Tuesday, 27 October 2009

the beauty of the seasons

I am sorry. I have not been a good blogger. I do not even have the 'busy' excuse because this week has been as long and empty and completely and utterly unproductive.

The only excuse I have had is that I did not want to be a moody blogger. I was tired of moaning to you, so I could only imagine how tired of it you would be.

I have never been a particularly big fan of autumn, or fall as Americans call it (I never got this difference; is it something to do with the leaves falling from the trees?), although apparently my colouring is 'autumnal'. I just hate, hate, hate the early evenings. You don't want to go out because it's so dark and miserable and then you feel lonely and bored. There is not enough light at my desk so I am writing this with barely enough light and I am sure that is why I have such a bad headache; from writing pages and pages without enough light over the last few days.

Pass me the Nurofen Plus. Ouch.

In the mornings it's freezing and so when I go running my fingers almost fall off. But it's not quite cold enough to wrap up in my new scarf and boots and a nice cosy coat. Yet when it's dark and cold you want to snuggle up in your bed more than to go out and face the world. You want to stay in and eat comfort food, even though you can't taste anything because you have a stinking cold.


I moaned anyway.

But then I thought, okay, I hate being miserable so let's find something beautiful in autumn. Something that will make me love it.

I got my camera out. I went to the woods. I started snapping.

OK, so autumn is sort of pretty.

Baby steps.

Still, I am pissed off because my camera is now dead and loads of the photos are blurry.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

how the girl got her stripes

Me and stripes are having a wonderful love affair.

It is rare that a day goes by that I can bare to go without some garment adorned with stripes. Actually, to be more accurate, it is rare that I can put together an ensemble from my wardrobe which does not consist of stripes. If it's not a Breton striped top a la Chanel, it's probably one of my other scores of stripy tops. The coral bib front jumper, the GAP tee with thin navy stripes and thick white ones, the light blue stripey button down shirt, the diagonally red-striped bat winged belly top (!), the Uniqlo one with hand drawn lines and a shoe on the back and a rose on the front. If my top's plain, it's the perfect occasion to wear my stripey denim-y blazer. Or a horizontally striped skirt.

Perhaps it is because my stripes are so plentiful that I often find trouble get dressed. I just can't get past stripes on stripes so once I've chosen one stripey piece the majority of the rest of my wardrobe is out of bounds.

But I still can't stop buying stripes.

I have been looking for a scarf for a while now (you can see where this is going already, can't you?) since my favourite grey wool and cashmere one was borrowed by a friend then savaged by their washing machine. I toyed with the idea of leopard print for ages, thinking that would mix it up a bit. But although I have seen the perfect leopard pint scarf in my head, something is always wrong with it. Either it costs £500, or it's made of fluffy velvet, or the 'brown' is a disgusting colour of excrement, it's chiffon, sparkly, see-through, or some weird poncho-esque v-shaped design. I have seen plenty of nice plain scarves, but I have enough dull as dishwater pashminas so I didn't want one of those. And I am a complete material Nazi - I can't be doing with static hair as a result of some scratchy synthetic materials.

So when I came across a beautiful scarf which was 70% wool, £30% cashmere in COS, a shop which I have admired from afar but never actually bought from, I was worried. Isn't their stuff like crazy expensive? Apparently so; I almost wanted to cry when I saw written on the price tag: '290.00'. Then I almost cried from relief when I realised that this was the Danish currency price. It only cost a bargainous £29.

So what that it's stripey? I can live with that.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


I actually have quite a few things I'd like to write, but there are at least three other writing projects which I need to deal with before I can write a proper post and not feel guilty. Le sigh.

Anyway, I have a bit of a problem with one of these pieces which needs to be resolved. I have been writing a story for quite some time now, probably over six months. The main character's name was never set in stone, but I soon started writing things which might not make sense with another name. The main example of this is when the character compares herself to a fictional character with the same name (although I could of course remove it).

This was a name which just felt right with the character. It wasn't too rare or exotic, it felt a little immature and naive and somehow lost, even though the meaning of the name doesn't have anything to do with being lost.

You're probably wondering why I can't just disclose the name so you can help me find an alternative, or stick to it?

Well you know when you meet someone and at first you quite like them? And then you realise that you really, really don't? Well...

So now of course this name is tainted for me. It has lost all the connotations it had in my head already. Trying to think of an alternate, I toyed with the idea of a name with a literal meaning/derivation which is about being lost, searching, wandering. I used behindthename.com. My favourite find so far has been Perdita, which derives from Latin meaning lost, and was invented by Shakespeare for one of his characters. This seems perfect as my character also has some writerly connections. Maybe Dita as a nickname, or is that too Dita Von Teese?

But is it too blatant? If you write, do you like your characters' names to have meanings? Or do you just go for something that seems to gel? Any suggestions for me?

Other names I am considering:


But none of these are as normal as my original name! Maybe, instead, something completely unrelated in meaning but more similar to the original name:

Milly (Camilla/Camille)

(can you guess what the original name is? I don't know why I don't want to post it so much, it's not like this person would ever find this blog!)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

a cute little gift

Being a teensy bit skint after my recent boot purchase, I was feeling rather bereft today in the bookshop. I simply cannot go into one of those places without finding something I simply have to have.

So naturally I made sure to pass the hardback new releases section as swiftly as possible.

I was then absolutely charmed to find a whole wall of books devoted to a series of books published by Penguin called Great Ideas. This is what Penguin say about them:

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.
Best of all, these little nuggets of wisdom are only £4.99 each. Nevertheless, my lovely mother offered to buy one for me (oh, decisions, decisions, which nugget of wisdom do I choose to enlighten me?). I thought this was such a cute idea that I had to somehow balance out that cuteness with a suitably un-cute book. I chose this one:

Definitely not cute (although I love the font).

I am so excited to read this, it explores all the sort of stuff I am studying right now. And hopefully it will live up a little to the expectations I had for Religulous. I do find some intelligent religion bashing quite charming.

Note: I hope that last comment doesn't offend any religious believers. Apart from just being a joke, what I really feel is that for anyone to criticise or make a judgement on anybody or anybody's lifestyle choice, I need them to be incredibly well-equipped and well-researched in order for me to agree with, or at least respect, the critic/judge.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

an embarrassing admission

I can't decide whether my emotional response to shopping is a good or bad thing. Fortunate or embarrassing?

I don't go shopping very often, because more often than not I will not come away with anything and be left feeling quite deflated. I go shopping even less often for shoes or bras, two categories of clothing which are even harder to shop for (I find).

Today I was feeling brave so went off in search of both.

I actually got much further than usual in the bra search, trying on at least a dozen before I fell in love with one bra. The catch? It was bloody expensive. Still, it gave me confident that there are bras for me out there, and I will be searching high and low for the same or similar at a lower price.

I was totally exasperated by my search for some sturdy everyday shoes. Clarks is normally a great shop in terms of price, comfort and style so I went there. They had some boots/shoes which I was totally in love with.





It was just my luck that they didn't stock two of these styles and the other two aren't even made in my size, and are sold out in the sizes nearest to mine.

I can tell you that at this point, if you were to record or log my emotions on some sort of graph/scale, you would need to use words along the lines of 'danger of breakdown, on the brink of tears, very nearly at tantrum level'.

And then when I exited Clarks, determined to never again darken their doors with my feet which were evidently too big for their dainty shoes, and went into another shoe shop and fell in love with another pair of shoes, I didn't feel much better. I knew, even as I asked the shop assistant for my size, that they wouldn't stock it. It's just one of those sizes they don't bother stocking.

As a last ditch attempt, I asked to try the size down. I was so down and so sure I would stay down that whether I could afford them was irrelevant.

But then they did fit, and I probably can't afford them but that's irrelevant because when I put these boots on my feet, the emotion scale practically breaks due to such rapid loss of equilibrium.

Look, my feet are trippy with happiness!

(actually, I hate using flash on my camera, and that combined with some dodgy experimentation on the manual setting which I can't quite reverse = some pretty unfocussed shots. Sorry about that. This photo's a bit better:)

Does shopping affect you this personally too? Do you think it's about the thrill of finding something in your size, the perfect style and price, or about possessing the item itself? How long does it last? Or does your guilt with a purchase overshadow any happiness? Don't you love my new boots (I do!)?

Post-Edit: I was so giddy with my shoes that I forgot to include something in my post. I am pretty sure that my feet have not shrunk and there is no way no how that they used to be able to fit into a size 7, since they were a size 7 back when I was 12 (yes my feet grew big young). But now this has happened to me with both my boots, both purchased this winter. Have shoes to vanity sizing too??

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Sometimes I wonder if maybe I am just a masochist.

I know how much better I feel when I am not tired, but I still go to sleep late when I am not even doing anything on a Monday night.

I know not putting any make-up on will make me feel ugly but I am in too much of a rush to care.

I know that my hair is in bad condition because I pull off the split ends but when I am distracted I still do it.

I will regret not doing one piece of work now, tomorrow. It makes it worse to continue to talk to a guy I want to get over. I was too tired to go for a run and now I won't have a chance to until the weekend and I wish I did. I'm still going to go and log onto Facebook even though it won't make me happy.

How do you make yourself do things which are good for you? Or if that's too outrageously optimistic, how do you not do the things which are bad for you?

Saturday, 10 October 2009


I can get quite competitive, even when I am not very good, so I mostly try to stay away from board games and team sports and debating.

Sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on incredible fun. But mainly I wonder if I am missing out on incredible winning (told you I was competitive).

A while ago I bought a new perfume and loved it so much that I went onto the website to look at the other scents on offer. A prize draw to win the whole limited edition scent range caught my eye and I entered. The closing date and several more weeks went by and I didn't hear from them. Newbie to 'comping' as I have learnt it is called, I e-mailed them asking if they had selected the winner. Surprisingly, this is what they got back to me with:

I apologise for the delay in our response. We were enquiring to find out if the winners email had been sent out to date.The email has not been sent out yet so you will be informed should you be the winner.

I didn't hear back. I wonder if they even chose a winner? I say this because around the same time I also entered a competition to get a free pair of Pretty Ballerinas if you submit an image of your own pair onto their Facebook fan page. If you submitted an image you were also supposed to get a 20 euro voucher. I never heard back about either.

So you can understand my scepticism.

This summer I was commuting on the train every day for work. Once a week, a free men's lifestyle magazine was given out which, of course, women read as well - ShortList. There was a competitions section at the back and there happened to be a couple of things I really wanted, male or not. You could enter free online so I entered into those competitions and never heard back from them. I could repeat that story for competitions I have noticed in magazines I paid for.

Maybe I am just unlucky. Maybe I am not dedicated enough to 'comping'. Maybe you have to enter every single competition or draw you come across if you want any chance of winning. As an experiment, I went onto a UK fashion magazine website and entered about fifteen competitions. I even entered ones for vouchers for shops I don't even like.

I'll let you know. Who knows, maybe in a couple of weeks I will be a proud new owner of an Alexander McQueen clutch or uncertain spender of £500 NEXT vouchers.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


What do you think about when you choose what colours to wear every day?

As I have recently got more into my wardrobe again, I have been experimenting with clothes which I haven't worn in a long time and begun to remember what makes me feel good. I am noticing that the relationship between colours and with clothes and how they make you feel is all but simple.

I am slowly beginning to abandon blue, which will be a shock to anyone reading my blog as you know that I am a serious navy wearer. Of course my navy jeans and I will never be parted but I am sick to the back teeth of electric blue.

I am moving more towards greys and greens. Grey makes me feel like me and green makes my eyes look good (although right now I don't have much of it, apart from one khaki jacket).

I have replaced blocks of colour with colourful accents. Blocks of bright colour make me feel like a five year old.

The therapeutic properties of pink will always remain close to my heart, but I have to make it look edgy. I just feel like a princess-y girly-girl otherwise. But pink on the lips is compulsory.

White is just the opposite of me. For years I struggled with the elegance of beige and camel and snow white, willing it to work for me. But it just doesn't work. If I ever get married, maybe I'll wear red. That's a colour which makes me feel strong, and which I don't have nearly enough of.

Black. Oh, black. Black always seems to get such a bad rep for being boring but when I wear it I boring is the last thing I feel. As long as I don't wear it with denim.

Friday, 2 October 2009


It is October. Officially, the blog semi-slightly-sort-of-hiatus should be over. But it was foolish of be to assume that 30 days, one month, would be enough for me to clear enough time in my brand new timetable for writing. In many ways, my timetable is fuller than ever. So what am I doing?

I get up early, get dressed, leave the house.

I started off leaving, or rather running out of the house for school at 7:00 (to catch the 7:11 bus). This crept to 7:10 when I would arrive ridiculously early and then 7:15 when I realised that the 7:20 bus was always 5 minutes late. Now I leave, or rather run out of the house after 7:20 for the 7:30 bus which is always early, so I have to often run to catch that one too. I am always running, and never for exercise (because I don't have time).

For the first couple of weeks I would lay out my clothes the night before to clear some time for other stuff. You know, extravagances such as breakfast, putting on make-up, remembering my bag.

But it didn't feel right. On top of the enormous, practically seismic changes taking place, I also felt that any semblance of personal style that I was gripping to was slowly slipping away. Late the night before when I wanted nothing more than to sleep, I could not be bothered to experiment with layering this dress I never wear under this top which rides up too much... with which shoes? It was jeans, long-line top, t-shirt. That kind of outfit goes with all my shoes.

Last week, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I decided that enough was enough. I gave up on choosing outfits the night before. My wardrobe has got progressively messier (I had to organise it all AGAIN today) but I feel happier with my style than I have in months and months. Not just September, but also all of the summer and the exam period before that. I don't know what it is, but somehow reaching the precipitous edge of the cliff of boredom with personal style triggered something. I decided that I could not live my life waiting for the right occasion to wear my gorgeous new jumper. It makes me feel good; why can't I wear it to triple maths?

Of course now I have even less time. I haven't written anything I was working on all summer all month. I have barely blogged (sorry about that, guys). But hopefully now at least I will have something stylish to blog about, whenever I have a spare minute.

My gorgeous watch, which tells me exactly when it is just after 7:20, and which I have always worn however unstylish I am feeling to make me feel stylish.