My Sunshiny Life











{April 24, 2010}   People all over the world!

Get on the soul train!

Pimp Daddy and Soul Sister

I love a good fancy dress party and take every opportunity I get to don an afro wig and get on down groooooovy soul train style!  For one afrotastic night I was an albino soul sister.

DJ Soul Brother

Soul Daddy-O

Sherv, who doesn't let volcanic ash get in the way of a good party, and drove from Prague!

Happy Birthday Rose and Eddie, fabulous night, outrageous outfits and hundreds of photo opportunities!



{March 23, 2010}   Lovelace Rock Out

We had the chance to relive Madonna in her heyday on the weekend.  For Lacey’s hens do we were told to wear 80’s garb and we were going to be rockstars for the day.  I wondered where on earth I’d get an 80’s outfit from, but it appears there is a little revival on for 80’s ‘fashion’ right now and I got my whole garish ensemble in H&M. 

There was another girl angling for the same hideous layered lace skirt me, and I wanted to tell her that I’d be wearing it as a piss take not because I thought it was fashionable!  If you’ve done the 80’s once then I don’t think  you can get away with doing it again. 

So all kitted out in neon, with far too much plastic jewellery and offensive blue eye make up, we rocked up to the studio.  We were taken through the drill of what we had to do and we were a little bit nervous at first, but that fell away very quickly and soon we were belting out the tunes.  Our playlist for the day was Like a Virgin (hahaha), Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (very hard to sing as it’s so screechy) and my favourite Bangles hit Walk Like an Egyptian.  It was a fabulous few hours of laughter and countless photo opportunities. Lovelace has a freshly cut CD, signed copies are available on request!

The soiree continued at Cocoon where we had a cocktail masterclass.  It was great to watch and the cocktails looked delicious.  I’m not drinking this year (much to the amazement of a couple of girls when I was up dancing a bit later on) so I just smelt a couple of them.  Some of them were eau de rocket fuel and I was happy to steer clear, but the passionfruit martini and berry bramble smelt like the winners for the evening. 

We didn’t need drinking games and dare forfeits, Lacey assumed the drinking position early on.  She undertook her remit as cocktail connoisseur very seriously.

Lacey hard at work

A girl's work is never done

Berry Bramble Tasting

Martini Magic

We had our own private room at Cocoon which was great for privacy and girly bonding times over lovely food, champers (water champagne for me) and knicker guessing games.  We’d been strictly banned from games of any description, but we had to sneak one in.

Grrr Wild Thing

I left the party people just after the witching hour, as the girls started shaking their asses in the window facing the street.  There are some bonuses to not drinking, one is not having the memory of shaking your ass to the bus stop at Regent Street, but none more so than waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed early the next morning.  I suspect a few people wished they could swap heads their aching heads with me on Sunday morning 🙂



{February 18, 2010}   Sunshiny Ski Trip

There’s nothing quite like bonding with your team mates and I think the perfect way to do that is skiing. We went to Champagny in the French Alps, which is postcard picture perfect, a quaint little village with a cheese shop, very cute ski men in the ski shop (cheeky winks help tired muscles when you’re dropping your skis back) and a bubbling stream through the centre of the village.

Champagny Chalet View

Our chalet was absolutely beautiful and slept 19 people.  We had fabulous food, copious amounts of booze (sparkling water for moi) and even a pool, spa and sauna to soothe tired and aching muscles.  Before the trip I loudly proclaimed that I would NOT be getting into the pool, spa or sauna with the guys from work.  I don’t need to see my male colleagues in their swim shorts, it’s not an image I want in my memory banks.  I certainly don’t want them to see me in a bikini!  I got there, sans bikini, and would have gone in naked my muscles were so sore.  I couldn’t have cared less.  I settled for some borrowed shorts and a bra and swam, spa’d and sauna’d my little heart out.

On the first day we took it easy and everyone sat at the pub drinking after skiing.  I’m not drinking this year so that doesn’t hold as much allure as it once did.  I went back to the chalet alone, as dusk was darkening into night and appreciated the solitude and stillness, with snowflakes drifting down covering everything in a beautiful, white blanket of purity.  I caught them on my tongue and thought how lucky I was not to be in dirty, rainy, cold London.  Nature is so raw and powerful and we forget that as we run around the hamster treadmill of life in a big city.

When you’re learning you need a couple of things.  You need some buddies who are at the same level as you and you need a patient instructor.  We were lucky enough to have both of those things.  N, H and me were at the same level and took turns waiting for each other and assuring each other that we could do this, we could get down the mountain and we would get better. 

Another rest break for the dream team

Then we had S, who was our ski instructor for the day.  Normally a funky ass snow board instructor, he gave up carving it up the mountain for a day to teach us, and to rest his knee which he’d mutilated in a snow board accident a few years ago. He was better than our paid instructor the day before and he patiently stayed with us, repeating phrases like “use your edges”  and “follow the S down the mountain.” 

S our patient instructor for the day

S, our patient instructor for the day

Sometimes he’d tell us to stop whining and get up.  You need that when you’ve given up and are lying in the middle of a busy run.

I don't wanna get up!

I don't wanna get up!

Skiing can be the most beautiful thing in the world, when all the planets seem to align, when the sun is shining, the wind is blowing in your hair and you’re gliding down the mountain, with snow flakes glistening in the air like diamonds. 

Skiing through sunshiny diamonds

Then it can be the most frustrating activity in the world and you wonder why the hell you’re clumping about on a mountain at all. 

I  threw an almighty tantrum on an icy steep slope when I couldn’t get my ski back on.  Sailors would have blushed at the shrieking curses I directed at the mountain, my ski’s and the snow that was trapped on the bottom of my boot, which was hindering the binding process back into the ski.  I would have thrown myself on the ground and kicked whilst screaming, but unfortunately it had taken me about ten minutes to get up after I had fallen over, so I threw my pole down instead (and then picked it up).  Thanks to my hero team of 3 people (N, A and D) who held me up and helped me back into my ski binding as we were slipping down the slope for TEN minutes.  Thank you for not leaving me there to have my tantrum by myself. I might still be there.

After two hours of skiing I finally saw the end in sight and tucked up, ski’s under my arms and headed in a straight line to the bottom.  I picked up speed.  Too much speed.  All the phrases I’d been fed through the day fled from my head in horror.  I didn’t know how to turn, I didn’t know how to stop and I’m sure I was going 30 miles an hour.  I threw myself into the snow to stop before I got any faster.  What courage you can find when you need to go to the loo.

So until next year, when I’m sure I’ll finally be able to nail the parallel.  For now, I’m still very ungracefully snow ploughing my way down the mountain.  But at least I get down.

The Ski Squad



{January 25, 2010}   Beer then?

We celebrated B’s birthday in the Chamberlayne pub in Kensal Rise on Sunday afternoon.  It was a lovely bunch of people and two of the cutest dogs, Oscar and Freddie. 

Sarah and Oscar, Naz and Freddie

A few people were intrigued about my new regime and were surprised that I’m not drinking for a whole year.  I seriously think I’d have had less of a response from everyone if I told them I’d developed a smack habit. 

The conversation with B and D the night before went something like this…

“So you’re not drinking for a WHOLE YEAR?!”

“Yep, that’s right”

“What about vodka?”

“Nope.”

“Whiskey?”

“Ew, I don’t like whiskey anyway.”

“Gin?”

“Gin makes me mental and I’m actually ok with not drinking.”

Cue a look of disbelief…  “BUT you’ll have to find a drink for S and B’s wedding or you just won’t enjoy it.”

OH MY GOD!

So back at lunch now and I was recounting this story to Benny who was sitting opposite me.  My food arrived, a lovely roast sirloin, (with no gravy or yorkshire pudding).  I had a few bites and then we did a happy birthday cheers to B, the birthday girl.  Then calamity struck and glasses just started toppling over on our side of the table.  Benny’s beer spilled into my plate and on to my food.  “Oh no, I can’t drink beer either” I exclaimed.  Benny kicked into action and rustled me up some more food and all was well in the world again.  I’m still a happy teetotaller.

Thanks for a lovely afternoon B, many happy returns sweets xx

I think she likes it

Birthday Balloons



{December 15, 2009}   Friendships

Friendships are pretty amazing, how they can stand the test of time and you can just pick up exactly where you left off.  It’s hard having friends all over the world and having so many good ones back in NZ.  But whenever I see them, it’s like no time has passed at all.  I said goodbye to Darren on Saturday night who is heading back to New Zealand, adding to the huge number of friends that have already left. 

It made me wish that I’d seen more of him when he was here, but you always think that you’ll catch up soon and then time passes and you realise you haven’t seen someone for months.  So good luck back in NZ Daz, I’ll miss catching up with you, but I’ll see you next time I’m down in sunny NZ 🙂

On Sunday I caught up with friends that I hadn’t seen for three years.  SO much has happened in that time and we had a fabulous catch up.  It always surprises me when kids grow up when I’m not around.  Matt is now 9, but it doesn’t seem so long ago that we went to the movies together and he sat on my knee in the scary bits. 

My Sunday was made up of brilliant company, a delicious lunch, a brisk walk in the park – with a herd of deer even making an appearance.  It’s SO good getting out of London. A dose of nature in Bushy Park and easy conversation was like a tonic from the stress of city living.   Getting the chill out of our bones after our bracing walk was heavenly, with a cosy warm house, more conversation, a delicious flat white (as only a true coffee lover could make) and home made gingerbread.   

Lovely to have you back Jo, James and Matt, thanks for a fabulous Sunday afternoon xxx



{September 23, 2009}   Bellisimo

The bride and groom

I’ve just come back from Maratea, a cute little hillside town on the coast of Italy.  Just down from the Amalfi coast.  A gorgeous little spot that was chosen by Mr and Mrs J to celebrate their nuptials.  The four day event was a fabulous way to hang out with a group of lovely people.  I haven’t had that much fun since band camp, when this one time… Or school camp even when the boys…  never mind.  It was a LOT of fun.

I was chief bridesmaid, which I thought meant I’d have some sort of special tiara, or maybe even a sash for the occasion.  That is Miss Universe apparently, and I have to say there were a few sideways glances when I paraded out after the ceremony in my very high cut one piece – apparently you don’t do that at weddings, that’s Miss Universe as well. 

As chief of the bridesmaids, what you do have to do however, is risk public humiliation by speaking in front of a room full of people.  To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year.  I was having anxiety dreams about it three months ago!  Two days before speech day, I was out by the pool, overlooking the ocean, trying to write out my speech long hand on some scrappy notepaper.  Then I practised in front of my huge crowd of six people.  I nearly threw up, developed an awful stutter and kept laughing slightly hysterically.  NO, the preparation wasn’t going well.  So I changed tack and told everyone at the wedding on a one on one level that I was beside myself with nerves and asked them to laugh loudly, even if bits weren’t funny.

The big day arrived.  Mrs J will remember it as her wedding day, I will always remember it as the day of the speech.  We had 5 hours to get ready, which you think would be ample time for us to put a bit of slap on and paint our toenails.  You’d be surprised at how quickly our prep time disappeared.  40 minutes late we sashayed down the aisle, to the relief of all of those who were assembled, as menacing black clouds rolled in over the hills.  I was given a bottle of Kalms, with the instruction to have 2.  Over the course of the evening I chugged back the entire bottle, they were natural and must work psychologically.  I was past the placebo effect, what I really needed was a valium.  In the absence of ‘mothers little helper’s’ champagne would have to do the trick.

Many glasses of champagne later, a little before dinner dancing and then it was time to be seated for dinner.  Speech time was drawing closer and my nerves were increasing by the second.  Normally an alcohol lightweight, I was chugging back full glasses of red wine, with it seemingly having no effect whatsoever – well in my mind anyway.  The bride did lean over at one point, shift my glass slightly away from me and suggested I eat more food and drink less wine.  Apparently slurring isn’t looked upon favourably in speech making circles.  The other speeches happened around me and I noted that the best man had props – he’d only brought in a toy trumpet that had to be blown at certain parts of the speech.  I didn’t have any props!  I was done for.  The best man’s speech went on for 40 minutes, prolonging my agony.

The result is a little bit of an anti climax really.  I got up, I spoke, people laughed and then I sat down.  No public humiliation, lots of positive feedback  and then on with a magical night of dancing under the stars.  In light of my success I might take up public speaking for a living, conquering your fears and all that.  I suspect I’d turn into a raging alcoholic however, so will stay on my chosen career path and give the bright lights and lecturn a miss for now.

Here’s a toast to the lovely bride and groom, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (there’s that stutter again) day, I had a fabulous time.  mwah x

Shy Flowers



{September 1, 2009}   Notting Hill Carnival Magic

I’d heard the drum beats all day on Sunday and had resisted the temptation to go down and check out the carnival. Monday came and all resistance melted away as I found myself hypnotically drawn towards carnival magic. 

Miss B and I went to check out the floats, I’ve been to carnival twice before and didn’t see any floats either time.  This needed to be rectified immediately! 

Best drummers in the parade

Notting Hill Carnival 2009

We also got our faces painted and were transformed into carnival princesses.

Carnival Princess Transformation Underway

Flamboyant Face Painting

Carnival Princess Transformation Complete!

Carnival Princess Transformation Complete!

Nigerian Patriotism

Ok, enough floats, enough drums, enough jerk chicken, let’s get to the Good Times Bus with Norman Jay and have a street party.  This man is a genius, managing the crowd like a puppeteer, working us up into a frenzy and then giving us some down time to recover.  It’s truly a magical experience rocking it with people from all walks of life.

Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Carnival Girls

See you next year carnival!



Time to get our glam on and step into the glamorous and decadent world of burlesque.  Primping, preening, donning wigs, applying beauty spots and quaffing copious amounts of Pol Roger is a fabulous way to spend time with a bunch of lovely ladies.

The Hen

Missy G and LMS

Sarah and B

Then we departed the hotel and made our way to Volupte Lounge, the final secret was at long last revealed. 

After cocktails and umpteen burlesque lady poses we finally took our seats downstairs in the boudoir style lounge.  The food was amazing, the show even more so.  We got swept away with the story from The Candy Shop and Missy G was pulled up to take part in the show.  I risked life and limb to get photos and footage of this as cameras were strictly banned.  I got told off twice but just resumed my camera sniper position once the staff member had left.  Missy G was the star of the show, as if I’m not going to take photos!

Missy G

Burlesque Beauties

Sarah and me

B, Me and Miss Nikki

Cheeky

The show was fabulous, the food was too.  The music was great, until it wasn’t and then we went back to the hotel to carry on our partying until the sun came up.

After the last of the party girls had left we made beds out of chairs, couches and of course, the bed.  Later that morning we woke up feeling the full after effects of the night before, plus some.  We called up for room service and got cooked breakfasts sent up.  I tucked in as soon as the tray arrived, enjoying the fried breakfast, eating like I’d never eaten before.  The waiter had forgotten our smoothies, but he brought them back up to the room quite quickly.  I was busily scoffing my breakfast and didn’t pay much attention as he placed them down on the table… until they splatted everywhere.  I looked up at him to see smoothie dripping down his hair, his face and shirt.  It was all over the rug and drips even made it up the wall.  He was shocked and didn’t know what to do.  It was like everyone in the room was frozen, including him.  If he had a wish at that precise moment it would have been to have the earth open up and swallow him whole.  He was beyond mortified.  He finally came to life again, said he’d be back and then sprinted from the room, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.  It was the funniest end to a fabulous weekend.

Smoothie Disaster



So Missy G had her instructions of what to bring along on Saturday for her hen’s do and the list included red herrings like; bikini, walking shoes and yoga gear. Well we had to enjoy our little games while we still had some secrets to guard!

 We all met at Soho Hotel at 2pm, and Bec arrived not long after. Due to Miss C’s BRILLIANT contacts we managed to secure the Penthouse Suite at the Soho Hotel. What a lucky group of girls we were. The suite was the perfect size for us and it even had a balcony. The weather had even co-operated and sunlight streamed in the huge expanse of windows. 

Hens

A quick champagne toast and then the girls were dispatched into teams and sent on the Bridal Bash Treasure Hunt. They needed to scour the streets of Soho to take photos of the clues they’d been given.

These were their tasks

1) Take a photograph of an object that will spice up Bec and Dan’s honeymoon – the winner was the photo that posed in a mexican chilli joint, other contenders had visited Ann Summers for various sexual aids

2) Get someone to take a photo of everyone in your group as you re-enact Dan’s marriage proposal – Bec’s team won this as they posed a grow your own husband and grow your own wife in front of a fish tank, with the husband wearing Bec’s wedding ring.

Will you marry me?

3) There is a prize for the group who dresses up in the most outrageously hideous wedding dress you can find – go forth and seek out trashy, nasty matrimonial garb girlfriends! You need to have the dress on a member of your group and take a picture. La’s team won this, with a pic of La looking like a fabulous trashy prostitute bride, wearing a stunning outfit courtesy of Ann Summers. They almost got kicked out of the shop, so deserved to win. I haven’t got that picture but think this one of B is just as funny!

B, a beautiful bride!

4) You need to get four things photographed for this picture – either in one photo or in four photos. If they are four separate photos then please label them 4/a, 4/b etc

a) Something old

b) Something new

c) Something borrowed

d) Something blue

Bec’s team won this one as well, with an assortment of greeting cards showing an old lady flashing her boobs, a little baby was the new, the borrowed was a bald man looking at wigs and the blue was a blue man flipping the bird.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

5) Your last stop is Boots, where you need to take a snap of the three things that Bec would never be without in her handbag. She is kind of famous for ALWAYS having these things close to hand.

Well Bec did have an unfair advantage in the competition and she would have won this one as well, if not for a last minute urgent consultation with co-judge Nikki. Unfortunately I can’t remember who we ended up awarding the prize to, I just remember Bec’s, which was her lip balm, water and handcream. They had taken the instructions literally and displayed them by some Boots, not the chemist. Very funny!

Just like school, everyone got a prize! It’s not the winning that counts, it’s if you get a prize (who cares about taking part, give me a prize!)

 Mr and Mrs Game

Next up was the Mr and Mrs Game where we’d test the soon to be wed couple on how well they know each other.  B did a fabulous job of organising it and N was a brilliant MC.  Missy G astounded everyone by knowing nearly all of the answers, she only forfeited on five.

In the question hot seat

Questions were asked like, What one thing would Dan take on a desert island? If you had to choose, would you think that Dan would rather you fainted on the wedding day or him? Dan thought Bec would prefer to faint because it was more ladylike.  If you had to choose, would you rather have rain on your wedding day or your dress ripping down the aisle? Bec is hoping, praying and wishing for a sunny day so she’d rather expose a bit more thigh and have glorious sunshine. What was Dan’s opening line when you first met? – it was actually ‘tell the scrounging bitch to f*ck off’ to his friend when Bec was trying to cadge a cigarette from Tom. Luckily he then started talking to her!

 We were most impressed by how well Bec and Dan know each other, it bodes well for the marriage!

We then presented Bec with her book of memories, good times and marriage pearls of wisdom. Everyone had made a sterling effort with their contributions and she loved it. It also made her family and friends in NZ seem closer too. We missed you guys on the day!

Book Presentation

It was now about 6pm so we had around three hours to hang out in our fabulous room, eating, drinking and starting to get ready for the evening event. Missy G still didn’t know what this was and it was our last secret so we were hanging on to it for as long as we could! The next instalment will be posted tomorrow and will reveal the evening part of Missy G’s bridal bash extravaganza!



I’ve been living on tenterhooks for the last few months, pulling together plans for Missy G’s Bridal Bash Extravaganza.  To give you a bit of background, Missy G is a driven, focussed, A type, Completer Finisher, Personality.  I am not.  I’m disorganised, a little bit helter skelter, an ideas person – not a person responsible for the deliverables, not interested in the finest details.  She was a little apprehensive about my project management skills, I was even more so.

Not to worry, with help from B and Nikki we pulled everything together for a smashing event that she’ll remember forever.  It was killing Missy G that she didn’t have any idea about our plans and I was enjoying this immensely.  In fact I started enjoying it a bit too much, in a slightly sadistic way.  On Friday I told her that she was to meet me at Liverpool Street station at 4pm.  Then two hours later I changed the meeting place to Waterloo and said that I already had her bag packed and I had her passport (momentarily forgetting that the eurostar now goes from St Pancras).  She rang me in a panic, had I packed her bag or had Mr J?  Then she got all excited that we were going overseas… I felt terrible.  You’re meant to downplay things and then surprise people, not build them up and then dash their hopes!  So I quickly said that plans had changed again and now we were meeting at Leicester Square.  She refused to believe anything I said after that.

Friday night was a warm up to the main event on Saturday, with only 5 of us in attendance, well 5 and a bit as Jake who is less than a month old slept through everything.  We had a fashionista high tea, a Pret a Portea, at the Berkeley Hotel.

Pret a Portea

The ladies who high tea

Everything was served on lovely Paul Smith designed crockery, cake stands came out filled with super cute handbag cakes, dress and shoe inspired cakes, cucumber sandwiches and lots of little yummy picky savoury things. All this was washed down with cold, crisp champagne.  Sometimes life is very very good.

Savoury and Sugary Treats

Pret a Portea Handbag

Bikini Bod Biscuit

We sat there afterwards, on a massive sugar rush high and looked around the restaurant… Lacy noticed first and then nudges and whispers made their way around the table.  Well it was only Victoria Beckham one table away from us!  I suggested that Missy G get her photo taken with her, but you couldn’t have done that here – it would be a total invasion of privacy (I still thought it was a good idea but no one else would let me do it).  She looked immaculate, very polished and put together.  No, she didn’t have any cakes.

The night was still young and there were cocktails to be drunk so we waddled out, full of cake and champers and made our way to Townhouse.  This bar has the feel of a private members club without the pretentious snooty attitude.  The doorman and bar staff were really friendly and the table service was top notch.  The drinks were fabulous too.

Townhouse

The tone for the rest of the evening was slightly less civilised than it had been, those Pornstar cocktails have a lot to answer for! 

Girls and their pornstars

Yes, the tone has dropped

Yes, the tone has dropped

Someone call these ladies a taxi

Someone call these ladies a taxi

Actually, this sucks, I wanna go home!

Actually, this sucks, I wanna go home!

We still got to bed at a reasonable hour, we needed to be fresh for the main event on Saturday.  Before leaving, Missy G was given a document with items that she needed to pack in her overnight bag and bring along tomorrow.  The suspense was killing her!  Another instalment tomorrow, where all is revealed.



et cetera