Sunday, March 26, 2006

Detox Diary - day 9

I went out for dinner last night to a Japanese sushi restaurant and was a little nervous about keeping to my detox regime because I really love soy sauce with sushi and as it's extremely salted, it's not allowed. Anyway, the fish tasted so fresh and melted so deliciously in the mouth that I really didn't need any sauce. Wasabi and ginger are so tasty anyway I didn't need anything more. With a portion of rice, soup and salad all washed down with thé glacé (iced tea but not from a can) I was stuffed and really happy I'd managed to keep to my programme.

This morning I sprung out of bed with tons of energy and felt so motivated to exercise that I jogged down the street to the piscine Hector Berlioz and did 40 lengths of the pool. I'd bought a new swimming cap in the Neuilly pool on Friday along with goggles and a nose clip and was very excited about trying them out. I felt like a professional swimmer but then soon realised that grannies were overtaking me, sporty guys in tiny speedos were actually swimming underneath me to overtake both me and the grannies and so I felt a little less proud of myself!

Voices had a concert this afternoon so I had to jet back out to Neuilly and prepare for a 3.30pm performance. This evening I'm feeling exhausted and not quite so smug about my boundless energy as I was this morning.

It's time like this that I miss Horlicks!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spring has sprung!

Today the temperature is almost 13°C and Paris is alive with the joys of spring! It's about time because up until last week everyone was huddled up in scarves, gloves and hats along with their winter coats. I thought March was supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? The lamb was a little shy to get going this year and the lion very much outstayed its welcome.

The spring picture is from my window, a friend gave me some bulbs in a pot several weeks ago and now they're finally flowering. Can anyone tell me what the name of the flower is? I have to admit, in 29 years this is the first time I have managed to keep some form of plant-life alive! I should probably also admit that the idea for my window photo came from a fellow ex-pat, the delightful petite anglaise, whose blog is well established and makes fantastic reading.

Bon weekend!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Detox Diary - day 7

So, it's been a week of Jane and her crazy detox ideas, but I'm actually feeling pretty great. I went swimming today and yesterday and have never before managed sport on consecutive days. *small pat on back* I actually did 35 lengths at the pool in Neuilly yesterday and 40 today, which I was extremely pleased about. My belly is less rounded and more flat than curvy now, these are definitely the results I wanted.

I am however getting a little bit tired of brown rice. I've eaten a portion of it every day since the beginning, and it's a little, well, fibrous, let's say. Plus you can only get Uncle Ben's brown rice in Monoprix and I think Jane meant for detoxers to go for organic rice. Not sure that exists, but still...

Other than singing in Voices and Mumblers, and doing the detox I haven't really been out this week. No alcohol is one of the most difficult rules to stick to (no coffee after lunch either) and so I've decided to stay out of bars until the end of the detox. Probably best not to dangle temptation in front of my eyes.

Quite a busy weekend coming up, I'm starting to sing with a jazz trio on Saturday then there's another concert at St Jean Baptiste Church in Neuilly Sur Seine on Sunday to support Retina, the charity for the visually impaired.

Right, time for an infusion I think. Who's for mint and who's for camomile?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Detox Diary - day 3

I've decided to clean up my body and get in shape. I'm fine at the moment, but I want to try a programme that a friend recommended to me. It's a book called Detox Yourself by Jane Scrivner. The programme is based on cleaning out the digestive system (using anything from brown rice to colonic irrigation...) and giving you more energy. Plus I've heard it makes you good with numbers - well it worked for Carol Vorderman. So I'm doing Jane's detox and very much looking forward to healthy skin, flat stomach and blonde hair - well I'm sure at least two of those are possible.

I have decided to do this because :

1. A person's alcohol consumption should not outweigh their fruit juice consumption
2. Nobody loves a spotty thirty-year-old
3. Nobody's face should be allowed to have wrinkles AND spots - it should be one or the other
4. Walking up 2 flights of stairs is not a good reason to feel smug and does not constitute exercise
5. The potato has never nor will ever be a green vegetable

So, in fact today is day three, I started on Saturday with a breakfast of sheep's yoghurt, apples and grapes, then brown rice, courgettes and broccolli for lunch and mackerel and red beans for dinner. I tried to follow Jane's advice and drink 3 litres of water but I'm not sure I made it today. You're supposed to have two kidney tonics, two liver tonics and a varying degree of exercise between 30 minutes and an hour (not so hot on that one yet) every day.

On Sunday I did better, I ate more beans, nuts and pulses than I've ever eaten before and wish to again. I think I should focus on balancing the detox rather than pigging out on the filling stuff.

How am I feeling?
I'm feeling pretty good today after three days of total detox. Exercise was better today, I ran up to the 7th floor (from the ground) and back down then I ran instead of walking around Paris and in the metro. I'm not sure that counts, but it made me short of breath so I'm thinking it does. I'm going to try to push harder in the next few days.

Tomorrow should be easier because I have my band rehearsal and I can dance for 2 hours.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Concerted Effort

There were 100 people in the audience, 40 of us on the stage, 5 guys behind cameras and one lady conducting. It was a real effort to hear ourselves because of the modern acoustics - absolutely no reverb or echo at all. Funnily enough, we'd chosen this concert to record our very first DVD. The heat of the lights made the whole thing more difficult, especially when two of the girls fainted during the concert. I thought people only did that in Jane Austen books and errr, during the summer!

Voices International concerts are always great by the end, but this time I was left wondering if we rely too much on the ancient echos of churches with their kindness in hiding wrong notes. Today's 20th Century conservatoire showed all our flaws and it will be immortalised forever on film. Something to learn from I suppose.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A little bit lonely

It's been 4 days now since G has been skiing, and I'm really starting to miss him. It's strange how I thought I'd be making the most of the time alone and revelling in the extra bed-space, but in fact I don't particularly enjoy not speaking to anyone until I arrive at the office.

In Paris today the sun has been shining, there's a nip in the air but it's gorgeous weather. I can just imagine G swishing down the slopes without a thought for when the next métro will arrive. Still, he deserves a holiday.

I had band practice tonight which was really great fun actually. We're rehearsing for a wedding in July. Cheesy disco is the theme of the set really, from ABBA to Beegees (not a great distance) and from Dixie Chicks to Beatles (that's a little further). There's nothing like ending the day with a good sing into a mic.

Tomorrow night's musical selection will be of a higher quality, Jools Holland is coming to Paris and I'm very much looking forward to hearing his tinkling ivories. He's performing with a couple of special guests, one of whom is Sam Brown (of 'Stop' fame) so that little line-up seems to be promising.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I have no idea why, but male strippers are a big turn-off. Why is it that men can watch women stripping and feel excited but when women watch men they laugh, cringe, talk behind their hand to friends, anything except look like they might be enjoying it? I really don't know why but it happened to me yesterday evening.

Three friends and I went over to Madam just off the Champs Elysées (I believe the absence of the 'e' was part of the concept - who knows, maybe a nod to us anglophones). 'Madam' was a party where, for 20€ we had as many cosmopolitans as we could manage, a back massage (fully clothed by professional Amma masseurs), manicure and hair-cut. The glow of light from the candles and the occasional red bulb were not sufficient to convince me to part with a few inches of hair so I stuck to the massage and drinks. Very delicious they were too.

What I objected to about this soirée were the male strippers. Three well-toned beautifully sculpted males repeatedly removed their trousers / half-shirt collars / jackets while dancing extremely well to Michael Jackson, Irene Cara etc. I noticed that they didn't remove their socks at any point. The Moonwalk is complicated with one hand around your ankle trying to yank off a towelling sports sock, or so I imagine.

About seven girls were chosen individually over the course of the 15 minutes they were on stage and since it was a fairly intimate setting there were only 40 or so to choose from in any case. I was petrified I would be chosen and would have to sit beetroot-faced on a tiny stool while leather-clad male equipment hung and swung not more than 5cm away. Luckily I managed to escape such an experience by concentrating on my cosmo and studying the cloakroom entrance.

It was enough to put me off my free tomato salad.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Now I have a whole weekend alone stretching out ahead of me. G is skiing in the Alps with his friends and risking life and limb to slide down a few slopes. I'm trapped inside ill, with a voice like Phyllis from Coronation Street, so no wild and crazy escapades for me. Hoovering and washing up is about as exciting as it gets for today.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I don't think I'm a great cook. I love doing it but only manage to create edible dishes 8 times out of 10. This evenings disaster could be described as belonging to the 2/10 segment.
How do you make an omelette so it doesn't stick to the pan? Any ideas? Plus, I knew that smoked salmon, potatoes, mushrooms and, wait for it, carrots were never really going to be an amazing combo.
Still, the chutney went down well and there was only a couple of bites left when nausea set in.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fun with Friends

I've just spent a fantastic weekend with some friends from England who took time out of their busy doctoring lives to visit me and my man here in Paris. We had a lovely time at the restaurant Chez Paul in rue de Charonne which served up a delicious 6 escargots and a souris d'agneau, which is some part of the leg of a very silent lamb.

Just to continue the garlic-fest and to ensure that my breath's aromas lasted all weekend we went on a brief tour of the Marais, one of my favourite parts of Paris, which is home to a large Jewish population and has the best falafels in the city. They really are delicious, especially at Chez Hanna, which is the first (or last) falafel restaurant on the rue des rosiers.

We didn't have time to visit the typical monuments : Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe etc, but it was no bad thing. St Sulpice, Notre Dame and Sacré Coeur were typical enough and a good walk around the St Germain area always pleases the visitors! So now I have five more luxurious hours before bedtime and back to the working week which will be garlic and monument-free. Oh well.