Sunday 6 December 2015

I've got the key to the door, never been 49 before!

Last week I turned 49. I don't normally bother much on my birthday, mostly what I want to do is to do nothing, guilt free, but with my 50th next year, for which I really want to go on a special holiday, I thought it would be good to get my backside out of the house and do a dress rehearsal.
I settled on a night away in a hotel with dinner. You can find some good deals, especially at this time of year when it always rains and anyone sensible stays at home, wearing jumpers and slippers.
We were very lucky to get an upgrade to a superior suite. What a bathroom. Massive tub, mirror and twin basins (no good for me, I want to brush my teeth in private, thanks). The combination of a magnifying mirror and good lighting meant I was able to see my eyebrows properly. What a shock. Good job I took my tweazers. Emergency deforestation required.
Here's where we went, Charingworth Manor, a 14th century manor house in the Cotswolds. Our package included afternoon cream tea on arrival, a two course dinner, an overnight stay and breakfast. I feel podged just thinking about it.

After our cream tea, Q settled in with his Jo Nesbo while I went for a swim and sauna.
A few weeks ago my elder sister turned 50 and amongst the celebrations, it struck me that on that day 50 years earlier, my tiny mum had become a mother for the first time, changing her life forever. It had never occurred to me before that any birthday is as momentous for the mother as it is for the birthday celebrant. So I wore this dress in celebration of my Scottish mother, who used to dress us in kilts and taught us how to dance the Gay Gordons.

Whilst our suite, in an outbuilding, was all light and modern, the main house was cozy and atmospheric, with flagstone floors, mullion windows and open fires. This was the drawing room, above. Such a nice room to relax in. I'm a sucker for an open fire.

Dinner for two. I had melon three ways and mushroom risotto. Q had goat's cheese mousse and salmon with a chocolate surprise for dessert.
The tartan Hogmanay dress is by Cornell, and there's a very handy label saying 1976. No Miss Marple detective work required.

The next day we went to Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare HQ, for a mooch round. There are some amazing 15th and 16th century buildings. I love the half-timbered winky-wonky look of them.
Since we arrived too late to do the Shakespeare tour, we decided to just meander, going for lunch, visiting some charity shops and some high street shops. I don't often visit 'normal' shops so I am out of touch with retail prices. Fair to say I was shocked at how expensive everything is. I bought a Jaeger cashmere jumper for £6.29, new it would cost £175. Within the last couple of months I've bought Q a couple of tweed jackets, both for under a tenner. New they would be the best part of £200 each. Crazy. That's nearly £600 for three items of clothing.

I came away wondering, how do people who don't shop in charity shops actually afford anything?

I was so touched by all the well-wishers this year, so many lovely messages on social media, so many cards in real life and some lovely presents. Here below is what was in the exciting looking parcels given to me by Curtise and Vix.
From Vix, an amazing 1970s psychedelic blouse by Jantzen, made in Canada, 1950s Ber-nia made in Spain apron with tags still attached, a folksy embroidery panel with prancing horses to add to a craft project, vintage red and blue tights (blue ones already worn) hair soap, Spanish style hair decoration, which also came with castanets (but Q hijacked them as soon as they were out of the paper). 

From Curtise, a beautiful folk embroidered skirt by Toast, a vintage tapestry lipstick holder with mirror (already used on a daily basis) and a novelty sign for the milkman.


Thanks so much for your kindness and generosity. x


Miss Magpie said...

The hotel looks stunning, just the perfect birthday treat. I'm so glad you had a good birthday.

I can't get my head around paying those kind of prices for clothes, sheer madness!

Helga said...

You gorgeosu fecking fox. 49 next month for me!!!! I feel like its a bigger milestone than the looming 50, somehow.
Funny, I ask myself and G all the time-just how do people affoprd to frigging live when they buy everything new, smoke, have 2 cars, etc etc tec...can't figure it out.
How lovely to have a birthday night away. I'm goign to Wellington for mine!
I have always fancied going to the Cotswolds. Sooooo gorgeous! Such darling old, old buildings. AND Styartford Upon Avon! Marvellarse!
Happy Birthday again, lovely. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Curtise said...

Oh look at you and Q, living the high life! In a superior suite, no less, how lovely! Charingworth Manor looks rather swanky, and I'm glad to see you dressing the part - you look gorgeous in your 1976 tartan maxi. I haven't been to Stratford in decades, I like the timbered wonkiness of the buildings too.
How right you are - "proper" retail prices are shocking, I turn into my mother every time I look at a price tag, and squeak "how much? Wouldn't give you tuppence ha'penny for it!" God only knows how anyone affords to shop like that - chakras all the way for this family!
Being 49 is no big deal - nor is 50 really - but yes, it's funny to think of it in terms of a birth, a new baby, the complete change in a woman's life. Now then, where are you thinking for your 50th celebrations, Tania? Plenty of time to plan and book!
Glad you liked your pressies, don't forget to add a hook and eye on that skirt for fear of flashing your scanties! xxxx

Lally said...

What a brilliant birthday celebration! Stratford upon Avon is so beautiful I love spending the day there. Happy birthday. It seems like it was a great start to your 49th year xxxx

Connie said...

A rehearsal for a birthday. Now that's the way to celebrate. I love your dress. When I was younger my family was invited to a New Year's Day champagne brunch at the home of a very posh family in our neighborhood. Their eldest daughter, Sheila, was very chic and I was quite in awe of her style and poise. I remember she was wearing a dress very much like yours. And the year? 1976. What do you know!!

Fiona said...

What a lovely birthday treat Tania, how plush is your hotel? ... the food sounds amazing and don't you look wonderful in your gorgeous tartan frock. I've never been to Stratford Upon Avon but it looks delightful and it also has a few good chazzas...never a bad thing. I hope you felt rightly smug after bagging a Jaeger cardi for six quid.
Belated birthday wishes. xxx

Mim said...

Happy birthday! That hotel looks like the perfect place for a winter getaway, all cosy and welcoming.

I'm glad people do buy things at full price, otherwise there'd be nothing to end up in the chazzas...

Anonymous said...

What a fab blog and getaway. How lovely to see all the pics. You do that dress some serious justice. My goodness, how the years creep up but have to say, you still look about 20!���� xx

Vix said...

Don't you look the elegant lady in that fab frock? A gorgeous place for a getaway but I'm with you on the twin basins and seeing oneself in proper light. I'm ashamed of how poorly groomed I am!
Some people really are mad, who spends so much on stuff and then gives it away (unless they've died!) I'm glad they do, though.
49. I don't know where the years go. We'll be cackling about the days when we were young 50-something whippersnappers when we're hurtling around Burton in our mobility scooters in 20 year's time! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Oh, the hotel looks fab and you look right at home in your matching fabulous dress. I believe you should have treats like this on every birthday; especially as you get older - you never know if you'll be around for the next one! What lovely gifts you got, as well.

I'm with you on the price of clothes in 'normal' shops. If I didn't shop in charity shops I'd have to resort to a capsule wardrobe and keep rotating it.... it's a good job though that people do buy clothes in normal shops otherwise what would we wear? x


Sue said...

Happy Birthday for the other day, and only 49!! 50 is a grand age so I am glad you are going to celebrate but I am even gladder that you did a practice run of your plan. What a fabulous place to stay in and your photos of your escape are gorgeous. I have just found out that an old, and I mean generations ago, family home back in England is now a Hotel. Hollen Hall in Bollington, Cheshire. I have no idea where that is apart from in England. So cool to know it is still around and has a use. I like you cannot fathom how people afford to buy such expensive clothes. I much prefer to buy them from the charity shops when the rich or silly folk have tired of them.