Alexandra Jones' mum has been her teacher and inspiration as well as the woman who helped her discover Marc Jacobs and her favourite earrings. Here she thankfully lists 10 things her mother has given her that she just couldn't live without...
1. A sweet tooth (read: a double chin)
Seven years I've lived away from home. SEVEN. And yet the chin persists. Obviously this has nothing to do with my two-packs-a-day Haribo habit and everything to do with the fact my mum is basically the best cook EVER. Seriously. Each year of my childhood was marked by by two cake birthdays and Sunday evening suppers of freshly-baked bread. She gave me a love of the finer things in life. And by "finer", I mean sugary-er.
2. A sense of adventure
No, like not skydiving. I'm her only child - the single fruit of her loin - of course she would never be like "go - jump out of airplanes, I'm totally cool with it". She did, however, tell me I should travel, see everything, have the best time ever... as long as I check-in every day so she knows I'm ok.
3. My favourite pair of earrings
She gave them to me for Christmas. They're small gold hoops with an aztec pattern. I like them lots.
You know that bit in the book Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother where the Tiger Mother's four-year-old daughter, Lulu, gives her hand-drawn birthday card with a smiley face on it? And instead of being delighted, the mother "rejects" her card because it's "not good enough"? Well my mum was nothing like that. But, she was adamant I should have the highest possible expectations of myself, that I should strive to be, like, really really good at everything. Apart from at PE (because PE wasn't a real subject).
5. "Never give up, never surrender" outlook (potentially stolen from Churchill)
My mum doesn't do sick days or slacking. I've seen her go to work with the kind of flu that could wipe out small nations. "I'm fine, too much to do", she'd say while her whole face dissolved into a big snotty drip. Once she had a trapped nerve in her shoulder (pain worse than childbirth) and still cooked a full Christmas dinner. I am, by nature, a lazy thing. I enjoy laying, reclining and sitting, broken up by the odd gentle stroll from the TV to the fridge and back. My nana always marvels at how such a hardworking mother could produce such a slob, so any time I think I just can't be bothered to do something, I call my mum. By 8am she's walked the dog, gone to work and solved two crises.
6. A "signature scent"*
It's Marc Jacobs Daisy and when friends smell it, they say it reminds them of me. It's the one I wear every day and would swim in if I could. She got me my first bottle when I was 19 and I haven't looked back since.
When I was little we danced around to the Shoop Shoop song (like Cher and Christina Ricci in Mermaids, but with less hairspray). A shameful music obsession was born.
8. A healthy respect for soap
I hate showering (also cleaning, washing my hair, making things "orderly") but my mum loves it (she showers TWICE a day). This was a real bone of contention in my teenage years when I insisted I only needed to shower twice a week. Through much discussion, explanation and insistence she showed me the error of my ways. Actually she was more like "do you want people to think you smell bad? Because you do. You'll never get a job if you smell bad". I'm not quite a twice-a-day-er but have managed to hold down a job without anyone commenting on my smell (that I know of).
She has never demanded that I tell her anything. It was always "when you're ready, you can tell me". Which is cool.
One year when I was eight, my nana come to stay with us. In the morning she had laid out some clothes for me to wear to school, to which I patiently explained I picked my own clothes for school and had for, like, aaages (alright, so I was obviously a precocious little shit). For as long as I can remember my mother's advice on clothes, boys, university choices and jobs was largely along the lines of "well, I can tell you what I think, but I'm not the one who has to wear it/ snog him/ go there. If you think it'll make you happy, you should go for it". Apart from when I was 16 and got two tattoos without telling her, then she was like "ohforgodssake. What a stupid thing to do". Naturally, she was right.
MORE! Trying to find your mum the perfect gift? Here's an edit of presents she'll love...
LOVE THIS WRITER? Follow her on Twitter @alexliviajones.