Thursday, 7 October 2010

Knitting on the tube

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Three times this month (and we're only seven days into the month), I've seen very cool girls sitting on the tube, here in London, knitting.  I think creating something is a great way to pass a boring tube journey.  Certainly beats listening to inane drunken conversations.  

So if you see a wild eyed woman on the Northern Line with a tangled ball of wool and an odd shaped piece of knitting, do bear with me - it's been a very long time since I attempted any knitting.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Object of desire - Charlene Mullen embroidered cushion

Charlene Mullen's embroidered cushions caught my eye at London Design Week.  This wonderfully witty cushion, hand embroidered with a picture of birds sitting on electrical poles was my favourite.

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A couple of these in my living room would look fabulous.  

You can buy them online at Charlene Mullen.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Why I love fashion

Ah, fashion week!  Scouring for updates on the latest shows, amazing looks on the streets, working out what I'm going to wear next season, (although with my budget, it's more like what I'd like to wear next season!)  I just love it.

I work in a very practical, male dominated environment and I'm often told, 'What's the point of fashion?  I mean, some of those dresses are really stupid.  You couldn't go to the supermarket in them.'  This is missing the point spectacularly.  Fashion, (and by this I mean couture) is not about covering your body in order to perform the practical mundanities of life.  It's about transcending the everyday banalities.  It's about using the human form as a template to create breathtaking works of art.  You need to look no further than the late, great Alexander McQueen for this.

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Fashion, (here I'm talking about all aspects of fashion - couture, high street, ready to wear) allows you to fleetingly experience states of existence that you wouldn't normally - one day you can be a Hollywood siren, the next a hard-nosed businesswoman.  It allows you to escape, to dream & to explore.

It's been suggested more than once to me that as an intelligent, educated woman, I should be above such superficial things such as appearance. I strongly disagree with this stance.  Let's face it - we all make snap judgements based on the way someone comes across visually.  Fashion allows you to control those judgements to your advantage.  According to mental health professionals, one of the signs of mental illness is not caring about the way you look.

Do we need fashion?  We need fashion in the same way that we need Beethoven, Shakespeare and Warhol.  It may not be necessary for our basic routine of eating and sleeping but it elevates us and makes us more than just field animals.

I leave you with this gorgeous creation by Chanel to feast your eyes on...

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Friday, 17 September 2010

Hero beauty product - Lacura Q10 night cream

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Broke is not a good place to be, so when my flat-mate gave me a tub of Lacura Q10 Night Cream, I was grateful to say the least.  When she told me that it cost £1.99 and that it was the best night cream she'd ever used, I was intrigued.

She's right - it's excellent.  

I have very dry, sensitive skin and I could feel this working immediately.  It really moisturized.  Often, I find that a moisturizer will nourish the top layer of the skin but you'll still feel dry and tight deeper down but this cream really did completely moisturize the entire epidermis.  I found that my skin tone was far more even and less... well... ruddy, (the rosacea, you see).  It also firmed my skin, which was an unexpected but very welcome bonus - I've reached a certain age and things are definitely starting to head southward, so anything that delays this always goes down well in my book.

A very, very good product all round and I can't recommend it highly enough.

You can buy it in the U.K. here and the U.S. here.  £1.99 in the U.K. and $3.99 in the U.S. - bargain!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Sophie Dahl's 'Playing with the Grown-ups' - book review

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I'll admit, I was initially a little dubious about this book.  I mean how good an author could the super-model granddaughter of Roald Dahl be?

Well, I'll confess, I was wrong.  It's a intelligent, evocative, beautifully written, coming-of-age book about the difficult relationship between a young girl and her mother.

Kitty is the girl in question and Marina is her beautiful, beguiling, selfish mother. The narrative moves between England and the US, as well as past and present.

Dahl isn't afraid to cast an unflinching eye on contradictions in the mother/daughter relationship and show how it's possible to love and hate someone at the same time. Marina is an ex-model who now works as an artist. She's self absorbed, promiscuous... and mentally ill.  She uproots her children, moves to the States and puts Kitty into an unsuitable boarding school on the orders of a rather dubious Swami and well...  to say anymore would ruin the book for you.

Having had a very difficult relationship with my own mother, I found this book strangely cathartic.  Dahl writes with wit and sympathy.  Kitty is a strong character who comes to rely on her own intuition and intelligence to survive an awful situation and accept herself & her mother without reservation.

Highly recommended.  

You can buy in the UK here and the US here.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer...

I know - I said I'd be back and I wasn't.  I'm sorry, life just got in the way.  

It's been a wonderful summer.  Falling in love; lazy afternoons in the park; blue skies; flowers; long walks; being adopted by a local cat; gallery openings; Farnborough Air Show; discovering a crazy new band; the Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A; rediscovering the joy of reading a book as opposed to surfing the internet.

Here is my summer...

This is one of the dresses Grace Kelly wore in 'Rear Window'.

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Young British Artists exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery

A Lancaster bomber accompanied by two Spitfires

I hope your summer's been as beautiful as mine.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

I'm back!

Well, hello!  

I must apologize for the break in blogging.  

There have been a number of reasons, the main one being, the charger for my computer died so I was unable to get online until the new one was delivered.  I missed my computer but it was great to enjoy the freedom that not constantly checking Facebook/emails/news sites gives you.  Very retro, it was too.

I will be posting some lovely new posts soon.  In the meantime, wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying as wonderful weather as we are, here in London. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

World cup

So the World Cup has began.  I'm talking about the football World Cup obviously.  

Tomorrow England play the USA. We're going to watch the game here.

Here's a rather joyous South African song to celebrate it.

Come on England!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

One of those days.

Today was a blah day.  

I went to my temp job and sat there trying to smile and pretend that answering telephones was something that I grew up wanting to do.

I tried to keep smiling as my boss blamed me for all her mistakes.  

I tried to keep smiling as she vented her bad mood on me.

Then I went to lunch and sat on a park bench alone, eating my home made sandwiches.

In the afternoon, I surreptitiously surfed the internet whilst my boss was busy and learnt all about Cheryl Cole's divorce.  Information that I don't need or care about but it passed the time.

Then I went home.  As I left the office, the heavens opened and I was drenched.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Five firsts

First job.  I worked in a tourist souvenir shop on Westminster Bridge Road. It was very, very hard work but I loved it. I'd just arrived in London from Africa and the thrill of seeing Big Ben every day was immeasurable.  And I learnt never, ever to underestimate the public's appetite for complete and utter tat.

First kiss.  A boy called Douglas.  I kissed him at my friend Jane's 16th birthday party...

First perfume I bought.  Chanel No. 19.  I saved up for weeks to afford it.  I just adored the light, clean loveliness of it.  Even now, the faintest whiff of it takes me back to those heady days of being 21 years old with the world at my feet.

First song I bought.  'Brown girl in the ring' by Boney M!!  I hang my head in shame... Naturally when I'm talking to my cool music business friends, I mutter something about Fleetwood Mac or the Rolling Stones.

First show I worked on.  'Brigadoon'.  Funnily enough, this was my first school show and the first West End show I worked on. Yea, I know - it's pretty naff but I had great fun on both occasions and I'll always have fond memories of the show.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Summer glow

Summer has finally arrived here in Britain.  After such a long, cold winter it's a real relief waking up to blue sunny skies with the promise of a long lazy day in the park to look forward to.

The advent of summer does bring with it certain perils, not least of which is the thought of baring one's pasty white winter body in light summery clothes.  This year I decided to be clever and prepare and bought myself a bottle of Dove Summer Glow.

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The bottle promises moisturiser with a hint of self tanning agents gradually builds a light tan.  Naively I thought that this was just a matter of applying it like a regular moisturiser and within a week I'd have a Jennifer Aniston-esque natural looking tan. 

Ha! Wrong!

Somehow I've ended up looking like a cross between an inverse tiger, (orange and white as opposed to orange and black, geddit?) and well, frankly bizarre.   

Here's a picture to show you what I mean.

That 'shadow' between my fingers is no shadow...  The 'moisturiser/tanning agent' has ended up between my fingers and stained them a bright orange!  It really does make me look like I have webbed fingers.

There's also a very definite line up the back of my leg.  I have no idea how that happened because I certainly apply it evenly all over.

Before you ask, yes, I did all the things they advise before tanning - exfoliating, moisturising...

I'm now frantically scrubbing myself trying to get rid of my fetching mottled orange appearance.

If anyone has any hints or tips or how to use this damn stuff, I'd be interested to find out what they are.  I've had a lot of compliments on how 'healthy' I'm looking, ( I just try to hide my webbed hands and not stand in direct sunlight so as not to highlight my inverse tiger look, ha, ha) so I'd like to know how to use this properly.

If you know how to apply it and want to take the plunge, you can buy it in the UK here.  I couldn't seem to find anywhere that sold it in the US.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Thank you!

It was with great excitement that I got home from work on Friday to find a package from the lovely Ines of All I am - a redhead waiting for me.  I'd won samples of Puredistance in a giveaway on her blog and she'd very kindly sent them along with loads of other perfume samples to try.  The last time I won anything, I was about 11 and I won a book token at school for creative writing, so it was very exciting to receive this.  I can't wait to try them. xx

Here's a picture of spring daffodils I took about a month ago by way of thank you.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

On growing old.

There's been a lot of fuss here in Britain lately about the recent election and the hung parliament but the biggest shock, for me, came when I realized that David Cameron, the new Prime Minister is younger than me!  I'm... erm... 44 (and some months)  and David Cameron is 43 years and 7 months old.  I had to retire to a darkened room and fan myself to try and recover from the news, I tell you.

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After I'd came to terms with such outrageous news, I got to thinking about age and wisdom.  

Somehow I've always felt that there'd come a point as you grow older that you'd accumulate such knowledge and such wisdom that the questions of the universe would suddenly become clear and you'd just know what to do in any given situation.  How to behave at a dinner party?  Ask me, I'm an old person.  Should I take the job?  I know the answer to this, I'm old.  Budget deficit?  Easy, I know what to do, I'm old.  

But now that I'm officially... erm... mature, I realize that I'm just as confused as I was when I was eighteen.  The only difference now is, I just know how to bluff better.  All my contemporaries are the same - making it up as we go with no real clue as to whether we're doing the right thing.  This makes me think that our erstwhile leaders must be the same - bumbling along, desperately hoping they've made the right decision.  Scary stuff.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Christina Aguilera perfume - the lowdown

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I'm most definitely not a fan of anything celebrity endorsed, so when I was given a sample of Christina Aguilera perfume, I must confess, I did approach it with suspicion.

My first impression, when I dabbed it liberally on both wrists was warm & sweet and somehow it reminded me of my grandma.  I really don't like sweet perfumes but as time wore on, the sweetness subsided and just the warmth remained.  Pleasant enough, if you like that sort of thing...  

It was only when I read the fragrance notes that I realized why it reminded me of my grandma.  The top note is vanilla - my grandma loved baking!!

Overall, I think it's a safe, uncomplicated perfume for teenage girls who think that 'sexy' is nothing more complicated than wearing a short skirt and glittery make up.   

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Livingston - the next big thing?

Last night I worked on a Livingston gig.  

They're what I can only describe as 'Emo rock' and boy, did they kick arse.  I'm extremely cynical about a lot of most of the acts that I work with.  When you do as many shows as I do, you get so tired of the generic sounds and looks but this lot were different.  Charismatic, energetic...  

Take it from me, they're about to go HUGE. 

Monday, 19 April 2010

Modern Penny Farthing

I saw this guy outside Hampton Court Palace on Saturday.  

I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable cycling on something nearly as tall as myself and really hard to climb onto but I love the fact that people still ride them.  What was great was that he didn't belong to any enthusiasts club or anything - he was going for a cycle in the spring sunshine and his choice of transport just happened to be a Penny Farthing. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Thomas More - thinker with a really shiny statue

Today, I've got this picture of Thomas More for you. Thomas More, for those who don't know, came up with the idea of 'Utopia' - an ideal state where men and women are educated alike, there's complete religious tolerance and communal ownership of land. Wishful thinking on his part because he was executed by King Henry VIII, (yup, the one with all those wives) for not agreeing that he, Henry VIII, was the supreme head of the Church of England.

Anyway, let's not think about his grisly end and contemplate, instead, the shiny golden glory of his statue and the possibilities of Utopia. 

Monday, 12 April 2010

Dead end jobs

Choosing to live the so-called 'artistic' lifestyle invariably means that from time to time work is slow and you have to dip your toe into the pool of 'real' work or in my case, temping.  Usually the jobs are just boring but occasionally you get a real humdinger. 

Many years ago, when I was young, scared and naive, I was sent as a receptionist to the London offices of a very well known credit card company.  I arrived at 9am on the dot and was shown into a tiny little office that was more like a broom cupboard, with no windows.  The phone contact list was thrown (literally) at me, I was given a cursory lesson on how the switchboard worked and left on my own to figure things out.  When I say, left on my own, I mean really left on my own.  Not one person came in to check that I was ok, whether I needed to go to the toilet, etc.  Now I get hypoglycemia and if I don't eat, my speech becomes slurred and I forget things.  

At about 4.30pm (remember I started at 9am), a rather sour faced woman put her head around the door and looked at me disdainfully, "I've had complaints from customers that you are slurring.  Have you been drinking?"

"No, I'm so sorry.  I just really need a break.  I haven't eaten all day and I go a bit funny when I need food."  At the time, I didn't know that I was hypoglycemic.

The sour faced woman looked at me incredulously, as if I was something nasty that she'd stepped in, "This really is most inconvenient.  We're extremely busy here and no one has time to do your job for you whilst you put your feet up."  (By law everyone has to have a fifteen minute break every four hours.)  

If I'd been older and wiser, at this point I'd have gathered up my things, informed her of my legal rights, threatened to report her and walked out but I was young and new to the world of work so I pleaded.  After a long moment during which she glared intently at me and I quailed under the onslaught, she begrudgingly agreed to give me a ten minute break.  Naturally she told me off for being late when I got back but ten minutes really isn't long enough to go to the toilet, find a sandwich shop, wait in line for the sandwich to be made and then eat the sandwich.  

I did tell the temp agency about what happened but they said that the company had reported me for drinking on the job!!  The temp agency continued to employ me so I guess they believed me.

This incident pales into insignificance, however beside the story of working for the man who I now refer to as 'that nutter'.  The offices were in a basement off Oxford Street and again, I was employed as a receptionist.  As soon as I arrived, I had a bad feeling about the job.  There were stacks and stacks of paper and files everywhere.  You actually had to pick your way over them to the desk.  I asked for a pen and paper to take messages, write notes, etc and I was met with a look of incomprehension. Finally I was given a pencil and a piece of paper that the guy had in his bag.

The company was a computer sales company.  They advertised computing equipment for sale in computer magazines.  Customers called up or filled in the appropriate form (this was in the days before the internet), money was taken and the equipment duly dispatched.  Only that it wasn't.  As the day wore on, it became increasingly obvious that the company was taking money from the customers and not sending on the equipment.  Not only that, they'd recently closed down and opened up again under another name to avoid legal action.  Every single call was from irate customers threatening demanding their money back and threatening legal action.  

Eventually I had a call from a man who said that he was trying to start up his own business but because of the money that he'd lost to this dodgy company, he was on the verge of going bankrupt.  I'd become very uncomfortable about playing even a small part in this fraud so I gave him all the details about the company that he needed to pursue legal action.

Almost immediately I heard the boss screaming down the phone at someone, "She's trying to destroy me!  I'm not going to let it happen!  I'll sue you!  I'll destroy her first!".  It really unnerved me.  

The phone then rang and it was the temp agency.  All these years later, I can still remember what followed word for word, "You need to leave the office immediately.  We don't think it's safe for you to be there.  Pick up your things, don't stop to talk to anyone, just leave.  Once you've left, come into our offices immediately.  If you are not here in twenty minutes, we will be calling the police."  I was shaking so hard that I could hardly put the phone down properly.  I got my things, slipped out as quietly as I could and ran the whole length of Oxford Street.  It turned out that the temp agency had just had a call from the police regarding the ongoing fraud, then they'd received what they described as a 'deranged' phone call from him about me.  For years I avoided that particular spot on Oxford Street.  Even now, passing it gives me the chills.     

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hidden London - Battersea

The tourist sites of London feel faintly familiar to most people, whether they've visited them or not. 

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London is at it's best, however, off the very well beaten tourist track.  I want to do an occasional series about the hidden corners of London.

I'm going to start with Battersea - the part just by Battersea Bridge, on the south side of the river.

This area was very heavily bombed by the Nazi bombers during World War 2, trying to get Battersea Power Station on the opposite side of the river.  They didn't hit it.

Battersea Power Station

Thanks to government re-building programmes up until the 1970's, the area is now largely made up of dreary council flats, light industrial sites and expensive, characterless new builds.

Thankfully, not everything was destroyed during the Blitz. The rather wonderful St. Mary's Church survived the conflagration.  There's been a church on this site since 693 AD.  William Blake was married here and Joseph Turner painted on this spot.

St. Mary's

I'm rather fond of this spot for a number of reasons.  Firstly, it's an oasis of calm in traffic bound hell of the area. Secondly, their admissions or rather, welcome policy is endearingly inclusive.

I don't know how well you can read this notice from my photo but it says that they welcome 'all people regardless of age, relationship status, colour, ability or disability, sexual orientation or how much or how little faith people have when they join us'.  Rather lovely, I think.

They also have a number of houseboats moored outside the church.

It seems like well established community.  They even have post boxes.

Battersea has always been an unusual area.  In 1913, Britain's first black mayor, John Archer was elected Mayor of Battersea.  It's one of those somewhat pragmatic areas with the super-rich living cheek-by-jowl with council estate tenants.  Definitely worth a visit if you want to experience another side of London. 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Cosmetics reviews

I have a love-hate relationship with cosmetics.  

I love them because of they promise so much - luxury, pampering, self-indulgence & the possibility of looking like a better version of yourself.  On the other hand, there's an awful lot of bulls**t, the promotion of only a very few 'acceptable' ways to look and the promise of looking like an eighteen year old, which any sensible person over the age of nineteen knows is rubbish.

On that note, I'd like to share with you some of the beauty products I've tried recently and my experiences with them. I have notoriously difficult skin - dry, extremely sensitive to environment influences like central heating and prone to rosacea. My hair is similar but without the rosacea - dry and prone to frizz at the drop of a hat.

I'd like to start with Boots No. 7 Protect and Perfect.
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This is an interesting one.  In 2007, BBC's Horizon programme, which is a very well respected science programme, claimed that the No. 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum actually worked. This naturally sparked a buying frenzy and Protect and Perfect has been at the top of the best seller lists ever since.

So did it work for me?  

Unfortunately not.  The cleanser and the beauty serum felt harsh against my skin and both the day & night moisturizers made my face sting.  After a week, my cheeks were noticeably redder and felt inflamed.  I certainly didn't notice any reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.  
Rather worryingly, after about a month, I found that my skin was more sensitive to things like central heating.  I also don't like the fact that the range doesn't differentiate between skin types - ie. there's no special creams for oily skin, dry skin etc.  It's just one cream for all skin types and let's face it, dry skin needs are very different to oily skin needs.

However, I'm not going to dismiss Protect and Perfect out of hand though because my friend S swears by it and even I can see the difference in her complexion when she's not using it.  

After my (didn't) Protect and Perfect experience, I was looking for something to try and calm down my now inflamed looking complexion.  I don't have a lot of money at the moment to spend on cosmetics, so I was nosing round my local branch of Boots when I spotted this.

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Eau Thermale Avene's Gentle Milk Cleanser.  I bought the cleanser along with the Soothing Hydrating Serum. Immediately I noticed a difference, even after the first application.  The cleanser is very soothing and feels good on the skin.  My complexion looked far less ruddy and felt far less dehydrated.  After about a week, people were commenting on how healthy I looked and my skin felt far more supple and far less susceptible to environmental influences.  My rosacea has calmed down to the point where I just look like I have healthy, rosy cheeks.  Definitely a big yes from me.

I can't abide celebrity endorsed products so it's with a heavy heart that I have to tell you about this.

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It's James Brown's Richly Moisturizing Shampoo.  James Brown is Kate Moss's hairdresser and boy, does he let you know about it.  The shampoo is however (sadly!) excellent. In fact, I'd go as far as to say, it's the best shampoo I've ever used.  It's a little odd to use because you leave it on like a conditioner for three minutes and I keep forgetting that I then need to apply conditioner after that but no matter.  It leaves my hair soft, silky and most importantly of all, not frizzy!!  Absolute bonus in my books.  Just a shame he felt he had to go down the celebrity route because the product is good enough to stand on it's own merits.  

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Films, fashion and faux pas.

I just love the Oscars.  I love the films, the fashion, the personalities - the whole over-the-top glamourous splendour of it all.  The live broadcast is in the middle of the night here in Britain but I don't care.  I stay up all night wrapped in a blanket, eating popcorn and watching it all. 

This year's Oscars were a particularly good watch.  It's a shame that 'Mugabe and the White African' didn't make it through to the final short list for best documentary but they did incredibly well to get as far as they did. I was overjoyed to see a woman, Kathryn Bigelow finally winning Best Director.  The mean part of me was particularly pleased that she beat her ex-husband, James Cameron of the mighty Avatar / Titanic / Aliens etc fame to the post.  Bizarrely 'The Hurt Locker' hasn't been released in the UK yet but I certainly intend to see the film once it has been.  Not sure how it managed to win a BAFTA without being released here...

Sandra Bullock was another treat this year.  I thought her outfit was one of the best Oscars outfits ever.

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That gorgeous Marchesa gown would look even better on me, (in my dreams!) but no matter, she looked exquisite. The beautiful, delicate embroidery on the bodice and the shimmering, metallic fabric just took my breath away but I think that the final touch of genius was the fuchsia lips.  The obvious choice would have been a pillar box red but the pink made it fresh, youthful and modern.

Another surprise was Kristen Stewart.  Her habitual surly glare to camera really gets my goat, (smile, girl, do you know how many people would kill to be in your position?) but last Sunday she actually managed to not only crack a smile but finally lose the irritating rebellious teenager attitude.

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However, my favourite person of the evening was the incomparable Gabourey Sidibe.  

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I love the normalness of her.  Yes, she's made some slightly duff fashion choices here, (the colour does nothing for her complexion and that applique across the waist & on the neckline only serves to broaden her) but who hasn't made some bad sartorial choices? She's brimming with joy just to be at the Oscars and I love that. If I ever got to go to the Oscars, (yea right), I'd be the Gabourey of the show.

In the absence of any real faux pas this year, I'm going to leave you with my favourite from times gone by - Bjork from the 2001 Oscars in her infamous swan dress.

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Let me introduce myself

I've been reading my old blog posts and I've realized that I may be coming across as a bit schizophrenic so let me introduce myself and clear a few things up.  

I live in south London.  I work as a freelance technician in the entertainment industry but when work is slow, (like now) I do temp work, mainly in offices.  I was married many years ago but we divorced so I'm single and dating.  I have a wonderful family who are, unfortunately, scattered all over the world and many dear friends who keep me sane.

There!  That's better. 

Friday, 26 February 2010

Things are happening...

Apologies for the unexpected break in blogging.  Things have been moving at a rather unexpected pace chez moi.  

The most exciting thing is, I'm actually getting some work in!  On Sunday I'm going to be making my first horror film. And no, I will not, as some of my friends have suggested, be the subject of said film.  I will be employed on the technical side.  It's only for one day but I'm very excited. I'll let you know how it goes.

So celebrate such great news, I'd like to share a photo I took some days ago.  It's nothing to do with work or films or horror, it was a sign outside a sandwich shop that made me laugh.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Life Lessons

I've always believed that no matter how bad a relationship is, you can always learn something positive.  This is what ex boyfriends have taught me...

A really handy shortcut through Victoria Station.  I still use it to this day.  

How to break into any council flat in central London.  Hey, I was going through my bad boy phase.  I didn't actually do any house breaking, I just know how to.

Wash up the cooking utensils while the meal is cooking. That way, you just have to wash up the plates and cutlery at the end. Unfortunately, this tip was the only positive thing I got out of that particular relationship because he slept with my friend.

Most importantly of all, never ever go back.  

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Soundtrack to a life

I love music. My music of choice tends to be heavy metal and hard rock but sometimes, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, I create a soundtrack, of sorts, to my life out of some slightly naff music.

When I'm waiting at the tube station to go to a job or an evening out I always find myself playing...

It's such an upbeat song and the chorus will stick in my head for the rest of the day.  How can you fail to have a good job/interview etc when you're humming 'Tonight's gonna be a good night'?  They did a version with the line 'Today's gonna be a good day' for Oprah's show in Chicago but unfortunately it's not available for download.

Yesterday I had to go to Warwick Avenue for a job interview so I just had to play Duffy's 'Warwick Avenue'...  whilst I was walking through the tube station.

I love the energy of metal, so the perfect song when I'm angry is...

You can work out for yourself when I play this...

Friday, 12 February 2010

The genius of Alexander McQueen

Picture from Conde Nast

Picture from

A talent like that of Alexander McQueen only comes along once in a while.  R.I.P.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


I did a temp job yesterday, answering telephones for a small electrical company.

As the day wore on, it became obvious that the previous long-term temp had been driven from her job by bullying. To make things worse, my boss for the day, (let's call her Sharon), expected me to join in bitching about the previous temp, (who we'll call Melissa).  I was expected to be outraged that Melissa had had time off because her son was ill; taken an hour for lunch, (as a temp, you're not paid for your breaks), and phoned the agency first to let them know she couldn't come in (it's part of the contract with the temp agency).  Luckily I'd never met Melissa so I could smile and say vaguely, 'I couldn't really say, I don't know her...'  I was well aware that the next day I'd become 'that stuck up bitch from the agency' in Sharon's lore but I didn't really care - not much anyway. 

Bullying was part of the corporate culture at that firm. Sharon had made a mistake on some invoice and her boss gave her a very public dressing down in the office in front of me.  It was so embarrassing.  I'm certainly not advocating that she shouldn't have been pulled up about it but I think that the professional thing to do would have been for her boss to take her into his office, close the door and talk to her in private. 

I was in two minds whether to mention the situation to the temp controller at the agency.  In the end, I didn't say anything on the grounds that I should only concern myself with my immediate job.

I've always made a concerted effort to stay out of office politics, where ever I've worked.  I find office politics to be a pointless waste of time and a sign that people just don't have enough to do in their day.  

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Private lives

You'd have to been living under a stone this past week to have missed the uproar, here in Britain, over John Terry, the England football captain's private life.  For those not in the know, John Terry is a married man with two young twins, who had an affair with a French lingerie model.  The news of this affair hit the tabloids and he was sacked from his post as England captain in response to media pressure.

I think that this was an appalling move by Fabio Cappello, the manager of the England squad.  Don't get me wrong, I think that John Terry has behaved despicably.  The problem I have is, the way you conduct your private life should not determine whether or not you keep your job.  It may seem like a celebrity matter and nothing to do with real life but these things have a nasty habit of filtering down into the mainstream.  Before you know it, ordinary people will find themselves loosing their jobs for private indiscretions. Contrary to public opinion, people with squeaky clean personal lives aren't necessarily the best at their jobs.  In today's sanctimonious climate, Winston Churchill would certainly have had to resign because of his heavy drinking. Yes, you could argue that Terry is a bad role model for young boys but my argument is that if the media hadn't pried into his private life, it would have remained exactly that - private.  What we have here is a situation of the media feeding on itself.  My grandma taught me that you should never gossip about someone's personal life and yet today, we have a massive industry built around gossiping about the private lives of people in the public eye.

John Terry was one of the best England captains of all time - far better than the sacred David Beckham.  He should be allowed to continue.


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