Quick question

Some of you may remember that a few months ago I decided to make the move from Blogger to WordPress and had acquired lizclutterbuck.com along the way. In fact, I know some of you remember this, as sporadically I’ve had tweets from people asking why it hadn’t gone live yet.

There are several reasons. For a start, the site is being built for me, for free, by a generous friend (who’s also using the process to teach themselves some new skills) and not only have they been busy over the summer, they’d also hit upon a technical hitch that needed resolution. When getting things for free, I don’t tend to hassle!

But some of the blame lies at my feet. Always prone to procrastination and an inability to make important decisions quickly, I’d delayed some key elements of my own contribution to the site – the most important of which was its name.

Look above this post. You’ll notice the title of this blog is ‘Eliza Does Very Little’. It was an unusual moment of inspiration on the quiet night in 2005 when this blog was first created and it’s served its purpose well. But the point of developing a new site was to have a website of which this blog will be part, rather than just a blog. It’s also meant to be more professional looking and less amateurish – so could do with a rather more serious name.

However, there’s a problem: I can’t think of a new name.

At a breakfast meeting with my web developer yesterday morning [this sounds absurdly efficient – in fact they’d been staying at my place and we only remembered to talk website half an hour before they had to catch a train] we contemplated the options. In truth, unless I have a sudden lightbulb moment, there is only one option – to name lizclutterbuck.com the highly original ‘LizClutterbuck.com’. In the words of the famous advert, it does exactly what it says on the tin, but it’s not at all creative.

So, blog readers, I need your help. Can you think of anything more interesting? Ideally something short and sweet (I’m drawn to a pair of words for some reason, I just can’t think of two) and not at all cheesy.
Suggestions happily received in the comments, via Twitter, on Facebook, in an email or a text, or, if you’re really retro, on a carrier pigeon.

I’d be most grateful!

Not so disgruntled

A week ago, I shared my disgruntlement with Blogger’s recent changes and shared my ambition to get a little more professional in my web presence and convert (at some point in the near future) to WordPress. The following day I received a text from my WordPress teacher asking: “Time for lizclutterbuck.com?” and attaching a hyperlink to a page listing the various variations on that theme that were available domain names. (Which pretty much amounted to anything – we Liz Clutterbucks are a select bunch!)

By the end of the week, lizclutterbuck.com was mine (it currently just redirects to this blog) and plans were afoot for exciting developments. I’m very lucky to be blessed with techy, webby friends who are very generous in their time and abilities, so I’m going to have a lot of assistance in the process. It’s all very exciting, but leaves me with a lot of questions, that you may be able to help me with…
  • What form should the site take? Do I still want the blog to be its main focus, or will it be one component of a larger entity? 
  • Which of the gazillion WordPress themes should I use? 
  • Do I add other aspects of my life to it? [There’s already been a request for sermons. I don’t have a huge back catalogue of them currently, but it’s something I could build upon.] 
  • How do people like to read blogs? Do people dislike ‘Read More’ hyperlinks as much as I do? 
  • What sites do I like and can I get inspiration for my own site from them? 
  • What sites do other people like? 
Fun times. The research phase is now underway, so any suggestions would be gratefully received! In the mean time, I will sporadically burst into spontaneous geeky giggling…

The curse of summer birthdays?

I am 30.
I am still alive.
It didn’t hurt and there were no tears. Life goes on.

I had a great day with friends, plenty of cake (a huge quantity of cake – my colleagues are rather blessed at the moment!), delightful weather, a free musical, several raucous hours of karaoke and lots and lots of love from a whole host of people. I was very lucky.

Oh, and a group of friends joined together in organising quite an epic birthday present. I am now the proud owner of my very own Dave Walker original.

Thanks Dave, for agreeing to do – it will be hung with pride in my new flat.

Having a birthday in the height of summer is, in many ways, a great thing. There’s a good chance of good weather – kind of. Often, you’re away on holiday and you get to celebrate in exotic locations. (That’s the theory at least, last year’s was celebrated in Shepton Mallet.) It’s perfectly acceptable not to go to work and you never had to go to school on your birthday.

However, there are some negatives, primarily the fact that summer = holiday time. Without fail, many of those you’d like to celebrate with you will be on holiday. I wonder if this is why me & my sister tended to have joint parties growing up? Perhaps our parents were hoping we wouldn’t notice the smaller number of guests? (In fact, we may have often had these parties just before school broke up.) It’s also wedding season and the last weekend in July is a very popular one for nuptials. Plus, in the Methodist world, it’s the time that ministers move house. My sister suffered more from this one – our parents twice moved house the day before her birthday (including their move to Ireland). Celebrating your birthday in a city you’ve just moved to, having left behind all your friends, more than sucks. Then there’s the British education system which dictates that summer-borns are the youngest in their year, putting them at an academic disadvantage which research suggests is not overcome until age 12…

Perhaps the pros outweigh the cons. The weather is a definite bonus, as are the holidays. Absent friends give one the excuse for multiple celebrations and people buy you birthday drinks well into the autumn. Plus, having a major present-giving occasion mid-way through the year handily divides up the months between Christmas. I guess it’s less of a curse and more of a blessing.

Friday Fun for a day off

Apologies for the delay in posting this week’s Friday Fun. The problem with having a frenetic working week this week is that it left me very little time to explore random internet diversions – unless they had #methconf attached to it in some way. [Following that hashtag will go some way to explaining what I’ve been up to all week.]

First of all, I just want to boast that something I posted on my blog weeks ago has this week made it into The Hairpin. I think it’s the first time that’s actually happened and is a happy reversal of the usual pattern of events. They drew attention to the fabulous ‘Weird things customers say in bookshops’ strand of Jen Campbell’s blog, which incidentally, is still being updated – the 7th instalment has just appeared and keeps getting better and better. (I’m trying to think up something truly weird to say the next time I’m in Highgate and can pop into the shop, but I just don’t think I’m special enough.)

Secondly, there is a new tool by which you can gain answers to all life’s important questions – what to buy your recently acquired girlfriend for her birthday, where in the UK to go on holiday [Mansfield] and, fabulously, which is the coolest Christian denomination. Miss Information’s Booth will accept questions via Twitter or e-mail and will apparently be at this year’s Greenbelt. I’m super excited, but have yet to come up with a suitable question to ask her.

One of the reasons why I’ve delayed writing this post is because I had a house guest to entertain and we spent the morning walking to London Bridge and back in order to have coffee at Monmouth Coffee – one of London’s best independent coffee places, so I’m told. I would know little about such things as I don’t actually drink coffee, but this morning I had my first ever Flat White and the experience wasn’t an entirely unpleasant one. My companion is quite the coffee connoisseur having spent the last couple of months working at another highly recommended coffee venue – the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Farringdon (visit it if you get the chance, they love their coffee) which has caused her to develop an addiction to the stuff – on our way home we had to stop at Starbucks too. Which needs me neatly to a nicely diverting little Tumblr of misspelled names on Starbucks’ take-out cups

So that’s meant to read ‘Claire’.

My first ever Flat White – some people are going to be SO proud of me! 

What else is fun at the moment? Well, if you’re really, really bored this afternoon, I can offer you the distraction of a 36 page research paper that came out this week. It’s basically what my life has revolved around for the last couple of years and could potentially be interesting if you fit into some or all of these categories:
(a) You’re Christian or went to church at some point in your life.
(b) Are aged 25ish to 40ish
(c) Have some connection to the Methodist Church
(d) Like reading very long research papers

Impersonation is the highest form of flattery?

For about a year, I’ve lusted after a friend’s favourite pair of shoes. This year, a new and updated pair appeared and I decided I had to have them, and thus, last night we ended up shoe twins. [Yes, Twitter followers, these are the ‘new boots’ whose progress I kept you tediously appraised of throughout last week. Apologies for being so dull and shoe obsessed.]

I was a little concerned that she’d be upset that I’d effectively copied her. After all, when sororal telepathy kicks in, I have a tendency to be rather narked. I became even more concerned yesterday lunch time when I realised that my skirt was not dissimilar to a style she wears and that I was toting a canvas bag from our mutual second favourite bookstore (that would be Foyles; Daunts is our favourite), albeit a different one to her favourite tote, but still, the similarities were there.

It should be noted that I wasn’t intentionally imitating her; that quite frankly there are significantly worse people to imitate; and that she has a fantastic yet simple sense of style which is fairly easy to emulate accidentally. Plus, we have similar tastes – it’s probably why we’re friends. All the same, I was still a little anxious when she arrived.

Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. Firstly, her pair are on their last legs and she was contemplating getting the new version – seeing mine has simply confirmed that decision. Secondly, seeing them on someone else made her realise just how great they are. I don’t intend to sound big-headed (or make her sound it) when I repeat her comment that “wow, those boots really do look great with tights, I mean, people have told me they looked good, but now I can see it for myself!”.

Is impersonation the highest form of flattery? Should we worry if we dress the same as friends – why is it that once you’re past being a teenager this stops being appealing? Is it simply a passion for not conforming and breaking free from years of enforced school uniform wearing?

Most importantly though, I love new shoes…
Plus, I’m pleased that with this purchase I am making a determined effort to make myself wear heels more regularly. These are comfortable ones, so I have no excuse (other than the occasional moment of tottering unsteadily and reducing my walking pace fractionally) not to wear them.

Besides, I like what walking in heels does to my hips – sashaying really is quite the appropriate expression. You know why women like heels (apart from the height thing)? It makes them feel downright womanly.