Monday, 29 November 2010

Words to Live By #118

Image thanks to liz grace

"But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day."
Benjamin Disraeli

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Marrakech: Partie Deux

Good views, good food, good company and giant bugs (can you spot him?)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Saturday Salute 27.11.10

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

Hi little froggies! I'm trying to get back to the normal rhythm of things after my sojourn to Marrakech (part two of the photos coming tomorrow!) Despite the frantic week I've had, I've still managed to come across a couple of great links to share - so hopefully you'll forgive my sporadic posting :)

whatever gets you through the night, s’alright by Sarah Wilson

The Vamoose has all kinds of beautiful. Their blog is pretty tasty too.

Joana Faria does lovely illustrations.

The Importance of Being Yourself.

22 Incredible Photos of Faraway Places  - can you say "travel bug"?

Have a lovely/lazy/lavish weekend.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Marrakech: Partie Une

Ah yes, I spent my 22nd Birthday in the sense-inspiring city of Marrakech, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. More photos tomorrow.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Words to Live By #117

Image thanks to marina

"Conventionality is not morality." 
Charlotte Brontë

Thursday, 18 November 2010

8 Tips for Autumn-Chic on the Cheap

Image thanks to allthecolour

It’s been a while since I did a good ol’tips post – and what better time than mid-November when we’ve little  in the way of celebratory past times to occupy us, other than waiting to board the merry-go-round bound for the festive season (apart from me – it’s my Birthday on Sunday and, as always, I have a special trip planned... Remember last year? And the one before that? Well, this one is even more amazing... All will be revealed!)

They are all things that can be done cheaply or even free, and I hope they bring you a little sparkle amid the early nights and nippy days.

1. Waste not, want not. Cut out the ribbon provided inside your clothes to help with hanging (they are rarely very useful!) and tie in a bow to a regular bobby pin. Instant girlishness.

2. Love the look of knee-high socks but not quite brave enough? Wear black socks over sheer black tights, or cream socks over sheer dove-grey tights, to get the look without baring your thighs.

3. Keep a few of your favourite fruit teabags in your handbag. Many cafes will be happy to give you just a mug of hot water cheaply or in some cases free (ask for a slice of lemon too) and you can slip in the teabag when they’re not looking!

4. Start a secret book club. Next time you check out a book from the library, leave an encouraging note for the next person who does. Perhaps navigate them to your favourite quote in the book, or just say what you thought of the read in general.

5. Plait your hair. Just because.

6. Eat Clementines. They taste heavenly, have bags of Vitamin C to fight off winter snivels, and are easily slipped into your handbag when you’re in a rush out the door – no muss, no fuss! 

7. Take a photo involving glitter. I keep seeing this on the web and really want to try it! Blow it, throw it, sprinkle it – use your imagination. You can use your results to make personalised Christmas cards.

8. Play cards. Save on socialising by inviting a few friends over, preparing a batch of hot-toddies, and laughing the night away; I guarantee everyone will know a good card game.

What spells Autumn-chic to you?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Words to Live By #116

Image thanks to danielle

“Adornment is never anything except a reflection of the heart.”
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Saturday Salute13.11.10

Image thanks to shandi-lee

This year I've been particularly enamoured by Autumn: the colours of the leaves, the pretty cloud formations and lilac evening skies, the fresh breezes... To quote a great song, "it's all too beautiful." That said, as much as I enjoy being outside at this time of year, snuggling up and being a home-body is also one of my preferred past times. If it's one of yours too, then these links might bring welcome reading material:

Dear Motivation, Stop Hiding From Me on Miseducated reminds me of my ooooold article on Crafty Ways to Source Motivation from Desolation.

Why your blog is not going to make you rich. Too great. 

Drool. Swoon. Gawp. Gary Pepper Vintage.

I know you'll love this guide to Paris on Niotillfem. 

Morbid but mysteriously beautiful: The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Enjoy your weekend, indoors or out :)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Don't Let the Record Label Take You Out to Lunch

"Don't let the record label take you out to lunch,
you're the one that's got to pay at the end of the day.
And try not to want people to like you too much,
you'll just need more and more flatteries to recharge your batteries.

And don't let showmanship become more important than honesty,
if you don't want to be so many things you see.
You don't have to act crazy to do something amazing,
you can be just like you should and still do something really good.

And even when you know there's nobody listening,
say it to yourself because it's good to your health.
I know nothing makes sense if you think too much,
religion, a pigeon, radios and television.

Though it takes so much strength just not to suck,
and not to be a cynic but defer another gimmick.
But you are distraught at the thought of losing everything again,
and they say it's not the way you play the game but if you win.

But don't let the record label take you out to lunch,
because every sip of soup is going to get recouped.
And you get a good review and then you get a bad review,
but don't get suckered either way because none of them know you.

And don't let the record label take you out to lunch,
because they'll call you a cab and put it on your tab.
I'm leaving town for a while but I'll be in touch,
one thing that I know is true is that I got a lot to do.

And that it takes big heart to make great great art,
and I'm just a little dot in the great big pot.
But now that I have started and it's hard to stop,
I'm wondering at night about the wrong and right.

And is someone your savior if you owe them back a favor,
no they are not, so there's only one choice that you got.
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch,
though the fishes look delicious someone's got to do the dishes.

People might say you're insane or just looking to complain.
And you need them the more than they need you,
so don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Everyone has been fair and nice and you consider them a friend,
but everything still has a price and you don't want to overspend.
Because it's your wallets and your soul when the check comes in the end,
no matter what the situation or if you love your occupation.

I will move off on the hors d'oeuvres, it is not what I'm in it for,
I only want what I deserve, I want no less, I want no more."

- Jeffrey Lewis

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How to ‘Get Over It’

Image thanks to mjc rodez

Nowadays, it seems that we are constantly bombarded with pleas to just ‘get over it’; the ex, the bad grade, the failed interview, {insert lost opportunity here}. There is always that intimidating pressure hovering above us to move onwards; upwards; accept that that’s just the way the cookie crumbles...

But, we know, it isn’t always that easy, in fact rarely is it ever that easy. Often it can seem genuinely impossible to get over something that has deeply shaken us, or even seemingly cracked our foundations. The fact is, however, that eventually for our own wellbeing we do need to move on from these disasters. Whilst I won’t pretend there is ever a quick fix in getting over ‘it’ (whatever that ‘it’ may be), there are steps we can take to actively and consciously aid our own recovery. After all, in the absence of whatever it is we’ve lost; we need our own support more than ever.

Create powerful visualisations. I once had an awful waitressing job which I couldn’t stand. I’d always been a reliable employee, however, and did the right thing by giving my month’s notice before quitting. Depending on the final month’s pay for a trip to Australia, I was distraught when the manager asked that I leave straight away – there was absolutely no reason for this accept his own insecurities about having employees ‘no longer loyal to the company’ (as if I had ever really been!) I was livid. I kicked up a fuss and demanded that I be paid the month’s notice anyway which, naturally, was met with opposition. It was upsetting and challenging and hung over me for weeks; I tossed and turned at night worrying about it until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I knew it was right that I should get the money, but I had no experience with that type of thing. One night when I was going over and over the situation in my head, I suddenly felt totally exhausted by the worry, and decided I had to do something. My friend had recently been jokingly using the phrase ‘build a bridge and get over it’ so, in my partial-dream state of consciousness, I pictured an enormous bridge scaling far up into the clouds, rising up way beyond all my problems, and I walked across it. In the morning I woke up revived. I went to the restaurant and once again made a request for my money. I never got the full months pay, but I did get a weeks (which was roughly £150) and, more importantly, I didn’t let it drag me down: I got over it.

Visualisations like these really can have a huge impact upon how you feel about things. Another one I like to use is to imagine my whole life as one big tapestry, and that any problem I’m experiencing is merely a couple of stitches in that tapestry. I zoom out and see the beauty of the bigger picture, and all of a sudden my problem doesn’t way so heavily. Steal my visualisations or make up your own; perhaps your problems could be balloons which you let go of and allow to float away, as in the picture above. Close your eyes and picture them in vivid detail; act them out; really experience them, and see the results for yourself.

Take time to heal. If what you need to get over is bigger than a withheld pay check, you should still practice visualisations, but don’t be disheartened if the issue continues to play on your mind. Like physical wounds, emotional wounds take time to heal, so channel your energies into assisting that healing process. Get early nights; take long steamy baths; cry with friends; watch mood-boosting films; light candles and make a wish when you blow them out; practice Pilates or yoga; cook with your family; redecorate; in short, check in with yourself, treat and tend to yourself.

That said; healing doesn’t always have to be about you. A Romanian friend of mine recently told me that when a member of a Romanian family dies, the family give gifts to others. He described how a female neighbour had given him a pair of shoes when he was younger after she had lost her husband; the thought being that she believed her husband to be in heaven and hoped that he would also have shoes for his feet. To me, this is wonderfully revolutionary: the idea of extending kindness to those we still have in our lives in the place of simply mourning those we have lost. Give gifts or just bestow an act of kindness on those closest to you, and let that good feeling melt into the gap of whatever it is you have lost. It might take more than this to fill it, but you’ll be making a start.

Devise distractions. Often, getting over something comes down to one simple thing: a jolly good distraction. A new romance; an epic project; a career shift – there are many ways that we can distract ourselves from our common-catastrophes. Though, be warned: this isn’t sticking your head in the sand; that is never the right thing to do. This is simply allowing your attention to be diverted. If a problem needs to be dealt with, then you are better off practicing your visualisations and then just going ahead and dealing with it, rather than hoping it will disappear whilst you look the other way. However, if a problem has passed, and yet you still squirm to think about it, a distraction might be just what you need.

Weigh your distractions equally with the issue you are trying to get over: it’s no use going on a one week holiday to get over the breakdown of a seven year relationship, because it’s doubtful that you’ll really be healed. Consider instead placing something new and regular into your life, like those singing lessons you always promised yourself, or weekly volunteer work. This way you’ll add routine back into your life in place of the routine you’ve lost (but the week’s holiday might be an added bonus too!)

Write to cure. Sometimes it’s impossible to really get to grips with a problem within the confines of your mind. Talking with other people is great, and often an integral part of any healing process, but even this can be lead largely by the other party, and may not deal fully with all that you feel. Instead, take a quiet moment to yourself and write how you feel. Don’t censor yourself, just write. Don’t consign yourself to perfect syntax or grammar, just write. Don’t take time to wince, just write. Write and write until your hand aches and you collapse exhausted. Take a minute, and then read back over what you’ve written; it might be painful but this is one of the purest ways of revealing your innermost feelings. Warning: this won’t be a finite plan of attack, nor will it all necessarily be the absolute truth; this is unadulterated emotion spilling out of you, probably lacking in any reason whatsoever; that’s the beauty of it! Once it is out it is your job to apply the reason to it. You might like to hold on to the paper, but I often find it is too hard to ever revisit it, and rarely beneficial. For me it is usually more positive to destroy the paper in a conscious act of letting the problem go.

Believe that there is always an answer. I’m not asking you to be a pious Miss Fix-It, but imagine if your attitude was more can do than can’t: wouldn’t the world feel just that little bit more safe a place? Remember: you make solutions. If I spend an hour making a cake and then drop it on the floor, it is always I who decides what to do next; the solution doesn’t just appear from the ether. I can crumple and grieve, or I can empower myself to get out my mixing bowl and start all over again. Empower yourself by consciously creating solutions.

What are some of the ways you ‘get over it’?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Words to Live By #115

Image thanks to shandi-lee

“A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”
Diana Vreeland

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Saturday Salute 06.11.10

Image thanks to danielle

So tell me, how was your week? I've had a fab time just catching up: with myself and with external stuff (my mantra being: simplify). I've also been plotting and planning and scribbling like a mad thing and there will be some exciting changes to the blog coming soon... I can't wait!

And now some particularly fun links for you:

Paris vs New York is just too cute.

I interviewed Nubby Twiglet a while back and it has finally been posted on Miseducated. Check it out for some unadulterated career inspiration. " is meant to be lived. Setting anything in stone feels too rigid – I am just soaking up new experiences, trying to stay in the present and enjoying my life right now."
Things Organized Neatly is so me it's laughable!

Musings of an Inappropriate Woman is a great blog from a modern feminist's perspective.

UpStyler is “The UK’s one stop shop for mixing unique charity shop finds and one off vintage picks with the best ‘made to last’ pieces from the High Street.” Right up our street then!

Be sure to have a superb weekend my darlings.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Success is a State of Mind: Talent is Tangible (and not to be compared)

Image thanks to yyellowbird

Sometimes, you just know you are going to be a success: it’s glaringly obvious, how could you not be? Then, other times, success seems so far away that even a rocket ship wouldn’t get you there.


I do, and for me this illustrates (more fully than any quote or piece of long-winded advice) how much success is, purely and primarily, a state of mind. Success isn’t concrete, it’s contextual. Nowadays we praise people more for how they look in lycra and bust moves in a music video than we praise our leading philosophers and scientists. Go figure.

What we believe matters

It has been said that Jean-Martin Charcot, a neuroscientist in the 19th century, conducted experiments on patients under hypnosis. He instructed them to hold out their arm, and told them he would then cut them. In their hypnotic state, their minds were so utterly convinced that he was really about to cut them that when, in actual fact, he merely traced his finger along their arm, they started bleeding. Imagine that.

Now, I don’t know how factual this is, but it would in no way surprise me if it were true. Your body acts out what you truly believe, perhaps in obvious ways such as the above example, but also in a million other tiny little ways.

FACT: If I fully and authentically believe I am going to be a success, then it comes across in my words, my actions, my decisions, the people I choose to spend time with: and all will begin to reflect this image of myself back to me.

If you really believe something, and then another thing comes along to support that belief: you notice it, it registers, you digest and utilise it. If you don’t believe something, you don’t even recognise this point of potential support, and therefore you don’t utilise it.

Right, so where does talent come into it?

When I say start thinking of yourself as a success, you might envisage chanting mantras to yourself in the mirror, but that’s not what I’m getting at. The truth is: you’ll only be successful if you start wholeheartedly applying your talent to life. Start working on your talent and success is the next logical step. Of course, you might say that failure is potentially the next step, but failure only comes about when we give up believing and acting upon our success: you are not a failure until you admit failure.

Stop comparing your success with their success with your success...

Whoever you respect for where they are now, remember this: they haven’t always been there. Not so long ago, they were probably just like you, stuck where you are, idolising someone who had already ‘made-it’. But did they let that stop them? No sir.

They just carried on doing their thing; they had to. They knew they had something unique to give, because we all do, and they just gave it and gave it, over and over again, until the world took notice. That’s what you need to do. Stop wasting time idolising and start doing.

What’s more is that these people were/are probably really bad at something else – come to think of it, of course they were/are. In researching Charcot, I read that Freud was a rubbish hypnotist, whilst we all know his psychoanalytical work was world-changing. Perhaps Oprah sucks at languages. Maybe you’re bad at maths. No one is good at everything – but who gives two hoots if lady Gaga can’t knit a jumper? She can sing and dance like a superstar.

Start piling your passion into the things you are good at – rather than proverbially banging your head against the wall of your inaptitude for other things.

You deserve your talent. The world deserves your talent. So change your mindset: think success, get success, through exploring, exploiting and exploding your talent.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Words to Live By #114

 Image thanks to sandhu

"In this new world, you and I make it up as we go along, not because we lack expertise or planning skills, but because that is the nature of reality. Reality changes shape and meaning because of our activity. And it is constantly new. We are required to be there, as active participants. It can't happen without us and nobody can do it for us."
Margaret Wheatley

Sorry for my absence this week, my reality has shifted and I have been soaking up the joys of the greatest cliche: home sweet home (back in the UK for a week). Tomorrow, however, I'm back to Spain and back to business as usual.