Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Two Thousand and Thirteen


It looks so weird seeing that.

Never mind actually writing it or hearing it being said aloud.

Although I've got some pretty big plans for me and the Lurch this year, I've got to admit that I'm more than a teeny bit frustrated that we've made it to the magical 2013 without hover boards, flying cars or time machines. Can't help feeling that if I'd grown up with a scientific mind or wanting to be an engineer, I'd have devoted my entire career to making those things happen. Especially given that I grew up with films like Back to the Future!

So here I am, with just a laptop and no teleporter, looking back at 2012 with fondness and a heavy heart and looking forward towards what should be an incredibly exciting year.

And now it's time for me to be incredibly indulgent and nostalgic and share some of my favourite photos of the year that's just left us...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

another year over, a new one just begun

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, we're in a new year. The Mayans were wrong, the Olympic doubters were wrong, and I suddenly wasn't considered an absolute freak for loving my home town so much. Just like this summer, London did me proud last night. Due to a combination of exhaustion and some seasonal sickness, I didn't make it out for any of the many, many celebrations taking place across London last night. But I did force myself awake until  midnight to see the amazing firework display from the London Eye. Even though I didn't manage to replicate the slightly frost bitten fingers of last year, my eyes fell open in sheer awe. I suppose it helps that I could hear the actual fireworks from my ridiculously comfortable bed.

2012 was really good to me. Despite some of the toughest moments of my life so far, I managed to have a good year overall. Partly because:

  • I finished my novel!
  • I turned 21
  • Started my degree (which I may sometimes forget I'm actually doing. Ooops.)
  • I danced and sang whenever I felt like it.
  • I successfully completed my first term of Star Track (love my co-creators and agents and the ever wonderful Eugenie and Kazvare)
  • New friends appeared into my life magically...
  • ...and old friends stayed firmly put.
  • Me and Valentine celebrated two successful years together (god, it feels like a lifetime)
  • I discovered frozen yoghurt. Oh sweetness, I love you.
In 2013 I will...
  • Muster up the confidence to show someone my awful novel.
  • Start (and finish) novels two and three.
  • Attempt to emulate my mum's amazing cooking.
  • Go on beautiful holidays.
  • Keep the Peter Pan complex.
  • Take dance classes again. I've been dreaming of being back en pointe.
  • Finally teach Valentine the perfect arabesque form.
2013, I'm ready.

Oh London, you are so pretty
I've tried to find the proper photo credits but have been stumped so far. As soon as I locate the name of the photographer/photo source, I will give the correct credit.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Ed's Diner

The week between Christmas and New Year's always seems to drag on a bit for me. The months of build up seem to fizzle out and, suddenly, everyone's really quite sad. Desperate to hold on to the festive feeling, I dragged Valentine to the newest eating destination in our local shopping centre, Ed's Diner.

Now, first thing's first: Ed's Diner sits on the spot that was formerly occupied by my beloved Pizza Hut. As we walked up the steps of the centre and towards the doors, I could hear the walls taunting me with a quiet echo: "You're cheating on Pizza Hut!" I admit it - I was distraught. I very nearly cried when Pizza Hut closed. I love me some pizza.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the place looks amazing. It's decked out in full Americana decor, and I'm sure we all know by now how obsessed I am with the great ol' US of A. The mini jukeboxes on the table were a delightful addition and the Elvis soundtrack filled my  heart with immeasurable joy.

They also had proper English mustard! Real, hot, spicy mustard is a must for me
Unfortunately, everything went downhill from there. The staff took ages to acknowledge us, gave us two Cokes when we had ordered two milkshakes, and spent a long time chatting to each other rather than taking anyone's orders. We settled on what we were going to have - for me, it's fairly simple. There's never much of a vegetarian choice available - and waited eagerly for our full plates of food. A burger and fries for each of us, with a side salad for me. We couldn't wait to tuck into the food that Ed's Diner prides itself on. Amazing food! they say. You'll never want to stop coming back! they inform us. Instead, we were given:

Two lonely burgers that, to be completely honest, didn't taste much better than anything on offer at McDonald's. Except this place cost more than triple what McDonald's does. I think it's safe to say we won't be going back. The hunt for London's best vegetarian/hamburger combo continues!

This is one very hungry and unhappy man!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

And so that was Christmas...

It seemed to go so quickly, didn't it? After months of build up (I swear the shops start their Christmas events earlier every year) Christmas came and went with barely a whisper.

We ate our weight in mince pies, roast potatoes and Pringles. We rocked around the Christmas tree. We swapped far too many presents. Overall, it was a huge success for the Whitear household.

Wherever you were and whatever you did, I hope you had an amazing time with your nearest and dearest. I've had so much fun this year, I can't wait to do it all over again in 2013.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's now that time when you can feel it in the air. You can see the sheer amazement in the eyes of children who walk past you. You can almost taste the dread, stress, exhaustion and worry of your fellow adults. But that little glint is still there. You know the one, right? The one that says "I may be 35 biologically, but every December, I have the mental capacity of a giddy five year old."

My family are ready to strangle me, if truth be told. I woke the household extremely early yesterday morning by ensuring that the magical tones of Mariah Carey were blasted at full volume and only my cats appeared to be impressed. As if that wasn't enough, I've discovered I have an incredibly annoying habit of plugging any awkward silences with a nice hearty, "you scumbag, you maggot..." before trailing off into the rest of the greatest Christmas song ever. The only thing breaking my spirits right now is the fact that Winter Wonderland is obscenely expensive. Seriously, Westminster Council? Why?

Nine sleeps to go!!

ps: the majority of my readers are American. I've made no secret of my love for your country and enjoy and adore so many aspects of your culture. If my tweets or blog post offended anyone, I can only apologise for that. I understand the topic of gun control is something that many, many Americans feel very passionately about and, as someone who has friends and family in the States (and as a future resident of your country!) it is also a topic I am passionate about. We are all free to express our thoughts, feelings and opinions. I respect the views you wish to share, I only wish some of you could extend the same consideration towards me.

Friday, 14 December 2012


I spent most of today complaining about my migraine because, let's face it, migraines are icky. I buried my head underneath my pillow, turned off the lights, television, phone and laptop and slept away my misery. When I awoke a few hours ago, I felt a little bit refreshed, no longer having the flashes of blinding colour or the pounding sensation in my head. I switched on my phone, loaded up Twitter (as you do) and felt the good sensation that was rippling through my body slip away rapidly.

A few hours ago, the news broke that a shooting had occurred in a school in Connecticut. Painfully, it felt like an all too familiar scenario. I've lost count of the amount of times that I've switched on Twitter or had an email conversation with a friend in the US to discover a mass shooting in a place that should be safe. But this time is just so much worse. I felt numb. The shooting took place in an elementary (primary) school. These children are five years old. The horror I felt rose more and more as further details came in. The current death toll at the time of me writing this is 20 children and six adults. It's sickening and horrifying when any human life is extinguished but it feels so much worse when it's a child.

Unfortunately, us here in the UK have experienced a primary school shooting before. The Dunblane massacre happened in 1996, when I was far too young to know, understand or contemplate the events. Sixteen children and one adult lost their lives on that day. As a direct result, the United Kingdom government introduced tighter gun controls and legislation, which has thankfully ensured that we haven't witnessed another event at a school on that scale since. For reasons unknown to me - and to any sane individual - America never seems to have these conversations with themselves. After Columbine, Virgina Tech, Aurora, the whole world sat back and waited with bated breath for America to take a stand and protect their citizens. Instead, I was treated to this on Twitter this evening...

Now, excuse me if I'm being ignorant but I think I'm missing something that this particular Tweeter knows. Since when has the possession and use of a deadly weapon - a weapon that exists solely to inflict damage and to kill - been regarded as more important, special, or valuable than the safety and lives of children? I love America more than anything (well, except London. Because, y'know, London rules) and I've been dreaming of living there since childhood. Me and Valentine have discussed it at length over the past few months, picking out our ideal destinations and even drawing up lists of restaurants we want to eat at, places we want to visit and people we want to meet. But with the events in Newtown now a regular occurrence in the States, I just don't know how I can reasonably justify a move there. How can I convince myself to raise a family in a country where their safety is not appreciated or guaranteed? Even with the gang shootings that have swept across London over the past few years, and the riots we had last year, I would feel infinitely safer in the deepest, darkest corner of South London than I would in a seemingly ideal small town neighbourhood.

These beautiful children in Connecticut left their homes this morning full of Christmas and Hanukkah joy, excited to see their friends, learn their ABCs and play. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Twenty bright lights, future world leaders perhaps, who will never come home. Twenty families who must now face the holiday season without their incredible children. Twenty lives forcefully stopped before they could even begin. 

Why can't there be a clause in the United States Constitution that protects the basic sanctity of human life in America?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Even Londoners get the blues

Try as I might, I can't shake these winter blues. This weather is messing with my head (below freezing yet still not snow?) and the fact that it's now pitch black at 4pm (really?!!) doesn't exactly make for magical inspiration. 

It all started with an argument in Specsavers (I so shouldn't have gone there) where the woman insisted that they had given me an appointment to go and collect my obscenely prized glasses. Twenty minutes later, she conceded defeat when I pulled out every bit of Specsavers bedazzled bit of paper that I own. So far, so awful.

It then continued when a fully grown man coughed on me on a train. Seriously, were you never taught to cover your germ infested mouth whenever you feel the urge to cough? Disgusting.

Maybe it's because I'm so desperate for Christmas to hurry up and arrive. Maybe it's because a part of me can't wait for this year to end. I have such big plans for myself in 2013 (nothing major or terribly exciting, but big for me) and can't wait to see them come to life. Maybe it's because 2012 hasn't been the greatest of years for me. All I know is this... Boyfriend needs to bring me some McDonald's tonight otherwise I might just cry.

I've met so many dreadful people over the past few weeks. So much so that it's left me contemplating walking down to the train station and heading far, far away from London. 

I'm sure this is nothing that junk food, ice cream and an amazing book can't fix!

London! You're so lucky you're so pretty