Friday, 28 January 2011

Cat Amongst the Pigeons...

Definitely good timing for me to appear on Vanessa Feltz's radio show after I woke up to a number of texts pointing me in the direction of the Daily Mail's front page story (here)

Biology is biology. The facts are the facts. But it's not so simple to prescribe what should be done 'in an ideal world' when often the world isn't as ideal as we'd choose.

So do women become older mums because they've given their all to their careers? For the next seven days you can hear my views by listening to me and Vanessa right here (note - it's about 2 hours, 3 mins into the show)

PS - she's absolutely lovely!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Frocks (The Sequel)

I am beginning to think that this book deal was actually some sort of conspiracy to force me into more feminine garb.

Meetings? Spruced up. With shiny shoes.

Photo shoots? No jeans allowed.

Public speaking? Still no jeans allowed

Launch party? Yup - a frock.

It's all very strange: when I worked in telly if I ever so much as ironed a t-shirt I'd have people asking me "why so smart" for hours on end.

But news of my soft-spot for scruffy has clearly begin to spread. At my second shoot last Friday they brought the court shoes with them. And very ladylike they were too. Couldn't walk in them. OK, or stand up in them. But as I was seated for the snapping it didn't really matter.

We headed outside for some of the pictures - this time in my own boots for safety's sake - and although it was chilly the girl and I had a lot of fun. And cuddles. Which can never be a bad thing - even in a frock.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Girls On Film

Top of the list of things I really, really don't like are (in no particular order):

- Custard
- Manchester City
- Spiders
- Having my photo taken

I will admit that in my new 'author' life the first three have not been too much of a problem. But the latter? Rather more tricky to avoid of late.

My first shoot for a national newspaper took place between Christmas and New Year. It was perhaps not helpful that in the run up to this (and for the first time in as long as I can remember) I had to take to my bed with the lurg. I am not sure that a raging throat infection is what the top beauticians would recommend in terms of preparation and rejuvenation, but at least by time the day arrived the antibiotics had started to do their stuff.

All the same, I was slightly alarmed to discover they had allowed an entire hour for make-up (how bad did they think I actually looked???)

It got worse...

"So what are you going to wear?" they asked. Given I had put on (what I considered to be) my nicest outfit I wasn't quite sure how to answer, other than mumbling "er this?"

Let's just say it was a no. Photo shoot rules were, I discovered, no denim, no black. So that was 99% of my wardrobe out before we even started. The very nice make up lady, being (as my 2 year old would say) "a bit of an expert" at this, had a look through my cupboard for something that would fit the bill.

Only one item of clothing was deemed suitable: a sort of wrap dress thing that I bought to wear WHEN I WAS SIX MONTHS PREGNANT.

The dress falls just above the knee and it was suggested that bare legs were the way to go. Fortunately when I explained that my pins have not seen sun since 1996 and were likely to terrify small children we compromised with black opaques.

By this point my failings as a smart/respectable grown up were all too apparent. And then we got to footwear...

"Do you have court shoes?" they asked. I was able to offer Converse (well they start with the same letters...), chunky boots, slouchy boots, Birkies and flip flops (all a no) before unearthing some long-forgotten pull-on heel things at the bottom of the wardrobe.

I have spent my entire career on the other side of the camera. Put me in front of it and suddenly it's all a little strange and scary. What to do with my hands? And feet? Where to look? How to smile without looking like a grinning loon.

Thankfully the photographer was fantastic and clearly adept at arranging photo-phobic females into poses more natural looking than the ones I attempted by myself. And the girl behaved beautifully.

And the end results...well, I'm yet to see them for myself, but here are a couple of my husband's snaps to be going on with.

"Who's that with the girl?" asked a close friend when I showed them to her.


"Really? But you're wearing a dress. And make up...."

Yup - clearly my image needs some work.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

4 Weeks To Go

Back in December the whole publication thing felt a bit remote. When people talked about 'next year' it seemed a long time away.

How quickly things change. Suddenly it's January...and with four weeks to go it's all becoming very real.

And things are starting to happen. I've done my first photo shoot for a national newspaper (which surely deserves a post all of its this space) and interviews and readings are being set up.

I'm running out of time to undo the damage done over the festive period (what is it about Quality Street that unleashes in me an overwhelming compulsion to consume an entire tin in as short a period as possible? And in colour order to boot. Always brown first, in case you were wondering (which, to be fair, you probably weren't), then yellow, purple, green... Whichever way you look at it that's a lot of chocolate...)

I would like to say that the new year has also brought with it a metamorphosis and I have suddenly become a glamorous author type, all long lunches, shiny hair and immaculate heels. But as I sit here in the old faithful tracky, crunching my way through a pile of ryvitas as I type, it's clear that that would be an outright lie.

Me, my lunch and my leisurewear may not be the most appealing image to leave you with on a rainy Thursday afternoon. So take a look at this one instead. A little piccie of what the postman brought today...