Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Midnight Ponder, ft. Kitten.

I'm sitting with the kitten in the first few minutes of the last day of the year and we're reminiscing about 2013.

My highlights include: Dubrovnik, Glastonbury and bringing Cosmo home.

His highlights include: chasing his tail in the shower, sitting in the sink and hunting a daddy-long-legs in the porch.

Here's the naughty little critter's version of events:

He does like music...


So being an adult is difficult, isn't it? Why didn't they teach you that at school instead of trigonometry? We could have done with a warning and a few lessons in how to deal with hardship graciously. Nonetheless, F.Scott Fitzgerald posits an interesting conundrum of a metaphor:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

How can you move forward when you're still stuck in ideas, events, tragedy of the past? 

I hope 2014 brings you all health, contentment and adventure, in whichever form you deem fit for you right now.

Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Round-up

Perfect day for a wedding in London yesterday
Today doesn't feel like a Sunday at all because no days around this time feel like a specific day. In fact I almost forgot that Sundays are my Sunday Round-up post day. What makes a day feel like a day? Sundays are usually sleepy, as today was. Sundays are usually surrounded by family, as today was. Sundays are usually peaceful and unnerving all at once, with the impending doom of Monday madness lurking. As today was. So why didn't today feel like a Sunday? Strange one.

This week I have been:

Reading: these interesting pieces on grief, Dove and abortion.

Shedding tears at: this video of Beyonce making a dream come true for a lovely little girl and this video of an inspiring love story (thank you lovely Christina for showing me the latter)

Watching: Raised by Wolves, written by Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline. It's a sitcom based on their upbringing and the pilot was well worth a watch. I also finished watching the final series of Him & Her. Good stuff.

Cooking: a Christmas dinner for eight. Best one I've done yet, didn't burn too many things, only messed up the timings sliiiightly. Thumbs up.

Showing: American visitors around London. It was fun to go around the sights taking pictures of somebody who actually wanted photographs for once!! (Blogger problem??!)

Wearing: my new penguin onesie, complete with penguin feet. On Christmas day whilst I cooked, and for about three days straight afterwards too. Kitten was pretty terrified of me for a while, not least because I was the same colour as him, but he's warmed to it now. Cosiest outfit ever. Unfortunately doubt there'll ever be the occasion to wear it outside these four walls, but I'm gonna be working on that...

Looking forward to: wearing my NMP3 t-shirt, finally!!

I'm off to have a curry with some school friends this evening and will have some more family time over the next couple of days. How do you plan to spend your last few days of 2013?

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kitten-Human Time

Cosmo and I spent some quality kitten-human time over the weekend. We played, we painted, he practised his hunting, we wrapped up presents, did some scrap-booking, listened to some London Grammar. You know, all the usual stuff. I can certainly tell he is growing up into a fine, young cat. He's more obedient, doesn't try and trip me up on the stairs too often and lounges about like he owns the place. This is his first Christmas and contrary to popular forecasts, he has not torn apart ANY presents under the tree, nor has he knocked over or tried to eat the tree itself. Hooray!

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas xxxx

Pin It Now!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Surprise Party

For M's birthday this year, his friends held him a surprise party.

Sometimes in life you reach points where your world pretty much stops for you. You spend all your time consumed by one thing, you don't quite understand how everyone goes about doing their usual day-to-day things, still laughing, still smiling, still obsessed with the trivial, when you feel like your world is falling apart and struggle to remember how you used to also be like that. M is pretty good at coping with less than favourable situations, but nonetheless a hard time is a hard time, right?

So, in an overwhelming act of kindness, it was wonderful to see all the people who care about him most come together to show him how much he is appreciated. A room in the local pub was hired out, a buffet ordered, a cake baked (and decorated like a child, I know...sorry), banners and balloons displayed and a good 30 people or so waiting to jump out and shout "SURPRISE!" when M came in, thinking he was just having a drink with a couple of friends. Wonderful. What was extra special was that M had noooooo idea at all. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

How do you feel about surprises? Have you ever been thrown one?

PS. My cake had raving reviews despite the child-like decorations (those worms do taste pretty good though) so if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it here.

Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Round-up

From here

This week I have been:

Listening to: London Grammar (you're all going to be shocked any Sunday I don't include them in my round-up now aren't you?!), Bastille, the Mumford&Sons/Laura Marling collaboration with the Dharohar Project, Daughter - all the good'uns.

Fascinated by: this story of a boy who paid 4p for a £600 supermarket shop and donated it all to charity. What incredible initiative shown by somebody so young. Be active!

Enamoured of: the Educating Yorkshire Christmas Special. The story of Musharaf and Mr Burton makes me cry every time (5:41 onwards).

Admiring: Malala Yousafzai's UN speech. Oh to be that articulate.

Training: my kitten. He passed level 1 of Beeta's Bootcamp this morning and now holds the title for Master Hunter of 2013. I shook his paw to congratulate him and he has been celebrating this afternoon by skating in the sink, eating lamb and sleeping by the radiator.

Completing: law exams.

Taking: a rest from law and scrap-booking whilst listening to inspiring women on Youtube

Watching: "Celeste and Jesse Forever" on Netflix. I hadn't watched a film in a little while so treated myself on Friday night with a full two hours wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa with this film. It was better than I thought it was going to be. A half-refreshing story at least.

Dreaming of: Paris.

Pin It Now!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Stealing a glimpse

Here's a photo I had forgotten about, on a walk that had slipped my mind, on an afternoon that was bright and mellow at the same time but I might be wrong as it might not have been the day I thought it was. London is glorious in the summer sunshine, but it is equally as magical in wholly different ways in the winter. In winter, the city sometimes feels like it is all squished together, wrapped up in rustly brown paper and tidied up with twinkly lights and ribbon. I'll try and remember to take a similar shot next week on this same walk, not least so I don't forget the moments I stop and think "Wow, I'd like to capture that glimpse for eternity".

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blacks Burgers

This post is wayyyy overdue and I have probably eaten about 57 burgers since, BUT a couple of months back, M and I had some celebrating to do. It had finally been a good day at the hospital after countless disappointments in the weeks before so when we got off the train home from London, we followed our noses to the enticing smell that was Blacks Burgers.

Naughty handfuls of yum.

I must say our burger choices were probably the best we could have made. I had cheese and bacon because that is the ultimate combination and both those ingredients make anything better. Especially days when you've been using an old school calculator for an entire afternoon and have numbers-induced fury. M had a chorizo combination.

Chorizo is a superior sort of meat, isn't it? I feel like if it had a facial expression it'd be a sort of smug one with gleaming eyes and thoughts of how it has perfected the succulent/chewy balance.

Anyway, the flavours worked but I wasn't entirely persuaded by the burgers themselves.

I haven't had a reallllyyyyyy good burger in such a long time. Some friends and I tried Burgers and Cocktails (a Giraffe restaurant spin-off, I believe) which is a short walk from Bond Street station, and they were okkkkk (cheese and bacon again so yes we're doing a like for like comparison) and we all know how disastrous my Meat Liquor venture was, so I'm itching to try a Patty & Bun creation. Does anybody know what the best time of day to go is so that you don't have to queue much/at all?

But yes, back to Blacks. The chips were nice, the onion rings could have been crispier but the pièce de résistance was the chocolate milkshake. Holy moley, it was deeeelicious and beautifully presented as you can see.

So yes, the staff are kind and helpful, the choice of burgers is pretty extensive and I at least recommend you pop in for a catch up with friends over milkshakes. They also do some good lunchtime and student deals if that suits. 

Where do you recommend for an excellent burger? And more importantly, when shall we go and try them out?

Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Roundup (Links edition)

From here.

Instead of the usual "here's what I've been eating, drinking, listening to" spiel, this week I'd like to share some links of interest with you that I have come across (mostly via Twitter). So grab a cup of tea and some biscuits, have a read and let me know what you make of this list...

- This list of two-worded advice  - which one resonates with you? What would you say?
- Sticking to the momentary theme of advice, Rachael shared Mary Schmich's take on life. I really like it.
- Horrendous views from Richard Drax MP in response to a constituent asking if he would support the No More Page 3 campaign. I'm glad I didn't get the same response when I spoke to my MP about this but blimey, this is disgraceful.
- Are you a people pleaser? This article was a nice little reminder that it's okay to look out for yourself.
- This one's a bit naughty, but only because it's to something I featured in... the final instalment of the "Why I Started Blogging" series on The Bloggers' Lounge.
- The confidence this girl oozes, especially in the context of the words she speaks, is inspiring and should be applauded. I wish every girl understood that it is okay to be passionate about this enough to speak out. It affects half the population after all. Passivity is awful.
- Cat's crafty tutorials are always awesome, but this one is particularly stunning.
- A motivating little boost from Jessica about why comparing yourself to others is a pointless exercise.
- Freya's Tale of Two Rings is just lovely. A perfect sentimental tribute.

Pin It Now!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning from your subconscious

from here

You know those mornings you wake up in a right old mood, still angry and upset from the dream you've just abandoned?

I keep getting them and for a while have been trying to justify to myself that I am indeed entitled to feel however I like about them - whether that's angry, sad, upset, bitter, annoyed - even though they were just the product of my subconscious's imagination. I'll think about people I know in a certain way, I'll be annoyed with my boyfriend for the evil deed he committed, I'll feel sad at the tragedy that struck and fluttery from the adventures that I probably wish were real. I'll be on a high from feeling of flight, the planet I danced around via log-flume and racing car, the love that was shown, the concepts that make complete sense in my head only. I know they haven't happened. I know they're partly made-up, partly a worry, a hope, an observation from your current living state.

I don't believe in suppressing these feelings. They may stem from things which are intangible when I am awake but to smother their existence is to deny a part of you which is ultimately the most powerful - your mind.

The quotation above assures me that actually it's fine to accept the emotion you've been dealt by whatever trigger, whether that's a dream, a story, an event. In any case, bottling something up is bound to leak eventually when you feel vulnerable and weak. Revel in your feelings. Not for a long time though. Don't let them consume you. Pick yourself up, learn from what they've taught you about what is important and move forward. But, don't ignore them. Your subconscious can play tricks on you, but sometimes it is trying to tell you something important that the "real" world won't.

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A superfluous ultimatum

Found here

Which is the better situation to be in:
 - to be really motivated to do something but not have the physical capability to do so; or
 - to have all physical capabilities of doing something but not have the motivation to do so?

(And why do we create these comparisons and ultimatums anyway?)
It's always at times when we lack something, we crave it. If it's right in front of us, if we have the opportunity to do it at our disposal and discretion, it is often ignored, overlooked or rejected.

For example, if I was fully capable of walking to the gym right now and working out for an hour and then walking back again, I would probably come up with some sort of excuse not to go. Too cold, too wet, too tired. But now that I find myself in a situation where walking for half an hour each way, let alone exercise in between is an impracticality/impossibility/not a sensible course of action, I wish I could have it even more and the mundane irrelevances of the former scenario, like weather, do not even enter the equation.

Teaches you to be more grateful and proactive I suppose.

What do you reckon?

Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Roundup

from here

Listening to: London Grammar, Daughter, Damien Rice

Focusing: with Rainy Mood

Admiring: these perfectly-timed photos

Drinking: plenty of tea, too much black coffee to meet deadlines in my half-recovered state

Eating: a bag of treats from M&S a friend of mine brought over last weekend to brighten up being at home

Signing up for: the 2014 Blogger Challenge, hosted here - are any of you taking part?

Reading: SRA Accounts Rules. Thrilling. Also, this incredibly insightful article by Christopher Hitchens about Iran. I wish there were more positive pieces like this written about Iran. I contributed with this piece here (which was also my first post on this blog)

Feeling: sad that we still live in a world where a person revealing their sexuality makes headline news

Thinking: that as a person in my early-20s, I have not experienced anything even a fraction as impacting in politics as those in South Africa, and many other places worldwide have. It is pure luck which society we are born into. Having relatives my age in Iran is a constant reminder of this.

Have you encountered any revelations this week?

Pin It Now!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Treble Clef #1: London Grammar

 from here. text added by me.
I've mentioned before how London Grammar songs grab my soul, soothe it and twist it into pretty patterns. I cannot stop listening to their album "If You Wait" and the lyrics above come from a song called "Stay Awake". Your next port of call should be "Nightcall" for the most evocative four minutes of your day so far. Imagine having a voice that is capable of rousing a person's innermost feelings and causing the hairs on your arms to stick up in admiration and captivation . Do you know that feeling?
This post is the first in my "Treble Clef" series, during which I hope to share with you musical notes and inspiring, lyrical magic that will captivate you as much as they do me.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Staying in Hospital: What to Take

They should have signs like this dotted around hospitals. (Original source unknown)
This photo makes me laugh because I have a theory that the world would be a very different place if mirrors didn't exist. I scribbled down my logically thought out argument for this in a notebook some years ago and if it resurfaces, I will let you know of the ins and outs but here is the general gist - No mirrors, therefore you're unlikely to know what you look like (unless you caught sight of yourself on something naturally reflective like pond water on a particularly lucky day). Not knowing what you look like, therefore severely reducing the likelihood of you comparing yourself on a superficial level with those around you. And think of the impact that would have on confidence, relationships, stigma and prejudice. 

I realise that that is a ridiculously simplistic theory with hundreds of flaws, but do you see the point I'm trying to make? It is unimportant what we look like in the grand scheme of things. But we are socialised to believe that there is a certain way to care for your appearance. Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that we have created social norms for tidiness and hygiene. But when you're stripped back and vulnerable, in hospital for example, what does it matter what you've done with your outsides aesthetically; it is the internal treasures that are keeping you alive. 

It is entirely possible that I am speaking absolute nonsense and this may be an occasion where my thoughts haven't splattered in ink as coherently as they flow in my head. Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, here are my suggestions for what to take if you're going to be staying in hospital.
  • Something to pass the time as you wait for your surgery/procedure, such as a relatively easy-going book, magazine, tablet, newspaper, sudoku puzzle book, a deck of cards...and so on and so forth.
  • Comfy clothes or pyjamas/nightie in case the gowns are too itchy or if you're craving home comforts
  • Slippers
  • Any medication you usually take
  • Any documents you might need such as hospital letters
  • A bottle of water for when you are finally allowed a drink post-procedure
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, period equipment and other toiletries
  • Wet wipes for when the nurses don't have time to help you wash in bed
  • Hand gel
  • Something which makes you feel warm inside - I chose Twining's Double Mint Sensation tea bags to escape the terrible cups of tea the catering services make, but you could take anything which makes you feel more at home.
Most staff will be wonderful to you, others will be more pressed for time, but usually people want to help so if you need anything don't be afraid to ask. As I pointed out in a post last week, don't underestimate the kindness of strangers. And if you're like me and you enjoy a quotation (or gazillion) found on Pinterest, try living by the mantra "Never suppress a generous thought". I have that stuck on my fridge. I like to think that if everyone had that stuck on their fridges too, we'd all have more of a spring in our step. 

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Silver Linings

Today was one of those days that started off badly. It still has the potential to continue going badly. But I feel calm in the eye of the storm and the storm isn't a serious one anyway. Perspective is a good reminder. If today works out, it works out. If it doesn't, I have very much tried my best under the circumstances and in these sorts of situations, that's all you can do. Anyway, I found some silver linings and wanted to record them because they helped or made me smile.

1. A logical, supportive and motivational chat with  my Dad about how to tackle the day
2. Loving, supportive words from M and my Mum to keep me going
3. Dad coming home with sesame snacks for me, like he did when I was little
4. The beautiful postcard above, received from my lovely friend in Paris

Little, but important things to smile about. Nice things tend to stand out more against the troubling things. Maybe I wouldn't have appreciated them as much on a non-troubling day. And maybe that's a silver lining in itself. And it's only the afternoon. AND I have another post scheduled for you for later. And and and and and and and.

What has cheered you up today?

Pin It Now!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Taking Stock #3

Found here
Taking Stock is a series I found here. I'm beginning each of my months with this reflective little exercise and invite you to do the same too. Make you sure you leave your link in the comments section below if you do take part so I can have a read!

Making : progress
Cooking : infrequently
Drinking : oodles of water and mountains of tea
Reading: a chunk of fiction to break up the non-fiction stints. Currently, The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling and The Hobbit by Tolkien.
Wanting: peace
Looking: at what's in front of me and nothing more
Playing: Crash Team Racing on the PS1. Mum was sent on a treasure hunt into the loft and managed to dig it out. I try and play it standing up, stepping from side to side, to get blood flowing. People have actually suffered fatal DVTs from playing video games for too long.
Wasting: nothing hopefully. I think everything this month was completely justified. Tears and time included.
Fixing: my body!!!!
Deciding: to be brave about what I take on and to have a can-do attitude.
Wishing: I didn't have coursework to do whilst still recovering from an operation...
Enjoying: books and flowers the most.
Waiting: for the general anaesthetic to wear off still...
Liking: that I've received five bunches of flowers in the last ten days
Wondering: how my life might start to be different now
Loving: the comfort of a hot water bottle at night
Pondering: the joys of tax law
Considering: a change in approach
Watching: Made in Chelsea...
Hoping: my operation will have a positive long term effect
Marvelling: at how exhilarating it is to feel cold, crisp air for the first time after being cooped up indoors for nearly two weeks
Needing: love and attention
Smelling: flowers, candles, anti-MRSA soap
Wearing: hospital gowns, pyjamas, silly outfits, outfits that make me feel happy, my old brogues from six years ago which are still my favourite
Following: my instincts for the moment
Noticing: how completely poor-average people can be
Knowing: who and what to focus my energy on
Thinking: too much about things which upset me and not enough about fixing myself
Feeling: frustrated at points when my body feels like it's going to fall apart, but happy that it's making so much progress
Admiring: how flipping incredible it is that a minimally invasive operation is how the surgeons twisted, stretched and poked a balloon into my deep veins. Aside from the pain/physical effects, the only thing I have to show for it is a bruise. I mean, whattttt?! Incredible, literally incredible.
Buying: presents, presents, presents and comedy tickets for January
Getting: better
Bookmarking: recipes to try on cold December nights
Opening: difficult doors
Giggling: at how my Dad has a joke for every situation and however much I find them silly, they are a reminder of comfort, love and what "home" means.

You can find Taking Stock #1 here and Taking Stock #2 here.

Pin It Now!