Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bathroom wishlist

As I am currently in the midst of this capsule wardrobe adventure which inevitably means that I have to ban myself from looking at clothes online otherwise I will succumb to my primal urges and just BUY ALL THE CLOTHES, I have decided to distract myself by looking at other things instead. Like stuff for my house. Which is probably just as dangerous. And although I had decided that I am not allowed to start dreaming about the next room of the house until I am done with the first one (our living room), I can't help myself. Our bathroom looks so sad. It needs a little bit of financial TLC. 

1. This ceramic tray from The White Company (which I just realised is sold out. My life is over) to put a little candle in. And by all means, if you keep spare lavender twigs about, throw them in as well. £14.

2. A concrete planter from Roughfusion on Etsy, with a suitable green plant in it. I never think about putting plants in bathrooms but really, it would look very well I think. £7.26.

3. A makeup bag from Maggs London which is apparently called the Henley bag and it is beautiful. £19.95.

4. A copper storage box for holding jewellery from Rockett St George (an old favourite of mine). My jewellery is currently strewn all over my desk but I never even cared until I laid eyes on this. £16.

5. A clear glass shade from Not on the High Street.com because I need as much light as possible from our lamp but I wouldn't mind it looking slightly prettier than it does right now (just a naked eco friendly light bulb). £29.95.

The total comes to £87.16 and that's pretty much my bathroom transformed. Let's see how much self-control I have... P.S. I have a wish list on my Pinterest.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Week 30 - melting away in work and sunshine

All images from my Instagram.

Oh, this week. This week has been full of work. You know those weeks where you feel relaxed and on Friday night you have a full, long weekend ahead of you, filled with just goodness? This was not one of those the weeks.

Saying that - it was not a bad week, just a busy one. The weather was so hot that we were all melting away and both of the times that I went out running I opted for a 6am start - I just couldn't face the melting mixture of sunshine and humidity that this country offer at any point after work. (If you want to feel super-productive I would recommend running at 6am when no one else is out. THE SMUGNESS.) On top of that I had quite a few meetings this week but I organised them all so that I would have my Thursday free anything requiring my office and instead I did my work in my garden. Why not take advantage of being a PhD student? My entire weekend has been spent working on an important deadline for tomorrow apart from a quick break when me and Steve went to the shopping center on yesterday. I restocked my bathroom cabinet (psst, Boots have got a 3 for 2 offer on No7 products at the moment and you need it all), bought lemon tart and take-away coffee because there is really no excuse not to treat yourself if you have to do work and you just got paid.

Healthwise, this week has been pretty good. I squeezed in two running sessions and two fitness videos over the week + a couple of short walks with Steve. Once I had finished that lemon drizzle cake from last Sunday my eating markedly improved as well. Not counting this weekend of course. (Never count the weekend - it makes healthy eating miserable). And also not counting Friday because I may have bought a burrito so that I would feel slightly better about work... Which I am almost entirely done with for the night. Two more weeks until I'm off for a week!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Reading Gung Ho!

People, I read a non-fiction book. What? As if that wasn't already totally out of my comfort zone, it's a business book. (I don't even know who I am anymore.)

So, everyone in my office at the company are huge fans of this book. As a very value-driven business (which is nice indeed!) I can now see that the type of book which is all about managing people through self-worth was appealing to them and that's great! Enough about my worklife, I need to try to describe a book about business when I know nothing about business. So the point of this book is to point out the key steps towards having a business where employees thrive and productivity is increased. How nice. The book is written in layers, starting with easy basics such as work being worthwhile (you make a difference in the world!), to allowing employees to set their own goals (you are in charge of this company!) to cheering each other on (you're doing a great job!). The book calls it Gung Ho! I don't know if there is any type of scientific research to back it up but I am sure that it works based on self-efficacy and social support theories etc. 

The values are delivered through native American inspired symbolism, using squirrels and beavers etc. I get it, it makes it easier to remember the actual principles that they are trying to convey. However, the book is written as a supposedly true story about a business ready to fail but it is saved through implementing Gung Ho! and it is so cringeworthy. I couldn't read it without getting the feeling that this was originally a really bad movie script. Woman gets doomed factory, fires racist and stupid department head, befriends man with native American roots, together they watch squirrels in the forest and then implement their findings in the company etc... Read the first chapter and you'll see what I mean. Despite this, the book has good ideas and if every book about business was this easy to read I'd be buying a lot more of them. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Summer makeup and six months pixie cut update

Lets ramble about summer makeup and the perils of growing out a pixie cut, shall we? Prepare for a gigantic picture of me.

Disclaimer: I found a "remove mole" tool (yes, that was its actual name because they sure know how to lure moley people in) in the photo editing program I use and I got so excited that I removed two of them straight away. Then I decided to restrain myself. Because it's one thing correcting the colours of your selfportraits and it's a totally different thing to DELETE moles.

So first of all; makeup. It's funny because I had a routine back in April, then it changed entirely and then it slowly and sneakily changed back to the original routine. So basically, my routine is almost the same as previously. In this photo I am wearing the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation but foundation is a rarity for me during the summers. Aint nobody got time for that. For everyday wear I would normally wear Dr Jart BB cream which I have recently fallen back in love with or go straight to my Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. After that I have included a new step: bronzer. The Bodyshop Honeycomb bronzer is subtle enough to warm up your face OR if you fancy looking like you've magically gotten a bit of sun, it can do that too. Over the bronzer I place a little of my Rimmel blush in Santa Rose (which has been mentioned to death on this blog) and then some of my No7 highlighter. Boom, your face is looking fresh.

My Urban Decay Naked 3 palette is still going strong and I place a little bit of Stranger in the corners of my eyes as well as on my brow bone and then a little all over the lid for good measure. (I am pleasantly surprised that I haven't yet hit pan on any of the shadows in my palette.) I then sweep some of Burnout over the outer half of my eyelid and out towards the edges of my eyes. Cue blending until it's just a subtle shimmer. If I can be bothered I'll then make a very subtle cat flick with my Rimmel Flash eyeliner (which is ridiculously easy to use but mine is drying out and it has a tendency to smudge. I would definitely recommend a felt tip eyeliner in general but possibly not this one. I may purchase the Stila one when I get my pay in a few days. Tangent over) and that is all. This makeup routine will not take longer than 10 minutes unless you go for a foundation/BB cream which requires lots of buffing and why would you?

Hair at two, three, four and five months after last cut (you can see the mullet flourishing towards the end.)

On towards talk about my pixie cut. I am a couple of days away from six months of growing my pixie cut out and I have learnt a thing or two. First of all; just accept the fact that you're gonna have to get your neck hair cut to avoid the mullet. I refused to go to the hairdresser for the first five months because I thought I could power through the awkward mullet phase. Spoiler alert; I could not. (If you can, you have nerves of steel!) You may want nothing more than to be able to pull your hair back into a ponytail but I am here to tell you that it's not worth it if your ponytail consists entirely of neck hair. It's mainly weird. Secondly; let go of your hair worries. It will do what it wants when it wants to, okay? I'm not saying that I haven't had a few hair-related breakdowns and I am completely incapable of accepting compliments regarding my hair at the moment without going on a rant but it's important to chill. Nobody else cares as much about the state of your hair as you do.

I wish I had taken better pictures of my hair as I grew it out but I will do better until my next update at the (hopefully) massively different eight month update.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Week 28 & 29 - being ill

Have I mentioned that I was sick last week? (About a million times, okay.) Either way, it meant that I never uploaded a weekly update because I was busy lying on my couch and asking for water with a weak and trembling voice.

I can't even remember what I did the week before last. I was off on Monday due to the Dublin trip, and then I worked 9-5 as per usual. On Friday me and Steve went out for food and ran a whole bunch of errands which mainly consisted of walking from store to store, trying to find fancy wedding shoes that fit Steve's giant boat-feet and in the evening we met up with friends. On Saturday I cleared out my wardrobe in a nothing short of spectacular way and prepared for the most amazing Sunday roadtrip to the sea-plans ever... which never happened. Sickness hit me night between Saturday and Sunday. On Monday I went to a wedding! I looked fairly average, didn't eat a thing and just nodded and smiled at everyone who tried to speak to me. (But I pulled through which is surely a good thing?) And the wedding was gorgeous.

I spent all Tuesday and Wednesday in bed before I was ready to go back to work. (More motivated than ever, obviously!) Yesterday morning me and Steve ran a couple of errands which basically consisted of buying huge amounts of meat for wholesale prices. Our freezer is a meat lover's dream. We also managed to squeeze in a lunch at McCartney's because I love McCartney's and I had a bagel with salmon and cream cheese. Good times. Quite spontaneously we decided to go out in the evening with some friends, hence why I'm now feeling quite tired. (But definitely worth it.) I still managed to make a lemon drizzle cake using this recipe and I am about to have my second slice now. There is a little bit of work that needs to be done to make up for my sick days earlier this week and I feel that lemon drizzle cake will make Sunday working slightly less dreadful.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Reading The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (also known as Severed heads, Broken hearts) was read in a day or so. This is the end of me reading YA novels, I swear.

Ezra Faulkner is seventeen, a high school tennis star (in a world where tennis is cool) and his girlfriend is another hot tennis player. On top of all that, Ezra is intelligent enough to make jokes that none of his jock friends understand but he likes his uncomplicated, tennis-centred life. Until he's in a car accident after which he can never play tennis again. Upon going back to school Ezra feels unable to rejoin the world of jocks and instead he becomes friends with a new girl who is (of course) completely different to his previous life. 

This book is a dream if you're a slightly pretentious teenager and as a former pretentious teenager I can only imagined that I would have loved this when I was seventeen. You will positively drown in high school cliques which is not bad at all if you happen to love sassy, sarcastic, intellectual nerds which this book is basically an accolade towards. As far as characters... The new girl is so much of a cool nerd that she becomes slightly unlikable and Ezra continuously balances a fine line between being too smart for his own good (jokes in latin?) and being unbelievably dumb. (But I love Ezra's best friend, Toby.) However, this was such an entertaining little read and I wish it had been around seven years ago. A definite recommendation to all those nerd-lovers out there. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

10 reasons to smile 26.0

I have been absent (from life, in general) the past few days due to a stomach bug which I was pretty sure somehow mutated into a life threatening illness a couple of times. However, I have reached that stage where you're almost certain you can make it into work the day after because honestly, you're bored out of your mind and no illness can keep you at home anymore even if it means half-sleeping at your desk in the office. Cue happy-post.

Image from here. I miss Gilmore Girls.

one - I have basically lived on soup and flat ginger ale the past few days and I can't wait to actually expand my palette to something more adventurous. Like toast.

two - It's also only two more days until weekend which means that even if I'm at home, doing nothing, Steve will be here too!

three - Eight more days until payday <3

four - Last Saturday, before my illness struck, I got inspired and did a massive clear-out among my clothes. A quarter is going into seasonal storage and another two quarters are being donated - leaving me with 38 items of clothings. The thing is - I wasn't even wearing the other three quarters. They were just taking up space. My new motto is to be minimalist with my clothing and buy less items of higher quality.

five - About a week ago I ran at an average pace of 10.02 min/mile. A new record for me this summer. (I can't wait to get back into it).

six - I got my hair trimmed so that it's all more of one length (rather than the mullet I had before!) This is certainly a reason to smile, for me and for everyone who has to see me daily.

seven - I realise that it's summertime and I should be shot for not living in the moment... But my brain is all about fall. I can't wait for my favourite months of the year and will you judge me if I say that I randomly thought of a good christmas present the other day?

eight - ... Saying that, I'm still so very happy about summer and the BBQs, random daytrips and not having to wear socks ever. (Although quite sad that my trip to the coast was cancelled this weekend due to The Illness.)

nine - In less than a month's time me and Steve are taking a week off work and I believe our plans are NONE. Apart from a wedding that we have to attend, we're just going to sleep most of the days and catch up on TV shows.

ten - It's about 9pm and I'm already in bed. I'm living an enviable life.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Reading The Virgin Suicides

The past few months I have been reading so many absolutely brilliant books that I almost feel bored of writing about how good my latest read was. And as if this introduction hasn't already given it away; this was another brilliant book. 

The Virgin Suicides is a book told from the perspective of boys who live and are in some way touched by the lives of the Lisbon sisters. Five girls from the ages of 13 to 17 with a desire to stop living and nobody knows why. Years after, the boys on the street have accumulated all kinds of evidence to try to find out the mystery surrounding the haunting and fascinating Lisbon sisters.

This is really all that I can say about the story of the novel. There is something about this story; it is as if it takes place in a bubble, separate from the rest of the world. Although there is humour embedded in the story as well tragedies stated very matter-of-factly, everything is described in a very romantic and dreamy way. Little trinkets and movements are given a significance that would normally not be paid any attention to. We never find out who the narrators really are, just like the sisters are at first perceived as just one person that is the perspective we're given of the narrators through the entire story. This is not a fast-paced book and there's no twists. It really just tells the slow and sad story of a family which falls apart from the point of view of others, but it is told in an extraordinarily magical way.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Three things I'm loving

Just to warn you right now: This is a post about stuff that I have pinned of Pinterest because I am having a Pinterest-moment. (Who am I kidding. I always have a Pinterest-moment.)

Shorts styled in an effortless way. Can "shorts" and "effortless" even be in the same sentence? Technically shorts just means rush to the bathroom cabinet to shave them and then smother them in fake tan. Right?

Expertly placed plants. Tell me these plants aren't dominating these spaces. With the sidekick Funky Lamp perhaps. The fact that all plants go suicidal as soon as they enter my house is one of my biggest sorrows.

Pictures of these dreamy places (Greece, Italy, Czech Republic). It's okay. Everyone else goes on holiday but I'm content just sitting here on Pinterest, knowing that pink houses exist in this world.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Week 27 - dublin surprise trip

All images are from my Instagram

Last week was a good week!

On my birthday a month ago I received a bunch of things from Steve as well as the promise that he had a surprise planned. Not that I required a surprise but I was pleased nevertheless. On Sunday morning we packed our bags and got into the car for our little road trip, ending up in a five star hotel outside of Dublin! (Technically, that's leaving the country and everything.) I don't think I've ever stayed in a five star hotel before but I now know that they have fancy toiletries which I promptly stole. Yesterday we just stayed in the area around the hotel, had dinner (and wine for me) and then we watched a movie in our ridiculously giant hotel bed. Today we took the train into Dublin and I hadn't been there for years! We had breakfast out, walked in and out of little designer shops for hours and shared a pie outside St. George's Arcade before we left Dublin and began our journey back home. I feel like it's difficult to explain quite how good these two days were. It was just a lovely, chilled-out trip and definitely my favourite birthday present ever.

P.S. I exercised as soon as we got home because I have p i g g e d o u t these last two days.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Reading The Cuckoo's Calling

I wish I could say that I read The Cuckoo's Calling before I found out that Robert Galbraith is in fact J.K. Rowling but alas, I cannot. There was an article about the fortunate ones who did read it before the big reveal and it obviously made me curious enough to pick it up. The Cuckoo's Calling is a crime/mystery novel which follows Cormoran Strike as he is asked to investigate a suicide committed by a super model. Strike has just gotten out of a long-term relationship, is homeless and with mounting debts which leads him to accepting the job purely for financial reasons. However, with the help of his secretary Robin, the detective begins to find holes in the stories of the people who were close to Lula Landry. 

There was a part of me who was very cynical when I picked up this novel. After all, who would dare give a negative review of anything written by J.K. Rowling? I'm happy to say that I was wrong. The content of The Cuckoo's Calling is nothing like Harry Potter, yet it has a similar easy flow, well-paced and entertaining. I had no issues getting lost in this novel at all (and I am not a crime/mystery person). The characters are entertaining and I did not see the end coming. Some reviews have complained about it being all talk and no action but that is personally what I look for in a crime novel. A modern-day Agatha Christie type story and perfect for summer reading.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June favourites

July's here?! Shockingly unoriginal opening but I am just as fascinated by time passing as everyone else.

Random pictures from June.

favourite on tv/movie: Due to my sudden interest in comics and the fact that there was a new X-men movie coming out, me and Steve went on a little X-men movie spree. Modern Family and Star Trek: Voyager are also highly appreciated at the moment. Please don't judge me.

favourite purchase: I bought new running shoes. Asics, as recommended by all the experts that I personally know (which is only one and happens to be my uncle) and I found a pair that had 40% off. There was no way it wasn't happening.

favourite book: I read The Goldfinch at the start of the month and absolutely loved it. The Virgin Suicides (which I haven't written a review about yet) gets an honourable mention because it would an amazing book if only I hadn't read The Goldfinch only two weeks prior...

favourite music: Over the past week I have gotten obsessed with the album "Low Wishes" by Air Review. Indie pop folk-y type of music. So very perfect for summer.

favourite food: Rediscovering pulled pork.

favourite beauty item: I have been obsessing over the honeycomb bronzer from The Bodyshop over the past month. Mainly because I have realised that fast makeup is the point of summer and bronzer is the answer to that. Bronzer, concealer, mascara. Done.

favourite blog: I love a summery blog in the summertime and my recent favourite is actually a pretty old favourite, Elsa Billgren's blog. It's Swedish and so... Breezy?

favourite event: Me and Steve had a great day out with friends for a Lego exhibition, dinner and then cinema but it is probably topped by my afternoon tea last weekend. A classy day for classy ladies. Err.