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!

Monday, 9 March 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

Today has not been exciting at all, not only that but the last week wasn't exciting at all. But I'm going to try my best because I always do a Monday post (even if sometimes it is days late!) I've been stressed, stressed to the point of no sleep and forgetting how to look after myself, I went home a few days to re-rejuvenate, sometimes you just need to. The first year at Uni is nearly finished, meaning that assignment deadlines are coming to an end and I'm even hoping that it will be summer soon, which is sacrilege to all my 'I love winter so much' posts, but is going to be great, roll that on fast I say! Here are the things that made me particularly happy this week:

- Drawing again, during a break from my research report that I seem to have been writing for hours, I created this little doodle whilst watching my new fave program 'the big painting challenge' it's a little rendition of  Kate Powell's 'scatter brain' I saw the image the other day and really wanted to draw it for a while so I treated myself to a creative break. Can you tell I miss doing an art course?

-Being able to go home for the weekend and see Gareth's new home. Due to my completely sleepless night on Friday I phoned into work and told them I couldn't function and they told me to take it easy so I went with Gareth to his new house and slept all day and he bought me chocolates and we watched Jackass. The perfect form of therapy. 

- Knowing that I don't have to re-apply  for student finance. When you're a student it's the little things, like knowing that I don't have to go through the same ordeal as last year when they got first, my address wrong and second the amount of money they were giving me. Oh yeah and also being on hold for 2 hours wasn't fun either (I hope you can hear this student finance) I'm sure that many will agree. 

- Seeing my mum on her birthday and knowing she likes the little drawing I did for her. 

What I have been listening to:

A lot of Leonard Cohen (Yes it was one of those weeks)

How was your Monday?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

This week has been filled once again with work, but at least I found the time to fit in a film a night with friends. This semester is nearly over and I have to say the work load is a little ridiculous. Here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week. 

-An amazing technological appliance called 'Neurosky' In the lab today we got to play with soeme incredible piece of kit that measures your attention span. There were many different apps, some like the one above measured your attention and also your meditation levels, this app allowed you to actually see your concentration and actually how much time you focus on one particular thing. My result came up as 'scatter brain' because my lines were always crossing, I couldn't concentrate on one thing because I had multiple things on my mind. The next thing we went on was a game in which you had to help an ant move a piece of fruit into a hole with only your brain, easy you say? You, like me thought wrong I was terrible, again because I can't concentrate on one thing for too long. This piece of technology blew my mind (literally from trying to concentrate too much) it's beginning to be used in amputation procedures where people can actually have robotic hands and hook their attention to the hand to move it! That's just amazing and I am so lucky to be able to have a go with this stuff it was an experience and a half and now I want one. Psychology nerd, out!

-The ending to Orange is the New Black was so amazingly done and (no spoilers) warmed my heart a little bit. 

-The fact that Gareth loved his birthday present and that made me happy more than anything, I bought him a Crosley Cruiser vinyl record player and the new Bombay Bicycle Club album on vinyl and I have to say, I was very close to keeping them. 

-The bar we found hidden in a little alleyway, it did the best cocktails and it also does hookahs, think I might have to become a regular. 

-The lovely Skype conversation I had with  my best chum Emily it was so nice to see her face!

-The Lush cleanser and new plant combo I had to buy after a horrible day of work (who said retail therapy doesn't exist)

-The fact I finally ordered some film for my Polaroid and it will arrive any day now. 

What I have been listening to:

Years ad Years everything! Seriously his voice is un-real, this acoustic version is just sheer perfection

How was your Monday?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Songs for // February

First, lets all acknowledge this beautiful terrarium Gareth made me with his bare hands, I am in awe of it. Now, I have decided to begin a 'songs for//' series, which is blatantly what the title explains. I will be creating playlists for occasions, feelings and months. I have such an expansive music taste and creating these monthly playlist posts has allowed me to listen to new music more and more, so I'm going to expand this post idea into other things, so yeah, lots more music posts on this blog hopefully. 

The songs I have been listening to this month have all been new(ish), a big hip hooray to me for reaching out of my comfort zone and listening to new music and not all the same albums. It's been a pretty sparce month for albums, but a good one for singles. Florence's new song came out, which I've had on repeat since the say it arrived on the radio waves I am so so so happy she is back, Florence makes my life better. Also The Wombats are back and their new song is just the same style as their old stuff which I am so happy about because I really don't think The Wombats need a change of genre to musically grow, I'm also so excited to be seeing them in April! I've been a little obsessed with George the Poet recently, his lyrics are just mind blowing and the song I've put on this playlist is so incredibly emotive, it builds up so gradually to such a high emotional altitude, I must admit I had tears in my eyes the first time I listened to this song. James Bay has come so far since I met him last year, I love his music so much and he is just a genuinely nice guy with a kick ass fedora! So proud of all he's accomplished. I particularly love this playlist and I've listened to it nearly every single day. I hope you enjoy it too. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Ray of Sunshine // A Lush Surprise ☼

Last week I was given this little box of lushness as a little surprise from Gareth. I haven't been to Lush since Christmas so I didn't know what scents and fragrances they had in. The box these came in was a bright yellow with smiley suns on (what's not to love) Gareth knows because I live in uni halls I can't use my beloved bathbombs, so he opted for a shower gel pack instead. The pack includes the famous 'olive branch' shower gel, a 'sandstone' soap, a mini sugar scrub and an 'each peach' massage bar. A lovely mix of gentle exfoliation and citrus smells. 

Shower Gel // The Olive Branch 

'A shower gel loaded with Fair Trade olive oil, fresh mandarins, bergamot oil and vine leaves: it's like showering in a Mediterranean citrus grove.' 

Yes Lush I agree it is! Even though the gels a little watery the smell makes up for it. The smell takes me back to festival season, to incense and the outdoors, whenever I smell my skin it takes me back to tents and some of the best memories, talk about an emotional connection to a smell! The shower gel is powerful but also really moisturising, I guess it's the oil in the ingredients. The smell also stays on you for ages, you can have had a shower hours ago and you can still smell the citrus on the skin, it might not to be everyone's taste that very powerful smell, but it works for me. 


'An uplifting and skin-smoothing citrus soap, with buckets of sand and a lemony scent to transport you to a tropical beach.' 

I love the smell of this soap it's so fresh (great for hangover showers) The sand in the soap is great for exfoliation, especially dry hands and the it's very durable, it will probably last me a few months or more. 

Sugar Scrub Mini

'Scrub up nicely with this mix of sugar, grated ginger and fresh fennel that brightens, buffs and boosts circulation.'

At first whilst using this I felt the sensation to be really strange and it kind of hurt on the skin, but after abit of practice I've found that scrubbing gently makes all the difference. I use this on the dry patches of my skin like the back of my arms and legs (ew) and it really has done a whole lot of difference. I don't use it often because I don't think it's made for that but it's great for a real pamper night. 

Each Peach (And Two's a Pair)

' A cocoa butter and citrus oil massage bar to make your skin peachy: lime, sweet wild orange, mandarin and grapefruit will leave you energised.' 

This is great for a night of pampering and you can't imagine the smoothness after freshly shaved legs. The smell is amazing and peachy smells are one of my favourites. My advice to you, if you have a significant other ask them to give you a back massage with this, you'll never not use it again!

I think my favourite out of this little box of sunshine is probably the massage bar and the shower gel, just because they're so fresh scented and are really getting me in the mood for spring! I urge you all to buy a little but a lush once in a while, they're so friendly, charitable and not to mention vegan. I hope you enjoyed this little review post, haven't done one in a while.

What's your favourite Lush product?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Not So Blue Monday

After a week at home where I really should have been working it's been go, go, go with Uni work. I literally have so may deadlines it's kind of making my skin itch. Here's the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

-Sampling home cooked mashed potato for the first time in forever, nothing beats it honestly!
-Knowing that Gareth's birthday present will hopefully arrive on time, the amount of stress I have had over this thing, he better like it!
-New Soap and Glory makeup to add to my collection, I would say I was having a makeup affair but there's been no other makeup that I love more, plus they are one of the only companies in Boots which can say that they don't test on animals, holla to that!
-The fact that the Gone Girl film was just as good as the book and it was just how I imagined it would be, don't you just love it when that happens ?!
-On pancake day me and Gareth tried to make pictures out of pancakes like this fella we saw on youtube and some of them I would say, were quite successful!
-The fact that I have a full fridge and full cupboards from a good ol' food shop and nearly everything is healthy! I can't move for spinach and halloummi cheese. 
-The feeling of not having work the next day, therefore you can get blind drunk and roll in at 5am, that was me this weekend.
-The fact that 2 of my assignments are done and dusted, phew only six more to go!
-After watching whiplash I think it may be my new favourite film, that drumming tho.

What I have been listening to:
George the Poet is my new discovery, he's so articulate in his lyrics and the songs are just so emotional and poetic (hence the name) It's such good 'lie on your bed and don't do anything but think' music.  

How was your Monday?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Home for a Little While

Reading Week. What even is that word though ? 'Stuff your face and sleep week' maybe. It's been so wonderful to come home and re-generate before a busy week of 2000 word reports and nerve racking presentations. Basically most of this week has been full of fresh air and muddy boots, which I have missed more than I thought I would. I didn't realise how much sea air helps a cluttered head. I took some photos (On the shitty camera on my phone) on our little walks which I thought I would share.

How did you spend your reading week/half term? 
(Probably study which I didn't do, oops)