Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Blogging

Where have I been? The thing about blogging is if you don't do it regularly you start to forget how, or why you do it and what you wanted to say in a post- or overall- seems to slip away more easily. You lose the habit, the routine, perhaps the desire.

Blogging has changed since I started.; far more of the online world (like the world entire) is about images.Far more blogs are also professional, which is great! Some of the blogs I first loved have become full time jobs for their writers and I'm thrilled for them.

With a professional blog though usually* comes some* compromise (*this isn't universally true, it's probably more true of people who need to work rather than people who don't- and there are a lot of people out there who blog as a 'career' but don't actually need a career). The blogging world used to be so friendly and it still is, but it's more professionally friendly now and that is also not quite the same thing- you wouldn't get drunk with your boss the way you'd get drunk with your best friend. Well you probably wouldn't (I have been really drunk with my boss).

I think blogs are generally at their best when they have a clearly defined topic or when the writer is really quite talented. Topics are simple, if you really like red pigs and someone writes a red pig blog when you find it you'll probably love it and maybe even make friends with other red pig enthusiasts. Lots of blogs have shown the world that there is a world of enthusiasts and connected them. For me the world of loving scent has been made so, so much richer from the blogging world.

So I think topic blogs are in some ways easy. Find a topic you know about or love and write about it, regularly.

Very good writing is harder to find and harder to pull off.

Wonderful prose can be about brillo pads or topping up your Oyster card and be moreish and enjoyable. The first blog I ever loved was a real blog which to me means a quite personal diary. The blog no longer exists but the author has now written several highly regarded books having been a non professional previously- you could tell that would happen because you wanted to read about what she had on her toast, she is a great writer. I wish I could find another blog like the one she wrote, I wish she'd still write it but I understand why she doesn't.

As there has been more noise I've actually gone back to magazines and books more- and my own thoughts and my headphones too (for music and for audiobooks).

I would dearly love to find a couple more really authentic blogs to visit every day or very regularly but I'm not sure if there will ever be the same phenomenon of people just writing for thirty minutes or so a day without a really end game, without it being a career, without knowing their ad prices and without worrying about the audience- that's the world, that's the Internet. I still love my blog, but I don't feel the same about being a blogger anymore.



Monday, 27 January 2014

Running away to Rye


 For a recent birthday I chose to run away from London to Sussex to relax, drink wine (and local cider), read books, listen to Louis, Ella and Nina, to not check my phone every 2 minutes and to not have to arrange a party- I can't recommend it enough (though I do always love a party, don't misunderstand me, just not people moaning that they don't have money in January, aren't drinking or 'funning' and so on, I know it's a tricky time but I can't help when I was born).


Anyway this is beautiful Winchelsea beach and you can see more of the escape on Sussex Pinterest board. 

PS. If you ever go to Rye please visit @LionStreetStore, it's beautiful curated and full (but not too full) of the kind of cool things that some people would say you can only find in London postcodes, East London postcodes specifically- well it's not true.



Also visit  The Ship Inn for food, drink and (strong) local cider (though in bottles) and a truly great fish pie (with buttered kale, oh yes).


For coffee AND shopping in one place I really liked the Old Grain Store in Rye harbour, lovely people with a great assortment of gifts, home ware, candles (and some gorgeous Christmas cushions I nabbed in the sale).





Thursday, 23 January 2014

Frozen eggs, with a side order of anxiety (or Laura Linney had a baby aged 49)




Laura Linney and her husband have just welcomed their first child to the world- congratulations!

That first sentence omitted what every headline I have read said- that Laura Linney is 49. Most headlines were a lot more along the lines of 49 YEAR OLD WOMAN HAS BABY, IT'S LAURA LINNEY. WOAH. SHE'S 49, DID WE MENTION SHE'S 49? (I'm not even going to mention the men who have children in their 60s, even 70s, who get barely a mention).

I am trying to stay well clear of the sidebar of shame but this story- and other pregnancies of high profile woman (French politician Rachida Dati, Halle Berry, Carla Bruni)- do always receive lots of attention.

I thought this piece in the Huffington Post was well written and raised some good points. Namely that just because a very few women with enormous ammounts of money manage to have children in their mid to late forties it doesn't mean it's going to become normal or that you should think it's going to be an option for you. The article basically says what the media is all too keen to tell women every time they can, in the words of Helen Fielding, tick tock tick tock- don't wait too late to have a baby- but I think in a less hysterical way than is usual.

I think the article does raise the 'taboo' of possibly some of these pregnancies being achieved via donor eggs and obviously some high profile women have used surrogates. However it appears Cherie Blair fell pregnant at the age of 45 without any trying at all. My Mother has always said to me, and I think she may be right, that although it's not very scientific it does seem to be easier for women who have had a child at what is deemed a good age to have a child later- like Mrs Blair. Historically of course in an age before birth control women who survived child birth had many children and often into their forties- this is of course not mentioned by the mainstream press- nor does it seem to be an area of research in the medical community. How did women who were probably less well nourished, who had a lower life expectancy and lived in much poorer living conditions go on having children naturally well into their forties when many women struggle now? I am sure there are answers to do with chemicals in food, stress and modern medicine- and of course there were far more women who couldn't have children and who had no hope of having children at any age in those days.

I am from the generation when it really wasn't even normal for an educated girl, particularly a University educated girl- or to be fair boy- to have a child before 30. Honestly a very few people maybe went for it at about 28 but they were quite often religious and they were far from the norm! I think things have changed a little on this score in the UK. Basically though I felt like I was bombarded with information about not getting pregnant from the age of about ten to the age of about thirty and then suddenly I was told ooh well if you want a big family you may have left it too late (I don't want a big family personally but other people over the age of thirty might do).

This swell of stories and a recent birthday have made me think more on this question. If I had a child or children I would want to do the best for them and of course be as medically well as a I could. I suppose in the back of my mind stories like Laura Linney's do calm that anxiety I sometimes have about what if it doesn't happen in the next year or two.

I am not even certain about children- I currently would like to try I think if I meet the right person but am not at the stage of thinking about going it alone or settling with a partner for something other than love, or the one night stand route (all of these I have heard discussed and even taken up by educated, grown up women who felt they always wanted to have children, worked hard in their twenties and then realised in their early thirties that things had changed and women in their twenties were concentrating on marriage and babies over careers or as careers in a way that just wasn't discussed by our generation).

Yesterday I found myself googling freezing eggs- surely my subconscious is trying to tell me I know things are getting a little later and I'm trying to make an insurance plan. Planning from someone who doesn't really like to plan their Saturday nights too far in advance. It was probably a moment of madness.

 It's a tricky old world for us girls- I'm pretty sure I don't know any 32 year old men worrying about this issue... (though actually in my experience it is often actually the men who do have the issue in the end, but the media don't write stories saying: men! check you can reproduce before it's too late! tick tock).









Monday, 6 January 2014

Chic skiing

I'm off skiing shortly.

The funny thing about this is that I've never been skiing before- and I feel like skiing is a bit like swimming and really unless you learn when you're quite young it's a bit strange to suddenly start. When I was little my parents who had been skiing every year decided to take a break- and then by school age I felt as I didn't ski and others at school did I wouldn't go on the trip. So here I am, first time skier in my early thirties.

To be honest I'm mainly looking forward to the apres ski, wandering around the villages and getting my chic wardrobe together.

I am modelling myself on a Bond girl- more specifically Sophie Marceau in The World is Not Enough. Now I very unfortunately do not look like Sophie Marceau. However we can all try and I like the plainer, classic look as opposed to the surf wear on the snow look.

I have a great Sophie/ Dr Zhivago style hat and I've ordered warm, quite plain North Face ski wear- but I still need a fur type colour ideally and some chic gloves (they all make your hands look like monkey hands).

I also really need some good boots for walking round when I'm not on skis (let's be honest I'm mostly going to be on the ground looking up at my skis but anyway- as long as I don't end up like Bridget Jones, I'll be happy).

Everything I can find either looks like it's for wearing to the stables and mucking out or is a biker boot but with a very heavy tread. Is there anything chic out there which will also stop be from looking like I'm skating around the French mountain towns? Preferably with the very soft fur linings of the above mentioned scary but practical boots.

I'm also confused about evening wear. It looks like everyone just wears casual stuff but is that wrong and will I be the only one in the club in jeans, a top and (hopefully non ugly) practical boots?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The 2nd of January is the first day of the rest of your life


I don't think the internet needs another New Year's resolutions post, but bear with me! 

Let's be honest, New Year's Day is a day of contemplation- mostly contemplating your hangover. I had grand plans to blow the cobwebs away in Richmond Park but as it was driving rain, again, I nested indoors and lived like it was 2013 for one more day. The 2nd of January is where the year really starts.

I am not a huge fan of New Year's Eve, I feel like it's the slightly irritating loud friend of Christmas- who shows up a bit before they were asked and thinks they know best. That didn't stop me having fun of course and I've had loads of good New Years but I think you're either a New Year person or a Christmas person- and I declare myself to be 100% 25th of December.

I also don't hold particularly with New Year's resolutions, you are setting yourself up to fail. I do believe in re- setting a little though, throughout the year- and I also think post December you want to do slightly different things- just naturally.

This year is meant to be all about writing, dating and being me. I'll do my best, wish me luck!




Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Vintage Christmas






If November is all about the Christmas magazines then December is all about Christmas books.

For the last two years I've listened to the audio book of Miracle Regent Street by Ali Harris around this time of year to get me in the mood for all things that are festive and London.

I find an audio book can be easier when you're on the move provided you have good headphones that block some noise- if you're changing trains a lot or the tube is very crowded it can be hard to read. If you're tired sometimes it's nicer to be read to as well. Plus your hands might be busy holding shopping bags at this time of year; or if it's very cold you don't want your hands out of their gloves, exposed to the elements turning pages and getting cold.

Miracle on Regent Street is a great book though and I did read it as a book first- in the comfort of my bed (and bath!) and it a great re- read. Still though sometimes you want something more- and something new. So I was delighted to see Ali Harris has written a novella follow up to Miracle on Regent Street called A Vintage Christmas. It's about the same characters but set a year (or two?) on. I just started reading yesterday evening and I'm already feeling more festive and longing to visit Liberty and Fortnum's, to get my white Winter coat out and do some London Winter activities.

I am only half way through but so far, so good. There are vintage shoes, there is a big London department store (my very favourite kind of shop), there is decorating and there are breaks to the Cotswolds.

The novella is only 99p from the usual online outlets and has been a lovely and inexpensive early present to myself.

Ali Harris also has a lovely vintage Christmas pinterest board here too, if you're feeling pinny. 

(Also dear TV companies, this would make a lovely film or mini series for Yuletide viewing- just saying).

Monday, 18 November 2013

Magazine addiction, the Christmas edition

So it has begun... Christmas for me starts at a different time each year and yesterday was the first day I think. There have been whispers... the first looks at decorations, the re watching of the early Harry Potter films (because they are a great transition between Halloween and Christmas- and because I love them, I know I'm in my thirties but well...).

Yesterday though was real. It all started with Home Alone and then followed googling for Nutcracker tickets and wreath making. As the day progressed the annual 'present ideas' list was begun and National Lampoon's Christmas was watched- and today I had my first listen to my going to work Christmas play list.

I am aware it's November and I don't like to dilute the joy of Christmas but there are some things that you need to start early- like making Christmas cakes, chutneys or sauces (this year I'm going to make my first Cranberry sauce... once I've finished unpacking boxes from moving house... again).

Magazines though. I love magazines and Christmas magazines have become a 'thing' most of them are out now and you really want to be reading them from now on because frankly by just before Christmas it's too late for food, decoration and present ideas.

So I've decided you can start reading Christmas magazines now.. frankly with this many to read (see below) I'd get cracking.

Christmas books too are great for getting you in the mood- I like to start light and work up to the joy of a Christmas Carol- but everyone has their favourites (I also love Miracle on Regent Street), a more recent but much loved discovery.

If you are so inclined you can personalise this Christmas countdown so you don't miss anything.