Thursday, 23 April 2015

Over Easter

This is just a little update about what I got up to over the Easter holidays. Half was spent with family and the other half spent with friends, which I find to be a perfect divide. I just took it easy over Easter and drank lots of wine and watched lots of shit telly, that's how you do it! 

The first week of Easter I spent in Scotland with my Family from Ireland. It was a lovely part of Scotland that we went to, just on the border around 2 hours away from Carlisle but you could still feel the Scottish vibes everywhere you went. We rented out a lovely quaint cottage called 'Woodpecker Cottage' which was in a small village called Bladnoch, this was close to where the film The Wickerman was made, which gave it an almost creepy but interesting vibe. On the first day me and my Mum just had the cottage to ourselves so we went for a long walk and when I say long, it was almost 5 hours! But it was a great walk with a lovely view a little bleak and creepy but lovely. On the second day we went up a windy hill to see a windy chapel which was well; windy. The third day we went on a nature walk by a dam and a loch (I hate dams by the way) but it was still lovely and the weather was really nice (the only day the weather was actually nice). The fourth day we went to a little colourful town which kind of reminded me a bit of 'Balamory' but there were some amazing vintage and antique shops there and I picked up many many bargains. I fell in love with an old traffic light that still worked, but alas I wouldn't have been able to carry it home. That day we also visited a windy lighthouse on top of a very, very high windy cliff which was a little too high for me I have to say, especially if you're a fast walker and don't look around corners until there's a huge drop below you! No I am not over exaggerating I almost fell off a cliff, that'll teach me not to walk fast when around steep cliffs. We also took many windy family photos, but they are just too embarrassing to publish on the internet we are all dripping wet, wind swept and look completely miserable but we did have a great ol' time. On the last day we visited another nature reserve and the weather was also lovely and I sampled Galloway icecream which is amazing by the way. We also visited St Ninnian's cave where the final scene of The Wickerman was filmed and it is also refuge for Christian Pilgrims that come far and wide to see the cave where the St used to pray, it was a very interesting place. 

My holiday in Scotland was lovely and it was wonderful to see my Irish side of the family because we don't see them that often. And because the weather was mostly terrible we spent most of our holiday with our feet up in front of the log fire, drinking wine and catching up. It was great. Here are a selection of photos from Scotland (they really don't show how bad the weather actually was though)

The second week I spent mostly with friends having a catch up and going out, it was great. Halfway through the week it was our friend Adam's birthday so we told him we were going on a surprise journey and took him to the Lake District for a picnic, the scenery was breath taking and our picnic was amazing, we even brought pizza; I think now pizza in the lake district is a must! We sat on the beach by the lake all afternoon listening to Kings of Leon and skimming stones, it was so picturesque it was like something out of a film. Adam had a lovely day and that was all we wanted. We also had many a catch up in front of the telly with wine, which I appear to be doing a lot of lately, oh well it's the best way to be!

How were your Easter holidays ?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

Yes it is Wednesday and yes, I am writing this in the sun so if there are any grammar and spelling mistakes I do apologise, but the sun is out in England and when the sun comes out we are taught not to waste it so I've taken my laptop (and it's incredibly dim screen) outside to soak up the sun. This week has been full of spontaneous nights out and short shifts at work. These are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

-Going on a trip to Newcastle and seeing the Wombats. I love our little getaways to a cheap hotel and a good vibe indie gig, it's my favourite place to be. I also managed to steer away from Primark and all things shopping in general, which is a great achievement for me seems as we have no Primark at home. Instead we did cultural things like a walk along the Quayside and a trip to the Baltic Contemporary Art Museum and don't forget a cheeky trip to Nandos. All in all it was a great trip, despite being ill with a cold and taking £40 out of a strange and dodgy cash machine and it evidently not coming out of the cash machine, whilst the owner was no help and kept telling me it was 'not his problem' Don't worry after many an argument with the bank I am getting my money back, soon hopefully. Here are some photos from the trip that I took on m phone:

- The fact that I have my last lecture on Thursday and I just get to relax while occasionally going to work through the summer, bring it on!

- On Tuesday we went for a quiet drink in Spoons which ended up with us going to a nightclub and returning home at 4 o'clock in the morning. I was dressed in a dress, tights, cardigan and brogues; preferably not nightclub attire.But did I care? Nope it was a brilliant night despite the choice of clothing and having a rave in a cardigan. 

- Started my first class of Yoga, I ended up just biting the bullet and going on my own. I'm so proud of myself for attending the class on my own, we did forward bends and I found out that I was not the least flexible in the class. The class is great and worth the money and the instructors are lovely. 

-The fact Game of Thrones is back. I didn't find the first episode too exhilarating though, not like the start of season 4 at all. But understand it has been a long time and they needed to do a little recap episode, hopefully it will be back to normal next week.

How was your Monday?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

Wow, I haven't done one of these is a while. This is due to family outings and spending time with friends I haven't seen for a long while over Easter. But now I am back at Uni and ready to knuckle down and finish my last two assignments of this year, phew! These are the things that have made me particularly happy this week/month:

-Taking a trip to Scotland with my family, even though it poured down the whole time we were there it was so lovely to see the Irish side of my family and because of the rain we had to spend quality time catching up by the log fire. 

-Easter Sunday, I got drunk went and sat on a bridge and rolled down a hill. I also managed to pick daffodils for Gareth and leave them on his sofa, best girlfriend ever.  

-The little Birthday picnic we had for our friend Adam, we went to the lake district and ate pizza and humous next to the most spectacular scenery (photos will probably come soon)

-The fact I have finished the first series of Twin Peaks and am now hooked, however it is hard to avoid spoilers when the series was created in 1990.

-Being at home, getting to laze around in bed, eat proper food and spend some quality time with my white furred bundles of joy.

-Being home for my Dad's birthday, all he wanted from me as a gift was a takeaway. Really high standards there!

-Being promoted at work, nothing exciting like, just a few more hours added to my contract but I'm still chuffed.

-Going for an old lady road trip with my best chum Georgia, we literally drove to a small town and ate scones and lemonade, we're really showing our age.

-Knowing that Game of Thrones starts tonight, however I wont be able to watch it until Thursday with Gareth. I think if I watched it without him he would possibly cry.

What I have been listening to: James Bay - Chaos and the Calm.
After seeing this man at a small gig over a year ago and meeting him (did I forget to mention he said I had lovely hair) he has come such a long way and I am so pleased for him. It really does show what you can do in a year when you have the opportunity.

How was your Monday?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Songs for // March

Sorry to confuse you but the vinyl isn't new, I'm just so mega mega excited about going to the see The Wombats on Sunday and I like the colour palette of the record and the ipod, just took this picture for the 'ambiance' really. Anyway here is the music I have found throughout the month of March, I'm having a little love affair with Years and Years at the moment and I am just too excited that Florence and Mumford are back, oh and don't forget Muse, everyone's decided to musically rise from the dead all at once! I also came across a brilliant band called Seafret who are like a mixture of Kodaline and Mumford and to make everything better Maisie Williams is in their video for 'Oceans'. There is also a a small band called Aquilo who are from the Lake District which is really close to me (oh so proud) and some more wonderful new delights such as Jack Garret who I am actually in love with (I really must stop saying I'm in love with things and people) and SOAK a 16 year old singer song writer 16...Years...Of...Age. I have nothing else to say. I hope you enjoy!


What's been your favourite song this month?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Monthly Muses

This month has been full of deadlines and planning for the summer (total excitement btw) The sun's now mostly out and spring is in the air, which means for me hay fever is also in the air! But I'm not complaining, it's been winter for too damn long. Shall we crack on?

1. New-Look Turtle Neck in Grey 

Ah the 70's what even was that time? I don't even know because I wasn't born! However I have fallen in love with this little piece of 70's, reliving my Dad's extremely vast collection of turtle necks. I like to wear this under things, because it's quite tight I don't think I would wear it without something on top of it, it's a great way in the colder months to be able to wear your summer slip dresses that are just too skimpy for the bitter winds of the north. It also goes great with just a plain pinafore dress and I also like to layer a few necklaces on top. 

2. Smiling Mind Meditation App 

This has changed my stress life, seriously. It's just a free download from the app store but by Jove it's brilliant! It basically gives you meditative routines that you can do anywhere, which help you focus on your breathing and just your body and mind in general, it's basically a less complicated form of Mindfulness. It stands by the ethos that if you have a smiling mind the rest of the world will smile with you too, which I was a little skeptical about really and I wouldn't really go as far as saying the rest of the world also smiles with me, but what I will say is that during a stressful month 5-10 minute meditations after a long day has done me the world of good and I think I may have fallen in love with the gentle voiced Australian man who guides me through my meditation! It's a calm app and doesn't give you pushy notifications to remember to use it, it's just always there on your phone when you need it. 

3. Soap & Glory Lid-Stuff Eyeshadow 

For as long as I can remember I have never been able to find the perfect, everyday eye shadow. All I asked for in life was an easy, blend-able, muted colour eye shadow which I could wear almost everyday and not get bored. Well my friends, I appear to have found it, I just love the colours in this palette, I tend to use the top two lighter colours (Vanilla & Pink T) when pairing it with a cat eye look and then if I want a more smokey but still natural look I will apply the bottom left colour (Mudhoney) into the crease, then when I'm going out I will also layer the look with the bottom right hand colour (Aubersheen) to give a heavier smokey eye. This description shows just how durable this palette is, I mentioned three different looks there from just a four colour palette. I also love the packaging, a bulky but not big case to protect the shadows on the move. The statement on the back also makes me chuckle:

 'We chose not to include a cheap spongy shadow brush, because not only would it drive the price of this palette up, we thought you'd rather opt for a proper one' 

Cheers S&G !

4. Soap & Glory Thick and Fast Flash Extensions Mascara HD 

As you can probably tell I have seen the light with Soap & Glory makeup finally! This is due to the quality and price of the products which I find dare I say (shock horror) is better than Benefit and also due to the ethics of the cosmetics. After doing some research I found some terrifying truths about links to most cosmetics sold at Boots and animal testing which caused me to re-think the products in my makeup bag. Soap & Glory have been found to be completely clean of using animal tested products and as a result I bulk bought lots of their cosmetics range. I will be doing a bigger blog post on my Soap & Glory collection and why I chose to re-think my makeup bag, soon (possibly). 

This mascara though, oh my goodness! It's re-designed my eyelashes in a way I'd never imagined, just two coats of this stuff extends my eyelashes probably 10x more than their natural length. I also have to say that I had to spend 50p extra for the packaging, because gold (I'm not materialistic at all) but the mascara is also worth it. It's also great for lasting a whole day of work with no smudges or panda eyes underneath. The only thing I must say is it's not terribly waterproof so stay away from bad weather and puddles and all that. 

5. Lush 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion

After a particularly difficult day at work (customer service is hard sometimes when you hate other human beings) I decided to cheer myself up and pop into Lush I needed a new bathbomb for going home the week after and I just fancied a look at the Easter stuff, but what I returned home with was something much more necessary than a bathbomb. A very lovely girl came up to me and on a whim I asked her if she had anything that removed makeup because I was low on cleansing water and wanted something more ethically sourced. She pointed me in the direction of the ever so famous cleanser 'Ultralism' which I liked but wanted something more versatile so I ended up choosing the '9 to 5' everyday cleanser. The nice girl though gave me a small pot of the 'Ultralism' for free! Which she didn't have to do and I am so grateful for, I still need to try the 'Ultralism' properly but I appear to be pretty content with this particular cleanser right now. I use this every night or just whenever I need to take my makeup off. I rub it all over my face, even my eyes because it's great at removing mascara and use a warm, wet cotton wool pad to remove, it sweeps the makeup off effortlessly and doesn't leave any red marks. I definitely think this stuff will be living above my sink for a very long while. 

Honestly, if ever you have a hard day, pop into Lush on a whim, it's the best cure for people allergies! 

6. Gone Girl (DVD)

After reading the book (which was fantastic btw and a blog post will be up about it soon) I was scared to see the film in case it completely ruined it for me. But I shouldn't have been worried because I enjoyed every heart racing second of it. Fight Club is my all time favourite film and David Fincher is one of my all time favourite directors so good start for all! I love how the film captured all the tension and twists and turns of the book and didn't leave any important parts of the plot out. The actors Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck were a brilliant choice for Nick and Amy and actually when I think about it all the other characters were well suited too especially Neil Patrick Harris as Desi which I never thought I would say. From a media point of view Fincher's tracking shots and cool colour palette really added to the tension and eeriness of the setting and you can really tell that Gillian Flynn herself was on set the whole time because the settings I had in my mind when reading the book were almost exactly the same as the film. I would even say this film might join Fight Club in my all time favourites. What I will say though is if you are wanting to watch the film, please read the book first because you would be missing out on a really great read and once you know what happens you just can't un-know it!

It really has been a month for cosmetics, phew!
What have you been loving this month?


Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Life in Books // Tag

First of all can we appreciate the fact that I love Gareth's new room and I could literally sit and read on this sofa all day. Also lets all give a round of applause for tags like this that give me a little bit of procrastination time whilst doing uni work. 

Ever since I can remember I've loved books, I'm going to put this down to my lovely mum for taking the time to read to me every night from a young age. And also her very extensive taste in literature, I'm always finding myself nabbing books from her shelf when I'm home. The most recent nab I am engaged in is the glorious 'Girl with all the Gifts' really enjoying this book although the horror side is causing lack of sleep, which results in more reading! I've seen this tag floating around the blogging and Youtube ether and thought it would be a great one to do seems as I love to read and have read a lot of books in my lifetime. It's also a nice way to really prod at that memory of mine and remember which books meant the most to me. So without further ado: 

1. What was the first book you remember reading ?

Now this is very specific. It was a ladybird bug that my mum picked up from a local car boot sale and it was called 'Smoke and Fluff' by A. J. Macgregor and it was about two naughty kittens that stole tarts from their Mother but don't worry in the end she forgives them and everything's fine and dandy! I think I loved this book so much because it was all narrated in rhyme and also the illustrations were just beautiful, the cats had clothes on, but they still looked and acted like cats. I'm sure there was some kind of moral to the story or something but I think I just liked the cats in clothes I don't even know! I think I still actually have this book somewhere. 

2. What books make up your childhood?

Obviously because of my generation it has to be Harry Potter! I can remember distinctly reading them with my Mum, taking turns in reading chapters and also I used to fall asleep to the CD's of Stephen Fry narrating the first book, lets just say I was little obsessed! Before that though there were the Brambly Hedge books which I still love and adore today, even (if I dare say so, because I'm from the Lake district) more than Beatrix Potter! I think there were 8 books in total and they portray a story of a mouse neighborhood who live in a tree and the illustrations were beautiful (I have a thing for illustrations) I still have the books today, definitely going to keep them for future offspring!

3. What's the first series of books you devoured? 

The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Looking back now I cringe because the books were just so old fashioned and even slightly sexist! But at the time I just wanted to be like them, they had such amazing adventures and I always liked their dog companion. 

4. Which books take you back to a certain point in your life and why? 

This is strange but at primary school we used to have a book club magazine that went around and me and my friends just loved anything to do with horses and unicorns. We always used to order one book off this particular series and swap them when we were finished, so basically I read the books backwards! The series was called My Secret Unicorn and even when I look at the pictures of the books now I can remember how my room looked and me getting into bed, still in my uniform to try and read the book all in one day. They were great plots, don't judge!
More recently though I can remember reading the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency when I'd just began to see Gareth and I can even remember the first time he came to my house and commenting on my pile of books with that series at the top, he asked if I read a lot. 

5. What books have you, or could you, read over and over again?

Lolita! It's so incredibly well written and poetic and I love all the hidden meanings and the descriptive settings. More recently though I could definitely read Gone Girl over and over again I can't believe how good that book was and I really think it could do with a second read to see if there was anything I missed!

6. What book changed your life or at least could change someone else's?

Probably I would either say Animal Farm, just because of all the hidden metaphors and it's a great introduction into politics (even though slightly traumatising) it makes you think a whole bunch as well! On a lighter and more hipster note, I have to say Perks of Being a Wallflower changed my life, that book is surprisingly filled with so much advice which my younger teenage self could have done with hearing. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this very un-original tag but I have enjoyed doing it so much!
I urge you all to complete this tag, it really makes you think. 
What's your favourite book?


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

My first year of Uni is drawing scarily near to the end and I don't know if that makes me happy or sad. It's nearly Easter and then after that I've only got two weeks left of lectures and then we get kicked out of halls and move into our house, time really does fly! Here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

- Being able to spend time at Gareth's. Even though the eclipse in Cumbria was terrible because of all the clouds, it was really nice to see how Gareth's settling into his new home and also have things cooked for me! Oh wow that was a treat and a half.

- Knowing that I only have one assignment left. The last few weeks, I have to say have been extremely stressful trying to write things and get them in on time but the journey of first year is nearly at it's end, but according to the second and third years; it only gets worse from there, great!

- Running again. I've missed running and yes I am one of those wimps who doesn't run in winter, it's cold okay? But really I've missed it more than I thought and for a stress head like me there's nothing better than moving your legs to music surrounded by beautiful scenery. And also did I mention, unlike the gym, it's free!

- St Patrick's Day, oh my goodness what a great night out, I was feeling it in the morning though!

- The fact that I will be in Scotland by this coming weekend with family. Can't wait to be surrounded by rolling hills and rivers and did I mention, the cottage we have rented has an agar?! Get me to Scotland now please!

What I have been listening to:

Everything Jack Garratt, he has an amazing beard and is a badass on piano, what more do you want?

How was your Monday ?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Songs for // Stress

Sometimes, especially around this time of year it all gets a little too much for us all, be it exams, essays, deadlines or just work or personal problems sometimes you can just feel like it's all getting on top of you. That's how I feel right now, just a little bit. I know I shouldn't be complaining about stress because I'm only in my first year of uni and apparently it gets much, much harder but what can I say, I'm a stressy person, always have been, but it's how I seem to cope. 

I believe that there are two outcomes that need to be assessed for stress, either you drop everything and relax for a while, have a bath, have a cup of tea all that, or you work through the stress, using it to your advantage to spur you on to the end. I'm definitely the second one, I have always needed that extra push to get through problems big or small. With this in mind I have composed two playlists, one for the people that can't cope with stress at all and just need to relax and unwind and the other for people that find stress helpful and drive through it until they reach the end.

The calming playlist is taken straight from my itunes (in alphabetical order I have you know) and contains the likes of Ben Howard, Bombay Bicycle Club, Bon Iver etc. (All the B's) I selected these songs because I find at my most stressful times when I can't even cope with ploughing through the problem that they help immensely and just bring you back down to earth completely with their acoustical, (most of them are acoustic) melodic tones. I advise you maybe to listen to this in the bath (if you have one that is, damn student halls!) or even whilst your doing the work that's stressing you out or reading a book. 

The next playlist I created is for the 'keep calm and carry on' types, well mostly carry on because the music in this playlist is upbeat, heavy and I made sure that the lyrics reflect motivation and the inclination to succeed. It contains the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon and just a little bit of Led Zepplin for when you feel like falling asleep on your assignments. Listen to this while doing the work or task that's stressing you out or even I've found doing housework helps as well, channel that inner stress into something worthy. 

P.s Spotify have decided to get rid of there 'embed code' option, which is great for us bloggers, cheers spotify! Really thanks, I've just spent nearly two hours trying to find the code from somewhere (ended up having to post it on tumblr btw) lets all just message spotify so we can bring that back shall we! Think I need to go and lie down and listen to my 'Keep Calm' playlist, I hope you enjoy!

What do you listen to when you're stressed ?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Finding My New Favourite Place

On Wednesday afternoon Gareth and I decided to have a little wander around the backstreets of Carlisle to see if we could maybe find a new interesting thing to possibly call our new favourite place. We hit jackpot, an old church filled top to bottom with vintage clothing and knick-knacks, safe to say I was happy! The church setting was the perfect place for this little gem, hidden away with just enough sign postage to attract locals but keep away the tourists. It sells vintage women's and men's clothing for reasonable prices and also has small stalls  in contrasting colours and themes, some of vintage knick-knacks and some of homemade crafty things that people make for an extra bit of money. I have my eye on a few things for when payday comes around, but the lady who owns the shop was more than happy to let us just have a look around. I swear we were in there for a good hour, there were just so many things to look at, it was like a free museum! It also had it's own vinyl section!  oh my I was in ultimate heaven, I've missed that feeling of fingers flicking through fuzzy, dog eared records. I took some photos on Gareth's phone but they are not the best, so I apologize now for the glary, graininess you're about to see, but if you are ever up in Carlisle this place is really worth a look around. And did I mention there's a tea room, if that hasn't got you sold I don't know what will!

Here is the link to their Facebook page 
Now I'm off to save up for like the whole of this shop!