Friday, 28 June 2013

One Hundred!!

I know I promised I wouldn't post from my phone again, but I lied. But it's with good reason, I promise...


I randomly checked Bloglovin yesterday, and noticed THAT. 101 followers!!! You cannot imagine the smile that this put on my face- and given that I'm having a cracking time out here (involving elephants, rafting, yoga, massages, and incredible food), I was already smiling, so this was a BEAM.

So thank you all!! It definitely means a lot.

Lots of love, and here is my favourite ever picture of myself- my friend N took it on Barry Island beach at the end of our first year of uni.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Things At Which I Am Terrible...

After seeing a post similar to this on Leona's wonderful blog, I decided that pointing my flaws out on the internet was a good idea. Just in case you thought I was too perfect or something (HA. Seriously, where did you get that idea?!)

So yes- if you would like to know some things I am rubbish at, including some blogger apologies, keep scrolling....

I think this is true of most of us. Image from here

... meeting up with the aforementioned Leona. (Because I know she will appreciate this.) Leona and I live in the same city. We have known this fact since ooh, March!? We have still not managed to 

... emailing Meg. MEG I AM SORRY. We have been trying to arrange a secret baking-related project (sounds fancy this way, doesn't it?!) which I have scuppered constantly by my inability to respond to an email from her. I love her really though, and I am so excited by the prospect of it. If you are a very keen baker, who potentially would like to be involved, ping me an email? (My email address is in the "Contact Me" bit at the top) I promise I'll respond to Meg first though.

... watching films. Oh my god, I am horrific at this. I still haven't seen any of the following recent films: The Hobbit, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Great Gatsby, Silver Linings Playbook. And don't even get me started on "classics". I haven't seen Dirty Dancing, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, or Forest Gump.
I have however seen The Holiday at least six times. 

... being "put together". Every time I make a good go of it, by wearing a blazer, or a pair of heels, I do something ridiculous like forget to put mascara on one eye. (This actually happened. I was mortified when I realised at 4:40pm. 25 people on my facebook found it hilarious though).

...not being a pedant for good grammar. Hence the phrasing of the title. I'm not even sorry.

... admitting I'm wrong. Unfortunately, I do have a tendency to struggle to admit when I'm wrong. It is a terrible habit, and I am trying harder to let things go, and not always cause an argument over the little things.

... reading music. I have grade 6 on the piano, at one point could play to grade 8 standard, and I can't read music to save my life. For instance- in the feedback for my grade 6 exam, the examiner wrote "such a shame she was having a bad day with her sight reading!". It was the best sight reading I'd done ever.

Ahh I feel so much better now I've got all of that off my chest! What are some things you're bad at?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Are You Missing Me?

I highly doubt it, but if you are, I just wanted to alert you to something exciting....



I have been featured as Jen's Blogger Of The Month!! I was SO flattered when she asked me, and of course said yes straight away. Her blog, Sunny Sweet Pea is SO wonderful, and became one of my favourites as soon as I started reading it. Add in the wonderful Blogger Book Swap she organised and the fact that she is just generally lovely, and you have yourself a winner. If you don't already read her blog, you are definitely missing out.

(Jen, I'm expecting my money in the post for that. I'M KIDDING!!)

So if you're missing my normal ramblings, head on over to www.sunnysweetpea.com where you can read some answers to the questions she asked me. Her post will be up at around 10am GMT.

Be warned, I answered these questions at about 10:30pm after a night of babysitting and cake decorating. I'm not certain that I made a whole lot of sense.

Hope you aren't getting up to too much mischief while I'm away! And sorry about the strange formatting here, and lack of sensible link to Jen's blog, I'm blogging from my phone. Rest assured I won't be doing this again in a hurry.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Happiness is... (vol. 21)

As I'm currently away, I'm thinking of some lovely general things which make me happy. 

As much as I like thinking about the things that have made me happy in a specific week, I do think that I'm liable to forget the general things which make me happy on a day-to-day basis. I think we all are to be honest- we definitely remember the big things, but rarely focus on the little ones.

So this week, (and in general...!), happiness is...

From here
... cities. Paris, London, Cardiff, New York- I love them all. I may be a country girl at heart, but my goodness do I love spending time in a city. Particularly beautiful, historical, cultural cities, like these three.

... comments. Come on- who doesn't love getting new comments? I know I've been awful at replying to them recently (partly because I'm trying to work out the best way to do it- too many people are no-reply bloggers to do it via email!), but please trust me when I say that I love receiving comments, and I love giving them whenever I had time. So please say hello if you're stopping by!

... adventures. Whether it's to Thailand, or to a little town I've never been to before, I love adventures. I don't think I do enough adventurous things though- this will be a mid-year resolution!

... not having to wear tights. I know it's June, and we shouldn't have to wear tights but come on- it really is still a novelty, isn't it!? Or is that just me...?

... being up first. Is it just me that loves this? I remember at university when all of my housemates would get up late, I loved having a couple of hours to potter around at home with no one else around. Apparently my nanna was the same when she was alive, which is nice to think about.

What's making you happy this week?

Friday, 21 June 2013

And We're Off!

From here. This is how I feel about this trip.
Just a very quick note to let you know that I am off on my Thai adventure today!!

(Well, technically I fly tomorrow, but I'm travelling to Heathrow today, so thought I'd point this out now.)

I'm landing in Bangkok first thing on Sunday morning, then dashing across the city to meet my gorgeous friend to fly to Chaing Mai, where we'll spend a few days before heading wherever we think seems like a good idea. I am so excited!

I won't be live blogging while I'm out there, but I have scheduled a few post (most organised I have ever been) to keep you all occupied while I'm away. Fingers crossed I've actually got scheduling down pat and have done it right.

I also don't think I'll be tweeting while I'm away- so if you normally use Twitter to be notified of new posts, may I politely suggest following either via GFC, or bloglovin? 


I would love to reach 100 followers by the time I'm back- seriously, it would make me so happy. I know it's a bit of an ask, but I thought I'd put it out there.

Have a lovely couple of weeks everyone! Don't do anything I wouldn't do while I'm away, and I'll hopefully be back to normal blogging on either the 6th or 7th of July!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Diets, And Why I Hate Them

I'm really not trying to be controversial here. These are my personal opinions, which I'm allowed. It's just something which has been irking me recently, and on Monday at work something happened which kind of made me really angry. So I'm venting about it here.

I found this here

There are constantly new diets. Currently, there seem to be a few favourites- the 5:2, the 8-hour-diet, and no sugar (which I appreciate in some people isn't about weight loss). In my office of 13 women, we have people doing every single one of these, and one doing the Dukan diet too. So oddly enough, there's a lot of diet chatter in the office.

I don't mind this, generally speaking. It's interesting to see what people are doing and eating, and it sparks interesting debates sometimes. A couple of the women are using these diets as kick-starters for a general healthy lifestyle, and I think the 8-hour-diet could actually be really good for this (which is where you limit when you eat to one 8 hour period a day- so you aren't constantly grazing).

What I don't like is when people start telling me that I could or should be doing one of these diets. Yet today, someone was talking to me about their diet, looked at me and said "you know, I think if you did this you could lose three pounds before you go away"- which would be in less than a week.

I do not need to lose three pounds! 

I'm going to get personal here. I weigh eight and a half stone. I have a very acceptable BMI. I am perfectly healthy and in perfect proportion. 

I hate diets. Hate them. Their ubiquity makes women feel as though they should be dieting, as though there's something wrong with them if they aren't. As if they are in denial if they aren't eating a specific way. A woman in my office is beautiful, tall, and a size 6-8. She is doing the 5:2 diet. And why? In her own words "because everyone else is, and it seemed like a good idea". She hasn't got any weight to lose!!

Let's be honest here people- the only way to lose weight in a good, sensible, sustainable way is to eat less and move more. It's not difficult. It's not a quick fix, and you won't lose three stone in a week, but it's healthy.

From here

Sometimes, I am happy with my body. Sometimes I am not happy with my body. I am bloody terrified about standing in summery clothes next to my beautiful, tall, super fit, six-packed friend. But realistically, eating less won't change this. The way to make myself more body confident would be to do some exercise, which quite frankly a lot of the time I'm too lazy to do. 

And maybe as a size 8 (sometimes 10), I'm not the best placed person to rant about diets. But when people start telling me I should be doing them, I'm going to kick off. No one has the right to tell me what I should be putting into my body (except a doctor). No one has the right to make me feel inadequate about what I'm eating, or doing. 

By all means, go on a diet. By all means, have a health kick, get your five-a-day, stop eating chocolate. That's all fine. But do not restrict your calorie intake and tell me I should be too. Because maybe I'll come and rant at you personally. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mundane Midweek... Part 2

I'm joining in with Charlotte's Mundane Midweek post again this week- I missed it last week, but the week before it was so fun to read about everyone's normal days, rather than just all the exciting things that make me feel like my life is so boring. It's nice to know that everyone has dull days too, you know?


My desk is the one with the banana, water bottle, and DVD boxset. Yup.
Yesterday was pretty uneventful.

Work was actually mental for a change, which will serve me right for saying that I was bored the other day. Seriously. After a nightmare journey in, where I got stuck behind a lorry going across the moor and got to the A38 a mere two minutes after I normally do- but of course, two minutes makes all the difference on the approach to Exeter, and inevitably I got stuck in horrendous traffic. Which was made marginally better by the fact that being Tuesday, I got to sing along to How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning.

On my arrival at work, it was panic stations for half of my office, as a very important meeting was taking place at 11am. So I settled into my desk, started checking my emails, and my boss thrust a massive pile of paperwork at me which I spent all day sorting out. At 11am, everyone else in my office left, leaving me alone with my senior manager's adorable dachshund. He sat by the door and whined the entire time she was gone, making me feel like a terrible human being. (Fortunately she was only gone for about 15 minutes)

Lunchtime was fun- I nipped into town to buy a maxi skirt and a cute backpack for next week, then wandered around the beauty section in John Lewis, before returning to have my lunch in this gorgeous location, which is part of my workplace.



Then in the afternoon, I carried on with the paperwork until hometime. But at that point my boss decided that it was a good opportunity to give me a to-do list which will keep me going until the end of time (this is why I shouldn't have said I was bored), and I left late meaning that again I hit terrible traffic- seriously, I left home at 7:15am and got home at 6:20pm. Not fun.

My evening was then mostly spent baking a cake for my first paying customer (!!!) which I am more scared about than anything. I also intended to book my train tickets for Friday, because it would be a bit rubbish if I actually couldn't get to the airport, but didn't actually get around to it. Whoops.

How's your week going then?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Umbrella Collective: Travel Dreaming

We're back!


In case you hadn't guessed, or read on one of the other lovely ladies' blogs, we're now going fortnightly with our Umbrella Collective posts. And this week, AmyLaura, Rhiannon and I are imagining where we'd most like to go in the whole wide world.

Given I'm off on an exciting holiday soon, it seems a bit cheeky to be thinking of another adventure but let's be fair- it's never too early to start planning your next trip. I have a decent amount of annual leave left to use up this year, so I'm thinking of taking a little city break in September/ October time, and maybe another in March.

But it's not all about the cities. To be honest, more than anything, I want to island hop around Greece.

I have no idea why. The idea probably stemmed from some friends who on our gap year decided they were going to buy a pedalo and pedal themselves between Greek islands. When I realised their dates clashed with mine, I sobbed because I so wanted to go. (In practice, they never did it. My brother, however, drunkenly rowed from mainland Croatia to a tiny island four miles away, across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the area. But that's a story for another day).

Greece just holds a massive appeal to me. I'm certain part of it comes from studying Ancient History at university for a time- the amount of history in those places is ridiculous- and part of it definitely comes from books like Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (stop laughing please). But I think a lot of it is just how stunningly beautiful these islands are

But come on- the idea of sailing around in turquoise seas, pulling up on a tiny island and eating olives and ridiculously fresh fish, exploring little towns and beautiful beaches, and then setting off and doing it all again the next day? Yes please.

To be honest, I'd settle for one Greek island. Paxos, Mykonos, and Santorini are top of my list, but I'm open to suggestions. Because just look. Isn't it just too beautiful?
Paxos. From here
Mykonos. From here
Santorini. From here
Paxos. From here
Amorgos. From here
Sigh. Soon. Very soon, if I get my way. 

Where would you like to go?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Happiness Is... (vol. 20)

Isn't this so cool? It's from here

This last week just kind of ran away from me.

Seriously- all of a sudden I'm going away in less than a week, with silly amounts still to do, and not very much time left to do it in. This week is full of baking, babysitting, packing, and work, oddly enough. But that's good. I like busy, busy likes me, and the holiday should be relaxing and good so all will be well.

But because of my busy-ness recently, I have been bloody awful at keeping up with all of your lovely blogs. I'm really hoping to try to catch up a bit this week- but otherwise, when I'm back I'm going to have a lovely relaxing weekend of sorting everything blog related- including a possible redesign. If you know anyone who is awesome and not too expensive, please let me know in the comments?

But anyway. This week, happiness is....

... writing a bloody awesome pub quiz. Last night I missed a good deal of the #lbloggers chat because I was a) watching the tennis and b) writing a 60-question pub quiz less than two hours before it had to be delivered, with the help of my brother E, and our good friend O. Despite our lateness, we were told that it was a really good quiz, and we all went home with big smiles on our faces.



... girly nights. On Saturday night, I had a girls-night-in with my two besties, LR and C- and it was so lovely. We ate fajitas, had a massive catch up, and watched Crazy Stupid Love, which I would highly recommend if you're looking for a decent girly film. 

.. the hilarious things kids come out with. Seriously. Despite Rachael's best efforts (she's trying to put all bloggers off having children by having a pretty tricky sounding pregnancy), hanging out with my little sister makes me exceptionally broody- if nothing else, because of the brilliant things she says. A highlight from Sunday was her running around singing "Twinkle twinkle chocolate snake!!". Where the hell she got that from I don't know, but I was laughing so hard tea nearly came out of my nose.

... being commissioned to make a cake!! Seriously, I'm so thrilled that a workmate has asked me to bake a cake for her boyfriend's birthday. First time someone outside of my family has asked me to bake something for them!!

Um, wow. From here
... the fact that this time next week, I shall be in Thailand. Just look how beautiful!!

How is your Monday?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

On Father's Day

I know there will be thousands of posts like this in blog land today, but here is my ode to mon père. I don't think I talk about him a lot on here- but he really is important to me.

From here
Some of my favourite childhood memories involve my father. I remember putting What's the Story (Morning Glory) on the hi-fi at full blast, and screaming along at the top of my lungs with him. I remember dancing on his feet in the kitchen. I remember being stood on top of the dining room table, dancing with him, whole my mum played the piano for us.

Despite the fact that my parents have been divorced since I was 11, I have remained pretty close to Papatron. While he drives me up the wall on a regular basis, I have always known that I (and my siblings) mean the world to him. 

He likes spoiling me on the quiet, which is pretty hilarious. He likes secrets- he'll tell me something, and say "but let's keep this between us". At one point, this was stressful, but now I find it funny. I like having a little secret between the two of us.

He clearly loves all five of his children enormous amounts. He'd do anything for us, and do anything to have us nearby, I think- when my brother went to Australia for a year, he was more worried than anyone that he wouldn't come back. He used to pop in and see me every now and then when I was at uni, and treat me to lunch. Even now, he'll just phone up and take me for coffee with my little sister- which is one of my absolute favourite things to do. 

It's also pretty hard not to love a man who in the last month has unwillingly Morris danced outside of the local pub, spent hours playing on a slip-n-slide, and told you he'll send you home if you don't bring the scones you've promised him today. (I hope he's joking about the last one. I'll take them just in case)

Obviously, he isn't perfect. His terrible habit of dropping bombshells on me when we were on long car journeys made getting into a car with him a very stressful experience for a while (though in his defence he often did it as he drove me to a kung fu class where I could legitimately punch him), but he's stopped doing this now. Bombshells do not get dropped full stop anymore. We've really had our ups and downs- and sometimes, he has really hurt me. But we're good now. Everything is in a good place now, and this makes me incredibly happy.

I think mum's get a lot of obvious internet love. Dads often don't. And while mine isn't perfect- he's pretty great to me and my siblings.

Happy Father's Day Papa CupAndSaucer. I'd never tell you all of this in person, but I think you're pretty awesome.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

What I'm Eating

Have I mentioned before how nosy I am?

I really am. I love blogging for this- I get to nose into the lives of others, have a think about it, judge quietly if I want to (I promise I don't do this very often!!), and go "HEY ME TOO!" quite a lot.

Despite that, I do sometimes feel weird about certain posts that I do. For example, I'm a bit nervous about this one.

I know people have always been kind when I've posted really personal stuff before (the response to this post was phenomenal, and still overwhelms me a little), and this is nowhere near as personal as that. I don't really actually know why I'm posting about what I'm eating- I feel horrendously self conscious about what I eat most of the time, so putting it out there on t'interwebs feels very scary. Maybe that's why I'm doing it- to stop me from being scared of it?

Logically, I know I eat pretty sensibly. I like food, and tend to live by the motto "everything in moderation- including moderation". But I still feel weird about what I eat- so maybe that's why I'm doing this- for some sort of verification? I don't know. Don't feel you have to verify what I'm eating though.

But anyways. I like knowing the sorts of things that other people are eating- if nothing else, it gives me inspiration. So if you're feeling nosy, here is what I ate on Thursday 13th June. No mean judgement please, it's not necessary.





Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, with mushrooms and spring onions. Generally speaking, I'm not a savoury breakfast person. I love fruit, cereal, porridge, yoghurt, and would probably eat any of them all day every day. But because of the day I had planned, a savoury breakfast seemed like a sensible idea.



A Tim Tam. My senior manager is Australian, and has deliveries of Australian foodstuffs every now and then. She'd promised us that she'd bring us some Tim Tams next time she got a delivery, and like any good manager, she stuck to her word. The entire packet vanished in about 15 minutes flat. But remember- these are not Penguins!!




2 satsumas. Because I have an obsession with getting my five-a-day every day. This was actually number three, after a glass of juice with my mushroom-y breakfast. These were probably totally unnecessary, but if you're going to snack unnecessarily, fruit isn't exactly a terrible idea, is it?!



A few of these olives- my senior manager was treating us on Thursday- she'd brought these in too, having marinated them herself- and they were so good!! Even if she did add MSG to them (I stopped after she told me that...)



Alpen porridge- this was lunch, as I didn't take a lunch break on Thursday- it was quick and easy, given that I don't have access to a microwave at work.I was REALLY dissapointed by it- I love porridge normally, when I make it from scratch at home, but this was just a bit too sweet for me.




A couple of cookies when I got back from the doctors. Because who doesn't need a pick me up after being stabbed in the arm?




Grapes- again, because I was feeling slightly peckish and because I force myself to get my 5-a-day every day.



French bread bruschetta-pizza- a staple fall-back in my house. Excuse the burnt bits...

Supper (above) was a particularly weird one for me. By the time supper time came around, I knew that I would be posting this, and didn't have anything planned to eat. So when I went to the shops, I thought so carefully about what I was buying so I wouldn't feel bad about it here. Meg wrote an amazing piece on this recently too- and if you don't already read her blog, you should because she's amazing and I love her and her writing. But I felt OK about this, as despite the bread and mozzarella, I packed that ratatouille sauce with veggies.

So yeah. To be honest, this is actually quite representative of what I generally- though normally breakfast and lunch might normally have been the other way around, and it is very rare for me to eat bread twice in a day- I can easily go a week without bread. It feels like I've eaten a LOT, but I'm not convinced that anything I ate was that bad for me, despite this?

 Clearly, I eat a pretty high sugar diet- mostly from the fruit, but also from the fact that I will eat something sweet/ chocolatey/ "naughty" pretty much every day without fail. I couldn't do a no-sugar diet- I genuinely couldn't. Why would people do that to themselves?! (Unless you're diabetic, Then knock yourself out on the no-sugar thing)

So yes. That's what I'm eating. Please don't judge me too much.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Not-So Secret Life of Betsy

Warning- if you hate cats, you will not like this post.

Did anyone else see the Secret Life of Cats program last night? For a mad cat lady like myself, it was so interesting. I have absolutely no idea what my cat, Betsy, gets up to outside of the house.

Inside the house though, I have a pretty good idea.

She sleeps. A LOT. And actually, turns out she sleeps a lot outside too....








Also, I'd like to point out that while she is pretty fat, the vet says she is perfectly healthy. And we've put her on a diet, so fingers crossed she'll get back to normal cat size at some point. 
(Though her fatness does make her so adorable, right?!)

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Cookie Monsters

Work has been a bit mental recently.

Not for me- I just get to swim along doing my thing- but for everyone else, this is the busiest time of year. As a result, we're eating a lot of biscuits.

(I'm eating a lot of biscuits just because I like them.)


Seriously- we went through three packets yesterday (between about 8 of us). In my defence, I only ate three- my lovely colleague S ate about 17. And despite all of this biscuit guzzling, I still wanted to make more when I got in. Do you get like that- the more you have of something, the more you want it? I'm certainly like it with chocolate peanuts- I can not eat them for months and months, but then sit a bag of M&S Belgian Chocolate Peanuts in front of me and I'll devour the lot in about 3 minutes. I'm not even joking.

So yeah. I got in, decided to make chocolate chip cookies, and came up with these. The recipe is one I originally saw on A Cup of Jo- you can see it right here. But here is my slightly Anglicised/ Alice-icised version anyway.

You will need...
A big bowl, an electric whisk, a spatula, cling film, a big knife, an oven, baking trays.

Ingredients
110g salted butter, softened
100g soft brown sugar
50g demerara sugar
1 egg
Splodge vanilla bean paste (more on this in a minute)
225g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g chocolate in chunk/ chip format

Start by creaming together your butter and sugars- as if you're making a cake, you want this to be pretty light and fluffy. Then add your egg and vanilla, and beat thoroughly- again, you want it to be all fluffy. 



About the vanilla bean paste- I always use this instead of extract- it adds a much more vanilla-y flavour, and you use way less of it than you do with extract, which means that although it's more expensive in the first place, it's so much more cost effective. I would seriously recommend getting some of this.

Then, if you haven't already, chop up your chocolate- I used Cadbury's because it was on offer and by far the cheapest option- it cost me £2 for 300g this way, instead of £1.79 for 150g buying Co-Op's own brand cheapy chocolate. Yay! I like mine in fairly big, irregular chunks but whatever works.



Fold your flour, bicarb, and chocolate through, mixing until you've got a lovely smooth cookie dough. Then pull out a BIG length of cling film, and pop your cookie dough on top of it, in a sort-of line. Then roll the cling film around it to create a big sausage-y shape, and put the lot into the fridge for an hour. BE PATIENT- THIS REALLY IS A GOOD IDEA. Go and tidy the kitchen and phone your mum/ make her a cup of tea (depending on whether you live with her or not) while you're waiting. Preheat your oven to 180C.



After an hour, unravel the cling film but leave it underneath your dough- like how you started- because it makes it so much easier to tidy up this way. Take a big knife and chop off centimeter-thick "rounds"- if yours stay round, please tell me how, because mine ended up quite squashed looking. If this happens, just reshape them- it doesn't matter. 


Then pop them into the oven to bake for around 12 minutes (I get all precise when baking cookies), or until they look all golden and smell good (or maybe not so precise). These are slightly chewier, slightly cakey almost- if you want to have them more crunchy, leave them in for longer. Wait for them to cool a little before digging in. When they're completely cool, pop them into a tin and hide them from your family.


 I do like this cookie recipe, but I'm still searching for the ultimate most amazing chocolate chip cookies ever. So if you happen to possess said recipe, please send it in my direction.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Impressions

(Not the Alistair McGowan sort of impressions, by the way. Not even first impressions really.)

Caillebotte, Laundry Drying, Petit Gennevilliers. From here

I am not artistic in the slightest- I can't draw a realistic person to save my life, I can doodle an elephant if I must, and the number of times I have tried (and failed) to sketch something more interesting for my blog header is laughable. I just can't draw or paint. And I'm not an art buff by any stretch of the imagination- I can happily spend hours wandering around art galleries, but modern art leaves me cold (other than Kandinsky- I spent a solid half an hour staring at his Composition VII in the Hermitage in St Petersburgh). I know what I like, and for the most part that's things I sort of understand. And I love Impressionism.

Caillebotte, Les Raboteurs de Parquets. From here

I remember once, when I was probably about 7, my class and I were painting sunsets (I have no idea why). Now while everyone else in the class did your typical stripes of colour, I did splodges of all different colours all through the sky (this is really hard to explain but I promise it's going somewhere)- pinks, oranges, splodges of yellow and blue, and some navy to show that it was nearly night-time. And the class all laughed at me- but a teacher looked at it and said "No children, don't laugh- Alice's painting is like Impressionism" (for the record, it wasn't). 

Monet, Woman With A ParasolFrom here

So I went home, and asked Mama CupAndSaucer what Impressionism was. We looked it up in one of the encyclopaedias we seem to have in the house (being the days before the internet and all), and from then I was hooked.Put me in the Musée d’Orsay, with their wonderful Impressionist collection (and beautiful arched ceiling) and I am a girl enchanted. 

(Mostly because I hope I'll have a Blair Waldorf/ Prince Louis moment- but my Prince Louis won't turn out to be an absolute tool)
From here
I've studied Impressionism from any possible way that doesn't involve actually trying to paint like an Impressionist. For instance, I did an entire speech about Claude Monet and Impressionism for my AS-Level French oral (it went horribly, but the fact were there). In my first year of university I wrote on Impressionism and the Paris Commune- about how after the terrifying instances of the Commune, and how France was seen as a woman and suddenly women were les petroleuses who were terrifying and awful, painting traditional calm French women was a form of healing (or something like that). And how there were few paintings of people involved in the Commune or the Franco-Prussian War- except this one by Manet, who was pretty ballsy to say the least.

Manet, Rue Mosnier Decorated With Flags. See the one-legged man? From here

So yes. I love Impressionism. Particularly Caillebotte, who is one of my favourites and who is seriously unsung. But let's be honest- who doesn't love a Monet painting of some waterlilies?

Monet, Water Lilies. From here