I Smith Words is moving! And I’d love to take you all with me…

Greetings to all you lovely I Smith Words followers. You may have heard through the grapevine that I Smith Words has been getting a facelift, or rather, a full blown extreme makeover.

I have so enjoyed your interaction since I formed the I Smith Words blog a few years ago, but you may have noticed my absence from the Blogosphere over the last few months, and that is because I have been slaving away on my brand new project, which brings together the very best of I Smith Words along with a few other subjects I’ve been wanting to write about for a while.

The project I have launched is called LadyFace, it’s a brand new blog that will feature everything from stories to lifestyle, whether inspired by art, literature, fashion or politics. There are plans to feature some kick ass creatives doing some very exciting things, and I will also be delving into the world of modern girl (and boy) power.

One feature I am most excited about will be the bi-monthly short story, which will be accompanied by illustrations from myself and guests. I will also often throw out a literary challenge as I have done in the past here, which hopefully will make up for the Literary Lion shaped hole that I Smith Words will be leaving.

Any of you lovely aspiring writers might also be interested in the journey I started some years ago, to write my debut novel… I will be sharing my tips and discoveries with you along the way.

So whether you’re interested in writing, reading stories, style or you just have an opinion you’d like to throw out there, I ask you to join me in bidding I Smith Words a fond farewell, and to join me over on LadyFace. You can sign up to the mailing list here, or you can stay following me in the WordPress reader as I will export this blog across, although I must tell you one of the reasons I have made this change is because the WordPress reader doesn’t work too well with my move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, so the newsletter is really where it’s at when it comes to LadyFace.

You can, of course, pop over to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook also, where I’ll be providing details of new posts, and challenges you can get involved with along the way.

Thank you all so much for your encouragement so far, for your beautiful words, for your wonderful stories for the Literary Lion challenges, and your unforgettable kindness in this journey thus far. I am excited as to where it will take us next.

Bisous,

Laura aka LadyFace.

Well, I’m back!

Hello lovely ones. I have been on a little blogging adventure.

To cut a long story short… I always said once I reached 1k followers I’d move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. And so I did at the beginning of the year, but I very promptly got lost from the WP reader, so all you lovely followers could no longer see my posts.

I have been struggling through, trying to connect with you all without much success, and because of this I have today moved back to wordpress.com… because (and don’t say I don’t ever do anything nice) I miss you. 😉

I still have my blog over at ismithwords.com, which will eventually be my new home, so if you’d like to follow the action there please do visit and sign up to the mailing list, which I send out every few weeks with the details of the latest challenges, stories and general musings.

For now I am coming back to you with the most recent Literary Lion post from my other site, which I am opening up for another month, as so many of you missed out on it before. Please do bear with me if you did manage to see this one, and feel free to have another go if so!

So to this month’s challenge. The word is ‘Boys’. It puts me in mind of Britney Spears circa early noughties. She will forever be the reason I do stomach crunches…

So you now have a month and 100 words to pen your tale. Or more than one tale. There is no limit if you prefer to write more frequently than the challenge as it is now monthly.

Remember to include the tag ‘literary lion’ in your piece. Pingback to this post so I can see your story. Say hello on twitter, and come and visit me on Instagram… I’ve started a separate collective of writers here under the hashtag #literarylion, so come and say hello if you’d like to join the private message group there for some shorter tales.

Good luck, looking forward to reading your pieces. Here is my little boyish tale…

Restroom.

It said Lola 4 Charlie 4 eva. Toilets didn’t require accurate spelling.

Or grammar.

I wondered if Lola was still for Charlie. Or if Lola was now for someone else. And if her ‘someone else’ knew about the declaration on the cubicle door half way up the M40 to Birmingham. And if Lola was for Charlie, then what did Lola get? Was he for her too?

In which case, why didn’t it say so?

Suspended.

Whilst you’ve all got that Friday feeling, I have a little tale from my Confessions of a Shop Assistant series…

Suspender

Suspended.

One thing I wasn’t quite prepared to encounter during my days as a servant to the fashion whims of Knightsbridge was how rapidly a customer would transform from absolute stranger, to someone whose deep and dark secrets were comfortably and very willingly divulged…

The first time I was to experience this was just moments after an endearing and elegant elderly lady ambled through our door. The kind of woman one would expect to be hiding a stash of Werther’s Originals in her handbag, she was looking for something special for her grandson’s graduation. Her everyday shopping attire consisted of pearl strings and finely tailored Chanel, so I set about finding something worthy for her to try.

After leading her to the changing room, I loitered outside the curtain, waiting to be beckoned by her for some assistance. After several minutes of silence I enquired as to her progress, and after a few further moments of quiet, I heard her whisper that she was about to step into the first of my choices. Referring to me as ‘dear’, she definitely reminded me of my late grandmother.

Just moments after assuring me of her wellbeing, a high pitched squeal prompted me to turn around, just as she grabbed the changing room curtain, pulling it down with her body as it hit the wooden floorboards with a resonant thump.

My jaw was not the only one to follow her journey to the floor, as my fellow workers stood as statues, trying to comprehend the sight of this snowy haired lady, sat amidst our curtains, in a black boned basque, gold clasped suspenders and lace topped stockings, her fragility drowning amidst a sea of velvet and lace.

Whether my hasty dive towards her stemmed from the worry of injury or in an attempt to rescue her dignity I don’t know, but I hauled the curtains from the floor and cloaked them around her.

With a shake of the head and brush of the hair from her face, she turned to the gaping mouths and howled in her little voice.

“Well there’s something you don’t see every day.”

More in a lifetime I’d say.

 

 

Thank you to the Daily Post for the photo prompt.

Swing.

Day6Connect

 

Today’s prompt from photography101… ‘connect’.

Swing.

My hair flew forwards as the wind drove against my body flying upwards. At the top we stopped for mere milliseconds, jolted by the sudden standstill, the palpable moments of weightlessness before we would go plunging towards the muddy ground.

 

 

Aurora.

day13

On day four of this course I penned a tale of loss, which was the first instalment in a series of posts. In today’s second part, I have scribbled a tale of something found…

 

Aurora.

The stinging winced across Laura’s ankle every time she made contact with the concrete. The sapphire velvet chafed incessantly against skin that was now blushed pink, as pin pricks of rose red began assembling at the surface, ready to spill. A paper thin layer of skin cells started to get up and leave their quarters on the inside arch, exasperated at being continually hassled, they escaped in mounds, leaving droplets of red behind.

After untold strides, Laura liberated her feet from their evening of incarceration. Inside, the rich velvety fibres were seeped in scarlet, a prophecy to every foot that ever dared venture inside again.

When the world tells you there is no way back at six years old you believe it.

Cinders.

day4

Today’s challenge: The first of a three post series in tales of loss…

 

Laura looked down at the ground and marvelled at the sight. This was the first time she was a victor in battle, at just six years old she had managed to coax her parents into fuelling what was to be a lifelong fire, by purchasing the most ladylike pair of shoes a girl of her age could ever hope to own. These were quite the opposite to the regular reserved rubber soles of a school girl. For the first time, Laura’s footsteps made a rhythmic clinking against the ground, giving her little steps a ladylike air in their echo across the playground. They glistened in patent and they framed her white socks with their frills, but on the underside hid a treat that would afford them a league of their very own. Around her neck Laura hid a secret key which, when placed into the heel, allowed a magical fairytale to appear on the very soles she walked on.

It seemed to happen without warning. For weeks Laura would dash to the hallway each morning to feel the glove like fit of this perfect pair, but on this particular day it was not meant to be. As she pushed her left foot inside it was refused by the buckled strap, but after fully unfastening the offender it seemed that this wasn’t the only thing preventing her from adorning her feet with this magical pair. Perhaps it was nothing more than centimetre, maybe it was even mere millimetres, but this little girl’s foot had outgrown something that meant so much. She was a princess no more, and there was no way back.

Can’t Buy Me Love.

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Over the coming years I was to become privy to the eccentricities of a few notable ladies, some with a surprise or two up their sartorially splendid sleeves…

In a fashion house commended for its attentive, one-on-one service, it was somewhat overwhelming when we were faced with numerous customers vying for our attention. My most challenging to date came courtesy of a woman who strutted through the door with an air of majesty, and was very much the mother hen to a clucking dozen of beautiful twenty-somethings that trailed in behind her.

Possessing a presence that overwhelmed, this lady’s polished exterior was considerably rehearsed; her morning’s dressing was done with a well informed consciousness… From her status-bearing Cartier watch and her Chanel initialled earrings, to her Prada pencil dress and the gold Bvlgari band on her ring finger, she was every inch the epitome of an elegant woman of wealth.

Instantly she sashayed towards me, and in a demanding-but-politely-so tone she told me she needed several outfits for her girls; outfits that exuded sexiness but with elegance, that made one appear youthful but accomplished, and that were classy but dangerously so.

The gaggle stood, now silent and hanging on her every word, each one a living version of the girls that graced the pages of the Vogue magazine I was about to thumb through during my lunch break.

As she sifted through outfits and passed them to each appropriate protégé, our upper floor transformed into a scene akin to the backstage dressing area at London Fashion Week; a sea of semi-naked bodies, clad in agent provocateur, hips-a-jutting and making every outfit look a million times what it was worth.

Just an hour and a hefty five figure sum later, having danced circularly within my own head, I had failed to deduce exactly why these girls were being decked out in lavish clothing and I certainly couldn’t fathom what the woman’s relationship with them actually was.

For all the inventive, off the wall scenarios I had fleetingly entertained, the most realistic reasoning I could dream up was that these girls were in fact soon to have their own place on the coveted pages of my fashion magazines, and the matriarch was indeed their agent.

Nevertheless, when I joked to her that surely models were the one envied breed that were excessively showered in complimentary attire, she replied in her plummy, husky voice “darling, I think you and I both know that these ladies are no models, and I am no booker.”

As she and her tribe departed, I couldn’t decide whether to be insulted or flattered when she handed me her business card whispering provocatively in my ear “if any of you ever fancy a change in direction…”.

The card read “Leading London Escort Agency”. Madam she was.

A Class of Their Own

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Once I had left the limits of the salacious Soho I found another job to wage against the destitute reality of studentdom. I got an upgrade, to a designer boutique that shimmered amidst the golden glow of Knightsbridge.

One may have thought that with this geographical change I would welcome an absence of the strange behaviour I was used to, but as it turns out, these customers were in a class of their very own…

Whether it just came with the territory, or it was a contributing aspect of their extreme wealth, a lot of the ladies I was to come across (many of them officially Lady’s) were not bashful when it came to a spot of bartering. My past negotiations over pennies in the souks of Marrakesh were to seem trivial when compared to the haggling hands of this new calibre of customer.

Consistently I was asked if a ‘better price’ dangled within my grasp, a question to which my taut lipped smile would plead futility but there was, without fail, those who wouldn’t accept ‘no’ as a satisfactory response. Admittedly my smiles were consistently counterfeit, especially when my mind compared my morning’s tube journey spent thrust between a greasy window and a clammy chap, to the spacious back seat of a Bentley, which would typically unload said customer just a Louboutin clad foot from our front door.

With the bargain hunter’s beady eyes closely watching I would repeat the laborious process of telephoning every tier of the management ladder that towered above me, nodding and smiling with the receiver shoved tight against my ear for fear that they would hear what a “money grabbing, tight fisted, miser” the powers that be actually thought they were.

For all the trouble it may have gotten me in I was often tempted to accidentally-on-purpose nudge the loudspeaker button and watch contentedly as the bartering customer made an embarrassed getaway, never to be seen again.

That said, knowing the thought process of this particular breed, this would only have armed them with ample bargaining power to get what they really hunted for.

A conclusion would only be achieved after an explicit no from the company MD, at which point the Louis Vuitton purse would be presented from the Chanel handbag, and the bank card would grudgingly be thrust into my hand… and I could guarantee that it would always say Coutts.

Dragging the Queen.

Confessions7

Saturday mornings were always the most interesting when it came to wandering to work. The daybreak sunshine would cast quite a different light on Soho than the previous evening’s starlight and neon blend, and as I wandered to work I would witness the remnants of debaucherous nights spent getting up to no good.

Besides the usual nocturnal mammals queuing up for coffee and retracing their steps in a bid to find the nearest escape, more often than not I would unearth something a little more eye catching.

My most memorable morning moment came courtesy of a gentleman I shall call Sue, for no male name would be worthy of the feminine spirit and the ladylike attire he was emblazoned with when we first met.

When I approached the doorway of my little girly boutique workplace I noticed something awry. Just like the side bobbing head one witnesses when a film character overtly double-takes, I glanced back and forth several times before I noticed a slender heel sticking out from within the recessed doorway. As I got closer I noticed that one of the previous night’s revellers had decided to give in to his impending coma and slump between the pink framed entrance of my shop, buried in baby like sleep and dressed in an outfit that was definitely deemed x rated.

The Pakistani man from the paper shop opposite smiled at me from his doorway, muttered something about the cesspit of today’s society and its interpretation of fun, and then retreated back inside, helpfully leaving me and the drag queen to settle our differences alone.

After a lifetime of prodding, poking and shoving, this night time reveller definitely wasn’t waking up. Grabbing his stiletto, I pulled. His head slid down the door and curled onto the floor, and across the cobbles we went, an image of sweet and sour, his blonde wig trailing behind him, my pastel chiffon dress getting more creased by the second.

Just as we reached the square of concrete that I had appointed his home for the next few hours, his faux lash adorned eyelids flapped open and his eyeballs danced full circle before focusing on my face.

“Are we in heaven?”

To this day I cannot decide if he was referring to the pearly gates or the nightclub a few doors down.

Day 96.

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Who better to keep an eye on my enhanced appearance makers than the original glamour lady herself? The keeper of painted faces. #100happydays #day96