A Room with a View

Friday, April 28, 2006

Weekend break...

I'm not sure quite where this week's gone to. Lots to blog about, but no time to blog. :( Anyway, this non-post is just to say that I won't be around over the weekend, but will be back on Tuesday. Mr Cupcake's parents are coming to stay. In fact, they are due to arrive any moment now, so I've been frantically running around for the past couple of days trying to make the flat look habitable! I'm not sure if I've succeeded. My mother-in-law is a domestic goddess. I am most definitely not, but hopefully I can fake it for three days.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Monday, April 24, 2006

ABC Meme...

As seen almost everywhere...I'm doing this meme because although I have tons of real posts I want to write, I can't quite get my head together today...

Accent: Very, very English. Not as proper as the Royal Family (thankfully), but I could definitely hold my own in a Merchant Ivory film or as a newsreader on the BBC World Service.

Booze: Red or white wine depending on my mood and time of year. If it’s white, I like it very dry, and if it’s red, it has to be deep and full-bodied. Oh, and I love champagne too…and gin…and Pimms…and cocktails. Hmmm…I’d better stop before you get the wrong impression of me! ;) I rarely drink too much, I just enjoy a wide variety of drinks.

Chore I Hate: I dislike all cleaning chores, although I love living in a clean house. When I finally get motivated enough to do something (or when panic sets in because of the impending arrival or guests), I’m a total perfectionist about it, which means that it takes forever and I end up very grumpy.

Dog or Cat: I like dogs, but I adore cats. We’re going to be getting one or two kittens very soon.

Essential Electronics: Laptop.

Favorite Cologne(s): If by cologne, you mean perfume…I don’t like heavy smells (although I was really into that kind of stuff in the early 90s) and don’t always wear perfume. When I do it’s usually Clarins’ Eau Ressourcante, which is about as light and fresh as a perfume could get.

Gold or Silver: I don’t really wear a lot of either. My wedding and engagement rings are gold, but my earrings are mostly silver.

Hometown: Sleepy Boring Seaside Town. The sort of place that nobody under 80 should live and even discerning octagenarians avoid it. Fortunately, I escaped!

Insomnia: Sometimes, very badly, Sometimes, not at all.

Job Title: Graduate student.

Kids: No, and we don’t have plans to have any. It’s not something that either of us has ever wanted, and I’m feeling even more strongly about this as I get older (despite being told by many friends and relatives that the opposite would be true).

Living arrangements: As if any of you who’ve read this blog for a while don’t know! Of course, I live in my Dream Flat in Trendy Seaside City.

Most admirable trait: I like to think that I’m kind and thoughtful. I always try to think of others and do (even just little) things to help them out and make life a little easier.

Number of sexual partners: Not exactly something I’m willing to share with the internets…

Overnight hospital stays: Two. I had my adenoids removed when I was 7 and my tonsils removed when I was 25.

Phobias: Spiders and butterflies.

Quote: Oh, I can’t choose. I love quotes from plays, books, poems, songs, politicians…any really. The one that springs to mind right now is ‘Dreams, they complicate my life’, as I was listening to REM’s Green earlier this afternoon. (I love the way that while Michael Stipe sings this line, Mike Mills sings ‘Dreams, they complement my life’.)

Religion: None. But I do think about why this is the case quite often.

Siblings: None. But I always wanted a big brother.

Time I wake up: It really varies. I’ve never really got into a pattern, unless a particular schedule has dictated it. I never get up hugely late though, unless I’m unwell, as I hate the idea of missing out on the day. If I had the energy, I’d love to be up by 5.30am every day.

Unusual talent or skill: I remember all kinds of numbers without trying. Bank accounts, credit cards, telephone numbers...you name it, I remember it. What a waste of my memory!

Vegetable I refuse to eat: None. I’m very good about eating vegetables and fruits, which I’m hoping will counteract the fact that I’m also very good at eating bad things. (My husband has just gone to collect a take-out pizza…)

Worst habit: Worrying and procrastination. It’s a tie.

X-rays: Teeth, left wrist (I fell off my roller skates when I was 9 and broke it), ankle (sprained it when I was 20), spine and chest (as part of the numerous tests I had earlier this year, neither x-ray showed anything).

Yummy foods I make: I’m a terrible cook, but I can make really good scones and banana bread.

Zodiac sign: Aquarius.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Yes, I'm sorry, the time has come, I've finally had to turn on word verification in the comments. I have really tried to control the spam by just deleting it. In fact, for a while I didn't mind doing this as I was oddly amused each time I saw the 'Remove forever (It can't be undone)' tick box. I mean, do the people at Blogger really think that we need the bracketed explanation of what removal forever means?!! Anyway, this has now losts its charm and I've been getting more and more spam of late, so I'm afraid that it's all down to your eyesight and hand/eye coordination, dear commenters. :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coffee addict?! Moi?!

My lovely new coffee maker just arrived, so I popped out to buy some beans from my local coffee shop. Does it say something about me that I also bought a take-out latte whilst there, so that, you know, I can have enough of a caffeine fix to get me through reading the instructions and getting the new machine going?!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Much to do...

I was very productive yesterday, but only in terms of writing. I finally wrote something that I've been avoiding for way too long. I didn't enjoy doing it one bit, and editing it was even more painful. But it's done, done, done, and gone, gone, gone! Hooray! By the end, it was almost 2000 coherent words, which isn't too bad for a day's work.

Of course, I have to give you all credit for helping me get it done! When I don't want to do something, I can procrastinate as well as anyone (even the Queen of it!), and, of course, blogging is one of life's great procrastination tools. Not so yesterday. Blogging totally assisted rather than hindered my work. You see, when I really, really don't like doing something, I potter around the house finding enough things to distract myself with so that I don't have to return to my desk for hours on end. So I made a deal with myself, that if I stayed at the desk, I could read a blog post every time my writing dried up or I got fed up with it, and it actually worked!!! I did have one problem mid-morning, when I'd read all the stuff the had come onto my bloglines over night and then nobody posted for ages (because, of course, most of you were overseas and still asleep, and weren't thinking of my dire need for reading material! ;)), which led to frantic clicks on the refresh button. But it all came good in the end. So, don't let anyone tell you that blogging is a bad distraction.

Actually, I've been thinking a lot recently about what I've learned from blogging and fellow bloggers in so many different senses. Some funny, some useful, some serious, some educational, some heart-breaking, some thought-provoking...the list goes on. I've got the beginnings of a post about it, so really should put it together soon.

In the meantime, I've got a gazillion things on my to-do list. Here's just a few to start me off (will add as I go along)...
  • Washing-up.
  • Laundry (About 15 loads...the result of all our clothes being stuffed in cases in storage for two months while we moved. Everything is so creased it's unbelievable. I must get it done as the weather's changing and I'll have nothing to wear soon. *sigh*) Four loads so far...
  • Reply to some e-mails that have been sitting in my inbox for way too long and are making me feel guilty.
  • Write thank you letters for Easter gifts.
  • Pay some bills.
  • Tidy up (just a bit!).
  • Make list of everything I need to get done - too many bits of paper floating around! Still adding to it...
  • Book tickets for some fun events going on locally. Booked for some, still a few to arrange.
  • Go buy some coffee beans. This is arriving tomorrow. My new baby! Halloweenlover and I will be almost coffee-maker twins, but I had to get the version with a grinder as they don't stock her exact model in the UK. Thanks for the advice, HL, I shall raise my mug to you! :)

Oh yeah, could someone please tell me how I can cross through lines on this list when I'm done with them? I've seen tons of others do it, but I've never been able to work it out myself. Thanks!

Updated to add: Whilst I didn't get all this done, I did quite a few things not actually on the list. Oh, and you should have seen my first attempts at striking out lines on this. I had stuff crossed out by mistake all over the place. Html and I are not friends!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter, Passover, Spring...

You Are a Chocolate Bunny

A traditionalist, you secretly want to dress up like a bunny. And not just on Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Just stopping by...

It's been a crazy busy week in the Pink Cupcake household, which is why posting's been light and will continue to be until Tuesday. Mr Cupcake took the week off work and we've been trying to get tons of things sorted out in the flat. Last Saturday, we made a 3 page long list of things to do and we've been plugging away at it ever since. We don't actually seem to have crossed a lot off the list, but I think that's because we've been tackling some of the bigger tasks first. We now only have a few more boxes left to unpack, and the living room and kitchen actually seem quite homely now. The bedroom is still a disaster area, but that's on the agenda for the rest of the weekend. Even if we don't get through all of the list before the weekend's out, at least we've got a clear idea of what we've got to do over the next few weeks, and that in itself helps to bring some order to the chaos.

It hasn't all been work though. I spent much of the earlier part of the week still trying to shake off the damn cold/cough thing that's been hanging around for way too long. I think it's been particulary hard to get over because my body just hasn't fully recovered yet from all the medical dramas of the last six months. My immune system needs a vacation.

On a jollier note, we've also spent some time trying to acclimatize ourselves to the wonderful city that is now our home. There is just so much going on here that I constantly feel like I'm missing out on something amazing. So, it's been nice to devote a few hours to do some preliminary research as to what goes on and when, and also to get a better sense of a least a small part of the city by wandering around. There's so much I want to write about all of this, partly so I can share with the blogosphere and partly as a way of getting my head around it, so I'm keeping an (ever growing) list of forthcoming posts. (I've also unpacked the digital camera now, so photoblogging should follow soon...)

In addition to all this frivolity, I really need to give some serious thought to my research over the next few days. I've got a few unpalatable tasks ahead, which I won't blog about right now, but which take up more of my thoughts than I'd like. Nevermind, once they are out of the way things will move forward one way or another, and that should be very freeing. (Sorry if this sounds a little cryptic.)

What else? I just watched the 4th Harry Potter movie (very good, I thought) and we made an amazing curry for supper (from one of Jamie Oliver's books, I'll post the recipe sometime as it's excellent for chicken, fish or vegetable curry). Oh, and the BEST THING EVER...our wireless internet connection finally works, so now I can blog from the bedroom, the sofa... anywhere. This will certainly help me to catch up with my backlog of blog reading next week!

Almost forgot, thanks so much for all your comments in relation to our book/CD (dis)organization dilemma. I'm pleased to report that positions have been reconsidered and compromises reached without UN involvement. I'll post a full update soon. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Whenever I'm in London, I try to pop into my favourite shop to visit its phenomenal chocolate counter. I love the way that they hand-pack your selected chocolates using all manner of tissue paper, ribbons, gold-lined boxes and pretty bags. I'm sure it makes the chocolates taste even better, not that they need any enhancing. Their dark chocolate mints are my favourite chocolates ever, and whilst they are a little extravagant, just one of them lifts my spirits more than ten whole bars of ordinary chocolate could. So, you can imagine my huge delight when I discovered last week (in one of the vast amount of free lifestyle magazines that Trendy Seaside City has) that the chocolates for the shop are in fact made in a very old chocolate shop just round the corner from our flat. I couldn't believe what I was reading, so (as any good lawyer would!) I went in search of proof.

Entering the shop was like entering another world. The dark wood panelling and glass display cases were almost as mesmerizing as the chocolates themselves. And, yes, I did indeed confirm that they make the chocolates. Of course, I couldn't possibly leave without just a small box of mints, that would have been rude, wouldn't it? But, just one taste has left me realizing how difficult it will be to walk past the shop several times a day without indulging a little more often that my budget and waistline will allow. I hope you feel suitably sympathetic for the struggles that I face... ;-)

Friday, April 07, 2006


Out with the blue and in with the new! Welcome to my brand new, all singing, all dancing, bright and shiny template. I just love it, and I can say that without even a hint of arrogance, as I can't take any credit whatsoever for the wonderful new interior design. That's all down to my fellow English blogger, the fantastically talented Clare. My only input was that it had to be heavy on the pink and extremely cupcakey...and, boy, did she deliver! So huge thanks to her, and also to shrinkykitten, the Queen of Cupcake Warholization.


Organized chaos...

As I mentioned the other day, the unpacking of our books and CDs has led to a slight disagreement in the Pink Cupcake household as to how they should be arranged on our shelves. In our old house, both Mr Cupcake and I agreed that it was best for CDs to be arranged alphabetically by band or artist (and where we had more than one CD by a band/artist we would usually arrange them chronologically...yes, I know, we are that anal). Books were arranged under a few categories (fiction, non-ficton, law books, cookery books) and within those categories books of a certain type (e.g. political biographies) and those by the same author were put together. It wasn't a hard and fast system, but it was easy to locate things. Everything was just fine and I assumed we'd take a similar approach in our new home. Clearly, I assumed too much...

As we unpacked the boxes, Mr Cupcake just started randomly lining books and CDs on the shelves. To begin with, I thought he just wanted to get everything out, so that he could see where things were. I was wrong. He apparently thinks it adds fun, excitement and spontaneity (his words) to life if you have to pour over the bookcases for ages whilst trying to find something to read or listen to. You know, whilst desperately searching for your favourite recipe book so that you can have a meal prepared before your friends arrive, you might instead stumble upon a Woodhouse and be seized by the desire to read a little Jeeves and Wooster. No?! I don't think so either.

The whole thing reminds me of a post that Julie wrote about jarring transitions in itunes (when she asked people who play their itunes library in order (rather than randomly) to note down songs/artists that sit oddly next to one another). Our entire book and CD collections are now one big mass of jarring transitions. I just don't think that Noam Chomsky should sit with Tolkien, or that the Master of the Senate should have cocktail recipes for company. Sylvia and Hilary don't look too happy to be shelf-buddies either, although I have to say they're a better match than Jamie Oliver and the Iron Lady herself. Don't even get me started on the CDs...

So, dear blogosphere, I seek your advice. Should we:

(a) Go back to the old system or a version thereof.
(b) Throw caution to the wind and keep Mr Cupcake's system (if you can call anything that disorganized a system!).
(c) Have a whole new system. What do you do? How do you arrange your libraries?

Imaginary friends...

Just had lunch with my Mother. She asked me if I was still doing 'that funny internet thingy'. I enquired as to whether she was referring to blogging, and she said 'yes, that thing you do with your imaginary friends'. Think she was referring to you guys... ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Getting my brain into gear...

Thanks so much for all your good wishes...My cold finally seems to be getting a bit better, although I'm surprised that it's hung around this long. Mr Cupcake, the germ-spreader, was, of course, all better after a couple of days, whereas nearly a week later I still have a cough and no voice. I'm certain that I've suffered more with colds since I had my tonsils taken out a few years back, as they now always seem to end up as a chesty cough and blocked sinuses, neither of which I'd ever really had before. Of course, when the tonsils were still there I had terrible tonsilitis so often that the odd cough or two is really not that bad in comparison. I certainly don't regret having them out - it's one of the best things I've ever done health-wise (although it hurt more than I can even bear to think about for a couple of weeks).

What I hate most about colds is that they stop my brain working properly. Yes, I am sure that this cannot be scientifically proven (probably the opposite is true), but I just can't think when I've got a cold. I can feel the thoughts thudding around in my head, some of them even joining with others to make a process, but they seem to be interminably trapped in the cotton-wool and playdough that is my brain. This makes me so frustrated. Even simple stuff like writing an e-mail or a blog post feels as though I'm trying fathom out how to split an atom. I stare at the screen and nothing comes out. I try to think harder, but just end up feeling dizzy. I even had trouble making a to-do list of all the stuff I needed to catch-up on once my brain was functioning again. Ugh.

So, now that the brain is beginning to come back to life, it's time for action and organization! Just going to finish my coffee first... ;)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Random Bullets of Crap...Weekend Edition

  • It's been all snuffles and sniffles in the Pink Cupcake House since Thursday. Mr Cupcake (since he gave himself this new pseudonym when he guest posted, he can keep it!) caught a terrible cold/flu type thing and was off work for two days. This may not seem like much, but he's a lawyer. Lawyers never take time off work when they're ill. They go in. They work on. They suffer for justice. Global anarchy would surely prevail if, you know, even one of them called in sick. ;) Okay, so I'm being more than a little sarcastic, but it's all true. Lawyers drag themselves in. They like to share their germs with their colleagues, so that a few days later, they too can take their turn in becoming martyrs of the legal profession.* So, yes, it was a major deal for Mr Cupcake to take two whole days off. Poor thing, he was really poorly.
  • Of course, I'd feel much more sorry for him, had he not shared his germs with me. As he began to get better on Friday, I went downhill just in time for the weekend. Grrrrrrrr!
  • Saturday wasn't completely wasted though...we finally got our washing machine repaired (apparently some parts had become damaged in transit). It is such a relief to no longer lie awake at night worrying whether I will find one more clean pair of underwear the next morning! I have to confess that I was more excited than someone ought to be when I heard the machine whirring and filling up with water again.
  • On the subject of bizarre confessions, my burgeoning fascination with cleaning products is escalating. I spent a joyful half hour the other day perusing this catalogue, and yesterday I bought these. Yes, they might look weird, but they are awesome at removing gunk and grime from all manner of weird and wonderful (and especially tiny) places. I can't tell you how fantastic my previously grime infested extractor fan looks now. ;)
  • It's not only the extractor fan that's clean, the entire kitchen is at last sparkling (except the oven, which is my next project *sigh*) and we've finally been able to unpack our things. It feels so much more homely to see familiar items in it, and will no doubt be even better when it smells of home-cooked food sometime very soon.
  • We've now unpacked approximately 40 of our 70 or so boxes. Hooray for some progress!
  • The unpacking has led to much debate (read: disagreement) about organization of books and CDs. As I'd love to know on which side of the debate my fellow bloggers will fall, I'm going to post more fully about this tomorrrow. This is serious stuff. :)

*Please do not take this as me being anti-lawyer. As an academic lawyer who is always teased for not being a real lawyer, it's fun to get my own back from time to time...