Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Deep in a duvet!

It snowed. I caught a cold. Couldn't do a thing for about a week, but I took some pictures of the snow. This is probably the coldest December I've seen in a long time. We still have frozen icicles in our back garden.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Something to brighten up the snowy weekend

Snow is here, and early. Glorious but just too cold to want to go outside. So here's something to remind you of sun and warmth.
*I took some great pictures last week, they were sort of end~of~autumn~beginning~of~winter ish. I'll upload them soon.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Smells like Christmas

Probably the main reason I love winter - and why sometimes I say it's my favourite season of the year although really it isn't* - is because of the Christmas adverts. There is something about most of them that makes me all warm and fuzzy, and usually leaves me feeling really lazy and wanting to snuggle and cuddle up deep in a duvet and never venture outside ever again, especially the ones that show snow. They make me ludicrously happy. Christmas movies make me feel this way too. Unfortunately up to date I haven't seen one to put on my favourite list. I usually have a favourite list for every year, but hey, it's still November, so I still wait for one. Although I'd like to say all the Co-op TV ads are great, mainly because of the use of Gabriella Cilmi's song (I don't like her but this song is her best)

Since I don't have a favourite Christmas ad yet, I'm going to post the ad I currently hate the most. It's not a Christmas ad but I seem to notice it all the time these days.

First of all, whoever is doing the voice over for this? Bad. Bad. Badly dubbed. There's the original French version somewhere on YouTube, I couldn't be bothered to find it.

Second of all, if the yogurt was sour why did she keep buying and eating it? I mean really who would put up with yogurt that made you pull such a face?

Finally, pleasure makes you beautiful? How exactly? I mean really, how? The girl's face is still the same before and after, and she isn't unfortunate looking before and after either, so what was the point of that line?

Yes, I have too much time on my hands. Slagging off TV adverts just happens to be one of the activities that I fill this time with.

*It shares the top spot with other seasons which usually change depending on the year I have.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Girl feels funny, sees Dr, or maybe not

I'm a hypochondriac. Every little symptom sends me in a panic. I imagine big life threatening things. Yet I'm not one to book an appointment with my GP just like that. I usually like to know what exactly is the problem. Get down to the nitty gritty. So I google, mostly.

And it's horrifying.

Google search results make you feel like you have a life threatening disease. You click on an article and see that although the symptoms you have may be for a particular illness, they could also be for X, Y and Z. And what do I do? I click and click. I want to learn, I tell myself. I want to be aware. Then I end up tossing and turning in bed in worry and fear. I still don't pick up the phone though, because if I'm honest I know deep down it really is nothing. I guess I'm one of those people who has to worry to feel alive? Do I make sense? I need to worry to feel like I'm doing something about a situation, as if worrying in itself ever gets anything done.

When the oft little and meaningless symptom is over, I'm back to my usual self. Hooray, death is not imminent after all, I shall live to conquer the world! I then forget about the whole thing and get on with life.

Having had enough of being unkind to myself, I decided I was going control this urge to use google as a medical consultant. I made a considerable effort this summer only for a cold sore to strike last week. Of course I've had one a zillion times in the past, mostly when I'm menstruating and going through a considerable amount of stress simultaneously, but I couldn't help myself. I was miserable so I went online looking for remedies when I know fully well that there are no remedies for this bitch, just your usual 'i got rid of it faster' vague anecdotes. There was the ice~on~sore trick, the keep~it~moisturised trick and even the apply~toothpaste~on~it trick - yes really, I mean the things that people 'try and test'. So which was it? I wanted to get rid of the thing as soon as possible. I failed at trying all of the above and because of that I now have the slowest healing cold sore ever since I can remember getting one when I was a child. Argh. I want my eerm...time wasted on the internet back? A case of too much tampering?

Google you've been great, but I've learnt my lesson now. I will be reaching for that phone next time - not because of a cold sore of course, but for other mildly important things, I'd rather be accused of wasting the doctor's time than endure prolonged and needless pain.

Go on, share your little foibles!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Envy by Judy Corbett (No, it's not a book review blog now, see: About the author)

This book made me go through a range of emotions so fluidly I didn't see any of it coming. One minute I was feeling really sad, the next I was filled with sentiments of disgust and hatred, then it's back to empathy or pity. When I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a near-straight forward tale of childhood, adventure, maybe just a drop of jealousy mixed with an unusual friendship, then it would all end in the proverbial happily ever after fashion. I was wrong of course.

Diane and Isabel are two little girls with very different lives. Diane lives with her very poor mother and step father who are renting a derelict house on Isabel's family estate. Isabel's family is rich. While Isabel wants for nothing and spends her afternoons trying on elegant dresses in her room and being daddy's girl, Diane has to toil hard in the farm and put up with the cruel and repugnant step father - an alcoholic who physically abuses her mother. She hates the fact that she's poor, she's angered by it, ashamed, and very much resentful. One day while she's sitting under a tree reading a book, the 'perfect' and rich Isabel sees her. To her astonishment Isabel talks to her and almost forcibly and in a completely self entitled way whisks her off on a tour of Isabel family's magnificent house. Diane is mesmerized. She's never seen so much beauty and wealth. She's taken in. It's all too glorious and she wants it. So she keeps befriending Isabel, slowly warming her way in Isabel's heart until she finally gets the chance to leave her poor mother and move in with Isabel. It's what she's always wanted, to be loved and live in comfort, but it doesn't end there. Having nothing to lose, she embarks on a grand plan. She wants all that Isabel has, to herself.

It's such a powerful and sensual story. It left me hating Diane but also somewhat understanding where she was coming from. I highly recommend this, it makes for great night or very early morning reading. My favourite quote from the book:

I felt poverty glide out of my pores under his gaze...He made me feel as if my whole life was worth recovering from.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Somebody knock me out!

I went to the library and on the spur of the moment picked up a Danielle Steel book - among other books. The last time I read a Danielle Steel was about seven years ago when I was in high school. In total I think I've read about five of her books. Right, so I opened it and started reading. Page one, I thought hmm...Page two, again hmm...Page three, hmm...Then I thought, right, I can't take this anymore but let me give it another go. So I kept reading until I finished three chapters before deciding that was it. I couldn't do it. I put the book down and started wondering what exactly my teenage self saw in those books to read five of them.

The writing is atrocious I'm sorry to say. It's dull, repetitive and too simple. I don't know what she thinks of her audience to write like that. I mean I was just entering my teens when I started reading her books - for some reason these books were all over my school and since everyone seemed to be reading them I thought why not. Back then I thoroughly enjoyed them. I don't think I gave much thought to style at that age. I was an indiscriminate reader and relished being in the company of some work of fiction instead of finishing my homework. But really, it's puzzling so I kept wondering, is this her targeted audience? People who want simple reading? There is a great article on this blog and one commenter seems to think so. She targeted this particular audience and stuck with it, became famous and successful and that was it, it doesn't matter anymore. The same stuff keeps being churned out. How does she do it? People keep buying and reading.

Personally, I think her writing is mere chick lit. Indubitably romance although she insists it's not. If it's not romance, what is it then? Even when I was reading her books as a teenager I chose them for the sole purpose that they were romantic books. I was going to read about a tall, handsome man sweeping an equally beautiful woman in his arms, and they were going to have the best night of their lives together. I expected and wanted that at that age, and that's what I got. But now I'm so glad I know better. The book that I borrowed is Second Chance. Each time I turned over a page, I sighed. It's sucked the energy out of me and I kept asking myself why was I even wasting my time. In this book the protagonist is editor-in-chief of a leading fashion magazine. Danielle - on the word go - describes how beautiful and elegant she is, how hardworking, no nonsense but fair everyone finds her. They all respect and adore her. How she is content with her life and her dog and does not need a man. She is independent. Hmm...OK, great. But then she repeats this description over and over again. Protagonist goes to her house where she's throwing a party, party is over she goes to sleep, this description comes up again. Next morning she's awake preparing for work, we get this description again. I mean, just too much padding. Same goes for all her other characters. There is just too much filling you'd be forgiven for thinking it was written by an amateur. It's ludicrous and tedious.

I'm returning the book on Monday. That's me done with Danielle Steel I'm afraid. There are so many talented writers out there and so many more captivating books than hers. It was good while I was teenager and I'm so glad I never touched another one for a long time.

Discuss! I'd like to hear your views.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Forgive me but

I saw this and thought, 'You sexy thing!' :-) In fact why should I be apologising? I think he's hot, and I finished reading this book.

*photo courtesy of autoblog uk