Why Interior Design Trends Annoy Me

So a friend of mine came over to my place to discuss the progress of my latest novel (writer’s block, anyone?). But instead of discussing strategies on how I can become the next Harper Lee, it essentially became a downright assault on my interior decorating skills.

Victoria when asked if she wanted a taste of Art Nouveau in her living room.
Victoria when asked if she wanted a taste of Art Nouveau in her living room.

She felt that my tastes were a little too ‘Victorian’, something out of a bygone era that just didn’t match my youthful 20s – fine, fine, 30s! And while I’m a fan of old queen Vic, I’m not exactly a strong proponent of the furnishings and designs of her celebrated age… I objected to the arguably damning accusation, hoping to get her to understand my newly acquired ‘higher level’ tastes she just didn’t understand.

This all got me thinking and I came to one conclusion: I love interior design and putting together my house in the way I like it, but I absolutely hate the idea of trends and being judged on what’s ‘in’.

I did a wee bit of research on how interior design has developed and you’ll clearly see that trends change and move drastically. Contemporaries like neutral colors, while those who love a Mediterranean flair absolutely hate what they perceive to be a lack of personality. Rustic and vintage furnishings of the early 20th century would stick out like a sore thumb in the cool art deco house of the 1960s.

Think the Victorians would have liked this?
Think the Victorians would have liked this Art Deco piece?

I think you get my drift. Keeping up with the movers and shakers in the industry will just leave you frustrated and with a lighter wallet. My thoughts? Just go with whatever makes you feel good.

Think about it. The people that you need to impress through furniture aren’t the kind of friends you need. If you abide by the trends of today, it’s likely they’ll be gone tomorrow. Yes, I’m talking to you, weird flowery wallpaper.

And this goes beyond interior design. I would never have succeeded in publishing my first novel if I had listened to all of the so-called experts who told me that my ideas just wouldn’t work. But they did. So next time a friend tells you that your chandelier is a tad too ornate, you know where to send them. 😉


Kindle vs. Books: Which is ‘Better’?

Looks better than a Kindle, don't it?
Looks better than a Kindle, don’t it?

Being someone who’s very much involved in the literary world, a lot of girls (and guys!) ask me whether I prefer the Kindle of the traditional paperback editions. While my instant reaction was to pull a face of disgust at the thought of replacing a book with an electronic equivalent, I’ve slowly but surely ‘turned’ and am now a fully-fledged Kindle convert. And no, Amazon is not paying me to write this – I wish!

So why am I now part of the Kindle crew? Several reasons. Most are relatively obvious but hey, figure they’re worth mentioning as I only really appreciated them once I started using it!

  • Kindle books are much cheaper –  books on the kindle are, on average, a couple of dollars/pounds cheaper than their paper equivalents.
  • Your entire library is easily accessible – I don’t often feel like reading the same book every day. I love the fact that I can switch from a trashy novel, a literary classic, and a non-fiction whenever I want. No need to take a bag full of books!
  • Easy to read – I don’t like to admit it, but I’m getting older. This means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to read that tiny print, particularly on some of the tomes I’m known for reading. The Kindle allows you to easily adjust text size, which comes in handy in the evening when your eyes are a little more tired.
  • Don’t need to hold the page open! I often find it super annoying to have to hold a book open – first world problems, right? But the reality is that sometimes I like having a sandwich or snack while reading a novel, which is sometimes impossible with some paperbacks.
  • Lighter and smaller – Kindles are just so darn handy to carry around. The average Kindle weighs a lot less than a paperback, meaning it’s easy to take with you in your purse or luggage.

But even though I’m now a bonafide Kindle fan, that doesn’t mean I don’t see some serious downsides to the wee device. Here are just a few to consider before you head over to Amazon:

  • Lose a book? No problem, it’ll cost you ten bucks to replace. A kindle, on the other hand, is just a tad more than that.
  • Your brain reads paper books differently. In recent studies, it was found that Kindle readers were far worse at remembering details from books read on the device. Compared to ‘regular’ readers, reading comprehension was also demonstrably worse. So if you’re looking to improve your cognitive function, the Kindle may not be for you.
  • It just doesn’t feel right. A lot of people tell me that while logic tells them that the Kindle is the way to go, nothing can replace the feeling of reading the real thing. I agree with them to some extent, which is why I still haven’t completely left the trusty paperback behind.

If you can get over the glares from the book snobs, I can highly recommend the Kindle. It’s versatile, has a huge library in a handy little package, and the cheapest version is very affordable these days. I say go for it!

Until next time,

Anna J

Guy’s Guides: How to Become Don Draper

It’s Monday evening, I’m home from work, and that means one thing: It’s time to watch Mad Men. This week, I shall be watching in the style of Don Draper, the dark heart of the show. Here’s my checklist:

1) Play around with big accounts at work without consulting anyone, jeopardising the whole company, only tthe-don-drapero win big with a last minute inspired pitch to a big company. Usually involves a radical approach along the lines of “But we don’t actually show the car. Or the name of the company. Or anything ….”

2) Have a whiskey and a cigarette to celebrate (or to use as a time to reflect on my lack of feeling and emotion).

3) Undermine Pete Campbell, the talented obnoxious young Don Draper wannabe. Preferably let Pete do most of the work in getting accounts to the company and generally trying really hard and sucking up to all the clients, then I’ll swoop in and seal the deal by exuding uncontrollable levels of cool. Maybe Pete will want to celebrate with me, or simply go for a drink, or anything to get my slightest approval. I will not give him this.

4) Have a whiskey and a cigarette to celebrate.

5) Invite Roger Stirling in for a whiskey and cigarette. Be bemused at his banter.

6) Perhaps I will disappear for a few hours or days to tend to my latest existential crisis and go visit an old flame or meet a wise old man in a bar or hang out with some hippies and try some of their hippy drugs anything ANYTHING to try and feel something damnit!! But none of it works and I lose patience and get bored and trudge away, lighting a cigarette at the door as I leave and probably saying something disparaging. Also have a whiskey and cigarette in the airport en route home.

7) Be always indifferent and bored and passive-aggressive towards my wife.

8) Sleep with lots of women. But really fall for one (not my wife). A different one every season I guess would be enough. Feel like they will fill the hole inside of me, but of course they won’t and I will chase them away or find out they like me and I will run away. Women be crazy amirite?

9) Definitely do not spend time with my children. I think I have 3?

10) Drink some more whiskey and smoke many cigarettes.

11) Drink an Old Fashioned. Look cool in a suit.

Ok clearly I have a lot of preparation to do before I can watch Mad Men online tonight. Maybe I picked the wrong person. Don Draper must be miserable after going through this kind of preparation. Also I don’t have a nice enough suit.

Next week I’ll watch Mad Men in the style of Harry Crane. That’ll be much easier:

1) Watch a lot of TV and generally feel underappreciated.

I think I’m there already…