Thursday, 29 January 2015

DR WONG IS RIGHT.. truth behind cosmetic surgery.

I attended the launch of a documentary to focus on the truth behind cosmetic surgery. At the Bulgari Hotel (v sexy) @bulgarihotel    I have met and been treated by Dr Wong. @drvincentwong 

A derma roller treatment. Dr Wong is wonderful. And well thought of and established with loads of excellent reviews from people who are very fussy about their face.  He gives honest, kind appraisals of what works and what doesn't.  The treatment hurts.   As in OUCH.   I looked like a tomato when I left but it has done my skin the world of good and I would recommend him doing the treatment.   Its not the treatment as such that is important but the person you go to.   You need to find someone with integrity as well as charm. Who knows how to make the best of your face rather than manufacture it into looking like someone famous.    

The documentary was interesting. Title music and lyrics (Lucie Jones wonderful voice, X factor finalist but too classy to win), was actually quite moving.  The need for cosmetic surgery is often focussed on lack of self esteem. Those who are self absorbed, not self aware and don't value themselves. Or rather value themselves by what others think of them. Its a vicious circle really, each complicit in the pact.  You look good I'll look at you. You don't look good, I won't.  Don't we all do that to some extent?    

It showed how cosmetic surgery can help those who have experienced anorexia and how this ages and changes the shape of the face - and how cosmetic surgery helps.  It showed how one woman couldn't walk properly and a cosmetic procedure was used to help her walk and run.    There was another woman who had experienced trauma and it changed her face, and the surgery helped her regain her features.   That bit was poignant and interesting. 

If there were any issues it was that there were too many beautiful people speaking.   A lot of them, although not all of them, were in their twenties, early thirties, celebrities who already were graced with good genes.  It would have been better to have some more 'lived in faces'.    And perfection is boring.   Its also usually comes with paranoia, neurosis, narcissism, self obsession and obsessive compulsive.

There were a few fifty somethings but they stunning.  There was a woman featured - you couldn't see her face - to see what had been done - that had gone wrong. I understand why it was silhouetted out and in a way it made more of a point by doing so. When it goes wrong you want to be anonymous. You have it done in the first place because you want to be seen, or at least be accepted - by yourself more than others.  

The documentary touched on that cosmetic surgery is often used to maska psychological issue more than a physical one.   Sometimes it repairs - as in the case of damage caused to knee injuries, trauma and anorexia.  Then it works.    When it doesn't work is when it is trying to repair lack of self esteem. That, as the documentary attempts to explain, comes from within. 

Antonia Mariconda, the cosmetic coach, the person who has spear headed safety in beauty, spoke eloquently about what needs to be done in the industry and touched on the fact that the law doesn't protect you (although there was a lawyer interviewed about the need to 'do your research'.  The problem is the duff practitioners look so polished and professional. Its not as easy as it seems to choose the 'right ones'.   If it was, we would all be doing it, but having a look at Antonia's website is a start.  @antoniamariconda @safetyinbeauty

The documentary will be appearing on Sky Fitness and Beauty Channel (282 next  tuesday 3rd February, just in time for Valentines.  I will be writing up my year of 'wrinkly of Richmond' and which practitioners I will be recommending.   You want to look your best, not like someone else.  Which reminds me. Who did Renee Zelwegger want to look like? 

Friday, 23 January 2015


I wrote this last week. I'm writing it again as I'm in a different place now.

I went to a yoga class last week.  The instructor is excellent and like me he organises meditation at the beginning of the class.  He told everyone to pick a place where they had been most happy.   Visualise it and then breathe it in and imagine you are doing your practice there. And that every cell in your body was happy.   So there I was, lying on the ground, imagining a time and place when I was happy.
First thought, France. The home in France.  But I'm having to sell it.  And having a horrid time with that.  So I couldn't think about that so I tried to think about something else.  Second thought.   Having Tom as a baby in my arms when he was only a few months old. In the night. Two in the night when there was just him and me in the rocking chair and I was feeding him, away from everything and everyone. And then I remembered (although I was ignorant of it at the time) Tom's dad was sleeping with someone else, although then my mind clicked in and thought, hey, it was still a happy memory because that overwhelming feeling of love I felt towards Tom transcends everything.   At the time I could think about nothing happy and just ended up listening to my breathe.  But thinking about it now, I am spoilt for choice.  

I think about all my travels.   Some place that was good and wonderful.  Top of mountains in Canada, any mountain in Canada, dune surfing in Namibia and Australia, swimming with dolphins somewhere off Belize, playing chicken with seals in the Galapagos, giggling at the mischief of the knights at Excalibur in Las Vegas, walking along Deception Island on Christmas morning in Antarctica with Tom followed by three (probably wise) penguins, staring into the abyss of the Canyon knowing it was made by aliens, looking out over the Grand Canal in Venice from my bedroom balcony, eating a to die for curry in Rajasthan for breakfast, seeing my first tiger watching my son, watching him, a few hours later that day, doing a downward dog in Patagonia on the beach in Ushuaia, at the Mardi Gras in Sydney first time in Australia amongst the most beautiful sweaty half naked people partying in the parade, and thinking all Australia is like this and sort of wishing it was, seeing my first whale off Newfoundland in a small ship full of German tourists with very big cameras for hours on end and screaming my head off down the microphone when I did, laughing at a very polite, gentle ornithologist get very annoyed by puffins telling me they are the 'little shits' of the bird world in Newfoundland and very happy the Icelanders eat them in salad, swimming the Icelandic lagoon on New Years Day, haggling for a basket in Marrakesh, sky diving in Mauritius, seeing my son sky diving in Mauritius, listening to African monks sing gregorian chants in the middle of a Senegalese desert, running down the road from a hotel potentially on fire in Turkey with my best friend with our suitcases only to be told a few hours later it was safe to go back, just being in Beijing, ending up upside down on a  horse in Calgary (but clinging on for dear life) because I didn't grip tight enough, bimbling amongst blackberries in Autumn, meeting the most wonderful animal lovers and guides on my travels who prefer animals to humans….

I should just learn to breathe it in.   Nothing like a horrid year to make you appreciate the many blessings.  

Friday, 16 January 2015


Went to see Birdman.    Its a movie about an actor who used to be a big movie star playing a super hero who is directing and acting in his own Broadway production, playing an actor who is trying to make a name for himself.  As its Michael Keaton, who used to be Batman in Two or Three or possibly both, its  an actor playing an actor playing an actor.   A positive onion of a movie.  Its also about the stage, the theatre, about actors and actors like playing actors.  They are literally playing with themselves and who doesn't like doing that?    If the Americans did Withnail and I, this is what it would look like.  The long corridors, the camera following the actors, not letting them go, leaves a breathless quality to the performances.   There's stronger sexual chemistry between the two male leads of Ed Norton (he is intensely brilliant) and Keaton (so is he) than there is between the female and male leads.  They prefer their own gender.   Thats actors for you.   Keaton is excellent but then he knows this character inside out probably - because its him.   Norton plays intense because he is intense.   I don't think he could do a superficial character if he tried - I'm not sure he would take those parts.   Birdman is arty, edgy and confronts the audience at one stage literally pointing at them saying 'you don't want all this dialogue stuff do you?  you want action, thats what you want." Ironically some people in the audience walked out because that is exactly what they did want.   They wanted to see super heroes and the actor playing the actor playing the actor wanted to be a super hero.   He cut his nose off to spite his face.   Thats ego for you. Or desperation.   There's one point when an actor is telling a theatre critic where she can stick her review.    That wasn't acting.   That was done on behalf of every actor and theatre director out there and the actor playing the critic couldn't help smile.  

As for the Oscars, its all about hero worshipping.  Each actor plays an unlikely hero.     Keaton plays himself.   Cumberbatch plays himself (although the explosion of emotion so close to camera at the end is phenomenal).   Redmayne plays someone else.  Redmayne should get the Oscar because the performance is seminal, not just brilliant. But think its a tie between the other two because Weinstein is behind Cumberbatch and Keaton wants to be a real life hero.  And by the end of Birdman you want him to be one too.   You admire the characters played by Redmayne and Cumberbatch you identify with Keaton.  After all, we all want to rise above it all - and fly.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


I went to see the play Truth Lies Diana, a courageous, visceral play written and performed by John Conway about a writer who obsesses about the death of Diana.   Having gained access to information that wasn't made public by the media/government/men in grey (establishment) (which John Conway has), when the jury was put in place to investigate her death, he decides to write a play based on his findings.    I identify with this.  If you can't tell the truth as truth, call if fiction.  I think there's more 'truth' that comes out of Hollywood than does out of government - especially the American one.

 John I am reliably informed, has already received a threat from the 'men in grey' asking him to not stage the play.  So the ending of the play comes as a double bluff - just in case anything happens to John - especially a car accident - you know who did it!

I've never believed Diana had an accident.   I always felt it was establishment that killed her.  They got away with it, as Jimmy Saville did, as Piers Morgan did, as Rebekkah Brookes did, as numerous politicians who are paedophiles have, as Bob Diamond has, as …so many have.    The play will grow in interest because as more is revealed about the great and good we applaud, vote in, and who deem themselves to be above the law, the richer the play's scripts will become.   He mentioned Prince Andrew, Saville and loads of other names that weren't in the original script when he first started the project last year.

The suggestion is that Diana was murdered in the ambulance.   The evidence, as it is laid out, is convincing.    Hewitt is portrayed as a patsy.   The Queen makes several appearances in wells and head scarf.    The legal profession, the courtiers and the politicians come across as - no other way of putting it  - as slimy fuckers.

The papers who masked the truth are ironically reviewing the play and praising it.

The audience were initially shocked by the evidence, then angry, then depressed by the reality the 'Establishment' has got away with it. I spoke to many at the after production party, many who knew 'Establishment' and indeed had at time been a part of it.   They all said the same thing.  'The Establishment can't be broken.  If you try, or try to change things, you disappear."

The brave and compassionate people who live in this country are worthy of much better than these manipulative self serving cowards.   I understand where Russell Brand is coming from, but he gives no answers.    He wants to crack the Establishment but you leave this play trying of thinking of ways of how to do it.  Without being killed, blackmailed, discredited, thrown in jail, set up, tortured….  Even abstaining to vote is not the answer.  

Perhaps the turmoil nature is in at at the moment, will find a way to deal with they who can't be named.   (although in this play, many of them actually are). Tsunami over Houses of Parliament anyone?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


The image of those words in the crowd in Paris.   Its a pity they didn't spell out courage.   Not afraid is a bit like not ugly, instead of beautiful - its almost there but not quite.

I've noticed in yoga this and last week more anxiety.   OK, its the beginning of the year and there are tax bills to pay for those of us who earn enough to pay tax bills, who aren't celebrities or who have off shore trust funds.   I know a lot of people who's parents are very ill, because its the age - theirs and ours - when this happens.   Some are compassionate and thinking of them, others are resolutely self absorbed, wallowing like pigs in mud.  

'm using a visualisation in yoga of an eagle flying over hills and villages, and towns and climbing up to a mountain.   Its to do with perspective, seeing the bigger picture and not getting lost in the detail.  I got the idea from a drawing Tom did for me of an eagle flying over our home in Najac.    Its beautiful,  Its perceptive on many levels.   Its about being an observer, a watcher.  And I have been watching.  Not judging, just watching.   Watching the TV news coverage, which has been (ironically with the exception of Al Jazeera), sensationalist and irresponsible.   Just like our politicians.   The image of the policeman being shot to the ground over and over and over again like some computer game character being killed off, gets into the head and creates an anxiety, a subconscious one.   And the conscious one is bad enough.   And Cameron, despite his best PR briefing, looking puffed up and insincere, as do they all, realising that no one believes anything they say, no matter how camera savvy it is.   That we are being told to be vigilant and join together against the 'enemy of freedom' - while they check on all our email and blogs and accounts.   We are the most CCTVd place on the planet someone told me recently.    Big Brother is watching us more than it is watching those fakes playing to script in the 'House'  Thats Westminster Parliament, not Channel Four.

I keep thinking of the part of the Charlie Brooker Review of 2014 about the documentary maker who produced a film (I think yet to be shown) on how a politician in Russia is using 'confusion' to divert, divide (and conquer) the populace - turning them to apathy and immobility.    Essentially he was saying we can trust no one.   Well, no establishment.    Putin is a puppet for others (but who are they? are they even Russian?).   The USA, supposedly our close allies, have never been our friends, and yet we still buddy up to them like some mate in the playground who if we're not nice to them, will punch us in the face.   And Prince Andrew, no longer headline news.   Although why Victoria Beckham never smiles will probably still make it somewhere into current affairs (I don't know why she never smiles, but it was a headline and I don't want to know.  They should hire her out for funerals.

So close your eyes, listen to your breathe and be an eagle. Ignore the empty voices of our politicians and the images that are meant to keep us fearful - sold to us by our own 'side' and rise above the fear, the confusion, the manipulation and observe.  

And as one client told me this week after a class 'fly over the hills and mountains and towns and villages, and crap all over those who deserve it - just trust your instinct in knowing who the 'enemy' is. Fear itself.

Thursday, 8 January 2015


I'm working on a project on how mothers shape the experience of lovers (thats men or women) for the degree.   Because its a degree everything is in brackets, linear, restrained, anal, academic but hopefully the approach I'm using will allow for more description and breadth. Perhaps. Its a bit like writing an article for one extremely fussy editor, but this time the people you are quoting are mostly dead.    I'm looking forward to the research, am deep into it, and then for some light relief I turn on the TV.

Erm.  There is the news story about what has happened in France, which is dreadful.     But I don't look, listen, read the news now and take it at face value, or even the value given to me by the media.    My feeling is that they were mercenaries, and that the people they are chasing for the killings are patsies.  It was slick, there was no emotion, the almost throw away line of 'we' did it' at the end.   They were paid to do it, but who by?   I don't think its straight forward any more, I don't think it ever was.   There are so many people, governments, establishments, individuals, invested in seeing chaos and diversion in Europe. There's so much 'them and us' as though we are not in this together.  Divide and conquer.   Or depress and conquer and take away hope.   Because if you take away hope you take away power.   I think that line comes from the Hunger Games.

I turn channels.   And then there's CBB, which is depressing,  and the programme on cosmetic surgery gone wrong, which is depressing, and realise that some of those on CBB could actually be on the programme on cosmetic surgery gone wrong, and perhaps they've just signed up for the wrong programme.  And then there's the programme on the super rich, (actually calling itself 'the superrich and us' - identifying that there is a them and us scenario and we are somehow enemies), which is not true.  We are all in this together if we did but know it.    And then the programme on sex parties, which was also depressing and not sexy but perhaps they'll end up on CBB one day, or more likely they may have been in that BB house already.

At the end of the sex party programme, the participants say 'I would never have a relationship with someone who goes to sex parities'.  They wore masks so couldn't be recognised but then they just wear different ones outside.    Celebrity for you.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


Just finished the photographs for the yoga book which will be out end February, all things being equal (which they never are but I live in hope).   Am pleased with it.    Like the A to Zen of Travel, its meant to be read through and thumbed a lot. I want people to start doing yoga postures in offices, at stations, in queues, supermarkets, jury service, anywhere that is wildly inappropriate, thats what I would like them to do.   Yoga isn't po faced. Its meant to integrate into life.   I don't recommend people do yoga and drop everything else. You need to spin and run and try other stuff out to see if your body can change and take new exercise.   I remember teaching aerobics five times a week in my twenties and then being asked to a squash game for twenty minutes and was utterly exhausted. Thats what exercise should be, continually challenging so you never get too complacent.   But yoga helps with peace and if the teacher is fun, the music inspiring, it works.  I'm pleased I do it, and really pleased I teach it. I've met some very lovely people through teaching it.   And that is priceless.

Talking priceless, I read about the man in the States who was shot by his son because he was going to deduct his allowance by £60. Now for a multi millionaire, that seems like a very small amount of money.  But from my experience, its the small sums that the wealthy get their knickers in a twist about the most.   So the man is dead for £60. So for all his wealth, his life was worth £60.  That was his value. To his son anyway.

And went to see The History of Everything.  Wonderful film.  Genuinely touching love story.   She came out of it better than he did, but then she wrote the book so perhaps unsurprising.   Ironically I thought less of the man than I did before I saw it.   Not sure why.  Must read the book although don't think I will understand it.   All peas and potatoes to me...

Friday, 2 January 2015


NEW YEAR.  Well not quite if you are Chinese which started badly.  Fools gold (fake money) thrown out to crowds.  36 died.   Wonder who threw it out.   I bet I'm right    Lots of murders, another plane down in an ocean, and we are worried about trains not running on time. In the grand scale of things DOES IT REALLY MATTER?  I suppose it does if you're life depends on it.
Just Watched the Hobbit.  Excellent. Dwarves, elves, men, women, giant eagles and crows battling each other for position and money. The ones who are sitting on it don't want to share it despite the fact they promised they would - and go mad.    So sounds just like today really.   And how the uneven distribution of money has got completely out of contexx and out of hand.  They all join together, get courage and compassion and realise who the bad guys are (orcs - ugly ones, but thanks to media training and plastic surgery, we've just got to trust our instinct these days) about who are the baddies are (politicians, bankers, basically people who look like orcs).    Tolkein's tale is as relevant today as it was then.   We never learn do we.