Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hello Kitty Corner: The Toffee Effect

Boys and girls, today’s topic in Hello Kitty Corner, is Friendship.

Or, if you like, we will call it 'The Toffee Effect’. Taken from an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, 'Patience' (1881),  I leant this valuable life lesson as a kitten, thanks to Mother's incessent playing of the stuff. It goes a little something like this:

Duke. Tell me, Major, are you fond of toffee?
Major. Very!
Colonel. We are all fond of toffee.
All. We are!
Duke. Yes, and toffee in moderation is a capital thing. But to live on toffee - toffee for breakfast, toffee for dinner, toffee for tea - to have it supposed that you care for nothing but toffee, and that you would consider yourself insulted if anything but toffee were offered to you - how would you like that?
Colonel. I can quite believe that, under those circumstances, even toffee would become monotonous.


In continuation of a conversation this morning over latte’s and cuppachino’s at the V&A Waterfront, and in honor of all my fabulously ‘different’ friends who were there to share it with me, I decided to have a Barney moment, write this little blog post and dedicate it to you all.

There are many many sayings I love and live by. Some make more sense than others. Some are just absurd enough not to ignore.
  • 'When the speeding melon hits the wall, it is Christmas time for the crows,' is an all time favorite.
  • '...that which we call a rose
, by any other name would smell as sweet.' (or in the simplified version, 'a rose is a rose is a rose' or something like it.)
  • 'When you sit you stand, but if you stand you can sit,' is right up there.
But one of the older, wiser sayings that re-surfaces time and time again, sometimes in Toffee format, sometimes not, is certainly one of the more useful. We have all heard it before:
  • 'Variety is the Spice of Life’.

This is perhaps never more true than when it is applied to the people you surround yourself with. I believe that the more diverse your friendship groups are, the more colourful and fulfilling your life will be.

Imagine a cookie-cutter world where everyone looks the same, dresses the same, thinks the same, talks the same, acts the same, smells the same, speaks the same, feels the same, has the same favorite singer (Tori Amos), favorite colour (pink), favorite food (mango's), favorite author (Marian Keyes), favorite flavour (caramel), favorite instrament (piano), favorite performer (Britney Spears), favorite person (Husband). Now I'm not saying that my favorites are bad favorites to have, but they're mine! And in this case I'm not interested in sharing. (Sharing is for another Hello Kitty Corner.) So for now, get your own Husband, damnit!

Anyway, the point is, if we were all identical in every possible aspect, either we would have a world-wide Children of the Corn situation (freaky!) or we would be the dullest species ever to have lived.

Lets face it. A bucket full of cumin does not an amazing, delicious, nutritional well balanced meal make. But a beautiful roast, succulent lamb with, among other herbs, a sprinkle of cumin, baby asparagus drizzled with a lemon pepper vinaigrette, rosemary and spring onion grilled roast potatoes, and gentle-glazed carrots with a slightly sugared crust, all expertly made with the prestigious care of hands that are intent on creating an unforgettable culinary experience, now that could possibly be the best meal a person could ever have!

My lovely friend ‘MoonChild’ is the cumin and is out to save mother earth. Another friend ‘I&J’ is the vinaigrette and is intent on making the planet die with laughter. ‘Hell’ is the perfect cut of lamb and just accepts us all as we are, no matter what. ‘Luscious Lulu’ is the garnish, and has the voice and the presence of a Spirit-guide-Goddess. ‘Kitty’ is the roast potatoes and she has the most deliciously deviant mind ever! Little Leopard is the sugar-glaze, curled up right inside my heart, and knows all the hottest tips and coolest cats. ‘Tori’ is the carrots – and filled with elder-sisterly-pure love and guidance for anyone around her. T-man and his man are lemon pepper, and fill our social networks with daily updates of adult entertainment and hilariously-cleaver word plays. ‘Flirty’ is the spring onion, and has the best taste in handbags, the naughtiest stories and the most infectious laugh! And ‘Honey B’ is the rosemary, living life to make everyone around her feel loved and special all the time…There are so many more, all completely different, all completely unique. And together they all make up my perfectly balanced world.

I love you all, my little non-toffee's!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I *heart* my HWB

Yesterday was Winter Solstice here in South Africa – the shortest day and longest night of the year, and officially the middle of winter. All day long, my social networks were bombarded with status updates and tweets from friends longing for their bed, duvets, blankets, log fires, hot chocolate, hot boyfriends, underfloor heating and so on and so forth etc etc. But I would like to suggest that I have found the BEST way to spend a cold winters day: THE HWB.

The HWB is the 'hottest' thing in town. Filled with vintage love, this thing is my new revived favorite item to get me by on these miserable wet and windy days and I highly recommend it to everyone!

I am, of course, talking about the ever faithful Hot Water Bottle.

I love my hot water bottle. No seriously. I L*O*V*E my hot water bottle! But I did not always appreciate its true qualities. Sadly, even though we have history, we spent many years apart. 

When I was a mini-me, Mother used to line up 6 HWB's on the kitchen counter or bathroom vanity and fill them all up in a row.
Each one was written on in black permanent marker with my and my 5 siblings names so that there wouldn’t be any fighting over who’s HWB was who’s. (In a family with so many kids, that kind of thing could cause a mass demonstration violent enough to turn Mother’s headache into something nuclear. And being the smart woman that she is, she knew that prevention was better than cure. Either it was label each HWB, or kill us. And we are all still here today, alive, so her system worked.)

Then when I grew up and left home, my HWB and I kind of drifted apart. At first I had good intentions. I didn't seem to have the time, but kept meaning to use it again. On especially cold nights I would lie in bed and find myself thinking of my HWB. I just never got round to making myself one no matter how cold I was. It lay there in the bottom of my cupboard, hidden under piles of shoes, un-loved, un-appreciated, forgotten. My life was too busy and too full with new fabulousness to be bothered with something so old, so known, so done. ‘Its not the same if Mother isn’t filling it’ was kind of my excuse, but really it was just an attitude problem laced with pure laziness. I was 'too cool' to deal with my cold, and I was too distracted by the Things New and Shiny that are here today and gone tomorow to pay any attention to my dear old HWB, pining away in my past.

Then recently, one of Husband’s closest friends came round, and in her arms was a HWB. Apparantly she really feels the cold, so takes her bottle EVERYWHERE with her! She brought it over to our house when visiting us that day, and sat there hugging it, flaunting her comfortable warmth and not hiding the fact that she was in no way feeling the cold. Even when we were outside around the braai, she took it with her and clung to it. I tried to cover my feelings with mockery, making fun of her and her HWB being so joined at the hip! Even though it was funny to watch, I started to feel something I had forgotten so long ago. HWB's may be Mothers generation, but they are undoubtedly ooooh so cleaver! And then I thought, 'Hey, that HWB is looking pretty good these days! Has it been working out?'

And so, inspired, I rummaged around in the debths of my cupboards, beyond the Spice Girl platform sneakers, past the 'Jellies', and found my old HWB (actually, it was labeled ‘BROTHER’S’ so I guess I somehow eventually managed to swap or steal his…) and started to use it on extremely cold days, but only in places where no one would see me or where I didn't really care what people thought. The office where I used to
work was not that unlike a morgue it was so cold, so I took the old faithful HWB with me there and kept it hidden under my desk on my lap. I soon found that I was one of the only people who didn’t complain about the central heating not working. And there is something so protective and soothing about hugging a hot HWB in a morgue, don’t you think?

Still, the true love had not yet returned. I was mearly flirting with ‘BROTHER'S’ HWB now and again, not fully commiting.

Then one day, while Husband and I were visiting the Natal Midlands for a little get away, I went and got sick. My tummy cramped something AWFUL and the only thing I could think of was to get my hands on a HWB to ease the pain! Husband diligently hunted down a lovely green one for me, and I re-discovered the wonderful healing qualities of the HWB.

HWB didn’t turn its back on me. It didn’t hold the past against me. It didn’t play games with me, making me pay for the years of indifference. No, HWB welcomed me back with open loving arms, and we have been blissfully happy ever since!

I have been with my new HWB ever since, and we have never been happier! We are stronger for the time we spent apart, I think. I bought my HWB a cute little grey-knit cover to celebrate our newly kindled flame, and I will never be cold again.

HWB, I *heart* you forever!

P.S. there are sooooo many adorable HWB covers out there these days (including fluffy pink Hello Kitty ones!!!) that its like getting to shop for a whole new wardrobe! Woo Hoo!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Rules of a Hoar...


Hello. My name is Cherry Blossom and I am a hoarder.

There. I said it. I’m a hoarder. I hoard. I am of hoarding nature. I possess many hoardee qualities. In fact, ‘Hoardess’ is my middle name!

Husband and I are renovating our home, and so needed to move out for a few months. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to complain manipulatively enough about the bedroom closet till I got a new improved version promised. 

“It’s the shoes, Husband, I need space for the SHOES. Just throw in a pink-velvet cushioned, stage make-up lit vanity nook in there for me while you’re about it too, would ya luv?”

Husband, however, saw it as a perfect opportunity to make me throw out all my junk. This shocked me. Junk? JUNK?! He is in direct violation of the rules!

Rules of a Hoarder Nr 1: ‘Junk’ is not an appropriate word

My stuff is not ‘junk’. It’s pieces of my life, a patchwork tangible map, carefully preserved. A time warp of memories in the Now… An extension of myself! NOT ‘junk’! But I forgave him of this little indiscretion as we are only newly weds and he still needs to learn a few things.

Since I moved in, 2 and a half years ago, Husband has complained and complained and complained about my boxes, bags, packets, satchels and rolled up things turning his wine cellar, spare bedroom and every possible cupboard or corner in sight into a storage unit. But you see, said I, I NEED all that stuff. Those things are things that I need to put these things in. And these other things are the things that go on top of those things, so I need them too. I need them ALL!

Rules of a Hoarder Nr 2: You just never know

Maybe not today, maybe not yesterday – maybe not at all in the past 7 years and I have just been carting it around with me in boxes all this time…but you see, MAYBE I will need it tomorrow! And the stuff I don’t need, well, that’s sentimental!

Rules of a Hoarder Nr 3: The level of sentimentality of an item is directly proportional to, and cancels out the level of ‘junk’ness an item may, under different circumstances, possess

And when you kind of sort of don’t remember why you were keeping something in the first place, and you wonder what it was that made you lug a 6 foot roll-up laminated fabric poster of Paris Hilton with you all these years…

Rules of a Hoarder Nr 4: When in doubt, keep.

But, marriage is all about compromise. And if I am to get my shoe cupboard with vanity nook, I decided I may as well go through my stuff and see if there is anything I could possibly part with. 
So I strapped on my pink rubber gloves, my brutal show-no-mercy, take-no-prisinors attitude,

my Japanese 'bird-flu' dust mask, 

and tackled every last box!

It took me a week. 7 full days of intervention-style chucking out! Even though I did find it an excruciating exercise (not that dissimilar to cutting off my own arm and tossing it aside), I have to admit there were a few ‘odd’ items I probably could have done without all these years. 

Here is my Top 10 'WTF' list of mystery items:

Item Nr 1. A plastic tube filled with beer bottle tops. American beer bottle tops. From a trip I took to America in 1999…and I don’t drink beer… I’m stumped.

Item Nr 2. A 6 foot roll-up laminated fabric poster of Paris Hilton. Yea, I wasn't kidding. Ok ok I actually do remember this one. Acquired while working for a music company from a colleague’s ‘contact’ at Universal or something. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever cus, like, NO one else had one… I guess I never stopped to think about the reason behind that fact.

Item Nr 3. A ceramic ‘mouse-house’ with one missing mouse head. No idea where this came from, but I distinctly remember loving it INTENSELY for the ‘cute’ factor. Don’t know where we lost the mouse head either, poor thing.

Item Nr 4. A mainkey old donkey hand puppet with one missing arm, 2 missing eye-balls and a family of moths living in his snout. He was my toy as a child, and I loved the stuffing out of him, literally.

Item Nr 5. A green dinky-car toy Beetle filled with flattened Disneyland coins from America. Again, a USA memento, and the green beetle was significant of my first car, Tori.

Item Nr 6. A rusty old OXO-block stock cube tin, filled with – I kid you not – a deflated balloon. From my 21’st. Slightly stuck to the bottom. No words.

Item Nr 7. A cigarette box painted black. This was the ‘wrapping’ of a top a friend once gave me as a birthday gift. It was sentimental for the funny factor. You know, the top - that I (barely) wore - fit in a cigarette box.

Item Nr 8. My favorite home-made 'Rollerblade' T-shirt that didn't even belong to me. It belonged to Brother. But when he tossed it out (about 15 years ago) after he was done with it (after about 5 years of use) when it was no longer white but an off-yellow colour (about 3 roller hockey seasons of sweat, 4 summers of free-blading and 2 months of half-pipe action before a broken arm ended it all...) I decided it didn't deserve to be gotten rid of just yet and kept it. Hidden. So that Brother wouldn't find out and make me throw it away.

Item Nr 9. My very first pair of 'fabulous' shoes - little chinese slippers I had when I was about 2 or 3 years old. They are pretty scruffy now, but still have my name written on the bottom of the soles and I still think they are FABULOUS! Therefore, these I am not throwing out!

TOTALY keeping!!!

Item Nr 10. My 'Gwen Stefani' dancing doll car mascot. She is a little plastic doll who's arms and legs moved to the vibrations of music played in my car, and lived on the dashboard of my Polo 1.4 Hatch for 6 years from the day I bought the car till the day I traded her in. Gwen's batteries had long since died, she couldn't dance anymore, her left leg was a little spastic, her pony-tail kept falling off, and her head had developed a 'bald spot' from being sun-bleached. But I kept her, long after the car, all the same.

I have to admit, after all this, the countless boxes of cards and letters from childhood friends that go something like "Hallow Pamilla how are yoo I am fin My arm hirts I luve doggs Frm yor verry best frend...", the sky-scraper stacks of fashion magazines in varying degree's of disheveledness, the moldy strips of rolled up carpet bits (?), ENDLESS letters, envelopes and statements from clothing credit cards dating back to 1998 (Note - the year I was 18 and thus finally able to open said accounts), already popped bubble-wrap, the 39 empty paint bottles - I counted - the ex-boyfriend files, the thousands upon thousands of magazine cut-outs of things I liked (ie Shoes) and the mis-matched Tupperware's with missing lids (or lids with missing Tupperware's) I can finally see that maybe Husband was right. And maybe before him, when I lived with Brother, maybe he was right. And maybe before him, when I lived with Dad, maybe HE was right. 

Maybe I should have gotten rid of all this JUNK years ago.

...5 More Fun Rules of a hoarder:

5. The Green Rule. Re-duce, re-use and re-cycle. The broken tea-pot bits of today become the mosaic photo frame Christmas gifts of tomorrow!

6. The MINE rule. Its mine, therefore I don’t have to throw it out and you cant make me. (Otherwise known as the ‘brat’ rule)

7. The Hello Kitty Rule. Anything Hello Kitty can NEVER be thrown away!!!

8. The Card Rule…But…these are the cards I got for my 9th Birthday…

9. The Card Rule part 2…But…these are the cards I got for my 10th Birthday…

10. The Card Rule Continued…But…these are the cards I got for my 13th Birthday…Sweet 16th Birthday…23rd Birthday…27th Birthday…28th…29th…30th…………….

And I could go on, but have decided to reform and scrap all the rules. For now. Well, at least till I figure out how to 'hoard' without Husband, or Brother, or Dad finding out...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Monkey! My cat, Ethan, aka 'Monkey', is famous for one reason and one reason only:

He is a fat fat fat fat fat fat FAT cat! He's been on a diet forever now, and still doesn't seem to ever loose any weight. Poor thing. I have decided, 2 years into his low calorie, low G.I. prescribed reduced-fat pellet diet, that he is just 'big-boned'.

So in the interest of getting people to look past his big-bonedness...

Step Right Up folks!

Witness the worlds BIGGEST cat, in ways you have never seen him before!  Join me on this little tour of all the other wonderful things he is...

...A schmodel,

...a tech-savvy computer nerd,

...good natured at the holidays,

...a VERY accommodating foot-warmer,

...a prim, polite little poser,

...and a TOTAL cuddle slut! This is one of his favorite spots - snuggled up under the duvet with me in my arm-nook, just his little nose sticking out for air. HOW CUTE?!?!?

I love him more than ANYTHING in the world! ...Other than Husband of course :)

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom