Lessons Learned

Yep.  I'm doing it again.  If, through my clumsiness and lack of common sense amongst other things, I manage to provide valuable advice to someone (without them having to go through the learning process itself which is quite often painful, time consuming or embarassing) then my ramblings will have served a purpose.

So, without further ado...

1. Avoid facial exfoliant granules in the eye area at all costs.  Not only is this extremeley annoying and painful, the red eye aftermath can lead to numerous stares from strangers as they try and work out whether you are a) part zombie, b) suffering from pink eye or c) just really "hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh" (seen "Knocked Up?" then you get it.  If you haven't, you need to.)

2. Never get to the point where you get to thinking that you are "too cool" or "too rich" for the $2 shop.  There are bargains in there beyond your wildest dreams and piles of potential just waiting for you to pick them up and get creative.  I had boycotted them for a while believing them to be "full of crap".  Whilst the crap:cool ratio can quite often be in favour of the former, every now and then you stumble across something fresh and funky.  Just give it a go.  Go on.  Don't be judgmental.

3. When the strawberries in your garden are ripe, pick them immediately.  Stand at the window and watch them ripen if you have to because otherwise some scheming, sneaky little bird will swoop down and devour the loveliness for themselves, leaving you with nothing but remnants of juicy red sweetness and a broken heart.  (Two strawberries down....)

4. Just because you watch Project Runway does not mean you will be New Zealand's Next Top Seamstress.  You will need patience and practice and nimble fingers (of which I have none).  But I'm not giving up!

5. Listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will actually make you feel like a superstar.  Their sounds have been my theme music this week.  Whether I've been hanging out washing in my pyjamas or hitting the pavement in an attempt to finish christmas shopping (note: attempt) it has been my source of inspiration.  It's kinda hard not to strut while listening to them actually.  (I have just now thought that maybe people weren't staring at my red eye, but rather my strutting in time with music they couldn't hear...) I strongly recommend.

6. The joy and satisfaction of eating a salad made solely with the greenery in your garden is somewhat depleted if you notice a slug on your plate just as you've taken a forkful into your mouth.  Note: do not trust boyfriends to do the washing part of salad preparation.

7.  No matter how many hints you drop at your boyfriend that maybe he might like to go clean shaven for a change, he will not pick them up and he will not become beardless.  He will, however, if he is asked to be a unicycling clown in a christmas parade and wants to get his face painted.  Boys...

Lessons Learned

My mind has been working overtime lately.  Serious over time.  Working over time and not even getting paid for it.  What's that about?  As a result of this excessive contemplation, I have reached a new stage of enlightenment.  (Clearly not ACTUAL enlightenment, but I feel I have my feet on a higher rung of the ladder towards ACTUAL englightenment, so to speak).  I thought I would share with you some of the things I  learned this week.

1.  Don't bake cakes after 10 pm.  You will most probably be tired, sit down, have a cup of tea, read other peoples blog posts and forget about it.  The cake will turn out dry and you will just get mad.  Tiredness + bad cake   = unnecessary anger.  (Hypothetically, of course).

2. Do not underestimate the power of a matching set of underwear.  Fact: I did not own a matching set of undies until three nights ago.  I always felt it was too expensive and whenever I toyed with the idea of branching out, the old "who sees my underwear anyway?" argument always came back to haunt me.  But I did it.  And they are awesome and I feel wonderful.  Go buy some.

3.  If you have a pair of shoes with holes in, fix them or bin them.  Because if you don't, you will go to put them on and then sigh in exasperation that no, the shoe fixing fairy did not magically come and visit you since last time you put them on and yes, they do, in fact, still have a hole in them.  You will get mad that you didn't deal with this problem earlier, but still wear them, entertaining the idea that maybe the hole isn't all that bad, and then you will get sore feet and get even madder.  Sort. It. Out.  (Again, this is hypothetical).

4.  If you need to go to the doctor, GO.  If you are anything like me, and have been putting off a visit to the medical experts because you are too a) tight b) scared c) lazy or d) all of the above, then bite the bullet and just go.  Trust me.  You will feel SO good afterwards.

5.  It is actually possible to fall in love with an item of clothing.  I shouldn't have gone in there, I knew it would change me.  Emporium is a new vintage store in the centre of Christchurch and lordy I am in love with a dress that they have (actually, if I am to be totally honest, there are three dresses.  And one pair of boots.  And maybe a necklace also.  But that's it.  Truly.)  This dress in particular was calling out to me from the rack, virtually radiating with awesomeness that I picked it up and just stared at it longingly.  That is, until the shop assistant came over and said "are you ok?" but not in the "are you ok?" tone meaning "can I help you with anything?" but more the "are you ok?" which was actually inquiring into the status of my mental wellbeing.  I had to stammer, red faced "ah, yeah, your shop is awesome" and then back away slowly.  Dammit.  I'm going to have to go back in disguise now.

6. Decluttering is extremely therapeutic.  I did not realise exactly how therapeutic until this week.  I feel so much better and excited about the organisation of my work space and wardrobe.  (And the prospect of making new stuff and adding new outfits.  Which hopefully will not result in REcluttering).

7. Walking is the shiz.  Don't get me wrong, I've always been a fan of the waewae express.  But I rediscovered the simple joy of the solitary stroll this week, seeing as my bike is currently out of action (needing new tyres).  Walking in the sunshine, alone with my thoughts, has been a valuable meditative exercise.

I am feeling a bit better about everything this week.  Long may it continue.
Happy Saturday everyone.

Christmas Craftiness

It's December tomorrow! Me and the monsta will be getting our first ever tree together (we will be using the traditional Dunn method of tree selection but I can't give details, family secret and all that).  (Aye, Dad...)
So at night's after work I've been doing a bit of recycling and stitching, cutting and sticking and here are a few of the tree decorations I've come up with.

Note: doilys are awesome and I say bring back the pom pom!

The next projects: bunting and baking...


My Friday

I had a proper day off today.  By that I mean no housework, no jewellery making, no attempts at short story or article writing.  I went for a HUGE walk around Christchurch city and it was lovely.  I also picked up some SWEET bargains at a couple of second hand clothing stores.  Some snaps I took along the way...

Have a great weekend!

The 30 Before 30

I was recently invited over for a pre-birthday dinner at a friend's house, where we discussed everything from hockey to high school reunions and ate chickpeas and chocolate.  It was a great catch up (and a well overdue one at that).  We got to discussing things we had always wanted to/thought about/been too scared to do, and this led to us conjuring up a project (not to be confused with a plan: we all know how I tend to despise the latter.  If you don't - check this out).  I will now share the details of this special project with you.

It is pretty simple really.  We have to each come up with a list of 30 things to do before we turn the big 3.0.  (which for me is around about four years time from now).  However, like all good schemes, there is a "catch".

The small but slightly scary catch, is that once we have finalised the list of thirty things to do, we will then give each other a copy of our said "to do's" and will continue to update (and by that I mean confess to each other what we have and haven't done) and motivate (and by that I mean kick each other's asses if we don't stick to the project) each other until the due date for the project arrives.

I will now share the 30 things I would like to do before I reach the third decade of my existance.  Please note that they are in no particular order.  (Just thought I should clarify).

1. Make a pavlova.
2. Try wearing red lipstick.
3. Read "War and Peace".
4. Paint with watercolours.
5. Sing and play guitar at an open mic night.
6. Sew a dress for myself.
7. Be an extra in a movie/ad/tv show.
8. Watch the whole Godfather series.
9. Walk a NZ South Island track. * (have one booked in for February!)
10. Walk a NZ North Island track.
11. Buy a pair of rollerskates (skates, not blades) and actually use them.
12. Send a message in a bottle.
13. Sleep under the stars
14. Make jam.
15. Run a half marathon (No, not a full one.  Let's not be too hasty.  Running is not my forte).
16. Keep a journal every day for a whole year.
17. Own a vintage typewriter.
18. Try snowboarding.
19. Write a novel (or at least have started one.  It might not be finished.  These things take time you know)
20. Have a pet rabbit.
21. Write 9 new songs.*
22. Go camping with my family.              
23. Do some choice as bombs off a pier/bridge/rock.
24. Submit 50 pieces for publication.  *
25. Volunteer.
26. Write a poem in Te Reo Maori.
27. Get a tattoo.
28. Grow a bonsai tree.
29. Visit one of New Zealand's "other" islands (i.e. not the 2 main ones)
30. Get my driver's licence. *

Wohoo.  Wish us luck!

* Currently working on

Dear Ma and Pa

Dear Ma and Pa,

When I was seven I was positive that when I grew up I would be a florist.  I loved flowers and their incredible ability to make people smile, despite their simplicity.  You said "okay" and bought me crayons and paints and paper to practise with, and let me vandalise your garden in the aid of my early attempts at floral arranging.  I'm sorry I didn't clean up the first project, before I started on the next one, Mum.

When I was nine I wanted to be Mariah Carey.   You bought me her MTV unplugged cassette tape and I learned her whole routine by heart.  You watched me mime her songs, complete with closed eyes and accompanying hand gestures and you clapped at the end.  I think you even lent me your deodorant to use as my microphone.  I'm sorry I sometimes made you pay $2 to watch my concerts.  I'm think that price was slightly exorbitant.

When I was sixteen, the only thing I wanted to be was different to the person that I was.  You watched me contend with stereotypes and immaturity, with friends who weren't that friendly and with my own distorted idea of myself.  You wore my pain and you wore it willingly.  I'm sorry I couldn't see what you were always trying to tell me.  If it's any consolation, I am starting to see it now.

When I was nineteen, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.  I have since realised that I kind of liked the idea of you liking the idea that I would be a lawyer.  The truth is, you have supported me in every decision I have made, from going to university and ending my time there prematurely, to backpacking around Asia with nothing but a Lonely Planet and a bearded boyfriend to keep me safe (both of which did a tremendous job by the way).  Due to this ever present encouragement on your part, I have since decided to pursue a literary career (which means I am working part time making coffee and attempting to grow my own vegetables).   I'm sorry it took seven years and a considerable student loan before I came to this stage of enlightenment.

Now I am twenty five (nearly twenty six).  And I am home again.  I love that I can bake Anzac biscuits and go walking with you again.  I love that we can talk for hours, laugh, cry (mostly me doing the second one) and watch our favourite movies (even if it is with your eyes closed aye, Dad).  You, my extraordinary mother and father, have granted me, what are quite possibly, the most incredible and life changing gifts one could ever receive: the infallible support to follow my dreams, the permission to feel good about it and the ability to find my feet in the world.

Thanks for giving me the shoes.

Nga mihi nui kia korua.

Kirst xo

The Object of My Affection

Thought I'd muster up the courage to share this with you: one of my pieces I've been working on for the Bring Yourself creative writing course.  I'm in week 3 and it has been really great, reading other people's work and being provided with insight and inspiration from other writers.  This is just a short piece, still in the draft stage.  We were prompted to consider, in detail, an object that had great significance for us.  I immediately knew.  My piece is actually about two of the same object, fused into one.  Here goes:

The Object of My Affection

Here lies a bruised and battered body.

Outstretched on the carpet, with her shadow distorted by lights in opposition, she rests.  Her neck, decorated with steel and mother of pearl now lies free from my constraints and her torso, the colour of burnt pumpkin and bark, defined by one thin line of black, now basks in silent freedom.

Her navel is adorned with a ring of wooden diamonds in shades of toffee and charcoal.  They encircle the nucleus in perfect symmetry, drawing the eye to her most prominent feature: the ebony birthmark on the right of her ribcage.  It is the shape of a magnified teardrop, and glints in the sunlight just the same.  It caresses her skin and protects her.  From me.  

But I still broke her.

We were on the road then, undertaking our own odyssey in distant lands, testing our palates, deciphering unfamiliar constellations, swimming in foreign seas.   And she stayed with me, over every boundary line we crossed and barrier we broke, she rode with me - resilient.  She gave a unifying language to our chance encounters and fostered our infant friendships.  

I should have taken more care.  

Before all that though, before the constant moving and thirst for the unknown, before the chosen homelessness and freedom, she gave me a release.  Back then, when I first began to hear the world spitting its insults and insecurities, its contradictions and competitiveness, she allowed me to hold her, and she held me back.  She let me take my miseries out on her alone, well hidden from the eyes and words of others.  Those intimate conversations I will never forget.  

But I took it all for granted.

She is scarred now.  She fell and I wasn’t there to catch her.  She: the one who never faulted in our friendship and always allowed me the outlet of self expression, who listened to my screams and whispers, my early attempts at poetry and confessions about love, who let me both beat and caress her and didn’t flinch at either touch, fell from a height great enough to break her back bone, tear her flesh and make her weak.  And it was I who injured her.  

She will never recover completely.

Yet here she lies, before me now.   Still waiting.  Still listening.  Still allowing me to take her into my grasp and spill forth the contents of my mind, however disorganised and distorted they may be.  Still granting me her expertise and patience, and the permission to manipulate her, in order that I may attempt to express what it is to be me.  Still fighting time’s efforts to strip her of colour, steal her strength and render her unreliable.

Here lies the instrument of my growth.

The object of my affection.

My guitar.


30 Days of Me: Day 23 - What I Really, Really Want...

Prompt: something I crave for...

I'm going to be slightly selfish here.  Of course I crave for happiness for the amazing people who I am lucky enough to call my close friends and family, for the wellbeing of mother earth and all creatures residing with her, for peace and prosperity, for safety and sunshine etc etc etc.  But today, right at this moment, what I really really want...

is to be PUBLISHED

someday (preferably in the near future).  And, (since we are being honest) I'd like it to be a bestseller please, thank you very much and the first of many if that's alright.  Not much to ask, is it?

Not long ago I was craving for my life to be extraordinary.  Until I figured out (the hard way) that in order for this to occur, you can't sit on the couch watching Oprah (or Tyra, or Dr Phil, or Jeremy Kyle...) with a hot water bottle and peanut butter toast feeling sorry for yourself.  If you want your life to be extraordinary you have to make it extraordinary.

So I'm working on it.

The task is alot easier when you happen to have some rather extraordinary people around you propping you up and pushing you forward.  You know who you are and how much I love you.  Thank you for listening, laughing and loving.  Nga mihi nui kia koutou.

I'll send you all a copy of my book.


Image sources
1, 2, 3, 4

30 Days of Me Day 22: Unique (just like everyone else)

I have been prompted to inform you what it is about me that makes me so different to everyone else.


I liken the description of a person, to that of a piece of manuscript.  By that I mean, in every composition, the musical notes exist already, right? There aren't any new notes when a another song is written.  The notes have been used before, in countless other musical creations.  What's different in each piece is the way the musician/composer puts the notes together and the instructions he or she leaves on the manuscript.  It is the combination of these, that give the composition its mood, depth, personality, timbre and uniqueness (just using a bit of my School C music jargon there).

I think that the same is true when it comes to the make up of most people (though not all: there are an extraordinary few who don't fit the formula).  What I'm trying to say (albeit slightly awkwardly), is that the qualities that make me ME aren't unique.  They already exist and are present in others residing from Blenheim to Berlin.  But it's the way the qualities fit together and their varying intensities found in yours truly, that make me who I am (and therefore, slightly different to everyone else).

Here is the recipe for one, Kirsty Helen Dunn, born on a warm November evening some twenty six years ago to loving parents Brian and Shona:

1. Two green eyes that cry a little too often (which can't be helped - believe me, I've tried)
2. A laugh "like a machine gun" (Thanks Dad) It's true.  I giggle rather rapidly.
3. A small, chocolate coloured, oval shaped mole the size of a fingernail mid way down the front of a left leg
4. A habit of hair twiddling (please refer to Day 4 for further information)
5. An obsession of literature, a love for words, a passion for music, admiration for art, a lust for travel and deep affection for nature (all of which can often result in no. 1, as described above)
6. Brown "dead straight" hair (currently matted into dreadlocks in order to save money on haircuts and shampoo...) Note: no fringe (and no comment)
7. A sprinkling of sensitivity
8. An uncanny ability to memorize movie quotes
9. Two hands that can crochet, bake, play piano and guitar, twirl poi, write/type (at lightening speed mind you) brew a coffee and make pretend footprints on window condensation etc.
10. Varying amounts of other ingredients that wont be listed here due to time/boredom/privacy constraints.

The main thing that makes me different from every other being in the universe?

The way I SEE the world and the way I EXPRESS myself.

I'm working on both.  

And it feels SO good.

30 Days of Me Day 21: Happy Happy Joy Joy

The prompt? A picture of something that makes me happy..................

Haha: remember this?!

Another difficult one.  Despite my recent episodes of being predominantly UNhappy and feeling slightly sorry for myself, there are, in fact, so many things that make me happy, picking just one is a tough decision.  We just finished our weekly trip to the supermarket and had the van radio turned UP REALLY LOUD and it came to me...


Just some of the pictures...

Pete Doherty, Glastonbury 2009

Kora, Kentish Town, 2009

UB40, Melbourne, 2008

Ben Harper, Kentish Town, 2009

Shapeshifter, Kentish Town, 2009

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music"

Well said, Mr Aldous Huxley, well said.


30 Days of Me Day 20: Monsta Mash

Yeah.  I'm playing catch up.  This bitty blog has taken a back seat in the 30 Days process the past few days.  Sue me! Ma's been up visiting and we've been out enjoying the sunshine!

Day 20's prompt is (was): Someone you see yourself with in the future.  I think I have already made this crystal clear on two previous occasions  (here and here).  But what the heck.  It's an excuse to use my picture perfect polaroids again, ain't it?! Whoop whoop!

To You (Mr Monsta)

Dreadlocked, hippy, cookie lover,
For me there couldn't be another.
(Unless we count a certain Briton
Whose vampish tendencies have me somewhat smitten)
You, however, I love the most,
More than apple juice or vegemite on toast,
More than bike rides, more than books,
More than famous cursing cooks,
More than second hand clothing shopping,
More than bar and cafe hopping,
More than playing my guitar,
My most favourite thing is what you are.
More than crochet on winter nights,
More than seeing foreign sights,
More than dancing to new tunes,
More than apricots and prunes,
More than music, more than art,
You have a hold upon my heart.
More than famous music fests,
More than the Outrageous Wests
More than a good, cold, kiwi Sav,
More than a barbie or christmas pav,
More than singing in the summer sun,
My monsta monkey you are the one.
More than the Steinbecks on my shelf,
More than Will Shakespeare himself,
More than the oceans or forests of home,
I want you beside me, wherever I roam.
Dreadlocked, hippy, cookie lover,
How could there ever be another?


30 Days of Me Day 19: The Nick in the Name

Day 19- My nicknames and why I have them...

Are you ready for this?


That's pretty much it.

Why?  Well, my name is Kirsty.  So, one need only conveniently, and without much complication, omit the Y on the end, thus resultng in the aforementioned "Kirst".  Two syllables becomes one.  Faster to say, easier to spell.  Smiles all round.

I quite like this simplified nickname of mine.  Whilst it may sound as though I am under the constant cloud of a witch or sorcerer's spell (or "cursed" as it were), it's the nickname I've held since birth and my preferred term of address (I've always maintained that I only ever get called the full "Kirsty" by people who either a) don't know me or b) are angry with me...(the latter emphasise the Y - as in, "KirstY!"...) Also, I guess I should count myself lucky in that I didn't inherit my elder's nicknames pertaining to our surname (Dunn) - Dunny, Dunno, Dunnit.  I'd take Kirst over those any day.

I've had a couple of other nick names from my ankle biting days (but they wont be reiterated here in order to preserve my street cred), and on school camp in fourth form a good friend of mine started calling me "Kid" and it kind of stuck.  That one's just between us though.

Between me and my monster? It's pretty simple: just "love": what started out as a joke has now become our delegated daily term of endearment (albeit an old-school and slightly unoriginal one...)

That's it.  That's all.


30 Days of Me: Day 18 - "The Plan"

Day 18: plans/goals/dreams...

If only ALL plans looked THIS groovy...

(Just me or is Donnie slightly Bieber-ish...? Or rather, the other way round... Hmmmm)

And if only all plans were THIS simple...

(It's hard to find good humour these days...)

MY plans will, from now on and forevermore, be set forth in pencil.  I've learned (very recently) that permanent marker plans can get messy when you have to keep putting lines through them and writing new ones underneath.  I also think plans shouldnt be called plans, they should be called "flexible, non concrete lists of stuff I'd like to do at some point in my life time" or "FNCLOSILTDASPIMLT" for short (?)  You know, just to avoid any confusion that may arise at a later date when you a) lose them b) change them or c) forget what they even were in the first place.

So.  I will now share with you, my FNCLOSILTDASPIMLT (in no particular order):

Write a book (novel, short story collection or poetry) and have it published
Own a kombi (preferably candy apple green or orange)
Learn to surf
Travel to Mongolia, Alaska, Israel, Peru, Nepal, New York, Tokoroa (ETC - as in, list so long my fingers will seize up)
Perform at an open mic night
Volunteer here and overseas
Take a photography course
Have a collection of lava lamps/owls/bangin' vinyl/cacti
Learn to drive (I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't judge me!)
Sew my own clothes / curtains / cushion covers
Make jam
Own a cafe/bar and showcase emerging musicians/artists
Live in East London again
Have an article published in Frankie
Spend a winter in Canada
Speak / write fluently in Te Reo Maori
Sell my handcrafts at a market stall
Be a movie extra (and I am too tall to be a hobbit, apparently)
Grow strawberries/lavender/numerous herbs
Walk New Zealand's most picturesque tracks
Sell coffee out of a van at music festivals
Read more
Write more
Bike more
Laugh more
Complain less

And all the while, continue to draw inspiration from my crazy/cool/creative/ friends and family...

(You guys are the bestest)

(Image source)

30 Days of Me: Day 17 - The Switch

So.  The prompt suggests I choose the person I would most like to switch places with for a day and elaborate (favourite word alert) on why said person warrants my selection.  I didnt even have to think about this one.

Haaaaaaaaahahahaha.  Oh frikn awesome.  Faceinhole.com you are my hero.  I love you almost as much as I love making every photo I have turn picture perfect polaroid styles with Poladroid.  I love you almost as much as I love apple juice, walking in the forest, singing to Sam Cooke and eating rice crackers with hummous.  I love you almost as much as I love Robert himself.

Note: Almost.

Ok. Now.  In all seriousness, (for the second time.  I was actually being serious about the first time also).  This question is really quite difficult.  I could be the CEO of a publishing company and "ok" all my own stuff, thus ensuring that I get published!  Hmmm (maybe cheating...), maybe an assistant tour guide on Macchu Picchu, (I couldnt switch with the "main" guide, I dont know enough! We'd all get lost!) Or a curator at the Tate Modern, or on set with the Coen Brothers maybe...

Truth is, I'm not sure I would want to switch with anyone just for a day.  I'd much rather have the chance to meet someone I admire and be able to pick their brain for a while.  Can I get you a coffee Mr Mandela?  A belgium biscuit, Ms Deschanel?  Mr Doherty, could I offer you....

You get the picture.


30 Days of Me: Day 16 Just Call Me Jimi

Prompt says another pic of moi.  (I find that slightly boooooring but I'm not going to argue.  The prompt says what it says and therefore I must ad-here...we...go... )

Glastonbury. 2009. 

(Oh by the way, I am not pulling "the pout".  Although there are times I have resorted to "that pose", I am not actually doing so in this case.  What I am attempting to do (albeit, slightly unaffectively) is to channel my inner Jimi Hendrix, who (rest in peace you galant guitar legend) once sang: "Excuse me, while I kiss the sky").


PS - Look ma! I'm taking your advice and "keeping my fluids up".  See that monster of a drink bottle there?  Well, that's WATER in there.  No other clear substance, pure, unadulterated, H20 with all its hydration qualities and bodily benefits.  You should be proud of me...

GLASTO - I want to live there, at that festival, forever and ever amen, despite the grungy toilets, lack of hygiene and copious amounts of mud.  (Provided, of course, that my family and friends would join me.  Which I'm sure I woudnt have a problem in persuading to do so, if they'd seen the beast for themselves).

I had the most stupendicallyfantasticaicious time I can't really adequately describe it, other than to say OH YES I WILL be back.  Some day.

I heart you, you great big old rockin music festival you.  Mwah! Good times. 


The Apple Shuffle

Today I thought I'd take part in a popular blog meme and put my i-pod on shuffle and share with you, dear reader, the first ten songs that play.  Oh what gems may be unearthed in the next ten minutes....But I shouldn't be apprehensive, right? I should be proud of my sound selection, shouldn't I? I should be most willing to impose my perfect playlist onto you, don't you think? Well.... I'll let you make your own mind up after you've had a looky here...

1. Song: Part One, Artist: Band of Horses, Album: Everything all the Time
(Ah....did anyone else know that the lyrics to the song sometimes scroll up on the i pod screen when you press play? Coz I didn't!  How cool is that?)
Lyric sample:  "The bottom the earth i have to fall, but you really caught me, you really caught me, dear
at the bottom where I'd fallen".
Comment: Just recently got into this charming lil band.  Lovely song.

2. Song: Be Mine, Artist: David Gray, Album: David Gray Greatest Hits
Oh! (At the risk of sounding like Ive had a few too many wines on the dancefloor...) I loooove this song!
Lyric sample: "knock me over stone cold sober, not a thing i could say or do
'cos baby when i'm walking with you now, my eyes are so wide
like you reached right into my head, and turned on the light inside"
Comment: David Gray is the shiz.

3. Song: Lovesong, Artist: The Cure, Album: The Cure Greatest Hits (Disc 1)
Lyric sample: "whenever I'm alone with you you make me feel like i am home again, whenever i'm alone with
you you make me feel like i am whole again"
Comment: Wohoo.  The Cure.  Nuff said.

4. Song: I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Artist: Arctic Monkeys, Album: Whatever People, Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Lyric sample: "I wish you'd stop ignoring me because you're sending me to despair, 
Without a sound yeh you're calling me and I don't think it's very fair
That your shoulders are frozen (as cold as the night) Oh, but you're an explosion (You're dynamite)"
Comment: Best for dancing like a maniac, playing air drums and singing into your hairbrush.  
When no one else is home.

5. Song: Hand in My Pocket, Artist: Alanis Morissette, Album: Jagged Little Pill
Lyric sample: " I'm high but I'm grounded, I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed, I'm lost but I'm hopeful"
Comment: Haha! Yes, I AM still listening to Alanis and NO I am NOT ashamed by this at all.  Her first album was the best.  I hear she is married these days and her music now sucks coz she isnt angry at the world anymore...Ah well, you live, you learn... (see what I did there?)

6. Song: Green Eyes, Artist: Coldplay, Album: A Rush of Blood To The Head
Lyric sample: "Honey you are the sea , Upon which I float
And I came here to talk , I think you should know , That green eyes, you’re the one that I wanted to find
And anyone who, tried to deny you must be out of their mind"
Comment: Yusss!!!! This is my fave song from Chris et al. I have green eyes.  Eat it, Gwyneth.

7. Song: I'm Yours, Artist: Angus & Julia Stone, Album: Heart Full Of Wine (EP)
Lyric sample: "Hope, oh what a funny word, wasn't like I was expecting all this falling down, I sit by the window, watching the air that you breathe, so far away"
Comment: Wickedly talented Aussie duo.  Wish they'd come over and pay us a visit!

8. Song: Blue, Artist: Regina Spektor, Album: Far
Lyric sample: "And all the gods and all the worlds, began colliding on a backdrop of blue.  Blue lips,Blue veins.Blue,The color of our planet from far, far away."
Comment: I saw Regina at Glastonbury and she well and truly rocked it.  Crazily amazing pianist and quirky lyrics to boot.  Samson is my fave Regina song.

9. Song: Blinding, Artist: Florence and The Machine, Album: Lungs
Lyric sample: "Seems that I have been here, in some dreaming state, I tossed in the waking world, never quite awake, No kiss, no gentle word could wake me from this slumber,
Till I realise that it was you who held me under
Comment: I want to be just like Florence when I grow up. 

10. Song: Diamonds and Gold, Artist: Tom Waits, Album: Rain Dogs
Lyric sample:   "There's a hole in the ladder, A fence we can climb, Mad as a hatter, You're thin as a dime
Go out to the meadow, The hills are agreen, Sing me a rainbow, Steal me a dream"
Comment: A friend of mine introduced me to the musical wonder that is Tom Waits.  Try it.  I'm now never without him on my play list.

(awkward silence)

30 Days of Me: Day 1 - Allow myself to introduce...myself...

So. Day One.  Here we go....

15 interesting facts about yours truly and a recent photograph.

1. I think apple juice is AWESOME.
2. I have met P!NK (when I was 17.  She too, was awesome.  And short.)
3. I am both a qualified barrister and barista.  (I have recently renounced the former and rekindled the latter).
4. My favourite words are elaborate and alas.
5. I can't drive.  (Don't judge me).
6. I can't handle seeing animals dressed in clothes.  It is freaky and just wrong. 
7. When I was little I wanted to be a florist when I grew up.
8. I love the smell of new books (and petrol.  Don't tell anyone).
9. I have had 5 pet dogs in my lifetime.  Their names were Bridie, Jip, Montgomery James (Monty for short), Bailey and Jem.
10. I like to be on the "left".  For example, when I am walking down the street with someone, I have to walk on the left side of them.  Or, if I sit in the back seat of a car, I like the back left.  I dont know why.  I just do.  (Is that weird?) It's not like I have OCD or anything.  I wont freak out if I can't go left.  I just prefer it that way.  Do we have an understanding? Ok.
11. When I was 13 I thought I was going to move to America to meet and eventually marry Leonardo Dicaprio.  My room was wallpapered with his face.  I still think about him sometimes.  Sigh.
12.  I have been on Vietnamese Television. 
13. No matter where I am in the world I always happen to randomly see people I know.  E.g. In Laos, I saw a friend from uni's girlfriend.  The first day I was in London I saw my friend's old flatmate.  In Amsterdam, I saw a girl from an old netball team.  At a Portugese music festival, I saw a friend from university.  At Hogmanay in Edinburgh, I saw my old next door neighbour.  I could go on (but this is sounding less interesting than I first thought.  Sorry guys).
14. I know The Wedding Singer off by heart.  Go on. You can test me if you want.
15. I've been writing poetry since I was 7.  (Unfortunately, I don't think the quality has improved...)


Oh. And a recent pic of myself.  Taken by my charming boyfriend about a month ago.  Which I poladroided (because I am slightly obsessed by this funky wee program at the moment).

Until next time (tomorrow).


30 Days of Me

That's it.  I'm jumping in.  My friend over at Through Rose Coloured Glasses has inspired me.  I've been considering joining the 30 Days of Me following (check out the kiwi contingent on Pebblesy's blog) but I have confess I have been a) too scared and b) too lazy to join.  That's it! No more! Count me in! Four exclamation marks!

For the next thirty days I'll be using the following prompts as my blog posts.  Posting every day for a month is a challenge in itself, but making them about me?  Hmmmm - I'll just have to get creative right? I don't want it to be yawn material!

Here is THE LIST:  (dun dun DUUUUUUUUUN - please insert ominous sounding orchestra styles here)

day 1- recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
day 2- the meaning behind your blog name
day 3- a picture of you and your friends
day 4- a habit that you wish you didn’t have
day 5- a picture of somewhere you’ve been to
day 6- favourite super hero and why
day 7- a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
day 8- short term goals for this month and why
day 9- something you’re proud of in the past few days
day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad
day 11- another picture of you and your friends
day 12- how you found out about blogging and why you have one
day 13- a letter to someone who has hurt you recently
day 14- a picture of you and your family
day 15- put you iPod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play
day 16- another picture of yourself
day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
day 18- plans/dreams/goals you have
day 19- nicknames you have and why you have them
day 20- someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future
day 21- a picture of something that makes you happy
day 22- what makes you different from everyone else
day 23- something you crave for a lot
day 24- a letter to your parents
day 25- what I would find in your bag
day 26- what do you think about your friends
day 27- why are you doing this 30 day challenge
day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?
day 29- in this past month, what have you learned
day 30- your favourite song

Ooooo exciting....

Album Review: Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More"

Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More

Picture this: an masse barn dance, where sun-kissed festival goers triumphantly toast strangers and sing together in boisterous unison, members of the crowd hand-clap and toe-tap in ardent delight, some dance barefoot in graceful circles with their hands in the air, others pound the earth in well worn gumboots, whilst their associates play air banjo and accompanying imaginary tambourines with flair and fervour. The sun is setting and the cider is sweet. The music: magical. This, my friends, is the sound of Mumford and Sons.

Bound by their shared obsession with bluegrass, country and folk, the foursome started to bring front man Marcus Mumford’s early attempts at song writing to life back in 2007. A mere six months after their union, the talented West London quartet were playing to sell out crowds in the capital city, gaining disciples whilst touring around Britain, and preaching to the masses from the Glastonbury stage. It’s no wonder then that the clever London lads caught the eye of producer extraordinaire, Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Bjork, The Maccabees ring any bells?). Four weeks of experimentation with Eastcote Studios vintage equipment, ongoing encouragement to enhance their distinct musical identity (“he just wanted us just to sound like us”) and fine tuning (pun intended) and it arrived: Mumford and Sons’ debut album, Sigh No More.

The twelve tracks, characterised by powerful vocal harmonies, driving bass lines and potent crescendos is a feast to the folk lover’s ears. Comparisons to The Fleet Foxes, Noah and The Whale, and Crosby Stills and Nash are a plenty, but the artists’ attempts to create their own brand of folk-rock appear to have succeeded. And whilst the artful composition and resplendent meeting of strong vocals and interesting instruments (including mandolin, banjo, brass and double bass) may be the makings of a good hand, the winning ace is surely to be found in Mumford’s poignant prose.

The lyrics have been crafted to be clearly heard and they are never in danger of being lost amidst the musical mountains and valleys present in each track – vocals intensified by faultless harmonies ring out above the colourful ensemble. The band pay homage to fellow countryman Will Shakespeare in the title track, quoting Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing: Serve God, love me and mend, followed by an insight that could have been uttered by the man himself: Love - it will not betray,dismay or enslave you it will set you free. Melancholic yet uplifting lyrics flourish in virtually every track, from Winter Winds (The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague / So let the memories be good for those who stay) to Timshel (And death is at your doorstep / And it will steal your innocence / But it will not steal your substance / As brothers we will stand and we'll hold your hand). See what I mean?!

So put it on and turn it up, grab your makeshift tambourine and sing and stomp along with the rest of them. You’ll enjoy it, trust me. This truly is music to awaken your soul.

  1. Sigh No More
  2. The Cave
  3. Winter Winds
  4. Roll Away Your Stone
  5. White Blank Page
  6. I Gave You All
  7. Little Lion Man
  8. Timshel
  9. Thistle & Weeds
  10. Awake My Soul
  11. Dust bowl Dance
  12. After the Storm 

Introducing....Richard (My Bike)

Yeah. Okay. I know what you are thinking.  I'm aware of the ah, interesting connotations that inevitably ensue from riding around on a bike named Richard but trust me.  I can explain.  

Whilst I was in London I began to admire the old school cycles being ridden around the East End where I lived.  Admiration turned into adoration which developed into obsession which eventually led to me to consumption - and appropriating a very own vintage cycle of my own.  

I found my friend on Gumtree (a buy and sell site), and immediately fell in love with him (though, at the time, I must admit, I had assumed it was a "her").  So I offered £40 and to my surprise it was accepted and I practically skipped to meet the seller with the cash burning a hole in my pocket and my smile as wide as a cheshire cat's.  

On meeting Richard I was immediately taken aback by his solid yet feminine frame, perfectly sized front basket, gleaming white handle bars and shiny pinky/purply coat, topped off with a cute bell shaped like a ladybug (though with one wing broken off.  Adding to the character, of course).  I took him for a quick spin (trying to hide the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike for about ten years) and happily  handed over the money.  Just as I was about to ride off into the sunset (well, this is London we are talking about, I may have imagined that bit), the seller formally introduced me.  "By the way, his name's Richard".  I stopped in my tracks.  "Yeah, I bought him from a drag queen who christened him".  I can't begin to tell you how elated I was at that moment.  Not only was I now the proud owner of my own vintage raleigh caprice, but my trusty mode of transport also had an interesting history and a name.  Freaking awesome! 

Wait.  The story gets even cooler (if that is even possible...).  My friend and flatmate Sarah had arranged to borrow a bike from a friend also living in the East End.  She picked it up, rode it home and lo and behold it was a perfect match! I'm talking same make, same model, same colour, same gleaming white handle bars, same shiny pinky/purply frame... We named her Lady Caprice and her and Richard immediately hit it off.  They dated for a while, enjoying each other's company, taking long rides along the canal, sitting side by side in the corner of the lounge, whispering sweet nothing's into each other's ah, well, you get the picture.

Alas, we eventually had to leave London and while it was hard parting the perfect pair, we packed up Richard and shipped him here to New Zealand where we have since been getting acquainted with the streets and cycle lanes of Christchurch.  We talk about Lady often.  You know what they say, it's better to have loved and lost...

So here he is.  My mate, Richard.