We’re on two wheels, baby.

5 Apr

Last week I bought a bike, mostly because I really, really wanted one, but perhaps 1% of my longing was because I had a particularly tricky essay deadline that week and hoped a road accident would get me out of it.  Ok, maybe 0.5%. Possibly even less.  But I am pretty sure that no one in a hospital bed has ever had to write about the art of improvisation in 18th century Italy as they are considered miserable enough already.

I tootled down to my local somewhat dodgy but well-meaning bike recycling establishment, conveniently located in the arch of a railway bridge, next to what I think is probably a halfway house (I have never walked past it without getting heckled, usually by someone holding a bottle of cider at 10am) and a skip hire company.  All in all, I felt a bit like I was going to need a bike so as to escape the criminals trying to rob me.  After queueing outside in the rain for ages because people kept pushing in (for my view on people cutting the line, please see Liz Lemon, ep 1 season 1, 30 Rock, I tried to find a clip but the internet has failed me) I FINALLY got inside and found a bike that fitted both my gangly height and aesthetic needs.  Ever since I have been whizzing along the streets of Newcastle, and occasionally the pavements, when I get scared and realise I don’t really know how roundabouts work.  I wish I could drive.  Anyway, here are my bike pros and cons after a week of ownership:

+ much less time consuming than walking, especially when heading in and out of uni.
– I am supremely unfit and find myself feeling a bit sick by the time I get where I need to be.
+ I can pretend I am in Brideshead Revisited, pre-mental and physical demise of Sebastian.
– Hills. Hills and a three-gear bike.
+ Toned legs.
– Bruised legs, as I am completely incapable of not bashing myself on the pedals.
+ Spring bike rides around lovely areas of Newcastle.
–  the fact every lovely area of Newcastle involves the navigation of a massive hill.

Conclusion: Newcastle is hilly and I am unfit but my bike was a great idea.



3 Apr





It’s my birthday.  Here are photographs from my last four birthdays, or, a yearly hair-growing progress report, if birthday pictures aren’t your thing.  Anecdotes are my thing, so here are some birthday ones:

18: My friends Steph and Jess bought me the red balloons as we were all obsessed with Sex and the City at the time, and wanted to recreate Carrie’s birthday balloons  given to her by Mr Big.  Some absolute horror of a boy popped them with his cigarette when you were still allowed to smoke indoors, and I screamed in his face.  I was very drunk and silly and I seem to think there may have been tears before bedtime (always the way pre-18, the shame) and having to have a sit down at work the next day to stop myself from being sick.

19: Steph, Cakey, George and I went to Cleethorpes for the day, had fish and chips, and refused to be driven off the beach by the murky weather, which was far warmer than it looks here.  We had wine and birthday cake on the beach, and took lots of jumping photographs.  I think I probably said ‘best day everrrr’ about 100 times.  I was with Mike by this point, so I’m not sure why he wasn’t there.

20: I don’t remember very much at all about my 20th birthday, except that George seemed to have some wonderful Threshers (RIP) student discount vouchers, and we ended up drinking absolutely loads of nice Pinot Noir for very little money.  I think it may have ended in a silent disco which I hated.

21: Burst into tears several times throughout the day as I was a hormonal mess and also thoroughly depressed about reaching adulthood without achieving anything.  I think everyone got thoroughly sick of me.  You will be pleased to know that I rapidly got over it and grew a pair.

For my 22nd birthday I am going somewhere in Northumberland for a day out with friends, which is very much subject to change due to looming rain on the weather forecast, then invariably doing something wine related.  If all goes to pot, pub and cheap Chinese food it is, which would not be a problem.


13 Mar

I’ve not written anything here for an absolute age, and I’m not really sure what my excuse is.  I’ve not been overwhelmingly busy, but I haven’t had a lot of spare time either.  I’ve had an awful lot of time-consuming reading, and the free time I do have is usually spent watching Glee, so it probably could be put to better use. [I’m not sure why I am pretending that Glee is something uncool that I don’t care about at all here, as I am such a huge FAN, and, since finding out that all the released music from the show is on Spotify,  have listened to little else.]

My plan is to just post lots of photographs and little bits of information, which will hopefully get me back out of the blogging mire, and back into something of an updating habit.

A few weeks ago, my dad emailed me some scanned-in photographs that had been found at my Grandma’s house.  My mum was sure that everything would have been disposed of, as apparently all the clothes she had stored there from her early twenties met a terrible fate, much to my wardrobe’s detriment, but miraculously about 60 photos were uncovered, and my dad chose some of the best to send to me.  Starting with the most recent:

Me, Christmas 1990, taking feeding a doll VERY SERIOUSLY INDEED.  It is also important to note that this photograph proves I wasn’t ginger from birth.

My mum’s passport photo, from 1975.  This photograph makes me sick, mostly because my passport photograph is abhorrent, but also because my mum is only two years older than I am now in this photo, and she looks like a glamorous hottie, whilst I still look like a spotty 15 year old.

This is my grandma, Violet, on the left, and her younger sister, Lily, and must have been taken somewhere between 1938-42.  This is my favourite of the photographs, because I have only really seen photographs where my grandma looks like a grandma, or at least middle aged, so this fascinates me.  I think she looks a lot like my mum.

I went to Dove Cottage yesterday, for the second time.  I first went in early November.  Let us compare and contrast my two trips:

November 2010: please note sunshine, thin jacket, and jolly expression.

March 2011: Wool coat, descending mists, pissing rain and wet feet.

Despite the miserable weather, I still had a good time with my friend Andrew, climbing hills in unsuitable shoes and pretending we were in a gothic novel, but with much cheerier expressions.

After this exciting weekend of school trips and drinks with new friends, settling down to write an essay before the end of the month is going to be something of an anticlimax.  But my current habit of starting my day by listening/miming along with actions to this will surely get me through.

Finally, I now have a Tumblr, click click.

Capturing Moods

19 Feb

Some recent pictures from my phone:

Bye bye caffeine.

Some favourites: falafel, spicy cous cous and baby leaf salad with sesame seeds and balsamic vinegar, and poached eggs (cooked in moulds) on an onion bagel. I really like pepper, ok?

Writing letters, and making their envelopes a little bit more exciting. Mike: ‘Why have you stuck a princess to that letter?’ Me: ‘Urghhh boys.’

Just as I was getting really excited for spring, pointing at crocuses and snowdrops and feeling euphoric when the clock read 5pm and darkness had yet to fall, the weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse and I am back to covertly putting the heating on and trembling next to radiators.  At present, I have dragged a chair, namely Ikea’s amazingly comfortable Poang, from the lounge, and have positioned it next to my bedroom’s radiator, seeing this as the only way of getting my university work done without getting into bed, which invariably leads to a nap.  My legs have finally reached something resembling ‘warm’, but the rest of me is still at ‘hood up indoors’ territory unfortunately.

I’ve had a bit of shitty week overall.  After a really nice and possibly too relaxing weekend at home, I seemed to return to Newcastle on Monday in a state of mind which just felt a bit wrong.  I ended up missing my first seminar of the semester on Tuesday which made me really angry with myself, as I had, up to that point, been doing really well.  I have since then gained a bit of perspective about it, but I’m still annoyed that my perfect run came to an end.  On Wednesday I was in a much better frame of mind, but had to (FINALLY) go to the doctor’s about the mole I mentioned weeks ago.  I had been putting it of, as going about something potentially so trivial seemed really silly, but after it seemed to be getting worse not better, I finally sorted myself out and booked an appointment.  I was put on antibiotics, which I have to take for a week, as the lump (horrible word) under the mole is probably an infection rather than anything more sinister, but have to go back for further inspections and possibly a little operation in a week, just in case.  I’m really glad it’s getting sorted, but at the same time, I HATE taking antibiotics.  I’m a huge hypochondriac with a phobia of vomiting, so when I read that 1/10 people has gastrointestinal side effects, I instantly work myself up into a frenzy.  I have basically spent the last few days waiting to be sick; mad I know, but pretty draining all the same.

My week has, however, been far better than some.  My friend George broke his leg in a bad way playing football on Wednesday, rather overshadowing my mole drama, and has been in hospital being fixed ever since.  I went to visit him on Thursday with some supplies (ginger biscuits, ginger beer, grapes, chocolate raisins and assorted reading matter – Mike played a more controversial card and took a chocolate bar called ‘Fair Break’, touché) which was a rather dour adventure.  We saw the ‘sights’ of North Tyneside by bus, walked through the ultimately depressing hoard of smokers outside the hospital entrance, and then descended on a ward of ancient, ailing people having things replaced… and George, bringing the average age down by about 40 years.

I should be reading this at the moment, but keep getting distracted by Style.com’s fashion week coverage and reading The Guardian: Weekend, which comes joint first with The Sunday Times’ Style magazine as my favourite supplement.  I can’t resist weekend newspapers; I need to learn that buying them pre-work is always a mistake.


13 Feb

On my old computer: mums being hotties, cats being kittens, me being little (but still squinty).

Nice day for a walk in the park

7 Feb


The mossiest of moss.

The shoe tree.

The Selby is in your place

4 Feb

These are my favourite bits of my flat.  I feel sick when I think about having to move out, except when our consumptive next door neighbour starts coughing/retching like he is going to drop dead any second; then I feel a little less attached.  I’m a bit embarrassed by the fact I own more beauty products than books, but never mind.

I watched this film on iPlayer earlier today, which is yet another example of my staggering lack of productivity when not absolutely forced to do things.  It is called Cockles and Muscles (cringe) and is perfectly enjoyable in a ‘French farce’ sort of way.

I also watched Chloe, mostly because Julianne Moore is a massive babe and can do no wrong in my eyes.  The plot is pretty shitty and predictable, but who cares when there’s a Julianne Moore/Amanda Seyfried (who will always be Karen from Mean Girls in my eyes) sex scene.

My friend Stevie (responsible for revealing my bum cheeks to the world) has started a blog, and as he studies fashion, has a DSLR and lives in London, it is bound to be a lot better than mine.

Mike’s parents are arriving tomorrow for a long weekend in Newcastle, and we are hoping, as long as the weather stops being so foul, to go on a jaunt somewhere.  I am rooting for either Cragside or Alnwick Castle, otherwise known as Hogwarts. All the amazing places around Northumberland make me really wish we had a car/that I could drive.  Until I was about nine, my mum and dad used to take me on holiday to Berwick-upon -Tweed every year (a combination of an apartment owned by my mum’s company and their unwillingness to take me abroad lead to its enduring appeal), so I am always quite excited to revisit places I sort of remember from my childhood.  However, if the wind and rain prevail, I will be more than happy with a nice meal and copious amounts of red wine.