Sunday, July 12, 2009

Defeating the Ironing Monster, A Pamper Day, Black Ties and Posh Frocks

Regular readers of this blog will know that I loathe ironing. I’m not sure why I hate it so much. A lot of my readers say they find it therapeutic, but I’ve tried everything, from using lavender laundry linen water in my iron to watching television while I do it, and I just can’t see the therapeutic benefit. I’m also really not very good at it. Shirts are no problem, but I cannot for the life of me iron trousers properly and when it comes to sheets - well, I try to buy ones that don’t need ironing to be honest, although really good no-iron sheets are hard to find in England in my experience.

As a result, my ironing basket is usually overflowing and often takes on the appearance of a blob-like monster. Well, I’ve finally found someone to help me with that - and on Friday, after several hours work, the monster was gone. You see, I had heard of ironing services before, and even tried some, but the idea of our clothes going somewhere else and being ironed with a whole load of other people’s clothes didn’t thrill me. I even tried a service once, and despite protestations that no one in the house smoked, the shirts came back smelling of tobacco. It was so bad I had to wash them all again. But now I have found a lady who will come to my house and do the ironing for me. I am overjoyed. Like I’ve always said, just because I’m the 21st Century Housewife© doesn’t mean that I do all household tasks perfectly, nor that I believe I have to do everything single-handedly. Neither do you. You can still be a wonderful housewife without exhausting yourself or doing tasks you really hate. It’s not a competition.

I’m also always advising readers to take time out, and I can assure you that I do practice what I preach. Yesterday we all headed on up to Burton-on-Trent, near where we used to live, to visit our wonderful aesthetician, Eve. I had a facial, pedicure and eyebrow shape and felt loads better for it. We all go to Eden Beauty in Burton-on-Trent and I highly recommend them for both men’s and women’s treatments. Then it was off to our hairdresser. We’ve been going to the same hairdresser for over ten years. Her name is Jo and she is lovely. (If you live near Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire and are looking for an excellent hairdresser, contact me and I’ll give you her phone number - although you will be lucky to get in - she books up months in advance.) She does my husband’s hair and my son’s as well. Also, she is especially good with long hair, as she has it herself and really understands how when you say you just want a trim, you really do mean only just a trim! Although it is a long drive (over two hours) for us to get back up to Burton, none of us mind because it is important to us to feel confident about the places we are going, and it is nice to see old friends. Someone was advising me the other day that I should find someone more local, that we would “soon get used to” how they did our hair. But when it comes to my hair and my skin, none of us want to have to “get used to” someone else’s style so we go back up to Burton about every five weeks. I have to confess, we do enjoy the trip. It’s a good excuse to catch up with old friends in the evenings as well.

We needed to get back last night though so we headed straight back home after we had our hair done, stopping for dinner at The Swan in Pangbourne. It serves fantastic food and is in a lovely riverside location. It was hard to enjoy the scenery last night as it was pouring with rain, but we still enjoyed our dinner!

So now we are getting ready to go to The Henley Festival this evening. It’s a five night music and arts festival held every year on the banks of the Thames. We all enjoy getting dressed up, so the fact it is a black tie event makes it even more fun. You arrive in the early evening, and either have a picnic in the field that is the car park or eat in one of the festival restaurants. I’ve been too busy to be preparing gourmet picnics (and I’m not big on eating in car parks), so we are eating in one of the restaurants. Then you can wander amongst the art, flower displays and performance artists on your way to one of the shows that is on offer. We are planning to watch The Bootleg Beatles on the floating stage and then going to one of the other shows at one of the other venues. Provided the weather holds (it has been a tad moody today, changing from warm sunshine to grey clouds and showers every whipstitch), it should be a gorgeous evening.

I’m sitting here with curlers in my hair, so I’d better go off now and put on my posh frock. I’ll blog about the festival tomorrow!

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