Saturday, 7 March 2015

Something New Every Week [2015: 1-10]

I've slipped a bit in terms of making a conscious effort to do something new every week, but I've been pretty busy so fingers crossed I've managed it most weeks... Chances of me remembering are pretty slim, mind.

1: Saw the London NYE fireworks (in person).

2: Attended the 10th anniversary of Fake Christmas!!!

3: Went to our friend Rich's new flat (for his Russian-themed housewarming party...)

4: Ate at the Dragon Inn Chinese in Bournemouth. Amazing all-you-can-eat goodness.

5: Went to Wahaca in Canary Wharf (and ate crickets in melted cheese?!)

6: Ate at Sodo Pizza in Honor Oak Park. Hopefully not a 'last'!

7: Went to a gig at the Electric Ballroom... That part was a first, seeing The Cribs definitely wasn't!

8: Made these sexy lemon cupcakes.

9: Found a solicitor (big milestone)!

10: Went for a walk around Westerham.

Not a bad start to 2015!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Things I Learned from Reading Sweet Valley High Books #2

Question: what can you get for 30p these days? Answer: THIS...

I love an opportunity to revisit my amazing terrible preteen reading material... Admittedly I had to abandon almost every principle I hold dear (feminism, a love of quality literature, not being racist) in order to read it, but I learned SO MUCH.

Expanding my knowledge and wisdom through the medium of Sweet Valley High books truly is an enlightening experience. Here's what I learned this time around:

1. The pinnacle of being a beautiful US citizen is being white and thin, with long blonde hair; Both girls had the same sun-streaked blonde hair, the same sparkling blue-green eyes...they were generously blessed with all-American good looks.

2. Women (sorry, children) love a good bit of street harassment; Whenever she was out walking, she never failed to attract a good deal of attention from passing cars. The more the better, she thought, swinging her hips a little as she set off.

3. Suggesting to a woman (sorry, child) that you might rape her is kind of sexy; Jessica squirmed with pleasure at having been selected as Rick's companion for that afternoon... 'Just so long as you don't fight too hard,' said Rick, 'I'm not used to taking no for an answer'.

4. It doesn't matter how wonderful your personality is, if you are overweight then no-one will ever be attracted you, and you should feel ashamed of yourself; 'You want to know the sort of girl people fix me up with? It goes like this: 'Win, I've got a girl for you!What a personality!' That always means two hundred and fifty pounds and two-foot-five! I have to put her hamburger on the floor so she can reach it.'

I...just... There are no words. Babysitters Club FTW.

Monday, 26 January 2015

When is it ok to bitch?

I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to never, ever bitch about other people. Just admit it already. I bitch about other people, of course I do, and within reason I don't believe that there's anything wrong with that. 

Obviously the 'within reason' part is pretty important, so I've produced two handy lists to help you out (you can thank me later). Obviously these are just my personal standards, but I am normally right about absolutely everything some stuff.

When bitching is (probably) a good thing:
When you're bitching about me. I am absolutely terrible at taking direct criticism. Now, if it's constructive (i.e. it's something I can change, and would want to change) I can take it because I know it's for my own good. If you like/love me overall but just can't stand the way I talk too much/tweet too often/can't take criticism, then don't tell me to my face. Vent amongst yourselves and be nice to me when I'm there. I am more than happy with that. 
When it's a bonding exercise in mutual hatred. This is especially satisfying when reserved for celebrities, authority figures, etc. We all do it. 
When it actually helps to preserve a friendship or relationship. If you love someone lots and lots, and having an occasional vent about their bad habits preserves what is an otherwise beautiful relationship, then why not? This one is especially important when it comes to family members (NOT YOU, MUM). You have to have a relationship with them, so why bother pointing out their flaws to their face and causing a horrible argument? Everyone needs to vent now and again.
When there's a (tiny) bit of empathy involved. I don't want to get all Atticus Finch on your ass, but sometimes you do have to put yourself in other people's shoes. Have a moan, sure, but remember that you're not perfect either.

When bitching goes bad:
When it constantly focuses on something that has nothing to do with a person's personality, and it's something that they couldn't change (even if they wanted to...which they probably don't). So, bitching about someone's weight, nose, height, whatever... Not cool.
When it's just ill-disguised prejudice. I operate a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this. Even when it's disguised as a 'compliment' e.g. 'She's alright for a lesbian'. FUCK OFF. Just fuck off.
When it's properly two-faced. Bitching about a mutual friend's slight character flaws? Fine. Constantly character-assassinating someone and then pretending you like them? Not fine.
When it starts to make you bitter and twisted. If all you're doing is bitching and moaning all day then surely that's just going to make you feel bad? Get some positivity in your life. Make a cake or something.
When the person is question might hear/read it. Want to moan about a blogger in private with a bloggy mate? Fine. But do not do it on twitter or stupid forums. And definitely do not do it in a blog comment. That's horrible. Would you bitch about your boss by writing your thoughts on post-it notes and leaving them lying around in the office? No you wouldn't (I hope). So don't do it online.

I'd also like to make it clear that I don't only bitch about other women; my hatred is totally equal opportunities. I also hate the misconception that bitching is exclusively a female pursuit; every man I've ever been friends with is also a bitch sometimes.

I'd be intrigued to know what people's honest opinions about this are... I'm sure that there are some genuinely lovely people out there who never bitch about others. I bet they're really, really boring.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Big Blog Clothes Swap

When someone asks me where I bought a new dress or whatever, I love it when I can proudly say 'charity shop'! I just love getting something new (to me) without spending a fortune. So I was pretty excited when Janet emailed me about a new blog clothes swap that she's organising with Steph. Sending and receiving proper parcels makes me unreasonably happy (as does getting a new item of clothing) so I'm pretty excited about taking part.

The idea is that Janet and Steph will match bloggers based on clothes size and give you someone to pair up with. Based on the info you're given/your best internet stalking you then send (and of course receive) a new (to you) item/s of clothing. Easy! Pairing up people according to size could prove tricky, so if you're prepared to swap shoes or accessories instead let the ladies know.

Here's Janet with the details:

Want to take part? To sign up, all we need is the following, emailed to either or, by the 9th February:

Blog address and/or social media:
Clothes size (if you need to split this for tops/bottoms, do):
Shoe size:
Swapping preferences (for example, Do you want to swap one item only or more? Do you have specific clothing preferences, e.g. dresses only? Would you be willing, or prefer, to swap shoes, bags, accessories, etc?):

Steph and I will wade through the responses and pair you with someone of the same size. You can, if you wish, then use social media to get to know your partner and their style, or you can just hope for the best! 

Who's in? Please blog/tweet about the swap and spread the word!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Something new every week [2014: 44-52]

44: Went to Montserrat.

45: Went to a 90th birthday party. I ate a lot of cake, although that was most certainly not a first.

46: Drove on the motorway!!! Very proud of this one. It still seems incredibly surreal that I'm allowed to do that.

47: Started working through a crisis at home (with lots of help!).

48: Ate a plantain taco at Wahaca. I hope that'll be the first of many.

49: Put up the Christmas tree with Pete (it's our first Christmas living together).

50: I'm not sure if I didn't anything new... I haven't been well and this was a difficult week!

51: Had a meal at The Mug House near London Bridge. The food was ok, the company was great.

52: Spent Christmas Day in Bournemouth.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Green Chaining II [Crystal Palace Park to Dulwich]

After a (stupidly long) break we decided that it was time to continue with the Green Chain odyssey. In a nutshell, the Green Chain is a series of well-signposted walks through SE London's green spaces. It's great for discovering hidden gems, new areas, and new bits of old areas (if you know what I mean).

I'm going to let the photos do the talking. That's definitely not because I can't be bothered to write more words. Definitely not.

It's me! Walking!

Disused railway paraphernalia makes me happy.

Cool houses/shelters in Dulwich Park.

There we have it. I'd say that there will be more Green Chain action coming soon, but realistically I'll probably forget all about it for another six months. Life is, as usual, busy. I wouldn't have it any other way.