19 Dec 2013

Things That Make Me Happy #1

Wearing old clothes in new ways.
Before today my primary use of this old flannel shirt is to be thrown loose over plain jeans on lazy days or for extra warmth on a PJ day. But buttoned up right to the top I suddenly feel edgy smart, with this fancy necklace usually reserved for nights out rather than days at uni. Part Grace Helbig, part Bob the Builder. I know it doesn't really "go" but thats kind of why it's fun and why I likes it!

German Christmas Markets.

I love how popular German markets are in England around the festive season these days. The one in Sheffield is...um...disapointing? (Though still an improvement on Pompey where there wasn't one at all). So last weekend I hopped on a train to Birmingham to the king of all Christmas days out, the Frankfurt Market. We all met up at the station (cue slo mo running towards each other) then after taking our lives in our hands to eat in a football pub we drank mulled wine and looked at the lights and got drizzled on and everything smelled delicious and spicy and christmassy. Yum!


Do I need to explain? Beyonce's new album dropped and my life is complete. She is a queen, and if Grown Woman doesn't make you feel amazing then I CAN'T HELP YOU.

In other news...Six days to go til Christmas! I'm like a small child this year, enthusiasm levels through the roof, Bublé at all opportunities. Living away from home makes you SO DARN EXCITED to do the whole 'driving home for Christmas' ritual thing. Happy festivities!


29 Nov 2013

Friday Feels: This Is My Jam

I don't look for trouble, but trouble looks for me
Trouble - Neon Jungle

Don't tell me you don't love a girl band. Every one loves a girl band, especially if you're old enough to remember how kick ass you thought the Spice Girls were cos they made you feel like being a girl was cool (even if it does all look a little naff now).

Well thats kinda how I feel about this song Trouble. Neon Jungle are totally manufactured, and totally never gonna be as famous/cool as they want to be, but this song does make you want to bounce around the room and maybe wear a snapback, so I say good luck to them.

Now it's finally the weekend, go go go! xoxo

27 Nov 2013

In Appreciation of Winter

When I was an undergrad, young and pink and very fond of brogues, we used to do writing workshops. I probably complained at the time that it was all very self-indulgent and wasn't helping the universe, but then I remembered that there can never be too many artists and I started to miss it.

My MA is at a different uni, far less creative and much more serious. Yesterday, however, I turned up to class and for the first time we were told to write. Not facts, but opinions - on the subject of my favourite things. It was a bit like old times. I liked what I wrote, so I'm putting it here, in the hope it will spur me on to write more, not the serious stuff that helps humanity but the literary fiction that I like to read.
In Appreciation of Winter

The arrival of the first frost. 
Deciding that it's cold enough to get out your 'big coat'. 
Getting on a train home for Christmas, watching the blurry countryside turning all bronze and gold and orange and white and knowing you're heading towards your Mum's stew and dumplings. Films with Emma Thompson in, and films from the nineties that you've seen so many times you can quote along to them (Clueless, I'm looking at you). Mulled wine, mulled cider, mulled things-you--didn't-even -know-could-be-mulled. I've said mulled too many times. Mulled.
Walking the dog, a task I eschew violently in the warmer months, suddenly becomes a legitimate leisure activity courtesy of that icy mist that I take great pleasure in feeling swirling inside my throat. The sun sits so low in the sky that it makes everything illuminate. Old friends, who spent all Summer lolling about in languid apathy with vague promises to meet up soon, are suddenly spurred into action by the festive proximity. 
My wintery love affair is not just about Christmas, although there is nothing more fun than watching Grandma get her false teeth around a toffee penny whilst we all stop bickering in time to watch Wallace and Gromit. No, the great things about Winter go on well into February and beyond.
In the winter it is suddenly acceptable to put fairy lights on EVERYTHING, a task I take to with aplomb - my house, my clothes, my dog, my face, my consumables (have you ever put edible glitter in a cocktail? No? Then I urge you to stop reading immediately and get down Bargain Booze, no protestations about it being 10am thank you very much. It's winter, alcohol is practically necessary to keep out the cold).
  I like scarves big enough to be blankets, wearing what is probably too much eyeliner, curling up with a book and pretty much all the sections of The Sunday Times (except Sport, sorry). I like Florence and the Machine, although she is of course appropriate at any time of the year, ditto The Rolling Stones and Amy Winehouse. I probably imagine that I'm far more rock and roll than I actually am - I think I'm John Cooper Clarke, I'm more Pam Ayres.  
Maybe my adoration of the colder months is something to do with being English and bookish and a little bit soft-ish? Maybe they are symptoms of reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder? Or perhaps it's a chilling peek into my icy heart, the Snow Queen from Narnia reincarnate. 


22 Nov 2013

Friday Feels: This Is My Jam

lonely days are gone, I'm a-coming home
Box Tops - The Letter

As a die hard fan of all things sixties, this is perfection. The perfect tune for beehive-ing and shimmying. Check out those moves in the video! Swish.

It's finally the weekend, go go go! xoxo

the gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out


an exploration of running away.

I live really near the train station, so I have to walk past it on my way to and from shifts at work, or the uni library. Every single time I am so incredibly tempted to veer off towards the station, pick a train at random off that big board of potential destinations, and just...go.

Does anyone else feel this way about train stations? I always have done. Even when I was not, as I am at the moment, super stressed and very tempted to run away. Even at the height of happiness I can't walk past a train station without being tempted to jump on a train and run away.

I'm not necessarily talking about running off and never coming back. We have responsibilities and that's just not how life works. But I wouldn't mind just...bunking off for a bit. Playing truant from adulthood, taking a day to go somewhere I've never been and forgetting everything stressful. And there's still so much of the country I haven't seen!

When I was young I remember watching a travel programme with my dad, which I would google if I wasn't feeling so lethargic right now, where the presenter man gave himself some options and then rolled a dice. He went with whatever option won.

I feel like that today. My feet are tingling with the overwhelming urge to stand in front of the black and orange blinking board in the station, dice in hand. Number the next six trains 1-6, roll the dice and go where the world tells me.

I probably won't, though.


photos from my travels in York, London, and a bonfire in Sheffield.

(p.s. I will try to be less dramatic in my next post! I've been reading too much Nancy Mitford and now I'm throwing myself down on sofa's and complaining that everything is oh so very difficult. Soz for the mellow dramatics. I'm very busy at the moment but will attempt some baking or something next week!)

19 Nov 2013

This Is My Jam: Best Coast

(the dreamy photo above by the amazing Carrie from Wish Wish Wish)

You see me everywhere, you walk around without a care
Best Coast - I Don't Know How

Do you remember that bit in Bring It On when Torrance (Kirsten Dunst) is listening to the tape Cliff (Jesse Bradford) made her, and it starts off rocky and then she dances round on her bed like a loon? (If not, go watch it, it's very 2000). Well this is the 2013 equivalent, where you start off all languid and 'why me' and then you go nuts when the tempo speeds up.

This one you need to turn up super loud. Helps if you pretend you're on Venice Beach, or driving a cadillac and wearing something neon. YOU'RE WELCOME.


17 Nov 2013

Sunday Sessions: The Wishlist

Party with Gatsby

Necklace, £19.99, Zara
Blackwatch Check Treggings, £25.00, Topshop
Sweatshirt, £23.00, Etsy
Watch, £68, Olivia Burton

Is it not the most beautiful watch you've ever seen? I love owls, I love illustration, and I love being punctual. BAZINGA.

Meanwhile I'm currently loving tartan errything, and wishing I could pull off the ironic-sweatshirt-with-blingy-necklace look (keep dreaming, Lizzie). Le sigh.
I'm also obsessed with Scroobius Pip recently, but have refrained from downloading Repent Replenish Repeat as I'm still that girl who asks for CD's for Christmas. Like it's 2004 or something. Whatevs.

Currently reading: The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford
"...always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair they loved or they loathed, they lived in a world of superlatives."

What are you loving recently? Really into reading these posts on other people blogs so leave yours below!


15 Nov 2013

Friday Feels: This Is My Jam

we drink and we dance and we dance and we play
Young Kato - Drink, Dance, Play

SUPER-HIPSTER KLAXON. If you are as (ahem) in the know about up and coming music as me- OH OK THEN if you watch as much Made In Chelsea as I do, you'll know and love this tune as it often gets used as the soundtrack to wistful staring/expensive shopping/Louise crying.

It's finally the weekend, go go go! xoxo

13 Nov 2013

Lily Allen Wants You To Know It's Hard Out Here For A Bitch

So, um, Lily's back then.

Pretty sure everybody in the known universe (or at least the twitterverse, what with her cryptic reveal and hashtag #HOH) has seen Lily Allen's new video, but in case you haven't it's here

First up let me just say how INSANELY OVER THE MOON HAPPY I am that Lil is back. Her sass was the soundtrack to my coming-of-age. Ever since she found success she's slipped a cheeky little social comment into her music - Everyone's At It about casual drug use, or The Fear, her previous pop at celeb culture.
That's what Hard Out Here is about - the blatant sexism that permeates most pop culture music videos, the obsession with 'bitches' being skinny, and twerking all over rappers, their cars and chains. 

However Lily's feminist video, though I would argue it's a tongue-in-cheek, sassy kinda feminism rather than an aggressive po-faced kind, has been criticised for featuring just as much unnecessary jiggling of flesh as the Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke videos that it mocks. 

But...isn't that kind of the point? Yeah, the butt-slapping in bikini's IS totally ridiculous and almost offensively unnecessary. Just like in the authentic videos that we don't question, because they aren't sending themselves up, perhaps?! The criticism came from the fact it was mainly ethnic minorities dancing, but Lily released this statement on twitter today effectively telling everyone to STOP BEING SO BLOODY STUPID. (what she actually said was "Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture.")

Whilst it's hard to reconcile the fact that this is the girl who in this same week released saccharine sweet and totally innocent song from the John Lewis Christmas advert, I am also BEYOND excited to see how they edit this for the radio.

If you want to get hammered, drink every time she says 'bitch'.

I say, go on girl.


29 Oct 2013

in defence of my absence

Every blog I have ever started - and there have been a fair few attempts - has been abandoned at some point or other, either because I lost enthusiasm or I lost time. The latter has been trying to creep in here. But I refuse to give in! I will not let go of this one. I'm tying it to my wrist like a helium balloon to a child.

Believe it or not I've a whole page of a notebook scribbled over with ideas for blog posts. However the notebook is somewhere on my desk underneath a LOT OF OTHER THINGS, so I thought I'd blog anyway and just file this one under 'misc'.

This gorgeous eagle necklace was a find and a half from Collard Manson a couple weeks back. I went to the one at Meadowhall and then realised theres one in Sheffield too, wahheyy. A treasure trove of beauties, or as my mum would say 'clutter'. I care not, mother!

Talking of parents, I paid a visit to my parents house in ye olde hometown this past weekend. I've been living on my own in Sheff for exactly six weeks, and decided that was long enough to warrant a trip home! Theres something really lovely about travelling by train when its super dark outside even though it's only late afternoon. Home was filled with a hilarious trip to the local with a smattering of good friends, a roast dinner with my parents, plenty of frolicking with meine hund (pictured below) and a cheeeeeky hair dye session! (Sorry for the terrible iPhone photos, how lazy of me that I didn't even bother to photograph it properly) but LOOK NO ROOTS. Sweet. I have gone back to the dark side (gone full goth) in time for winter. Feel like myself again.

About seven weeks, a hell of a lot of deadlines and many shifts at work to go before the most wonderful time of the year. Bring it on.


10 Oct 2013

How I Feel About Pigeons

Throwback Thursdays!

I was looking through some photos and found this beaut from outside the Duomo di Milano when myself and two friends went interrailing around Europe. We had a running joke that I hate pigeons, stemming from my uni town at the time being overrun with them, only to find the craziest flock in Italy. My expression sums it up!

Would give anything to go back, though, even with the pigeons.

8 Oct 2013

Absolutely relying on rather large Paloma Faith style quiffs at the moment. Partly for stylistic reasons, but mainly because its the only 'do that hides my currently horrendous roots!

6 Oct 2013

brb, doing my nails

Sometimes it's ok to be as girly as anything. This is one of those times. Current girly picks!
Top: Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipliner in 547, £3.99
In frustration at not being able to find a brick red (rather than bright pillar box) lipstick without breaking the bank I settled for this lipliner with the intention of just smudging it into the lips. And I'm impressed. Also secures and tones down my current brighter reds. Forget it's 90s connotations, it's making a comeback.
Below: No7 Fanomenal Lashes in Black, £12.95
On the recommendation of my bestie, who currently works on a No7 counter, I'm trying this mid-priced mascara. My useless lashes still need curling before application, but it has a nice brush and is perfect for a natural, buildable coverage.

Top: Vanilla Carmex, £3.25
A lifelong lip balm junkie, I've been a convert to the Carmex way of life for a couple of years. It just lasts longer on the lips and, for me at least, actually feels like it's doing something not just sitting there. This one's also SPF. All the flavours are delish, and this tube of vanilla I'm currently using is no exception.
Below: L'Occitane Hand Cream in Subtle Violet, £free sample with Marie Claire November, full size £19
Despite having heard wonderful things about L'Occitane, I always thought them too pricey for a poor student like me. However this sample I got with this months Marie Claire is making me want to throw caution to the wind. It's beautiful, thick, not greasy in the slightest, and smells just like my favourite sweets - Palma Violets! Will seriously consider parting with the cash for a full size tube when this miniature runs out.

Next NAIL in Gold Mine, £3
Not a shop I'd ususally think of for beatuy goodies but I was in Next buying work trousers and spotted this at the till. I told myself I'd buy it if it was two pounds or less. It was three, but I bought it anyway. Sucker for a sparkle! It says 'concrete effect' and although I'm not entirely sure what that means? It's quite hard and textured on the nails. Either way, it seems to last and it's a very pretty colour which will look just as nice when it gets cold and wintry!

Keen to break out of buying my habitual products and try new things. Any recommendations for me? xoxo

1 Oct 2013

Brightening Up Rented Accommodation


the art of making your flat cosy, even if you aren't allowed to put stuff on the walls

This is a post for students and beyond! It bugged me all through my student days, through Halls and houses and, to my great dismay, hasn't gone away with the flat rentals of adulthood. Unless you're very lucky, most flats and houses that you rent short term won't like you hammering nails into their walls or redecorating them.
Sure, in your first couple of years of student-hood you ignore their warnings and blu-tack whatever the hell you want on your room walls, and just take the damage fine like a man. But then you move somewhere a bit nicer, or where you actually like the landlord, or - weirdest of all - you mature a little, and suddenly your idea of making your flat look nice and cosy is less 'wonky posters and snapfish photos' to compliment stacks of beer cans and dominos boxes, and a bit more 'Zara Home'. 
Plain white walls are catnip to loneliness, homesickness, and boredom. That's not how your home should be! So for those of us not even blessed with a picture-rail to break up that abyss of magnolia (picture rails as required by law would be my first act as prime minister, along with free Krispy Kremes and Bonfire Night as a national holiday) here are a couple of tips.

TIP #1: Hang EVERTHING up with Command Clips

 These bitches are great for hanging up stuff (as long as it's nothing too heavy, be sensible people) without damaging the paint. At all. I don't really understand the science, but basically they're adhesive clips (or pegs or whatever there are lots of varieties) which you take off by pulling the little tab thing and don't sue me if I'm wrong but, in my experience, they leave no trace on the paintwork when they're gone. I've hung a lil bit of bunting, and also a string of photos I made.

TIP #2: Lean On Me

The grown up way to do posters is in a frame, and call it an art print. The beautiful Southsea one above was a 21st birthday present off my housemates when I lived down there was from a local gallery. On the same theme I am all about mirrors. They make everything look fancy. But of course you can't hang any of these things up on nails, so find a stable surface (or the floor) and lean it.
Felt pads from the DIY shop are a must for not leaving any tell-tale lines on the paint.

TIP #3: Soft Furnishings To Snuggle Up In

It's all about reducing echo, especially if you've got hard floors. Grab a rug (the fluffier the better), billions of cushions (the tackier the better), a scattering of photo frames and maybe a little greenery if you think you can keep it alive (the herbs below are courtesy of my mother. I think of it as a pre-puppy suitability test).

How do you decorate a flat or house that isn't always gonna be yours? More tips always welcome! xoxo