petite anglaise

June 29, 2007

calling in favours

Filed under: good time girl, misc — petiteanglaise @ 2:53 pm

So, if I were to be planning a sun, sand and (ahem) sex getaway in late August and was considering the Canary Islands as a possible destination, what would my dear readers suggest? Any info on tourist traps to be avoided, well-equipped but untacky hotels, most picturesque spots etc would be extremely welcome.

We (ah yes, we) have a pretty decent budget, don’t drive (I daren’t, he can’t), are keen to take in more than one island over a 10-14 day period, and we’d rather book it ourselves than get some sort of horrid package deal.

Of course, if any of my dear readers has a 5* villa with pool and would like lend it to me…

Now all I have to do is keep all my most horrifying and repellent character traits well and truly under wraps for the next month or so…

update:Gave up on the Canaries and am going to Greek Islands instead. Have only booked flight so far, so all advice still welcome…

June 25, 2007

épanouie

Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaise @ 11:48 am

For the past nine months I have been living in a shadow. Impossible to shake off, a suffocating cloud of self-doubt hovered above my head, darkening my every thought, my every gesture. Impossible to conceive of meeting a man (or boy) while I felt so brittle, so unsure of myself. Impossible to really appreciate this new life of freedom from the constraints of the métro boulot dodo routine I’d been locked into for so long.

Writing “petite anglaise” has often been a lonely, fraught process – and this despite all the reassuring noises from my agent and editor whenever I sent them a few chapters to read. Because the hardest task of all was proving to myself that I could actually pull this off and produce a manuscript of which I could be unreservedly proud; a manuscript which would do petite anglaise justice. And so I worked, fretted, agonised and procrastinated. Writing – which seemed so natural when it was for the blog – had now become work. Why was it suddenly so much less enjoyable, I wondered? Why was my favourite pastime suddenly a cause for teeth grinding? When I wasn’t working, I fought to suppress the guilt that I should be. Even though, arguably, when I wasn’t actually writing I could have made use of my free time by going to the cinema, say, or taking in an exhibition, I found I simply couldn’t. Instead I sat hunched over my MacBook, a gnarly knot of tension between my shoulder blades, surfing the internet, but taking very little pleasure in doing so.

I alternately overate or fasted. My moods, which have always had a tendency to swing without due warning from one extreme to another, now spiralled even further out of control. I had panic attacks: heart racing, breath snagging in my throat. On more than one occasion, meeting Mr Frog for lunch, I noticed my hands trembling when I picked up my fork. Whenever I snapped at Tadpole, voice shrill, patience on a short fuse, I detested myself.

Seeking some sort of temporary respite from my anxieties, and from spending so much time trapped inside my own head, rewriting my past, I drank to excess whenever I went out. Regretted it bitterly the morning after, when temporary euphoria gave way to blinding headaches.

Then, one fine day in May, I gave birth to the second draft. And even before the feedback began to filter back to me, the cloud began to dissipate. Because while, undoubtedly, there is still work to be done, I’ve proved to myself – to my inner editor – that I am equal to the task. Thirty-four chapters, almost 100,000 words: a satisfyingly thick wad of paper, the sight of which gives me a thrill whenever my glance falls upon it.

The gestation period almost over, I began to relax. My posture changed, the tension left my limbs, my skin cleared. I began to enjoy my free time with a clear conscience; to live in the moment. I still party too hard, on occasion, but that brittle edge of desperation, of hysteria has gone. I found myself flirting again, re-discovering a side of my personality which has been in hibernation for the longest time. It’s like meeting an old friend.

And so I am hell-bent on enjoying this summer, revelling in my new-found peace, savouring the lovely, melty moments I have been sharing, of late, with the boy who lives a few doors down the street, but who I could so easily never have met.

Life is good.

June 19, 2007

four eyed monsters

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 10:40 am

A good friend of mine emailed me a link yesterday to the indie film “Four Eyed Monsters” suspecting it would appeal to me. He was not wrong. I just watched all 71 minutes of it before my first cup of coffee of the day. It’s honest, quirky, touching and occasionally hilarious. And as someone who has lived out an entire relationship over the interwebnet, ça me parle

So, in short, I have no qualms about using whatever internet influence I possess to promote it.

The filmmakers are distributing it for free on youtube for a limited time only, and are asking for your help to pay off the credit card debt they incurred to make it by joining spout.com (who will make a $1 donation for every signup), buying a DVD or a legal download of the film ($8).

June 18, 2007

ketchup

Filed under: Tadpole rearing, Tadpole says — petiteanglaise @ 10:22 am

“Mummy?” says Tadpole, seconds after the front door closes behind “mummy’s friend”.

“Yes?” I say, hand poised to squirt ketchup onto a slice of baguette, in readiness for a much needed fish finger sandwich.

“Have you got a baby in your tummy yet?”

I flinch, and the ketchup misfires, liberally coating the worktop.

“No sweetie, I don’t have a baby in my tummy…” I say slowly, once I’ve recovered my composure, setting down the ketchup and crossing my fingers. “Why are you asking me that today?”

“Because mummy, when I said that I wanted a sister or a brother, like Anna at school, you said ‘maybe when you’re six years old’. And I’m already four years old. And after twenteen more sleeps I will be five, and then six…”

I sigh, and resolve never again to bow to Tadpole’s pressure to put a time limit on everything. Future events are always measured in sleeps in our household. And she has an alarming habit of remembering throwaway comments made six months or more ago, deliberately glossing over the word “maybe” and then repeating them to me with a “but you said as though I’d made some sort of legally binding promise.

“You know,” I say suddenly, with a sly smile, “daddy could make you a brother or sister. Maybe you should talk to daddy about this, too.”

A problem shared, I think to myself, picturing Mr Frog’s face, is a problem halved.

June 12, 2007

cake

Filed under: good time girl, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 9:45 pm

“Look at my little girl!” I say, handing Mr Frog the cake box over Tadpole’s head and motioning to him to hide it in the kitchen. “She’s four years old!” Tadpole executes a coquettish little twirl in the turquoise dress I bought the day before in an Indian shop, with its silver thread and sequin detail. Any dress with a skirt big enough to curtsey in finds favour with my daughter these days. But god forbid I try to dress her in any sort of skirt which doesn’t have “corners”. That will simply not do. At all. And as for trousers, well, we simply don’t go there.

I had staggered down the rue de Belleville earlier that morning, leaving a mojito scented fug in my wake, and collected the Chinese sponge and whipped cream monstrosity I had thankfully had the foresight to order several days earlier. Now, complete with garish Disney princess decorations purchased on my last trip to England, it is suitably hideous. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tadpole will approve.

“But mummy,” says Tadpole frowning, “when I did wake up this morning, I was not more-ler bigger! My legs are the same. My face is the same. My hair isn’t longer. I can’t be four years old yet. Because when I’m four years old, I’m going to be extremely big. Much biggerer than this!”

“Ah,” I reply, looking askance at Mr Frog, who shrugs and peers inside the cake box, his face registering first horror, then amusement. I dig inside my jeans pocket and hand him four glittery Barbie candles in nauseous shades of pink and purple, then turn back to Tadpole, my head spinning. “Honey, did you think you were going to be all grown up when you woke up this morning?”

Tadpole nods.

“Well,” I say reasonably. “Nobody grows that quickly.” A sly smile spreads across my face as I realise I can turn this to my advantage. “Especially not little girls who don’t eat their vegetables. Because no one can grow if they don’t eat green beans, and carrots and broccoli.”

“You’ll never guess what happened to me last night,” I call to Mr Frog, who is busy melting candle ends in the kitchen with his lighter and sticking them in the plastic holders I have already inserted into the icing. “I got asked if I wanted a student rate on my way into a club. Imagine?!” I for one am not looking forward to the birthday when I suddenly begin looking my actual age overnight. I take a step into the kitchen.

“Don’t come any closer,” says Mr Frog sharply, “you’re probably flammable!” Clearly the lashings of perfume I applied and half packet of chewing gum I’ve put away this morning have masked nothing. “Let me guess. Rum? Mojitos?”

At that moment, Mr Frog’s parents appear at the front door, his father brandishing a bottle of champagne. My stomach lurches at the prospect of alcohol, reloaded and I begin to feel light-headed.

“Hair of the dog,” I mutter under my breath as a generous flute of bubbly is put into my reluctant hand. “And don’t you dare translate that,” I caution Mr Frog as he sets down the cake.

“Wow!” says Tadpole, her eyes like dinner plates. “Qu’est-ce qu’il est beau, mon gâteau…

At least, I think to myself, taking a celebratory swig of champagne and managing to stifle my grimace, my horrorshow cake was worth the considerable effort I had expended that morning.

Maybe I’m not such a bad mummy, after all.

plug

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 10:07 am
ap_5.jpg

I’ve been having so much fun with these of late that it seemed remiss of me not to link to them. I mean, who else makes cards with titles like “Our safe word scares me” or “You’re single because you use emoticons”?

Take a look. The juxtapositions of the texts with the most unlikely images kills me.

update:

How do they know?

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