Monday, 27 January 2014

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Tranquil and Calm - Wednesday serenity

Yesterday I was quite certain that I might not be as opposed to physical violence as I always believed. 

When I first started this semester, also known as absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life a million times harder than libraryland ever was, I would have told you that I was a picture of patience and calm, rarely angry, never shouting, essentially a pretty tolerant person. One absolutely the hardest thing and so on semester later and all those things have been abandoned to be replaced by the current version of me: angry, shouting on more than one occasion, impatient, clenching of fists, shoulders hunched up around my ears, and an overwhelming urge to punch someone.

There are several elements that have all added up into one big giant mess that have made me this way but the main one is just two little words: group work. I've worked harmoniously in teams my whole life, okay that's not strictly true, there's been problems, but not of this nature. The biggest problem I have discovered is that when you work in a team in a work environment you're accountable for your actions and your behaviour and you're less likely to get away with any bullshizz that you might attempt. In an academic environment, my experience has been that no rules apply. Apparently people are allowed to be intolerant. They are also apparently allowed to make you piggy in the middle and run to the teacher like we are at primary school. It's also okay to not turn up for meetings. Or to come to meetings but to come almost three hours late and think it's ok as you texted first to let us know you would be "late". It's totally acceptable to be 11 days late for a deadline and impact the whole group in the next phase of the assignment. Oh and a petty one for the final one, it's completely fine to let everyone else in the group buy drinks and snacks for the whole group but never contribute or offer to do the same in return. 

Trust me when I say that only skims the surface of actions and behaviour that I have been so fortunate to experience these past few months. I'm exhausted. Fed up to my shiny back teeth of all the bullshizz. It has been relentless, and even now, with only a few days left to endure, I can hardly believe it will all be over (as long as we get the assignment in to the deadline that is and that's currently open to discussion).

But today? Today has been lovely. I've been at home all day. Just me. All on my own. Working to my timetable, pottering over the task, reading the books and highlighting my navy blue socks off. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I needed today. If I hadn't had today, tomorrow, when the group meets again might well have been the end. It wouldn't be the first time I've been sorely tempted to get my bag and just walk away from it all. And so I say thank goodness for Wednesday. You may just be my salvation... 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Beyond strange

I had the most odd dream last night. I'm not one to analyse my dreams but I'm sure someone would have a field day with this one:

I was in some kind of beauty fair walking around with all these thousands of people and I came across a stall that promised flawless skin. Always a sucker for some pore-free skin finish I hopped on up and waited for the magic to happen. What actually happened was that the beauty person put some kind of makeup on me, but the finishing touch was a transparent mask that fitted over my whole face, to set the make up I suppose, but then it was 'secured' onto my face with some kind of small tack pins. I don't remember much more other than walking around desperately trying to find someone who could remove the mask without damaging my face. 

No wonder I woke up at 5.30 and couldn't get back to sleep. 


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Discovery of the week

My town is just a little town. It's very far removed from a bustling city metropolis. In truth, it's a little sad and down at heel and being based in the North East of England has never truly recovered from the first major recession in the 1970s. This means things that might seem like nothing in bigger and brighter towns generate big excitement in me. Imagine then my delight as I was walking through the local market and came across my discovery of the week - a cheese shop! A shop entirely dedicated to cheese! Just cheese! In a shop! Utter delight.

Of course we stopped to have a look. Of course we ended up buying some goats cheese. Of course we had to stop ourselves from buying any more as we already had quite a lot of cheese at home. We love cheese we do. The owner told us she has only been there for 8 days, and she's hoping to branch out into charcuterie as she knows someone who home cures, and there was a huge range of olives and crackers and other delicious delights. I've already told two other cheese fiends and now I'm telling the world! 

And the goats cheese is absolutely bloomin' delicious. 

And so I present my discovery of the week: Earls of Ashwood Cheese Shop 

Should you ever find yourself in Spencer Market in Stockton-on-Tees I highly recommend stopping off, have a chat with the lovely lady owner who is clearly a cheese fiend, and take home some yummy cheese delights.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Discovery of the week

As well as writing this blog, I also read a number of blogs. I am frequently impressed by the diligence that many of these blog keepers have for regular posting, some even have certain posts that they write on the same day each week. I like this feature, I really do. My approach to posting is pretty cack handed to be honest, sometimes I post daily and others times it can be weeks. Posting the almost daily photos in December left me feeling quite inspired to try to continue this regularity and so I'm introducing a new feature which I am going to call "Discovery of the Week"

The title itself is a bit of a giveaway really. Basically each week I'll post about a discovery. There's no rules, it can be absolutely anything, even one of those oh! lightbulb moments. It would be great if anyone reading wanted to add their own discoveries too - share the love. 

Now that I've made the introductions, here is my discovery for this week: TWO Magazine by Pixiwoo 

TWO Magazine is a free digital magazine. It's entirely possible I'm late to this party but I'd not really heard of digital magazines, other than digital editions of printed titles. But this is amazing, and even more so because it's free. It's very plush! I viewed it on my tablet and the photography is sensational. It's mainly about beauty so I'm sure it won't appeal to everyone but if you like reading about lotions and potions it's right up your street. It's also quite interactive, there are videos you can watch, and if you like a product, a little button next to it means that one click will take you to where you can buy it. Clever eh? 

So there you go. My discovery of the week. Now I just need to remember that I've introduced this as a weekly feature and actually do it. Here's hoping...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Glory Be/Meltdown

I'll start off with the bad stuff that I'm ashamed of first before moving onto the good things that involve the praise.

Today I shouted at one of my group members. I gave in to the frustration that I battle with on an almost daily basis as I wait (10 days late and counting) for the element of the assignment that this person is working on. It wasn't big and it certainly wasn't clever, but it definitely cleared the air. But oh, I felt ashamed. I consider myself a patient person, it takes a whole lot before I snap. Now I know that waiting on something for 10 days (and still waiting I might add) when you have deadlines looming large is the thing that will do it. 

The funny thing is that afterwards this person thanked me for being honest, and we cracked a joke or two about heads getting chopped off, and then it was like it had never happened, we were exactly back to normal. I sent a message when I got home to my other team member apologising to them, that I shouldn't have shouted, it was wrong and it won't happen again. This other person sent me back a lovely text saying I was right to shout and then told me they love me! 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Something like that anyway. 

Moving on. New balls. How flippin' wonderful is online food shopping?! Each week I log on, I fill my virtual trolley, and then like magic, poof! it appears at my door, usually with a very jolly delivery man chitting the chat. I was telling today's driver how brilliant online shopping is and he told me a tale that literally filled my heart with joy. He delivers to one old lady whose son orders her online shop all the way in New Zealand so that his little old Ma doesn't have to struggle with all the bags from the supermarket. Isn't that just the nicest thing? I almost shed a tear, it warmed my heart so. Must be the stress getting to me or something... *gruff manly coughing type noise*

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Big screen small screen

You lucky, lucky people. It's time for another film review post, with some television reviews thrown in for good measure. Bet you can't wait to get on with reading now? Then I shall begin. 

American Hustle
Once you get past the mouth gaping wide open at the utter state of Christian Bale and his spectacular beer belly and Bradley Cooper with a tight curly perm you can settle in and enjoy this very good film. There is much to enjoy. It's quite long but I didn't feel bored and kept the bum shuffling to a minimum which is generally a good sign that my attention is being held. It's hard to talk about the plot without giving too much away, so I won't in case you haven't seen it yet. But I would heartily recommend it. And not just for the amazing wardrobe of all the cast. I would say it is entirely worth it just for Jennifer Lawrence, who was apparently inspired by watching 'New Jersey Housewives' - who knew such a programme even existed?! This is definitely one of my recommendations. 

Gnomeo and Juliet
I have to admit that part of wanting to watch this was a little bit of revenge for the sports-fest that Wavey has indulged in over the holiday. Bloody BT 'kindly' making their 24 hour sport channels available to our tv package customers. You are indeed so kind BT (yes Sheldon, that was sarcasm). So chuckling silently from me we sat down to this film. It was awful. Truly. The only funny bit is the title. Not recommended, even for revenge purposes. 

Despicable Me
From one utterly crap animation to an amazing one! I'm pretty certain I started laughing right from the beginning and spent much of the rest of the film in that same state. Even Wavey had to admit that it was funny. Have I mentioned how much he doesn't like watching animation films? Very very clever and very very funny. I would highly recommend this to anyone really. I challenge anyone to not laugh at the Minions! 

Have you guessed that we've spent a lot of this holiday watching tv and films? It really has been incredibly indulgent. This is described as a dark black comedy, and indeedy it lived up to its name. It was dark and it was very funny. The basic premise is that two people go on a caravanning holiday and end up becoming mass murderers. This is not that surprising to me having endured several caravanning holidays, ask my parents about the squeaky sleeping bag, my Ma still gets a slightly murderous look in her eyes about it. This film also confirmed my long held suspicions that caravanning people are bordering on psychotic, it's just not normal...

The Blacklist
We had 4 pages of Ts recorded on our tv box. 4 pages! It seemed only right we started there in our mammoth holiday viewing. James Spader! Bald James Spader - so not right. The Blacklist however is very right. Oooh it was good! Right from episode 1 it gripped you, wham bam! Straight in, none of this building up to the story, oh ho no. Bring on the action! There was lots of running, explosions, car chases, intrigue, the list goes on. Right up my street. I immediately went and registered for the Never Miss list for Sky so that we don't miss this when series 2 starts. Can't wait! 

Top of the Lake
The name Jane Campion is generally not associated with light hearted stuff, and this wasn't at all light but it was extremely good. One of those series that is quietly good. We've had it on the box since August but I'm glad we watched it in the cold dark winter as it might have been a bit much for our sunny summer. Elisabeth Moss was a revelation in this, playing such a different character from her Mad Men role. Is she really a New Zealander? I should probably have checked IMDB before writing this. If not she did a very convincing accent. It's hard to say I liked this as a lot of it was very unpleasant viewing but it truly is worth it. It's bordering on an excellent which is high praise indeed. 

There's been all sorts of other viewing going on but this would go on forever and it's already quite long. I have big plans to see lots of films this year so stay tuned for more reviews! Who needs Empire magazine when you have me. Chuckles.    

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy new shoes

Fizz is really good at keeping secrets. For instance, I had no clue that she made contact with all my good buddies to get them to come to her house and help with my Christmas present. The finished result is completely spectacular, a pair of Converse like no other. I shall let some images do the talking:

There are so many illustrations to look at I still don't think I've seen them all! And they all mean so much. This next image made me laugh out loud - it's the only time me and my friend D have ever fallen out. We were building a play list for a radio station and she wasn't having any of it that 9 minutes was too long for one track:

They are indeed happy new shoes. I love them!