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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More podcasting

If you want to know what I sound like, have a listen to the podcasts I'm doing with a friend. Unfortunately we've accidentally chosen a rubbish hosting site which doesn't seem to want to embed itself onto my blog. Bastard.

So you have to click here.

The new one is about dodgy internet dating and the worst pub in the world. Imagine a dodgy date in that. Eugh.

Thank you please.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

clever clogs

My office is an unofficial branch of MENSA. I am surrounded by people who know everything there is to know about science, technology, economics... you name it. They are, in a nutshell, incredibly fucking clever. I think the least educated of all of them has a PhD in nuclear physics.

On paper, I am one of their peers. Unbelievably some people genuinely believe this. Just last week a PR sent me a press release about developments in the heady world of quantum cryptography. Whatever the hell that is.

The sad reality is that I'm a lowly arts graduate who has somehow landed among them. I am always asking them stuff - stuff they probably learned at the age of nine. Stuff that, without the aid of Google and Bing, I wouldn't even be able to spell.

They have journals, research papers and computer chips on their desks. I have a wind-up penguin and a mug bearing the slogan "help - feed me chocolate".

However, there's one thing that even I understand. I've seen Avenue Q - the internet was created for porn. So when I stumbled upon a story involving porn, blackmail and the web, I knew I was onto a winner.

It's caused quite a stir, for which I am proud. Much more interesting than quantum whateveritwas, no?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Note to self: I am not Lady GaGa

But it doesn't stop me from trying to sing like her - especially when I'm drunk in charge of a karaoke machine.

Last night started out as a low-key pub gathering and ended with eggs benedict in a 24 hour bar at 3am. This followed our impromptu singing session in a place affectionately known (by us) as the Dirty Karaoke club. Because that's exactly it is.

The entrance to Dirty Karaoke is unsurprisingly through a grubby little doorway in Soho. The rooms are small, the seats are beer stained and the equipment is ancient. But it's considerably cheaper than its posher cousins, with their shiny flatscreens and fancy dress boxes.

It's a proper little den of iniquity. And the best thing about it is that there is almost always a room available, although one has to wonder whether a quick rendition of Pokerface is necessarily the primary motivation of some of its clientele.

I have never been to Dirty Karaoke when sober. I'm not even sure that it exists during the day - I imagine it's hidden away like Harry Potter's Diagon Ally to all but the alcohol-fuelled. You probably need to fail a breath test in order to get in.

I can't even remember the name of the street it's in now, although I find my way there like a pissed-up homing pigeon whenever I need to.

So that's how I ended up there with my husband and our renegade friends, screeching along to Bad Romance in the wee hours and quaffing champagne (I'm quite sure it wasn't but by that stage I really didn't care).

Our voices are several octaves deeper today and I have a nasty feeling the worst of the hangover is yet to come. Oh, and by the way, I really can't sing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The bar that lied

The Boy and I have taken ourselves off for a quintessentially English mini break.

We are hiding out in deepest, darkest Surrey (where they filmed The Holiday and Bridget Jones 2, chick flick fans).

We have indulged in big cooked breakfasts followed by long country walks and mountain biking (I do not remember saddle soreness being this, well, sore, as an adolescent, which is probably the last time i rode a bike).

Needless to say there has also been the odd pint or five of country scrumpy on the days when we have been physically able to drag ourselves to the pubs for booze rather than chickening out and taking the car down narrow tracks and hairpin bends between the ancient, picturesque villages in the pitch black (streetlamps are a luxury here for some reason).

There is one pub that we have been saving as a treat all week. It's really near where we are staying. It's a 14th century converted farmhouse packed to its wooden rafters with olde worlde charm.

Except it has the worst reviews either of us have ever seen online. Everybody screams about the terrible service, the appalling "ping and fling" (ie microwave) food and the leary clientele.

Surely, we thought, the place is too beautiful for this to be true. So tonight we ventured in, past the antique darken wooden furniture and (unlit) sculpted hearth, towards an old oak bar.

Where we were ignored for about 10 minutes by a bored and distinctly 21st century barmaid.

We just wanted a nightcap so settled on Baileys, much to the openly snide amusement of the 2 oiks propping up the bar beside us. At least we distracted them from their drunken quarrel as to who had purchased their last round of wifebeater.

Desperately channelling Jude Law (The Holiday again, sorry, I was desperate) I chose us a cosy corner table with comfy cushions on an old settle. Unfortunately it was right by a large group who all seemed to be related, not to mention extremely pissed.

They cackled endlessly about various nights out and drunken exploits while we sat sipping our Baileys feeling like the 2 tourist twats we so obviously resembled.

Feel so cheated. Where was our crackling open fire, friendly staff and goblets of mulled wine?

Surely this is against the Trade Descriptions Act - a chain pub of the very lowest level masquerading as a country inn. I would sue, if I had the guts to go back.