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).

Nice or nasty?

My ring. Overall I think I quite like it, but part of me thinks it might be a bit gross. This is the closest I'm probably ever going to come to an outfit post, so make the most of it.

Anyway, any thoughts on the ring?

Fake Christmas (or, how I ate my own body weight in Krispy Kremes).

The weekend started with a McDonalds, ended with a Burger King and had a Christmas dinner and lots of doughnuts in the middle. Nom. I arrived at my friend's flat proudly bearing a box of 12 Krispy Kremes, only to find that there was already one in the fridge! I ate so much. Here's some pictorial evidence (sorry vegetarians for all the meat close-ups!):

My friend's boyfriend had the rather ingenious idea of eating his dinner from a roasting pan; maximum capacity and no gravy spillages. Why didn't I think of that?!


MY DINNER. A-mazing.

Our Tesco trolley. Grossly over-indulgent? Why of course it was.

Present-haul post to follow as soon as I can find time to photograph everything! Obviously the best part was getting to meet up with all my old uni friends (we haven't all been in the same room at the same time since my birthday), but it would appear that the only thing I photographed was food. I might be obsessed with it.

Direct marketing Tesco style.

Couldn't resist taking a photo!

WAMK: Swings and roundabouts.

Well, not so much swings and roundabouts, more gym-going and excessive eating.

I went to the gym on Sunday and Monday this week. Which is fairly good, because I was busy/ill on all the other days of the week.

I celebrated Christmas day with my old uni friends yesterday. Which is also good, although the excessive food consumption may well have cancelled out my good work at the gym.

Oh well, it's Christmas, whatcha gonna do?

HAPPY (fake) CHRISTMAS!

This weekend features a complete lack of unscheduled posts. I make no apology, for today is officially the 8th (fake) CHRISTMAS DAY!

Every year I meet up with my best friends from uni and we eat ourselves silly, drink ourselves sillier, and exchange gifts in the cheapest, tackiest, best value Secret Santa you ever did see.

Photos will follow next week sometime...

(Unless, of course, someone buys me an iphone or ipad then I'll blog on the coach home. Unfortunately none of my friends are rich so this is unlikely to happen. I knew I should have made friends with doctors-in-the-making and not English students. You live and learn...)

Free as a bird.




I'm thinking about getting a tattoo, but I can't really nail down exactly how I want it to look. I know I want a bird on my left wrist, but I'm not really sure how big I want it... I was going to go for something tiny but, looking at the pictures, I don't think the really small birds look that great. Also I'm not sure if I want one or a group of them... Probably just one. Anyway, I still have a lot of deciding to do! Hmmmmm.

Any thoughts?

(Pictures found via Google Images, sources unknown. If the pictures are yours, let me know and I'll happily credit/delete.)

Follow Fursday

Today I would like to introduce you to:


Written by Laura, it's a wonderfully-written and regularly-updated blog about clothes, shopping, snacking and life in general. Laura is refreshingly normal, but she's also one hell of a fighter, and that's something I find particularly inspirational at the moment. If I was the sort of person who says things like, 'Go girl!', then I'd say it. But I'm not, so I won't.

What are you waiting for? Follow!

Culture vulture.

Last Saturday I met up with Marta, my friend from Norway. She was in London for one weekend only, and had a full schedule of cousins and friends to meet up with, so we tried to pack lots in to our 5 hours together.

We hit Harrods first. I braved their ridiculously over-crowded and over-priced Christmas shop to get a Harrods teddy for my Grandma's Christmas present (don't worry, unless her computer skills improve immeasurably over the next six weeks, it won't ruin the surprise). We also looked at lots of sparkly shoes that neither of us will ever be able to afford to buy. In my case, it wouldn't even matter if I could afford to buy them, given that I can't walk in heels. I know a lot of people complain about this, but I seriously cannot even take one step. I need lessons or something...

After a quick Pret stop (duck wrap, mmmmm) we made our way to the Saddler's Wells Theatre (I told you I was cultured). The signs outside the theatre proclaim that, 'Saddler's Wells is dance', so I figured I was in a good place to lose my contemporary-dance-viewing virginity. We saw Seven for a secret, never to be told by the Rambert Company. It was fab. Luckily for me, it was a family performance so it started off with an explanation of the difference between contemporary and modern dance, with the dancers doing contrasting warm-up exercises. 'Seven for a secret...' was all about 'the power of play'. It explored the different ways that children of different ages and genders play, together and apart. I never really realised how much acting is involved in dancing. The dancers (all adults) portrayed their characters really effectively, and I was just so impressed with the way they were able to move (well, this does come from a woman who can't even walk in heels...).

I'm a WAMKER!

I've been a bit naughty recently, and accidentally-on-purpose forgotten about my pledge.

But, as of last week, I am officially back on track. I've...wait for it...joined a gym. This may not seem like much, but it's taken me almost a year to build up the motivation to bite the bullet and do it. I always knew that doing more exercise would improve my mood and self-esteem, but it's taken a long time for me to get to the point where I can help myself. Not that things are magically all better (far from it in some respects) but I'm hoping that this is something I can keep up.

Also, I've been feeling a bit fat recently and there's absolutely no way I can sustain a diet (I love food far too much) so that basically left me with two options: put up with feeling a bit chubby, or burn more calories. I've gone for the later.

I've got of to a good start: three gym visits last week, one done today, and two more planned for the week ahead. I just need to keep going so it becomes part of my routine, rather than just a novelty.

And the best bit? I'm having fake Christmas with my old uni friends next weekend, so I get to replace all of those lovely calories that I've been burning off...

I know I have to keep fighting...

...but why does it have to be so hard?

Answers on a postcard, please.

London baby!

A couple of weekends ago one of my best friends came to London to celebrate her sister's birthday. We went to a drag cabaret show on the Saturday night (my friend's cousin owns Madame JoJos in Soho.) That was amazing but unfortunately I have no pictorial evidence to show you. It was especially great because it was something I would never have thought of going to see, but we had such a great time...

On the Sunday we embraced our inner tourists (the birthday girl had never been to London before) and went on a boat trip. Luckily for you (maybe) I actually took some pictures that day. Here they are:

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (well, a modern replica...)

Tower Bridge (I think the hats mark the moment when our 'inner tourist' selves became our 'outer tourist' selves). Repeat after me: London baby!

HMS Belfast.

The Shard. It's going to be the tallest building in Europe, don'tcha know?

The Tate Modern.

Follow Fursday

I think I've done this about three times now, so that's pretty much a regular feature going by my (lackadaisical) standards.

Anyway, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to:


Run by my hilarious friend Becky, it's full of weird and wonderful glimpses into life on the Underground. And sometimes on the train.

Go follow.

(If you want to.)

Inspiration... and lots of bikes.

If, like me, you would benefit from watching an inspiring (and a bit cheesy but not too bad- if I can deal with it then it probably won't be to cheesy for the average Joe) life-is-short-seize-the-day type video, then you should check this out.

I think there's something in the idea that, 'Getting lost helps you find yourself.' Travelling on my own (even though it was only for a few weeks) changed my perception of myself, and my own abilities, completely. I'm half planning a little trip for next summer, and I think I have a cheap idea in the pipeline... More on that another day.

(Found via A Cup of Jo.)

Want to know something really sad?

Every time I go to work I give myself a tick on the calendar. It's like a little reward. 11 consecutive days and counting...

Go me.

Staying inbetween the lines.

The problem with ordering books for Christmas is that I sort of have to treat myself to a few. It's a sickness, I can't help myself. Anyway, I think my best (and most distracting) purchase was a colouring/doodling book. Basically, it's full of half finished doodles that you then colour in and finish off. I'm pretty sure it's not designed with adults in mind but I love it anyway.

Here's my first piece of handiwork (I decided to just stick with the colouring in with this one, got to take these things step-by-step, haha):


I am amazing at activities designed for 6-11 year olds, aren't I? Surely I can't be the only adult who loves colouring in?

Yay!

Today could have been terrible... but it was bloody fantastic!

I'm not getting sacked (yet)!

We got a 'Good'!!

Where there's Relate, there's hope!!!

So just a big... YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

A slightly less pleasant distraction...

...has come along in the form of Ofsted.

If you don't work in a school then you may not be aware of the impact of that little word. Well, let me tell you, it strikes fear into everyone's heart. You get 48 hours notice, then the inspectors strike. We're under extra pressure because we got an 'Outstanding' last time, so anything less will make it look like the school's going downhill.

I'm tired and anxious, but it has instilled a feeling of, 'Keep clam(ish) and carry on.' It's also forced me to get into working full time and, where my own problems are concerned, just suck it up. So maybe it's a good thing.

Sort of. Wish me luck.

In case you're wondering...

...what's going on here, I'm turning this blog into my 'distractions' blog, rather than trying to create a separate one. To be honest, the content won't be much different, but I'm really trying to keep up the posting in order to distract myself from other things that are going on...

Novelty erasers and Cornish pasties? Nuff said.




Also, there was a Cath Kidston shop. Tunbridge Wells served me well.

Harvest(er) Festival

Today's main distraction came in the form of food. In my mind, possibly one of the best distractions ever. Today was my first ever Harvester experience. This may not seem much, but the important thing to remember is that I LOVE salad. Like, really love.

I ate: two bowls of salad, two bread rolls, a 'baby' rack of ribs (i.e. half a rack of ribs, not the ribs of a baby), half a chicken, rice, a corn on the cob, half a rocky road sundae. Mmmmmmmmmm. And I wore contact lenses and make up and I smiled and everything.

The best thing was that our bus went on a diversion so we had to walk most of the way to the restaurant, so I reckon I burnt off most of the Harvester calories anyway...

That's how calories work, right?

Weston-Super-Mare


I ventured to Weston-Super-Mare today for some sea air (check out the obligatory cheesy seaside pic). The pier there has been rebuilt since it got burnt down in 2008, and the new amusement arcade is insane. I'm talking two storeys, go-karts, mini(ish) theme park rides, a soft play centre, and of course tons of those grab a toy machines (for the record, I didn't see anyone win).

As you can imagine I tolerated all of the above for about five minutes before feeling like I was going to faint/cry/vomit. Seriously, you should take me out on day trips with you; I'm fun.

The rest of the day was spent shopping. I did pretty well: a few Christmas presents; a three-in-one Judy Blume book from a charity shop; and possibly the cheapest Fake Uggs ever... £6.80, anyone? That's cheaper than slippers (and probably as waterproof).

What time is it? It's distraction time!

Poor Chicco, it's not really his time anymore, it it?

I've now copied all my content from the old blog onto here and I'll be doing all my new posting here too. I'll be using this blog to document all the distractions I manage to find to divert me away from my own thoughts. Setting this up tonight has been a pretty big distraction, although not a particularly relaxing one...

A more seasoned blogger would worry about a loss of followers in this situation, but I know that you 16 are a hardcore bunch. Don't let me down.

Driven to distraction.

Actually, that would be a far better title for this blog. Let me just have a quick google and see if someone else has claimed it... It doesn't appear that they have. Interesting. I should probably get on to that, which means that I probably never will (for the ironically-minded among you, I will probably get distracted).

Once again there has been a rather-too-long hiatus between blog posts, caused (as always) by my own rather-too-long periods of what would officially be termed 'low mood'. Throughout these periods I have been consistently advised to try and distract myself from my upsetting or disturbing thoughts. So I will.

And I will share my distractions with you, my lucky reading public.

I'm watching Relocation, Relocation and wondering...

...why don't I have a cat called Jarvis Cocker?

At least I now have an aspiration.

Follow Fursday

Little Things: A list of all the simple things we should appreciate.



It does what it says on the tin, really. One new, fantastic thing everyday. You should all follow; it even makes me smile so it must be good.

It's lame explanation time. Lucky you.

Two months is a long time to go without posting anything. Once again, I offer you my most profuse apologies. My explanation for the MASSIVE gaps between posts is pretty much that I'm following the advice, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.' I just don't feel comfortable about baring all online (metaphorically, you understand) and would rather opt for periods of silence rather than periods of forced merriment.



So...



Seeing as I'm posting, I'd better take my own advice and write about something nice...



I ate a punnet of strawberries earlier. They were really very nice indeed.

Kerry Katona doesn't really do self-awareness, does she?

This made me giggle.

Book Swap!

When Char posted reviews of some of the books she'd read recently, I had a lightbulb moment (I do have them occasionally, honest) and suggested a book swap.

Last week these beauties arrived:

I can't wait to start reading them, and I'll let you know what I think (whether you like it or not!)

Stuff I learnt from watching Grand Designs.


  1. Don't use credit cards to finance the building of your house.

  2. Never, ever, EVER say, 'We'll be in by Christmas.' You are tempting fate and fate is not kind.

  3. If Kevin is 'revisiting' your build, you will have produced at least one child in the meantime. This seems so inevitable it makes me wonder whether or not Channel 4 slip fertility drugs into the water supply of the houses involved.

  4. Making the structure watertight is, like, REALLY important.

  5. Set your budget. Then double it.

  6. Laying underfloor heating takes ages. Without wanting to sound like my Mother, surely it would be more efficient to just put a jumper on?

I was hoping to learn the secret of how Kevin McCloud manages to be irritatingly smug, yet intriguingly likeable, at the same time, but alas I did not. Clearly the man possesses some kind of special power.

Follow Fursday II

Wow, I'm actually doing this for the second time? That's practically an actual, regular feature.

This week I'm mostly recommending...



She's an artist and photographer and this blog is basically a showcase of her work and home. I love bright colours and have an unhealthy obsession with patterns, so I just find her blog incredibly visually appealing. Plus, I am mega jealous of how she's made over her flat using coloured paper. Go on, have a nosy.

I love risotto and risotto loves me.

OK, so the second bit is a lie but the first bit is definitely true! Here's the risotto I made to accompany our Eurovision experience:


Risotto fans amongst you may be interested to know that it contained garlic, onion, asparagus, chorizo and Gorgonzola.

It was seriously good (no humility here, folks).

WAMK: Zumba!

This week I managed to properly hit my exercise target my walking lots, being very active at work, going swimming and, most courageously, going to my first ever Zumba class. I've been vaguely meaning to try it out for a while, but I was given the push I needed when a weekly class was set up at my work. The fact that it was cheap, accessible and frequented by people I know robbed me of all my excuses not to go.

I did get quite anxious about going; I was worried that I'd look stupid in my 'PE kit', that I'd be too uncoordinated to follow the moves, and that people not doing the class would look through the doors and laugh at me.

In the event, all of the above happened, but it didn't matter. It genuinely felt GREAT. The kind of GREAT I feel when I'm bouncing around in a club dancing to my favourite music. Endorphin-releasingly brilliant. And I didn't even ache that much the next day, which is always a bonus.

Sorry if the relentlessly positive tone of this post is making you want to vomit, but it makes such a nice change for me that I really wanted to share!

Further reading: here's a link to the list of 'Where Are My Knees?' pledges, if you want to check out what other people are up to.

My rather sad, but brilliant, plans for tonight...

...involve Chat magazine, Salt and Vinegar Pringles, duvet on the sofa and a Grand Designs marathon on't telly.

The saddest part is that I genuinely cannot wait.

Supplementary Information

I'm well aware that my posting has been less than regular of late, and I PROMISE I will get back on it this week. I have an idea for a project that will give a bit more structure to the blog but more to come over the next couple of days/weeks/months (let's face it, we all know that my ability to procrastinate and delay these things knows no bounds).

In light of my lack of readable publishing, I thought I would just direct you to some of the bloggy/newspaper supplementy delights that I have been sampling today. Trust me, they're far more interesting that anything I could create right now.

Travel tips for getting an insider perspective on the countries you visit.

How one girl found her sperm donor siblings and father.

More beautiful pictures, this time called 'Away From Home'.

The Telegraph's 'Sign Language'. Funny and confusing signs from the UK and further afield. I just discovered this and I love it. I sense that minutes (OK, hours) are about to be wasted as I flick through the archives...

WAMK: MFP

Sorry for last week's lack of update, I've been struggling to keep up with real life so blogging sort of fell by the wayside. Soz.

This week I've discovered My Fitness Pal and so far I loves it. Although this pledge wasn't initially about changing my eating habits, I decided that there was some definite need for improvement in that area and it made sense to tackle food and exercise at the same time.

So: MFP. You enter your current weight and height, and your exercise and weight goals. You then enter everything you eat and any exercise you do, and it does all the magic calorie maths for you. It hasn't exactly taught me anything new (I eat too many carbs, not enough protein and I don't move enough) but seeing it all written down makes it easier to tackle. And it's useful to have a realistic picture of the day, rather than, say, feeling guilty at about 7pm because you ate a chocolate bar earlier and then proceeding to think, 'Well, I've overeaten anyway,' and munching your way through a tube of Pringles and going to bed feeling shit. Ahem.

My Very Important Thoughts About Eurovision

1. Jedward somehow got good?! I mean, I always expected to enjoy their performance in a special kind of way, but the song was pretty good. Quite Gaga-esque I thought. Great production too.

2. In contrast, the production for Blue's performance was shit. We mock other country's entries for being 'Eurotrashy' but ours was one of the cheapest looking ones there!

3. Moldova... Oh, Moldova. You are what Eurovision is all about. I love you.

4. Graham Norton, you are funny. And quite possibly a bit drunk.

And one for the fact fans: Stereo Mike (from the Greek entry) was one of my brother's lecturers at uni.

Blogger, you disappoint me.

Well, really I disappoint myself.

For:

1. Not blogging enough/at all.

2. Feeling like my arm had been cut off when I couldn't login for a few hours.

3. Losing my first follower. Having made it to the dizzying heights of 13, I'm now back to 12. Consider yourself to be amongst a very loyal, chosen few.

I'll try harder, promise.

Follow Fursday

I am once again reaching into The Lazy Blogger's Toolkit, and have come up with another weekly feature that will prevent me from actually having to think/be creative.

Without further ado, my recommendation to you on this, our First Follow Fursday is:

It's written by a hilarious New Yorker, Una La Marche and I basically have a massive blog-crush on it. It's a daily account of her consumption of snack foods/marriage/recollections of childhood indiscretions.


And it's very, very funny.

Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (Sue Townsend)

When I was aged 12 and one quarter, my Mum shoved a battered copy of 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole' into my hands. As one of those kids who inhales books, I got started on it straight away, and thus began the obsession. OK, so I didn't get some of the eighties references (to this day, I don't know who Malcolm Mudderidge is) but that didn't matter. I was hooked.


'Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years' is Townsend's latest offering, but even so, I have to confess to being a little late to the party (it was published in 2009). In this book, Adrian is living in a converted pigsty with his wife and daughter. His (now remarried for the third time) mother and father live in the other half of the pigsty but, perhaps suprisingly, this turns out to be the least of his worries.


There's something about reading Adrian Mole books; perhaps it's the reassuring familiarity of the characters, or perhaps the way that Adrian's turns of ill-fortune and social awkwardness put your own into perspective. Mainly I think it's the way that Townsend brings her characters to life, turning the ordinary into something simultaneously heart-warming and hilarious. It's the literary equivalent of watching The Royle Family, and I love it.

That hedge looks like a rabbit!

Or, our walk to Sidcup. Here are some pics (please excuse the wonky-ness!):