petite anglaise

July 6, 2007


Filed under: misc — petiteanglaiseparis @ 3:32 pm

I’ve never been very good at the business of being a proper girl.

Let’s take the example of hair. When I go to the hairdresser’s, my first words are invariably: “under no circumstances do ANYTHING to me that will require some sort of styling or – god forbid – blow drying. I’m incapable of blow drying my hair. No. Really. I can’t do it. At all.” Memories of my late teens, when I foolishly attempted to carry off a shortish bob, still haunt me. One side curled under, while the other kicked outwards with a stubborn willfulness. Congenitally unable to do anything with a curling brush and hair-dryer which would remedy this sorry situation, I had to resign myself to only looking halfway decent on the days when I managed to bribe my younger sister to do the honours.

Needless to say I shiver in anticipation of the day when Tadpole will beg me to put her hair in plaits, or even demand pigtails which are not of hopelessly different sizes. I’d rather not imagine how I will respond when she asks me how to apply nail polish without liberally smearing it on her cuticles (I can only manage nearly nude colours without mishap), how to wield an eye liner pencil, or how to tweeze her eyebrows into symmetrical submission. None of these things seem to be programmed into my DNA. I’m starting to wonder if my X chromosomes aren’t a little bit, well, wonky.

But over the last couple of days I have truly excelled myself.

It all began when I purchased a dress for the soirée I’m attending at the weekend. Said dress involves displaying my white legs, including the attractive array of bruises (of uncertain origin) on my left calf. Or maybe it all began when I reluctantly agreed to receive a trial free subscription of Elle magazine and idly skimmed through an article in which self-tanning products were proclaimed to be so much improved these days that only a fool could apply them badly.

I think you can see where I might be going with this, no?

After a careful exfoliation session using an abrasive mitt I bought under duress in the Marrakech souk, I decided to apply the self-tanning lotion to my legs only. My arms seem to be a tone darker anyway, and conscious of my limitations – despite whatever claims of foolproofness Elle were advancing – I wasn’t about to start on my torso, even if the dress is strappy and exposes a fair bit of back and shoulder and skims my cleavage. I washed my hands carefully afterwards, even scrubbing my fingers with a nail brush. Then, dressed only in my bathrobe, I busied myself making Tadpole’s dinner, pottering about my apartment and waiting for my dinner guest/babysitter to arrive, periodically surveying my legs and finding their colour unchanged (despite the claim on the tube that results would be seen after only one hour).

At some point in the early hours of the morning while I was dancing to Tiga in a dimly lit nightclub and vehemently regretting my choice of footwear – the only pair of high heeled sandals I have ever possessed, which I can just about manage to walk in, although flights of stairs can be problematic – the product must have worked its magic. Magic which I didn’t notice until this morning due to a combination of vodka and tonic and poor lighting conditions.

Verdict: amazingly my legs look okay! Not a streak in sight, only a slightly darker tone around the knee area, but not so as you’d notice. However I am now the proud owner of a pair of streaky, mismatched, dirty-looking feet with an odd albino patch in the middle of my right foot. This is not catastrophic, as I have learnt from the previous night’s mistake and will not be wearing strappy, foot-exposing sandals to my soirée.

It is in the bath, vigorously scrubbing my feet with my exfoliating mitt (to no avail), that I notice a strange patch on one side of my stomach. I frown, wondering how on earth the lotion could possibly have transferred itself onto my belly. Onto just one side of my belly. But it is when I spy the triangular patches on the undersides of my forearms that I begin to howl.

Replaying my movements the previous night, try as I might, I cannot for the life of me remember sitting with my arms wrapped around my knees before the lotion dried. Nor can I work out how a small amount of said lotion managed to find its way onto my left breast.

This afternoon, having made the unwise decision to apply more of the offending autobronzant to my arms, in the hope that this would somehow dissimulate the offending triangles, I am feeling not a little apprehensive, and wondering whether it might not be wise to go into hiding for a few days.


  1. Ah good, an estrogen fix.

    Comment by Woody — July 6, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

  2. Are you sure it’s the tanning lotion? Maybe you have a disease (joking).

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — July 6, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

  3. This is why my legs have never been seen by a single soul but myself. It is too much bother. Something is ALWAYS wrong with legs. If not bruises or streaky tan then ingrowing hairs or varicose veins.

    Comment by Kiwiqueen — July 6, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

  4. This resonated so well for me, I too seemed to have missed that bit of growing up where I learnt to style hair and apply makeup easily etc. I look at the ease with which my sisters do it and despair. So easy to style hair required, lipstick only, simple clothes. Nothing that requires too much. And been there with the tan stuff so feeling your pain ;-)

    Comment by RachelC — July 6, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  5. Having fair skin myself, I’ve been down this road, Petite… Quite a few times, trust me! And I’ve got a system worked out now. If I think I’m going to be wearing skirts for any length of time, when it’s decently warm outside (which it hasn’t actually been here since, what, something like 25 April?! — ahem…) I ease into the self-tanner application gradually. I’ve tried quite a few over the years, but I find that the better-quality products do tend to make a difference, as do certain ones bought in parapharmacies. Avène isn’t bad, and comes off quite natural on fair skin. Clarins is a good choice too.

    But to avoid those dark patches, I have a trick (which usually works — but no guarantees!): I put some regular body lotion on my knees and ankles first, let it dry, and then apply the self-tanner to my legs, all over. This way the stuff doesn’t accumulate in those drier skin spots and look darker.

    I don’t always go the exfoliation route, although the experts *swear* by it. In any case, it does help out in a fix when you’re going to be wearing a nice dress and want just a touch of color. I agree on the weird spots, though — those tend to happen to me, especially on my arms and stomach, when I least expect it! And watch out when you sweat — some of the stuff does tend to streak when that happens!

    Anyhoo, OOPS! Too much info. Sorry about that! Enjoy your fun-filled weekend. Here’s hoping for some sun for a change…

    Comment by Alice — July 6, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  6. We want pictures… we want pictures!
    No seriously it s a little hard to imagine thos triangular patches, would you post a picture to give us the big picture?

    Comment by Mr Jo — July 6, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  7. The left arm triangle has now disappeared, the right arm triangle seems more persistent, but I don’t think a photo will do it justice…

    However, given that my wrists are beginning to look slighly odd – where the tan stops and my palms begin – I think I’ll be wearing bracelets for a few days.


    Comment by petite — July 6, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  8. At first, when I saw this in my rss feeds, I thought you were using “triangles” in the french way to speak of women, and I was quite surprised, but somehow very amused.

    Alas, then I read the rest and realized it was not a french thing at all. And although perhaps I shouldn’t admit it, I was a bit disappointed.

    Comment by kim — July 6, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  9. Wah
    I guess it can t be as bad as the 1rst and unique time I tried that kind of stuff.
    On the face it looked like I had always been living in sunny Corsica…. but around the hairline, eyebrows etc etc I still was totally white… it looked soooo spooky!
    A feather of patience, a tiny bit of persistence, and you will be juuuuust right!

    Comment by Mr Jo — July 6, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  10. Anyone who reads French and wants some relief from the girliness of this post can read Maître Eolas dissecting the letter of notification of the prud’hommes decision I received in the post the other day.

    In a month’s time, I will know whether or not we will be going back to court some time next year…

    Comment by petite — July 6, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

  11. Could give us the link? That might interest many of your readers… Tah

    Comment by Mr Jo — July 6, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  12. I, too, have a system. If alice’s deonst’ work, try this
    Have a bath. Use body scrub on arms and legs. Get out and dried. Put Clarins self tan (the one in the brown bottle)on arms and legs and a little across arms and cleavage. Wash hands throughly and then WASH INSIDE ARMS. wash hands again. Then (and this is the key, I have to get it patented) use Dove or Nivea body lotion with a hint of self tan every morning and you can hold out 10 whole days without reapplying. It is nearly failsafe, but I’ve just reread your post and am having doubts….

    Comment by Flighty — July 6, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  13. I think I may have the answer:

    After the nightclub things started hotting up with your toyboy dinner date ;) thereby rendering the tanning solution ‘moist’ once more. As he lifted your calves to place them over his shoulders, the lotion transferred to his palms. When he then took your arms to pin them down either side of your pillow, the lotion migrated again, this time creating the patches on your forearms. Can’t be sure about the stomach and breast, but it’s entirely possible that they occurred en route, wouldn’t you say?

    Could this be the case, or has your blog been overstimulating my imagination of late? :)

    Comment by Metaxa — July 6, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  14. I hope your Boyfriend appreciates all this.


    Comment by bonkers — July 6, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  15. My best tip is to cover yourself in talcum powder after applying fake tan. It stops it getting on your sheets and also parts of your body you didn’t want it on. And you smell nice too!

    Comment by Hannah — July 6, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

  16. Sorry, comments are closed on the relevant blog entry but perhaps this is why the French doctors were horrified by the combination of Tadpole, British doctor, & glue:

    From the BBC – A two-year-old boy has had an eye glued together while being treated in hospital for a head wound.

    Comment by purple — July 6, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  17. I can’t paint my finger/toenails without getting polish all over the place, either. So I just paint everywhere, willy-nilly, then take a shower. Usually my skin wrinkles up and then I can peel the polish off (hopefully without peeling it off the nail, too!)

    Comment by srah — July 6, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  18. At least you didn’t turn orange.

    Comment by joeinvegas — July 6, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  19. Now I know why I never tried.

    Comment by Anna — July 6, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

  20. Petite, do want to buy a load of St. Tropez tanning stuff? Just closed my hair and beauty salon and have lots left. Happy to come across the channel and apply with serious amounts of exfoliation technique.

    Alternatively, I’ve lots of hairspray, mousse, gel, “Options” hair recovery (useful after you’ve been in the sun) etc. Tempted?

    Comment by Jester — July 6, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  21. Sorry, post should have read “do you … “

    Comment by Jester — July 6, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

  22. After a few of those debacles myself I’ve learned to embrace my paleness. You can select clothes that will complement your natural color and not wash you out. (don’t ask me what those are though)

    Or if I’m so pale it’s sickly I go outside to the safety of my backyard/stoop in a tank top and shorts and hope I’m not glowing too badly.

    Comment by techgirl — July 6, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

  23. I don’t understand what Kim means (comment No. 8) – why are French women referred to as triangles?

    Great post – I can totally relate. Legs really are a hassle. Mine are always covered in bruises. Opaque black M&S tights all the way!

    Comment by Julie — July 6, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

  24. You make being a woman sound far too complicated. I use walnut oil and some potassium permanganate. I have to dye the sheets brown as well of course but you know, swings and roundabouts.

    Comment by meredic — July 6, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  25. Petite, I thought I was alone with my lack of beauty school knowledge…I am the same in this way, and I will forever envy my friends who know how to blow dry, wax, tweeze, totter on heels and take forever in the bathroom….

    I recently nearly broke my neck when for fun I tried on a pair of heels in a shoe shop on Rue Dauphine…

    Comment by aminah — July 6, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  26. Having had just such a debacle myself recently, I feel your pain. However, I discovered to my delight that you can buy wipes that take the stuff off again, with a bit of scrubbing. I found mine over here courtesy of superdrug (bargain at 69p) but i’m sure that there will be some equivalent, should the second coat not do the trick. Bonne chance!

    Comment by Lilgreenfrog — July 6, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  27. Can you encapsulate the attorney’s synopsis for those of us whose French will let us order in a restaurant but not have any kind of REAL conversation? I’m interested in the legalities but just can’t understand it all in French.

    And FWIW I have never been able to apply any self-tanner to my white, pasty self without ending up with at least one dark orangy patch somewhere. However after reading all these tips I’m game to maybe try it again.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — July 6, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

  28. You’ve been tagged by Eight Things. You!!

    Comment by Joliet Jake — July 6, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  29. You’re priceless ;-) and hilarious…

    This story reminds me of a body-building program I once watched. The men and women (body-builders) were applying fake-tan to each other with mini paint rollers, with paint brushes for the ‘hard to get to’ bits, oh how I laughed.

    I’m sure you don’t really need the auto-bronze, anaemic white can be very attractive, and a beautiful dress can always make a woman look fantastic. Put some heels on, and your hair up, and hey, I wouldn’t say no!

    Comment by Steve... — July 6, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  30. Feeling your pain, ben there, done it, looked orange, streaky and patchy.

    I have two options now – either the gently tanning moisturiser stuff or slap on/wash off colour.

    The first works OK at short notice if you use it day and night for about 4 days and it just takes the purple edge off really white legs (see, told you I’d been there). The second is good but only if you are wearing a dark colour because it probably rubs off.

    Ah, just thought of a third option – M&S sparkly moisturiser – looks good whatever colour you are!

    Comment by belle — July 6, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  31. Thank you for the link to Me Eolas. I read some of the legalese from the judgement, but mostly his commentary, which I found interesting and informative. It’s a minor point but I found all those references to “Madame Petite ANGLAISE” quite amusing – they will of course have used your real name throughout.
    I am sure that we all wish you the best of luck, and hope that your employer will not appeal.

    Comment by Pierre L — July 6, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  32. U R Hil Arious

    This story tickles me because I have that lovely blanched Scottish skin that burns instantly in the Mediterranean, so I always have an uneven tan with burnt bits here and there amongst the white patches… so I can identify. Don’t overdo it trying to overlap it into submission, tho… you may turn out like John Howard Griffin … =)

    Comment by eric — July 7, 2007 @ 12:39 am

  33. Petite, you are priceless! I admire your courage in admitting the tale of the migrating fake tan. I hope you will forgive those of us who smiled at the story. One of the problems most men don’t have.

    What to do about it? Tell the boy. And if he is as nice about it as I hope, he’s a keeper, at least for now.

    John Norris

    Comment by John Norris — July 7, 2007 @ 12:50 am

  34. Who, but you, PA, could put a link to French legal-speak into your post about girly grooming pitfalls and make it work? They are both funny, and complementary in that they both speak of absurdities.

    I tried fake tanning, oh dear, about 40 years ago, when it was new. Ghastly orange blotches, but at least it didn’t last long. I also never mastered not painting my cuticles, along with the nails. In the last 5 years, I’ve gotten handy with a blow-dryer, but at the same time, am reverting to a longer, straighter style to minimize the complications.

    I’ve always known I was not a girly-girl, (OK, you labelers out there, I’m a little, old lady, married 35 years) but while I figured I was an oddball, I had no idea I was in the good company of our elegant Petite Anglaise!

    Your humorous insight into beauty regimes is delightful. (Perhaps one day you will treat us to your take on the torture chamber called “waxing.”)

    In case you don’t know it, though, you are quite lovely, and have your own cosmopolitan flair, from the few pictures I’ve seen of you. You don’t look particularly French, nor English, and certainly not American.

    You will do fine on Tadpole’s hair. After all, it is not on your head, so you can see what you’re doing!

    Happy weekend.

    Comment by PJ Carz — July 7, 2007 @ 1:14 am

  35. This is the exact reason why I don’t use tanning products – and I trained as a beauty therapist! The eyebrows, the skin, the make up – I can deal with – this unsightly orange lotion – nope, won’t touch it.

    I used to put it on clients of course, and it always looked amazing but like you I always had some on my inner arms – it’s because your arm touches the leg as you rub the cream in.

    Petite, I really am a girly girl – maybe I got your genes – we’re born in the same year and I popped into the world two weeks after you…….so maybe I got the girlie genes you rejected :)

    Comment by Kasey — July 7, 2007 @ 1:19 am

  36. Oh god. It’ll never work. That was one of those moments when you should just stop yourself, and pray no one notices.

    Last-minute, risky remedies never EVER work.

    Comment by Tom — July 7, 2007 @ 1:36 am

  37. A trip to the spray booth would be well worth it. I don’t use tanning products as I am blessed with tan skin, but a pale friend has had things like this happen. She’s wound up with some strange colorations in areas she thought she’d never touched! She now spends a little extra money to go to a booth to have herself bronzed and always looks wonderful.

    Comment by Becky — July 7, 2007 @ 3:11 am

  38. I SO know what you mean. After many years I have found a hairdresser who can provide me with any number of styles, none of which even involve the use of a comb (which I am proud to say I do not own) but all work.

    Tanning – Hmm – Pale and interesting. Well, certainly pale.

    Makeup? Not usually a choice, but I did do a course at Max Factor once, so am capable, just life is too short to faff.

    Hope the doo goes well with the new ‘frock’ whatever. I’m sure it will.

    Comment by It's just me — July 7, 2007 @ 10:12 am

  39. :-D been there, done that, had the brown streaks on the arms, took days to scrub them off. Horror.
    Tip: the bronzing ‘mists’ are dry (don’t understand how that is possible, but they really are) and thus prevent smudgeoning :-)

    And just FYI, here is a great post I discovered today, all of us women should read it:

    Comment by Calypso — July 7, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  40. Calypso,

    > That’s what it’s like to be a woman. Every day

    All of this is decided by or agreed to by women. But not all of them feel the need to go along with it. My other half never wore much makup and wouldn’t be caught dead with a fake tan. 90% of men are oblivious to 90% of the nonsense that women put themselves through, most of which is for the benefit of other women.

    Self-confidence is far more attractive than anything in a bottle.

    If I ever woke up and found that my other half was one of those women who needed to put her face on in the morning I would go to ground and stay there.

    Comment by eats wombats — July 7, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  41. Petite – try using NAIL POLISH REMOVER on the offendingly dark bits. x

    Comment by Emma — July 7, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  42. Update: no one will notice the fake tan thing (arms came up good though, actually)

    Because this morning I woke up looking like the Elephant Woman with an oedema in my right eyelid.

    Sixty euros of ophtalmologue and a few drops later I couldn’t give a damn about my streaky feet.

    Comment by petite — July 7, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  43. well, maybe its a blessing in disguise??? at least that is not your fault….hope you feel better soon

    Comment by Emma — July 7, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

  44. Alice beat me to the: use lotion on your feet, knees and elbows first bit.

    As for the eyebrows, I would recommend visiting a professional. Somethings are best left up to the professionals.

    Comment by miss tango — July 7, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

  45. It reminds me the first time I used self-tanning lotion: in the mid 80ies, it was new, I was 17 and very fair-skinned. My mother had bought a bottle and finding me sickly looking suggesting I use it on my face “pour avoir bonne mine”. The instructions said to apply the lotion twice, which I did one Sunday evenging, generously, after all I looked so pale. I woke up looking as thought I had spend two weeks skiing. Very nice, no streaks. Perfect. Except that I had no thought about applying lotion to my neck. I had to go to high school wearing a scarf to hide my white neck and had to hear questions about how I had turned so tanned in one week end. Said the truth and nobody made fun of me, so it was ok afterall. Never ever used it on my face afterwards.

    Comment by katioschka — July 8, 2007 @ 12:24 am

  46. Once I figured out the joys of “scrunching” my hair, I stopping worrying about silly hairstyles that require blowdryers and such nonsense. And I love my pale skin… so dramatic. And bruises? Equally dramatic in a lovely kinky way.

    Comment by bohémienne — July 8, 2007 @ 4:15 am

  47. your blog is charming and so well written; i am an ex-pat living in paris, only part-time because i have a daughter still in high school in los angeles, but would love to meet you over a cup of coffee, if you’re interested. meeting people in paris can be difficult. i am a freelance textile designer, designing patterns for children’s wear and junior and young contemporary women – bcbg, bloomingdales… let me know if you’re interested…. e.

    Comment by elizabeth — July 8, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  48. Ha, ha! Sorry you haven’t got to the worst bit yet …just wait until it starts wearing off in uneven patches when you have to face the ultimate dilemma: do I keep on applying for ever and eventually turn into an oompa-loompa? or do I let it wear off and look like I have some hideous skin disease? Good luck!

    Comment by Cath — July 8, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  49. Hey, don’t worry…for those of us that are not true girly-girls…sunless tans are achievable, they just take practice. I’ve been using the “new” products for a couple of years now and still get the occasional streak or two.

    Comment by Caffienated Cowgirl — July 8, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  50. Been there!!! Can never seem to get the feet right. Always end up with VERY DARK/ORANGE toes…

    Comment by Valkyrie — July 8, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  51. eats wombats:
    if only more men were like you. alas and alack, by the looks of magazines like nuts, zoo, etc, the tongue in cheek comments of my best beloved (‘why can’t you wear heels like all the other girls?’ my protests being met with -‘look, she can do it. and her. and her’ when we walk down the street….)and pretty much every male i have come into contact with from oxfam to oxbridge, the girls aloud school of personal grooming has more fans than we girls would like to admit.

    moan over.

    Comment by delilah — July 8, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

  52. Glad I’m not the only one who’s rubbish at doing all things girlie! Hope that the finishing touches to the book are going well.

    Comment by Stratfordgirl — July 8, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

  53. Eeek… I shall never ever use those again after abusing them in the past and ending up with flakey dry brown-ish skin… think giraffe effect in terms of colour, and it was all itchy as hell! As a result, I had to wear long sleeves and trousers in the middle of summer, so as to hide away the unsightly skin. It took an age to disappear too. Better be pale and interesting methinks!

    Comment by Ariel — July 8, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

  54. Now tell us about the day you bleached your hair/wore black lipstick/went totalement commando/fell into a river. Oh, I need to buy the book?
    OK – the Book.

    And miss tango she ain’t wrong. You wouldn’t try to give yourself a haircut? Would you?
    I know, read the book…

    Comment by andrew — July 9, 2007 @ 1:48 am

  55. I have been reading this glob on and off for about a year now, and am wondering when you are going to grow up? Do you have any interests at all, beyond the minutia of your own daily existence? It’s really shallow! Sorry. You are probably a nice person, deep down, but you also strike me as extraordinarily self absorbed.

    Comment by janey — July 9, 2007 @ 3:20 am

  56. …and what is wrong with minutia of daily existence?

    Comment by Jo — July 9, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  57. Janey – Blogs are surely by their very nature self absorbed aren’t they? And I do mean blogs rather than bloggers.

    It does strike me that it is optional to read it at all..

    Sorry, but: really.

    Comment by It's Just Me — July 9, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  58. Oh the relief! Finally, I get to hear that other people, not just you, Petite, really can’t do their own hair!

    I have seriously not wielded a hairdryer since I was about 13 – I don’t even understand how people have the strength in their arms in order to keep them above their heads and hold/style/twirl their tresses, never mind the ability! I look BESERK on the rare occasions when I try/have to dry my own hair (eg on holiday on a tropical, salon-less island).

    I once – this is soooo humiliating – walked past my son in the street early in the morning – I was returning from a holiday far away from civilization and he was going to work. Admittedly, my head was down and I was counting the hours until I could get to my hairdresser’s, but he….DIDN’T RECOGNISE ME!!! When I called after him, he turned, blank-faced and then, as recognition finally dawned, fell about laughing. Terrible. I now spend hundreds of pounds a month at the hairdresser, with whom I have a co-dependent relationship, just to look normal!

    As to number 34’s post, reassuring you that all will be well when it comes to Tadpole’s hair, because you can see it, I don’t agree! I am no better with other people’s hair…anywhere! My mother used to make me wax my brother’s eyebrows when we were young (he had a monobrow). Can you imagine my trying (and, of course, failing) to make them both the same length?! Why didn’t she do it? Why? Why?!

    No wonder I’m scarred for life (and so it he) Just re-living these things gives me a frisson, but it’s good to know I’m not alone……!!

    Comment by Lindy Stocker — July 9, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  59. @ no. 55 (Janey)
    If you really believe your criticisms, then why have you continued to read for so long? Funnily enough Janey, you don’t strike me as “probably a nice person, deep down”….

    Comment by le sagittaire — July 9, 2007 @ 12:33 pm

  60. Why read this blog in the first place, then, Janey?
    Not for a second because you yourself might be interested in the minutia of OTHER PEOPLE’s daily existence?
    Anyway, fortunately, there are millions of other blogs out there in the blogosphere, Janey, so take your “busybodyness” elsewhere.
    Nobody is forcing you to read what you believe to be a shallow blog. Go and tread deeper waters then!

    Judging by your comment, you are probably not a nice person (not even deep down) and you certainly strike me, for one, as extraordinarily haughty and domineering (“When are you going to grow up?” is a prime example).

    Comment by happyforyou — July 9, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  61. Two years to spot that a blogger is a bit self absorbed! Careful Petite you dont want to get into a flame war with someone that sharp!

    Comment by meredic — July 9, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

  62. I highly recommend what someone else suggested- going to a spray tanning booth. It does it so its completley even all over so you don’t have to deal with the messy consequences of do-it-yourself.

    Comment by destinationmetz — July 9, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  63. All I can say is that the minutia of someone else’s daily existence is way more interesting than mine! That’s the whole point of blogs – somebody normal chatting about what they do. Funnily enough some of your best posts have been about the most mundane things. Bring on more self absorbtion!

    I hope your eye is better.

    Comment by Hazy — July 9, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  64. sorry to hear about the eye thing, sounds nasty.

    Don’t give up on the whole fake tan thing though, it’s easy peasy really. One rule though, St Tropez is the only way to go. And the overnight stuff is the best. Slap it on what ever way you want (it does look like, well, awful but trust me will look great after you shower in the morning), go to bed in old pj’s to prevent ruining your sheets. All application should be done with surgical gloves on (you can buy a box for half nothing). Then for face and hands take the golves off and mix the tanning lotion with some moisturizer and apply. Wash only palms of hands afterwards. Just let the water run over them, no need to scrub. Shower in the morning and Hey presto, fab tan. It says to exfoliate before hand, I only ever do a little scrub on feet, knees and elbows. In the shower a brown river will run off you, don’t worry this is totally normal.

    Oh and NEVR do any of the above when having ‘company’ overnight. Obviously.

    More details of new boy please!!! Are you exaggerating the age difference, I’m having visions of a 20 year old!!

    Comment by Susie — July 9, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

  65. Would a Petite Anglaise without white legs really be be a petite anglaise ?

    Comment by Parisin Cowboy — July 9, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  66. #62 – Is that for petite or janey?!

    Comment by Jude — July 9, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  67. Now, now girls. Stop the flying handbags and see
    Note the first track on their album “Now I Understand”.

    Comment by Parkin Pig — July 10, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

  68. I’m hearing you! I’ve just spent two uncomfortable nights in a tan-sack in preparation for a week in Dubrovnik. That, along with the hair removal cream means that now I just smell so I’m having a bit of a paranoid day in the office but at least I look tanned! I have also tried the spray-tan where you stand in a room being sprayed whilst wearing nothing but a paper thong; I wouldn’t say my dignity remained completely intact but I repeat, at least I looked tanned!
    It’s been interesting reading all the tips in these posts and next time I go through all this I will be sure to use talc afterwards – anything to help with the smell as I’m not ready to be pale and interesting just yet.

    P.S. Janey, will you continue to read Petite’s blog?
    P.P.S. Petite, yes more ‘Boy’ details please!

    Comment by Claire-a-belle — July 10, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  69. @kim (#8)

    No one seems to have explained what ““triangles” in the french way to speak of women” means, can you enlighten us? ;)

    Comment by amberwolf — July 10, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

  70. To Julie, who asked about my triangles thing:

    In a rather plastic doll-like version of anatomy, where the women’s crotch meets her legs is rather triangularly shaped. Hence the “triangle” thing.

    Perhaps it’s less common than I thought.

    Comment by kim — July 10, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

  71. I am so happy to read this post and see I am not the only girl who has a hard time with proper girl things like heels and blowdrying and getting a no-maintenance-required haircut. I too experimented with the bob in my early twenties and having to battle with the hairdryer on a daily basis to make sure said bob flipped in the correct direction. I’m still not convinced, however, by the self tanning concept, after an episode in junior high in which I ended up orange for a week. I understand that self tanners have greatly improved since that time but I’ve decided being blindingly pale is not all that bad after all

    Comment by lapagefrancaise — July 10, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  72. Tssk tssk petite, having second thoughts about that last post ??? Anyway, I’m glad you had fun :)

    Comment by walken — July 12, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  73. Sadly, yes.

    No sense playing into the hands of any misguided person who may want to use the “bad mummy” tag in a less ironic way than I do.

    I guess losing my anonymity has cost me a certain amount of freedom of speech.

    Comment by petite — July 12, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  74. Oh well, at least the patch on your stomach can be like one of those “try it and see what the colour looks like” patches. You know the sort you use when you are painting the wall.

    I have never successfully used a self tanning lotion. Always patchy and streaky!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — July 12, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  75. I still think you’re brave for posting it. Maybe you could offer future posts of a sensitive nature without comments, since that’s where your cover got completely blown. (On the other hand, isn’t fun to think that the “beer” commenters might now give it a go…) Your experience sounded great and bound to make you an even better mummy.

    Comment by shelley — July 12, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  76. Shame you took it down, PA, but very glad I got to read it. You’ll have to include it as bonus material on the 5-year special anniversary print of your book.

    Comment by Leslie — July 12, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  77. I can sense “petite anglaise” may have lost its “whodunit” factor now that your anonymity has disapeared…With your name now “au grand jour”, Tadpole’s name is following yours. Something to think about for somebody who writes intertwining reality & fiction….the two can be so easily confused…and never proven…perception kills in these heavily-mediated times!!!

    Comment by Bridges — July 12, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  78. Re: #73

    That is too bad – although I must admit I was ever so slightly uncomfortable with that post’s contents. Must be the father in me. I’m sure you thought of the possibility of Tadpole reading all of this in just a couple of years from now, and decided you were fine with that.

    On the bright side, your freedom of speech is total when you write your book, right ?

    Comment by ontario frog — July 12, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

  79. Well this gives me an opportunity to add my fake tan experience and warn you off St Tropez.
    Five years ago in February I was invited at very short notice to teach yoga in a Caribbean resort/spa. Thinking that pale and interesting would not be the look, and being mindful of streaky/patchy scare stories, I decided to have a St Tropez tan professionally applied and duly trotted off to a large dept store in Oxford St the afternoon before my flight. I was told that I might look a bit dirty after the application, but not to have a bath or shower that evening. Imagine my horror the next morning, just before I was due to depart for Gatwick, when my “tan” washed off me in the bath and disappeared down the plug hole. The only bits that were left were some orange spots on my forehead and stubborn orange patches on my knees, elbows and ankles – which I could not remove with any amount of scrubbing (not even with nail polish remover, as one poster has suggested). So I had to brazen it out when I got there and wait for the patches to fade, while mentally composing my letter to St T and calculating how much I should claim for making me look like an idiot instead of relaxed and healthy. People actually commented after a week how much better I looked than when I first arrived…the streaks and patches had gone and some nice freckles had appeared!

    Comment by Jude — July 12, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  80. Phew. I thought I’d had one too many margaritas. Can you mention again the name of that track you posted up though? I wanted to download it…

    Comment by Paola — July 12, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

  81. The extract was from “air conditionné” by Julian Juweil and exists in lots of different versions, remixed notably by the DJ who played at “Play” – it’s his morceau fétiche, I believe.

    You can buy it here (type in Julian Juweil) or hear full version on the official “Play” site here.

    And if you can find me on the third photo, a prize.

    Comment by petite — July 12, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  82. Very pleased to read your comment about pigtails – some people seem born able to do perfect pigtails in their daughters’ hair. My hair is curly and would never ever do pigtails. My daughter’s was long and straight when she was a child and her mother’s hairdressing skills were sadly lacking. Perhaps that’s why, at eighteen, she has it very, very short and very, very blonde. And it looks great. Phew.

    Comment by Daphne — July 13, 2007 @ 12:43 am

  83. Well I guess I understand your decision. I did enjoy reading that post though. And it made me feel like I should consider getting out of retirement sometime :)

    Anyway about that prize. I’m really not sure but did you happen to wear blueish baskets with white stripes by any chance ?

    Comment by walken — July 13, 2007 @ 2:24 am

  84. What happened to that last post? I wanted a friend to hear the music.

    Comment by Elle — July 13, 2007 @ 5:04 am

  85. Hi Petite. Sorry to hear about the last post. But understand (from the little I know). Given that you’ve just had an inconvénience of your situation, would suggest that you go for an avantage to balance it up…Go get a massage! :=)

    Comment by Roberta Collins — July 13, 2007 @ 5:27 am

  86. Where did your Château post go dahling? You are in the second group “courtyard” photo – behind the girl in the green sleeveless Tshirt who is on the phone. We can’t see your face, your hair is tamer than usual and you are wearing a dark “thicker than spaghetti” strap top. ai-je raison???

    Comment by gucci — July 13, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  87. outdoor picture, near gates, pinkish top over black dress and trainers, hair tied back – I think Walken was right…

    links to music are in #82 above.

    Comment by petite — July 13, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  88. Tell me I didn’t dream another post after this one? I’d enjoyed it too…

    Might it come back ever?

    Comment by It's Just Me — July 13, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  89. to #85 “What happened to the last post – I wanted a friend to hear the music”

    If you want to listen to some “PLAY” mix, you can download the previous electric rescue aka d-jedi play mix at this URL :
    [audio src="" /]

    plus you can also find me somewhere in the pictures …
    but you don’t care, do you ?

    biz biz


    Comment by rose selavy — July 13, 2007 @ 1:29 pm

  90. i hate blow drying. don’t kniw why every girl thinks she needs to have straigh/styled hair, when natural locks look so much prettier anyway.

    as for fake tan… well, i have olive skin and don’t need it, but english rose complexion is gorgeous. if i needed to resort to fake tanning, i happily wouldn’t. :)

    Comment by Lolla Moon — July 13, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  91. hmmmm….. a deleted post…so what happened?

    Comment by jane — July 13, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  92. Instead of techno, try this:

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — July 13, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  93. Jane

    She went to a rave. Cue shock and awe from some of her more sheltered readers. Cue outrage from those readers who rarely get off the sofa.

    Resulting in just the reaction that I suspect Petite wanted by writing the post.


    Comment by Jamila — July 13, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  94. I don’t know why you removed your last post. It’s part of who you are at this point in time. Don’t fear what others think or how you are perceived. Your life is yours, and you should live it how you want, not some edited, massaged compromise, that is endemic in today’s society and mainstream press.

    The music was good, you seemed to have enjoyed yourself, so don’t apologise for it by removing the post. You are a strong, independent character and your ‘freedom of speech’ #73, is as important as anyone elses. The only one who should decide if you’re a bad mummy is Tadpole. Go ahead and ask her. I’m sure she’ll tell you your fantastic.

    And besides, it’s the editor who is meant to do the editing, not the author!

    Comment by Steve... — July 13, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  95. Understand the reason for removing the post but I really loved reading it! I think if Tadpole reads it years from now she will realise that she has a very cool mummy indeed!

    Comment by Renée — July 14, 2007 @ 3:38 am

  96. i’m sorry you decided to delete a few posts. your sharing of your life is endearing. it is so pleasant to read about your life, family, friends, and Paris as a break in the middle of my often hectic days. i’m very sorry that some judgemental, selfish people have made you feel wary. i don’t know that i’ve said this before, but i’ve read other blogs that turned into mere marketing devices once the blogger decided to write a book. you have been generous with us, which is much appreciated. it’s a lovely character trait of yours, petite, and i hope someday soon you feel more open again. don’t let the meanies get you down.

    Comment by chris — July 14, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  97. I think this is the first time I’ve commented here — am feeling quite shallow.
    Flighty’s advice is good — Clarins is the only brand I find manageable and realistic-looking. Self-tanning seems to be an event in itself, not something to be done in preparation for going out. I’ve managed to do it successfully here and there, but only by trial and error after some years and it still sometimes needs tweaking and repairing. Tip: use disposable plastic gloves, the thin clear kind. The gloves keep it out of your nails and cuticles and facilitate blending, but you still have to figure out how to rub a little on the backs of your hands and fingers so it’s easier said than done.

    Comment by Nan — July 14, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  98. Je suis d’accord, c’est un vrai business !
    Moi j’y travaille depuis toujours et je dois avouer que je ne suis pas peu fière de (quasi) maîtriser le concept !

    Comment by violette — July 14, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  99. Hey catherine!!!
    First : I would like to say that I LOVE your blog!!!
    Second : if you have problems with your hair when you have to dry it just have a look at the cover of The Pipettes song “Dirty Mind” :)
    PS : you look like Riot Becki… Handsome…
    Bye and have a very great day

    Comment by Vince — July 14, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  100. I’ve used self tanners and had the same thing happen to me. Or worn rubber gloves as suggested and ended up with orange around my cuticles and nuckles from trying to get some color on the back of my hands.

    And most disasterous of all, I went to a spray tanning booth where they spray every inch of you. And I was so proud of my tan I wore a white shirt to show it off. Unfortunately it was a warm day and the perspiration on my back soaked all of the color through into my shirt. I was out, at a party in a white shirt with big orange blotches all over my back.

    Comment by jolynna — July 14, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

  101. As far as I can tell, any self-tanner I tried was like taking an ink pen and making my every skin imperfection darker, thereby bringing more attention to it. Now I just accept that pale is me and c’est la vie!

    Comment by purple — July 14, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

  102. @#59 – OK, stand down. My comment was my personal opinion, and fairly innocuous. No, it was not full of gushing praise….but it was not mean either.

    Comment by janey — July 15, 2007 @ 3:14 am

  103. Oh, petite…your writing is wonderful. Just delete the comments that are too mean-spirited. Some people write mean things to get a reaction. No one has to read your blog if they find things offensive.

    I think you are a wonderful mother. Tadpole will be quite proud of you for living your life to the fullest. Too many people live their lives to please others…parents, church, teachers, etc. No reason at all to worry about pleasing
    mean-spirited/judgemental blog readers who are anonymous. Tadpole will eventually understand the creativity that goes into your blog writing….and those hazy places where fact and fiction blur…because you will have discussions with her about your writing when she is old enough to understand.

    Comment by Elle — July 15, 2007 @ 3:32 am

  104. Good to find out that I was not the only one having suffered from hair rollers, blowdryer and the “one-side in-one-side-out-drma” of my hair during my pre-adulthood years. During these days it was important!
    About the self tanning creme. I have seen the effects … one woman at work always tanned and styled, looks very chic, but her skin tone is moving towards orange.Too much of the stuff.

    Comment by Ellen — July 15, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  105. I recommend this stuff they’ve got now which has very light self tan in moisturiser or after sun lotion. You need to be a bit more prepared but if you use it over a week or so you get a nice colour of which any one application is not dark enough to show unevenness. I’ve totally given up on normal fake tan, I’m far too impatient and always end up rubbing it off somewhere. But if you are going to use it I recommend thoroughly moisturising feet, ankles, knees, wrists etc first and afterwards anywhere you think won’t be smooth.

    Comment by The B — July 15, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

  106. At the risk of posting by far the latest comment to your blog in quite some time, I would like to agree with you re:hair.

    My hair is the longest it has ever been, and while yes, it does look good if I blow dry it, only gestapo torture would induce me to do that every morning.

    There is more to life than looking like an action man or a dolly.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 15, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  107. At least you danced to Tiga — I love his music!

    Comment by Lost in France — July 16, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  108. Janey, what the hell is your idea of mean? Calling someone’s writing “glop”, accusing them of being shallow, calling on them to “grow up”…

    You can’t backpedal now and make it seem that you were simply being constructively critical. How ridiculous. I don’t usually leave comments but I really can’t believe people like you. Why read the blog if you think it’s glop? Why continue for 2 years?

    Comment by suzanne — July 16, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  109. Suzanne, I do stand by what I said, but don’t want to fan the flames any further so apologies to you and any others that were offended by my comments. A couple of points of clarification though: 1. I said that I had been reading the blog for a year, not 2 years; 2. I mistakenly transposed my letters and wrote “glob” instead of “blog”. (I have never even heard of “glob” being used that way before.)

    Have to go and shave my legs now, will tell you all about it tomorrow.

    Comment by janey — July 17, 2007 @ 1:47 am

  110. It is my experience that Janeys tend to be hot. So, yes, please tell us tomorrow about your legs. (It might make up for PA’s complete stinginess about sharing her own sex life.)

    Comment by John Bullshit — July 17, 2007 @ 10:08 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: