Friday, 9 September 2011


This week heralded the first day back at school after the six week summer holiday break.  My youngest daughter, YumYum is 9 years old and has finally left the safety of her fluffy, warm primary school nest and flown out into the big wide world that is the middle school (we still have three tiers here in West Suffolk: Primary School until the age of 9; Middle school until the age of 13 and then it's off to High School with you).

 The bell goes in three minutes...
10-4  Did you remember your PE kit?
Primary school days start at 9.05am. Which meant that YumYum did not roll out of bed until 8.15am, get dressed until 8.45am and then we would bomb it down the A43 at 8.58am to do a handbrake turn into the school road,with me chucking her out of the car door into the grounds of the school, Starsky & Hutch style (original series).

Middle school however, starts at 8.30am!! I'll repeat that, because it takes some believing: 8 flipping 30! IN THE MORNING!! Now, this is a big shock to the system – for the both of us. We don't “do” mornings. In fact, I only “do” about an hour between 10 and 11am, but that's by-the-by. Anyway, we managed to miss the school bus on the first day (start as you mean to go on I suppose) which meant I ended up taking YumYum into the school gates myself.

Of course, I have heard a lot about school gate etiquette:  the yummy mummies; the clothes, the make-up, the behaviour - and being an “older” mother myself (ahem) I suppose could I loosely come under that heading.

So here is what I wore for my first day at middle school gates. From the top:

Hair: Loose chignon;
Face: Natural style eye make-up. Lip gloss;
Top: Floaty, handkerchief style with cropped cardigan;
Bottom: Palazzo pants;
Feet: Flat pumps;
This isn't me btw
Accessories: Large scarf. Large sunglasses. Large Handbag. Large amount of perfume.

Pretty neat huh? Look at me everybody: it's Sadie Frost meets Zsa Zsa Gabor. Fantastic.

Now, let's look at what is really going on here.

Hair: Didn't have time to have a shower and wash it (ok, I own up - I couldn't be bothered). Resulting Barnet* has had a ton of Batiste dry shampoo sprayed into it so I can do nothing but hurriedly pin it up with a hairslide in the hope it stays put - at least until I get back into the car.

Face: Natural concealer to hide the bags and black circles under my eyes which are the inevitable result of too many late nights and broken sleep. Lip gloss is actually just a Chapstick, because lips are dehydrated through too much vino the night before (and probably another cause of the eye-bags/black circles and greasy hair if I'm honest).

Curse you Waitrose and your
oh so tasty iced buns
Top: Floaty to hide the Quatermass Experiment that is my waistline (I blame the menopause - the Waitrose iced buns have nothing to do with it I tell you). The cropped cardigan is ideal for hiding the chicken/bingo wings, the likes of which can only be found elsewhere on a plate at Nandos.

Bottom: Palazzo pants have a threefold benefit. 1. Elasticated waist (see Quatermass Experiment above). 2. Covers up abnormally large thighs (again, see Quatermass above) 3. Covers up legs which are in dire need of waxing: oh, they're not quite at the Wayne Rooney hair transplant stage you understand, more of a gentle bees knees stage.... if you know what I mean.

Crap! I'm still wearing my Louboutins!

Feet: Flat pumps because toenails need repainting - plus I need to drive like the devil to get to the school gates before the bell goes and heels are a handicap....
ask Lewis Hamilton.

Accessories: Large scarf because it's flaming cold that time of the morning and it also hides a well-developed turkey neck (see also Nandos above);

Large sunglasses because it's ridiculous o'clock in the morning and I haven't had any coffee to wake me up, so my eyes make me look like a mole caught in a spotlight (a black furry creature that is, not the skin type of mole). Not to mention that I managed to get some of the natural make-up concealer into my eye before we left and now it won't stop watering.;

Large handbag because I need to carry around:  1. a large supply of painkillers; 
2. a fold-up walking stick; 
3. a book for reading in the coffee shop (which immediately follows school gate appearance) 
4. a Waitrose iced bun to eat later;
5. a half-scrawled list telling me what I am meant to be doing after coffee shop and iced bun;

Large amount of perfume mainly to disguise the disgusting lack of shower (see above).

So you see, being a school gate yummy mummy is not all it's cracked up to be. You have to think on your feet (or flat pumps in my case) and because behind every “natural” flair, there is a natural disaster.....
Good morning teacher
Yes, you can "have a quick word" 

*For non-UK viewers: Barnet is cockney slang for Barnet Fair = hair.

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