Sunday, 29 May 2011

Frock It! French fashion reigns again.

For this week's Frock It! I'm going to stick closely to the first two entries and snoop around some fashion from the Continent, specifically Madame Sarkozy aka Carla Bruni.

Taking grays to a whole new level

May I first say, in a completely unrelated vein, that Ms Bruni really disappointed me recently with her name. I always thought you pronounced Bruni like you would 'Brunei', however, I was shocked to learn it was prounced 'Broo-knee'...and you know it doesn't sound half as glamorous.

Hey ho. La buzz this week is that the French First Lady is now eating a deux, with un bebe in l'oven. Nothing has officially been announced, but you know these Frenchies like to be awkward and retain an air of 'je ne sais quoi' and with said baby bump growing larger chaque jour, who needs an announcement? 

Since acceding to the throne en France, Carla Bruni has never put a Dior kitten-heeled foot wrong in the wardrobe department, looking elegant and sophisticated at every public event. A supermodel and singer in a former life, she shines in the spotlight and uses her clothes horse figure to great effect; form fitting shifts and impeccably tailored trouser suits help to draw attention away from her diminutive, troll-like husband, Le President (sorry to any French readers!)

Punching above your weight, Monsieur?

In her adopted homeland (she is Italian in origin), she splits opinion with many detractors comparing her to another best-dressed Madame, Marie-Antoinette. 'Let Them Eat Cake' M-A famously declared; Ms Bruni may appear to have adopted this attitude in regards to her people, but there is definitely no cake-eating going on in her Palace of Versailles as her sylph-like figure goes to show.

Now that's a frock!
This week's G8 Summit in Deauville allowed Mme Sarkozy to showcase a new sartorial style, that of loose clothing, a fashion choice rarely seen on her. Obviously chosen for comfort and to accommodate the burgeoning belly, I think she picked the winning hand again, showing that a small matter of a pregnancy is not going to cramp her style.

Let me know what you think.

'Baby? What Baby? I just ate too many croissants this morning.'

Love the use of a bodyguard to detract from La Bump!

Also, do you think I managed to cram in enough Franglish and French references today? I feel I could have done more?!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

An A to Zee of me, CP

I would love to be a celebrity. Not just for the international fame, adoration and oodles of cash and freebies, but so that I could maybe, one day, answer questions in an interview like The Guardian's Q & A.

Who doesn't like talking about themselves? I could go on all day on topics such as 'What's your biggest phobia?' or 'When was the last time you were most happy?'. It's so mindless, yet these answers give such great insights into famous people's lives and the person you thought you knew from stage or screen is actually someone very different.

Anyway, the other day I stumbled across this blog post and I felt like I had won the lottery. Yes! This is what I started blogging for, so I could write endlessly about myself in a Q & A format! So here goes, hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it:

A. Age:

28, 29 in July, hurtling towards 30 with gritted teeth and an air of fake nonchalance.

B. Bed size:

Queen bed with PILLOWTOP MATTRESS. I had never heard of this sleep sensation before moving to the States and don't know if you get them in the UK, but it's a few inches of sumptuous cushioning ON TOP of your standard mattress. Simply heaven.

C. Chore you dislike:

Any 'cleaning'. I am very good at tidying and washing/ironing, but faced with a bathroom to clean, I will procrastinate with the best of them.

D. Dogs:

Oh yes. One dog. Mr Bob (see here). The most beautiful, but also most deranged Doodle ever created.

E. Essential start to the day:

A cup of proper tea in my most favourite mug. I have the teabags brought over from the UK whenever anyone visits as US teabags are proper s***, sorry!!

F. Favourite colour:

Mmm, a toughie, I would say I don't have one, but I love hot pink and grey on my daughter if that counts?

G. Gold or Silver:

Silver jewellery for best. Gold for costume and for shoes!

H. Height:

5'5", so I've always assumed! Completely average...

I. Instruments I play(ed):

My parents were very good at allowing me to indulge my need for music, even though I am tone deaf and can't read music AT ALL. In my years at school, I tried my hand at the violin, flute, piano AND guitar until I finally gave up. Full marks for perseverance though, don't you think?

J. Job:

I don't work here in the US due to visa restrictions, although my work as a housewife is FAR harder than any office job blah, blah, blah!! Back in the UK, I worked in Sales, but always wished I had studied Journalism or Teaching.

K. Kids:

One, Imogen Louise, 10 months.

L. Live:

Just outside of Greenville, South Carolina, USA. Born in Staffordshire, UK. G'ville is a GREAT city, I would recommend it to anyone, just not in July/August when the heat will burn a hole straight through your head.

M. Mum's name:

Helen Louise, but goes by Louise (see here).

N. Nicknames:

I have quite a few. Clare can't really be shortened, so people have naturally elaborated on it: Clare Bear, Clairol, Clarey, Bubbie, and one leftfield one that seemed to stick at school, Zebra (after a night out wearing a zebra print shirt). It was the 90s OK, dont judge me!

O. Overnight hospital stays:

One, when I gave birth.

P. Pet peeves:

Waiting to be served in a shop and the assistants just standing around chatting/ignoring you. Grrr.

Q. Quote from a movie:

'We've been coming to this party for 8 years now and in no way is that depressing', Anchorman. There are too many quotes from that film, I could be here all day. Love it.

R. Righty or Lefty:


S. Siblings:

One brother, Adam, aged 25. What a great brother to have!

T. Time you wake up:

Between 6.30-7am just after James gets up and the baby wakes up. No lie-ins in this house at the moment!

U. Underwear:

Yes. I am no Lindsay Lohan.

V. Vegetables you don't like:

I still have a pregnancy hangover for sweet potato which made me vomit and also lettuce and I have had a lifelong dislike for each other although the Cold War seems to be thawing slightly and I have recently branched out into having the odd leaf or two in a sandwich. Bad times!

X. X-rays you've had:

Just teeth. I'm (thankfully) not very interesting on the medical front.

Y. Yummy food you make:

I've been told I make a mean lasagne. This is true.

Z. Zoo animal favourites:

This is a lame question, but I suppose what else goes with Z? Tigers are probably my favourite, followed by flamingoes, just for their cool 80s colours!

So, that's me, what about you?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Frock It! Down Memory Lane

I had a splendid hour of peace yesterday morning, when all 3 other members of the Priest household were napping quietly around the house: husband and dog on sofa, baby in cot. So I struck while the iron was hot and sneaked back into bed to catch up on all the blogs I follow and to continue reading the 'War & Peace' size Royal wedding edition of Hello! that my Mum posted across for me. 2 weeks later and I'm still only halfway through!

I happened upon a new Frock It! on Mid Thirties Life and was FULL of inspiration to write but then the house awoke and my moment was snatched away from me. 'Tonight' I said to myself, 'after dinner and bathtimes, I will sit down and compose my sartorial posting.'


Sadly, fate conspired against me twice yesterday and just as I sat down to type, husband noticed we had only a day left to watch Harry Potter that we had downloaded 4 weeks ago, so that was the end of that!

But I am BACK today and ready to go.

When I first read this week's Frock It assignment, I couldn't think of anything interesting to write about. But then the date struck me (22nd May) and there it was, in plain sight:

The date of this photo, 22nd May 2010, is significant to me for 2 reasons: It was the day my best friend got married and the day of my first baby shower.

Devastatingly for me, I couldn't be at Naomi's wedding as I was 33 weeks pregnant and living 4000 miles away in America. It's something I had no control over but will be sorrowful about forever.

Doesn't she look amazing!

However, in a twist of fate, my American friend Joy decided to throw me a baby shower that exact same day. I was hesitant at first as I felt I was betraying my friend back home by not concentrating wholly on her day, but I decided it was actually very fortuitous that we could be simultaneously celebrating great events in our life on the same day.

As I had only lived in the US for 8 months prior to the shower and had never been to one before, I had no expectations of what to expect or if anyone would even turn up. It turned out to be one of the best afternoons of my life. I was completely spoilt by friends with cake, champagne and incredible presents. I could not have been more thankful.

I chose to talk about the dress I wore at the shower not because it was the last dress I bought, as I haven't bought a dress in a long while, but as the last most significant dress I wore.

In the event, it was only cheap, £16 from Asda, but it means the world to me and represents a happy time in my life, the memories from which I will cherish forever.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Dreams and Disappointments

I always loved school, I was one of those people, not a geek, I just enjoyed the learning and social environment that being at school provided. I think I loved it from the day I started in Reception (Kindergarten).

I had great friends, whom I am still in touch with now and some great teachers. Languages were my passion, both English and foreign, maths was my nemesis!

It was with heavy heart that I left high school to embark on life at university. The structure and security that high school offered was a far cry from the 'you're on your own' mentality I quickly encountered on campus.

In my final years at school, I had set my heart on studying Law. I researched the universities I wanted to study at and chose Liverpool as my first choice. I worked hard to try and achieve the high entry grades they required to be accepted and although I fell a little short on the day, I still gained a place and was thrilled, excited and terrified at what lay ahead.

Looking back, it is an impossible task for a 17 year old to know what they want to do in life, to choose a definitive career. I chose Law as I wanted to become a solicitor. Naively and superficially, I chose this career because I knew it would offer me a great income, job security and a standard of living I wanted for my future. I didn't choose it for the one reason I should have; to study the laws and legislation of our country. And for this reason, I hated it.

I didn't just hate the course, I hated being away from home, I was terribly homesick. Despite living in one of Britain's most vibrant cities with great friends I had made in my Halls, I just didn't want to be there and every Friday I would travel back home on the train to spend weekends there. It was doomed from the start!

So, after 10 weeks, I made the decision to quit. A decision which did not go down well with my parents, obviously. They could not understand why I would throw away such an incredible opportunity. But I was 18 and very determined, so home I went. Moving home set into motion a sequence of events that led my life down a very different path to the one I had envisioned when I left school and I never did get the 'career' bit sorted.

As I write now, nearly 11 years later, I still don't know what I would have done differently. I don't believe in regrets; everything you do consciously, you do for a reason. If I hadn't left, I would not have met my amazing husband, would not have my beautiful daughter and would maybe not be living in America.

Well, I think I have just answered my own question!

A completely gratuitous Imogen shot!

No regrets, never. Life; you've just got to roll with it!

Written for Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop

Sunday, 15 May 2011

FROCK IT! Le Cannes Special Edition

I have found my new favourite blog activity: FROCK IT via This Mid 30s Life.


I have been hoovering up all the pictures from La Croissette all week so now I have a great excuse to gratuitously post up dress shots and babble on about them!

I see from the previous entries that Jane Fonda went down well en France, so I will steer clear of her and instead concentrate on...Penelope Cruz!

That most Spanish of actresses, for me, showed the French a thing or two about glamour. In all the pictures I have seen, she looks immaculate with a figure to DIE for (and she's a new mama! she must have some killer Spanx on).

I'm not convinced by the frou-frou straps, but the rest is heavenly

If coveting a hairstyle is bad, I don't want to be good

So let me know if you agree with La Cruz's wardrobe choices. Post-baby she seems to have a new confidence, a self-assurance that comes from the knowledge that the person who's love and affection you crave is back home asleep in his crib, not fawning over you on a red carpet.

Showcasing the best of British design in Stella McCartney

Keep it up Pen.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

5 Facts about my Mum

As it's Mother's Day here in the USA, I would like to share
five facts about my wonderful Mum, or Mom as it may be:

1. Her name is Louise, or Lou, but that is her middle name, her first name is Helen

2. She has a Degree in Law, with Honours, but she is not a lawyer, nor ever has been

3. At the age of 18, she travelled alone from England to Virginia to stay with her Godmother, Judy and roadtripped through South Carolina, which is where I live now

4. She loves antiques, especially silver, furniture and boasts a burgeoning collection of Charlotte Rhead pottery

5. She is the best Mum in the world; has been by my side from the second I was born and has supported me unconditionally through thick and thin

With Imogen at 2 weeks old

If I become half the Mum to Imogen that my Mum was to me, I have done a good job.

Happy Mother's Day!

At our wedding, 2007