Friday, 22 January 2010

Finding Monsieur Right

Why not cheer yourself up on a grey January day with a bit of love, laughter and Paris in the summertime. Muriel Zagha's wonderful debut romantic comedy has just come out and is guaranteed to banish the winter blues once and for all! The blurb sums it all up thus: Daisy has just landed the perfect job: spending a year in Paris writing about fashion. Swapping home with French student Isabelle seems like the perfect arrangement. Studious Isabelle, however, finds London bewildering. But all her assumptions about crazy English guys are overturned when she meet hunky gardener Tom. Meanwhile, Fun-loving Daisy discovers that Paris is the City of Love, and there could be more than one Monsieur Right!

Absolutely brilliant and pure rom com heaven!

Click here for the Amazon link!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Experiment

I was lucky enough to win a month's free membership of a local gym in the pre-school raffle this Christmas; and, last Thursday, I duly rolled up in my new (clean) trainers and running gear, filled in a questionnaire to prove I was not about to drop dead of a heart attack on their premises, and headed off for the treadmills.
As I've only got a month's membership, I'd already decided to make the most of it and go as often as I could but now I'm wondering, should I make the whole thing a bit more interesting and see if a whole month of exercise makes any difference at all to my shape. You'll notice I'm not talking weight here. A couple of years a go a got some bathroom scales as a Mothers' Day present (I kid you not) and took up running. I ran 5k a night for a whole summer and I lost - one pound. Depressing doesn't even begin to describe it. So this time I'm not getting on the scales but I will be looking at other indicators to find out if the new, fit me is in fact a new, slimmer/fitter me: a notch or two on the belt would be good, and I'd like to end up being able to run for more than 5k at a go. Yesterday 3 k almost killed me.
I have already fallen in love with the rowing machine. It's great - you get to sit down for starters; and rather than looking out of the window over a carpark on a dank, January Sunday, you can imagine yourself shooting off up the Cam on a summers' day - all good uplifting stuff. The only downnside to this is that the rowing machines are right next to the weights and there was a man there this afternoon who, frankly, sounded as though he was in the second stage of labour and waiting for the head to crown. It wasn't pretty.
Anyway, by February 14th, I will either be a slimmer, sylph like version of my current self or I will have proved (in my totally non-scientific-but-still-true way) that exercise is a rubbish weight-loss plan (my current working hypothesis) because it makes you so hungry you go home and EAT MORE. We will see.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Tugging it Right

Tugging it Right

Posted using ShareThis

A really lovely review of 'Tug of Love' - thank you Anu Prabhaker of the Khaleej Times and yes, Jonathan was supposed to be like that!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Snow Joke!

Guess what - it's snowing! Once more with feeling as the white stuff drops from the sky on what is, traditionally, the coldest day of the year. Brrrrrr. As far as I'm concerned yes it is a nuisance, it can be dangerous (we know at least two people with broken bones as a result of the cold snap) but it is also quite fun. The supermarket on Saturday was a re-run of Christmas Eve - no veg, milk, eggs, beans tinned soup or bread. At Tesco, they had even sold out of bread FLOUR - we were obviously facing a disaster of apocalyptic proportions! The Frenchman ahead of me in the four-at-a-till deep queue was totally bemused as he unloaded butter, Camembert and salad from his trolley whilst watching people virtually coming to blows over the last packet of baking potatoes. And in case you were wondering, I was buying chorizo and olives rather than sliced white and milk: my strategy for getting through the cold is to munch my Mediterranean nosh and pretend I'm basking in the sun of a Spanish orange grove...

And the reason for all this snow? According to my brother, who probably deserves the Nobel Prize for interesting but strange snippets of information, it's all due to sun spots. We were due to start a new cycle last winter, but they still haven't materialized and there is good evidence to show that the snowy winters of the Nineteenth century (immortalized in Charles Dickens' novels) also occurred at a time of low or non-existent sun spot activity. So there you have it!

Stay warm xxxxxxxx

Monday, 4 January 2010

So that was Christmas, then...

We finally dismantled the tree yesterday and, apart from a straggly bit of holly up behind one of the pictures in the living room, the house is back to normal. I managed to be ill before AND after Christmas this year - rather than just after as normal - but cunningly wangled a week or so in between so I could cook the turkey, wrap the presents, beat my way through the pre-Christmas supermarket shopping hell, attend various nativity plays, do the refreshments at a couple of performances of 'The Wizard of Oz', go through the proofs of 'The Not-So secret Diary of a City Girl' etc etc. Handy.
The best bit of being ill is definitely lying in bed listening to the radio. This is something I don't get to do any more unless I have a temperature of at least 100 degrees (Fahrenheit, obviously) and legs that are incapable of staggering downstairs, but even so, it's something. I learned (courtesy of Woman's Hour) that Victorian households had twice as many servants than their predecessors in the Seventeenth century; that one of the unintended consequences of London's Congestion Charge has been an increase in motorbike accidents and that Stuart Maconie (him off Radio 2) collects Rupert Bear annuals. Fab. I even got to listen to the Great God Garrison Keillor.
Do check this one out, though, if you are of an Austen-ish persuasion (ha! no pun intended)Broadcast on Saturday morning, 'Jane Austen's IPod' was wonderful listening - especially the revelation that she altered the words of a Robert Burns song to put herself in it as the heroine. Marvellous. Worth every Beechams cold and Flu capsule to be able to catch that one!