I have a new teapot. So clearly, I need this. I’m sure you all understand.
From the V&A shop, £45
Right, my desk is currently suffocating under a great weight of paperwork, so today’s post comes from my phone.
Enjoy the photo of my beautiful new teapot, from Whittards. It was on sale at £9 and came with a free bag of loose leaf tea (I chose wild cherry).
Well, we’re almost there, folks!! Only 8 days to go, and honestly, I can’t wait. I am excited about Christmas in a way I haven’t been since I was about 10. Obviously, this time next week will be Christmas eve, so no time for last minute ONLINE shopping (only time for chocolates from the service station – but don’t do that). In line with that fact, this is my LAST Quirky Christmas Gift Guide, and I hope it helps you to grab some last minute winners.
Many of you will know I LOVE Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I even went clubbing dressed as Alice. And I think everyone has a special place in their heart for this literary classic – especially after Tim Burton’s recent, kooky interpretation. So here’s a few gift ideas for the curious Alice lover in your life.
Every Alice needs stripey socks. OK, not explicitly mentioned in any interpretation, but it definitely works. You can get stripey knee highs (or tights, if you’d prefer) pretty much anywhere. But I particularly love my Tabio socks – they’re snuggly thick, and high quality, which explains why they’re £12.
Another thing you Alices will need is a pocket watch. Well, technically, your white rabbit will need a pocket watch, but there we are. I was going to show you a Rock’n'Rose locket that looks like a pocket watch but is in fact a mirror, but they don’t sell it any more. So I’ve had to track down a new one to show you. And I’ve had fun! As usually, Etsy is stuffed full of beauties, but I particularly love this one from finkgifts, priced at a mere $20 (or £13.15)
Top hat, anyone? Not just for Mad Hatters, you know. Pretty girls can wear them too, and thanks to the burlesque revival going on, there are fascinators aplenty. I, of course, love this one from Accessorize, at £26.
You will be needing a frilly blue dress. Stay with me – I’m not talking actually Alice costume dress up with a pinny and all. You can get some stunning dresses that are party-season appropriate. For example, this beautiful prom dress on Asos. It’s only £85 and all *faints* (and yes, it has a big bow on the back. Perfect!)
You will be requiring tea, because it is ALWAYS tea time. And to serve tea, I advise something with hearts on – the Queen won’t come for a pot of tea if it’s not got hearts on. And here, Emma Bridgewater can help you – here is just the cup from here lovely range of heart designs. The cup is £13.95, but you can get other tea-time crockery too!
And finally, a quirky one, just because. You can’t eat them and they won’t change your size, but seller StemellinaSupplies suggests many ways to use these beauties. So whether you want to use them as kooky interior decor, or you intend to make a very unique necklace out of them, you can get 40 of these wool felted mushrooms for only $55 (£36.15 – that’s less than a quid a mushroom!)
Look, guys, I hope you have a LOVELY Christmas. I hope this gift guide has been helpful – please let me know if it’s inspired you, and I may well do another next year
My best wishes for a merry Christmas and a fantastic, happy New Year to you all!
Phew. OK, my first lab report of the semester is away, out of my hands, done.
It was a tricky one to churn out: not because it was difficult to write, but because I have been rather busy. From Cambridge to Hastings, I have been running around a lot the last few weeks. But no matter – that’s what laptops are for, right?
I love my laptop. It means I can work pretty much everywhere. I have a little HP number (with a missing Alt key, but it’s still my baby). I hear stories of people’s laptops (particularly Macs) breaking down, but I have always used HP and they have never failed me (touch wood!)
I’ve been writing on the tube, in cafés, in museums, in bed. I tend to get a lot of work done “on the run” – I’m sure a lot of students do, even if it’s “just” reading. I always have a book in my bag.
Recently, I’ve adopted the bed for doing work at home, because my desk in the living room is simply too close to the kitchen, and I find myself procrastinating. So, I prop myself up with four pillows, and arm myself with a cup of tea, and get a lot done.
Outside the house, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time at the Wellcome Collection, sitting in their café/restaurant. Not only do they have free wifi, but their caterers, Peyton and Byrne, produce delicious, wholesome food. I finally tried one of their Mainly Frosting cupcakes the other day…. Yum.
But where is your favourite place to get work done? Where do you usually study? What’s the WEIRDEST place you’ve set up in to get your work done? Maybe I’m not the only one who writes lab reports in museums!
Image credits: I took it. ME. MY cake.
Synaesthesia. What does this word mean to you? You may never have heard it before. You might have an inkling of what it means. You might be a synaesthete yourself.
Synaesthesia is (typically) Greek – it pretty much means “mixing of the senses”. There are many types, because we have many senses, and they can be mixed in a variety of different ways. The most common kinds are colour-grapheme synaesthesia and colour-auditory synaesthesia. Fairly self explanatory, but to clarify: colour-grapheme synaesthesia is when printed letters or numbers cause the synaesthete to experience particular colours (well, see above!) and colour-auditory synaesthesia is linked to music, voices or “noise” producing an experience of colours. The colours experienced are internally consistent: if a synaesthete experiences a middle C as blue, it is ALWAYS blue. If a sharp rap on the table is experienced as a flash of white light, then this will always be the case. That is not to say that all synaesthetes experience middle C as blue or a knock on wood as white flashbombs, but those are some examples.
Various neurobiological theories exist, trying to explain synaesthesia. The most popular is that synaesthetes have unusual, cross-sensory connections in the cerebral cortex, which have been “improperly pruned” during development of the nervous system. It’s difficult to know for sure, but what is certain is that these vivid, cross-sensory experiences are very real, and for more people than you might expect.
What advantage might it hold for synaesthetes? Well, a lot of incredibly creative people have utilised their quirk to their advantage: for example, the physicist Richard Feynman reported seeing equations in colour, which no doubt helped him to visualise his work (and may well have helped him win that Nobel prize!!). Kandinsky on the other hand claimed to be a colour-auditory synaesthete: he used music to illicit colourful tones in his minds eye, and utilised this as part of his artistic process, creating “visual symphonies“.
So what? It’s an interesting quirk, but why research it? It doesn’t seem to cause any harm, so why should neuropsychologists (including me, a mere student) be interested in studying it?
And here in lies the big question. What can what we know about synaesthesia help science in any way? Yes, it’s really interesting, but does it have any practical applications? This, according to Dr Jansari (with whom I had a meeting yesterday) is the big So What? We need to be able to answer that, in order to make a study out of it actually worth doing.
One possibility is that artificial synaesthesia (i.e. helped by computers) could be utilised by people with sensory deprivations, to help them experience the world in a more holistic way. Sounds impossible? Might not be – the intriguing Steve Mann (also known as Mann as Cyborg) started an experiment in the 1980s (using his weird and wonderful wearable computers) to map senses to other senses (synaesthetic synaesthesia, if you like) – such as experience sights as sounds, and so forth. This has made very slow progress (or at least seems to – Mann’s own website is a bit of a shambles and it is very hard to get any information on him), but you may have, in the past couple of years, about a gadget that allows blind or visually impaired people “taste sight”. The concept is phenomenally weird, but most reports I’ve read have said that it is actually pretty effective.
So there might be a point to researching synaesthesia, after all, beyond my natural British obsession with the weird.
So, are you a musical synaesthete? Do you see colours or shapes when you hear music? Or do you know anyone who is? I would love to hear from you!
I am not well. AGAIN. I suspect scummy people on the underground to be the cause.
So, have some music: Death in Vegas are good fun. The vocals on this track are by Iggy Pop
I use this song to box the punch bag to. Enjoy!
The next part in the Big Capri saga? I got to have a ride in it.
Oh. My. God.
It’s a big, grunty, angry beast. It roars. It is beautiful.
Ben drove us down to the jet wash (taking a bit of a detour so that he could do some corners and roar the engine a bit – wheeee….!) to give the car a good, well needed clean. Remember, this car has been basically ignored on a driveway in Suffolk for the past few years. It was crying out for a clean. It had moss growing on the window seals.
Jet washes are brilliant, aren’t they? Nothing will ever top the TurtleWax jetwash we used in Berwick-upon-Tweed in July, which had multicoloured foam and smelt of cherries. But still, it saves a lot of bucket-and-sponge work, which was the bane of my childhood. About £5 (I had to keep topping up the machine with change) and a lot of scrubbing and spraying later, the car was mostly clean. Back to the flat, and to park in the garage.
Unfortunately, one of the locks was a bit bust or something (I suspect the key had just been lost, but Ben refuses to admit this). Solution? ANGLE GRINDER
I enjoy power tools. They’re quite scary, but WOW they do stuff. So I was allowed to free the padlock from from the garage door – Permanently >:D
So, you can see my day yesterday was almost in reaction to all the cultured and thinky-type-stuff I’ve been doing all week. Power tools are fun.