Archive for January, 2011

Birthday blog!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Happy birthday to me! I am twenty-nine today! Or as someone on Twitter pointed out – “twenty-wine”, which I thought very appropriate. As I have approached this semi-landmark birthday (as in it’s the last one of my twenties) I have discovered through discussions with friends that turning twenty-nine seems to be a bit of a sticking point in some peoples’ lives. Almost without exception everyone of a similar age that I have mentioned it to has shuddered and said “Oh don’t. Twenty-nine this year, thirty next. I can’t believe it. Where does the time go?” Well this last might be accurate, time does seem to fly past at the speed of sound, but I don’t mind. I can’t WAIT to be thirty. It will be like entering a new phase of my life, I shall be grown-up and mature and life will be different as I move on. I will have different concerns and preferences. I shall do different things (out with the belly-dancing, in with the yoga), I shall wear different clothes (out with the Jack Wills, in with the Joules, Quba Sails, Boden, Monsoon) and I imagine that I shall have different preoccupations, aims and focuses. I don’t know what they will be yet, but that’s part of the fun. This may sound trite, and even overly-optimistic, but I aim and expect to embrace each stage of life as it comes. The shuddering, similarly-aged friends have said “Yes, but thirty! That’s OLD.” So? We age. You can’t stop it, you can’t turn back the clock. And interestingly, the consensus seems to be that you are happy to move on if you are content with what you have achieved in your life so far. Which I must be, I suppose, because I am still excited about getting older.

There is a flaw in the plan for this years’ celebrations however; I had my usual three-ring circus of events lined up – and then I developed an infection in my gum which is the second most painful thing I have ever had to endure. Labour being the first. In terms of childbirth that is, not the political party. It’s been so bad that I haven’t even wanted to celebrate. Rare indeed. Each twenty-four hour period in my life has been ruled by when I can take the next dose of painkillers, “Eight paracetamol, eight ibuprofen in twenty-four hours is the maximum,” the surgery nurse informed me cheerfully. “They’ll knock you out but at least you won’t be in pain.” Brilliant. That should make tonight go with a swing. Tonight, you see, there are fifteen of us going out for dinner and drinks. I had meant to have a quiet birthday in preparation for the big one next year, but then it sort of spiralled…..

The upside of being ill is that I have had a lot of quiet time to think and reflect on my manuscript which is taking shape now. I am 85,000 words in and I am very pleased with it so far. I’m beginning to be afraid of finishing it, because I don’t like to be without a writing project and I have no clear idea what I will write next. I’m aware that I’m jumping the gun rather, but it doesn’t do to leave these things to chance. Although I did get an email through the other day about a short story competition which I thought I might enter. I don’t think that I’ve ever written a short story before so it would be a nice new thing to try. In other writing news I am getting very excited about attending Cari Rosen’s book launch in a couple of weeks time for her book “The Secret Diary of a New Mum, (aged 43 1/4)”. You should all keep an eye on the newspapers because I know she’s had a lot of media coverage. She has particularly enjoyed the photoshoots. And if you’re on Twitter and you don’t follow her, you should, she’s @cazroz and she is a lovely, clever, funny lady.

Right, I am going to go and continue enjoying my very first day of being twenty-nine, which means putting my new earrings in. And wearing my new perfume. And eating my new chocolate. And deciding which dress I shall wear tonight. And which shoes. And unfortunately it also means taking my next dose of painkillers… must be an age thing. I’m obviously getting old.

A brand new year!

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I couldn’t even begin to tell you what day it is as they all segue neatly into one another at the moment, but I do know that we are in a new year. Which is 2011! I love the new year; so shiny and full of promise and untainted by anything. And also the fact that it means my birthday is very, very close! I shall be 29 on 21st January. This is excellent for two reasons – one because I love my birthday and getting pink, glittery things, handmade cards from my children, drinking champagne and seeing lots of friends and family, but also because it means that I don’t have to spend the whole of January off alcohol like the rest of the population are trying to do. I just have to attempt to get to the 21st of January and then I can legitimately start drinking again. I have considerate parents you see, who knew that it might be a bit of an unpleasant struggle for me each year so they decided that they kindest thing that they could do would be to ensure that my birth was in January.

So, yes, a whole brand new year spreads in front of me – so exciting! What shall I do in it, I wonder? What will happen? The first thing I shall do is tell you all about my Christmas, which was as lovely as I had predicted. We spent six nights at my mother’s house and survived very well.  Obviously we drank an oceanic amount to help us get through – I dare not add up the number of units – but it was so nice to see my sister and brothers and just spend so much time doing…..nothing. We sat around, talked, watched television, ate and drank. And I shopped; I had to take advantage of Marlow and Windsor while I could. I spent quite a long time in the Jack Wills shop in Eton as well, in the company of my brother Charles, who proved surprisingly patient. But then he needed to be because it was him who had rung the house phone at 2am the night before and woken up 8 adults and 3 children to ask for a lift home from Reading for him and his friends because the trains had been replaced by night buses and they couldn’t work them out. Charles had no sensible explanation as to why he thought this was a good idea when he was questioned the next morning by an irate household.  It was, frankly, a time of excess but this should not surprise you because we were staying in the house of excess. I came downstairs one morning to find my mother wearing a rather nice shirt.

“That’s a nice shirt,” I said to her. And I doubt any of you could correctly predict her reply, which was:

“Thank you. I have fifteen of them.” I don’t know who was more shocked, me or my long-suffering step-father. In fairness to her there did follow a long and vague justification about colours and wearing them frequently but the damage was done.

New Year was equally as lovely; we spent it at my father’s house and had an uproariously fun evening, involving – again – lots of wine and leaping over obstacles in the later part of the night I seem to recall. I cut a dignified figure in my skirt as you can imagine. And also dancing at midnight and singing Auld Lang Syne, only mildly marred by the fact that no-one knew the words.

BUT, the consequence of all this loveliness was that I didn’t get one single word written, which is bad of me. Even when I returned home I didn’t manage to write anything because a) I was recovering and b) my girls are not back at school yet and it’s difficult to be productive with both of them saying “Mummy!” 57 times a day. Once they are back I shall be disciplined and focussed and get this manuscript completed. I have thought about it a lot and I do have a clear idea of where I want to take it, it’s now just a question of getting it written down. And it will serve me well to do so because there’s a lovely agent who I particularly like waiting to read it when I’ve finished it.

I also have a book recommendation for you all, it’s a book called One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner. I read it over New Year and I literally could not put it down. It’s incredibly sad and therefore not the sort of thing that I would normally choose to read, but woven into the sadness is such positivity that it rebalances the whole thing and makes a devastating story a very uplifting read. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. I happened to already know Sarah’s agent so I emailed her to tell her how fantastic I thought it was and she very kindly forwarded the email to Sarah who then wrote me a lovely email thanking me for my compliments and she sounds like such a nice person. One Moment, One Morning is her third book so I shall definitely be looking out for her previous ones.

So – belatedly – Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all have a happy, peaceful and fortuitous year. I intend to, and I think I shall start by duplicating everything in my wardrobe to fifteen.