This week I turned 35. Sigh.
Everyone 35 and over trills lightly when I whinge about my birthday, sitting, as I so delicately am, on the cusp of Youth and Oldness, and they say, wistfully, that I am still Young. Everyone under 35 knows the truth. I’m on the slide to 40! Which is much older than I was ever going to get! There will be facial implications, upper arm ruination, and, in my case, a GIANT LUMBERING ELEPHANT stomping about the room signifying my lack of a job. I had such potential, I really did. Now my grand life-skills and achievements include churning out children at factory-level numbers, nailing a good number of recipes nicked from Jamie Oliver, and the ability to drink. I have a book club, I have mastered lipstick, I don’t feel intimidated in Aveda anymore. I get stroppy with people and occasionally confront them. I use eye cream. I get the odd wax (and yesterday I went to a nail bar and got my fingers OPI electric blu-ed by an Asian lady who told me my cuticles were dry and who tsked at my little finger-cuts that I have on two fingers from our one very sharp knife and she snipped away at the flaps of skin covering the cuts and I nearly fainted from the horror of it all). I drive perfectly well, I’m on the parent council at school, I can always find something to buy at a sample sale, I always finish my antibiotics course, I have six pairs of stylish sunglasses. I still can’t wear heels.
No job though.
That’s kind of it. There aren’t any more little privileges/rites of passages/quirks that I can claim to be my own from the lofty heights of Mount Mid Thirty. It’s all very well and good, but I FORGOT TO GET A JOB. I was going to be something really good.
Anyway. It was a lovely birthday. A day of restaurant-crawling and a little overspending. I started off eating this:
At Grangers & Co, the newish Westbourne Grove brunch place with all the weird ladies. The Notting Hill ladies who share a simultaneously pinched and puffy face and who wear workout gear in public. It does a very good sweetcorn fritter though, with a very small but outstanding flat white. Then we went on to this:
That’s an endive, rocquefort and walnut salad from Brasserie Zedel, a huge basement Art Deco grand dining room. I met Jo there, and she bought me lunch and champagne and then we ate chocolate profiteroles with a jug of warmed chocolate sauce. Then we went on to The Grazing Goat to eat this:
That was jerusalem artichoke foam with a quail’s scotch egg and some crispy things…the first of many excellent small delicious things to gobble up. We had dinner with Neradah and Leigh, and they asked the chef to make us a degustation menu with no fishy bits. THAT’S HOW STYLISH I AM. There were seven courses. And Billecart-Salmon and Veuve Clicquot champagne.
And there was a sample sale in Eastcastle Street where I became a “YES THANKS” person and just bought the stuff I wanted – a Nicole Farhi dress and coat, an American Retro shirt, new converse.
It was excellent, and TOTALLY worth the ageing-depression-first-world-problem crisis.
Here are some happy faces:
That’s a most impressive cake that Neradah made for me. Lucky, really, eh? And Sue brought around a damp and delicious Claudia Rodin Orange and Lemon cake, no flour, all almondy and aromatic, with lemon cream spilled all over the top. So we ate that too. And the children promised to be well-behaved all day, and they made me a card addressed to “Jodi Bartle“, which was just as well, because it could easily have been given to their other mother. And they were pretty good, which must have taken quite a bit of exhausting effort, because the day after, they stabbed the leather couch with a knife, poked the new fish with a knitting needle, spilt water on the mac Time Machine and broke the iPad. And I cried and asked around for a child psychologist. It was the lowest point yet in my 36th year.
Now, I must go and tear the children away from watching inappropriate youtube clips on a cracked and sharp iPad screen. I shall leave you with this – Spiderman Baby and his Ted: