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www.natashapage.com for me, art and photography.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Random Swedish Blog post

som ni inte tvivla vet nu, jag är lära att tala en lite Svenska. Jag har lärande för två månad. Jag inte tror jag är särskilt bra - min grammatik är fruktansvärda- men många svenskan folk (okej, om fem folk... jag inte vet så många folk ifrån sverige) har berätte mig att  jag är ganska bra, överväger jag har inte en lärare; Jag har en ordbok. Och en par av mycket tålmodig vänner från sverige. Båda kallas Fredrik. Båda är musiker. (de är inte samma personen, förresten)

jag inte vet varför jag är skriva den här. Kanske eftersom jag kan?... slags...
(på engelska, en 'slag' är orden vi använder att kalla en obehaglig bondläpp slampa tjej.. lik jordan/katie price för exempl)

bara i fall ni är intresserade att vet vad jag har använder för att lära sig svenska på internet, de här är de två webbsidorna:

1. Byki - Mycket bra! Jag älskar det - det har många upprepningar darför det är lätt att lära orden snabbt. Men det är något begränsade att enkla fraser. (jag använder gratisversionen).
2. LinQ - det är okej.. det är bra att se hur meningar är gjörda, men är också lite jobbigt att använde. (igen, jag använder gratisversionen) den 'flashcards' är en bra ide, men irriterande att använder/

och

Google Translate. Jag försöker undvika använder det. Det är okej på se om någonting jag skrivat är korrekt, men det är inte mycket pålitlig om grammatik.

inte tvivla full av misstag, men idag min blog på svenska.

 

(ps. mycket tack att den fem svenskan folk som har läst min blog enligt till flaggan motverka! ni gör mig mycket glad!)

Mythological Births are… peculiar.

I’ve been ruminating on my Classical Mythology module from my first year of uni… I’ve been brushing up on my Norse Mythology. As I’m learning to speak Swedish at the moment, it kind of makes sense in my weird warped mind to understand Swedes origins and belief system (yes I know they’re probably all Christians or something now, but I think people’s national identity goes WAY back.. which is why I don’t think England really has one, because we were constantly being invaded by every Tom, Dick and Harry who had a boat).

People in myths are seriously messed up. Their entry to the world is no less messed up.

For example - Norse Mythology:

In the beginning, there were two lands: one was fog and ice. The heat and cold made layers of frost that built up to become Ymir, a giant. He got hungry, found a cow and drank from her. As she licked salt off a block of ice, it turned into Buri, the first god, who immediately somehow had a son. Ymir fell asleep and his sweat from his armpits (?!??) and feet created his children. Giants vs. Gods. Buri’s son married Ymir’s granddaughter and their kids (Odin, Vili and Ve) killed Ymir and made the world and Asgard and Valhalla etc. out of various bits of him.

Seriously… when I read stuff like this, it makes me wonder what on earth the Vikings were smoking. Most ancient myths sound something a little like this though - seriously trippy

 

ps. I’m writing this on the new Windows LiveWriter… it’s quite flash. It looks like the new Word.. kind of… with all the weird buttons for me to press and accidentally delete everything…  I’m not entirely sure I like this yet.. the old one looked much cleaner and simpler.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Downton Abbey – Shameless Plagiarisation of a Beloved Classic

While watching episode 3 of Downton Abbey on ITV Player, I had the most unsettling feeling of Déjà-View.

It went a little something like this:

 

You’re getting that feeling too, aren’t you.

Seem familiar?

Well, that’s probably because it is.

 

Julian Fellowes has basically lifted this entire subplot from Mrs Miniver; a film made in 1942 starring Greer Garson as Mrs Miniver and Dame May Whitty as Lady Beldon (a role which, in this case is also played by Maggie Smith).

If a student so shamelessly plagiarised, they would be discredited and probably kicked out of university, but if you're a lord of the manor, vaguely connected to royalty and with a few screenplays under your belt; this apparently makes you exempt from the rule where plagiarism = theft. Instead, you get it turned into a costume drama and broadcast on ITV with one of the best and most loved British actresses, in the role.

Rather than admitting what he's done, and being gracious and apologetic, or even crediting the film saying that something about it inspired him and he wished to pay tribute to it by using it as an influence in ‘his’ drama…he instead lashes out at the public like this:

"The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the programme to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge.”

-The Telegraph

If there is one thing I hate more than anything else, it’s a hypocrite. Firstly, this guy was educated at Cambridge so he ought to know better, secondly.. Who is HE calling posh?? Has he taken a look in the mirror lately? I don’t think he is any position to cast judgement when he’s written the book on snobs. Quite literally. I haven’t read it, and have absolutely no intention of reading it, but I’m guessing he’s modelled it on himself. What I would also like to know is: since when is plagiarism got anything to do with social class?

I'm really angry about this. Mrs Miniver is one of my favourite films. I mean, if you're going to be stupid enough to plagiarise from such a beloved classic, don't be surprised if you get caught and don't you DARE lash out at the people who catch you out. You should have come up with your own ideas in the first place, and not stolen someone else's. Denying it just makes you look a bigger fool than you’ve already clearly shown yourself to be.

 

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Bedroom Inspiration

I’ve spent the past week and a bit revamping my bedroom. I haven’t given the walls a fresh lick of paint or anything for it to take so long… don’t ask. Wallpapering wardrobes and…urgh. ANYWAY. Almost done now – I’ll spare you the gripe about having far too much stuff and moving piles around.

This was all inspired by a trip to IKEA (You have no idea how much I love that shop) – seeing all the mock-up rooms made me basically want to burn my carpet and paint everything white. I’ve also had nothing but issues with storage in my house. We have a LOT of furniture here but not really any that is useful for keeping stuff in. My quest for storage solutions led me to browsing the internet looking for ideas on how to do that and I ended up ogling lots of pictures and wishing that my room wasn’t quite so old fashioned. Mismatched furniture is quirky, yes, but if it’s badly mismatched it can only look bad, hence the revamp.. It’s all a jumble still at the moment but it’s gradually coming together – I’m in the ‘putting things away’ stage now, which is my favourite stage, and it’s looking really good! I have a feeling that it’s going to always feel like summer in here – it’s so bright and breezy and lovely!… if it wasn’t for that damn carpet in here… (I detest carpets passionately)

Thought I’d share a slideshow of the pictures which inspired me – it’s all fairly similar in style, obviously because I was looking for ideas for things that were to my taste, but maybe something in there will inspire you. When this thing eventually gets finished, I’ll post up before/after pictures so you can see what miracles a tin of white paint, several black bin liners full of junk and a big tin of elbow grease can work!

It won’t look quite as pretty as these photos– until I have a house of my own, my bedroom will never just be a bedroom.. it will always be bedroom/study/living room/giantbathroomcabinet/library/airing cupboard/cloakroom/gym.

 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Irony

There was a wasp in my room this morning - you know the kind of idiotic insect that insists on bashing itself repeatedly against the one bit of glass that doesn't open. Couldn't find its way out with FOUR open windows on either side of it, so I hit it with a Lonely Planet travel guide, as it was the biggest book I had to hand. I didn't realise the irony til afterwards. It helped to take a little of the sting out of the fact I’d just killed something.

 

image

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ten Things about the Internet That Really Irritate Me

 

Twitter/YouTube/MySpace/Deviantart/Blogcatalog:

1. SPAM MESSAGES:

“I just subbed to your blog!!! sub me back!!!” – Hey, I didn’t tell you to subscribe to me – that was your choice, I have no interest in discount boilers, why on earth would I sub to you?

 

“Hey! Awesome site!! here’s a really cool link to get more followers! www.iamanannoyingtwatthrowstonesatme.com”. Really? Thanks! do you actually even know what my site is about? Coz you have the addresses of at least 20 other people in your ‘to’ bar.

 

“Hey! I really love your site! If you put a link to my site about pest control, I’ll promote you on my site too!”. Funny, some form of pest control could come in handy right about now, I think..

 

“Hey I just subbed! sub4sub!”  Thanks, but I only subscribe to people I’m interested in. I’m not interested in German death metal and penile tattoos. If you want to unsubscribe on that basis, go right ahead. No skin off my nose.

 

“I unsubscribed to you because you were not active enough on my channel”… hang on, back up…you subscribed to me. I don’t have to do anything on your channel. Since when does subscribing to someone mean they have to even look at your channel?

 

2. COMMENTS:

 On a drag queen’s YouTube video: “ur gay” How observant.

 “your video is sh*t” and you just wasted 15 seconds of your life to tell me that because…

 “I want to cum in your mouth” great…good for you.

 “die, you fat ugly ****” clearly, someone was not hugged enough as a child.

“ how u a gangsta n yu ask for a doublee shot frappe w soy millk at starrubucks” once more, and lets try it in English this time, hmm?

“you cant sgin!” And you can’t spell. Congratulations.

“ur hot” …marvellous.. You do realise the video was of a bear scratching its arse on a rock, right?

 

3. POPUPS:

“Talk to hot girls in your area”I live in chavsville. There are no hot girls in chavsville… unless you’re into fake tan, tracksuits and hoop earrings in a really BIG way. And why would I want to talk to them..? I have real friends. Who are actually girls. Not some fat guy called Dwayne with saggy underpants, broadband internet connection and no discernable life skills who goes by the alias ‘Tiffany, blonde, 19, 34-24-34’  on Thursday afternoons?

Hot Russian girls are waiting for you” well they’ll be waiting a long time.

Carly wants to chat" Good for her. I don’t.

Amy says ‘didn’t we used to date in high school?” Seeing as I went to an all girls school and I’m not a lesbian.. probably not.

 

 

4a. ANNOYING ADVERTS:

One simple rule to a flat stomach! before and after photos showing one  blonde woman who is very clearly pregnant and not fat vs. a girl who very clearly has a  severe eating disorder, black hair and a tattoo. 

EARN MONEY!!! with some random company I’ve never heard of and a dodgy looking website? I’ll..er.. pass… thanks though…

Learn One Mom’s Secret to WHITE TEETH for under $10! which involves mixing two types of teeth whitener…look mummy.. no teeth! :S… I think it’s best to leave the mixing of chemicals and bleaching agents to the scientists who actually know what they’re doing, don’t you?

SCRATCH! dumdumdumdumdum SCRATCH CARDS…  *throws computer out of window*

Those random adverts that sneak up on you and make you go through about 20 open windows trying to figure out where on earth that ‘epic battle’ music is coming from and turn it the hell off! – Usually from some form of online RPG World of Warcraft type thing. Or Evony (whatever the heck that is)

Live Poker I hate gambling. It is the downfall of many a good, gullible, easily influenced person. I think it’s morally wrong that suddenly adverts for all sorts of gambling things have started springing up during the middle of a recession where vulnerable and stupid people are easy targets.

 

If these adverts were actually USEFUL then I wouldn’t complain half so much.

 

4b. STUPID ADVERTS

stupid advert3

And a test for colour-blindness is reflective of your intelligence how?

 

5. LOLCATZ. 99.9% of the time they’re not even funny, they’re just highlighting the fact that many people are not only illiterate but also demonstrate a very limited capacity for creating humour. Leave it to the experts. You know… the ones that get paid for going on stage with a microphone and don’t get things thrown at them.

 

6. LOADING TIMES

buffering

2 hours later… still at 0% … sometimes when it’s feeling energetic, it goes to 5%

image

Impeccably times it so that it’s just getting to the good bit. Oh yes, and then, because I was actually watching the video and not the progress bar at the bottom, I don’t know the exact time it decided to block me, so 54 mins later I can’t just pick up where I left off. Which is annoying.

 

7. I have a love/hate relationship with SAFARI. I love the way it looks, and it’ is QUICK.

BUT it is also one of the most unstable things I’ve ever used.

 notconnect  When I’ve written a really long email/post and haven’t done my usual thing of copying the entire thing just in case something happens so I can simply paste it: Every time I forget to ctrl+c, I get an error message… often like the one above. Firstly Oh FFS!!!! *resists the urge to hit the computer*. Secondly – it’s not even true – because the little bar on the bottom right tells me I’m connected and have full signal so ONE of them is lying to me.. and I don’t think there are prizes for guessing which.

 

Safari_crash

 

 

Usually, I don’t even get the courtesy of an apology or an explanation. I couldn’t find a screencap of the error message I usually get, which is basically - ‘Safari has experienced a problem and needs to close’ end of. I can click ok, but what if it’s not ok with me!? I don’t care what your so-called problem is, I’m in the middle of something – you can rodding well wait until I tell you I’m ready to close. Thank you very much.

 

image

 

 

 

images

Safari Web Browser has stopped working

Oh you think? You mean,the fact I was going to the task manager and repeatedly hitting ‘end programme’ wasn’t indication enough that I’d figured that little nugget of information out for myself – you give me a stupid message which I have to spend another 10 mins pressing ‘close’ ‘close’ ‘close’ repeatedly on before you actually DO SOMETHING about it!

 

You can probably tell by now I have heated one-way discussions with my laptop on a daily basis.

 

8. Another love/hate relationship, this time with GOOGLE TRANSLATE

It is an absolutely BRILLIANT programme! Long gone are the days of trying to take shortcuts on my GCSE German coursework using Babelfish… This thing is marvellous for helping me learn Swedish by translating websites and song lyrics… but sometimes I question where it gets its intelligence from.

translate

9.  “THE INTERNET IS FOR PORN” And STALKING

Words courtesy of Trekkie and Kate-Monster in Avenue-Q, but there is sadly a fair bit of truth to what they say. Everywhere you turn on the internet practically, there’s porn. I’m well over 18 so the actual content, while I still find it offensive visually and morally, does not shock me; what does disturb me is how easy it is for young people – especially kids to get access to something that is for adult eyes only. Prime example being if you’re on a website about Gossip Girl and you get confronted with this: I was going to post a link with a warning, but to be honest, I don’t want anything I publish to have anything to do with that area of.. um.. ‘industry’. But basically an advert featuring a topless girl with her hand down her knickers is not something kids need to see. I’m not sure if parental locks would even keep that out, seeing as it’s just an advert, not an actual website.

 

On one hand, social networking sites are a great idea – an easy way to keep your friends in one place, share photos with them rather than trying to get everyone over to your house at the same time and crowded round a computer screen to see the photos from the other night, and also, as many people have done in the past, let people know they’ve lost their phone and can they have everyone's numbers again please. Facebook is almost like a back-up phone directory. With a built in weird virtual farm game thing where you can buy turnips or something… I don’t know. I don’t really use Facebook anymore.

HOWEVER

People inviting/accepting people they haven’t really spoken to for years who they never even really liked in the first place, or people they don’t know just so they can look at their profile or to boost their friend count is a bit… pathetic. I said I don’t really use Facebook anymore, but I do go on it occasionally just to check my messages once a month or so, because I do realise that the rest of the world uses it as a primary form of communication… in my friend request list.. I currently have about 30 friend requests… all from hairy Arabic looking guys. Hairy Arabic looking guys I don’t know. Why on earth would I want some stranger going through my information and finding out where I went to school or which pubs I frequent?

I know people who dedicate HOURS, literally, HOURS of their lives ‘spying’ (stalking) other people they know or their exes on the internet – finding out what they’re up to, who they’re hanging out with, rifling through their photo albums, reading posts people have written on their walls, seeing where they went last night… thanks to places like Facebook it’s making creepy stalkerish behaviour socially acceptable. And frankly that actually scares me a bit.

 

10.  ACCOUNTS

The sheer number of accounts I end up with and the number of usernames and passwords in their various combinations I have to remember is not even worth thinking about. From old emails that I don’t really use, to some technobabble forum I went on once because my computer went weird, and in order to post one question asking if anyone knows why it did something, I had to sign up… and then just to be sure I’d get a response sometime this year, I’d post the same question somewhere else like ‘theanswerbank’ (which is brilliant btw), and have to create another account with a username and password too. Trying to find usernames that aren’t already in use and ones I'll actually have a hope in hell of remembering that isn't the suggested ‘yourusername_8472_lskdjf’

Then there’s twitter, tumblr, spotify (♥), blogger, Google, twitpic, imageshack… ad nauseum. All things I use on a daily basis pretty much but the accounts really do stack up!! I have trouble enough remembering my pin at the cash point.

Favourite Painting of the Moment

31613503

 

by Richard Phillips

As seen on Gossip Girl.

Friday, 15 October 2010

When The ‘Experts’ Get It Wrong. Very Wrong.

wrong

I’ve only been learning Swedish for a month… but even I know that this is so far removed from the correct pronunciation that it would actually be funny if this person wasn’t a published author apparently responsible for teaching the beautiful Swedish language to noobs like me. On the left is an excerpt from an e-book on ‘Elementary Swedish Grammar’ that I stumbled upon on Google, By a fella called Henri Fort. After reading the svenska alfabetet pronunciation guide and seeing how catastrophically wrong he’s got it I can safely say I’m not going to bother wasting any more of my time reading the rest of it. I’m not sure this dude has even met a Swedish person, much less set foot in Sweden himself. You can’t get much more basic than the alphabet..

Yikes.

That’s all.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Shit My Dad Says is… well… shit.

http://www.watchmissedepisodes.com/shit-my-dad-says-season-1-episode-1-pilot/

Sadly nowhere near as funny as I expected/hoped it to be.

It’s just a typical tacky American sitcom like Friends or Two And A Half Men. Same tired style. I’m really disappointed with it. Canned studio laughter went out of fashion over here about 20 years ago and for an extremely good reason - it’s bad and cheapens the show. A show should be funny enough to make you laugh yourself, not have to listen to a crowd of other people’s laughter injected at random intervals to say ‘hahaha oh yes, by the way, just in case you didn’t get it yourself, he just told a joke’. Canned laughter has always been a real pet hate of mine. And to add injury to insult, William Shatner’s comedic timing is non-existent.

EPIC let down.

Which is a real shame because the posts on @shitmydadsays on twitter are absolutely hilarious and I really wanted the show to do well and to be brilliant. It’s just… really dated. You’d think that this had been filmed in the early 90s rather than 2010.

It’s not often I turn a TV show off half way through. And I was really looking forward to watching it too.

To compare, for a moment with two highly successful British family comedies One filmed within the past few years, and one filmed in the early 90s

1. Outnumbered

2. One Foot In The Grave (alas, with crowd laughter… *shudder*)

 

American comedy really needs to evolve a bit. Just to compare for a brief moment, the English ‘Office’ with the American ‘Office’…

1. UK Office 

2. US Office

 

I think you get the point.

 

the US version is so stilted and glossed.. the whole point of it was to appear like a documentary.. really missed the mark because it is so obviously acted.

FYI just because you have wobbly camerawork, it doesn’t mean that it looks like a documentary. It’s how natural the delivery of lines is that determines the extent of the viewers ability to suspend their disbelief. Not your cameraman's ability to fake having Parkinsons.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

What did the Vikings ever do for us?

I will update this as I go along - if I remember, but learning Swedish (for those of you who know me outside of this blog, yes I know I'm banging on about it a LOT) is absolutely FASCINATING!!!

For those of you who know nothing about the history of the British Isles, about a thousand years ago, we got invaded by the Vikings. And where did the Vikings come from? Scandinavia: Aka Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

We didn't really want them here but they settled anyway and as I'm going along I can see SO MANY links to our Viking past in the language of today!

For example -

Grått - means Grey in Swedish. Pronounced 'Grot'. Over here, we have a saying that something is 'grotty'.. it's a 'grotty day outside'.. meaning it's grey, damp and miserable. Incidentally, Gråt with only one t, also means 'crying'.

Andra Hand -  literally means ‘other’ and ‘hand’  but used in conjunction means 'alternative' in Swedish. We say 'on the other hand' when we talk about alternatives. 'On one hand,I love coffee- but on the other hand I'm allergic to it'

I will update more when I can think of more, but right now it's late and I should be asleep, not getting excited about learning things!

 

Update: 14/10/10

Swedish ‘Barn’ = child. Scottish slang word for a child is ‘bairn’

 

 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

No Experience Necessary

I’m not really sure how someone can post a job for a proofreader and say ‘no experience required’. Surely some form of proof (no pun intended) that the applicant can actually READ would be beneficial to not only the company acting as the agent but also to the client whose hard work is being put into the hands of someone to check that everything is ok. So, what, any average Joe off the street with a tentative grasp of the English language should be entrusted with the publishing future of someone elses hard work? I don’t think so.

The job of a proofreader is to thoroughly check over a piece of work to make sure that there are no mistakes: No missing words, no grammatical errors, no spelling or punctuation mistakes. Considering the average person in this day and age (judging by the volume of inane drivvel splattered all over the internet in the forms of blogs - mine included- livejournals, websites, etc etc etc) seems incapable of distinguishing between too/to and your/you’re and knowing where an apostrophe should be placed.. i.e. NOT in "a pair of shoe’s"….

I can safely say I wouldn’t want anyone near my work who can’t manage the basics. Websites promoting proofreading/editorial jobs to any old Tom, Dick or Harry are doing a real disservice to the publishing world.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Edmund Charles Tarbell

image image

Love the lighting in these 2 paintings. Just thought I should share the joy :)

When Art and Technology Combine To Create… STEAMPUNK LAPTOP!!!

OH yeah!!!

image

Hands down one of the most awesome things with a motherboard I have ever seen in my life!!!!  I’m not sure I’d want it for myself as I am still very much enamoured with my Toshiba Equium and I have RSI so having my hands raised up like that would probably not be at all good for them and that winder would really get in my way and annoy me… ASIDE FROM THAT – this is really one of the coolest things ever. I know I’m embarrassingly geeky sometimes, but when sci fi and Victoriana combine, only good things can happen.

Check out Datamancer’s (the creator) website HERE

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bulletin

Hello readers! just to let you know over the next few days I'm trying to redesign this blog so apologies for it looking a bit funny - it will get better very soon, I promise!
Tash
x

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cancelling LoveFilm

I’ve been with lovefilm for about a year and I don’t use the service – my last dvd had been sitting around on a shelf for about 3 months, so I thought – there’s no point in shelling out every month for something I never use. So on to LoveFilm I went, thinking it’d just be a case of clicking a button and closing my account. Not so. In the ‘account’ section there was indeed a button to press to say ‘cancel my account’. I’m a total phonophone- I detest making phonecalls, so if I have to deal with things, I’d rather press a few buttons, shoot off an email or get on a bus (in that order) even when I’m ill I’d sooner drag my sickly arse out of bed and walk 10 mins to the doctors to make an appointment than phone up. I know. It’s weird, but that’s just the way I am.

ANYWAY. So I pressed cancel, naively thinking it would take me to an ‘are you sure you want to cancel your account with us? yes/no’ page where I’d click a button and that would be it sorted. No, the next page was with a number saying that I had to call up to confirm my cancellation, and I seem to remember that number being a premium one. So.. as there doesn’t seem to be any way around it, I called, and it took me to some indian call centre where the woman on the other end of the phone was doing everything she could to make me stay – offering to downgrade my account (which was already the lowest) and giving me a free month. I don’t want ANY month! I WANT TO CLOSE MY ACCOUNT!!

I realise call centres do a fair amount of good generating jobs in poorer countries, but I’m sorry, I have better things to do with my life and my money than sit around having a chat to some random woman in India and paying through the nose for it and in the end not coming away with what I wanted. I had to settle for the free month for two reasons.

One, I stuck my disk in the post that day. Appaently they had already got it and had sent out another disk (though how they could have received my disk already is beyond me) and that she’d give me a free month while I get THAT disk and send it back, and then Id have to call again.

So basically the deal is like this: They won’t put a black mark against my name so when they get the disk back it cancels the account automatically so I don’t have to ring up. They won’t cancel my account while I still have some disks and until the disk is returned the account remains active.. yet the second a disk has been returned, they’ve automatically dispatched the next one. Which, in my opinion is utterly ridiculous.

Browsing around on some forums and such to see if anyone else has encountered these problems, it seems I am not alone. Seriously, just type ‘cancel love film problem’ into Google and see just HOW MANY angry people there are out there.

Here are just a couple of examples:

http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/internet-sites/lovefilm-com/1028646/

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1063656

http://www.wordsgofurther.com/user-experience/want-to-cancel-your-lovefilm-subscription-good-luck

 

Apparently there is a button to press to cancel the subscription without needing to call up, which mysteriously appears to a select few between the hours of 10pm and 5am and then vanishes again. Yeah. Fat lot of use. And there is another one which has been very cleverly hidden, but a kind user on one of the forums had posted up a direct link, which is the one I used today.

https://www.lovefilm.com/account/cancel_confirm.html

I’ve got a mark on my account and a confirmation email from them which seems promising so I’ll let you know how it goes!

lovefilm1

lovefilm2

In the mean time, this is what I’ve done to help myself out a bit:

1. Made a note of the day which I’m supposed to be billed next, In my case it’s the 26th so they have PLENTY of time to receive my DVD back and cancel my account. Also means that I know exactly when to check my account. Apparently they’re sneaky about it and once you cancel, they don’t appear on your bill as ‘lovefilm’ but just as a generic payment. I’ve also made my bank aware of the situation and I’ve got the number of my card company so if necessary, I can call them up and get them to block those transactions. Hopefully I won’t need to.

2. On my lovefilm account, I’ve gone into my list of dvds pending and totally wiped it. If they don’t know what’s next on my list, they can’t send me anything! See my logic there, eh?

3. When I posted my DVD I got my post office to give me a proof of postage certificate, so if they try and say ‘oh we never got your DVD’ I can say ‘well I sent it and here’s the proof.. suck on that’.

 

Hope these links etc help some of you guys out if you’re having the same problem – if you’re considering going with lovefilm, do so at your own risk. I’ve had no problems with them sending me things- that’s been fine but this cancellation process and the insult of having to pay a premium number to get put through to an Indian call centre and not even have my account cancelled at the end of it and basically jumping through hoops for something so simple has really put my nose out of joint and I can safely say I won’t be going back to them purely because of that. I may well be making a mountain out of a molehill, but when I’m paying for something I have got very little patience when it comes to people trying to screw me around.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Alec Egan Art Show

Alec Egan, one of my favourite artists with a pulse is having some art shows starting from September this year.

I love his work. It’s very dark, leaves me feeling quite unsettled and mildly disturbed, but that’s why I like it: Because it makes me think. It’s not just grotesque or bizarre for the sake of it, like some of those so-called ‘artists’ who have a pile of bricks in the middle of the floor or a painting of a severed hand or something. His style is very choppy, very roughly done but you can tell that he’s put a lot of thought into what he’s doing – particularly in the blue men series and that there is a message in there he’s which he’s trying to put across if you take the time to look at it with your eyes and mind open.

Click the painting from his latest series, ‘The Art of Thinking Backward’  below to go to his website and check him out.

 

egan

 

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Monday, 12 July 2010

I Heart Rocket Dock

My computer had to be reset and frankly – I’ve never used anything but Windows, and I find the cost of imacs morally objectionable, but I do like how simple and shiny all of Apple’s stuff is. And I am a BIG fan of simple things. I HATE the way Internet Explorer looks and use Safari instead, purely because it’s shiny. I remember when I got my Vista, there were a load of tutorials on how to pimp your XP out to make it look like Vista…So onto Youtube I went to watch some tutorials to see if it’s possible to make my Win7 look more like a Mac. IT IS!!! So I fancied a change and thought I’d give it a go myself.

And F.Y.I, yes, I am THAT much of a geek that I actually love computer stuff. I don’t understand most of it, but I like trying.

Anyhoo… all of them were banging on about this thing called Rocket Dock and how you install that, install a ‘skin’ and a few shiny icons click ok, unlock your Win7 task bar – shove it somewhere else, click click click, and job done! Normally I watch these things with an eyebrow raised and an sardonic ‘haha AS IF it’s really going to be THAT simple’ smirk on my face. The weirdest part was A) It really was SO EASY that I didn’t even stuff up once, and B) it actually worked and my computer hasn’t kicked the bucket. Both good things!!  I downloaded the ‘mac snow leopard’ skin from the rocket dock site for this and a bunch of icons from various places. Main one is if you go in Google and type in ‘free icons’ it’s the second one down (icon archive).

And here to demonstrate my new pride and joy in all its shiny new glory is the lovely Jensen Ackles :)

(I didn’t make that wallpaper btw.. if I had it wouldn’t have such stupid writing like ‘lil devil’ on it and his face wouldn’t be green… I’m just saying….)

 

desktop1desktop

 

 

All the icons I need are in the bar below – no crappy windows 7 tasklbar hogging the limelight. No icons on the desktop clogging up the space… still have a couple of the vista gadgets – the calendar, a couple of sticky notes and a nice big clock.. And when you roll over the task bar, the icons bug out (as you can hopefully see from the one on the bottom) You can change this though, should you not want it to do that.  And you know what the best thing of all this is? (other than Jensen’s face staring back at you) It is all FREE. Yes. That’s right. The rocket dock makers regard their programme as a ‘peace offering from the mac community’ because they feel for us aesthetically challenged Windows users.

desktop4<<<<<<< The rocket dock taskbar is really simple to navigate and use, and it’s ridiculously easy to add things to the bar. All you gotta do to add… say… MSpaint to your bar, is grab the icon from the desktop and drag it over. It’ll appear in the bar – and you can customise it with new icons if you want to make it look more shiny. To add a shortcut to an internet website like the youtube or twitter icons that you see here, on your desktop, right click >>>new>>shortcut>>> then type in the web address and press ok. Then drag that to the rocket dock bar and apply an icon (or not) job done.

The Shutdown ‘docklet’ is also a fantastic feature. Just click it and your computer shuts itself down. None of this faffing around with pressing ‘start’ first. These docklets are also relatively easy to install. It’s mainly a question of copy and pasting bits from your ‘downloads’ into the rocket dock ‘icons’ folder and clicking and dragging something down to the bar.

My only criticism of Rocket dock is that when you have multiple windows open in, say, Safari or Internet Explorer – with Win7 you roll over and it shows you  thumbs of the windows you have open. Rocket dock does not do this, so I’ve not really made my Win7 toolbar completely redundant. You can’t see it on the screens I’ve posted, but I promise you, It’s still there :) As are all your icons still!! I’ll tell you how to do that now:

If you wish, you can make all your desktop icons invisible with a couple of clicks. It means that when you want to find something you just       repeat the procedure and unclick one thing!

 

howto

 

 

 

On your desktop, RIGHT CLICK, click ‘view’ then where it says ‘SHOW DESKTOP ICONS’ you just click it. This screenshot says is unticked because mine are already hidden. If yours are visible, it will be ticked and you will need to untick it. That’s all you have to do, and to reverse it and get your icons back, just do the same thing, but tick it where it says ‘show’.

 

Simples ;)

 

And finally – the not-totally-redundant win7 bar…

 

desktop 3

See? Up the right hand side? still there… and still with the ‘rollover to show open windows’ capability.

Basically what I did was when I installed rocket dock, I right clicked on the win7 bar, unticked it where it said ‘lock’ and dragged it off to the right hand side and locked it again, then right clicked it again, clicked ‘properties’ and then clicked ‘auto-hide the taskbar’ (which is on the taskbar tab in that window) you can also change its location here in the ‘taskbar location on screen’ options, but i just click and dragged it. Same difference. Click apply and then that’s that done, so it will be invisible on your desktop until you hover your mouse over it and then it’ll magically appear. I actually prefer it being up the right hand side for the already open windows tabs. It means you also don’t lose your ‘start’ button, although to be honest, I use it so rarely that I don’t miss it, because I’ve had icons and shortcuts cluttering up my screen for years. However, there is a ‘search’ Docklet on rocket dock that I might install…

 

If you want to watch a tutorial on this, just you on Youtube and type in ‘make windows look like mac’ or ‘rocket dock tutuorial’ or something and you’ll find out how to apply skins and customise icons and such in there :)

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Judy Garland

Just a few scribbles I did of the late great.. unable to do the colour correcting fandango because I had to reinstall windows and haven’t got around to finding my Corel disks and reinstalling PSP.

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I’ll also have to figure out how to get these posts looking like the old ones too because I’ve had to reinstall Windows Live Writer (which is what I use to write my blogs) so all my settings were gone. Technology is a massive pain in the arse, but where would we be without it?..

 

… oh yes, having lives.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

AGES 13 – 16. Survival.

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Q: SATS: How important are they?

A: While you’re in school – for me, it was basically to determine if you were put into the classes with the smart kids or the dumb kids. Just to kind of assess where you are and what level you’re working at. I remember my SAT score was 666… dunno what the hell I got that in – I just remember the number. English Maths and Science maybe? If I don’t even remember what they were, that’s a good sign they’re not overly important. It’s not really something anyone is ever going to ask you about.

Q: GCSEs: How important are they?

A: Honestly, not horrendously, but at the same time, pretty important. English, maths and science are the ones you need to do well in because they’re the basics and if you want to teach you need to pass all these otherwise you’re gonna have to go back and do them again. When applying to university – you apply before you get your A-level results, so universities kind of look at those and your predicted grades so they can see what you have under your belt already and your potential as a student for them. On your CV, people look first at your university degree, if you have one, and your A-levels. Those are the main 2. If you’re working somewhere, for example, in an international school, it helps if you can speak more than one language, and here your GCSE German/French is useful to say ‘yep. done it.’ Aside from that… because you’re 16 when you’re legally allowed to leave school and go to work – if that is your intention, you’re gonna need the best grades you can get, basically. Because if people who have spent years in higher education getting a-levels, bachelors and masters degrees are really struggling to get jobs with their lovely long list of academic qualifications, then good luck if you’ve left with only a handful of C/D grade GCSEs.

SURVIVING OUTSIDE SCHOOL

It is pointless saying to a teen ‘don’t do this’, because… let’s put it this way – I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a non-rebellious teen. You’re gonna press every button you can and see what you can get away with. I did it, and even though your parents will deny it, that they did too. But here are some  things to bear in mind:

Friends:

It’s normal for friendships to blow hot and cold. It doesn’t make it any more fun or any easier, but just know this is kind of normal. Especially in all girls schools, there is a LOT of bitchiness and backstabbing and gossiping. I’m sure it’s not much better in mixed schools or all boys schools, but I suppose boys are more thuggish and less catty. Choose your friends wisely and don’t try to change yourself just to fit into a crowd. Be who you are and keep being who you are – that takes balls sometimes, but it’s worth it. Nobody likes a fake and the only person you’ll be fooling really is yourself.

If your ‘friends’ don’t respect you, your views, opinions and values and try to change you, or bully you into being someone you’re not or to do something you’re not comfortable with and don’t want to do – then those people are not your friends. If you don’t want to do something – don’t do it. The people around you should be mature enough to accept that not everyone is into the same things.

Parties:

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1. THE GOLDEN RULE : if someone comes up to you and offers you something and you don’t know what it is, just say no and walk away. ALWAYS let your parents know where you are. If you’re secretive about stuff they’re going to come down even harder on you because they’ll worry and they’ll be less likely to be ok with you going out again if you’ve kept them up all night worried sick. If they know where you are and what time you’re planning on coming home they’ll be much more relaxed, and if something happens to you, they know where they’ll have to pick you up from.

2. DRUGS Don’t do drugs, because drugs are bad. Drugs are also expensive, and teenagers are not rich. So chances are, if you’re 13 and get your hands on some drugs, if  you can afford to buy them with your pocket money, they’re going to be the lowest grade available – as in mixed in with a load of other crap so you don’t even know what’s in it. Which is not only dangerous, but stupid to risk your health/life just for a high. Someone I know did drugs when he was a teenager and he has ruined his life because they totally messed up his brain and now he’s schizophrenic, almost 30 and having to live at home with his parents because he can’t be trusted to live on his own and be able to look after himself. Do you REALLY want to end up like that? No? then don’t do drugs.

3. ALCOHOL. Everyone does it – it’s a learning curve – part of growing up. I had my first drink when I was 12 and the first time I got drunk I spent my 13th birthday in bed with a hangover. I am really REALLY lucky with my parents – they’ve, for some reason, always trusted me. My mother is very cautious but I think they were both smart enough to realise that if I wanted to do something, I’d do it anyway and if they told me not to do something it would make me want to do it even more.  So they basically let me do what I want (within reason) because if they let me do stuff and we were open about it, they wouldn’t worry, because they knew what I was up to, even if they didn’t agree with it – which is better than not knowing and assuming/fearing the worst. Since I was a tot, when they had a drink, they’d let me have a bit, so by the time I hit my teens I knew I hated whiskey and Vodka and wine, and the mystery of booze was kind of eliminated. Still went out and got ratted and woke up under radiators in people’s houses. I never got in trouble for getting drunk, because I got (and still get) the most horrendous hangovers so me spending the next 2 days unable to move without wanting to throw up was punishment enough.  Anyway. My alcoholic past out of the way – some basic things to remember.

1. Don’t drink cheap stuff because it tastes like arse and it’ll make you sick

2. DON’T MIX YOUR DRINKS – that is just stupid. Avoid snakebite black – your friends may all be drinking it now, but give them 2 hours and they’ll be the ones on their knees with their head down the toilet wanting you to call their mum and saying ‘sorry.. sorry.. sorry’ over and over again for an hour while you’re holding their hair out of their face, force-feeding them bread and water and feeling a little smug that it’s not you who everyone is going to be saying ‘haha can’t hold his drink – what a loser' about the next day. Also, if you’re aware of what you’re doing you’re less likely to do stupid things and get into fights and have rumours spread about you at school.

3. When you first start to feel sick, that is when you should STOP and swap booze for water and go and get something to eat. Preferably stodge like bread or chips. I say ‘stop’ the minute you start to feel sick, because that’s just the beginning of the wave that’s going to come crashing over you. If you keep drinking past that it’s just going to make you feel EVEN WORSE.

image4. Sounds gross, but it’s true: Better out than in. If you feel sick, don’t try and act cool and keep going – go to the loo and throw it up. You’ll feel much better for it and your hangover won’t hurt quite so much the next day because you haven’t kept it in your system. Drink WATER after that and eat something.

 

5. BE SAFE: Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know, never have a drink you haven’t poured yourself, never leave your drink unattended and if you have a bottle, keep your thumb over the top of it while you’re walking around. It is SO EASY for someone to spike your drink. It’s happened to at least 5 of my friends – even big tough guys – when they thought they were being careful, and at university – where we’re all older and wiser about keeping an eye on our drinks. Basically spiking: if you’ve had one drink and feel like SH*T – really dizzy, really sick, feel a bit like you’re going to die.. chances are your drink has been spiked. Tell a friend so they know to keep an eye on you, and call your parents and tell them to come and pick you up. If you’re at a party where someone is going to do that to you, you don’t want to be there, because once you pass out, you don’t know what else they may do, and it’s not worth it.

 

Hope some of that is useful to you

x

Friday, 2 July 2010

David Bowie - Heroes (live)

The most sexy man to ever walk the planet?


I think so.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Revision/Exam tips.

EXAM TIME rolls around again: Just a few exam/revision tips from this old academic here which some of you young’uns might find helpful in this time of need.

REVISION

1. BREAK IT DOWN. Your memory is a pretty good thing - it's just the bit where you have to train it to recall the relevant information that a lot of people struggle with it's fine getting it in there, it's the getting it back out that is the problem - you need to familiarise yourself with the text as much as you can and take your notes and keep breaking them down into key themes and motifs.

2. CONDENSE Break these into smaller and smaller chunks and then to single words, it trains your brain to work like a spider diagram. The info will be in there and the key word will automatically trigger the rest of the info you need to fire off in your head.

THE EXAM

1. SLEEP. Good night's sleep works wonders.

2. HYDRATE. Brain is mostly water, so if it's dried out it won't work properly. Don't drink so much you spend the entire exam hopping up and down bursting for the loo though. Caffeine may be good for the initial burst, but it also dehydrates you, so water is best.

3. BRAINSTORM: You're allowed to scribble on the exam papers. When you've chosen your question, quickly bulletpoint everything you can remember - with your key words. With English, the first thing I always did was write down the names of the characters because knowing what i'm like I'd be making a really good point and then have a complete brainfart when it came to remembering the name of the person who said it. it's also good because the one-word triggers you've got from condensing all that info and scribbled down can really help when you're a little stuck because you've been focussing so much on what you're saying that you've forgotten what else to say.

4.PLAN: your teacher has probably already drilled this into your head, but when you get in, look at the time you have, look at how many words roughly are expected of you / the percentage, and allocate time accordingly, AND STICK TO IT. Doing this also makes you much stricter with yourself about what you have to say, because it's easy to waffle on for ages about something you know, but while waffling means you're getting a lot of words done, it doesn't necessarily mean you're answering the question. So basically just:

  • Keep it timed
  • Keep it relevent
  • Keep it concise

  (I just had to teach my ex's mum all this because she's doing a course at uni now and didn't know ANY of this stuff, so just thought I'd cover my bases here)

5.  QUOTES: The thing most people at school panicked most about when it came to our English exams was remembering the quotes. The thing is, it doesn't matter if you can't remember the exact quote. You don't have to write it - in fact, if you know you can't remember it, don't even bother trying to write it down.. AS a quote. You can work around it. Instead of:

Austen introduces Pride and Prejudice by saying 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in the possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife'

you can say

Austen introduces Pride and Prejudice by putting forth the assumption that all single men with good fortunes are looking for wives.

It's always a good idea to have at least a couple of quotes memorised, but often, providing you remember the general gist of the quote you can usually get around it by rephrasing your sentence a little bit like I did above so you're saying what you want to say but without having to use the precise quote. it just takes some of the stress out of pressuring yourself to remember everything.

6. ENJOY. I know it sounds insane, but have fun with it. I know exams are important, but the more you stress about it, the more pressure you put on yourself and the more likely you are to stuff up and forget things. You don't HAVE to agree with the question - if the question is 'to what extent do you agree that..' you CAN say 'I DON'T agree..' as long as you can make your argument and back up your points, you'll be fine.

In school, I'll never forget one of my a-level exam questions:

"To what extent do you agree that Brian Friel's 'Translations' is a direct attack on the British Colonialisation of Ireland?'

I was like ...w...t...f. Instead of going 'oh my god!?!?' I just thought screw it - I'll write what I want! I basically wrote:

I don't agree that 'Translations' is an attack the colonialisation of Ireland - the entire  play is about the destruction of language and the loss of identity with Ireland serving as a backdrop. It's not such an attack on the colonialisation itself (although there are references to violence between the Irish and English), but rather a reflection of the power which language has to unite or destroy a nation, and 'Translations' demonstrates how rapidly a nation can disintegrate when its language is taken away.

I finished half an hour early, only wrote about 3 sides of A4 whereas everyone else had written 9 and I came out thinking 'well... better put the money aside for the retake of that when I get home'. Turns out I was one of only 3 people to get full marks. Guess I argued my case pretty well.

Hopefully some of this stuff helped and you can apply it to some of your  exams :)

Tash

x

Primark Rant: BOOBS.

Primark is really irritating me lately. They have some lovely clothes, but nothing fits me. I thought being skinny would mean that shopping for clothes would be infinitely easier, as most things seem to be designed for people you can post through letter boxes. No more worrying about muffin tops, no more feeling mildly depressed when the size 12 jeans don’t even meet in the middle.. no finding nice 1930s style puffy short sleeved shirts where the sleeves are tight round the top of my arms…  Now I am one of those people you can pretty much post, it is no easier at all.

Primark does not seem to realise that not all women who are thin are totally flat chested. In fact, I really don’t see very many flat-chested women these days full stop.  This problem is easily resolved by buying a top and a bottom. But what if I want to buy a dress? A size 6-8 fits perfectly round the waist, but I can’t breathe in it as my boobs are squashed to make me look AGE 8, or I can’t get the zipper up past my ribs. If I try on a size 10-12, it fits perfectly round the boobs but the rest of it hangs like an old potato sack.

This brings me to the second gripe… have the people who design these dresses ever SEEN boobs? Because if they have, surely they should realise that the things are globular. If you look at any halterneck style dress that has two triangles for boobs, you will note that they’ve got a seam at the bottom so the thing will curve around the boob. They’re not literally JUST triangles of fabric which a) going with the gripe I’ve already had; cover next to nothing nothing and b) don’t fit around –you have the fabric stretched up around the middle part of the boob but it flaps madly in the breeze on either side. Which is a real shame, because the material on some of those dresses is really pretty.

Gripe number three: Why is it that I cannot buy an underwear set from Primark that fits both top and bottom? The people who put the two together seem to think that if you have biggish boobs, you must also be in possession of an absolutely MASSIVE arse. The size bra I need means that I end up with pants in a size 16-18. I’m a size 6-8, and I don’t think my boobs are even particularly big. Admittedly, I don’t really buy underwear from there very often – But really… come on Primark, lets have some sets for slim busty people too. Why does ‘cheap’ have to equate to ‘fits badly’ ?

 

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

My Summer Essentials for 2010

 

SKINCARE

Makeup: I tend not to wear makeup in summer, unless it’s just a little bit of concealer under my eyes and some spf lipbalm I got from CVS in America– maybe a TINY bit of eye shadow if I’m going out somewhere.. which is why there’s nothing here about it.

imageBarry M Nail Paint in Lemon Yellow (I think.. I’ll check the name on the bottle when I find it)

It’s a really nice colour, although my parents both hate it and say it makes my hands look ‘fungal’

Bought it in Boots where they were having a 3 for 2 thing going on last month. Needs about 3 coats before it looks as opaque as it does in this person’s picture.

 

 

 

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Boots Soltan for Kids, SPF 30

400ml

£15.49

I love this sun cream. It comes out green so I can see if I’ve missed any bits. It’s a little on the greasy side, but to be honest, that doesn’t really bother me as I only stick this on when I sunbathe, and I’d rather be a little greasy for a few hours than have patches of brown and pale from where I’ve missed. I don’t really tend to burn anywhere apart from my nose, but I have a lot of moles so I do need to cover them up – I use a cotton bud dipped in Soltan factor 50 to cover the main offenders with the  highest protection I can without having to have the rest of me remain pasty.

AFTERSUN:

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In my house, we’ve always used Soltan lotion and aftersun, which is made only for Boots. I LOVE the smell of the aftersun and it makes my skin feel ridiculously soft :) The one I’m using now is left over from last year which WAS called aftersun with tan maximiser, but I think this ‘Tan Prolonger’ one is pretty much the same thing.. it says this has tan enhancing agents in whereas mine says on the bottle that it contains a low level of self tan.. so.. hmm.. not entirely sure but I think it’s this years equivalent. £5.49.

image If you’re in America, and you have a propensity to burn, then I highly recommend Solarcaine which contains Lidocaine, or the CVS own brand stuff  for $6.99 which is just as good and again, It makes my skin feel absolutely amazing. I wish I bought another can of this when I was over in the states, because I would actually just use it as a moisturiser – it is so light and cooling and it soaks into the skin completely and isn’t at all greasy. However, It has some form of pain reliever in it which is why it’s so good for burns.. but if they had the aloe vera stuff on its own in a spray I’d bring back a bag full of it! Bought this because for the first time in my life I actually got burned ( I don’t go abroad much and in England our ‘summers’ are pitiful) I just checked on Ebay (.co.uk) and you can buy Solarcaine, but it’s like £13 + £7 p&p… when you think it’s sold for only $7.99 in the store, it’s a total rip-off (as most things seem to be in the UK…) you’d be better off just asking any friends you have in America to send you some. It really is brilliant stuff and to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this sold in the UK for sunburn. On the CVS website it says their own brand one is not suitable to be transported by air, but I took mine home with me on the plane and it’s absolutely fine.

 

For everyday summer sun protector, I use image Palmer’s cocoa butter body lotion SPF15 (£4.99 from Boots). I’m not overly keen on the smell, because I’m a citrus fan rather than sweet/musky scents, but it works wonders on my skin. If I’m not going out I’ll use the olive version of this instead. For my face, I use Olay Complete care with SPF15 (£8.99 from Boots)  image

Again, I really don’t like the smell – mum used to put Olay on my nose when I was little and going through the ‘dry skin’ stage of a cold and it stung like a bitch, but it does make my skin look really hydrated and protects which is very important in summer as it’ll make it less likely to get sun damage – wrinkles and sun spots.

FASHION:

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A variety of sunglasses. Primark have some great ones that look like Ray Bans in various colours for only £1!

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A big white linen shirt to slop around in and throw over a bikini. My current fave is a balloon sleeve one I got from Primark about 3 years ago for about £7

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Red retro style halterneck bikini (minus the terrifying model)

I want a straw cowboy hat, but I can’t seem to find one I like anywhere.  3 years on the hunt for one now.

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Blue and white striped shirt like this ‘Bethel’ shirt from CREW Clothing co. £55.00

 

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G ood old Fashioned pair of denim cutoffs & grey/white/cream vest top

  imageFlip Flops or white gym shoes.

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DRINK

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£1.65 from Sainsburys. Delicious and refreshing. Best served with ice! (doesn’t go too badly with a dash of gin either)

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Summertime = PIMMS!!!!

chuck in a jug 1 part Pimm’s to 2 parts lemonade

Add in cut up strawberries and apple, a sprig of mint and plenty of ice and you’re sorted for the next few hours.

Don’t put in cucumber though – loads of people do that and it tastes HORRID.

 

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MOST IMPORTANTLY: LOTS AND LOTS OF THIS!!!! (no, it isn’t vodka) It’s really important to stay hydrated, especially if you decide to crack out the Pimms or gin and lime – as alcohol dehydrates you, you’ll need to drink even more water.

 

 

 

 

FOOD

TZATZIKI RECIPE

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When it’s hot outside, I never feel like eating. I am a sun worshipper – I LOVE the sun, but the accompanying heat is not something I deal with too well. I feel too sluggish to eat proper food. However, Tzatziki with some pitta bread  is really refreshing, healthy, always goes down a treat and takes a couple of minutes to make. I had this for lunch today actually. This is how I make it:

Take a cucumber. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of as much of the cucumber as you think you want. Use a (I dunno what the official term is, but I call it a) guillotine slicer to cut it very thin. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave for about 3 mins for the salt to draw the moisture out of the cucumber.  While you’re waiting, cut up half a clove of garlic or a whole clove if it’s really small (this is for one person btw)

Hold the bowl above the sink and drain it by squeezing the cucumber up against one side of the bowl and letting the juices run out.

Stick a pitta bread in the toaster for about a minute.

Add a tablespoon of Greek style yoghurt, the garlic, a dash of white pepper and some black pepper to the cucumber.

Remove pitta bread from toaster. !!!!!WARNING!!!! it’s really advisable to use an oven glove or something to pull the bread out of the toaster! because they’re kinda hollow, pitta breads build up a vat of steam inside which is ridiculously hot and if you squeeze it a tiny bit, will come shooting out of the bread and burn your hand. I have done this SO many times and it really really does hurt.

Finally – ENJOY!

Monday, 21 June 2010

World Cup Flag Ban: Anti-English? or plain old stupid?

I’ve spent the past week in Sussex. There’s a pub in there I go to quite a lot – full of locals and everyone knows everyone; and in a little village, news travels fast. The landlady had got a delivery of beermats promoting the world cup and the woman who delivered that said that the taxi drivers in Hastings had been banned from sporting the England flags on their cabs. Also, cabbies and bin-men (oh, sorry, ‘refuse collectors’.. we must be politically correct nowadays mustn’t we? pffffft) in Canterbury and London.

There are two versions of the story why: The first, is that flying the England flag is offensive to all the foreigners in this country. Which I have to say is utter bollocks (pardon my French). For a start, we should be allowed to demonstrate our patriotism if we want, and if foreigners have an aversion to the country they’re in flying its own damn flag, they know where Heathrow is – they can get on a plane and go home. Secondly, the people who moved into the house next to mine about 3 months ago are from Pakistan. They barely speak any English, yet they’ve got the England bunting hanging from their windows. So who are the councils to think they can dictate the views of all the foreign/ethnic people in their constituencies? I somehow very much doubt they’ve got the ‘I’m offended’ hotline rammed with Bulgarians or Poles or Asians complaining about someone driving a car with a little flag stuck on it for a few weeks. I think it’s more a case of they have far too much time on their hands and instead of coming up with ideas to improve the quality of the area they’re representing/governing, which would require some initiative and creativity, they choose instead to nitpick at completley unimportant things which only serve to irritate a few people and give one girl in the London Suburbs yet another thing to write a ranting blog about.

The second version is something to do with health and safety. Apparently they’re very dangerous… though I fail to see how having a flag on the roof of your car is anything other than patriotism and a waste of money coupled with an overly healthy dose of tackiness. It’s not like people spend a huge amount of time looking OVER a car. Looking around the sides, yes, but over?……

Potty. That’s the only word for either version really.

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As for myself, I couldn’t care less about the football. I don’t know one end of the pitch from the other. This world cup season will find me lying on a rug in a bikini in my garden working on my tan, slurping lime cordial and reading a book.