Friday, 7 September 2012

Fill in the blanks

No internet is the worst. No internet + no tv + broken phone is just... there's not a word! Ive had to walk into uni to use the internet! Hey guys, guess where I'm going on Friday night? You guessed it, the library. I am too cool. This is the perfect and serendipitous segue into today's blanks which are school themed. As always, thanks to Lauren.

1.  My favorite grade in school was the last one. What is that in the American system? It was ace, you ruled the school and knew how everything worked, it was comfortable. Plus teachers were much nicer towards you.

2.  My favorite teacher was  hard to decide   because,  different teachers were the best at different times of my life .

3.  The highest level of education I have completed is  the first year of my psychology BSc.

4. School lunches for me were usually a basic sandwich, fruit and snacks. Nothing exciting until I started packing cereal or crudites for myself. Oh and chip day in the canteen, that was the best!

5. The amount of money you'd have to pay me to go back to high school would be enough for me to come and do as much further education as I liked without worrying about a job or loans. And then have some left over to travel with.

6. A few things that will always remind me of going back to school are:  the mad dash to the uniform shop when you realise your shirts all have holes in them and your skirt is too short.

7.  The first day of school was always  a really abrupt end to summer but the only day of the year you were truly organised.

Sunday, 2 September 2012



On an unrelated and non-hysterical note, although it might explain the Doctor Who hyteria, I'm going back to uni today and I've had 5 hours sleep and it's raining.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Film Challenge

Having my friend here has resulted in a glut of film watching, all of which I've been meaning to get around to watching but have been set aside due to my infatuation with sci-fi.

The other night, we watched the Hollywood, 2011 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
 I watched this film with an additional soundtrack. It was almost like the directors commentary but instead the script read something like this:

Oh Daniel Craig
He is so sexy
Mmm yes I'd get on that
No, he just put white plates on the table, these ones are glass
Look at the way he wears his glasses, they make him look so intelligent and hot
Why is he wearing his glasses below his chin? What is that?
He's so smart and attractive, I want him
Get him here for me
I want to be in Sweden, I miss the snow
I need to leave the UK
An English man would be too wimpy in the cold, I want to marry a continental prince.
(that's me in italics)

Yep so I was listening to someone lust after Daniel Craig while I picked out the flaws and tried to wrap my head around the film. It wasn't great at explaining what was happening as it goes along but if you're any good at remembering some of the earlier detail, you can put it together with not much difficulty nearer the end. The main thing I found hard was keeping all the faces distinct in my head. I often found myself thinking they were talking to the father when in fact it was an uncle or assistant! I couldn't stay on top of it all.

I was pretty impressed with Lisbeth and Mikael's investigative skills. Makes me want to be a PI and sneak around peoples houses at night and hack into their computer systems. So exciting! I think I have no firm idea of what I want in my future I just grab onto everything I see in films.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Film Challenge

So continuing in the vein of futuristic, adventure sci-fi, I watched The Time Machine.

I definitely still like the genre, it has a lot of scope and when you have gentlemen from the late 19th century wandering around in a waistcoat in the 802000s where they still speak English, what's not to like?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

ABC's of me

I'm so near the end now, and having taken a long break, that I feel a renewed motivation to complete the ABC's list.

Original Source

It's Saturday and the letter is V. 
I'm a Vegetarian which means I eat a lot of Vegetables. Well, I should but I much prefer fruit. When I'm peckish I'd much rather have a tub or grapes or berries than veggies. Eating fruit is like eating sweets except you can eat loads and not get a guilty complex that follows you for the rest of the day.

So I guess you can tell I'm not a huge Vegetable lover, but the Vegetable I can't stand is luckily one I'm not often faced with. The dreaded Brussels sprout. Staple of the Christmas table and my Grandads favourite vegetable, I won't have them anywhere near my plate. Haunting memories of Christmases past where a minimum of 6 had to choked down before we were allowed to leave the table. 'How do you know you don't like them if you never try them?' Once every 5 to 10 years is often enough for me. And that grey, green colour is hardly appetising.

Thankfully, in recent years my mother has decided they're best cooked with lardons and I am not complaining. It's perfect! Freed from the Brussels sprout until my housemate makes bubble and squeak and fills the house with that... pungent smell.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Fill in the Blanks Friday

It's Friday and aren't we all celebrating.  I have extravagant new nails in preparation of a weekend with my uni friend, eating dinner with friends and re-exploring my hometown with fresh eyes.

As ever, thanks to Lauren at the little things we do

1.  My favourite thing to do on Friday is  have a relaxing curry with the family or my friends. Or having a quick dinner and spending hours preparing to go out on the town .

2.   This Friday I am  buying a ton of new stuff for uni to make my room feel lovely and homey, then seeing my Nan and then manically tidying my room in preparation for my friend arriving to stay this evening .

3.  The best thing about a weekend is  late night BBQs.

4. Now that summer is almost over, I'm feeling   ready to get back into a routine, which I will soon get sick of. And to get back living down south so I can visit everyone.

5. The best thing I did this summer was  go around the country and visit friends that I hadn't seen in a while and haven't seen for ages since then. Miss them.

6. The thing I'm looking forward to about fall is  wearing boots and jumpers and scarves even in lectures. With my new glasses I'm anticipating looking fantastic... not! Oh and not having to worry if you haven't worn any colours other than black, white and shades of brown/nude.

7.  If I had to be stuck in one season for the rest of my life, I would choose autumn, hands down. Just the beginning where the summer days are still warm but the evenings get nippy so you can wear all your clothes but not have to worry about taking a coat everywhere. Plus, no sunburn.

Film Challenge

The Matrix Revolutions.
This was the third of the Matrix films and I'm sad to say, my least favourite. Although it had me on edge the whole time and the fighting scenes were just as inspiring as the first two, I couldn't help feeling that the end was lacking.

I would have loved it to go out with a bang, or at least a tidy conclusion but they've left a lot of loose ends untied and questions unanswered. There are lots of rumours about a Matrix 4 and possibly 5 on the internet but no recent news about that. It's a shame, then end has been left open for Keanu to make a miraculous reappearance in another film and I feel that the ending has been compromised because of it. You could argue that by leaving it open the viewers can speculate about the future and the nature of the storyline at the end is that no one really knows what's happened but I can't stand films doing that. It just feels lazy to me.

So maybe another Matrix would be a waste of money. Personally I'm all for it, I want that ending cleared up please. If nothing else has come from watching 8 hours of sci-fi adventure, I'm now thoroughly motivated to join a martial art society at my uni and I'll be giving that genre much more consideration.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

ABC's of me

It's been a while since I did one of these.
Today's letter is U and so I'll be telling you about underwear.

Well I definitely wear it. Every day.

I'm a girl and not flat chested so a bra is a necessity otherwise they just kinda get in the way and it hurts and no-one wants that. So I'm a 32D or 34C and a 10 on the bottom, just in case you'd like to send some nice underwear my way, creepy though that might be. I buy most of my underwear from La Senza but since I have to buy these things myself now, I also own some tesco, sainsbury's and primark underwear. Classy.

Oh yeah, and I made those cool lingerie cookies in the picture for my little sister, inspired by (basically a copy of) Sweet Sugar Belle's Lingerie Cookies. I'm too good to her. Definitely an appropriate cookie to serve at her 17th birthday.

Film Challenge

So captivated was I by The Matrix that it's 2.40am and I've just finished watching The Matrix Reloaded.
I think I'm developing a taste for this dystopian, sci-fi, action movie genre. It simultaneously challenges my ideas about the world we live on, our freedoms and our choices while at the same time inspiring me to take up a martial art and become Neo. It looks so cool with all the back flips and the defying gravity. If I could have that but none of the danger that would be great.

If my eyelids weren't aching for sleep I'd be getting the next matrix film ready right away. Ah well, another day.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Film Challenge

So today, while my sister was working late and my parents went to the pub leaving me home alone, I watched 'The Last Kiss'. 

It might be sacrilegious to say it after the legacy of Scrubs but I'm not a huge fan of Zach Braff. This film might have changed that. Before this, I thought he could only be a comedy actor, I could see him in anything but sitcoms, certainly not films where I was supposed to feel endeared towards him. I almost feel like I betrayed myself but having watched The Last Kiss, I like him, or at least the character he played.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Film Challenge + Life

Today I had the most incredibly stressful day.
I was late.
I now need glasses.
I typed my PIN in wrong 3 times so my card is now locked.
The only help Apple could give me was a free phone number so I can talk to people who don't speak English for free.
My bank couldn't help me with my concern and referred me to a phone helpline.
The phone helpline told me my branch were supposed to know.
My branch told me that the letter I was sent and was worried about didn't actually concern me or my account, they just sent it as routine to everyone.
I walked 5 miles so fast because I was late.
With burning legs from yesterdays workout.
Arrived to meet my friend late and sweating buckets.

I did achieve a few things though.
I managed to buy my favourite Simple face wipes.
And have iced tea with my friend.
And watch the Matrix!

Source wikipedia
I'm slowly ticking those films off the IMDB top 250 list, I've seen embarrassingly few.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Workout Monday

It's the holidays so I don't do much with my days.
But I can tell you that right now, nothing could feel better than sitting at my computer watching Jenna Marbles and sipping a super healthy, homemade fruit and oat smoothie while the sweat dries in my hair from my workout. Lovely image I know. I just wanted to share that awesome feeling.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Film Challenge

I might be a bit late with this one but I finally watched the Shawshank Redemption and my was it good!
I know I've heard lots of good things about it and there are references all the time to it but I just didn't think it was for me. Now I'll be touting it to all my friends.

If you haven't seen it, do and I wont spoil the story for you.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Fill in the Blanks (Saturday)

We are having a terrible summer here, no sun and lots of rain. Hope it's better where you are.

Thanks to Lauren at the little things we do
1.  The best thing to do on a hot day is  to lie on the beach all day. Or lie in the park. Either way, a picnic and excellent company are necessities, as is minimal movement .

2.   The best place to be on a hot day is somewhere it's acceptable to take all your clothes off and just walk around in a bikini and shorts  .

3.  The best thing to eat on a hot day is  watermelon and lots of it.

4. Hot days inspire me with terror as my room is a wasp and bee magnet.  Too many mornings I've woken up to the sound of an insect buzzing away behind my curtains and had to scramble out of bed and insist some saviour will remove it .

5. My go to uniform on a warm summer day is one of my many light, floaty dresses. They're great because you can still maximise the tan on your arms, keep cool and feel pretty all day.

6. The scent that reminds me of summer is salty air. My family love seaside holidays, it wouldn't be a summer without a couple of weeks on the Mediterranean or Aegean coast. That salty air just signals that summer is here and your worries are far behind you .

7.  My favourite thing about summer is no work! I'm still in education so summers are still that novelty of months and months of free time with no books to read or essays to write .

Friday, 17 August 2012

Film Challenge

Well you can't really go wrong with Rob Brydon can you? For me, it doesn't matter what he's doing or who he;s acting alongside, if he's in it, I'll watch it. But for this film, more like a dramatised documentary, Rob Brydon was just a bonus.

With the paralympics due to start in a couple of weeks, the radio and television are once again filled with stories of athletes who have gone further than anyone for their sport and pioneering developments. Well a radio 2 program caught my attention the other, talking about the efforts of Ludwig Guttmann. A doctor who fled to England with the rise of the Nazis as he was Jewish and denied the right to practice on regular patients as he was German. Ludwig was allowed to treat the paraplegics, those patients who were hidden away in shame and whose condition was managed to ensure they died as comfortably as possible. No one expected them to live, to recover and to live a normal life. But Guttmann changed all that. He revolutionised the treatments of paraplegics, refusing to let then give up and accept defeat, making them strong so they could live again.

Well the BBC2 feature length program, The Best of Men, was a hilarious story with a really serious message. It ends on a lovely note with him starting the first paralymic games event in the grounds of the hospital. And just look where we are now. Over 500 athletes from over 100 countries will be performing in the coming weeks. We aren't ashamed of people with disabilities, we celebrate their incredible achievements. But it would never be happening if it wasn't for that remarkable man.

 To read a article by the Telegraph on The Best of Men, follow this link.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Film Challenge

I unexpectedly completed the challenge for today. My TV program finished and The Falcon in Danger started and my Dad and I just ended up watching the entire thing.

My mum was very surprised on walking in at the end that I was watching a black and white film and though I'll admit it's not normally my thing, I did enjoy this one. Our favourite moment was a scene at the roller rink. All the people at the roller rink were holding each other by the waist like a conga line and being pulled along by an attendant. From the clips it seems they're going quite fast and someone lets go. At full speed everyone crashes to the floor, falling on top of each other and guns scattering everywhere. As my Dad said, you don't get organised fun like that anymore!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Film Challenge

I know it seems I've been a bit lax about this lately, after so strong a start but it's been hectic! First I had a day of crazy baking, then my sisters birthday and then I was down south in my uni house with NO INTERNET for 4 days! However, when I was down there, living like the Victorians did, with no television or indoor heating, I did manage to watch one film.

My friend came round for dinner and we watched The Skin I Live In.

This film had a couple of brilliant points:
1) Sexy Antonio Banderas!
Mmmm just look at that sexy, smouldering face.

2) Subtitles mean no one else wants to watch the film and ruin our enjoyment
3) Really intriguing plot line, especially the way it is revealed to you
4) Sexy Antonio. Did I already say that? Whoops.

Book challenge commence.

I'm 80 pages into Tolstoys War and Peace. Loving it but the font is absolutely tiny!!

Follow my progress through the Rory Gilmore reading challenge on the right >>

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Book Challenge

There are few things more enjoyable for me than curling up on an armchair in the warmth, a deckchair in the sun, laying on the beach, sitting in a train carriage; all of those things are wonderful experiences provided there is a bound stack of paper in my hands, printed with a story. I love losing myself in a book. Immersing myself in the setting, learning about and living with the characters, being a part of the story. A book has staying power the way that no other story-telling medium does. I carry the remnants of a book around with me, long after it's been relegated to the back of a bookshelf and parts of it I thought I'd forgotten will float back to me from time to time, making me smile and filling me with a familiar warmth. Books are those old friends you are most comfortable around, their mere presence relaxing and calming.

It's for these reasons and a thousand more that I'm embarking upon a long term project: the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. It's an amazingly long list of books to read and I'll be tracking my progress over the next goodness-knows-how-long in the new page on the right and also through little update posts. I've decided that, although I've already read a handful, unless it's been read in the last 2 years, I'll reread it. I can't remember all the Austen's I read when I was 13. I'll appreciate them much more if I read them again.

So that's all expect to say that I was pleased to cross of a handful, around 10, from the last couple of years. Wish me luck and happy reading!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Fill in the Blanks Friday

Happy Friday!

Thanks to Lauren at The little things we do
1.  The age I will be on my upcoming birthday is 2o.

2.   The best birthday present ever would be a huge box of Laduree macarons! But only in vanilla and pistachio. And in loads of the adorable embossed boxes. Practically speaking though, someone offering to pay my rent this year or all of my student loans would be AMAZING.

3.  My favourite birthday to date was my 13th. I had all my closest friends for a sleepover and we ate cake and ice cream at 4am. We also waxed my friends arm when she was asleep, not the best thing to wake up to.

4. Birthdays make me feel uncomfortably in the centre of attention. I don't like everyone watching me all night to make sure I'm having a good time. Sometimes my face does weird things; don't try and figure it out because even I don't know what it's up to!

5. The worst birthday I ever had was . I honestly can't answer this. I've had too few birthdays and too many friends for any to stand out as bad in my memory.

6. When I was born it was 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I weighed 6 pounds and 5 ounces.

7.  So far my favourite age has been  18/19. 18 was the year I finished school, left home, came to uni, made a million new friends and a handful of really close, special people.  I discovered things about myself and it was a real journey. But then, so far 19 has been fantastic. Even more so now the world is at my fingertips and I'm surrounded by people who love me. You can't really ask for more than that!

Film Challenge: Shutter Island

After explaining the other day to few people that no, I wasn't watching that The island, not the one with Leo but the one with Ewan, I was reminded that I hadn't watched Shutter Island.

Source: Wikipedia
So yesterday I watched it. Well it was very dark. I spent a lot of the time being confused at the skipping back and forth between his delusions and dreams and waking life. But it did make me think. And the scenery was most imposing. Mostly I was creeped out by the old fashioned doctors and lots of peoplein white coats.

Any suggestions for tomorrow?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Film Challenge

I  have a confession to make. I don't watch films. How can you be the VP of FilmSoc without watching films you ask. Blag it. Ask your friends about the films they've seen, mention them very vaguely and avoid answering questions about the details. It's an art. However, I do think there will come a time this year when someone other than my housemate will find out and it will come in handy to have seen a few films. So, this smmer, or what remains of it, I'm setting myself a challenge to watch a film everyday. Since I have no job and very few plans I figure this shouldn't be too hard.

Image source
 So yesterday I watched my first film for over a month: Disney's Brave. It was a really enjoyable, animated film. I know people say you're never too old for Disney but this one was definitely not just for kids. I mostly just love her amazing hair! It's so long and thick and fiery red. I spent most of the film just watching the way it flowed around her, it was mesmerising. That and they way she handled her bow and arrow sums up to a huge, fictional girl crush. Plus, you know, the animation was great, the story lively and the message was actually quite inspiring, especially for young girls. It was a good film to ease myself into the challenge.

source: wikipedia

Then in the evening, my family and I started watching The Island; the one with Ewan McGregor and not Leonardo DiCaprio. Well, I say watched. I did about 7 other things while watching The Island but I stayed up till 1am to see the end, that counts for something right? Even my family didn't make it that long, retreating to bed long before the end.  I can't say I was blown away but the idea of humans being grown as insurance policies and harvested their organs being harvested if and when accidents befall their counterparts in the 'outside' world.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Macaron Picture

I know, there have been a string of macaron posts recently but this is the last one for a while. I don't want to promise but I don't anticipate any more macs in the near future. These one's have given me enough grief.
So, without further ado, here is little pic of mine.

Yes, the filling is uneven and they have hollow shells but I don't care, they taste so yummy.

Recipe is thanks to Mardi at Eat. Live. Travel. Write. and I found Stella's 10 commandments to be a useful read at BraveTart.
Despite the fail I'm not giving up, I'm just taking a sanity break!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

So, yesterday I made macarons. And failed. The first tray looked perfect! I glanced in about 5 minutes into cooking and they all had delicate little feet forming. I was so excited. I turned them around half way through cooking and took them out, looking gorgeous. I cooled them and tried to peel them from the paper. Alas! They were still wet inside. I whacked them back in and hoped for the best. The next tray was even worse. Almost all had cracked shells and they were all hollow. In fact, the were all hollow :( I was heart broken.
I have a few things I'll do differently next time but until then, there's a load of macarons waiting to be eaten!

I used this recipe by Mardi at Eat. Live. Travel. Write.
And these are her pics of what they should look like. I'll put some of my pictures up when looking at them doesn't make me want to cry.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Marshmallow experiement

You're 5 years old.
You sit down in a strange room a marshmallow is placed in front of you.
You're told that you can have the whole marshmallow now.
But if you wait, you're told you can have two.
What do you do?

I'm a psychology undergraduate and as such, I'm always learning about studies which I can apply to everyday situations. The Stanford Marshmallow experiment is one of those. I'm one of those people who can't wait to taste the cookie dough. I'm scraping the cake batter from around the bowl, almost before I add the flour to the mix! Today I made macarons, well attempted. I had two trays baking and my piping bag filled, just about to pipe the next tray. And I couldn't resist! I had to get a spoon and just have a little taste. I cleaned the bowl. Then the spatula. And for quality control I had to get a spoon and try a bit more.

If I was one of those kids in the experiment I'm not sure I'd be able to resist. As much as I laugh at them now, I'd probably be doing all the things they do to distract themselves. Turning away. Moving it away. Tugging on my pigtails. Check, check and check. To be honest, I'd probably have just stuffed it in my mouth the minute the experimenter left the room. Delayed gratification is hard for me. I can see the appeal and I've know the rewards. It's just that my will power is... somewhat lacking. The reward has to be pretty darn good for me to give delayed gratification any real attempt.

For my macarons, I used this recipe from Mardi at Eat. Live. Travel. Write
If you're interesting in reading more about the Stanford Marshmallow experiment you can read about it on wikipedia or watch this video.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fill in the Blanks Friday

Yay! Fridays are back! Well, the possibilty never went away but somehow I was too lazy to pick one out the archives but now that Lauren is doing them live again, so shall I be.

1.  I am proud of the weight I lost a couple of years ago and that I've managed to keep most of it off .

2.   This weekend I will be unpacking, for sure! And before that, some internet procrastination, I'll make a start on War and Peace and book some theatre tickets for the RSC.

3.  A secret dream I have is to run a marathon, and then another. And then, just to beat my Dad, one more.

4. I can't handle it when people break or abuse the trust I given them. It's the biggest insult and makes me feel like they don't value me and our relationship.

5. The most annoying thing in the entire world is trying to find a costume for themed parties.

6. The most relaxing thing in the entire world is  walking. Whenever I'm stressed or annoyed or even elated, I love to take a long walk in the countryside. I find the peace and quiet helps me focus and let go of all the things that are buzzing around in my head. I come back feeling so refreshed and at peace.

7.  I think everyone should stop eating processed meat. Ideally I'd say stop eating all meat but if you're going to eat the bunnies and the little lambs then at least eat real cuts of meat. That reconstituted stuff is horrible, for your health and when you think about what's in it... ugh. Eat meat in a way that shows respect for the animals at least.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


I have a mounting To-do list.
It was fairly extensive when I left for my holiday.  2 and a half weeks later it has grown exponentially to include housing issues which have sprung up, bills, choosing internet providers and the dull tasks of unpacking my holiday clothes and then repacking everything to take back to Uni. As proof of my lack of enthusiasm for unpacking, there are a carpet of clothes, 4-deep, covering my bedroom, laying where I tossed them as I hastily emptied my suitcase. Despite all my best intentions to be organised, 2 days have gone by in which packing has flown out the window in favour of internet distractions and no shortage of vegetarian food! I'm a very happy bunny with all 6 portions of fruit and veg in my belly!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

About me

I wish I was one of those people for whom sleep is a respite and an escape from waking life, who can sleep through anything. But im not. If theres something on my minds or something bothering me or I dont have a completely clear conscience then im up all night, tossing and turning and running whatever is troubling me over in my head. I always wish id not left things unresolved.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 6

This one is another present, a good bye (for now). 

It was given to me by my boyfriend on the last day of semester, the morning we both went home for summer. We didn’t know when we would next be seeing each other. If indeed we would even meet up over the summer was uncertain and as such it has served as lovely reminder of him. It’s from, I believe, Mauritius, and although it’s a bit too big for my wrist, I tie it on safely with one of the other bracelets I’m wearing. Before realising how precarious it was to wear it unsecured, I lost it. I was visiting a friend at the time, got changed for bed and headed to bed. I was using my phone when I realised it was no longer on my wrist. Mild panic ensued while I hunted up and a house in the throes of redecoration! Turns out it was inside my clothes all along, tucked in a corner of my bag. Well, I needn’t have worried too much, I’d have found it eventually but still, I was glad it turned up when it did. Hasn’t stopped me wearing it, I just tie it on very securely now.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 5

This is a fairly new bracelet. 

It’s actually an advertisement for one of my recently graduated friend’s campaign to become VP Sports at my Uni. She made hundreds of the things and had everyone wearing them and handing them out. I literally have about 20 at home; I think she was getting rid of them by the end! Sad to say she didn’t win. If fact, a couple of days before the results were announced she was hit on the head with a sports trophy and ended up in bed for the end of her campaign. I remember wishing her luck on the results evening and her giggling away manically, still under some pretty strong drugs! It’s such an entertaining memory and makes me smile every time.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 4

Another bracelet that takes me back to the summer I left school is this one.

Again it’s part of a set, albeit this time a slightly smaller set. In that summer, I went to Albufeira, Portugal, with 4 friends from school. These girls weren’t my best friends but we were certainly friends and all but 1 I had known for 7 years. As such, it was a slightly daunting holiday for me. I was flying some 1000 miles and was going to be living in very close quarters with these girls who I’d never even had a sleepover with! Sure, with my best friends that would have been fine. We all know that She snores, She can sleep till gone noon and She still sleeps with a teddy- but these girls I didn’t know those things about! Any worries were in vain. When your aim is to have a good time and you’re amongst friends, these little things don’t matter. Everyone rallies round, pitches in and gets along. That was especially true when I fell unexpected ill. I was not a pretty sight and despite my insistence that I’d be fine, I just needed to rest, they rushed me off to the local hospital. Cue innumerable problems of language barriers, out of date health cards, foreign currencies and hospital systems. I can’t really remember that night; I was half asleep and slightly delirious from dehydration but those girls were so good to me. We each had a bracelet made with our name on it, all in the same colours, the Portuguese flag. It’s a great reminder of an amazing and eventful holiday and also of friends I rarely see but still consider myself close to.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Fishing Lures pt. 3

This bracelet was a present from a friend. 

She bought it in Venice and gave a one to each of the girls in our friendship group, so that we all had matching bracelets. The remind me of all the girls I used to be friends with, indeed all the people I used to know, as we received them in the summer we left school. The remind me of all my teachers, my old sixth form, my best friends and those I hardly knew. The make me think of all the trips and meals and nights out we took that summer, vowing not to lose contact even as we went our separate ways to universities up and down the country. It’s a bracelet with a lot of memories and a lot of symbolism. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I lost this one.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Fishing lures, pt. 2

Next up are a couple that I made myself. I enjoy Pinterest rather more than is probably healthy and coming up to the summer, I saw loads of bead and friendship bracelets being pinned. I repined a ton thinking that I could easily do that and I’d have lots of time over the summer to fill. Well, they were just too tempting. Right in the middle of my exam period I cracked open my sewing bag, drew out lengths and lengths of embroidery threads and beads and got to knotting. 

Inevitably they turned out nothing like the pictures I drew my inspiration from but I love them, maybe even more because of how unique they are. And because I know just how much time and effort went into them, time I maybe could have been using to revise. None the less, they’re here to stay.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Fishing Lures

I wear a lot of bracelets. I have a wristful of woven, plaited, wrapped and strung adornments on my right wrist and just one on my left. They’re bright and colourful and they all mean something to me. They’re either from somewhere special, someone special or I made them myself- but all of them are important and significant to me. So I thought I’d introduce them, tell a bit of the story linked to each one.
The first is my newest bracelet, the stork. My Mum was given this bracelet as a thank you present from a patient and, as it’s not really her style, she said I could wear it. It’s a delicate silver chain with a stork pendant attached. Hanging from the storks beak is a little baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. Wondering why you can’t see a hanging baby in the picture? I’d only been wearing it a few days when I noticed it had fallen off. That meant, as my sister gaily informed me, that it was a sign I would never bear children, I was barren! I’m just going to believe that it means my womb is empty right now. Even so, she’s refusing to ever wear the ‘accursed’ object.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Barca then bath and bed

Can you guess where I am? Well, not anymore but I spent the day there. I’m now in my apartment, running a bath and planning nothing more this evening than to soak and then crawl into my bed; I’m exhausted!
 I spent all day, on a tour bus, in Barcelona. I’m not joking about the ‘all day’. From arriving in the morning to leaving after 6pm, the only time off the bus was an hour and a half for lunch and a quick stroll down Les Ramblas. It doesn’t sound like a lot of work but with the sun beaming down and so many sights to see, my head was whirling to and fro all day just trying to take it all in! If you’re ever in Barcelona, don’t think that you can do both tours in one day. Stay for a couple of days, get the reduced, 2 consecutive days ticket and really enjoy the city.

We saw hundreds of amazing sights but there are hundreds more hidden just around the corners. There’s a chocolate museum! I’ve been to Cadbury world but going to one in Barcelona would have been amazing. There are museums dedicated to the lives and works of the modernists. There is A LOT about Gaudi. If Gaudi doesn’t interest you, the bus tour probably won’t either. Not only do I know where he was born and lived, the town houses he built, the museums he founded, the gardens and residential areas he dreamt up, I also know about the lamp posts that he didn’t design (although you might be fooled into thinking they were) and the street corner on which he was hit by a tram, the hospital he spent three days in and the time until his burial in the crypt at his most famous piece of architecture, the Sagrada Familia. Despite seeing all the places along the way perfectly, I only caught a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia, the church that Barcelona is most famous for. Stuck, at that time, on the downstairs of the bus, on the wrong side of the aisle and trapped next to a mother who was guarding the window with her sleeping infant, I saw only the lower portions. But those, I can tell you on good authority, are spectacular!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Carnivores playground

Ive been a vegetarian for around 7 years now. Despite some reluctance on the part of my mother, claiming it was unhealthy, difficult to cater for, a fad, etc, everyone in my family adapted pretty quickly. My mum started buying quorn and beans and stopped cooking the potatoes in goose fat. When I went to uni it was even easier; I was fully in control of my own diet, I didn't have to make any compromises. I could choose. Even going out for dinner in England is fine, there are lots of options and where there arent, its easy enough to just ask them to whip something up. The problems start when you go abroad. Europe just doesnt have a vegetarian culture the way that the UK does, theyre a continent of carnivores and theyre proud of it! The menus showcase local hams, fresh fish, speciality meats, the list is endless! Spain I find the hardest. At least in France and Italy there's pizza, in Greece, salad, but Spain? Last night we went to a nice restaurant, browsed the menu and I picked out 3 veggie tapas dishes. Nothing is that simple with my family. They start ed asking questions to the waiter who brought out the chef. 'Sin carne' 'Vegetarien' The words were spoken over and over amongst a confusion of spanish and broken english. 'I'll sort it' the chef eventually declared and stalked off with our menus. NEVER AGAIN will I put that much faith in a chef without more clear communication! Course after course of ham, octopus, shrimp, scallops, beef, chicken, all beautifully served on slates, folded atop.crostini, delicately wrapped in crisp pasty or artistically arranged on skewers. And for me? Fried green chili and mange tout with salt.and a plate of cold, roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, aubergines and olives, swimming in herby oil. A small amount with other foods would have been nice but as the chef came to ask if I was pleased, I wondered if he realised it was just veg, not even balan with carbs or protein. Ah well, next time I'll make sure to order for myself. The chocolate truffles for desert certainly helped. Amazing!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Roadtrip madness

In driving 1000 miles through Europe, in just over 24 hours you can go from standing on the drizzly shore at dover to the sun soaked beach in biarritz, toes being caressed by the ocean. Another few hours and you're deep in rioja country where the sun beats on the ochre land, everything radiating a residual heat that only hot climates bestow. In the past couple of days the importance of a good road trip soundtrack has really been hammered home. Its all very well pleasing the fussiest person in the car but really, there are only so many times you can listen to 'hot and cold' and skinny love'. Apparently The Daily Mail's summer collection isnt as easy listening as the slip cover would have you think; well you can't please everyone! The perfect compromise, for me, was having juliet and mum asleep, dad navigating for my drving with the tones of UB40, ace for long stretches of empty road.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Night siren

Driving through the night feels almost like a fairytale. It's surreal.

Things happen in a blur, are obscured by the inky blackness and appear in the stage of your headlights, only to disappear as suddenly as they came.The road falls away on all sides and you surrender to the unknown. Then out of the blue, a rabbit, petrified in the limelight. A jolting stop enables its frantic sprint to safety. With no road ahead the night feels like a lie, a temptress, luring you, lulling you as you feel your eyes droop and your head heavy upon your shoulders.

The dawn races to meet you and you're released from the nights clutches as a lightening on the horizon signals the time to find a bay and put your head down.

Until, of course, the rising sun warms your face and pierces through your eyelids, rousing you for another few hours of patient travelling through an unending countryside.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I just want to feel soppy for a second

Grrr. Want this now!


Living at home over the summer is such a change from uni life, and yet it is very different from living at home during my younger years.

My parents afford me some freedoms that I would never have been allowed before; coming and going as I please, not having to give times that I'll be back or say who I'm meeting an where. I can turn around and say 'in 12 hours I'm going to travel across the country and I'll see you in a few days time' and that's alright.  But at the same time, I can't use the house like it's my own. I can't just invite friends round or use the ingredients in the cupboard to do experimental cooking with. The things I do here are monitored, even if that monitoring is not expressed verbally.

It's an odd situation to be in, being used to living independently and then being back and part of the household. Being expected to contribute equally and act in line with the traditions and customs that are established here after having forged my own ways of doing things that I'm comfortable with. It's hard but it's good practise for sharing the house with the girls next year where we will all have to agree on cleaning and washing up and drying our clothes. Anything involving the communal areas we will have to navigate together. Only in my own room can I have control.

And I've started imagining it. The key phrase I shall be channelling when organising my room is 'oasis of calm'. I'm thinking very zen, very white, blue and light wood, nautical, minimal, tidy and clear. I don't want clutter everywhere, bits and bobs with no homes. I've bought a few little glass jars and am going or get some under-bed baskets for me to organise things into so I can have clear surfaces and space. A tidy room is a tidy mind.