Things that make me go hmmmmm

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Photo credit: Jeff Mermelstein

Applying make up in public places

I once had the misfortune of sitting in front of a lady who went through the whole make up application  (I'm talking concealer, foundation, powder, eye liner.....the whole shebang) on the tube. And the lady who obviously knew she was pretty. She preened and admired her own reflection in the window for 15 minutes. She applied, reapplied her lip gloss, checked and rechecked her reflection yet again on the compact mirror, reapplied another coat of mascara. The whole process went on and on like a video on repeat.

I have no problem with a quick slick of lippy but the rest is what I classify as personal grooming. It's a little alarming watching a fellow passenger performing a series of facial contortions just to get the make up on in all the right places.

Coconut Water

Coco what?! 1 liter costs £3.49 or thereabouts. It's the latest fad in the western world. The one that will send my relatives in Borneo into fits of incredulous laughter. That is, if they found out how much it costs. Grandma used to have coconut trees in her backyard. When I was on vacation and stayed over at her wooden house on stilts, I used to gaze out of the window to see if a coconut had fallen on the ground. It was only allowed occasionally because it was apparently too "cooling". The thing is coconut water is rather tasteless. The best bit is the flesh that you get to dig out once you've finished the drink (or in my case, empty the water the minute mah-mah's back was turned).

What's funnier is that in Malaysia, it's far more hip to pay an extortionate RM (Ringgit Malaysia) 15 for an iced coffee from Starbucks. Over here, it's hip to drink coco water straight from the fruit itself which you pay a fortune from the posh Chelsea Market in London. The coconut grass is always greener on the other side.


Privacy? What privacy?!

You may think I've gone bonkers talking about the toilet but if you're a mom, this is a very important subject, one that's constantly discussed at mommies' round table. The minute you pop out a baby, your child/ren and husband think that your privacy is no longer required. They have no qualms opening the bathroom door, jimmying the lock and standing there to talk to you about something "extremely" important (note the sarcasm on the last 2 words). However, if you decide a little payback, they're shocked, aghast that their very own decency has been violated which in their book, is unforgivable.

On wearing white

I love the idea of wearing white. It's angelic, ethereal, clean and pure. None of these attributes, of course, can be used to describe me. The last time I tried looking ethereal while striding down the street, I ended up stepping on dog poo. I've managed to splatter sauce or something on any white clothing that I own. It's inevitable. I might as well put a sign on my outfit and say, place a mark here and here and here and here.

Children's menu

Call it cultural differences but I've never ever seen a children's menu till I got to England. In Asia, Italy, France or even Greece, kids just eat what everyone eats. While the adults get to eat ravioli stuffed with roast porcini and burata and lightly drenched in butter and sage or fried stuffed courgette flowers with mozzarella, elderflower and anchovies, the kids get.......nuggets or the English version of spag bol. I mean, really?!

Why? Is it because the kids are programmed to think that they can't eat anything save the limited repertoire of food that they've been trained to? I don't think many kids in our parents' generation nor ours ever complained about food. And if you're hungry enough, you'll eat just about anything.


  1. LOVE this post. I wear white knowing I'll get dirty, the dog poo is a different story.

  2. I wear white an awful lot, but change into my house rags when I'm indoors.

    I could never make myself up in public, I'm far too self conscious and hate being looked at.

    Coconut water - I LOVE it!

  3. The days I wear white blouses are usually the days I crave and go eat noodles with colored broth. There's a Vietnamese crab-and-tomato noodle called "Bun Rieu" thats the repeat offender. (Google to see color saturation of broth.) Luckily, I have no shame in using layers of napkins as a bib. (:

  4. I'm guilty of having applied my mascara and lipstick daily in the subway when I was living in New York City. I was so late in the morning I couldn't take 2 minutes to do that at home before leaving. (No not really. What was I thinking?)

  5. In relation to kids menu, I have to agree. I grew up in Asia and kids just ate whatever everybody ate, although you could normally requested half portion for their little tummy. I don't cook separate dinner for my children at home too.
    However eating out here is ever so expensive that the lull of kids menu prices(around £7 for 2/3 courses) are ever so tempting. Especially if you have more than 1 child.
    I am loving the Asian food chain though where kids menu is normally just smaller portion of the same thing at adult menu (albeit less selections).

  6. The first example reminded me of a friend's story. She now lives in Japan and is used to seeing ppl slather on make up on the train but one fine morning someone took the cake by deciding to actually put on deodorant WHILE in the tube. Reaching in and putting on deodorant! Oh my...

    While I have quite a lot of white tops, I tend to shy from white bottoms as they would in my opinion get dirty in super speed!

  7. Oh brilliant - yes nodding like the annoying Churchill dog on the back parcel shelf of a car to most of this, particularly the children's menu - DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON THIS! I have raised my children to have manners (they fail me on every level when out), to eat well (hoorah) and to choose good things. We eat in nice places and we NEVER .. EVER eat from the children's menu. It means going out is expensive because they both love a good steak - adult portions. I will never deny my children the choice of a good rare steak over sausage chips and beans - NEVER.


  8. I hold public makeup application to lipstick only. Surely there is a bathroom nearby?

  9. Great post! Especially the first subject is just so entertaining! :)

  10. I too have childhood experiences of eating coconut fresh from a tree. I was given some of this coconut water to try. The aftertaste to me was like cough medicine. Yuk.

  11. Lol Marlene! Yeah, I never get the whole doing makeup in public thing and even worse, I see tons of ladies doing their makeup in their cars, while driving. Def never get that.


  12. Great post Marlene - I have to say I totally don't get putting on make up in a public place for one, I'm SO self conscious! Also coco water is a strange fad, I've heard it has no nutritional benefits so it seems pretty pricey for nothing..

  13. I am endlessly fascinated/grossed out by women who apply full on makeup on public transportation. Will they draw a perfect cat eye or poke an eye?

    Though I don't have kids, I've been fascinated by kids menus as well because they are so odd (and admit sometimes i want it). I have known a petite picky eater or two, but why not at least try to feed them what everyone else is eating right?

    Oh and my husband is the same way with white - he even managed to get tomato sauce on the shoulder of a striped white shirt once. How does that even happen??

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  14. Haha these are really interesting to think about. I love coconut water but it is overpriced and I prefer drinking it straight from the coconut on vacation! Also I never thought about kids meals (or lack of) - they're pretty typical in the US, especially in more casual restaurants but if children in the rest of the world can eat what the adults eat it does seem strange to have their own menu!

  15. omg, the woman on the tube sounds so cringe, i am cringing by just reading it-who does that? the one thing that i have been trying to figure out-people that feel the need to look at themselves in the mirror. I recently joined a gym and obviously there are mirrors everywhere and i notice that A LOT of people are going to the mat area to "stretch" and often they are spending several minutes just staring at themselves, my friend commented on this observation "oh so arrogant" are they, though? or is it an insecurity?

    and i am with you on the coconut water, i have visited india many times and had i love coconut water, of course in india there is an endless supply of it and costs next to nothing but in sainsbury's they had an offer, £2.99 for the bottle, i was tempted but £2.99?! x

  16. Well, starting from the bottom... :) Don't get the menu thing either - I think they would tell you that kids are fussy and not so easy to cater for, but to me it's simply because many don't know what good food taste like, partially due to those sort of menu settings and partially because those foods are the ones many parents feed their kids with. Sad, but true.
    On the white - so my today's post will be totally useless for you... :D
    On coconut water. It's not a fad - it really is a wonderful thing in terms of nutrition. However, it is expensive and the best kind does certainly come from the coconut, not the bottle. The problem with coconut water is that now everyone thinks it is a panacea for everything and drink too much of it when budget allows. Not so good as far as optimum nutrition goes. And flavoured water??? THIS is ridiculous.
    As for the make-up application. I actually think it's inappropriate... Lipstick or quick glance in a mirror is as far as I would ever consider going. Call me old-fashioned... ;)


  17. Love this list Marlene - totally get you on the kids's frustrating and now kids are so used to getting crap food when eating out. We normally order a main meal and split it for the girls. Will work for another few years hopefully! Oh and lol at the make-up. I'm so self conscious about applying makeup in public...amazed that others can do it! x

  18. I don't actually know how people manage to put make up on in public - especially when going bumpity bump on public transport - half the time, I can barely stand up. Besides, it's easy for me to say as one who forgets to put on makeup most days. Kids meals are a funny one - depending on where we are eating. I never really thought about it but as I spend a lot of time at our favourite Chinese, the kids basically have what we are having though we try to order them some favourites.

  19. I always find it strange how people are comfortable applying make-up in public spaces... I would feel extramely embarassed! But it doesn't bother or annoy me at all as modern lifestyle is all about saving time and multi-tasking and it's easy to imagine why a lady who's running late might apply her make-up on the go... :)

    I've never tried coconut water, is it supposed to be beneficial? I agree that some fads are unreasonably and ridiculously overpriced though :D

    Haha, I never wear white for the same reasons! It's like I'm asking the universe to play coloring book with me :D Besides I think that white is actually a difficult color to pull off unless it's a shirt!

  20. I'm a bit late catching up on my blog reading, but LOVED this post. I'm right with you on the kids menus - it used to drive me bananas! As for the coconut water .. well, that really made me laugh!

  21. Totally agree on the make-up part. I've witnessed people putting on full make up in the train..powder foundation, eyeliner, curling the lashes, eye shadow,mascara blusher, lipstick..and they are nonchalant with prying eyes. Most commuters are too polite to stare anyway...some just steal glances (like me. LOL).
    I'm mainly just finding that amusing.

    But what I cannot tolerate are people who clip their nails in public places.I thought that was pretty disgusting. Goodness....what are they thinking of??! I've also had colleagues in the office applying nail varnish. ZZzZZzz..

    There is a right time/place to do the right thing.



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