Monday, July 12, 2010


For some reason this blog is getting over run with Chinese spambots. It's annoying. So I've decided to set up an alternative home... I'll still post (more personal) stuff here from time to time but will probably be more prolific (and professional) over on the other side.

Catch me at (not you spammers!)


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Country living

It happened. Much to my astonishment I am now a bona fide resident of a small town on the south coast of the UK. It is beautiful. There are however a few little culture shocks that I am still adjusting to.

1. Talking to strangers
When people pass you in the street, they smile and say hello regardless of whether you know them or not. The day after we moved in a woman practically threw herself in front of my car and banged frantically on the window. I thought I'd run over her and/or her cat. Turned out she "just wanted to say hello" to her new neighbours.

A lady in the local shop this morning shared her life history with me. I only went in for a pint of milk.

In London this sort of behaviour would get you stabbed/arrested/sectioned.

2. Shopping
The clothing stock does not change. Last week's maxi dresses (which are also in fact last season's) are still in stock. As they were the week before, and the week before that.

The bread and butter of the tourist town however is gifts. Candles, fudge, straw hats. And gollys. I thought they were illegal, but the little black teddy bears that I believe are almost universally offensive are still freely available here. Has nobody told them yet?

3. Hills
It doesn't matter that the fashion trade is so lacking because practically the only footwear I've worn since my arrival are my trainers. The hills are killers. We're talking full-on cliff-top peaks and troughs here, and there's no avoiding them. I have calves of steel already.

4. Driving
People down here don't drive - they meander from a-b at a pace so frustratingly leisurely that sometimes the transition from 2nd to 3rd gear feels like a Grand Prix moment. And that's without the tractors, farm lorries and occasional cattle that also get in the way.

I've already learned that a safe bet is to double whatever time the satnav suggests is the length of the journey. On the plus side, petrol goes a lot further when your average speed is about 20 miles an hour - and that's still more than I ever managed to reach along Marylebone High Street.

I do love it here though. There's so much space - and there is nothing more relaxing than a sunset stroll along the beach after work. Just as well really - it takes 11 hours to download stuff from the internet sometimes. Am quite sure there's not much piracy going on down here. Noone's got the time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Party Jug Sundays

Today we revived an old tradition - one which began back in the days of flatshares and messy weekends.

Like all the best things, Party Jug Sunday was born out of necessity. Now we clear out our closets, back then we used to clear out our drinks cupboards, getting rid of old/random/disgusting booze in order to make room for more. Even the cheapest, nastiest sambucca or holiday banana liqueur could be rendered acceptable with the help of a bit of fruit juice and a straw, we discovered.

So we took it in turns to create ever more potent cocktails served in pink and blue plastic picnic jugs on the balcony... and Party Jug Sunday had arrived.

My best friend decided today that it was time to dust down the jugs one more time, after a break of about seven years. It's a sign of the times that, of the original party jug crowd, 2 of us are married, one is pregnant and only one still smokes (I still rue the day I gave up. A necessary evil, but a truly annoying one). Everybody avoided the Absinthe and one of the most popular ingredients was ginger ale.

Not entirely sure our twentysomething selves would have approved of any of it but it was lovely to float home on a cocktail fuelled high still sniggering over jokes about farts. Okay, some things never change.

Monday, May 10, 2010


The UK election has turned into an interminably relentless edition of The X Factor. Can somebody please just make a decision?

Such an anti-climax to what was orginally a genuinely exciting occasion. Like hosting a brilliant party only to find, 4 days later, that your guests are still there... and starting to smell.

I'm almost beyond caring - although it is a bit sneaky that all those people who voted Lib Dem may have actually been voting Tory by stealth, if the two parties do decide to team up.

It's quite odd, having nobody in charge. I remember being mildly alarmed when that chap who was supposed to be running the country was busy playing croquet at some rural mansion instead. But perhaps on a day-to-day basis, there's not that much to do, once you've checked your email and shouted at a few people.

I am also waiting on a result a bit closer to home that's a bit of a life-changer. Not the wee-on-a-stick result (I have so many pregnant friends at the moment. It is starting to have a serious impact on my opportunities to drink wine), but news on whether I'll be leaving London.

If my new rural life gets the go-ahead I might need a new blog. There'll be no more impromptu visits to Jimmy Choo and pornstar martinis after work - i'll be racing home to feed the chickens and do long coastal walks in floating maxi dresses and designer wellies. You can take the girl out of the city... but the city doesn't leave the girl so easily.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bridal bitchery

If I'd known then what I know now I would not have had any married guests at my wedding. Because once you've done it yourself, you can't help but float through the day mentally making comparisons, and whichever way it goes you end up hating yourself. Either because you wish you'd done your own wedding their way, or because you're feeling sickeningly superior that you had a prettier cake.

The Boy and I were at a wedding do yesterday. The bride looked stunning in a satin gown with a white fur stole (I wish i hadn't worn a veil, said my inner monologue). The first reading was a sonnet which the reader had learned by heart (shit, ours had scripts. But fuck, who has a sonnet on the tip of their tongue in case the occasion arises?).

There were no discernible bridesmaids (I had two. Not that this is a popularity contest. ahem) and apart from the bridal bouquet, no flowers or decorations. The champagne flowed extremely freely (we didn't supply enough at ours)... and there was no cake (our cupcakes went down a treat).

The weirdest thing of all was the lack of after-dinner party. There was no band, no DJ, no dancing. Ergo, no first dance, no bouquet throwing, no embarrassing manoeuvres. I'm not religious but I clearly am quite traditional because I was completely thrown by that. So, in the interests of normality, at the end we jumped in a cab to the Dirty Karaoke bar. I sang Big Spender twice, and all was right with the world once more.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jimmy Choo liked my shoes

My short-lived career as an accidental fashionista is complete.

I'm still not sure how I ended up in the Choo emporium (chooporium?) in the first place. Suffice it to say that after six hours of solid shopping I was delirious.

Not to mention skint. Nothing was safe from my credit card today. I even managed to spend £40 on a pair of pants. This is a record high, even for me. To think that a pack of six M&S briefs for a fiver was once considered perfectly acceptable.

They're bloody hand wash only as well - but they are also, unarguably, beyond beautiful. Silky and soft with lace in all the right places. Putting them on made me feel like Elle McPherson... until I looked in the mirror.

Anyway enough of Plato's pants. I was standing in Jimmy Choo in desperation because I had just searched the whole of London in vain for a pair of red shoes to wear with an outfit that has to survive three weddings in the next six weeks.

The fact that an average pair of Choos costs three times more than my entire outfit combined was no longer an issue. I would have given my firstborn if they'd had something that worked.

They didn't, which was probably for the best. But, just as I was leaving, the shop manager came over and admired my shoes. Where could she get a pair, she asked?

I was wearing a pair of ballet pumps that cost me £15 in a high street sale. They were almost certainly mass produced, and do not contain a shred of soft leather or any other remotely high end material. They have never been strutted down a catwalk or seen on TV.

They are however green and sparkling, and very comfortable.

I would have swapped them then and there for the right pair of reds. Maybe I should go back...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Witty women and ghostly goings-on

Am well and truly in touch with my feminine side after a hen do weekend away in the country with 14 women and not a single man. The only testosterone I encountered in 72 hours was that of the groundsman, a spritely septagenarian who turned up at 10am this morning riding a lawnmower twice the size of my car.

We had taken over a sprawling country mansion hidden away in the Lake District and surrounded by sheep and lambs roaming free on the moors. Behind the house's sturdy thick-set greystone walls lay a cosy interior of giant fireplaces and candlelit passages.

It is of course said to be haunted - although if there was a spirit there he/she kept a low profile during our stay, even when the electricity went out at 10.30pm on Saturday night, half way through an 80s-themed disco we threw for the bride-to-be in the lounge. Unless that is, the reason for the powercut was that Mr/Mrs Ghost needed a bit of peace and quiet.

At the best of times I do not always fare well in all-female groups, and I was apprehensive about spending the weekend with a feisty group composed almost entirely of journalists and ex-journalists, most of whom I hadn't met before.

But cocktails are a great equaliser and before long we were all happily exchanging life stories over increasingly potent concoctions mixed in ancient Wedgewood milk jugs.

We must have seemed a daunting prospect for the young beautician who came along to give us all manicures - city slicker that I am I opted for a French Polish that promptly chipped off as I scraped candle wax off various surfaces and polished the aga before we left.

It's the kind of place I dream of disappearing off to write novels in - my imagination fuelled by long windswept country walks and brandy-laced cream teas.

Except there is no internet or mobile phone service, and it nearly killed me. The nearest cashpoint was a 20 minute drive away and that was nowhere near the nearest town. It would have been a very short novel.