Holiday minus 1
Holidays cost. I’m not talking about the flights or the accommodation or the hundred weight of toiletries. Or the new clothes (and underwear; how does that happen?) Plenty in the drawer and then boom! Not enough for a mini-break, let alone a fortnight in the sun. ) Oh no. There’s all the preparation to account for. Husband: Haircut. Me: Cut and colour. Foot overhaul at the chiropodist (so much more ruthless than a pedicure). Eyebrow threading. Spray tan (scrapped this time round after being a bit David Dickinson last time). Bikini wax. All this in the name of not scaring the children . Husband doesn’t get it. Absolutely bamboozled by a bikini wax. Why can’t I do it myself (like I do all year). Because I want to pay for the humiliation of making small talk whilst a girl half my age and size attacks my nethers with a level of scrutiny and precision last exercised by the doctor who sewed me back together after giving birth. The jury is still out on which is more painful. (Disclaimer: I have been for plenty of bikini waxes in the intervening 8 years but this one could only be described as ‘zealous’)
And then of course there’s the monthly slimming group subscription for three months beforehand, only to waste the good work of a month in the few days prior to the holiday. ‘I’m on holiday!’ my brain says. ‘Eat the bread. And the chocolate. And the...’. This is teamed with a fortnight ‘off’ enjoying my holiday. And for ‘enjoying’ read ‘scrutinising every choice available, eating what my brain and not my belly wants and refereeing the fight between camp ‘You’re on your holidays!’ and ‘Nothing tastes as good as slim feels’. I’m very firmly in the NTAGASF camp, but bizarrely my hands and mouth seem to have surrendered their membership and I know I’ll have a fight with them when I get there.
Must stop eating.
Ooh! Afternoon tea!
Am I brown yet?
I should have done more fake tan. I should have had a spray tan this year.
Where are my ankles?
Am I as fat as that woman over there?
Why did I buy such big bikini bottoms?
Where are my ankles?
Was blonde a mistake?
Ha! Look at you with your youth and imperfect beauty. You don’t realise one day you’ll be 40 and in big bottoms. Embrace your hip skimmers.
Where are my ankles?
I might have more blonde.
Where are my ankles?
Near disaster. It’s Day 6 of 11 and I’ve just closed book 3 of 4. Now, I’m no maths genius (Grade C at Intermediate, although that was the best you could get on Intermediate. That’s not even a tier these days.) But I could work out that I hadn’t rationed the pages properly. I felt agitated. How could I survive another 5 days with only one more book? I started eyeing Husband’s Jurgen Klopp autobiography. Seems like a nice fella (Jurgen, not Husband. Although he is, of course. But, I could tell that Husband wasn’t going to finish Jurgen before I finished book 4. I’m a fast reader. I couldn’t bear individual’s reading aloud in class unless it was me that was doing the reading. I used to read ahead at my speed and then not know where the reader was up to when they finished. But I digress. I found myself in a real situation. I’d clearly under-packed the library and obviously the decision to leave the Kindle at home (lots of lovely books to read in the shade – can’t see the screen in the sun) was a wrong one. Daughter had cast us aside for holiday buddies and hours of lovely reading time stretched ahead. Although I didn’t fancy the three different Diary of a Wimpy Kid episodes she’d brought, so I was no better off. Then a thought struck me...there’s always a stash of abandoned books in a hotel. Jurgen would be safe! I found the stash, and boy, did I strike gold. Hidden amongst a few Mills & Boons was only Marian Keyes latest, and the only downside was that I wasn’t wearing my big bottoms, because I laughed and laughed and unfortunately I was a few (thousand) sit ups from my belly not wobbling when I laughed. I can only apologise to any fellow sun worshippers that I disturbed with my laughing or traumatised with my wobbling. If you get the chance to read it, do (but only if you’ve got big bottoms on). Marian Keyes is truly one of the funniest and best writers around, and was the very first person I ever tweeted in response to a competition and she welcomed me to ‘the twitters’. So highly recommended. I also enjoyed ‘The Thirty List’ by Eva Wood, ‘The Moonlight Hotel’ by Jane Costello and ‘A Daughter’s Secret’ by Eleanor Moran, which reminded by of books by my lovely friend and author Mary Torjussen, whose books would also be a very clever addition to your holiday e-reader.
The big/smaller bikini bottoms issue also caused me some angst. I’m a two-piece wearer and I make no apologies for that (except when laughing at a book on the sun lounger). My friend C, who is quite frankly a wisp of a thing after having been more substantial, was aghast at the idea of wearing a bikini. Hopefully that was at the idea of wearing one herself rather than at me wearing one, although she was very clear about me being Too Old to wear a playsuit. I was equally aghast that she was so against getting her tiny self out on the lounger. She assures me that I don’t know what lies beneath, but I’ll have to take her word for that. Anyway. The perfect bikini bottom eludes me. I declared a couple of side-tie sets as being too skimpy, despite the fact they weren’t last year at the same weight. Although last year I was a couple of stone lighter than the year before, so it’s all relative. Feeling fat and almost inclined towards a one-piece, I bought what could only be described as Big Bottoms. Then I went on to lose half a stone and the Big Bottoms became Ginormous Bottoms. Very unflattering. On the very next smaller bikini bottom day (which were genuinely more flattering), Husband declared that I looked much nicer in them, much nicer than the ‘granny knickers’ from the day before. Not to worry that I’d bought two sets in different colours...One thing is true though; eating cake from the afternoon tea buffet in a bikini, regardless of the size of the bottoms, is a very sobering experience indeed.
Denim shorts. I’m undecided. From my observation point at the mini-golf (gammy leg, more later), I can see two pairs. One worn to good effect and enough to make me wonder whether it’s a look I could carry off (with C’s playsuit caution ringing loud) and the other putting me in mind of Don Estelle (meet the gang ‘cause the boys are here...). If you don’t understand that reference, Google ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’, but I do warn not to do this at work. As a 70’s sitcom, it’s rife with ‘isms’ that could probably get you the sack.
Speaking of the 70’s, it’s been all decades here. Yesterday we went on a coach trip to the eighties. There was no air-con. There were no seatbelts. It got a flat tyre (which isn’t exclusive to the 70s, of course). Then it’s been both the 80s and 90s round the pool, right down to ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ and ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’. You could pinpoint whether the holiday makers were in their 40s or 50s by what songs they knew the words to.
Somewhere, there is a mirror manufacturer that adds a touch of magic to their mirrors and sells them only to hotels. The owner is a kindly Grandpa with many daughters and granddaughters, who knows the harsh scrutiny that females put themselves under and who, many years ago, recognised that these ladies deserved a holiday from their self-loathing. The magic mirrors have different properties for each user. This is clearly a well-kept secret, but I’m on to it. In my holiday mirror, I’ve got a great bronzy (for the non-Scousers: I’ve developed a deep, even tan). The reality is that I’m like a patchwork quilt of ashen face, brown(ish) arms and chest, pink and white stomach (very reminiscent of the ‘Pink and White Ice Creams’ shop in Southport), and legs ravaged by prickly heat and insect bites. Glam.
The Magic Mirror also tells no tales of the 3 big fat restaurant visits a day, snacks, gin, lager, Baileys (Baileys! In July!). No Siree. The Magic Bathroom Mirror could even seduce me into thinking I’ve lost weight. But that is simply physically impossible. So I thank Magic Mirror Man, because all of my home and work mirrors are cruel, cruel harridans that joyously points out every ounce, blemish, wrinkle and wayward hair.
My only complaint is that whilst basking in the soft-focus of the mirror, your eyebrows grow unnoticed and then the first mirror encountered will refuse to show you your holiday Magic Mirror face and reveal that you are, in fact, Frida Kahlo.
You’ll know from earlier blogs that I’m locked in constant battle between stuffing my face and wanting to fit in a size 12. I was just short of it for my ‘Fab at Forty’ plan and since then I’ve been in a dramatic Paso doble style dance with half a stone and I switched slimming club allegiance. Half a stone kicked to the kerb. Tight trouser comfy again. Big bikini bottoms rendered too big. And then came the holiday. Fabulous Greek cuisine, easy to stick to meat and salads. Gin. Fruit. No need to give my half-stone certificate back. Until...
MITTTOMOL Food Diaries
Porridge with fruit
Salad, yoghurt, fruit
Meat, rice, salad
Boiled egg, bacon, tomatoes
Fish, salad, fruit
Meat, salad, potatoes, fruit
Fried egg, bacon, bean, toast
Pasta, quiche, cake, lager
Cheese, meat, pie, potatoes, cake, wine
And that is why I know that I will be greeted with BIG FAT WEIGH IN DISASTER. Now, what time does the afternoon tea buffet open?
There are two things I’ve pondered whilst I’ve been here, other than poor wardrobe choices and what cake to have.
1) Destination Weddings
It’s hot. I mean, it’s bloody roasting. I can feel sweat trickling down my near-naked back. My waterproof mascara ran. My sparse eyebrows can’t function as a sweat-dam. Quite frankly, I don’t look my best in the daytime on holiday. So I can’ help but wonder what possesses people to get married abroad. There’s been two weddings here. One was a full-on waistcoat, cravat and big dress affair (clearly, not all on the same person). Why???? One of the reasons behind our October wedding was so I wouldn’t have to stress about sweating, and I don’t consider myself to be an overly sweaty person. I only know two people who went off to get married. C and P went off by themselves and didn’t require anyone to suffer a tie or a feathery headdress in the heat. T and G did have their immediate families accompany them, but I don’t know that Anglesey has the same destination wedding problems. But each to their own and congratulations to the happy couples.
I don’t ponder them as such, having produced one myself, but I do ponder taking very young babies on holiday. I’m not worried about the heat, but they do have you like a bloody pack horse. It’s still an international mystery how such small beings generate so many bags. Daughter was a few days past her first birthday when we took her abroad, and even with two grandparents willing to surrender some of their precious luggage allowance for cartons of Cow & Gate and nappies, we still struggled. Yes, I did favour the hysterical parenting style so often present in the parents of Precious First Born’s, but at least no one wanted to park their lounger next to my carefully rigged out shady buggy space. Even the most down-to-earth baby needs a lot of stuff. I’m imagining lots of parents what possessed them. But then again, who doesn’t smile at a chubby baby in a swimming costume?
And who, having been through The Pack Horse Years, doesn’t enjoy suddenly being able to read four books because their chubby baby is hanging out with their new holiday bezzies?!
The whole packing thing stresses me out. Clothes are fairly predictable, but the rest...Obviously I had a serious lack of judgement on the reading front, which was due to the unexpected lack of offspring company, but I can’t quite explain why I’m about to pack 5 unworn bras (including the rogue 32 C that was camouflaged on my size hanger). Then there was the anxiety about some of the toiletries lasting, so there was a conscious eking out mid-week, leading of course to excesses come the last day and a woeful lament about being tight with it. The toothpaste I was trying to calculate weight per use left? Still a good few brushes in the tube. Shower gel? Two one-third bottles left. The giant shampoo and conditioner? Could have stayed another week. Sun lotion? Work out the maths on 4 bottles for two adults and 3 for one child...suffice to say we were all slathering on the factor 50 kids by the end.
So, there’s another holiday been and gone. Tan still golden (pasty legs helped along since I got back...). Cake and beer weight still there. Washing done. Photos developed. And the browser open for Summer 2017...