Saturday, 31 October 2009


It's been wonderful as many of my friends from round the world have flying in (on broomsticks) to say hello and Maisy & Mittens (the black/white kittens) have been hissing in a very non-aggressive way! It's their day after all ...!

And yes - we have savaged a pumpkin ... and mutilated a chicken (roasted with some garlic butter) ...

What fun! I love Hallowe'en as it means The Simpsons special! whoooooooo!

Song of the Day: Thriller - Michael Jackson (of course!)

Weather: Ghoulish

pretty in orange

Friday, 30 October 2009

Did you know that it's the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz? I only found this out when I was molested by a coven of witches "trick or treating" this evening on the way to catch the train! They were all sooo ugly ...

Yes - Halloween is here! I have friends in Chicago who are charging their brooms for a flying display - pumpkin patch parents in Vancouver and "bah humbug" (is there such a thing on 'ween?) in LA. I have a pumpkin which I am going to murder tomorrow!!!

OK - at 2 am I woke and scoffed a dreamy & creamy cupcake! After a mild heart attack I got back to sleep ... awoke early ... checked out of my hotel and walked for 90 minutes to the edit suite! South Kensington to Soho. It was a fabulous walk ... the weather was lovely ... the Blackberry was charged and full of music ... it was HEAVEN! I was a wee late in the edit as I stopped to take photos.

The Chicago show is starting to look great ... not that I was ever worried. The ONLY issue is the karaoke piece - which I am tempted to drop as my singing is akin to a cat in pain. Truly awful ... Richard finds it funny though .. so it will stay ... I may have to give earplugs away! ha!

The weekend is here! Wahoooo!

Song of the Day: Nothing Compares to U - Sinead O'Connor (written by Prince)

Weather: A beautiful Autumn London day ...

cake ... from ellie ... yum
hotel ... at night ...
journey to work
natural history museum
up. up and almost away
more pottering
the most beautiful building in london
pigs in space
a morning trot
the albert memorial
no time for shopping

richard cries in pain

Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's half-term here in England, so London is overrun with small people ... all in a hurry ... all hungry and all heading my way ... South Kensington ...

South Ken. is home to the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V&A ... so on school holidays it's jam-packed with littl'uns and parents hoping to see a Moon rocket, a dinosaur bone or a classic Vivienne Westwood design. It's also home to The Kensington Hotel - which was introduced to me a couple of weeks ago on a crazy night out ...

It opened on 1st April of this year after a major refurbishment. It's basically 4 Georgian townhouses turned into one 150-room & suite property in a leafy and swanky part of town. Because of listed building rules & regulations not allowing walls to be removed, the corridors are rather narrow but the rooms have high ceilings and actually are quite large and character-filled. The hotel is part of the Doyle Collection - which was once Jurys-Doyle ... which it would be fair to say was not really "luxury". However The Kensington (at least) is a far cry from the J-D days ... it's elegant & sophisticated AND it's pup friendly ... which is always a bonus!

The list of properties I like in London is short ... but this one may join it ...

My Suite 123 is as in the photos below ... one thing that makes me laugh (in a naughty way!) ... the 4-poster bed was designed by Julien Chichester ... and there's a mirror instead of a headboard ... it beats a mirror on the ceiling I suppose ...

I am spending just one night here -- but have already met the General Manager, an affable Irishman, Garreth Walsh and the Sales Manager (my buddy) Ellie. I had a good chicken sandwich at lunch and got to see the gym which I will try out in the morning.

Anyway, a lovely day in London - lots of walking, drinking chai lattes, seeing friends and meetings. I am off for a cigar now - tomorrow sees the start of the Chicago-show editing.

Song of the Day: Buffalo Girls - Malcolm McLaren

Weather: An Indian Summer?

halloween in london --- bubble, bubble. toil & trouble ...

really? in pimlico?

ellie cleary of the kensington

4-poster bed

lovely bathroom ...

& shower

mirror on the headboard (pink champagne on ice ....)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

So - more strikes planned here in the UK. British Airways is poised to come to a halt at Xmas and the Post Office strike grinds on ... So today I was offered a "new" service - telegram! If I book a telegram ... it will be received anywhere in the world within 12 hours! It's very expensive but great fun ...

"Hello ... stop ... how are you? ... stop ... what's the weather like? stop ...". I may try this out on an unsuspecting New Zealander tomorrow!!

So, it's nearly Halloween. I don't have a party to go to ... so I will dress up and stay at home ... boohoo. I do know a few ladies around the world who don't need to dress up, can hop up on their broomsticks and maybe pay me a visit ... and turn me into a frog maybe! Ha!

And yes, I did go to the gym today ...!

Song of the Day: She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals

Weather: Fine

the pumpkin patch by walt curlee -- nice ...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

According to The Times (and it's a Rupert Murdoch newspaper, so it MUST be accurate...!), Monday 26th October was the "least productive" day of the year ... well, I did rather well yesterday and did almost as well today ... so The Times can as the great Bartholomew J Simpson says "Eat my shorts" ...

Actually I have enrolled into a gym ... even though I will be hardly ever here to use it, at least I will have an escape if needed. It's small ... has a pool ... and has only 100 members ... NO EXCUSES. I actually lost 3 stones of weight in 3 months a couple of years back - that's 19 kgs ... I only want to lose 12 kgs this time so I have set myself until March 1st 2010 to be able to fit in a rather nice pair of trousers I recently bought on impulse ... damn you Social Suicide!

No more hotel "club sandwiches" or yummy pizza ... or maybe just small portions ...

Have finally chosen the 12 locations for next year's series of shows ... and it's a LOT of travelling! I can't wait!

Song of the Day: Jennifer She Said - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

Weather: Interesting

el barto

Monday, 26 October 2009

So today was all about doing all the things I hate because if I don't do them I will get yelled at by accountants, lawyers & producers.

Therefore today was all about VAT returns, expenses, receipts, paying bills, chasing invoices and writing scripts ... I waste a lot of money on clothes and food! Note to self ... stop it!

Tomorrow - more of the same ... ugh ... Now I know why the Boomtown Rats hated Mondays ...

Song of the Day: Always On My Mind - The King

Weather: Odd

the king looks as bored as i am ....

Sunday, 25 October 2009

It's only 6.30 pm ... and it's SO dark outside, it's positively scary!

Clocks went back an hour in the UK early this morning ... so an extra hour in bed.

I am pleased that Moo is feeling MUCH, MUCH better today - I was getting very worried there.

A bit of a nothing day today I'm afraid but with a busy week ahead - I am grateful for it.

If last night was anything to go by, the stars will look beautiful tonight...

Song of the Day: Sunny - Bobby Hebb

Weather: Quite Autumnal

the view outside now
later (i wish)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A somewhat lazy day. Gemima the Pooch has not been feeling well, so I have been tending to her.

I sold my rowing machine (concept-2) as I never really used it ... and instead have joined a gym! I have also decided that in 2011, I will run another Marathon ... New York, Boston, Chicago or London ... and will try do it under 4 hours ... After last time, I did say "never again" but I need another goal in my life, so this is it! Does ANYONE fancy joining me?

First step ... lose a wee bit of weight! The problem is that filming in hi-definition, you don't "gain" weight (as you do with digital television), you look like you really are ... and for me at the moment, it's NOT a look I like!

The rain did eventually stop today ... but it was dark by 6 pm. With the clocks going back an hour here in England, it's going to get darker ... sooner ...

Song of the Day: Keep on Running - Spencer Davis Group

Weather: Changeable

last time ...

Friday, 23 October 2009

I slept 15 hours last night! I was - obviously - exhausted from the whole Chicago trip and flight home! But what fun the eleven days were ...

I was extra lucky as The Elysian hotel very kindly let me borrow a buckwheat pillow (which I infused with lavender oil) as this really did help me sleep my few hours every night in Chicago -quite fitfully actually. I have one of those pillows at home too .... mmmmmm ....

OK - so today has been catching up on mail, email, letters and phone calls. I have not had a minute spare. Next stops are Hong Kong, Oman, Thailand and New York which has been postponed until early January ...

The news here in the UK has been dominated by the BNP (a right-wing racist, facist political party) which was given a platform on BBC television last night. I was shocked to find today that I had Facebook and Twitter "friends" who have BNP friends ... purge purge! What a world we live in, eh?

Anyway, I wonder what joys the weekend will bring ...

Song of the Day: Do the Bartman - Bartholomew J Simpson

Weather: Sunshine and showers ...

the moo modelling gift from bridget at the elysian

a real moo (gucci) from the talbott hotel

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Back in England.

Flight was quite painless - mainly due to a large portion of help from Chef Trotter who ensured I turned left not right on entering the plane! He has designed the menus for United in the premium cabins ... and the mahi-mahi "sold out" as the Number 1 choice ...

I am exhausted so sleep is high on the list of priorities for the next few days/weeks.

The next "official" filming locations are Oman, Thailand and New York but there are a couple of other long-haul destinations planned before that ... yay!Have passport - will travel!

Tune of the Day: Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin

Weather: Fluffy clouds ...

dinosaur at chicago airport
an underground light & music show on the way to terminal "c"
back in the uk

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

So - I am leaving Chicago in just a couple of hours.

Yesterday was my day-off. I had lunch with a lovely new friend, wandered about, took in the Tribune Building again (!), shopped and smiled a lot. The sun shone ... no breeze ... perfect! Tea at The Peninsula with Susan was a treat ... chai tea ... yum ... Escada models ... yum ... yumyum!

Last night was a REAL culinary treat. Chef Trotter & (Chef-lette Rochelle) took myself & a friend (Emily, a very talented Chicagoan interior designer) out to dinner at Table 52 - which is run by Art Smith and specialises in "southern" cuisine. It was a private dinner and Art ensured that we were looked after very well. The four of us had a GREAT time ... an evening I will remember for a very, very long time. Its really great to see that Chicago has world-reknowned chefs who are NOT pretentious, arrogant and smug ... the likes of Ramsay & Oliver should take note ...

This morning I popped into The Elysian for breakfast with lovely Bridget ... and on the way back to The Talbott, bumped into the GM Troy Strand and his pup Winston! What a lovely sight ...

Oh Chicago! What a FABULOUS city! Love it, love it ... LOVE IT!

The show is really dedicated to Kim, Cece & Fin ... who all made me feel so loved and helped the whole show along! I now have a real Chicago family (oh, OK Randy-dude ... you too!)...

Next stop for filming, Oman and Thailand.

Song of the Day: Champagne & Reefer - Muddy Waters

Weather: Stunning

table 52
the hotel

troy & winston

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Woke up early ... to find the sun shining outside! It would be another lovely day here in Chicago.

The boys have arrived back home in London ... tired ... I do that journey tomorrow.

So - I have done very little today. Breakfast was with The Talbott's lovely GM - Troy Strand. The hotel has 149 rooms & suites ... and I have a 1-bedroom on the 4th floor overlooking the street. The Talbott reminds me of The Mark in NYC (pre-2007) and The Milestone in London ... it's very comforting and homely. I am very happy here. The hotel is just a block away from The Elysian and couple from The Peninsula.

So - did some shopping ... did some eating ... did some tea ... did some walking ... did some sight-seeing ... did some chattering ... did some snoozing ...

Chicago has gone Victoria's Secret crazy as the new "superstore" officially opens on Thursday. I am not a fan - now, Agent Provocateur - THAT rocks!

Last day here in Chicago tomorrow. Tonight should be fun!

Song of the Day: Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs

Weather: Pleasant

the talbott
for tim ...
there's a moo in the room

bedroom (with signet - glenmorangie to hand)
bathroom (bath, shower ... 2 basins)
lounge (+ television, wet-bar, desk and warmth)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Greetings from The Talbott Hotel in Chicago.

Tim & Jimmy are on their way home while I check out this lovely hotel on East Delaware Place.

So last night we wrapped up filming at The Peninsula on the balcony with a cigar and a drink.

So on travelling down to breakfast in the elevator, I was surrounded by the tallest people I had ever met! They were all members of a Floridian professional basketball team. They were very polite ... unlike many people I have met recently.

This morning we headed off to Montopoli in Dearborn. The tailor here - Jeff Landis - has been in the business for 20 years. His "boutique" is very high-end. He turned me from a scruff-ball into a dapper-dan! It WAS a fun morning ...

The boys left me and I checked out ... & in ...

I had dinner with friends at a lovely Japanese - Sunda.

The Chicago show was an undoubted success. I love this City and could easily live here. Everything is "close". Highlights are too many BUT the Art Institute and cooking with Charlie Trotter were excellent experiences. Kim from Moet-Hennessy made our lives very happy ... and the team from ensured that the shoot was smooth and that every resource available WAS available! Thank you guys.

Have a couple of days left to enjoy Chicago!

Now in hotel --- sleep --- two days of relax and review to come up.

Song of the Day: Help - The Beatles

Weather: Bright & sunny & warm

sunset over chicago

with kim in the background
measuring up...
cheers over an XO
the side of The Talbott
dinner with kim and tim

Sunday, 18 October 2009

I wish I had satellite radio in the car in England. Over here - Channel 8 - XM - "80's on 8" plays all my favourite songs and today it was the best of 1985. I did not want to leave the vehicle ..

The weather has been AWESOME! No clouds ... no rain ... not too chilly ... just warm Fall sunshine ... yum!

Anyway - after breakfast - we headed out to The Pooch Hotel. We met up with Maggie Fulghum - the GM - and her two babies, Bear and Rocco. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool (30 feet), spa, kitchen, treadmill ... exercise areas - one for big pups and one for small ones - and suites of course. We toured the hotel and I even got to stay in the Presidential Suite with Bear sleeping on the bed ... awesome! It's a fabulous property and was quite full with happy, smiley and non-aggressive pups!

Next up we headed to the Chicago Yacht Club - a private club at the Belmont Station. Lake Michigan in 331 miles and is one of the five "Great Lakes" ... 307 miles long & 118 miles wide - the 2nd largest lake in the world.

I am NOT a sailor! I am not a fan of water ... of any kind! I met up with the sailing school director, the lovely Maggie Lumkes who took me out for a lesson on the lake in a "420" ... we tacked ... and possibly jibed ... and had fun on the water without getting wet! The views of the Chicago skyline are superb!! I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon!

I am staying in Chicago until Wednesday but the boys head home tomorrow. We have one feature to film in the morning ... and a sunrise& sunset to do .... tonight ... curry!

Songs of the Day:
C'est La Vie - Robbie Neville
If You Stay - OMD
Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins
Alive And Kicking - Simple Minds
One Night Love Affair - Bryan Adams
Hooverville - The Christians
Song of the Day:
Cry - Godley & Creme

Weather: Purrrrfect!

fin .. still on my mind
fin's hotel
bear on a treadmill
with rocco
in bear's presidential suite ...
maggie fulghum - the gm - my best report card EVER
chicago skyline
maggie lumkes
out on a 420 - from the chicago yacht club
whooooah! tack ... jibe ... what? what?
phew .....!
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