Friday, 31 May 2013

One whole month!

So I started off this month with the aim of writing one blog post every day for a month and whilst I knew that it would be a challenge I launched into it anyway. It turned out that even with all the topics already road planned out for the month that this was a difficult thing to do.  I had technology problems, trouble thinking what to write for some of the topics and in the end will power problems.

Sadly in the end I didn't manage to hit my goal of writing 31 blog posts this May as the will to write them dwindled mid month and I became unable to keep up by the end of the month.  Despite being unable to complete the challenge I'm not writing the month off as an utter failure as I did learn some important lessons!  The first one is that it's ok to write about topics that are outside of your comfort zone every so often or are a bit different to what you'd normally blog about.  While I'm not sure I'd have ever blogged about my morning commute, my first job, a day in my life, advice I'd give my 13 year old self or what's in my fridge normally I now know what I'd put and that these are not topics I want to return to in the future.

It's also helped to remind me about things I enjoy writing about like books, food, travel and music.  This has prompted me to think about blogging more about these topics in the future.  It had also been good to be a part of the #BEDM group on twitter and visit the blogs of other participants who I might not otherwise have stumbled upon.

There's due to be another challenge in November but I'm not sure that I'll be able to try again then or to post coherent blog posts due to my next big challenge appearing in late September... That as well as November being the month of Nanowrimo!  Still I'll be interested to see how other bloggers approach the topics that are set for #BEDN.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Music Love. Blog Everyday in May.

Nearly everyone who knows me also knows that I love music and that it's impossible for me to name my top 5 albums!  This is partly because I have a memory like a sieve but also because I've been lucky enough to hear lots of music when I wrote for the music section of the Huddersfield Student newspaper. Some great... some not so great...

As a child born in the 80s most of the music my parents played was Queen, ABBA, UB40, Eurythmics, Roxy Music and Human League with a bit of Madonna and Kylie thrown in there for good measure. Queen and ABBA seemed to be played most though...  As I got older I had a small pop phase before being introduced to Belle and Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields and The White Stripes as a teenager. At a similar time I also discovered The Smiths.  Something in this music spoke to me, I'm not sure what. 
I think with The Smiths it was a recognition in the music that there were other people out there that were shy, cynical and a tad melancholy.  With Belle and Sebastian I enjoyed the melodies and the fact that this beautiful sounding band were self deprecating too.  That and their witty songs full of humour, jangly guitars and barbs.

My first experience of the Magnetic Fields was through their album 69 Love Songs and I enjoyed the heartbreaking sweetness of some of their songs juxtaposed with the silliness of Chicken with It's Head Cut Off.
The White Stripes were great for their seeming simplicity and some of their foot stomping tunes like Hotel Yorba.  They also had great style and the rock n roll aggression resonated in the angry young woman in me.
Another band I discovered at a similar time was The Pixies, a band who are the right kind of mental for me with their surf-punk fusion.  I must admit I still have debates about which of album of theirs I like best Doolittle or Surfer Rosa... I used to maintain it was Surfer Rosa in arguments but I'm not sure if it's age or my hormones that are swaying me to Doolittle more.

Over the years I've grown to know and love many more bands like Sons and Daughters, The Long Blondes, Camera Obscura, McLuskey, Monkey Swallows the Universe, Allo Darlin, Slow Club, Flaming Lips and of course Arcade Fire. I could wax lyrical about all these bands forever and a day... I think that may have to be another blog post or ten for another day!  So there you have it I can't choose just 5 favourite albums out of my hundreds of cds but I can pick 5 influential bands!

Friday, 24 May 2013

What's in your fridge? Blog Everyday in May.

This is one of the more unusual topics of blog every day in May. This what lies inside mine and Paul's fridge today.

It mainly seems to be a combination of beverages, cheeses (paneer, hallomi, dairylea & cheshire) & sauces. As well as some other ingredients for cooking like harissa paste, tomato puree & garlic.

So this is what's currently in my fridge I hope it's of interest, is it like yours?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Compliments. Blog Everyday in May.

I'm one of those people who struggle to accept compliments, they're very nice to receive but there's a rubbish part of my brain that doesn't think I deserve them. Sometimes another part of my brain warps things further and turns them into backhanded compliments.  Why this happens is a mystery to me!

Yet somehow this goes out the window when people compliment something I've made or an idea I've had! If someone compliments my sweet making,baking or writing I'm over the moon. I probably wouldn't hear if someone said you've made a delicious cake shame you look like you've been pulled through a hedge backwards... all I'd hear would be the cake bit. My favourite compliments have been when people say they like my novel idea and want to read the finished article or when someone compliments my writing when I've had an article or a recipe published.

So if you want to get into my good books now you know exactly what to say!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

13 year old you! Blog Everyday in May.

I don't have any photographs of me as a 13 year old and definitely none that are uploaded on to my computer! If I met my 13 year old self and this didn't cause a rift in both time and space it would be very tempting to try to offer some advice.  The thing is I expect it would be hard to know where to start!

I think the main thing I would tell my past self would be not to worry so much about fitting in and being normal.  I gave it ago once and ended up ignored and bored.  I'd also try to explain that there's a reason you don't fit in with the people your hanging around with it's because they're not the people who you need to be friends with.  Try to stick with the more artistic and bookish people they are your kind, they understand that you read to escape school not to be rude to anyone.  (They also have the best computer games!)

Another piece of advice I'd give is that worrying about getting more confident won't help you get anymore confident it actually seems to have the opposite effect!  I also used to get upset that no boys seemed to like me but this was really the last thing I should've been worrying about... it was just that I was a shy little thing with no clue that reading books hunched up in a corner wearing baggy clothes wasn't going to make me attractive. Seems obvious now but that took me a few years to figure out.

I'd also be tempted to give myself a couple of other pieces of advice like don't worry so much about school. Although might help to focus a bit more in class and stop reading till the early hours...

The last thing I'd do would be to tell myself that my parents are human and make mistakes just like everyone else.  Another obvious point but it was something I didn't get as a screaming banshee of a teenager. It's also something I hope that my unborn son realises when he meets me, that we're all doing the best we can with the knowledge that we've acquired.

I wonder what advice my 39 year old self will have for me in another 13 years?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Dream Job. Blog Everyday in May.

When I was a small child I changed what my dream job was several times a day I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to a pig farmer and artist to an actress a pop singer to a film director... the list goes on and the possibilities seemed endless! As I got older I put some of these dreams aside as they seemed impossible or I got bored of them and other dream jobs replaced them. When I was a teenager I went from wanting to be an actress to an artist to a film director before giving film making ago and realising that I'm not very good at it.  At the same time I experimented with writing and found I wasn't as bad as I'd imagined... After leaving college I didn't think about a dream job as such I just focused on getting a job.  Once secure in that I started to think about writing again and another silly idea of mine forming a band.

I didn't stay in that job forever and ended up going to university and experimenting with different writing styles and different career paths.  I even flirted with music journalism and sub-edited the music section of my student rag!  Then after uni I threw that experience away and went into one admin job then another and fantasised about training up to become a journalist or writing a novel.  Now I've got a few friends who are journalists so I'm not entirely sure if that's the dream... I still day dream about making a living writing about my travels, gigs I've seen, books I've read and recipes I've created. As well as maybe something to do with dancing, twiddling stringed instruments and crafting things.   Really I want to be a renaissance woman!
Truth be told I still don't really know what I want to do with my life and as I probably won't retire for another 40 years I've still got to time to try my hand at becoming a successful music journalist, travel writer, novelist and/or food columnist. One career per decade wouldn't be bad would it? So that's when I've done sitting at my desk writing letters by day I come home and write blogs and stories by night. There's no fairy godmothers out there... ... might end up a Jacqueline of all trades but I should have fun in the process!

Monday, 20 May 2013


The prompt for today's blog post is to write about something that's been in the news today and the thing that's caught my eye is the fact that it looks like gay marriage maybe getting legalised in the UK. (About time!)

Personally I only think this is a good thing as it seems unfair to limit who can get married to heterosexual couples.  Part of me thinks this is because I've always wanted life to be fair for everyone and in all my favourite books, films and TV show the biggest battle has always been the one to get everyone the right to co-exist in harmony.

Then again I'm a big hippy at heart!  (Also it appears to be ripping the Conservative party to pieces and revealing them as the nasty party which is a good consequence in my eyes!)

What have you been reading about in the news today and what are your opinions on it?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Favourite Tradition. Blog Everyday in May.

I'm not really much of a traditionalist to be honest and I find this topic quite challenging.  When I was younger tradition was a big part of my life every Sunday we went to church and had a roast dinner afterwards, most Saturdays in the summer were spend watching my Dad playing cricket and every Christmas we sang along to a Disney sing-a-long carols video.  Now I'm older I don't do any of that.  For a few years me and Paul watched or attempted to watch The Hogfather on Christmas Eve although we often fell asleep near the end as it's quite long.  Last year we gave it up as a bad job and watched Avengers instead... I have stumbled upon another tradition though and one that is quite easy to follow, this is having a cupcake at the roller derby.

This is quite a nice tradition as it blends two things I enjoy roller derby and cake! It's also quite an easy tradition to uphold too, all you need to do is go to a roller derby bout, buy a cupcake (or two) sit down and consume said cupcake whilst cheering your team. Something that will not be repeated again is having chips at a bout... this is quite messy. So that is my accidental but current favourite tradition.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Best Friends. Blog Everyday in May.

I think that this one is a very difficult post to write!  It's very difficult to decide who are your best friends and who are just alright friends.  Maybe that's just me though... I do think I'm quite lucky to have surrounded myself with lots of nice friends, family and acquaintances, which makes singling anyone out very difficult.  I realise that this is very corny but a lot of the time I do feel like Paul is my best friend.  This is because he knows what I'm about to say before I've even said anything, understands my silly little quirks like singing the Chiquita banana song when we have bananas in the house and knows how to cheer me up when I'm ill.
That said for the same reasons he can also wind me up better than anyone else and he doesn't like Doctor Who... thankfully I can always talk to one of my oldest friends about this. (Well he's two weeks younger than me but I've known him for ages!  I've also had the good luck to remain friends with some of the people I went to school with and people I met at University.  I am not brilliant at keeping in touch with people but a few of my friends are great in not letting that stop our friendship and we meet up whenever we get chance.  I'm looking forward to catching up with some of them when I head to London next month, you know who you are!

There are other friends I have who I've become friends with through a shared love of music and other hobbies and they help me stay sane by going places with me and putting up with my eccentricities.  I could also say the same about some of my work colleagues who've had to put up with my recent hormonal out bursts! Lastly but not least I can't forget my family, especially my big sister who doesn't live in the same city as me any more but still knows me as well as I know myself.

I don't think I could ever be one of those people who could only have one best friend, that would be like having one favourite band or one favourite film when there's a world of variation out there!  I just think that it's brilliant that there are so many people out there who don't mind me rabbiting on at them about all sorts of random nonsense!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Journey to work. Blog Everyday in May.

So this one is a bit of a funny one as I documented my journey to work when I did a day in the life in one of my previous posts... most days by journey is the same I get up, get ready leave the house, walk down the road past a few shops and the fishpond to the bus stop.

 Then get on a 25 bus into town. Sadly the bus isn't as exciting as getting a mini train in Cleethorpes or an open top bus in New York...

Then I tend to wave Paul by as he gets off the bus three stops earlier than me and then get off the bus at another part of town down behind the Moor and just down from Debenhams, then I walk up a slight incline to Division street and my work.  Occasionally I get off the bus with Paul and walk up past the theatres and leave him at the town hall.
Not that bit but that's quite a nice picture of it... then I dodge a big issue seller walk up past Barkers Pool and along Division Street to work.  On very rare occasions I decide it's a good idea to drive to work; however, I soon change my mind when I'm crawling along in traffic! So that's a brief glimpse of my journey's to work.  One day I might even be fool hardy enough to try walking there, today is not that day and I don't think Monday is that day either!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Pampering. Blog Everyday in May.

I must admit I do like a bit of pampering but I am getting looked after quite a lot at the moment! my lovely boyfriend has taken to getting up, bringing me a cup of tea in bed, running me a bubble bath and bringing me my cereal every morning for the past four or five months.  So when I think about relaxing I don't tend to think about baths as they're part of my routine.  I quite enjoy a nice shower now! I was also treated to a nice goodie bag by my friend Claire when she came to visit in the bank holiday.

Kitties checking out my goodie stash.
The goodie bag contained a mixture of things for me (Mum&me bump body lotion and bath soak) and things for helping with the baby. It was very thoughtful and I think I'm going to try out the body lotion soon as my bump is getting a bit itchy.

Another way I like to pamper myself is to curl up on the sofa with some chocolate or a milk pop and watch Doctor Who or Revenge.  I also decided to treat myself the other week to some felt tip pens for doodling... may have reminded me why I didn't do art after my GCSEs but then again it was very therapeutic!

Basically I think pampering is whatever you can do to help you unwind and feel good.  It doesn't have to be a back massage or a spa day, (both are good if anyone's wondering what to get me for my birthday) but it can be relaxing in front of the tv or filling a blank piece of paper with travel dreams.  That or a word document with stories of time travel and tea drinking...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Life's a lesson. Blog Everyday in May.

This blog topic reminded me about something Jeffery Lewis said in his song Life "life's just a story don't you doubt bad times give us something to talk about".

 Life is one of those funny things, it's be portrayed as a stage or a rat race but a lesson might not be a bad analogy. We do spend many of our formative years unknowingly drinking in knowledge about how to survive and how to be the people that our experiences have made us.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that we've learnt so much to get to the stage where we can enjoy a blog or make a snack. Back when I was at university I had a few microwave related accidents where I burnt things as I had no idea how long they should cook. Well I say burnt... I Exploded an egg in the microwave and nuked a baked potato! Since then I've come on leaps and bounds. It's rare I burn anything these days...
Meringue fail!
Other lessons I've learnt are things like the fact that nothing that is worth doing is easy but with support from friends and family you can do anything even write 50,000 words of fiction in a month!
Yes, I am going to use this as much as I can! Muwahahaha!

Another thing I've learnt is that you can only be as happy as you allow yourself to be. Being optimistic won't reduce your work load but it can make you feel better about it and help make everyone around you more cheerful too.
If you tell someone you just work in customer service or admin or what ever role you do then you're telling them that you don't think your job is any good... That's a tip I was told at an assertiveness course I got sent on.  That and saying people's first name when you see them rather than just "hi"...So, those are a few things I've found out through the years that and don't put a drink next to your elbow!  Or cut your own hair... especially not when drunk!What lessons have you learnt?