About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

Three Degrees of Sexy, and Four Degrees Celsius

Brrrrrr. It is biting in London today. I all but pounced on the train this afternoon, just eager to get on it. The heater is on. I refused to even go back out to put the recyclables in the bin. Nope. This is it for me.

Once upon a time I used to stay up late to watch the Oscars, but then I said to myself, these people are millionaires and I am not. I have to get up early to make a hundredth of what they make. Sleep is more important. I love movies but not to the detriment of my beauty sleep not to mention my personality. Lack of sleep + trininista = homicidal creature. And with the time difference, well...forget it. I am glad that The King's Speech won everything they should have won. I cannot comment on Best Supporting Actress cause I have not seen Melissa Leo in The Fighter, but Helena Bonham-Carter, though a bit weird, is an excellent actress and I would have liked to have seen her win. But Christian Bale got his and I am happy for that.

But my first sexy - is this woman aging at all? My God. My personal hero, this one. Stunning. My Oscar winner.

Halle Berry at the 2011 Academy Awards
Courtesy: Yahoo
 And though I am not really a techie person, this just looks sexy and I want one. The Dell Inspiron Duo convertible tablet. Not an Apple groupie really. Sorry.

The Dell Inspiron Duo Convertible Tablet - sexy

Finally, lunch with the neighbours yesterday was truly impressive. True Caribbean hospitality. Everything was so incredibly good and by the time I left their place, I was stuffed. And though Arsenal losing the Carling Cup Final jeopardised my fishcakes, she still sent over apple pie and custard, and a slice of good Barbadian sponge cake. Wicked. I can say nothing ill about my wonderful neighbours here in London. That pie was uber sexy.

Homemade apple pie, with yummy vanilla custard courtesy my awesome neighbours

My pillow right now - super sexy. I am so tired. I am going to insulate myself under the covers and try to stave off frostbite, and get some sleep in the process so I can hopefully be academically productive later.  This heater is taking its damn time to warm up my room though.

And while I may not miss out on sleep to watch a bunch of rich people collect awards, I will miss sleep to watch a bunch of Trinis fight it out for $2million on Friday night.  9.30pm start time in Trinidad, means 1.30am start time in London. God help me.

The Rest of the World Comes to the Sunny Caribbean

Breakfast in Bed
Breakfast of champions. Can you believe I went to Tesco on Friday - got my peanut butter, got my strawberry jam, and forgot the bread? I blame the Nigerian!!! He accosted me in the bread aisle and made my thoughts murderous as opposed to carbilicious. In any event, I had to run out the house yesterday morning (not in my pyjamas) in order to stave off hunger and sure death, to get a loaf of bread! But it is just the easiest thing to wake up, slap some PBJ on a slice of bread, chuck it in the microwave for 10 secs and voila. Breakfast. I was listening to BBC last night on my way back home and heard the presenter saying she could not understand how people could eat peanut butter and jelly together. As opposed to stuff like mushy peas? Cultural distance again - another classic example. lol.

Last night we (my classmates and I), in a dire need for rum, went down to Camden to Cotton's, which came highly recommended by a couple friends. I did not doubt their judgement, mainly cause Mr Cotton's is also Mr RumFest and you know how much of a time I had there. And it is very hard for a real Caribbean soldier to mess up rum and rum-based drinks. I knew I was in excellent hands. I was not going to be subjected to stingy bartending, where there is more of the chaser than the rum, which is what I tend to experience in the pubs and other local holes. You just cannot be stingy with rum, people.

And disappointed I was not. I was wanting a daiquiri for ages and when I walked in, ordered my strawberry daiquiri and then put my lips to the glass, I was saved. Saved I tell you. It was awesome. The rum was stinging my lips. Stinging.

As an aside, no Nigerians at the bar, but Ethiopians this time. It must be an African thing to call women "sister". It is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo annoying. Can I just say this again? And dude offered to buy me a drink and when the drink got there, guess what? I had to pay for it myself. lol. Real star, he was.

Kudos to my friends for being spot on time last evening. I am generally very punctual, despite being a Trini. My people have a terrible reputation for being late all the time. However, I loathe having to wait. It really bugs me, especially if I have had to run up the street, and bust a lung, upon seeing my train lingering at the platform just so I coud be on time to meet your ass - and then you're 25 minutes late. Pisses me off.

But we all had a really good time. It was like the United Nations up in the place. Let's see - French, Swiss, Spanish, American, Trini. Very cool. The food was spectacular. Though not Trini food - I mean, we cannot get perfection - everything was great. I had some accra or what was listed on the menu as saltfish fritters, and the mixed jerk grill - chicken, pork ribs, pork belly and lamb. Oink oink oink. All with rice and peas and fried plantains. The majority of the table tried the Beef Pepperpot which I also sampled which was pretty great. Thankfully, the Trinidadian seafood curry, which my anti-spicy Spaniard (oxymoron!!) had was not at all spicy, though how Trinidadian it was, I am not quite sure. But it looked and smelled fantastic. The braised salted beef also looked decadent. The smells from it all - to die for. And the Europeans and American all enjoyed it. I am so glad. Caribbean forever!

I would highly recommend the daiquiris and the Jamaican Mule which was like liquid orgasm and I fear I may be taking the train back to the bar this weekend just to get me one of those. I would highly recommend Cotton's. Special thanks to our waitress, Christina, who was a peach.

We followed this with a short turn at BarFly, which was bumpin' but I was too tired to enjoy it and I checked out after maybe an hour. I also am growing quite weary of this night bus nonsense. The bus ride takes decades and it's cold, and you're shivering in this bus for an hour or more, and I just did not have the stomach for it so I rushed to London Victoria to catch the last train home. I really miss private transportation. The awful weather and public transportation just do not mix.

Despite being extremely tired, I had a really nice time. It was like being back home without getting on a plane. I was happy. Very much so.

Then... I walked outside. It was bitterly cold. Where on earth is spring, London? I got home and I was layered in jumpers and in socks and shivering under my blanket, with the heater on. Buzzkill. Port of Spain, take me.

Today, I am continuing my Caribbean vacation as my very sweet Barbadian neighbour has invited my cousin and I to lunch. I hope she has fishcakes on the menu. Her fishcakes are DA BOMB!!!

If my trainer could see my fat ass now. Maybe I should just brave the chill and go jogging when I have free time. Load up my Machel tunes on the MP3 player and hope for the best.

"Accept Your Destiny" and other Friday moments

Me - the killer of romantic dreams
I guess you want to know what my title is all about. Well, most of you know I seem to attract the nutters of the universe. Most of you also know that I seem to attract the Nigerians of London. You also know I am not a fan of Nigerian men. Too aggressive. Too annoying.


Get on the train to Tesco. Dude staring at me like I am a piece of sausage. Avert my annoyed gaze before I burn a hole into his skull. Get off the train. Go to the store. Lo and behold, look who followed me in. I say nothing. Pasta aisle. Bread aisle. Me - feeling up some bagels. Suddenly.  Next to me - Mr Special.

"My sister, we were on the train togeda".

Nothing makes my blood boil more than this my sister dotishness. I don't care if it's sista or sister - it's annoying. And what? Because I shared a train ride with you, you must follow me? WTF! I was NOT impressed. My response? "So?" and a bad Trini cut eye. My brother got the message and he was gone.

So I text my friend, Nicole, and she replies with no sympathy

Accept your destiny! LOL.
The other winning moments/thoughts of today

On the train  to Waterloo, I had the misfortune of sitting in the cabin with the chatty teenagers and worse, the bawling baby. I always seem to end up in the cab with the noisiest passengers, hence the reason I walk with my music at all times. But let me now adjust my description of this child. He was not just bawling...he was a bleedin' nightmare. The child, no lie, was straight out of The Exorcist. This child could not have been more than 2 years old, and he was bawling at the very top of his lungs, then he started slapping himself. This continued for about 15 minutes without any signs that this child was going to stop. I felt sorry for the mother, who tried everything - toys, food, soft talk. Nothing. I was wondering if anyone else was annoyed by this Child of Chucky because noone seemed to be perturbed as I certainly was. Until...

This no older than 2 year old child said "F... You" to his mother. I thought I had heard wrong but then I saw the woman in the corner rise from her seat, then the granny on the other side, then the man in front of me and the chatty teenagers' eyes opened wide like two saucers. I turned around to see the red-faced, self-mutilated little boy still bawling and all the eyes in the cabin on an equally red-faced mother. I could not believe it. The Exorcist was an understatement. This child was posssessed. Clearly he hears the profanity from somewhere but to use it like that was really shocking to me.

Then, with the exception of myself and my Trini friends and Cat, do all black women in London wear weaves? Oh.My.God. I got on the train first to London Victoria and then to my Tesco and then the bus to my house, and there was an assortment of fake hair surrounding me. Not saying Trini women do not wear weaves, but the proliferation of the bag-hair in this city is mind boggling to me. Somewhere in London, there is a group of black hairdressers making a killing off false pride and vanity. Hairlines across London are in dire straits from the strain of Indian Remy hair on the scalps of black women.

Then, before heading to Tesco, I needed to use the bathroom desperately. After my stunning lunch, with my equally stunning lunch date, and the huge cup of coffee I had afterwards, my bladder could not take the stress and I was forced to use...wait for it...a train station loo. I did not know WHAT I was gonna meet, but I certainly did not expect to meet a toilet wrapped in caution tape. I kid you not. CAUTION TAPE. If that does not tell you something....lol.

And as an aside, lunch was awesome. :-)

Sanity and Happiness - Priceless

The Byodo-In Temple in Oahu, Hawaii - great place
The British Travel Awards (BTA) recently commissioned a study which shows that:
Nine out of ten Brits believe that a holiday is essential – despite the current economic constraints. According to a new survey, involving more than 27,000 participants, only nine percent of respondents said that a holiday is a luxury or claim that they do not take a holiday when money is tight (http://www.traveldaily.co.uk/)
No kidding. I am on the market for a holiday soon. Really soon. Between the never-ending assignments, with the now dreaded dissertation on my lap as well, the cold breeze that mocks me every morning when I open the door and just general irritability and frustration from the lack of a social life as a busy, hard working student, I am beside myself! I am about to run amok!

From the moment I started making my own money and did not have to answer to anyone, I discovered first, the travel agent, and then the airline website along with Tripadvisor. And even if it was a weekend trip to Barbados, a shopping "tief" weekend in Miami or wine tasting in Florence, my trips were partly out of wanderlust and a sense of adventure (or a need for new clothes), and partly to beat insanity. Love my island but when the four corners start closing in, you need to get away ever so often.

The four corners of my room are closing in. I swear, I think I know every speck of dust or lint intimately. I am happy with the rewards of all my hard work thus far. Great grades, success, blah blah. My long nights (like this one cause it is 6.13am and I am still awake) and sharing my bed with textbooks are clearly paying off. But I am also frazzled beyond comprehension. This cannot be healthy.

The money issues are real. It was cheaper to buy points from HiltonHonours than stay at a Hilton last year to avoid having all my loyalty points go down the toilet. Being a student is rough, but I need something. Anything. Soon. London is great. Fabulous. Exciting. But I need a change of scenery, if only for a weekend. Ahhh...watch me as I plan my escape!

Soca in the Library

I came in to the library early to get some work done and somehow ended up watching soca videos on YouTube. Tabanca (Trini word for heartache). I remember when BET-J came down to Trinidad to film this documentary. This is just one part - keeping me company in London, which is supremely cold this morning. Tabanca! This is home.

Say No to Shopping in Pyjamas!

Shopping in pyjamas - UNACCEPTABLE
Photo credit: BBC
By the way, I have finally dusted the cobwebs off my @trininista twitter handle so follow me! Link to the left!

So...after my lunch date, I idled around a bit and then got my train and decided I needed a few things at Sainsbury's. I was almost out of bagels, and it was to be a quick stop - in and out. Now, there is a phenomenon here which really gets me. It affects me deeply. It rattles me to the core as a woman, as a person, as someone who takes more than 5 minutes to fix myself before venturing out into the public domain.

Shopping in pyjamas.

As I walked through the supermarket, looking for my bagels, I walked into a woman, in full sleep wear. To make matters worse, she was wearing the awful Primark jammies I have seen on many a visit to the famed store. I could not believe it. If this was a fashion statement, it was a highly negative one. Who on earth would want to be seen in public in their pyjamas? At 5.30pm. It is both unsightly and reeks of low self esteem. Not only was she in her pyjamas, but it looked like she had literally just rolled off the bed - nasty, bed hair and a face that looked devoid of energy. And it's not just wearing say the pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt. I could maybe, depending on the bottoms, excuse this (this is a really strong maybe). But girlfriend was in the full set - pyjama bottoms, pyjama top - an awful multicoloured get up, completed by socks and slippers.

I have run out of the house in my pyjamas once - but 1) just the bottoms which are a solid black, 2) it was 9pm, 3) I wore a t-shirt and a hoodie and proper shoes. Not the full pyjama ensemble with my bunny slippers and a do-rag!

Acceptable grocery shopping fashion
I don't carrrrrrrrrrrre how tired you are, miss. You can change into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Now in Trinidad, some women take this supermarket thing to new levels. My own personal supermarket mode of dress - jeans, a baby tee, flip flops. A dab of mascara cause my mascara goes with me everywhere. But there are supermarketnistas back home who, for want of a better analogy, use the food aisles as catwalks. Heels, tight jeans, loads of makeup, blown out hair, dangly earrings. To each her own, but in my experience, the supermarket dating pool is rather bleak. The meat boys appreciate it for sure, and the hungry husbands tagging along with wifey, and granted there are the occasional single stunners, but generally - Trini supermarkets are not like the supermarkets on tv. You don't meet the man of your dreams while squeezing tomatoes or looking at bags of carrots. It just does not happen - or at least it has never happened to me. Whether I am going to the wrong Hi-Lo or at the wrong times may be up for debate, but the full fashion attack is really, in my opinion, not necessary.

This is an option if you're on the prowl
for more than bagels and pasta. lol
However, a shower, application of a toothpaste covered toothbrush to the mouth, a quick brush to the hair or a head scarf, and maybe some lip gloss if you wanna stretch it, are just essential. C'mon ladies. Pyjamas are bed wear. It is nasty to me. It means you slept all night, or did God knows what, and have come to stand next to me, with your unwashed body, touching my tomatoes. Can we make a ribbon in support of no pyjama shopping? lol.

What was even more alarming was this report by the BBC. I was innocently looking for a Google'd photo of a pyjama clad shopper to include in the post and found that this atrocious practice is widespread -so much so that the frickin' BBC has an entire article on it. And the Daily Mail! An excerpt, which was ALARMING to say the least -

A Tesco store has asked customers not to shop in their pyjamas or barefoot. Notices have been put up in the chain's supermarket in St Mellons in Cardiff saying: "Footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted."
A spokesman said Tesco did not have a strict dress code but it did not want people shopping in their nightwear in case it offended other customers. (BBC)

I cannot believe a supermarket had to actually waste ink to make a sign asking people to dress and wear shoes to come to the supermarket. Unreal. Please. It does offend me. It does. Don't do it. Whether it is a quick pop in for cigarettes or an hour long outing for groceries - leave the pyjamas in the bedroom and make yourself seemly. I mean, have a little consideration for your appearance and the fact that you just never know who you may meet - even doing the most random things, like squeezing tomatoes. My motto is - always try to look presentable when out. You don't have to look like a top model, but look like you care about your appearance at least. And if you need a real life account of why this is important, then let me tell you how I roll on a normal Saturday in my neighbourhood Hi-Lo back in Trinidad.

Hairy Nightmares

At least this puppy is cute enough to pull it off
- the dreaded combover
This photo was too funny not to share. The dreaded combover. I must say, I have not seen any combovers here in London. Yet. While a lot of British men are in various stages of hair loss, they have kept it respectable. Some have what's left of their tresses neatly trimmed. Other have the bald patch in the middle. Some just do away with the remnants and sport the Kojack look. But I have not seen a combover. Fantastic. They may not have the best teeth in the world, but at least they have hair sense. Most of them anyway.

My date a few weeks ago needed a follicle intervention for sure. He was holding on to his hair for dear life. I guess when it is going, you think you can compensate for the loss in different ways. In his case, he let it grow long. So it was long and stringy and to add insult to injury, it was packed with some type of hair product which made it look greasy and even more limp and disgusting. It took great willpower to not stare at his tragic head all evening. What made it worse he wore his "hair" with a centre part, which emphasised the hair loss and the grey hairs. The guy's head was a complete aesthetic disaster. Luckily for him, he was pleasant company but that was it.

My friend and I are going out for lunch this afternoon. He is as bald as a football. It could never work. lol. I love hair. Some men love women's feet or legs or ass. I love hair. Gotta have it, guys. All of it - from temple to the nape of the neck. Shallow, I am. I lost a lot of interest in Wills when he started down the bald path. He was such a gorgeous young man. Such a tragedy.

William - Hair Today, None Tomorrow
But at least it's not a combover. And at least it's not hair plugs or worse - a hairpiece. Or the spray on shit I see becoming popular. And then ladies wear extensions, wigs and weaves so we cannot beat up on the guys too much. At least they keep it real!

In my Beauty Bag - Revlon, M.A.C and other miracles

The typical result of Saturday mornings at the nail salon
I've been wanting a manicure for a while now. I look at my nails and long for a new cute nail colour since I had to leave the majority of my stocks home. I am now bored with the 4-5 colours, I managed to pelt in the bag, which include my favourite, Supernatural by Orly.

Once upon a time, I used to wake up at 7am on a Saturday after a long, hard week at work, and jet down to the salon, before it opened, so I could be first in line. My nail technician was excellent but did not quite understand the appointment concept. Needless to say, my nails were always looking hot. Before I left home, I still got up early on Saturday mornings - even earlier - but not to shape up my nails but to shape up my ass. The gym was now the new king of the Saturday morning torture.

Touching up my Revlon Plum Seduction look in my office
My fave polishes are too expensive here - or maybe I should be accurate and say, on no salary, it's too expensive. Paying £10-15 for a nail polish, when one needs to eat is not practical. But I still go into a store and torture myself. I love OPI's virtual polish tester which allows you to see how colours would look against your skin tone. I have read that women, and these days men, with darker skin tones should wear darker colours. I tend to disagree. I love nudes, though you have to know which nudes to wear so you don't look hood-rattish. But a perfect example of a fantastic darker shade would be Revlon's Plum Seduction, which I love love love and miss miss miss. With 15 minutes before we left for the airport back in September, I was not tearing up or hugging relatives goodbye. I was on my knees, looking under the bed for my bottle of Plum Seduction. Never found it. Gutted. It costs £7.50 here. Again, the food concept supersedes that £7.50 for nail polish.

Photo: M.A.C.
My other beauty confession. I don't wear lipstick. Ever. I don't even own a lipstick. My mother had bought me a Sacha lipstick many moons ago and I used to wear it regularly but I always got bored with having to fix lipstick during the day. Now I just don't wear it. Not even to parties or formal events. Never. It may be almost scandalous as a woman and a self-proclaimed -nista to say that, but it's true. Not even M.A.C.could make me wear lipstick. I think what always stuck in my mind was getting ready for a wedding at age 11 and someone thinking it would be cute to put lipstick on an 11 yr old, but I was still a baby and my Angelina Jolie lips were not at the sexy, sensuous stage, but just a nuisance. An aunt remarked that my lips were too big for lipstick. That sealed the deal for me. I never really appreciated lipstick much after that, even with my body and age catching up with my gorgeous lips. Furthermore, I love a dramatic eye, and you cannot or should not do a dramatic eye, with dramatic lips. The eyes win.

Bare Escentuals Rose lipgloss and
Cargo's lipgloss duo - Walla Walla
But I am a slave to lip gloss. The ones I use on the regular are Bare Escentuals in Rose, and Cargo's Walla Walla duo. One of the many reasons I go to Sephora - to stock up on my lip gloss. I have found it rather challenging here though because in winter my lips, even with copious amounts of Vaseline lip balm with cocoa butter, were cracked and peeling. What a nightmare.  One thing I kick myself for not putting in my bag was my very useful and almost essential Jamieson's Vitamin E oil. On many a dry skin and lips night, this would have come in so handy. I hope I have not aged so much already from winter and from late nights and assignments that I cannot recreate youth at some point.

I had planned to go to Oxford Street today but just not in the mood. Window shopping loses its allure when in reality you really cannot hope to buy anything. The M.A.C. store is like a behemoth of envy and desire and torment. Best to stay home - be productive. It is after all why I am going through all these diva sacrifices - to get a degree, isn't it?

Cooking, while Coding

On Sunday morning, at 2 o'clock, I was in the kitchen. Cooking. I was working on an assignment - coding in qualitative data analysis - but knew I needed to get cooking out of the way so that when I resurfaced later that afternoon, I would not have to face an hour or so at the stove, but a mere 3 minutes with the microwave. Student life.

I was really in the mood for pelau but while I love cooking it, as it is an easy one pot meal, I hate cleaning and cutting raw chicken. I guess I could have gone to a market and let the butchers do all that but I am pretty anal when it comes to chicken. I like to clean the fat off myself - for peace of mind. I also hate markets. The smell of raw meat hanging around me is not very appealling. I never liked going to market with my mother, as everything smelled and it was loud and seemed yucky to me. I prefer to spend extra money in a sterile supermarket, where, both here in London and in Trinidad, I buy everything I need - from veggies to chicken to cuts of meat. In any event, the thought of cleaning chicken legs was not an attractive one, so I bought easy to cut pork and decided to do a stew.

I had bought some beautiful pork last week and had cut and seasoned it on Friday morning.

The onions and garlic were welcome smells, along with the peppers and herbs.

I was going to use it to make a stew with some potatoes, and add it to a seasoned veggie rice. I used fresh carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, parsley, and broccoli for the rice.

I also like boiling my rice with a bit of saffron to make it a pretty yellow.

Peeled and cut my potatoes for my stew.

Stir fried my veggies in EVOO, starting with the onions and carrots and herbs, and adding the broccoli near the end, before adding the rice.

Watched Law and Order while the entire thing was cooking, washed up, finished my assignment, put everything in the fridge and went to bed at 11am. Woke up at 5pm and uncovered my plated lunch, heated it - nu fuss, no muss. And in the end, I added some garlic bread to the finished product. And a glass of white wine. It was really lovely.

One thing I have not done since being here was baking. I get the urge sometimes but usually satisfy my craving at the supermarket's in-store bakery. But they don't have cheese puffs and as you know, I am a cheese puff lover - so who knows? Heading to the bakery now actually..ta ta.

Nothing to Do

Nothing to do? Not really. But sounds good.
I have nothing to do.

This is not true. I have loads to do. Craploads to do. But when you don't have the crush of a deadline around your neck, it is easier to deal with life. I have to really really really start focusing on my dissertation. I have my supervisor and a general idea of the topic(s) but time to get specific. Yesterday's lecture was the first time since being here that I had a bit of a worrisome feeling about an assignment. This dissertation is going to be killer.

But I can watch tv this morning...in my socks, without feeling guilty about the assignment on my bed. I can blog without feeling guilty about doing so. I can laze in the bath, maybe listen to some music. I will still read academic journals and go crazy with stickies on Adobe Reader (best feature ever, Adobe!!!) but there is no pressure (yet). I just have to ensure that I don't become too complacent to the point where time passes and there is in fact pressure.

I may take the train to Oxford Street this week and just walk aimlessly through London - cause that is what we do. Students. With a wee bit of time. And have a coffee or lunch date on Saturday - cause that is what we do. But going to read today.

I'm starving. Going to get some breakfast but I don't have any coffee in the house. Dilemma. No...major crisis. But...not going to change out of my silk pyjamas either to run to the store. Dilemma.

THIS is when not having some poor sod on speed dial to get you stuff is a real headache. Stuff like warm pastries and coffee for lazy Tuesday breakfast while I watch Giuliana & Bill!!!

But at least I got these yesterday. :-)

Purty purty flowers...

I was one of those silly people on the train yesterday afternoon. And that was very amusing to me, but very sweet and smile-inducing.

Love is Bigger than a Box of Chocolates

It's been another tedious weekend. I finished my assignment at 9.30am or so. I was cooking this morning at 2am. Showering and then cleaning my room at 5am. It's crazy. I am now settled in bed with True Grit as part of my Sunday decompression and a glass of wine.

I guess everyone is excited for Valentine's Day tomorrow but it's just another day for retailers to dig out people eye (Trini spk). I am sure I will be bombarded by roses and chocolates on the trains tomorrow afternoon, which is fine. It's just the PDAs I can do without out.

But I am a really solid believer that if you're going to spend money to prove you love someone, which in itself is really ridiculous, do it so it helps someone else. Join (RED) has some really fantastic brand partners, and awesome red products which will be perfect for your honey, and help in the fight against HIV/AIDS as well.

Visit http://www.joinred.com/ and support love, AND the fight against HIV/AIDS
These were my top picks for Valentine's Day

I love that these are products people may actually want to be seen in - by established brands. It's often hard for causes to gain traction when the novelty items are cheap and irrelevant to daily life. That may sound awful but I prefer to donate my time or just the funds to a cause, rather than have an entire drawer filled with cheap knick knacks I will never use.  My dad falls for it every time - he has loads of seashell ornaments and homemade cards at home. Cute and sentimental but clutter. Take the money, keep the gift.

But what is hotter than a red Amex card (well, besides a black Amex card), or a red Netbook or that hot ruby faced Emporio Armani watch? Knowing that your money is going towards something worthwhile.

As usual, noone pays me to plug these things - they should - but in this case, it's a freebie. I am loving those Emporio Armani sunglasses like woah.

Love to everyone. Not at full capacity today.

In the Real World, 5pm is usually Happy Hour

4.45pm. You're sitting chatting with your homie on Facebook - laughing, carefree, animated. Laughing over the Jeopardy video that has had you laughing all day (I have embedded it below)
4.52pm. Your eyes dart from your mobile phone, to the laptop clock, to the alarm clock on your nightstand, to the online alarm you set this morning.
4.55pm - You close the FB conversation so you can focus your attention 100% to the task at hand. Steely determination and focus!
4.57pm - 89 other hopefuls around London are glued to their laptops and library monitor screens, just waiting and praying
4.59 pm - You start clicking on the link in case your clocks are all frickin' slow.
5.00pm - You're still clicking until....there it is...the link that says SIGN UP NOW.

You click.
You're in.
You have signed up.
Success. Is. Yours.

Cartwheels and happy dance.

You have gotten your first choice of dissertation supervisor. lol.

Never in my entire frickin' life has something so un-fun been so damn exciting and somewhat nerve wracking. The above is a true story and not a joke. At 5pm, the entire Marketing class of 2010-2011 waited by their technology to sign up for the man or woman who would either make their postgraduate lives a relief or a nightmare. I can tell you my nightmare is just being here, in school, poor and un-divaesque. Adding a crappy supervisor to the ordeal was really NOT an option. I sat here in my silk PJs, praying to the broadband gods that BT did not pull an internet stunt today of all days. But I was most prepared to sprint up the street to the cyber cafe and rough up somebody's boy chile, body slam him to the ground and close down his porn videos, to get at one of the computers there to make this sign up thing happen.

Speed dialing has nothing on this dissertation sign up process. In less than maybe 8 seconds, the supervisor spaces were filled. Poor you if you did not get there in time. It's not the best system but I recall my undergrad dissertation process. Ummm...there was none. You were told, "Hey you worthless undergrad, this is your supervisor. Enjoy." Luckily for me, my supervisor was awesome. Having the opportunity to sign up for the person you think might suit your dissertation needs best is a privilege, lemme tell ya.

Now that this is over, I can get back to what I was doing before. I am done crying (see below) and done eating, and maybe I can start working.

By the way...what's a ho?

I am a Hot, Doggy Mess

Richard Gere and the little Akita pup, in Hachi
I always put the tv on when having a meal. I usually put it on on BBC or a channel I know I would not get glued to, so when I am done eating I can get back to work. But it was still on one of the movie channels after I watched the end of Valentine's Day this morning (go figure) and Hachi - A Dog's Tale was on. Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love dogs. And there has not been a dog movie yet that has not made me cry. So I said to myself after sitting with my sandwich and my apple pie - bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea.

But it was too late. I always already glued to it. And I was hooked. And like every other dog movie, I bawled. It is really something else - the genre that never fails to make me cry. I sat there crying over my apple pie - no, bawling. Thank God I was home alone. The movie was so sad. Oh my gosh. If you have not seen it yet, do! Really incredible and based on a true story. Hachi also reminded me of my own dog who we lost some time ago. It's just bloody sad all round, dammit. I am now a flaming hot mess, and need to probably go read the news or about Lindsay Lohan to make me all cynical and bitter again so I can get on with it.

Why can't people be like dogs? When women say men are dogs, it is such an insult to the dog, because they are loving and loyal creatures.

I really miss having a dog.

Going to compose myself and get back to work. I may be back but really had to share.

Working It Out

Ah yes. Another day. It was sunny the past couple days but lucky me, I woke up and headed to class amidst grey and rain. So a friend asked me if I had been getting any exercise since being here since as most of my early entries on this blog were all about fitness and gym adventures and my daily efforts at the sweat shop to stall frumpiness and keep my awesome ass in shape. Well, while I do not have a gym membership here, this was my answer to her.

My day, when I have a 9am class, goes something like this:

  • 5.15 - wake up...hustle a 'fresh. (take a quick shower)
  • 6.30 - leave the house to catch the 6.34 bus. It is a 7-8 min walk. lol. It becomes a near sprint.
  • 6.36 - see the 6.34 bus driving by...I cuss the driver even though it is my fault
  • 6.37 - run my ass like Usain to catch the bus behind it...thank him kindly for waiting
  • 6.45:57 - run like ass from the bus stop to the train station to catch the 6.47 train...breathless. I usually miss this train by the way, so my running is usually for nothing, so I have lately, just stopped running
  • 6.56 - run like ass up the stairs and up the ramp and down the stairs again, to catch my second train
  • 7.09 - speed walk up the ramp then speed walk maybe another 1500m , then run like ass either down the escalator or the stairs, and then run like ass the last 200m to catch the last train for the morning
  • 7.34 - get to my university town...go to Tesco for water or whatever
  • 7.36 - see the bus turning the corner...run like ass to catch it or risk standing in the cold for a next 15 mins
  • 7.something - walk to class

Exercise. What's that? lol. It may not be as effective as my 2 hour workouts at the gym but they keep the  hips from spreading to massive proportions and that ramp walk at Waterloo really works the glutes. lol.

God..this is nasty! Stop!
In other travel news and in keeping with my V-Day trend until Monday, I am all for love and people being in love and wanting to show their partner they love them and all, but do all that at home. I was unfortunate enough to have to sit behind a most nauseating Middle Eastern couple who kissed all the way to our final destination. Maybe they were not Muslim, but if they were, they were showing the world they could PDA with the rest of us. It was full blown lovin'. Not just little love bites, but amateur smacking - *smack smack spit smack*. It was really disgusting. What was worse was the fact that the train was full and I had nowhere else to go, so I sat there and suffered in silence. I mean, I always believe that when people behave in this manner in public it has to be one of a few things

1. As Trinis would say, they "never-see-come-see" or "never-expect" which basically means, it's like they never had a man or a woman and never expected to have one, so when they get one, the world has to know. Buddy, the chick ain't all that...keep that on the down-low.

2. It's not YOUR man or woman. It's someone's wife or husband you be smackin' on. I remember taking a taxi as a 16 yr old and in my school uniform and a couple in the backseat with me could not be bothered that a young, impressionable person, in her school uniform no less was next to them - they kissed it up the entire way. My innocence - tarnished forever especially as I later found out the woman was married...not to Casanova in the car but to another poor sucker.

3. You live with your mama and have nowhere else to take your woman to snog it up. Well, hotels can work too. Not the train. Please.

PDAs are not cool. They can be, if done tastefully, and you may even get an "awwwww" from me, but not when it's a slobbering, greedy, desperate mess. Spare us. Spare me. Please.

Kinky? Nerdy? Crazy? What's YOUR Love Niche?

I'm hoping that the sneezing and sniffles which have been plaguing me since yesterday are the result of some sort of allergy. I would hate to think that it was the cold or flu again. Not again.

So I have decided to do some fun stuff around one of the most ridiculous days in the year - Valentine's Day. And I happened to run across an iVillage slideshow about love niche sites - sites that cater for whatever your fetish may be when it comes to love.

  • So you may be looking for a sugar daddy, then this site is for you.
  • Some women love the sound of a man with an accent, specifically, the British accent. Look no further, just go here to meet the British bloke of your dreams.
  • Or you may be a cancer survivor whose victory over the disease scares some men off. There is an actual site for cancer survivors and the men/women who will love them no matter what. 
  • Lately, though my personal "preference" if you may, is the sugar daddy type (lol), I seem to be unconsciously channelling my inner cougar. However, I will not be visiting this site. 
  • Maybe you're a single mother, whose kids are a major turn off for prospective suitors. Then, visit this site, where men don't care that you come with "baggage" in the form of cute cherubs.

Photo: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
But the piece de resistance, even after seeing sites for women who want a man in uniform, or a love matches for tree huggers, the winner of them all was the site - Meet An Inmate. I kid you not. Meet An Inmate. Meet a frickin' inmate!!!!

Across America or the world for that matter, there are men and women lonely enough to register a profile to meet a convicted felon. Who does this? I mean, sure...everyone needs love, but really?  The profiles on this site are great. One guy's profile photo is from when he was clearly in his 20s but his listed age is 65 - hmmm...does not sound like he's in there for grand larceny! Life sentence perhaps? Watch Law and Order much? Oh, but wait...he's eligible for parole soon. Lucky you.

But I won't even lie to you - I know someone who met a man who was in prison and planned on marrying him so she could stay in the U.S lol. This world we live in - so damn amusing. So if you're hard up and really on the brink on Monday, find your love niche! lol. You never know who may be out there in a retirement home, high school or a holding cell, waiting...for you.

Check out the complete slideshow here because there were lots more.

Singing in the Rain

Matthew Bellamy, lead singer of one of my
fave bands ever, Muse
After drinking way too much wine last night, I slept like a stone. I slept too well in fact. I even had dreams. I dreamt I was having a duet with Matt Bellamy. We were singing Butterflies and Hurricanes. It was a great dream. He may be skinny and nashy looking, but I love his voice and I am quite distraught that he is with Kate Hudson - singing all our songs to her! But anyway...I listened to Muse on my MP3 player for the rest of the morning.

But it's all my soul's way of saying I need to have a good rattle in the shower or somewhere. The best...literally the BEST part of my day used to be driving to and from work. Not that I enjoyed waking up at 3am and driving to work at 5am to beat rush hour traffic, or sitting in 2 hours worth of vehicular congestion after work every afternoon. Nope. It was the best part of my day because, locked in my car, with my windows up, my a/c on and my CD player whirring, I would sing my heart out on the entire journey. I remember a co-worker coming to work one day and saying he saw me on the highway, in my car, with the biggest smile on my face, while everyone else looked vexed and sour in the traffic. Why? I was with my tunes.

I really miss that. Can't really sing my heart out on the train. Not even in the shower. These chicken coops they call houses, man. It reminds me of my parents' house before we moved into the "mansion". The houses were all so close together, you could hear the neighbour when he brushed his teeth or flushed the toilet. So to an 8 year old girl, moving to this big, new house that my parents had built just for us, with all this space and at least 200m between neighbours - now you know why 8-yr old me called it the mansion. But I would not even try to sing in the shower here. I do actually hear the toilets when they flush on one side of me. Not to mention, this is a neighbourhood, where the neighbour comes over every couple of months to apologise for the dog barking. The dog, as you know by now is my favourite of all the beings on the street, and is so cute. How could anyone hate a face like that? Besides, dogs bark.  Why apologise? It's not as if he barks all night. This dude was so sincere and so sorry for the dog barking that I knew then and there I was never going to enjoy a shower again because I could not sing as I would like. Believe me, I would not be knocking on people's doors to apologise for my singing. Besides that, my showers are pretty early especially when I have a 9am class, so yeah...a barking dog would be the least of the neighbours' worries. Repressed. That is how I feel. Repressed.

But I miss it. I tried singing at the train station, but the guy next to me looked at me like I was on drugs. But then Londoners look at you like that even when you say "good morning". Odd people they are.

Sharing my Matt love...he's best when he's live. I hope Muse will have a concert here while I am still here. Kate is a lucky gal. See guys...you don't need to be hot looking. You just need to be a rock star to get the pretty girls.

127 Hours

James Franco (left) and Aron Ralston (right)
Two things stood out in my mind as I readied myself to watch 127 Hours this evening. First, if Aron Ralston could have survived cutting his own arm off, with a dull knife, then I could survive watching James Franco playing Aron Ralston cutting his own arm off. Second, the video where James' grandma said anyone who could not sit through the gritty scene was a p...y. lol. If granny could stand it, then so would I.

That is what I told myself after 24 minutes of 127 Hours, after the rock pinned James Franco's Aron inside the canyon. It was a wow. I enjoyed the movie. Unlike Castaway which was wrong on so many levels to me, the main one being the mere fact that I was forced to watch Tom Hanks and Tom Hanks alone for more than 100 minutes, 127 Hours was gripping. Gritty, gripping. I always love these survival movies - where the human being most go to extreme lengths to survive. Alive was one of those movies that I can watch over and over as well. You see a man drinking his own urine to survive and you wonder if you could do that if that were you. Chances are, you would. Aron Ralston is a brave man and it was a great story. Here  is one part of the segment the real Aron did with Tom Brokaw. This was how I first learnt about him - before the movie was made.

The movie was just right. It was not some campy, sappy ode to the American super hero, probably because it was directed by a Brit. It was a true to life tale, told in a very realistic way, by a great actor. Oscar nom - deserved.

Thank God I don't have to drink my pee today. I have a pinot gris in the fridge and I just celebrated the end of another assignment (which I finished at 8 this morning, without sleeping a wink til it was done - it felt like 127 hours, lemme tell ya) with the rest of the chocolate ice cream. Liverpool beat Chelsea, so there were many happy men in the house, and life is pretty alright on the whole. Not an American football fan, and not interested in the Super Bowl, but enjoy the party anyway, people.

Nutella Day, Doughnuts, Black Swan, Books - Life

It's World Nutella Day today. I have not seen any Nutella mascots in the streets nor was I given any free Nutella when I went to the store this morning. There was a Nutella discount but I did not patronise. I have never had Nutella actually. I love chocolate but never picked up a jar of this stuff. For good reason. I cannot say no to chocolate stuff. My running comment is that I am so brown because I eat so much chocolate. It's true. The Scarlet Ibis, which is our national bird back home in Trinidad, is not born red. They turn red over the course of their lives, from eating the red crabs in the swamp. So my complexion...gotta be the chocolate. lol.

And to prove my point about my love for chocolate - I bought these yesterday, simply because they were chocolate covered.

Thanks to Tesco for these little gems.

They were delicious. There were 20 in the box - all bite-sized, so don't think I ate 9 regular sized doughnuts in one afternoon. lol. An hour ago, there were 3 left. Now, there are none. I know. I am a pig. A sick pig.

My cup is multi-purpose!
Soup, cereal, Haagie...you name it!
I also have some leftover Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream in the freezer. It was on sale in Budgen's when I went to get water  on Sunday (ahem...conspiracy). Half price. I could not just leave it there. Alone. In the Budgens freezer when it could get all warm in my tummy.

So no...Nutella would be overkill on the chocolate. But I wish all the Nutella lovers out there a very happy Nutella Day. There is a World Nutella Day website and loads of Nutella recipes from Nutella freaks around the world. This started off as a tongue-in-cheek ode to Nutella, but I realise some people really take their Nutella seriously. My God!

I was sooooo sick last night that I could not do any work on said assignment and fell asleep while waiting for drugs to work. I woke up over a dead laptop around 6 this morning and then watched Black Swan. I must say, it did not "wow" me. It was good, but it was not "wow". I did not have any real emotional response to it though I will admit Natalie Portman was excellent. My aim was to see 5 of the 10 nominated films for the Best Picture Oscar. I am now on 2, having watched The King's Speech earlier this week. That one made me bawl. That one was WOW. Colin Firth, the ever amazing and not often lauded Colin Firth was wow. So next up...127 Hours. James "Marry Me" Franco. I can't wait. But I need to finish this assignment first - an assignment I realised I was doing all wrong this morning. Still not feeling so hot, but tomorrow Liverpool play Chelsea and that is a BIG game with all the Torres drama and all the Torres haters wanting to see him flop etc. And on a regular Liverpool match day, this house is a nightmare. I have spied beers and chicken wings and peanuts and that can only mean one thing

The boys are all coming over to watch it. I will not be trying to do this assignment amidst the Reds and Blues melee.

Happy Saturday!

Fabulous Friday...Not

Warning: This blog entry is very lame. I am waiting for my show to download.

London is extra grey today and add some crazy winds, bad stomach pains and exhaustion and the chicks' night out became a chick night in. I am so tired and after a Tesco ready meal of chicken chow mein, some orange juice and some meds, I am tucked in under the covers - at 5.23pm. Oh sure I have set the "assignment wake up call" alarm but this is as good as it gets this Friday evening, especially based on how I feel physically at the moment. It's not a great feeling. So red light district this is not. But it does not get better than this for me. The party is here. In this bed. With a heated sweater and fluffy socks. And mini doughnuts. I feel better already!

And even better - cheese!

Thanks to smashing Shala for the cheese delivery, straight from New Zealand via Trinidad. I saw the Sainsbury's British cheddar cheese shed a tear as I placed this magnificent block of "down under" goodness in the top drawer of the fridge. It takes very little to make me happy. It was also nice to hang out with the Shals today and catch up.

Streaming last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy, and then I will take a much needed nap and hopefully wake up feeling inspired to work on this assignment. That's a big "hopefully".

Sorry this was not more exciting than this but life happens.

No Paparazzi, please

There are the cute blue heels that are my avatar.
I am really tickled to be one of the Editor's Picks on Bloggers.com today. I mean, there is no red carpet, no flash bulbs, no prize money (the worst part...lol), but it's cute. So yaay me.

It's pretty amusing to realise 1). how many people actually read my nonsense, 2). how many people actually enjoy reading my nonsense and 3). how much I enjoy writing my nonsense. It is the one part of my day that is not frustrating, and is completely mine.

So thanks to everybody who ensures it is not a solitary experience.

Sephora, Florence, Italy - I had a time in here
Almost every day I get my email from Sephora, torturing me with the specials and sales, and I ask again, Why isn't there a Sephora in London? I mean, y'all taking this Britishness thing too damn far, man. I cannot get NZ cheese. I cannot get American Cheerios (I don't like the Cheerios here - half sweet, half plain, in one box. Gimme 100% PLAIN Cheerios!!! OMG!). And now I cannot get Sephora? Every trip to Miami, the PT and I must hit up Sephora. New York - Sephora. I made it a point to visit Sephora in both Paris and Florence cause it is just one of my favourite shops ever. London - great capital, home of the queen. Why? Why?

Maybe it is for the best since I can barely afford food, and have to resort to getting excited in Boots. Needless to say, I needed a toner and bought one from Boots - a Boots brand and I selected it after reading the reviews, because let's face it, if I was going to buy a toner for under £2, I wanted to make sure it was not going to set my face on fire or burn off my eyebrows. Really one cannot go wrong with witch hazel and tea tree oil.  I had never had a toner that was a blend of both and never used a cheap toner either, but kudos to Boots for this godsend product. Easy on the skin and easy on the pocket. It is as good as a toner can get. Take the free plug, Boots.

A winning beauty combination, ladies. On a budget!
Of course I also got my Mudd facial mask and it really does give a boost of beauty confidence. How I survived this long with just soap and water, and my L'Oreal scrubby wubby is a miracle. I am now leaving it for "special" occasions, which means I may never use it again. Kidding kidding.

Still, Boots is no Sephora. Let's just keep it real now. I am glad I had the presence of mind to pack at least 6 months' supply, though it might really be 8, of cosmetics for black, tropical skin, or I would be a hot, nashy mess. It was a funny story at lunch on Sunday, about a black girl who was using a brand that shall remain nameless, bought here in London, and thought she was swanky, until she went back home to her black friends, and everyone asked her what on earth she was using to be looking so grey. lol. The darkest products here were clearly not dark enough for her but funny that noone thought it would be nice to tell her this. I guess they thought her face was grey? lol. Thank God for Pennywise - the Trini Boots - and my stocks. Looking grey is not an option. Funny that there are so many black people here and still a dearth in GOOD black beauty supplies (emphasis on "good"). Hmmm.

I'm working on my second assignment. As I said before, blogging is the only time I am not frustrated or vexed. lol

Celebrating my Inner Indian

To say I love Indian food would be an understatement. I love ah curry. So when my girlfriend gave me an opportunity to get out of the house on Sunday after I had finished my assignment, I jumped at the chance to make a suggestion. The main reason was I was too tired to go into Central London, but it sure did not hurt that the closest decent eating establishment was an Indian restaurant.

I had been taken here before on a date and though the date itself was a bust (a trend here, let me assure you), the food was superb and it's nice having a place I could get to with just a bus ride...and not a gazillion train changes.

The service at Babur's is really great. They always make you feel right at home. I was not aware of the Sunday buffet but it was as good as the a la carte and I tried everything - literally. lol. The best was the coconut curry lamb. Having had lamb on Friday evening, I did not want to go overboard with this fatty meat again today but it was delectable. Add the company of Trini girlfriends,  and the knowledge that the assignment was well and truly finished, and it was a perfect Sunday.

Justa few steps away from the
Clapham North station
Fast forward to Tuesday and despite the great curry extravaganza on Sunday, nothing really ever beats a Trini curry. I had been lusting for a roti for days and the buffet on Sunday did not appease my craving. So I got up this morning, got ready and jumped on the train to Clapham North...to Roti Joupa. Two train rides, one half hour wait for the train back and a walk in the rain, just for a roti? Hell yes!

Roti Joupa. I have been here when on vacation. This is not fine dining. Don't expect to go here and meet a maitre d' at the door, in a butler-esque uniform. Don't even expect tables. There is a counter and some stools for those who cannot wait to get home to dive into their meal, but that's the extent of it. It's a typical rotu shop setting.

Admittedly, in my opinion, and as a curry connoisseur, it is not THE BEST curry I have ever had, but in a city where bangers and mash and fish and chips are king, I will take anything. I was on the brink of a Trini curry meltdown so I ordered everything. Paratha, curried channa (chickpeas), curried aloo (potato), curried goat (goat...lol), with some kuchela on the side (will have to wiki an explanation for kuchela, but it's like pickled, peppered mango...it's great!). While waiting, I also ordered some pholourie which hit the spot like a brick. I almost fell off the stool, it was so good. I just find they very light-handed with the meat though. Not impressed. But...

I am a happy Trini. Satiated. Curried out? Maybe not. But until I make the time to make my own version of the above, this was as good as it got and on a rainy day in London (what else is new?), this was pretty damn good.

I found this video while googling kuchela...hilarious. My Trini people.

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