Monday, 25 October 2010

Words to Live By #113

Image thanks to estelle

“I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself.”
Michel de Montaigne

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Saturday Salute 23.10.10

Image thanks to danielle

Hello party-cats! This weekend I am visiting Montserrat, Barcelona, and taking a 14km hike elsewhere on Sunday.Will be exhausting, no doubt, but totally brill too!

Do you fancy living self-employed online? A handy guide from the creator of PluginID with some particularly useful tips.

The Science of Happiness.

"Happiness has always been seen as too vague a concept... 'When you use the word happy, it often has the sort of context of balloons floating up into the sky or something frivolous.'

Now scientists say they can actually measure happiness... They suggest that happiness is more than a vague concept or mood; it is real."

I like this idea for 10-minute blogging - I may try something similar on Charade soon!

Bike to work without looking like you did.

"A survey out of Britain concluded that most women were unwilling to bike to work and cited dishevelment and helmet hair as reasons."

Watch this movie:

Have a spring-in-your-step-splash-out-super weekend!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Learn to Love... Your Personal Style

Image thanks to yvette

Oh me, oh my! It's here!

The 6th in my podcast series: 'Learn to Love... Your Personal Style' and, boy, is it ever a goody! Find out all about the series (and buy previous editions) here. And, to whet your appetite, have a little nibble on this fresh new batch:

The best way to get you steaming ahead on the railroad to loving your own style is, of course, to identify what it is. I’m sure many of you will come to this article at different stages; some fairly confident and decided on the type of clothes you like to wear; some who often experiment but lack a desired consistency; and some who know they want to do more with their style, but have no clue where to start. Whatever your springboard – you’re on one. You’re at the start of exactly the kind of aesthetic adventure you choose to fabricate for yourself, so get excited.

...You’ve been moulded and refined and sculpted by life and experience into the thing you are today. To an extent, of course, you can be fluid: but you maintain a core and that core will never be totally comfortable whilst you keep shoving it in a prescribed direction. Instead, it’s time for you to join forces with what life has been doing to you all these years, and start to mould and craft yourself. You achieve that by listening, and it’s no quick fix. It’s not a journey with one ultimate destination; it’s constant and infinite. Perhaps you’ll never fully know yourself, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start the conversation.

♥ ♥ ♥

I've pushed the boat out and written a whopping one thousand words more than usual, making this baby over 4,000 words long. For that reason, and because Paypal takes a nice big slice out of the profit of each one of these that I sell, I've made the decision to up the price to £2.

But it's cool, and you know why? Because I don't mind saying this podcast is really good, I'm really proud of it, and I wouldn't have dreamed of charging more if I felt like you'd be disappointed with the product - I'm sure you won't be!

Of course, the 20p donation to Look Good, Feel Better will also double to 40p - I like to play fair! If any of you were wondering about these donations, I'm going to simply add up the total once the series is complete and make one big donation.

So, please purchase! Buy, buy baby! Every single one sold means the moon and the stars to me, and helps support Charade to continue growing stronger.

Learn to Love... Your Personal Style - £2.00

Add to Cart

As always, if you have any hiccups with buying/downloading the file (it is a .zip containing both the PDF and MP3) please email me and I will do my very best to help:

Monday, 18 October 2010

Words to Live By #112

Image thanks to danielle

"Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Saturday Salute 16.10.10

Image thanks to edvill

So, I'm stuck at home alone this weekend, with my friends swanning off to Valencia... My boyfriend was supposed to be visiting but, thanks to French air traffic control on strike, his flight was cancelled. BOO! But, when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade (also known as finally finishing my next podcast!)

"I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party."
Ron White

In praise of women is richly, intensely AMAZING. Danielle, you never fail to satisfy my hunger for straight talking inspiration and encouragement.

A woman makes a cup of her heart. She carries your concerns and fears with you, for you. When your eyes fill up with teary news, so do hers. It happens with women you've known for years, with women you just met at the grocery store, in the ladies room, in a prayer circle. She carries your story with her. She mixes honey with it and re-tells it to you and helps you notice how great you're doing, in spite of everything, because of everything.

Be still my beating... I think that adding international shipping to this puts it way out of my price range just now, but a girl can dream.

Seth Godin looks at Heroes and Mentors.

Sheena Iyengar talks about the art of choosing. Long but totally worth watching to the end:

I never really appreciated John Legend until I saw this - that's one talented dude!

And, because I know you're interested, here's the big Lady G before she was famous:

And so it's head down, love on the page, audio dedication time for me! Have a great weekend all of you.

Friday, 15 October 2010

At Last... Get the First Charade Annual as an eBook!

It's true! 

Roll up, roll up!  

Now, at last, you can devour the digital version of Charade's first Annual. If you don't know squat about the Annual (where you been?) Check the story out here, and here.

In my eyes, it was a runaway success, with a shedload of positive feedback. Like this from Lizzie:

I just wanted to let you know how much I love the annual! ...I've only been following your blog for a few months, so it's really great to see a selection of older posts that I've not seen, and I love having them all in a book that I can dip into whenever I want to feel inspired.

I should have got this eBook out, well, a year ago, but I didn't - c'est la vie! It is here to behold now, for a very reasonable and respectable £5.50

You can print it, all 100 pages of it! Or you can save the trees and just dip in and out of it digitally (maybe printing the best bits for pin-up inspiration) - it's up to you my friend! If you felt you couldn't quite stretch and splash out on the real thing (several of which are still available, by the by!) now's your chance to get a comprehensive collection of the first year in the life of Charade for a much teensier price.

Now available as an eBook, only £5.50

Add to Cart
(You will be able to download the PDF immediately!)

Any questions or technical issues and you can email me, as always, at

Something for the weekend...? Enjoy!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dealing with Unpredictability: Perhaps this is all part of it...

Image thanks to eduardo

Like many people, I consider myself a bit of a control freak at times. I like to know what’s going to happen, exactly what, and when, so I can start preparing for how to deal with it. Sometimes, of course, this just isn’t possible – sometimes we must give ourselves up to a world outside of our deluded brackets of control. Sometimes, we must rejoice in unpredictability.

Do you ever think that perhaps this is all part of it? That it's possible to find yourself in a situation that at first leaves you thinking ‘why am I here?’ and then suddenly find it has thrust you into a complete EUREKA! direction?

Spain has left me feeling unsure of my choice to come here. It’s loose, it’s laugh-a-minute, it’s play hard, work when you can. I’m certainly not your typical party animal; I’m a self-confessed nerd, a workaholic, I’m a serial striver... 

And yet, once I decided to stop fighting against the wave, to try on a new rhythm for the duration of my time here and see how it fits, so much has been slotting into place. I’m talking thoughts about my relationship, what I’d like to go on to study at postgraduate level, where my real interests in my subject lie, where I’d like to live, where I can take this blog next... It’s like this experience threw all the pieces of my life up into the air, jostled them around in one big whirlwind, and now they are slowly dropping into a new order which is completely thrilling and unexpected. 

That’s the beauty of the unpredictability inherent in travel and new experience: as much as you can doubt yourself, ultimately, you can find yourself. 

Once you let go of the reigns a little, life throws surprises at you, things you could never have thought of, things that make life an adventure rather than a plain old checklist.

My top tips for letting a little unpredictability into your life?

1. Challenge yourself. Do the thing you think you can’t, stick with something just a little bit longer before you decide it’s not worth it.

2. Change location. It’s truly incredible how your perspective can change once you get out of your familiar bubble for a while. This may not be as extreme as going to live in another country for a year, as I have done, (but if you get the opportunity, I’m telling you it’s worth it!) but can be as simple as a weekend away somewhere different. Alone is best, or with a very new friend as you’ll gain a different experience, and fresh perspective, with their influence. I’ve recently discovered Couch Surfing and it is just amazing as a way to connect with people anywhere and everywhere!

3. Get swept up. If something has been happening that you’ve been trying to resist, stop. Jump in, try it on for size. I really believe there is a rhythm to life beyond what we can comprehend, and though it is our nature to try and order what seems chaotic, sometimes this chaos is not chaos at all, and if you’ll only let it take you, even just for a little while, where you end up might just be the place you’ve been trying to get to all along.

4. Change your routine. Go to bed later, or earlier. Take a different route on your way to school or work. Stop and have a coffee with a new acquaintance when really ‘you should be getting back...’ Check out a totally alien part of your town, or a nearby town. Try a new restaurant or cook a recipe which you can’t pronounce. Get a radical new haircut. Go to the foreign films section of your local DVD rental and pick a movie with your eyes closed.

Maybe it’s not that things ‘happen for a reason’, maybe it’s just that you can find reason – and direction, and significance, and light – in whatever happens. Perhaps it’s not fate, but faith, faith in yourself and your capacities to revel in the undiscovered, faith in the unpredictable, which ultimately decides your life.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Words to Live By #111

Image thanks to yyellowbird

"We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Saturday Salute 09.10.10

Sunrise when my friends and I camped on the beach, or the 'cramping tip' as it is know known amongst us.

And the Saturday's just keep on rollin' around... Soon it will be my birthday again, then Christmas, New Year, and back to Spain for a razzle dazzle second semester. Phew-ee.


Our favourite positivity guru Sarah Von got her smooth-self published on Problogger with 5 Life Skills You Already Have That Can Make You a Great Blogger.

You can refuse to worry.


Brave Maria tells the truth. I think most blogs could use a dose of that kind of honesty.

Finally, because you are my magical golden spider's web of worldwide friends, I have a question for you: as an English girl, do any of you know of any options for me to recieve funding/support or a scholarship to study at postgraduate level in the United States? As yet I only know of the Fulbright Commission and I'm on the hunt for other possibilities...

So, tonight I'm off on a zombie walk. What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Monday, 4 October 2010

Words to Live By #110

Image thanks to yyellowbird

"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than closed by belief."
Gerry Spence

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Saturday Salute 02.10.10

Image thanks to nattu

Happy weekend! Happy links!

I have to share one of Charade's newest followers (it was one of those 'her following me?' incidents I was talking about) Crafty Nell. Big things on the horizon, methinks.

Thanks to calivintage I discovered The Tailor's Stories this week. Beware, it's one of those Etsy stores where you want to own everything. And Erin is still running a comp to win $40 store credit!

Discover famed writers' Daily Routines.

Practice Active Letting Go with Danielle.

Didn't you know? You're already perfect.
"Being content with yourself means realizing that striving for perfection is based on someone else’s idea of what “perfect” is … and that that’s all bullshit. Perfect is who you are, not who someone else says you should be."
Today I am in Barcelona, my first ever visit! Expect photos, expect a lot of photos.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Remember: Be Amazed

Image thanks to erin

Isn’t it crazy how quickly new surroundings become familiar? How something that awes us can, all of a sudden, seem ordinary, or even mundane? As I write this I am sat in my Spanish apartment, looking out at the glow of the setting sun from my balcony. Until a few seconds ago, I hadn’t even noticed how beautiful the light was – I was grumpily checking for an email I hadn’t yet received instead. When I first arrived, that beautiful light was one of the things that really made me think ‘wow!’ about this whole experience. The light almost never looks like that in England, and I truly appreciated it.

Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t let that feeling go, about anything. When we were babies, our hands and our feet amazed us – what if our hands and feet still amazed us? When we first tried certain foods, they amazed us – what if they still did? When we first met some of the now common frequenters of our lives (our friends, lovers) they amazed us – imagine if every day was like one of those first times?

Try and remember when you felt lucky to have something that you now take largely for granted, be it big or small. 

Get that feeling of amazement back.

Life will look better.