Last night we went out for a meal for Mr Jones' birthday. I wore earrings - a rare(ish) occurrence. Mr Jones said that I look very pretty. When I smiled and congratulated him on paying me a compliment without having to be prompted he said: "I normally only tell you when you look a mess because the rest of the time you look beautiful."
This weekend is Mr Jones' second stag do. Before you ask, I don't know why he's insisting on having two and yes I'm sure he is trying to turn me into a nervous wreck. I am more terrified about this one than I was about Prague for two simple reasons: One - the wedding is just three weeks away and Two - they are going out in Peterborough, which is infinitely more dangerous that the wilds of Eastern Europe.
There are 16 of them going apparently - including some people who think that stripping stags naked and tying them to lampposts is in someway amusing - I can assure them all that it is not. So at this point I would like to take this opportunity to remind those involved of the few things: One - the wedding is just three weeks away Two - I have no sense of humour about the wedding and anyone who does ANYTHING that might threaten the day will be dealt with in the most unflinchingly vicious way. Three - Damage to the groom, best man or any of the ushers will not be tolerated Four - Anyone who causes damage to any of the above will be immediately struck off the guest list and I don't care who it upsets or offends. Five - I have charged three people with Mr Jones' protection - they are all well trained in combat so those of you planning anything be warned, you will be knocked out, put in a taxi and sent back from whence you came if you try anything.
Of course I do hope you all have a jolly lovely time.
I do love a good tale of the olden days, especially if they come complete with pictures - and this weekend Mr Jones and I were treated to the story of my Nannie and Grandad's wedding.
They got married 55 years ago at the Shire Hall in Cambridge. Grandad wore a double breasted suit and Nannie was dressed in a beautiful grey skirt suit with a velvet collar with a spray of roses on her lepel. After the ceremony they had lunch at Grandad's family home and tea and at Nannie's. No fancy reception for them.
They didn't have a house when they were first married. Instead the rented "rooms" from a woman in Cambridge. They shared her kitchen and loo, but there was no bathroom so they paid a woman down the street to use hers! Mr Jones and I are rather more lucky.
My Grandad is a little bit poorly at the moment, but we're hoping that he'll be well enough to make the wedding and see Mr Jones and I start what I hope will be at least 55 years of a happy marriage.
When I was six I was a bridesmaid for my mum's friend Denise. They got married on my sixth birthday. I got a wind up watch with a red leather strap that I displayed with pride in every single one of their wedding photos. My Sindy got a horse and carriage. I wore a white dress from M&S, white t-bar sandals, white ankle socks and had silk lilies of the valley clipped in my hair. My sister and I looked like twins.
Shortly before the wedding I developed a cough - a tickly, dry and occasionally chesty cough. Mum thought I was getting a cold or a chest infection so she dosed me up with Benylin. It went away on the morning of the wedding. Ever since then, whenever I've done anything that makes me anxious or excited - be it interviews. exams, public speaking or even saying "I love you" for the first time, I've developed the same rather irritating need to clear my throat.
Today the cough has appeared - exactly one month before my wedding a whole 23 years later. I expect to be coughing and a-hemming for the next four weeks. I do apologise if I gets on your nerves, but do remember it's just because I'm excited. (Either that or I'm getting swine flu!)
Last night the mother and father of the bride were woken by a phone call from Mexico. The hapless pair were at the police station having had their cameras stolen from their rucksacks while they were sat on a bus with their feet resting on said luggage. Some thief! I do wonder what will happen next?
In other news Mr Jones seems to have realised that we are in fact getting married and has been very helpful of late. He's rather crafty when given instruction - in fact I'm wondering if he hasn't been flicking through my Martha Stewart's!
Mr Jones quite often accuses me of being hysterical. To give him his due I am in possession of an imagination that is quick to jump into a warp-speedesque overdrive and whisk me from perfectly normal circumstance to position of great horror within seconds. I have a bottom lip that can wobble on command should the need arise and I am firmly of the belief that a little bit of exaggeration for dramatic effect will do no one any harm (as long as you don't change the context) - I am a journo after all.
However there are times when my hysteria is quite justifiable - my sister going traveling being a case in point. She and Gemma have been in Mexico for two days and they have already had to escape from their youth hostel over a gate of monstrous proportions after having been locked in (they have since moved hostels) and Gemma has fainted and had some kind of fit! The email telling us all this ended thus: "We're off to Holbox Island today to swim with whale sharks". All I can currently hear is the soundtrack from jaws and I'm preoccupied with thoughts of whether Coast make crutches to match their bridesmaid dresses?
Have I told you that my dearest sister has chosen to depart for Mexico and will not return until the Sunday before the wedding? "Lucky girl, a marvellous opportunity, good on her" you may be thinking - however you don't know my sister, nor her friend Gemma, with whom she is travelling. If you did you might be able to understand why I shall spend the next month feeling slightly sick with terror.
You see whenever this hapless pair going travelling together they take their exploration of the local culture to extremes and invariably it involves a trip to one hospital or other. They have been searched at airports, skinned their legs, picked up infection after infection, endured horrific food poisoning and generally end up in a complete state where ever they go (usually due to vast quantities of gin!)
They have arrived in "safely" in Mexico - less one stuffed monkey, a travel pillow and all food eaten in the last 24hrs. I packed her off with a first aid kit containing every remedy I could think of and gave her a warning that any damage inflicted on her person must reside within the bounds of her bridesmaid dress. There was discussion of a permanent pen line to marks the limits but we decided against it.
I do hope she has a marvellous time, but I hope more that she takes care and comes back safe and sound - and preferably not too brown.
Should you know of a chicken who is in need of a coat do get in touch with my mother. She is currently in the midst of knitting a batch of chicken jumpers to help keep rescued battery hens warm. Bless. You can see her efforts here. In case you are wondering she also knits for humans - especially the small people. She's also knitted my garter for the wedding. In fact there's very little that she can't knit.
You'll remember that I am just a tiny bit in love with Sophie Dahl - so you will be able to imagine my excitement at the news of her new television show which is due to air next year. I'm sure Mr Jones will be delighted at the news that he has another cookery show to watch.
Today we had an argument over the phone (he is in Scotland) about the perfect shade of a meringue. I don't do white sara lee rubbish - I like rustic and homemade, Mr Jones couldn't give a fig about the colour as long as the centre is chewy. Tsk.
You see I was being clever - today has been all about perfume. Miss O'Neill and I were given a tour of florals, musks, ambers and citrus' by a very elegant nose from France.
All rather lovely and especially handy for me - a girl in search of a new signature scent. And I found it - Chloe Eau de Parfum (the nose kindly gave me a bottle). It's so lovely that I've spent the rest of the day sniffing my own wrists - it even distracted me mid spin class.
Suffice to say that I shall be wearing it on the wedding day. I'm so in love with the bottle that I may just carry it around with me on the day to show you all how pretty it is.
Today I also bought some things to make me sparkle, a magic powder to stop the shine and two tops in the Monsoon sale (50 per cent off don't you know).
....writing lists - we have a to-do list - and then we have sublists that break down the to-do list. I am yet to give Mr Jones his list. He's not a fan of lists. ....filling the spare room with sweets (we've had to shut the door to hide them from view - far too tempting.) .... visiting Lyveden with Miss Pickering and trying to visualise things. It rained. In the five visits I have made there thus far it has been wet all but once - I'm hoping that this is not an omen. ....waiting for people to return our calls. Isn't it funny that people are only too willing to answer the phone when you need to give them money, but when they need to adjust their bill in your favour they appear to disappear off the face of the earth. ....wearing a funny gum shield thing full of bleach to whiten the bridal smile even more. Mr Jones has been remorseless with the pointing, staring and laughing. Even the cats have smirked. ....finding it hard to sleep - it must be the excitement, just 38 days to go! ....wondering if everyone has booked their hotels yet - let us know so where you're staying asap so that we can make sure you have transport too and from - it's a long walk - from anywhere. Details on the wedding website.
There is many a perk to being a journalist - getting paid to write stuff would be one, people thinking you have a glamorous career would be another - but perhaps the most covetable is the freebies. My best ever "complimentary gift" would be a five star, all expenses paid trip for myself and the maid of honour to Grenada for a week - it was marvellous. But this week I was lucky enough to receive the gift of a lovely set of pearly white teeth, just in time for the wedding, courtesy of my PR friend Mars and her client London Smiling.
I will admit to feeling slightly nervous - I'd heard a few tales of horror about the pain and of course everyone I told kept reminding me of that episode of Friends - so I was just a tiny bit afeared that I would emerge onto Goodge Street with a dayglo smile.
I needn't have worried - apparently Dr Okoye has recently been to the land of perfect teeth to teach them how to do "natural" whitening. I started to feel safer. In fact I had a rather lovely time. I reclined in a comfy chair while Dr Okoye and her assistant saw to my very English teeth. They gave me movie googles which meant I could watch Friends during my bleaching and lasering, and a parafin wax hand treatment so that I emerged not only with white teeth, but lovely soft hands too. It was more like a spa break than a trip to the dentist.
As for the horror stories - I felt nothing bar a slightly warm sensation on my teeth, in fact it was so painless that I even dropped off for a few minutes. What's not to love about watching Friends, falling asleep and waking up with beautifully white teeth?
Dr Okoye is however a perfectionist - so I'm going back next week to pick up my personalised home whitening kit so that they look even better. This was perhaps the only downside to the whole operation - and I'm sure most people wouldn't mind at all. I however am in possession of the world's most pathetic gag reflex - I kid you not - I only have to think about putting my fingers down my throat and I'm off retching and heaving. It's so bad that I can no longer eat melted mozerella cheese or spinach or anything else that could be caught in my throat (I feel sick just thinking about).
Anyway - for perfect home whitening you need a mold of your teeth. This involves having a gum shield full of plasticine rammed into your mouth to take an impression - a dental relief map so to speak. Well, the minute it hit my palette, the retching started. I tried desperately to control it. My stomach was convulsing and I could feel the sushi lunch I'd eat hours before rising upwards. Dr Okoye sat me up, she told me to look at her and breathe. The tears were welling in my eyes as stomach acid burned my throat. My face was stained claret with embarrassment.
I tried to plead with her through my eyes to take the plasticine out of my mouth - it didn't work. Instead she told me to lift my left leg in the air without holding on to it and to breathe deeply. The paroxysms in my throat stopped and my eyes cleared, no one had to witness the reappearance of rice and raw fish. After another minute she removed the offending gum sheild and calmly explained that holding your left leg in the air involves a reflex - your brain can't cope with two at once and the one needed to hold your leg up is much bigger than the one required to make you sick so it cancels it out. All rather clever. And just in case you ever need to know, for your lower palette - you hold the right leg up. Fingers crossed the trays that are being made for me to wear for an hour a day won't cause a similar reaction.
The next day my teeth looked wonderful and bar a few tingles I felt no pain. The only side effect has been a slight mirror obssession because I can't stop looking at them - but I'm sure it'll wear off. London Smiling gets five stars from me.
Today I ran into my version of the Devil Wears Prada (although to get the picture you need to ditch the Prada, add about 100lbs and swap New York for London). I knew it was her from the back of her head and I'm ashamed to say that the very breath was knocked from my body at the sight of the woman who made a year and a half of my life beyond hellish.
I'd heard rumours that she'd lost lots of weight and looked rather glamorous - however I am gleefully happy to report that today the glam version was clearly on holiday. She was just as fat - if not fatter - than she was in the days of torture. She was wearing the same hideous top that she used to wear all those years ago and a pair of trousers which were wedged into places that they really shouldn't have been. AND horror of all horrors her hair (which still gives me nightmares - those who know of whom I speak will fully understand why) was scragged back off of her piggy face with a black velvet scrunchy - yes you heard right - a scrunchy! (how 1993).
I managed to avoid eye contact and looked busy whenever she was in my vacinity - not because I thought she'd unleash the mean after all this time you understand - but because I just could not stand the thought of having one of those insincere conversations that have to be conducted in a high sing-songy voice that belies a meeting of two people who quite clearly hate each other and are wishing that the ground would swallow them whole: "Oh darling, how are you - so lovely to see you (big fake smile), I'm so terribly successful now, working for x,y,z - I hear you're working for xxx, and doing freelance things, how, ummmm, quaint. Oh look there's Sophie - sophie, yooo hooo, sophie - must dash."
I made my escape unscathed. But as I walked away I had a huge urge to run right back and say: "It's lovely to see you looking so,ummm, well (fed). You haven't changed in the slightest. I'm doing marvellously thanks - I have a beautiful home in the country (didn't you always say you wanted to move out of town to somewhere more rural?), I'm getting married to the man of my dreams in a perfect wedding this August (oh yes I remember that's right - you didn't get your dream wedding your husband dragged you off to Vegas for a quicky service in Elvis chapel), work is going well (oh - you gave up freelancing because you didn't have enough work, that's a shame - never had that problem myself), I'm super busy and I have two adorable cats - oh and I'm thinner than you (as ever) and I don't have my trousers wedged up where the sun refuses to shine. Anyhoo - must dash - tootles - mwah!" Oh the beauty of hindsight.
Mr Jones and I are attempting to grow our own veg - it's going rather well. I have visions of us quitting our jobs, doing up houses and living off the land. I shall wear a floral pinny and a pair of Joules wellies and Mr Jones will don a flat cap and a chunky aran jumper.
On Monday night we indulged ourselves with the first courgette pickings. I got all posh in the kitchen and did stuffed courgette flowers a la Mr Oliver. I wanted to share pictures with you but the camera shut down in protest because it clearly wanted to eat what were the most deliciously fresh, gorgeous and perfectly stuffed courgette flowers ever. And we were too desperate to eat them to faff about fixing it. Next time we'll take pics.
After this "grow your own" success we are much looking forward to starting married life with some home grown toms, runner beans, carrots and Kale (if I win my battle with the cabbage whites). In the autumn I plan on planting fruit trees and making elderberry wine. Mr Whittingstall eat your heart out.
Yesterday was dress fitting three - and the first time I got to see my dress actually made out of the fabric it's supposed to be made of - which is silk by the by, overlaid with embroidered tulle - not to be confused with tuille - which is a form of french pastry. Although a dress made of pastry could be rather nice.
Whenever I talk about my dress people shhh me or do that funny bulgy eye thing if Mr Jones walks within two foot. I have explained time and again that the words a-line, v neckline, tulle, silk and train mean absolutely nothing to him, so it really doesn't matter - but somehow they still think that he'll be picturing the exact dress in his mind. The mother of the bride had to have a picture of it drawn before she got it - so I doubt very much that Mr Jones has half a clue.
Anyhoo - I drove into fens to see the lovely Miss Lamb for my fitting. It was hot and I was slightly concerned that she was going to slap me, or at least jab me with a few pins for losing a stone since my last visit - but she didn't - she's far too professional (either that or she was thinking: "there must me something wrong with your scales love because you don't look any different to me"). My dress looked lovely - and then even more lovely after we fiddled, and nipped and tucked here and there.
I tried desperately not to sweat in it - but alas my poor legs, swathed as they were in net petticoats (don't worry - Mr Jones probably doesn't know what they are either), couldn't take the pressure and started to leave little pools in my shoes. I've heard you can get botox in your knee pits to stop such delights - but I think that might be a step too far.
Speaking of shoes, as pretty as mine are, don't be decieved by them - after an hour and a half of standing in them my poor trotters were rather worse for wear. So if you hear tales of a crazy woman tottering about Queen Street in a pair of ivory satin heels and stripy socks don't be alarmed - it'll be me breaking them in to save my little hooves.
PS - Are you scared now that that's a sketch of my dress? You'll just have to wait and see.
Mr Jones was playing around on Youtube - as is his want - and came across this marvellous video of Mr Doyle's UK tour - the bloke who wants to walk down the aisle to this song would be Mr Jones and the song he has re-written is the one he wrote for us. We'll be keeping this for posterity - enjoy.
Mrs Jones is a far from yummy mummy with a penchant for M&S fudge bars and a mojito on a Friday night. She became Mrs Jones in 2009 and a mummy in 2010. In 2011 she is attempting to remember her own name and not put washing powder in the dishwasher....