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A moment of madness


It happened again. (Number five). But I don’t know why I’m surprised.


Someone recently asked me “what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?” What I recalled then – and what I still recall now – are things that have been done to me. By me. Let me explain…

The first time I was on a date. Actually, it had just finished. But I guess you could say I was still on it as I hadn’t left him yet. My phone let me know an angry taxi driver was waiting for me downstairs. And I lay on his hallway floor until this nagging reminder finally faded to nothing. When I stopped seeing stars I got up and, needless to say, that was the last and only time his hallway and I exchanged pleasantries.

Number five makes this weakness official. The season of goodwill, I decided to “save a life” and give blood. Ten minutes in and a senior nurse was gently stroking my arm, J clothing my forehead and repeating “this isn’t for you”. She was right. But it didn’t change the fact I’d lost half a pint of blood for nothing.

The second time Kate Winslett was to blame. Possibly Leo too, if you take the performance as a whole into consideration. Which I guess you really should, given its award-worthy reception. (Golden Globe in case you were wondering…). Thanks to the last bloody bloody scene in Revolutionary Road I just about made it down the tiny cinema stairs before I – rather embarrassingly – collapsed into a popcorn covered carpet. To make things worse, I soon had my own audience as a packed cinema emptied out. Including, my less-than understanding friend.

It had happened to him also, before. But I guess it’s hard to remember when you’re not in the moment. That almost comedic, physical failing of (have you guessed it yet?) yup: fainting.

Number four seems the most explainable. Not in how it happened, but why. Unable to open a bottle of soy sauce, what seemed the best solution was to take the sharpest knife I had. And. begin. sawing. The rest is, a rather bloody, history. Living in Paris at the time, it was then I realised I had no idea what 999 for France was. I still don’t.

(It seems 999 in France is 112*) *This book has absolutely nothing to do with the topic. It's just cute. And slightly (stereotypically) French.

(It seems 999 in France is 112*)
*This book has absolutely nothing to do with emergencies. Or probably France. It’s just cute. If a little/lot offensive.

And, not forgotten but the most obscure of the five, the third happened sitting down. Which seemed odd and reminiscent of old black and white films. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Alison was the culprit. A prescribed read that now seems funny given the health implications it – eight or nine chapters in – had on me.

39 days and roughly 8 hours since the last time, it’s hard to know when it will happen again.

But I know it will. And until then all I can hope is that I am able to consciously embarrass myself more so than I am subconsciously capable of doing.

And I don’t think that’s too much to ask for, do you?


Tangled up in…


(blue, grey, green, pink, orange, red, yellow, and black. )

My Nan once told me that, “You’re not a true machinist until you put the needle through your thumb”. Which she did. She had the scar to prove it.

Maybe she said this to make a horrific accident seem worthy. As I’ve yet to hear it elsewhere. Or actually ever from herself again after first telling me it. But I believed her. And enjoyed the unusual criteria of which was needed to earn this title.

But what she didn’t get round to telling me was the accident of a true knitter.

She’s no longer alive and so I’ll never know. I can only guess: Would you need to lean on a knitting needle one night and puncture, mildly, a vital organ? Or just poke yourself in the eye(s- if you’re really hard core), require a patch, and put up with pirate jokes until it healed? Who knows.

But I like that to be good at something in her eyes seemed to require a sacrifice. Specifically, one that involved an acute burst of pain. She wasn’t like other nans…

I wouldn’t say I was a true knitter. (Knitter, is in itself, stretching it a bit.) But when crushed fruit connoisseur Innocent Smoothie’s Big Knit popped up on my TV screen, I thought it was about time I picked up my needles once again.

We’ve all seen the oh-so-cute hats balancing on top of small smoothie bottles from November onwards, justifying spending almost £3 on something you believe you could make yourself. But I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I did not know regular people like you and me actually made those. I’m not even sure they always did.

However this year they clearly needed some help – more than they have done in previous years. Their TV ads reminded us we could all do it, and their website offered snazzy patterns to help you along your way.

Gimme five for helping older people!

Gimme five for helping older people! (Sorry)

Deadline extended, I managed to knit five. At 25p a hat to ageUK, that’s £1.25. Not a grand sum, but I think my Nan would still be proud. (Whether I’m) injured or not.


P.S – Hats off to Grace who, at the age of 103, knitted 50 hats. My hero!

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Always the dog

monopoly_token_dog copy

…never the iron.

Which is weird because I kind of hate dogs.

Okay so why am I blogging about Monopoly? Because I’ve run out of ideas? Because it runs in the same vein as this confused array of posts I call Dawdlings? Yes.

However. The real reason is because I woke up this morning and suddenly had an urge to play it. And I couldn’t think why. After minutes – or moments – of contemplation, I’m putting this down to two things:

1. I’m suffering from manflu = moany, whiny, snotty, sleepy manflu. And playing board games seems both comforting and the maximum amount of energy I can muster
2. I was recently in contact with an ex-boyfriend who, two weeks into our relationship, I discovered had never played Monopoly. Not a very romantic discovery? We lived in Manchester, it rained a lot…

But let’s take a look at the latter. As 1 is far too self-indulgent (even more so than this blog).

I (wrongly) assumed everyone had played Monopoly. Played, not finished. So when my housemate at the time suggested we all sit down and play it one day, I was a little shocked when questions like “How much do I get when I pass go?” and “How do I get out of prison?” popped up from the aforementioned ex boyfriend.

Now he tried to pretend, “Oh it’s been a long time since I played” but it soon became apparent this was a lie. A big fat lie. And yet, he won.


Down to, I should add, my housemate and him doing some rather underhand out-of-the-rules deals. He hadn’t played but he knew how to win. So when I decided I didn’t want to play after a while *girly strop*, and because he had the most property and money: he was declared the winner. Which isn’t really winning.

I later found out this wasn’t the only case of childhood-staples neglect. And because I’ve woken up with this in mind – and I’m not really sure where this blog post is going – I felt this was a good opp to (sort of) name and shame, and deliver a lesson in parenting. Despite not having any children myself…

So here goes:

The rest came in film form. Films.


I don’t know if it’s because I watched too much TV as a child – and still as an adult – but there are films you must have seen. Films that are still literally impossible to avoid every Sunday afternoon, if you’re horizontal, flicking through the channels like me.

Home Alone
Uncle Buck
Three Men and a Baby/Little Lady
Father of the Bride

To name just the biggies. Again, memories almost certainly attached to being ill and spending quality time with my duvet. And okay there are a few I didn’t see as a child either, like The Never Ending Story (sounds rubbish).

But parents of the…now. Don’t let you children grow up without these must-see 80s classics or terribly boring bored (couldn’t resist) games. Or anything else for that matter that may seem pointless and tiring at the time. (Anyone else starting to see a class divide here?)

You never know when quotes like “I made my family disappear” or “Go straight to jail, do not pass GO, do no collect £200” will slip by your child’s adult cultural reference. In pub, club or work situations. (You’re right, no one’s quoting Monopoly or Home Alone in clubs. But still…)

These things will never be necessary but certainly essential.

What was my point again?

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Bach with Greta


Following the cult of the twenty-something struggles filling our TV and cinema screens recently (GIRLS, Beginners and Tiny Furniture, to name but a few), indie auteur Noah Baumbach returns with the release of Frances Ha – co-written by leading lady, and star of Baumbach’s 2010 Greenberg, Greta Gerwig.

A film about friendship, escape, finding love and growing up, Frances Ha is a surprisingly breezier departure from Baumbach’s past work. And it is clear Gerwig had something to do with this.

For a start we don’t have to try very hard (actually, at all) to fall in love with Frances, played by Gerwig herself. Or any of the other characters for that matter. (A quality lacking for me in Baumbach’s 2005 The Squid and the Whale).

Her willed (and adorable) naivety is at times a little overdone but it is careful not to romanticise too much Frances’ quintessential hand-to-mouth artist struggle in the Big City. And instead interweaves difficult themes in a genuinely funny and lighthearted way.

Like many of the late 90s and 00s characters – in what critics have lumped together as “the new sincerity” – the film reflects a point in all of our lives of wanting to get on in a ways that are true to ourselves, while escaping and minimising the obstacle of compromise. These are raw emotions without the irony of past generations.

And it is sincere and funny in its episodes of reckless childish misguidance – including a credit-card fueled spree to Paris and a first date bought with a tax rebate. There even seems to be a hint that these childish urges are actually the antidote to the falsity (bit strong? okay, expectations?) of adulthood which best friend Sophie, comes to accept. Or at the very least a balance is needed.


Stylistically I forgot, as did those who I went to see it with, that I was watching a black and white film. And instead it swooped over to create a subtle yet obvious (go with it…) feeling we were watching a ‘story’, Frances’ story. One, which no matter how ordinary, is happening now and most certainly noteworthy.

Sentimental but not soppy, Frances Ha is a real treat. With Baumbach and Gerwig rumoured to be a romantic item also, I’m looking forward to their future together.

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You should be honoured by my lateness

I’ve been a bit busy. Again. But doing lots of important things. Stuff like watching Season 2 of GIRLS. So while I get my blogging shit? together, enjoy Kanye West’s Stronger by Girls’ Marnie.

(A little bit my hero).

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Severe delays, signal failure and weekend maintenance…

probably not what London Underground would like you to recall over it’s 150 years of service. (Sozz.) Lucky for them publishing professional Penguin Books are here to the rescue.

12 lines, 12 writers – the recently-released, handbag-sized series of stories and accounts, Penguin Lines, invites you to ‘Choose your journey’. And so I did.

Picked not only for it’s cover, but because the Metropolitan line’s – my own line’s – contribution didn’t look as exciting, I began at Heads and Straights: the Circle line’s edition by Lucy Wadham.

Wadham, listed under ‘Tales of Growing Up and Moving On’, recalls her adolescence in the 1970s. A time at which the battle of the punks vs. the middle-class mothers, her own included, was not uncommon along Chelsea’s King’s Road. A cultural clash of arts, sex and snobbery, she guides us through the many people, places and experiences that shaped her’s and her sisters’ teenage years. No sipping lattes, planning annual ski holidays and brunching like the cast of Made in Chelsea here.

Her story is revealing, painful and honest, inspired by her shame of growing up in such an affluent area. And it reminds us that whether we like it or not, the place we call home will undoubtedly affect who we become. Even if it is the defiantly opposite.

Unique and personal, Penguin Lines is also beautifully bound in matte chalky pages. With 11 lines to go I’m looking forward to hopping on a new one soon.

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silence is golden

…unless you write a blog.

And then silence is just kind of annoying and deafening and the longer you leave it the louder it gets.



I’ve been pretty busy over the last eight or so months and as a result, sidelined this avenue of my (questionably) creative output.

But it’s relentlessly cold and wintery, and so maybe you can forgive me by imagining it’s actually still January. Which means I’ve only really neglected it for like, what, a few weeks. Get over it.

No? Okay.

Watch this space for future blogging business. (Brownie promise).

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’tis the season


Eat spiced goods.
Drink spiced goods.
Buy shiny things.
Wear shiny things.

If you’re not doing two (or atleast one) of these seasonably-acceptable check points, then something has gone wrong.

(And If you’re doing all four, well done.)

I myself am already nearing my – approximated – twentieth mince pie.

Whether you are one of those who hate, love or couldn’t care either way – Christmas is here. And instead of moaning that it costs a lot, it’s cold and it’s all over before you know it…don’t forget: Christmas is a great cover-up for most impulsive and indulgent things you would normally feel bad about.B25709163_100_b

For example: Person A, “I really want this glittery expensive dress but I shouldn’t really buy it.” Convincing Person B, “Well it is Christmas.” A new, convinced Person A, “Yes, yes it is.”

And that can be rolled out for most circumstances. Try it.

It worked for me when I saw this – bejewelled Christmas trees in a big glittery jar. So stupid, so simple, so pointless. But it’s Christmas. Okay.

It is a state of mind I believe should continue long after the festive period…

Merry Christmas

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In costume

(Pat Butcher eat your heart out)

I was a Roman once.

In a toga embellished with a big gold plait my mum must have either made or, more likely, taken from a particularly dodgy curtain.

On finding the evidence – a photograph of my whole year five class dressed in togas and centurion armour – my dad couldn’t actually pick me out. Or my twin sister. Which of course made things worse. (Even if we’re not identical).

More Roman Holiday than Roman-clad, it’ll be a little easier identifying one of us (me!) in this array of almost-offensively “bling” costume jewellery, discovered recently in my favourite high street shops and vintage caves.

Having not quite found my Hepburn ball gown yet, I’ve decided to teeter on the edge of the late, great Mrs Butcher instead.

(Well, it beats anymore of my mum’s curtain cast offs. Just.)

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Lost in Translation, Mean Girls and a back catalogue of Wes Anderson – just some of the reasons this artist first caught my eye…

Sarah Silverman, a New York-based sketcher under the name of Sarah Leoraa, possibly for obvious reasons, not only has exquisite taste in films, but she can draw.

Sarah’s zines are more picture book than independent-doing-it-on-my-own punk publications. And instead, carefully picked moments avoid falling into copy-cat territory to bring back what you most loved about that scene, film, character, or most of the time, a detail you thought only you remembered.

Not only do her zines collate and collect, but they have an interesting sequence to them; no film by-numbers here.

I’ve treated myself to Sarah’s beautifully bound Lost in Translation zine as well as an undeniably cool watercolour print of Bill Murray as Raleigh St Clair from The Royal Tenenbaums.

What will you choose?

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