Thursday, 31 March 2011

advice, please?

I am in a work related predicament. I am almost out of a job. Almost---so few hours can be handed to me, right now. And, well, I have seen pretty much the same job advertised again---that is: a job that involves the same sorts of things, but for a different, competitive company. And it is that, that competition, that means I very almost don't have a job. So what do I do? Do I apply, possibly deserting just before the end? Or do I wait? Wait a little longer until I see something else?*

*See something else in the long string of jobs that are simply few and far between. I am a student looking for out-of-semester work at exactly the same time as other students.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

entire act of sorrow

I haven't done the work I intended to do tonight, too wrapped up in listening and watching and reeling the beauty of performance poetry. It is quickly becoming one of my favourite types of writing---so perfectly timed, so poised and collected in words.

This is the saddest thing I have heard and it is something I listen to quite frequently---there is so much beauty in his sincerity.

what i like to watch

The other day the lovely Kaylia passed on an award for having one lovely blog. (And my, is she wonderful---please check her out. She has such an inspiring optimism towards life---but so honestly, too).

Inspired by her post about it, I, too, am going to share seven of my favourite films. (In no particular order).

(All sourced from IMDB).

(Jules Et Jim, Napoleon Dynamite, Amelie, (500) Days Of Summer, The Bridge To Terabithia, Kiki's Delivery Service and Wall-e).

They do, of course, always change. Some days I see more in them than others---but I will always, always find a way to argue for their merit.

What are your favourites?

on planning

This week I feel a little overwhelmed about the lists of things I am making---the things I want someday to do but put off and off and off. Because when the time comes to actually do them, I have rendered them impossible: put too much hope into the wrong thing or simply doubted it too much. See, right now I am willing the end of term---willing the lines to be written for me and the few, final words listened to. But in a months' time I will wish it back again, wanting to be swept under a tide of prescribed reading and the growth of inspiration. It is an awkward place, this. This not quite knowing what you are doing or quite where you want to go---this not knowing who to ask for advice about the future, or which path you want to make the first tentative steps towards. There is some opportunity at every avenue---you can see that. Sometimes it is a lack of courage that pushes you towards one and pulls you from another---other times it is misplaced certainty where the passion ought to be.

Some days I want to teach---but most days, most days I really want to write (and bake---I have dreams for that one, too). It is getting there that is a little harder---and getting to any of it, I mean. Last week I attempted it---sent off for an opportunity that I tried so desperately to kid myself out of wanting, but I did, you know, I did---and it was to no avail. Maybe that is the reason for my crisis of confidence, this week. But d'you know what? I'll wait. I'll wait until I am thirsty for it again, and the opportunity is back---and then, then I'll keep on trying.

Because that's all anyone can do, isn't it?

Monday, 28 March 2011

on sharing

This week hasn't started in the greatest of ways---just little, unfavoured things that have edged their way into expectations, tainting or dulling their colour. But where there are days remaining, there are chances to recover, to turn bad omens into better things.

This evening I discovered Pinterest---a sort of virtual pinboard. (Although you probably already know; I am always a little late in the discovery of new things). But with that discovery, came this one.

I had never considered doubling a staircase as a bookshelf.

(More pictures of the same thing can be found here).

Don't worry, I will probably blog about a lot of the things I find!

just to let you know...

...I am a little bit smitten with Mad Men. Yet I can't put my finger on exactly why that is.

Is anybody else watching it/given up watching it? I'd love to know your thoughts.

Saturday, 26 March 2011


This is sadness and beauty holding hands.

"If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same."


I am growing increasingly fond of Topshop's midi-length---mini-skirts and maxi-skirts have been around for far too long.

(All of these can be found at Topshop).

Friday, 25 March 2011

i'd like to, please

I guess you could say I am hoping for a lot, lately. (But don't get me wrong: this doesn't mean that I am not happy where I am right now. It doesn't mean that I don't appreciate my luck and health and contentment---because I do. Especially tonight---tonight of all nights).

Hope #3.

To go on a road-trip---a long one. But because I cannot decide which I would like better---American, or European?---I would like to take both. I would like the freedom but the security---the security to know that if I needed it, I could have my own metal shell of a home right there and then. I'd like to listen to music the whole way and talk to my love about life. I like road-trips---I always have.*

*I realise I need to learn to drive first. I am quite, quite, quite aware of that.

(The post itself is inspired by this blog and the photo---isn't it absolutely wonderful?---is from here).


If I have gained anything from this week it is time and opportunity. Yet I can't guarantee that the time won't be stolen from me again or that the opportunities, few and far between, will pan out quite the way I hope. But the tidings are there---the thought that they might. And that, in itself, feels synonymous with growth.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

we call it hope

I am trying, desperately, to get used to this thing called change---trying, desperately, to understand that a little change, in opportunities and habits and even, sometimes, in friends---might even be the better thing. So it might mean not seeing a good friend for a long time---or it might mean facing a fear. But throughout every change there is the same, vibrant strand running through, stitched so hard you can't quite pull it out---there is hope. These changes, every one of them, are all shrouded in it. And what is better than that? The understanding that these changes, these hopeful changes, all happen in the pursuit of something else---happiness.

one life

"It's one life and it's this life and it's beautiful."

I can't stop listening to this song. (Although I confess, I am more than a little bit scared by the video).

Hard Believer, First Aid Kit.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

i'd like to, please

Hopes. #2

To return to Paris. To walk the streets at night in the heat and in the beauty of the summer. To visit museums and bookshops and galleries. To have that holiday from two summers ago---but better, and improved upon---discovering all the things we didn't quite get to see.

Soon, please. I'd like that.

(Inspired by Someday Hopes---but the photo is from here).

touch of the hand

I can't lie anymore. Sometimes, just sometimes, I judge books by how they feel.

And yet, I like books of all feelings---of all shapes, of all sizes, of all page-consistencies. I couldn't possibly describe how they are supposed to feel, the boxes they must tick before I nestle them beside each-other on a shelf---or better yet, nestle them in the space between my thumbs. Some books, they just feel right. They feel nice to hold---not too big---and nice to thumb through---pages just the right thickness, just the right amount of pulp. It doesn't matter if they are second-hand---sometimes that's better, that smell of old-age wealth and wisdom. It doesn't matter if they are hard-back, either---although they only usually catch my eye if they are adorned, nicely, with a gilt cover.

But Penguin's Popular Classics (in green) are some of my favourites right now. They tick all the boxes---and they fit my student budget (although I probably never properly budget, not when it comes to books).

(Find them at Amazon).

And that last one, The Portrait Of A Lady, is the one I'm reading now.

What are you reading, right now?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

alice (II)

I seem to be fascinated by book related accessories, lately. I think these Alice-inspired necklaces are lovely---and as an amateur baker, I love the idea that exactly what you get inside isn't known until you are sent it.

(All seen at Modcloth).

I hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

I have almost achieved all that I needed to today---but I might have had a little bit of a baking disaster.

friday finds...

...on Saturday.

Because of For Japan With Love yesterday, I didn't get a chance to post a couple of things from around the web this week.

The Top 30 Literary Chat-up Lines.

I can't quite make up my mind if I like these or not: Real-Life Disney Portraits.

The saddest story I have read.

Favourite Lego Writers.

I am spending this weekend reading Hamlet and writing an essay---an essay which needs to be handed in a week earlier than I thought. I am such a clumsy organiser, sometimes.

What are you up to this weekend?

i'd like to, please

I believe a lot in hopes, dreams and spending every day in striving for them. They don't have to be big---they simply have to make you happy.

I am always inspired by this wonderful blog, and (with a conscious effort not to plagiarise) I thought it might be fun to periodically share a few of my hopes---because I clearly don't do that enough.

So. Hope #1.*

I hope one day to have a dine-in-library. A big, oak eating table surrounded by a dark brood of shelves. And I want them to be full of the books that have stolen my heart---those books that truly mean something and the books that have taught me the most about life. I want to host dinner parties in their company---the perfect talking point for no-doubt like-minded friends.

But most of all, I want mine to rest beside his.

(Image courtesy of Habitually Chic).

*In no particular order. Just hopes for when the mood strikes.

flowering buds

Here are a few photographs of my progression as a cake decorator---or as I think of it, the steps to reaching the role of premature housewife.

It may not be essays or criticism or close-reading of a scene, but I sure feel like I have achieved something this week.

for japan, with love

I have had a few days away from the computer---not a holiday, by any means, just too many things to do---and only found out about this yesterday---the day the actual silence happened.

So I didn't post or comment or tweet yesterday. I just stayed silent for a little longer.

A week on, Japan is still in my thoughts---as I continue to empty my pockets of change into every related receptacle I see.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

other's wisom

"Perhaps we don’t like what we see: our hips, our loss of hair, our shoe size, our dimples, our knuckles too big, our eating habits, our disposition. We have disclosed these things in secret, likes and dislikes, behind doors with locks, our lonely rooms, our messy desks, our empty hearts, our sudden bursts of energy, our sudden bouts of depression. Don’t worry. Put away your mirrors and your beauty magazines and your books on tape. There is someone right here who knows you more than you do, who is making room on the couch, who is fixing a meal, who is putting on your favorite record, who is listening intently to what you have to say, who is standing there with you, face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye, mouth to mouth. There is no space left uncovered. This is where you belong." - Sufjan Stevens

Are there wiser words on love?

Monday, 14 March 2011


I haven't felt very well the last couple of days---my limbs have ached, my throat has constricted and I have had a headache like I have never quite felt before.

Needless to say, I haven't done very much of the reading or the writing I have needed to do.

But I found this Alice-In-Wonderland inspired photograph and it has made me long (more) for long, summer evenings.

I hope you are having a healthy and happy Monday.


When he can't be here to sleep on his side of the bed, I fill it with another (lesser) love - literature.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

on a bravery...

...that warmed my heart.

I just came across this video.

One day, I want to be brave enough to do something similar.

What a beautiful thing to do.

summing up (how other people do)

I like quotations.

I like them a lot.

Especially when I come across one which is absolute perfection in summing up my thoughts on the stage I am at in life.

And Anais Nin has done it. (And one day I will read it contextually, not just find it online).

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

I guess you could say that this has been my story for the last six months or so. But I don't want it to be my story for the rest of my life---the one where I take the more painful risk; the one where I shelter or brace myself against the safety of only the things I know.

I am glad I have found the words for it---soon I will formulate them into my own.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, 11 March 2011

friday finds...

This week has ended with compassion and with thought for a fallen country. I have heard many people remark on the almost lacklustre effect prayer or thought can have when financial or medicinal aid is so desperately sought. Yet I am not of that belief. I believe that as much as that is needed---and it truly is---thought and prayer is almost just as necessary: it seals the Earth's cracks and settles its souls. I am not of an organised religion---and I hope that isn't too contentious a remark to write so publicly---but I will be spending much of tonight praying---on my own terms, in my own way---for those affected by the Japanese earthquake/tsunami.

Here are a few---incomparably trivial things---from around this week.

I have been listening to this song and this song a lot.

A thought-provoking article on the way the media portrays a sensitive subject.

Nickelodeon appeals to my nature as a '90s child (who spent a lot of time watching American television---and often references such too often in everyday life).

A clever little thing on publishing and its future.

A collection of musical theatre stamps!

I am crossing my fingers for many things this weekend---and am especially hoping for the health of the world.


on progress (a little at a time)

Last night I exercised some (premature) house-wifely tendencies. I went to a baking class. Or rather, a cake-decorating class. And in a task that probably shouldn't have made me nervous---because I chose to go, because I enjoy it, because it is something I have always wanted to learn---I still was. But---minus the cracked fondant, the air-bubble and my own awkward clumsiness---it was fun. And I learned a lot---and that, that progress is all I really wanted.

It felt a little strange to take a class in something hands on. I am not used to that, really, having moulded the last five or so years around more theoretic things. (Although, I confess, I've never really been that good with my hands---probably why my choices have been the choices they are: book-based).

But I'll go again next week. And then I'll just see what happens---you never know, I might have a (pretty) cake to show you.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

other people's words

A few sentences on the romance of reading.

"Your head is empty, he continued, the hours slip away. From your chair you wander through the countries of your mind, and your thoughts, threading themselves into the fiction, play about with details or rush along the track of the plot. You melt into the characters; it seems as if your own heart is beating under their skin." - Flaubert, Madame Bovary.

realise vs. actualise

Today I realised that a little self-belief can go a long way towards making a day feel better---and maybe a week, then maybe a month, then maybe a life-time (even if I cannot, and do not, profess to be very good at maintaining it).

I also realised that I really, really would rather like to return to here.

(Paris, from the steps of La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. Taken a little more than two years ago).

In fact, it doesn't even have to be Paris---just somewhere French.

Oh, and that manners - real manners, chivalry and all - should never, ever die out. Please.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

on stepping (cautiously)

The people around me are planning; they are signing up to courses or filling in forms or getting work experience. They are going further, carving the foundations of a life they want to lead.

And me? Well, today I have an urge to write---I have an urge to choreograph moments in the only dance I really know: words. But tomorrow? Well, I may not. I guess you could say I am not quite there, yet---to knowing what I want to do*. But I know that I love writing---and that at some point, I want to teach. I know that I want to travel---and that at some point, I want a family. I know that as much as I worry and fret and deliberate over the future---over the things that probably won't happen and the things I really, really fear---that the little steps are just as important. And maybe this not-knowing, this uncertainty will make the knowing, the certainty all that more richer.

So I'll keep making the plans for the future---the baby-steps, the short-term dates--- and like yesterday, I'll keep collecting victories. They just might help.

*So I may not know what I want to do---but I know who I want to do it with. It is with him, every single time. (And I am almost sorry for that saccharine truth?)

**And, as an aside, Happy International Women's Day!

Monday, 7 March 2011

pretty little wrists

Is it terribly superficial of me to say that I am a little smitten over this bracelet*? I don't mean in love---no, not that---just smitten. It is a thing of whimsy, you see, and a little collection of the things I like. Only, immortalised in miniature. And it's a little tacky, too. I like it. And if I was into buying things right now---into buying new things that I don't really need---I probably would. The fact that I'm not doesn't mean I can't look at it, though.

(Courtesy of Accessorize).

*Does anybody know a sure-fire way of securing charms? I have a charm bracelet that my mother gave me but I am always, always too scared to wear it. I'd like to get it out again.

on little victories (or big ones)

So I have a few things coming up---and some of them I am excited about and some of them I am nervous about and some of them I am simply, simply scared about (in equal measure). And I suppose I am being really rather cryptic about them---keeping them close to my chest to guard: the insecurities, the hopes (and I am sorry for that. It seems a little silly, doesn't it? To give a shadow of a life and to only allude to its detail?) But the thing is---and this is probably quite a big thing, something worth mentioning---most of the things, exciting or nerve-racking, aren't even terribly big. They are just things. Things needed or wanted or things that just happen in due-course. But that doesn't take away their impact, really. That is something I hate about the world, about the way experiences are so often compared so insensitively. Because what is important to one, what requires bravery and determination and grit, may be a little yawn or a stretch or a step to another. What is important is that that person, in turn, finds something that challenges them---something that is persevered with, over time, or executed in one go, in one courageous jump. The same goes for the effects of other people's tasks---the choices and the routes other people make in life, the things that we are included in (or not included in) that mould and shape our life experiences---the things we endure and smile through not out of choice but out of love, where the simplest of things can be the tiniest of events or the scariest and the darkest of ordeals. That, right there, is humanity---the curve of difference in us all.

So these things, these things that I envision on my horizons, are requiring bravery---my bravery. And they will, one day soon, be victories---my victories. And if they're not? Well, they will be my failures, too---something to learn from and to clean up, soon to be tested as victories all over again.


This is what today looked like.

It was a spring walk from seaside village to seaside village.

And a few too many cups of tea along the way.

*Can you see the gravel bird?

Friday, 4 March 2011

baking in march

The other day I missed my train and to remedy the hour extra I spent waiting in the cold---train stations are so cold---I bought a lemon and poppy seed muffin. It seemed the only choice that wasn't chocolate and I was trying, desperately, to be at least a little better with my choices.

Pleased with the taste, the texture, the little refreshment, tonight I tried to whip up a batch of my own.

There's only one photo, taken in horrifically yellow light (I need to start baking in the afternoon, not the evening), but I just wanted to keep chronicling the new recipes I try. This is probably my least favourite, so far, because the sponge was a little too heavy and a little too dense. But the flavour? I like the lemon-zing a lot. (Which is funny because I am not big on my lemon desserts despite loving lemons themselves---I will pull faces when I eat them, though. That's a given).

The down-side to baking, still, is my relentless belief that I have to be the judge of its success.


In other news, I am hopeful for a productive, yet loving, weekend---for you and for me. I have Twelfth Night to read in its entirety before entertaining a little bit of Flaubert (hello, Madame Bovary)...

...and on the topic of literature, I really, really wish I could be a part of Meg's book-club.

Take care!

on restoration

Maybe it was the mental fog I fell asleep with last night that made today so much better---the comparison between shades of emotion in the shades of the Earth's light. But today really was a good day---today really felt like spring.

(And I found my hat. I couldn't be happier or more grateful to the coffee-shop assistant for that).

Thursday, 3 March 2011

summer's past

This was taken in a 1940s Blackpool. How beautiful are those dresses?

And it may be a little premature, but it makes me think of the summer---I hope it will be a summer to remember. I hope, I hope, I hope.

(Actual image found here).


I am not very good at this thing, this thing called putting things into perspective. I simply cannot shake my head of the fears---the silhouettes of sounds other people make---the things that worm their way into my unconscious, that push and stretch the idea of reality. But there is truth in them, somewhere---a little dash of possibility that things could happen like that. I hope an infinite amount of hope---of counteraction, of willing them not to be---will work. I hope that there is karma in the world---that good deeds and good people are rewarded, allowed to thrive.

I am crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

three first words

I am interested. What three words do you see first?

(Found via B-Splendid).

Mine were: fool, leave, door.

I wonder what it means.

the skies, the skies

I like this 3-dimensional paper art.

(Found at this Etsy shop).

a little grumpy

Today wasn't a particularly good day---and I wish I wasn't going to list all of the things which became wrong with it---but I am. (And I am sorry---but it might make me feel the slightest bit better).

None of the photographs I attempted to develop myself worked out. Something small went wrong at every single stage. But it was a learning curve and I guess I can take something from that.

I was on a bus which hit a tree which caused the top deck window to smash in. (I was on the bottom, thankfully, but felt so terrible for the lady who had to shake her hood free of glass and nurse a cut and bleeding hand). The driver continued driving and stopped, a little later, to push out the rest of the window---it fell into the street; it narrowly missed a man.

And perhaps something that I am a little sadder about---okay, okay, I am grumpy about---is that I lost my hat. My favourite hat. My beautiful-shade-of-green-Parisian-beret-hat. It isn't at the cinema and wasn't on the floor of the coffee-shop. So maybe it is lying in the street somewhere---although I am sure I re-traced every step, placed my foot in every print---or maybe it has blown away in the wind. Maybe it's just on someone else's head---finders keepers, really. It probably wouldn't hurt so much if it wasn't really from Paris, from the first holiday I took with my love.

Those are the things that went wrong with my day---but there was redemption in nice conversation with friends---I just wish losing my hat hadn't happened so late in the day, to taint it all. It sounds so materialistic, doesn't it? But really, it is the sentiment and the memories attached to it that made that hat so special.

I am sorry for ranting.