Crash diet

All the controversy about skinny models will soon be old hat. HP have now developed a new ‘slimming’ feature for their digital cameras, which makes people thinner at the touch of a button (found via Seth’s blog).

Which has left me rather confused. I hate to think of the sort of world I’m bringing my daughter up into and the images of ‘beauty’ with which she is already being bombarded.

But I know that if I had such a camera the temptation to use the slimming button would be utterly irresistible.


Faith, Hope and Charity

If you look down the toolbar on the right hand side you’ll see some stuff about  the freshly-fledged mirrormirror Charitable Foundation, together with a very tiny ad. (Someone’s buying links to get themselves to the top of the search engines).

Since I am very occasionally asked to advertise things on the blog, I thought it might be a good idea to donate any advertising proceeds to charity.  In this way the mirrormirror Foundation will of course soon be rivalling The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in its philanthropic endeavours.

Seriously though, I thought it would be a good idea to donate to causes empowering women in the Third World.  The proceeds of the current tiny ad will be donated to the Campaign to End Fistula – an eminently curable condition where women are left horribly incontinent after a long and traumatic labour.  The sad part is that the smell of leaking urine and faeces means that these women are often ostracised by their communities and are left unable to lead a normal life.

If anyone else would like to advertise on the blog, please email me and we’ll sort something out.  I’d be happy to accept bigger and gaudier ads than the one currently in place as long as you pay enough!  (Rates will, however, be very reasonable.)  I will of course reject any ads in questionable taste and, unfortunately, any submitted by people with shops similar to mirrormirror.


The NHS Diet

A lesser woman sits before you today.

As of Saturday I am minus one of these, though I’ve been told that my own appendix  looked ‘rather unhappy’ and was surrounded by an abscess.

On Thursday morning I called my GP.  ‘Do you remember that pain we spoke about on Monday? Well, it’s better, but not exactly gone. Just a dull ache in my right side. That hurts when I eat. Should I be worried?’

It turns out that I did indeed need to be worried.  Two hours after making the call I was in the Rapid Assessment Unit of St Mary’s Hospital (the same hospital which had tortured me in all sorts of imaginative ways when my daughter was born.)

After lots of prodding and poking, ultrasounds, CAT scans and huge amounts of worrying on my part, as I thought of my friend Camilla, it was announced that I had acute appendicitis, with the further complication of an abscess on the appendix.  Though the pain was lessening and I was feeling better than I had in days,  I needed an immediate emergency appendectomy to lessen the risk of life-threatening peritonitis (or in layman’s terms, the appendix or abscess exploding and leaking toxic pus everywhere).

So I was put on a drip and told that I’d be ‘nil by mouth’ until the operation had taken place.  At this point, you must bear in mind that I had eaten hardly anything since the Saturday night, had vomited or diarrhoeaed out everything else left in my system and was now RAVENOUS in a way that even I have never been ravenous before. 

Later that evening I was told that due to other more pressing emergency operations, my operation would now take place the following morning.  I could eat something very light, but would again be ‘nil by mouth’ from midnight onwards.

On Friday I lay in my bed with an extremely painful cannula delivering the IV fluids waiting for my op. And starving. And waiting.  And starving.  By lunchtime I could stand it no more and had to cause an almighty fuss in order to try and get some information.  After two and half hours of complaining (I was hungry, remember?) I ascertained that my operation would probably take place around 8pm.  So I waited.  And starved. And starved. And waited.  And at 8 pm I was told that my operation would now be postponed until the following day (Saturday).  I could eat something light, but would be ‘nil by mouth’ from midnight onwards.

It appears that one of London’s premier teaching hospitals and flagship of the NHS only has one emergency surgery theatre.  I considered somehow puncturing the abscess in my abdomen to see if life-threatening peritonitis might make things move along more quickly, but decided not to take the risk – I’d probably end up being operated on by the tea-lady.

Finally, late on Saturday morning, I had the operation.  Only 44 hours after being admitted as an emergency patient. And on my seventh day of not eating.

I came back home yesterday and am currently feeling rather weak and feeble since I still can’t eat very much.  The wound is like a one-sided caesarean, so I can still hardly walk, though I’m assured this will get better very soon.  And I have to wait six weeks before picking up the Minx to allow the section through my muscular wall to heal, which is going to be very easy. Not.

The one upside of all this is that I appear to have lost 8lbs in a week. I shall be releasing the best-selling diet book forthwith.


Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Feeling poor?  More month left than money?

I was too, until I discovered that this very blog is valued at a whopping $14,113.50.

My blog is worth $14,113.50.
How much is your blog worth?

Some person with too much time on their hands has analysed AOL’s acquisition of the Weblogs Inc stable of blogs, worked out how much they paid per inbound link (according to Technorati) and then applies that formula to different blogs.

Sadly my new-found riches pale into insignificance beside the $230,332.32 which Petite Anglaise is sitting on, or the $582,605 asset of the Go Fug Yourself girls; and even they are as nothing against the awesome $1,907,580.66 that Pink Is The New Blog is supposedly worth. 

Thanks for all your kind comments. I’m feeling a bit better today – my temperature has gone down and the sharp pain in my side has turned into a dull ache. Still feeling wobbly though, mostly because I’ve had hardly anything to eat since Saturday night, but hoping that I’ve now turned the corner and will be able to start eating properly again.

Wish I knew what this thing was though, as I’m terrified it’s going to strike again.


Birthday blues

Am feeling VERY sorry for myself.  It was my birthday on Monday and I spent the whole day in bed with a terrible stomach pain, temperature, vomiting and diarrhoea, just like I had a month ago.

The doctor seems to think that it’s most likely the recurrence of a stomach virus, but can’t rule out something appendix-related, which is a bit scary.

So I’m feeling very miserable indeed, and it’s just what we needed when our departure date for Seattle is now so close.

Normal blogging service will hopefully be resumed shortly.


Legacy of 9/11

Off to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square today to finalize our visa application.

Grosvenor Square in the heart of Mayfair is one of London’s largest and most beautiful squares. But now the area round the embassy is surrounded by a cordon of heavy concrete blocks, the embassy itself is surrounded by temporary and ugly metal fencing, and heavily armed police are patrolling in all directions. British police aren’t usually armed, so it still comes as a shock to see policemen brandishing the latest in automatic weaponry. 

Armed with dozens of forms in triplicate, and photographs that made us look like the Baader-Meinhof gang (the Minx looks particularly evil), we presented ourselves at the end of the first queue outside the building. And were then led to another queue.  And then another queue. Only then were we allowed into the building via airport-like security, checking in laptops and mobile phones along the way.  No liquids or cosmetics are allowed.  

Once inside, the process was actually more efficient than we’d feared – a couple of hours waiting in a cavernous waiting room, fingerprints taken and re-taken, forms and photographs double and triple checked, followed by a rather cursory interview (am I being cynical in thinking that our skin colour might have had something to do with this?)

As we left the building we were directed for the first time past the imposing front staircase, and marvelled that once upon an innocent time, passers-by must have been able to walk up and down these stairs as they pleased.  Now no passer-by can get within 30 yards of the building, brooding behind its concrete and steel cordon. 

Isn’t it sad to think that – according to this very interesting article –  the building was initially conceived as an embassy and cultural centre – with people popping into the library to learn more about American culture, attend a jazz concert or visit an art exhibition?


Shopping Notting Hill – Part 2

So you’ve just been dragged kicking and screaming out of Diptyque and need some sort of addictive substance to calm your nerves. Your best bet is to turn the corner into Ledbury Road and pop into melt  – London’s coolest chocolatier according to Time Out

The shop itself is white and cool, with shelves and tables groaning with handmade chocolates.  At the back is a shiny stainless steel kitchen where the chocolates are actually made.

The flavours can be exotic – truffles filled with passionfruit, raspberry or mango coulis or flavoured with green tea or coconut – or traditional with caramel, mint, nuts or marzipan.  By way of research I found myself buying an assortment for the Husband’s birthday and can confirm that they are some of the most delicious chocolates I’ve ever tasted (and believe me that’s saying something).



After you’ve staggered out of melt, the next thing to do is cross the road to Ottolenghi, yet another newish deli – which specialises in the most delicious pre-prepared food, breads and cakes to take away.  There are also a couple of tables at the back where you can eat in, but they are almost impossible to get hold of. 



A bit of retail therapy will soothe your disappointment at not getting a table, so pop round the corner to Brissi on the north side of Westbourne Grove – for very  chic and very French interiors accessories.  It’s the sort of shop I’d love mirrormirror to be when it grows up and I’m a bit dismayed to see that it’s going online too.  Don’t make a note of the URL!

After pausing briefly to gaze at the gorgeous window display

in jewellers Dinny Hall the perfect choice for lunch is 202, designer Nicole Fahri’s concept store which houses a chic cafe, and still has plenty of room to show off her elegant clothing and homewares collections.  It’s also a great place for brunch, or just tea and cake, and has a very pretty little garden at the back which is a gorgeous place for a glass of rose on drowsy summer days.  Yet another inspirational shop for when mirrormirror grows up.


New York State of Mind

My first job when I finished university was with an American investment bank.  I must have been mad going into banking, but the promise of a five month training programme in New York City was a big factor in my choice of job.

The night we arrived we were put up in The Vista Hotel (which became the Marriott) in the World Trade Center complex.  I remember clearly craning my neck to look up at the Twin Towers and thinking that I really had arrived.

The following day I was taken to my corporate apartment on 33rd and Third – with a fabulous view downtown – and thus began an intense but wonderful summer in New York.

I went back several times after that, but since that day five years ago (when the Marriott hotel was also completely destroyed) I haven’t really had the heart to. 

But I still really ‘heart’ New York.