29 August 2012


Almost the end of the bikini season, although it ended for me some decades ago.

23 August 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

As so often, I just spent a couple of days toiling away on some ideas that have come to naught- or at least, come to a good deal less than expected. And then at the last moment, this thought arrived whole and perfect and al dente.

19 August 2012

Flip Flops for Weightwatchers

Nothing much to say about this one. I've long considered this novel combination of weighing scales and footwear to be one of my better money-making ideas, but have yet to find a backer. Still open to offers, though.

15 August 2012

Strike A New Line

A digression. I have been revisiting a delightful little volume purchased in a small, second-hand bookshop in pre-Amazon days. 'Strike A New Line', by Inge Brandeis and published in 1946, promotes 'physical culture through everyday movements'; that is to say, it's a workout  book, albeit very modest by today's standards. It is written in simple and unpatronising language that nonetheless sounds surprisingly modern, give or take the odd moment ('See how your girl carries her doll or pushes her pram exactly like you!'). Miss Joan Garside provided a series of robust line drawings, alongside photos by Mr. Waldo Fergusson..
Ways of Walking. From left to right (in twos): exaggerated self-importance; simulated elegance; near approach to perfection; slack walk (this one closest to my own).
Ways of Standing: Apparent relaxed position, involving deformation of the spine and compensatory twists of groups of muscles.
Ways of Standing: Apparent comfort, with insidious curvature of the spine.
Attitudes to Work: Unnecessary stress on back and shoulder muscles while ironing.
Attitudes to Work: Inevitable stoop and hunch with badly adjusted sitting position at keyboard (very close to my posture at this precise moment).
Everyday Actions: Apparent comfort, but actually a tiring posture.
Everyday Actions: The careless sacrifice of the figure in favour of the face.
Casual Movements: Tiring inelegant variation (of shoe-installation, presumably).
Casual Movements: Clumsy gait arising from swinging the weight of the body to achieve upward motion (otherwise known as going upstairs).

A further digression. In her preface, the author credits a  'Madame Mensendieck' as the source of the movements and approach advocated, a rather Dickensian name which prompted more time wasting on the internet. Bess Margaret Mensendieck (1864-1957) was apparently an American physician who was called to Austria to instruct in her method of exercising, promoting good posture and correct body mechanics. She was herself the author of several books, and had been summoned to Europe by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was greatly vexed by the daily sight of pot-bellied ladies-in-waiting, standing to attention with their hands over their stomachs in an attempt to disguise the bulge. Problems of self-image among females at court: plus ca change.

10 August 2012


More stockings combined with the Olympics being omnipresent and irresistible here in London led to a flirtation with an ancient Greek. It's simultaneously admirable and depressing that so many of the female athletes manage to complete an event looking fabulous, in full slap and without a hair out of place (kudos to the hair product). L'Oreal should consider becoming a sponsor for Rio 2016.

8 August 2012


Vertically challenged as I am, I've often thought it would be nice to be able to don a pair of long, sleek legs as easily as you can put on a pair of stockings. These legs are unfortunately pre-photoshop, rendering them rather more Frankenstein than Victoria's Secret, more surgical than sartorial, but the wishful thinking is there. 

1 August 2012

Laying It On With A Trowel

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Guardian Weekend magazine called 'Face Off' (14.07.12, Katie Puckrik), about the recent appearance in public of several celebrities without their makeup. The author elaborated on the theme by herself undertaking 'the challenge of going a full day without wearing makeup'. Well, the challenge for me would be to last a full day wearing the stuff. In our family, we tended towards the rather Victorian notion that only women of 'loose morals' indulged in makeup. A rather glamorous and soft-focused studio shot of my mother at 18 inevitably (still) prompts my father to comment, 'Of course, she really didn't need lipstick'. Well, I need lipstick. I need all the help I can get, but my nature and background unfortunately militate against it. Denied maternal instruction and encouragement as an adolescent, and instinctively loathe to waste time and money, I have to grit my teeth to wield the primer and the powder, the blush and the gloss. Some cognitive behavioural therapy required, I think. It's a tough, tough world out there.