This week I have taken two days off work so I can spend a long weekend back home in Suffolk. I plan on doing lots of walking in the countryside, sitting in pubs and playing games, of both the board and Playstation variety. It’s a much needed break after a rather crazy couple of months where I seem to have done at least two exciting things every week! I thought I’d post my photos of the highlights here, so enjoy… (more…)

It’s that time of year again. Mid-November is officially Christmas Advert Time.

I don’t own a TV, but that doesn’t really matter any more. John Lewis’s latest Christmas was promoted on YouTube and had the crap Tweeted out of it before anyone had even had the chance to officially announce the start of Christmas following the standard witnessing of the Coca Cola Trucks.

So, now that the glorious sound of ‘holidays are coming’ has been usurped by twee animated creatures and acoustic cover songs, I feel I should don my advertising hat and finally watch the damn thing, along with all the others, including the Sainsbury’s one everyone is sobbing over. (more…)

So, Katie Price named her new baby ‘Bunny’. Good for her. It’s her child, she can call her whatever she wants. That’s one of the many joys of being a parent, I imagine. Of course, people are making uninspiring jokes about bunnies of the Playboy and vibrating variety (delightful references to Katie’s early career choices) but is the name really any worse than any of the other obscure names given to celebrities’ children?

Everyone made a fuss when the Beckhams announced their firstborn son would be named Brooklyn, but that seems almost normal now. ‘Place’ names are so early-00s, don’t you know? It’s all about fruit, colours and compass directions nowadays.

Names are important, though. Like it or not, they influence your life – it’s a fact. And even more so now, in a world where parents can search for unusual baby names based on whether or not the .com domain is still available. No-one wants a boring name, so is it really a big deal if a random celebrity decides to name their child Bunny or Princess or Buddy Bear? There are people in America with names like Hashtag and Yoga, so let’s leave off poor Katie, yeah? (more…)

Lauren Laverne posted this article over the weekend titled “Time to Make Emotional Abuse a Crime”, following news that a new domestic abuse law could criminalise perpetrators of psychological and emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse.

The description she gives of her own emotional abuse was particularly resonant for me:

“…it’s like being put in a box. How you end up in there is the biggest trick…Maybe you think it’s a treasure box at first: you’re in there because you’re special. Soon the box starts to shrink. Every time you touch the edges there is an “argument”. So you try to make yourself fit. You curl up, become smaller, quieter, remove the excessive, offensive parts of your personality – you begin to notice lots of these. You eliminate people and interests, change your behaviour. But still the box gets smaller. You think it’s your fault. The terrible, unforgivable too-muchness of you is to blame. You don’t realise that the box is shrinking, or who is making it smaller. You don’t yet understand that you will never, ever be tiny enough to fit, or silent enough to avoid a row…”

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This week was my birthday (21 again!) and to celebrate my friend took me to the British Library’s latest exhibition – Comics Unmasked.

Here’s the description from the British Library website:

Comics Unmasked is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process.

Enter the subversive and revelatory world of comics, from the earliest pioneers to today’s digital innovators.

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Letter writing seems like a pretty archaic activity nowadays. And it is, really. The process is long-winded and reeks of effort, which us Millennials are prone to avoid.

I had a pen pal from between the ages of about 10 to 13. He lived in Buenos Aires and his name was Pedro. He was really religious and once sent me a fridge magnet of the Virgin Mary. I also used to write to my friend Charlotte who moved away, but my letters (apparently) mostly consisted of pages of spelling and grammar corrections from her last letter. I was a blast.

Since then, writing letters has all but disappeared from my life, and I’m not counting the things I’ve been forced to send to the utterly backwards Student Loan company.

BUT… Letter writing is back, baby! Well, maybe. (more…)

On Sunday I attended Feast – A food festival at Tobbacco Dock in east London. I was kindly invited along as a plus-one by my friend Charlotte who got given free tickets. Thanks Charlotte! I guess this now makes me one of those annoying bloggers who swans about getting stuff for free…

Anyway, I had a great afternoon. We arrived at around half twelve and it was fairly quiet, so we didn’t have to queue for anything. The event ran from Thursday night until Sunday night, so I expect the Friday and Saturday were much busier. (more…)

*No plot spoilers, but some details about the structure of the story.*

Gone Girl is described as “the thriller of the year” and a book that “you’ll force your friends to read so you can talk about it with them”, so I had pretty high expectations of it. As it turns out, these descriptions are spot on. I finished this book last night and couldn’t wait to write a review, which I suppose is my version of talking to people.

The story revolves around a man (Nick) whose wife (Amy) goes missing, leaving him the prime suspect for her disappearance and murder. Just in case you didn’t read the blurb (or the title), though, the first page reads “Part One: Boy Loses Girl” and chapter 1 is titled “The Day Of”, so straight away you know something big is going to happen pretty quickly. (more…)

I read a blog post recently titled “Being in your Twenties is Like a Friendship Massacre“. The general gist is that upon becoming a Proper Grown Up with a job and a life outside of the various learning establishments, we will automatically weed out the good friends from the bad. This is because we simply won’t have the time or inclination to make plans with those people who we only remain in contact with for habitual reasons, like doing the same course at university or the fact that your parents were next door neighbours once upon a time.

The article, though, only really focuses on those friendships which are lost, and doesn’t mention the new friends we pick up when we move jobs or houses or go through a significant life change.

I think our twenties are less of a massacre and more like a garden. Some friendships die – either from us choosing to dig them up and chuck them out, or from natural causes – but some flourish and grow, and new ones spring up from nowhere(1).

But friendships don’t just change when you’re in your twenties. I’ve seen many friends come and go, and I think there are a few different periods in our lives where friendships inevitably meet turbulent times. (more…)