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New Blog Address – http://thezombiewearsvintage.com November 28, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Blogs, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Hi All

My last post on here – I am, as of today, blogging over at my new, streamlined blog, The Zombie Wears Vintage. It’s going to be like here, but much much better!

Please update the URL in Google Reader etc and subscribe, I would hate to leave you behind :(

The Complete Illogicality Of Hormones August 3, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Last night was lovely. I made rather scrumptious (if I do say so myself) sausage and mash, I snuggled up on the sofa watching dodgy TV (a boyfriend who admits to liking watching Britain’s Next Top Model? Ideal!) and I felt very happy and content. Then I buggered everything up.

How did I do this? Well, if you want my excuses, it was hot. The kind of solid wall of heat that crawls over you, pinning you down, making your head heavy and your mind sticky. I also felt decidedly odd – I came over all hot and flushed, with a sickness in the pit of my belly and that (worryingly familiar) ache in my head. I was hormonal, and tetchy, and something came on the TV about a series of programmes explaining some key interesting areas of science.

And, for some reason, I ranted. Which, as a scientifically open individual, I found strange. I let off a bubble of hormonally driven drivel about something largely nonsensical to do with science never proving anything (??), and priorities being wrong (!!), and other such rambling strangeness that seemingly came from nowhere, and which hit neatly on the (sensible and totally correct) wall of Andy’s analytical/scientific brain. Then I burst into tears. The last time I did something like this I ended up sobbing into my (somewhat taken aback) mother’s arms about an obscure strain of mountain Buddhism, muttering about how they’d better never make me give up material goods. It was odd, albeit good proof for the “Lauren Is Bonkers” hypothesis that I always keep on the shelf.

The evening was, of course, somewhat spoilt by the re-emergence of an old foe, “Lauren The Twit”. Plus, by that point my hormonal head was hurting, I was too hot to sleep, and all I really wanted to do was curl myself up in a dark corner with a crap book and an air of don’t-approach-her-you-never-know-what-she’ll-come-out-with-next about me. So, having cried and over-apologised and generally moped and groped, I finally fell asleep far too late.

I did have very cool Formula 1 inspired dreams though, which was something of a saving grace.

Anyway, here’s hoping that Andy won’t judge me too harshly for the escapee strain of insanity. I think it is tucked up back in its bubble. I think.

The Importance of Humdrum August 1, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Life is about living, they say. If you aren’t out there each and every day, experiencing everything you can, then you are missing out. Life simply isn’t as good as it could be if you aren’t deep in the middle of it, climbing obscure South American mountains, eating peculiar foods, dancing with your eyes closed whilst everyone watches.

In a way, this is true. Of course it is. If you don’t make the most out of your life, push yourself and mix things up and generally “experience”, then you probably aren’t feeling everything it has to offer. Instead you are staying safe and secure, comfortable in the knowledge of the regular and the everyday. You are limiting yourself, unwilling to embrace the dangerous and the alien just to see what comes of them.

Still, no matter how much this is the case, I feel someone needs to stand up for the humdrum. The safe, the warm, the familiar. Because this is the thing that we come back to. Humdrum is the thing that we call home. It is a hug from someone you love when everything gets too much, the relaxing mind-blank of an evening spend collapsed in front of the television set. It is coming home to security, and familiarity, and the distinct happiness of everything being normal, and alright, and good.

On its own, humdrum is boring and dull. But with people you love, trapped between adventure and mischief, humdrum can be the very thing that keeps you going.

 

Up and Down (on Headaches and Sleepless Nights) July 28, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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I know I just wrote about how happy I am, and that is still true. However, this week has been one hell of a hard one.

There isn’t really any reason for this week to be as tough as it has been. It’s been relatively busy at work, sure, but there hasn’t been anything particularly out of the ordinary to stress and pressure me. At home it’s been quiet, just watching TV and cooking up massive batches of delicious, yummy chilli.

But then, of course, there is the headache. It set in Tuesday, and despite the best pharmaceutical intervention there it stayed, buried deep down in my brain. Every thought has been an effort, the headache’s gnarly tendrils snaking deep into every mental function, tightening and constricting and slowing. Like a heavy weight on my shoulders I shuffled around underneath it, each hour of the day stretched to oblivion, time dragging on and on and on. Yesterday I expected it to be better. It wasn’t. Instead the headache morphed, evolved. It sat, for pretty much all of the day, somewhere behind my face, grumbling and prodding and complaining to itself.

The headache alone, and all the drugs, wouldn’t perhaps be that bad, were not for the lack of sleep that has accompanied it. What is strange is that this sleeplessness seems unconnected to the headache – it has just manifested itself in a bright, chaotic awakening, a sense that my brain has forgotten how to turn off. I’ve lain there, tucked up in my  bed, the hot waves of sticky air crawling over my body. I’ve closed my eyes, breathed deeply, listened to soft and gentle music purely designed to send me to sleep. And I have stubbornly stayed awake.

It’s been a tiring week, to say the very least.

The Tipping Point July 4, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Isn’t it funny how one little thing can tip you over the edge from happiness into something more akin to fear?

This morning, I was all excited about my trip. For the first time in a long time I was actually coming around to stop feeling petrified, and to feel anticipatory instead. The butterflies of terror in the pit of my stomach were becoming lighter by the day, my nerves were dancing rather than clamouring violently for attention. I was enjoying the 5-6 week count down, knowing that my trip was getting closer by the second.

Then I decided the time had come to do some of my chores. Namely to organise myself a credit card, so that I could buy things securely abroad. It was a simple job – go online, fill in the form, and get accepted. Except I didn’t get accepted, I got rejected, and that in combination with the cloying, sickly, sticky humidity has somehow managed to drop me straight into a seething pit of  grumpiness.

It is, in part, the endless certainty that something, anything, will go wrong and stop me from getting on my plane. It’s also triggered by a great number of other worries and gripes, leaving me in one of those tired, hot and headachey moods that cause everything in your brain to get all angry and jumbled.

To add insult to injury, I just bought a corset. It is gorgeous, red with a brocade pattern, and the workmanship is glorious. Despite all this though, it was too small on the waist (where I’ve put weight on recently) and far too big on the boobs. I tell you what – that does little for self-esteem when you’ve spent the entire week before it arrives wondering if you’ll look even vaguely good. So, with much regret, back it goes. That little thing on top of already feeling kind of crappy. That tipping point.

Bring on tomorrow – it had better beat the hell out of today.

The absolutely right place to be June 27, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Life is a complex thing. There are so many wandering paths and winding routes to be taken.

I am no believer in fate. The world is too deep, too chaotic. There are bridges spun from gossamer, tunnels and short-cuts that require you to wade through swamps and traverse cliff-edges that hang you over sharp rocks hundreds of metres below. Sometimes it all gets hard to navigate, and great swathes of time can be lost as you stumble through the briar patch. Lethargy, and fear, and sadness are all present and powerful forces, forces that exist alongside the happiness, dreams and aspirations. For fate to exist in a world so mad and unpredictable seems nothing short of ridiculous – we can choose our own paths, plural, and walk our own ways.

Still, I do tend to feel that each path, each route, has pit stops along the way. And sometimes things fall into place so neatly that it is impossible to question their rightness. Last night, watching the stars twinkle into existence in the wake of the setting sun I felt that feeling. A sense of utter calm, all the thoughts in my head startled into silence. A feeling of, by simple serendipity, ending up exactly where I was meant to be at that exact moment in time. A feeling that, right there and then, everything was utterly “right”. Everything was utterly OK.

And things will change, and I will no doubt drift in my dreams way from the exact path, and miss some of the markers on the way – but yesterday evening, in the warmth and the dark, I was absolutely in the right place.

It was wonderful.

Childhood Toys June 24, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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The ever-lovely Domestic Sluts got me thinking the other day about what toys I played with as a kid. I’ve had a bit of a reminiscing week or two, thinking about favourite books and thumbing through well-loved family photos, so the moment I read this article I starting rolling on that nostalgia train right back into my childhood play.

In the Sluts’ article, the common players are rife. The same toys pop up in so many people’s childhoods. The same lumps of plastic or hunks of fur had the ability to generate endless universes, so many imaginary plateaus and worlds that were unique to each and every child who laid their sticky and enthusiastic hands on them. No two imaginings were ever the same, and again it reminds me of the brilliance of young minds, and of just how much shining creativity we have as youngsters, unaffected by the daily rigours of the adult world.

So, what did I play with? The short answer is anything that allowed me to use my imagination, but the long answer is.

It all started with cardboard boxes. They were houses, spaceships, they were the stuff that dreams were made of. In a big enough box I could transport myself anywhere in the world. As I got bigger, so my imaginary world expanded, as it got harder to squeeze myself (both physically and mentally) into a box, and so developed the pirate ships and the dens, built from planks and bits of old furniture and cushions. Endless cushions.

As for the real toys. Well, I never was one for the dolls – I preferred animals. I loved my shorn-headed punk My Little Ponys, with their wings and their magical powers. The animal obsession continued through to Puppy in my Pocket, especially the hospital versions with their tiny injuries that could be rubbed away if your hands were warm enough. The folds and mounds of my duvet served as mountains for forward thinking puppies who wanted to explore the world, shoe boxes became the domain of many an exiled puppy community with little else to do but plot their revenge on the poodles and the King Charles’ that have banished them so furiously.

I owned the "hotel". It was awesome.

Outside of the animals, Lego was by far my favourite toy. It helps that this was (and no doubt still is) my dad’s favourite too. We’d all buckle down with a vast spread of coloured blocks, and we’d make anything our imagination could conjure. We had the sets, of course, but really the best was building huge multi-room mansions for little toupee-haired Lego men to march around it, where the walls changed colour halfway up as the blue bricks ran out. Secret headquarters with garages for Lego ambulances, my much treasured toy cars or the occasional stray Thunderbirds rocket.

You know what? I’m not really broody (well, I biologically am, but I don’t want kids yet thank you very much!), but if there is one thing that can encourage me to make little Lauren shaped offspring it would have to be the temptation of endless Lego building days!

 

Why hello there June 13, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics, Photos.
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Well, it has been a while hasn’t it?! Funny how time bunches together and stretches out sometimes – one day time is creeping by, and the next you are a week down the line seemingly without blinking.

So, what have I been up to since I last popped up to post macabre but fascinating quotes?

Well, I suppose first off I have been working. I have been dragging my sorry arse out of the bed each and every morning, and struggling bleary eyed into work with a sickly feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. It is nothing as bad as many people have been going through in the stresses of the past few turbulent years, but work for the past couple of weeks has been increasingly stressful, full of unhappy people who’s faces fall further and further as the stress builds. Fingers crossed we are past the worst of it, becasue I wouldn’t wish more days like these on any of my friends and workmates!

Things have picked up through the stresses of last week though. I have been off exploring Wales, with the luck of the weather on my side to make it all the more fun. I enjoyed BBQs on the beach, lazing in the (surprisingly strong) Welsh sunshine, and watching the sun set towards the horizon. I have been winding through the mountains on narrow gauge steam trains, watching newborn calves and lambs in the fields, and admiring vistas that make everything all right. It has been a weekend of utter relaxation, just what the doctor ordered!

Some photos…

Barmouth wales

Fighting of the clouds

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

The setting sun

Watching the sun set

The dunes

Hiding in the dunes

Dramatic clouds

Dramatic clouds

The little steam train!

The little steam train!

Of castle bars and Jaguars June 6, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics, Photos.
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Wow, what a weekend.

Friday night I got to trawl around the wonders of IKEA, a destination that always has a hint of magic to me. Growing up IKEA was such a rarity (you can’t really have an antique dealer dad and admit to a love of flat pack furniture and dodgy quality Swedish design…), and that now I am an adult the occasional trips to the huge multi-story blue boxes full of artfully decorated rooms and endless cushions hold a mystique usually saved in adult life for the religious or the arcane. Instead, there I am, wandering around stroking things and pretending that the rooms are mine.

The View from the Castle Inn, Edgehill

What a view!

The Castle Inn, Edgehill

Drinking in a castle!

After enjoying my meatballs on the Friday (not a word, dodgy minded friends!), Saturday started off on a slightly crapper footing, mainly because the vintage fair I was at was so desperately dull. The stall numbers were really limited, and for whatever reason the footfall wasn’t great. I made one sale all day, and spent the rest of it chatting with other stall holders and starting drinking early. Y’know, as ya do. Still, that meant it could easily get better, and get better it did. Skip to the evening, and I was being driven around gorgeous rural Warwickshire in a rather delicious looking Jag, and even better I was wearing an outfit that worked perfectly with it! Couldn’t have planned it better myself!

Matching 60s fashion with the Jaguar E-type

So beautifully coordinating!

Sunday was pretty awesome too as it happens, mainly because the day was full of amazing quantities of gorgeous cars, and more Mustangs than I could shake a stick at. I don’t half desperately love those beautiful muscular cars, there is just something rugged and sublimely beautiful about them. One small car-starting-issue later and we were back on the highway heading to see the X Men: First Class, a wonderful (and veyr enjoyable) end to a fabulous weekend.

Of course, I am now on a bit of a predicable downer. I’m feeling very headachey, tired, and work is stressful at the moment, so the memories of happy weekends are disappearing fast. I just need to keep telling myself that tonight I am seeing the Darkness play in Leamington, and I also get to go for a long overdue Swim & Sauna, so it really isn’t all bad. The stresses will all melt away in no time at all.

What will be will be. May 23, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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I dropped a bowl today. It slid from the edge of the shelf, and before I could catch it it had shattered on the floor. Most of the pieces I could gather, collecting them together into a semblance of the bowl they had once been. Still, there was plenty I couldn’t. Tiny broken shards, slithers of paint and china, crumbling fragments so small they fell to mere atoms beneath my grasping fingertips.

Do you know what I realised today? Though I sometimes feel it, I am not broken. In fact, I am completely, totally, wonderfully whole. In myself I am happy, on myself I can truly depend. My flaws, my indulgences, my reckless belief that life will work out in the end – all of them are things others should be happy to embrace. Sometimes things come along that have the potential to be fabulous, but that they don’t work out isn’t my fault. The fragility of others is not a shattered reflection in the mirror, just something to be accepted, regretted, and walked away from without a backwards glance.

In short, what will be will be.

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