Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Video fail!

I just spent the last 20 minutes filming the vlog for my Christmas book loot.

Unfortunately it wasn't until I played it back that I realised my webcam is so old and decrepit that the video can't keep up with the sound. :( Fail.

Fortunately I do have a normal camcorder and will proceed to start all over again as soon as I get an energy boost.

Right now, I look like this:

Normally, a sound and picture sync wouldn't bother me too much but then I realised who my audience are. The majority of you guys, my beautiful readers, are American. My father and I recently took a trip to Liverpool, and even those guys had to ask us to repeat what we were saying.

The thing about Welsh-accented people is we speak wayyyyyyy too fast without actually realising it. Hence why my webcam video probably can't keep up with the sound! :P

But, yeah, if there was a chance that any of you guys had a hard time keeping up with my accent, at least you could try reading my lips. With this video, there's no chance. :P

Ah, well.

I'll try again in a bit.

Not to waste a post, I'm going to show you some images of what I've been up to lately (during my absence):

The snow has finally began to melt by me.

The UK seemed to have gone batshit crazy when we were hit by snowstorms just before Christmas. No-one here knows how to react to the stuff because we don't usually get it until March. And even then it never sticks.

This time there were plane/train cancellations, people being stuck on the motorways in cars for 16 hours, all that kind of stuff. Yikes! I just wanted to throw snowballs! :P

As I mentioned, I went to Liverpool with my dad. Liverpool always holds a special place in my heart as it's where my grandfather and his family come from. I was also born near there in a city called Chester.

My dad took me up there to Anfield, Liverpool's football ground, to watch a match. :D

We lost. :-(

But it was still an experience of a lifetime. Something I'll definitely do again. Oh, yeah, and it was freezing! I took a bottle of water in with me. By half-time the water was colder than when I'd bought it!

Last bit of 'news'? New piercing!

The top one. It hurt like fudge! (See how I'm trying to curb my swearing? ;-) ) It hurt worse than my tattoo. But I wonder whether that's because it's been a few years since I had some 'needlework'. I got my three other ear piercings while still in school, and my tattoo when I was 18. It's been a while.

What do you think? :)  

Sunday, 27 December 2009

RIP Borders :'-(

Ye will be severely missed. Especially now that the post-Christmas sales are on and I'd love to spend all my Christmas money on you.

Those of you not from the UK and haven't heard the news, all Borders shops across Britain were closed last week after the company went bust.

It was so strange walking past the Cardiff branch last week on my way to work.

Every day the posters on the windows screamed something new: "6 DAYS LEFT! UP TO 30% OFF!" "4 DAYS LEFT! 50% OFF!" "LAST DAY! 90% OFF! ALL FURNITURE FOR SALE!"

That's right. Even the shelves, chairs, and tables were being carted out by customers.

I popped in there one day last week to have a quick look around. It was manic! Everyone had gone nuts and all the books, DVDs, and CDs were in complete disarray.

Perhaps worst of all was the staff. They didn't bother to tidy or organise anything. Why should they?

I asked one staff member where the religion section was. He didn't even look at me. Just said, in a disinterested tone, "Should be upstairs if there's anything left."

I asked two boys at the till what would happen to them once the shop closed down. One said bitterly, "Nothing. We're on the dole for Christmas." The other attempted a light-hearted joke by saying, "I'm going to sell all my stuff and join a cult."

As sad as I am about not being able to go into my favourite place to buy books at bargain prices, I really do feel for the Borders staff. No-one deserves to lose their job on the 23rd December.

Especially when (having had personal experience with this) all jobs that start at the beginning of January would have already been interviewed for in late November/early December.

I hope they're okay and have friends and families there for them.

Months ago, Gordon Brown said the recession was officially over. What a joke.


Review: Glasshopper by Isabel Ashdown

Title: Glasshopper

Author: Isabel Ashdown

Year: 2009

Rating: 4/5

Plot: Portsmouth, 1984. Thirteen-year-old Jake's world is unravelling as his father and older brother leave home, and his mother plunges into alcoholic freefall.

Despite his turbulent home life, Jake is an irrepressible teenager and his troubled mother is not the only thing on his mind: there's the hi-fi he's saving up for, his growing passion for Greek mythology (and his pretty Classics teacher), and the anticipation of brief visits to see his dad. When his parents reconcile, life finally seems to be looking up. Their first family holiday, announced over scampi and chips in the Royal Oak, promises to be the icing on the cake - until long-unspoken family secrets begin to surface.

Review: Amongst the wave of new British writers, comes the touching debut of Isabel Ashdown. 'Glasshopper' is the story of a mother ... (click here for more)  

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry New Year Mas

'Tis nearing the end of 2009 and, after a predictably rushed and event-filled twelve months, we're preparing ourselves for the second decade of the millenium.

Promises of more blog posting for you beauties haven't quite been filled ... but I'm working on it.

In fact, I'm planning two book-related video logs to be uploaded in the coming week - One will be about the books I recieved for Christmas; the other will be on my 50 book challenge.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrated it. And Happy Chanukah to those who recently celebrated that too.

A big Happy Holidays to those of you who have become some great internet friends (you know who you are).

Rewatched Sweeney Todd today - my little brother bought the DVD for me for Christmas. I forgot how much I really do love that film.

And I'm currently reading Nightlight: a parody.

Here's a snippet from page 76 that literally made me laugh out loud:

"Besides, isn't it a little soon to cut yourself off from the rest of your peers, depending on a boyfriend to satisfy your social needs as opposed to making friends? Imagine what would happen if something forced that boy to leave! I'm imagining pages and pages would happen - with nothing but nothing but the names of the month on them."


More to come soon . . .  

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Feeling nostalgic

Book and film reviews to come, I swear. I have them stacked up and ready to post.

Until then I'm gathering my ideas together for Christmas presents (yup, Christmas shopping starts Thursday - clearly I'm very responsible) and concentrating on starting one of my new year's resolutions: losing weight! For years I've been going on and on about losing weight but never actually done anything about it.

For some reason I feel incredibly motivated now and feel as though this is something I can do. I'm 5'7.5" and my weight currently fluctuates between 12.5-13 stone (175-182 lbs). Ideally, this time next year I'd like to have lost at least 2 and a half stone (35 lbs) but, more importantly, be fit and healthy. I'm so unfit, it's almost unreal. I can't even walk fast without getting out of breath - I think that has a lot to do with my Asthma. For years I blamed not being able to do a lot of exercise on being Asthmatic.

That's a load of Bull. There are dozens of professional athletes who suffer from Asthma. In fact, getting healthy and fit and doing regular exercise might help my breathing difficulties.

I've cut out all the crap (chocolates, biscuits, crisps, cakes, etc.) and am starting myself on a slow and steady exercise routine which will gradually get more and more vigourous as time goes on. More than anything, I'd like to tone up my body. Even the thinnest parts of my body aren't tight from lack of proper exercise from the past 7-8 years.

So, yeah. Wish me luck. :)

Tonight I've been in a nostalgic mood and listening to some old Robbie Williams tracks.

Songs like Let Me Entertain You, Let Love Be Your Energy, and Rock DJ really take me back. No matter how old the man gets, Robbie will always be sex on legs.

While Millenium was his first solo number one, Let Me Entertain You was what I remember being played on the radio over and over and over and over when I was a child.

Watch the video below - Go on, you know you want to. ;-)

(Additional Note: I suddenly realised that I described Robbie as sex on legs but posted one of his weirdest videos. ... And it was also filmed at a time when his drug addiction was at its worst. Ermm ... yeah. He's still damn sexy - watch any other video than that and you'll see what I mean.)