A week or so ago, on a glorious day in the Easter holidays, Zara and I jumped in the car to spend a day in Richmond.  It was our challenge for April, and boy, did we pick a perfect day for it!

Having never been to Richmond, we were unsure of where to park and didn't want to get whacked with a huge car park charge at the end of it all.  After some quick research, we opted for a car park sitting a mile or so outside of town.  It actually made for a lovely walk in; with the sunshine on our backs, taking in the scenery (some nice....some not so!) and just general catching up.

Typically for me, by the time we got there I was desperate for the loo, so we dipped into the cinema only to find it was free ice cream day.  Seriously, have you ever heard of a better day??  Fate, I'm telling you!


The original plan was to take a boat trip, but I'd forgotten that schools in that county had finished their holidays and the boats weren't running during term-time.  Slightly perturbed, we wandered around for a bit and splurged my long-saved up Boots points before settling along the riverside for lunch.  In a fashion Mum would be proud of, we'd stopped en route to bring a packed lunch of sorts (ok, Tesco meal deal...) and it was lovely to sit out in the sunshine.


After lunch we did a spot more mooching, found a beautifully photogenic, peaceful courtyard before, predictably, ending up in Waterstones.  In terms of atmosphere, that branch is up there as one of my favourites, with the perfect little independent coffee shop tucked amongst the books on the second floor.  If I lived a little closer I could guarantee I'd spend 95% of my time in there!

Armed with a new book (and the small achievement of getting Zara to even consider buying a book), we headed back to the car.  We arrived home with sun-warmed skin, my first heat-induced headache of the year and promises to return ASAP.  The mark of a successful day, I'd say!

April 2015's Memory: Visit Richmond

29.4.15


A week or so ago, on a glorious day in the Easter holidays, Zara and I jumped in the car to spend a day in Richmond.  It was our challenge for April, and boy, did we pick a perfect day for it!

Having never been to Richmond, we were unsure of where to park and didn't want to get whacked with a huge car park charge at the end of it all.  After some quick research, we opted for a car park sitting a mile or so outside of town.  It actually made for a lovely walk in; with the sunshine on our backs, taking in the scenery (some nice....some not so!) and just general catching up.

Typically for me, by the time we got there I was desperate for the loo, so we dipped into the cinema only to find it was free ice cream day.  Seriously, have you ever heard of a better day??  Fate, I'm telling you!


The original plan was to take a boat trip, but I'd forgotten that schools in that county had finished their holidays and the boats weren't running during term-time.  Slightly perturbed, we wandered around for a bit and splurged my long-saved up Boots points before settling along the riverside for lunch.  In a fashion Mum would be proud of, we'd stopped en route to bring a packed lunch of sorts (ok, Tesco meal deal...) and it was lovely to sit out in the sunshine.


After lunch we did a spot more mooching, found a beautifully photogenic, peaceful courtyard before, predictably, ending up in Waterstones.  In terms of atmosphere, that branch is up there as one of my favourites, with the perfect little independent coffee shop tucked amongst the books on the second floor.  If I lived a little closer I could guarantee I'd spend 95% of my time in there!

Armed with a new book (and the small achievement of getting Zara to even consider buying a book), we headed back to the car.  We arrived home with sun-warmed skin, my first heat-induced headache of the year and promises to return ASAP.  The mark of a successful day, I'd say!
Image found via pinterest

They're not all normal | The older I get, the more people I encounter that just baffle me.  I consider myself pretty 'normal' so when I meet somebody who acts and thinks so differently to me, it's a little reminder that we're not all the same. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I'm sure you all know the type.  The high-strung, neurotic, illogical kinda people.....yeah, those ones.

Some just love to be negative | Ahhh, those 'rain on my parade' type people.  The ones who never have a solution, only problems, and love to be angry at the world.  I'm an emotional sponge so really try not to invest too much time in these people.  If they want to be on a self-destructive downer I say go for it, just remember that you're probably too fab for their negativity.

The persona they project isn't always their true self | I can't help but compare myself to others, so when I see somebody with their shizz together by default I'm always gonna feel bad.  But comparison is the thief of joy (so I'm told) and in reality you'll never know what's going on behind the scenes.  I often find that people over-compensate and highlight a certain side of themselves to mask another.  Never feel bad about not matching up to what someone else has.

You can't make someone be who you want them to be | We all have different agendas and different motivations, so it's not fair to try and shape somebody to fit with your ideals.  I'd love it if Nick were able to get out of bed a little a lot earlier at the weekends, and take much quicker showers.  6 years down the line, it hasn't happened, and the aggro and stress it's caused me just isn't worth it.  Focus on what's good about a person instead of wishing you could change them. 

It's ok to cut toxic people out | Ok, so this one sounds slightly cutthroat....but if something's not good for you, you cut it out, right?  You're allergic to dairy?  You don't eat dairy.  White bread makes you bloat?  Switch to wholemeal.  If a person is a negative influence on your life and doesn't bring you joy anymore, it's time to think about whether that's an energy you still want around.

They won't all like you | For a people-pleaser like me, this realisation can be a hard pill to swallow.  But as I've got older and more comfortable in my own skin, I care less.  You're never going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I figure that if you know deep down you're a good person and there's nothing you can do about the situation, then you have to let sleeping dogs lie.

Some are good for your spirit | Shall we end on a high point?  There are some people who are good for you.  Calming influences, mutually beneficial friendships that work, are easy, and bring out the best in you.  When it comes down to it, these are the people that matter and these are the ones you should hang on to.  Awwwwww.

Some Observations About People

27.4.15

Image found via pinterest

They're not all normal | The older I get, the more people I encounter that just baffle me.  I consider myself pretty 'normal' so when I meet somebody who acts and thinks so differently to me, it's a little reminder that we're not all the same. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I'm sure you all know the type.  The high-strung, neurotic, illogical kinda people.....yeah, those ones.

Some just love to be negative | Ahhh, those 'rain on my parade' type people.  The ones who never have a solution, only problems, and love to be angry at the world.  I'm an emotional sponge so really try not to invest too much time in these people.  If they want to be on a self-destructive downer I say go for it, just remember that you're probably too fab for their negativity.

The persona they project isn't always their true self | I can't help but compare myself to others, so when I see somebody with their shizz together by default I'm always gonna feel bad.  But comparison is the thief of joy (so I'm told) and in reality you'll never know what's going on behind the scenes.  I often find that people over-compensate and highlight a certain side of themselves to mask another.  Never feel bad about not matching up to what someone else has.

You can't make someone be who you want them to be | We all have different agendas and different motivations, so it's not fair to try and shape somebody to fit with your ideals.  I'd love it if Nick were able to get out of bed a little a lot earlier at the weekends, and take much quicker showers.  6 years down the line, it hasn't happened, and the aggro and stress it's caused me just isn't worth it.  Focus on what's good about a person instead of wishing you could change them. 

It's ok to cut toxic people out | Ok, so this one sounds slightly cutthroat....but if something's not good for you, you cut it out, right?  You're allergic to dairy?  You don't eat dairy.  White bread makes you bloat?  Switch to wholemeal.  If a person is a negative influence on your life and doesn't bring you joy anymore, it's time to think about whether that's an energy you still want around.

They won't all like you | For a people-pleaser like me, this realisation can be a hard pill to swallow.  But as I've got older and more comfortable in my own skin, I care less.  You're never going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I figure that if you know deep down you're a good person and there's nothing you can do about the situation, then you have to let sleeping dogs lie.

Some are good for your spirit | Shall we end on a high point?  There are some people who are good for you.  Calming influences, mutually beneficial friendships that work, are easy, and bring out the best in you.  When it comes down to it, these are the people that matter and these are the ones you should hang on to.  Awwwwww.

We all love a haul video, right?  And being a huge bookworm, I thought I'd fuse the two together and film a book haul.  It would seem that this month I went a little crazy with the book buying, but I can't help it!  For me, it's the ultimate guilt-free shopping.

Watch it below, or click here to watch it over on my YouTube channel.  And tell me, which book should I buy next?!

Video: April Book Haul

24.4.15


We all love a haul video, right?  And being a huge bookworm, I thought I'd fuse the two together and film a book haul.  It would seem that this month I went a little crazy with the book buying, but I can't help it!  For me, it's the ultimate guilt-free shopping.

Watch it below, or click here to watch it over on my YouTube channel.  And tell me, which book should I buy next?!

 
The Girl on the Train // Paula Hawkins
This book has three female narrators, and I love the way it was written through the 'main' character's eyes every day on her train journey in and out of London.  Interesting features like that are just guaranteed to get me hooked.  Rachel has created a synopsis in her head for the lives of a couple (Jess and Jason) she sees into the back garden of everyday on her commute, so when one day she sees Jess kissing another man and then later discovers that Jess has gone missing, Rachel becomes tangled up in their real lives. This was a crime/mystery/thriller book, which was an enjoyable, easy read which was well-written.  Some things to note though: (1) I've never read a book where the main character is so repugnant, and (2) there are far better books in this genre out there.  I felt like it had a really good, suspenseful build up although by the time the dramatic reveal came about I wasn't surprised, and I found the ending, dare I say it, unbelievable.  A good story though, and one I'd recommend if you want to start getting into crime novels.
Rating: 3/5

Bitter Greens // Kate Forsyth
After falling in love with The Wild Girl, I was eager to read another of Kate Forsyth's books.  Bitter Greens has three intertwined narratives and retells the story of Rapunzel within a historical fiction novel featuring of Charlotte Rose de Caumont la Force, banished from French court and sent to a nunnery, alongside the fictional courtesan and sorceress Selena Lionelli who has a fear of time.  It was slower to get into than Wild Girl, but I devoured this book within a day.  I liked Charlotte's first-person narrative the least, but all three characters' stories were well-rounded and enjoyable.  I doubt that any description I give here will capture the story and do it justice, but what I will say is that Forsyth is an incredibly talented writer who deserves more of the spotlight.  A must-read.
Rating: 5/5

The Lottery // Shirley Jackson
I was after a few shorter books to use as lighter material in between reading, but didn't expect this to be so short!  Literally, 12 pages long and I'm not sure whether I can justifiably feature it here.  But I have read it, so wanted to share my thoughts with you all.  It was more of a classic 'short story' than I anticipated, and the sort of thing I would have read in school.  The Lottery is a Hunger Games-type affair that takes place in a village, but I have to admit that after reading it I still know little more than that.  I guess that's the nature of a short story, leaving your mind to fill in the blanks, but I think I need things spelling out to me!  I felt like this didn't really get going, and cut off when it should have been developed more.  There was a lot packed into the 12 pages though, and it was an interesting concept.
Rating: 1/5

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) // Mindy Kaling
Let me start by saying I love Mindy Kaling.....but I didn't love this book!  I could really hear Mindy's voice when I read it (which is a great thing), but I felt it was disjointed and didn't really flow.  I'd find myself finishing a section and just feeling confused....where did that fit in, and what was the point?  It was interesting finding out the background to how Mindy rose to fame, but there were a lot of *funny* lists that I ended up skim reading.  Perhaps I was expecting too much; I didn't want a full-on autobiography, but I wanted something with a bit of meat to it.  And on a purely aesthetic note, the book has a beautiful cover, scratchy old-school pages and tiny black and white grainy photos.  And I mean tiny.  It could have been executed so much better.
Rating: 2.5/5

Read // 7

22.4.15

 
The Girl on the Train // Paula Hawkins
This book has three female narrators, and I love the way it was written through the 'main' character's eyes every day on her train journey in and out of London.  Interesting features like that are just guaranteed to get me hooked.  Rachel has created a synopsis in her head for the lives of a couple (Jess and Jason) she sees into the back garden of everyday on her commute, so when one day she sees Jess kissing another man and then later discovers that Jess has gone missing, Rachel becomes tangled up in their real lives. This was a crime/mystery/thriller book, which was an enjoyable, easy read which was well-written.  Some things to note though: (1) I've never read a book where the main character is so repugnant, and (2) there are far better books in this genre out there.  I felt like it had a really good, suspenseful build up although by the time the dramatic reveal came about I wasn't surprised, and I found the ending, dare I say it, unbelievable.  A good story though, and one I'd recommend if you want to start getting into crime novels.
Rating: 3/5

Bitter Greens // Kate Forsyth
After falling in love with The Wild Girl, I was eager to read another of Kate Forsyth's books.  Bitter Greens has three intertwined narratives and retells the story of Rapunzel within a historical fiction novel featuring of Charlotte Rose de Caumont la Force, banished from French court and sent to a nunnery, alongside the fictional courtesan and sorceress Selena Lionelli who has a fear of time.  It was slower to get into than Wild Girl, but I devoured this book within a day.  I liked Charlotte's first-person narrative the least, but all three characters' stories were well-rounded and enjoyable.  I doubt that any description I give here will capture the story and do it justice, but what I will say is that Forsyth is an incredibly talented writer who deserves more of the spotlight.  A must-read.
Rating: 5/5

The Lottery // Shirley Jackson
I was after a few shorter books to use as lighter material in between reading, but didn't expect this to be so short!  Literally, 12 pages long and I'm not sure whether I can justifiably feature it here.  But I have read it, so wanted to share my thoughts with you all.  It was more of a classic 'short story' than I anticipated, and the sort of thing I would have read in school.  The Lottery is a Hunger Games-type affair that takes place in a village, but I have to admit that after reading it I still know little more than that.  I guess that's the nature of a short story, leaving your mind to fill in the blanks, but I think I need things spelling out to me!  I felt like this didn't really get going, and cut off when it should have been developed more.  There was a lot packed into the 12 pages though, and it was an interesting concept.
Rating: 1/5

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) // Mindy Kaling
Let me start by saying I love Mindy Kaling.....but I didn't love this book!  I could really hear Mindy's voice when I read it (which is a great thing), but I felt it was disjointed and didn't really flow.  I'd find myself finishing a section and just feeling confused....where did that fit in, and what was the point?  It was interesting finding out the background to how Mindy rose to fame, but there were a lot of *funny* lists that I ended up skim reading.  Perhaps I was expecting too much; I didn't want a full-on autobiography, but I wanted something with a bit of meat to it.  And on a purely aesthetic note, the book has a beautiful cover, scratchy old-school pages and tiny black and white grainy photos.  And I mean tiny.  It could have been executed so much better.
Rating: 2.5/5

When an email popped into my inbox talking about shelfies, I couldn't resist.  Betta Living's Express Your Shelf campaign brings together the best 'shelfies' online, and after checking them out I was inspired to create this post.

Shelves are having a serious moment and styling them is becoming quite the artform.  There are tonnes of articles online telling you how to do this, and whilst I prefer to create something organically rather than following a formula (if you read some of these, you'll know what I mean!) there's no denying that some of the tips are quite useful.

I had a think about the main areas we'd use shelves in our home and have divided up my thoughts on each.  I'm no expert on this, but it's nice to share inspiration and the little bit of knowledge I've picked up along the way!

All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

With my ever-expanding book collection, styling bookshelves is something I've been really looking into.  At the moment my books are arranged in a size/colour fashion, but I'm debating buying a couple of additional shelves and displaying them in a more bookshop-y way.  I love the aesthetic of books stacked horizontally and am thinking I'll have a few with the faces showing (rather than the spines) to break up the look.

We've gone for Billy bookcases in the library/office which stretch across one wall, so there's plenty of space for decorative additions.  Small photo frames, candles, metallic dishes and quirky ornaments look great and give added interest to bookshelves.


All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Ah, I do love a good office/desk pin and there's nothing better than well-organised shelves.  In this area I still gravitate towards sleek, minimalism but I also like an industrial edge.  Thin metal shelves float my boat, and I love a good bit of additional storage added in.  H&M do great baskets that can organise hide messier items, and can we just take a minute to admire le sac en papier?  Not sure I'd ever part with £12 for a paper bag, but one of those alongside a potted plant is my ideal.  I've become quite the plant collector, and if you're looking to bring some greenery into your home I'd recommend starting with spider plants, peace lilies or cheese plants.  They're all fairly low maintenance.  Oh, and let's not forget how easy cacti and succulents are to keep alive! 


All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Our bathroom is an area I'd really love to develop in terms of shelves.  It's a fairly small space, and at the moment we have an old-school rattan drawer system housing toiletries which, to be honest, we don't even use.  I'd love to chuck it all away and start again.  Aesthetically, I'm torn between wooden ladder shelves or metallic details.  I love the industrial look of those mounted baskets on the wall, but frankly we don't have the space.

When it comes to styling bathroom shelves, it's all about folded or rolled towels.  Plants work great on bathroom shelves, but be sure to pick one that's going to thrive in the humid environment.  And in terms of classic decoration, I find a nice candle always goes down a treat, but after creating this inspiration post I'm swayed by the idea of framed prints in the bathroom as well.

All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

And finally, who doesn't love a good gallery wall?  Personally, I think these have the most impact and make the biggest statement out of all of the shelves above.  Simple to create and easy to update; they're the perfect place to start if you're looking to decorate a room.

Gallery walls on their own look great, but photo ledges have really come into their own recently.  If you don't fancy banging multiple holes into your wall, you can pick these up for under a tenner.  They can be decorated with photo frames (obvz), records, clipboard, books, candles....the shelf is your oyster!


Do you have the perfectly arranged shelf at home?  Share any tips below!

// Sponsored content

Interior Inspiration: Styling the Perfect Shelf

20.4.15

When an email popped into my inbox talking about shelfies, I couldn't resist.  Betta Living's Express Your Shelf campaign brings together the best 'shelfies' online, and after checking them out I was inspired to create this post.

Shelves are having a serious moment and styling them is becoming quite the artform.  There are tonnes of articles online telling you how to do this, and whilst I prefer to create something organically rather than following a formula (if you read some of these, you'll know what I mean!) there's no denying that some of the tips are quite useful.

I had a think about the main areas we'd use shelves in our home and have divided up my thoughts on each.  I'm no expert on this, but it's nice to share inspiration and the little bit of knowledge I've picked up along the way!

All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

With my ever-expanding book collection, styling bookshelves is something I've been really looking into.  At the moment my books are arranged in a size/colour fashion, but I'm debating buying a couple of additional shelves and displaying them in a more bookshop-y way.  I love the aesthetic of books stacked horizontally and am thinking I'll have a few with the faces showing (rather than the spines) to break up the look.

We've gone for Billy bookcases in the library/office which stretch across one wall, so there's plenty of space for decorative additions.  Small photo frames, candles, metallic dishes and quirky ornaments look great and give added interest to bookshelves.


All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Ah, I do love a good office/desk pin and there's nothing better than well-organised shelves.  In this area I still gravitate towards sleek, minimalism but I also like an industrial edge.  Thin metal shelves float my boat, and I love a good bit of additional storage added in.  H&M do great baskets that can organise hide messier items, and can we just take a minute to admire le sac en papier?  Not sure I'd ever part with £12 for a paper bag, but one of those alongside a potted plant is my ideal.  I've become quite the plant collector, and if you're looking to bring some greenery into your home I'd recommend starting with spider plants, peace lilies or cheese plants.  They're all fairly low maintenance.  Oh, and let's not forget how easy cacti and succulents are to keep alive! 


All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Our bathroom is an area I'd really love to develop in terms of shelves.  It's a fairly small space, and at the moment we have an old-school rattan drawer system housing toiletries which, to be honest, we don't even use.  I'd love to chuck it all away and start again.  Aesthetically, I'm torn between wooden ladder shelves or metallic details.  I love the industrial look of those mounted baskets on the wall, but frankly we don't have the space.

When it comes to styling bathroom shelves, it's all about folded or rolled towels.  Plants work great on bathroom shelves, but be sure to pick one that's going to thrive in the humid environment.  And in terms of classic decoration, I find a nice candle always goes down a treat, but after creating this inspiration post I'm swayed by the idea of framed prints in the bathroom as well.

All images found via Pinterest - 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

And finally, who doesn't love a good gallery wall?  Personally, I think these have the most impact and make the biggest statement out of all of the shelves above.  Simple to create and easy to update; they're the perfect place to start if you're looking to decorate a room.

Gallery walls on their own look great, but photo ledges have really come into their own recently.  If you don't fancy banging multiple holes into your wall, you can pick these up for under a tenner.  They can be decorated with photo frames (obvz), records, clipboard, books, candles....the shelf is your oyster!


Do you have the perfectly arranged shelf at home?  Share any tips below!

// Sponsored content

It was a whirlwind first week!  I started off with a trip to Oxford; it poured with rain, but I was captivated by the beauty of the city.  Rows of quaint shops, stunning architecture and cobbled streets....I could easily while away a day there, but unfortunately it was Good Friday, so by the time we'd battled the traffic to get there and park the shops were soon shutting.  Definitely a place to revisit.


Next up was a day of shopping in Windsor with an old friend.  The weather was beautiful and it made for one of the nicest trips I've had to Windsor in a long time.  There's nothing like feeling the warmth of the sun on your back to get you in the mood for summer....just look at that clear blue sky!  The trip called for a good half hour spent in Waterstones dithering over books to buy; books have been a recurring theme these past two weeks.  I've got back into reading and discovered a world of booktubers, not to mention spending an obscene amount of money on book upon book.  Book haul anybody?


We rounded off the week with a family BBQ.  Good food, good company and good weather (to begin with!)  It was also the perfect occasion to wear my new necklace.  A few weeks ago the guys at JewelStreet got in touch to see if I'd like to trial their website and choose something to review.  JewelStreet are a 'market' of sorts, bringing together 300 designers and boutiques.  There's so much to choose from, and I definitely lost an hour or so looking through all the collections.  I particularly like that from the start you can filter through by material, and in the end I opted for this rose gold Atlantic salmon leather pendant from Marlin Birna.  It's a really unusual design, and with its long chain it definitely fills a gap in my jewellery collection.

And that's it for the first week!  There were a couple of other dalliances, including an Easter lunch, catching up with an old friend and a trip to Byron Hamburgers with Lizzie but unfortunately my camera was left at home.  Be sure to come back to see what I got up to in the second week of my holidays!

Things I've Done This Easter // Week One

17.4.15


It was a whirlwind first week!  I started off with a trip to Oxford; it poured with rain, but I was captivated by the beauty of the city.  Rows of quaint shops, stunning architecture and cobbled streets....I could easily while away a day there, but unfortunately it was Good Friday, so by the time we'd battled the traffic to get there and park the shops were soon shutting.  Definitely a place to revisit.


Next up was a day of shopping in Windsor with an old friend.  The weather was beautiful and it made for one of the nicest trips I've had to Windsor in a long time.  There's nothing like feeling the warmth of the sun on your back to get you in the mood for summer....just look at that clear blue sky!  The trip called for a good half hour spent in Waterstones dithering over books to buy; books have been a recurring theme these past two weeks.  I've got back into reading and discovered a world of booktubers, not to mention spending an obscene amount of money on book upon book.  Book haul anybody?


We rounded off the week with a family BBQ.  Good food, good company and good weather (to begin with!)  It was also the perfect occasion to wear my new necklace.  A few weeks ago the guys at JewelStreet got in touch to see if I'd like to trial their website and choose something to review.  JewelStreet are a 'market' of sorts, bringing together 300 designers and boutiques.  There's so much to choose from, and I definitely lost an hour or so looking through all the collections.  I particularly like that from the start you can filter through by material, and in the end I opted for this rose gold Atlantic salmon leather pendant from Marlin Birna.  It's a really unusual design, and with its long chain it definitely fills a gap in my jewellery collection.

And that's it for the first week!  There were a couple of other dalliances, including an Easter lunch, catching up with an old friend and a trip to Byron Hamburgers with Lizzie but unfortunately my camera was left at home.  Be sure to come back to see what I got up to in the second week of my holidays!

Another one of my choices, this month Zara and I will be off on a trip to Richmond.  Richmond's not actually that far from us, but it's a place neither of us have been before.  Luckily, with it being the Easter holidays and the weather promising to be good, we're planning to make a day trip of it and hopefully do a little more than just visit the park.  I'm picturing a boat trip and a mosey in the shops.

Is there anywhere you'd recommend we visit?

Making Memories: April

15.4.15


Another one of my choices, this month Zara and I will be off on a trip to Richmond.  Richmond's not actually that far from us, but it's a place neither of us have been before.  Luckily, with it being the Easter holidays and the weather promising to be good, we're planning to make a day trip of it and hopefully do a little more than just visit the park.  I'm picturing a boat trip and a mosey in the shops.

Is there anywhere you'd recommend we visit?
I've had a tiny MAC lipstick collection.  I've had a huge MAC lipstick collection.  And now, after many a blog sale, I have a condensed MAC collection of essentials.  If you're just getting started in the world of MAC lipsticks (how many times can I say those words in a paragraph??), or alternatively you're looking for a new addition, here are my must-have shades to see you through all occasions.


The classic red lip // Russian Red
The vibrant coral // Vegas Volt
 The statement pink // Girl About Town
 The winter berry // Rebel
 The Kylie Jenner nude // Honey Love

What are your lipstick essentials?


The Five MAC Lipsticks You Should Definitely Start Your Collection With

13.4.15

I've had a tiny MAC lipstick collection.  I've had a huge MAC lipstick collection.  And now, after many a blog sale, I have a condensed MAC collection of essentials.  If you're just getting started in the world of MAC lipsticks (how many times can I say those words in a paragraph??), or alternatively you're looking for a new addition, here are my must-have shades to see you through all occasions.


The classic red lip // Russian Red
The vibrant coral // Vegas Volt
 The statement pink // Girl About Town
 The winter berry // Rebel
 The Kylie Jenner nude // Honey Love

What are your lipstick essentials?



We're all running our own races | Or to coin another phrase, you can't measure your success against someone else's.  Or something along those lines.  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that just because so-and-so's got an amazing opportunity, it doesn't diminish the value of what you do.  Even now I'm still guilty of feeling jealous when I see fellow bloggers getting whisked away on trips here there and everywhere; it's important to step back and evaluate what you've got.  I've achieved so much more than I ever dreamed possible through this hobby of mine.

You don't have to say yes to everything | I remember the first time I was ever emailed and asked if I wanted to review something for my blog.  It was a dress and I eagerly replied, thinking I'd hit the big time.  I'm not saying blogger perks like this aren't nice, but nowadays I really consider whether or not a feature will work with my blog.  It's ok to say no!  Even to things that you think your readers would be interested in; there was a time I had a backlog of items to review and I felt like my blogging schedule was being dictated and shaped by different brands.  Not cool, and now I'm much more likely to turn down opportunities to receive items.

Events aren't everything | Anybody else remember Aussie Miracle, Sleek and Eyeko events?  Way back when, I longed to be invited to those sorts of thing and did eventually make my way into being an Aussie Angel.  Whilst their events were fun, it's not the be all and end all.  There don't seem to be as many events running as there used to be, and I'm at a point now where I prefer meeting with like-minded bloggers on a smaller scale than milling around awkwardly with people I barely even know.

It's not necessary to buy new things "to blog about" | Hands up who else has done this?  I used to compulsively buy new releases of make up, telling myself it was ok because I'd review it on my blog.  The result?  A make up cabinet full of fad items that I haven't used since.  Now I only buy items if I want them, and will share my thoughts with you if they're worthy of a post.

It's not about the followers | Oh yes, I couldn't write a post like this without stating the obvious.  It really isn't about the followers, and although it's nice to see that number creeping up, ultimately it's about being happy with your blog and interacting with the lovely people that take the time to read your thoughts.  Be grateful for what you do have instead of worrying about those who are yet to find your blog.  I still don't have the greatest following, but in the past year or so I've been blogging from the heart and trying to stay true to myself.  I feel much happier in the direction my blog's taking and I think that's been reflected in the feedback I get.

Don't be a sheep | Blogging is an ever-changing atmosphere, but don't be afraid to buck the trend.  Shall we mention the phase of beauty products laid out against a floral bedspread?  Yep, did it.  I look back on some of my early posts and literally cringe.  I featured much more fashion then, trying to emulate the poses of popular bloggers, and in doing so made myself look and feel incredibly awkward.  I always try and remind myself of that - take photographs and write in your own style and you'll have a much more honest relationship with your readers.  Plus you won't feel embarrassed when you look back on it!

You're going to get more than you think out of blogging | I've never really expected much from my little blog, but if you'd told me back when I started all the things I'd achieve through it, I wouldn't believe you.  I love it when blogging means I'm able to treat my family and friends in some way or another, and I also feel like it's helped me to be much more confident in my own skin.  But do you know....the thing I value above all is the friendships I've made.  There are a handful of bloggers that I truly count as friends and I interact with near-on daily.  And that's the wonderful serendipity of blogging. 

Things I wish I'd known when I started blogging

8.4.15


We're all running our own races | Or to coin another phrase, you can't measure your success against someone else's.  Or something along those lines.  Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that just because so-and-so's got an amazing opportunity, it doesn't diminish the value of what you do.  Even now I'm still guilty of feeling jealous when I see fellow bloggers getting whisked away on trips here there and everywhere; it's important to step back and evaluate what you've got.  I've achieved so much more than I ever dreamed possible through this hobby of mine.

You don't have to say yes to everything | I remember the first time I was ever emailed and asked if I wanted to review something for my blog.  It was a dress and I eagerly replied, thinking I'd hit the big time.  I'm not saying blogger perks like this aren't nice, but nowadays I really consider whether or not a feature will work with my blog.  It's ok to say no!  Even to things that you think your readers would be interested in; there was a time I had a backlog of items to review and I felt like my blogging schedule was being dictated and shaped by different brands.  Not cool, and now I'm much more likely to turn down opportunities to receive items.

Events aren't everything | Anybody else remember Aussie Miracle, Sleek and Eyeko events?  Way back when, I longed to be invited to those sorts of thing and did eventually make my way into being an Aussie Angel.  Whilst their events were fun, it's not the be all and end all.  There don't seem to be as many events running as there used to be, and I'm at a point now where I prefer meeting with like-minded bloggers on a smaller scale than milling around awkwardly with people I barely even know.

It's not necessary to buy new things "to blog about" | Hands up who else has done this?  I used to compulsively buy new releases of make up, telling myself it was ok because I'd review it on my blog.  The result?  A make up cabinet full of fad items that I haven't used since.  Now I only buy items if I want them, and will share my thoughts with you if they're worthy of a post.

It's not about the followers | Oh yes, I couldn't write a post like this without stating the obvious.  It really isn't about the followers, and although it's nice to see that number creeping up, ultimately it's about being happy with your blog and interacting with the lovely people that take the time to read your thoughts.  Be grateful for what you do have instead of worrying about those who are yet to find your blog.  I still don't have the greatest following, but in the past year or so I've been blogging from the heart and trying to stay true to myself.  I feel much happier in the direction my blog's taking and I think that's been reflected in the feedback I get.

Don't be a sheep | Blogging is an ever-changing atmosphere, but don't be afraid to buck the trend.  Shall we mention the phase of beauty products laid out against a floral bedspread?  Yep, did it.  I look back on some of my early posts and literally cringe.  I featured much more fashion then, trying to emulate the poses of popular bloggers, and in doing so made myself look and feel incredibly awkward.  I always try and remind myself of that - take photographs and write in your own style and you'll have a much more honest relationship with your readers.  Plus you won't feel embarrassed when you look back on it!

You're going to get more than you think out of blogging | I've never really expected much from my little blog, but if you'd told me back when I started all the things I'd achieve through it, I wouldn't believe you.  I love it when blogging means I'm able to treat my family and friends in some way or another, and I also feel like it's helped me to be much more confident in my own skin.  But do you know....the thing I value above all is the friendships I've made.  There are a handful of bloggers that I truly count as friends and I interact with near-on daily.  And that's the wonderful serendipity of blogging. 

See that garish wallpaper up there?  That's right, this post can only mean one thing...we went to a pub quiz!

If you didn't know, mine and Zara's memory for this month was to go to a quiz night.  It turned out to be a (nearly) whole family affair, with us building up to be a team of 5.  If you saw this picture, you'll know that Zara's knowledge/common sense is fairly limited and understand why I needed more people involved on the team!

It was actually a really fun night; we went to a local pub where we ate as well as entered the quiz.  It was a big enough venue that we managed to slip in unnoticed and despite the quiz being quite a big deal, it wasn't taken too seriously.  And guess what?  We won!!  Well, I say 'won', we came third....but considering I was expecting to rank somewhere in the middle I'm counting that as a win!

I think it's safe to say we'd all go back for another quiz there.  It was definitely a success, so roll on next month's challenge!

March 2015's Memory: Go To a Quiz Night

6.4.15


See that garish wallpaper up there?  That's right, this post can only mean one thing...we went to a pub quiz!

If you didn't know, mine and Zara's memory for this month was to go to a quiz night.  It turned out to be a (nearly) whole family affair, with us building up to be a team of 5.  If you saw this picture, you'll know that Zara's knowledge/common sense is fairly limited and understand why I needed more people involved on the team!

It was actually a really fun night; we went to a local pub where we ate as well as entered the quiz.  It was a big enough venue that we managed to slip in unnoticed and despite the quiz being quite a big deal, it wasn't taken too seriously.  And guess what?  We won!!  Well, I say 'won', we came third....but considering I was expecting to rank somewhere in the middle I'm counting that as a win!

I think it's safe to say we'd all go back for another quiz there.  It was definitely a success, so roll on next month's challenge!

If you spotted this photo the other day it'll come as no surprise to you that I've got an obsession with all things golden.  I bought this necklace from H&M and it was basically my ideal.  But after having to return and exchange it three times (THREE!!) I've had to accept that it's just not meant to be.  So I've gone back to the drawing board and spent an obscene amount of time trawling the internet to get an idea of what I want.

I've got a Monica Vinader discount code burning a virtual hole in my pocket, so I'll be buying a few quality staple pieces from there.  I think I'll ask for the wide ring for my birthday and will purchase the disc necklace soon.  It can be engraved, so I'm debating whether or not to go for that as well.

I want to build up a layered look and to stop things getting too pricey will be doing this with cheaper, highstreet pieces.  The double-strand necklace is perfect, and the bar necklace will add another shape to the mix.

One thing I'm missing in my collection is gold bracelets.  I've got multiple silver charm bracelets, but the only gold comes in the form of my Kate Spade bangles.  I'm looking to rectify that with some really simple, thin chain bracelets.  I haven't found exactly what I'm after just yet, but that coin bangle from River Island is a good starting point.

I've found looking for decent quality, minimalistic gold plated jewellery surprisingly hard to do!  If you can recommend any designers along the same lines as Monica Vinader and Muru, then please do below.  I'll probably love you forever!

Gold Rush

1.4.15


If you spotted this photo the other day it'll come as no surprise to you that I've got an obsession with all things golden.  I bought this necklace from H&M and it was basically my ideal.  But after having to return and exchange it three times (THREE!!) I've had to accept that it's just not meant to be.  So I've gone back to the drawing board and spent an obscene amount of time trawling the internet to get an idea of what I want.

I've got a Monica Vinader discount code burning a virtual hole in my pocket, so I'll be buying a few quality staple pieces from there.  I think I'll ask for the wide ring for my birthday and will purchase the disc necklace soon.  It can be engraved, so I'm debating whether or not to go for that as well.

I want to build up a layered look and to stop things getting too pricey will be doing this with cheaper, highstreet pieces.  The double-strand necklace is perfect, and the bar necklace will add another shape to the mix.

One thing I'm missing in my collection is gold bracelets.  I've got multiple silver charm bracelets, but the only gold comes in the form of my Kate Spade bangles.  I'm looking to rectify that with some really simple, thin chain bracelets.  I haven't found exactly what I'm after just yet, but that coin bangle from River Island is a good starting point.

I've found looking for decent quality, minimalistic gold plated jewellery surprisingly hard to do!  If you can recommend any designers along the same lines as Monica Vinader and Muru, then please do below.  I'll probably love you forever!

Instagram Feed

© LORNA, LITERALLY.. Design by Fearne.