Any Other Party: The London Edition

Oh, readers.  It was so good to see those of you who could be there.  It always is. 

Rather than a blow-by-blow account of events, we thought, this year, we’d as some of you lovely guests what you thought.  We’ve listed the choice stories, memories and quotes below.  If you were there, what was your favourite bit?  Hint, mine was not when my dress fell apart and flashed the AOW readership and Aisling had to dive into my bosom to pin me back together.  Low point. 

All photos by the supremely talented Anna of Skin & Blister (who I think everyone in that room fell unequivocally in love with):

Amazing night! So lovely to meet everyone. My head’s a bit sore, still on Sarah’s sofabed! Getting up soon, I promise! I’d also like to thank you all for being so welcoming – I’m soooo not cool and you know what? It didn’t matter! (Sange)


I had SUCH a great night and feel totally privileged to have been able to hang out and chat with you all. And can I please take a minute to say…
OMG: Anna’s hair. Smoking’ indeed
OMG: Sarah’s shoes (and ability to not complain about sore feet once: a stronger woman than me!)
OMG: Gemma’s rock star fabulous jeans
OMG: Rebecca’s pink Mulberry. Officially WANT
OMG: Rachel / Pip: the 2 most chilled out ladies at AOP (with possibly the best reasons not to be)
OMG: Aisling: most beautifully stylish pregnant lady ever!
OMG: Chips + bread & butter = chip butty heaven: Aisling you’re a genius:)
And to every one else too,
Thank you all. X (Christy)

Late-night drinks and couldn’t-possibly-repeat-conversations with Sange, Rebecca and Chirsty. Free cocktails and stamps on our hands. (Sarah M)

 Last Friday, for me, can be summed up simply. Catching up with old friends and making new ones. Two of the greatest pleasures in life. When there’s so many reasons to feel a bit rubbish, to doubt yourself and think it might be easier to just stay home in your pj’s, good friends can make the world of difference. Brilliantly, that’s exactly what AOW has helped to create… real, lasting, incredible friendships. (Aisling)

Last Friday night I laughed until my stomach hurt, used up a year’s quota of clothing related oooohs and aaaahs, almost went on the turn looking at Chirsty’s legs in shorts,  and was reminded yet again why my normally taciturn-about-other-girls-just-the-way-it-should-be husband said of Aisling ‘so elegant, just so elegant… she’s just… elegant.’ (despite never having used the word about me.)   It gives you a total buzz to go and meet other girls in an environment without any expectations, or cattiness, or pressure.  I remember spotting Frankie come in and it felt so natural to go up and give her a hug even though we’ve never met. (Gemma C-S)

The AOW ladies are each a little bit different in small ways to how I imagined them. Meeting them will make reading their posts even better for me in the future. For example I know that Anna K is all about the hand gestures, Aisling does an incredible raised eyebrow and Sarah has the best dirty laugh. (Anna (S&B))


Apart from job interviews, I have never walked into a room of people I had never met before. But somehow my feet carried me down Whitehall and into the room and everyone was so welcoming an fun to talk to. I had a lovely evening and met a lot of smart, funny women. (Frances)

Going into an embarrassing fangirl spasm upon meeting Anita, this unfortunately coincided with my body reminding me that I’d drunk about four drinks too many, bursting into hiccups, having to drink from the opposite side of the glass, and Anita being ever so kind as I hiccuped my way through a rendition of “I’m not normally like this” (Anna K)  

It was so nice to meet the people I spend such a huge amount of (virtual) time with!  In particular I loved meeting Frankie (@TurquoiseTeapot) as we have quite a bit of chit-chat on Twitter and she was EXACTLY how I imagined her to be. It was completely like meeting up with a friend, not a stranger from the internet. I think we managed to persuade a couple of others to get themselves on Twitter too so look out for them. (Anna (S&B))

I stupidly ordered a three tiered fish finger sandwich so I struggled to carry on the conversation whilst completely stuffing my face! (apologies). We all admired the room decor especially the map that took over the entire ceiling and the gorgeous banner Aisling had rustled up. I also caught Aisling stroking her baby bump a few times and ladies? It was the most beautiful thing ever.  (Anna (S&B))

Have you ever walked into a room full of people you’ve never actually met and felt completely at home? That’s what AOP was like. I already knew that every single person there was interesting and would have something I wanted to hear simply because they were fellow AOW readers. It was like your ideal seminar, only funnier and with better shoes. (Esme)


Slightly scaring Frances by my knowledge of her life through reading her AOW comments (really just when she was getting married, honest I’m not a stalker!); Telling Anna Skin & Blister repeatedly that she was JUST how I imagined her to be (so much fun); eating too much macaroni cheese and onion rings and then feeling sick; realising during many fab chats with Esme that she and I used live two roads away from one another back in 2008 (and being gutted that I didn’t know her then); heading off to leave the party with Em Gibbs and both of us stopping to chat to Rebecca Florence Finds for a bit and what a brilliant chat it was; Being crazy excited to meet Gemma (Hobo) and genuinely feeling like I already knew her; Overall just being so so thrilled that I’d had such a great night with people I ‘didn’t’ know. (Frankie)

Esme’s cheekbones make me fancy her a little bit (sorry Tom)

Spending time with Suzanne who’d travelled a fair distance to be there talking about how she works and the next stages in her business. Fabulous frock, glasses and lipstick. Meeting her husband – such a nice man.  Getting excited about dresses and cricket tea with Carly and Camilla. (Sarah M)

Devising an entirely new AOW series entitled the “A-Z of F**k-Ups” with Gemma and Aisling.  Highlights invluded O is for Ostrich, B is for Breakdown, A is for AWOL and S is for Snowballing” (Anna)

We were going to close with a motivational, emotional, crazylady speech about how we love you guys and think that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD should come to the Manchester meet-up in a few weeks. But then, something amazing happened. More amazing than a solar eclipse, than Haley’s Comet, than seeing a humpback whale reading Dr Seuss and smoking a pipe. Gemma wrote us a poem. Uh-huh. A POEM. Gemma, we love you.

Last year I approached the party in complete and utter fright
I took the bus from Glasgow (and the timing was quite tight)
But this year I was an dab hand, an old and seasoned pro
or at least, that’s what I told myself as I dithered to and fro
re: what on earth I was going to wear – should I put an asos order in?
No, better to go with what I had and save my money up for gin.

So in a yellow top and my newest, tightest jeans
(forgoing too much food at lunch, fearing for their seams)
I loitered round embankment waiting for Rebecca
(who brought her new pink mulberry bag which made me want to deck her)
And thought about the girls I knew and the ones that I would meet
(then I stopped to put my heels on in the middle of the street)

And once we were inside the pub and admiring Anna’s hair
I realised that actually I was loving being there
because the world at large though big and wide, does house a lot of numpties
and dealing with them day on day can leave one really grumpy
So to have an actual party full of smart and clever women
who have other things to talk about than Botox, Pink and slimming

Is something quite amazing so despite the natural nerves
of those who planned to hide all night under the hors d’oeuvres,
10 minutes in we all were gabbing on like long lost friends
and now we’re near the point (hurrah!) where this woeful poem ends
My point is this dear reader (you thought I never would get to it)
is that sometimes you should make like Nike, (wo)man up, and Do It

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW
33 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Even sadder I was unable to come.

  2. Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Bloody love the poem Gemma. This post makes me want to recite the speech in Mean Girls about baking a cake and eating rainbows or whatever she says

    “she doesn’t even go here!” that one.

    AOW Supper Club should be a thing. Don’t you think?

    • Frances
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      AOW Supper Club would be awesome. Like a better version of Come Dine With Me but with nicer people and better conversation and no scores at the end…

  3. Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Also, Frankie we said the same thing :)

  4. Yanthe
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Me too Rachel JHD
    Flipping mountain
    Next time

  5. Katielase
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Absolutely gutted I wasn’t there. Even more unbelievably gutted I can’t make the Northern Edition EITHER. For the awful reason that I’m running a half marathon the next morning. Grimmest reason to have to miss gin and cake and all you amazing ladies EVER. *sulky face*

    Gemma, that was amazing, you are my hero.

    K x

  6. Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Love the poem, Gemma!

    Great photos, Anna – I especially like the fact that the one I’m in makes it look like I’ve just said something witty, when in fact I’m probably just wheeling out the same old story about my too-loud rutting neighbours.

    Thanks for the party, AOW ladies! x

    • Carly
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Ugh, I have the same problem with my neighbours. Good job I wasn’t present for that conversation, I could grumble all night about them!


    • Frances
      Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      HA I have a feeling that is in fact what we were talking about…

  7. Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    This quote from Anna K made me smile: “I’m not normally like this” – YES YOU ARE! Every time I’ve met you you’re exactly like this! In a good way, obviously.

    What a beautiful picture of Esme, you look so lovely.

    That poem is epic.

    Wish I could have been there!

  8. Steff
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Gutted to have not been there, sounds like you all had an absolute ball!! Fab photos too Anna :) xx

  9. Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    A blimin’ poem? Well thanks, Gemma, for completely showing us all up. (But I loved it.)

    Hmm, since when did I have cheek bones…? I think it’s just good blusher ;o)

    Can’t wait for the next time, ladies – and to meet more of you!


  10. Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I had a great time – thanks for organising girls!


  11. Gemma C-S
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Can we please have one of these every week? Can Anna S and B please give me her hair (or Anna K can too, either would do me very well) and can people who have more photos from the night put them on AOW facebook? Thanksbye xx

  12. Carly
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Esme, I’d like to know where your blusher is from please.

    I’m still cross that I got there so late, the evening went so quickly but it was great to chat to a few of you. I can’t wait for the next time.


  13. Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Erm, Anna, YOU were fangirling over ME?! I seem to recall me saying to you ‘you’re, like, amazing’, about a million times!! And apologising for making you cry on a station platform.

    I love that photo that has Rebecca and me laughing like loons in the background. I love that I was bought gin by someone I’ve never met before (thankyou Chirsty!!) I love that S&B Anna had a sanitary towel in her shoe. Most of all, I love that I felt like I belonged.

    Thank you all ladies. And Gem, that poem is EPIC x

  14. Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Oh and being told by Rebecca that my dress was ‘so on trend’ was possibly the biggest compliment I’ve ever had, or probably ever will have!

  15. Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    That poem is awesome! Cannot wait for the Northern Ed. now :D x

  16. Rach M
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Gutted to have missed it. It looks even more wonderful than I’d imagined. And my, you’re all so bloody GORGEOUS! Xx

  17. Frances
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Wow, a poem! I really should have put more effort into my contribution.

    I genuinely had a fantastic time, it was so lovely to meet everyone (even if Frankie did seem to know an awful lot about me!). Wish I could make the Manchester one but looking forward to another London meeting some time.

    • Posted September 28, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Ha ha ha! Too funny! I have a great memory which sometimes freaks people out!

  18. Sharon
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    So gutted I couldn’t be there, the photos look amazing and the poem is fab xxxx

  19. Katy
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I actually literally had a dream last night that I was there. Does that count for anything?

  20. Rachel
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for having us ladies, it was a lovely evening. So nice to meet everyone, even if I felt like I already knew a lot of you :)

  21. Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Sobbing that instead of at AOP I was at a very rainy campsite.

  22. Posted September 28, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Lovely evening- thanks all xxx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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