Guardian Girl

Dresses to impress #1

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on February 23, 2010

Don’t feel like too much of a twit in my clothes today, which makes a really lovely change.

It’s just a white dress and a grey jacket, isn’t it, with the addition of some beetroot-coloured, woollen tights that were entirely my own choice. Well, I suppose they were the weather’s choice really. He (the weather, that is, who as we all know is an old man) certainly didn’t choose bare legs this week.

Dresses

Dresses

Messes

Messes

Conclusion:

  • Ach, not a lot to say really is there? Yotam’s soup recipe looks tasty for tonight and the week’s fashion isn’t too taxing. Quite looking forward to checking out the Measure-recommended sneakers and chucking out me old Converse. Looks like it’s shaping up to be an OK kind of a week.
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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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Jumping, fair trade

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

Steak salad, fairtrade cake, jumping in a pink minidress. That was the weekend for me. Wasn’t it for all Guardian readers?

Today I took the day off work and went to the Nicole Farhi show, being sure to take a packet of Mini Creme Eggs in my pocket (see this week’s Measure). I found it a curiously pleasing experience to eat chocolate while watching those coppices of bony thighs breeze by. It was like watching The Snowman in front of an open fire.

I also popped into Jigsaw and tried on the drape-front cardigan that gets the thumbs up this week. It was lovely and soft, a good colour and a great shape. But I still couldn’t make myself spend £79 on it.

Tonight, fried pineapple and ice cream. Happy times.

Mango, avocado and steak salad

Mangled avocado and steak salad

Shorts stuff

Warthog

Banana chocolate cake

Bedraggled chocolate cake

Conclusion:

• So far, the week is good and the food is great. The fashion, notsomuch.

Autumn glow

Posted in Make-up, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on October 1, 2009

What is an autumn glow? A slightly paler version of a summer glow?

Maybe I’m a bad judge of such things but this make-up look appeared inadvisable to me. It’s not really going to fool anyone you’ve just come back from holiday, is it?

Nonetheless I’ve been faithfully recreating it on my own face every day this week. During The Break I was wearing a lot of heavy black eye make-up so it’s been quite nice in a way to see my face again. I do like the way that when you’re used to wearing quite a lot of slap and then you look in the mirror bare-faced, there’s a sort of honest look about your reflection.

I’ve been doing my make-up in the bathroom this week rather than the bedroom as I usually do. I can’t explain this phenomenon, it just came about. Fascinating isn’t it? The reason I mention this is that my bronzer remained in my bedroom for the first few days, and I couldn’t be bothered to walk across my enormous  flat and get it, so I actually brushed brown eyeshadow all over my cheeks instead. Now I’m writing this I feel embarrassed about it but at the time it felt absolutely logical, like when I used to put all my chewed-up Trident gum back into the blister pack it comes in and keep it on my desk, so when someone asked for a piece I’d slide back the cover and they’d see half a pack of fresh bits next to half a pack of gnarled up spitty lumps in varying shades depending on what else I’d most recently eaten, and it was only when several people had reeled back in horror and disgust that I sort of looked at my behaviour from the outside. I suppose that was more revolting than the eyeshadow thing but it my head it seems similar.

I have remembered to use eyeshadow base about 50% of the time, which feels like quite an achievement, but even better is the fact that I’ve been using make-up brushes! Yes I have, because the friend and designer who puts my photos into squares for this blog, Michelle, who I’m sure you’ll remember from earlier posts, gave me the most brilliant present – a tiny box filled with make up brushes and an angled mirror.

I’ve had a bit of a turnaround on the lipgloss front too – it looks less Posh Spice with long fringey black hair, and is edging very slightly closer to Meg White (if I look at myself with my eyes so squinty as to be pretty much closed).

Here are the make-up photos then. Considering how horrified I was when I saw the original, the result is a relief.

Autumn glow

Autumn glow

(I spilt water on the mag and photographed it at dusk, sorry Lozza)

Awful blow

Awful blow

 

Sadly I look like a monk here. Certainly not bronzed. I think this is because my bronzer was originally one of those double ones that has highlighter and bronzer in the same compact, and I went out having fun, dropped my handbag and smashed the powder blocks so they mashed up together. So what I’m now putting on my face is a mixed-up sheen about the same shade as my natural skin tone. It just makes me look a bit more pearly than usual – rubbish, especially on bad skin. I ought to buy myself some cheap bronzer I guess.

Conclusions:

  • I look forward to discovering what a winter glow looks like before long.
  • Putting a bit of lipstick on your cheeks to make them look flushed is one thing, but perhaps streaks of brown eyeshadow’s taking it a little far.
  • Make-up brushes really make things easier.
  • Nothing wrong with looking like a monk.

Dip/stick

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on September 29, 2009

Today’s photo is a self-portrait because I couldn’t leave the house in what I was wearing. Would you take me seriously if you bumped into me around the office wearing this?

If I’d only had a coral Margaret Howell blouse, some drawstring moleskin trousers and perhaps a tiny pair of hips, I’d be looking chic today. Oh, and a pair of clear-rimmed specs. But these garms are the closest I could get and, as you can see, tracksuit bottoms (Fat Face 1999 – not really Best Dressed material) an orange top, cropped Primark shirt and fancy-dress glasses do not a professional lady make. I changed into black h-h-h-harem pants and swapped the shirt for my beloved Farhi by Nicole Farhi covering-up mannish shirt thing so I looked less like I’d soiled myself, added a big scarf to make it look like I had some kind of intention for my appearance and headed off to the bus stop flowingly. I do look like a psychodrama workshop facilitator today but that’s probably better than looking like a plain old psychodrama. Today I’d like to add an extra dimension to my snap by providing the soundtrack that was going on in my head as I looked in the mirror. For those who have spotify: http://open.spotify.com/track/1Vchex0xowRj9k59RLvRfo.

Step out

Step out

 

Stay in

Stay in

Dinner last night, on the other hand, was a steaming success. It was Hugh’s Muhamarra recipe, a very tasty affair involving walnuts, bread, olive oil, baked red peppers, chilli flakes, lime juice and caramelised onion chutney because I couldn’t find any pomegranate molasses. Once I was on Guardian Soulmates – why not, since I outsource every other decision in my life to the Guardian, let it choose me a lover as well? I met this guy and Jesus Christ was he a bore. He was even more smug than me. He was sick with the nation because it promoted cultural low-browism by celebrating Harry Potter. I unfortunately hit upon the subject of his difficult relationship with his father within ten minutes of meeting him – purely accidental – and the tense diatribe that followed was a terrifying to behold, and highly awkward to react to over a conversational pint of Strongbow. Anyway I went home after a while and shortly afterwards decided to choose my own menfolk. But the point of this story is that he harped on at great length about how amazing pomegranate molasses is, and how you can use it to add depth to any flavour, and how you can get it any Turkish shop. But I was in Sainsbury’s in my tracksuit (because I’m now running everywhere in order to maintain this experiment without growing out of the last remaining giantsize harem pants) and I couldn’t find any, so I just bought some Taste the Difference chutney instead. It’s a bit soapy to be honest. ANYWAY, the dip is stunningly delicious. You must make it. If you can’t be bothered to do the bits involving the peppers, the paste made with all the other ingredients is delicious in itself. Walnutty oily rich wonder with bread dipped in. I ate plenty of it before I added the peppers. Hugh told me to add the rest of the ingredients after the peppers but I rebelliously ignored him. I was wating for the peppers to cook so I thought I may as well get the rest ready.

Also I used my hand blender! If you’ve been reading from the start you’ll know this is a great thing as it marks my triumph over the emotional scars I earned during an egg white incident.

Here are the photies:

Muhamarra

Muhamarra

 

Muhm-muhm-ahhh

Muhm-muhm-ahhh

 

I know it looks kind of like a feline production here but that’s just any ungarnished dip for you isn’t it? I added extra chilli flakes, chutney and cumin so it’s got quite a kick. It’s making me mildly perspire as I eat the remains for lunch while typing this.

Conclusions:

  • I’m taking a long moment to appreciate the fact that I changed out of that heinous outfit before coming to work.
  • I strongly recommend trying the dip.
  • Peeling red peppers is pretty tricky even after doing the oven/plastic bag trick but the dip doesn’t appear to have suffered by having skins in it.

Resurrection

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on September 28, 2009

When I started this blog I decided to pretty much keep the whole thing quiet, bar telling a few friends who helped me take photos or directly asked me what the hell I was doing after walking in on me photographing myself in a bikini with a walking stick between my thighs. Rather than fabricating some phoney story about Hannibal Lecter for the post-gendered/neo-hiking era (I don’t know at all what I mean by this but it sounds like a joke, which is half the battle)  I told them what I was doing and gradually developed a small but loyal following of regular readers with whom I enjoyed sharing my adventures in Guardianland. A few other people happened upon it while searching for Dan Lepard recipes (poor souls didn’t get much help here), Andy Pandy (again, sorry folks) and female humiliation (probably not what they had in mind) .  Some of them kept coming back, and I decided the rest of the world could do without seeing it really.

But a few weeks after I decided to jack the whole thing in I posted the link on Facebook, since it was sitting there all finished with, which then led to something to do with Twitter and something to do with Stumbleupon and some other things I can’t quite get a grip on, which then led to bemusing amounts of people actually asking me not to give it up, while on their knees with tears on their faces. I have always felt it was my calling in life to sacrifice my personal dignity, large amounts of cash, my physical health and all my spare time in order to provide mild entertainment to friends and acquaintances. So it is with a heavy heart, a light wallet and an ambivalent smile that I’m resurrecting Guardian Girl.

My first post back should really be an extra special one, but it isn’t. It’s not even spectacularly unsuccessful. Just an unflattering photo of me in a checked shirt and a fairly insipid but I suppose satisfying rice and meat dish.

On Saturday morning I went off to buy the paper, accompanied by the slightly jaded cousin of my old sense of trepidation.

I sat on a bench and cracked open a can of Special Brew followed by Weekend.

I thought:

Food: same old, same old.

Lauren Luke: Christ alive, no offence to her but she looks like a burns victim this week. Bronzing is supposed to be SAFE.

The interior design bit: hilarious for reasons I’ll elaborate on later.

Fashion: more shirts and trousers.

Not much had changed while I was away – except that they’ve started putting some of their fashion pictures online! Hooray! This makes life much easier as you can see in high-def the look I was aiming for. Maybe I’ll even be able to stop taking rubbish-quality photos of the magazine pages soon.

The Measure was more interesting. I instantly clocked that I wouldn’t be able to afford anything by Dries van Noten but that Topshop was on the list too. Astley Clark jewellery – possible. The Reiss belt is lovely, and in fact I packed myself off to Angel that very day and bought me one, which cost an eye-watering 60-odd quid and made me feel extremely guilty. It’s not that lovely after all – it looks a bit Dorothy Perkins when you combine it with most of my other clothes. That 1971 collection is very nice, a bit Dallasy and a bit Suzi Quatroey, but when I put that sort of jangling stuff on I just look like I’ve been doing guilty trolley dashes down Primark again (which I usually have).

On Sunday it was time to face reality and get back into the cookery properly again, so I tackled Hugh’s first recipe of the week, which was something called Maqluba.

My actual-genius friend Jesse came to dine and ate the food happily but seemed relieved when she found out it was a Guardian recipe, as it was licence to come clean with the truth – that it “could do with a bit more salt”. I quite agreed, especially eating it cold the next day when this kind of dish is usually extra tasty. I perhaps should have used more than one stock cube. Also I chopped my herbs way too big again – bad gal. I forgot to cut them with scissors like a helpful commenter on this blog told me to do months ago.

Coming up soon is the first photographic evidence in a long while. Hold your breath.

First of all a little bonus (I wouldn’t get too excited): the old piccies that damaged the camel’s back last time around in August before The Break.

Strike a pose

Strike a pose

 

Completely fail to strike the correct pose

Completely fail to strike the correct pose

 This makes me wonder about my brain functioning. You can imagine what I’m like in an aerobics class – windmilling around in Studio 2 while the rest of the class is doing press-ups in Studio 1. I think I just forgot to look at the original picture properly. Or at all.

I have also uncovered the last recipe I cooked, weeks ago, to say thanks to the cat godfathers for looking after My George while I was in Hamburg living the unfettered life. It was a lime pie, one of Dan Lepard’s, and it tasted kind of nice but I burned the pastry so it went black and crumbly. Also I made the tragic error of purchasing these squidgy golden kiwi things – a different type from the usuals. I really don’t recommend them. Luckily I also had a packet of bog-standard kiwi fruit (how globalised consumerism has moved on since the rationing era) and they turned out to be enough to cover the pie with.

Kiwi tart

Kiwi tart

It's a start

It's a start

 

Right then, with that out of the way, here’s last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch):

Maqluba

Maqluba

 

Maq-loser

Maq-loser

 

Mine lacks lustre doesn’t it. I overcooked the tomatoes intentionally to try to destroy some of their innate evil. It sort of worked. I also ate most of the delicious toasted flaked almonds I was supposed to scatter on the top before serving, as they were just too tempting and too close to hand to ignore. Altogether it was a pretty drab dish for something that involved so much preparation and so many flavourings. Where did they all go? Stolen by the force of heat.

So on to the moment I’ve been dreading – today’s outfit. I’ll be frank with you; the past six weeks have not been kind to me. I have reappeared in cyberworld looking like a shadow of my former self, if shadows were larger, paler and messier than the original, which would make the world a very different place wouldn’t it? I do hope to return to form at some unspecified point in the future. In the meantime please bear with me. I am ‘everywoman’ after all, it’s all in me.

Get shirty

Get shirty

 

Get surgery

Get surgery

 That really is a hideous return to the project. Nevermind.

My head is going the wrong way because I still have very fragile connections between brain and body even after that half a chapter of The Alexander Technique for Dummies I read seven years ago. And despite photographer-Cari shouting: “Spread your legs wider!” repeatedly at me as I slumped on the sink outside a cubicle in which another colleague was trying to do a quiet wee, I preserved my dignity over getting the picture right. Obviously if I’d been wearing white silk bloomers there wouldn’t have been a problem.

On a happy note, please admire the snazzy bathroom in which I pose for these photos. We moved offices at work, so it’s bye-bye tampon machine and hello clean grouting from now on.

Conclusions:

  • Hugh slacked off a bit on taste this week. Also did you know the recipe called for holding a plate over the pan of boiling meat and rice and turning it upside down? Have you seen the level of success with which I am able to copy a very simple seated pose? Put the two together and you’ll see why I didn’t attempt this – I just used a spoon.
  • Topshop sold out of that amazing UFO dress ages ago, apparently.
  • Reiss does do wonderful accessories but who’d pay £60 for a belt? Oh.
  • Lauren Luke’s make-up gives her the appearance of a Marbella-dwelling ex-pat and makes me look like a sweaty grub.
  • It’s good to be back.