Monday, February 28, 2005

Caterpiller - Alice in Wonderland

I had some company creating Softies this month. Smithy decided to join in and created this fabulous caterpiller.

He wanted me to add for the record that we made these while watching several games of rugby.

Wonky White Rabbit

Wonky White Rabbit
Wonky White Rabbit,
originally uploaded by Hells Bells.
My slightly wonky White Rabbit is looking very rushed and and a bit stressed. I think it is because he seems to have lost his pocket watch!

I'm pretty happy with him despite lack of pattern and sewing machine meaning a bit of a weird shape. But he's very soft and cuddly.

White Rabbit's Worried Face

White Rabbit's Worried Face
White Rabbit's Worried Face,
originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

reality check

Who says the life of the international jetsetter isn’t glamorous?

I arrived in Frankfurt around midnight last night for a fleeting visit to Smithy after delayed flights and smoky lounges at Heathrow. I crawled into bed and slept like the dead until the dulcet tones of super 12 ruby woke me early this morning (AND the Reds lost to Smithy's team of course). Today we bought groceries and went to the gym. Sweating away on the treadmill watching Paris and Nicole in The Simple Life, dubbed in German. Now that’s glamour.

The fun part was shopping for Month of Softie materials as this month Smithy has decided to get in on the act and perhaps be the first bloke entry. I am a bit jealous as his concept is much more creative than mine.

Stay tuned for the reveal.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

London Lunches

For a girl who just brought one suitcase across to Frankfurt a year ago and still have some of my things there – I had a lot of stuff to move into my flat last week. I didn’t have far to go so a few mini cab trips were enough to get it sorted – but it’s a mystery where it all came from. I just seem to be a magnet for random items. Apart from my clothes, I had a whole load for bedding alone – new duvet, sheets, pillows and then there was the Paris painting and of course a cow print hat. And two bags of books, magazines and clippings (yes I do take after my grandmother in many ways). All accumulated in the space of two months. And that’s with being good and constantly restraining myself from buying stuff. Minimalist I will never be.

Apart from an initial moment of panic going to bed on the first night to the roar of traffic and sirens when it actually hit me for the first time that I had moved into a flat on a 6 lane motorway, I am settling in well. The morning routine into work hasn’t really changed - train to Waterloo and then a bus, happily avoiding the tube altogether. Except now I have an extra bus to the train instead of a walk which seems to be fine so far. It’s about 50 minutes door to door.

My flatmates K & A are really nice – a South African couple. They’re 24 and have just got engaged. K said they were going back to SA for a week in March and I asked her if it was for an engagement party. She said, ‘no, its for the wedding’!! So I’m going to be living with newly-weds in a couple of weeks. Interesting.

Smithy came over and we had a weekend of lunching with his friends and workmates. Having pub lunches is not a bad way to spend an absolutely miserable rainy cold day. On Saturday we met up with Nomes, Gilbo and Kunal at the Ladbroke Arms– an excellent gastro pub near Holland Park.
The danger of a comfy pub is not wanting to go back outside so six or seven hours and several warming pints and vinos later we tumbled out.

On Sunday we ended up at Browns at Islington which is a tres cool bar restaurant with groovy leather armchairs and secluded banquettes. Also very conducive to settling in for a long comfortable session. The food and service is excellent and the atmosphere is very relaxed with a range of guests from families to hip young things. And us. And the best thing about socialising at lunch time is being tucked up in bed and rehydrated by a decent hour.

Happy Birthday Suzie!! Rock and Roll Glama Girl!!

Thursday, February 17, 2005


The weekend in Paris was a blast. I hopped on the Eurostar at Waterloo and three hours (and a vin rouge) later alighted to rendezvous with Smithy at Gare du Nord.

We made our way to the Hotel Langlois Jo had organised to find a charmant hotel with a creaky old open metal work elevator and fabulous Art Nouveau décor. Around the corner we discovered the Café du Mogador for a late evening cocktail. And then proceeded to eat almost every meal during the weekend there. Baguettes, croissants, crepes, gateaux and big café au laits– they had all the essential ingredients for a French pig out.

On Saturday I dragged Smithy to the Marche aux Puces St Ouen – a massive flea and antique market in the north of the city. We both enjoyed browsing around the stalls where piles of antiques, furniture, silver platters and anything you could imagine were literally stacked to the roof in crowded stalls. I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful piece of vintage fabric – perfect as a table cloth for summer soirées and then Smithy and I bought a painting by a local artist on the spur of the moment.

Somewhat soggy from wandering in the rain, we met the rest of the gang back at the hotel – guided by the screams as Jo and Bec met up with long lost school mates.

As you will be able to gather from the photos we had a huge night out starting with a rowdy dinner, locals looking on askance, at a restaurant/sports bar which will remain nameless and unrecommended – but was a bargain – and then on to cool bar N’Importe Quoi (translated as ‘Whatever’!). We were lucky to have local guides Nick and Celine along for the evening. I think Jo knows people in every city across the world who always seem to be up for a night out at a moments notice.

We managed to make it up in time for brekky at the usual place, a very short walk to the Louvre (although we were aiming for the Champ Elysee – yep I was navigating) cut short by sleet and bitingly cold wind. Arriving back just in time for the England v France rugby game. The French supporters were very vocal with chants of Allez les Bleu and were ecstatic with the exciting outcome.

From there it was a dash to the station carrying shopping and wearing a cow-print cowboy hat.

Friday, February 11, 2005

House Hunting

The search for a roof over my head was more successful last Saturday. I looked at another three places around Putney and Clapham. And the whole experience was much more fun with moral support and company from Smithy.

I looked at one bizarre house that had been tacked onto a row of houses, basically built out onto the pavement. There was a charming Polish couple living there who seemed quite bemused by both the architecture and their departing Kiwi flatmates. But I didn’t want to live on a pavement in hostel feeling house so that was a no. The second place was an absolutely gorgeous flat off a vibrant street in Clapham, great for transport (am I sounding a bit like an estate agent here?) but the owner occupier seemed a bit too precious about her newly renovated flat. When she started laying down rules like not using the phone and no Australians passing through to stay (what the?!), as well as asking how often I’d be out, warning bells started to ring. So unfortunately I had to pass on the fantastic huge room overlooking a garden.

But I finally met with success at another flat in Putney sharing with a lovely South African couple in a newish modern flat. Best thing is getting my own bathroom, although the shower in the bath without a hook on the wall (a favourite London design feature) will hopefully be fixed at some point soon. Move in date is next week.

And now I’m off to Waterloo (Waterloo) to catch the Eurostar to Paris. Dahling. Mwah Mwah!

Friday, February 04, 2005


First week of being ‘real’ as my boss put it went well. I now have a laptop, phone and email. All the essentials for a consultant. Am working on the elevator pitch. And a friend to have sandwiches with.

Smithy has come over for the weekend on a bit of a work junket.Where can I get a job that flies you over to London to go out drinking with clients?!! (But without the 100 hour weeks). Well I’m not complaining – I feel like this will be my first ‘normal’ weekend in London. Finish work, go out for a nice evening of food and a wine or two, have a relaxing weekend and not have to fly anywhere at the end of it.

Although some time will have to be dedicated to continuing the house hunt. I went and looked at three places on Wednesday night. I knew it wasn’t looking good when I was walking down to the first one from Clapham and there was a big sign up saying “DO NOT USE YOUR MOBILE PHONE IN THIS AREA!! GANGS OF YOUTHS ON BIKES ARE SNATCHING PHONES FROM PEDESTRIANS”. Well I was pretty alert AND somewhat alarmed after seeing that. The next place in Streatham wasn’t much more reassuring walking past massive council blocks….after reading in the paper that day about “New Killer Gangs” whose weapon of choice are scary looking automatic weapons and reside in the council estates in South London. So my (current) new strategy is to restrict the search to Putney which is not ideal transport wise but definitely feels safe!!

BTW Month of Softies are up – check it out!!!