Thursday, 31 January 2008

CHI (revisited)

We are sorry to inform you that your paper has not been accepted to CHI 2008...

Ah well :) Can't say I'm suprised.

Books I Read in January

Total: 14 books.

Tuesdays With Morrie (Mitch Albom)
Words Words Words (David Crystal)
Stories We Could Tell (Tony Parsons)
Where Rainbows End (Cecelia Ahern)
The Pedant in the Kitchen (Julian Barnes)
The Colour of Magic (Terry Pratchett)
Marshmallows For Breakfast (Dorothy Koomson)
Insatiable: The Erotic Adventures of a French Girl in Spain (Valerie Tasso)
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (Xiaolu Guo)
Everyone Worth Knowing (Lauren Weisberger)
So Many Books (Gabriel Zaird)
The Timewaster Diaries (Robin Cooper)
Bed Rest (Sarah Bilston)
Confessions of a Failed Grown-Up (Stephanie Calman)

Easily my book of the month, Tuesdays With Morrie is a something everyone should read. I bought this from the charity shop with Where Rainbows End and read it in a few hours on the 29th. It's a lovely book full of simple wisdom. I shall keep this book and recommend it to everyone, ever.

I've been trying to explore the non-fiction sections of the library, Words Words Words is the fourth book I've finished from my expeditions out of fiction and cookery (after The Pedant in the Kitchen, Insatiable and So Many Books) so I seem to be doing OK. I enjoyed reading this book, not quite as much as I thought I might when I picked it up but still rather a lot. It's a very easy to read book about the nature of words. I probably wouldn't read it again but only because it's made so many recommendations for related others.

Stories We Could Tell is my least favourite Tony Parsons novel. Having really enjoyed his previous books I bought this one from the charity shop on campus and started reading it straight away. Having mostly lost interest, the book was eventually finished almost a week later on the 27th. I listed this on BookMooch before I'd finished and eventually swapped with arwen1 (UK) for The Secret Dreamworld Of A Shopaholic. Wouldn't read it again but I do like his other books.

Bought in a lunchtime from the charity shop on campus Where Rainbows End was another of those books by an author I've read before. My opinions of Cecelia Ahern's previous books have been pretty varied, I quite liked PS. I Love You but hated A Place Called Here. Fortunately I didn't hate this book. A nice easy read, finished on 26th - the the day after I bought it. It's now available for mooching.

The Pedant in the Kitchen caught my attention when browsing the recipe books in Lancaster Libary. I've read England, England by Julian Barnes and have been intending to read a couple of his others so thought I'd give this a try. I read this in several short bursts finishing on the 16th. A pleasant, amusing, short book that would no doubt strike a chord with anyone who isn't quite the masterchef.

I have finally started on the great plan to read all Discworld novels in order. I've read some of these before (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Mort, Eric... maybe others) but have now started from the beginning with The Colour of Magic. I mooched this from Edward Maxwell (USA) and read it over a weekend in Derbyshire finishing on the 14th.

I mooched Marshmallows For Breakfast from Suze S (UK) after reading My Best Friend's Girl. Read in a day on the 12th, this wasn't too bad. Bit closer to the generic chick-lit model than her last but still pretty good as these things go. Given to natzini (UK) through BookMooch.

Insatiable: The Erotic Adventures of a French Girl in Spain
(09/01) was just another trashy library read. Following on in the likes of Belle de Jour and Call Me Elizabeth. I can't see me reading this again.

Bought as part of a Waterstones (Liverpool) three for two offer, I initially quite liked A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (04/01) but somehow this book lost something as it went on. Given to oanh (UK) through BookMooch.

Having read The Devil Wears Prada, I was curious about Everyone Worth Knowing so when I spotted in the library I thought I'd borrow this. I think I read this in a day on the 4th. I don't think it was nearly as good as The Devil Wears Prada but it was OK, unlikely to read it again I think.

Borrowed from Lancaster library, So Many Books (03/01) is a short critique of the book's role in the present day. It's pleasantly brief which is probably a good thing given the conclusions drawn about the great cost of reading. Some people seem to really like this book but I really wasn't that fussed. Some interesting facts and argument but I'd be unlikely to make great effort to read this again.

Another library book, I read most of The Timewaster Diaries on the 2nd when I borrowed it but finished it off the day after. It was very easy to read but not especially deep, there's nothing in it to enjoy save the fact that you don't have to work to read it. Wouldn't ever want to read it again :)

Bed Rest (02/01) and Confessions of a Failed Grown-up (01/01) were both chick-lit library books. Neither is especially hard to read, but they're nice light books if you like that kinda thing/need some mindless moments. I seem to be having more mindless reads than ever at the moment. Not the most inspiring books to start the new year with and I'm unlikely to read them again.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Every girl likes flowers!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

When a Knight Won His Spurs

When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old
He was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand
For God and for valour he rode through the land

No charger have I and no sword by my side
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride
Though back into storyland giants have fled
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead

So let faith be my shield and let hope be my steed
Against the dragons of anger the ogres of greed
And let me set free with the sword of my youth
From the castle of darkness the power of the truth

Monday, 28 January 2008

New Wellies!

After the great adventure of my wellies last summer I've been thinking of buying a new pair for a while. Today I went B&Q shopping for Hobnob and found a nice spotty pair so now I have new wellies! Wellies are exciting; they mean mud and puddles and camping and fun.

Hopefully these ones are tall enough to keep the mud outside :)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Lego Les Miserables

I couldn't not post this.

I hate people who post videos to blogs, I must stop doing it. To this video at the original YouTube page, click here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Forget it already :)

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
(from Finish Every Day, Ralph Emerson)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


When Lancaster's not filled with the shouts of many drunken students it (as many other places) can be a peaceful place to enjoy the night. Just had a very quick wander out to check my post and it's lovely. Mostly quiet and dark with the building lights reflecting on the canal. It'd be a nice night for a midnight wander - crisp, cool (but not too cold) and still. Lovely.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Word of the Day

mountebank \MOUN-tuh-bank\, noun:
A charlatan; a boastful pretender to knowledge or a skill.
(as defined by

Sweeney Todd!

Went to see this tonight at the Vue in Lancaster. There was a suprisingly large amount of blood even knowing the story but it was pretty good. I love the soundtrack.

Saturday, 19 January 2008


Today I attempted to go to Sainsburys whilst my washing was in the machine.

I took too long and now I have lost the lid to my washing liquid.

Students. *sigh*

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Pretty Blogs

Not mine :)

Firstly a pretty knitty/crafty blog: Crafty Daisies.

And secondly a Blogger blog of note, some nice artwork: The Daily Mammal.

Mary Stuart's Prayer

We sung this arrangement of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda at the concert on Sunday. It's always been one of my favourite choir songs and was easily my favourite of the three we sang on Sunday. I'd not found a recording of the arrangement before this (not that I'd tried hard), but here goes...

Or, from the original YouTube url: here. The recording is the Manchester Boys Choir.


Today I attended University Senate which was interesting.

I have also officially started my Queen's Guide!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

404 - I've never seen one not in English before!

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The house smells of bathroom cleaner

The smell of Mr. Muscle gently fills the air
To erase the stains on the bath, sadly still there
Oh Lush, you shop of sweet delights, you've lined the bath with peach
And what with all the builder's dust it feels like Blackpool beach!
(An as-I-type-it poem by Saffy :))

Those Shoes

I wore the shoes with covered toes in the end and Pauline commented on them as we were waiting to meet the Duke of Devonshire after the concert so they were clearly a good choice (also, my toes didn't freeze :)).

The concert was good, I always come away from these things wishing I still sang. One day maybe...

Monday, 14 January 2008

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Our Adventure to Buxton

We never made it.

Went to Buxton today to buy some more Toddler knitting wool (not in any of those colours or I'd just buy online) for Hobnob's scarf. We never made it to Buxton because of the train being weird but instead walked alongside the canal to Tesco taking the odd detour to get closer to the railway and work out why the train might have stopped.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Burnt tongue

It seems very easy to burn one's tongue. Today it was my curried rice but it seems to be one of those things myself and others do often. It's fortunate that it mends pretty quickly I suppose.

Much Post!!

Just collected 7 parcels from the porter's lodge!

My Snoopy watch has arrived and my two textbooks and then four BookMooch books.


Today has been the excitement that is Lancaster University Students' Union New Officers Training (NOT). Thrilling.

I am waiting for 6pm to happen so I can check my mail before heading back to campus for the NOT dinner.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Dress Shopping!

Yet more shopping, I really am a girl. Today I have been out to buy a dress for the concert on Saturday as I don't seem to have one I can get access to between now and then.

Given the requirements of it being a dress, preferrably plain, preferrably black, most of the shops in Lancaster were just useless (terrible punctuation there, sorry). Found lots of choice in New Look though which was excellent and most of it in the sale. Finally narrowed it down to two dresses and at £10 each I decided to buy both. I shall take them both home and let others do the deciding.

£10 for a nice evening dress - madness!

Once I'd got the dress(es) I moved onto shoes and also bought two pairs. I'll quite possibly take one back without wearing them though. I'm not sure. I think one pair goes slightly better but that pair have open toes and the others don't. Open toes in January might look a bit daft (apart from just being pretty darn chilly). Thoughts?

(I like my makeshift displayness!)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Dairy and egg free meatballs

Makes ~20 medium-sized meatballs, ~20 minutes.

40-50g (1.5-2oz) white bread, crusts removed and torn into chunks
4tbsp soya milk
400g (14oz) beef mince
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of cumin
Half a teaspoon of mixed herbs
Half a small onion, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed

Allow bread to absorb milk in a small bowl for a few minutes before rubbing together to break up chunks. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients before kneading as bread dough. Break off chunks of the mixture and roll between palms to make around 20 medium-sized balls (about the size of a regular tomato). Fry the meatballs in batches ensuring that they are cooked through evenly. Serve with spaghetti and a tomato-based pasta sauce (1 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 2 crushed cloves garlic, half a teaspoon mixed herbs).
(recipe adapted from Apples for Jam, Tessa Kiros)

CHI (revisited)

This email confirms your submission to CHI 2008 Trends: Student Design Competition & Special Interest Groups...


Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Today Olive and I have been working on our CHI paper for the Student Design Competition, 2008. I don't think we have much hope, we have no idea what to put in and how to put it in. Ah well, Alan reckons the rejection would be a good experience.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Snoopy Goodies!

Following the demise of the last Snoopy watch, I have ebayed my way to a replacement. I'm not especially keen on the strap of this one but that can be changed and I really liked the face.

To add to my Snoopy spending I also bought a beach towel. As an un-Snoopy purchase I also bought the second discworld novel: The Light Fantastic.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Shopping goodness!

I am a girl, today I went shopping and enjoyed it.

I went to the Manchester Arndale centre today as I needed to drop my MacBook in for a repair (only the casing, hurrah). The Apple Store in the Arndale is pretty small and feels very different to the Regent Street, London shop. Just opposite the Arndale Apple Store is a very nice Waterstones, not the largest I've been in but easily the most spacious. I came home and told everyone that the Waterstones feels like an Apple store, it's yummy!

Anyway, I didn't buy anything in either the Apple Store or Waterstones but stuck my nose into Primark on my way back to Manchester Piccadilly and bought three t-shirts and two pairs of shoes (shoes!?! I really am a girl). Had just missed a train at Piccadilly so went to the HMV on the station concourse and spotted The Hoosiers album, The Trick to Life in the sale (it hadn't been in the Lancaster and Liverpool branches) so bought that, McFly's All the Greatest Hits (don't laugh) and Scouting For Girls self-named album. With student discount and a twenty pound gift card, the whole lot cost me a total of £1.53, bargain!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Yay, more snowing!

I was going to title this post 'Yay, more snow" but that would sound like there was something to show for earlier.

Yay, it's snowing again!

Book Bloggers

There are lots of book bloggers in the world! I started out at this post on Book-By-Book as I'm currently reading A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (and some others). From there I somehow ended up at A Garden Carried in the Pocket and then discovered a whole list of other bookish blogs linking back to her site (generated by, itself interesting) and the Bookaholic Blogring. All these people blogging about books!

PS. Apparently I am cultured, my book says so:
In contrast, the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more.

PPS. So Many Books is also the name of another book blog!

Hardback Books

Hardback books are an irritation because they slow down the release of a nice paperback. I don't mind reading hardbacks too much (though they're bigger and take up too much space in my bag) but I'd much rather own a paperback. Hardbacks are for libraries.

I seem to have been waiting for loads of stuff to make paperback and the only one that has made it is a silly size so now I must wait even longer for them to re-release it in the same size as all the other books I have by the same author. I'm hoping Christmas was the delay factor and they'll start being released soon :)


Books I'd like in paperback:

The Lollipop Shoes (Joanne Harris)
The Dark River (John Twelve Hawks)
Sepulchre (Kate Mosse)
Nineteen Minutes (Jodi Picoult)
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Oliver Sacks)
The Children of Hurin (J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, and Alan Lee)

Maybe there aren't as many as I thought :)


Also, it's not snowing any more :(

It's snowing!


The Timewaster Diaries

Today I have borrowed The Timewaster Diaries from the library. Today I mostly feel like I have been wasting time. *sigh* I hate not having things to do when I know that later in the term my life will be manic. I have no lectures until the 21st, argh!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Spicy Sprout & Corgette Stir Fry

We had this for tea tonight with some rice noodles. It was a little insubstantial but would make a nice light meal (or I could just make more of it for hungry folk). Our sprouts were sadly a bit chemically despite a thorough wash (not all of them, some were very nice, but most of them :(), rubbish Sainsburys.

Serves 2, ~20 minutes.

250g (14oz) Brussels sprouts
1 courgette
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 dsp soy sauce
1 pinch chinese five spice
1 handful cashew nuts

Remove outer leaves of sprouts and halve. Slice courgette into strips and finely chop/crush the garlic. Gently fry garlic ~2 minutes until soft before adding five spice, nuts, sprouts and courgette strips. Fry vegetable mixture for several minutes over medium heat until sprouts slightly softened. Reduce heat, add chilli sauce and cook ~1 minute before adding soy. Serve.
I think this would work well with some bacon in it too.
(recipe adapted from Somerfield Magazine, original online here)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Free Jelly Beans

I did this ages ago and wasn't that excited by the results, but if you DO like Jelly Belly jelly beans, then try this. Each day, the first 100 visitors to the page get a free sample sent out to them for completing a short questionnaire. The questions weren't especially painful and it's a nice tasty freebie if you like the beans (and the flavours) you get.


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