Sunday, 21 May 2017

Travelling abroad in femme mode?

I have just spent three days in France, my first trip abroad for a year. Travelling from Britain to the continent has been so much easier ever since the rail tunnel under the English Channel was opened and I have taken the train to Paris, Brussels and Lille many times now, for work and leisure.

This time I was in Lille again, a pleasant city, all walkable but with good transport, too, which does a good line in beer and where my favourite restaurant in the whole world is located (Le Compostelle - always perfect but at such a reasonable price

I went on my own this time, rather than with friends, and although I know that there are now fewer problems with passport control, etc., when travelling en femme than there used to be, I have never been brave enough yet to travel abroad in female mode, especially to France, where you can get a lot of verbal abuse if you stand out a bit.

Next month I am going to Berlin to stay with two gay friends. That is a very trans-friendly city, full of TGirls just going about their business and I am wondering if a day out as Sue would be a good plan then. To be honest, though, I am considering one of my gay hosts who really feels a bit icky about women! "I don't understand why anyone would want to be a woman," he commented when I came out to him about being trans. (To be fair, it's a question I have often asked myself!) We have come a long way as a community, but there is still a long way to go.

Sue x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Politics, urgh!

I haven't posted for weeks and this is in large part due to work and political drama, and home maintenance.

I have to say that I am very worried about the political mess that this country has got itself into. More on that another day.

As for trans stuff, which is what this blog is about, I met my friend Gina a few weeks ago and we had a nice day in Greenwich. Pictures and story soon, including Star Wars stuff!

Also, I have booked a hotel for this year's Sparkle transgender celebration in Manchester which I wasn't able to go to last year. It'll be nice to catch up with friends.

Sue x

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The old familar faces and the happy routine

Lady Rebecca Georgina Arabella Lyndon, Duchess of Basingstoke and Marchioness of Hounslow, invited me to join the girls, i.e. the Brick Lane Set I have mentioned so many times on this blog, in the "so hip it hurts" corner of London that is Shoreditch. Formerly as East End as it got, it's now gentrified and cosmopolitan, metrosexual, ethnoblended or whatever trendy term you want to use. But London is like that these days, not so many working class, upper class, middle class, immigrant distinctions. And I think that's all to the good. However, the Brick Lane set do bring a distinct touch of glamour to the place, as noted by being dolled up enough for a royal garden party at the palace when we are actually just going for a cheap curry in Banglatown (as the Bengali community like to call it).

Anyway, after three years away because of my face problem, I joined the girls for the time-honoured routine. Drinks at Verge Bar on the corner of Bethnal Green Road. As well as Rebecca I met Irene, whom I also hadn't seen for three years, regulars Rachel and Jill (framing the photo) and girls I hadn't met before, Nigella, Emma and Marie (her first time out in the real world - I always feel honoured to be part of a girl's first trip out).

L-R: Rachel, me, Rebecca, Nigella, Emma, Marie, Jill. Irene's photo.

Then it was off for the requisite curry which Brick Lane is famous for. Sheba's this time and I had a very soft and sweet chicken and mango dish which I found very tasty and a lovely girly colour. Brick Lane is a laugh as all the restaurants have "curry touts" outside trying to grab big parties like ours. Rachel is adept at playing the touts off against each other and we usually get 25% off the bill and a few bottles of wine thrown in for free. The wine is pretty nasty but it's free so don't argue! I can't drink it anyway because of the meds I am on.

Rachel and me at Sheba's.

Finally we ended up in Monty's Bar, which I've always found nice and relaxed.

I hadn't seen Rebecca for 3 years even though she's the girl who lives closest to me. A cuddle was definitely in order.

So that was Thursday night, just like the old days. I feel slightly nervous and self-conscious travelling on my own on the London Underground after so long away, but that feeling should pass with more trips out.

And my face? Well, I used my prescription slug slime as a primer and just the Mac Studio Fix foundation and powder, no eye makeup, just lipstick. It doesn't really provide enough cover, especially with flash photography showing its translucency, but at least I woke up the next day just slightly sore, not swollen, ulcered and flaking as in the past and no further medication was needed. I think I can say that, with a bit of care, I can really start to get back to a feminine routine again. I almost cried with relief at this thought.

Sue x

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Darn online security!

For some reason Blogger locked me out and I couldn't get back in... because I just couldn't remember what login I use. It's old age, that's what it is. I disguise it with fantastic makeup. Well, something like that.

Talking of makeup...

I wanted to say that after 3 years of this eczema ruining my face, especially after using soap or sunscreen or indeed makeup, after the last trip out in full slap (see previous post), my face was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Up to now I have had to get myself tanked up on antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants for some days to combat the resultant flareup. But the days after the last trip, nothing, nix, nada. No medication necessary, apart from my prescription goo for washing my face. 

It's a little sore this week but I am going out with the girls in London tonight, some of whom I haven't seen for those 3 years. Hope to write up about it at the weekend. And hope that, as last time, nothing bad happens to my face.

Sue x

Saturday, 4 March 2017

And out again!

Joy! It seems almost miraculous that after three years of battling this skin problem I was so much less troubled by my medicine-as-foundation makeup regime last week. Yes, I was sore for a couple of days after my ten hours in makeup last Saturday, but nothing like the swelling and the cracked and weeping skin and other horrors that I have experienced before.

So I thought I'd try it again and duly used the same makeup and medicine combination and went out again, this time to Oxford Street to shop. I particularly wanted some Mac powder to match the Studio Tech foundation I am using, which I duly found after discussion with a staff member there. I also went to Marks & Spencer, H&M, Boots and Debenhams. What a joy to be shopping again.

After that Richard, a very old friend of mine, took me to dinner at Sofra Turkish Restaurant in St Christopher's Place, a quiet haven just behind the bustle of Oxford Street. And the food was excellent. Better still is that Richard insisted on paying for me. What a gentleman!

Despite the crowds, the train problems, the chaos at Mac in Selfridges, the boots that pinched, there is nothing on earth more wonderful then being a woman. "What can I get you, Madam?" ... "This lady was next" ... "Is it 'Mrs' or 'Ms' Richmond?". This is music to my ears after 3 long years absence. I am hoping this new regime will let me get out at least at weekends. Let's see. Fingers crossed.

And thank you all you many many girls who have wished me well, prayed, said magic words, given advice and generally kept me going through this. My problem is not gone, but it may be manageable now. I will report in due course on what my face does this time.

Outside Sofra, a very good Turkish restaurant away from the bustle of Oxford St

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Another day out

My friend Sarah wanted to meet up in London and I have been needing to try out a possible makeup solution that won't damage my delicate skin so badly. So today I put the two together ...

Instead of what I have done for years, which is to use primer, then orange or pink beard cover then several layers of oil-based foundation, powder and concealer, as well as eyeshadow, liner and mascara, all I did was use my immunosuppressant cream as primer and put water-based foundation over with just enough powder to hold it. No eye makeup, just lipstick. It did sting at first and I almost aborted the mission but I persisted. My worry was that any beard shadow would show through the rather more translucent makeup. Throughout the day I kept asking Sarah to check my chin and let me know if I was developing visible shadow but it seems like I didn't.

Anyway, we went for a morning stroll through St James's Park where snowdrops and daffodils were in flower. The lake there always pleasant, even in winter. We ended up outside Buckingham Palace and then walked on into Green Park.

Coffee at the rather nice Cafe Concerto in Piccadilly was followed by a further walk through the bustle of the West End and lunch in Soho.

We then walked down to the River Thames and ended the day with a cup of tea at Somerset House as evening fell.

It never fails to be a joy to be a woman, especially just blending in with the crowd and just going about one's weekend like everyone else. And all the waiting staff at all the places we stopped for refreshment unfailingly addressed us as Ladies or Madam. For me, that affirmation is what it is all about.

So I am very happy to have had a day out en femme with a much-loved friend, especially after such a hard week's work. I have to see what ten hours in makeup does to my skin, and that will be the real test. I was a joy to be treated as a woman again.

Sue x

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Ramping up the mojo

I've been needing to try more makeup experiments on my face to see how my skin copes. My infernal eczema is neither cured there, nor even specially quiet. But it's hard to get motivated in the gloom of winter (and the days have been very dark with low clouds for weeks).

However, there are a few things to look forward to so as to get my T spirit back. This weekend I am planning to meet up with the fabulous Sarah whom I've know for years. I am also trying to book a hotel for Sparkle. I really would like to get there this year after last year's aborted plans. And, very excitingly, after years of pestering her, my lovely friend Roz is travelling 600 miles to stay with me this autumn. My Social Organiser Brownie Badge is already being polished up for these occasions.

This wretched illness has not only prevented my putting makeup on but, more significantly, it's wrecked so much of my social life through not being able to participate properly in TGirl meet-ups. Hence much of the collapse in my mojo recently. I really need a break!

Sue x