Today is day one of what will be many days sorting through my relatively preserved childhood bedroom. As I’ve always rented there’s not been any pressure on me to sort my stuff. But today it’s not about retrieval, it’s about rehoming (charity or bin, hopefully not in an ahhhh-but-I-used-to-love-that pile).

Part of me is dreading it because I’ve been enjoying reminiscing of late in a phew-glad-I’ve-moved-on kind of way and I don’t want to revert to melancholy or nostalgia. But I am largely looking forward to it. I realise that I don’t think I’ve ever felt ready to do it. I’ve certainly gone through cupboards etc either looking for something specific or out of curiosity but never felt a need like I do now to actually address the stuff. I suppose if I’d had to for any reason, I would’ve done, though I fear if I’d moved somewhere with an attic, it could’ve just been transferred from my old room and attic (the attic is for another time and that will take ages) to my attic.

I am not entirely sure what cupboards and drawers have in them. I do know that I’ve been in all those places before and not felt there are things I want or, worryingly, things that can be chucked/given to charity. My mum has occasionally suggested a few freed up drawers etc might be nice. My freeing up has been distressingly minimal. I must be ruthless, I must, I must.

I know there are a lot of books, some of which are out of date politics books from my studies. What do you do with books like that? There is also my video collection, cassettes … these are things I struggle with because they all work but they are maybe too out of date to be used and I doubt charity shops even want them. I suspect some people reading this might already be shouting, “Bin! Bin!” and I guess herein lies my problem: I am not a ruthless sorter of stuff for I am a hoarder.

For someone who moves house as much as I do I have a lot of stuff. Really, a lot. As I’ve moved, my homes have got bigger and bigger (hence moving out of London!) and as of three moves ago I have started on furniture. Most of my stuff is put away, ie in cupboards, drawers, currently an attic and utility room. But it is there. For my last few moves I have had quite significant sort outs (by my standards). I also had an extraordinarily therapeutic clothing sort out whereby I tried almost everything on and got rid of clothes that didn’t fit or, the challenging one, suit me (I’ve since replenished my wardrobe with a few others that don’t suit me!). That felt amazing. I did the same with my bathroom and got rid of old stuff. I discovered I have a bit of a ooo-that-looks-nice-I’ll-try-that approach to buying bathroom things so I still have a lot of things in my bathroom (five shower gels on the go for example) but they are at least now all usable and used.

I am also a dabbler when it comes to hobby type things. Unfortunately I discovered that I like making books and kind of decoupage. For this, I have a staggering amount of paper and “resources”. There are things there that I just can’t throw out. Likewise, a bad move, I went through a phase of going to auctions with a view to getting things I wanted and paying for them by eBaying other things. Did I eBay? Did I ****! Well, I did about four bursts of eBay selling (in fact I think one of my initial blogs, maybe two years ago, on this site was about auctions) but I didn’t enjoy it and took it too personally when two people claimed not to have received their stuff.

So really I need to do a car boot fair, but two summers have gone past and I haven’t done it. Maybe probably definitely I should start preparing for a summer of boot fairs.

However, all this is true and it is something I worry about, but I do feel that having stuff is part of who I am. I have got rid of a few things and while I now have a lot of stuff, I pretty much know what it is I have and that it’s been kept because I made a decision to keep it. I neither want to be minimalist nor am I capable of being so. Sometimes I feel society makes you think you have too much stuff if it won’t all fit in a transit van. Yes, there is a lot of stuff I have that could probably be dealt with at a car boot fair for example. But there is a limit and my limit is just different to perhaps most people. But I can see that it could overcome you and your home and consequently your self. For me it will probably always be a struggle to keep it under control though. But for now, ruthless hat is kind of on!


{28/02/2012}   Stream of consciousness

Looking out the window it is grey. I feel a bit tired. It is nice that I have tidied a bit,but I know if I turn round I will see relatively ordered piles of need-to-find-a-home-for stuff. I am hungry. I don’t think I should be. I know I have soup for lunch and that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Soup rarely interests me. I bought a vinyl covered 1960s ish chair the other day. I wish it were leather. I’ve just noticed there is dust in the button areas, must clean it. I haven’t had a coffee yet, my machine has been on a while. I’d very much like someone to bring me a cup of coffee right now. I am wearing a top that looks awful on me, it’s a bit too Pringle and not me at all. I far too often buy clothes that I want to suit me but which don’t. If all goes to plan I’m going to Manchester next week and seeing friends on Sunday who live there. i have a favourite cafe up there, I shall be going there. I wish they would bring me a coffee now. I worry I am becoming caffeine dependent. Tea is my weakness rather than coffee though. It just feels wrong not to have one good coffee a day. It will be my reward for finishing this. I don’t have any holidays coming up. I would like to see polar bears or wild cats (tigers) in their natural habitat. I wish polar bears and tigers lived closer. It would be a bit annoying to go to a tiger place as I like cold weather and siberian tigers are virtually extinct. I think my cat looks like a wild cat but no one else seems to see that side of her. I would very much like to have kitten time with a tiger and cub time with a polar bear. I have put a pot of pens and a small pad of paper on my new (but old) coffee table. It is very useful but I quite like having a free table top as most of my tables have something on them. I find it very hard to keep table tops clear. I know my washing machine has finished. I should have hung up my wet clothes but I really hate hanging out clothes to dry. But I hate putting clothes away once they’re dry even more. If I were filthy rich, maybe a laundry service would become a guilty routine. Even better if I could pay someone to do the washing and hang it outside to dry, I love the smell of outdoor dried clothes. Wow, just gone 11.30am and I am struggling not to eat. How can I be that hungry? It wasn’t particularly early that I had toast and boiled egg. It was very satisfying to have a perfectly runny egg this morning, recently I’ve only produced soft but hard boiled eggs. My toast came from the most expensive loaf I’ve ever bought (£7 from the Swedish equivalent of Harrod’s) and it was rye bread so I had small soldiers. Maybe my soldiers were too short and that’s why I’m still hungry. But it was probably the nicest rye bread I have ever had. I am going to make coffee now and I might just indulge in a packet of Pom Bears I bought yesterday for hunger crises such as this!

{27/02/2012}   Questions

Some totally random questions, inspired by a suggestion from a friend. My answer to every one of them is yes.

Can you eat a whole 12-pack of Jaffa Cakes in one sitting?

Does eating cucumber make you burp?

If you get hiccups once in a day, do you end up having them three times in a day?

Does someone speaking to you in a Liverpudlian or Welsh accent make you respond with the same accent back, despite being neither Liverpudlian or Welsh?

Does the taste of black instant coffee remind you of gravy?

Have you ever watched three or more films consecutively in a cinema?

Does the thought of going to, for example, Alton Towers fill you with a dread so great that you know with certainty you will never set foot in an “amusment” park again?

Does the thought of chicken oysters and bone marrow as a starter (Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner) make you think that someone has created a plate of food heaven?

Does the idea of skiing a black run excite you roughly 379 times more than the reality would?

Does the idea of a leech sucking your blood in the name of medicine make you feel thoroughly repulsed and violated?

Might you have forgotten (or just been reminded) how good After Eights are?

Do you not enjoy taking the first scoop of Marmite out of a new jar as much as you might expect?

Does orange juice excite you more than eating an orange?

Do you wear iron-needing shirts that aren’t ironed?

Do buffet breakfasts make you eat roughly three breakfasts in one sitting?

Does a teabag left in milky water revolt you so much you couldn’t drink it, however rude it might be to leave it?

Does it disappoint you how often people (in general) disappoint you?

Do most of your pens not work when you need to use them?

Does paying to park your car make you angry?

Have you often been in situations where you wished you kept coins and money in your car for emergencies?

Do you only put up an umbrella once you’re wet and don’t want to get wetter rather than putting it up at the slightest hint of rain to avoid getting wet at all?

Do you hate adverts on TV but love adverts at the cinema?

Do you tire of replying to the restaurant question, “Is everything ok” with, “It’s lovely, thanks”?

Do you worry that your appreciation of modern art is limited, at times non-existent?

Have you ever played in snow and felt like you’re about 12 years old again … until you realise you’re out of breath quite quickly?

Are you prone to buying clothes you like over buying clothes that suit you?

Do you feel wronged that when fashion dictates shops should sell beige, taupe, mustard, yellow and other mixes of yellows and beige, you know that nothing will ever make those colours suit you, no matter how many different shades in all variety of styles you try on?

Are there people on TV you dislike/who annoy you so much you immediately switch over when they come on?

Do you pick and fiddle with your cuticles pretty much all the time and does it drive you to distraction (ie more cuticle picking) that you can’t seem to stop no matter what you try?

{26/02/2012}   A poem about stenography

Off to lunch and out to play

Are mid-week treats, I’m bound to say.

But then I’ll have a chunk of work

And then there’ll be not time to shirk.


I moaned a lot about last week

But sympathy I do not seek

For at the moment work is sparse

And I’m just glad to make some brass.


Here’s my day on Tuesday last,

A worst-case-day I’m pleased is past:

We need laptops, mics and stuff;

Without this back-up our work’s more tough.


But customs had not let it go,

Our day ahead was full of woe.

Polish names and accents strong;

Half past 9 to 5.10 long.


About my job more should be said:

We are a team of writer/ed.

What I write the ed will see,

Checking what’s wrote, she’ll edit me.


Sometimes it’s hard to catch a word;

We oft in error things have heard.

Our audio synchs with what is wrote,

So if it’s wrong, the ed will change the writer’s note.


Sometimes it’s fast or hard to hear,

Often speakers just aren’t clear.

On days like that our job won’t end;

Court will stop, yet hours more we’ll have to spend.


When names come up I do not know,

I use phonetics for the word to show.

But when the names are English not,

They almost never can be got.


So that is why this day was fraught,

For every word could not be caught.

But still we got a transcript sent

And 9.45 to dinner we went.


But the clients were great and many breaks we got,

Fab warm lunch half 12 on the dot.

One read the transcript and next day said,

“T’was so good I read it all in bed.”


So foul and tiring though it was

There were some highlights, these were because:

Annette the ed was super great

Despite no equipment being our fate.


She helped to keep me slightly sane

When my sense of humour was on the wane.

At times this job is challenging, tough,

I oft proclaim, “I’ve had enough.”


Sometimes I love it, a lot of times not,

I’ve laughed and cried and good friends got.

But ten years now I’ve been at this gaff,

A voyeur in a room with a Stenograph!

I went through my old photo cupboard at my mum’s yesterday.  These were photos taken way pre-digital cameras, so even the rubbish photos were printed out.  Sometimes, going through old photos makes me feel sad.  Yesterday (and last night, as I brought some home with me in an old case of mine) I found it a thoroughly cathartic exercise.

Of course I looked at my slim self and wished I were slim again, but at least that is do-able to an extent.  I may have been fresh faced and youthful looking but when I look at people that age (these were largely from age 16 to 23) I think how young they are and how much more experience will be embedded in their face in a few years, in a few decades.  There is more to read in people as they get older.  I like this.

My university photos are largely slightly debauched, silly, fun photos taken on disposable or cheap cameras.  But I’m glad my life isn’t like that anymore.  Though of course I look back at those photos with very happy thoughts.

I didn’t like school so I don’t get as smiley faced about those photos, most of which were taken around GCSE and A’ Level time.  Particularly the A’ Level ones, we all looked like we felt really grown up.  Yet we were really only just at the beginning of becoming the adults we are now.

’90s fashion really didn’t do wonders for me.  I over-embraced baggy, even wearing men’s t-shirts and jackets.  Gutted.  The time when I was slim, the fashion was big.  Now I’m bigger, the fashion is slim fit.  It’s all wrong!  Oh, and my hair.  At 18 it was long and highlighted (sort of) and didn’t suit me.  Actually, most hair cuts I had look awful.  I have a sneaking feeling I used to apply lemon juice to my hair (sticky) and leave the sun to do its work.

There are lots of photos where I am clearly trying to be cool.  It’s so uncool to be trying to look cool when you aren’t cool.  To be fair, it wasn’t just me in the photos trying and failing to look and be cool but I’m certainly not going to name and shame anyone!

The photo at the top in Avignon is one of my favourite Inter Railing photos (we don’t have many as our cameras got stolen early on, complete with completed films in my camera bag).  Maybe I knew Ruth was taking the photo but for me then that was a relaxed pose.  We had so many adventures on that trip!  But there’s no way I’d want to do that kind of travelling again.

The other photo is hideous.  It was taken in New Orleans, Mardi Gras 1995.  That was the most debauched I’ve ever been.  I will have been partying for quite some hours (days!) and a lot of beer will have been consumed and those beads were earned!  I still have that hoodie, it’s one of two tops I can’t bring myself to throw out, in part because it’s still too big for me!  That bob did nothing for me.  I don’t like that photo but it illustrates my point about photos of you trying and failing to look cool!  I expect I was drunk and exhausted.  But I had a fantastic time!  Actually, in my defence, looking at what I was wearing, I really don’t know that I was even trying to be cool and that’s probably exactly how I looked at the moment that photo was taken!

This is the first time I’ve looked at those particular photos (ie the ones in that cupboard) and not felt a bit of melancholy for times gone by.  Instead, it’s made me feel good about who I am now and it’s made me want to take more photos of friends and things I do now I’m a proper grown up.  Ish!

     I may have had three nights in Stockholm, but in reality I had a few hours at leisure in Stockholm.  So I might just manage to write 500 words about Stockholm!

Check out the ice plates at the bottom of the photo, note the wee-yellow tinge?  It can only be polar bear pee.  This could be the closest I ever get to seeing a real polar bear (except the one who put its paws on the glass and smiled at me in Singapore zoo), its pee.  And I so don’t want to hear of any alleged geographical impossibilities of that being polar pee.

Everyone says Stockholm is expensive (I was first/last there when I was 18 and my overriding memory is of the expense).  It is both expensive and more expensive than you can possibly comprehend.  The train (admittedly we had to get single tickets but a return was almost twice as expensive) from the airport to the central station was £26.  Each.  One way.  A 20-minute journey.  Ouch.  As for much needed alcohol, a glass of wine for £9 and a small beer for £6.  A loaf of bread (admittedly a very heavy rye and seeded little number), £7.  Most main meals at mid range restaurants were about £25.  But good food.

Thanks to a recommendation, we went to De Svarta Fåren (The Black Sheep, which I think should be called The Three Sheep because of their sign) in the old town, Gamla Stan.  Lovely atmosphere, fantastic food.  We both had “deer” (rein or venison?) with juniper sauce and chanterelle mushroom sauce and it was cooked to perfection and truly delicious.  You choose two side dishes as part of the cost.  I had cooked beetroot with goat’s cheese (very large portion) and a salad.  Lovely, delicious, want to go there again.

The next night, we finished work really late so didn’t get to a restaurant until about 10pm (people eat a lot earlier) so I didn’t register what it was called.  But I had ox cheek with parsnip puree and a fancy word for two mini onions.  How bloody good was that?!

We had hot lunches at the work venue, and they were all really, really good.  I hadn’t expected Stockholm to be a good foodie place.  Ooo, and we had buffet breakfast with soft meaty smoked salmon, very good cold meats, decent but predictable cheeses and absolutely fantastic breads.  And I didn’t even over-eat because I was too tired!  We also had hot chocolate and I had a huge cinnamon bun at the chocolate place next to The Black Sheep.  Well, when in Sweden …

As for my limited impressions of Stockholm, it is a very pleasant city and I would be happy to go again.  On paper I should love it (water, snow (although the grit had obliterated what would otherwise have been quite deep snow), colourful buildings, narrow streets) but I just like it.  There are some wonderful buildings but I’ve been to prettier North European towns and cities.  But service was generally good, everyone we encountered spoke fantastic English and most people were really friendly and there is a nice feel to the city.

Gamla Stan appears to be where tourists head, the palace is there (a princess was born there yesterday and the cannons went off to celebrate) and so are the hilly, cobbled, colourful streets.  Once away from the tourist shops, there are some beautiful workshops and craft shops.  The antique shops were great, and surprisingly cheap (old cheaper than new, unlike in the UK!).  Lots of quirky and interesting designs, as you’d expect from a Scandinavian country.  My favourite shop was the one in the photo.  A woman, the wife of the owner we spoke to, has made metal signs using her own designs for about 30 years.  They are beautiful.  There was a sign of a man side-on, just his head and shoulders, very smokey blues/jazz bar feel.  I think he was smoking a cigarette.  The owner said that was him when he was younger, playing the piano.  Beautiful works of art.  And, yes, of course I got the Varnig For Katten sign!

I am increasingly aware of wrinkles, both mine and those of people I don’t know. For all those reading this who know me, I’m not interested in your wrinkles as an age identifier, the odds are I already know how old you are!

I found myself staring in the mirror and inspecting the skin on my face the other day. I did that long enough to get aching arms from prodding, stretching, etc my skin. I am trying to embrace ageing. I am happy to be getting older where my mind, self-awareness, confidence and experience are concerned. I am distressed about the way my memory is performing. I am becoming increasingly aware of wrinkles. I want to love them.

Part of the reason I was examining my face the other day was because I realised I’d been trying to work out how old someone around my age was. I realised I was going by her face, neck and hands. I concluded she was younger but more ravaged than me! I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this relatively recent fixation with whether people are older or younger than me. It shouldn’t matter, I don’t think.

When I was 35, having not been asked for ID to buy alcohol for quite some years, I was asked on two separate occasions in different towns and shops for ID. Absolutely ridiculous and in fact so ridiculous I couldn’t even see it as a compliment. On the first occasion, I laughed. She probably saw my “laughter wrinkles” at that point and realised her error. I informed her I was 35. 35. I did produce my driving licence, but by this time I think she’d given me a proper look. She was very apologetic but I was quite happy. I did at least feel a bit more youthful than I might normally have felt!

The last time it happened was in Morrison’s, Peckham. This was not a pleasant experience at all and I came out of the store almost in tears and, believe it or not, only in possession of my bottle of wine by virtue of having quite a nasty argument with two members of staff. I know I should’ve complained but I haven’t been back to that store since and I hope never to again. Horrid.

I was using the highly annoying self-check-out machine. I didn’t have that many things, pretty much what I wanted for dinner that night, including a bottle of wine. As anticipated, the beepers and flashing lights went off when I scanned the wine so I waited for someone to come over. She came over, miserable, and asked for ID. I did a proper double take and in shock said, “But I’m 35”. She looked at me, scowled and demanded ID. I’m not kidding, we had an exchange whereby she repeated her request for ID and I alternated between saying, “But I’m 35” and, “I don’t have any ID”. She was having none of it. Then, when the red mist really starting forming, she manhandled me to take the wine out of my hand. Seriously, I felt violated! And robbed. At that point, she was between me and my wine and I was having none of it. We had a dispute. I showed her my wallet and the few debit cards in there. She wouldn’t accept that could mean I was over 18. I was not going to let go of this one and I knew by this point if she’d been decent she would have realised there was no way I was under 18. It got more heated, though neither of us were shouting. So she called over her manager and explained the situation, still with my wine in her hands and an unvalidated check-out. The manager then turned to me, looked at me and said that if I didn’t have ID I couldn’t buy the alcohol. I was seriously shocked; probably lucky to be more shocked than enraged. It went back and forth. I got out my car keys, “But you can be 17 to drive a car”. I repeated that I was 35. By this point, getting angry and frustrated, I was wrinkling like a 90-year old. I can’t remember what tipped the balance, maybe the other customers starting to take notice or maybe just the ridiculousness of the whole situation, but the manager took the bottle of wine, put it on the bag packing area, looked at me, with an evil scowl (well, that’s how I remember it now!), and, while jabbing her finger at me (red rag that, and I’m Taurus!), she said in no uncertain terms that she would let me out with the wine but that her job was on the line for doing that as if I was under age she would be responsible, blah, blah, bollocking blah. She actually jabbed her finger at me and that was all said as if to a naughty pupil. She then made some comment about getting outside the doors as quickly as possible. I was really upset as I walked home.

I suppose that story isn’t really to do with wrinkles, rather two spiteful people on a bit of a power trip. But I suppose I should just appreciate that I must have looked a tiny bit younger than I was. Must apply some anti-wrinkle cream before I go out …

Bizarrely there is controversy over how many countries there are but I am happy to accept a general consensus that there are 196. Including the UK, I have been to 42 countries. I would quite like to go to every country but I suspect I won’t. It seems like an enormous undertaking to visit 154 countries, especially on a limited budget. But wouldn’t it be amazing, to have been to every country. And to know exactly where each country is.

A few years ago, I had a bee in my bonnet about the fact I didn’t know where most countries were. Vaguely, yes, but specifically, no. I then found a small geography book with a page per country detailing a map with all bordering countries and a bit of information, eg capitals and flags. I was appalled by how little I knew, though my geography surrounding countries I’d been to was a lot better. Hence, travelling to every country could well be the answer to my lack of geographical knowledge?!

Around the time I was obsessed with this, my friend Fiona came to stay. It was the January of the snows a couple of years ago. We got snowed-in in Seasalter so spent quite a staggering amount of time testing each other. Here’s how we did it, so you can test yourself if you want. I will put the answers at the bottom!

Iraq. Which SIX countries border Iraq?

Democratic Republic of Congo. Which EIGHT countries border Democratic Republic of Congo?

Maybe your geography is better than mine but I would’ve struggled with that before I did my “studies”, and as that was two years ago, I wouldn’t have got it right now either. But I think I would have been close, which is pretty disgraceful really.

Like a lot of people, I love atlases, globes and maps. I know what countries are on/in which continent, though islands/archipelagos have always slightly baffled me. Hmm, maybe I should focus my next travel plans on islands, all in the name of education mind you! But, I find it disappointing that I don’t think I’ve ever known my countries of the world other than roughly where they are.

I recently printed off a blank map of the world with just country borders marked. I did the same for Africa and the Middle East. I thought I should mark it up with what I thought each country was, check it, horrify myself with how many I get wrong, study an atlas, do it again and amaze myself that I know where all 196 countries are. However, sadly, I am genuinely scared to mark up the blank map as I know that once I’ve labelled all the countries I know for sure, it will slow down and there will probably be over 100 countries that I am a little shaky over. And, like I said, sorry all island nations, I just don’t know which of you is Antigua, Dominica, Kiribati …

I should do it, shouldn’t I? But keep it quiet. Maybe even destroy the evidence of the first attempt!

The Answers

Iraq: Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Angola and Republic of the Congo.

While whining to all who will listen that I am fairly skint, I am now trying to banish feelings of guilt of having squandered £189 of much needed money (well, it is on my credit card, but “eek” still applies!). On half a beauty regime. Yes, I was at an airport and yes I had that whole “woo, hoo, holiday spending” mentality, even though this is a work trip (at least I am earning something to pay for it, I suppose!).

The half regime is because I couldn’t justify spending more than £200 on creams and potions that claim to make me look youthful, and I believe a “perfect complexion” was assured, but which are probably filled with mystery ingredients which I’d do well never to know the origins of!

This may smack of my being conned, but I have tested this brand before, it was good and I did go to the counter in the hope of getting a free facial before buying something. So I was in vague control of a spending spree.

It’s Dr Sebagh and it costs 20% less at the airport (Heathrow terminals 4 and 5). Be silly not to, eh?! I was there for 30 minutes. My face has been exceptionally dry of late and a moisturising routine I’d been experimenting with had failed badly (some fancy Lancome products which really were fill of ingredients that meant nothing to me, but fortunately two weeks of free samples). I rocked up at the Dr Sebagh stand free of products or make up. The lady who gave me the facial wasn’t pushy and seemed to ask appropriate questions and I think understood my skin issues. She first did a test on my hands. No kidding, the treated one looked noticeably better post-products. I was then invited to the reclining chair. She used a water-into-foam cleanser, then rubbed in a mask that I lay with for 15 minutes. Surprisingly relaxing. I then trotted off to the loos to wash it off. On returning, I had a serum applied, another type of serum massaged in and a moisturiser rubbed gently in. I then had eye cooling gel massaged around my eyes. That felt good. Apparently that particular eye cream sold out at Harrod’s when it first went on sale as it’s that good. It did actually feel quite remarkable, a bit like your eye area having a caffeine rush!

Prior to anything being put on, she advised me that my face would go red. She explained why but it was quite medical sounding so I can’t recall. After commiting to the mask, she told me I would get spots the next day. Nice.

All was good, lots of tingling and the feeling that good things were happening. I then looked in the mirror. Yikes, blimey and gosh, my face was very blotchy and red! So I bought the cleanser and two serums (I already have a moisturiser). I wouldn’t normally buy products that make my face look so dramatically different in an oh-look-at-her-poor-face kind of way, but no pain/blotches, no gain/hydrated beautiful skin … right?

In four days I will have a complexion to rival that of a spot-free youth. Hurrah!

This is the most I’ve ever spent on beauty products. I do feel really guilty and naughty about potentially wasting so much money but, having spent years of trying different products, a lot of which I react badly too, don’t work, etc, I am going to try one whose claims I desperately want to come true. And I expect to see results and no more dry patches on my cheeks. Oh, and to look more youthful! Pushing my luck a bit with the youthful thing, but I hope this beauty regime works.

{20/02/2012}   Airport routines

I am tired, pre-flight tired.  I got up at 6am, which is post-the-5 something a.m.-way-too-early threshold, yet I have a tiredness that is not like my normal tiredness, it’s a kind associated with getting up to go to the airport.  I have never quite worked this out, I suppose it’s largely psychological.
I went to bed and fell straight to sleep just before 11pm, so I had seven hours of sleep ahead of me.  Yeah, right.  I was awake by 2.45am.  By 4 I was getting annoyed at being awake but dozed a bit and got up at 6.  So that’s partly why I am, and indeed usually get, tired.  I’m not aware I’m worrying about missing my alarm and thus my flight but I probably am.
I will always have tea and breakfast at home.  I will get to the airport a few hours later and have a hollow, empty feeling stomach.  I will have a second breakfast and a coffee.  I will then eat on the plane, eat when I get to my destination and if there is an evening with time for dinner, I will eat again.  I will wonder why my body clock and eating patterns are all over the show.  I will blame flying!
I like to be at the airport at least two hours before a flight, in part because I hate rushing to catch things that will cause me great inconvenience and money to miss, but mainly because of the joy of airport shopping.
I think it is a myth that things are cheaper at the airport and I rarely buy anything anyway, but I love the duty free shops with vast arrays of samples and things to spray on.  I am currently unmoisturised, unmade-up and not wearing perfume.  Actually, I don’t wear perfume, except when I go to an airport!  I am going to Heathrow terminal 5 where the quality of beauty concessions is far superior to other UK airports.  I am not looking forward to today’s destination of Stockholm because I’m only there to do a job that I am dreading; I am, however, ridiculously excited about (if all goes to plan) getting through X-ray and having two hours before the flight takes off, maybe an hour and a half of breakfasting, sampling and – I forgot this one, a “travel treat” – deciding which trashy magazine to buy for the flight!
Baron’s Court now (according to the signs it’s Barons Court) awaiting the Piccadilly tube to Heathrow.  Hurry up, this is my shopping time!

et cetera