Going, Going…

Not quite gone. 

You know the drill. The thought of his smile makes you smile, the way he strides about makes you weak at the knees, and his lips, oh his lips. 

You’re constantly on red alert for seeing him and you feel like you’re never going to be attracted to anyone else. When he calls you turn into a wibbling mass of girlie hormones and giggles and then kick yourself when you hang up for being such a massive sook. 

You get a severe case of mentionitis, finding ways to slip his name into conversation and bring the topic back round to the undeniable chemistry between you. 

And then the disappointment. 

Real life comes whooshing in like a smack upside the head and you realise, the special wink and a smile, the pet name and the late night messages is all an act. It’s bluff, swagger, banter, and it’s available to anyone. 

Hello, I quite fancy you, would you like to come into my den of zum zum? Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full. 

Then sweeps in the sheer embarrassment and with hindsight you’d have been MUCH cooler, like Stephanie Zanoni with her flicked up collar and leather jacket. All witty retorts and badassery, no wibbly giggles. 

He starts to slide from your mind, the messages slow to a trickle, and his smile becomes merely an expression of happiness and not something that causes your solar plexus to flex wildly. He goes back to being a mere mortal rather than a Greek God chiselled from marble and his chat becomes transparent. 

And then it’s over. You both carry on with what you were doing before and it goes back to being placid, some might say dull. The sparkle dies and it’s like it never existed. 

Until you see a see a picture of his abs that you could bounce a shiny penny off and it reminds you, some men are good for the eyes and not good for the soul. 


After a series of man shaped disappointments in the real world (sad face) I thought I’d go back to the old faithful for some blog fodder and dip my toe into online dating once more. 

Less than 24hrs later and I’m already considering getting measured for my wimple and adopting another cat. 

Is there anyone out there who can explain what it is about me that just brings the unusual men to the fore? Do I have a magnet?! Granted there hasn’t been an adult baby (yet) but it’s still early days so don’t lose faith fetish fans. 

First up was the man who told me I looked absolutely gorgeous next to my “little friends”, well why not just call me Snow White and be done with it buddy… I know it’s a pretty amusing picture given we inadvertently stood in height order but something about the way he phrased it just made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. 

But he wasn’t finished there. Oh no. He came out with the first of what I like to think of as the holy trinity of height fetish questions: 

The other two of course being, “how long is your inside leg” and “what size are your feet” usually combined with emojis such as 😉😜😘🍆👠 just in case you don’t feel creeped out enough. Nine times out of ten they then go on to ask if I’d ever consider selling them my shoes before offering to pay more if they’re worn. Also, why would I need his (puke) big strong arms to hold on to? I know after a few shandies I have a tendency to walk like a rugby player wearing Louboutins for the first time but pride myself on staying upwards* 

And then an old faithful appeared, like manna from heaven. Somehow he always manages to track me down within the first day of my “giving it another go” and for the uninitiated his opening line is certainly more interesting than “hey, u ok? Xxx” but I know his game. He’s got previous. It starts innocently (if weirdly) enough. A question about kickboxing. 

But he won’t stop there, oh no he won’t. Mr Miyagi has taught this kid well and he will wax on and wax off his way all up in my inbox with a string of martial arts related intrigue. In the past his questions have included such gems as “how high can you kick”, “how hard can you kick”, “have you ever kicked anyone in the balls” and when I engaged and asked him if he seriously thought his approach might work (whilst imagining him wanking furiously into a sports sock) he replied, 

“Would you ever wear a kendo outfit in the bedroom?” 

Stay tuned folks, it’s going to be a wild ride. 

*apart from that time on the coach home from the Christmas party. Twice. 

The View From Here…

No two days are the same on the water outside my window. Sometimes the sunlight hits exactly right and for a small sweet moment blinds you before moving onwards. Sometimes the clouds are so heavy and low it feels like you could reach out and poke holes in them. There are millpond days where skipping a stone makes ripple after ripple dance across the surface and there are days when the water flows furious and fast. Days where you can imagine even paddling in the shallows would see you swept away and out to sea. 

My favourite days are when the sun is low in the sky and it lights up in majestic colours, pinks, reds, golds, and purples as it dips down towards the horizon before disappearing in a last blaze. 

The water has a tendency to match my mood, or my mood matches the water.  When the colours are vibrant and glowing I notice and it makes me smile. When the clouds are full and hanging low with raindrops I notice and it makes my heart heavy. 

There’s so many reminders of the life out there, from the vessels hooting their way up and down in the fog; the klaxon of the sailing school on weekend mornings; the fireworks when a cruise ship leaves port for an adventure; the windsurfers; the zap cats; the pleasure boats. In the distance on the other shore are the chimneys and towers of the oil refinery, a strangely beautiful glittering metropolis in stark contrast to the nature outside my window. 

The lights across the water play to my romantic side, thinking of an aloof rich gentleman who throws lavish parties and pines for me standing on his dock. Although I actually found myself brooding across the waves imagining a green light twinkling in the distance. 

The water is always there and I find myself drawn to it, it helps me find calm when I’m anxious, it torments me when I’m so low I feel like walking into it and never stopping, but more often than not as I walk along the shoreline it keeps me grounded. 

Stoop Wars

It appeared out of nowhere on our beautiful Victorian stoop. I rounded the front of the building to my flat and caught its beady eyes peering at me from atop its perch by number 8. An owl. Not just any owl of course, but one that has been dunked in glitter and is now sat there looking like Liberace has opened a petting zoo.

The next day Sparkly the campest owl in Netley had been joined by a plastic ball of neon green “plant” hanging from our wrought iron fixture between the two flats. The day after, a modicum of taste arrived chez nous when some actual real life photosynthesising plants in terracotta pots appeared. I couldn’t help but wonder if we were going to be joined by a new addition each day until it necessitated hurdling over a herbaceous border to get home.

Thankfully the new arrivals stopped breeding and I can admit that in a certain light (i.e. Non sparkle inducing dusk) that the owl does look quite sweet. Fast forward a day or two and I find myself looking at my side and wondering… Do want a sparkly owl, topiary in the shape of an ice cream cone, or some other eye-catching piece of toot to welcome me home?

Hill Climb in a Hybrid

The last time the Linley-Muns were all together in penguin suits was ahem years ago on my 18th birthday when we got all gussied up for the Miracles Valentines Ball. We’ll gloss over the fact that my date for the evening ditched me for my friend but it’s okay folks, he bought me the cassette of “If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time” by R Kelly to make it up to me so thanks, whatever your name was. I remember your six pack and your eyebrows like Sam Eagle from The Muppets but your name escapes me.

Must have been love…

On Saturday after belated Christmas and birthday present swapping  we bombed into the spa and whiled away time in the hot tub, playing sea monsters, and making sure diddy dot Nancy didn’t swallow all of the pool water whilst ‘wimming. After a lightning fast makeover with enough contour to rival Kim Kardashian, a pair of fat pants, and a hoick of Mary-Kate and Ashley to their rightful place up under my chin we slid into our chariot for the night – my resplendently filthy Yaris Hybrid complete with a massive dent in the bumper – and headed up to the main house to re-run the fun at the 21st annual Miracles Goodwood ball.

You can’t help but have that jaw dropping sense of “woah” when you see Goodwood House loom into view. Even if you know nothing about architecture (me) or embarrassingly little about history (also me) the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up when you round the corner on her. After guzzling a few glasses of fizz (not me, I was on call) and having a punt on the tombola, the Second Butler came and offered us the chance to go through the door marked ‘no entry’ to see the two Canaletto  paintings of London produced in 1747, and the Don Quixote tapestries. Being allowed to slip away into the quiet of the ‘old house’ from the buzz of the party felt really special, one of those moments that will stick in the memory banks.

After the most delicious dinner it was time for the part of the evening I had secretly been dreading, THE AUCTION – click that link to relive the 2011 ball, aka teddybeargate. Thank heavens for being on call and therefore not totally boozed out of my box and so I made it through unscathed without spending a ridiculous amount of money on something ridiculous. Phew. A flutter at the casino, a go on the giant Scalextric track and a healthy dose of setting the world to rights over several mine swept bottles of wine (again, not me) and it was time to trip the light fantastic back to the car and head back to the hotel. Via the Goodwood Hill Climb route. In my Hybrid’s electric mode at 10 miles an hour.

Speed demons.

Crystal Tipps and the Sassy Americans

I’m sure some of you probably think I’m making a huge deal out of my holiday and I know I am, but in less than a month I’m going to be officially homeless (for a smidge); meeting my friend’s new beautiful baby; spending the majority of three weeks alone in a foreign country in charge of a hire car; and reuniting with some dear people I haven’t seen in SEVENTEEN YEARS. We lost touch for a variety of reasons until last February when my beautiful, sassy, and smart ‘sister from another mister’ stalked me online and sent me an email. So far so real life Cosmo story, right?

I nearly fell off my chair when I received it.

Flashback to the nineties when this terribly exotic American family moved into our sleepy little village, I know you’re thinking exotic? American? Really? But they were from California, lived in a house with a ghost and the feisty matriarch Joyce was the first adult I heard say ‘fuck.’ I adored them, and more importantly so did my Mum. Joyce and her daughter Amy are and always have been, ballsy unafraid women who cut through the waffle and get right to the heart of the matter. I dare you to spend half an hour in their company without coming away feeling fired up and on top of the world.

I remember when the clan of women would gather at our house and G and I would be despatched to bed as the wine was opened. It was no good though because the raucous laughter that stormed its way upstairs would keep me awake and I’d lie there wishing I could be downstairs in amongst it, or at the very least that I’d grow up to have friends I could be equally raucous whilst drinking wine with.* I know Mum was keen for me to meet Amy because at 19 she had her head screwed on tight, had just graduated in Anthropology, oh and written a book about chatting up men. She was definitely on the approved ‘people for Al to aspire to be’ list. (Don’t tell her but she still is, and now she’s Dr Amy!)

Come back to the present, leaving my Crystal Tipps hair and penchant for tropical print clothing firmly in the past thankyouverymuch and next month I get to spend precious time in their company. I can’t wait, but at the same time there is a sense of trepidation and it’s not only based on having to navigate myself 230 miles from Boston Logan Airport to rural Vermont on the wrong side of the road. There’s a lot of residual sadness and confusion surrounding the late nineties thanks in part to raging hormones but mainly over losing Mum and Dad being ill and everything that goes along with going through those things.

It all feels a bit ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ wanker to say that I hope this trip changes me and I know I don’tneed changing, I guess I could just do with some revitalisation and refreshing and it feels quite poetic that the day I land back in the UK a no doubt dishevelled jetlagged mess is the same day I collect my keys for my new bachelorette pad and start the next chapter.

*I’m very glad to be able to say I’m inundated with friends like this and they’re happy to drink wine; beer; cider; prosecco; pimms; etc etc.

The Gap Analysis

I needed* a new spring mac as I didn’t think my ‘slightly beaten up probably still smells of Fireball from Nashville’ denim jacket would quite cut it at my important London meetings tomorrow.

I decided to be brave and pop into GAP as I’d clocked a gorgeous short trench on the website and figured I could try it on and maybe one day slim down enough to be able to button it up and belt it and for the time being just rock the ‘no, it’s supposed to be undone, honest’ look.

Well knock me down with a feather it only flipping well fit… In the XL rather than the XXL I tried on first which totally swamped me. I could button it up, the sleeves were long enough, it was actually quite flattering, we were firing on all cylinders and I was happy to call it a success.

Then I clocked the massive red ‘SALE’ signs all over the place. Literally ALL over the place. I’d been so nervous about going in there to try and fit myself into their clothes without getting stuck in something, having to leave empty handed and disheartened due to large arse, or being laughed out of the door that I’d missed them all.

A little mooch through the sale rails and suddenly I had an armful of clothes and was bearing down on the tills thinking ‘I popped in for ONE THING’ swiftly followed by ‘but they’re sooooo pretty and yes I know I’ve got three maxi dresses but clearly I’m going to get so much wear out of them and anyway THEY’RE ON SALE AND THEY FIT’. Inside I was positively cartwheeling to the cashier.

When I was a teenager the one thing I desperately wanted (other than a smaller arse or a boyfriend OBVS) was a GAP t-shirt like everyone had. The problem being that I was too fat and had to make do with ‘close but no cigar’ t-shirts that may as well have had GIP written across the front because whichever way you looked at it they just weren’t right. 

Fast forward to today and 33 year old me is now the proud owner of a maroon and white logo’d to the maximum GAP v-neck t-shirt and I love it. Sure I’ll only wear it in bed but each time I pull it over my head, teenage me will be shrieking in delight. I came home weighed down by bags but happy to find the most ginormous parcel on the table. The *ahem* seven dresses I’d ordered from Lindy Bop and clearly forgotten about. Oops.


Thoreau, Cape Cod, and a Public Meltdown.

I’ve got you a present, it’s related to your trip and I know you’ll love it.

Big words from a man I’d never met in person and had only been speaking to for a week. He seemed sure that he had my personality pegged enough after reading my pixels on his screen to be able to buy me something he knew I was going to love. It was intriguing to say the least and I confess to spending a percentage of my work day staring out of the window wondering what it could be.

It turned out to be a very thoughtful gift, a well thumbed copy of ‘Cape Cod’ by Henry David Thoreau which he spotted and made him think of me. Terribly romantic! In my head of course it was a dusty old bookshop with sunlight streaming through the windows and when he saw it his eyes lit up with a twinkle at finding the perfect gift for his perfect woman. Hashtag ego much? Him giving it to me with a warning that it’s a ‘bit heavy going and most people struggle with it’, before the assurance that he ‘managed it easily’ and the challenge that I ‘should give it a go andsee how you get on’ diminished the sparkle a bit. So I polished it again by schooling him on Thoreau’s history with a big gracious smile whilst internally licking my finger and chalking up an air point.

Having been so nervous about going on a date I thought I was going to puke over his (bad) shoes I did an admirable job of keeping it easy breezy and jovial even in the face of the most intense man. Ever. He didn’t break eye contact with me once, not once, which made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle and not in a sexy ‘god you’re attractive’ way, more in an ‘oh god I hope he doesn’t kill my rabbit’ vibe.

The staring led to what felt like a one sided game of eye spy as I resorted to pointing out interesting features in the bar.

Ooh look! That chair looks a bit like a church pew…

I know, I’m a stunning conversationalist. The topic then rolled around to his alma mater that he was booted out of for flunking which triggered off a reaction in him so visceral that it felt like he should find the nearest tree and do some primal scream therapy. Instead he launched into the sweariest loudest mega rant about his parents that made people stare and left me wishing I could hide. Or find a ’66 Ford Thunderbird and a cliff…

Deep Shit, Arkansas


Preach it sister! *does z snaps*

I recently got to the stage where I thought you know what, Prince Charming has clearly bought a cheapo backstreet sat nav and got lost en route.  I could sit in my fairy tale tower and wait for him to rock up or I could stop being such a fanny and get on and do the things I want without waiting for him.

Et voila.

I’ve christened this new phase ‘Thelma No Louise’ because frankly, Thelma has better hair and gets to shag Brad Pitt, plus she’s a total badass who suggests driving over a cliff to escape their captors. Talk about cojones. I’m not about to gun my Hybrid over Beachy Head but the ‘hair down’ life’s too short approach is one I’m channeling from here on out. I came into some money in April and I could have been sensible and put it into my pension for when I’m a grey haired (psh alright, MORE grey haired) old woman but in a moment of clarity I thought sod it and booked flights to Boston for three weeks.

As much as I love the idea of three weeks in Beantown chasing after Harvard boys who row boats I figured it might get a little tedious after a while. Y’know breaking all those hearts and all… So I’ve thrown in a long weekend in Chicago with Charlotte; catching up with some very old friends in Vermont; and two weeks of hitting the road in my convertible red Mustang* checking out the best that New England has to offer.

I’m not just going to be blogging my trip because frankly you’re get really bored really quickly if I fill the next four months just wanging on about what I’m excited to do out there but I also don’t have a clear idea of what I am going to write about. Probably whatever falls out of my brain which could frankly be bloody anything because my brain feels a bit like Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium at times, so let’s see shall we?

*Hyundai Accent – not convertible and probably poo brown coloured.