Wednesday, March 23, 2011

These boots are made for walking, running and spontaneous/difficult dance moves.

There was a full blown mission to be accomplished this week. I needed to find boots. The kind of footwear which fit my exact style and vision, at the cost of all else (which also didn’t cost… a lot). This drive was born from frustration and wet feet, and was getting so chokingly bad I was blaming random shoe salesmen and fellow shoppers for their inadequate meeting of my needs. The timing was key and, like everything, I undertook this task a little too late. You see, you need to get new boots NOW in London, so you benefit from their even coverage and no holes during the tail end of winter weather, but then transition smoothly through the lighter tights weather of spring and into some serious boots with dress action for summer. Time was running out.

So why did I leave it so long? I’ve been processing this, and it could be that I’m bad at letting things go. Not emotionally (give me a repressed memory and I will show that sucker the door in less than five minutes), but materially. I also give myself far too many props in the fields of handiwork. For example, I have been known to not purchase something purely because “I could make it”, or force myself to eat 6 day old risotto (I was FINE). The boots situation had gotten this desperate after too many years ignoring the growing chasm (read: heinous rip) in my old boot faithfuls. In the interest of keeping these soles active for as long as possible we had been through three different superglue interventions, including the infamous day the glue turned chalky white and I coloured over it with a black sharpie.

I didn’t think this prolonging of the slow and painful shoe death was necessarily a bad thing but then today, in a work meeting, I looked down and realised I was wearing a bracelet glued in not one, but two places. The gluemanship was amateur at best. I glanced around casually, wondering if anyone had spotted this DIY repair. Actually, on looking down, did they also spy the hem on my brown skirt, which I’d happily mended with large, childish stitches and RED THREAD? Where was the brown thread when I’d embarked on this crafty alteration and why the hell did I decide red was a worthy substitute? Panicking, I tried to determine if the naked eye could also see I was wearing two pairs of socks, each placed strategically over the other’s holes. My colleagues were judging me, I could tell. Bastards.

In the meeting (which was SO LONG AND BORING) I also remembered the last formal work party I went to, when I wore awesome red earrings. One of them was stuck together with sticky tape. Then I had a flash back of the cardigan I wore for a year, with its oversized, loose lining bunched together in a hair tie. Every time I leant backwards I had to adjust to get the knot away from my kidneys. As a final insult to my many self-inflicted injuries I began rummaging for my free sample lip gloss and realised I was carrying a teeny in your bag umbrella (see the ode to umbrellas here) which was harnessed shut by a red elastic band, its two broken spindles sticking out wildly. Do I get caught out in the rain? Yes. Do I care enough to actually purchase a new brolly? Apparently not.

Doing a bit of research I’ve found the affliction of frugalness/apathy isn’t just mine to bear. A friend (who lives in Berlin… *cough*) admitted to not only having the same issue with boot finding, but that her holes had gotten so bad she was wearing PLASTIC BAGS ON HER FEET. (Inside the damaged footwear, yes, but really the above sentence pretty much spells insanity). Now that you’re reading this you’re remembering your own frugal sins, aren’t you? The bag held together with safety pins (in a non post punk way), the missing button(s) on your favourite shirt, the fact that you’re told to change your mascara every three months but you still use the free one your friend Neha gave you over a year ago… well welcome to the club!

I’m not sure if this revelation has does anything to change my approach to replacing personal goods but it does make me think it’s advisable to be a little more on top of things, to hopefully stop the weather getting on top of you…

Berlin tomorrow (the home of boot finding) if it’s in intervals or not, there’s still sun. And warmth! Embrace Berliners.

PS. I did find boots. But for some reason I’m wearing the old holey ones again today? LET IT GO KEELEY.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm having a love affair with this ice cream sandwich...

...or food you love in the right time of year.

The weather dictates many things. Our mood, our clothes, our desire to leave the house or get intimate with our partners (it does, doesn’t it? Everyone?). It also influences the food we buy, consume, crave and grow. Summer salads, winter soups, seasonal fare, all of this is dependent on a certain kind of weather.

So here are currently the best things to eat in…

Ice cream, icey things, iced something else and strawberries.

Summertime is a bitter sweet, double edged, food eating paradise, because it’s too damn hot to eat the plethora of delicious goods on offer. Anything with dairy (which isn’t frozen) makes you feel like you’ve been rolling around in fatty, creamy unsexy mud wrestle (which is NEVER sexy, contrary to popular (mens’) belief) and anything warmer than room temperature is like a hot iron scalding your parched lips (melodramatic, no?). In light of this we need the freshest, juiciest, most crunchy foods we can get our unmittened mitts on.

Best summer recipe:

This is from Joy the Baker, who is indeed both joyful and bakes. In this case, she is freezing.

Soupy soups, soupy stews, soupy anything else.

Eating seasonally means having to ‘weather’ the less productive months, eg the barren land of winter. Living in England this spells root vegetables. And more root vegetables. The amount of damn root vegetables you get delivered starts to get a little unwelcome come Feb. I’ve now developed a hearty dislike of parsnips after one too many root vegetable “curries” and also concur that brussels sprouts have limited serving possibilities. We must push our gumboot feet through the roots and find winners like this little gem.

Best winter recipe:

This is from Deb, my favourite all rounder, who seems to love brussels sprouts. But she calls them brussel sprouts. I want to trust her, but I'm so confused!!

Anything pink, dewy and fresh, which looks like a welcome smile.

Spring, you joyous time. When tiny bud heads start to poke out of the ground like a cheeky reminder of fun to come (they're also full of euphemism). Asparagus is back! Greenery! Tomatoes which taste like bursts of joy! This is the time to celebrate with diverse recipes (chuck a pomegranate in a salad, you rogue) and paying full attention to detail on the presentation. Like little flowers and stuff.

Best spring recipe:

Don’t be put off by the many steps in Sophie’s recipe. It’s totally worth it.


Everything wholesome and good in the world.

When the reds and greens start to become purple and browns, you start to get a bit autumnal with your cooking too. This pretty much means beetroot. Be warned though. You’ll be super happy about eating from the depths of the earth, all like ‘how awesome is it that we have beets again! I can’t wait for the parsnip/brussels sprout casserole I’m about to whip up!’ and then comes Feb…

Best Autumn recipe:

Couldn't name check Jamie but not use him as a resource, right?

Seasonal eating can be tough (life, hey?), and I know that we’re not all Jamie Oliver type characters when it comes to the kitchen. What I do know though, is that the weather should be our good food guide. Finding a pineapple 4 weeks into winter? Be suspicious…very suspicious. Check out websites like this to find out a little more about choice seasonal eating.

New York tomorrow, it’s almost t-shirt weather!! Actually screw it, its t-shirt weather. Ignore the softly falling rain and the fact that you’re actually cold. It’s SPRING!

When I say best I mean right now, in this second, and not for all time. I reserve the right to change my mind any day, week or hour.

This blog is dedicated to a special new member of the world. Welcome Milo Charlie Gallagher! Learn to read quickly so you can up my viewing stats.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why do they call it spring cleaning?

We’ve just hit a fantastic date in the weather watching calendar, when Mother Nature decides to slip in to something a little more comfortable. Yep, the seasons are a changin’, and spring is sprung for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. A costume change is also happening for you in the South (as it tends to in this topsy, turvy world), offering a like chance to ready your homestead for the coming new temperatures. Are you ready for a fierce spring clean, or to free your winter woollies from their moth ball beds?

Sustaining the energy for these seasonal cleaning jobs can be difficult. How many times have you gotten half way through removing mould from your grouting using white vinegar and a toothbrush only to wish you’d just painted the black marks with white-out? In the interest of rescuing you from the house cleaning blues, here are a few home tips to add inspiration and organisation to your yearly clean out.


• Cleaning your oil burner. I have a friend who did this, which is actual insanity. It’s like cleaning the inside of a fire place. 

• Dusting the top of doors. The 1960’s are over (which I presume was the time people swept door top debris into their pans, along with a dream to ever be anything more than a damn housewife whose primary goal is finding the perfect table centrepiece. If Mad Men has taught us anything it’s this, and that a high level of body hair isn’t a turn off if it’s on Jon Hamm.)

• Under the bed. Meh.

• Establishing a CD catalogue system involving stickers, library cards and an overwhelming need to explain the placement of Dr Albarn next to Jeff Buckley. This says more about you than you know…


• Bottom of the bin. You’re in denial that bin juice has most definitely found its insidious way through the bin bag and is now making a happy liquid home in the bottom of your receptacle.

• That awkward space around the bottom of the toilet. No long handled implement can access this notorious spot, admit it. This is a hands and knees, face near the bowl kind of job. Hmmm this first, or the bin juice? What choice!

• Receipts. If they’re out dated, get rid of them. Especially the ones from the early 2000s which are so faded you can’t actually tell what you bought but you think it’s a best of Crowded House CD, a packet of malteasers and bandaids. What kind of shop were you in that stocked all those things?

• Go through the everything drawer. I once found three mosquito coils, a sparkler, the Pretty Woman soundtrack on cassette and a dead cockroach. Imagine all the cool things tucked away in yours!!


• Fridge assessment. Those happy carrots hanging out in the veggie drawer have an unseen side. That would be the side sporting the mould beard. Also once, at a friend’s mum’s, we found a jar of chutney which expired in 1998. Still looked good.

• Freezer. Same as above really. You probably have no idea what it originally was, but now it all looks the same… white.

• Sock drawer clean out. I realised the other day I was wearing fluffy cartoon heart socks. I’m a 30 year old woman.

• Medicine cabinet. Medicine goes off, we’re told. This might be bullshit, so sometimes you think its okay to drop a couple panedine forte from 2005. It probably isn’t.

So aside from channelling a bit of Martha Stewart (minus the actual help and jail time Martha would have brought) I hope you’ve found this guidance and inspiration for your yearly sprucing helpful. Now you just need to find your perfect cleaning soundtrack and polish your halo.

London tomorrow (on this second day of Spring!) as long as you’re not out at 3am, it’ll be sunny skies. Spring time frolicking begin!