Monthly Archives: June 2014

Love is in the air

Raging Bull in back garden

The Raging Bull knows more about flirting than I do

It’s summer and love is in the air. The Raging Bull, four and three quarters, has (at last count) 100 billion boyfriends. She tells me this nonchalantly one afternoon, flashing me her innocent puppy-dog eyes. It’s a figure she enjoys repeating to anyone who will listen.

I’ve only met a couple of the boyfriends so far. One is an older ‘man’, about 7, who was mortified when the Raging Bull grabbed his hand as we were walking down the street. She then ramped up her affections slightly by leaning over to kiss him. I’m afraid this didn’t go over too well, but she was nonplussed.

The other little boy has been chosen as the Raging Bull’s next playdate friend. They’ve spent a good while jumping off sofas and laughing with each other at the local coffee shop. They seem to have bonded over their babyccinos.

Meawhile, I have it on good authority (her older sister’s) that she is actually engaged to be married to someone else.

It’s all very cute, and I laugh along with her games of chasing boys in the playground, which currently has the innocence of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn.

Part of me wonders, though, if there comes a time when a playdate between a boy and a girl is considered awkward. I can’t imagine inviting a boy over for a playdate when he’s approaching double digits. It just seems a violation of some sort of unwritten rule.

Playdates seem to be governed by a secret code that goes something like this:

  1. Don’t assume you can go to someone’s house over and over again. Eventually you will need to reciprocate or face a shrivelling up of invitations.
  2. Children with working parents might not be popular playdate friends for the reason stated above.
  3. Some playdates will involve dinner or lunch; others never will. But if your child has eaten at someone else’s house, you should probably think about doing the same for their little angel.
  4. At some point the parents don’t expect you to tag along on the playdate; they’d prefer it if you just made yourself scarce (unless you happen to be friends).
  5. Boys and girls don’t tend to mix very much unless the parents know each other.
  6. Some playdates will involve numerous emails, text messages and planning. Others will happen spontaneously.

I can only assume (hope?) that one day the Raging Bull will snap out of her boyfriend phase and find the male sex repulsive. Isn’t this what happens to all little girls? It certainly happened to me for more years than some would say is healthy. The British Husband will argue that I still hold the male sex in suspicion. They are to be tolerated, of course, but not always trusted. 













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Happy Father’s Day

Father's day messageI don’t know whether this is a Freudian slip or if it’s just a straightforward spelling mistake, but the message came out as: ‘Happy farter’s day’.

Whether she intended to or not, the Chatterbox has managed to capture an essence of her father’s personality.

To all dads out there, happy father’s day.

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The white t-shirt for the 40ish woman

white t-shirt

My latest purchase. Transparent or what?

Ah, summer. If you live in the UK like I do, summer is not something for which you hold your breath. Compared to a very large part of the world, summer is a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment. Despite the fickle nature of the weather in these climes, I persist with dressing for summer, shivers and all. Call me a masochist.

Hence, my quest for the perfect white t-shirt. This shouldn’t be difficult, you might say. T-shirts abound. You can probably buy a pack of them from American brand Fruit of the Loom for less than $10.

But the thing about a fashionable white t-shirt is that it has to be exactly the right cut to be flattering. It has to sit just so – a length that would look good left loose or tucked in. It has to serve multiple purposes, you see, and numerous occasions. The perfect white t-shirt could be dressed up or down, worn for cocktails or for lounging by the pool.

Perhaps you are now starting to see my predicament. Now let me add a little something else to the equation: my age. Somewhere north of 35, women have to start regarding the appropriateness of clothes. It’s a minefield.

Not only do you have to buy things that fit your changing shape, you also have to start thinking about whether this item of clothing makes you look like a desperate middle-aged person trying to reclaim lost youth. ‘Hey, look at me,’ some outfits scream, ‘I am down with the kids.’ It’s the old mutton-dressed-as-lamb syndrome.

So what I have realized in my quest for this t-shirt is that the whole entire fashion world is conspiring against women of a certain age. Do they think we are past the age of caring?

For the life of me, I cannot seem to find a white t-shirt that isn’t as transparent as a politician trying to wriggle out of difficult questions. They are so universally thin and wispy, a breath of wind would plaster them to your skin. And on certain days, just walking down the street in London is like being in a wind tunnel with lashing rain.

The result is that these t-shirts are not flattering at all, especially for women who no longer have stomachs like Rihanna. I am not particularly squishy around the middle, but I don’t think I can pull off this see-through look any more, not even on the hottest day of the year.

So what is a woman to do? I honestly despair. I finally broke down and bought one of these willowy shirts hoping for the best. But when I put it on in front of the mirror at home, I thought it made me look weird. It was as unforgiving as the Catholic Church in the Dark Ages.

Another joy of being 40. I’ll add it to the growing list of things. Can’t buy white t-shirts. Check!

I wonder what else awaits me around the corner, because what I have slowly realized – and forgive me if you know this already – is that the world is constructed around the needs and wants of the young. The younger, in fact, the better.

PS if you know where I can get a basic white t-shirt that isn’t frumpy or see-through, do tell.


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