Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The great 'Back to School' con

The uniforms were all ironed. The lunch boxes were packed. Christ, we even knew where the book bags were.

One day. It lasted one day.

Then the roads froze. The schools closed. Instead of a warm office full of smiling people, I find myself in a house full of tetchy children who hate playing in the snow. Really. Suggesting to Littlest yesterday that she might like to make a snow angel was met with torrents of scornful giggles. Lying down? In the wet snow? What the hell was mummy talking about?

A ten minute car trip to have Eldest's feet measured for orthotic splints turned into a full morning's journey on foot.

Not that I minded. What's to mind? (I say that with the confidence of a woman who owns an off-road wheelchair).

I learnt something new about middle age. Middle age is not about lines and wrinkles. Middle age is about wrapping yourself up like a walking duvet with no real thought to what that looks like. There were girls on the path dressed in ballet flats wearing only a cardigan, who seemed to have forgotten to put on a skirt.

(And another thing. Thinking, "Has she forgotten to put on a skirt?" is also a sign of middle age.)

I've been reading a lot on other blogs about New Year plans for beautiful photographic projects. Mine is shaping up to be a lot less beautiful, and a lot less public. I'm nicking Friday Playdate's idea of taking a picture of myself every day this year to see actually how I look in this shower of cloth I call a wardrobe. I've already thrown out two items of clothing in disgust, and it's only Wednesday.

You see I might not lose 12lbs this year. And that's just fine. But dressing like a woman who is about to lose weight, so can't really think of buying anything nice to wear because it will be too big, is not. And I've been doing that for too long.


  1. LoL! haha! I agree so much about the middle age clothing conundrum! I have started to forsake high heels because flats are just soooo much more comfortable and I just can't be BOTHERED with the pain of beauty anymore! Sad isn't it? But warm and comfortable at least!! xx

  2. ahh we haven't gone back to school either, but I have two children who love snow and a house FULL of wet dripping socks/gloves/shoes/clothes....

    oh and talking of clothes I have realised I now only ever choose things on the basis of is it warm enough, I may never look in a mirror again.........

  3. Firstly, your photos are marvelous. I say this with little to no irony. You need to photograph your part of the world more. I say this with a deep, lifelong love of telling people what to do.

    Secondly, besides challenging neighborhood children to sled races, I find almost nothing to enjoy about the snow. Once I've defeated and openly humiliated as many children as possible, there's little entertainment left. Perhaps a snowball fight with the under 6 crowd. But that's it.

    Thirdly, as I am not in what you call "Middle Age" I cannot relate to your 'walking duvet' description. I'll leave it to the other "ladies of a certain age" to comfort you.

    Fourthly, there is no fourthly. Just an excuse to take up more room in your comment box.

    In short, start taking more photos and stop bemoaning middle age. Some day you'll be an old woman, and will look back on all the time you wasted worrying about...oh, wait. You already are an old woman.


  4. I've taken to tucking my vest (thermal of course) into my knickers. I've turned into my mother.

    Have you any thermal recommendations for me this year?

  5. If I like comfy flats and am wearing a vest today does that mean I'm middle aged!?! Oh dear!
    What will happen once you have chucked out the majority of your wardrobe, perhaps you can join the young things and forget your skirt too!
    word verification 'pratoon' which will be my insult of choice this year I think.!

  6. What more is there to write after eurolush's thesis?

    What she said.

  7. Oh, and duvets are one of the finest items known to mankind.

  8. And another cup of tea nearly snorted all over my laptop!

    Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who tucks her vest into her knickers : )

  9. Glorious photographs and I love the Littlest's explaination of Dr Who's regeneration - spot on.
    Happy new year.

  10. Anyone who didn't tuck their verst into their knickers today is a raving loony. I looked out an especially long one so it would stay tucked in. And then put lots of other gross items on top, because no-one sees what's under the fleece. Which is purple and ugly too. God I am so middle aged.

    And the picture of one's clothing a day? I did this for a month a couple of years back. Just before I went to one of those scary image consultant women in a frantic effort to make the most of the dog days of my youth. Suffice to say, most of the items I photographed myself wearing ended up in the bin. Good luck!

  11. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read your posts ...

    I wore old trakkies under HUGE trousers - a stoopid hat & waddled around in the snow having FUN !

    Yes - I'm a dirty little fun haver

    my good friend turns 50 next week and I don't - he he !

  12. Gosh, I wish I could turn 50 again. To be so young!

    Why are cul-de-sacs like Narnia? I'm thinking about wardrobes, with only one door, but then there's a door at the back (isn't there? It's a long time since I read "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" and I never read the rest.)

    The teachers would be awfully pleased about no school, though. Does this cheer you up at all?

  13. Not being in a part of the world that has been hit with a ton of snow, I can't help but look upon the scene a bit wistfully. I desperately want to go tromping out in the snow-lined lanes and look for excuses not to spend yet another day at work. The grass is always greener (or the snow whiter, as the case may be)

  14. One day for us, but they went back today, thankfull closure not from all the snow, but the lack of heating and an engineer. The school does snow well. MiniMad hates the cold and snow and crys and we are all wearing thermals. Yep old fashioned granny thermals - a real blessing. MadDad has long johns and thermal vest on under his suit, dead sexy

  15. They are gorgeous photos and I, like Eurolush, would love to see more.

    And you were writing about me in that last paragraph weren't you?

  16. You don't need to worry about what you wear until someone comments on the fact that you are not wearing jeans and a fleece for once. This happened to me one day last summer. I ran back to my jeans immediately and hid behind a cushion.

    Today I have jeans (but of course), T-shirt, jumper, socks, hiking socks, a fleece and fluffy slippers. And that's inside the house. Outside I am so bundled up I look like a weeble.

  17. Well, here's something. After a couple of years spent wearing jeans that cut off my circulation and gave me a muffin top...because I couldn't bear the thought of buying jeans a size larger...I finally said to H with it and bought jeans a size larger. And mysteriously, they are baggy and fall down. What gives? Am I some kind of freak who wears a nonexistent "half" size?? Or have they changed the sizing to make us feel better about ourselves? So confusing...

    (And yes, the photos are stunning.)

  18. thanks for your thoughts over on my blog - I was having " a what's sit all about ?" moment !!!

  19. I fell over in the park yesterday in front of a teenage girl, who looked simultaneously revolted (at my shabby parka and wellies), and pitying ('That poor 40-year-old woman might need a hip replacement!). How she stayed upright in her dilly-dolly ballerina slippers is beyond me.

  20. Not checking your refelction in minute detail before leaving the house

    'Songs had words in my day'

    Looking at learner drivers and thinking that they look 12

    Repeating all your parents' phrases when admonishing your child...

    All signs of old age!

    I allowed myself to get to 30 this year to get all the presents (glee!) but am going backwards from next year. I am looking forward to being 39 again...

  21. Of course I meant 40! (Another sign of old age...)

  22. I'm 26. I often find myself thinking 'she's forgotten her pants' or 'why did she put a belt on without a skirt? Oh, that IS the skirt!' or 'please for the love of god don't bend over I don't want to see AH MY EYES.'

    It's a 40 degree celcius heat wave here, which makes it worse. But it does mean that I can go out for a drink without thinking 'isn't she COLD?' and offering my jacket to random strangers.

  23. You've been in my home haven't you?!

    There was a cartoon in last Sunday's paper where the two little kids were sad that the next day was the first day back to school after Christmas break. When they realized that they might have a snow day they were overjoyed and the parents were depressed. I almost cried.

    And that was before you got me thinking about my wardrobe. A friend of mine convinced me two years ago that shapeless overshirts are not a snazzy way to camoflauge. They actually make you look like a lump. Maybe it's time for another look at my wardrobe.

    I heard about the wardrobe photo project over at Domesticalli. It's contagious!

  24. Oh yes those photos are gorgeous! And exotic to those of us facing 43 celsius today (erk). I'm wearing as little as possible and let me tell you THAT shows off every middle aged design feature I own.

  25. I'm with Suse. I just did a conversion on our 44 degrees celsius and that's 111 farenheit. And even if you did have something that looked remotely flattering to wear, the sweaty beetroot appearance on your face looks good with nothing.

  26. soon after I had my first child I had a lot of friends over for tea and cakes and a communal breast feeding session (it looked that way from the outside...)... my husband looking at the pile of shoes near the front door said he wasn't aware that together with our 'welcome' baby pack we were given membership to a Clark shoes club. We were all wearing comfortable Clark shoes...

    It was a sobering moment I tell ya.

  27. I knew I was middle aged when I gasped at a woman walking nonchalantly into school last week to collect her kids, wearing a long sleeved t shirt and waistcoat, jeans and trainers. Me? I was wearing coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots, wellie warmers..."Did you see that?" I gasped to my two year old.

  28. So, let me get this straight, 6 years of expecting to lose weight and not buying new clothes is a bad thing? Hmm, back to the drawing board...

  29. I am pondering an image makeover and am hoping that burkas are the hot new thing for 2010 as it would be the ideal garment for my wardrobe crisis.

  30. Fabulous! Domesticali led me here and how glad I am to have landed and realised that I am not the only one quietly sobbing into my fleece lined anorak as the text message from school pings.
    Great idea the whole vest in knickers until you realise it pulls the fraying elastic above your jeans waistband which is ridiculously high anyhow in order to be able to tuck in your tum, oh, and it also drags your knickers up your bum - not good!
    Julia x

  31. Beautiful, beautiful. I especially like the one with the lamp post.

    My kids aren't fond of winter cold either, but I've got a line going with them exaggerating my pleasure with winter. "I love winter, I love the cold, it's my absolute most favorite time of year!" They totally bought it.

  32. It has taken me this long to realize why the first sentence was bothering me. You have to iron the uniforms? My children would have been homeschooled if that had been the case for us. That's crazy! Wow.


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