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The following week, I went on a lunch date with the Cafe Nero boy.

We met in the same place at the same time, on an equally sunny day.

Last week, I remembered ‘Elio’ as a cool arty type. I remembered a pleasantly foreign face and an insouciant charm.

This week – he seemed quite different.

This week he was still arty (a little too arty it seems), he was still foreign looking (perhaps a little too foreign) and he still had a certain sort of charm, but he certainly was not the stud I’d built him up to be.

Two minutes into my frothy cappuccino and the boy lanced into a full blown soliloquy. I mean it’s all very well to discuss inner feelings and cultural beliefs with someone, but this was only our second encounter after all.

It was all a little too much too soon, and quite frankly I wasn’t ready for it.

When ‘Elio’ asked me to talk to him in French, I became a little wary. When he said that my eyes were the colour of oak, I bolted. I’ve heard of eyes being described as windows to the soul, but  NEVER compared to a bog-standard English tree.

Shame, this meeting could have been a nice little histoire d’amour. Alas, I will just have to roll my oak coloured eyes and continue to search for Mr Right, (not at Cafe Nero mind you.)

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Keen to catch a few rays at lunchtime today, I nipped out of the office and made a B-line for the sunny terrace at Cafe Nero. I sported my sunnies, positioned myself in full view of the sun and made a start on my new book. My latest read is a curious find that I  picked up in a dusty corner at my parents house.

The book’s unusual title and its dog eared appearance made it an oddly appealing choice. Little did I know that this haphazard decision, would have such a profound effect on my day’s lunch hour… The book is called ‘The Leopard‘ and is written by the Italian author Giueseppe di Lampedusa.

Just as I was turning to page 2, a big haired youth came bounding towards me:

I can’t believe you’re reading that book. Oh my God! It’s the best thing I’ve ever read in my life. Oh my God! You are so lucky!

Lucky? Huh! didn’t feel it. Not with this unwelcome guest grinning down at me and my book. Much to my dismay there was no way to escape. All the other tables were taken and I was only half way through my lunch. I simply couldn’t leave.

It turns out that this ‘life changing book’ which is set in Sicily – also happens to be the birthplace of my new big-haired friend. No wonder he was excitable.

As he sidled up closer and closer, I decided to give this foreign stranger a chance. On closer inspection he was quite good looking and I’d simply couldn’t burst his bubble of enthusiasm.

We discussed the book at great length – which was quite tricky for me (as I was still only on page 2) and then we went on to chat about art. Yep, no jokes, I talked to a boy I’d known for five minutes about art. How pretentious is that? It’s all the more embarrassing because everyone in the cafe was listening to every word we said.

In spite of my original suspicions, I began to enjoy myself. So when the stranger asked me for my name, I didn’t make one up. And when he asked for my number, I didn’t make that up either.

A few text messages have been exchanged and a rendez vous is set for tomorrow lunchtime.

Watch this space…


In recent months I have developed an unhealthy obsession with author Tom Rob Smith.

I never thought it possible to fall in love with someone without actually knowing what they look like, but after reading Smith’s first two novels I was frankly, smitten.

Child 44 and The Secret Speech are set in the fearful heights of Cold War Russia. Smith makes this sinister, fearful period electrifying, as he transports the reader into to the secret world of spying. This is a world where the police are the criminals and the criminals are the good guys.

Nothing could have prepared me for the combination of terror and exhilaration that I felt on reading these novels, nor for  my new found obsession with military tanks and machine guns. The person that has the ability to convert a Jane Austen fan (me) to a lover of post-war thrillers must have great talent.

Without further ado, I decided that this Tom Rob Smith needed some investigation. After scouring his biography at the back of the book, I just knew that this author was the man for me.

Born in 1979 (Ideal that means he’s eight years older. Nice to have a mature kinda guy)

Half Swedish (Even better, he’s obviously got Aryan good looks from his Goddess of a mother)

Cambridge graduate (It’s always a bonus to have a good brain)

Lives in London (Perfect! When can we meet?)

The penny dropped, and just like that, I  came up with a foolproof plan. I was going to contact this Swedish, bookish hunk and in the name of ‘journalism’ interview him. In my whimsical dream world, Tom and I would discuss his literary inspiration and then we would fall helplessly in love with each other. Easy.

Not one to waste time, I set to work tracking down my future husband. As I scanned through a Wikepedia article my eyes fell on an unsavoury sentence:

Tom Rob Smith is gay

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My plan is foiled. My heart is broken. This is tragic.

This really IS lamentable news, but I will just have to be grown up about this. If I can’t have Tom, I spose I’ll just have to make do with his fictional hero – Leo Demidov.

Hang on a minute, something’s just struck me, Tom Rob Smith’s sexuality should have been blatantly obvious from the word go. Anyone that can create such a masculine, handsome yet tough hero as Leo Demidov simply has to be gay.

I’m relieved to say that the trips to casualty have stopped, but any party that I throw is almost always fated to go horribly wrong.

The most recent disaster was our house warming party back in December. My housemates and I went to different schools and different universities so we thought that this would be the perfect occasion to mix everyone together. In theory, this was an ingenious idea, in reality it was a catastrophe.

We’d invited an equal ratio of girls to boys, but about 90% of the people who turned up were girls. We’d set a lame theme, and the brave people who turned up in costume were made to feel humiliated all evening. Small groups of people assembled in separate corners of the flat and made no effort to talk to any of the others.

I helplessly drifted between the groups trying to muster some sort of chit-chat but it was a pitiful effort and a pitiful party.With nothing better to do, I resorted to gulping down everyone’s half empty glasses. This really was agony.

In  an effort to ease the deadly atmosphere I logged on to Spotify hoping that the website would create a hip playlist. How wrong I was.

Several hours later when the party was at its flattest and only a few loyal friends remained our doorbell rang. The previous night I had attended a raving house party hosted by some impossibly cool French students. As I was thrown across the kitchen, dancing ‘Le Rock’ with a very attractive boy, I casually mentioned that I was throwing an equally cool party the following night. I then went home, went to bed, and did not think anymore about it. That is until the doorbell rang.

As I gingerly opened the door, I was greeted by two Gallic hunks. If only I could have run away and hid, but I was forced to take the two boys up to our flat. By this stage the Spotify playlist had slowed down to some more mellow beats, and as we crossed the threshold, our ears were greeted by Cliff Richard singing The Lord’s Prayer. It was like walking into a Bible bashing cult.

Needless to say the beaux garcons did not stay for long. Needless to say, I never heard from either one again.

The only redeeming feature of the whole painful evening was when my friend Karen stated:

That was the best lame party ever!

I’m a true believer that if a fun opportunity raises its head, you should always take it.

2 months ago, a great mate of mine – who is particularly mischievous – set about improving my love life. Whilst at a dinner party with some of her university friends, she sat next to a boy who she thought would be a perfect match for me.

The following morning I received a somewhat hyper, giggly phone call. After a glass of vino too many, my dear friend had set me up on a blind date. As I mentioned before, I’m always game for trying something new, so after a slight waver, I decided to go for it.

That very evening, I received another phone call, but this time from a mysterious number. On answering, I was greeted by a distinctly foreign voice. This was the boy I’d been set up with.

The first few minutes of our conversation were about the most awkward I’ve ever had on the telephone. What do you say to someone you’ve never met – but you are supposed to go on a date with? It was toe-curlingly embarrassing. Luckily however, we got passed the awkwardness  and started to have a fairly decent chin wag.

I decided that the disembodied voice belonged to an interesting, fun and excitingly foreign person. This was someone that I would be keen to meet. So after a series of further conversations, our date was arranged for the following Friday.

Friday night arrived and I tottered out of my flat in impossibly high heels. I had no idea if the blind date was going to be deliciously tall or vertically challenged? If he was the former, then I would happily bare the agony of the shoes. If he was the latter, then I’d readily welcome reclining on a chair all evening.

As I approached our rendez-vous, I received the following text message:

Seeing as you won’t recognise me, I’m the one with the white wooly hat.

This was almost a little too blind for comfort. Nevertheless, I located the white wooly hat to find a smiling new face and our evening took off.

When I think of all the dire things that could have gone wrong, I don’t thing that it went too disastrously. It can’t have been that bad, as a brief romance followed.

Whilst briefly dating the foreigner, I ate Mc Donald’s in a cocktail dress, I drank Gin and Tonic from a cup and saucer, I took photographs of swans and I got an insight into the crazy world of banking.

So although it ended somewhat abruptly, it certainly was an eye-opener. It also injected a bit of fun into the grey, grim depths of January and February.

(Turns out, that kitten heels would have been the better option.)

At the beginning of November, I found myself at a loose end. I had just completed a brilliant internship and I was in need of something to do.

At this time, The Italian shit (who I mentioned in an earlier post) had recently reappeared in my life. One day, whilst chatting about jobs on the phone, Mr. Italiano proposed a new internship for me. A friend of his: SRK, was setting up a website and was in need of some interns to help him out.

This is the moment when the alarm bells should have started ringing. But like the naive and excitable person I am, I jumped at the opportunity thinking that my career was about to be made.

What I probably should have taken into consideration, is that The Italian Shit and I are two rather different people. For one I’m English, he’s Italian; for two I’m a girl, he’s a boy, but above all – I’m fairly normal and he is the epitome of Euro Trash.

It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the aristocratic toffs that The Italian Shit calls his ‘friends’ and so with a little creative license you can imagine the likes of my new boss.

SRK is the personification of the pompous privileged. At the age of 27, he has the cool calm confidence of a man twice his age. Apart from a rather big nose, he’s a good looking chap, and he happens to live in the most beautiful Georgian house in Chelsea.

For the past few years SRK has wanted to create an exclusive social networking site, intended for people working in the creative disciplines. But  it’s not until now that he’s actually got down and done something about it. (This is the point where I come in.)

So the website is basically facebook, but it’s for pretentious arty people. Oh, and you’re only entitled to join if you receive an exclusive invitation. The whole damn thing has elitism written all over it.

I hate clubs, I hate memberships and I simply can’t stand smug groups of self-satisfied people. So why oh why did I get involved?

Well let’s just say that SRK is an excellent sales man. When we first met to discuss the internship, the man simply wooed me with prospects of world domination. His website was going to be the next Vanity Fair, his membership base would include the likes of Vivienne Westwood, and he was going to discover tomorrow’s talent- today. There was simply no hindering the man’s vision.

And I fell for the whole thing.

I’ll keep it short, but my stint working for SRK wasn’t the best. In between acting as his PA and listening to his woeful stories of rich Russian  girlfriends, I learnt more about the complications of being young, rich and spoilt than I ever learnt about online journalism.

In the two months of working for SRK and not earning a single penny, I barely got a thank you from the lugubrious lothario.  So seeing as it’s a new year and a time for fresh beginnings I don’t plan to continue working for SRK and his sacred website.

I may have walked away from the next big thing, but then again I may have saved myself a lot of time. If SRK’s site does become huge, I suppose I’ll just have to eat huimble pie.