Author Archives: girlwithfringe

Monday Blues Banishers #20

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Good Morning!

I can’t believe that it’s Monday again so soon. I can’t believe it’s almost August. I can’t believe it’s 2014.

I don’t just wander around in a constant state of shock at the nature of time like a gormless simpleton. But it does go really quickly, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because the weekend comes around quickly and bad because the week also comes around quickly, more quickly, if you ask me.

Here are some happy things that I’m going to think on whilst the week whizzes by:

1)      List making. I love making lists, they bring sanity and order to my otherwise unruly mind. I like nothing more than to settle down in front of the telly with a cup of tea and a notebook and scrawl out my needs and goals (need = go food shopping, goal = obtain meaningful reason for existence etc). I like to write obvious things on my lists so that I can never fail. Nothing is sadder than a list of un-ticked tasks. Throw ‘wake up’ and ‘shower’ on there and you will almost never fail. Last night I got in bed and listed away. Today I woke up and showered – if I can tick off two items from my list every morning by next year I’ll be a slim, wealthy, successful person with a dog and a driving licence. Wish me luck!

2)      Netflix. I don’t think we take enough, if any, time to appreciate modern technology and the wonders it works on a daily basis. This weekend I watched Beaches, Street Rats, The Rainmaker and Moonrise Kingdom. That’s 4 films that I had no idea I wanted to watch until I saw them on the menu that I then went on to view from the comfort of my own sofa, pausing whenever the mood struck for a tea or bowl of ice cream. I often wish I was born in Victorian times but I am beginning to change my tune.

3)      Port. An overlooked drink unless it’s Christmas time or you’re a rotund, booming aristocrat with a monocle perhaps. I propose we re-evaluate its merits. I’ll admit that I hadn’t drank it properly until this Christmas (I had drank it as a young teenager because it there was always a bottle lurking in somebody’s parents’ drinks cabinet) but what’s not to like – it’s just strong, sweet red wine. STRONG AND SWEET, the best adjectives that can be used in conjunction with any drink. I had a glass last night because we had a bottle gathering dust from Christmas and I identified a desperate need for wine after the shops were shut. Maybe next time it won’t be a last resort.

4)      New (to me) TV programmes. I watched the first episodes of The Big C and The Bridge this weekend and so far, I like them both very much.

5)      Catching up on The Archers – my slice of rural village life. I wish I lived in Ambridge!

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Links I Love

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Is it Sunday already? I have no idea where this weekend has gone, in fact, the whole week seems to have just whooshed by.

We’re a bit soggy here as on Friday there was a massive thunder storm (which I will admit had me a tiny bit frightened, it was so loud) and since then it’s hardly stopped raining. Sitting inside watching TV is not as good for the soul as lying in the garden reading and eating ice cream and I’m grouchy about it! It doesn’t take long to become accustomed to the good life!

Today I’m trying to embrace the grey weather by wearing slouchy clothes, drinking buckets of tea, curling up on the sofa and watching the Twilight Zone and eating a roast lamb dinner prepared by Anthony. I’ll also be catching up on all the internet I’ve missed by spending most of last weekend outdoors. If you’re in the same grey-weathered boat then here are some odds and ends from the internet that have caught my eye this week:

This post on being kind to yourself from Tiny Paint Pot

I intend to make a bottle of this ginger beer and go off on an adventure like I’m part of the Famous Five

A delicious, healthy, easy dinner recipe (what more could you want?) from Laughing Latte

A couple of months ago I watched a programme about the history of Iceland and now I am obsessed with going there. And Rachel’s post on her visit to the gorgeous Blue Lagoon has only fuelled the fire.

I plan to make these yummy looking gluten free chicken goujons next time I’m craving some Mcnuggets – a much healthier and much tastier option from Lancashire Food

A Walk

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A few weeks ago I remember coming on here to have a little moan about how there was no where to go for a nice walk where I live. Well, I was proved wrong. Last Sunday I remembered a little footpath I used to pass on my way to work, I had always meant to explore the path once I had the time and the weather was nice. On Sunday it was lovely and I was restless, with nothing to do. I decided to explore the little path and I’m so glad I did!

I can’t wait to go back with a book and a picnic.

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Monday Blues Banishers #19

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Hello there!
I gave Monday Blues Banishers a miss last week because I was in a terrible mood all weekend. I’ve been in a terrible mood all this week if I’m being totally honest, but I’ve come out of the other side of it now (thank god) and I’m back to share things that are making me smile this morning.
1) Reading Reborn Susan Sontag’s early diaries. I’m curious (nosey) so I love love love reading diaries and Susan Sontag is so inspiring, even at an early age so these have become a firm favourite and I’m only a few pages in.
2) I have cleared the dirty laundry basket. All the clothes in the house are clean. My wardrobe is bursting at the seams! I feel so accomplished. The choice of clothes is really quite overwhelming.
3) I sat out in the sunshine as much as possible this weekend. I’m thankful for a big dose of vitamin D and some fresh air.
4) Fresh bedding on the bed last night. Is there anything better than climbing into a freshly made bed?
5) I finally feel like I have got my groove back after months and months of feeling a bit ‘out of it’ or ‘off’. It feels good to have some focus and energy.
What about you? What’s making you smile today?

Style: This Old Thing & Shopping My Wardrobe

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I watched Dawn O’Porter’s new programme This Old Thing on catch up over the weekend and I quite enjoyed it. It was fun and interesting and bright. I love vintage clothes and whilst I don’t own an entirely vintage wardrobe, and you would rarely find me exploring a vintage shop of a weekend, I think some of my favourite clothes are the handful simple fifties dresses I own.

Watching the programme made me notice how I had stopped having fun with what I wear. Being away at work for half of the week, when I get home that’s exactly where I want to stay. Anthony doesn’t get dressed if he doesn’t go outside, which makes perfect sense for him, but on watching This Old Thing, I realised that I’d been copying him (who wants to be the only dressed person in the house?!). It wasn’t okay for me anymore. I noticed how sick I was of sitting on the couch in my pyjamas for four days solid, thoughtlessly pulling on jeans and an old jumper to venture to Morrisons. I missed the ritual of getting dressed, opening the wardrobe doors and searching through all the possibilities until I found something that was just right for that day. In fact, I wasn’t even getting that on the days when I was getting dressed because on those days I was living out of a suitcase, my outfits having been hastily picked from a slim selection of clothes which were clean and wouldn’t crease too badly when thrown into my case on a Sunday evening.

My love of getting dressed had also diminished somewhat around the time my finances took a turn for the worse. For one reason or another, over the past few months I just haven’t had any spare cash for spending on myself, certainly not for spending on new clothes anyway. I feel like somehow this is always the case for me. I rarely, very rarely, go shopping. When I do it’s to replace something that has worn out or pick up something for a specific event. Occasionally I treat myself to two or three sale items but the last of such occasions seems like forever ago. This seems to be the way it’s always been for me. The main bulk of my wardrobe dates back to uni. I have cardigans and tshirts that I’ve known longer than Anthony.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have many clothes. My wardrobe and drawers are bursting at the seams. By never throwing anything away and accepting any and all cast offs from my aunties and mum I have amassed an impressive and varied collection.

After watching the programme, my passion had been reignited and on Saturday morning I decided to partake in an activity that I like to call ‘shopping my wardrobe’. Basically, you pull all your clothes out of your various storage solutions and look at them like they are new clothes that you have pulled off the shelves of a lovely boutique – you can’t do this too frequently though because you’ll remember all the clothes and it won’t be as exciting. If you are anything like me, most of the clothes will be new to you as you’ll have forgotten most of them. By looking at the clothes with fresh eyes you come up with new ways to wear them and new items to pair them with. I sort the clothes into piles of things I like, things I don’t like, winter clothes etc. I tried on all the clothes in my ‘like’ pile and then created a new pile of clothes that no longer fit… it’s not all sad news though – I put on a dress that I’d never worn because it was so big it looked silly but now, with my new found…er…bulk…it looks much better(!).

After I had hidden all my unwanted (for now) clothes away at the bottom of my wardrobe, I hung up all my ‘like’ pile and it was actually, a little bit, like I had been shopping. I had several new outfit possibilities largely based around the vintage items in my wardrobe inspired by This Old Thing.

Over the past few days I’ve really been enjoying getting dressed and I took extra care to pick exciting things to wear for work so the momentum would carry on through the week. Hopefully next weekend I can avoid the pyjama slump!

How about you, do you ever ‘shop your wardrobe’? Did you enjoy This Old Thing? I can’t wait for the next episode!

 

Monday Blues Banishers #18

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Good morning!

How was your weekend? Mine seems to have gone really quickly, which is odd because it was four days long… I’m beginning to think you can get used to and become ungrateful about anything. I’ll have to remember to count my blessings (four day weekends being right at the top of that list)!

Here are five thinks that are making me smile this week:

1)      Yesterday’s Sunday Roast. It wouldn’t be a Monday Blues Banishers post without me reminiscing about the previous weekend’s food now, would it? Anthony did himself proud yesterday and made the most delicious roast pork with loads of roasties, carrots, cabbage and gravy. YUM.

2)      The Mill. I was at a loss for something to watch now Game of Thrones has ended. I decided to watch series one of The Mill before series 2 starts. It was good! I love period dramas indiscriminately though, so take my recommendation with a pinch of salt.

3)      Home spa days. On Saturday I decided to have a home pamper sesh. I ran a deep, hot bath and made this green tea face mask (I found the recipe on A Thrify Mrs). The mask was actually really good and my face felt refreshed afterwards, it was quick, easy and dead cheap to make as well (exactly the way I like them).

4)      Pilates! I’ve started doing some pilates videos at home. I love pilates and I’m really glad to have lots of space in my dining room to do work out videos as going to classes isn’t always convenient.

5)      Melons. I bought two this weekend. I could have eaten four. I love them. Lovethemlovethemlovethemmmmm!

Monday Blues Banishers #17

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Wheeew what a scorcher this weekend has been. It was lovely to get some sunshine, I’m hoping that a massive dose of vitamin D will help give me a boost of energy for the week ahead. Last week and for the majority of this weekend I have been feeling a bit sluggish. Perhaps it was the huge amount of pastry I’ve consumed in the past five days (chicken pie), perhaps it was the muggy weather, or perhaps it was because all I’ve done since Thursday is watch football and read… we’ll never know for sure.

Here are five things that are putting a smile on my face this morning:

1)      Marilyn by Norman Mailer. Looooove this book. I went to see my Dad on Saturday and he let me go through a pile of books he was going to give to the charity shop. I love free books. Amongst them was this gem. I have been struggling with Armies of the Night for a few months now. I just couldn’t get into it. Marilyn could well be my gateway into Norman Mailer’s work. I have always been intrigued by Marilyn Monroe as a person and cultural icon, although I have never watched any of her films. I find the mystery surrounding her fascinating and I also find the sixties interesting as well so this book is ideal for me. I’m hoping that afterwards I can read Armies of the Night more easily.

2)      I finished books 1-3 of the Song of Ice and Fire saga. My thoughts on them are fairly negative but dislike them as I do, I’m going to continue reading them because that’s who I am. I’m a finisher. I’ll read anything and finish it…eventually. It might take me years but I’ll get it done. I’m planning a post for the end of this week which will have my opinions on books 1-3 in more detail (I know none of you can wait). For now, I’m just glad they are done with.

3)      Painted my nails (toes and fingers) a pretty, summery coral colour. I feel fancy and put-together for once.

4)      A homing pigeon came into my garden yesterday and strolled right up to me, then it took a leisurely saunter around my picnic blanket and pecked my cushions. It was so tame and laid back. I wish I could have kept it as a pet.

5)      National anthems of the World Cup. There are some corkers. I’ve never really appreciated national anthems before but since the World Cup started I haven’t been able to get enough of them. France, Russia, Chile and Brazil are top dogs in my book. I’ve even gone as far as to look into translations of the lyrics and to explore the anthems of non-participating countries (Wales is brilliant, lyrically, and South Africa has a lovely anthem).

What’s making you smile this week?

 

Monday Blues Banishers #16

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Gooood morning!

Have you all had a brilliant weekend? Mine was lovely and lazy but far too rainy for my liking. We spent most of our time watching the football because the weather was appalling and it’s the week before payday which is always a quiet time in this household of poor budgeters!

Here are five things that are sending my Monday blues running:

1)      I made a really good celery soup this weekend and the leftovers are waiting in my freezer for next weekend. I say it all the time but nothing makes me happier than being organised. That and soup.

2)      I’m currently ploughing through A Song of Ice and Fire like a trooper. I don’t really like it but you can bet your farm that I’m going to finish all the books in record time and then give you my opinions on them whether you ask for them or not.

3)      Podcasts! This week I saved all my podcasts up (I usually listen to them in the bath, whilst trying to get to sleep or when I’m cleaning) so that I can listen to them at work. This week I have been reading A Song of Ice and Fire in the bath and not cleaning, because we didn’t mess the house up (grown ups) so I will have something to help the office clock tick a little bit faster. My favourites are Desert Island Discs, This American Life and The Archers Omnibus. Any others I should look out for?

4)      Our house. I just love our little red-doored home. Nothing makes me appreciate it more than spending a few days a week away from it. Right now, as I type this in my dining room I feel so happy to be here, with all my stuff. God knows I love my stuff.

5)      My nails have grown to a ladylike length and I’ve filed and painted them in a ladylike manner. I’ve had a desk job for four years now and I have no strenuous hobbies and yet this is the first time I’ve managed to grow strong, long nails and maintain them for any significant period of time. I have no idea what’s caused this but until I work it out I am not going to change a thing.

What’s putting a spring in your step today? Let me know, it’s lonely in Scotland.

Cornwall

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On Saturday morning Anthony and I woke up after a mammoth lie in with bright sunshine filtering through the curtains. He turned to me, half asleep, and said ‘I wish we lived in Cornwall’. My sentiments exactly. It felt like the perfect morning for brisk beach walks and exploring forgotten parts of the coast. Exactly the right morning for a blustery walk up to Pendennis Castle followed by a cup of tea somewhere cosy.

Me and Anthony met in Falmouth where we both studied English, and whilst we knew how lucky we were at the time to be situated in such a beautiful part of the country, nothing really prepares you for moving away and facing the reality of living somewhere sort of…ordinary.

I love Manchester, don’t get me wrong. There are loads of things to do if you just go out and find them. The difference with Cornwall is that you step out of your front door and it’s THERE. RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF. YOU.

The beaches, the woodland walks, the charming pastel coloured houses, the tiny, whimsical gift shops, the boats bobbing in the harbour. The sea is enchanting when the sun shines, majestic when it’s stormy, strangely comforting on a grey day and most importantly, free.

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There are lots of paid activities to do in Cornwall as well, but there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost you a penny.

Where we live at the moment is so far away from the seaside, and although the countryside is only a short drive away we never find ourselves getting out in it because it takes planning and map reading and effort. In Cornwall it was just there for the taking. I think that’s what I miss the most. Alone or in a group, every coastal walk was an adventure and it required no driving, or picnic packing (unless desired), or overall planning. I loved just heading out on a Sunday morning with no plan of where I’d end up and just wandering parallel to the sea until I got tired and walked back towards town.

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Whilst I don’t think a move back to Cornwall is possible in our immediate future, it is somewhere I’d most definitely like to live again. Whenever I spend time remembering Cornwall like this I always come away feeling so dissatisfied with where I am now, and what I’m doing. It makes me realise that although what I have now is good, it isn’t quite right. It isn’t enough. It isn’t the dream.

I don’t know if Cornwall is even my ultimate dream place to live, but it does tick a lot of boxes on my wish list. It is an easy region to access the outdoors from, that sounds silly, but what I mean is from wherever you set off, after a short while you will end up in the countryside. It also has lots of small towns and villages, and the sea, and excellent food. These are all attributes that I think are important when considering a place to live. Unfortunately, house prices, cost of living and employment are also things that I am forced to consider too, so it’s a no to Cornwall for now, at least.

Do you have a dream place that you want to live? What do you think is important when considering where to live and what sensible reasons are holding you back from moving there?

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Monday Blues Banishers #15

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Good morning! Did everyone have a fabulous weekend?

It rained a lot here but we did venture out to the library on one day and to the cinema to see Godzilla yesterday evening. Other than that I spent the rest of my time cleaning, reading, eating and watching the good old telly.

Here are five reasons I’m smiling this Monday morning:

1)      Anthony is starting working with me this week! I really enjoy having the exact same schedule as him (so convenient) so working together has never been a problem for us, this time around we won’t even be doing the same work so we won’t be ‘under each other’s feet’ so much, not that we were before. It will certainly be lovely to have him in Glasgow with me, there’s only so much alone-in-a-hotel time I can handle before I go all ‘the shining’.

2)      The train journey to work. I love trains! Long train journeys through the British countryside are so romantic and beautiful, I love to gaze out of the window and daydream or read whilst whizzing past gorgeous scenery. Long train journeys also remind me of the marathon train trips between my mum’s house and university (I went to uni in Cornwall). Sometimes the trip could take nine hours, but looking back on that time of my life makes me feel good and so a long train journey will always bring a smile to my face.

3)      I have plans for Wagamama or Nandos or even both this week. A reason to get out of bed if there ever was one.

4)      The Archers. I have half of last week’s omnibus to catch up on.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to the whole thing in one go whilst cleaning so I’m quite glad to have half left this week to listen too at my  leisure rather than when scrubbing a grotty worktop.

5)      We had a cheese, bread and beer for dinner on Friday and even just thinking back on the creamy cheese, crusty bread and very welcome beer is making me feel happy. I love cheese.

How about you, what’s making you smile today?