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So my intended trip to the Saatchi Gallery yesterday was THWARTED by its closure for installation (it’s closed for ten days! Ridiculous!) – instead DM and I went to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum. I’ve been every year for a lot of years and, as usual, it lived up to my expectations (despite the recent scandal where the winning picture was disqualified). Here was our favourite picture, by Robert Friel:

I love it because it immediately makes you wonder what he is thinking in his little fluffy head. Fab fab fab.

So in an occasional feature of one, here is your update on celebrity pugs: Nicola from Girls Aloud has TWO new pugly puppies. They are so cute that SHE CANNOT BEAR TO BE PARTED FROM THEM. As evidenced in this story from the Daily Mail (hisss, booo etc etc but still I read their gossip pages, THE SHAME). Apparently their names are Ronnie and Reggie because of their destructive tendencies and East End accents. (N.B. one of those reasons may be fabricated.)

What is even better/totally tragic and devastating (depending on your level of cynicism/pug affection) is that in Googling this story (read it a while ago, just blogging it now) I discovered this touching tribute video to Nicola’s previous pug, Elvis. Sample YouTube comment: ‘I loved Elvis and i still do I have a picture of Nicola and him it makes me cry watching this’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…!

Probably my favourite book of the past few months: I was given it for my birthday, in October, by my little sister. It’s fab. Really well written and in good chunks for reading on the way to work and back. Also the cover is beautiful (I love the typefaces) and (though you can’t tell from the picture) the book feels really nice: it’s kind of floppy and papery and just an example of good design.

It’s on Amazon, here.

Apparently this is some kind of new thing. I like it. Came across it through a link to this site, which ‘maps the history of the Beatles through infographics’ (beautifully done, I should add) but then ended up with this:

Yes, it’s a flowchart of Total Eclipse of the Heart. Now someone just needs to diagram the literal video version and my life will be, in one small way, complete.

… some cushions made out of this seriously, mind bogglingly fabulous Alexander Henry ‘pin up’ series of fabrics:

(‘Wranglers’)

(‘Ready for Action’)

DM and I went for a browse in Spitalfields and surrounding markets at the weekend and someone was selling cushion covers like this for £10 each: obviously my mean spirit/lust for a bargain kicked in as I decided that I could make them myself. Unfortunately AH is an American company so looks like I will be ordering off ebay (how much money will I really save, I wonder? But I don’t like to buy things that I feel I could do on my own.) But seriously. Have you ever seen anything more completely fabulous and delightful?

The other good thing I am contemplating at the moment is something I definitely couldn’t make myself: these pug wall graphics which I saw in Supernice on the Columbia Road.

Again – I want them – but they don’t *really* go with my bedroom. Nor do the hunk pillows, come to that, but some things are too imperatively wonderful to be resisted. And as much as I like the pug stickers, I am not quite sure that the same goes for them.

So my friend JW and I had a pleasing jaunt yesterday evening to the new Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. It is ENORMOUS but was not at all busy – weird, given that Christmas is now seriously impending – but delicious as it gave us ample time to browse. Here’s what I bought:

Dorothy Perkins dressLovely woolly zebra-print dress (OK it sounds weird when you describe it) from Dotty P’s, £25 instead of £38, wot a bargain.

New Look ladybroguesLovely pewter ladybrogues from New Look at a ridiculously cheap SEVEN POUNDS! I ask you. ‘ANOTHER pair of shoes?’ asked my mum. She fails to realise how immensely practical and sensible this purchase obviously was.

Here’s what I didn’t buy:

Hairy jumperHairy jumper, also from Dorothy Perkins. I actually loved it but decided that I couldn’t justify spending £28 to look like the Cookie Monster. If it goes in the sale it is ALL MINE though.

So mostly what’s happened between my last post and now is, baking.

Bede the dinosaur cake

This is Bede, he was a birthday cake for my best friend.

Bede's little face

My mum took against him cos of his little face but that is what I like best about him!

Cupcake close up

I also made some cupcakes (with my birthday friend)… and the help of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  It’s good stuff, people!

Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

venus advertThings I like about this advert from the 1850s: ‘It has more Good Points about it than 9 out of 10 advertised articles’.  No need to elaborate what the good points are, and no problem about the fact that ‘9 out of 10 advertised articles’ are unlikely to be corset shields themselves.  No, the Venus Corset Shield is better than 90% of all the products on the market, regardless of what you actually need or want.  Incredible.  (PS: Any ideas on what a corset shield actually is?)

Two friends from my course and I devised and held a glorious 70s party this weekend, complete with authentic polyester clothing and (the subject of this post) authentic horrible party food.  Below you see the centrepiece of our chemically spread, ‘fruit surprise’, in its naked and its completed state.

Naked flan

Topped flan

And of course, no party would be complete without some little cheese and pineapple ones:

Cheese plateThe convincing patina on the photos is courtesy of Poladroid which is both a wonderful and baffling program.  As soon as people get good digital cameras they immediately begin to yearn for the days of bad processing and unreliable development…

For want of anything more creative, here are some nice fat babies to make you smile:

Fat baby with a sheep

Super fat baby

Greedy babyConfession: one of these might be me…

…and if pictures of babies make you happy then try these two laughing baby videos and you will be completely overjoyed.