Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Your Wednesday Warning …

Dear FOQ …

At the risk of this being a #sorrynotsorry type of pre-emptive post, I feel it necessary to warn you that the Sunday Summary will be at least a day late this week.


Not sorry.

One of the perils of having a wild exciting life is that sometimes the aforementioned wild exciting life gets in the way of documenting, er, that wild exciting life.

As is the case this Sunday … as I'm going out.


Watch out for a Monday Missive in lieu and please accept my truly unapologetic apologies.

And maybe some compensatory fudgy nuts at some point in the future.

qb xx

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday Summary | best knocked back like a shot of Apple Sourz

Howdy, FOQ, hope we're all keeping warm!

How is it Sunday evening all over again?! How is it late November?! How is it nearly December?!

I'm afraid this week's Summary is ever so slightly less prosaic and poignant than last week's but please just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. It tries so hard, it really does. It just wants to be loved. As do we all.


This week, I have mostly been ...

Reading ...

... grown-up books again, and non-fiction to boot. Namely this one:

I'm trying not to get any ideas. Really I am.

But 11,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail? Pah. Easy. Could do it in a week.

... Said no sane person. Ever.


... The Coroner. Not because of its sterling performances, realistic dialogue and excellent attention to police procedural detail (pah -- OK, Claire Goose isn't bad, for someone whose surname is, well,

But because of the location.

Does this look familiar to you?

{Screengrab from The Coroner | BBC}
Waaaaait ...

I've only flippin' been there!

{In the very position occupied by La Goose! | Photo by Norgstar}
Why, yes, friends, The Coroner was filmed partly in and around Hope Cove, where me little Norgstar and I took our late-summer holidays (which you may remember from this colossal post way back in September-time).

Thankfully The Coroner is a daytime broadcast and not prime time, or HC would be swarming with tourists, and nobody wants that, but it's rather lovely to see this beautiful place on t'actual telly.

{Gif ripped lovingly from The Coroner | BBC}

Look! That there ... is here!

And Norgs and I only flippin' ate here as well!

{That'll be The Cove Cafe Bar, then! | Screengrab from The Coroner | BBC}
Ahem. Sorry. Got a bit overexcited there.

Still. If you're based in the UK with access to the BBC site and videos, have a look at this little teaser for optimal seaside-scenery ogling. (And no, I have not a scooby how to embed the tricksy little beggar.)


The end is (nearly) nigh, my friends: this time next weekend, I shall, I hope, be hurtling towards that magical 50,000 word target. And you know I'll hit it.

The last few hours may result in this sort of behaviour:

but what the hey. Who's to judge?

The current scores on the doors are as follows:

The Plan for Today (once I've done the sexy exciting ironing I decided not to bother with last Sunday -- I'm such a little rebel) is to hit that 40,000 word target.

(But not until I've posted and publicised this 'ere post, of course.)

And no, Jos, I still don't know why I give myself these pressures and deadlines. Pure madness, I tell thee. MADNESS.

Shoppin' and Droppin'*

On Monday night I rocked up to a superlative invite-only charity Ladies' Night held by the fabulous ladies of the Scope shop, Horley, notably my lovely Charlie. There were clothes to be rummaged through, Prosecco to be delicately soused on, hands to be massaged by Leonie (with scrummy Body Shop goodies), and nibbles to, er, nibble. And cake! Much of cake!

Oh but did I mention the clothes?! We tried, and we buyed. We trought and we bought.

(I'm going to stop there with that line of wordplay, I think.)

And the good ladies raised £250 for Scope in the one night, which was amazing! Such a great idea for an event especially near Christmas when we're all selling our thermals/internal organs on the internet for cash.

{Hmm ... ooh, black! Jos zones in from the sidelines |
Photo courtesy of}
Plus I came away with a gorgeous little mint cardigan, a smashing pink blazer, and this year's Christmas party dress as cunningly pre-selected for me by Charlie and Jos.

{Don't be fooled by the heels ... | could barely flippin'
balance. But pretty dress, no? |
Photo courtesy of}
Seriously, girls, you get me -- ya get me?

* I dropped my boulder-holder on the dressing room floor when getting changed (as apparently black sports bras and dresses don't go very well together -- who knew? Same with patterned socks and ballet pumps but that's one faux-pas I won't be making again for a while ... ;-)). Came out to show the assembled lovelies what I was trying on. Went back in. Boulder-holder went missing. 

Five minutes later it reappeared in the stock room.

You couldn't make it up.

Celebrating Jos' Birthday

Why yes, our fabulous Jos turned 21 all over again on Tuesday, so I headed on down to Horsham (which by the way looks extremely pretty at night -- will have to give it a proper look-over in daylight) to celebrate at the Buenos Aires Restaurant with the Gang: Ken, Amber and Finn, and Charlie and Al.

Oh and Jos too. She was there. ;-)

{Yay, birthday girl in a tiara, natch!}
And it was deliciosa. Sadly I was much too stuffed after empanadas (aka Argentinian pasties):

{#Don't cry for me, empanadas ...#}
and half a cow (BA specialises in all steak, all the time) to even contemplate dessert but the Disaronno-laced hot chocolate that the birthday girl had? That looked pretty good.

No idea where the Disaronno came from of course. No idea at all ...

Happy Birthday, Jos, you fabulous individual, you -- keep doing what you're doing:

Rockin' OUT

... to the phenomenal sound of Permageddon, 80s rock covers band.

{That's them, in the melee ...}
It was one of those "shall we? Eh, what the heck, yeah, let's!" decision-making moments for Natalie and me and I think we're both flippin' glad we went along. Our original plans for our evening in (sadly rare as they are, still) were to eat, drink, hang out and most likely take more selfies and other arbitrary photos, ahem:

{Er ...}
{What even ...?}
but aforementioned plans were slightly stymied when Natalie's phone did what Samsung Galaxies are often prone to do -- and conked out completely.

So out we did go to shake it off, Taylor-Swift-style.

Not only was it an excellent stress-relievin', head-bangin', generally fun night out, it was also an opportunity for Natalie to meet some of my Voicerox Lovelies-and-Friends (and the Lovelies-and-Friends to meet Natalie).

Of course, the poor lass was utterly bereft without her phone #RIPGalaxy so being the good friend I am, I lent her mine to play with all night. Which might explain all the selfies and the random shots of the door to the Gents' toilets that I found on there today.

Natalie ... ????

In residence last evening were Jos, Paul, Pete, and Rebecca who'd invited us to the gig in the first place -- so for that we thank her muchly even though we failed to get a good photo of her!


And a random young-Danny-Dyer-look-alike (or so I'm told):

We definitely missed Charlie, though -- maybe next time, chick?

Anyway. I think they all got along OK:

{Natalie tries to educate young Paul in the Art of the Selfie}
{When friend-worlds collide ... but in a good way!}
Oh, and yes:

Thanks for noticing! ;-)

After much of Malibu ('er) and wine (me) and a shot of Apple Sourz which may or may not have been the best decision ever made all night (me and 'er), we were feeling decidedly gentle today. Need arose for a fry-up. Because, well, it's tradition now. Like chips in the bus stop, which also happened.

{Isn't she gorgeous?!}
Pinterest Pin of the Week

{Aw, snap ...}

(Bi-) Weekly Web Finds

  • Swimalator | When a swim team gets bored at the airport, this happens -- it's brilliant! | via Facebook | Video credit: Kelsi Worrell

{via here}
  • If you need a good weep (and sometimes you just do):

look no further than the Sainsbury's Mog's Christmas Calamity advert (which has propelled the excellent Judith Kerr back up the UK book charts): 

and the John Lewis Man on the Moon advert which is so painfully close to the bone that you can't watch it without feeling awfully sad about the state of the world.

And finally, I leave you with this because it's Sunday and I can.

Have good weeks.

qb xx

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday Summary | extra bubbly

Dear FOQ --

This week has been, well, the word 'polarised' fairly well encapsulates it. On a global scale it's really not been the greatest on so many fronts.

It's been pretty feckin' horrific, truth be told.

But on a local scale -- while it's been absolutely frenetic, I can honestly say that this week has driven home to me (and not for the first time) how lucky I am to be surrounded by some truly, truly magnificent people.

It's extremely difficult at times like these to admit that in the midst of horror and unease across the globe (and often far too close to home), it is also possible to kick back with those people you love and trust and have the best times with, and have fun, enjoy oneself, and get one's happy on.

That's not to say we're distancing ourselves or are not sympathetic to all the grimness in the world. We're human. I do believe we're allowed to demonstrate more than one feeling in the course of a year. Month. Week. Day. Hour. Minute, sometimes.

But there's a danger that if you dedicate yourself only to mourning every single catastrophic world event -- and there are too many to count -- you will just become so mired in depression over the state of the world that you're liable to lose sight of any joy that can also be found, or to see any way in which you can make a positive difference.

It just means that we are living life in the moment, savouring it while we have it.

And I hope we don't think we need to feel guilty for that.

I'm very aware that this blog is neither ground-breaking or eye-opening (although I've had some delicious moments on the subjects of sexism and feminism in the recent past). This is a very self-indulgent platform (it's all about meeee plus a few guest appearances) but one of the reasons I write it is to remind myself how fortunate I am to have what I have in life.

But to those of you truly feeling the strain at the moment, let me share this gif that Natalie posted this week, which we all wish were a thing:


So. Where to begin?

This week, I have mostly been ...


I finally finished Quiet and it was superb. Truly. I'm about to start reading a whole stack of books on exploring creativity and mindfulness and all sorts of modern-day witchery but for the time being, I'm reading this. Because it's silly and Jim Smith's illustrations and turns of phrase make me laugh.


Actually not had a whole lot of time to watch anything this week, but it's been 30 Rock all the way. Liz Lemon is my age and a bit tactless and ridiculous, and for that I love her.

{Liz Lemon stole my moves!}

{via here}
Y'know what, it's going well. The words are a chain of contradictory contradictions and clichés and such, but at the crucial halfway point (and at the time of writing this particular bit of the blog in between NaNo-ing), I find myself 3,000+ words over the halfway point target.


So, yes, Grammarly, thank you -- I forgive myself for not hitting the daily tallies every day because in spite of that, I am on target, babies. On target and a bit!

[UPDATE: I'm now on 29,230. This was not a wasted Sunday, oh no. I win at weekends.]

The Plan for today is to hit that 30,000 mark then I can pour a cheeky celebratory vino:

kick back and enjoy the rest of the evening (after I've done the ironing, natch).

Then spend the rest of the week playing catch-up because, yep, it's another busy one.

You've truly not devoted yourself to the NaNoWriMo cause until you find yourself typing in the queue at Costa or while standing on the Overground ...

Ah well. I can handle it, friends. 

As this Bill Murray gif will attest.

Doing that Social/Human Interaction Thang

Yes. That is correct. It is a thang. For I am totally hip and with it, and that's just how it is.

(I may have had too much coffee.)

On Wednesday I schlepped over to Soho to meet former workmate and all-round bastion of fabulosity, Miranda, for a spot o' supper. My work hours being flexi and hers being less so, I found myself in Foyles (big marvellous bookshop) for an indulgent hour prior to our get-together, able to fit in a little bit of semi-pretentious word-writing-stuff in the upstairs cafe, with a cup o' hot chocolate beside me.

Miranda rocked up shortly after half six, and we made our way past the temptation of ALL THE BOOKS and out of the shop, to hunt down the superlative Flat Iron Steak emporium. But alas! Alack! There was at least an hour's wait to be seated.

So off we pootled to the equally smashing Fernandez and Wells for Cabernet, chorizo omelettes and a long-overdue catch-up with additional life advice. And jolly lovely it was too.

{Blurry Beesville and Snowy | outside a bookshop, natch}
On Friday (after having the great fortune of randomly uncovering a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge that I had no idea was there) I wandered round to the home of Voicerox Lovely Diane for a final rehearsal with fellow Lovelies, as we were due to perform two songs at Pete's party on Saturday evening. There was Prosecco (standard fare for these rehearsals, I'm rather pleased to say), pizza, and fudgy nuts -- all there to warm the vocal chords for a productive rehearsal:

These folks are nothing if not perfectionists but don't be fooled by the serious faces -- there was much mirth to be had.

D'aw, look at my Lovelies all smiley and ... er, blue? What the what?

{I'm blue-da-ba-dee-da-ba-dooby-dooby ... go home, QB, you're caffeinated}

Then -- breathe, QB, breathe -- on Saturday I was helping staff the bookstall at the church Christmas Fayre. Eeeee! Yes, I was in (shared) charge of ALL THE BOOKS.

{It's OK, this isn't really click-and-zoom-worthy, it's just representative of ALL THE BOOKS}
Made me want to open up a tiny second-hand bookshop of my own and tap into the spirit of my inner Bernard Black (but ever so slightly less antagonistic):

Sadly it didn't feel as though there was nearly as much footfall as in previous years -- the grim weather didn't help, nor did the competing event of original Star Wars cast members appearing at the local shopping centre. 

Still, we did pretty well considering we were selling our beautiful wares at a steal. And I was very well behaved. I only bought three for myself:


And then, and then I only went and won a bottle of champers on the bottle tombola! This, the day after I'd found an unopened bottle of Prosecco in the fridge. Yes. So much of yes.

That's Monday Christmas sorted, then.

Then, on Saturday evening, it was ... drum roll please ... Voicerox Pete's Gothicana-themed 40th birthday party!

And it was magnificent. The Voicerox Lovelies (and their Lovelies) were in residence, and all looked splendid -- there was some real attention to detail and a lot of emotional investment made in costumes and make-up by all the guests (and the host himself looked like he'd made a fair bit of effort). 

So, big gothic shout-outs to Pete and Nicola, Jos, Charlie, Kate and Steve, Alun and Christine, Martin and Ali, Dan, Jude and Tony, Diane and Simon, Gayle and Oli, and Lindsey and Nick and I really hope I haven't forgotten anyone because that would be awks.

There was singing (including our Jude taking to the piano with a rather spectacular rendition of Wuthering Heights)! There was cake! There was Prosecco! And there was dancing, to possibly the best party playlist ever

Top night.

{Jos looking darn minxy. Which is right and proper}

{Alun: much respect for the Paris solidarity,
my friend}

{Birthday boy Pete and
the Wheel of Organised Fortune}
{Ali and Martin | Martin, my birthday
buddy, rocking that rewired top hat}

{Lindsey and Gayle | hardcore to the last}
{Jude, wuthering those heights} 
{See, I knew I'd missed off a few photos -- there were no
shots of Charlie in the first draft of the post! And that
wouldn't have done at all.}

{I think I've just accounted for your injuries, Jos ... | "All siddown"}
{Who's that man and why is he wearing an Alun mask?
I swear I took even more photos but I think the light swallowed a lot of people's heads. Soz. (I'm also waiting to find out if I can share any of the official photos because they are fantastic, so may need to update the post at a later date with more piccies. Photo booths at parties? Yes.)

As for moi? I was channelling this fabulous specimen of pseudo-neo-quasi-Goth:


{Photo by Jos}
No, actually really. I surprised myself. Double sequin suits are fashion-forward. You heard it here first. (And yes, the suit Scary Siobhan is wearing is indeed gold sequin not black, but c'mon. I had to buy something off eBay that I could wear more than once, right?)

Pete, the party was legendary. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we all did.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Web Finds

... will just have to wait because I cannot be narfed to compile them all now.

Tune in next week for another instalment of Stuff QB Has Done in the Week.

Love you all.

Stay safe and fabulous.

qb xx