Tag: clothes

2017: The Year In Review

It’s New Year’s Day already and that means it’s time to do our annual Year In Review. At this time last year I had almost completely freed myself from a terrible, punishing job at the World’s Worst Company – I was almost at the end of my contract, slogging through the last of a huge pile of paperwork and looking forward to being formally released mid-January. I was in love with a Person who I wasn’t supposed to be in love with during the second half of 2015 and much of 2016 but by the time 2017 materialised it seemed to be really over, at last, and I formed a new and more worthwhile relationship with my Playstation that I had for Christmas.

By the end of 2017 I had visited 5 countries and set up home with someone new, in my first serious relationship since this blog began.


January arrived, as it is wont to do. I handed back my keys at the World’s Worst Company, left the building and returned to full-time self-employment. This was definitely the high point of the month. I was in terrible physical shape due to being overworked for a long time but I was optimistic for the year ahead. I joined a local community choir, to give my lungs some exercise and to provide an opportunity to keep dressing up in outrageous, huge-skirted, 1950s frocks, a habit I formed during the last few months of going to work. Check out this little number, it has dinosaurs, which turned out to be rather a theme for January.


I played Far Cry: Primal on my Playstation and it was the TLYW Game of the Month.

Far Cry® Primal_20170118035629
Far Cry® Primal_20170118035629

I celebrated my new-found freedom going out around London. I saw some art: I went to the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern.


I went to the British Museum to look at some African masks


and to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.


I went to the gym, which was a new thing. I despaired about the state of my teeth, which is never a new thing.


I got seriously into live music in February and started going to concerts and operas around London. The first event was a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra of Haydn’s Creation at Royal Festival Hall. Then I returned to Royal Festival Hall for a performance of music by Philip Glass. After that, I went to the comic opera The Pirates of Penzance and then to Rigoletto, both sung by the English National Opera.

I went to the British Museum again, to look at John Dee’s crystal ball. Dee was a 16th-century mystic who advised Elizabeth I. Then I went a third time, to see the South Africa exhibition, which was amazing. I felt relatively well-informed about South Africa, having visited in 2016 and learned as much as possible about its history while I was there.


I went to an exhibition of board games at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London, which is an extension of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I ate heartily, at South Bank Food Market and Comptoir Libanais.


In February I conceived the idea of the TLYW Year of Console Gaming, an organised programme of console gaming, in which I lined up a total of 14 console games to be played at a rate of one a month. This programme continued well for the first three quarters of the year. Game of the Month for February was ARK: Survival Evolved, which was awesome and turned out to be my favourite game of 2017. I will definitely return to it. I will do a separate post about my 2018 plans for gaming.

ARK: Survival Evolved_20170227004731
ARK: Survival Evolved_20170227004731

I went to the gym and caught two colds, which was so predictable. At least I was trying.


I continued to be excited about music and went to hear the Philharmonia Orchestra perform Stravinsky’s Firebird. The below clip shows Stravinsky conducting the last three scenes of The Firebird himself, it was recorded in 1960.

The story of The Firebird comes from Slavic folklore, a theme which held my attention for the rest of the month while I was reading The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

I fulfilled a lifetime ambition by seeing the wonderful Marc Almond perform live in Camden.


I went to the Royal Academy to see an exhibition called America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s, which featured Edward Hopper and Grant Wood.


Then I returned to the RA to see an exhibition of Russian art (mainly paintings and ceramics, some films) from the period 1917-1932, that is, immediately following the Russian Revolution.


Dress of the month was this turquoise Ophelia by LindyBop.

ophelia turquoise

Game of the Month of was God of War III: Remastered.

God of War® III Remastered_20170327221550
God of War® III Remastered_20170327221550


My interested in classical music continued in April and I went to Royal Festival Hall yet again to hear Mahler 5. I’d been in hospital with cellulitis, having had a run of bad health for about three months, and they let me out just in time to go to the concert.

mahler 5

I also went to the Royal Opera House to see a performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. The production took my breath away with its scale and beauty and I cried at the end. 10/10, would go again.


Then my interest turned from opera to ballet and I went to see George Ballanchine’s 20th-century ballet Jewels, performed by the Royal Ballet. It was glittering, as one might expect.

Game of the Month was Witcher III: Wild Hunt.

White Orchard
White Orchard


A fabulous month. There was more opera and ballet. I went on holiday to Spain and France. I fell in love twice, latterly with Harry, who was about to change my life by becoming my first serious partner in several years and moving in with me before the year was over.

Opera of the month was Mozart’s Magic Flute. I enjoyed it so much, I saw it twice. It was performed by the Charles Court company in the back of a pub in London’s Islington. The second time, I was with Harry and it was our second date.

flute 2

Ballet of the month was Casanova, a new ballet by Kenneth Tindall, performed by the Northern Ballet Company.


I went on holiday to Spain, where there was a resort and a beach, then I went to Paris, where there was wine.



Game of the Month was Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. It was glorious and I particularly enjoyed sailing ships and fighting at sea.

Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag_20170528183133
Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag_20170528183133


There were terrorist attacks in London and Londoners were annoyed. I went to the historic Black Friar pub in London, which was built in 1875 and has stained glass windows.

I went on another date with Harry, this time to see Wayne Thiebaud at White Cube.

thiebaud 6

Then we had still another date and went to London’s Kew Gardens. The summer weather was beautiful, we had weeks of sunshine, not to be underestimated in the UK.

kew tree house

Dress of the month: Nadia, by LindyBop, in a nice guitar print.

nadia guitar

I cleaned my house magnificently because of being in love. I had new, matching tableware from Portmeirion, the first of two sets this year.


Game of the Month was Red Dead Redemption.

rdr camp


July saw two things happen: Harry started cooking at my house, revealing fantastic cooking skills, and I went on a health kick. I purchased a Nutribullet, made smoothies twice a day and started doing a lot of exercise. I felt v healthy and only stopped with the hours of punishing cardio because my hair was falling out (I am not good at doing things in moderation).



There were some nice walks on Hampstead Heath.


We had an interesting meal at the Carousel restaurant at Tate Modern, including green matcha cake.

The restaurant has this view across the Thames. That’s St Paul’s Cathedral on the other side.

view across thames from tate

While we were at Tate, we also went to see Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (and finally blogged about it in September).

soul of a nation

emory 2

George Romero died and I wept.


Game of the Month was Battlefield 1.

Battlefield™ 1_20170729223245
Battlefield™ 1_20170729223245


My business life heated up. I had to blog far less and do less video gaming but I travelled more. In August I went to Rotterdam, Den Bosch and had my 51st birthday in Amsterdam. This is the point where I suddenly had a lot of photos and no time to post them, so you are still waiting for pictures of all these destinations. Here are some teasers.



Den Bosch.




Harry and I managed to squeeze in a date at London’s Camden Lock.


Game of the Month was Batman: Arkham Asylum.

bat screenshot 3


Work was in full swing. By this point I was right in the middle of the busiest four months of 2017. There were no more fun dates around London or outdoor exercise sessions. I just worked and focused on meeting deadlines. I don’t even have any photos from that whole month.

Harry was supportive while I got all my work done.

Game of the Month was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, arguably the greatest of the GTA series.

gtasa 9

This turned out to be the last month of the TLYW Year of Console Gaming that I could fit into my diary. We are reviving the programme this January.


We celebrated the blog’s 7th birthday.

I went to Rotterdam again. Here are a couple more teaser photos. I’ll do detailed travel photo posts in due course.


delft canal

I then went to India. Managed to get this quite nice snap out of the window on the plane.

plane clouds india

Spent a few days in Bangalore.


Managed to carve out a very small amount of time to see some art, of which more later.


Finished working in India, went straight to Orange County in California.

Really nice weather, was like a British summer.

Back in London, Harry and I went shopping at The Japan Centre to celebrate his birthday.


Continued to work at a breakneck pace during the first half the month, then gradually began to slow down long enough to do a few Xmas things.

xmas market leics square

Harry and I went to see The Nutcracker performed by the English National Ballet.


Then, quite suddenly and very near the end of December, I finished work for real, cleaned my house, visited some relatives and settled in for a slightly delayed Christmas Day in London with Harry.

xmas cocktail 2017

And that was 2017. I wish everybody a very happy and prosperous year to come. I wanted to say that before hitting publish last night but someone was very keen for me to get off my PC and come to bed. Anyway, happy new year.

What I Wore: 22 Dresses of Fall 2016

Yesterday was the last big day at the World’s Worst Company. By ‘big day’ I mean that I put on a flamboyant dress, get on a stage and address a large audience, at 9am and again at 3pm.

It was very emotional. I delivered two excellent performances. I am so good with large audiences. We had Mozart and Mendelssohn. My audiences, who have come to know me over three months, couldn’t get enough of me. At the end of the second performance, an actual queue formed of people who wanted to hug me. I must have hugged 20, maybe 30, people. It was incredible. I am a junkie for love and that was amazing, that was like an assault of love. It nearly knocked me off my feet. I cried. People told me I’d changed their lives.

So. It’s (almost) all over. Two more days of meetings, tomorrow and Friday, and then I’m on the payroll but not on the premises until 12 January, then I’m off the payroll as well.

I can probably best convey the fun parts of this job, which were totally amazing fun, by showing you what I wore. So here are my 12 favourite dresses that I wore this season, over the last 12 weeks, for the benefit and delight of all. Nearly all the dresses in this category are from lindybop.co.uk. They are very affordable and yes you do totally need gigantic tulle petticoats to make those skirts stand out.

12-favourite-dresses-of-2016And here are a further 10 honourable mentions, almost all by Phase Eight. All these dresses made me feel great and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to wear them. It might be the first time in my life that I felt like I actually had enough clothes.


As you can see, I looked the business for 12 weeks. It was an orgy of dresses and Dresses are what I am now known for, that and being bloody brilliant at my job.

It’s almost over.

I’m so ragey and tearful and I don’t think it’s all down to caffeine withdrawal.

This morning I had a phone call with someone at the World’s Worst Company about why I am leaving. I listened to myself talking. I listened to myself explaining how much it meant to me, to have the chance to return to an industry that I had been missing and wanting for 16 years. How much it meant to me to have the chance to revive a career that is what I was supposed to do with my life and had to turn my back on because of money.

Then I listened to myself explaining why I am about to turn my back on that career a second time. How I’ve taken 15 months of abuse from this company that I can no longer forgive. How I can’t wait any longer for it to get better, because it never gets any better. How we’ve abused our customers in a way that I can’t continue to be a part of. How the entire organisation seems to run on a tacit agreement that everyone should do as little work as possible. Everyone keeps quiet about it so that everyone can keep getting away with it. Everyone pays lip service to quality and customer satisfaction just as long as it means that nobody has to do any ACTUAL work. I can’t adjust to that and I am never going to adjust to that. I’m not retired and I couldn’t be that lazy and defeatist if I tried. I was born to work. And that’s why I can’t spend any more time with them or being required to represent them because they are professional work-avoiders.

I listened to myself talking and I am so angry. I am so angry and so bitterly disappointed. Then I ended the call and then I had another cry.

Let’s count how many more days until I am out of this nightmare.

  • I will down tools and stop being on the payroll at midnight on December 31st, that’s 7 weeks and 3 days away.
  • I can work from home and stop going to that horrible office in early December. My last day on the premises will be Friday 9 December, that’s 4 weeks and 2 days away.
  • Between now and then, I have to be physically on the premises 14 more times.

What do I have to show for this, 15 months of sweating blood for this company and sincerely doing everything I could for our customers?

  • It paid my bills for a few months while I was getting my business back on track.
  • I have a lot of clothes.
  • I met the Person who I’m not supposed to be in love with. My prize. If that’s all I take away with me, that’s enough. Plans are in place.

I looked for my career and it was not there and I have to accept that. I found love and I wore some nice dresses, and that is something. Now I need to get through the last few weeks and then I need to rest.

In which I brush my teeth into a pulp.

A quick news round-up because my life is non-stop news and action.

  • Time. Fuck, I am so tired. I even get up at 4am on the weekends, just to get everything done. I am wiped out. I CANNOT WAIT to be released from the job at the World’s Worst Company. It’s going to be awful for another 6-8 weeks then I’m free and I can have a normal life again. I will be able to have days off, see my family, and I won’t have to get up at four o’clock in the fucking morning seven days a week.
  • Health. Jesus Tapdancing Christ. Okay, so I had my ruined teeth bleached, using the latest laser technology, with unexpectedly fabulous results and at horrifying expense. As a direct result of this: (1) I quit smoking, I am afraid to smoke. My gums look better already. (2) I quit coffee. I am suffering HORRIBLE caffeine withdrawal symptoms. HORRIBLE. But they will eventually pass. (3) I am still losing weight, yay! I am basically afraid to put anything at all in my mouth because my newly-bleached teeth are as absorbent as cotton wool. So I am hardly eating. Also, I brush my teeth approx. 14 times a day. Tomorrow I’m seeing my dentist again and we are going to start another long round of cosmetic work, which is worth doing now I’ve finally quit smoking.
  • Emotions. Hanging on in there. All I can see now is leaving my job at Xmas – hooray! – and, relatedly, as I become thinner and cough less and have better teeth I am becoming exponentially more attractive to the Person who I am secretly in love with. Win.
  • Finances. An absolute car crash as usual, except that my private business is booming. Booming, I tell you. If I could find time to send and chase some invoices, I would be sorted.

The people at the WWC are freaking out because I finally quit. Too late, guys. You’ve had 13 months of my life already, you have no serious work for me to do and you are not making good use of my time and resources. I’m gone. You should have taken some time to listen to any of the things I’ve been saying to you for the last year.

As is tradition, let’s identify at least one thing that is making me happy right now. I am nominating Love. The Person has realised that I am going to be available in new ways from January onwards and we could in fact have a relationship if we wanted to. He is considering his options. I am getting my teeth fixed and wearing dress after dress. It’s time for this particular love story to reach some kind of conclusion. I don’t know which way it is going to go. Either we are going to fall in love properly or he will panic and fail to follow through. I can’t tell which it will be. He’s not the most grounded, mature or decisive individual I’ve ever met, on the other hand, if we can get some sort of relationship going, he will be the most fashion-forward man I’ve ever dated and every single week we spend together will be London Fashion Week. Sex is a secondary consideration, really. Mainly I just want to dress up like a Disney princess and skip to some clothes shops together. It’s almost a gay best friend scenario except that I would be able to touch him as well. I don’t know what more a girl could want. Please cross your fingers for me, and I’ll abstain from smoking and keep industrially cleaning my teeth. Love.

The Shirelles: Dedicated To The One I Love (1959)


Will you look at that. It has foxes on it, and snow. Come December, I am wearing that to work.


I started the big round of dental work today. I am taking antibiotics and all I want to do is sleep but I need to clean my house again, open the post, send some invoices and generally do some more work.

The first of the Big Dresses is tomorrow, it is a red and pink floral number, as you know, and I am going to wear a large pink tulle petticoat, like you see there, except frothier.


Fashion week

I have such a busy week ahead of me, I will be out every day, I start early, I have presentations and meetings all day and I have business meetings in the evening.

I am not meal planning, I am going to be eating out a lot. I am, however, planning my clothes. I just had to write ‘choose outfits for the week, iron as necessary’ on my already crammed task list because I will not have a fun time trying to pick out clothes at six in the morning when I was out the night before.

I’m not the slimmest I’ve ever been, currently tipping the scales at 156 pounds, up 9 pounds since I was in the US in July. This also requires careful dressing. So here’s what I’m thinking of wearing to work.


No meetings today. Dentist. I have just committed to another round of work to rehabilitate my teeth. My dentist is happy because I am single-handedly funding his future retirement. I am happy because he does a good job on my teeth and doesn’t judge me for drinking coffee and smoking.


A heavy work day involving 2 presentations to large audiences. First day of the new season. A good reason to dress up.


Action: needs ironing.


A lunch meeting and then later a business dinner with an old business associate who is shamelessly flirting with me (the Scandinavian scientist is away, she said, a propos of nothing). That’s a lot of food in one day. This silky viscose dress by Phase Eight is forgiving around the middle and gives me knockout cleavage.


Action: find dress, pick out shoes, accessories, outerwear.


Host and facilitate workshops all day. This Banana Republic dress is generously sized and is fun while being less theatrical than Tuesday outfits.

floral dress

Action: pick shoes, accessories, etc.

To-Do List

  • lay off the carbs NAO. In fact, stop eating outside of meetings.
  • start following the dentist’s instructions, work begins this week

Ooh, I am excited about my business date on Wednesday. Glad I bought that new bra.

You’ve really got to get up and dance to this. You know I don’t lie about these matters.

Suzanne Paul: Blue Monkey.


My day job at the horrible company starts next week. I just got a look at my client list, I’ll be working with these people for the next 3 months.

One of the projects I am running this season has attracted double the number of clients compared to when I inherited it this time last year. Why? Because my name is on it and I am a superstar. 90 people signed up for that project. 90 of them. I am so fucking flattered. I’d like to see anyone else in that company pull a crowd that large without trying.

All this makes the whole situation a lot better. I am ready for some client love. I’m also ready to wear some CLOTHES. Are you ready to rock 12 weeks of FASHIONS? You better be. I’m thinking of wearing this on the first day.