Sunday, 30 March 2014

Week 13 - mother's day

All images from my Instagram. 

Such a long week. So much work. No energy left for typing.

It wasn't that bad, really. I was doing work all Monday night, a little on Tuesday too, on Wednesday me and Steve went and saw Captain America and then we went out for dinner, on Thursday my friend came over for tea and cake (emphasis on the cake ohsogood) and on Friday I went for an eye checkup and grocery shopping. Just a lot of stuff going on after the 9-5 work. Yesterday I went to the shopping center with Steve's nieces and spent most of the time waiting outside fitting rooms because apparently 9-11 year old girls are just as indecisive as adults are. Today was Mother's Day in the UK and so we went for dinner with all of Steve's family - sisters, nieces, nephews etc. And to top it off we then watched a couple of the kids for a few hours afterwards. I have supervised a baking session involving about a million cookies for no other reason than to keep them busy. Health-wise I've kept up with my four workouts (2x cardio, 2x strength) but we've just been out a bit too much. We'll do better next week.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Reading Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

Oh no. I'm coming at you with another young adult's book.

Jacob grows up with an eccentric grandfather who entertains him with quirky - and sometimes creepy - stories about his time in Wales with his peculiar friends during WWII. As Jacob grows up and finds out about his grandfather's tragic background as the only survivor in a Jewish family it doesn't seem so strange that these horror manifests themselves as amazing stories. However when Jacob's grandfather unexpectedly die in a horrible accident, "mauled by wild dogs", Jacob realises that he needs to know the truth about his grandfather. And so he travels to Wales, to the island where his grandfather lived with Miss Peregrine and the peculiar children.

And I absolutely loved it. Sometimes I just need to take a step back from being an adult - and instead immerse myself in a story about someone who is just about to take that first step towards adulthood. Maybe it's because I'm secretly not 23 going on 24. Also, who doesn't love a good, dark fantasy story? This book may not be the most well-written but it's different. The plot takes so many different twists and turns and I just couldn't put this book down. Jacob was a funny and likable narrator. Plus it gets a major bonus for the wonderful and quirky photographs scattered throughout the book. I had bought the second book before finishing the first, just to avoid having to possibly wait before I could start on the next one. That's definitely a good sign.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Spring lip products

The title really should be "Spring lip products recommended by someone who has no idea what she's talking about" but it wasn't catchy enough. I just can't leave certain subjects alone for the pros to talk about, I have to have an opinion. Also lipstick/gloss looks really gross when it's all up in your face (on camera). Disregard the grossness please. Anyway, I have been wearing these four products a lot lately.

First out is 17 lipstick in the shade Beehive which I actually bought last year and mentioned in this post. This is the most subtle product ever but it's so handy for making you look just slightly more polished (plus it's so subtle that half off it can rub off and no one will ever notice). 

Later last year I bought the Revlon Colourburst lip butter in the shade Wild Watermelon and this was probably my most used product all spring/summer. Most of the lip butters are sheer but you get a very opaque colour with this one. Although it looks very red in the tube there is a lot of pink when it's on my lips anyway.

Revlon lip butter, Maybelline gloss, Soap & Glory gloss stick and 17 lipstick.

Time for my more recent purchases! This is my second gloss stick from Soap & Glory and this is in the shade Bashful, a lovely light pink. I wear this to work, for hot dates (yeah, me and Steve go on hot dates once in a while), for going out... It's just so versatile. And perfect for spring if we're all about falling into the seasonal colour clichés. (Which we obviously are.)

Finally, that same day I also purchased one of the new Maybelline Sensational lip glosses in the colour Glorious Grapefruit because I wanted something not pink for once. Unfortunately everything shows up pink on me (although it's still pretty) but it has a nice consistency and I just think this would look amazing on someone with slightly lighter natural lips.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Week 12 - coffee and flowers

A lot of pictures of my flowers and my coffee there. It basically sums up my week, most weeks. I was off on the Monday and how come Mondays off are like the Sunday we always wish we had? I went for lunch with a friend (and did not eat a salad because the food there is way too good) and then we went to Tesco and did a little grocery shopping. I love casual grocery shopping so much, the kind where you pick out a few things that you don't necessarily need but you just feel like buying them. Like tulips. I love my tulips. On Tuesday I was in the office and it was busy, in particular because I suddenly remembered that I needed to hand in an important document which I had saved on my computer in the PhD office. I had to leave early and it cost me a £7 taxi. Lovely stuff. The other days were busy but I worked from home one of the days and it helps if you're feeling a bit run-down. (Suddenly you don't have to get up at 6.15 and you can save time by eating breakfast during your work hours. Bliss.)

On Friday I got home late, changed into my comfiest and ugliest clothes before going to my boyfriend's sister's house to babysit cute children. They were asleep most of the time and we watched Man of Steel. I don't particularly recommend it because in my opinion the flawless Superman is the least interesting superhero of all time. If Lois Lane accused him of leaving dirty laundry on the bedroom floor Superman would feel morally obliged to throw himself in front of a bus. The day after I did some exercise (hulking up), we went to the shopping center to get a birthday gift for my friend and then I spent the rest of the day doing the kind of things that I do on a Saturday afternoon. Painting my nails etc. We went out in the evening to celebrate two birthdays and it was good. However this being the second weekend in a row that we've been out, I just need to take it easy next week. As the seriously uncool granny that I am I just can't deal with the hangovers and the fact that such a huge chunk of the weekend disappears. Today I did some cleaning that I didn't have time for yesterday and we went to Steve's parents for Sunday roast dinner. And it was warm enough that I didn't have to wear a jacket outside. I couldn't really ask for more on a day like this.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Reading Before I Go To Sleep and Into The Darkest Corner

Before we start I'd just like to clarify that I read both of these books shortly after reading about them on this (amazing beauty) blog. I was in the mood for something like a thriller and I certainly got what I wanted.

(Apparently Before I Go To Sleep is a movie with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth now)

Before I Go To Sleep
Written by S.J. Watson, this is a story about Christine who suffers from a rare type of amnesia which causes her to not remember any of her adult life - but she is also unable to form new memories. She can retain information throughout a day but as soon as she goes to sleep she forgets everything. Each morning she wakes up not recognising her husband or her home and she has to rely on him to tell her who she is and what her life is like. Until she starts keeping a secret journal...

I'm very ambivalent towards this book. Throughout most of it I was definitely hooked but it did have moments where I was just starting to get plain bored of Christine either doubting or unconditionally loving her husband/her doctor/her best friend. For the most part it's pretty exciting anyway and it's a fascinating idea behind a story. A good read if you just want something light but suspenseful.

Into The Darkest Corner
By Elizabeth Haynes. We get to follow Catherine during two different times in her life - as a carefree young party girl who falls head over heels for the good-looking and charismatic Lee when he shows up in her life - and three years later, suffering from severe OCD and PTSD, desperately trying to forget what happened to her. Unfortunately forgetting her past may be more difficult than she thinks when it starts to catch up with her. (Sinister music.)

Right, so the summary of this book does not make it justice (certainly not when I write about it in my own cheesy way) but it is actually so good. I have never suffered from OCD but I've read other reviews which praised its description of the disorder and I can imagine that it's quite accurate. It's also interesting to read about how you can find yourself in an abusive relationship and not realise until it's too late. This book should come with a warning as it has scenes in it which are fairly brutal, to the point where I had to look away because the descriptions were too gory. PG15, no doubt about it. It really is a page-turner though.

Monday, 17 March 2014

10 reasons to smile 22.0

It's Monday night, I'm hormonal, sick of eating healthy food and devouring clothes online that I can't afford with my eyes at a speed worthy a marathon-runner. I need one of these happy posts.

Image from my Pinterest.

one - I get paid in a week and one day. If that isn't a reason to celebrate I don't know what is.

two - Today is St Patrick's Day so I was off (yay!) A nice little consequence from having a Monday off is that suddenly your work week is only four days long (yay!)

three - Despite the fact that I'm sick of healthy eating at this particular moment, it's not actually that bad. I've got grapes at home and who wouldn't be thrilled with the prospect of snacking on grapes all day at work?

four - Tomorrow I'm in the company office and they have free coffee & fruit. TREATS.

five - Me and Steve decided to abandon the festival idea and instead go for a little trip as a birthday present for each other. Possibly Vienna, which would be amazing. (Oh we're so cultural)

six - It's getting warmer, I'm sure.

seven - I have decided to grow my hair out again because I'm fickle like that but now I'm actually excited for that weird in-between stage. It'll be different at least!

eight - It's Monday and I have already done my first workout of the week. Determination.

nine - I bought the Revlon matte balm in Elusive the other day and it is soo pretty. New favourite. Maybe.

ten - I thought of nine happy things and it wasn't even that difficult! I must not be as down as I thought I was. Last happy thing - I bought tulips today and I have decided that I want to become a crazy tulip lady. My life will be complete.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Week 11 - a vaguely healthy week

All images are from my Instagram.

It's spring! It's kind of spring. Have I not started three blog posts already with these words only to find that it snowed the week after? But now I think it might be here for real. (In England it's friggin' summer so it better be spring in Northern Ireland.) The foggy day pictured above was hopefully the last cold day here. Yesterday I bought a new necklace (and rings and lipstick) and today I went out for coffee with Steve's sisters since there was a birthday to celebrate. Nothing exciting has happened during the week. I'm very busy with my PhD at the moment and so if I miss one or two blog posts I do apologise to my three faithful readers. However, tomorrow I am off! It's St Patrick's Day so my plan is to do a little bit of work at home, go out for lunch with friends and then relax as you should on a fake-Sunday.

Healthy eating has gone alright and I worked out four times this week. FOUR. I did two (fairly light) cardio sessions and two strength sessions. I'm pleased with my exercise but I could definitely do better on the healthy eating side. I had to (had to I tell you) get burrito, which is positively death for your body, for lunch with the others in my office, since I had suggested it the week before. Clearly not knowing that they would want to go the week that I pick to start being healthy. In general, going out for lunch this week has been bad because even salads tend to have dressings and mayonnaise and other heavenly things that make vegetables taste good. What can you do, right? I'll just be better this week. (Once I have my lunch out tomorrow over and done with of course...)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A natural-spring-ish Etsy wishlist #3

I bet you're all shocked as this is not a geometric Etsy wish-list. (Okay, so three out of four items would've managed to fit in just fine into a geometric wishlist but that is not the point. Just back off, alright.) Instead I decided to go for the woody-themed ways because it's a new love of mine. Plus it's so fitting for spring, don't you agree? When spring comes around I just want to incorporate all these different elements of nature without actually having to go outdoors. Because it's cold and stuff. And the soft colours just make me swoon. I'm not difficult to seduce.

1. Wooden candle holders from FactoryTwentyOne. This is by far the most expensive item on the list but you get three (!) items for the price so it's really not that bad. Black candles look tres chic (am I french now?) but you could also keep it fresh with pastel or neon.

2. Surely you need these wooden coasters from TreeAndLaser? I have an everlasting love for coasters anyway but these are extra attractive due to the combination of classic plus modern touch in form of geometric laser engraving. 

3. Depeapa makes lovely necklaces and I am extra fond of this one. Appropriately, the description of it says nature inspired it and I'm just all over the marble-look etc. If I owned this necklace I would wear it with a white t-shirt/other simplistic clothing venture. 

4. You'd think that wooden spoons never get exciting but they do. WindandWillowHome dips all types of stuff in paint and it just helps to make spoons look 100 times better. Again, natural material + colour. It just works. 

I feel like this became slightly more wordy than intended but I can't help myself. Check out my Etsy here and join my other two followers.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Week 10 - birthday and fitness season

Images not from my Instagram, just from my iPhone. 

So the first big news is that I didn't post a single photo on Instagram this week. Not a single one. What has happened to me? (I'll tell you what happened - work and doing nothing exciting during daylight.) Those were actually the only news. These are the two pictures I took this week (plus one of my dinner so I could show my mom) of my new dress which I looove and the book I finished this week and also loooved. (I'm almost done with the one I started last night, so good!) I didn't go out last night because we have to go out the next two weekends this month and I'm a bit too desperate to get out of the house now. I've planned my outfits and everything, how sad. 

 We're in the midst of birthday season. I call it birthday season because somehow five of Steve's nieces and nephews plus two of his sister and himself all manage to have birthdays within five months. And then I finish it off nicely in June. I quite like giving gifts and receiving cake in exchange so that's all good. Saying that, next week me and Steve will start eating healthily. I've prepared by not buying anything unhealthy and hopefully that will solve any issues of temptation. On top of that I think I'm going to increase my working out to four times a week (cardio twice and strength twice). End of weekly summary. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Reading Life After Life

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is sold with the promise of an exciting tale about a girl who gets an infinite number of chances to relive her life. And it doesn't disappoint. Ursula is born in 1910 on a snowy night (over and over) and grows up (over and over) in the shadow of WWI and later, WWII. Each time she dies she has a second chance to correct her mistakes in her next life whether it is in her family home Fox Corner, London or even Berlin. Kate Atkinson writes that the book is about being English but I think it's also about what it's like to live in that lost time between the two wars.

Life After Life is such an interesting concept of infinite reincarnation but we're not offered any explanations, ever. It's just an idea presented and the reader is forced to accept it. Nevertheless, the book is enjoyable to read and Ursula is the type of character that I love. Strong, intelligent and a little bit odd. I loved her family too and the way they developed through the book (and the different lives). I was particularly fascinated by Sylvie who I originally loved but who grew colder for every war that she survived. (Do Ursula's family feel an effect of Ursula's constant reliving life?) You'd think reading a book where the main character constantly dies would get tedious, but it doesn't. The descriptions of London during war-time are fascinating (and so are the ones of Berlin). If I have one criticism, it's the ending. I don't want to spoil anything but for anyone who's read the book - yes, I should have seen it coming but it was still a little bit unsatisfactory. For anyone who hasn't read the book, just go read it now alright?!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

February favourites

This picture can be found (and the card can be bought) here. I added it to my Pinterest board because it's so cute.

favourite on tv/movie: February marked the return (for me) to Modern Family after introducing it to my mother. We're all either Mitchell and Cam, aren't we? 

favourite purchase: I bought lots of good books (see below) and a bit of makeup the last few days but what I've really been loving is this black leather dress from Asos. Don't let "black leather dress" fool you, this is so classy yet sexy. A fine line to walk, any girl will tell you. 

favourite book: Welcome new category! With all my book-reading I thought this was a necessary addition. I really loved both Vicious and The Shock of the Fall this month.

favourite music: I'm hooked on Death Cab for Cutie again. Music peaked around 2005 and it'll never get that good again. 

favourite food: I've been dining at several restaurants this past month (Prezzo twice, Wagamama's, Uluru, The Pheasant, Blue Chicago) and yet I think I need to mention my mom's chicken casserole. I don't know if it's just nice food plus all the nostalgia and my emotional heart but I think this casserole should be served at a restaurant. She should be making millions of it.

favourite drink: At the start of the month I bought lots of new tea from Teapigs and Super Fruit has a special place in my heart. I drink it with a tiny bit of honey and no milk at night before I go to bed and I imagine that somehow it heals my insides overnight. 

favourite beauty item: Without doubt, the winner is Nars creamy concealer despite the fact that it only showed up two days before March. (But a special mention goes to the Bodyshop bronzer and the Soap & Glory mutherpucker lipgloss in Bashful. I have no shame when it comes to makeup.)

favourite blog: I have an addiction to Yesterday's Sweetheart, a blog which I only found a few days ago. This girl has the style that I've always wanted yet consistently fall short of. New life goal - to look like this pretty girl at all times.

favourite event: You may have heard that I went to London? I'm a little bit London-smitten now.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Week 9 - welcoming so-called spring and routine

All images are from my Instagram.

It's March! February flew by so quickly (as expected, I had a lot of stuff planned) and it doesn't really feel like March. I remember sunbathing in March last year. Where's all that in 2014? This sunshine everyone keeps talking about but we never actually see better show up sometime soon. Mom and Elias left this Monday and I feel like these three pictures really sums up what the rest of the week was all about; indulgence. Lighting candles, reading magazines, reading books, eating food. I didn't even exercise because my shins are really sore and I decided that they needed a break (rather than just keep on going until they get seriously damaged).

Speaking of indulgence, I went out for dinner with a friend on Thursday at Wagamama's. Can we talk about how good their food is? And that maybe we all get sore hands from using chopsticks but none of us admit it? (And obviously we soldier on through the meal, refusing to put them down.) I bought a few small things and also something amazing by which I obviously mean the Nars creamy concealer. We actually made it a joint purchase and then we scraped half of it in a sample pot. Shared custody concealer is the new thing. On Saturday I made these amazing bacon and eggs baskets which were so good. (I may have made them today again because I have no self-control.) I went to TK Maxx and picked up a lamp plus two candles. Not quite the shopping spree I originally planned but that's probably for the best. In the evening me and Steve went out for dinner. What's up with all these dinners that I go to? It's like I'm an adult now.

P.S. I started watching True Detective and what is going on, it's so good?!