03 Bookish Brunette Graciously(ish) Bids Farewell
After five years, I’ve decided that it is time to leave Bookish Brunette behind.
Bookish Brunette has been my blog and online alias since December 2008. Back then, it felt right – like it communicated something about me that my mere name was incapable of articulating. I wanted to appear super-clever, mysterious and, well, like someone else.
Over the past year, the name has started to irritate me. It just doesn’t suit me any more, for reasons far beyond my hair now being closer to auburn.
I still love reading, so I guess the ‘Bookish’ part remains true. The problem is that I don’t want to be a associated with a one dimensional trope anymore. The Bookish Brunette name was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s character in the film Funny Face. As gorgeous and divine as that film is, the character is far from who I am now and who I aspire to be. Whilst I’d still love to dance around Paris with Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson, I no longer buy into the whole ‘brainy plain-Jane gets a makeover and pulls Fred Astaire’ aspect. Let me be frank: it is a load of bollocks – the same applies to She’s All That and even Grease – good films, rubbish premise. (For the record, shag: Danny Zucco, marry: Freddie Prinze Jr, push off a cliff: Fred Astaire – sorry).
I still want to blog, I just want to do it as me and within a narrower academic field. Also, since starting my Ph.D the desire to express myself through my blog has slowly ebbed away. My studies have given me the focus and challenge that I had been craving all along – somewhere solid to direct my intellectual and creative energies and with a clear outcome.
There’s also the fact that blogging isn’t what it was when I began in 2008. I’m going to be honest and probably offend loads of people here, but hey, I might as well go out with a bang. The dominance of PR ass-kissing, the lack of genuine creativity and the concept of ‘blogs as brands’ amongst many bloggers depresses the hell out of me. One of my personal hang ups/defining traits is a fear of ‘selling out’ and whilst many sneer at such ideology, I’ve opted to cling to my last remaining shreds of it.
This site will remain as an archive – mainly for my own reference and also because I can’t bring myself to part with it. Who knows, in a year or ten, I might return to it?
I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, everyone who has read, commented, tweeted or emailed me. It might not have been apparent to you at the time but your words have made me laugh, smile, think and even cry on the odd occasion. This blog has helped me to make new friends and provided me with numerous wonderful opportunities. To anyone considering blogging – do it! Expect nothing and see where the adventure takes you.
I’m going to leave you with a song I listened to as I was writing this post. It made me do little tears on the train. Anyone who has read this blog regularly over the years or knows me personally will know that music means a lot to me and has the ability to move me deeply – to the point where I once sobbed whilst listening to S Club 7′s Bring It All Back. The lyrics to this Ellie Goulding song are probably about splitting up with Greg James or Skrillex or something but there is a universal truth to the chorus. It is true: anything could happen. Who knows where an impulsive decision made in the depths of a mid-twenties crisis may lead…
Bye-bye Bookish Brunette – you’ve taught me a lot. From now on, I’m happy being Jen Evans.
P.S If you want to keep up with what I’m doing in life and stuff here are some links for other places to find me:
Instagram: (my account is protected but I tend to accept requests from people who strike me as non-creepy and nice, which I am sure all of you are. You are, aren’t you? *looks around suspiciously*)
23 In praise of hesitance, fear and looking before you leap
‘Just do it’. ‘Take that leap’. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. ‘Go for it’. ‘Dare to dream’. ‘Take a risk’. These are just a few of the platitudes peddled to those seeking change in their lives. They are normally peddled by bloggers who have ‘made it’ and now want to earn a pretty penny by oh-so-altruistically sharing their wisdom.
The thing is, they aren’t selling wisdom. At least I don’t think they are. I think they are selling people what they want to hear. Words that are easy to say, nice to hear and, normally, of little or no consequence in action. That’s because effectively applying these seemingly impulsive words takes work and planning. Yep, planning – y’know, thinking about stuff, acting responsibly and considering consequences. This sounds nowhere near as enticing or exciting.
Taking risks needs to be managed, you wouldn’t jump out of an aeroplane without some training and a parachute would you? You can’t make risks vanish but you and take steps to reduce a negative outcome. Fears and ‘self-limiting beliefs’ are OK, in fact, they can be helpful. They are what stopped me quitting my job too soon and jeopardising my home. They are what ultimately made me realise where my strengths lie. They are what made me realise what I truly wanted and they helped get me to where I am today.
I’m not going to label myself a ‘success’, but I do now feel happier, calmer and far more satisfied with my life. It took a long time to get here and a lot of work. It also took a lot of planning and some wrong turns. There were the long hours sat in lecture theatres after a full day at work, tears of frustration shed because I felt someone owed me a break, the business that I set up even though my heart wasn’t in it. I was scared and impatient, though on reflection that fear and hesitance helped me to get out of the rut I was in without wrecking the parts of my life that I was happy with.
My advice? Plan your escape, bide your time and work on carving out the life you want whilst you are living the one you want to change. You’ll know when it is the right moment to leap, just make sure you’ve had a good look and planned where you want to land.
24 Bank Holiday Project: Super-Kawaii-Kitsch Pick ‘n’ Mix Manicure
To call this “nail art” would be offensive to all of the highly skilled and talented nail artists out there. No, these are nails with all the pretty stuff stuck on them at once. The end result is fun, frivolous and fantastic yet the application requires little-to-no skill or talent. That said, you’ll need a few specialist bits and bobs. I found my Nail Rock 3D appliqués and flocking kit in Wolverhampton Boots. (Have I told you about how awesome this branch of Boots is? It has the most comprehensively stocked make up and beauty accessories aisle of any Boots I have ever entered. Not sure what Wolverhampton has done to deserve such a treasure trove but I am eternally grateful.) The appliqués were on special offer – £4.50 for the pack, whilst the flocking kits (which included the flocking dust, base shade and loads of pretty gems, pearl bows or flowers) were priced £7.50-£9.99. The concept for these nails is “Riot in Hobbycraft” or maybe “Haberdashery Fairy Vomit Explosion”. Cute, chaotic and ever so slightly crafty. They are the nail equivalent of a birthday card made by a toddler at play group: sweet and endearingly scrappy. If you like your nails with a soundtrack, I highly recommend this shimmering nugget of indiepop bliss: SUGAR, SUGAR, CANDY POP, PUSH IT DOWN, PULL IT UP!!!! You’ll need: Base Coat I used: Sally Hansen Double Duty Base and Top Coat Coloured Nail Polish Nail Flocking Dust Crystals (mixture of colours, shapes and sizes) I used: Nail Rock Beauty Rockit Crystals Nail Art Kit Glitter Foil Topcoat (one of the super glittery ones with irregular chunks of glitter in the mix) I used: Models Own Glitterball in Hot Stuff Gimmicky 3D Nail Appliqués I[.....]
Read more > 0 Comments
19 Bookish Brunette on M&S and Doing it Right
I find it hard to get misty eyed over an advertising campaign. Remember when everyone was crying over the John Lewis snowman? Yeah, that was well weird. Though I’m going to allow myself to get something close to effusive about the latest M&S campaign. Their new women’s fashion ‘Leading Ladies’ ads, shot by Annie Leibovitz have already created massive buzz – as would be expected when you combine the likes of Helen Mirren, Tracey Emin, Monica Ali, Grace Coddington and Ellie Goulding. Most of this buzz has been positive. The campaign shows brilliant, diverse and talented women. It is a group of women who have little in common other than their talent, courage and success. There are artists, athletes, actors, authors, musicians and nurses…A perfect way for a brand to relaunch itself to a fashion conscious and intelligent market. As the maxim states: you can’t please ‘em all, especially not the Daily Mail. They’ve published a hideous piece that bemoans Elli Goulding’s “…string of DJ boyfriends…”, Helen Mirren’s propensity to drop the f-word and what they consider to be Nicola Adam’s looking “uncomfortable” in a dress. It really is a tour de force in women hating. I’m not going to link to this nasty piece of cruddy turd journalism. The title is “Are these REALLY the women to save M&S? A foul-mouthed, sex obsessed artist, a topless pop princess and the racy grande dame of British drama.” – you get everything you need to know from that. I was so angry when I read this piece. Then I realized that this is simply what the Daily Mail does. Then something else hit me – whatever the Daily Mail says isn’t going to stop these women doing what they do. The fact that the campaign has[.....]
Read more > 0 Comments
17 Bookish Brunette on Breton Stripes
What follows is one of the most patronising back handed compliments I have ever received from a man: “Horizontal stripes? Well, there goes a brave girl with body confidence.” “Brave”?! “Girl”?! These two words were almost as troubling as the lecherous look that accompanied his insightful fashion commentary. What exactly about wearing horizontal stripes requires bravery? Its not as if they are a form of sartorial boa constrictor, coiling themselves around my rib cage. Ah, I get it – Trinny and Susannah probably once said something about horizontal stripes making women look fat; note never men – they just look like jolly French onion sellers or Picasso. I had no intention of making a bold statement about body confidence when I’d put on my striped dress that morning – I liked the dress and it made me feel happy. If the man had just said: “You look nice” or “stripes suit you” (minus the creepy look), I’d have been cool with it. But no, now I was brave. Brave. As if I was doing something outlandish, possibly reckless, taking a risk! I was like Disney’s Merida, only wearing Topshop and checking my pigeonhole as opposed to donning a cool cape and shooting a bow and arrow! I was sticking my head above a parapet and waving a flag for all size 10-12 women who like to wear contrasting horizontal bands of colour! Vive la révolution! Stripes aren’t brave. They are cool, they are fun and, here’s the crux of the matter, anyone can wear them. In fact, my fashion philosophy has settled on the groundbreaking idea that anyone can wear anything that takes their fancy. Stripes have fallen victim to the same set of trite “fashion rules” that dictate only “tall girls” can wear[.....]
Read more > 0 Comments
15 What Bookish Brunette is Reading/Watching/Listening To: August 2013
Reading: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler Confession: I never “got” The Great Gatsby. Tender is the Night didn’t do it for me either and The Beautiful and the Damned? Never read it but Gossip Girl reliably informs me that it is Serena Van Der Woodsen’s favourite novel so chances are that I wouldn’t care much for it. Whilst F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary contribution leaves me cold, the idea of F. Scott Fitzgerald the jazz age intellectual party supremo is immensely appealing (although less so after reading this book). Flappers! Champagne! Hedonistic soirees on the Cote D’Azur! Picasso! Yes, that all sounds great. But little did I know about Zelda Fitzgerald – the writer, artist and dancer who was married to the author. That was until I read a great article in Vogue about the Fitzgeralds – it featured a memorable line about the couple getting drunk and dancing in fountains (in fact, the article may have been about this book but I couldn’t find the issue of Vogue to check). This article piqued my interest in Zelda and I’ve been fascinated by her ever since. So when I saw this book mentioned by Pamflet, I knew it would be well worth checking out. I read the book whilst on the beach in Nice. It was quite magical to be reading about the Fitzgerlad’s stay in the Hotel Beau Rivage only to turn around and see the hotel behind me. The Fitzgerald’s have come to embody a certain kind of risky bohemian glamour, a glamour that is still tangible in certain parts of southern France today. Z is a fictionalised first person account of Zelda’s life, from the point of first meeting Scott in 1918 to his death in[.....]
Read more > 0 Comments
05 Bookish Brunette Battles with Flower Crowns
Two concepts are guaranteed to get me ragey: ‘festival fashion’ and ‘flower crowns’. These two pesky fads are symbiotic; they feed off each other, occasionally pausing to snack on denim cut-offs and Hunter wellington boots. Today I’m going to focus on flower crowns. I get it, people want to look like flower fairies and naughty little wood nymphs. I’ve even dabbled in the look myself: Flower crowns are everywhere – shopping malls, muddy fields in the Home Counties, university campuses, Primark, backyard barbecues… They are used as visual shorthand for whimsical charm and pseudo-hippy values. Style bloggers love ‘em. They offer a commitment-free whiff of the free spirit without all the pesky free love, bare feet and veganism. This short ‘Fashion Film’ by Matthew Frost sums it up neatly: Note: I totally need my guy friend who’s good at computers to show me how to format my blog so that videos display centre-aligned. None of this is inherently bad, it is nice to play dress up once in a while. The problem is that trends are prone to getting hackneyed and 2013 is the year for flower crowns to fall from their ethereal grace. And I’ll be standing there, watching them fall whilst cackling and nodding righteously. Although it might be time to hang up the floral headbands, I’m not quite ready to quit floral hair adornments altogether. There are plenty of cool and unusual ways to add some botanical loveliness to hair. Never Underdressed have put together a great slideshow if you are seeking some inspiration – check out Chloe Sevigny’s ponytail, now THAT is my kind of hairstyle. I purchased a floral hair comb by Her Curious Nature earlier this year, it has been daintily perched above[.....]
Read more > 0 Comments