Saturday mornings are bliss, aren’t they? The first morning of the weekend, no need to put the alarm on, a time to relax and recover from Friday Night Frolics.
Yet there I was, knocking off the alarm – for a fitness class.
Yup, a fitness class. I have become the type of woman who forsakes the Saturday lie-in in favour of a knackering hour at the gym. (I am starting to get very worried that somehow when I turned 50, I went through a wormhole in space and am now in a very strange parallel dimension where I do things like this. Donald Trump as US President has to be pretty strong evidence in favour of that hypothesis, no?)
Well hello, strangers. Yes, I know, look at the date. It’s been a crazy year. First of all I was ill throughout most of January and February. Nothing serious nor worrying, but staring at screens when I wasn’t at work just wasn’t happening. Then life went nuts with work trips and interviews with some amazing people and we started a podcast with Olly Mann… All very interesting but again, left me not wanting to stare at a screen more than I wanted to.
But now I’m back – and I’m FIFTY!!!! Yup, it happened. And it was fabulous. A weekend filled with family and friends, far too much food but loads more good cheer.
Ha! Now that surprised you, didn’t it? Someone singing the praises of a year in which we saw the UK divided over Brexit, Donald Trump – DONALD TRUMP! – elected president of the United States, hate crimes rise, an MP killed for speaking up for the helpless, war in Syria, the return of the Cold War and the death of Princess Leia (not to mention all the other heroes we grew up with).
Added to that, this year, I heard about the first death of someone I’d known at school. Other people I know have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
I have a confession – I’m a terrible Geordie. If it’s winter, nine out of ten times I go out I wear a coat.
I know, I know, that’s a shocking admission but it’s true. I can’t stand being cold. I’ve had the facility guys at work at my desk more times than I can count (not that that’s much, having failed my maths O’level five times) to change the direction of the air-con. Meanwhile, from November, I don thermals more days than not and can’t go to bed until Brian the hot-water-bottle-toy-dog-thing-that-you-microwave has been in for at least 15 minutes to take the chill off.
However, these last few weeks, I’ve been the one sitting on the tube with my coat sat on my lap; the one in bed throwing the quilt off me and searching for the cold spot; the one…
It’s been one of the central tenets of my life – that I am a feminist. But now, I’m not so sure. Why do I say that? In the words of Max Bygraves, let me tell you a story…
It started, like all human interactions these days, on social media. A friend tagged me into a video of Laura Perrins, the co-editor of The Conservative Woman website, and asked for thoughts.
It’s been a crazy few weeks, filled with travels and work and moments when I’m filled with imposter syndrome and think: “I’m just a little lass from the slums of Byker. How the hell am I so lucky to be experiencing this?”
Mind you, I think anyone meeting South African artist Esther Mahlangu will think the same.
Esther is one of those people who fill you with awe. I was invited to an art class led by her by (Belvedere)Red Vodka – she’s designed a special edition bottle for them to help raise funds for the fight against Aids.
As you probably could tell from this post, I love being a journalist. I love striving to bring readers truth, justice and the best place to have a cappuccino when you’re stuck up a mountain in Nepal (hey, hipsters read too, you know).
But I’d be lying if there weren’t a few selfish reasons behind loving my job – and they’re the reason I’ve been a bit quiet recently.
You see, instead of indulging my love of writing, I’ve been two-timing the keyboard with the luscious fruits of others’ typing skills after raiding the book cupboard at work.
Yes, we have a book cupboard. Continue reading
This is a weird age. At one point, when I look at it written down – or when I have to scroll back through the years to register online and the mouse is moving like Mo Farah – I feel old. Or rather, I feel I should be old, because most of the time I feel the same as I did in sixth form.
There is a feeling, once you get past 40, that you should start disappearing, blend into the background and let the beautiful young things shine. Don’t wear short skirts; don’t have long hair; wear comfortable shoes…
It’s the feeling when you look in the mirror and think: “A woman nearly 50 should not be wearing that outfit”, as I did a few weeks ago with the get-up below. But then, I think “short skirt, black tights, flat shoes – still got it”. Continue reading
And now it’s August…
July’s been a busy month. We started off with a weekend away in Bournemouth and ended it back home in Newcastle, meeting family across from Canada who I haven’t seen for three years (practically to the day).
In between, there’s been lots of gym visits and a discovery that I can actually play squash – if you don’t worry too much about my service. Continue reading
Sweaty, buggered, no make-up, hair scraped back, yet this is one of my favourite photos of me.
It was 8 September 2013, I was 46 and I’d just completed my first 5k race. Continue reading