The Car In Front

On Saturday 27th December, after a restful christmas up north, it was finally time for my family and I to make our way home. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and we were stuck in our car for almost six hours on the A1. Here is my experience written from the car.

It’s almost as if I had forgotten that motorway traffic existed. Being at uni and not driving means that my mind has never given much regard to the state of our roads during our winter festivities. That is, until I get stuck in a car on the A1 for six hours.

Which is where I’m writing this blog post from; the back of my parents car. It’s dark, it’s boring, and I dearly want to snuggle in my bed instead of being here.

To pass the time there is the laptop, which provides little comfort due to the lack of internet, or the iPod, which is firmly in my ears to block out the dire sound of Radio 2. (I see my parents have not yet taken heed of my previous blog post.)

I have noted that during this duration in what I can only describe as ‘car-hell’, that it is easy to drift away into another world. The world of ‘The Car In Front’. First, it begins with noting the make and model of the car. Easy. The state of it provides some insight into the rest of the drivers’ life. From there, it’s imagination. And so it begins, drawing an entirely fictional timeline of the person in the car in front. This goes on for five minutes, until you are snapped out of your gloriously lethargic reverie by some snippet of bored conversation, or a beep from another car just as pissed off as you but happens to think they have a bigger penis than everybody else, and so displays this to the plethora of cars around him as a beep.

And so you continue to glare out of the front window, or the side window, or the back window if you’re a dog or just hiding from the law, bored out of your mind, wishing you could be catching up on that bumper crop of Xmas shows on your dear telly-box.

It’s lonely, stifling and a bit nippy, which is made worse slightly by the fact that I didn’t order a decaf Costa when we stopped. My cabin fever doesn’t stop there, though. By sheer happenstance it appears that my family has cabin fever too. Who’d have thought it? It well may be that they’re just as disinterested in me as I am in them. In short, we all look out the window so we don’t have to bloody talk to one another, for it’s very difficult to play I-Spy in the darkness of the motorway.

It is very easy to state that falling asleep would cure this long and tumultuous experience, but truthfully it is my belief that anyone who has the capability to fall asleep in the back of a car is either a wizard, or an alien. Nope. An in-flight snooze is not on the cards. And so I sit, bum aching, the remnants of Costa on my lips, and resume my little narrative for the car in front.

I think i’ll kill him off in series two.

Driving Home For Christmas

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This time of year we all find that those long car journeys are a necessary part of the festive period. Vehicles laden with presents and gifts for the family, and the effort worth it to spend time with the people you love. I do find settling down for the long-haul up the motorway a difficult feat to endure. Many people just go to sleep. I like to plug in my iPod and let the world pass me by. Recently, after having found myself skipping many songs on my playlist, I decided to find a few songs to add so that when I do have those hours to spend doing nothing, I can perfect my playlists.

I narrowed my list down to my top 15, though I wouldn’t recommend listening to them all at once.

Lazy Rich – Better Wipe That Up (Revolvr Remix) I quite like this tune, it’s not too intense and good for when you don’t feel like singing along.

James Blunt – 1973, After a,ll the hype of the Christmas festivities, sometimes it’s nice to unwind with a little bit of easy listening.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett – Cheek To Cheek, I quite like this rendition of Fred and Ginger’s classic with out being too ‘jazzy’ or loud.

Ed Sheeran – Sing, a recent hit that’s upbeat and always has me singing along.

Sigma ft. Paloma Faith – Changing, I adore this one, particularly the fact that Paloma Faith is in it.

Redbone – Come And Get Your Love, this one has recently come back as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack and in my opinion is absolutely brilliant.

Enya – Storms In Africa, Before you judge me, this new-age vibe is great for when you want to be alone with your thoughts or are driving to the rising sun.

Razorlight – America, a classic.

Tijana – To The Sky, F.Y.R Macedonia’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. The video is crap, but the tune is refreshingly not-too-cheesy compared to most europop.

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing, an absolute favourite of mine, and the guitar solos are worth waiting for.

Katy Perry – Legendary Lovers, KP always ups the vibe and her tunes are especially good on her Prism album.

Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream, a genius song. There are three versions of this which I absolutely adore; the original, the Sam la More 12” remix, and this version, the RAC Mix, unfortunately the only version which isn’t available on iTunes.

Jay Z and Kanye West – No Church in the Wild, no explanation needed.

Room 5 – Make Luv, such a good vibe from this one.

Royworld – Dust, I find this one to be a pretty mellow tune.

And some others which didn’t make top 15 of my unusual driving playlist;

  • Biffy Clyro – Victory Over The Sun
  • Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks
  • Pendulum – The Island (Radio Edit)
  • Credence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen the Rain
  • The Wombats – Moving To New York
  • Katy Perry – It Takes Two
  • Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People

Let me know what you think! Comment below.

As always, stay Peachy.

REVIEW: ‘Ming: 50 Years that changed China’

Being an avid art buff, I regularly visit new exhibitions on in London. This is the first time I’ve decided to review one of them. Recently, I visited the British Museum to see ‘Ming: 50 Years that changed China’, and I have to say, it was a spectacular show. Like any review, I’ll start with the good, and end with the bad.

Set deep within the Museum itself, the Ming exhibit encompasses the Sainsbury exhibition floor. Truly I have never seen an exhibit like it before. First of all, Ming focuses on the treasures of 6 emperors, their roles and impact within Chinese society. For the most part, the conglomeration of exquisite artefacts is awe-inspiring, and credit to the British museum for bringing in so many treasures from other collections all at once. I can imagine they begged for some. There was a huge range, from daintily crafted hairpieces and jewellery, to enamel vases and guilded pots, silk robes, fine expressions of painting style from the period, furniture, statues, religious icons, the lot. I felt as if I had walked into another time. The literary sources and their translations were also engaging, from books of Confucius to jotted ramblings by the emperors themselves. Truly, I couldn’t fault the collection amassed before me. The set was beautifully arranged throughout 6 rooms also, whoever designed the set ensured you wound round the ornaments, twisting through each room so as to not spoil the view of what was to come.

Cloisonné Jar, Ming Dynasty, 1426-1435

Cloisonné Jar, Ming Dynasty, 1426-1435

Moreover, the timed ticket entry meant that no one was fighting to see specific artefacts and there was plenty of room, a refreshing break compared to the pushing and queuing to see other pieces in the museum. Overall, I’d say I was quite impressed. A very solid 7.5 out of 10.

However, despite the fact that I was there to learn about and enjoy these treasures, I hate to say it, but the clincher of this exhibit for me was the gift shop.

WHAT?

The gift shop?! I hear you cry. Yes. The gift shop. It was clear that the British Museum meant business with this exhibit, and it was not aimed at anyone low-rent. Normally, one is used to the cheesy, over-priced tat of museum shops, but not here. Everything was either hand-crafted or painfully clever. I wanted to buy it all, from four thousand dollar lacquer and enamel pens to framed silk print scarves. Truly, these trinkets were as resplendent as the real treasures in the exhibit.

But back to the exhibit itself. Like any good museum, audio guides were available, and judging from the amount of people using them, apparently they were worthwhile. (Unfortunately, I don’t go in for that kind of thing.) Also, there was a well produced guide to the collection full of lots of history as well as pictures, however this was in the form of an overpriced coffee book instead of a handheld copy, which was only available at the end of the exhibit.

But, true to life, every exhibit has it’s downsides.

I found that despite the beauty of the artefacts, they needed to be kept in low light, which meant that the dramatic effect of the exhibit came from the fact that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my own face. The spotlights were very harsh in places and soon my eyes were hurting. Luckily, in places there were benches to sit. The history of the exhibit itself was comprehensive, however too much so. I am a smart girl, and frankly I felt belittled in places at how dumbed-down the prose accompanying the exhibits was. It was very ‘GCSE revision guide’ instead of ‘have a faceful of amazing rememberable facts’. Was the exhibit designed to let the heirlooms speak for themselves? No. The content definitely needs revising.

This is of particular importance as there was very little media used to diversify the exhibition, despite the plethora of it’s contents. There were only one or two screens playing silent, thirty second videos on repeat. It was poor. That being said, the ticket prices are very much over-priced for the amount that one sees. I expected it to be at least half an hour longer, as we finished it in one hour fifteen, even doubling back to repeat some parts. I would have thought that if one was expected to spend exponentially in the gift shop anyway, that the tickets would have been cheaper. This problem was lessened slightly by the fact that there are some concession prices for students and OAPs etc.

So despite the fact that any standard guests’ bank account would be severely crippled by the time that the Ming exhibit is done with you, the nature, value and quality of the treasures themselves is worth seeing, even if you care little for the history of the era (1450’s). This exhibit is designed to blow your socks off. However, in reality, I’d say it gave an underwhelming gust.

A redeeming factor is the brilliant page that is set up on the British Museum’s website. It covers some highlights, gives some other reviews and also has it’s own blog. I recommend thoroughly browsing that before deciding to go.

If by some miracle this review has convinced you to see the treasures for yourself, you’d better hurry as it ends on the 5th of January 2015.

10 Misconceptions Essex Has TOWIE To Thank For

This is actually true. I don’t know what this girl is on about. Of course I wear my stilettos to have a pooh! It’s The Only Way.

Confessions of a Sober Essex Girl

1. All men go to the gym topless (and are stunning and ripped).

Now I don’t know if I am going to the right gym or not (jokes, I don’t go to the gym), but all the men in mine seem to be around 40 and wearing very dark t shirts with sweat stains. Not once have I seen an Adonis like Dan from TOWIE rip his shirt off and start doing weights.I did see a man once with quite short shorts on, if that counts?

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2. All of the clubs play shit music and serve drinks in ‘Posh plastic’.

There really are some good nightclubs in Essex, so please don’t tar all of them with the ‘faces’ brush. I’m also baffled at where all these posh wine glasses have popped up from because I swear last time I went to Sugar Hut my drink was in a poundshop plastic…

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Gently Does It

There are days when we are angry. There are days when people treat you and those you love like shit. There are days when you’re so angry you just want to scream.

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Yes, there are those days.

I’ll tolerate those days because they show me who I really do love, really do care for, and who I want in my life. By pure chance, several friends, be it flatmates, friends from Classics Society, from home, and on-line friends have all imparted wisdom to me in passing conversation. Some of this has stuck in my mind and encouraged me to expand on the philosophy I try to live by. To live gently.

My dad gave me this little nugget of wisdom a few years ago, and though I didn’t really get it at the time, it now makes a lot of sense. But like any good philosophy treatise, it is ALWAYS easier said than done, hence, there still exists THOSE DAYS. When you just can’t seem to muster the strength to forgive, but only the strength to stand and fight. But looking back, they are both just as strong. However I believe that forgiveness requires more courage.

“Always forgive, but never forget, else you will be a prisoner of your own hatred, and doomed to repeat your mistakes forever.”

― Wil Zeus, Sun Beyond the Clouds

At this point, I could put my hours of study under the great Gabriele* in Greek and Roman Philosophy to good use and write about my interpretation of Cicero, Suetonius, Plato, Aristotle etc, but at the end of the day, I trust the knowledge given to me by those I love. So back to my friends. This year, a lot of quotes come to mind, and they shall remain uncredited to spare any blushes.

‘Never think badly of your friends until they prove you wrong.’

‘Don’t shit where you eat.’

‘Vir Sursum.’

‘The people that want to be in your life will make the effort to be there.’

To the people that said this to me, thank you, and in return I’m sharing it with other people.

thanks peeps

There will always be awful days, but if you live gently, things will come around and the sun will always come out of the clouds eventually. When that happens, you’ll be too busy being happy to worry.

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*Philosophy Lecturer known for imparting spectacular advice

If you want more quotes or inspiration to make you feel on top of the world, visit my Pinterest Board: Chin Up.

A Dark End to the Week

As some of you may know, I dislike Black Friday. This piece is merely to articulate my disdain towards the large companies taking advantage of the gap in the British market. May I point out that there is a gap there for a reason? As a nation, we never have, and I hope never will, celebrate thanksgiving. It is an American tradition, and though I tolerate some in this country, Black Friday is not one of them. Not only do people lap it up – because, hey, who doesn’t love a sale? – but also it’s just too damn near to Christmas not to take advantage of such jaw-dropping deals. What’s not to love?

Well, everything, as it turns out, as unfortunately, this smarmy little secret sale thing means that when I broke my phone charger this morning, an event which I can state is QUITE stressful, I endeavoured to search for a new replacement quickly on-line within my student budget. This seemed like an easy task, as I have mastered the art of on-line shopping, however on this one fateful Friday, the sycophantic Americans did it again by introducing a silly custom which left EVERY SINGLE ON-LINE STORE I went to unable to let me on to their site, due to the huge influx of customers buying SHIT. Shouldn’t customers that actually NEED something come before customers that just WANT something? (Of course, you can say I don’t need a phone charger if I don’t have a phone, but as a student, it’s my only way of contacting family quickly)

TESCO, AMAZON, ARGOS, ASDA… all these sites were chocka block full of people vying for the best deals. Credit to them, if I needed expensive gifts for people, I’d be a savvy shopper and do it on Cyber Weekend also, however after having seen pictures of people cramming and pushing to clear shelves in shops and supermarkets over in America, I fail to see how this tradition is loved. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful for what you already have, and then apparently forgetting all of that the day after in order to barge your fellow man out of the way to get the last packet of Oreos or the only tv left in stock. Imagine my disbelief when a friend told me the horror she witnessed at people in TESCO, in the UK, pushing and shoving to get into the store. This is capitalism gone mad. So fucking thanks, America, your disgusting custom is infecting the British people, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Mostly because you little fuckers probably put the Tea and biscuits on sale first. I believe Jessie J had it right the first time… Forget about the price tag.

Shock Horror

This week, and, it seems, almost every week, Kim Kardashian is in the news. Most self-respecting people roll their eyes and scroll past her name, some stop and look, others are fanatics. She’s always controversial, we get the picture…blah blah blah.

Normally, my opinion on Kim Kardashian is that she made a business empire out of nothing. A sex tape, a few celeb friends, and here she is 25 million twitter followers later with numerous fragrances/beauty/fashion lines and has globalised the Kardashian family name. Kudos to her.

Of course, the back story is kind of irrelevant, when you consider the fact that she has made herself a ‘sexual icon’. (Queue a few steps back for feminism). Of course, again, I watch her progress through life with mellow curiosity. However, this week Papermag wrote and article on her for which she stripped completely naked.

Even though she has had multiple surgeries and is criticized much for it, she still is a beautiful woman when she is photographed dressed at various events or out and about. But after having clicked on the article to read it, my curiosity turned to absolute despair. I was disappointed in her for stripping naked. It’s not that it’s vulgar, just that it’s unnecessary.

Moreover, the star that I once thought was beautiful, I now saw as completely plain. Yes, she has a big ass, and apparently gorgeous breasts and a decently sized waistline, but seeing her naked made me feel sorry for her. I did not think she was beautiful in the slightest.

We shouldn’t forget that despite appearances, Kim probably has a personality too, which is a part of her celebrity status also, but I saw none of that either. It should be noted that she has not disappointed me because I uphold a ‘unobtainable standard of beauty that the western world has brain-washed me into thinking’, oh no. This is me feeling genuinely sorry for a woman who I saw as a good (good, not great) role-model for young women aspiring in business. I guess she doesn’t mind all the people staring at her naked.

For those of you who want to read the article (and ultimately stare at her naked body) here is the link to Papermag.

None of Your Lip!

There is an art to make-up. It’s a sad world when a lot of women don’t feel confident enough to try something new. The other day I was paying for coffee when the barista said ‘I love your lipstick!’

At first, I was very flattered. It takes a lot of guts to pay a compliment to a complete stranger. However she proceeded to say something which broke my heart entirely.

‘I can’t pull off lipstick like that.’

Immediately I felt guilty for making her feel inferior, even though I’d done nothing wrong. I felt worried that if some women can’t be brave enough to TRY A NEW LIPSTICK, (which, in the context of the universe is quite a mundane aspect of life), how are we supposed to go out and change the world? Indeed, some women in the public eye are completely dependent on their lipstick!

Angelina Jolie made a career out of pouting

Angelina Jolie made a career out of pouting

Marilyn Monroe, famous for her amazing lips

Marilyn Monroe, famous for her amazing lips

Is it so wrong to put a little bit of colour on my lips? No. Pinterest, YouTube, all those social media sites are CHOC FULL of women teaching others how to wear lipstick and the like. So please, stop making me feel guilty for trying something new. I really am not ashamed to stand out and look smart. If I’m wearing lipstick, it means I’ve tried. I don’t care whether or not it’s necessary to a 9am lecture or a trip to Tesco.

If you feel like you’ll end up looking like Patricia Quinns lips from Rocky Horror, then clearly you’re doing it wrong. 001-0501222227-Rocky-Horror-lips

Lips can be sexy! Guys love it when girls bite their lips and it’s even more sexy if they’re blood red or candy pink. They make people more expressive. They make people sit up and pay attention to what you’re saying. They look professional. They’re playful. They’re what you use to shout to the world that you’ve arrived. Hell, even famous artists were obsessed with lips.

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Dali’s famous lip sofa

So in the morning, get up and slick a bit of your lippie on and stop making me feel like I’ve got a clown face just because you’re too shy to wear it. It’s almost as bad as skinny shaming. Stare all you like hunny, us girls in the lipstick club couldn’t give a shit.

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MWAH

17 Basic MAC Products Every Girl Needs

This is a godsend. Forever reblog.

Thought Catalog

Fluidline

MACMAC

MAC Fluidline for me represents the transition from high school makeup user to Real Adult Woman makeup user. It’s one of my favorite things ever. It’s a pot of eyeliner liquid, essentially, and use can use a skinny brush to use it for the easiest, most dummy-proof winged eyeliner ever. They don’t advertise this, but you can also use it as a tough-as-shit eyeshadow primer. Since all the fluidlines are dark, I only do this when I’m doing “going out” makeup — but a fluidline base with an eyeshadow over it will.not.budge the entire night you are sweating and dancing. It’s the most life-proof makeup combo I’ve tried.

Volcanic Ash Exfoliator

MACMAC

Um hi, exfoliator addict here. And I can’t recomend this exfoliator highly enough. I love Origins’ Modern Friction as that one is a bit more gentle on the skin, but when you NEED to feel really

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That One Fucking Raindrop

Isn’t it always the way? I’m half way to campus, and, in the traditional manner of Exeter weather, the heavens decide to open.

It’s okay, I have an umbrella,’ I think nondescriptly. After all, it’s only a smattering of drops.

Actually, I quite like walking in the rain, it makes me even-tempered for a short while. Nothing to fret about…

Until Zeus decides it’s time to literally rain on my parade. Thanks mate.

Because there’s this raindrop, you see. Not just any old raindrop. No, this raindrop is meant for me. It started it’s pitiful little life up there, in the clouds, biding it’s time… waiting.

Waiting for THE person. The person who’ll most likely be abruptly snapped out of their glorious revelry of sauntering through the rain by a herculean gust of wind.

Wind so strong that it enabled THAT ONE FUCKING RAINDROP to land SQUARELY on my nose.

So fuck you, little raindrop.

Fuck. You.