Saturday, 28 August 2010

101 Dalmatians. In mole form.

Although I love it when scientific friends tell me fun facts, in general that whole scheme of things goes somewhat over my head. However, yesterday I got a fun, relevant AND scientific fact through my inbox! Obviously, when the subject heading of an email is 'Internet Mole Facts' it's seriously exciting because:
a) it might be about the subterranean animal
b) I like facts.

But when the content turned out to be the following:

"Beauty spots they may be, but many people with prominent moles consider them unsightly. Having a high number of moles could be a very good sign indeed. It could mean that you are biologically six or seven years younger than your actual age. A study by researchers at King's College in London found that people with more than 100 moles tended to have longer telomeres than people who had fewer than 25.

Telomeres are the bits of our DNA that tend to get shorter as we age. What that means is that moley people may retain youthful looks and delay the onset of the diseases of ageing by more than half a decade."

I was ecstatic. Thing is, I'm a pretty moley person. In fact, this blog should probably be called 'Moleface', except it sounds a bit creepy and I dread to think what the google image results may look like. But this is great news! Finally, being covered in tiny brown lumps and being flat chested until the age of 17 pays off! I may well stay young-looking and smug far longer than my smooth-skinned companions.

This is, of course, all rather academic - and in more than one sense. After all, I spend most of my time in NHS spectacles, high waisted jeans and dubious knitwear reserved solely for, and often bought from, the elderly. Which brings me onto another equally amusing and shocking inbox delivery.

Upon remarking on just how good a word 'fancy' is with my sister, I was reminded of a childhood literary favourite: Fancy Nancy. Normally I'd include and explanatory link here for all the poor souls who have been kept in ignorance of FN's greatness. However, something heinous has occurred and the internet seems to think that FN was an invention of 2005, complete with a totally lame illustration. This was brought to my attention by a Maternal Inbox (Un)treat, subjected: 'LOOK WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO FANCY NANCY!' It's true. All over the internet there is no trace of the original FN, a girl who, rather than this feather boa-ed travesty, helped her Gran grout the bathroom and fought old ladies for handbags with whales on in jumble sales. Indeed, a girl who clearly had a formative influence as I spent most of my childhood watching my Mum grout bathrooms and, admittedly only two years ago, did unsuccessfully battle old women for 20p vintage treats in a jumble sale in High Heaton.

Bowlface has a new mission on its mucky paws: returning the original Fancy Nancy to the interweb, and fast.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


ZOOTIME is the prog-rock effort of The Mystery Jets on their debut album Making Dens. As well as being a piece of useless mid-noughties indie trivia, ZOOTIME is also what I dubbed today's activities. Namely, going to Whipsnade Zoo with my parents for a full day-off childhood reversion and, as a result, Bowlface's 100th post.

Along with the moral and psychological crises that arise with seeing potentially damaged animals in enclosures that are clearly disproportionate to their native habitats, I underwent the natural glee, severe excitement and obligatory fanciful conversations that animals are clearly incapable of which accompany any good zoo trip. Well, any acceptable zoo trip at least - the previous one, to Belgrade Zoo, just brought mild amusement and increasing misery at witnessing the bizarre co habitations of animals that definitely were not designed to know one another.

First discovery of the day was that of a Mara, whose anonymity in the animal world is so great that when you googleimage it, the ratio of photos of the animal to photos of varying scantily clad women is 2 : 9,630,000. Here it is though:

As you may well observe, this is, as Daddy Bowlface exclaimed, a FREAK DEER. Identified as a wallaby and a muntjac before this clearly correct definition, Maras are dead cute and skipped around all over the place. I took a much better photo than this (especially of its bemusing white behind), so sit tight. After a cementing of childhood reversion by falling over and grazing my knee whilst witnessing a naughty sea lion during a rehearsal (total diva), a few more zoological discoveries were made:
- Rhinos like pedicures and enjoy eating floor-Sudocrem as an after-banana treat.
- Red Pandas are basically the Cheshire Cat.
- Dwarf Crocodiles look cuddly.
- Sloth Bears enjoy cardboard boxes.
- Wolverines are the ultimate ANIMAL FAIL.

This last discovery requires deeper analysis. Yes, Wolverine, the animal immortalised in cartoon and pop culture throughout the centuries for long claws, a ferocious attitude and fearsome teeth is a zoological WolverFAIL. Rather than a hefty king of mutant dogs, the Wolverine is actually the king of the weasels. Arguably, in Wind and The Willows, being King of the Weasels was a pretty big deal - but that's a kid's book, the ferocity levels are set at about 3.2. Instead, Whipsnade's Wolverine was a shy, fluffy little thing that refused to come out from under a tree. It wasn't even cute. In fact, I could have chucked a bit of fur fabric on a bush and more people would be interested. I would suggest that Mr. WolverFAIL changed his name to one of the others he goes by, but even 'glutton' sounds a bit too cool.

Even with the WolverFAIL, Whipsnade rocked. What rocked on an equal value was a sibling inbox treat with the subject heading of: BAKE OFFFFF. Yes, Mary Berry and her Great British Bake Off is spreading faster than a viral youtube vid. So far I'm averaging three baking-method conversations a day and, even more exciting, plans are afoot to get a Bowlface team in the bake off to show them how high a scone really should be...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bake Blog

Yeeoush. Long gap from the last written post. During which, however, I have been slaving to high end retail (it almost goes without saying), involved in certain freelancing activities, maniacally making lists (to-do, reading, shopping...all of which constitute my deceptively literary-looking moleskine) and even jetting abroad.

How best to sum up the last 22 days? Well, to be quite honest, it's a task as threateningly dull as its results would be to read. So, here are my highlights:

Discovering Gary Hume has collaborated with Marni (granted, this broke a while back amongst fashion circles, but the Shire is somewhat distracting in getting news hot off the press)

Compiling a mental 'irony playlist' out of the multitude of retro CDs at work. Tracklisting includes Queen's 'I Want To Break Free', Belinda Carlisle's 'Heaven Is A Place On Earth' and Roy Orbison's 'I Drove All Night (to avoid Bicester Village)'.

Watching films with androgynous heroines and their desirable boyish costume wardrobes, e.g., Winona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted, Dianne Keaton in Annie Hall, furthered by amazing styling like this.

Plus munching amazing Malaysian-Thai hybrid food in the open windowseat of Makan London whilst people watching at Portobello Market; taking photos of dogs in Turkey and, most recently, getting hooked into a programme called 'The Great British Bake Off'. Anything where grown, overweight men cry over a sunken sponge whilst announcing they're a 'pastry and pies kinda guy', which incites conversations between Mummy Bowlface and I about the consistency of a sponge mixture and, best of all, involves the narrator saying 'classic ganache' the same way Jeremy Clarkson would announce 'six cylinder engine' knocks Dave Lamb right off my culinary TV top five. Furthermore, the genius assessing the quality of the cakes is no other than the ULTIMATE CAKE LADY herself, Mary Berry.

To celebrate this TV hour of cake-dedicated national pride, and a relevant holiday snapshot, here is Daddy Bowlface sporting a cake moustache. Bon Appetit.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

From Fields to Field Day and Beyond (Retro).

Having just turned off Channel Five's Don't Stop Believing out of outrage that Essex's 'Original Talent' show choir - fine masters of both Gaga-inspired dancing and a Billy Jean meets Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy' - was cruelly voted out in place of 'Swish' - teenage Robbie Williams' cheesemongering fankids - I decided that I'd put an end to a week-long Bowlface abstinence. It's what Sunday nights were made for. Or rather, the first of seven nights of roaming around in a parent-free house. Announcing a free house on the internet may in some cases cause myspace parties with thousands of teens high on Coca-Cola and the placebo-effects of WKDs. However, I celebrated freedom by eating a dinner comprising of a bit of pork pie, peanut butter on toast, cherry tomatoes and a microwaved doughnut; a myspace party would suck in comparison. Just in case, though, I've removed the 'location' tab from the bottom of the last few posts.

Over the weekend I left the fields of the Shire for the 'fields' of London's Victoria Park in a pseudo-village attempt of a 'chin-scratching music' festival that was Field Day. They won some 'Village Mentality' points with the pig roast and the sack races. However, had they hired in some inter-related country types (to preach sayings like "it's no use planting a cooked potato", rather than having them printed on sacks and hung up) I could almost have been in my native Shire given the high-middle-class level of expensive but scruffily dressed, fake mockney posh kids kicking about. Amongst the stripy shirts (which I too was slightly shamefully clad in) and overpriced cans of Stella I enjoyed a healthy amount of inte-lectro beats and euphoric sounds from the likes of Gold PandaPantha Du Prince, Hudson Mohawke and Moderat, amongst others on far too many stages for a festival of just over ten hours in length.

We hadn't had enough artful hair do's and ironic-dressing on Saturday, so we headed to Brick Lane today for the mega Sunday market and a cheap brunch. Where, amongst all the various unwanted crap being sold on the pavement - my favourite sight being a slogan T-shirt saying 'OH MY GOD, I'M SO RETRO' - I found a tote bag that could well provide me with more happiness than most things. That's because it falsely labels me as a member of the fictitious Hackney Guild of Taxidermists. Because it is technically an imaginary guild the fact I don't practice taxidermy in Hackney is irrelevant. I'm a massive stuffed-animal fan, and my Oxford Literary Festival 2008 freebie tote is being retired to occasional use due to getting tragically threadbare. You too can celebrate a love of canvas and double-headed swans here.

And now back to the Shire, which is free of continental dance music producers and more than twelve people within the age group of 18-24. Despite leaving an extensive note, the absence of parents probably means that there's going to be little to 'make blogs' about, as Daddy B would say. To compensate for this emotional whirlwind, I end on my favourite Shire-ism of the last week:

Daddy B on witnessing a police car siren past the house: 'alright, we're not in New York'.