Fifty Shades of Galentine’s Day

Hey boo hey! How you livin’?

So let’s dive straight in. I recently told you all how much I love Valentine’s Day. This tends to confuse people, since I am the quintessential single girl about town. It’s not like I don’t like menz no more (I’m not #deliverdt). Idris just hasn’t arrived with my bride price yet, so I’m waiting patiently. In the meantime, I usually spend Valentine’s Day doing something fun/silly with the gals.

This year was no exception. A few years ago, the world was whipped into a tizzy of over-excitement by Fifty Shades of Grey, by new author E.L. James (I’m using “author” in the very loosest sense of the word here). The book was EVERYWHERE. Women were blushing on public transport, and passing it on to their friends. Now, I LOVE to read. I am obsessed. But when a book has such a massive PR budget that everyone is talking about it, I’m skeptical.

I love a heaving bosom and a throbbing manhood as much as the next girl (probably more). Filth is fab. But here’s the thing. It has to be The Good Kind of Filth. Just because your subject matter is naughty doesn’t mean you can do away with good writing and believable characters!

When I lived in Oz, my sidekick Rosie said “Bruv listen, this book is truly the worst thing you will ever read.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I read it, and it was The Worst. The characters were one-dimensional, the dialogue was hilariously teenaged, and even the S&M was contrived and on the tame side. Not that I know, myself! A friend told me *coughs*

So anyhoo when I heard that the movie was coming out on Valentine’s Day, I was delighted. I knew it would be hilarious and silly, with a side of wang. So I gathered up my darlings Miss I and Miss T, and we were off!

imagePhoto courtesy of Miss T ♥

The film was BRILLIANT in its badness. Unlike the book, it had some comedy value (no idea if it was intentional or not). We found it highly entertaining, and the back row was filled with cackles and shrieks. If you want a fun night out with your girls, go on ahead. No, you will not get Oscar-winning performances or a stunning screenplay… but look me in the eye and tell me that’s what you went for? Ok then.

So what did I wear? Mostly this:


Coat: This Olivia-Pope-esque coat is just giving me so much life right now. It turns every outfit from drab to fab in seconds. I got it for £29 at a cheap shop somewhere between Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations.

Hat: This fierce hat is Gone with The Wind Fabulous and I plan on wearing it every day until the end of time. It’s especially useful in church, when Pastor starts to preach some serious truths and you need to fan yourself and scream out YES LAWD. £15 from the same cheap shop as the coat.

Scarf: I got this luxe faux fur situation from ASOS years ago. Think it was about £10.

Black bodysuit: Forever 21 Plus, from last year’s Vegas trip. Fits like a glove and I adore it. This was purchased during a wild F21 shopping frenzy so I can’t remember how much it cost.

Jeans: Marks & Spencer’s. I KNOW RIGHT?? For my international darlings, M&S is where your Mum & Auntie Janet go to buy their sensible twin-sets and A-line skirts. In earth tones. They’re trying to become a bit more modern though and I really like these jeans.

Black patent clutch: Always and forever, Primark. I want to say £8?

Now let’s get into the face real quick- I was going for saucy, salacious, you-know-you-want-some chic. I used the Sleek i-Divine eyeshadow palette in “Garden of Eden” for an Earth-goddess green smokey eye. Paired of course, with my favourite nude lip, “Tweek” by Sleek.




I loved this look!

For more 50 Shades foolishness with a side of flawless fashion, check out my pumpkin Rosie’s 50 Shades of Oh Heyyyyy OOTD extravaganza.

So ladies (and gents, don’t be shy) let rip in the comments! Did you see the film? Did you delight in the badness of it all or were you clutching your pearls in shock?



Laissez les bon temps roulez: New Orleans!

My darlings, my loves, my pumpkin pies… this has been my summer of dreams coming true. A few months ago, I was having one of my usual lengthy email/Whatsapp conversations with my homeslice Rosie from A Red Lip and a Nude Shoe. She was telling me about the epic trip she was planning to  the USA over the summer. Her favourite band, Def Leppard, was performing in North Carolina, and she’d decided to combine it with several other city stops across the States. As we excitedly talked outfits and locations for Rosie, she said “You have to come too!” Being the anxious, deeply dull person that I am, I immediately said “oh stawp it, I simply mustn’t, think of the money…” And then it hit me. I AM 30 NOW. I have a good job. I’ve wanted to go to America forever. I deserve this. I work hard and gosh darn it, I’m going to go ahead and treat myself.

So I did! The decision was made, tickets were bought, lipsticks were selected… the plan was that I would head to New Orleans and meet up with Rosie, her childhood pal Tez (who I just adore) and Rosie’s American blogger pal, the delectable Karen from KP Says. Before I knew it, I was 35,000 feet in the air, more excited than I’d ever been in my life.

From the moment I landed in New Orleans, I was enchanted. Arriving at the hotel, I yelped and screamed and jumped on the bed, before running out to the balcony to fling the doors open. And there it was. New Orleans.


Once I had marginally calmed down, I got down to the business of Eating All of The Things. Numero Uno on my bucket list was to eat a Shrimp Po’Boy. This is a Southern sandwich served with freshly baked bread and something delicious inside. YOU GUYS… I don’t know what to tell you. I wept #JesusTears from how good it was.


Side note: one incredible thing about New Orleans and staying at a hotel just around the corner from the legendary Bourbon Street, is that you can order room service from many of the surrounding restaurants. When the young man (we’ll call him Tyrone) brought me this delightful sandwich, I was almost rendered unconscious by his sexy Southern drawl. Good Lawd. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have eloped with him on the spot. As it was, I tipped him approximately $4000 for being hot, and carried on with my evening.

I could barely sleep from excitement, knowing that the next day I would be reunited with my gal pals. The next morning I went to get myself a little snack, wanting to save my appetite for when the girls arrived and we headed out to lunch. I went to a cute little place called Cafe Conti and ordered the special, a grilled cheese croissant. This was how I learned my first lesson about American food portion sizes. This “croissant” came out and I was like O_O


You couldn’t even SEE the croissant, laden as it was with bacon, tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and poached eggs. I soldiered on, and then staggered back to the hotel to meet my friends. The reunion was a blur of screams, squeals and hugsies, and I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to see my Rosie!


Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know that leaving Melbourne was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and Rosie and I bawled our eyes out at the airport. Seeing her and Our Tez again gave me ALL OF THE LIFE. I also finally got to meet Karen. Guys, you know when you meet someone for the first time and love them on sight? Karen aka “Mama Karen” is so sweet, warm and caring, and she had me howling with laughter within minutes.

And we were OUT! The debauched and wanton pleasures of Bourbon Street called from just around the corner. This day will go down as one of the happiest days in my life. We munched on seafood platters and deep-fried eggplant sticks at Oceana, got drunk (in luhhhhve) on the famous Hurricane cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s, continued drinking in style at Carousel Bar, became famous for our  karaoke at The Cat’s Meow, and rounded off the perfect night with an oversized pizza slice at The Big Easy Daiquiris & Pizza Cafe.


We had a good perve n’ flirt with the hottie behind the counter at the pizza parlour. He had a face carved by a benevolent God, and an accent that caused instant arrhythmia. Tez tells me that I leaned over the counter towards him and whispered, “I love you.” I can neither confirm nor deny this of course…


*coughs discreetly* ANYHOO. The next day we met up with one of KP’s blogger friends, the adorable Chelsea from Tiger Love Beauty, and her lovely friend Ashley. We met at the famous Cafe du Monde. I was beyond excited to try their world-famous beignets, and I was not disappointed. These folks don’t play- the beignets were huge! Fresh, crisp and golden, piled high with powdered sugar.


We then visited the breathtaking St. Louis Cathedral, and walked through Jackson Square. Just outside the cathedral we stopped to watch some live jazz. I’m a jazz and soul fiend, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off this band. They were having a whale of a time, and I wanted to give up my worldly possessions and tour with them.




When it was time to hunt down breakfast, we headed to The Old Coffee Pot. Now, I’m sure you guys know by now that I’m an epic foodie. My telly is permanently fixed on The Food Network, and one of my all-time fave shows is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. So imagine my delight when I saw this by the doorway of The Old Coffee Pot:


Guy ate there! HUZZAH! We swiftly proceeded to do the same thing. It was absolutely divine, and due to over-excitement and stuffing of faces, no photos were taken. We continued on, with the day getting better and better. We walked through the French Market, and stopped to gaze at the mighty Mississippi river. With every moment, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with NOLA. Around every corner was a different adventure: The Pepper Palace (an entire superstore dedicated to thousands of different hot sauces), The Central Grocery (where we ate the Best Effing Sandwich Ever- the hilariously named Muffaletta), and finally more live jazz at Maison Bourbon Jazz Club.



On our last day, we had breakfast at a place called Stanley’s, which was amazing. Cheese eggs, bacon and cheese grits, poached eggs with fried oysters… all of these were washed down with gallons of my new favourite drink, sweet tea. Sweet tea is basically iced tea that has been used to wash down angel wings, before being strained through gold dust and unicorn’s tears. I quickly got into the habit of asking “D’you have sweet tea?” everywhere we went, until KP explained that they were guaranteed to serve it everywhere in the South #winning




We then took a tour down to the swanky Garden District, Mardi Gras World, the St Louis Cemetery, and saw the very beautiful and poignant Hurricane Katrina memorial. Afterwards we wandered through the streets with their lacy wrought-iron balconies, and soon it was time for lunchies. KP took us to a place called Fiorella’s Cafe for fried chicken. Listen… I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in my life. But THERE ARE LEVELS, and this was the pinnacle. This teeny little place doesn’t look like much; it’s a no-frills dive bar with the customary sticky floors and low lighting. But guys… when the chicken came out, the cherubim and seraphim burst into triumphant song.


This was the most perfect fried chicken that has ever crossed my lips and you must try it immediately. Like, go now. I’ll wait.

*cue Lionel Richie hold music*

So?! Right? It was golden-fried to perfection, and when you bit into it… I’ll be hearing that crispy crunch sound in my dreams forever. I also got to try fried pickles for the first time- so good! Then it was time to head back down Bourbon Street, soaking up that frenzied late-night atmosphere I’d come to adore. There were people everywhere, hollering and whooping and generally having the time of their lives. From every doorway spilled live music (special shout out to the band at Razzoo Bar for their amazing MJ medley!) and guys, you could take your drinks in a “go cup” and wander the streets! That evening we tried the famous Hand Grenade, and all I can say is Yow. Za.


(NOTE: Green shirt guy wins the prize for Best Photo Bomb Ever, obvs)


(NOTE: See Our Tez with that two-hander situation? Profesh.)

Our last hurrah was eating at The Gumbo Shop, where I had my first taste of crawfish etouffé, a rich and delectable stew served with rice. The food was incredible, and we had the opportunity to gaze at yet more fine figures of Southern men (apparently New Orleans just insists on hot employees at all times). We later stumbled upon an awesome gay bar, where there was a drag show on! I love the hell out of drag queens (I hope to be one someday) and I screamed myself hoarse with delight! Those ladies were made up and dressed for the Gawds, honey. Of course we ended up on stage…


And then much too soon, it was time to leave. I wanted to drink in every sight, every smell, every second of those few days. New Orleans has stolen my heart. I adored those Southern accents, and my new favourite phrase is the greeting “How yo’ Mama n’em?” closely followed by “Who dat?” I kept noticing signs saying “Shops Dat Way” and “We Will Ship Dat” When I asked KP about it, she explained dat (see what I did there) this everyday phrase actually originates from a New Orleans Saints football chant: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”

I loved everything about New Orleans- the famous Southern hospitality is very much alive and well. I couldn’t believe how charming and polite everyone was, how flirtatious the vibe was (men of London please take note, for the love of God). It goes without saying that the food and music were phenomenal, but it goes much deeper than that. There is such a beautiful sense of history in those streets; the crumbling but still-proud buildings, those timeless jazz melodies. There’s just something about that this place that puts a spell on you.

New Orleans, I will be back. You can believe dat.



Pssst! Look out for the next stop on our USA adventure coming soon! 

Soundtrack to My Weekend: Charles & Eddie: Would I Lie To You?

LE HUGE SIGH. I just love the bejesus out of this song, and have done ever since I was a little girl in afro-puffs. We had a working television for approximately three days out of my entire childhood, and I spent every available moment of those days watching MTV. I’ll never forget the first time I saw this video. I was in the middle of re-enacting a WWF fight with my little brother (how we never killed or paralysed each other is a mystery to me) and suddenly I heard this male falsetto crooning “Would I lieeee…” I swung around quick-smart because I instantly knew that no, this man would never lie. Not to me.

And that was the moment my crush began. Look yeah, I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know which one of these gents is Charles and which one is Eddie. All I know is that I’ve been lusting after that guy with the luxurious mane of long hair ever since I was a kid. Look how he swishes it. How he whips it back and forth. See how he gives excellent sideburn/earring action too? Urgh I just want to help him apply an Aveda hair mask and give him a salacious scalp massage. I have indeed looked into his eyes (which, yes, are open wide) and I can see that even if he did lie to me, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass.

Anyhoo I have digressed shamelessly. Soz- the video is perfection, and not just because of Charles/Eddie’s coiff (please don’t tell me which dude is which, I love the not knowing). I also love this track because that early 90s beat gives me everything I have ever needed in life. Plus a little bit extra.

I also adore the sweetness of the message. I’m single, but I may not always be. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll fall in love. And perhaps one day I’ll read his diary and find that I really am in every line.


I Need a Hero

Question: What is all this New Age Man rubbish? Metro sexual? What? Basically it’s supposed to mean that we have been delivered from the Neanderthal attitudes of men who used to holler out sexist comments at busty blondes and guzzle pints of Stella Artois at the same time.

Instead, a woman can now look forward to spending weekends traipsing round IKEA for “this, like, amazing retro lamp I saw in GQ.” She can look forward to standing outside the bathroom door in the freezing cold mornings, screaming “You bastard, I’m late for work, you’ve been in the bath for an HOUR!” Because of course he now has to exfoliate, cleanse, tone and moisturise. And to add insult to injury, it’s not even like he’s stealing your cosmetics any more. Oh no. He has his own (far superior, I might add) Clinique for Men range.

One evening perhaps he looks a little low. So having studied the intricacies of the English Premier League to please him, you take his hand and begin to gently inquire about the continuing crapness of Arsenal this season.

Then he turns to you; his eyes brimming with tears that begin to fall down his alarmingly polished cheeks. He sighs heavily and explains that actually, his limited edition Ralph Lauren fragrance has sold out, and Paul from next door got the last retro lamp they had in IKEA…

…Of course you don’t hear the end of the lament because you’ve dropped his silky smooth, lightly fragranced hand and run screaming for the hills.

All these points were further emphasised during a conversation with a friend of mine. She was telling me about her latest crush, and it was all going well until suddenly she sighed and said, “But…” And I thought to myself, “Aah.” After all, there’s always something, isn’t there? If he doesn’t secretly wear women’s panties, he collects dead lizards or something equally disturbing.

So she wails, “I can’t stand it. He’s so cute, but it’s getting ridiculous. He came over the other night and scolded me for not having decent toner!” I nodded in sympathy and she choked out bitterly, “And he keeps hassling me about having regular deep-conditioning done on my hair. He even recommended some products and hounded me until I bought them.”

So here’s a note for the men (or should I say “men” because I daresay some specimens are a shoddy example). Please. Grow. Some. Balls. Do some push-ups or something. Forgive me, but I’m not here for this new age crap. I want a man who is strong, fast, and fresh from the fight, dammit. Barrel-chested and gruff. Preferably in an oil-stained t-shirt. Because he’s spent the entire day fixing his truck, not relaxing at a frigging health spa. I mean for God’s sake.

And heaven FORBID that his hair be shinier than mine.


Break it Down

“We were on a BREAK!” It was the cry heard around the world- famously screamed by Ross after he had cheated on Rachel during a “break” in their relationship.

But how does it actually happen in real life? Boy meets girl, they fall in love, it gets messy, and they take a break? I didn’t realise how fascinating the concept was until I started to ask friends for their opinions. A female friend of mine (who will remain un-named for my protection) thought “taking a break” was just a quick service-station stop on the long motorway to breaking up. Other people thought a break could be a good thing, providing people with space to think. Others thought a break could stop one partner from taking the other for granted, giving them time to reflect on their behaviour. Essentially, making them sit in the relationship “naughty corner” for a while.

However, there did seem to be a gender divide. Although this could be a generalisation, I’m tempted to argue that women and men have different underlying reasons for requesting a break in the relationship. With women, I get the feeling that we request breaks because we’re fed up and want to force a change. We’ve fallen into a rut. We don’t go out anymore. He’s stopped buying flowers and now openly scratches his arse in front of the telly.

So we get sick of feeling unappreciated and threaten him with a break to shock him into action. I guess we’re hoping that the end result is that he shows up at our door a changed man, looking sharp with a fresh haircut, armed with flowers and promises to change. After the break he would look all shiny and new again, and we would fall back in love. Am I the only one who thinks that’s stupid? How long would the New Him last for?

From the man’s side? I personally think that if a guy says “We should go on a break” he’s simultaneously lacing up his Nikes super-tight in preparation for running as far away as possible. Forever.

Now… I’m aware that love isn’t a slow-motion dance in a moonlit field of chocolate-covered blossoms. I know relationships aren’t easy. But I don’t understand why they should be such hard work. Granted, you have to struggle through some barriers. Personal space gets invaded. People get angry. Harsh words are exchanged. I’m sure sometimes it even turns petty and toothbrushes end up in the toilet. But the “love” part of it? Should that really be the difficult bit? Surely that should be the one constant thing, through all the hardships? If that really has faded away, you can bet your bum cheeks that taking a break isn’t going to bring it back.

I could be wrong. All I’m suggesting is that perhaps if you find yourself having that awkward conversation on the couch, maybe you don’t need to “take a break.” Maybe you need to break up.


The Wedding

So there I am.

Amidst the crowd of wedding guests, perfectly framed against the ivy-covered marble archway, sipping on a champagne cocktail. I stand out from the sea of black and white, resplendent in my bright turquoise dress. I’m feeling regal and divine.

The waiter comes by with a fresh tray of drinks and people gather around to get one. I hear a deep voice behind me saying “Excuse me, could I please grab that cider?” I turn around and there he is. This Adonis of a man. Tall, dark, lean and handsome. Chocolate brown hair, lovely tanned skin and these big brown eyes. Tux so sharp it’d cut your eyes out. Gorgeous smile. I gaze upon his beauty for a second and then think to myself, this is it. This is the story I’m going to tell my grandchildren about how I met the love of my life.

I hear my friends’ lectures ringing in my ears: “YOU HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE!” I quickly decide to serve up some good old-fashioned sass. “Ooh you’re lucky” I say, “I was about to nab that cider.” He laughs and gazes into my eyes.

We start chatting away. He seems genuinely interested in hearing what I have to say. I am pretending to be genuinely interested in what he has to say, but really I am drinking in the sight of him and picturing us holidaying in the wine country, laughing and holding hands at a farmers market, kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower. We have so much in common, it seems. He too is looking to make a career change. He too is scared but excited about taking the leap. We are two peas in a pod.

Suddenly he says “Ah- I see someone I know over there, let me just pop over and say hi.” I graciously agree and step aside, smug in my knowledge that he’ll be right back with an idea of where we should go on our first date.

I don’t see that mofo again for the rest of the night.

Actually no, I did see him twice later on. He was sitting at the table directly opposite me, making a concerted effort not to look my way. And then I was standing next to him at the bar waiting to get a drink- he didn’t see me because he was deep in conversation with a tall blonde who looked like she was in dire need of a good meal (just saying).

Do these things happen to other people, or just me?