Thursday, 30 December 2010

typography

A few seconds ago, I found this.

It is truthful in every word. (And reminded me a lot of my graphic-designer brother).

Source here.


as the door opens

Right now, by my door, is a doll's house.

It has Tudor facing. It has seven windows--two of them bay. It has an opening door and a hinged roof and two panels that open wide from the front.

And d'you know what else? It smells of wood. Richly so.

I smell it every time I enter my bedroom. And every time I exit.

And I love it, you know. I do.



hello, jane

I am just a little bit excited about this.


Next year, a new film of Jane Eyre will be released. I will be interested to see just what they do with it.

You can watch the trailer here.

On the subject of books, are you reading anything special at the moment?

I am two chapters into The Great Gatsby. I have the highest of expectations.


friday finds...

...on Thursday.

I like to collect internet links (you may have noticed) and here are five I feel like sharing this week.

Two cities I would love to visit (one of them again).


I think this bookshelf is designed so beautifully.

I thought this idea was interesting (and some of the pictures are quite outstanding).

Sometimes I just like listening to this.

I hope you are well!


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

twenty somethings

I believe a lot in the little things--the little things people say or the little things they do; a few hours that you can catch every sensation of during a really, really good day; the feeling of inspiration or of awe just as it dawns (and I truly, truly love that feeling).

I also believe a lot in little, personal accomplishments. Things you are glad, or relieved or truly contented at doing. Because I believe these things - the things that sometimes matter to no-one else but you - are so often the things which change your attitude or alter your mindset. They are the things, the tools, to really filter and sift our pessimism. (And I am guilty of pessimism, and the fear it breeds, all too often).

As this year comes to a close, I thought I'd share twenty things, twenty things which matter to me (and probably nobody else) that I am happy to have achieved this year.

(And because I am twenty - soon to be twenty-one -I also call this list: 20 Things You Have Done Whilst You Are Twenty).

1. Seen Regina Spektor live.
2. Visited Cambridge.
3. Learned to bake (and vowed, always, to keep on learning).
4. Felt old-fashioned and traditional whilst riding a steam-train to an antique shop.
5. Learned to manage time.
6. Gone on a road-trip to York with friends.
7. Bought my first lomo camera (and fallen in love with her).
8. Started a blog.
9. Learned to develop photographs.
10. Bought something vintage.
11. Seen a Shakespeare play live.
12. Read House of Leaves, Mark Danielewski.
13. Realised what I had before it was too late.
14. Helped to organise a surprise birthday party (for my step-dad's eightieth).
15. Swam in the sea (for the first time in years and with friends, which beat the self-conscious).
16. Written the Henry story*, or part of it.
17. Written reviews for Penguin.
18. Learned to dance (the very first, very basic, very tentative steps of)ballroom and latin and jive.
19. Learned to let things go-- just a little bit.
20. Lit lanterns and watched them float over the icy, icy water of my village.

So now I am curious. What little things have you proudly and excitedly accomplished or experienced in 2010? I'd love to hear about them!

*This is a children's story my love and I are collaborating on. It has been a lot of fun and it is, along with this blog, perhaps the most I have written all year.




limbo

My sister refers to these days teasingly* as 'crimbo limbo'. They are days when everyone positions themselves in celebration, yet waits for their end. The long, languid evenings are savoured, yet their end awaited with expectancy. With their passing, a better, brighter and more beautiful start can appear.

I am included in every aspect of this. I am enjoying the rest and the physical, mental and dietary laziness** these days allow. And yet everyday I find myself storing activities in my brain - hopes, wishes, goals - I want to start in the next few weeks; the activities I want to start 2011 with, as I mean to go on.

But really, I could do all of these things now. I could exercise my brain and my body in the ways I intend; I could begin visiting the places I want to see or learning and using words I feel I have lost. I do not need the first of a new month. The date is not something I need to strive towards--it is, instead, motivation.

There is a difference, though, between realisation and actualisation. The distinction, with its differences enclosed, has never felt so prominent.

*It is a running joke in my family to pronounce my favourite words incorrectly or play on linguistical pet-peeves. Thus, 'Christmas' is shortened to "crimbo", 'specific' to "pacific" etc. I am a little bit of a nerd, you know.

**I could so easily disown my body right now.




Sunday, 26 December 2010

on christmas

I love Christmas.

Yesterday my (all-above-the-age-of-twenty) family and I spent the day in our pyjamas. We gave, we received, we relaxed. Then we giggled at a tipsy game of Balderdash and curled into bed.

I was unable to spend it, in physicality, with my love, but knowing that I am spending this, a third Christmas, with him is wonderful enough. (Having said that, I will always, always look forward to the day when we spend it together, becoming the tying ribbon between two families.)

My family and I have never had a Boxing Day tradition, so today I will spend it tidying the bedroom I have lately neglected. I have new Penguin postcards I want to stick on my wall and books I need to arrange; I have a doll's house I need to place by the wall (thank-you, my love, for the part of a girl's childhood I never received) and clothes, un-ironed, I need to put away. They don't feel like the most festive of tasks, but today, I really couldn't be happier doing them.

These few days are made up of contentment and happiness--and yet there is a swirl of emotion (of reflection, nostalgia and of not taking things for granted) that is dancing, delicately, upon the surface.

(Christmas could not be Christmas without cake. Home-made, iced by hand).

I sure hope you have had a wonderful Christmas wherever you are and throughout whatever pursuits are filling your days.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

a little short-term reminiscing

I just came across these photographs from the summer.

A few little camera finds from an antique shop and a steam engine journey to find them...





shelving


I could not agree more with this little cartoon, and yet-- I am pretty much convinced I have already found mine.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

mapping christmas

I have pretty much finished all my Christmas shopping.

I just have writing, painting and wrapping to do. Oh, and baking (quite a lot of baking). I wish I had had more time and made more effort to give home-made gifts...

This year I feel like I have been a little slack on presents, but I keep reminding myself that everyone will have something under the tree. Perhaps it is because I have restricted myself to useful presents or split the cost between others that a sense of decadence has been lost. I would rather this, though - I would rather the presents I give will last long into the year.*

Yet I keep seeing things...

...like this clever Scratch Map from UO.


*I thought Mandi's Christmas present ideas - and more specifically, sourcing local or antique goods - was wonderful.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

on other people's words

Every so often I will read or hear or find quotations that sum up my day. And usually they do it with more eloquence and more grace than I could ever dream of doing.

Today it is this one.

"If you have ever loved something so much that you ache when it is gone, then you know."
Casey Lefante, Love Letter.*

I guess sometimes it really is that simple.

*Its source can be found here.


Friday, 17 December 2010

Sometimes I like to obsess over shoes a little bit.

Last year it was red boots (and I confess they are something that will probably never leave me).

Right now, it is brogues.


Can be found here.



Thursday, 16 December 2010

friday finds...

...a couple of minutes early.

I seem to have lost track of my days this week.

Here are a few things I have been gazing at on the web lately!

I love the idea of this quilt.

A realistic (and funny) explanation of certain keyboard keys.

101 Photographs taken with the lense detached. What a brilliant little experiment.


I like today's Name It and Win It competition from Modcloth.

*I am a comma, apparently.



it's here

Everything is handed in.

Now I can start enjoying this time of year properly.

And it starts properly tomorrow, with a Christmas dinner with friends (before they leave for a month).

If I owned "Elf", I would be easing it out of its case right now.


Thursday, 9 December 2010

on gertrude stein

This week was the first time I ever truly tried automatic writing.

And I wasn't supposed to be.

When asked to write like Gertrude Stein - with attention not to semantics, but to sound - it was the only method I could find.

And because it was automatic, I am a little less shy about sharing.

Box.

A box is made of the things inside it. No future, only past, pass, passed between times. It is the cave stocked full of prized possessions, memories too endangered to fall, fall, fall out of mind.

Cake.

Nature melted and solidified, shaped and sculptured. It is all taste from one palette and texture from the sun. The comforted dilation of one nostril, a swimming tongue, a tightened tooth. Metallic sounds of a baking tray; tickled heat; diluted. There is expansion and a rise; a swell over a paper casing.

Photograph.

Social interaction is bottled, bunged. A staining of colour undertaken in a darkened room. Why can we not see its immortalisation? Precision reduced to a square frame captured by a sound that clicks and flashes. The senses are blurred, lines crossed, lanes swerved. We do not know what it will see or where we will be when we see it. It is guestimation, a random act of natural kindness.

Pen.

A blue vein, a black bladder. Possibility poised against a paper ledger.

Hammer.

Jerk its movements. Repeat, repeat, repeat into the peat of a wall.

Chair.

It is teak.

Or pine? You don’t know, can’t know, can’t count the rings of the trunk buried in the earth. The earth of our God, your God, my God. The earth of the earth that we both walk upon. Bare feet, two feet, six feet under.

It is brown marbled softly across a skeleton stern with your lazy effort. A posture perfected over years of doing the same thing once, twice, three times. All it sees is different carpet, tile, floor. Its legs break, never under weight, but of age. A snap and a break, splintered like the twig of the branch it birthed from.

~

I probably won't be posting tomorrow simply because I have two essays to write and edit in three days. (And two seminars, under-prepared for).

I hope you have a lovely weekend!


no words

I do not know how to elasticate my words. I do not know how to thicken them.

Nor do I know how to give space when comfort is needed; hold at arms length when cold.

And I cannot stop telling people to see the light at the end of this dark, crowded tunnel when I do not see it myself.

There is cheer, here. I can feel it. I just need to get to it. I just need to do the above things - elasticate, thicken, spread myself thinly - and then relax.

Because next year will hold many more contradictions; little blocks that will be fallen over. And I might stumble into it - just as naive - or I might learn from the mistakes I have laid.

But there will be a smile. A smile at a job tried hard.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

on fancy

This is my unapologetic Christmas list of absolute decadence (and self-confessed impossibility).

1. a publishing deal (and a book fort in which to write in)

(Photograph from Bookshelf Porn).


2. a little winter get-away in a solid wood cabin

(Photograph from Google Images).

3. a collection of vintage cake stands in my very own bakery (and the knowledge to maintain it)

(Photograph from Etsy).

4. a vintage dress like this one (and another wardrobe full of them)

(Photograph from Modcloth).

5. this beautiful wallpaper (and an apartment in which to hang it)

(Photograph from Anthropologie).

But what I would be happier with, above all of these, is the health and happiness of my friends and family. And more than a little hope.

And him, of course. More than anything.





Tuesday, 7 December 2010

achooachooachoo

I am experiencing my first cold of the winter.

It is horrible.


But on the plus side, this looks like the perfect nightshirt to battle those virus-y hot flushes.

How are you today?



on avoidance (part II)

I have still only written three paragraphs (although they are strengthened, embellished, re-ordered).

This makes me a very happy lady.


Monday, 6 December 2010

on avoidance

I promised that I wouldn't allow myself to feel festive until after my assignments are finished.

And yet, with the household Christmas tree up, a Christmas dinner and dance and the annual charity Santa visiting our neighbourhood already over, I have only written two paragraphs of one (of three) essays.

And then, as a sort of last-ditch attempt to motivate myself to cross the literary bridge to the festive season, I watched this.

I will watch it again next week, when all is handed in and work on my Christmas crafts can begin.

...


Friday, 3 December 2010

on samuel richardson

I am struggling to fall in love with Samuel Richardson. Sometimes he is just too wordy (and this is not something I usually dislike).

To cheer myself up a bit (and put off the 2000 words I feel like I will never complete on his letters), I found this.


The rest of the cartoon can be found here.

I sure hope you have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Writing short stories feels much harder than it used to. I cannot find that starting sentence; that springboard; that piston to set the syllables in rhythm.

Naturally, I am procrastinating. (I sometimes think I should disconnect my wireless; the cursor thrives near Google Chrome too often).






I am quite fond of Paper Plane accessories, especially that wash bag.

(Found at Amazon).



booting up

Every so often I head on over to Jessica's style blog and whenever I see her wearing these, I crave them more and more.



They are lovely. I am just not convinced I can pull them off (so to speak) with such a penchant for dresses.


on a bad day

Today I was over-sensitive, under-prepared, naive.

I hadn't yet experienced writing criticism quite so threateningly; I hadn't heard my sentences aloud, in someone else's voice; I hadn't seen the impression that my words gave, the one of cliché and prediction and of not quite making it. And for the few minutes that followed the wrath of critical words and disappointed expression, I didn't know how to react - I didn't know what I was expected to say (do you defend or agree, contest or concede?) or where I was supposed to look.

There was a falter and a deliberation.

Because it wasn't about conceit or arrogance or even pretension. It wasn't about being awarded a higher grade or a worthier compliment, it was simply a case of understanding. Without it, no artist, no academic, no real worker can ever improve.*

So maybe in reading out my sentences, the ones which did not quite flow in a tone of voice which was not quite real, a lesson was forced. Because as much as it stung, scratching at the surface of a pedestalled dream, it showed me just how high and how sought after that very pedestal is.

*Not that I profess to be either one of these.




Wednesday, 1 December 2010

on the 1st of advent

I woke up to this little guy* in my Advent Calendar this morning.



I could not be more excited.

*Sadly the camera I have is not focusing properly (I need a new one, desperately) so this is a stolen photo from the Lindt website.


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

I am thinking about Christmas when I simply shouldn't be.

But these tree decorations are lovely.







Isn't the idea of using textual paper beautiful?

Can be found here, at Anthropologie.


Monday, 29 November 2010

on stylishly typing

When I was little my step-father gave me his typewriter as a birthday present.* Yet a few years later, when my family made the advancement into the technological world, the typewriter got lost, redundant in the face of a computer that sprinted ahead in its processes. Even if its aesthetics - grey, plastic, blocky - are not, now, the ones I admire in such a machine, I so wish that I had kept it.



A couple of days ago I found this typewriter on Etsy. If its (though appropriate) postage was not so high, I would consider it as a future purchase. It is one of the most beautiful things I have seen.

*I used to, even then, write stories. And menus for my pretend-restaurant.



weekend

After seeing a bad film today, my new resolution is to let my love choose what we watch.

...

Or perhaps I just shouldn't judge a film by its poster.


Saturday, 27 November 2010

slushy

These wellies are a little lovely.


Last night, pre-Shakespeare, I watched the snow fall and twinkle in the lights of the city. It felt a little magical.


Thursday, 25 November 2010

on winter (part II)

Today it snowed for the first time this winter.


It was beautiful.

And as much as I moaned at 7.30am this morning about the icy paths and my wet face and the my hands which wouldn't quite work properly, I do love this time of year.

*It is also the earliest snowfall in England for 17 years.

**The picture isn't mine.


on it getting better

This week I found out about the It Gets Better project and it is, perhaps, one of the most fulfilling things I have learned about all week.

I highly, highly recommend watching the following...




And far less orchestrated, but absolutely no less emotive, is Zachary Quinto's message.

Some things truly need talking about. I firmly believe this is one of them.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

repeat

Lately I cannot shake the feeling of deja-vu. I am repeating tasks over and over again that I have already achieved on an unconscious level; I am walking or writing or dancing in scenarios I have already seen. And each time, I am looking for meaning, trying to decipher the reason this is here; the reason I am feeling this way again. Because sometimes it is nice; it is a comfort; it is a breath of warmth on an ordinarily cold day. But other times, times like today, I find myself hoping that it won't happen like this again.


on winter

This is winter.


And I am loving every second of it.


on the weekend

I am so far behind on work right now it is not even funny.

And yet I have had a lovely weekend, spending it with: my love, Harry Potter*, a carousel, a wonderful dinner, like-minded friends, boardgames, afternoon tea, cheesy movies, family, a beautiful lady. Sometimes, just sometimes, it is nice to let the work slip and slide away**.

Who did you spend your weekend with?

This is beautiful, by the way.

(Found here).

*Usually such an anti-fan, this film is truly good.

**I may be regretting it now. I may be freaking out.



Friday, 19 November 2010

friday finds

This week it doesn't feel like my body loves me. I ache in too many places and too few things have been achieved. Yet what has felt like a sombre mood throughout seems to be brightening; feeling, but not blocking out. Essays are becoming an expectation again and the books are getting longer, thicker, more dense. I have photographs I am patiently waiting to scan in (of the summer, of the autumn, of more Diana excursions) and cakes I am expectantly waiting to bake. And something spectacular has started to happen. Somewhere, beneath all the worry and the stress and five-hundred-and-one-things that need doing, I have found myself writing again. So maybe, just maybe, what I think of as non-productive and of as procrastination is being usurped by a more personal victory.

How has your week been?

Because it's Friday and I like to share on Fridays, I highly, highly recommend giving this your attention for the six or so minutes that it runs.


Neat, eh?


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

parisian print


It's true that the print on this dress features The Eiffel Tower.

It's also true that I am a little bit in love with it.



(Courtesy of Modcloth. Surprise, surprise).

on perfection

"One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection."

Chuck Palahniuk, 'Fight Club'*

Maybe little more needs to be said than this - except, perhaps, how true it is.

And yet.

I have been thinking a lot about perfection lately and about the individual ideals we are always striving for. Striving is good; it is healthy. But sometimes I think we all beat ourselves up a little bit if things don't quite make it. And maybe I see this most in relationships and in the little wobbles they encounter.

The other day I read another quote about perfection and about how it is actually the act of looking past the imperfection. The idea stuck with me; made my vortex of appreciation widen a little. I don't know what perfection means - and it doesn't seem like anyone does - but I think this is a good way of looking at it. Because maybe if we notice the imperfections diminish, we have reached it. But maybe this can only be achieved by embracing them in the first place, by nourishing them. Because then we won't find them imperfect; we'll simply find them worth loving.

*Fight Club is amazing. And apparently the book is as good as the film.

Monday, 15 November 2010

on bookshelves

The first thing I usually notice about other people's homes (or offices) is their bookshelf.

I like to see what they are made of and how they are shaped just by the titles that rest atop their lines.


I would be a very, very happy lady if my study ever looked half as pretty as this one.

It's a shame I am not so adept at tidying and keeping trim the room I do have now.

(Photograph courtesy of Bookshelf Porn).


today

Today is a day of a little insecurity; a little doubt that pushes against a skull, distorted by the flurry that follows. And sometimes it takes a while to shift these sorts of days. Especially, like today, when no root exists; no spurt or growth of a germinating seed; no obvious or debilitating crack in a pavement. And I could go on and on and tease out similes - but even these feel too self-conscious today.



Sunday, 14 November 2010

guilty

So maybe I haven't done enough work this weekend or started on the hand-made Christmas presents I said I would and maybe I haven't exercised, properly, in a long, long time.*

But do you know what? Today I stole an hour to sit down with my step-dad and it felt like the best thing in the world. We talked about the war (himself a child of it, a survivor of The Blitz) and about the practical jokes he played on his staff at the bank. It made me happy, as well as sad, at the realisation that whilst I see him every day and help him in the tiniest of ways, I do not speak to him enough; I do not show him the love he deserves or mimic the kindness he offers.

I have many people to thank in the world and he, along with my mother, and with my love, deserves the greatest of it.

*This I cannot excuse. And maybe I say it too often, but this week I will.


on new friends

I have never been a cat person.

Ever.

But, gosh, do I miss this little lady.

She is the one, the first one, that stole my heart.*


We have been friends for a little over a year and from what I hear, she is a little lonely right now.

I sure hope I get to see her next weekend.

*And it's okay, because her owner stole my heart too.


on spontanaeity

Spontaneous baking is my new favourite thing.


Friday, 12 November 2010

friday finds...

I haven't done one of these in a while!

These are a few of my recent internet finds.

This is the kind of celebrity gossip I favour.*

As soon as I heard about it, I was curious to see how this art installation would function. Not so well, apparently.

A clever photography project from last month!

Maybe a tool to make alphabetising books a little easier?

The 'best' optical illusions. Do you agree?

Please tell me your thoughts!

This weekend I will be spending time with my love and eventually getting caught up on some reading. This week my attention is angled towards Woolf's "To The Lighthouse". I know I ask this a lot, but have any of you read it? I am finding it beautiful but nervously so; a statement probably fuelled by my anxiety over an impending presentation...

Have a lovely weekend!

*And maybe it strengthens my stance on keeping the oceans tidy.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

on needing help

I need your help.

For Christmas this year, I am planning to make my second family a Christmas cake (sponge instead of fruit but similarly festive) but someone suggested that I add to this and make a sort of hamper out of it - basically bake 'til my heart is content.*

If you were receiving a family hamper (parents and adult children), what would you like to see inside?

*And with hopefully fewer catastrophes than the Hallow'een Extravaganza I tried a few weeks ago. I sometimes forget that not everyone has the stomach for the cake-to-icing ratio that I favour. I sure love baking, though!


on facebook revelations

Usually Facebook is the place for a kind of (not all that important, but important to you) social back-biting. But today things have escalated and it has become the place for political tension.

Yesterday a student protest* ended in a riot (and perhaps I use the term 'riot' loosely) which ended in a perpetuation of the student stereotype. It wasn't big, it wasn't clever and, most of all, it has not helped our cause. But Facebook has become the place for people to vent their anger; to allege themselves to the cause or to detach themselves completely, either in apathy, in dejected disbelief or in understanding of the government. No longer are we placing in view our social standings - our lists of friends, our photographic memories, our marital statuses - but now we are also shouting to the world our political viewpoint. And as to this, I am in two minds. I am all for debate and a polite battling of opinions, but I am not sure Facebook, often rowdy, is the facility for this.

*In England the subject of university tuition fees is always, always hit with contention. In our last General Election, the Liberal Democrat candidate (now half the coalition government) signed and promised a pledge to 'cap' tuition fees. This gave students and prospective students hope which, because of increasingly large applicant numbers and an impending deficit, has been dashed. Perhaps students wouldn't be quite so angry if they thought they got their money's worth of academic contact at the price of university now. Yesterday's demo - or 'demolition' as the Student Union dubbed it - was a fairly peaceful protest until a few ruined it in a rowdy handling of Government property.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

on reading week

It is reading week and I have done no reading. But the essays have been handed in (in the clumsiest, most disorganised way) and that is all that seems to count.

Today I saw a puppy chase his own tail and I got rained on, twice, whilst waiting for a train. It was a good day.

I should be spending tomorrow, with my love, by the cold, wintry sea.

And, most likely, I will continue to obsess over Christmas.


(From my first Diana roll).



Monday, 8 November 2010

confession

Today I have a little confession to make.

I am an English Literature undergrad incapable of writing a good essay. I cannot connect my points in the clever, coherent way I dreamed of. I cannot propose interesting and engaging points without faltering a little, without taking my reader on a wild goose chase.

Sometimes, quite often actually, I do not feel like I deserve my university place. Give it to someone else, I want to say. Someone who does not procrastinate, who cites as she writes and gets excited by whatever text she is handling.*

Sometimes my writing feels a little sloppy, a little uneducated, a little like a child's in an academic world.

And do you know what sucks? Grades count from now on. They do.

*Sometimes I get excited. Quite often, in fact. Then I execute it poorly and do not do it justice. Sometimes I am a little offender to the literary world.


autumn dressing

This is a pretty little dress for autumn.



(Courtesy of Modcloth. I plug it so much you'd think I worked there. I don't, sadly).

bonfire weekend

A third of my weekend comprised of this: fireworks, cake, pink bubbles, laughter, eye-glasses, rain, very loud piano.

A third comprised of this: wet autumn leaves, charity shops, vintage dresses, tea, first date mimicry, almost getting on the wrong train home, The Social Network.

The final third was made up of an essay, still unfinished. I better crack on with it then.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

on the planet

Twenty or so minutes ago, I finished watching a documentary on The Gulf of Mexico oil spill and realised that the phrase "lost in thought" has never had such poignancy. Because I am just that; I am thoughtful, now, but I am lost inside those very thoughts. The complexities of the issue are astounding; the hypocrisy, the sorrow, the expectancy, the rueful hope. Throughout it, I found myself empathising and agreeing with the delicately oppositional points of both presenters: the one who frustratedly named BP the greatest villains and the other who reasoned that they are actually doing their best. Yet it is the crab fisherman who said BP weren't to blame that first stole my heart. Because he is right. I am to blame, you are to blame, him and her and him and her and her and him are all to blame. Because everyday we use that oil in some shape or form. We did not set fire to the rig or forcibly spread the oil across the ocean, but we facilitate it. Our very demand is what caused it and our very demand is what caused the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to still be felt today. And yet we are so far stuck in a rut of using oil (or coal, or gas for that matter) that we do not yet know the way out or the way to change. It is no exaggeration to say that our lives are, at the moment, dependant upon it. And yet we can very legitimately sit and criticise BP for their dealings with it; we can say that they shouldn't drill where they don't have the measures to protect against its failings, and we can say that they shouldn't be the capitalist predators that they are. But until we change it, until we are strong enough to recognise and alter our behaviour and fund our future in another way, we are just as much to blame as they are, albeit in a slightly different way.

Our planet is beautiful and often, very often, I do not believe we deserve everything it has given us.

bear


(Necklace can be found here).

I maybe only like this as much as I do because bears are my favourite animal. And yet I thought sharing couldn't do any harm.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!


on failing a little*

Right now I fail at the essays I have to write and the books I have to read. I fail at relaxing, taking my time and enjoying the rush. I fail at drawing, at crafting, at writing. I fail at buying enough vintage and at the same time, saving enough money. I fail at waking up early enough or saying no to an afternoon nap. I fail at planning ahead and keeping cool. I fail at returning library books on time and not bending the spines. I fail at swimming, at running, at working out. I fail at being the perfect daughter, sister, girlfriend, student. I fail at giving enough back and enough away. I fail at combing my hair and colour co-ordinating.

I also fail at sticking to a healthy eating plan because now, right now, all I really want is one of these.

(Recipe can be found here).

*In total contrast to my previous post.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

on learning a little

During the past few weeks, I feel I have learned a lot.

I have learned that as much as I think I work hard, there is always another inch to give. I have learned how to develop photos in the dark-room and simply how to let things go. I have learned that I can cope on my own but that I am much healthier, much happier, much more content with my love in my life. I have learned how to enjoy reading poetry aloud and how to get caught up in its rhythm.* I have learned how to make my own fondant, and that whilst it isn't that hard to do, it does not have the edge that the pre-packaged world gives birth to. I have learned how making conversation improves train-journeys and that a little politeness and a little thought cracks the toughest cookie. I have learned that standing up straight hurts, but that there is fun to be had from a successful spin-turn. I have learned that I lean, intrigued, towards feminist literature and that modernism (of the literary kind) is the perfect combination of the baffling and the inspiring.**

But I guess what I really have been learning is that life is just a path of little victories, built up and shaped over time.

What have you been learning lately?

*I think reading aloud is the only way to find Alexander Pope bearable.
**At least, these are my literary views today. Expect change tomorrow. I do.



simple pleasures

I like watching people put lights on their Christmas trees.*

*And yes, it feels early. But I love that.


Monday, 1 November 2010

letter

I am in the mood for writing love letters.

This stationery is divine!


simple pleasures


I have recently started to fill a baby Moleskine with the things I see that make me smile. Some days the melancholic veins in my body pump most of the blood; I don't see the good things or the cute things or the world's greatest virtues. And it's funny because as much as I talk of opening my eyes more, I am still guilty of not doing it enough.

So maybe I'll start recounting them more.

And I'll start with how the other day, as I walked home, I saw a businessman, stiff in his suit, deliberately alter his path to step in a pile of leaves. And how that was the sign of autumn.*

*Or is it winter now? I can never tell where the seasons differentiate. It still feels like autumn.
Happy November!



Friday, 29 October 2010

red



I have an exaggerated passion for red clothes.

This dress is clearly a manifestation of need. (So the woman inside me says, at least).


a week long update

This was the week I discovered the beauty of the library.

Don't get me wrong, I have always used it, but I have rarely found solace in it. This week I did. Every day after class I have gone there to crane over desks with a sort of studious enthusiasm. I have admired its silence in a way I never could before; where it used to impose, it soothes. And the funny, stupid, ridiculous thing is that after all that work I still am no closer to completing my deadlines. My mind feels claustrophobic with too many quotations that are not my own, merely embellishments to much wider ideas. I feel jealous of those that have spoken first.

But today was Friday, so things felt relaxed a little. I learned how to use a dark room and develop photographs; I bought a vintage dress from a campus stall; I jumped and sauntered through autumn leaves discarded to the ground by their maternal veins...

...and I resolved that I will write that essay tomorrow.


Monday, 25 October 2010

oxygen


On Sunday I crawled into a sleeping bag, on a friend's floor, at 6am. I still feel like I am catching up on lost sleep. It is as prevalent as I feel the continual pull of catching up on slowly progressed work.

But this is another week and new things are to be done (and new obsessions are to claw at my attention).

What are your plans for this week?


Friday, 22 October 2010

confession

I have a confession.*

Perhaps the pain in my stomach is self-inflicted and not in the anxious way I thought it was. Perhaps it just hurts from too much holding in; too much time trying to perfect the perfect posture; the svelte one, the tall one, the tiny-cinched-in-waist-and-not-rotund-one. Perhaps I am guilty of this.

And perhaps I am just a typical woman.

*Actually, I have many.



friday's finds

I am pleasantly surprised at how cold it has suddenly become.

I love autumn/winter/spring.

[This is me last Spring. I (almost) rock the panda hat]

I am having a slow web week so here are just a few finds on Friday.

I love this book clock!

This photography experiment is such a wonderful idea and some of its results are amazing.

These baby blankets are beautiful!

Sadly, that is all.

I am part-way through planning an essay on Moll Flanders* and feminism. Slow, slow progress.

I hope everyone is having a lovely day.

*By far one of the better books on my Eighteenth Century reading list. And possibly one of the very few I confess I will actually finish.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

tea for one

I am a sucker for teacups, saucers, and anything remotely related to the idea of tea parties. (I frankly wish I had the time for more of my own). So, naturally, I am a sucker for these beautiful necklaces I came across on Etsy.










on feeling sorry for yourself

I get sick a lot. I get migraines and stomach-aches and easily pick up colds. And this week I am not feeling very well (it is the middle one).

Predictably, I now feel out of any social or academic loops. My motivation seems tainted, now, as if in providing a little less than perfect attendance, I am working a lot less hard. And yet I feel like I am doing the same amount of work. I feel a bit of a bad friend and a bit of a rubbish student and a bit like all the inspiring things I am feeling and thinking about are not being used in the right way; they are not being practised in the right domain. I should be stronger. I should be as strong as the thousands of other people who, unwell, get up and go about their lives in a very ordinary way. And yet it feels like a brick (the one that would allow me to do that) is missing.

I know that in a few days I will be back on track and I will be writing essays and I will be finishing books. And yet now, right now, my axis feels a little bit tilted.

Today, I am the meaning of feeling sorry for yourself.