30 Mar 2011

Breathing In - Word of The Week

Inspiration n: Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity Ety: c.1300, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that under which the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration, from L.L. inspirationem (nom. inspiratio), from L.inspiratus, pp. of inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in-"in" + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit)

(Listen to this whilst you read this post - I wrote this post listening to it)

There is a lot of talk about inspiration being something that `hits` you. That comes out of the blue and kind of, clonks you on the head - a `lightbulb` moment. That's not really how it feels to me. 

Inspiration to me is a state of being. It's an emotion or a state where my head and my heart and everything in my body is aligned perfectly. I feel every bit of oxygen in my body, that my blood is flowing smoothly, that my eyes are open wider, that my ears are listening more keenly and that I am receiving knowledge with every cell of my being. I guess it is akin to a religious experience. I feel that I am my truest self in that moment and so anything I produce - be it writing, blogging, cooking, climbing, talking - is my most honest creation. 

In the movie Stigmata, Patricia Arquette's character is possessed and she quotes from the new testament "the Kingdom of God is inside you, and all around you, not in mansions of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood... and I am there, lift a stone... and you will find me." 

I'd never heard these words before and they stuck with me. I'm not a religious person but I try to find beauty everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. And that, to me, is inspiration - it's everywhere, you only have to open yourself to seeing it.

28 Mar 2011

Karaoke-tastic: Guest Blogging for Lucky Voice

Just a quick sneaky post tonight but I couldn't let this one go by.....

Those lovely folks over at Lucky Voice - aka "the most liberating, heart-racing, life-affirming private karaoke experience on earth" - asked me to write a guest blog post for them

Which I duly did - My Top First Date Karaoke Songs :)

Mainly it was inspired by Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer...

Anyhoo, MORE IMPORTANTLY check out my guest post on Lucky Voice HERE

I can confirm that doing karaoke is *awesome* as you can see in this picture of me doing karaoke actually at Lucky Voice!

I know, I look bad-ass (!) I suspect I may have been singing Sweet Child of Mine. And by singing, i mean caterwauling. Oh yes, did I not mention that I'm also tone deaf.....

So that's it for tonight. I'll be back Wednesday with WoTW as usual :)

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

27 Mar 2011

Losing Yourself - Top 10 Chill Out Tracks

I wasn't sure what to do my top 10 on this week, I was almost too chilled to think about it - but then I realised `doh`, I should do my top 10 chill out tracks - as that's what I've been listening to this afternoon whilst I cleaned and tidied and chucked out trash. I started out listening to Counting Crows, but headed over to my chill out music shortly after. So grab a chilled glass of something - or a cup of tea - and curl up with this lot!

Top 10 Chill Out Tracks

1) Fast Car - Tracy Chapman This is such a beautiful song and I get such a yearning to listen to it, speshly when the summer nights are warm and long. I like to sit somewhere that I can watch the sunset, with a glass of wine in one hand and put this on. I imagine what I might do if I drove off somewhere and started my life from scratch. When I was a teenager I used to crawl out on to the roof of my house in the summer and listen to this and watch the sky.

2) All Is Full of Love - Bjork I know, I've blogged about this before but Bjork's ethereal voice just has a real pavlovian response in me. I'd never heard this song until about 2003, and I listened to it when I was reading Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. When I hear this song, I remember sitting on my bed, on sunny afternoons, whiling awhile the hours reading and relaxing.

3) Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley I have to confess, until the X-Factor, I'd never ever heard this song before, but once I heard Buckley's version I was completely hooked. I don't really want to say much about this song - the melody and lyrics say it all for me.

4) More Than This - Roxy Music My dad gave me a copy of the best of Roxy Music when I was sitting my GCSEs (for the non UK peeps, that's around age 15-16) and I was really in the middle of a tough time at school. I completely fell under Ferry's spell - and also Brian Eno's incredible talents (interesting that he also worked with U2, one of my favourite bands) More than this just kind of helped  me get through stuff, even though I think the essential message of the song is a little depressing!

5) Sweet Child of Mine - Taken By Trees Possibly, the best cover version of any song that I've ever heard. The G'nR version is probably my favourite song, but this one just electrifies every nerve in my body - it's so beautiful and melancholic. I first heard it on a John Lewis ad (big UK dept. store) about 3 months after I got married. My only regret about my wedding is that I didn't hear this song before and get to walk down the aisle to it. So perfect. Hope you love it too!

6) Teardrop - Massive Attack One of the ultimate chill out songs IMO. I've listened to this all over the place - in my flat, in pubs and clubs and restaurants, overlooking hundreds of sunsets - it never fails to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. What I love about it is the contrast between the smooth melody and singing and the crackly popping noises in the back of it (am sure there's a proper techy muso word for that but I don't know what it is!) This song is the equivalent of of wrapping your body in suede. Awesome video too!

7) Where Do I Begin - Chemical Brothers I heard this when I watched Vanilla Sky and hated the movie (too creepy!) but loved this song. It's a sunday morning in bed with the papers and a cup of tea song. It makes me think of being so hungover and staying someplace other than home and that horrid fuzzy feeling of having to deal with public transport and fresh air and sunshine when really you just want to be in your own bed, hiding under the duvet. On another note, this song does also remind me of being very depressed, but its nice to now be able to listen to it and it not upset me as it's a beautiful track!

8) Numb - U2 I think that the U2 Zooropa album is very underrated, mostly known for being the tour where they lost a lot of money. Anyway the songs on this album are really trippy and kinda psychadelicy-ish (I know, that's not a word!). It's got the beautiful Stay (Far Away, So Close) which makes me cry but the rest of the album is nerve-tinglingly different. My favourite is this one, possibly because The Edge sings/mumbles most of the lyrics whilst Bono comes on to wail the chorus. I think The Edge has the sexiest voice and this song just ticks all the right boxes for me. It reminds me of scorching hot summer days, when you can't sleep or breathe or do anything for heat - you've always got sweat trickling down your back and this song is a bit of ice in all that heat.

9) As The Rush Comes (radio edit) - Motorcycle I know, it's dance music. But I used to be a HUGE trance fan. When I was also a goth. Weird that. Anyway.... yes I love trance and this song IMO is very trance-y. It makes me feel like I'm moving when I'm standing still. It's such a `travelling` song and I love listening to this when I'm running.  It's great for when you're er, chilling out before you're going out. Hope you love it like I do.

10) Glory Box - Portishead I guess, really i should have had this on my alternative love songs list but to me, it's up there with Teardrop in the chill-out songs rankings. I know it's a bit louder but it makes me feel electric when I hear it. Again the mix of tuneful and crackly really make it for me but then the guitar wails kick in and it's just a perfect song.

So that's it - that's my list - and it was a hard one to do. I had some awesome suggestions but the best one by far was Ghosts by Siobhan Donaghy which was suggested by @LucyVMorgan of the fabulous Literary Friction blog (check it out!) Let me know what you think of the list and suggest some other stuff for me!!

I'll be back on Wednesday with WoTW plus friday's interview and some other bits inbetween so have a good one all.

Thank you and good night,

Stupidgirl has left the building

The List

26 Mar 2011

Fun in the Sun - A Photo essay

Morning all, hope it's lovely where you are - it's semi-sunny here. Anyway, just a quick blog post this morning. Last September husbando and I went to Sorrento in Italy for a week of hiking and relaxing. We stayed in a fab hotel - and had a great time! Here are some snaps for you.

So thats it, hope you like the photos!

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

25 Mar 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An Interview with Stupidgirl

@AliaMck speaking Right, here we are in my considerably less lovely sewing room, Stupidgirl is sitting against the radiator and I am sitting her at the desk, trying to surreptitiously drink three inches of wine. She has passed your questinos onto me. NB The first 8 questions have come from stupidgirl45's twitter followers.

21stscribe: when will we see the finished novel?
SG45: How long is a piece of string? When I stop tweeting and blogging long enough to finish the damn thing. Hopefully I’ll be ready to submit be the end of the year. That’s a little ambitious though......er, Your husband is hiding in the kitchen. You need to put that in the interview. He’s not offered us any tea. Is he okay?

Ren Cummins: Where was the strangest time or place that inspiration ever hit you?
SG45: Well I normally get random ideas all over the place, the shower, the tube. But normally I get them when my mind goes blank. So when I’m belaying my husband when he’s rock climbing. Um. That’s not menial….. I’m just doing one thing with my hands and another with my brain…. Uh. Yeah. So inspiration can strike at any time. I get a lot of inspiration when I’m climbing.

GGnewED: which bits of Becky 2011 would you hope to have kept with you as Becky in 2025?
SG45: I’m guesing that’s from the blog post I did for this weeks WoTW. I guess I’d hope that I still have the same relationships, friends, husband. Obviously I hope I get some new ones along the way (well not a new husband obviously). I hope I’m still optimistic about the future and I still care about people. Still wearing my heart on my sleeve. Those are things that are really key about me and I wouldn’t want to lose them.

I also hope I still like fart and poo jokes just as much. I wouldn’t like to lose my scatological sense of humour.

LuckyVoice: What was the first single you bought? (Well, it had to be musical!)
SG45: I thought about this quite carefully cause I got given a lot of CDs when I was younger, the first CD I was given was (quiet voice) Bryan Adams So Far So Good. But the first single I was given was Meatloaf’s I’d do anything for love (but I won’t do that) the extended version. The first actual…jesus, was it Take That? God, I was buying books back then. I think it was Queer, by Garbage and also it had a really good B side that I’ve never found anywhere else.

Demonwrangler: What is your biggest regret?
SG45: I don’t have any regrets. No I genuinely do not have any regrets. I’ve made my choices and made the best of them - I believe you this is what you have to do in life generally. But I do wish I’d worked harder at Uni and gotten a 2.1 to prove to myself that I could have done it. I was so close anyway. Je ne regrette rien.

Wilkravitz: What is your ideal spot for a 2nd home + why?
SG45: I kind of want to say a big city but I have to pick somewhere we can go climbing so I’ll say Innsbruck. It’s a lovely city – is it a town? It’s a city. We went there on honey moon and it’s really lovely and I have lots of happy memories.

Ijclark: how about if you could eradicate one human emotion, what would it be and why?
SG45 : What would you pick?
AMcK: Selfishness, mostly because I deal with it on a day to day basis
SG45: (laughs) If I was going to be really cynical and not me, I’d say Love because it causes so many problems. Love triangles, unrequited love, but realistically I’d never choose to live without that so I’ll choose jealousy because I dislike it about myself. I’m a really jealous person. It’s irrational and it can cause problems in relationships where there were no problems to start with.

UnicornRW: Why 'stupid girl'? And what's your forté - your blog is on so many topics/themes. What's your favourite?
SG45: SG is from a song by garbage called Stupid girl. I really like the song and have had it as a username for about the last 15 years. With the topics on my blog, that’s really hard because I like them all in different ways, they’re like my babies. Some are funny, some are introspective, some are pretty and some you learn from. It’s hard to pick a favourite. I hope that people come away from the blog feeling like they have learned something new that day. And I really like to entertain people.

AMcK:What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
SG45: I was thinking about this the other day actually because I couldn't think of one. I guess I actually have 2 pieces, which I wouldn’t normally allow, but its my blog. The first if from an old boss, and to paraphrase, its thinking about what you want to say and how it’s going to come across before you say it. In politics you’d call it spin, but I guess it’s just really thinking about other people and about how something is going to affect them and then you can think about how what you say is going to affect them. I don’t mean that to sound cold and calculating. It’s not.

And the other bit is the final 2 lines of The Desiderata , which is "For all its sham + drudgery/it is still a beautiful world". When things are really getting me down I just think about that poem and think about how many beautiful things there are in the world and it helps me pick myself up even when things seem impossible. I have the whole poem printed and stuck up by my desk to help. 

AMcK:What do you know to be true about life?
SG45: I guess I think that like I said before you have to remember that you’re in control of things and if you don’t like a situation, you have to decide if you’re going to put up and shut up or not. Only you can decide what you can put up with. We’re stronger than we think and we can find our own way out. We spend too long fighting against stuff, sometimes its easier to go with the flow and you’ll find a resolution. It sounds kind of ‘Hippie’, but it works for me and its made am a lot happier for it.

AMcK:What is your favourite book? 
SG45: I have 2: The Handmaids Tale and The Secret History. If you don’t know who these are by, google is your friend.

AMcK: What is your favourite song? 
SG45: Where The Streets Have No Name - U2. I want this played at my funeral.

AMcK: Describe yourself in a dating ad: 
SG45: Regular girl seeks irregular guy. Must like…………….must like don’t know how can I describe stupidboy? Must be kind, funny, don’t know, must be stupidboy. (Shrugs.)

AMcK: What really annoys you? 
SG45: Ignorance and rudeness.

AMcK:Tell us a secret about yourself.
SG45: Well I've already done a 25 Things About Me post but ummm.....yes, my great grandmother’s maiden name was Frankenstein. Not really a secret, but not a lot of people know (Frank was the Dr, not the monster people, I do not have bolts in my neck.)

So thats it folks - hope it was interesting for you - normal interview service will resume next week! Tomorrow I'll be back with a picture essay of ITALY!! And sunday will probably be my top 10 recipes :)

Thank you and good night

Stupidgirl (and AliaMcK) have left the building

23 Mar 2011

Good-bye To All That - Word of The Week

(Goodbye nUsed to express an acknowledgment of parting. Etyderived from the phrase "God be with you. Earlier forms of the expression,  God be wy you, god b'w'y, godbwye, god buy' ye, and good-b'wy)

I am standing on a train, pulling out of the station, watching a figure waving to me from the platform. The setting sun silhouettes her against the mountains. She is smiling and we are saying goodbye. I do not think we will ever see each other again and the golden light that surrounds us feels like a blessing. It's okay to say goodbye and to be leaving part of myself behind.

She is so young, so hopeful - and so happy for me. I have never seen her smile before, or feel anything other than numb. Her hair drifts in the breeze and rush from the train but she does not push it behind her ears. I can see her squinting in the light to see me, from behind thick, clunky glasses. Normally so awkward and clumsy, in this moment of parting I see her for who she really is; beautiful. She is finally serene and at peace, no longer hurting or fearful. We are no longer the same person and although the parting has been painful - we have been so close, so inextricably entwined for so many years - it is the right thing to do.

As when any relationship ends, we have moved through the process first of denial, then anger, bargaining, grief and now we have reached acceptance. It has been a hard. gruelling journey. We were stuck in denial for so long we didn't even realise we'd decided to split. But then the anger finally hit and I knew we were on our way. The exhaustion of living a life in fear and anxiety, when one person gets fed up of the other, there is nothing left do but leave. And though the leaving hurts so much - and you question the decision you've made - when you get to the other side you know you've made the right decision. We don't love each other anymore - I don't think we ever did. I need to love myself for who I am now - and not how I was then, which is why I'm leaving her behind and getting on with the rest of my life.

I've pictured myself on this train many times and I've had the sensation that I've been travelling someplace, but I've never felt in control or certain of what was happening. But now I've been able to see what's I'm leaving behind and more importantly, I can see what's up ahead. And that's not clear, but  seeing it for the first time, makes me realise that for once, I'm optimistic about the future.

20 Mar 2011

Stand and Deliver - Top 10 Eighties Tunes

Today's list practically had me tearing my hair out in frustration. At one point I had 30+ songs on this list and have somehow managed to slice it down to 10 songs. I've listened to 80's songs all afternoon whilst eating a packet of mini donuts. It really is a tough job blogging - I've had to have a glass of restorative vino, I'm sure you understand this is a tough job and was entirely neccessary. I am not, in anyway advocating blogging when you're tipsy. No way, not at all.....

So, back to *the* list - my top 10 favourite 80's tunes. Now, to clarify, this is a not a `serious` list. I went for synthesizers, big hair, cheese - basically stuff that reminds me of being a kid and puts a big smile on my face. After *the* list there is a short round up of the also-rans, just so know what was considered. Please don't judge me too harshly after this (well after this, you should know where to set your expectations - I'm just ah, `managing` them for you :P)

Top 10 Eighties Tunes

1) We Built This City - Starship Um, i love it, pure and simple. It's got big hair, `crunchy` guitar wail-y bits and the classic line `Knee deep in the hoopla`. Not sure what hoopla is, but I'm guessing we've all been knee deep in it at some point. This is, bizarrely, one of my favourite songs to do the washing up to.....

2) Nothing's Gonna stop us - Starship Er, yes, more Starship. But it is from Mannequin - a genius premise for a film if ever I heard one. This song makes me smile so much as it reminds me of dancing my socks off with some amazing friends from uni. Katie, Cheryl, Jo-Jo Flasher, Claire-Bear, this one's for you my lovelies!

3) Like a Prayer - Madonna  Couldn't have an 80's list without a bit of the pointy-bra'd one, La Gaga has nothing on her IMO and Like a Prayer is just so great! Amazing video with Madonna looking her most, well, authentic actually. I think she looks so beautiful. I could go into a big discussion about the political statement this video made but I won't. I'll just say that this is the first time I heard a gospel choir sing on a pop record - and it is AWESOME. I always sing along to this and it's a fab karaoke tune.

4) Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler  I've sung along to this song more times than I care to think of but the best one was singing along, in a pub, at a book launch with a lesbian football team. Anyway wtf is the video all about and how freakin scary is it (and not just Bonnie's giant hair). Those weird-ass choir boys with the scary eyes spook me everytime. However, there is a `literal version` of the video about and it is HYSTERICALLY FUNNY. Check it out here. I guarantee you will be CRYING with laughter. Oh yes.

5) Sweet Child of Mine - Guns N Roses This is pretty much my favourite song. It always makes me smile. Aside from my vows + first dance, one of the highlights of my wedding was dancing to this with *all* my girlfriends, so awesome. Also, I have a crush on Axl Rose. Sorry. I know that's appalling. Not on the way he looks now obvs, but back then. In his tight, white cycling shorts......er.....

6) Rush Hour - Jane Wiedlin Erm, for a long time I thought this really was a song about being stuck in traffic. But with lines like `Feel it getting hot in here/Feel me getting close to you dear/Slow motion moving you, moving me`, I realised she might be talking about er, something else entirely. Anyway sex or cars, it's all the same to men and this is a great track!

7) I Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode I'm still in shock that this song is by Depeche Mode - I only found this out about 6 months ago. I mean how can the people who made Enjoy the Silence have made this, I mean it's far too happy and cheery and er, boppy with it's lovely electronic sound. Anyway, I love this, it reminds me of being very small indeed as it ahem, came out the year I was born...

8) If I could turn back time - Cher I know, it's a bit norty mentioning this one, seeing as I have blogged about this before too. But it's sooooooooooooooo great. I'm singing along to it in my sitting room. I expect you all to as well. Particularly my sister and mum if they catch this post. And also a certain New Yorker with a pajima. I hope I didn't hurt her feelings. Sorry poor taste to mention a personal joke but, this song reminds me of New York in such a big way. For those who don't know, my family moved there for awhile when I was a kid and we have close friends over there. One of whom *loves* this song!

9) Working  9 to 5 - Dolly Parton We've all had jobs that SUCKED ASS haven't we. Well this is the anthem for those jobs and Dolly Parton gets it spot on with the lyrics in this one oh yes: "They just use your mind/And never give you credit ...for service and devotion/you would think that I/would deserve a fair promotion". Oh it's just so awesome. And Dolly just rocks. Personally I also love her country version of I will always love you too. It's cute.

10) Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes Another music video with misty curtain and blondes with big hair. But this track too reminds me of being a little kid, mainly because we always used to tell my sister she had Bette Davis eyes. So yes, this song makes me smile A LOT.

So that's it - that's the list. There were so many choices for this though, more Madonna, Adam Ant, Wacko Jacko, Duran Duran, Frankie Says Relax and I didn't even touch the serious music even though I love U2's Joshua Tree album. But this was just *my* favourites so please, comment below, tell me where I went wrong and tell me *your* favourites!

Thank you and good night

Stupidgirl has left the building

PS Thanks to all the tweeties that joined the virtual twitter party to share donuts, cocktails and their favourite 80's tunes!

19 Mar 2011

Fun with Far-Flung Places - A Guest Photo Essay

I write this post from a beautifully sunny London. Spring has definitely sprung - the sky is gloriously blue with not a cloud to be seen. My entire flat is full of a lovely honey coloured light which just makes me so happy! I went for a lovely walk on Streatham Common today and it was so warm I was wearing a T-SHIRT!!! It was nice to see all the blossom on the trees and the lovely doggies frolicking in the grass.

Anyway, today's photo essay is a guest photo essay from my interviewee from last night - @BarnabyHazsardM - it's a good 'un so if you missed it, check it out here. I am really thrilled to be featuring his lovely, serene photos - I think he's got a real eye for a decent pic, so let me know what you think!

I think you'll agree that they're wonderful photos. So that's all for today, I'll be back with a top 10 eights tunes tomorrow and a bunch of other stuff during the week. Have a great one everyone.

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

18 Mar 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An Interview with Barnaby

Hi everyone, I absolutely cannot believe it's friday again ALREADY?!? *wears puzzled expression*. Anyway, as it's friday, that means it's interview day and tonight I am delighted to have @BarnabyHazardM on the l-shaped sofa.

Tonight's interview theme is around travel and Barnaby certainly has done a fair bit. I was curious to interview him to see what he'd learned from his travels and also about the blogging he's been doing in relation to it. 

Just to fill you in, BHM was born in the UK, grew up and was educated in New Zealand, taught English in Japan and now proofreads medical letters in India (and writes whenever he can). He's 26 and the 'baby' of the family with two older brothers. Sometimes he talks too little, sometimes too much; whatever the case, he tries to be honest - which I think is a great aim!

Food-wise, we're having a little variety tonight with veg pakora, garlic naan and er, roasted cashew nuts! Apparently we're also drinking single malt whisky (on the rocks) so I'm guessing we'll be slurring our words by the end - and we're listening to some 60's choons tonight. So grab a snack and chill out with us...

Me: I think you know what I'm gonna start with so ... what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
BHM: Just an easy one to start, eh? (Does everyone say that? Haha!) It’s so hard to think back and find one piece of advice that stands out but there’s one I can think of off the top of my head: my friend Emily suggesting India as a worthwhile place to visit. I’m so glad I followed that advice, as I really do feel it has changed my life for the better.

Me: Wow sounds like travelling has given you a focus, can you tell us a secret about yourself?
BHM: I was obsessed with (i.e. addicted to) blackjack for a while in my early 20s. I never lost big money, but I went to the casino a lot – like once a week. I totally thought I could beat the system and studied how to do so, then I understood that the house always wins, and the fun slowly went out of it, so I stopped.

Me: So then how did you get bitten by the travelling bug?
BHM: New Zealanders have this cultural concept called ‘the big OE’, or overseas experience, which many people undertake after finishing university studies in order to get more perspective on the world outside our tiny, isolated nation. I’m part of that group, I guess. Many head for English-speaking countries (I imagine you’ve had plenty of pints pulled by NZ bartenders in London), but because of a long association with Japan through friends and work, I decided to start my overseas adventure there.

Me: Wow, I'm super jealous, so go on, tell us a little more about life in India + also Japan
BHM: It’s a cliché, but life in India really is filled with contrasts and contradictions. It often drives me crazy – things like my local temple festival, which entails 4 days and nights of non-stop music, chanting and drumming blasting from banks of speakers placed throughout the neighbourhood, punctuated by regular firecracker explosions. How is keeping an entire neighbourhood awake all night celebratory?! But the longer I stay, the better I get at accepting things the way they are. Of course, the people are also generally open-hearted, curious and friendly, and I have made lifelong friends here.

Japan was quite a different story, very rigid and machine-like. That worked for me for a while, but with the guidance of my dear friend as mentioned above, I decided to go for the opposite and dive into the comparative chaos of India. An interesting thing is that even though Japan and India are so very different in so many ways, there are still deep similarities.

17 Mar 2011

Tagged - a bit of blogging fun - pass it on!

Well I've been tagged on Twitter by @stephalie1 to answer a few questions! I do like a challenge so here we go! I have been tagged to complete the sentences below and to tag 5 fellow bloggers who I would like to see do the same.

I am.....unsure of myself? See this post I wrote about identity. But today, I am a writer, a wife, a friend, a climber and a sister.
The bravest thing I have ever done is.... run away from a rapist (after being assaulted) twice, in stilletos, on cobbles - and then report him to the police. And then leave my house and go out late, at night, by myself. I still get spooked coming home when it's dark and hate it when people walk close behind me. I don't drink much as a result and make sure that my friends are always okay on their journey home. They know they can stay at mine if they need to. (if you're interested, I posted about it here) Might be sensitive to some.
I feel prettiest when....I'm happy and with people I love. The clothes/make up/hair is irrelevant. 
Something that keeps me up at night is.....thinking about new/next/current blog posts, my work-in-progress, my anxiety issues, work, taking my medication at the wrong time!
My favourite meal is..... currently sushi. But I also love a decent roast chicken, steak and Nigella's Red Prawn + Mango curry made by a good friend of mine. (see here)
The way to my heart is.... by being an open, honest person and allowing yourself to be seen for who you are, this makes you vulnerable but I respect that. And also, people who do little, un-mentioned, un-asked for acts of kindness win me over every time.
I would like to be.....a published author. A better climber. Happy in myself. A mum!
So five bloggers I'd like to see join in are

KT - http://iknowineedtostoptalking.blogspot.com/

Rach - http://thecraftybat.blogspot.com/

Bobbins - http://demonwrangling101.wordpress.com/

Sage - http://sageontheedge.blogspot.com/

Will - http://vampirewonderland.blogspot.com/Consider yourselves tagged, I look forward to reading your posts!

Finally, here is a link to Steph's blog - the cause of this post! http://fromstudenttomidwife.blogspot.com/

Thank you and good night

Stupidgirl has left the building!

16 Mar 2011

Behind the Masks - Word of The Week

(Identity n: The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known, The distinct personality of an individual regarded as a persisting entity; individuality. Ety: from Latin idem, the same, being, and identidem, repeatedly, from id, it; see i- in Indo-European roots.)

Tonight's WoTW is a bit naughty of me. As some of you might know, I've been seeing a counselor to deal with my er, black dog issues. She knows I write this blog and she asked me to write a blog post on `identity` as my homework for our next session. However, I don't think she expected me to post this online.

So, identity - it's something that I think I'm becoming more and more aware of as I wade deeper into that pool that calls itself `Social Media`. Increasingly it seems, we are required to define ourselves - and as briefly as possible, from the elevator speech to Twitter's 140 character limit on profile descriptions. Who are we - or more importantly how do we wish to be perceived? Sometimes I don't even think that people are conscious of their words coming to define themselves. 

Something I've noticed a lot on Twitter is that women seem to define themselves predominantly by their relationships to others; I would say 60% of the women I follow do this. Their profile definition is always `wife/mother/sister/daugher/aunt` etc. Clearly these relationships are very important to them - as they are to the majority of us - but do they come to define you as a person and are they the first thing that you want people to notice about you? 

15 Mar 2011

Fun with Food - A silly photo essay

Right, I'd like to apologise for the state of this photo essay in advance. I had planned to take a photo of *everything* i ate in one week - a sort of visual food diary - in order to make myself stop eating so much crap. Unfortunately hunger appeared to come before art and by the time I remember to take a picture of the food, I'd er....eaten it . So in order not to appear too much like a weird human form of The Very Hungry Caterpillar I took some pictures of food but also pictures of condiments I like and also some pictures of the pancake day part I went to.

I then had a go at mutilating said pictures with Picasa. Here are the results. All a bit odd, but it was fun eating the food and playing with picasa. Please tune in on saturday when normal photo essay service will be resumed by someone who can actually take photos!

So there you go - if you want a guide to the pics, here it is:
1) Muesli (Dorset Cereal Fruity stuff)
2) Calzone from La Casita
3) Chocolate/jam/syrupy loveliness for pancakes
4) Pancakes!
5) Sugar + Lemon + bowl of cream
6) My favourite condiments: ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, soy sauce + chocklit sauce mmmmm
7) My fruit bowl with bananas and plums in
8) Squirty cream! Or FSC as some people know it (@aliamck am looking at you)
9) Er, somewhere in there is my wine glass, husbando's beer bottle and beer in a glass
10) Yummy New Covent Garden Soup (flavour of the month, `Goa Carnival', it's delish)

That's all for now, I'll be back tomorrow with WoTW which is `Identity` and an interview on friday, a guest photo essay on saturday and my Top 10 Eighties Choons on sunday. Have a good one y'all

Thank you and good night,

Stupidgirl has left the building

13 Mar 2011

The Perfect Fit - My Top 10 Fave Movie Soundtracks

I was recently dragged to the IMAX to see Tron: Legacy. I'm not a big fan of what I call `spaceship boy films` so I wasn't really looking forward to it all that much - I've fallen asleep watching every recent Star Wars movie! Anyway, I'd heard the soundtrack was pretty hot so i just hoped that at least I might like that. Well fuck me sideways - the soundtrack absolutely BLEW me away. I couldn't stop raving about it to everyone I saw. The music perfectly fitted the futuristic style of the film and I absolutely loved it. In fact I can't stop playing it on my Spotify library. So I thought hey, why not do a top 10 movie soundtrack list.

Just to clarify, I've tried not to choose movies where the soundtrack is associated with just one particular song but instead chosen films where the entire soundtrack, IMO, perfectly matches the entire mood and tone of the movie. In fact of the soundtracks listed below I own seven of them - on either CD/iTunes/spotify. If I don't own them, its because I already have the majority of the tracks on other collections.

Now, as you might know, I don't have the greatest taste in music (check here, here and here for previous form!) so please don't be offended if your favourites aren't on here, but hopefully it'll inspire you to check out some new tunes. Therefore in no particular order, here's my list :P

Top 10 Favourite Movie Soundtracks

1) Tron (Daft Punk)  - as I've raved about above really. I can't say much more but apart from picking out a few of my *fave* tracks with links so you can check them out  Tron Legacy (end titles) /End of Line/Derezzed/Flynn Lives, this OST gives me a total ear-gasm!

2) The Social Network (Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross) This recently won an Oscar, so I'm not alone in thinking the music is genius, but then I'd expect nothing less when the god that is Trent Reznor is involved. I'd say my fave tracks are Hand Covers Bruise /A Familiar Taste - both creepy and beautiful at the same time sososososo good! The movie itself is surprisingly watchable, with some excellent performances, notably from Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Zuckerberg.

3) Gladiator (Hans Zimmer/Lisa Gerrard) Given I'm a Classics BA Hons grad, it's not a *total* surprise that I love this film and plus, one of my now sadly deceased professors advised on the film itself. I could waffle on about the Gladiator module I studied at uni but instead I'll just say that this is a beautifully relaxing soundtrack (if you like LOTR/Moby) you'll like this. My fave tracks are Elysium/Now We Are Free

11 Mar 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An interview with Betty

I am very, very excited about tonight's guest on my sofa. We've had a real mix of lovely people so far, but I am delighted to introduce to you blogger and published author (and dare I say it, sexpert) Betty Herbert of The 52 Seductions blog!

The blog - and soon to be published book - details Betty's attempts to to re-seduce her husband after 10 years of marriage, which some people (me included) found alternately funny, endearing, eye-opening and, above all else, inspirational - particularly for her confrontation of many of the issues that can plague a long term relationship! As before, I am honoured to have her sitting on my virtual sofa and to be interviewing her!

Betty would like me to tell you that she is 33, and lives on the Kent coast (Southern UK for non Brits) with her husband Herbert and her cats, Bob and Elvis. She likes knitting, cooking, drinking cocktails and swimming in the sea (but not in the winter. She is not one of those hardy types). 

So, we are munching thin crispy pizza with anchovies and olives mmmm and she's slurping away at the red wine, I'm on the white! Betty asked me to pick the music so we're listening to a random combination of 80's cheese (Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Laura Brannigan) and some bits of the Tron soundtrack with a dash of Arcade Fire! Get comfy and we'll get on with the show...

9 Mar 2011

To Thine Own Self Be True - Word of The Week

(Integrity n: Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code, the state of being unimpaired; soundness, the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness. Ety: From O.Fr. integrité, from L. integritatem (nom. integritas) "soundness, wholeness," from integer "whole.)

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!"

You may recognise that quote - it's from Shakespeare's Hamlet and it's said by Polonius. If you want to see more about what the quote means, check this out, but essentially Polonius is advising his son Laertes that you should look after yourself + your own interests first, before being able to counsel others - and to stay away from destructive behaviour and ventures. It's not bad advice on the whole - and seemed a good quote with which to start our WoTW.

The other day I was boring Husbando with my blog stats and waving the blogger charts in front of his face. Completely disregarding the exciting news that I had 3 visits from a Nickleback blog after this post,he said "What's monetise?", I duly explained what it was.

"Why don't you do that? And make some money out of waffling on about nonsense to people?" 

"Well, I don't want to compromise the integrity of the blog darling". He looked dubious but later on, when I was doing the washing up, I thought about what I meant.

I've talked before about why I set up this blog and how I write, but recently I've been wary of playing to an audience too much. It's hard not to - I know you guys are out there reading this. I see other blogs and think about how I could copy their ideas - but then I'd be writing a watered down version of their blogs - and not my own.  

I've realised that I need to careful to stick to the reasons why I set up this blog and why I write. So to that end, I've come up with some basic rules that I shall attempt to adhere to in the creation of future blogposts, so that I can make sure I am sticking to the essence of all that is stupidgirl - and avoiding all that is not. In that way I can be sure that my blog is `whole`and `complete` - not wandering down another path. Voila (or wallah as some of my friends know it as) - INTEGRITY!

6 Mar 2011

Once Upon A Time - Top 10 Favourite Kids/YA Books

I've been promising a top 10 childhood memories post for several weeks now, but when I was pulling together my list every single one pretty much involved a book/reading/being read to/being in a library/buying books. So I've cut out the middle man as it were and decided to do a top 10 kids/YA books list. 

When I was selecting books for the list though I ran across a problem - what do I mean by `kids` books - seeing as I've been reading voraciously since the age of 3. So to make it easier for myself, I created a spreadsheet, with columns that allocated books by age (picture, pre-teeen, teen, new stuff + series) It looked like this:

And from that I could pick my top 10 books, after the list though, I'll talk a little about some other books I liked when I was around the same age - it was such a close call as to what made the final cut, and I know for sure I've forgotten some classics so please please please comment + remind me of what you think I've missed out :)

5 Mar 2011

Fun with Jewellery - A Guest Photo Essay from Katie Vale Design

I have some really talented friends and I love to feature their work where I can - either through word of mouth, on Twitter - and now on my blog.

Much as I did with my interview with Liz, where she came back to do a guest photo essay, I invited last night's interviewee (victim?!) jewellery designer Katie Vale to send me over some photos for a photo essay today. I hope you like her pictures - she's one talented lady :)

Finally here's a couple of picture of the lovely Katie herself - well her amazing tattoo and a dress she designed herself!

I hope you've liked today's photo essay, you can visit Katie's website here for more information on her work. In the meantime don't forget to tune in tomorrow night for a bumper Top 10 list, my top kids books - lots of nostalgia involved there. I know I was supposed to do my favourite childhood memories but pretty much all of them involved a book, so I decided to cut out the middle man as it were :)

Have a lovely weekend all.

Stupidgirl has left the building

PS If you'd like to do a photo essay please just comment or get in touch on twitter/facebook.