IT’S A HANDBAG JIM BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!!!!

Dear friends. I have just emptied my handbag onto the kitchen table, as quite frankly the daily rummage for my car keys was getting beyond a joke and sadly the realisation has dawned that one of my youthful aspirations will never be achieved. So, I have looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror and told myself, gently but firmly, to just let it go, to free myself of an unrealistic goal and to never again be burdened by the gnawing and psychologically damaging effects of guilt. Today I allowed myself to confront the full horror of my handbag’s contents, acknowledge that it will never, ever be power woman tidy and that it is, in fact, ok not to be perfect. To be honest, the fact that it looks like an exhibit for the Turner Prize is actually quite satisfying, as the more I look at it, the more I realise that this mad pile of stuff is my reality, an honest reflection of who I am, a little snapshot of my life.

So let’s start at the beginning. Throat sweets, 3 varieties of, in ripped bags. Yes I had a sore throat this week and I am happy to report that the Jakemans of Boston, Original and Famous Throat and Chest Soothing Menthol Sweets, tasted very much like Sambucca. However, it’s the ripped bags that say more about me than the throat sweets. Not for me, a carefully opened bag, nicely folded and secured tidily. Oh no, these bags are ripped open by a woman with no patience, who holds no truck in finding a pair of scissors, which if she had, would have prevented the bag from splitting straight down the middle. Why I’m trying to keep the sweets in the ripped bag is a complete mystery because most of them are lying in a sticky heap amongst the other bottom-of-handbag detritus. My packet of Ibuprofen is similarly distressed, not for me a neat, un-squashed packet that other women seem to have, along with tissues, nail files, handbag-sized umbrellas, neatly folded shopping bags and other useful, womanly things. I’m trying hard not to be bitter.

Then there’s the lipstick, five of the same type, in a safe, natural pearl, plus one slightly off-piste racy red. I think I put the red one on once, then promptly calmed it down with the pearl, complete coward that I am. There were also two lip glosses, obviously  in case the other six got mislaid, as well as a three year old concealer. I think my game plan here, was to have one lipstick in an evening bag, one in the car, one in my handbag and one spare but somehow eight lippies seemed to have found their way into the same place. How? I have no idea. It breaks my heart really, as I do try.

I also have two notebooks, one with a lovely William Morris pattern, bought as a present from a dear friend. There were three. No idea what happened to the other two. Sadly there’s not much of interest in it. And then there’s a little battered one I bought in Ibiza, a replacement for the Spider-Man one I initially bought which turned out to be full of graph paper. Why any child would want a Spider-Man notebook full of graph paper on holiday, I have no idea, but it’s probably not as strange as a grown woman buying a Spider-Man notebook in the first place. If you must know, it was the only one the shop had. To go along with the notebooks, I have three pens, a blunt pencil, two pink golf tees, one broken golf tee, three 5p coins and a golf ball marker.

The toothbrush, still in it’s packet is from a vending machine at a Premier Inn, remnants of a weekend away. You actually get two, plus toothpaste for your 2.50 and this is the spare, which will now, no doubt, sit in the bathroom cupboard for the next three years along with the other might-come-in useful mini shampoos, shower caps and body lotions. There’s a bracelet, a little bit of sunshine and sparkle,  bought at The Hippy Market in Ibiza and there’s normal stuff like hairbrushes, hair bands, keys, reading glasses (sadly), sunglasses, a calculator and perfume, aptly titled Flowerbomb.

The garden vouchers, however, are looking at me accusingly, as my August birthday present from my Dad is supposed to have been spent on bulbs which should, by now, have been planted and snuggled up cosily underground before the frosts come, ready to remind me of me old Dad when they appear with a glorious hurrah in the Spring. I meant to plant some last year too. As usual, the best laid plans and all that, mañana mañana. Guilt, guilt and more guilt.

When I’ve finished writing this, I will tidy my bag. I’ll throw out the receipts and the sticky sweets, put the various bits and pieces where they’re supposed to be and move the garden vouchers to my car, which will hopefully remind me to buy the bulbs tomorrow. And for a short time my handbag will be clutter free and compartmentalised. I know it won’t last though. Next week it will be back to normal but hopefully full of new stuff, new stories and probably several lipsticks. Because, quite frankly, if a woman’s handbag is supposed to be a reflection of her life, I now realise that I  wouldn’t actually want it any other way.

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TO FREE OR NOT TO FREE, THAT IS THE QUESTION….

On the way back from the cricket last week, I stumbled upon an interesting article in a freebie magazine on the plane, an article which had I read it a couple of weeks ago, may have had an influence on my latest fashion dilemma. Unbelievably, according to the latest French research, going bra less is actually better for your boobies than trying to hinge them up in M & S’s finest and apparently, left unattended, they will naturally learn to support themselves! Well that’s ok then and  if anyone reading this is brave enough to give it a go, please let me know how you get on, for  a  few weeks ago I experienced another fashion dilemma which again was not an easy  one for a woman of a certain age as unlike the shorts issue,  where really, the decision not to purchase was the  obvious one for any woman with an ounce of pride, this one was a little trickier.

In yet another act of rebellion, (woo hoo, I know, get me), I purchased a very nice black jumpsuit from Top Shop which I decided I could wear to a black tie dinner. The dress code was short cocktail dress but I felt I should practice what I’ve been preaching and opt for an outfit that I actually liked and felt comfortable in. If any one complained I reasoned, I would declare that I batted for the other side and see what they had to say about that!

Anyway, that turned out to be the least of my problems, as the very nice jumpsuit actually had a very low back ,which, I concluded, called for some seriously off piste underwear. But, hey, I was in Glasgow, style capital of the North, if Glasgow didn’t have a solution, no one would. And so it was that  I set about the task of finding suitable cladding for my upper regions, a task that frustratingly turned out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated. What actually amazed me was the fact that there really was so little on offer.  To  be honest I don’t really know what I expected but I expected a little more than the  stick on item I was eventually forced to purchase. Don’t get me wrong, the sales assistant was very helpful but I would now like to get her to elaborate on the ceilidh she attended while wearing the aforementioned contraption as I can’t believe she can have moved much or raised her arms above shoulder height. For when I finally hit the dance floor later on that evening, all hell broke loose and trying to dance with your arms clamped to your sides isn’t a great look for the Queen of Ibiza. To be fair to her, she had suggested that the easiest option was for me to just swing free,  as it was obvious I wasn’t built like Jordan and the outfit was black and high necked, but once again the age thing reared it’s head along with the fear of  some of the male members of our party finding out that I had gone commando. Wearing  trousers to a black tie do was one thing, going bra less was probably pushing things too far.

So sadly, I didn’t do much dancing and to be honest I’m a little cross with myself for not being quite the free, liberated spirit after all as by that time of night, even if I had whipped off the offending item, no one would probably have noticed and my wee boobies could  have swung joyously free to the beat in the aptly named Swing Club. ( that’s Swing club by the way, not Swingers…it hasn’t come to that yet!).

So if anyone out there has the answer to my problem, please let me know, as I really cannot believe that the fashion world hasn’t come up with something suitable that doesn’t involve sticking on or strapping up,  unless of course a low backed jump suit isn’t meant for the un-surgically  enhanced older woman ,who if she dares to shop in  Top Shop  has to live with the consequences.

Answers on a postcard please…..

SUMMERTIME SADNESS

For anyone who has ordered clothes on line, the inevitable barrage of emails offering incentives to buy are now just  part of modern life. At the moment, however, they are slowly pushing me over the edge. Take, for example, this mornings offerings. “The Secrets of Summer Layering…….for chic summer days”  “Things are hotting up for summer….are you ready?”  or “Your sunny day essentials”.  I’m sure if my mailbox could laugh it would  probably have wet itself  as it offered me a range of layering options from vests, to t shirts, through to  little summer dresses, accessories and  scarves that would, of course,  see me effortlessly through  from the beach to the cocktail bar.  Perfect!

Well it would be, if Scotland hadnt morphed into Alaska. Don’t get me wrong, the sun has come out a few times but any time it ,makes a welcome appearance, any warmth is quickly dissipated by the biting, freezing gale that seems to be  on a  permanent  setting from  somewhere in the North. It actually  snowed on the hills today. Snow! It’s bloody June.

So, I’ve done what any sensible girl should do in this situation and booked another holiday to Ibiza. Not until September, but at least it gives me something to look forward to if the sun doesn’t decide to show up in the Highlands, the temperature doesn’t manage to drag itself above 12 degrees C. and my chic, floaty summer layers remain shivering sadly in the wardrobe.

And if the sun does come out, then hopefully I’ll be able to return my order of the above.

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BOOM BANG A BANG BABY…….

And so, after much begging and pleading, it’s the big reveal. A pair of trousers (or slacks) as my granny used to call them, which I couldnt even get away with in Ibiza let alone a wee Highland Toon.

I have no idea what possessed me, other than the after effects of the Jacaranda Bar’s Crazy Mandy’s Cocktails combined with too much Ibiza sun but if I look back I seem to have previous for buying dodgy trousers while on a trip,.and by trip I mean a girls trip, not a psychadelic trip. My last dodgy pair, and I have to admit to it being a rather long time ago when my kids were young and I had been let off the leash for the first time in ages, was purchased in Ayr as my lovely friend Mo and I wandered aimlessly around the town having missed our flight to Dublin. The rest of the girls had made it of course, but Ryan Air soon had us booked on the next flight. If I remember rightly, Alex Salmond was wandering the streets too that day but he has nothing to do with the trouser purchase. The trousers in question this time were, wait for it, black pvc but at £8 they were a bargain compared to the 30 euros I forked out for these ones.  I’m sure we both bought a pair and actually I still have mine but they have never seen the light of day since the Dublin trip.  Yes I did wear them out because the other girls made me and yes, it was a very sweaty relationship but I feel a sort of affection to them probably because it was my first break out from the constraints of early motherhood and probably I just needed to do something radicle.

And thats the thing with clothes, they label us and categorise us into stereotypes.  By dressing a certain way we send out a message to the world that this is who we are or who we would like to be and where we want to fit in and too often we let ourselves be drawn into conforming to a type that just doesnt really represent who we really are. Why we do it, I have no idea, its a little bit sad really and I know when Ive done it, because I ending up spending the whole day or night feeling uncomfortable and not quite myself. And so maybe, just maybe I thought that the multi coloured snake skin flares ( cant belive I just wrote that), represented something, (God knows what) that I just needed to express all these years down the line now the chicks are flying the nest and  freedom is once again on the horizon

Or of course, they could  just as easily  represent the fact that at the time of purchase, I was actually still pissed.

DOES MY BUM LOOK APPROPRIATE IN THESE?

imageI may be having a midlife crisis but I know where to draw the line when it comes to buying a pair of shorts. Short shorts, for those not in the know, are those skimpy little numbers offering a tantalising glimpse of a well toned bum cheek and quite honestly, unless you are an ex supermodel, they are just not appropriate for a woman of my age. The problem is, the shops where I live  are full of them and there doesnt appear to be much else on offer other than a bit of sensible, middle aged, knee length tailoring.

Apparently, one of the first signs that you’re approaching a midlife crisis, is the hiring of a personal trainer and I am not afraid to admit that Jim my personal trainer has made a huge difference to my life. I’m now fitter and stronger than I was ten years ago and I’m hopeful that I have managed to stall the ravages of time for just  a little longer and not go shuffling sadly into my twilight years. If I drop dead tomorrow, however,  I will be well pissed off but as Jim so nicely put it, at least I’ll look good in the coffin and I won’t need to supersize!

Anyway, back to the shorts. As a consequence of being abused (sorry, encouraged) by Jim and his circuit training, I think my legs are in quite good shape. I have dieted, exfoliated and anti cellulited, (Temple Spa do a mean anti lumpy bumpy cellulite lotion) and body brushed, massaged and lathered myself with aromatic oils. But  as I stand next to a nubile, taught skinned teen something in Top Shop who probably thinks I’m shopping for my daughter, I know I’m kidding myself. .Mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind along with visions of Madonna depressingly clad in black leather and if Mr Derbyshire saw them he might actually ban me from going. I might be heading to Ibiza with a sister who has just accidentally dyed her hair orange but I know my limits. Smiling  maternally at the nubile, I  place the offending items back on the rail. I think I’ll leave the short shorts to the gorgeous leggy Amelia and on this occasion act my age.

One more sleep!