Hello, I'm Claire. Magazines, books, music, art, fashion and coffee are pretty much what my life revolves around. I'm regretting the whole Claire Loves Owls thing now but seeing as it's my email, twitter and blogger url I may as well keep it. And I do love owls...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Hello everyone

Thank you very much for taking your time to come and look at my blog but I've been very annoying and moved it, it's all over at

Thank you!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Very short post about Edinburgh.

I go back to school in about ten days.  Where did my Summer go?!  I had such a huge list of things I wanted to do over the six weeks off, paint everyday, read every book in my bookcase, go down to England and not sleep in every single day to make the most of my precious school free mornings.  That didn't happen.  I've painted maybe once, England has to be cancelled and on most days the earliest I have risen has been at eleven 'o'clock.  Oh dear.

What I did do however, was begin volunteering at the community cafe and spend two days in Edinburgh.  More on the cafe in a later post, there have already been far too many awkward customers, "unusual" volunteers and mishaps involving various beverages to cram in here.

Edinburgh is incredibly beautiful.  Its historical value is amazing, even I, who was a lot more concerned with the amazing vintage shopping in the city, found it extremely interesting.  As a visitor from the countryside where almost everyone either works in the oil industry and uses a BMW to commute or is a farmer and drives a tractor purely to hold me up when I'm late to meet someone, it was the multiculturalism of Edinburgh and the vibrancy of its city centre that really made me want to stay.

Friday, 30 July 2010

For generations the media has portrayed an image of the so called perfect woman.  In the 1950’s this was one of the ever obliging housewife.  All pearls, gleaming teeth and twin sets the ideal woman aimed for little more than the perfect soufflĂ© to serve to their doting husband upon his arrival home.  Thirty years later the 1980s and the “decade style forgot” was upon us.  Shoulder pads, power suits and perms aplenty the 80’s woman had it all, a high flying career, children and a huge salary to boot.  She powered her way through 12 hour working days with instant coffee and made business deals through her brick of a mobile phone. Come the 90’s the grunge movement had crossed over from rainy Seattle to the catwalks of New York, London and Paris.  Gaunt faces, protruding ribs and smoky eyes were the order of the day, dubbed “Heroin Chic” the likes of Kate Moss were the next big thing. However, bar fashion students and those in the fashion world’s inner clique this was not a look imitated by ordinary women and girls.  The Spice Girls’ message of “girl power” took hold and women aimed to be the perfect all rounder.  In the noughties the fashion industry did away with “Heroin chic” and a decade of eclecticism in fashion was to follow. But one trend which despite the ever changing face of fashion in the new century has remained prominent in every designer’s collection.  A trend which has disturbingly enough become a favourite of many women and men the nation over.  This trend?  Size zero. 
Models who suffer for their art are not a new concept but never has such a large portion of the fashion industry displayed such a disregard for human life.  It is common industry knowledge that any girl of an average height and over seven and a half stone will simply not be considered acceptable by the majority of haute couture and more mainstream designers alike.  The death of the model, Luisel Ramos first sparked the real discussion about the issue and made the public take notice of this rapidly growing epidemic.  Before Luisel’s extreme weight loss she was at 9 stone and 5”9 already unhealthily thin. At the time of her death she weighed only 7 stone. 
  Fashion magazines featuring curvy women on their covers are virtually unheard of and the only time editors will make such a move is to generate publicity. Models are seen not as human beings but as nothing more than money generators. Putting a curvier model on January’s cover only to turf her out via the back door and never to call upon her services again does not show a shift in attitudes, rather the opposite
The nutritional facts behind rail thin silhouettes and jutting bones are shocking and the real problem with the media’s obsession with gaunt frames.  Low fertility and osteoporosis are the two main long term dangers of anorexia nervosa although other problems such as hair thinning and jaundice are also associated with the disease.  Many catwalk models survive on less than 500 calories a day to maintain their minimal weight, less than a quarter of their recommended daily intake.  Bulimia nervosa causes tooth decay and in extreme cases can burn holes in the back of sufferer’s throats due to the acidity of vomit.  People who allow their BMI to drop below 12 are at serious risk of consuming their own organs and muscle tissue, and any unhealthily low BMI  puts extra strain on the heart and lungs in the same way as obesity.  Those in the grip of an eating disorder are rarely able to see the possible grave consequences facing them and are almost in a brainwashed state about their body image.
What kind of example is this setting to the youth of today?  Young girls are bombarded with images of stick thin, airbrushed, flawless models wherever they go.  “Perfect” women with radiant complexions and glossy hair - simply unattainable given their limited diet - are plastered over magazines, catalogues, television commercials, billboards and in TV programmes.  Many brands and shows popular with teenagers are notorious for featuring thin women and girls at the exclusion of those with curvier figures.  Ralph Lauren, a top end brand popular with teenage girls in particular, edited the image of an already slim size eight model to the extent where her head appeared to be larger than her hips.  Gossip Girl, a TV show aimed particularly at teenage girls has come under fire from parental organisations and campaign groups about their cast of entirely thin young women.  With no escape from such negative influences more and more young girls and boys are developing life threatening eating disorders most commonly anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.  Eating disorders are responsible for more loss of life than any other psychological disorder. 
Why, when eating disorders claim so many lives, do the media insist on encouraging size zero figures and why hasn’t the government stepped in to take action where it is most needed, in the education system.  Self confidence and esteem is not a compulsory part of the curriculum, despite the fact that young people between 14 and 25 make up the majority of the 1.1 million people in the UK who have diagnosed eating disorders.  Mental health organisation Mind states that one in one hundred women aged between 15 and 30 suffers from anorexia and girls as young as five have weight concerns and consider dieting to lose weight.  The General Practise Research Database shows a threefold increase in the recording of bulimia cases.  However, these statistics only record diagnosed and acknowledged eating disorders.  Many eating disorders are atypical, meaning that problem eating behaviours exist but don’t meet all of the diagnostic criteria.  Atypical eating disorders often go unnoticed and are not taken seriously by medical staff and the sufferers themselves.  In a survey conducted by eating disorder charity B-Eat of 600 young people, a staggering 92% of children felt that they were unable to tell anyone about any problems they either had or would encounter later in life. 
Perhaps the most worrying thing about the this is the unknown scale of the problem.  Schools and parents have a duty to future generations to increase awareness of eating problems and remove the huge stigma that surrounds them. Another great responsibility lies with the media and fashion industry.  Curvier models need to be used widely in an un-patronising, sincere context.  Heavy airbrushing that considerably alters a model’s real appearance should be banned in publications and advertisements and designers hiring thin and underweight models to the exclusion of normal sized women in their catwalk and catalogue collections should be penalised.  By taking these simple steps, all built on common sense and reality, the obsession with size zero and perfection that has become such a massive problem could be eradicated and the fashion world would be more in touch with the women who keep it afloat.  

Thursday, 1 July 2010


It is far too late for me to be online really, I have school tomorrow.  It's not really school though on the last day before Summer, is it?  Nobody learns anything, nobody even falls out (touchwood), awful DVDs are on  providing inoffensive enough background noise, save for the two people who organised it between them to bring in said DVD who are actually watching it, for the class to gossip and share Haribo Starmix over.  The joys.

I'm so, so excited for Summer.  I won't be off on any amazingly exotic holiday (York with my parents and best friend actually), nor do I have a jam packed social calendar for the seven blissful weeks ahead.  I will be in my room, study or garden having the time of my life.  What could possibly be better?  I can read for hours and hours and hours, I can paint whatever and whenever I fancy, my abnormal sleep patterns seem only to be frowned upon when I have my education to think about, I do not have to go to sleep each night aware that I have to face decidedly disinterested teachers in the morning whose enthusiasm for us as students and for the subject they're forcing upon is is almost as plentiful as ours.  In Summer I can blog to my heart's content and where what I please every single day.  If I so wish I can spend the entire day indoors, drinking coffee in my pyjamas, painting the various ornaments and dog toys that clutter my home (rather poorly I hasten to add).

To hardened, more traditional educators this may sound like an appalling attitude and one which must be straightened out right away.  Reading nonsensical novels all day and scribbling ideas in tatty notepads is hardly the most productive use of our time, they might say.  I disagree completely.  Obviously I enjoy doing so far more than poring over algebraic equations or puzzling over osmosis and diffusion but I can honestly say I feel that I've learnt more in the past fortnight I've been off school ill than I had in the fortnight prior to my illness spent at school.

I've learnt how to get as many tones as possible from a 4B pencil, I've learned how to edit a blog, I've learned how to get rid of stomach flu quickly, I've learned how to use dialogue more effectively in my writing, I've decided that I'm sure about what I want to do after I leave education, I've learned how to play the intro to Dammit on my guitar, I've learnt not to eat pick n mix when I have stomach flu, my painting has definitely improved, my writing has also (believe it or not), I know more about mediaeval history, I know more about Victorian fashion, I know more about cranberries and I know more about Andy Warhol and Tracey Emin.

I am definitely not saying, that's it, I give up on school.  I don't, I fully intend to carry on and hopefully somehow manage to get a degree at the end of it all.  I've just realised that sometimes you learn the most when you're not at school and the things you really end up remembering and using in later life, the things that really however pretentious it sounds make you a better person and a more interesting one are the things you experience and learn for yourself without a teacher or a uniform on.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


Since I was maybe about eleven I’ve been on and on at my poor parents to allow me to go to the hallowed fields of Glastonbury, or at least T in the Park. Understandably, the answer has always been no and will continue to be a no until I’m eighteen. Even then I’ll only be going because there’s not much they can do to stop me and not because they approve. Every year I watch all of the festival coverage and long to be amongst the sea of fans, to sing along to the “indie anthems” with thousands of other music fans and to go for days without a shower. This, my mother will never understand.

I can’t say I blame her; it does seem like a rather odd thing to do. Paying a considerable amount of money to stand sweaty, tired and dirty in a field surrounded by the unwashed masses to see with no home comforts a band you could watch on TV. Considering the basic facts, the attraction of a festival isn’t something I quite understand, but then perhaps that adds to the appeal.

Thousand of music fans all excited and elated to be where they are, all as unshowered and messy as one another, all united by their love of music. The roar of the crowd as an artist walks onstage, the ascending cheer at their collective recognition of a song as the intro rings out across the field. That’s where the appeal lies.

Watching Florence and the Machine at Glastonbury this weekend has only made me more eager to go. The connection between Florence and her audience was phenomenal, the thousands of audience members completely under her ethereal spell. On paper this sounds incredibly pretentious and airy fairy and maybe I’m one of the very few who view festivals in this way. Some must agree or have their own equally strongly felt reasons for making their pilgrimage to Glastonbury. The crowd sizes speak for themselves and tickets are gold dust.

Of course, I say all of this without having experienced a festival myself and so have no real authority to declare the less than desirable hygiene an unfortunate, but very tolerable, downside. For all I know my very sensible mother could be entirely right and upon my return I might very possibly vow never to repeat the experience. But from the outside looking in, festivals seem like the most glorious celebration of all the things I adore (fashion included these days) and I will literally count the months until I can see if I’m right for myself.

For now, I will continue to watch the BBC’s coverage avidly and imagine myself there. I’ll let you know if I love it as much as I expect to in four summers time.

Friday, 8 January 2010

London, baby!

When I was younger I had dreams of becoming a vet, an archaeologist, a bus driver and a ballerina. Well the ballet lessons went brilliantly, honest. They only ended because I threw a hissy fit because my class mate had the audacity to touch Chrissy my favourite dolly. The dolly in question was £14 and came from Poundstretcher but as far as I was concerned she was golden and no one was to touch her without my permission which was highly unlikely to be granted. I was so traumatised by the ordeal I couldn’t quite bring myself to return to ballet classes, a great loss to the world of dance if I do say so myself. The archaeology plan fell through due only to my waning interest and the vet plan didn’t come to surface because of my lack of natural interest and aptitude for science. From time to time I do genuinely consider driving a bus, particularly around London and it’s definitely my Plan B. My parents and I wish I was joking, really. Then I reconsidered and decided I’d love to work in publishing or journalism, preferably publishing ideally in London. It seemed perfect for me in every way until I thought about the potentially pitiful pay, the price of property in London and that old chestnut, “am I good enough?” As a result I opted to focus on a career in Law, pretty much guaranteeing financial security and a structured career path. But would I ever be honestly be happy in such a job, dealing with such repetitious, fickle cases and moving young couple after young couple into semi detached 3 bed with room for a nursery after another or perhaps worse, dealing with Jeremy Kyle regulars and their latest family feuds? I think I knew deep down the answer would always be no, not really. So tonight, I decided to lay the lawyer plans aside and focus what I’m best suited to. So here’s to hours of overtime, persuading “tortured” authors to sign off their baby to film companies, using Vogue as a fan on the tube and wondering if life as a lawyer would be a. Less stressful and b. Allow me to afford those darling ballet flats but let’s get the standard grades out of the way first. Wish me luck.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Not Another Teen Blogger

Hello big wide world

I’m Claire and if you’re reading this you probably know my mother so I will try my best to reflect well on her amongst my rants. The title of this blog pretty much says it all, just another fourteen year old blogging about things which are important to her and her self obsessed, sheltered world and completely insignificant compared with the greater goings on in the world. Be that as it may, having my own little place on the internet to rant, to express my feelings and share the things that sparked one of my notorious laughing fits gave me a certain childish thrill.

I love that when you first make the transition between primary school and secondary your teachers love to tell you not to worry, that it’s nothing like the movies and there will be no cliques, no “queen bees” and no gossip. They lie. I am lucky in that I genuinely do enjoy high school, I love grades, I love learning, I love the debates, I love my subjects and I absolutely adore my friends but it isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. Everyone either is, will be or has been to high school. It’s more or less inevitable and I always enjoy hearing people’s experiences whether positive or negative. In generic, American high school movies there are cliques. There are Goths, geeks, emos, skinny girls, jocks, skaters, high achievers, band geeks, art freaks and most notably the Queen Bee and her ever loyal minions. In British school whilst efforts are made to blur the lines, to deny the blatant pigeon holing and to “include everyone as an equal” they do exist. I was very much into the emo scene and the whole Goth “I hate school, the system and colour” thing for a while and whilst it does seem like a ridiculous obsession with morbidity and gloom I can honestly say I have never had more fun. The people, the scene and the sort of union established with your fellow emos is empowering. It’s the perfect character building exercise, one in which you can rebel without actually rebelling, hate without actually hating and take comfort in your title. The Emo Child is a well known stereotype, once you’ve conformed to it your life becomes easy. Skinny jeans, converse, eyeliner, band shirt, straight hair, vegetarian, skinny, done. All of this is besides my point. When I gave up my emo act, I moved lunch tables, I lost my best friend but I did feel more like myself and my grades improved. Is this clique-ism simply part of teenage life or is it something worse? I think I participated in PE about thrice last year, PE in eyeliner? EXERCISE? Positive attitudes about what the government wanted you to do twice a week? Never. Since giving it all up, I enjoy PE and I actually do extra sport (hockey and badminton) in my own free time. Since giving up my emo act my grades and rapport with the teachers who matter (the teachers who have the power to make you head girl) improved. I often wonder if they improved because my attitude changed or if I became a more acceptable face of the school. Changing your makeup and your hair has much more meaning at fourteen. You lose friends, you lose your title and you become someone new. Why does this matter so much? Why does it matter what your title is, if you’re Queen Bee or not or where you sit at lunch? It shouldn’t, but it does and I do still care a great deal. Has this always gone on or is this a new noughties phenomenon? The cliques, lunch tables and grades are all that matter really. Two of the things we as teens spend our hours worrying over count for absolutely nothing when we leave school and head out into the big bad world. Will it stop us? No. And honestly, as long as we care about our friends and love our families, it doesn’t make us bad people. There’s something almost nice about that, that we can justify this. All we are is teenagers. And to me that means staying up bent over desks and chemistry books, hating our best friends, using history techniques we learned in class to analyse gossip, getting sweaty in tiny music venues with glowsticks in the air and shared hilarity in classrooms. The times the cliques don’t matter and the times we can all just be teenagers, stupid, typical teenagers. And we love it really, don't listen to us if we say we don't.