Life

i’m not dead

Time flies by, pretty quick, huh? One moment, you’re looking at the snow (IN APRIL) and really wishing winter would hurry up and leave already – the next you are nursing a nice sunburn. (This probably has more to do with my natural deathly milk white paleness English Rose complexion.)

NOOONNNN

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a year now, and boy oh boy, do I miss my books. (Oh. And my family. Them too.)

MY GOSH YOU’VE BEEN POSTING SO MUCH RECENTLY /s

Okay. Fine. I haven’t. I’ve drafted lots and lots of blog posts (probably five. or four. or three) – rants and ravings about winter and loathing coats and wonderful things like that, but – much like my ability to sprout wings and fly and boil eggs and that sort of thing – they never happened.

I am alive though. Even though I seem to try very hard not to be; I still sometimes look the wrong way when crossing the road. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

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PROOF OF LIVENESS. (Is it even me though?)

SO WHAT *HAVE* YOU BEEN UP TO?

This year has been like one giant working holiday. (With emphasis on the working.) I work pretty much full-time, harass colleagues with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, harass everyone with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, have a weekend adventure or two, sing, go for long romantic side-walk walks for one, visit the library, hang out with friends, speak Very Bad French, spend money wisely, and occasionally put my big girl socks on and write.

Okay. So the walk has happened twice, one of my friends deserted me for England, and I don’t visit the library all the time. Pfft. (I just get a shelf load of books out and stare at them lovingly.)

I do think that buying an expensive top which pictures a cat riding a unicorn to be a good investment. Think about it; the top is clothing. Clothing stops you from being naked. BOOM. It’s vital.

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recent weekend adventure: A tulip festival

SO YOU HAVE SOME PRETTY BIG NEWS?

Yes!!!! I do. I do.

(But, not in a marriage sense.)

I – she of the pen name Ness Kingsley – am going to a gym tomorrow. Yes. I know. WHAAAATTTT?!!!!!! How exciting. And very, very all-the-world-does-it-or-has-a-membership-they-don’t-use of you. I’ve never set a toe in a proper one before. I fully expect to develop abs on my thighs by mere osmosis. It’ll totally happen!

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WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES?!!!

Okay. Gather round, friends – time for a quick life lesson in the form of two quotes from me:

Gee! Let me use this used make-up with its used make-up brushes! Why golly gosh! Nothing bad will happen!

me – tuesday evening

Oh. Bother.

me – wednesday morning

Infection. That’s what happens. (Infection or an allergic reaction, but probably most likely an infection.)

Infection and red, red demon eyes that look like you’ve:

  • just murdered someone
  • been strangled
  • cried buckets and buckets of soul tears because of Infinity Wars

Don’t be me, kids. Don’t use used make-up brushes or make-up. Yes, the war face you made was EPIC, but was it worth it? Was it really worth it?

No … well, probably not.

(The war face was pretty epic.)

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Life

how to survive without a laptop

Well. So much for posting twice a week. I do have a reason for my absence; my laptop (or rather, the laptop belonging to my brother) decided to retreat behind an eternally black screen. I was not overwhelmingly happy with this decision.

PANIC LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW

You know, like ‘party like there’s no-‘ fine. my blogging skills are rusty.

It is a second of extreme crisis – that moment when you realize that technology has Failed You. History fans out before your very eyes. (Interestingly, history is mostly represented by Mongols). How on earth did they survive without a laptop, you demand of Wikipedia.

(Oh. Wait. You can’t look up anything on Wikipedia. Your laptop is as responsive as a stone.)

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ACCEPT YOUR FATE

After brief moments of panic in which the future is hopeless and your life void of joy, you realize that … you can survive this. The Mongols did. The Vikings did. Robin Hood didn’t need twitter or, or a blog to have his valiant adventures.

(Actually. He didn’t exist. Probably. Except in your head. Diverted, a moment of quiet, sad reflection is spent on this thought.)

You can survive this absence of technology.

You can use your iPad, kindle, and phone.

You can cope.

EXIST. LIVE- NAY. THRIVE!!

Suddenly you find that you aren’t wasting time, whiling away the hours surfing the web. (You are versatile – you find other ways to waste time.)

Instead of being distracted by your blog, you write Greenwood unintelligibly by hand, your letters formed with grace and skill that a drunken chicken would be proud of.

You write twelve pages.

And then, you snap. You’ve had enough. Why?

  1. You have to edit a project
  2. It just … is a different experience, writing without a laptop (You like it. to an extent. but not to a very large extent. And certainly not for an entire six months)
  3. You are never – in a million years – going to be able to reread your handwriting

TO HECK WITH IT. BUY ANOTHER LAPTOP

It doesn’t have to be flashy. It just has to have Word, a (working) screen, and a keyboard. (Definitely a keyboard.)

Yes. It will cost money, and yes, Dickens and Austen authored books without the aid of computers (and yes, that makes you feel like a second-rate writer, but … pfft. Time travel. They could have time traveled.Hypothetically speaking.) but you know what’ll it save you?

Squinting at your own handwriting.

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So, I have a new laptop. His name is Ivanhoe. He is fast in the way of glaciers, with more memory than a gnat. But he has Word, a screen, and a keyboard. And so life is good. Nay. Life is beautiful.

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.)

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, 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!