Guardian Girl

Bumper xmas issue

Posted in Fashion, Food, Interiors, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on December 12, 2011
Show some zest

Show some zest

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Show some pity

DISCLAIMER: This post is really long, with not that many jokes. But it has a lot of pictures.

ADDENDUM TO DISCLAIMER: Just put some hysterical jokes in, reckon it’s well worth a read now.

“OMG, where do I even begin right now?”

I had a week off work and, rather then hiring a cosy cottage in the Cotswolds or jetting off in search of winter sun, I stayed at home and stuck masking tape on my tracksuit bottoms. To add to the excitement, they’re not even my tracksuit bottoms. Then I cooked enormous quantities of food I’m trying to avoid eating in anticipation of xmas corpulence and watched my boyfriend wolf it down (ELEVEN okra fritters in one sitting! If it’s allowed to mention your boyfriend and use exclamation marks in the same sentence without breaking the rules of decency!) Then I bought an All Saints dress I didn’t really want! The exclamation marks are a mask for the pain.

Raise your game

Raise your game

Lower your standards

Lower your standards

The fashion was actually fairly suitable staycation attire, as luck would have it.

Lounge hour

Lounge hour

Visiting hour

Visiting hour

Unfortunately I have been stung by using the magazine as my photo reference again. I was staying away from computers, what with being on holiday from the usual daily obligations. Of course now I come to snatch the online photos off the Guardian website and I find they’ve used all these different poses again. How can I make this mistake so often? Oh well, let’s truck on nonetheless.

Get

Get

Take

Your

Bore

Coat

Goat? Goitre throat? Wayne Hussey?

(Goat? Goitre? Wayne Hussey?)

I’m having problems getting the originals of these photos to load, for some reason. I know you’re desperate to see, so here’s the first and the second.

Good colour matching, I like to think? It’s just a shame I look so… disheartened isn’t quite the word. Bereaved?

The next issue ruddered me back into familiar and much-dreaded territory. I so hate copying the photos of the actual journalists. When I recreate the models’ poses, it’s possible to set aside vanity in the interests of taking one for the team. I feel I’m representing The People in our centuries-long battle against The Models. Yeh what’s delusional about that? Yeh? Come on then!

With the real people it’s difficult because you think ‘Ahaa, a real person! This one’s going to be easy!’ And then it isn’t, and then you’re sobbing in the wastelands outside your city in a white dress covered in dirt, in the rain, with violins. Actually you’re by a gravestone. Your face is covered in teras. TERAS! A futuristic version of tears! You will never even look as good as a normal person.

Actually even worse than the comparison thing is the fear that one of the below people might see the blog and be all creeped out. It’s like if a girl at school walked past you and a photo of YOU dropped out of her bag, and then another photo dropped out and it was that girl dressed up as you in that photo! Stalker! Weird! It’s EXACTLY like that!

Anyway we know why we’re here.

Jess Cartner-Morley

Jess Cartner-Morley

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Write in with a caption - I can't be fucked

Imogen Fox

Imogen Fox

Image of pox

Ridden with pox (this one was quite good wasn't it)

And now some spaces

to take us on to a new subject matter

maybe a subhead

Onwards foodwards

Spiced parsnip gougeres

Spiced parsnip gougeres

Spiced swede poogeres

Spiced swede poogeres

These were nice. No parsnips so, with the flick of an expert wrist, I substituted swede!

I actually managed to eat one, then walk out of the room. In fact I did this with all the week’s dishes: had a very small portion, then froze the rest for xmas. It may quite seriously be the first time I’ve ever exercised self-restraint. Feels incredible. All powerful. Scientological.

Orange and pistachio stollen bars

Orange and pistachio stollen bars

Orange and pistachio stolid bar

Orange and pistachio stolid bar

Wrongly photographed, right recipe. Based on the postage stamp-sized portion I ate, I’d say this was pretty great stuff.

Foot-long herb 'heros', with sausages and chilli cranberry sauce

Foot-long herb 'heros', with sausages and chilli cranberry sauce

Inch-long herb 'victims', with sausages and chilli cranberry sauce

Inch-long herb 'victims', with sausages and chilli cranberry sauce

These victims are going to be our Christmas Day breakfast.

That’s like something a proper blogger says isn’t it? I’m feeling so lifestyle!

Onion seed breadsticks, with shots of smoked salmon cheese

Onion seed breadsticks, with shots of smoked salmon cheese

Onion seed pugil sticks, with clots of smoked salmon cheese

Onion seed pugil sticks, with clots of smoked salmon cheese

Very tasty and easy breadsticks here. Recommend trying them. Think Monica might have something to say about my presentation though. Oh my, a revelation – Monica is what’s missing from this blog! I must contact her asap for some feedback.

Membrillo and stilton quiche

Membrillo and stilton quiche

Jam and stilton quiche

Jam and stilton quiche

What’s this? Oh yes, the quiche. Now this was really nice. Also been stuck in the freezer to be resumed on Boxing Day. Even Whole Foods didn’t seem to have membrillo, so I used fig jam, apparently to no detriment. It’s just like a sort of ploughman’s in a tart, no? That was an unsavoury turn of phrase, in hindsight, and I shouldn’t have used it. Let’s pray for computers to be invented so I can delete it.

Spicy okra fritters

Spicy okra fritters

Greasy, acrid shitters

Greasy, acrid shitters

Finally, the fritters. I found them seepingly cloggetory of the arteries but my flatfellow very much enjoyed them, as we have heard, so they must have some merit in the universe. Or rather in Hades by now I expect.

more pauses here

And for afters

A reel of painfully aspirational photos of my flat. Efforts at interior styling have, as usual, fallen and fractured their coccyx.

Dining booth

Dining booth

Feeding trough

Feeding trough

Living room

Living room

Existing room

Existing room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Addiction (to gin, by the looks of things)

Addiction (to gin, by the looks of things)

Exterior

Exterior

Posterior

Posterior

Conclusions:

  • The grand conclusion of the day is that I have now fried most of my money in oil, bagged it up and frozen it
  • If you see what I mean
  • So now I have to stop again, enjoy Christmas, wear what I want to the office party, and return at some point in the new year
  • This is just a prediction; I may write again tomorrow
  • If you’re thinking of doing some cooking for the days in and around xmas, I really do recommend the quiche and the breadsticks. And the stollen bars
  • Happy Xmas/See you tomorrow! To be deleted when we know what happens!
  • Suspense!
  • Been reading too many American writings and it’s stained my blog with exclamation marks and a ridiculous tone and loads of caps and italics, so prob best have a detox anyways
  • Oh god bye
  • Byeeeee
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Spot the difference

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on November 17, 2011
Boots

Boots

Wellies

Wellies

Have you ever seen anyone look less like someone else?

Conclusions:

  • Let’s not bother today

Just a small slice then

Posted in Fashion, Food, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on November 15, 2011

It’s been a very unsuccessful few days in terms of Guardian-ness. Also in terms of being a reasonable human being. My phonecam keeps breaking, it keeps getting dark before I’ve had me photo done, I keep getting a bit ‘merry’ before my work with caraway seeds has been successfully completed.

The sum total of this week’s cookery attempts is a half-burnt, half-raw cake that contained no caraway seeds at all because there weren’t any in the corner shop and I had drunk too much gin to make it to the supermarket.

I took a slice of this cake to the pub for my friend Jess’s birthday. It was an attempt to win her trust back after last year, when I promised to bake her favourite cake as a birthday treat. As she left the house to meet some friends, I was mixing the ingredients. When she got back, I was in bed with a tummy ache. Something happened in between that I can’t exactly explain. All I know is, all the cake went in my tummy.

One year later and I’ve not really got a handle on this rapacious impatience around baked goods. You can see below there’s a fair amount of crust missing where I’ve removed the cake from the oven and picked off the nice bits before the middle has finished cooking.

Caraway and orange seed cake

Caraway and orange seed cake

Carried away with greed cake

Carried away with greed cake

I put the rest of the cake in a tupperware container in a cupboard, thinking Jess wouldn’t want the whole lot (that’s generosity for you). Later that night – after 10 hours in the pub, it must be said – I was found squirreled in the corner of my kitchen with the remainder of the cake in one giant piece between my paws, gnawing away while belligerently refusing to go to bed. Next morning, the internet told me that I had been hounding my long-suffering manfriend with nonsensical instant messages while he was trying to work; my memory told me that I had been monopolising the conversation in the pub with incessant talk about vaginas; my stomach told me that jagermeister, red wine, gin, rum and cider ‘don’t go’. Miraculously the words ‘it’s over’ didn’t crop up, so I’m going to do it all again next weekend.

Fashionwise, in contrast, I have managed to keep up appearances in the form of flattering, glamorous outfits and dangerously seductive poses.

Stripes sight

Stripes sight

Partial sight

Partial sight

Conclusions:

  • Know your sensible limits

    Know your sensible limits

Long poos, long face

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on November 11, 2011

The final two days of pouting, quiff-sporting male model impersonation are nearly over.

Studio life

Studio life

Student life

Student life

Clothes rail, clothes horse – same difference. My quiff got a bit of performance anxiety when it saw the camera.

Lightning move

Lightning move

Lightning struck

Lightning struck

And today, a touch of the finger-in-the-electricity-socket. Just never got the hair right, did I.

The food was more successful. Yotam’s fishcakes came up trumps for Wednesday’s dinner and last night Dan Lepard’s bonfire sticks incited the oohs and ahhhs we missed out on by being fireworks night scrooges. That’s a naff analogy and a half. Oh the clevernessless Fridays of the weary blogger, tired of the sound of her own tone of voice.

Bonfire sticks

Bonfire sticks

Bonfire logs

Bonfire logs

You know I’m not talking about wooden logs, don’t you?

Never mind. All the tastiest dinners look like turds.

Conclusions:

  • I’m very busy at work today so there’s not a great deal of time for drawing conclusions
  • Instead, please accept this TOWIE-style catchphrase, which I’m hoping will catch on: “Have fun til Mon”
  • It’s supposed to be a way cool way of saying “Have a nice weekend”
  • Doesn’t really work, does it

More invisible polka dots

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on November 3, 2011
Honey nut banana muffins
Honey nut banana muffins
Honey nut banana cinders
Honey nut banana cinders

Witness the results of last night. They could’ve done with five minutes less in the oven, but that is a vast improvement on most of my previous baking attempts, which could’ve generally done with two hours more in the airing cupboard – or a lifetime in the bin.

This recipe was highly agreeable in its easiness. I got an extra sense of satisfaction from already owning both wholemeal and spelt flour (CHECK ME!). Lord, I even felt a bit like some kind of warm-hearted wife who does things properly, opening the cupboard and perusing my flour arrangement diligently. Couldn’t be further from the truth of course, but all the invisible spies in my kitchen weren’t to know that, so I managed to impress them at least.

I added salted peanuts, toasted almonds, a bit of lemon juice and muesli for that wind-in-your-hair reckless sensation we all crave when baking, whether we can admit it to ourselves or not, and splodged the mixture into my six-muffin tray because I don’t have a 12-muffin one (what kind of fool… etc).

I thought they were delicious. I ate three. I brought one in for my workmate and she was very grateful before she ate it and quite quiet after she ate it. Not sure if muffin-related because I don’t dare ask.

On to today’s outfit, which is really perturbing for contextual reasons.

A new spin
A new spin
A new low
A new low

The problem is not so much that I look like a nob, which I’m used to by now, but that I have to look like a nob at a gig tonight. Never in a million years would I wake up and think to myself, “I’m going to see the Melvins – yay, I’ll put on a pencil skirt and a shirt, then sling a t-shirt over the top – it’s a fast track to WELL rad!”

I wouldn’t wear what the model’s got on, but I particularly wouldn’t wear what I’ve got on. I have taken off the shirt so it’s now just a pencil skirt and a t-shirt, but still. Maybe if I just plaster on a lot of black eyeliner I can aim for some sort of office-goth angle. Yeh. Just what I’ve always wanted to dress like.

Conclusions:

  • You just find yourself in these stupid situations

Vietnamese pot-bellied pig

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on November 2, 2011

Turns out Hugh wouldn’t come out of the cellar so I untrussed Yotam instead, and he gave me a masterclass in salad making. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to cover Module 3: Julienning, but I passed Module 1: Putting Ingredients in a Bowl and Module 2: Frying Onions with hovering colours.

I cooked both Yotam’s salads, since one salad can never be enough. I personally found them both quite delicious although the beef contained large hunks of gristle (not Yotam’s fault).

My boyfriend was a little quiet during the eating of the salads, not making his usual appreciative snortings and smackings. It could have been because of the gristle, it could have been because of the abundant pomegranate seeds, which are not to everyone’s taste, it could have been because he was wondering whether he was going to pick up his napkin and find it full of yoghurt.

Warm Vietnamese beef salad
Warm Vietnamese beef salad
Blurry Vietnamese gristle salad
Blurry Vietnamese gristle salad

You can see what I mean about Module 2 here. I have an amazing book that tells you how to do everything properly in the kitchen, so no excuses on this front. Will read julienning section asap.

We didn’t get to eat this salad until something like 10pm because it took so bloody long to chop all the ingredients and fry and mix and peel and all that. Yotam is all about the prep. I dearly wish for a team of people to chop and weigh my ingredients for me, and line them up on the worktop in those little glass bowls.

The other reason dinner was late was that I had been up the Angel trying to buy cheap crombies. My workmate Sophie gave me a careful rundown of what did and didn’t constitute a crombie before I left the office, but by the time I reached the mall I was already confused. Something about wool, something about a collar. I texted poor Sophie a pic from the H+M changing rooms but unfortunately by the time my phone had actually got round to posting it (lazy iPhones) I had already reached the counter.The receipt was flapping victoriously in my hand when I received the response “No, I don’t think that counts as a crombie.” Anyway it’s a nice coat in a CDT teacher sort of a way, I needed one anyway, and it only cost £25.

Today’s outfit is not very see-through, thankfully. I thought about taking my bra off but my workfriendographer Charlotte and I decided the office corridor wasn’t the best place for it.

Spots
Spots
Acne
Acne

This dress makes lots of appearances on the blog because it’s one of the only lightish-coloured dresses I own. Light-coloured dresses in my experience are generally unflattering and impractical. However I might need to invest in a few more as this old maternity frock here (I have never been preggers, I just bought it because it leaves plenty of space for a pot belly after a large meal, and it was dirt cheap in a sale) looks like a crumpled snot rag on account of my never ironing it, and is covered in stains on account of my hopeful overestimation of the size of forks.

Conclusions:

Where are the fountains?

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on October 31, 2011

I prayed for opulent backdrops this week, I got white. I prayed for leaping and leaning, I got standing. You can’t hide behind standing against a white background – that makes it just you against the model, your clothes against the designer clothes, your iPhone against the photographer’s camera, you against the Guardian. With you still losing. That’s you meaning me.

In reality this made a good-enough Sunday outfit, apart from the torn and blistered feet having tramped around town in heels all day.

I did also spend all of Saturday in the requisite pencil skirt/heels/skin-tight polo-neck combo, having copied the first picture in the fashion shoot, but I never got a photo of it. That’s because I spent the day drinking white wine and double whiskies, then lost most of the evening to all manner of highly questionable activity of which I have little to no memory. None of that activity involved having my portrait taken, which is probably an extremely lucky thing in hindsight. I won’t describe the gory details but suffice it to say that my boyfriend put his hand in his jacket pocket on Sunday morning to find it was full of yoghurt, which I turned out to have spooned in there as a spiteful act of rebellion against some imagined, general crime of the heart he had apparently committed (probably ‘being against me’ or similar.) He later found a quantity more yoghurt inside his woolly hat – and something inside me suspects that won’t be the last we see of the toffee Muller Light either. Bloody white wine.

Polka

Polka

Bulkier

Bulkier

Conclusions:

  • I can’t exactly describe why yet, but I slightly blame Saturday night’s bad behaviour on the pencil skirt. It would never have happened had I been wearing jeans. The more tailored the outfit, the more gruesome the behaviour. That’s how come bankers are always in strip clubs snorting coke, trying to break free from all those seams and darts
  • That’s how come the financial crisis happened

Oh knitwear

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on October 27, 2011

It’s a recurring theme in this cul-de-sac of the blogosphere that in order to wear a certain type of garment fashionably (which is so different from just wearing it), you have to have a certain type of something. Sometimes that something is a hairstyle, sometimes it’s a body type, sometimes it’s the right shoes.

For most knitwear, it’s birdy bones – unless you’re doing Joan Holloway sweaters and playing the ‘curvy’ card (which much of the British mainstream media seems to think is a strategy women deliberately play, as if we wake up in the morning and think ‘what bracket shall i fall into today?’ and then decide to be plus-sized, Girlfriend, feel sexy and wear it with pride! With our heads held high!

Ta Gok.)

Anyway I believe it to be true of most knitwear that it does help if you’re a bit diminutive around the wrist, bust and hip areas. This delicateness helps you avoid looking like an aftershaven Chingford builder out for a pint of Fosters of a late summer evening.

It wasn’t just my cruel internal bully that suggested I might be looking a bit masculine in this get-up yesterday. A man directing queues of people through metal detectors at the Hindu temple I visited out of Diwali-related curiosity called me ‘Sir’!

OH GOD, WHAT’S THE POINT OF HAVING BOOBS THEN?

Fashion staple
Fashion staple

 

Fashion paperclip
Fashion paperclip

The fashion paperclip does a less effective job of holding a wardrobe together.

Conclusions:

  • Ladies, what’s that failsafe garment you always feel fabulous in, no matter what the occasion? Tweet me!
  • Harrrr, only kidding.

Doing things by halves

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on October 25, 2011

Is there anything to be gained from a moderate approach?

Unlikely, but we all have to give something new a go once in a while (or at least that is what ‘Cassandra’ told me in a Spanish bar in Florida five years ago). [??????????! CHRIST.]

That’s why I’m back to do the whole Weekend mag fashion shoot schtick, but this time without giving the Guardian control of my kitchen, my purse and my diary as well. Just the wardrobe, just the wardrobe.

I’ve tried this modified approach before and lost interest after a few days because it didn’t scratch the itch hard enough. It was all boring and un-all-encompassing, and what are you going to do with all those spare hours anyway if you’re not baking saffron cakes, re-rearranging your distressed knick-nacks and buying revolting, overpriced clothes and pretending to yourself you like them and pretending to yourself you don’t feel guilty and pretending to yourself this is a gallant and productive way of spending a lifetime?

Anyway at the moment I’m doing rather well without the towering triumvirate of Fearnley-Whittingstall, Cartner-Morley and Burkeman-Lepard dictating my every move but hell, I have to get dressed in something in the morning and heavens, it is fun writing all this down and looking at the photos all lined up next to each other, feeling as if something has been achieved.

So for an unspecified while, please find at this address daily-ish photo-bulletins with less quinoa and more chin.

I do realise it seems a bit non-committal to keep chopping and changing like this, doing the whole hog, then giving up, then starting again, then just doing the clothes, then saying this, then saying that. Consistency is, according to social media experts and other types of expert, supposed to be the first rule of blogging. If you don’t post regularly and let your reader/s know what to expect, they will all lose interest and then won’t buy your miracle hair-growth tonic after all because you might seem untrustworthy.

Well, let me clear this up right now by telling what to expect: jack sh*t.

Bonza. That’s $79.99 for the Follycreme please. Now we all know where we stand, here’s a photo.

PS having said that DO expect especially bad jokes for a while as they have to get out of the system before the good ones can emerge, a bit like having a colonic irrigation, which I’ve never had but somehow imagine might beget bit torrents of ropey, sputtering effluence before you pass a real shiner of a golden egg a few days later and feel the lady/tube/all fours embarrassment was worth it after all. Do you go on all fours for it?

Jumper

Jumper

Munter

Munter

Don’t have many nice jumpers so it’s a stupid place to start really.

Also, cannot WIAT (yes, that’s right, WIAT) to get my new phone soon, with its new better camera, and with its lesser suggestiveness of poverty and negativity and doom and malignity, no exaggeration.

Conclusions

  • People will actually trust you no matter what, as long as you have a bullet point at the end and don’t try to bullshit them.

 

 

Hellfire and brimstone, beans, and other national priorities

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 13, 2011

Good day.

Last week never really picked itself up off its weekend-scuffed knees. Not much to show for it all. I did cook a few bean recipes, all of which were very tasty and one of which is represented here through the medium of unskilled photography.

Fresh borlotti beans with onions and garlic

Fresh borlotti beans with onions and garlic

Fresh not-the-right-beans with onions and garlic

Fresh not-the-right-beans with onions and garlic

Somehow it didn’t feel like International Consumerist Blog Week though, do you know what I mean? When you’re a few roads away from rioting and the shops are boarding up their windows around you, you don’t necessarily take the decision to hammer on their doors and ask them to stay open ten minutes longer so you can buy a punnet of fresh biodynamic borlotti beans for dinner. Hence tinned chickpeas and black-eyed beans above and hence last week’s general quietness on the Guardian-following front.

Not blaming all of last week’s failures on the distraction of the riots, mind. I also had a very busy, not-wanting-to-wear-leather-gauntlets-to-work kind of a week (we all have them, once a decade or so) and the Guardian life dropped off the bottom of the list somehow. So I just busied myself with other stuff instead, like having a job, having a relationship and other such inconsequential minutiae of daily existence.

For all its pain-in-the-arseness though, I have set myself this imprudent challenge and I must keep trucking along. This morning I begrudgingly resolved to get serious again with the Saturday dawning of the new issue, despite really just wanting to have a lie-in and eat a fry up before coming to the office.

In any case I valiantly shambled off to the newsagent to buy the paper, tears of self-pity in my eyes, followed by a trip to Whole Foods to buy buttermilk and sumac () (this is a bold ellipsis to signify a a weighty pause of some kind). The ‘hugelyirritated’ person complaining about Yotam’s failure to explain halloumi here really ought to try swapping places with me for a week. I’ll show ’em hugely irritated. (Seriously though, leave Yotam alone! Get a dictionary!)

I cooked the buttermilk soup for lunch, following the recipe fairly carefully but not doing quite as much cooling as I might have done had I not been in a bit of a rush. The taste was happy. The photo, which I will display to you tomorrow after 24 hours of no doubt unbearable suspense, is sad.

Out of conscientious obedience towards The Measure, I am listening to The Drums/Money on Soundcloud as I type this. Muuuurrrrhh. If I want chittering beats, I generally listen to those of yesteryear. If I want to be cheered up, I generally listen to Peter André (a personal hero – so kind, so tolerant!). If I want mediocrity, I will at least gravitate towards a more gratifying melody than this. It’s all right and everything but it’s not one for the record collection. Or even a Spotify playlist, in all honesty.

Tomorrow I might buy those jodhpurs. Not sure yet. Can’t quite give a fig. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up all full of the joys of sourdough soup and new clothes, eager to spank a few hundred quid on the sort of garment Lorraine Kelly might wear in a photo shoot to celebrate her recent weight loss in Take a Break. I dunno, maybe they’d look cool on, like, Daisy Lowe or someone, but I bet I look like a bloody horse-obsessed Blyton-envisaged dyke in them. Or Tess Scabius how I imagined her in the book version of Any Human Heart. Worth a poke, but generally just too deliquently equestrian to be any kind of role model. I see they made her quite pretty on the telly programme. Didn’t watch it – Googled it.

OK, well beyond time to stop.

Fondies, then x

Conclusions:

  • Deary me, so morose today, slumped at my desk, now listening to Aerosmith (I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing) with a dramatic air, a belly full of posh chicken soup and the prospect of a new pair of designer jodhpurs seeming so tragic.
  • Deary, deary me.
  • Ah well.
  • Boyfriend just texted me to say soup was nice. That should probably incite some kind of ‘ahhh, that makes it all worthwhile’ response.
  • Nothing makes buying buttermilk before noon on a Saturday worthwhile. LEISURE TIME, rudely interrupted.
  • Foot stamping, lower-lip sticking-outing.
  • Really bye.