Saturday, 28 March 2015

HAUL | PRIMARK + MORE

So this haul is made up of a few bits that I've bought recently. I think I bought all of them on different trips out, because I've not really had the time or money lately to go on a big shopping trip; I accumulated all of these over the past month or two.

Where possible I've tried to put accurate information about the product underneath, but I can't remember how much a lot of the things cost now, although I'm fairly sure that all of it was under £20 each!



cosmetic bags
[grey and pink floral + lemon patterned]
Primark | £4 each



floral print dressing gown (with close up of detail)
Primark | £10



blue and white striped shirt
H&M



white vest top with scalloped hem
Topshop



navy and white striped sweater
H&M



black and white striped tee
Zara



arrow patterned top
H&M

SHARE:

Friday, 27 March 2015

MARCH READS

I haven't been able to read much this month aside from university reading for classes, essays and my dissertation, so the only books I've read this month were assigned to me for class.


The Secret River | Kate Grenville
★★
This was for my postcolonial writing class and unfortunately it was just a chore to read. There were some parts of it that were interesting and I guess it had potential, but it was just too long and I didn't connect with the major characters well enough to pull me through. The plot wasn't weak per se, I just wasn't that interested.
If you're looking for a story about Australia as a penal colony from the POV of a British convict and his family, then this might be for you – it was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2006 so obviously some people thought it was good!



The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven | Sherman Alexie
★★
A contemporary American literature text this time. It's a collection of stories about Native Americans, but it also has a kind of coherent narrative – unlike other short story collections that you might dip in and out of, it's really better to read this as though it were a typical novel in order to get the proper effect. Generally centred in the Spokane reservation in Washington, it follows different characters and  brings different stories, spread across time and place. One of the things I liked most about this was getting more of an insight into a culture I'm not familiar with (it's one of my goals this year to read more diversely, especially by reading more books that aren't Eurocentric) but I also enjoyed Alexie's writing style, and I'm thinking I might read some more of his books at some point.
I'd recommend this to most people.



Desperadoes | Ron Hansen
★★
Another American read, with a similar effect to The Secret River: it was kind of a chore. There were a few parts of this text that I liked, as with The Secret River, but it wasn't enough to redeem the text as a whole and bring it up to three stars. It's not a narrative that really appeals to me as it is – I've never been that intrigued by the Old West. The third Back to the Future is enough of the West for me!
However, if you are interested in the Old West (this text is, however, set right at the end of that era in the 1890s mostly, focusing on a real gang known as the Dalton gang) then this might be for you!


**I use the Goodreads star rating system to rate my books**
SHARE:

Saturday, 21 March 2015

MOVING HOUSE | ONE WEEK LATER

I had some vague intentions of making a post all about moving day itself – I was going to document it all, pictures and maybe even video clips. 

I did not do that. 

First off, things didn't go the way they expected. The movers we had hired were not the best, my dad arrived to help out with my four year old brother in tow (cue me acting as babysitter-big-sister instead of woman-moving-house) and then... well, it sort of spiralled. Not in such a bad way, I suppose – it could easily have been worse – but it just didn't work out that well. 

I ended up going away at lunch time with my dad and brother and coming back to find that the moving company were just leaving, and there was an incredibly daunting amount of crap still in my room. I ended up alone, with my pile of crap, in a (mostly) empty house, and it ended up feeling horrible. I tackled some of the pile in my room – the things that, for some inexplicable reason, the movers had left behind when it should have been something they loaded onto the van – and then I ended up sitting in my mum's room (there was nowhere to sit in my room) staring at cobwebs and dust and mouse poop, feeling a bit lost and confused. 

Unlike the last time we moved house, where one thing ended and another began, this was very much a transition, and I didn't like it. Aside from sitting there in my house, packing a few boxes with the clothes etc. the movers had left and sorting everything else into bags for charity or the bin, we ended up having to go back to the house more than once last weekend to tidy up, take other things that the movers hadn't, and finally giving the landlord the keys back. 

BUT, one week on, things are feeling good again. There's a couple of downsides to the new place, sure, and there's still some stuff to unpack etc. before we're finished, but otherwise it's great. It feels a lot better to have less stuff than I did before, which was really apparent when I was unpacking (I've got a box and a half left to unpack, which makes me second only to the kitchen, which is completely done). The new neighbours seem nice, and I'm quite enjoying just living there in general now.

I did think about taking some pictures of the place as it stands now, but I think I'll wait until everything's dealt with first. 
SHARE:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

NETFLIX BINGE | UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

Netflix | Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

We all have those days where we start watching something on Netflix and then emerge hours later having no idea who we are or what time it is, right? Everyone loves a good Netflix binge – I binged hard on The Vampire Diaries last summer – and my latest Netflix binge has been on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the latest brainchild of Tina Fey (with Robert Carlock). I took a few breaks (for lunch, and because I had to finish an essay) but I still managed to watch the entire series in one day, and I even started rewatching it the following day. I think it came at the perfect time, amidst all my stress about my essays and moving house, because it was just so much fun to watch and it was really entertaining. There were a few flaws that bothered me a bit (I linked an article about them on my Twitter), but I have high hopes that those will be ironed out come the second series, which I have heard has been ordered by Netflix.  

Now it's sadly time for me to get back to my essays (which are written, thankfully, but need checking over one last time) and then get on top of all my other university work... not to mention all the boxes that still need unpacking!
SHARE:

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

BAILEYS WOMEN'S FICTION | LONGLIST


The longlist for the Baileys prize was announced yesterday, and I'm pretty excited about it! I haven't always been able to read many  – or even any – of the books on the list, but one of the things I'm liking about this list is that I've actually read one of the books for once! I read Emma Healey's Elizabeth is Missing earlier this year and enjoyed it so I'd be happy to see that make it to the shortlist! 

I've also got a copy of Station Eleven on my TBR pile, so I think that'll be getting bumped up the pile towards the top so I can read it soon! 

Aside from those two, I'm intrigued by the Ali Smith (I have another one of her books in my TBR pile somewhere, although as it's all packed I can't remember which one it was) and I have Sarah Waters pegged as someone to start reading soon; I'm sure I have at least two of her books on my Goodreads TBR. 

I don't know anything about any of the other titles yet, but just from looking at the selection my eye is caught by I Am China, The Shore, The Bees and Dear Thief. I think I'll be going away to do some more research into all these books, especially the ones that have caught my eye, once I get the chance (in between editing the one essay I have written, and writing the other one) and might end up making a few naughty purchases to treat myself post essay hand in!
SHARE:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

MOVING HOUSE | BEFORE SHOTS

my room mid packing, aka chaos
boxes boxes boxes

the living room (we won't miss that ugly old fireplace)


SHARE:

Friday, 6 March 2015

MOVING HOUSE | 1 WEEK BEFORE

My first draft of this post was a really cheesy piece about how moving house is like Christmas, but I scrapped that and decided to just go for something more straight forward and plain about how I feel instead of trying to wrap it up in cute metaphors and similes.

I hadn't thought things could get any crazier in my house, but naturally, they have. Not a lot has changed in my room – it's still boxes central in there, and I've been avoiding it some what. Partly because I don't especially enjoy the mess and cardboard towers everywhere, but I also thought it might help for me to get used to having to work outside of that space. I've been spending some more time in university studying, some more in the living room...

At this point I'm torn between wanting to freeze time so that I can get on with my essays and finish them, and wanting to hurry things up so that we can get out of here and settled down in the new flat. I'm getting quite sick of finding myself wanting something that is already packed (like a specific book or my travel mug) and, though I've probably said it before, I just want to get settled into the new place so things can go back to being normal again... at least until next time, when I move out of the family home to a place of my own!
SHARE:

Thursday, 5 March 2015

THE CASUAL VACANCY | TV REVIEW




I'm almost definitely behind the times with this one, because the third and final episode aired last Sunday, but I recently finished watching the BBC adaptation of The Casual Vacancy with my boyfriend and it's still on my mind! I'm not going to write too much about the plot itself, because it could easily slip into giving too much away about what happens.


I read the book about two years ago, in January 2012 (I think I bought it with a gift card I'd got for Christmas), and having read the book and enjoyed it for the most part, I was excited about the TV adaptation when I first heard about it. 

I roped my boyfriend into watching it with me because he doesn't really read, so a lot of the time getting him to watch adaptations of books I've enjoyed are the only way I'm able to share the stories with him and chat to him properly about them (other examples: Game of Thrones, Irvine Welsh's Filth, Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, etc). 


There were a few things that they left out of this adaptation which disappointed me, such as a lot of the characterisation of Sukhvinder, but for the most part I could see why they had cut the characters and character development that they did, in order to focus more on specific issues. 

My first take away from the series was how beautiful it was – in spite of the darkness involved, of course. The cinematography was incredible, and while panning shots of landscape and nature often irritate me it was well done here. 


The second was how well they handled the ending. All I knew in advance was that the ending was still dark, but that there was some hope compared to the ending of the book. I didn't try to find out in advance what the changes were, because in a sense I wanted to be surprised. If you've seen the show and read the book, then you'll maybe know what I mean when I say that I'm not exactly surprised about how it turned out. 


Other things I loved were the casting choices – I could tell who most characters were instantly, and that's with me having an initially fuzzy memory of the book – and just the script and acting in general.


Regardless of whether you've read the book or not, or even whether you felt particularly interested in the show or not, I'd recommend watching it. It's three hours in total (three hour long episodes) and is just incredibly beautiful, balancing emotive scenes with humour all wrapped up with gorgeous visuals. 
SHARE:

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

ESSIEBUTTON: HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING


I really want to get myself into a better place with my diet and work on eating healthier food (which isn't to say that it's all I'll eat, of course... you'll never stop me eating a family sized pizza by myself when I'm having one of those kind of days!). I've actually been moving towards what I call 'semi-vegan'. It started when I realised that I had an intolerance to eggs, especially to things like mayonnaise and I felt a real improvement in my health and digestive system when I started actively avoiding anything containing egg. More recently, I've been aiming to cut back my dairy consumption as much as possible as well and I think that's helped my digestion even more. I still eat meat, albeit infrequently, and I don't think I'll really go 'full vegan' and quit eating meat (I'll also probably never give up on Chicago Town pizzas) but I really need to make more of an effort to buy and eat healthy food and ingredients instead of just going straight for pasta whenever I need to prepare a meal. I think I'll be using this video for inspiration when I next go food shopping so I can start changing my go-to meals – I quite like the idea of just throwing together some brown rice or quinoa with some crunchy vegetables (my favourites are red peppers and onions) for a quick meal. 
SHARE:
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig