I've got the moves like Tina

Do you do exercise or sport?  As you know, with the twisting of words by Needlework Natalie, I do, remarkably.  Badminton became a part of my life last September.   I have found that stretching in badminton and yoga have increased my flexibility to that of a souped up ground-sloth.  I feel a certain pride in doing taking up these activities at my age midlife and have decided to stop counting my chronological age and replace it with activityage.  As I pass a birthday I like to think my activityage is falling with each upside down dog. 

To emphasise my new found youth my birthday this year saw me squeezing into pleather leggings, donning my favourite only gold outfit and 3 and a half inch  (the half is important at my midlife age) killer wedged heels. As if that wasn’t shocking enough I fluffed out my hair a further  3 inches Farah Fawcett style and even wore contact lenses! 

Why would I do this?  To attend a Tina Turner and 1970’s music night.  Why else?  Mr Him strutted his stuff and I bopped right up to the clock strike of midnight, yes in those heels, at my age!   At midnight my daughter came to collect her aged mother as it was way past bedtime, not to mention that I had been dancing with a young man who had gone to school with her. Oh the horror of it!

As I cavorted on the floor it occurred to me that not once in my youth did I go to a disco on my birthday, which supports my view that I am now the activityage of, oh fifteen.  (I feel a book coming along, the Activityage Traveller’s Husband.) 

Is this a phenomenon of our generation?  Are we younger in spirit than our parents and grandparents.  Well at no point in my life have I collected my mother from a disco and at no point has my mother shimmied with my school friends, that I'm aware.  I rest my case. 

Then Mr Him reminded me of my Aunt Betty, who was in 6 inch stilts when I was in sensible flats, and that was last year!  I have to admit, she was my inspiration to get into heels again.  She is the reason I have regressed to fifteen and I'm not sad about it.

Serious one - The Glasses Dilema

I've recently been reminded of how I'm aging.  Sadly its badly, it appears once I can see the full visage of my face.   On Saturday I put in contact lenses for the first time in,  oh so many years, and was greeted with a full facial frontal in the mirror.  Seeing myself clearly, without the obscuring by poor vision or the camouflage of glasses, was a shock.   I was in blissful ignorance,  and quite happy in that state. Now the unveiling has occurred. I aged ten years in five seconds.  

When I have photos taken I religiously remove my glasses as an act of vanity.  A friend of mine insists on putting hers on,  equally from vanity.  Her claim,  they hide the wrinkles and bags. I now see, too well,  her point.  Yet I'm not fully persuaded. The answer could be in the style of glasses.  To that end I decided that I'd invest in a new pair.   I was tempted by safe thin gold frames but persuaded,  (and it took a lot, well to be exact it took the phrase 'less aging' as a sales pitch), to buy bold,  purple,  eek, frames.  

Yet perhaps the optician was right.  I've since noticed that the younger generation are flagrant in their frames choice.  They are not attempting to conceal with frame-less lenses as I had been prone to do in recent years.   In fact the frame-less glasses do seem to have become the preserve of the older generation.  So with that in mind I confirmed my order for bold and beautiful, purple, 'on your face' and proud frames. 

Below are my before and after are my purposefully unglamorous, naked face pics.  I know what I think looks younger.  How about you?


Now the contact lens dilemma. I would like to wear contact lenses more often but what to do about the face?   Seeing the busyness of my face in all its wrinkly glory I'm now wondering whether my hair should be in a more restful state to compensate.  Is long fluffy hair too youthful for my 101 chasms?  Answers at bottom of page please. 

As for the wrinkles and bags, is there no answer to blurring them away? I've tried many a concealer but they all seem to sit in the cracks and make me look like a parched dessert landscape.  With all on show  distraction will have to be my friend; and I have the perfect distraction.  My fluffy hair!  With a pop of bold lipstick and a regular flip of my tresses I could get away with lenses,  perhaps. 

In go the lenses,  on go the reading glasses.  Oh, didn't I mention I can't see when I'm wearing lenses!


I proudly wore the new glasses to work and had several compliments.  I even kept them on when giving a presentation to office newbies, feeling youthful and sassy.  As an aside I noticed that with bold, in your face frames I needed a subtle lip colour.  

Iridescence of Grey and Whipped Cream

Valentines.  How was yours?  My Instagram and Facebook community made me feel inadequate as usual. Fifty percent of the news feed was full of fluffy couples dressed in finery and feasting out on love at sumptuous places. The other half of my newsfeed contained women bravely heading out to see Fifty Shades'. 

How about me,  well my day started with a call from my mother wishing me happy birthday,  to which I said 'it's not my birthday.'  She went on to fill me with Valentines love by saying  'oh yes,  I remember going in to have you and it was valentines and I sat on the hospital bed crying.'  Well that was that then.  An explanation. I had brought her to tears and wasn't even born yet. The day could only get better and it did with a cup of tea in bed and a box of Lindor chocolates from Mr Him. 

Mr Him also bought us a cheery bunch of roses.

 I gave him Fifty shades of Puzzle,  as you know. He tells me he truly did not know what to say.  I do not believe he's yet appreciating that months after my Lindor chocolates have been consumed he will still be able to gaze upon this unique and wonderous work of art.  (see how the wonderous work of art is placed in a discrete manner against a wall in the far distance, not distant enough for Mr Him I might add.)

We had a meal for two at home with sparkling rose wine. Boring I know,  but to liven things up  I did paint my nails an iridescent shade of grey and Mr Him served me whipped cream on my dessert. 

Mint Sauce and Zimmerframe

Mr Him has been on a trip again.  Not just 40 minutes away with an excuse to stay in a hotel this time.  No on this occasion he understands what a business trip is and had journeyed 5 hours away from home to experience it.  (See Tower of London and Kansas Barbecues )

I decided to take advantage of his absence.  On Sunday I dressed in my best mint sauce outfit (note the Renee scarf) and invited myself to a relatives for a roast lamb lunch insisting  it needed me as an accompaniment.   I followed the lamb with a profiterole. As I am on a diet I also had a weight watchers cheesecake.  

On Tuesday I dressed as a Lady who Suppers (note Renee black infinity scarf.)

and went to Prezzo where I ate another profiterole.  

Wednesday evening I wined and nibbled at a reception in London.  Please note that whilst others,  unnamed,  may treat London as a trip and insist on a hotel I made my way home again, after eating spiced feta pastries, samosas, satay chicken and a cherry tomato.

Thursday evening I had a family meal with the young online shopping genius,  automotive engineer and my youngest daughter.  We ate and we talked.  My oldest told me she'd missed lunch as she was on a conference call.  I immediately decided I must be close to retirement if my daughter's that old and important.  She then consulted me on when she should have her first child.  I excused  myself from the table and put my zimmerframe on order. 

Yesterday Mr Him returned from his tripcation. 


In the last blog I introduced you to Needlework Natalie. A few months ago she approached me causing me to become all a splutter.  She asked me, and I  might say her look of innocence was a prize performance,  'do you do any sport? '

As you can imagine I shook my head vigoursly once the splutters had subsided. Well, Natalie has a way with words.  She weaves them in and out and backstitches them so upside down they look forwards and before I knew it I do do sport.  Badminton. 

Now every Sunday we venture to the court and play shuttlecock pickup.  We generally win 2 games each in an hour. For the last 10 minutes we play with our wrong hand so as we don't become one-sided Popeyes.  This makes us look demented but evens out our arm circumference.  I do feel overcome with a need to explain to others on the courts what we're doing.   

Last Sunday we played an adaption that I found I was very good at, Badbackminton. I had tweaked my back lifting a bin bag that morning but decided kill or cure,  I'd play.  Badbackminton consisted of me playing less vigorously and standing still. As the points mounted in my favour,  2-1, 5-2, 11-3 I realised I was brilliant.  Before I knew it I had 3 games in the bag.  Needlework Natalie was exhausted.  

Sadly, our precious feather shuttlecock later saw its demise.  My puppy took it from my bag and I found it chewed in her bed.  I assume it was the puppy and not Needlework Natalie in anger.


Fifty Shades of Puzzle

A few months ago I came to the conclusion that French women are very good at needlework and my family not.  This may be a sweeping conclusion but was the result of a select survey, my department at work and my daughters.  In my department there are two French ladies both of whom sew, one quilts and another, Natalie,  made these jolie cushion covers. 

On the other hand one of my daughters decided to adapt a sweatshirt and creatively chopped it in half. That was it, job done.  Maybe some would say that is resourceful.  

The other daughter, the online shopping genius, has a flair with a tacking stitch.  There is no other stitch in her repertoire, why should there be if the tacking stitch is completeness in its usefulness?   As for me, I have a love affair with wonderweb. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I received an email at work inviting me to a 'crafting session' at lunchtime.  I was one of 8 to get the email. (To put this into context we have 300 people in our office.) I immediately forwarded on to my French colleagues and felt that I had given the invitation its due consideration.

However, curiosity got the better of me, for two reasons, the first being that I hadn't put glue and paper in the same sentence since primary school and second that the session was to make Valentine’s Day crafts. The more I pondered the more convinced I became that Mr Him would absolutely adore a valentine’s crafted gift made by me instead of a box of Belgian Truffle chocolates, and so much cheaper. 

The appointed hour arrived and Natalie and I made our way to the ‘crafts room.’  The table was laid with heart templates and glue sticks were melting in readiness. We were to make puzzle hearts. The concept was to select a colour theme from the puzzle box then lay pieces upside down around our template.  Another upside down layer glued on top then a further layer.  Once dry it could be turned over and the result, voila, a decorative heart. 

I have to say the finished result was effective but in my case as fragile as my head on the occasional Saturday morning.  

Natalie created a bright yellow and blue decoration.  It has a French feel to the colours.

 Mine was a blend of greens and pinks, it was a blend of my Mr Him and I, a true representation. Muted yet wobbly round the edges like Mr Him and rustic like me.  

This original work of art is currently under lock and key in my desk drawer.  Every now and then I open to make sure it's real, that I hadn't dreamt up such an adventure.  Yes, it’s real.  Yes I did actually make this unique object d'art. 


The unique object d'art was later mounted on board and puzzle pieces randomly scattered for a more complete visual effect.  Mr Him was stunned when I presented this as his Valentines gift.  Truly, he was speechless.

Natalie's Puzzle Heart is now in pride of place in her home as a photoframe.  It has subsequently been completed with photos as well. 

Mr Him's is hiding, in a camouflaged manner, in our living room.   If you look carefully you can see it backed against the wall hoping not to be noticed. 

The Nurturing Instincts of the modern Young Lady

What is it with 20 year old young ladies nowadays?  I say this as I have witnessed a phenomenon this week, that of pre-nesting.  On Tuesday my step-step son (my ex-husband’s step son) moved in.  By Wednesday the bedding that I had given him had been cast-off and replaced with a pretty pink and turquoise striped duvet set.  The girlfriend had arrived!  She didn’t glide to earth under an umbrella to his rescue Mary Poppins style, not quite, but drove up in an orange Clio. With my bedding discarded she then set to beautifying his windowsill with ornaments (his beer bottles that are ‘special to him’) and folded up his clothes. Once done she put him in the Orange Clio and drove him to the supermarket to stock up on food. 

You may think this is the end of the story but no, for no sooner had they departed in the Orange Clio Rescue Vehicle when my twenty year old daughter drove over to my house having put her boyfriend in her car for rescuing. ‘Do you have a shirt, tie and suit?  I only have two days to get him ready for an interview,’ she said, pointing at the bemused Automotive Engineer.  For a time we stood in the hall pondering whether the jacket was too big or the trousers too long whilst the Automotive Engineer stood in a statuesque manner taking the rescuing being done to him, clearly quite used to it. 

After Mr Him had ironed a jacket and found appropriate clothing they departed, to be followed by the arrival of the Orange Clio Rescue Vehicle and step-step son and girlfriend.  The latter unpacked his shopping and put it away.  I was left feeling exhausted from watching and with lots of questions.

Ladies of my generation, for what did we strive?  For what was all that bra throwing that our mothers did?   Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst would be turning in their voting booths!   Are our daughters really reverting to the 1960’s and taking on the domesticity we rebelled against, are they throwing away the inroads we made to the inequality that we abhorred in our grandparents generation? Or is there more going on here, something that we cannot rebel against, nature? Is there an innate instinct within us in the early twenties, one of proving ourselves worthy to our prospective mate, demonstrating that we can nurture.  Or is it a pre-nesting instinct, getting us ready for mothering for real?

Looking back I was not a pre-nester when I was twenty, and the result, I have a man who irons (well, he does come from an Irish matriarchy).  The instinct, if that’s what it is, bypassed me, and I’m not sorry. 

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