31 Jul 2011

Becky's Book Review #5 - The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Author: Jo Nesbo
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Star Rating: 5/5

General Description:
I decided to read this book on the strength of a recommendation from @SamAtRedMag. And boy was she right - I was totally hooked from the first page. 

After a stunning opener in which a boy awakens in the middle of the night to see a snowman on his back lawn - and then in the morning his mother has disappeared - Norway's most famous detective, Harry Hole is put on the case to discover why so many mothers and wives have been going missing over the last few years. Unfortunately for Harry, he discovers that not only is there a serial killer operating in Norway, but Harry himself is part of a macabre and terrifying game.

The book is pacy and exciting, but also a decent intellectual thriller that really kept me thinking. Equally I was astounded by Nesbo's ingenuity and ability at weaving many complex plot strands together. Read it now!

Oh....kudos must also go to the translator of this book - the original is obviously written in Norwegian and it takes a very special gift at translating to ensure that nothing is er, `lost in translation` - ie: that the same tone, atmosphere and style is kept across the languages.

30 Jul 2011

Help Stupid Be Less Stupid - Your Advice Wanted :)

Hello lovely readers,

The time has come when I need YOUR help + feedback.

The blog has been going along fairly steadily for over 7 months now (yikes!!) and I so appreciate all your views and comments and RT's and adding me to your readers etc. *hands out thank you cake*

However I know I've been a bit rusty recently - I couldn't blog much in June as I explained in this post - but I think I'm slowly but surely getting my blogging mojo back.

I know I've gained a bunch of new readers (hey there) but I also still have my lovely regular ones too *thank you squeeze* and my question to all of you guys is....what would you like to see more of on the blog?

More funny stuff like the top 10 lists (current idea - Top 10 Buffet Snacks)
More sort-of advice like this (current idea - Social Media for your Mum - how to use it)....
More book reviews (due to do 52 Seductions, just writing Jo Nesbo review)
More Word of the Week - do you like this? Do I need to do a bigger variety of words? Should it be more funny?

Also what are your thoughts on Lyric Day - I know it's kind of new - but bear with me....

Oh, oh! and also - the interviews - do we like these? What kind of people should I interview? Are you happy with my choice?! (I hope so, so far :P)

Please leave any and all comments below, or on FB or on Twitter or you can email me too at stupidgirl45 at hotmail dot com and I will do my best to incorporate your thoughts and send you lots of virtual cake.

Thank you sosososososososososososo very much indeedy,

Stupidgirl x

29 Jul 2011

Thank You - Word of the Week

(Gratitude n: A feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours. Ety: Middle English, from Old French, probably from Late Latin gratitudo, from Latin gratus, pleasing; from Indo-European roots)

This post was inspired by a friend, the lovely @tillyguernsey. There was quite a bit of sad news last weekend - what with the atrocity in Norway and the untimely death of Amy Winehouse (thanks Mum for texting me this news when I was rock climbing in the middle of nowhere...) and sometimes life can feel very much `there but for the grace of god` and I think it's really important to remind ourselves of what we've got that keeps us going even when times get tough. I've had a tough few months but things are really turning the corner - I've got a very exciting new job in social media, I had an awesome 30th bday, it was my 2nd wedding anniversary etc.

So here are a few things I am grateful for (yes, I know it's not list day)

1) My long suffering husband. He puts up with all my ranty-crazy-messiness all the time. Even (and especially) when I am half way up a rock face. I may not be the politest wife on earth "if it was that fucking easy to put my foot there I'd fucking do it grrrrrrr" but he puts up with it "that's it, you're doing really well". And also, he's championed this blog and bought me my laptop at Christmas speshly so I could pull my finger out and do some of this writing business. So yes, without him, life would be rather less good indeed.

2) My friends. All of you, whether you live in my computer, on my street, in my town or anywhere. I really can't get over how much you do for me. Making me laugh on twitter, sending me unexpected messages, holding my birthday BBQ on a day when it pissed down with rain (that's quite specific, you know who you are). Showing up to my BBQ on said rainy day. Cheering me up. Putting up with my drivel. Understanding my cake obsession (pretty much all my bday cards reference cake in some way. last year they were all shoe based. odd)

3) Social media. I frickin love it. Simples. When I wake up in the middle of the night the people in my computer are there to talk to me. When I can't remember who that flippin actress in the film I'm watching is....when I want to blog/tweet/write/talk/show people stuff. And also, when I want a new job....all solved by social media. Oh and when I'm lonely. It's there. genius stuff. And the cake is calorie free too.

26 Jul 2011

Let's Dance In Style, Let's Dance for Awhile - Lyric Day (and a photo too!)

So yesterday was my second wedding anniversary. For the fact lovers out there, the traditional gift for a 2nd wedding anniversary is cotton. So I thought I'd buy husbando a t-shirt - just a token present - that he could wear climbing. Unfortunately I slightly ruined the surprise by asking husbando what size he takes in t-shirts. Oh dear.....I made up for it by cooking steak for dinner.

Anyway, lyric day....I thought I'd pick something we had at our wedding. We had lots of traditional wedding music - I walked down the aisle to Pachbel's Canon in D, we had our first dance to Sinatra's Moon River. Rather less conventionally we walked out of the service to Starlight by Muse. However the song I've picked is one we signed the register to. It's song we both loved since we first got together in 2002 and every time I hear it, I get all choked up. Even last night when it came on the playlist during dinner.

So here it is - Forever Young by Youth Group

Let's dance in style, let's dance for a while
Heaven can wait we're only watching the skies
Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don't have the power, but we never say never
Sitting in a sand-pit, life is a short trip
The music's for the sad men.

Can you imagine when this race is run
Turn our golden faces into the sun
Praising our leaders, we're getting in tune
The music's played by the mad men

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?

Some are like water, some are like the heat
Some are a melody, some are the beat
Sooner or later they all be gone
Why don't they stay young?

It's so hard to get old without a cause
I don't want to perish like a fading horse
Youth is like diamonds in the sun
and diamonds are forever

So many adventures couldn't happen today
So many songs that we forgot to play
So many dreams swinging out of the blue
We let them come true

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever, forever?"

I can't really explain why we love this song - it's not particularly romantic or weddingy - but it was used on The O.C which we both also watched and it just reminds me of being 20 and in love. So it seemed fitting to use it in our wedding as it's also just an awesome song.

In case you wonder what else was on the Spotify playlist last night, here's the short list:

Welcome Home Son - Radical Face
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
Starlight - Muse
Moon River - Frank Sinatra
Black & Gold - Sam Sparro
Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley (this is our favourite Elvis song but is rather inappropriate wahhh!)
Sugar Town - Nancy Sination

Finally, here's a little picture of me on my wedding day too....

Hope you're all having fab tuesdays wherever you are, reading this. Feel free to share your ear worm, favourite song, songs from your weddings, whatever music you're listening to today, in the comments box!

Thank you and good night,


18 Jul 2011

Fun with Presents - A birthday photo essay.

I have been very, very slack with photo essays of late (hangs head in shame). And in fact today's essay is a tiny bit of a cop out. But hey ho, needs must and I've not taken any decent pics recently sooooooo with no further ado, here are pictures of the presents I got for my birthday. I'm a very lucky girl indeedy.

The Cards - Because This Makes Me Look Popular Innit

The Writing Sets - People Clearly Think I Should Tweet Less....

The Lumbar Muffin. I don't think this needs any explanations.

The Norty Yummy Stuff

The Pampering Set

The World's Cutest Keyring As Made By The Alessi Gods

A Tiny Garden For Our Tiny Flat

The Worlds Bestest Notebook

And last but not least.....The Handbag of Extreme Loveliness

That's all folks. Thanks for my lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely gifts. I also got a kindle, which I have not taken a picture of. I am saving that until I have put some ACTUAL books onto my new fangled reading device. It's got a natty pink cover, not unlike a teeny tiny sleeping bag also. Which I am *very* excited about.

Thank you and goodnight

Spoiledgirl has left the building

17 Jul 2011

Barefaced Cheek - My Top 10 Noughties Pop Tartlets

So, I have a worry that tonight's blog post might alienate those of my readers who have decent taste in what might be termed `proper` music. Because tonight's blog post is dedicated to those ladies who make me shamelessly want to dance round my handbag, alcopop in hand....

In case you missed it (if so, how very dare you) I turned 30 a couple of days ago *and* I got a new job and hence, I've been listening to a lot of pop music. Mostly, when I'm feeling generally ambivalent about life I listen to a regular diet of indie/rock/metal/emo-y stuff. However when I am feeling mega cheery, not only do the 80's tracks get a regular play on my ipod, but all the good-time girl pop music gets downloaded on my Spotify! So this post is a list of my favourite noughties pop tartlets - and my current favourite of their tracks.

1) Lady Gaga
I was a late convert to Lady No-Pants as she is known in this house. But she clearly stunned me with her love gun, her crazy outfits and most importantly, the sheer ear-worminess of her songs. Poker Face, Bad Romance, Just Dance, Paparazzi, even Born This Way (which I hated when I first heard it, just on principle). But something about her sheer guts, energy and determination to stand out and be creative with her image has taken me hostage. She's like the pop version of Bjork sometimes - the songs, lyrics, costumes wouldn't work on anyone else - but on her they are magic. I don't know where she's going with it all but I'm glad to be along for the ride - and you can be sure I'm not bluffin with my muffin....
Anyway my current favourite song is the genius duet with Beyonce - Telephone. It rocks. Simples.

2) Shakira
I can't really explain why I like Ms Lovely Hips so much I just do....maybe it's because she can out-shimmy Beyonce in Beautiful Liar, maybe it's because her `breasts are small and humble`, maybe it's because she's half Lebanese half Colombian. Her voice has an amazing wail-y quality and I just can't get enough. My favourite song of hers is Suerte (the original Spanish language version of Whenever, Wherever) but currently, I am LOVING She-Wolf. Let me out so I can breathe. Thanks!

3) Kylie Minogue
I think Ms Minogue did it all for us when she released Can't Get You Out of My Head. Possibly the best name for a pop song - ever. And then we got the loveliness that is Kylie in her gold hotpants in Spinning Around and the album Fever. But my current fave is All The Lovers - which reminds me of a friend's wedding last summer. Anyway, all awesome pop songs from and awesome woman. With a tiny bottom.

4) Britney Spears
I don't really know what to say about Britney - she's just not possible to sum up in a few sentences. She's not the best singer, or the best dancer, or the best looking, or clearly the sanest person on earth. And some of her more recent songs have been a bit hit + miss. But goddammit she's got something about her. Ever since Baby One More Time (which I know yes, is 90's) she's just kicked ass. I particularly like Toxic, Piece of Me, Womanizer and Everytime. But her current single Til The World Ends and the even more awesome femme fatale remix with Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj rocks!

8 Jul 2011

It's Lonely Down On Track Street - Lyric Day

Today's song is This Is Your Life by The Killers, from their 2008 album Day & Age. Check out a pretty awesome live version at the Albert Hall here.

Lyric day is a new kind of post on the blog. The first one was back in this post in June. I guess, I know we all get addicted to songs from time to time - and I certainly get cravings to hear some stuff the way I get a jonesing for chocolate, or sushi or whatever.

When I've got a song like that, I have to listen to it over -and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over again, on a loop, on my iPod. It's like my ears itch until I can hear it again. And it's not enough to hear it on a radio, I need to listen to it with my headphones on. It feels like the music travels right into some weird erogenous-type zone in my head where the best kind of music touches you.

Over the years I've had literally zillions of these songs - and certainly the most played list on my iPod is testimony to this. A sample of tunes would be Decode - Paramore, Umbrella - MSP, Starcrossed-Ash, All Is Full of Love - Bjork, Everytime - Britney Spears. I might even put some of these up on a lyric day.

Anyway I've been listening to This Is Your Life a whole lot over the last month or so - and the album too - which I think rocks and is better than Hot Fuss/Sam's Town IMO. I like the 80's synth-y new wave feel to a lot of the songs and the weird-ass intrumentals (inc. bagpipes on this tune). I love Human and Joyride and Goodnight, Travel Well - but This Is Your Life just got me totally hooked.

Partly it's the pounding, marching beat - it's a real on the move track - I've listened to this all over the place in London. The bass is also pretty special and seems to get right into your brain somehow. 

I'm not really sure what the lyrics are about, I don't think they're really that cheery. Candi doesn't seem to be in a great place to me - but she's trying to get out of it. And really, aren't we all just trying to do that - fighting for our little bit of happiness. I think it's a really well crafted pop-rock song and Brandon Flowers really works it (watch him work the crowd in the live video above).

Anyway, here are today's lyrics.

Candy talks to strangers
Thinks her life's in danger
No one gives a damn about her hair
It's lonely down on track street
She used to go by Jackie
The cops, they'll steal your dreams and they'll kill your prayers
Take a number where the blood just barely dried

Wait for something better
No one behind you
Watching your shadows
This feeling won't go

Crooked wheels keep tuning
Children, are you learning
Climatize but don't you lose the plot
A history of blisters
Your brothers and your sisters
Somewhere in the pages we forgot

Take a number Jackie
Where the blood just barely dried
You know I'm on your side

Wait for something better
No one behind you
Watching your shadows
You gotta be stronger than the story
Don't let it blind you
Rivers of shadow
This feeling wont go

And the sky is full of dreams
But you don't know how to fly
I don't have a simple answer
But I know that I could answer
Something better

This feeling won't go

Wait for it (x4)

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

7 Jul 2011

Circus Acts - Word of the Week

(Juggling verb: To keep (more than two activities, for example) in motion or progress at one time. Ety: mid-15c., from O.Fr. jogler, from L.L. joculare (cf. It. giocolare), from L. joculari “to jest”)

This morning I write to you from a very stinky SW London - a water pipe has burst on Brixton Hill and it seems that most of SW London - all the way out to Croydonia is sans water. It is times like this when there are people who are really sensible and keep bottled water etc for such emergencies. Clearly, I am not one of those people - instead I am lying in bed in my pajamas in my duvet blogging. I am also debating when might be the best time to dress my smelly self in clean clothes and after chewing gum in lieu of toothbrushing, head out to the shops in search of bottled water and baby wipes. In fact here is a picture of the reason why I have no water - under that is a road. And no, it's not a burst river, it's a burst water pipe. Crazy huh?

So, a WoTW after a month of no WoTW-ing.....and juggling seemed the most appropriate. I've not written much in that time either, despite much encouragement - I've just not felt like it. Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying sorry if this post is entirely crap - I'm hoping writing is like riding a bike - you just have to get back in the saddle (fnar). Oh, and hello to all the new followers out there - of which there appear to be a few of you judging by the views in the last few weeks - thanks so much for coming by! If you're wondering WTF WoTW is, check this out

Juggling might not be something that you actively do 'in' your writing, but it's certainly something that we all have to do in our lives and sometimes it seems like it's impossible to keep all the plates spinning without going slightly crazy. Here is what I have juggled in the last 6 weeks: