On… a new lip balm

Last night I was almost asleep when I realised I’d forgotten to apply lip balm. Dry lips are the bane of my life (uh, after my eyebrows… and the perma-hangnail on my thumb… and – oh, never mind, back to the point), so I drenched up the energy to reach into my nightstand and fumble around the mess for my trusty tube of Homeoplasmine .

It was not there.

Instead I pulled out a tube of Lanisoh nipple balm, the most useless item I bought when I was pregnant. I never needed it. My puppies adjusted to breastfeeding pretty effortlessly, bless their not-that-little souls.

So I gazed at the tube of Lanisoh sleepily through my lashes, thought ‘fuck it, if babies are allowed to eat it it must be safe enough’, and smeared some on my lips. It’s very thick and clear, like a balmy-paste thing. It doesn’t taste or smell of anything, either.

I woke up eight hours later with the stuff STILL ON, lips perfectly plump and moisturised, no cracks, not even a hint of dryness.

I thought you guys should know about it.

Best. Lipbalm. Ever.

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On… getting dressed

I’ve figured out the major flaw in the whole ‘being a fulltime writer’ thing.


Back when I was copywriting 9 to 5, I looked forward to getting dressed. I’m that kind of girl. I like clothes, I like looking good, I like makeup, I like all of it. I like putting on my iPod, striding to the tube, getting a takeaway coffee, and looking at people and shops and the morning unfolding around me, all with that happy little inner fizz that you feel when you’re happy with what you’re wearing.

Now, for most of this year, being pregnant made getting dressed a chore, and it coincided with, almost exactly, the moment I stopped copywriting. I felt like shit, I looked like shit. My boobs became crazy Jane Russell missiles seven months before their cue (by the way, I have no idea how anyone can dress if they have big boobs, they’re honestly a living hell). My skin was dry, my lips were cracked, I kept breaking blood vessels in my face from throwing up. To sum up: I did not do the whole elegant glowing thing.

But now that I’m not pregnant anymore (yay!), and fitting back into my old clothes (double yay!), I’ve realised that I now wear about 2% of my wardrobe.

Fact: this is what I have worn for most of the past two weeks.

One of Fox’s old jumpers that looks a bit like this.

Boyfriend jeans. (Actually, mine are from H&M; and just huge, worn and ripped thanks to the natural wear and tear of time, but if I had money to burn, I’d get the Current Elliott ones too.)

Pink thermal socks (or army green thermal socks, depending on the day). I hate having cold feet.

Grey slippers.

My hair is always in messy bun thing, and despite owning more makeup than I’ll ever actually admit to, I don’t wear anything except La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50.

This is what I write in. I look, frankly, terrible. If I had to name it, it’d be something like Colourblind Sloth. I’ve contemplated getting properly dressed, just for the hell of it, but putting on a blazer and changing the socks and slippers for heels (which is pretty much all I would need to make the above outfit office-appropriate, in my eyes) to walk from the bedroom to my office is even stupider than being upset about the current lack of reasons to get dressed. N’est-ce pas?

PS Oh, I meant to say. One thing I do wear every day, without fail, is perfume. And, after months of nothing but L’Eau de Rien by Miller Harris, I have a new scent obsession.

Mure et Musc by L’Artisan Parfumeur. It. Is. Divine. ‘Mure’ is blackberry in French, ‘musc’ is – you guessed it, you clever thing, you – musk. It’s not too sweet, not too fruity, not too anything… just gentle and sexy and yummy. Love it. If you’re not near somewhere you can sniff it, you can buy a Mure et Musc sample for US$3 at LuckyScent. While you’re at it, try L’Eau de Rien, too. It’s sort of warm, salty and lickable. Goddamnit, I love being a girl.

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On… The Nail Files

Voila my story THE NAIL FILES for Tatler magazine! I hope it doesn’t offend anyone. If you ask me to write 900 words about what I like and dislike about nails, you’re gonna get some snark.

This story was in the October issue, which you can track down if you call the Conde Nast old issues office, or if your local newsagent is particularly lazy.

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On… The Boytician

Missed the September issue of Tatler magazine? (For shame!)

Here’s The Boytician piece that I wrote. Hope you enjoy it…

I’ll post The Nail Files piece from the October issue tomorrow. It’s somewhere in my inbox, I just can’t find it because, you know, I’m shit like that. My next Tatler piece isn’t out till the New Year…

I highly recommend Tatler, by the way, my friends, and not just because I get to write silly little stories for them, but just because it’s kind of ace. It’s been totally transformed this year and is now the ONLY high-end glossy fashion magazine that is smart, sharp and – here’s the kicker – funny. (Trust me. I read all of them. American, British and French. It’s an expensive but highly enjoyable addiction.)

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On… Fraggle Rock

So, I was playing on YouTube the other morning, looking for old Sesame Street clips to play to Errol, and I found this.

Awesome. Song.
Also, reminded me how scary I found Fraggle Rock. Being stuck in the dark underground with giant monsters above and things living in the rocks all around you and constantly static hair? Petrifying.

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On… a book print

I love this print.

It’s from 20×200.

I want to commission one with my favourite books.

But then I’d have to decide what my favourite books are and oh God, that would be a nightmare.

Because how on earth do you choose your favourite books?

Do you choose the books that stunned you and made you gaze at the world / yourself / writing in a different way? (For me, that’d be – off the top of my head – A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes, A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.)

Or books that you couldn’t put down, that you kissed and stroked and nuzzled with delight as you were reading them? (For me: The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Tess Of The D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Evelina by Fanny Burney, The Best Of Everything by Rona Jaffe – oh golly, this particular list would be very, very long, I love a LOT of books.)

Or books that you loved passionately in the past but have since moved on from? (Anne Of Green Gables, The Babysitter’s Club, Pollyanna, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, anything by Judy Blume, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc.)

Or, last but certainly not least, do you choose the books that you’ve read over and over and over again and know like old friends? (Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, Heartburn by nora Ephron, anything by Jilly Cooper or Nancy Mitford, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and of course dear ol’ Bridget.)

The whole thing just stresses me out. What would you do?

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On… Bombay Bicycle Club

Gnarly band. Gnarly new album. Gnarly Sunday morning song.

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On…. childhood movies

I was watching Back To The Future with Fox the other day, and impressing / annoying him with my ability to say all the lines, verbatim, a split-second before they’re said on-screen (“Stella! Another one of these damn kids jumped in fronta my car!”).

I’ve seen it about 6,214 times, because I grew up in Hong Kong, where television was incredibly, astonishingly bad. So bad that there was only one kids’ TV show, a no-budget piece of trash called Megaquiz (Gemma trivia: I was on the first ever episode).

So if we had something on video, I watched it to death.

At school, we bartered tapes of TV shows sent by cousins living in normal countries like they were gold dust. Saved By The Bell, Saturday Night Live, Beverly Hills 90210, Blossom… I watched those tapes so often I knew how long to press fastforward on the remote to skip each individual commercial break perfectly.

My sister and I were allowed to rent one movie a week each. And then we’d watch it non-goddamn-stop. And because the choice at the video store was not only outdated but deeply limited, we borrowed the same movies. Again and again. And again. And again. And… well, you get it.

An aside (what, you thought I’d write a blog post without an aside? Have we just met, or what?): when I was about 10 my mother picked a video for us and accidentally came back with a lovely movie about a lady mechanic looking for love. TOMBOY. It was soft porn. I kid you not. My mother will want me to point out that she realised during the opening shower scene that it wasn’t a jolly romcom and turned it off. (Between you and me, it was like 15 minutes after that that she realised.) This is the cover of Tomboy. In fairness, it was an easy mistake to make.

So, apart from Tomboy, these are the films that will always make me think of my childhood. And as a little killing-time-on-a-Friday present from me to you, all the original trailers.


As mentioned, one of the most perfect films of all time. Can still quote every line. Will watch entire thing whenever it is on. Man, I love Michael J Fox, he’s so great.

My sister and her best friend Jackie really, really, really loved Michael J Fox. Not as much as they loved Val Kilmer, which brings me to -


This is an incredibly funny film, funnier than Airplane! (Or Flying High! Depending on where in the world you grew up. Note to branding people: STOP FUCKING DOING THAT. It makes life really hard for international kids when we don’t know which goddamn film we saw. Like Adventures In Babysitting: apparently in England it was called Night On The Town. I don’t know, because I wasn’t here. Night On The Town: Talk about a soft porn title. Actually, let’s add that to the list too, because it was awesome.)


This is a great goddamn film. If you haven’t seen it, find it and watch it. It’s hilarious.

Also known as Night On The Town. Check it out:

Lamest. Poster. Ever. And shit copywriting. ‘After she finished with the crazy gangsters… cheating boyfriends… car chases… wild parties… climbing skyscrapers… staying alive was just part of the fun of… A Night On The Town’. Grow a brain, nameless copywriter from the past! The verb ‘climbing’ doesn’t fit, in fact, the entire sentence sucks ass. Also: why is there a picture of Brenda with the rat / kitten with the line ‘car chases’? So many things annoy me about this poster. And yes, I’m a pain in the ass when it comes to copywriting. I fight the urge to take out a red pen and correct bad copy everywhere I go.


Templeton the rat. Nuff said.


Every girl I know would probably name Grease as their No.1 childhood movie. It’s not our fault: it’s the law. And it’s in the Bible. (It is.) (Maybe.) It’s just one of those girl things, like everyone wanting to be Claudia in the Babysitter’s Club and making up extended dance routines and one-act plays and forcing their mother and sister to watch them – oh wait, that one was just me? Okay. Anyway, I can still close my eyes and play Grease in my head, word-for-word. You probably can too. We all can. Like I said, it’s the law.


The slutty cousin of Grease. Still kind of ace. Michael Carrington is hot. I totally would.

As an extra present, because I can’t resist: the Reproduction song…

…And the We’re Gonna Score Tonight song. Because IT. IS. AWESOME.


Yeah, I don’t know why either, but this was a major Burgess childhood movie. Includes the song ‘A Woman’s Touch’, with the immortal line: “A woman and a whiskbroom can accomplish so darn much!”. We embraced it without irony. We were just nuts for Doris Day. Full admission: these days, I’m not Little Miss Musicals (My friends: Gemma! We’re all seeing Rent / Joseph And His Technicolour Dreamcoat / Cabaret! Wanna come? Me: No freaking way. Friends: YOU HAVE NO SOUL). But when I was little, you could place me in front of anything with a long-dead MGM starlet and a jaunty dance routine and I was transfixed. I was basically a very short gay man with a blonde bowl cut.


I give you Danny Kaye: the Adam Sandler of his generation. And, allegedly, Laurence Olivier’s luvah.


This is such a great movie! You should totally find it and watch it. Like all musicals, it goes a bit nutso-slash-boring in the middle, with far too many long songs and dance routines instead of oh, I don’t know, plot / character development, but the first hour rocks. Interesting fact: the man who voiced Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web plays the father in this. (Okay, that wasn’t that interesting. Let’s move on.)

Also just for my sister: The Telephone Song. (“HUGO AND KIM?”)


Unlike most little girls, I didn’t want to be Annie. I wanted to be one of the nameless blond girls with their hair in braids who can do handless cartwheels in the Hard Knock Life song. Yes, I aimed low. I was also such a scaredy-cat that I never watched the helicopter-bridge scene. I’d hide and read Anne Of Green Gables or Malory Towers or something till I was sure it was over. As a result I am still not sure what happens in that scene. I think it’s something to do with the Sikh dude’s turban.


This movies pops into my head a lot, ie, when someone asks me ‘Do you have change for a twenty?’ and I say ‘Gosh, I don’t have anything smaller than a fifty!’ and then they look at me like I’m an asshole.

Again, made me wish I could do cartwheels. It just looks like such a cool thing to do, ya know?


Fact: Overboard was created to make kids obsess about it. Four kids having a crazy childhood? A reverse Cinderella story: the princess gets saved by the pauper? Mini golf?! COME ON! It’s also goddamn hilarious, ie, ‘a falsetto child?’ And the fact that she keeps calling one of the kids Roy. And the video cover had some seriously awesome liquidy stuff in the plastic wrapper so that made it even cooler.


Man, this is one cheap-ass looking film, it must have cost about a buck to make. I presume Faye Dunaway dumped her agent immediately after it came out. But anyway, I thought it was amazing. The chick went on to star in Secret of My Success with MJF and Ruthless People with Judge Reinhold, Bette Midler and Danny DeVito.


Like Grease, a sleepover classic. I distinctly remember being at a sleepover and when Johnny tells the old cougar lady that he can’t teach her how to dance, a very precocious nine-year-old turned to the rest of us and said crisply: “That means he doesn’t want to fuck her anymore.”


I once won a pub quiz at university when the tiebeater question started ‘born in Hawaii in 1947′ and I screamed ‘BETTE MIDLER!’ My street cred was HIGH after that, my friends. HIGH. I only stopped loving Bette Midler when I saw Beaches, which, even as a child, I realised was fucking lame. Big Business features two sets of identical twins separated at birth and reunited in NYC as adults! The jinx are so high! But I can’t find a trailer, dudes. Sorry.


This movie made me feel far cooler than I was. Also set me up for a mini-Winona obsession with repeated watching of Mermaids, Reality Bites, etc. I adored Winona. Then I grew weary of her. As did everyone. I also loved Christian Slater so much that I spent a long time training myself to raise one eyebrow. I combed Tiger Beat and Teen Beat and every other teen rag I could get my hands on and cut out photos of him, no matter how small. There is a photo somewhere of me at 13 in front of my Homage To Christian Slater wall. No, I will not post it. (Okay, I will. But it’s in Hong Kong. You wanna talk my folks through how to scan a photo, you go for it.)

The trailer is, frankly, shit. So let’s watch this scene instead:

It’s okay! It’s okay. He’s shooting blanks. (Titter.)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some absolute classics.

Even as I write this paragraph, I’m remembering She’s Out Of Control, My Stepmother Is An Alien, Teen Witch, Mr Mom, Mask, Foreign Exchange, My Secret Admirer, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure… but seriously, I have to get back to the day job (writing your next favourite book, my friends). You would not believe how long I have spent on youtube cackling at these trailers and then clicking through to best-of clips… And in case you’re wondering: I didn’t really get into John Hughes films till I was well into my teens and they were already retro. But then I OBSESSED ABOUT THEM. TO THE POINT WHERE I SHOUT WHENEVER SOMEONE EVEN SAYS JOHN HUGHES. ARGH. SIXTEEN CANDLES. FERRIS BUELLER. SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. WEIRD SCIENCE. SO GOOD.


Trini reminded me about The Princess Bride.

YIKES! How could I have forgotten The Princess Bride? Such a classic that we watched over and over and over again. Have you seen it recently? The set looks like it’s made of cardboard. It’s also a gorgeous and hilarious book, written by William Goldman, who was also the screenwriter. In case you are interested. I hearted Cary Elwes, who recently surfaced with a beard and about two lines of dialogue in No Strings Attached. What the hell, Hollywood. That is WESTLEY. Aka THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS. Give the guy a decent part why doncha.

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