Listening to every record I own…


These are all the records I own, in sort of alphabetical order from the right going into the real crappy compilations on the left. Some of this I’ve had since I was a teenager, some of it I’ve bought recently.

I keep going to record shops and forgetting what I have so as a punishment I am going to listen, and write about every record I own. Starting with A for Abba, to Z for Zappa and ending with all the terrible compilations I am keeping for that one track…..

Watch this space.

Working with Oblique Strategies

I once had a boyfriend who,  heavily influenced by the Dice Man would make choices by throwing a dice. I think his choices were rather less dangerous than Luke Rhinehart’s and probably revolved around which pub to go to but nevertheless his life was dictated by chance.

Using Oblique Strategy cards brings an element of chance into what you have already chosen to do. It is a series of cards designed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the 70’s and they are an incredible way of changing your perspective on a problem. Originally made for musicians they translate pretty well into any creative area.

I’m using an online version that throws up a card at random along with a seemingly accidental colour scheme that I appreciate. It’s great seeing colours I would never consider using together. I had the link lurking in my browser bar for a few days before I could get the hang of using it. Some of the strategies are insanely obscure – “Do we need holes?” and “Idiot glee (?)” don’t feel terribly helpful for me right this second but maybe they will one day.

I used them properly yesterday when designing memes for Slumber-Roo. I’ve loads of pictures of babies and baby carriers and a list of quotes to add to them to make them into something that gets shared around on Facebook.  I was a bit stuck with this when I started, I couldn’t see how to fit everything I needed into a small image. Oblique Strategies said “Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance” – now that was helpful, I knew it in my subconscious but I hadn’t actually considered the bare bones of the project. Then “Don’t stress one thing more than another” came up. This was getting really good, normally when I start a job I have a clear idea of what it is going to look like at the end.  At college, when I did pattern cutting I could see the finished garment in my head well before I’d actually made it or cut the pattern. I could revolve it, I could picture it on someone, I could almost feel the fabric in my mind. This job had me stumped for a while until I brought in the random element.


I’m not letting my life be dictated by them by any means, what I am using them for is as a way to get a different perspective on my work. Like looking at a drawing in a mirror so that mistakes stand out more clearly, the Oblique Strategy cards are helping me to get a fresh viewpoint.

Try them for yourself here or you can use one of the many free apps on your phone. Or, if you have a spare £30 knocking around you can buy a set of the real things here –




Sorting my fucking self out – an update on the paleo/faileo adventure

Earlier this year I looked down at my sad and sorry self and decided enough was enough. I changed the way I ate and I did a bit more exercise. I cut out all grains, all sugar, most alcohol, I installed a pull up bar. The strictness lasted all of a month then I got a bit easier on myself.

Cutting out wheat was the big thing. Back in the day (when I was bloated and unhappy) I’d have toast for breakfast, pasta for lunch and pizza for tea – all low fat, no butter on the toast so I thought that was ok. Except it wasn’t ok because low fat diets make me feel hungry and I am not a nice person when I am hungry.

Instead of wheat or any sort of grain I just have more vegetables and more fat now. I’ve not cut wheat out totally but I feel a whole lot better when I do and I don’t have it every day now, once a week max. I no longer get that desperate shaking hunger I used to get. I get hungry but it doesn’t make me feel sick or make me feel faint any more, so I guess my blood sugar has leveled out which is good news when loads of your family have diabetes, like mine. I have puddings still, I have a very soft spot for cheesecake. It’s easier for me just to decide I don’t eat bread than to be restrained with it which is a shame because my bread baking skills had just got good before I gave it up. I know that if I baked a loaf now I’d be gorging on it as soon as it came out of the oven. I am not to be trusted with it.

I plan my meals around a chunk of protein, some fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil or fat in meat or avocados) and the rest is veg. I try to avoid white potatoes but I’m not strict. And I eat cheese sometimes too. I just eat like that 3 times a day and I don’t get hungry in between. I get bored of meat but I like fish, I miss making pasta and baking cakes and bread. I cook a lot of sludgy broth stew things in my slow cooker.

I’m not going to inflict a picture of my tummy on you this time – it’s about the same as it was in week 2, my size 12 things fit but it’s winter and I have 5 layers of thermals on which are not coming off unless sex is involved.  It’s so cold in my house that I keep a kettleball in the front room just so I can warm myself up with a bit of exercise.

This is working for me because when I do fail I don’t beat myself up about it any more. I’m not weighing or counting anything, not even myself now. I can tell when I need to lay off the puddings and pints because my clothes are tight.

It’s been weird getting my head around not having a carb on the plate, I’m so conditioned to that being how we should eat but now I don’t think that is true. And wheat really is murder.