F*ck you, 2011!

If I'm brutally honest, 2011 has, on the whole, sucked ass and I'm massively looking forward to waving it goodbye.

However, in the spirit of thinking positively and moving on, I'm going to end the year by reflecting on the good things that happened this year (trust me, I had to rack my brains...).

Here goes:
  1. I feel very privileged to have met lots of very interesting people, and four of them have become very good friends, all of whom understand exactly what I've been through, because they have been through it too.
  2. Several people who I regarded as 'work friends' have proven themselves to be very good friends indeed. They've seen me at my worst and made huge efforts to help me. This has been incredibly touching.
  3. I have a lot of material that is going to make it into my novel, and I started going to a creative writing group.
  4. I am finally getting professional help that is working for me.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Seriously, what is the point of... Hollister?

I went to Westfield (Stratford City) yesterday and I was pretty impressed. I liked the set up, it was really close to the station, and there was a nice mixture of cheap and more 'high end' (well, for the high street) shops. I went a bit mad in Forever 21, but I'll save that for another post.

Anyway.

What is the point of Hollister? People were queuing behind a velvet rope to get inside. As if it's a privilege for them to spend their hard-earned cash (or, more likely, their parents' hard-earned cash) in there.

Also, you couldn't actually see inside the shop. And, at the risk of sounding like my Gran, it sounded like a nightclub inside (and not even the kind of club I'd want to go into).

Seriously, whyyyyyyyyyyy? There is no need.

P.S. I'm pretty much programmed to resist anything overly 'cool', which may explain the strength of my hatred for Hollister, I make no apologies for this.

Follow Fursday

For a long time now I've been following...
A Cup Of Jo

This one fits neatly into the 'lifestyle' category. It's not really typical of the kind of blogs I follow; it's sometimes a bit twee (surely no-one is really that cheery all the time?), and her taste is definitely a bit more girly than mine. But... it's very well written, and you can't really help but get sucked into Joanna's world.

Life doesn't always have to be doom, gloom and gritty realism; sometimes it's just nice to look at pictures of pretty things.

System addict?

I got back from my Mother-in-law's house yesterday and breathed a massive sigh of relief. Did Christmas make her turn into a monster? Was I unable to sleep properly in her house? Was I fed up of being surrounded by my extended family?

Nope, none of the above. So what made me so happy to get home..?

Her broadband had been down. For five whole days.

I swear I started to experience withdrawal symptoms. Every time I felt the need to check a fact, or find out if anyone had left me a comment, or have a quick look at the online sales, a feeling of panic started to creep over me.

I always knew that I loved the internet, but now I'm wondering if I need it. Is this unhealthy? Don't get me wrong, I do socialise with real people too, but my downtime pretty much revolves around lovely, limitless internet. Oh, and TV. Don't even get me started on my love of TV...

Blogger Secret Santa.

Here's the earrings I got from my blogger secret Santa; I love the fact that the bird motif continues! Thank you to Char for organising, and sorry for the dodgy photo quality. A new phone is due, I think!

Look what I made!

Here's the mini-patchwork quilt I made for my brand new(ish) nephew for Christmas. I'm pretty pleased with it, despite the slightly wonky edges/corners!



IT'S CHRRRRRRRRIIIIISSSTTTTMAAAAAASSSSSS!

To mark the occasion, I present you with a picture of our tiny tree, complete with wonky star. And, in case you're wondering, that's 'The Only Way Is Essexmas' on the TV in the background. Festive, non?

Now get off the internet and eat some more turkey/vegetarian alternative. Christmas (dinner) comes but once a year.

Happy Christmas xx

A little experiment.

What do you think? I reckon I could have done more blue, still I guess it's better to have done too little than too much...

p.s. IT'S CHRISTMAS TOMORROW! EEEEEEEEP!

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got cheese in my tummy.

Check out my pear and Stilton baguette. It was totes amaze, like.

Follow Fursday

This week's blog isn't exactly a hidden gem. In fact, if you're not already following it, then where the hell have you been for the last 4 or so years? Anyway, on the off chance that you haven't heard of it, I need to make sure you know about...

PostSecret
(For some reason the link isn't working, but the address is www.postsecret.com.)

People's secrets. On postcards. Updated every Sunday.

Sad. Happy. Heart-wrenching. Heart-lifting. Cathartic. Scandalous. Joyful.

Simple.

Utterly, utterly brilliant.

All I want for Christmas is you! (But these presents were also nice.)

Here's my pick of the best pressies from my fake Christmas with my uni friends:

Fancy shower gel, and Cath Kidston bath melts. Because I like to smell good.

A spotty pen. Because I like patterns and I love stationary.

An awesome sewing kit. Because I like to make stuff.

A pineapple bag! Because I need to carry stuff, and I like fruit.

Owl hairpins. Because I like birds, and I have hair.

Pocket Scrabble. Because I like word games, and productivity is overrated.

A sperm keyring. Because... Well, just because, really.

My new favourite necklace.

Continues the bird motif nicely, I think.

Busy bee.

I am a busy bee. I thought that the Christmas holidays would bring me hours of lovely leisure time (one of the perks of working in a school), but so far that has definitely not been the case. But I'm still here and I promise I'll give the blog some attention.

Tomorrow.

Three things I learned this week from Sweet Valley High books.

  1. "It can seem really tempting to turn to drugs to escape...but it isn't the answer. It never is."
  2. "Say no to drugs."
  3. "Rich people aren't like other people, they hide their real feelings and pretend everything's OK."

Fair enough, like.

Follow Fursday

Firstly, sorry for being a bit of a lazy blogger this week. Will try harder next week, I promise.

Secondly, you should check out:
being little

I really, really like Lyzi's blog; it's very sweet, and just generally well-written. It's a mixtures of beautifully photographed outfit posts, crafty makes, days out, drawings and artist profiles. And she's from the West Country (like me, originally). And also I really like the dip dyed blue/green bit in her hair.

In pictures: Family fake Christmas, or, how I totally rocked my festive onesie.




WAMK: Seriously, how do I stop eating?

The gym going is going well; three times this week and managed to do a bit extra on top of my usual circuit.

The eating is relentless (see title). But, seriously, how? The only solution I can think of is to fill my fridge with celery so that's all I can snack on. I don't want to starve myself, I just want to be able to stop at three meals a day.

I figure I'll have to wait until January before I can really start to tackle this. I don't want to be stick thin, I just want to be a 10-12 rather than a 12-14. Is that too much to ask?

Seriously, how do you stop eating?

Follow Fursday

Today I'm recommending that you jog on over to...


Run by four lovely ladies who all have their own individual weight loss/fitness targets, the blog contains weekly updates on their progress, low fat recipes, exercise tips and guest posts from other bloggers with personal weight loss/fitness-related stories to tell.

It also has a page dedicated to pledgers, readers who have pledged to join in and try to achieve their own goals. As a wamker myself, my pledge is to exercise three times a week.

Somehow it's easier knowing that other people are battling through the food and exercise gauntlet too.

Achievment anxiety.

I read an article in Grazia last week about 'achievement anxiety' and it struck one hell of a chord with me. It basically summed up the feeling you hear about other people's (especially if those people are younger than you) achievements and it actually makes you feel a bit nauseous.

Reading the article made me breathe a massive sigh of relief; I. AM. NOT. ALONE.

Last year I did an evening class, and got chatting to the woman next to me, who was also in her twenties. When I found out that she was a doctor, I literally felt sick. Why aren't I a doctor? It's too late, I'll never be one... I'll never have a career that is as well respected as hers. I felt like the biggest underachiever ever.

Just in case there are other achievement anxiety sufferers (and we do suffer) reading this, I'm going to come clean and admit to you some of the (ridiculous) things that cause me anxiety: I'll never be a doctor (see above); I didn't get a first at university (my brother got one; I should have worked harder); I should have done psychology instead of English (it would be so much more relevant to my job; I probably would have done better- see 'not getting a first'); I didn't go to Oxbridge (the girl I used to 'compete with' for grades at school went; I was too scared to apply); I haven't finished my Masters yet (according to my life plan I should have an MEd by now); I had to give up teaching (I was ill, but I still blame myself relentlessly); etc etc etc...

It's absolutely ridiculous, isn't it? Seeing it written down almost makes me want to laugh out loud. I think that, in a way, things going wrong this year might be good for me. I need to learn how to fail, and when to admit defeat and change direction.

Repeat after me: you are not other people, you are yourself, and you need to focus on what is good for you. Stop comparing yourself unfavourably to other people. It will make you feel bad, which will ultimately hold you back.

Easier to write than to do, methinks.

WAMK: Not bad for December.

The problem with December is that it's full of social events that revolve around food, and I love food. Other people wanting to lose weight would probably do something really sensible like go out for all the meals but just eat salad. That ain't me. At least I can't drink anymore (no, I'm not preggo) so that probably helps me to dodge a few hundred calories per night out.

I guess what I'm trying to confess, in a roundabout way, is that I've eaten out four times this week (and again today) and I haven't held back. I blame Christmas (not really Christmas, I still love you, come back...)

BUT! I have been to the gym FOUR times this week. Go me!

Tattoo update.

I've bitten the bullet (well, sort of) and bought a Groupon deal which will enable me to get tattooed. Now I just have to actually decide what I'm having.

I'm a bit scared.

Two pretty things...


Judy Blume

My charity shop hunts for teen fiction have recently been turniong up lots of Judy Blume, so naturally I have spent the last few weeks reading frantically. I love her. Obviously it's all very seventies, and obviously the themes aren't always that subtle, but I really do think she gets into the minds of teenagers brilliantly. I love the fact that there's not really a clear ending or beginning, because it makes me feel like I've just experienced a napshot of someone's life. I think that's also part of what makes her books feel so realistic; afterall, life isn't a series of clearly defined 'events', it's really more of a constant flow.

I'm now desperate to re-read 'Here's to you, Rachel Robinson' (because I seem to remember not quite understanding everything, and it's kind of the sequel to 'Just as long as we're together') and 'Forever' (because it formed a significant part pof my teen sex education, and I want to see if it's as explicit as I remember). The charity shop hunt shall continue...

The only disadvantage to the Judy Blume readathon is that it makes it a bit harder for me to enjoy reading a Babysitters Club book without making unfavourable comparisons (sorry Ann M. Martin, you're still my hero, even with your cliched characters and clunky diaglogue).