What would Dolly Parton do? The best 5 quotes inspired by Glastonbury 2014

DOLLYFabulously-positive, unashamedly “larger than life” and glorious singer Dolly Parton just performed to a packed-out Pyramid Stage at this year’s Glastonbury. Watching her on stage (on iPlayer, I wasn’t actually there), not giving a crap about what anyone might have to say about her, she just reminded me of how much I love country music (yep, I’m just that cool) and how positive and inspirational I find Parton’s whole attitude, not least her music. Yes, really!

Just for starters, beyond being ridiculously catchy, her song “9-5” is an anthem for everyone everywhere who has wondered whether sitting in an office all day might perhaps NOT be the pinnacle of personal happiness. Her “Better Get to Living” song came out when I was doing some exams at uni, and I played it to stay positive and motivated. “Jolene” is a heartfelt warning from anyone who’s ever felt remotely diminished by the supposed threat of a more beautiful, apparently “better” woman.

Also, Dolly gives seriously good quote. And we all know I love a good one. So, I did a quick Google and decided that these five were the best. Enjoy 🙂

[Image credits: “You’ll never do…” ; “My weaknesses” ; “Figure out who…” ; “If you want a rainbow…” ; “We cannot direct…” ]


My painting: Zelda Fitzgerald book cover….with added silver!

My most recent painting was done in only a few days (and I’m not entirely happy with it as a result) but when I saw this book cover of Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me The Waltz (right), I had such an urge to do my own version of it that I got a bit carried away…

As usual, I’ve done my normal thing of adding extra colour and – as I’m sure some people would see it – “ruining” the delicate Art Nouveau quality with some garish lines, metallic pen and not-entirely-historically-accurate curves. I also changed it from portrait to landscape so I could have less hand, no title, and more hair action. 🙂

This painting is more me than the original, and I also brought a few autobiographical details into it, in the form of the nose stud and three of my many rings – one from Belfast covered market, one from Cambridge Strawberry Fair, and one from a holiday years ago in Mexico…(I like my rings to remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, if possible).

I’m not entirely happy with it, bits of it are clumsy and didn’t entirely work out exactly how I’d imagined.

It also took me a frustratingly long time to get the skin tone right (and I’m still not 100% on it). It’s also kind of space-agey for no real reason (other than I kind of liked where it was going, silver-pen wise), and very girly (but what else is new?!) but actually, considering how badly I thought it was going when I first started painting it, I think it just about works!

As an experiment with silver pen, shades of purple, pink and blue, and as another practice run with my new paints (I’m still getting used to their thickness and colour when they dry) I’m happy.

Now to decide what to work on next….:)


[Zelda Fitzgerald, purple hair edition (c) Hannah Thompson, acrylic with metallic silver pen]


On self-hatred: New Year’s Resolutions and celebrating women’s bodies

Bit less of this…but still have a bit

We’re barely a week into the New Year, so naturally I’m working hard to maintain that determination I felt nary a few days ago to do more exercise and eat slightly less crap.

I make no secret of the fact that I am a curvy size 12, and, at my little height (5ft), really could do with being more in the region of a size 8 – healthwise, and self-esteem wise. For me (and me alone, I’m not judging anyone else) I’m not happy with my weight and by extension, with that element of how I look or feel.

It’s boring and self-involved, but no matter how many “fat-positive” blogs I read and love, or how many times my boyfriend and friends tell me they genuinely think I look fine, it’s still true – I want to lose weight. Problem is, I love food (and work writing about the restaurant industry) and put on weight extremely easily for a variety of health reasons, so it’s an on-going, thankless battle.

It’s going OK (I’ve eaten out once, but managed to stop myself inhaling too much Hotel Chocolat, and also done a Zumba work out every other day) but it really is a work in progress – and, if it’s to be a permanent thing (as I learned a couple of years ago when I managed to lose a stone), I know it has to become a proper “lifestyle choice” rather than a short-term purgatory involving no treats and a constant, internal monologue of self-hatred, pain and punishment.

It’s so tempting and easy to look in the mirror at the curves you wish you had less of, and loathe every part of your body. Of what you are or are not, of your constant failure to achieve your weight loss goals, of your “lack of willpower” around food, of the bits here and there that simply won’t disappear, at how different you look to your friends, colleagues, strangers on the street, let alone the much-maligned media figures.

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On discovering new music: How I found and fell for London Grammar, plus my other recent musical picks

Alanis Morrissette, and other people I’m not “supposed” to admit to liking 😛

It’s not often that I discover completely new music. As many have testified, my music taste ranges from the “ridiculous” (Taylor Swift) to the supposedly “awful” (Phil Collins, Alanis Morrisette, James Blunt, Coldplay), via some classics picked up from my parents’ old record collection (Elton John, Fleetwood Mac), some country and western discovered on the internet “radio” Last.fm (Johnny and June Carter Cash, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw), and a few of the poppier chart hits from years and months past (Katy Perry, Beyonce, Bruno Mars).

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I’m loving: Folk music

Maniere des Bohemiens, a Hungarian gypsy-jazz folk band at Wilderness

Maniere des Bohemiens, a gypsy-jazz folk band at Wilderness….foot-stompingly fabulous!

OK, so I realise that this is a pretty bloody wide topic to say ‘I’m loving’, and frankly, I’m hardly qualified to make any kind of comment at all on it, given that my own eclectic music tastes hop around like an overexcited magpie on speed, ranging wildly from Maroon 5 to Emeli Sande to Glee (yes, I know) to Imelda May to Ella Fitzgerald to Peggy Lee to Stevie Wonder to Alanis Morrisette to Rihanna to Phil Collins to Elton John to Tinie Tempah (again, I know) to Lady Gaga and back again via a whole load more (OK, you get it), as well as folk.

Recently though, I’ve had the chance to see several open-air performances of some truly talented folk musicians, and in doing so have discovered quite a few new artists, while appreciating artists I already knew about even more.

And I’ve found myself absolutely loving it on a deeper level than something to just have a dance or a sing to…and what’s more, I’ve gone from not especially liking live music (never as well-mixed or easy to listen to as the recorded version) to thinking that it’s really quite fab (chilled, more atmospheric, and SO MUCH FUN).

For some reason, as I said to a friend recently, it feels like ‘I’m coming home’. Whatever that means, I’m not entirely sure, as ‘home’ for me is a sketchy concept at best, and certainly wouldn’t include a folk music history in any case, but, no matter – in no particular order, here’s the Top 10 of the songs I’ve had on repeat for the past few weeks.

The first few are the folky/acoustic ones I’ve been loving but after that it kind of descends into slightly less-focused madness…(but for that I make no apology…this is my blog and I get to decide its soundtrack 🙂 )

1. Fuel Up by Stornoway (discovered and fell in love with at Wilderness Festival this year…)


2. Zorbing by Stornoway (am loving Stornoway so much that twice this week I’ve been listening to it on the Tube and missed my stop; one time it took 2 more stops before I even noticed. Now that’s special. Honestly, would be a serious pain in the arse if I wasn’t enjoying it so much)

3. The Lass of Glenshee by Cara Dillon

4. The Parting Glass by Cara Dillon

5. Country Life by Show of Hands (were headline act at Folk by the Oak this year – put on an amazing show )

6. Roots by Show of Hands

7. Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane

8. Underneath the Stars by Kate Rusby (old favourite but had it on the iPod again recently)

9. Read All About It Part III by Emeli Sande

10. Wherever You Will Go by Charlene Soraia (brilliantly touching cover of old, moody classic 🙂 )