Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Apologies for my post-holiday silence, but I have been hit with a serious bout of the blues. To revert to my most British self WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THIS WEATHER?

I have spent the last few days planning my escape to a French gite, desperately moisturising four times a day in a failing attempt to maintain my tan and being sharply reminded on an hourly basis of the joys of office politics.

Today I want to use my little patch of internet space to direct you to this eloquent and impassioned piece written by Tania Kindersley. The contrast between the life I lead, worrying about tans and office tantrums, and the one of these women do sometimes shames me. I know that shouldn't be the case, instead I just need to keep talking about these things.

The cause of the women of the Congo is one that desperately needs support. Of course there are many others that do also but, as Tania says, for some reason these women seem to be forgotten - perhaps the horror of what they have been through and are still going through is too awful to bear. I know I have been guilty of turning the page when reading about the brutality and barbaric treatment of these women.

This morning the Today programme featured the story of Zawadi who regular listeners first heard of last year. This is a woman whose entire family, but for one daughter, were murdered in front of her eyes. A woman who was repeatedly gang raped. A woman who was forced to murder her own baby. Today programme listeners have donated a total of £5k and Zawadi, along with 16 other women, have been given the medical treatment needed to allow them to live in some kind of comfort following the trauma they have been through. The piece this morning just reminded me how important it is we keep giving, and that just a little money can mean the difference between a life destroyed forever by the most horrifying and humilating experience or one that can mean a future with some sort of hope for these women.

I am not asking you to give, just to read the piece Tania. But of course if you want to give here is how:

Taken from BBC Today Programme Website
Below are a list of charities who work in Congo and deal with survivors of sexual violence. Any contributions to these charities would be greatly appreciated.

CARE International
CARE International supports women’s organisations and village leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to develop strategies for ending violence against women.
CARE International10-13 Rushworth StreetLondon SE1 0RB

Christian Relief NetworkCRN deals regularly with the Panzi Hospital CRN, Christian Relief Network
Tel: (+47) 22 01 07 00

Medecins Sans Frontieres
Working in the eastern Congo, treating victims of sexual violence and providing healthcare for displaced people.
67-74 Saffron Hill
Tel: 02074046600

Merlin 2008
Merlin has a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that helps the many victims of sexual violence there.
Registered charity 1016607
12th Floor, 207 Old Street, London EC1V 9NR
Tel: 0207 014 1712
Email: or

Public enquiries (re donations etc) Tel: 0870 410 5025

The Panzi Hospital (for Victims of Sexual Violence)
8th Community of Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (CEPAC)
Medical Department. GENERAL REFERRAL HOSPITAL OF PANZI, PO Box: 266 BUKAVU South Kivu Province,Democratic Republic of Congo

Save the Children
Save the Children runs a huge programme in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo, concentrating on the reuniting and rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers, support for children who have been victims of sexual violence and helping out-of-school children get an education.
Tel: 020 7012 6400

UNICEFHelpline and Appeals
Tel: 0870 606 3377

WorldshareWorldShare is UK partner for HEAL Africa, the medical project in Goma.
Web site:

Friday, 24 July 2009

No stabilisers here

Rimini is like Center Parcs-on-sea in that every where you look there are bikes with babies and toddlers riding alongside their parents. Bikes certainly rule the roads, and it is so wonderful to be in a city where new borns whizz past you as you enjoy a drink on the square.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

In the air

I don't like it up there at all, and our trip home was horribly turbulent, but I do love to take pictures in the sky.


I am back from my 2 long and most glorious weeks in Rimini. Lots to talk about including the most delicious meal I have eaten in my life, a few holiday rules I have decided on and a review of the wonderful place we stayed.

For now I am glad to be home and looking forward to enjoying the weekend, and my extra Friday off.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Book worm

Dear Mr/Mrs Borders,

I love book stores. The smell, the feel, the soul of the place. I can spend hours in there, and as such I buy most of my books in one of your shops.

And that is despite the fact that I could get them online for literally 1/4 of the price. You MUST know that. Despite your Buy 1 Get 1 Free offers, I could save myself a large wad of cash by visiting Amazon or Ebay or any of the many, many online stores which sell second hand books,

So I will lay my receipt out for you now, just so you get the picture - and put in brackets what I could buy a new copy for online (and it hurts me to look this up, and find out what i could save).

The Book of Dave by Will Self = £7.99 (Amazon £4.34) saving approx. £3.50
The Qur'an, a translation by M.A.S Abdel Haleem = £7.99 (Amazon £4.79) saving approx £3.30
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood = £7.99 (Amazon £2.00) saving approx £5.99
Ghostwritten by David Mitchell = £7.99 (Amazon £2.90) saving approx £5.09
My Mum by Anthony Browne = £3.00 (Amazon £1.44) saving approx. £1.50

So my bill came to a grand total of £36.65, and that was before I ran back down the street to flag up the fact your shop had charged me £5 extra for one book and, with my Buy 1 get 1 half price offer, I walked away paying a grand total of £31.65.

The lady at the till tells me this happens often, the wrong prices flag up all the time and throw in the fact you didn't have one book I wanted (Backwards in high heels by Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine, as you ask) and most copies of the Qur'an were over £12...well it wasn't a great experience.

Next time I will probably go online. I will save myself about 40% per book after P&P and I am guaranteed to get what I want. But I want your shop to survive, so I write this letter to ask you to think more cannily, discount more effectively, get stock in (I was in the Oxford St store - your HQ!) and get a till system that works.

Thanks ever so,
A book shop lover


For some reason I cannot embed this video, but I beg you please to go and take a look at it.
The song is "I've got you and you've got me" originally by New Buffalo and remixed here by Broken Social Scene (one of my favourite bands).

I love both the song and the video. I hope you do too.

N.B Found at Now and Now and Now

Animal magic

A little mid afternoon gorgeous for you all now, on my favourite theme of cross animal love.
I present, from the top, Anjana the two year old chimpanzee who played mother to two 23 day old white tiger cubs after they were separated from their mother.
Themba the orphaned baby elephant who found a best friend in Albert the sheep.

And finally below lies Shakira the wild cat, adopted in Germany by a family of dogs after her siblings perished.

Regular readers will know I find nothing more heart warming, tear inducing, mood lifting than the bond that can unexpectedly form between different species of animals.

I have all these images clipped to the pin board in my room, and am looking to expand my collection. Anyone come across any other great stories of inter species love? (Nothing too inappropriate please!)

Monday, 6 July 2009

This Product Will Change Your Life

Just sitting at home tonight, enjoying the sun at the kitchen table and distracting myself from the not especially informative Michael Jackson doc on Channel 5.

I ran through the front door straight to the kitchen and whipped up a mean little bowl of guacamole for a pre-dinner snack. My pre-holiday diet has completely failed and I have (as expected) just gone the other way entirely.
As a distraction from the fridge, and some sad news I had today, I thought I would write a little list I have wanted to create for a while.

I have mentioned before I am a total cosmetic fiend, I even visit Superdrug and Boots as a pick me up when I'm feeling down. I love the packaging, the ever expanding options available and especially the elaborate and often fraudulent descriptions of how a product will change your life. I recycle and do try where possible (and affordable) to buy ethically. But I am aware some may see my love of lotions and potions as contributing to both global warming and our gluttonous consumerist society.

But I hope this, perhaps my greatest indulgence, can be forgiven and I want to share with you a few of the items which really do stand true to the promises the marketing magicians make.

Dr Hauschka Lemon Body Wash
A gorgeous sharp natural lemon scent and does wonders for any blemishes on the skin.

OPI An Affair In Red Square
A rich, shiny, deep red which feels both elegant and glamorous.

Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream
A bit pricey, but truly a great hand cream. Absorbs well, smells great and strengthens nails. I also like Atrixo, particularly the scent.

La Roche-Posay Efflacar K
An incredible acne treatment fluid. I use it before bed, after cleansing and toning, and also in the morning. Is a great base for make up too. Added bonus that it was "recommended" to me by Natalia Vodianova (well, I read in Guardian she uses it before a big shoot).

Spiezia Facial Cleanser and Floral skin toner
I read about this brand on Miss Malcontent seeks Truth in Beauty, a most excellent blog written by a beauty editor. She promises to expose the truth about beauty products, both the good and the bad. I find this so refreshing, when I read magazines I get the distinct impression a lot of the positive reviews are based on (A) being sent a lot of freebies (B) a brand being one of the magazines' sponsors.

Not only did Miss Malcontent send me a lengthy and informative email when I asked for her advice on my skin complaints, she also recommended Spiezia products which (along with Saaf) have worked wonders on my skin. I barely get blemishes any longer (as discussed here), and the product has definitely reduced scarring and evened out my skin tone.

Kerastace Resistance Ciment Thermique
Put a walnut sized blob (I struggled to think how to illustrate that, could you tell?) of this on your hair after conditioning but before drying. It does make hair slicker and less frizzy after drying, and claims to protect hair when straightening (but how can you tell?)

So, that's my current list of favourites. I'd love to hear your recommendations.

One and other

I am completely glued to the webcam showing footage of members of the public on the fourth plinth on Trafalgar Square.

Visit here to see what is happening now.

For those who don't know what I'm on about; the fourth plinth has been taken over by Anthony Gormley, a British sculptor who is famous for works including Angel of the North and the lonely men which took over Crosby beach (near Liverpool) and also spent a time on top of some of London's tallest buildings. Gormley has invited members of the public to spend an hour on the plinth over the next few months and people have applied in their thousands.

The webcam is clear as crystal, and it is addictive watching what each occupier of the plinth chooses to do. Nice to see so many have chosen to do something for charity (i.e. beg for money, release sponsored balloons etc) and it will be good to see other creative ways people choose to spend their fifteen (well, sixty) minutes of fame.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


The past week and weekend has been spent preparing for my 2 week trip to Rimini. As such I have spent it:
  • Twittering the Rimini tourist board for a daily weather report (the BBC says rain for the next 5 days - not happy at all)
  • Purchasing excessive amount of sun cream (25 for day 1, 15 for first week and 10 for second week). So far I have spent £35 on sun cream. Perhaps someone should suggest to our Health Secretary that it may be advisable to subsidise the price of sun cream and as such decrease the colossal amount the NHS pay every year to treat those with skin cancer.
  • Spending a hot Sunday inside the Westfield centre buying sandals and satin shirts and white shorts with floral detail.
  • Catching up with friends I haven't seen for a while. This included: eating and drinking at Andrew Edmunds on Lexington St, getting snap happy as my friend danced the Lambada, having a delicious salad and wine from a Starbucks plastic cup in Queen's Park, sitting outside the Sun in Splendour in Notting Hill and drinking white wine spritzers.

I saw these 3 cats prowling outside a flat opposite mine as I stumbled home the other night. I love how their eyes glow as they watch me pass.

Related Posts with Thumbnails