Guardian Girl

Notice of resumed, but reduced, service

Posted in Uncategorized by guardiangirl on June 14, 2010

You know it’s been nearly a year since I began this project. My latest adjournment (of many) has lasted a while and it’s done me the world of good.

Waving goodbye to Dan Lepard has meant saying hello to my old clothes again and I feel returned to balanced human form, rather than the grossly consumptive, Little Otik-ish marionette of capitalism I had become. My tendency to use melodramatic language might not have changed, but I have.

I have, much to my surprise and pleasure, been doing some growing up. Life in the shared house is happy and serene as I enjoy a lack of pressure to rearrange the furniture once a week. My bank balance is far healthier and this weekend I was able to treat myself to some new clothes in preparation for Sonar without feeling guilty – because they were what I actually liked and needed, not what the Guardian liked and thought I needed. My running regime and healthy diet have left me feeling energetic, much fitter and quite right in my body. It’s not about being skinny, I might add – it’s about being how you’re meant to be – neither starved into this season’s frock nor still bloated by last year’s pie recipes. I knew I needed to take myself in hand rather, and I have.

The increasingly heaving bandwagon of other good folks embarking on this style of blog project has contributed to my shrinking back slightly, probably for some distasteful reason related to delusions of inventiveness. But most of all, as has always been clear to everyone else, my original plan to follow everything in the Weekend magazine was just far too ambitious – financially, temporally and psychologically. You can’t sign over all responsibility for your daily life to a magazine, no matter how tempting that may be for all sorts of quite dark but no doubt common reasons. I’m 30 years old and, while it’s fun to experiment and push one’s boundaries, it’s also an important time to exercise some free will and enjoy becoming a proper woman. It’s impossible to do that when you have to consult Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall each time you feel a bit hungry.

So all things considered, it’s definitely time to accept that the Guardian Girl project as it was once conceived, is over.

Yet I have missed, as always, the ritual of trussing myself up in harem pant combos, taking photos with friends in office toilets, updating the blog with mindless anecdotes and tittering over captions. That’s why I’ve decided to carry on with a reduced service, copying the fashion stories and leaving it at that for a while. I’ve shed many tears of self-pity over shelling out for clothes the Measure recommends and preparing the pricey fare of the recipe pages, but I’ve never really minded getting dressed up in something a bit odd and prancing through the park in it, indulgently gauging people’s reactions. The fashion shoots, while often mortifying, have been far and away my least tainted pleasure. And they’ve actually contributed to my wellbeing: I take my appearance (if nothing else) far less seriously than I used to.

So here’s to the new phase, and long may it continue, in glorious simplicity and mild blushes.

X

GG

PS sorry, that was all a bit ceremonious, but it felt nice.

PPS you might notice there isn’t actually a photo for today. Be realistic will you?

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Hot date cake

Posted in Brain & heart, Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on April 30, 2010

My goodness me, Mr Lepard was underestimating this cake when he said it was in the running as one of the best date cakes around. I’d nominate it as one of the best cakes full stop.

My enchantingly intuitive and crurally balletic friend Emily came over to share it with me and, although she described it as “very nice, comforting, warm and old-fashioned tasting”, she did leave the crust on the plate. The fact that there was a crust to leave may, I concede, be part of the reason it was discarded. I didn’t particularly go out of my way to weigh any of the ingredients at all, but I did use my lovely measuring jug and my keen eye for a teaspoon to make the mixture. I used the right sized tin for once but the cake only took 30 mins to bake, not an hour. Maybe I put in too much sugary stuff and not enough flour.

To ring the changes and wrestle a bit of profit from the conglomerates I had done my shopping at Mother Earth this time, and I couldn’t find any tamarind paste in the shop. But no matter – I had foreseen this eventuality and thought of the sort of substances I might use to replace it. I don’t know if you’ve tried it but there’s this delicious pure fruit spread stuff called Sunwheel that’s a bit like molasses, but made of just apples and pears. In my experience of tamarind paste, this Sunwheel thing isn’t completely different, and it did add to a nice, moist cake. The walnuts didn’t even sink! The icing was a disaster, of course, but I don’t mind that much. To me it seems entirely natural that I would be able to bake a tasty cake but get the icing wrong, in much the same way that I can choose myself a lovely frock but my accessories will always let the whole thing down. Details or something. But who wants to be good at icing, anyway? That’s just a rubbish skill. Be good at cakes.

Here it is:

Tamarind date cake

Other kind of date cake

Other kind of date cake

I was intending to do a home styling shoot last night but, what with running, bathing, entertaining and putting the recycling out – which somehow seems to take me hours – I never got round to it. The dahlias also remained in their packet due to the heavy rains my neighbourhood was experiencing at the appointed planting time.

Other updates: the final outfit of the week has me replicating this young lad’s vibe. I’m sure you’ll agree my success is uncanny.

Checks

Vexed

Vexed

I think that pretty much rounds off the week, other than to say that I have carried in my heart and mind Oliver Burkeman’s words, as always, to test out their life-changing abilities. This week’s column had quite a positive impact on my daily life, as it happens. This Column WIll Change Your Life is often among the pages to capture my imagination the most when I open the magazine on a Saturday, but it barely gets mentioned in my blog. I think that’s because I’m so utterly rubbish at writing about it. I just had to delete a whole paragraph I’d written about this week’s because it made me feel nauseous. I seem to go extra pompous sounding as soon as feelings are involved. I think I’ll try to work on this. In the meantime, I trust you’ll find my writing lovably imperfect.

Copy the little children

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on April 28, 2010

Last night’s dinner was supposed to be smoked duck with pak choi but, due to a late night at work and a lack of desire to jog further than necessary to reach a big supermarket, it became chicken with cabbage. Since there was no photo to copy anyway, this struck me as no great shame and I soon managed to get to sleep without having failure nightmares.

Today, however, things have taken a distinct turn for the worse. I am concerned about my fashion karma. Is there not something very wrong about copying the style of a four-year-old? It’s widely considered misguided to wear one’s hair in pigtails to the office, so going one step further and directly aping a toddler’s outfit – complete with pinafore, kiddy hairgrip and pull-on plimsolls – must be thought of as a full-blown mistake at best. Amazingly I’ve already received several compliments on my hair today – but haven’t quite been able to bring myself to reply, “Thanks, I got the idea off a baby I saw in a magazine.”

Stripes

Stripes

Cripes

Cripes

I think the conclusions for today ought to be promoted to the level of disclaimers.

First, I’d like to apologise to the model’s parents, who I’m sure aren’t reading this but who I imagine might find the above photographic episode rather chilling if they were.

Second, I’d like to apologise for still not being able to get left and right right, and for therefore scrunching up the wrong hand.

Third, I’d like to apologise deeply for having my shirt outside the pinafore instead of underneath. I had it on under the dress this morning and it was billowing out everywhere in a most ridiculous fashion. I knew it was a busy day at work today and I wanted to look vaguely credible when required.

With all that sorted, it only remains for me to report that today I clawed back the ground I lost yesterday and followed The Measure to the letter by buying a pair of Asos navy tailored shorts (only £25 and I need a pair that fit). They are meant for men and yet I bought them big because I find it humiliating when menswear is too small for me. This means I run some risk of looking like Uncle Buck in them, but that could potentially be no bad thing.

Now I get to think of it, I’m not sure if Uncle Buck ever wore shorts, but I’m pretty sure he went fishing. Also, I think it would categorically be a bad thing if I looked like Uncle Buck, but I don’t like deleting thoughts after I’ve gone to the trouble of typing them. That’s why I’m going to sign off now before things get out of hand.

Au revoir x

Unbold, unsmoked, untasselled

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on April 27, 2010

Yesterday’s outfit was tempered for the office and then reconstructed when I got home and had access to my housemates’ wardrobes for photographic purposes. Strictly speaking this is cheating, as my rules are that I must wear my own clothes where possible, and that I must wear the outfits out and about like a brave person, not just piling them on for the photos and immediately casting them to a corner of Room 101 when the lens is put away. However on this occasion I knew my housemates to own the perfect garments for the job and there was no way I was going to tramp through a rainy day in Nin’s beloved Opening Ceremony wedges and Jess’s vintage Stephen Marks ikat jacket. Come to think of it I didn’t actually ask the girls if I could wear them for the photo either, but I know it’s OK. I really know it’s OK. If either of you is reading this, I hope it is OK.

The posing is very difficult when no one’s in, as the iPhone camera has no self-timer and using a reflection is tricky. The result is altogether buffoonish.

Tread lightly

Tread lightly

Unsightly

Unsightly

I worked late last night so dinner was actually cobbled together from the vastly expensive shop next to the office and eaten at my desk, meaning Hugh’s mackerel roll had to play the part of a bedtime snack instead. A rather indulgent snack, admittedly, and not home-smoked in the least. But why smoke it at home when Sainsbury’s had done such a great job of smoking it for me? It was their Taste the Difference kiln-smoked stuff, which I’d never tried before – unbelievable, I promise. I do seem to sound like a Sainsbury’s ad sometimes, which I’m not proud of at all, I can tell you.

Hot smoked mackerel sandwich

Hot smoked mackerel sandwich

McSmoked mackerel sandwich

McSmoked mackerel sandwich

And now I turn my attention to The Measure, whihc has already caused me untold heartache this week. And to think it’s only Tuesday.

For logistical purposes I tend to divide up the various tasks in The Measure and assign them to different days of the week, partly so that I have more chance of being able to achieve them, and partly to give myself an excuse for wriggling out of something if I don’t really want to do it. Saturday was a case in point. I YouTubed the band Hurts as suggested and found them to be pretty brilliant. Their song Wonderful Life is amazing and I can’t quite work out how they’d passed under my radar. The video did make me scoff a bit but black and white stuff usually does, especially if no one is smiling or moving, especially if there is a girl doing pretty dumb dance moves. They seem like funny chaps in their interviews anyway. After watching all this happily it dawned on me that The Measure hadn’t mentioned just their music, but their hair. By my rules, whatever The Measure says, I am supposed to copy. There was no escaping it – this meant going out and getting a crew cut.

Reader, I couldn’t do it. I simply didn’t have the gall. I’m not proud of my head shape at the best of times (too flat at the back, and other complaints no person other than my own self would bother to spend much time noticing), my jawline is not looking its best at the moment, what with still being less distinct than it once was after the previous run of baking adventures, and my skin, sadly, could never be described as ‘best’, ‘better’ or even ‘good’. It seems to me that these three things are the key deciders in whether a woman looks good with a crew cut.

It’s all very well bravely cutting off your hair for a blog and making it all into an interesting experiment. But what if you change your mind about the blog a few weeks later (as has been known to happen) and end up spending all summer in tears, and a wig, incapable of looking anyone in the eye, particularly members of the opposite sex, and dear God what if you are thirty now and are supposed to be becoming more confident in such situations.

So in the end I let the mental debate drag on until I could tell myself all the hairdressers would be shut and the day was over, meaning the task didn’t have to be done after all. My chest is constricting just thinking about it.

Today I am experiencing yet more heart freezing. The post office nearest my office, despite being in Primrose Hill, doesn’t stock French Vogue. However I managed to find the Measure-beloved curtain tassel-wearing Vogue interview on a website so I could see what I was aiming for. Fine, I thought, these tassels ain’t that crazy, they make kind of good accessories, I’ll go for it. So I logged on to the Guardian’s suggested source of such items, Pret a Vivre, selected the recommended tassels… and discovered that my order was going to come to £88 plus £12 for delivery. That’s £100 on tassels.

I have just spent 15 minutes grappling in genuine anguish over this matter. It might seem like a nobrainer but I promised myself this time I would give it a proper shot, keep the project entertaining, be subversive about it, play it unsafe. But I also promised myself that, as ever, I wouldn’t sacrifice my own physical health, financial stability or personal relationships in the process. It seems this is already proving an impossible combination. I looked at the tassels. I looked at the checkout total. I looked at the tassels. I looked at the checkout total. I decided I’d spend £100 on a nice bit of jewellery, at an enormous push, so why not on the tassels? I filled in my details. Then I thought of my mum reading this blog (as she often does, to keep up with my news) and I imagined her discovering I’d spent £100 on curtain tassles to put around my waist and neck, and in my mind’s eye I saw her shoulders sag under the weight of responsibility for having spawned this tortured beast and I heard her exclaim “Ohh, Jody!” with saintly exasperation. And I decided not to buy the curtain tassels.

My heartbeat has just about returned to normal.

Is this simple purchase anxiety? It might be, but there is definitely an extra level of torture added by the fact that I don’t even want the ridiculous curtain tassels anyway and I’m only even considering spending my money on such an absurd outlay because the Guardian told me so. But presumably there are legions of people out there who buy all sorts of things for exactly thast reason, although it might be Grazia or Glamour instead of The Guardian. To me it almost feels more guiltifying to buy something you like instantly. It seems too easy. Is this a wider psychological phenomenon or is it just me? I’m not sure.

Cripes almighty, I’m going to make a cup of tea.

And so, with tea drunk, here is today’s outfit, looking nothing like the picture. It is now very late and I must literally run home to cook a duck.

Floral dance

Floral dance

Awful stance

Awful stance

Conclusions:

  • It’s all just a blur of tassels and heartbreak and flaked mackerel and dramatic shadowy music videos and Oh! I am all a-faint.

Brow beeten

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on March 1, 2010

Dressing in unexpected ways can produce some real delights; new hairstyles and garment combinations I’d never have thought of myself. It can also produce disasters so heinous that I risk causing myself actual physical harm through delaying toilet visits, too self-conscious to leave my seat and trek past a room full of people in that day’s foolhardy get-up.

In fact the psychological damage has relatively little to do with the outfit itself and more to do with the fact that I don’t feel comfortable in it. Friday’s skirt, borrowed from my housemate Nin, no doubt makes her look like a ravishing Thomas Hardy heroine. It made me look like a market-ready swine trussed up in a hessian sack. The fact that I also got the shoes wrong and chose an unflattering top tipped me over the edge, I’m afraid. I managed to get over it while walking around the office during the day but, when it came to after-work drinks in the pub, my confidence totally failed me and I had to go home and sob without paying a visit my old workmate’s leaving drinks elsewhere (sorry Lucy).

For the next three days I have worn my own choice of clothes, probably no different to anyone else’s eye but much more favourable in my own fragile heart. I also excused myself from cooking duty on Saturday in order to go to Photographer Cari’s birthday meal. So it has been a rather unGuardianlike few days. The lack of Measure in this week’s bumper fashion issue enabled me to spend a bit of cash on a proper pair of trainers with shock absorption and anti-pronation support (if you’ve ever had a metatarsal stress fracture these words will hold some meaning), which will surely benefit my wellbeing far more than any posh handbag.

I did achieve one Guardian-related venture this weekend though: Yotam Ottolenghi’s candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu recipe. Only without the candy beetroot. And without the yuzu (no kidding).

Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu

Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu

Standard beetroot with lentils and you-must-be-freakin-kidding-me-mate

Standard beetroot with lentils and you-must-be-freakin-kidding-me-mate

Very defeatist – I was in town on Sunday seeing the beautiful Irving Penn exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and I’m sure I could’ve tracked down some yuzu nearby, especially since Yotam had kindly explained all about the stuff. A cross between lime and mandarin sounds delicious but in the end it started pouring with rain, time was ticking and I decided to go for the lime substitute instead.

The salad was disappointing. I used extra beetroot and leaves to make it go a bit further and realised there was no maple syrup in the cupboard so used manuka honey instead. But even if I had got it right, I can’t imagine it being that much tastier. We ended up putting vinegar on it for a bit of kick. Maybe it was the prepacked beets that were the problem. Anyways Phoebe had been excited about this since she opened the mag on Saturday, and I’m afraid she left with her heart broken. If only I’d been less flippant about the yuzu!

Conclusion:

  • Rather than mooch around feeling sorry for myself all weekend, a short break seems to have been a far more sensible solution. Back to fashion dictation tomorrow.

Split peas and a broken heart

Posted in Fashion, Food by guardiangirl on February 24, 2010

Last night I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s piece on food and meat eating. I finished it with a lump in my throat, glad at least that dinner was vegetarian.

His thoughts on the significance of meals stabbed me in the clogged-up arteries.

As the months have passed during this project, the outfits and recipes have become part of my daily life, no longer anything remarkable. Most of my friends and many of my colleagues know what I’m doing and have long settled into their chosen level of amusement, bemusement or indifference, either leaving me to it or helping me pose for photos and eat pans of spaghetti for ten. The paper is bought first thing each Saturday morning, pages are turned, dresses belted, pans stirred, photos matched, captions written. The more familar my routine becomes, the less I question it and the more rarely I bother to scratch the surface of what I’m doing.

But on a personal level, it goes much deeper.

Taking food out of its context can sap much of the joy from eating it. Some of the pleasure of chopping, stirring, spooning and swallowing transcends circumstance, but for me any emotional meanings attached to the dishes I’m creating have often dissolved by the time the food reaches the plate.

Of course there have been many evenings like last Saturday, spent around the table with friends, happily slurping mangoey steak juices and talking about affairs of the heart. But for every one of those times there’s been a night like yesterday, spent alone in the kitchen in front of a daunting mound of ingredients, slicing veg mechanically and stirring in soured cream when I would’ve been quite happy with a simple, healthy salad for one.

It doesn’t matter how delicious a noodle soup is or how finely cut a cardigan – it’s the meaning we attach to it that makes the cooking and the wearing worthwhile. You can spend hours a day making your home look like an interiors shoot, copying catwalk looks and cooking River Cottage recipes, but it won’t buy you the love of a family or the glamour of a beautiful model, no matter what you read in the Saturday supplements. We all know this, so why does the belief that these things can be bought into endure so relentlessly?

This sounds more melancholy than I feel, but the matter continues to get under my skin.

Now I’m back to my running schedule I hope the rich recipes will become a treat again, rather than a dispiriting obligation. Now I’m living with friends I hope there will be lots of communal bread breaking around shared pans of food. Now I’ve got a sensible budget sorted I hope the odd new bit of clothing will feel like a wise investment and not a waste of cash.

As always, many of the problems I’ve run into doing this project have been a result of taking the whole thing to such an extreme level, and that commitment is a necessary part of the project as far as I’m concerned. But it still raises the question of what happens to the meaning of food – and clothes, and interior design and the rest – if it comes straight out of a magazine. Can you really buy into a stylist’s look or a chef’s favourite dish? You can put on the clothes and prepare the food, but what happens to the layer of meaning underneath?

Legume noodle soup

Legume noodle soup

Gloom and brooding soup

Gloom and brooding soup

Impress

Impress

Depress

Depress

Conclusions:

  • Comparing oneself to a plus-size model turns out to be far more depressing than comparing oneself to a stick. No excuses.
  • The noodle soup turned into a pan of pasta with sauce because I had lots of linguine to use up. But it was absolutely delicious.
  • I have high hopes for a regained sense of control and a renewed appreciation for cream-based recipes now my foot is unbroken and I’m able to exercise again.
  • If my hopes are dashed, I have a pact with myself to become the less snappily titled Health and Fitness Magazine Girl for a while and conduct a study on the efficacy of a different brand of manipulative claptrap designed to undermine your intuition and create false need in order to sell products. Sorry, I mean magazine.
  • Today I’m supposed to buy two pairs of trainers to replace my old Converse, one of which I can’t find and one of which goes beyond my budget after having bought the ingredients for yesterday’s dinner.

Gurning bright

Posted in Fashion, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on February 22, 2010

I didn’t wear this outfit to the catwalk show earlier in the day, but I did put it on for a bit of telly watching later.

On the run

Got the runs

Conclusion:

• At least this was one of those outfits I had very low expectations of.

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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…

A harried curry

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on February 15, 2010

Harried might be something of an exaggeration as I very much enjoyed padding around my much bigger, posher new kitchen making this Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe last night. But dinner was merely a comma between cleaning my old flat from top to toe and trying to unpack some of the thousand or so boxes of detritus that are presently making it impossible to move around my new bedroom. You don’t need to know the finer details of my life at this point – only that I am struggling through a house move with no cash card and no storage units. This is clouding my brain and making outfit/photo-copying very difficult. A sense of humour and a world of ridiculous poses are returning… but slowly.

Here’s last night’s curry. Simple and tasty but not mind-blowing.

Chickpea, potato and kale curry

Chickpea, potato and kale curry

Chickpea, potato and cabbage in a hurry

Chickpea, potato and cabbage in a hurry

Conclusions:

  • Whether it’s breaking a foot, running out of cash, getting poorly, going on holiday or moving house, there are definitely times when the Guardian lifestyle becomes reight challenging to recreate. This week is right up there at the top of the list. But I will continue to do my very, very (nearly) best to hit the mark.
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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.