Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Book Review... The Shaking Woman

The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves by Siri Hustvedt (2010)

Looking at the colourful child-like cover of this book; the first on my reading list for my Literature, Sexuality and the Body module, I was looking forward to a nice, easy pick-me-up-between-train-stops read.

On reading The Shaking Woman, I found that it was largely easy to read, but the frame of reference the book deals with (neurology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis) was a little out of my comfort zone.

After suffering a mysterious seizure while giving a speech at her dead Father's memorial service, Siri takes the reader on an informative and intriguing but rather disjointed tour on her quest to find the reason, via many strange experiences and well researched thoughts.

I found myself actually interested in the authors quest once I knew my hysteria from my neuroses and my psychobiological systems from my neurological ones (because I'm one of those people that use these terms every day, ahem). The sheer number of abnormal experiences she documents made me increasingly think of her as a little cuckoo; including shakes, migraines, divine lifting feelings, synesthesia, powerful dreams, seeing sparks, black holes and hallucinations, hearing voices and out-of-body experiences. However, her book is incredibly well written and refreshingly more detached and analytical than your average memoir.

Siri finally accepts that her unruly Other, The Shaking Woman that is subdued but not eradicated by the use of beta-blockers, is a very real part of herself, not the imposing illness or hijacking psyche she first felt.

I think we all have that mysterious Other within us; that voice that tells you to squish things that are just TOO cute, tempts you to jump from great heights and pull the legs of jinny-spinners. Well, maybe mine is just a little sick and twisted rather than hysterical. Each to their own ey.

Gotta love the internet...

Things I've found that I just LOVE...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Been a busy bee...

So here's a couple of links to things I've been writing today for other blogs, enjoy!

Koreesa: Post on the celebrity favourite Aldo Coppola on Sloane Avenue in London being the first salon in the UK to use the Fusion Mesotherapy machine to give younger-looking, healthy skin...

Furore Style: Post on a pioneering way to combat male hair loss- Micro Hair Technique, which involves tattoing tiny micro hairs onto the scalp to give the appearance of an almost-shaved head- genius!

Today I've also been arranging pieces to write on two of their other clients for local papers, have been integrating all their social networking sites and providing general entertainment, so I'm very much looking forward to our Christmas night out  tonight :) I think I deserve the number of chocolates I've already eaten and the extent to which I'll be indulging further tonight at Cafe Rouge and the Mailbox!

Friday, 26 November 2010

FuroreStyle Blog Post- Bye Bye Botox!

Click here for my new post on the Furore PR blog!

Celebrities are sacking off the face-paralysing Botox in favour of more natural non-invasive alternatives that penetrate the surface of the skin without the use of needles.

One of these newest technologies is Virtual or needle-free Mesotherapy, as used by Oxynergy Paris alongside their specialist skincare products.

Although I'm only 20, I feel like now is the time to start thinking about my skin in order to help prevent some of the visible signs of ageing, rather than trying to cure them miraculously when it's too late and I look like a prune!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tried and Tested... Nail Varnish

Here's the link to a review of nail varnish I wrote for the University of Birmingham Redbrick Newspaper...


Jamie Oliver's New Restaurant... NOM!

On Friday I sampled the delights of Birmingham's new Jamie's Italian near the Bullring, and MY MY was it wonderful!

If the restaurant is busy (which it invariably is) then on arrival you get a nifty little pager to let you know when there is a table ready for you. The staff were really friendly and fun, dressed in dark jeans, white shirts and ties with cowboy-esque pocket belts that actually looked pretty cool!

The decor was almost All Saints-y in it's industrial feel, but mixed with elements that would be at home in a European Deli, like dry cured meats and salamis hanging above the food prep area, and huge jars of chillies, capers and olives next to rows of crusty bread loaves.

There was even a fresh pasta station where you could watch the chefs press and cut it to make your meals with- no out-of-the-packet fusilli in sight!

For starters we had an English Wild Boar Salami Artisan Meat Board (basically fancy salami but v. nice and tasty), and huge iced olives with sun dried tomato and black olive tapenade and shards of crispy 'music' bread.

The mains were their pièce de résistance; I had one of their specials; the most AMAZING slow-roasted (15 hours!) pork rolled with pan gratata, pine nuts, raisins and herbs, that had been basted in a sweet wine and came in a rustic pot served with roasties and rocket. It was uber tender and delicious, perfectly dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil- by far the best pork I've ever tasted.

My companion had half a marinated grilled pheasant with crispy fried liver and sage, salad and bread sauce smeared on the chopping-board type platter it came on. It was gorgeous, but my pork just pipped it to the post!

Having the world's most ridiculous sweet tooth, I had to have their ultimate warm chocolate, raspberry and Amaretto brownie with lush vanilla ice-cream. It was more like a rich, satisfying muffin than a brownie, but it definately hit the spot!

For 2 starters, 2 mains, a beer, a glass of wine and a desert the bill was around £45 not including service charge or tip, so for the standard of the food we got and the experience as a whole I reckon it's well worth it.

On asking our waitress if Jamie comes often though, she said he hasn't visited yet! Well, he's missing out!

Check out their usual menu on their website here.

Quote of the Day...

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

Albert Einstein- Amen

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Steal Kate Middleton's style

Check out my second Blog post on Kate Middleton and her engagement style for the FuroreStyle blog.

Not gonna lie, I'm a little jealous of the soon-to-be Princess's glowing face, svelte figure, Issa London dress and of course that priceless sapphire and diamond ring that belonged to the late Princess Diana.

Maybe one day I'll find my own handsome Prince to lavish me with precious gems and who looks as good as Wills in a suit...

Friday, 12 November 2010

New post on Furorestyle blog...

As some of you may know I work part-time for the wonderful PR company Furore PR in Birmingham. I have now been entrusted with managing all of Furore PR's online activity; their Facebook, blog, twitter and the like.

Today I wrote my First blog post on Furorestyle about Danii Minogue's wonderful choice of Fei Liu Jewellery on Sunday's X Factor.

Fei Liu is one of Furore PR's clients and his jewellery is just stunning. Some of his collections have won awards and received huge critical acclaim because they are just beautifully classic and yet entirely unique.

Check out some of his amazing pieces on his website

Monday, 25 October 2010

Review of Brum's new HMV Institute...


Here's my review of Birmingham's premier new music venue; the HMV Institute, on the Birmingham University newspaper's website Rebrick Online...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Back to Brum!

I've returned to my beloved surrogate city to do a couple of weeks work experience, earn some money then start my dreaded final year!

My work experience has been with two different Birmingham-based companies; a web design and advertising agency, and a fashion, beauty and lifestyle PR company. I am having a great time in the 'real world' trying out different possible career routes, so we shall see where I decide to start heading!

To counteract the chill in my big rather-empty-at-the-moment house (until I work out how to use the heating) I've decided new slipper boots are in order. My Mum found these cute ones from AVON so hopefully they will be in my possession soon! Until they arrive it's double layers all the way, even on my tootsies!

I've also just ordered this faux fur jacket from New Look to add to my winter wardrobe, which goes just perfectly with my great-in-all-weather Clark's buckle boots from last year.

All in all a good start to my Autumn pre-term preparations, and I am enjoying having time to chill out before the pressure of my final year really kicks in.

Now, where did I leave my hot water bottle...

Monday, 6 September 2010

Summer Loving... Had Me A Blast!

Well following my travels in Asia I have been embracing my time back home in the Lake District with my nearest and dearest. From drinking to dancing and from capoeira to capsizing, Summer 2010 has turned out to be a corker!

Though I haven't had a job this year (except for the 1 day I worked at a wedding!) I have been trying to raise funds in other ways; namely via eBay and doing carboot sales with my Mum!

I found selling on eBay to be a little disappointing; it takes a while to create a good, attractive and informative advert, and then only around 15% of the items I listed actually sold (often for a much lower price than I really wanted them to go for!). Naturally, with my penchant for shopping, all of the items I listed were clothing, and admittedly I knew that clothes aren't lucrative items to sell on eBay.
Ah well, at least now I've sold a few clothes I have more space in my wardrobe for all the new things I've aquired this summer!

Including... new lilac stilettos and matching nail varnish and eye mousse, 2 silk hankerchief hem vests in navy and grey, some bargain grey boots, a tiger-print MNG tee, a River zippy slouch bag, a Warehouse military jacket, some polka-dot cullottes, a printed wrap dress, some rosy blusher, a Motel chain dress, high-waisted black jeans, many new patterned tights and an inordinate amount of new jewellery and accessories!

Shopping aside, I've been having a hoot on great nights out and at gigs with my favourite people, many a meal out and girly nights in plus one too many take-aways and late-night pizzas!

I also went to the Edinburgh Fringe festival (where we rubbed shoulders with Alex Zane, Stiffler's mom, Jack Whitehall and the VIVA advert guy!), and I had a fantastic time at the wonderful Solfest festival learning capoeira, african drumming and creating things from clay aswell as enjoying the great atmosphere and music!

I've also tried out Zumba with my Mum (YouTube it it's insane) and have been going to Dancercise, Boxercise and Steps to try and counteract my summer excesses!

My friends and I went kayaking and capsized our tin kayak Branston within 10 mins so played scrabble instead, I went bowling with the family, and have attended Christenings, Weddings and Birthday parties but sadly no Bar Mitzvahs.

Also part of my life this summer; sunshine, Family portraits, decorating, the park, fake tan, Magnums, jogging, pensions, Thai spices, ISAs, cooking, Facebook, reading, Bowtime and sofa time.

I've been preparing myself for my final year of my degree by buying all the books on my reading lists (reading them is next on my agenda) and thinking about my dreaded dissertation.

I have two weeks of work experience lined up before term starts, which I am very much looking forward to as I hope it will give me a beter idea of what I should do with my life!

That's my latest news, so bye for now, I'm off the enjoy the last of my summer break... :)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Geek Chic post on the SFB

I recently reviewed two T-shirts for my fabulous friends at Student Fashion Blog (

The Tees were kindly shipped over from American clothing brand J!NX, and I thoroughly enjoyed modelling them in my Uni Library, even though some people were trying to study while the photographer's camera flashed incessantly- sorry!

To read my short but sweet review and follow links to the J!NX website, click here. Thanks!

Friday, 23 July 2010

The end of my amazing trip!

So my travels in South East Asia have come to an end- sob! Here is a re-cap of my final week-and-a-bit:

From Nha Trang we travelled to Hoi An; a quaint and beautiful city with an iconic Japanese bridge and a gorgeous beach only a short ride away. We even got to lie on actual sunbeds if we ate at the beachside restaurant- an absolute necessity with the scorching temperatures of the sand making it almost too hot to sprint across never mind sunbathe on!

Hoi An is famous for its many tailors- they can make absolutely anything you want overnight no problem and then make alterations in an hour or two if needed. I fell in love with the stunning silk in a tailors called Thi, and my seamstress Hui made me a colourful kaftan/robe with chinese buttons and a matching waist tie for only $12. I drew a slinky dress for my friend and she had it made in crushed nude silk, and some of my other friends had silk-lined jackets made exactly like the pictures they had printed off the internet. Some of them even had cute leather or suede shoes made to measure!

While in Hoi An I decided to try their delicious regional speciality dish; Cao Lau- noodles, beansprouts, tender strips of pork, deep-fried crispy rice paper and greens. We also splashed out on some exquisite deserts from one of the french-style patisseries near the Old Town that tasted as good as they looked, before another bus journey up to the historical city of Hue.

In Hue we went on a relaxing dragon boat trip up the Perfume River to see the oldest house in Hue and its fruit-yielding gardens, a floating fishing village and the Heavenly Lady Pagoda. We also got an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch, which resulted in sore stomachs all round! That evening we had a fablous night out, and the following day we visited the Citadel and explored the Old Town before getting our last sleeper bus up to Hanoi.

From Hanoi we were picked up and taken to Ha Long City, ready to depart on our beautiful old-fashioned boat to Ha Long Bay. We visited huge caves which were stunning but disappointingly unnatural due to the added mood lighting, music and guards playing on lap-tops. After that we jumped off the top deck of our boat and went swimming, careful to avoid the jellyfish, before kayaking around the stunning bay and soaking up the magical atmosphere.
The food on-board was wonderful and included whole fish, seafood noodles and vietnamese spring rolls, and as there were only 13 people on our boat we got to socialise with new people as we watched the sunset around the limestone islets rising out of the emerald water. Getting up early to catch the sunrise was definately worth it, but our trip had to be cut short due to an impending storm about to sweep the area.

Back in the capital of Hanoi we enjoyed a great night out playing pool in an Irish bar; Finnegans, with people we had bumped into earlier in our trip. A bowl of steaming pho bo (beef noodle soup; delicious and only abour 70p for a huge bowl) from a tiny street kitchen at 3am really hit the spot and began my obsession with the traditional dish, which I have been craving every morning since then! We wiled away the next 2 days exploring the city-centre Hoan Kiem Lake, including its Turtle Tower, Jade Mountain Temple and huge varnished giant turtle, and buying souvenirs at the atmospheric markets.

A flight to Bangkok gave us one last day before our flight home, so we did a pit-stop tour round the main temples, buddhas and pagodas (which turned out to be a bit of a scam!). Every day is 'Buddha Day' it seems, and when a friendly tuk-tuk driver told us that means free entrance to many attractions and he'd drive us round for only 10 Baht each (around 20p), we thought we'd go for it. I'd heard about scams to do with 'Buddha Day' before but we went with it, thinking our guy was genuine. It turns out he wasn't, and after making us go and pretend to be interested in a tailor's suits, he left us at the 3rd stop on our route, though as we hadn't paid him we don't really know what he got out of leaving us! We got another tuk-tuk who told us that the Grand Palace was free after 4pm, so we let him drive us to other attractions until then. On arrival at the Grand Palace we learnt that it closes at 3.30pm and we had been fooled again! Aside from missing this we had only paid 10 Baht and had seen a lot in a couple of hours, so we didn't feel too bad, and set off to find our other friends on Khao San Road.
After a couple of my friends got henna tattoos we went for a final thai curry, then spent all our left-over currency on cheap beer vests, ice-cream and souvenirs before running through the torrential rain back to our shack. I can't call it a hotel room; it was a shack with a bed in it.

Rising at 5am and picking up our friend from her (much swankier!) hotel, we flew the first leg of our flight home to Bahrain, where our 12-hour stop-over meant we were provided with a glorious hotel (with carpets and a marble bathroom that didn't smell of urine!) and fed with delicious Arabic food before our final flight to Heathrow.

Now back in England I am so thankful for having had such a wonderful time travelling. I would do it again in an instant and would urge anyone thinking about going to just book your flights now; South East Asia is such a fantastic area of the world filled with amazing sights, interesting cultures, delicious food, friendly (but not always honest!) people, and great experiences to be had.

The only thing I need to decide now is where to explore next...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Good Morning Vietnam!


Well, the bus journey to Vietnam from Cambodia ended up taking 16 hours (it was dire) but once we arrived in this AMAZING country I knew it was instantly worth it- I love it here!

We first stayed in Ho Chi Minh city; formerly known as Saigon, and once we'd mastered the art of crossing a road heaving with motorbikes (it's all about keeping a steady pace!) we settled right in. I even tried my first traditional shrimp and pork spring roll, which was nice and fresh but I unfortunately prefer the much less healthy deep-fried versions to the rice paper ones favoured here.

On our first full day we visited the Cu Chi tunnels used by the ingenious Viet Cong guerrillas in the Vietnamese war. We learned about their lives, clothing and weapons (including cleverly making their bombs from their enemies bomb materials and designing brutal booby traps), tried their food (some potatoey substance dipped in nuts with weak tea) and crawled through their infamous undergound tunnels.

That night we ate shrimp noodles ($1) on the market and had a night out in the city, which was fabulous until we were getting fried rice at 3am and my friend's bag was swiped by a passing motorbike thief!

The next day we visited the War Remnants Museum, where the graphic images and shocking information about the Vietnam war really affected me and my friends. Photographs of American soldiers holding up the heads of the Vietnamese dead, burned victims of Napalm bombs and disfigured children of civilians gassed by Agent Orange were among the most affecting, and alongside the propaganda posters, torture stories, prison cell replicas, the place had a strange feeling of sadness that clashed with the contemporary setting.

That night we experienced our first sleeper bus; rows of double-decker reclining leather seats that as it turns out were not so great for getting a good nights sleep! Arriving in Nha Trang at 7am we dumped our bags and headed straight for the gorgeous beach until the midday sun and our drooping eyelids meant we had to go and nap until 5pm, then we got up and hit the town for another fab meal and a few cocktail buckets!

Today we went to Vinpearl; a great waterpark/aquarium/themepark island reached by cable cars, with white sandy beaches, animal shows, water fountain displays and more fast food restaurants than you could shake a chopstick at. Personal highlights include being mesmerised by the huge stingrays, eating too many cornettos and screaming all the way down the waterslides like I used to as a wee nipper.

Tomorrow we are hitting the beach (I'm finally moving on from SPF 50 to 30) before getting another sleeper bus to Hoi An where we will hopefully get some lovely clothes made for cheapy-cheap! Off to do some internet reearching now, net-a-porter here I come!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

My Visit to Cambodia!

Suor Sdei from Cambodia! A land of friendly people, tragic history, very skinny cows and pyjama-clad women!

My 7 fellow travellers and I arrived in the bustling capital of Phnom Pehn after far too many hours of travelling from the Thai islands. On our first night we found a basic hostel in a back-packer area that had less-than luxurious rooms but my much-sought after hammocks on the wooden "floating"" structure that jutted out over the river. We watched the movie "The Killing Fields'" in preparation for our next-day plans, which turned out to be upsetting but poignant and worthwhile, and we made friends with the friendly Cambodian staff, who later robbed my friend's phone from our room!

The visit to Cambodia's largest killing field invoked high emotions as we thought of the of the 3 million people who died at the hands of the Khymer Rouge up until 1979. It was hard emotionally as in the soil you could see human teeth and fragments of cracked boned from the victims of the Khymer Rouge that were taken here to be killed. Before the prisoners were taken to a hushed-up Killing Field to be executed, they were imprisoned in a former school called S21. We visited here next and were shocked by the tiny bare cells the prisoners were filed into, and the hundreds of pictures of emaciated victims.

That night we had a few pre-drinks by the river (literally, we were on the Mekong river bank wall with our own shop-bought drinks talking about which cocktails we would love to have instead). A great night out ensued in which we finally got to drink the cocktails we'd been drooling over, and have a ruddy good dance to the resident DJ (who was actually great and mixed in all our requests!).

 After a 6 hour bus journey the next day from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap, we found some cheap lodgings ($2 a night) and went for a fabulous meal at a Cambodian restaurant, where our entire bill (for 6 meals, with rice, drinks, tea and fruit) was $26. Happy student travellers! My friends would recommend the traditional beef lak-lak and the fish curry that is served in a hollow coconut, in case you re ever in the area.

On Saturday we visited Angkor Wat; the magnificent temple complex near Siem Reap (where Tomb Raider was filmed!). We hired tuktuks for the day and got up at 4.30am to make it in time to watch the beautiful sunrise, and explore the different temples before the stifling midday sun kicked in. The temples themselves were vast and imposing but so intricately detailed that we were in awe; needing to just 'have some me-time' to soak up the magical atmosphere. Many mesmerising temples, nasty monkeys and persistent kids trying to sell you something later, we went home for well-deserved naps. Later that afternoon we visited the central market and sampled some more of Cambodia's culinary deights before booking our 13 hour bus ride to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam at 6.45am tomorrow morning.

I am not looking forward to the journey but Vietnam itself will hopefully be awesome!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Thai Islands for my 20th!

This week my fellow travellers and I have been sunning ourselves on some of Thailand's most beautiful southern islands, and it has been wonderful.

From Chiang Mai we stayed one night in Patong near Phuket, which didn't float our boat, but after the world's most tiring day on multiple buses, tuk tuks, minivans, coaches ferries and a taxi we arrived on Ko Samui; a stunning island with a buzzing nightlife on the east side of Thailands southern strip. Samui was beautiful but quite commercial, and we had a fun night out here where we shared our first notorious Thai "bucket'', played pool and wondered who was a tall thai woman and who was a (convincing!) ladyboy.

After Samui we got the ferry to Ko Phang Nga where the infamous Full Moon Party takes place. Here we met 3 friends from England, making our terrible twosome into a fabulous five (soon to be an excellent eight!). As I was meant to be meeting three friends and staying with them but this fell through, I bought a lilo and camped on the other girls' floor in their luxury beach apartment. To thank them I bought lots of buckets, straws and a big bottle of "vodka" for us to share (it did not turn out to be vodka but it definately was alcoholic!). We had a fantastic night out on the beach drinking buckets, watching the fire poi shows and laughing at those silly enough to skip in a fire rope only to trip and land on the flames.

The next day we did a day trip to Ko Tao, which is a smaller, less commercial island to the north of Phang Nga. Our guides took us snorkelling, which turned out to be fabulous after I had recovered from a bout of sea-sickess (or hangover maybe) and aside from my first experience of being sick in the sea this was actually pretty fun! We also went to a STUNNING island and had a delicious buffet lunch then sunbathed on white sands and in turquoise waters :)
That night we went to the Coral Bungalows pool party, which started well but ended on a dull note when a guy jumped from one table to another, slipped, banged his head and had to be taken, covered in blood, to hospital. We left and returned to the atmospheric beach where my friends were tackled by some crazed men and one lost her flip-flops, so had to scrounge around for another pair for the journey home!

We stayed on Ko Phang Nga for the Full Moon Party on the 26th June (my birthday is the 27th!), for which I bought UV paints to decorate my roomies (and inadvertently the room itself) with. Not that all our efforts lasted the night- it rained! We just had to "embrace it" and dance on the beach with wet faces and soaking hair. I learned the verb; "to Dub", and will be "Dubbing" a lot more on this holiday I am sure!
At 5am we showered and got ready for our journey across sea and land to the east islands at 6am, finally arriving around 5pm (!) and in the evening we watched the England game (4-1 = embarrassing, but made better by Mai Tai cocktais and the biggest shot I've ever had- thanks girls) and watched the mesmerising fire shows on the beach

Today we were meant to be kayaking around the island and snorkelling on the beach where they filmed 'The Beach', but as it is raining we have to go tomorrow instead! Then it's back to Phuket to meet 3 of our other friends at last and travel to Cambodia via Bangkok.

Written with love and happiness from the Thai Islands!! x

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Chaing Mai- Thailand!

Sawadee Ka!

I greet you in Thai because that is where I am writing from; the northern Thai city of Chaing Mai!

My fellow travellers and I flew 7 hours from Heathrow to Bahrain, and a further 6 to Bangkok, then my friend and I flew up to Chaing Mai, arriving around 8am on Sunday morning.
Aside from a few initial setbacks (having to run to catch my train to London, needing to crack the crap padlock off my bag after losing my keys etc) everything is fine and I am having an AMAZING time!!

Here's a quick run-through of my activities this week:

On the Sunday we arrived we attempted to 'power through' our jetlag and explore the city, but the heat and the fatigue got the better of us and we had to sleep it off before the Sunday Night Market held in the city centre. The market was so much bigger than anything I could describe, it literally took us hours to walk round half of it but it was so atmospheric, and gave us a much better view of the city than our first tentative dragged steps that afternoon. The items being sold were as varied as the people browsing; from homewares, jewellery and clothing to instruments, massages and black coconut jelly. Trying to find our way back to our (2 pounds each a night) hostel proved difficult, as we spent 4 hours aimlessly searching street after street; finally stumbling across it at half 1- thank God!

The next day we accidentally slept in until half 5 (which is acceptable because we had been travelling for a whole day), much to the amusement of our hostel staff when we rose and said "good morning". That night we went to an awe-inspiring temple then went to a bar and met some lovely Argentinians who introduced us to their English friends at their hostel. Their hostel had a POOL and was far better than ours so the next day (hungover after an awesome night out with our new friends!) we moved in, haggling the price down to the same as our 1st hostel.

Tuesday we haggled for and booked a trek and went to another night bazaar (and found the most amazing ice-cream and Mac make-up for super cheap!), deciding to try some unusual Thai food from the street stalls. The green sloppy fish in a bag and the spicy snails we tried were inedible, as was the "sausage" that definately wasn't a sausage, the oily fried maggot grub thing and the orange fruity sweet that was far too sweet even for me. On the plus side though they sold sushi for 5 Baht a piece (around 10p) and we had some lovely pad thai noodles!

Wednesday was trek day, and after deciding that a 3-day trek would be too hardcore for us girly girls we plumped for a busy 1-day Trek that began with a visit to a beautiful orchid and butterfly farm. After that we had an AMAZING elephant ride where I got to sit on our elephant Menchan's head behind the guide! I loved this part of the day as it was peaceful riding through the jungle but also fun as the baby elephants were really playful, we fed the elephants bananas and had to hang on for dear life whenever we went downhill! After that we went white water rafting, which wasn't as intense as I expected it was more amusing singing along with out excellent guide, all bouncing on the raft sides whenever we got stuck between rocks and squaling when we saw water snakes. After that we swatted the flies away from our Thai buffet then had a 40 minute hike up and down the hottest dryest and steepest mountan-sides I've ever experienced, but when we got to a stunning cool waterfall our happiness was restored.
Following a quick swim we went bamboo rafting down the river, which was so peaceful (if you forgot about the cricket and unidentifiable jungle noises) and a great time to reflect on what a wonderful week we'd been having so far. We then visited the long-neck Karen tribe and were shocked by the TVs they had in their 'primitive' village and how money-orientated they seemed to be. Rather than giving them money me and my friend left our trainers as they probably mean much more to them than they do to us. On returning home absolutly knackered we had a delicious meal of vegetable spring rolls and pineapple rice and hit the hay.

The next day was 'chill-out day', but ironically I ended up very sunburnt from one too many dips in the pool wearing a 'water-resistant' (but not waterproof) suncream. We returned to the night bazaar to finish the remainder of the market, but the sun had exhausted us so we were sensible and had an early night.

Friday was some more sun-bathing to try and even out my skin tone (at the moment I am like Ross in Friends when he gets spray-tanned repeatedly on the same side) and we attended a fabulous cookery course with Siam Rice Cookery School. There was only myself and my friend in the session so we became really close with Nancy, her funky husband Pot, their adorable baby and their extended family and friends. We were taken to a market to learn about the ingredients and then learnt how to make 4 dishes each plus how to make curry paste from scratch, and I can honestly say it was the best curry I've ever tasted! We were given a certificate and recipe book to bring home so no doubt when I've tracked down some ginseng and lemongrass I'll be a top Thai chef in no time! See the pics here!

We bought a bottle of interesting-tasting Thai whiskey from the 7/11 and had a glass or two with Coke while we waited for the England game to start at 1.30am Thai time, which turned out to be a disappointment but a good night at the pub making friends!

Saturday (today!) we've just relaxed and read by the pool, went for a greek meal (Thai is lovely but I wanted something that wasn't noodles or rice!) and are going to a temple and the huge Saturday Night Market tonight before we hit a few cool Reggae bars down town for our last night in Chiang Mai.

All in all a wonderful week in the charismatic city of Chaing Mai. Tomorrow we fly down to Phuket and travel across to the eastern islands ready for the Full Moon Party on th 26th.

Wish me luck! x

Friday, 11 June 2010

And So It Begins...

Well I'm packed and ready to go on my travels round South East Asia!!

I'll be posting on here every time I go to an internet cafe all about where I've been, what I've been doing and any other things that might take my fancy, for example cute things I've seen or funny stories to tell or interesting things I hear.

Assuming the computers I'll use have some way to upload pictures from an SD card then there will be images to compliment my tales- if not I'll be adding these when I return (hopefully safe and sound with SD card still in my possession) at the end of July.

Tonight I'm going to London to stay overnight with a friend's brother as we have to get up at the crack of dawn to make our flight. We have a stop-off in Bahrain then it's on to Bangkok, and pending on no delays, my friend and I will be leaving our other friends to spend a week in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. There we are hopefully going to do a 3 day trek, ride the elephants, get a well deserved Thai massage, maybe do a cookery course and sample the delights of Chiang Mai nightlife!

My (massive) rucksack is stuffed with mosquito repellants, malaria tablets, SPF50 and 30 suncream and medication for all ailments. I am taking no chances.

Aside from holiday buys like bikinis and thin towels and coloured eyeliners (yes these are necessity even when backpacking) I intend to find a special item or 5 out there to bring back a slice of the Orient with me, and am especially looking forward to getting something tailor-made in Vietnam.

Anyway enough for now, wish me luck and I'll post again soon from Asia!

Monday, 31 May 2010

ASOS you legend

What started out as a reasonably modest website based around providing us mere mortals with clothes akin to the celebs, has now taken over the planet.

Well, that could be a slight exaggeration, but since ASOS found its way into my life, I have been a slightly poorer but happier and better dressed fashionista.

The recent brainwave of offering free delivery and free returns (though it can take up to 6 days) is genius as it encourages buyers to add many items to their basket "because I might as well, just to see", thus giving buyers more options at no extra cost, and expanding the website's chances of making a sale. Win-Win!

I have especially enjoyed the sale items recently, nabbing the dresses above for £18 each, as well as these  delectable longline tops...

The online shopping experience isn't quite the same as a good old-fashioned trawl round the shops; you can't feel the fabric, check the quality, be inspired by the strategically positioned nearby accessories and well-styled mannequins.

It is however, quick, easy and convenient (especially when you're meant to be doing something like revising or writing an essay, but 5 mins online just brightens up your day a treat!)

Be warned: it is also addictive, and doesn't feel like you're spending real money when it's only a figure on the computer screen!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Tried and Tested... Mascara

So as a new feature to Stay Seated and Look's already riveting content, I will be conducting tests and giving reviews of numerous beauty products (well, the ones that can be purchased on my meagre student budget).

First on the agenda: Mascara!

Every girl needs a wand of magic that will lift, lengthen and luscious-ify her lashes, but as there are so many on the market, which purse-friendly mascara gets the much-coveted Stacey Seal of Approval?

In the spotlight today are:

Maybelline Volume Express Waterproof Mascara in Black. £5.99 in Boots.

The 'anti-clump brush' and 'multi-level bristles' are actually far more standard than they sound, but this isn't a bad thing as it renders the mascara wand easy to use.

Application was swift and easy, and the mascara left my lashes looking thicker, longer and nicely separated. No hic-ups there.

The formula sets slightly when dry thus keeping curled eyelashes upright all night.

In swish monochrome packaging, with a compact length and only£5.99 for 10ml, I'd definately buy it again.

No. 7 Extreme Length Mascara in Black. £12 in Boots.

This modest little number has a very rigid application brush that's great for precision but again a little hard on the lash line.

The mascara itself is a good consistency and gives good lash separation though not a huge amount of volume. After a few hours my lashes looked a little dry, verging on spidery, but still looked long and dark.

As this comes in a 7ml tube, it's less value for money than the other two options, and to be honest I wouldn't spend the money on it again (I'd rather spend it on things for my limbs not my lashes to wear!)

Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara in Black. £8.99 in Boots.

The 'flexible new generation brush' has longer bristles on one side than the other which is great for giving either a smooth coat that separates the lashes or a closer, thicker coat that volumises them up a treat, and gets the jet-black colour close to the lash-line; hence the name.

Although the brush takes some getting used to (the longer bristles are quite sharp so if you misjudge how long they are you could give your eyelid a scratchy tickle!), with a little practice it's a fantasic tool (or Weapon of Mass Destruction).

This mascara made my lashes thick, long, and very evenly coated. With it's ergonomically designed casing it was easy to hold and use, and at 11ml for £8.99 I'd say it's the best of the bunch! Stacey's Seal of Approval to you Mr. Bourjois!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Fruity new dress to keep off the revision blues...

Recently treated myself to this bee-yootiful hot pink satin dress for sophisticated summer-time cocktails, weddings or just because every girl needs a hot pink dress that makes her feel gloriously girly.
It has a thin rubber trim lining the top of the dress to prevent any accidental flashing and pockets... incase I want to... pick daisies and keep them with me?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Quote of the Day, 20th May 2010

Lord Henry, in Chapter 2 of Wilde's glorious Dorian Gray, says;

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."

Yesterday I bought many packets of biscuits and a couple of bars of chocolate to contribute to my friend's BBQ snacks. I knew they were looking at me, they were teasing me and so I ate them.

This meant that I had to walk to the supermarket again to buy more, but at least Lord Henry would have been proud!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Fashion Union website comes up trumps...

So I stumbled across this lovely lil website; Fashion Union, and thought I'd share the love.

Selling male and female clothing at reasonable prices, it's good for the basics and has some nice holiday worthy clothing and accessories (as this is pretty much all I can think about between bouts of revision!).

It reminded me a bit of La Redoute at first but I think Fashion Union is a tad (but just a tad) cooler No offence intended L.R.I've ordered this gorgeous embellished top in peach, and I intend to wear it with a dark grey or black body-con skirt (would my black sequin one be too much?!) or just thrown over some stone-wash skinnies with some nice dainty sandals and a tan. Bish Bash Bosh.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

An article I wrote for my student newspaper...

I recently carried out a linguistic study as part of my degree, in which I alanysed the language use in two similar news articles.

The were both about a bill in Utah that proposes to ban 'intentional miscarriages'.

It spawned me to write this Article (scroll to page 23) which got printed in the Birmingham University student newspaper; Redbrick.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A Taste of the Exotic...

The colourful embellishments and enchanting prints of the high-street's tribal trend make me yearn for the summer in all it's fashion glory.

Floats maxi dresses and patterned halter-neck bikinis conjure images of languidly sipping a pina colada on an exotic terrace (well I would if I liked coconut, I'll change that to a Woo Woo- classy bird me).

If only I could be whisked away to foreign lands with the flourish of a heavily-bangled, henna-tattoed and sunkissed arm. Alas, my arms are pasty and bare, outside my window is a wet pavement and on my desk is a stack of books I'm supposed to be reading. SIGH.

To get my tribal fix in anticipation of the real summer to begin, I got this fabulous bag from Matalan:
Just huge enough for filling with all the uneccessary crap women put in their bags 'just incase' (sunglasses, umbrella, cuticle cream, nail file, paracetamol, lib balm, comb and of course cheek and lip tint...)

To release your inner tribal godess, try wearing floaty but bold fabrics in rich colours, with added details and beading to add a luxe feel. Tie strips of patterned silk around your hair and adorn your wrists with bangles of every colour- brownie points for chunky wood, tassles and beading!

This red tribal tunic is perfect for that 'just been to Marrakesh, actually' vibe, and these gorgeous lil' Miss Selfridge sandals just scream 'TAKE ME TO THE BEACH AND SUN ME NOW'.

Just think: authentic arabian accessories, beautiful bold bangles, colourful creations, dramatic designs and exotic exuberance (OK I'll stop now, by quixotic quaintness this could get tedious.)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Quote of the day, 5th May 10:

"Variety in the spice of life"

I have recently watched the 1997 biopic of Oscar Wilde's life, and this line in spoken by Jude Law playing Lord Alfred Douglas.

I'll gloss over the fact that it was said in the context of Bosie seeing rent boys as well as his lover, Wilde...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Too many books, too little time...

The Exam Period is upon us.

As a student studying English Literature (amongst other things), and having been revising for four whole days now.
I feel as though I have only just started climbing a never-ending staircase of knowledge, only to find that it is in fact an escalator and those stairs just keep on coming.

The more I try to get my head around plot, characters, setting, themes and just trying to 'get the gist' of a book or a poem, I am finding myself having to explore allegories, pragmatics, criticism, social historical contexts, author biographies and everything else that makes one piece of literature become a cavernous world of extraneous pieces of information that refuse to stay in my head.

Sure finding out about how an author's sexuality affected the reception of his story is interesting, and questioning why the texts I've been asked to study have been canonised into 'English Literature At It's Best' actually reveals a lot about the power of dominant ideologies and groups (it's always the white, middle-class men that get to decide if it's keeper or not).

My problem arises when I think about the sheer amount of things I am trying to remember on the off-chance that a question in one of my exams might require a sentence or two's reflection on something I've read, once, weeks ago.

I must try to remember that knowledge isn't all about being able to regurgitate facts, dates and names when prompted by a crisp sheet of white A4. I came to University to expand my knowledge; true, but it's the effect of this knowledge that I'm really looking for; wisdom, awareness and acuity.

It just so happens that the means to this end involves climbing many more steps for many more years, never hoping to reach the top, just enjoying the excercise along the way.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Quote of the day, 2nd May 10:

"Because life without experience, is not experiencing life..."

(Me, because it is my motto and it is true. NB: also good for peer pressure).