Archive | April 2012

Can Men and Women Just be Friends? – A day in your Partners Shoes

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet and dramatist.

 Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

 When Harry Met Sally (1989) 


There have been many articles and debates around the issue of heterosexual men and women being simply platonic friends but I wanted to add to those articles as I know it is an issue that has affected both me and my friends.  In films and on TV we are often shown how a friendship blossoms into romance, i.e. the friend that you always have dismissed as a partner but later end up with – take Monica and Chandler in Friends or the cult book and film One Day.



Then there are the on/off relationships which are interspersed by periods of friendship, often where one of you is hoping for the relationship to get back on track (believe me I have been there and it’s unnecessarily painful and stops you from moving on; the relationship ended for a reason.)   Perhaps our need to remain friends with an ex is driven by our need to feel that we have done better out of the end of the relationship than they have.  Maybe it’s similar for the human need to slow down and look at an accident – a sort of morbid curiosity.  The possibility of this is now greater with technology such as Facebook.  I think one is often better off not knowing these things however; especially when they appear to have done better than you.  I recently found out my ex is selling his flat to buy a place with his new girlfriend.  Now don’t get me wrong – I ended the relationship and I couldn’t wish for a better partner than the one I have got now but I can’t help feeling somewhat put out that he was always a commitment phob and yet now he has committed; almost like I broke him in.  I think it is important to ask what positives one gets out of remaining friends with an ex?  Yes it is strange to go from being so intimate with a person to nothing and it can feel like a bereavement, so I guess it stops the end seeming so final but surely it actually just prolongs the end?  The grieving has to be done in order to move on.  

Much research has been carried out on this issue of men and women being platonic friends.  One such study by Bleaske and Buss (see link to their paper below) looked at the question from an evolutionary perspective where it would seem the function of friends was to solve various adaptive problems and therefore they predicted that women would rate benefits of protection and receiving resources highly in their opposite sex friendships and men would rate the benefit of potential sex highly in their opposite sex friends.  Through a preliminary study a selection of benefits and costs of friendships was ascertained.  People were then asked to rate the frequency of occurrence of these in their most important opposite sex friendship.  Their overall conclusion was that it depends on the sex of the person you ask as to whether men and women can be friends.  The results of the study supported the hypothesis that men were more likely to be attracted to their female friends and be rebuffed, than women were their male friends, as well as receiving sex from opposite sex friends more often.  However the second hypothesis that women were more likely than men to receive gifts or resources from an opposite sex friend was not supported.  Both men and women saw this as beneficial and occurring in high frequency.  Women did see receiving protection from an opposite sex friend as more beneficial than men did.  Both men and women reported receiving information on the opposite sex from their opposite sex friends.

Other studies suggest that it is possible for men and women to be friends and that the belief they can’t comes from an era where they only interacted in a romantic sense due to women not going out to work etc.  G. Greif carried out a study more recently and found that three quarters of men believed it possible for a man and a woman to be friends.  I have a female colleague at work with a best friend who is male and she is soon to be his best man when he gets married so perhaps there is evidence of a changing opinion on male and female platonic relationships.

When a friend is not an ex and neither of you feel a romantic connection, the friendship can be beneficial in that we can get the other gender’s opinion on things which can be a god send when trying to interpret actions of romantic partners; we all know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  You may have an interest in a shared past time and can enjoy that together too.  If you meet someone and don’t feel a spark with but get on well, why not be platonic friends?

Then there are people who have friends with benefits.  Maybe this works for some but I can’t see any benefit in it; I would have thought that in most cases someone ends up getting hurt, but I am not an authority on this as it is not something I have experience of. 

I went to a single sex secondary school as did my brother and I feel that unless you have a hobby or attend a youth club, your main friends are of the same sex and the opposite sex is seen more in a romantic way.  This is maybe different for people who attend mixed schools or go on to university with many students sharing houses with boys and girls.   The study by Bleske and Buss mentioned earlier found that participants had significantly more close same sex friends than close opposite sex friends.  My best friends certainly are my girlfriends so conceivably there is a chance that men and women can just be platonic friends but perhaps not close friends.  Possibly close male and female friendships only work if you are both single or both in relationships. 

Then there are the feelings of your new partner to consider too.  Take a walk in your current partner’s shoes when as a woman you are thinking about a close male friend.  Funny how as women we often wouldn’t want our partner to stay friends with an ex or have a close opposite sex friend but we think it’s ok if we do.  Men may see their girlfriend having male friends as an issue perhaps because they believe men are sexually driven and think that even if you see it as platonic, the male friend may still try his luck.  If the friend is an ex, this just makes the situation worse as your partner’s insecurities may mean that they think you will be wanting to get back with the ex.  Even if they are not an ex, a partner can still find male friends threatening; especially if he has not met the friend.  I know when I first mentioned my male friend, my boyfriend found it awkward but once he met him, it was fine and they got on well.  I think the key is to introduce them in a neutral setting perhaps with other friends around and perhaps avoid meeting up as just a two, arranging more group events.

There are no definitive answers and the debate still rages on.  I would love to hear what you think on this age old question, until next time……………

Loaded Spring

Another Easter has passed by meaning we are well on our way to summer; hope you have all eaten lots of chocolate.  The diet will have to start soon.  I had an addiction to Caramel Bunnies in the lead up to Easter as I have done in previous years and then my other half bought me a large Caramel Bunnies egg.  Once this has gone though, the bikini diet must start in earnest, now that I only have 5 weeks to lose more weight than I care to mention!  My partner and I are going to try a scheme that my Uncle created where we have a sin box; meaning every time we eat something unnecessary i.e. chocolate, biscuits, cake etc. we place 50p in a money box.  The first one to reach our target weight loss keeps the pot.

Queuing up in a rammed Tesco on Good Friday where we eventually abandoned our trolley and left – I started to wonder whether as a nation we have forgotten the true meaning of Easter as well as some of the symbolism behind customs we continue.  Despite it being the most important Christian Festival, people in society today seem to place far more importance and preparation on Christmas.  On Good Friday we remember the crucifixion of Jesus and on Sunday we celebrate his resurrection.  Probably one of the things people find the most confusing about Easter is the fact that unlike Christmas, it is a moveable festival.  Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon and as such Easter varies between 22nd March and 25thApril in the Gregorian calendar (i.e. that of the West).  It is also related to Passover.  Last year Easter was very late at the end of April and that was when I moved in with my partner so I have now almost lived there a year – how time flies when you are having fun!  Shoes and other things still remain at my Mums however but I did pack up a bit more when I went for dinner Easter Sunday.  My partner refers to my bedroom at my Mums as a Tardis! 

That of course also means that come the beginning of May, this blog will be a year old.  I am so glad I started this and greatly enjoy writing it as I hope you enjoy reading it.  I am hoping to get to 2000 hits before the day but I think I’m being optimistic somehow.  It has been exciting however to see how my blog is read all over the world and thanks to so many of you who have been kind enough to subscribe to it.

Anyway I digress.  Back to Easter.  Now the word Easter was probably derived from the old English word Eastre or Eostre and in some countries it is called Pascha, deriving from Latin.  Eostre was the goddess of fertility and new beginnings and pagans held feasts in her honour.  Catholics will have an Easter Vigil on the Saturday night, following Good Friday, which is seen as a good time of year for converts to be baptised due to the symbolism of rebirth in the fact that Christ rose again on Easter Sunday.  Traditionally hot cross buns are eaten hot on Good Friday.  The cross symbolises the crucifixion.  There is some suggestion that in Saxon times the cross symbolised the four quarters of the moon and that therefore they were eaten to pay homage to the goddess Eostre.  Legend has it that if you share a hot cross bun with someone it will guarantee friendship for the coming year.  I always eat them for my breakfast on Good Friday and also keep to the tradition of only eating fish on the day.  This comes from the fact that Friday’s during Lent should be days of abstinence because Christ died on a Friday.  Meat was selected as the item to abstain from as centuries ago it was considered to be a luxury.  Lent is the 40 days (excluding Sundays) proceeding Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday.  Traditionally this is a fasting period to pray and prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus when no meat or dairy (including eggs) was allowed.  In modern times, many Christians just give up a luxury such as chocolate.  I am ashamed to say that I didn’t give up anything this year.  Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) was a time to use up food that was in the store cupboard before the fast, which is where the tradition of eating pancakes came from.  The Easter egg may have therefore been a celebration of the end of Lent when eggs could be eaten again and there may have been a large surplus of eggs because of the period of abstaining from them.  The egg is also seen to symbolise new life and therefore Christ’s resurrection.  In some Orthodox churches, eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood, with the shell representing the tomb and the cracking, the resurrection.  Dyed or painted chicken eggs would have been given years ago but nowadays we tend to think of Easter eggs in terms of chocolate eggs.  Other customs include an Easter egg hunt for children and the legend that the Easter Bunny has brought them, much like Santa brings the presents at Christmas.  It was in fact a hare in the legend though and not a bunny.  A reference to the Easter hare bringing eggs can be found as far back as 1682 and may have been due to Protestants wanting to keep the custom of egg giving without reference to the Catholic fasting during Lent.  The Easter bunny was introduced to the USA in the 18th century by German immigrants who said to their children that only if they were good, would they receive eggs.  Bunnies are also a great symbol of fertility given their large litters and short gestation periods.  Here is a picture of my very own Easter Bunny.



So hopefully you are all now a bit more informed about Easter traditions.  This being the season of rebirth, perhaps I can be reborn thinner??!!  To end on a fashion note, why not embrace the spring feel and wear floral or lemon or even both together.  I couldn’t resist this top from New Look.

 shell top

I thought it was very Louis Vuitton as seen on Kate Moss at Paris Fashion Week.


Enough from me now, I must get back to my Caramel Bunnies!

London Calling – 3G

The last few weeks have been quite eventful and exciting with London calling (as the Clash put it).  There has been a trip to see Ghost, meal at Gilgamesh and stay at The Grosvenor Hotel – hence the title of this blog being 3G (as in 3 places beginning with ‘G’) with a play on words with the phone technology.  I, my Mum, cousin and Aunt went to see Ghost the musical at The Piccadilly theatre.  After the greatly acclaimed 1990 film starring the late Patrick Swayze, could the musical compare I asked myself.  Well the answer was a very loud yes.  This is an outstanding show and if you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it; it’s probably the only musical in which I have seen people in the audience crying.  The special effects were out of this world.  In a film you take them for granted but on a stage where they can’t cut and paste bits together, they really were something else.  Afterwards I hailed a taxi – I was not walking in my high heels, and we went to Brown’s for a meal which as always never disappoints and I’m not just talking about the food and magnificent cocktails – our waiter was a lovely piece of eye candy! 

Last weekend my other half and I spent a night in London at the Grosvenor Hotel to celebrate 3 years together.  The hotel opened in 1862 and has recently been refurbished, maintaining many original Victorian features and was a great choice for me given my fascination with the Victorian era.  The hotel was a very luxurious 4*.  We went for a meal at Gilgamesh in Camden, which I chose after it appeared on Masterchef.  The restaurant is named after the Epic of Gilgamesh which is believed to be one of the earliest surviving works of literature dating from around 18th century BC.  Gilgamesh was King of Uruk and was part human, part God.  He suppressed his people so they asked for the Gods help.  The Gods sent Enkidu who was part man and part animal to distract Gilgamesh.  They fight but then become friends and then seek to gain recognition by killing a demi God.  The pair also kill the bull of heaven.  As punishment the Gods decide that one of the pair must die and it ends up being Enkidu because Gilgamesh is part God.  Gilgamesh then seeks Urshanabi who has been granted immortality to try and find out the secret of eternal life.  The walls of the restaurant depict this story.  Head Chef Ian Pengelley creates dishes inspired by South East Asia, China and Japan.  The duck spring rolls were to die for (I abstained from my no red meat rule for these).  I also had a stunning Thai green curry which was a little hot for me but I want my palette to become accustomed to more spicy food.  All of this was washed down with a Cosmopolitan and a bottle of rose Prosecco which my other half and I toasted our anniversary over.  What really excites you about this restaurant however is the wonderful, lavish decoration that strikes you as soon as you get to the top of the escalator that leads you into this eastern inspired haven.  Attention has been paid to every detail, with the intricate carvings of the chairs, not to mention the bar and the soft mood lighting. 





The service is fantastic with your glass constantly being topped up.  We then went into the Babylon bar (part of Gilgamesh) which was equally as beautifully decorated and then were directed to the so called club.  This is where the special feeling of occasion left us as we were sharply reminded of our class.  Every table was reserved and apparently to reserve a table you had to have a minimum spend of £500.  Very elitist I felt and rather put a dampener on the evening.  On looking on their website after though I see that this may have simply have been the VIP bar and there may have been a studio club above the restaurant.  We left after this however, with my feet aching in new heels (the price I pay for gorgeous shoes) and found ourselves in a much less extravagant Camden bar, drinking Sol beers and listening to music from films.  We then made our way back to the hotel where we ended up in the Reunion bar drinking wine and then purchased a white Prosecco to take up to the room.  That final bottle was a mistake though and we hardly touched it before both dropping off to sleep.  We both certainly knew our extravagance in the morning when we woke with thumping headaches!  It was enjoyable but for the money it cost, I think we would have been better off going abroad as we have done the last two years.  When I compare Buddakan in New York where we went last year, with Gilgamesh, Buddakan wins for me, despite some of the excellent features of Gilgamesh.  Buddakan serves modern Asian cuisine with a distinctly Chinese feel whereas Gilgamesh encompasses much more of Asia’s speciality foods.  Buddakan felt welcoming from the start with the dim lighting and the wonderful painting behind the bar where Carrie had her last single girl kiss in the first Sex and the City movie.  There are beautiful chandeliers, offering a regal palace feel to the place.  Buddakan felt more exclusive than Gilgamesh as we were not so crammed in and it was quieter, rather than everyone shouting over each other, not to mention the woman with the hyena laugh we had to put up with whilst we ate at Gilgamesh.  The bar also had plenty of unreserved seating.  We were allowed to spend as much time as we wanted at the table rather than at Gilgamesh where we were reminded of a 2 hour limit.

Now while I am on the subject of Sex and the City, I am so excited to hear about the filming of the new Sex and the City Prequel, based on Candace Bushnell’s books ‘The Carrie Diaries.’  These books follow Carrie in her teenage years.  AnnaSophia Robb has been cast as Carrie – you may remember her as Violet Beauregarde in the version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which had Johnny Depp cast as a somewhat scary Mr Wonka.  Some people think the Sex and the City brand has had its day, however as a die hard fan I can’t wait for this series and sincerely hope that the rumours of a third Sex and the City film soon become a reality.



In true Carrie style, let’s now turn to fashion.  I couldn’t resist these David and Goliath pyjamas.


David and Goliath was founded in 2000 by Todd Goldman whose doodles have now made their way onto T-shirts, Pyjamas, key rings etc.  His aim is to make us laugh.  I already own a pair of their pyjamas with the slogan ‘Happiness is Expensive.’  Now I love my pyjamas and happily stay in them all day if I am not going out.  They are so comfortable and this company makes you look stylish too.   Why not give an edge to your pyjamas when lounging round the house and sling on a pair of pearls, like Carrie in the Sex and the City movie or style up a cute nightshirt with knee high white socks with a cute little bow on the side (I bought these last season and can’t wait to wear with my Daisy Duck nightie when the weather is warmer).

daisy duck


The word Pyjamas comes from a Persian word meaning leg garment.  It originally referred to loose trousers tied around the waist.  During the British Raj, this word was introduced to the English language.  In India, pyjamas were worn as lounge wear by the rich who didn’t need to work.  Now despite being a fan of pyjamas, I’m unsure on the latest trend of pyjama style outerwear shown on the spring catwalks by Stella McCartney to name one designer. 


Admittedly I enjoy the comfort of wearing out my harem pants, palazzo pants and may even consider these geisha pants from Fashion Union but is a matching pyjama style suit a step too far?

 geisha pants

Now whilst we are on controversial trends – are dungarees a do or a don’t?  It takes me back to my floral dungaree shorts that I loved as a 9 year old.   Jean-Paul Gaultier has a dungaree dress in his new collection as seen below.

 jean-paul gaultier

 Alexia Chung has been spotted wearing them in a New York club.


I have decided to embrace the trend for this item of clothing, which was originally created as a protective form of clothing for workers; with women first wearing them in factories during the First World War and an item that has had brief revivals in the fashion trends in 60s, 70s and more recently 2010.  I have purchased this dungaree dress from River Island and intend to wear it with floaty blouses and perhaps as an easy item to put on over my bikini on holiday.

 RI dress

Now I will leave you with an amusing story that a lady at work told me.  She was with a girl whose shoe fell onto the track at an underground station.  This girl hopped up steps to find a member of staff in order to get them to rescue her very expensive shoe and in doing so had a train held outside the station.  Numerous commuters were giving her death stares for causing a delay for the sake of a shoe but my heart goes out to this woman.  Any self respecting shoe lover including myself would have done the same!  Am I addicted to shoes?  Probably, my boyfriend was certainly nodding his head in amusement at a girl addicted to shoes who was featured on ‘My Strange Obsession last week’ and giving me a knowing look.  Perhaps I better still keep a few pairs at my parent’s house try and resist anymore purchases for a while!  Who am I kidding; I already have my eye on numerous pairs!

Coffee? How one simple question turns into 20 questions!

A glance through my bank statement can tell anyone much about my life and vices – restaurants, bars, clothes stores and most frequently, coffee shops.  Coffee has long been my drink of choice, despite my parents and now my partner too, being confirmed tea drinkers.  Tea never appealed to me whereas my brother would have it in his bottle.  From about 4 or 5 I began to have a coffee once a day when my Mum did and by the time my teenage years arrived – I swear there was more coffee pumping round my body than blood, especially when I was burning the midnight oil, revising or writing an essay!  (Not that I leave things until the last minute you understand!)  Now around my teens too, I began to visit Starbucks on quite a regular basis and some of mine and my friends teenage woes were discussed at length in the comfy armchairs of Starbucks.  Who would believe that Starbucks started out in 1971 as one store in Seattle?  There are now over 17000 Starbuck’s branches worldwide.  The name is from Moby Dick, Starbuck was the chief mate on the Pequod ship.  It cleverly encompasses the integral relationship between the sea and coffee imports of the past.

logo starbucks

Alongside Starbucks sits Costa, set up by two brothers who funnily enough, served their first coffee to local caterers in London in 1971 too and the first coffee shop opened in 1972.  I used to meet two of my close friends who now live in the North and spend many a Sunday morning discussing men and such like in our local branch; dissecting everything the latest man had said and searching for hidden meanings, that probably weren’t there.

logo costa

Then lets not forget Caffé Nero which was formed much later by Gerry Ford in London in 1997.  His aim was to bring an authentic Italian styled café to the UK.  They too now have more than 500 stores around the world.


Now which of these great chains we decide to buy our coffee from, I suspect is much to do with which crosses our path at a particular time but for a moment lets just pretend you have all three in front of you, which would you choose?  I would love you to comment on my blog and let me know.  Apparently Costa is the nation’s favourite based on research carried out by a strategic research company in London in 2010 & 2011.  My personal favourite is Caffé Nero, whose raspberry and white chocolate muffin on a Monday morning is to die for (I’m telling myself the fact it has raspberry in it means it counts as one of my 5 a day!)  Now Costa does also do a raspberry and white chocolate muffin but for me it just doesn’t compare as it contains a kind of centre of raspberry puree, a bit like a jam doughnut.  Starbucks range of speciality seasonal drinks does tempt me away from Caffé Nero one month a year however.  I was counting down the days last year until they began serving their toffee nut latte!

Anyway, now you have decided which chain to get your coffee from, there follows another extensive list of questions; decaf/normal, skimmed/full fat milk, sugar, one shot or two and of course the all important type of coffee.  Is it a cuppachino, a latte, an americano, mocha, espresso or a macchiato that floats your boat?  I only found out what a macchiato was the other day so in case you are as ignorant on these matters as me, it’s an espresso with a dash of milk or foam.  Even that is not the end of the questions as then there is the necessity of size and you’ve guessed it, not just simple; small/medium/large that would make things far too easy, no each branch has its own terms; for example large in Caffé Nero is ‘Grande’ and in Starbucks is ‘Venti’.  A college professor in English upset a Starbucks Barista in New York City because she refused to use their terminology.

The social element of popping out for a coffee has long been enjoyed by Europeans but here in England we have been slow to catch on.  Perhaps it’s because in the UK much like the US, we are always in too much of a rush to just relax and let the world go by.  I love to sit and people watch in a coffee shop.  There is always such a diverse snapshot of the population in there.  My partner refuses to frequent these places as a tea drinker however as he says the tea is rubbish and they give you a cup of hot water and a tea bag so you pretty much have to make it yourself and pay for the privilege.

Now enough about coffee, lets move to my fashion vice.  I have been snapping up some spring/summer trends such as this gorgeous tropical print top from Oasis and this funky pencil skirt, also Oasis.


In the absence of winning the lottery, in place of the Cleo B sandals I mentioned in my last blog, I have treated myself to a New Look pair in preparation for my holiday.



After reading Fabulous magazine, they suggested these RiverIsland sandals to follow in the art deco trend, shown by Gucci.  I went for light brown rather than the black they suggested though as I felt they were more summery.

river island

I also couldn’t resist these coral sandals and a parrot vest top from New Look.  Don’t you just love summer?  I am counting down the weeks until I go to Crete.

coral shoe

Drawing two of my obsessions together – shoes and coffee, when my other half and I first got together, he bought me this mug so I could feel at home when I visited.

coffee cup

The stimulating effect of caffeine in coffee has long been linked to health problems but to me the caffeine is part of the point of drinking it – I need something to make me human in the morning and give me energy for my shopping.  As a guy at work likes to call it decaf is just brown water.  It seems I’m not the only one with a passion for coffee, especially in America where they even have a National Coffee Day on 29th September.  Sadly as yet no National shoe day as such that I have heard of.

 Anyway I shall close there; time to put the kettle on I feel.