mardi 28 février 2012

Creature of Habit

So, today I had my last day off before starting a new job.  I have been for a run, watched Gossip Girl, done the laundry and washing up, had a haircut, and I have now just prepared my things for the morning and boiled up enough quinoa and adzuki beans to bulk out my lunchtime salads for the week.

Thrilling, I know.

Which is why it has occurred to me - not for the first time, admittedly - what a creature of habit I really am.  I used to be much more spontaneous in my youth but am now becoming more set in my ways, I think.  Maybe it happens to us all.  I don't mind; in fact, I think the best way forward is not to stress but to embrace it, as this is increasingly what makes me happier on a day-to-day level.

I am genuinely happier when I have my lunches all made for the week, my running bag packed and my shoes ready by the front door to avoid last-minute panics.  When I am getting enough sleep, eating properly, running at least three times a week, keeping in touch with the friends and family that make me feel best.  This requires a degree of forward planning, which I am learning how to do with increasing success.

After a weird time of all sorts of upheaval, chopping and changing of jobs, I am really hoping to settle into a new routine.  A calm and productive routine that leaves just enough room for fun and creativity.  Wish me luck.

lundi 27 février 2012

Best Monday Ever?

Just a quick note for now, which I will in all probability expand upon later.

But...  This has very possibly been the best Monday ever, spent gadding about town with my mum and Joyce.

I highly recommend both the Lucian Freud retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, and the restaurant/diner Mishkin's.  They are conveniently placed to do both in one afternoon, if you so wish.

I am full of macaroni cheese, salt beef, cholent and knish (not to mention cream soda and ice cream with a cookie).  I am also more fascinated than ever by the life and works of Lucian Freud.

Inspired and happy.  Not bad - and, dare I say, pretty unusual - for a drizzly Monday in February.

mardi 21 février 2012

A short note on Lent

I have just eaten a frankly disgusting pile of pancakes.  I don't care; I bloody love them.  My homemade toppings included chocolate spread (of course), peanut butter, honey and Grand Marnier.

Fat Tuesday indeed.  Just as it should be.

So, now Lent.  I went to Catholic school and always loved the whole ritual of Ash Wednesday.  As such, for the first time in a long time, I've decided to take it kind of seriously and give something up.

In fact, I'm going to give two things up.

First: alcohol.  I have grappled long and hard with this, and eventually decided that the grappling itself meant that it was probably a good idea.  I've had a couple of weeks of really heavy drinking - that's what the last week in a job and a couple of weeks of major stress will do.  Drinks in the pub every night before home, half a bottle of wine with dinner, culminating in a 12-hour booze/lunch/shopping-athon with Lou last Saturday (seriously, it's a bit worrying when lunch turns into nearly missing the last train home...).  Still, we've all got to do it sometimes ('everything in moderation, including moderation') and now it just needs balancing out with a bit of the opposite.

This vague idea was finally decided upon after some advice from my aunt, Karen - she is a Buddhist and as such gave up alcohol some years ago.  After my prevaricating on Twitter (mostly about circling events on my calendar at which it would sadden me not to be at least mildly pissed - after all, I've got a trip to the Vuitton Maison and lunch at Mishkin's coming up!), she replied in usual simple and sensible style: 'It's very good not to drink, cos you will appreciate most events much more, seeing them with a clear mind - I promise you!'.  I'm going to give it a go.

Secondly: Negativity.  I'll confess, this is a direct rip-off from my Mum (the women of my family are very inspiring, as you can see!), and she talks about this at her blog What Kim Cooked Next.

I love this idea - another that seems so simple yet effective.

I know I can be a whinger (can't we all?) but that when it comes down to it I am a very lucky girl - it can't hurt to focus on that.  In terms of my writing, I'm hoping that it will help me to get through it and get more done (the epic rewrite awaiting me being one cause of the alcohol-inspiring stress as mentioned above).

Nam myoho renge kyo.  I mean it.

samedi 11 février 2012

This weekend: New music

This weekend, my top priority is to do some record shopping.  Loads of new releases that I need in my life.

New Leonard Cohen!  He is, in short, The King of My Everything.  I am particularly thrilled to note that apparently the new stuff involves pretty much exclusively 'Sexy  Leonard (see: 'I'm Your Man', 'The Future').

New Charlotte Gainsbourg!  The princess of, if not everything, then of cool.  I love her and basically want to be her; her music is (perhaps surprisingly?) really, really good.  'IRM' has not been off my stereo much for a long time; maybe this will replace it for a while.

New Prinz Horn Dance School.  Really nice people who are Brighton-related acquaintances of mine (my good friend Steve was childhood friends with Suzi Horn and now drives the tour band for her and Tobin Prinz), their music is fascinating and has grown on me more and more.  Their first record is great; I'm always intrigued to see what they are doing next.

Lana del Rey.  Yeah, we've all got an opinion on her - what's yours?  Mine is that she's stunningly beautiful, has some lovely choruses and deserves a dedicated listen.