Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Adventures with a Hippy in the Big Smoke

Roll up!  Roll up!  Step inside the Nickelodeon, sit back and follow the hilarious escapades of Elizabeth and Alexa as they encounter time machines, hippies, sunshine, garlic roasters, talking mushrooms, bargains, pubs and far too much sugar, all in one weekend in London!

8.30am - While Alexa sleeps, Elizabeth undertakes the first leg of her looooong journey by walking to the station in the early morning sunshine.
9.30am - Sausage sandwich for brekkie, then on the train!
12.42pm - Elizabeth disembarks from train at King's Cross and is reunited with Alexa.
1.30pm - Picnic in the park.  After years of mocking Alexa, Elizabeth is shocked to encounter an actual barefoot hippy brazenly meandering in the park with no shoes.  Alexa gets cold, so the two retreat to Alexa's house and watch Charade (very good film - Bette on Toast seal of approval!)

7.30pm - A night out at a 1950s party in aid of Japan is planned, and it's time to get dressed!  By amusing coincidence, both girls had picked the same dress to wear.  Despite Elizabeth's protestations that it would be TOTALLY HILARIOUS to turn up in the same frock (It would!  We would look like some sort of nightclub singing sister act!), Alexa is secretly relieved when the zip on her dress refuses to do up and she is forced to find an alternative outfit.

Face-wise, I was trying to go for a youngish Elizabeth Taylor sort of look.  (Yes, I know, in your dreams, Hamer!)

Anyway, much fun and frolics were had, breaking out the jive moves, watching a real live Elvis perform, winning handmade ...things... in the raffle, drinking and eating cake.  Brilliant fun.

9.30am - Elizabeth and Alexa get up and flollop around trying to decide on a plan of action.
1.00pm - Sunday lunch sitting outside a pub in Camden.  Alexa eats all of her vegetarian crap and declares herself so full she can't move.  Elizabeth has eaten most of her chicken and left all the vegetables, and could have fitted in pudding, given half a chance.
2 - 4pm - Shopping.  Alexa only buys clothes if they're ethically-farmed and carbon-neutral and Elizabeth is a massive cheapskate, so they raid every charity shop in Camden.  Elizabeth buys two frocks and two books.  Alexa buys a belt and some shoes.
4.00pm - Alexa is having a lovely time.  Elizabeth is tired and bored and whiny, so they go home.
5 - 7pm - Another Audrey Hepburn DVD. 

Elizabeth is of the opinion that Freddy is a better catch for Eliza than Higgins, on the grounds that he's pretty and he sings.  Alexa disagrees quite violently.

8.00pm - Elizabeth is very excited because they are going to...

The Comedy Store!  To see...

The Comedy Store Players!

(Website here since I am shite at explaining.  It's been an ambition of mine for a couple of years to see the Players, and I wasn't disappointed.  Bloody hilarious, my favourite bit was the long and musical fairytale of Prince Liam and the Talking Mushroom, or maybe the three-headed interview about rugby-playing hyenas, or no, it was definitely the Gilbert and Sullivan bit!  Highly recommended, if you have any way of being in London on a Wednesday or Sunday night, which is obviously a bit of a bugger for me, living far, far away in the distant North and working Monday-Fridays.  I have got the Comedy Store bug now, and intend to make it my quest to come down every school holiday!  I *did* even research what time the last train leaves King's Cross on a Sunday night - reasoning that if I left London at 11pm I could be home and in bed before 3am, and could get in a whole three and a half hours of sleep before my alarm - no problem! Sadly the 11pm Sunday train only goes directly to Edinburgh and probably wouldn't stop to let me off at Newcastle, even if I fluttered my lashes most prettily at the driver.)
I also got to meet up with one of my imaginary-friends-off-the-internet, which was nice too!

10.00pm - Elizabeth manages to get over her "OMG I was in the same room as Josie Lawrence and Paul Merton" excitement, and moves on to the next stop of the adventure...

...the Haagen Dazs cafe of Leicester Square!  Whoever came up with this idea was a genius, I tell you.  Elizabeth consumed a scoop of praline and a scoop of dulce de leche with waffles and butterscotch sauce, and Alexa had a medley of different flavours with dark chocolate sauce!

A huge plate of ice cream at 11pm might SEEM like a brilliant idea, but it really isn't.  Elizabeth and Alexa waddled home clutching their bellies and sobbing, and then went to bed.

9.00am - Alexa goes to work, unwisely leaving Elizabeth in charge of her laptop.  Several stolen photographs later, Elizabeth leaves Brixton, hops on a bus and goes to the National Portrait Gallery.

Anna Neagle, painted by McClelland Barclay, 1940.  Move over, Rita Hayworth, I've found my new Best Film Hair Ever.

Next, Elizabeth spent a few hours reading in the park and wandering around the theatre district going "Oooo!", and then got on a train for the bloody long journey back home.

Hello, lovely bridges, I didn't half miss you.

Fabulous weekend.  I hope the rest of my Easter holiday is this good!

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Evening, chums.

A few toast posts ago I told you about a garment I'd bought from Miss Selfridge, that I wasn't sure was going to be quite suitable.  Well, it has arrived, and I have decided that although undoubtedly fabulous, it isn't really me, and I intend to at some point in the next 28 days pick it up off the floor, stuff it back into its plastic bag, whack some parcel tape on it and pop it into a shiny red pillarbox to be sent back to Miss Selfridge HQ.

In the meantime, here are some photographs for your amusement.  Also for your amusement, some of my characteristic poses.

Shock and horror, it isn't a dress!  It is in fact 'Navy Wideleg Dungaree Trousers', which I think is a nice, euphemistic way of putting 'you are wearing an S/S11 1970s-trend jumpsuit, you mindless fashion sheep!'  I think it is very lovely as jumpsuits go, and I am a committed Margo Leadbetter fan, but really the '70s aren't quite my thing.  I loved the picture on the website because I thought it looked very '40s, actually!  I did love the feel of the wide, swishy trousers though - I wonder if I could pull off a pair of those colourful palazzo pants that look like pyjamas...!

(As you can probably tell from the fact that I'm frivolously posting drivel about dungaree jumpsuits rather than Googling train journeys to Beachy Head, I did not get made redundant today.  The whole day was so utterly bloody that I don't actually even feel happy about this yet, but I am relieved.)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die

V. quick Boring Outfit Post, due to being picked up in ten mins to go out for food and drink with ladies from work.  (Going out for food and drink due to tomorrow being Redundancy Day, as an alternative to us all sitting at home fretting and/or flinging ourselves off the Tyne Bridge)

So, Wednesday the 13th of April, in outfits. 


Dress:  Primark via charity shop
T-shirt:  Primark
Belt: Primark
Tights: H&M (I would steer you far away from H&M tights though, readers.  They lose their stretch and go baggy within a week!)
Plimsolls/jazz shoes hybrid:  Office


Top:  Topshop via charity shop
Trousers:  H&M (H&M in cheaper than Primark shocker!)
Shoes: Monsoon
Belt:  as before
Straggly piece of lace around neck:  H&M

These trousers are 'peg trousers' - a new purchase, that I suspect I am a little too wide in the hip for, but nee matter, I like 'em anyway. 

Dear Jesus,
Please don't let my name be on the Redundancy list tomorrow.
Please don't let my name be on the Redundancy list tomorrow.
Please don't let my name be on the Redundancy list tomorrow.
I love my job.
I love my job.
I love my job.
love Bette xxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

Whoopie Sunday

As a blog reader, my favourite blog posts are those 'I've nothing to say, so here is a little rundown of what I've done recently' ones.  When done by proper bloggers they have neat paragraphs accompanied by gorgeous photographs in soft colours, taken using clever Nikon things and knowledge of words like "macro" and "exposure".  The photos depict delicious tidbits served on charmingly mismatched vintage crockery, or close-up shots of shopping bags with swatches of fabric peeping out as a taster before an outfit post, or piles of hardback books artistically placed next to an empty teacup and three artistic biscuit crumbs.  They're never blurry or with a finger over the lens and there's never any clutter or grime in the background.  Heavenly.

I, on the other hand, offer you this crock of shit as a 'Here's what I did this weekend' blog post!  Enjoy!

Just over a month ago I wrote this tweet:

"Dear world, I am sick of wearing tights and boots, so it is therefore Spring from now on. Please act accordingly."

Well it looks like I got my wish!  As you probably noticed, unless you had the misfortune to be working nights last week, or unless you spent the weekend holed up in your bedroom playing internet role-playing games about trolls and not washing, yesterday was not just 'Spring-like' or 'summery' but BLAZING HOT.  I started the day with a swim (and that healthy, sunny morning image is a bit of a bluff, because I actually didn't roll out of bed until almost eleven, and then I pouted and grumbled my way into my swimming costume and out of the house because I wanted to sit in my pyjamas and play on Facebook...)  and here is a letter I composed while I was grumpily swimming:

"An open letter to all troglodytic* idiots who frequent East End Pool;

(*Yeah, I know I’m going a bit overboard with the word troglodyte recently but, you see, I live near Byker so I encounter a lot of socially-challenged cavemen.)

Dear idiots,

East End Pool is not a low-rent dating agency.  If you want to pick up a strumpet, go to the Biggmarket.  The girls there are younger than me, drunker than me and probably wearing garments much smaller than my swimsuit.

Sod off,


And then I came home and got over myself, and then I sat on my bed with the windows open and did some worky things, and then I went out to try to find an open charity shop to which to bequeath a bag of my discarded junk. (Failed, but the heavy bag and I had a nice long walk in the sun!)

This next anecdote didn't actually take place on Sunday, but whatever.  Here's a pic of my latest bit of interior decorating, which earned me the comment from Simon: "Well. You've obviously got too much time on your hands."  Fair point I suppose, but I felt it was a little bit rich, coming from Teachy McBoring himself...!

Rainbow books!!  To protect your eyes from crap photography, edited in Pixlr by my own fair mouse-clicking fingers.  I had been inspired by pictures like this:

(Please overlook how this one is infinitely better than my amateurish effort)

Anyway, the next event of Sunday was that me and Simon made whoopie pies from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.  You know, whoopie pies, those neat, flat little cakes sandwiched together with gooey stuff, the latest craze from America and now being sold in the very chicest London patisseries.  These things   ----->

Simon was measuring out ingredients with German precision and I was skipping around the kitchen with excitement.

SIMON:  Can't you go away?
BETTE:  No!  I'm helping!
SIMON:  ...Must you be helping?

(This toast post is turning into The Chronicles of Simon Being Mean To Me.  Memo to Simon: be nicer!)

Anyway, following the recipe to the letter (TO DAS LETTER, JA!), the whoopie mixture began to form.

These were banoffee whoopie pies, by the way.

At this point, let me introduce you to these two miscreants:

Combine these, chuck in some icing sugar, add enough butter to sink a ship, and there you have the whoopie pie filling.  Diabetes on a plate, anyone?

SIMON:  Hurry up and take the picture!

BETTE:  Hold on, I'm trying to find the right camera setting...

SIMON:  Have you not got a 'gloop' setting?!

(I must be remembering the series of events wrongly because those are clearly my arms, but the general wittiness still applies.)

Finally, they were ready and, er, they didn't turn out quite like the dainty little snackettes in the Hummingbird picture above...

You could build a house out of these things.  You need two hands to lift them, and biting into one is like eating a burger.  Let me tell you, a burger made of cake might sound like bliss, but when it involves a whole jar of Marshmallow Fluff, you need a seriously strong stomach!

Didn't stop us from eating 5 between us in two days, though.


Friday, 8 April 2011

I'm late, I'm late, why am I always late?! Because you take pictures of yourself instead of getting ready, that's why.

Evening, world!

The weather has been friggin' GORGEOUS today.  I told you wearing dresses and flowers would make it summer!

Things I have done of note this week include making a stage appearance as a tapping flapper.

Hold on hun, we're gonna bunny hug...
Also buying new straighteners and curling my mop with them.

Is it me or are my eyes going green?!
More practice needed, I think.  I am actually pretty good at straightener ringlets on other people's hair, but mine is a smidge too short and too thick to get very good results.

In short, a little bit shitters, but my new toy is perfectly adequate for straightening.  Today was a good hair day.

Overheard in the staffroom:  "Elizabeth's sporting her St Trinians look again!"

I've been trying to get out of the rut of wearing my clothes in exactly the same way each time, so set myself the challenge of styling this obviously sandals-and-sunglasses dress in a manner more suited to the chilly Spring winds of this morning.  I'm sure my ankle socks get plenty of sneers from the chavtastic troglodytes I pass as I skip around Newcastle, but I like the look!  My cardigan was a hand-me-down and is a little too big for me so I've never yet worn it, but by tying it at the waist and folding the top in to make a v-neck I made it into a far more flattering shape.  Genius!

Here I am throwing gangsta shapes to show off my new jewellery.  I took advantage of Miss Selfridge's bargainous sale prices the other day (and also spent my ebay earnings on something totally silly that probably won't suit me in the slightest and furthermore WASN'T in the sale, but I'll wait until it arrives and can be tried on before I show you!)  (If it looks horrendous and I decide to return in, I'll probably still photograph it for your amusement.)  Miss Selfridge is fast replacing Oasis in my affections.  Anyway, where was I?  Gangsta shapes:

I probably should have foreseen that wearing ridonkulously large earrings around small children was a mistake, as they didn't even make it until playtime.  Now one earring is hanging up on the staff notice board with a sad little note asking that its broken twin be returned to Miss Hamer if it turns up in a dusty corner! 

You can't even see my ring and bracelet, so here's an arty close-up, showing off my current obsession with paua shell:

So pretty!  The shell and earrings were brought back from New Zealand for me by the mother, my new ring's from Miss Selfridge, and I bought my bangle at a school fundraiser last week.

By this afternoon it had certainly turned into sandals-and-sunglasses weather.  My friends and I sat outside the cafe during our regular Friday lunchtime gossip-and-overpriced-sandwiches gathering, and after lunch Year One went into the garden and sang songs.  "When I was one I sucked my thumb the day I went to sea!  I jumped aboard a pirate ship and the captain said to meeee...!"  I bloody love my job.  Long may it continue (!)

The best song for days like this:

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