Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We will never forget

I had lunch today with S, my former colleague who was pregnant with her second at the same time as I was pregnant with Eve. In the interim she has left Gnome bank, went to work freelance for a while and is now back in another bank doing a full time job.

The usual inevitable question came up from her about when I am going to have number 2. I asked her whether it was easier second time round. Her reply? "Goodness no, pregnancy and the first 6 months of the baby are miserable regardless of how many times you've done it before".

Hmm, so I was right in my thinking on that one then.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Great tidings of comfort and queues

At the weekend I took Eve to her first Christmas party. I figured she was ready. She is nearly 2, can say the word "snowman" and be understood and generally gets the whole concept of presents and decorations and it being a very special time all about a very important child - her. Gnome bank runs a Christmas party for children of staff each year so I signed her up and managed to even drag along the Boy, not normally known for his fondness of confined spaces with lots of children making noise.

The party was a testimony to Swiss efficiency. We turned up, with our specially labelled stickers allowing us to get past the extra security guards. Oh yes, I work in a place where billions of dollars are traded each day, but we need extra security to deal with a bunch of toddlers.

The "party" was actually a series of orderly queues. First we queued up for registration and a free Gnome bank branded bag. We were ushered to another queue, where we lined up for a gift. Despite registering Eve in the 0-2 category, I asked for one for the 3-5 age group. I was firmly told no, it said 0-2 on Eve's sticker and so a 0-2 present would we get. Then onto another queue for a photo with Father Christmas. Eve was both transfixed and petrified by one of my colleagues in a santa suit. Two clicks and flashes later we were ushered into another room and another queue.

By this point I'd had my fill of queues. I am British, I do queuing as a national pastime, but this was starting to annoy me. Children's Christmas parties are supposed to be chaotic, noisy, messy and fun. This reminded me of the immigration department [feel free to insert your own queuing venue of choice].

So we divided and conquered. I queued for twenty minutes to get a balloon in the shape of a dog. The Boy queued up to get food for a by now ravenous and overwhelmed Eve.

Then we watched a magic show where not only was it obvious how every trick was done, but the Boy gleefully told me at the same time. All the while children, who have by now had a bit too much of standing or sitting quietly, are running riot. Eve gets onto the stage, right in front of the magician, and does a little dance. I think that more of the audience found her entertaining I certainly did so didn't bother to stop her. She was very cute.

Never, ever again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What not to wear #2, or "oh my god is that really me?"

After my cries for help, a good friend C took me in hand and off we went shopping. Considering my, ahem, curvy (big tits) figure we headed to Diane Von Fursternberg for one of her wrap dresses.

Shop 1 did not have what I wanted in anything other than tiny so the next day off we went to the other branch in HK where I experienced perhaps one of the most happy moments of my life Please prepare for extreme shallowness.

For a bit of background, having a baby screws up your body and, perhaps more importantly, your body image. I've always felt a bit of a fat girl after putting on far too much weight in my early 20s, but then Weight Watchers and exercise meant that pre-Eve I was a size I was generally happy with. Then I got pregnant. I felt fat and ugly and immobile and sick for much of the pregnancy. Then once I had Eve and became a mobile milk machine my image of myself got even worse. I am happy to admit I am relatively vain, but I defy anyone to make it through those two years and come out feeling sexier than when they went in.

I've not deliberately tried to lose weight since I had Eve, but I have worked really, really hard to get fit. The by-product of this is that I have got quite thin and quite toned and very fit (gold medal winning fit!). But I still have a hideous self-image and I loathe shopping for anything except shoes and handbags as a result.

So it was with some extreme joy and possible tears of happiness that I tried on a black clingy jersey dress in DVF that fit like a dream, make me look sexy and thin and gorgeous and stylish (in a way Mums rarely feel). The broad grin on C's face said it all. This was MY dress. I finally looked like someone I would walk down the street and turn to look at.

Then I bought the red one with long sleeves as well.

So, I am wearing the sexy black one for my birthday on Monday and the sexy red one for my MC duty. And I have finally, finally, admitted to myself that maybe I don't look too bad after all.

Since buying the dresses I found out that DVF supports a great charity that does some amazing work in empowering women.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What not to wear

A slight deviation from the Mummy blog for a moment. I have been asked to be one of two MCs at our office Christmas party on 18th December. In my pre-corporate days an office Christmas party involved a boozy lunch, secret santa and inappropriate flirting. The latter was scuppered when I ended up running an all-female office in HK, in fact none of my team drank alcohol except me so that one went too, but it was still a small and intimate affair where we all knew each other and then went back to the office in the afternoon.

The Christmas party at Gnome bank, however, is an entirely different thing. For one, it is huge. There will be about 600 people there, including the great and the good from the business (read: people who decide whether I will have a career here or not). It will be held in the cavernous hall that is the HK Conference and Exhibition Centre. Normally this would not bother me. I have spoken at conferences with more than this number of people, heck I even tried to crack a joke at one conference in Japan (it failed miserably due to the abject lack of a sense of humour of most market researchers). I can do this. I won't be funny, or even comprehensible (although memo to self not to drink beforehand), but it isn't this that is causing concern.

What really daunts me is that I will be standing up in front of 300 of the thinnest, best dressed women I have ever met, the 300 men will be pretty dandy too. There is something about working for a private bank that means people are just so darned presentable. Usually I potter around the office with my body of wobbly bits and frizzy hair. In my day job this doesn't matter too much, it is my brain more than my looks that people care about, but on the 18th, in front of 600 people, it will matter - a lot.

Panic, panic, panic. Must book hairdresser, buy new dress and sexy shoes (could I wear my sexy red louboutins all night or would I fracture my ankle?). Dress must make me look thin (hard), demure (harder) and sexy (harder still if I am also being demure). It must, at worst, not screw up my career prospects. At best it must get me a promotion. YES, a dress can do this! Panic, panic, panic.

I need to get to the gym, lose weight, exchange my hormonal skin for one with no blemishes, get a bikini wax, pedicure, buy a new designer handbag...

Oh my god, what have I agreed to.