Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Eminem featuring Rihanna - Love the way you lie

I've been loving this song for awhile but hadn't heard the full song, just snippets and had never seen the music video.  I tapped it in on youtube and I've got to admit it was one of the most touching, poignant music videos I've seen for a long time.  Eminem and Rihanna make a powerful pair singing about the complicated pull of an abusive relationship - Rihanna as a victim of abuse herself and Eminem with his turbulant relationship with his ex wife.  I've read critisim on the net about the video glorifying abusive relationships but I see it as more of a cautionary tale of how love can keep you tied to a situation you should never be in. 

Rihanna sneers through the video showing her distate for the subject mixed with the emotion of love....'Like the way it hurts' portrays the feeling of being tied to another person and feeling like you deserve it or that pain is an expression of love. 

Eminem is powerful as the remorseful abuser who can't quite control himself and regrets it the instance it's done.

I've read a few scathing articles on the internet claiming the video is glorifying violent relationships but why would Rihanna - a victim of abuse - participate in such a video?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Beauty advice

"For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness, For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people, For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry, For Beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day, For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others."
This was once said by the very elegant, very beautiful Audrey Hepburn.  Miss Hepburn had a grace and dignity and her beauty came from within - from her heart - and shone outwards.  On the news tonight there was a piece about the Girl Guides campaigning for photos in magazines to be issued with a statement showing which ones are airbrushed and which are not.  Personally, I am all for this as these images of so called perfection are harmful for young girls who can not possibly abtain that perfection - how could they for in real life it doesn't even exist it is a mere illusion created by computer imaging, with that technology anyone can appear to be 'perfect'.  Perfection is a dangerous concept, I believe, nobody is ever perfect and it's the flaws which make us unique, make us quirky - Brooke Shields was known for her brows, Cindy Crawford for her beauty spot, Georgina Jagger for her gappy teeth.  Beauty is having the confidence to say to the world 'this is me, take me or leave me.'  It's the mischevious twinkle in the eye, laughing when something is funny even if you laugh alone, it's finding joy in the small moments.  It's being the you you were born to be.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Westfield London haul

Today for the first time ever I toddled to Westfield Shopping Centre in Sheperd's Bush London.  I was in London to drop off a photograph for a competition I'm entering and thought I'd pop in for a quick bit of retail therapy.  Quick it was not.  Three hours later and I toddled back out, arms ladden with bags full of goodies.  Here's what I got:

  •  Tea!  This is one English habit I have quite happily picked up.  I love tea -particulary Twinings Breakfast Tea with a dash (alright, a dollop) of honey. 
  • Marie Clarie magazine - my guilty pleasure reading material.
  • Knee high socks from Topshop which are very pretty and I'm going to turn into arm warmers.
  • Two singlet tops from Topshop.
  • Vaseline for making lip gloss.
  • A ready meal
  • John Frieda brunette shampoo and conditioner.
  • body gloves and body wash from the Body Shop - it's the cocoa butter one.
  • Makeup brushes - various brands from Boots.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Tower of London

A little while ago I visited the Tower of London - I've visited it quite a few times I have a slight obsession with the place and so here's my photography from my visit.....

The Queen's house:  This is where Anne Boleyn spent her last days before she was beheaded for treason and adultery against King Henry VIII.

This is a memorial dedicated to all those who were beheaded at the Tower. 

The White Tower is the oldest part of the Tower of London.

The outside walls of the Tower and the grassy area which was once the moat.

All photos by Tania Maree

Saturday, 31 July 2010


“If you want to go, you have to go next week or not at all.” These words were uttered by my boss when my boyfriend and I told him we were planning a trip to Paris at the end of the month. Oh and we had to tell him whether or not we were going by the end of the day.

How were we going to achieve this? The boyfriend deemed it impossible. I would get him to Paris, even if it killed me. I hoped the oracle which was the internet would have the answers. Last minute.com was a miracle in terms of hotels; it was transport which was a bit trickier. Eurostar – we’d be likeier to ice skate on molten lava. Flights? They were just as expensive or were not available for the dates we needed – most people booked well in advance. The boyfriend mumbled something about giving up, I screeched at him to make me another pot of tea. I nibbled on a nail and racked my brain...what other ways were there to get to Paris? And then it dawned on me. Bus. There were spaces on a Eurolines coach leaving from London. It would take give or take nine hours. I informed the boyfriend he’d be travelling to Paris by coach, he threw me, “You’re either a genius or completely crazy.” There is a fine line.

We arrived in Paris when dawn was breaking – the boyfriend quirked a brow; “So, do you know any French?” I kept my mouth shut; I didn’t think ' Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?’ would cut it. Armed with my ratty Paris map, we walked the streets of Paris; we took in the beauty of Notre Dame’s stained glass windows, marvelled at the Eifel Tower, wandered through the Lourve and strolled along the banks of the Seine. The city was enchanting, a piece of sumptuous artwork with in itself.

Exhausted, we finally collapsed in the wicker chairs of a cafe, where the boyfriend leaned across the table; “Can I smoke in here?” Before I could utter a stern response, an ashtray was plopped in front of him. He grinned at me as our food was delivered by a beautiful French boy, tea towel hanging out of his back pocket and a cigarette dangling from his fingertips.

Photo by Tania Maree

Friday, 30 July 2010

BeneFit Haul

Yesterday I toddled to my local Boots pharmacy looking for some new foundation.  I'd just finished a shift at the pub so was feeling slightly weary.  So, there was vulnerable little me innocently looking at Max Factor thinking I could make my last forty pounds stretch a little...but alas it was not meant to be.  There was no one at the Max Factor counter to serve me and along came a black aproned lady from BeneFit and somehow I ended up in her chair having perfume spritzed on me.  Suddenly I was on the recieving end of a mini makeover I never knew I wanted nor needed.  Apparently, I didn't need a foundation, I needed concealer and powder.  Both of which the lovely lady managed to talk me into...and I could just picture my hard earned cash swirling down the sink. 

Honestly, my beauty philosophy is that beauty products should make you feel good but needn't cost an arm and a leg, I've never been one to spend 40 odd pound on two mere products. 

Anyway I toddled home with my teeny tiny bag from Boots feeling cynical about my purchases - thinking I'd never be able to apply them the way the sweet talking sales girl did - but I must confess it was easier than I first thought. 

The concealer covers up all my imperfections and patchiness so that I just need a hint of coverage from the powder and best of all the small amount I need to use means it will last me for quite a while. And the packaging is just devine.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Beauty quote

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

Miss Piggy is a genius.  My beauty philosophy is that beauty should be accessible to all.  I see so many blogs and youtube videos using products from high end companies such as Mac which are expensive.  While it would be great to be able to have all of these products, there are great products which are inexpensive and still look the same or very similar to those high end products.  Of course there are things which you should spend a little more on; skin care products and foundation since  a piece of art is only as good as the canvas it is placed on. 

Cheap eyeshadows can be just as good as the high end products: for example the sleek palate (original)  from Superdrug has a shadow which is a close dupe for Mac's Tempting.

My point is products should make you feel good not feel bad because of the drain they place on your bank balance.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I love photography: well, taking photos. I really love the look of black and white photography I love the romantic, old school look it has to it.  I much prefer photos of people that don't know their having their photo taken, I think photos which aren't posed are more natural and the viewer gets a much better sense of the subject's natural personality. 

This is a photo I took one afternoon spent in my friend's garden.


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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Storytime with Mr B.

“Oi! Taffy, come ‘ere.” Taffy was the nickname I’d been cursed with when I’d first started and the guys at table thirteen were convinced I was really Welsh. Mr B crooked a finger beckoning me over. I rolled my eyes as he jokingly leered at me. Mr B was in his early 70s and my own personal sexaul harraser – although he meant no harm.

I lowered myself onto a stool beside him, “What do you want you dirty old man?”

A chuckle erupted from his lips, “I have a story, you’ll love it.”

“Ok, give it to me.”

“I’d love to.”

“Just get on with the story.”

“Right well, about 20 years ago, I used to live upstairs back when this was a classy establishment. Anyway, one new years eve, me and one of the Kiwi lads decided to get on it, the drink of choice was bloody marys. You know what bloody marys are right, Taff.”

I threw him a murderous look which I felt said it all. “Of course I know what a bloody mary is.”

“Right, right. We were throwing them back with sherry in ‘em like they were going out of fashion. So, by midnight we’re off our faces and I stumble upstairs and I need to use the crapper. Down come the trousers and the pants and then it’s like an explosion, like a volcano’s erupted and my shit’s the lava.”

I clutch my stomach as the giggles bubble forth at the image in my mind. I wave a hand for him to continue.

“There’s shit up the walls, on the curtains, on the carpet, you name it and it was there.”

“How did you manage it?” I gasped between giggles.

“No a clue. J came over with a bucket and shovel and shoveled it up.”

J was Mr B’s lady friend. I didn’t envy her the position.

“Did she manage to get it all out?”

“Nah, the carpet was never the same again, had to be ripped up and replaced. £2000 later.”

“Wow that’s an expensive bowel motion.” I couldn’t stop the laughter. I stood up knowing I’d better get back to work, “Thanks for the storytime.”

“Thought you’d like that one.” I started to walk back to the bar, “Hey, Taffy? Nice arse.”

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The ladies who lunch

As a little kiwi girl from the New Zealand version of the suburbs and from a working class family, I was a little like fish out of water when I landed smack dab in a quaint little English pub in an equally little English village in the middle of the Surrey countryside – it really was like something out of Heartbeat or off a chocolate box.

“Uh oh, here come the ladies who lunch.” (think of her name later) murmured out of the side of her mouth as the crunch of tyres on the gravel carpark alerted us to the arrival of a customer. I was perplexed by her announcement of the ‘ladies who lunch’, my brow furrowed; “The ladies who lunch?”

She nodded in the direction of the door which was creaking slowly open. If this were a movie this would be the point where they cued up the dramatic music and wind machine, put the film into slow motion to create a dramatic, intriguing entrance for the leading lady. And intriguing it was. These women came in in a waft of Chanel perfume, dripping in pearls and diamonds bigger than my fist, wearing tea dresses and pushing a designer stroller with a kid decked out in Stella McCartney for Gap Baby.

I turned my back to the door, still eyeing the women in the mirrored bar back. “Who or rather what are the ladies who lunch?”

Cassie, guiding me by the elbow, led me closer to the glass washer and further away from the ladies.

“Ladies who lunch are the yummy mummies. You know the women who are stay at home mummies who have never had to work a day in their lives going from Daddy’s house to hubby’s. They have a ton of money both inherited and from hubby. They meet for lunch to talk babies and to down a bottle of wine...or two.” Her tone was laced with bitterness and something else. Perhaps envy. She thought she sounded all-knowing, I thought she sounded ever so slightly judgemental. Which made me wonder why do we judge and critise what we don’t necessarily understand?

A few moments later as I poured one of the yummy mummies a large glass of pinot and explained to her where I was from and how I’d wound up in this part of England, she hiked the kid attached to her hip up, smiled and said; “That’s great! I’m so envious, I love my life but there are moments where I wish I’d taken time out to see the world before I settled down and had babies.” There was a pause as a wistful expression clouded her face, “Make sure you do Rome, it’s supposed to be exquisite.”

As she walked away I realised that perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side and while we covet others lives or pieces of their lives perhaps they’re looking at ours and secretly wishing they had what we had.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Characters in an English Pub: Unexplained absence

“Where’s Mr P today?” Mr Gee asked as she slid onto the bar sool. I placed the large brandy in front of her with a shrug. The regulars exchanged a sideways beady-eyed glance and I wondered if Mr P’s absence was something I needed to worry about.

Mr P was a regular whose daily routine went as follows: Wake up, have a nicely, rounded, cholestoral seeped fry-up breakfast especially designed to clog the arteries, slowly toddle to the pub, settle into a well-worn stool for six to eight hours, wobble back home and climb into bed with the covers pulled up under his chin and falling into a blissful, alcohol induced sleep. Mr P was the embodiment of what I imagined Henry VIII would have looked like in the transition period after he was a strapping handsome prince but before he became the morbidly, obsese, wife killing king.

“Maybe he just has other plans today.” The pitch of my voice went up at the end of the sentence making it sound like a tentative question. The seasoned pub goers looked at me with a mix of distaste and pity; it was a look which said, ‘Don’t be so silly, girly.’

“He hasn’t missed a day in the pub for almost ten years,” Mr Gee told me kindly.

“And it’s not as if he will have gone away anywhere.” One old boy piped up, with a smirk.

“Can’t he drive?” My innocent question was met with a derisive snort and a few sniggers.

“He’s not allowed to drive.”

“He lost his license?”


“What for?” I was intrigued, I leaned forward resting my elbows on the bar.

“Which time?”

I raised my eyebrows; it was hard for me to imagine Mr P, who I likened to a cross between Winnie the Pooh and Eeorye doing anything to break the law, even a teeny traffic infringement.

“This time he got confussed.” Fingers poked at the air as they formed quotations around confused, “And he drove into someone’s hedge – he’d been at the pub for one two many rums.”

“And the time before that?”

“He drove his lotus into the Thames.”

“He drove a car into a river?” I was incredulous.

“Well, he thought he was the real James bond and the wings which would turn it into a speed boat didn’t open.”

Sounded like Mr P had been indulging in more than just a few too many rums. But I couldn’t see it, Mr P was a kindly, sweet, timid man. A gentle giant. I felt the need to defend his honour.

“OK but at least he has some really interesting life stories to tell the grandkids.”

Mr Gee chuckled, “That he does. That he does.”

At that moment, the door creaked and opened and Mr P tottered in, floppy hat pulled down so it was almost covering his eyes. And with his tentative first step onto the carpeted floor, the balance within the pub was restored.