Social Etiquette

A few nights ago I attended an event in the city.  An Australian food company was launching a new product range and had chosen an international celebrity to be the face of the new range so that celebrity was going to be the star attraction of the event.  I was invited because I am blogging on another website that has attached me to this product range and every week I use the product to create a recipe then write about it.

The invitation was for me only as in not ‘Charlie Louie and Partner’ and I don’t know about you but I’m not oozing with confidence stepping into a room where I know no one and am forced to either introduce myself to strangers or hide in the bathroom.

Russian Fudge

But I steeled myself believing there would probably be other bloggers there from the website so I should be able to find someone to talk to.  I gave my name at the door, walked in and grabbed a champagne.  I looked around the room and everyone was huddled in groups  and I wondered how I might elbow my way into their circles.

Then I saw a woman covered in animal print talking to a man but the man walked off leaving her alone.  I gave her a warm smile and she smiled back so I walked towards her and asked if she was here with the website.  She looked at me all confused and said she had never heard of that website.  I introduced myself anyway and she told me her name and I asked her what she did.  She said, ‘I have a website’.  I smiled thinking I had met a kindred spirit and said, ‘Oh, are you a blogger?’  But she reeled back and said, ‘I wouldn’t say that.  I’m a professional writer’.

Russian Fudge with walnuts

So instead of asking the name of her blog I asked, ‘Oh, what’s your website called?’  And she told me.  And I hadn’t heard of it.  I asked what she wrote (blogged) about.  She said, ‘Food’.  I said, ‘Oh, so do I’.  And she asked, ‘What do you do?’  I said, ‘I’m a blogger’, and added quickly, ‘How long have you been writing (blogging)?’

‘It’s been my career.  I’m not just a professional writer I’m also a professional chef.’

‘Oh, where have you worked?’

‘I had my own restaurant.’

‘Where was it?’

‘The Rocks.’

‘Oh, good.’  Just took a big gulp of champagne and looked around the room.  Nobody said anything so I tried again.  ‘So are you writing (blogging) about this event or are you writing (blogging) for the company?

And she looked at me strangely and said, ‘I’m doing what everyone else is doing and I’m writing about this.  What are you doing?’

‘Oh, attached to the website I was telling you about is an off-shoot where there are 12 of us who write on the site and one of our clients is this company and three of us are being paid to create recipes and blog about the product so the company invited me here tonight.’

She said, ‘Listen darling, you need to watch yourself.  There are many of us here tonight who all do what you do and none of us are being paid so do you think it’s politically correct for you to go around saying you’re being paid when no one else is, do you?  You should think about that before you go around telling people you’re being paid.  And I know Wendy, she’s a very good friend of mine so I’m going to be speaking to her and I’m going to ask her why it is that you’re being paid and I’m not when I’m doing the exact same thing as you.  You want to be very careful darling about how you conduct yourself tonight.  Think about it.’

I had no words.  Forgetting how she spoke to me, I didn’t even know who Wendy was.  I later found out she’s the head of the agency that organised the event and we are not connected in any way.   The animal print woman then rattled off her CV telling me how successful she is and how talented she is and how she gets more hits than all these leading websites and how she gets invited to events like this nine times a day etc.

I said, ‘It’s amazing how with having to attend so many events you actually have the time to write’.  And then a photographer from a newspaper asked if he could take our picture.  She was only too keen to be photographed and threw her arm around me and leaned her head on my shoulder then said, ‘Wait’.  Could you just stand on the other side of me because that side shows my crooked teeth’.  So I had to move over to the other side to make sure the photographer snapped her best angle.  So the photographer snapped away while the animal print woman leaned all over me but then as the photographer was walking away she called him back and insisted on seeing the images he’d taken.  She told him she wasn’t happy with them and asked him to take them again.  I just drank down my champagne.

Then an acquaintance of hers approached and she introduced her to me and I said, ‘And what do you do?’ and she said, ‘Industry’.  What does that mean?  Then another photographer approached and asked to take a photo of the three of us.  The animal print woman stood in the centre with her arm around me and she said to her friend, ‘Could you just move in closer so you hide my stomach?’  So I felt we were there as her props, making sure she came off looking as good as possible and never mind how the props looked.

She then said she was moving closer to the stage so she could be right at the front for when the celebrity took to the stage.  Soon the celebrity arrived and after she’d finished speaking she stepped off the stage but the animal print woman stormed towards her and asked to be photographed with her.  I’d never seen anyone be so aggressively bold.  The celebrity was very gracious and allowed the photo but I think having a stranger lean their head into your neck, put one arm around your waist and the other hand on your stomach is beyond intrusive.

I was done with the happy mingling experience and left shortly afterwards.

Time for a sugar hit!

The perfect sweet treat for times when something sweet is greatly needed

Russian Fudge

Makes:  30

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This is a great recipe because you almost don’t need to go to the shops.  These are everyday ingredients you will more than likely have in your fridge and pantry.

  • 675g (1 1/2 lbs) sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 125g (4 ozs) butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbspn golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Put sugar and milk into a saucepan, mix, and slowly bring to the boil.  Add condensed milk, butter, salt and golden syrup.  Boil until it reaches soft boil stage, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Cool, then add vanilla extract and beat until thick.  Pour into a 20cm square tin, sprinkle with the walnuts and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.  Cut when hardened.

This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.

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  1. Oh my gosh, that would be enough for me to never go to another blogger event! I guess no matter where you are, you’ll always find people who take themselves too seriously!

  2. wow, what an obnoxious woman! I forget that people like that exist since I try my best to ignore them. You handled the situation quite gracefully…and this fudge looks amazing 🙂

  3. A_Boleyn says:

    I guess you should have picked up on the signs when the first person talking to her walked away. 🙂 Definitely a woman with an exaggerated sense of her own importance.

    I recently had a fudge failure so the picture of your gorgeous fudge caught my eye. Just one question about the recipe though. I’m in Canada and our ‘tins’ of condensed milk (heck many of our tins) aren’t the same size as yours, I imagine. I KNOW they’re different from the ones in the US, so I’d be curious how many fluid oz or mls you’re talking about. Even our ‘cups’ are different, I believe.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Anne, our tins of condensed milk are 400g so this recipe requires 200g. Thanks for pointing that out. I should add that to the recipe on the blog. And do let me know if you make this because it’s so nice but highly addictive! I do hope you’re coping well with eating only what’s in your pantry – hope you’re not starving – I know I would be by now! Also, when you next comment would you mind adding your URL because for some reason it’s not showing up and if I google your name I’m only getting the wife of Henry VIII! xx

  4. Reem | Simply Reem says:

    What an experience you had… I mean honestly that woman was too obnoxious.
    I must say you handled the situation very gracefully…
    Just ignore such people if you ever bump into them again!!

  5. A nice pic will be you slapping her.

  6. How rude! I can think of a few other things to say, but I don’t wan to stoop to her level. You were grace under pressure, Charlie!

  7. Wow, what a rude woman, Charlie, what a shame you had to meet her. The fudge sounds wonderful, I wonder why it’s called Russian?

  8. Not many people are that rude! Sorry you had to deal with that.. 🙁
    I hope the champagne and food was good atleast..?

  9. God what a horrid lady my friend, I am sorry you had to deal with other (thank god you ahd champagne)
    This gorgeous fudge is just what it seems you needed 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. Hi,
    Sorry but I couldn’t help but laugh, what an experience, enough to turn you off going to another event like this one, such a shame, there always seems to be at least one like this women at most get- togethers.

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    Wow! That woman took rude behaviour to new lows! I wonder what or who was it that made her think that behaviour was not just acceptable but actually beneficial to her “cause.” I mean, what kind of person would find that to be an asset in another? I just don’t get it.

  12. Juliana says:

    Wow, what an experience…you find all kind of people…on the other hand, I kind of feel sorry for this woman…she might be very insecure to behave this way 🙁
    Anyway, we all learn from experience…and I hope you are enjoying your week Charlie 🙂
    Oh! Since your sister lives in Beijing, you should really go and visit her…it is pretty impressive.

  13. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Luckily, not many people are actually that rude. Thank goodness. But it can put you off your stride…Once again, your recipe makes we wish I could get Lyle’s golden Syrup here in Mexico. I remember fondly that as a child, my grandfather used to order it by the case.

  14. I think I’ve run into this woman before. What a complete wanker!! I’d have looked at her when she gave me the stern warning and said, “and I get paid a LOT to do it!”

    I’d put your writing ahead of anyone’s. Nobody comes close to the way you capture our imagination, tickle our funny bone and then hell, you feed us!

    I LOVE Russian fudge! It’s one of my favourites. <- you can tell because I put a u in that word. 🙂

  15. InTolerantChef says:

    Oh dear Charlie, no wonder she was rude with you puffing off your own importance and fortune like that! 😉 what a shame you are such a nobody that she felt so threatened by you! She sounds like she has serious issues, and would have happily taken them out on whoever was on her radar that evening.
    Maybe next time you go to one of these events you should hand out this fudge as you introduce yourself, that way you sweeten the deal 🙂

  16. Jennifer Cullen says:

    Too funny HS! I can just picture the whole scene. I would have needed a few bottles of champagne just to deal with the crowd.

  17. I think I’d have hid in the bathroom. That woman sounds like the sort of thing my social nightmares are made of! I’m fairly sure it is her etiquette that was questionable, rather than yours 🙂
    Whilst hiding in the bathroom, I would have happily eaten this fudge and been able to forget all about the party I was avoiding. As it is, I’ll skip the party and just take the fudge!

  18. yummychunklet says:

    OMG, I’m in love with the look of this fudge!

  19. kelsa2010 says:

    Isn’t it always the way, when you are feeling uncomfortable about the situation, and having to meet someone like that. The fudge looks nice.

  20. Wow!!!! I have troubles going to events where I don’t know anyone either, I feel uncomfortable for sure. That lady is all for show for sure! I have a blogger friend, her blog is really popular, and she talks about getting sponsor (paid) all the time. So that lady is just well RUDE!!! Your fudge looks like a treat I would adore:-) Hugs, Terra

  21. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    Some people really amaze me! How can yo get through life like that? p.s. that fudge is on my to do list for this weekend! Im golden syrup obsessed and it looks so delicious 😀

  22. Ooh, now I’m curious! What a drop kick!

  23. OMG WHAT THE….that lady is SO rude! I hate people like her! So obnoxious sorry if i’ve overeacted a little bit lol but i really don’t like poeple who are so stuck up and snobby…. you are doing a fantastic job as a blogger and sometimes that’s why i don’t like going to some big events…sighhh!

    OMG I’ve bookmarked this recipe!!! SO gonna try it soon 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  24. Malou Perez-Nievera says:

    i am uncomfortable going to an event alone. I always feel confront myself which side of me should I use.. hahaha do i sound bi-polar to you? But you know, you prolly know what I mean.
    ahh i would go to one corner and start eating this fudge if I were you. LOL! Take care Charilie!

  25. Wow what a woman. You sure chose a good one to talk to! I know the feeling though. I went to a similar event a few weeks ago. I took a deep breath and walked up to a group of people and introduced myself. Luckily they were super nice and I hung out with them the whole time. It was definitely a challenge for my shyness.

  26. Ps just re-read the ingredients. I have 1/2 a tin of condensed milk in the fridge waiting for a recipe. I guess I’ll be making fudge tonight!

  27. pps (sorry for all the comments) Just saw I’ve earmarked it in my Edmonds. Off to make fudge now.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Claire, I’m glad your experience of meeting strangers when a whole lot better than mine. I found the recipe for the fudge to be quite light-on when it comes to instructions so that’s why I’ve specified a cake tin size and it also says it takes 1/2 an hour for the sugar syrup to reach soft boil stage but for me it was less than 10 minutes and I didn’t have the gas on high. But the end result is fabulous and it’s destroyed me today having all that fudge in the fridge – it’s just way too addictive! Good luck xx

  28. UGH. It hurts my soul that so many people like that exist in this world. How on earth did self-prestige become what people define themselves by and cut others’ down to create?!

  29. We have lots of that here in NZ, I love them

  30. justonecookbook says:

    Huh. I’m really scared to go to this kind of event alone, and on top of that this kind of lady approach me, I think I have to run! LOL. Seriously you were very gracious without being rude to her and very calm. She’s such a silly person to be have this way in the field where lots of people talk to each other. Well, now I’m curious where she’s writing (blogging). We just have to ignore those people and move on. She probably won’t exist for long, OR she might become famous one day somehow with her aggressive method (hope not). I’ve never had Russian Fudge before, but I would need a lot after this encounter with this lady!

  31. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy says:

    What a horrible experience! I just can’t understand how some people can operate like that. She will get what’s coming to her eventually and it won’t be anything lovely like that fudge of yours 🙂

  32. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oh dear! I cannot wait to catch up this week as I know the event that you are talking about! 😉 Those solo invites are hard aren’t they? I dislike them so I rarely go unless I really have to.

  33. Ughh I hate people like that – lovely to know you stayed gracious – no wonder the man moved away! Forget the champagne give me that fudge!

  34. What a totally odious woman and I HATE going to events on my own where I don’t know anyone…

  35. It was potentially the animal print that transformed her into such a monster. Underneath the dress, she might have been as shy and nervous as you.

    Probably not, though;)

  36. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    Wow, wow, wow. That woman is most definitely full of herself. I bet she’s a lonely woman without many friends. I don’t know how you managed to stay in her presence even a single second longer. You most assuredly possess social graces from which she could learn.

  37. What an annoying person!!! The sweets look amazing!!!

  38. People like that just ruin events. Ugh. The fudge looks fun though. 🙂

  39. Sadly, not surprising. I bet that’s not how she comes across on her sorry…website. 🙂

  40. Vanessa Carnegie says:

    So is it politically incorrect to refer to this woman as a wanker? Because she sounds like one!
    I’ve only been to one blogging event (blogopolis) and even though it’s obviously not a paid event, I felt totally out of my depth. Somehow I was made to feel like I didn’t deserve to be there because I wasn’t monetized and didn’t have a thousand followers or much of a clue about what I was doing.
    Fudge looks great 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      It’s terrible that you felt on the outer. The blogging community is known for being very supportive and it really shouldn’t be like that just ‘virtually’ – it should be like that when we meet as well. Everyone has to have a starting point – everyone comes into blogging with only the dog reading their posts. So bloggers from those starting out to those with a trillion followers should all act humbly and kindly xx

  41. hooly dooleys…that is full on…what an idiot!! NO wonder the guy she was talking to left her…probably happened all night.!!

  42. says:

    Oh Charlie that sounds like an experience I would have… glad I didnt meet Miss Famous( and hope I don’t)

  43. SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) says:

    What a weirdo. Everyone who has a blog is a writer (not saying we’re all GOOD writers like you… but we’re writing!) This lady needs to chill out and maybe even congratulate you on finding a way to make some money out of this process!

  44. I know why she “writes”.. she’s incapable of carrying on a conversation! The rest of us “bloggers” know how to spin a tale and be civilized in public.. what a strange and insecure bore!!

  45. ps… you get paid?
    pps lol

  46. What a strange woman! How awful for you to meet such bad people! :(!
    Thanks for sharing this with us!!! Your sugary treats afterwards were worth it!

  47. A sugar hit and more champagne, I’d say! Good grief! How was there room for the rest of you when she obviously sucked the air right out of it! 🙂 I think you must have been a very bright light in that dismal setting. Love the recipe! I haven’t made anything quite like it before! Debra (

  48. I’ve been to quite a few blogger events in Melbourne and everyone I’ve met there have been lovely. No weirdos yet!

    PS. That fudge looks delicious!

  49. What a story and what an event … that leopard print lady was all over the place … hope you didn’t get in trouble for being paid 🙂

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