Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday Summary | I'm wicked and I'm lazy*

* but you know what, lazy is OK sometimes. You don't have to do All the Things. 

Especially if this past week was your first full week in work for, oh, let's say six or so weeks, and you're spent with all the Thinking and the Doing.

QB gives you permission to ... not. Just don't.

Dear FOQ

How are we all faring in this bold new era? Broken all your resolutions yet? Smashed the patriarchy? Seized the day? Carpe'd the heck out of the diem?

And if not, why not?

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading πŸ“–

I confess, I'm BB again.

Between Books.

I'm a bad, bad, BB bibliophile. (Although I have just worked through a pile of back-issue Guardian Weekend magazines the size of a small child.)

But I'm ...

Writing ✍

Anywhere. At any time.

(Except when the train's swaying, jolting movement kick-starts a delightful wave of nausea and then I'm just sitting there with my eyes closed hoping it goes away in a minute.)


In the pub.

On the train.

In Costa.

Sometimes in the Pumpkin Cafe as well. (I don't discriminate.)

Am I absolved from my non-reading yet?

Watching πŸ“Ί


on Netflix

and observing with interest the ever-evolving hair narratives of the cast.

Especially Chandler and his long-short-long-short mullet. Bless.

Yes, Friends, watched with the benefits of hindsight or by enlightened millennials (who I'm sure all pooh-pooh the Kardashians), is flawed.

But it's a beacon of a less-enlightened time.

And it reminds me of Friday nights at home with Ma QB and Sis, and a cheeky Wispa bar after a long week inside the torture-chamber that was school.

And as for the comic timing, could it have been any more superb?

Dead Poets Society

How have I gone this long in life without watching this film?

And how have I suffered through all those seasons of Robert Sean Leonard as drippy Dr Wilson in House when I could have been initiated with his stellar performance in DPS – and his cheekbones which are arguably sharp enough to slice cheese?

{Why, Dr Wilson ... you're beautiful.}
And let us not forget beautiful awkward teenage Ethan Hawke.

Bouncing πŸ‡

and achieving neither of these fails, you'll be pleased to hear.

On the first Thursday of the new year, I decided to fulfil an ambition of returning to trampolining.

I used to go to a Saturday morning class as a youngster (largely, I believe, so Ma and Pa QB didn't have to haul annoying infant QB round Sainsbury's), and took a couple of classes at school until the popular girls decided they couldn't be bothered to spot me and I think I may have either fallen off completely or come something of a cropper.

Either way, that was probably the last time I trampolined properly with the exception of one or two segues onto a bouncy castle, and onto Brighton Pier in June 2006 with Natalie and our friend Alice who was visiting from New Zealand:

Oh and, celebrating my thirtieth bouncing on Cousin Julie's girls' trampoline. That was epic.

Anyway. I digress. I love a bounce. I love a trampoline. I used to be able to do all sorts of bouncy spinny forward-rolly things on them. But of course with age comes Fear and the inevitable Decrepit-ness.

I attended a Trampoline Fitness Class.

I am not fit.

One needs to be fit to attend a fitness class.

The Harwoodian frame is not built for sprinting.

{The anti-QB. Oh, stop showing off.}

I'm sure if I stuck with it I'd spend less time gasping "I'm going to diiiiiiiie" and more time achieving stuff but I think it might take a while for the nausea to dissipate ...

But my word, the bouncing bits, the seat drops, the star jumps, they were so much fun.

... Can I just do a whole class of jumping without the scary fitness bits?

Catching up ... πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ•

with this bastion of loveliness:

for diarising and general gossip-mongering. And garlic-bread-pizza-with-caramelised-onions-on-it.

We've got all our mate-dates pencilled ink until June. At least. Result!

(And we can sync our Google Calendars now, don'tcha know.)

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight πŸ“Œ

Fortnightly Web Finds πŸ•ΈπŸ”Ž

(for those fortnights when I have the chance to curate a couple of links)

Serious πŸ˜

• How to stop your job taking over your life | Harriet Minter on The Pool
• Let’s break the “new year, new me” trend and remind ourselves we rock | Amy Jones on The Pool

Silly 🀑

• Google Translate Sings ... The Circle of Life | Malinda Kathleen Reese on YouTube

Until the next ... stay you.

qb xx

Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Quirky New Year to you all!

Dear FOQ

It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without a little Contemplative Missive from me, now, would it.

I'll keep this brief, anyway, as I'm sure you're all heading off out to parties and shenanigania while I'm basically rocking this look again

in front of this film again:

{Strictly Ballroom}

(and demanding that Ma QB show me her paso doble! Show!)

and wanting to head for bed around this time again:

Eh. Why change the habits of a near-lifetime? NYE is overrated anyway.

This week, I have mostly been ...

Reading πŸ“•

and finishing

{Spellbook of the Lost and Found | MoΓ―ra Fowley-Doyle

While I love Fowley-Doyle's offbeat and poetic writing style I'm afraid I struggled to keep track of, and therefore care about, a cast of characters who seemed interchangeable, and who all seemed to have very similar, and overtly thematic, names: Holly. Hazel. Rowan. Rose. Ivy. Olive. Ash.

And by the end, where a crucial fact about the characters was revealed, I was even more confused, to the point whereby I skim-read the last couple of chapters as I couldn't invest enough in the story. (Sorry, Evie.)

Watching πŸ“Ί

Oh, so much.


Little Women

{via here}
I was not convinced by Meg (too young, not vain enough and no real connection with Brooke until he proposed) and Emily Watson still seems a little too young to be Marmee but Jo and Amy were both very well characterised, and even drippy, sickly Beth was a little more convincing than usual (and I must admit to getting a little misty-eyed over Marmee's admission to Jo that she never made any plans for marriage and children for Beth ...).

And Angela Lansbury as Aunt March? Yaaaas.

However I don't remember Laurie lusting after Jo for as long as he did. Perhaps a re-read of the novel is due?

The Miniaturist

This was such a beautifully filmed and delicately handled adaptation – down to the creepiness of the characters and the appearance of the miniatures themselves.

Absolutely now want to visit Amsterdam.

Though sadly I fear wearing a teal silk cape whilst milling around the city might not be de rigueur any more. Shame.


Wonderful. Very much a Disney formula but all the more magical for it.

Beauty and the Beast

Brilliantly done. Emma Watson is a born Disney hero (even if she puts the emphasis in the wrong place pronouncing Maman).

And Emma Thompson is a worthy successor to Dame Lansbury as Mrs Potts.

Though, couldn't help thinking the iconic ballroom scene was more beautifully executed in the original animation. Stickler? Maybe.

Celebrating Christmas πŸŽ…

in the QB Stylee:

{Drivin' home for Christmas via the Bletchingley Arms for lunch, plus beer, wine and
a mocktail for Ma}

{Unsubtle demands for supper were being made ...}

{The Christmas Tree, festooned to the strains
of Bing, Dean and Wailing Mahalia}

{The hallway of QB Heights, Senior Division. Oddly reminiscent
of the runways at Gatwick ...}
{Kicking off Christmas Day hijinks the QB Way: with Bucks Fizz
mid-morning and overindulgence on the lebkucken.
The Fish represents the Absent Sister.}

{Snoozing Father as Standard.}

{Dressed up for dinner. And yes, I have a
constellation on my face.}

{This year's crackers came with novelty
photo props ...}

{Throwback to the days when Pa QB rocked
a pipe ...}

{Making insane faces is my FAVOURITE.}

OK, that's enough of that, I think.

{Tonbridge Castle and the river looking splendid}

I'll be the first to admit it's been a delightfully hermit-y Christmas

{I've dun did lots of writing!}
with the equally lovely exception of visiting friends Justine, Phil and Ellie on Christmas Eve; the Brazier clan on Christmas morning; and meeting cousin Tim and partner Conor on Boxing Day in the One Caff in Tonbridge that was Actually Open (Nero for the WIN)!

Sis and Ceri rocked up for Christmas Mark II on Thursday (I think? What day even is it?). Cue more gift-giving, drink-drinking, poo-flinging (don't ask) and quizzes wherever we could find them.

{So Spesh.} 
{Working our way through the Only Connect quiz book ...}

{During a rather unsuccessful attempt at casting app quizzes to the telly.
Sis is not impressed.}

{Triv. Guaranteed to cause at least a tiny amount of controversy.}

And so that was Christmas.

Only another 51 weeks till we do it all over again!

Resolving πŸ“†

... not to resolve (at least not publicly).

Now, at this time of year, it is usually customary for me to review my year in some way, shape or form, and see how much I've achieved, and how much I haven't.

This year, I can tell you without looking at last year's 'typographical infographic' that I've not achieved much of what I resolved to do this time last year.

(Let's have a look at it anyway.)

Perhaps I should feel bad that I've actually broken promises I made to myself ...

But I don't. And y'know what? That's OK.

I've said it before on this blog quite recently (all the thanks to Jos for giving me a virtual fist-bump/high five over my proclamations) and I'll say it once again since it bears repeating (that sounds familiar ... is it a lyric or just a cliche?): there is absolutely no benefit, I've discovered, after thirty-nine and a bit years on this 'ere planet, in putting extraneous pressure on oneself on the basis of one list made on one New Year's Eve to accomplish a whole chunk o' things, some of which are beyond my control to achieve.

I haven't been abroad this year (promise 4).

But I have been to Hope Cove (promise number 5):

and I've been to Hertfordshire (twice!) to spend quality time with Cousin Jo:

and to Dungeness because that's how we Harwoods roll.

I haven't read fifty books (promise 1).

I've read seventeen this year.

And I've been writing The Novel with increased dedication and investment (promise 3).

Furthermore ...

I've tried to devote more time to meeting up with those delicious friends and relatives who actively pursue meeting-up opportunities. To those friends, and absent ones, I dedicate this montage:

Disclaimer: the song in this video is supposed to be out of copyright so I'll apologise if you end up with ads because of my idiocy. Eh.

I've braved London town and 'met' Actual Gillian Anderson.

I've sung and recorded with my Lovelies at Abbey Road:

{Photo courtesy of Voicerox Music/MM}

None of these things were On The List.

Yet these have been keynote moments of 2017 and worth mentioning once again.

And at times, I've got through this year the only way I know how and once in a while stepped back and thought, nope, I need a lie-in and a duvet day and everything else needs to wait.

It's not a bad thing to make plans and resolutions.

And it's not a bad thing when life intercedes to stop you from ticking off a few tick-boxes.

So maybe I'm cultivating a more casual list of Plans and Resolutions, Intentions and Goals somewhere but rather than put it out in the world I'm keeping it a secret so if I don't achieve all of those things I don't feel the need to publicly flagellate myself yet again.

Makes sense.

Pinterest Pins of the Week πŸ“Œ

And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

(I mean, 2018 can't suck any more than the last couple of years, really, can it?)

qb xx

PS I hope you're enjoying the fireworks display!