Monday, February 28, 2005

I know it's only skin deep...

NB. I am currently fast approaching an official ‘age hurdle’ so there is likely to be a flurry of age related posts over the next few days. Please be assured that I will resort to my usual youthful self in due course…

When I was fifteen I scrubbed and exfoliated, cleansed and toned, applied Clearasil, toothpaste, TCP, witch hazel and every other beauty-editor advised remedy to reduce my teenage spots to a cover-upable level. Concealer-stick was by best friend, as was a floppy fringe and subtle lighting (particularly darkness) and though my problem was probably not as severe as many of my peers, my opinion of my spots was that every molehill was a mountain. However extreme the eruption however, I could always seek solace in the fact that I been told by said beauty editors that I would grow out of them… Beauty editors I know realise are evil liars. I also always assumed that eventually I’d get the odd wrinkle… but not till I was nearly ready to retire. I looked forward to waving goodbye to my last spot at 20 and revelling in my smooth, dewy, glowing skin until at least the age of 40 when a couple of character lines would sneak in and make me look wise. There was no moment when I considered having spots and wrinkles at the same time… that just seems unfair. There are no products available for young-stroke-old-spotty-stroke-wrinkly skin… the ones for wrinkles create an oil-slick (shiny is not the same as dewy) and the ones for spots turn your skin into crepe paper (ok as long as you don’t smile and rip it). On this subject I moaned to my Mum, (genetically she is responsible)… her reply was unsatisfactory to say the least… 'I always like getting the odd spot because it makes me feel young'… Unsatisfactory because I do feel young; my problem is that my skin can’t decide if I’m a granny or a girl.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Issues with stationery

…So I happened to mention yesterday that I find our high-security stationery system a bit anal. The stationery cupboard is guarded by a keyholding pitbull of a PA who demands to know how you could have possibly run out of said stationery item so quickly, tries to persuade you to have the really cheapo biros/pads/pritt stiks (even though you know that there’s some posh stuff that actually works stashed away) and then she allocates a small supply… often splitting blocks of post-its, allowing only 1 pen of each colour and refusing requests for A4 pads if an A5 jotter will do… it’s exhausting (but I expect she’s added a fortune to the company’s bottom line). After hearing my grumbling a Top Workmate replied ‘ You didn’t work here when Freda was in charge… that was even more scary’. (I like the fact that she was called Freda… it conjures up a great image of a ‘Trunchbull’ style matron with a tight bun and a sharp German accent) Top Workmate went on to say that she had emerged from a toilet cubicle one morning to be greeted by Freda and interrogated about the number of sheets of toilet paper she had used. Apparently Freda had heard Top Workmate unrolling at least a metres worth from the dispenser, and did she know how much the bill for loo roll came to each month??! Needless to say Top Workmate scuttled out feeling like a naughty schoolgirl, but also completely astonished by Freda’s dedication to the money-saving cause. The next time she went for a wee though, she checked the other cubicles first to make sure Freda wasn’t lurking behind the cistern, and then checked her own cubicle for hidden CCTV…

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Stopping speaking

Sometimes I get worried that we’re going to run out of things to say to each other… that we’ll become two stony faces avoiding each other’s eyes in a restaurant, or staring at a flickering screen without speaking. I worry that I won’t be able to make you laugh anymore, that you’ll get bored with my stories about those insignificant events that amuse me, or the drawn out tales of troubles that I have to get out of my system. I worry that you’re going to wake up one morning and wonder what you’re doing with someone so silly who won’t ponder about politics but excels at the most useless kind of small talk, and that you’ll feel the need to escape…That’s when I try to remember that you’re you and I’m me and we’ve got so many questions that we’ll always have things to say. I hope you stay being there to talk back to me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

How to avoid a bad boyfriend. Stay standing

She’s in a bar and she’s feeling woozy. She’s been dancing and drinking and laughing all night but suddenly the spark has faded like a light clicking off and she just wants to crawl home. She checks the buttons on her sparkly top. Earlier in the evening she had been pleased to see a good range of approving eyes settling on her… pleased that is until the so-cheery-he’s-cheesy barman pointed out that her top was completely undone in a very Judy Finnegan way. (She is at least thankful to be sporting a pink leopard-print linger-ree number that perks up her assets and not a white nylon boulder holder like the daytime diva) … As she pushes through the throng of waving bodies she trips in her high fashion, low practicality spike heels and plunges forward. Time stops and she finds herself gazing into his eyes, sinking and swimming and falling into them until the world starts moving again and he’s holding onto her so tightly she just wants to crawl further into him. He pulls her in to sit besides him and she refuses his offer of drink – alcoholic or otherwise. They smile at each other both with a touch of something like bashfulness… the feeling that always takes over when two people who don’t know each other know that they want to fuck…The bar is clearing out and her head is clearing too so she asks if he’s ready to leave and he smiles back at her. She checks her shirt again and straightens up carefully on the spike heels. She waits for him to stand up and then realises he is standing up. He is a munchkin. She says she has to grab her coat then she grabs a taxi.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cover Version

If you were in a band and wanted to perform the craziest, trickiest cover version ever, what would you pick? I think ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush wins hands down, closely followed by most other Kate Bush tracks… so imagine my surprise when flicking on the telly I was greeted by the Futureheads version of ‘Hounds of Love’… What a genius snippet of pop-tastic nonsense… as you can imagine, there’s mock barking at the beginning, lots of wailing and a group of hard-core ‘musos’ all looking super-serious and wearing thick black specs. I like to think that secretly they’re giggling inside thinking ‘Yeeeesss… today a successful Kate Bush cover, tomorrow the world!’…Genius.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Brief Encounters

I realised I loved you when I kissed him…and then it was too late. He was taller than you, a bit too much of a stretch and his mouth didn’t mould to mine like yours did. He didn’t hold me to him and envelope me against his heart like you did and he didn’t close his eyes and seem completely absorbed by the moment like you were. When I pulled away and looked at him I couldn’t tell what he was thinking like I could with you and when I left him I didn’t want to look back and run to him for just a snatched second more. That was when I realised I loved you… and it was too late.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I have a hosiery issue...

I can’t wait till fishnets go out of fashion… I’ve spent a small fortune over the last few years on black and brown, burgundy and beige, big holed and meshy, lacy and luxury and every pair has suffered some untimely end. I’ve snagged them, snarled them, caught them on my zips, my fingernails, the heels of my shoes… I had an extremely tricky incident when I entangled a heavily sequinned bag in a pair of particularly delicate tights and had to hobble through rush-hour Gatwick airport departures with the bag stuck firmly to both of my knees. (not really the glamorous look I was going for) When I finally disentangled myself you would have been forgiven for thinking that my legs had been gnawed by a family of hungry mice… Then there was the night out when my toes had been stuck through the holes in a pair for so long that all blood supply had been cut off and a good case of gangrene was only moments away. Sure they’re sexy (especially the stockings) but when you peel them off, your legs are criss-crossed like one of those German smoked salamis… Roll on a stocking-free summer and next year I’ll be strictly sticking to 40 denier…

Thursday, February 17, 2005

How to avoid a Bad Boyfriend - Never date a man with Pyromaniac tendencies

So they snuggled together in the warm embrace of the squishy leather sofa and kissed. He reached up the front of her sweater, she reached down the front of his pants and they both shivered with excitement (and also because it was flippin’ freezing in his draughty front room). He suggested a cosy open fire that they could cuddle in front of and which could possibly even persuade them to remove a few garments… she nodded enthusiastically and gritted her teeth to stop them chattering. Within seconds he appeared, laden with logs, kindling and seven large firelighters… not to mention the box of long matches and a can of lighter fluid. She looked uncomfortable but he assured her he was an expert and had been awarded the highest fire-lighting accolades when he was in the Cubs….she continued to look uncomfortable. He enthusiastically piled up all the ingredients in the grate, doused them with a healthy dose of lighter fluid and touched them with a lighted match… When the flames began to lick the ceiling he abandoned the cup of water and dragged in the hosepipe. Several gallons of water later, the crisis was over… the fire was out in the grate and the fires of passion were definitely out too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Missing her

Yesterday I thought I saw my Grandma… I glanced up and she was smiling into the distance, a soft pastel person, tiny and tender. I knew that if I got up close I would be able to smell fairy cakes and talcum powder and the teeniest hint of lavender bags… if I touched her hand it would be cool and the skin would move across the tendons like satin. I walked away happy because that’s how I want to remember her, not shrunken and terrifying or mute and translucent… Sometimes you only realise how much you miss somebody when you see them again, and then it swamps you…

Monday, February 14, 2005

Girly weekend

The Isle of Wight, my five longest-running friends and I, vast quantities of booze and baby talk combined made for a top weekend away… When we get together I’m always amazed that such a completely varied and complex group of people can still remain so close and caring. You know how it is, even if we haven’t spoken for months, when we do speak it’s like we’ve never been apart… When you look at our people profiles, we couldn’t be more different… there’s the tomboy with the history of lesbian dalliances and an obsession with football…she’s seriously intelligent and knows everything about everything but has a laid back super confidence that means she never feels she has to prove it. There’s the politically aware Camden-towner who reads high-brow biographies and has the biggest smile and the most opinions. There’s the slightly more sensible one, who’s following a predictable road of teaching, homemaking and babies and who every now and again cracks her mask of perfection to reveal something really beautiful. There’s the sweetest nomad who looks great in hats and loves her cat. There’s the hilarious one who hides the most sadness… she’s a fabulous contradiction of show off and sensitivity, a spoilt she-devil with a laugh that spreads like wildfire. Then there’s me, who fits in somewhere and I’m really lucky to be part of such a multicoloured, treasure trove, rag-bag, of a collection of enchantresses.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Trouser incident

So yesterday I split my trousers…ironically at the time I was deep in a conversation about the problems associated with being fat and travelling on planes and was meanly laughing uproariously about a top workmates mother in law who had crash dieted away a large proportion of her bodyfat after an incident on a plane which went something like this:

Frosty faced superbitch stewardess (loudly): ‘Madam, please observe the fasten seatbelt signs’
Top workmates cuddly mother in law: struggles with seatbelt and reddens
Poker faced superbitch stewardess (bellowing): ‘Put your seatbelt on please. You’re holding us up’
Mother in law (visibly withering, whispers) ‘I can’t do it up’
Evil superbitch stewardess (raising one eyebrow, shrieks ‘Lara can we have the belt extension over here’ then loudly stage whispers as hush falls over the plane ‘the lady’s too fat to do up a regular one’

Admittedly a horribly toe-curling incident, but you’ve gotta see the funny side.. and I did, in fact I literally laughed till I split my sides (or my seams at least). When I stood up and felt a draught around my derriere I knew things were bad… my super-sophisticated caramel slacks had sprung a leak. Even worse was that it was right down the middle at the back and my pants were extremely teeny (imagine cheesewire and 2 edams – unfortunately not the babybel variety). It possibly wouldn’t have been so bad if there hadn’t been so many people around staring at my bottom and if my tablemates were a bit more subtle but within 10 minutes everyone in the building knew that the brand manager was mooning. Luckily the lovely lady who works in the canteen had one of those handy waiters’ pinnies, which I slid around my waist and tied at a jaunty angle before strutting off to my desk with as much dignity as I could muster. I wore the pinny all afternoon… (who knows, maybe it’ll catch on as a new officewear trend… the pocket is certainly handy for calculator storage)… but I was very glad to slink off home under the cover of my floor length overcoat I can tell you, and I will laugh less heartily at fat jokes in future…

Thursday, February 10, 2005


You once told me about an island near Venice where all the houses along the beach are painted a different fabulous colour... When the fisherman are out at sea they can look ashore and their homes will stand out brightly and they can see them for miles and miles… From where you stand on the pedestal that I’ve put you on, and you survey your sea of conquests, do I stand out brightly amongst them and make you want to come home?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

How to avoid a Bad Boyfriend - Don't date a man who lives with his mum

So she’d been out with him a couple of times since they found each other in the club… she spent most of her days constructing wild passion filled fantasies about how they’d be together perfectly forever, how they’d smile all the time through the misty soft focus of their wonderful lives, how he would have a huge willy and an undying lust for her and she’d have lost at least six pounds and have gained much perkier breasts…She’d picked the cinema for their first date, that way she could check she still fancied him on the way in, make brief conversation throughout the trailers to make sure they hit it off (if not, pretend to be totally absorbed in the film, if so…spend most of it snogging ) and enough time remaining afterwards to go on somewhere yet still late enough to cry off home with heavy accompanying yawns if he’s as dull as dishwater – perfect. Needless to say there was no trace of lippie left on her mouth as she left the cinema, just the warm rosy glow of a healthy dose of stubble burn…. Their second date was out for a drink or two at the cosy fire-lit pub round the corner where she sipped a fruity merlot and her teeth went purple. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact they stared into each other’s eyes and discovered everything and anything about each other late into the night… A lot of her time that week had been spent checking that her phone was working (she struck up quite a rapport with the Indian guy from the call centre) and even more time panicking when it rang…but now she really felt that this was the beginning of something special and as he led her up to his bedroom, both woozy from wine and light-headed with longing she knew he was perfect and the time was right… Next morning she wakes to see his fabulous face and to feel his arms enveloping her… and then there’s a knock on the door. Straight away it opens and in walks a middle-aged woman armed with a tray of tea and biscuits who he introduces stiffly as his mother. The mother settles on the bed making smalltalk and smiling brightly as she brushes a wayward coarse curly hair from the duvet. She then points out the light scratch running across his shoulder, removes the balled up tissue from the bedside table and cheerily says she’ll see them both downstairs shortly for breakfast… He looks at her cringing beside him, smiles weakly and agrees that she should make a quick exit out of the window…

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Being boring

So have you ever been surrounded by people who seem to be perpetually exciting and continually thrilled…. They’re unendingly entangled amidst an explosion of emotions… feelings that prove to them so completely that their existence is important and total. Their presence is absolutely iridescent so you wouldn’t be able to stop thinking of or referring to them with a smile even if they were miles away and not thinking of you. Just the fact that they exist so brilliantly makes you want to exist brilliantly around them… but it’s difficult. You rack your brain for an anecdote that will thrill them… fables to fuel their excitement and just one moment that made you fly but the only thing you can think of is the unmentionable dark viscous weight in the pit of your stomach seeping heavily until letting it pull you under seems easy … so you just smile tightly and try in vain to be iridescent whilst their eyes flick around the room seeking distraction and escape. You’re hovering between existence and invisibility, an ethereal form in an ill-fitting frock and you want to shine but you don’t know how. You search for a solution and you meet his gaze. In that split second you realise that you thrill him and excite him by just being you and wanting to exist brilliantly isn’t as important as existing with someone who is always brilliant.

Monday, February 07, 2005


So...what sacrifices should you be prepared to make for your partner? The hero from the book that I’m currently gripped by is feverishly besotted by his lovely yet well matured lady. She is the unfortunate owner of a glass eye and the opinion that her lover should share the burden that she has to bear. Consequently she obtains an additional glass eye for him, arms herself with a teaspoon and gouges out one of his eyes with very little resistance from him… Needless to say the romance soon sours, but it made me consider what I’ve given up for my partner… I’ve tried to reduce the flirting (which is a pretty big step)… I grit my teeth and stay cool when he leaves his trainers all over the flat (I’ve already admitted I’m a Bree about that sort of stuff) and I never wear my jeans turned up when I go out with him because he has a serious aversion to cropped trousers (although he never seems to mind them on Cheryl from ‘Girls Aloud’)…All in all I think I’m pretty giving- if I had a spare eye I’d definitely give it to him.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Tired out

How is it that I need so much sleep now? In the past I've been able to burn the candle at both ends for days and nights... snatching dream packed bursts of sleep between bouts of endless conversation about everything and anything, eager frenzies of love-making that entangle limbs and bedclothes and drowsy sessions of just holding on and fitting closer and closer together until the point where you end and he begins becomes blurred. Now it seems that I spend the majority of my day in a hazy place somewhere between clarity and coma desperately trying to drag my consciousness back to where it should be.. the figures that are swimming in front of my eyes or the person who's voice is nothing but a monotone series of sounds. When it comes to bed time I have already shut down... stumble to the cool embrace of the cotton and a brief touch from him and then into oblivion until the irate and invasive scream of the alarm starts it all off again... Bring back the days when energy levels were sky high and I couldn't wait to wake up just so that I wouldn't miss anything.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


So off I go to the local pool as part of my cellulite-busting, pre holiday plan (which has so far consisted of 1 yoga session and a couple of squats in front of 'Fat Club'). The building is one of those late sixties concrete monstrosities which is about as welcoming as a funeral parlour and as it's down at the seafront, a near-gale has whipped up which makes walking difficult (how will I swim if I can't even walk?) and throws bits of rubbish at my face. I struggle with the first door I come to and open it to see a roomful of musclebound wannabe hunks flexing various bits of orange tanned body. Mostly they are wearing those vests with the arms that have been cut away so much as to reveal both nipples (and a hair free shiny chest) combined with ridiculously short shorts sporting attractive splits up the side of each leg (just to give you a better look at their buttocks and that white satsuma bag that holds their crown jewels). After everyone has turned around to stare, the music has cut out and I've started to feel like a Cowboy who has accidentally stepped into the wrong Saloon, I finally get a grunt and a vague wave which translates as 'Pool, over there' (or possibly 'No testosterone, no entry') by a Neanderthal who despite having an extremeley well defined upper torso has neglected to build up his lower body to match... the result being He-Man with a couple of cocktail sticks hanging off his waistband and a pingpong ball for a head.
So I escape from the gym and realise that yes, there is a huge sign next door for the pool... (obviously I had been temporarily blinded by the stray rubbish) and I am swept up on a tidal wave of small, squeaking children who are banging each other over the heads (and me around the legs) with their swimming bags. This doesn't bode well.

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