Monday, 28 September 2009


When I was younger I loved a writer called Philip Ridley and the illustrator who illustrated his kids books Chris Riddell. I read every single one of his witty, hilarious and charming kids books, especially savouring the illustrations which accompanied the text. I've often thought it's a shame that the tradition of illustration in the books we read dies out as we grow older.

One of Ridley's books is called Mighty Fizz Chilla. It is a truly fantastic book and I recommend that you read it even if you are well past your childhood years. However I found when I picked it up that I had one small problem. I hated the cover.

Look away now!

But I loved the book and loved reading it, over and over again. So I covered the cover with a makeshift mask, fashioned out of white printing paper and marked with big red letters reading: DO NOT REMOVE THIS COVER, lest any unsuspecting browser think of doing so.

And then I could read it as much as I wanted, as I waited for Ridley to publish another book. Then I passed the Ridley books onto my little sister, who fell even harder in love with them, and removed the cover because she wasn't a scaredy-cat like me. And now she is the one waiting.


The next book I fell in love with was The Time Traveler's Wife. Often people seem to be scared of admitting this, as with Harry Potter it is not seen to be scholarly enough for a literary person to have enjoyed it. It falls under that dreaded category: chic lit. But I am not going to try to justify why I loved it so much; I just did. Enough to race and weep through it a day, before picking it up the next day and resuming the cycle (to be repeated dozens of times to this day).

As I normally do after I read a book I enjoy, I looked up the writer Audrey Niffenegger. This was her first novel. She was writing another one, and I read all she had written about it, but it wasn't going to be published for a while. So instead I devoured her other work, her art, her graphic novels.

I watched the film which came out of The Time Traveler's Wife a month or so ago, and I hated it. I committed the cardinal sin of not separating a film from the book it is based on, and I knew I was being unfair. But I couldn't help it. Every cell of my body was screaming against it: that's not the way I imagined it! That's not the way it's supposed to be!


Yesterday I had another bad mood. I was still in my pyjamas and hadn't gone outside. Everything which normally puts me in a better mood, I had already done, or couldn't do.

So I decided to walk to the bookshop. This took a lot longer than I expected. Pounding the streets, quickly, quickly, I still found that almost three quarters of an hour had elapsed before I arrived at my destination. I stepped in.

The first thing I saw was a big cardboard bookshelf. On it were displayed several copies of a brand new hardback.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

The long-awaited, much read about, newly published second novel.

I read it as I was walking back; it took me even longer to get home than it had taken me to get there.

As soon as I got home, I examined the book properly. I took the time to read the blurb. I realised that I absolutely hated the cover.

It is a ridiculous photograph of a model dressed in a ridiculous white outfit photoshopped so as to make her appear like twins. Moody backdrop. OK, that sounds a bit irrational. Truthfully, I found it difficult to explain my intense dislike for the cover. As I said, I love illustrations. I love the charm they add to the text, the insight it provides into the writer's imagination and the fire it sparks in my own imagination. I can definitely appreciate this as art:

Etching from Niffenegger's Graphic Novel The Incestuous Sisters

And I definitely can appreciate the creativity of the different fonts Ridley chooses and the drawings of Riddell as art:

Top Left: extract from Ridley's Vinegar Street, Top Right: extract from Ridley's Scribbleboy, Bottom Left: a Riddell illustration in Mighty Fizz Chilla

I'd just like the cover designers to stick to their own job of making the book look pretty and leave the illustrations to the author, the artist and me.

So I took the cover off. It's so much more simple with hardbacks.

Friday, 25 September 2009

rose tinted

Today has been sort of depressing. I was looking forward to some serious shopping with the 20% off at certain shops in Covent Garden and a 30% discount voucher at GAP that was being offered this weekend (details at the end of the post), to shake off my mood.

As you can only imagine, unsuccessful shopping when you are already in a bad mood is not the best.

I tried on several jackets/jumpers in GAP, but concluded that none of them were quite right. Then I walked out of the shop, with one jumper still draped over my arm. No alarms went off and I was already a few metres out of the shop before I noticed. It was pretty embarrassing dashing back in and throwing the jumper onto the desk before scarpering off, sharpish.

I suppose by now I should have realised I was way too tired for this shopping lark.

Huge disappointment to find that Urban Outfitters have got rid of their permanent sale section! I loved a couple of things in there, but I am loath to pay full price for anything in there because the sales are normally so ridiculous. And Firetrap, please, I am not going to pay prices which round up to £100 to the nearest 50 for 100% acrylic.

By this point I was practically walking with my eyes closed, so didn't even bother visiting All Saints (the dark ambience would have surely sent me off to sleep) or any of the shoe shops, even though we all know that Covent Garden is shoe mecca and I am in urgent need of shoes.

At the last minute, I noticed that Benefit was included in the 20% discount deal so I set off in search of some lip gloss. The glosses all smelt nauseatingly of watermelon, but I did find a nice tint and gloss, which will be perfect for me as my lips have an unfortunate tendency of simulating pallor mortis.

Annoyingly, the discount turned out to be only 10% off but by this point I wanted to go home and not empty handed.

So I still don't have a jacket, cardigan in forest green, shoes, sports bra or scarf (all on my shopping list), but I do have some new lip gloss (also, shock horror, on my shopping list!). And about that I am happy.


If you fancy your chances with a more successful shopping trip than me, get the 20% off in selected shops in Covent Garden here.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Friday, 18 September 2009

4 for 10

Last weekend I went to Blockbuster.

For those of you who don't know, Blockbuster is a film rental shop in the UK, pretty much the only main film rental shop chain that still exists in these times of online film rental, on demand downloads and cheap-as-chips retailers where you can buy the stuff for 99p more than to rent it.

But I still like going to Blockbuster. I like the whole experience of browsing through the boxes, maybe even buying some popcorn or ice-cream from the big fridges. I also love the ridiculous special offers that they love to run (desperate times and all that). Some of them are ridiculous in a bad way, like the loyalty card which expires after 60 days. Others are fabulously ridiculous: the 4 movies for £10 offer being my favourite.

Me: How much is three movies?
Them: £12. You can keep them for one night per film you rent.
Me: So, 3 nights? So, wait, how much would 4 films be?
Them: Um... £10.
Me: For four nights?
Them: yes. Oh, and by the way, your loyalty card has expired.

So although I originally went in for one film, and then the people I was with got distracted by another film, and then my eye was caught by a third film I've wanted to watch for a while, and then we were pretty much done, I simply had to get a fourth film. So I chose one that I'd heard was very good, but never particularly wanted to see.

The first film we watched together. Or rather, I was coerced into watching He's Just Not That Into You despite heavily protesting since its release months ago that this looked like the exact type of film I would never want to watch.

What a pile of misogynistic crap. Just way too long a film filled with normally very good or good or OK actors in an unintentionally, horribly, depressing film. And not even in a high-brow arty way like the next film I watched, the one I picked out last to get the £2 off and the extra night.

Rachel Getting Married turned out to be the best film I watched out of the four.

Still, the main character in He's Just Not That Into You definitely had a better haircut than Anne Hathaway's character. I really want short hair right now.

The other film I wanted to watch, Religulous, turned out to be a disappointment. Personally, hopefully I won't offend anyone here, I loved the idea of a movie which agreed with me even down to the title that religion is ridiculous.

That doesn't mean that I don't find religion also absolutely fascinating, and I love studying and hearing about it. So I was very excited about this film, and also to hear a bit of knowledgeable atheist talking, as most of the interesting and informative religion-related material out there always seems to be written/presented by devout believers.

Instead I was treated to an irritatingly unsubtle and manipulative insulting of all religion for two hours. All the believers were complete freaks and, of course, all the captions and narration and editing was done by smart arse atheists.

On the fourth night, I didn't bother watching the first film I took out.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

loved to death

I am in a good mood. There are a few reasons for this, but I like to think that the main one is that right now I don't feel tired. I can't remember the last time I experienced this beautiful, beautiful feeling.

I did crash pretty early last night. But I really don't want to turn this into a sleep blog (which I feel it is currently rapidly moving towards anyway), so let's move onto the point of this post.

Recently, while doing a slight re-organisation of my bedroom, I decided to move my Snowman back into my bed. He - yes, he is most definitely a gendered individual - was one of those childhood toys I simply couldn't sleep without. He went on every holiday with me, and once I remember arriving at a campsite and unpacking my bag to realise that he wasn't there. I can still remember the panic rising in my throat as the realisation hit me. I had forgotten him at home.

A few years later, I started to notice that my poor Snowman was beginning to look a little under the weather. His orange nose had rubbed off and as I cuddled him I could feel the substance inside as he got thinner and thinner. My little sister got her own Snowman when she was a couple of years old, and his brand-new plumpness only highlighted my Snowman's ill health.

I was literally loving him to death.

The only thought more painful than not having a Snowman to cuddle at night was him disintegrating together and not having him at all. So now Snowman received pride of place on the chair in the bay window of my bedroom. Then I got rid of the chair, and he lay on a pile of cushions instead. I grew older, I grew messier; Snowman was now another cushion on which to drape my scarves, jumpers, jeans, t-shirts, bags.

After the camping incident, I no longer took Snowman on holiday with me. As our attachment grew weaker, my sister re-discovered her own Snowman among the huge neglected chest of toys and became attached to him. He was soon looking pretty worn. When we went on a family holiday two years ago, it was her Snowman who came with us, her Snowman she forgot in the hotel room, her tears which were shed when we realised that he was oceans away. Her Snowman who was sent home by first class airmail.

For a long time, Snowman and I were on a break. But then I replaced the cushions with the chair again and I found him squashed up against the wall. He looked so forlorn. I almost felt bad. So now we are back to co-sleeping again, although he is still looking rather thin, and as you know, thin people aren't the best cuddlers, so I am being careful not to handle him too much. Still, look how cute he is:

I think it's better to love something to death than preserve it behind a museum-like glass window (or a pile of clothes, as the case may be). And I think that's why I've been sleeping so much lately.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

special stationary shopping

Over the past few days, I've been doing quite a lot of shopping. A couple of the items have been sort of interesting: nail polish remover so I can finally re-do my nails in a new colour, DVDs to watch, my favourite smoothie. But there haven't been any stunning style purchases, of the sort that I might normally show off on this blog.

Mainly, I have been buying stationary.

Don't let anyone tell you that's not fun.

And I'm not even talking about the cute, colourful and horrendously over-priced stationary in kitsch little gift shops and Paperchase, which some people quite commonly fawn over. Actually, I never get why people fawn over polka-dotted notepads. I prefer my stationary to be sturdy, business-like, practical. A light-weight folder with clamps for added versatility (you don't need to hole-punch!) is more the sort of thing that gets me excited.

Come on, you have to admit it's a genius idea. If I weren't sorted for folders for life by now, I would have bought one of these in every colour.

And there's something so fun about organising everything just so. Organisation can be very pretty too.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

not dead...

... but alive, just. Still, I have barely spent any time at my desk, hence the appalling lack of blogging. The time I haven't spent at my desk has either been spent:

On the

(way, way too much time on these ugly red hulks)

In my new

(well, not this exact one, but a similar sort of institution)

Or my not so new, but thankfully now fixed

(which actually looks exactly like this!)

As you can see, not exactly the most picturesque inspiration which normally inspires this blog.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


Update: you'll never guess what happened today! My bed broke! I'd cry if it wasn't so hilariously ironic...

Part of me feels far too young right now. I feel like a little girl, and I'm not old enough to be in the age and place I am.

The other part of me still hasn't recovered from a weekend of very little sleep last weekend.

This time last week I was drinking coffee to keep me awake for the 12 hours of no sleep I had ahead of me. Treating night like day, we filled the dark with light so that we would still be able to see.Seven days later, you'd think I'd have recovered. But this weekend, I have slept more hours than I have been awake. I have slept long into the morning, mid-morning, closing my eyes against the light.

I still feel tired. That makes me feel incredibly old.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I couldn't not..

I am definitely going to allow myself to take it easy with blogging throughout September. But your supportive comments on my last post made me feel like I was walking away from a baby making puppy dog eyes at me. And then I noticed that two of my favourite AWOL bloggers, Paula and enc have made a comeback. How could I depart just as they arrived? I know that I have to keep writing. I cannot spend my whole life writing essays or depressing novelettes; blogging is a great way of flexing writing muscles when you don't have time for a full workout.

And finally, I just had to share my new winter boots. If you have been at all half awake while reading this blog, you will know that I have been looking for boots for a long, long time. Let me list some of the reasons for the perpetuity of my boot hunt:

  • Shoe companies seem to have no guilty qualms about quadrupling the average price of a pair of shoes when those shoes are boots. I, on the other hand, have not got a quadrupled budget.
  • I refuse to be a fashion victim. I will not spend a hundred quid on a pair of boots with a flat wooden sole, or which rub at the toes, or which have a gorgeous six inch heel, because I do not want to fall over on the icy roads and break a leg, get painful blisters or have to walk in baby strides until I topple over.
  • I hate pleather.
  • I have big feet. They were even bigger (in proportion to my age and height) when I was 12 years old and the same shoe size, so I have pretty much come to terms with my big feet. But they do basically rule out that whole Doc Martens, clumpy chic look which is so fashionable right now.
  • I have no boots. That may seem like a silly one, but it would have been a lot easier to find a pair of boots for trousers if I had one already to wear with skirts, or vice versa. Instead, on top of all my other requirements, I was shopping for versatility.
So you will not imagine my shock to find a pair of boots which were cheap (£79!), comfortable, plenty of grip, leather, size 7 (as a size 8 I cannot remember the last time size 7's fit me... yes I know they just run large but they also seem to minimise my feet!), the exact style I was after which works with skirts, trousers, dresses and jumpsuits (probably - I don't actually own any to test that last one on).

It was a miracle. I just had to blog about it.

Update for WendyB:

Any UK bloggers will know that Marks & Spencers have a tendency for the worst stock photos in the history of stock photos (they should hire Wendy's jewellery photographers). So I didn't bother putting up the stock photo. But don't you go saying I never give you photos. I do, I do!

They're just really shitty dark and grainy photos.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

the september issue

Today I woke up and found myself in total shock that it was September.

My disorientation may be due for the fact that I slept for about 16 hours, or that it was the first night I had spent clean and on a bed and for more than 5 hours for five days.

I just cannot believe that it is already September.

September is generally a month of transition. In the fashion world, the September issue is always the fattest. In Judaism, the new year, Rosh Hashana, is in September. For students September is the month they enter a new year. But for me the end of August and beginning September is even more transitional as I am starting somewhere new, and so, a few months ago I considered putting this blog on hiatus for a month when September came. I thought that I would have plenty of time to decide.

And now September is here. This may sound melodramatic, but I really feel like this long weekend has been the most transitional one of my life so far. So I need to dedicate some serious time to adjusting, thinking, living. I don't know if that leaves enough time or headspace for blogging.

So this morning I decided to put the blog on a month's hiatus. Pretty much immediately, I noticed something I wanted to post (out of interest, The Sartorialist's photo of a homeless guy, which I was sure that I'd seen before, wasn't sure I agreed with morally, and reminded me of all sorts of other reasons I don't like Scott Schuman - a whole post in a pair of parentheses, now that is impressive).

Now I am wondering what is better: to take a complete break from the blogosphere for a month, or to continue to post sporadically when the mood takes me, but with less commitment and little time for commenting and therefore probably very few comments (which I wouldn't blame anyone for, obviously!).

What do you think?