Skipping merrily along

If you’ve been a regular reader to teacup and cake, you would have known that the past year has been pretty interesting. Since my mini escape to Nepal for a few months, I moved up to Oxford to start a new job. Alas, I have yet to explore the city of dreaming spires. The short journey to London keeps calling me. I’m overjoyed to be near many of my friends, but sad to no longer live in beautiful Sussex.

Now that life has become more settled, I shall endeavor as always, dear reader, to be more regular with my posts. I have left you hanging in Nepal with my teaching experience at KEEP and have skipped merrily to books, leaving out my hike to the Annapurnas, my odd yoga experience in Pokhara, my love of white water rafting.

But life back in the UK has become terribly exciting – I’ve hardly had time to breathe, let alone write. Then there’s my photography…

Do check back from time-to-time. Or, even better, subscribe to teacup and cake! There’s a form to the right of this post.

If you have any ideas on what you would like me to blog about, then drop me tweet or email me


The three books that shaped my life

In the second in a series of guest posts about the three most influential books on your life, Emma Taylor blogs on about how Penguin, rebellious foxes, and a graphic novel has shaped her reading life.

Ever since I can remember there have been books. What I mean to say is, I grew up surrounded by books. Cupboards and shelves around the house bursting with titles, collections of my Mum’s psychedelically patterned Penguin reads looking as much like an art collection as anything else, bedtime stories being read aloud to me and then that joy of sneaking a torch out from under my pillow and continuing, with that weeks written adventure, on my own.

So it’s fair to say books have been by my side through my best of times and my worst of times (see what I did there?). They are my constant companion, shaping my attitude to a day just with their punctuation. Clever little sods.So when I was asked by Sarah to choose The Three Books That Shaped My Life I had to make sure my selection was a careful one . . .

No. 1 – Fantastic Mr Fox By Roald Dahl.

This was by far and away by favourite childhood book. I loved the adventure, the rebellious quality and all that talk of geese and stolen cider after hours just made me long for a midnight feast. Reading Fantastic Mr Fox was my gateway into reading for escapism. Armed with my torch, I would sit up for hours forgetting the worries of the day. To be honest this probably explains my great love of cider, although oddly has no bearing as to why I ended up as @OandtheFoxes on Twitter.

No. 2 – Behind The Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.

I studied this gem for my English lit A-Level, and even discounting the many times I read it across those two years, it’s my most visited story. It tells the tale of Ruby Lennox from conception to adult life, wonderfully weaving in vignettes of her family tree. You jump through time, with the help of footnotes, on each occasion after our ‘present day’ narrator comes into contact with a seemingly random object. So the discovery of a button by our protagonist, transports us the reader back to its original owner and the significance it holds. It’s a joy of a book.

No. 3 – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1  by Alan Moore.

Now although this isn’t on my personal Top Ten Reads of All Time, it does mark a significant milestone in my life as a reader. Reading the first League volume was a gateway for me, it introduced me to a new way of story telling. Actually perhaps introduced is the wrong way of describing it, because it’s not as though I didn’t already have any comics. It’s just this one has a special way about it. It’s political, funny, it nods to classic literary figures and it’s rude. I mean what more can you want? Moore and illustrator Kevin O’Neill hide little visual jokes amongst the pages too, it feels like a right of passage when you find them too. As though by finding them you’re ‘in’.

So there you have it. My reading life in three books.

Read a previous post written by Tea With Me and my three books.

Have you read the books described by Emma? What three books have influenced your life? 

Hold on Brick!

Four days ago, the name Samantha Brick was trending on Twitter. Not knowing who she was, I clicked on her name and was faced with a furore. The world was in a frenzy over this woman.

Why? For an article she wrote for The Daily Mail titled – ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty: why women hate me for being beautiful.’ The provocative title naturally raised my hackles. Brick tells us how she’s had fares paid for her, free champagne on a flight and free drinks bought to her table by unknown men because of her good looks.

Lucky b**ch. Although, I would be creeped out if random men wanted to pay for my train fare. I’d be wondering what they wanted in return. She’s also been dropped by her female friends for being pretty, and has been accused to having an affair with husbands. But it was this paragraph which offended me:

If you’re a woman reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed your own opinion about me — and it won’t be very flattering. For while many doors have been opened (literally) as a result of my looks, just as many have been metaphorically slammed in my face — and usually by my own sex.

Now Brick. Hold on!

She trended for three days. THREE DAYS! As a Tweet-a-olic, I know that trends come and go in a matter of minutes. The fact that she trended for several days meant the Tweeps were furious. The question is, were they justified? There’s no doubt that Ms Brick is a pretty woman. That I don’t deny, but as a fellow sista, my objection is that we don’t like other beautiful women.

I felt sorry that her female boss felt threatened – could it be that it wasn’t her good looks, but it was the mere fact she was another women that could potentially be climbing the ranks?  And as for having an affair? Could it be that her friend was just the jealous type anyway, or that there were deep-rooted problems in the marriage and it’s easier to blame Brick for their issues?

Yes – women are hard on other women. We can be bitchy and underhanded and awful human beings. I too have experienced this first hand and it isn’t nice. Thankfully, not from my female friends – but from two older ladies I used to catch the train with. It’s not because I think I’m attractive – far from it. I have no idea why, but my Mum tells me it’s because I’m young, a free spirit, and exciting. After all, I was about to climb to Everest Base Camp. And yes, my Mum thinks I’m beautiful.

Like many women, I’m riddled with insecurities and find it hard to understand why people call me pretty. Of course I’m secretly pleased – who isn’t? But at no point do I automatically think that women don’t like me because I’m deemed attractive. I surround myself with beautiful, intelligent women who like me wants fun, laughter, a bloody good time and a decent book. Am I intimated by them? Only when they get angry! Am I jealous of them? No. Envious – yes, but jealous – no.  There is always someone who is going to be much funnier, stunning, intelligent than you.

I hate arrogance and Samantha Brick is arrogant. That is why I’m upset. I’m not offended by her good looks, the fact that she’s blond. Good for her for hitting 40 and still looking good. But please, don’t assume that people hate you because they’re jealous. Maybe it’s the air of superiority that’s the turn-off. We can spot someone who walks into the room and think they’re the bees knees a mile off. Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

The Guardian’s Tim Dowling wrote a hilarious piece on why men hate him for his good looks.

She appeared on This Morning, defending herself and her article.

Brick has opened up an interesting discussion about women on other women. Are we confusing her self-belief and confidence as arrogance? Are women allowed to say they’re beautiful? Is this woman deluded?