19 December 2007

Just heard (do I live in a bubble?)....

that a film version of the first in Sophie Kinsella's incredibly successful Shopaholic series is coming in October next year. Confessions of a Shopaholic will star Isla Fisher as Becky Bloomwood and Krysten Ritter (who?) as best mate Suze.

No other details available as yet – but am already looking forward to it.

As previously mentioned, PS I Love You hits the screen just after Christmas too…oh film bliss.

17 December 2007

The weekend started there....

My weekend officially started on Thursday evening, when I met the lovely Bernadette Strachan for drinks (champagne) and nibbles (meat and cheese) in a bar down Wardour Street way. I adore Bernie, and feel quite overwhelmed by the fact that I’ve become friends with someone whose books I love reading… Get me.

Friday night saw a Thai meal with The Mother, her two closest neighbours and one of their daughters – all of whom I have known all my life. Lovely evening, marred only slightly by my potty mouth (I don’t know what came over me) and one of the party feeling a bit down since her Work changed their pay day to the 6th of the month – meaning Christmas is officially cancelled in her house. Fucking bastards.

Saturday night I was invited to my lovely friend Peter’s Christmas party, which saw me and a gaggle of my old Big W friends devouring an amazing spread of cheese, chilli, sausages, mulled wine and Snowballs – whilst a gentlemen did fire juggling in the back garden. Lovely evening – marred again slightly though by the 2 hour trek home (due to some ridiculous earth slide or something cocking up the line in Croydon) and a speeding ticket – 3 points on his license and £60 fine - when Boo picked me up from the station. My name is, understandably, Mud.

Sunday I met The Mother for her pre-Christmas Christmas present – we had a nice lunch in Covent Garden and then went to see The Snow Queen at the London Coliseum. Absolutely amazing. When traditional ballet is done well, it can rival the visual spectacular of my favourite contemporary dance, and The Snow Queen was done very very well. Superb costumes, set, lighting, music – everything – made this a real feast for the eyes, and its great to see the ENB put on such an exhilarating new production.




Tonight I’ll be mostly trying to not show myself up at my New Work Christmas party. (Yes, on a blinking Monday…) I have heard speak of karaoke and dancing. I remember the last time I did karaoke. It was on a girls holiday in Portugal. I sang either a Beatles or Tom Jones song. Topless. Whilst (apparently) gazing into the eyes of an Icelandic body builder. Oh God.

13 December 2007

Since I Don't Have You



It was some time ago that I started reading Louise Candlish’s latest book Since I Don’t Have You. I started it, got to just page 41, felt so upset that I had to put it down until I could stop blubbing.

I have periodically picked it up and put it down again over the past six months or so, but only recently felt brave enough to try and finish it. It is so much more than just a story about loss, but I think it touched a still very raw nerve with me, which has made it nearly impossible to finish to be honest.

I can’t begin to tell you how deeply the story has moved me. It is so beautifully written and such a tragic, heartbreaking tale that I found I couldn’t read it on the commute to and from work, because I was almost constantly in tears….

Everyone knows how much I adore my niece and even though I wouldn’t ever presume to compare the feelings I have for her, with how her mother feels for her – it is the strength of those very feelings that makes me scared, constantly, that something bad might some day happen to her. I panic about everything – and feel an overwhelming sense of anger that someone someday might hurt her.

Throughout reading this book, I kept on thinking about my niece, and I am pretty sure the author drew upon her feeling for her own daughter to craft such an exquisitely real and incredibly believable story.

I can’t really tell you too much about it without revealing the pivotal point in the story - but I can tell you this is one of the most stunning books I have ever read. I don’t really know about many books outside of the stories about shoes and shagging that I normally read, so I don’t have a huge library of titles to compare it to – but if I said it reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones, After You’d Gone and Anybody Out There? that might help.

12 December 2007

Last night….

I watched that programme that came on after the wonderful Kitchen Nightmares on C4 - Sex in the Noughties or something, about clit lit blogger Abby Lee, she of Girl With a One-Track Mind fame…at least, I watched as much as I could before I fell asleep. (I had, in my defence, been up since 5am to do my first Body Pump class in over 2 months!).

I vaguely remember the big old hoo-ha in the Summer of 2006 when “Abby” was outed by the media following the publication of her book, and poor old Zoe Margolis’s private/personal/real identity become public knowledge. I remember laughing at how appalled some of the industry press were by the fact that this horny, sex obsessed 32 year old had worked as a film assistant on a Harry Potter film. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really aware of her blog, or come to that, any of these so-called Sex Blogs until then – so I can’t say I was a fan, but I have always admired people who can write good sex.

But watching the programme last night raised a few rambling and pointless questions with me.

There has been a lot of talk over the past couple of years about the blog-to-book phenomenon. There are many people that are excited by this relatively new and seemingly easy publishing route, and there has been much made of the surge in new blogs being written by people who apparently envisage it will lead to a multi million pound publishing contract. I’m sure it does work out all fine and dandy for some – taking a look at Abby Lee’s press page she has defiantly been a busy old bee since her book got published. But there are some 7 million blogs (or something like that) out there on tinterweb, so the misguided belief that YOUR blog will stand out strongly enough to get noticed by some hot shot publisher is literally a deluded fantasy for 99% of bloggers – so I wonder how many people are still just blogging for blogging sake?

I myself have felt an incredible freedom to write what I want in this blog and send it out into the abyss. I’ve been doing it for a relatively short period of time but I like doing it. I don’t think, I don’t hope, and I truly don’t believe Fat Girl on the Run will ever be made into a book. I started doing it for a variety of reasons; one of them being for probably the same reason I joined Facebook. Every one I know seems to write a blog – the same way every one I know (and actually about 100 other people I don’t really know but am now friends with) is on Facebook. I was also incredibly bored at old work. I’d given up smoking and therefore had at least 12 x 5 minute blocks of time when I should have been chatting outside on the fire escape with a More clamped between my lips – and I was buggered if I was going to fill them by doing any more work. I also wanted to chart in some way my ambitious (and frankly foolish) plans to clean up my act food wise. And, if truth be told, I wanted to see if anyone thought I was clever or funny or could string two words together.

I thought I would write about a variety of things – but mostly work stuff, Macmillan charity stuff, book stuff, diet stuff and stuff involving me bragging about my beautiful Niece. But I never envisaged being brave enough to tell the “all” about my sex life. Would I be confident enough to describe in explicit detail the cut and thrust of (or lack of) my bedroom aerobics? The answer is NO. And it’s a definite NO for several reasons - the main one being because the people that know me, and in fact the person I do the bedroom aerobics with, know I write this blog. I’m not saying they read it, although obv I hope they do sometimes, but what if Boo or my sister, or even my mum, was bored one day, and thought to read my blog to waste some time, and came across an entry about my lesbian fantasies involving vanilla S&M and a touch of fisting… I never thought I’d really write anything particularly personal that involved anyone else (and I don’t actually think I have). Cause if I did, then its not really MY personal stuff, it’s also theirs – and it’s not my place to talk about it… do you get me? Any my sex life revelations would surely also be Boo’s sex life revelations – and what if his sister or his mum or his niece read them?

And that I think is where my admiration for Catherine Townsend comes from. Abby was anonymous. The high class hooker Belle de Jour was anonymous. The Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl and The Sexual Life of Catherine M were both written anonymously. To an extent I am anonymous cause I don’t actually use my full name on here…But Catherine Townsend, author of Sleeping Around is real – and writes under her real name. I’ve met her. She’s lovely. She’s tall, and striking, and softly spoken, and a very obviously sexual person.

So do I have a point to get to – I’m not sure really. I enjoyed (as much as I saw of) the programme last night. And it is always fantastic to watch things on telly that I have a genuine interest in. And of course, I’m always interested in watching, talking or reading about sex. But I felt a bit confused. The public outing of Abby/ZoĆ« is one thing. The phenomenon of blog-to-book publishing is another thing. Anyone writing about anything under a pseudonym is a whole separate issue, but the writing about sex, whether that’s blogs or books or anything else is something completely different. And I feel that everything got mixed up together in the programme…..

10 December 2007

Bridesmaids



In May next year "New Work" is publishing this funny debut novel by Jane Costello. I bet you can't guess the genre?!

The central character is Evie who suffers with a very strong commitment phobia - her longest relationship has lasted about half a nanosecond - until she meets hunky fellow Jack at the first of four weddings that feature in the book.

I know I really liked this cause it took me just 3 sittings to finish it over the course of a rather hectic week that involved two classes at the gym, a long overdue coffee date with a friend, The Clothes Show Live in Birmingham, a new housing development viewing with Boo, and a slow meander down The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells with The Most Beautiful Niece in the World.

A few of the characters in the book are just a touch too shallow and vacant to make them likeable for me – and I thought a couple of them could have been given stronger storylines in their own right – but the writing is very good and it is genuinely funny.

I’m really looking forward to helping push this one...so if you are a chick lit lover too and would like an early sneak preview – let me know!

6 December 2007

Curse of the Spellmans

A US advanced reader’s edition of the above (which is coming to the export market in Febuary next year) has been my “in the bath” read for a couple of months now. Whether its taken me so long to finish it is cause my flat is just too damn cold to sit in the bath for hours, or whether I’m just a dirty girl who hasn’t washed enough recently - I can’t tell. Or maybe it’s just because it hasn’t kept me completely engaged… I mean, don’t get me wrong, its good, and if you enjoyed The Spellman Files (which I think I did), you will really enjoy this follow up. It follows PI Izzy Spellman and her 4 arrests in just 3 months whilst investigating suspicious new neighbour John Brown; her parents various disappearances/vacations; her sisters bizarre relationship with Inspector Henry Stone and the return of Uncle Bernie. But there is something about the way the book is written and presented, that kind of makes it a two/three page a time read for me cause the chapters are tiny, and much use is made of those annoying little footnotes.

However – I was delighted to learn yesterday that the following books are all coming out next year:

Operation Sunshine by Jenny Colgan
Synopsis
Evie needs a good holiday. Not just because she's been working all hours in her job as a receptionist for two high-powered plastic surgeons - but also because every holiday she has ever been on in her life has involved sunburn, arguments and projectile vomiting - and sometimes all three at once. Why can't she have a normal holiday, like other people seem to have - some sun, sand, sea and (hopefully) sex? So when her employers invite her to attend a conference with them in the south of France, she can't believe her luck. At last, the chance to hob nob with the rich and glamorous, to party under the stars, to live the life she's dreamed about. It's certainly the holiday of a lifetime - but not quite in the way Evie imagined!

The Second Husband by Louise Candlish
Synopsis
When her ten-year marriage to Alistair ends with his infidelity, Kate Easton vows she will not make the same mistake twice. She will never put herself, or her two children, through a relationship again. Then Alistair announces that his new wife is pregnant and he intends to cut his financial support to Kate. To keep her home she must divide it up and make way for a lodger. Enter Davis Calder, a glamorous and charismatic tutor with a failed marriage of his own behind him. He soon becomes a close friend to Kate, someone she can turn to in her difficulties with her unpredictable teenage daughter Roxy. Before she can stop herself she has fallen in love, broken her vow and accepted his proposal of marriage. At last she has the happy ending she deserves. Until, just days after returning from her honeymoon, she makes a discovery about her new husband that changes everything...

Just a Family Affair by Veronica Henry
Synopsis
In the Gloucestershire village of Honeycote, country life is anything but quiet. Maybe it's something to do with all that fresh air, but it's the kind of place where passions run high. Where old families meet new money, and old husbands meet new girlfriends, sparks are bound to fly. And with a wedding on the cards, you can bet that getting to the church on time - if at all - won't be easy. Be warned - you'll want to move to Honeycote, you'll fall in love with the men, want some of the women as your friends, and want to put a stiletto heel (or pitchfork blade) in the back of some of the others. But most of all - you'll want to keep on reading. Pitch-perfect romantic comedy with an added shot of wit and glamour, Veronica Henry proves that Sex & the City is so over. It's time for Sex & the Shires.

Wedding Season by Katie Fforde
Synopsis
Sara is a wedding planner hiding a rather inconvenient truth - she doesn't believe in love. Or not for herself, anyway. But as the confetti flutters away on the June breeze of yet another successful wedding she somehow finds herself agreeing to organise two more, on the same day and only two months away. And whilst her celebrity bride is all sweetness and light, her own sister soon starts driving her mad with her high expectations but very limited budget. Luckily Sara has two tried and tested friends on hand to help her. Elsa, an accomplished dress designer who likes to keep a very low profile, and Bron, a multi-talented hairdresser who lives with her unreconstructed boyfriend and who'd like to go solo in more ways than one. They may be very good at their work but romance doesn't feature very highly in any of their lives. As the big day draws near all three women find that patience is definitely a virtue in the marriage game. And as all their working hours are spent preparing for the wedding of the year plus one they certainly haven't got any time to even think about love ...or have they?

Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella
Synopsis
Lexi wakes up in a hospital bed after a car accident, thinking it's 2004 and she's a twenty-five-year old with crooked teeth and a disastrous love life. But, to her disbelief, she learns it's actually 2007 - she's twenty-eight, her teeth are straight, she's the boss of her department - and she's married! To a good-looking millionaire! How on earth did she land the dream life??! She can't believe her luck - especially when she sees her stunning new home. She's sure she'll have a fantastic marriage once she gets to know her husband again. He's drawn up a 'manual of our marriage', which should help. But as she learns more about her new self, chinks start to appear in the perfect life. All her old colleagues hate her. A rival is after her job. Then a dishevelled, sexy guy turns up...and lands a new bombshell. What happened to her? Will she ever remember? And what will happen if she does?

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern
Synopsis
How can you know someone you've never met? Joyce Conway remembers things she shouldn't. She knows about tiny cobbled streets in Paris, which she has never visited. And every night she dreams about an unknown little girl with blonde hair. When she leaves hospital after a terrible accident, with her life and her marriage in pieces, Joyce moves back in with her elderly father. All the while, a strong sense of deja vu is overwhelming her and she can't figure out why! Justin Hitchcock is divorced, lonely and restless. He arrives in Dublin to give a lecture on art and meets attractive doctor Sarah, who persuades him to donate blood. It's the first thing to come straight from his heart in a long time. When Justin receives a basket of muffins with a note simply saying thank you, he is sure someone is playing a trick on him. But then a series of gifts begin to arrive. Intrigued and disturbed, Justin is determined to find out who is sending them. What he discovers will change his life forever.

and...

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
No synopsis available yet!

So if you wanted to get me any presents….!

29 November 2007

He Did It Again

Last night, after dinner, he opened a box of Ritz crackers. After two he said "No more Kitty, you've had enough".

He's fabulous.

I wish to God he was around at lunchtime today when I had a fish burger, large chips and a big fat cupcake from Peyton and Byrne.


I ask you - is there a nicer sight than that? ... bar of course this (will you excuse me a moment?)

26 November 2007

Run Fat Girl, Run

I have been cajoled into taking part in the Leeds 10k Run for All in memory of Jane Tomlinson, who died in September this year. In the 7 years after Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer she took part in a series of gruelling challenges, raising £1.75m for charity (which makes my £5k for Macmillan look piddly).

On June 22nd next year myself and 28 of my work colleagues will be hauling our cookies up north and attempting to raise a bit more for her charity – Jane’s Appeal.

If you would like to find out more about the event, please log onto the run for all website.

To kindly part with some money our just giving site is safe, secure and speedy.

One Small Step

Boo actually told me enough at the weekend. He was holding a special Christmas tub of M&S £4.99 honey roasted cashews which I was attempting to wrestle off him and scoff. He said “no, you’ve had enough”.

Well I never.

He then told me I was only allowed two chocolate hobnobs. Two?! He actually took two out of the tin, shut it and took it away from me.

Blimey.

I do love that man.

23 November 2007

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, in cabaret, au cabaret, to cabaret!

Off to The Theatre last night to celebrate Natalia's 30 blah birthday.

We started off with the trendy version of the Early Bird Special at Sugar Reef - for some Happy Hour Mojito's and Rose, together with a two course for £16 menu of good tempura battered tiger prawn starter and a first class crab, cucumber, red pepper, mango and coriander salad main.

Dinner done off to see Cabaret with Amy Nuttal. Yes, Amy Nuttal - Chloe from Emmerdale, who can actually sing and dance and act and look sexy all at the same time...

I vaguely remembered seeing the film Cabaret on the telly with Liza Minnelli. I remember stockings and bowler hats and a smoky nightclub.

I don't remember naked bottoms, penises, serious coke habits and prostitutes. Ah the innocence of youth!

Anyhow for those that don't know the story, roughly it goes like this - bisexual American novelist Clifford Bradshaw turns up in Berlin on New Years Eve in the 1930s and meets dodgy Ernst Ludwig. Ludwig recommends both some lodgings for Cliff to stay in and invites him to the Kit Kat Club, where he meets singer/dancer/hooker Sally Bowles. Sally then gets sacked from the club, turns up at Cliff's hotel (run by Fraulein Schneider) and begs to stay. They party for a while having a great time and it then goes horribly wrong. And I found it all a little overwhelming. The incredibly funny, camp and sinister Emcee manipulates the audience to such an extent that it's not until "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" that I remembered this is about the Nazis; but then the entire second half left me in no doubt of this musicals political message. Cliff's saxophone-playing male lover is beated up and taken away by the Nazis. Fraulein Schneider is told to reject her Jewish fiance by Ludwig and the exotic and sexy Kit Kat dancers turn into a huddle of naked figures in a concentration camp.

Thank god you're allowed drinks into the theatre... the healing and soothing power of Pimm's is not to be underestimated.

19 November 2007

P.S. I Love You

Whilst waiting to meet my friends for an altogether delightful Sunday lunch this weekend, I was perusing the 3 for 2 tables FOS in Waterstones Richmond, and came across the movie tie-in edition of Cecelia Aherns' fantastic P.S. I Love You. I remember reading that a movie was in production, but had heard nothing for about a year or so. Have checked on IMDb and it's true - the film hits the UK cinema screens on Boxing Day. Can Not Wait.


Here's the plot outline (as written by someone called Orange on the IMBd site)... Holly Kennedy (Hillary Swank) is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life - a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry (Gerard Butler). So when Gerry's life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it's a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly's 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and "celebrate herself". In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly's mother (Kathy Bates) and best friends (Gina Gershom) and Denise (Lisa Kundrow), begin to worry that Gerry's letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but in fact, each letter is pushing her further into a new future. With Gerry's words as her guide, Holly embarks on a touching, exciting and often hilarious journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life.

I tell you, if they fuck up the travel agent scene I will hunt someone down and do unspeakable horrors to their nether regions.

16 November 2007

No Longer A Virgin

For reasons too complicated/embarrassing/dull to mention, I cancelled my membership at The Gym at the end of September. It would appear that in just 7 weeks a person can put on about a stone in weight if they don't do any exercise. I also believe eating enough to feed a small family of four can add to that weight increase. I further believe (although I am awaiting a second opinion) that unless I pull my finger out of my whatever, and stop pulling the wool over my eyes I will be a fatty till I die. For the love of God why the fuck do I find this so chuffing hard. I mean, its not rocket science. JUST STOP FUCKING EATING. Please, I beg of you, if you see me within a 100 paces of ANYTHING that looks like food, will you please hurl a Tazer in my direction....

12 November 2007

Bernie Does The Bookseller

Bernadette Strachan has done a great interview on thebookseller.co.uk.

That's it for now.

9 November 2007

Booked!

Boo and I booked our wedding venue this week. OH MY GOD! We are doing-the-do in The Conservatory on 3rd May 2009 at 5pm here...


... at The Inn on the Green. It is perfect and stunning and can host exactly what we want.

So about that diet.....

Spa Wars


I loved Marrying for Money, the last Chris Manby title I read before Spa Wars which is coming in Hardback next February. I gave it 4 out of 5 in the review I posted on the waterstones.com website. I think I'll give Spa Wars a 3 (and a half). In film terms, the first 45 mins is great - but the last 15 feels rushed and you're left feeling a bit cheated as the credits roll. Spa Wars is a brilliant idea - girl opens her own beauty salon and potters along for a bit. Z list celeb at the height of her 15 minutes of fame visits said Salon to get her nail fixed one night and girl's life and business gets turned around. Then a series of unfortunate events spell doom for everyone - and everyone learns a bunch of lessons about "what goes around comes around". Etc etc etc. As is usual with a Chris Manby book - there are some really funny scenes and some very well crafted characters (and maybe it's just me and maybe I'm wrong), but I thought the ending could have done with a chapter or two more....

5 November 2007

Little White Lies

I got quite tipsy with Bernadette Strachan once after she had been Guest of Honour at a lovely little Afternoon Cream Tea that Hodder kindly put together for the Waterstones Chick Lit Forum at The Charlotte Street Hotel. (Oh happy happy days….) We had a lovely evening putting the world to rights over several glasses of wine and she revealed, amongst other things, that her husband wrote the duh duh duh duuuuuh music for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

That fact aside – I have been a fan of Bernie and her writing since The Reluctant Landlady in 2004. So when I left my (smuggled out of Hodder Towers) proof of Little White Lies in a friends car for nearly a month I was gutted…

Thankfully, said friend finally dropped it back last week, so having been traumatised by Child 44, I was over the moon to be able to get stuck in.

It’s adorable. My only criticism of Bernie's last book (Diamonds and Daisies) was that for some unspecific reason I couldn’t stand her leading lady (Sunny). Not so with Little White Lies.

Billie Baskerville is summoned by her Aunt Babs to deepest, darkest Sussex. Aunt Babs is going to Australia on a OAP-GAP year, and needs Billie to take over running her wedding dress shop. Putting a cynical, groom-hating, wedding-loathing, bride-detesting girl in charge of such a shop should be a disaster waiting to happen, but Billie can't help but get swept away with the romance of her customers and with village life. She gives the shop a much-needed makeover and starts rebuilding her life again.

Scattered with very funny characters – the illustrator Gay Best Friend, hippy chick Dot and Chav Debs, together with Billies “actress” mother and inspirational speaker brother – Bernie has written a PROPER laugh-out-loud-in-places book. I chuckled a lot whilst reading this, even though I feel quite miserable at the moment – and was hooked till the end.

The end is however, very surprising. I won’t give anything away, but it all felt like a bolt out of the blue, and I’m not sure whether I wanted to happen, what did happen (if you see what I mean). But it doesn’t take away from the fact that Billie is a much much better character than Sunny – and I loved the whole “running away to find happiness” lesson…..if only I had my own Aunt Babs.

29 October 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall......

I’ve been trying to avoid The mirror, A mirror, Any mirror for about a month. I finally faced my worst fear and stood, butt naked in front of the full length one in my flat on Saturday night. Post Wagamamas.

The phrase “a sight for sore eyes” sprung to mind. And not in a good way.

Thank God for the temporary healing power of White Zinfandel.

Whether the lack of gym activity for a month or the increase in food-to-mouth activity can be blamed I’m not sure. Suffice to say – I can unfortunately, only really blame myself. No one forces me to stuff my face with all the good stuff. Unless you count the multiple personalities that lie within.

I caught up the The Smiths on Sunday. Youngest Son Smith has recently completed a NLP course. Neuro Linguistic Programming. Means nothing to me either. But he says that I can train my brain to alter my relationship with food. Or something like that. He has known me for literally all his life, and knows that I have been trying (not hard enough mind) to not be a fat old lard arse for about 20 years. He claims the secret to cracking this nut once and for all is not hard. He agrees that I am a relatively intelligent person. That is, I know that eating less and exercising more is the true path to happiness. I also know that bread is the food of the devil and no good can ever come from eating a loaf of Tiger bread as a treat on a Saturday afternoon. However, he reckons that with a bit of “reframing” I can succeed where all of this sensible talk has failed.

I’m feeling positive. Although the sight of me naked did nothing to stop me eating a whole family size tub of Rachel’s Rhubarb Yogurt for breakfast. Sometimes I really really hate myself.

24 October 2007

Goats and Cream Teams

Boo, The Family and I recently got back from a wonderful week in Norfolk staying at this beautiful holiday home.

During the week we did some stuff on the beach



And some stuff on the pier





And we fed some goats



And ate some ice cream



And rode on a steam train





And had a boat trip



And I took two of my favourite ever pictures of The Most Beautiful Little Girl in The World....



Child 44


As anyone who knows me will know, I very reluctantly will read a book outside of my chosen genre – only if bullied or cajoled by someone who’s opinion I trust… Lady Doore, Packfordshire, Heat magazine…

A new bully/friend-from-new-work (who’s opinion I now trust) together with Ridley Scott (who’s bought the movie rights) persuaded me to try a first novel by a rather dashing young man who nine years younger than I am, and half Swedish (if that’s relevant at all) who has recently completed a six month stint in Phnom Penh story lining Cambodia’s first ever soap….. ahem.

Child 44 could not be further from my first choice of book to read if it tried. Opening in Ukraine in 1933 with the line “Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself”, I kind of knew there would be very few troubled relationships, cocktail parties and spending sprees down Bond Street.

I was gripped.

Chapter 2 opens twenty years later in Moscow with the apparent disappearance of a young boy following a rather fierce snowball fight…and Leo Demidov, a member of the Ministry of State Security, being instructed to convince the family who believe their son was murdered that crime simply doesn’t exist in the Soviet Union in 1953….

What unfolds is a really vivid and gruesome story which sees Leo risking everything to pursue a horrific killer….

About a quarter of the way through the book I started wondering what Chapter 1 has to do with the rest of the story.

About half way through a very small penny started to drop.

About three quarters of the way through I downed tools and couldn’t/wouldn’t stop reading till the end.

A couple of scenes will probably stay with me for a long time; and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of camphor oil without going cold, but more than that is the fact that I read a book without a pastel cover, and loved every minute of it.

11 October 2007

Location, location, location

So Boo and I made a list of what we wanted for our wedding... and then we added some other bits to the list and took a whole bunch of bits off - and we came up with a day that suited us both as a couple and as individuals. It's hopefully going to go something like this:

1. small country hotel for a long weekend in early spring 2009
2. late afternoon civil ceremony on the Sunday with just 7 guests in total
3. reportage photography and cupcakes (of course)
4. emerald and sage outfits for our guests
5. early evening entertainment in the gardens with Pimms and canapes, and late evening entertainment whilst having our wedding breakfast

We then went onto a very clever website that lists the 3,000 or so places licenced to hold a civil ceremony in the UK.

We then worked our way down those lists of venues and looked at the website of every single place within a 2 hour journey of where we live to come up with a longlist of possible venues.

We then read the brochures of those five places, and came up with our shortlist of 3 venues.

That's 3 venues within a 100 mile radius of where we live that might be able to host the wedding we want.

We went to see one last weekend. The smallest room that has a licence is just too big. Bugger.

So just two remain.

The Inn on the Green.

The Manor Hotel.

We are due to see both hotels when we get back from holiday. If neither of them are right, we may have to elope...now, there's an idea.....

5 October 2007

Not too shabby I say

So, last night I went for a meal with work to a Cuban place called La Floridita which lives in the old Mezzo on Wardour Street.

Sat on the table next to ours was a rather fine fellow by the name of Carlos Acosta – who won the Prix de Lausanne aged 17, and joined the English National Ballet at 18. Now he is one of the most sought after guest stars at the Royal Ballet – and mighty fine to look at on stage.

See below.

Ahem.

Thinking I might buy me some of them there tickets....

2 October 2007

Too late will be the cry when the man with the houses walks on by.

Boo and I are planning on buying a home together before we get married. Our options are:

1 - Buy a one bed flat (shed) on the open market in either a god forsaken Inner City hovel, or the middle of fucking nowhere.

2 - Buy a property through one of the various Housing Association / Government Initiative schemes that are running. You basically have to be either some sort of local hero or “key worker”, prove that you are skint (no problem there), fill in a million different forms and then sit and wait for one of the major house builders to build a block of nasty box flats in an area where you are eligible to apply….

Boo will not be swayed by my third option of getting a transfer from the studio I currently rent from a Housing Association to a one bedroom flat. This would be, I have stressed, my back up plan not my first choice. But he will not hear of it. He says renting is for fools, losers and not for a young couple such as us.

I say – fuck all that – I refuse to start our married life living apart.

I have tried to explain that having worked for nearly 10 years in Estate Agency (option 1) and 3 years in Social Housing (option 2) I know just how difficult it can be to buy a property – and that having a back up plan is wise.

We are officially arguing.

28 September 2007

Fragile

I can’t explain it very well (as you will see below); but I am feeling decidedly fragile at the moment. At a time when I should be completely ecstatic – what with good things about to happen at work, and super developments with Boo – I feel rather low and upset…. I would love to say that it’s just the old catch-all “hormones”, or the continual (and frankly rather boring) “weight/food issues”; but I don’t actually think that’s it.

I think I miss my friends – past and present.

I know that as people grow up they sometimes grow apart, and that the idea that your friends are for life is unrealistic in today’s culture – where many people have more friends on facebook than in real life – but I feel like I’ve been rather careless in the past with some relationships that I should have treated with more respect. And I feel like I’m doing it again now.

Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve split up with five people who I considered “best” friends. Four of those people were almost like a package deal, and I’ll be honest when I say – I still don’t really even know what happened… they all seemed to turn on me like rabid dogs, and whilst I don’t think I did anything wrong – they all ended up hating me. Suffice to say it was a very messy and very expensive break up – and even now I come out in a bit of a cold sweat when I think about what happened. I still miss one member of that gang so much even after 7 years, and that’s despite the fact that towards the end of our relationship he was a complete and utter cunt to me.

I broke up with another very very dear friend just before I started this blogging malarkey. We’d been together for over 10 years – and I hold her almost entirely responsible for getting me through the dark days after my dad died. Again – I don’t really quite know what happened. One minute we were chit chatting about work, sex and weight – the next minute we were walking on eggshells around each other and she was debating whether our friendship was dead in the water… I miss her every day – but an overwhelming sense of pride and stubbornness (on both parts I like to think) stops us from bridging the gap and smoothing over whatever misunderstanding we’ve had.

Don’t get me wrong, my remaining best friends are all great. Fabulous. Of course I moan about them and get annoyed with them sometimes. Don’t we all? But they are all fun in different ways and we enjoy hanging out, over-analysing, getting drunk, crying and laughing together (amongst other things).

But – and here’s the killer - I get very overwhelmed with life sometimes – the constant chores and routine wares me down – and I get very selfish with my time with Boo and my niece and MYSELF. And I don’t put in enough effort. Nowhere near enough effort into keeping the relationships alive. I don’t call enough. I don’t text enough. I don’t e-mail enough. And I certainly don’t spend enough actually face to face time with them…

Am I the only one who has friends guilt?

20 September 2007

Little White Lies

My amazing friend Suzie managed to squirrel a copy of the new Bernadette Strachan out of Hodder Towers, and sent it to me.



I've started it, and its brilliant.

I've long been a fan of Bernie and her books. Handbags and Halos and Diamonds and Daisies are two great books - but her first, The Reluctant Landlady has stayed on my "Favourite Books Ever" list since I first read it; and I've re-read it every year since!

When I finish Little White Lies, I reckon it may go on the list too.

A sad day for the Fat Girl in Blue

So, despite having 3 years left on his contract, Jose has quit Chelsea...and despite his great record (see below, which I snatched from bbc.co.uk)

2 June, 2004 - Appointed manager
27 February, 2005 - Wins Carling Cup 3-2 v Liverpool
30 April, 2005 - Beat Bolton 2-0 to win Premiership title
4 May, 2005 - Signs new five-year contract
29 April, 2006 - Beat Man Utd 3-0 to win Premiership again
27 February, 2007 - Beat Arsenal 2-1 to win Carling Cup
19 May, 2007 - Win FA Cup by beating Man Utd 1-0 at Wembley
19 September, 2007 - Leaves Stamford Bridge

Apparently Avram Grant (current director of football or something) is going to be named as our new manager later today....

Am gutted.

13 September 2007

Where

on earth have the last two weeks gone...??

Had a gorgeous evening with mates from the Big W at the most bizarre Indian restaurant called Ragam (the ceiling is on the floor and visa versa), had thai with one of my best mates at our local, nearly bought a new Mini Cooper from cargiant with Boo, did some more classes at the gym (blah), ranted about the tube strike, went to Nottingham and played in the Games Workshop workshop (for work), had my annual hair cut, colour and blow dry, had the family engagement dinner (the first time both families had met - eek!), had a drink with some ex-Foppers, put on nearly half a stone on the Weight Watchers plan (I was right, you can't just go to the meetings - you actually do have to follow the diet), spent a fantastic day with my niece, and nearly finished "Cents and Sensibility" by Maggie Alderson which I've had in my pile since the great launch party at Pout on August 1st LAST year....







My friend tells me that now I'm getting married (yippeeee) I've got an incentive to loose the weight. I tried to work out whether she was right, whether I was insulted, whether I was upset or whether she was wrong (whilst eating a muffin). The way I figure it, Boo loves me. And he must love me as I am, cause I've been pretty much the size I am today the whole way through our relationship. He knows I'm not skinny. At least, he should do by now. If the fact that I've been miserable with my weight my whole life hasn't made me do something about it; it seems unlikely that getting married to a man who loves me as I am, will shake things up enough to make me eat celery... Am I missing the point here? Should I want to strive to fit into some big old meringue dress in a size 10? Or should I find a fantastic dress that suits my curves and makes me feel like a princess? I tried a couple of dresses on last week, so see what a generous size 20 body looks like all-in-white. I don't mind telling you I was pleasantly surprised. The Mother cried and told me I looked beautiful. And she NEVER tells me that....

All comments, as ever, are appreciated....

28 August 2007

Overdue but worth it.


I remember feeling overwhelmed when I read "After You'd Gone". It's one of maybe a couple of handfuls of books outside of my chosen genre that I've read in my entire life. And one of the few outside of my genre that I've loved passionately.

"The Distance Between Us" blew my mind. Yet again, I was forced to buy a "keep forever" copy of a non-chick lit novel, as well as the "read it till it falls apart" copy.

I don't remember much about "My Lover's Lover" other than I'm sure I enjoyed it, but I also remember thinking it was very weird.

I've had the proof of "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" sat, unread, on my shelves for well over a year. And having finally read it on Sunday, I'm gutted that I didn't pick it up before now.

I'm sure the entire world knows what this book is about, and most of those that can read, have probably read it already - I'm just very slow and very shabby... but anyway, it tells the story of Iris who comes to learn about her elderly relatives - two sisters - Esme and Kitty, who were bought up in India before moving to Scotland in the 1930's. In present day, Esme is about to be released from a mental hospital, where she has lived for the past 60 years and Kitty is suffering from Alzheimer's, and is trying to piece together her past.

Lots of people far better qualified than I, have posted various disparaging reviews on other blogs and sites about this book. Balderdash to the lot of you I say. I adored the book. I loved the sisters relationship with one another and themselves. I was gripped by the story and what happens to them before, during and after Iris makes contact. I may not have liked Iris or her bizarre half brother, but they had a place in a story that would not have been as dramatic without them. I've never been to India, or Glasgow come to that, but the descriptions of both places were so exquisite I felt like I had once I'd read the book.

The build up to the ending was beautifully written and when the ending finally came, I felt winded with pain. I still don't really know exactly what happens at the end, but I think the ending my mind's eye has painted is fitting. And just. And perfect.

20 August 2007

I'm so excited.

Boo is going to make an honest women of me. How very very bizarre. Someone - and not just anyone - but the Love of My Life, actually wants to marry me. And have me as their wife. How very very bizarre.

We got engaged (officially I suppose) at the weekend. Although we had spoken about it a while ago, and he asked me, properly, at our picnic the other weekend in Windsor - and trust me, keeping it a secret has almost killed me. But no, he wanted to wait till we had The Ring and had told The Mums, before I was allowed to stand in the middle of the street and scream at the top of my voice...

So I've sent a completely impersonal e-mail to everyone I've ever met, and updated my facebook status to Engaged. And I had a Double Decker, two portions of Tarte Au Citron and a big bag of Skittles to celebrate.

16 August 2007

Watching ones Weight

I started this blogging malarky in May, around the same time I started telling anyone and everyone that would listen that this time would definitely be the time that I stuck to a diet and lost the 6 excess stone I've been humping around with me since I was old enough to choose my own meals...

It really isn't going to shock anyone (least of all myself really) that I have failed in my mission. I'm a big fat failure.

Or am I?

According to Fiona, my new Weight Watchers leader, I am in fact a winner. Whether this is because I spent £17.95 on my first Monthly Pass yesterday; cause I agreed a goal weight of whatever the lady who weighed me said I should be; or cause I've bought a little red plastic wallet to hold all my booklets in - I'm not sure.

But quite frankly how anyone who weighs 15 stone and 13.5 lbs at lunchtime then goes home to a 17 point Toad in the Hole dinner can be a winner is beyond me.

14 August 2007

Such a slacker

I've had the uncorrected proof of Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer on my pile of books to read since about January last year. I am officially a slacker. Thank God my Summer Reading campaign has finally started, so I can start power reading through the stack of great books I've got...

Conversations With the Fat Girl is a tale of two best mates - both were once fat, one of which got some surgery, got herself thin and got herself a fiance. Focussing on still fat) Maggie, her dead end job at the coffee house, her relationship with her family, her lusting over Domenico, reminiscing about her youth, yearning for a happier life, and planning Olivia's (now thin) wedding - the author creates a really beautiful story, which I found both funny and incredibly sad. As a fat girl myself, I could relate to a great deal of this story and saw alot of my own issues reflected in Maggie - the lack of willpower, the self loathing, the "if I can't love myself how can I expect anyone else to" stuff...and whilst I don't have a shared fat youth history with any of my friends, I do have a lot of thin, fit and fabulous mates who I constantly compare myself to.

I don't really think Conversations fits into my usual Chick Lit box. It's not fluffy enough. It doesn't have a conventional happy ending, there aren't enough shoes or shags. I loved it. I felt great sympathy for Maggie and was cheering, laughing and crying towards the end as she finally sees Olivia for what she is, and her relationship with her for what it has become...

I see that Liza's next book "Seeing Me Naked" is due to be published in March next year. I'm looking forward to it already.

Chocolate Buttons and Jumping

are always great - individually or mixed together. My niece was excited about both things at the weekend.





Her Nana, Mum and Aunt were much more excited about Blossom Hill White Zinfandel....

7 August 2007

Pillow Talk


It has been a fair few months since I last read a book in a day….time has been against me of late I fear, and the motivation to turn off the TV and step away from the fridge is so much easier when it’s lovely and sunny outside…. so, it was great to finally get my Summer Reading campaign off to a start last Saturday with Pillow Talk by the ever satisfying Freya North. As anyone who knows me knows, Love Rules goes down as one of my favourite ever Chick Lit titles, and yet Home Truths, Freya’s last novel didn’t quite rock my world to the same extent, so I was both excited and nervous as I opened up the first pages of Pillow Talk; a tale about teenage sweethearts Petra Flint and Arlo Savidge (where do these authors find such names?!) who meet at school, don’t so much as snog, grow up, loose contact, and meet again, many years later shopping for Easter eggs in an ice cream parlour in North Yorkshire. Petra (now a jewellery designer) sleepwalks and Arlo (now a music teacher) never sleeps – and as we find out why, we learn about the lives and loves of these two troubled souls.

I love how beautifully Freya draws characters for us, and I love the non threatening romances she develops for her leading men and women, and Pillow Talk is no exception. Very gentle and quiet, there’s no massive weepy moments, no massive belly chuckles either – but it kept me hooked and engaged from start to finish. A classic chick lit tale of love and life, it’s a cracker for the beach, the bed or on your way to the boardroom.

6 August 2007

Since I Don't Have You


I forgot to say that last week the new book by my lovely friend Louise Candlish came out. I'm only half way through my copy (I couldn't bear to bend the spine of the signed one she kindly gave me!) so I can't tell you all about it yet, but the reviews so far for have been glowing....

Elle - `Superbly crafted . . . ripe for Hollywood'

Cosmopolitan - `A touching tale of friendship and family - heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. We couldn't read it fast enough'

Eva Rice - 'Brilliant. I so envy Louise Candlish's witty and effortless style'

Log onto louisecandlish.co.uk for more info.

3 August 2007

DROP DEAD BEAUTIFUL


Get your pre-orders in NOW for “Drop Dead Beautiful” the latest offering from the Queen of Old School Chick Lit, Jackie Collins, coming in October 2007. Continuing the adventures of Lucky Santangelo, this is Jackie Collins’s 25th novel, and is perfect pure unadulterated fabulousness from start to finish. Ms Collins is responsible for bringing us Jack Python – the best male character to ever grace the pages of a pink book and whilst Lucky isn’t my favourite female character; the tales of the Santangelo family have kept me riveted since “Chances”, the first of the 6 novels in the series.

To try and explain the twists and turns of this story would possibly take me till the end of the week – so to give you a rough idea Lucky is opening a new $6 billion hotel in Vegas, Venus Maria is dating young stud movie star Billy Medina, Gino is celebrating his 95th birthday, Henry Whitfield-Simmons is out of his mind and plotting revenge against Lucky for his failure to make it as an actor, Max is running amok (like mother like daughter) in Big Bear woods, Anthony Bonar (grandson of arch enemy Enzio Bonnatti) is ignoring his wife, shagging his various mistresses and dealing drugs whilst plotting the downfall of the entire Santangelo family, Irma Bonar is shagging Luis the gardener, Francesca Bonnatti is plotting revenge for both husband and sons murder, and movie director Alex Woods is still in love with Lucky…

The other members of the Santangelo family also appear – Lennie Golden (Lucky’s husband), Bobby (her son) has opened a club in New York, Gino Junior (another son), Brigette Stansilopolous (goddaughter and Bobby’s niece) has left the modeling world and started designing jewellery, Leonardo (Lennie’s illegitimate son)…

And in amongst all this Lucky keeps getting hand delivered notes with just three words written – “Drop Dead Beautiful”.

Buying a Jackie Collins book is like buying jumbo editions of OK and Hello magazine. Even before celebrity based glossies were part of our every day lives Ms Collins has been bringing us tales from Hollywood – that she admits are based on the real lives of the movie stars, rock stars, and A listers she knows. And I for one, can’t get enough of them.

I might not know much. But I know that Jackie Collins rocks. And I don’t care if you don’t agree.

2 August 2007

46.7% Body Fat

One punnet of strawberries and two of blackberries, two nectarines, a couple of trays of sushi and a bag of salt & vinegar snack-a-jacks. A four egg omelette with frozen vegetables and a low fat yogurt. Great so far huh?

One viscount and one penguin. A couple of very large handfuls of nuts and raisins. Failed.

Day one of the restarted diet was going great guns till I got home and opened the treat cupboard.

Damn and blast it. I last took my measurements on 19th April - 103.6kg, 46.7% body fat, 38.5 BMI. I went to the gym this morning, and I’m going again tonight. I'll take the measurements again at 6.30pm. Lets see what 15 weeks of crap cheap food and stress can do.

26 July 2007

The Story So Far

Quite frankly the diet is a disaster.

I feel it's time I came clean just so no-one is under any illusion that behind the scenes I've still been counting those calories and avoiding the carbs.

What with the whole Fopp disaster, the frantic job hunt, and the £ situation - the last thing on my mind has been the cheap food I've been forced by circumstance to keep on eating. Although, obviously it's actually the first thing on my mind. Constantly.

But just so you know, I'll be starting The Diet again (I promise) when things have settled down in the bank account department - and I can yet again afford the fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.

Just when that will be is anyone's guess however. Given that I have yet to receive any money from those incompetent fools at the jobcentre + or indeed the Government department responsible for paying off all us poor old ex-Foppers who got shafted without pay....

Ho hum. Life (and weight it seems) goes on.

23 July 2007

The Deer Hunter




A lovely weekend was had in the country, with The Most Beautiful Baby in the World. As ever she was a complete delight...

We went to a stunning National Trust place in Sevenoaks (called Knole Park I think) to chase the deer on Sunday. Being wild, they didn't unfortunately just sit there and wait to be stroked, and it broke my heart when she said "They don't like me"...luckily the Tea Room had a healthy stock of both Mini Milks (for her) and Citrus Cake (for me) to help ease our joint pain.

17 July 2007

Second Chance

So I finished the lovely proof that my friend Suzie got for me from her friend at Pengiun of the new Jane Green coming in November Second Chance at the weekend.

True to typical Jane Green style it's funny and sad in equal measure, telling the tale of a gang of friends who have lost contact since leaving school, how their lives have turned out so far, and how they all meet up again following the sudden death of one of their mutual friends (Tom) in a terrorist attack on a train in the US. The central characters of Holly, Olivia, Paul and Sabrina are all very different and hold their individual stories well and the supporting roles of Will, Anne and Sarah are just as strong. Holly is in a loveless marriage, Olivia is single and sad since being dumped, Paul and his wife are desperatly trying to get pregnant and actress Sabrina is a recovering alcoholic. The twists and turns of their lives are brilliantly told, and, as seems to be usual with me, I was really rooting for a happy ending for all the main characters....and I wasn't disappointed.

My only critisim might be that maybe this is a bit too fluffy, and a bit too similar to many other books out there - but none the less, it's a story told with great sympathy for differnet peoples needs and wants, without being super super sloppy. Perfect for a day in the sun - should the sun ever appear....

13 July 2007

Great News

I'VE GOT A JOB!! I start on Tuesday and I'm very every excited. Unfortunately the offer came just moments before the firm that had offered me a part time role then upped that position to a full time role - which meant I was caught in a complete quandry and now feel terrible about having to turn one job down, and fearful that my decicion to stick to my original acceptance might prove foolish. However, I've gone with my gut decision, and feel that everything potentially happens for a reason....at least I bloody hope so.

To celebrate I've eaten some jammy dodgers.

Now I feel a bit calmer, I hope I'll be able to get this show back on the road and re-start (again) The Plan to loose weight. I do very very much hope so.

12 July 2007

What a week

Phew. My week has been somewhat disjointed to say the least, so many apples for not posting since last Friday.

To bring you right up to speed, I went for drinks (well, a single diet coke and a glass of free bubbly) with The Girls at The Pub on Friday to celebrate Shiv's birthday. Lovely evening, but would have been somewhat more enjoyable for me if I'd had enough money in my purse to buy the birthday girl a drink. And myself a bucket of wine.

Saturday involved waiting in for the boiler man to come and fix something that wasn't, as it turned out, broken at all. Taking some clothes that are now too big for me to Oxfam. Doing a pump class. Epilating my hairy legs. Doing three loads of laundry. Ironing. Fake tanning. Hoovering. Completing the stupid Ernst & Young forms. Food shopping.... in Iceland, for cheap lard. Spending hours surfing the internet for a BLOODY JOB. Blah Blah Blah.

Sunday I did a conditioning class at the gym. Walked a bit. Sat in the park next to the tramps and the wino's (its amazing how much I relate to those sad fuckers now), reading my fabulous proof of the latest Jane Green - "Second Chance".

Monday started bright and early with an appointment at an agency to register for work, then an interview at a publishers, then a conditioning class at the gym.

Tuesday started equally as early with a Pump class, followed by more hours that I ever imagined possible at the Housing Benefit Office; filling in more forms and trying to explain to more people who JUST DON'T GET IT, that I haven't been paid since 31st May and I'm skint and don't have a job, but YES, I did work for the month of June, but NO I didn't get paid for it. And NO I haven't received any redundancy, or notice period or holiday in lieu. And NO, I don't have a secret stash of money I can tap into to pay my rent. Or council tax. Or gas, electric or water bills... Or buy my travel card to get to the interviews I'm desperately running around London to attend. Or buy fresh food. Or Tampax. Or my pension. Or my contents insurance. Or my TV licence. Or my mobile phone bill....

Feeling thoroughly humiliated and drained I then went to my Mums and sat on her sofa and bawled my eyes out for a while.

Wednesday I just couldn't be arsed to go to the gym, but did have another interview up town...and bumped into Gary Linekar. The two are in no way related.

And then today I did a Pump class this morning, then sat in the JobCentre+ (what's the + stand for by the way?!) to sign on, which basically involves completely ignoring the fact that you have an appointment at an allotted time, and just sitting on a hard bench waiting for someone to mumble Zara Pippa about 45 minutes AFTER your appointment, incoherently asking you what you have done to gain employment and have you considered applying to work at the local newspaper in the classified section, cause that's apparently what the world of publishing involves if you work at the JobCentre+ ....

I then hopped, skipped and jumped back up town for the millionth time this week for a second interview at the publishers, and I'm now killing time/updating my blog whilst waiting to have drinks (tap water for me please!), with some of my lovely old mates from The Big W.

Boo has said I can use his tinternet tomorrow, so hopefully I might have some time to do a far better post all about the food and the food and the food I've eaten this week and what not... but until then - have you tried Pret's Carrot Cake?!

xx

6 July 2007

So very very touched

I am very very lucky to be able to call some very very important people in The Industry my friends.

One such friend is Emma Barnes, MD and fabulous bigwig of Snowbooks. She has written me a supplier reference...

"I worked with Sara-Jade during both her Waterstone's and Fopp roles. In both roles she was efficient, utterly organised, bright, responsive and original. She was a delight to work with and easy to collaborate with. Her extensive knowledge of the book trade has always been impressive - she has a rare ability to get things done whilst making people love her. A more detailed or tailored reference is available on request."

I don't really know what to say. I'm too busy feeling totally chuffed to pieces. Thank you Em. xxx

Oh What A Week...

Blimey, its a mad mad crazy frog world when you don't have a 9-5 routine. Did you know there is a whole section of society that actively don't work? Ever. Literally they never get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, get up, go to work blah blah blah.....I've met some of them this week. They don't all smell of wee. They don't all have small children. They don't all have serious issues that prevent them working. They just don't work. What they do do though is play music loudly on the bus through their mobiles, hang out at Shepherds Bush Green blocking the path and spitting whilst swearing, and they shop very very slowly in the supermarket...

I hate them.

They don't seem to be running from recruitment agency to interview, to internet cafe to housing benefit office and back again as I seem to have been this week. Trust me, I'm exhausted. I've applied to literally hundreds of "could be made up and probably are" jobs online. I've written directly to 6 employers I would love to work for. I've registered with 4 employment agencies for PA work and filled in the same form 4 times. I've spent 2 hours in the jobcentre explaining to a lovely lady why I don't want to stuff envelopes for a living, but would really appreciate financial help whilst looking for a job. I've chased up The Administrators, to find out exactly what my employment status is, and asked why I don't have anything confirmed in writing. I've argued, loudly, with The Bank. I've cried alot. I've had 2 "meet and greet" interview type appointments and 2 actual interviews. I've used 3 different internet cafes around London, and have found Just-It in Ealing to be the most hospitable and easyinternet to be the most unpleasant. I've taken 12 different sets of PC skill tests and found out my ideal role would be as a data entry clerk as my results for that particular test were OUTSTANDING. I've bumped into an old Golds Gym buddy who now runs his own private practise in Harley Street who offered to get me fit by November. I've been offered 2 jobs. I've done 6 classes at the gym. I've almost finished reading a hardback debut novel that my friends at The Friday Project kindly gave me on Monday called "In Search of Adam" (FYI - brilliant). I've met up with my lovely friend Peter from The Big W for a diet coke (he paid) in Old Compton Street. I've bumped, literally, into Lenny Henry on Charing Cross Road. I've ridden/road (?) over 50 buses. I've eaten peanut butter sandwiches every day for lunch. I've met my lovely author friend Louise Candlish for drinks in Covent Garden, and had just one too many gins. Again.

As I say, it's exhausting being unemployed when you actually want to work. I almost wish I was one those people who didn't care and didn't want to work.....only almost mind.....

Ooh, before I forget I also gave in and finally joined facebook, so I could be a part of the gangs of ex-Foppers having a right good old bitch about the incredibly shabby way we've all been treated. Such fun.

3 July 2007

Part 4 - Concentrate

So now the whole hideous death leap is over, I can concentrate on Getting A Job and Earning Some Money...

The whole "loose weight and stop drinking diet coke" plan is so on the back burner for now. I am eating like a wild beast. Eating all the wrong things. All the cheap things. When Mr Sainsbury prices a filling salad at the same cost as a loaf of sliced white, then I'll be able to get back on track. Until then, back off. I'm high on caffeine and carbs and ready to do battle with anyone who questions me.

The news updates about my ex-employer are funny. Neither funny ha-ha or funny peculiar to be honest. Just funny. And of course, shit.

As before, I have heard nothing from either Fopp or indeed Ernst & Young, although according to the various facebook groups set up in the past few days, all 700 staff were due to get a letter from them yesterday. Thank God for Scott's blog. Otherwise I'd know nothing.

Back to reed.com and the jobcentre for me.

Part 5 may very well see me down Kings Cross where I hear the going rate is about a fiver. That might pay my electric bill anyway.

Part 3 - N A T A L I E

So, my friend David from the Big W came along. So did Nat and Karl. And Boo of course. And we sat and waited. And I had a wee. And waited some more. And 2.30pm came. And went. And I had another wee. And 3.30pm came. And went. And I had another wee. And then at about 4pm, I was literally pushed off a ledge 180 meters high into NOTHINGNESS, and I zipped along. And held my bladder. And screamed like a baby. And then it stopped. And I cried a little bit. And had my picture taken. And then went home. Via Pizza Express. And had two bottles of Blush and a couple of Gins and a large slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake with cream.

Thank you everyone who sponsored me at on justgiving website. So far we've raised £512.95 for the zipline (including giftaid). That's a total so far to date raised for Macmillan of £4621.55.

To actually see a video of me zipping (and indeed screaming), this youtube link should be ready to view tomorrow....

Part 2 - The Morning After



Body Pump with a hangover, or indeed, whilst still a little drunk, is a suprisingly fun activity. The coffee and muffin afterwards with The Girls is however, more fun. Add into that mix, the fact that this Saturday my friend Nicky will travel up north to become Mrs Darling (I kid you not), so last Saturday we gave her some chocolate willy's and edible undies in the middle of Starbucks - and that, my friends, makes getting up early on a Saturday worth it's weight in gold.

Thank you Lorrie for letting me use your PC all afternoon. Love you. xx

Part 1 - The Wedding





Step back in time to Friday morning. Obviously, with no work to attend (fucking bastards) I was free to start drinking far too early in the day. So I did. By the time I arrived at The Wedding, I was plastered. I then proceeded to get steadily more plastered on the terrace with Pimms, at the dinner with Wine, at the toast with Cava, and in the bar with Gin.

Thank God some other friends were there to both join me in getting drunk and indeed take me home when I nearly fell over.

Here are some photo's of said wedding. As well as being plastered, I also spent alot of the time crying, as the speeches were truly touching, and the couple looked so damn in love it was beautiful.

30 June 2007

Mad? Blimey I'll say....

True to form, I have learned more about the state of the business I am/was employed by, by both logging onto thebookseller.com and by finally joining the facebook phenomena and poking (!) some of the "friends of fopp" groups....

28 June 2007

Tinterweb Holiday

Seems my genius plan to not bother installing a land line into my flat when I moved in a two years ago (cause "I've got a mobile that is never switched off") has cruelly back fired.

Just when I'd got into the habit of posting a blog a day, my frequent and indeed free web access has been cut off.

Without going into the blah blah blah about it, it looks like I'll be available for Summer Season Panto for a bit, so if anyone knows of any gainful employment to be had - I'm cheap (free in fact it would appear), I don't bite (at least I try not to leave marks), I don't smell (at least not so much since I gave up smoking), and the OCD group therapy sessions are going really well... really well... really well...

As before, all your comments would be most appreciated - but until I can blag some free blog time from somewhere else - ttfn.

xx

How High?!



Whilst trying to stop my lovely colleagues from laughing at me; I wikipedia'd Upton Park to show them just what Sunday's event will be.

Are you feeling my pain yet?

27 June 2007

The Books What I Read

Earlier on in the Spring I was lucky enough to get taken to Egypt for a 5 star luxury break in Sharm. With me I took 13 proofs that I had been saving up to treat myself with. Whilst I did finish them all, just 4 of them shone for me. I recommend if you are about to embark on a wee jollybob yourself, you buy copies of them at your nearest book retailer and prepare to be entertained.

The first is a debut novel by Tess Stimson, The Adultery Club which tells the tale of a lawyer, his wife and his mistress. Nicholas and his beautiful and fabulous wife Mal seem to have it all (together), but when a new (sexy, young, female) colleague joins the firm of lawyers where Nicholas works, all hell breaks loose. The story is told from each of the characters points of view, and its really well told at that. Nicholas was a little bit too foppy-haired for me; Mal was just way way WAY to perfect and Sara (!) was such a man eater I immediately wanted to be her… brilliant escapism that does ask some searching questions, but not so loudly it spoils the story!

My second choice was also chosen by Richard & Judy. Great minds and all that. Jane Fallon is famous in her own right as a TV producer of, amongst others, Teachers and This Life. She is also the partner of Ricky Gervais, and Getting Rid of Matthew proves that he isn’t the only funny one in the house. When Helens long term and secret lover (Matthew) finally leaves his wife and moves into her flat you might think she’d be pleased. Not on your nelly. It doesn’t take her long to realise she doesn’t actually want him anymore, and sets about a Plan to get rid of him, by any means necessary. It’s a cracking story, grown up chicklit, and very very funny.


To be a lover of ChickLit means it’s almost compulsory to include Adele Parks in your Top Ten – but I’ll be honest when I say I sometimes really struggle to do so. ‘Playing Away’ was genius and ‘The Other Woman’s Shoes’ was really funny, but it’s been a while since I enjoyed a Parks tale as much as I enjoyed Young Wives Tale. Whilst I may be so over the svelte lady calf branding of Ms Parks, this tale of Lucy, Rose, and Connie is really good and the twists and turns of their lives is so well written I actually felt like I knew Lucy and Connie by the end of the story. Very enjoyable if you can get over the fact that Rose is actually supposed to be our age and not 150 years old….

Which Brings Me To You isn’t chicklit. But my goodness I enjoyed it non the less. Written by a man and a women in alternate chapters, it tells the story of how Jane and John meet, almost do IT, take mental cold showers, and try and get to know one another first…by revealing all in a series of beautiful love letters to one another. By trading and sharing their sexual and emotional histories they get closer to one another, and learn more about themselves than they could ever imagine. It’s beautifully written, and very sexual without being soppy or smutty and I really really enjoyed it.

All the other books I read in Egypt pale into insignificance, so I wont even bother listing them here….

Run Fat Girl Run

Was overwhelmed this morning to see that my ex-Le Grande Fromage and The Most Powerful Man In Bookselling to boot, has kindly blogged my blog on his famous blog Me and My Big Mouth. Mr Pack has said that this site is touching and witty. And coming from a man who once called me the Achilles heel of his department, I am genuinely flattered. Thank you Big Boss Man.

His take on my dieting so far, is spot on, and has spurned me into another burst of commitment to the cause. I WILL stop eating lard. I WILL I WILL I WILL. Away devil crisps and nuts! Be gone bread! Never darken my door again quiche lorraine! (Oops, did I forget to tell you about that?!).

26 June 2007

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

I’ve just realized how shabby I’ve been, by not letting you know just how awful my food consumption was at the weekend. Me and Boo set off (somewhat earlier than anticipated...) on Friday for a lovely seaside break; staying at the refurbished and renamed White Rock Hotel in Hastings. We started off with sausage baguettes and chips on the terrace then progressed to an unhealthy selection of frozen snacks from Iceland. My beautiful niece (and her parents of course) met us on Saturday morning whilst we were eating a massive fry up breakfast…and we quickly moved on to ice creams at Flamingo Park. Then sandwiches and an antipasto mezze mix thingy. Then crisps. Then lager. Sunday morning consisted of both poached eggs on toast AND a bacon sandwich. Greedy git. Then more sandwiches when we got home. Then pizza. Then a Vienetta (courtesy of good old Iceland again).

To offset the above, I did make blueberry smoothies – but felt too sick to drink mine. Almost.

I fear the carb’s have found me good and proper.

I can only put this awful slip down to my complete and utter misery at the moment, due to a wealth of different reasons – all of which are too long and too blah to list here.

Am I the only person who comfort eats when both ecstatically happy and suicidally miserable?

It's not me, I promise!!

My friend David sent me this link to an article on the West Ham United Football Club website. The words "phenomenal height" are making me feel even sicker than I was before....

Another week, another wedding.

So my friend K marries her very own Knight on Shiny Airplane on Friday… to explain, last year whilst on a family trip to Venezuela (beautiful place apparently), she met and fell in lust with E. On her return to good old Blighty, she promptly roped another friend into booking a couple of flights and going back to check out aforementioned stud muffin. Friend gave him the thumbs up, and a further three months later E was happily ensconced in the family home, feet under the table, slippers under the bed and all that jazz… fast forward to Christmas and there was a rock produced, a down on one knee moment, a wedding date planned and here you are. Bob's your Uncle, Fanny's your Aunt. Friday is the Big Day. In less than 12 months, a friend (some 6 years younger than me I hasten to add) has managed to meet, fall in love with, live with, get engaged to and MARRY The One.

Now, I’m not saying that K doesn’t thoroughly deserve to be a happily married woman. I’m not saying she isn’t a catch. I’m not even necessarily saying I would have wanted to have some amazing holiday romance that culminated in a marriage. I’m not really even saying that I so strongly believe in the whole till “death us to part” business that I’ve been planning my own special day since I could walk (honest, I’m not), and I don’t even think I could find Venezuela on a map. However, what I suppose I am saying is this…. taking Boo out of the equation, if I was thinner would someone else have met me, fallen in love with me, lived with me, got engaged to me and married me within a year….and is the fact that I’m a chubster a contributing factor to my single not married status?

Answers on a postcard to Ye Olde Spinster, c/o Cats Piss Hall, Rocking Chair Walk.

21 June 2007

Am I awake yet?

As the week drags on, and complete exhaustion takes over, my dreams become more and more bizarre, and seem to spill over into daylight hours. By Thursday (or Friday if I don’t do Monday’s 6.45am Step) I spend more and more of the waking day staring into space… luckily I face a window with a view of a white washed wall, and have my back to the entire rest of the office, so I don’t think anyone really notices. Bar the ever present being-caught-writing-personal-e-mail fear which occasionally makes me turn round and lock eyes with someone, I have little (and some days no) interaction with my colleagues, and listen to my headphones all day anyway….so am pretty much left to wander in and out of consciousness…

I thought perhaps, you might like to know how my mind has been wandering during the past 12 hours whilst asleep and awake….

Why did C4 not put up more of a fight on our behalf when the evil Sky devils stole Lost from us? How much money was that deal worth? Do C4 know just how disappointed I still am in them, and should I write and tell them? And if so, to whom should I address my letter?

Shall I go to every evening performance at this years Ealing Jazz Festival?

I dreamt that Bill Clinton, Gianluca Vialli and Gillian McKeith all attended a bikram yoga session with me, and got into a bit of a fisty cuff fight over who could lay their mat next to mine…I have done a course of bikram yoga, and have infact, met all three of them in real-awake life… but why on earth I dreamt of them all last night – God only knows!

Wouldn’t Haldon Belvedere be the perfect location for a wedding?

How will I ever get hold of a copy of a book that I read years ago about a supposed nuclear test with the code name “Brimstone” that was going to take place at some random American sheep farm, but that was actually a live nuclear explosion that was going to kill hundreds of thousands of people. The plot was discovered by a man who checked computer printouts for a living….I can’t remember the name of the book or the name of the author, but it was brilliant. The hero also hooked up with some lady, and I vividly remember a scene where she has just painted her nails with a made up polish, and they end up having sex in a motel – her with wet nails…

Doesn’t Nancy Wilson have a beautiful beautiful voice? And how good is this CD? Buy it immediately.

How amazing is it that I still haven’t had a cigarette? It’s even more amazing that I actually don’t think I want one….

How much I can’t wait to finish eating all of the crap food I bought on Sunday, so that it’s out of the house and I don’t have to hear it calling me from the fridge and cupboard every night when I go home. Again, yesterday day was a good food day, then it all turned to shit when I got home. Three slices of Mummy-made malt tea loaf, 6 veggie sausages and half a packet of biscuits do not a healthy fat reducing dinner make. Even I know that. And whats worse is as I’m eating it, I go “STOP EATING THIS CRAP”, at the same time as thinking “MMMMM, YUMMY”….. How much does that stomach stapling operation cost does anyone know? Or shall I have my jaw wired shut?

And my final thoughts so far today have been about which of the ballet performances on in the Autumn season at Sadler’s Wells shall I go and see?

(I first became a completely avid ballet goer in 1993 and have gone as often as I possibly can since then. My favorite performances to date have been Joffrey Ballet – Billboards – 1996, English National Ballet – Swan Lake in the Round at the RAH – 1999 & 2004, Northern Ballet – Midsummer’s Nights Dream, Madame Butterfly, Dracula, Peter Pan and Wuthering Heights, Dance Theatre of Harlem – 2004, Ballet Stars of New York – 1998, Mark Morris Group – The Hard Nut – 2004, Birmingham Royal Ballet – Edward II, Sylvie Guillem & The Ballet Boys, New Adventures – Highland Fling and Edward Scissorhands, Matthew Bourne – Swan Lake – 1996 & 2005, Ballet Boyz – Naked, Adam Cooper – Les Liaisons Dangereuses and George Piper Dances – Encore. I’m also a lover of the theatre, particularly musicals and visual fandangos and include in my favourite performances Cats, Lion King, Miss Siagon, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Rent, Alegria, Chicago, Fame, Saltimbanco, Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre, The Rat Pack, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, the UK B Boy Championships at Brixton Academy last year and every one of the 7 times I went to see Five Guys Names Mo. And I also like going to see music and sport stuff too – and favourites include Proms in the Park in Hyde Park 1996, 1997 and 1998; the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1996, Julian Clary in concert 1997, Last Night of the Kenwood Proms in 1999, two matches of the 1999 Rugby World Cup – England v NZ and the semi final between France v NZ, and the London Grand Prix Norwich Union athletics meet at Crystal Palace…