Friday, 31 December 2010

New Beginnings - Old Endings

Isn't it funny that it takes an arbitrary measure of time to make us look back on what was and what is to come - after all time is a concept we have created to make us feel better about the passing of age.

So lets appraise 2010 - I was flicking through a glossy magazine today and I recognised perhaps 1/5th of the 'stars' of 2010.  I guess this means I am out of touch or perhaps the mediocrity of celebrity really has had its day.  For me personally, as I am sure for many of you, it was a year of love and of loss, of smiles and of frowns, of laughter, tears, promises made, promises broken and the usual emotional rollercoaster of life that flings us from pillar to post. 

I look back and I cannot believe that another year has flown by - that all these things have happened and that all the things I wanted to happen haven't even begun yet!  Where is that list of things that I wanted to do?  Lost under the debris of the past year I guess.  Still it can be dusted off and incorporated into this year's massive list of 'things to do'.  Perhaps the list should just be dispensed with.  But then there would be nothing to pin to the front of the fridge and tick off in multi-coloured pens with great joy as each and every item is achieved - hah!  Methinks this new year's resolution should be .... be more realistic with what you can achieve!

However sometimes it is the reach that drives us, the sparkle just out the corner of our eye that makes us stretch for more.  And we should all reach for that sparkle - everyone of us deserves that and so much more.  2011 is a new year, a fresh start, a new beginning - or perhaps a continuation of the old.  Let us not forget what we have achieved so far in our lives, be they long or short.  Whilst it is good to look to the future and good to contemplate the past do not forget to live in the now.  Cherish the moment.  Laugh.  Love.  Smile.  Hug the one next to you for no reason at all then the utter joy of life itself.

Wishing you a happy day x

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr7wcHTzcTg 

Friday, 24 December 2010

Pain at Christmas

Seeing a fellow human being in pain has got to be the hardest thing in the world to deal with, especially when you have to sit and endure and can offer no comfort or ease their suffering in any way.

Pain comes to us at Christmas under lots of different guises.  It can be the obvious pain of a missed loved one - the pain of not being the favoured sibling - the pain of being on your own again - the pain of having lost that Christmas feeling and looking in all the nooks and crannies for a little piece of joy.  Christmas as a child is such a magical place, everything is driven to keep the dream of Santa alive for as many children as possible for as long as possible.  And if the Christmas magic is alive and well in your heart then that feeling stays with you and Santa really does visit you on Christmas Eve.  It seems the older we get, the harder it is to hold onto that piece of Christmas magic.  The more pitfalls life leads us through, the harder it becomes to feel joy to the world.

Life can seem very unfair at times.  How does Christmas carry on regardless - doesn't Santa know that all I want for Christmas this year is.....the impossible.  In a way, I am glad that I am not an excited child that my parents have to fake their Christmas spirit with, I am glad that presents can be left unwrapped for a day or two and that the turkey doesn't have to be roasted anytime soon.  I just need to find my Christmas magic - I know I had it, I think it got a little bit lost along the way and I hope that the pain will make room when the time comes.  For once his pain has gone then there is a little less this Christmas.

Love the ones closest to you, hug them and show them how much care this Christmas - it is the best present anyone can ever wish for.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Losing a loved one

When you spoke I listened, when you smiled I smiled, when you showed me the way I followed your guidance.  But now you are silent and there is nothing to say.

The light has left the room, reason escaped through the window, even you whisper why in your delirium as the world comes to an end.  Never again will you say your words, the ones that make you who you are - never again will you tell me what you think about my life - never again will you smile your mischievous smile and give me an extra roast potato.

They say that we cry for ourselves but these tears are for you as well, as you loose yourself in death and we are left behind trying to make sense of what is happening and trying to imagine what life will be like without you.  I can't breathe, I can't accept it, I don't want it to happen - please don't leave me, I'm not ready to loose you.  I, I, I, I, me, me, me but what about you?  You are the one who is fading, who is leaving, what about you?  Are you scared?  Let me hold your hand.  Let me talk to you about everything that was and things that will be.  Know that you will never be forgotten, we will never let go of you completely. 

Be brave.

I miss you.

I will see you again.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Fun at the fair

I love the fair - anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE the funfair.  I even love it more than theme parks and they are pretty cool.  I love the fact that it is always, always freezing cold when you go to the fair.  And there is always someone selling candy floss - how pointless is candy floss?  But its great when you get it from the fair.

I love the way all the lights make the funfair shine in the darkness and how you can see everything sparkling below when you ride the big wheel.  I love the rides that shoot you up into the air and drop you back down leaving you gasping for more.  I love the rides that spin you round and round and make your tummy do that flip flop feeling.  I love the dodgem cars, weaving in and out, trying hard not to crash into strangers whilst seeking out the person you came with to deliberately bump them and getting caught up in the middle of a bumper car sandwich.

There may be nothing finer than becoming a kid again for a magical few hours and just enjoying excitement coursing through you and that big, big, big smile on your face as the fairground lights reflect in your shining eyes.  It's one of the best moments in life.  And when you can share that wonderment and excitement with someone else then you just know you are going to get all the fun at the fair.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Tingling at the Unknown

Don't you find it exciting to be faced with the unknown?  Yes it can be scary and make you wish you had that really big sofa to hide behind but quite often I find myself feeling rather tingly at the unknown.

When things aren't going well and all you want is just for something to go your way, suddenly there is a little ray of light, a little spark of an idea that maybe everything is going to be alright, the merest glint that perhaps what comes next is better than what has been before.  You being to tingle at the unknown.

Sometimes that tingle can be at the thought of meeting someone for the first time.  Sometimes that tingle can be at the thought of being somewhere for the first time.  Sometimes that tingle can be at the thought of doing something for the first time.  Tingles tend to be first timers.  If you mange to get tingles after that then you know, without a doubt, that you are onto a good thing.  Tingling at the unknown sure beats worrying about it although nerves can heighten those tingles with each beat of the butterfly wing.

I say embrace the tingle - it even makes me feel tingly saying it!  Who knows what is round the corner?  And how boring would life be if we did know what was round the corner?  Lets embrace our tingly sides and sparkle with excitement at what may be - after all you never know!


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Upsetting the apple cart

I always manage it.  If anyone can do it it's me.  If there is a foot in mouth scenario, look no further - I am your girl.

I just seem to have this uncanny ability to upset the apple cart, get under the skin, find the one thing that will annoy you beyond all capacity for reason and that's when I start to push my luck.  It's a genetic skill - apparently I can thank my father for that one.  I really don't know how I do it and I am always mortified when I realise that the cause of your upset is me but in my defence... you shouldn't be so bloody touchy!!

We all have issues, we all attribute differing levels of importance to different aspects of our lives and we all get annoyed but should we really be taking that annoyance out on the poor sap who just happened to ask the wrong question?  That's me by the way...

I am fed up of being the scapegoat for other people's bad moods.  Watch out!  I'm going to fight back, I'm going to get those apples and you are just going to... going to... have a lot of crumbles to make.. or something.  Ok, ok, ok I admit it - I'm a lover not a fighter and I hate confrontation but come on guys, give the nice person a break yeah?  I don't deserve your bad mood anymore than your digestion does (think about it, you'll work it out).

Happy fawts please  :)

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Power of the Flake

Can you believe that a little flake of frozen water can cause so much trouble?  Schools closed, roads impassable, work empty, public transport frozen to a stand still and yet it still looks so so so pretty... until you can't get the car off the drive and your hands get so cold covered in snow that they ache and ache and ache.

The worry of frozen pipes, blown up boilers and frostbite become a reality.  -12 in the morning.  -12!!  Jack Frost clearly has the last laugh.  But why does the flake slow us down so much?  What is it about the white stuff that we Brits just cannot cope with?  And why do so many people say they don't like it?  It looks so magical, so clean, so sparkly and so serene - snow makes everything quieter too.

A sad sign of the times is the lack of snowman and the huge swathes of virgin snow untouched by snowballs rolling or sleds sledding.  Seems a shame that we haven't bundled everyone up and sent them out to play - after all you can't go anywhere or do anything because the country has ground to a halt so you might as well have some fun!!

But the good thing about being snowed in is that opportunity to warm up with friends, help each other with the shovelling and be neighbourly pushing cars out of drives.  There is no need to feel guilty slurping hot chocolate and eating toast next to a roaring fire, after all tis the season :)


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Paying it Forward

Apparently tomorrow is pay it forward day.  This pleases me.  I have been invited to take part in this day by the power of Facebook.  This also pleases me.  Imagine what could happen if everyone on Facebook paid it forward?

There is far too much rudeness in the world today, far too much isolation, too much self importance, disregard and lack of respect for our fellow man.  The world is a very cold and unfeeling place and I'm not just talking about the snow we have at the moment.  We, as a species, are losing our humanity.  Chavs are losing their intelligence.  We are devolving into an uncaring mass of individuals - I always thought we would ascend to a higher being of compassion and understanding - who knew?

So pay it forward day - here is what you can do - smile at someone, help them with their shopping, pay for someones coffee, buy an extra sandwich to give to the homeless guy on the street, call your Gran and listen to her bend your ear - in short.. make someones day.  And then watch as a ripple of happiness spreads out from you.  Now tell your friends and family to do the same.  Could Wednesday 1st of December be a great day?  It is literally up to you.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

I love Sci Fi

I have been a closet sci fi/fantasy fan for years and years and years and eons.  Finally I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to release the inner sci fi fanatic and say to the world - yes!  I heart sci fi!  Yes!  I am a geek!  Yes I am beyond excited that I won tickets to the SFX Weekender woooooooooooohoooooooooooo.

And yes I know it has become more mainstream and is no longer quite as taboo as it was but the fact remains that if you announce your happy geekdom in sci-fi & fantasy people do take half a step back and look at you from the side of their eyes (try it, you'll see what I mean).  They will automatically assume you are a Trekkie and have rubber ears and know how to speak Klingon and yes just because I could potential do all those things doesn't mean I am socially inept in any way.  I'm pretty much socially inept in my usual capacity so at least feeling comfortable enough to admit to the sci fi love is a step forward.

The SFX Weekender has a masked ball of sorts - a sort of sci-fi come as you wish.  My brain may go into meltdown as I consider my myriad of options - sadly most of it either includes full body colour change (think green, blue, white/grey), spandex or not a whole lot of anything.  But even that doesn't put me off!  Bring on the latex and the false ears and hey this is real dressing up and it's not even Halloween!!  I could be zinging. 

I think the appeal of sci fi/fantasy is the knowledge that it probably would never happen but if you could imagine that it would then wow -what sights we would see.  The only limits are our imaginations and I don't know about you, but my imagination is endless.  These are good times my friend, good times.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Christmas Challenge

I know some may think tis not the season but I refuse, point blank, to be dragged into guilt Christmas present buying.

Last year I witnessed a rather well grown teenager rush through opening and discarding a literal mound of presents looking for the one expensive item they 'had to have'.  And when it didn't materialise?  Burst into tears.  Unacceptable.  I don't like being dragged into competitive materialistic present shopping.  It takes away the spirit of Christmas.

Now Christmas is a 'Christian' holiday as such but lets face it.. the great unwashed sees it as time off work, a big meal and presents.  I don't like to buy into that mentality and this year I'm taking a stand.  Christmas to me means festive decorations to brighten up the dark of winter, thinking back on the good times this year has brought and the great times that are still to come.  Christmas to me means being surrounding by loved ones, family, friends and filling the air with laughter.  Sitting down, taking the time to just relax and reconnect over good food with good people and sharing your love for each other.

So, to the challenge - I am going to buy Christmas presents for everyone with a £5 per person limit and I cannot buy sweets/chocolate, smellies or vouchers.  I live in London for goodness sake - if I can't go and be creative in the big smoke then where can I??  This is important to me - I want to show that Christmas is not about the large, waste of money, plastic gift.  Instead it is about the act of giving a piece of yourself to your loved ones and showing them that you care.

Now I realise this means that you know how much your Christmas present cost but I hope you will be able to join into the spirit of things and not measure the value of a gift on how much it cost to buy.  Tis the season after all.

Thankful

A rather personal thank you  - skip to the next entry if you prefer  :)

Dear blogettes (not sure what you are actually.... those that read these ramblings....blogists... or just dear dear friends)

I have been absent from myself but now I finally begin to feel like I am back in the room and for that I am very thankful.  And I have to say my friends have been amazing - even those that are brand shiny new.  Friends are something that you do take for granted and you don't know how much you lean on them until you really need them.  I am thankful that the raving calorie chomping monster didn't escape during these few weeks of topsy turvey and even though the gym has fallen by the wayside I don't think (hope) it is completely lost.  I am thankful that I have been brought up to keep calm and carry on - very much a British institution of stiff upper lip but one that can actually be quite comforting at times.  And of course gives us a reason to tut under our breath at those overly emotional and expressive Europeans - there is a time and place after all..

I think we can safely say that business will be back to usual until once more the world implodes but hey at least that give us a topic of blogversation.

Yours in blog
Grasshopper

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I don't know

I don't know what to blog.  I don't know what to say.  I don't know how to fix it and I don't know how to make it go away.

Not knowing is one of the most helpless feelings in the world.  Surrounding ourselves with certainty is one way we can make ourselves feel better.  But one man's certainty is anothers uncertainty.  Some find solace in religion, the big stone churches of Christianity appear to be able to withstand anything and the priests at the helm speak with a confidence that encourages their flock to not question the blind devotion expected of them.  I can't comment on the religion of other faiths but it has always occurred to me that religion is a separate issue to faith and it is religion that seeks to control us yet faith which can support us through difficult times.

Not knowing what another person is thinking during a tense or difficult time can also make you feel helpless so we find ways to read people.  Tells that show how a person is feeling give them away.  Certain words can be seen to be more emphasised then others.  A single look can portray more emotion then you were prepared to give.  And the infernal words 'Are you alright?' should be stricken from the English language.  I am not alright, I don't think I will be alright and don't know how to make it alright.  I am helpless and I do not know what do to about it and that makes me feel even more helpless. 

It is times like this that we lean among our friends and our family.  Those who know me well enough know not to say the words that should be stricken from the English language to me - instead they know to hug me and speak of things that I do know about so that feeling of helplessness can at least be smothered for a short while.  Distract me, take me away from this place but whatever you do.... do not ask me if I am alright.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

My Virtual Self

I have come to the somewhat unique conclusion that my virtual self is way better then the real thing.  I can sparkle online because I have words - I can make you laugh, challenge your expectations, make you think, have you wishing you were with me as I brighten your day.  But it appears that the shininess of the virtual cannot translate into the physical.  Words cease to be actual beings that I can mould to my every whim, they become choked in my throat and never make it out or they run screaming for air and no-one knows what the hell I am blathering on about this time.

Maybe living virtually would not be so bad.  Gone would be the dirty, smelly commute to work.  Gone would be the constant annoying drone of other people talking about nothing day in, day out.  Gone would be the plastic smile to show the world that everything is alright.  I think I could really make it work.  As long as I never have to meet anyone, I would be the most awesomest person in the world. 

Take a moment to just allow that image to sink into your brain.  And now consider that some people today are opting for that virtual life.  They cannot leave the house, they can only communicate online and they shut themselves away from the pain of reality because they think this is better.  Right now I must admit that I am on the fence.

But I think the one thing that I would really miss is the hug.  If someone could invent a realistic hug then I think more and more people would turn virtual.  A hug is something that you can't really screw up, it really really isn't rocket science, just stretch those arms out and you are good to go.  When you feel down, a hug can cheer you up.  When you feel lonely, a hug makes you feel connected again.  When you are happy, a hug can transfer that happiness to another person.  The day my laptop hugs me back will be a great stride forward in the establishment of my virtual self. 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bounce

When life gives you lemons - yada yada yada.  It is a testament to the strength of human nature that we bounce back - nearly always every single time.  Some say that life doles out the good with the bad to test us, to see what we do, to prepare us for the next life.  I'm not sure about that.  That's deep - possibly too deep for late on a Sunday night (after all Monday doth approach).

Have you ever noticed that when something bad does happen, your whole world dissolves and nothing is more important or more pressing than that particular moment in time.  And it will never, ever, ever get any better.  And then someone makes you laugh.  You feel guilty at first, after all your world just ended and it will never, ever, ever get any better.  But that hug just lifted your spirits and that joke is so funny you just have to forward it onto everyone else and suddenly the great wheel of life has just ground you onwards to new things.

Yes there are people who say, stop - I want to get off.  Suicide is a tragic waste of life and many cultures see it as cowardice, as giving up the fight and just stopping.  In those moment when  it will never, ever, ever get any better, sometimes you do just want to give up.  After all why live when life is so hard.  But after the hard comes the soft, the good, the light, the laughter and your footsteps are back on the right path again.  Sure, you can think back to that moment when things will never, ever, ever get any better and maybe feel a pang from time to time.  But you got back up and you carried on and no-one can ever take that away from you. 

To exist is easy, to survive with a smile is the real challenge and if you can do that surrounded by the people you love, who make you laugh then bring on the lemonade.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Leaf Litter

This morning I was stunned to see our street wardens bagging up leaves.  What a ridiculous waste of time and resources.  And.... how are leaves litter??  I mean I know it is called a leaf litter but for goodness sake!!  Is this another mad 'elf and safety scheme - watch out, leaves are dangerous, they drop to the floor and everything.

The thing is, it is so pointless to try and scoop the leaves up - they fall - it is the grand design of autumn.  Who is Lewisham council to try and dictate that leaves should not be cluttering up the street.  And also - why can't they clutter up the street??  Leaves look pretty and kids can have fun kicking them across the street as they go to school.  I mean, are we getting to the point where trees are going to be fined for littering and children will be yelling 'litter bug' to them as they walk by?  Honestly - isn't it just the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard?  They are leaves!!  They decompose!!  Go do something useful like clear up all the dog waste that is liberally sprinkled all over the path on my 5 mile walk to work.  It's like something out of the bloody krypton factor!

I reckon the next time you are out and about, go find your nearest autumnal tree and give it a good shake - free the leaf!!  Viva la leaf!!  I mean honestly...


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trick or Treat?

Yes it is the end of October - All Hallows Eve.  That time of year when the shops have just one more day to go before they can put out their Christmas decorations.  And a time for the whole world to go pumpkin crazy.  What is it about this holiday that people love so much?  My friend told me the answer, it is a time for adults to dress up and no-one will stop and sneer and say what are you doing??  And it's true, I went to a Halloween party last night, it was.....impressive.

There was Batman and Robin, Indiana Jones, a gangster and his moll, Cleopatra, Christmas elves, surgical patient gone wrong, a cat, lots of witches and several people with token horns or just a mask, relying on the plastic horror to count as the whole outfit.  I went as a devil with horns, tail and wings - it was an interesting experience especially when trying to sit down as the dang thing kept getting in the way!  Dressing up gives you license to be a big kid and leap around and have fun and lets face it as adults we really don't get the chance to do that very often.

The celebration of Halloween comes from an older festival known as Samhain which celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of winter.  It was also believed that the veil between this world and the next is thinner on All Hallows Eve so messages of love and remembrance can be made to those you have lost whereas evil spirits need to be warded off by wearing masks and scaring them away.  I think, like all of our festivals, it is sad that the true meaning has been lost in a sea of commercialism - it is a nice idea to think that today we can celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost but I doubt that the great unwashed will even consider the concept.

Why do we say trick or treat?  For those of you who haven't yet managed to fall asleep...it comes from medieval times when the poor would offer to say a pray for your dead in exchange for some food.  These days it is more likely to be eggs thrown at your door if you don't make quick with the chocolate.  I hope that if you go trick or treating, or perhaps dress up for your own Halloween party you can find a few moments to light a candle and just remember your loved lost ones, I am sure they will be listening.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Purge'd

I tried.  I really, really, really did.  For the sake of book club I picked it up and put it down....over and over and over again.  I tried in the morning, on the way to work, at lunch and in the evening.  But it was just no good.  Purge by Sofi Oksanen failed to hold my interest at all.  The characters were unrelatable and seemed mere parodies of what I am sure were sincere hardship experienced in Estonia during the Cold War.  Sometimes novels are slow burning, they take a while to get into the literary flow.  But this was flat and stilting and I found it impossible to engage let alone force myself to turn another page.


This however, is what we join a book club for.  To have our horizons expanded and be introduced to works of fiction that we would otherwise avoid and from time to time a real gem can be found.  And so it was with some trepidation that I looked at the next book.  Which was to be discussed at the next meeting.  Which was Wednesday 27th Oct (I checked the list last Friday lol).  Soooo thanks to Amazon the book arrived in my little paws last Monday and has now been read, digested and I am armed with comments.

But it did strike me as peculiar that I can be so at home with Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray and yet struggle completely with war-torn Estonia.  Either way, there is alot to discuss about Wilde's descriptive prose, his insistence on the beauty of man and the empty-headedness of woman as well as the idea that possibly each main character is actually himself at different times of his life.  He certainly expounds his theories on happiness, love, art and beauty within this novel which touches upon the fragility of youth and the things we will do to preserve it.  It's telling that the never-ending quest for youthfulness is even bigger today than perhaps it was then.  I wonder what Oscar Wilde would have made of plastic surgery, perhaps he would have been its greatest advocate.  Myself, I believe that the inner beauty of the soul shines through and is far more beautiful than any physical appearance can ever be. 


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Fear of the Unknown

Wouldn't the world be a different place if we knew what was going to happen?  I mean obviously - it stands to reason that it would be, unless knowing what was going to happen was such a normal state of affairs that nobody thought it peculiar which means getting into weirdo parallel universe world and this blog wasn't planning to go there today.  Anyway...

What I mean is, that irrational fear that holds you back when you don't know what is going to happen.  I can't go into that shop because I've never been in it before and what if the staff are really mean or the clothes are too expensive or they think I am a shop lifter or or or or and so on.  We should be excited about the new experiences that are out there waiting for us, not paralysed by fear at not knowing what will happen.  Bad things happen - we hurt - there is pain, but that is all part of life and without those things we cannot be the people we are today.

Tomorrow is a new day, a brand new day and it's shiny and bright and full of possibilities.  The only trick now is to learn how to open yourself up to those possibilities - maybe just lift your head a smidge above the parapet and just glance around to see how the land lays.  Ensure that the way back to your hidey hole is clear of obstacles and then get out there and experience that crazy little thing called life.  We don't know until we try and lets not allow the don't know grip us in fear and stop us from living.

If I knew what the future held I would wish for blissful ignorance.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Tired with frozen blood

Ooooof what a week - jet lag really does pack a punch doesn't it?  And the thing is it catches you out when you least expect it - first thing in the morning is ridiculously difficult however that might just be the normal state of affairs.  So once the bed head gets shaken off and the day is off to a swinging start all seems ship shape and orderly but... that mid afternoon slump which is hard enough on a usual day seems to be magnified tenfold when the jet lag monster is running after you.  So you think ok, maybe I will catch an early night and get back into the swing of things but then.. just when you think now is the time to snooze... the body goes ping!  And that's it - you are wide awake and the brain is zinging and there is just no way that you can possibly even contemplate sleeping so lets just stay awake for now and just see what happens.  Tick tick tick tick tick tick and then it is 1am - omg!  How did that happen? 

And so onto the frozen blood.  Whether it is due to the extreme tiredness, the uneven eating patterns or the low low low temperatures I have been so so so so so so cold.  I shiver when I get up, get ready for work, walk to the tube but warm slightly whilst riding to work - I think that is possibly the best part.  Then intense freeze as I walk from tube to work and shiver allllllllllllll day at work brrrrrrrrr.  I tell you, it is extreme brass monkeys!!  But I think maybe it isn't really and it's just that fact that it was positively balmy in the Big Apple.  I think that two pairs of socks, three jumpers, gloves, hat and scarf should sort me out - oh and the two coats.... and you can walk outside wrapped up in your duvet right?

I'm sure a weekend of sleeping will sort me out... where is that electric blanket?

Monday, 18 October 2010

Well it's just like London aint it?



I'm back from my little trip and I have to say I was a little disappointed with New York - it wasn't as American as I thought it would be.  I only heard one broad new yorker accent and whilst I could have stood there and listened for ever, I thought it might have been rude to just stand there.  It was a taller, shinier London.  It was no more cosmopolitan than the big city, with the same amount of people milling around in much the same way.  The most obvious difference was that instead of 5 or 6 different coffee houses on every corner it is Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks everywhere you look.

Food in America is not an enjoyable experience, I don't think I saw a single vegetable in my entire trip and everywhere you go to eat is a hurried affair with plastic cutlery, that being said I enjoyed my New York styley burrito and I had the best hot dog down in Coney Island.  Oh and the cheesecake was divine! 

New Yorkers were actually friendlier than I thought they would be, I was pleasantly surprised - all those stories about rude people charging about are so not true.  I had smiles and even a wink!  I just wish I could have immersed myself in the city more, there is so much to see on the tourist side but I wanted to see the real nitty gritty side of New York - it is so much bigger then I thought it would be, ok, ok I sound like a tourist now.  But there was Queens and the Bronx and Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District and the rest of Brooklyn and....

I thought I would really miss being plugged into to the virtual world with no phone and no laptop but I really didn't notice it, I tried to immerse myself in the New York vibe and despite the crippling tiredness that came with the jetlag I really really enjoyed my cultural experience.  It has made me want to see more of the US and I know that each state is different from the other and has its own uniqueness and that is definitely something I want to experience.  So I guess what I am saying is book me another ticket and maybe I'll pop in and teach you how to make tea because honestly, guys, come on - you need to learn.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wish me luck!

So today is the day.  The Big Day.  Well not that big day - but a big day nonetheless.  I have my first level 3 (means bloomin hard) exam, topic is infectious disease and surprisingly I feel pretty good about it.  Lets hope that self assuredness doesn't turn into cocky know nothing at all and big fat fail.

Straight after the exam I have to run across London to catch a flight to New York.  One day my life will be easy and simple with no hurdles to climb.  It should be fine, except it is the Circle line which of late has been somewhat disruptive.  Perhaps lady luck will be on my side today.  I hope so.  How gutted would I be if I got to watch the plane take off from Heathrow without me?  I'm fairly sure i have packed everything which means no doubt that I have forgotten the most important and vital item but just as long as the security guys at the airport don't think I am a mad scary terrorist all should be well.

Does it end when I get back I hear you say?  No.  On my trip to NY, I am taking with me my Molecular Biology text book because lucky old me has another exam the day after I get back.  Do you think your brain works with jet lag?  Well, I am the experiment so I will let you know!  It will pretty quiet for a couple of days (don't cheer too loud) but I will be back with all my NY tales and look forward to sharing them with you.

Hope life treats you well while I am gone :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

nudge, nudge, wink, wink

There is nothing like a compliment to brighten your day - so here is one for all of you - you are bloody gorgeous!

One of the things I like about the Internet is how it brings people together and gives people who would never normally have the opportunity to interact to say hi, how are you.  Whether it's facebook, MSN, online penpals, myspace - whatever.  I can say hello to you over in Canada and you can say hi, how are ya! 

Not only is it a peek into a whole other life but it is also an opportunity to spread the love and make a perfect stranger smile.  Online flirting is a dangerous game because you do sometimes forget that you are typing to someone that you actually have no idea as to who they are or indeed what their motives are but in my experience everyone out there is just looking for some contact, a little bit of love, someone to say - hey I care, I'm interested, I want to know.

After all it takes less muscles to smile then it does to frown and frowning gives me a headache.  I say, crack open that smile and share it around - give that random facebook friend a love your pic comment or tell a work colleague they look really good.  Trust me it will make them smile and smiling is contagious so by this time tomorrow the whole world will be grinning  :D

Friday, 8 October 2010

In one ear... I'm sorry what?

Why is it somethings are so easy to remember, whilst others dance infront of our brains tantalisingly close yet oh so far away?  I am desperately trying in my week of enforced idleness to revise for my looming exams and yet I fear the information is literally going in one ear and out the other.  And yet I could tell you the intimate details of each episode of Strictly - It takes two that aired this week. 



I am of course very interested in the degree that I am trying to achieve otherwise it seems like a ridiculous waste of time, money and brain cells.  It's just that now, in these final stages, it is actual really rather hard and I am not sure that I have the requisite brain power to a) get through it and 2) pass with some success.  Still I shall persevere, no point in giving up when you have got this far eh.

But it has got me thinking - why do some things stick in your mind and you have absolutely no recollection of others.  Why do some people remember you vividly yet you cannot place them?  What makes a memory stick in your mind?  I expect there is probably a very in depth psychological answer that took experts years to make up but I reckon it has to do with 'markers'.  A smell, a touch, a sound, the lyrics of a song - these things all mark a point in time to make it stand out in your mind.  And the best marker of all?  Surely that has to be a strong emotion, why else would certain things make us feel happy or sad or angry.

So to all those events, people and places I have forgotten, I apologise.  You simply did not imprint on me strongly enough - try harder next time!!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Enforced Idleness

I sit and I sit and I sit.  The people rush back and forth outside my window, red car, blue car, black car.  I sit and I sit and I sit.  The shadows play across the front yard whilst the clouds whip across the sky dancing to their own tune.  I sit and I sit and I sit.  The seconds skitter across the minutes which zip around the hours and the day grows longer as the week grows.  I sit and I sit and I sit.

I am forced to be idle.  This is not a natural state for me.  I like to be busy, bee like as I often say.  And yet this week, I am netted, restricted, forced to remain static.  And I don't like it one little bit - no sirree!  I like to know that I need to be here by then and that this must be done by that time and that it all falls apart if X doesn't make it to Y whilst B chugs along to A and 4 gets jiggy with 6.  This week I am signed off work which has one good point - I have time to study for my looming exams.  But I am forced to be immobile because everytime I try to move my neck says nooooooooo, what are you doing!!!  Even sitting infront of the computer for a short period of time is extremely testing - who knew the neck was so important?  I mean we knew it was important but not to the point that... ok, ok, its very important.  Moving on.

Who doesn't idly wish that they could have more spare time to do nothing and chillax?  (chillax - what an awful word, we are so busy we can't chill out and relax at the same time, we have to chillax - ugh!)  Who doesn't wake up on a cold, dark, wet morning and wish for a duvet day?  Who doesn't despair the daily grind that seems to beat all life out of you and wish for idyllic days doing nothing?  Well let me tell you, when you get it, you don't know what to do with it, you don't know how to fill your time and you certainly wish for it to be over soon (sounds like something else beginning with M, I'll let the cynical ones work it out).

Time is our fickle master.  When we want more we get less and when we don't want it spare it is there in abundance.  Oh well - four days until I can go back to work and a week and a half before I can start leaping around with bags of energy again.  All I have to do in the meantime is try not to fall into a coma and eat a million million calories.  How hard can that be?  As I sit, and sit, and sit.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The lovable pest

I am plagued by mice.  In my previous establishment in the country I had mice.  This was to be expected, after all you don't live in the country and not expect the little blighters to run around alllllllll over your kitchen, leaving their little packets for you to find in the most unlikely and upsetting places.  It involves a great deal of disinfecting, shuddering and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

So I move to the city.  Expecting perhaps cockroaches in the very worst scenario - still unpleasant I grant you but the one in Wall.E was adorable and they will survive us all in the nuclear holocaust after all.  What do I find in my inner city abode?  Mice.  I almost think that they missed me and travelled over 150 miles to keep me company. 

I am not squeamish.  They can patter about in front of me and I won't scream, nor do I find their movements disturbing in any way although they can surprise you when they scamper out unexpectedly and run under your bed!!  eek!  So what to do, what to do??  It is a conundrum indeed.  I do not have anything against mice but when you have a pest problem you do look into their habits and become somewhat appalled with the likely diseases, gnawing issues and continual incontinence.

And so it is with a heavy heart that the traps and the peanut butter come out.  Wistfully thinking that the mouse won't reappear twice in the same night, I sat with confidence that tomorrow I could check for small holes and fill them with wire wool, sprinkle cayenne pepper in likely places, place a few bay leaves here and there and dab some peppermint oil around the doorway.  You have the evening to run amok elsewhere I thought, dear mouse. But alas, it was not the case.

The wee brown thing sat by the door, its little nose wrinkling as it sensed the peanut butter.  I looked and watched for a couple of minutes at the loveable pest torn between its adorableness and horrified at the trap that lay in wait.  Who am I to say that a mice cannot share my abode?  The mouse made up its mind and ran around the corner of the room.  It was not until 15-20 minutes later that the snap came and the loveable pest was gone.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The art of war... on baking

I love to bake.  I can't believe I didn't know about the auditions for the Great British Bake Off!!  I would've definetly signed up for that.  Maybe.  On second thoughts.... the pressure of baking for others is like planning a successful invasion campaign (not that I have intimate invasion experience, it's a hunch - go with it) which starts with marshalling your troops.

Ingredients are the keystone to any baking quest.  They have to be the right kind.  You can cut corners on a lot of things but sometimes with baking you just have to bite the bullet and buy the best you can afford.  It really does make a difference.  And when that end result is being put on show, you'll be glad you did spend hours searching for candid peel in a box rather than the manky, waxy stuff already chopped in little cartoons.

Many people bake to relax, to feel better, to immerse themselves in a task that is different to their usual 9-5 drag.  But lets face it, the ultimate result is for others to taste your baking efforts and tell you that it is the best cake they have ever ever ever eaten.  It won't be too difficult for many people who believe that cakes are made with carboard boxes around them and that the synthetic aftertaste of a bland, colourless slab of sponge is normal.  But there is a growing trend of bakers.  Home growers.  Slow cook stewers.  Made the sauce from scratch artists. And the competition is stiff.

No longer can second best 'make-do'.  Every cake that comes out of that oven has to be perfect in every way, no more hiding of uneven edges with lashes of buttercream, no more blaming of inferior ovens or the chill breeze in the kitchen from a casually left open window.  No, the cake must arrive out of the oven light yet firm, golden brown, smelling of afternoon tea bliss.  And most certainly not undercooked in the middle!!

The art of WonB extends not only to the right ingredients, perfect execution and miraculous presentation.  It must pass the taste test - it must make the eater mumble through full mouthed bliss how wonderful their taste buds feel at that very moment.  So gird your apron and step once more into the breach, get mixing because, lets be honest - what else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon? 

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I joked with a work colleague today that going to see the new Julia Roberts film - Eat, Pray, Love - would be like watching my own life and all I needed to do was go to Bali to fix it.


The things we say in jest.

This is not a chick flick.  This is not a film for women.  This is very definitely a film for broken hearted people who have lost their way.  I cried from start to finish, every moment of sadness, every moment of anguish, every moment of regret resonated within my very core and lifted the I'm fine facade away from the gaping hole of loneliness and despair.

It is not easy getting over a divorce.  It's true what they say, your wedding day will stay with you for the rest of your life.  It is not easy putting your life back together when it gets ripped apart in the post divorce relationshhip.  Trust is a difficult thing to build and fear is a very easy emotion to let in and oh so very hard to let it out again.

The film talks about balance.  About finding the things in your life that balance you, the family of friends you create around you, the places you visit, the experiences you have and the choices you make that ultimately shape the life before you.  Do you risk everything on an unknown or do you instead drape yourself in misery and unhappiness just so you never have to feel alone?

I want to find the balance in my life.  But how do I get my Italy, my India and my Bali?  Where is my medicine man to show me the way?  I know there is alot of healing to be done and they say that old Father Time is the one to do it but I want to feel now, I want to wake up tomorrow with joy in my heart and I want to smile with my liver (watch the film).

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Chip Butty - the revival

A few weeks ago I posted a chips and gravy comment that started a 'discussion' on FB about the merits of chips and said gravy - some opted for mayo, some for curry sauce and some were firmly on the gravy wagon.  This made me think some more.  I do like to ponder about food and there is something quintessentially British about the chip - none of this fries malarky thank you very much!

I work in Piccadilly.  Not the sort of place you would expect to nip out and get fish n chips for lunch - sushi, an overpriced, under filled sandwich or soup so tasteless that it was probably last weeks dishwater is a given - but chips?  Ah well, panic not reader - there is a chippy down a side street off Piccadilly.  As a loyal follower of the chip, I suggested at work, possibly over enthusiastically, that we have a fish and chip day on the first Friday after payday. 

This was met with the vegetarian correctness of my statement - ok, ok, I said, what about a chip butty day. 

This was met with the 12 yr old (actual age twentyyoungsomething) asking what a chip butty was.

!!

"What's a chip butty?"  I screamed over the desk at him as a red mist fell over my eyes.  I had to take a deep breath.  A chip butty is all about the soft white bread, butter (not marg, an important distinction), hot chips, salt, vinegar and a sauce of your choice if you have to because lets be honest a chip butty doesn't really need it and just tuck in mate.  Oh, he said, a chip roll - they are best in a crispy roll.  A roll!  A roll!



Dear reader, I hope you are with me on this.  The chip butty needs a revival - I urge you to go find the nearest chippy to work and on the first Friday of the month after payday - indulge!  Indulge I say!  Let us begin our 1 blog stand to champion the chip butty and for goodness sake just wallop anyone around the ear if they try to call it anything else.  It is what it is and no mistake.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Celebrity is as celebrity does

A recent trip to Madame Tussauds really put the meaning of the word celebrity into the forefront of my mind.  What makes a celebrity?  Why are they so famous?  What is it about them that makes them so different to you and me?  Not that I don't think you are fabulous - of course you are, you just aren't celebrity material.  Why is that?

Is a celebrity someone who stands out in a crowd?  Are they perhaps people we feel we can scrutinise, disparage, mock and discard at our whim.  That doesn't necessarily make them special people, it almost makes them scapegoats.  And why should a person in a position of authority be famous?  And is there a difference between famous and celebrity?  I don't have the answer, I'm just pondering the questions.  The first room you go into at Tussauds is the A list party room which means the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie etc etc are stood around waiting for you to have your picture taken with them.  And milling about are the great unwashed - so to speak.  And all the dummies (difficult to tell which at times) are dressed up to the nines and you have your jeans on.  And you have to go pose with a dummy.  In front of lots of people.  Who also want to pose with said dummy.  And the thing is - they want to, there is real electric excitement in the air as people see a celebrity they recognise and rush to be seen with that celebrity.  The interaction is so real, it's almost like they actually think they are standing with the real life person.  Although perhaps there wouldn't be so much of an orderly-ish queue.

At first it was very awkward to pose but you soon loose your inhibitions and join in with the excited squeals of - look look, its him etc etc.  I have to say that the politicians and religious heads of state did loose me somewhat.  Forgive me if I choose not to have my picture taken with Hitler or the Pope - careful to note which is which lol.  I did however stand with Tony Blair because he looks like my Dad (apparently, according to my Mum) and I did stand with Princess Diana, who is my royal (long story, another day) and that was a truly special experience.  There was even a hushed mention of her name as people entered the room, I think that is the sign of true celebrity rather then the latest plastic orange creature that pops out of the TV onto your newspaper.

It was a fun day and some happy photos were taken.  I still think that the measure of celebrity is somewhat off these days and that perhaps different people have different opinions on who makes the grade and who is lacking.  At least they give us something to talk about on cold, wet, dark, windy evenings and we can assure ourselves that we wouldn't like their lack of privacy anyway and isn't better to be surrounded by those we know truly love us.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Running out of time

When you have a million million things to do it seems that time flies past you quicker than a speeding bullet and there is nothing you can do about it.  All that keeps happening are virtual lists rushing through your mind ticking over and over with all the things you got to do - and this - and that - and the other - and don't forget - you got to do this - and can you just - and you are just incapable of saying NO.



Anyone who knows me knows that I take on too much.  I always feel like I must be doing.  There is so much in life that interests me that I just cannot stick to one thing, I have to look and explore and see what else I can be doing.  Which naturally means that I am  mostly mediocre at many things and not that great at most of em!  But that busy feeling is like a drug, I need to feel under pressure and pushed and driven to achieve otherwise I feel like something is missing in my life.  Surround me with deadlines and I am a stressed out but happy little bunny.  If I am not multi-tasking trying to do at least 6 things at once then I am bored.  An ideal work environment for me is chatting in the office, answering emails, talking on MSN, flicking onto Facebook, watching a tv show and working at the same time.  Alot of people don't see how that can be productive but it really works for me.  I won't start anything until I am within at least a week of the deadline as I just don't feel pushed to do it.

Time can be a tricky little beastie tho - it can slow to a crawl and drag by when you want it to speed up.  It can run out the door when all you need is a little bit more.  Some of it is spent asleep which at times can be thought of as wasteful because who doesn't want those extra 6 hours in their lives?  But at the end of the day it boils down to what you do with your time and if you honestly feel it has been spent in the best possible way then who can argue with that?  But hey, if anyone has the answer - message me!!!  I'll take that extra time because after all... tick tock.

Monday, 20 September 2010

White girls can jump

they just can't shoot apparently.  But as I ran my punishment suicide for not winning 21s I realised that it has been 10 years since I last played basketball.  10 years.  That is a shockingly long time to have not done something you love as well as something you used to be pretty good at.

Back when I was a wee small thing, I badgered my mum into having a basketball net put up in the back garden.  I would race home from school and play for at least an hour, shooting, dribbling, lay ups and all the time imaging the bright lights of a real basketball court.  I played with the boys at school, we didn't have a girls basketball team - we were meant to do netball. Booooooooooooooooring!  And eventually I found a local-ish girls team to play in, there weren't many of us but we all loved that game.  I used to record the late night basketball games from America on channel 4 on a Saturday evening/Sunday morning and watch them with avid attention.  I knew who was winning the league, who played for what team and who the up and comers were.  This was back in the day (lol) when Michael Jordon still played for Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant was a wee slip of a lad. Times change - I couldn't tell you who plays for who now.

Why did I let go of something that I loved sooooooooo much?  Life steps in and changes you, it grinds past and sweeps you up in its wheels not giving you time to breathe or say hang on a minute - this isn't me!!  I've putting a spoke in that wheel.  I'm saying hey - hold on a minute - this is my life and I'm going to do the things I love thank you very much.  I'm going to start playing basketball again and start running the plays because this is a big part of me that has been buried and pushed down.  They always say you can't keep a good thing down and even though I feel like a newbie back on the court - it won't be long before I'm shooting nothing but net.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Happiness...

...happiness, the greatest gift that I possess.  Or is it. 

Is not the greatest gift I possess being able to make other people happy?  Or does that perhaps come under the same thing.  If I think happy thoughts it will make me happy so if I make other people happy will that make me happy?  And what a completely lame word - happy.  How can that small insignificant word encompass the enormous emotion that goes hand in hand with being.... happy?



Tomorrow, have a go at paying it forward - even if you haven't seen the moderately lame film with Haley Joel Wotsit in it, the concept is simple enough.  Do one nice thing for someone else and watch as they pay that kindness forward.  Our paying forward is to smile.  Go smile at someone.  Obviously don't leer at them wierdly or chase them down the street screaming 'but I just want to smile at ya' because I don't think that will go down very well.  Instead smile at the first person you pass on the street, or at the coffe shop worker, the bus driver, a work colleague whose name you know you should know but can never remember.  It will really make their day.  They may just feel happier about their life, so much so that they might smile at the next person.  And when it comes down to it, there are only six degrees of separation so that smile will be winging its way back round to you before you know it.

Smile because the sun is shining.  Smile because you woke up refreshed.  Smile because a song you love came on the radio.  Smile because you went to the gym.  Smile at that girl wearing that outfit she really really shouldn't have.  And if you really, really, really can't think of any reason to smile at all... smile anyway and embrace your happiness because like the tiny acorn, a mighty oak will grow.



Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the gods that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

To me this world is a wonderful place
I’m the luckiest human in the human race
I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold
But I’ve got happiness in my soul

Happiness to me is an ocean tide
A sunset fading on a mountain side
A big old heaven full of stars above
When I’m in the arms of the one I love

Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the gods that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

Happiness is a field of grain
Turning its face to the falling rain
I see it in the sunshine, breathe it in the air
Happiness, happiness everywhere

A wise old man told me one time
Happiness is a frame of mind
When you get to measuring a man’s success
Don’t count money, count happiness.

Happiness, Happiness
The greatest gift that I possess.
I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed
With more than my share of happiness.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Scared of the dark

I am petrified of the dark.  Always have been since I was a little girl.  But I don't really know why - there wasn't any particular event in my life that should have resulted in such a fear and yet I still need a night light.



Why is it that walking through an area at night can be so different to walking through in the daytime.  Light reveals all hidden corners, shows us what exactly is there and is somewhat comforting even when we don't know where we are or who anyone is.  Darkness brings out the shadows, cloaks the known making it unknown, forcing our senses to become super-heightened, making us jump at shadows, the slightest noise, the tiniest motion and god forbid when someone actually walks out of the shadows.

Fear begins to fill your senses, your ears prick at every noise, your eyes dart from place to place and you become convinced that those noises behind you are faint footsteps.  How can you trust anyone under the mantle of darkness?  Who knows what mischief is lurking?  What darkness beats in the hearts of those prowling the streets?  How can they be trusted?  The fairy tales of witches, demons, werewolves and vampires begin to creep out of my imagination - every horror story I ever read, every urban myth and every tiny snippet of horror movie I've ever seen all morph into a massive ball of fear.  Someone is there, they are going to get me and I have to run but I can't run because if I run they will catch me and my breath starts coming quicker and then there it is - the bus stop, the light, the people, the bus.  Safety. 

It is completely irrational.  There is nothing in the darkness.......

Saturday, 11 September 2010

P.S. I Love You

I can't help it, I am a total romantic.  Even after bad breakups and a failed marriage, I am still a romantic at heart.  I still think ahh when I see couples strolling hand in hand down the pavement, I still love reading a romantic novel and willing the guy to get the girl.  I love being immersed in the romance story at the cinema and watching that tentative flush of emotion.  I sing along to the love song on the radio and feel happy that someone, somewhere out there is feeling loved.

A classic love story - boy meets girl, girl meets boy, there is wooing and everything is all pink and rosey.  I sometimes think there is not enough wooing in the world.  When was the last time you sent/received flowers?  When was the last time you told someone how much you cared?  When was the last time that you did something for no reason at all but to see the other person smile?  Loving someone can lift you up and can make your whole day shine. 

There are many different types of love in the world.  The love you feel for your friends that means you will do anything and everything you can for them - make them laugh, keep them smiling and be a shoulder for when they need it.  The love you feel for your family who although they drive you wild and send you up the wall at times, you can never get away from the fact that they are blood and they need you in their own peculiar way.  And then there is that love you have for another person.  Despite it all having gone horribly wrong before - I live in hope that romance will once more cross my path and I get to say, once again...p.s. I love you.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Real Food

I have a confession to make.  Today is the first time this week I've had a proper evening meal - actually make that a proper meal fullstop!  And it was delicious, a sausage fusilli bake with peppers and onions and mushrooms and tomatoes.  It tasted fresh and made me feel so much better after a hectic week - why have I not being doing it everyday??

Whenever things get hectic or stressful it seems that food is the first thing to go, the body says its hungry but the mind says just grab anything.  Supermarkets don't help with their enormous range of crap - foods that just don't taste nice but cost us pence to buy and take less time than the decision to buy it to cook.  Compare home-made with shop bought and it's a no brainer.  Everytime I buy convenience food I am so disappointed by the taste and mentally flog myself for doing it again!!

It is so easy to make delicious food and it can be so much fun.  I am currently watching the Great British Bake Off, I am a little behind and currently watching the bread episode but I have to say it is thoroughly enjoyable if not a little bit exasperating.  The contestants are meant to be passionate about baking.  The first technical challenge is to make a Victoria Sponge.  No problem - its either 6,6,6 and 3 or 8,8,8 and 4 depending on how big you want to make it.  But no.  The contestants didn't seem to be aware of this - some of them tried to mix the cake by throwing everything in together!!!  Don't they know that you cream the butter and sugar first and then add the flour and eggs little by little beating well - with a wooden spoon I add.  None of this electric whisking malarky.

Why didn't I know about this competition!!

I consider myself lucky to have had food allergies from early childhood because it meant I didnt have to eat 'rubbish'.  Everything was made from scratch and has instilled within me the concept that it isn't any more hassle to make your own sauces, pies, cakes etc then it is to go and buy them.  It's just the hustle and bustle of modern day life that makes you second guess yourself and think actually I don't have time to do this.  Well I have had enough - good food is good food for a reason so no more excuses.  Watch this space and hopefully not the expanding waistline lol!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Grasshopper vs The World

Last night I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World.  And I loved it.  I wish my happiness could be decided by fighting seven evil exes.  I already have the kick-ass martial arts skills so just point me at the evilness and let the fight begin!  Take that pile of homework!  Kerpow looming deadlines!  Hi-ya evil diet saboteur!  And it's K-O, Grashopper wins and kerching - pile of shiny coins.  I wish, I wish life could be like that.

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1217070617/

Why do we take on so many things?  It is almost like we feel driven to fill every minute of every day with something - whether it is reading a book, watching a film, listening to music, studying for a degree in our so called 'spare-time', going to the gym, hanging out with friends, cooking, talking to the parentals, facebooking - there just never seems to be enough hours in the day.  And when something else comes along you say yes, when you are supposed to say no!!!!!!!!  And then it becomes clear that an extra 24 hours in your day is nowhere near enough - you need an additional 36.  Oh, and don't forget about sleep - you need that... apparently.


So where does all this extra stress leave us?  Personally?  My hair is falling out.  And I think I had a minature panic attack at work today.  The rest of the world?  We are a time poor society with little thought to the emotional well being of ourselves or those around us.  Everything is needed yesterday, the now is so last year and we are constantly looking for what's next.  In these little eddies of panic - what is the best thing to do?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Going Home

Sometimes you need a hug from your Mum - nothing else will do the job. 

No matter how old you are or how long it has been since you last went home, the moment you walk in the door you just know that everything is going to be alright.  Everything has that comforting sense of being exactly where it was the last time you were there, your room is all made up for you and everything smells of mum.  All the bad things that are going on in your life stop at the door - she will make you a cup of tea, offer you some home made flapjack and soothe your soul.

There are so many good things about being home; you can rant and rave about anyone and anything - mum will always take your side.  The diet doesnt exist  because she'll tell you you need to look after yourself and are you sure you are eating enough and then she will cook your favourite foods and encourage you to have seconds.  Where else do you wake up in the morning to the smell of scones cooking?  Where the dog is so pleased to see you, licking your toes and jumping up to give you kisses and you can have anything you want for breakfast.

Talking through your problems with your mum makes everything seem doable, all mountains can be overcome and all demons wrestled with.  For those of you who don't have your mum anymore, I hope you can confide in someone in the same way - perhaps another family member or a dear friend who will wipe away the tears and tell you everything is going to be alright.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Last Biscuit

I had the very great pleasure of listening to Sir Terry Pratchett, or TP to his hardcore fans, last night at the midnight signing of his latest book.  It does not really matter what the book is called or indeed is about - it is TP.  You know it will a paradocial look on some aspect of society that will make you lol and say ah yes but of course.  The man was frank and to the point in the interview, no dilly dallying and as such he came across as a man who had  lived his life and was comfortable with his position in it.  Yes his mental health is indeed a tradegy and I shall be one among the masses who will miss him when he is gone, but what a wealth of literature he has left behind for us.  TP fan or not, I challenge you to read Nation and not shed a tear.

It seems that I am a very lucky girl.  I have been invited to New York!!  Yes my friends, the big apple.  I am so excited I can hardly breathe!!  I have never been state side and cannot wait to see what the colonials have been up.  I have always wanted to go to the big U S of A but always thought in the back of my head that America might annoy me too much.  This is the perfect opportunity to sample a slice of the American life and find out for sure.  After all I can't do a coast to coast motorbike ride if the yocals annoy me too much!!

So what about the last biscuit?  As all women, and more men then they care to admit, I have been on a diet for much of my adult life.  It has only been in the last year or so that I have finally been able to get a handle on being healthy and not become as round as a ruben.  This is a journey that I think will be well travelled for some time to come but it is one that I look to with fresh eyes and excitment for what lies ahead. Tonight I joined the local gym, this action has been repeated many times over however I really feel that now is the time to grab that crazy thing called life and live it.  Acheive my goals.  Reach my potential.  And have a lot of fun along the way.  Here's to the last biscuit - tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

With a little help from my friends....

It is amazing what you can get through when you have friends to lean on. 

This weekend I made the somewhat rash decision to re-decorate my room, a fairly straight forward concept you would think but believe me when I say - oh no, no no no.  It was knackering hard work for four straight days from sun up to sun down and my hands hurt so much today that my finger tips actually ache to type.

There was stripping, hoovering, hole filling, sealing, gluing, painting, wallpapering, trimming, painting, painting, painting and painting.  There were tears and despair and horror at what the room looked like from start to finish and utter despondancy when it was meant to be finished and the yet looked awful .... still.  I'm still waiting for it to dry and all I can say is please, please, please be ok.

So where do the friends come in?  They were on the phone, text and facebook giving advice and listening to me panic and they came in person to help.  Hand on heart I could not have done it without them, especially as they kept me smiling all weekend so thank you, thank you, thank you and I owe you!  Just no DIY!!

Friday, 27 August 2010

DIY and Knitted Squid

So much has happened in a few short days, where to begin?  My little blogosphere is growing which means even more people are able to read and mock my words.  No pressure.

DIY - this weekend I have decided to re-decorate my room, a small challenge fitting for the bank holiday.  DIY - do it yourself - those three little words bring hope and inspiration, I can do anything!  And so it was that the wallpaper was encouraged to leave the wall; it was going to be a straightforward, simple procedure that could be gently achieved over 4 days.  However, the wallpaper did not want to be encouraged off the wall despite enormous amounts of cajoling, instead it decided to split in two revealing in places some lovely rough plaster that has no intention of being smoothly painted over. Ho hum.  And so the gentle redecorating is no more, instead it is a mad scary plan to try and get it all done before I have to go back to work!! Yikes - this DIY thing doesnt seem like such a good idea now.  Do it yourself - hah!  More like do it with friends and thank the gods that I have good friends coming to help me out.  This little bank holiday project may yet be completed.

So where does the knitted squid come into in all of this?  Tonight was a special late night event at the Natural History Museum where anyone and everyone could come together and view an 8ft knitted squid and learn to make your own wee sea beastie - sounds wierd and odd but hey it's London and you know what it was fun!  Here is my small contribution to the knitted life under the sea :)


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Book Club - The Gargoyle

The last Wednesday of the month is book club day peeps - for a literary lover such as myself it is a truly indulgent time to talk all things book wormy and I love it!  There is no humanly possibly way that I can read every book ever made (despite an abortive attempt in the A fiction section of the Peterborough Library many years ago - Matilda I am not!), so it is with great pleasure that I can learn what's good and what's not by listening to other well read people.  It doesnt hurt that we meet in a pub and it certainly doesn't hurt that there is normally food - I could very well be in heaven :)

This month's book was my choice and I was in agony.  Books are like favourite anythings - no two people will agree and they are subjective, everyone has a differing opionion on what the author actually meant so I decided to go with either The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas OR The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.  I chose The Gargoyle.  I had read it about a year ago and remember being charmed by it then and thought a nice gentle read to ease my tastes into the book club melting pot - I had forgotten about the porn and hell and the madness of Marianne.

Still when I re-read it, I loved it again and despite personal circumstances, was still entranced by the love stories within.  Book club response?  Polite acceptance of what was clearly not 'normal' reading material.  Ooops!  That's not to say that it didn't get read just that it wasn't praised to high heaven and in some ways I think they are right.  It's a confused book - there is so much information that you do feel slightly overwhelmed.  There are 4 separate love stories, there is a relationship in the 14th century that carries through to today, there's a burn victim described in graphic detail, there's porn, Dante's inferno and then there are gargoyles.  It did acheive what perhaps book club is meant to - the reading of a book you wouldn't normally go for and a healthy discussion on whether it has merits or not.

The fact that the conversation soon turned to which childhood classics should be read by everyone didn't upset me at all - in fact it made me appreciate the 40 boxes of books I have in storage which hold such cherished classics along with others that I have dragged with me through time and which I keep promising myself I will install in beautiful bookshelves one day.  And I think that is the point - let us cherish the written word, our ability to read it and think of it what we choose.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Big big girl in a big big world

Social networking allows us to reach out to people, to be connected 24/7, to know the innermost thoughts of our friends, families and aquaintances and for all of this to become complete second nature.  How is it possible that someone who barely knows you can take the few fragments you provide and see into your soul??  This link was sent to me by a Facebook 'friend' and it really cuts to the heart of where I am at the moment - a fact that I find comforting in todays world.  That even today - with all our technical hubbub and our time-poor lifestyles, there are people out there who can take the time to say - hey, I care.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUKq7DLo6Ko&feature=related

Monday, 23 August 2010

I love it when a plan comes together!

Now my brother said I wouldn't like and my friend at work fell asleep and so it was with much trepidation that I went to finally see the A-Team.  I am in fact young enough to remember the original series which I have to say I loved and my favourite character would change week in week out but overall I think it had to be Face.  And the film lived up to my expectations :)  Bradley Cooper had the same smiley helpless adorableness - bless.

There were explosions and wise-cracks and guns and the girl, always the girl.  It was funny and completely un-believable but that was what the A-Team was always about and that's why I loved it so.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Dim Sum - Yum Yum!!

My friend took me for Dim Sum today - never had it before so was curious to know what we were going to have.  We went to a restaurant on the corner of Chinatown that still serves Dim Sum the traditional way - which way is that you ask?  Well waitresses wheel trollies round and round and round the restaurant with all different kinds of delights on board tempting you with this and that.  My friend speaks fluent chinese so she did all the ordering which was kind of fun - luckily for me she didn't like the look of the tripe or sea slug - thank goodness!!

It was a truly yummy stuffed full experience and if you are ever in my neck of the woods we should totally go - I guarantee you will leave fully satisfied ;) 

Saturday, 21 August 2010

100s

100 sit ups - 100 press ups - 100 squats

A daunting challenge some might say - but I wondered... how hard can it really be.  So I did it - in reps of 10.  Got very warm at 50 and was starting to think you mad woman at 80 but finished it and it was awesome. My friends think I am mental and I am often inclined to agree but it felt good so go me  :)

And then being a total Google whore I found this website - onwards and upwards my friends lol

http://www.twohundredsitups.com/

Friday, 20 August 2010

First blog

So here it is, the first blog - a very exciting time for you all I'm sure.  What's its all about - well it will be about loves and likes and ups and very possibly downs, there will be movies and books and cooking, some travelling, friends and families and all those sorts of things.  There are some things that I love and others that I hate with a fiery passion and believe me they will be talked about.  It will be a little bit of everything but I can guarantee one thing - there will be no salad!!  Ever!!