06 November 2010

Will you walk into my parlour?

I think this might be my favourite poem, of all time.

The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt













"Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
"'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

05 November 2010

Schpooky!

I've always wanted to dress up for Hallowe'en and have been obsessed with dressing up as a Corpse or Undead Bride for the last two years; All Hallows Even.

This year, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a friends hallowe'en house party -- it was now or never. OK, not never but carpe diem and all that.

It's a shame this is the best picture I have before I went out (and it's not even a full shot) :( ....

Hopefully, I still look convincingly dead?


I'm hoping my friend took some better pictures!

Some might consider it an expensive costume to go for but it was so much fun to make, get ready and then wear, and others were really quite impressed with my costume. I shall be recycling this outfit for many years to come. Fancy having a go yourself? Check out the list and prices of the costume and make-up components below.

17 June 2010

Living with a boy, part 2

R and I had already decided to live together and with us only wanting to rent for 3 months, private landlords were a better bet than agencies who usually prefer tenants to let for a minimum of 6 months. Cue Gumtree. It is like (read: better than) Craigslist.

By the way, I've always wondered why Americans can't say the name Craig? Well, they do say it, but they pronounce it Kregg? What's that all about? It's Cray-g!!

So, I'd used Gumtree before but never actually got anything directly out of it. This time, I'm determined to make Gumtree work for me and swoop a deal!

Almost immediately, I think I'm onto a winner -- a 1 bedroom flat in a very popular block of apartments in a very central location (for anyone who knows the Manchester area; The Quadrangle on Lower Ormond Street opposite the BBC - brilliant location right?) all for just £90 per week. Wow! That would be just £45 per week for each of us.

I quickly reply to the advert expressing my interest, requesting further details on bills and asking to arrange a viewing.

In the mean-time, I spy another very similar advert on the same street, for just a little more (£105 per week). There seems to be some confusion in the advert though as the poster mentions another area of the UK (Sunderland) in the title but everything in the advert implies Manchester. So, I conscientiously reply to the advert with the same questions, first trying to ascertain exactly where the flat is.

I receive a pretty rapid response to the first advert via e-mail. One of the most convoluted e-mail responses I've had in a long time.

15 June 2010

Super commenter?

Tuppence has tagged me with the Super Comments Award! Thanks so much my lovely!

I first have to answer a few questions:

14 June 2010

Living with a boy, part 1


I'm going to be living with a boy! And not just any boy, my boyfriend. Ahhh!

A bit of background first, oui? OK.

I just wrote a fairly long back-story spiel about R and I living together but to cut a long story short, we decided living together for the next 3 months (some PhD thesis writing period) would give us cheap as chips accommodation. But, we are often an explosive mix, being either best buds or extremely incompatible.

But that didn't stop me wanting to attempt living together; even if he does leave the toilet seat up, we're pretty well matched on cleanliness and tidiness, he's my best friend and he's quite well-known for saying some pretty funny shit. Like what?

11 June 2010

Happy 2nd Blog-a-versary

Aaaand it's that time of year again; Gingerella's 2nd birthday. No, not my 2nd birthday! Today, this blog celebrates its second year of existence. All together now, "Aww! Isn't she cute?!"

Happy 2nd Blog-a-versary to Me!




After a good first year, let's just hope this isn't the terrible twos....

03 June 2010

June bug

Whaaat? We're already in June?! How fast this year is going is incredible!

There's me thinking May was busy, what with all this jazz going on;
  • my choir's summer concert
  • one of my best friends' 30th birthday
  • my cousins long awaited wedding
  • applying for an editorial job and failing, miserably (I'm yet to tell you about that!)
  • writing a lengthy funding application only to discover all funding had already been allocated
  • R and I making the decision to live together, temporarily (I also haven't told you about that yet!!)
  • confessing to Super that my PhD is so awful, I want to quit!
  • attempting to plan a conference trip to San Diego
  • and endless parties, birthdays, nights out and shenanigans, cinema trips, dinners, voluntary work, etc.
Yet all that seems to pale in comparison to what I can expect in June, July and August;

  • finalising a monumental conference proceeding manuscript to get my first publication (oh and actually getting the results to go in it)
  • moving out of my flat and maybe moving in with R, if we find somewhere that is
  • chucking out a phenomenal amount of junk I have accumulated over the past few years -- I really want to do a car boot sale! 
  • two conference trips; fingers crossed for the one to San Diego! 
  • R and I's 3 year anniversary is on the horizon 
  • ...and the end of my PhD ... let's not talk about that.
What was your May like? What are you looking forward to, or dreading, in the next few months?

p.s. I never knew there was a June Bug cocktail! Looks nice doesn't it! After Googling, I found this recipe (unfortunately with American measurements) for you. I haven't tried it, though!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups ginger ale 
  • 4 T. grenadine 
  • 4 T. orange juice 
  • 3 scoops orange sherbet 
  • To make a version with alcohol, add 1/2 orange vodka 

Directions:

  • Blend together ginger ale, grenadine, orange juice, and sherbet. 
  • Pour into ice-filled cocktail glasses.



26 May 2010

I am a blogging girl and I went to BNO, and I can play...

... what can you play? Err... not the banjo?!

Please tell me you know that song? Three guesses. And if you do, yes, that really was the best I could think of.

Oh wait, you're still wondering what BNO is right? It was my chance to meet some fellow bloggers from down my way (Geddit? see what I did there?) back in April at the Bloggers Night Out in Manchester. At least I think it was April. 
L-R : Rapunzel, Me and Helen

Anyway, I had a blast with the lovelies that are Helen, Kate, Tuppence and Rapunzel.

After being almost the last person to blog about it, I don't think even my best literary crafting can compare to the already wonderfully composed blog posts on the event. But I can say that there was lots of vino and cocktails, a little food and water(!) to wash it down, the odd number-exchange, flirty text messages and a never ending supply of chatter and giggles. I had an awesome time! 

If you want to read more, and you really should (go and read more that is, rather than want to read more, although you should definitely want to read more), and to be a picture-perve, visit:
Enjoy!

Oh, and if there's anyone else out there wanting to partake in more blogger meet up fun, holla!

20 May 2010

Suffocated

Another one of those "sorry I've been away" blogs? Yes, correct. I am sorry, I have been busy. I'm never not busy, really. Rapunzel gave me some pearls of wisdom; wherever I am, write down my blogging ideas. Tried that, didn't work. Why? Mainly because there is little to zero excitement in my life, but also because the topics don't seem nearly as interesting upon second inspection. Finally, because I realised what is holding my blogging back...
... I'm not anonymous.

I have plenty of personal shizz that I'd like to share with you all, so much I want to just vent about. People I want to vent about but without my readers thinking less of them and/or me. But considering a lot of people I know and/or am related to read this blog, both with and without my knowledge, I just can't do it.

So, how does a Blogger go underground? How do they reinvent themselves? How can they entice their lovely followers to do just that, follow them underground.

Tuppence has an invite only blog which I considered following suit. But that could possibly get a little confrontational when a friend or family member asks me for an invite and I have to say "Er... no?" How would I deal with that. Sometimes I just want to vent about my life to people who don't know me in real life, and can't get offended, hurt or angry or most of all, judge me for the things I say and do as well as judging the people I dish the dirt on. I should be entitled to that right? Maybe wrong. Maybe I don't have the right to "dish the dirt" on people.

I am so envious of people who had the foresight to keep their identity hidden. I want that. But I don't want to have to start all over again. You lot are all for keeps and I'd rather not lose you.

There's all sorts of philosophical questions; why do you need to be anonymous? Why can't you just be yourself and not care what other people think? But, aside from saying I do care, those all sound like judgemental questions, which I don't really care enough about to sit down and ponder answers to.

Oh boy, I'm getting excited just thinking about all the possible topics I would feel free to write about if I possessed anonymity! It could just turn into a big bitch fest.... but I think I really want to do this.

But then I know a lot of it might revolve around my current relationship, friends and family and no matter how anonymous I would think I am, my fear would be that I could always be found out. I would hate for any of the people I really care about to read a rant after a bad day, or a truthful but painful comment. Which is why I try not to do it now; I don't want to hurt anyone.

So, what do you suggest? Would you do it? Have you done it? How does a blogger completely rearrange their virtual life and identity?

25 April 2010

101 in 1,001

The idea of creating a 101 in 1,001 list (101 goals in 1,001 days) has intrigued me for a while now. Initially, 1,001 days sounded like such a short time and I wasn't sure what goals I could fill my list with let alone whether I'd complete them! But the more I thought about, read other peoples' lists and realised, wait a minute, that's actually 2.75 years, the more I warmed to the idea.

So, I've created an account over at Day Zero, made my list (detailed below in all its scary glory!) and shall document my progress here for you all.


14 April 2010

Blog Swap: The best thing about being a blogger

Today's post is brought to you by Spontaneous K from [ My Own Voice Over ] as part of the 20sb 7th Blog Swap. And you can find my post over at Spontaneous K's blog. But, without further ado, I'll let him do the talking. 
_________________

Surprise, denizens of the UK! Jen won't be adorning you with her energetic wit and grin-inducing ditties today. You have an American addressing you. Rut roh. I'm not that bad, honest. Jen and I have decided to do a little blog swap, so alas, I am here. And you are now my audience. MWAHAHAHA. Ahem. Sorry.

So what do I have to say during this precious time on another blogger's blog? Well, the topic is, obviously, "What is the best thing about being a blogger?"


13 April 2010

Hells Bells!

Dearly Beloved,

we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of a cute, little, pedestrian-warning, sound-making device; MiniBlackBell. I know most all of you never got the chance to share in the joy of meeting, knowing or spending rain or sunshine with her. She was my beloved bicycle bell, gifted to me but, from day one, it were as if she were my own purchase BellChild.

Trusty and faithful, she remained attached to the handlebar by my side whenever I wished to mow down a pedestrian meandering in the cycle lane needed her. My life, and even the life of Biki, will never be the same again! Her ringer snapped off soul departed this earth around 9am this morning whilst Biki and I were trying (and failing) to avoid a gazillion potholes on the way to work. The image of her losing her solitary limb, thereby disabling her ring, will stay with me until I forget my dying day. We must take comfort in her quick and painless end... even if her severed appendage is still out there somewhere.

In closing, we are gathered here today not just to mourn MiniBlackBell's passing but to celebrate her life. We know she is in Bell Heaven now.

Amen.

Whilst MiniBlackBell can never be replaced, she can certainly have a new bell attached in her honour. And I wouldn't mind one of these bells...

05 April 2010

Been a while, crocodile.

It certainly has been a while. I apologise for such a long hiatus period. Things got very busy there for a while. I shouldn't really use past tense because actually, they still are. But as always, I've been missing this place, even broadcasting into silence seems to be calling me. I have been reading all my fave blogs through my Google reader, though and even finding time to comment on a few.

It's 1.30am on Easter Monday morning. I really should be asleep especially as it's looking scarily similar to last night (I didn't sleep until 4.30am! Doing what, I have almost no idea) and have set my alarm for 8am to get plenty of work done in time for work uni starting again on Tuesday.

My Easter Sunday has been pretty unremarkable, didn't make it to uni as I'd planned, or even (unplanned) Church. Opted for thesis/publication writing at home instead. Happy Easter by the way. Get many eggs? Sadly, I didn't. And why not? Well, apart from being a little too old and no-one here to give me any, I have a one word answer. Lactose. But after tall tales of Ferraro Rocher 'eggs', I shall be in search of one tomorrow! I think I have decided they are my favourite chocolates of all time.

Want to get in my good books? Buy me some of those bad boys!

26 February 2010

Spank you!

Blogging twice in one day? It's definitely Friday. And before you berate me for reminding you when you already know, you'd be surprised just how many people do not know what day it is.

I just remembered the splendiferous LG at London Town and Me gave me the Sunshine Award. Spank you very much LG! ;)

I'm told I have to pass this award onto my 6 favourite bloggers. Oooh that's hard. Do we really have to use the F word? Anyway, I nominate these 6 bloggers because they bring a little bit of sunshine to my day.
Enjoy!


25 February 2010

Anti-climatic much?

Is it Friday again, already?! It's been a week since I last blogged. Time flies when you're having fun you don't have a laptop!

Thank you all so much for the 25th birthday wishes my lovelies! You all rock.

It was a rather low key affair (more on that shortly) and I have to say, now I'm 25 it's all really, rather "well, is that it?!". Anti-climatic. Maybe it's because I'm still stuck being a 'student' and nothing much has changed, except my age. Everything else is still the same. Or maybe it's because I definitely don't look 25, I still pretty much look like this...



except I've discovered mascara. I really wanted that headband, like a fat kid loves cake, so I'm told, which I now realise, made my ears slighty reminsicent of dumbo. *sigh* 

But still, I appreciate it's a quarter of a century and yay for having made it this far. So, Happy Birthday to Me!

I mostly received dollars (not actual dollars, I'm British, I'm just trying to be hip with cool and the gang) but my sister sent me a beautiful framed picture of my nephew. It was propped up straight away! R was planning to get me a coat, maybe because my other one is an absolute bag of shit mess. He thought he better ask me first, though to which I replied I desired a coat. So, massive point scoring for him! We were going into town after uni to have dinner, so went a little earlier to look for a coat together. I really didn't expect to find one but stumbled across a lovely, black coat. Oh gawd, I wish I had a picture of it because describing it as a lovely black coat is just giving you nothing, right? Anyway, it was £95.... down to £36!! Awesome! And it was a size 6.

Oooh, I found pictures, and it's selling on ebay for £125!!


Then we went for dinner at Pizza Express and enjoyed a lovely starter, scrumptious pizzas (cheese-less for moi, a very spicy one for him. Well, it was called 'Etna', dear) and a bottle of white wine. 


You can tell I really dressed up, made an effort, right? Like with my almost complete lack of make-up and with my university swipe card lanyard still on. Jen, you're so hot right now. And you might notice all the chillies still left on R's plate, and those were only half of them. OK, let's stop talking about that, I'm getting a craving for pizza now.

We fell out a little because he made a comment I didn't like. But it was mainly because I decided to be a massive diva cuz, ya know, it was my 25th birthday and all that shizz. Come on, you know the inner-diva comes out sometimes. So yes, I overreacted (which I feel pretty bad about now) but we made up cuz I still love him, of course and because he still loves me, even when I'm a dick. An actual phallus.

And that was that. The next day came and it was all over.  I was considering organising some drinks at a cheap inexpensive cocktail bar tonight as it's Friiiiiday! But I'm not sure I can be bothered really.

I tell you what else is anti-climatic. Getting built up to submit your research abstract online for a conference on the day of the deadline (today). And then, .... *tumble weed* ... nothing. Maybe I will get the confirmation e-mail shortly. Even so, I have to wait until April to hear whether I will be presenting.

Or, you get all stressed out to submit a research abstact before the extended submission deadline closes, thinking you've just made it in time! ... And then, submission is still open, a week later. Arrrhhhh man! 

All I can say is TGI Friday!

What do you have planned this weekend? My parents are visiting on Saturday for a belated birthday dinner and then good ol' Film Club on Sunday. I can just tell this weekend is going to zoom by far too fast and before I know it, I'll be staring straight at Monday!

19 February 2010

Oh. This is weird.

To my recollection, I have only ever blogged on my own machinery. OK, maybe R's machinery. But definitely not in a computer cluster -- basically just a free internet cafe for students at my university -- and it feels quite odd to be sat in the same place I would've been 7 years ago.

I'm sat in the computer cluster for the halls of residence I used to live in during my first year at university. It's kinda weird. But in a good way. Oooh the memories. Very uncharacteristic but I think this calls for a photo:

 Me, aged 18, with 2 of my best friends; Rainbow (yup, her name was actually Rainbow) & Saii Man

Now, what would be weird is if one of my "students" plopped themselves down at the computer next to me. I think I'd end up censoring the websites I was visiting, incase they were looking. You ever do that? I don't know why I should care. But that's me, complete over-carer!
Anyway, none of them are sat next to me. In fact, no-one is sat next to me, it's lovely and warm and it's actually pretty quiet as it's Friday night. Everyone knows students don't work on Friday night, right? ;)

I sat in the house today and waited almost the entire day, 9am-4pm, for DHL to come and collect my laptop to send back to Acer. I've finally pulled my finger out and sent it back. However, as the laptop spent the entire day taped up in a box, I was at the mercy of daytime television. Oh. My. God. *shakes head* That was not easy! So now, I have no laptop and am resorting to computer clusters to get my blog fix! Let's hope Acer don't keep it for too long.

A girl across the room keeps looking at me. Whaaaaat?! Stop it, will ya?!

It's my birthday on Tuesday. Not just any birthday, my 25th. I don't have anything planned. Think R hadn't realised it's so close either. Should I do something? I really think I should and actually want to but it's probably too late now. I'm always late organising shizz for my birthday.

Anyway, I'm just talking jibberish now. I need to go get some dinner and have something of R's to return to him so I have to run along.

Happy Friday and have a lovely weekend y'all! What do you have planned? Maybe a few drinks for me tonight and then a friends birthday on Saturday, which I could possibly tag some of my own birthday celebrations onto but not sure what the music is like where we're going. Might have to sacrifice my musical tastes but hey-ho.

Toodles!

18 February 2010

Beaudifu' Bloggers

The wonderful Tuppence over at Tuppenny Tales has given me the Beautiful Blogger Award, and I will tell ya, it really warmed my heart!

I've only ever had one award (but possibly forfeited it by not following the rules, and passing forward) so thank you so much Tuppence! (hey, what's your real name lady?)

The award winner (oooh, I feel special!) must:
  • thank and link the person who gave them the award:
Tuppence, muchas gracias my dear! 
  • award another 15 bloggers you deem fantastic or beaudifu'.
So, here's my list:
      1. Nicole at pine nuts and vodka
      2. Amy at Just A Titch
      3. V at sunshine tinkerbell
      4. Nahl at The Juicy Courtship
      5. Meg at *curls and coffee*
      6. LG at London Girl and Me
      7. Nikolett at Better Than Coffee
      8. Eileen at Engineering Eileen
      9. Brittney at La Midge
      10. Jessica at Lildonbro
      11. Emma at Irregular Expressions
      12. Ali at The Way I See It
      13. Paul at Langley's Blog (men can be beaudifu', too!)
      14. Amber at Girl With The Red Hair
      15. Stefanie at Yeah honestly
      That's the lot! And you I want to thank you all for being such beaudifu' bloggers!

      Toodles!

        17 February 2010

        Happy Valentine's Day!

        It's a taaaad late because I spent my Valentine's enjoying it and, in the days that followed, being snowed under with work and just generally living a life full of endless crap. Anyway, before this turns into an "I'm too busy to do anything" rant and sob story...


        What did you get upto? I've really enjoyed reading all the different things people have done (or had done for them) on V day 2010 and their opinion towards this "commercial bullshizz holiday".

        Wanna hear about mine? No? Well, you're gonna.
        R and I did our celebrating on Saturday the 13th. The original plan was to have a 3 course meal, cooked by me, the same as last year but we couldn't actually agree on what we fancied for the main course (our faaaave is steak, but we'd had that recently) so instead we went with the easier option of eating out. I did promise to still make him the rhubarb crumble and custard I had planned as dessert, I just didn't say when.

        We'd been to Italian Ciao Bella a few times before and loved their tomato soup, and I was particularly taken with their meatballs. But we'd never known it to be busy or popular so were hoping we could just wing it; arrive a little earlier and get a table. But we actually ended up going to thai restaurant Siam Orchid a few doors down and opted for the 2 course meal with a glass of wine; red for him and white for me. The meal was actually pretty good; Thai Red Beef Curry for R and Chicken Pad Thai for me, although our order ended up lost in translation and R ended up with a free starter. But who's complaining?!

        So, at the restaurant, I presented him with my homemade Valentine's card which I had wasted spent all day making. It was based on this Martha Stewart Ribbon-Punched Valentine's craft. I put to good use the red and pink card and extremely inexpensive red ribbon I'd bought for my Christmas crafts. Sewing the heart into the card was really fun!! I really wish I'd taken a picture of the final result, I will try to soon and probably tweet it.

        He didn't get me a card but that's OK, I know he's not the card giving type and actually, if I hadn't had this craft stuff lying around, he wouldn't have received one either.

        After the meal, we headed to a popular area of Manchester full of young and trendy bars called the Northern Quarter, which, if you're ever visiting Manchester, is well worth a nighttime visit! We decided on Walrus, and I didn't get ID'd! We had such a nice time, the music was fab and we danced the whole night! By the end of it, we'd managed 3 bottles of rosé between us, although I was adding lemonade to mine, which is why R explains how he became so drunk by the end of the night and terribly hungover the next morning and I wasn't.

        We were also celebrating a bit of good news; a good journal accepted his research abstract and so he's on his way to his first publication! Congratulations! So, I don't blame him for getting a little trollied. :D

        Valentine's day itself wasn't filled with much except relaxing (i.e. R getting over his hangover), some football (R playing, not me watching) and TV. Just a pretty typical Sunday really.

        I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's day! And I'm glad R didn't spend lots of money on me, because...

        ...what he really needs to save his money for is my birthday next week.  ;)

        Toodles!

        13 February 2010

        Blogging No Man's Land

        "Good morning, gooood morning! It's great to stay up late..." ♫ ♪

        Even though I didn't stay up late and was naturally up quite early this morning. When I woke up, however, I couldn't breathe and my face felt like a balloon as it seems my housemate left the heating on all night! 

        I digress.
        I realised, after over 18months of this blog (with rather inconsistent posts, I must add), I am still in blogging no man's land! I don't really know what I want this blog to be about. Well, I know I want it to be about me (why did that sound so self-absorbed?!), all the things I like, and hate, doing and just generally about my (limp excuse of a) life but I never know which things to include or leave out. 

        Admittedly, most of the time, there's no post because I end up not having time (read: I don't make time) to sit down and post content I had planned. And then the topic feels stale so I just toss it aside, maybe for a rainy day.

        I think I shall just stop worrying about what to post and just post it! And of course, make time to actually sit down and post it. If I just stayed in at the weekend and blogged, rather than going out shopping and/or partying, my bank account would be hella happy!

        So, matter resolved? Yeh, probably. I seem to have just 'talked it out' with myself, right here, for your viewing pleasure. Aren't you just so thankful. 

        But now, sadly, I have to leave you to complete my long list of errands and chores today e.g. bank, food shopping, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, and completing an all-important beautifying ritual for my dinner date with R tonight. ;) He seems to think we will just be able to turn up to this nice Italian restaurant tonight and get a table. It is normally pretty quiet, I suppose. Fingers crossed.

        I did have some topics in the pipeline so I hope to be finished with my duties to share them with you -- even if the Valentine's themed DIY, crafts and cooking maaaay be a tad late now.

        Right, shower time (should sound distinctly similar to hammer time).

        Toodles!

        10 February 2010

        How could I forget...

        ... to tell you about my Film Club night?! Never fear, I am here to fill you in.
        In the end, after spending 2 hours on Sunday afternoon proof-watching it, I went with Oldboy. At 2 hours long, it was right on target for the duration that the Film Club audience can withstand. But those 2 hours actually went by really quickly, considering I had already watched the same 2 hour footage a few hours earlier and knew exactly what was coming.

        Has anyone seen this? No, I'm not going to spoil it and tell you the twist but, omg (importantly, I pronounce it 'omj', like that well known, international sound of meditation, with an additional 'j', not like o-m-g. Anyway) it's pretty sick.

        With a subtitled film, I find it difficuly to judge the acting but I thought it was quite good. I loved the soundtrack and the fight scenes were damn cool. I thought it was great cinematography, actually. I would rate the film 8/10.

        Apart from the sickiness of it all and despite hearing "oh great, another subtitled film" at the beginning, everyone seemed to really enjoy i.

        There were 4 out of the 10 in the room that had seen the film before and I actually heard the occassional huffing from one person who may, or may not, have been unimpressed about having to give up 2 Sunday hours to watch a film they'd seen before. I hope it wasn't that but if it was; middle-finger-up to you, my friend.

        My film night almost failed thanks to my troublesome hard drive not being recognised by R's computer. But all worked out in the end and disaster was averted.

        Snacks and drinks? I went with what I would want to eat and drink; so, armed with 2 Kettle Chips multipacks, cartons apple and orange fruit juice and a tub of homemade Fairtrade chocolate brownies, I think my night turned out relatively well!

        Toodles!

        09 February 2010

        "What's in the bag, lady?"

        This was something really fun I saw over at Better Than Coffee's blog and have wanted to do it all week!

        So, I present to you... the contents of my bag;

         
        1. Lab Book  2. Phone  3. Calculator  4. External HDD  5. Camera  6. MP3 Player  7. Inhalers  8. Pencilcase  9. Book  10. Glasses  11. Diary  12. Cosmetics  13. Documents  14. Cycling Gear  15. Purse

        Wow, there's a lot, huh?! Please remember I carry a backpack around with me most days. It's not as bad as it looks. Oh, click the picture if you fancy a closer snoop. Here's more info;

        06 February 2010

        Saturday slump

        Thaaaaanks so much for all your responses about my Film Club choices. I'll admit that I really want to go with my first choice and instinct and show Lars and the Real Girl mainly because yeh, it is weird. But people might just be left wondering "what the hell was that all about?!" I'm torn with that one.

        Michelle, I loved your ideas of showing Strictly Ballroom accompanied with some masculinity-boosters. Asweome! Plus, Jessica's brilliant Tina Sparkle cupcakes idea is making this film choice sound very fun!

        Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a brilliant movie but as I suspected, I now know everyone has seen it. So, that's out.

        Paul, Cashback looks fab. I'm going to try and watch it this afternoon. Downfall; I have actually seen it, I think. Sadly, it is quite a long movie (2.5 hours!) which I don't think would go down amazingly well with the audience.

        For munchies, I was thinking of making my* delicious brownies to die for!

        *not actually my recipe


        Maybe by tomorrow I will have chosen my movie!

        But for now, it's still Saturday and everyone knows weekends are for being a coach/bed/chair potato and enjoying getting your slump on.  ;) 

        I really should be working, though, with only 20 days left to formulate 250 words worth of meaningful research to submit to this conference. Very worried I'm not going to make it. Eek! And the remote access I set up to access my uni desktop and experiment computers appears to have failed. I could get started on these 250 words from here and just leave blanks for the actual numerical results... if I ever get them.

        But, what am I doing? Blogging. Great prioritising, Jen.

        The sound problem with my brand new laptop is definitely a hardware problem, not software. I really need to send it in for repair, I just need to find a box the right size. That is much more difficult than you'd think!

        Kids, I think I really have to start over with my blog layout; the coding is clearly screwed up so much so that it is hindering people from commenting. Such a pain in the ass; it took me aaaages! I also considered of moving over to the dark side and joining... Wordpress. But, I love Blogger, especially it's total free-ness! So, I'm here for a little while yet. Anyone else use Wordpress? Which do you prefer?

        Ohhh, I watched the first 2 episodes of Lost, Season 6 last night - anyone else watching this? What the hell is going on?! Must be the most confusing show on TV.

        Do I have any other pointless things to tell you? Oh, yes, I realised I am a shit twitterer. There really should be a mini-guide or something for us dumbos.

        Toodles!

        p.s. Although, I may be back soon; I can see myself blogging twice today.

        04 February 2010

        Choices, choices? Help!

        I need help. And, no, not the psychiatric kind (well, I probably do, but that's not the point today).

        I may have told you about Film Club. No? Well, about 12 friends and I set up a Film Club, of which I'm also the secretary but that's neither here nor there.
        Basically, Film Club -- also known as Come Cine With Me, you like? -- runs every Sunday evening, the host (chosen at random) shows a film and provides snacks of their choice, the audience scores the film/overall evening anonymously and a short discussion may ensue.

        The first round, before Christmas, was actually quite successful. Although I didn't win, I didn't do too badly either with my Halloween-themed 'The Strangers' film and spiderweb cheesecake.

        So far, this round of Film Club, we've had German film 'Lola rennt' ('Run Lola, Run') and Swedish film 'Låt den rätte komma in' ('Let the Right One In'), both rather good.

        Somehow, with some freakishly-swift passage of time, this Sunday is my turn again and I'm stuck on my choice of film, again.

        This is where you come in and can hopefully help me. What film would you show for a Film Club?

        I have listed below some narrowed down choices. What do you think? Any good? Have you seen any of them?
        • Lars and the Real Girl (2007) | IMDB Rating 7.6 | American/English | 106 mins
        • A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.
          Originally, I was going to rely on the IMDB rating and reviews alone and show this film without watching it. But, I have since seen it and really quite liked it. But maybe it could be considered as "weird". But weird can be good, right?
           
        • Oldboy (2003) | IMDB Rating 8.3 | Korean | 120 mins
        • After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
          This is another film I've not seen but heard good things about. It is exactly 2 hours which is the limit really, as the audience tends to get fidgety around the 2 hour mark. It is in Korean and subtitled but most members don't seem to have any problem with that.
           
        • Strictly Ballroom (1992) | IMDB Rating 7.1 | Austrailian/English | 94 mins
        • Brave new steps put Scott's career in jeopardy. With a new partner and determination, can he still succeed?
          This was one of my favourite films when I was younger. It's actually quite a humourous film, in my opinion and will probably get points for being short. But it is about ballroom dancing - is it a bit of a chick flick? The Film Club crowd is male-dominated!
           
        • 4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) (2007) | IMDB Rating 7.9 | Romanian | 113 mins
        • Drama about a woman who assists her friend to arrange an illegal abortion in 1980's Romania.
          A pattern is forming; I haven't seen this one either, but I have heard good things about it, too. And remember wanting to see it. It's under the 2 hours, subtitled and from the clips I've seen, looks interesting. I'm just curious, as with any film I haven't seen, about the ending.
           
        • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) | IMDB Rating 8.5 | American/English | 108 mins
        • A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
          I have seen this one and it's fab, but I imagine a lot of people will have seen it before and whilst I believe it's OK to show a film some have seen before, if everyone has seen it, it might be a bit of a waste of time. 
        I think that's the lot, actually. I just simply don't have time to get hold of all these films and watch them all before Sunday.

        So, please, give me some guidance! :D

        Toodles! 

        P.S.: If you can't comment, and want to e.g. Wordpress people, I would really appreciate if you could kindly tweet me and tell me. Please! I am trying to see how many people are being affected by the commenting issues here. Thaaaanks!

        01 February 2010

        Q&A

        In an effort to help you lovelies get to know me better, I proposed a Q&A session; in which I said you could ask me anything and I would answer. I also hinted at a post containing all the probing Q's and the honest A's.

        Now, I wasn't inundated with questions but -- mainly because I said I would and because I've left it quite long enough, in the hopes I would get more -- here is the list of Q's and A's for you to enjoy (or deteste) to your heart's content.

        • Q: What is your favourite book? (Sonshu)  

          A: My favourite book was probably 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. I imagine a lot of people choose it but (sometimes) I don't mind being a little obvious. I just could not put it down and was so engrossed! Have you read it?


        • Q: Did your first crush know that you had a crush on him? Did you tell him/her!? (Sonshu) 

          A: Well, I'm wondering how far back I should go here - I've had a lot of crushes, I'm not sure which one I should consider (or can even remember) being the first! Either way, yes, I told my first crush that I had a crush on him. It didn't turn out too well in the end so it just gets filed in the 'life experiences' section.  :P


        • Q: What do you really look like? That's my question. :) (Langley) 

          A: Just like most people, I have eyes (brown), ears and a nose, oh and red hair. But maybe a picture would be a better illustration. {The picture I showed him is on the right, there.}


        • Q: What would you recommend as the "must see" thing in Manchester?! (Michelle) 

          A: Hmmm. It depends what kind of thing you like? It has a brilliant football stadium; Manchester United's Old Trafford. It has a pretty good shopping mall; The Trafford Centre. I really quite like the Town Hall in St Peter's Square. I don't think there are a great deal of tourist attractions in Manchester. :(

        Now, sadly, because those are all the questions I received, the rest are random auto-generated questions by Formspring. Yes, that's very sad. :(

        • Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?

          A: Vanilla


        • Q: Would you rather be really hot or really cold?

          A: Really cold, assuming I had access to a large number of extra layers I could pile on.


        • Q: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose? 

          A: The first or second year of my PhD, probably the second more, as I just didn't make the most of it and hence am cutting it a little bit fine with getting some good quality (and publishable!) research.


        • Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

          A: A singer. And then a teacher. I would still be a singer now if I had an amazing-enough voice, but not a teacher. I settle for being an alto in the choir these days.


        • Q: Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?

          A: Hmmm. Vampire!


        • Q: If you could be a star athlete in any sport, which sport would you pick?

          A: I would love to be a star gymnast or trampoliner! I used to do a lot of gymnastics and dancing when I was younger and was a member of the trampolining club for a while.


        • Q: What TV show makes you laugh the loudest?

          A: I think it would have to be the British music quiz show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks. I find it holarious at times! Although, they have gotten rid of my favourite host now. I always love the Identity Parade round.


        • Q: What's the furthest you've ever traveled?

          A: It would have to be to Hong Kong when I went with some friends in 2005.


        • Q: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

          A: loving, insecure and ginger


        • Q: If you could be invited to one person's birthday party, whose would it be?

          A: I am not sure why this person sprung to mind but Lionel Richie maybe? I imagine he would throw a good birthday party! That's a poor answer but it was instinctive.


        • Q: What was your favorite birthday gift?

          A: Hmmm... I actually prefer the simple little things and a Sudoku book that R (the boyf) got me last year was a good gift; it's small and I'm still using it! But I also love things I can consume (takes up less space), especially cake!

        You can of course still ask me anything using a variety of methods (visit the right sidebar!) e.g. email, twitter, in the comments, etc. or you could even use this form I have conveniently pasted for you here:


        Toodles!

        29 January 2010

        Friday feeling

        I really should not go out galavanting and partying on school nights; it results in either a hangover or being too tired to get up early, or both! And mid-week hangovers are baaaad, m'kay?

        But last night, I made an exception as it was my housemates last night in Manchester before she's off to cold Canada for 2 months to do her elective for her medicine degree. Luckily, I knew when to stop with the drinks and after a Raspberry beer (they didn't have Mango!) and an exotic fruit cocktail (it actually had a wedge of watermelon sticking out!) in a beer jug, I called it a night drink-wise. It was one of those very last minute events and I was already yawning before we left the house but I managed to stay on my feet until nearly 3am, finally tucking myself in at a late (or early) 3.30am!
        I love my sleep. I find it so hard to get out of bed without 8 hours of the stuff. So, today, I thought I'd let myself sleep in. Bad. Bad. Bad. I didn't sit at my desk until after 11am! Tut. I managed a little bit of work before lunch rolled round, during which time, I stuffed my face; I was famished. Now I'm finding it reeeeeally difficult not to fall asleep. And it's Friday. This is not helping me keep those Friday feelings at bay. Tired and sleepy after a big lunch is prime time for those bad boys.

        A nap would actually be so nice right now.

        This weekend, there are a couple of birthdays; Friday and Saturday nights out are on the cards. I can't handle this stuff anymore! I say that, but once I have a little lie down (yes, yes, I'm an old woman!), I might be ready for anything. OK, not anything but you get the idea.

        Well, Happy Friday everyone! What do you have planned this weekend?

        If you remember that advert, you'll get the picture reference. Mmm! I wouldn't mind a crunchie right about now! 

        26 January 2010

        Twenty-Five

        The lovely Sonshu has tagged me to complete a list of 25 things, facts, habits or goals about little, old me.
        1. Physics is the love of my life!
        2. I used to be a girl guide when I was a teenager and now volunteer as a leader at a local girl guide unit
        3. Cross-stitching and sewing is one of my hobbies. Even though it's uncool
        4. I still don't know how to drive *blush*
        5. My party trick as a youngster was fitting my big toe in my mouth without assistance
        6. Despite my 7 years at university, my ultimate goals in life don't concern my career but revolve around having children and becoming a wonderful housewife to a husband I cannot live without
        7. In the last 3 years, my normal day consists of playing with "lasers" (no, not humping them)
        8. Whilst some might say I'm cursed, I love what makes me, me; red hair, freckles, glasses, a Brummie accent, Physics (to PhD level!), hayfever, lactose intolerance and circulation problems ;)
        9. I hadn't travelled to my country's capital (London) until I was 22 years old!
        10. My 3 pet hates are drivers who don't indicate, the sound of people dragging their feet when they walk and unneccesary untidiness
        11. I never had a single detention during my school years
        12. I hate bullies with a passion! And vow to stick up for a child if I ever see them getting bullied
        13. I love laughing, singing and dancing!
        14. I failed my GCSE I.T. - does that mean I don't know how to use a computer?  :P
        15. I once dated a guy I met on the internet, but it really didn't go well
        16. I consider my parents, sister and 2 brothers my 5 all-time best friends
        17. If I had to choose to have one cosmetic procedure, it would be a nose job
        18. [I had to remove this point due to it not being appropriate for some of the people now reading this blog]
        19. My favourite number is 2
        20. At every available opportunity, I avoid talking on the telephone. But I worked in a call centre for a year
        21. I have a personality disorder; Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. This is not the same as OCD
        22. [I had to remove this point due to it not being appropriate for some of the people now reading this blog]
        23. My birthday is on the 23rd, and my year of birth, (1985) adds up to 23; 1+9+8+5 = 23, my office room number is 2.323 and I sit at desk number 23. Has anyone seen the film "The Number 23"?!
        24. When I walk up stairs, I have to count them
        25. I turn 25 in less than a month!
        It actually wasn't that easy to choose 25 things!

        Now it's your turn, so I tag anyone who fancies doing this and hasn't already. So, if you're reading this right now, consider yourself tagged.

        I'd love to learn 25 things about you so feel free to let me know where I can read your post!

        22 January 2010

        Gingerella sans diary

        After 3 weeks of living without a diary, I realised it's actually pretty darn difficult to do - or at least remember to do - anything.

        And no, not the "dear diary, today was so depressing..." kind of diary. The up-to-date-planning, appointment-making, event-monitoring kind.

        I actually get a pretty good free one as a member of the Institute of Physics but this year's was sent to my old address and well, frankly, it's just too out of my way to go and get it. Plus, it means making small talk with my ex-flatmate. That's bad, I know. Did I mention I'm busy, too?!
        So, I caved, and per-chased a diary. And not just any kind of diary. I thought I'd treat myself and splash out (should read: it was all they had in the closest bookshop. Shush, I'm not lazy!) and I got one of those moleskine ones. Not know what they are? I didn't know what the fuss was either. Well, they are supposedly; "the legendary notebook" and enclosed in the diary was a quaint little pullout about the history of a legendary notebook. Sweet. Turns out they're more expensive than you would think (or maybe you already know?) but boy, are they nice. So much choice, too; notebooks, diaries, planners, journals. Eurghh! I'm in stationery heaven looking at that website!
        Image: .::Nin::

        This might be an apt time to mention my love of stationery. In fact, I might be a little bit nuts about stationery, if I was rich, I really would spend a lot of money on it. And look, I'm making whole blog posts about the stuff! But I'm not going to mention that I am actually subscribed to some blogs about paper and stationery. If I had my own shop and could choose one thing for it to sell, it would be stationery, or maybe my other love, cupcakes.

        But, you know what, I don't think I'm alone in this. I think a lot of people (OK, girls.) have a secret stationery fetish as well.

        Aha! I knew it; stationeryfestish.com!

        Yup, I have just self-diagnosed. I am a stationery addict. Please tell me some of you love stationery lots, too?!

        PROOOOOBE ME!

        I am going to be shameless and make another plea for more of your questions to answer. They can be about absolutely anything! Head over to my Formspring page here to submit your questions. You can also ask me in the comments, on my twitter, in an e-mail, (links in the sidebar) or even scroll to the bottom of this page and submit your question in the footer!

        I have already answered some of you, in the comments and at formspring. If I get enough questions, I will put a post together with the answers but right now, there's not much probiong going on and I want more!!

        Right, back to work aaaand I just got a nose bleed. Nice. The work is clearly turning my brain to mush.

        19 January 2010

        Cold sooooore!

        I've always been a worrier.

        If it's one thing in life I can, and will, do, it's worry. If I were to convince you to put your money on something that will occur, me worrying about something (or several) at least 3 times a day, would be it.

        The way my worry externally presents itself is not very pleasant. Some of you might get big bags underneath your eyes from no sleep or bad skin from stressing out, or bitten nails. Well, my body decides it wants to give me a blistered lip. Similar to a fat lip, without the punching involved. That's right ladies and gentlemen, a nice little bit of herpes.

        Once you get herpes, that's it, you have it for life. It lays dormant in your system and you can never hope to get rid of it.

        Come on, don't be silly. There's no need to close the window; you cannot catch it from reading this blog.

        I am fairly lucky with the one I have at the moment as it is sort of inside my lip so is managing to do a fairly decent job of concealing itself. It does mean, however, that my two lips were stuck together when I woke up this morning. Nice.
        You're really not going to like this but I'm going to do it, anyway. Let's just remind ourselves what a lovely coldsore looks like...

        And you better consider yourself lucky as that was the least ugly picture of a cold sore that Google images could uncover. And I made it small.


        Haha! Are you feeling grossed out? Good! I have included an image of some pretty lips (well lipstick stain) to make you feel better! Which it probably won't. Anywhoo...

        Also, never make the mistake of putting Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on a cold sore thinking it will keep it moist. Yes, maybe once you've gotten rid of the infection and you're left with just a scab, but not before and especially not right at the beginning. Like I did, once. The Vaseline just keeps the puss that normally oozes out, inside and if the swelling can't get out, it will just stay in. My lip was huuuuuge! It began to swell my nostrils. Luckily for you, neither me nor Google images has a photo of that.

        I've had cold sores since probably pre-teens but my earliest memory of cold sores (the plural has an extra special meaning here, you'll see) was when I was about 11 years old and just about to sit a grammar school exam. For those who don't know, a grammar (public) school is a high school for which you have to sit (and pass) an exam to earn a place. Oh, and give lots of nice and juicy monetary contributions once you're there. ;) Whereas, a normal high (state) school is funded by the government and there is no entrance exam. Although, perference is given to students who live closer. I think the definitions may be the reverse in America, for example.

        Anyway, I'm sure you don't care about all that. The point I'm trying to make is that it was a big deal to be sitting an exam for a grammar school; they are held in higher academic asteem than state schools and generally do have better teaching to boot. I think anyone could apply to sit the exam, but obviously not everyone would pass.

        So, you could say I was a little worried. So, what happened? Well, you'd be slightly correct in thinking I got a cold sore. Yup, I had just one... until that one spread all over my face; they were on my cheeks, my nose, luckily they didn't reach my eyes!

        It turned out that I had to miss the exam because of my hideous face and then attend a second sitting which, sadly, I failed.

        Now, I say sadly but it was the all-girls grammar school in my town and everyone who went there was considered a snob and I will admit now, I didn't want to go! That's not why I failed, I don't particularly remember doing it on purpose.  :P I guess I was just too dumb. But at the time, I was glad to be going to the same school as my friends rather than, god forbid, have to make new ones at a 'snobby' school. Silly child.

        Incidentally, I later sat an exam for another all-girls grammar school in a different town and passed! I really wanted to go there, mainly because it wasn't in my town so all my old friends wouldn't be anywhere near me to call me a snob. I repeat; silly child.

        But I never made it to the top of their waiting list. :(

        And so ensued the end of my parents' dream for me to attend an all-girls grammar school. I attended the state high school associated with my junior (primary? middle?) school.

        After all that, it definitely hadn't been worth a face full of cold sores, that's for sure!

        15 January 2010

        Ask me anything!

        Hello lovelies!

        Do you have a burning question for me that you simply must know the answer to?! Something you want to know about me? Well, head over here to ask me anything you like!

        You can always ask me in the comments section, on my twitter or send me an email if you perfer.

        I shall answer them wherever I get them but if I am inundated with questions (unlikely) you might get a blog post out of all the questions, and answers, of course..

        I look forward to reading - and answering - your burning questions!

        Toodles!

        Image: Ségozyme

        12 January 2010

        Early riser

        I have decided on a new 2010 resolution; get up and get into work earlier, at least before 9am.

        I'd been toying with the idea for a while but, knowing that I would have to sleep a lot earlier than normal (I love my sleep and really like to have 8 hours a night) and fight my comfy bed in the mornings; it all sounded so hard! But last night, I set the resolution wheels in motion by attempting to go to bed before 11pm. It was helped by the fact that R, yet again told me "yeh yeh, you won't do it" (the hair-cutting incident springs to mind). I thought right, that's it. I'm doing it!

        Unfortunately, it was hindered by the fact that I suffered a bad lactose-intolerance episode; those cheap packets of tortellini from Lidl clearly contain waaay too much cheese for me, despite what the ingredients say! It resulted in me nodding off later than the planned 10:30 pm.

        I still managed to wake up before my 6:30 am alarm, though - probably because of my still present tummy-ache :( - and got up (almost) straight away. Maybe R was still ringing in my ears.
        I managed to shower, dry my hair (sadly, since the haircut, it's not just drying; some styling is required), put on my minimal warpaint (ginger eyelashes, and maybe even eyebrows, are not in abundance; I do not wish to look like an 8 year old boy; I'm 24!), dress, tidy the mess I left in my wake, have breakfast whilst watching morning news and even conjur up a snack for work! I left the house at 8am. That's good for me.

        Cut a (potentially) long story short, I plopped into my nicely radiator-warmed desk chair at 8.25am. Woo! OK, so it's not exactly a record; I've been in earlier, but it's certainly the earliest in a while.

        Oh, it takes me back to my college days (just to clarify, that's 16-18 years old here); walking to the bus stop with not many people around, up when it's still dark and wintery outside. Once I'm up, I actually love it! I like being in a quiet office before most other people have got here.

        That's all great, until you're sat at your desk at 9.30 am, yawning your head off and trying to stop your mascara running whilst realising you didn't actually use the extra hour productively. You got up that early for nothing? Well, no, because you got all that procrastination (that normally begins at 9:30 am) out of the way earlier. And although it all works out the same - you get up earlier, you go to bed earlier - coming in earlier is all about your productive time starting sooner and more of it falling in the realm of office hours.

        I might have changed my sleeping habits; albeit one day so far, but I really think I can keep it up! However, I still need to step it up and get into the swing of things.

        Now then, what time can I have this pancake snack I made?! :D

        11 January 2010

        Macro Monday

        Good Monday morning!

        How are we all today? The snow is beginning to melt in Manchester but the mixture of ice and slush is rather slippy. So, the walk from the bus stop to my desk wasn't easy.

        Anyway, it seems time for one of those few and far between Macro Mondays today. Sadly, it's not really a genuine Macro Monday (and no, not because it's Tuesday!) but because I don't have an actual macro lens but, maybe one day. *daydreams*

        I also wish the photographs followed some sort of theme but they've got nothing to do with anything. Except, maybe, that they are items from my house. They are both old photographs I took back in August and, last night, realised they were slightly better than I'd initially thought.


        ISO 400 | 1/20s | f/5.0 | Sony A350 DT 18-70mm @ 30mm


          ISO 125 | 1/125s | f/5.6 | Sony A350 DT 18-70mm @ 70mm

        Oh, did anyone notice I took my blog's Christmas decorations down? It felt a little bare at first but I'm used to it now.  :P Can anyone tell what's different about the header? ;)

        Have a lovely Monday ladies and gents!

        Toodles!