Guest Post by Rosa Lyster: Celebrity Encounters

Celebrity encounters

Rosa Lyster writes these really great essays once a week and puts them up on her website I am a huge fan of her writing and asked her to guest post on the blog today. She very kindly said yes. Here is her essay on the encounters she has had (or thought she had) with celebs.

Rosa lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.


1. I thought I saw Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) out the corner of my eye. This kind of tallish handsome-ish lanky man wearing nice pants wandered into my peripheral vision, and the celebrity-registering part of my brain lit up. Fireworks. Explosions. Someone shooting a gun into the air. This happens to me a lot. People in Cape Town are generally very good at keeping their shit together around celebrities – they affect a cool disinterestedness, like oh check it out there’s Sean Penn, and I am going to pretend that I don’t care at all. I am going to act like I have never ever heard of Sean Penn, or, alternatively, that I HAVE heard of him and I hate him. I am going to make Sean Penn think that I am his enemy. I do not play this game very well. I lose my mind at even the prospect of seeing a celebrity. They know that they are famous, I know that they are famous, and why are we all pretending like this is normal. WHY. It’s a problem that some people have. A friend of mine once saw Emma Watson in a bar in Oxford, and stared at her so hard that she had to leave. It turned out that the guy with the cool pants wasn’t Yasiin Bey at all. He was just a totally regular man. Didn’t matter. The celebrity-registering part of my brain had been activated, and I was jittery for the rest of the evening.

2. I saw Sophie Ellis Bextor walking down the street in Hackney. This wasn’t like the Mos Def thing – it was definitely, definitely her. She had this nice yellow dress on, and sweet sunglasses, and she was walking down the street towards me. Fireworks. Explosions. Someone shooting a gun into the air.

3. My friend Rom and I saw Cillian Murphy at a Beach House concert in Hyde Park. I wrote about in on my old blog, which not one single person ever read, so really it was more like my diary. This is what I said: him and his wife (who was wearing a sort of Cheesecloth purple jumpsuit, actually, but despite this she managed to come across as very nice and someone you wouldn’t mind being stuck in a lift with) were sitting at the same set of tables and chairs that we were for most of the day. they borrowed our sunscreen. the wife made a nice joke about eating some of our ice cream. things i noticed about cillian murphy:

A) his head is much bigger from the side than from the front

B) he seems all right, really.

I recognised him straight away and I could feel my eyes go all bobbly and stupid. I don’t even like him! He does not at all feature in my life! I don’t think I have ever had a conversation about him with anyone except maybe Emma! but still I was so DUMB about it. still it was all I could do to stop myself from leaning over to him and going, “Look, you and I both know that you were in that movie called 28 Days Later, so can we stop pretending please.”they were sort of next to us when we watched beach house as well. they weren’t nearly as into beach house as they were into this sort of ska band that played earlier. obviously this minused them a million points, not just cos beach house was SO GREAT, but because ska is SO HORRIBLE.

4. Rufus Sewell, in a Starbucks in Oxford. This was a bad one. I got the same feeling I did when I saw Sophie Ellis Bextor. The feeling is called Fuck fuck fuck what if I wave, or smile in a weird way or fuuuuuuuuck what if I say something to them. This is what I wrote about in my old blog/diary: The thing I am bad at is famous people. I’m the most uncool about it ever in the world. But I can’t HELP it. It feels like a LIE. He knows that he is famous. I know that he is famous. It feels like some kind of riddle, to which the solution is, apparently, look at him out the corner of my eye so much that my head starts hurting, and then get up all in a rush cos he saw me STARING, and forget my wallet and the flowers at the table, and have to run back and get them and then drop the wallet and make an extremely, extremely loud rustling noise with the cellophane around the flowers as I walk out the door BACKWARDS. Like a CREEP. Like someone’s terrible servant in a PLAY.

5. My friend Caitie reminded me that once I thought I saw a famous man at university, but it turned out to be just my politics lecturer. I followed him around for a bit because I thought he had recently starred in a movie with Denzel Washington. I did my signature move of looking at the suspected celebrity very hard, and it was only after about five minutes of gazing intently at him that I realised who he was. It’s because I didn’t go to very many lectures.

6. Upon reflection, my old blog is just jam-packed with long updates on the time I thought I saw someone famous. Here is what I wrote about someone who I don’t even think has an IMDB page: I saw him and went oh oh there is a famous man where is he from where is he from where is he from. He was walking round the exhibition with someone he obviously didn’t know very well. For example: he didn’t know that she spoke Spanish, or that she had a brother, or that she had never been to Florence. I know this because I was SPYING. I wouldn’t definitely say they were on a date, but they probably were. An exhibition seems like an extraordinarily High Pressure environment to choose for like a first or second date. The worst is having to stand in front of paintings and say things. It’s even terrible when it’s with someone you know well. The potential for being either incredibly bored or incredibly boring is generally too high.


I stared and stared at him and wondered where he was from, and convinced myself that he was extremely famous, and went on about it for ages, and then on the train home I realised that he was the actor who played Brooke Shields’s husband on that show called Lipstick Jungle. I can’t BELIEVE I remembered that. I can’t BELIEVE I worked that out. I can’t BELIEVE that some probably very crucial information was turfed out of my brain in order to make room for that.

7. My amazing mum, the best person in the whole wide world, has the exact opposite approach to famous people. This is because she is very cool. She once saw Larry King in New York and said that she experienced a flash of fond recognition, like the feeling you get when you unexpectedly bump into one of your really good pals in the supermarket. This feeling was so strong that she raised her arm in greeting and said HI! It was only after he looked at her blankly that she realised he was not one of her best friends.

8. I have actually also done this. I was walking into a restaurant on Park Street, and some guy who I vaguely recognised was walking out. I said HI and then I realised that it was James Corden. Again, upon reflection, it was probably not James Corden at all. Has he ever even been to Cape Town? It almost definitely wasn’t him.

Habits for dreamers

dream bubble









I am a major dreamer.

In high school, I was awarded the “head in the clouds” award in my final year. I didn’t even know we were doing funny awards which may be a case in point.

While I think it’s very important to dream, often times dreaming gets in the way of doing. And doing is important too.

A couple of months ago I read what I found to be a very helpful article on The Biggest Reasons You Haven’t Changed Your Habits by Leo Babauta (author of the blog Zen Habits).

What stuck out for me was his fourth point. The idea is that a major reason you are not changing a habit could be that you have some unrealistic idea in your head of what would happen if you were to make that change. When that doesn’t happen, you give up.

If you’re a dreamer like me, it can be hard to keep going with changing your habits when these changes don’t result in the ideal results that you dreamed up in your head. The thing is, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are, how healthy, how much sleep you get every night, how often you floss; you can still have bad days.

But life being life shouldn’t stop you making positive changes.

Since reading the article, I’ve been working on developing good habits without getting carried away with fantasies of the perfect life that should immediately materialise with eating more fruit and doing yoga three times a week.

Babauta also suggests adopting a perspective of curiosity with regard to the changes that a habit can bring about in order to replace all that idealising.



Trust the process

Barbie doll with broken legWhen I was around seven years old, I had a fear that there would come a time when my mom would no longer be around to put my barbie doll back together on the occasions where I unceremoniously pulled her leg out of its plastic socket.

I voiced this concern to my mother who assured me that one day, I too would be able to rejoinder a barbie doll’s leg to the rest of her body. It seemed quite impossible to me at the time, my hands being so clumsy and weak, and so despite her consolation, I continued to be gripped by this fear whenever I pulled off a plastic limb and had to run to her for help.

I still have fears like this sometimes, in which I cannot possibly envisage a future in which I will be able to accomplish something that I cannot accomplish right now. While my goals have changed, and I no longer really care very much about the bodily integrity of plastic dolls (although I very much care about it for real women), it is still important for this storie’s sake that you know I can now put a leg back onto a Barbie. At least I’m pretty sure I could if I wanted to.

Last year, my friend Lauren, who had embarked on a year of studying Interior design after studying years of other things, told me that her advice was to “Trust the process”. So that is what I try and do now and I find it very helpful.

You may not be able to put dolls together right now but you will be able to one day if you want to. Because things do change and they do improve if you work on them. Just keep going and most importantly, believe (unlike my seven-year old self) that the process will lead you onwards and upwards. Because it will, it just takes time.

Have a great weekend!



What’s on my dresser

My dresser

I’ve always loved to see what sorts of things people keep in their houses, on their coffee tables, on their bedside tables, on any table really. I tend to inexplicably pick up each object presented on a given surface, feel the weight of it and then put it down again. No real reason.

Here’s a look at what I keep on my dresser.

  1. A little metal box that my housemate bought for me in Morocco. I empty my coins out into it every couple of days and then grab the change on the weekends to buy croissants and pains au chocolat from the bakery. It also holds some bobby pins and a couple of hair ties.
  2. This Habitat ‘cotton and neroli’ candle has a fresh and light fragrance, perfect for spring. I hate anything that’s too overpowering so I think this one is perfect.
  3. A crumpled ‘paper’ vase (which can be found here) filled with dried hydrangeas. You cannot beat a dried hydrangea.
  4. Bio oil is one of those things, like vaseline or coconut oil (or pawpaw ointment for Australians), which act as some people’s cure all. I use Bio oil as a massage oil, skin moisturiser, make up remover, general illuminator… It arrived on the French market last year and is marketed as Bi-oil which I find hilarious.
  5. Essie’s ‘Help me grow‘ base coat, ‘Good to go‘ top coat and Allure nail polish. Keeping nails on point.
  6. Evian facial spray. My French grandma always used to have this in her bathroom. It delivers a soft spray of water onto the skin which creates that elusive glowy look, wakes me up a bit and for some reason, makes me feel that little bit more sparkly. I keep a big can of it on my dresser and a baby can in my handbag.
  7. Le petit marseillais hand cream. In the warmer months, my hands start to get really dry so I have hand cream on hand (ha).

I’d love to know, what do you keep on your dresser?

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

My dresser

My dresser

Did I ever tell you…about the “Did I ever tell you” book?


When I was in Standard 2 at Rustenburg Junior School for Girls in South Africa, which was the year I turned nine, I had a very beautiful and terrifying teacher named Miss Baigrie. We were all in love with Miss Baigrie and scared of her at the same time because Miss Baigrie had a very clear system of reward and punishment.

Living in the days when camera film was still bought by most households, Miss Baigrie had asked us at the beginning of the year to bring in the small black cylinders that film comes in. There was to be one for every group of four desks in the class. The cyclinder was to be a gauge of success.

Anytime we did something right for our team of four desks, Miss Baigrie would give us one speckled bean to put into our film cylinder. You could get beans for sitting straight during story time, for neatly covering exercise books with wrapping paper, for politeness and for ´Hard Work’. You could also lose a bean for various delinquencies, most notably for needing to go to the bathroom during a lesson, considered bad management of one’s body.

I have never felt the importance of beans as strongly as I did in Std 2, where they came to be equated with doing things ‘right’. That was also the year when beans were to give us that god-like feeling of giving life, the year when we so carefully placed a bean between two pieces of cotton found in the bathroom cupboard and a few days later a small sapling sprouted.

If a group filled their cylinder to the brim with those wrinkly speckled beans, Miss Baigrie gave us a magnificent flat lollipop each, the flimsiest lollipop you ever saw, but I’ve never tasted a better once since.

There was one other reward for us being good in Miss Baigrie’s class. If all us us carried out a joint effort of goodness, Miss Baigrie would read us a story from the ´Did I ever tell you?´ book, one of those magical books of my childhood that only seemed to exist in one copy. I only have a vague memory of one of the stories, involving a brother and sister duo catching tadpoles in a stream. What I do remember is that they were really wonderful stories and I always enjoyed listening to them. Each story began, ‘did I ever tell you about the time..:’

This story series is inspired by that book which Miss Baigrie would read to us as we sat in that classroom thinking she was magical, at least one of us hoping that we could hold it in until lunchtime so as not to forfeit one very precious bean.

Have a great weekend!


This story is dedicated to my fellow Rustybugs x

Learning a foreign language

Learning French
nighttime homework

My mother tongue is English but my mother is French. I know, right?

I only really started speaking French when I first moved to Paris at eighteen. My previous knowledge of the language came from school lessons with Mrs Corlett and summers spent in Brittany trying to communicate with my French cousins, mainly regarding ice cream flavours.

Learning a language is hard and it never ends. However, if you’re going to live in a country with a different language to yours, I strongly suggest you learn that language as perfectly as you possibly can.

You can do it but you need a beautiful way of looking at the whole process to keep you going. Because a language is a long-term commitment. You still need to feed it and take it out for a walk even when you don’t feel like it.

Continue reading

Thoughts on adulthood

The Little Prince
‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Five hundred million what?” asked the little prince. 

There are some adults who only want to count things. They don’t care about what it is that they are counting.

They tend to buy luxury watches for EUR 250,000 that lose 5 minutes a day.

If I were you, I wouldn’t be one of those adults because there can be no stories where there are only numbers.

Also, using exclusively numeral adjectives to describe the value or things is boring and there is nothing worse than boredom.

This post is not to promote dyscalculia because I am a proponent of arithmetic and generally smart people. In fact, it has nothing to do with mathematics whatsoever.

I’m just saying that as an adult it is very, very important to remember what it is that you are counting.