Wednesday, 17 August 2011

In the pink.

I mentioned my life list in an earlier post and dying my hair pink was another thing on that list. As I’ve mentioned in my hair posts, I’m lazy when it comes to my hair. I dyed my hair brunette in my first year of uni and after two weeks my roots were showing. I couldn’t be bothered to dye it every couple of weeks, so I went Back to Blonde.

As I’ve never been that adventurous hair colour-wise, mainly because blonde suits me, but I wanted to do something a bit different. As I’ve got a week off, I decided to seize the chance to dye my hair pink. It’s only semi-permanent and will probably have washed out completely by the time I go back to work and that’s ok.

We were going to go for all-over pink and then thought that as I’m so pale it might not suit me. I don’t think it would have, so I’m glad it’s just highlights. Still, I love it!

So here’s moi, rocking the pink hair.


Funny how hair colour can make you feel so different. I’m walking with a rebellious spring in my step. I’m planning to bang out a solo at karaoke this week (another life list ambition) and I think the ‘tude this hair gives me is really going to help!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Something really weird happened to me yesterday. I was on the bus to meet a friend and I was standing in front of the back doors. I looked around to see if there was any seats and spotted one in the back.

Only it was in front of a guy who appeared to be filming me.

He was holding his phone up, the camera part clearly visible. The way he was holding it was that caught my attention – he wasn’t texting, he was holding it up clear of the pole and the people in front and it was pointed right at me. I looked around – nope, definitely pointed at me.

He had on the sort of pitch back glasses where you couldn’t see a thing through them, which unsettled me even more.

It’s happened before – someone opposite me on the train once took a photo of me, only he’d forgotten to turn the camera sound off, so at least then I had a reason to say “Excuse me, are you taking a photo of me? What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” (We were just pulling into a station and he scarpered, so no, he didn’t explain himself).

This time I had no evidence, but you know when you just know? I found it really creepy and was really happy when he got off the bus.

Seriously though – what is the etiquette when you think someone is filming or taking secret photos of you? Where do you stand? Is it harmless or an indication of something more sinister? Should I have been flattered or creeped out?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Dear London

I love you. Given what's gone on over the last few days, I know I shouldn't say that. I know I should be thoroughly ashamed that you are the city I was born and bred in, that I count myself a Londoner as surely as some of those people do. I know I should no longer see the beauty in you.

But I love you, London is written through me like a stick of rock. It's marked everything from my accent to the way I act, so it's not that easy. London has a place in all my memories.

I love to eat chips, hot and salty out of the packet on the Embankment, right where I can see St Paul's. I love the solid cold stone of the seats at The Scoop, the twinkle of lights as the sun goes down over Regent's Park theatre. I love the close heat of the underground, the phantom gusts of wind as I miss my train. I love weaving through the crowds on Oxford Street on a sweltering June day, the heavy Christmas decorations and the slush on the pavements. I love the post-club crush on the bus, the long walks home in blistering shoes.

I once kissed someone, pressed up against the wall of my house one New Year. I once had a Hollywood kiss at 3am on Camden High Street. I fell in love in Harrow and my heart broke in Kensal Rise. I have eaten cupcakes in Brixton and enjoyed music on the South Bank. I meet people under the clock at Waterloo station. I have collapsed on the top of Primrose Hill and then hauled myself up to make a fool of myself as I did a circuit in front of Sunday picnickers. I have had my wallet nicked in Camden Town and my hand held in Golders Green.

London is something that lives and breathes for me. I feel that it is mine in a way I cannot describe. And to see what I have seen on the news these past few days makes me sick. Where are those sweet strangers I have chatted to on the bus? Where are the people who give up seats on the train or help you pick up your dropped shopping?

I'll tell you where they are - they are out with brooms, sweeping up the mess left by a minority. Because it is a minority - that is not the true face of London, not the London I know at least. The London I know is full of brilliant people - bright, funny people who make music, hold their drink and are not to be beaten by a bunch of hooligans.

But these people are Londoners too and as much as I want to see them punished for what they have done to our beautiful city, how they have shamed us, I also want to understand them. My friends and family, have sat and watched all of this unfold on the news. Some of us have gone out to help with the clean-up. All of us would quite like a new computer, a new pair of trainers or a snazzy new plasma. None of us have gone out to grab one. I want to know why these people thought that would be ok. Punish them, yes, of couse they deserve it. But I hope that someone, somewhere, will figure out the why so that we can make changes and so that this will never happen again. We should be - we are - better than that.

Today, parts of London are blackened ruins. Businesses, the products of people's dreams, have been destroyed. More damage has been done to our city than was done on 7th July 2005. But we fought back then and we shall fight back again. With brooms and spades and plastic bags. And humour and love and respect.

That is what London is - full to bursting with people who are unbelieveably tough. We have this city in common. No matter our race, our religion, our sexual preference - London is our city.

London, I still love you. We can get through this.

(We shouldn't forget that these riots are no longer just occurring in London. But I've been heartened to see the clean-ups going on all over the country. I am really proud to see this - this pulling together should be the enduring legacy of these riots)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The girl gets fashionable.

auburn hairI’ve been feeling pretty underwhelmed by my wardrobe for a while now. When I have to be up at 6am for work I tend to reach for old faithfuls – jeans, boots and a shirt. But it’s not really me. I’d like to think I have a bit more style than that (cue canned laughter).

So last weekend, as I was planning to go to a vintage fair on the Sunday, I spent the Saturday going through my wardrobe. I was utterly ruthless. My trouble is that if I see a pattern or a colour I love, I often overlook the shape, so my wardrobe is stuffed with things that don’t quite suit me but I love.

No more! If it didn’t look good on, it went into a bag, ready for the next clothes swapping party or boot sale.

On the Sunday I bought some vintage hair scarves – it was far too warm and too crowded to really hunt for clothes. Monday, the last day off before my 10 days of 12hr shifts, I watched some videos on hair styling and tried them myself.

Coming up are some posts to show off my new hair styles. I’m not someone that does much with my hair – my friends will attest to the fact that I tie up it every morning and that’s it. I’m not that good at styling my own hair so I’m very proud of my ‘dos.

Monday, 1 August 2011

More lessons.

As someone who writes I try to avoid cliché at all costs, but clichés don't just occur in writing. When responding to a comment on my last post Lessons to be learned I said that although there are people who scam, we need to realise that this is a minority and not use it as an excuse for prejudice.

But racial clichés abound. Scottish people are tight. The English are snobs. The Irish are stupid. Arabs are greedy. Americans are lazy.


I mean, seriously, in this day and age?

Yes, I know that some of these are used in jest, but some people think this racial stereotyping is accurate. Isn't that sort of terrifying?

In the comment that prompted this post I said "If a man steals a car we don't assume that every man on the planet is a car thief." That sort of sweeping generalisation isn't believed in (we'll get into the female "Men are rubbish!" generalisation another time!). So why are racial generalisations believed in?

Is it because we feel the need to define something different? For example, I personally would find having to wear hijab very restricting. It's not something that I would be comfortable in. I haven't been brought up with it, it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs. And while I don't really understand why you'd choose to wear it I'm not going to say "It's oppressive to all women!!" Why? Because what the hell do I know about it? For all I know, this is their choice and they embrace it happily for whatever reason. It's not for me, but it's also not for me to tell you how to dress. Some people, because they can't understand why this might be someone's choice, perhaps it's easier for them to decide it's a symbol of oppression. That's something they can get.

Is it easier to relate to people if you can lump them into a certain category? I can only imagine that this is the reason for this casual racial stereotyping.
We're all guilty of it, I'm sure. So maybe next time a generalisation rises to your lips, you can pause, reconsider.

All right, enough of the heavy stuff now, I promise. I’m actually planning another post on fashion and hairdos.