Archive for February, 2010

A failure – in yoghurt terms anyway!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 24, 2010 by Ella Slayne

Oh dear- I failed at the Activia Challenge!   I missed a day and in doing so laid myself open to another distended tum attack – eek!

Usually, I have my little pot of healthy bacteria in the morning but the other day I forgot.  I thought I could catch up at lunchtime but they just had normal yoghurt.  I did have one – one of those I’m a yoghurt but I’m pretending to be a pie things apple and cinnamon turnover or something – I mean seriously, who are they trying to kid?  It’s ridiculous!  I know what an apple turnover tastes like and it’s not white and gloopy!   Anyway couldn’t help feeling that it wasn’t the same.  I mean I’m sure there is some healthy bacteria in normal yoghurt but is there enough?

I intended to have my probiotic fix when I got home, but ended up falling asleep in front of the TV instead.  That in itself would not have been so bad, except that I had a nightmare in which Jamie Lee Curtis was dressed as a college professor, black gown, stupendous cleavage – even at her age – and mortar board hat.  She kept saying – “You are a failure Josie Jenkins of the bloated belly”  – while flicking yogurt pot lids at me with F scrawled all over them in red ink.  I have made a conscious decision not to over-analyse this dream, lest I uncover some awful personal truth.

Since then unfortunately, I have been unable to look at an Activia yoghurt, let alone eat one!  So I’ve been searching for alternative, as I’m certain that all the iffy bacteria will be multiplying at an astonishing speed. 

The helpful lady at the chemist suggested I try the sachets of probiotic granules because – “You can take them wherever you go and sprinkle them on your food. I use them all the time!”  She had quite a sizeable tum so I wasn’t wholly convinced, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.  The problem is though, that it does rather rely on you taking the sachets with you wherever you go.  I mastered that by putting them in my handbag – problem solved you might think.  But actually no, because you still have to remember to take the things out of your bag –and that’s where I slip up – almost every day!

It would be easier if you could just arrange a monthly injection of healthy bacteria.  Yes that would be a lot simpler.  You could just turn up at the doctor’s, once a month, and say: “Hi Doc – how about a shot of my usual stomach stabilizer?”  Ok I’m being a bit daft now.

Actually ,I’m happy to report that everything seems back to normal in the tum department. Not saying that I have a flat stomach or anything, it’s just protruding in it’s usual manner and doesn’t look as if I’ve swallowed a watermelon whole. 

I’m not sure why Ella feels the need to post a whole blog entry on the happenings of my insides  –  I mean are there no privacy laws for a fictional character?   Next she’ll be telling you whether I’ve been picking my nose recently.  I haven’t, by the way – although it has been a bit runny lately.  I think I’m coming down with a cold, either that or I have a developing nasal drip.  Must look into that…

There!  You see!  She’s done it already – the state of my nasal mucus revealed to millions on the internet – I have no control! 

Oh but life does require such a lot of upkeep doesn’t it?  Sometimes I just want to run off to a villa in the South of France and let it all hang out – runny nose and bloated gut.

Au revoir mes amis!

The curse of the crocheted cardigan!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 by Ella Slayne

Before I say anything else, let me just clarify that I am a big fan of the cover-up cardigan.  I have plenty stashed in my closet, of varying colours and styles, collected from many shops and have to admit that I am prepared to pay a substantial amount for the prefect design.

The beauty of such a garment is, of course, it’s ability to transform fat-arms-dumpy-chick in sleeveless dress into curvy-sex-goddess – even the stars use them, so I’m in good company!  The silk/chiffon variety  is indeed the best friend of a chubby upper arm in the summer and it’s woollen counterpart, a vital part of any winter wardrobe.

BUT beware the crochet cardigan for it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!   A point proved to me, oh so clearly, when Edith came to work the other day.   I don’t know how old Edith actually is, noone in the office does – it seems to be a closely guarded secret – but she is a granny –  and so her arms, it has to be said, do need a lot of cover-up.    I don’t wish to sound unkind or anything, after all I am a couple of decades younger than she is and my arms are already definitely better when clothed, so…I sympathize.  

Perhaps I should fill you in on where I work – Harpers & Green: a mail order shirt company, supplying quality classic shirts to the rich and famous.   I manage the customer service team – as well as, recently, other more executive tasks (eek!) –  and the lovely Edith is head of our Faults Department. When I say head I’m exaggerating – she’s actually the only member of our faults department – we’re a small company – I think the correct term may be boutique.  Hope that’s not giving too much away  –  there’s more about all of that in the book!

I’d always thought, hoped, that as one ages, one becomes aware of which bits are sagging, which bits may need specific wardrobe attention, which areas of the face need plucking  etc  and so, one can tend accordingly.  Well apparently not – this became obvious when Edith came to work the other day wearing a lemon vest top with a cardigan of the crocheted variety and so  – and here’s my point – offering absolutely no upper-arm cover-up at all!  Why not?  Because crocheted items are full of holes!  Therefore providing plenty of opportunity for visible flesh –which in Edith’s case was rather wobbly and wrinkled, and so just a little off-putting when coupled with my morning coffee.

I don’t blame her- I have made the same mistake myself.  It took me a while to resist the temptations of the crocheted cardy.  You see the problem is, that the overall effect, dupes those willing to be duped.  You try it on, look at the stylish three-quarter length sleeves, the just-below-bum length and coquettish little kick out at the back – all very flattering indeed – making it easy to miss the fact that, clever detailing aside, your arms are still exposed, their flabbiness apparent for all to see! 

Edith, in a crochet cardigan, is a catastrophe, a disaster of great style proportions and I am left with an unsettling conundrum: should I tell her? Or just let it go, knowing that she will, no doubt, subject herself to this dreadful style no-no on other occasions?   To tell or not to tell that is the question…

Bye y’all!

Homesickness – well I’m only human!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 by Ella Slayne

Actually I’m not human, but I am a well-developed fictional character so I get highs and lows like anybody else, and sometimes I get so homesick that even the Antiques Roadshow makes me cry.   Who would have thought that watching the British public queue up to reveal the antique wonders  hidden in Granny Mildred’s  attic or Uncle Monty’s cellar could be so comforting?

Oh but it is!  I love to listen to all the British accents – accents I used to be so familair with, and yet now seem foreign to me.  I love to watch the cottonwool clouds loom overhead and the green trees swaying in a gentle British summer breeze – scenery I used to take for granted and now sometimes crave.

Even the clothes look different and often, I am left yearning for a quick snoop around the institution, that us Brits know and love – Marks & Spencers – a place where one can be guaranteed to find big pants and thermal socks!

Ah it’s funny the things you miss!

It’s only after living abroad for so long, that I’ve noticed how polite and modest the British can be.    It amazes me how the little old lady with a blue rinse and knitted cardigan – sitting in front of the antiques’ expert with a wonderfully posh voice – can produce a piece of  jewerly in a battered box, only to be told it’s an early Georgian necklace, worth thousands of pounds.  Does she whoop for joy, pump her fists in the air and yell: “YES!”   No, she chuckles shly and says meekly “Oh how lovely.” 

When I’m having a bout of homesickness,  I wear woolly socks, clutch a hot water bottle and indulge in unlimited Antiques Roadshow viewing or Cash In The Attic – which never fails to deliver   When desperate, I have been known to watch Top Gear, even though Jeremy Clarkson with his schoolboy humour and cocky love of cars, has always irritated me. 

All this overindulgent TV-watching is usually accompanied by copious cups of tea and a packet of McVities Digestive biscuits – and perhaps a box of tissues to mop up the odd homesick tear or two.  If it’s raining outside – which admittedly, is rare in sunny Texas – and I whack the air conditioning on high, it can almost seem like home.

Bye y’all  – or in the spirit of the BBC  – Cheerio!

Succumbing to the squeegee!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2010 by Ella Slayne

I have finally bought one of those squeegee things for the shower – goodness knows how you spell it though!

It wasn’t my intention to buy a one – I was really looking for a deluxe shower caddy, in which I could stash my Intensive Cleanzing Clove shampoo,  Lustre Loving Kiwi conditioner and  Invigorating Lemon Splash body wash.  I am, after all, a self-confessed sucker for toiletries!  If the bottle said hedghog wee had purifying properties, I’d buy it!  

Anyway, my current shower caddy is the kind you have to stick on with a plastic sucker and it has the most unnerving habit of falling off, at random and without warning – usually in the middle of the night – causing me to have a minor heart attack on many occasion. 

So, I found myself sauntering around the vastness that is Bed Bath & Beyond,  scanning the shelves for any kitchen/bath must haves whilst on the hunt for a shower caddy that could stand on its own two feet – or rather chrome effect stand – in the corner of my shower cubicle – thus avoiding any midnight scares!  

And as I looked over  the blurb on a Snuggletoes Foot Warmer, which claimed to heat my toes “right to the bone”  – slightly unnerving –  I had the unfortunate luck to attract one of those stalking shop assistants!  It began with: “Hi, how are you?”   To which I smiled and replied: “Fine, how are you?”  – because I am a well-brung-up sort of  lass.   Then I swiftly picked up my pace in the opposite direction, hoping to lose her.   I headed towards the bath mats and, while pausing momentarily to look at some essential-oil antique-look wax burners, I noticed that the shop assitant was hovering.   I made eye contact and in doing so, was doomed. 

Gwen – as her handy name badge revealed -was smiling at me and offering to help – I was rather distracted by her huge mound of hair, which looked as if it had been sprayed with a whole can of Elnette, and her make-up, which looked as if it were applied in the dark – she put me in mind of an eighties soap star  – like the reflection of Joan Collins might look  in one of those distorting mirrors you see at the fairground.   I’m not even sure if that makes sense but I think you might be able to get the gist of what I mean!

The lovely Gwen guided me through the ins and outs of bathroom accessories but was somehow unable to locate a shower caddy.    Instead she  found me a $9 squeegee which I didn’t actually want but am assured, was essential for optimum bathroom cleanliness

There is something odd about standing in a shower fully-clothed, so I decided to save time and use my squeegee at the end of my shower instead.  However, squeegee-ing your shower-glass, naked, is even more odd.  And incidentally, not something anyone else should ever witness.  Especially if you have perfectionist leanings and are intent on squeegee-ing  all the shower-glass top and bottom – need I say more?

And while performing this bizarre task on a regular basis,  it’s occurred to me that the people I see happily going about their day-to-day business, fully clothed of course, sauntering down the aisles of the supermarket or in the queue at Starbucks, these same people probably squeegee their shower glass, naked,on a regular basis as well!

As a result of being bombarded with these unwanted, slightly off-putting images, I have decided to take a break from squeegee-ing and will  – rather recklessly – let the water marks  build up on my shower glass as they once used to do.  Consider it a sort of self-help therapy!

I do, of course, still need to find a new shower caddy but am afraid to go back to Bed Bath & Beyond for fear that I will meet eighties-hair Gwen again and have the image of her squeegee-ing her shower glass imprinted in my mind forever!

Bye y’all!

When a size 10 becomes a size 12!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 2, 2010 by Ella Slayne
Had a bit of a pregnancy scare over the weekend which turned out to be a case of bloated tum! Big relief to find out that was not pregnant but slightly mortified to realize that may have a case of  irregular bowel! So am now doing the Activia challenge because quite frankly if those yogurts work for Jamie Lee Curtis – they can work for me. Probiotics – bring it on!

There! It’s happened already – as I feared, Ella is unecessarily revealing personal details to all and sundry on the internet! Actually I’m also realizing that this blog thing is worse than a diary – it’s an addiction! Ella has already become blog-obsessed – talking about it all the time, emailing it to everyone she knows – she even put it on Facebook for goodness sakes!  In the end I will have no privacy at all, I’ll be followed by the paparazzi or at least the blogarazzi – you might as well call me Victoria Beckham!  Although a curvier version…ok, I admit we look nothing alike, but you know what I mean!

A BIG THANKYOU to all those people who posted such lovely comments  thus preventing aforementioned author from feeling like a Billy No Mates and becoming even more unbearable to live with.  Apologies to those of you who had problems posting – apparently this new server will make that a lot easier –  please do read and comment on my blog, otherwise Ella may succumb to wallowing  in the depths of rejection, as she is rather prone to do – and let’s face it, if you’re an aspiring author there’s plenty of rejection around!
So as I was saying, I did, for a brief moment – as I was cramming my rather distended belly into my stretch Gap jeans – think I was preggars. In fact, if I’m honest, I almost hoped I was with child because, quite frankly, that would have been better than coming to terms with the fact that my sudden increase in dress size may be due to an  over-indulgence in chips and dip! Well it’s been a bit of  roller-coaster the past few months and if you read the book you’ll find out why,  but rest assured it’s no surprise I’ve been reaching for the hummus! And yes, I know, you can cut the calories in half by using carrot or celery but it just doesn’t taste the same!
Rather than admit I am a glutton, I have decided to follow the advice of Ms Curtis – because after all she is a Hollywood star –  and see if it helps reduce the size of my girth. Oh and I’m going increase my running schedule … and cut out all dairy products from my diet…and nuts…and anything else I can think of that can cause the allergic reaction of a big stomach!
It’s things like a dodgy bowel and stubborn stomach flab that make you realize you’re getting older. That, and the wrinkles around your eyes which leave grooves in your skin, even when you’ve stopped smiling. Or, the fact that the reason for having Toni & Guy highlights is no longer to look stylish and up-to-the-minute but rather to cover up the grey!
By the way, I’d just like to point out that I’m not that old – on a scale of Jamie Lee Curtis and Victoria Beckham I’m in the middle – no, actually I’m nearer the Beckham end!
Though, obviously being in my thirties,  one is aware of the old biological clock ticking – only goodness knows what kind of a mother I’d be – I can’t even bear the sight of my own snot never mind someone else’s! And from what I’ve seen, dealing with a copious amount of gooey bogeys seems to accompany the rearing of children. Besides, I have a top-of-the-milk-cream Pottery Barn sofa, so it goes without saying that stray snot is completely out of the question!
Speaking of bogeys, I have to go and blow my ficticious nose!
Bye y’all!

Josie Jenkins At Large!

Posted in blogging, fiction, humor, life, personal, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , on February 2, 2010 by Ella Slayne

Now, when I say “Josie Jenkins At Large” – I want to clarify that I mean metaphorically speaking – I’m only a dress size ten,which apparently, is a national average so while I’m not exactly of supermodel proportions, I’m not a hippo either!

So what I mean by at large is sort of a here I am kind of thing I suppose. Except I’m not actually real, I’m a character created by Ella Slayne – this new writer – who chose to write a whole book about me! Hugely flattering of course! Although she’s in the middle of rewrites at the moment and still yet to get the thing published – in fact it hasn’t even got a proper name – but it will be great…you know…when it actually comes out. I hope. Otherwise it could be incredibly embarrassing and I’ll be left here on this blog as a nobody who appears to think they were a somebody once when in fact they were just a wannabe/mighthavebeen person.

It’s also a tad invasive if I’m honest – she knows me warts n’all which isn’t always a good thing! So while this blog is supposed to promote the book, I have to say there is a small part of me – well tiny really – that hopes it fails miserably because there are just some areas of one’s life you like to remain private, if you know what I mean?! However the bigger part of me is just desperate for the Oprah interview of course and now that she’s leaving telly, the pressure is really on. So Ella – don’t let me down here!

Sorry I’m rambling a bit – I do have a tendancy to veer of topic! I have a feeling it must be incredibly irritating and so I’m ever grateful for the smattering of people in my life so far, who put up with me and my rambles – Becky, that one goes out to you baby!

So back to this blogging thing which is completely new to me and to be honest I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing! Which is why there is no photo or anything on here yet – I am going to have dig something out but could take me a while to find anything suitable – in general I don’t tend to be photogenic -I blame it on my frizzy hair but the odd chin pimple doesn’t help either!

Actually I’m a bit of technophobe – so the chances of me ever working out how to post a photo, are slim. I’m the type of person who rarely even sends texts because it takes me so long to write them -usually with no punctuation or spaces. But, they tell me that blogging is all the rage – OMG I sound like my Granny – so I agreed to go along with it!

Anyway, it ocurred to me, when I was indulging in a lovely homemade geranium and parsley bath soak – got the idea from a Herbals At Home book my Mum gave me for Christmas – most of the stuff in it is total crap, like the recepie for an oatmeal and mustard facepack – I don’t even like mustard with my steak, never mind smeared all over my face, so am certainly not trying that one – but the bath soak is actually quite nice and as I already had an old bottle of geranium essential oil knocking about and a bag of parsely in the freezer, I thought: why not? An unsightly skin irriation, due to misreading the quantities of essential oil, could be one reason but I won’t dwell on that… after all the sunflower oil and wheatbran cream seemed to help…it’s amazing what you can find in the kitchen cupboards.

So, as I was saying, it occurred to me that – and I apologise if this is stating the obvious for all the seasoned bloggers out there – blogging is a sort of an online diary. You write down all your personal thoughts and observations – like how it worries me that President Obama’s hair is already loads greyer since he became President and that the same thing happened to Tony Blair, who started off as a bit debonair and handsome too but eventually began to look as grey and wizened as the rest of them – politics saps the life out of you, it seems – so you write this sort of thing down but instead of using a glistening chrome Paperchase pen with matching notebook and tucking it in the drawer of your bedside cabinet, you put it on the internet for anyone and everyone to read! It’s like the introvert/extrovert’s dream really!

I’ll shall have to go in a minute – I put the kettle on and am gagging for a cuppa – a Brit through and through, I’m never far away from a cup of tea. Thank goodness for the international aisle at the local supermarket, I’d be lost if I couldn’t get my PGTips! And after living here in the States for over ten years I simply cannot get the hang of iced tea, not even in the summer – all that cold liquid makes my stomach blow up like a balloon!

A Englishman in New York – that’s what I suggested for the title of the blog – except that I’m not a bloke, I’m female and I’m not in New York – unfortunately – I’m in Texas – which apparently is quite a bit different from New York – yeah so not really the best title!

Which is probably why Ella plumped for High Heels and Slippers instead sums me up. By day I’m a Company Executive – even if it is only temporary – wobbling around in high heels and by night sofa-snuggler in fleece-lined slippers – because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s cold feet!

Not sure how I will end these blog entries – I like the idea of developing some kind of catchphrase – you know like famous comedians do – although the only one I can think of right now is from the bloke who used to be on Crackerjack and say: ooh I could crush a grape! Not really the level of sophistication I was aiming for.

On the other extreme I suppose I could sign off newsreporter style: This is Josie Jenkins for High Heels and Slippers saying goodnight. But that’s not right either.

So perhaps I’ll just use that good old Texan phrase I’ve grown to know and love: bye y’all!