Saturday, 31 January 2009

Fabulous, dahling!

Thanks to the ever so lovely Seeker, who writes the super-stylish blog Searching the Inner Me...

She's has passed on the fabulous 'Your Blog is Fabulous!' award. This is such a lovely, sunny and bright award and it's always the nicest thing to be told you're fabulous, especially if feeling a little unfabulous.

What's even nicer is to have the privilege to pass this award onto at least 10 other bloggers, a fabulously generous award if you ask me. Due to the contagiousness of this award, you've probably all received it already, but in case you haven't, I award the following this badge of fabulousness:

Already Pretty
American Koukla
Big City Bumpkin
Daddy Likey
La Belette Rouge (doesn't the doggy look like Lily, Belette's westie?!?)
La Route du Mimosa
Little Doodles
Or False Glitter
Wendy Brandes Jewelry


Scarves International

My January postcount has been at alltime low, and I am wondering perhaps if this is to do with the lack of inspiration I can find for this blog in this winter weather. Looking back at the sort of posts I have been writing, almost all of them are to do with books or films or other forms of indoors entertainment. In the spring, summer and autumn I felt much more stimulated by my surroundings, whilst now most of my writing is very pensive or depressed and not quite suited to posting on the blog.

So, with a despairingly low amount of ideas to write about, I have remember something I have wanted to make a post about for a long time but which required more photo-compiling than I have cared for up until now.

Over the years, I have amassed a much-loved scarves collection which seems to encapsulate my attitude to style, which is why I have wanted to write about it on a sort-of-style blog. More than any other sort of garment, I regularly add a handful of scarves most seasons, and they often form a large part of an outfit. Regular day-to-day scarves are usually one of my pashminas, of which I have had many. Some of them were bought cheaply on Oxford Street, and quite a few were picked up in Turkey for a tenner where the quality seems to be superior and the material much thicker. However these pashminas are relatively disposable and I have lost more than I would like to count; off the top of my head I have owned beige, navy, light blue, light pink, lime, blue/gold and all those are lost. Currently in rotation are grey, mid-blue and purple.

And then there are the special scarves, which have been collected all around the world, mainly as gifts: Paris, Hong Kong, Turkey and of course London. I don't actually wear most of these - one of my most beautiful scarves from Paris is insufferably itchy, and I am afraid to wear the other one for fear of snagging it. Below, you see (clockwise and snaking in from top left) my grandad scarf, my Missoni-esque £1 scarf, my snug-as-a-bug Gap Christmas scarf, my presents-from-my-aunt slinky scarves, my gift from a good friend in Hong Kong scarf, my precious Galeries LaFayettes in Paris scarf, my itchy present-from-daddy in Paris scarf.

There are many more, such as my most recent acquisition of last week. As you can probably tell, they provide me with plenty of happiness throughout the year; scarves are the perfect evening for cool summer evenings too. Of course, they are beautiful but they are also so very, very warm and it would be impossible to venture outside into the bitter cold without a warm scarf to keep the chill out.

So there you have it, the one piece of fabulousness which I continue to wear, out of love, style and warmth through the harsh January months, as well as the rest of the year.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

OK to Ortho-K?

First things first: I would like to apologise for my appauling pun usage in recent post titles. I really don't know what's come over me this past week, it's almost as if stress is manifesting itself in an inability to blog.

One thing which always stresses me out is having to make choices. I can be very efficient and decisive in catastrophic situations (most of the time), but anything which requires me to sit down and think for a long time is basically my worst nightmare. I am unfortunately prone to analysing, over-analysing and then analysing a little more. Give me an earthquake, 50 exams, a newborn baby and I'm fine. Ask me to make a sort of important choice and the stress-induced spots come out.

Today, an optometrist told me about something called Ortho K. I am high-mid short-sighted and have been since I was around 8. In those first four years, my eyesight deteriorated rapidly and I've reached a sort of plateau, although according to this optometrist within the next ten years it's only going to get much, much worse.

Orthro-K is vision correction therapy; basically a sort of backwards contact lenses. You wear them in the night, they reshape your cornea. Take them out in the morning and you can see properly, lense free for the rest of the day. Then you put them back in when you go to sleep, so they re-reshape your cornea again. A bit pointless no, when you can wear normal contact lenses as well as stylish glasses instead?

Well, the optometrist said to me, Ortho-K is now being used on young short-sighted people (under the age of 25) to stop their eyesight from deteriorating. You wear the lenses just like anyone else, but if you wear them consistantly until the end of your formative years, then the level of your short-sightedness should be frozen forever.

However I am already a little old and my eyesighted a little too deteriorated for this effect to be guaranteed. Ideally, you should start Ortho-K as soon as you start becoming short sighted, so I am reaching a decade too late. Nevertheless, it can still work and I would definitely be delighted to prevent my eyesight from reaching -10, when at the moment I already feel practically blind at around -5.

Still, Ortho-K costs money and means that I have to leave all my beautiful glasses locked away. I have grown so used to them and when I haven't had a chance to tidy up my eyebrows, or my skin is incredibly dry and I'm not wearing a scrap of make-up, my glasses become a kind of shield. My eyewear has become an extension of my personality and mood. I wear my plain purple ones when I'm tired or lazy, my funky see-through plastic frames when I'm feeling confident and my contacts when I'm feeling glamorous, or sporty.

Nevertheless, it feels stupid not to even try this chance to freeze the deterioration of my eyesight. I would have to wear the lenses for the rest of my teenage years, university and a little beyond before I ever put a pair of glasses back on again, but they would be waiting for me then. And people could always see my eyes properly. And if I changed my mind in the next ten years, I could just stop wearing them. It's 100% reversible.

I'm answering my own questions, aren't I? Why am I such a fretter?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Geeky is chic-y

It appears that the regularity of my posts in past weeks has gone down the drain now that my free time is no longer defined by me. However, if we look at recent days, I have had some time to blog but my time on blogger seems to have been stolen by another fantastic website, introduced to me by the wonderful Sarah Von at yes and yes:

I cannot quite comprehend the reason for the endless pleasure which the following activities all give: arranging my virtual bookshelf, finding the right cover editions, giving ratings, reviews, creating new categories, answering 'trivia' questions, 'exploring' book lists, adding to my 'to-read' list, and updating the page number of my current read. I have even managed to convince several friends to sign up, so that even the geekiest manifestation of my persona has 'friends'.

People have always told me that my reading habits have contributed to my terrible eyesight, but I suppose I really just have to give in to my not-so-inner bookworm. Anyway, it's becoming common knowledge that geeky is chic-y, isn't it?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cinema in Commodious Comfort

Whilst it's become extraordinarily cheap to purchase or rent DVDs, going to the cinema is becoming more and more expensive - even worse now that it's getting harder to pretend that you're 14 and qualify for a child's ticket. The Everyman Cinema Club in the UK is exceptionally pricey at £12 for a film, although they definitely focus on making a trip to the movies a luxurious experience. There is no popcorn offered at this high-class establishment, but an extortionately priced bar at which you can purchase nibbles, cake or coffee. Then you can take your food in and place it on the arm-rest of your seat, which happens to be an ultra-comfortable sofa!

With the recent onslaught of films I was desperate to see, I wasn't sure how to tackle the expense of it all. But today, I was able to strike The Curious Case of Benjamin Button off from my to-see list; a free preview screening was showing at an Everyman cinema! So, I have been attempting to see those films generating awards buzz (well, most of them...) so that I can reach my own conclusion; most years I am just rooting for the one film I actually saw, which isn't a very failsafe way of ensuring success, Each one seems to have something better than the last, and this film completely took my breath away. Quite literally, in fact, since I was completely choked for most of the last half hour of the movie.

The time and tube station location may have been inconvenient and underground screw-ups may have meant that I had to navigate my way home (not my forté) in the rain. But who can turn down a great film two weeks before public release in a fabulous cinema for free???

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Green-eyed monster

For a long time in my childhood, green was the main colour featuring on my clothes. I think my parents liked the contrast with my fiery red hair, or maybe they just liked green. But then, at some point in the paranoia of my early teens, I was informed by some friends that my eyes were not green, as I had believed for my whole life, but in fact light brown. I was devestated. It felt like an integral part of my identity had been ripped out and deformed by careless hands.

And it was then that I stopped wearing green or brown. I decided that these two colours only made my eyes and hair murkier in shade, in comparison to the true vividity of a brown or green item of clothing. For the majority of my fashion-interested life, I did not allow a single new piece into my wardrobe of these two forbidden hues.

Brown, being the useful colour that it is, has slowly begin to creep its way into my outfits via shoes, bags or belts; any item which is not going to be sitting next to my hair. Green remained outlawed, unless it was part of a floral pattern on a dress or top, where it can rarely be avoided. But recently I have received a couple of beautiful gifts incorporating this shunned shade and realised that maybe, just maybe, it's not too bad.

Maybe it's helped that I don't care quite as much if somebody doesn't realise that my eyes are green. Maybe it's because I like the environmentally-friendly symbolism. Maybe it's because I've got a little bit older... I've even started to enjoy green tea!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Question time

A common question asked throughout a child's education is: 'What's your favourite subject?'

The kids who hate school and teachers say: PE

The crafty kids say: Art

The whizzkids say: Maths or maybe Science

I would always say: English.

I think that there's possibly an element of inevitability here, and that the sort of child you were and so the interests you expressed and so the opportunities adults would present to you all lead to the person you may be in the here and now. That's not to say that all little girls who say that the want to be a Princess get their wish, but something along those lines; they probably won't become an Anti-Monarchist.

But for me, liking English was about my passion for reading - books, Girl Talk, the backs of cereal boxes - and writing - letters, diaries, picture books. And almost automatically, I began to push away from any of those other subjects which didn't seem to complement my choice. I was never dreadful in any subject (apart from maybe PE...) but I would often, and still do, find the prospect of a maths lesson interminably boring.

Yet sometimes I find myself completely absorbed in a complicated exercise in trigonometry, or trying to understand shifts in equilibrium. And although I've never considered that I wouldn't go into arts/humanities, when I understand a scientific idea, I am fascinated by it.

Today I finished the novel The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas. I was originally drawn to it by the stunning book design, the little note underneath by the bookseller recommending it and the intriguing blurb: 'with Mr. Y under her arm, Ariel finds herself swept into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel'. Although I could tell from the reviews that this wasn't just more romantic chic-lit with a twist, I in no way expected the philosophical whirlwind which this book takes you through.

I hesitate to use a formal term to describe the genre I normally read, without fully understanding it but personally, I have tended towards stories about humanity, emotions and life. My list of philosophy or non-fiction is embarrassingly short (i.e. non-existent). However The End of Mr. Y had me genuinely gripped in explanations of quantum physics, explorations of the origins of consciousness, evolution and post-structuralism. If you don't know what these means, you can try googling them because I still doubt I could explain them. Or you could read this fantastic novel.

This past week, I may have seriously considered switching to a scientific path with a little bit of philosophy thrown in. I have to choose which subjects I am going to take next year and hence continue for the rest of my academic life within the next week. I know I will still continue with my first love, English, but now it seems to me that one favourite subject can be reconciled with others. No, of course I am never going to take physics or biology but for some inexplicable reason chemistry has always had the ability to draw me in. Now, the head-ache which philosophy offers is enticingly beckoning. In The End of Mr. Y, Ariel Manto is doing an English PhD in thought experiments via 18th century science, some serious exploration of theology and time-travel.

As I have said, I am doubtful that my interest in electrons and quarks will last much longer. But I am definitely going to try to open myself up to new experiences, even time-travelling if the opportunity presents itself.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


(No, this is not a post announcing that this blog will be ending!)

When a book or a film ends, it can be quite sad if you really enjoyed it. But on the whole, you're psychologically prepared for it to end, and although you might feel a little empty for up to 24 hours, you get over it pretty soon.

Somehow with series, be they TV series, or Harry Potter, the long journey you have taken with the characters makes the ending so much more sad. Again, you know that the series will have to end at some point, but when it does finally arrive there is a far greater emotional impact. I'm still trying to figure out why this is; what is the magical ingredient in series which makes their ending so much more shocking?

Originally I thought it might be the element of not knowing exactly when the ending will come, so you are less ready for the arrival. But in the case of many TV programmes, or a famous trilogy you still sort of know. Perhaps it is a deeper knowledge and understanding of the characters, due to the increased length of time you have spent with them. Even so, it probably takes longer to read War and Peace than the entire series of Harry Potter.

I can only conclude that the emptiness which follows the loss of a series is the loss of an integral part of your routine, your life. It may only be that you will never await the release of the much-anticipated, completely secret Harry Potter book again. Even if this only happened every couple of years, there is still the feeling of never again. A weekly TV programme might be even more missed; what am I supposed to do with my Tuesday evenings now??? For me, the most traumatising ending is the ending of a much-loved blog. Many of these post daily, or indeed publish their writing far more frequently than JK Rowling. So, if we go by my logic, the sadness following the ending of a blog would be 7 times worse the ending of your very favourite weekly TV programme! It would be approximately 700 times worse than the ending of Harry Potter.

Whilst I do add to my blog list when going through it, I have yet to take away. It has only been in existence for just over half a year, and my tastes don't change that much! But going through it, I am now very sad to see that a good few of these favourite blogs no longer post. I know that this is the only natural progression and that nobody is going to be keeping up daily posts forever and ever and ever. Novelists know that once they've finished their books, they're done. Actors know that they don't need to sign a new contract when the current one runs out. When a person starts a blog (unless it's for the specific purpose of recording one finite journey) they have no idea where it will take them and how long for.

A couple of much-missed blogs have been mysteriously shut down. Miss Karen, Ailsa, previously Agathe (not any more) I'm looking you, girls!

Some of you (if you are reading!) have very kindly left up your blogs so that we deprived and saddened readers can browse through your archives, although I actually find it too painful looking through them when I know that when I'm done, I'm done and there will be no more writing to look forward to. An open but un-updated blog also leaves a glimmer of hope, although any person suffering from the loss of a missing person will tell you that the not knowing only makes it worse. OK, now I'm getting a little melodramatic. But you get my point: when blogs end, I'm sad. Sadder than at the end of Friends (and that's saying something!).

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Lazy Style

Looking back at old pictures of myself I can only marvel at how awful I looked, yet I seem to remember caring a great deal about how I presented myself. Now I feel a lot more relaxed about meeting strangers without a jot of make-up on a bad hair day. That's not to say that I don't prefer looking nice, of course I do. But two years ago, I doubt I would have worn a tracksuit or trainers for a walk in the woods.

As I begin to let myself go (a process which I fear can only end badly... but we're ignoring that for now) I have noticed the need for more nice lazy day clothes. My style used to be far more cute t-shirt and hoodie casual, so I have plenty of tops past their sell-by date. But due to my severe hatred of any trousers vaguely related to the tracksuit I am finding myself changing into my PJs when I get home, because I cannot stand my uniform trousers - another post topic in themselves, so horrendous are they.

So I decided I could do with some nice lazy style bottoms, and soon found these in the sale.

Now normally I do not go for the David and Goliath style of clothing, which is a little bit cheerful and, well, annoying for me. Exacerbating my irritability of the garments is a fact that I cannot see how the shop has anything to do with the biblical story of David and Goliath.

But these are so unbelievably soft; apparently they are an 100% cotton 'babysoft knit'. No idea what that means, but they satisfy my lazy side.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Film Feast

These past few days, now that my exams are over, I have been trying my hardest to relax. Oddly, one of the things I find least relaxing is spending a day doing not much apart from eat, watch TV and surf the 'net; somehow this is what makes me most restless, least content. It can make me feel most melodramatic, until by the afternoon I'm jumping on the rooftop screaming: I'M BOOOORRED. TIME IS SLIPPING THROUGH MY FINGERS. I'M WASTING MY WHOLE LIIIIIIIFFE!!!

In fact, I find over-indulging in wonderful films and books a much better way of relaxing. Unlike the trashy TV form of escapism, masterpieces really do manage to transport you to another world, much more effectively. Then, when the film or book is finished you are left with a sense of accomplishment, that you have experienced something more or less important. Whilst over-indulging in heavy movies may leave my head spinning, too many re-runs of Will & Grace back-to-back leads to an overwhelming feeling of nothing.

Here are the full contents of this week's film feast:

Slumdog Millionaire
I know, everyone is watching this; when buying tickets my friend and I actually snagged the last two before it was sold it. But there's a reason for the hype - this is a great film. Wonderful child actors never cease to amaze me, and the kids in this film with no acting experience seem to have bucketloads of talent. This, combined with the unusual method of mixing two languages in one film and the wonderful evocation of a culture foreign to most of its audience makes this film slightly reminiscent of The Kite Runner. Sadly, the older leads in Slumdog Millionaire are nowhere near as good. I mean, Dev Patel does a decent job at trying to eradicate the memory of his immensely silly character in Skins. But for Freida Pinto, the drop-dead gorgeous love interest, this is her first time acting (she was a model) and, unlike her younger counterparts, you can so tell.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I have a completely irrational dislike for Brad Pitt, and so originally I didn't want to watch this. But I was finally talked round and ohmygod am I glad. This is one of those films I see as really blurring the line between film and art because the cinematography is so insanely beautiful. However I do think that in the case of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (I love the crazy long title and have been driving all equally crazy by insisting on repeating it fully every time I mention it) the beauty on the screen means so much more. It's definitely a puzzling film - very thought-provoking - and so I'm still not quite sure exactly what the beauty of the cinematography means. Maybe a way of bringing out the contrast between the ugliness of violence and cowardice and the beauty of the world in which it exists? Either way, the film (cinematography, title, music and actors) is certainly very purdy.

The Savages
I was hoping to catch this at the BFI last year but never got round to it, and I don't know why it took until Saturday to finally get there. Speaking of contrasts, it was a fabulous film to watch straight after The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (oh yes!) because they are both wonderful films, rich in acting and things to think about. But in every other way, they are different. One noticeable point is that much of it is filmed hand-held, creating a more unfinished, less grandly cinematic effect. I adored this film because of its intimacy and the detailed study of the characters; whilst they are equally complicated to Jesse James or Robert Ford, we are led to understand Wendy and Jon Savage much more.

A Streetcar Named Desire

I am still only halfway through this film, so I'm not going to try to write about it. But despite not having seen half of it, I am already completely enchanted. Yes, it's wonderfully acted and extremely thought-provoking but I have a feeling that Brando's fine physique has a lot to do with the charm...

Which movies do you watch in your film feasts?

Sunday, 18 January 2009


A few people asked to see some photos of how I'd wear the velvet lace leggings I bought yesterday. Although this isn't exactly an outfit photos blog, I was definitely happy to oblige, and I think it would have been a great way to think up creative ways to wear them. In fact, it spurned me onto putting them into an outfit today, which stylistically I was very pleased with. But I realised that they're just too big. When I bought them there was only one pair left, in the size above the one I normally take. I remembered that last time I tried them on they were slightly on the tight side, and one size can't make that much of a difference with leggings. But wearing them today, I acknowledged that I just won't be comfortable with them. So they're going back (unless, by some miraculous hand of fate, my local Topshop will have a pair of size 10s waiting for me...).

Still, the very sad incident reminded me of something else I had been meaning to discuss about a week ago when reading some comments to one of my jokey posts. I noticed that many people, myself included, when writing comments or replies tend to use little smiley faces indicating that they are sad :( or happy :) or confused :S or winking ;). It is so much harder to express your tone, emotion, intention through text alone. You want someone to know if you are being sarcastic, flippant, supportive, irritated, genuinely concerned... perhaps these silly symbols are our way of conveying all this when we are unable to so with our voice or expressions. Even photos cannot fully express the movement of a frown, or a wink.

Of course, there are those who post videos, have live chats and that sort of thing, all ways of making the writer seem more real to the reader. Is that what having an engaging blog is about? Seeming real? So, why are so many anony-bloggers, or for that matter, reclusive writers of famous novels, so successful?

Maybe there is an element of oneself which can be conveyed without photos or videos or even meeting someone in the flesh. I feel that when I am writing, even under the exceptionally silly name pretty face, a lot about me can still be gauged. I don't like to make my true name known because I don't want to be Google-able (which, you know, could present a problem once I'm a world-renowned celeb) and I don't put up 'complete' photos for a reason I can't fully understand myself, something to do with putting yourself on the Internet. But then, if there was a creepy pervert determined enough to create a full picture, they might be able to create a composite image of me from my hair, my legs, my eyes, my torso, my mouth, my feet, my hands. And with my writing, both of the pretty prosaic events of my everyday life - although I try not to write down exact details - and my feelings, wouldn't the emotional picture of me be even more complete?

It's a confusing topic, and one which I have spent a long time thinking about and still haven't reached a satisfactory conclusion. Until I do, I don't think I can be fully comfortable posting unobscured mug shots and neither can I feel strongly enough about maintaining anonymity to stop posting photos completely. Even if my amputated legs may look silly.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Real Big Spender...

Well, following on from my post a while back, I bought the lovely lace leggings! I first posted about them here, when I tried them on but hoped that they might go into the Christmas sales. They didn't, and today I snapped up the last pair in the humungous retail machine that is Westfield (yeah.... not going back there). You can now buy them online here.

They are my first pair of leggings ever. Well, since I was a 90s toddler. I never thought I would go for something quite so fashion-forward, always erring on either the more classic or quirky, but not trendy... and they are a little bit over-priced for leggings. But you can't help what you love!

Anyway, I am excited to see what happens...

Friday, 16 January 2009

So Fierce

I'd venture to assume that we all know that feeling, when life is acting like a stroppy toddler throwing an irritating temper tentrum, and you know that really it's just a phase. Really it's just an innocent little wide-eyed angel, most of the time. Even so, you can't help but feel that urge to hurt something. Hit something. Do something.

At times like these, the best thing to do is to keep your feelings under control, because even though I don't condone bottling your emotions up, acting on them can create a lot more unnecessary mess than just hurting people in your head.

One thing which always calms me down is some pretty colourful nail polish adorning my nails. Yesterday none of my own selection was really calling me, so I pilfered a lovely deep pink from my mother's nail kit (don't worry, she uses mine all the time...). It's called big spender by essie, which never fails to come up with the most brilliantly amusing names: after sex, bikini with a martini, jumpin junkanoo, steel-ing the scene...

And you know what, every time I felt like I was on the brink of my own temper-tamtrum today, I just gazed down at my divinely lush red-violet nails and imagined myself somewhere abundantly luxurious, throwing cash in the air and schmoozing with all the other big spenders. I, temporarily at least, lost the angry urge. This nail polish is fierce.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

I won't label you...

This past week has not been particularly conducive to creativity, and when I've come home in the evenings I haven't really been up to much writing or blogging. That is to say that after several hours of exams, I decide to spend my spare time as unproductively as possible: browsing the internet, playing solitaire, watching mindless television. And when trying to think about what I should write, I realised that for the first time in a long time my posting ideas list only had one or two big ideas which I didn't have the energy for.

So I looked at my past posts to try and get some ideas, but nothing came. Something else stuck me though. For someone who is not particularly tidy, I get a huge satisfaction from organising. Blogger is grea for this,becuase I get to make my blog super-duper organised with hardly any effort. A perfect example of this would be my highly efficient labelling system of labelling posts. My labels are highly functional but also decorative in their names.

Occasionally however a post arrives which doesn't quite fit into any of the labels. You just make a new one! This is how I realised quite how many different types of posts I do write. There is plenty I don't include on here which I could, but I still don't think this blog could really be categorised in terms of content, or even tone. Off the top of my head, it's been categorised as a style blog, a London blog... I would be interested to knowif anyone disagreed with me but I certainly don't think either of those are perfect descriptions of this.

I was thinking that this may come from the fact that I read so many different types of blogs, covering all manners of topics and tone. The blogs I read also tend to be my readers, so maybe that's reflected as I subconsciously cater to my audience one by one. I do wonder if people when reading blogs are looking for the same sort of stuff that they produce, or the opposite. Do my lovely, lovely readers get a little bit dis-oriented by the direction, which feels inexplicable to me, which the posts take? Do they you come here hoping for a quasi-philosophical post and end up with one of my mildly witty musings? Or do you come for a laugh and instead get lumbered with some 'pretty ponderings'? I like to think that maybe I provide a little bit of a surprise, some eclecticism. But doesn't everyone like to be called eclectic, when really they're just a bit messy?

The sub-heading for the blog is 'a collection of pretty ponderings'. I think that's basically the best I can do. Anyway, at least I'm not bored. Now I just want to make sure you aren't! So, since my ideas list has dwindled a little I thought I'd try opening the floor and seeing if there were any topics you'd like to see me writing about, or just general types of posts you prefer.

And to finish with, as a nice little example of the irregular content I post, I bought this book today:

Sadly my own version, despite being brand-new, is already way more beaten up than the one in this fabulous photo, but it was the only copy left and i really wanted it. And the black paper edges are just too cool.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Playing TAG

When I was much younger and everyone suggested a game of tag, I hated it. I wasn't the fastest runner, and I seem to remember an over-riding sense of panic as I ran around the playground more than any sort of exhilirating enjoyment. But now, when I'm tagged to go some sort of fun or tag, it's all funfunfun. Odd, isn't it?

Anyway, the beautiful blogger Sal at Already Pretty has tagged me to reveal 6 random things about myself. Initially, there was that exhilirating enjoyment when someone thinks kindly enough of you to mention you. And then came the panic.

Because really, this blog is a collection of all the random things which I notice about myself and everything around me. And I'm not even that random a person.. in fact, whilst trying to come up with something suitably random I kept on thinking to myself 'have I not already mentioned this?' either in some other post, or in the other random things tag (well actually that was a quirks tag). But I finally managed to come up with a few facts:

1. I was one of the few children on earth who actively detested any form of physical exercise. Yes, a game of tag inspired panic and a trip to the toddler's gymnasium invariably ended with me sitting by the coats, unbuttoning... buttoning... unbuttoning...

2. I'm really bad at repeating stories. I find it hard to keep count of who I've told what, which means a lot of 'I used to have... no, wait don't worry. I think I've told you already. Hang on, have I told you about...'. It also means I find it difficult doing this sort of tag.

3. I have a brown freckle in one of my eyes, which are green.

4. I actually have a lot of freckles! Proper brown ones though, not lots of orange pin-pricks on my nose. Sometimes when I'm bored, I play join-the-dots with the freckles to make triangles.

5. I feel incredibly guilty right now because I offered my leather moisturiser (which worked wonders on my jacket) for her to use on her brand new leather jacket and now it looks to be stained... any advise people?

6. I am tagging:

Details of the Fabric
Square Old Soul
yes and yes
American Koukla
Liberty London Girl (yes, she's back! I hyperventilated when I saw too!)
Or False Glitter

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Guilty Pleasure

One thing which I've always loved about the beginning a year is that far, far away in Hollywood it's Awards Season! Yes, for some inexplicable reason I do find who and what won what where very interesting to follow... but even more than that, it's the fabulous dresses!

Premieres etc can be interesting enough, but it's at the big Awards Ceremonies that you get the real glitz and glamour. Oddly I wasn't aware that the Golden Globes happened today, so it was a lovely delight to come home and sift through the pretty dresses. If this is one of your guilty pleasures too, which dresses did you love?

Personally I loved the more neutral coloured dresses, which were well accesorised. Looking at my selection now, I also think it may have had quite a lot to do with which actresses I love, because let's face it, Angelina Jolie's never gonna get any praise out of me...

I do love Kate Winslet, but recently she went a bit over-board on the fake tan and in past years she's just gone for the most dreadful pastelly horrors. Black may be boring, but this dress is just so wonderfully elegant and I think she looks just right...

This sort of colour is probably my favourite for evening wear... it's just so luxurious. Maybe I'm a little dull but I find bright colours often look sooo trashy. Lovely brooch, Kristen Scott Thomas.

Gorgeous make-up, and I adore the texture of the skirt.

Amanda Seyfried can do no wrong in my eyes! Anyway, this dress is pretty amazing.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Quarterly Manifestation of Greener Grass Syndrome

Recently, it’s been very, very cold. Maybe it’s just the Londoner weakling in me, but no amount of snugly knitwear and pretty scarves and lovely boots can quite compensate for the freezing chill when you wake up in the morning and have to get dressed, before the heating turns on. Even worse is the ever present darkness. A whole day can pass with barely a couple of hours of sunlight; even then it is not exactly lightness and brightness. All in all, I am completely and utterly fed up and want more than anything to experience a lovely day in the hot summer sun, a desire made even worse by the knowledge that it isn’t going to happen any time soon.

But as I was sitting here feeling all doom and gloom, I began to realise that what I was really experiencing was the Quarterly Manifestation of Greener Grass Syndrome. That is to say that every season you’re left wishing for the type of weather which you won’t get for a very long time. It’s pretty much an established fact that the grass is always greener on the other side for at least one thing in life: weight, relationships, lifestyle, fame, boobs. But the odd thing about weather is that you do actually find yourself with the greener grass, by which time you’ve realised you actually did love the yellowy parched look. And it’s not too late, you can always go back and when you do, you’ll inevitably change your mind again.

So as I wish for summer, uncomfortably present in the back of my mind are the memories of heat rash, longings for snow and warm cups of tea by the fireplace. I just want to scream at myself 5 months ago: IT SNOWED TODAY AND GUESS WHAT, IT’S NOT MAGICAL FAIRY DUST. IN FACT, IT NEVER EVEN SETTLES IN LONDON.

OK, so there’s no denying that winter fashion is far more substantial than the vest and shorts combo which is the only thing bearable in extreme heat. But I’m not even going somewhere sunny for the foreseeable future, and let’s face it, the UK isn’t particularly well known for extreme heat. There’s one other thing which my sun-drunk self always seems to forget: warm coats instantly hide even the most chic of knitted ensembles. Which you can’t even see because it’s always night-time.

The real problem here, as you can see, is the selective editing which goes on in the minds of those suffering from the Quarterly Manifestation of Greener Grass Syndrome. Right now, all I can associate winter with is exams stress (and the spots which that comes with), the brain-ache situation in Gaza… basically everything dark. Naturally there’s fun stuff going on too, but oh wasn’t I having so much more fun in the summer? Erm, no! There were wars then too, even if the reactions of those around me weren’t as emotionally charged. As this summer rolls round, so will exams more important than the current ones and therefore a greater quantity of spots will appear. And now, as I begin to think about it, I remember having just as many feelings of discontentment as in the winter. Only then they were accompanied by anger that the rest of the world was having fun in the sun.

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Glad Game

In the book Pollyanna, the Glad Game is a game the young, penniless orphan plays to make herself feel better about her shitty situation. Whenever something bad happens, she always considers how it could be even worse. Example:

-Oh no, I wanted a doll, but I've been given a pair of crutches!
-Oh well, I should be glad that I'm not a cripple who would need these crutches!

Ingenious right? Personally I prefer to find positive aspects in my own life when trying to feel a little gladder, but you know how it is, sometimes you just can't see the light. Even then, it can be irritating to have other people tell you that you're basically just whining and your problem doesn't mean anything. Nevertheless, it is admittedly easier to think of more negative things, than anything positive... and sometimes it may even provoke a little glad glee.

Since I prefer not to be gladly gleeful that I'm not starving in the third-world or suffering from a debilitating illness, I like to look to fiction for my own dose of misery. Here's my list. I'll slot any super-duper suggestions you make along with them for an even more comprehensive list:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Starting off as a happy little adventure story about some boys who are all excited because they are stranded on a sunny, pretty island with no grown-ups. By the end they're killing each other and weeping for the 'darkness of man's heart'. In addition, I get all depressed when I read it because I know it involves writing about it in an exam.

Revolutionary Road: the trailer. Depressing book of course, but I think the trailer really takes the biscuit. They pretty much decided to remove any hint of joy in the novel/film in order to try to make people watch it. Maybe they're counting on misery-lovers like me? Good luck to them!

Hallelujah. I'm not going to pick an example, because we all know that everyone has their own personal favourite with this song. But let me simply quote from this guy with the impressive vocabulary: The titular refrain is one of the most halfhearted exclamations you'll ever hear, a commemoration of all pyrrhic victories. The X-Factor cover itself is additionally depressing because it is so awful.

Romeo + Juliet. There never was a tale of more woe, than that of Juliet and her dear Romeo. PLUS you get to feel all depressed because somehow you haven't yet managed to bag yourself a Romeo. Oh wait, no... I'm not playing the game right.

As you can see, sometimes My Glad Game can descend into a bit of a miseryfest. But an additional plus, which I haven't even mentioned yet, is that fantastic artists don't tend to enjoy creating happy masterpieces. So in indulging in some gloom, you're also handily adding to your intellectually impressive list...

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


This is the first time I have accepted one of those cheaty sort of tags which claims that 'anyone who wants to, feel free to tag yourself' because to be completely honest... they can't be bothered to tag people. That includes me! Anyway, so I got this tag from the super-stylish Miss Karen at I'm Not Anti-Social, Just Short-Sighted, a blog which was recently revealed to me by WendyB (VOTE WENDY AS FASHION BLOGGER OF THE YEAR!!) in one of her posts.

The tag specifies that you post this-or-that number in this-or-that file in My Pictures, but because this is my own tag I feel justified in substantially tweeking the rules. Let's focus on the file where most pictures on this blog are stored, but instead of re-posting photos which would actually be a little pointless, we're going to have a look at those photos which have lain in this folder accumulating dust, because I once thought they were quite cool. It's called the Misscellaneous file. Obviously this is so much less pointless.

Anyway, I apologise in advance for the appalling lack of credit which shall follow in posting these images; obviously none of them actually originated in My Pictures Misscellaneous file but I honestly don't remember where they came from. So thanks everso much, to whomever did originally create these images.

Image 1.Right at the beginning of my leading man fixation, Rhett Butler was my major crush. I can't believe I'm admitting this! Although, he may be a fictional character but he's also very charming.

Image 2. I think I've had this image sitting there in that Misscellaneous folder for at least half a decade... ever since I decided it would be fun to create one of those free websites which basically consisted of pilfering other people's funny facts, interesting trivia and amusing images.

Image 3.
One of a sequence of about ten images I took in Battersea Power Station a couple of years ago, which I was planning on using to enter into an art project when I still fancied myself as somebody arty.

Image 4.

I think this is my most recent accumulation, and I actually remember that it comes from the hilarious blogger Emi at her blog letters from the end consumer. HOW COOL?

I happen to find this a pretty fun sort of tag, so I hereby tag every single person who reads this blog!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Sans Honte

I'm all for hard work, but sometimes if your work has become so entirely and completely without enjoyment that with every page turned you just want to stab yourself in the eyes à la Oedipus, then it's time to reinvent your work strategy a little. A week ago, I suggested reading cute little kids books in your chosen language as a means of revising said language.

I may have now come up with something even more revolutionary.

Actually, this is probably the least revolutionary idea of all, because I can think of at least one, or two, maybe three... actually probably four other posts which are pretty much based around the same concept - that doesn't refer to revision tips posts.

So, I was searching for a French flick to watch with my friend which we might be able to count as revision. Whilst there are certainly plenty of wonderful French movies out there, I didn't want something in black and white, something easy and gripping thus allowing more concentration to be placed on the language. I was drawn in by the racy cover and suitable amount of awards stars of the 2003 film Les Égarés (Strayed).

When we started watching, I knew I'd chosen well. Introducing: Gaspard Ulliel, acclaimed and sexy French actor.

Dites-moi, cher Gaspard, qu'est-ce que vous regardez?

What better way than to have a gorgeous male lead to keep you focused right on the screen???

Sans honte, by the way, means shameless in French.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Beauty Rookie

I do love the glamour of make-up (continuing the Dita von Teese theme, just look at these photos of her working out fully made-up) but in all honesty, I'm a bit of a rookie when it comes to it all.

I have plenty of nail varnish, which I apply plentifully and I am getting better at doing it evenly and neatly. But look closely and it's a non-top coated, natural-cuticles, unbuffed mess. I'm a sucker for any well-marketed skin lotion; I have a MAC cleanser which pulled me in with its 'shot of caffeine' but I didn't realise it's for removing make-up and I just don't do foundation. There are plenty of varying moisturisers which I apply on occasion. I threw out my four-year old mascara and now I apply black liquid eyeliner and mascara, when I remember. I wear contacts, but sporadically.

When I got my red lipstick on Christmas I was delighted and wore it every day that I actually went out and didn't stay at home in my pyjamas all day. It looked great at first, but as the day would wear on I'd peak at a mirror and spy an embarrassed mouth, red around the edges and all dry and flaky. So much for long-wearing and moisturing, I thought. But now I'm starting to think that maybe I'm just not using the right products in addition to the lipstick, or I'm applying it wrong, or making some other blindingly obvious rookie mistake. 'Duh, you should have bought the super-strength-glosstastic-money-money-sealing-coat-arama obviously', I hear you say in reply to my stupidity.

Or maybe something along that lines. Help me out?

Sunday, 4 January 2009


I'm not yet sure how the next week of posting will pan out; either it will accelerate to 10 a day in super-speed procrastination, or it will slow to a dribble of posts as I begin to feel the heat. Only time will tell.

For now though, I'm taking a break to post these marvellous photos of little toddlers enjoying the luxe label life...Super-famous (papparazi favourite - photo from Popsugar) kiddywink Suri Cruise shopping at Hermes already... love the pose!

Adorable Parisian baby on JAK & JIL BLOG. I am probably insanely late in discovering it, but there are some absolutely awesome photos on there. A particular favourite is this shot of Dita Von Teese, further illustrating the insanity of fashion..

Friday, 2 January 2009

Human Nature

Today I finally managed to find the Tate Britain on the day before the day before the last day of the remarkable Francis Bacon exhibition, which actually wasn't that hard when you aren't taking a round-a-bout route via shopping centres and getting distracted when being given directions.

As an occasional dabbler in art, I sometimes find it difficult to connect with a painting because I'm thinking too much about what I'm supposed to be thinking, and how much of it is totally going over my head because I don't have a degree in Art History, and which is the best position in which I can appear to be thoughtfully gazing at a masterpiece whilst also getting a good view of the rather handsome arty types who tend to frequent art galleries.

But I thought that this exhibition was exceptionally selected and curated in a way in which the paintings all of a sudden became fascinatingly thought-provoking and also very, very beautiful. My personal favourite was the sequence of screaming popes in cages. Numerous references to Bacon's inspiration in Diego Velazquez's 17th century Innocent X were impossible not to catch. I wandered through the exhibition (much faster, I might add, than my note-taking art student friend) with profound thoughts floating in my head on the nature of human beings, inherent bestiality, aetheism....

Naturally, following any art exhibition, comes the gift shop. First came the postcard rack, from which I dutily selected the Pope images. But then my eye quickly caught the selection of bags. The strap on the tote I was carrying had broken on the way - a tote I'd purchases at the the Zoo Art Fair. I fell head over heels with a black satchel specially designed for the Tate by artist Ally Capellino (oh, you'd feel so arty carrying that):

But I didn't have enough money on me at the time, and I am beginning to see that it was probably a good thing because I definitely have a surplus of bags. There is definitely no question that in the greatly controversial SHOE vs. BAG debate, the bag side definitely wins for me. You see, when you're going into designer price ranges, bags are evidently far more expensive but at the good quality lower price bracket in which I shop, there are so many delectable-

By this point I was really starting to come to terms with my inherently superficial human nature. Then on the tube home, the train stopped at Oxford Circus. Oooh, we wondered, shall we just pop in? Oh might as well! Very soon, whilst supposedly window shopping, I spotted a cardigan, perfect in every way (I won't bore you with the list) and where on earth was it when I was specifically cardigan shopping a few days ago?

But, as before, I didn't have enough cash and so we headed home, I with a heavy heart, weighing over the ultimate questions: do I buy online? Am I willing to spend £5 on postage and packaging? Or should I just nip into the shops tomorrow... something I really don't have time for, to purchase the holy grail of cardigans? Actually... do I even need it? If I had had enough money on me at the time, these questions wouldn't even be coming to question, but as it was, the basic, solid principles of life, that I needed this cardigan, were beginning to show their cracks.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Unusual chat-up lines

As I have mentioned, I don't really like reading trashy novels. When the Twilight series began to tighten its grip on the entire female teenaged Western civilisation, I ran as far as possible in the opposite direction. I simply refused to read it as a matter of my integral self-respect. Even so, whisperings about the awesomeness of Robert Pattison (who? Oh... that one in Harry Potter? Doesn't he have a sort of squashed nose?) and his wonderfully vampireish fictional alter-ego Edward Cullen became impossible to evade.

When the film came out a good few weeks ago, a tiny part of me was curious - I am more lenient with trashy films. But I still wasn't willing to pay the extortionate cinema prices to watch this story.

Yesterday, with hours to go until the fireworks in central London (Happy 2009, guys!) I was finally persuaded to see what all the fuss is about. For the first half an hour, the surprisingly full auditorium was in fits of giggles at the pseudo-scary vampire smoulders. But after a while we all began to fall under the spell of the beautiful vampire. He really is so much more stunning in action.

Edward: 'You're like my own personalised brand of heroin.'

I know, it's laughable right? But by this time, every female in the room was wishing that they had a beautiful vampire confessing to her how much he wanted her blood.

So here we have it, proof that even the most absurd chat-up lines can be rendered quite magical when uttered by an insanely attractive vampire.

OK, I know this isn't him in Vampire-mode but I couldn't find stills of the awesome scenes where he's glittering, or wearing sunglasses. So just imagine this, with glittery gold skin, redder lips, paler skin and amber eyes....