Saturday, February 24, 2007


Am looking forward to visiting Morocco very much. These pictures were taken by Larry Broder (via Maryam in Marrakech). I hope the photos that I take live up to the ones that I have seen by other photographers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Finished work at 6pm and duly trotted off to Jermyn Street to attend the very first marmaSOIREE. Despite leaving the office slightly later than I intended, I somehow managed to arrive at 6.20pm. I'm not sure that this has ever happened to me before and it caught me so much off guard that I stood under the clock on Jermyn Street trying to remember what I was doing. Oh yes. M1nt. Number 57. Only it appeared to be an office. Cue trying to balance hideously overstuffed handbag on one knee whilst digging through make-up bag, novel, spare ballet pumps (in case 4" heels got a bit waring), purse, crumpled receipts, tampons, packs of paracetemol and the other assorted paraphernalia that I persistently carry around on a daily basis to find my diary. Squinting to try and read my scrawl I see that it does indeed say 57. I peer through the door. It's definitely an office. "Are you looking for M1nt?" I turn around and another marmaREADER is standing on the street behind me, indicating the (now very obvious) stairwell to my left. "I think it's down here."

I follow her down the stairs and we are asked to put our coats in the cloakroom. I have only got my one handbag, which I am clearly not going to be leaving in a cloakroom, no matter how nice the venue. Which means that I spend the rest of the night hauling it around and having to negotiate all manner of rubbish every time I need to hand out my card. Note to self. Next time attending any kind of event, bring two bags. Lucy and Julia are on hand, both looking gorgeous and I start to regret having not changed out of my work suit into something, I don't know, more inspiring. Or less suit like? Never mind, something to remember next time.

Lucy hands me a complimentary cocktail voucher and asks me to put on my name badge. It is only later in the evening that I realise that everyone else has put their first and surname and their occupation/job. I have written, in slightly crooked writing, 'Rachel'. Thankfully I remembered to bring some cards with my details on though, so all is not lost. I collect my pink diamond cocktail and start chatting to a girl who looks vaguely familiar. We introduce ourselves and I realise that she is Danielle Proud. We chat for a while and she tells me about her book, House Proud, her Topshop line, her forthcoming BBC 2 show and her husband's new bar and I realise two things. That these networking events could actually be really useful as well as fun, and that if I ever want to get out of the job rut I have landed in, I really need to get my act together.

I spend the rest of the evening talking to a variety of interesting women and learning about their choices and businesses. I make arrangements with Janey from Fit for a Princess to sort out my vitality and Georgia from My Fashionista to do a wardrobe analysis. I catch up with some of the girls from the Fulham WI and have my photo taken by the marmaphotographer. I speak to a few girls who went to the same university as I did, one who photographs dogs (pawtraits) and many who are in fashion pr and personal shopping. Evreryone is friendly, enthusiastic about their business or job and willing to give and take advice. It is not how I thought networking events would be. There is real passion, real desire, a real drive for women specifically to succeed. Everyone is nicely dressed, groomed and no-one gets drunk. And then the place starts to empty. Girls leave for supper reservations or to meet up with friends. No-one outstays their welcome or hangs around looking for free drinks. Goody bags are civilly collected at the door. There is no grabbing; everyone there has manners and isn’t afraid to use them. It was enlightening. And the cupcakes were fabulous.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wedding Bells

Rather a heavy weekend, this one. Friends over on Friday night. Frisbee on Primrose Hill on Saturday afternoon. It was so warm I ended up stripping down to my t-shirt. In February. Bought salami and bread and lemonade and ate them sat on a bench watching people walking up and down the paths, some with dogs, some with babies in prams, others with small children in tow, couples laughing, in love, couples arguing. Some singles and many families. All enjoying the rather unseasonal warm sunshine. And then we meandered back to the house, walking down Regent's Park Road. All the tables outside the cafes full, people talking and laughing, drinking coffee and reading the Saturday papers. So very London.

And then to Angel on Saturday night, to an engagement party for some dear friends. Who asked me if I would be a bridesmaid. Which I am honoured to do. And so we partied until 4am, first in the pub and then in a friend's flat, celebrating the bond which links two people, which draws them together and convinces them that they should spend the rest of their lives together.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day

Hope everyone had a calm and peaceful day yesterday, with or without valentine. Back just as soon as the computer is.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For M

The highway is full of big cars going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering where you’re going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we've got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering what you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Maya Angelou

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pause for thought

You may have noticed that I haven't been able to make many posts over the last few days. Sadly the computer has had to leave us for a while to be mended, so have had to resort to using a friend's computer to check my e mails. So the post about women and children will follow when the computer has returned. For those that are interested, I apologise for the delay.

And in other news, friends of mine got engaged last weekend. So very exciting. Am looking forward to the enormous party we are going to hold in their honour. The ring is beautiful and I am so pleased for them. On the same day though, I found out that a friend from a long time ago had given up on her desperate battle with a mental illness. Days like that rather put all other more mundane problems into perspective.

Have to hand back the computer now, will be back as soon as possible.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Year of Living Gorgeously

Via Maryam in Marrakech I discovered The Year of Living Gorgeously. It is full of tips and recipes and ideas as to how to make your life and your house gorgeous. They also run monthly photography competitions, in which I have entered my photographs of Regent's Park. Ihope they will not mind me using their photograph above but I just love the way that the books are colour-coded. I might have to try that myself...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Regent's Park (2)

What a difference a day makes! These photos were also taken in Regent's Park on my way to work this morning. Back soon with the woman and child post.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Regent's Park

Just another quick post tonight as I have some other writing to complete (my next marmaladya article and the post about women and children). Have been trying to walk to work every day at the moment; I took these photographs in Regent's Park yesterday morning and was very nearly late as the sight of the sun on the trees and buildings in comparison to the frost on the ground and the low lying mist was rather beautiful and distracting. If the weather forcast is anything to go by tonight, I will be able to take some rather different photographs tomorrow...

Monday, February 05, 2007


I was hoping to post something about my views on whether or not a woman has a right to have a child, but it will have to wait for a couple of days as I am rather busy and I haven't had the time to research it properly. Was going to begin writing it yesterday but ended up participating in a marathon pool playing afternoon. Sunday started well. After my walk up to Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath M cooked supper and we watched Pirates of the Carribean - Dead Man's Chest which was very enjoyable. We managed to get another reasonably early night and as we had friends over for lunch we got up early and finished off some clearing up. 8 of us crowded into the kitchen and had a beautiful meal of sausages, yorkshire pudding, bubble and squeak patties and salsa followed by cheese, biscuits and apple pie. Despite being rather full we headed to the pub to watch the football (or in my case, read the Sunday papers). Once the football ended we started playing pool and only stopped when we asked to leave. A lovely afternoon but what a mess at the flat!

So this evening after work I elected to come straight home work rather than attend the WI meeting (as I hadn't been feeling too well all afternoon) and make a start on the clearing up, so that we can relax properly. We are also about to eat - a far more reasonable time than usual - so I had better be off.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath at sunset. Post regarding a womans right to children to follow.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Erg Chebbi

The planning for the Marrakech trip continues, sporadically, when I get a chance. So many things to sort out. It's no wonder that people simply book all inclusive holidays with flights and hotel and insurance. It's been fun doing all the research ourselves though. what I can't find though is the information that I am looking for regarding hammams. Some things I've read suggest that one needs to take ones own bucket, soap, scrubby things etc. Other accounts I've read would indicate that you just turn up and pay and it's done for you.
The other thing which I am really looking forward to is the camel trekking. I've been in touch with 2 other people who are joining the same trek and it is making it all seem a little more real. I've also been trying to research the area and what we can expect to see. I believe that we will be driving over the Atlas Mountains which may well still have snow at the highest points. We will continue our drive until we reach a village called Merzouga and from there we will pick up camels, trekking out into the Saharan desert and the sand sea of Erg Chebbi. We will sleep in a nomadic style Berber tent and then trek back to Merzouga the following day. The picture above is of a camel train near Merzouga. I hope to be able to post some photographs of my own on our return.
But for the moment, back to reality and back to London. I am writing this whilst watching In Her Shoes but as TJ is also cooking, I can't hear it too well. I will have to wait for an evening on my own and I will watch it again. Have been trying out a DVD service from Blockbuster, which is free for two weeks. It is one of the offers which can be sampled here at the free gifts website which I mentioned the other day. I signed up for the offer on Monday and had three DVDs in the post yesterday which I then post back, in pre-paid envelopes, and I then receive the next three DVDs on my list. An excellent service and well worth at least a trial.
Just one more thing to mention: won an Ecover tea-towel which arrived out of the blue yesterday morning with a note attached stating that I was a winner in their December newsletter competition. A lovely surprise and a much better way to start the morning than today (when I was woken up by a phone call at 9.30am and was late). I left early enough yesterday morning to walk to work through Regents Park in the sunshine. Although it was cold it was not unpleasant. There was some residual ground fog over the field which was being slowly burnt off by the sun, backed by the grand buildings in the middle distance and the more blurred office blocks in the far distance. A much better morning 'commute' than getting the tube!