Monday, 27 August 2012

Summer of Slipper

How did that happen?

One minute it was June, I was whinging about being homeless and moving house with the mother of all hangovers and then all of a sudden it’s nearly September! I never got around to a July round up as my June round up was a bit late and August arrived too quickly, so I thought I’d mash it all up in to a Summer of Slipper post instead.

After a ker-flipping-razy June, July calmed down slightly and I spent most of my weekends and quite a few evenings decorating, ripping out 1970s fitted bedroom furniture, dragging out carpets, painting squares of colour all over the house and having minor (plus one major) domestics in various furniture and DIY stores across the county. We spent most of July living in what looked like a cross between a building site and a squat, only a bit more messy. On a fun scale of 1 – 10, I’d put July at about a 4. Until, that is, THE GREATEST PARTY ON EARTH CAME TO LONDON (and then they handed the flame over to the home of what used to be the Biggest Party on Earth!).

Handing over to Rio
Yes people, the Olympics happened.

And that was that for decorating and refurbishing until the middle of August. I sat on my sofa, when I wasn't jumping on it, or leaping off it, and was glued to the coverage for hours... or in fact weeks!

I can’t put in to words how much I loved those two weeks of Olympic hysteria. I tried my best in a  little post of highlights and also a little round up for Florence Finds, after I attended the tennis at Wimbledon. The Olympics made what could have been some very stressful and lonely summer evenings (Mr G was working at them and hasn’t been home since the end of May, basically) rather enjoyable. I would also like to send my apologies to my Facebook friends for filling up their news feeds for two solid weeks with my Olympic wittering. Standby for the Paralympics!
Olympic fever!
In amongst the decorating and Olympics I did manage to fit some other activities in, mainly focussed around cocktails, cupcakes, weddings and birthdays. Of course!

I felt very un-cool whilst checking out Apples and Pears over in Brick Lane for a cocktail tea party. It seems that I’m just not down with the funky East London kids. I am however perfectly qualified to much on cupcakes and drink cocktails all night!
cocktails and cupcakes at Apples and Pears
I drank cocktails on the highest roof terrace in Europe at Sushi Samba, but freaked out in the lift on the way up and down (40 floors in an exterior glass lift!). Scary times!

What a view at dinner?

View from Sushi Samba. Eeek!
I caught up with my Powder Puff Girls/Disney Princesses for a Mexican (cocktails) and Thai (food)combo Claire’s birthday and we gave her one of the best presents ever. All will be revealed in a blog post coming soon.

I watched an open-air Michael Jackson tribute concert from our private balcony party at Wahaca in Canary Wharf and embarrassed myself in front of my entire team pulling out my aging Thriller moves!
Open air concert in the Wharf!
I drank tea, ate cake, stuffed myself with scones, guzzled fresh lemonade and caught up with some old faces at a tea party with my lovely Tea Shop Luvvies.

Afternoon tea with the Luvvies

I partied Hawaiian style  on the hottest day of the year, so far, at a garden BBQ, whilst toasting the arrival of a friend’s little girl with a coconut cocktail cup full of water as it was just too hot for anything alcoholic (what a day to be pushing?!).

Hawaiian party style!
I attended a lovely wedding and felt very Great Gatsby (how sad am I that it’s not due out now until next year?) with a ceremony on a lake, garden games and bubbly in a beautiful garden by an ornamental pool.

Wedding on a lake
I went a bit crazy on the midi length dresses worn for various weddings and birthday celebrations. Must be because I'm getting older now? He he!

Midi dress one
Midi dress two
I unfortunately missed what appeared to be an amazing hen party for someone special, but I was there in spirit and will make up for it at the wedding!

We all finally turned thirty, but nothing really changed!

I rounded off my summer, and my youth it seems, with a rave in a field to celebrate the last of my school girls turning thirty. Because our raving days are done, now that we are all finally the big Three-Oh, we started the day with a grown up champagne breakfast chez moi, having finally gotten the ground floor in a state to receive guests.

Grown up pre-raving breakfast!
Raving in a field!
I spent the best part of a day trying to convince Mr G that we need to get a puppy, specifically one of the siblings of our friends' teeny, tiny miniature cockapoo puppy. The. Cutest. Dog. EVER!

Katy having puppy snuggles!
And last, but not least, I appeared on Florence Finds as a REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR with a “Girl About Town” column! Yay me! Check out my posts on the last Tuesday of every month.

Phew. What a summer. It’s nearly Autumn and the BBQ I bought Mr G for his 30thhas remained largely untouched. I'm whiter than white. I have barely worn swimming attire. I also haven’t even gotten close to planning a house warming party. Let’s hope we have an Indian summer and I’ll try and fit it in then…

Anyway, what’s next? Well, it’s back to school in a BIG way with an extremely busy September and hopefully a break in October when Mr G finally gets released from his Olympic shift pattern on 1st October.
Stay tuned for all the September excitement…

P.S. Check out my Instagram feed for all the details in picture form!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Disney Villains

I love that after all these years of Disney Princesses, TinkerBell and friends and cuddly goodies, the Villains are finally getting in on the act. Great work Disney.

Logo from here
I wanted Cruella de Vil's number plate, I coveted the Evil Queen's perfect eyebrows and red lippie so much  that I replicated the look on my wedding day, no one rocks a scarlet nail and a cocktail ring like Maleficent (I bought one just like it a few years back and think of her every time I wear it!) and don't get me started on the Queen of Hearts. Anne Hathaway almost convinced me to join the White Queen fan club with her crazy-unhinged-rather-than-sickly-sweet personna, but I stood strong. Either way, I prefer them both to Alice! And then there's the Wicked Witches of Oz, poor misunderstood Nessarose and Elphaba. Glinda/Galinda (depending on if you've read the book!) just got right on my nerves.

I seem to have this urge, when faced with a sickeningly sweet storyline that's clearly going to conclude with a happy ending, for everything to just go wrong. I wanted The Penguin to win the election. I wanted Poison Ivy to take out Batman and Robin with her mate Dr Freeze. I wanted Rachel to get on the plane with Emma and leave Ross in New York. I wanted Andie to tell the boyfriend to rack off in The Devil Wears Prada and stick with her job. I wanted Keira Knightley's character in Love Actually to run off with the best friend. I like it when the baddies get away or central characters get cut unexpectedly, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones style. I liked The Hunger Games' slightly bitter-sweet ending. I hate, hate, hate Barbie and all her plastic, squeaky pink-ness. I only had one Barbie and I cropped her hair, coloured it in with black marker pen and gave her an early version of goth make up. Ha. My sole Sindy doll faired slightly better, just.
If there has to be a “goodie” I like them to be a bit dark – (new) Bond, Bourne, Batman, even Harry Potter has that strange dark side where he’s not sure if he’s going all Slytherin with the Parseltounge and what not. That's why I loved Inception (no spoilers!). Who’s the “goodie”? Who’s the “baddie”? Who cares… it has one of the best film endings, ever!

Anyway, we all know that Disney is my happy place, mainly because of the unending positivity and the themeing. Themeing everywhere! But the fact that the Villains are finally getting their time in the spotlight makes me very happy!

I was never really in to dolls, as I mentioned above, but if they had these dolls when I was a kid I would have made a few exceptions. Probably a bit old for all that now, though. Dammit.

Just to clarify, I don't often peruse the Disney blog - I navigated there via an article on another site. Promise!But just to get back to the grown up side of things, have you seen the Christian Louboutin Cinderella Slipper? Or that a number of designers will be creating gowns for their fave Disney Princesses for Christmas window displays at Harrods? And that Minnie Mouse will be featuring in a fashion show at London Fashion Week?

There you go, I managed to turn it around from cartoons to shoes just before the end. Phew!


P.S. I am 100% of sound mind, am not a psycho/serial killer/manic depressive/recluse/devil worshipper. I like nice things too, just not a sugar-coated happy ending, all the time. :-)

Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012 Olympic Games

Withdrawal symptoms kicking in. Someone get me to Olymipc rehab. Thank god for the Paralympics in a few weeks!

Olympics > NOlympics.

I have loved every single second of London 2012. From the minute the announcement was made that we had won the bid, through the years of build up, watching the stadium take shape every day, the breathtaking Opening Ceremony and being glued to the TV at every available opportunity (so much for house renovations and writing blog posts!) until the final note of the Closing Ceremony. I have cheered, whooped, cried, sobbed and screamed. I have loved every. Single. Second. However, of those seconds, I am able to pick several highlights and a few low points. Read on and I’ll share them with you.

The low points
I want to stay positive, and this isn’t a time for “dislikes”, so by way of constructive criticism, here is where I saw room for improvement to start with so we end it on an utterly positive note.
Athletes, stop apologising! Gold medal? You are AMAZING. Did you win a medal that wasn’t gold? You are AMAZING. You didn’t win a medal? You went to the Olympics and competed on the world stage. You are AMAZING.

Empty seats. Broke my heart. Shame on you giant corporations of the world.
Venom. Once again, football is the cause of national venom. If it inspires so much negativity, why do we continue to support it as a national sport? Cheer up people - we lost - big deal. In other news? Great athletes did great things, regardless of what colour kit they were wearing!
Negativity. Newsnight, couldn’t you just wait a week or two? Whingers of the Square Mile, see, it was fine. Trains worked. Tubes worked. People were happy. We did well. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it you sour faced old farts! Didn't "get" the Opening Ceremony? Read some books, watch some films, listen to some music, learn about your homeland and what makes it great. Didn't like the acts that played in the Closing Cermony? London, and Britain as a whole has been the birthplace of some of the greatest muscial acts of all time. No one is asking to you love them all, just acknowledge that they exist. Also, people are different. They have different taste. One Direction had as much right to be there as Madness. Jessie J represents our music scene just as much as Brian May. The Spice Girls define a generation, just as much as the Beatles. Old or young, new blood or been in the charts for 50 years? Who cares. Enjoy the bits you like and respect that others enjoy different things to you - i.e. BE BRITISH! This is what we stand for, diversity and respect. London did the Olympics proud and you should be proud of London.
And so, on to the stratospherically-high, high points

Attending! I was lucky enough to attend one of the events. I wrote about it for Florence Finds.

The hot pink. London is an oooooooold city. The most colour we get is some red, white and blue on big occasions. Hot pink is probably the most un-London colour there is. It worked! It also kept London neutral, no flag has hot pink in it (or maybe there is one, and I missed it? And if there is I want to become a citizen!) so there could be no accusations of bias!
Wenlock and Mandeville. I don't care what people say. I think they're brilliant. And clearly so do Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
The organisation. There were signs everywhere, people everywhere, BoJo on the tannoy giving travel announcements, London commuters helping out tourists with impromptu tour guide skills. Commuting became a surreal and fantastic experience!
BoJo. No other Mayor could have carried the games with such comedy, sarcasm, dance moves and bumble as he. He made me smile! He made me cheer!

Bling. Third in the table? Most medals, ever. Nuff said. But just to clarify, in the words of one of our legendary song writers (yeah, that's right, I think she rocked it with Brian May and did the song, and Freddie proud!) it Ain't about the ba-bling, ba-bling. Wanna make the world dance. We did!

Leftie multicultural crap. Kenneth Branagh reading Shakespeare. Four anthems. One anthem. A world of flags. Mr Bean playing Chariots of Fire. JKR reading Peter Pan. “Mr Bond”, “Your Majesty”, the Welfare State, Sufragettes, immigration, music, tributes, the fact that seven unknown future champions lit the 204 petals so that every competing nation contribued to the lighting of the cauldron. Only in Britain. Danny Boyle you deserve a Knighthood! Aidan Burley, you can jog on.

Homage to g(G)reat British culture, old and new. Muscial legends. Acting legends. Comedy legends. Fashion legends. Dancing legends. Landmark legends. YES, LONDON, YES!!!

The way we were so terribly "British" about everything. Queues, polite responses to international criticism (yes, Romney, I'm looking at you), apologising repeatedly, the stiff upper lip, the "leftie multicultural crap", "we did it right"... no, WE DID IT GREAT! I'm so proud of who and what we are, even if sometimes I feel we should be a bit less British, I'm glad we never will be.

Loosening of the Stiff Upper Lip whilst widening the Thin Blue Line. Those police officers high-fiving tourists and attendees all over East London, one of whom is my hubby. Yeah, our Bobbies rock! They’ve given a lot to make these games happen and despite the stupidly long hours, lack of free time and hard work, I think they’ve truly enjoyed every single minute. And apparently the thugs and criminals of London enjoyed the games too – I’ve not heard a single report of any trouble. Unless of course the PR people are also working overtime to keep it all quiet!

Teamwork, across borders. The way the US runner, and silver medallist, Galen Rupp (I think) whooped for Mo Farah as he crossed the line in the 10,000m final. Apparently they train together, and despite running for different countries you could see how happy he was for his training partner taking gold. Sport unites, it doesn't divide. Footballers and fans of the world - take note!
Inspiration across borders. James, who came in first, asked Pistorious, who came in last, to swap name badges after the 400m heats. Inspirational on so many levels. I cried.

Admiration across borders. This picture says it all
Breaching protocol. After winning a silver medal in the 20km Race Walk, and the first medal ever for his home country Guatemala, Errick Barrondo decided against the usual handshake and grabbed the guy who gave him his medal, embracing him in an emotional bear hug. So great! They’re knighting him apparently when he gets home. True story!
Commuting. Every tube journey was an emotional high and fun filled. Flags, face paints, comedy announcements, more track suits than a JJB megastore, happy and helpful volunteers and TFL staff and, shock horror, Londoners and commuters actually conversing with strangers on public transport. I genuinely looked forward to my Tube and train journeys every day!
The Royals. The Cambridges and Harry hugging and whooping like commoners? Totes amaze! Zara getting in amongst it with her team mates? Down with the kids! Zara's mum giving her her medal. Too cute! James Bond and Queenie? Speechless...
Presenters. Gabby Logan and Clare Balding showing the dudes how you present a sports programme (with style, humour and lots of layman's terms for us non-sporty types) and pundits forgetting the cameras and screaming for the athletes. Brilliant.
Going to work. My company went Olympics crazy, condensing working hours, celebrating with free drinks and gifting us all chocolate gold medals on Fridays to say thanks for making it in to work. Too cute.

A nation of whingers and complainers SILENCED. I spent months staying positive (despite my usual hatred of public transport) and telling people that London would step up, it would be fine and to stop whinging about congestion and Tube delays. People were actively seeking out issues to complain about until about two days in, when they realised it wouldn’t be tolerated, their usual fellow whingers didn’t join in and quite frankly, no one wanted to hear it. Ha. I didn’t want to say it, but I TOLD YOU SO.
Facial expressions. Jessica Ennis' and Mo Farah's faces as they crossed finish line. Mo Farah's daughter and heavily pregnant wife as they track invaded. Greg Rutherford as he realised what had happend to him. Vicky P with the love heart and the mouthed words. Chris Hoy not holding it together. The Ugandan guy who just grinned at the interviewer. Nicola Adams as she smiled like a Cheshire Cat. Happiness is infectious. I smiled a lot... when I wasn't sobbing of course.

Making history, pushing boundaries. World and Olympic records. “Firsts”. Titles retained. Female boxing. Most decorated athletes. Women in every team. Oscar Pistorius...

That 800m race. Our poor guy would have taken gold in the last three Olympics with his time, but came in last. SuperHumans! Also goes to show - no matter how good you are, you can always be better. Isn't that what the Olympics is all about? Always striving to be bigger, better, faster, stronger? Reality TV z-elebs take note...
Jamaica. Bolt and Blake in the 100m. They went on the B of the Bang. The 1, 2, 3 in the 200m. The skits to camera before they run - how are they so chilled? The press ups. The conga line. Jamaica House. The Mo-Bot as Bolt crossed the line. What a team.
Team spirit. That US sprinter who completed his leg of the relay with a broken limb... So he didn't let his team down? And they qualified. What. A. Legend. He should get a medal for that alone. Actually, the Queen should make him an honorary British citizen so she can give him a knighthood!
Andy Murray, finally! I wanted Federer to win Wimbledon, but a few short weeks later, same people, same place. Different result. Hurrah.
Roger Federer. Always such a gentleman. Always so dapper, so polite, so gracious. I heart.

Montages. A montage always gets me, especially an Olympic one. The music that the BBC use on their montages at the end of each night either makes me dance in my living room or cry. Often both. 
WINNERS! Michael Johnson's quote (referring to Christine Ohurogu) - she didn't lose Gold, she WON silver. There's a difference.  Remember it.
Nicola Adams! How cute is she? How deadly? But really, that smile, that laugh, that jubilation? I want to bottle it and keep it in my handbag so I will never, ever, ever feel down again.
Saturday 4th August 2012. One year on, exactly, from when London's spirit almost crumbled under the riots, London came back and gave us so much to be proud of. #SuperSaturday
It happened. Thank you LOCOG, the Gamesmakers, TFL, Danny Boyle, London 2012,Team GB and all the national teams for making these last two weeks some of the best of my life.
Inspire a generation. Consider us inspired.