ever scoring himself.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Distinct Chill

It has been some time since I have sat down to write as the summer holidays whizzed by in a flurry of cricket courses, days at the beach, rugby courses, day trips to famous English tourist destinations, art courses, and visits from friends from London and finally our own glorious holiday in France.

Tasks I normally tend to with great care were ignored and I have had a backlog of dull administrative items to deal with. As I sat at my computer attempting to make an online payment for our telephone bill I felt a distinct chill which must mean autumn is about to hit us. So after doing what any sensible girl would do and order some new soft and warm cashmere pieces to ensure the cold does not reach my bones, I will be wrapping up in a cosy Fendi sweater which sits comfortably under a rather indulgent Thomas Wylde poncho. With my own body dealt with I turned my attention to the rest of the household and remembering how cold this lovely old house can get I rang the elusive log man, aptly named locally as Bob The Log, yes really, and everyone around here is always desperate to track him down at this time of year, so they can stock up on logs to burn throughout the winter months.

Last year I was told of the difficulties of getting Bob The Log to deliver and people often have to wait for a month for their load to arrive (sounds like an ex-boyfriend), so when he brought our precious cargo last year I had a plan that would guarantee that Bob The Log would always be eager to put me on the top of his list. Naturally, I did my research prior to his arrival. I was told he could be quite grumpy, was often in pain due to some problems with his legs, he was quite large, and most importantly, his dog was his constant companion and he took her everywhere with him. Simple, he would be putty in my well moisturised hands.

He did not disappoint and was exactly as I imagined him to be and arrived in the most frightful grump. He didn't really want to talk to me and asked for the "man of the house". He was quite huffy when I told him he wasn't in, but not to worry as I could deal with the logs. "But" I said, "Why not have some tea before we unload, you must be exhausted after all that chopping". I saw his eyes brighten and then I added I that I had some delicious chocolate cake that I had just made that he might like to have with his mug of tea. Then I went in for the kill and began cooing over his lovely dog, and asked if it was alright if I gave her a dog biscuit, at that moment I knew I'd be able to have as many logs as I wanted, whenever I wanted them.

So when I rang him I was delighted to hear him say that I was on the top of his list, and he was going to call me with a delivery time as the weather was turning and he knew I'd be wanting some logs. Handsome husband was delighted when I told him the good news that we wouldn't be freezing this year, and was quite excited when I mentioned that some of the logs needed breaking up as they were quite large. He told me that wouldn't be a problem he would just get his big chopper out again.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A Golden Weekend

The countryside really comes alive during the summer and we have found ourselves to be busy virtually every weekend from now until the end of the season. Fortunately there is a slot available for me to make a quick visit to London for a cut and colour with the lovely girls at Mahogany, essential for me to maintain glossy locks. If this weekend is an example then we shall definitely need to pace ourselves. Attire will not be an issue as I have planned my wardrobe in advance to ensure there are no possibilities of being seen in the same pieces twice, except for my exquisite new sequin dress from Matthew Williamson, which deserves several outings.

Friday began with dinner at friends, which was eaten al-fresco under a gazebo from which we could gaze at the stars which all winked at us endlessly. We were fed my favourite summer treat of Gazpacho, with all the bits and bobs to accompany it, a feast of chicken and mushrooms served with a bowl of summer vegetables and all finished off with a summer pudding. Every single thing other than the bread and chicken came from our hostesses garden and all tasted so divine it could have been a banquet fit for the gods. We were introduced to yet more new people who were delightful and other than one man with metallic painted toenails (on grubby feet) all elegantly turned out for an evening of outdoor entertainment. We ate and drank until the early hours and it wasn't until I looked at my watch as I felt a sudden chill and wrapped my Zadig and Voltaire lightweight cashmere cardigan around me, that I realised it was so late, always a good sign.

Saturday morning was spent with some warmed croissants and jam together with steaming cups of tea being consumed on my terrace, with handsome husband and a charming gentleman we met recently who is a genius PR guru who had kindly dropped in to bring some historical research he had carried out on his Grandfather who had been at Pegasus Bridge during D-day, which he thought middle chap might be interested to read (his pet subject). Whilst here he told us about the fabulous Serenata Festival which during its first summer is taking place not too far away from here, and offers a luxurious event for those who love classical music. There is a palatial boutique tented hotel with butler service if required, the coolest kids clubs with babysitting from highly trained staff, and lavish food to be devoured from some of the best eateries here. We were so taken with the idea that we decided to go and check out the venue.

We took smallest and middle chap to join us on our adventure with a flask of tea and a Victorian Sandwich cake. We drove along a couple of A roads and then turned off in the direction of Kimmeridge Bay where the festival is being held. We drove through two tiny old villages and then arrived at the dazzling location of the bay itself. A large sweeping curve of ancient rocks towering above the clear sea where all kinds of amazing water species live. We walked around the curve and sat upon some rocks and I watched as the three men went off for a swim in the sea, soon coming back in for tea and cake. It was a glorious scene and I can see why it has been chosen for the Serenata Festival where we can all listen to the music overlooking the sea, just about as idyllic as one can get.

If this wasn't enough, on Sunday we had been invited to a tea party on the lawn of a magical garden, where all ages mixed together and were treated to firstly a small and impressive musical performance from a wind trio followed by a traditional Punch and Judy show and, my favourite part an enormous selection of cakes, dainty sandwiches and of course scones, clotted cream and jam. As I sat greedily eating my scone, and observing the scene which could have slightly resembled a scene from Alice in Wonderland, a grey haired tall gentleman joined me with his own scone and we chatted about a variety of topics including his time as a sub-mariner. My eldest chap came to join our conversation and he and the delightful gentleman discussed, novels, music, rugby, sailing, cricket and rowing, and spent much time on the subject of sub-marines as this is eldest chaps current area of obsession. Later on during the afternoon as I talked with our hostess, she informed me that the delightful gentleman was the father of a winner of 3 Olympic gold medals. How refreshing to meet a man who really does have something to brag about, and not mention it once, even when the opportunity arose. If this is how my weekends are to pan out then I'm glad to be in England where the tea is strong, the cakes are light, the sea is cool, the sky is clear and the White Rabbit can be seen if you look carefully, running across the green and lush countryside.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Birthday Boy

My smallest chap is 6 today. His world is a fun filled happy place and I hope to keep it that way for him for as long as possible. He is much loved and kissed and squeezed on a daily basis. Sometimes when I look at him I just have to tell him I Love Him and he tells me he loves me right back.
Happy birthday beautiful boy xxxxxx

Monday, 28 June 2010

Beach Babe

I have been so slack recently and I really shouldn't have been, as I have so much to do before the end of term when my small herd of 3 growing chaps will descend upon me demanding 3 meals a day plus copious snacks, as well as some entertainment for 9 weeks until they return to school in September.

There are some valid reasons for my being so slow off the mark. Firstly my new fancy pants smart phone has needed some fine tuning and has had to be reset twice, but at last it seems to have settled down, particularly as I have worked out how to switch the mobile tweet alerts off, so I am no longer receiving fifty bleeps an hour and am back on to my moderate number. Secondly, the weather being so hot and delightful, I have found myself heading off in the direction to several fabulous beaches some easily reachable within 35 minutes, when really I should have been preparing for other things, such as the two parties I am hosting this week, the picnic required for middle chaps sports day, deciding what to wear for the sports day, speech day, and the parties and choosing end of term gifts for the magical teachers of smallest chap. Last but not least I also need to ensure the guest suite has sufficient towels, and matching linen for the several guests that we are expecting very soon.

So I should be getting a little hot under the collar at the thought of all the things I haven't done because I have been laying on a sun lounger on the white sand at Sandbanks beach, with my sun hat, swimsuit and plenty of sunblock. I must say right here, right now, that I seldom panic as I know it is futile, and calmness means errors will not be made. I simply made my lists while laying on my sunlounger and made some calls on my new phone after I'd found what I needed through the various apps I'd downloaded and a little local knowledge, so all is well the caterers and staff have been confirmed, the wine and champagne ordered, flowers will be arriving very soon, teachers gifts are winging their way here by DHL and I can now see that I can run my mini kingdom with a few swift clicks of some confirmation buttons, on my clever little phone.
All I need to do now is turn up and look gorgeous, and with my sunkissed skin and hair, that shouldn't be too difficult.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Birthday Girl

Today is the day, it's birthday time for me...I so love celebrating my big day, my special day, the day that is all about me. It's about other people in my life too, my mum who brought me into this wild, weird and crazy world, she cradled me when I was tiny, fed me, kept me warm, held my hand and hugged me. Thank you for all the love. Sadly, my dad isn't here anymore so I send him lots of love too on my special day and love to my gorgeous, sexy friends who make me laugh. My small herd who make me so proud I could burst. Finally, handsome husband, the keeper of my heart who loves me just for being me.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

That's Just Not Cricket

It almost felt like summer, as I schlepped across the field with smallest chap, two dogs, new fold up chairs and picnic to watch middle chap playing cricket for the school teams 1st XI. This is a momentous occasion, as having arrived here last summer this is the first cricket season he has had an opportunity to show the new school his great bowling and batting skills.

I know I may sound like a terribly pushy mum, but to be frank, although I like to watch a bit of the cricket, I'm afraid I am fair weather attendee and I see it as an opportunity to get a little sun and participate in a little polite chatter with other parents.

Attire is not the main focus, and layers are sensible as the pitch is quite exposed and the temperature and wind tend to fluctuate, naturally there are some schools when clothing is a little more considered and this was one of those matches, so I went for some Gstar jeans, t-shirt underneath a Michael Kors over sized cashmere cardigan and my oh so comfortable Bensimons and all topped off with my newest purchase, a Eugenia Kim panama hat.

We placed ourselves in a great viewing spot and more importantly in direct sight of the sun, and I began to unpack the picnic not a huge feast as the teas at cricket are magnificent, just a few titbits to munch on.

It was just as I was biting into a Royal Gala, when I saw them marching towards the pavilion, the opposition mothers, a formidable selection of finely tuned, tanned long limbed ladies, with the leader of the pack, a fine specimen of female perfection, barking orders at the others. I was not intimidated in the slightest actually I was amused as I watched their lovely heeled shoes slowly sinking into the grass as they began to quicken their pace in an attempt to avoid getting completely stuck. They planted themselves right in front of the pavilion doors, so boys coming in and out would have to walk around them and the leader delegated the unpacking of chairs, rugs, cushions, hampers, coolers and an enormous umbrella to keep the shade off. All this would have looked at home in some bygone era of the Indian empire, but here in this world it all looked rather affectacious.

The match began and the visitors batted first. We politely clapped as they scored the odd run here and there, and did the same when they were bowled out, caught out and on one occasion run out. The opposition mothers screeched and screamed loudly whenever a run was scored, and remained silent and sullen when one of their boys were out. This is pretty poor behaviour for a cricket match, where rules and etiquette are keenly observed. However, I could have gladly dealt with this without being bothered but it was the behaviour of their coach that was highly questionable. I won't bore you with the details, as you may not be familiar with the rules of cricket, but basically there are a limited number of overs in a game and it is normal that whichever team bats first, declares after tea giving the other team the same amount of overs to reach the winning target. For the first time since I have been watching my sons play cricket, this did not happen and the visiting team continued playing until they had played 30 overs, leaving only 14 overs for our home team. This just isn't fair play, just not cricket, not gentlemanly and an outrageous example of bad sportsmanship to set as an example to these boys of privilege.

This turned out to be one of the most exciting matches I have ever watched (except of course the Ashes) and our boys were completely brilliant, our first two batsmen scored fast and furious taking us to within 4 runs of a win with 4 balls left. My son was batting at number 4 and as the other two boys has been batting brilliantly it seemed unlikely he would get walk onto the pitch in order to bat for the school, but with all the excitement, one boy was caught out, and then another boy having scored 3 of the four runs needed was run out, which meant my middle chap on his debut had to come on and score one run to win, with only one ball left to bowl - this was a do or die moment. Now I knew he would be nervous under normal circumstances, as he would want to prove himself more than capable with the bat, but this pressure was immense, what if he was bowled out, what if he couldn't score a run, or was caught. I could barely watch, as I felt a mother next to me squeeze my knee in support as he walked on looking cool and calm and in control.

We watched in silence as he walked to the stumps, lined himself up and looked out. The bowler made his run up and bowled so fast I could not see the ball, but I saw middle chap raise his bat and heard the thump as he smashed it away. We had won and I jumped up and screamed, the other parents in our group all jumped up too and we hugged and cheered and I had tears of joy and pride which I could not hold back.

I turned to the pitch and saw middle chap take of his helmet and raise his bat in victory, he then walked over to the opposition captain and shook his hand and in the true spirit of Cricket showed the opposition there and then how to behave like a gentleman..

Friday, 23 April 2010

Oh, This Old Thing

School holidays are over and spring is upon us and I have now begun the delicious ritual of replacing my winter wardrobe with my spring wardrobe, taking care not to get too enthusiastic by unwrapping summer pieces just yet, I don't like to tempt fate. I so enjoy sealing away winter in my vacum seal bags from The Holding Company and gently opening, unwrapping and unleashing spring.
Being a creature of habit I put aside two days for this event to ensure I can focus entirely on the job at hand as it is vital that no errors are made in the packing up process and all items have already been checked carefully to establish if any repairs or dry cleaning is needed. I always begin with the heavy items such as coats, jackets and boots and follow on with lighter pieces until I reach my cashmere section, and after removing a few of my more delicate pieces suitable for chilly spring and summer evenings, I reach the point where caution is needed as any potential nasty moths need dealing with in advance. I have taken advice from the experts and add some gorgeous scented wooden balls into the airtight environment for the summer and they really do seem to do the trick as my knitwear is completely unblemished.
On day two, when I have a beautiful assortment of sealed joy laid out before me, all labelled and dated, and the familiar sense of satisfaction washes over me I embark on the packing up process and all items are carried to the loft which has a constant cool temperature which is ideal for clothing storage (except fur which goes into professional storage), and placed in wooden packing cases which have been adapted with hanging rails or shelves for flat items. Everything is closed up and it is only then that I commence the unpacking of Spring.
Bags have been unsealed, boxes sliced open and tissue removed and everything has been placed out in order to be appraised for selection. Our tastes do change from season to season and what was gorgeous last spring, can look out of place a year later. For example, a Jil Sander very sleek but now seemingly dull dark coloured long silk hooded top and skirt is so wrong with this seasons soft pastels. However, more significantly, what has really changed for me and my wardrobe of beautiful clothes is that countryside chic is very different from London chic and I have hit a tremendous potentially life changing dilemma. Do I need all this stuff, are these clothes really going to serve me well here, am I just holding on to my London life through them, when will I wear them, and will the heels of my Giuseppe Zanotti shoes survive the uneven stones and paths I now tread. Attitudes to clothes is very different here compared to London, and it has become obvious that having 14 coats and 16 jackets (not including suits) is perhaps a tad extravagant, and although I wonder to myself why women on the school run only seem to ever wear one coat all winter and one jacket during the summer is there anything wrong with that. Should I just keep what I need and pieces that will be useful and off load the rest, or do I say, I am what I am and if I want to wear heels and a Matthew Williamson dress on the school run, than I shall.
I did ponder on this big question, and decided that I am a North West London Girl In The Country and I shall always hold my head high, be true to myself and not bow to the masses, I will always have my hair blow-dried, have regular manicures and facials, and above all I will always find any excuse to dress up.


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