The World According to Izzie

A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Week That Was... 2nd May 2016

Life is goodIt's been a week of contrasts in the Anderton house. Work has been incredibly busy, but there has also been time off for good behaviour and lots of good-natured humour at home. It's a shame about the weather though - I'm hoping that now we're in May the temperatures will start to rise.

This was my week...

Retro is good
Alternative title: How to get rid of that muffin top?
I may have discovered a new brand of clothing and fallen in love with all things Biba this week. Biba was originally a London fashion store back in the 1960s and 70s. Following its demise there were several attempts at a relaunch before the brand was taken over by House of Fraser - it continues to thrive to this day. The range is modern but with a bit of a retro twist - which I love!

In the 1980s jeans that came all the way up to your natural waistline were the only ones available to buy on the high street - which was a shame as I'd have gotten away with a low-rise jean back then. I spied some bargain indigo rinse jeans online last week and promptly ordered a pair. These are amazing and come all the way up to my actual waist. Result: the muffin top is gone concealed. I also ordered jumpers and a t-shirt from the same range and kept almost everything.

Biba, jeans

Biba, NYC t-shirt
Biba jumper


Mr A digs himself a hole
Oh the joys of being married for almost 24 years when you suspect your husband secretly adores the cat more than he does his wife. Last week's order from Biba contained 2 different sizes of jumper. I deliberated over which one to keep and settled on the small, rather than extra small just in case I shrunk it in the wash (something I'm good at).

Occasionally I'll ask my husband a fashion-related question - I can't pretend that I'm particularly interested in the answer or that I have any intention of following his advice - it's more of a conundrum to see how he copes under pressure in the absence of my daughters (the fashion police). On this occasion he failed miserably.

Here's a tip for all the men out there...
When asked whether your wife should keep the smaller or larger size of any item of clothing - do not give the following reply...

"I'd keep the larger size, in case you put on weight."

I may have set the cat on him - all she did was purr. They are such partners in crime.

How not to apply nail polish
Nail painting isn't something I get around to all that often, but I decided to make the effort on Tuesday as we were going out for the evening. I hastily applied 2 coats of purple and quickly tired of the chance to sit still for more than a couple of minutes. First I read a magazine, then I made a cup of tea and some garlic bread to go with the pizza and salad I had planned for dinner. The final not-so-brilliant decision was to take an early bath. Result - the polish had to be removed - as it looked as though a toddler had applied it. To be fair - the toddler would probably have made a better job.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Tuesday night's Macklemore/ Ryan Lewis concert was one of the finest I've ever been to. You can read the review here if you wish. Despite buying my ticket as a birthday present, one daughter felt sorry for anyone who happened to be sitting anywhere nearby, as I tend to sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching. Why would you not do this at a concert when there's only a slim chance you're ever going to run into any of the audience ever again? I quickly pointed out to her that at my age you really don't give a damn what anyone thinks. She gave me one of those withering looks via Skype that suggested she might be plotting my retirement home sooner rather than later.

I immediately bumped into one of the students from school at the concert which was awkward. I asked her which block she was seated in and my heart sank when I realised she was in the same one as us. As luck would have it she was some distance away.

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to booking a holiday during the summer months. It looks as though we could be taking eldest daughter, Olivia along this year. If all goes to plan - a week in Sorrento at the beginning of July will be booked any day now.

Well that's about it for this week. Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead x 
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Friday, 29 April 2016

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Barclaycard Arena

Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Barclaycard ArenaMacklemore and Ryan Lewis performed their penultimate UK gig at the Barclaycard Arena on Tuesday - ahead of their final date at the O2 and returning to the US to continue with the tour.

The stage set was vibrant and rather brilliant, as was the performance from frontman, Macklemore (real name: Ben Haggerty) and producer, Ryan Lewis. Macklemore's interaction with the audience was effortless and during the concert he dished out a plate of cookies and proved himself to be a competent cartoonist. Haggerty also shared anecdotes of time spent in Birmingham and his more subtle side as father to baby daughter, Sloane (who took her first steps during the UK leg of the tour - aww).

Macklemore, Brad Pitt's Cousin

With renditions of tracks from first album, The Heist plus lots more from latest release, The Unruly Mess I've made - it all went down well with the enthusiastic audience. It's perhaps difficult to describe Haggerty's mix of rap/ hip-hop - but it all works out rather brilliantly on stage. Macklemore also expresses a social conscience both in his music and in conversation with the audience during the show.

Personal highlights included Brad Pitt's Cousin (crazy lyrics/ bizarre visual backdrops), St Ides (loved the twangy guitar) and the beautiful, Growing Up (Sloane's Song) feat. Ed Sheeran. This showed a more vulnerable side to the rapper - as the song is about his daughter and how it felt to be a father for the first time.

As anticipated, renditions of Thrift Shop, Can't Hold Us and Downtown (the final encore) went down a storm with an appreciative audience. Eric Nally who features on Downtown also happened to be celebrating his birthday and the audience quite rightly, sang Happy Birthday to him. I like to think that the birthday celebrations continued after the concert.

Macklemore, Thrift Shop

What's unusual about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is that the duo are independent artists and have the freedom to do as they please when it comes to music. Their audience is more diverse than fans of rap and hip-hop - as music lovers of all genres can appreciate their alternative mix of subtle or catchy songs. I suspect this is what their legions of fans love about them.

Macklemore, Downtown, Eric Nally

The result was a vibrant and eclectic stage show that exceeded all expectations. I was only sad that my daughters weren't there to enjoy it too.
Rating 5/5

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Nineteen ninety-nine

Purple sky, Prince, DeathThe sad news on the way home from work on Thursday was that we'd lost another of our most talented musicians, Prince.

For me, Prince's music will forever be associated with sixth form discos, slow dances with first boyfriends and the realisation that it was OK to be different at a time when everyone around me thought it was cooler to be the same. I was one of the twenty-two million people who bought a copy of the Purple Rain album and to have shelled out on an LP with hard-earned cash from the Saturday job I loathed, meant that this was important. I was careful to turn down the volume when my father was anywhere near however, just in case he overheard one of many risqué lyrics and confiscated my album.

The issue with explicit lyrics came back to bite me when my own daughters were about 3 years of age and loved to dance along to anything with a strong beat. They had selected Prince's The Hits Volume 2, inserted it into the CD player with chubby little hands and were dancing happily when I heard daughter no 2 singing along to "Cream." This was swiftly ejected from the CD player and hidden away on the top shelf of the bookcase for many years. I thanked my lucky stars that the CD player had been on shuffle mode and that "Sexy M.F." had yet to be played.

Like many of my age, the song "1999" conjured up fabulous images of outlandish millennium partying when it was a hit back in 1985. At 17, marriage and children weren't on the agenda and I eagerly anticipated that New Year's Eve 1999 would involve a party of gargantuan proportions. The reality was that, I was 31 and married with twin, 5-year-old daughters. The night was spent at a friend's house. We both had young families and partied as hard as we could with our children for as long as they could stay awake.

"Let's Go Crazy," conjures images of visits to Silver Blades Ice Rink in Birmingham and flinging myself around the ice without a care in the world.

It's not easy to chose a favourite track as there are simply too many I love.

It's hard to know how to feel about the passing of another of our iconic, talented musicians isn't it? Especially when we didn't anticipate their death and had no idea they were unwell. But what right has anyone to know what's going on in anyone's private life exactly? Prince was perhaps one of the most private musicians of all-time and everyone has the right to keep their confidences - regardless of whether or not they're in the public eye.

I guess it's up to the individual to know how to feel when they lose an iconic influence from their lives. No one has the right to take these sentiments away. Whether you choose to grieve or celebrate the lives of those who have inspired over the years, we are reminded of our own mortality and how vital it is to make life count and live every moment to the full. Especially when the life of an icon ended too soon.

Personally, I am happy to have known Prince's music and may have danced around the kitchen dressed in purple on Friday night. I was transported back to 1985 and being a teenager all over again. They are mostly damn fine memories. If there was one thing I could change however, I'd have seen Prince in concert before it was too late.

Two thousand zero zero party over, oops out of time,
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's nineteen ninety-nine.

RIP Prince 21.04.16

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
Lyrics: Prince "1999"

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Friday, 22 April 2016

The Blog Spot Interview with Vic Welton

Vic WeltonThis week's blog spot interview features the lovely Vicky Welton from Verily Victoria Vocalises. Vicky's was one of the first blogs I came across when I started blogging back in 2013 and I can personally vouch for her answer to the final interview question as she is wonderfully supportive to anyone who is just starting out.

Vicky is a freelance copywriter, blogger and actress. She is also mum to Grace and was recently engaged to partner, Ross while on holiday in Cyprus. On Vicky's blog you'll find posts about everything from food and photography, to poetry and entertainment. She also writes the travel blog Victoria Visits featuring posts about days out, restaurant reviews and holidays.   

In her interview, Vicky shares her thoughts on the best advice she's ever been given, the thing that bores her stupid and what she watches on TV when no one is home...

What's the inspiration behind your blog?                                           
I think that the biggest inspiration behind my blog is the fact that it fires my creativity. Running a poetry link up every week means that I have to sit down and write something and I find that this spurs me on - as do the lovely comments I get. I feel the same since I picked up on my photography.

Describe a typical day in your life...
Crikey, well if it is a school day then I get up around 7am to do 2K on the treadmill, come in and shower whilst Ross and Grace are having breakfast. Then I walk Grace to school, come back, make a drink and start work. I work from home for a number of different clients carrying out blogger outreach, social media marketing and creating websites. I also go through my emails on a regular basis responding to any blog opportunities and also find the time to write a post or two! In the evenings I like to sit and chat to Ross about our days and then we watch one of our favourite shows - such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or Grey's Anatomy. The weekends are more about time for my family where we go for walks, watch films and play games - either board games or Rock Band on the PlayStation!

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
It is better to regret the things you have done than the things you haven't. I think anything is worth a shot if you want it enough and, if that doesn't work out, then at least you can say you tried!

What makes you happy?
Ross, Grace, writing poetry, taking photographs and eating chocolate.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with, and why?
Ross. We can talk for hours! Plus, he always has the best ideas for silly mind games which would help to pass the time.

What is in your handbag?
My purse, my phone, 2 pens, my glasses case, a fold-up shopping bag and keys to my mum's house.

Twitter or Facebook?
Oh dear, this is a toughie. Facebook for friends, Twitter for everything else!

You can never have too many...
Bars of chocolate!

Name one thing that bores you stupid...
Ross when he starts going on to me about wrestling!

What do you watch on TV when no one else is home?
At the moment I am trying to watch the mini series Jesus of Nazareth when no one else is home (not that this is very often!). I watched it when I was a kid and I loved it! Other than that it would be either Dinner Date, Married by Mum and Dad, Yes to the Dress, or Don't Tell the Bride.

Wine... red, white or rosé?
None of them at the moment. I haven't had alcohol in over a year!

What is your best character trait?
I like to think that I am approachable. I like to make new people feel welcome. 

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
Image credit: Vic Welton

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