Christmas presents, 2007

Today’s picture shows the haul under Mum and Dad’s tree on Christmas Eve, 2007. As a family we are very lucky and are able to give each other lots of nice things to open on Christmas morning. It’s a really special time and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Christmas presents, 2007

Today’s earworm playlist:

Traditional – ‘I Saw Three Ships’
Black – ‘Wonderful Life’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Traditional – ‘On Christmas Night All Christians Sing’

Christmas cat, 2005

Today’s picture features the wonderful and much-missed José, who was the feline love of my life. He was always able to unearth his own presents underneath the tree due to the unmistakeable* scent of the catnip contained within.

*to a cat, anyway.

Christmas cat, 2005

Today’s earworm playlist:

Pet Shop Boys – ‘Heart’
Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle On The Hill’
Carter USM – ‘Bloodsport For All’
Beyoncé and Jay-Z – ‘Crazy In Love’

A slightly mixed-up Wednesday

I didn’t get out for a run until nearly mid-afternoon today…

…as I wanted to get some work finished first. By the time I went out, it was actually really warm and sunny, and I regretted wearing leggings instead of shorts! The sun has disappeared again now though. Hopefully it’ll make a reappearance before too long.

Looking forward to settling down with my game coding again tonight.

Prom night, 2002
That awkward moment when you realise that prom night was eighteen years ago this month. Still glad I went for a flamenco dress rather than something that would date in pictures. The same can’t be said for the Olympus camera (already eight years old at that point) and Nokia 3310 that you can see in my hands!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Heaven 17 – ‘Let Me Go’
Chas & Dave and The Matchroom Mob – ‘Snooker Loopy’*
GRL – ‘Ugly Heart’

*RIP Willie Thorne, you absolute legend 😢

A more chilled-out Saturday

I ran to the supermarket today…

…and even having done the parkrun quiz at 9am, I was still able to get my run done really promptly and so had the whole afternoon for getting on with my text adventure game. It’s such an enjoyable project to be working on, and my latest installment is really starting to come together! I’ll be stretching my (rather weak) art muscles over the next few days in order to create some graphics for it.

I really hope I’ll be able to wake up nice and early tomorrow too, as I’ve felt so much better for it today!

Gran Canaria, 2000
Another holiday snap – this one’s from Gran Canaria, twenty years ago this month. I’d love to go back to the Canary Islands sometime, especially the more out-of-the-way islands.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tones & I – ‘Dance Monkey’
Mø – ‘Final Song’
Bill Withers – ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’*

*RIP Bill. This song has always been one of my favourites.

Open day

After this morning’s run…

…I spent the afternoon at the Newcastle University Postgraduate Open Day in order to find out about doing a Masters in creative writing. It was odd sitting in lecture halls and listening to talks. Other than the odd occasion when I’ve sat in on Geth’s evening lectures, I haven’t been in lecture halls since I graduated in 2008!

It was a really interesting afternoon though. I spoke to a few students who are currently doing the course, went on a tour of the facilities, and attended a couple of general talks on studying at Newcastle and funding sources. I went away with a huge amount of bumpf to read and a lot of things to look into over the next few days!

I then headed to ukulele class, which was as fab as ever. Really enjoying the songs we’re doing this term.

It’ll be another busy day tomorrow, as I need to catch up with day job work in between going to weigh-in and the gig that Geth and I are attending in the evening.

Tote bag
I also got a free tote bag to carry all my open day bumpf in. I don’t really need any more of these, but I always appreciate a nice goodie bag!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
Stinx – ‘Why Do You Keep On Running Boy’*
Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’

*For the uninitiated (i.e. those who weren’t living in Scotland around the turn of the millennium), this was a parody of Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time’ that featured in a legendary HEBS (Health Education Board for Scotland) advert from 2000, aimed at discouraging teenagers from smoking. The advert was renowned as being absolutely genius (I did a day of work experience at the BBC during this period and they were all raving about it), and I sang the song in the school corridors every breaktime with my pals for about three months solid.

Didn’t discourage me from smoking, though.

Worth a watch if you’ve never seen it, if only for some prime nostalgia:

End-of-decade shoes

I still have all the shoes I was wearing at the end of each decade so far in my life. Because I am that much of a hoarder.

On Hogmanay 1989, I was wearing my brand-new bumblebee slippers, which had been a Christmas gift from my Grandad MacLeod. They’re not exactly party shoes, but then I was only four (very nearly five). I was very excited about staying up for the bells for the first time though!

1989 bumblebee slippers
My bumblebee slippers, thirty years later.

On Hogmanay 1999, I wore a pair of silver Barratts sandals (super ’90s with minimal straps and a blade heel). I’d bought them specially for the millennium. It was the first year that I took in the bells with my friends instead of my family, drinking Bacardi Breezers and shots of tequila, which feels very grown-up when you’re fourteen (very nearly fifteen). It felt like the start of a really special phase of life, which in a way it was, but it was also the start of something that turned out to be quite dark and destructive. I suppose that’s teenage turning points for you.

Barratts sandals, 1999
My Barratts millennium sandals – a bit worse for wear twenty years later.

On Hogmanay 2009, I wore my Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons, which had just come out that year and were all the rage among shoe fans. They cost about half of what the Lady Dragon range costs today, but they were still a hugely extravagant expense for a broke recent graduate, and so I absolutely treasured them and looked after them very carefully. As a result, they’re still in good condition, unlike my very battered Barratts millennium shoes! At twenty-four (very nearly twenty-five) I felt a bit aimless, but didn’t really want my life to change – I took in the bells in the same pub where I’d been drinking since I was sixteen, and thought that I would be doing that forever.

Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons, 2009
My Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons – still much-loved favourites a decade on.

It’s Hogmanay 2019, and for tonight I have got some very special shoes that I’ve been saving for my one-year soberversary. My soberversary isn’t for another five days, but I thought it’d be okay to wear the shoes early seeing as it is the end of a decade and all. When I was younger and extremely broke, I adored beautiful designer shoes, and would have killed for a pair of Christian Louboutins, but I was never anywhere close to being able to afford them. In late 2018, I was able to buy a pair in a sale, and, knowing that I was about to quit drinking, decided to save them as a gift to my future self for when I’d managed a whole year sober. They are very definitely not outdoor shoes – I would only ever wear them in the house so as not to spoil the trademark red soles – but that’s okay, seeing as these days my preferred place to take in the bells is at my parents’ house, in the same room where I said goodbye to the ’80s thirty years ago. At thirty-four (very nearly thirty-five), it’s nice to come full circle.

Christian Louboutin 'Decoltish' shoes, 2019
My long-awaited Louboutins – quite possibly the most special shoes in my life so far 🙂

My very first New Year resolution for 2020 is actually a New Decade resolution – for the entirety of the decade, I will not be buying shoes (except for necessary purchases like running shoes), because I already have far more than any sane person could possibly need, and the ones I do have are well-made and timeless. I will make an exception in December 2029, when I will find myself another nice pair of end-of-decade shoes. In the meantime, I will just enjoy my existing collection!

Hogmanay 1989
Some pictures from Hogmanay 1989. Note the bumblebee slippers in the lower right corner, and me whirling around in my Superman cape!
Hogmanay 2019
Same room, same me. Not the same shoes. Or the same spider plant!
Four decades of Hogmanay shoes
Four decades of Hogmanay shoes!

Decade-plus time warp

A day of getting on with admin and writing jobs today – I’m trying to get everything finished before Christmas. One last day to get stuff sorted tomorrow!

Geth and I are now watching Britain’s Got The Pop Factor (the Peter Kay talent show parody from 2008). It’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition for us (and I can’t believe we first saw it eleven years old now, although of course the jokes have aged a bit).

Christmas compilation CD
Not an OOTD: I vowed not to buy any more music CDs and was in the process of getting rid of them all. Then I got a car with a CD player… Doing a lot of driving this Christmas so have picked up a couple of extra compilations!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Carl Doy – ‘As Time Goes By’
Duran Duran – ‘Falling Down’
Alexander Brandon – ‘Diamondus’