Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The end. Or the beginning.

This blog is now very much retired. It has been for quite some time really.

It’ll remain here as a portfolio of my reviews.

You can find more recent writing of mine around the web at the following sites:\

My Guardian article about my writing life is here:


David Crystal.

First things first… David Crystal is a legend.

Don’t argue with me. He just is.

His studies into language, particularly into texting are incredibly interesting (Oh, how I hate that word) and it turns out he’s a pretty funny man too.

I went to see him give a talk to promote his news book, A Little Book of Language, at Foyles on Charing Cross Road this evening. He spoke for just over an hour, with the final fifteen minutes being in the Q&A format that’s common at these type of events. Myself, my friend and sister were the youngest in the room, with the rest being a mixture of a few students, a couple of older fans and the majority looked to be teacher-aged.

The book, which I felt obliged to buy afterwards, has been written in a way that is supposed to be comprehendible for a twelve year old, but not too simplistic. Having read the first chapter, Baby-Talk (Yes, he called it Baby-Talk – Not CDS or motherese or… Caregiver language!), I can assure you that it’s by no means to simplistic as I found it detailed enough to learn something new.

I shall probably tell you more about the book itself once I have read it all, but for now I shall leave you with a few anecdotes from the evening.

At one stage a customer service announcement came over the speaker system.

“David, Svetlanka is here to see you at the Customer Service Desk” the voiceover lady announced.

“Oh no, that wasn’t meant to happen… My wife is here… She’s not meant to know about Svetlanka…” Crystal responded instantaneously in his jovial fashion. He’s obviously a highly respected academic, yet he seemed very down to earth with a great sense of humour.

On the academic front, he spoke of CDS (though still calling it ‘Baby-Talk’) and how the subject within an utterance will always come at the beginning and won’t be too long. He used examples, interacting with the audience to prove points. He talked about the active and passive tense, and previous studies that he’s conducted to show why the former is used far more frequently in texts for young children.

This stuff interests me. I told him so myself. I used that dreaded word, “interesting”, when I spoke to him. Whilst he signed my book (Yes, I told you I’m a die-hard fan) I said to him “I find your studies really interesting”. And for once, I genuinely do mean ‘interesting’. His work, particularly his studies into Text Messaging, does interest me.

I love how he doesn’t believe that texting is “raping” the English Language. His descriptivist attitude to language is inspirational. He is nothing short of a legend.

A Little Book of Language, Yale University Press, is out now in Hardbook for £14.99


I know you've probably seen this before. But it was a highlight of March.

As it’s the end of the month and I can’t be bothered to write anything good, I thought you might enjoy an insight into the goings on within my mundane little life. Let me begin with a cliché: this month has flown by. I’ve actually done quite a bit this month come to think of it, but in about six hours it shall be over.

March was a month of busy Thursdays. First up was the Lisa Mitchell gig that was very much enjoyed. The following week I was out with the father at La Dolce Vita (which was rather lame), however it was followed by the most amazing rib of beef at Bouchon Breton so all is forgiven.

The next week brought with it my sister’s 16th which was celebrated with a family meal in… Shoreditch. I’ve never heard of anyone going on a family outing to Shoreditch, but we did. And it resulted in a delicious meal at Beach Blanket Babylon. Their duck, mash and green beans were amazing. I’m not always a huge advocate of duck when it’s not Peking. I’ve been fortunate enough to try some of the most amazing Peking Duck in Hong Kong and I often find the breast itself too bland without being cooked this way. This was not the case with the offering of BBB which was succulent and generously surrounded by a hoisin sauce, providing me with the hint of the Chinese flavour that I love so much.

This brings us to last week where I had two exciting events. Tuesday was the day of Paloma Faith’s gig at the Corn Exchange, whilst Thursday was the highlight of my life so far the Bran Nue Dae screening. Both were very pleasant though it was obviously the latter that brought me more excitement.

What else have I learnt this month? Well, I learnt that I like jewellery. If you were a part of the 200+ page views that I got over Sunday and Monday then I’m sure you’re already aware of this. I passed my driving test this month and can finally drive Kylie (Yes, my car has a name linked to my love of Neighbours. Get over it.) without those L Plates drawing attention to my regular failed parking attempts.

As for April? Well I’ve got tickets to two gigs already – starting with Amy Macdonald this Tuesday thanks to Then towards the end of the month I finally get to see Nerina Pallot again after a three year hiatus (last time resulted in me missing the last train home from Tottenham Hale!) I’ve got two days at Channel 4 as part of Inspiration Week in the holidays which I’m really looking forward to and shall inevitably use as an opportunity to network and promote my blog/Teen Today. Oh, and Venice next Thursday for a few nights en famille before I return to school for that dreaded French Oral. But let’s not spend any more time dwelling on that…. Tell me, how’s your March been?! (That means comment. I don’t bite. Promise.)

More pretty stuff.

Another necklace that would be sweeter had it been bought for me.

I genuinely think I’ve evolved into a proper girl. Eurgh.

After winning this necklace from Ji Ji Kiki, I’ve had a look around their site and wanted to share some more finds.

C'est La Vie

 First up is this French number. Yes, I do frequently declare my hatred for anything that reminds me of that vile language, however I struggled to detest this. It’s pretty. (I am really bewildered at using the word pretty in this blog. Twice. I am so not a ‘pretty’ kind of person.) The postcard-esque bit reminds me of my Elsiebelle number and, similar to that one, it’s made of brass. Which means that the more you subconsiously chew on it, the more it loses it’s colour. Of course, I’m yet to learn this lesson. It’s a newly developed habit of mine: Eating necklaces. Brass doesn’t react well to liquids. So don’t go dipping any pieces like this into your half full wine glasses. Especially those of you who were witness to the drunken events of last friday night at my house where my friend, Bethany, found half of her beads had slumped into her drink after an over enthusiastic conversation on Chat Roulette.

Whilst these Gingerbread necklaces might not be the most awe-inspiring. They’re only a fiver. Which I reckon is pretty good for a quirky present for someone.

Yum. Cake.

And Ji Ji Kiki don’t just sell jewellery. Oh no, they venture into my all time favourite type of product. Homeware. I mean, just look at these cupcake cases and tell me how they wouldn’t brighten up a boring choc-chip fairy cake. And you just can’t beat hugging salt and pepper shakers.

As for the necklace I was fortunate enough to win? Well that branch bit moves separately to the rest of the pendant which will inevitably mean it ends up in my mouth when I’m all too bored in French lessons. It hopefully arrives in the next few days so it’s bound to make an appearance around my neck before Easter.

Oh, and just so you don’t worry I’ve lost my sanity and become a normal teenage girl. Check out this amazing version of The Sound of White that Missy Higgins performed recently. 

I like jewellery.

This, my friends, is today’s revelation: I like jewellery. Going by your average teenage girl stereotype, I often differ from the norm in my permanently sober, always single, non-make-up-wearing ways. However, in recent years I’ve established a collection of jewellery (primarily necklaces) that are worn regularly.

I started out in the plain large beaded necklace phase, wearing items mainly stolen from a family members wardrobe. But I’ve decided that I’ve finally matured into a proper young woman in the fact that today I visited two fashion blogs and one amazing jewellery site. Yes, that’s right. I’m no longer just a pale faced, internet obsessed foodie. I am picking up teenage girl habits. And venturing, briefly, into the world of fashion blogging.

I have two necklaces that I own that I genuinely adore. The first is one that I picked up on a market stall in Dublin for around 20 euros (a price I deemed to be a little extortionate for what was effectively different coloured pieces of fabric and wood attached to some posh black string). The second is Littlest Love Letter which I won from Teen Today. Currently I wear the latter most days, receiving comments about who bought it for me. *cough* Nobody did.

And then today I stumbled across the Love Hearts and Crosses site after they kindly retweeted my blog on twitter. It’s a good job they did because  I discovered their really great product range include this beauty. It’s a typewriter. On a necklace. With mini paper. With writing on it. Wow. I think I’m in love. It’s taking pride of place on my hypothetical birthday list. (It’s May 17th if you’re wondering.)

Not only do they stock that amazing thing, but they also have loads of other beautiful pieces that have prompted me to register to their site and might even stretch to buying some stuff with my own hard earned money. Impressive hey?

So yes, I think I’ve successfully hinted to my sister that I would like that necklace, but if anyone fancies buying me any other cool necklaces, bracelets or holidays then feel free. (The last one was a joke. Unless you’re offering.)

Ok Ok. It turns out that I am impatient. I bought it.