Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Update...

As a way to ease myself back into the world of blog I’ve created a little list of what I’ve been up to...
  • Went to Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Watched several musicals – Legally Blonde, Lend Me A Tenor, Wicked & Shrek the Musical  
  • Saw some slightly experimental theatre/cabaret – The Office Party, Medium Rare Cabaret & La Soiree.
  • Celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving
  • Spent the day in Cambridge
  • Rode a camel
  • Travelled to Egypt
  • Took a cruise
  • Booked tickets to New Zealand for a wedding
  • Climbed inside a pyramid & ancient tomb
  • Witnessed my first pop concert – Britney Spears Live
  • Won a Kindle
  • Ate a lot of Cupcakes
  • Finished Christmas shopping for New Zealand

Now that I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of blogging you can rest assured I will begin writing again with new vigour and regularity.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

In a flood of inspiration...

In a flood of inspiration (and thanks to a reconnected internet connection) I have two new blog posts coming shortly.


Watch this space! Well, not literally, because you might be waiting for a day or so.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rugby World What?!

Okay, so I kinda stole that headline from my friend's t-shirt design.

Even over here in Old Blighty there is no escaping the monster that is Rugby World Cup hype - not that I'm saying it's a bad thing!

Working in an Aussie/Kiwi (okay, mostly Aussie) office means there will be a lot of friendly rivalry going on over the next few weeks.

Also our lovely little travellers are largely antipodeans so we will tap into & feed their excitement too.

So far my efforts to get into the spirit of NZ's big event is to buy some black tissue paper to decorate my desk (it's all I could find, so Silver Ferns in London) and download the Outlook Calendar rugby app with all the game times.

I'm pretty far from being either a rugby fan or a rugby hater.

This t-shirt collection called 'This is Not a Rugby Shirt' by my lovely artist/cartoonist/designer friend Kilowatt Katie nicely sums up my middle of the road feelings about the sport.

My first memory of a Rugby World Cup is watching the match in the games room at our friend's parents house way back in 2003 and seeing a room full of teenage boys close to tears as the All Blacks lost to Australia in the semi-finals.

The image that is burned into my mind is of my friend Andy slowly swinging on a children's swing set, looking at the ground and sipping on a beer.

So here we are again, 8 years and another loss later, will the ABs fair better this time round?
Well all I can say is they better (no pressure guys)! 

I don't think I can afford (or put up with) having a boyfriend who slips into a post-loss catatonic state.

Go All Blacks!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mystics & Healing: Stonehenge, Bath & Avebury

Like many an Antipodean in London it’s taken me a while to get out of the city and visit the UK’s sights.

I’ve travelled to the Continent many a time, but until now have failed to explore my own backyard.

Three of my new favourite spots are Bath, Stonehenge and Avebury in Somerset, South West England.

Our friends Jo and Tim were in town after spending two months travelling around Europe and wanted to make the most of their time in the UK so we hired a car and took to the countryside.

Near Salisbury in the Wiltshire countryside, Stonehenge is found in the most unlike of locations

Driving up the A303 motorway I caught my first glimpse of the famous landmark, standing in a large paddock surrounded by rolling green pastures filled with grazing sheep.

Despite the masses of tourists, Stonehenge remains a spooky and impressive sight - you can forget ever finding me there at night time!

This ancient monument dates from 3,700 to 1,600 BC. The tallest stone is 7.3m high and weighs over 45 tonnes! That sure is some heaving lifting!

The origins of Stonehenge are shrouded in mystery. The significance of its alignment with the rising and setting of the sun has puzzled many a scholar -was it a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or a ancient calendar?

An even more fundamental, but no less intriguing question is how exactly did the prehistoric Britons move the massive bluestones across land and sea from West Wales to their current resting place in the West of England?

The Roman Baths is a well-preserved Roman site once used as a public bathing house and now a key tourist attraction at the centre of the town it gives its name to - Bath.

The thermal pools and a fascinating museum are housed within a beautiful Victorian reception hall.

At the heart of the building is the Sacred Spring. The 46°C water rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 litres every day and has been doing this for thousands of years.

In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the spring in 60-70 AD dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a deity with healing powers.

However, it was the Celts who first discovered the scared site, building a shrine to the goddess Sulis before the Roman temple was constructed.

In Roman times, visitors would throw offerings to the gods or curses into the thermal waters - about 130 curse tablets have been found many related to thieves who stole of clothes while visitors were bathing.

Aside from worship, people came to the baths to relax and treat a variety of ailments.

Sadly you can’t take a dip in the water these days because of high lead levels (thanks to the original working pipes) and the risk of infections.

Oh, and the lovely green colour is caused by algae that grows in sunlight.

Now it’s time to head further back in history to a strange and mystical past.

Heading back to London we stopped in at the weird little village of Avebury home to the largest stone circle in Europe.

It has a completely different vibe to Stonehenge.
With significantly less tourists, you can go right up to the stones set in lush green grass with sheep keeping them company.

Making our way from the car park to the first paddock of stones we came across several colourful characters that can best be described as a mix between hippies and new age witches complete with walking sticks that looked like wizard staffs.

Each stone is around 3 metres tall and together they create giant circles that stretch for several hundred metres.

The area is an important site for Pagans and one tree we came to ribbons, notes and little bags were tied to the branches.

We also saw this guy (or girl) walking around the stones. Yikes. 

Whatever your spiritual beliefs, it’s hard not to get a slight chill down the spine while you’re walking around ancient stones through windswept fields.

I think anyone who goes to Stonehenge should make the journey to Avebury to get an understanding of what the area would have been like before the hordes of tourists arrived.

And make sure you get out of London and see the rest of England.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Kiwis Getting Gay in New York City

Here's why you should vote for Finalist 3 - Dinnelle & Anneka to get hitched in NYC....


Like most people I like to think I try to help my friends and this is one way I know how.


Dinnelle & Anneka have been friends of mine for some time now, nearly 15 years.


I first meet Dinnelle in the good old days (okay, they really weren't good at all!) of intermediate school. Like the weird little kids we were we used to play Gladiators on the jungle gym and give each other stupid names like bumkiss - oh how clever we were.


Dinnelle & Anneka - they rock!
Two years later, I came across Anneka in high school. She did a mean Frank Spencer impersonation and love Harry Enfield. 


She'll deny it now, but she used to be a bit of a bully - in a fun way - and used to hide our school bags in trees.


Dinnelle, Anneka and I were part of a group of high school friends who were all very different, but had a great time together.


Fast forward eight years and we are all celebrating our 21st birthdays in true West Auckland style and we were all given some surprising and exciting news.


Now, we knew Dinnelle was bi-sexual, but Anneka was still straight as far as we knew.


"I'm seeing someone," said Anneka. "You wont guess who."


We then listed off the most unlikely candidates, namely awful boys from school.


"Nope. Dinnelle!"


And that was that.


Since then they have become one of my all time favourite couples, gay or straight.


They bring out the best in each other, they have stayed true to themselves and have built a great bunch family and friends around them.


Anyway, the point of this rambling blog is that a couple of years ago this fabulous twosome got engaged - big party with grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and of course friends!


And now they are in the finals for a trip to get Gay-Married in New York City - the latest state to allow same-sex unions.


Please vote for my friends to make their dreams come true. 


I can't think of a couple who deserves it more. xxx


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Why would you go to Venice?!

“Four days in Venice, isn’t that a little long?”

“Well, it’s more like three days, four nights...”

“You know it’s full of tourists, locals who will scam you and it smells, right?!”

And that is how one conversation went when I told an acquaintance we were off on a summer holiday to the famous Floating City.  Had we overestimated the time we’d need? Was it going to be one big stinking hot mess? What had we gotten ourselves into?!

Luckily for us, said acquaintance couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the moment I first stepped foot in Cannaregio, the northernmost of Venice’s six historic districts, I was in love.
It was well after 11pm when we dropped out luggage at the hotel (Hotel Nazionale) and despite the fun of budget airline travel we were ready to hit Venice’s cobbled streets!

But before we could go anywhere I was in desperate need of a gelato and thankfully (dangerously) there was an amazing gelato shop right at the door of our hotel *bliss*.

We had arrived in town on the eve of Festa del Redentore (more about that later) so the streets were fairly deserted as we strolled over the famous canals for the first time.

However, come the morning the city was buzzing.

Travellers of all ages and all nationalities wandered up at down the streets while men opened their stalls selling souvenirs and replicas of traditional Venetian masks and Murano glass.

It’s fairly easy to spot the authentic stuff – they are usually found in dedicated stores and have price tags that reflect the quality.
With nowhere in particular in mind we made our way slowly into the middle of the island.

I would recommend spending at least one day getting totally lost, wandering up and down the thousands of small alley ways that sprawl across the city.

They are also a great escape from the crowds and the hot summer sun.

Making our way into the heart of Venice, we followed the official (and handmade) signs showing the way to Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge and were joined by an ever increasing number of fellow travellers.

The square is massive and in the blazing midday sun we were grateful for the shade from the shop front canopies.

If you’re spending a few days in town I’d recommend you pick up a 3-Day Youth Card (Rolling Venice) it gives you access to all public transport including waterbuses (vaporetti) in the city for 72 hours and discounts at museums, shops and restaurants.

That night after take a rather long detour on a vaporetti we found ourselves on the island of Dorsoduro right in the middle of Festa del Redentore celebrations.

Hundreds of tables filled with big Italian families ran the length of the canal looking out across to the city centre. They feasted on giant plates of local food (it smelt so good!) and glasses of wine. Grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles and cousins singing, dancing and gossiping the evening away, waiting for the main event – the fireworks!

And what a display!
For at least 45 minutes pyrotechnics took over the city. Colours lit up the night sky and booming explosions echoed around the ancient street – if you didn’t know better you’d swear it was a war zone!

The following day we tried a bit of island hopping, Venice style. First stop, Murano.

Famous for its glasswork, the island was largely empty on the Sunday we stopped by.

Still, there were plenty of opportunities to pick up pieces of jewellery and take in the sights.

It was a recommendation from a colleague that proved to be one of my trip highlights - the island of Burano

Every Venetian lagoon seems to be famous for something, and in Burano’s case it is lacework and rainbow coloured buildings – my kind of place!
 
The first thing you see when getting off the boat is a rather frightful looking wailing woman – no idea what she represents, but it can’t be nice.

Thankfully your eye is quickly caught by the brilliant red building to your left and from there you can’t help but smile at the array of pinks, blues, yellows and oranges of the town.


Oh, and I also ate the best pizza I have had in my whole life! Cheese, mushroom, artichoke and prosciutto – delish! 

Venetians are a lovely people – very friendly and helpful.

Despite the extraordinary lack of Italian language skills in our group we managed to get by.

As long as you can point and say hello, please and thank you you’ll be fine in this largely English speaking (or at least understanding) place.

Our final day was spent catching up on all the little things we had missed – a last stop here, a last stop there.

St Mark’s Basilica was one such destination and there in the July sun we joined a surprisingly fast moving queue to enter the 11th century church.
Many European churches still enforce a traditional dress code meaning men and women must cover their shoulders & knees.

I specially brought a church-suitable dress with me, but if you forget to wear appropriate attire it isn’t such a big deal as the staff will provide you with lovely papery shawls to wrap around you.

Be careful of the men on the door though – they are more like nightclub bouncers than church ushers grabbing visitors showing too much skin as they walk passed.

While it lacks the grandeur and quiet spiritual aura of St Peter’s in Rome, the interior and exterior are stunning nonetheless.

So how do you put the perfect finishing touch on a perfect holiday in Venice? With a gondola ride of course!

Lying back in our luxury boat it was hard not to feel like royalty gliding through the narrow canals the vaporetti can’t reach, our gondolier filling us in with bits and pieces of local history.
And that was it - what more can I say? We ate, drank and sweated our way through this magnificent island, cameras always at the ready.

Bellini, gelato, pizza and spaghetti. Fireworks, bridges, canals and history. The list goes on!

Venice, you surprised me. I didn’t expect to love you this much!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Night of Extreme Insanity: The Flying Karamazov Brothers

I’ve become a bit of a West End aficionado of late thanks to a certain person at work who has a connection to free theatre tickets.

Three shows in three weeks is pretty good going if you ask me.

First on the agenda was a night with the Flying Karamazov Brothers.

All I knew was that it was a circus/juggling act, but it was so much more (and much more mad then I could have imagined!).

The K. Brothers are four Americans performers who take the stage dress in kilts. The best way to describe the show is as a Vaudeville review.

Juggling maybe what ties the show together but comedy in a Marx Brother/Monkees vein provides the undertone while songs and dance (also very funny) tie everything together.
On top of that, all four ‘brothers’ are talented musicians.

Each show the brothers ask to audience to bring a selection of items they want to see lead brother Dmitri juggle.

The audience then votes on the three best items – at our show they chose an umbrella, a cowboy hat and… a fish.

After a couple of goes Dmitri managed to juggle all three for a full 10 seconds.

My favourite juggling act was rather simple. The theatre lights went out and in darkness they threw glowing balls that changed colours throughout. Magical.

For one lucky/unlucky audience member, they got the chance to get right up close to the action. The fiery action.

A woman from the crowd got to put herself in the centre of four crazy men throwing flaming sticks back and forth in front, and behind, her.

Throughout the evening the brothers introduce nine “Items of Terror” including knives, dry ice, an egg and even fire. As a final act they skilfully juggle all the items between them.

I haven’t laughed so hard at such an insane performance in a long time. All the audience, adults and kids alike, had a blast.

Go see it for a random, feel good time.

www.fkb.com/uk
Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH.
Until 10 September
 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A new job in the big city

Yip, you read that right. I have a new job, though not quite in the big city.

As of this Monday I have been working in marketing/online for a travel operator based in... wait for it... Chiswick!

No longer do I have to fight my way through a three tube journey to Camden twice a day, five days a week. Now my commute involves a 25min walk up the high street, or through a park, which ever I prefer on the day. In case of rain I also have the option of a 5min train ride one stop. Did I mention I'll be staving 27pounds a week? *bliss*

A slight change in career direction, but I'm learning a heck of a lot and have more say and control over my work (no more licking envelopes for people who are quite capable of doing it themselves).

The demographics in my work space have done a 180. Before I was the lone kiwi in a mass of Brits, and now I'm one of the gang in an antipodean workforce.

The company also has weekly morning teas - so it is imperative I find a new gym quickly.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

More blogs.... are really truly coming ... soon

Things are starting to settle down after a mad few weeks so more posts should be popping up here soon! I promise!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Oooo Technology!

Wow, you can now read Just Another Girl in London from your mobile device! Fancy stuff this internet thing.

I guess I'd better get around to loading some posts so you actually have something to read!

K (Just Another Girl)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sitting in an English garden - Part II: Kew Gardens

One fine Sunday in May three lovely ladies and I made our way to Kew Gardens in West London.

With a picnic lunch and rug in hand we followed the crowds on the short walk from the tube to the garden.

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew have been around for 250 years and features glasshouses of exotic plant life and landscaped gardens.

We expected there to be an entry fee but were shocked to find tickets were £13.90 for an adult! Ouch! Plus they ask for an extra £2 voluntary donation, which we all declined to pay - we're certainly not made of money.

Much lighter in the pocket, we picked a lovely spot by a large pond by the entrance for lunch - we did have to be mindful a few cheeky birds who seemed pretty interested in our sandwiches.

Kew is huge so there was no way we were going to get to see it all. We chose to head anti-clockwise around the park making our way through greenhouses filled with cacti, fems, orchids and tropical flowers.

There are several historic buildings on the grounds including Kew Palace and Queen Charlotte's Cottage - unfortunately it costs a further £5.30 to get inside the Palace so no royal visit for us.

After enjoying a scoop of hokey pokey (I never knew you could get it outside of NZ!) we continued our walk through increasingly open spaces.

I think we were a little lost by this stage when we came across Queen Charlotte's Cottage - a seriously pimp cottage if you ask me - and had a walk through its sunny, open rooms.


I enjoyed the gardens considerably more than the greenhouse side of things - collections of foreign flora and fauna are not really my bag- I think I prefer my plants au natural.

Having said that, considering the cost of entry I don't think I'll be racing back anytime soon.

I think I'll spend the entry fee on a nice bottle of wine and head back over to Chiswick House.

What happened to Girl Power?

In the 15 years since the Spice Girls first won the hearts of girls all around the globe something very sinister is going on in the pop world.

Yesterday, while tackling a swiss ball at the gym my ears were subjected to a truly awful song - which sadly seems to be part of a larger trend in music.

Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock" is just the latest bitchy girl track putting down her fellow sisterhood members.


"Get yourself together don't hate (never do it) / jealousy is the ugliest trait (don't ever do it) / I can talk about it cause I know that I'm pretty...  All eyes on me when I walk in / No question that this girl's a 10 / Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful" 

What happened to Girl Power? The Spice Girls, Destiny's Child, TLC, pretty much every girl band or pop star used to sing songs for the girls, not against them.

Other songs that fit into this category are Don't Cha by the Pussycat Dolls, which -aside from the cringe worthy spelling- talks about convincing a man to ditch his lady for the said "freak" singer. 

A serial offend of girl-on-girl-hate-songs is Miss (she really is too old to pretend to be a teenager) Avril Lavigne.

First up there was Sk8er Boi (what's up with chick haters and bad language skills).

"He was a punk/She did ballet/What more can I say?" 

A lot more actually! While I have never worn a tutu I'd like to know just what's wrong with a ballet girl? What's your beef Avril?

Her most recent offering is truly the pinnacle of sister vs sister.
Girlfriend, sigh, the video shows a "punk" sabotaging the relationship of a little redheaded nerd (ginger hate much!) which is almost as bad as her guitar playing and the lyrics.

"Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend /No way, no way, I think you need a new one / Hey, hey, you, you, I could be your girlfriend"

Pure genius.
"So come over here and tell me what I wanna hear / Better yet, make your girlfriend disappear / I don't wanna hear you say her name ever again."

Come on music makers - stop putting hateful songs in the mouths of these girls! I can picture nothing worse than a dance floor full of ladies singing "Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend" at the top of their lungs.

You make us women sound like bitchy, catty, nasty people out to get what's not ours.

Now, to make everyone feel a little better, here's an example of cheesy pop that doesn't pit girl against girl.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sitting in an English garden - Part I: Chiswick House

Spring time in London is a wonderful time of year.

Long days, non-freezing nights, sun in the morning and evening means no travelling to and from work in the dark.

And what better way to celebrate blossoms and springtime cheer than visiting an English garden.. or two.

My first stop on a mild April day was Chiswick House and Gardens just a 15 minute walk from our flat.


Built in 1729, a loop around the Villa's Roman style gardens is around 2.4 km.

Despite being surrounded by the A4, as soon as you pass through the gates to the park all noise from the outside world disappears.

English gardens, flowers, a large glass house, sculptures and buildings line the walk through the grounds and all provide a fitting background to Chiswick House.





Entry to gardens is free and it costs a mere £6 to access the house (and that includes an audio guide).

The ground floor of the house feels cool and calm, while the upper rooms are warm and vibrant. Several rooms are covered with paintings and luxurious wallpapers and really are extravagant.




Next visit I plan to bring a rather large picnic basket complete with lashings of ginger beer and cucumber sandwiches.

Some things to look forward to

Instead of apologising for the lack of blogging activity, I thought I wet your appetites with a small taster of what is to come....

London Sevens (like a drunk United Nations)
Kew Gardens (a hell of a lot of plants)
Facebook: the great reunite-er (this could be interesting)
Job hunting advise for London Newbies (several super talented friends are looking for work so what better time to share.)
and my summer getaway (a chance to brag)

*Phew* I certainly have a lot to be getting on with! Until next time...

xox K

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Damn Aussie Neighbours

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours - in our case we get a psychotic blond Australian Sheila.

We live in an old house that has been converted into five flats.

The week we moved in we received our first passive aggressive note pasted to the joint mail box - kindly reminding us the rubbish gets collected on Wednesdays and a certain person doesn't like to walk passed it everyday.

Not a knock on the door, not a little message through the door, just a weak-ass public message.

The first time Nick saw her in the flesh was when he was taking out our bin and helped her with hers as well. And what did he get for his troubles? Not a thank you but a screechy Australian lecture.

The rest of our meetings with 'the beast' have revolved around tellings off about leaving the door open (seriously not us) and reminders that she OWNS her flat while we're just renters.

We live closest to the door and everytime she comes in proceeds to slam it in a completely unnecessary fashion. This has lead Nick to curse her to fall down the stairs each time she comes traipsing up and down.

I'll try to capture any future PA notes for your viewing pleasure.

Until next time.

K

Monday, 9 May 2011

Royally Long Weekends

Even though this is over a week late, you can't be a blogger living in London and not mention the Royal Wedding.

Coming in the second half of two much needed long weekends, a day off work is a great way to get in the mood.

The first thing that surprised me was just how early the whole thing started - an early night for the bride and groom then.

I had my own relatively early start to make my way across town to a friends Tea Party & Pimms outing in Clapham.

Throughout Chiswick pubs were covered in flags and bunting - the Tabard Theatre was in a particularly festive mood. On my way to the train station I passed several little girls in their own Princess outfits.

Now to the ceremony. With limited religious knowledge I had no idea just how long Anglican wedding ceremonies were - and they certainly do go on. I wonder how it compares to a Catholic one.

I just loved the Queen's scene stealing yellow. And when the congregation sung the national anthem I also love that she just gets to nod and have a little smile to herself. She's so PIMP!

Can't remember what the other guests wore, I remember a crazy amount of hats.

Despite the length and heaps of stuff I didn't understand, I will admit to suffering Wedding Fever.
If you ever find yourself in a royal wedding make sure you pack a snack, some form of music player & a book. Or some of those glasses with the eyes painted on.

We were all pleasantly surprised by Kate's dress and quickly googled Grace Kelly's similar outfit.

Then when William couldn't get the ring on - OMG we were all shouting at the TV. I guess her fingers swelled up a bit with the stress.

Overall it made for a sweet and interesting television experience. Definitely one for the girls.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Yes, yes I know I'm lazy

Okay, I know I should have blogged a while ago, but I have been far to lazy and far to busy enjoying this stunning London weather.

I promise I shall write something in the next couple of days (I wonder what it will be? Royal Wedding perhaps?) - plus - I will include an exciting, interesting blog for once!

Until then..... big loves....

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Celebrity Look-Alikes: Russell Brand vs the Jabberwocky

God I feel mean posting this, but it has been on my mind for a while.

Now, I quiet like Russell B - he was excellently hilarious in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I like the bits I've seen of his tv shows.

I don't want to say they look alike, but in my head there is definitely a passing resemblance.

Would you agree? Yes? No? Maybe? Is it the facial hair? The smile? The eyes? Or I'm just crazy...


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge

After reading Boganette's rockin' good list I thought I should create my own... so here goes... my 30 Day Song Challenge....

01 - Your favorite song 
That is a mighty big question to ask up front!
A hard one to answer - but for overall beauty and simplicity I'm going to say Across the Universe by the Beatles

02 - Your least favorite song
I hate music and artists who pretend to be something they're not! This is the reason I think Avril is worse than Britney by pretending to be a punk goddess when she is little more than a pop star - at least Britney isn't fake about her fakeness.
I agree that I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry is an awful song (she hasn't even kissed a girl). I hate chicks who cash in on that faux lesbian shiz.

03 - A song that makes you happy
It works when I'm angry, in a bad mood, grumpy or just feeling 'meh'. The rhythm, the pulse, the lyrics and the attitude! The perfect punk rock song x

04 - A song that makes you sad
I'm a pretty big sap when it comes to sad songs - but nothing brings out the sap in me more than country music, especially the Dixie Chicks and these ones in particular get me...
When You Were Mine - about an affair and separation - I always tear up on the lyric "I can give you two good reasons to show you loves not blind. He's two & she's four and you know they adore you, so how can I tell them you changed your mind." *SOB*

And then there's the tragically beautiful Top of the World. Goosebumps.

05 - A song that reminds you of someone
My dad used to sing the chorus of this to me when I was a kid - awww loves it.

06 - A song that reminds you of somewhere  
Roxane's basement in Titirangi - hanging out, being totally cool teenagers, making schemes, shooting pool, being bad-ass (at least we thought we were).
We were so awesome - this song takes me right back to that time...Peaches En Regalia

07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event 
This music is oh so terrible, but it takes me back to my month long holiday in Croatia in 2004. For that reason alone this music holds a special place for me...Za tvoje snene oči by Colonia (I always thought that was a man singing!).

08 - A song that you know all the words to 
I'm quiet sad so know the lyrics to more songs than any person should -even songs I hate! But when I want to show off quoting Bohemian Rhapsody goes down a treat.

09 - A song that you can dance to
The Doors The End. I have the most amazing free-form choreography to go with this epic song - created by one of my bffs & me partially to embarrass our dear friend Lucy. It involves skipping, wriggling, jerking, twisting & arm flapping.

10 - A song that makes you fall asleep
In a bad way - pretty much anything by Coldplay! In a good, relaxing way Stardust by Dave Brubeck

11 - A song from your favorite band 
My favourite band has gotta be the greatest band in the world - Blood & Laughter. And I love me some Amigo!

12 - A song from a band you hate
I don't even like posting this on my blog! *Gag* Midnight Youth

13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure
Probably songs from musicals! Especially Rocky Horror, Hairspray and Chicago.
I like to loop this song on my iPod every now and then. Extremely cheesy and catchy, but with intelligent lyrics... The Nicest Kids in Town

14 - A song that no one would expect you to love
People who know me know I have a soft spot for metal, but those who haven't known me long are surprised to learn I have a love for head banging out to the likes of Slayer

15 - A song that describes you
Heaps of my friends have songs with their names in them - Laura, Roxane, Penelope, Lucy, etc. But I have yet to track one with my name down.
So instead I'd like to think these describes me....in my head... Billionaire or Boys Want to Be Her by Peaches

16 - A song that you used to love but now hate 
I don't hate any songs I used to love, but several have been killed by overplay on the radio and are now in the like category.

17 - A song that you hear often on the radio
This was on overload in the USA - the last time I really listened to the radio.

18 - A song that you wish you heard on the radio 
See answer number 3

19 - A song from your favorite album
I'm sure this could change, but my current favourite album is The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case - The song Hold On, Hold On makes me want to sing, to play and to daydream... I made a tape of the album to play in my car and this song got all distorted.

"I leave the party at three a.m.
Alone, thank God
With a valium from the bride
It's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love"

20 - A song that you listen to when you’re angry
This is one angry song by Mr Dylan Positively 4th Street (this is a cover - for some reason Dylan isn't on YouTube)
Or there's always something more shouty - like this

21 - A song that you listen to when you’re happy  
Janelle Monáe - Tightrope (pictured) Love her style, her music, everything! she is just so talented and this song makes me bop in the car, on the tube, in the house. I think this is the best concept album in years. If I ever have a daughter I want Janelle to be her inspiration!

22 - A song that you listen to when you’re sad 
Don't Forget Me by Neko Case - sad, but not in a 'I wanna kill myself' kind of way.

23 - A song that you want to play at your wedding 
So many songs - My boyfriend thinks this one by Rage Against the Machine
I think this is a good knees up... Golem Hora - If they would play for me I'd be over the moon!
"Have a tequila, have a tequila, have a tequila, just one more!"

24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral 
This speaks for itself really Non, Je Ne Regrette Rein - and the french version please!
"My life, my day, today, they started with you"

25 - a song that makes you laugh
Other than comedy songs (and there are plenty of those) Kiss Me I'm Sh*tfaced by the Dropkick Murphys always makes me smile.
"I can bench press a car, I'm an ex football star
with degrees from both Harvard and Yale
Girls just can't keep up, I'm a real love machine
I've had far better sex while in jail"

You think he's just some cocky, showoff, but then comes the switch at the end...

"Who am I shitting?
I'm a pitiful sight, and I ain't all that bright
I'm definitely not chiseled from stone
I'm a cheat and a liar, no woman's desire
I'll probably die cold and alone"

26 - A song that you can play on an instrument
Not wanting to be a showoff, but I am a musician so can play quiet a few! Not all that well, but you can tell what song they are supposed to be if you listen really hard.

27 - A song that you wish you could play
This one! My grade six piano fingers can only dream... Flight of the Bumble Bee

28 - A song that makes you feel guilty 
Guilty?! Music does not ever make me feel guilty! I guess listening to the above song makes me feel guilty for not practicing the piano more often.

29 - A song from your childhood
Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. I remember my dad playing this on our crusty old record player in the basement of our house. This was well before it was done up - just an old concrete room with a bookcase made out of bricks and planks of wood and a big rug on the floor.

30 - Your favorite song at this time last year
Way back when I had this song on an almost permanent loop. Thanks A Lot by Neko Case.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Homesick in London: Things I DO miss about NZ

Aside from the obvious - friends, family, warm weather - these are the little things whose absence I truly notice.

You'll see that this list is much longer than the things I don't miss!

Friendly bus drivers
I'd never thought I'd miss the overly friendly chatty Auckland bus driver, but here in London the silent and caged in driver is a poor alternative.
Yes they drove like manics, yes they could be cranky and weird, but I loved it when two drivers pulled up next to each other and the one on the right would swing open the bus doors and they'd have a good old natter.

Being able to eftpos items for $1 (or less) everywhere
The rest of the world is a bit backward. I hate carrying cash. Back home the only time I had money in my wallet was when I knew I had to catch a taxi.
I'd use my eftpos (debit) card for everything from buying a drink in a bar to a stick of gum in the dairy. Hell, I used to buy a $1 lolly mix so I could get $5 cash out for the bus!
Many London places have a £5-£10 minimum on cards which I think sucks - grrrr. It's so much easier with plastic.

Driving
Oh how I long for a drive on the open, winding road with my music way up loud and the window rolled down - in my green Nissan Sentra - best little car ever.
We drove up and over mountains to Gisbourne and hugged the coastal road to Whakatane.
Even just a drive to the supermarket for bread. One day we will meet again.

Stubbies (shorts not beer)
Nothing beats a late summer afternoon lazying around the house in a pair of shorts - stubbies to be precise.
I don't mean the sort that let it all hang out - just short and fun. 
I think my love of this iconic clothing item is genetic - they are my dad's outfit of choice from summer to winter in the garden or going for a walk.
I have a feeling they might be a little too relaxed for a London summer - I may have to hide them until I return to the southern hemisphere.

Manners
The English may have invented them, but plenty of folk in London seem to have forgotten them. People actually saying sorry when they smash into you, or excuse me when they want you to move - what a wonderful world!

A proper rain storm
Rain! You call that rain! While often grey and overcast, it doesn't rain a lot in London and when it does it's more of a constant light drizzle.
What I need is a giant Auckland downpour - so loud you have to turn up the tv and so dense you have to pull over to the side of the road. Big fat rain drop that soak you to the bone in seconds.

And of course there are Peanut Slabs, Healtheries tea, St Piers Sushi, Nice & Natural peanut bars, proper fish n chips, pants not meaning undies, places with no other people around, sun at Christmas and smiley faces!