Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sunday Summary

Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears! Or, since we're on a more visual media, lend me your eyes! I promise to give them back.

This week's Sunday Summary is brought to you by the letters O, N and the number 11.

This, essentially, all stands for:

Only 11 more days 'til Christmas.

Though, hurrah for me, I have finally started writing cards, whilst also alternating between writing this blog and Photoshopping Playmobil characters into various impossible scenarios. Not so much multi-tasking as sporado-tasking but hey. I'm getting stuff done, is my story, and I'm sticking to it. I'm also making rice pudding since the weather dictates such comfort food.

(Footnote: it's wise not to forget that you are trying to stew up rice pudding, let the milk and rice boil to near solidity while you go off and hunt gifs instead. ...Seriously, that stuff is like cement on the bottom of a saucepan. And I forgot to add the bay leaves. Meh. Thank heavens for slow cookers and their ability to make stuff bearable regardless of human oversight.)

The other good news is the gift haul (for other folk) is growing. Still a little way to go but getting there.

{DISCLAIMER: Puppies are strictly metaphorical.
Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas, y'all}

So, without further ado

(ado ado ado ado ado ... to paraphrase ABBA)

... This week, I have mostly been

Reading | Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

...the long-awaited third installment in the diary series, set in Bridget's 50s, when she has two small children (whose dialogue doesn't always feel consistent with children their age, but what do I know as a non-parent...?) and the life of widowhood to contend with, not to mention a new toyboy. It's mildly amusing, but I haven't yet emitted that oft-sought-after snort of hilarity and recognition (although I may have allowed a wry smile at Bridget's attempts to conquer Twitter).

Maybe I'm just not the target audience for this one. Maybe I just preferred Bridget when she was a hapless, childless singleton. Ah well.

I've also stocked up on some disgustingly light reads from the library to see me through the next three weeks in a panicked attempt to hit that 50-books-read-this-year target:

The Watsons | Jane Austen
A Mere Interlude | Thomas Hardy
Les Enfants Terribles | Jean Cocteau
The Third Man and Fallen Idol | Graham Greene
The Yellow Wallpaper | Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Bloody Chamber and other stories | Angela Carter

Rewatching | While You Were Sleeping

...while I am writing Christmas cards.

Lonely and in need of love at Christmas? Work for Chicago's transportation system. You end up engaged twice in one season. And to a man with truly epic eyebrows.


Listening | to a lot of Christmas music

Last five Christmas choonz played: (according to my ever so reliable iTunes listings):

O Little Town of Bethlehem | traditional
Proper Crimbo | Bo' Selecta (I make no excuses, it was on a compilation and on shuffle. Honest.)
When a Child is Born | Johnny Mathis
Baby It's Cold Outside | Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
See Amid the Winter's Snow | traditional, sung by The Choir of Guildford Cathedral -- keeping it local

Visiting | the newly remodelled Foyles on Charing Cross Road

(but only for ten minutes)

{Christmassy Trafalgar Square}

On Wednesday night I met up with former workbud Clare at Trafalgar Square, and we shuffled on down for pizza and wine in Old Compton Street at the quirky La Porchetta Pollo Bar, which offered really, really good pizza Picone (for me, with chicken and pineapple, randomly) and a Quattro Formaggio for Ms McClareyson.

We did so much catching-up and pizza and wine imbibement that by the time we realised what time it actually was, Foyles was only open for another ten minutes. So we did a quick dash in.

{I like big books and I cannot lie}

{I. Can't. Even.}

The shop looks great, really it does -- at least, the children's section looks top-notch. May need to make a little more time in which to revisit and see more than just the ground floor of the store. Maybe.

(Although we wouldn't have objected that loudly to a Waterstone's-style lock-in.)

Ten Pins

Again, suspended this week due to having failed to make nearly enough time for Pinspiration or in fact very much blogwatching lately, which I'm genuinely sad about. Bring on the holibobs and more blog time.

Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage
See also: Ghostwriter defends Zoellaalso here

Non-literary Linkage

And finally...
{oh the indignity...}

Keep warm and stick yer Christmas jumpers on, friends.

qb xx

PS Oh! Almost forgot to say: this is a little shout-out to the West ladies, Jill and Jo, part of my St Matthew's church family, who I found out this morning are readers of the quirky brunette. Thank you!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunday Summary (or, Wig-out of the Week)

As we slide speedily into the festive season I find myself, ever more frequently, channelling that pillar of hope and inspiration more commonly known as...

...Bridget Jones

So in true Bridge fashion, this Summary will take on a vaguely Bridget Jones's Diary-esque tone. But with ever so slightly less swearing.

Number of books on the go: 1

{How to Build a Girl | Caitlin Moran}

Number of times I've given an audible snort of laughter while reading this book: an admirable 5 so far. 

And it takes a lot to make me snort audibly at a book these days. (Admittedly one of these snorts was in appreciation of the previous reader of my library copy who had marked up a typo in pencil. Whoever they are, I salute them.)

Number of episodes of House goggle-boxed this week: probably about 12

Number of times I've wanted to deliver a swift flick to Cameron's forehead and tell her to get over herself: probably about 12,000  

...though series 2 does have the added benefit of Sela "CSI:NY" Ward as Stacey, House's ex, who was conveniently hired on the spot at the end of series 1 to be the hospital's legal counsel. Because the whole House-Cuddy thing was lacking tension on account of Cameron being absolutely no threat to their dynamic whatsoever, is my theory.

Number of nightmares induced by watching House too late at night: 1.

There's a lesson there.

Number of Christmas films rewatched so far: only the 1...

...but it was this one!

{Love Actually}

Number of Christmas parties rocked this week: an epic 1

Oh, it was excellent, it really was. 

Held at the Underglobe venue beneath Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside, London, it was themed, as I had hoped, as the Labyrinth masquerade ball scene, and there was a Jareth, and masks, and superlative music choices, and everything

There's a very, very good chance that given the rather fabulous proliferation of LBDs on show from my gorgeous glam colleagues that I may have been ever so slightly over-dressed.

{Posey McPoserson}

But y'know what? It didn't matter. The dress (thank you, Charlie!) was magic and was different (thank you, Charlie!) and gave me the boost of confidence I needed. (Again, thank you, Charlie!)

I'd barely eaten any dessert before the lure of the (chequerboard!) dance floor became too much and I threw my hands in the air and danced like I just didn't care.

This was, however, me at midnight, trying to find my way around the Shard and into London Bridge station...

Number of Christmas cards bought, written and sent: 0

This is the reason for my potential wig-out. Severe disorganisation on the card front. It's shameful. 

Number of frames still yet to create on the annual Christmas animation: 30. Ish.

OK, I'll admit it. My preoccupation with this project is probably the cause of the above Christmas card misdemeanour. *shame face* 

I have spent the last week or so entrenched in Photoshop Elements, painstakingly cutting out characters and timing frames against the music. It's a lengthy process, and I can completely appreciate why Aardman output a film only every few years or so (!)

...But if I let you all see the animation (somehow...) and -- ostentatious moment alert -- put a donation in to charity, will you forgive me for not sending any cards this year?

Ten pins

My last ten pins on Pinterest:

{1. camel love}

{2. hoodie dress}

{3. titling inspiration}

{4. more titling inspiration}

{5. even more titling inspiration}

{6. except I probably will still compete
because I'm like that...)

{7. true story}

Wow. It's all gone a bit monochrome.

{8. buildings of new york |
gorgeous artwork}

{9. comedy chemists'}

{10. yes, meryl, it is | wait, have I featured this before?! egads}

Only a couple of Weekly Weblinks this week

... on account of me having very little intellectual internet time... woe is me. Thanks to Evie for both of these, actually:

Owl be back.

qb xx

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sunday Summary

Happy Sunday!

(I'm truly keeping my finger on the pulse these days, mes amis...)

And on the subject of FRIENDS... (oh, see what I did there?) I'm dedicating this post in its entirety and absolute-ness to CHARLIE KILBORN. There you go, Charlie, this one's for you, lady! I'll tell you all for why (and it's not just because she asked nicely). It's because she is my new fashion guru, and also because she (and Jos) are responsible for some of the best nights out I've had these last two years, and the best opportunities I've had in some time.

Also, she's the one who leads me astray and makes me eat chips from a kebab shop after a night out.

And she's very clever with a crochet hook and a bottle top.

And she found me the most brilliant flapper wall plaque whom I now call Myrtle.

 (Oh and she's lovely.)

Next up, allow me to apologise for the rather fractured nature of this Summary. It's our Advent Carol Service tonight, and I'm frenetically typing this bad boy in the vain hope that I might get it online before I have to zip over to the church and then sit for half an hour even-more-frenetically sorting music that should have been sorted days ago... before frenetically robing up and then trying, frenetically, not to set our polyester robes alight with the requisite candles. Sucks to be me. 

UPDATE: We came, we sang, we conquered -- we're all now a little hoarse, and this blog post is still in the making. These things take time.

But I do have some exciting* news, two-fold news, if you will. This week, I have mostly been...


{Why yes, people, I did indeed have an Excel spreadsheet,
with formulae, set up to track my progress...}

and... more excitingly (especially if your name is Georgina and you've been waiting a whole gestation period for this announcement...)


I think this calls for the following:

Happy Dork Dance

Fist Bump to Self

and a virtual one of these:

*it's all comparative, people...

Of course having put two projects to bed, I'm about to reawaken another little project. But not until tomorrow. Let's not go crazy, now.

Also this week, I have mostly been...

Reading | Brooklyn

Watching | House



Get the memo.


(Or is he? Either way, she's the most frustratingly mercurial, drippy little girl doctor ever committed to the small screen. Urgh.)

Getting party-purty**

**again, all comparative

It's our work Christmas party this coming Thursday. Which never ceases to bring to mind the following scene from Love Actually...


Regardless. I don't need a charismatic, bespectacled Brazilian designer to make my party rock (though it'd be nice...). No, for this year's party venue theme is rumoured to be:

{The Labyrinth ball scene

...which has been my fantasy party theme since, well, 1989.

For the last few years there's been a fairly solid theme to my Christmas party dress choice:

2008... flapper dress...

2009... flapper dress...
2010... flapper dress... ish...

2011... Oh! Not a flapper dress! But not my
finest party dress moment.
Or, in fact, moment of any time.

2012... flapper dress... (see also 2008...)
With additional Clarey bonus
2013. OK, I get the

So, while a flapper dress is my go-to, it has been decreed that it's time for a change. (And I'd be inclined to agree in spite of my flapper proclivities...)

So, cue Charlie, dress guru extraordinaire, who thought something a little more form-fitting might be appropriate this year. After all, I suspect Jareth's over his weird and ever so slightly wrong moody-teenager fixation by now. One would hope.

{That's not dubious at all, now, is it...}

Hormonal intervention decreed that I heard 'form-fitting' and immediately had visions of requiring 'support' along these lines:

All the same, I followed the guidance of my guru, who thought something a little 1950s might work.

Now, as the above photos might decree, with the exception of those sexy sexy purple sequins (said no person ever), I'm a little averse to colour in my winter party dresses. So I messaged Charlie with the following choices:


from that renowned boutique more commonly known as eBay.

That but in a brighter colour, maybe! Thus spake Charlie.

And lo and behold, after some -- you guessed it, FRENETIC -- eBay-searching and parameter-setting, this little beauty popped up on-screen.


Done and done.

Afraid you'll have to wait until next week for the full QB-in-frock reveal. Soz.

Of course, a day after I'd clicked that all-crucial Buy it now button, I received in the post the most gorgeous, also form-fitting, little flapper-esque dress from Georgina. Oh, the conflict! LOOK AT IT!

(And... here's me in it. Pardon the hair. And the po-face. This was taken on a pre-hair-wash, post-Voicerox night, with no supportive grundies, at about 11pm. Oh, come on. I can't look fabulous all the time.)

But I am aiming to leave the house more than once over the festive season, so with any luck both frocks will get an airing.

So, thank you, Charlie, and thank you, George -- I'm almost ready for party season. And no constructive underwear as yet required.

Which is nice.

Vising | the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill

On Thursday our bi-annual sales conference took place in a function room at the Museum of Brands, and we were lucky enough to get a tour of the museum itself. And it was fantastic -- a history of brands and packaging since 1800s to modern day. Here are a few highlights (apologies for the ropey snapping):

SORRY, no Ten Pins this week. I appear only to have pinned three images since last Sunday. 

I've been neglecting my Pinterest boards.

So, moving swiftly on:

Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage

Non-literary Linkage

And finally...

It's a cat in a bowtie. Yes.

Off to embark on the party season. Wish me luck, I'm goin' in...

qb xxx