Wednesday, 29 December 2010

My favourite year...almost

Oh life.
You are funny.
You are weird.
Sometimes you are amazing.
Often you are unexpected and unpredictable.
Most days you are beautiful.
Other days you are destructive and devastating.
One day you are my best friend.
And the very next day you are my enemy.
I think I understand you, then you go out of your way to prove me wrong.
How complicated and contradicting you can be.
You have blessed me with the best days of my life.
You have made me feel I can accomplish anything.
I have felt fortunate and lucky and truly privileged.
Then you have the almighty power to crush me.
You have broken me.
Nearly destroyed me.
I have despaired of you and your tragic actions.
How could you have done that to me and those who I love?
What a love and hate relationship we have.
I'm sorry, it's hard to forget sometimes.
In my heart I want to forgive.
I honestly do.
This year you have been kind and generous and thoughtful.
You have answered my prayers.
Finally I have met him.
The one I have always wanted to meet.
I am overjoyed.
I am appreciative.
And then, just when I wasn't looking...
You snatched.
You stole.
You took.
You interrupted.
How could you?
Oh life you are bitter sweet.
You introduced me to him.
The one I have always wanted to meet.
For that I want to thank you.
He rocks my world.
But I met him and then you took her.
My nan.
My dear, sweet, kind little nan.
It would have been my favourite year.
Now it has almost been.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The big move

Despite my meticulous planning, ever expanding lists, significant deadlines, important time frames and organised manner, things have not, dear readers, gone to plan.
The big move has not been the move I envisioned. One could say, sometimes you can’t plan life. Sometimes life interrupts plans. Or on this occasion, I am pointing my blame finger at the snow.
The snow has rudely interrupted and disrupted. Pretty white stuff which falls from the sky has put me behind schedule. I’m afraid it has to take full responsibility for its selfish actions. It may look nice, apart from when it turns brown, slushy and mushy, it may have the ability to make small children run around throwing it and building things with it, but the UK roads and train timetables can not cope with it.
It has been recorded as the coldest UK December in 100 years, with the heaviest snow fall to match. I did not count on this happening when I arranged the date to collect our new six keys. (One for the front door to the large Edwardian period house, two for the front door to our first floor flat, one extra set for individual purposes.) I did not expect this to happen when I was compiling my lists and planning how many journeys the car would enable us to stack our belongings.
The car had to be abandoned on a friends drive way (it’s still there) due to the unbelievably heavy snow fall in a short space of time, and my wheels slipping and sliding as a result. My bedroom furniture and flat screen television should have moved in by now, but they are still at my old flat. I am alternating between two dresses and one top and one pair of trousers. It’s not ideal.
The first night we spent in our new home should have been organised, settled, domesticated and romantic.
It should have been all these wonderful adjectives rolled into one evening!
In my mind I imagined our new brown leather sofas and zebra print cushions, next to the solid oak dining table, with the red cherry candle lighting the new red place mats, and a delicious and fancy meal cooked by yours truly, accompanied by the forty two inch flat screen television mounted on the wall, showing our favourite comedy programme, adding to our laughter and calm mood. Not forgetting the bottle of champagne we would be sipping, the delicate happy bubbles absorbing the atmosphere.
Damn my mind and its perfections.
Reality was not nearly so.
The first night we spent in our new home began with yours truly dropping the champagne bottle in the street, cutting my lip on the bouncing glass in the process, startled by the sight of my own blood and annoyed at my familiar clumsy trait. Lovely boyfriend was not as concerned as I with regards to the smashed and spilt alcohol. He was suffering from the hangover from hell, the consequence of his office Christmas party the night before, and he was feeling rather vacant and shockingly awful.
We had no saucepans or cooking equipment, or solid oak table to place the new red place mats on, so we ordered an Indian takeaway.
The Indian takeaway which we waited, and waited for, then realised the door bell did not work after the restaurant finally telephoned us with a cold chicken korma and mushroom rice. This was eaten, on our laps, in front of the, very small, portable television which was refusing to show us BBC1.
Tired, and boyfriends hangover wickedly punishing him for drinking cider in a dodgem car, we retired to our air bed.
The air bed which took us half an hour to pump, convincing ourselves it wasn't working and that our new neighbours would hate us for making strange noises the wrong side of midnight. We didn't sleep very well when we finally collapsed onto the air bed, after discovering we should have read the instructions because we were not correctly pumping. It was surprisingly comfortable, although very difficult to remove ourselves from. It was the smoke alarm which kept us awake.
The smoke alarm in the hallway which menacingly beeped every five minutes to announce the battery needed replacing. We couldn't dismantle it as the hallway ceiling is far too high and we were far too small, with nothing to stand on to reach the offending object. So we had to suffer in silence. Or should I say, we had to lay on the air bed, taking it in turns to shout, "That stupid smoke alarm!"
However, dear readers, despite all of this - despite the drama, the complications, the terrible weather conditions, the noisy smoke alarm and the fat lip - on our first night in our new home, I can honestly say, I have never felt happier in my whole entire life.

Friday, 3 December 2010

He finally knows I exist...and he doesn't want me to loose my shoes.

He finally knows I exist.
Sort of.
Kind of.
I'd like to think so anyway.
I like to think, for a few, precious moments in his life, he knew my name.
He knew I was a huge fan.
He knew my birthday was just around the corner.
And he...asked me not to loose my shoes.
For all of this, I have to thank my fabulous friend Jamie. Credit where credit is due. If it wasn't for the paper towels around our heads one night, and the dramatic screeching and sliding, to the lyrics of Different Corner, I may have received my little birthday message on a yellow post it note.
I may not have received my birthday message at all!
Heaven forbid.
How different my life could have been.
I will always be eternally grateful to Jamie, paper towels, a Different Corner record cover and a message from Him.
He who now knows I exist.
He whose dulcet tones I have listened to a thousand times.
He who I have bored everyone rigid with a million times.
Yes, Him!
Have you guessed who it is yet?
It's George Michael!
My friend works with someone whose dad is his minder.
He told his colleague how nutty I am about George.
He wrote a message on a yellow post it note and it was passed on to George.
I now have a one hundred percent, genuine, signed birthday message.
From George Michael!
It's written in a blue marker pen, on a Different Corner record cover (without a paper towel in sight).
He finally knows I exist.
Sort of.
Kind of.
I'd definitely like to think so.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Another Royal wedding

"Can you remember watching Lady Di and Prince Charles's Wedding?" I asked my work colleague.
"I wasn't even born then," said my work colleague.
I laughed.
I sighed.
I must remember how old I am these days. I am no longer considered to be the youngster in the office.
There was a time, when I worked at my first London based publishing house, when I was continually called the youngster and continually bribed with chocolate.
"Oy youngster," the sales manager would cry, "if you go to the shops I'll buy you a Kit Kat." Being too young and greedy to say no, I would often traipse to the shops to purchase my free Kit Kat, and for food supplies for the sales manager and the rest of the office.
If anyone was to say that to me now, I would point out that I am not a youngster and I am far too busy and important to do shop runs. In other words, buzz off and do it yourself you lazy so and so! I'm allowed to say that now I am a curvy, cynical, 37 year old and no longer a skinny, naive, 20 year old. (Although I am not sure how I remained skinny with all those Kit Kats I used to eat.)
But back to the point. And the 1981 Royal Wedding.
"Was the dress really awful then, or was it the awful 80's fashion?" work colleague asked.
"Hmm," I pondered. "The 80's was the decade that fashion forgot, but I don't remember thinking it was terrible. I do remember my mother commenting for all the money the wedding cost, and for all the money the Royal family had access to, she could have chosen a dress where the fabric didn't crease."
Yes, Lady Diana Spencer, soon to be the Princess of Wales, wore a very, very long dress and when she stepped away from her carriage, it was very, very creased. That's what I remember from this 1981 Royal wedding, the most important day of one particular young ladies life.
And to celebrate this wedding my local neighbourhood held a street party. There is a photograph of myself in the family photo album, running excitedly in a blue and white ruffled dress (remember, it was the 80's and blue and white ruffled dresses were all the rage!). It was a good day. There were games, and red, white and blue flags, and cake, and a strong sense of patriotism. Traffic was not allowed to enter the small side street. And it seemed Great Britain was obsessed with the Royal Family and collecting the memorabilia coins and mugs, with the happy faces and names of the happy couple.
They were happy days. Until everyone realised, Diana especially, that her husband was in love with someone else and there were 3 people in their marriage. Even unhappier days were ahead when she tragically lost her life in a car crash in Paris, after being chased and hounded by the paparazzi.
My mother once remarked that people will always remember where they were when they heard Elvis Presley was dead. Incidentally I am not that old (ha, ha), I don't remember hearing Elvis was dead, but there is another picture of me in the family photo album, smiling, and wearing a white hat, and sitting in a caravan site on this fateful day. So that's where I was when it was announced the King of Rock 'n' Roll had died on the toilet.
I do, however (and this is said to be another poingant time in history), recall exactly where I was when I heard Princess Diana was dead. I was in bed, it had been a late night the night before, talking rubbish and drinking wine at a friend's house (I know, this could be any night!). I turned on the television set next to my bed and heard the words, "Diana's body will be flown back from Paris."
I then ran down the stairs screaming,"Princess Di has been killed!"
I'm sure on her wedding day she couldn't possibly have imagined how her life, and what once seemed a fairy tale, would end. Who could have predicted that?
I sincerely wish and hope her son's marriage to be be far happier and successful. And longer.
Her son, the future King of England, has proposed to his girlfriend of nine years. Naturally comparisons have been made with regards to his parent's marriage and this forthcoming occasion. Particularly as Kate, the future Queen of England, is wearing the late Princess Diana's Sapphire and Diamond engagement ring.
Of course life and marriage do not come with guarantees, but it does seem they are happier and more comfortable with each other. And perhaps, in my opinion, far better suited to each other and without the presence of a third party to interrupt, confuse and shatter two people's commitment to each other.
So Royal Wedding fever is sweeping the nation once again.
The newspapers and the television are full of constant wedding speculation and predictions. What will her dress be like? Which V.I.P's will be invited?
And, perhaps more importantly to certain individuals, will it be a public holiday?
The answer to the last question is yes, an official public holiday has been confirmed.
"Brilliant, we get a day off!" I have heard from various reactions.
Congratulation William and Kate.
And thank you for the bank holiday.
I'm looking forward to it already.
I think it's going to another good day.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Guilty as charged

Do you suffer from a frequent guilty conscience? Do you often think, “Oh what the heck, I’ll do it!” and promptly feel guilty for doing so?
If you are admitting to feeling this way - welcome to my world!
Actually, apparently, we are not alone in our guilt ridden world. There are others. I was reading about them in Stylist magazine during my long journey home from the office, and trying to ignore the guilty voice reminding me I should be concentrating on my photography course work, not lusting over red sparkly party dresses which I couldn't afford.
According to Stylist, and very much according to my brain, we now live in a guilt zone community, and we have no one to blame but our guilty selves.
There are victims of spending too much time in the office, women who have more career opportunities than ever before, men trying to provide for their family or produce the work of ten men in these difficult financial times. We want to prove ourselves and prevent our businesses from crumbling, but we also feel guilty for not being at home with our loved ones.
We have created a cyber world where we love to Blog, Twitter, Facebook, shop on line and bid on eBay, but feel guilty in the process for not spending enough time in the real world.
Our mobile phones, our Blackberries and iPhones, are glued to our hands and ears, not wanting to miss that important client telephone call or the important friendly text from a friend. If we were to miss the important client telephone call or the important friendly text, how guilty we would feel for not being available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Even if the permanently-glued-to-our-hands-and ears mobile meant it was interrupting and sacrificing the time we should be doing other things, maybe more constructive things.
Even food is creeping into our guilty calorie counting lives. We have the knowledge of super foods and the fright of diabetes and heart disease. Yet still we indulge in chocolate cake and escape in reality cooking programmes, packed full of sugar and laden with fat.
So thank you Stylist and thank you memory for reminding me of all the guilty pleasures and pains in my life. I was already trying my hardest to ignore my guilty pangs. It's not easy sometimes. I must confess to struggling with this issue.
When I first met lovely boyfriend he couldn't believe what little time I had to myself. "You're never at home, you're always rushing everywhere and seeing everyone, no wonder you're always tired and running out of money."
He had a valid point. But if I didn't constantly arrange and agree to meet friends I would feel guilty for not seeing them or being there for them. On the other hand, arranging and agreeing to constantly go out was exhausting, physically and mentally, not to mention avoiding checking my bank balance to see how much my socialising was costing.
I'm not saying I don't thoroughly enjoy myself amongst friends, that's what makes it so tough, I love being with them. But I knew he was right, I should be going out less, so the next day would not be one big yawn, and I could spend time doing things that needed doing, such as housework and washing and card making and exercising on my cross trainer. The cross trainer I invested in when I cancelled my gym membership. The gym membership I always had good intentions to use but would feel guilty for not using.
Can you see the guilty mine field I am faced with? The guilty battles I torture myself with?
And guess what, all this time I spend with guilt is making me feel guilty for worrying so much and not focusing all this energy towards something else. Something perhaps more positive and worthwhile.
Oh I'm hopeless, aren't I.
I'm guilty as charged.
And don't even get me started on the chips I am about to tuck into, the chips I couldn't resist agreeing to but know I shouldn't be eating as I finally weighed myself today.
In my next life, please can I not feel so guilty.
Or at least make me thin.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

'Tis a pity she's a whoare verses a day in the death of Joe Egg

Vile creatures and incestuous monsters.
Blood stained, guilty hands.
Tragically stolen and ripped heart.
Mother’s desperation, father’s abandonment.
Dysfunctional body and a childhood lost.
Love sick fool with a poisoned mind.
Trauma swallows laughter.
The bitter sweet taste of life.
Harsh words and destructible emotions.
The final act, the curtain falls.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The ulcer in my eye

I would not recommend or encourage developing an ulcer in your eye. I will also not pretend that an eye ulcer is anything but an excruciatingly painful experience.
Horse fly reactions are not very pleasant either, not to mention inconvenient when your foot impersonates the size of an elephant on steroids and a basic function, such as walking, is virtually impossible.
In fact, the common cold is sounding more appealing than ever. You sneeze, your bedroom resembles an advertising set for Kleenex, and your nose feels a delicate shade of sensitive red. But at least you can walk. And you can see.
I suffered from an allergic reaction to horse fly (again) a little while ago. My foot blew up like a bruised balloon and I had to sit in bed for two days, eating cheese and watching television, until the swelling subsided and walking became bearable.
Looking back at my two day cheese sit in, this seems a far friendlier alternative to an eye ulcer. At least I could watch Come Dine With Me and read Heat magazine. When one has an ulcer in one’s eye, a bright television set and trashy reading material are practically as painful as placing pins in ones eyeballs.
Last week was a very dark week. Literally. One day my right eye was a little sore, the next day it was horrendously sore. Wincing at sunlight, wearing sunglasses to protect my eye, and feeling very sorry for myself, I visited a London eye hospital.
“How long have you been like this?” was the horrified doctor's reaction when she examined my eye and diagnosed the ulcer.
I was horrified to see her horrified reaction. It was only a little sore the previous day. How terribly and painfully your life can change in a matter of 24 hours.
I was prescribed eye drops by the hour, even through the night, for the next two days and two nights, then every hour for three days and every three hours for three nights, then at intervals throughout the day for the next nine days.
“You’re in for a rough five days and nights,” the slightly annoying and smug doctor warned me.
I bought myself a tuna sandwich to cheer myself up, and went home with my shocking shade of red, swollen, half closed, extremely vunerable, sore eye.
At home I sat in my bedroom, in the dark, wearing my shades, and contemplated what to do for the next fourteen days.
Oh when would the pain stop?
I couldn’t use the Internet because it hurt my eye.
I couldn’t watch the television screen because it hurt my eye.
I couldn’t read a book or a magazine because it hurt my eye.
I couldn’t continue with my photography course work because it hurt my eye.
I couldn’t even sleep because my eye hurt. Not to mention having to attend to it with eye drops every hour to relieve the pain for about a second.
Lovely boyfriend then texted me.
I couldn’t read his text because it hurt my eye.
Lovely boyfriend telephoned.
Lovely boyfriend arrived at my flat with chocolate and sympathy.
At last, something which didn’t hurt my eye! A hug and a packet of minstrels.
Lovely boyfriend had to place the drops in my eye, every hour, on the hour. My disastrous attempts meant wet cheeks and soggy pillows, I couldn’t prise my eye open and squeeze drops in at the same time.
Every single hour, for the next 48 hours, my alarm rang, to remind me it was medication time. Like zombies working the night shift, boyfriend and I turned the alarm off, opened eye, injected into eye, went back to sleep, until the next hour, and so forth and so forth.
By the third night it was every three hours. But this was still too much! I began to pretend I hadn’t heard the alarm and I was sound asleep.
Lovely boyfriend did not fall for my pretend sleep. He also ignored my pitiful pleads of, “Please let me sleep! I can’t do it anymore! I just want to be left alone!”
Lovely boyfriend was looking out for my best interests, but my sleep deprived body was not appreciative at the time.
What a trooper hey. He certainly came to my rescue and aided my recovery.
That was last week and I can laugh at the ordeal now. Time is a great healer, and the bucket loads of liquid which entered my eye. I have firmly placed those dark sinister days, from the dark depths of last week, into my murky past.
So I’m back in the office. It's nice to be somewhere other than my dark bedroom. My eye is still a little sensitive but I’ve booked an eye test for tomorrow and I’m hoping the horrible ulcer has vanished. Gone. Departed from my life and this universe. Never to be seen again. Ever. Amen.
I’m also going to splash out on a pair of trendy frames and allow my eyes a break from my contact lenses.
Take my advise, for I am the voice of eye ulcer knowledge - don’t ever get an ulcer in your eye.
And by the way, why didn't the slightly annoying and smug doctor place an eye patch over the offending problem?
Surely that would have slightly helped the situation?
Just an after thought.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Six impossible things before breakfast

I’ve never really been one to plan my life. Life, until now, has just kind of happened to me.
I’m brilliant at making plans to see friends, to experience old and new bars and restaurants, to visit places of interest where I can wrap myself in history and record the adventure on my SLR screen.
But as for all the other bits, the important bits you could say, I’ve been a firm believer of living in the moment and I've not thought or planned too far ahead.
I’ve always known there were countries I wanted to visit, and I’m lucky enough to have ventured to my wish list – Mauritius, Maldives, Singapore, Las Vegas, California, San Fransisco, Thailand. My curiosity was killed (no I’m not a cat, merely an expression) and I’ve had some amazing times.
I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work hard and do well in the publishing industry. Again I’ve been fortunate enough to have been employed by some very powerful and interesting companies.
And I’ve always known I’ve wanted to find true love and start a family of my own one day.
Other than that, well, ahem, I’ve just enjoyed myself and tried not to stress too much about life and its outcomes.
Then suddenly I’m 36. (Nearly 37.)
How the heck did that occur?
What happened to my teens, twenties and my early thirties?
Oh hang on, it’s all coming back to me, I was too busy having fun!
Not a bad thing, I know, there are worse things you could be doing with your life.
But where has it got me? A bunch of hilarious memories, a stack of amusing photographs, and a few outrageous stories to tell the grandchildren. That’s where it’s got me. Is that enough? For the first time in my life, I’m worrying. I’m conscious of my age and my place in society.
It's time to plan ahead!
It's time to make plans for the future!
It's time to become ruler of my own destiny!
It’s rather alien to me but I’m rather warming to the idea.
Lovely boyfriend and I are going to live together. I’ve issued my notice to my flat mate. Boyfriend and I have registered with estate agents and together we are stepping onto the property ladder. Farewell renting, it was nice for a while, but I am a grown up now and I am embracing this owning your own property lark. Okay I admit, I'm a tiny bit scared about this commitment thing. Not with lovely boyfriend, he doesn’t scare me at all, far from it, he makes me feel the happiest girl alive and I have no doubts about our relationship and our future. It’s the mortgage I find a tad frightening. But hey, welcome to the real world Nikki. It’s only a small scary percentage, the rest of me can’t wait to own my own home.
So we are planning the area we want to live in, the size house we would be comfortable with, and the amount we can afford to spend on our home. I am also writing lists of items we will need for our home and each month purchases are made.
I don’t think it would surprise you to learn (pink vintage) wine glasses were my first order. I hope my clumsy side does not smash them before we move, they were delicately expensive. I now have boxes in my present loft conversion filled with black and white coffee cups and tea cups, chunky glass pasta jars and retro storage tins. I’ve even bought a vacuum cleaner (it’s pink too, I am so girly sometimes) and a silver gravy boat. And next pay day more items from our list will be crossed off.
We’re also planning our future together. As a couple. A sapphire engagement ring has been discussed, anniversary nights have been planned, a wedding venue has been admired (the castle was not cost effective, you have to be practical too), and children’s names have been chosen.
Websites have been researched and I've enrolled in a course at The Photography Institute, to earn a diploma and hopefully branch out into a hobby turned career, one I could possibly manage around a family.
Phew, who would have predicted that I could make so many plans!
I am making things happen.
I feel like a fully fledged adult.
I know where I’m going and who it’s with.
There’s so much to think about and time spans to be aware of.
But I am relishing in it.
The seemingly impossible has become magnificently possible.
And maybe I'm more prone to planning than I realised?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dear George (Part two)

My significant other thinks I am grafting away at my photography course work. He’s watching Arsenal (they’re winning, so he’s happy) but I’m easily distracted (one day I’ll be a professional photographer, so I’ll be happy too) and spherical aberration isn’t doing it for me tonight.
And why the distraction, you may well ask? Well to put it bluntly, the words ‘8 weeks sentence’ are bouncing around in that brain of mine. Lord only knows what it must be like for you.
Allow me to introduce myself, sorry where are my manners? My name is Nikki. I am 36 years old (37 in 6 weeks and 2 days, but who’s counting) and I am a cheese and George Michael fan. No don’t worry, I am not Heather from Eastenders, although my friends love to point out the similarities with the cheese adoration and the musical passion.
Erm, are you still there? I hope you don’t think ‘oh here we go again, another nutter who watches Eastenders and thinks she knows me.’
You would be right though (not about the nutter bit, I hasten to add) I don’t know you. I know that I love listening to Freedom, Everything She Wants, Waiting For The Day, I Knew You Were Waiting For Me, Amazing, etc (just a few of my favourites). I know my house is a happy house when George is singing on my CD player. I know one of my most cherished memories is when my dear late brother took me to my first George Michael concert. And I know that I have watched and read interviews where I have praised your sense of humour and admired your intelligent views and ideas.
I must confess, I have been mocked and congratulated for my George loyalty, and yes I was at your latest (electrifying, if I do say so myself) concert where you thanked your loyal fans (hey, it’s always nice to be appreciated!). I do hope now at a time like this you are taking some kind of comfort from your fans. Although I am sure Kenny and your family and friends support and love would be top of your list right now.
We aren’t given a rule book, are we? We are not born into this world and handed a leather bound book and told, ‘here you are, just consult this book every time you are not sure which path to take or how to behave and cope with certain situations.’ We muddle along, making decisions, sometimes thinking we know best only to find out that perhaps we know diddly squat.
They say it’s all a lesson, a learning curb, it will all make sense one day. I hope it does anyway! I would love it to all fall into place one day.
They say our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall (Confucius) and I am inclined to agree with that one.
We all have the power within us to turn our life around, to fight our demons and become a better person. Of course I realise this is harder for some people than others.
I am not here to judge anyone, to look down on anyone or take the moral high ground and scorn anyone. How could I? I’ve pulled some corkers in my time but I like to think I’ve learnt from them. And I would like to think I could comfort and put a smile on someone’s face if they needed it. Particularly yours. At a time like this.
Take care of yourself George. Be kind to yourself and those who care about you.

PS If you ever feel the urge to write back, my address is at the top of this page. I promise not to be one of these seedy people who contact those dirty newspapers. I would be enormously honoured and you would make this girl immensely happy. Oh well, you can’t blame a girl for trying!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Riding the roller coaster

Do you ever feel as if you’re riding a roller coaster? A real life, life sized, roller coaster. A journey of thrill seeking highs, deep plunging lows, and twists which have the ability to turn your world upside down.
Sometimes you trundle along nicely but you know it can’t last, you’re questioning what waits ahead of you. You could be faced with something to make you laugh and scream with excitement, you could witness something which makes you shake and gasp in fear.
And you’re painfully aware of the situation, while you're riding high and having the time of your life, someone else could be experiencing an all time low.
Yes it’s the roller coaster of life. It’s full of twists and turns, quiet passengers and loud passengers, tears and laughter.
You may be thinking at one point that you’ve had enough and you want to get off, or you could be thinking you never want it to end.
It’s a life sized roller coaster. And you don’t have to visit the fairground to witness the unpredictable route, the dizzy highs and the unexpected lows.
I’ve been lucky recently, I’ve been high as a kite and enjoying every second. Of course I’ve watched my friends around me and realised some of them have not been so happy, they’ve had a few abrupt stops to deal with. I hope their journey is moving upwards now.
As for me, I’m sorry to say, I’ve been brought down to earth with an enormous, ungracious, bump. I knew it was around the corner, I knew it would happen soon, but it still hurt. Really, really hurt.
My dear nan passed away last Monday. My dear, sweet, kind, frail little nan. Her journey is over.
I will miss her so much but I think she’s in a better and pain free place. It would be selfish to want her to hold on when I know how much she was suffering. She needed her journey to end.
I hope she’s now riding high on that roller coaster in the sky. I hope she's on a far nicer and brighter and comfortable ride. Maybe she’s watching over us? Maybe she's shining brightly over me?
Well if she is, she will surely know how very much she was loved and how sorely she will be missed.
God bless you, my dear sweet little nan.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

With love from Greece

We didn't just play with kittens on our holiday.

We ate in restaurants

and cafes

and we sunbathed on the beach

and admired the windsurfers

and flowers too.

We strolled around Rhodes Town

shopping and stopping to take photographs

and we ate lots of Greek food

and drank lots of cocktails

to finish off the evening.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Ronnie and Roxy

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when we met them. They were sprawled on the sun loungers, shading themselves from the intense Greek sunshine and yawning from the heat.
We were escaping to the beach, to feel the sea breeze on our pale English skin. Gold bag brimming with sun hats, beach towels and sun tan lotion. We stopped to say hello. They looked so content, underneath the faded yellow umbrella, watching the children splashing around in the pool. We hoped to see them again, when the sun was setting and we were ready to return to our apartment.
We saw them every day after our first encounter by the swimming pool. They were timid at first, unsure of us and our enthusiastic introductions. But as each day passed their inhibitions melted away and they became friendly and playful, reacting to our happy sun kissed faces.
They watched us drinking pink cocktails on our balcony, and they ran around the stained wooden table while we danced to the sounds from our portable CD player. We invented ball games to keep them entertained, and each night we waved good night to them before we retired to our air conditioned bedroom. We would collapse on the cool white linen sheets, exhausted from our days spent gazing at the sun and running into the sea, and our evenings spent eating platefuls of feta cheese and bowls of moussaka.
We were sad when seven days later we had to say good bye to them. Our summer holiday was nearly over.
During our last evening we drank tall glasses of tomato juice and took photographs for our memories. Memories to cherish, happy memories of the friends we met in Rhodes.
We named them Ronnie and Roxy. We were not sure of their real names, but we wanted to affectionately call them something. I think they liked the names we gave them.
If you ever visit the Solemar Hotel in Ixia you will probably find them by the swimming pool, sheltering from the heat. They have bright green eyes and ginger speckled hair. And they will probably be eating cockroaches.
If you do see them, could you tell them Nikki and Mark said hello?






Ronnie and Roxie

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Breaking legs and flying areoplanes

Today I wished a broken leg upon my best friend. I actually recited the words, "I hope you break a leg."
Are you appalled by my cruel behaviour? Perhaps you are questioning the circumstances behind the statement which has caused such a dramatic response from myself?
Or, dear readers, you may be wise in your show biz knowledge and realise I am wishing her good luck.
It is considered bad luck in the performing arts to wish someone good luck. It is safer, superstitiously, to wish them a broken leg.
So that’s what I have done. I have not argued with my best friend, she has not carried out a despicable act and so I wished her bones to break as a consequence. She is an actress and I repeated a theatrical quote.
Tonight is the opening night for her theatre groups adaptation of Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream. I shall be spectating with my mother and my friends son and parents, and I’m rather looking forward to it.
However, I have seen this play once before, Tuesday evening to be exact. I watched the dress rehearsal at a local school, clicking away on my camera to capture expressions and scenes for the theatre foyer. I tried not to listen too attentively to the words, but concentrated on facial expressions and poignant positions.
Last night lovely boyfriend and I arranged and stuck the photographs in the foyer, for all visitors and performers to see. I was too small to reach the boards so reinforcement was needed. What a team! We then drove home to open a bottle of Pinot Grigio and discuss our forthcoming holiday.
We’re flying to the Greek island of Rhodes on Saturday. To say I am excited would be describing my emotions mildly. I can’t wait! Two more days to go!
I shall leave you with my theatre photographs, and next time I post I shall be showing off my holiday snaps.
Until we meet again, dearers readers.
Bon Voyage, if you too are holidaying soon.
Or, to any actors or actresses out there, break a leg! As they say in show biz!



Wake up! There's supposed to be a dress rehearsal

Why is everyone looking at me?

I wish you'd stop shining that torch in my eyes

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Scrambled Fridays

I breezed into the office, humming a tune to myself, dressed in my long summer dress, with over sized sunglasses perched on top of my head.
“You’re always so happy,” said colleague, as I placed my big gold bag on my desk.
“Well it’s Friday and it’s scrambled eggs day,” said I.
For me that was two very good reasons to be happy. I love Fridays and I love scrambled eggs.
On Friday the staff canteen offers scrambled eggs with the breakfast menu. Monday to Thursday it’s fried eggs. I adore scrambled eggs, on toast, with splashes of tomato ketchup. So how could I not be happy on this particular day?
But it’s not just Friday's eggs which make me happy. Lots of things put a smile on my face. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or life changing, sometimes it really is the small stuff that counts.
I’m not saying I’m super human and I walk around with a permanent beam attached to my face, thanking and praising every little thing I see or do. That would be slightly annoying to do and watch. I have my moments when I may moan about the unreliable circle line (I seem to waste most of my time waiting for this train!) or an unsightly spot on my chin (I’m 36, why do I still get spots?!). But generally, I think I have a pretty healthy attitude towards life, and I appreciate and enjoy many things in my life.
I have a wonderful, caring, and supportive family, the best friends ever to laugh with and talk to, and I have finally met a man who is everything I could have wished for. I like my job, my finances have improved vastly, I receive enormous pleasure from my hobbies - photography, reading, card making and blogging. Plus I am flying to Rhodes next week with lovely boyfriend, and I know we’ll have a blast. So how could I not feel blessed?
But it’s also the small stuff which makes me grin.
It’s watching my new orchid plant blossom.
It’s admiring the blue sky above that us Brits are finally witnessing.
It's an early night with freshly washed bed linen.
It’s walking into a shop and hearing a George Michael song.
It’s hearing those precious three words, "I love you."
It’s a slab of very strong cheese and a glass of chilled wine.
It’s also Fridays and scrambled eggs.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The physic octopus

His eight arms trawl the seabed, feeling their way through the particles that stand around him.
His defence mechanism is ready to eject black ink, should he need to escape or protect himself from predators.
His camouflage is aided by specialised skin cells which are able to change colour and reflectiveness.
His keen eye sight and his excellently equipped suction cups make him alert and acutely aware of his surroundings.
But he is not an ordinary octopus.
He is special.
This octopus has special powers.
Powers which are above the limit of other, normal, octopuses.
His name is Paul and he is a physic octopus.
He predicts the future, or more to the point, the results for football matches.
He is tempted and tantalised by mussels.
He chooses his mussels wisely, for they hold the future and the fortune for the 2010 World Cup players.
He predicts outcomes and he is mocked and he is envied for his predictions.
He has correctly chosen his mussels and their consequences.
His success rate is one hundred per cent.
He is now ready to conquer the world.
He will predict great and wonderful things ahead.
What would you like Paul the physic octopus to predict for you?

Friday, 2 July 2010

And now for something completely different

It’s something we all have to eat!
Some people eat more food than other people.
There are lots of different types of food.
I love food.
Food plays a major part in my life.
To me, it’s not just energy and vitamins, it’s enjoyment.
I love cooking food.
I love dining out and choosing food.
I love eating food.
It’s nice to have someone to cook for.
When I was living the single life and flat mate and I were eating at different time slots, it seemed an unnecessary and time consuming hassle to use pots and pans and cook elaborate ingredients just for one person. So I ate a lot of soup, and ready made salads and pasta dishes.
But I missed cooking for other people.
Now I have lovely boyfriend to cook for.
I’m experimenting with food again.
I am loving using pots and pans and cooking elaborate ingredients for him, for us.
It’s nice to dine out together too.
It can work out a little pricey to visit restaurants, but with the help of downloading vouchers from the Internet and going easy on expensive wine, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Last night we ate in a local Greek restaurant. We chose a meze and the food was delicious (no vouchers but only one glass of house wine). Taramosalata, hummus, tzatziki, pita bread, white bait, calamari, halloumi, stuffed vine leaves, Greek sausage, Greek salad, rice, and a fine selection of meat. Are you salivating? I am, just remembering it!
And the night before last I cooked for lovely boyfriend. Scallops in a white wine sauce, with creamy mash and herbs, Mediterranean vegetables and a succulent corn on the cob. With a smoothie for dessert and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Isn’t it great.
Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by it.
To enjoy it.
To learn about it.
To feature it in our lives.
I’m thinking about tonight’s dinner already.
Bon Appetit!

Tulips were bought for me whilst purchasing ingredients at the supermarket.

Dinner time!

Now where did I put my glass of wine?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

What a difference 100 years makes

I was travelling on the train, reading my newspaper, when I nearly choked on my cereal bar.
The words:'The finest exposition of scientific football ever witnessed here’ were the culprits who caused this choking sensation.
I was confused. Was I still dreaming? Perhaps I was in the midst of a deep sleep underneath my purple and cream duvet?
But I was sure I’d begrudgingly left my bed this morning and made my way to work.
No, I was positive I was awake.
The unfortunate choking moment and the gentle snores from the man to my left were only too apparent. Perhaps the man to my left was dreaming, but I was very much in the real world, sitting on the train and reading my newspaper.
So why was I so dumbfounded to read these words? Why had they caused such a dramatic reaction?
Because they were referring to the England football team!
Yes dear readers, it’s the 2010 World Cup. Whether you are a football fan or not, there is no escape from the commentary, the headlines, and the complaints about the noise level created from the Vuvuzelas.
England are two games down, with everything to play for in their third.
And it’s with a heavy heart I have to admit the English football team are playing disappointingly rubbish.
Oh how the fans have turned on them! After their shockingly weak game last Friday, I regret to inform you, the team were booed off the pitch. Oh how the fans take it all very seriously! And some might say, rightly so. It costs a lot of money for an English fan to fly to and stay in South Africa. No doubt lots of savings and sacrifices have been made. Which is why tempers are up and morale is down. The fans can’t understand how talented men, earning enormous amounts of money and living lifestyles which most people could not imagine in a million years, with their country backing them and rooting for them, could play with such lack of interest.
Therefore the words I read in my newspaper, and I quote: 'The finest exposition of scientific football ever witnessed here’ hit a very raw nerve. Not to mention the pieces of nuts and raisins which spluttered out of my mouth and hit the seat in front of me.
I was feeling slightly embarrassed about my cereal bar spillage. And very confused about the words I had read.
Until reality suddenly dawned on me.
The words were now making perfect sense.
The newspaper article was written regarding the 1910 English football team. Apparently they won every game they played and notched up 143 goals in just 23 games.
Wow, that is something to be proud of. Wayne Rooney and John Terry take note! Maybe all that bling and the celebrity lifestyle are now distractions from the game? I won’t pretend to know everything about football, but it would be nice to see a team effort, with goals being scored, and to feel England’s spirits rise, like Phoenix from the ashes, or a rainbow after a thunder storm.
Or rather like I imagine it felt in 1910.
Come on England!

Friday, 18 June 2010

No more horror!

When I was a little girl, a long time ago, (actually I am still little in height, or some might say vertically challenged), after pigtails but before perms, I used to love watching horror films.
Horrible, gruesome, scary, frightening, sick, horror films. It’s not that I was a horrible, gruesome, scary, frightening, sick, little girl. At least I don’t think I was? No, I am sure I wasn’t. I used to love Barbie and Sindy too, and then my pink bike and my yellow and blue roller boots. I like to think I was a well balanced, normal kid, with interests and hobbies and friends.
But I also loved horror films.
I think the first one I ever watched, through my shocked little eyes, at a friend's house when we should have been tucked up in bed, was Halloween. Michael Myers, now he was a horrible, gruesome, scary, frightening, sick, little boy who turned into a horrible, gruesome, scary, frightening, sick, man. Michal Myers, who haunted and terrorised and killed on Halloween.
After watching this film I was hooked. Nightmare on Elm Street, Night of the Living Dead, Poltergeist etc, etc. I had a kind of morbid fascination with the strange and unusual.
Video Vision was the name of the local video shop (way back before DVDs) where my best friend at the time, Tracey, and I, rented these strange and unusual and sometimes warped films. Being under the age of 18, the video owner would accept my grubby video membership card and our latest chosen horror film with gratitude and a letter from my friend's mother. The letter was authorising her permission for us to watch such films. She didn’t mind, and neither did my mother actually, as long as we weren’t hanging around street corners with the wrong crowd.
I often suspected the shop owner didn’t believe anyone's mother would write such a letter, and I'm not even sure if the letter writing qualified for making it legal, but I don’t think he really cared. As long as he received his £1.50 or however much renting films in those days was.
So we’d rush home, with our letter and sick video, and a whole load of chocolate to gorge whilst viewing. That was our ritual, lots and lots of chocolate to scoff whilst pretending we weren’t really scared, or jumping out of out skins everytime loud music or monstrous looking creatures appeared on the screen. And we’d turn out the lights and pull the curtains so we could view in the dark, it added to the atmosphere. My parents green velvet curtains were great for blocking out light.
That was how many an afternoon and evening was spent.
Until something else happened.
I began to grow up. Childhood started slipping through my fingers. I stopped thinking the world was a safe place and only bad things happened on TV. I realised bad things happened in real life too. I learnt there was good in this world but alas there was also evil. Therefore these horror films started to affect me. I wondered if the creepy man at the park could turn into the creepy man I watched the night before. I started to suffer from vivid and disturbing nightmares. I dreaded the dark and the childhood monster that lurked on the dark stairs as I retired to my bedroom every evening.
I had to stop watching horror films for my own sanity. And so I could use the bathroom in the middle of the night, without a pounding heart and the fear of being stabbed or eaten or chased along the hallway.
I am now very, very, cautious when disturbing films are shown on TV or a friend suggests their viewing. Which is why I was so surprised that I so nonchalantly agreed to watch Paramormal Activity with boyfriend (yes, I still have a lovely boyfriend!) the other evening. Cookies and cream ice-cream was chosen (watching and eating still go hand in hand), and the lights were turned off, it added to the atmosphere.
Then reality stepped in and I started to fret. The memories came flooding back to me. Was my childhood monster lurking on the stairs again, eagerly awaiting to pounce? Had I stupidly recreated him?
"I'm not sure if this is a good idea," I said to boyfriend.
"It's only a film, remember all the camera men in the room," said boyfriend, trying to reassure me, but failing miserably.
I still watched the film. Jumping and holding my breath, cowering behind my hands, and uttering, "Oh no!" quite a few times.
I was glad when it was over. I was glad when the lights were turned back on.
But then I realised I needed to visit the bathroom, and I was scared.
I was ten years old again.
"Will you come down the stairs with me?" I timidly asked boyfriend.
Next time we decide to watch a film I think I might stick to a romantic comedy. Far nicer than those horrible, gruesome, scary, frightening, sick, horror films.
No more horror!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Conversations over lunch - everyone’s talking about it.

“I wonder if he left any milk in the fridge?”
“Do you think he had to run the hoover around the house before he left? Maybe he was embarrassed about the state of the place?”
“Do you think his wife and himself will sleep in his old bed? Do you think that’s a bit weird?”
“Maybe he ordered a new bed from the Argos catalogue, and his wife choose new fancy bed linen? Let's face it, I'm sure they can afford a new bed.”
“I wonder how big the house is? I’d love to have a nose around, check out the rooms and the d├ęcor.”
“What if they prefer their old house? It’s not like they have any choice about their new residence.”
“I wouldn’t mind living there! Think how central it would be to all the shops, bars and restaurants.”
“And everyone would know your address, you could stumble in a cab and declare: ‘Take me home!’”

Number 10 Downing Street has a new family.
Britain has a new Prime Minister.
Labour has been kicked out after thirteen years and we have the youngest Prime Minister in nearly two hundred years; Conservative leader, Nick Cameron. Not forgetting the new Deputy Prime Minister; Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg.
The British public couldn't quite decide if we wanted Conservatives or Liberal Democrats to run the country. So with permission from Her Majesty The Queen we have both. Despite Nick Cameron mocking that his favourite political joke was Nick Clegg. Words he has lived to regret.
Let's hope they can play nicely together and get down to the job in hand they have promised us - to fix broken Britain.
Yes, everyone's talking about it. Even little old me has been eating, breathing and living politics.
Especially over lunch.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Hi Diddly-Dee, an actor’s life for me!

It’s not really an actor’s life for me, it’s more of a photographer’s life, but I can’t seem to remove that tune from my head (remember the scene from Pinocchio?) and I have been spending my time recently with actors and actresses, therefore I thought this title post rather apt.
One of my dear friends is a member of two local theatre groups. Sometimes she acts in the plays and sometimes she provides the scenery and props for the plays. And the other day she suggested to her theatre group that I take the photographs of the plays.
I have found these photo sessions rather exciting, but a little nerve wracking at the same time. I definitely need to raise my confidence issues and become less shy and more vocal whilst photographing real life people. Oh, I think I failed to mention during the Fish and chips post (too busy focusing on lurve) that I was the official photographer at my cousins wedding.
It was an honour to be classed as the official photographer at my cousin’s wedding, and I felt slightly important, but I was also pretty scared. It was a huge responsibility. I wanted the weather, scenery and atmosphere to be perfect. Plus I was worried my small voice, and sometimes timid amongst strangers personality, would not be able to cope with the demands of photographing 100 plus wedding guests.
However, I managed it, with a little help from my other cousin whose voice boomed above the wedding chatter, ordering family and friends about and telling them where to stand in the photography line-up. I decided there and then, if ever I wanted to take wedding photography seriously, a very loud assistant would be a great idea.
So you see, recently it’s been a photographer’s life for me. This acting lark is all very well, and I am looking forward to watching my friend perform and dance in Roxy Krasner and the case of the Dancing German Aviator this weekend, but I much prefer the quieter life behind the camera lens.
And before I leave you with pictures of the theatre group, I would like to inform you that my photographs should be appearing in a local newspaper one Friday very soon!

Scene from Bloody Poetry

Another scene from Bloody Poetry

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fish and chips

They met in a fish and chip shop.
Everyone has to meet somewhere.
“Can I have one of your chips?” was the first sentence she spoke to him.
Everyone has to begin a conversation somewhere.
Apparently he was attracted to her cheeky personality and her friendly smile.
Apparently she was attracted to his big bag of chips.
But then she noticed the colour of his eyes and his mild mannered nature.
Their conversation flowed over a can of diet coke.
They discovered she attended the same college as his brother.
They decided to swap telephone numbers and meet for a drink.
He called her, nervously, the very next day.
She was pleased to hear from him, and arranged to meet him again.
Their first date proceeded in a local pub.
The night flew by at an alarming rate.
They were sad when the first date was over and they had to say goodbye.
They couldn’t wait to see each other again.
There was a second date.
And a third.
A fourth and fifth too.
Weeks turned into months and they were still enjoying each others company.
He told her he loved her.
She said she loved him too.
They bought a small house together.
He bought fish and chips for the first meal in their new house.
“Can I have one of your chips?” was the first sentence she spoke to him.
He asked her to marry him.

And the pictures below are from their wedding day.
My little cousin Sam and his new wife.

Cutting the cake.

First dance.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Life's a beach

Playing on the beach.

Rocky love.

When the boat comes in.

Buckets on the beach.

Waiting for sun rise.

Time to go to bed.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I have interrupted this blog with some very important news

I am forever touching wood.
This is not because I have aspirations to become a world class carpenter. And it is not because I have been diagnosed with objectum-sexuality (where people fall in love with inanimate objects, like buildings, cars, fences, weird I know and I watched a documentary on this once and found it even weirder). It is because I suffer from not wishing to tempt fate. In other words, I am fairly superstitious.
For your benefit, and my curiosity, I googled (aint the Internet great) ‘touching wood’ and this was the information I was given:

The custom is thought to originate from Pagan times when trees were held in high esteem. People believed that 'wood spirits' inhabited the trees and woodlands. To touch a tree with respect is thought to indicate that the person was in search of protection from the particular wood spirit.
It is thought also that the action may be a result of the Christian belief in The Crucifixion. Christ was crucified on a cross made of wood and hence touching wood may now be a sign of this belief, and a sign of deep compassion and reverence for Christ's resurrection. This would of course have no connection with the Pagan reasoning, but perhaps the action may be seen as result of two distinctive belief systems.

So there is some kind of explanation as to why I feel the need to caress wooden objects, when discussing something of minor or major importance, but either way when I do not wish bad luck or the hand of fate to alter the conversation.
And it always seems when I fail to find a piece of wood to prod, strange things occur.
For example:

One evening I was at my cousins house, scoffing chillie con carne and boasting that I am always at the bus stop at 6.40am and never late for the 6.48am bus. Then guess what happened? The very next day I left my house minus my mobile telephone, rushed home to collect it, and missed the 6.48am bus.
Another time I was sitting at my desk informing my boss that I had not suffered with a cold for over a year and therefore I must be relatively healthy these days. Then guess what happened? Two days later I started sniffing and sneezing. I went down like a pack of cards with a very nasty cold.

Can you now see why I have decided to break earth shattering news to you, whilst furiously poking wood with my index finger? Okay here is my announcement:

I have a boyfriend.
A real life, real boyfriend.
Have you fallen off your chair?
Did you faint with the sheer shock of my confession?
Are you laughing wildly and shaking your head in dis-belief?
Maybe you are muttering to yourself, “Here we go again, another mysterious man from a night club who will blank her in ten days, or a phantom boyfriend from on line dating who is dating a million other girls and is merely humouring her..”?
I wouldn’t blame you for doing/saying all of the above. However, it is true. It has been two months now. We have dined in restaurants, walked in forests, drank in cocktail bars, and met each others friends and relations.
And tonight I am cooking my boyfriend a Thai curry. The ingredients were purchased at Sainsburys last night, the cook book has been prestigiously placed by the cooker, and the wine and cider are chilling in the fridge. I've even bought new red bowls and plates for the occasion.

I am a happy girl and I feel privileged to have met a special someone – touch wood!

Pictures of Thailand beaches coming very soon!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Food and drink and temples

Thailand is becoming a distant memory.
I've soon settled back into reality. Early morning alarm calls, commuting to and from work, staring at my computer screen, cooking and cleaning, and singing Karaoke songs with friends in a very undignified manner.
The first week back has been hard. I've been trying to motivate myself but I can't help wishing I was still lazing around the pool and eating Thai currys and drinking Thai beer.
At least I still have my pictures to stare at and remind me of the amazing time I spent at Koh Samui.

Coming soon: Life's a beach!

Lunch on the sea front.

Cocktails and card games.

The barbeque.

The VW bar.

Temple in Koh Samui.

The temple near the big buddha.

Monday, 5 April 2010

It all began with a telephone call one snowy evening

It all began with a telephone call one snowy evening. I remember it clearly. I was slipping and sliding on the pavement, trying not to loose my balance and drop my carrier bag of wine, when my mobile phone rang.
For the record, it was the second bottle of wine I had purchased that evening. The first one I managed to smash in the cold meats aisle in Marks and Spencers, so I was adamant I would not be purchasing a third bottle.
It had been a rather accident prone kind of day. I managed to skid in my car, Grand Prix style, and miss colliding with another vehicle by about 1mm. I then somehow boarded the wrong train after my day of shopping, swore rather loudly when I realised my error, rushed to the train door, tripped in the process, and spilt my orange juice over a rather startled stranger. Then I smashed my wine bottle in M & S. You should have seen the mess it made, and the embarrassed look on my face.
But anyway, back to the telephone call. It was my friend Claire informing me she would be meeting friends (who had taken a year out to travel the world) in Thailand at the end of March. She wanted to know if I would like to join her. "Claire, I would love to honey, but I don't have the money for that kind of holiday."
My brilliant friend then offered to lend me the cash, and it took me about five seconds to thank her and accept her kind and generous loan.
I was going to Thailand! I was so excited I squealed and very nearly slipped, again, and smashed my wine bottle, again, on the hazardous pavement.
So on the 22nd March 2010 we began our long journey to Thailand. After missing a nights sleep, and sitting on two aeroplanes, we arrived at our destination: Baan Luxmoor villas in Koh Samui.

Inside the villa.

Villa bedroom.

The pool.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Where the streets are paved with gold

I miss working in London. The sights, the shops, the bars, the restaurants, the atmosphere. I joined my old work friends for birthday drinks the other night (I miss them too but it was great to see them again), and I decided I should visit London more often.
So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. A Chinese restaurant with a special someone, a Sunday stroll around Canary Wharf, cocktails and dancing for a friends birthday night out, and an unexpected film premier with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler.
That’s what I’ve been doing recently, and it’s been so much fun.

Sunday afternoon

Which way?

Vue cinema

Photo opportunity

The stars of Bounty Hunter