Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I’m spoiled. Really spoiled. Who, with the exception of business people, Eurostar drivers and err, passport control, gets to go to Paris five times in their life? Me! That's who! It’s ok, I realise how lucky I am. So much so, I was giving thanks like a nun getting laid for the first time on my way back this morning. It went something like ‘blah blah thanks be to me who gets to pop over to Paris when some people have never left their city’. Then, my thanks was over, because really, it was a little vomit worthy and frankly, I was boring myself. So instead I had a snooze with my head in a weird position which left me feeling wonky for the rest of the day.

My weekend in Paris was fantastic. I love that no matter how many times you go somewhere, it’s always somehow different. This time it was different in a kind of random way. I’ll start from the beginning.

Food. So much pressure to eat the right thing. We even consulted the likes of Time Out and The Guardian for guidance. Consulted in vain might I add. All that printing of options, discussing and marking on maps was for nothing but a bit of deep fried duck and a fat, lazy eyed pirate. Perhaps more detail is needed. Let me set the scene briefly: 12 hours of walking, getting lost maybe four times (mostly my fault), rain, non reading of gallery opening times and a free Starbucks cappuccino. And back to the story. It was about 1030 at night, somewhere past the Bastille and we were in the middle of walking the long way to get there. My legs were heavy, toes slightly blistered by my Assassin shoes and I was close to giving up. It got to the point that if the next street wasn’t the right one, we were going to turn back. But as luck had it, the next street was what we were after. And can I add, the street set up the randomness that turned out to be the night. It was probably the only restaurant on the street/motorway and it was next door to an iron clad police station.

‘Les Dingues’ was a one man show. I think the maitre-de/barman/chef/waiter/DJ’s name might have been Pascale. At least, that’s what he’s going to be called for the sake of this story. So, Pascale was on the morbid side of obese, kind of looked like the fat guy from Lost and held his curly locks back with a headband – because, you know, for a man who looked like he suffered from the meat sweats, hygiene would have been a top priority. He was the kind of dude that made babies cry, dogs bark and old ladies clutch their handbags. He scared us into eating everything on our plates without a single threat. But he was that type of man. Throughout the meal, we felt like uninvited guests, as it seemed like everyone (4 people) there knew Pascale. Some guy was even getting up every two minutes to change the tunes playing from the computer on the bar. Then, a party of five, a dog and some random guy on his own came in and started a party. Old Pascal was LOVING it. He was smoking at the bar as he poured drinks and wandered in and out of the kitchen, no doubt to scratch his arse. The highlight would definitely have been after we’d finished our mains and I spotted a mouse run over the plates. Pesky food standards. So after, we made a hasty exit amid a floury of ‘tres bien’ and ‘super’ compliments about our meal and left feeling kind of disturbed and sick from a plate of what was essentially meat grizzle and burnt frozen wedges. God it was random.

Wow, that ended up being longer than I intended. If you want to keep on reading, there’s more.

We also went to Versailles. The day had gone quite well so far because we hadn’t got lost. It went a little downhill when we somehow joined an Italian 50+ tour group as soon as we got through the gates. We realised too late and backed away slowly after getting some weird looks as the nonnas knew we were misplaced before we did. As we laughed our way down to the ground floor at the silliness of it all, we stopped in our tracks as another group of 50+’s were grouped at the bottom of the stairs. They were listening very intently and quietly as old people do and seemed unamused at us interrupting what was no doubt a very interesting spiel. The only way to escape was to walk down the stairs, past the guide and through the crowd. It was like we were celebrities, except of course we weren’t and it was kind of embarrassing.

The final thing, which may not be the last, but I’ve had a mental blank, were some markets we visited near the Sacre Coeur. Note, when Time Out says ‘must see’ and ‘prepare yourself’ they are both lying and telling the truth. It was like stepping out into ghetto sales hell. Imagine some of the most gangster looking hoodies mixed with local tramps, then add every piece of crap you've even thrown away. Voila! You’ve got yourself a market. The funniest bit was walking around the corner from the main market and seeing rows of mini stalls the homeless had set up. Used towel? Sure, someone would definitely up for that. One shoe? Discarded socks? The perfect gift for all! It was hilarious.

Add a shit load of cheese, wine, crepes, pastries and a boy, and that was Paris.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Old habits die slowly

I grew up a flat sheet girl.

So, as I contemplate buying my second set of sheets (I know. Commitment to the max), I'm wondering whether I should take the plunge and skip the whole flat sheet thing. I'm mean, it's not as if I do hotel corners when I make my bed. What am I saying? I haven't made my bed in the morning since the early 90's let alone do any fancy folding.

I guess I feel like it's a bit of a grown up thing not having a flat sheet. It's kind of like when I have ice cream for dinner or before my 'real' dinner if I'm feeling really crazy. It's sadly satisfying and makes me feel like I'm defying the rules of my childhood. Wait, it's bigger than that, I'm rebelling against societies rules! I squash rules with a spoon.

When I think about it, which is perhaps too much, it's a little sad knowing I might not have a flat sheet anymore. It reminds me of my childhood, of my mum tucking me in and it's really handy in the morning when you have a bright room. I know it's completely ridiculous and I've spent way too much of my time and Skinner's time discussing this, but it feels like it represents something more than an added layer between me and my duvet(UK readers)/doona (OZ) - like what I did there? It's like the one last thing of my childhood will go when I get rid of it.

Again, I'd like to reiterate that I know this post is ridiculous. Perhaps I should have a little think about how and what I'd like people to think of me being pressing 'publish post'. Hmmmm......

Back to my woes:

I tried the whole duvet only thing last week. It was mostly out of laziness because my sheet had ended up on the floor and I couldn't be bothered pulling it up. It was ok. My legs felt joyously free, but I felt a lack of security that only a Doberman or a flat sheet can bring.

I decided to go ahead with this mature move in the bedding department today. Strange foresight that usually never appears when I need it to came over me and I looked online to see if the cover I wanted was in stock before going all the way to the shop. It was not. So now I am still a flat sheet girl in a one set world.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Time, timing and the what if of it

I'm sure everyone has thought about timing more than once in their life, but last night, Luke and I were talking about it, and I was trying to remember all the significant times in my life that I had consciously made a decision that had led me down a certain path. I mean, we make decisions everyday that have an impact in some way or another on our life, but I'm talking about the times I kind of stopped and went, shit, this is going to make a difference. I think maybe the first was when mum gave me the choice to go overseas with her. I use the word 'choice' loosely, as Mum threatened to put me in boarding school if I didn't go. Whether she would have followed through with it, I'm not sure. I suspect it was a clever piece of reverse psychology. Sure, the me of 27 wants to go back and kick the TLC listening girl of 1996, yet to grow into her nose and who harbored fantasies of one day marrying Dean Cain. But when you're fourteen, the thought of missing one weekend, let alone eight in a row, of going into the mall and trying to make eye contact with the guy with green eyes was devastating. In the end I went, bribed with Euro Disney (I know, I hate Disney), had the most eye opening and wonderful time of my life and missed nothing.

I guess the first real decision I ever made was to go to university. I think the second was to apply for a job in advertising. The third, to go travelling and the fourth, to move to London. I know I've made a lot of decisions between then which have no doubt made an impact on my life in ways I've seen and have yet to see, but I think they would be my biggest ones so far. Four major life decisions in ten years. Is that a lot? Or a little? Hindsight brings the impact of those decisions to life, so I guess more will reveal themselves when they're ready.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stupid words

I've been doing some integrating. So much so, it's become part of my vernacular. So much so, I've been whipping them out in meetings. Like 'let's just crack on shall we?'. Recently, I've been whacking this phrase out onto the meeting table like it's chamber pot contents being thrown out of windows in 1800's London. Err, not sure why I've gone all Oliver on you, but let's move on. Oh, the use of 'crack on' was so tempting yet too obvious.

So, I'd like to dissect the stupidity of this phrase in two sections.

Section 1:

Let's just crack on

Am I baking?
Am I smashing wood with my forehead?
Am I at a Greek wedding?

No, no, no. So stop saying it you silly girl. Be your own person, don't let these bullshit blue sky phrases seep in and poison your mind.

Section 2:

Shall we?

As much as my mum would like my use of 'shall' in a sentence, I'm neither polite nor a resident of a castle so I don't need to include this in my vocabulary.

That is it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bad, gross and a bit weird

Over the last month or so, I’ve developed this really disgusting habit of pulling the mascara off my eyelashes.

It’s disgusting for the following reasons:

1. It’s disgusting
2. I have Asian eyelashes which I’m pretty sure I’ve moaned about a past post. Because they’re few and far between, I can’t be wasting them on habits such as these.
3. It is annoying people, I’m like a pen clicking or knuckle cracking person. And I don’t want to be.

I must stop but it’s so satisfying pulling out those pesky clumps of mascara. It’s all the most satisfying when I don’t get an eyelash too. Now, don’t stress, I don’t have some weird phobia thingy when I’m going to be eyelash-less and hiding away in an attic hissing at shadows with my pink ringed, unprotected, eyes. I just need to stop my three go a day habit. I. Just. Need. To. Stop. It.

Do you know why this has happened? It’s the advertising that fooled me into buying this stupid 500 billion times thickening mascara. I choose to blame everything on advertising. Everything.

It has come to my attention

That my last post may have needed some context.

So here it is...


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Future me

Last year, I decided to send myself an email in the future. You know, just to make sure that the future me was staying on track with what the past me wanted.

Monday, November 10, 2008 was like any other day. I probably, actually, correct that, most definitely, had Sainsbury's Fruit and Nut Muesli with yoghurt and banana for breakfast. And, because I just really enjoy checking what I was doing at various points in the previous year, I've even checked my diary to see exactly what I was up to. So, let's go back four months. The week before this fateful Monday, Skinner had left, I had caught up with Jaz, wondered why it had been so long since we last caught up, and as it worked out, it was the last time I saw him before he left. On the Saturday, I had met Vic and gone to the National Portrait Gallery. There, I had rushed up to this unsuspecting girl thinking it was Vic, and had made some highly amusing and witty comment about a fat Victorian lady to her. The girl who looked nothing like Vic but for those who choose to walk around blind like myself, it was quite an easy mistake to make. Let's face it, short bobbed, black fringed hair is very similar to medium length brown hair. Afterward, if memory serves me correctly, we went and had afternoon tea at the cute place in Soho Skinner introduced me to. On the Sunday, I went to Lisa's for her belated birthday lunch and most likely stuffed myself silly.

And now we go back to Monday. I think it had just hit me that Skinner had gone, I was feeling really sad, knowing that the next year was going to be tough without most of my friends who, up until then, had been sharing my London adventure with me. I think I just wanted to remind myself of how I wanted to be in the upcoming year. And you know what, there's definitely something to be said about timing.

Vanessa of November 10, 2008 wanted Vanessa of March 7, 2009 to know:

I hope you're making the most of every opportunity that comes your way and that you're happy.

Yea, it's a little lame-o, but past me would definitely be happy with future me. It couldn't have come on a better day.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Monday, parliament day

I completely forgot to talk about my amazing visit to Parliament on Monday night. To cut a long, and only amusing story for, say, two people, short, Luke and I went to the House of Commons for a tour and special seats at question time. Not only did we chat local issues with his local MP (obviously I had a lot of thoughtful and insightful points to offer), but we also got our own private tour complete with really interesting, and no, I'm not being sarcastic, historical anecdotes. It was one of the most random, surprising and interesting things I've done in London. I spent a lot of our MP conversation thinking about saying something regarding Australian politics such as, 'oh, I believe our political system is based on that of the English one' because derr, it is, but as I opened my mouth I had a moment of panic when I thought I was wrong. So I closed it. Plus I couldn't remember what we called our House of Representatives, which, with hindsight, I now realise, is called the House of Representatives. We also went into the family room, met a dude who campaigned for Obama and got really cool security tags. Now I know what I'll look like if I ever rob a bank and then escape via a train station where they capture me on CCTV.

It was just really kind of inspiring to meet someone who was actually really passionate about making a difference. Of course, it hasn't really rubbed off on me as being some kind of Joan of Arc is only a thought rather than a reality, but still, it was great. Question time was a err, dull, but it was bizarre seeing an MP in that green room (can't remember it's official name) with his feet up on the middle table you see on TV.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things are looking up

Because I actually have things to write about other than nonsensical musings about the oil man voices in my head.

I have so much fun stuff planned over the next couple of months I actually had 1988 night before Christmas excitement on Sunday night. So much so, I couldn't sleep. I've got comedy shows, Swan Lake, Paris and the latest additions of Iceland for Easter and Romania for May bank holiday.

March is definitely the new January. This year is about doing what feels right. It's about lists, about being being better at life, about trying and being a winner.

The fun-maker is back.