I think I just rambled, Life

things that i will totally do in 2018

There’s nothing I love more than lists. Lists are amazing. I hardly ever complete them, (TRANSLATION: nope. I never complete them) but we have wistful relationship. Sort of like my relationship with my violin – full of longing and missing talent.

Last year, I didn’t complete a single resolution. Not. One. So I thought, hmm … let me learn from this. Let me try to set achievable things. Let me … WRITE THE LONGEST TO DO LIST YET!!

Ah, yes. I really learn from my mistakes.

*ah-hem*

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BOOKS I WANT TO READ

  • A Dickens (WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!!!!)
  • The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World by Tom Feiling
  • Two indie books
  • Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
  • Nine Day Queen of England by Faith Cook
  • Pride and Prejudice (I’ve tried, but have yet to succeed)
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  • A book by P.G Wodehouse (this will be a GREAT hardship)
  • Two books by Georgette Heyer (SUCH HARDSHIP)

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BLOG THINGS TO BE DONE

  • Two posts a week (HAHAHAHA)
  • Two Heyer Recountings
  • A Dickens Recounting
  • Two Guest Interviews
  • A few ‘Terrible Movies I’ve Loved’ posts
  • Greater interaction on other blogs

WRITING THINGS I’D LIKE TO ACHIEVE

  • Finish The Elf Stew
  • Edit and republish Our Intrepid Heroine
  • Enter a short story competition
  • Submit an article/short story for publication in a magazine/e-zine (is that what they’re called nowadays?)blur-1869579_1920

OTHER LIFE THINGS

  • Skate the Rideau Canal
  • Arrive back in England in one piece with sanity intact (WHAT SANITY?!)
  • Maintain daily devotions throughout the year
  • Strive to be kinder

I think – in order to encourage myself – I will cross off this list as I go. So be sure to check back. It’s a riveting sport.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really mind if one thing or everything or nothing gets crossed off my List To End All My Lists – what matters, I think, is put most succinctly in this verse from Micah 6 v 8:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

(Though, of course, if I don’t manage to read a Dickens, I shall be BITTERLY disappointed.)

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Life

resolutions that i didn’t keep in 2017

Look, I think I’m allergic to resolutions. Terribly, awfully allergic to them. I had resolutions made last year – heck, I wrote an entire blog post on how “I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve.”

Oh. Ha. Ha ha ha HA!

In my defence … I was working very hard in order to come to Canada. Please picture someone slaving day after day, taking up every single shift possible, coming home in the wee hours exhausted and drained … and then going back to do it all over again the next morning. Seven days a week. Four weeks a month. Twelve months a year. Ten years a decade …

(That’s not how it went, but it’s how I’d like you to imagine it went. Thank you.)

This is how I did …

1 // READ A DICKENS. JUST ONE. SURVIVE IT.

I didn’t read just one. Oh no. I outdid myself: I didn’t read any.

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2 // READ LORNA DOONE

I tried, but the book I had was a) very thick (I’m not kidding – you could clobber an intruder with it. It might not be completely effective but … you could), and b) the text was  too small and uncomfortable to read. If I remember correctly, I had it out on my desk for a few months, in painful hope. I managed to read a few pages … or paragraphs. So I suppose, in a way, I did read Lorna Doone.

Just, you know, not all of it.book-2572013_1920.jpg

3 // FINISH THE LIBRARY LASS

This didn’t quite work out very well. Why? I wrote too much and then there was nothing and then stage fright sprouted and “this is the way the project ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

“Marriage is a give and take situation – the husband gives the money, the wife takes it.
– by Authors Numerous, CYNICS THROUGH THE YEARS

(I liked to pepper The Library Lass with quotes by fictional people. It was enormous fun.)

Maybe I will return to it, maybe I will not. Maybe I have commitment issues with my projects. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’m indecisive. Maybe I’m not.

4 // PUBLISH SANDWICHESbooks-2596809_1920

Oh. I think that this was a dream too lofty. Though this story has a special place in my heart, it needed plenty of work and I did not have the time or the urge to complete it. I did not have the ‘umph’ as we say in my family.

5 // WORK ON THE SALT PUN

I worked on it – I did. I swear I did. I had a wonderful name for it, I had character pictures and background information and went through the ENTIRE manuscript with highlighter pens for every story arc. (I know. It was like, the ultimate level of commitment!) But then, in September, it suffered a major blow – I moved continents and left my hard-copy-scrawled-with-irreplaceable-notes manuscript behind.

Put a bit of a spanner in the works, to say the least.

It is now waiting for me to return to it, this September. (I miss you too, my love!!!)

Join me, later on in the week, when I draw up a list of goals for this year. Oh yes, my friends. You know what they say – once bitten, twice DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN FOREVER AND EVER AND LEARN NOTHING!!!!

I think I just rambled, Life

a christmas away from home

merry-christmas-2984138_1920.jpgThis Christmas was my first spent away from home, without family, and with the burden of cooking resting on my shoulders and that of my friend.

It was a little bit hard, but FaceTime exists, and so do books.

COOKING

On the whole, the meals that my friend and I cooked were edible. It’s been well over twenty-four hours now and neither of us have expired. We cooked an English Breakfast followed by a Sunday Roast followed by … nothing; we were too full.

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LIST OF (PROBABLY) HELPFUL HINTS FOR COOKING THINGS

  • If your muffin tray is rusted, just give up on making the Yorkshire puddings. DO NOT – and I repeat, DO NOT – use cupcake holders and put too much of the mix inside.
  • If you do this, bin it. Your Yorkshire puds will turn into Welsh ones – soggy.
  • … aaannnddd they will be like flour glue. Flour. Glue.
  • Maybe don’t use chicken gravy for pork. Doesn’t quite go._220206.jpg
  • Don’t get exotic sounding sausages. They do not match an English breakfast. You will bin them.
  • Don’t make cupcakes with no recipe with the remaining Yorkshire pudding mix.
  • Don’t overcook the cupcakes you just made.
  • Don’t eat the overcooked cupcakes you just made – they will be hard and they will taste like sweet bread with sugar granules and chocolate chips to garnish.

ENTERTAINMENT

With breakfast, we watched Four Lions which is a dark British comedy about four terrorists. It was not an overwhelmingly Christmas movie.

We both FaceTimed home. I spoke to my parents about drugs and life and witches which entertained everyone involved, I think.

Afterwards, with dinner, we partook of Pride and Prejudice – and, please don’t slay me –  but I’ve never found Colin Firth to be attractive.

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I suppose it is because the first time I ever watched him on-screen, I was quite small and he was just an ancient bloke on a TV diving into a pond for some reason unknown to me.

And then, I curled up on the sofa with a book, An Unlikely Duchess by Mary Balogh – which had STRONG AND MARVELLOUS Heyer undertones and so made me very happy.

And finally, we watched Spiderman: Homecoming with friends. I’ve discovered that I too need Captain America to be there to help me through life.

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so, you broke a nail …

MISC.

The house that my friend lives in has AMAZING acoustics and so she had a violin and I had a tenor recorder and we played carols and songs. We are going on tour soon – and will be bringing tears to people’s eyes. Tears of PAIN!

(I’m kidding. I just really love that joke.)

Presents were from as far a field as England, and as near a field as a Wal-Mart. We had stockings and opened presents like grown-ups. (I’m just kidding – we broke and opened a present each the night before.)

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Was I homesick, you ask? Yes. A little. But I survived – with the aid of friends, plenty of FaceTime, movies, books, and sort of edible cooking.

Happy New Year!

Life

bloggers, blogging [part two]

Part One was here. This is Part Two (WHAT! IT IS?). I’ve spent a long time on the blogosphere, mostly stalking people. Here are a few more of my victims …

THE PENSLAYER

THE AESTHETIC + ‘SHE LIKES SUTCLIFF TOO?!!!’ ONE

When I was a teenager, I was slightly in awe of Jenny Freitag, because a) she was an author (A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!), b) she dripped with intellectual greatness (my humour and writing has ever been … none-intellectual. I have since learned to accept myself), and c) she read Rosemary Sutcliff’s books.

Freitag’s book The Shadow Things was the first book I bought from a blog I’d followed. (My logic was: she likes Sutcliff, therefore, her books might be flavoured with some Sutcliff-y things.)

(And it was.)DistortedBitesizedIndusriverdolphin-small.gif

I still read Jenny’s blog, but mostly I stalk her instagram where there are kittens + babies + and a beautiful aesthetic. (Which, FYI, is not pronounced as ‘anaesthetic’. Yes. I’m glaring at myself in the mirror.)

BLOG STATUS: active, still slayin’ and that instagram tho’

HOWEVER IMPROBABLE

THE ‘I HAVE TO CLICK BECAUSE OH MY WORD THAT POST TITLE’ ONE

I’d be reading a blog and if they’d have a ‘blog’s I follow’ bar down the side and followed this one? I’d have to click on Jack’s posts. Every. Single. Time.

Oh yes. I was clickbaited before it became a thing. I am a hipster clickbaited chick (?). And you know what? It’s been years now, but when I go back to my blogger homepage and I see her posts? I still get drawn in.

She uses quotes, you see. And I can’t resist a good quotation.

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BLOG STATUS: ‘What if we covered his nose and mouth” “That’s called murder.” [Actual blog title] [DO YOU SEE WHY I HAVE TO CLICK?!!]

MIRRIAM NEAL

THE ‘I BLAME HER FOR EVERYTHING’ ONE

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this, but maybe tripled …

I think it was Mirriam Neal’s blog that introduced me to Heyer. I blame her. Oh, do I blame her. I own a bloomin’ awful lot of Georgette Heyer’s books, have blogged about them, obsessed about them, decided to marry their heroes, quoted them, and consumed a biography and a book about Heyer’s regency world.

To sum up – Mirriam Neal has cost me a pile of money and I regret NOTHING.

And because I have no intelligence or worry that the Heyer Happening could happen again, I still follow her blog. C’mon, it’s interesting – and it’s not like when I discover a new author I buy all their books, is it? Is it?

BLOG STATUS: active, taking my life and bank account into my hands each time I click on her blog. [I’m kidding.] [I’m not.]

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THE ‘LIKES K-DRAMA TOO’ ONE

I think Faith first commented on my blogspot blog. (THANK YOU, FAITH) And for some reason still reads this blog – for which, of course, I adore her.

But when I stalked her – I found, to my delight, that she too liked k-dramas (!!!!!!!!). I haven’t watched a k-drama since last Christmas – but Playful Kiss, The Devil Beside You (yes, I know – not a k-drama, but a t-drama?) and Fated To Love You will always have a special place in my heart.

(And also that drama with Mike He and the bread and amnesia and the song ‘Ideal Garden’ that I love. But … I can’t remember what that’s called.)

And MY WORD isn’t Jang Hyuk’s laugh the absolute most hysterical thing you’ve ever heard?

Obviously, Faith’s blog is not allll about k-dramas – she has excellent taste in books too – but this has given me the opportunity to ramble about them, so thank you.

BLOG STATUS: active, tempting me to throw my life aside for a little while and dive into another drama.

PAPERFURY

THE ‘HOW THE HECK DOES SHE DO IT?’ ONE

Cait writes books in a flicker of an eyelid, devours books like the bookdragon she is, and blogs almost daily.

She’s really quite funny, is obsessed with cake and dragons, and also has just got a two book deal. So a huge congratulations to her.

But one day, I will find out how she does it. One day. The answer probably has something to do with dragons and I am 100% okay with that.

BLOG STATUS: active, HOW DOES SHE DO IT I AM BOGGLED.

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I think I just rambled, Life, Story Time

hair dyeing adventures [Story Time]

*warning: excessively long post ahead. before + after pictures that are in no way professional and display a love of bathrooms/mirrors/ipads. moulting hair fears. bad humour*

THE BACKGROUND

When I was a little girl, I wanted to have black hair – as black as Aquila’s sister in The Lantern Bearers, which was so black she could almost comb sparks from it. (Or that’s how I remember the description going. I can’t look it up because my beloved books are an ocean away right now.)

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But I’ve never yet had black hair, always brown. I loved the stories where the heroine had plain brown hair. I could sympathise. I thought my hair was … a nothing. A sort of bland, brown, and boring mixture that simply existed.

It took me many years to appreciate my hair for what it was: beautiful. When the sun shone, different strands looked like spun gold. In the summer, it would lighten – if I went outside, of course. Which didn’t always happen. I am a bookworm after all.

But I’ve pondered dyeing my hair (mostly blue because it’s so THERE and shockingly so) for years now. Not because I didn’t like it, but because … I could. And suddenly, quite by chance and entirely by impulse – I had a hair appointment booked.

… and still no idea what kind of colour I wanted it.

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THE ELIMINATION PROCESS:

  • Blonde was ruled out because I couldn’t envision myself as a blonde. Like, the image didn’t compute in my mind.
  • Black was discarded because I couldn’t quite picture anything that didn’t look terrible on me (I’m still saving this for another day … dun dun dunnn.)
  • Blue was thrust aside because a) I’d only feel like having blue hair on Thursdays and not every day is a Thursday and b) I’m a bit quirky but I don’t think I could live up to having blue hair all. the. time.
  • Highlights were tossed because I wanted a CHANGE OF COLOUR dang it! And a big one.

So I was left with either a dark brown (NOOOOO!!!!) or red. I went with the red.

THE ACTUAL DYEING THING-Y

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I bussed, and arrived five minutes late (I accidentally went past my stop and had to ride the bus until it came back. Yes. You may laugh.) I’d call the saloon I went to ‘boho chic’. It was actually in the hair dresser’s home and it. was. fabulous.

Was I nervous? Not really. I was excited because I was going to be a red-head. 

The colour was mixed and applied. It felt a little odd at first, but I really liked the smell. (Wut? It smelled like change and adventure.)

And then it was cut.

And then I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror.

AFTERMATH

I have a semi-permanent red dye in my hair – which means that slowly the colour has been fading (I quite like that about it; new shades of the same colour), the first few showers looked like a blood bath and my towel looked very disturbing.

It’s been four weeks now, and my roots are beginning to peek through – but I quite like the effect.

Do I like my hair? Heck yeah! It’s awesome. I look back on my brunette pictures and I don’t have a smidgen of regret.

A WARNING

At work, some colleagues thought I was a new recruit. So, if you’ve committed a heinous crime of say – putting the milk in first before adding the boiling water to a cup of tea, you could dye your hair afterwards and no one would know you! 

(But I would. You utter heathen.)

ALSO: Don’t go into this red hair business expecting to develop either the bare rudiments of Gaelic or a Scottish accent because guess what? It doesn’t work.

I am, of course, immensely disappointed.

ALSO: Maybe don’t go about telling people that you’ve dyed your hair in the blood of your enemies. You’ll get some strange looks.

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

I know, I know – I’m being hysterical and dramatic but I’ve just showered and my hair literally MOULTS after a shower. It’s been doing this before I dyed it so I can’t create a clickbait horror story (‘I dyed my hair and what happened next is horrific!’). But it could be because:

  • my diet has changed
  • I am more stressed than I think I am (I am?)
  • TWIST! My hair always sheds like this and I’m only noticing it now because the house has wood/laminated floors.

If it’s my imagination, I’m going to sue it and tweet angrily about it. And if it’s my reality, I am going to rock some killer wigs. (I’m thinking pastels. ALL THE PASTELS!)

Thank you. I just wanted to get that off my chest and out of my hair … literally. (Too much?)

… and thus is the transformation of my hair completed. On the left – me, in the beginning, before I paid someone to lop my hair off. On the right – me, after I paid someone to soak my hair in blood!! Muhahaha! 

Have you dyed your hair? Did you like it? Do you have difficulty with died/dyed because THE STRUGGLE IS REAL MY FRIEND!