Sunday, 31 October 2010

Fashion - This Year's Fall/Winter Collection

Avoiding Homework - check.
Facebook Being Boring - check.
Nothing on TV-  check.

So what is there now? In this, dull, tedious Sunday afternoon?

That's right.


I am loving this Fall/Winter collection at the moment with its hint of vintage, masculinity and that hybrid of tailoring and miss-match. The colours this season are fab too; shades of camel, dark green and muddy brown. And of course, you'd be lost without a pair of army boots, loafers or brogues this winter - this new style in particular is what I love; those drops of 1930s male fashion now reinvented 70 years later to the 'modern woman'. Lovely jubbly.

Denim has been reawakened this year, from early this spring, to now in f/w. This resurrection reminds me of some of the jackets I used to wear growing up in the 90s - and I gotta be honest, they weren't that great. The modern take on denim is muchhh better - the tailored structure jeans with edgy blazers or loose jumpers, to ripped skirts and baggy tees.

Aviator Jackets - or how I dubbed it, the "Amelia Earhart" look. (I mentioned this to my mum a week ago, to which she replied, "Amelia who? Is that a new designer?" Honestly). It's true though - dress the jacket with a pair chinos, furry pixie boots and a pair of pre WW2 flying goggles, and you'd look just like her.

Looking back at last year’s f/w collection - I visited Clothes Show Live in Birmingham with my school, and I have some pretty cool photos - the leap is quite big. Last year it seemed to be long cardigans and massive woolly scarves, and now it's all about men's shoes and army jackets. (If I showed you a pair of army-boot-turned-heels last year, you would definitely have gone, "Woah, that's weeiirrddd").

So, as it were, I was avoiding work as usual, and doing some online clothes-shopping (or wishing more like). With my budget, Topshop is already a push - but where did I end up looking? Jimmy Choo, Roberto Cavilli and Kurt Geiger. Good start. I even went on the Herm├Ęs website, and when I clicked on "online boutique", the page refused to load - it was like it could SENSE my empty pockets. (Probably for the best, I found a bracelet on there awhile ago at the same price as a brand new car). And it was this rather fantasy-like shopping that lead me to this wonderful pair of shoes and clutch! (below)

Now, I don't usually go for leopard (which is so in, all of a sudden), but these paired with a classic LBD, and a Jimmy Choo clutch - how good would that look?
Pretty finneeee I think.

(Anyone want to buy them for me?)


 Why it's Jimmy Choo of course! (£275)

Isn't it pretty? (Kurt Geiger - £70)





(No copyright intended! I do not own any of these images).

Friday, 29 October 2010

New Book, New Adventure - "Distant Hours" By Kate Morton

So, I love to read, and the other day I ordered a new book - "Distant Hours" - By Kate Morton.

Now, I may be a bookworm, but I still haven't finished it thhhaattt quickly - I'm only about  a third through it. Even so, I have to admit, it's ffaab.

The story revolves around the secretive "Blythe" family, and in particular, three sisters. It's set in the mysterious location of Milderhurst Castle, in which the family live in. The novel is narrated through perspectives that switch, mainly changing from the 1990s as "present day" and WW2.

I love period dramas and novels which circles around family secrets, so this book is perfect for me, and anyone else who enjoys this genre. Kate Morton is also one of my favourite authors - I literally jumped off the sofa when I saw WHSmiths advertise her new book!- and this new addition is just as good as her previous stories.

What I love most about her, and in this novel too, is her remarkable talent and attention to detail; her descriptions of the setting, characters and emotion literally transports you into the story. It feels like you can experience all the textures, and this multi-sensory technique is really effective; you can practically smell the fire, and touch the silk dresses, and this skill still surprises me. Her use of enigmas and suspense is also fascinating, and makes the book a hard one to put down.

This book, and Morton's previous novels, oddly makes me feel nostalgic - I miss some of that old fashioned secrecy. Now it's all CSI and Bones, which I like too, but they lack that vintage mysteriousness. Growing up in WW2 and around that era is such a huge difference to life now, and -because I'm weird - part of me would love to experience the mystery of that era. Now, don't get me wrong, living during WW2 was obviously one of hardest things anyone could go through, but something about that period of time, and also the late 20th Century, that makes me long for some of that forgotten mystery that seems to surround it.

Hmm, I think I've been watching too much Poirot and Miss Marple. (Yes, I watch those programmes ok! Even though they are aimed at an ollldderrrrrr audience - they're just so intriguing!).

Wow, I sound like a right geek.

Despite only being a third through the book, I've already found a quote I love, and I think it would be a nice way to end this rather swotty-boffy-geeky blog entry:

"Before her eyes, he changes. She sees through the layers of mud, through the generations of darkness and rage and sorrow, to the human face beneath. A young man's face. A forgotten face. A face of such longing and sadness and beauty; she reaches, unthinking, to unlock the window. To bring him in from the rain".

(Kate Morton's official site -

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Confessions of a Learner Driver...

*oh, one sec, just split tea over the keyboard, ugh*

So, I've just arrived home from my 8th (I think?) driving lesson. Now, when I was younger -oh ok, around 2 months ago before I started to learn- I used to think that driving looked...not easy, but definitely easIER. I mean, I always gathered that the gears would be a bit confusing, but I didn't take into account that horriibbblleeee clutch. Or the amount of times you have to check your mirrors. Or all the road signs. Or white van drivers. (I could bore you with more, but I won't).

The one thing I totally forgot to think about was the "Learner Driver Treatment." I mean, you'd think people would ease off a bit if they saw a learner driver stall, or roll back? I mean, you wouldn't laugh at a kid who fell of a bike, would you? (Well, I bloody well hope not).
I was wrong, oh so wrong. I think when all drivers SEE a Learner Driver they either think "Oh great. It's going to take longer to get to work now" - which I can understand-  but the worse one is the Arrogant Factor.
"Oh bahahaha, I passed my test years/months/weeks/hours ago, I'm way better than that loser. Better stick the front of my car up their arse". Cheers. Cheers for that guys. As if we weren't thinking about enough.

I am lucky that I have a great instructor though. He doesn't get angry, or disappointed, or impatient at all. If anything, it's me that gets annoyed at myself. ESPECIALLY when I stall. Or do something stupid - which often occurs.
Like this lesson, I seemed to have the brain capacity of a 5 year-old:
"Ok, so we're just going to turn right at the next road, so check your mirrors and indicate right".
"Um, Nicola, that's left. We're going RIGHT".

I know. In my defence, it was 8am and my brain was still waking up. Shush.

Another fabulous thing that I did twice today was stall. Both of which had about 100 cars waiting behind me. Lovely. Ironically, the reason I stall is because I rush to make sure that I don't annoy everyone behind me. My instructor always tells me to take my time, and not to worry, but its kinda hard at times. Today, when I stalled at a set of traffic lights, I could practically HEAR everyone groan like, "urrrggghhh, god ‘sake, now Jackie/Lisa/Bob is gonna be pissed off at me for being late at that meeting/launch/deadline". (I took three seconds to move after the stall ok?!). Everyone seems to give you evils too. *sigh*

One thing I love about driving is 5th gear. Vrrrrrummm - the sound is pretty cool. I'm still a bit cautious about driving anywhere over 60mph on a dual carriage way, but gimme time.

I also love how my instructor waves at any other learner driver that comes near us. It's like they have some sort of telepathic connection, "Hi Peter!" "Hi Steve" "How's the wife?" "She's good thanks!" "Bathroom decorating done yet?" "Almost, give it a week!"....(and then my instructor is usually cut off due something stupid I've done on my behalf, like freak out when a bird won't MOVE out of the road - they like the adrenaline rush, I think, those darn daredevil pidgins).

Reversing is a weird one. I've done the "turn in the road" manoeuvre (previously called a 3 point turn), and the reversing part was a bit daunting at first. For a start, moving backwards was like, "AH, I'm going to hit something - please don't be a person, not a person". Being new the whole thing like me, it seems hard to actually SEE out the back of the car, and the curb.
"Ok, don't hit the curb Nicola, go slowwwllyyy".
I didn't hit the curb, but with amount of pressure I put on the brake pedal, I'm surprised my instructor didn't feel nauseous.

Despite all this, I quite like driving. It's a fun challenge, and of course, a vital skill nowadays. I think what most daunting is the amount of responsibility that comes with it, but also the freeeddoommm. No-more parent taxi service, WOO.

I'll be the female version of Lewis Hamilton soon. (Or not, but whatever).



Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Work Avoidance: Symptom One - Facebook Addiction

Here I am on my half-term with a bunch of homework to do, and yet what is always on my screen? Sure enough, it's Facebook. And it's not like I'm even talking to anyone on there, or that I'm waiting for an important email - I'm literally just staring at the home page, and clicking refresh every 5 minutes incase someone posts, "Just ate some toast, yum".

"Why?" I can hear you saying. Why do I waste my time looking at the facebook home page, when I know that hardly any decent posts appear at 11am.

I think most people would answer with the classic, "work avoidance". It's true though - why else would I keep clicking that refresh button? Oh yeah, so I can avoid that bloody 5,000 word project I should start. But surely watching a film would be the same idea? Or reading a book? I mean, you avoid work AND actually get something out of it.

I think what makes Facebook so addictive is the fact that it circles around, well, ourselves.("You're so vain, wah, wah"). But it's this constructed presentation of yourself. We all choose that display picture which makes us look thin and our hair look shiny. We usually post things like, "Had a great time at Jack's party", just so that everyone out there knows that we have a social life, (and that, ironically, we're not just staring at facebook all day).

Weird isn't it? Another good one is Facebook stalking, a action that can easily waste 40 minutes. Now, don't worry, I'm not talking about ACTUAL creepy-psychopathic stalkers, I mean the "normal-cause-we-all-do-it" stalk -(you've done it, just admit it). Everyone checks their ex's page right? ("He's gone shopping?! He HATED shopping when he was dating me! What a bitch"). Most of us even check our FRIEND'S pages if they're dating someone, just so that we know whether their relationship is "Facebook Official" - it's almost like signing a marriage contract nowadays. ("Omg, Amy and Tom are dating!" "But's it's not Facebook Official?" "Oh, well, might just be a rumour then?")
>>> So creating an html link to another person's page is now a signifier of true love?

Oh dear oh dear. Where are the good ol' days, eh? Hmm.

One relationship status that's always a pain in the arse is the "Amy is in a complicated relationship with Tom". Sometimes, I don't really see why some people would want everyone to know problems going on in their private life? Changing a status like that is clearly asking for gossip - "Omg, it's now complicated! Think Tom cheated? Saw him with Jess the at that party...blahBLAHBLAH".
(Ok, ok, I love a good gossip too, but still).


This world of Facebook is a funny one. (I mean, here I am STILL avoiding homework by blogging about it?! Honestly). But, despite all that relationship stuuff, it's always a fab way to keep in contact with those relatives in America, and seeing what Lady Gaga is up to. (Well, as I said, it's helpful).

What makes me wonder is how will it grow? When my four-year-old niece is 17 what will she be using? Facebook 3D in which you can literally SEE your friends walking around out of the laptop? Or maybe "teleportbook" - in just one click you can meet your friend in Starbucks, by clicking "Meet Up" on their page? (Ok,ok, that's abit far fetched, but give it hundred years or so).

Watch this space.

(Yeah, I've finished my blog, and what am I about to go and do? CHECK MY FACEBOOK OF COURSE).


--they should sell Facebook patches to get rid of this addiction-


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

-Insert Inspiration Here-

The article that gave me some useful ideas!
 So, I’ve decided to start a scrap book. This week seems to be one of new starts – first this blog, now a scrapbook. I think I’m just one step away from becoming a creative genius. Or not.

Ironically, what got me onto this scrapbook idea was reading an article about Inspiration, something that we all need.  The article was in the September issue of “Red” magazine, and was titled, “CUT & PASTE YOUR PERFECT LIFE”. It was about a woman, who heavily pregnant, needed some motivation, and ended up creating a mood board, cutting out images from magazines and sticking them together to see how they reflected her.

Her first mood board turned out to be what everyone (c'mon, admit it) dreams of:

-          A mansion the size of a small country
-          A car worth the price of a small country
-          Designer clothes and jewellery that would bankrupt most families.

The error :

She had created a fantasy wish-list, (a page of overpriced clothes, materialistic values and houses that are honestly just TOO bloody big), rather than anything that reflected her. So when she started again, she went with her instinct – how many of us do that? No matter how quirky, random, or weird it was, she followed it.

This idea of instincts inspired me to create my very own scrapbook of randomness and see what I find. I still have to get hold a scrapbook – Ok, I’m being a bit lazy, but the High street is such a long walk – but I have begun following my instincts. With a pen in hand, I flicked through the pile of magazines, and circled whatever I was drawn to – an image of a lady walking over buildings, an image of Audrey Hepburn, an article about overpriced cupcakes.

None of it made sense, and that’s what I loved – it reflected parts of me. A bit like this blog – it’s just a bunch of my waffling again, but maybe some of this waffling will inspire people out there? Truth is, I never plan out my blogs, or have a specific idea. I just get a blank document and write – wherever my instincts lead to (merhmerh, blahblah wkihflksdjhoehdfsmcpf).

Good thing or bad thing?

You decide.


" 1 2 3, testing, testing..."

Starting a blog seems...oddly, grown up?
I definitely didn't realise it would this simple to create one -  using google of course, typing in some details, and bam! I can now share all my thoughts, opinions, stories with...everyone.
Seems quite daunting if I must admit. I'm used to posting things on Facebook or Myspace, but then I know the people who will read those things. Here, anyone can read it - people who I've never met - and to me, it's quite an odd, even a little bit surreal.
So here I am on my very first blog, writing about...well, blogs. Sounds pointless I know (who's going to want to read this?!), but the fact I'm even blogging stems from just that - the media, and technology. I've always been interested in the media, and how we are now becoming more and more the producers, rather than just the consumers, and also how it has such a huge effect on us all.
Anyway, I don't want to blag on about how I love the media, I read 50 newspapers a week, and that I memorise every single Political scandal that is published a month (man, that would be a lot) - because, I don't, and I don't want to pretend that I am this world-news genius (although, I may have to in my University interviews, argh).  If I'm honest, I tend to flick through the Guardian with an oh-look-how-intellectual-I-am face, when infact I'm reading the TV Guide to make sure I don't miss out on this week's X Factor.
---Just an insight to me really, ha---
So that was a vague introduction into the world of Nicola Webb -  not very interesting is it? All you need to know is that I love to write, and waffle on about things, and that I have a knack of writing alot about nothing. Which can be weirdly interesting.
I'm going to shut up now.
The End (of my first ever blog! Still finding this weird...)