Guardian Girl

Wednesday 5 August

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 6, 2009

I left the suggested hat and necklace at home today and went to work in a toned-down version of the  below outfit, then got dressed up in the right stuff for my photo later. I just would have felt too stupid in a train driver’s cap decorated with a brooch and my neck draped with a golden snake (my closest bit of jewellery to the picture), walking around the office like some kind of beefed-up Bubble out of Absolutely Fabulous. Some stuff translates fairly well into workwear and people in the office are used to me looking very slightly odd so it’s usually no big deal. But there have been days when I’ve been nervous just getting up to go to the vending machine, and today could’ve been one of them. Plus I think it’s kind of rude to wear a hat indoors, unless it’s a baseball cap.

The problem with the toned-down version is that I ended up looking like a cross between a Bulgarian office worker and a ’70s psychology student. Not that I have anything against Bulgarian office workers. Some of my best friends are Bulgarian office workers. Not actually best, best friends, but I’ve been over to  stay with them, had a wonderful time and loved everyone I met more than I do on the average trip. But you know that thing of wearing slightly odd, staid outfits like a pair of slacks with a matching turtleneck and then tying a scarf over the top? That’s what I looked like. But again, my workmate Cari liked it, curiously, so each to their own I suppose.

Here’s a photo of the proper attempt at copying the look, complete with hat blending into background. Witness the sweat patches, which I decided not to hide in the interests of documenting the realities of life. I was very hot walking home in the muggy air and I didn’t want to take off the jacket and scarf because tight grey jeans, a tight grey top and grey walking trainers? Bleurgh. I do sometimes bump into people I know on the way home from work. And buses filled with people I might half know from my area go past at a rate of about 20 per journey. Sorry, I realise I’m really waffling here so I’ll cut the crap and paste the photo.


Sweat it out


My brother came round for dinner, which was lovely, and on the menu for the evening was Yotam Ottolenghi’s tabbouleh. This led to my most rebellious act thus far, which was actually doing something I’d been told directly not to do. Terrible. I went looking for bulghur wheat in Sainsbury’s and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Maybe it’s hiding with the seeds. My brother was about to arrive and I had no time for trekking up to Fresh n Wild to look for the perfect grain so I started thinking what I could replace it with. And since Yotam had baulked at the idea of using couscous, of all things, I had couscous on the brain. It was like when someone tells you to Not Look Now when a very tall person walks past – perhaps taller than 6′ 7″ even. So I hit the big – shockingly big – couscous section of the supermarket and bought loads of Ainsley Harriot ready mixes and some cheap Sainsbury’s versions – plus a load of ready-made couscous salads, too. I wasn’t taking any risks as I’m traditionally very bad at cooking couscous (it has measuring in it), and I thought I’d rely on someone else’s abilities to make sure the whole meal wasn’t a damp, soggy, tasteless mush. Then I ate two of the salads on the way home. These are my problems, really. I’m so impatient and I have such an infinite appetite. But at least I wasn’t crotchety by the time Mark arrived and we had two other salads to serve up, plus a couscoused-up tabbouleh.

The other misbehaviours I did were a) not chop the herbs properly – again very much against the warnings of Yotam – and b) not wash the herbs properly enough. I thought I was thorough but I should know by now that my benchmarks for thoroughness are set at about half the strength of most people’s. I nearly broke a tooth on a bit of grit. Ech, I don’t even like to think back on it.

Luckily this was right at the end of the meal during second helpings, so it didn’t put us off. I think it was an isolated grit particle. Maybe it came out of Ainsley’s couscous. Better not say that; I’m sure it didn’t.

Again, I’m rambling like ze Wordsworth here so I’d better quit it and show you the pictures, then sign off.




Not bad, eh, but you can see the poorly chopped herbs there, looking like trees. In a moment of horror I realised I’d forgotten to photograph the dish but luckily there was enough left over to get this shot. I put the rest of it in the freezer to languish with all the other probably unfreezeable leftovers I reheat for unsuspecting guests these days. It is working out to be much more economical than expected, making the effort to cook each evening.

To be true to The Measure I checked out Proenza Schouler stuff online and discovered my suspicions were not only true but exceeded – the cheapest leather thing on Net-a-Porter was a ‘pochette’ (a small bag in which posh women keep their doubloons) for about fifty million (660) pounds. So I didn’t get it. I keep my doubloons in a mouse’s stomach I stretched and cured at the orphanage, which has lasted me all this time.


  • Take your hat off indoors, young lady.
  • Chop proper.
  • About seven promotions lie between me and the pochette.

Monday 4, sorry 3, August

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on August 4, 2009

Today was the last day of my bikini wearing and I’m afraid I chickened out slightly and wore a vest for my photo. Mind you that’s pretty much the closest thing I have to the ridiculous garment the model’s wearing. I imagine most people would just be slightly irritated if you walked past them in that swimsuit by the pool at your average all-inclusive. There might be the odd cry of ‘Borat!’ as well. If I tried to wear it I’d look like a cross between Linda Lusardi and a trussed-up chicken, which is rarely the effect I’m looking for.  Never say never, though.

As a footnote, I didn’t go to work in this. I would be sent home and it’s a busy time. I put a little black dress and a jacket on. Know your limits.

Get a black swimsuit

Get a black swimsuit

Get a black cloak. Please.

Get a black cloak. Please.

 I wasn’t really into the pose but I did kind of try, a bit. You can’t see it properly in the photo but I was holding a wooden owl who’s made a previous appearance in this blog. He’s my one ornithological prop.

And that’s it! No more swimwear. For the time being, at least, and here’s hoping.

The photo was taken by dear Liv, who came over for dinner. We had another of Hugh’s marinades, with lamb (a combination of chops and kebabs to try out both his suggestions) served with green salad that tasted as if Sainsbury’s had washed it in mould, pitta bread, hummus and tzatziki. By the time I met Liv I’d already eaten most of a packet of pitta bread, I was so hungry. I bought that and some wooden skewers from the Turkish supermarket but it closed its shutters mid-shopping list, hence my escape to Sainsbury’s. Sadly this is the power of the global conglomerate. It can afford to stay open until I’ve walked home from Paddington to Dalston.

Once home I polished off most of the dips while Liv chatted to a bus tour guide on the phone. I did save her some though. The eating of the dips meant we were able to wait at least haf an hour for the lamb to marinate but we had to eat and digest before bed and couldn’t give it much more than that. I could make these marinades and add the meat in the morning before work, but we all know that time is for sleeping and plaiting one’s hair into complicated styles.

The lamb came put pretty nice, if a bit less tasty than his other recipes so far (see the previous few posts). Also not sure about grated onion. I think it gave the yoghurt a bitter taste. The lamb was tender though. Not bad; not the best.


  • Thank the gods and goddesses for the end of beachwear week.
  • Marinades probably do work better if you have time to leave them a while.
  • Onions are made for chopping or slicing more than grating.