petite anglaise

May 22, 2008


Filed under: good time girl, knot tying — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:13 pm

The non-hen night started off well enough.

I caught the Eurostar with my non-bridesmaid Meg. (Admittedly with only seconds to spare. If ever you make a date with Meg, it pays to factor in a degree of tardiness.) We sipped champagne and picked at our Eurostar lunch as we sped towards London under flinty skies. Every few minutes I put down my copy of Heat magazine, with a sigh, to field yet another text message from one of the attendees, wondering how on earth people ever made plans before the age of the mobile phone.

Our plan for the day included a lightning visit to TopShop, an afternoon rendez-vous at The Champion pub in Bayswater, a possible picnic in Kensington Gardens (which was looking increasingly unlikely as London approached and the clouds showed no sign of clearing) and, finally, an evening meet at The Walmer Castle, Notting Hill, for a Thai meal.

My friends had been warned that as this was a non-hen night, strippers, L-plates, chicken costumes, weird headgear, matching T-shirts or other horrorshow props were strictly prohibited. Several male friends had also been invited in an attempt to mitigate excesses of girliness. The only bacherlotte party tradition I did uphold was the Boy’s absence. He was safely on the other side of the English Channel, no doubt playing poker.

3pm saw me sitting on a balding Chaise Longue in The Champion, a pint of cider in my hand, surrounded by half a dozen of my closest friends. The picnic plan had been ditched, and we’d ordered a few snacks to mop up the alcohol instead. I was taking things slowly. All was well in my world.

Then my best friend from university, dismayed at the dismally slow progress I was making with my pint, returned from the bar to remedy the situation, carrying two shots (1 vodka, 1 Sambuca). At approximately the same time, Meg bought a bottle of wine for some random Dutch boys who had been quietly propping up the bar and asked them to do a little dance for me, in return. She then produced a handful of fluorescent mini feather boas, a hideous pink plastic necklace and a hair clip (with pink bow attached) and began to advance towards me.

I raised the first of the two shot glasses to my mouth. And the next five hours – from approximately 5pm until 10pm – are blank.

I’m told I ripped university friend’s top – and have seen photographic evidence to support this claim – but can summon up no memory of the occurrence whatsoever. I’m told I tipped over the back of the chaise longue, landing on the floor with my legs in the air. Again, this feels true, but I have only a vague recollection of the feeling of smooth, cold tiles against my back – there is no visual memory at all.

And yet the photographs and videos I’ve seen show me looking tipsy but functional: sitting, standing, walking, talking, laughing (and drinking). It’s as though the lights were on, but there was no one home. My body switched onto autopilot, ceased to record anything, and partied on without me.

I ‘came to’ in the Thai restaurant and the rest of the night, which ended around 3 am, I recollect with perfect clarity.

On the Eurostar home, Meg obligingly filled in my memory gaps, prompting several ‘Oh no, please say I didn’t’s and a multitude of groans. The only advantage of not remembering was that it was virtually impossible to feel ashamed of my behaviour. What happens in the black hole, stays in the black hole, and frankly it might as well all have happened to someone else.

‘Your mission at the wedding, should you choose to accept it,’ I said when she had finished, ‘is to ensure my glass is never filled.’

March 1, 2008

not for sale on ebay, yet

Filed under: good time girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:27 pm

Having spent a giddy few hours feeling fabulous with a champagne flute welded to my hand, I spent most of today welded to a mop and vacuum cleaner. Oh the glamorous life I lead…

I’m too tired right now to post properly about this, but I did want to link to the flickr photos. And also to show you the ingenious gift I received from the one and only Frog with a Blog (not to be confused with Mr Frog), who offered me my very own petite anglaise dollTM.

Behold her dark-rimmed glasses! Puzzle over the fact that she appears to be handcuffed to a bottle of Heineken! (I’m not sure that’s quite the image I want to project?)

According to the back of the box, Frog with a blog, Bookpacker and Blagueur versions are also available.

Update: Oh my! There is video evidence of my tipsyness. Explicit content, viewer discretion advised.

February 29, 2008

l'oeil du cyclone

Filed under: book stuff, good time girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:11 am

This week has been oh so quiet.

I mean, yes, there were hundreds of emails flying back and forth, and I did have a couple of magazine pieces to finish off, but the fact that my book seems to be in many UK bookshops now (what do release dates actually mean and does anyone pay attention to them?) left me strangely unmoved.

I think it’s worth mentioning here (at the risk of attracting criticism that I am all about the hard sell) that although I don’t endorse any particular bookshop over another, Amazon do have “petite” as a deal of the week this week, meaning that it has a whopping 55% off. If you were planning to buy it, this seems like a good time to snap it up.

I also wanted to give you a heads up about some of the places you may be able to catch me next week, when I embark on a four day whirlwind book pimping trip in London, Leeds and York.

  • You Magazine, in this Sunday’s Mail – an interview and book extract.
  • This Sunday’s Observer (travel section) and online there should be some sort of associated web content. You’ll see…
  • Monday morning, Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
  • If I don’t miss my train (schedule is horrendously tight) I’ll also be on BBC Radio Leeds around 3.30pm and then interviewed on BBC Look North news programme around 6.30pm. (I’m from York, in case you are wondering about the choice of towns. There is a logic to this…)

There’s much more in the pipeline, and I’ll try and update the blog and press page as much as possible while I’m sitting on trains next Monday and Tuesday. For the TV bits, if you are in possession of the kind of technology that enables you to record snippets of TV and post them to YouTube, it might be fun to share some of the upcoming TV appearances (more info to follow) with my non Yorkshire/UK public.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to make a final DESPERATE PLEA to anyone reading this who lives within striking distance of York Library. I’m doing a small, low-key reading/book signing on Tuesday evening (info here) and this is a ticketed event. So far it looks as though I’ll be reading to a small group comprising mostly family members and fielding questions from my grandma. Help!

Today I will be mostly taking deliveries of (indecent amounts of) champagne, ice (60 kilos thereof, destined for the bathtub), and assisting my caterer, the lovely Meg, with the assembly of some very complicated-looking canapés.

Because I had to celebrate this book coming out thing just a little bit, didn’t I? So I’m throwing a little party.

update: My very first review! Ooh!

NB:  The Paris signing on 20 March is not a ticketed event but, in order to give WH Smiths an idea of numbers for room layout and enable them to stock up on sensible amounts of wine, it is recommended you sign up here.

October 29, 2007

channel hopping

Filed under: good time girl, on the road — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:55 pm

T’as pas deux euros à me prêter pour acheter un paquet de clopes?” the Boy enquires as we draw near to a tabac. “Sinon je vais aller retirer en face…

“I was wondering when you were finally going to admit that you’re only with me because you want to get your hands on my money,” I retort with a sly grin.

We joke about it sometimes, but, in truth, whatever I have in the bank is just numbers on a sheet of paper. Numbers that won’t mean much to me until they add up – net of the eye watering amounts of tax and social security I pay with a year’s time lag – to a place to live that means my room no longer has to serve the purposes of bedroom, dining room and living room rolled into one.

In the meantime, my lifestyle has changed little. I’d rather go for beers at the Café Chéri(e) than buy a bottle of champagne at Le Baron or Le Paris Paris (I’ve yet to set foot in either). Most evenings I can be found cooking up a storm in my kitchen or waiting for the Boy to grab some takeaway on his way home from work, rather than eating out in some über-chic restaurant. I treat myself occasionally – clothes, silk underwear, a handbag, a holiday – but we’re not talking Gucci or Dior or a five star beach cabin in the Seychelles. I’m more of an Et Vous or APC kind of girl, and I doubt I’ll ever kick my Top Shop habit. Admittedly it’s really nice not to have to worry when an unexpectedly large phone bill arrives or to have to think twice about taking Tadpole to Yorkshire when there are no cheap tickets left. But, aside from that, little has changed, and I doubt it ever will.

Regardless of our wildly differing salary levels the Boy and I always go Dutch. That is, when he doesn’t insist on paying. If I try to so much as buy a round of drinks he is likely to tell me – mock sternly – to put my wallet down and step away from the till. As a result, he’s not the easiest person in the world to treat, and as his thirtieth birthday loomed, I found myself in something of a quandary. He’d surprised me with a gorgeous antique ring on my birthday, back in September, and it never leaves my finger. I was determined to do something special for him – after all thirty is an important landmark – but I knew he’d feel uncomfortable if I bought him something wildly extravagant.

In the end I resolved to whisk him away for a long weekend, instead. And slipped a pair of lace-topped hold-up stockings into my weekend bag, for good measure.

I’m happy to report that the weekend was a resounding success.

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