Saturday, 29 November 2008

My Blogosphere Radar

One of the results of having a carefully (OK not so carefully... mainly lazily) pared down blogroll is that I can invest more time and detection skills in the blogs I do read. Up until now, my blogosphere radar has been responsible for watching the development of the Stylebytes Saga. That's pretty much over, but there are always more mysteries to be solved.

Remember that hot red-haired Parisienne, who made multiple appearances on street style blogs and was soon the blogosphere's girl crush equivalent to [insert your celebrity girl crush here]?

She appears to be a real life acquaintance of lovely French blogger Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl. Here is the incriminating post.

Not only that, but she has her very own blog!

Louise's blog: Pandora

No need to tell me how brilliant I am.

Scary Dolly

Horror movies seem to have a penchant for the scary toy doll. I think it's something to do with the paradox of the plaything which little vulnerable children adore, yet with its blank staring eyes and unnerving perfection is so freaking freaky. What doesn't add up always seems to scare us. However movie makers exploit this when they take dolls and rip them up, mess up their eyes, draw on blood and scars and gore. Just google 'scary doll'!

Flickr photo

Personally, I find it difficult to do anything but laugh at the blatently scary. Blood and gore can make me feel queasy, but never in a terrified sort of way. As I have said, it's the element of the unknown and uncertainty which really makes me tick. The parts of horror movies where I shut my eyes and hide behind the cushion and the stuff of my nightmares.

Browsing through my photo albums for some inspiration, I came upon a photo taken on a family holiday a few years ago. I remembered how, visiting a market, my sister had fallen in love with a doll which cost around £100. Knowing that she would never get it, she cried and cried and consoled herself with the memory of a photograph taken of a doll. I wasn't there at the time, and when I saw the photograph later I recoiled in horror. This was not the magnificently beautiful doll I had envisaged. Sure, she was sparkly, smiley, blonde and wearing a glittery silver dress. But she was also the most frighteningly hideous doll I have ever seen.

The doll - back view. Seems cute so far, no?

Ahhhhhh! Not so scary? What's the scariest thing you've ever seen?

Friday, 28 November 2008


Yesterday I had a technology overdose. With an unusual lack of any work to do, I whiled away the afternoon reading blogs, surfing the internet, playig countless games of computer solitaire and watching way too many programmes on 4oD. And today, I felt too sick of the sight of the colourful desktop or flashing TV to go anywhere near it. So instead I rested, read, and cried; releasing any pent up emotion in a long stream of inexpicable tears. Lying there, my mind uncrowded for the first time in a long time with long lists of so many things to do, I wondered what would happen if I wrote. If I wrote what I was feeling at that exact moment in time, not in retrospect or anticipation or in an attempt to be literary. Naturally, out came the pen and the paper and a flow of writing littered with tense switches, bad grammatical structures and a rather unforgivable amount of similes, alliteration and flowery vocabulary. That's what happens when you ask me to write in stream-of-consciousness.

It is only one moment in time. I lie in my bed, throat strangled with anger and tears cascading down across my face. I feel them prickling my cheek, my nose but I cannot match the sensation to any cause. What’s wrong, people like to ask? The irritating, disingenuous answer is after all true: I don’t know.

At that moment I felt discomfort; cold, bored and unhappy my self-pity drowned me. Yet lying and clutching the thin blanket, the nothingness of my empty surroundings triggered a switch, reminding me if that unbearable ache of loneliness. If someone came in right now and hugged me, kissed me, wiped the stinging tears, would the sun come out and dry the sadness away?

No. Painful, the impossibility of that action is also entirely bearable. I close my eyes and try to wish away the day. Sleep, natural painkiller, does not come and I can do nothing but watch recent recollections play before closed eyes. Moments in time which had never existed before today. Events, true and tangible happenings, which would not have happened if this morning I had not woken up. Moments which (if they still matter tomorrow) will certainly not mean a thing next week, or next month.

I begin to ponder on my personality, characteristics shaping behaviour. Such a harmless word: ponder. So happy and careless sounding for such painful poison. Pondering, analysing, flipping different words around my silent tongue: passionate, clownish (not just funny) and simply so hopeless because if I do not like myself, what hope is there that other people will? Opinionated yet indecisive. Thoughtful yet careless. Except I have many cares; too many trifling cares and too many question marks.

That’s the trouble, the black ominous cloud looming over my anger. I know, I always know when my tears are futile or my wrath unreasonable or my irritation pointless. As I rant and rage, weep and wail the other me – serene as ever – watches from far above. Chuckling to herself: hormones. It’s those silly young girl’s hormones. She’ll grow out of it. But even when it is only me whispering into my own ear, the words can still be razor-sharp. The superior, intellectual brain which always analyses or ponders materialises into every person there ever was who made me feel an inch tall. Belittling her.

And although it is so very normal, it feels entirely unnatural; struggling to piece together brain and heart, two ill-fitting pieces of a jigsaw. So I oscillate between this thought and that thought, even in tears swinging back again towards laughter.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Top of the Shops

I don't know the actual figures, but I would confidently say that Topshop is probably the top high street shop in the UK. It does make you wonder about the power of names; if you call your baby Belle, are they guaranteed to be beautiful? Because calling the high street brand 'Topshop' certainly worked for whoever set it up back when it was new and untrendy. There is probably not a single female in between the ages of 15 and 50 who does not own an item of clothing from Topshop in the whole of London.

Despite all this, the top shop is conspicuously missing from popular and beautiful shopping destination Covent Garden. I'm planning to hit Covent Garden for some nice old retail therapy come Saturday, and browsing the Covent Garden Shops directory (my memory isn't what it used to be...), Topshop's absence was noticeable.

I do like Topshop as much as the next person, but at the same time there's something refreshing about having to work a little harder to find what you want. When you entire Topshop OC (flagship on Oxford St) so many appealing things jump at you, most overpriced. After a while, everything becomes so samey. The huge size is overwhelming, almost monotonous.

I wrote about the shopping experience long ago, and I still think the same. 'Retail therapy' for me is just as much about the search, the uniqueness as the product - same as anything really. I haven't bought anything frivolous for a few months now, but looking back at the past two items I can think of, they were both bought in interesting shopping locations not Oxford Street. So I'm going to skip Westfield and I'm thinking that the beautiful backdrop of Covent Garden will be the perfect occasion to drop my cash. Somewhere other than Topshop.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Comment is Free

UPDATE: I think it was me who took myself off of google reader feed. Oops. Fiddling around with settings!

(for those nonplussed by today's title - Comment is free is The Guardian newspaper's commentary blog)

When I started this blog, I was adamant that I didn't care if I didn't attract a single reader; it was for me, only for me and I would do no publicity-whoring or 'plz add me 2 ur blogroll thnx' type comments. But as I slowly started to get readers, my posts started getting comments on - one every few days. And to be honest, these comments are probably one of my most favourite things about blogging. It's easy enough to write a piece every so often, but when you have the promise of interesting, funny and thought-provoking replies, that is the main motivator to continue writing on a daily basis.

Getting 7 or 8 comments on one post is pretty average, or even low for many bloggers but when I get that high a turn-out, it makes me extremely happy. I suppose I've always been the type of person who best responds to praise... not sure if that's a good thing, but it's true. I don't aim to have a worldwide super-famous big time blog; I actually think it would probably scare me into quitting and in all honesty, I would be delighted with only a handful of readers, who made regular and interesting comments. I appreciate every single one of them - at this point (before the post gets too whiny) I want to thank you for that!

So this time last week, when my post got not a single comment, I was a little down-hearted. For the rest of the week, I've been getting a slow drip of replies - one or two per post. On the one hand, I was delighted to hear from less regular commenters but on the other I felt greedy, wanting more and more and more.

However the decrease in replies didn't spurn me into writing faster, networking more furiously, creating an ad campaign. Conversely, it's had an in fact worrying effect; I've been writing less. I suppose it all comes down to motivation, as I said before. It appears that comment is more than free, to me anyway, it's also immensely valuable and indispensable.

So, here I am shamelessly reminding you dear readers - feel free to comment! No, let me amend that - please just comment!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Nail Rainbow

I rarely wear any make-up - you can probably tell that from the sparsity of my 'beauty potions' posts. I like to think I'm simply stunning enough to go au naturelle but in all honesty I'm just very lazy when it comes to that. But I do have a bit of a thing for nail polish; my nails are rarely naked, if not colourful then at least covered with a transparent coat or some subtle pink. When I was younger, I amassed quite a rainbow collection of green, purple, blue, pink and red but I lost that and the rest of my make-up box (quite literally, a huge wooden box) somewhere along the way.

Then a few years ago, the collection started up again. Most recently, I decided a deep gothic sort of purple would be a nice colour to have, cue my latest acquisition: M.A.C's Dark Angel Nail Lacquer. Sounds wonderfully gothic, no? As I got out my nail varnish box (this time, a more modest mobile phone package cardboard box) and lined up all my colours, I realised that I already own a purple polish - several years old from Boots and now so dried up that I had no option but to throw it away. So my new nail lacquer was no waste but I still found myself shocked by quite how many rainbow colours I'd forgotten I had.

The complete collection.

As you can see, I don't discriminate by brand. I did, however, get rid of several bottles and they were mostly a cheap brand you can buy in a Turkish market for approximately £1. I didn't chuck the silver or gold colours, but I was left wondering when I will ever feel the need to wear silver or gold nails. Right now I mostly wear my Chanel navy and Barry M hot pink or red. Maybe next time I should go for a rainbow...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Fashionable Fatigue

This past weekend I have been amazingly unproductive. Yesterday, I had to wake up early after a late Friday night, and leave the house for a couple of hours. That appears to have been my undoing; for the rest of the day I hopelessly lolled around with a headache, some books and DVDs. The long list of work to do was disrespectfully blanked. God, I even came over all pensioner-like with a 4PM nap.

And today, when I got out of bed it was almost midday (that may be normal on a Sunday for most people, but I rarely sleep past 9 o'clock. I have to go out this evening but I'm still wearing my pyjamas. Oh, the shame.

As I wondered if it might be a good idea to get dressed, I got to thinking about the function of pyjamas. Primarily required to sleep in, their number one priority is for warmth and comfort. Of course, in certain situations a level of sexiness might come in useful. But when it gets to the point that you're so worn out from the week's activities, and you no longer have the energy or motivation to get dressed - and this appears to be happening to me more and more - might it be a good idea to have some more stylish sleeping garb?

I was inspired by enc's post about 'aspiring to lounge'. Wouldn't it be nice to wear a beautiful silk or cashmere kimono whilst dutifully lazing about? You could be a glamorous old-Hollywood movie star and do housework at the same time.

'Silk Robe' by Louis Icart - 1926

Topshop, as per usual, have recognised our need to have glamorous loungewear and have come up trumps with an Embroidered Nude Silk Robe.Just make sure you don't spill your tea or biscuits on it.

Friday, 21 November 2008


I've been feeling a little wavy lately; my mood oscillating between excited, angry, bored, hopeful and all the other emotions in between. When I can't be sure how I'll be feeling at any given time, it's harder to decide what to wear. Am I in the mood for one of my more beautiful, less flattering ensembles, or do I just need a comfy tracksuit to lounge around in all day?

When I'm unsure, I tend to step away from my tried-and-tested navy/grey/gold/black uniform and venture into the dizzying heights of colour and glitter. Almost like a mood lift in the form of clothing, I veer towards the unpredictable. Tonight, my mood and my outfit matched the transformed outfit of London's South Bank, which was adorned with Christmassy glitter and sparkle.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Hogwarts Incarnate

I'm not particularly into Harry Potter. I'm also not particularly into quaint village life in the English countryside. A few weeks ago, I visited the university town of Cambridge, expecting to love it. I'm not sure why though, considering that it is quintissentially English and is often described as Hogwarts (the setting of the Harry Potter novels, for those of you who have been living in a cave far, far away) - but anyway, I was wholly underwhelmed. I suppose that will help me narrow down my university choices...

Nevertheless, I am easily charmed, and although I held strong in the face of the many beautiful trees (!), ancient buildings (!!) and numerous bicycles (!!!) I managed to fall in love with the recently installed clock of Cambridge. It was meant to be infallible, but apparently it's already broken down several times. Endearing, I say.

Today, in contrast with yesterday, I am feeling sort of glum. My mood seems to be very volatile right now. When I am feeling glum, I like to surround myself with beauty and today I recalled this beautiful new clock at Cambridge. As with many beautiful things, it was difficult to capture; the crowds of tourists and the distracting reflections in the glass were my two main obstacles, followed by my terrible phone camera. But I think I managed alright.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I don't like Mondays...

Do you find that you just can't bear certain days of the week?

My day is Tuesday. It drags by painfully and laboriously. It's a little odd, considering that I was born on a Tuesday, and it's my adopted middle name. But there are so many things wrong with Tuesdays, that I have begun to find something rather difficult about Mondays; knowing that the day to follow will be unpleasant.

But there is an upside. The next day is Wednesday!

One thing I love about Wednesdays is that they single that the week is drawing to a close. You can begin to wind down and look forward to the approaching weekend. Classes on Wednesdays are relaxed and enjoyable. Wednesdays are also the day of my running club, an event which always leaves me exhilarated. Today, being a Wednesday, my energy levels were running particularly high as I rushed around ... at one point I tripped over some stairs and I now have a rather sore bruise - but it doesn't matter because I took out two books from the library which I've been wanting to read for a long time.

Another highlight of Wednesdays, at least of this one and the coming three weeks, is a great new drama I have just watched on Channel4 - The Devil's Whore. The English Civil War is a period of History which I haven't looked at for quite a few years, so it was good to have a refresher of this important event. But what really stood out for me is the character of Angelica Fanshawe who, however fictional, really resonated with me as a remarkable character. She reminded me of the type of woman who would inspire a WendyB of jewelry.

So that's another thing to add to Wonderful Wednesdays. It almost seems a shame to bid today goodbye, knowing that it will not return for another seven whole days.

(perhaps you have noticed that the 'off to bed posts' have really petered out as of late; I thought a Wednesday post would be better than no post at all, even if it wasn't on the customary Sunday. Anyway I don't like Sundays... they precede Monday, which precedes Tuesday)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Beeeep Beeeeep Beeeeep

I know I said I was busy, but that doesn't mean that Detective Pretty Face didn't make time to do a little bit of detection work. My detection skills seem to have formed a radar device, which notifies me if there is anything important I need to report.

In recent news, Agathe seems to have reopened her Style Bytes website for our browsing pleasure. I'm keeping my detecting eyes peeled for her blogging return.

Creative Juices

Recently, I have been busy busy busy and the amount of blogging I am doing is really suffering. I appear to have lapsed into a post every other day, which I really don't want to do. But for now, all I can do is prevent it from slipping down to every third day so here we go...

I do not see myself as an outstandingly creative person, but I do always feel the need to 'create' something. In fact, I believe that it is within everybody, as a part of human nature, to wish to create new things as best we can. That is what has allowed us to invent and evolve as a human race, from wherever we started off to the modern world. Isn't the extent of the change which is constantly happening a true testamant to the imagination of human-kind?

Some people have a special talent for certain creativity; in fact, everyone does in one way or another. They may be a fantastic chef, web designer, jewelry designer, musician, artist, actor, scientist, inventor.

As I have said, I am no Mozart, Monet, Einstein. Nevertheless, even when I am at my most busy, I still make some time for being creative. When I am not blogging as in these past few days, I am writing essays or short stories or even personal little poems. When I'm not writing, I'm taking photos on my rubbish little camera phone, or creating home-made cards. I also like escaping into a world of acting. Much of what I create documents beauty which already exists: in my writing, in photos and in the cards which I make out of the pretty ribbons, sequins, card and glitter I have amassed.

Running a little low on money, I have often wondered if I could pocket a few pennies this way. I have been offered certain adverts on my blog, or I could try that adsense thing, but I don't really trust the internet. I even looked up writing competitions on google, but I'm not going to pay an entry free. Recently, I have considered trying to sell some of my card creations, but being the perfectionist that I am, I doubt the profit would be time or cost effective. Still, I might give it a go.

I made a movie of my favourite cards on Windows Movie Player, but I don't know how to post it. Anyone got a clue? I'm talented, eh?

So, how do you get your creative juices flowing?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Opportunities: chance, choices, fate or just hard work?

The path which a person follows in life is full of twists, turns, dead ends, forks and crossroads. Out of 100 people who have the same starting point, every single one of them will follow a different path. Sometimes the thought that one small choice or opportunity, which at the time seems entirely inconsequential, can affect or even define the entire path of my life, is a little unsettling.

There are people who put all events in their lives down to fate, or a higher spiritual being. It seems to explain everything away nicely and easily: everything that happens to me, good or bad, has a higher purpose and all fits into some greater plan. But even then, things can get complicated. What happens when you try to defy fate, as in tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet, and the consequences are disasterous or perplexing? Many prefer to think that they can control their own destiny, that where you end up in life is entirely down to careful planning and hard work. Maybe there's no such thing as that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no such thing as that thunderbolt signalling the arrival of your one true love.

Even so, it's always hard deciding whether to take an opportunity or not. There's something you want, but there's also that shadow of uncertainty and fear of rejection. Or if you have to make a simple choice, such as which college to apply for at a certain university; this could decide so many important relationships and friendships.

Today I feel like I am walking along my path, and there are hundreds of bridges and shortcuts and alleys and forks, all hidden from my sight, mostly by thick layers of foliage. Occasionally, I notice one of these other paths, simply by chance because happened to be looking in that direction at that particular moment, and take them, and something exciting happens. Other times I see a glimpse of something. But it's obstructed by something which it's too difficult to pass. Or I'm too pre-occupied by a big fork in the road and I can't decide to go left or right, so I ignore the third path. Or it's too dark and far away to see properly, and I don't want to get lost. So I move on.

But do you ever stop wondering what would have happened if you'd taken a chance and something magnificent had happened?

Friday, 14 November 2008


What's the best way to keep interesting content on your blog with actually writing anything, or taking any photos?

Fun links!

Here are a couple of links for your pleased perusal.

Since discovering this website a few months ago, I keep meaning to post it. It has actually changed my life (as well as whiled away many a long hour) - I can now name all 50 states of the USA without hesitation, as well as the most visited websites.

Article of the Day
Current affairs can be quite depressing to read, so I love to come across original and intriguing material which doesn't make you want to go and jump off a cliff whilst despairing for all mankind. Today's offering by the Guardian is a nice old conspiracy theory with a bit of an edge - who doesn't love one of those?

Article of the Day Redux
Even if you aren't familiar with the Daily Mail, I'm sure your part of the world has an equally mind-numbing equivalent. This Daily Mail-o-matic teaches you about exactly the type of journalism you should steer clear of, children.

Shameless Sleb Stalking
For a fun alternative to having a life, I like to sneer at all the famous people looking rough. Their random features are also oddly entertaining. A good online destination for you envious days when you wish you could feature on 'the fabulous life of...'.

But nowhere near as fun as...
The best game ever! I'm sure I've posted this before, and it's several years out of date so the Mean Girls website link doesn't work any more. But one day, when I really wanted to play, I found this. I love Yahoo! Answers SO much.

Yahoo has the answer
In fact, you could even go as far as saying that Yahoo is better than Google, if only for the simple fact that you can go on Yahoo! Answers and find out how to fix a broken heart in the Health section.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Best Bits: Bonfires, Braces, Books, Blogs and Burberry

A few days ago, Mettch of of the charming blog La Route du Mimosa tagged me. There were two parts, and I recently did something pretty similar to the first part so I'm going to concentrate on Part 2. What's really fabulous about this tag is that it ties in perfectly into what I was going to write about anyway. Thanks, Mettch!

The rules are that I need to mention 6 unimportant (well, relatively, in comparison to major world news etc) things which make me happy. Exactly what I was going to do! Oddly enough they all seem to fit very niftily under the letter B - so I was able to use the alliteration that I love so much. Another serendipitous little occurence there, no?

1) Let's start off with some pretty fireworks. In England, we make a huge deal out of an aborted terrorist attempt several hundred years ago by setting off a ton of beautiful fireworks. These festivities torment dogs and cats for about a month between October and November but really cultimate on Bonfire Night, or the Saturday after Bonfire Night. Sounds stupid, I know, but I can think of some much sillier festivities which aren't half as pretty.

2) The next thing is something I briefly mentioned quite a few months ago: my braces. It's been a long journey, beginning when I was still in Primary School with some 'train-tracks' to fix a couple of bite alignment issues. It's continued for several years through Secondary Education as we battled to to get free braces under the new, stricter rules. Many humiliating months passed once the procedure had begun and I received my Ugly Betty-esque headgear, which thankfully was restricted to the realms of my bedroom. In the days leading up to finally getting my braces, I experienced several panic attacks in which I desperately weeped that boys don't like girls with braces. And for almost a year photos of me suffered from a bizarre mouth-twisting smile which satisfactorily covered the evidence. You might almost call it a pout.

And yesterday I reached the day which would unveil my brand new set of teeth. I still couldn't smile properly, psychologically unconvinced that the braces were actually gone - but they were. The journey's not over yet (and it will continue for a long while...) because I still have to wear retainers for 12 hours a day, but I'm still feeling extraordinarily happy.

At the top are beautifully displayed my modelesque teeth. Inset is one of the only pieces of photographic evidence of my braces - I was taken unawares. And at the bottom, the photo which was my screensaver for several months reminding me why I was putting myself through this torture.

3) This next point is going to make me sound unbelievably geeky, but I already decided a while ago that geek is the best type of chic, so what the hell - lots of books make me happy. Last week I finished the monumentous novel that is Anna Karenina, one which took up all my reading time for a whole month. I loved this book very much and it taught me a great deal. Nevertheless, by the time I'd finished it, I felt immensely liberated. Right now, my bedroom is literally littered with books; as I sit here typing I can see seven different things which I am reading currently reading simultaneously: including: two poetry books, a collection of detective stories, The Great Gatsby and How Proust Can Change Your Life. I am not reading any of these books particularly successfully, but I am still having a great time dipping in and out of them as my mood takes me.

4) To most, the 250 words I was asked to write by the theatre itself (so no publication then) and the sub-standard seats I received, are not particularly impressive. But yesterday, when I made my critical debut at a press night for a big play I felt particularly joyful. I just love getting free stuff!

5) Perhaps even more exciting that the event itself was the opportunity to get all dressed up. Well, actually, I think I was the most dressed up person there (and I was especially over-dressed beforehand sipping tea in Costa) but still, wearing my posh frocks always makes me feel happy. This was my attempt at dressing down a silk Burberry dress:

I thought the sparkly and pink backrop befitted this ensemble more than the usual mess

6) Last, but certainly not least it's all the fantastic blogs which I just love to read. There is such a wealth of wonderful writing and hilarious content which makes me think and laugh - and it's probably the people reading it right now who write it! So thank you, and now I'm going to tag some of you to share 6 little things making you happy. Really, it's the funnest time you'll ever have doing a tag (and don't worry, it doesn't have to be as protracted as mine).

La Belette Rouge
Already Pretty
Good For Travelling

And anyone else who fancies it, please do!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The best of times...

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I have no ideas whatsoever and a couple of days of filler posts pass before something amusing or interesting strikes me. Other times, I’m in a wallowing, self-pitying mood and long, incoherent rambles stream across the page where I write a lot without saying very much at all. This evening, as I begin this post (I’m exhausted, but also energised and want to start it off although I know I won’t finish it) I have what seems like a million things to write about.

But I always try to make sure (although I’m sure I often fail) that this blog doesn’t fall into the ‘dear Diary’ trap which can be extremely self-satisfying but not particularly interesting for anyone else, or even very stimulating for me. So I try to find a way in which whatever is on my mind links into something a little more clever, a little less pointless. Naturally, weaving together several different strands of exciting events to one intellectual and consistent idea is far harder than what I normally do and with several other compulsory pieces of writing to do, it’s not the highest of priorities.

I could take the several things I want to talk about, and split them up into several posts, but the excitement about these things often quickly fades and next week there will be something else. Isn’t it odd how the best of experiences can so rapidly become a vaguely pleasant memory in moments of doubt, boredom, anger, or even in the regular hum-drum events of daily life?

The danger of thinking this way is that you devalue the importance great times, which I don’t think I’d ever want to do. So tomorrow I’m going to take the time, in between a timed essay, some coursework and a review I have to write, to share the fleeting but beautiful things which have been making me happy these past few days. And now, I’m going to have a much needed good night’s sleep.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

My inbox was getting dusty...

Yesterday, when promising La Belette Rouge that I would e-mail her my Catcher in the Rye sequel if she wanted, I wondered how my neglected e-mail account was doing. I do have a note on this page saying that I don't check my e-mails unless I am actually expecting my e-mail, yet I seem to be consistantly receiving mail from those who supposedly read the blog.

Anyway, so I did a little bit of a spring-clean in there: unsuscribed to a few newsletter I can't remember subscribing to, and politely apologised to people who e-mailed be almost a month ago including some people with very silly names. I know it's stupid, but I can't stand the idea of someone who doesn't know me thinking I'm rude - although I don't mind my friends knowing that I'm a bitch.

I was pleasantly surprised to have received a handful of random invitations - apparently I could have been on the guestlist to the Absolut Vodka party that disneyrollergirl attended. Cool, or what?

And then there's this other, very committed employee of a website who has persisted in keeping up a one-sided conversation following my reply that the site looked interesting. I think she might actually read this blog - hi Paige if you're out there! A few weeks ago I posted some links out of sympathy, I think that was one of them. But if it wasn't here it is: Isn't that fan-bloody-tastic?!?

Isn't it wonderful what a wealth of stuff you can find wherever you look? I don't know if I just have a thing for organising, but dusting my inbox was particularly satisfactory in the same way as organising my bedroom, or a library. OK, I'll confess - I've gone from alphabetising my house's book system to volunteering at the local library. It's for an award that I'm completing, but still, I'm a little disturbed by how much I enjoyed putting returned books on shelves for an hour.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Brink of Insanity

Today, as I edged closer and closer to the brink of insanity, I decided to try deciding what to wear for my critical debut on Tuesday.

I found myself desperately unable to make any of my posh dresses look vaguely suitable. I ended up layering a Burberry silk dress over my £1 Primark top and brown tights (bought my mistake) from Marks & Spencers, which I'd worn to the library. On top of that I added my favourite summer dress from Uniqlo, worn so endlessly that it is beginning to resemble a shapeless and bobbly monster. Then I slipped on my least exciting shoes.

Then I swept all the clutter off my door, rearranged my mirror to create a blank canvas and took 10000 photographs. All signs that I'm not quite sane, but whatever. I was pretty pleased with how tall I looked in the results, so I thought I'd post it on the internet for all to see. In my mind, it looks sort of nice, in a Marni-eqsue sort of way. Like: look how effortlessly I mix textures and lengths and labels and prices to create this fantastic ensemble.

43 Greenbacks

One major gap in a map of where I have travelled to would be the USA. I have visited Canada, although memories of Toronto and Muskoka have become vague and fuzzy over the decade. Anyway, despite the fact that I have never stepped foot on the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, I still have 43 greenbacks in my possession.

Hey, get me with all my nicknames! It's almost as if I was a born and bred American. But since I'm not American, have never had the opportunity to visit and the exchange rate is so damn low, the $43 that my grandfather has obstinately gifted me over the years in place of actual gifts or maybe pounds has not been spent. Not that I'm ungrateful or anything, I love having a little bit of variety in my purse: pounds, dollars, a couple of euros and maybe even a Turkish lire or two. However a problem does appear when I do have dollars, euros and Turkish lires but the pounds seem to have miraculously vanished and I want that new top.

So, next week my father is flying to Tennessee for some sort of important meeting and I thought I might send the greenbacks over there for a little bit of international shopping. Only, although we do all love our fathers, I'm sure all of you can think of several instances where his choice was a little different from what we expected (cue: memory of the Christmas when my mother got fed up, and sole present was a miniature wooden duck). And as I know many of my readers are American, I was wondering if you could possibly suggest a couple of items which a Londoner might buy with $43 (although I'm sure that number could be supplemented a little if need be) in the USA.

Update: I'm such a newb that I counted the dollars wrong, I actually have $47 as my little sister pointed out.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Exploding Bowl of Spaghetti

My soul seems to have been infected by English lessons; first I ramble about symbolism, then juxtapositions and now I must explain myself with similes.

Anyway – just popping in to say that I probably won’t have much time to write and blog for the rest of the week and weekend. Service shall hopefully resume once my head feels less like an exploding bowl of spaghetti.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

More Juxtapositions

Yesterday I wrote about those contradictory things in time. Truthfully, I could write for days about nothing but the juxtrapositions and contrasts which fill this world and make it more interesting, less perfect. Today, when reading about eating disorders, I was not surprised to read that one of the two jobs you'll find the most sufferers of anorexia in is modelling. We all know how the vogue is for super-thin, and the pressure that those in the modelling world feel. Nevertheless, I find it hard to get my head around these constantly contradicting ideals about beauty. There are so many photos out there of anorexics with horribly sunken faces which I'm not going to post because frankly, they are repulsive. A few centuries ago, classic paintings depicted women who would probably be seen as overweight by today's standards.

But what is fashionable is always going to change, in terms of the colours which are in this year as well as the body shapes. Weirdly enough, Oscar Wilde said that 'fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months' - maybe he's right and what is now commonly perceived as beautiful, because it works with what is fashionable, is in fact hideously ugly.

Anyway, there are always different people with different opinions. I still know several people who maintain that curvy is more feminine, others who would prefer healthy muscles to the Auswitz look and those who want to be petite and delicate in size and manner. After all - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This is why I found it even more startling to learn what the other high-risk job in terms of eating disorders was - being a ballerina. Maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised, especially considering that my first encounter with eating disorders was a Baby-sitter's Club book revolving around an anorexic ballerina storyline. Nevertheless, there is something so strange about it all.

Consider this: ballet is one of the most physically strenuous career paths one could possibly choose. Long hours of exercise, and the excruciating difficulty of dancing on pointe mean that you have to have a lot of strength. Today I read about one sufferer of anorexia who fell into a coma after attempting a 1 minute jog. How can you be in that situation to do something like this?

So, there's this incredible strength which is normally associated with athletes who, although very lean are not at all small. But then, as this image demonstrates, ballerinas have to look so light that you imagine that they might be able to fly. Serena Williams looks beautifully healthy, but she could never convince you of that.

Before the rise of feminism, trousers and Suffragettes women wore corsets to exaggerate their womanly curves, and as a result became very weak and gained a reputation for dramatically fainting. This was appealing to men who could assert their manly superiority by protecting their weak little lady. Ballerinas need that stereotypical sense of feminity, fragility, so that the male lead can twirl and support and lift her.

However female ballerinas are not renouned for their curves, and their busts are rarely very much more protruding than their male counterparts. So how does this whole old-fashioned ideal of feminity fit in with their boyish physique?

This is just one example of the different expectations society expects met - take today's news, with the fantastic result of Obama as the democratic President-elect contrasted with the disappointment of Proposition 8. Juxtaposed together, how ridiculous does everything begin to seem? I can now clearly see why ballerinas feel the pressure they do; contrasts can be intellectually stimulating as well as very beautiful, but they are also overwhelmingly confusing.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Time and Half-Birthdays

Birthdays are often anti-climaxes. But Half-Birthdays never are. Tomorrow, this blog will have been alive for exactly 6 months - now isn't that exciting?

Time is a difficult concept to get your head around. Not just in mathematics, where the 60 seconds in a minute thing completely messes up our way of working everything out in 100s. It can feel like 6 months have flashed by in no more than a week and at the same time, something happening 6 months ago feels like it actually happened a million years ago.

Looking back at the first month of this blog, I can barely believe that half a year has almost passed since I watched the Sex and the City Movie. That's a big percentage of my life, sort of. Yet at the same time, the exams which I was meant to be revising for when I decided to write a blog seem like a lifetime away, with far more important ones looming in another 6 months. 6 months ago I had enough time to write 4 posts in one day.

Here's hoping that the next half-year will be a good'un. Happy (almost) Half-Birthday Blog!

Monday, 3 November 2008


You know how annoying it is when impossibly beautiful people with perfect bodies just shrug and go 'I don't care how I look at all, I don't make any effort, I'm just naturally like this'? How it makes you want to scream and rip their heads off?

Sometimes they're actually telling the truth...

Sunday, 2 November 2008

So Symbolic!

It can be very easy to go overboard on the symbolism at times, especially in English lessons. The literary world, for example, seems to particularly rejoice in linking passages from classical novels, poems or whatever back to sex. Personally, I get quite sceptical with symbolism because how often can the author have really been thinking 'oooh I know, I'll give this character a pet rabbit to symbolise the eternal struggle of womankind for freedom against the barriers of society'? You know, isn't it possible that the character just has a pet rabbit?

But, being a bit of an English geek at myself, I also enjoy a little bit of symbolism. Throughout my life, my choice of clothes has always felt quite symbolic of my mood and the general state of my mind. Maybe it's actually practicality speaking rather than symbolism, but when I'm feeling lazy and bored I'm more likely to wear something simple, unimaginative and baggy. When I'm feeling more confident or excited, my whole outfit seems to exude more energy in terms of colour, style and the look-at-me factor.

Recently, I've been feeling that the state of my underwear drawer perfectly symbolises the state of my mind. As my mood swings between restless and tired, my socks swing between pretty but worn out and dull, thick and boring. My many multicoloured tights lay unworn and those useful staples of black, grey and ribbed are all becoming old and full of holes. So I got some new tights. I got home and realised that I'd somehow purchased a brown pair of tights (I never wear brown!) and thinking another pair were ribbed, I now saw that they were patterned and full of holes. Right.

Delving further into the symbolic state of my underwear drawer, we reach the bras. Bras are the eternal bane of my life. My awkward size means that they're always expensive, often ugly and I rarely have enough. My mood always plummets when decide I need to buy a new bra and when I'm in a bad mood, I always remember that I need a new bra! And today I was wearing a white vest, a black v-neck jumper, jeans and pumps. Could that be any more symbolic of my bad I-need-a-new-bra mood? But then I went and got a couple of new bras. One black: good, reliable and comfortable. Another white: good, reliable, comfortable but also pretty. Behold, the Pollyanna bra!

The perfect name, don't you think, for an optimistic and uplifting piece of lingerie? Perfectly symbolic of the state of mind it puts me in.

Anyway, as I got home, and went to my underwear drawers (confusingly labelled 'handkerchiefs' and 'collars' - again, so symbolic) I realised that I could barely open them. They were literally too full of the old, too small, worn and holey things which I'd replaced but not thrown away. I rearranged, organised and as a result I felt a little less chaotic too. But I still couldn't bear to throw them away and so for now, old and new mix together, the drawers overflow and clutter prevails. Might that symbolise something?

Saturday, 1 November 2008


Today I read two very interesting articles which in my mind, seem to contradict each other perfectly. One of them was written a good 5 or 6 months ago, but it's still relevant because only this week was the production it talks about broadcast:

Why the Dickens shouldn't costume dramas be ethnically diverse?

It's an interesting concept, and I think one which is a lot more acceptable in theatre, to have actors play characters who, physically, they don't resemble. I can only think of a few examples in film. The first is in Run Fatboy Run where Thandie Newton has a white kid. The other is all those indie films where lots of different actors play one character, like in I'm Not There, where Cate Blanchett plays Bob Dylan.

I don't think that this casting necessarily affects the success of a production, but at the same time they do not help to create a reality in which we can truly believe in. Maybe more importantly, people often have very firm ideas about how a popular character looks in their head. Film or play adaptations of books have to be really careful when casting, because you don't want to repel the fans. How pissed off was Truman Capote when they cast Audrey Hepburn to play Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and not Marilyn Monroe? Still - that was a great success...

How A-list stars change shape for films

This is the second article, which was only published today. I found it fascinating, but also disturbing. On the one hand, all the films which the article mentions probably wouldn't have been as succesful if Bridget Jones was skinny, or if Christian Bale looked his normal sexy self. Still, if colour-blind or sex-blind casting can work, why can't body-blind casting work?

The recently released Brideshead Revisited has a curvy Julia. In the book, she's described as fashionably skinny, with the ideal 20s shape. But when Miramax asked the actress to lose weight, Emma Thompson was infuriated and threatened to quit if they didn't retract their request. Rightly so, in my opinion and Julia still looked stunning. Plus - if it's going to compromise the actor's health (and I don't see how it wouldn't) then what's wrong with a body double?

What do you say?