Thursday, 17 June 2010

Of bubbles and book-launches

Last night was wonderful :)

It was the book launch for the anthology I was lucky enough to be included in, and it was so much lovelier than I expected. I don't do well with the centre-of-attention thing, and I was sort-of-looking-forward-to-it while also definitely-kind-of-dreading-it. I have this tendency to get uber-embarrassed by all things I-write-poetry-related, and this was no exception. I thought I would spend the whole evening looking a little green around the gills and visibly quivering.

But mostly, I just felt lucky that so many people came to support me (even if I did feel judderingly embarrassed and nervous about it all). My three best friends. My sister. My friends' parents. Sometimes, I pretend that I'm in this little bubble, which is all well and good, but sometimes it's beautiful to break that bubbleskin and breathe the air outside it and hear what the people you love and who love you are saying to you: congratulations, and we love you, and well done!

I appear to have gone all Pollyanna. I do apologise.

I will be grumpy and disgustingly unappreciative next time, I promise :)

Monday, 14 June 2010


I've been posting for a few months now (albeit sporadically) and was trying to persuade myself that I wasn't feeling defeated about not having received any comments on my blog posts. I plodded on, regardless, telling myself gamely that blogging isn't just about having an audience, that's not the point...but of course it is. It's about getting involved in a sort of community - finding people who share common ground, or who are completely different than we are (and interesting because of it). It's about getting nice little messages from other people validifying or gently disagreeing with our thoughts. It's about putting our little selves on the map and having other little selves wave hi from their own places on the map.

Annelise from Box of Crayons pointed out today that she was unable to comment on my blog posts due to some technical glitch (thank you for making the effort to do that, by the way. I saw the little note at the bottom of your last blog post and was very touched :)   

And I thought, well, fancy that! Maybe it's not that my blog is so incredibly dull that no-one wanted to comment after all, and it was merely those dastardly technical gremlins that were to blame?

I think I have managed to fix the issue. It would be lovely if you could prove me right by saying hi. I am mildly obsessed with logging in to check on the blogs I follow, and my experience of blogspot thus far has been a lovely one...but I do feel like my experience is a bit one-sided at the moment, and it would be nice to be more involved.

Hope to speak to you soon! xxx

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


5 things you cannot live without? 4 things you like about yourself? 3 things that can always make you happy? 2 things you are passionate about? 1 thing you will always remember?

5 things I cannot live without:

1. Notebooks - I have notebooks for everything. I have one that is solely for lists, another for bits and pieces of poems - just the idea, or a first line, or an image. I have another for drawings and doodlings. I have another where I keep a note of all the books I have read. Another for things I want to remember. And so on and so on, to notebook infinity : )

2. Poetry - I literally eat, breathe and sleep poetry. I read it, I write it. I honestly think poetry keeps me from going crazy. It's my way of putting the world into some sort of order.

3. Lipbalm - I keep a different lipbalm in every bag I own so that even if I forget to take one with me, I have one available. My favourite is strawberry chapstick, which actually tastes like candyfloss.

4. Moisturiser - Even when I hated everything about the way I looked, I was grateful for my good skin. Consequently, I have always looked after it. I also love that good moisturisers smell amazing so that you get a gorgeous scent every time you move. I particularly love the Kate Moss moisturiser - it smells like roses, and lasts for ever.

5. Cheese - if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be cheese. I love it. Brie with grapes. Stinky blue-veined Stilton. Mature cheddar with pickle. Crumbly goats' cheese. Any cheese! All cheese!

4 things I like about myself:

1. I am very creative.
2. I am a hopeless romantic.

3. I'm a bit odd.

4. I will do anything I can to help you or make you happy.

3 things that can always make me happy:

1. Poems!

2. Black and white photographs.

3. A bubblebath with a glass of wine and a book.

2 things I am passionate about:

1. Literature.
2. Beauty.

1 thing I will always remember:

The night in Las Vegas where my two closest friends and I went dancing all night and then instead of going back to our hotel and going to bed, we climbed the padlocked railings by the pool and curled up on the sunloungers in the dark. We trailed our hands in the water and looked up at all the neon lights and talked for hours and hours, and then we watched the sun rise over the Strip. I took a photograph of the three of us, and we look so young and happy and lovely - I framed it afterwards, and I keep it by my bed.

Lucky lucky lucky

I had the most wonderful weekend...and not just because it was eventful (although every event was marvellous), but because I spent time with some of my favourite people.

Friday, we went to see Lady Gaga in Birmingham, and because my friend's boss (who booked the tickets) is exceptionally generous, we ended up with front row seats for which we only paid a fraction of the cost. The concert was AMAZING. We were literally within touching distance, and the sets were incredible - creepy, twisted versions of Central Park, crappy alleys with junked cars whose bonnets opened to reveal glittering keyboards and burning pianos - AMAZING. I am a total art junkie, and this concert was art, from the sequinned, skyscraper heels to the lightbulb-studded catwalk.

Then Saturday, one of my schoolfriends got married - we drank champagne, laughed and laughed and laughed, ate wonderful food and danced on dancefloors spinning with green sparks. Both bride and groom were beaming the whole day, and it was so lovely to see them all flushed and radiant and happy. I wore a dress I felt pretty in, and my sister braided the front of my hair in a sort of band - and I remember sitting in this gorgeous room, all sage-and-white ribbon, thinking how even a year ago, I wouldn't have enjoyed myself; I would've been too busy comparing myself to everyone else in the room and falling short. Which would have been so SILLY.

Sunday, we went to my friend Joanne's Grandma's 90th birthday party, which was a tea party, and absolutely adorable, and then yesterday, Steven and I went to the new Marco Pierre White restaurant near where we live, and then for a lazy wander around the Tate in Liverpool. Which was just a lovely end to a beautiful weekend.

I look at my life, and I want to cry, I am so happy (this is so new! And so wonderful!)

I am a lucky, lucky, lucky girl.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Well, it's been a weird few days (good-weird. But weird all the same). I had a sort of personal epiphany on Saturday. I was in bed, reading books and drinking coffee with the sun streaming through the windows (at last! sun! This Winter has been loooong) and thinking about a decision I have recently made which I wasn't AT ALL sure about, and suddenly this little voice spoke in my ear: you have a choice.

This may not seem so revelatory; it's a thought I've had many times before in one sense or another, but always in a passive way. I could go somewhere or not go somewhere, for example; I could wear the green dress or the red dress, etc. But this time it was like being hit by lightning. It went right to my core. And I thought, all excited, I get to make every decision I want! I can choose what I want to do or say or think! I get to choose! (Again, this may not seem like a particularly blinding realisation, but bear with me).

I had an eating problem for the longest time. And mostly, it's resolved now. But even so, when I'm feeling stressed, or rejected, or just downright fat, it rears its ugly head to say, 'well. We know how to solve this, don't we? Just stop with the eating for a while'. Lately, while agonising over the decision I wasn't sure about, that ugly little head has been rearing up quite frequently. And so this idea of choice, when it arose, really excited me. I realised, all of a sudden, that I don't have to choose to give in to those little relapses. I can choose instead eat something, to fuel the body that I need to be healthy so that I can go to places and do things instead of having to lie around, listless and pale as wax. And this idea of choice being a core thing, something that applies to the hugest things in my life as well as whether to buy the cherry lipgloss or the grape lipgloss, just stunned me.

And ever since, I have been walking around with a big smile on my face. Even yesterday, when some work-stuff went awry and I felt myself sliding into oh-no-everything's-going-wrong territory, I chose (chose) to stop and take a second to think about things instead. And then I chose to smile anyway, because I could either feel stressed and then probably work inefficiently as a result (I tend to flap like a baby bird out of the nest when I'm flustered) which would only lead to more stress, or I could think, well, what has happened has happened. How am I going to fix that?

And that is what I did.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy Easter Weekend!

Tomorrow is the start of National Poetry Month...which I think is actually an American tradition rather than a British one, but people all over the world join in. The point is to keep the mental cogs smoothly moving by writing a poem every day during the month of April, whether draft, working poem or otherwise. I participated last year, and it really worked for me, possibly because I like being challenged and having something to work towards...I wrote quite furiously last time, and got several decent poems out of the exercise, so I will definitely be joining in again this year.

Things are good at the moment. I am enjoying the rain (I have missed the rain! Only snow and ice this Winter, no rain), working superhard and writing here and there. I have several notebooks on the go, which I find is helping in those times when I want to write something but don't know what to am altogether contented.

The daffodils are out in their frilly, brilliant yellow bonnets, the grass is green, and it's starting to feel like Spring is really arriving. It's the Easter Bank Holiday weekend here, which means no work Friday or Monday, and although I love my job (now that I've moved back to my old office), I'm looking forward to some time off. Poetry reading tomorrow (I will be listening, not reading), channelling my inner domestic goddess on Friday (will be baking up a storm) and then art gallery on Saturday. And I haven't even planned for Sunday and Monday yet, but I am excited for them anyway.

Life is good. It's easy to forget that sometimes. But it is.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

(Pre) Christmas Tidings

The Christmas lights are up everywhere already - the town hall is particularly beautiful, strung all over with tiny blue white lights and a huge, simple tree by the grand-looking entrance. And there are penguin statues everywhere, all of a sudden - a little like the Cow Parade that happened a few years ago, where life sized model-cows sprang up across the city, each one painted differently. So far I've seen a blue penguin covered all over with silver and white snowflakes, a realistic black and white penguin with a purple Emperor-sash, and a penguin painted with grass and flowers. Even though I don't like my job very much at the moment, I do love working in a city centre, particularly at Christmas time - random penguin statues, eggnog lattes, pinkcheeked shoppers, Christmas carols, wet streets gleaming with the smeared reflection of a million pretty. I'm catching the train into Manchester on Saturday as the seasonal German Markets have arrived, and my friend Olivia and I go every year - it's sort of our tradition. We wander round the log-cabin type stalls buying cheeses and wooden toys and tree decorations getting pinker and pinker and colder and colder, and then finally, when we're really, truly frozen, we go to the huge cabin at the centre of the square for mulled wine and hot cinnamon waffles.

I still don't have plans for Christmas Day...part of me wants to spend it alone this year - buy new pyjamas, a fluffy blanket and slippers and spend the day on the couch wrapped up reading new books (which I always get stacks of), just being quiet and peaceful and appreciative. But we'll see.

I'll be doing all of my shopping on Christmas Eve, as usual. I hate the thought of reducing Christmas to a shopping list, pencilled out ages in advance and items neatly crossed off each month. I prefer last minute gift-buying, it feels much more Christmassy - dashing in and out of the shops with my red Starbucks cup clutched tightly in one hand and a plethora of plastic bags cutting grooves in the other one...aaah, Christmas, how very much I love thee!