It might be time for a post about my London life. I’ve kept these to a minimum as I wanted to paint a picture of bucolic, shabby chic life in France. But its important to show the dichotomy I think every now and then. If only to underline why I love being at my French home so much. It really is an escape from a slightly bonkers London life I have inadvertently created for myself and my family. A life that on paper/instagram/facebook looks quite, well, glamorous. With not that normal stuff happening involving celebrities and fancy clothes. But the truth of the matter is – its really just stuff. Normal stuff to me and my boys, maybe not normal to others but no better for it. My happiest times, hand on heart are hanging out in France where the most exciting person I run into is Madame Bertini next door with the news that her hens have laid fresh eggs – whoo hoo pain perdu all round!!
The French have an expression ‘La Rentree’ which is that time in September that we would call ‘back to school’. And the end of my summers really do feel like that. Flip flops are abandoned in favour of uncomfortable heels, I make a trip to Hershesons to get my roots done, nails re shellaced, and I try and remember what the hell I wear to work (cos it isn’t denim cut offs and a silly straw hat – that much I do know – there is an entire gallery devoted to what I wear to work here on company.co.uk should anyone care!)
So first up this Rentree was London Fashion Week which passes in a blur of shows, parties and stressing about where you’re sitting and what you’re wearing. And for the Top Shop Unique show Seb came along…..
And then to Arthur and I went to X Factor and as, over the years I’ve got to know the lovely presenter of Xtra Factor, Caroline Flack pretty well, she swept us off to the dressing room area to meet Olly Murs – see, I told you this is no normal back to school September for the White Family….But the thing that meant this year was to be probably our most exciting London Rentree yet was the still, arm pinchingly ‘really?’ fact that Uncle Richard landed a place as a celebrity dancer on Strictly Come Dancing. He was in talks quite early on, so we had all been sworn to secrecy and pledged not to tell the children as they might then blurt it out at school. But in our first weekend back in London we went over for lunch and it was confirmed. Uncle Richard would be donning sequins and walking down those stairs to dance under a glitterball on primetime Saturday night TV.
It may sound silly as we are all used to Uncle Richard being on TV – he’s been a fixture on the GMTV then Daybreak sofa for over a decade. Arthur has even made his own GMTV appearance several years ago where he played on his Nintendo on the sofa only looking up to say ‘Hi Mum, Dad and Sebastian” while Ben Sheppard tried to talk him away from Super Mario Bros – unsuccessfully. But we sort of forget that Uncle Richard is actually, well, famous. But now it was unavoidable. This is Saturday night TV – that families huddle around their TV to watch and Ladbrokes take bets on. Once the boys could tell people at school their teachers were excited, dinner ladies over the moon and my various god-daughters and all our friends pledged to wave goodbye to Saturday nights out and instead sit on the phone voting for Uncle Rich!
As it turned out he did much better than any of us expected (sorry Rich… but you know we figured three or four weeks tops) and was still there sparring with Craig Revel Horwood by the time the dancers and their celeb partners get to go to Wembley and so I went too. You can see me on TV sitting behind Lee Mead, Denise Van Outen’s husband. And as luck would have it, this also became the week Richard was voted out. Luck because he had done so well and it was lovely that I was there for his final week and a huge glitterball last dance. In fact, there was nothing to do but celebrate.
He’d done amazingly well, but the end of his Strictly run meant we had our Uncle Richard back for Sunday lunching and Friday nighting (as his training schedule had pretty much taken him out of our lives for the best part of six weeks) and so, along with his other godson and his family who luckily we’re super close to (hi Vicky!!!) we went out for a big, long, slightly drunken Sunday lunch to celebrate our own familial Rentree.