Earworms
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Today: gym then work then off to a charity talk.

I woke up at six am today, as the bells in the church next door rang. And that was it - wide awake. I lay there for the next 45 minutes, trying my very hardest to get back to sleep, but to no avail. So I got up and went to the gym. I was very smug until about 10.30 when my energy levels went through the floor, and now I'm struggling to focus (hence the blog update). I went to bed after midnight last night as well, so am really quite dopey now. In rebellion at my healthy start to the day, lunch was a cheese croissant, chicken soup and chocolate. Cha cha cha. Only nine days until I go to Thailand and I'm packin' on the blubber.

Despite working slap bang in the middle of the City, I missed all the protests yesterday, and in fact didn't experience any interruption to my working day whatsoever. Darn it. The only things out of the ordinary were that (a) I was allowed to wear jeans to work and (b) as I was walking past St Paul's early yesterday morning, a cavalcade of beautiful police horses came trotting along the road. Some of the scenes from the news at 10 last night were quite scary, but it was all very peaceful round my neck of the woods.

Think I'm going to go to Portobello Market on Saturday with my friend G. I've never actually been, and feel I should, although I'll probably waft around singing "Portobello Roooooad, Portobello Rooooooad" from Bedknobs and Broomsticks as I do whenever I hear the word Portobello, no matter whether in the market or mushroom sense.

Aren't brains weird. Why does that always come into my head? In the same way that whenever I go to London Victoria station, I start mentally singing "Vic-TOR-IA" to the tune of "Notorious" (as in B.I.G.). Or whenever I'm running without my iPod I start whistling the tune of "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly". Or whenever I'm on a plane I get "Three Hours" by Nick Drake stuck in my head. Bizarro.


Van Dyck (Sir A., not Dick)
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Today: work then off to Roxy's bar in Borough for drinks with a colleague.

Great weekend. The Van Dyck exhibition was fantastic. As you walk in through the entrance, the first picture you see is his self-portrait aged 20 (which I was going on about in my last post).

This one:

He is so endearingly pompous in the way he paints himself with exaggeratedly long fingers (apparently to imply creativity) and a rather swish, chic outfit, but then his face is so vivid and impish, and it's all done so lightly and delicately. You practically expect to see his face move any second. And he was only 20! There were some wonderful Stuart England portraits in the exhibition, and a few by other artists to give some context. Fascinating to see Van Dyck next to Myners, the best-known portraitist of the years before Van D came to England, whose paintings are almost like tapestries in that they are hugely rich in detail yet still very two-dimensional, where as Van D's paintings almost quiver with life.

Anyway, ramble ramble. I liked it a lot. Link here:
http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/vandyck/default.shtm

The rest of the weekend was pretty good too, with a trip to see Two Lovers at the cinema (9.5 out of 10 with 0.5 deducted because the cinema smelt appalling...not really fair to the film but oh well) and a bit of shopping. I bought some shoe boots. Somehow I don't really think I am fashionable enough for shoe boots, but I put them on in the shop and fell in love with them. They are so cool, but may not last long in the sudden downpours of springtime London.

Not a lot of exciting stuff in store this week really. Drinks tonight with a colleague, gym tomorrow night, and then dinner on Wednesday at my friend K's house. She is in the process of breaking up with her boyfriend, who is a friend of my ex, and she is going to want to talk about that a lot I think (better take some w(h)ine). Thursday night I am going to a talk about a charity trek thing that I might take part in. And Friday I'm going to see Madame de Sade at Wyndham's, and then on to a party with a whole load of French people, all friends of my housemate.

Actually that is a pretty busy week after all. Don't know why I'd written it off in my head. Whinger.

Not a lot on this weekend though apart from PACKING FOR THAILAND. Wooooooooooobloodyhooooooooooooooooooooooo!


Arts and culture
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Today: work (with lunchtime lecture) then gym.

All continuing to go swimmingly with Le Francais. He is off to Vegas for 10 days tomorrow morning so normal life will resume for a bit. My friend told me today she thinks he looks like Roger Federer, which is possibly the most pleasing comment I've EVER heard, ever. Now all I have to do is coerce him into wearing a Wimblardigan.

Still very busy at work but new person is starting next Wednesday. Hurrah!

Plans for the weekend. Tomorrow night I'm heading out for a drink with colleagues (S in socialising-with-team-mates-shocker), then on to a friend M's birthday party in Islington. She has hired out a bar with a caravan in it, which sounds a bit odd but should hopefully be quite fun. Saturday daytime I am going to go for a swim and then go to the MAC shop to play with eyeshadows. Then in the evening I'm off to see my friend L in a play, with a few of our other mates. Then out for drinks 'n' dancin' afterwards.

On Sunday I'm going to hit the Tate Britain. I went to a lecture about Van Dyck today at lunchtime and it was fascinating - how talented he was, at such a young age. They showed one of his self portraits, done at the age of just 20, and it is staggeringly beautifully executed. Especially when you compare it to what English artists were doing at the time, which was far more two-dimensional and not at all naturalistic. I'd already seen one of his works (the portrait of Charles I with his family) at the National Gallery of Scotland, and now I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole exhibition in the flesh. As preparation I've been reading this fascinating article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/feb/14/anthony-van-dyck-portrait-painting

Can't wait!


Spot the lie in this post.
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Today: work (lunch with Mum) then home to sleeeeeeep.

R's baby was enchanting. I am completely in love with her. Although clearly I don't want one myself just yet. Nope. Not at all.

All continues to be very busy here at work, joy of all deep joys. It's actually not too bad - the days are definitely going more quickly than usual. I think if I had been this busy at work a few months ago, right in the middle of the breaking-up-with-long-term-boyfriend and moving-house-away-from-psychohousemate and no-holiday-in-sight sagas, I would have gone completely doolally. As it is, things are going very well outside of work so I think I'm handling it all ok.

Have been seeing a new bloke (29, French, gorjuss) for a couple of weeks who is keeping me pretty occupied and making me very silly and happy. Also have been dieting like a beast and have managed to shift a few pounds. Fell off the wagon ever so slightly today with a Cadbury's creme egg for breakfast.

We've got a TV at home now - AMAZING! I've already caught up on lots of Come Dine With Me and really enjoyed the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency last Sunday as well. I can feel my urge to go to the gym/read novels/generally improve myself dissipating somewhat.

Will sign off for now with a quick foodie recommendation - somewhere I went the other night with Le Francais, and which I would fervently recommend.

Comptoir Gascon, Smithfield: http://www.comptoirgascon.com/cg_intro.php


Non-achiever
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Today: work then going to see my friend R who has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl! Now three whole days old and absolutely gorgeous in the pics.

Bizarre article in yesterday's Sunday Times about what women "should achieve" by certain ages.

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article5838579.ece

Let's see how I do.

By 25:

- Achieved party notoriety/a groovy look — like Alice Dellal

No idea who Alice Dellal is. I have probably achieved party notoriety in a bad way ie by embarrassing myself. But I don't think I have ever been near a groovy look.
 
- Travelling stripes (outside Europe)

Er - well it's true to say I have travelled outside of Europe, although not in the traditional backpack/youth hostel way. Not overly bothered to be honest: controversially, I actually have a better time when I don't have to wear the same T shirt for nineteen weeks and heave 50 kilos of stuff around on my back and catch scabies from hostel bunk beds. But maybe one day I'll give it a go.

- A tattoo or nonregulation piercing

Neither. I did have an illicit third stud in my left ear for about a month when I was a teenager but it didn't last long (or look good).
 
- Have talked to a genuine celebrity

Never! *sob*. This is actually something I would like to do. But I'm saving it for someone really special e.g. Madonna, the Pope, Roger Federer.

- Have DJed, gone out with a DJ or sung backing vocals

I have gone out partying with my friend who is a DJ, does that count? He fits in a full-time banking job around his various glamorous DJ gigs.

- Had at least one serious boyfriend

Yes yes yes.

- Worked as a waitress/in a bar

Yes. It was shit.

- Proficiency in an instrument or sport

Does Minesweeper count as a sport...?

- Discovered your best feature

Nope. Maybe it is my loud inappropriate laugh :flirt:

- Got serious about photography

No no no. I leave that to other people then nick their facebook pics.

WHAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY: “You’ve done an incredible amount for your age”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHH. No one has ever said this about me unless you replace "done" with "shopped".

So here's what I'm supposed to achieve by mid-thirties.

- Been head-hunted for a new job

I live in hope. This has sort of happened to me a couple of times but I've never ended up taking the new job. Better the devil you know etc etc.

- Been taken to lunch by your boss

Yes but we're talking Pret a Manger rather than Petrus.

- Been on a business trip abroad

Done.

- Lived abroad

Done.

- Bought your own flat

Pas encore.

- Been bought jewellery by a man

Done. :golddigga:

- Socialised outside your age group

Eh?!?!? Of course! Surely everyone has done this. Pffft. All my colleagues are in their forties so it'd be hard not to.

- Hatched a plan for your own business

Yes. A vast, beautiful notebook emporium.

- Successfully negotiated a pay rise

Yes but it wasn't really a negotiation. More a whinge.

- Discovered your signature style

Why on earth does anyone need a "signature style"? Like that awful woman in the Devil Wears Prada who gets through squillions of white Hermes scarves. Fine, my signature style is going to be my gold trainers, which I am wearing right now.

- Discovered the importance of women

WTF?!?! Yes, let's just shoehorn that one in between "signature style" and "shoe collection".

- Established a shoe collection

Surely every single person in the world who owns more than one pair of shoes has, by definition, a collection of shoes. I may establish a collection of gold trainers. 

WHAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY: “You could do anything you set your mind to”

Frankly someone saying that to me is not going to change much - I am already pretty determined, and cliched advice like this is only valuable when it comes from someone a lot older who has actually achieved their own life goals.

You may have noticed I started to get pretty irritated with these supposed "achievements".

HERE IS WHAT I AM GOING TO TRY AND ACHIEVE IN THE NEXT DECADE.

Fall in love.
Have a family.
Be healthy.
Be happy.
Be a good person.
Learn to scuba dive.

Pfft. stupid article. Pfffffffffffffft.

I am looking forward to meeting R's baby so much. She is going to be a wicked mum. Now that is a real achievement.


Baby fever
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Today: work then dinner with my friend R who is just about to have a baby.

A whole week since my last update. I am neglectful.

I am mega mega psyched about seeing R tonight. The last time I saw her, her bump was at the "is she just a bit porky" stage. Now, with one week to go until her due date, she is by all accounts the size of a house. We have been friends for 15 years now and I can't believe she's about to be a momma. And what a great one she is bound to be. She is going to be having a little girl and I bet she'll be just as cool as her mum.

Gosh am welling up a bit. AHEM sorry, will man up now.

Not sure what to cook for dinner as I gather pregnancy prevents one from eating a lot of (delicious) types of food - soft cheese, tuna, nuts etc etc. I'm sure my local supermarket (the smallest Tesco in the entire universe) will provide ample inspiration, with its usual selection of one pork loin, two lonely swedes and a bajillion varieties of Haribo.

All continues to be vair vair busy at work especially now my team of three is a gruesome twosome. I have caught a cold as well, so am more sniffles than snoffles at the mo.

Plans for this week are as follows.

  • Tomorrow - dinner at my friend S's house with two other ex-colleagues (I am down to provide pudding. Likely to be Haribo.)
  • Friday - off to see the Donmar production of Twelfth Night
  • Saturday - theatre AGAIN to see matinee of Complicit (I know, I know, BUT - I got a stalls seat for the princely sum of £12 because of the Old Vic's participation in this excellent scheme: http://www.anightlessordinary.org.uk/ - any under 26s should definitely check this out)
  • Then in the evening I'm off to Matter at the O2 for clubbing.
  • Sunday - cinema with friend K to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Go! Go! Go! Phew.

And at some point I need to pack for BARCELONA where I is goin on Wednesday next week. Wicked.

Right, signing off now to do some actual work or risk unemployment. Hasta luego guapos.


Reasons to be cheerful
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Today: work then pilates then off to the cinema to see Revolutionary Road.

Haven't had a chance to blog much this week because of work being so busy. More doom and gloom announcements at my company unfortunately - my pay has been frozen until May 2010. Am a bit gutted about this as I've been stuck on my current salary for a year already. Not sure what I can really do about it though, sadly. My boss told me I should be "grateful to have a job at all" (in a nice way ... kind of) so I guess I shouldn't moan.

What things are there on the bright side? I had a fab weekend, caught up with lots of friends - old and new - and have got more fun things coming up, including a trip to Barcelona in a couple of weeks (which is going to absolutely break me financially because of the weakness of the pound.... but Bright Side, Bright Side). Can't wait to go up to the Park Güell again, and to the beach. And for tapas and sangria. Plus I found a 20 euro note in my purse the other day left over from my trip to Paris a whole year ago - it's probably doubled in value since then. Hurrah!

What else? Of course - I am free from Evilhousemate's vice-like grip, and that is a great reason to be cheerful. All continues to go swimmingly with my new housemates. We smile! We talk! We laugh! There are flowers in the kitchen, food in the fridge and a song in my heart. Only thing at the moment is that we don't have a telly, so we need to get that sorted pronto. I've already missed Rupert Penry Jones in that new ITV drama, dangnabbit. I am looking forward to reclaiming my lazy Sundays in front of ITV2/More4. It's been far too long since my last Come Dine With Me marathon.


Living for the weekend
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Today: work then gym then home to cook dinner for my friend G
 
I've just been to a viewing of the "Day in the Life Of" film that was made for work. Verdict: less shame-making than anticipated, although I am now aware that my eyebrows are a weird shape (must correct this) and I have a double chin (probably won't correct this TBH). My "at rest" facial expression seems to be "pissed off" (although maybe that is because I was pissed off with being filmed).

Here are my eyebrows:

brows
 
In terms of woodenness I think I am on a par with the other 5 participants (apart from the postie who did his best David Brent impression in the talking heads bits).
 
Tomorrow it is being screened to around 500 people in the London office, with another showing next week. GULP.
 
Very excited about the weekend, lots of fun things coming up. Swim tomorrow night I think, then quick run on Saturday morning. Lunch with a blast-from-the-very-distant-past and probably watching the rugby. Then out to karaoke with my gap year friends on Saturday night. Sunday will be a late roast beef lunch with my friend K.
 
Only one more boring day of work to go! (/uberprofessional) Hurrah!

Ramble.
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Today: working from home in the morning, then afternoon off to finish off the last bits of unpacking. Was supposed to be going to book group tonight but it's been cancelled due to snoooow.

Working from home is really weird. On balance I do probably get less work done (not that I would ever admit it to my boss), but I am in a hyper-alert state - sensitive to every noise that could possibly be a phone call/email coming in. It is nice to have the radio on though, and to still be in my PJs, and sitting at my desk by a sunny window. I had a very nice coffee this morning out of my new cafetiere wot I got for Christmas but hadn't used yet. (Maybe this accounts for the hyper-alert state?) I have got yummy soup for lunch too. Good good good, got the hygiene factors sorted. All is well.

PS And CONGRATULATIONS to my friend S who got engaged over the weekend!

Let it snow let it snow let it snoooow!
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Today: walk in the snow, work, hopefully leaving early to walk in the snow s'more and then home to UNpack :)

It is snowing! Real proper snow! Here are some views of London in the snow, taken on my way to work this morning. 








Quick update to say the house move went very well over the weekend. Now-ex-evilhousemate decided to spend the weekend away so GUTTINGLY I didn't get to say so long, farewell, au revoir, auf wieder sehen, knob off. I did, however, (and genuinely by accident) manage to steal her copy of Harry Potter 7 along with packing my own, so I now have two copies. Heh. That'll teach her.

My brother came up on Saturday night to help me pack, which meant keeping me entertained while I packed, which really meant falling asleep in front of the football while I ran up and down the stairs like a lunatic. He fully redeemed himself on Sunday though, by lugging my many bags and boxes stuff up and down the stairs and keeping calm and cheerful throughout. He also did several good donkey impressions and was invaluable in cleaning out the contents of my fridge. 

The new flat is lovely. It is clean and airy and bright and big beyond all sense. I have started unpacking, rather feebly, but spent a lot of yesterday wandering round with glass of wine in hand and foolish grin on face. My new housemates were very welcoming and I think we are all going to have a welcome dinner together in the next few days. Hurrah - hurrah - and thrice - hurrah!

PS - Aussie tennis was amazing on Sunday morning. Poor old Rog. I do love him. Ever since his special Wimblecardigan.


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