Sunday, 31 May 2009

sunny pc

I have a lot of exams in the next couple of weeks so my posting will probably be minimal.

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in London recently; my white-as-snow redheaded self is a surprising sun-lover. OK, when I'm abroad it can get a bit intense if I have left my sunglasses and Aloe Vera gel, what with the headaches and heat rash. But this gentle London heat: perfect.

Damn it, it's so hard to sit at your desk overlooking a sunny scene.

And even when my gaze is firmly fixed on the computer, I am reminded of the rare weather I am missing out on. My screensaver, weather forecast and other summery gadgets shine out and taunt me.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


when someone you know and love
someone you know loves you
says something that really hurts
it is because it's true?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

cutting corners

It's slowly starting to dawn on me that I need to speed up my work.

Slow, thorough note-reading isn't going to cut it.

Spending hours making cards is out of the question.

So the other day, I wanted to make something flowery as inspired by my visit to the rose gardens. A quick search through my crafts box uncovered some stick-on decorations. I managed to complete the first half of this card in a matter of minutes.

Of course, then I began to feel that guilt of not having put enough effort in and spent an hour sticking on two ribbons in the most complicated manner possible, before deciding it didn't look right and removing the ribbons.

I'm not very good at this cutting corners business.

Monday, 25 May 2009

sweet as roses

You don't really realise it when they come in small quantities, but gather them in one big rose garden and roses really do smell wonderfully sweet.

I couldn't resist the lure of the Regents Park rose garden on this lovely sunny Bank Holiday. I mean, when is the last time it didn't rain on a bank holiday?

Wouldn't it be lovely to have a rose named after you?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

the bookworm without a book

As is probably clear from my enthusiastic label 'books are for cool people', I love reading. Books and blogs and cereal boxes, I will read anything I can lay my hands on. Nothing can quell anger or impatience or boredom like some juicy reading material. And the best of all reading for me is some fat fiction.

You have probably guessed that I have, on several occasions, been called a bookworm. That's absolutely fine with me.

However, for over a month now, I have been plagued by a horrible pattern. Since my holiday back in the beginning of April, I have been unable to complete a book. I got to the second chapter of The Accidental before being irritated into ending it. I read 35 jerky pages of Beloved on the aeroplane and left it in my hand luggage for several weeks. Middlemarch managed to carry me all the way to Chapter 3. I couldn't even make myself read the book I was meant to write an essay on in an exam.

The strange thing is that these are all good books, books similar in style to others which I have devoured with glee many times. And I actually really enjoyed all of what I did manage to read before, for some unexplained reason, I just gave up.

It may have something to do with exam stress; perhaps reading textbooks until 10 in the evening and then trying to wind down by chatting with friends and watching TV until 12 at night isn't the most conducive to good reading. I am either feeling too guilty or too tired to read. But for me, it is unnatural and unpleasant not to be in the middle of a good book. I am, as I wrote in my title, a bookworm without a book. And no-one wants to be a bookworm.

The worst thing was going into bookshops and admiring all the lovely wares, but knowing that I have a whole stack of novels at home makes buying another feel wasteful. So I am very lucky that my mother decided to treat me to a new book. And today was just so beautiful and sunny that work was a thought not even to be contemplated.

Lo and behold, I am already on page 54 (chapter 4) of When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. I can give my much abused copy of The Princess Bride a rest (I always re-read the same books when I am stuck in this non-booky place). Hopefully many more sunny days and early nights might allow me to go back and finish the worryingly tall unfinished pile.

I got through three meaty classics on a two week holiday in August to Turkey.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


As I would have predicted, I have been spending a lot more time that usual watching TV.

In between badly made 'documentaries' about identical triplets, more of that fabulously formulaic detective drama and morning re-runs of Will & Grace, I have actually caught some good TV.

First up yesterday was an attempt to bring together revision and relaxation when I picked up a French DVD without even looking at the synopsis. You will notice that this is a technique I have employed in the past before. With that post in mind, you can imagine my delight to discover that Gaspard Ulliel in fact has a central role in yesterday's random pick: A Very Long Engagement.

The warped and inaccurate subtitles did annoy me; a central motif of the letters MMM were explained with the false translation of 'Manech Marries Mathilde'; as if we foreign viewers were too unintelligent to realise that the middle M in some way or another comes from 'Manech loves Mathilde' (FYI, 'love' in French is 'aime' which is pronounced like the letter 'M'). Nevertheless, it was cute touches like that which made Me 'M' the Movie.

Sorry, how incredibly cheesy was that last sentence?!?

Moving swiftly onwards was a snippet of satirical news commentary show Have I Got News For You. It is not to my usual TV taste, but I do appreciate BBC for its lack of ads and so I flicked over during a break. Again, I was met with advertisements but this time of a very different kind, as a series of sexist vintage ads flashed across the screen.

With an all-male panel, this could have veered onto the side of tasteless, but Have I Got News For You is basically charming in its tastelessness, and British TV is so liberal anyway that I was able to just laugh.

A quick Google search dug up a pretty amazing flickr account filled with vintage advertisements, where I found two of the ones featured on TV (actually - they were probably sourced from the flickr site). Hopefully you'll find them amusing too, so that I can justify my excessive TV watching just a little bit more.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

salad and sweets

I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking of posting about making myself eat more healthily by presenting the healthy food to myself in a pretty fashion.

It came about when I noticed that the lunch I had prepared for myself looked remarkably colourful, and I got the urge I get when I see an attractice object to photograph it. But when I started writing about it, the post turned in a completely different direction, as writing has a knack of doing.

I started writing about how I've found that the only way I can cope with running for anything longer than ten minutes is when I'm in a nice park, and running on grass (although of course it took me at least two paragraphs to say that). The easy to access roads around me and the treadmill are annoyingly unmotivational.

So I began to wonder if maybe the key to living healthily is to 'make it pretty', be 'it' your meal or your exercise area.

And it's true that the day I wrote this draft, I ran the fastest I ever have in a field which it took me half an hour to get to (thankfully I was in the area anyway). And I was completely satisfied with my healthy lunch of sweet potato falafels, beans, green leaf salad and a date with walnuts for desert, which as this photo testifies was also gorgeous to look at:

So it's a shame that before I got a chance to post this revelation, I remembered this:

(picture borrowed from this blog which has a pretty thorough coverage)

M&S recently launched a new range of cupcakes including the above pictured Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcake (I have to say, M&S are launching a lot of pretty funky foods right now as part of their 125 year celebrations, although I think these cupcakes are an unrelated and therefore thankfully/unthankfully permanent).

As you can see, they're pretty easy on the eye, especially with the cute retro packaging.

I can testify to the fact that they are also delicious.

And not at all healthy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I wasn't being entirely truthful when I said that I had no time for blogging. The truth is, I have found plenty of time for reading all your wonderful blogs and commenting on them.

Today I realised that I'd spent 15 minutes composing a post which I then discarded as a pile of crap, and then I spent another 15 minutes writing a comment on another blog. That's a lot of writing for someone who can't find the time to construct her own post.

I think sometimes a word count can be deceptive. I know it's much easier, for example, to write out 3 or 4 pages of notes on a topic than a 3 or 4 page essay. It's definitely easier writing a 5 paragraph blog post than adding 5 measly paragraphs to a short story.

And easiest of all, is to copy and paste the reply I wrote to Sal's beautiful post on her blog Already Pretty today on body image.

You know, until two days ago, I hadn't weighed myself since August, when staying at a friend's house.

In the many months since August, I knew my weight was roughly the same; clothes fit the same, etc etc. And in that time, there were days I felt great about my body, days I felt awful. In recent weeks I began to feel a mounting body hatred which had nothing to do with any number, and everything to do with my messed up body image.

Two days ago, I stepped on some scales and weighed 3kg more than I weighed in August. I was upset for all of one evening, until the next morning I pulled out the scales again and noticed there was a zero error, so I actually only weighed 2 kg more. Oh, wait, I stepped on the scales and I only weighed 1 kg more. And I reasoned that maybe because they're different scales I actually weigh the same.

Immediately I felt better. I completely hear where you're coming from about muscle weighing more than fat, rugby players registering as obese on the BMI scales, crazy clothes sizing.

BUT sometimes, a couple of numbers in front of you in black and white can be the perfect antidote to the wrong person I see when I look in the mirror. That's probably a bad thing, I should probably read more of your posts.

By the end of my comment, I knew that what I had written highlighted something wrong in the way I thought about this topic. I knew she was right, and as I said, I knew I needed to read a lot more of Sal's body image posts.

So, I suppose, in some ways, reading blogs is not only easier but better than writing posts.

Note: for those who are at all interested, my lack of inspiration led me to taking photos of the lunch I had assembled and rambling about how if the food you are eating looks pretty on the plate you are more likely to eat it, so you should make your food look nice when trying to eat boring healthy food. Um, OK.

Monday, 18 May 2009

not dead, just feel it

I felt I should probably let you know that I am not dead (yet).

Although I do feel like it.

I said it all in the post title really, didn't I?

Yesterday I didn't step outside the door for the entire day. I blame my non-attendance to real and blog life on a severely puffed up eye and several exams.

On a positive note, excess TV watching has finally led me - yes, I know, I am horrendously late on the bandwagon here - to Patrick Jane of The Mentalist.

Hot protagonist in a detective programme. Maybe I really have passed out of this life and gone to heaven...

Friday, 15 May 2009

my beautiful finger

So, the other day, I got the photos developed that I took on the waterproof Kodak on my holiday a couple of weeks ago.

I have to say that a few stuck out as my personal favourites.

This one, for example.

Don't you just love the contrast of the rocky black landscape with the fluffy pink splash edging its way into the photo?

Or maybe you prefer the more dominant and imposing impression that my finger makes on this otherwise bland landscape?

I only wish I could share with you the wonderful snap of my two friends standing infront of an impressive mountain range, and my shadowy outline alongside them, obscured by the finger of an evidently unwilling photographer.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

different but the same

Today I noticed that although I seem to have amassed quite a collection of coloured tights, they are all pretty much much of a muchness.

That is to say, that within my collection I have four different shades of purple, three grey and then one solitary orange pair. I'm not sure what I was thinking at that point; I must have been feeling very brave.

Oh and I apologise now for what is probably the most underdeveloped post ever. I think bashing out notes and notes and a couple of essays might be finally curing me of my chronic wordiness. Wait, no, that last sentence was still incredibly wordy.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

cool but not conducive to craft

So, round about now I need to start making 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...11...12...13 cards (this is the first time I actually counted, by the way).

With so many to make, I really can't be too meticulous so I'm thinking I might need to create a template to save time. This is the kind of project when those ready-made adhesive flowers and hearts and brides and grooms (OK, maybe not those last two at this present moment) come in really useful. But, as I have said before, I am loathe to spend my money on that kind of thing when I have plenty of far more unique and free substitutes around.

The only concessions I am willing to make on the money spending front is for: an exceptionally gorgeous ribbon, glitter glue and cards.

Here is an example of the kind of ribbon or buttons I will spend my dosh on - although these stunners were actually gifts a couple of years ago, and I love them so much that I've never even used either of them, which is probably why it's a good idea not to buy things which are too beautiful. Even so, you won't find me buying any of this over-priced yawn-arama.

And then anything else I might just fall in love with, like these beautifully fragile skeleton leaves.

However, just as with the ribbon, I haven't found many occasions to use them. I think there have been a couple of outings, one documented here. But I don't particularly love that card; I think it looks too insipid. Maybe that's the problem with the leaves, they are so subtle and fragile that it's hard to place them alongside big blobs of glitter and thick cards.

I bet you also get this problem, if not with skeleton leaves and glitter then with your ancient and fragile necklace, or with a pair of precarious heels. Do you do anything to try to make them work, or do you, as I do, just sigh and say:

At least they're nice to look at, and fun to photograph.

Monday, 11 May 2009

bloody back ache

Revision invariably means long hours spent sitting at a desk. Even with the best of chairs, that will eventually equal horribly painful back-ache.

At first, in my attempts at procrastination I surfed all the websites I have ever visited before, which includes a gazillion different fashion forums and blogs, a gazillion celeb gossip websites, a gazillion quiz/trivia games (some of these I kidded myself actually counted as revision...), watched a gazillion TV programmes on free iPlayers, played a gazillion games of solitaire and spent a gazillion hours on one social networking website.

I am only slightly exaggerating. It is the truth that in the course of my religion revision I discovered the Duggar family and spent about an hour absorbed in their 20 people family. I'm not even meant to be studying Christianity.

Anyway, I pretty soon realised that after I had procrastinated on the computer I would have to continue to work... at the computer. So I have now realised that procrastination that does not take place at the desk is much more pleasant.

I discovered 'cooking' i.e. reheating food to a barely edible standard and creating salads (harder than it sounds since we do not have a microwave).

I discovered that tidying your room is actually quite fun.

I discovered that daytime TV is shit, but you can watch it anyway.

I discovered that exercise might seem like a good idea but it's not going to happen (hopefully I can prove this discovery incorrect some time soon).

I discovered that I will start reading an 800+ page classic (Middlemarch) rather than re-reading the same set text for English again.

I discovered that I have a pretty awesome £1 coin collection, and that it's actually really hard taking a good photo of coins (wait, I already knew that... from previous 'work' sessions)

I think the step away from the computer is a step in the right direction. There are only so many photographs I can take of money.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

goldilocks aspirations

When I was little, one of my favourite books was a story called Jonpanda. In it, a girl visits a fairground with her mum and wins a toy panda. They soon start talking to each other and develop a friendship.

My favourite part of the story is after Jonpanda and Mamie get stuck in the rain and develop a cold, they sit by the fire and share some porridge. This cosy warm image is actually on the front of the book, perhaps a testament to its hypnotising power. You see, whenever I read this book, I always wanted to have some porridge.

And always, I would drag my parents to the supermarket the next day, to buy some porridge, and wait excitedly as it was prepared (a process which then seemed so long and complicated). Then I would sit down with this inviting bowl and take about three bites before deciding that, actually, I don't particularly like porridge.

For me, porridge was always one of those things which sound so much better than they taste. The porridge in Jonpanda and the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is just perfect for a wintry, dark evening. In contrast, the real thing is lumpy and cools rather quickly.

But recently, without even having picked up a copy of Jonpanda, I developed a huge lemming for some porridge. This is nothing to do with literary aspirations and everything to do with my decision to give up cereal (I wanted to cut down on milk, and then this was all over the news) Finally, last Sunday, I picked up the first box of porridge I found in M&S; a bright green box of banana porridge for kids. And I have had a bowl of porridge with water, a teaspoon of honey and some sliced fruit every morning since.

Now I think it's time to upgrade to some of the hardcore un-banana'd stuff. I just hope my love for porridge doesn't wear off again.

How drool-worthy is this image of porridge? How much does it make you want a bowl, like, right now???

Thursday, 7 May 2009


If you don't like people gloating, you can look away now.

Less than a week ago I was entirely down in the dumps and listing all the things which made me feel down in the dumps.

And now, I am in a complete daze. How many good things can happen in one day?

There are plenty of reasons people can give. There is the theory of the wheel of fortune and when you get right to the bottom... the only way is up, up, up. As I have said plenty of times, all things come to an end, including the bad things. Maybe I just deserved it for sucking it all up and carrying on.

A couple of weeks ago I lost a very important log book. It has been playing on my mind every day now, even if it is not at the forefront. Yesterday I used the old trick of tying a handkerchief in a knot at all corners. Yesterday morning. And five minutes ago, I only found the bloody log book!

Five days ago I received a very disappointing rejection letter. I tore at my hair, beat at my breast and all that. And this afternoon, five days later I received a very exciting acceptance letter. So, I didn't get one thing. But I got the other and that almost makes the first rejection alright!

The sunny transition from spring to summer is supposed to be happy. But for me, hayfever always prevents a little bit of joy. This time last week I had an acupuncture session and as a result the hayfever flared up to epic proportions. I was miserable. But, touchwood, it seems to have worked and only as I document how I have changed in one week, do I notice that I haven't sneezed for several hours.

The other bane of this time period for most people aged 16-18: exams. But having received a series of very encouraging grades, I feel slightly better. Better enough to not bother picking up a single textbook this entire day. And only feeling slightly guilty.

Now that I have started, I could carry this on forever. I shared a delicious meal out with my darling mother tonight. I was wearing my gorgeous new jeans, purchased in a hugely productive retail therapy session this weekend. But this is all getting a little bit sickly, isn't it? And this post has definitely had the desired effect; you might be surprised how much fun a little bit of gloating is. Your turn.

Update: you may not believe this. I just found a pair of sunglasses I have been looking for for well over a month.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


There are such long lists
of things I must do.
Work, and more work
a bit more work too.
Tidying my stuff which
currently looks like a zoo
Might help me to find
Some of mes objets perdus
And I need my night's sleep
To stave off cold or flu.
Still dear nail polish
I'll always have time for you.

Decisions, decisions. Another chapter of Chemistry revision? That's not the big question. What I really need to decide is:


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

unboring red carpet

Of course I do love me a little bit of the Oscars, the Baftas, the Golden Globes. But these days it's more for the outrageous speeches than the outrageous dresses, with celebrities edging towards duller and duller outfits. This is probably a combination of fear of bitchy reception by fash mags and sites, and something to do with the designers wanting to be making a safe endorsement. Either way, it's boring as hell.

But as I mentioned last year (this over than a year old blog thing is such a strange feeling!), once a year, the Costume Institute's Party is an exception. Even so, there are still plenty of non-descript and uninspired outfits but on the whole that one word costume seems to bring out people's exciting side. And I love that.

So I applaud Claudia Schiffer, Madonna, Rihanna and Leighton Meester for their adventurous spirits. If only they weren't standing side by side about a million long neutral-coloured dresses (and you know I can appreciate those too, but not at a costume party).

(a very small selection of the seemingly same dresses out on display last night)

summer sleeping

It is always fun dressing up as a glamorous character in a film, but that is not often the most practical of ideas.

Sometimes, on the other hand, you come across something which would be completely perfect on you, in your life.

I've always found it difficult to sleep late in the mornings, which is incredibly frustrating when I have a rare bank holiday to catch up on some sleep and the sun is still waking me at 8ish.

It's always been one of my dreams to have a glam little sleep mask to hide the puffy eyes and keep the sun out.

Holly Golightly of Breakfast at Tiffany's has always been my favourite film style icon.

So how perfect is this??

Buy it here.

1 year

I started this blog on the 5th May 2008.

That day I wrote four posts; I was doing something pretty similar to something I am doing today. I was trying to find ways to avoid revising.

This year the revision is probably a little more important, but to commemorate the one year anniversary, today I will again write four posts. And none of them will be pre-scheduled! apart from this one... anyway.

Thanks for not getting bored with me. It's been, and should continue to be for a while yet, great.

Monday, 4 May 2009

scent of spring and summer

As you already know all too well, I have a tendency to say something which could be said in one sentence in five paragraphs. I was going to do that with the fruits of yesterday's shopping trips.

But then I was taking some photos of my new perfume for this post and I found I had created a spring-like reimagining of the photo I had taken in the snow of my old, heavier scent. I realised that this new photo, alongside the old photo, can tell you as much about why I chose this perfume and why I am so delighted with it, as 1000 words could.

Here is the post with the perfume I used before, before it started suffocating me and I experimented with a frightful array of testers before finally finding the perfect scent yesterday.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

limited edition

Today I did a lot of much needed retail therapy. As much as the thrill of new purchases, keeping busy really does seem to equal keeping sane. As a result, I am very tired and only just got home. I think tomorrow is signed over to a serious wardrobe tidy-up (I swear my wardrobe does not stay tidy for more than ten minutes) and lots of loving ramblings about my new purchases.

For now, amidst all my shopping, what I didn't buy stands out much more. In shopping for a new perfume, I almost bought a beautiful limited edition but then I realised how devastated I would be when it ran out. I could only afford a relatively small size, it was very subtle so you'd spray on quite a lot and it wasn't being restocked.

I know limited editions and exclusivity are meant to be appealing, but when you're shopping as therapy, you really don't need to make purchases which are going to break your heart all over again.