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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World of Interiors

Posted in Fashion, Interiors by guardiangirl on July 1, 2011
This summer

This summer

That bummer

That bummer

I did actually get the pose down better than that, but the dang Guardian went and used a different photo online from the one in the mag itself. I feel obliged to use this one for image quality reasons. Don’t say anything but I could tell my boyfriend discovered a new level of intense lust for me when he saw my feet today.

And now, from homo style to home style. Yep, it’s time for my first interiors photo shoot in more than a year. All the furniture had to be rearranged in order to recreate the look of a Parisian former merry-go-round workshop. (I’m doing something Gromit-like with my eyebrows just typing it, let alone trying to do it.)

Vintage

Vintage

Skintage

Skintage

Charm

Charm

Barn

Barn

French

French

Merde

Merde

Merry-go-round workshop

Merry-go-round workshop

Rehabilitation workshop

Rehabilitation workshop

Paris

Paris

Pratts Bottom

Pratts Bottom

Quirky

Quirky

Dirty

Dirty

Apartment

Apartment

 

Afartment

Afartment

Mixes

Mixes

Mix-ups

Mix-ups

Finds

Finds

Losses

Losses

Industrial

Industrial

Imbecile

Imbecile

Surfaces

Surfaces

Social services

Social services

Conclusions:

  • There’s so much to say at the end of my first week back
  • It’s Friday night and I can’t be bothered to say any of it

 

 

Primary instinct

Posted in Fashion, Interiors, Recipes by guardiangirl on February 17, 2010

I cooked Hugh’s cinnamon bean dish last night and am now, in line with his suggestion, enjoying the leftovers out of a tupperware tub the following day. It’s very nice actually, with a bit of yoghurt stirred in, but I don’t have a comparative photo to prove this fact.

However I decided it was high time for another home styling session, particularly given that I’ve just moved into a new place. My housemates may have wondered upon coming home last night why all the furniture had been slightly rearranged so it looks a bit less nice than before, but hopefully all the homemade meals will go some way towards making up for this indiscretion.

So, here’s the first in a new series of improved Space imitations. I’m not going to write damning captions because I love my new home and feel I ought to settle in for at least a week before I start to cuss it just for the sake of a cheap pun.

Hall

Hall

Sitting room

Our sitting room

Picture

Record

Candlestick

Lamp

Fashion update: this week’s first shoot has been very tricky. If it had just been jeans and t-shirts (when does that ever happen?) on a grubby model in front of a white wall, I might have been able to fit the odd snap around moving house, but painting my face with ice-creamed Kate Bush make-up, trying to squeeze into diaphanous dresses I probably don’t own, backcombing my hair, asking a friend to don a matching outfit and stand around next to me clutching flowers, getting someone else to photograph us… it just hasn’t been practical, as I imagine you can imagine.

BUT… today I am wearing not only blue tights in homage to the Guardian shoot but also the first pair of heels my feet have touched in three months! The left paw is officially better! I can’t describe to you my happiness as I clopped along the pavement swinging my bag this morning, just shy of six feet tall again, builders suddenly saying good morning and laying down their coats across puddles, bluebirds flittering at my shoulder… oh, the joy of heels! That is until I got to the train platform and realised my shoe had filled with blood. A few months of living in Converse and plimsolls has encouraged me to nudge towards the Mrs Twit in terms of my appearance. Overgrown. I need to cut my toenails if I’m to wear pointyish shoes with pleasure.

Conclusions:

  • Cinnamon and beans make a good combo, and patience pays off when sweating onions (such a horrible phrase).
  • I heart high heels so heartily.
  • I tell you, it’s a new start. New(ish) job, new home, new heels, new razor, new running plan. By the start of the summer you won’t be able to tell the difference between me and the models in the Guardian. Just you wait! Then the blog will become pointless/have reached its apex, depending on your point of view, and I will move to LA to become a chef/interior designer/model/stylist/life coach/relationship expert/make-up artist. Perfectly true.
  • I spent my Measure money and half my food budget in Ikea on Monday. What can I say? I needed storage more than I needed the Smythson Daphne bag. Next week, next week…

This week’s wrap-up

Posted in Fashion, Interiors, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on January 29, 2010

Today’s outfit isn’t way off the mark, and Flavie and I even ventured out of the toilet into the office reception area for the shoot. The result is that the photo looks less like army night footage this time, although given the theme of the fashion it might have been appropriate to keep things grainy.

Look sharp

Look sharp

Be blunt

Be blunt

I did get my ponytail on the wrong side and tilt my head in the opposite direction from the model’s, but I have to honour tradition.

On the subject of this week’s Measure, the less said the better. What with a best mate’s 30th, the end of the January pay period, lunch breaks filled with blog writing and outfit capturing, and evenings spent over the stove, I somehow didn’t find the time to put my name on the Anya Hindmarch for Barbour waiting list (much as I would love to), or spend hundreds of pounds on a designer bag. I’ve been rubbish. I now have a bit of cash in the bank, a shopping trip planned and several hours earmarked for a home restyle over the weekend, so I hope to make restitution for my indolence forthwith. Or, in other words, get up off my rump and try harder.

As regards This Column Will Change Your Life, I couldn’t let the week end without making reference to the fact that it might have been aimed directly at me this issue. Why don’t they teach you how to make simple decisions in primary school? If only they did, Britain wouldn’t keep producing chowderheaded buffoons who can’t decide what to have for dinner without the direction of a Saturday newspaper supplement.

I put Oliver Burkeman’s three models for decision making into practice this week and found them extremely useful in every situation, especially choosing which song to listen to next. These rules will stay with me, and might actually change my life for the better.  Get this man writing the national curriculum (caps?).

Conclusion:

  • First week over and I’m a scone-filled, noodle-loving, quiff-sporting picture of happiness. Not partaking in the Measure shopping list, or putting any pressure on myself to do so, has been good but a bit cheaty given the nature of the experiment.
  • But one serious complaint: my clothes still smell of kippers.

Eggs, flour, crutches

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Interiors, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on November 23, 2009

A report on the end of last week, shortish on words and longish on pictures.

First, a miraculously tasty and mechanically successful two-course dinner that also provided Liv and I with a Eurostar picnic on Friday: Yotam’s delicious and not that tricky Crespéou omelette mountain followed by Dan Lepard’s bananarama tropicana cake, which was alive-tasting (not in a cannibalistic way), like a lardy version of a piña colada only less saccharine. Mine was a little uncooked in the middle and overcooked – perhaps even burnt – on the top, which I think means I need to get more involved with foil.

Crespeou

Crespeou

Crasspeou

Crasspeou

Tropicana banana cake

Tropicana banana cake

Botty-rama banana cake

Botty-rama banana cake (I despair of this caption as much as anyone, yet can't stop finding the word 'botty' funny)

Next: finally a fashion photo that reveals my new, cutting-edge space boot:

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

A limp on the mild side

A limp on the mild side

As I traversed Antwerp in this get-up, Liv consistently got the hysterics about how small my other foot looked compared to the hopalong foot. It made me know how the dog feels when the humans laugh at its ear, which has turned itself inside out.

And finally: the results of a tired, late-night interiors styling session. Check out my cosy open fireplace in particular.

Glass extension

Glass extension

Arse extension

Arse extension

Black interior

Black interior

Slack, inferior

Slack, inferior

Raising eyebrows

Raising eyebrows

Erasing eyebrows

Erasing eyebrows

Now a few boring sentences I feel obliged to write for the sake of structural consistency. I wouldn’t bother to read them if I were you.

This week’s first impressions are affected by two significant factors.

1) I was in Antwerp having a wonderful time all weekend so I didn’t buy the paper – Adam is saving me a copy and I checked it out online on Monday instead.

2) I have very little cash this week so I suspect that shipping actual tons of dried fruit and brandy into my flat to bake stuffy Christmas foods that nobody much likes anyway will be low on my agenda, as will buying £250 bottles of men’s fragrance. I’d like to try to make at least one xmas treat as it’s nice to turn up bearing foodie gifts for one’s family and take some of the culinary strain off the hosts, but we’ll have to see how practical it turns out to be this week. I wonder how many Guardian readers pulled their fingers out on Sunday and actually baked xmas cakes.

I notice that the Measure sends mulled wine and minced pies up the list this week so perhaps I’ll be more likely to get in some shopmade delights and eat them instead. Liv is taking me and my busted foot shopping at Tesco’s in her little blue van tonight so I’ll ask her hallowed advice on the matter.

The fashion spread on Hitchcock heroines is one of my favourite looks and I’d usually be in my element, but I imagine the spaceboot will undermine most of the glamour of a pencil skirt.

Conclusions:

  • I love Yotam, I do.
  • Cakes are just as good as they were last time I tried them.
  • Fashion is hard enough to achieve with an average paycheck and an average girth, but just you try adding a leg brace and crutches to the equation.
  • While we’re here, it’s amazing how many people stare at you when you’re in this condition, and even more amazing how many burst into laughter directly afterwards. You get used to it pretty quick. I have of course swiped at a few select people with my crutches in response, which is something I learned in an assertiveness workshop.
  • Interiors schminteriors. ‘Tis is the season of just trying to keep warm.

Saturday

Posted in Fashion, Interiors, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on October 12, 2009

After polishing off several good-morning! glasses of Baileys, a latte and a fry-up with my dearest friend Liv and scouring the paper for this week’s life, I headed home to recreate as best I could the Space rooms in my own flat. I did a relatively good job of getting the vibe right (read with emphasis on the word “relatively” and set your standards low) but I have insufficient space in my flat to get enough distance between lens and scene to take a picture that might demonstrate this success. Trust.

The only element I properly slacked off was arranging my books in colour order, which I think looks beautiful and I definitely want to do – I just couldn’t quite bring myself to take all my books off the shelves and put them back in a different order. I might do it later in the week. I will. I will.

Here are some rather sparse-looking photos to demonstrate my attempts:

Study

Study

Skive

Skive

Living

Living

Dead

Dead

Horrid wardrobe, that.

Breakfast

Breakfast

 

Feckless

Feckless

 

Boudoir

Boudoir

Abattoir

Abattoir

 

The other thing I did was dress up in a hideous outfit and strike an equally frightening pose, photographing the tragedy with the aid of my camera’s self-timer.

Feel free to listen to the appropriate soundtrack as you view the image (http://open.spotify.com/track/5CoHWtIo2xRgBqVtm4OgcF):

Dare

Dare

Don't you dare

Don't you dare

Got the pose backwards as usual but I don’t think this is the main concern really, is it.

I was supposed to cook potted crab/lobster for dinner but I couldn’t get these things fresh and I’m not keen on the tinned versions. As I result I settled for toasted bagels with butter.

Then, in an overwhelming show of dullard decision making, I opted to stay in on a Saturday night instead of going out with my chums. It’s my 30th birthday next weekend so I anticipate big luvz then and decided I was allowed to forgo sociability in order to epilate my armpits (genuinely painful) and watch the last episode of Dallas in my boxset (genuinely upsetting to say goodbye to this era of my life).

Conclusions:

  • I think I’ve said all I need to about potting food.
  • My suspicions about this week’s nude fashion were correct.

Tuesday 4 August

Posted in Fashion, Interiors, Recipes by guardiangirl on August 5, 2009

I’m delighted to be back out of swimwear and into boys’ jeans and a jumper my granny knitted me many years ago. Although I love these clothes I have to admit that my interpretation of the model’s outfit is fairly weak – except for the hairstyle, which I’m getting much better at after weeks of practice. I still find it hard to get all the partings straight but I don’t have to look at them so nevermind.

Shoulders

Shoulders

 

Toldyer

Toldyer

It’s getting disheartening to repeatedly look so much less glamorous than this woman. She’s becoming my arch-enemy.

For din-dins it was supposed to be another of Hugh’s summer marinades – the final one, in fact. Again I didn’t get home until half eight or so and I really couldn’t wait another few hours to eat, so again I used his marinade ingredients to cook the meat without leaving it to soak. First I fried a bit of salmon in lemon, olive oil and the herbs, then ate it as a starter while I grilled some chicken pieces in the same stuff. It was tasty and moist and good.

Before I was allowed to bathe and bed myself (?) I had to attempt making my flat look like an Australian factory conversion – no small feat. I used to live in an old toy factory, which would have yielded so much more joy, but now I live alone, sob, I can’t afford wooden flooring and white walls and all that jazz. These interior design photos are going to become very samey very quickly as there are only so many angles from which you can photograph a small, dishevelled studio flat/large, luxurious cat litter.

Nonetheless I’ll have you know I put a great deal of effort and back-work into rearranging my furniture to meet the requirements. The resulting configuration means you have to climb over the sofa if you want to sit on it. But then the sofa is actually two chairs pushed together anyway, and those chairs are of such poor quality they are more like cheap dollhouse furniture that’s been zapped by that machine in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids sequel (was there one? Probably). The point is that I wouldn’t recommend anyone risked sitting on them anyway, so the amount of effort required to reach them is of little importance.

My cat, at least, was entertained by all this moving about of his usual landmarks.

Here are the results. I’m sure you’ll agree my flat now looks like something straight out of Wallpaper*:

Light

Light

 

Dark

Dark

 

The cactus room posed problems, as predicted. I’m afraid I just couldn’t make space for one. So I took a photo of the closest thing I have to a let’s-eat-breakfast-in-the-cactus-room-this-morning-darling table, which is an old dining table piled with records and magazines. Chic.

 

Cactus room

Cactus room

 

Cacktus room

Cacktus room

 

And finally, the adorable lift. At my home I have to go up the stairs like a regular pleb so I took a picture of me door instead, because it looks a little similar.

Lifted

A-door-able

And that was that for the day.

Conclusions:

  • I don’t have enough shoulders in my wardrobe.
  • Marinades are for the weekends, I’m now certain of it.
  • There are limited ways of restyling the same small room. That sad truth of home styling should be enough to put anyone off committing a crime punishable by incarceration – then where would you put the cactus room?

Saturday 25 July

Posted in Fashion, Interiors, Make-up, Recipes by guardiangirl on July 27, 2009

The first task of the day, after the paper had been bought and magazine scanned for potential ridiculousness, was to get dressed in a nasty approximation of a very feminine look. I don’t own much pastel stuff because I ain’t much of a pastel kind of a girl, plus I’m beginning to realise that a lot of the things in my wardobe are horrible clothes I bought at least nine years ago. I am only realising this now because I have to find the most similar garment to the one in the picture each day. Which leads to me sitting on my bed with a long face thinking ‘well i suppose the closest thing I have to that shirt really is the cream bell-sleeved top I bought for Beltain camp 2001 back when I was a druid,’ etc.  Witness saturday’s heinous combination, which left me looking like a frightened sixth former in 1997, suddenly liberated from the dictates of school uniform and clueless as to how to use this new-found power. Also I have no furniture in my flat that’s the right height to balance my camera on, so i had to cut my legs off at the ankles (in the photo, that is).

Frills and spills

Frills and spills

 

Ills and spills

Ills and spills

 

Gawd, I can’t look at that any more. Scroll down, scroll down I beseech you! Noweth!

As if the pastel clothes weren’t enough, I also had to put pink eyeshadow on my face. I wasn’t impressed. The lack of eyeliner combined with my blunt fringe meant my eyes looked like currants stuck on the front of a gingerbread man.

I also had to wear lipgloss, which is very rare for me as I think it’s too Vicky Beckham c. Spice Girls era. Luckily I used to work on a duty-free trade magazine, during which time I got basically as many free cosmetics as I wanted (I know! I miss it so much…) so I have a drawer full of all kinds of unlikely make-up items, all of which are about three years old and smell of paraffin, but ne’ermind. Make do and mend.

The trick of brushing lips with a toothbrush is one I know well thanks to Just Seventeen in 1994 and it does work momentarily, but I’d still rather a good slick of red lipstick.

Anyway here’s the result of my efforts this week:

 

Summer pink

Summer pink

 

Summer hink

Summer hink

 

Thanks go out to Jonny, the latest graphic desinger chum to offer his skills in photo-fouring (but also the man who commented on my huge shoulders [please see previous post as I can’t be bothered to link to it – must dash to Carphone Warehouse {see any previous post}], so it all evens out in the end).

For dinner I was supposed to cook newspaper-wrapped bream. However I spent all day trying to get my tiny flat to look like a Guardian interiors shoot, which was no small feat as you will soon see, so I missed the shops and ended up shovelling down a tuna and pasta salad and taking a bottle of wine to a mate’s house instead. I tried to get a bottle of Australian riesling but whatever, I couldn’t see any, it was only Tesco Metro, I wanted to actually see my friends at some point, so I just got some cheap Pinot Grigio and headed off to dance to early ’90s club classics with my chums instead. So much more fun than baking fish in newspapers . Maybe Hugh could do a playlist one week.

So perhaps the most amusing thing I did on  saturday was trying to make my flat look like a chic, utilitarin Antwerp loft apartment. My flat doesn’t even have an official front door, so I have to let my friends in through a locked iron gate leading to a rat-infested concrete alleyway. It has no heating. It is decorated in mint-green woodchip and the carpets are royal red with a rank gold print. The electrics are so dodgy you have to choose between cooking dinner and being able to see while you cook dinner, or else there is a burning smell and the trip switch goes. My post is collected for me by a Turkish men’s club. The laminate-covered corridor is full of cockroaches and resembles something out of a David Lynch film if David Lynch set his films in Hackney and had no sense of mystery, only desolation. So whenever I look at the aspirational interior design pieces in Weekend magazine I feel a sense of wry amusement mixed with a strong pang of wanting, wanting, wanting that life. Please see below my tragic attempt at achieving that life. At least I have a home, and it’s dry, and it has a lock, and I have my own washing machine. And it only costs me seven-eighths of my salary each month to live there.

I’ll just post the pictures next to one another and you can see what I mean. I think no droll commentary is required.

Sofa

Mylounge

 

Gkitchen

Mykitchen

Gsparebed

MySPareBed

Gtaps

Mytaps

Gwardrobe

Mywardrobe

Conclusion:

  • There are too many tears cascading down my cheeks for me to see the keyboard, let alone draw conclusions.

The dregs of last week

Posted in Brain & heart, Fashion, Interiors, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on July 27, 2009

Last week was an altogether tricky seven days for following this godforsaken plan. I was tired, unprepared, trying to track down an iPhone in every spare moment (a feat that has still yielded no success thanks to the momumental mess-ups of first Natwest – which did everything wrong, and then Carphone Warehouse – which gave away my reserved phone after promising not to while I sorted things out with the bank.) Here are the final dregs of things I managed to vaguely achieve despite the difficulty of cooking recipes, photographing complicated outfits and buying copies of foreign magazines to look at vampire photoshoots while also mantaining one’s daily life. You know the saying that punctuality is the virtue of the bored, or something? Well following the advice of lifestyle magazines follows a similar pattern. I’m certainly having to sacrifice a fair portion of my social life in order to do this project, as I keep having to rush home of an evening so I can make pastry

Here’s one of the outfits I copied last week but have been hesitating to publish because I hate the photo so much. As is plain to see, this blog is not about my aesthetic vanity, so I must forge ahead with the endeavour. God forbid, I keep thinking, they publish a swimsuit fashion shoot. I really don’t know what I’ll do. Still, this one involves jumpers, so how bad can it be?

Belt up

Belt up

Belt down

Belt down

The hat and the  cardie (another FARHI by Nicole Farhi delight) are great but it’s not a look that I can pull off easily and the main event, the belt, I hadn’t brought with me to the festival.

Last week I also cooked another of Rosie Sykes’ recipes, which was supposed to be  sea trout with samphire. However she had thoughtfully provided alternatives to both main ingredients for those who don’t have time to visit the fishmonger/seashore, so I was able to make an equally delicious salmon with fennel dish. In fact now I get to thinking about it, it really was very nice, and the portion I couldn’t eat is waiting in the freezer for my later delectation.

Sea trout with samphire

Sea trout with samphire

Salmon with fennel

Salmon with fennel

Mine’s a bit shady in the photographic sense but it tasted good enough even to serve to someone else, which is sadly not always the case with my cooking.

On Friday night I was supposed to dash home after work and make the next recipe in the magazine, which was an apricot puree, but my dear friend Michelle, whose design skills have enabled me to copy Lauren Luke’s tutorials in terms of layout finesse if not photographic content, has left my workplace to fly to her home country, the US. It was a sad day for everyone so instead of leaving on time to stew apricots, I went to the pub instead. I was supposed to cook the puree later but, as anyone might have predicted, I stayed in the pub until closing time instead, feasting on several kingsize twixes and baguettes fetched for me from the nearest supermarket by concerned friends who found it distracting when my eyes rolled back in my head as they attempted to discuss the merits of Indesign versus QuarkXpress with me. I then ate a kingsize (can you spot the theme?) packet of crisps, several flapjacks and a muffin on the way to the bus stop, topping up that little snack with a cream cheese and salt beef bagel as a treat to myself after walking home from Seven Sisters cos I feel asleep on the bus. I think the day I can fit back into my old jeans may be some way off yet, but this is not a subject to be worried about within a five-mile radius of a bagel shop. Anyway, the simple conclusion here is that no matter how dedicated you are to the cause of becoming the perfect liberal-minded domestic goddess, you have to push all this aside to wave bye bye to a good friend, and eat junk instead.

There were further failures to report last week.

I was supposed to have a picnic, which was meant to involve fizz and apparently annoying frisbee players, but there was no time for such daytime frivolity. The closest I got was consoling myself – after a Natwest battle – with  a bag of healthy (for once) lunch stuff from Tesco, which I ate at my desk. Some sad picnic, huh.

I also meant to find time to restyle my bathroom in the manner of the Guardian‘s home feature, but that fell off the bottom of the to-do list by virtue of its being so utterly unlikely to produce any success that there was little point even glancing at those pages.

 There were also a couple more outfits from the week that I actually captured pretty faithfully, especially one on friday involving – gasp – a scarf tucked into a belt! And I liked it! Sadly, though, there is an added level of effort involved in my copying of the lifestyle in question, and that is the photographing of it. I just forgot to ask anyone to do my picture for me and was a little too tired and inebriated to take it myself when I got home. So a couple of days’ outfits got lost in the ether last week, which is disproportionately upsetting to me as in some ways I do like to be thorough. In some ways.

In terms of heart and mind, I read Oliver Burkeman and Aspects of love with interest and bore their musings in mind. I noticed that I hadn’t experienced a visit from the Imp of the Perverse for quite some time, but thinking this seemed to be like knocking on his front door (probably in the trunk of a tree in some enchanted forest) and calling out ‘coo-ee, little imp, come out and encourage me to drive into oncoming traffic.’

Luckily I had no driving to do last week but I did read an article about some posh gardens in which one plant had been growing in the same spot for 135 years, and upon reading this I experienced such an overwhelming desire to go and cut the plant down in the middle of the night that I began to feel nauseous. Good job I don’t live in the Lee Valley or that fern would’ve been dead meat. Vegetable. Whatever.

 Aspects of love suggested that low self-esteem doesn’t in fact make you less lovable, which certainly made me prick up my ears. Every time I found myself walking around the supermarket (where I spend most of my time these days thanks to a certain magazine), thinking how I hadn’t put any make-up on for at least ten hours and how was I ever possibly going to meet my Mr Right next to the polenta, and more to the point how was Mr Right ever going to be convinced I was Miss Right when I was clearly standing in such a hunched and self-conscious manner while comparing prices of the aforementioned Italian dietary mainstay, I thought to myself : ‘No no, he might not like your face much, but at least he won’t mind that you don’t like your face much today. In fact, he will love that you don’t like your face much today.’

Overall conclusion in preparation for the next issue:

  • Must (and will) try harder.