Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I won't bore you with the Harry's Shoes story. Suffice to say I was buying shoes for my children when the rip-off occurred. Not nice.....


Salmagundi Talk 

(Tried and failed to operate the photo-shop device on my i-picture widgit. I was trying to make my hair look a little less frizzy ok? )

Last week my friends at invited me to speak about my new book 'Steal Her Style'. This is the USA title, the British version was 'Vintage Style'.  That's an argument right there but let's not have it now. 

In the above pic, Marjorie of and I are discussing fashion with our audience. We talked about style icons, vintage shopping and President's wives among other things and spent a truly wonderful evening at the very cool Salmagundi Club on 5th Avenue. This is an amazing venue with regularly changing art shows and a fabulous selection of classics on the walls. It feels a bit fin-de-siecle inside and the pervasive charm of artists just radiates around the place.  It was a great night for making new contacts and having a generally luvly time. 

Thanks too, to Joanna Lombardi, owner of vintage store, 'Grape in the Shade' in Washington Depot, CT. Joanna lent me some classic dresses by Armani and Carolina Herrera (to name a couple) for the talk, to enable our audience to look more closely at the kind of clothes we were discussing. 

We had fun! 

Monday, September 17, 2012


Bad ass bi_ _ _ since the day I was born..

I can't fight my alter-ego, the R(B)HONY. She's been kicking New York's ass so badly lately I just have to tell you all about her....

I went to the Post Office last week. I know! This is only the second time I have ever been. Left in tears the first time but my NY bad-ass cojones have sprouted. I was born in Hull, not Tunbridge Wells for God's sake. Three years in Manhattan means it's time to put the pain behind me, stand my ground and fight.

During my first visit to the P.O it was very hot inside and freezing outside. By the time I had filled in the correct labels, found the right boxes, gone back and forth from the counter twice, sweat was trickling down my back. My friend Maxine counselled me afterwards and I never went back.
Last week though, three overdue birthday presents for the UK meant I just had to go to the P.O.  Fed Ex is too expensive, normal people go in post offices all the time and I had run out of excuses. Plus it was the post or the end of three very close and important relationships back home.

 So on the day I walk in, tootle round the tape-fence-thingy and head up to stand behind the folk in line. Meantime, a woman finagling around with the envelope shelves turns round and sees me approaching. In haste, she reaches over the tape-fence-thingy and plops her gym bag down right where I am about to stand, then turns back to the envelope shelves. I step over the bag and take my rightful place in the queue. She turns round and says
"Excuse me! I was there!"
Well, honestly. So I say to her
"No. You turned round from OUTSIDE the barrier, saw me coming and put your bag down. That's different. I, as you can see, am here now."
So she says
"I was there, I just stepped over here to get an envelope."
So I say
"When were you here, 1982? It is the survival of the fittest in here, luv and you just need to deal with that."
So she then says
"Well that is the most bad mannered, rude thing I have ever seen. How dare you take my place!!!"
So I say
"You are such a New Yorker! What, do you think that I should give way to your BAG? A thing that is not even HUMAN?!! Well I beg to differ."
She then says
"What goes around comes around, you will see, you are a very bad person!"
So I say
"And here you are dealing with your own kharma then, because I am now in front of you in the queue, a- ha!!"
Luckily, a window became free for me then but I was not popular with the post office staff, who all seemed to have sided with American Woman. Even that did not deter me. In spite of a hideously unfriendly counter clerk who demanded several correct forms, I was the victor again because I had already filled them in at home! Thanks to Maxine who had supplied me with the forms earlier on in my life. Are you still awake?

The point is, I achieved success in that post office. I walked out and told the guys at the Hertz Car Rental next door 'That Post Office is my bi_ _h now' and everyone cheered. On the way home I high-fived anyone who would do it back and made friends with all the doormen in the buildings along the way.

Watch out for my next post about the cashier who STOLE MY DEBIT CARD in Harry's Shoes....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cosmetic Surgery Confession

Or rather....pass the smelling salts

For many reasons, I recently made an appointment with a top NYC cosmetologist/dermatologist to discuss what could be done to restore youthful radiance to my 'tired' face. I am also writing a piece on how we have become just TOO CASUAL in our language about and attitudes to, cosmetic surgery treatments but I know none of you will believe that. Anyway....

Before I had even entered the office of Most Famous Doctor In NYC or the 'Filler but not Killer Queen' something horrid happened. Sitting waiting for my early morning appointment, couldn't help but listen in to the receptionist's babbling. As it sharpened into ear focus, I heard one of the receptionists speaking on the phone with a client who was telephoning to say she would be held up. Receptionist put the phone down and said to the other

 'Stupid freakin b _ _ _h! What am I, the traffic guru? How do I know how long it will take her to get here!' and so on....

 I was so shocked.  I'm easily shocked but honestly....after a few minutes bubbling with fury I went over to the desk. 'I heard what  you said about that client on the phone, who was late. It's just so awful and depressing, no it's disheartening that you can be so rude!!! '.

The recceptionists stared back at me, looked at each other and declared that they had no idea what I was talking about and that I must be crazy etc.  If I could remember any of the plot of Mean Girls or Carrie, it might have been a similar situation to one of the scenes in those movies. So I sat back down and returned to my Kindle instead of musing about what the doctors at this clinic must really think about the clients if that is how the receptionists view them.

Anyway, went in to see the doc. She was teeny-tiny, friendly and warm. I had to take everything off and stand there in my knickety knacks while she examined me. 'What, no treatments ever?' she asked incredulously, peering at the crinkles on my forehead and clearly wondering how I could have let myself get into this state. After a good look, she asked what I wanted to do with my appearance. I said, 'look less tired and lessen my jowls, without any pumping up as my face is fat enough, thanks'.. She discussed giving me a liquid face lift and showed me, around my face, where she would 'go in' with a hyperdermic needle. She would then, she explained very clearly and pleasantly, inject beneath my facial muscles and pump in a load of filler and poison.  This would have the joint effect of puffing out, sorry 'lifting' my face and paralysing facial muscles. Only temporary though, I would need to return and have it done EVERY SIX MONTHS. I was reeling. Had to sit down and breathe very deeply. Then, regarding my many and varied chins, she suggested paralysing my neck muscles. That was when I felt the light wave rising inside me, signifying imminent black-out. Thankfully managed to stop it with deep breathing labour exercises, once learned, never forgotten.

Barely able to compose a normal facial expression, I had to get us off filler and ask what the alternative would be. Ulthera was the suggestion. This is the advanced version of Thermage, famous for being cosmetic surgery's most outrageously agonising experience. Lasers, essentially set fire to your dermal layer, while you are awake. Your cells scramble, burn and try to heal themselves beneath your epidermis, while you listen to classical music on a set of headphones and pray the painkillers they have given you, work. The noise is almost as bad as the pain, I've been told. At least there's no burning smell though, like you sometimes get at the dentist. The results can be fantastic, in that your surface skin becomes plumped and taut as the scarring, healing and recovery of the cells beneath causes a collagen overdrive. What though, would your body, if it could speak to you, say about doing this to it?

It is important to mention that I paid for this appointment and the doctor was nothing but lovely, gorgeous and fabulous in every way. It was just the language that would have scared the pants off me if they had not been the only things I was wearing. Think about it. I know botox has been used for medical purposes for over a century but what does it really do to us? Does it emanate through our pores, like garlic, wafting around those closest to us? Does it's increased use mean it may begin to seep into the water supply like oestrogens in cleaning products and chemicals? Nobody knows. Supposedly the human body metabolises it. Oh. What must the longterm effect of say, five years of twice annual botulism injections be on the average human digestive or renal system?

 I am, as many others so often claim, just saying.........

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We watched the HBO docudrama 'Game Change' - the film of the book by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The book deals with all the candidates campaigns for the 2008 Presidential Election but the film honed in on the Sarah Palin story, especially the part played by John McCain's advisors. I will be beefing about that further down the page.

The film was riveting and Julianne Moore played Palin so masterfully it felt difficult to distill fact from fiction.  She was just brilliant at conveying those blurred moments some women experience as a new mother, when hormones have not settled back to normal and the connection with reality temporarily clicks off. It is hard to explain if you have never been through it. The descriptive version that appeared in the film is a tribute not only to Moore's outrageously fabulous acting but to Halperin and Heilemann's powers of observation. I know the film makers intended for me to walk away feeling that I understood Palin better and I really did. You must see it.

However, for as much as Moore resembled Palin, Woody 'the beast' Harrelson was a shocker as Steve Schmidt, John McCain's chief advisor. Woody is 'a beast' according to my teenage sons. This means he delivers on the action front. His hard-man fearless act renders him up there in the 'beast' category with other surprising outsiders including Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford. Not in the line-up, for instance, is Vin Diesel. Though he might think he is 'beast' (drop the 'a') Diesel is a wuss, ditto 'The Rock', though Steven Segal, I am told, IS beast.

Well my point here is, we (family) know Steve Schmidt. Well we've shared a cousin's wedding with him. He seems like a lovely bloke. Chatting at the buffet, having a little dance, joining everyone for breakfast etc. If he reminded me of anyone at all in this Whole Wide World and I mean anyone, it would not be Woody Harrelson. It would not even be anyone else in the 'beast' category. Which leads me to ponder, if you are a figure in the public eye,  how alarming it must be to hear someone is making a docudrama in which you will feature. One more reason why it is so fabulous not to be famous.

Leading to my final point....fame is for young people. Only the young and beautiful can enjoy it. For everyone over the age of 30 it must be the biggest pain in the ass. You cannot step out of your home looking less than perfect, no matter what walk of life you traverse. I understood Jennifer A moaning that NYC was like a goldfish bowl. Downtown, near my office in Tribeca which is, admittedly round the corner from Jay Z and Beyonce's gaff, not to mention scrillions of other celebs, the streets are teaming with paps. They just hover on street corners and in caffs. They raise their cameras like guns whenever a person passes by.  A lot of the paps out there now are foreign and unsure of who is and is not famous, so they shoot pics of everyone. Plus, they are getting shabbier and scarier. These are not people who trained in photography at St. Martins. They are street pedlars with cameras, increasingly desperate for a shot. I don't like the way it's going and I love a celebrity pic.

Er, that's it..

Monday, February 27, 2012


What are Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez doing here? The 40-something's Last Stand? This was a very, very bad moment at what was, let's be honest, not a great night for the ladies, The Oscars 2012.

There were so many once-pretty faces ruined by plastic surgery and fillers on that red carpet, someone should have sent in an interventionist squad. Where's Elton, David and the helicopter when you need it? Plus, despite the hype, once again too few movies with strong female characters, apart from the obvious, i.e Meryl as Maggie.  The Help troubled me too deeply on too many levels as a movie to go into here but Octavia Spencer's win was fabulous and it at least shone a light on something so recent yet so buried within society but oh, I promised myself NOT to go there....

Meanwhile at the ceremony, the female presenters were either fall-guys for the guys (Gwyneth Paltrow) or just plain desperate and drinking in the Last Chance Saloon (see above). Is Hollywood going back in time? Perhaps Billy Crystal's odd, gurning, old-time routine rang a litte too true.  As Hollywood stars bare their asses not their brains in true olde-worlde style and female performers only make it on to the winner's lists for acting - forget technical movie-making and directing/producing, I wonder. Something's got to give. Next year I predict youngsters all over the place and women winning ANYTHING other than just best actress/best supporting actress. This will only happen if the doom and gloom of recession breeds creativity, like it did in the 1980s, rather than hunkered-down-traditions that nobody dare step outside of. Here's hoping. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SECRETS OF FASHION'S TOP BRASS (and my shoe shame)

The inside of my shoe closet. This is why my personal style is what it is and my bedroom door remains locked and barred to my children, lest they discover the horrible hypocrisy behind my 'Tidy up!' mantra.

Today, a Top Editor told me that her Top TV Star Fashion Director always gets dressed from the shoes up. Chooses the shoes first, then the rest of the outfit. A fast and efficient way to style oneself, I'm sure you agree. I do this too. However, my system is not as efficient as the style cognoscenti, hence my frequent lateness and stylistically compromised looks. My problem is, I can never find the shoes I want. See above. I open the closet door and there it is, Shoe Mountain. It is actually the floor of my wardrobe. I have another one down the hallway, opposite my son's room which I can only go into when he is either asleep or out. Really, I should sort out Shoe Mountain but where else would I put the shoes? There is no room in our cramped apartment for shelves neatly stacked with shoeboxes, polaroids stuck to the front etc.  If I line my shoes up on the floor, they just collect dust and get kicked around, looking worse than Shoe Mountain. I have a shoe hangy thing over the back of the wardrobe door for pumps and flats, but my platties, wedgies and stillies all lie around argy-bargying on the wardrobe floor. I do sometimes tidy them up but inevitably, the ones I want to wear are at the back and I end up in a last minute panic, chucking them all out behind me like Butch digging up a bone in Tom & Jerry.

So, if I won the lottery I would not buy a new chin, car or rocks - I would buy a giant shoe cupboard with living quarters attached. Then, I would buy even more shoes to put in it. I know, people are starving in the world and things are so awful for so many women out there that I would probably give it all away. But if I was dim, more vain about everything and genuinely believed any of this stuff is that important really,  I would buy and build that shoe cupboard.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The teenager in me still remembers that it's Valentine's Day and all three males in my life know they have to deliver on this Very Special Day.

This year, my husband got the flowers here early this morning. This was wise of him because in previous years I have been too grumpy by the afternoon to really enjoy them once they FINALLY arrived. Legend has it that I once dumped a huge bunch of roses in the bin when I worked briefly on She magazine, so hacked off was I by their lateness and shoddiness. That' s not true by the way, it's just a legend.

So,  imagine how excited I was today to receive several Valentine's texts and emails, all seemingly anonymous, from different numbers. I was beginning to get that warm, fuzzy feeling when, on further investigation, I discovered they were all from Real Estate agents (I looked at some apts for sale at the weekend).

Only in New York. 


Here I am, top of this pic, having an attack of Fashion Face

I started out as a fashion assistant on a now defunkt magazine. Editing became my schtick but I've been to the odd fashion show in London, Paris and New York through the years. At aforementioned shows I perfected my Fashion Face.  I learned from the best, having always sat either well behind or opposite (not alongside or too close to backs of heads) the fashiony A list, thus giving me the perfect view of them as well as the clothes. At a fashion show, as in so many other situations in life,  composing one's face into the appropriate expression is what it's all about. 

Yesterday I beetled down to the NY shows and honestly, I had forgotten what it was like. Packed and hot,  teaming with students and interns.  There is even a transvestite ballerina this year who I keep seeing outside the Lincoln Center. It can't be easy. After sitting through Reem Acra's infinitely gorgeous, wearable - and I stress that word - collection,  'twas enough for me.  I learned once more that perfecting a relaxed, nonchalant facial expression is my life's goal and I am not there yet. 

Grabbing the nearest gals I hotfooted it off to the Mandarin Cocktail bar at 4pm and managed to get a Mojito and a Margarita down my neck,  then home before 6.  Now that's what I call fashion. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


Watching Taylor Swift on the Grammys last night prompted me to get out the i-poddess this morning and enjoy a little bit of Bobby. Bobby Gentry (see above) has the most amazing, cracked country voice that any woman would die to have. Bobby is a feminist and the embodiment of the Womens Lib movement in the 1960s. Her song, Fancy is such a classic. While Ode To Billy Joe and Harper Valley PTA are the huge hits, Fancy says more about the plight of poor women down through time than tons of other country, soul and blues songs.

Thank the Goddess we no longer live in a world where Fancy's story is the only path for poor women _ but have we come far enough? I look at the glamour girls vying for soccer/basketball players in the media, or accidentally catch an episode ofThe Bachelor and wonder.  It all sickens me. So many women in the world still struggle against Fancy's situation. The ones lucky enough to be born and educated away from that should get off their backs (literally) and try something more constructive instead. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


MADONNA - she looks gorgeous in this pic from a few years ago. The thing that keeps her looking so hot is her jawline. Chiselled, defined and strong. Only the very best surgery can maintain this after a certain age. Look at pictures of Madge when she was younger and her chin is just small and sweet. She has had something fabulous done and if I had the money, connections, knew who did it and er, was not terrified of all hospital procedures along with my new, New York needle phobia - I would have it done too. Since I came to NYC, needles and probes have plagued me. You cannot go for any kind of health checkup without some kind of unpleasant, body invasion that leaves you (or rather, me but I'm not comfortable with 'one) feeling a bit shocked and in need of ibuprofen. This is why, contrary to what a lot of people think, I've never had anything 'done' as they say. However, when you live abroad, flit in and out, only see folk briefly when you're done up to the nines I can see how those folk might imagine, due to all the makeup and Clarins wrinkle filler, you have been done. Have not.

Well look, back to Madonna. She strikes me as a person who is unencumbered by female friends. I can see how this could be a very efficient and free way to live. Often, the sign of a very successful American woman is no female friends. They claim to have lots of them but in fact they never give a second thought to the feelings and views of other people, particularly women. Other People, unless it is their children, simply do not factor in. Women like Madonna pay lipservice to female friends and even give them a wee bit of time but ultimately, Madonna and co are moving through this world alone, free and un-inhibited by the prospect of EVER possibly offending someone. Any woman who has offended hoardes of female friends and particularly friends of close friends through the years,  might think there is something to this Madge philosophy. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012




Last year I wrote a post called 'Magnificent Millie Jackson' and it's had way more hits than anything else I have ever written on here. So here is a bit more from me, on her...

It's kind of confession time - in that, despite trillions of years at the coalface and never once being busted/sued or even having to apologise for a wrong fact, I have had something very wrong in my head for a long time. So much so that this week I feel like I've been re-born because the Wrong Thing has been righted. I don't know why, I think maybe I heard it once on the radio, I cannot be sure so am not saying I did - hear that Millie Jackson was no longer with us, as it were. This is ridiculously wrong, Ms Jackson is busy touring and singing as wonderfully as ever. I can't believe how the wrongness got a hold in my head for so long but I do apologise profoundly for it. Still wondering though, as I never normally get this stuff wrong..starting to think it might even have been from a record company press office in London but oh, no idea.

Anyway, I am now planning a trip to see Millie. It will be divine. No seriously, for me it will be a Divine Experience because she is truly a Goddess. Right from the start of her career Millie has been ultra cool, an amazing singer and performer. I can't understand why she is not a megastar like Diana Ross or Barbra Streisand. Why isn't she singing at the Oscars and being a Huge Star like oh, Madonna? She is Fabulous, beyond fab, she was Mary J Blige before Mary J Blige was. I just. don't. get. it.

I've mentioned before the ladies from Chic - in that I went to see them perform in a pretty sad way, at a midtown ballroom, singing to a backing track that kept breaking down. The voices of all these women were the soundtrack of a decade, a lifetime for many. I cannot believe they are not Huge MainStream Stars, judging on America's Got Talent and X-Factor, selling out Yankee Stadium. Also, why don't young singers haul them up on to the stage with them at the MTV awards or whatever? Don't they know they owe Millie, in particular, huge amounts for breaking boundaries galore in her youth. Please don't tell me Gaga, Minaj, M.i.a (sp) and co are shocking. Sorry to sound old - but people who think that really need to check out Ms Jackson in her heyday. Maybe she was just too shocking , too punky-soulful, too honest and freaky for the mainstream to ever catch her up. Ahead of her game totally, that's Millie. I can't wait to go and see her.



When New York City parenting pressure gets too much for me, I plug my i-pod into the speakers and I belt out 'Simple Man' by Lynyrd Skynyrd. My boys know and understand this song and I want them to keep it in their hearts for the rest of their lives. 

Thanks and RIP you freaky old Freebirds.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Went to see W.E on Friday. Half of a good film, the retrospective bits on Edward and Wallis were stunning and I would loved to have seen more of Madonna's interpretation of their story. I also liked her modern plot but it beggared too much belief.  On the other hand, the subject of fertility absolutely rages on among my 30 something friends so perhaps there's more reality in there than I quite understood.  One of the best bits in the movie happens to the soundtrack of Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols. The opening bars of that song encompass so much more than merely a punk rock tune. It's not the first time a period piece has been set to modern music but this was pure brilliance.

I love Madonna. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Tweeting with Leah Hardy, beauty blogger today prompted me into a few nail bar musings. Nail bars exist on every street corner in NYC. Tempting though they look, after three or four visits to the average N.B you can end up with literally, no nails. This is because most technicians file too fiercely.  Although you leave with very short, neat nails, as they grow they simply peel and break at the sides, so weakened by the trouncing. You can also end up with super-raggy skin around your nails if you allow the technician to trim back the skin around your nail instead of just pushing back cuticles. Finally, the dreaded fungus. No matter how clean the salon, this tell-tale yellowing of your nail bed shows the nasties have got you.

So here are my tips for a NYC nail salon visit. You're welcome!

1. Wash your hands thoroughly in their bathroom before you sit down and ask your technician to do the same.
2. Ensure all the technician's tools come in a sterile pack, like a hospital surgeon's, including emery board.
3. Never let a technician pick up and use a used emery board on your nails.
4. If possible, just file your own nails before you go. I never allow technicians to file my brittle nails, they just break.
5. Have your cuticles pushed back and nail base scraped but not cut or trimmed.
6. Allow a bit of rough buffing of the top of your nails so polish can stick but that means  literally one or two swipes across. They sometimes forget and end up buffing thin nails almost away.
7. Don't have gel or acrylic nails if you value your own nails underneath. Shellac is the only harmless, hard nail topping worth considering.
8. For best results, bring your own favourite nail colour from home or a brand new bottle of something fab. Cleanliness guaranteed.

Call me picky....they do at my local Pinky (their name) Salon but I give them a decent tip so we all go home happy.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Have I mentioned my little office space before? It is a small piece of heaven, a teeny corner of TriBeca I call my own. Even though no-one can fit in it with me, I am next to a big window so don't mind.  In fact I couldn't do without my corner of a big, multi-rental office suite company. Coming down here to do my thang is fabulous and cheap - I never found anything even remotely comparable in London other than a couple of places, one in Shoreditch, one in Primmy Hill, both available for 800 UKps a month!!  I pay literally nowhere even approaching that kind of sum. My kids call it my fake job, 'Are you going to pretend-work today Mum?' they joke. Laugh all you like you naughty, bad elves - I know what's under your beds.

Anyway, I've been in this building for over a year now and share space with heaps of clever, creative folk. They include fashion PRs,  a Japanese fashion blogger, an Australian beauty product guru, an annoying drink importer, a lovely boxer dog, several real estate agents and party planners and most interesting of all, a showbiz agent. The things he comes out with are pure Showbiz.
"Dude!" he shouted the other day "You are my most rock and roll client but seriously, can you get off it, get on it and get out if I send a car service in an hour.?"  I desperately try not to evesdrop but can't help myself, especially because anyway, the guy speaks so damn's like 30 Rock meets Episodes, via Entourage. It's a sit-com in the making. All I need now is an agent...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Q: Is this picture a) Dangerous tiger lurking behind a rock  b) a shy person  c) both
A: = c

The cover story of Time magazine this week is: The Power of Shyness. The idea of the article is that some of the world's most powerful people have been 'shy' and that this quiet reticence and apparent lack of confidence with others is just divine modesty. I BEG to differ. There is power behind their shyness but it is of a completely different nature.

All the shy people I have ever known have been secret control freaks. Either too arrogant to bother with the right avenues of communication with others or simply, pathologically unconcerned about the existence of the human race. Far from lacking in confidence, most shy people have tons of the stuff, so much so that they never feel the need to display anything about themselves to others. They simply do not care what others think of them. As children they are pitied, nurtured, helped and encouraged. As adults they are treated as somehow mysterious and special. I know shy people who behind the scenes are scarily horrible. Outwardly bland, fake-ishly modest, quiet and always making a point of dressing down and behaving in an unassuming manner, inwardly the opposite. Often, this kind of exaggerated humility or 'shyness' masks insecurity over talent or abilities. When pushed, such people will subtly belittle others and absolutely refuse to ever go along with anyone who could be a threat to them. They are the ones who are unpleasant to you when you begin a new job, or who never congratulate you on an achievement. All the while, they appear, generally to be 'shy' and 'quiet'. Well they are not, see above pic.

Now, what's on the cover of Newsweek?.......

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


 Of all the things that cause me nightmares, dark thoughts and TV-turning-off, it's the Holocaust. It was years before I could watch Schindler's List though I gobble up movies like Paranormal Activity. Maybe it's because my Grandparents suffered in the war, it was still talked about when I was tiny at home and in my older rellie's homes. My Grandad came through France but he had friends who liberated some of the concentration camps. Maybe it's just that the Holocaust defies description. It bubbles away at the back of my mind, a tiny, permanent nightmare.

The Debt deals with the subject of Nazi medical experiments. Can't even allow that into my head but anyway, it is a truly awesome film. All the actors are brilliant, particularly Helen Mirren but also Tom Wilkinson. Jessica Chastain is the young version of Mirren's character and all together the cast make this fabulous film even more amazing. The script is by Jane Goldman and Mathew Vaughn. I wish you would go and see it. 

Monday, January 23, 2012


I went to the opticians for an eye test last week and to order some new specs. Are you still awake? They were so friendly, I tried everything on, met everyone in the shop, made friends with the nice oncologist, filled in forms, told them my life history, etc etc.

Rang them this morning, no idea who I am or what I'm talking about. (Yes I rang the right place). 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

- 9 C Carbo-loading in Connecticut

It's a long weekend, Martin Luther King day tomorrow, yay. Though, not yay about the very sad demise of Mr LK, more just yay that after 2 weeks back in the routine, we're having another day off.

Today I went round to my friend's house in Connecticut where we ate cakes and drank tea. Then I came home, ate cakes and drank tea. I'm so glad that, out of all the changes I have had to live through, some habits will always stay the same.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Toads on sticks, outside a shop in Hong Kong

The reason for my long absence, along with laziness and sickness is...we went travelling to Asia just before Christmas, then my family arrived, we went to Connecticut (bliss), Colorado (cool) and back.

My favourite Asia place was Hong Kong...all olde worlde glamour and bubbling discontent wrapped up in something naughty. So many places in the world appear to be exotic but a little digging around reveals they are not really...examples? Barcelona, Moscow, the Bahamas and anywhere in the Caribbean. Hong Kong is the exact opposite. The deeper you go, the more exotic the place becomes. Shops stock jars of snakeskins and er, toads on sticks. People appear silently by your side and offer you absolutely anything if you can pay for it. The air is warm, humid and slightly misty.

We spent 24 hours in Hong Kong and had lunch in a local resto I'll never forget. The place was whitewashed inside, packed with folk jammed around big, round tables. We ordered off the stark menu, rice, noodles, crispy geese-feet, chicken and pork dumplings, or grabbed whatever came round on heated trolleys from the kitchens. Ancient waiters ticked off what we ate on bingo-style cards. Everything was delicious even though we ate from barely washed up chopsticks and bowls you're expected to wash yourself, in your tea. I Admittedly I picked a bit at everything, stared at everyone but that was ok. Plus we were the only Western people in there, a very interesting experience. This does not translate to feeling lost, lonely or scared by the way, just completely different to everyone else in the room, without common language, imagery, memories, heritage, you name it. Which is sometimes how I feel about living in New York, because like Hong Kong, it is a totally exotic, foreign city. The more New York reveals, the less you know and the more mysterious it seems to become. Despite many attempts by different authorities to police, traffic and monitor the place, NYC still moves entirely to the beat of it's own deep, inner drum. NYC is a fancy dancer that no-one can tame, fathom or love but everyone who comes here tries.

By the way,  of course you can't get a decent cup of tea here..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I would just like to say sorry for being a bit mean in the past, well OK, extremely nasty then, about Brangelina. Mainly Ange on the pages of some of the world's most fabulous magazines. This was Before. In my pre-Brangelina life. In the past month, small but close, separate encounters with both of them have set me straight. OK, I didn't converse with Brad, in fact I only saw him for a long stare at the airport but it was worth it for the Fascination Factor. He is, as someone else I know commented 'all golden, isn't he?'. Yes. Nice, boringly normal too.  2 days later I saw Angelina at a screening of her movie, The Land of Blood & Honey and managed to squeeze in a question for her afterwards. She was just very normal. I can't think of anything else to say about her. Smiling, friendly, professional, interested in everyone else, sensibly clad and sane. 
That's that. End of....