Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Adult Celebrities Look Older Than They Did 40 Years Ago Shock

I HAPPENED upon a website which gleefully told me that some stars had become "unrecognisable" from their heyday. Must admit I had no idea who a lot of them were, either "before" or "after".  Lark Voorhies? Jaleel White? Lynn Whitfield? Not a clue.

But of those I had heard of, there were a variety of reasons why their appearance had changed  - excessive plastic surgery, weight gain and a debauched lifestyle all figured prominently.

But most of them had changed BECAUSE THEY WERE DECADES OLDER.

Take a look at former French film star Brigitte Bardot. Yes, she looks older now. Why? She's 82, for God's sake! And in a move I greatly admire, is one of the few female stars not to have had plastic surgery.

Some 55 years separate these two pictures of Brigitte Bardot.

Another star held up as ageing badly was Kathleen Turner. Poor Kathleen, not only had she had the cheek to put on weight she had also had the temerity to get to the ripe old age of 63.

Kathleen Turner pictured in the 1980s and 2017.
Bizarrely, several child stars were held up as examples of how celebrities change. So Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter series, now looks different as a fully grown man than he did as a young boy. You think?

Rupert Grint as a child star and now a young man.

And Jake Gyllenhaal looks older at the age of 36 than he did as a child actor at the age of 9. I don't know what the world is coming to.

Jake Gyllenhall has had a long, successful career and is now 36.

So, take the advice of Noel Coward and don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington Don’t put your daughter on the stage She’s a bit of an ugly duckling, you must honestly confess And the width of her seat would surely defeat Her chances of her success.



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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

How To Grow Old Gracefully

When it comes to getting older, you have to look on the bright side.




Don't let the youngsters have it all their own way.




Make sure you keep up with all that new technology.




Keep your finger on the pulse of popular culture.




And stay safe on those mean streets.





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Monday, 4 September 2017

Weird? We Brits are not weird...

Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch in Wales




WE Brits, of course, are all perfectly normal. It's the rest of the world that's mad.

So I have rather taken issue with an internet article asking foreigners what they found strange about Britain.

Most of the comments about “weird Britain” were predictable, like our obsession with tea. In fact, an Asian American couldn’t believe it when he visited Cambridge and saw a young man who looked around his mid-twenties drinking tea from a Victorian teapot “with the flower design and everything”.  You could almost hear the shock in his voice as he wrote: “I’m talking about those teapots that appear antiquated and seem like they’re over a hundred years old!”

Queuing was a concept some people found strange. Karen from Denmark said:  "I'm surprised how much you guys are into queueing. It’s unbelievable. And if stares and tutting could kill, people who cut the line would drop like flies." Karen, Karen, Karen. We British know that if there is no orderly queue a breakdown in society soon follows. 

Our reality TV shows seemed to puzzle foreigners and they really couldn’t get their heads around Towie (The Only Way is Essex) or Geordie Shore detailing the exploits of certain fame-obsessed wannabe young people. They’re not alone; they are gibberish to me too.

However, I was rather worried by the man who seemed to think Midsomer Murders was also a reality show, unable to believe that so many dastardly deeds were committed in such a small area. It was, he said: “Worse than Mexican cartel towns.” My non-British friends should know that Midsomer Murders is a fictional detective programme!

Then there was our obsessive politeness with our "polite" responses often hiding what we really mean. So, "We should do this more often," actually means, "I hope I never see you again," and "Oh, how interesting," really means, "I would rather die than listen to you any more."

Do we use a lot of vinegar? Apparently we do. One man called Tobias from Germany commented: "I was surprised how much vinegar they use. On crisps, chips, beans… Yuck!" Nothing wrong with a splash of vinegar, Tobias!

And finally, the pronunciation of place names was baffling to many with one person asking: “How in the name of Lady Jane Grey does ‘Leicester’ only have two syllables?” wrote one bemused visitor. Hopefully he never visits Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch in Wales. Yes, foreign readers, this is an actual place name!

I refrained from adding my comment to the site and telling him that in Devon, where I live, we have two Woolfardisworthys, one in Mid Devon and one in North Devon, and both are pronounced Woolsery. I think he would have exploded.



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Saturday, 2 September 2017

Celebrity Confidential

Miley Cyrus. Who said romance was dead?

I'm going to make the better half sign a confidentiality agreement so that he can't slag me off to his mates when he's in the pub. He'll have to tell them I'm a babe brimming over with the milk of human kindness and never reveal that he's living with a harpy with a God complex.

Celebs do it, so why can't I? In fact you can download a Celebrity Confidentiality Agreement template from the internet. Do a search and dozens of templates will pop up.

You can understand why celebs get a bit twitchy when it comes to the hired help. They have carefully cultivated an image of a benevolent paragon of virtue,  so they really don't want anyone to know  about the drugs, booze, bad behaviour and the fact that they treat their staff lower than a snake's belly. When they step out in public that have been primped and groomed to within an inch of their lives so they don't want a picture of them picking their nose, wearing trackie bottoms and slobbing out in front of the TV plastered all over the internet.

There must be dozens of nannies itching to tell their story but can't lest they get hammered with a fine so huge they would have to sell their home, kids and granny to pay it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - got the nanny pregnant.

Among the long list of stars who've allegedly begged the nanny for a spoonful of sugar are Ben Affleck, Jude Law, Mick Jagger, Ethan Hawke, Gavin Rossdale (when married to Gwen Stefani) and Arnold Schwarzenegger who in an act of wanton carelessness not only slept with Mildred Beana but got her pregnant too.

Say, for example, your celeb employer has "accidentally" booked you and he/her into the same hotel bedroom, you will not be allowed to breathlessly share this information with the world. And if by any chance you are at a Hollywood party (we're there all the time, right?) and catch the eye of big showbiz star don't expect hearts, flowers and boxes of chocolates. No, a Non Disclosure Agreement could well be landing at your feet before you've even had time to blow into your hand to check your breath.

Singer Miley Cyrus is now settled with actor Liam Hemsworth but apparently when she was footloose and fancy free she got her assistant to interview prospective love interests. Not only did they have to sign the agreement but were also prohibited from taking cameras and phones on the "date". Oh, and they had to agree not to bring flowers. Who said romance was dead?

Justin Bieber demanded guests and staff sign an agreement before a party he threw. There was a ban on texting, tweeting, phone calls, Facebook, or any other form of communication. No wonder he tried to keep the details secret because it subsequently emerged that police were called three times and that strippers, booze and drugs all featured heavily. Although I don't suppose that's much different from any celeb party. What do I know? The last party I went to was a golden wedding anniversary - not much booze and drugs there apart from statins and tonic wine.

Kanye West - lose $10 million if you reveal information.
Then there was Kanye West, married to Kim Kardashian,  who apparently at the third season launch of his Yeezy fashion brand required the crew and models to sign a confidentiality agreement promising to pay a $10 million dollar fine if they breathed one word about the family. $10 million? What planet do these celebs live on?

So I'm going to have a go at getting the better half to sign an agreement. I know he doesn't have millions of dollars so I'm just going to get him to promise a lifetime of housework, cooking, cleaning and gardening if he dares reveal any information detrimental to my carefully cultivated image of a gracious goddess dispensing wisdom and kindness wherever I go.




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Thursday, 31 August 2017

What Doesn't Kill You


A  better saying than 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.


WHAT doesn't kill you makes you stronger, they say.

What? You 'aving a laugh! Think about it; how can this possibly be true?

How about being hit by a massive chest infection and spending the rest of your life in an iron lung? How about a whopping accident which has paralysed you from the neck down? Or a severe mental trauma which has left you a gibbering wreck? How about being forced to watch back-to-back episodes of Are You Being Served? (For my American friends who have never heard of this sitcom, take a look at this.)



Stronger? I don't think so.

(Although watching this video I have to confess to a wry smile or two - it was so awful it was almost good!)

I much prefer the motto at the top of the page. You can cope with all life throws at you if you have a sense of humour, although the knocks and nibbles will warp and distort that sunny disposition until it makes it altogether more dark and stormy.

You learn how to cope. Other people may throw up their hands in horror at your weird way of dealing with a situation but who cares? Look, if I want to stick pins into a wax effigy of my ex, that's what I'll do because it makes me feel better. If I want to block out the world with inappropriate gangsta rap played at maximum volume, then do I'll do it.

What doesn't kill you doesn't necessarily make you stronger but use it and abuse it and you might just come out the other side.




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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Lipstick Optional

The Indigo Girls

WATCHING the wonderful Indigo Girls at the Cambridge Folk Festival, it came to me in a flash, stylistically, I am a lesbian. The evidence - hefty thighs encased in denim, flat boots, flyaway hair with no discernible style and a flannel shirt that could have come from a charity shop.

I am a friend of Dorothy from top to toe.

OK, so I have no desire to fondle a woman but when it comes to fashion I am definitely no man's arm candy and I'm not a cougar on the prowl chasing down her young prey in a short skirt, low top and thigh boots. If I approached my "prey" wearing that, he would leave Usain Bolt eating his dust.

The thought of wearing stilettos make my feet break out in a rash. I haven't got a figure for clothes to hug and I'm too frumpy for fashion. When it comes to clothes I'm more DJ Pat Pat than Portia de Rossi.

            
DJ Pat Pat


                                   
Portia de Rossi



I know I am doing many gay women a disservice and am guilty of woeful generalisation. I fully accept there are lesbians who are the height of chic. Take a look here http://www.ranker.com/list/hottest-celebrity-lesbians/greg for some extraordinarily beautiful gay celebs.

But I admire any woman who really doesn't give a damn when it comes to pleasing anyone but herself. I can get on board with that, straight or gay.




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Saturday, 1 April 2017

In Which I Attempt To Become A Domestic Goddess And Fail Miserably



So...in a desperate attempt to become a domestic goddess I decided to make scones for the first time in my life. 

I found a BBC recipe that looked really easy. Not wanting to take my laptop to the kitchen, I scribbled out the recipe on a piece of paper. In retrospect, I should have used my best Chawleigh Primary School handwriting rather than writing it so fast that it looked like it had been done by a four-year-old wearing boxing gloves. 



All went swimmingly and half way through cooking they looked lovely. They had started to rise and were turning a lovely golden brown. Then it dawned on me - I had forgotten to put any sugar in them. There followed a desperate scramble to get them out of the oven and try to press some sugar in them with a fork. I sprinkled some sugar over the top and put them back in the oven.

They are now looking like a train wreck on my kitchen counter.

I refuse to waste them. I shall sandwich them with butter and jam and put them in The Man's lunchbox. If he complains about them, I shall blame Tesco. 

You don't get older without getting wiser.




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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Rules For Online Dating




I HAVE never joined an online dating site but but if the dearly beloved ever sells me for three camels and box of couscous, I might consider it.

I would be wary, though, not wanting to end up with a man whose idea of fun is watching back-to-back episodes of How It's Made (oh no, that IS the dearly beloved).

I have friends (male and female) who have negotiated the hazards of online dating so I have used their experience to draw up a few rules for you to avoid the escaped convicts, the sexual deviants and the terminally dull.

Beware of  how they describe themselves:
  • Attractive – frightens the horses.
  • Cuddly – fat.
  • Bubbly – fat and annoying.
  • Searching for a soulmate – stalker.
  • Open-minded – kinky.
  • Animal lover – house smells of dog wee.
  • Good sense of humour – enjoys endless reruns of Only Fools and Horses.
  • Vivacious – you’ll be sorry if you upset her.
  • Fiesty – upset her and she’ll come at you with a meat cleaver.
Then there’s that photograph. If it’s black and white, it was probably taken when men were making fire by rubbing two sticks together. These days he or she spends their time sipping weak camomile tea and watching Bargain Hunt on TV.

Generally speaking, try to imagine someone about 10 years older, a stone heavier and three degrees uglier than the picture provided – because they will have sent in an old, flattering photograph.
If the photograph is of a man wearing a hat, he’s bald. If he’s standing beside his motorbike, he’s having a mid-life crisis.

If it’s a woman cuddling a cat (this would be me!) then she’s borderline sociopathic.

Beware, too, of phrases like “I’m a man’s man”. This means that once he’s got you hooked he’ll expect his dinner on the table every night on the dot of 7pm and you’ll spend your nights alone while he’s in the pub with his mates burping the national anthem.

Just as bad is the woman who says she’s “a girly girl”. This is shorthand for as shallow as a saucer of milk. She judges everyone on how they look and knows every beauty-enhancing procedure down to the last staple...but has no idea who Theresa May or Donald Trump are.

Finally, if they ever use the word “discretion”, they’re married.




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Friday, 30 December 2016

Public Displays of Affection

 Here's a column I wrote for Devon Life back in July 2015. It still holds true for me!







LOOK, I am a Devon maid through and through, from the top of my wellies to the bottom of my scrumpy bottle. As such there as certain things that make me cringe and endeavour to crawl into a very small hole and hide away even though small holes and I are not exactly compatible.
We've reached July and there have been periods when the sun has actually shone. This has been wonderful for the locals and those tourists who are clever enough to see that Devon is God's own county.
But…but... the trouble is when you get lots of people out on the street you see the worst of one of  my bĂȘtes noire - PDAs, or Public Displays of Affection.
I don't mind people holding hands. In fact, the better half and I have been known to hold hands in public. Admittedly, only when we go on the Tube in London and I hang on to  him for dear life because I'm afraid of getting lost. And I think we held hands in the street once in 1980 - the year we met and new love had addled our brains.
On the whole though, we keep a respectable distance between us, although, no matter how much he’d like it, he doesn’t require me to walk ten paces behind him.
I don't even mind a quick kiss - at airports, railway stations and between grans and their grandchildren. It's the wholescale, full-on, should be in their own room type of PDAs I object to. 
I was in Exeter the other day - a beautiful city with fine cathedral and historic buildings. But the spirituality of the Cathedral green was rather marred for me by a young couple whose PDA was even worrying the pigeons; hands everywhere and lips locked.  I averted my eyes, as I noticed most other people were doing.
Eating lunch, a couple were anchored at the lips - and if it wasn't for the expression on their faces I would have thought he was trying to resuscitate her with mouth-to-mouth because a section of her Four Cheese Pizza had gone the wrong way. I don’t know when they found the time to eat.
Then in the car park was another couple - old enough to know better - who were clinging to each other for dear life and kissing more passionately than Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio as Jack and Rose in Titanic. At least Jack and Rose had the excuse that the darn ship was sinking and death was a distinct possibility. As for car park couple, obviously not married, I thought…at least, not to each other.
Am I alone in thinking like this? Is it because I was brought up in a family that although extremely close was not particularly physically demonstrative? We kissed our parents goodnight and we might submit to a peck on the cheek if we hadn’t seen each other for months. Apart from that it was a very manly handshake or brief hug.
Give me a ring in the middle of the night and tell me your car's broken down in Birmingham and I'll be there. Approach me with arms open wide and lips puckered when I only saw you last week and I go stiffer than a reinforced poker.
Not every country is as laid back about PDAs as Britain. We've read stories about the Middle East where tourists have been sent to jail for hugging or kissing in public. In China, bizarrely, only members of the same sex are allowed to hold hands or dance together in public. At one time it was the law that couples had to walk three feet apart while out in public. Good idea.
In Japan, families bow to each other when saying hello or goodbye. Respect and formality; now that's just the type custom I would like to see here!



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Monday, 28 November 2016

My Life With Kale

 Here's something I wrote that was published in Devon Life in July:





 My Life With Kale


HE doesn't say them often, but I love it when the better half utters those three little words guaranteed to warm a woman's heart: "Let's eat out."

I put on my best frock and off we go to one of Devon's wonderful pubs or restaurants. Invariably these days, there it is on the menu. Kale. It's everywhere you look, on every cookery programme, in all the top chefs' recipe books and practically every Sunday supplement extols its virtues . 

Not that I have anything against kale. I like kale. I was brought up on kale. It grew like a weed and was one of the things that we fed to the cows on our farm in the winter. Then my mother boiled it to death and fed it to us. If there was any left over, it went into bubble and squeak.

But now it's not so much a food as a fashion accessory. Kale is cool.

In restaurants it is tarted up and served with a flourish. No waiter has ever said to me: "Eat it up, it'll give you curly hair," like my mother used to say. Come to think of it, there was a variety of food she claimed would give you curly hair, from crusts on your bread to liver. I swallowed the line along with the kale, crusts and liver and have to report that left to its own devices my hair is straight as a pound of candles.

On one menu I spotted kale served as a salad with pancetta, parmesan and lemon juice. I gave that a miss. Raw kale, I thought, was a step too far until I was further into the whole gussied up kale experience. But then I really enjoyed a dish that included braised kale with bacon and cider so I thought I would look on the internet for kale inspiration. What an eye-opener that was.

There was potato, kale and fennel hash, sauted kale with broccoli and feta (kale AND broccoli? I feel healthier just reading that) and curried kale with coconut. Even as a reborn kale gourmet I thought currying it sounded a bit too far out - but I might give it a go one day. 

I wish my mother had known that boiling wasn’t the only option. You can steam it, cream it, butter it and braise it.

 I even came across a video: How to Make Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar and watched a woman doing exactly what it said, wilting kale and adding bacon and vinegar. I learnt nothing and that was one minute and thirty-seven seconds of my life I am never going to get back. 

By now I was really into the whole kale experience. In fact, this column should be entitled How I Fell In Love With Kale All Over Again. I read all about its history and the different varieties, from curly kale to cavolo nero and Russian Red.  I learned that until the end of the Middle Ages kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe. During the Second World War, we Brits were urged to grow more kale by the Dig For Victory campaign.

I found out that is incredibly nutritious. It contains beta-carotene and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin—which are associated with eye health—as well as potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. There are two grams of protein and 15 per cent of the minimum daily recommended amount of fibre in every average serving – although, in an oversight I cannot explain, no website mentioned it being conducive to curly hair.

Not everyone has bought into the kale experience. A lot of people I have talked to about kale (yes, my conversation is that exciting) have shuddered, recalling childhoods when they were forced to eat it because it was so good for them. They turned up their noses, saying the taste was too strong and the texture sometimes too woody. I, as a kale convert, tried to explain it was all in the cooking and they should be more adventurous.  I could tell not all of them were convinced.

A couple of comments on the internet alluded to the fact that the vegetable is now achingly trendy. As one person said, tongue in cheek: "Eighty per cent of the people who buy kale throw it in the bin as soon as they've taken a photo" and another "This kale and beetroot juice tastes like I'm going to alert everyone to the fact I'm drinking it." But I think they've missed the point.

Every Sunday I cook a family roast dinner. There's usually about half a dozen of us but occasionally a random nephew or niece will phone and ask it it's OK to come to dinner and bring along boyfriend, girlfriend, someone they met in a  pub… My table only seats six but with the addition of garden chairs we can squeeze in quite a few more.  

It has to be roast. The better half has a roast on Sunday every week of the year. And I mean every week. We can be in the middle of a heatwave and I am still in the kitchen, roasting while roasting. I'm pretty good at them, if I do say so myself, but I rarely deviate from the norm - a joint, roast potatoes and lots of vegetables. But this Sunday I'm going to try braised kale with bacon and cider in an effort to up my game. They'd better be impressed. If not, I'll tell them they must eat it up or they’ll never have curly hair.







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