Guest Post: Etienne

Hi my loves,

I’m Etienne, from Etiennes Journal. You might remember me from Bex’s third instalment of her Why Do You Blog? series. (Link here!)

In that series, I told you that I am an aspiring writer. So, whilst your lovely Bex is away, I have decided to take this wonderful opportunity to show you some of my writing.

I wrote this story a few months ago, for a competition I entered. I had to chose between the titles: ‘The Swing of the Pendulum’ or, ‘New Dresses.’ I had ideas for both, but my idea of ‘The Swing of the Pendulum’ outshone my other one.

I do hope you like it! Please tell me what you think! And, if you like what you read, you can stop by my blog any time. It’s always open. 😉

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The Swing of the Pendulum
Tick. Tick. Tick.
My grandparents live in the Californian countryside, in Santa Paula. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone. My grandma collected antiques when I was a kid. One, of which, included The Grandfather Clock, in the corner of their crowded living room. My grandmother has a thing for clocks. She loves them.
When I was little, I was shipped off there every Christmas, whilst my mother and her boyfriend of-the-time spent a romantic weekend together in a spa somewhere. Mooching off of grandma and grandpa, I suppose. Anyway, when I was small, dressed in my knit sweaters and with my hair gelled back; I would sit in front of the good old clock for hours on end.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
That’s the sound it made, you see. I was so awestruck by the blasted, ticking thing. The clock was massive. Well, I was tiny, but still. It was tall, and made of solid rosewood. It had ivory carvings decorating the sides. The face of the clock was carved of an iridescent marble of some sort. The pendulum was showcased behind a glass screen, swooping relentlessly. Gold in colour, and as shiny as new pennies, I would watch diligently as I tried to see my reflection in the circular end. I never did.
I did see one face in it, though. That was the face of the Man in the moon. The same face I am staring at now, as I am writing this. It was my favourite childhood tale. Every night, regardless of my whereabouts, I would stare up at the nights sky, at the moon, and in to that man’s face. If I stared long enough, I could see him smile.
Then man in the moon was my friend when Edan would leave for the night. Him and I would sit and watch the swinging clock for hours. Edan was my only friend when I was younger. My mother would yell at me when I brought him up. She thought I was cuckoo. But I don’t think I was. Edan was a cool guy. He would say and do things that I would never dream of doing. He would do stuff when people’s backs were turned, to make me laugh. No one else seemed to find it funny, though.
I talk to Edan sometimes; he sees me every once and a while. He tells me that mom will come back soon. I doubt it. He’s always been the positive one. He’s sitting with me now. He’s also sitting with Dane.
Dane is the person I wish I could be. He became my friend when I was fifteen. One day, I was looking in the mirror, examining my changing, pubescent body, and he just walked in to the bathroom. The bathroom in my grandparents’ house is covered in sepia-tone photographs. Grandma mainly had up photos of old clock faces, or their sparkling pendulums. She’s weird with her clocks. Sometimes, I could hear the sounds of their swinging as I stood in the bathroom.
So, in walked Dane, the good-looking bad-boy. His chin is always perfectly smooth, and close-shaved, and he never has a spot. His smile isn’t crooked, and he is streamlined. He tells me it’s because he’s a swimmer. I can’t swim.
And I’m Aden. I’m eighteen, from San Francisco. For a while I’ve lived in this place the people around me call SFI. I don’t know why they call it that. When I am in my room, Dane and Edan come and sit against the walls and talk to me. They tell me how much they hate this place.
Just an hour ago, I was in my room there. Dane and Edan were going off about how they don’t like the women who come in and give me my vitamin injections everyday, as it makes them feel weak. I don’t understand this. But I think that they must be feeling weak-at-the-knees, or something. I know what it’s like to feel squeamish. Every night they tell me to leave. They tell me to get away from that place. I like it there, it’s home.
Mom’s not there, though. I haven’t seen her in a while. She doesn’t live with me. And I don’t know my father. She said that they split up before I was born. She always said that it was because Dad’s head wasn’t screwed on properly. I’ve always found this a rather illogical excuse, but I never questioned it. Instead, Edan would lift his head off of his shoulders in mockery. No matter how much I tried, I was never able to separate my neck from my body. I ended up with terrible cuts and scratches around my neck from it. Mom always went crazy when she saw them, but she was always a little off with me.
Dane was able to get me out. He knew this picking lock routine; well, that’s what he told me. All he did was stand by the wall of the door, and then told me to open it. It was unlocked.
And now we’re here, at my favourite place in the world, hearing the traffic go by. I’ve always admired the Golden Gate Bridge, ever since I was a kid. Whenever we would drive on it, to get to grandma and grandpas, I would always see it bend and contort, and it felt like a magic, red rollercoaster ride. The suspended sides of the bridge bent in to the tracks, and the big pillar in the middle became my carriage. Mom would yell at me when I screamed in delight at the whooshing ride.
Dane’s just taken his shoes off. He’s lined them neatly and precisely next to him. When I asked him why, he said: “because I wanted to, asshole.” Whatever. He’s standing up straight, looking out on to the watery expanse. The wind’s blowing at him, but his hair is still perfectly in place, unlike mine, the curly mane.
Edan is up now, too. He has placed his shoes exactly next to Dane’s. We’re all wearing the same shoes, really. We always almost wear the same thing a lot of the time, the three of us, in different colours, though. Dane always looks better than Edan and I, no matter what. Dane’s shoes are a dark grey, Edan’s a light, and mine are a worn-out black. Edan’s pulled his sweater off now, in exact time with Dane. But they didn’t bother to fold them up or anything. They just let it fall off of the bridge, and in to the water. There was only one plop though.
They’re looking at me now. Their faces are expressionless. Even though they’re looking at me, they’re speaking in hushed tones to each other. They often do that. Whenever I ask them what they’re talking about, they don’t answer most of the time. If I’m not looking, and they are speaking, it’s like I am listening to a tape recorder, or something, and I can’t shut it off. Dane and Edan are massive talkers.
The moon’s full tonight. I can see the face of the Man in the moon. In his face I can kind of see my own. And, in that, I can see my reflection in the pendulum of the big grandfather clock. I’ve always imagined what it would be like to be so small, that the force of a swooping pendulum could throw you off course for the rest of your life. To be so small that the force would –
* * *
The mysterious boy with curly brown hair put down his pen abruptly.
His worn, white hospital dress was folded beside him. The shoes he stole were placed neatly a few paces away from his feet. He seemed to be looking up at something; something that wasn’t there. He took the paper, and slotted it in between the thin railings behind him.
He had written journals since he was little, that writing was a compulsion to him, almost a need. He wrote journals to record what he’d heard, what he’d seen, and what he felt during the day. Like a normal kid’s diary, one supposes. Well, one could suppose that.
The boy brought himself to his feet. He had climbed over the fencing. He had tiptoed around the wires, and networked down the railings to find a side to place himself. He was exposed from the waistline up, his knitted jumper floating around in the Pacific somewhere close by. The boy looked out at the scene in front of him: the navy sky, dirtied by clouds of smoky black; the water, reflecting the full moon as a puddle of yellow amidst the black ripples; the San Francisco skyline, darted with thousands of people so blissfully unaware of his presence.
As a child, Aden was imaginative. He would sit in front of a grandfather clock for hours on end, muffling to himself in an array hushed, deep tones. His eyes would follow the pendulum so accurately; he would never miss a swing. He threw himself around the house, to try and master the force of that pendulum; what it would be like to feel a force greater than him.
Aden’s head darted from his left to his right. His mouth was open, panting. His eyes were wide, excited.
Aden suffers from a violent form of hallucinogenic schizophrenia. He hears and sees things to such a dramatic extent, that he does not know about his mother’s hourly visits to him. He does not know that the ‘Dane’ and, ‘Edan’, characters that he speaks about at the San Francisco Institute, where he resides, are just figments of his imagination. Anagrams aren’t too hard for the muddled brain to conjure up.

Suddenly, Aden’s head stopped flickering from left to right, and he stared straight ahead again. His arms were erect and motionless at his sides. His face was expressionless. And, all of a sudden, with a concavely arched back, and pointed toes, he flung himself off of the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. His back was at such a circular angle, that it looked uncannily like he had been hit with a giant pendulum.
What Aden had just written was a suicide note, and he didn’t even know it. Almost 3,000 people commit suicide, around the world, every day. One in ten schizophrenic people die due to suicide. Aden is just another statistic.
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I hope you liked it!

Lots of love,


Winter Wishlist.

Winter Wishlist.
As the winter draws in and we all become addicted to Fantasy Shopper, we all know that we’re going to have to adapt our wardrobes for the cold months ahead. Whilst I’ve been playing the aforementioned game recently (recently being ALL THE TIME), I have spotted some items that I would love to purchase in the ‘real’ world, so to speak.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Have you found any outfits on Fantasy Shopper that you’re lusting after?
I’m putting this little lot on my Christmas list!

125 Books In A Year – A Challenge

For someone like me who is an avid reader, 125 books in a year shouldn’t really be a challenge at all.
However, recently I’ve found myself not really reading at all – and this saddens me.
Add to this that within a couple of weeks, I’m going to have my hands full with a little baby and you can begin to see why this is going to be a bit of a challenge for me.
I have seen similar challenges on a few blogs, and a lot of people who’ve given up along the way. Yet I’ve also seen people who smash their target of  {insert number here} books easily. So how will I fare?
I’ve given myself some rules regarding this challenge:
-The books must be exactly that – books. No short stories, books of poetry(much as I love them), but novels.
-I can read non-fiction, such as autobiographies, biographies etcetera.
-I can reread books, however I can only reread them once during the duration of this challenge.
-If I do reread, I have to try to make sure that the majority of the books I choose aren’t rereads. I need to be open to new books and new authors.
-I will post a fortnightly/monthly update (undecided yet), letting you all know how I am doing.
So that’s that!
I’m starting with How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran..
Here goes!

Saturday night at the movies…

Saturday night at the movies…
‘Who cares what picture you see
When you’re hugging with your baby in last row in the balcony…’
(lyrics courtesy of The Drifters)
So recently I’ve been doing very little. I’ve either been blogging, entering competitions, eating or sleeping. I’ve found little energy to go shopping or go out properly anywhere, so most of my time has been spent indoors.
This hasn’t been too great on my bank balance. How, you may ask? I may not be feeling up to shopping on the high street, but I can still spend money like nobodys business and have recently bought a whole pile of DVD’s.
So with that in mind and having watched pretty much all of them in the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d do a little film roundup (with little to no spoilers) of them all. Enjoy.
Don’t Say A Word. Released in 2001, this is by no means a recent film – however, this came as part of a 3 dvd bundle at Blockbuster for £3, so how could I refuse? Starring Michael Douglas and a young Brittany Murphy years before her tragic death, Don’t Say A Word tells the story of a psychiatrist whose daughter is kidnapped and the only way he can get her back is to obtain a six digit number from a young girl. The problem is that young girl (Brittany Murphy) is mentally disturbed after watching her father get hit by a train, and what seems like an easy task soon proves to be the complete opposite.
The film isn’t the greatest I’ve ever seen, but it certainly keeps you interested, and with a cast such as Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy and Sean Bean, it was never going to be totally rubbish.
I’d give it a rating of 4/5.
Red Riding Hood. This is a pretty recent film, and works on a different premise to the tale we’re all used to. Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, a young girl who you instantly identify as ‘Red Riding Hood’ (her red coat in the picture above may give it away slightly!) who lives in a little village being stalked by a wolf. The wolf hasn’t killed anyone for twenty years, however one day it strikes, killing Valerie’s sister which sets off a dramatic turn of events. It is soon revealed that the wolf isn’t like any normal wolf, it is in fact a werewolf – and the human form of the werewolf is someone in the village. But who? Suspicions are cast by almost everyone, and the film keeps you guessing to the very end. I also like the love triangle demonstrated in the film between Valerie, her true love Peter and her betrothed, Henry.
I have seen quite a few negative reviews on this film, and very few positives – however, I found this film to be pretty good, despite it not being what I expected.
I’d give it a rating of 5/5.
One Hour Photo. Another DVD from the 3 piece bundle. I’m sure you’ve all heard of this film, which sees Robin Williams take on a role very different to his usual roles. He plays a lonely photo technician who works in a local supermarket printing out customers photos, and he develops an obsession with a young American family who regularly visit him with photos to be processed. You get a glimpse inside his flat at one point in the film and you see a wall covered in photos of this one family. At times, you’re almost made to feel sorry for him and at others, you want to rip him apart.
Williams is exceptional in this, the film did make me very uncomfortable however and I almost had to turn it off. I don’t deny it was a good film – however, I felt some of the issues and loose ends weren’t addressed in the closing scenes, and this annoyed me a little.
I’d rate it 2/5 – although a great film, I’m disappointed with the ending.
The Green Lantern. One that the boyfriend chose. Admittedly, I did only start watching the film because of Ryan Reynolds, however I have to say that once I got into it, I did quite enjoy it. Despite it being panned by the critics, I thought that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively did fantastic jobs, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Reynolds plays Hal Jordan who becomes The Green Lantern when a dying alien (a Green Lantern himself) grants him the Green Lantern ring. It has pretty much the premise of a normal superhero movie – normal guy develops powers for whichever reason, gets the girl, saves the world, bla de bla. We all know the drill. Yet there’s something different about this film, I’m just not entirely sure what.
I’d give the film 4/5.
Nine Dead. Directed and starring Melissa Joan Hart (yes, she of Sabrina The Teenage Witch fame), the film is about nine people taken hostage and who find themselves locked in a room, each chained to a pole. Their kidnappers gives them ten minutes at a time to try and work out why they are there before killing them, one at a time. Once someone has been killed, the ten minutes start again.
To be honest, this film was rubbish. The only thing good about it is that it kept you guessing to the very end. How were they all connected? What had they done? The storyline, especially the ending, were very weak however and I’m sure a lot more could have been done with the plot.
I’d give it a 1/5.
The Strangers. My boyfriend has been getting annoyed with me recently – when we first started going out, all I ever wanted to watch was rom-coms, however recently I’ve been making him buy more and more horrors and thrillers. The Strangers is no exception. Starring Liv Tyler, this film tells the story of a young couple who leave a wedding they are attending to stay in the boyfriend’s families holiday home, which is nearby. It transpires that he proposed to her this very night, but she feels too young to be tied down, and it almost seems like they’re about to breakup.
He calls a friend to pick him up in the morning, and whilst he is waiting until morning, he goes to pick them up some cigarettes (he is being picked up, so she can take the car). Whilst he is gone, strange things start to happen, and you soon begin to notice three strangers with masks hanging around, long before Liv Tyler does. Her boyfriend returns and what follows is a story of them trying to stay alive throughout the early hours of the morning whilst being stalked by these three strangers.
I felt this film was quite good, however you never find out who the strangers are, and why they are so vindictive… it is a shame, because you’re kept gripped until the end wondering if they’ll get out alive…
I’d rate it 4/5.
The Condemned. Last but by no means least, The Condemned. Starring Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones, this film is about ten convicts ‘rescued’ from their respective jails and put on an island in a reality show being broadcast over the internet. How do they win? By being the last one alive.
The American version of Japan’s Battle Royale, this would never normally be my type of film – however, being a bit of a WWE geek, I had to see just how well Stone Cold could act – and I was pleasantly surprised.
The film is very violent from the start, hence the 18 rating, and some of the characters are a little weak, but Austin and Jones more than make up for it. Instead of hating the convicts, you end up hating the vile producer who thinks that watching humans die, no matter what mistakes they’ve made, is entertainment. This film isn’t for the faint-hearted, but I rate it 5/5.
Have you seen any of these?
What did you think?

2true Glossywear Nail Polish No.22

2true Glossywear Nail Polish No.22
I recently signed up to mystreetchic which no doubt, you’ve probably already heard of.
As a reward for signing up, you receive a nail polish and I was pleased to receive this polish through the post the other day.
Unfortunately the pictures aren’t great and what makes it even worse is that I had to file down my nails dramatically because they kept breaking at work before I went on maternity leave, and now just won’t be practical with a baby about to arrive – long nails + baby sick/poo? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Anyway, heres what the bottle looks like, and how it looks on the nail:
Apologies for the awful second picture – believe me, it’s the best of a bad bunch!
As you can see its quite shimmery, and this was achieved after just one application. It isn’t my normal colour of choice as nail polishes go, but it definitely adds a bit of shimmer to these dark nights!
Have you signed up to mystreetchic? Did you receive a free nail polish?
I’d love to know!