jeudi 30 janvier 2014

Travelling woman.

It's super cheesy, but I keep hearing/using/liking the phrase recently that 'travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer'.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate.  I can kind of apply the same logic to great food, items that make my living environment more productive, etc.

However, I really like the ethos of it.  I also believe that one of the keys to everyday happiness in the humdrum routine is to have things to look forward to, whether large or small.

I happen to have a couple of quite large things on the horizon, lucky me.  I made a sort-of resolution to make travel a priority this year, and so far I am succeeding in this with flying colours.

For the first half of this year, I have already booked two trips that I am really excited about.

The first is to Marrakech, and I'm off in less than a fortnight's!  I can barely put into words how happy this makes me.  It's a place I've fancied for a long time and the timing is perfect.

Until then, I will mostly be listening to Marrakech Express and reading Hideous Kinky.

lundi 27 janvier 2014

Small things.

What with all the big plans and new year's resolutions and whatnot, at this time of year (January being the grimmest month; thank goodness it's nearly over) it's easy to get carried away.

It sometimes feels like I have to spend every single minute doing something really worthwhile.  Working on a novel or writing away at a million projects.  Running running running.  Travelling as much as I can.  Seeing my friends as much as possible and doing as many fun activities as we can fit in.  Reading ALL the books.  Watching films with subtitles.  Meditating.  Making lists of all the things I should be doing.

These are all excellent things.  Very worthwhile.

However, amid all my frequent proclamations of wisdoms such as 'fortune favours the brave', 'live adventurously', 'you only have one life so live it accordingly', 'don't look back and feel you wasted this time' etc etc etc - sometimes it's good to take a step back.

Do you know what?  I really love watching shit TV programmes in bed.  I will probably look back as fondly on all those evenings spent in bed with my boyfriend, watching 'Gladiators' and eating pasta, as much as I do holidays and gigs and professional successes.

That's OK.

vendredi 24 janvier 2014

Beautiful Ruins

I loved this book.  Absolutely loved it.

It's the first book by Jess Walter that I have read (I confess that before I read the book, I presumed that he was a woman).  I will now be reading his entire back catalogue.

I particularly recommend it if you like any of the following: Italy, film, 1960s, writing, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sub Pop, Cleopatra, sprawling sagas.

lundi 20 janvier 2014

Overheard on the train.

GIRL 1: Elliott says his family's in the mafia.

BOY: But he's not Italian.

GIRL 2: Isn't he, like, Jewish?

BOY: Lisa could be in the mafia.  She's well hairy.

vendredi 17 janvier 2014

RIP Baxter

When my mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas a while ago, my answer was easy.  A pair of Baxters in a new colour - any colour.

Baxters are Topshop's 'relaxed' skinny jean and they fit me perfectly.  I currently have them in classic denim, bright blue and olive green.  While I am not always a fan of Topshop, their jeans are lovely and I can't see the point in buying anything else - comfy, good fit, not too expensive.  Many of my friends are devotees to the 'Leigh' style - a shade skinnier than Baxter - and have tried to convert me.  But I have too chunky a leg for Leigh, more's the pity.  I have a pair of the high-waisted 'Kristen' and the super high-waisted 'Joni', both of which I love when the occasion is right - but for everyday, it's always Baxter.  I wear them for work, for Saturdays running around town - all that kind of stuff.

A while ago I decided maybe I should have a go with a pair of 'proper' grown up jeans.  I tried on Acne, Sevens, MIH.  None of them fit me quite perfectly, and I baulked at the idea of spending that much money on jeans, only to have to have them altered.  I ended up buying two pairs of Baxters instead.

So, it was with a heavy heart that my mum reported back that the Baxter has been discontinued.  Why?  Oh, why?  We are currently trying to stockpile every pair that is left, but supplies seem to be dwindling.

Please, Topshop - bring back Baxter!

mardi 14 janvier 2014

10 albums

So, this has been doing the rounds on Facebook and the like.  Ten albums, off the top of your head - not necessarily the 'best' ones and certainly not the coolest, but the ones that have stayed with you, which you know and love like an old friend.

Here are mine (although I've since been angst-ing about all the things I forgot, obviously).  The point is: don't judge.  OK?

Leonard Cohen - The Future 
Prince - Diamonds and Pearls 
Cat Power - You Are Free
Nick Cave - The Boatman's Call
Hole - My Body The Hand Grenade
Sonic Youth - Goo 
Joni Mitchell - Blue
PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
Shakespears Sister - Hormonally Yours 

vendredi 10 janvier 2014

Oh how time flies with crystal clear eyes

I was speaking to an old friend today, who has just got married.  She is a particularly dear one, a beautiful girl who I have known for a long time.  Weirdly, I have many friends who I did not get on with at first - she was one.  We met because my teenage boyfriend cheated on me, with her.  By this point, that somehow makes us all the fonder of each other.

We figured out, accidentally, that this time exactly ten years ago, we were away skiing together.  We were 22; five of us a sharing a four-person apartment with bunk beds.  I saw in that new year tobogganing down a mountain in a red evening dress and snow boots.

A few months later, I met the boyfriend who I still live with.  A year and a bit later, I moved to Brighton.  So much was still to happen.

It's nice to be able to remember things like that, when you are both happy now.

lundi 6 janvier 2014

But don't they call it a Snickers these days?

So, I'm running a marathon.  It's official.

Specifically, the Brighton marathon, which takes place at the beginning of April.

This isn't going to become a running blog.  That's not what any of us signed up for.  However, I'm going to be spending more time than usual pounding the pavement/cliff paths/parks over the next three-ish months.  So I thought I might do a little monthly update or similar on how it's all going.  Actually, that's not very many months at all, is it?


Well, as you may know, I've been running for a good few years and I kind of love it.  But I am a total hippie when it comes to running, and so I have never done an 'official' event or race, except for my local Parkrun.  The opportunity came up to run for the perfect charity (more on that later as well, I expect) - and what could be more perfect than a seaside marathon in my adopted hometown?

The longest runs I have ever done before have been roughly half marathon length - so I have quite a good foundation, but it will still be a mega challenge.  I must admit that the thought has been crossing my mind for some years now, only fleetingly - 'could I..?'.  So, it's time to have a good go at it and answer that question once and for all.

I always claim to run for the joy rather than any kind of challenge - and that's true.  It just feels good to be outside and moving.  However, a bit of challenge is good.  I remember the feeling when I first started running, and built up slowly to running a 5K and then a 10K non-stop.  It was a lovely achievement and made me feel great.  It's ages since I've experienced anything like that - I know I can run a decent distance without stopping, so I just plod along aimlessly and enjoy the scenery or the weather, or whatever.  Which is nice, but a different thing altogether.  I have my regular routes now, and for the last couple of years, that's all I've been doing.  Once again by necessity, now I'm going to rediscover that feeling of challenging myself, this time more than ever before - so I will find out if I enjoy it on this new level.

I'm determined to do it - so the worst that might happen is that I don't enjoy it and don't do one ever again.  Fine.  Then I can go back to my hippie running non-schedule and at least I will know.


P.S. Whilst I'll be trying not to bang on about it too much here, I have decided to keep a little diary of my training endeavours - if you are interested, you can read it here.

jeudi 2 janvier 2014

The Year of the Super

So, the grand total of two days in, and my newly invigorated fitness regime has been going pretty well.

I brought the new year in with aching muscles.  I traditionally like to do an extra long run on New Year's Eve, to round things off with that special feeling of smugness.  This year, rather than go for mega distance, I decided to get a head start on another resolution - more hill running.  I can plod along for miles on the flat, but hills pretty much finish me off.  This must stop.

So, I decided to go for a 10-mile loop from my house, incorporating as many hills as possible.  The greatest of these was to venture up Bear Road (in Brighton, look it up on Streetview and please be impressed!).  I got through it by pretending I was on the travelator in Gladiators.

I duly spent the entire evening scuttling sideways up and down the stairs like a crab.  Still, I'm not sure that this can be entirely blamed on Bear Road.  The day before, I did the Cindy Crawford workout video - the same one I used to do as a kid for fun in the 90s.  Cindy is magnificent, and unfathomably keen on a lunge.

I really do think that, so many years on, Cindy Crawford's 'Next Challenge' workout has got to be one of the best.  I'm planning to keep at it, and to try to dig out some other 'super' workout videos.