Thanks to the generosity and kindness of friends, family and colleagues, I find myself thoroughly spoilt and in receipt of a total of £135 of Amazon vouchers, given as leaving and Christmas gifts. My plan was to treat myself to some online shopping during the few, relaxed days after Christmas but they weren’t as relaxed as I’d hoped and so I have still only spent a few pounds on a couple of e-books, ordered directly from my Kindle.

I must admit that, because I hadn’t expected so much, I’ve been a bit stuck as to what to buy. I have no need or desire for any ‘larger’ purchases, e.g. electronic goods or technology – I have all the technology I want; there are things I know I don’t want, e.g. sat nav; household appliances don’t count because they’re boring (though I would quite like a slow cooker and a new iron); and I wouldn’t buy a smartphone from Amazon. (Granted, my beloved six-year-old 30GB white iPod video could and probably will die at any moment and is likely to need replacing but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

So I get the rather exciting opportunity but to buy lots and lots of smaller things… Today, I set about the task of bolstering my wish list and thought I’d share some of the items:

Scott Pilgrim on BluRay and volumes 3-6 of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel – I can’t wait to watch the film again and, having been given volumes 1 and 2 of the graphic novel for Christmas, I’m eager to keep reading. I may also get Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Lost At Sea, which looks lovely.

Le Creuset Mug – I adore the traditional Volcano colour of Le Creuset products and have wanted one of these mugs since I saw them in my favourite kitchen shop in Worcester (which, as an aside, is almost identical to a kitchen shop my mum would take me to as a child, each year, to buy a new cake tin in the shape of my age). I am still debating whether or not to take this in as my office mug.

Baking Made Easy – added to my list on the strength of one episode of the new BBC cookery programme. Because a girl can never have too many baking books and because it really does look easy.

Poach Pods – I got a pair of these for Christmas and they are a revelation. Getting two more so that I can poach more eggs at once.

Once Soundtrack – I finally watched Once last night and it was lovely (all the best love stories are unconsummated. See also: Lost in Translation, Brief Encounter). I only recently discovered The Frames thanks to a twitter recommendation but didn’t make the connection. I’m glad I finally did. I really love Glen Hansard’s voice, particularly in this scene:

Elbow’s new album – I guess it’s not cool to like Elbow since they won the Mercury Prize. Well, I still like them. They’re responsible for my all-time favourite song (Powder Blue, but you knew that already) and I walked down the aisle to an Elbow track (the opening bars of Mirrorball).

Natasha Walter’s The New Feminism – I read this as a student specialising in feminism and queer theory, when I was full of optimism about women’s place in the world, and recently enjoyed her follow-up, Living Dolls: The New Sexism. I’m looking forward to re-reading The New Feminism with the benefit of hindsight.

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – I own too many coffee table books but this one looks interesting…

A range of ebooks, including those I’ve already bought – Jonathan Powell’s The New Machiavelli, Ali Shaw’s The Girl With Glass Feet (started but not finished before I had to give the book back), Sebastian Faulks’s A Week in December, David Nicholls’s One Day, Chris Mullin’s A View From The Foothills (which has been on my wish list for a long time but has suffered from my disinterest in big books – thank goodness for the Kindle), Clare Morrall’s Natural Flights of the Human Mind, and many more…

I haven’t added all of that up but I think I’m up to roughly £100. And hours and hours and hours of pleasure. Can’t quite believe my luck.



Reading in bed

During the long (and, if I recall, hot) summer after I graduated, I mainly lived alone in our Cardiff flat, whilst Chris worked in Gloucester and I looked for jobs in the West Midlands. And during that summer, I spent a great deal of time lying on our lime green sofa with the balcony doors open and I read prolifically. Since then, other things have got in the way and my reading has been limited to a few pages on the bus on the way to work, a few more in bed before I fall asleep and, where possible, some more on a Sunday morning.

But since the wedding and my degree have finished, I’m spending more and more evenings reading for several hours. It’s the nicest thing and I’d forgotten how relaxing it could be. Plus, for the first time in a long time, I’m reading books at a faster rate than I’m buying them. Which is definitely a good thing.

And I’ve read some really good stuff as well. Last week, I finished “The Believers” by Zoe Heller, which was beautifully written, although I barely cared about its middle-class protagonists and their (to me) somewhat insignificant concerns. And now I’m reading “The Other Side of You” by Salley Vickers, which has turned out to be worth the perseverance, even though I struggled with her clunky prose at first. It has loosened up a bit and the story is an essentially good one.

Trying to decide what’s next…

P.S. This blog entry reminds me of this song. Which is also the nicest thing.