Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday Summary | She is D.I.S.C.O. ...

Dear FOQ

How are we all? Not feeling too Sunday-evening-ish, I hope.

Maybe it's the deliciously autumnal weather (and the sheer exhaustion of having Done Stuff this weekend) but I'm feeling the need to binge on some traditional Sunday-night period dramas: notably this ...

{Jane Eyre}
followed by this, if time and energy and general consciousness permit:

It's all very educational, you understand.

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading 📘

It's surprising how slowly one can read a 128-page book, but I swear, it's the writing (my own, not hers) holding me up.

It's like a compulsion.

As is the compulsion to doze on the train, but hey, I'm only human, and it's still sort of dark when I get up for work now, so ... yep.

I should probably also mention that I've more or less abandoned my target of reading 50 books. And that setting myself targets seems to be tantamount to setting myself up to fail; and quite honestly, I'm only in competition with myself so ... why pile on the pressure, eh?

Watching 📺

Season 10 of The Big Bang Theory

... which turned up on Netflix last weekend to my utter joy.

I've only gone and finished the whole season in, what, six days?!

Now I see where my potential reading time is really being used up. Hmm.

But who can possibly resist the undeniable allure of this man ... ?

{Seriously, what's not to love?}
I also started watching

Santa Clarita Diet

⚠⚠⚠ Warning: graphic (i.e. gross) and sweary content! Watch at your own discretion ... ⚠⚠⚠

Premise: suburban woman turns zombie. But while it's quirky 'n' all – Drew Barrymore is infinitely watchable in spite of, bless her, always being kinda Drew Barrymore, and hello, Timothy Olyphant, (recognisable from such 90s/00s cinematic/televisual epics as Scream 2 and that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie dates a much younger man):

when did you turn into Dishy Dad material?

– it's also gory as heck.

And given I like to watch the 'Flix over dinner, this is not, I tell thee, the best choice for that.

Trust me on this. The first episode alone will put you right off your carbonara.

Gaga: Five Foot Two

She's a funny little onion, is Gaga. Her whole image has been built around a myth of absolute bonkers-ness

but she's spent the last couple of years paring back that image to the point of absolute fragility (much of her tour has been postponed after she was overwhelmed by her chronic pain condition).

And at some points in this documentary she just seemed so completely adrift, lonely, and in need of a proper rest; a cuddle from her dad; hospital treatment without a makeup artist there prepping her for her next engagement; and a holiday away from the madness of the myth of being Gaga.

Oh and maybe a nice strong cup of tea to see her right.

That voice though.

She's minute; the documentary goes to great pains to show just how physically teeny she actually is; but she is committed to her music and to her fans, she's conscientious, and boy can she belt 'em out. It's hard not to have All the Feels watching her work out the subtleties of Million Reasons, or a jazz rendition of Bad Romance.

Ro-ma-ooh-la la.

{Slaaaay, sista.}

Making ... 🥘 

... whoopee.

Just kidding.

Compote. I made compote.

Cherry and raspberry compote, to go over my morning porridge (new ritual; admittedly far more filling than my previous breakfast of ... well, mostly rubbish). Perfect for chilly autumn mornings.

I even sterilised jars, a process that has always intimidated me out of making any sort of conserve (no, I know, compote probably doesn't even count).

Gettin' Lost in Music (caught in a trap // no turnin' back) 🎶

Last night, the lovely people of the Parish, plus some friends from Other Places (notably formerly of Voicerox: Sandra, Gill, Rosemary!), gathered for another fun evening of dancing at the 1970s Disco, organised and decorated in large part by friend Julie and by moi.

After the success of last year's 1960s disco, the 1970s seemed the next-best decade to theme the event around, and it turned out to be a fantastic choice given the outfits on display by the guests, some of whom really went to town! (I hope you know who you are, and that you all looked fantastic!)

And in case you're not feeling the vibe ... here's a sampler of some of the tuneage we were dancing to (and some we weren't, for balance):

Sadly, I can't find a recording on Spotify of our Last Song of the night ... So I've found a YouTube recording instead.

All together now: Weebles wobble but they don't fall down.

You're welcome. Now feast your eyes upon this bevy of delights. All slightly out of order and occasionally blurry with mood lighting, but, you get the picture!

{Aspiring to great glamour with
mixed results ...}

{Model model!
The shoulder tattoo is temporary. As were
the lashes. Fun, though!}


{Julie & Natalie}

{Home Bar Goals}

{QB aboard the Love Train ...}

{Buffet Break}

{Rev. Helen rocks out}

{Staff team photograph!}

{Spot the vicar ...}

{They don't call 'er Red Hot for nowt}

{A rare sighting but welcome nonetheless:
Jill & Jo West bopping like it's 1975!}

With many, many thanks to Julie for all her support, and her amazing decorations; to Ellen and C for their help setting up; Louise and Caryl (and David) for the themed food (yay, vol-au-vents!) and front-of-house; Fleur for staying bonkers-late to help clean up; and to the fantastic Sound Division, Andy and Hugh, for indulging our whimsical musical tastes.

And to my beautiful bestest Natalie, for coming along and supporting us (plus doing my makeup, and taking most of the photos!) in spite of being severely under the weather. Love oo.

Breakfasting 🥞

... with the Voicerox Lovelies this morning.

Sadly no photographs of the Assembled Breakfast Club exist because we were all too busy gossiping and feeding our faces (some with two breakfasts ... that totally wasn't me, no ... 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷) to take any.

So here's a gif of the Trousersnake waiting to be invited to the Jack Fairman to join us ...

Breakfast Club Shout-outs due to Jess, Mimi, Charlie, Al, Alun, Chris and Jenny. 

Excellent company as always.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight 📌

Fortnightly Web Finds 🕸🔎

Just the one: while I have plenty of articles bookmarked to read and share, the having a chance to read them part is falling by the wayside. I should probably address that.

Silly 🤡

• The G👀gly Eye Movement is taking over the world! | on BuzzWorthy | via Natalie

STOP PRESS: The Googly Eyes Foundation has an Instagram. There go several hours of my life!

{photo credit | via here}

Join us again in two weeks for, well, much of the same really.

qb xx

{Yes, I own a lightbox now. I am officially a social media cliché.}

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sunday Summary | Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again ...

A slightly more cryptic Lyrics Competition for you this fortnight; the usual offering of chocolate to whomever guesses the song (and for a Bethy Bonus, the slightly soppy/saccharine/sad film it features in, to give you a tiny hint).


Dear FOQ

Welcome to autumn, my friends. I'm not ashamed to admit that while the heating will not go back on until, oh, mid-November, the electric undersheet (it's not a blanket, 'kay?) is back in play.

Can I get a warm, cosy whoop-whoop for that?

Admittedly it's on the bed but not switched on yet. It is only September after all; let's not go crazy now.


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading 📕

{Ignorance Michèle Roberts}

{Liberty | Virginia Woolf}

I'm still ludicrously behind in my quest to read 50 books this year. *decides to reread all the Children's Ward novellas followed by the Worst Witch series to make up the numbers*

Blame the barely-suppressed urge to write. (Yay!)

And the walking. Yes! The walking!

I've only gone and done it: 1,000 miles plus this year with three months still to go!

I should discount (and I will discount) a fair few accidental Fitbit steps accumulated whilst dancing, clapping, typing and doing them there Voicerox moves, but even with that concession ... 1,000 miles, people! (I'm pretty sure I've walked more than this in my actual lifetime but in the Fitbit's lifetime, that's about it.)

Watching 📺💿

• How I Met Your Mother


Series Nine (finale season).

I'll limit the number of spoilers in case there's anyone out there (like me) who's slow on the uptake of watching the whole series but, HIMYM, how could you?!

Such, such disappointment. All that lead up and so many resultant mehs.

Especially in the way in which the series just chose to consign the Women to Roles that are Automatically Relative to Men.

Yes, it bugged me that we only found out The Mother's Name right at the very end. Even if the 'mystery' was the entire premise of the series. But still. Apparently women only become people in their own right when they marry and/or give birth. Ugh.

If the cast hadn't been constantly supreme throughout the whole series (even though I had limited time for Robin and Marshall as characters) I'd have really got annoyed with this programme.

Like, really. To Angry-Lily Level.

{#tbt Evil Willow}
• The Supergrass

No, this trailer does nothing to explain the film (which is wondrous, with all its Hope Cove landmarks, not to mention Nigel Planer in drag).

• The Coroner

Because, Hope Cove.

(This is how it's trailed in 'Murica!)

Best. Plotlines. Ever.

Best. Acting. Ever. (Well, after Tribbiani, anyway.)

Coroners always go out to visit crime scenes.

And have barely veiled sexual tension with their old friend, the police officer. Hmm.

And a murder always makes it into the newspaper hours after it has taken place, even before the police investigation has happened.

It's all highly plausible.

That said, I'm properly sad the series has been axed. What am I going to mock now?!

• Lion

OK. Serious faces on now.

This was such a good film. So sad but so uplifting (cliche, cliche).

And the little boy playing young Saroo: such a smart kid and that smile ...

Heartbreaking. (But in a truly endearing "this child is amazing" sort of a way.)

• Paper Towns

(When will there be an emoji for cultivating square eyes ...?)

Two years ago when Norgstar and I were in Hope Cove* I was reading the novel; so upon return this time around, I felt it only appropriate to watch the film adaptation.

Bearing in mind I loved the last John Green film adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars, I wasn't quite as gripped by Paper Towns: parts of the film were just plain dark (physically) and very slow, and I'm still cynical about either of these boys (left and right; side note, Nat Wolff, in the centre, was also in TFIOS)

being old enough to leave high school) but y'know, in spite of my reservations about Cara Dele-whatsit and her amazing performing eyebrows, I actually rated her in this film; as in, I don't get her as a model and a socialite or whatever it is she does for a living (professional eyebrow model?) but acting-wise, she was pretty credible.

Her accent slipped once or twice but, y'know, not that much.

• Friends from College

Because they're all about my age, and their lives are shambolic and I value that in a series.

I particularly like the ongoing discussion in the series about the importance of the YA market in book publishing, as Ethan tries to pitch a novel for adults that gets absorbed into the YA bracket.

Also, nice to see Cobie Smulders (interesting name...) playing a far more interesting character than HIMYM's Robin Scherbatsky.

And wonderful to see Fred Savage in, well, anything, really.

He's perpetually adorable.

Especially when he's tap-dancing:

Listening 👂🎶

... to my 30 Days of Music selection.

Some of the themes are especially tricky to align a song with; a song I want to play at my funeral? It's not as if I'll be there to know, is it (cheery thought alert).

Any road, I'm definitely going to adhere to the list Cousin Jo found for November's 30 Days! (If I can find the list ... it seems to have disappeared into my email annals...!)

I've also consolidated my New Discoveries playlist with the Sunday Summary playlist on Spotify. Feel free to follow!

Holidaying 🌊🌞🍷

... in Hoooooope Cooooove (which I have to say in a voice laden with mystery and intrigue for my darling friend Norgstar aka Georgina, my former HC-holiday-ing buddy who, sadly, was laid up in the sick-house last week with a ruptured appendix. Grim. Please let's all send our girl healing thoughts.)

Here be some photographic evidence of Ma QB's and my holiday shenanigans.

Incidentally, when your friend mishears 'Ma QB' in a recounting as Marky B, you find yourself wondering if you've just monikered a hot new hip-hop act reminiscent of the chart toppers of the 1990s ... (thanks, Jos, for that aside!)

I digress.

I could write a whole account but ... it was such a leisurely, lovely, lazy time that there seems little point. And who's honestly going to read all that nonsense anyway?

Probably not even I, for I have lived it, friends.

{On the train, coasting through Dawlish, aka over the sea and far away.}

{At the Cove, early evening. Skies like no other.}

{Ma QB/Marky B}

{Dinner at the Hope & Anchor, where
I had a delicious cod and chips}
{Happy QB, sporting my jazzy new Hope Cove Lifeboat hoodie, fyi}

{First sighting of the infamous Hope Cove sunset}

{Can't beat it.}

{Lifeboat volunteers in training on the horizon, there}

{Back in the Square, near the cottage. This is the dream,
my friends, to hole up in a beautiful house like this, complete
with its studio annex, and just write. Le sigh.}


{The obligatory feet in the water shot}

followed by ....

{... the obligatory arty gif}
{Ma QB assures me she was not as cold as she looks in this photo.}

{Walking up to Bolt Tail}

{Fool on the Hill, part one}

{Smiley Bolt Tail selfie with the End of the World
directly behind us}

A quick word about Bolt Tail: the walk up to the Tail constitutes part of the South West Coast Path, and also boasts some cracking, three-hundred-and-sixty-degree views. It's hard not to feel a little profound up there.

Right, enough of that. Back on with the holiday snaps.

{Fool on the Hill, part two ...}

{I love me a treacherous cliffside ...}

{Ma, trying to get signal ...}


We rewarded ourselves for our gentle Yomp over the Tail with lunch at The Cove cafe-restaurant, at which we both ate sandwiches the size of our heads, I went holiday-craycray with a glass of vino while Ma plumped for a tasty elderflower and berry cider. I wish I could remember what berry it was (strawb?) but it was particularly delicious (I finished it off).

We then relaxed for the afternoon, reading, writing, shopping in the Hope Cove Gallery, then ambled down to the sea again for an ...

{Evening snifter by the sea wall}

{Not the most elegant photograph of either of us.
Especially since I'm bearing a startling resemblance to ...}
{How am I still single?
... Answers are right here, folks. #spesh}

{Relaxation, captured.}

Upon return to the cottage, we settled in to watch The Supergrass during which I freely shouted, "We've been there! We're there!" whenever we spotted a particularly noteworthy Hope Cove landmark.

Which was, well, in most shots, actually, since the film was made on location in that there Cove.

I'm sure that didn't get annoying at all, right, Ma?


{Up with the lark and off for an amble, to capture another glorious morning ...}

{Ooh! Cormorant!}

{Ooh! Still the same cormorant!}

We decided to make another walk, this time to South Milton Sands, for brunch at the Beachhouse cafe.

{Those clouds look a bit portentous ...}

{Ah but it's sunny over that way. We'll be fine ... she said.}


However ... several factors played against us.

1) Weather. The rain, it rained like a rainy thing as we reached South Milton.

2) Timing. Breakfast stopped being served a couple of minutes before we arrived.

3) Moi. My propensity to take arty photographs of sea and cliffs. If I hadn't stopped to do so, we might have just made it in time to order brunch.

Damn you, fate. Damn you, propensity to take arty photographs of sea and cliffs.

Never mind.

We had just a coffee at the Beachhouse, surrounded by damp walkers, too many dogs and children, before yomping back and taking a late lunch at the Hope & Anchor.

Witness, my epic Ploughman's:

{Reader, I ate all of this. All of it. 🐷🐷🐷}

and my happy food-expectant face:

Later in the afternoon we toddled up to the Cottage Hotel for a cream tea in potentially The Most Silent Room ever, with the most generously loaded scones ever (cue photo of a prize porker):

{Fatty Fatty Boom Boom}
{This prompted an amble the long way back, to work off ... well, probably half
a scone ... if that.}

{Ma QB having a restorative read in the wondrous window seat ...}
Neither of us had any room for dinner that evening so feasted on baked beans on toast at some point, whilst watching Lion.


{Morning perambulation, with added boat}

{It isn't a Harwood Holiday without a Feet in the Sea shot featuring both of us}

{I took myself back up to Bolt Tail for another amble in the sunshine; this view never gets tiring.}

{Fool on the Hill, part three ...}

{... and four; nice chap took these for me
after I took photos of him and his wife in
the same spot. There are only so many
selfies a solo walker can take ...}

'Twas all in all a deliciously relaxing weekend, and I came away full of inspiration and with my shoulders no longer up around my ears, and slightly less baggy eyebags, if you can believe that.

(With massive thanks to Jilly, as ever, for the loan of the cottage.)

Film photos will follow at some point in the future: my camera films are out of sync with my life at the moment.

Rockin' out ... 🎤🍸

with Jos and the crew.

'Twas a moderately spontaneous decision, really, to shimmy on over to see Ms Jos, and Steve, and the youngsters (and young Paul); as in, we WhatsApped on Friday night and voila, Saturday night, there I was, pootling over to see the gang.

There was a fish and chip supper (I'm calling it supper because I is posh); there were daiquiris out of a pack-uiri (thanks, Mr Tesco):

some impressively classy-looking home-bar-ware (envy envy):

and the world's most enormous ice bucket (which apparently doubled as a goblet for Ms Amber).

And there were renditions of the songs of the Rocky Horror Show.

Followed up with Gaga and Beyoncé.

{"Stop telephonin' mehhhh"}

And some bad 80s pop choices that I surrendered part-way through because they are deceptively hard songs to sing.

Oh and this, my friends, is my very early Christmas present from Ms Jocelyne.

Isn't it fabulous?!?!?!? I really think the home bar needs to be expanded to make a central feature of this beauty. In the meantime, Flaminglow II has joined the Flock ...

Incidentally, though, apparently mixing Cointreau, amaretto and chocolate Baileys into a Supreme Jaffa Cake Shooter, then inventing some sort of pink Prosecco concoction with grenadine, kirsch and other pink things leads to the Mother of all Headaches in the morning.

I say apparently. I couldn't possibly testify to this in person.

Could I?


Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight 📌

Fortnightly Web Finds 🕸🔎

Serious 😐

• The pursuit of loneliness | on Guardian | I can think of more enriching things to do with all my solo-time than spending it in the gym but that's the joy of the life-choice. That said, I really don't feel that the writer of this piece has fully embraced solitude ... Perhaps I could give her some pointers.

• Manners cost nothing: a cafe owner tired of rude customers charges less for requests with a hello and a please/thank you | And why not? | via here

Silly 🤡

• Google Translate Sings ... I Dreamed a Dream. | Malinda Kathleen Reese on YouTube | I really want this girl to do well.

Aaaand that's all I've got time or inclination for.

Thank you as ever for your readership. You've been a wonderful audience.

qb xx