Friday, 29 January 2016

January Favourites

Monthly favourites - welcome back my old friend! Considering that January is generally rather gloomy, there's been a whole lot of loving/adoring/drooling going on in this first month of 2016. Settle down with a cuppa, it's a bit of a long one!

As in teeny, tiny versions of beauty products that came with my beauty advent calendar, plus a few others I found knocking about in the drawers. It's been all kinds of fun getting to try out loads of different shower gels, body lotions, lipsticks, lip crayons, perfumes - the list could go on. I've been smelling good with skin all silky smooth. And there's still so many to go. Love.

Both Dave and I celebrate our birthdays in January. This is why we can never do Dry January. Well, that and the fact that we are quite partial to a glass or two of vino of a weekend/week night (delete as appropriate, depending on how work was that day). It's also why we don't do Healthy January, as everyone knows that you are legally obliged to eat cake on your birthday. The cake below was super yummy and super sickly. I found this out the hard way by eating two pieces one after the other and almost barfed. It's just class all the way round these parts...

New Job!
Yes, it's true, I am loving my new libraryland job. It is a massively different libraryland compared to my previous venture which could explain why this one is featuring in a monthly favourites. Public library work is many moons away from academic library work and all the better for it. I am very much enjoying the community element and feel that with this, and my other job, I have finally found my place in the world of work - who knew?!

January has been a bit of a weird one. Some days have been a get in from work, eat some dinner, walk the dog, and snuggle down for the evening, and others have been out and about and not turning the TV on kind of weeks. The former means lots of teevee time. We've been enjoying all kinds of good stuff including Luther: Idris Elba, be-still my heart. The man is phenomenal - in height, in acting, in all things genius. We also started watching Humans, which is frankly bordering on creepy and intense but extremely enjoyable. And yes, I am still in Buffy heaven. I've watched my way through series 3 and I am pretty sure I never saw any of it before - Faith and Xander - say what?!

Sue Perkins
Her book 'Spectacles' is honestly the funniest/best thing I have read in ages. I have variously chuckled, welled up, snorted, almost died from laughing/started hyperventilating, my way through it. She is a total dude and I'd really like to be her new best friend. Do you think someone can make that happen for me? BAAAAAAKE!

Going Out!
Yep, despite it being January and therefore officially the poorest month ever I have been a complete gad-about town. I've been here there and everywhere! Out for birthday dinners, out for post-Christmas meals with my new work buddies, out to visit friends, general out-ness really. It's been brilliant and even better as each evening has been very enjoyable indeed - just what you need to survive a chilly and wet January!

I think that might be it. Quite a list for the first month of 2016. See you for the next one in February!

Monday, 25 January 2016

The beauty cupboard - Simple Kind to Skin +

I like to have a little series here on the old blog as it helps me to plan out my month, and my current ones (Listen Up! and Monthly Favourites) seem to go down well so I'm introducing a new one to the mix for 2016. This one is called The Beauty Cupboard and will be all about lotions and potions that I think are pretty crackin' and worth a recommendation.

First up is Simple Kind to Skin + or to give it the full and very long title: Simple Kind to Skin + Protecting Moisture Cream.

Photo edited using #acolorstory

This little gem is a daily moisturiser, with SPF 30, and as with all Simple products contains no artificial perfume or colour. At 50ml it's a really good size, and even better is that it costs about £6. The reason this has made it into The Beauty Cupboard is that it just keeps on giving! Seriously, I've had this for about 7 weeks now and it still shows no sign of giving up - that is seriously good value for money. 

If you're looking for a budget moisturiser that does all the jobs, including protecting you from the elements it's definitely worth a look-in. It blends in really well and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. It sinks in quickly too which means that you don't have to wait too long to start applying your daily face. If you're a bare faced beauty it doesn't leave a chalky residue like some SPF products can and leaves you with a good healthy glow.

It's a total winner for me. Everyday I wonder if it will still pump out some product and it does! It will be a sad day when it's finished, but for £6 it will definitely be a repurchase in the future: a solid 9/10 for me!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Listen Up! - The Crookes

Sometimes I hear something on the radio and BAM! It hits me, right in the magical music spot. I generally run to the radio, turn it up loud, and dance around the kitchen. That right there is a sign that I'm on to a winner.

Here is this week's winner - The Crookes. Hailing from fair Sheffield, their new album 'Lucky Ones' is out on 29th January. Needless to say it's already on pre-order.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Sale haulin'

I haven't really bothered much with the sales the last few years, mainly because I can't stand the madness of people queuing up at dawn on Boxing Day - so not fair to the poor staff who have to work those rubbish hours. Been there, done that, had an awful coloured t-shirt to prove it. But this year I thought I'd give it a go again and ventured into town with Tee, not at dawn I hasten to add, fully sociable working hours only. And we killed it! I think her haul was definitely the most bargainous - each item was £3, including an awesome Harry Potter sweatshirt. Way too cool for school. But I haven't done too badly myself. I picked up some great things, that are totally my style, and am very happy with my haulin'.

I'm trying to branch out into new things on the blog this year and my first ambition is to up the photography game. So, in light of all things adventurous, I made a little gif of my sales haul...hope you like it!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Halfway Point

Halfway through January already! How did that happen? Looks like 2016 will be another flyer - whoosh!

How's January been treating you so far? Mine has been a very much mixed bag. I started off with an evil sinus infection that made me very dizzy, which as an on/off dizzer is not at all pleasant. But! I battled on through, mainly as I am still a newbie at work so can hardly be taking time off this early on. Not a good impression and all that. Sudafed has been my friend.

Then I officially became old. I'd been having some weird eye stuff going on, and in my usual totally dramatic way, assumed the worst and diagnosed myself with something deathly. To counteract the over-dramatics, I made an appointment at the opticians and it turns out I'm not going to end my days on this soggy land with something horrible; instead I will end them wearing varifocal glasses. Yep. Old. As well as being a blind bat for seeing things far, far away, I now need me something to help me read too! What is this life and this growing old malarkey? Me no likey. Rather than admitting to being old, I am thinking I will explain to people that my eyes need assistance with reading as I have read soooooo many books over the years that my educated eyes just need a rest. In the form of some new glasses. With varifocal lenses. Shush, don't tell anyone.

We're heading into the weekend by celebrating Dave's birthday today. He will also be old *chuckles* but he already has varifocal glasses... At his request I am making enchiladas and a birthday cake which will be washed down with beer and perhaps a cheeky Amaretto or two.

I can't talk about early January without mentioning the death of David Bowie. I was, and still am, beyond gutted. I was supposed to be working at home that day but I spent much of it in a daze, gazing at the wall, remembering moments with his music over and over again, and welling up frequently. I know his classic stuff is usually what people remember but I absolutely loved his newer music too. Little Wonder came out in 1997 when we were at uni and I remember we were all massively excited for new David Bowie music! There are so many words, and yet none of them feel right. So just sit back, press play, and enjoy the brilliant madness...

Monday, 11 January 2016

If your toast is green, it's mouldy

Anyone else fed up of seeing Instagram photos of smushed up avocado on toast with a poached egg balanced precariously on the top? Usually accompanied by the hashtag caption #goals and that all important white as white background to highlight the green as green avocado? Seriously? Enough already with the curated idea of perfection. Be a rebel and break free. Have your Instagram feed be full of all sorts of colours, with all sorts of backgrounds, and stuff piled up high that resembles real life rather than flat lays. I'm increasingly unfollowing many of these feeds and choosing alternatives that are very far removed from any idea of 'perfect' or 'goals'.

In light of this I'm starting a campaign for bringing back butter. Butter belongs on toast. Or jam. Or marmalade. Maybe even some peanut butter or Nutella if you're feeling fancy but no more smushy green stuff! Even the poached egg is all good, just NO MORE AVOCADO.

I used to quite like it actually. Avocado that is. But recently it seems to be taking over the world, or certainly the breakfast plates of the Instagram world, and I'm bored with it. Don't these people eat cereal? Or do you think they take the photo of the avocado on toast, click publish, then chuck it in the bin and gobble down the honey nut loops out of shot?

The Avocado growers of the world must be rejoicing at the surge in sales.

Cereal growers on the other hand are probably holding their heads in woe.

Sad times.

Anyone else with me? #squadgoals and all that...? No? The butter stands alone then...

Friday, 8 January 2016

Listen Up! - The Swinging Dice

It's Friday, it's a new year, let's take some time for some new music. I discovered The Swinging Dice via Imelda May (if you haven't already, go seek her out, very highly recommended!) and they are all kinds of fab. Rocking, swinging, and French (ooh la la) their debut album is frankly, brilliant.

Have a listen above to the title track, and if you like it, head on over to the Swinging Dice website to order it directly. You can either buy the CD or vinyl, or you can buy the digital version via Bandcamp. If you do choose the digital option, you can download the Bandcamp app and listen directly from there. Instant and brilliant. I am loving them!

Monday, 4 January 2016


People don't really like to talk about money, do they? It's one of those weird subjects that make people all uncomfortable and shifty. I've never really been like that, and to be honest it's a subject I've had to be quite open about as often I have had to say no to things due to not having much of it - the money thing. But in order to talk about my one resolution for 2016 I have to talk about money, but in a very general, non-specific way. Don't worry, I won't make it uncomfortable reading. 

My one resolution, you see, is to sort out my finances. No grand plans or schemes, or setting myself up for challenges that I will undoubtedly fail - Year of Craft: EPIC FAIL. Reading Challenge of 50 books in one year: fail (by a narrow margin, I made it to 47!) I long ago stopped resolving to no longer swear (language, Timothy!) or to stop biting my nails, and I know absolutely and utterly that the whole 'I will exercise more' and 'go to the gym' are never going to be phrases I will live by. Be real, be realistic. The finances need sorting and a-sorted they will be. 

I won't go into the how much (how little!) cos no-one needs to know that sorry tale, but here's a few things I've done so far (2 days in and counting) to help me along the way to money contentment:

  • Methodically hitting the unsubscribe button on all fashion/beauty/gift/any other online shopping platform - if I don't know that Dorothy Perkins have a 40% discount code I won't feel that it would be rude not to partake in such bargainous offers...
  • Asked Santa for all the beauty products to see me forward into many months of 2016 before needing to buy anything for myself (good thinking, Batman!)...
  • Worked out a little plan in my head for a monthly budget and plan to do my very bestest to stick by it...
  • Did one last shopping splurge of hitting the sales with Tee. We both found bargains and are already enjoying our purchases. Revisiting my current wardrobe is the fashion trend for 2016 round these parts...
I have other plans that are in my head of what else I would like to do but they'll be staying in my head as it's probably the best place for them. 

If you're a friend that I socialise with reading this, you should know that I may say no to things, but not because I'm being unsociable - I'm working on my resolution. Don't be offended if I only buy a coffee if we meet up instead of a lunch. Please don't be offended if I simply say no - it's not a forever plan...but it has to start somewhere. 

Resolve is firm. Willpower is strong. Free stuff can be fun! Here we go then...