Friday, 31 July 2009

Have I joined a cult?

No I haven't joined a cult, but yes I have been complaining a bit myself this week (with reason some might say), which is perhaps why I ought to get myself one of these 'Complaint free world' wristbands. Apparently the idea is that every time you hear yourself complain you swap the wristband to the other arm to stop yourself (maybe it would be more effective to sharply ping your wrist with this rubber band, using Pavlovian methods to stop your incessant moaning!), and in fact complaining whilst wearing the bracelet isn't allowed unless you propose at least one solution to the problem whilst you moan about it. I ask myself, if there's a genuine problem, why not complain though? Well, I think it's healthy to get things of your chest, not bottle it all up, but at the same time to look for ways to solve the problem, and certainly not continue to moan at all and sundry about the same issue continually... as it gets quite draining for both you and whoever's listening. Let's see how long I can go without a single complaint ;-)

Thursday, 30 July 2009


After yesterday's rant I've calmed down a bit, I think I was so angry as I'd just received the news from bullet point Nº 1 in the post below and I've had such bad experiences with builders ripping me off and not finishing a job for extended periods of time that it felt like the final straw... In any case, I feel a bit better now, yes the kitchen will need to be removed but in the meantime I'm going to focus on work and planning our holidays in Sicily :-)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Coming clean(?) about Lavapies

This is a rant, not just a little rant, but a big huge one. I love many things about Madrid, I have blogged the excellent seafood, the cafe culture, the buildings etc, but I have to confess I have come to the absolute end of my tether with the house and neighbourhood, Lavapies, in which I live. And these are my reasons (sorry to moan, but I'd rather do it here than force people to listen to my tales of woe):
  • My 'new' kitchen is about to be ripped out and re-plumbed for the 4rth time in 2 years, because the house is basically an ancient leaky bucket
  • I'm sick of stepping in dog poo every day
  • The whole building is falling apart
  • On weekend mornings you step out onto the streets to find all the wheely rubbish bins (and other unpleasant receptacles) have been emptied out onto the pavement by 'party goers' the night before.
  • I'm scared of some of my neighbours
  • I'm tired of being sexually harrassed by groups of layabouts on a twice daily basis (once on the way to work and once on the way back, and sometimes I actually avoid going out because of this, silly, I know)
  • I don't want to queue up for my groceries any more with a load of junkies in Carrefour (no offence, but they are stinky and scary)
  • I want to buy fruit and vegetables from shops where the produce isn't all mouldy
  • I've had enough of people coming and doing a 2am botellon with accompanying serenade right under my balcony
  • I am woken up my my neighbour 'doing it' very loudly on a regular basis (ok, this could happen anywhere, but the walls here are so thin that it sounds like they're actually in bed with me)
  • I have to poison the flat with insecticide in order to not get 2 inch cockroaches as flatmates (I always look before I step, just in case)
  • I could go on, but I won't

Ok, I feel a bit better now, just had to get that off my chest... The funny think is that lots of people (especially foreigners) really like Lavapies, but maybe that's because they don't live here or have different expectations to me?

Promise to be more cheerful next time.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Lobsters and weddings

...but not at the same time. I haven't written for a while as I've been sooo busy. Work has been non-stop travel for the past month; all this culminated last week with a 3 day delegados meeting trip to Vigo in the north of Spain, we worked hard but we also had fun eating mountains of seafood, sailing and generally enjoying the loveliness of the coastal hotel we stayed in. This jolly jaunt was immediately followed by my cousin's wedding in the UK - for the first time in my life possibly, I had a great time at a wedding; the bride looked just like a princess, the food was yummy, the setting gorgeous (see here), and most of all it was lovely to see my parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts that I hadn't seen in far too long. I also did a short reading, which had many of us in tears, which is surely the aim of a good wedding reading?
So, now that the travel is on pause for a couple of weeks, what next? Well, celebrate my birthday on 3rd August, first with my lovely boyfriend in Barcelona and then with my lovely friends in Madrid. Hopefully do a bit of freelance editing and translation to boost my bank account for the changes to come, a couple more weeks in the office, then finally more travel, but this time in the shape of a holiday with S in Brazil, or maybe Greece, it's yet to be decided. All I know is that I'm truly ready to pack my bags and head off somewhere remote for a few weeks to see new things, try new food and above all relax.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Plastic fantastic

Ok this post is just a bit of silly fun, not a usual topic for me, but maybe MJ's death has got me thinking about plastic surgery, and I googled 'celebrity plastic surgery' and it would seem like practically everyone in tinsel town has had something done (which I can understand, as their looks are literally under the microscope 24/7 - look at me googling them!). However, in the case of poor MJ, Tori Spelling or Priscilla Presley it' scary and overtly obvious, but then there's the scores of stars who you'd actually never realise had gone under the knife as they've had quite subtle surgery that is in some cases (dare I say it) an improvement on their prior appearance. It does beg the question, though, is there anything such as natural beauty these days? But then again, what's so natural about the lipstick, hairdye or the bikini wax that many of us ladies use on a frequent basis? Perhaps, this is just taking things an expensive step further, which is a totally personal choice, but unfortunately raises the aspirational beauty benchmark even higher. (My god, that all got a bit serious towards the end!)

Good job. Let's face it, Angelina was always good looking, but even more so with a new nose.

Giselle is gorgeous too, but with 2 'small' changes even more so.

Kate Hudson and Halle Berry. Noses do seem to be the biggest facial 'offenders' (something I can totally relate to, heehee)

Even one of the most natural beauties Nicole Kidman, seems to have succumbed to some serious lip-plumping.

Madonna. Also looks great for her age, but those cheek impants are a bit scary.

And finally, Paris Hilton, lips, boobs, the works...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Been away

I haven't had the chance to write anything in the past couple of weeks as I've been flitting about the country a bit with work (not, remotely glamourous, I assure you). Just got back to Madrid, exhausted (so forgive me if I write nonsense), but happy as I've been in Valencia eating yummy paella on the beach (ahem, and working, of course). Like everyone I guess, I can't wait for the summer holidays, at at the moment I feel that instead of winding down in the pre-holiday period I'm actually speeding up with a million projects to finish at work, weddings and birthdays to attend, and a kitchen that needs to get re-installed within the next 2 days (long story). Anyway, enough moaning for now! I'll write again in the next couple of days when I have a bit of spare time :-)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Seedy Sol no more

Let's face it. The dead-centre of Spain (actually I don't think it's the dead centre, but rather the kilometro zero from which all distances in the country are measured) is a bit of a mess - they've been digging it up for what feels like about 5 years and even before that it was seedy and grubby, with loads of 'undesirables' hanging about waiting to pick your pockets and not much going for it apart from the pigeon-pooped 'bear and strawberry' statue (Madrid's emblem). Well, yesterday I got the metro to Sol as it was too hot to walk, and on getting off the train and going up to the vestubule I thought I'd got off at the wrong stop. What was once a dingy dark dungeon was now bright, spacious and clean. I got the new escalator up to street level and more surprises awaited, I found myself in a new and shiny glass and chrome style metro exit in the middle of the plaza. I think they're still working on the rest of it, but I think the idea is to make some sort of underground transport hub where you can get metro and overground trains to a variety of locations around the city - including, I believe Terminal 4 of the airport - which will be an absolute godsend for us centre-dwellers. (Excuse my crappy blackberry-photos)

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