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  • Gemma Speakman

Big topics - plus, volume is always a good idea


A big quiff is a jowl breaker

(ps this is not my school photo, if it was I wouldn't be writing this blog)

If, like me you were born with jowls then hair volume is always a good idea. It started back in the 80's at school when the 'quiff' was in and it started to dawn on me that a much hankered after slimmer face was made possible by simply adding hairspray and kirby grips. Of course the quiff kept getting higher and wider the older I got because it was increasingly hard to resist the very large chocolate muffins in the tuck shop in those days. Then that hair phase passed and it was all bed head and sea salt spray and generally messy and now edging 40 the hair statement is sort of lost again trapped in a sort of no woman's headland. But I was warmed to hear Mary Killen of Gogglebox (she who blends in with the wallpaper if you're not familiar with her name) that 'she needs volume to offset the below.' I thought it was a beautifully succinct and much more dignified way of saying, 'my face is fat.'

But it got me thinking about the mind bending phenomenon of perspective which when you start thinking about it, is everywhere. Then my 5 year old asked me why aeroplanes look so huge on the floor but so tiny in the sky. Trying to explain 'perspective' to a 5 year old isn't easy. Especially when you then delve into your own brain to think how to explain it (we spend years inside our own heads, just knowing things and then a simple question is asked and you're stumped). And then you start using phrases such as 'point of view' or it depends on 'where you are standing' but it gets messy because little people take things very literally. And then you mentally think you could go one further and tell then about the physical and metaphorical perspectives of life but what ends up happening is you promptly give up and just say something quite dismissive like 'just because, ok.' But it made me think that perspective is all pervading - it's so much part of humanity because of course, you can understand your perspective but you can't properly interact or succeed in life unless you try to understand other people's. It's like the celebrities who bemoan giving an autograph or selfie to a fan - to the famous person it has become a tiresome chore; to the adoring fan the snub can shatter their devotedness because in their head, said celebrity should oblige because it's the first time they'e asked and their feeling is the famous person is only famous because of such attention and it's part of their job. But the clash happens because both sides have a completely different perspective or reality of the situation or they're just wired different. A point well proven back in 2015 when the entire world and internet was arguing about the colour of THAT dress - was it blue with black fringe or white with a gold lace fringe?? Same image but so many different opinions and so many different reactions. No wonder war and peace persistently teeter on the edge of perspective - it's kind of a big deal.

As is time and the concept of time. Did you know it is now proven that time passes at different speeds depending on where you are in the world but moreover, it passes at different times depending on your body layout and where you live - so time passes quicker at your head than it does at your feet (because your head has been in existence longer). So says Carlo Rovelli the very clever Italian theoretical physicist who was propelled from the dusty world of academia to the global spotlight with his book 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.' Following rave reviews of his book and applauded for making the complexities of modern science clearer, this is a must read. Rovelli's revelation amongst many others, is that time and space isn't linear, instead, it 'bends.' So if two people were born at exactly the same time but one lived at sea level and the other lived high on a mountain the mountain dweller would end up being being slightly older than the sea level resident. I think Dali had a point.

Swearing is good for you

If you're having one of those weeks, can I let you know that swearing is actually good for you? It's been scientifically proven that cursing can help convey emotion with good effect (no shit), overcome pain and tolerance and motivate you. This is according to swearing scientist, Emma Byrne who has penned the rather appropriate titled book 'Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language.' Here she has trawled through almost two centuries of research on swearing in a multitude of tongues and cultures - its effect on the brain, communities, relationships and cultures. So if you need to unleash some profanities, go ahead and get them off your chest. And I don't mean typing FFS or PMSL. Unearth the real stuff if you feel the need, it'll improve your week.

Pampas Grass

Apparently the 70's staple Pampas Grass is making a return. Pampas grass (Cortaderia) is an attractive ornamental grass that is popular in many landscapes and very easy to grow too - except it needs watering in extreme drought and a yearly requirement to be pruned back to the ground. But it looks totally fab and I love it. It's also available in other shades other than cream including dusty pink. It's a late flowering beauty but adds feather glamour to the garden from February until September. Get involved in this phenomenon - make a head dress for yourself or if you're getting married consider it as embellishment to an arc with other flowers like this one.

Bath trays

Do you love reading in the bath but have trouble with getting the edges of the pages wet and soggy and then give up throw the book out and then forget it's there underneath your feet when you get out and then totally soak it? Happened to you? Well, you'll be pleased to know there's a bit of another 70's/80's trend back in the shape of the bath tray. Forget the rusty, peeling, unattractive wire ones from way back when - now they're made of a whole array of non rust materials such as bamboo. Plus they have room for your phone, your kindle, a glass of wine, rose petals, oils, snacks etc. You might just wonder why you need to be in the bath when you have all of that in front of you. But seriously, if you enjoy reading or want to gaze at pictures of white beaches far away on an iPad that you don't need to hold then give the bath tray a try.


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