Monthly Archives

May 2015

Liquid Gold

A woman is like a tea bag- you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt.

Did you know that an American invented the tea bag? Unearthing that nugget was the sum total of my achievements yesterday. After many hours at my desk attempting to draft an introduction to the upcoming Tea With Lady T series, this sentence was all that survived – ‘In 1910, Thomas Sullivan, a New York merchant, started shipping his tea in silk bags rather than metal tins and thus the tea bag was born.’ There’s writer’s block and then there’s writer’s block. I went to bed early.

Back at the computer this morning, I discovered something a tad more interesting. For $7,870 dollars ‘The Rare Tea Company’ will create a unique blend of tea for you and deliver a three -month’s supply. When amortized over three months, at four cups a day that’s about thirty-five dollars a cup. If you only managed to drink two cups a day or you cost it out by the pot then that’s…well…

My brain was still aching from attempting that long- division sum as I started looking up ‘tea ceremonies.’ I was about to research the Tang Dynasty, Silk Roads, Japanese Matcha Ceremony and tea gardens of Assam when my attention was caught by another piece of trivia; a 12-liter bottle of Château Margaux is currently on sale at Dubaii airport for $195,000. And yes, the comma is in the right place.

Also on sale in Dubaii was a non- alcoholic sparkling wine with edible 24carat gold flecks for $125 dollars. It wasn’t the price or the thought of ingesting metal that put me off the idea. It was the lack of alcohol. I’d rather suck on a gold bracelet between shots of tequila.

The Dubaii wine link took me to – ‘A Website of Worldly Pleasures,’ dedicated to the delights of the sybaritic lifestyle. I surfed around for a bit but there is only so much of that James Bond vibe I can tolerate, a limit on how much conspicuous consumption I can take. I turned off the computer. Why was I looking at trivia and writing drivel about tea when I could be blogging about serious issues like saving indigenous wildlife or promoting women’s rights? What was I thinking spending two whole days on this twaddle? It was madness. I was still beating myself up for not being Gloria Steinem when I remembered the line from Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and began to feel a little better.

“Have I gone mad?” Alice asked. “I’m afraid so…” He said. “But let me tell you something. The best people usually are.”

The Photo shoot Tales

Part 1   – Tea with Lady T

Uber is like a drug. I can’t stop using it. A couple of trips in the back of their chauffeur driven limousines and my own car was dead, tumbleweed rolling under the tires. People talk about inventions that changed history – Sancerre, Botox, Elvis on iTunes and five-inch stilettos, but to paraphrase John Lennon ‘before Uber there was nothing.’

For the first in our series of photographs we Ubered to The Peninsula Hotel for Afternoon Tea. History has it that in the 1840’s the Duchess of Bedford upon finding herself a little peckish one afternoon invited a few high-society ladies to join her for tea and sandwiches. Apparently they all enjoyed the occasion so much that before long it evolved into a British institution. I only became interested when the institution evolved into including champagne.

We were there to take photographs for my forthcoming column Tea With Lady T an occasional series where I shall be interviewing guests on my blog. The photographer was well prepared. We had our shot-list down; costume changes at the ready, props and makeup. When our sandwiches arrived we toasted the occasion with a glass or two of Veuve and began creating our ‘set’-rearranging cushions, napkins, potted plants and cake displays. None of this attracted any attention. In Beverly Hills it would be far more unusual to see people chatting quietly over a cup of tea.

A little while later, suitably buzzed and on a sugar high it was time to change out of the red tea dress and slip into a different outfit to capture the essence of Lady in La La Land my new blog on the UK Huffington Post. I was back within moments looking dapper in a black jacket, white pants, killer heels, a fedora and sunglasses.

As we were leaving the hotel our waiter dashed out. I had signed what I thought was the check and forgotten to give him my card. He was unfazed that I now bore an uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson. To make your great escape nowadays you’d clearly need more than a pair of Clark Kent glasses. I’m wondering if you can spot the difference between these two pictures…



It takes a lot of money to look this cheap
– Dolly Parton

Apologies for being a tad late with promised tales from the LA photo shoot. A trip to New York to promote my husband’s new book, the announcement of our daughter’s engagement and becoming a Huff Post blogger have all been pleasantly and hugely distracting. Now that what passes for normal life in our household has been restored, I am back to regale you.

For those new to this blog, a little back-story – a few weeks ago, feeling in need of writing inspiration I re-read The Artist’s Way where Julia Cameron suggests we connect with our inner artist by channeling our creativity through a play date.

Over the years I’ve attempted to re-connect with my inner artist at not inconsiderable expense. I’ve tried water -color classes, line dancing, yoga, ballet, jewelry making, pottery, embroidery, origami, making collages and improv groups. I own a baby grand piano and a mandolin as a result of various failed attempts to rediscover my inner musician. It was time for a different approach. Remembering how I loved raiding my mother’s closet and make- up drawers as a child, I decided to play ‘dressing- up.’

Everything starts with hair. This is a profound statement. Please feel free to share it on Facebook. A bad hair day is a very bad day. You could be dressed head to toe in Ferragamo, Vuitton, Hermès, carrying a five- thousand dollar Céline purse and tottering around Beverly Hills in your Louboutins, but if your roots are showing forget it. You’re a hot mess.

I spend two hours of my life every two weeks having my base color restored. That’s the kind of commitment we’re discussing here. My hair grows at an alarmingly rapid speed. In LA, getting coiffed takes an army; two muscle bound men to apply the color, another to bring the cappuccino, another to rinse at the sink, another to blow dry it out and another to pick me up off the floor when I’ve handed over my credit card.

I am simply not prepared to grow gray gracefully like the silver haired women you see wandering around art galleries. It’s like wrinkles around the eyes – we love them on other people. Anyway I digress. This is the ‘behind the scenes’ shot. It’s a little taster of the photos I’ll be sharing soon. To paraphrase Dolly – It takes a lot of effort to look this natural.