A Room with a View

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Questions from Profgrrrrl

I thought that doing a meme would be a good way to get back into blogging a bit more, so I was only too happy to take Profgrrrrl up on her offer to ask five me questions. If anyone else hasn't already done this and would like to play along, leave a comment and I'll email you five questions...

1. How often do you actually eat pink cupcakes?
I love cupcakes but haven't actually eaten a pink one for three years - I hope that doesn't mean I have to change my pseudonym! During my first year of grad school, I had a friend who would buy mini pink cupcakes for her three or four closest friends whenever something good or something bad happened to one of us. Being in grad school, something good or bad was always happening, so we ate a whole lot of pink cupcakes that year! The reason I gave myself the pseudonym was because my friend (who is very French and very theatrical!) would often write me notes that began 'My dear Pink Cupcake' (If you knew her, it wouldn't seem so odd!). However, as I almost never buy cakes myself (I've only had one cake in the last 7 months!), I've been letting my pseudonym down of late...

2. What is your favorite chocolate treat from your favorite chocolate shop?
I only eat chocolate very occasionally (yes, I realize the whole no cakes and no chocolate thing is making me sound like a boring health freak, but I'm interesting and fun honestly! :)) , but, because of that, I always treat myself to my favourite handmade chocolate. It's a really creamy white chocolate with raisins and tiny nut pieces in it and it makes my mouth water just thinking about it! They break it into rough bite sized chunks and serve it in traditional stripy paper bags. I also love the Vienna mints that they sell. They're awesome with espresso after dinner. Such dark chocolate and intense peppermint. Mmmm...

3. What do you most hope to do this weekend?
That's easy. I want to run! I only started running a couple of months ago, but I've really fallen for it, and have entered for quite a few 5K and 10K races this year. I don't just enjoy the fitness benefits it gives me, but I also find it a huge stress-reliever and a great way of getting myself to think clearly. The only problem is that although it's what I most hope to do this weekend, I'm not sure that I'll be able to, as I've injured a tendon in my right calf/foot area. I've rested it quite a bit (which is SO hard for me as I just want to keep running!) and done the whole RICE thing, but it's still not totally better, so I'm going to see a sports injury specialist tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed that I won't be out of action too long!

4. If you were given $100 (or should I say £100?) and told to spend it on the spot, what would you buy?
A few weeks ago I would have definitely said a pink ipod nano, as I'd been coveting them for ages, but now I have one! So, I'd spend it on clothes instead. I know that's not particularly interesting, but having lost 77 pounds, I literally have two pairs of trousers and couple of tops that fit me (except for workout type clothes). I desperately need to go on a shopping spree!

5. What holiday do you celebrate most enthusiastically?
Christmas! I'm not particularly religious and I dislike all the unnecessary spending, but I love Christmas carols, mulled wine, christmas trees, twinkly white lights, thoughtful gifts, good food, watching It's a Wonderful Life and hanging out with family and friends...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Teething Troubles

I've been feeling a little out of sorts with my blogging of late. It's fantastic to be back again, but I don't feel as if I've really got into the swing of things yet. I got so used to not blogging for quite a while, that I got out of the habit of doing so. There are many things that I want to write about here, but it just isn't happening naturally at the moment. It's not that I don't have the desire to blog, which was how I felt before I took my hiatus. I want to write about so much, so why don't I just do it? Perhaps there's so much I want to say that I'm paralysed by it and feel like I can only write waffly Random Bullets, but I'm not sure that's whole story. Perhaps it's because I'm going through so many (good) major changes in my life and I'm not quite sure how to articulate my feelings about them. I'm both exhausted and excited by all the things I'm trying to process and I really think it would help me to write about them here. Hopefully I'll get my flow back soon...

I also feel like a bad member of this little bloggy community. I've been so appreciative of all the wonderful comments that you've left me since I've been back, but I haven't been very good at all about commenting on your blogs. It's not that I'm not reading or that I don't find plenty of things that I want to comment on, quite the opposite. I think I just got used to skulking around under the cover of bloglines during my hiatus and it feels a bit weird to venture back out into the open again. I realize that sounds a little silly.

Hmmmm. I want to think some more about all of this, and, you never know, I may even write some more soon...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


At 6.32am, exactly 30 years ago, a little Pink Cupcake was born. I was a very little Pink Cupcake indeed. In keeping with my lifelong desire to never be late, I was born 6 weeks prematurely and was a pretty poorly little thing, spending the first few weeks of my life in an incubator. Of course, things soon took a turn for the better and so many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) things have happened to me in the last three decades. But, it still doesn't seem possible that I'm thirty already!

I've had a lovely week leading up to my birthday. Mr Cupcake took the week off work and we've been on some lovely long walks in and around our beautiful city, stopping off at ever more scenic coffee shops along the way. The downside to this is that Mr Cupcake's presence at home all day has a rather detrimental effect on my blogging, which is why posting's been more than light. I'll be back in the swing of things next week, and have naturally informed Mr Cupcake that he will have to cancel any further planned time off. ;)

So, my plans for the big day...I'll pretty much be keeping to my usual routine for the first part of the day. I was up at 6.45am, as I am every Saturday, and will head off for the gym at 8am. Hopefully my legs will be in the mood for a good run. After that we'll head to Starbucks for our regular post-gym skinny latte. Then we'll head home to open my cards and gifts (yay!), before popping out for lunch (mmm...Italian food!). We'll probably go for a walk along my favourite stretch of the beach this afternoon, and this evening we're staying in and will share a bottle of one of my favourite champagnes (just about the pinkest champagne you can get!) and some chocolates from the best. chocolate. shop. ever.* that is less than 50 metres from our home. I can't decide whether that's a blessing or a curse!

Have a great weekend! Cupcakes for everyone! :)

* I realize that the chocolate shop link gives away the city I live in. I'm fine with that, but would prefer it if the city wasn't mentioned by name in the comments. Thanks!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Very Random Bullets...

  • The meeting with faculty from the psychotherapy/counselling department was great. Everyone was incredibly nice and very, very interesting. I was really excited before I went, but left even more so. It also really helped me to finalize my thoughts about the type of psychotherapy I want to specialize in. I now need to get working on my application (especially the personal statement) and chase up my referees. Fingers crossed that I get invited for a formal interview...
  • We're not going to Florence for my birthday anymore. :( Our very old building is in need of some very costly and urgent maintenance work, so we decided that rather than stretch the budget too far, we'd postpone our trip for a while. I actually wrote a long-winded whine about the whole thing to post at Phantom's on Wednesday, which ended with an anti-whine to the effect that 'if postponing a holiday is the worst thing I have to whine about, then really I'm very fortunate'. Haloscan obviously didn't think I should be whining either, as it ate my comment and I was too mad with it to retype it! ;)
  • Even though we're not going away, Mr Cupcake's still taking the whole week off! Yay! Of course, being a corporate lawyer, he's had to work really early and really late for the last few days so that he can actually take time off. Boo!
  • This is one of the reasons I never regret my decision not to become a corporate lawyer. That said, he totally loves what he does. Umm, yeah, I married a guy who gets inappropriately excited about mergers and acquisitions and commercial contracts!
  • That aside, he's fairly normal and (in my humble opinion) very, very wonderful. Did I tell you that he bought me a dual Spanish/English edition of Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets (complete with a bright pink cover!) for our tenth anniversary recently?
  • It's soooooo cold here! I realize that it's probably WAY colder where some of you are, but I'm a weak, feeble southerner and I just can't be doing with this...
  • As a result, I wasn't particularly looking forward to walking to the (not so) local postal delivery office this morning to pick up a parcel that they attempted to deliver a couple of days ago when I was out. I was even more disconcerted when the guy brought out the biggest! parcel! ever! I wasn't sure I'd manage to carry it home, but actually it wasn't that heavy and I was totally spurred on by the label on the side that read 'To be opened on February 17th'...my birthday! :)
  • I went out with two newish girlfriends for an amazing chinese meal last night. The food was very yummy and I feel very lucky to have met both of these friends who are so interesting, smart, caring and generous. I also love that although we have a lot in common, we also have some very different interests and can learn a lot of new things from each another. So, yeah, yummy food with friends...always a good thing.
  • Do you think it's possible that I can think of enough bullets to keep typing endlessly until Mr Cupcake finally gets home (probably not til 9pm)???!! It's just that I want to wait to have dinner with him and I don't want to snack a lot before that, but I'M STARVING and need to distract myself!
  • Of course, having written that, I can't think of another damn bullet and am fixating on what I can eat. Right, off to raid the cupboard...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I'm feeling all nervous and jittery today. Tomorrow, I'm going to Trendy Seaside City University to meet with some faculty members who teach the postgraduate course in psychotherapy/counselling that I'm hoping to begin in October and I'm so! incredibly! nervous! about it. It's just an informal meeting for me to find out more and to ask questions, but, of course, I want to make a good impression before I send my finalized application in during the next couple of weeks. I've read lots and done plenty of preparation, so I think I've got some useful questions to ask etc. Plus, they've already told me that my academic qualifications are more than adequate for admission to the course. But, I'm still so nervous it's silly.

I think partly it's because I'm really excited about training in this area, and partly because all the previous times I've been involved in recruitment stuff (either as a prospective or current student) it's been in a law department. I studied law for over 7 years in two different universities, and although I'm so glad to finally move away from it, it feels very odd (but good odd) to be starting afresh in a completely different field. Although I've wanted to do this for sometime now, and think that I could be very good at it, I feel just as anxious and full of anticipation as I did the first time I went to my undergrad uni to visit the law department. I haven't really thought about that day since then, but today the memories of it are as vivid as if it had been yesterday. I felt very small in a very big place, and very scared of doing or saying the wrong thing. Of course, I'm eight years older now and generally have much more self-confidence, so I wonder why I'm so nervous of sounding silly, so nervous of spilling coffee down myself or of dropping something (and then hitting my head on a desk when I bend down to get it!)? I think it's because tomorrow is important to me. It might not be that important to the faculty members that meet me, it might not even influence their opinion of me very much, it might not even seem important to me a month from now... but it's a big step towards closing the door on my legal studies and the tentative beginnings of my move towards a new career. So, please keep everything crossed for me tomorrow...

Monday, February 05, 2007

There *is* such a thing as a free lunch...

...or, in this case, dinner. My gym is offering rewards for regular attendance in February. 8 workouts gets you a free personal training session, 16 gets you a selection of fitness goodies, and those who manage to go 24 days out of 28 get a free dinner for two. I usually go 4 or 5 times each week, so would have no trouble reaching the sixteen visits target, but I can't understand why I've suddenly become obsessed with going 24 times and claiming my free meal! I mean, I'm sure the meal will be very nice, as it's at a restaurant attached to the fancy hotel that my gym is in, but it's not as though it's a restaurant that I've been desperate to go to, and it's not like Mr Cupcake and I couldn't afford to go out to dinner once in a while if we wanted to.

I'm sure my obsession has nothing to do with the free dinner and everything to do with the challenge. I don't think the gym expects many people to have the motivation (read: pathetic need to prove they can do it!) to go 24 times in a 28 day month, but, for some bizarre reason, I do! I'm not concerned about burning myself out, as I can do some shorter sessions, alternate the type of workout I do, and can also go swimming sometimes. So, we'll see how it goes...will I be settling for the 16 visits prize before the end of the week!? :)

Friday, February 02, 2007


I've been gone so long that I didn't get to blog about either the autumn sunsets or the (very! exciting! rare!) winter snow in Trendy Seaside City.These photos definitely sum up why I really can't imagine living anywhere else...

The top photo is the sun setting over the sea at the bottom of our square. The middle photo is the remains of a once grand Victorian pier, which, even in its present state, I still find incredibly beautiful and mesmerizing. I love the way that it looks very different depending on the light in the sky and on the sea. The final photo shows the gardens in our square in the snow, with our house in the background between the two big trees. We live on the second (third in US) floor. (Yes, I realize that to most of you this small amount wouldn't really qualify as snow, but we almost never get snow just a few metres from the sea in the Southern England, so I was more than a little excited!)

On a separate note, thank you so much for all the lovely comments that you left yesterday - I was so touched that you all stopped by and gave me such a warm welcome back. You truly are the best, and I'll be stopping by all your blogs very, very soon. :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Random Bullets Of What On Earth Has Pink Cupcake Been Doing These Past Six Months!

Oooh, it's exciting to be back! I sort of feel as though my first post after six months should be a blogging magnum opus. There's so much I want to share with you all and I'd love to do so eloquently, but if I fret too much about what to write and how I want to write it, I'll probably end up on hiatus for another month. So, in time-honoured tradition, I will revert to the wonderful RBOC format (we have so much to thank Ianqui for!). Here goes...

  • I guess the biggest thing should come first...I decided to leave my PhD programme.
  • It was one of the hardest decisions that I've ever made, because I never give up at anything.
  • It took me months to actually even admit to myself that I wanted to leave, even though I'd decided a year or two ago that I absolutely didn't want to work in law (either in academia or in practice) after I finished my PhD.
  • I figured that I'd finish my dissertation anyway, but after taking so much time off through being unwell, I just couldn't face it anymore. The whole thing just had too much baggage associated with it.
  • The final straw came when I began to wake up with stomach ache every single morning, dreading the thought of sitting at my desk.
  • So, I eventually plucked up the courage to tell my supervisor 3 weeks ago. He was awesome, understanding and so complimentary of my talents.
  • That actually made me feel more guilty, but in a nice way.
  • As soon as I'd made and communicated my decision, I instantly felt calmer and began looking forward to the future for the first time in years. I didn't expect that.
  • It's very weird though to not be studying law for the first time in 7 and a half years.
  • Surprisingly, I haven't doubted my decision at all, which is very rare for me.
  • I also haven't told very many people yet. Of course, some of the very first people I shared my news with were a bunch of wonderful bloggers (you know who you are!) and I valued their support and friendship enormously.
  • So, umm, I'm not an academic who blogs anymore, but I hope you'll all still let me hang out in this little corner of the blogosphere?! :)
  • Actually, that's not quite true...Within three days of leaving grad school, I'd already decided that I wanted to go back to grad school to study something else!
  • I'm not going to be doing a PhD though. I'm going to follow a professional postgrad training and Masters programme to qualify as a psychotherapist/counsellor.
  • I've wanted to do this for years. Not sure quite why I didn't admit this to myself long ago.
  • I'm also pleased that one of the best programmes in the country is based at a university in the city I live in.
  • Of course, it's not as prestigious an institution as my previous grad school, but I really don't care. I don't want to travel hours to get to my university anymore. Ten minutes on a bus is good with me!
  • Also, the programme is part-time, so I can do some other work alongside...I'm in the process of deciding what I want to do.
  • Lucy was right when she said the other day that random bullets usually end up not-so-random. Have I mentioned anything other than grad school yet? Am I just using this format to avoid having to write in paragraphs? I'd better change topics!
  • My Mystery Illness has all but disappeared! I still get occasional twinges of pain, but they are very, very infrequent and are improving all the time.
  • This has allowed me to get active again. It's scary to think that this time last year I couldn't even sit up straight in a chair for more than an hour and couldn't walk for more than ten minutes.
  • Now I work out 5-6 times a week and I've actually become one of those people that really likes exercise. ;)
  • The upside of being really active and no longer stuffing myself full of medication is that I've lost 70 pounds. I hated that I put on so much weight over the past two or three years when I was depressed and then when I had the Mystery Illness. Now I feel wonderful!
  • Of course, the downside is that I have absolutely nothing to wear!
  • I lost all the weight simply through healthy eating and exercise and by going to a diet and fitness class each week.
  • I'm now the official class motivator!!!
  • I'm also going to train to be an aerobics instructor.
  • I've haven't run in any kind of event since school, but I've entered for a whole bunch of 5K and 10K races this year.
  • In less active news, I took a course in meditation and mindfulness. I was quite uncertain and a little sceptical about how useful I'd find it, but it was amazing. It's really influenced the way I think and the way I react to different situations.
  • I definitely want to write longer posts about a lot of the things I'm mentioning here.
  • What else has been going on? Mr Cupcake and I have been to tons of concerts (classical, rock, pop) and I've decided that I would gladly give up everything to join the Scissor Sisters.
  • We've also made quite a few new friends. Actually, I've found it a little odd that we've made more friends since we moved to this city than we ever did living in a small (supposedly community-oriented) village.
  • People in this city are very eccentric. I like that!
  • I had some bright red streaks put in my blonde hair just before Christmas. Not very wild, I realize, but pretty wild for me. All my gym going and consequent hair washing meant that they faded pretty soon, but it was fun while it lasted.
  • I've become very involved in a lot of civic and community groups and projects. When I'm old and wrinkly I hope to be made Dame Pink Cupcake for my services to the city! ;)
  • Well, I would, except for the fact that I disagree with the whole honours system in the UK, but that's another story...
  • When I decided to start blogging again, I considered making some changes to the blog name, template, my pseudonym...but I just couldn't bring myself to ditch Pink Cupcake!
  • I'd never really been a pink, girly girl, but somehow my pseudonym must have really affected me. It's frightening to see how many pink things I've bought over the past year or so. I have really embraced pink! Not least in my lovely! shiny! new! pink! ipod! nano!
  • I may or may not stop with the pink obsession before I become the new Elle Woods. :)
  • I'm also about to make a pilgrimage to my blog title...Yes, I'm going to Florence in 11 days!
  • The purpose of the visit isn't solely to retrace the footsteps of Lucy, Miss Bartlett et al. but to celebrate a very auspicious occasion...
  • My 30th Birthday on 17th February.
  • I don't actually mind reaching 30. I'm happier and healthier than I've been in years, and as Mr Cupcake's three years older than me, I've had time to mentally prepare myself.
  • Plus, did I mention that I get to spend my birthday and Valentine's Day in Florence!!??! Soooo excited!
  • I've got a bit of bloggy housekeeping to catch up with. My blogroll is woefully out of date (I've been updating bloglines but not here), so please bear with me while I sort it out.
  • I'm also debating whether to take the Blogger beta (or whatever it's now called) plunge! I'll have to consult with my Wonderful Template Advisor.
  • It's so lovely to be back. I've loved reading all your blogs, but it just wasn't quite the same when I wasn't posting myself and didn't feel like commenting. I'll definitely stick around this time...