One of the ‘Supers’ on the cover of UK’s Elle

A January issue of the British Elle landed on my door mat today and oh my God, it has a sexy goddess named Helena Christensen on its cover. I must admit, she wasn’t one of my favourite ‘supers’-I loved Christy and my husband worshiped Linda- but lately Helena makes me look at her with a fresh pair of eyes.

Not so long ago I saw Helena eating at Locanda Locatelli-they feed you so well, you clothes start stretching as you go from course to course-and even though I recognised her, she didn’t seem superhuman, just a pretty woman with a nice aura. But today, when I saw the subscribers cover, she made me draw in a breath and if I was a boy I probably would have whistled!

She looks healthy & tanned, confident and sexy and so, so pretty. She wears the clothes and not the other way around and… I really enjoyed the interview, as it had humour and substance to it. This woman makes me curious and do I want to go to the gym to get a body like hers!! She seems comfortable in her own skin and you don’t get that sense about many models nowadays, do you? Viva Helena, the smart goddess of beauty and a nice role model for the younger generation!

Driving and Women

Last week I was driving from Central London with my son safely buckled up in his car seat in the back. The traffic was getting busier and the light was dimming, day turning into the evening. I decided to use the side streets to get to my destination and after signalling, started turning from the main road. As I was doing it, I noticed that a woman started crossing the road with a toddler, who was fast asleep in the buggy. I stopped and waited for the woman to pass. She must have been deep in thought as half way through the crossing she suddenly stopped, looked at me and started moving back. I was puzzled. I then waved to her, to let her cross the road before I turned into it. She did and then started saying something to me, mimicking and waving her hands. I turned into the road, stopped and pushed the button to open the window.

Instead of a ‘thank you’, which I didn’t expect-it’s only normal to let someone pass, I got an earful of abuse, like ‘watch where you are going’, ‘you didn’t signal’ etc. I calmly sized her up and told her to calm down, stop day dreaming when crossing a road and that I had a child in the back too, so why would I risk him or another child’? With that I drove off.

We live in a crazy world that seems to be moving faster every day. People are in a constant rush, with millions of things to do and problems to solve. I can certainly relate to women with kids, who have to balance too many things, probably lack sleep and sometimes even sanity on certain days. But why, when it wasn’t my fault and I was meant to be courteous, did I get such rudeness from a fellow mother or nanny? I don’t have an answer to that.

Would I behave differently next time? Probably not. I just wish that people stop blaming other people for their mistakes and acknowledge acts of civility and kindness with a smile or a friendly wave. This is all it takes to cheer someone up or to let them know that you appreciate their kind deed.

Pop life exhibition at Tate Modern

I have been meaning to go and see this exhibition for a while now, as it was getting quite a few column inches in the newspapers plus Tate Modern building is surrounded by so many unusual buildings that is always nice to just go and walk in the area, observing people, the river and the surroundings. It was raining really badly by the time I got there on saturday, so I rushed in but the coolish air inside didn’t make me feel too welcome either. Well, at least it was dry….

The exhibition is called ‘Pop life: Art in a Material World’ and is spread over several rooms on the 4th floor. You can see the works by Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami (I so love his work!), Andy Warhol, Tracy Emin and other artists. Some of the exhibits on display are completely beyond my comprehension, like Damien Hurst’s sheep in formaldehyde or the ‘dead’ horse lying on the floor with a spear going through it. Two of the exhibition’s rooms contain the material of sexual nature and you won’t be let in if you are under 18. I can only say that the room dedicated to Jeff Koon’s art, mostly containing photos or sculptures of him having intercourse with his ex-wife, pornstar Cicciolina, is quite grotesque.

The only room that I really enjoyed was dedicated to Takashi Murakami and contained shoes that he made in collaboration with Louis Vuitton, some sculptures and colorful figurines and my absolute favorite, a video titled ‘Akihabara’ which stars an actress Kirsten Dunst and was produced by the artist. I ended up humming the tune for the rest of the day.

All in all, I thought that seeing this exhibition, which cost me £12.50, was a waste of my time. The brochure that you can pick up before entering says that ‘Pop life examines how artists since the 80s have cultivated public personas and conjured a dazzling mix of media, commerce and glamour to build their own ‘brands’’. I didn’t learn anything new and most of the exhibits on display made me question their substance.

The word on leggings

I never thought it would come to this. I wore leggings when I was a young girl with a long ponytail. It was easy to throw them on plus a t-shirt and go play with my girlfriends in the playground. Then I went to Uni, grew up-well, kind of- started working and the issue of leggings wasn’t on my mind at all. Then they came into fashion, and everyone seems to be wearing them now: young and old, girls and boys, leggy beauties and women who really shouldn’t….I resisted. I ignored it. I rolled my eyes and then… I gave in. With a t-shirt, with a long sweater, with a dress, with a skirt, with a blazer-it is a very versatile trend.

Not that it is easy to find a good pair of leggings. I went to the usual haunts of H&M, Topshop, Zara-no luck, and I mean NO luck. I saw some cool looking ones at Selfridges by Les Chiffoniers but the prices started at £230. Come on!!! And then I stumbled into Uniqlo. And for under £30 I found them-a grey pair and a black pair with the lace edge. They are easy, comfortably soft and make me feel good. I also, thanks to a friend of mine who is a stylist, have a ‘going out’ pair of Noir leggings. They were much pricier-I still feel guilty thinking about it!!-but they are very hard to resist-black, stretchy, kind of looking like jodhpurs and very cool. They pull a look together very effortlessly and make me feel like a womanly girl.

One last thought-I recently saw Victoria Beckham wearing a pair of her own design, with the zippers at the back. Now, where can I find a pair like that, at a fraction of a price? If you know, let me know….

The Vagrants

The Vagrants book coverThe book ‘The Vagrants’ by YiYun Li was published this year and I bought it a few months ago, but only recently I finally got it off my bookshelf and read it (a little confession: I am a book addict, I have quite a few unread books on my shelf, but as soon as something interesting comes out I have to rush out and buy it or order it on the Amazon; then the lovely books have to wait their turn).

The author’s style of writing is unlike anyone I have ever read, it is beautifully evocative in a simple way, with no pretentiously composed sentences. The book draws you in from the beginning but because it is dramatic and thought provoking it takes you a while to read it.

The main event is the execution of Gu Shan who went from being a loyal communist to a counter-revolutionary. Her father, a teacher and an intellectual, finds it hard to accept the fact that his daughter turned into a rebel and her mother is devastated by the loss of her only child. The citizens of Muddy River, a town where the events take place, is very small but the event resonates and leads to unexpected consequences for Tong, a young boy, an orphan Bashi who lives with his old grandmother, a crippled girl named Nini, beautiful Kai, a wife on an important man, and Mr and Mrs Hua who are the poor cleaners.

This book made me very sad and at times I left it on my bedside table for a few days before it drew me back. I have never been to China and as yet don’t have any Chinese friends but the story of this huge country is fascinating and the author makes you feel like you are part of the events that are unfolding before your eyes. The love of people, the loss of faith, the sorrows of being a person with special needs can apply to any person, of any nationality, but the sad truth is that the book is based on the true events and you get to educate yourself about the life of people during the Communist regime when it was impossible to distinguish yourself or to try to appear different from the crowd. A highly recommendable read.

Baby bottoms

Babies have the cutest bums, chubby and pink. Unless they have an upset stomach or you forget to care for them and then they become RED. Not nice and it makes our little darlings cry too. So, since my son has been born I have been doing extensive research. For really bad rashes-not that he had many of those, thank God, Sudocream is the winner hands down. I always take a small tub with me when I travel because I know that it can also heal the skin on other parts of the body. Now, I don’t use it every day and to find a suitable alternative wasn’t easy because I am demanding. It has to smell good, not be too gooey, be nicely packaged and make sure that my son’s bottom looks presteen. I tried Method baby squeaky green nappy cream, but it does smell quite clinical (and I do love their kids bath bubbles) and takes a while to absorb. Kiehl’s does a diaper rash ointment, which smells nice, but is very thick and stays on the skin for too long. So far, so trial and error. But my search did pay off when I came across the brand called Boo Boo baby soothing bottom butter-it is packaged in a small or big pot-nice to have a choice for home or travel, it works a treat and it also smells… it smells like cookies and cream-I can eat it, well, almost. Try it, I promise you that you will love it and your baby’s bum would too. Then there is also my second favourite-Weleda calendula nappy change cream-it smells great, heals rashes and sore bottoms or even slightly red ones too quickly and my son loves to play with it while I change his nappy. And because the tube is quite big it is going to last and last-I only wish they made it in smaller size, for travel. Happy bottom, happy baby, happy mummy.

Thoughts on Pedicures

I wonder if you like your feet ? Mine are not pretty or ugly, I think they are just average looking, but boy, do I use and abuse them on the daily basis. Every 5 weeks or so, I tug my hair and think ‘It’s time’. I then book an appointment for a pedicure and enjoy the feeling of lightness I get upon leaving the spa. Now, the question is ‘cheap or expensive’? Well, everyone is different and as yet, I haven’t been brave enough to shell out about £120 plus for the pleasure of being treated by Monsieur Bastien Gonzalez, who is known as the God of pedicures. I have been to different spas around the world and recently was curious enough to go to a Margaret Dabbs Foot Clinic & Nail spa in Marylebone to have what is called a ‘medical pedicure’. The place was pleasant but busy, with one woman discussing her business appointments loudly on the phone. ‘My god’, I thought to myself, ‘that would be an hour of ruined bliss’ but hurray, I was whisked downstairs to my own private room. The stern looking young woman examined my feet and having reclined me in the big, comfy leather chair got on to drilling, smoothing and prettifying my feet. The end result was fine but the question is ‘would I come back?’ The answer is probably not. My feet didn’t feel that different compared to how they normally feel when I exit California Nail bar, where Chinese girls do my feet and hands in one hour and my feet last a good 4 or 5 weeks, unless I am frolicking in the sand. For my pedicure there I pay £25 as opposed to £75 at the Margaret Dabbs clinic, with one of the qualified podiatrists (and the nail painting is £15 extra!) and I keep on going back. It is an unpretentious and tiny space and yes, I do take my own base and polishes with me but it is simple and my feet look and feel good. The only annoying factor is girls squabbling in Chinese non-stop. But you know what? I have learned to ignore it and get on with reading my glossy or a book. Simple, non guilty pleasure which makes my feet look pretty. And my bank manager can’t tell me off for that one.