Thursday, 30 April 2015

Clicklist #2

I really enjoyed Haley's response to an interview with Fran Lebowitz which was kind of problematic. Though it was with that woman who stalked a Goodreads user, so I guess we can't be too surprised.

Rosie went to Bourne & Hollingsworth for brunch and I want to go; because bottomless bellini's sounds amazing.

I'm going to sound like a complete cretin now, but for the longest time, Japan wasn't really somewhere I wanted to visit. But, after seemingly everyone I read on the internet going, I'm beginning to re-asses my opinion. These posts by Cat and Victoria have definitely piqued my interest. It's certainly making me more intrigued.

On the flip side, Iceland is somewhere I've always wanted to visit (because northern lights) and so Amy's sneak peak makes me ever more desparate to go.

Meg wrote a really great article about how important it is not to put off your smear test. This is a few years off me yet, but is definitely something to bear in mind.

Alexandra wrote this great piece in response to someone being afraid of constant failure after a bad audition. Whilst I'm not a performer, her advice is pretty on point.

Sometimes I worry that I've romanticised Paris too much. That if I am ever fortunate enough to visit it won't meet my expectations. But then people like Charlotte upload photos like these, and I begin to think that maybe it is just truly that beautiful.

Gemma (whose blog re-brand I adore) just uploaded a recipe for BOUNTY OATMEAL. Which sounds heavenly and is something I definitely need to make.

16 pictures of politicians improved by Taylor Swift lyrics. Is exactly what it sounds like.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The I Love Spring Tag

I saw this tag on Jennie's blog, and I thought it would give me the chance to do a  kind of favourites post as the questions definitely bring up some of my current most-used products.

Favourite thing about spring?
My favourite thing, and probably the most obvious, is the fact that the weather slowly starts to improve, and I no longer need to leave the house looking like a Michelin man. Plus, as I live pretty rurally it's nice to see the countryside start to come alive. Also lambs. And ducklings.

Are you a spring cleaner?
I tend to do random monthly cleans where I go through all my things and choose what to bin, give away and what to keep. But the new season definitely inspires me to go through my clothes and things to see what I really need.

Favourite spring candle?
I'm still getting into the whole candle thing, but I got the Yankee Candle in Garden Sweet Pea for my birthday and it does make my room smell really fresh.

Favourite spring accessory?
I don't have a specific accessory that I bring out in spring, but at the minute I am definitely carrying both my sunglasses and my umbrella everywhere I go. My absolute favourite thing about spring is that it's finally leather jacket weather, meaning that I can finally whip out my gorgeous leather jacket that I got for Christmas from Zara (a similar one is here)

Favourite spring nail polish?
My nail colours don't really change that much season to season, but a couple of new purchases means that at the moment I've really been enjoying pastel colours. The new Quick Dry Barry M range has been all over the internet, so this probably isn't anything new, but I own Eat My Dust and Lap of Honour and love them. As someone who constantly tries to do things within seconds of finishing my nails, this product is designed for me.

Favourite spring lip colour?
Again, I'm not a massive changer-upper of my lip colour season to season, I'm of the belief that you can rock any colour all year round. However, I do tend towards pinks during spring. I like the Seventeen lipstick in Beehive that I mentioned here; and I recently purchased the Bourjois Rogue Edition Aqua Laque (longest name ever?) in 1 and really like the colour.

Favourite spring blush?
I definitely lean towards blushes which have more of a 'sparkle' to them. Something that can give my face a bit of a lift in the sun.

Favourite spring base?
I definitely prefer to wear a lighter base during the slightly warmer months. However, as I don't have the most flawless skin I do still need a bit of coverage which the Bourjois CC Cream really offers. It's lightweight and natural looking, but still covers redness really well. I do have to powder it to make it look less shiny so that's one to remember if you have oily-combination skin.

Favourite spring scent?
So my biggest beauty secret is that I'm really bad at wearing perfume. I've yet to find a scent that really feels like 'me'. However, in my collection the two that are the lightest are Paul Smith's Sunshine which I inherited from my Mum and is probably slowly evaporating. Another is Accessorize's Enchanted  which has a gorgeous bottle and a light scent-the only downside is that it doesn't last that long on my skin.

So that's all for a spring season favourites! 
What do you love about spring?


Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring Dreams: Wishlist #1

I'm not sure what it is about officially being in spring, but I've definitely got a tingle to change up my wardrobe. However, my purse doesn't quite share my desire to spend, so here's hoping putting a list together here will quench by spendy thirst...

(also sorry about that editing blip above, trust me, it's annoying to me too but I forgot to save the file!!)

Necklace, Marks & Spencer, £18 | Bag, ASOS, £18| Earrings, ASOS, £8| Scalloped flats, ASOS, £20| Watch, Daniel Wellington, £159| Flats, Butterfly Twists, £30

Basically an awful lot of blue, and an some blogger inspired pieces (nods to Hannah, Olivia and Suzie). Also, I definitely do not need a new watch but a jeweller's in town just started selling Daniel Wellington and they are calling to me.

What have you got your eye on lately?


Disclaimer: I do work for Marks & Spencer, but they have not paid me to feature their items. Sadly.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Peak at Chatsworth

On Bank Holiday Monday, my parents and I headed to Derbyshire in search of a nice walk. After a deceptively chilly weather forecast for our original location, we diverted to Chatsworth Park. Or Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy, in both the BBC and 2005 adaptations of Pride & Prejudice.

The sun very much came out, and the weather was glorious. As it felt like half the country had the same idea, we didn't check out the house or gardens because it was heaving. Yet just the glimpse I got from outside was enough to see how stunning the place is. Also, major props to the staff working in the 'picnic house' which was about as hot as an oven.


Friday, 3 April 2015

A Month in Books: March (& February)

I read 10 books over the past couple of months, and on the whole, it's been a good two months of reading.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (1957, Vintage)

I wanted to love this book so much. I love Russian history, Anna Karenina is one of my favourite books and I've been told repeatedly how amazing the film of this novel is. The final kicker for me to pick this book up (as it's been sat on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time) was its adaption into a musical by the team that wrote the musicalisation of The Secret Garden which I love. But something was just missing from this novel for me. Pasternak's evocation of the Russian civil war is brilliant, but I didn't really feel that much of a connection to any of the main protagonists.

How the World Works by Noam Chomsky (2011, Hamish Hamilton)
Noam Chomsky is one of the better known political scientists still writing, and I originally bought this book as a handy go-to during my degree. It's an edited collection of his best-known books and articles, which does mean that an awful lot of the book is pretty dated; with references to international organisations that no longer exist. Also, a publishing issue that I had is that the book doesn't have any kind of bibliography for further reading/fact checking which bothered me. If you are totally unfamiliar with Chomsky then this is an excellent, readable introduction but it didn't really offer anything new to me.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958, Penguin)
This is a strangely polarising book. Achebe's novel follows Okonkwo, a powerful member of his tribe who is exiled after a tragic accident. It explores ideals of masculinity really well, and also the arrival of colonialism and Christianity within Okonkwo's community. I really liked this, and look forward to completing Achebe's Africa trilogy soon.

A Dance with Dragons: Dreams & Dust and A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast by George R.R. Martin (2011, Harper Voyager)
This is the fifth installment of the Song of Ice & Fire series by George R.R. Martin which is the basis of Game of Thrones. I won't go too much into the plot, but maaan the ending of this makes me want to hunt Martin down and force him to finish the next bloody book. I'm also extra excited for the new series.

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson (2013, Quercus)
This book came recommended by Mum and I quite liked it. Saffron's husband was murdered some months prior to the beginning to the novel, and she's struggling to deal with this when she finds out her 14-year-old daughter is pregnant. And then she begins to receive letters from her husband's killer. This was pretty compelling although a little tooo neatly tied up for my liking. It was also refreshing to read an entire novel about people of colour.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (2014, Penguin)
I've owned this for a while, and it's nomination finally triggered me to read this. The novel follows Maud, an elderly lady suffering with dementia and who is convinced that her friend Elizabeth has disappeared. Her attempts to find her also links back to the disappearance of her sister Sukey after World War Two. Healey excellently, and heartbreakingly, depict's Maud's struggles with her mental health; which is probably the novel's strongest point. The novel's mysteries are probably a little more obvious, although the final twist is well executed.

(I have a thing about hardback endpapers)

The Bees by Laline Paull (2014, Fourth Estate)
The Bees is perhaps the scariest book that I read this month. It follows Flora 717, who is a sanitation bee, the lowest rank in the hive. Through various plot twists, Flora expands her knowledge of the hive and the political and religious problem at its heart. Listening to this interview with Paull pushed me to read this, and if the events depicted within the book are an accurate representation of bee life, then I just can't look at bees in the same way.

When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (2000, Granta)
I picked up this book for cheap on my Kindle, as it has been a Baileys/Orange prize winner. It tells the story of Evelyn, who moves to Israel before the state is properly created-in the last days of the British mandate. It was interesting in the sense that my knowledge about life in Israel before it was Israel was pretty limited, especially regarding the amount of people who were inspired by Soviet Russia. Grant also really brilliantly created a sense of place. However, I just didn't feel that connected to the action and I struggled to feel that sympathetic with many of the characters.

The Silkworm by J.K Rowling (as Robert Galbraith, 2014, Sphere)
I was really pleasantly surprised by the first part of Rowling's thriller series The Cuckoo's Calling and when my Nan leant me this I was super excited to read it. The Silkworm follows Cormoran Strike's attempts to solve the disappearance of an eccentric author who was just written a novel slandering almost the entirety of the literary establishment. I will admit that I wasn't that into the plot until the final third, where it really picked up. Rowling remains excellent at characterisation, though the relationship between Cormoran, Robin (his assistant) and Matthew (her fiance) was getting a little irritating. However, I'm excited to see what else Rowling has up her sleeve for this series.

So, a pretty good month! I think it's between Things Fall Apart and The Bees in terms of favourite reads this time around. What have you read lately?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

March Buys: The Treat Yourself Edition

March is my birthday month, so I always allow myself to do my bank balance a little more damage than normal in the spirit of celebrating me.

This particular March also bought with it some downers, and so I shopped to make myself feel better. Because capitalism. Let's have a gander at what I bought...

Also apologies for the photo quality in this post, I did film a video featuring them all but it was wonderfully out of focus!

Hope you enjoyed this peep at my wallet-bashing last month. Am hoping to be better in April. Maybe.