Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Ritz!

Earlier this month Daddatwo and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and I still can't believe it's already been over a year since we got married. It still feels, every day, like we're newlyweds and that the wedding is still all fresh and exciting in my mind. A huge amount has happened in that year (we grew a whole, entire person for one thing) and it's been really, truly wonderful - every day I'm thankful that he picked me from all the girls in all the world. He might not know it, but every day he makes me happy (he might not know it MAINLY because I'm a stroppy cow who snipes at him a lot - it's not personal, I'm just horrible).

On Sunday we left the boys with my lovely Mother in Law and snuck away for a few hours of just us - no children, smart clothes, make up (more for me than him - he'd look daft in lip gloss) and giddy on the high of all that freedom we headed to The Ritz for a fancy pants tea.

I don't know what I expected of The Ritz - I was nervous that I'd show myself up as some hideous pond life - but the staff were wonderful and I had an utterly magical time. I could have eaten about seventy more salmon sandwiches but I thought I'd better be a little better behaved. Everything was delicious. Daddatwo had lapsang souchon and I had something with rose petals in which was far more delicious than I'd expected and tasted of childhood summer with my Grandparents (both sets, either set - both had wonderful gardens) and the whole experience was just made of happy.

I also got the pianist to play us a song; he didn't know any Lady Gaga (sadly) but he played "How Deep is Your Love" for us. Cheesy :-)

Silverware from The Ritz - lamps from TKMaxx

Very delicious Strawberry Thing

Regal teapot being all silver and liony - this is the teapot I want for my collection next, thank you please.

People, gilding, luxury (all still quite TKMaxx though!)

Posh loo...

I don't *fully* understand why there's a sofa and newspaper in the ladies 'cloakroom' - if I sat there and read that the pianist would TOTALLY think I was having a dump because I'd been there so long. Mind you - that explains the paper - even posh ladies like reading material when they poo!

I'm trying to convince Daddatwo that we should decorate our hallway like this...if it's good enough for The Ritz!

The doormen were very, very nice and made me feel special - but they don't take great photos. 

I know that 'adult time' (not like that, minds out of the gutter!) can be pretty contentious as a topic but everyone has their own way of doing it - we don't get much, partly because we were stupid enough to move hundreds of miles away from all our family and friends just before we had a baby, partly because we're usually too poor to go anywhere exciting, and partly because we genuinely like being with our boys and being a family unit. Having said that - every now and then I do so love to abandon them and run into the sunshine in actual high heels knowing it's very unlikely that anyone's going to vomit into my cleavage or wipe their nose on my shoulder. 

It's the little things. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ladies in packs.

As you know (because I won't stop wittering and twittering on about it) I went to Cybermummy at the weekend (and a jolly good time was had by most, but not all!) and whilst I got carried along with the buzz and the win win win and the joy and the gossip and the networking and the interacting with ACTUAL GROWN UPS, I did spend a lot of time utterly bewildered and overwhelmed - and had to choose to put that aside and MAKE myself talk to people when I was tempted to just sit on the floor and coo at my son in his pushchair.

The thing that freaked me out is that there were packs (literally packs, swarming packs) of women everywhere - and women in packs aren't always nice animals.

One to one I like women. Love them. Am proud to be one and proud of all the awesome things we do on a daily basis. As an animal? No thank you. When women get into packs all kinds of bad things can happen - mainly passive aggression and sly digs but some pretty nasty attacks can crop up too - and the twitter feed from Saturday and some of the following blog posts have shown that women have a dark side and woe betide anyone who crosses the line in the sand.

The thing with the line in the sand, for us ladies, is that it moves. A lot. Not because we're malicious, or because we're indecisive - simply because our wants and needs change. Our moods and self image hold a massive importance to our lives and our self image - our 'who we are' - when questioned by anyone besides ourselves can set us in ways we weren't sure about mere minutes before.

An example from my life; if I am pondering doing something new with my hair and my Mother says something like "Do what you like, just don't cut it short" you can damn sure know that I'm going to shave it. If my husband says "no more tattoos or I'm divorcing you" it takes a lot of internal monologue to stop me getting "screw you, mate" emblazoned on my arse so I can moon it at him. 

Since I started this blog it's evolved into an animal being in itself - it grows, interacts and attracts more with and from people than I ever dreamed - and that's exciting, but it makes me question myself and my decisions regarding the blog a lot. You might have noticed around half a dozen changes of image in the last week - there are yet more to come because I am less and less sure of how I want it to look and feel as time moves forwards.

I used to be sure of my voice, of my strengths - but as others mention the things they see and get from what I write I wonder if I am who I think I am.

Women in packs make me nervous. Packs are intimidating. Packs are hard to crack into and find individuals with whom I can have a discussion, build a relationship. Packs create Queen Bees. I don't like Queen Bees. They sting, and, worse, their drones sting on their behalf, often blindly and misguidedly.

I think I was naive when I headed merrily (nay, giddily) off to Cybermummy - I had a few people in mind that I hoped to meet and chat with, I had some big names I wanted to greet and thank for the inspiration and hope they'd given me with their own blogging and I was excited about the things I'd learn and contacts I'd make whilst I was there. I kind of forgot, entirely, that there would be over 400 women in one place and that the aftermath of that could, and would, leave some people hurting. That makes me sad. Glad I wasn't one of them - but sad that we do that to each other.

I don't just mean Cybermummy, of course. I think women in packs always create problems. I've yet to work in an office that doesn't have a whole complex series of 'politics' to negotiate. I've never joined an online community that doesn't build (very quickly) a hierarchy of Queens and Drones. I've recently found a group of women who are supportive of one another and happy for one another's successes - but it took some doing and the group is small. 

Individually I'm lucky to know some amazing women - some strong, intelligent, witty, loving and supportive women and I'm grateful for them. I also know a whole bunch of awful women but I'm weeding them out, one by one. That's all we can do, really. Focus on the positives and leave the rest behind. I'm learning not to fight it but just to distance myself from it. Life's too short for battles and you know what - it's ok to disagree, about all sorts! 

Women - you're bloody fantastic - but by heck you're an animal! 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Mommatwo's Monday Dream Meme

Ok ladies - so it's Monday. This is the first Monday I've done this and a culmination of events have led to me making the decision to start this meme.

On Mondays I will be posting a dream - anonymous if necessary but usually not - that someone has had in the last week and emailed me. I will post their description, then my analysis of their dream.

The decision to go ahead with this as a Meme was inspired today by Jill Mansell (yes, THAT one, the writer). This morning Jill (which I'll call her, as though we're *actually* friends now) tweeted that she'd had a funny dream - I replied with a quick analysis of her dream and she TWEETED ME BACK (you have no idea of the excitement - I have a stack of her books staring at me from my bookcase and she tweeted me back like a real person and not a superstar - the EEEEP woke the baby) saying it was an interesting analysis!

Jill's dream was of a talking dog; that was pretty much the detail Jill gave - aside from saying that she wished she could have kept the dog and she missed him! 

Dreams of animals are dreams of oneself - the aspects of oneself that you subconsciously like and acknowledge as parts of our persona that are appealing (domestic animals anyway - like dogs - if it were a wild animal it would be the 'wild' aspects of our personality) Jill clearly sees herself - at least subconsciously recognises - that she is lovable, reliable, dependable, loyal. 

The dog talking is her subconscious mind passing on a message that Jill needs to focus on in waking life. This coming from the dog indicates that Jill needs to listen to this loyal, lovable part of herself - to focus on that aspect of her personality - more, she needs to trust that persona and this will resolve any problems she currently has.

Jill acknowledging that she missed the dog after the dream shows that recently  she has pulled away from the parts of herself that she likes - she is feeling a little lost or vulnerable and wishes she could just be herself rather than having the less nurturing or loving self she feels she is instinctively. Perhaps in her working life Jill has to focus on a 'harder' or more business minded self and feels that goes against her natural personality.

If Jill remembers what the dog was saying in the dream it will probably give a clearer idea of what it is she needs to concentrate on in waking life.

Thank you for tweeting me back, Jill! 

If you want to be part of next Monday's Dream Meme then post a dream you've had recently to your blog - or a recurring dream you're haunted by - and add it to the linky. I will randomly choose one entry to analyse for next week's Mommatwo's Monday Dream Meme but will comment on a number of them (also selected at random, unless there's only, like, two of you in which case I'll comment on them all!) 

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I totally went to Cybermummy

I went to Cybermummy - with big BIG thanks to ERIC and their awesome Dry and Mighty campaign - and by golly did I have an amazing time! 

Dry and Mighty Campaign

I haven't been to a big conference before and in the lead up to the big day I was very, very excited about meeting lots of other bloggers, about seeing people in real life, about chatting and listening and swapping information, ideas - then on the day I was struck, over and over, with the realisation that this wasn't just a great big exciting social event - it was a conference. A proper conference! A proper conference filled with business women, filled with knowledge, filled with contacts and PRs and opportunities - and it was totally overwhelming sometimes! 

I had planned to speak to everyone, to give out hundreds of business cards, to strike up intellectual conversation and have my photo taken with all the 'big names' and recognised faces I kept glimpsing. I planned to take hundreds of photos and document the day and I think I took about 12. 

People were talking about some drama in a workshop and I was VERY confused by it all - it took me until this morning to work out that it was a workshop I wasn't IN.

I WISH I had taken better notes of Sarah Brown's talk but I was too excited and caressing my Dodo notepad (just ONE of which came home with me, no matter what the rumours might say...just one...definitely not more than one, definitely...) 

I am glad I took Jasper and glad I took him in his pushchair but I wish London would just INSTALL A LIFT already! Thank you to the two lovely strangers who helped me down to the station platform on my way home and thank you to the delicious Lou for helping us out of the station in the first place in the morning! Lou was one of my favourite people of the day simply because not only was she a great person to talk to, she came in her wellies - how can you not love a woman in wellies?! 

I got to meet, hug and chat to some of my favourite twitter and blogger friends - Lexi, Monika, Amy, I mean you! I got to speak to - or at least stand near - some bloggy celebs and was flattered by how many people knew who I was.

I've come away with some fabulous information, ideas and STUFF - good lord, the STUFF and I am already looking forward to next year and hoping that I can spend the intervening time getting my head around THIS year's event so I can get the best out of next year.

Thank you to everyone that was so lovely to me - thank you to ERIC for sponsoring me to go in the first place and thank you to the rather wonderful Michael Douglas (the hairdresser, not the actor) for making me look and feel glam and thank you to my brilliant mother in law for looking after my poorly boys whilst I galavanted around London all weekend! 

Oh - thank you also to the touch of silver lady who refused to let me at the lucky dip so she could give me (and I quote) "What I needed" to fix the brassy hair I'm currently rocking! ;-)