Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gott Nytt År!

Thinking back on this year, it has seemed almost surreal, as if the events around me were happening to someone else and before I could wake up, acknowledge it as my own and give it the respect it deserved, there was always one more thing struggling to take centre stage.

From the move in March, and all the baggage left and acquired, to the men who weaved in and out of my life, from the Irish who broke my heart and le Pompiere who didn't stick around long enough to make a dent, to turning 30, to making new friends and finally seeing through the old, going forward and letting the past lay where it fell, to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, to natural and human disasters, to health scares and hospital trips, to knowing who I was and finally being proud of that.

The last decade I've watched my own life pass me by, too constrained to reach out and grab what I needed. Too fearful to let go to all that was safe despite its very presence wearing me down. Basing decisions on the happiness of those around me.

So this year I decided to live for myself, finally. Grab hold of all that was out there for me and run with it, stop hiding from fear and live with all my might. Get strong and healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally.

It has seen so many twists and turns, ups and downs that sometimes I haven't been able to see straight. It has been an exhausting adventure, yet at times so incredibly rewarding. I made determinations last year, and I believe I have remained true (well, besides that whole running scenario which didn't quite pan out, but a massive thank you to the Swiss for all the support and training. Maybe next year. Umm...)

I've been stronger than I ever have been this year, walked away from relationships I knew weren't right, even though my body rebelled against the loss of the warm body in my bed. Lust can be a dangerous emotion, lust for an Irish writer with a weakness for whisky and women can be fatal.
Stood up for what I believed in, and stayed close to those who ensured I was moving in the right direction. Kept going when all I wanted was to hide under the covers and not come out until it was sunny again. Squared up to my childhood demons and challenged myself emotionally, spiritually and physically. Found my voice. Got noticed and published, once, twice, three times. Cried so hard I thought I'd never stop (just the once or twice mind you) and laughed so hard my sides ached countless times. Learnt to make paella, chocolate and ginger torte and not take it personally.

Lost my words and rediscovered them, better this time.

So this New Year, I shall be shivering in Stockholm with the lovely Lulu and friends, raising a toast to 2005 and to all the good fortune 2006 will bring us all.

May infinite joy find you this year... I for one will be welcoming it.

T'is all Geek to me...

I stumbled upon a great little find some time back, every day an email full of all sorts of lovely shopping tips, new shop openings, delightful little patisseries opening here and there and today... geeks.

Seriously. Geeks.

And all the Geek a gal could ever need. Especially a completely computer illiterate gal like moi.

Now if only there was one of those accountancy types to help me juggle my finances...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas past

I'm back.

And exhausted.

Sipping a grande black Starbucks Christmas blend in the vain attempt it will give me the energy I desperately require.

The lift was stuck again this morning, and after several days of gluttonous punishment and no exercise I walked up the five flights of stairs this morning.

Laden with heavy rucksack.

I know now why the Gorgeous always runs over the holidays.

To stop her body groaning under the weight of too many mince pies and turkey dinners the following day.

The mere thought of eating now makes me feel queasy. It is always the same whenever I head down to Wales. Add the Christmas tag and I was defeated.

Far too much turkey (ick!) wine (yum!), the Queen's speech (a bit rubbish) and Christmas pudding (divine!). 3 days of unwrapping presents (thank you Santa, you old dear for my darling new Vivienne).

Bubble and squeak, Boxing Day buffets, games of Brag over Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18 Year Old single malt, a pantomime and ice skating in Cardiff city centre.

My god daughter running in at 7am Christmas morning to tell me Santa had been.

I think I was far too busy, too tired, too full, too preoccupied to miss my family back home for long. And now I'm back at my desk, a change from last year when I was watching the news from my desk, keeping a frantic eye on the wires and reading every blog I could, now sat tying up loose ends from the year, enjoying the peace and quiet in the office and watching and waiting for snow...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mindless fun

And should you be whiling away the last few minutes and hours before Christmas break, here's a wee present to help pass the time.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all much love and joy for the holidays.



Thursday, December 22, 2005

All I Want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I have been a very very good girl this year


So it's not too late, you know.

To get me that absolutely most fabulous present.
Or presents.

So if you're compelled, some Jo Malone Red Roses perfume. Or those Jimmy Choo Orchid boots I've been coveting all season. And you know, dear Santa, a little Vivienne Westwood can go a very long way.

If you're not too shy, how about something a little saucier from here?

To keep me organised, I wouldn't mind one of these. In purple. And of course a Mont Blanc Meisterstück Platinum Line Le Grand fountain pen and some gorgeous stationery on which to thank you.

My wish list may seem a bit obscene, but as I said Santa, baby.
I've been a very very very good girl this year.

x x x

Friday, December 16, 2005

Lovely weekends. And Christmas shopping. And other things.

It was a fantastic weekend.

The first weekend in, oh I don't know how long, where I hadn't had to be somewhere. Doing something, arranging surprise 30th birthday parties, organising friends' dinner parties, catching early flights or running around trying to be in 4 places at once.

It was bliss.

Saturday morning, and no alarm. Waking up at my own pace, sat in bed sipping green tea and catching up on the abandoned novels scattered around my room. The gym when I wanted to get there, breakfast and coffee when I felt like it.

No rush.

No plans.

Except those that involved writing ALL my Christmas cards and doing ALL my Christmas shopping. But that was okay, you see. Because no one will be shopping on a Saturday night, will they?

They'll all be in pubs or restaurants, drinking mulled wine at friends' and staying indoors.
And then I, I could have the stores to myself, carefully perusing and browsing at my heart's content, carefully deciding on the perfect presents for my beloveds.

And although I had worked 2 Christmases in Selfridges' at M.A.C., for some reason unbeknownst to myself, or the rest of the shoppers who were supposed to be elsewhere (see above paragraph) I had myself convinced that Christmas shopping would be a delight. And a treat.

And that hordes of screaming children would be safely tucked into their beds and not barging into me when I manoeuvred my way through the throngs of tourists.

I had forgotten all about the tourists, you see.

And I had forgotten that it was actually the last Saturday before Christmas and the pubs would indeed be full.

With shoppers.

Who were out in full force in Selfridges, shopping for the sheer joy of it. The wonder in their eyes. The pleasure they took in fondling purses and cosmetics, shoes and earrings. Blindly handing over credit cards, mesmerised by the transactions, greedily grabbing purchases from the salesman's outstretched arms. Devoted to their craft. Because, you see, the shops were still open at 9pm.

So I gave up.

I was defeated by the crowds and their glazed eyes. Their bulging bags and purposeful strides.

And as I walked through South Molton street, myself mesmerised by the windows of Butler and Wilson, walking slowly in tune to the jazz buskers rendition of "White Christmas" on my way back to the tube, I got a little excited about Christmas after all.

Because, after all, there's always online shopping.

And e-cards.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Of Christmas parties past...

So last year, at a Christmas party at a pub round the back of the office, I got very drunk. And I mean very very drunk. It wasn't quite my fault, though. You see these were the people I used to work with, my die hard Friday night pub colleagues, the hardcore-last-to-leave-the party drinking buddies, and I can still usually be found with them at last orders nursing my end of the evening whisky, their mascot, occasional confidant and all round always ready to go to the pub good time girl.

And the boy I'd fancied like mad, the office scoundrel, the industry rake, me blushing and stammering whenever he came near, sat beside me. And flirted, helped me with drinks, charming and charismatic. And who potentially was newly single.

And so for courage, I drank. And drank some more. And was jolly and happy, and charming and charismatic myself. And spying a bottle of my favourite of all favourite party tipples, decide to let my competitive nature come out.

Big mistake.

As I am a purist in this game, I do not like my sambuccas coffee bean'ed and on fire.
3 months in Mexico taught me to scorn the lemon and salt with tequila and although I may be partial to the odd B52 I will never enjoy the Purple Fuck. And I'll still be standing at the bar long after everyone else has said no more.

Because you see, in Vancouver, where I first honed these skills as a student I was the sambucca queen. Without fail, at the end of the evening I was propped at the bar, happily challenging all and sundry to shots at the bar. It is now, apparently, not big or clever but I was an impressionable 21 year old, I'd seen Indiana Jones one too many times and connected with good ole Marion Ravenwood.

Back then, to the party. Back to the bar. Back to the competition. Back to that bemused waitress who has run out of glasses and about half an hour later runs out of black sambucca. So we go on to white. And when that runs out we try tequila. And flavoured vodka. And schnapps. And sometime between the white sambucca and schnapps, the time passes too quickly, I've missed my last train back to Bromley and I'm stuck.

Until, with a glint in his eye, the office rake and the man whom I was unable to converse with until this night because I fancied him so much, turns to me and offers up his spare room.

What is a girl to do?

Grab her coat. Her gloves. Her bag and hat and link her arm through his.

The office rake, however, turned out to be not so much a scoundrel but a total gentleman.
Even after drunkenly professing my adoration for him. And I think, shamefully, even badgering him for a kiss which he sensibly declined. He put me in his room and slept on the sofa, and the next day, I snuck out of his house cringing, shamefaced and sheepish; in my hurry leaving behind random articles of clothing.

And as I made my way to meet Knickers outside of Rigby and Peller, painfully hungover and in the clothes from the night before I send her a text.

I've lost my scarf.

My gloves.

And my dignity.

Luckily this year, I managed to regain my dignity. Knocking back several vodkas and belting out *Do you really want to hurt me?*.

Oh yes. Indeed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

how do i say sorry 2 the lady i love

Now, before I go on I will say something.

I absolutely, completely and totally detest and abhor text speak.

And the fact I have just used the above headline is actually driving me a little teensy bit, well... okay, really really stressing me out but it does relate to this story and I am, after all, a purist.


Anyway. The lovely and beautiful Anna introduced some software to this site the other day, which has become a little addictive.

And one of the many many interesting and exciting things this software can do is look at the top search engine queries. Most of them are quite predictable and then, I come to the above.

Number 20 - how do i say sorry 2 the lady i love

Now I'm intrigued.

What have you done that's so terribly bad you need to MSN search how to say you're sorry?

And what should you do to make it up to her? Is it the text speak?

Oooh, go on. Let us know what you did... and I promise promise we'll tell you how to say *Sorry*

With or without that new Vivienne Westwood bag.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Good Ship Lollipop

I have a Christmas karaoke party to go to tonight.

And I have a cold.

The two, I might add, are not symbiotic and now I am cranky.

Yesterday I was curled up in bed, warm in my flannel pyjamas and cashmere socks, dosed up with vitamin c, organic lemon, honey and echinacea, peppermint oil on my temples, and extracts of rosemary, cypress, lavender and geranium on my sinuses, smug in my holistic approach to the common cold.

Today, with my nose still running, throat still sore, head feeling like overcooked mashed potatoes and being up and about at work, I cracked, made my way to the pharmacy and reverted to hard drugs.
I am pathetic with a cold and this is no time to coddle, it is the Christmas party season, people!

There are parties to be at, to woo, to shine, to sparkle, to flirt outrageously and inappropriately. There is no time for illness.

And as it is, I have a mortal fear of singing in public. I was cursed, you see, at the tender age of 16. At my very first pantomime audition.

I arrived, all curly haired and fresh faced with head shot and resume, my monologues perfected, my nervous parents standing guard. The director dismissed my pieces, looked over his half moon spectacles at me, and barked

"Can you sing? Sing!"

And me, nervous and ill prepared as I had most definitely not prepared a song, as no one had told me I would have to SING, nor did I know the words to anything, burst into a rousing, impromptu rendition, complete with jazz hands, coy smile and dance routine of " On the Good Ship Lollipop".

Trouble was, I forgot the words half way and my brain, struggling to keep up with the very quickly unravelling of my dignity somehow confused the lyrics of "On the Good Ship Lollipop" with the lyrics from "Great Balls of Fire."

I sang my little heart out, I danced, I made up lyrics and all the while that greying head of the director nodded, smirked and as I left the room, dejected and humiliated, the man giggled.


I didn't get the part, I am sure you gathered by now.

I refused to sing in public again, happily miming even "Happy Birthday", somehow even during my few short weeks as world's worst waitress when we were all to sing the dumbest of all dumb songs to our customers on their birthdays, I managed to get away with just moving my lips.

And then my 21st birthday. In the Blarney Stone, and me resplendent in a fabulous new outfit, several tequila shots worse for wear, on stage. With the band.
Singing the chorus to "Wasn’t that a Party."

Well. Shouting apparently. Wasn't that a party, alright...

And right as I hit my stride, hit the right note and let myself go

"Tell me, me, oh me... oh my..." I took a step forward.

And promptly fell off stage.

I still have the scar to prove it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


And suddenly it was December.

Last Thursday, an icy cold morning, wrapped up in coat and gloves, my breath in steam, surprised at the sudden appearance of a Christmas tree in reception, the smell of cypress.

Suddenly it's December, and less than 3 weeks to Christmas. My Christmas cards, late again this year are unwritten, unposted.

Well, being frank, they're yet to be purchased and there are only a few days left before the last postal date to Canada.
Presents have yet to be decided, yet to be bought and don't even mention the wrapping.

I think in a sense I am waiting patiently for the festive season to pass me by, this year I doubt there will be a tree in the house. And for the first time I am glad of it.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Christmas. I love London in December, the parties, the men in tuxedos on the streets, the women in gowns. I love the window displays, the decorations, the thoughts of eggnog, the lights along the South Bank. Yet somehow this year, it feels different. It doesn't feel the same.

Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, my mother and her 3 Christmas trees, a house full of people, sherry at 10am and mince pies at 11, The Gorgeous up too late wrapping presents. Pillowcases stuffed full instead of stockings. Too much food, too much wine, the sound of laughter echoing through the rooms.

I miss that, more than I ever have, this year.