Age is a funny thing – as parents we get a bit obsessed with how old our kids are, and what they can or can’t do. (Just FYI, my daughter has just turned three, and she can count backwards from 10 to zero – actual genius*.)
And as grown ups, our age marks our stage in life too. My teens were all about finding my identity. I went through a bit of a stage of dressing in DMs, Pearl Jam t-shirts, maxi skirts and plaiting my hair at the front like Angel from Home & Away before I finally found my true teenage calling – Topshop clothes and an unhealthy obsession with Take That.
My 20s were all about finding my way in London. I was at the start of my media career, being invited to all sorts of exciting events (like the Brits and the Busted showcase party – the stuff legends are made of) and trying to work out where someone ‘like me’ socialised in London. I went clubbing in Fabric (too hot and clubby for me), I went to ‘celeb hangouts’ like Cherry Jam and Attica (too snooty and expensive for me) and ended up finding that normal pubs in Soho were the place to be, if you wanted to drink cheap wine, eat Mini Cheddars and have a gossip.
My 30s (which I’m currently four years into…) seem to be all about learning how to be part of a family, how to be a good mum. Learning what kind of mum I am. But it’s also about learning what the non-mum 30-something me is like. There are loads of things the 20-something me did that I don’t do any more. Like listen to Radio 1. Or drink a bottle of wine every night for a week. Or spend the whole of Sunday morning watching Hollyoaks. And there are lots of new things that 30-something me loves to do…
1. A nice wander around Wilko’s. Seriously, that place is amazing. We all mourned the loss of Woolworths, but really, we needn’t have because Wilkinson’s has it all. I like nothing better than a (child-free) mooch around the store. Today, for example, I popped in to buy some last minute party bags and bought some printer paper (£3 for 100 sheets), some poster paint (80p for a large bottle) and a set of baskets (y’know, for putting stuff in). I nearly bought some Hallowe’en goodies but figured that would be a bit too organised. It’s the kind of shop that reminds you of things you need to buy, which is just bloody helpful.
2. Having a nice store of birthday cards. As a mum, I only have enough room in my head for so many things every day. Birthdays often creep up on me, so it’s useful that since I hit my 30s, I’ve been a fan of a birthday card stash. At present, I’ve got a nice selection – some for boys, some for girls, 1 year old, 2 year old, even a couple of wedding cards, a Mother’s Day card and a Father’s Day card. Oh, and an entire box of M&S Christmas cards that I bought for 75p in the January sales. (Yep, I hate myself a little right now, too.)
3. Listening to Radio 2. I used to be a bit embarrassed about it, but now I embrace it. Chris Evans every morning, Steve Wright Sunday Love Songs, a bit of Elaine Page and her showtunes on a Sunday afternoon, and some Jo Whiley on a weekday evening. Oh and if I get a chance to hear Jeremy Vine on a weekday lunchtime, that’s a real treat. I’m 34, so I think I’m pretty much target listener for them. And I’d MUCH rather listen to the Manics and Michael Buble than Stooshe and Dizzee Rascal.
4. A Sunday visit to a garden centre. Apart from the fact that they’re great places for kids (one near us has a mini soft play area and loads of space to run around in) garden centres sell such useful stuff. Posh kitchen gadgets, cheap kids’ books, wellies, deckchairs, various goods that have kids’ names on them… oh and some things for your garden too. A bit like an out of town Wilko’s, I walk around garden centres thinking ‘Ooh! I need one of those!’ (ESPECIALLY when I pass one of those JML displays with a TV demo)
5. Sitting in a coffee shop… on my own. In my 20s, I would rather DIE than sit in a coffee shop on my own. ‘People will think I have no friends!’ But now, sitting on one of those big comfy armchairs, on my own, with a skinny latte and a muffin is nothing short of heaven. Is it a confidence thing? Or just an ‘appreciating time on my own’ thing? Perhaps a bit of both…
If you’re in your 30s, what do you like doing now that you didn’t before?
Oh my god, I’m not alone. I agree with all these, I love a mooch round a garden centre and I don’t know if its taking it too far but I also love watching Gardeners World!! I am officially turning into my parents….
Brilliant – I’ve never watched Gardeners World. Maybe I should give it a whirl.
Great post, I was nodding my head throughout! I am now 38 (aaaah rapidly heading towards 40!!!) and now enjoy:
– looking in estate agents windows
– pottering about in antiques shops
– watching Grand Designs and Alan Titchmarsh gardening programmes!
– shopping for clothes in M&S (love the limited collection!)
I now sound about 80 not 38!!
Yep – I LOVE M&S especially Limited Collection. And I definitely have a soft spot for watching the Titchmarsh. Nowt wrong with either!
At 24, I’m found of basically all those things. Perhaps I’m old before my time? But sitting along in a coffee shop has been “my” thing since I was about 18- it’s the background noise, the losing track of time and feeling so content.
Love it Hollie-Anne, embrace it!
I love this, glad your memory is better than mine! Being in your 30’s rock, hope 40’s is even better! Xx
I have heard a rumour it is!
Ha! I laughed reading this. I’m with you on all five but I still haven’t given up Hollyoaks even though I’m 37 now. My one to add to the list is that I now make serious purchase rather than throwaway ones – clothes, furniture, etc. – all to stand the test of time rather than change in a year’s time. Uch, sometimes I hate myself for being so sensible 😉
I do that! But then I get all stressed making big purchases because I know that they have to last :-/
So funny, and absolutely true. I’m embarrassed to say that my birthday card stash comes from Tiger (50p each) because I am cheap and don’t mind that they are weird. You’ve inspired me to finish my post on my identity crisis aka “Topshop v Boden”. thanks!
That sounds like a post I’d read Jen!
I’m sure your mum would be very proud of this post. I do love sitting in a coffee shop/cafe on my own. But Steve Wright and Elaine Paige – no, I have to draw the line! wrong.
Don’t diss Elaine Page!!!!
Wilkos, The Manics, Michael Buble… A girl after my own heart!
Personally, I love that I’ve got the perfect escuse to run a little serum through my hair and let it dry naturally, with a natural bounce because I’m a mum and don’t have the time or inclination to style it! Yay for my 30’s 😉
Ssshhh I’ve done that a few times this summer!
Love love love this, I do all these things. Although I’m not at the radio 2 stage yet. Perhaps that’s cause I am not 30 till March. Although I do listen to Heart which isn’t quite as cool as Radio one. 😉
Oh yes – love a bit of Heart (or Magic) when I’m driving. I’d put it in the same category as Radio 2 😉
Agree with these, although I still enjoy a bit of Radio One! I find myself watching Countryfile and Coast and finding them interesting – these are the kind of shows that when my parents put them on I would groan and stomp off! I also love Watchdog! Yes, your 30’s are so Rock’n’roll!!
I am a bit obsessed with Watchdog. I am not ashamed of this fact!
I can relate to most of the things on your list! I’ve just turned 40 this year so I have completed my thirties.
Wilkinson’s is also my favourite shop.
I enjoy watching Countryfile and last night I found myself watching Antiques Roadshow and finding it interesting!
yeah wilkos is such a well kept secret. i could spend all day in there!
Other things i enjoy now i’m 32 (and a mum);
going to bed at 9.30
buying niche kitchen utensils (zesters rule!)
staying in hotels instead of backpackers hostels
deadheading the roses
youth is so overrated
Oh heck… I’ve just turned 26 and this is my life!
Garden centre cafes are the best places, purely for the delicious cake!
I’m also taking the leap… Radio 2 here I come!
God no, I’d never do ANY of these…ahem. Please add: an obsession with property programmes (and prices), sitting in a pub having a nice glass of white wine by myself (although I have only done this once when E was settling in at nursery it was amazing), loving kitchen gadgets, I’m sure there are far worse ones and I do them all!
This post made me smile; I LOVE this list and I wholeheartedly agree with them all, apart from the Wilko’s bit but thats only because we don’t have one near us! Ps. who knew thats what Steve Wright looked like?! x
I was wondering what the appropriate age is to switch over to Radio 2! It seems to have happened overnight for me the moment I turned 30!
I love this post I hope you don’t mind if I share it on my blog?! I am right in the middle of writing a post about turning 30 and I categorically agree with each and every one of your ‘5 Things I Love Doing Now I’m In My 30s’. Thanks again!
Great list :)I love all those things too & I’m not even a mummy!
Wilkinsons is definitely a worthy Woolies replacement…and a soy latte with a blueberry muffin watching the world go rushing by, bliss 🙂
You promised me the Radio 2 thing wouldn’t hit me when I turned 30! I feel let down! Seriously though, I love a garden centre mooch. I also love a hot cup of tea in the garden before anyone else is up (unless it’s raining) – not something I’d have considered a luxury 10 years ago!
HI I’ve just discovered your blog 🙂 I’m also 34 and feel so much more comfortable in my skin since I turned 30. I think I finally understand what styles suit me and dress better than I did in my twenties. I too love a garden centre mooch, wandering round bargain basement shops and love a coffee shop (even better if it has vintage tea cups!) I enjoy buying a nice bottle of expensive beer or a couple of glasses of a nice wine to savour rather than to get wrecked and have a hangover from hell the next day. I’ve shifted from radio 1 to radio 6 and cant remember the last time I slept past 8am! which is no bad thing as I enjoy spending the full day with my family 🙂 I’m really embracing my thirties. I feel a lot more confident overall.
I love wilko’s, its a dangerous shop for me to be left alone in. But its always been like that since my mid 20s. I have a new found love for Radio 2 but I’m definitely not ready to give up on Hollyoaks just yet.
You cling on to that Hollyoaks watching!!
I love my thirties. Seriously this is the best decade by far! I love staying in on a Friday and Saturday night with the fella (kids in bed) and just being together. If it involves a bottle of wine and a box set on Netflix then mores the better!
I love having a small select group of girlfriends who I can pretend I’m a 20-something with and sing karaoke til our throats hurt, until about 10.30pm when we all start yawning!
I like eating out at Pizza Express and getting really smug when we have a voucher for 40% off and the bill is so cheap there’s money in the pot for an hour in said karaoke-booth at Hollywood Bowl!
In my better moments I can critically say that my caesarean pouch and stretch marks ARE battle scars of having had two kids.
I can cheerfully accept that I look in my 30s now and my new found cheek bones become me.
I’m learning how to drive!!!!!!
Sex is great in your 30s!
Going back to college was the best thing I ever did because I wanted to learn and I didn’t get the mickey taken out of me for answering in class and looking like a swot.
Every other 30-something mum, I know, is at the same stage as me and we can laugh about it because yes, we are getting older but it’s actually ok.
I’m envious of the drinking ability of my 20-something friends and I acknowledge that I used to be able to drink that way too BC (before children) but can I handle a hang over after a binging session? Absolutely not.
I get more excited than the kids over Christmas now – and that tree is MINE. you are NOT to touch the ornaments after mummy has spent three hours placing them all carefully and getting the size and colour in perfect alignment.
34 years old and excited about Busted? That’s just not right!x
I am obviously not getting this thirties thing right.
It has never entered my mind to go in Wilkos. I get most things with my supermarket shop. Time is lean. But it sounds kind of fun.
I have the cards but always forget to use them!
I still love radio one (most of the time, some of the up and coming presenters are just too young and annoying) but radio 2 …
I am with you on the garden centres. But more for the yummy food and child friendly facilities.
Yes to a coffee shop on my own. But then I look around at the little ones in there, miss mine and scroll through my pictures of him on my phone.
Great blog by the way. x x
I’m 33 and love all these things except radio 2!!!! Radio 6 is where it’s at.