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September 30, 2011 | Veni, Vidi, Vesti = I Came, I Saw, I Wore

I have completed my very first fashion week!

Some observations: Continue reading Veni, Vidi, Vesti = I Came, I Saw, I Wore

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September 16, 2011 | Tarantulas and things

I like those news roundups they do at the close of each year, to pad out the dead gap of TV between Christmas and New Year, when you’re too full to channel hop and you’ve already watched Home Alone and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  They put a pleasing, symbolic cap on the year, feeding out our recent twelve months of history with the same detached smugness as the Doctor in Supersize vs Superskinny who shames the fat people by posting what they’ve eaten that week through a transparent tube.

I know we’ve still got four months to go until Christmas (though not in monthly magazine land, where we’ve just begun work on December issue – it might be early September in London, but it’s Christmas around my desk) and only two thirds of the way through the year, but we’re already looking at a pretty packed montage – cuts, student protests, a royal wedding, Japan earthquake, Egypt, hacking, riots, Gaddafi – they may have to release an extended version.

Someone (it might have been Adina so I’m not taking it too seriously) told me that much of this year’s chaos could be down to the moon being very close to the earth; the gravitational pull is apparently making us go a bit loopy. It goes without saying that whoever told me this wasn’t a scientist.

I had Gretchen and Rosa around for dinner at my place on the night the riots kicked off down Clapham way a month ago, unaware – despite phones buzzing in our handbags like angry wasps – that all hell had broken loose and my poor housemate Daniella was stranded at Wandsworth Common. We did what is now (in retrospect) an overly dramatic drive-by in Rosa’s mini, bundling her into the car like a fugitive on the run.

Clapham softened in the aftermath of the looting; momentarily losing that hard air of mistrust you notice is absent in tourists and country folk. Even Debenhams muscled in on the action with ‘We Love You Clapham’ posters pasted over their new windows. A month on, things are back to their cynical norm and all that’s left of the rush of Woodstock feeling are the boarded up windows of TK Maxx, which became an unofficial site for a mass graffiti love-in, a mixture of heartfelt community messages, badly adapted Burt Bacharach song lyrics (‘what Clapham needs now, is love, sweet love’) and the odd HANG THEM ALL!! which I think sort of misses the spirit a bit.

‘Tell you who’s going to do well out of this’ said Adina the following day.

‘Who?’ I said.

‘The glaziers’ she said, giving me a dark look, as if to imply that the glaziers were  in on the whole thing, that the grassroots violence had actually been carefully orchestrated by an Everest crime ring.

After spending the next month nose to the fashion magazine grindstone, I went away last week to Cyprus with the girls, where I baked my skin on the Dulux scale from ‘blue white’ to ‘white toast’. We spent much of the week hanging out with the 62 year old ex-pat next door neighbour Carol, who pitched up on the patio on day two of our stay wearing hotpants and 6 inch cork heels, a plate of tuna dip in one hand and a tinkling G&T in the other. She took us to a no-frills Greek restaurant on our last night and we ate a sumptuous buffet of feta salads, barbequed chicken and enough houmous and Tzatski to keep the Clapham Waitrose stocked for a month. After dinner, Mario the dancer and his accompanying band of billowing-sleeved merry men did a traditional Cypriot dance between the tables – like flamenco, but with an edge of Michael Flatley.

And did you know that tarantulas are native to Cyprus? We didn’t, until one scuttled out from under a living room sofa just after we’d arrived and settled into the house, like a surprise Big Brother contestant.

A perfect chorus of textbook girl screams rent through the living area before Zan managed to prod it into a dust pan with the end of a broom and shovel it onto the patio (‘ohmigodohmigodohmigod!’) as I bravely directed her from on top of the kitchen table. It was 2am, but we couldn’t then get into bed without pulling every piece of furniture in the entire house away from the wall in case it had family nearby: ‘don’t worry’ said Carol the next day ‘they’re more scared of you than you are of them’ – I’m not so sure; the spider seemed pretty relaxed sitting in the middle of the living room carpet, wondering why everyone was standing on sofas screaming.

Back now, with a white toast tan and a nice bit of feta weight, just in time for my very first fashion week on Saturday. I don’t really have anything to wear, but andogyny’s pretty big this season so I can always just borrow something of Ed’s – and at least there shouldn’t be any tarantulas. Wouldn’t rule it out completely though. I’ll keep you posted.

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August 1, 2011 | Vodka and Pig Ears

Last weekend  was a bit middle-aged – there was a dinner party, an antique shop session (where, embarrassingly, I bumped into someone from work, destroying any remaining notions that I do cool things with my weekends) and a golf course. Continue reading Vodka and Pig Ears

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July 16, 2011 | Singers and Sweetbreads

I got an email from Adina in the Philippines, in response to my last post:

‘It’s not quite true about the puddings you know, I found one I think you’d like, it’s  called Bingbingka, and Milli [her Sister]’s been eating it for breakfast. I am eating spring rolls for breakfast and getting fat.’

  Continue reading Singers and Sweetbreads

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July 8, 2011 | Cheese ice cream

I’m baaa-aaack!

Did you miss me?

Heck, it’s quite possible that you didn’t even notice. But for those that did, all four of you, there is no real excuse for the radio silence so let’s just blame the weather, this whole rain-hot-rain-hot thing that’s going on at the moment is pulping all my creativity. I’m having a mental blog – with bad puns as the main side effect. Continue reading Cheese ice cream

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June 22, 2011 | Star Turns

I met Gretchen and Rosa for a Mexican after work on Friday. Gretchen got stuck in the big Friday monsoon and Rosa went to rescue her so they were running late.

After calling my Mum, checking my emails, finishing all of our welcome tortillas, noticing that Fern Cotton was sitting at the neighbouring table and reading the menu, I decided to go ahead and order some wine.

Continue reading Star Turns

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June 16, 2011 | Simple Things

View from the roof (yes, that is a bed)

Last weekend was spent in Mallorca enjoying the definitive perk of working in magazine journalism: the press trip.

If you’re not sure what a press trip is, imagine a school trip, but substitute the damp youth hostel in Swanage for a five star hotel, and the educational objective for getting drunk and eating nice food, and you’re pretty much there. Continue reading Simple Things

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June 9, 2011 | Saturday

I realised on Saturday night that the reason I’d been feeling so middle-aged of late is because I hadn’t been to the World’s Best Nightclub at all this year.

It’s now very clear that an absence from this place has been altering my personality – so slowly I hadn’t noticed it, like the movement of tectonic plates – gradually turning me into a boring TV-loving bastard with the social staying-power of a soufflé.

The great irony is that everything about the World’s Best Nightclub should make me hate it: the grubby Kennington location; the rum drinks that make the floor sticky; the pokiness; the irredemably naff bamboo beach bar decor. And yet, probably down to some sort of rattan-based aysphixiation, I have never had a bad night there. I’ll arrive feeling lacklustre, vow to drink only one, drink many many more than one, stay out until closing time and wake up the following day thick-headed and light-walleted.

Continue reading SP

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June 2, 2011 | Wednesday

After 4 days spent in the indoor 10 metre triangle of illness (bathroom, bedroom, sofa) I was feeling better, and a little bit claustrophobic, so I walked to the park with Adina to time her while she went off on her very short daily run.

She doesn’t really like running on her own because there’s no-one to talk to. Adina doesn’t like doing any activity you can’t chat through. I think her solo runs are short because she can only physically run for five minutes in one direction before something important to chat about pops into her head and she has to run back so she can tell someone about it immediately, like a homing pigeon.

I found a bench to sit down on and watch the world go by while Adina ran off to do one loop, before coming back for a chat, then going off to do another loop. It was nice being outside, once I’d graduated from feeling like a vole that’s been dragged feet-first from its burrow. I watched some smug exercise couples chug past in matching lycra and a man walking a very small dog with an expression of deep embarrassment.

I don’t think I’ve ever sat purposelessly on a park bench before. I felt like an old lady at the beginning of a film with a deep story to tell, which I end up telling to a nice, if slightly bland, young girl who happens to sit next to me, about a passionate wartime love affair (with Eric Bana as the love interest and me playing myself) and ends in tragedy. And I have a deep south accent, even though we’re in Battersea.

This thought was interrupted by a text from Stacey (away visiting her grandparents) distraught about what a bastard Natalie Cassidy’s fiance had turned out to be: ‘Adam, Ronan, Ryan, who next?’ I’m personally very worried it’s going to be Gary Barlow. He’s my new Gary Lineker, after Gary Lineker Disappointed me by leaving his wife of 25 years for a 19 year old model. That hurt us, Gary. I sat on the bench and worried about Gary Barlow hypothetically cheating on his wife Dawn, until two four-year-olds with their mothers in tow met on the path in front of me to have a chat. There is something so gorgeous about hearing small children exchanging adult pleasantries with each other:

Child 1: Hewwo Hawwy

Child 2: Hello Ben

Child 1: How are you Hawwy?

Child 2: I’m fine fanks Ben, how are you?

Child 1: We’re having fish fingers at home

Child 2: That’s nice I like fish fingers

The children continued to witter on about the weather and rocketing South London house prices as the man embarrassed about his tiny dog walked past again in the opposite direction and Adina returned from her run:

‘How did I do?’

‘Seventeen minutes in total. Ten for the first run, seven for the second’

‘OK’

[pause]

‘Oh god, before I forget, I have to tell you about what happened today’

‘Oh?’
And she was off.

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May 30, 2011 | Bank Holiday Bug

Right this minute, I am meant to be at a lavish jewish wedding in central London. It’s black tie, it’s at The Langham, I’ve been excited about it for a year, ever since the tellingly thick, pale pink and gold Save The Date flopped onto my doormat last May. It’s for an ex-boss of Ed’s (considering I made the cut, you can deduce how big the wedding is) and I’m sure I will not be invited to a wedding  as fancy ever again. It also would have been the first Jewish wedding I’ve ever been to, my tiny knowledge of which includes the following: Continue reading Bank Holiday Bug

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