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November Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

It's the end of the month and that means it's time for the November scavenger hunt. Thanks as always to Kathy for picking the categories. You can see everyone else's posts here.

Something that you have made

Not the tree, obviously (although I did decorate it). The beaded bauble.


I'm not ashamed to admit I own this book despite the epic mullet on the cover. It's about a wrestler! There's another thing I'm not ashamed to admit: I love wrestling. Mock me at your peril. I will bodyslam you.

A lucky charm

Lucky Ducky.

A poppy

This is how I wear my poppy: in my hair. I have a terrible habit of losing them when they're attached to my coat so this is safer all round.

A self-portrait

I hate taking photos of my own face. This was the best I could do.


It's a memorial to the Potato Famine, in the grounds of St Luke's church in Liverpool city centre. I suppose the church is a sort of memorial too. It was bombed out during WW2 (hence it being known as the "bombed-out church" now) and has been left that way.

Polka dots

A selection from the sock drawer.


Yeah, my fire is retro. None of those flickery pebble things for me.

Something that lights up

One of the Christmas decorations in Liverpool. I don't think the lights are up to much this year but I love this reindeer.


At the Bluecoat. It's a stunning building anyway but I am especially fond of this doorway. Check out the little Liver Bird on the pediment.

Something purple

The last remnants of colour on a hydrangea bush.

Comfort food

Nothing better. My Magic Roundabout egg cup must be used.

A Hat (and the giveaway winners)

Monday, 28 November 2011

I don't often wear hats. I bought this one on holiday over a year ago and it's been languishing on the hat rack ever since. It's not so much that I'm shy of wearing them, just that I have a really large head and they don't often suit me. You know that lovely sort of woolly-beanie-on-the-back-of-the-head look? Yeah, I can't do that. I just look as if my head is so big it's burst out of my hat.

I like this one though. It fits, which is always a good start. It's green, therefore I automatically love it. It has a floppy brim which I can hide behind when I'm feeling bashful about wearing a hat - bonus marks!

Skater dress - H&M
Cardi & belt - Primark
Shoes - New Look
Rings - Primark (snake) & Dorothy Perkins (green)
Hat - hat shop in Dubrovnik

Anyway, here's the bit you've all been waiting for: the winners of the giveaway, as decided by

Thank you very, very much to MJ, Very and Natureshop for donating such lovely prizes.

The winner of the beautiful ring from MerCurios is... The Girl (who has excellent luck in my giveaways!)
The winner of the £50 Very voucher is... Maddie
The winner of the boots from Natureshop is... Feeneyfoofoo
The winner of the Persephone Books voucher is... Mrs Bossa

Ladies, I shall be in touch with you all very shortly to arrange your prizes.

Culture Vulture

Thursday, 24 November 2011

After the craziness that was most of October, it's been a relief this month to take some time to do fun things instead and, if it doesn't sound too wanky and pretentious, to recharge my cultural batteries a bit. Ok, that does sound quite wanky, doesn't it? I just think writing the novel sapped a lot of my creativity and it's been nice to sit back and soak up other people's creative efforts a bit. So here's a mini round-up of things I've done/seen recently:


The Ides of March

Is this where I finally get on the Gosling bandwagon? Possibly, although I didn't go and see it for him, nor for George Clooney. I went because I am a political nerd and The West Wing is probably my favourite drama series of all time. When I say that this was like a decent episode of that programme, that's a compliment. I like political intrigue and shenanigans and the fact that no-one is actually a nice person. Shades of grey, not black and white. It was good. Not outstanding, but good.


Word of warning: don't go and see this with your dad. Even if he is quite cool and liberal and hippyish like mine, it's still a tad uncomfortable to sit next to him during gay sex scenes. That aside, I really liked this film. I'm very pleased it got a decent cinematic release as the subject matter isn't usually considered mainstream enough to get shown outside LGBT festivals (don't even get me started on how criminally underrated A Love To Hide is). It was just very honest and real. A little bittersweet, but isn't that how life is?


In 3D. Uck. I hate 3D. Not only does it not work properly with my eyes (and having to wear two pairs of glasses is never a good look), I massively begrudge having to pay inflated ticket prices, especially when it's a film that's been retrofitted and wasn't even meant to be in 3D in the first place. Grrr. But such is my devotion to Henry Cavill. I kinda dread the new Superman film coming out because he'll be all mainstream and I have had a crush on him for YEARS don't you know? Um yeah, the film... Entertaining enough I suppose but not that good and also quite a lot gorier than I was expecting! He's beautiful though so I don't really care.


Star Quality by Noel Coward

Fun, fun, fun. I do enjoy a bit of mid 20th century drama - the dialogue is generally very snappy and witty and that, my friends, is just my cup of tea. It's a play about a play and I always think that's good fun if done well because there's so much potential for bitchiness and melodrama.

Lovesong by Abi Morgan, performed by Frantic Assembly

People, go and look at their list of dates for the rest of the tour. If they're performing near you, go and see them. Please. I've been going to see them since 2006 when my friend Lee took me to see pool (no water) and haven't missed a show since, even if (as in this case) it means going to Leeds to watch them. Not that I have any object to Leeds you understand, it just adds to the cost of the day when you have to buy train tickets as well.

Anyway, the play! Superb. Frantic Assembly put on the most stunning pieces of physical theatre I've ever seen. This play perhaps doesn't have quite so much of it but that's due to the age of two of the four actors and when it is done, it's brilliant and perfectly in keeping. The play is about the beginning and end of a relationship and all I'm going to say is that there wasn't a dry eye in the house when it was finished.


Jack Whitehall

Oh Jack, how I love thee. I went to see him in London last year when I think he was working on the beginnings of this show so I'd seen bits of it before but I still bloody loved it all. I thought Lee and I were safe sitting in the front row with Jack not being the sort of comedian who pokes fun at his audience...yeah, he asked us a question, didn't he? I had to very bashfully squeak "we're not a couple, we're best friends".

Milton Jones

I'll say it straight off: I like comedy but I don't like one-liner merchants, I prefer story tellers. So why did I go and see him? Um, cos someone else bought me a ticket? He was great though. Yes, it's a constant stream of one liners but it's surreal and really cleverly done wordplay rather than just reeling off joke after joke after joke. His warm-up act was dire though and would have completely died on his arse had he not involved some audience members.

Mitch Benn

This was a bit of a speculative one to be honest. I've heard him on The Now Show (Radio 4 FTW!) and I love this song so I thought it was worth snapping up a ticket. I honestly didn't expect it to be as good as it was. He absolutely rocked through two full 45 minute sets of fricking hilarious songs. I thoroughly recommend going to see him.

So that was the cultural month that was. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Giveaway Time

Monday, 21 November 2011

I have bad news and good news.

Bad news: I am not running the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway again this year. My brain can't cope with the effort of thinking of things for it. It was hard work last year!

Good news: I have a big shiny giveaway for you RIGHT NOW instead, partly to celebrate having 400 followers and partly just because you're all marvellous.

There are 4 prizes:

1. Your choice of either a single or double personalised silver banner ring from MerCurios .

I absolutely adore MJ's creations and I am very jealous of whoever wins this one. I strongly encourage you to go and buy something from her anyway. She makes the most gorgeous jewellery; all sorts of stunning statement pieces made with rock crystal, geodes and skulls, and of course a huge variety of beautiful personalised rings. The lucky duck who wins this gets to choose their preferred style of ring (single or double banner) and their own message to go on it.

2. A £50 voucher to spend at

Fifty whole English pounds to spend on whatever you want! Now you could be sensible and spend it on Christmas presents (new Call of Duty game? toys for the kids?) or something practical like a new hairdryer, or you could take my advice and spend it all on yourself. Buy something lovely like shoes (I really want these!) or a new coat or a pretty frock. The choice is yours.

3. A lovely pair of boots from

I always like to hear about companies that try to do things ethically so I was very pleased when the lovely people at Natureshop got in touch. The products are all made in as environmentally responsible a way as possible and they tell you all about it on the product page which I very much approve of. And who doesn't love a bright red pair of wellies or proper sheepskin lined boots? No more cold feet in the snow this year: hurrah! The winner can take their pick from the Merrell, Keen, Teva, Kamik, Chaco or Timberland ranges.

4. A book token for one book from Persephone Books (provided by moi).

Persephone reprint neglected classics by twentieth century (mostly) female writers and I can honestly say I've never had a bad book from there. Even if their books aren't quite to your personal taste (and there's a really good selection so I hope that at least one of them is!), they're beautifully printed and make amazing presents for people so you can always pass the gift along. I'll organise a book token for the winner which can be claimed against any book in their catalogue.

Given that multiple prizes are up for grabs here, I'm going to make the rules as simple as I can:

- Leave a comment on this post.
- You must let me know which of the prizes you would like (it's fine to say all 4) and give me a way to contact you - email address, twitter, whatever. If you don't do both of these things then your comment won't be counted, sorry!
- If you want to mention the giveaway on Twitter or your blog, feel free to do so. Just pop an extra comment to let me know you have done so and you'll get an extra entry.

The giveaway will run for one week, ending at 10pm GMT on Monday 28th November.
I'll pick the winners using Should the first number picked not want that particular prize, I'll draw another number at random.

That's all the formalities out of the way. Now go! Comment! Decide what you'll pick if you win!

Speccy Four Eyes

Sunday, 20 November 2011

aka Alex Gets New Glasses

Do you like them?

I have been after a pair of green specs for ages but they are surprisingly difficult to find. Even though these look a bit blue, they are in fact green. Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, a very good Glasses Direct deal and the lovely Tamsin, these were mine for a shade over £25. Bargain, yes?

They are quite bold.

I am a very long way out of my comfort zone with this size and style of frame (slight shades of Su Pollard/Timmy Mallett?) but for that price and for a backup pair, I thought I might as well take a risk. After all, if you're going to wear bright green specs, there's no point being subtle about the size of them, is there?

Surprisingly hard to take a nice photo of me wearing them though. It's either silly face (as above), hidey face (as below) or minging face (not appearing on the blog thank you very much).

Happy (for once)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The things I do for this blog. It was 4 degrees outside when I was taking these photos. 4 DEGREES. I couldn't feel my fingers when I got back in.

I'm glad I made the effort though. Not only do I actually like some of the photos (trust me, this doesn't happen often), I really like the outfit. You know when you just think yes, I like it all? Well it's one of those days. I love the new (to me) blazer, really love the tshirt and scarf, am extremely fond of any form of shoe which gives me height and is comfy and, surprise surprise, I love my new jeans.

I don't seem to blog my jeans very often, probably because I have about 5 pairs but they're all exactly the same. Good old Dorothy Perkins. If they ever stop making this style (petite skinny for those who are interested) I will cry so loudly it will knock birds out of the trees. They're the right length, the right shape, the right wash and definitely the right price. This pair cost the princely sum of about £11. I love those 30% off weekends.

This scarf is looooooong. Here's a lovely out-take photo of me looking confused at quite how many times I need to unwrap it to demonstrate just quite how long it is:

I managed it in the end. Alex 1 Scarf 0.

Told you it was long!

Please ignore the coating of burgundy scarf fluff... I wanted to show off the beautiful skyline print.

Tshirt & scarf - H&M (Lisbon and Newcastle stores respectively)
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins
Shoe boots - River Island sale
Blazer - Warehouse, BNWT from Oxfam last weekend for £12. Hurrah!
Gloves - pinched from a friend
Hair - all my own. This is what happens when you can't be bothered drying it and go to sleep with it in Princess Leia buns instead.

An Awful Lot of Orange

Monday, 14 November 2011

So, did I mention I quite like orange at the moment? I will wear some different coloured clothes at some point soon but for now, you will just have to put up with autumnal themed outfits. The cat print shoes will make an appearance this week though, I promise.

I fell upon this jumper with squeaks of joy when I was shopping in Newcastle. It is just so very, very orange. Am I in danger of looking like a walking pumpkin? Probably. I'd much rather that than drown in a sea of boring black and grey clothes though.

May we all take a moment to glory in the wonderful glittertasticness of these brogues? Who said sensible, waterproof shoes had to be boring?

Jumper - H&M
Skirt - River Island sale (with added black netting underneath added by moi)
Jacket - Mango, via the half price rail in charity shop
Tights - Dorothy Perkins orange plus Evans chocolate fishnets
Brogues - Marks & Spencer Limited Collection
Bag - vintage camera case, via charity shop
Necklace - Tatty Devine, present from the wonderful Char
Rings - (L-R) Dorothy Perkins sale, ditto and Stolen Thunder


Thursday, 10 November 2011

No, not the drink. My legs!

Here's what I love about autumn: COLOURS! I am officially obsessed with autumnal tones. Everything I'm buying at the moment is orange, green, rust, berry or burgundy. Can't get enough.

Here's what I don't love about autumn: piles of leaves in my usual posing spot. How rude! Especially when I had suede shoes on.

The frock was a complete impulse purchase. I ventured outside my usual shopping haunts and went to Belle Vale after A Thrifty Mrs tipped me off about cat print shoes on sale in Store 21. For non-Scousers, Belle Vale sounds lovely, doesn't it? All pretty fields and picturesque animals? Yeah, it's nothing like that. At all. It does have a Store 21 though and I really wanted those cat shoes. I got them, and whilst wandering to the till, spotted this beauty, marked up at 25% off. Did I mention I was mildly in love with orangey stuff right now? I appear to have hidden most of the panels of that colour with my cardi and/or jacket but trust me, they're there.

Dress - Store 21
Cardi - Gap sale
Jacket - vintage St Michaels, via charity shop
Tights - Dorothy Perkins
Shoes - Kurt Geiger, via charity shop
Necklace - vintage, present from lovely Zoe