Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A Eureka Moment!

I am very fond and proud of my little blog. I can't imagine for a minute that many people read it and why should they. I know that I look at wedding blogs to find inspiration and to ooh and aah at all the wedding lovliness. You would be hard pressed to find either on my little blog, but it's fun to witter on in print without worrying about sending anyone to sleep. Something I would surely do if I were awittering for real!
But sometimes I sit here, wanting to keep my posts going on a regular basis, but find myself scratching my head thinking what on earth to write. I can't keep rambling on about my far off nuptials, especially when I have nothing new to report on. Is it a common affliction, this Bloggers Block?

Today, dear readers, I am sadly lacking in blogging inspiration. Rather than admit defeat, I have come up with a cunning plan.....write a list! So today's list is ...drumroll please....memorable films from childhood to now!

Pinocchio   This is one of the earliest film that I can remember, and one of the scariest. I had nightmares about being swollowed up by a whale for ages after. I also wanted to be a fairy in a blue dress.

photo   Walt Disney

Doctor Zhivago The first grown up film that I went to see. My lovely uncle Stan took me and we sat upstairs in the cinema, which I thought was very posh. I sat for hours entranced by the amazing cinematography and the soundtrack. I fell in love with Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.

Funny Girl  It was a real treat to be whisked off after school to see this film, especially when it was a complete surprise. The cinema in the evenings were for grown ups, not primary school kids. Little did I know that mum hadn't told dad that we were going to spite him after having a bust up. He was besides himself all evening. Needless to say they then had another bust up when we finally got home! I meanwhile had fallen in love with Barbra Streisand

That'll Be The Day  By now I was in love with David Essex, and sat through the entire film swooning. It was the first film that I had seen that was a little bit "risque". Of course I wanted to marry David Essex after that.

The Omen  My first X rated film. I was just short of 18 and was really nervous about getting caught for being underage. I spent most of the time watching the film through my fingers. I still do.
Photo Twentieth Century Fox

Saturday Night Fever  I saw this twice in a week and bought the soundtrack, lycra and leggings soon after...I became a disco diva!

The Last Metro   I went through a phase of only watching foreign language films, and reading heavy duty books rather than Jilly Cooper. Of course one didn't go to the multiplex cinema but to an arty independent instead and then spent hours analysing the film afterwards.

Back To The FutureThis is memorable only because  I can't remember it.! We went to a late night showing after a meal out and I slept most of the way through it!

Toy Story  There was a big time gap in trips to the cinema  because of the boys being little and living out in the sticks. This was one of the few films that we took the boys to see as kids, They loved it, I loved it. Who couldn't fail to love it!  

I'm going to cheat a bit here. The following films were never seen at the cinema, only on DVD, and they aren't memorable for any other reason other than being favourites of mine and worthy of a mention.
The Third Man, Fargo, Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, The Wizard Of Oz, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, Love Actually, Notting Hill, The Shipping News ,Amadeus
There must be others but they don't spring to mind right now. 

There, another post written, and I have to say I rather enjoyed my little reminisence into the past. So much so I think that I will just have to dig out Amelie and watch it....again!

Night night and take care

Brigitte xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Princess Di v Audrey Hepburn

You get engaged, you roughly sort out a timescale for The Big Day and then thoughts turn to The Dress. You start trawling through magazines, web sites and blogs and staring through the windows of bridal shops looking for that perfect dress. So much choice, so many styles, so much lovliness. Where on earth do you start?
Twenty odd years ago, it was easy. There was one style that everyone went for. The Princess Diana fairytale larger than life dress. You looked  something like a giant frilly puffball. My mum being a talented dressmaker made my dress to my own design. A truly one off creation. Today it would be thought of as pretty naff, but to me it was, and still is a beautiful dress. Made with ivory silk, a lattice effect bodice decorated with seed pearls, long sleeves (with padded shoulders of course) complete with appliqued hearts, and the piece de resistance, a large bow at the back with mine and husband number ones initial embroidered on it. Sounds well over the top? Would be now but wasn't then.
  A very big bow!
My beautiful dress. A little creased but still looking as though it were made yesturday.

To accessorise I wore an antique lace veil and a circlet of silk flowers. My shoes were simple ivory satin Laura Ashley courts. I tried to put them on the other day. No way jose! My feet like the rest of me have spread out over the decades.

So what would I wear now if I were a twenty nine year old size 10 bride. I am only five feet tall so I would look silly in something voluminous, and I'm not keen on strapless numbers nor too much bling. Something classic, elegant and simple. Something like these
Photos..Johanna Hehir collections
Photo ...Sassi Holford collection

Now back to reality. I am not a 29 year old nor am I a size 10, and barring a miracle or, heavens forbid, bad health, I will never be that petite again. I'm hoping that I can get motivated enough to drop a couple of dress sizes, but this girl loves her food and has the will power of a gnat! But, never say never!
In my opinion your average older bride can't pull off wearing such dresses. Of course there are those incredibly lucky ladies who are either blessed with a fab figure or have worked hard to achieve one and would look gorgeous in whatever, but I definitely don't fall into that catagory by a long stretch of the imagination!

I have fallen in love with the fifties look which seems rather appropriate seeing that I was born at the end of that decade. The dresses back then oozed style and elegance.Just think Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.Or think coquettish and Brigitte Bardot (my namesake....please stop sniggering. It's true!) I love the tea length dresses with full skirts, although I am worried about those cankles, varicose veins and a tendancy to fluid retention in my feet. Wouldn't I be better off hiding such imperfections. I need wings. I need some form of draping.....spare tyres! Somehow I think that I'm looking for the impossible. It's a pity mum gave up dressmaking a while ago. I really could do with her making me yet another of her wonderful bespoke creations.

Here are a few dresses that give you some idea what I am after

Photo courtesy of Flickr

photo ..Dolly Couture

My Mr R said to me not so long ago, why don't I wear a nice suit. At that point I could quite easily have clobbered him. Perhaps he had a point. It would make life a lot easier when it comes to finding something half decent to wear.

Love to you all

Brigitte xx

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A little bit of culture ...and 60 kids!

When you work in a school, you can be certain that several times a year you will have to go on a school trip.In my year group we tend to alternate between going to Bristol Zoo with Windsor Castle and Sandbanks. Great days out but a case of same old same old when you've done it year after year. So I got a little excited when I was asked to make up numbers on a trip to London with two classes worth of eight and nine year olds. Ooh how exciting, thought I, especially when I discovered that we would be going to The National Gallery. I will be the first to admit that I am no expert when it comes to art, but I do enjoy a mooch around an art gallery now and again, and can go as far as saying that I recognise the work of a handful of the Old Masters.

Fortunately the coach journey to London went quickly enough without any one needing the sick bucket or a wee, nor did I have to endure listening to Ten Green Bottles being sang over and over again a zillion times. By junction 14 of the M4, the darlings started the "Are we nearly there" routine. You know how irritating this can be when you are in a family car with just the one or two munchkins asking. Now imagine a bus load of them !!!!! The boredom of a long journey was briefly eleveated when, whilst in a a bit of a traffic jam, our coach crawled along at a snails pace side by side with a van with the images of four naked male bottoms having a wee in some natty neon coloured urinals emblazened on the side. Sixty kids and eight adults make a lot of noise in a couch when laughing hysterically. The poor driver. Hope he had some paracetemol with him!

I don't know who was the most excited when we reached the outskirts of the city. I became a big kid especially when I saw Charing Cross Hospital where I trained many moons ago, come into view. Then memories came flooding back. I saw road names that I hadn't seen for over twenty years. The poor kids had to listen to my running commentary..."that's the North End Road! ..."that Tesco wasn't there before"  etc etc! Once we hit central London, the excitment levels grew to fever pitch  when they saw likes of the Houses of Parliment and the London Eye. We could easily have spent the rest of the day doing the sights by bus and the kids would have loved it.
After a few hairy moments when we left the bus to try and cross the busy London roads, we finally arrived at The National Gallery, along with countless other schools, including one with the same colour uniform as ours, except the children were about 3 years old. Fine art appreciation starts young in London these days! After a much needed loo stop we met up with a rather arty looking lady who was friendly but slightly bossy, who then gathered us around an enormous sixteenth century painting and talked about it. She had those children hooked from the start. Getting them to pose, mirroring the characters in the painting, and encouraging them to think about  the symbolism, colour, light and texture in the picture. She really was very good .

Unlike me! After a rushed lunch it was our turn to take a group and explore the gallery. We had half an hour to look at two thousand plus works of art. A doddle! I put on my best art historian voice and gave a mini lecture about what the artist was trying to portray in his painting.. Of course I knew diddly squat about rennaisance art but who were they to know that I was telling them a whole load of baloney. I thought that I'd pulled it off very well thank you very much!

In all honesty I don't think that they got a great deal out of looking at a whole bunch of  old paintings. There was nothing  hands on for them to twiddle with or explore using their  other senses. We had so little time  there, but I think that any longer and they would have been climbing the walls and running  amok!

Back home I asked one little boy what had been the highlight of the trip His reply was "seeing MacDonalds".... Yep, maybe we should stick to zoos castles and the seaside !

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Found it ...Hopefully!

It's been a good day. After many an hour sitting here on my trusty laptop looking up potential wedding venues, we took the bull by the horns and ventured out to check out a venue for the ceremony and one for the reception. My short list of venues was wittled down to these two, so I had every digit crossed that today's reccies were going to be successful and that it wasn't going to be a case of " back to the drawing board"

As this is shall be a second time around marriage for both me and Mr R, we had always planned to have a low key wedding. Both of us have done the big do with all of the trimmings before, so this time we just wanted a relaxed, intimate celebration with  close family and friends. We actually want to know all of our guests. Not like the first time around when we didn't have a clue who half the guests were.Our parents and parents in law were paying for the whole shebang so they had a big say in who came including the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker! As we have control of the purse strings this time, we can decide for ourselves who joins us on the Big Day.

Because we don't intend to have more than 50 guests, a big venue was a no no. No big hotel, no stately homes, no castles, no barns and no marquees. So what did that leave? Besides the zoo, floating restaurants and barns, we did consider a village hall, but there are no picturesque halls locally. They are all modern buildings with not one ounce of character. I wondered about looking for a pub, but couldn't get my head around holding the reception in a skittles alley. I wanted something a little different, a little unique.Options were running out and I was despairing that my dream location within our small budget just didn't exist .
Then one day, I was flitting through photographers blogs as you do, when something caught my eye. A wedding ceremony held in Bath's Guildhall followed by a chartered boat ride up the beautiful River Avon through Bath to The Bathwick Boatman. A restaurant on top of an old boathouse on the banks of the river. I suddenly realised that this was my vision of  how I wanted our wedding to be. The restaurant is fairly small. 50 people would fill the place up. It's not grand and stylish. Scrubbed pine, mismatched chairs and twinkly fairy light draped over boats hanging from the ceiling  are the order of the day! I did a little research. Reviews about the food were more than favourable, and emails to the owner were replied tout de suite and were full of  information. Her emails were friendly and didn't appear to be a stock email sent to all enquires. I really wanted for this to be "THE venue"

As the Guildhall had an open day today we decided to book a table at the Boatman to sample their Sunday lunch and give it the once over. The ceremony room in the Guildhall was rather grand and would do us fine. So that box was ticked, and then it was a short drive to the restaurant. No river trip for us on a blustery day in the middle of winter. There was a decent sized car park. One Brownie point. We were warmly welcomed by the lovely owner Rosy. Another Brownie Point. After that Brownie points were being awarded left right and centre and all boxes were being ticked. Mr R isn't one for getting excitable, but I could tell that he was super impressed and anounced that "this will do, won't it!" Praise indeed.

So now all we have to do is think of a date sometime in the early summer of next year. Hopefully in a few months time we will be able to sort out the ceremony, but until the small matter of obtaining a decree absolute, we can't do anything about that yet. Fingers crossed that there won't be a problem or else we may find ourselves up the creek without a paddle!!
I now feel that it's time to stop dreaming of my vision of what I want our wedding to be and to start doing something about it. Let the fun begin!
To take a peak at the restaurant go to The Bathwick Boatman  

Take care xx

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Regrets....I had a few!

On the whole I have to admit to being more than a little content with my lot. I met my wonderful man whom I love and adore and he loves and adores me back so much so that he asked me to marry him. I have two smashing sons,good health, a job that I really enjoy despite the lousy pay, a loving family and fantastic friends. I really have nothing at all to complain about. Everything is pretty much hunkydory in the world of me. I suppose there is the little matter of going through a divorce that could be a bit of a blot on the landscape, but its a formality that has to be dealt with and is three years overdue.
I like to think that rather than dwell on the past, I  look towards the future with optimism.What's the point of harping back to what was, when you can still have a hand in shaping what will be. That doesn't mean that I don't have any regrets. Of course I do, who doesn't!

I regret being lazy at school. Sitting at the back of the class in maths doodling away  and ending up with a CSE grade 2 which is no good to anyone. I regret ignoring my dentists advice way back to see an orthodontist and have refused to smile showing my wonky teeth ever since. I shouldn't have scived sixth form lessons and then sadly only achieving an A level in Home Economics. I became very proficient at baking bread and calculating the nutritional value of a meal but little else.Sometimes I wish that I had gone to uni and experienced the life of a student, but then again I went to central London when I was 18, paid next to nothing to live in rather nice hospital accomodation and got paid to train as a nurse. I have never since had so much disposible income ! At the time I enjoyed my job and over the years slowly climbed the promotion ladder. I finally knew that I had got somewhere when I got to wear a rather silly frilly cap that you needed a degree in origami and a ton of starch to get it to stay in place! Looking back now though, I wish that I hadn't chosen to go into nursing, but had trained to be a teacher instead. I absolutely love my job as a Teaching Assistant and I think that I'm good at it, but I feel that I have let myself down by not reaching my full potential through a lack of drive and ambition to do my teacher training. And I would have had to have upgraded that maths qualification!
I wish that I had seen more of the world outside of Europe. Unlikely now as Mr R is not a keen flyer. Worked abroad, taken up a sport and kept fit, bought a house with character rather than a boxy new build, eaten less, kept up learning french at night school and not eaten that chocolate truffle two minutes ago!

I don't regret my marriage, but I do regret the wasted later years when neither of us made an effort and we just drifted apart until the gulf between us could not be bridged.But if we had parted earlier mine and Mr R's path may not have crossed when they did. I believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason.

Enough of this deep and meaningful ramble.. Much too heavy ! Back to wedding talk next time.

Take care
Brigitte xx

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Choices, choices!

When thoughts turn to picking a wedding venue, you are spoilt for choice. It seems that in this day and age, you can get married pretty much anywhere as long as there is a permenant fixture covering yours and your intended's heads. So from the grandest of venues catering for weddings with hundreds (gulp!) of guests to your local cinema where only a handful can squeeze in at a pinch, there is a place to tie the knot for everyone. Of course you can still walk down the aisle in a place of worship, or in a registry office if you want to be a bit more of a traditionalist, but if you don't fancy having to up sticks and travel between where the ceremony bit takes place and where the partying afterwards bit is celebrated, then why not do it all under tha same roof...simples!

Now this is where I start to show my age. Many moons ago when I married husband number 1 it wasn't at all easy finding that all important venue. There was no such thing as the internet. You either had a good idea where you wanted the wedding to take place, or you trawled through the yellow pages looking for inspiration. Then came the labourious task of making countless phone calls, wait for the brochures to arrive and then pick out those that looked ok. No wonder that we went to see only one venue apart from the local church. It looked pretty from the outside and was within budget. Nothing else really mattered. So we went for it, and to be honest  I have no complaints. They did us proud.

This time around I  definitely intend to be more choosy. I don't have to wait for the post anymore.I can find out anything I want at a click of a button. What a wonderful tool Google is! Just looking pretty on the outside won't do either. I want to know about all of the services that venue has to offer from canapes to fireworks. And of course, it needs to fit in with the dreaded "theme"!

Even though planning our nuptials is still very much in the early stages. Nothing can be booked until I'm a free woman. I have already given plenty of thought as to where me and my beloved Mr R will do the deed. My poor friends  now take everything I tell them with a pinch of salt. I have changed the  venue and the time of the year the wedding will take place that often that I am beginning to be a wedding bore. What a dreadful thought!

My first choice was Bristol Zoo. I liked the idea of somewhere a bit different, a bit quirky. My friends and family just laughed and said it would smell. We also take the kids from school there on a trip every two years so it would feel a bit like a school day.
Next choice was Bristol Registry Office followed by the Glass Boat in Bristol. This was ruled out because I didn't want to be part of a production line at the attractive, but very public Registry Office. I have spent many a moment hanging about outside just to watch brides going in, and coming out again in record time. Always with another bridal party hot on their heels. The Glass Boat is in a lovely setting, but doesn't really have any outside space to speak of.
Then I thought about a winter barn wedding. But I heard that if it snows, the only way to the venue was ib a 4x4. So that idea was shelved.
 After a few more ideas that were quickly deemed unsuitable or just too expensive.  (Clifton Lido was mind blowingly expensive) I have now found "the" place. I'm hoping to suss it out with Mr R next weekend. So far it looks perfect. The right price, the wonderful location, the delicious looking menu and it fits in with my theme. Will I change my mind again. I hope not, but hey, who knows. Watch this space.

Take care

Brigitte xx

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Cankles and Weebles!

I find it hard to believe sometimes that as a child my mother took me to the doctors because she was worried that I was underweight ! He told her not to worry and that I would fill out in time. And fill out I did, but it didn't happen overnight. All through my teens, twenties and then into my early thirties I hardly strayed from being a size eight to ten. Strangely, My knees and calves and ankles have always been chunky. So  I started off narrow at the top and got wider at the bottom. A bit like a pyramid! I blame the genes that I inherited from my mothers side. We were all born with canckles! I'm not normally a green eyed monster, but my little sister inherited my fathers genes and has the slimmest ankles going. She calls them her chicken legs. I'll swap her my elephant legs for her chicken legs any day!

In my early thirties I had my babies and stated to fill out, fill out a little more,  and then carried on doing so until I thought that this can't go on and went on a diet and lost a bit of weight. Then I put it back on again, went on another diet, put on even more weight.....Well, you know the pattern. I had become a yo yo dieter and still am today. The trouble is I love my food. I love to cook, read about food, mooching around food markets and of course eating it. I don't eat badly, just too much of it. Mr R is much much taller than I am. I have to stand on three steps before we can speak to each other face to face! He can eat big portions because he needs more calories.. Trouble is my portions can match his. That's not  good news at all..At the moment I look like a Weeble. Remember those....Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!!

I don't want to be a Weeble bride, wobbling my way down the aisle. I can't do anything about the cankles. I might have to forget the 50's style tea length wedding dress, but I can do something about the rest of me if I really, really have the right frame of mind. I know that I can do it because I have done it before and lost 4 stone. I am realistic and know that within time the pounds will more than likely pile on again, but for that special day for me and Mr R I want to glide down that aisle.

I have super friends who are very supportive and will nag at me if I stray from the straight and narrow. They have in the past got me power walking around the streets of Swindon and would do so again. Time to buy some decent walking shoes I think. Mr G is a bikey and thinks nothing of cycling 80 miles in one go. My bike however is slowly rusting in the garage. My excuse is that I can't reach the peddles. He thinks that it is a poor excuse. Perhaps I should give it another go. We could cycle together. I will not however, be wearing lycra!

So I have around one and a half years to  lose my Weeble bod. That's do'able. I'll let you know how I'm doing. Keep your fingers crossed for me won't you!

Take care xxx

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Engaged not once, but twice!

One year, four months and thirty days ago I got engaged to my beloved Mr R. Actually he had asked me to marry him just after the previous Christmas, but to me, our "real" engagement was when he placed my sparkly shiny ring on my finger and we consequently told anybody that mattered our exciting news. I had more than a good idea that my Mr R was going to propose a second time. The clues were there. We had been looking at, and trying on rings, discussed that a proposal at the top of the Eiffel Tower would be too much of a cliche and that it should be from the top of the Montparnasse Tower so that you can see all of Paris and the Eiffel Tower to boot! And the biggest clue of all was that we were going to Paris for five days. Now who in their right mind would miss  such an opportunity.
As fortune would have it, the evening we had planned to to go up the Montparnasse Tower, Mr R and I had "words" and I refused to go up the Tour de Montparnasse, which is nothing more than a very ugly office block in a slightly tacky area, as not talking to one another is hardly conducive to a romantic proposal. Not what I had in mind at all! By the next day, we had made up and I had no idea when Mr R would go down on a one knee and pop the question. I didn't have to wait long. That morning whilst sitting on a bench overlooking the pond in the Luxembourg Gardens, my wait was over. There was no getting down on one knee. (If you have ever been to the parks in Paris, the paths are covered in gravel, so not good if you are wearing shorts !) But it didn't matter one bit! I don't know if Mr R chose to propose there because he knew that the gardens were a favourite spot in Paris of mine, or that he was keen to off load the ring that was sitting  lose in his pocket and could be lost at any time, to sitting safely on my finger!  That evening we had a very romantic meal at the foot of Montmartre sitting on the terrace of a very Parisian bistro and later we watched the Eiffel Tower twinkle...just like my shiny sparkly ring!

So here I am. One year, four months and 30 days later getting very excited about planning our very special day. Now there is one very insy, tiny hurdle in our way. I am officially still married!!!! But that little problem is being delt with. So although we can't name the day or book a registrar just yet, I can still look for inspiration and ideas. I have my little blue book where I jot down things that catch my eye, and I follow lots and lots of lovely blogs. Being a second time, and, I hate this word, a more mature bride to be, finding a dress that doesn't make me look like mutton dressed as lamb may prove a challenge, but hopefully one day my lovely wedding blogs will feature a wedding with a more mature (eeks, that word again) couple to inspire me.
My blog will record that journey to our special day amongst other rambles about this that and the other.
Hopefully you will feel inclined to carry on reading .
Take care and good night. xx

Monday, 3 January 2011

I don't believe it!

How could I do it ??? On the launch of my exciting new adventure, There is a spelling mistake in the title. Of couirse I meant beginning. I hang my head in shame.

and in the beginning....

I love reading blogs.I seem to have become addicted to them and get really excited when I discover a new one to mull over with a cup of coffee and a couple of Hobnobs. I do feel ever so slightly guilty reading what other people are up to. Am I being a bit of  a Peeping Tom? Surely they are meant to be read by friends and family rather than by any old Joe Bloggs. (No pun intended!) I often marvel at how talented my new blogger "pals" are. They seem to write witty, informative articulate posts with ease. Does that come with practice or are they just naturally gifted ? I have my favourite blogs. Those that I read regularly and wait with baited breath for their next instalment. After several months I have even started writing comments. I just hope that they aren't wondering who this stranger is to make comments to what is in reality another stranger. What I have noticed is that there is quite a community amongst bloggers. Always ready to offer support, encouragenent and praise to one another. How good is that!

So why do I want to join this community and write my very own blog? Well, for as long as I can remember I have happily written reams and reams to at first penpals, then e friends and of course, my real life friends. I love a good ramble, although at times I find myself staring at the screne wondering how best to phrase something or what would be the best word to use. Can you suffer from writers block without truly being a writer? So, I thought that this would be a good time to widen my horizons and explore new avenues by creating my own blog. I am the first to admit that I am a total novice when it comes to working out how to use a computer. Yes, I can Google, Twitter and Facebook, but ask me to cut and paste and I start to flounder. So please don't expect miracles. It might be a while before my blog is anything but basic. I will try my best to make it visually appealing with a little help from my IT  savvy family. Just be a little patient with this newbie please.

Enough of my wittering on for now. I'm a one finger typer so it takes an age to compose anything. Next time I will tell you what this fifty something bride to be intends to write about. Until then, take care and good night. x