NIAMH A five year old is great fun. Most of the time. The time that you aren’t debating with them who’s in charge (clue: it’s not them), or forcing them in to hated tights, or explaining why it’s not a good idea to carry the dog by its nipples. (Insert link to your fave pic of Mavis under ‘the dog’)Occasionally they render you speechless. I wish I could recreate for you the look on my husband’s face when, over a pub lunch last Sunday, Niamh announced “I haven’t slept with thousands of men”. After some gentle investigating (you have to pitch it just right so they don’t realise they’re being interrogated or they clam up like WWII POW’s) we ascertained that this was a line from her favourite film, Mama Mia. So thank you Meryl Streep.
FEET My feet are happy. Smooth and soft and silky, they are ready for sandals. Before my luxury pedicure in Soho, my feet were like the feet of Satan himself. After an oxygen mask(?) and some cling film and the attentions of a nice lady, they are fit to be seen. I was with two girlfriends, one of whom is about to be married, so pretty feet was our gift to her. After the whole foot thing, we drank loads of champagne in a hotel bar, saw Shilpa Shetty, and went home. Louise, one of my co-pedicurees, admitted she’d asked the therapist what she was using to get rid of the hard skin and was told “a cheese grater”.
THE APPRENTICE An hour of bliss, some of it watched through my fingers. I love The Apprentice, although it should be retitled ‘How Not To Succeed in Business’. The people who apply, scattering deathless quotes thither and yon (“Let’s work until we bleed”) have no idea. Some of them are lawyers. Some of them are teachers. I wouldn’t let any one of them cross the road to buy me a bottle of milk. Why do the women wear such nasty mannish suits, with ill fitting blouses underneath? It’s either that or berets and nattily knotted scarves. Surely there’s a middle way, Apprentice Ladies? A jewel coloured fitted cardi a la Nigella? And Sralan doesn’t suit thin. I preferred him with a little double chin under that carefully tended stubble. I’m waiting for the personalities to unfurl this year, but already I don’t like the Geordie bloke, who’s spitting surly criticisms. (I’ll probably end up rooting for him. That’s the way The Apprentice goes.)
EGG BOX-RELATED GUILT Today Niamh needed to bring an egg box to school to decorate. I bought a box of six especially. I forgot to put the egg box in her bag. And now I am suffering the agonies of the damned. I can’t deal with these blips rationally where Niamh is concerned: I am fast forwarding from this egg box scenario to a life spent in squats taking drugs and arguing with a man called something like Shady Pete.
KNITTING A tiny little v-neck, navy blue and soft, is taking shape on my needles. It’s for Jack, who’s brand new.
MY EDITOR Jo edits my books. She’s petite and dark and quite quiet, and kind of fascinating. She came to lunch the other Sunday, and we all stood out in the garden with drinks in our hands. She squinted in through the window of my study, saw ‘RESEARCH’ in capital letters on my whiteboard, then clocked ‘pig disease’ beneath it. Jo voiced some concern for the next book, reminding me that I am supposed to be writing romantic comedies.
TODDLER-DULTS Grown men dressed like toddlers – eh? They’re everywhere, particularly fast food outlets. Big six footers with feet like canoes, clad head to toe in soft and fluffy sweatshirt material. Baggy top. Baggy trousers. Really baggy trousers, with a gusset down by the knees. Are they trying to regress? My Dad would never have left the house dressed like a baby. It was suits all the way. Even to garden in. (Although that was an old suit.)
EYEBROWS I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, but I have over plucked my eyebrows and I look like 70’s vintage David Bowie, not in a good way.
WRITING On the home stretch with book number six. I love my heroine, she’s a little older and more cynical than my other girls. I’ve moved her to the countryside, Somerset to be precise, and I feel energised whenever I visit her there in my mind. As usual, I’ve cast the male leads in my head. The women just blossom, but the men are physically modelled on famous blokes. This time I’m dealing with Billy Nighy and Matthew MacFadyen. A tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.