Thursday, February 25, 2010


The house has been closing in on me for quite a while now. I finally snapped and as a result, we are about to make some big changes. The kitchen is being expanded to include the dining room and the living room and kitchen are being re-floored.


In preparation for the improvements I've decided to either donate or sell many of my books. This is really difficult! I keep thinking "Ohhhh, but, maybe I'll read it again!" or "What if I need it?!" etc. It's so hard. I'm a freak about books too. No one may crease the pages, bookmarks must always be used. They must be kept away from moisture and food. (The exception to this rule are all of the Harry Potters which are frequently read in the bath...)

This morning I was practically just closing my eyes and stacking the books while trying not to look at them too clearly. It's distressing. Hopefully posting little pictures of them will make me feel better. Like proof they existed. :(

If you see anything you like, leave me a comment or a message on facebook. I'll be adding to the list as books go out. The first consignment is going to the second hand bookshop tomorrow!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.SOLD!

Looking for Alaska by John Green SOLD!

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris SOLD!

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green SOLD!

Things I Wish My Mother Had Taught Me by Lucia Van Der Post

Beauty Basics for Teens by Dianne York-Goldman

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

Wicked by Gregory McGuire

  Tolkien's Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books by Rick Gekoski


Life Strategies for Teens. (I never read this. And I have literally JUST realised who wrote it...) SOLD!

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne SOLD!

Girls in Love three-in-one by Jacqueline Wilson SOLD!

Girls in Tears by Jacqueline Wilson SOLD!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have a confession to make. I can't believe I'm saying this...

I haven't been for a singing lesson/done anything singy in... nearly three months. Since the 10th December 2009. I haven't had a singing lesson since last year. Ohhhh let me explain.

On the 22nd November, I was involved in a recital. It was a selection of my singing teacher's favourite students for friends and family. I, of course, was delighted to have the chance to sing! However, my singing teacher loaded an aria on me that I didn't think I was ready for. So for a few weeks, my self-imposed singing routine was regimented. I didn't eat dairy, I warmed up, breaked, rehearsed and was paranoid about not exerting my voice. By the time the concert came, I was ready to take a break from singing. I pulled off the aria and it was all fine and dandy on that front, thank God.

Now, let me just underline that I understand that practice has to be done every day. I understand that if I were a professional opera singer, or any kind of singer really, I would have to be strict in my routine. I suppose my problem is that I didn't feel ready for that aria. There was a B in it that, despite being able to sing, wasn't audience-ready in my opinion.

(After this I did an audition for a musical theatre college in London, but that was a bit of a lark really!)

After a conversation with a friend the other night about her observations in a singing competition, I've come to a realisation. She, wonderfully insightful person that she is, said that she noticed the following:

In a performance it's not about having the biggest aria. It's about singing the song that you have to its best. To your own best. It's not about who sings the highest note, it's about the musicality and performance of a song you're completely comfortable with.

Maybe it sounds obvious. But then again, it probably depends on what you've learned. In the shows and competition I've done, it's always been about singing something new and scary and daunting. This. Makes. No. Sense.

Case and point: my falling out after the November concert. It just completely turned me off for a while. It made singing unenjoyable and ultimately, I still wasn't comfortable singing that aria in front of a load of people. It came at a weird time too, where I knew I needed to switch singing teacher. I'm still searching for a new one. It's frustrating. I think I'm actually desperate.

But this new revelation has totally changed my view of competitions/performances. Amazing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Slow Movement

My generation depresses me. This world of buying cheap things, using them until they die and discarding them is getting me down. Clothes, home decor, jewelry, you name it, we consume it and then promptly throw it away. I miss the world I grew up in, the world of having certain dinner plates and silverware that were only used on Sundays, and tea cups that were only used if my mother was feeling extremely extravagant and free-spirited. It gave things a sense of occasion. It made it special.

(A plate from my mother's set)

Nowadays, of course, we use mugs that can be washed in the dishwasher and cleaned with minimum fuss.

Well I happen to enjoy a bit of fuss. Especially if it means taking a little longer to enjoy a dinner when it's being served from a terrine that matches your plate. Or a slice of cake from a little plate that matches your cup and saucer. It's ceremony! It's elegance and festivity! It's not downing a bucket-sized cup of tea for the sake of caffeine (although that will forever have its place in everyday life). It's taking some time with a friend or family member to catch up and relax.

This evening after dinner I decided to have a rummage around and tidy out the sideboard in my parents house. Of course I was never allowed near it when I was a child because it housed all manner of beautiful, delicate things. My mother was in love with a blue Aynsley china set of cups, saucers, dinner plates, bowls, jugs, gravy boats... everything except a teapot, actually. During my rummage I uncovered all the extra pieces that had been concealed. Now the complete matching set sits in pride of place on top of the side board.

I also made several exciting discoveries! A set of hand-painted EXTREMELY delicate china cups, saucers and cake plates that belonged to my grandmother, a Waterford Crystal duck (!!), another two complete matching tea and dinner sets. (Denby and another one I'll have to look up) and several candlestick holders. Not to mention a plethora of linen napkins, both plain and embroidered.

I've convinced my dad that next time we have people over for dinner we must use one of these sets. Including dessert and coffee, of course. And all served on one of the newly uncovered tablecloths using some nicely pressed linen napkins.

It's all sort of prompting me to be a bit more careful and thoughtful about what I have and what I buy. Maybe if we all had a bit of a rummage, or just looked with fresh eyes on the things we already have, we could learn to appreciate them a bit more and not feel the need to buy new, convenient wotsits every time we walk into a shop.

Good luck.