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 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.