Wednesday, 30 November 2011

strikes, protests and pip being a hero

Today london was on strike. More than TWO MILLION public sector workers marched around the city to say 'damn the man' over their shit pension schemes. fair enough too. i hope they get better pensions.

The best moment of my day (strike-less, sadly...) was getting this email from my friend Pip (who you may remember from this brilliant story) She is currently in Poland attending an oil & gas conference.
oh pip. you are awesome.

From: Pip
Sent: 30 November 2011 12:51

I tackled two anti-shale gas protesters who stormed our stage yesterday and stopped the conference for two hours. They chained themselves to the stage and to each other and started kicking at people if we went near them. We called the police who arrested them and dragged them off.

Just sayin'


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

a love story about my new jacket

Today, I wore my new michelin-man inspired shin-length down jacket to work. yes.
(and yes, i have been mocked and ridiculed for this purchase...)
i wore a summer dress underneath and tottered down the street.
it was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
it was like wearing a sleeping bag.
i was the toastiest, happiest michelin man on the street.
and then (yes, it gets better) it RAINED a little... so i got to put on my HOOD! my faux fur lined HOOD on my glorious sleeping bag jacket.
i was a walking cocoon.
gosh it was good.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

6 months today!

Today marks 6 months of london living. Gosh. They* say that after 6 months you feel settled and things get better and better from then. In the last week I went to see Roxette and was secretly PUMPED to discover they were supported by Darren Hayes of Savage Garden fame, who apparently has a new album out (?) but played truly, madly deeply do- which pleased me. I also purchased a shin length gigantic Michelin-man inspired down jacket which feels like wearing a giant doona around… so, honestly, I cannot imagine how the next six months can top that!
Oh goodie.

6 months in..
So, in honour of our anniversary, here are 6 things I have learned about London so far…

1. mice. 
We had (potentially have, but I follow a strict ‘ignore a problem and it disappears’ mindset) a mouse issue. yes. it is fair to say that we did not cope well with seeing a mouse. oh no. at about 11pm, louise and i were screaming and on top of the kitchen table basically acting out any cliche of woman vs mouse. So, then i went to the corner store (leaving louise wimpering on the table) which quite literally only sells milk, bread and FOUR different types of mouse traps (i think at this point i realised that perhaps our problem was not as uncommon as i'd thought...) I chose the least scary looking trap, which was a little sticky mat that the mice get stuck on. It seemed a lovely option. however, this plan was not well thought through, as about half an hour later the mouse got stuck on the sticky mat and made all sorts of horrible "i'm stuck on a sticky mat" mouse noises. It was horrible. Louise and I screamed, threw a bucket at the sticky mat (?), closed the door and sat on the kitchen table again. panicking. We then googled "what to do with a mouse stuck in a sticky mat" which revealed all sorts of horrible things about the fact that mice panic and have heart attacks and try and eat their own legs off to get free and apparently, the traps are so inhumane they are illegal in Victoria and Ireland. good god. So then, i suddenly have overwhelming love and affection for the mouse and want him to run free with his other mouse-y friends. it was a dark time at french place.

Eventually (as, in HOURS later) pip came home. amen. The google had made us experts on free-ing mice but, clearly, we lacked the balls to do anything about it. Pip took charge like Xena warrior princess and at 2am we were all outside pouring olive oil on the mouse to free him from the sticky mat. it was then revealed that he HAD HIS FACE STUCK TO THE STICKY MAT. his FACE. dear god. his little mousey FACE.

Eventually, we used a full bottle of olive oil to save him, and he scampered away (prob, straight back into our house...) and then we went back inside to find ANOTHER mouse in the sticky mat. we were better then second time (to be fair, it would be hard to be worse...)

I do not like mice.

2. the water is recycled. Oh. My friend Kym (who know lots of interesting things) recently told me that she read somewhere that the tap water has been through an average of 7 sets of kidneys before you drink it. SEVEN. Oh dear.

3. berries are brilliant, and cheap, and fresh and so so awesome.. but the beetroot weirdly comes in vacuum sealed bags and is expensive. Candice the personal trainer once gave me a list of eating rules, one of which was ‘no fruit after 6pm’… this is the only rule which I can actually remember because Pip has taken it on with gusto. No fruit after 6pm. Let’s eat cake instead. Candice said so.

4. flowers are fabulously cheap here. The Columbia Road flower market is lovely. I like how the flower sellers yell at each other and shout about how their flowers are better than the seller next doors. Yes. The last time we went there, I was befriended by a homeless man who had a performing dog and he told me all about the issues he has with his leg when it gets cold. indeed.

5. bullies exist. A few weeks back I was walking down the street minding my own business, when 2 teenagers walking towards me slowed down and one said “oh I love your shoes, where did you get them” and then as I opened my mouth to respond. They walked/ran off. I was BULLIED. On the street. By TEENAGERS. About my SHOES. How tragically awkward. ha.

6. The northern line tube is not worth the ink on the tube map, given the fact that it is ALWAYS closed, and frankly doesn’t actually go anywhere you want to go except kings cross… and when you do want to go there, it’s closed.  

p.s- This is my new toothbrush holder. Isn’t it swell!? Its little monkey head holds my toothbrush then opens when I brush my teeth. He’s my favourite thing right now. hello monkey head. x


* so says my friend Elissa, who also raves about the crackers in London; considers them to be the best thing about the city. Yes. I like them ok, but elissa is bang up for a London cracker.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

girls on skateboards

oh the fun you're having skateboard girls.
i assume my snowboard trip to St Anton in December to be like this... just with more clothing and a lot more falling down.
I only hope there is an upbeat song playing throughout, just like in your lives.

Friday, 18 November 2011

happy weekend!

Mo-vember is a tough month where men get decidedly less attractive (don't get me wrong, it's a great cause... but ugly)
so, here are some prettier things. awesome-ness in picture form.

1. horses. beach. if there were brownie sundaes in this picture i would frame it and put it in a locket. (might be slightly less awkward than my first week of work in london when i opened my locket in a meeting and revealed a picture of allie that she'd sneakily stuck in there before i left home. yes...)


2. my gorgeous friend ella got MARRIED today in sydney... i cannot wait to hear about it and see all the photos... until then, i will assume it looked like this, 

3. my family is pretty gnarly at jumping. i will miss jumping at christmas this year...

4. The lights are up, i've bought a kick-ass advent calendar made up of 25 little stockings with candy in them (even had to hammer some nails in the wall to put it up... don't tell the landlord) and am loving the cold air which makes the shops so cozy and inviting. oh yes, i'm starting to get PUMPED for christmas...  
 guess it's true then...


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

getting a perm?

i have a first world problem (actually, it's safe to assume that ALL my 'problems' are first world issues given the fact that i spend most of my time making money for a bank, and the rest of it explaining to london 'baristas' the coffee to milk ratio that is required to perfect a flat white... but i digress.)
A few weeks ago i had my hair cut here and while doing so noticed that they have 'perming' on their fancy pants menu.
i was intrigued.
i enquired.
i was convinced.
i booked.
but now i am nervous and considering cancelling it and just getting it straightened again.... yes, you can see my dilemma now can't you.
so... should i try it? she said it would be fabulous and fun and i'm sort of excited by that.
but then again, will i look like bon jovi?

but frankly, he looks pretty rad eh?
oh dear.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Guy Fawkes in Mansfield

I’m not a runner. No one has ever called me a runner (at least not to my face) but this weekend i was lured up to Mansfield (a teeny town in north east england) to partake in the Robin Hood Adventure Race, in part to impress candice the personal trainer but mostly for the promise of a fun weekend away in the countryside with cool kids Alex, Pip, Duncan and Liss (she doesn’t like it when you call her elissa… I struggle with this aspect of our friendship. I enjoy saying the word Elissa a lot. I like having a vowel in which to roll onto an L quite frankly. Similar to the issue i have with saying words like Will or Mel i guess… it's hard to say. I’d like a consonant in which to finish an L. no? )

Some interesting facts we knew about Mansfield before arriving:
  1. It’s the gun-crime capital of the UK (I've since looked into this and apparently, in it's defence... the claim was actually about the nearby city Nottingham. or...shottingham. BOOM!)
  2. Two separate people recommended the Pizza Hut as a place to go to dinner. yes. the fast food chain. TWO. SEPARATE. PEOPLE. ha.
  3. Alex’s family are from there, and there is a traffic light where her gumpy’s dentist office used to be. yep.

What we discovered about Mansfield while we were there:

1. Strangely, not everyone looked like Alex. (that said, a lot of them did.)
2. Tesco is awesome outside of the city. In Shoreditch we only have a ‘tesco express’ which has about 6 shelves of things and is basically, a glorified step up from the petrol station shop next door. But Tesco in Mansfield was brilliant. Tesco in Mansfield was open 24 hours. Tesco in Mansfield sold iPads and kindles, horse riding crops and crop tops (of which, some were bought). We loved Mansfield Tesco. We filled a trolley. We talked about the regret we had for not having a car/semi trailer in which we could store more tesco-bought things. We bought things we didn’t even know we needed (I picked up a teddy bear named Gumpy, some ear muffs and £80 worth of fireworks. Yes.) On our way in, Alex made a joke (oh. Alex) about Tesco selling guns. I bet they would’ve if we’d asked.

3. They are firework crazy (admittedly our night in Mansfield coincided with Guy Fawkes night… but who am I to say that it doesn’t happen every night in Mansfield. i secretly hope it does.) We set off our tesco-bought fireworks in the field outside our hotel (yes… our hotel had fields. A la downton abbey. Alex and I even stayed in the honeymoon suite. Yep.) Our gigantic box of explosives was the LAST ONE IN THE STORE! so so so exciting. On closer inspection, it revealed that our firework display would last 75seconds. This did not deter us. We were complete nerdy children about the whole thing: We read the instructions, asked for a pamphlet on safety rules (which, it appears, there are none) got giggly with excitement, jumped from foot to foot in the carpark about who was going to hold the box (Duncan) and who would have to light the fuse (Emily). Oh, we were so nervous. we sort of whooped and cheered in anticipation a lot. a lot. The owner of our hotel was so nonchalant about safety he recommended we set it off on the deck. In a potplant. He was rad. (prob the reason that the next day, alex became friends with him on facebook. Gosh) We were, in hindsight, very uncool. After we’d bought our box-of-glory we saw a 5 year old boy throwing a tantrum in the tesco carpark because there were no sparklers left and his mum was saying ‘it’s not the end of the world that we don’t have fireworks small child’. We smugly looked at our box-of-glory and felt superior to the 5 year old. Yes.

...But then, there were FIREWORKS! Fireworks which WE set off! in the SKY! and they were loud and bright and exPLODED! We were HEROS. We were FIRE STARTING WARRIORS. weeeeeeee! And then, 75seconds later, it was all over. Oh 

4. Robin Hood's forest is a nice place for a run. The big kids did the 10km run. I registered for the friendlier-sounding 'Maid Marian Run' which was only 5km (I say 'only' but in truth, I tried to do the 'little john 2km' run, until discovering that it was for people aged 14 and under...) Oh. We all survived. We were heros for the 2nd time in 24hours. Pip got bizarrely nervous in the build up to the run (prob all the excitement about the fireworks didn't help..) and sort of freaked everyone out with her twitchiness. Between us, we had an array of injuries which rivalled an old people’s home: knees, backs, hips, hamstrings… and, from me, general unfitness and laziness. But we were undeterred. Alex practically lapped me, but other than that, we walked (read: hobbled for most) away as HEROS. Robin Hood would have been proud.

     All in all, it was a tops weekend. Super tops. 
    Here are some more photos of all Mansfield has to offer... the list of which is topped by 'ability to purchase a Santa Claus onsie which Alex now owns, and we are all insanely jealous of'...


    'Til next time, Mansfield xoxo

Thursday, 3 November 2011

french kissing... this wouldn't happen in germany that's for damn sure.

My friend Pip is awesome. Her workplace is insane.
I imagine her office to be a bit like melrose place, or some other such place with a soft focus lens and a lot of lingering looks where everyone parades around kissing each other's partners' dead wives' AA sponsor and then spreading rumours and threatening to kill someone else, before popping out for some Botox at lunch. or something.
One time Pip was the victim of a 'phone-hacking' type hoax which led her to believe that her boss was leaving work to join the circus; a rumour which Pip believed (and when she explains the lengths they went to, to convince her... i sort of understand) and retold to clients. oh. awkward.

Working in a, sadly, less-than-scandalous workplace... i rely on Pip to provide a daily update on her office gossip. Last week she came home with a BRILLIANT story involving a girl at her work, Anna, who had recently been on a date with a french man.

Unfortunately their date was not all baguettes, fake moustaches and champagne; but rather a date where she drove him on an 8hour round trip to another village (oh england and your villages, you so crazy.) which... apparently wasn't the greatest.

Alas, their love didn't blossom but the following email trail MORE than makes up for the lack of baguettes and fake moustaches in my life...

For anyone who's ever had a bad date... xoxo

From: frenchman
To: anna
Subject: finito!
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:52:56 +0000
done with your book! Fab. Sorry it took long. Lots of self reflection. Will start war and peace soon. Will hand it over when we next catch up. Will be around as usual. We can just regroup s/where centrally. Have you had the chance to progress mine at all? 
I have also calculated the cost of petrol for the northfolk trip- your share is about £15. I took your trip to weybridge into consideration. 

Catch you later. 

From: anna
To: frenchman
Subject: RE: finito!
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 12:41:22 +0100
Glad you enjoyed the book! I'm afraid I haven't been able to finish yours' but thanks for lending it to me.  I'm afraid I am very time-poor, heading back to Oxfordshire every weekend for various family reasons and working until 9 pm most nights which is pretty tough. Please send me your postal address and I can pop it in the post for you.

Re: fuel charge, In my mind the fact that I bought and cooked dinner the night before we went to Norfolk and the emotional toll of driving for 8 hours in one day rather offsets the cost of the fuel in my mind, but if you are serious about it, then I'm sure I can sacrifice Tolstoy and you can keep it as compensation.

From: frenchman
To: anna
Subject: RE: finito!
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 12:14:39 +0000
hello you....

tks for the news! Looks like you have lots on your plate at the moment... Hope nothing too serious with Oxfordshire? All's hectic his end... As always!

I'll be popping in in central london tomorrow late morning, and at some point over next week as well. Suggest I stop by your work, so I can collect the book and the monies? An enveloppe by reception will do if you cant come down... I am aware and grateful you cooked dinner, though i am afraid it doesnt quite cover the petrol charges at all going to Nortfolk. The trip was mutually agreed, you decided to take part of it, and hopefully somehow enjoyed as well! Suffice to say that this isn't really open to negotiation to be honest... 

Anyways, let me know whether tomorrow works, and i'll make sure to bring Tolstoy as well. 

Thank you.

From: frenchman
To: anna
Subject: FW: finito!
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 20:32:53 +0000

me again..... Gentle reminder, can you please make sure you get the book and monies for tomorrow? Will stop by 1pm or so. Very hectic my end as well, and this has been dragging on for a month now. Partly my fault, i admit, i took some time to read resurrection. 

Anyways, dont work too late, and let me know for tomorrow- dont forget!


And then, then, he ROCKED UP at the office, where she had left an envelope of fake money with reception (!!!!) ... and he REFUSED TO LEAVE!!
just, wow.
(and i thought the fact my office is getting a new revolving door was awesome...)


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

30 gifts for 30 strangers

oh i LOVE this.

once, i was standing on the footpath talking to a friend outside a restaurant and a man came down the street with a huge bunch of long stemmed red roses all done up tizzy with babies breath and ribbons galore. He walked up to me and sort of flung them at me and said "hey, do you want these? I just got stood up on my date" and then sort of shuffled off.

i was JOYOUS to have received second-hand, unwanted roses.
so happy indeed.
it made my day.
...actually considering that this happened in 2005 and i'm still talking about it means that it sort of made my decade (gosh, that's a tragic realisation) so, i love this little video and the fact things like that actually happen!
well played lucas.


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