Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Panic, fear, dread and a Merry Christmas!

Have you ever had a phone call or message that leaves you with the worst fear in the world? When you immediately start to believe the very worst possible and create some really terrifying scenarios in your head?

I had one of those last night.

I'm going to be a bit cryptic because it's personal and I don't want to go into all the tragic details... needless to say I got hardly any sleep last night and my dreams were incredibly vivid and traumatic hallucinations of my over-active imagination. I was late into work, waiting for a phone call to say things were all ok and that it wasn't really the end of the world as I know it. My mouth has been dry since I woke up and I can't concentrate on anything.

Now I know it's all fine.

All the time last night, I knew that realistically it was going to be ok. Surely nothing that bad could have happened. Part of me actually thought it was fate and that I'd had a run of bad luck and maybe - just maybe I'd done something truly horrible to deserve this. What is all that about? I mean honestly, what is it all about? I wish I had better control over my mind and logic and all the things that would make me live a far calmer life! Panic-monger! Run for the hills.... arrrgh!

So I presume by now you are all very confused, that's if you haven't given up hours ago. Needless to say, everything is fine, normality is restored and I'm off up North for Christmas.

Happy Christmas everyone, have a lovely time.


Monday, 15 December 2008

Smelly people and early mornings

Ah... yawn, stretch it's Monday morning and I had a really nice weekend - although pretty busy. I got a train at 5.30am (yes, yes I mean the 5.30 in the morning) to Manchester on Saturday for my nephew's 13th birthday. It was lovely,a good old family knees up and I got to spend some quality time with my nephew discussing BMX bikes (excellent), chav fashion(awful) and savings accounts(advised). He's still such an ace person, he constantly surprises me with the things he says - he's pretty perceptive for one so young. As the oldest of my brood of nephews (2) and niece (1) him turning 13 did make me feel a little old... however I was 15 when he was born so I guess it's not too bad!

How do kids end up either so cool or such nightmares? I know good parenting comes into but then sometimes I wonder if it's just me being totally biased!

I did really struggle with the getting up at 4.30am though, i just couldn't sleep the night before - you know that feeling when you have to get up for something important so you wake up every 40 mins to check the clock.. grr. I eventually got up and the taxi was early so I spent 30 minutes sat on the platform at Cardiff Central freezing away and trying to avoid eye contact with some of the choicer reprobates. Finally got on the train and got my seat and then a man on rather the larger size of 25 stone sat in front of me and - oh dear - he stank. Ugh. Felt guilty for being so revolted but I'm not good with smells!

Oh well, at least I got entertained with some slightly filthy texts from Mr Occasional once he was up around 7.30 ish... kept me giggling for most of the journey. Hurrah for rudeness that only you know about whilst sat in a public place!!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Boots of moon, icy paths and snug feet

Winter is here, Christmas is round the corner and it's cold, cold, cold! So much so that I made a mad dash to Tesco at 10pm last Monday night to purchase a hot water bottle. It's been a fixture in my bed ever since - at least I now have something warm AND reliable to snuggle up to...

I decided this morning as I scampered to work that I actually like the icy pavements - it makes me appreciate what a fantastic purchase my moon boots were! (Gives me a good excuse to wear them too!)

I have 3 pairs of moon boots now, one traditional, real deal, cool as fuck, red pair of original moon boots. The other two are slightly more practical black ones although one pair have white go-faster stripes. This pair were velcroed round my legs this morning keeping my feet toasty with their faux fur lining. I've still got them on under my desk as I type this - I did put some proper work shoes on this morning but after my lunch excursion I've given in and kept on the comfort boots. Anyway, I'm in love with the retro coolness of my boots. I feel like a superhero. A really warm and lazy superhero.

the boots of moon

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Only one word???

Oooo how exciting.. I have been tagged by a meme (what on earth is one of those?!) it seems this means I have to answer a list of innocuous questions using only one word answers. One word! For all those that know me and my lovely verbose self that's actually really, really hard. Why use one word when you can use 20? No I don't know either...

Gulp. So here goes.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk

2. Where is your significant other? Somewhere

3. Your hair color? Blondish

4. Your mother? Beautiful

5. Your father? Idolised

6. Your favorite thing? People

7. Your dream last night? Rude

8. Your dream/goal? Undecided

9. The room you’re in? Cosy

11. Your fear? Socks

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Beach

13. Where were you last night? Yoga

14. What you’re not? Quiet

15. One of your wish-list items? Drawers

16. Where you grew up? Manchester

17. The last thing you did? Sleep

18. What are you wearing? T-Shirt

19. Your TV? Silver

20. Your pet? Tiger

21. Your computer? Free

22. Your mood? Unclassified

23. Missing someone? Family

24. Your car? Gold

25. Something you’re not wearing? Underwear

26. Favorite store? What

27. Your summer? Interesting

28. Love someone? Always

29. Your favorite color? Sky

30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday

31. Last time you cried? Friday

There we go, not too difficult and filled a bit of time! Thanks Anna!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Pavement Etiquette

I've decided there are two types of people on the pavement today. The one (like me) just wants to get from A to B in as quick and sensible a manner as possible and feel that they are constantly obstructed in some form or other by slower or more inconsiderate pavement users.

The others are perhaps slower and less mobile and would like more consideration and respect from others - otherwise they are just students.

I have to be careful what I say here as I happen to work for a very well respected university and in no way do I dislike students (they practically pay my wages), although living and working in a student area does cause me a number of daily grievances. However, I fear I may digress into a general moany discourse on rubbish, flytipping and loud parties so I will go back to the point.

For those of us who wish to walk quickly (and are usually walking alone) there are the logical steps you take - moving out of the way for prams and the elderly coming the other way, giving some sort of warning before you suddenly change direction or stop and not using an umbrella as a walking weapon.

For the rest I fear there is a real lack of logic. I presume it's not just limited to students but I'm going to write about what I know here. When walking 3 abreast on a narrow pavement the polite thing to do when approached by another pedestrian walking in the opposite direction is to move aside and let them pass without forcing them onto the road. I have a colleague who I won't name who when faced with an immovable group of people will just use his shoulder to 'make a point' as it were.

So here I offer a few tips to my fellow pedestrians - a plaintive cry to the walker you might call it...

1 - when walking at night if you need to overtake a slower walker (particularly a woman) to avoid sounding like a stalker/mugger fast approaching from behind, perhaps just cross over the road before speeding up your pace. Likewise don't just stay walking right behind them either. It's weird.

2 - if you are walking somewhere and it's raining leave the golf umbrella at home. Or at the Golf Club. Either way don't walk down the road with it taking up the entire pavement and poking me in the eye.

3 - pick a speed and stick to it. Don't speed up and overtake me to only then walk really slowly in front of me. It's not drag racing.

4 - if you are wearing your funky wellies that make you look like the cool, kooky student you really want to be - don't jump in puddles and splash around when people are walking near you. It's just mean.

5 - you don't have built-in indicators or brake lights. Don't stop suddenly to look in shop windows or swerve to one side to wave at your friends. If you bump into me I'm liable to bruise.

6 - bicycles are not for the pavement. If you are scared to cycle on the road then you probably shouldn't ride a bike. Or maybe invest in some stabilisers.

7 - prams are not to be used to push other pedestrians out of the way.

I hope this clears things up slightly. Let me know if you have any other rules you would like to add to the list.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Minor gripes and grumps

I seem to spend alot of my current waking hours grumbling about one thing or another, so have decided to make a short list of my favourite current grumbles.

  • Shoes that let rain in

  • People that don't read/follow instructions

  • Yoghurt lids that squirt you when you peel them off

  • Noisy breathers (yes seriously, it's cold season - try working in an office with people who huff and puff all day)

  • Noisy eaters (see above)

  • Washing machines that don't rinse properly

  • People who wait until they are at the till or cash machine to start fumbling in their bag for their money/card. Aaaargh!!! I'm waiting!!!

  • Queuing - especially when prolonged by the above

  • Students trying to give me flyers when I clearly don't look like a student

There, that will do for now. Deep Breath.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The best kind of puppies

Without much of an introductory preamble I'm just going to squeal like a girl because I have to share this with as many people as physically possible!

Some incredibly kind and forward-thinking individual has set up a web cam so that you can watch their very beautiful and furry and lovable Shiba Inu puppies ALL DAY! Genius.

So here it is:

Shibu Inu Puppy Cam

If there is just a slide show showing when you go see it (because why would you NOT go see it I ask) then have a look at one of the archived videos at the bottom. They play. They roll around. They feed. They generally gambol around without a care in the world with extraordinarily furry faces and a wonderfully bumbling nature. Awwwwwwwww.

Secondary to this for your information I am going on my first proper hen do this evening. By 'proper' I mean one where I have to dress up and wear a sash etc etc. I'm actually pretty excited for someone who vehemently hates fancy dress of any sort. Perhaps it's because I'm going as a Geisha and get to wear full make-up and a wig. I have a not-so-secret obsession with make up design since I studied it for two years as part of a drama course. I will of course post a picture after the event...

- Oh and we are going to a Silent Disco so not only are there going to be 17 of us dressed in various Miss World costumes (I am of course Miss Japan) we will all be dancing around in silence to different songs.

Puppies, make-up and silent disco dancing? A perfect Friday I think!

Qype: Guy Christian Hair Salon in Cardiff

Cardiff - Beauty & Wellness - Hairdressers

Ok, so to 'fess up first, I am officially a big fan of the Guy Christian salon. I started having my hair cut by Chris (Guy Christian himself) about two years ago and followed him to his salon when he opened it just over a year ago. The salon is completely lovely - it's a fantastic mixture of edgy/funky/luxurious decor that reminds me of a french boudouir. Not that I've ever been in a french boudouir mind you...

The staff here are ALL really friendly and relaxed whilst still being completely professional and fab at their jobs. The whole experience starts with a consultation, then a relax in one of the Shiatsu massage chairs whilst you have your hair washed and scalp massaged. They'll also fetch you a drink or a magazine and generally just be very charming.

I've got a mass of unruly curly hair and Chris is fantastic at listening to what I want as well as suggesting options for my hair (and even occasionally telling me off/giving me hair care advice). I always come away feeling really happy with the cut and he's one of the only hairdressers I've met who knows how to dry curly hair properly.

I've been getting my hair cut here since the salon opened and have become friends with Chris and the staff to the extent that I'm now editing their website (that's my vested interest bit owned up to). All that aside I would honestly recommend this salon to anyone who fancies a great style experience. It's a little bit of luxury tucked away on City Road.
Check out my review of Guy Christian Hair Salon - I am juniper_7 - on Qype

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Magical disappearing bruises

I don't have anything very interesting to say today apart from a general musing... I had a bruise on my arm, a pretty nasty one I think. A lovely shade of yellow, blue and brown it had a delightful maroon centre. It looked a bit like Italy in shape. It was there all day yesterday having been there for a whole week.

I got into bed last night and looked down and I swear the bruise had just disappeared. Like magically so. Earlier in the day I'd been bemoaning how unattractively vicious looking this particular bruise was. All of a sudden my skin was just back to normal, clear of all Italy shaped contusions.

This led to me spending a good while deciding whether I might have developed supernatural healing powers, much like Claire in Heroes. I can't think what event yesterday might have triggered these amazing powers but I'd be pretty pleased if I had developed them. I know how cool Claire is for being able to jump off buildings and be fine, however I'd just be happy with the ability to wear HEELS again and not worry about twisting my ankle.

*Sigh*.... heels.

On another more topical note I have been mesmerised by the twitter feed on the American Election - amazing. It's a real up to the minute rolling feed of opinion and updates. You should check it out: Election 2008 on Twitter.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Are we going mad?

I had to write a quick note to try and share my frustration over the 'furore' surrounding the Andrew Sachs/Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand answerphone-gate. If you haven't seen it in the news (well done you) Ross & Brand left an inappropriate voicemail on Andrew Sachs answer-machine regarding his granddaughter and then broadcast it as part of a radio show.

It has now become front page news in the Sun, Daily Mail etc with cries of 'off with their heads' and 'sack them!'. I read an article on the BBC website today which actually featured a comment by the PRIME MINISTER critising their "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" . Another quote stated "the prime minister is involved and the leader of the opposition is involved."

Yes, Ross & Brand left a bit a rude message which was in poor taste (especially considering Andrew Sachs is 78) but is this really necessary? Does our government have nothing better to do than get involved with commenting on this? Our political leaders have become so populist trying to rally votes from all areas of society that they lose any real respect I might have once given them. I want to know that my Prime Minister is looking into issues of health and governance, not whether or not Russell Brand overstepped the mark on the radio.

Andrew Sachs grandaughter (who Brand joked he'd slept with) is speaking to the Sun asking for both protaganists to be sacked. It's strange really - if it had happened to my family I would be doing my best to stay out of the limelight and let the story die down in public to avoid further distress. I would pursue an apology - but in private. She didn't ask for this to happen but surely she now has a say in how it is dealt with. The cynical side of me notes that according to some reports she is an aspiring model/actress - all this publicity can't hurt in her quest for fame.

Overall though I'm just curious as to the level of 'public outrage' that the papers claim. Is there mass outrage? Yes the BBC have received a number of complaints but funnily enough those numbers of complaints seem to have increased since the papers have been flogging the story daily. How many people actually originally listened to the show on air and decided to complain? I am in no way condoning what they said or did but the level of mass hysteria the press are trying to whip up is just ridiculous. Are headlines about 'vile behaviour' and 'mass outrage' over-used to the point of numbing readers to real events that deserve those kind of reaction? When the Rwandan Genocide was positively unreported in some international countries whilst thousands were dying I think we have to question who chooses the information we are fed by the press.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Folding Pages

Oh Monday Monday. Always comes around a little too soon. The clocks went back yesterday day though, so technically I did have an extra long Sunday. Whoop.

I had the joys of no electricity for most of Saturday - there is a big building site at the end of my road and they managed to cut through a power cable leaving me powerless from 9am til about 4pm. I really didn't realise how much we rely on power.. I couldn't drink tea, do my washing, clean my house, put the heating on, have a shower or watch continuous episodes of ER on dvd. So with my Saturday plans gone, I decided I'd do something old fashioned that didn't require electricity.. I'd go buy a jigsaw! I've been getting very addicted to jigsaws again recently after helping a friend with a stupidly hard one of a Koala. Then I found this website... Jigzone oh deary me... addicted, me?

So this weekend, could I find a real life jigsaw to do? No I could not. Is it too old fashioned? Are the lo-fi versions of everything slowly being made obsolete? For example, I'm still really unconvinced by eReaders. I like the feeling of a book in my hand, turning the pages, bending the spine for the first time and getting that really satisfying crease down the middle. I'm a page folder when it comes to books, I mark my place by folding down the corner of the page. I don't believe in keeping books pristine - I like my books to be well-read, thumbed and scruffy. I can't imagine reading a book from a little computer screen.. ugh!

Oh well, I'm not going to give up my quest to find a shop that still sells Jigsaws... I'm probably just looking in the wrong place. Anyway... I did notice that there is an online shop on the Jigzone website that sells them. Is that cheating?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Why does yoga make you fart?

Sometimes I think that my life feels like a series of linked unfortunate and embarrassing events whereby I trip literally or metaphorically over and put my foot firmly in my mouth. I'm fully adjusted to the fact that I have no control over my limbs or the words that come out of my mouth. I had not however, realised that it wasn't only me who suffered from random humilation at the whim of my body or wandering mind.

I've been attending a yoga class for the last 4 weeks in an attempt to get a little fitter, perhaps to try and get back the flexibility I had when i was at uni prancing around in my physical theatre classes. (I should point out that I am 28 not 50 but still, I'm definately seizing up and walking like an old lady at times). Yoga is surprisingly hard work, honestly guv'nor it really is. Some of the postures I'm completely able to do whilst in others, well, my boobs just get in the way. However, I'm loving the classes although there are a few little issues....

I can't stop getting the giggles. You see, people fart. Not me, I hasten to add, for once lack of control over my body is not an issue. However, some of the ladies in the class can't seem to stop the odd trumpet from erupting, proudly heralding their working bowel system. BRRRRRAAAAPPPPPPPPPP! Honestly. I completely thought the whole farting in yoga thing was a myth. So this morning I googled "why do people fart in yoga" and lo and behold there are 812,000 results. I even found unofficial fart ettiquette for the gym (the sum of which is to say hold it in till you can get to the changing rooms)(or pretend it was someone else). Everyone is doing it!

I looked through some of the results out of curiousity and then found this entry on a forum. I promise I didn't make this up. I actually had to do a silent creased-over laugh at my desk over this one...

"when it happens to me, i say a quick (and quiet) 'excuse me!' so that those near by--likely the only ones who heard it--also get the excuse me. when it happens in classes that i teach, i tell them that it happens to everyone.

the hardest are the vaginal gas releases after menstruation. whether i have or haven't practiced during menstruation, the first shoulder stand after menstruation always is executed with a 'vaginal fart' (though technically not a fart), and as far as i can tell, there's no way around it (mula bandha or no)."


Oh my god. Now I have to worry about those kind of farts too? Blimey.

The other reason I get the giggles in yoga is the lovely lady who always puts her mat next to mine. She's a little older and always says hi before the lesson. She seems really nice. She also snores like my dad at the end of every session when we do the relaxation. Every week since we began she falls asleep and snores away really loudly. What if people think it's me???? Is that a really bad thing to worry about? Why can I not switch off my own mind enough to not even notice what someone else is doing? Why does it make me laugh?

I have yet no answers to these questions, although this week I had a little snooze myself in the relaxation and it was lovely... until I woke up and I'd dribbled down my chin. Brilliant.