Sunday, 1 January 2012

Dear 2012, the year that will be.

So here is it. A brand new year, rising grim and grey and just a tiny bit hungover. Breathe in that anti-climax. It is always like this – there’s a point between Christmas and New Year that’s like being in suspended animation and you just want the New Year to come already! And then it does, in a great gleaming rush of music, dancing, fireworks and ill-advised snogging. So in the end, despite all your best intentions, you crawl out of bed halfway through the 1st January, aching in places you never knew you had and unable to bear the thought of a run and a salad.

Ah, New Year. How I love you.

Because despite all this I love the promise of a New Year. A smooth sheet of white paper which you can blot or write a masterpiece on. 2012, be prepared to be my masterpiece.

This year I have no resolutions – it’s too easy to say things like Lose weight, Tone up, Save £1,000.

This year, I’m just going to savour it.

I’m going to do my best to keep up my running, Zumba and yoga sessions. I’m going to be mad busy at the beginning of the year so I’ll need these to get out of my head and keep myself sane.

I’m going to work damned hard at my course. I’m going to face those “What if I’m totally crap at it?” thoughts and then wave them away. I am not going to be crap. I’m going to work too hard to be crap.

I’m going to keep dressing to impress – it makes me feel good.

I’m going to see loads of my friends. I can too easily wrap myself up in thoughts and work and that’s no good for me. I’m going to get out and see my peeps.

I’m going to keep on with the cooking. I don’t suck! It tastes good! It’s healthy! Everyone’s a winner!

I’m going to stay positive. Affirmations are their own kind of magic.

Now do excuse me, I’m off to make come hither eyes at 2012 while I brew up my tenth green tea of the day.

*Bows out*

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Dear 2011, the year that was.

Oh how the times do change. This year has been great. Ok, so I don’t have the job I love (yet!), I didn’t win the lottery or get engaged to Richard Armitage (yet!). But I can honestly say that 2011, you have been good to me. Before we hit 2012, here are 12 things that 2011 taught me:

1. Things can only get better. This time last year I thought that things could only get better because they couldn’t get any worse. I know that things can only get better in 2012 because the foundations have been laid in 2011 for a great year and a great future.

2. Good times and bad times make a friendship. They say you learn who your true friends are when the shit hits the fan. But you also learn who really cares when things start coming up roses. Also you can stay friends with someone, even if they have buggered off to Australia. In-depth conversations about Buffy the Vampire Slayer are go! 

3. Having direction brings positivity. This year I finally realised what I wanted to do with my life. Or, more accurately, how I wanted to pursue it. In only a matter of weeks I will be starting a course, training as a make-up artist. This thrills and terrifies me in equal measure.

4. Never go back. Whatever old feelings might come crashing back, the past doesn’t change. Always move forward. Like a shark. Let it go and you open yourself up to much cooler things.

5. Personal style is important. I always used to say that I didn’t really care what I looked like, that what was inside was what mattered most. At the same time I didn’t want to look like everyone else. But this year I took control of my appearance. I threw away every item of clothing that I didn’t like, didn’t suit me, didn’t wear. I started to think about what I wore, how I did my hair. I started to think about what I bought. I bought and wore only things I loved – both new and vintage. It’s amazing how much a bright outfit that you feel really good in can make the day start in such a great way.

6. Dancing is essential to life. Not only is the best work out ever – I know this because I ache the next morning – it puts you in the best mood! No matter how crap your day, how tired you are or how blue, shaking it on a sticky dance floor to epic tunes will fill you with joy. Don’t even get me started on Zumba!

7. People are inspirational – find them. I have found such inspiration in the following blogs: (check out her book Love & Sequins – too good!); A Beautiful Mess; Bangsandabun.

8. Kundalini Yoga is an addiction. It just makes me feel so good – so calm and exhilarated afterwards. I’m totally addicted to it. I’m not the world’s greatest runner, this is much more my thing. I still try to run at least once a week though. Exercise really does make you feel great in your own skin.

9. Natural beauty is the ultimate. I use raw cocoa butter from Akoma which I melt down in silicone cupcake cases with a drop of olive oil and a few drops of essential oils. I use it as a massage bar and it is a delicious treat. Also, Lush facial skincare has been wonderful to me.

10. TV steals your soul. All right, that’s a bit dramatic. But I live in a house with people who worship the great soap trinity: Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale. I’ve always watched them too. Out of habit I flick on the TV when I’m cooking, cleaning, generally whenever I enter a room. I’ve well and truly shaken that habit and I’d encourage you to try it. These days I live for Doctor Who, Merlin and Downton Abbey (which jumped the shark big time, which I sort of love) but otherwise I rarely watch TV. It’s freed up so much time for exercise, writing, reading and chatting with friends.

11. Validation is important. Much as you might tell yourself that you are talented, much as your friends and family might agree, there is something really powerful about being told you’re good by a stranger.

12. Positivity breeds delight. Nothing is so awful that it can’t be faced. Look for the good and you’ll find it as surely as you’ll find the bad.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Blog That Was: 2011 edition

So the blog has been running for over a year now and I’ve been reviewing for Vulpes Libris for over two years. As I’m planning stop blogging in 2012, I thought it might be nice to revisit some of the posts I’m most proud of as well as blogs from other people that have had a particular effect on me.

Dear London: In which I write a love letter to my city in the aftermath of the London riots.

Lessons to be Learned: In which I address the sneaking incipience of casual racism.

Define Thyself: In which I define myself. Obvs.

Ten years ago today: In which I give my personal memories of 11th September 2001.

Over to Vulpes Libris, where I say Goodbye to Harry Potter and friends and look at Arthurian Legend.

Now for other blogs:

This is porn to an organisation junkie like me: A Filofax love affair!

Inspiration for gloomy days: The Radical Self Love Manifesto and The Sad Trombone List.

Whenever procrastination hits, this is where I go: The Wild Donkey Guide To Getting Things Done

For happy days read My Top 50 Awesome Happy Things List and for giggles, watch Bangs Goes Rap.

And, last but not least, you should check out The Pursuit of Life. She’s a great friend of mine and she’s doing something pretty amazing!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The fat lady sings!

After a very long blogging break, some conclusions have been reached…

Firstly, just to let you know WHY I disappeared. I was working on the play. I handed in the final draft on the 30th November, but I’m not done with it. I’m planning to go back and start over with another strand that wasn’t able to this time round. The plan is to finish this version before the end of the year and then I can totally focus on my course.

But it wasn’t just the play that kept me from blogging. Life got a little in the way. It’s just that time of year for getting sociable and doing overtime. Add to that the sudden – frankly quite shocking – acquisition of a boyfriend, I haven’t exactly had time on my hands.

So, I’ve been having a think about the planned relaunch. I had such plans – weekly updates on my course, fashion/style posts, inspiration posts! It was going to be goooood. But unfortunately, given that I’ll be juggling my course, work, learning to drive, a relationship, my friendships and social life, not to mention continuing to write, something has to give. And unfortunately, I’ve decided that it’s this little blog.

Hopefully I’ll be back. I’d love to continue blogging once I’m more settled and have a few less things to focus on. That’s the plan at the moment – a sabbatical. But rather than just go dark like I did for the last month plus, I’d like to say so straight up.

Coming up over the next few weeks are a couple of winding down posts. Just to sum up the year I’ve had and the year I hope to have.

2011 has been pretty pivotal for me. Things changed massively. I was really glad to be able to share some of that with you.

Thanks Smile

Monday, 24 October 2011


Found on StumbleUpon and I agree with every single word:

“I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with my books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren’t covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I’ll return to a person I love. So, that’s my dream I’m working on.”

~Amber Morley

[Currently AWOL while I work on that play. The editing is killing me, I have started talking to myself and acting out parts.]

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A new career.

I started this blog just over a year ago when I was unemployed and determined not to let it get me down. A lot has changed over a year. I got a job – not the job I wanted, granted, but it put money in the bank and paid my bills, which makes me luckier than many.

But over the year I’ve been thinking hard about my next step. Do I throw up my hands and just accept my life as it is? Do I hell. Quitting isn’t really my thing. Admitting defeat comes after the last resort. But the time had come for a re-think.

I knew what I loved. I knew what I loathed. I knew what I thought I would love to do every day and I knew what would make me want to leap out of the nearest window. So after months of thinking, I came to a decision.

I’m never giving up writing, it’s just what I do. Even if nothing I write makes it onto shelves, screen or stage, I’ll still do it. But I have decided that I’m not really designed to write for a living – it’s far too solitary a pursuit. That’s why I wrote so little when I was unemployed – when I’m busy and purposeful, I write so much more. So I had to figure out what job I wanted to do.

And I did. On Saturday, I put my deposit down and in January I will be starting to train as a make-up artist for tv, theatre and film. I am so excited by this. At the open day on Saturday, I was fascinated by everything and really appreciated being able to talk to the tutors and students.

I also decided to learn to drive. As a Londoner, I’ve never really felt the need. It’s just another expense, parking is a nightmare and it’s just so easy to get eveywhere by bus or tube. But if I can drive I’ll be able to take on so many more opportunities, I won’t have to worry about whther or not the trains will be running.

And it means that one day I will be able to fulfill my life time ambition of owning a Mini Cooper. But that’s by the by.

I feel like a year ago I was a totally different person. I have had such an incredible year and I already know that 2012 is going to be even better.

So, as I said before, the blog will probably change in the new year. I’m planning to do a weekly post about my course and also blog about the people and things that have inspired me this year and spurred me on. Things are in the pipeline.

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on this blog over the last year. I’ve really appreciated it Smile

Monday, 10 October 2011

Play it again

(Also known as – Announcement Number One)

A few months ago, a friend found a very small advert in the local paper. Angle Theatre were looking for new submissions. You had to submit three scenes with no more than five characters. Thankfully I had quite a while before the deadline because I totally blanked on ideas.

Then, on an incredibly hot summer day, I printed off my scenes and promptly decided to scrap one scene and write a new one. So I didn’t really hold out much hope given that I took it straight to the post office before the panic set in.

So off my little play went and I promptly forgot about it because I’m of the opinion that my thinking about it and worrying about how it is received doesn’t help anyone, least of all me.

Then last month I heard back. Not only did they like my play (!) I had actually made it onto a shortlist of six.

*Keels over*

Unfortunately, I received this news at work. We have recently been taken over so it’s likely that I scared my new boss because I totally freaked out.

I heard again this week that they won’t be producing my play in their January season as it’s not finished. However, they want me to finish it by 30th November in the hopes that it can get taken on by someone else.

But the absolute BEST news? A masterclass at the National Theatre Studio. So looking forward to this – I’ve only just finished reading about how they developed War Horse in that studio – and I’ll get to meet the other five on the shortlist. Will definitely be telling you all about that. There will be exclamation marks. You have been warned.