Guardian Girl

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?
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Sunday 2 August

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on August 3, 2009

Another day, another episode of ritual humiliation. I’m going to keep this brief and we can move on fast. If you’re new to this blog, please scroll down to the previous post and read the disclaimer in bold.

Wat to be noticed on the beach?

Want to be noticed on the beach?

 

Want to be banned from the beach?

Want to be banned from the beach?

I don’t have a bloody candelabra thing so I had to use a bloody walking stick, OK? Now let’s move on.

Dinner was very nice – ginger and soy marinade. I couldn’t get duck cos J Sains had sold out. So I used chicken. I had the time to leave it in the marinade as it was Sunday, and the chicken came out of the oven moist, flavoursome, garlicky and delicious.

My only complaint is based on the day after, when I’m writing this.

The below email exchange between my colleague Cari and I illustrates the complaint better than my words alone. Some of it appears in Outlook font and I don’t know how to change it:

Guardian Girl (obviously not my real name – how portentous would that be?): 

Cari, if you eat a lot of garlic does it ever come out of your pores? I love garlic and don’t want to give it up but should my forehead really be smelling of a frenchman’s armpit the next day? I’m so ashamed.

Cari:

Of all the spices, that is the one that comes out of the pores the most. If I’d had a Moaz Falafel the night before, it doesn’t matter how thoroughly I brushed my teeth or how much mouthwash I’d use, I would sit next to mum the next day and she’d tell me I reek of garlic. My own mother! But, everything tastes better with garlic. I put it in absolutely all of my food. I think it’s worth smelling a little anti-social for that heavenly taste. How do you smell your own forehead?

GG:

Phew, if it happens to you, that’s officially OK, as you’re officially one of my most glamorous friends. I smell my own forehead with my proboscis. Only kidding, I wiped the gentle sweat from my brow after my 15th cup of coffee today and then rested my head in my hand and noticed a garlic odour. Then I wiped various parts of myself with my hand and smelt it (making sure all the hot men in the office were looking first). I basically smell of the marinade I cooked my chicken in last night. This is going straight in the blog.

Cari:

Ehehehe – it has to.

GG:

Alongside unforgiving photos of me in a bikini. Great.

Cari:

Question 2: how on earth do you know what a proboscis is? I have to Google words that you casually drop in an email conversation at least twice a week. When you write about the side effects of the garlic chicken, can you slip in the term ‘olfactory nightmare’? I nearly pissed myself the first time you said it and I’ve strangely wanted to come across the term again.

GG:

Did I say olfactory nightmare? I know about proboscis from a kid’s book, I can’t remember which – possibly the hungry caterpillar.

Cari:

Yes – when your cat peed on your jacket and you didn’t realise until you arrived at work.

 

 

 

 

Saturday 1 August

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Make-up, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 3, 2009

First impressions

It’s a good job I made it to the pub before opening the Weekend magazine this week because my worst fear had come true remarkably early in the experiment. The fashion shoot this week is swimwear.  I instantly thought of doing some Photoshopping in the name of magazine authenticity but I’m just going to shut up and get on with it. I’m here to represent those of us with meaty, meety thighs and no time to bake meringues for their Cotswold mess, and I ain’t going to abandon the cause now.

The All Ages fashion looks much the same as the past few weeks, as my Guardian-reading friend Shirley pointed out. Very grey, with lots of plaits and layered up garments. I guess the stylist, Priscilla Kwateng, has her aesthetic and that’s that. The shoulders are the main event this week – luckily we’ve been primed for this by The Measure. I wonder how carefully they plan all this. I don’t have many shoulder pads in my wardrobe – yet – but I’m sure I’ll be able to manage some weak version of these outfits by relying on the greyness and the plaitedness and the bunched-upness.

The Measure

Paper planes bag looks nice and I have a holiday booked later this month, so I’ll have a chance to test how much more vacational the whole experience feels with the officially appropriate product on my arm.

Zoe report, Jimmy Choo boots and men’s Louboutins are all future releases rather than current, for which I’m grateful. The likelihood of me being able to afford anything leather by Proenza Schouler is very small, so I’m not counting on this working out either.

Hilfiger slim leg jeans – finally I’ll be able to buy some jeans in my new size.

I’m glad I don’t have to wear the two-sided leggings and I can’t even discuss the office air-con in the public domain as it’s too politically controversial, and I risk having my head price-tagged by a shivering colleague.

Lauren Luke’s make-up

That eyeshadow looks hideous but I’m a rehead at the moment (a result of my failed attempt to become a blonette) so at least this make-up look is aimed specifically at me. I feel special.

Hugh’s recipes look good, simple and tasty this week. Marinating stuff is usually a problem for me by the time I get home from work, but even cooking meat using these ingredients should be nice and at least I have two weekend days to spend macerating food.

Yotam does tabbouleh this issue, which is usually a problem for me due to the presence of the Evil Ones but as usual I’ll substitute sunblush.

How to bake: yum yum yum.

Wine. I won’t make it to Berry Bros but at least there’s a bottle here from Waitrose. Oh wait, it costs £55. Get lost then.

Oliver Burkeman. The advice I’m taking from this article is to continue with whatever I was doing previously and not give a damn whether or not anyone finds it interesting.

Aspects of love. Aww, reading about the sibling bond makes me miss my brother loads. I’ll arrange to see him this week.

Space. In theory I could probably copy this a bit, if the theory was quite a generous one that is. But hang on, what’s that, a cactus room? I don’t think I have a cactus room but I’ll ask my butler to check.

So enough of my first impressions and on to what I actually had to do today. The first thing was to wear a checkerboard-style swimsuit contraption. Luckily I was out for the day so had no opportunity to change into my bikini until that night, when the sun was as set as Angel Delight and I was as drunk as my house guests. I waited until two had gone home and one was asleep before getting my kit off for the photo.

I’d like to add a disclaimer here (and to each post about swimwear). The purpose of this blog is not that I find pictures of bikini models and paste them next to photos of myself copying their poses. What kind of masochist would do that? Not this kind of masochist. There’s a wider context (see What is the point of this blog?, right). I find the whole thing thoroughly embarrassing but if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. I believe that’s the right idiom for the situation.

So, here goes…

Maximum exposure

Maximum exposure

 

Maximum humiliation

Maximum humiliation

Unlike most people I don’t own a chessboard swimsuit like the one the model’s wearing. I’ll have to join the crowd soon though, as that tan would be to die for with a nice set of lace undies on the first night with a new lover. Marriage proposals here we come!

Anyway let’s move on pretty quickly from that episode – only two more swimwear shots to get through before I can return to the suddenly reassuring task of being photographed in harem pants for the world wide web.

Next task for the day was to get me something from the paper planes collection by cloth-ears, mentioned in The Measure/above. I chose the travel charm because it was the cheapest thing and it’s pretty nice, although I can’t imagine attaching it to my phone, in all honesty. I usually recognise my luggage on the carousel anyway because it’s a ratty, falling-apart free gift from a conference held together with safety pins and tied with a yellow rag, among a sea of neat wheely cases from Debenhams or wherever you buy those things. I suspect most of them probably come from Beelzebub’s market stall. My mum always tells me how useful they are and I can believe it, but after a few years of following them down London escalators I have such negative associations I can’t even touch one without gagging. Anyway, my luggage charm is due to arrive at work this week, so that’s something to look forward to.

While I was using the internet at my friends’ flat to order the charm (I live in the Amish style with no computer, television, kettle, toaster, microwave or CD player)  I also took the opportunity to order some Hilfiger jeans, as I didn’t fancy making the mission into town to buy them on a saturday. I highly unrecommened the experience. I found the Victoria jeans mentioned in The Measure and thought they looked pretty horrible but I’m fast learning to suspend my disbelief in the name of compliance with the mass media. I then discovered they were only available up to a 32in waist, which isn’t big enough for me. My waist is considerably smaller than 32in but the bum, thighs and associated body parts (not quite sure what I mean by that but I’ll leave it in just in case anyone else does) that cause the problem, so I have to buy at least a size 14 or sometimes 34in waist men’s jeans in order to get a fit I can breathe in. This always does my head in. I mean, look at the picture of me in my bikini above (hard to believe I’m encouraging this but I have an important point to make and will always sacrifice my dignity to make a point). Fair enough I have a double chin and substantial thighs and all that, but all in all I’m no great chubber, am I. I’m a fairly normal-looking, well-rounded, healthy girl. I eat a lot of pastry and so on, but then I walk about 11 miles most days and I’m not a fool – I know roughly when to stop. So is it right that I’m considered too big for most designer jeans? I think it’s preposterous.

The skanky black colourway of Victoria jeans comes in a 33in waist though, so I decided to take the risk on those even though £80 is an expensive gamble. I was sure I could send them back if needs be.

The stupid online form and password system confused me and meant I had to re-enter my information FOUR times, after already having been made to feel like an ungodly whale. I tried to process the whole thing twice before i realised they only accept American Express, Visa and Mastercard or something anyway. So not only does this company penalise you for having good, strong, warrior’s thighs, it also penalises you for not being in enormous amounts of debt. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit now. In fact it was a happy outcome because I didn’t much want the jeans anyway – check out the unpleasant distressed effect at the ankles. But really, freedom of choice!

Another task for the day was attempting the green eyeshadow monstrosity of a look recommended for redheads by Lauren Luke this week. I so want to like Lauren Luke as she’s a ‘normal girl’ and she obviously knows her stuff, but some of the make-up just doesn’t look too nice to my eyes.

I copied it the best I coud anyway, using the usual eyeshadow primer to be really diligent about it. I don’t have any very bright green eyeshadow, for perfectly good reasons. If you have reddish skin, the last thing you ought to be doing is splashing the complementary colour of  red all over your face. I know it works if you use it as a cover up, but this is different.

It would be impertinent not to mention at this point an incident that happened when I was a teenager under the influence of magic mushrooms (sorry Mum). I’d been laughing so much at nothing much (tall people, fences, people of a normal height who somehow appeared very tall, etc) that I’d gone very flushed. I looked at my face in the pub mirror and saw red, red, red. At home I had one of those green colour-corrective primers to cover up my spots but I’d forgotten it that night, so i took out my Collection 2000 eyeshadow palette and spread my whole face with pearlised green powder, thinking it’d do the same job.  My best mate then came into the loo and found me standing there gazing at the mirror with a full-on, glinting layer of glittery green all over my face. Infinite hilarity ensued – so much so that the next woman to walk into the bathroom thought I was crying hysterically in distress and that my friend was bent over comforting me. She fussed over for us for god knows how long before realising the sad truth of our state. We later spotted a stray piece of toilet roll on a doorframe, which caused another hour or so of unbridled hysteria, but that’s another thrilling story for another thrilling post. All in all the point is this: I don’t tend to use pearly green eyeshadow much anymore.

Here are the pics:

 

Redhead

Redhead

And my greasy offering for this week:
Blackheads

Blackheads

Glamorous stuff. Gawd I need some decent concealer.
After all this tramatic photography I needed a good meal, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’d spent all day in the pub with my friends so I invited them back to sample the delights of Hugh’s marinade recipes. But I was hungry and drunk, and you know how it goes. What start off as the best marinating intentions soon turn into the irresistible compulsion to fry whatever it is you’re supposed to be marinating as quickly as is humanly possible and shovel it down the gullet. So that’s what I did. I served up some seafood mix first (couldn’t get fresh squid) and as I fried the second course (same ‘marinade’ but used to fry chicken) i could hear a lot of coughing coming from the other room. I say coughing, I mean choking, followed by inadequately stifled giggling and the sort of stage silences that come in between whispers. Instead of using a couple of chillies (too drunk to see them in the shop) I used half a tube of that fresh crushed chilli stuff and i think it nearly killed most of my guests. Being an accommodating host, I put less in the chicken, and people seemed to like it. In fact they seemed to like the seafood too. I suppose it was a sort of poor man’s sauna in a way.
I was a little too inebriated to remember to photograph the seafood to match Hugh’s picture, so took a photo of the chicken instead. It looks not completely dissimilar.
Marinated squid

Marinated squid

Fried chicken

Fried chicken

This is another vaguely Herschell Gordon Lewis-looking photo but again, the food was really tasty.
Conclusions:
  • Where do I even start today? First, denim companies need to design jeans for women who are bigger than a 32in waist. Evans and all that novelty fat-people’s clothes stuff just doesn’t do – it needs to be normal clothes in bigger sizes. Or else.
  • Cloth-ears has great customer service. Hilfiger ought to take a leaf out of that book and throw away its copy of Thin in A Fortnight or whatever it reads at the moment.
  • Green eyeshadow gets the thumbs down, just like blue eyeshadow did.
  • Marinating stuff may be great, but almost as great and much quicker is simply frying food in the marinade.
  • The quicker this swimwear phase is over, the better – and may it never return.