Since I was 12 years old, I have been wanting to go to the Clothes Show in Birmingham’s NEC. Yes, Ok, those of you doing the maths now will wonder why on earth it has taken me over two decades (and a couple of extra years) to get round to it and all I can say is this…No bugger would go with me!
This year however, I have a mini-me (who is a lot taller than me) who is now 12 years old and therefore, will get my dream come true – despite not having a clue what the Clothes Show actually is. I bought us platinum tickets for December 7th 2014, a manicure appointment with Saks, new outfits each and promised her an abundance of celebrities for selfie-heaven; she was sold!
Alarm set for 6am. Sat Nav programmed. Car tyres, oil & water checked. Tickets printed. We were off.
As we arrived at the NEC, my daughter looked completely intimidated. I forgot that she is not accustomed to massive crowds of glammed up birds all pushing and shoving to get near the cosmetics, clothes & Lambrini counters. She is a sweet Welsh kid who practically had a panic attack in the Trafford Centre on Boxing day, so this was like a PTSD flashback for her. Me though, I’ve lived in Reading, London and Chester Ave, there’s no messing! I squared my shoulders and showed her my best city’ite stance.
“Watch and learn daughter dear” I said as my sharpened elbows rose, chin lowered, evil dig eyeballs err..digged and I launched myself into the crowds like a bully-kid in a British Bulldogs tournament. Of course, it was a few minutes before I managed to beat my way back through the crowd and find her cowering in the exact same spot. “This is how it works, I bulldoze a path, you raid the space and grab every bargain you can reach, OK?” She shook her head. Damn, I knew bringing her up with manners would backfire one day!
An hour later and I had discovered the secret to making my kid turn from a timid sweetheart into a ‘Shift your teeth outta my path or I will smash ’em in’ ferocious diva. Free Stuff. Although not technically free since it was me that was paying for everything that she just had to have, but it turns out that my kid can really shop!
Cosmetic bundles from Rimmel, Hangover Hoodies, ear cuffs, fake tattoos, two lunches and that was all before 2pm. She wanted to carry all her own bags and her fingers were white from lugging so many bags. I carried my own bags too… which got lighter and lighter since all I had was my goodie bag and a nearly empty purse.
Ok, I have to point out here that, as a 12 year old clutching my first copy of the Clothes Show magazine and dreaming of rubbing shoulders with models, pop groups and celebrity stylists, this day was all that and more… for my kid. The 36 year old me however, wasn’t really feelin it. Where was Carolyn Franklin & Jeff Banks? I didn’t recognise any of the models lurching round the hall, neither did my kid. We bypassed the queues for the pics with the celebrities as we didn’t have a clue who they were either. Peter Andre wasn’t around and I figured my pic with his waxwork in Blackpool’s Madame Tussards was good enough anyway.
We did recognise the pop group Stereokicks and were impressed. They were really good! Amy Childs, who I only know from magazines which proclaim that this miniature, bony woman is fat. Shameful. Yes, she played thick and had bizarre looking lips but fat? What a load of crap!
The catwalk show was AMAZEBALLS according to my girl. I thought it was most excellent. We were 3 rows from the front and loved every minute of it.
By 4pm we were utterly pooped. By 5pm we had finally found where the hell we had parked the car. Home by 9pm. Snoring by 9.30pm Can’t wait for next year’s show, only this time – my kid is taking her own purse!