Thursday, May 31, 2007


Now, I don't want this to sound as if I'm complaining.....but I want to know, how do they do it, these Parisians. I mean how do they have enough energy to last the day? Do they secretly mainline cocktails of vitamins in the privacy of their homes, sprinkle Greens + over their morning coffee and linseeds on top of their tarte aux poires?
Yes I've read that book.
When I'm in Paris I treat my body like an engine that needs no fuel. I start my day with a cafe creme and a croissant, walk for three to four hours, stopping maybe for another coffee. At lunchtime I might treat myself to a selection of cheese and some bread, washed down with a glass of red wine. Then I walk non stop for another five to six hours, maybe stopping for a Berthillon ice at some point. Later, a coffee, then an apero, then a proper dinner, usually some kind of meat with perhaps some gratin dauphinoise masquerading as a vegetable. To bed still digesting that creme brulee. Then at some point I go, "Oh my god, I'm so exhausted, I just don't understand it." Yes it's fantastic to eat all that yummy food, but I'm not three. If I was three I'd sit here all day eating nothing but gummy bears. I'd never eat that way at home but I have the When in Rome mentality - trying to get my fill of decent pastries while I'm there, knowing I won't even be tempted by the greasy examples back home. It's worse if you eat out a lot, as I do. I can tell you that it's entirely possible to go for three weeks in Paris without eating any vegetables and not even realise. (I did it.) The dauphinoise potatoes don't count. I sometimes wonder if there's a secret menu I'm not being given that has all the veg on it. Of course there are lovely seasonal veggies at the market, but apart from tasting the new season's asparagus or whatever, which most likely will get made into a 75% cream soup, it's kind of tricky to eat anything apart from bread products, meat, cheese, caffeine and alcohol. Then there was that time when I tried to eat - and cook macrobiotically - in Paris. Ha! That's why I end up going to LPQ, even though I swore I'd never go there again since they've gone all Starbucks and after they put up a sign - in English - with a diagram of how to eat a tartine. They do salads, that's why I go - and rye bread. But that sign, and the cup at the till with "Tips" written on it in English is inexcusable and makes you feel like you're at a theme cafe at the Epcot Centre.

So, maybe it's just me - maybe you get bored of all the tasty naughtiness after a while, or your digestive system implodes/explodes and you get punished for not being hardcore enough by having to shop in the grim macrobiotic shop and eat millet for the rest of your days.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Still resting, toes still black and blue, no idea what's going on under the plastercast until they remove it, please let them remove it, going to Paris in four days hiiiihiiiii. I've become quite attached to the notion that Paris won't take kindly to me with a gammy leg. My ugly NHS crutches will be confiscated at customs; because of my biscuit eating/resting induced poor muscle tone I'll be sent home with a copy of the secret leek soup diet tucked inside my passport. If I do manage to slip through with my crutches people will give me withering looks as I gingerly negotiate the cobblestone courtyard outside where I stay. Someone may even tread on my foot - the worst possible scenario. I don't know why I think this, maybe because I can't remember ever seeing a person in a wheelchair in Paris, or any disabled access - I've always noticed these things of course.

By complete coincidence I discovered the 1930s swimming pool in Paris I was looking for when I still thought I'd be flapping my feet around in no time. Because the film of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was shown at Cannes I decided to read the book again in anticipation. The author, Jean-Dominique Bauby, recounts a memory of going to the Molitor swimming pool as a young boy and I knew instantly that was it. It looks like it was fantastic, but sadly, was closed down in 1989 and the building is now in a dilapidated state. It's kind of tragic - the pool and the book.
Jean- Dominique Bauby was the editor in chief of French Elle. At the age of 42 he had a massive stroke and went into a coma. When he woke up he was completely paralysed, unable to speak and could only move his left eye. He dictated the entire book by having the alphabet read to him and blinking when it got to the letter he wanted to use. It's a very humorous book actually, as well as sad: a mixture of memoir and daily observations on his condition, the reactions of people around him and the frustrations of being looked upon as a "turnip" when his mind is still fully intact. Another coincidence: when I opened the book again there was a label inside the cover with "Please return to..." and my mother's name written in her handwriting. I can't remember if it was her book and she lent it to someone in hospital, or if it was mine and I lent it to her.

For some reason the book and she popped up at the same time - probably to remind me of Jean-Dominique blinking his way through a chapter or her steadfastly refusing any help when it would have taken someone else 10 seconds to do what it took her an hour to struggle to do.

I'll just think of them when I have to get on the metro with my broken foot and suitcase. Easy.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I am an idiot. Seeing bubblegum pink heart shaped sunnies much the same as those on the right, in Tesco's of all places pre-footgate and immediately thinking, "Those are sooo perfect for Gracie!" I snapped them up for a quid. And now? Gracie loved them as I thought but... I keep thinking about them. Can't see them anywhere online...I know they're silly but you can never have too many Lolita-ish novelty dressing up accessories knocking around can you?

New blog love alert: Cherry Blossom Girl I think I might love you. You like all the same things as me: The Little Prince, Bonjour Tristesse, macarons, Au Revoir Simone...Your wardrobe of Zara, H&M, bit of Chloe, bit of APC, too, too many gorge vintage bags - how do you make it all look so . perfect? There are so many good French blogs, I really must try harder to learn the language properly. Somehow it just falls straight out of my brain.

Also: Labels! I've labelled all my Paris posts so you can see them all together under the inventive title of Paris. But! At 30 posts and counting, Blogger appears to only have room for half of them. So it goes back as far as March 2006, then the rest are buried in the archives somewhere. Annoying! Maybe I'll call those ones Ancient Paris. In fact Blogger is behaving very capriciously today. I am going to leave it alone now.

Happy long weekend - or if you're in England, don't forget your brolly...

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I just joined Love Film and found all the films I could never find in my local video store, which by the way, just went out of business. So far in the queue there's:

Auberge Espagnole
Cleo de 5 a 7 by Agnes Varda - I've been wanting to see this forever, I think it's being re-released.
Dans Paris (reserved - again, good to have a steady flow of Romain)
Play It Again Sam

Love Film claims to have the largest selection of films in Europe and I think I believe them. My only two quibbles are that there's no classic film section in their search categories, and also that when you reserve a soon to be released film it doesn't give you any indication of when you'll receive it. But how exciting to see all these films and plop, they just come through the letterbox. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm trying to only get films I've never seen, but how are you supposed to know which films I haven't seen? I couldn't think of any more recent ones as I generally see every new release I'm interested in at the cinema. But do give me any recs although, (as you may have gathered) I am incredibly fussy and particular about what I like and do not like. Unless you were going to recommend The Holiday in which case you have no one but yourself to blame.

And why the need for all these dvds? Why am I not going to the cinema this evening to see This Is England? (I know I keep going on about my foot - god knows there are many worse things that people deal with. Really, really I do know and I bless every bit of my otherwise healthy body and yours too.)
I went to the hospital for what I thought was a check up this morning. I thought the doc would say, "Well done, healing nicely" and send me hobbling off again. But I was manhandled into a little room where they encased my foot and half my leg in a plaster cast, and placed a blue velcro "shoe" on my foot. "But I'm going to Paris," I squeaked repeatedly to the plaster loving Nazi doctor. He agreed to let me have it removed before I go thank god, because frankly, apart from anything else the blue smurf shoe is not at all chic.

Lola runs away whenever I go near her with my enormous cumbersome mummified leg and the builders had to carry me up the steps when I came home. Thank goodness they're there really, especially the young handsome one. And sweet too! Bit young for me though. They say it's crucial to the recovery process to have something pretty to look at.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


A few days in Paris beckons - I hope to saunter around rather than hobble by then; but a week of "resting" prone on the sofa eating a steady intake of ready meals has done nothing for the old forme. No trying on clothes in those horrible communal changing rooms particular to Paris where women openly stare, not at how the clothes look, but at each others figures, for me then.

Luckily for those in need of exercise, Paris has some nice public swimming pools - the Club Quartier Latin looks lovely - it's only 3.70 euros for a swim and Cathy Horyn went there during fashion week, which somehow reassures me that it must be reasonably hygienic and aesthetically pleasing. But maybe I'm missing out on a better pool. I once read about a public pool in Paris that still had its beautiful art deco interior intact. Ring any bells for anyone?

I also found a place that hires out lovely Dutch bicycles - look! Ding ding! - by the half day, day, weekend, even for three months if you're lucky enough to be in Paris that long.

Or maybe I could just blend in and not eat, smoke loads of cigarettes and drink coffee all day while I'm there.

I'll get in the Paris mood by seeing Dans Paris at the Institut Francais here in London before I go - something about depression, anyway it's got Romain Duris in it so who cares about the plot.

And when I return: To stave off post Paris malaise, Paris Je T'Aime is finally being released in the U.K on June 29th. It's taken so long I thought I'd missed its release and asked for it in my local DVD shop. I stood there for about ten minutes trying to explain to the boy working there that it was directed not by one person but lots of different people, but I couldn't remember who any of them were and he wasn't really getting the whole arrondissement scenario.


Here be the rules for this meme thing:

Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blog seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

Lottie kindly tagged me so here goes:

1. As an (only) child I was obsessed with the cartoon of 'Inspector Gadget' and used to run round the block as if pursuing baddies with my hair in bunches, talking into my Casio digital watch.

2. I have not worn any bright red clothes for nine years.

3. Every time I think of something random I think I may have already mentioned it in a meme. Am I memed out? I am a bit paranoid about the amount of random info I may have sent out into the blogosphere; and that someone will catch me out and realise there are only 13 or so things I can come up with before I start repeating myself. Oh okay, that's not really one. Um...I have a tattoo. Did I tell you that before?

4. In the mid '80s I won a disco dancing competition on holiday in Bournemouth (what's more random, the competition or the fact that I went to Bournemouth on holiday?) I won a 7" single of a song called Pump It Up and a bag of Walker's Salt and Vinegar crisps.

5. I'm in love with film, I love music, but have a deep and unexplained loathing of plays and musicals. They just make me cringe. Also when people break into song on television I have to hide behind the sofa.

6. It's quite unbelievable that I've kept this blog going for almost two years as usually any kind of routine goes out the window in a matter of days. There is actually nothing else regular and habitual in my life. Perhaps this is the rock that holds me together.

7. I have a collection of accidental collections. Somehow on my travels I always end up purchasing salt and pepper shakers, eggcups, more glassware - to the extent that I keep the surplus in a box under my bed, odd chandelier drops and eye creams. (And obviously bags and shoes but that's completely normal.) I also have a habit of always buying people decorative doorknobs or teapots (hi Mia!) as gifts.

Elizabeth, Julia, Adeleine, Ashley, Catharine, Lauren, Elisabeth - consider your good selves tagged.

Monday, May 21, 2007


This may turn out to be like when I went on about how great having a fringe was, only to have it trimmed a few days later which left me looking like I was trying to hide my frontal lobotomy scar for the next month.

This may turn out to be like when I said "You have to be careful 'cos you don't want to end up getting pissed and falling over," before doing exactly that which left me unable to walk.

This may be like when I said I was going to see Au Revoir Simone play live yesterday but instead stayed home with my foot up due to above (clue - it wasn't because my fringe wasn't up to their admittedly high standards.)

This may even turn out to be like when I finally got round to buying a bike, and went on about how great it is to pedal (ouch) along, only for it to languish in the hallway because.....I'm sure you can work out the rest.

I may be tempting those cruel gods of internet fate, but I must tell you that I am sitting at home, writing on my laptop, which appears to have been connected successfully to the internet for at least half an hour. Okay, the light is yellow when it should be green and the techie people didn't turn up (of course!) so I have somehow cobbled together a connection.

I shall now stay up all night reading the last two month's archives of my 500 favourite blogs.

Unless The Universe decides not.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Edit* Curioser and curioser. Not only has the remote control broken, as well as my internet but we have builders renovating our front steps so they are unusable. I am literally trapped! I also have a lovely new bike and a new lawnmower which are as much use to me as a chocolate teapot. Edit 2¤ I just decided to put my foot up on a three legged stool and it broke.

Okay so I kind of spoiled the surprise and bp you are so spookily right about the shoe though I can't blame it entirely. Alcohol, a man and a wonky floor were also involved. But anyway I'll leave the post as it was when I wrote it, below:

Did you know how much I love to dance? We Pisceans leap at the chance to twirl and shimmy, so what better excuse than the wedding of my dear cous last weekend?

I hastily reconsidered wearing the backless chiffon dress (purchased during the recent heatwave) as the skies opened and the temperature plummeted. Spirits were not dampened however and with the aid of about a hundred golf umbrellas, we all got from the abbey to the marquee in one piece. It was a beautiful and emotional day - the end of one era and the beginning of another as (sniff!) the first of my cousins took her vows.

I ended up wearing an aquamarine chiffon and silk '60s mini shift dress that was my mum's, my fave black Martin Grant boat necked jacket, opaque black tights and one of my two pairs of "comfortable" heels - the black satin vintage Ferragamos picked up for a song at Greenwich market. (My other comfortable heels are the Rupert Sanderson ones with the 55mm heel. Clever old Rupert has essentially discovered the holy grail of heel height. I've been meaning to write a post about it for ages.)

So, back in the marquee I have no idea what music the band was playing or with whom I was dancing, but there was much twirling and spinning, spinning, spinning in the other direction, spinniiii......snap.

Don't worry girls it wasn't the heel of my vintage Ferragamos snapping. That would merely have been a wardrobe malfunction; this was searing, indescribable pain. The snapping noise was the fifth metatarsal and cuboid bones in my foot breaking as I fell off the edge of the dancefloor.

I believe my dance partner, whose identity so far remains a closely guarded secret, sort of stood there swaying (I will discover his identity - I may be physically compromised but a few days of detox and the old noggin will retain its usual powers of deduction.)

After a few minutes of sitting on the floor for a lifetime, somehow The Tallest Man on Earth, elegantly I'm told, scooped up the crumpled leaden weight of moi from the floor and carried it to a little golden chair. My foot was placed on another little golden chair. (Chivalry: apparently not dead as previously suspected.) There was soon a crowd viewing the large egg shaped lump on my foot which was clearly visible through my tights. A procession of rather pissed wedding guests/off duty doctors was summoned to prod and poke the lump in a professional manner. "Dosshish hurr whenna dojish? Canya wiggle yer toes? Nah, yabbe rigghh ish jush twishted."

"Yes it does bloody hurt and no I cannot wiggle my toes. In fact anyone who is not a foot specialist but is a gynaecologist or a dentist or indeed a VET has no business prodding my foot," is what I said to myself in hindsight the next morning. At the time I just glugged silently on a water glass full of straight vodka which I believe I may have requested "for the pain."

And then the water was leaking from my eyes because it really did hurt and I was the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons. So my other cousin's boyfriend who is The Go To Guy In All Emergencies was charged with getting me and my foot across a waterlogged paddock, along a potholed lane in the dark, down a couple of cobbled paths, into the house and up three flights of stairs (how I have no idea, the vodka had kicked in by then) to the attic room where I promptly crashed out.

The irony is that at the beginning of the reception when we were all being plied with refills of champagne I kept refusing more; uttering these exact words to someone more sensible than I:

"You have to be careful 'cos the last thing you want to do at a wedding is get pissed and end up falling over."

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I have not been around this week because not only do I have no internet connection, I am currently unable to walk to the internet cafe, or anywhere, due to a BROKEN FOOT. So obviously all I can do is lie on the sofa with my leg elevated watching daytime TV, or at least I was until THE REMOTE CONTROL BROKE. Do you think someone's trying to tell me something - like stop procrastinating and write that bloody thing everyone keeps telling you you should and shall write? My lovely neighbour is letting me use her internet for a moment to say I will be back, and soon, with up and running internet and the funny story of how the foot came to snap...

Wanna see a picture of my black toes?

Friday, May 11, 2007


Anyone who's been to my house knows how much I love Ashley G's work. I love my print of Windy Day which hangs in my hallway and is the first thing I see when I open the door; but ever since I saw this I keep thinking, "Hmm, time for another?" every time I pass by. Of course I wouldn't get the same tattoo as someone else, but how about the creature in Little Helper? Or maybe just a brooch with it on for starters?

I discovered that I don't have to move to New York so that I can live in Lyell's Elizabeth Street shop (soooo lovely) because apparently they also have a shop in Paris, very close to where I very considerate of them.

But driving me crazy: Not being able to find any info on Valentine (Cheung) clothes which wowed me at Barney's (kind of looked like toiles in thick black or white cotton in graphic shapes with quirky detail) except a teeny article in Teen Vogue. Come on, Selfridges, keep up.

Making me laugh: Catherine Tate in French class last night. "Regarde mon visage, regarde mon visage, je ne suis pas bovv-eerred, tu pense que je suis bovv-eerred?"

Book I'd like to erase from my memory so I can read it again: This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes.

Happy Weekend...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Some cheery uppy blossom for youse. It's not all bad you know.

(1) Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with the hilariously witty and nice Miss Lauren Lux Lotus at my version of Tiffany's: The Wolseley. Many large pots of tea were quaffed in a leisurely manner and
(2) scones were consumed. And if it wasn't for Lauren I would not have known (because she knows more about what's going on in London after being here for a day than I do -that's how much we need her to move here ASAP)
(3) that my very favourite trio of songstrels from Brooklyn, Au Revoir Simone are playing at the ICA on Saturday!
But I can't go because
(4) I have a Very Important Wedding to attend. Not mine, silly.
So you! You must go, people in London! If you don't know Au Revoir Simone fret not. Listen. And they all have really amazing hair. I'm being serious. Also, anyone who can come up with the lyrics, "You make me wanna measure stars in the backyard, with a calculator and a ruler baby" is worth seeing live.

(5) I will get to see them though because they'll play again at The Luminaire on May 20th, way out of my comfort zone in the faraway land of Kilburn. But I'll go north west for them. I do hope they'll be playing tracks from The Bird of Music which is out here but isn't out in the US as yet. But then maybe it's better if they don't so I won't embarrass myself by getting tipsy and singing along out of tune at the top of my voice.

(6) For dinner tonight I'm thinking another trip to Ping Pong is long overdue. To drown sorrows and replace internet related ridiculous snivelling with yummy pork puffs.

(7) My ticket for the eurostar next month arrived today.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Honestly, I just literally stumbled upon it - the Kate Moss stuff that is.
I was doing my usual trick of zooming down the A2 to return stuff at good ol' Bluewater.
Walking into Topshop on the day Kate's range was launched I didn't even expect it to be there, not thinking I was being all clever like with Stella - but there it all was.
They didn't have many of the dresses - the floral one was the only piece I might've bought, but they had everything else. The reaction of shoppers? People were sort of circling the Kate section uncertainly, stopping to prod or lift a particular piece now and then. I couldn't work out if it was because they couldn't believe it was all there - no crazy scenes, hair pulling, changing room quotas or bare rails to be seen; or if they just weren't sure about the collection itself .
A woman stopped to look at the short black dress with cutaway bits at the neck and her husband said it looked like it was made from tent fabric. I bought a studded suede belt, just well, really because it was quite nice and I needed a belt. I didn't see anyone else try on or buy anything. As for everything in this fabric - is she just fucking with us? I haven't read any coverage about the collection so I don't know what the general consensus is, but in Dartford mate I'm tellin ya - they weren't feelin it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I always see the chicest girls on bicycles. That's my excuse for no longer taking street pics - by the time I've spotted a victim, they're gone in a whirl of heels, flying fabric and hair. And they always have those cool old school bikes, as evidenced by the sterling work of The Sartorialist (who took the pic at right).

He's a bike man for sure.

I do have a very old, very beautiful Triumph that belonged to my mother. She fell off it and cracked her chin open when she was 10 so that means it's well, it's definitely vintage, no - antique. It needs new tyres and it's a little rusty but a little TLC and it'd be fine. Only - and I know this is bonkers because who would want to steal my rusty old bike but if it was pilfered I would be devastated. So, it lives in a shed in Dorset waiting to be lovingly reconditioned.

A London bike requires a slightly different set of criteria. The fact is there's not many places I can cycle to without navigating a huge scary road full of freight lorries. Also, the last time I regularly cycled was on the pavement. Basically I am terrified of falling off and I am not ready to die yet.

I went along to Evans which is frequented by many cycle couriers which I thought must be a good sign. As soon as I walked in I saw my bike. I mean it just was my bike and I knew it. A lovely boy with half blue hair was helping me, and I told him I was going to get some lunch and would be back soon. When I got back there was a girl on my bike. I looked at blue hair boy and said, "There's a girl on my bike." After discovering it would take over a week to get another one, I wandered round the back of the shop smirking to myself. For I knew it was my bike. After about ten minutes the girl left empty handed and blue hair brought the bike over to me. At some point before I took it out for a spin he mentioned another bike called a Pashley Princess which had a basket and was like a real old fashioned ladies bicycle. I was momentarily blindsided by the knowledge that a bike named Princess existed for grown ups. I was torn, but then I took my bike out for a spin along the south bank and loved the way it positively glided glid? glided smoothly over the cobblestones. It also has a tres comfortable cushioned saddle.

So, although the Pashley Princess was charming, I had to remind myself I already have one - a real original one - just like that. I wanted a bike that wasn't desirable to thieves, thus one with a step through - apparently there aren't too many females ready to crack your bike lock open with a car jack out there. I needed to be visible - thus an extremely dorky light coloured helmet with graphics that wouldn't be that bad actually if only they were on a treatment menu at a holistic day spa. All bike helmets are vile. This is why you see all these stylish young things risking life and limb scooting around Paris, New York and London with the breeze running through their hair. I'm telling you, there's a big gap in the market here bike helmet designers. You could save a hip cyclist's life. But for now I had to ask myself; do you want to look cool or do you want to keep your brains inside your skull rather than splattered all over the pavement? There is one helmet that kind of looks like a WW11 military helmet which initially won me over, but I looked like an extra from 'Allo 'Allo wearing it (I was actually wearing a trench coat at the time, just to complete the look.)

So, my new bike is fine. It's fine. It's got two wheels and handlebars, it's not the love of my life like Duckie is but hey, tootling along in the global warming enhanced sunshine feels just dandy.
It's so....pleasant cycling around. Such was my euphoria after my first ride round the neighbourhood that all l I could say was Bicycle! in the manner of a small child presented with an enchanting new toy. This led a friend to ask if I'd been sniffing glue, to which I replied, "Bicycle!"

p.s. I am ignoring the entire Kate Moss Topshop thing, lalalalala, fingers in ears, eyes closed, don't want to know how many fatalities there have been so far, not interested, not worth it...