30 years onwards – How I’ve changed

Marianne Whooley1983Now let’s see if I can remember first of all! 1983…. now that would have made me the fabulous age of 17.

Good God 17!!!

Funnily enough I sent a birthday card out last week that kind of describes where I am now,

‘I remember when rock was young’

said the first bit then nice hand drawn picture, look further down the card

‘..but I can’t remember what I came upstairs for.’

That did make me laugh, hope the recipient found it funny too, you never know with people these days do you? I have met a couple of people in my life who are terrified with each birthday coming round as it means one more year. I’m not bothered by it, any chance to crack open a bottle of bubbly is good for me.


I started the year as a sweet 16, although my mother may have something to say about that. I was at St John’s RC school studying hard for my O levels which incidentally I got 8 of them but failed maths which I never could get into my skull.

I was going out with Tony, my first love. He rode a motorbike which petrified my mother but of course I thought was so goddamn cool, who listens to mothers anyway at 16?

marianne school

I listened to mainstream music like The Police, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, dance music like Earth Wind and Fire, Level 42 and I had a passion for soul and Motown.

I had a Saturday job as a cashier at our local Safeway supermarket and I would work extra evenings and over the holidays too. I didn’t save one penny of my earnings but I did pay for my driving lessons which at the time were £10 an hour.

I loved to watch Top of The Pops, Miami Vice, The A Team. I was a huge Starsky and Hutch fan and of course Dallas and Dynasty.

I remember Marathon bars and Opal fruits.

marathon baropalfruits_

I remember when 10p would get you a bag full of sweets from the newsagent including Black Jacks, Flying Saucers, Refreshers, Bonbons and Space Dust.

I started smoking.

I entered pubs pretending to be 18.

I wore make up all the time I had a huge interest in fashion which has never left me and I permed my dead straight hair!

My weekly reading material was Smash Hits and Jackie.

On my bedroom wall were posters of Richard Gere, Tom Cruise  and the Duran boys *sigh*

smash hits and Jackie

I had my sights set high in life, I believed I could have it all and I wanted it all. I was going to have a very successful career and then start a family around 30 or so.

Mobile phones were only seen in films

mobile phone

I would have paid my life’s savings to have a boob job but er.. I didn’t have any life’s savings.


I never had the boob job and today I wouldn’t waste my money either. I had my first child at 21 and there was no padded shoulder career for me.

Today, my hair is dead straight with the odd grey hair. It’s long and needs cutting.

I have to watch what I eat these days which is a real bummer and I’m very careful about my skin. I have wrinkles!!!

I hardly ever wear make up but I still love fashion, I just don’t spend ALL my money on it anymore.

Can’t remember the last time I saw music live, unless it was someone singing karaoke in a pub I happened to be in.

5 generations photo Jay Mountford

I am mother to 4 children, 2 are grown up and have families of their own making me a grandma twice over – so much for having kids at 30! The photo above shows our five generations.

I have been married twice, I celebrated recently

wedding photo 1st dance

I stopped smoking 10 years ago and have never looked back since.

I love wine, chocolate  – maybe a little bit too much and when I get the time reading. I watch television of an evening to unwind and recently I enjoyed Broadchurch, I LOVED Spooks, I’ll watch any program selling houses and doing them up.

I love to cook, I love needlework and I love my family above all else.


  1. Alessandra says

    Really beautiful, uplifting and yet real posting. A celebration of life even if things don’t turn up the way yuo planned them ALL THE TIME! Thank you for that Marianne.xx

  2. Jennifer Howze says

    What a great post. I too loved Adam Ant and ridiculous haircuts and wanted a boob job when I was young. Thank god I grew out of that!

    While as a cofounder of BritMums, I’m promoting the this Linky, I can honestly say this is an uplifting post that makes me love the old Mari as much as I love the new one.

  3. Nicole Davis says

    Mari, so happy that you used a couple of my old snaps here ( especially as I know you lost so many of yours). My memories Ditto the above, although I can’t believe you omitted Culture Club! Weird that all I wanted when I left school was to fall in love and have a family and yet I ended up a ‘career girl’ until I was 31 and got married just before my 32nd birthday! It was so lovely to be invited to share your special day in March and I am still in awe of your 5 generations. Here’s to us…. Both 47 next week and still going strong xxxx

    • says

      Oops – maybe I should have asked to ‘borrow’ the photos – sorry :) Thanks anyway and I loved Cultuer Club – I had to cut down on words – it was WAY too long before publishing. so glad you made the Day and we still haven’t sorted out coffee yet …

  4. Susanna says

    I had a perm too! And I saw The Police perform Roxan at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. That was my first concert!

    • says

      Wow The Police in San Francisco must have been amazing and you MUST show me your perm one day. Show me yours – I’ll show you mine ;)

  5. Nell@PigeonPairandMe says

    I’m sure lots of people say this when looking back at old pics from the 80s (a grim era, style-wise), but….you look much foxier now!

    Maybe it’s the perm. I had one too, and I looked like a frizzy awful sheepdog.

    • says

      EVERYONE had perms! And we all looked like shaggy sheepdogs and yes the fashion was grim BUT we had fun and thought we looked great. I’d go back for a quick visit

  6. Ollie Kiell says

    I LOVE THIS!!!!! So retro and cool, yes I do mean cool!!! I love the school shot of you girls, looks like a publicity shot for Grange Hill !!!

  7. Kate Davis-Holmes says

    Brought back memories especially the magazines and the sweets. Lovely to find out a bit more about you too. Commenting for BritMums and myself!

    • says

      Thanks for coming by Kate, it’s really good for the soul to look back, you have no idea how much I enjoyed writing this post

  8. Becky Goddard-Hill says

    Loved this post form Tuesday Treats . I was 12 and remember all these things too,,,how fabulous (I was going to be primeminister)

    • says

      You’d have made a wonderful prime minister Becky. You’d certainly have my vote – a bit of good sense at the helm would be marvellous.

  9. sarahhillwheeler says

    We must have been about the same age. Used to love Jackie and Adam and the Ants. Blondie too (or did that come later?). And I love that picture of Michael Douglas with the brick.

  10. Eliza says

    I always look at that photo of Adam Ant and think he was the most beautiful man ever…it all went so horribly wrong in the intervening years! You, however, got even more beautiful!

  11. says

    We grew up a continent apart (I was in South Africa) and you are 2 years older, but OMG did we have the same musical taste and reading matter… I will never forget how obsessed I was with Duran Duran (I was a John Taylor fan all the way ;)) I had piles and PILES of No. 1 and Smash Hits mags that only got thrown out last year when my parents’ house got sold. Good times, good times :)


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