Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

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Photo of the Week: Caramel

I have nicknamed this week ‘Hell week’, as from Monday to Monday it is of four deadlines and at least four meetings, so hence the blog going quiet. It’s a necessary quiet for now until I get my uni stuff more in order. Or I’ll just stick with Photo of the Week and the new Wednesday reblog until term is over (that’s only five more weeks, if one can believe that!).

If you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen this image from this week – of Starbucks’ new flavour, ‘burnt caramel’ latte. This, although nothing new, is a hint of a different flavour, if you want something to sip in the warmth as rain pours outside. We’ve had a lot of rain in England lately…

Made well, the syrup and the cream match well together in the latte, on its own or with a piece of shortbread. On the other hand, it feels like Starbucks is trying to fill in with a new flavour the void between their popular festive flavours and any special festive Easter flavours they intend to throw at us.

Yes, I’m now a coffee connoisseur.

And if you missed the facetious tone, you don’t know me enough.

Now the photo. Backed lovingly by my newest bag of Lush purchases… It’s a vice.


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Photo of the WeeK: Light

Seeing this flower and match in my room one day this week reminded me of a Poppy, the dark centre and the bright ruby red flare outwards, and a twisted stem.

It’s from my Yankee Candle ( <3 ) advent calender and is one of the ‘Christmas memories’ candles, smelling festive – warm and bright and rather sweet. It’s almost frankenscence in terms of its headiness, which is why I don’t light these ones often, but I will admit that they’re visually pretty.


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A Vignette from the Costellos

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just wrote to relax with characters I know.

This was the result.

Victorian Steampunk THE BRASS BEE Pill Case Or Trinket Box http://www.etsy.com/listing/51310832/victorian-steampunk-the-brass-bee-pill:

She’d written three times in as many days.

Gabiee twisted the letter between her finger and thumb until it had rolled into a tube she’d easily hide up her sleeve.

Asif on cue – and an ominous cue at that – the grandfather clock in the atrium struck. She unearthed the chain from around her neck – from it dangled a pocket-watch, battered but carefully strung. A gift from her husband, and from his father to him. Seven exactly. Home-coming, in so many words.

“What is it that gentleman normally say when they return from the town?” echoed a voice through the atrium.

“Friedrich,” she called. They’d recently okayed a renovation of the blue room into the atrium and Gabiee’s voice travelled even when she couldn’t move more than a waddle.

Cara Spousa,” he boomed, storming through the open-plan house as he did.

Gabiee swallowed. A moment later, her husband swanned into the blue room, and Gabiee collapsed onto the chair.  The letter slipped into her silk sleeve.

“You’re home—”

“In time. For once,” he interrupted with more than a hint of condescension.

A smile slipped her over lips. Gabiee coyly murmured. “I was not about to say that.”

His eyes floated across the desk. Papers – his, mostly – lay adrift the desk, with the stray book or two she’d sneaked it when borrowing the firm back of his arm-chair, and curls of parchment. One had been torn, by her own fingers mere minutes ago, and it was the more restless of the papers.

The tear lay like a crack across the wood. He’d notice it.

Gabiee edged closer to her husband, and skimmed a hand over his chest.

“But you are home, sir, and that I appreciate. I was about to give order for dinner, though I might craft of my own a dessert for us. You would like that?”

Their eyes met, strong, piercing, warm. Oh, so warm that Gabiee filled with tingles from her toes to the tips of her ears. Before any thought had even verbally stretched between them, Freidrich leant in. His hot breath, tinged with tobacco, danced over her lips, before it was joined by his tongue and lips. Gabiee stretched onto her tiptoes and kissed him in return. This was almost relief.

The kiss had only left her lips when Freidrich’s expression darkened. His hand scrabbled, searched up and down her arm. Then, he stopped.

Gabiee’s cheeks burnt. She prayed he’d decided she had nothing to hide, rather than that he’d uncovered exactly what it was.

Their fingers met. Gabiee thought he was pulling away—but the rough bristle of parchment between her middle and index finger made her blood freeze for a second. An ache ripplied through her belly, and Gabiee drew her eyes up her husband.

“Gabiee…” His tone had already darkened, his jaw had already hardened. “Give me the letter, wife.”

She squeezed her chubby fingers closer over the slip of a message. He’d prise it from her without any effort – so why did he ask?

Gabiee protested, “It’s not her fau—”

“Damn it, stop defending her. Give me the letter.”

Wilting, Gabiee released the scroll from her fingertips, and folded her arms over her distended belly. He might demand words of her, but he’d never demand anything of her child.

A quick Google search found me an image of Gabiee’s dress. I like it.

As proof of my lack of time, I haven’t actually had the time to finish off this extract, so I will get back to this vignette next week. Have a lovely rest of your weekend. :)

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7 Quick Takes – Essays, Time-Management and God

Let’s pop over to This Ain’t the Lyceum to see how everybody’s been doing this week.

seven quick takes friday 2


Firstly, it is this little blog’s fourth birthday! I’ll admit that it’s been a less-impressive run than the last couple of years in terms of blogging, but on the other hand, I have got things done and my life has been rolling along as steadily as it is able.


It almost matches my blog layout…


Unfortunately for the blog, this has meant that even the best well-meant of posts have got lost at the wayside. Nowadays, I have an idea, and it barely gets further than halfway before I have to transfer my efforts to another activity. I meant to post yesterday, I swear. I’ve even moved reblog Thursday to a Reblog Weds to accommodate my hectic Wednesday timetable this year. These things just haven’t happened, though.


It’s the weekend! And it truly has been a “thank goodness it’s Friday!” day for me. One of my research participants cancelled last minute yesterday for this afternoon, which meant I was able to actually get some of my – shock horror! – dissertation done in the time of their absence. The thing is that, with (so far) 600 words a day, I’m getting there, but I have more to do than I can afford to have a dissertation report and its progress on my back, too.


I was going to go to a dance class tomorrow, but that too has been cancelled. The good thing about Lindyhop is that it covers so many different styles of dance, and my group in Reading have recently become more interested in getting together a chorus line. The video below is a chorus girls group performing a piece they choreographed – Greece’s premiere chorus girl group, actually, A Bowl of Cherries.


Life is about balance. And there is no truer person who knows this than the [current] university student. At the moment, I’m pretty sure I’m out of balance – but that’s okay. I live with that. See my point #3 – I definitely have to make my time. Who-ever says that time has to found in a day? One has to dig it from the ruins of the hours.

Nevertheless, we must take heart – for God knows His plans and handles our plans. This Isaiah quote is encouraging for anyone in the midst of working and striving, those who feel as if their hopes and wills are fading. God has the strength. Do not be faint in His palm!

(Found on Nurse-buff)


I’m hoping to get to you some writing tomorrow, just something small I decided to do without giving it much thought. It’s set in the world of WTCB and features a couple of characters from LSOT, but apart from that, it was just me playing with dynamics.


She’d written three times in as many days.

Gabiee twisted the letter between her finger and thumb until it had rolled into a tube she’d easily hide up her sleeve.

As if on cue – and an ominous cue at that – the grandfather clock in the atrium struck. She unearthed the chain from around her neck – from it dangled a pocket-watch, battered but carefully strung. A gift from her husband, and from his father to him.

Seven. Home-coming, for the best of words.

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The Lord of the Rings revisited.

Vulpes Libris


The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate ‘marmite’ book. Those who have an opinion about it one way or another either love it with an undying passion or – well – don’t. Very few people will tell you that it’s just ‘okay’ or that they ‘quite enjoyed it’. The Tolkien middle ground is about the size of a postcard.

For many years, however, I was one of  ‘the very few’. I think.

I first read The Lord of the Rings in my late teens or early 20s, ploughing through it (and skipping all the ‘dreary’ poems) because it was a ‘must read’ book and I was at an age when I felt that I must read the ‘must reads’ (if you get my drift) or I would never gain access to the social circles I thought I wanted to be a part of (the ones inhabited by irritating little…

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I Am The Most 3D Character I Know.

Don’t be surprised there’s no Photo of the Week today/yesterday*. I was working on my dissertation; I was in my department since two and only got home at 8. Anyway, I was talking to someone earlier, and with my answers to their questions, I realised that my different motives and personalities would seem to pull me different ways, both the quirky and the serious.

For starters, one would think that I would ‘fangirl’ over characters, ‘ship them mercilessly, and try and pally with them, but I’m actually what I would call a ‘cold reader’. I can empathise, but I rarely feel strongly for them. At least, in books. in films, it’s easier to fall for relationships between characters. One day, I might write a post considering that. (See Miriam Joy’s commentary)

Invite me swimming and I will gush yes, but the sports I’ve been doing are Quidditch and Swing Dance – and, through that, I suppose (at least in part) my interest in vintage fashion has arisen.

Following that, I’m the studious type, but I love dressing up. Sure, I can be found most days in comfy hoodies and black trousers, but give me time and the right weather, and I can be found in a petticoat, a swing dress, a headband. Or, if the mood suits, a corset and a host of accessories. And, to match that, you’ll find me in vintage makeup and/or hair.

I count myself as a performer, with a passion in music. I used to drum and write music and lyrics, but those days… I still weekly spend three hours as a soprano at chamber choir, three hours of taught singing – and if one were to add to that the casual singing and listening to music I do. The surrounding myself with music and life.

And writing. Writing is a BIG (caps for emphasis) part of my life, something I think about every day. Not including my writing of academic papers or non-fiction (could one consider Twitter as a form of writing? For another post, maybe…), I write creative writing and edit just as much. I try and go to the creative writing group at uni every week. When someone asks what do you do? I answer first that I’m a student, and second that I moonlight as a writer. I have to. I am tied to writing and my characters now, having spent so long with them. To let them go would almost be murder.

Don’t forget, though, I also do a lot for my faith. I go to Mass twice a week, I sing in the choir, I try and go to Rosary, I host food and discussion of faith every week. I will definitely say that me, as a character, is defined by my faith for what I do.

There are so many facets, even more than those which I talk about here. I could bore myself alone by going on. My degree is important, too, yet I am also interested in academics beyond my degree, such as Linguistics. I am interested in people (which, one could argue, comes from and/or relates to my creative writing) and thus my studies have nearly always been based this way. I was more language-based for my GCSEs than world-based (eg. history, geography). For my A-Levels, I again looked to essays and people: Psychology, Latin (which included Latin literature comprehension, yes in Latin), Religious Studies, Theatre Studies, Physics (which, agreed, breaks the mould, but one must consider the aliens’ feelings, too ;) ).

I also write this blog. Sometimes.

All in all, it adds up to me, a complete figure that fiction cannot describe. These interests link and lead to others. Can writers craft characters with so many facets; how can one aptly write a character who had a past interest (for instance of my ice skating years) that in no way matches up with their present self and would not need to be relayed through the story?

*As if in show of how hectic life is, I managed to fail to post this the Mon I planned to.


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