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good neighbours

January 23, 2010

My morning started with a bang. Literally. I hit the neighbours’ car as I reversed out of my garage. No negotiation, no inching. Just straight on. Bang! And all before my daily caffeine fix. Utter disbelief quickly followed the perfunctory profanity and then the debate as to whether I should take the high or the low road. I chose to seek the solace of gym and face the music later. I hastily scribbled note endorsed my decision.
The tale of the meeting in the car park, on my return, requires to be told. There we stood; remorseful offender, slightly perturbed other half and gracious neighbour, battling to contain our laughter. A slightly scarred Toyota Tazz had dug her heels in and held her own against my 4×2 now cowering in her garage, ashamed of a bumper which features a crater the size and possible depth of the sea of tranquility. Yes, dear readers. You may laugh too. It could quite easily have gone the other way. Tension and arguments, police reports, reams of insurance claim forms and litres of Rescue Remedy. Instead, we laughed as we parted ways. I am blessed with good neighbours – I hope they can still say the same about me.

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best friend

January 22, 2010
‘I think Nadine will look fabulous in this’, I overheard a woman telling another while standing in a queue at a clothing department store. Being a sucker for fabulous things, I couldn’t resist glancing down at the item in hand and agreed. Whoever Nadine was, I thought her blessed for having a friend who would present such a delicious gift.

My eyes then inadvertently moved up to the speaker and found myself wondering whether she would consider buying such a gift for herself. As if reading my mind, she said, ‘but I wouldn’t get it for myself. It’s too expensive and where would I wear it to’. No-ooo! I wanted scream out loud. Get one for yourself too, it’s gorgeous.


Why do we lavish gifts on our friends and not on ourselves? Why do we indulge in self-pity, self loathing and self mutilation. We chew our nails to feed our fears. We drape ourselves comfortably in unappealing, ill-fitting clothes but feel undeserving of fabulosity for ourselves. We absorb sympathy but deflect praise. Stress is welcome, peace isn’t. I know of women who cannot even look at themselves in the mirror because they’re not happy with what they see, while other prefer denying themselves the simple pleasures in life for no other reason but because it doesn’t feel right to have fun. That’s just not right.

I believe that you should lavish love on yourself in abundance because you are deserving. Wrap beauty around your body like cashmere. Wallow in grace as you would bath of fragrant bubbles. Loving yourself is by no means egotistical. It is about acknowledgement. It’s about recognising all that you have done, the road you have walked to arrive where you are today. And Maya Angelou, in her poem, Phenomenal Woman, talks about ‘inner mystery’. That intangible something which says, I am strong, confident and beautiful. 
Treat yourself as you would you best friend

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angels and elves

January 20, 2010

A little monster from my past has reared it’s ugly head, forcing me to face some unresolved issues, head on. Not an easy task considering that I actually don’t handle confrontation, very well. It’s presence has therefore sent me and my stomach acid levels through the roof.

But I am blessed to have ‘angels’ in my life. Beautiful people who form an incredible network of support, encouragement and good ‘ol fashion love. They have reminded me that fears and issues will continue to resurface until I deal with them confidently and lovingly; that fears, as they reappear, will continue to increase in complexity until I grow in statue and triumph over them. And that being at the level of consciousness which I am, I cannot sweep anything unresolved under the carpet in the hope that it will automatically ‘be taken care of’. I owe it to myself to grow – larger than any ‘monster’ – and deal with whatever the past (or future) throws at me. However, there’s also a naughty little elf on the other shoulder whispering rather self-indulgently that to live well is the best revenge. And I have to admit that I am blessed with a good life.

Every blade of grass has it’s angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow’.
– The Talmud

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sandy feet

January 17, 2010

There are two forces in life one cannot argue with regardless of your age, wealth or status. Mothers and Mother Nature. And when they share the same opinion, it’s in your best interest to obey; a fact driven home by a phone call from my sister earlier this week.
‘Mom and I have decided that you’re no longer to swim in the ocean’, she said calmly. Devoid of any emotion, much like ‘pass the salt’ or ‘nice weather we’re having’, it was clearly not negotiable.

The kickstart to my Saturday and Sunday mornings therefore needed a slight adjustment, one which saw me heading off to the safety of St James tidal pool instead. While I missed the mesmerizing sound and unadulterated fun of crashing waves, the water was still cool and inviting, the warm sun proverbially kissing our skin. 

Much like our visits before, our conversation steered toward how blessed we were to enjoy and appreciate the simple things which make life worthwhile.

‘It’s all about wriggling your toes in the sand’ – E.S.

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lbd

January 14, 2010

It’s Red Carpet Season folks! and we’re kicking off with the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards live from The Beverley Hilton on Sunday 17 January. Only about 60 hours to go before Ryan and Giuliana start flashing their pearly whites to coax the stars into revealing their most closely guarded secret to date, ‘who are you wearing?’ Hollywood is abuzz.


However, until that first limo spills its sponsored name-dropper, Tinseltown is rife with a question of another kind. Will Brangelina be there? According to my highly respected, you-heard-to-here-first sources, heat magazine and E online, tension is running high on whether the Jolie-Pitt liaison could cope with another Jennifer Aniston on-stage appearance. Flash back to the Oscars last year when a visibly nervous Jen came face to face with Brad’s guilty discomfort and Ange’s stone-cold glare from in the front row. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This year, as fate would have it, Jen has been invited to present again. Needless to say, Ange is not happy. So much so that’s she’s threatened to give this illustrious shindig a miss despite Brad’s nomination for his film, ironically titled, Inglorious Basterd. The guessing game continues. One thing we can be sure of is that Jennifer and Angelina will emerge from this gossip mill looking flawless; style and glamour oozing from every designer-clad pore.

So what’s a recessionista to do if ever she were to find herself in need of a ‘who are you wearing?’ While most of us probably don’t own one, the alternate should certainly not be a ‘what the h*ll are you wearing?’ Enter the LBD.


Coco Chanel unveiled the ‘little black dress’ in 1926, ushering in the epitome of women’s fashion. It was a short, slash-necked silk dress with diagonal pin-tucks as its only decoration. In reference to Henry Ford’s Model T car, American Vogue called it the ‘Ford’ alluding to its almost universal popularity as a fashion basic but only available in black. To the modern eye it may have seemed rather plain but Chanel believed that fashion could be chic yet functional. Although unassuming black dresses existed before, her design was considered haute couture. The garments’ pure simplicity, showing masterful cut and proportion, was designed to fit everyone and not show stains. Popularity soared, thereby securing its position as a staple item throughout subsequent seasons’ collections. Traditional elegant materials like lace, tulle and weightless soft silks were used in a new tailored way. Women wearing anything else seemed overdressed. She showed us how a simple cocktail dress could be turned into an evening dress with stilettos, long gloves and diamond accessories; yet when combined with a black suit jacket, simple pumps and demure accessories it could be worn to a daytime business meeting. A classic piece of 20th-century women’s wear was borne. 

In March 2006 a survey was conducted in the UK to mark the 80th anniversary of the first LBD. The poll of 1,023 men and women in Manchester and London was conducted on behalf of event organisers, Little Black Dress. A spokeswoman said; “From the classic sophistication of Chanel to the raunchy come-and-get-it allure of Versace, the beauty of the little black dress is that it really is all things to all women. Women love wearing them, men love women in them and there just is nothing quite as glamorous as an LBD for that special occasion.”

Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn was voted as the most unforgettable wearer of the little black dress ahead of modern day style icons. Wearing a strikingly simple Givenchy accessorised with pearls, her appearance as Holly Golightly in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany`s epitomized the Chanel ideal of elegant simplicity seen frequently throughout the early 60’s. Diana, Princess of Wales, was the only woman to make it into the top 10 for two separate occasions when her dresses stole the limelight. Second place was awarded to the little number worn to a gala at the Serpentine Gallery on the same evening her husband was making a televised confession to adultery. Her second appearance in a black strapless dress shortly before her death, photographed by Mario Testino, made it to number seven. Third place is held by Liz Hurley in the tight-fitting Valentino dress held together with gold safety pins which she wore to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Kidman are further included on this esteemed list – but a few other famous LBD wearers also deserve a mention.


Betty Boop, a cartoon character partly based on the 1920’s ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow, was drawn in her earlier films, wearing a little black dress. With the introduction of Technicolor, Betty’s dress became red. Edith Piaf, the French folk icon, performed in a black sheath dress throughout her career, earning her the nickname ‘little black sparrow.’ It was thought that the dress helped audiences focus more on Piaf’s singing and less on her appearance.

‘When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.’
– Wallis Warfield Windsor

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