Bella Evening

For the last 3 to 4 years, I’ve been partaking in an event named ‘Bella Evening’.  Or my full and real name evening if you know me well.  Prerequisites require a free house (boyfriend being out and about), wine, cheese and a girlish drama of sorts.  I’ve loved, even craved these evenings for the past few years.  A chance to let down my Bridget Jones, sing youtube karaoke to my webcam in my pyjamas and collapse into the MIDDLE of the bed, without fear of retribution.  So why is it tonight, I’m questioning my company?

I think it’s because generally, these days, I’m alone more.  So the question is, how to be alone?  Whilst one could take inspiration from this incredible youtube video, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs) how does one enjoy being alone when it happens so frequently, yet so seldom?  Excuse the melodrama.

I’m alone most days.  These days in #masterslife, I generally work from home.  I look forward to boyfriend returning home at 7pm, dinner and drinks, or a night in front of The Hunger Games.  So when boyfriend heads out of an evening, alone time turns into … lonely.  Yet I do oh-so hesitate to use that word.  I have beautiful and amazing friends, whatsapp and texts could provide me with a cinema or bar buddy in half an hour, yet I choose to stay alone.  Why?  When did my own company, which I love and crave so much, become questionable?

I believe it’s important to be alone.  I’ve always been around people, always.  My family home was full of people coming and going.  One year, I remember 16 souls in a 3 bed semi for a month over Christmas.  At university, I lived in a house of 9.  I’ve always been around people.  And don’t get me wrong, I love people.  And because I love people, I believe in the importance of being alone.  Whilst sociability is an exquisite trait, so is aloneness.  I just need to remember that.

I used to cherish being alone.  And in 6 months, when I have a full time job and am struggling with running a household, seeing friends and family and looking after a boyfriend (ladies, y’all know what I mean), I’m going to cherish it even more.  These evenings are few and far between these days, and will become even more so in the future.  My own company isn’t questionable, its essential.  Not just now, but always, and I will love and enjoy me, myself and I for years and years to come.  So should you.

Thank you for letting me vent, excuse me whilst I go bathe, watch Orange is the New Black and belt out ‘Titanium’.  I believe it keeps me sane.

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Social Media Madness

I love social media, I absolutely love it.  I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.

In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go.  I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out.  That’s fine, I do it too.  I encourage it, I embrace it.  What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others.  Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting.  I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.

It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table.  It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification.  What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping?  Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie?  They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.

It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone.  Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish.  Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world?  No.  Not on.

I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend.  I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is.  Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!).  He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about.  This saddened me.  I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it.  But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.

Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family.  If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave.  I believe this is how it should be.  It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?

I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox.  I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me.  I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others.  What do you think?  I’d be really interested to hear another take on this.  Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of.  All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.

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Woops

Up at the O2

Soo, this weekend I went to London!  And London took me ‘Up at the o2’!  Up at the o2 is basically .. walking across the o2 which I bought boyfriend for Christmas.  We tend to buy each other experiences for birthdays/christmases/anniversaries etc.  I feel so happy right now, in terms of life and I have everything I could possibly need or want, so experiences are a perfect present.  By this I mean beautiful food, gigs, climbing over historic landmarks .. you get the idea.  So here’s how it went ..!

 

So we arrived at the o2, ready to head the heck up it, have a gorgeous dinner and see the one and only ‘Skyfall’ (which is AMAZING by the way).  It looked terrifying from the bottom.  For me, someone who is mildly nervous of heights, I was pretty freaked out.  Next we signed into ‘Base Camp’ where a mental video greeted us with lots of interesting facts and what we could expect.  We headed into a changing room to get dressed, in our totally fetching boiler suits!  I also grabbed the walking boots they had on offer, which I would definitely recommend .. so much better grip!

Next was heading up.  I was totally freaked out by the Carabina thing, and couldn’t even really work it .. sometimes boyfriend had to do it but I managed, and before I knew it .. we were up!  The actual walk way is suspended above the tent canvas and is kind of like a massive bouncy mat .. with no sides!  I thought that bit would be scary but I loved it.  Walking across it, knowing you were safe, but not completely feeling safe (sort of like a roller coaster) was really exhilarating.

At the top, gosh it was just beautiful.  I purposely timed our walk when the sun was setting (I googled it and everything, romantic huh?!)  We had a gorgeous view of Canary Wharf (which I had funnily visited the day before on a Geography field trip, so it was really interesting) and of the Emirates air line, but I must admit I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed with the lack of the view of the City.  Being a geography student, I probably should have realised that the way the Thames bends, we wouldn’t have but ah well, it was still beaut.  Complete with a cheeky plank too, of course ;)

The way down was doubly scary as the way up, the gradients just kept going up and up and up, so the way down was getting steeper and steeper and steeper, I couldn’t handle it!  I will admit I took a minute or two to have a tiny cry and compose myself, the guide was brilliant though, professional but such a lad too.  And after a wonderful hour, I touched the ground again!  It really was incredible, and only £22 on a week day.  I really would recommend doing it, so so special.

So do it guys, get out there, fall in love with life (haven’t said that in a while!) and get up the o2!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

So on Sunday evening I was dragged to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with my Mum and Grandma.  Okay, not dragged.  But it got to 5pm and to tell you the truth I really couldn’t be bothered to get myself out of my PJs and head to Woking town centre to the cinema.  But I’m so glad I did.

This is IMBD’s synopsis of the movie:

‘British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.’

Sounds boring?  It really wasn’t.  Cue gold actors and actresses Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie and Penelope Wilton along with Skins and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel frolicking around India.  For quintessentially an old persons movie, it was very bold to have homosexual and racist story lines within it.

What I found most interest was the similarity of my Mother and Grandmother to two of the characters.  My Mother to Judi Dench, a cultural adviser in an Indian telecommunications office, which my Mum is, and my grandmother to Maggie Smith, an elderly lady with a hip replacement.  Maybe that’s why I found it so endearing, but it was absolutely hilarious too with cracking one liners and sex scenes.

It also portrayed a story line that is close to me.  It breaks my heart to see members of my family and family friends in unhappy relationships and marriages, thinking that they are too old to break away and start afresh or to have a life change.  The film involved one couple, mid to late 50s I would say divorcing after 30 odd years of marriage to start again and be happy in new lives which I thought was beautiful.  I’m sure everybody can think of at least one couple that could do with seeing this movie.

So basically, it was wonderful.  Funny, charming, endearing, saucy and fiesty would be some words to describe it.  And 7.5 stars from IMDB … not bad.

2010 Year Of Culture: July

So July!  Slightly more prompt on this one, thought I’d blog now cause I plan to be absent for a while.  As of tomorrow I’m pretty much camping solidly for 2 and a half weeks meaning a sincere lack of internet!

Week 27 was the second half of my week in grand old NYC.  And to be perfectly honest, there was enough culture there to last me the whole of next year too, so I think I can get away with that spanning two weeks ;)    Week 28 was so good.  Jet lag in toe, I popped up to London to see ‘Shrek: The Final Chapter’ at the Imax at Waterloo.  Incredible!  By far my favourite of all 4 films and the screen was just amazing.  I hadn’t been to the Imax for a while before that and I’d forgotten it’s sheer scale; flipping huge.  Definitely go if you get the chance!

Now Week 29 was action packed.  First, I headed up to London again to the Grace Kelly Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  So beautiful.  I came away wanting to be classy, sophisticated and actually turn into a lady.  All her clothes were just so elegant, hardly anything low cut, no legs on show, just so modest, so simple and so pure.  She said that when you have boring clothes as such (some were very plain and neutral), people pay more attention to you and who you are as a person.  It made me think.  While I can see the merit in her idea, I and many other people use fashion as a tool to express who we are as people, and not let our faces do that.  Maybe it’s her era.  Just got me thinking.  Either way, she was a beautiful lady.

The rest of the week was performing at Camberley Theatre for my final Street Vibes Dance Show (stay tuned for a blog on that one) and a trip to Manchester.  Whilst I quite possibly had 3 of the most intense, stressful and dramatic days of my life up North, I did really enjoy myself and manage to get quite a bit of culture in there!  The Lowry Art Gallery was probably my favourite, hand in hand with a Spencer Tunick Exhibition = Hello Nakedness!

Week 30 was yet another trip to London (It IS only 25 minutes away guys!), this time to Buckingham Palace!  I felt so regal.  I decided I wanted to go and see the State Rooms a few months ago, and slowly it turned into a whole family affair for my Dad’s birthday.  A lovely day out, and the Palace was just amazing!

So July has been a good one for culture!  I’m really enjoying my Summer and every day is bringing something new, amazing and exciting.  Stay tuned y’all :)

One of the 934 shots of NYC, me in front of Times Square.  One of the best holidays of my life :)

Shrek!

SO GOOD – you actually have to see this.

Grace Kelly – quite possibly the most beautiful woman to ever exist

Manchester!  And yet another appearance of the wonderful Rosie Hall :)

Buckingham Palace State Rooms – simply gorgeous.

Psycho

Psycho

My first experience of the iconic 1960 ‘horror’ movie was on Tuesday, midday in a packed Library.  Being a wimp, I was terrified.  Thinking that being surrounded by people in the afternoon sunshine would make me fine, I was horribly wrong.  The first 40 minutes were fine, until the shower scene.  I’ve never been so frightened.  I couldn’t listen to the music, I couldn’t look, and when I did, I saw a beautiful woman being hacked to death through the shower curtain.  I’ve opted for our clear shower screen ever since.

Despite really enjoying the film, I did find it terryfying.  Being an A2 English Literature student studying Gothic Literature, our ongoing task is to read, and watch films around the Gothic Genre.  Thinking Hitchcock being 50 years old would be the most tame, ‘Psycho’ seemed the logical option.  I had no idea I would have to sleep with my light on and wake up in cold sweats for the next 3 nights.

I was even more shocked to discover that my viewing of ‘Psycho’ coincides with it’s 50 year anniversary, and so it’s re-release at Cinemas this Friday.  Along with numerous articles about the naked shower woman not actually being Janet Leigh, but Playbunny Marli Renfro and the argument of being the first horror film of all time, I felt very moved.  Looking back, yes, the film was scary, but more so powerful.  A very powerful film.  I certainly didn’t expect the ending and I loved giving the time to watch and enjoy a vintage black and white picture.  A must see.

2010 Year of Culture: February

University of Birmingham

And as another month draws to a close, another cultural month has been completed.  I’m very pleased with myself actually, this is the longest I’ve kept up a New Year Revolution.  Week 1 of February, Week 5 of the Year, was a trip to Vue Cinema in Leicester Square in London to see the cinema phenomenon: Avatar.  Amazing.  I have no words to describe how incredible I found this film.  The half bottle of wine had at dinner beforehand certainly helped the 3D atmosphere and I just loved the cross between the Smurfs and Pocahontus.  Week 6 was a weekend in Tonbridge Wells (see ‘The Beautiful Weekend’ post).  Such a quaint, gorgeous town.  And yes it is a town, anywhere with a Starbucks is officially a town.  Week 7 was a trek to Birmingham where I saw the University in snowfall.  Very beautiful, and most cultural – it has it’s own Art Gallery and Concert Hall!  Whilst Week 8 was a trip to Glasgow (see ‘Glasgow’ post).  I’ll let you read about that in post devoted to it.

I’m having such a great time of this Cultural Year, I would really recommend it.  It gives me a stress release, a focus and interests besides every day life.  Love it.  Laters.