“They Fucking Forgot My Birthday” – Samantha Baker, Sixteen Candles.

So far, it’s thankfully not happened to me and people generally remember my birthday, especially in the age of Facebook reminders, calendar reminders and even human reminders. I have one friend in a whatsapp group who is the Queen of calendar reminders: our birthdays, spouse birthdays, anniversaries, kids birthdays, even ex-boyfriend birthdays. NGL, if a key date completely slips my mind, it helps to ride off the back of her well-wishes on the group chat.

When I was a paper diary kind of gal (still am in spirit tbh), I would spend far too long around this time of year buying a new diary for the commencing year. Whilst I do miss the ‘flick-flick-flick’ of a paper diary, I know that the ‘new me’ appreciates the many advantages that my digital diary has. (She says through gritted teeth.)

A lot of people LOVE their birthday. I have many friends like this – usually the ones with coveted summer birthday dates which allow for bbq action and other al fresco fun, tier 2 lockdown or otherwise.

A lot of people LOATH their birthday. (My husband runs the fan club and is always open to more members.)

I’m somewhere in the middle – I like my birthday. I share it with some amazing people that I have met along the way and there is something heartwarming about meeting someone new and discovering that you share the same birthday. I get the same fuzzy feeling when I notice food goes off on my actual birthday.

Happy fishes. x

I’m just pretty low maintenance when it comes to my birthday. I’m not someone who loves to be the centre of attention, but a few dozen social media posts are always nice.

The whole social media thing can get a bit overwhelming though. One friend, went awol on our group chat and hadn’t replied to any of our private birthday greetings. It basically took her 3 days to even notice OUR messages because she was so stressed out with all of the housekeeping of replying to all of her OTHER messages.

Last week, I binge watched ‘Emily in Paris’ along with the rest of the world and I was reminded how it literally feels like yesterday that this photo was taken. Except that it wasn’t. It was five years ago. FIVE!

Debbie in Paris. 20/10/15

I mean, who the hell did I think I was? Carrie Bradshaw?

Goals.

Yup – I really did.

When asked by husband ‘what would you like for your 40th’, I said that I wanted to wake up Paris, with my fam and see the Eiffel Tower from my hotel room balcony…

Not so much luck on the last point.

But! We made it to Paris.

And I so I woke up on my actual 40th birthday IN Paris and we went TO the Eiffel Tower. Definitely a birthday I will never forget.

Aiming for similar stats on the 142 ‘likes’.

Unlike some other birthdays.

By that, I don’t mean they have been ‘forgettable’, but I have very hazy recollections of them.

Working backwards, I can recall the ‘big’ birthdays:

Lockside Bar in Camden for my 30th.

Some bar in Hampstead for my 25th.

And Manchester for my 21st.

At the time I was a student and so a couple of us hustled together to split hire costs and secure the downstairs room in a big enough venue for a guest list of about 200. Students today can only dream of such extended guest lists.

La Tasca, Deansgate. Were you present?

I remember very little. But there was definitely a stripper. Whipped cream. And a banana. Nothing covid-friendly about the evening, that’s for sure.

So at 45, the only stripping will be me getting into bed early doors once we’re kicked out of the restaurant at 10:01.

Wishing all fellow Librans a happy healthy birthday. x

A Mouth Full of Popcorn

My stomach already hurts in advance of my dinner – massive bag of Minstrels and a large vat of sweet and salty popcorn.

Unknown.jpeg

That should see me through the film

For it is ‘date night’ – for want of a better word. And there must be better ways of putting it.

do-you-want-them-sweet-or-salty-i-want-them-like-er-we-do-not-have-ugly-a-popcorn-urtwB.jpg

#couplegoals

So – I’m ‘off out’ with my other half to the cinema, against his will for three reasons:

a) it’s midweek and he hates going out on a school night

b) he’s probably missing some sporting event on some obscure channel. Latest obsession is speed climbing. (Honestly, it’s a ‘thing’.)

c) he hates the cinema

BUT! Tonight, he is less reluctant, for the viewing material is his choice…

Well, my choice actually. In scrolling through Instagram, Kate Hiscox (@wearsmymoney) alerted me to the ‘one night only’ showing of Coldplay‘s documentary. Tonight. November 14th in case you are not reading this in real-time.

Unknown-2.jpeg

I booked it and told him only that I was ‘taking him out somewhere, that it was a surprise, but that he would love it’.

Big mistake.

Huge.

Unknown-1.jpeg

The next few hours resulted in Jack Bauer-esque interrogation and guesses about at what I had done/booked/organised/sorted.

Unknown-4.jpeg

Until he finally worked it out. Loves a surprise my husband…

Unknown-3.jpeg

Hates these too

Anyway, he worked it out and seemed okay with it.

Am hoping this is a rare cinematic occasion where he’s actually watches the cinema screen instead of his Twitter feed.

For he is not a cinema fan in general – too dark, too many people, means a late night for him – whereas I will go and see pretty much anything on at the cinema.

I love the immersive experience of it. The escapism, the dark, the phones-away element.

I even enjoy the adverts at the beginning, before you get to the trailers for new releases. Yup, I’m ‘that’ person. My favourite is for the sound system, featuring all the vibrating silver beads. (Don’t judge.)

00000012712.jpg

What? It soothes me

I’ve always loved logos and imagery and when the Touchstone Pictures logo popped up on screen, you knew you were in for a treat. I’ve selected a few favourites:

 

 

Pure joy in these films IMO

My preferred seat, if available, is end of aisle. Husband too, purely for the extra legroom.

images-1.jpeg

Me, I like it for the potential loo break if a film is over 2 hours, although I try to avoid excessive liquids in these situations, because I get scared if no-one else is in the ladies.

the-best-funny-pictures-of-eye-contact-bathroom-stall.jpg

Photo Credit: memecenter.com

I have flashbacks to a horror film from the 80s called ‘Demons‘. (There’s always an issue with horror films and loos.) The person either doesn’t return their seat. Or if they do return, then something bad has happened to them. In the loo.

In terms of the cinema itself, I’m really not choosy.

I love my local VUE. Great for Wagamama lunch option too.

The Everyman experience is wonderfully cosy, but the snacks aren’t up to much, although the cookie dough thing is pretty spesh.

Reel are a fab local option for me, especially over half term with a load of kids in tow. Doesn’t require a second mortgage.

Also, I have certain friends for certain films.

The crap dance films where the hoodlum boy falls in love with the posh girl over a love of dance. I have a great friend for that.

Or the super sad films where I will cry – alot – and know that my cinema buddy will not judge because she will be sobbing in equal amounts too.

Or the Bridget Jones-type films, where it requires a group of you to go en masse and then dissect the film on a whatsapp chat later that night, quoting favourite lines from it.

images.jpeg

So if you’re heading to the cinema tonight to watch this Coldplay film, please:

Don’t be super late. I am not standing up to let you down the aisle when I’m midway through enjoying the opening titles.

Don’t sit behind me and rest your shoes on the armrest gap bit. Especially in summer, wearing open toe shoes.

Don’t eat cheesy jalapeño nachos next to me, behind me, in front of me. Anywhere near me, thanks.

Off to empty my bladder for tonight.

Dx.

 

 

A Bit of a Do

I would definitely say that I’m an introvert. Handy link if you need clarification about what an introvert is. (Youngest thought it was a description for an ‘innie belly button’. ‘Extrovert’ being an outie one of course.)

In a nutshell, I love stimuli – articles, films, conversations, people watching… but once I’m ‘full’, I need time on my own to digest all that ‘stuff’ and reflect, possibly doing something with this new information. Like maybe write this blog.

images.jpeg

For today, at least…

Over the past few weeks there has been plenty of time for fun stimuli. A flurry of invites for birthdays, breakfasts, dinners and bar mitzvahs filled my social diary for February and March ..and I loved it.

Unknown-3.jpeg

Husband? Hmmm, not so much.

For those with ‘FOMO‘ – ‘Fear of Missing Out’ – he is the polar opposite, suffering from a horrific case of ‘FOBO’ – Fear of Being Out’.

I’m not saying he’s anti-social, but     He’s anti-social.

But once the invites are in, where to store them?

I’m a neat freak and the whole magnet-to-fridge thing is an eyesore for me.

Unknown-4.jpeg

DEFINITELY not my fridge. This just makes me itchy…

Plus, I can’t deal with all the paraphernalia falling off each time the door is opened or closed. (And when husband gets home from work, there is much fridge traffic.)

woman-opening-fridge-by-Healthista.com_.jpg

*Not me. Or my fridge. Although I do have ‘Mrs Balls Chutney‘ in mine too

Pinboards are a nice idea in theory, but again, messy. Plus there’s a chance of standing on a rogue pushpin. Anyone else fondly remember finding these embedded into the sole of your school shoe, as you tap-tap-tapped down the corridors?

Unknown.jpeg

Ahh, the humble drawing pin

For me, all pertinant paperwork has to be stored in a display folder.

37224035_1.jpg

Like this one

Every party invite (kid AND adult), school class list, timetable, letter about choir, or any other A4 (or smaller) piece of paper that requires attention will be stored here.

Message me and ask…

‘When do the kids break up?’

‘When is sports day?’

‘What time does so-and-so’s party start?’

‘Is so-and-so’s barmitzvah at Radlett Reform or Radlett United Synagogue?’

And the information is at my fingertips. (Bar the last bit of info, where an entrance into Radlett Reform could have been a major error…)

barish-sanctuary.jpg

MAZEL TOV!…Do I know you?

With alot of these invites, comes a necessity to ‘get pitzed up’. To put into context:

Saturday evening, dinner with friends…

“Are you going casual or getting pitzed up?”

Or more specifically thanks to Google:

IMG_4053.jpg

You say Farpitzs, I say Pitzed

Alot of these invites thankfully carry indications as to the level of appropriate dressing. Or at least they used to. Black tie, black tie no tie, cocktail, dress to party, glam, party, fancy fucking dress (FML), casual, ‘festival’… and so on.

Each one will carry the same conversation with my husband, an hour, possibly half an hour, before we are due to leave for said ‘do’.

Him: “What’s the dress code?”

Me: “Dress to party.”

Him: “Can I wear jeans?”

Me: “Unknown-6.jpeg

Dress-Code-Guide.jpg

Ideal outfit goals for husband on the end

For me, I LOVE the prep. By all means stop reading right now, as next bit is going to sound super shallow, of Kim Kardashian proportions…

kim-kardashian6.jpg

Pitzed up

Exfoliating, face mask, spray tan, manicure, pedicure, hair cut, hair colour, blow dry, comb out (it’s a thing), make up, outfit.. and that’s just the men. Trust me – I go to alot of ‘things’, and there are a great many tanned women standing next to their considerably paler partners. There needs to be more of this:

 

IMG_C2BEEB47A0DE-1.jpeg

Tanning guru Jules Von Hep at work. On a man

I say I enjoy it.. but then again, it’s an utterly exhausting, logistical process, involving a flurry of bank card activity as stuff is bought, returned and exchanged. (And you always forget that you need tights.)

Don’t worry. I agree… First. World. Problems.  But it’s the world we are living in. And we need to prepare our kids for the future.

Here’s some 2018 GCSE sample maths questions:

Q18: If Vicki has a party on Saturday night, in order to achieve optimum colour, should she have her spray tan on:

A) Monday

B) Thursday

C) A week before

D) Friday

Q19: If Suzie wears 5″ heels to a party which starts at 8pm, what time will she lose feeling in the balls of her feet:

A) 8:03pm

B) Midnight

C) 1am

D) 9pm

Q20: If Gemma eats two pieces of sushi at 7pm at a wedding reception and has five toffee vodka shots during the course of the evening, at what point will she throw up?

A) Never

B) Half past midnight

C) 9:30pm

D) 11:15pm

Q21: If Rachel’s dress is midnight blue, which shoes will match perfectly:

A) Rose gold

B) Gold

C) Antique gold

D) Nude

If Lloyd is going to a 40th party, what is the probability that he will sing ‘Jump Around’ whilst wearing fake sunglasses, neon bracelets and a bandana:

A) 0%

B) 2%

C) 50%

D) 100%

Q22: If Scott has a tendency to sweat alot when dancing, how many spare shirts should he take with to change into during the course of his son’s barmitzvah party?

A) One

B) Two

C) Three

D) Ten

 

Unknown-5.jpeg

Scott, take ten…

 

A full list of questions will be available in due course.

Now to wash off my spray tan….

x

Happy Birthday To Ya…

For as long as I can remember, my dad would annually crank up the record player on my birthday for five minutes and thirty-three seconds of pure Stevie Wonder ‘Happy Birthday’ joy. The opening ‘dn-dka-dn-dka-dn-dka-dn-dnka-dn-dn’ synth sounds would contagiously creep their way upstairs and I would awaken to the ‘big drum fill’ preceding Stevie’s warbles.

Unknown-1.jpeg

Now I’m grown up (sort of), my kids delight in this tradition and blare out the song for me (albeit on Sonos).

But do I love my birthday? It means I’m getting older. Horrific surely? Well, no. Along with Snoop Dogg, Francis Boulle, Danni Minogue and Danny Boyle, I’m a proud October baby, along with some of my closest Libran friends and I’m embracing my forties, always awaiting my yearly Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Unknown-2.jpeg

If it’s good enough for him…

I have great memories of my birthday parties complete with ‘St Michaels’ marshmallow teacakes and orange squash in a corrugated plastic container, that you pierced with the accompanying straw.

Unknown.jpeg

Did someone say artificial sweetener…?

Little parties turned into bigger parties, evenings in, discos and hiring out pubs. I am still great friends with many of the people I grew up with, including one who loves her June birthday so much, she celebrates annually with a monumental ‘tea party’ at her house. Almost like Glastonbury (albeit less muddy), the old faces would reunite and new faces would be added. Over thirty years later, it’s still an annual pilgrimage and the atmosphere is just as warm and wonderful.

Glastonbury.jpg

(AFP/Getty Images)

 

However, I married a man for whom his birthday is a no-go zone. Whilst the kids and I are conveniently booked on a flight to Spain, my other half sees out his birthday at work, with the minimum of fuss made, under the radar, no-one the wiser to this momentous day in August. He then conveniently joins us a day later in the sun.

Unknown-3.jpeg

(Not my husband.)

Each year I call him at work on his birthday and ask “has the cookie basket and strip-o-gram arrived yet?”  He threatens divorce.

Unknown.jpeg

A couple of years ago for his 40th, I convinced him that he had to be with the fam in Spain on his actual birthday (or I would threaten divorce.) He conceeded and a wonderful (low-key) time was had by all. To keep him on his toes all day, I kept him guessing if I’d really arranged a birthday banner on one of those aerial advertising planes.

IMG_1048.jpg

“Heads up at 3pm!”

I have a very dear friend who, on approaching her big 4-0 there was much fanfare and discussion about how it would be best celebrated. This planning began well over a year ago …it’s still going on.

Oh the decisions for the birthday girl or boy about what to do, how to celebrate, the food, the drink, the invites. But what about the pressure for the friends, whereby you are obliged to fulfil at least one, if not all of the following, depending on friendship status:

  1. Facebook post –  totes oblig. You get a notification FFS. All you need to do is a quick ‘Happy birthday x.’ Maybe a private joke, caring message, etc. Just don’t piggyback someone else’s wall message. That’s considered lazy.
  2. Photo upload – if it’s easily accessible, it’s a nice touch, but be wary of friends posting seemingly well-meaning wishes where they look fabulous and you look ropey.
  3. Photo collage – now we’re talking. A random three or four pic selection is all well and good, but you may as well go big or go home. Mosaic nine-grid minimum, black and white plus colour selection and if you’re tech savvy, a video inclusion within the grid is highly acceptable
  4. Duplicate all of the above for Instagram, where it’s acceptable (IMO) to piggyback a wall post and give well wishes.

That’s it surely?

Think again. If you’re dealing with a milestone birthday then drop everything, as there’s even more pre-prep to consider when you get messages like this in your inbox:

Hiiii……!!!!

It’s so-and-so’s birthday coming up in a year so please can you email so-and-so in two days time with the following:

  • A photo of you
  • A photo of you and the birthday girl
  • A photo of you and birthday girl aged five or younger (if you were friends)
  • A photo of you and the birthday girl’s second cousin, twice removed

nB. Photos needs to be landscape, 300DPI minimum, no compressing or genetically modifying.

Thanks. x

P.S. One more request: a poem or message (not too long, not too short) using times New Roman 14 point, saved as a PDF file with a greyscale filter set to a saturation of 39%. xx

P.P.S. Actually really need this by tomorrow afternoon, but the day after is ok if you’re blood-related. x x x

—-

You know it doesn’t make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration
‘Cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be
Happy birthday to you….

Words and Lyrics by Stevie Wonder (the song, not my blog. Stevie Wonder did not write my blog.)

Happy birthday everyone x x x

 

 

 

Crunches or Crunchie?

Now that we are officially in March, you know what that means, right?

Yes. The weakest newbies at the gym have been weedled out.

“Thanks for the thoughtful 3 month gym membership for Christmas, darling.”

“New Years resolution – must get fit.”

“The 40th/Bar Mitzvah/Wedding is out of the way. I can quit the gym now.”

images.jpegimages-2.jpeg

All of that basically.

Exercise is everywhere and everyone’s at it. Private PT’s, 24/7 gyms, non-membership gyms, boot camps, 30 minute HIIT fitness, al-fresco army-style training… endless choice. Personally I like the gym, but for the month of January and February I did not like the gym. A massive influx of new members trying to grasp the fact that a burpee is an exercise move, not something they do with their newborn. Bottlenecks at reception with confusion about how the swipe cards work (FFS…), queuing for equipment at peak times and the introduction of an app for bookable classes which was great in theory, but horrific in practice. To be in with a fighting chance of a leg lift at Booty Barre, you had to book on at 6am. (Class fully booked by 6:01.)

I am a creature of habit so about 3 times a week, I go to the gym and meet a man. I’m pretty sure we’re not ‘exclusive’ as I’ve seen him interacting with others. But he’s wonderful. We laugh so much and he really helps me get through my cardio fix. His name is Frasier. (Channel 4 for a double bill at 9am.) I used to meet a man called Raymond. Everybody loves him. (“Debraaaaaaaa!”…)

Once my cardio blast is over, I normally roam the gym to mess about on the equipment. I set my iPod to shuffle and go into my own world, unaware of all around me. A little U2, some Stereophonics, Florence and the Machine, Rolling Stones…

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve got Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris and the soundtrack from Flashdance seeing me through my squats, whilst I observe every little thing around me. Such as:

  1. People look much better than they used to when going to the gym. There is major effort going on. Natural dewy (Jew-ey?) make up, fabulous active wear and serious trainers. Leading neatly into number 2…
  2. A larger proportion of spend now seems to go on gym-wear as opposed to general clothing. With lots staying the in their gym gear for the rest of the day, it’s often worth investing in something durable. Don’t get me wrong, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty and all that expensive jazz is great, but nought wrong with some of the sports ranges in H&M (their hairbands are amazing), Primark and even Tesco (it’s Davina-endorsed don’tcha know?). I have sleepless nights that some of you haven’t seen the hilarious Active Wear spoof video. (FYI, I am blogging in my active wear.)
  3. I have a favourite locker at the gym. It’s mine without question and I get terribly irritated if it’s occupied. The downside to ‘my’ locker position, is that it’s often blocked by the lady who likes to dry-off starkers doing the ‘towel floss movement’. You know the one. With one leg up on the bench? Oh to be so uninhibited…
  4. Boob, wedgie and ball adjustment. It happens. Most girls at one time will do a cheeky gusset-check to make sure there isn’t a hole in her leggings and on the subject of leggings, black ‘fashion’ leggings are not acceptable gym gear. Yes, sheer is in fashion but it needs to be area-specific. Maybe if the rest of your kit is in the wash, your black Topshop leggings will do the trick on the running machine, but during downward-facing dog they’re as sheer as 7 denier stockings and I don’t need to see the outline of your upward-facing-you-know-what. Steer clear of sheer. (I’m hash-tagging that.)
  5. I’ve made lots of friends at the gym. I say ‘friends’ but in all honesty I don’t even know their names. TRX lady with the great arms, cross trainer girl with the same blue leggings as me, older man who has lost tons of weight. I smile. I nod. But we don’t know each others names. It’s a silent mutual agreement.
  6. Following on from that, I also have a ‘gubbie’. (A gym hubby.) He is about 22 and has no idea that he is my husband. We smile. Say hi. He wasn’t around last week, no explanation nothing. I think he’s having an affair…
  7. Someone farting in a class is still absolutely hysterical. It just is. Mobile phones on buzz mode in a class are not hysterical.
  8. People are territorial about being FROW in their classes. Don’t mess. Don’t try and be clever. It’s vicious. I’ve seen it
  9. A large part of peoples’ social media now follows nutritious foods, healthy lifestyles and gym tutorials. Thanks to my sister in law, I am currently obsessed/depressed in equal amounts by SBC on Instagram. This stands for ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’. Be warned. You can’t unsee it and you will most likely end up following it. I watch the videos whilst eating chocolate brownies to spite them

images-1.jpeg

  1. I feel slightly disappointed when I see gym husband/’friends’/PTs outside of their gym habitat.

Basically, the gym is like Disneyland to me and I expect everyone to remain in character at all times. I don’t want to see them handling the tomatoes in the supermarket or heaven forbid, in their civvies…