Kirstie's Homemade Home is a guilty pleasure

Yes; I am a Mug. A complete Mug and Lemming to boot.
I've read all the nasty reviews which suggest that this is all just uber-Middle-Class-vom-inducing smugness BUT there is just something about this programme that just appeals to my inner wannabe domestic goddess.

Quite apart from the fact that I have had a big bag full of material swatches intended for a patchwork quilt secreted away in the back of a cupboard for the past 10 years along with two half-finished cushions with wonky seams, I just love the idea of being able to effortlessly conjure up charming, stylish home accessories.
Unfortunately though, the reality never quite measures up.

I'm just afraid that at my N. London/ Herts convent school during the late '80s and early '90s, Sr Christina's home economics classes, replete with shonky sewing machines and A line skirt patterns, was not really where the party was at.

Victory for the Gurkhas


I'm not normally a Nick Clegg fan but heartily agree with his comments:

People who are willing to die for our country, should be allowed to live in our country.
How and why did the govt get it so wrong?

Everyone I have spoken with feels it is morally right to let them stay.

sign of the times


Bumped into a chap I vaguely know on my return back from a meeting earlier.
Have not seen him since before Christmas and as I know he runs his own business too, was keen to find out how he is doing.

Somewhat unsurprisingly he said all is not good. Has not had any money coming in for the past six weeks; large companies are the big offenders.
It is all take, take, take, but when it comes to payment of invoices it is quite another story.
The favourite get out clause with these guys is that they have a set payment run each month, so that if you should happen to submit an invoice say a day later - woohoo! - you don't get nuffink until next month (if you are lucky).

As the old BT ad goes 'it's good to talk' and I definitely do recognise all these gambits.
I'm not talking myself or the situation down - just acknowledging that this is how it is.
It is definitely a way of the times.

A question of faith



Received a postcard this morning from a friend I have not heard from in ages.
She had a stillborn baby about eighteen months ago and after that happened, disappeared with her husband to another country.
I can't say I blame her: who knows how one would cope (or not) in such a situation?
I'm glad to hear though that she has since given birth to a healthy son and can't wait to see her once she is back in London.

It was so difficult to know what to say at the time, although instinctively I felt we ought to say something...more to acknowledge that the baby had been real ...as real as their grief.
A product of a Convent school education since the age of four, I decided to arrange for a Mass to be said for the Soul of the baby. Even though I rarely go to Mass these days, with the exception of Christmas and Easter, it felt the right thing to do.

So, I trundled along to the Rectory, spoke with the Priest's secretary and explained what had happened. Now, normally this would be a very straightforward situation in that I would arrange to have a Mass said for the repose of the Soul on x date, would be given a religious card with the date and details in it and, in return, I would make a donation to the Church's coffers.

To my surprise, I found myself on somewhat of a sticky wicket. The main issue seemed to be that as the baby had not been 'born' - there was no Soul - and therefore no Mass could be said in repose for the soul.
Pedants might want to pick me up here on the theological details and in all fairness, my memory could well be playing tricks. But the religious themed card which featured a picture of the Madonna and Baby Jesus which made specific reference to a Mass being said for the repose of the Soul was also taken out of my hands and replaced with another more bland themed card.
I can't remember what this 'replacement' card said exactly, but I do know that it made absolutely no reference to the 'repose of a Soul'.

So, instead, we negotiated and I agreed to have the Mass said for my friend and her husband 'and their loss' . I was so inwardly shocked that I cannot remember if the baby was actually included or not.
It was only later that the strangeness of the situation struck me. If, as the assumption goes, stillborn baby does not have a Soul, what does this mean for aborted foetus'? Why then the furore about THAT?

I was so pathetically grateful at the time to have a means to say 'I feel for you' to my friend that it was only later that this theological impasse hit home. It was almost like denying the existence of my friend's baby - but how could that be right?

I don't understand.

The Sewing Circles of Herat


It is odd: speaking as a thirtysomething gal about town, 'feminism' is one of those dirty words no-one really talks about anymore. In many ways, it does not seem so relevant. Bra burning? Shurely not; my lingerie is far too expensive...

When I was in my late teens I read all the usual tomes - "Fat is a Feminist Issue" , "The Beauty Myth" and "Eve was Framed" , but then again, I was the product of an all-girls education where the debate was about, not so much if you would go to University, but rather, which Oxbridge college. At University, at my all-girls College, I did not question for one moment if I should pursue a career or not.

All of which makes me rather shocked to read Christina Lamb's account in the Sunday Times Magazine about the women of Afghanistan.
Whilst life for women under the Taliban had been predictably repressive

Under the Taliban, women had been banned from working, studying, wearing lipstick, white shoes or even laughing out loud.
and although

President Bush triumphantly declared in his 2002 State of the Union address: “The mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes… Today women are free.”
it has not actually got any better in the years since then. If anything, it has got far, far worse.

The article makes for shocking reading. I felt quite ashamed and humbled after reading.
Read it here.

Washing dirty linen in public


I like to think I have a pretty firm grip on the political, social and moral zeitgeist which is why my reading material encompasses not only the FT, Private Eye and Economist ...but the News of the Screws as well. It is always good for a laugh and I make no apologies for it.
But I just don't understand what makes people want to reveal their innermost thoughts and sexual proclivities and sell their story.
Clearly, the answer is filthy lucre...but even so, I have always thought that discretion is the greater part of valour and am aghast at the thought of my parents reading about my sex life.
Similarly, can someone please explain why those people who appear on Channel 4's "Embarassing Bodies" are too scared to approach their own GP, but have no qualms about appearing on national TV.
I don't get it ?

Why I don't like Le Pain du Quotidien

Looking out the window now, it's hard to believe that we had such fantastic weather over the weekend.

One of the best things about living where I do in SW3 is its proximity to some really fantastic 'urban spaces' and I really do try to make as much effort as possible to get out and about.

A favourite walk of mine is to head up to South Kensington, past the Natural History Museum and into Hyde Park. It's really good for the soul, especially around 6 or 7am; I often find I get the most constructive thoughts at this time of day.

I headed up there with the OH on Saturday and after a good two hour walk, decided to head into the South Ken branch of Le Pain du Quotidien for some tea and cake.

I have been there plenty of times and whilst I am not for one moment disputing the quality of its food - it is just that the faux naivete and contrived rusticism really grates.

Yes, you get what you pay for...but there is a little voice inside of me that can't help but wonder how much I am paying for the privilege of an, ahem, authentically, rustic experience. Coffee prices are pretty much standard, but food prices are, in my opinion, way more than usual and for smaller portions.

The most annoying aspect, in my opinion, is the "communal table". Sure; a quick Google search reveals this to be the most admired aspect by many of LPQ's customers ("really convivial" etc etc) but to my mind it just smacks of an out-and-out management attempt to squeeze in more punters in a limited amount of floorspace. It's a very clever ruse and one I have seen elsewhere but I just don't like it. It makes my territorial hackles rise.

Then again, LPQ just seems the latest in a long line of rustic-stylee offerings which serve up the same faux rusticism at a price: Paul, Bread Boutique and my bete noire, Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market.

You can't really blame them though - they are paying such high rent and rates that I guess they have to do this...but it is not my cup of tea.
I think I'll pass.

Frank Lampard phones LBC Radio


Above: A totally gratuitous photo

I must admit to a secret penchant for Frank Lampard, not least as he is ?tallish? dark and reasonably handsome and a Classicist, to boot (*if GCSE Latin counts, that is).

How surprised was I then to learn this afternoon that he had phoned into London's LBC radio to complain about the negative press coverage that has accompanied his ex's inadvertent off the cuff comments in a wine bar earlier this week?

Personally, I'm dead against washing one's dirty linen in public, but on the other hand, think he fought his corner well. I'm envisaging a future role as Ambassador for Fathers For Justice....

Losing my legal virginity


It is on your head

Well; it had to happen sooner or later.

My first and predictably not the last defaulting client.

Obviously, I cannot go into too much detail as this is now, erm, sub judice but suffice to say, this week has been more than usually difficult to say the least.

Putting my Pollyanna hat on - for I am nothing but an eternal optimist with bags of resilience - this will all pan out and resolve itself. It's just an annoyance I could do without.
I am determined not to let it eat me up, but it makes me white with anger to think that someone assumes they can act in this way. How dare they?
That aside, I do feel that this is one of a series of 'signs' which are all telling me very clearly that I need to change my work focus. This is what my gut instinct says - and I always listen to that.
I'm a tough old bag and I will ride this out.

About This Blog

The life and loves of a 30something
female living in Chelsea, SW3, London.

Frank, acerbic and occasionally
batty forays into the realms of ego.

Get in touch: email me on
chelseasw3girl at gmail dot com

About Me

Work: Early 30s, own business, ex Investment Banker.

Personal: Single but co-habiting for several years. After a rocky patch, we seem to be getting on much better.

Likes: current affairs, politics, walking by the river, reading, burlesque, exploring, the countryside and lots of other random things besides. I like to straddle a wide cultural morass and enjoy delving into Private Eye as much as I do the latest brain-dead issue of Heat or OK mag (*dreadful, I agree)

Dislikes: bureaucracy, *uckwits, parking wardens, bad service, Alaister Darling, BS and ...oh, I could go on.

  © Chelsea SW3 Girl Blog 2009

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