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Friday, 27 January 2012

Something every house should have

At the moment it is not only Mr Rose and I who are battling with the property market. My parents are selling our lovely family home in Warwickshire for something a little less big. Looking at the photos of the house online yesterday made me think, again, how gorgeous it is and how lucky I am to have grown up there.

It made me think about the elements that make a house really special. Auntie Mame commented yesterday that her favourite ever house was great because of its great party space. Some houses are born great and some houses are made great.

My parents bought our house back in the mists of time when it was a tiny cottage, they have gradually extended it over the years and bought bits of land. Looking at the photos I found one of my fave places - the gin and tonic seat.

This is at the end of our garden, positioned so that it gets the last bit of sun in the evening. It is where we pop out just before supper to catch the last bit of warmth from the sun, with someone bringing a tray of ice cold gin and tonics rattling in crystal glasses.

The best bit about it, is that it was designed and built by my clever dad. How cool is that?

So I made a resolution - when Mr Rose and I finally find our new home, I shall make sure that there is a sunny spot in the garden where we have a bench on which to enjoy our gin and tonics. So the tradition may continue.

Now if the nice folk of East Finchley could just hurry up and put their houses on the market that would be super duper! Thanks awfully.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

An Interview with Auntie Mame

Apologies for no posts for a week or so, dear readers, I've been busy growing my eyelashes and working too bloomin' hard. 

The grand matriarch and doyenne of good taste, Auntie Mame, has very kindly answered a little interview I sent her today. 

1)   If you had to only celebrate one of these for the rest of your life and forsake all others, which would it be?  Christmas / Birthday / Easter
Xmas (I like it visually, tree, lights, dark rooms, candles, lots of people)

2)  What is your opinion on why Seal and Heidi have split up?
Seal cheated for sure

3)  Which flowers are vulgar?
Carnations (even in a mixed bunch)

4)  What is the most appropriate pudding served at a dinner party for close friends on a Friday in February?  Main course is beef. Queen of Puddings with thick un whipped cream  (Find the recipe here)

5)  You have been a style icon in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.  Which would you say is the fashion you have enjoyed the most? 
Flared jeans and white cheesecloth smock a la 1970 mode as worn to Rod Stewart at The RoundHouse

6)  With both of your children being married this year, what is the advice you will impart on how to have a happy marriage? Well defined roles

7)  If you won 40 million pounds on the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?  Serviced flat in London on the Thames

8)  Which has been your favourite blog on Rose to the Occasion so far? Christmas with my family blog particularly your Mum's air of disappointment when there is no new car to be seen.

9)  Throughout history, who has been your favourite monarch? Queen Victoria, India, loads of children, a goer, a doer, a real queen

10)  Of all of the houses you have lived in, which has been your favourite and why?
Our house in Bucks in the 90s, wow kerb appeal and great Entrance Hall for parties



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Rapid Lashes

There are many things I don’t like all that much about myself.  But you get to 30 years old, and you realise there are somethings that are just not going to change.

1 – My love of Country Music is embarrassing.  You don’t ever meet anyone else who likes it so it is a lonely passion.  It is acceptable, just about, to be a bit potty about 80s House music, 70s cheese or even One Direction.  But songs about slammin’ that screen door, sittin’ on the front porch, daddy’s pick up truck etc etc are JUST NOT COOL.  
2 – I really enjoy liquor.  And that is just not ladylike.  I don’t mean gin or vodka, I mean the really hard stuff.  Give me a good Armagnac and I’m a happy as a clam
3 – The only chocolate I really like is stuff you can buy in a newsagents.  Anything posher than Nestle or Cadbury’s and it just isn’t the same. 
4 – I think one of the nicest smells in the world is fabric softener.  I have been known to wash clean sheets again if they come out of a cupboard rather than the tumble dryer.

All of these things are odd.  And I’m not proud of them.  But they are me.  The other thing I’ve had to come to terms with is the biggest secret of all, which very few people actually know. 

Even though my hair is naturally mid brown I have completely blond eyebrows and eyelashes.  YES I KNOW – this makes me a freak of nature, right?  Surely one of the good things about having brown hair is that you have a nice frame to your face of defined eyebrows and eyes.  But no, I must have really unusual colouring.  This is something I mostly keep secret but always always always wearing eyebrow pencil, lashings of mascara and for special occasions I get eyelash extensions. 

When I was a little girl here are a few of the women I was desperate to grow up to become:  

CZJ in Darling Buds of May

Scarlett O'Hara

Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables

Elizabeth Taylor

All of them have gorgeous strong brow and long lashes. 

But instead I have more similar colouring to this chap. 

So I’m going to try a new product which promises to make my eyelashes and eyebrows grow thick and luscious. 

I read about RapidLash ages ago, and have since heard loads of good reports from very reputable sources and am going to give it a try.  I know it sounds totally infeasible but listen to the science bit:  some doctors noticed that patients being treated for glaucoma were growing longer and thicker eyelashes so some clever people used the technology for this product.  It is about £30 in Boots, but you can get it for about £20 on Amazon.  I’m now using it every night – but it takes about 8 weeks to work so I’ll have to keep you posted.  I expect by then I’ll look like Liz Taylor.  Cos something that comes in a tube can do that, right?  

Rose xx

Monday, 9 January 2012

Surviving January

So possums, how are you all doing? Survived the first week back in real life? I'd give 2012 a 6/10 so far.

Mr Rose got a mahoosive and unexpected tax bill. Which is shit.

My dear 'rents had buyers fall through on our family home. Which is really shit.

But some good stuff is happening too. My job is shaping up to be fun in 2012, with some nice events in exotic locations.  Mr Rose and I have been house hunting ready for our impending move and although we haven't found The One yet (or even This Would Do) it is fun nosing around houses and imagining finally having a kitchen that can fit more than one of us in at once.

The variety of ways in which people display their houses when on the market is extraordinary. We saw one yesterday which had the glossy finish of a 5 star boutique hotel. It was divine. If it hadn't been in the wrong area we would have snapped it up, purely because we would love to see ourselves living the lifestyle. You suddenly imagine yourself with polished French antique furniture mixed with interesting finds from bijoux flea markets - conveniently forgetting that everything you own is from Ikea and seeing as Mr Rose thinks spending over 500 quid on anything that isn't a holiday is an outrage, that situation is unlikely to change.
But you can dream.

One house we looked round was perfect for us on paper - but was priced so high that we thought it must be in a wonderful condition with added benefits such as huuuuge landscaped garden, divine ensuite and kitchen you could be lost in. Alas, it was fairly bog standard. I was utterly horrified to see in the downstairs loo a large handwritten sign about how if you wanted to do a poo you had to go upstairs and weren't allowed to use this one. I mean HONESTLY who would leave such a sign up for everyone to see?????!?!?

We ruled that one out pretty sharpish.

But it hasn't all been poo. Here is fun stuff I've been up to this week.

  • Reading 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand' by Helen Simonson. It has all the components of an excellent book - hilarious characterisation, thoughtful comment on race relations in rural England, romance, so much humour about village life and golf club politics it has had me hooting. 
  • Culture 'init. I always book theatre this week as it is cheering and doesn't involve carbohydrate or booze. Necessarily. On Thursday I went to see Strictly Gershwin - the music of Gershwin performed by an orchestra accompanied by the Royal Ballet. I got a mild surprise as the curtain went up and the music started, as I'd got my Musical Jews mixed up and was expecting the music of Bernstein. Oops. But Gershwin was totally lovely, if unexpected.  
  • Then Friday I took Mr Rose to see One Man Two Guvnors which was hilarious. Go if you can. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket.
  • Keeping my new year's resolutions. This year I decided to wear a different pair of earrings in January to make use of my vast collection.  (I never understand why people set themselves hard ones they won't keep, like learning Mandarin. Aim low, I say, and feel smug when you achieve). 
  • Living vicariously through Cousin LL who has not only pretty much planned an entire wedding in a week (with my help) but last night went to the Royal preview of Warhorse sitting 3 rows away from K-Middy and Wills.  Jealous beyond words.  
  • Thanking the Lord Jesus and my parents I was not named Blue Ivy
Rose x

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Day

The news came through the airwaves at 10am - Cousin LL and Mr Cousin LL are getting hitched!!! 

By 12.40pm Cousin LL was getting worried as she had not heard from me. She had visions that I was either:

1. Crying in a jealous heap and yelling at the sky 'Why God, why isn't it me?!'

2. Beating Mr Rose over the head with a rolling pin saying 'go on ask me ask me ask me' 

3. Dancing around the room in a leotard doing the Single Ladies dance frantically thrusting my ring finger in his chops

But none of the above was true. I was in a heap. But I was not sobbing in a jealous rage I was snoring gently with what can only be described as a Class A hangover. 

After ringing her and whooping excitedly, for I really am very pleased for them, the cold realisation set in that I felt like a port soaked badger had died in my head and was slowly rotting. 

Last night was NYE and we hosted a small supper for our pals Alexa and Ackrington. It was a raucous evening and I'm feeling the effects of too much champagne, Sauvignon Blanc and port. It is the port which has laid me low today- every time I drink it I swear I never will again. Sigh. You'd think at 30 I would have an idea about how not to poison myself.  

In order to shake off the feeling of slow death, we had an uber healthy lunch of chicken casserole filled with lentils, spinach and veg. 

Then I had a delightful bath with my top reviving products: Elemis herbal lavender repair mask, l'oreal elvive renutrition hair mask and a lovely body lotion from Cowshed- called Horny Cow! 

I now have shiny hair, glowing skin and smell less like a tramp. Bingo. 

Now I can get on with the serious business of the day, finding pictures of mahoosive rings I think Cousin LL should get!  

Happy new year, possums. 

Rose xx