Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

h1

summer kick.

July 5, 2012

When I was little, summer was my least favourite season of the year – and this is despite 8-week long summer holidays! There were two main reasons for this – 1) I had a major phobia of wasps. Nowadays I still don’t like them, but I have learned to control my fear; back then however, I used to go crazy if they even came near me. It got to the point where I would never open my bedroom window, even in summer; I was afraid that if I did, the wasps would come in. I went through a phase of sleeping with a can of bug spray within arm’s reach. At about the age of 11, one of my worst nightmares came true – I would wake up every morning to find a handful of dead / dying wasps on my floor and even lying on my clothes (which I would hang up on the rocking chair in the corner). It was traumatic (eventually the summer ended and the wasp deluge with it), but in a way it helped me, because it forced me to deal with my fear.

2) The heat, and the sweating. In the winter, you can always wrap up warm, and there are few things that are more lovely than snuggling up in front of the fire with a blanket. However, in the summer, when it’s stifling, it feels like there’s nothing you can do to combat the oppressive heat.  As I’ve grown older, I have learned how to deal with sweating (mostly – see my post on how to dress for a British summer) and I have grown out of the really bad phases I used to have. During the year that I lived in Spain, I realised that it wasn’t the heat that I hated, but the humidity that comes with it (or even comes alone) in England. Living in Spain, I developed a healthy, natural tan, and although the temperatures would rise up to 30 degrees and beyond, it was a dry heat so it was totally comfortable.

Just as I learned to conquer my fear of wasps, I learned to love the summer. I love the sunshine and the way that it can kickstart a day and give one an optimistic outlook on life. I love the freedom that a nice day gives you – it opens up your opportunities to go out and about, wherever you please. I love that there’s less traffic on the roads, and so getting out and about is easier and more pleasant. My musical tastes become bouncier, more exuberant and more worldly in the summer. I love going out for a leisurely walk through the park – even simple, unplanned or mundane trips can become pleasant experiences. The fact that I can do this while getting a tan is icing on the cake!

Just as our clothing gets lighter and often less restrictive, so does my taste in fragrance. In the winter I like to wear fragrances that give me a sense of comfort, sophistication and warmth – they tend to be heavier, a little spicier and more opaque. However, although I may still wear this kind of fragrance on a summer evening, generally my summer perfume choices involve something a bit more exuberant – bold fruity combinations, floral bouquets with a splash of green freshness, and sweet scents. Although I am a believer that fragrance has no gender, I tend to wear more women’s fragrances in summer as they are genuinely fresher, sweeter and freer than decent men’s fragrances (obviously this is a massive generalisation and I also own exceptions to this rule; but I’m not a fan of men’s “fresh”/”cool”/”sport” fragrances, and ozonic perfumes bore me). Just as in fragrance, I change what I drink to reflect more fruits – I always love orange juice all day every day, but in summer I mix it up more with pineapple juice, mixed fruits and my new favourite: coconut water. Although it was initially an acquired taste, the freshness and hint of Caribbean sensuality makes me feel healthy, happy and sunny. This is my summer kick – I just wanted to share a little bit of my seasonal happiness and feelings of freedom with you all 🙂

h1

shopaholic.

February 13, 2010

“She got a Fendi fetish / She got a shopping problem
That girl’s a shopaholic / She only mess with ballers
She got a Gucci fetish / She got a Louis problem
She got a shopping problem / That girl’s a shopaholic”

— “Shopaholic”, Nicki Minaj f/ Gucci Mane.

Listening to the above song from Nicki Minaj’s stellar Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape, I can’t help but relate.  I have never been very good at resisting shops, but today I went into Guess with Toby and promptly dropped £136 on a bag (it matches my wallet! And I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new bag) and a hoodie (it was in the sale, the last one and my size.  Therefore, it was destiny and there was nothing I could do but fulfil it).  Note that I have my excuses rationale ready 😉 I felt a little guilty because Toby has a little bit of cashflow difficulty, and I didn’t work last week when I went to get my new tattoo done (which cost £100 in itself!).  I think I might have to take on some extra shifts at the hospital.  I am not one to flash cash, especially when that cash comes largely from funding to do my course, and I am also spending a significant amount of money on getting my driving licence (wish me luck for my theory test on Tuesday morning!), which is a pretty necessary measure.  I’ve never been rich.  But sometimes the allure of beautiful designer things is just too much to resist.

I spoke in a recent entry about the fact that I wasn’t always like this.  Designer names used to be something out of reach, irrelevant.  I was younger, those were things that would come in time.  Well, I’m not younger anymore; that time is now. Life is too short to be wanting forever; I don’t spend crazy amounts on irrelevant things, so why shouldn’t I treat myself?  Generally, I am a shopaholic because I love spending money, be it on myself or on other people, and I’m just as happy to buy other people things because I find the look on their faces when they open a well-chosen gift something to treasure; that’s my favourite part of holidays like Christmas.  But sometimes I feel a little guilty because perhaps I should be a little more responsible with money – you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.  I should appreciate more the plight of people who might never be able to have even one beautiful thing in their life.

I think about my grandmother when I have crises of confidence like this.  She’s actually quite wealthy, but she’s never been one to treat herself; she would much rather give everything she has to other people.  She will be  77 years old next month, and in April it will be 2 years since my grandfather died.  I love her to pieces, but it’s hard to get through to her the philosophy that she’s earned the right to spend a little on herself and treat herself to a nice little something every now and then.  Hell, I’m 24 and I’m feeling that life is too short! But since she’s never bought herself designer things, precious jewellery, something special, preferring instead to shop at pound stores and discounters (even though their wares often fall apart in a matter of weeks, necessitating a repeat purchase and costing you more in the long run – I’m a believer that generally you get what you pay for, and if you don’t then you take it back and you take your money elsewhere).  I wish that she would recognise that she is worth a little bit of luxury.  I think that she is a good person; I think that I am at the heart of it a good person, and a good person doesn’t declare themselves all the time.  But nor should a good person go totally unsung or unrecognised.  That’s why I love to treat my friends, my family, those close to me – they are good people and they deserve a little luxury.  The same goes for myself.  And I wouldn’t spend it if I really couldn’t afford it, so why should I feel bad about it?  The only thing I hate is to be spending like this around people who honestly can’t afford it, because the last thing I am is a snob.  After all, this ability to buy something nice is fairly new to me – I wasn’t always like this, and I’ll never forget that there was a time (and there might be a time again soon – who knows?) when I couldn’t afford it myself.  I know what it’s like to have to really budget, and I truly hope that nobody close to me thinks that I’m buying things just for the name.  Shopping is about achieving the person I always aimed to be, about externally realising the man I am inside.  I hope that nobody close to me ever thinks that I don’t appreciate what I have, or that I take for granted my current finances.  Because I do, and I don’t (respectively).  And as for what the rest of the world thinks, I couldn’t give a fuck.

I have found my own sense of style, and a look in which I feel comfortable.  Unfortunately, that look is expensive 😛 (What do you expect? I have Italian blood 😉 ) Sometimes I have to ask Toby / Hannah / Nick / Davina / Deena / Karina to drag or steer me away from certain shops, because I know that I shouldn’t spend the money – it’s not necessary.  But from time to time, I give in to the devil on my right shoulder and buy myself something nice because I want it, I need it, I earned it.  Maybe I’m a little bit devilish, maybe I’m a shopaholic.  But if so, that’s who I am and on the whole, I like it 😉

h1

things i used to do.

July 4, 2009

This month of not having a job has reminded me, in a way, of how my summer holidays used to be when I was a child at school.  The freedom to do what I wanted, spending lots of time with my nan, and also getting very very bored has brought me back a few years.  In fact, when I was complaining about my boredom to a friend this morning, his words in reply were “you sound like a little child!”  (I responded “Shut up.”  I have a sense of humour!) But boredom affects us all.  And I don’t need to write about boredom, because to be honest this blog is designed (in part) to counteract that!

So after being bored until lunchtime, I watched the Crystal Maze (a programme I used to watch when I was a kid; I remember it was a treat to be allowed to stay up and watch this “late-night” television!) and then decided to go to Starbucks, read some book (I’m currently reading The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis – it’s pretty good, and coincidentally a lot of the characters’ malaise stems from the boredom of “having it all”, a boredom I have yet to experience for myself!) and have some thinking time to myself.  And as I wrote memos in my phone of possible topics for discussion (this was third or fourth down the list, FYI… the others will appear soon, stay tuned!), it occurred to me…

This morning when I wrote a note for my mother, who was at work, that a friend of hers had called, I felt the strange sensation of a pencil in my hand as I jotted the details of the conversation on the post-it.  I say “strange” because it is very rare these days for me to actually pick up a pen or a pencil and physically write something.  I’m forever attached to my laptop, unless I’m out of the house in which case I bought my Prada II phone for the very fact that I have the internet, I have a QWERTY keyboard and I can twitter and msn and browse the net and drop texts in seconds, without being near my comp or having to lug it around.  It is on this phone that I write memos of song lyrics and hooks that occur to me, topics to talk about on this blog, and items I see when I’m shopping and want to research online more fully when I get home. But I don’t really write things anymore!  A year on from university, and having done my finals where I had to become swift with the pen (having typed the vast majority of my essays through the course on the computer, of course), I now don’t need to pick up a pen very often.  At work, it was only to jot the names of fragrances on blotters, or to fill out the figures in various books.  Writing a note at the end of the day detailing tasks completed and to complete became a laborious chore because, having grown accustomed to typing things in a flash on the computer, I have a lot to say and writing it in the old-fashioned way takes more time than I usually allot.  So in short, writing things down is an unusual sensation.

Tonight, after a lovely dinner of steak, salad and garlic bread (mmm) I sat at the piano and made up a tune for about 10 minutes.  I had piano lessons from age 5 to 11, but I’ve always kept up my skills and I consider myself a fairly accomplished pianist, though I now play sporadically.  When I finished, my mother asked me what I had played, and I responded that I had just made it up as I went along.  She was very impressed and said, would I be able to replicate it?  I said no, but I could quite easily incorporate bits of it into another spur of the moment composition.  She said “You need to write it down!”  Let alone the fact that it takes ages (for me, at least) to write out music, I would never be bothered to do that and I don’t have the memory span; I would have to record it first so I had a concrete copy to work with.  Recording it was the first thought that entered my head, but 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the facility to do that!  15 years ago, we didn’t have the internet at home; 10 years ago, I didn’t have a mobile phone.  Life changes, technology advances and the old skills get left behind in the dust.  That’s evolution, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but writing things on a post-it and playing a piece on the piano brought me back nostalgic feelings, just as does reading books for pleasure (an idea all but destroyed after 4 years of a literature-centric languages degree), which is something I am trying to get back into, reigniting my voracious appetite for books that I had as a child and teenager (except now I like to think that the books are better 😉 ).  So today I was able to remark upon how far I have come as a person, how our norms have changed and we expect things much more instantly, and how the old days weren’t so bad if we just tap into our oft-neglected reserves of patience.