Saturday, March 29, 2008

My brush with high-fashion

Welcome to my expose on the bidness of clothes!

I was a last-minute addition to this shoot, my friend Daniella (pictured, awesome gal) got me in on the job, so I decided to have some fun.

We met at Old Street Tube at 8.45am (obviously the fun hadn't started yet) and made our way to the studio.
OK all would-be models, take note: when they say they're providing catering: THIS is what you want. The whole spread.

There was also this impressive espresso machine. Someone's mum making chicken and rice just doesn't cut it after this.

Then there was the massive (for a dance-shoot) white studio space,

the 2 stylists (2!) with their huge array of clothes

and the jewellery trolley.

I took the opportunity of not being in the first shot to follow the process of taking a picture from conception to end product.

Here are the selected clothes.

Here are the models playing around.

And here is my (really naughty) picture of the shot on screen, ready to be magicked via photoshop into a thing of beauty. The poor dancers have to get themselves into position at least 50 times before the photographer is happy.

By the end of the day my sides ached (no, not from laughing at myself in weird clothes) but for the number of times I had to strike this pose. I hope they sort out my impending wardrobe malfunction in Photoshop...

This was my makeup for that particular shot. Looks funny here, but not so much on the shot. It's all very clever....

Here's me waiting for one of mine, and trying to get over on these flamin' pointe shoes, last seen on a cruise ship.

Some of the group shots were particularly funny:

"So, um, I we hold hands, how?"

"Oh, I'm so innocent....butter wouldn't melt in my mouth"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Simon and Nell boiled cake?

OK, so I'd like to talk Simnel Cake. Here we are, enjoying one, but I'll be the first to say that I knew nothing of this particular Easter cake before. According to foodie Dudley at

The name simnel is derived from the old French word simenel via the Latin term used to describe the finest flour for baking cakes, simila.

There is a suggestion, however, that simnel comes from a legend when a man named Simon and his wife, Nell, were debating whether to bake or boil the cake for Mothering Sunday. In the end, they did both and modestly named the cake after them ­ Sim-Nell

OK class, so which theory do you prefer? I'm no Delia Smith when we come to the subject of cake-making, but boiling? Baking AND boiling?

Check out the recipe I found, by Mary Berry. I don't see where it says 'now boil your cake', do you?
It's interesting how Mary Berry used 11, not 12 marzipan balls atop her cake. The balls symbolise Christ's Apostles, and people use 11 or 12 depending on whether they think Judas should be counted or not.

Our one (pictured) had 12 balls. I guess Supermarket chains don't like to leave anyone out.

Now, chocolate eggs!
Yes, my one is huge, and white, the best chocolate made by my favourite English chocolatier, Thorntons. They ice any name on your egg for free. These are our Hawaiian names (if all that chocolate wasn't sickly enough to make you nauseous) iced on my egg, and Eric's brown bear. It's a Canadian thing.

I got to see my cat, Sam, on Easter Sunday.
He resides at my folks house (he's set in his ways, plus another hungry mouth to feed right now etc. etc) and is neither a chocolate nor a simnel cake fan, so was pretty moody. He likes to bite my huge beady necklaces like teething rings lately.

On Monday, I got up early and, deciding against going to an audition which would mean relocating to Tokyo, hauled my behind to the gym to work off some of that white chocolate. My gym is on the top floor of the Bentall's Centre, known to all Saaf Laandiners with no elocution lessons like myself and Amy Winehouse as the 'Benoo Cenaah'.
There's something really foreboding about a mall with nobody in it.

In other news, sometimes it snows in London. This is Wimbledon station,
and this is snow.
Yes, I know many Canadians/Norwegians etc. will scoff at my statement, but these kind of swirly snowy situations are rare for March in London.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We could be Heroes....Just for one day

I love a good Superheroes party. I decided, even though Eric has never seen the 80s cartoon show before, that he'd have to go as BANANAMAN. Check out Bananaman on YouTube for a whole glorious episode. Ah, I remember so well coming home from school, rushing through the door just in time to hear the sounds of "DUH, Duh DUH, and.....

This is 29 Acacia Road, and this is Eric, a schoolboy who leads an amazing double life.....for when Eric eats a banana, an AMAZING transformation occurs.....ERIC IS BANANAMAN! Ever-alert for the call to action!

Little did I know that at the age of uh.....VERY, VERY YOUNG, I'd end up living with my very own Eric/Bananaman! Right...

I reckon he more-than gives his TV likeness a run for his money. Check it out: Theirs





Mine. Really no contest.

So it was my friend Jason's party, or Zorro as he wished to be called for the evening.

He is also very, very young still, even though his friends saw fit to give him the zimmerframe-esque present you see him modelling here.

He loves to get behind the lens.

Then there's me, Wonder Woman. I made the costume, which for it's second outing is holding up well to bouts of rowdy drinking (not mine, obviously. The people around me are rowdy on occasion).

Here's my alter-ego. Yes, it's one of those suction ornaments for car windscreens. Not that I'm fearful of comparison, or anything...

The other heroes were a mixed bag. I've no idea who this guy thinks he is (please leave a comment if you know),

or why these two people are dressed as an airline pilot and flight attendant (not SUPER heroes. They can bring you booze, sure. Or direct you to you nearest exits 'herehere&HERE', but they're not SUPER)

or when Tina Turner became a Super Hero,

OR why all three of Jason's work colleagues showed up dressed as the same, blonde woman...

But there were some excellent efforts. Indie was bang on,

as was Superman,

and I have to applaud the lady standing next to me for her choice of Super Hero. Hers was a home-made costume too. Great minds, great minds...

We did find a nemesis to both our powers. Our powers of alcohol consumption, that is. It's a Chilean drink called a Pisco Sour, which Eric assures me is nice usually and is a liquor made from the skin of the grape,

but my tastebuds found it as repulsive as Cryptonite is to Superman (it's just so...sour!),

and it seems my partner in Superness felt the same.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mummies and Ancient Mesopotamia: It's all free at The British Museum

This has to be one of the best free days out in London, and also was top of our To Do In London On Days Off list.
The atrium building is awesome, check out the open-mouthed man on the left!
As I mentioned, it's free to go in, the only thing you could buy is a guide map in any language you can think of, but to be honest you don't really need one as everything is really well signposted.
I made a bee-line for Ancient Egypt, where I'd been promised mummies. Ever since my trips to Carnack Temple and the pyramids in Egypt I've had a hankering to see an actual mummy, and lo and behold, the Mummies are out on display here!
There's this man, preserved in the traditional way, which is well documented throughout the exhibition. Check it out.
Apparently there were 3 main methods, but generally the whole process took 70 days, 40 days of cleansing/preparing the body and 30 days of wrapping it.
Let's look closer at his face. Amazing.
There are also mummified Bulls
Cats and kittens (the cylindrical one at the front is a kitten!)
The exhibition also features Shabti, little models of servants, which were buried with you, to take into the afterlife.
This man was preserved simply by being buried in sand.
He's still shading his face from the sand-storm, it's actually quite touching and reminds me of something I saw at Pompeii (except obviously with ash, not sand).
So we mooched on to Mesopotamia, which I learned basically covered modern Iraq and Eastern Syria. This was a civilisation from 8000-1595C, with most densely populated, prosperous time being around 3500BC. Uruk was one of the city centres, and grew to 5km square.
The first writing appeared sometime before 3000BC in Mesopotamia, and was triangular tablature called Cuneiform.
This was a regal library. Again, the speechless man...Images of the Flintstones spring to mind (because of the stones-slab 'books', not the man).
Mmm...Mesopotamian bling. I'd like these.
So, we carried on through ancient Greece, where we found this ancient game called Ur, Cyprus and the Roman Empire.
The most, er, unexpected thing I found were these.
The plaque underneath the rings (worn mostly by children!) explains it all, way better than I could. Those thoughtful Romans, eh!