FIFTY! Fifty! 50… however you say it, whisper it, or shout it, it’s still the same!
And here it is tapping on my door. Aside from the OMG moments… aren’t I blooming well lucky to be able to be 50, to be able to celebrate my five decades with those I love.
Many of you will know my wonderful Daddy died at 40 years old He certainly didn’t celebrate his 40th with any kind of party as he was battling liver cancer and I don’t suppose leaving his wife and his 13 year old, 14 year old and 16 year old children put him in any kind of party mood. I decided some years ago to mark any important occasions with a bang, for him and for all the other special people I know who aren’t here anymore to celebrate their important days.
So… that said, it is a trifle strange I admit when people keep saying it to me it’s such a bench mark. Am I supposed to be mature and grown up? Can’t I still behave a little foolishly or crazily?
I’m guessing of course I can but what I am waiting for though is that I don’t care feeling, the one everyone says you get when you get older. I admire others with that brilliant attitude of “so what”and “I’m doing what I want” and all that. It’s just I’m not sure if I will ever be that person, perhaps I’m too much of a people pleaser!
So it all started on March 25th when I was born with the cord wrapped around my neck and whisked off to Special Care apparently. According to my mother I was not a pretty sight. Very weeny, skinny with my skin hanging off me. “No one will ever love her, but I will”, she thought. Thank goodness for that I say!
Luckily I quickly became a chubby and healthy little thing, sporting the shortest of dresses you’ve ever seen and a variety of Bam Bam style hair do’s with ribbons… just to showcase the fact I was a GIRL, a sister to Mark and Neil. I too went on to have two boys and then a girl, how funny is that.
I had a lovely and carefree childhood, we had moved to Rochdale because of my Daddy’s work though also spent many wonderful hours exploring the Yorkshire Dales as we were lucky enough to have a cottage to escape to. It still remains one of my biggest joys and is the most special place for me as it holds such memories of those early years before my Daddy sadly lost his battle with cancer. I was 13 years old and he was just 40. A matter of weeks after his death I started Upper School. I really didn’t love that school, it has to be said! Sounding Southern amidst Northerners was tough at times. I had two accents; one for home as my parents were both from the South, and then a Northern, swearing version when I was at school to try and fit in! Plus the adjustment to our family unit being irrevocably altered meant I coped with some difficult things. That said, I developed a stronger skin and I formed some friendships I hold dear to this day.
My dancing, gymnastics and competitive swimming certainly kept me hugely busy until at 16 I left home to attend Laine Theatre arts in Epsom. I was in heaven, I knew early on this was the path I was going to take and was grateful then and now to Mummy for helping me to live my dream, no doubt a particularly tough decision for her as she was on her own with my brothers having left for University and College. As a Head Teacher I guess “dancing” was rather out of her comfort zone, yet because I could take my teaching qualifications she felt more confident there was “something to fall back on”!!! (Qualifications never used to this day, except perhaps to coach Maddie prior to an exam!) Thus I embarked upon the dancing career I always knew I would have.
During my twenties I danced my way through many television, theatre shows and fashion shows. I featured on your screens in lots of commercials and on the Saturday night show Take Over Bid with the legendary Bruce Forsyth. I was his PA! Get me! The show did 2 series, thinking back if that happened now I would have been catapulted into the world of “celebrity” (whatever that is based upon!) but I was still a dancer at heart at that stage and I was lucky there was a lot of jobs available to dancers in those days. My face fit and so I worked and worked, and it was as I shook my pom poms in Gladiators, the popular Saturday evening TV show, that I also finally met the man of my dreams… boom! Dan arrived in my life.
Heading into my 30s, not only had I bagged Dan! I also started a wonderful job!!! Yes, I started at QVC in October 1998 at 31 years old, a mere baby! Dan proposed in 1999 and we married in the September of that year. I adored him then and he has become an even better man than I could have ever dreamed of.
In 2001 our first son Tom was born, it seemed at the time life had dealt another cruel blow, as Tom has Downs Syndrome.We were utterly shocked, distraught and desolate in those early days, but our love for Tom was instant and undeniable. Our life with Tom has without a doubt been enriched by having him and there’s many a time I think if we could have only peeked into the next page, so to speak, we would have wiped the tears much more quickly. The joy I felt when Joe was born the following year and then Maddie in 2004 was indescribable.
I couldn’t have been happier and life was a wonderful and busy whirl of late shifts at QVC, playgroups, coffee mornings and all the riches of family life.
Though looking back, I do not know how I survived, with three under 3, give or take a few weeks, and of course the extra things happening for Tom. Crazy days, crazy but wonderful!
My 40s to my 50s has been equally busy; a house move and rebuild at the start of this decade has meant a super environment for the children to grow up in. Life is full on in some ways and yet in others there’s a distinct calm as the children are surging ahead independently (well, in a fashion). I have found there is now some time for me! I have re-visited my dancing love affair, enjoyed holidays, and loved re-acquainting myself with old friends and new.
There’s a definite feeling of being a different version of me, I do yearn for the other one sometimes. People say they still feel 21… I don’t think I do. I am 50, I kind of feel it. I’ve had some big old things happen and they have altered me… I am lucky and I am loved and I hope that this next decade will feature love aplenty and that I can look back upon it with great happiness.
I’m not sure why I was put here on this earth but I do try to live with care and thought for others and if I can take that into my next decade then surely that’s a good thing.
Now I have just spent my day baking 470 mini cupcakes for my birthday party with my sister in law, well let’s face it, she did most of it and I did my usual assisting. She has now taken pity on me and taken the remainder of them back with her to continue decorating, though possibly it’s because my roses were not at all as beautiful as hers! With edible gold leaf, glitter, pink shades of buttercream and all the extra sparkles you can shake a stick at they are looking boooootiful. I can’t wait to take some pictures to show you on my rather fancy cake stand I have made.
I would love to share my cakes with you all but cannot promise there will be any left! So, I have a rather gorgeous handbag that I have been lucky enough to commandeer as a competition prize for you to celebrate my 50th birthday. It is by Smith & Canova and I think it’s absolutely stunning, so classy and elegant. It has a value of £139, whilst I would love to win it myself, I mustn’t be greedy! It’s not all about me… ha! Though on one’s 50th I reckon it kind of could be!
If you would like to win the bag then all you have to do is answer this question:
What was the name of the Saturday night TV series I danced in where I met my gorgeous husband Dan ? ( The answer is in this blog. )
Pop your answer below and we will select one of you as the winner next week, you have until Friday 31st March to enter. For more details check the full standard Terms and Conditions.
“50 and fabulous” has to be the phrase going forward… and “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle”.
Let’s do this next decade in style, team!! I’m super glad to have you all with me.
With much love,