Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday Summary | Bland like semi-skimmed milk, probably

Hello there, FOQ, hope we're all well and happy.

Or well, at the very least. (Of course I want you all to be happy. And I understand that's not possible, there's no instant switch for happiness.)

Thank you all for your lovely comments and such on the matter of my lovely shiny New Job. I'm still very excited, though it seems to have been ages since I handed in my notice and declared, in an M-People stylee, that I'm moving on up, moving on out, moving on up, noooothing can stop me.

But there it is. Time plays tricks on yer.

Anyway, enough of this rambling tomfoolery. Onwards!

This week, I have mostly been ...



... the very last episode of 30 Rock 

and then making a seamless transition into watching Still Alice (for which you really have to be in an emotionally stable state of mind -- you have been warned):

{Still, ahem, from Still Alice | via here | Wait, where
have I seen this pairing before, lately ...?}
{WHOOMPH! There it is!}
It's such a good film but very upsetting. Alice's deterioration is fast and furious, and


... the scene where she watches the video of herself for instructions on taking an overdose is just harrowing especially for the comparison of Still-Self-Aware Alice and Severely Disorientated Alice.

I do believe I've shared the trailer before, but what the heck:

OK, you can come baaaaack, people who may actually watch Still Alice ...

And on a Netflix tip, I've started watching Grey's Anatomy. Because the post-House withdrawal became too great.

And also, yes, Patrick Dempsey. Because slightly arrogant medics are apparently my bag. See also: George Clooney in ER. And Greg House, natch. (I was about to share a recent sketch from some US comedy show featuring the two of them, Clooney and Laurie, together, but it's so cringingly awkward and unfunny I cannot. Never mind that Hugh Laurie's beginning to look increasingly more like the late Jeff Conaway from Grease and that's just upsetting.)

Incidentally, I've ditched my aerial and Freeview box, and am now sans telly. This should make me a bundle of laughs in social situations when people are talking about things that are, er, on the telly.

I still have the monitor for DVD, video and HDMI-hook-ups with the tablet but as for live streaming?

That's so last century.

Catch-up's where it's at.

(Also, I really, really hate most adverts.)

... It's been a slow news week, folks.

Making a List

And checking it twice.

Yea verily, following on from sharing Evie's list of happiness triggers, in the spirit of finding and maintaining happiness this year, I've taken it upon myself to write down 38 things that make me happy (one for every year of life thus far and one for luck because odd numbers are evil and must be stopped ... oh hang on, that would make it 39 things ... calculator, someone?). I think these things may be fluid depending on life-stage, but for now, here they are, my 38 Guidelines to Happiness:

QB's Guide to Finding Happiness
(in no particular order)

1. Find a moment of solitude in a loud or busy place.
2. Turn off the tech, have an early night and don’t feel that the evening has been unproductive.
3. Sing without self-awareness.
4. Make lots of playlists for different times and moods. Play them on shuffle.

5. Spend unpressured time with your Lovelies.
6. Walk and get safely lost to find your way back.
7. Cook properly for yourself. Make an event of dinnertime.
8. Lie in. With coffee, magazines and music.
9. Spend all day in pyjamas once in a while.
10. Write by hand.
11. Be near a body of water and look for the sun.
12. Watch a film or episode with popcorn.
13. Doodle.
14. Stick stickers.
15. Stamp rubber stamps.
16. Go on a swing.
17. Bounce on a trampoline.
18. Ride on a fairground ride or pier ride.
19. Put on a really awful, cheesy kitsch song, and rock out.
20. Rearrange the furniture or reorganise the shelves.
21. Take the empties to the bottle bank and have a good smash.
22. Seek out a cosy pub with a log fire and read there with a glass of wine.
23. Keep ignoring commercial media. Ignore the tabloids, the gossip columns, the gossip mags, the adverts, ignore social media if you need to, and make your own gauge of your life.
24. Create something. Anything. Design a badge, write a haiku. Anything.
25. Find something that makes you laugh so hard you ache and cry.
26. Play the piano loudly, and badly, but with enthusiasm.
27. Bake bread and consume with real butter.
28. Read. Reread a book in which you identify wholeheartedly with a situation or character.
29. Eat chocolate.
30. Find a problem that needs solving. Solve it.
31. Write something that only you will ever read.
32. Identify something that needs to be changed, and change it.
33. Revisit a picture that appeals to you and just look at it for a while.
34. Look at old photos and remember good times.
35. Put on a song that meant a lot to you once, and remember why it was so important, then remember that you've moved on.
36. Send a message of love to someone just because.
37. Stroke or hug an animal. Hens definitely count here.
38. Light all the fairy lights and turn off the main lights. Enjoy the ambience.


I hereby challenge you to come up with your own Guidelines.

As I prepare to quit the Soulless City, I do find myself making little comparison lists of Things I'll Miss and Things I Won't Miss. No prizes for guessing into which category each of these pictures falls:

{The sunsets ...}
{The river ...}

{The commute ...}

Having Quality Cake and Chocolate Time

... with Ms Pippa (of the Yankee Doodle Nobles blog) at Gail's in Clapham, with her gorgeous son in tow (he's so scrummy, all smiles and dribble and cuddles, and into everything, but for the sake of the young man's privacy, no photos I'm afraid).

'Twas lovely to catch up after quite a while; prior to a flying visit to the office on P's behalf the last time I'd seen her was in New Yawk Citaaaaay:

with our friend Jenny (left), and so much has changed since then.

Eating All the Meat Ever

Lunchtime today saw me rocking on up to the Toby Carvery to meet my Lovelies, Charlie and Al and Miss Keira, for a much-needed meat-feast in excellent company (and, er, slightly overwhelming heat and light conditions):

Sometimes a Sunday roast just polishes off the week, doesn't it? Especially with a huge Yorkshire on top, and pudding. (Brace yourself for some seriously obscene imagery ...)

Oh and a cheeky lunchtime vino and apres-dejeuner coffee doesn't hurt, either.

'Twas time well spent, bantering favourite films and books and bucket-list concerts, and yes, Charlie, I am still feeling the burn of shame that comes from never having read:

I shall rectify this oversight posthaste, my friend. Posthaste.

And, hello, was this the book you were looking foooor (Lionel-stylee)?

I highly recommend it. And I'll let you know if the film's any cop too.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Web Finds
{via here}
  • Also on Twitter, some genius has set up the Redhill Donald Trump account [@RedhillDonald] and even our humble church gets a mention!:

Such fun!

On that note, have good weeks, everyone!

I'm sorry there's no Honour Roll of Lovely-ness this week but I hope you all know that you're awesome.

qb xx

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunday Summary | Mix 100g honey with 1tbsp turmeric for pure cold-busting magic

Greetings, FOQ, you lovely people you.

I begin this Summary with a Public Health Announcement.

Remember a whole week ago when I made the declaration that my shabby bleedin' hands (or my shabby, bleeding hands) were all but cured on the advice of my workmate?

Well ... this week, my workmate's advice has also helped break through what began as a really quite grotesque cold (and QB does not 'do' ill).

I kid thee not.

100g honey mixed with 1tbsp turmeric and decanted into a glass pot. Half a tsp to be taken hourly for the first day of Bubonic Plague then two-hourly on the second day. 

[*WARNING: apparently this is not suitable for people with gallbladder disease. Always consult your doctor. Or, if you're me, just take a chance, blow your nose, chin up and hope it works. I found directions for use here]

Already I'm feeling less like this:

and more like this:

(though with a raspy Jo Whiley broadcasting voice which is apparently a good thing even if it makes pitching during singing that much more difficulter.)

Admittedly as your taste buds and sense of smell restore to normal the mixture may be a little more piquant, but I'm now a firm advocate.

The drugs can do one.

{If the book is anything to go by, the film casting
is almost perfect}

30 Rock

{Hands up if you reckon Alec Baldwin's been dyeing his hair
a chestnut colour to bring out his eyes ...}
I do keep persisting. I'm committed. I'm on the final season.

And in spite of constant Shark-Jump threats, continuity glitches (characters who just go missing unexplained, hair inconsistencies) and yet another live episode ("hey! here's what you're supposed to find funny!"):

sometimes a scenario or quip of dialogue pulls this show back from its precipice for a second.

Could really do without the political/electoral story lines though.

Spoiler alert: Obama won.

Oh and War and Peace? I didn't care enough about all the identikit characters to keep watching. My attention span is like that of:

these days. It's just that I like to multitask while I watch things. And by multitask I mean, iron.

Or eat popcorn.

Or pin stuff on Pinterest.

Celebrating my Big News

Remember a whole week ago when I made the declaration that ... oh, wait, sorry, already did that bit.

Remember a whole week ago where I planted a little teaser on this-here bloggo pertaining to some News I Had to Share?

Granted, it's not that big, really, in the grand scheme of things, and humility and tact have meant that I'm not posting aforementioned news on Farcebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn (which I've LinkedOut of anyway).

But here it is:

And before those of you not already in the know jump to the wrong conclusion, nooooooo, I'm not With Child. Seriously, have you met me?! And my fantasy husband, Tom Thomas from Fireman Sam?
{OK, that's just sick, isn't it; he's an animation, QB, get over it!}
It's the book thing. 

The book is the focus, people.

I've got a new job!

Yes, after almost nine years at my current company, and -- gulp -- fifteen years in children's publishing, I'm making an almost seamless transition out of children's books and into arts-and-crafts guides for, primarily, growedy-ups, which sounds much more QB these days.

This is in spite of my current inability to knit:



or use Superglue without sticking my fingers together.

But I'm-a gonna learn.

Also, I used the word "Pinterest" in my interview and I believe that may have counted in my favour:

So anyway.

It's All Change, folks!

And as Cher and Christina Ricci so famously cite in that pinnacle of excellent film-making, Mermaids, life is change ...

I'm also removing myself from 'what I call' The Commute from (one of Dante's several circles of) Hell by heading in the complete opposite direction from London.


So, on Wednesday, I headed for the lush and very comfortable Home Cottage pub to await friend R and allow him to help me celebrate my career coup.

With wine.
{The bottle in the background is a table number
holderer, so we're clear.}
Too much of wine.

At least two glasses. On a weeknight. A weeknight I am hereby christening Winesday.

{Hey, it's Lindsay Lohan before she bombed!}
... yeehhhhp.

Good job I lined my stomach first.

But anyway. To get all sober and contemplative on y'all ... remember that resolution I made a month ago?

This change is one huge step towards that happy. And {as I say all too frequently} y'know what? It has already made me happy.

It's also made me hugely:

but the nervousness has been worth it for the outcome.

See? We introverts do like change.

But only if we're the ones initiating it.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Web Finds

Thanks, Martin!

And before I bow out, I leave you with this ever so poignant reminder of the late, great Sir Terry Wogan whose deadpan commentary on Eurovision used to make the show what it was.

I however will never be able to 'unsee' this performance (probably broadcast on TOTP2 at some point as this is from 1978, a true vintage year ...):


qb xx

PS In case you think I've forgotten my Lovelies, the usual virtual hugs and high-fives go to: Charlie (thank you for the surprise Friday-arvo coffee!), Jos, Jess (hope you're feeling better -- I swear by turmeric and honey for whatever ails yer unless it's gallbladder disease), Evie, Natalie, Georgiepants (for making me laugh always) and to R for the 'girl wine'.

Love to you all.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sunday Summary | sparkly like Goldschlager

Hello to you!

This week I have mostly been ...


I just love the re-enforcement Gilbert gives us creative types. Makes us feel special.


30 Rock | What. The. Hell. Happened. To. This. Programme?! Lost direction, much?! I will always love Liz Lemon (because, identification), and I have a lot of time for Alec Baldwin's random deadpan responses, but what the actual heck has happened?!

That shark circled right back around, and the programme jumped it, big time. Shame.

Incidentally, if you have no idea what I mean when I use the expression 'Jump the Shark', I'll explain. I use it a lot with most of what I happen upon on Netflix, such is my questionable taste in on-demand viewing:

It's a truth universally acknowledged that the hit series Happy Days hammered the nail into its own coffin the day The Fonz jumped over a shark on water-skis. As witnessed above.

Thereafter, any show that is has passed its best with a significantly stoopid storyline (or just plain lack of genuine imagination or direction) has 'Jumped the Shark'.

Witness: series seven of House.

And whatever series of 30 Rock I'm now on.


So I've been getting my intellectual fix on with War and Peace, episode one.

{via here}
Uhm, excuse me, I'm confused.

... Who are all these people and why are the young men being sent to war before we've been given a chance to appreciate who they are ... ? And why do all the girls look identical?

That said, Paul Dano (above, left) as Pierre Bustachopov << (not actually his name but I'm so very confused right now) is actually brilliant. [Update: I've just watched episode two and his surname has to be Bazook-ov]

He's this guy, by the way, from Little Miss Sunshine:


Healing [my] Hands

All right, this may be the most unremarkable event in the history of events that QB has ever featured in the blog because:

and actually it still sort of is.

But if you've ever met me IRL (and chances are that you may have happened upon me IRL if I've persuaded you to read this, my weekly self-indulgent brain-dump ... oh, you lucky, lucky things) you'll know that for the majority of winter (and summer too), I'm 80% skin and 20% Elastoplast (other plaster brands are available) as my fingers just go, nope and split to smithereens.

{This is the least creepy
finger-related gif on Giphy ... | IKR?}
It's UGLY, y'all. I'm sure I've sent letters out smeared with blood before. I've approved layouts at work and left little smudges of DNA behind (so if anyone's cloned me without my knowing, now's the time to 'fess up).

Then, finally, when I was at the end of my tether one of my workmates suggested coating the handicles with a layer of Germolene (not Germoloids) and Neutrogena and wearing gloves overnight.


The manual digits are almost 80% better already! (Thanks, Dr Pritty!) I've been plaster-free for almost a week and this in the same week my toes froze in -6 temperatures at Clapham Junction.

We're onto a winner!

Or, not?

Deciding Not to Be Like Bill

That's one more social media bandwagon I'm not leaping on ... [Sorry. "onto which I'm not leaping."]

Foyle'd Again

On Wednesday, driven by a great need to Be around Books and more crucially Eat Cake and Put the World to Rights, I headed over to Foyles on Charing Cross Road and awaited the arrival of Clare, Katerina and Eloise.

Of course, me keeping slacker hours (well, not really, 8.30am-4.30pm working hours aren't exactly slack, just different), I was there much too early in spite of having got lost and taken a turning onto Oxford Street (Gah! Gah! Hellish!) rather than CXR.

Still, after a neat little segue via Chinatown:

 I arrived on the Hallowed Doorstep of Foyles, and carved out a little bit of time to buy me a book:

{because I missed the fillum}
then headed on up to the very popular and overcrowded cafe to seek out a little bit of space for ma ladies, initially opposite the standard beardy hipster with a Mac, reading Foucault.

I kid thee not.

{Whatever you say, hipster Jared Leto. Wait, is he rocking a ... man bun? Oh, Jared.
And it's "seriously". Did Brian Krakow teach you nothing?}
... I did have to eat my body weight in bread, oil and vinegar while I waited:

but it was worth it -- we had a lovely catch-up and the World was Duly Put to Rights, before we outstayed our welcome both in the cafe and downstairs, browsing the gorgeous stationery.

These, please?:

We missed Miss Evie, though; hope to catch up with you very soon.


So, on Saturday night I attempted this dish from an aforementioned Guardian Meals for One article.

Lemon sole in dill and sweet chilli sauce

It. Was. A. Bust. An Epic Fail.

Apparently lemon sole fillet and a whole lemon sole do not respond to cooking in the same way.

One falls apart like kitchen paper. The other probably doesn't so much.

Also, how a single tbsp of any condiment even when mixed together makes a sauce of any substance, I don't know; I cooked them into a syrup and the ingredients disintegrated into a gummy mess. (I place no blame at my own feet, of course ...)

And another thing.

Where on earth does one find sake or rice wine in a town where the McDonald's garners publicity for being a little bit ropey? Even Dave's Asian Supermarket let me down. 


So, today, I've fallen back on an ol' favourite: gammon joint in cola. I even dropped a few chunks of onion into the slow cooker for extra zhuzh. Sure it'll turn out all right. And if it doesn't, well, Co-op's open 'til eleven and they have Kashmiri butter chicken pizza.

Winner winner, Sunday dinner.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Web Finds

Just a couple of completely unrelated but fabulous things for your delectation:

Well, that's almost all I have for now except to say I have News to Share but it'll have to wait until next week.

Because I'm a big tease.

Like those people who put up a vague crypto-status on Facebook, demand All the Attention, then Don't Want to Talk About It.

That aside, usual big-ups due to Charlie, to Jos, to Fern, to Natalie, to Georgie and to Ma QB for Support behind the Scenes this week, and why the heck am I Randomly Capitalising Things as if to give them Prominence and Significance? Who Knows?

Have good weeks, you gorgeous lot, and, goodnight, FOQ ... wherever you are.

qb xx