Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Like the tortoise and the hare but nobody wins

So it turns out that one of my class mates (and possibly tutorial partner, I forget) at Oxford has just been fined £2.9m by the FSA and banned from the City. I'm trying to work out whether this makes me feel better about having been a consistent career failure ever since graduating or not (not very far to fall for me, should I ever decide to do anything dodgy). I wouldn't describe this as schadenfreude - all I feel is a degree of surprise and admiration that he did that well in the first place (being Asian and getting into Oxford in the early 80s was quite a thing, never mind a job in the City and he wasn't the outstanding student in our year (nor was I)). Anyhow, however much I might whinge at present, at least I'm not bankrupt (yet), although I imagine he has probably transferred most of his assets to his spouse in preparation for this, if he has any sense.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Wolves - not as scary as dissertations

I love this. It inspired me to spend the morning trying to draw the cats instead of getting on with my dissertation proposal, which is shaping up (if that is the right word for something where I am so totally paralysed by fear that I'm not doing anything) to be a total disaster.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Drowning in stuff

 I alluded earlier to a surfeit of hair products. In fact I have a surfeit of all sorts of products, to the extent that I feel somewhat oppressed at times, while still wanting more (of course). Part of the reason for this is that last year, shortly after being dumped, something surprising and nice happened. I won a draw at Harvey Nichols (my spiritual home) for the Harpers Hot 100 products - the best 100 beauty products of the year. Here are a few pictures of the bounty.

 With cats, for scale
The upper stratum

It will be a while before I have to buy any moisturiser again. Which given my current financial situation is a good thing.

Now quite whether these are the best 100 products is questionable. Some magazines, and I don't know if this applies to Harpers or not, select their 'best' products of the year largely on the input of the advertising department rather than through any merit on the part of the products. But I was pleased to see a bottle of Clinique Laser Focus serum in there and that is a product that would win my personal best of award any time - I've been using it for about 6 months and it is absolutely amazing in my opinion.

The other thing about winning stuff is that it brings you into contact with PRs and that is something that quickly disabuses one of any illusion that being a 'winner' is something that makes you special, deserving of respect or anything other than an accessory to a PR opportunity. Years ago I won a slogan competion with a prize of some Inwear clothes and it was made very clear indeed that if I could not get time off work to receive them on a day that was convenient for the PR rather than one that was convenient for me, I would forfeit the prize. This time round, it was a considerable amount of time before the prize was actually delivered and then only on the second day I requested, having sat in all day the previous week under the illusion that we'd arranged a delivery time. Plus some of the service related items in the prize like facials are only available in London. V. is currently enjoying them on my behalf. Lucky I don't like facials really.

But even so, it was just what I needed at a point when I was very low indeed and I managed to stretch the unpacking process over 4 days.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

It's what's on the outside that counts

Boz has just posted about his conflicted desires for a Kindle. For me, the thing that made me want one was seeing the metallic red patent leather Kindle cover my friend A's fiance had bought her for her Kindle. I like leather, mmmkay?

Metallic patent has proven hard to come by but I have bought a quite splendid red lizard effect leather Kindle sleeve on Etsy from Gardenour Leather. Cases are obviously available from Amazon and people who like to read in bed (I don't) seem to swear by the ones with a built in light but they are fairly expensive (more so on Amazon UK than US Amazon of course) and the quality of the leather used is shoddy. I also didn't want a book cover type case - mine is simply a sleeve that the Kindle slips into. I'm very pleased with my purchase - even with postage from the US it barely came to £30 and it's similar quality to cases sold by Smythson for 3 or 4 times that amount (and Samantha Cameron doesn't work for Gardenour either - mind you they could be Tea Partiers - I didn't ask. But the leather is excellent quality and so is the workmanship).

Monday, 23 January 2012

1% bad

That's how the surgeon described my eye on Friday. I'm not having surgery for the time being - we're keeping an eye on it. Quite how he decided that I don't know because he didn't bother examing it properly. Let's hope he's right and his alarmist colleague (who did examine it) isn't.

Anyhow, it's an improvement on the rest of life which I would describe as approximately 75% bad at present.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

I'm my own worst enemy

The camera is no longer within guarantee so I can't return it. The aqua tint has been a problem since day one so I could have done something about it last year. But I didn't, because I was too busy, or too depressed, or too forgetful, even though it ruined my holiday photos from New Zealand. It seems to affect outdoor photos only and turns everything blue or grey a strange shade of turquoise. It's annoying me. Almost as much as I am annoying me at present. Of course, I can adjust the colour balance on the computer afterwards but that's no fun when you have over 1000 photos.

So, it's the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8. I'm not sure I'd buy a Panasonic again after this. What sort of camera do you have and does it have any peculiarities?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Play list

I across this list while trying to remember a song* that was lurking around the back of my mind and am now working my way through it while waving my fist around vaguely.

*Eve of Destruction.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The problem with the fundamental concept

In fact I have three issues with running a shopping blog. The practical one is that I am shockingly bad at photography, especially product photography, and my Panasonic Lumix camera tints everything aqua. If it's still within guarantee, I think I may return it. It's been disappointing.

The second one is that shopping isn't exactly a straightforward pleasure for me. I'd classify it rather as addictive behaviour and given how life has been recently there has been a lot of 'acting out'. A lot. Despite my lack of earnings. So actually I'm rather ashamed of myself and blogging about it seems odd. Plus most of it is still in carrier bags/suitcases, in true shopaholic fashion.

Finally, I feel a little uncomfortable showing people nice things I have when they themselves don't have them. It seems boastful. I'm not entirely sure what that is about. It's not like I seethe with envy when I read other shopping blogs or think that the bloggers are showing off. Maybe I feel I don't deserve nice stuff. I don't know.

So quite where this blog is going to go, I really don't know.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Lunatic fringe

Now I have a fringe, I'm having to think about things I have not previously considered. I've bought straighteners and multiple strange hairbrushes, which hurt. I've moved from slapping a bit of conditioner on, combing and forgetting about my hair to having to use product. Which hurts. For reasons that may become apparent if I get round to uploading the pictures, I have quite a lot of different products hanging around at present (although no serum or heat protector or hairspray so I still had to cough up for those. Which hurt). It's all intensely irritating, especially as people have either not commented about the fringe or told me that I look tired.

However, I can't just leave it because it looks appalling au naturale - curly, frizzy and sticky outy. I was going to post a picture of Grayson Perry at this point but a quick look at Google Images shows that he has his fringe under far better control than I do.

So here are the products I've tried so far with the straighteners:

  • Paul Mitchell leave in conditioner (my previous defrizzing and curl enhancing standby): rubbish. No straightening power at all.
  • Moroccan Oil (apparently what the salon used): as used by the hairdresser kept my fringe straight for 3 days (no rain). As used by me (immediate rain) kept my fringe straight for about 5 minutes.
  • Ojon Conditioning Finishing Paste, plus Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom: one day so far (immediate rain). However my hair looks lanky and sticky and about 3 shades darker.
Further product reports to come as I try them out.

The straighteners by the way are Remington and cost £18 from TKMaxx. They have ceramic plates and look no different to the expensive sort you see for sale in salons.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New and not improved

It is a mistake to think that change inevitably means progress.

Before we had digital television, I could receive BBC channels. Now I can't.

I wouldn't be having the problems with utility suppliers that I am if they had never been privatised. A single non-profit making state owned enterprise is a wondrous thing. The improvements brought by market forces aren't terribly apparent to me. I blame Thatcher.

Free directory enquiries was pretty nice too.

Relaunched or reformulated fragrances are inevitably the worse for it (I'm looking at you Dior).

The current government is in no way better than the last government.

This blog is supposed to be better than the last one but it probably won't be.

On the other hand, 2012 surely has to be better than 2011.

Can you think of something that was better after it was improved?