Friday, 14 December 2012


Ill. Poorly. Below par. Indisposed. Sickly. Under the weather.

Without beating around the proverbial bush, I am unwell.

What started off as a common cold has snowballed into my pins giving way, delirium being heightened, a strange Michelin man look about me and the loss of my voice. Cue violins.

Last night was my works Christmas bash. 

Held at Grill on the Alley, Manchester, it was everything a firm's party should be; flowing wine, personable (accommodating) waiting on staff, drinking games (21's), crummy cracker offerings and a night permeated with, for want of a better word, 'banter'. 

Food = top notch, which is no mean feat being that there was 30 of us. Excellent work team (name check Lizzy, an absolute sugar). A special mention to my friend and part-time living doll Mo Wang for facilitating.

Amusing that intoxication allows logic to be replaced with idiocy. I felt on top of the world (albeit with a very husky/sexline tone) until I skipped into a vehicle homeward bound, became violently ill, was taken to A&E who kindly informed me I have a flu strand. 

verb (used with object)
to drive or leave (a ship, fish, etc.) aground or ashore: The receding tide stranded the whale.
(usually used in the passive) to bring into or leave in a helpless position: He was stranded in the middle of nowhere.
verb (used without object)
to be driven or left ashore; run aground.
to be halted or struck by a difficult situation: He stranded in the middle of his speech.
the land bordering the sea, a lake, or a river; shore; beach.
I didn't care for such melodramatic insinuations.
As I sit here, rendered silent, I can't help but weep as an emoticon summarises my feelings perfectly:


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Double You.

4 months.

4 facts.

I went to the Aurora Ball last month. Held at the Waldorf, London, in support of the charity Richard House. I have interdenominational views on such affairs. Restraining my trite rambling, I will paint an image that summed up the night: Several mothers of terminally ill children who benefit(ed) from Richard House were present (making up around 2% of those in attendance). As an individual who has close family who are physically and mentally disabled, I felt a slight affiliation with these women so made an effort to speak to them. On their way out, I shook their hands and wished them all the luck for the future, they beamed at me noting that I was only one of a handful of people who had spoken to them, asked about their children, and taken an interest. They had had a superb evening, had a glimpse into 'another world' but were under no illusions that this was a reality. Such selfabnegation, such humility - such a rarity. My heart hurts thinking about it.

This is what I wore;

Taken in my hotel room (Park Grand London - sterling chambers)*. 

People who feel lonely are more likely to take longer showers and longer baths (from WTFFacts)

I believe it time to admit I have an irrational fear of lisps. Wayward.

*Little did I think that 92% of women at said event, would wear black. I cannot tell a lie, I enjoyed this fact (marginally). 

Saturday, 4 August 2012


In my circle of friends, or any circle of friends for that matter, there's one that seems to … disappear. They come, they're fickle, they put their left leg in, they put their right leg out, flutter round the venue acquiring new bosom buddies, littering their night with flirting, loosening their tongue and losing the ability to control their emotions.

That friend is me. I admit it.

On reflection, I can see how vexatious this standing must be for my cronies, but, call me egocentric, I cannot help it.

Take last night for example. Libation and snacks kicked off around 4pm at work, I hop on public transport around 7 to meet a dear friend of mine in a local joint. We chitter chatter for an hour til I see the girl who washes my mane, I invite her to join us, I'm just nice like that. She brings her strange chum who I can only descirbe as an annorak. The most thrilling sentence in his stream of gab included his supporting of gypsies and paying in cash rather than credit. Interminable.

My eye is caught. I see someone who I vagualy know, but names or any details escape me. Sane members of society would leave it at that, wake up the following day in a lightbulb moment and think 'AH, that's who it was'. Not I. I stroll over, interrogate him as to how I know him and after what seems a frustating exchange, my Eureka moment came. He was holidaying in the same resort as I a mere 5 years ago. Not only that, but my best-bud had a hol-romance with him, that old chesnut.

Where is my dear friend in all of this? Sat with wash and anorak, I cleverly combine both parties to make an awkward assembly. Another bottle of wine comes and the evening takes a queer turn, I'm sat surrounded by a troupe of mis-matched proportions: a Greek Othadox priest, russian waitress, insurance broker, a dentist who converted to Greek Orthadox 15 years ago (bought yours truly a drink), all who drank, smoked and were seeminly normal. 

I found myself deep in conversation* with the priest who I decide to tell all my problems to – from my absent father, to my decision whether to study for more qualifications. I'm travelling down to crazy town making like road runner. I'm offending people with my narrow minded, parsimonious opinions.

Crocodile tears fuelled by liquor ensure. Coyote got me.

If my blonde-bombshell casts her eye of this, I apologise. I may get a set of reins like I had at the height of toddler chic. Smooch central.

Note, one drink is never one drink. It's a cyclonic episode of catastropic proportions that will form yet another story for a female who already has too many unfabricated absurd incidents in her catalogue.

*incoherrant babble

Thursday, 19 July 2012


17 June.

An audience with the Pope.
Yes, it was time to meet Benny boy.

Getting to the Vatican for 9am, a hyperactive mother wrested brother & I to drink as much holy water as humanly possible. Death by internal drowning. May point her in the direction of this article

The happy-clappy's were out in force, a 'halllejulah' there, a 'praise be to God' there. The cobbles were awash with flags, attempts at dancing and heck of a lot of individuals out of tune. They seemed happy enough.

I settled in the shade with my literature of choice. 50 Shades of Grey, naturally. At the Vatican what else would one read? Mother had kittens.

I perused the tack; Pope on a rope, nodding Pope, calendar of hottest preists of Rome (obviously bought this) that sort of paraphernalia. I notice the stall owners seem to have had their weekly bath, everyone seems positivly buoyant. I like it.

Strolling back to my fit-to-burst parent, I'm shocked at just how many people are there, all nationalities, languages, varying levels of good looking.

The clock strikes 12. The doors open and I'm deaf.

Now, it was very hot, he was speaking Italian, I was tired. His only sentence in English was 'the world is like a mustard seed'. Good on him for saying it in 6 languages though, clever chap.

Shopping. It's a must right? We dine on pizza and plonk at Nana Vini e Cucina, they had a ginger fragrance in the lavatories, nasal vim.

Breaking from the gruesome twosome (mother dropped her glasses, I scarpered) I set about ambulating. These were the champions:

La Rinascente - think House of Fraser. Nicer toilets.
Galleria alberto sordi – similar to Burlington Arcade, wolf whistle in pauper way.
Le group – Forever 21 but classier.
Altariva – Russell & Bromley. But better. Ignore the website.

Stock phrases:

Do you speak English? Parla Inglese?
How much? Quanto?
Credit card? (said an octave higher at the end, y'know, to indicate it's a question). Carta di Credito?
Expensive. Costoso!

Natural, no?

Met the duo and hiked up the Spanish Steps (not what it's cracked up to be) followed by gawping at the splendor of Via dei Condotti. A high-fash-gasm. 

The night ended with my watching football with some young ladies from the Netherlands, discussing the Jubilee. Peculiar.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


As I sit here listening to Sounds of the Sixties (the best 2 hours of radio in any given week in my opinion). I look back to my third day in Roma*

16 June

Hopped on a bus.

Sat next to an Australian lady who had deep vein thrombosis.

Turned out she lived close to an old school friend of mine. She adopted kangaroos who had been orphaned, touching. Not that I asked, but I was treated to a slide show of said roo's.

Before I left for Rome, I was showred with advice, tips and recommendations. Il gelato di san crispin popped into every email and converation, so I steered the gaggle to sample. No dissapointment. Bloody fantastic. I chose pistachio, ginger and cinnamon, a wicked combination. As in 'down with the kids 'cool' and a dieters devlish delight.

We dodged a few tourists (understatement) around Trevi and stepped into Santi Vicenzo e Anastasio a TreviConsidering it is merely a few metres from a throng of activity, it's a messianic and inobtrustive corner in an otherwise overcrowded spot.

Toddling back to the sweltering bus, we decided to take a look on the green route, the historic-rich catacombs tour. Kind of a snore.

Jam-packed day so far no?

Shuffled around the Basillica, shoulders covered, natch. Lost mother for 20 minutes (wanted poster fodder in the making)

When reunited she was charming some security officers into letting us in to mass. Man alive. It worked, and despite it being in italian, was very halcyon. However, this irked me to high heavens, if my nail sissors hadn't have been taken off me I'd have leant over to snip this rat tail off him. 


Being a Saturday night, & the air was getting hot (ta Whigfield) I was in the mood for a little jig. Heading to Trastevere, we found a square where those under 35 went, it was a hive of activity, sweeping along the river we perused the stalls and ate at a joint which was cheap as chips and can only be described as pulsing. 

I became tipsy merely on the atmosphere of the area (plus maybe a litre of plonk was involved), it was just so alive. If you want an entertaining, real night out, I'd recommend this area (around Via Della Lungaretta). However, I would not recommend wearing silk. One word, oil (see below).

In bed for 12, thrilling.

*I say Roma in homage to my Italian friend Mauro. Despite my best efforts, I could n'er get him to say Rome … as in gnome. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


15 June.

34 degrees.
I'm up with the lark. My new room-pals (brother/mother) are not.

Christopher Fry once noted 'I travel light, that is, as a man can travel who will still carry his body around because of its sentimental value'. Packing is a challenge for most, granted. With around 300 dresses to my name I tend to overthink my travels. Limited to Jet2's idea of hand luggage I was darn well impressed at my ability to fit 10 options in.

Grecian 'I'm so boho and casual' look acquired with minimal/maximum effort, I spritzed the last of my factor 50 on & braced myself for the day ahead.

As I head for the culture immersion a cry trills behind me. 'Tea Victoria, I need a cup of tea', I'd forgotten the relevancy for hot drinks, but Mother hadn't. Without learning any lessons from the night before we enter into a quite cafe. Armed with the word 'tea' what did we expect? Denby china perhaps? Portmeirion? In hindsight I'm not surprised she was given a thimbleful of peach iced tea. Icharrads was never our strong point. However I did discover an ice lolly that had replaced the wooden stick with a liquorce stalk. Kept me quiet for an hour.

Unsuitably refreshed we shimmied down to the hustle. Shooing away the silly men trying to sell you hats/umbrellas, we jumped aboard a hop-on, hop-off bus, the 101. Taking us from San Pietro to Via Barberini.

Taking on the role as pathfinder (self given title), sibling took us on a goose chase of the Panthenon. Along the misguided way we hit Piazza Navarro, Trevi, a strange protest about pensions, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, ate a damned good pizza and toured the bleeding Colosseum before we found the P-dog.

Unknowingly making a miniture whistlestop tour of Rome, I'd hotty-spotted, learned the words hot and cold (caldo ... freddo) and walked for a solid 7 hours. Not too shabby.

note: my brother isn't blind.

I'm not a real fan of snaps. Snap however ... I'm pretty good at.

Unsure, s'nice 

My mother. The tourist.

There's a solider standing here at all times. Poor male.

I fell over whist taking this.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Roman Holiday.

14 June.

Many happy returns of the day to myself.
Coffee date at 8.30am, check.
Beauty treatments, check.
Passport, check.

Chortle in the pharmacy? Check.

2pm flight, tick tick boom.


Greeted at the airport by a shabby looking, un-shaven/washed middle aged man who neither spoke English or posessed the the ability to drive. Still, he bore my name on a piece of card. I was happy enough with that*.

Jumped into his suprisingly modern BMW casual as you like, had a little bump on the way out, no bother. It's only when your driver is straddling the middle and outside lane whilst playing on his phone and seemingly playing chicken with every other road user that I found your nerves can get the better of you.

I'm no homing pigeon, but this chap wasn't either. I eneded up finding the hotel myself, yet paid him 5 euro more than quoted. I must've just been overjoyed that I remained unharmed.

Based on a busy street in the West of Rome (Domus Aurelia), we set about our relaxing jaunt with a nice gin & stroll around the foreign streets, relishing the warmer atmosphere.

A 15 minute ramble to the Vatican, Mother almost passed out with joy. Wittering on about Benedict, we eased her away to discover the Ponte Parione area, finding a Trattoria, cos we're really cultured. Course it was a great idea going to such a joint, considering not one of us can speak a word of Italian, understand a word of Italian, or read a word of Italian. As it turned out, the punt I took on my meal was victorious. Choosing Saltimbocca, I was presented with veal wrapped in parma ham and sage. Ironic as I'd thought my meal was a vegetarian dish and mother had specified one want/need only ... meat. Hers came in the form of plain pasta**.

With seriously delicious wine, a meal that translates as 'jump in your mouth and a buoyancy that comes with the first day of ones holiday, I felt a flutter of ebullience for the days ahead. 

We spotted this flag on the way, still no idea where it's from or why it's there ...

*I've always wanted to be picked up at the airport by sign. Stems from a lifetime of waiting around for those supposed to be picking me up being incessantly late. The record so far is 3 hours. I live 20 minutes from the bloody airport.

** I should've used this site for food-advice, clued up and amusing.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


It's been a heteromorphic, heady cocktail of varying mental states over the past few weeks.

To summarise: 

I was noted as a 'twat of the tram' on this blog 'Priority Seat Thieves' (May 24 entry).
A someone saccharine start to a courtship soured.
I turned 24. Celebrated it at The Grill on New York Street. Nothing like a slab of rib eye flesh to man up over certain situations.
Lost my car keys (to this date, they remain lost)
Went to Rome for a 6 days. 

I don't tan. I turn into a human dot-to-dot. & with 37 degree heat, my abundance of freckles multiplied to wild proportions. Apparently they're quite endearing, I'm impartial to such views, naturally. 

In a non-cliched act of relaying, I'll be narrating my interval in Italy, omitting the snorefest facts, and presenting my own chateaubriand of calamities. 

The spread will present:

Fashion scar(e)s
Mothers quest to find tea, with milk, and hot
Orienteering skills (lack of)
and inappropriate literature at the Vatican

We'll call the following extract, merely part of the Bernaise. 
Michelangeo once described Rome as his tormenting lover and with sights like this, I'm inclined to agree.

Male sightseeing (top 3):

This sonny jim was just minding his own business at Il Fico

This chap was a man of few words. English words that is. 

Cheeky spot at the Vatican whilst waiting for Benny boy.

It's all culturally uphill from here. Ish.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Word Association Game.

Hormones. Semi or skimmed. Falling over. Angst. Flowers. Telling the time. Losing a game. Ice. Green. Teal. Doreen. Focus. Speed. Exit. Wolf. Breezy. Graze. Venus. Delight. Highlight. Blind.

Toothpaste. Fresh.

Monday, 4 June 2012


I like receiving cards. 
I really do.

but 'To Victoria, from X' doesn't cut the mustard. 

In our hungover states of perpetual hatred, a friend and I bandied around a few tough love card greetings & cackled throughout. 

Break a leg (No, really you bitch).
Good luck (you'll need it).
You're leaving. End of message.
On your engagement (I give it a year).
Sorry to hear of your loss (was I left anything in the will?).
Marriage: years of heartache, mediocre sex, and giving a woman your house.
New home. Hope the psycho in the ceiling isn't murderous.
New job. Same shit. 
You can recover now, I've already taken your job.
Happy Anniversary. I hate you.


Mo Wang, entrepreneur. 

Saturday, 2 June 2012


The below image aptly abridges my current mood.
It might have something to do with a hangover.
I couldn't possibly say.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Make-under. Made-up.

Do we buy brands with a personality? 
I personally find it a tad creepy. Exhibit A

Then again, I no longer trust (most) celebrity endorsements. Exhibit B.

Heidi Klum's 'Fruit Flirtation' (sugar/carb overload)

There's promises made. Far fetched promises. They usually include changing your life, typically displayed in cringe-inducing adverts with unnatural smiling and gushing, coupled with eyes that lie. Then there's guarantees, as if you'd actually return toothpaste if you didn't wake up with sparkling gnashers after 2 weeks. I'm not saying I don't buy into it, but I'm aware that if I purchase a Dior lipstick it's highly unlikely my lips'll morph into Johansson's ample chops.*

As mentioned previously, Mother (Anna) turned 50 last week and my good blogger-friend Vicki Day kindly arranged a make-over for her at the Bare Minerals counter, John Lewis (Cheadle). 

Anna's been stuck in a beauty rut: using cheap slap whilst being blissfully unaware of the difference between dewy and matte look, black and very black mascara, you know, beauty psalms. This makeover was to be akin to a cookery class: a treat, an education, and something delicious looking at the end of it, what more could one want from a Saturday afternoon.

Doing a spot of prep before the episode, I looked at the promises Bare Minerals made. With the 'belief that products can actually be good, makeup can be fun, business can be personal and companies can behave more like communities' I reserved my judgement, I've heard it all before

The uncharacteristically nervous Anna was immediately thrown a buoy in the form of Helen, our brand ambassador. Surrounded by intimidating brands like Chanel, YSL and even Origins, Helen introduced the brand and the philosophy aptly, drowning out the over-made, pouty princesses of the other counters. 

Explaining at each stage without any condescending tones, we were immersed in a gentle pool of information, waves of interesting tidbits (including the fabulous 'Be a Force for Beauty' campaign) flowed over us and as Annas skin was purified, my assumptions floated away in a sea of minerals and re-hydration.

Less is more. 

The products spoke for themselves. When something does what it says on the tin it's a shock, but as baked beans claim to be nothing other than baked beans, Bare Minerals' makeup states what it is, and does it**. 

Correspondingly, as Helen communicated, the brand gained authenticity, became pulchritudinous and bowled me over. Overwhelmingly honest and transparent. 

What more could you want from a brand? 

A journey, a promise fulfilled and candid. Bare Minerals, you've pinned the tail on the donkey correctly. Exemplary.

Annas expedition:

I know nothing. 

What the flip is she getting from that draw.

I'm barefaced. What of it.

(I've not seen Annas forehead in years, this is the only reason for this snap)

Who's the fairest of them all?

Helen's a babe, I hope I end up resembling her.

Say what you see.

Swirl and tap, swirl and tap.


Anna: 'I've worn the same eyeshadow for about a decade'.

This is dewy? Am I in a library?***

I'll take the lot.

I'd like to thank, Vicki, the JL PR co-ordinators Karina Perry and Carolyn Plant, and Helen. We walked away buoyant and more importantly, her regime has been 'made-under' to over-achieve her expectations.

*I live in hope
**too blunt a contrast?
***forgive me, I'm ill.