Friday, 26 February 2010


A short post today as I am whizzing off to spend the next 6 hours listening to Lady Gaga albums, preparing customised t-shirts, crimping my hair and then hotfooting it to the 02 for what I can only imagine is going to be a truly amazing night of entertainment

Say what you will about Gaga, she knows how to put on a show. I CANNOT WAIT.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Drowned rat

The weather in London has been absolutely horrendous for the last two weeks. Icy cold, heavy downpours and occasional showers of snow have meant leaving the house, now that I don't have a job to go to, seems distinctly unappealing.

Tonight I had to jump through numerous puddles to reach my dinner location and still now, twenty minutes after getting home, my feet are like icicles.

In other news I have discovered chat roulette. I think this is possibly the most fascinating website, how did no one think of it before? If anyone hasn't heard of it, it is essentially a website where you are partnered up with another random stranger from the internet. You both see each other through your webcams and then can chat via messenger or your computers microphone. Obviously, being the WWW, there is a high risk you will be partnered with a man (or woman) keen to chat you up/show off their genitals - but then that's why it's called's all part of the fun!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Back to reality

I took a short break from blogging over the last fortnight in some part due to my attendance of a short course at the London College of Journalism.

The 3 day "Introduction to Journalism" course was run by a charismatic and hugely experienced news and features writer called Tony Padman. He was a fantastic teacher, striking the all important balance between being positive and encouraging while not holding back on giving honest and constructive feedback on our work.

I met some fascinating people on the course from a young Nigerian journalist who works for This Day to a charming middle aged solicitor who is planning to write features in his free time.

Best of all Tony managed to introduce us to the basics of news and features journalism, help us sharpen our writing style and gave us a real sense of what life is like as a features journalist.

I spent last weekend in the Cotswolds, for those outside the UK this is a particularly beautiful expanse of the British countryside around Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire famed for its quaint villages and sweeping landscapes. Surrounded by three of my favourite children in the world I enjoyed horse riding (watching, NOT doing), a glorious massage at Daylesford and, best of all, more Roald Dahl stories than I knew existed.

Much more to come this week so watch this space...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

French Connection: The Woman

This is, in my opinion, the best fashion campaign of recent months if not years.

Formerly known for slogan covered t-shirts and a (not especially) risque campaign which played on it's acronym FCUK, French Connection has recently launched their new advertising campaign in the UK.

You may have noticed the print adverts as well as out of home posters on billboards, buses and tubes with beautifully styled pictures of either a bearded man or a sultry woman declaring "This is the man" and "This is the woman".

The curious, myself included, flock to the website and can select from six 30 seconds films exploring the nature of the woman and that of the man. The films are simple, sexy, wry and at points hilarious sly amusing. Best of all they represent what is clearly a change in direction for French Connection, there is even a reference to how a man would never wear a slogan adorned item. Take a look at the film below and the rest here to see just how good they are.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Sunday morning and I am carefully inspecting a number of bruises of varying size across my lower legs thanks to last nights stupidly drunken antics. How and why they came about is anybody's guess, all I know is it hurts a great deal to bend my left knee!

So on this hungover valentine Sunday I have gathered a few of my favourite images which I've picked up from various blogs and websites recently.

Also, as it would be sad not to give a little nod to those celebrating the day, the poetic words of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (made famous by Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra)

My funny Valentine

Sweet comic Valentine

You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable

Yet you're my favourite work of art

Is your figure less than Greek

Is your mouth a little weak

When you open it to speak

Are you smart?

But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me

Stay little Valentine stay

Each day is Valentine's day

By Little Doodles
By Ryan Jacob Smith

Found at Le Love
Image by Paul Michael Dellostritto (found via Ink on my Fingers)

Four legged friends

This week has been all the more joyful thanks to having the chance to spend time with two lovely dogs. One visited our London flat for a few brief but very happy hours, the other was the family pet of my good friend El whose country home we descended on for a couple of days this week.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The V&A

Last Sunday I spent the afternoon at the Victoria and Albert museum in South Kensington.

I love this place so much, not least because the building itself is utterly beautiful and you can't turn your head without stumbling on some charming detail. From the cafe which is housed in the most amazing room with stained glass windows and rich decor, to the entry hall which is lit with an enormous glass chandelier...every corner of this building is considered.

Dad and I went to the decode digital design exhibition which is hugely interactive, in fact you can see him second row down two in from the right of the screen in the bottom picture.

I also spent hours on the top floor taking in the exhibition of ceramics which is far more interesting than it sounds! Best of all is a film of the potter Lucy Rie who was interviewed by David Attenborough. She is the most amazing woman, Austrian born she worked from her studio in London to make her much sought after pottery. The V&A have reconstructed her studio and the short film shows David Attenborough hanging onto her feet as she lowers herself into her kiln to inspect her work.

I can't mention the V&A without talking about the shop which is filled with a mix of some of the most beautifully designed products I have ever seen. At Christmas my parents bought me a beautiful silk dressing gown which they'd originally seen at the V&A and it is the most beautiful item I own. it's such a great destination for buying gifts and cards - and sort of guilt free shopping as you're taking in some culture at the same time.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


My last weeks at work were filled with paperwork and flowers and lunch at my desk and amazing presents.

There were tears and boozing and sad farewells. Most amazing of all were the Liberty vouchers that, as you can see at the bottom, are real life coins - made by the royal mint. I just cannot wait to spend them.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Love and that*

February is, apparently, the month of love. It is with a mixture of emotions that I find myself single for the first time in 5 years and when I read the poem below by Billy Collins I feel a wonderful contentment about my current state. Isn’t it a beautiful poem? (I can't sort the formatting for some reason, sorry!)

*The title of this post is dedicated to a particularly special reader of mine, I think they'll know who they are.

Aimless Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Monday, 1 February 2010

A potted history

The photograph above is of my grandfather and his daughter, my mum, taken circa 1970 when my grandpa would have been 52. They are on holiday somewhere, maybe Elba or the South of France where they would go on family trips every year.

My grandpa is an endlessly fascinating man. An Oxford educated, Russian Jew whose parents fled Russia for London in the early 1900's and divorced soon after. As is traditional in Jewish families my grandpa and his brother Lenny stayed with his father, Seoul, and his sister Leia moved to France with his mother, Clara.

I sit for hours when I visit my grandpa, as I did yesterday, listening to his stories of the fascinating lives of my ancestors. The part they played in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the persecution they endured, stories of escapes and rescues that sound too much to be true.

Doubtless the powerful nature of my Jewish lineage has had an impact on who I am (despite the fact that my granny wasn't Jewish, so according to Orthodox Jews I am not Jewish at all - see here). Take, for example, the endless references to my mothers Jewish guilt and propensity to worry about everything, lullabies replaced by odd Yiddish rhymes, a lifelong need to fight for the underdog and my very real awareness that life will not always be easy that has been present since I could think.

I make endless notes tracing his family history, and that of my beloved granny, wanting to find out everything I can about these ancestors of mine and the vastly different world they inhabited. I have never been to Russia, or Pinsk in Belarus where my grandpa's family can be traced to. I have never been to Canada, where he studied, or most of America and particularly California where my great grandfather, Seoul, moved to after his divorce.

I would love to travel to these places, and find out more about these people, and in fact one promise to myself is that this year I will try and travel to Russia and do and take an in depth look at my family tree.

My granny and grandpa were married for around 70 years. He cries every time he talks about her now, and speaks with heartbreaking adoration of granny and her family. It was, like many other relationships, hard and testing and yet a happy and loving union which produced 3 children and 7 grandchildren. They travelled all over the world, enjoyed some of the most wonderful food and, for the most part, a very good life.

I am hugely proud of my family history on both my mother and fathers side. It makes me feel oddly exotic that I am 1/8th Russian with a pinch of French thrown in. It also makes me feel a need to live up to the interesting history that has gone before me, and have a life that fascinates my great grand children a century from now. I'm just not quite sure where to begin....

New Year's Eve

I never did tell you about my New Year celebrations, did I? So caught up in my pitiful bubble of sleepless nights, weeping and making complicated decisions that I forgot to mention that I did actually have a lovely time.
In January I only managed to post a few photographs of the entire Christmas break before I retired back to bed with a large blanket and an even larger gin.

Well today is 1st February folks, and it is my very own New Year's Day. Considering that the 1st of January was spent immersed in the sad chaos of a break up and the additional chaos of tidying my parents house after a massive party, I didn't really get to experience that sense of boundless optimism and enthusiastic resolve that the first day of a new year can bring.

After going on and on about the planning for the New Year party, at which I was tasked with feeding 22 people, I finally settled on a menu that was filled with amazing locally produced food (Ramsay would be proud!) and would cause me minimum stress.

That menu went as follows:
Fresh smoked salmon, produced at the Exe Valley Fishery
Sausages with chorizo and lentil served with mashed potato and roasted parsnips (recipe can be found here)
Ice cream sundae with Langage farm ice cream, amaretti biscuits and baileys .

The starter was simple and, although smoked salmon feels like quite a basic dish, when there are this many people to feed that is very appealing. I spent a lot on the salmon and on the bread and my dear friend Katy ,who stepped in as sous chef for the night, prepared several plates of beautifully arranged bread as well as the salmon so people could help themselves. This course received heaps of praise, I think it is a rare delight to enjoy really high quality salmon and I was lucky enough that our local fishery is so fantastic (and that the fishmongers had some in stock).

The best thing about the main course was that I was able to make the dish during the day and as such I spent a leisurely afternoon copping onions, chorizo and garlic while chatting to my friends as they arrived at the house. By 4pm all the preparation was done and I simply put two large pots into the aga and left them for 3 hours. The added cooking time (you can put this dish in the oven or ago for just 45 minutes) meant that flavour was even more rich and intense.
The difficulty with cooking for this many people is gauging how much food to make. I underestimated the potatoes meaning there was only just enough mash to go around. Of course I'd always rather have too much than not enough but it did mean we weren't all completely stuffed at the end of the meal and immediately felt sprightly enough to jump up at midnight and dance the night away.

The dessert was a bit of a cop out, I was just too exhausted to make something more elaborate. But we covered the sundaes in sparklers and edible stars. It felt like a children's party treat which perfectly set the mood for the behaviour that followed throughout the night.
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