Wednesday, 18 May 2011

My recent embarrassing moments

1) Taste In Music

Yesterday, in a cafe with two colleagues on our lunch break, discussing fave music. Me, Liz, who is a couple of years younger than me, and Pete, who is in his late thirties but is very cool and fun.

Pete: I don't know if you guys know this band from the nineties, they're not very well known here even though they're British but they were big in America. They're called Bush...
Me: Gavin Rossdale!
Liz: Oh yeah, I know them!
Me (Loudly): I LOVE BUSH!!!

cue LOTS of giggles from my companions, and me suddenly realising what I said in a public place.

That left me redfaced, and having to explain to the other cafe-goers that "I meant the BAND, by the way" and was not in fact, a muff-diver. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

2) Stop, wait, just a minute Mr Postman

This morning. Day off sick following terrible evening of uncontrollable shakes and aches, horrendous overnight (til 4a.m.) migraine with violent throw-uppage (yum, sorry) and for Doc's appointment.

Heard post land on doormat. Was getting changed to go to my Doctor's appointment, and peeked downstairs to see what it was. Noticed a package with my name on it so went to pick it up quickly in my bra and knickers. As I reached the doormat, and started to bend down, postie came back. I carried on bending but he must have seen me through the frosted window, the contrast of my pasty body and a blue bra. My only thought was FARK, don't ring the doorbell, cause now you know I'm here I can't run away!* So I stayed squatted on the doormat and a lovefilm disc plopped on top of my head. Cheers postie.

* I seem to have many similar experiences with window cleaners and scaffolders too.

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Loretta the Ladybug: a rescue!

I got into work at 8.45am this morning feeling cream crackered after going out to a Panic! At The Disco gig last night with Tom (which was ah-may-zing). As per usual I went to the sign-in sheet at reception but I got a surprise today when I saw a gorgeous spotty ladybug crawling between the sheets! I thought I had better move her as it was about to get really busy with lots of people signing in who might accidentally squish her, so I whipped out my P!ATD ticket stub which was still in my bag and scooped her up. The caretaker passed me on the stairs and probably thought I was completely bonkers holding this ticket out and walking really slowly...

I popped her on my desk, went to do something quickly and when I came back she was trying to crawl into my cup that I forgot to wash last night. As I didn't want her to drown in chocolate milk I carefully scooped her out again and went to wash my cup. When I came back she had disappeared :(

I wanted to name her Loretta so I hoped she would reappear later despite searching for her a little bit.

About half an hour later I was staring into space when I saw that something in my pen pot didn't look right... and there she was! I took the opportunity to grab a couple of pics:

 here she is close up: 

 and again scuttling away: 

She's reappeared a few more times, running around on my letter opener. She looks like she's having fun :)

Update: Loretta looked like she had a problem with her wing - the filmy folding wing under the red one was sticking out cnd she was trying to take off but couldn't. She disappeared for several hours. Then at 5pm, as I was about to leave, she appeared on my keyboard...

I didn't want to leave her if she couldn't fly away, so my boss watched me attempt to coax her into a little pot whilst laughing at me for being so attached to her! I took her home, where she met Tom - who is fascinated by insects! As she couldn't fly away from prey I didn't want to put her in the garden, where we have a lot of big bugs and wildlife, so she has a new home in dad's chilli plant, where she will guard against aphids!

Hope you enjoyed!

Ta-ta for now!
Swaf (and Loretta)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Gonna ride my bike until I get ho-ome!

This year I made it my mission to get on my bike!

Both mine and Tom's bikes were neglected and un-rideable. Tom's was a very good bike he bought from a work colleague second hand for £20, to use to cycle to work. Unfortunately he busted the gear hanger. When we moved to Dartford he was going to chuck it but I convinced Dad to tuck it into the hired van anyway as Dad has a massive load of stuff in the car port (a posh term for an open walled garage) so we stashed it there over the winter.

My bike is the same one I've had since I was about, 12 or 13 I think. But luckily, I didn't grow much, and as I'm only 5'1" it still suits me fine. but my inner tubes and tyre tape were busted. I found another pair in Wilkinsons, but accidentally got the wrong size and when I went back to exchange they'd sold out of the ones I needed so I went back later. Good old Wilko, I think it may actually be my favourite shop - I can't walk past it without going in and grabbing a bargain!

Dad had a poke at Tom's injured beast - his bike is seriously huge!! Luckily he's 5'10" so it's all good (little and large teehee). It definitely needed a new gear hanger so we took the busted one to our local bike place and I would never had guessed how many hundreds of different types of this piddly little thing there are! They all look the bloody same! It cost about £2 more than he paid for the bike but they ordered the right one in, nd the next weekend was the perfect day for our adventure!! Sunny, and hot hot hot!

We cycled around for about 3 hours, going on the roads to the nearby town and exploring the woods, which was lovely and quiet apart from dog walkers and a couple of other hardcore cyclists.

My legs look orange in the second pic because my fake tan came off when I shaved that morning (didn't anticipate shorts weather) so I reapplied it ant it was a bit... extreme. A very friendly dog licked a patch off as well... I hope he's okay :S

There was another cute little doglet laying in a spot of shade the middle of a path near his owner, with his legs stuck out backwards in the way that makes them look like a rotisserie chicken. We had to cycle round him, but he was lovely, his bemused little face made me smile! Thought it rude to take a pic though.

at the time it was too bright to see I'd missed Tom's head completely!

It was a great day although it was my first time riding a bike in about 10 years and therefore the first time riding with traffic. And as Tom had no idea where we were going, I had to lead the way! Nearly pooped my pants in fear. But I made myself go down some steep hills which was fun! I have to say, downhill is definitely better!

I plan to pimp my bike out soon, so hopefully If I get round to it there'll be a blog on that. Might keep it red though...

Ta-ta for now!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Panda Fun and Chinatown Sweets in London


I was out in Central with my beloved last week, in the Trocadero on my way to a certain store (I'll tell shortly) and happened to wander into Accessorize. I didn't plan to, but being a jewellery obsessed magpie, I have a gravitational pull which sucks me in anyway.

I only had a quick look around, but I immediately spotted this little fella!! Which is the same style as my cat ring that I mentioned in a previous post.

Again he was £4, and i snarfled him up instantly. I was tempted to get some of their cute panda phone charms too, but I will do that another time, in another Accessorize!

Anyhoo, in the Trocadero centre in London (just off of Leicester Square) there is this awesome shop called Ho! Panda at the back entirely dedicated to Kawaii Panda-ness that I just want to buy everything from.

On our anniversary last year, Tom got me a little plushy Panda keychain with just the tiniest hint of a rosy pink cheek! It's actually on a phone charm strap but is a bit large and cumbersome for my preference. It was quite romantic really, as I call Tom my little love panda - one of his many nicknames!

I want their Panda hats too, but I must say I prefer this one from bangbangcrash. I'ts in a list of things I desperately covet but really can't afford... (ironically, my etsy wishlist).

Then in Chinatown we stopped off at one of my favourite stores - Nippon and Korea Centre. Don't let the name confuse you - it's full of awesome imported food! We bought a load of stuff some of which we had no idea what it contained, as we were feeling adventurous and peckish - a deadly combination!

Then we headed to Trafalgar square for Tom's tourist picture and sat on the Countdown Clock for the London 2012 Olympics to eat our wares!

Tom bought a bag of crisps which resembled nik naks, had a strange picture of indeterminable meat on the front, but actually tasted amazing. He ate them too quick to get a pic though.
I bought Norimaki rice, soy and seaweed crackers which were quite yummy, and a sesame covered rice ball.

This was okay, the rice bit was quite bland, and the mung bean centre was sweet. A couple of odd textures but not disgusting! I found it was too much and too filling and couldn't finish it. If I bought them again I'd have to get a pack of little ones! Strangely my mouth is watering slightly for it...

I also got these awesome PANDA chocolate biscuits which were so so yummy. Definitely getting more of these if I see them. This pic was taken in Nando's while we ate dinner -  I ate the biscuits on the train home! Even tom enjoyed one - he doesn't eat sweets usually, but I love it when he does - it makes him cuter!

They all had funny little expressions! It was as if they knew they were about to be devoured. Their poor terrified little faces!!

The whole reason for our trip was to see City and Colour in Royal Albert Hall. Beautiful venue, nice sound, few weird hecklers and dodgy attempt to play the 'last clap' game. Disappointed He didn't play a couple of my faves but it was a cool, chilled out gig. Their lighting guy was really OTT, in a good way!

I had a video video but Blogger won't seem to upload it even though I left it for ages!!

Ta-ta for now!

Monday, 2 May 2011


I used to love this stuff as a kid - it was more of a treat than an everyday thing. Libby's tropical juice drink was really yummy and had a great advert with a catchy theme (Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo) that most of us remember to this day! 

Ahhh, childhood nostalgia.

Imagine my excitement when I saw this - albeit in a somewhat altered form!

Well I couldn't resist buying and trying.

It claims to be 100% natural and has reappeared following a bring back um bongo campaign. I'm probably a bit slow with noticing the comeback but I can confirm it did taste very yummy and as close to the original as I can remember, with a sort of freshness to it that reminds me of innocent and copella juices.

I will definitely buy some more if I'm feeling fruity! And I found an awesome hoody at truffleshuffle.

Altogether now...

ta-ta for now!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Goals and Dreams

Hello peeps. How are you? Hope you enjoyed your Easter!

I've been considering my dreams and my future lately. I went to uni and haven't used my degree as such... I have a  full time office job which I don't hate but don't see myself doing for life. I feel lucky to have a job with unemployment rates so high in the UK and I do work with some lovely people in a lovely office that is never, ever short on treats (cakes, biscuits, sweets, tea).

Our (myself and my lovely Tom) current situation isn't ideal, but we'll be this way for a while. Moving your flat, and your whole, independednt just-the-two-of-you life back into mum and dad's house isn't easy (had to take a fair bit of excess furniture to the dump!!) but it's been a saviour after Tom's accident and I'm in no way ungrateful for having the support of my awesome parents. We're doing okay. I think I'm going to enjoy the present as it is, and stop worrying.

So the goal is to have our own place. Our own space. Somewhere for us to be creative in our own respects. Tom has another 2ish years of Uni left and I'm working to pay off a bit of student debt and hopefully save up... lawdy knows what for as it won't be likely we could afford a deposit on our own home! We'd love to own rather than rent as it would mean pets (Pug please!) and redecorating (a garden would be nice too!) but although I can dream, I must also be realistic... and patient for the things I cannot change/have no control over yet!

I set myself 9 new years resolutions this year (I know...) and so far have achieved none. I am close to a few however! It makes me realise that goalposts do move around with your life... but also that I need to step up a gear and really fight to see these positive changes in my life! I need to be less insecure and more positive! Perhaps differentiating between short term, mid term and long term goals will help me on my way. Tom has two sayings that could be used here. "Fail to plan, plan to fail" and "even the best laid plans go to waste". I think he'd like me to be a bit more spontaneous... I haven't been myself lately. But summer is tapping at the window, and I always feel better when the sunshine spurs you on...

And if some of those goals roll over to 2012... well, I'll just keep trying! 

Ta-ta for now!


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Lego Lunchbox!

I seriously want this to take in to work - I'm slightly lego obsessed!!

It's currently available to pre-order at firebox and comes in three other colours; blue, red and black.

Ta-ta for now!


Review: Guillemots - Walk The River

I’m sad to see the BBC review has been used in the Amazon product description for this album, as I completely disagree. I’ve pre-ordered my (signed!) copy of Walk The River but have been listening to it repeatedly on Hype Machine, where it has been exclusively available to stream in full. I believe that this latest Guillemots effort deserves a lot more praise, and a lot of listens.

It’s my favourite album of 2011 so far (and I’ll be surprised if any others this year will top it), and my new favourite Guillemots record. I’m not going to do the Defensive Fan thing – I’ve given it time and lots of listens and won’t let my standing appreciation cloud my judgement with bias. I’m not a music snob and I’m not in competition with any other reviewers to see who can describe it with the most eloquence and professionalism… so excuse me if I just give my honest opinion. Like bumholes, everybody has one and here’s mine (not my…. yeah.).

Fyfe and the gang are years ahead of other musicians in terms of imagination and songwriting ability. This is one of those albums where you will grow to love every song with each listen, it won’t date, and could be the perfect soundtrack for any moment – grey rainy moping days, or a random drive on a summer’s day. Like the previous releases, Through The Windowpane and Red, Walk the River is the perfect mix of light and dark. Wherever you listen to it, it’ll make you stop and think, and it absorbs me totally.

My favourite track of WTR is without a doubt the perfectly heartbreaking “I Don’t Feel Amazing Now” and has been since we saw Fyfe and Greig on YouTube performing it acoustically under a bridge (well worth a listen, I insist). With touching lyrics and floaty strings, it makes me want to give the 'mots frontman a cup of tea and a cuddle. If you liked Made Up Lovesong No.43 (and lets face it, who doesn’t?) you’ll like this one. The beauty of Guillemots is that their sound transcends from studio to acoustic versions of tracks so magically – that it’s possible to love both just as much. I can never pick a favourite but am constantly amazed and surprised by the transformation between the pared-down, honest openness of just Mr Dangerfield and his guitar to all-guns-blazing, steel-drum-solo, music-pouring-from-every-orifice majesty.

The first single to be released, The Basket, is more in the vein of past stompers like Trains To Brazil. Ice Room really makes you believe the lyrics of “I’m so alive”. I Must Be A Lover builds up to a drumbeat you can’t help bouncing in time with, and the familiar Guillemots brand of eclectic but subtle instruments and rousing vocals. Just as you think you’ve got a track sussed, they mix it all up again. Things that sound like they’d never work on paper are pure genius in reality. Slow Train features sexy synths and a gradually slowing tempo that is barely noticeable (similar to what we heard in Annie Let's Not Wait & Clarion). Ironically, it's paired with the lyric "don't slow me down". I’ve been told by a proper musician that it’s very clever and very difficult to do (show offs). The title track and opener, Walk The River is a runner-up in my favourites – stunning, and I’ve been singing it everywhere. Dangerfield’s vocals are the perfect match as always, flitting easily between soft and powerful – my fella always think he sounds best when he’s at breaking point, and I have to agree. Vermillion, Tigers and Inside are all great tracks that are not to be sneered at.

Sometimes I Remember Wrong (great title) may not be one of the frontrunners, and yes, being 9 minutes and 16 seconds long could bore some listeners. Yesterday Is Dead is not far behind length wise but is a fitting closer (warning – slightly creepy childlike vocals...). Dancing In The Devil’s Shoes, is also a slow burner. But personally, being someone who is usually very impatient and known to skip tracks, I think it’s a great way to spend 10 minutes. It was easy for me to appreciate the subtle details and nuances of these tracks, which are no worse or better than others when it comes to compositional ability. Every track seems to have hidden layers that are discovered with each listen. It definitely gets taken down a gear towards the end of the album, but in no way declines in quality or acts as filler.

If I have any complaints, it’s that I think it’s missing a little bit of the piano-thumping, almost aggressive nature of songs like Kriss Kross and Get Over It. There doesn’t seem to be a secret formula, but their creative process works. In some ways, Walk The River is more melancholy, and grown up, but still tender. Ultimately, it’s Genius disguised as Simplicity.

This album was very easy to love, for me. Bring on the Secret Gig…
Listen here....

I don't feel amazing now...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Review: Bourjois Bio Detox Foundation

Okay, this is my first beauty review, so bear with me if it's not all that! I'm usually quite clueless when it comes to beauty - I often get it wrong, but it won't stop me trying.

I felt compelled to write a blog about this foundation - unfortunately, not because it's fantastic.

I would love to be able to rave about how good this is. I'm a fan of Bourjois usually - in fact, it was my satisfaction with other foundations in their range which led me to buy this. I was visiting Tom's mum when I ran out of my usual foundation and needed to buy another. I decided to go with a Bourjois one for the reason stated before.

There were only two to choose from - it was a toss up between Bio Detox and their natural fruit based one, Healthy Mix, but the store in the town I was in only had a tester for this one. I based my decision on my trust in the brand and chose Bio Detox over the other as although both boast skin-sving properties/benefits, as I was able to test a small amount and I thought this one would suit my needs more. If only I'd known that Healthy Mix was receiving 10/10 reviews and coming top of national surveys! 

I performed a couple of small swatches with the tester on the back of my hand, and a little on my jawline. It seemed okay, and felt soft after it had dried.

I chose the closest colour and tried it on my face for the first time the next morning. I applied with my fingers as I didn't bring a massive cosmetics bag with me. I didn't apply a huge amount - I usually only apply a small bit at a time anyway. It came out quite a bit darker than I expected and was the strangest texture. I know now I should have gone out of the store into natural light and checked the colour match there, but I was in a bit of a rush and... well, you know, you might look a bit odd.

The problems with the application were, that it absorbed and dried way too quickly. If I had to use a word to describe it, albeit an unprofessional term, I'd say, 'Stodgy'. It congealed - it felt heavy and sticky on my skin whilst applying. Spreading and blending was a challenge - one of the most difficult I've ever come accross (second only to Rimmel's Cool Matte Mousse foundation), as it gummed up and flaked off in a similar effect to what happens if you over-moisturise.

Anyway, I stuck with it for the rest of the trip. I thought that when I got home I could perhaps try applying it with a brush or sponge, as I often do. I tried both of these alternatives and neither were an improvement - in fact, due to the strange, cloggy nature of the foundation, they made it worse, by absorbing instead of blending - imagine trying to brush on semi dried paint.

In the end, I resorted to mixing it with another foundation that was slightly lighter, to try and even out the colour. I used another tried-and-tested favourite - maxfactor's colour adapt. It helped the application , but there was still the crumbling problem when blending.

If used right, Bio Detox is not completely awful - the trick is to go a tiny patch at a time and work it in quickly. If you are lucky/skilled enoguh to get an even coverage, it lasts for a few hours, and although it feels heavy sitting on your face, it does have a matt, almost velvety finish (until it wears off).

Overall, I was unimpressed, and it's getting binned unfinished, as now I can afford a decent foundation for once!! I never used to be fussy about my base make-up, but as I get older I realised my skin deserves better and have given my beauty regime a complete overhaul! I'm going to attempt to deliver more of these 'tales from a beauty no-hoper'.

Ta-ta for now,




Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Me & Zena Rabbit Ring

I LOVE this! I first saw it on Domestic Sluttery, even though I get the Lazy Oaf newsletter, where it is available for £25. I'm a big fan of bunnies anyway, so it's not just an easter thing! Me & Zena do some great stuff, but this one I'm considering forking out for for once... although, it is my Birthday in 5 weeks....

ta-ta for now!