Friday Fun for London and the rest of the world

There’s no doubt what the highlight of my non-working week has been – four words: Great. British. Bake. Off. Sadly, this highlight took place with the highlight of my working week (launching the Central London Student Alpha course – a project I’ve been working on since April), meaning I couldn’t watch it live. Instead, I watched it (free Krispy Kreme from the launch in hand) when I got home at 10pm. It had to be watched immediately, as otherwise social media would tell me the winner and spoil the joy. [Yes, I stayed off Twitter till I’d watched it. Addicted? Clearly not.]

My intern lodger had never seen an episode, but she was in the room and got sucked in by my exclamations and the baking puns. Quickly, I appraised her of who had to win (anyone but Brendan) and ran down key baking moments from the last 9 weeks. At the end, she asked quite an astute question: “So, what does the winner win, other than that trophy?” The beauty of GBBO is that yes, that is all they win – no £million baking contract; no job in a patisserie – just the honour of being the best amateur baker in Britain that year. What else do you need? Talking this over with my sister, we mused that it’s unlikely such a concept would work in America, it really seems to be a uniquely British competition (heck, the final takes place in the context of a village fete!).

All this is an exceptionally long preamble to this week’s first piece of fun – a video representation of what a Hollywood version of GBBO might look like. Genius.

One of the reasons why GBBO is so successful is the fact that anyone and everyone can or does bake. Sure, I might be incapable of completing most (probably all) of the technical challenges, but I do love to bake and now take greater care over my work, imagining what Paul and Mary might say about it.

Something else we can all relate to is the comforting power of a hot beverage. Some might choose to express their personality via their mug choices – but how about doing it via a mug-warmer?
I’ll leave you to work out which might be most appropriate for me.
Let’s just say I don’t do mornings… 

It’s more than possible that you might have seen the next piece of fun, but the moment I saw it (on Wednesday) I knew it had to be in Friday’s Fun – given as it incorporates one of my favourite Friday Fun components: periods, and the fools they make of us.

So, first, you need to read this Facebook comment:

And then you need – NEED – to watch the response from Bodyform. (And watch it right to the end – trust me!)

Finally, two pieces of London themed fun – because we all know that London simply is the best city in the world. Firstly, a Tumblr that every London should resonate with – #WhenInLondon. It’s a collection of GIFs (what is it with them at the moment?!) that express the emotion of various situations Londoners find themselves in. Here are a few that resonated with me:

‘Oh we’ve all thought about doing it’

(That one’s especially for Mim.)
Lastly, something that could keep you amused for the rest of the weekend – a brilliant picture containing  lots of representations of tube stations (thanks to Time Out).
Obviously, you’re going to want to click and enlarge that.

Bookish Friday Fun

The bibliophilic fun continues…

First up, a semi-practical piece of fun for those of a travelling nature. Many of you may have seen the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world when it did the Twitter/Facebook rounds a month or so ago, but it’s something that’s worth coming back to – after all, you never know when you might need to know where the most beautiful bookshops are in China…

That’s the Bookworm bookshop in Beijing.

I was actually disappointed at how few of the 20 I’d been to (one – the British and fabulous Barter Books in Alnwick), but it gives me a good bucket list, which can now be added to thanks to this week’s publication of a further 20 recommendations. Happily, this one includes one of Hay on Wye’s gems and my personal favourite – Daunt’s Books in Marylebone (home to many a lunchtime stroking of pretty books). It also, fascinatingly, includes a branch of Waterstones, a chain of which I do not approve – but from the photographic evidence it seems that their store in Bradford’s Wool Exchange is rather delightful. The Guardian also did a response to the original 20, in which readers could suggest their favourites, which is well worth a browse.
One of my favourite secondhand bookshops in London (ok, possibly the country, perhaps the world…) is Ripping Yarns in Highgate. A member of staff there is the author of oft-mentioned Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops (soon to be published as an actual book) and has recently begun a series on her blog of interviews with owners of bookshops about their origins. It begins, predictably, with the owner of Ripping Yarns which will definitely be of interest to the three people I know read this who have been there, but I promise it’s a diverting read for all.
In second hand bookshops you can find many a comic gem – like this book, a photo of which was texted to me the other day with the words: “Now you’re not a nerd but for some reason I thought you’d appreciate this. If nothing else it should really make you laugh!!” Laugh I did – and God bless Katie for saying that I’m not a nerd. 
On reflection, that doesn’t look second-hand! Go out and buy it now! 

That book reminded me of a blog I shared here ages and ages ago that’s probably worth a re-share. Awful Library Books does exactly what the title suggests – it shares awful books still found on library shelves. As you might expect they’re varied and ridiculous, from out of date health manuals, to truly special children’s books. The author has a justified sense of outrage with some of them – those that are held at multiple libraries across the US (the librarians can check these things), despite being woefully outdated. It’s well worth a trip into its archives if your Friday’s shaping up to be dull and dismal… 

And with that, I’d love to say that I’m off to spend my day off curled up with a good book, but no. It’s me and The Art of Biblical Narrative again. Fun times.

Friday Fun can be educational too

Three things for today…

1. Something to make you laugh (and hopefully teach you something):

I have it on good understanding that if you’re currently suffering from beginning of academic year sniffles (or freshers’ flu), watching this will make you feel heaps better. In the mean time, I’ll be on the look out for a vicar with a spinning head…

2. Something educational, crafty and really rather fabulous. Ever wanted to learn how to knit a pigeon?

(In my head there’s a brilliant link between those two videos, but no one else would understand it, so I’ll keep quiet.)

3. Something geeky, mathematical and utterly hilarious:

Ahhh, Mr Cosby – a wise, wise, man. [I will admit that my tired, not very mathematical brain took about 30 seconds to work out this joke when shown it last night.]

I know I said I had three things for you, but in the course of writing this post I’ve found a bonus item. Courtesy of a face to face connection and a Twitter introduction, I’ve discovered a rather lovely blog about New York’s public transport. Public Transit Adventures is a combination of photography and the all important random public transport encounters – an excellent place to while away a tedious Friday morning.

If only…

I had the time/talent/inclination to write a blog about knitting.
Not just any knitting, sock knitting to be precise.

I too could write posts with thrilling titles like Grey Socks Finished! and Easy Socks.

However, my knitting skills are nil, therefore I’ll leave it up to:
Saturday Knit Live

To be fair, the author’s clearly a whizz with needles and my friend Jo would be very envious. I’m obviously just jealous that I don’t have a skill to blog about, unless…anyone interested in a blog on the subject of acting offended by comments even when you’re not, just to gain attention?? No, thought not.

Activities to keep you occupied during church #1


As observed during last night’s service. It wasn’t even a dull sermon!
And this wasn’t some old granny either, a girl a couple of rows in front of me was knitting away throughout the talk, using some rather nice pale green wool.

My friend Jo would definitely approve. She got through a Christmas Eve trip to A&E knitting furiously, trying to finish Christmas present scarves.