Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 recap

I have this obsession when it comes to documenting my own life. The thought of not doing a "2014" recap actually hurt me a little bit, so I'm doing one. For the sake of looking back and reading next year, if nothing else.

In 2014 I...

... Successfully survived my first year of my PhD course. It's been ~ million times harder than I thought but also really fun.

... Read 52 books in total over the year. I'm so happy that I succeeded with this goal! I'm never doing this again!

... I spent a full 10 days in Sweden in May + another week in Sweden this Christmas. (I haven't had this much time in Sweden since I moved away and it felt amazing.)

... Apart from Sweden I also spent a day in Copenhagen, two days with Steve outside Dublin and a weekend in London. No festivals despite my goals last year. I've given up on them now.

... Exercised regularly through-out the entire year, ran my longest run ever (not to mention my earliest and coldest) and joined a gym for the first time ever.

... Presented my study twice and won best poster at the second conference.

In 2015 I'm looking forward to...

... Getting a cat! Crazy Cat Lady identity, it is finally happening.

... Visiting someplace new this year, I'm thinking Manchester or Edinburgh.

... Presenting a full talk on my study at a conference.

... Getting curtains for the bedroom and the office. Important life goals.

... Hopefully save up enough to buy the least expensive car in the world.

This year's achievements were a lot less tangible than last year's but... I feel like this year was all about getting myself organised whether it's work, exercise or personal economy. My real goal is to become one of those insufferable people who has everything together in life. Happy New Year! (Here's my 2013 and 2012 recap.)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

10 reasons to smile 30.0

Image by Waldersten, on my Pinterest.

one - Five weeks until Christmas! Five weeks minus a day from now I will be sitting on an airplane to Sweden and Steve will be there too, hooray. I've grown quite accustomed to travelling back and forth so the journey is not particularly exciting to do on my own. Together with someone else it's still quite special however.

two - I am obsessed with the gym. I don't feel that way right before I have to go to the gym, but the day in between the gym-days - that day is full of sore muscles and post-gym-smugness.

three - There's blue cheese, hummus and twelve servings of soup in my fridge. (Not to be eaten together.)

four - Against all odds, I'm up to date with my one-book-a-week-all-2014. I stopped doing the book reviews, partly because I was too busy but mainly because they were boring me to death. (Not to mention how everyone else felt.) Anyway, forcing myself to read a book each week meant that I've read a huge amount of great books plus a bunch of classics that I've wanted to read forever. Will I do the same challenge in 2015? Never.

five - I'm in the office tomorrow. Free lattes all around.

six - Last weekend we put up a picture and a wall clock (a new clock! The best clock in the world!) and it made a huge difference to the bedroom and kitchen. I'm now on a home-improvement roll. Not ideal right before Christmas.

seven - I have a lot of my gifts sorted already. This year me, Steve, his sisters and their husbands are all doing secret santa rather than spending a fortune buying for everyone. I love secret santa!

eight - It's been about nine and a half months since I started growing my hair out and I'm finally at a place where I'm happy with it. I could easily keep at it this length for a while if I wanted to (but I don't). Either way, it's nice to finally feel like when people comment on my hair I don't have explain that I haven't actually chosen this hairstyle myself.

nine - In about a week and a half I will allow myself to decorate the house for Christmas. So much decorating to do, so little time.

ten - I'm halfway through my autumn capsule wardrobe and I'm not even slightly bored with it yet. Does this mean that I won't have to spend a fortune in January for my winter capsule? Probably not.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Easy Christmas decorating

If I could do whatever I wanted with an unlimited Christmas budget, I would spend a fortune on Christmas decorations each year. New tree, new baubles, the whole shebang. Alas, I do not have an unlimited Christmas fund and I also don't have unlimited amounts of time to craft together masterpieces. (Although I wish I had - I'm dreaming of a Christmas tree entirely decorated in intricate origami-creations.) So I thought I'd scroll through my Pinterest and pick out a couple of things that are totally doable for me. 

1. Candles in a little mugs with moss etc. There is something about the addition of moss that screams "childhood" to me but I'm not sure why. Either way, I have a topped up candle storage all year round, nuts will be bought for Christmas anyway and there are cinnamon sticks in the cupboard somewhere. All I need is moss and suddenly - cute little table decorations.

2. I already have a (less fancy) coffee station but I imagine that adding a few cups or mismatched jars of cinnamon sticks and candy canes will make it even better for the holidays. Unless someone actually wants candy canes in their coffee, because mine are fake. Whoops.

3. Somewhere in the depths of my Christmas decoration boxes is a mountain of bells meant to decorate our Christmas tree, given to me by Steve's mom and never ever used because it just doesn't go with the rest of our tree decorations. I now finally know what to do with them.

4. This picture actually offers two tips in one. First of all, I'm planning to have a nice little arrangement of branches on my kitchen table (rather than a Christmas tree in the corner) this year. There's just not enough space, people! Plus branches are free from the park. Secondly, I do love hyacinths but this is a nice updated version which is less "in your face". I also have stacks of glass candle holders just waiting for something like this to happen.

P.S. Before any of this can happen I need to sort out a couple of things which has been on my to-do list for almost two years now. Like curtains in our bedroom and office. Yes, I'm ashamed of myself...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Week 45 - gym and Interstellar

Another week has passed! This time without any pictures. I guess I just took far too many the week my some of my family was over. This week was busy but good, so I'm just gonna casually list the good stuff (because I should really be in bed but instead I need to listen to the main theme of Interstellar for the millionth time).

  • So I got up this morning and told Steve that I really wanted to do something and he suggested going to the cinema to watch Interstellar. I think daytime cinema is my favourite type of cinema-excursion and I really wanted to see that particular film. It is really, really good. The music is stunning and obviously Matthew McConaughey is <3
  • Last night I was home alone and somehow I managed to watch nine episodes of The Office (the US version), many of them while I was lying in the bath tub. As you'd expect, it was a good Saturday night. 
  • Me and Steve have also joined a gym this past week and I'm surprisingly happy to go there. I like doing the strength training and I'm ready to get that inner body builder out. (Ha.)
All in all, a good week!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

October favourites

Tonight I got home late, tripped over a bathroom hose, dropped a yogurt on the floor and then dropped a whole dish of casserole. It was one of those moments where I had to swear and then take a couple of deep breaths. I feel better now. And it's November!

Image from my Pinterest.

favourite on tv/movie: Me and Steve are back in that dark place of zombie-worshiping. E.g. we're back to watching The Walking Dead. (Still only on season 4!)

favourite purchase: October was the month of clothes shopping and I am so pleased with my autumn wardrobe, in particular a burgundy leather skirt and a pair of brown Chelsea boots. (I never claimed to be interesting in my fashion choices).

favourite book: Without doubt, The Secret History. So dreamy, romantic, intriguing and haunting, all at the same time.

favourite music: For the first time in months I didn't do a specific playlist buuuut... After watching a Swedish TV show called "Modellpojkarna" (about male models) I downloaded the playlist and I'm loving it.

favourite food: Brunch in Belfast a couple of Sundays ago.

favourite beauty item: I've rediscovered the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation. A foundation, I know. It's not very fun, but it's the truth. I've also liked the Soap & Glory gloss sticks. All are quite old favourites!

favourite blog: Due to the non-existent free time this month I don't really have a favourite blog.

favourite event: Definitely my family visiting which was so unbelievably cozy and I'm not quite over their departure yet because they only left two days ago.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Week 44 - halloween + family

All images are from my Instagram.

I have missed my weekly Sunday update several weeks in a row - which is definitely a first. Unfortunately, even if I did have time to write them I would have nothing to write about because all I've been doing is WORK. Apart from a dinner party which Steve made profiteroles for, a break for IKEA and ever since Monday when my mom and my little brother arrived to stay for a full week. They're still here, so I'm gonna make this short:

During the week I have bleached my brother's hair, gotten my own hair cut shorter again (it's all one length, finally!), attended a birthday party for Steve's niece, paid money to walk through a forest trail with my friends while actors pretending to be serial killers chased us (I am also wondering why I decided to pay to get scared), carved a pumpkin, handed out sweets for trick-or-treaters and went shopping with my family. It has been an amazing week off and I haven't missed work one bit...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Reading The Secret History

Guuuuyyys.... I'm not sure where to start with this book. I can't believe that I haven't heard about it until after reading The Goldfinch earlier this year. If you haven't already figured it out, this is another review of a Donna Tartt book.

The Secret History follows Richard, a Californian who feels suffocated by his family and decides to study at a college in New England to escape his current surroundings. When he gets accepted into the highly eccentric Greek class, at first he feels alienated from the other five students who are brilliant, arrogant and wealthy but they soon become his closest friends. However, the others have a secret and when Richard finds out about it he realises that it he is unavoidably part of it too...

The story is presumably set at some point in the late 80s when the book was released, but in almost all aspects it feels timeless, possibly because of the dreamy feel through-out the book. I am well aware that it won't be everyone's cup of tea - some may feel like it is a pretentious novel, written so that the author can show off her obscure knowledge. Personally, I love that. And the characters are pretentious, in an obvious and humorous way. They spend all their time drinking scotch or wine and discussing ancient Greek phenomena. Of course they are supposed to be pretentious. However, what gets to me is the beautiful way that it's written and how the characters were so easy to like, yet they also scared me. It's a wonderful and simultaneously haunting story to read. One of my best reads this year, without a doubt.