Just how grim can it get up north? (Actually, it's quite nice.) One woman's not-so-lonely journey into the Northern heartlands.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Have been shopping for "an outfit" for "the do" - that is to say, Saturday's launch party. The problem is I need to commit a day to it rather than doing it in snaps. I gave it an hour and a half in London which included walking into a couple of designer shops where instead of a cheery "Hello," you get that sweep down-and-up-again of mascara-heavy eyelids to see if you really belong. My tactic when assistants do this is to stand very still and wait for them to meet my eye, then smile as if to say "I may not look it but in reality I am the wife of a Russian oligarch and enormously, hideously, obscenely wealthy - do not be fooled by the Marks and Spencer's handbag." In the past week or so, I also checked out a boutique sale in a hotel in the local market town where you had to try things on between the sales rail and a frosted window and a man gazed at me in blank horror as he appeared round the end of the sales rack with his small child to find me undressing (20 minutes - bearded spectators do not encourage you to linger in your lingerie thinking "Shall I try that just once more?" ). I have also scooted round a department store in the nearest city (1 hour) and yesterday visited a store where silvery-haired ladies obviously go if they fancy "a run-out" (long enough to start seriously considering wearing feathers on my head). I am not entirely convinced I will end up wearing it but I have now bought a plain black silk frock and a buckled leather belt. My mother will complain because it does not shout "Look at me" very loudly. My mother likes me to be looked at, which is possibly why I spent a substantial part of my adolescence in knitted jumpers with pictures on the front - these included a tiger, cherry blossom, an entire willow pattern design once. It is amazing I ever went anywhere.
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Finding something to wear is the most terrifying part of any social occasion as far as I'm concerned, it's only after the event when it's too late that I happen upon the very thing, then spend the next few minutes (hours, days) swearing my head off and asking "why didn't I see this last week when I needed it?"
Monsoon had some nice stuff in petite yesterday(I accidentally wandered into petite before the "who are you trying to kid?" hooter went off and I ran back to the size 14 lard-arse rail)including some very pretty maxi-dresses and a very cute little white cardi.
Get something low enough and no one will notice the a) stress induced spots, or b) children introduced nits. Simple.
Enjoy yourself, you've worked hard to get there!
Sorry, it's me again.
Just to say I am feeling so smug.
Got home from work today to find my Amazon parcel on the doormat, with your book in it.
I know an author, I know an author, I know................
Sorry, fame by association has gone to my head.
Oooh hopefully my copy will be here soon.:) I am to be mother of the bride in September and I have made the mistake of having "something in mind" which of course immediately renders it impossible to locate. Have a wonderful time Satursday whatever you are wearing, maybe a lovely mum-knitted jumper would be a good talking point :)
Try Marilyn Moore - sadly not up North, but worth the trip to the Kings Road in Chelsea, or Fenn Wright Mason. They haven't let me down yet. Though admittedly I have not actually had a launch party of my own, so it could be said that I actually have no idea...
Net-a-porter is the only solution for a working mom. You have them send you everything you think you might need, try it on in the quiet of your own home with your own shoes and your own flattering light, and post back the rejects the next day. Everything is posh and screams look at me and it is v.v. fashionable. I think you can get a 24-hour delivery so do it tonight!
Dear one I think you should whack on your wellies with red tights and the little black dress, smile like you have been having fabbo sex for the last 48 hours and leave them wondering .... afterall you are the STAR of the show .... so just let it be ... enjoy the moment.
Me too, swearing mother!
I spent the morning reading it - couldn't put it down despite all the things I had to do!
Wifeinthenorth, I only came into your blogs last year, so have never really worked out what happened in your early days in the North. It's fascinating, marvellous writing. You're a doll!
Sounds like you could have done with a few more spa says to unwind before the big day.
I'm harkening back to all the birthing metaphores- just imagine if you had to shop for a labour outfit...this is kind of the christening do, though, do you think?
The 'phut' part is over.
And I'm absolutely riding on the 'I know the author' thing, too!
Thank you, Wifey, for sharing!
Hello Wife in the North
I've just found your Blog (where have I been?) Congratulations on your book and Television show (fingers crossed) I love what I've read so far and can't wait for the book. Good luck!
Oh, the jumpers. They sound awe-inpsiring. There were a pair (well, duh) of twins at my secondary school who had hand-knitted jumpers that read "I like puffins" on the front, and had a picture of a puffin on the back. Why would your parents want to make adolescence even more painful by subjecting you to such knitwear?
If the black dress doesn't ultimately make the cut, I second the Net a Porter suggestion, but otherwise Fenwicks is the only manageably sized place in London. Kidnap a sales assistant (very pleasant) and do not let them go until they have clothed you.
You have a LAUNCH PARTY!!??
I wonder why I - as your dealer - was not invited?
Who are you trying to kid with your little back dress? I thought that you were supposed to be a country girl now. With the weather forcast for the weekend you will need one of your mother's jumper over your dress and your wellies too.
Congratulations on the book. I am looking forward to receiving it from Amazon.
I wish those bloody sales assistants would remember that they are, in fact, sales assistants. Not that I have anything against sales assistants, except smug ones.
I say you should definitely go for the "me, me, me" outfit. I had one a few years ago and at the last minute opted for a white trouser suit. I didn't think I could pull it off but on the actual night I felt like the STAR!
Good luck Saturday. The party is to celebrate you & your book so you don't need to wear a loud frock. Some jewelry wouldn't go amiss though (Wifey's husband, if you are reading this - buy your wife some bling)
Tried to buy your book from Amazon today but I'll have to wait till August 4th, unless I can convince my mum to post me an English version. Can't wait to read it.
Followed your career with interest. It was you who decided me to have a go myself. Am a complete ignorant novice re the technology. How does the link bit work. Do I ask people to link with me or what. Please do me a favour and look at my blog when you have time. Good luck to your book.
ps Have trailer tented at Beadnell and nearby many times.
Hi, I arrived via Stinking Billy. I think you should wear one of your jumpers. You would make your Mum very proud and you may bring back the trend. I had one with a panda on the front and another with a racing car. Oh yes I remember them well, now where are they? Debs x
I bought your book today and think it's great. Looks lovely, feels lovely, reads lovely. But I'm at the sad beginning bit where you are lonesome. Is fab tho. More booky than bloggie, and very captivating.
I once heard that Carol Vorderman gets a lot of her outfits from ebay. It would certainly cut down the footwork from shop to shop and eliminate those stares from the shop-assistants.
Goo dluck at the launch party and congrats on your success :)
As I write this you will be at your launch party....dressed or not (lol). Hope the evening is magical for you.
I only came to this blog tonight after reading the interview in the Telegraph.
I'll be buying the book too...after having listened to the interview posted here on this page you almost feel like a best friend.
So listenable (is that a word?) and I expect the book will be so very readable too.
I moved across the Atlantic to G.B. with hubby and 2 young children 25 years ago and I know those feelings of isolation too.
i was smiling when i read this post. brought to mind julia roberts walking into that boutique with the snooty shop stuff.
i usually look through magazines and websites first before i go to the actual shops so that i know what i'm looking for when i go in (forearmed is forewarned kind of thing). i check out what can be put on my plumpy frame and then i make mental notes. then i go back the next day. i do this because i don't want to buy something in the heat of the moment kind of thing.
i hope you've found THE dress, if not, happy hunting!
Who looks after your kids while you write :) Do you leave it till bedtime like me ?. regards,
Hi! I forgot to say that I've had your book u-tube thingy on my blog for a little while now... I do hope Saturday went well. Scratch that, Of Course it Did (not that I'm anywhere near.) Can't wait to read it for real.
cheers, K xx
The book looks good & I defnitely fancy reading it; I'd fancy it even more in the US cover though! Why is it that all books by women in the UK at the moment have to have virtually identical covers?!
Years of shopping with children in tow have clearly blocked your 'me me me' gene. It's all those times you've had exactly 5 minutes to browse around M&S, choose an item, buy and and get the hell out again before the screaming or whining starts.
I thought the article in the Telegraph came across well - hope you liked it
really enjoyed radio 4 today
I read the article in the Telegraph and saw that your mum suffers with macula degeneration. Once upon a time there was no treatment for this disease, there is now treatment available depending on the type of macula degeneration (wet or dry).
I work with a surgeon who introduced a surgical technique from Italy and who is having some very good results. His name is Brendan Moriarty and he works at the Regency hospital in Macclsfield.
Sorry I didn't like the reader's voice,maybe it will grow on me.
(Why didn't you read it ,Wifey...)
hi there, black dress sounds lovely..I used to love shopping but now cannot spend any more than an hour before feeling twitchy...effect of 2 kids and a clock watching (now ex, unsurprisingly) husband. Shopping with teenager daughter ended in tears for both of us in Kingston 2 weeks ago ....the quest for the perfect spotty top for under a tenner drove us both to the brink...hmmm...however have found a site called boo hoo on the web - fab, cheap and next day delivery! Result! Althought with the book coming out, designers etc will be queuing up to get you to wear their gear!!
Hi there, I listened on Womans Hour today and really enjoyed it - many congrats on both the publishing and the "book of the week". Well deserved. Margot xx
Where have you gone? I want to know what you wore and about how fantastic the party was! I'm looking forward to reading book when it reaches Mallorca(which is where i live,it was my idea & not my husband's). Also, brilliant blog list,have been up for hrs reading
Hope party was brilliant and v glamorous
Nice party, great bookshop and people but the biggest surprise was that I started reading your book on the plane to Munich at 9am and despite working all day read it through dinner and finished it at 1am. I laughed out loud on the plane and lost a tear at different bits. Wonderful book which I will now recommend to all. You do get some odd looks if you are a bloke in a suit and you read it in public though! Well done you will be rich and famous.
BBC girls ex
Only just come across your blog after listening to book of the week, I've now spent about 2 hours reading which I really haven't got! Where is the start of this blog though.........can any of you old time fans tell me where to start from?
The Florence shop keepers are exactly the same as the ones you mentioned! If I happen to be wearing sneakers on a power walk and see something in a window I like, I have learnt to go back when I'm 'dressed up' as I get a completely different reaction and much more attentive service!
Great blog :)
Just got to know about this blog from the interview on Richard and Judy. I'm looking forward to reading the book.
I found you on Richard and Judy too. You looked and sounded so nice that I came to your blog and now I'm here, I'm very glad I did! You are now my 195th blog in my Bloglines feeds. ::sigh:: No wonder I can't keep up...
How did it go on Saturday? What did you wear in the end?
I'm a cat blogger by the way (should you be remotely interested, haha!), although I'm not a cat and have, sadly, been uncatted for nearly five years. Duhr:) xxx
tell me, how did you not leap across the studio and punch smug Richard in the face? Just a thought...did you get to try the fake snickers bars??! Love lovely Judy, but Richard deserves a good dose of nits, in my opinion. Grrr.
Fab outfit, by the way!
Just heard you on Richard and Judy. I was also a 'Wife in the North' 20 years ago when we moved to Ulgham and I learned to love Northumberland. We have moved many times since then, but it is still in my heart. When I saw the beaches on the programme it took me back to my sons playing on Druridge bay beach.
I will certainly buy your book when it comes out and hope that you make lots of cash!
Hope you had a really great party.
stick with Nigella Lawson's winning strategy of the simple black dress and dashing pink cardie approach. Steer clear of anything remotely uncomfortable in the meantime!
My partner recorded you on Richard and Judy for me. Didn't want to interupt me changing the beds.He is that thoughtful.Love the blog - but R+J!Had Richard even read the book? He kept asking why yours was such a success story. You should have told him it's because the blog is bloody well written for a start.
Loving it all. Well done
Hi Wifey, missed you on Richard and Judy so will have to see if I can watch it on-line.
Have been listening to Book of The Week - not sure I like the reader's voice, don't think she's quite posh enough to be you but maybe this is because her emphasis or cadence isn't the way I read you my head. Wish you'd read it.
Still good though.
I found THE perfect dress the other day . It was in French Connection's window - part of their SALE display .... enormous great shapeless brown paper bags shoved over the mannequin's heads ... perfect !
Hmmm. Am I the only person who finds that this whole blog/book/R4 serialisation represents everything that is infuriating, smug and even offensive about the Londoscenti's attitude to life outside the capital?
I grew up in the countryside - where I hope to settle eventually - but moved to London because the industry I work in is 90% based here. I've come to love this amazing city, for many of the same reasons that Judith misses it.
Reading her work, though, I can't help feeling that if she really can't cope with change, if she can't get over her own childish sense of outrage that things aren't always going to be exactly as she has come to expect them, perhaps she should have put her foot down and stuck with what she knew?
And given the insidious solipsism which runs through the posts I'm kind of on the side of those locals who weren't exactly leaping to welcome her with a ticker-tape parade.
Funny, I was just today thinking how lovely it would be if someone would for once blog about a move to the city from the country! We always hear about people give up city life for joys of country living, but never the other way round.And lots of country people, myself included, do enjoy living in the city very much. I enjoy wife's writing, though, and think she has a great turn-of-phrase,and let's face it, it would be a boring blog if all was going well. If I was a local, tho' I'd be offended and terrified she'd blog about me! mimi
what is solipsism?
I listened to Mondays episode on radio 4 and was hooked. I listen online and so was able to save my listening until the evening when I could settle down with a glass of wine and enjoy it thoroughly. I can empathize with Judith as a year ago I relocated to a village in France with my partner. I love the little village and the surrounding countryside but fitting in is still so hard. Going to a new country and trying to learn a new language is a big jump to take. I have loved Judith's writing - nits and all! and she has given me some hope that things may turn out o.k. Maybe I will find a friend! I have ordered the book and look forward to its arrival. Good luck Judith.
Have been listening all week on Radio 4 - absolutely fab - and my mum is hooked too, saying 'have you got the book yet, where's the book, i want it now!'
BIG congratulations - you must feel so proud! You have the nation gripped!
Congratulations, I hope the book launch went well. I'm a new reader of your blog and for now "making do" with what's already passed. Then, I suppose this is how things go:
Life after children - never the same again!
life after relocating - never the same again!!
Life after book launch - never the same again!!!
I hope this doesn't mean the end of the blog, it would be nice to see a few new words from time to time. Wishing you every success.
Have only just discovered you - what a joy! Now retired was watching "Richard and Judy" last week and caught part of your interview.
Can completely empathise with the "what to wear" syndrome having been there, done that and bought hundreds of T-shirts!
Am now a complete fan of yours (the first blog I read was "cherry scones" which made me weep, and am working my way through the rest), have recommended you to my daughter and will definitely be buying your book.
Thank you so much for writing so beautifully.
Gosh what a lot of posts and avoidable solipsism as well! I hope you have not taken all the ritalin I accidentally left on the bedside table.. I have been suffering from loss of attention to mmm ...er ...oh ... something.. something.. What was I talking about?
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