Showing posts from 2014

2014 A Year In Focus

I was out chatting with a friend yesterday and we were contemplating our year in focus. 2014 kind of went past in a blur. I had to go through my social media to work out what had happened through most of the year. So here it is... my 2014. I went to see La Boheme at the Royal Albert Hall in March. We were up in the nose bleed seats but when we got there we got upgraded to fantastic ones down on the floor. I hadn't seen an opera before, I'm so glad we went. It was the most fantastic performance I'd seen in ages, we cried, and I'm not embarrassed. In June I whizzed off with a friend to Geneva. It was boiling, but beautiful. If I wasn't so old and decrepit then I probably would have enjoyed it more! We were trying to come up with a day trip somewhere and had been thinking Paris, but it was actually cheaper to go to Geneva. It was lovely strolling down the river, it was definitely something random to throw in to the year. Also in June there was a family trip

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

... when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In the hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there. --- Christmas is here again, the time for food and drink in excess. And a time, as is tradition with my friends, to exchange tacky Christmas presents. Over the years there have been many gloriously awful purchases. I missed the opportunity to give "Santa Cruz" baubles from Paperchase, a less than festive Santa on a cruise ship. Unfortunately they broke the budgetary requirements. Christmas tacky presents only have a few rules: Collectively you must spend under £5. They must be Christmas themed. To be tacky, they can't really be useful. The last one is really difficult to fulfil as we tend to try and make them useful out of spite... I know this means we might not win, but it also means the recipient tries to use them to prove they're not tacky, and that means p

The Art Of Procrastination

... or How I'm Still Sitting On The Sofa Playing On The Internet. I am an expert at procrastination. Although to be fair I did come in from work and do more work... madness I know! At the weekend I had twenty things to do... I managed to achieved four things. Yesterday I achieved another two. I have to do all the rest by Saturday. I just keep thinking, "I've got all this time off at Christmas, I can do it then." Although that is not true of everything on the list. I'm always amazed at how many ways there are to procrastinate in the evening when I have things to do. So many things that when push comes to shove are much more fun than chores. TV Films A box of maltesers [that was tonight's distractions]. Playing on Pinterest. ... and Twitter. ... and Facebook. ... and candy crush. Thinking about all the things I have to do. Writing a blog post about all the things I'm doing instead of doing the things I should be. Planning the blog posts

Faith In Humanity Restored

When I'm out and about I see a lot of things that make me sad. Adults, who should know better, throwing rubbish on the ground when they're two feet away from a bin. Teenager trying to kick pigeons because they're bored. It's really just very sad that, well, that people don't really think. I attract bus crazies, don't ask me how but they just gravitate toward me. So the other night on my way home from town I wasn't really surprised when two young kids and their mum came and boxed me into a corner. But I couldn't have been more wrong. Admittedly they were excitable but they were the nicest little family I'd met in ages. The little boy kept kicking me, but that was accidental, the mum kept apologising and told him that "the woman will probably kick you back, I wouldn't blame her". The next day was the little girls birthday and mum had got cupcakes and a bag from a toy store with her. She was asking them what homework they had and was

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Then I'll begin. Once upon a time there was a woman who loved to read. She had books everywhere, as far as the eye could see, until one sad day when she moved. All her beautiful books were packed into brown boxes and sealed up to be transported across the country. The woman moved to a small flat with nowhere to put up shelves so her books stayed in their brown boxes and were hidden under her bed until the magical day she could bring them out. The End. Unfortunately for me that's no fairy tale. Those boxes are under my bed and the only books I have out are cook books and the few I've brought since moving in. I just haven't been in the mood to read, lucky I supposed as they're stuck under my bed. Instead of the usual 10 minute round trip commute I now commute for over an hour every day. I don't like reading a book on the bus, it gets so packed that on the trip home I usually stand which means it isn't easy to read. So I made the switch to audio books.

Hidden Beneath Part 2

So I put up the first part of this story and I had no real idea where it was going... I finished writing all but the last few sentences of this last night... The descent was long. Had I been paying more attention I might have noticed the signs. Or the lack of them. The steps down and the corridor they led to were blank, no identifying marks at all. The lights flickering across the ceiling gave an eerie tone to the corridor. We slowed. A door was coming into view. There was no handle on the door, just the tell tale outline and a mirrored window that we had a feeling was only see through from the other side. We were essentially in a dead end. We started methodically searching the area from the door back. About four foot back from the door there was an odd imprint on the wall. Shoulder height,a slight impression of a left hand in the sheeting of the wall. Instinctively I put my hand in it. An automated voice came from the direction of the door. “Familial match confirmed. Please fa

Bristol Bus Bonanza

I've always been a bus girl, a train will never be my top public transport option. I can't really put a finger on it specifically but I think it's mainly because I like being able to see what's going past outside the window. Getting used to a new bus system is surprisingly confusing when you've been so used to another one for ages. I have to say, as much as I'm a London lass at heart, so far I really do love the buses here. Everyone coming to Bristol should download the UK Bus Checker. I came across it before I moved and I use it everyday. I'm still working out all its features but it's very handy. Easy to use map, it even shows you in which direction the buses from the stop will be going. The buses in London have become very silent affairs now. All non-cash payments mean you don't actually have to interact with the driver at all. Here it's still very much a communing activity, they sell daily and weekly tickets [although I haven't quit

Hidden Beneath - Writing With Writer's Block

After some writer's block I searched for some writing prompts, I won't reveal the one that started this off because this is only the first part of the story... don't want to go ruining the suspense! I wrote the first part with no problem but the second is more challenging. I'm having trouble trying to get the right sort of atmosphere... hopefully soon though. --- Everything started to get better after the war. Bombs had destroyed a lot of the country, but my team and I were gradually getting it back. I don't think anyone had ever really considered what the world would be like if another nuke went off, but in the end we had to think it over really quickly. The war was over before I was born, the same goes for all my team. Our families were all closely involved in restoring the country, and as time wore on the job passed down to us. Gradually, as the ground had become less toxic, we'd worked our way across the scorched earth. What records weren't destroy

Moving With The Times

I've been a bit absent... I do have a legitimate reason... I have just moved across the country to Bristol. It has been a trying time but everything is mainly resolved. How people move all the time I don't know, I felt rather smug after my first move went fantastically well and I think this time it might have been the world balancing it out. To sum up... arranged flat ages ago, woman pulled out at last minute, I turned into a gibbering wreck, get an alternative flat a week before I need to move, flat is tiny, flat is filthy. I will admit that that is just the bad bits summed up there. I haven't seen much of Bristol yet but from car and bus windows it looks nice. We've driven round a few areas and I've been taking note of places to go online and from books. Going through Clifton was lovely, a comic book store and some good looking restaurants, there's definitely a trip up there on the cards. I'll have to go and find some of the street art too. Of course t

My Room 101, It's No Room With A View

My room 101 will be in the darkest recesses of the world... so somewhere near Croydon. Now... I was looking at a list of things that celebs have put in room 101 to get some inspiration... you know, just in case I had blocked something out of my mind for being too obnoxious. I saw pointless science on the list... it must stay out of the depths... I love it. Don't get me wrong, it is horrendously annoying that people get paid to research it but I love the way it makes me annoyed and I can have discussions with my friends about why scientists didn't just use common sense. My first choice is probably going to be reality TV programs . I have watched my fair share of Big Brother and X Factor type things, but I don't think I've ever been able to watch a whole episode without cringing. I hate watching other people's awkwardness. Why would you go on the sort of programmes that requires a talent if you don't have any? Why would you want to get locked in a house with a

One Wedding & Some Packing

Not quite as exciting as Four Weddings & A Funeral, but still very exciting. It has been a very busy few weeks that resulted in the joyous union of my best friend with the love of her life. I have never been so proud and happy to be part of something. It seemed like a million miles away, but all the excitement meant it snuck up quickly. I won't be a wedding bore. Needless to say it was a wonderful day. The bride looked beautiful in a stunningly petite dress... and the groom wasn't bad either! It was lovely to see everyone make such an effort, and despite my loathing of pictures there were some great shots. Once I was home I downloaded the photos I'd taken and loaded them on to Facebook. I didn't tag the happy couple so Facebook showed me the faces from the pics and asked me if I wanted to tag them... All of the clips were of the bride and groom... and every one of them was a beaming happy picture. If I could be even half as happy as them then my life would be

What If Sharks, And A Tornado Mixed Together? Contains SPOILERS!

Well you'd get a Sharknado... and if it happened more than once? You'd get Sharknado 2: The Second One. I love crappy TV films... they are fantastic... but you really need to not take it seriously when you watch it. They're comedy, pure and simple. Now, as I have no life, I've done a breakdown of this second masterpiece of shark and tornado... you're welcome... but I'm calling SPOILER ALERT if you haven't already seen it. It'll be like I'm in the room with you, except you won't be able to tell me to shut up or throw something at me! Sharknado 2: The Second One as contemplated by my random mind 00:00:01     Oooh the plane looks like a shark going through the water. 00:00:28     Is that Kelly Osborne? 00:00:35     Yep, that's Kelly Osborne... are flight attendants allowed purple hair? 00:01:13     Really? She had her book in the cabin? 00:01:34     She wrote a book that looks like a rip-the-shit-out-of-something spoof book? Okay.

Hen-devering To Have A Fun Time

A busy few weeks have ended with my best friend's hen do in Bournemouth. Although there were some times when I hadn't been looking forward to it we really did have a good time. We didn't even go into the centre of town, but everything we saw and everywhere we went was really good. Our hotel, The Mayfair, was fine. Not good, but fine. There is pretty much no way to have a good nights sleep there as everything makes noise... from doors to extractor fans... in this heat it was nearly unbearable to sleep. The bar was a bit rubbish but then it is only a small non-chain hotel. Some of the rooms we're very spacious, out of five my friend and I really did get the short end of the stick. You might want to make a map if you're in any room over number 18, as the place is a maze. It looks like they added another building on to the back but for some reason built them at different heights and just added steps everywhere! The location was really good though, ten minutes from the

Bringing The Magic To Life

Hot Key Books have a great little thing on their blog... "Top Ten Tuesday". The one that brought it to my attention was "Things In Books You Wish Were Real." Well... you know how I like a list! So where to start? You may remember though, that when I spoke about "The Grimm Legacy", this topic caused me trouble... but I'm going to try harder. Has to be The New York Circulation Material Repository from "The Grimm Legacy". A wonderful place that stores all the magical items [and not so] in its library. By adding this one I'm sort of making the other nine things pointless as I could borrow them from here! But just because I go to the library doesn't mean I stop buying books! Anyway, not only would it be great to borrow things but I'd love to sit and watch the stained glass windows. Dodos , courtesy of Thursday Next and Jasper Fforde. I know they were real but I think I'm allowed to have them on the list as they're clo

Tough Issues

" Don't shy away from tough issues " by Jabari Asim, in The New York Times. I read the above article and was struck by its simplicity. Just basic observations and instincts from a parent, grandparent and teacher. It's lovely that someone is willing to be totally honest with their children. Some of the comments left me sighing in my chair but others were refreshingly different. A user called Bob Kanegis put up a lovely comment that just shows you how much some youngsters can process. Others said... "Children's books have always been about injustices in the world." "The time to help children learn to be compassionate and understanding and aware is when they are young - and great picture books that promote diversity and that provide, an albeit, hopeful perspective of the world are much needed." "None of the books I read as a child were politically correct. As a young child I didn't care. I wanted to read. I wanted to get lost in

These Boots Were Made For Walking...

...but in this instance they're going to drive me to Bristol. All my life I've lived in the same area. It may not be a perfect but it's a good place to live. I have never had the desire to live anywhere else. But life changes, situations change and at some point you have to move on. I have never been this "bold" with my life, putting myself first isn't something I've ever done before... and at this moment I'm still not sure how I'm going to cope with it. I stepped out of my comfort zone when I moved out of home but since then it's been fairly confined. I'm happy where I've been with everything, but recently with things changing at work and issues running through my head it has given me the opportunity to widen my horizons. I'll be making Bristol my new home. I will be starting a new job that I have always wanted to do... and that's all really scary. But I'm trying to think of things to do when I get there... things t

Welcome To The Books Of Tomorrow

"What I hope readers understand is that it is not the tangible book that they love, but the story itself." - Hannah Black, "How Will We Read" winning essay for The Bookseller. I'd have to say that's a very sweeping statement, which makes a lot of assumptions about readers. But it's one I might expect from someone who works for a digital publishing company. Yes, the story is obviously key, I don't go to the shelf and think "I'll read that one because it's a paperback." I pick my reading to suit my mood. To say that readers are going for a "real book" [or as I like to call them... books] out of nostalgia is a very narrow view. My book never runs out of battery. It never crashes and loses data. I never have to worry about it getting infected, it's only concern is people with sticky fingers... they don't have my permission for loans... I like my books food free. It is compatible with all users, with the right langu

Extant Of The Matter - Contains SPOILERS!

I will start by saying that this is a review of the first episode of Extant (CBS and Amazon Instant Video series) that premiers in the UK on Thursday 10th July. There will be spoilers so please don't read this if you're waiting for it on Amazon. Remember... SPOILERS! I saw the trailer for Extant on Amazon a couple of days ago and thought, from that, and the description it had the makings of a good series. I marked it in my calendar so I wouldn't miss it! Then yesterday I saw a tweet from Amazon offering the chance to win tickets to the preview. So one retweet and a few hours later I was the proud owner of two tickets to a reception and screening at BAFTA. Super excited, plans were changed, and my friend and I were all set. I can't just do a review of the show... It's not the same if I don't waffle... So this paragraph is about the reception. I've been to BAFTA before for the Carnegie book awards and it's a lovely venue and well organised. It

Travelling Humanity

So my Cornwall holiday is over for this year. It certainly wont be my last visit. There's hardly any of the hassle that you experience in the London area on a regular basis, and that is well worth the trip. Less chain pubs [well, different chain pubs so there kind of seems like a bigger selection] and the locals are lovely, and I specify locals because some of the human race left me very disappointed. One of our days out was spent at Eden. I had never been there before and it really is a spectacular sight. I did show my "townie" side, I couldn't help but notice the similarities of when you see the whole Eden site for the first time with when you see the Bluewater site for the first time as you drive over the hill. I did hang my head at that, after all one is a fantastic ecosystem and the other is a money ecosystem. It was immense to see so many different people there. A lot of effort has been put in to make is accessible to everyone. I saw the elderly with walking

Curious Cornwall

So, I was going to blog about all the wonderful sights to see in Cornwall, of which there are many. Here's a list of the things we've done since Saturday... with a few pictures... but I'm afraid what I saw this morning overshadows the other tales a bit just for its randomness, this randomness will follow below. Quay Fair Day Trengwainton The Meadery, Newlyn Eden Project Breakfast at Kegen Teg, St Just Chocolate Factory, Mullion The Lizard Kynance Cove, dog in a cow pat Tolcarne Inn for dinner St Michael's Mount Amusements Lamorna Pottery for a cream tea So there's a meadow in Eden, selfie with St Michael's Mount, paddling back from St Michael's Mount as the causeway wasn't quite above sea level, some artistic steps in Eden, some smart Alec putting a fire extinguisher next to the hottest chillies in Eden, Kynance Cove and Oliver before rolling in the cow pat... he was paddling in the stream at this point, it might h