30 Jun 2012

A Kid Again

Ben and jerry'sSo this evening I really felt like a kid again, fighting over the almost empty pot of cookie dough ice-cream with my siblings.  You’d think at age 20 I’d have got over it, but it just tastes so good! Plus, I’m still strongly attached to the idea of principles.  Why should my 12 year old sister eat all the remaining cookie dough when there are two other people at the table dying for a mouthful?  So you see my point.  It’s like the nurse eating all the sick man’s grapes.  Almost. 

Kids are annoying aren’t they?  As I sit here at my laptop at 9pm on a Saturday evening my sister and her school-friend are watching last year’s Britain’s Got More Talent (call me old-fashioned but who watches repeats of LIVE shows from that long ago?).  So yes, here I am, seated on the landing in the dark outside my bedroom (the signal is pretty dire in my bedroom and it’s too much effort to switch the light on), only wishing that the TV were free for some much-needed Sex and the City reruns.  But all I can hear is a tedious scraping noise.  Is it the dog?  No, it’s a little brat writing furiously on a chalkboard.  I didn’t even know we had a chalkboard.  Looks like somebody’s playing teachers.  Oh, I remember when.

Nothing sounds as good as wheels coming up the drive.  The mother has come to pick up her child, and the TV is all mine.  And my Dad finally gets his dinner.

Watch this space.



imageAfter reading my blog post on lonely hearts ads, my Dad drew my attention to a newspaper from 1901 which he found between the walls of our house when new windows were being put in.  It seems that some former owners had used it as insulation.  In fact, when we bought our house in 1998, it was still without any heating system and the paper had been sitting there for almost a whole century.  This edition of “The Bazaar, The Exchange and the Mart” dates all the way back to Friday July 19, 1901 and I’m lucky enough to have it right next to me as inspiration for my latest blog post.

Ok, so it’s looking a little dated and delicate around the edges, but all in all it’s in pretty good nick for 111 years.  Despite missing a fair few sections of the paper, notably the first 186 pages, I am the proud owner of pages 187-206, and mark my word; I’ve encountered some truly fascinating journalism.  And I’ll warn you, the adverts haven’t changed a bit either!  No airbrushed images of Cheryl Cole promoting digitally enhanced mascara for L’Oreal (that’s sort of a given), but I have found a couple hand-drawn “before” and “after” shots of a woman beneath the title “UGLY FACE WRINKLES SPEEDILY ERADICATED”.  And they were even offering ‘Free Trial Treatments’ of the product which has apparently cured “thousands of women”.  Now that’s what you call confident.  Since at least 1901, the press have been marketing products to get rid of wrinkles.  And you know what, they still are!  Because someone didn’t mention to the old fob that ageing is not a process you can just miraculously stop.  “Oh, I didn’t fancy ageing today”.  “Well, here’s a solution: kill yourself when you’re still young!”  The only way to really reduce the sign of wrinkles is Botox, but do you really want to spend your life with the permanent look on your face as if you’ve just seen David Cameron naked?   I don’t think so.

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/images/thumb/2/2d/Im193412GHK-Hindes.jpg/180px-Im193412GHK-Hindes.jpg“Hinde’s Wavers, Real hair savers: Circumstances alter cases, Hinde’s Wavers alter faces”.  Nice to know that Hinde’s relied on rhyme just as much as the Mail Online.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  I think it’s a little optimistic to say that hair wavers (i.e. curling tongs) can “alter” your face.  It’s almost like publicising that getting your legs waxed will make your bum look perkier.  Hair sits on your head, like a bum sits on your legs, but I don’t see how improving one can have a significant impact on the other.  Maybe I’m wrong.
This is one of my favourites: “Weak men and women can obtain renewed strength and vigour by the use of ‘Dr. Pierce’s (latest improved) American Electric Belt’.  Drugs do not cure.  Electricity is the remedy!”  Sounds like a “try-it-at-home” approach to killing off members of your family without taking them to court and sentencing them to capital punishment.  Last time I looked, electricity + humans was not a healthy combination.  I’ve seen far too many pictures of frizzled body parts to ascertain the reasoning behind mixing the two unless medically supervised.  And the fact that it’s an American discovery makes it all the more risqué.  You know, the death penalty is still legal in 33 of the 50 states.  I wonder why.

Look what I just found! A new (old?) cure for obesity: “Hargreave’s Reducing Wafers”.  These wafers are said to permanently cure either sex who are “TOO FAT”.  “Insert picture here of fat woman attempting to walk up staircase”.  And the great thing is, this remedy works “without change in diet, or other inconvenience. They are small, agreeable, harmless, and never fail to quickly remove all superfluous flesh in all cases of abdominal obesity and shortness of breath.”  You know what they say about things which sound too good to be true…

False Teeth BoughtA little side note: This newspaper is starting to look more and more like a self-help guide than a platform for relating news.  But you’ve got to remember, this was before the fancy days of television, internet and sky-high billboards with 12 foot replicas of Kelly Brook in nothing but a pair of Reebok trainers.  That’d certainly give the horses a jump.

“Old False Teeth Bought: Have you any old false teeth by you?  Why not turn them into money?”  Sounds like one of the more hygienic proposals of the day. #sarcasm.  I can just imagine that awkward job conversation at a dinner party in 1901.  “So do tell me, what is it that you do?”  “I’m in the teeth industry”.  “Oh, I see, so you’re a dentist?”  “No actually, I buy old false teeth”.  Bit of a dead-end.  And just think of all that saliva.

Despite coming from Essex, I can’t help but see myself as a “Devon lass” since I started my BA at the University of Exeter.  This is why the next advert I came across made me seemingly happy.  “Whiteway’s Sparkling Devonshire Ciders”.  (Insert nostalgic comment here about when Devon used to be called Devonshire).  But if there’s one thing Devon does well; it’s cider.  And the odd Cornish pasty too (but ssshh, don’t tell our neighbours).  And it appears these ciders are something rather special.  And I quote: “Supplied to Royal Family, Nobility, the Royal Military Academy, Public Schools (Eton, Harrow, Hailebury &c.), Hotels (Savoy, Claridge’s, St. Ermin’s &c.), Lord’s Cricket Ground, and numerous Clubs”.  Well that certainly hit the nail on the head with the name-dropping.  I’m starting to see a parallel with today’s “Kate Middleton wore our earrings.  Hint, hint.”  Or, “if you wear Lynx deodorant, a thousand gorgeous women in bikinis are likely to run towards you on the beach, just like they did to this chap.”  But what they failed to mention is that he’s now in rehab with both legs in a cast after being crushed in the stampede.  

Oooh, how scrummy!  I’ve just found a column of recipes.  How to make “Red Currant Jelly”:  “…put in a preserving-pan over a moderately hot fire…” – talk about living in the middle ages.  Anyway, moving on to some advice on how to keep a house cool in hot weather:  “The chief point is to exclude the hot air of the day”.  So it appears that in 1901 they discovered a ‘miracle’ ointment to get rid of wrinkles, but their only advice on keeping your house cool was to close the windows?  I’ll help you on this one…it’s called air conditioning, love.  And it was invented in 1902.  Just wait a year and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Move over motor-cars, your time has not yet come.  It’s 1901 and it’s the time of the bicycle.  “Premier Cycles”, “Triumph Cycles”, “Juno Cycles”, “Highmoor Cycles” and “Royal Rydal Cycles” to name a few.  These are the Jaguars and Aston Martins of the day.  The red Ferrari sitting in your driveway.  The black BMW parked outside your office, gleaming.  And the added bonus of advertising your cycles?  It’s acceptable to promote them next to a life-size bottle of scotch while it probably isn’t if you’re advertising the 205mph new Bentley Continental GT Speed.  Say NO to drink-driving!

canaryAnd lastly, on an even more serious note, it looks like I may have found the bird obituaries section.  Post-mortem report for a canary:  “This bird died from constipation of the bowels, which were enormously distended…” And another: “This bird had been packed in a fragile cardboard box, and was so crushed in the post that we could make nothing of it”. All I can say is: R.I.P.
Watch this space.



Marmite. D. BryantI’ve always loved Marmite and I’ll regularly spread thick dollops of it on some buttery toast in the morning.  At University however (ever since our toaster broke) I adjusted to waking myself up with a nice bowl of cereal.  Although I now can’t say “bowl of cereal” without Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” playing on my mind.  If you are unfamiliar with this reference, I suggest you keep it that way.  Anyway, Special K with Red Berries, a couple drizzles of Sainsbury’s Basics honey, cold milk, and maybe half a sliced banana if I’m lucky: deee-lish.

For those of you accustomed to shopping at Sainsbury’s, you’ll know that they have a Basics range.  Forget about free-range, fancy packaging and “Taste the Difference”; the Basics range is a student’s best friend.  Cheap and cheerful without the overly exotic flavourings found in the dearer ranges, I can count myself satisfied.  So this morning (at Home) when I woke up and went downstairs to the kitchen, I fancied myself a bowl of cereal.  After pouring a sizeable amount of Special K into my bowl, I went to grab the honey from the cupboard.  “Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference New Zealand Thyme Honey, Aromatic and Floral”.  How appetising, I hear you say.  Far from it.  I sure as hell can taste a difference; it’s disgusting.  The half empty pot (yep, I’m a pessimist) of honey has been sitting in our cupboard for weeks, possibly even months, when it really should have stayed in NZ.  On first inspection, it looks rather delectable.  But what’s with the description?  Aromatic and Floral?  That’s what I want my perfume to smell like, not what I want my honey to taste like!  In fact, is this even edible?  Reminds me of the time I drowned a slice of toast in lashings of peanut butter; the peanut butter my Dad uses to trap mice in the attic.  Let’s just say that my first bite was less than pleasant.  Crunch.

Now to the Coffee.  What’s on offer today?  Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Colombian Fairtrade Ground Coffee.  Let’s be real here, there’s nothing quite like some real-ass coffee made in an old-style cafetiere to caffeinate your day.  And boy, does it taste good! Well, that’s the idea anyway.  Unless you buy the aforementioned variety.  I can’t quite describe its aftertaste…I want to say “sour” or “not what coffee is supposed to taste like”, but let’s see what Sainsbury’s has to say for it.  “Almond Biscotti”.  So that’s what I’m tasting?  Almond Biscotti?  Give me a free slice of Almond Biscotti for dunking but sure as hell don’t put the Almond Biscotti in my actual coffee.  What were you thinking?  That’s criminal!  Nut allergists, you have been warned.  Next line: “Sweet caramel & almond notes”.  Firstly, I didn’t know you could get sour caramel so thanks for clarifying, and secondly, all this talk of notes is getting me thinking of harpsichords and clarinets.  And lastly, “aromatic and well rounded”.  Well that’s the vaguest description, like, ever.  “I like my coffee well-rounded, just like my men”.  Plus, I think I’ve had enough aromatic substances for one day.  Although, bravo on the poetic engagement with the subject.  10 points to you, Shakespeare.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, much like Tesco Finest, Co-operative Truly Irresistible, Morrison’s The Best or ASDA Extra special (there’s something deliberately coy about my use of italics), is essentially the food-market’s equivalent of the shoe-market’s Cristian Loubutins.  They sound fab, they even look fab.  But in reality, it’s probably the same person making them as the person making the flip-flops in a 99p store.  I jest a little.  But you see where I’m coming from.  They may look snazzier, and they sure as hell cost a few hundred more, but I for one know that a pair of cheapo flip-flops beats 6 inch blister-bearing heels any day.  Granted, the quality may be ‘marginally better’.  And when it comes to supermarket meat I can definitely see why free-range Taste the Difference £5 a pop tastes nicer than the leftover carcass parts crammed into the Basics range.  Did someone say turkey twizzlers?  But whether my honey has been sourced from the mountainous region of Central Otago or from my next-door neighbour’s hive, who really cares?   In fact, I’d rather pay more for locally produced products than for those produced at virtually the opposite end of the world where the Bees have a whole garden of Thyme to feast on.  I don’t even like Thyme!

Marmite Marmite Cake StandGoing back to my title.  Today I feel ill.  My memories of feeling unwell during my childhood have been overlooked by the fact that my mother always used to make me Marmite on toast.  Because it would inevitably make me feel better.  Just don’t go adding any Almond Biscotti to my Marmite!

Watch this space.               

28 Jun 2012

Brilliance comes in small packages...

Or so I keep telling myself.  At a modest height of 5’3½” (the half inch is important, don’t underestimate the ½ inch), I’m relatively small amongst my peer-group.  But I do have an advantage.  I can wear 6 inch heels and I’m still decidedly shorter than the majority of the male population (well, any male I would consider marrying that is).  It may be a little early to be talking marriage before boyfriend number one has even stepped foot on the stratosphere, but let’s be realistic here.  If I’m going to be spawning kids with someone below 5’10”, they don’t have much hope.  The kids I mean.  Being vertically challenged, particularly if you are of the male variety, can be emasculating.  While the endearing, but sickly phrase “short but sweet” comes to mind, I think we can put that aside for the time-being.  I do sometimes wonder what my lonely hearts ad would be.  “Dwarf looking for Giant to avoid runt-like offspring”.  Or something a little more poetic perhaps?  I’m struggling…

I don’t tend to do much research for these blogs, but I’ve suddenly become extraordinarily fascinated with the whole concept of lonely hearts ads.  Of course they weren’t always called that.  They were called “personal ads”, which between you and me, sounds a lot less desperate.  And before I begin citing websites for my research, I will warn you now that I have made do with a Daily Mail article dating all the way back to 2011 for the formation of my exotic findings. Tadah.  

So it appears lonely hearts ads have been around since 1695 when a pretty “intelligent person” (see blog post below on intelligence) discovered that the L word was just as marketable as other merchandise.  And thus commenced the search for Love on paper.  And I quote: Most men, though, didn’t allude to a woman’s appearance. ‘No ­bodily deformity,’ ventures one ad in 1772. Another, who wrote ‘shapely ankle preferr’d’, was being positively risqué.”  No bodily deformity?  What does that even mean?  Morton’s toe, hooked nose, monobrow?  Or are we talking twelve fingers and a third arm coming out of the torso?  Or is “bodily deformity” simply the 18th century’s politically correct way of saying “you can’t be in a wheelchair?”  I’m also intrigued to know more about this shapely ankle which has been alluded to.  All I’m saying is, the day a guy comments on how sexy my ankles are, the day he gets a kick up the backside.  Either the man has a foot fetish or it’s some 18th century innuendo I’m not getting.  “But I want you to look into my eyes”.  “I’m sorry darling, but your ankles are just so shapely”.  Apologies, I should backtrack…it appears that the owner of the advertisement only requires one shapely ankle.  How accommodating of him.

And I quote again: “In 1750, one gentleman went much further in describing his ideal: ‘Good teeth, soft lips, sweet breath, with eyes no matter what colour so they are but expressive; of a healthy complexion, rather inclin’d to fair than brown; neat in her person, her bosom full, plump, firm and white; a good understanding, without being a wit, but cheerful and lively in conversation, polite and delicate of speech, her temper humane and tender, and to look as if she could feel delight where she wishes to give it.”

Lonely Heart by *incolor16Her bosom must be white?  A colour for the rest of her body has not been specified, but her bosom in particular must be white.  How very peculiar.  Imagine yourself as an 18th century lady reading this.  To reply you’d either have to be disgustingly vain or really hedging your bets.  I’m interested to know how well I’d match his description.  1) Good teeth? – well I brush them twice daily and had braces…so, check.  2) Soft lips? (errr Vaseline)…check.  3) Sweet breath?…I’m constantly eating smints.  So, check.  4) He said he didn't mind about the eye colour. Check. 5) Healthy complexion? Well, any spots will blend into my freckles...so, check.  6) Fair or brown? Gingers don’t tan, so definitely fair.  Check. 7) Neat?…I regularly make my bed.  Check.  8) Full, plump and firm bosom?…well, I own a push-up bra.  Check. 9) A good understanding?...I know the alphabet. So, check. 10) “Without being a wit”?…dammit, and I was doing so well…

Watch this space.


You know you're stupid when...

....you can only roughly pencil in two answers in the Times2 crossword.  It’s got me thinking about the concept of intelligence.  Is it really linked to how well you excel in school or university exams?  Or is it about how much you know?  For starters, my general knowledge is rather appalling.  I know little, if anything, about current affairs, politics, music, artwork….  But I could recite you the first page of today’s Mail online.  Yep, I’m the sort that knows who’s dating who, what Kate Winslet wore to the Oscar’s in 2010 and the names of Brangelina’s brigade in ascending order.  Seems like pretty useless information to have wrapped under my belt, but I can’t help that my brain tends to gravitate towards the more trivial aspects of life.

It sounds like I’m about to brag, but I assure you, that was not my intention.  Hold your breath.  While I have a soft spot for the trashy stories churned up daily by the Mail, I somehow managed to accomplish 3A*s and 1A in my A levels.  When my peers are privy to this information, I make sure to follow it with the line “But I’m actually not that clever”.  You think I’m being modest, but I’m just being truthful.  I dallied with the idea of applying to Oxford or Cambridge; the prestige of attending such a brilliant university would certainly sit well with future employers.  But something stopped me.  I knew deep down that I was a phoney.  I lacked that innate passion for dull books which is pretty consequential when you’re applying for a BA in English.  As much as I wanted to share my excitement for “insert dull book here” with the rest of the world, all I could think about was reading the new instalment in a Lynda La Plante series.  Somehow I felt that speaking over-zealously about my adoration for J.K.Rowling would be inappropriate when sat opposite a world-class critic on Shakespeare.  I couldn’t quite bring myself to admit that the most recent book I read was actually aimed beneath the high-school demographic, or that I cried after finishing Harry Potter (a part of me died inside), but gave a sigh of relief when I finally turned over page 20 of King Lear.

I’ll freely admit that I made a huge faux-pas during my interview at UCL on the topic of Othello, having only watched the highly-adapted stage version at London’s Trafalgar Studios.  It’s only slightly awkward when you speak wildly and passionately about the meaning behind Desdemona’s suicide when she was in fact brutally suffocated by her husband (uh-oh).  I felt Shakespeare turn in his grave somewhat (and I think the tutors did too).  From there followed a failed attempt to resurrect the situation by remarking that we’d clearly been reading different versions of the transcript.  You won’t be surprised therefore when I tell you they rejected me right off the bat.

So what I’m trying to say is: good grades don’t mean everything.  My 4A* predictions meant nothing against my superficial knowledge of what some regard as Shakespeare’s greatest masterpiece.  Of course, performing well in exams shows great capability.  But surely intelligence far exceeds a marking criteria established on box-ticking mechanisms?  Achieving a First (in English at least), is about flattering the system, the marker, and “the handbook”.  It’s not about raw intelligence; it’s about knowing and understanding what the system perceives to be intelligence, thus a conjured up version.  Intelligence isn’t a concrete concept, but an abstract one.  Who, in theory, has the authority to judge intelligence?  The writer of the Times2 crossword might rate intelligence on how many answers you get right; while a maths teacher on how quickly you can recite your times-tables.

Just think for a second about how many times you’ve lied to make yourself sound better, more intelligent, more interesting?  A recent survey showed that over 75% of participants admitted to having lied on Facebook.  As my Dad pointedly reminded me last night: less is more.  If you’ve achieved a lot, the less you need to write about it.  The more you fail, the more you tend to embellish your “accolades” (if they can even be called that).  A one page CV is better than five pages of tedious waffle.  There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance.  Know your failings and don’t start believing your own press releases.*
Watch this space.


*I’d like to thank an old colleague of my Father’s for this one.

27 Jun 2012

I just bought a boat...

Now I know what you’re thinking.  Why has a 20 year old student just bought a boat!?  Precisely what I was thinking.  Well, you’ll be happy to know that I haven’t just bought a boat.  I was just trying to grab your attention.  I say “your” attention, assuming my readers stretch past my stuffed animals who have promised to read my blog religiously, every day.  Big shout out to you anyway!  You may be filled with feathers and stuffing, but I love you all most dearly.

So, now to the important stuff!  After much deliberation, I’ve decided it’s time to get my act together and choose a career path.  Time is of the essence which means I must choose swiftly.  After calculating my strengths and weaknesses I have come to the conclusion that I would excel in a job involving food-tasting(testing?).  The downside of course is the possibility of becoming morbidly obese, whilst entertaining the high possibility of diabetes and high cholesterol levels, with physical symptoms described most factually as “triple chin syndrome”, “cankles” and “rolls and rolls and rolls of lard”.  Whilst the list I have just mentioned might seem rather severe to some, the pleasure linked to eating has been scientifically proven to decrease stress levels, improve love-life and, most poetically, feed not only the belly, but also the soul.  As the old saying goes: excess is best! ;)

Watch this space.


P.S. Oh, I do love me a bit of late-night sarcasm.

"Living the Dream"

So I’ve landed myself a summer job! Hooray.  While it may not be quite as lucrative as a job working at this summer’s Olympics (whilst, I might add, reaping the tax-payers’ money), I’m quite chuffed with my fairly acceptable £6.25 hourly rate.  I will, as many a British student is accustomed to do, be serving Britain’s finest as they wine and dine on Champagne and smoked salmon crudités in some of London’s most exquisite settings.

While ideally the plan would be to turn my room into a jungle of clothes with all this new-found argent, I’ve decided to curb unnecessary materialism in favour of my impending YA in Paris.  I’ve decided when I’m out there - besides learning how to cook snails and frogs legs - I’ll have to buy myself a couple silk scarves to wrap around my head as I ride on the moped of my Parisian beau Jean-Pierre, just so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst the locals.  And I’ll have to stop using such typically British idioms.  So essentially this money will be my survival tool when it comes to embracing the French way of life.

french rivieraPlus, travel expenses don’t pay for themselves and if I’m going to be in France for a grand total of 12 months, it’s important that I go beyond the capital.  I’m thinking the “sunny south”, working as a tour guide on the Dordogne, or perhaps serving cocktails on a beach along the French Riviera as I whip up an enviable tan, meet charming Frenchman numero 2 (adieu Jean-Pierre) who will whisk me away to his chateau, perfect my accent and teach me the hottest slang.  And Bob’s your uncle - I’ve got a 100.00 average on my French Oral come September 2013.  Oh, I do love this imaginary life.

Watch this space.


Taxi, please!!

Sometimes I sit and wonder how Carrie Bradshaw can afford to take the bright yellow New York cabs every day.  It even keeps me awake at night.  The way she can afford Prada and Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Givenchy, as if it were normality.  The look on her face as she wonders past a shop on 5th avenue and waltzes right in, clutching the $400 stilettos to her bosom as if they were her very own baby.  And here’s me, a student whose limited income comes from a few shifts at a Devon pub and the occasional ironing job.  Trust me, I’d like,love to be writing for Vogue.  $2 a word.  The phrase sounds delectable.  I swear all my articles would be five pages long filled with three letter words.  With an airbrushed photo of me in my $1,095 Kurt Geiger’s and D&G jersey.  If only…

But there’s something quite nice about saving pennies and finding bargains.  Carrie doesn’t know New Look and their £19.99 heels.  She could never possess that smug feeling of wearing a Primark dress when everyone thinks it’s Topshop.  I don’t like feeling guilty.  I like telling people I spent £3.99 on a T-shirt from Asda; not £85 just because someone sewed a (wonky) Abercrombie label onto the bottom left hand corner.

Carrie - carrie-bradshaw photo
But are you defined by the clothes you wear on your back?  By your shopping bags?  I like to think not.  But there’s something almost obsessively indulging about carrying your groceries in Dior, or walking down Oxford Street laden with bags which scream wealth.  Is it about the actual gift, or the wrapping?  Deception can be clever.  But when it comes down to it, you’ll never be worth more than the person you are inside.  Don’t let shiny wrapping paper tint you.  Stay true to yourself.

Watch this space.


24 Jun 2012

Country Bumpkin to City Slicker

I’ve just taken our gorgeous Cocker Spaniel, Smudge, on a walk.  Apart from being chased part-way by a slightly kooky Alsatian, the walk really pointed out to me what I’d miss most about England.  I live in the countryside, surrounded by green trees, green grass, green fields, green pond water.  My next-door neighbours have even painted their own house green. 

From Hunter wellies to Christian Louboutin’s, I plan to perfect the transformation from country bumpkin to city slicker.  Goodbye country pubs with your sour-smelling old men, Sunday carveries and menus hand-written on chalk boards.  Hello glamorous bars with your juvenile clientele, alimentation of the foie gras variety and gold-laced carte du jour.  Oh boy, Paris is calling.

Watch this space.


23 Jun 2012


Ok, so it’s half 1 in the afternoon and I’m lying in bed, propped up on two pillows with a mug of luke-warm coffee on my left and a laptop on my knees.  I say “a” laptop as if I have multiple, which I assure you is not the case.  I have an “Acer”; 2 years old, with a faulty “o” button, a dirty screen and a questionable battery life.  My wallet didn’t quite stretch to the MAC variety.

So my plan of action today was to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card).  Sounds swish doesn’t it?  Giving students a wide variety of discounts all over the world, I’ve decided that the ISIC is a must-have for just £9.  I’ve been informed by the website that the card is valid for up to 16 months.  How delightful.  However, on the terms and conditions it says the card is valid from September 1 until December 2012.  I may not be doing a Maths degree but I’m pretty sure that’s only 3 months.  A far cry away from the 16 months proposed originally.  Looks like I’m going to have to make a little trip to a STA Travel store to re-evaluate their claims.  Sadly, STA does not operate in my hometown Colchester, which means I’m going to have to continue my ISIC hunting a little further afield.  Oh boy, London’s calling.

Watch this space.


22 Jun 2012


So it’s just over 2 months today until I start my year abroad in France.  I passed my second year at the University of Exeter with a 66.63 grade average (that’s a 2:1 for you non-uni types) and I’m well on my way to becoming one of the most successful half-British, half-American ladies, like, ever.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.  I must warn you, this blog will be rife with sarcasm, self-acclaimed adoration and repugnance (possibly even at the same time) and plenty of awful jokes.

Over a month ago I was accepted for an internship at the International Herald Tribune (think New York Times hits Paris) which I’m incredibly excited about (*does celebratory dance and wiggles bottom*).  My current issue however is that they have yet to confirm exact dates for my stay there, so I feel a bit like a hamster on its very own Ferris wheel.  Excitement has turned into nerves.  Where am I going to live?  Am I going to make any friends?  Will they pay me? Am I actually going to come back from my year abroad speaking fluent French?  The IHT is an English-language paper after all so I’m hardly going to be getting my daily French dosage within their walls….

I have lots of questions right now and I’m hoping I’ll be able to answer most of them myself before I arrive in La Ville-Lumière.  Or at least, with a little help from the Google.  This blog plans to follow me through the 2 months leading up to my YA, as well as being a medium for sharing all my stories, adventures and maybe even a few pics while I’m out there!  I hope you enjoy.

Watch this space.