Archive for November, 2014|Monthly archive page

Seven Days of Positive – Day 73

In Drag, Friends, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Parties on November 30, 2014 at 2:06 am



p andre

We are slightly drink ‘n’ blog, so bear with me. Hic.

This has been a very camp day.

This afternoon I picked my daughter up from ballet and on the way home we walked past Iceland.

For those of you not familiar with the UK food retail scene, this is a very specific British supermarket chain, specialising in frozen food. It’s not exactly classy.

As we passed the doors, Peggy and I locked eyes.

‘Shall we go in?’ I said and she nodded.

The reason is I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, which is sponsored by Iceland. (And I’m thrilled to see an Aussie version of the show is debuting on Australian TV next year, hosted by my very dear pal, Julia Morris

The UK version, filmed in Queensland, is our favourite reality show and in every ad break Peter Andre – who became properly famous in the UK after appearing on it in 2004 – waxes lyrical about Iceland snacks.

duck in donuts

Such is the power of advertising, we have become obsessed with ‘Duck-in-Donuts’…. and in we went, convulsed with laughter, and bought them.

We also purchased the Bush Tucker Trials game for her to take to a friend’s house for a sleepover tonight.

bush tucker trials

Oh, how we laughed. It was so much fun and reminded me of the happy larks of my youth.

When we got home, I removed the Duck-in-Donuts from their packaging and submitted them to the 12 minutes at gas mark 6 advised on the packet.

How were they? As delicious as you would imagine tooth-rottingly sweet hoisin duck enrobed by sweet bagel dough to be. Very.

So that was this afternoon. This evening I went first to a surprise birthday party, which was the full shock deal, with my friend Lol, walking into the room to find his whole family and a flock of pals there.

Then I went to my friend Neil Mather’s 50th which was a Studio 54 party. It was just as much fun as that theme implies.

My golden moment was realising I had walked past my adored pal Tony (aka Squaddie Tony, husband of Derek Brown, mentioned last night) without recognising him… because he was wearing: a black satin basque, a black feather boa, large gauge fishnet tights, tiger pring budgie smugglers and leopard print high heels.

He looked faaaaaaaaaaaaabulous.

ballet 2 2132

(Here he is, more normally attired.) What really made his look was that he had all that gear on, plus major eyeliner etc, with his cropped man’s hair do. It was as much Cabaret as Studio 54 and all the better for it.

Another highlight of the evening – apart from Neil’s ENORMOUS (disco) balls – was dancing with a friend of his who is a fully trained ballet dancer person. I wish I could remember his name, he’s from Melbourne. I’ll try and find out and post in future.

My husband has many qualities, but he doesn’t enjoy dancing, so it’s always heaven to be thrown around the floor by someone supremely confident. That chap made me feel like Ginger Rogers.

Now I’ve come home, finished off the remaining Duck-in-Donuts and must go to bed. Double hic.


Seven Days of Positive – Day 72

In Art, Artists, Friends on November 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Kathe 1

It was Friday night, 6pm. My husband had dropped our daughter at her ballet lesson, then he’d bumped into a friend and texted me to say he was going to have a drink with him until it was time to pick up the weasel again.

I sat in front of this computer feeling like the only person in the world who didn’t have anything fun to do on Friday night.

I felt proper sorry for myself.

Then I got a text which made me give my lovely adored friend Derek Brown a ring and he reminded me that our mutual friend Kathe had a private view tonight.


Derek’s husband Tony didn’t feel like going because he’d had a hard day working.

‘Shall we go?’ said Derek.

You have never seen anyone jump out of an office chair so fast. I was upstairs putting on my lipstick and a pair of heels like Roadrunner on a good day.

The private view was great. The galleries at Hastings Museums were packed with all the great and the good of this town’s eminent artistic community.

There was work by Tom Hammick, Andrzej Jackowski, Nick Archer, Gus Cummins RA, Matthew Burrows and our pal Kathe Deutsch.

The last show of hers I saw was a brilliant series of engravings, called Disasters of War, inspired by Goya and I love her series on boxers (top and below), so I was very surprised to see the very large paintings she’d done for this exhibition, of urban, industrial scenes, using bright colours as well as the more expected greys. I loved them.


A particular treat was chatting to Royal Academician Gus Cummins about his amazing piece of sculpture, which hung off the wall looking as light as cardboard – but was actually made of painted steel.

There really is the most extraordinary concentration of talent in this funny little seaside town I live in.

My party pal Derek is another one of them. He designs amazing sets for TV shows. For a real visual treat follow him on Instagram and Pinterest and have a look at his blog.

This is one of his series of pictures of London alleyways.


Seven Days of Positive – Day 71

In Actors, books on November 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm


Today was a day of some weirdness. I won’t go into the details because it concerned someone else, not me, but I was trying to help patch it up.

But although it was weird and A&E and the police were both involved it may, oddly, lead to something good. It was shocking, but I have a little shoot of optimism about the outcome.

In other news I woke up to the most wonderful email telling me that my children’s book, Evangeline the Wishkeeper’s Helper – which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award a couple of years ago – is going to be published as a paperback next year.



The first edition was a most glorious hardback and when I heard they weren’t going to reprint it in that form, I thought that it was it for my dear little elephant.

I thought she was going to end up back under the bed talking to dust balls, in book form, just as she was in toy form at the beginning of the story.

I was also pleased to find out it’s available as an ebook, which I hadn’t been aware of. (I’m a moron.)

The other fun thing today was watching Love Actually on the telly with my daughter.

Although I had to quickly fast forward every time it came to a bit about the porno stand-in couple, which I never thought enhanced the film. They should have cut them, they didn’t add anything.

What I didn’t know was that during Hugh Grant’s first entrance – out of the official car, into Downing Street – she was secretly filming me, as I howled like a wolf. Which is what I have to do the first time I see Hugh Grant in any film.

I love him more than I can express with my human tongue and have to resort to my animal totem to get my feelings over.

She put it on Snapchat.


I think I’ve used this on here before, but I don’t care. Some things never get old.

Seven Days of Postive – Day 70

In books, Christmas, Food on November 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm


Hubble bubble, the Christmas pudding is now on its long boil. Four and a half hours and counting.

I’m so paranoid about forgetting about it, I’ve got ‘PUD’ written on my hand in purple felt tip and I’ve put reminder notes in key places such as the stairs and on my pillow.



I was walking past the bookshop in town this lunchtime and I spotted the most perfect book to give my non-reading daughter for Christmas. I’m not going to say what it is juuuust in case she ever looks at this.

Can you imagine what it’s like for me having a child who doesn’t love reading? I just can’t fathom it. It kills me what she’s missing out on. Imagine not reading Ballet Shoes or Little Women?

I was a committed bookworm from the age of six – everyone in my family is. My niece Lottie pretty much keeps British publishing going, as far as I can tell.

Whenever I visit, it’s such a treat to go to her room to see what has been added to the groaning shelves.

It’s particularly nice because I’ve come to know many of her favourite authors, through the network of lovely lady novelists that exists on line (Twitter is a lonely author’s lifeline…) and in real time in London.

But while Peggy’s not a habitual reader, there are certain books she will hoover up. She’s chomped through all the Wimpy Kids like a plague of locusts and weirdly read The Hobbit (which I found a bit of a bore) right through, when she was nine.

She loves Wendy Harmer’s books (I Made Lattes for a Love God was a particular hit) and I’m pretty sure she’s going to like this one…

I never give up hope that the portal into reading may yet be opened in her head.

Little women

Seven Days of Positive – Day 69

In Blogging, Book on November 26, 2014 at 12:16 am


Hello Style Noters – please welcome our new comrades, joining us on here from my Seven Days of Positive blog.

I started that one as an experiment (you can read about it in my previous post on here), but then found I like doing it so much, I’ve now found myself at Day 69, having posted every day (except one).

Even though it’s sometimes pretty mundane, sitting at my computer to reflect for a few minutes, finding the positive things which have happened every day is very good for the soul.

The only problem is that it left me no time to write anything on here, so the time has come to meld the two blogs into one.

Eventually it will all be integrated back into my original website, which is being revamped and revved up, but in the meantime I will post my Seven Days daily report on here.

So Day 69… I saw this dog in the car park at Sainsburys.

Today was Stir Up Tuesday, because I wasn’t organised to do Stir Up Sunday at the weekend, so I caught up this evening.


I called my daughter to come down to help, but she said she had to do Facetime with Grace instead. Grace who she has spent all day at school with.

Made perfect sense to me. When I was a little older (twelve is the new fourteen) I would spend all day at school with my best friend Jane, speak to her for an hour on the phone when I got home and then meet her by the phone box after dinner.

Peggy came down at the last stage to do her stir and make a wish though.

The pudding is now resting in the bowl overnight to be boiled for five hours tomorrow. Then boiled again and not really eaten on Christmas Day, but it doesn’t matter. It still has to be made.


I used a Delia Smith recipe after reading this article in the Telegraph at the weekend. I don’t like the idea of a pale Christmas pudding at all.

Just now I had a Skype call with my publisher in Sydney about my new book. It was all very very exciting. It’s coming out at the end of April and I will soon have a cover I can share.

I’m slightly beside myself.

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