Thursday, 30 December 2010


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.


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...


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... 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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.