Friday, December 31, 2010


No NYC New Year for me, we are spending it in Utah.  'Life elevated' is the motto on the Utah sign and I can't think of a better Resolution for 2011. This year I intend to try and elevate the lives of everyone in mine. I want to give back, give better, help, preserve and maintain life in all it's manifestations.
Blessed be the Great Mother of Heaven and Earth, peeps! XXX

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


2 ALMOST EMPTY kipple drawers
(kipple = Martin Amis word for drawer miscellany)

NEWSFLASH: The Real (British) Husband of New York has surreptitiously emptied my kipple drawers.

When? I don't know but his ears were sticking out at a particularly angry angle on Saturday so I think it must have happened then, when I went round to Hot & Crusty. He must have been quick though, because I was only gone for five minutes. Plus this must mean that he also emptied the bin in that time - OMIGOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM? He never, ever empties the bin despite my notices on the wall above it.

On the other hand, the dustbins for floor 11 live outside our kitchen door so he could have opened the drawers, removed them, emptied the contents directly into the outside dustbin, then speedily replaced the drawers. However, that would have taken some planning. How long was he planning his kipple raid for I wonder? Who else, if anyone, knew? He showed no signs to me and I am trained, that he was planning a kipple raid. No obvious signs that is, other than the sticking out, angry ears and slightly raised eye-brows.

I truly admire the temerity of a man, who has been heavily warned about ever touching a kipple drawer again in his life (five years ago), who would then empty more than one during the week before Christmas. A week when I have hardly seen him at all, yet bought, wrapped and prepared everything for a Christmas with his family. It takes the kind of guts that I didn't even know he had. Rest assured, I will be testing these guts to their very core this afternoon when I proceed in an orderly direction directly to his office. There, I will assist his secretary with straightening up his office pre-Christmas and empty all 25 of his kipple drawers into the bins on the 43rd floor. Not before I have irritably questioned him about the location of the radiator key for the upstairs bathroom though, normally a crucial part of kipple drawer emptying - syndrome.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


All I'm saying is - she looks amazing...

The fur debate rages on. I LOVE that Carine Roitfeld, while openly hating handbags, is happy to wear fur. A don't-care attitude is crucial for the truly creative. For the rest of us, who must dwell in the school-child-going, friend/relation-not offending, conscience prickling world, the don't-care attitude is hard to achieve.  I'm a deep admirer of genuinely bohemian, creative folk, rich or poor. My boundaries are too entrenched in 'normal' to not care but hats off to those who dare.

La Carine's detestation of the handbag is an open secret in the fashion world, now all over the web. The Bag Industry is huge and yet, while you can't argue with a Balenciaga Lariat, most of everything else is getting tawdry, embarrassing and ultra-revealing of too much wannabe in the wearer.  Don't worry, I'm lamenting this as much as the folk at Louis Vuitton. Heaven knows Style would be a lot easier to accrue if you could buy it for $5000 a pop in Barneys.  Fashion insiders know you can't though.

One of the most stylish people I know, a trend forecaster and mini-fashion-icon in her own world has NEVER owned a designer handbag.  Yet I also admire the whole idea of buying new, hand-crafted or gorgeous things if you've worked hard for the money to pay for them. Fashion is such a complex beast with so many faces...from the Kardashian-inspired Bling-ette to uptown Annas, perfect Gwyneth and Alexa-style shoppers and Chanel-loving popstars, there is not a lot of originality in such looks. Instead, fashion insiders lead from within by stealth. Throwing out handbags, giving up jobs, wearing naughty things and just not caring at all. I love that.....


The New York Observer has published it's Hot 150 New Yorkers list today.  Includes all the usual suspects, Mayor Bloomberg, Steve Schwartzman, Rupert Murdoch etc.. In the spirit of the season, here, in no particular order, is a list of people I will still be interested in, in 2011. There are tons of others but this lot spring to mind:
Jack Dorsey
Scott (Charitywater)
Stacey Bendet (Alice & Olivia)
Tina Brown
Lady Gaga
Tina Fey
Kanye West
Jay Z &Beyonce
Sarah Jessica Parker
Tory Burch
Bradley Cooper and Renee Z
The Clintons
Arianna Huffington
Stephanie Winkoff
Glenda Bailey
Kirsten Gillibrand
Cathie Black
Jon Stewart
Susan D Plagemann

Monday, December 20, 2010


Perhaps it's just as well I've been banned from my bikini forever.....

A nasty mole scare (skin, not hairy little grass-pusher-uppers) means my sun-bathing days are gone. Before my kids can truly celebrate though, I must warn everyone that I will simply become a fake baker and plan to carry on in my bikini, willy-nilly, until the end of my days. I must be an exhibitionist because I just don't care what I look like in my bikini. The only place I would never, ever wear one is here in New York City and luckily, there's just absolutely no call for them at all. In fact, even Gisele Bundchen would look a bit ridiculous strolling down Bleeker in her bikini - you and me both, eh Giselle!!

So now I must master the art of fake tanning properly...I love a tan and even through winter I am a 'funny yellow colour' according to my dear Mutha. That's because I use enough fake tan every day to achieve that jaundiced look I love. However, next summer I am going to need the full tandoori. Never had any success at all with this, though close fashiony friends who do, always look amazing. It can't be that difficult to get an artificial tan these days, can it? Don't tell me to be pale, I am a grim Northerner with nothing much to offer physically. Brought up in the 70s, as I've told my therapist a million times, a tan equals Liz Taylor, Mike Baldwin and the Jet Set. I want one and I can never change.

By the way, sorry about the state of world politics, eco-systems and all the Important Horror in the world. I care deeply about all this stuff. However, this blog is devoted to the blah blah side of life. I hope you'll feel like me,  that your own little wibbles and wobbles are just that and everyone of us, able to read this blog, where-ever we are, are probably bluddy darn lucky. Honestly, it's exhausting trying not to swear on here but I'm scared my posts will get stuck if I do. Suffice to say, in real life, I probably wouldn't use a word like 'darn', other than to say to RBH when he's rummaging through the kipple drawer for a needle, 'People no longer darn socks, buy some new ones you snugly-fitted-clothed person Alf Garnett might not like'. xxx

Saturday, December 18, 2010

RUNWAY NIGHTS (snow joke)

Snow and airports - an unhappy combination

Awoken this morning by the glare of RBH (Real British Husband)'s i-pad. "No flights coming out of UK today, it's snowing badly". Since moving to NYC we've become a little bit obsessed with flying weather conditions around the world. "No-one's going anywhere today in Japan" he says "Though that hurricane is over in Uzbekistan.."

About this time last year we set off for JFK on a wintery afternoon for a night flight back to the UK. At 4pm there were a few snow flurries but by 6.30pm, our take off time, it was coming down heavily. We boarded our flight, pushed off from the gate and headed out towards the runway. Then we slowed down as thick snow seemed to bury the plane. In fact, that's what happened and after 30 minutes of battling towards the runway the pilot just had to stop.  There we stayed. For 12 hours. The crew served all the meals, ran all the entertainment but at 4a.m they just took themselves off duty. 'We're going off duty now' said one, helpfully, when I asked for a drink of water. 'You can have water while we've got it but it's by request only, we're not offering it.'  Meanwhile,  parents with toddlers and babies were openly sobbing more loudly than their kids and people's moods changed from grim acceptance to defiance. Naturally I led the 'Get us off' campaign but nothing could be done. You're about 30 feet off the ground (made that figure up but it sounds right, the beauty of t'internet) in a jumbo so you can't just get out. It occurred to me to just storm the emergency exit when the crew weren't looking and lead everyone out down the chute. My immediate family refused to accompany me so I abandoned that plan and in the end just sat in my seat with a permanent case of Wife Face. Wife Face is the facial expression you see on wives in traffic queues or supermarket car parks, sometimes in petrol stations. It's a look that combines blinding boredom with abject misery, resignation and irritation. Wife Face, why not try it out?

ANYWAY, I am bored now so you must be asleep...for those still awake we finally got off that plane at 7 a.m the next morning. Holding passengers hostage like this is now no longer allowed by the way. Our nightmare happened the day before a new 4-hour limit law was passed in the USA. We eventually got to the UK four days later but I vowed we would not bother this year.  So glad. We would have set off today and sure-as-s---t, no planes are taking off or landing in England due to snow this time.  I am feeling very sad and sorry for a number of close friends currently stranded on both sides of the Atlantic but am also smugly lying in bed with my laptop.  So sad not to be spending Christmas with my darling sis but so glad not to be stranded at the mercy of British Airways and the weather goddesses. At least, not today..........

Good luck and warm, hopeful thoughts to all who are xxx

Friday, December 17, 2010


(Well done all Zoolander fans for spotting the Magnum in the above pic - Z2 soon, yay!)

We are having a party this evening in our very small apartment for a number of Hubby's colleagues...I've moved all our furniture back so the place looks like the Scout Hall before the disco kicks off.  However, there are now so many caterers in the place that Poppy and I can't move. Therefore, we have both retreated to her basket in our tiny study where we will huddle silently, giggling occasionally and sharing her water bowl until it's safe to come out. There are large gay men who are nice but domineering, a United Nations cast of extras and some people with German accents. Things can only improve....

More later ! xxxx

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Veronica and the Gate Keeper

Living in an apartment building in New York means the neighbours will be interesting. We share a dog-walker with a TV news anchor-woman who makes Veronica Corningstone look feeble. The Gate keeper, a very old lady in a lot of make-up and a young Chinese man live in the apartment opposite ours, which seems to have two entrances. After posting spies to check exactly who comes in and goes out, OK, spying on them myself through our peephole while ensuring the draft excluder is in place and no-one can see my feet, I have ascertained that both doors lead to the same apartment. Or, there is some kind of interconnecting thing going on inside because all three people come and go from both front doors.  I say it's wierd. My husband says this is clear evidence that I need to start earning a living or reading a book.

Veronica meanwhile, lives a few floors down. She is absolutely charming and lovely in person, quietly spoken and very nice. To accidentally come across her on screen though is to jump back in alarm, call for others for back-up and run round the flat screaming  'did she really just say that?' It's always a neck-snapping, ear-splitting moment and well worth remembering when she's on - the one blip in the plan. It beats Dartmouth Park Road, where our neighbour's children would wait for the first flowers of spring to appear in our garden, then lean over the fence and pull their heads off (the flowers, not their own heads though I was often tempted). Vigilant, that's moi.

By the way, no matter what your neighbours do it is crucial to never, ever fall out with them. Steve/Pete/Paul or someone from Benham & Reeves once told me this can be Property Selling Suicide. However, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from knowing exactly what they are all up to,  most of the time. Or so I'm told...

Christmas by surprise

Our tree - unavoidable as it was blocking the pavement outside Duane Reade prior to our purchase.

It's that time of year again and as usual, Christmas has come as a complete surprise to me! Not Christmas, who's she? Where did that come from? Haven't we already had it, etc etc.  Now, here we are one week away and the cards have begun to arrive. Yes, I am talking about the family photo cards that shame every last one of us who have not had the foresight to a) get the photos together and b) send them to the card-makers. I know, I know, one can do it on-line now. But how pray, does one get all those envelopes and cards actually out of the printer may I ASK?

I can hardly stand to open the envelopes jamming up our mailbox down in the lobby. Especially the ones with NY postage. I just know each one contains smiling pictures of lovely-looking families caught off-guard, gorgeously, about six months ago. Christmas cards never occur to me until the first ones appear in the mail. Why o why can't I remember them in June? Why, when we are all together as a family, actually having a pleasant moment, can't someone shout out 'SHOOT IT FOR THE CHRISTMAS CARD FOR GOD'S SAKE!'

Every year I say to my spouse, 'Spouse, we must make our own lovely Christmas card next year, with us all dressed up in matching woolies or reindeer noses or something' he says 'Yes, let's'. He never means it though and so here we are once again, a box of charity cards on the coffee table, next to a mountain of old envelopes, post its, books and diaries with people's addresses in/on them, somewhere. Why send a card at all, is the question...are we so steeped in 'duty' that we can't just shove them in the fireplace with a box of Bryant May? Wasn't he the guitarist with Queen, married to Anita Dobson? I digress I know, just trying to remember the name of those yellow/green/red matchboxes but like Christmas, alas the memory eludes me.

The thing is, I genuinely do hope that all the people I like/love/appreciate have a nice time at Christmas - so that's why every year I try to send them all cards saying so. The cards just won't say anything else. At all.


I used to work with the fabulous Linda on a few magazines, a few years ago. Linda invented Cliche` Malone. 'OOOOh' she used to say, when copy came in 'We've had a visit from Cliche' Or 'Cliche Malone has written the entire first ten pages of the Daily Mail today' etc. So, I would like to thank Linda for her invention and to apologise for how often the spirit of Cliche` takes me over and before I know where I am, another gem has popped out. I've tried but she just won't leave me alone!


How we all chuckled at this frozen fountain we found in Milwaukee at Thanksgiving. Determined to visit all our American rellies, we had a lovely time seeing my twin cousins plus partners, babies, aunties and uncles in this bizarre, mid-west city. The streets are completely empty, except for frozen fountains or lonely, dead leaves. Post-apocalyptic, without the apocalypse. Milwaukee has a population but no-one seems to know where they are. It's too long and boring to explain how my family ended up there but they live close by Lake Michigan in a surprisingly gorgeous spot. Since going to Milwaukee, my boys have noticed how it pops up constantly in their favourite cartoons whenever a Last Place On Earth spot is needed.
We came back to NY and then I travelled to the UK to see friends and talk about a JOB. I know, don't worry, I didn't get it. The crazy, Dr No billionaire I had to impress took one look at my slightly ordinary countenance and sent me packing. It was a bizarre experience but looking at the above pic reminds me of how grateful I am to have what I've got. It's bluddy fffffreezing today in NYC but we are lucky enough to live in a warm place with stuff to eat and each other to love. I can't think of anything better.



I almost posted this on in my occasional New New Yorker slot but chickened out. Enjoy...


Flicking through my weekly fix of star mags last week, a parade of gorgeous women looking fab in fur pinged my jealousy strings. A shot of French Vogue Editor Carine Roitfeld and Visionnaire Editor Cedilia Dean in matching, massive feathery/fur monster coats almost made me weep. Everyone wears fur in NYC, from magazine editors and models to, oh, everyone.  In a city of regular snow and zero degrees a fur coat is tempting. Padded jobbies cannot quite protcct you from the wind off the Hudson River.  I come to a decision. Forget all that right-on-PETA conscience prickling nonsense, I am going to get a fur coat.  I will put it on my credit card and pray.

 Down in New York’s fur district there lurks a pop-up shop advertised in the New York Times, selling warehouse racks full of cheap furs. I walk in and a Russian ladyboy greets me. She’s about my age, in full makeup with more whiskers than me and worn down shoes, so I take pity on her and we start looking. A black mink parka type thing catches my eye. It’s gorgeous but a hot wave of sweat and shame stings me during payment. Would I wear it in London? No. Would I show it to my friends or family? No. By the time I’ve reached my subway stop I know it will never be worn. Have I gone INSANE? As a freelance writer, alone in f-f-f-freezing New York City, fantasy has got the better of me. As the world’s biggest impulse-and-return-it shopper by the way, I resolve to return the coat. Guess what? Finally got back to the shop today and it has gone. No shop.  Lock, stock ‘n’ barrel. I paid $700 for my coat – anyone with as few scruples as me, who does not know anyone I know, interested?


Big skies

Before we moved to NYC,  my vision of the city was of dark streets dwarfed by huge light-blocking buildings. I loved coming here, but the big blue skies didn't figure much during the shall we - shan't we move debate.  My trips were always quick dashes either in the depths of winter or during summer monsoons. A few memories of sunny stridings down 5th Ave couldn't block out the dark corners or my NY imaginings.

Now, the blue sky is one of the best aspects of New York living. Day in, day out, with the very odd exception, the sky is an amazing, crystal clear blue. Today is another corker, glorious, clear and bright. Can't wait to explore it. XXX


Jane said...
When we lived in Canada it was the same. Even when it was minus 24 the skies were bright blue. Even now when the sky is blue on a British winters day, we call it a Canada day. Sky is blue here today too (for a change) it makes such a difference J X



To drive in NYC you need a NY state permit if you reside here. No other permit, even if it is a Nobel Careful Prize for Driving, will do. Like everything else in NYC, applying for the permit takes hours of form filling and queueing up at municipal offices. No matter how experienced a driver you are you must take all the tests and start from scratch. Cliche Malone reporting for duty here but it really is Kafka-esque. There are three levels you must pass before you can reach the Place of the Permit. Each level is fraught with dangers and boringness but you must unlock the secrets to move up.

Our super efficient relocation guru Rafaela makes us get up and go to places with queues at 7.30 a.m. It's brutal but we are always at the front. Of the three getting your NY permit levels, Level One is learner application day. We started very early because there was a total of 4 queues. Level One includes form filling, a photo, payment, mini-interview, written test.  You must not show any exasperation with any city officials or queues at all by the way, or you get sent to the back/ejected completely. It's as much an exercise in self control as it is driving knowledge.

Level Two is a 5 hour lecture at a driving school, with two mid 1980s videos on wearing seatbelts and not driving drunk, plus two more written tests. Usually takes place in the evening, it was my turn last night. There was another elderly woman there who had been driving for donkeys years to do the shouting for me but MAN ALIVE it was dull. I nearly cried and not with joy or emotion. At the end I got a certificate.

Level Three is an actual driving test with an examiner. I haven't a hope in Hades of passing. The examiner will be a man no doubt, so that's a bad start. Next, apparently they just bash the dashboard and  say 'Turn left here'. Well, sorry but I can't take that kind of instruction from a man, in a car.  I must not, under any circumstances argue with the examiner or say, "What here?" "Are you sure?" etc. Then I will have to do a 3 POINT TURN and parallel park. If men appear on the pavement when I am trying to parallel park in normal circumstances, I tell them to, ahem, clear off. What's it going to be like trying to impress a man with my ability to parallel park? Impossible. That's what. I will need some kind of happy pill first or to be hypnotised. "I must respect the male driving examiner" Going to try repeating this mantra to myself for the next few weeks but I know it's futile....


Gwyneth got my life

Had a little pause last week at the thought of Beyonce turning up on the school run with Gwyneth Paltrow, as reported everywhere. Stabs of jealousy pinged my heart and not just due to Gwyn's gorgeousness, wit and talent - I mean, did you see her on Glee?!!!!

 The fact is, she's got some small bits of my previous life. Her kids go to the same school where mine once went, she's friends with my best school-friend-mum from there, a truly wonderful girl who I was very close to.  Gwyneth lives a stone's throw from our old London home. She's even/also married to a pale, moody looking English bloke but I'll forgive her for that.

Of course the main reason I envy Gwyneth is for the biggest thing she's got on me, time. If I had mine again I would hang on harder and be braver (if that's a word). In that, I might not be so panicked by the curveballs life throws (EXCUSE ball park references, livin' in America now).
Ooops, getting a bit maudlin there, sorry -   in the words of the mighty Trey Parker, 'Thank you Captain Hindsight!'


Missing Unicorns

That's me and Karen, another R(B)HW of NYC at an art event on Thursday. We were helping to celebrate the art work of Karen's friend Molly, who has spent the past few weeks/months plastering NYC with posters asking if anyone has found her missing unicorn.

What with the unicorn being a figment of mythological-speak for personal dreams, fulfilment and happiness, we wimmin found it particularly poignant being so far from home. Molly's invitation to contemplate our individual unicorns got us all ruminating deeply and that Chanel handbag popped back into my mind. I ignored it though and joined in with everyone else hoping for a better world. It was a lovely moment of dippy-hippi-dom followed by some strange Mexican cocktails. A thoroughly lovely night out!!



Poppy the outdoors, wet-weather-lovin' dog.

Our dog Poppy is a Flatcoated Retriever. Her ancestors were bred with Newfoundlands, the only dogs with webbed feet, to create a water-loving hunting dog. Poppy lives up to her ancestry and dives into any bit of water she can find. This includes puddles, slime, canals etc. Her speciality is impressing New Yorkers with her Hudson River stick-catching. On rainy days, she is first out of the door.

Poppy loves a trip to Hot & Crusty with me. I go in for coffee and muffins, she waits outside for her fans. Legions of dog-loving New Yorkers pat and love her as they pass by. This morning, it was raining hard, all the more reason to take her out and give her a few minutes of fun outside H& C. So, I am standing at the counter waiting for my coffee among the usual customers. A few mums and toddlers at the tables, the odd workman getting his breakfast.

The door opens and a woman walks in. The only way to describe her is: loony, 50-plus, mad hair, mac and sou'westerly hat. "HEY!" She yells. "WHOSE IS THAT POOR DOG TIED UP OUTSIDE?" I look around accusingly. The counter assistant who knows me and is obviously in the mood for some fun, helpfully points me out.  "Well you might want to think about getting your dog a RAINCOAT before you leave it outside in the rain!" She cries, almost tearfully. "People like you deserve to be tied up and left outside yourselves, it's just TRAGIC!"

 I've never used the word 'gape' before but I will now because that's what all the other H&C patrons did, at me. I did it too. Then the woman backed out and slammed the door. After a second's horrible silence, the place erupted in laughter. A man beside me said  "Yep and you better get it some boots too!" More laughter and 'Was she for real?' and so on.

Firstly, I don't tie Poppy up. I just put the lead over the little fence to make her feel like she's tethered. She never connects the dots and after I come out of the shop loaded down she simply joins me for the trot home, lead trailing along the pavement. Secondly, what? I mean, excuse me? A raincoat? The woman didn't give me chance to find out where one would purchase such a garment. This woman may well have been a 'pet parent' herself, I have met similar doggy-welfare-obsessed types in the dog run. Whatever, she will have slammed out of Hot & Crusty and gone about her day feeling like she has struck a blow for animal, er, wet-weather protection. Tonight she may well be toasting her toes by her 2-bar electric fire, surrounded by Bambis, puppies and bunnies, with a little halo burning over her head. I will probably be tossing and turning, dreaming that it is me, dressed in a mac and sou' wester tethered in eternal damnation outside Hot & Crusty, sniffing the coffee and muffin fumes but never quite making it inside.



Unexpectedly found myself walking down W54th Street today on my way home from a meeting so I paused outside number 254 to take a snap. It is a theatre and a bit boring-looking now but who can forget those heady days? Well actually I don't remember them in the first place, having never been but I appreciate the power and influence of Studio 54.

Disco music was born in New York and much has already been written on the subject. That has never stopped me adding in my tenpence-worth and it won't now. I just love original Disco music and I'm talking album tracks by the Ritchie Family and Starguard here, NOT Cool and the Gang.

Anyway, a few months ago I dragged some British media friends visiting NYC to see a gig featuring the ladies from Chic and A Taste of Honey (Boogie Ooogie, Oogie was the big T.O.H hit). My pals and I were expecting something fabulous but it was all a bit sad. The gig was in a hotel ballroom deep in the grim heart of mid-town and despite hard work by the organisers, everything went a bit wrong. The Chic ladies had trouble with their sound system and their sing-a-long tape broke. I just thought these disco divas, the voices of a generation somehow deserved more out of life. It was a far cry from the splendid days of 54. Who knows the back story, maybe Nile Rodgers of Chic paid the girls plenty and they just blew it all. Now I really am rambling....but anyway. Just wanted more for them somehow.

That's it really, just musing a bit here....



The season of the ankle boot is upon us once again. Not just a New York phenomenon of course but it is somehow more pertinent because we walk everywhere here. Distances are too short to bother with cabs, buses or subways and unless you are going all the way up, down or across it's usually quicker to walk. Yet I cannot reconcile this with my shoe collection. As you can just about see from the above shot, all my ankle boots are just too damn high in the heel. Even the new Pradas (far left) are deceptively high and hard to walk in. I try to buy low heels but there's a disconnect between brain and wallet when it comes to actually making a purchase.

I am not the only NYC housewife who suffers from this condition. My friend Maxine also struggles to buy a comfortable ankle boot. We went into our local Barneys Co-Op last week to look at shoes and both of us went straight for the too-high ankle boot. Same thing happened on Fashion's Big Night Out in September in Big Barneys. In to the shoe dept we went, straight to the too-high ankle boots.  Other friends and relations also tell me they also suffer from this condition at this time of the year, particularly the fashiony birds.

 Oh well, I am taking comfort from it all being an inter-seasonal blip. When the weather freezes up here and it's about staying upright, another change takes place. It's either Hunter wellies or something very nunty from Harry's Shoes. Fashion leaves town and the only sane folk are warm ones. So only a couple more weeks of Dr Scholl ball-pads, foot soaks, slow tottering and careful footing before fashion goes to bed for the winter.

By the way, Harry's Shoes is the best shoe shop here. Only sells comfy shoes so don't know why I love it so much because I rarely buy anything for myself there. I just like to wander round, feeling the flatties and trying to want them.  See website:



Awaiting pic....that's not easy with a blog is it? Where's the picture ed when you need one.....

Patti Smith popped up on my shuffle this morning - Frederick, thanks I-poddess.  Since we moved here I have been lucky enough to hear her sing and speak in person.  Unbelievable to share her air. In a room full of socialites and stars, Patti floats. She smiles and chats to everyone and spreads love. Call me a flowerchild and send me to 'Frisco if she doesn't make you feel like ditching the shopping and running naked through the park. 'Just Kids'  Patti's book was given to me by a very generous, NYC friend-guru after my breast cancer scare in June. No need for me to bang on about it much, other than to say, read it if you haven't already

I-Poddess, I-CHING

I-Poddess, I-CHING

When we got to NYC I bought a new pink nano.  She is my i-poddess because she seems to be infused with ancient wisdom.  I wake up in the morning with a question burning in my brain. Off we go for a run and with her random song selection, the i-poddess answers. Sometimes it is uncanny to hear the songs she shuffles up, to solve problems big and small.  Surely I am not the only one who believes their i-poddess carries deep, inner wisdom??? Like all spirit guides though, my i-poddess cannot answer directly. For instance this question remains unanswered: "I-poddess, with all my connections, don't I know anyone who can get me a discount at Chanel?"  Perhaps the answer is just too horrible for me to hear


Bedsit Land

Here is our New York kitchen. Perfectly adequate but only room for one of us at a time. Coming from a land of cavernous kitchens, it's been quite an adjustment and cooking is Very Hot. I now know why most New Yorkers claim they never cook and always order in. Sorry but 'Take out' is too pricey and unhealthy an option for my teen-men, who would eat their own body-weights in ribs 'n'  fried chicken if allowed. To solve the hot-cooking v.take out dilemma some other British Housewives of New York (more of them soon) came to my rescue, suggesting the Slow Cooker. See below. (I am not being ironic either, so button it, Jane.)

Like  pressure cookers in the 1960s, this is a thing that cooks slowly. You put everything in it, switch it on, 4 hours later it's ready. No heat, no smell, no smoke. It's like being a student all over again but so far I've made Moroccan Lamb, Teriyaki Chicken, Carolina Pulled Pork, Chile and a beef Pot Roast. Everyone has eaten everything without complaint.

I KNOW!!!!, I hear ya screaming out there, mag-ionistas, glamour-princesses, spoiled ritches etc, etc ex-friends of mine. You can't believe I am talking about cooking can you? Well FYI,  him indoors is still humming the theme from Butterflies when finding me a-chopping and browning but at least I know what my kids are eating. Important because, stringent EU-type meat and poultry-raising guidelines haven't quite made it here yet. I don't want to think about the meat used in take-away food so it's home produced chow all the way.

Bizarre how my life is just reversing bit by bit. Living in a small flat, cooking my own food, I'll be auditioning for the TV version of Fame and going back out with Zodiac Mindwarp soon.......



(pic cap: I know, I'm an artist aren't I? See my next exhibition of Wild Life prints at the Gugy soon)

Real estate agents in New York talk a lot of nonsense so heaven knows what pretend ones say.  Sorry, no editor to stop me... While apartment hunting with ours - Felix, a bloke who wanted to write musicals for his real living, I only had one burning question. After three hours of traipsing round with me, he got the gist.  "Look Feely" I said "Just tell me if  you think each place will, or will not, have cockroaches."  He tried to make some New Yorker-excuse about there being roaches everywhere in the city but I wasn't having it. After viewing five or six places I forced him into adding a 'Roach Rating' to our viewings. 'Don't you want to see the bedrooms?" he would ask. "Give me an honest RR then," I would say and we would just leave. A gorgeous, loft-like triplex on East 61st was my first choice. When pushed though, Felix had to come clean. "It's next to a restaurant, it's a low floor on a busy street. I can't make any guarantees."

In the end I went for an 11th floor apartment on the Upper West Side in a grand, old, typical apartment building. 'Paris in New York' is how the landlords describe it but that's pushing it. Seemed roach-free but on the day we moved in there was a massive, dead beast on the bathroom floor. Screaming for the super and phoning the landlords resulted in this: "It's only a waterbug". Apparently, they are less of an insect somehow than a cockroach. Makes no mother-freakin' difference to me.  Meanwhile, the kids had gone off to a beach club with some kind new friends so I was able to spend the day crying down the phone to my mum. We had paid a huge deposit for the flat but I was ready to about turn to the London Hotel, rubbish Gordon Ramsay restaurant (now closed) and all.

Our kindly super talked me down off the ceiling that day and since then, we have had about 5 visitations, all were dead or dying on discovery. 3 roaches in the communal areas (one had come under the front door) 1 waterbug splashing around in a toilet and 1 waterbug in our bedroom, for pity's sake. One of the roaches appeared while my friend was staying from England this summer and her shock/horror was a comfort. I mean, it's good to know it's not just me. It really is true to say all buildings here have bugs. New Yorkers won't discuss them. I spent the first six months going round parties asking everyone present what they do about their roaches. In the end someone kindly shhhed me, saying "It's not polite to ask people that."  In London we would all be screaming and swapping bug-killer numbers. Suppose everyone is just used to giant bugs roaming the streets here.



2 LONELY UGGS.  "Where is our tracky?"

Just confessed to having once worn a velour tracksuit with a pair of Uggs in a top American mag.  Turned out to be the worst admission I have ever made. It's only a small article but I've been bombarded with missives from folk saying a) I made it up and have never worn a V.T or b) I need to seriously sort myself out in every way.

Paris  Hilton made the Ugg & tracky combo famous and you still can't beat it for comfort. Now it turns out you really and truly can't wear it any more. The velour tracksuit is persona-non-gratis on normal people, on both sides of the Atlantic. There aren't many trends I mourn, most will be back again soon but I'm assured by the trendwatchers that velour trackies are gone for good. It's such a bummer because who can be bothered with finding and buying super-stylish slobwear? I know, cashmere leggings and a throw in the family tartan should be the way forward but such purchases are too far down my to-do list, to ever get done. 

I will still be wearing my trusty Uggs this winter but only with nondescript, fleecey tracky bottoms or jim-jams and some kind of manky jumper. Thankyouverymuch fashionettes. Thanks to your carping, my matching, slightly gleaming in the dark, international hottie-pole-dancer/WAG-ish, beloved two-pieces are gone. Another New York sacrifice. 


Celeb Dogs


Celeb dogs

One of my duties is minding the family dog. We share Gabe, our dogwalker with a famous TV news anchor.  She has two small, spoilt dogs. Anyway, Gabe the dogwalker just turned up this afty to collect ours with only one dog. "Where's the Bossman?" I asked, referring to the news lady's absent bossy boy-dog. "Oh, he didn't want to come" says Gabe. Because let me tell ya people,  dogs in New York City have OPTIONS.

Not ours. She is big and hairy with a B.O problem. Keeping her off the soft furnishings is a running battle. Dogs and mattresses don't go together. They create a two-way stink guaranteed to result in the departure of one or the other from a home within weeks. What then, must a doggy pushchair smell like? Only asking because I've seen about 5  near my West Side Home. It's just not on. I don't care how poorly the dog or the owner is, everyone involved looks tragic and smelly. End dogs in pushchairs now!!

By the way,  NYC dog owners don't train their dogs. They apologise wearily for their pet's savagery/barking and cling on to their leashes for LIFE. In the UK I reckon most dogs are trained and off the leash, they certainly were in our bit of North London. Brits love their pets but they are not ga-ga over them. We may be a nation of dog lovers but New Yorkers call themselves 'pet parents' and go to 'pet parenting' classes.
Bluddy ludicrous.