I don’t really want to delete this blog, though I don’t know if anyone in particular will be reading it. Before I get into any of the reasons why, here’s where I’ll be writing from now on:

http://seashellseashell.wordpress.com

and here’s my blog for photography, paintings, drawings etc:

http://arianespictureshow.tumblr.com

I’ve seen other people ditch old blogs and start new ones in the past, and I did tend to wonder if that was a bit silly. But as much as I like writing there’s lots about blogging that’s really bothered me and I think starting a new one will resolve some of those frustrations. Here are some bullet points, because honestly, if you’ve read this far I have even less faith that you’ll read for too much longer:

- I’ve been writing in this blog since university, and it’s been a weird, aimless time. So call me lame if you like, for phrasing this in such internetty terms, but this is a sort of symbolic cutting away of a time in my life that I’m not hugely keen to lay claim to. I mean, I’ve been unemployed. A lot. For the vast majority of my graduate life. I haven’t really finished figuring out who I am, or what I want out of life, or a career but I’m getting better at finding approaches to such questions that aren’t totally painful.

- I really hate the concept of “branding” (as explored in Naomi Klein’s No Logo and Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model Cycle 17) but “web presence” seems like a term that offers more wiggle room? I mean, I want to write a blog because I like writing as a way of working through ideas (especially confusing, unsettling or delightful ones) and even better than that I like using pictures and words together. The phrase “web presence” is kind of nagging – websites offering careers advice to budding creative types in any field at all always bring it up like insistent mothers. You really should have one, of some variety. And like most advice that you’re sick of hearing from your parents it’s rooted in truth: there are huge advantages to doing creative things online as well as just in journals and sketchbooks and so on.

- I’ve found it hard to figure out the tone of this blog. Starting anew might give me the chance to be more consistent right off the bat – I mean, to the extent that’s even possible considering I don’t like pinning myself down and want to write about everything from clothes to trashy tv, to literature. I don’t want to limit myself to only writing to things that are “on brand” because it’s not about carving out an identity for myself but figuring out the voice that fits so that I can probe deeper. Maybe it’s less about consistency and more about fluency.

I don’t think this is the sharpest or most insightful thing anyone’s ever written it but this is the sort of overcomplicated, awkward prose that I’m trying to leave behind. If you have a blog of your own or whatever sort of interest in writing, you probably have some idea what I mean. I don’t know if I’m really saying good bye to anyone because I don’t think anyone’s followed this blog that closely. But a few people liked a few posts so it seems worth leaving them all up. That’s it, really.

x

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Lately life seems really exciting like there’s so much new stuff to try and I have a natural aptitude for anything I set my mind to. Tonight I made soup with this recipe from some free cabbage and it was delicious. (I recommend that recipe 100% to anyone who owns a pan, it’s very easy and you can make it vegetarian or vegan depending on your choice of stock. I used vegetable boullion powder and it was ace.) I never thought I could make delicious soup or handle a really physical job (like the one I’m in now, and really enjoying actually) or take photographs well.

That last one you can decide for yourself. Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken over the last few months for my photography course. All were taken with film on my dad’s old Nikon (maybe expect a post soon about how I can’t stop collecting 70s gadgets?).

Scan 8 Scan 9 Scan 10 Scan 3 Scan 7More later, probs.

 

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sunshine

I’ve been thinking about clothes more than usual lately, for a number of reasons: a) it’s been so hot and my wardrobe needs supplementing to help me endure the temperature without boiling to death and b) I’ve recently started a new job which is really physical and that means, once again, that I need to get the appropriate practical workwear. Oh and c) I’ve found it maddeningly difficult to find anything appropriate and really nice in the shops to fulfil either of these categories. For a while I even thought I might be losing my knack for charity shop bargains. Ugh.

Anyway, I recently stumbled upon This Blog and I really, really love it. It’s very funny and has a bit of a negative slant – as the title suggests, most of the entries are about ripping to shreds some of the uglier or less practical trends to crop up on the high street or among what might be termed the hipster set – but it’s not indiscriminate loathing, it’s critical and deadpan and funny and charming.

It’s a conceit that you might think dates fast. Some of the trends that get really rinsed – especially in earlier posts – include harem trousers and those Ray Bans style sunglasses which are a little less ubiquitous now than back in like 2008. Oh and all that stuff about bright colours vs neutrals: at present it seems like fashion is going through a very neon phase and I’m kind of tiring of it, although I think colours aside the point about fit and construction still stands. But! I think the reason I like it so much is the real spirit of affection and positivity about developing your own tastes rather than buying into trends. It seems like such an obvious point but magazines and adverts and shops are so good at convincing us that trends ARE our own tastes. Fashion isn’t the most important thing in the world but that’s maybe that makes your personal style an especially good area to experiment with how you gather influences and decide who to follow or tune out.

Here are some posts I really liked. This one criticises fashion blogs and the way the fashion industry has absorbed blogging as a platform. I’ve been meaning to write something similar for ages but now I have no reason to do that because everything I could hope to say is right there word for word. I’m not even sure how to commentate on this because my feelings are basically just agreement.

This one is about female celebrities all looking the same. Earlier this week I got a magazine from Asos through my letterbox (thank you previous tennants!) and while there were more cute cardigans and things than I can usually find in the average Asos mag (thank you previous tennants from other places I have lived!) there was a really gross attitude in some of the articles. In the Brit Marling interview for example they compliment her Prada handbag and then mention in snide brackets that its beauty will only last the current season. It’s borderline threatening and squarely in Mean Girls territory. I think my least favourite thing about fashion magazines is any use of the word “update”. The idea that your wardrobe needs an “update” just so it looks slightly different is so frivolous and of course privileged. I mean, it costs enough to “update” your wardrobe when your clothes start to wear out, or a heat wave comes along, or you get a new job.

My boyfriend, when I read this to him, point out that Asos magazine is basically just a catalogue designed to sell stuff from the Asos website, which is true, although no less irritating. I guess that’s the stance I’m so relieved to see scrutinised, the system of being told what to wear and how to attain it rather than applying any kind of critical thought. The vast majority of the fashion industry seems to be entirely devoted to stripping the fun, the joy and the decision-making out of choosing how to present yourself visually. Of course there will always be some people who want to  put the least possible effort into that sphere of their lives, which is fair enough, but they deserve better than to be led astray into the realm of weird half-sheer skirts, hawaiian shirts, platform trainers, bindis, mesh and Sydney Opera House skirts. I mean, effortless isn’t the same as following orders.

When I started to write this post, the movie Just My Luck was playing on the background on E4 and there were actually some really cute outfits going on. The kooky girl from The OC played Lindsay Lohan’s Edie Sedgwick-esque kooky friend and there are a few really funny tongue in cheek references to stuff like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and performance artist Bernie Seale and Lindsay Lohan’s personal life (“at least you were wearing underwear!” Or was this movie made pre-meltdown? I don’t know, it’s still funny).

“Flood?”
“It’s a technical term for a lot of water where it shouldn’t be.”

I mean, it’s not the worst dialogue. It’s pretty funny. I can only attribute its 5.1 score on IMDB to indiscriminate Lohan-bashing and no, I can’t defend much of what she does these days but it’s not a bad film at all, except for the gratuitous McFly promotion, yuck. The noughties: a good decade or a bad one, culturally and aesthetically? It’s hard to tell just yet, isn’t it?

I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve been so neglectful of this blog that since I started writing this post, things have kind of started to get better. Here are some outfits to round the whole thing off, and quite possibly discredit me completely as any sort of expert on matters of style. I have no advice to give, other than just try to be you, and resist the urge to get too naked this summer because you may get sunburn in intimate places.

Photo on 2013-07-15 at 18.30 #2 Photo on 2013-07-20 at 13.34 Photo on 2013-07-29 at 12.13

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I haven’t been this fascinated by Photobooth since I realised you could use it to take pictures of your uvula (try it!) but I’ve started using my laptop to take pictures of my roots, as I’m currently in the (super gross) process of trying to grow out my natural hair colour.

Photo on 2013-05-17 at 20.40 #4

Photo on 2013-05-17 at 20.40 #5Photo on 2013-05-17 at 20.40 #3

I find it weirdly fascinating, kind of like a long, drawn out version of picking at a scab?

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‘iceland was iceland before france was france or england was england or italy was italy’

I’m so excited.

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My boyfriend picked this up for me after spotting it in a charity shop, and I was delighted! God bless men who know that the way to a girl’s heart is via… prose works of the 12th century. I think I speak for all womankind when I say this stuff gets us worked up like nothing else. Although when I tried reading him some of the very first story, Egil’s Saga, he did doze off a bit.

But don’t you love a book that demands perseverance?

I’m so stoked about reading this book though! Apparently the Íslendinga sögur are a precursor to the modern European novel, or a bridge between that form and mythology. I hope that I love it like I loved The Golden Ass, as opposed to finding it difficult, like The Mabinogion. The introduction is brilliant and clever and full of lovely epic terms like “The Viking Age” and “The Saga Age”. It also does a hilariously dry job of calling out Medieval Icelanders on their racism towards Greenlanders and native Americans (nothing too gross but apparently they referred to the two very different cultures by the same nickname). The title of this entry is from that intro.

Anyway, on the topic of Scandinavia, the facebook page for the Fjallraven Kanken backpack has been posting the most wonderful retro images from their 1980s and 1990s catalogue. Here are some examples, you can click through to see the page and some more photos:

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26777_367370169179_159122_nSorry if this post seems a little nothingy. I have about a hundred drafts that just end up getting longer and longer every time I think I’ve almost finished them. But hopefully soon I really WILL finish them, which will be nice.

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t s eliot’s happy hour

Miscallaneous-Cocktails

‘And I recommend you the same prescription …
Let me prepare it for you, if I may …
Strong … but sip it slowly … and drink it sitting down.
Breathe deeply, and adopt a relaxed position’

- Gin and water in The Cocktail Party, Act 1, Scene 1

‘EDWARD: Well, I hoped that you would drink a final glass with me.
CELIA: What should we drink to?
EDWARD:                                         Whom shall we drink to?
CELIA: To the Guardians.
EDWARD:                            To the Guardians?
CELIA: To the Guardians. It was you who spoke of guardians.’

- Champagne in The Cocktail Party, Act 1 Scene 2

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by Fiona Osbourne

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do everything yourself

Lately I’ve been making juice. By “lately” I mean “today and yesterday” but it’s so quick and simple that it’s hard not to grow conceited and start thinking of yourself as some kind of juice expert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really one for mad diet fads, and I have been accompanying all my juices and smoothies with plenty of solid food. So is my dad, who is on a bit of a health kick and wants to combat certain illnesses, and his weight, by getting more fruit and veg in his system.

This one went down a treat with both parents:

DSC_0215

It consists of carrot, celery, ginger, apples, raisins and a cup of water. I got the recipe from a book, but I’ve been pretty cavalier about portion sizes and what constitutes “dried fruit”.

See, that’s the main problem with making juices and smoothies: it is very expensive and I’ve been trying to suss out ways to cut costs. For starters, my family don’t have a blender with a juicing function so I’ve been making smoothies, then draining the juice out of the pulp with a sieve. Here’s the result of this round of juicing:

DSC_0217One of the nicest things about making your own food or drink is marvelling at the differences between your product and the stuff you’d get from a supermarket. I love the colour of this stuff, although admittedly I haven’t seen a lot of apple, carrot, celery, raisin and ginger juice at the supermarket. I’d imagine really upscale supermarkets stock that sort of thing though.

There’s also something exciting about making staple foods instead of buying them, even if you COULD buy them. I mean, look at the massive surge in the popularity of baking in recent years, even though it’s not particularly difficult to buy bread or cake. Sometimes (if you have the time) it’s just nice to put in the effort and taste that effort in the resulting food.

Juices and smoothies are also really nice to make for someone who is ill. Again, I am so not advocating Beyoncé style all-juice-and-nothing-but-the-juice diets but it is a nice way to give someone a boost, emotional and physical, if they’re dealing with anything from cancer to the flu.

- For the love of God, don’t use Pink Lady apples. I used Braeburns for this recipe, even though I hate them because in juice you don’t have to deal with that gross sawdusty texture. Seriously, fuck Braeburns. Except in juices and smoothies.
– Use up old vegetables. Your celery might be too soft to eat but it’ll work fine in something like this. Some recipes I’ve seen require broccoli, I say use the yellowing stuff that you left out of your last stirfry because it looked unappealing.
– Only make smoothies and juices once a week/fortnight (once the initial novelty wears off) or on occasions where you already have four out of five ingredients. Unless you can afford lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in which case, good for you and make me some.

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