Ellie the Elephant

Lotsa_Heart_AG
Not Ellie, but I loved these fuckers too ❤

Last weekend, as we Netflix and chilled at my brother’s (actually, ew), my Sister-in-law brought out Maeve, her childhood lion and I was reminded instantly of Ellie the Elephant.

In a forever kick-yourself moment, I handed Ellie over ‘temporarily’ to the great-aunt of that bastard I used to live with as we jetted off to start our new life in Canada. Last Chance Saloon I called it and boy was it. But Ellie couldn’t come for some reason and I’m so mad at myself for not stuffing her into my suitcase anyway.

I thought I could always go back for her and then everything ended, and now Ellie’s gone forever. You’d think that was a small price to pay for my freedom and maybe it is but still. I’ll always regret that decision.

In my heart I know she was probably burnt to a crisp in a garden bonfire, renamed Christa as a grotesque effigy of me after I left but I don’t want to believe she’s gone. I suppose I could pick up the phone, swallow my pride and ask for her back but I can’t handle the truth, or the inevitable abuse.

Ellie the Elephant, legend has it, was given to me as a newborn by a group of hospital staff in Toronto. My father had apparently misjudged my delicate character and presented a giant gorilla that made me cry so the antidote was Ellie, a baby pink elephant twice as big as me.

Life for us was a rollercoaster from that moment on and Ellie bore the brunt of everything I ever went through. All the rage, the playful torture from my brother, the kickings, the kidnappings – Ellie felt all my feelings, washed down by a million angsty tears. And she was rewarded for her loyalty by losing an ear and one glass eye. She was sewn up and re-stuffed more times that I can remember.

Ellie was the confidante and the cure; she was my very best friend when sometimes I felt like I had nobody. She didn’t travel as much as I did because I just couldn’t bear the idea of losing her in some far off land, or more likely Amsterdam but she was always there when I got back, she was there for me when I was happy and there when I’d given up all hope.

Seeing Maeve made me feel sad. Poor grubby Maeve with no mane and a distended body, looking like she’s carrying all Maddy’s secrets. Her and Ellie would have been great friends.

I want her back, wonderful crusty Ellie the Elephant, aged 38 (and 2 months) ❤

Love Your #selfie

IMG_20150509_130223
Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline. It is Maybelline. And Rimmel, Max Factor, 17, Make Up Revolution, Bourjois… ❤

Sometimes you’ve just got to spend £27 in Superdrug on new make-up then come home and put it all on, despite having nowhere to go to show it off. I could find somewhere obviously, but Netflix.

I’ve been feeling pretty shitty about myself lately. I won’t lie, despite my vow to stop worrying about ageing, I still have the odd wobble. I sometimes look through pictures of myself, for instance and wonder if my eyelids have got extra baggy.

HOW PATHETIC.

Today I feel fucking fabulous* though, hence this picture of my moon face. I personally love the phenomenon of the #selfie. If a person is feeling amazing why the hell shouldn’t they share it? Yes, even the people who share 1,2,3 a day, even those in contorted positions, skimpy outfits – all.

All #selfies are beautiful because it means the taker is feeling great about themselves.

*My friend Panda says this when something is particularly fabulous, and when she bought herself a Mulberry handbag last year, she asked them to include a card saying “To Panda, you’re fucking fabulous”. They didn’t, but it’s still makes for a FF anecdote.

Coming Soon…

image

Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane with some of the books I loved as a child and teenager. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the themes of the day and relate them to life now.

Just holding these two books in my hands takes me back to the girl I used to be (and still am at heart), though I am slightly dismayed that the covers aren’t the same as the ones I had, and the ones advertised on eBay. Still, it’s the content that matters.

Watch this space as I review these two Judy Blume classics as an adult and ponder why they meant so much back then.

#onewomanbookclub

Let’s Talk About Sex

tumblr_n9jfteUptt1rrfi42o1_500
Tip toeing into womanhood

Write about your first sexual experience (via Writing Exercises)

My first sexual encounter wasn’t all that but, as is often the way, I have been left with a great story to add to my box of memories which sees itself rolled out when the vodka is flowing and the tone has been lowered.

Something you might not know about me: I love talking about sex.

People can be very prissy about it but it’s only natural, right? I don’t think I’m a lewd girl without class but I enjoy penis talk and a girthy range of other saucy topics. So sue me.

Like Salt n’ Pepa once said “Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be. How it was, and of course, how it should be” (Let’s Talk About Sex, 1991)

I was a late bloomer. Not for political reasons. I was just terrified of the idea of ‘doing it’ and the male form, and crippled by my own inadequacies as a ‘woman’. My classmates were happily sowing their oats and taking the piss out of all of us Virgins, pondering whether we might actually be ‘lezzas’ and making us all terrified to even glance in the general direction of someone of the same sex.

For about twenty minutes I sat and thought about whether I actually might be into girls but I figured in the end that my fascination with the more exotic of my species was down to the comfort in which they strode about in their own skin. I liked boys anyway and wanted one for myself, if I could only muster the courage to touch one.

I was eighteen when I finally got to the stage where I thought I could shrug off the taboo of still being chaste. By then my friend Lucy and I were going up to London every weekend and going to clubs, being bad girls. We met some boys (I say boys but my boy was 24) and started to spend time with them, sometimes sharing their spare room if we missed the last train home, which we always did.

Through these boys I met Marvin. He was quite the alluring prospect with his tight dreadlocks and beautiful dark skin. I wasn’t all that romantically inclined but he liked me, smelt nice and hey, if it all went wrong I didn’t have to see him again. Tactics, my friends even at that young age.

We arranged to meet and by chance, Lucy had also lined up a date for the night, so we booked into a B&B in South London. We went for drinks then went our separate ways, Lucy to the boudoir with the boy she’d met in the Wimpy, me with Marvellous Marvin.

I lied about my experience, scoffing convincingly when questioned about whether I had had sex before. This perhaps worked against me in the end, since he took no prisoners if you know what I mean.

When the deed was done (hours later), he got up, told me he had to go back to his girlfriend and asked me for cab fare. With a smile that may or may not have contained a gold tooth, he was gone.

I wasn’t even mad. He’d served his purpose and when he asked to see me two weekends later, I ignored the message. All I really remember now of that event is the morning after, walking to the tube with an ache where you’d expect an ache to be after being thrown around all night like a rag doll. It felt like adulthood.

I didn’t have it off again until two years later, and that time I got my little heart shattered.

But that’s another story.

Things Are Going To Get Easier (Then Harder), Then Easier Again

Write a letter to yourself aged sixteen (via my trusty Writing Exercises)tumblr_n74xzvbK091r7621zo1_500

Dear Christa,

Honestly, this is a hard note to write given that I know how sensitive you are. You’re still sensitive by the way and you cry a lot; happy, sad, angry (especially angry), you have excellently functioning tear ducts. Well done.

Where to start on this very important document though? First of all, let’s get the obvious one out the way: you aren’t even that fat. Over the next two decades, you will wonder what the hell you were even worried about. Right now, aged sixteen, you look pretty great.

When you get to my age you will have more confidence with less to be confident about. Which, when you consider it, is almost as good as having a flat stomach. When you get here you’ll understand.

I realise as I type away at this, that at my core I’m not that different to you. A little bit less insecure yes but still prone to moments of crippling self-doubt. And I still haven’t the first idea what the f**k I’m going to do with my life.

The only difference now is that I know that’s okay. That living a full and happy life is as important as setting the world on fire, although there is still time. There really is still time.

Keep writing though. Write often, write honestly – basically don’t just talk about it willy nilly; do it, okay?

36 year old you is still as hopeful as you are; still deeply faithful to the theory that everything is going to be okay in the end. Still a romantic twat, even after three years of marriage and over six tripping on shoes left in the kitchen (in front of the sink!). Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah… you get married.

I’ll give you a moment to process that. In fact, let’s just talk boys for a second.

Boys are great, as are the men they grow into. They are fun and funny and you’re not sure about them now but you will find this out for yourself. Some of your favourite friends will be and are, boys. At the moment, you are probably doing one of two things as you read this, or both: a) turning up your nose snottily as if to say ‘ew’ and b) thinking about boys again, for you think of them often.

In fact, it’s impossible for you to talk to one without forming a crush and then fantasising about them, like, all the time. You aren’t even particularly sexual by now so those daydreams are pretty tame.

I can’t remember if you’ve even seen a penis yet, let alone touched one. I think you might still be petrified of the idea of them (they’re not that bad).

You should be experimenting by the way, so I’m not going to lecture you on that. Enjoy the ride, for god’s sake. Actually, I’m not going to talk you out of doing any of the things you will do, except maybe one big one. The choices you make will make you into me. Plus, you’ll have stories for later. My friend told me I have the best dating stories the other night, and it made me proud.

So, carry on. Do everything exactly as you choose.

Do me one favour though. When, aged 24, you get your heart obliterated by a bad man (worth it) and you hit rock bottom with a thud, DO NOT accept the offer of dinner with the first person who asks you. This will not be a good scene and it will last six long years that you will never get back. Trust me on that. (You don’t even get dinner).

Although, didn’t I just say all these things will turn you into me? Maybe scrub the above paragraph. But take less shit and remember, when he says you need help, that you are crazy; he’s projecting.

So yeah. You’re a wife and it’s awesome and not at all as you would imagine. You’re not a mother. I don’t think you have any desire to be but just so you know, I’ve decided not to do that. You have a step son though, he’s nine.

You fancy your husband a lot and you like beards now.

There it is, kid. A recap, if you will: write lots, experiment a lot, penises are actually pretty okay, collect stories for later use and don’t let shitty relationships keep you down for long. Oh yeah, and travel, as much as you can afford to and as often as you can. You’re going to love Thailand.

You’re going to be okay, you know?

Peace out,

Christa xoxo

Ps. Your friends trick you into wearing shorts to school round about now. Don’t fall for it, it rains that day and they all bail on you.

Kiss and Make-up: A History of My Face

Photo via Google. Not me!

Following a chat with my team this morning about make-up, I thought it might be natural to turn it into a blog post.

A lot of you know about my relationship with nail polish – how obsessed I have been in the past with the latest products, trends and my own designs; how I had thought seriously about turning this into a business. How I still might.

But make-up on the whole has always been a part of who I am and talking about it this morning has brought back a lot of memories. I think the sensible place to start is at the beginning (right?)

My first memories of wearing my own make-up come quite late in the day, maybe around twelve or thirteen. My mum didn’t often wear it (though looking back she was definitely emphasising her peepers with super 80’s mascara), so there wasn’t much around the house. She had a small selection of ‘sensible’ basics that I had a good nose through but nothing too crazy.

So I didn’t really think about it much. I was a tree climbing tomboy though so it makes sense that I didn’t start looking at myself as a girl until adolescence hit.

Having said that my aunt, Sine has these red high heels that I insisted on putting on and clacking about her front room in for years. Until she gave them to me, to own, the best day ever! So I had some notion, I suppose.

61ij-J3XqGL
Click to enlarge

My first memories are of over using blue and brown mascaras and being rather heavy handed on the Coffee Shimmer. A metallic brown lipstick by Rimmel, I can’t imagine this shade particularly suiting anyone but yet there it was. Switched up with it’s subtler sister, Heath Shimmer pretty much all my lippy needs were covered.

I wish I had been more experimental with red. There’s a rumour that there’s a shade to suit every person (not going to limit this to just women), but I don’t know. I’ve always felt I look overdone every time I’ve tried a strong lip.

So I’m an eye girl. It’s all about that for me. As I shuffled into my teenage years I found black kohl and I’ll never give it up completely. It’s my signature and maybe it’s old, maybe it’s not cool anymore, I don’t care.

Bridget-Bardot-And-god-created-woman-

The greatest compliment I have ever received from a stranger was, “You’ve got eyes like Bridget Bardot”. I credit my kohl for that one. I do know that it’s a strong look though and if I need to look a little less like I woke up in somebody’s bush (ding dong), I’ll skip it. I will never skip the liquid liner (also black).

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned that less is more. My mother always did say this would happen, as I caked my terrible skin in crud and layered on the spider lashes. She was spot on (pun intended).

I never really liked the feel of foundation on my skin, but it always felt like a never-ending battle. You were damned if you covered your face, damned if you didn’t. As I was growing into a woman, having bad skin made me feel inferior; less than a real person. There were times that I didn’t leave the house at all just because I felt so hideous.

Now I wear a primer, minimal concealer/foundation (thankfully I finally grew out of the adult acne of my twenties, I think it was down to stress), a subtle liquid flick and a coat or two of black mascara.

Kohl is optional but I only really leave it out of my routine if it’s mega hot or I have to lookEEMAbsoluteBlackLiner_tn smart. I will always love make-up, I think it’s an incredible tool for so many reasons, I’m just glad I don’t need to lean on it as much as I did.

So what are your favourite brands, products, styles? Do you remember Coffee Shimmer? Do you have any recommendations? Hit me up!