Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What's in a year

2014 has been both uncomfortably long and stupidly short. I always find it amazing how that can happen. Certain periods seemed to last forever, like the summer wait for exam results, and yet the time up to exams seemed to go in an instant (leaving me feeling rather under prepared).

I'm kind of astounded by all the things I've done this year, and yet equally somewhat disappointed that I didn't do more, as ever. In all honesty, I don't really remember the first few months of this year, and I'm pretty sure it's because they were rubbish and so I've blocked them from my memory. I think I was bummed out with school, somewhere I've always hated, and I was also being put under far too much pressure (story of my life).

By the time we got to March, things seemed to improve a little more, and I think I began to ignore all of the people who wanted far too much from me and decided to just enjoy myself a little. March was actually the most productive month I'd had with blogging so far at that point in time, and I think that was when I kind of fell in love with it. I got to meet the lovely Pixie Lott at a single signing, I went to the zoo with a bunch of my friends, and I also saw The Wanted on their last tour. It was just a month when I actually felt quite content for a little while. I was doing things and kind of learning more about myself.

Obviously nothing can stay good forever, and by April the pressure to do well in my studies was back. I only actually had two remotely encouraging teachers in year 13; one of them was really lovely but just didn't really seem to get me and understand everything, but the other was a complete blessing and one of the nicest men I've ever met. He actually made me believe in myself a little bit, rather than constantly tearing me down and telling me I could do better. I did do a few fun things in April, like seeing McBusted (who I'm actually seeing again in 2015) and celebrating my 18th birthday, but other than that it was literally all revision. May was spent in exactly the same way, with the only good thing that happened being that the only topic I really understood came up in my history retake (woooo).

June was quite dull too, although it did mean the end of exams, which is not something to complain about. However, the end of exams meant that the two month+ wait for results began, and there was no longer anything I could do to improve my chances of getting into UoB. However, I think June was when I really started to get into music blogging; I'd done a couple of posts on music before, like gigs and talking about an album or two, but June/July was when I realised just how much I loved writing about the thing that I loved the most. I did a little post on one of my favourite bands, The Icarus Account and wrote about Ed Sheeran's x, before writing about a lot more music in July and August. It always feels so personal for me to write or talk about music, because it genuinely means the world to me and I would not function well without it, so I think initially I was kind of reluctant to post what I'd written, because it was everything. But I fell in love with writing about it in the same way I fell in love with listening to it, many, many years ago. And it just started to feel natural. Because it was.

The second half of August and most of September were kind of a blur, I got accepted into my first choice of university in the middle of August, and from then on I actually had to start getting my life together, packing and getting ready to leave home. And leaving home is probably one of the best things I've ever done, so much so that 'home' doesn't really feel all that much like home anymore, but neither does Birmingham, so I'm not really sure if I belong anywhere these days haha. I didn't really address me leaving home on my blog until I'd been gone for a month or so, because I just wasn't sure if I felt completely comfortable with it yet, but then I mentioned my change of location on here, and I think that's when it became more real to me, and I started to loosen up more and make the most of where I was and what I was doing there.

(this may well be my favourite picture ever)

The rest of the year's been me working hard and just trying to enjoy myself. And it hasn't gone too badly really. A lot of people tend to enjoy the beginning of the year the most, as they're following new years' resolutions and bettering themselves, but for me it really seems to be the opposite way around. I think it just takes me a while to get used to anything new, but I've started to learn to just embrace everything and make the most of it. And that's what I hope to do next year too:
Keep on discovering myself and everything I love.
Fall even deeper in love with the sounds that make everything worthwhile.
Make more time to read for inspiration rather than just for my course.
Work as hard as ever.
Don't let the pressures of others take over my mind again.
Remember that at the end of the day, this is my life, and I'm going to make what I want of it.

Tonight I'm going to be having fun with my friends, and then tomorrow afternoon I'll be catching up with my family to celebrate my Grandad's birthday.

I hope that everyone has a great time this evening with their loved ones, and that all your plans for the new year come together perfectly.

Until next time.

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Twitter: @abbielour
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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Haaaaappy Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the-


Happy Christmas everybody!

I think in a bunch of places it will already be Christmas when I'm posting this, but right now for me it's Christmas eve, and I'm sat/lying on the floor in the living room with my dog, and everything is calm and serene. My Dad and I are currently waiting for everyone else to get home so we can have our Christmas Eve Indian takeaway (probably the only tradition we actually have).

Not really entirely sure what I'd like to say here, but hopefully I'll just work it out as I go. I guess it's gonna be reflective (eh).

So, I'm not sure about anyone else, but for me I think this year's probably been the busiest of my life; because of that it feels like it's just swept past and I'm not even sure how it's December already, let alone how it will be 2015 (seriously, what the heck) in just over a week. There have been a bunch of ups and a bunch of downs through the past twelve months, but here we are. We managed another whole year. Who'd have thought huh?

This year, I turned 18, went to the zoo twice (score), met Pixie Lott (who I love so much), finished my A Levels, went to a bunch of concerts, became best friends with my mum, moved away from home, started at university, met like a billion new people, read like a hundred books, and made it through my first semester alive.

I think that's pretty impressive to be honest but whatever.

It would be cool if I could come up with other stats like: consumed one thousand trillion calories worth of chocolate. As horrified as I'd be, I'd also be so, so proud lolz.

Whereas most people think Christmas is the best time of year ever, I've not always been so convinced. Like, there's loads of great food everywhere and that's great, like really, you can't fault that at all. But I think it just reminds me of everything that I still haven't done if that makes sense, like this year's basically over and there are still a hundred things I'd like to do. Obviously there's always next year, but there's always next year every year, and at some point you are going to run out of next year's. As well as that, Christmas tends to remind me of the people who aren't here to spend the festive season with and that can make me feel quite sad sometimes.

Well that just lowered the positive tone of this post.

Also though, I have this thing where I'm ill on around 56% of Christmases (genuinely (although it's probably not actually 56%, but generally just a lot)), and so I'm looking at tomorrow with caution. Like, I want to believe it's going to be a nice day with my family, but I just can't convince myself it will be. I have a feeling it's because I always try and power through and get on with everything between September and December, and then when I finally have the chance to stop I just get sick because it all catches up with me. And that really sucks. But I was really ill at the beginning of November, and I'm kind of hoping that means I'm done with illness for this year. So fingers crossed I'll be fine and everything will be as nice as it can be.

But, there are some things that I really love about Christmas, like the fact that all my friends are around in our hometown at the moment, and it's a chance to see some of my family and catch up with them too. I'm also quite the fan of the cold weather, and long walks in my big coat. I mentioned the food already, but I think that's a really important thing that you just can't talk about enough. I just like the togetherness, even though I'm someone who quite likes being on my own. It's just a nice reminder of the great people you have around you.

(my brother's snapchat pic of us Christmas shopping the other week)

I feel like I should follow this up with a new years' resolution post, but there's nothing that I really want to change at the moment, so nahhh. Like, I think I'm doing alright, and there's nothing new that I would feel comfortable doing as of now, so I don't really see the point if that makes sense.

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to in the coming year though; given, most of them are concerts, but hey, they're what I love most. Nothing beats live music in my eyes (and ears).

Anyway, I hope everyone has a really lovely Christmas, and I'm wishing you all the best for the new year.

What are you up to over the Christmas period? Any favourite things about the season, or anything you're not looking forward to so much? Are you making new years' resolutions? If so, be sure to let me know; maybe you can inspire me to come up with one or two of my own.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Monday, 1 December 2014

November Favourites

Haven't done a monthly favourites since August, because I wasn't really overly into anything new, but now there are some new things (and some old ones that are just very important to me (I'm talking about the crackers)) so I thought I'd share them, woop.

Song: Long Way Home (acoustic) - 5 Seconds of Summer

This is the prettiest thing I've heard in a while. It's well established that I've got the biggest weak spot for anything acoustic, especially when the guitar's at the heart of it. And I loved this song already, as you'll know if you've read my 5sos album review (plug), so it's just the ultimate version of it really. So impressed with this, definitely check it out if you haven't. It's on the ep for Good Girls which you can find on iTunes here. If you listen to nothing else today, listen to this; I don't know how you could regret it. So. Pretty.

Album: FOUR - One Direction

Lolz, I freaking love this album. So many boys and bands going on this month, lord help me. I always think, surely 1d have got to do some really, really bad songs at some point, but they just don't seem to???? This album is so good, I can't sing its praises enough (bar one song that I'm not into, but that isn't important). I did a review of the album here if you'd like to see just how much I like it, and it's on iTunes here. Cool.

Film: Cruel Intentions

After reading Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses, I watched the film Cruel Intentions, which is based on the book. It's actually a fairly good, modernised interpretation of the text, so I was quite impressed when considering them in relation. Also it's got some really good actors in it, including Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe. If you ever have to study the book, I'd definitely recommend watching the film, as although a lot of the characters are given different names and the plot is changed to an extent, it's definitely useful in understanding the text as a whole.

Makeup: Urban Decay Naked Palette

Having had the Naked 3 palette since it came out, I was keen to try some of the older Urban Decay eye shadows, and fell completely head over heels with the original Naked palette when I was in Selfridges last month and just couldn't leave it behind. The 3 is great, don't get me wrong, but I struggle to make use of a lot of the pink toned shades, as they don't really work overly well with my irritatingly green eyes. But the original would work perfectly for anyone. The shades are all gorgeous and the same high quality as all of Urban Decay's other shadows. Sidecar and Naked are my favourite of all of them. Would definitely recommend the palette, and although it's fairly expensive, it's well worth the money (just left lusting after the Naked 2 now ahhhh).

Nail varnish: Barry M Gelly Hi-shine in Blackberry

Swear I literally hardly ever use any other brand of nail varnish.
I've taken a brief step away from black this month (what????), and gone with a deep blue instead; I know, it's not exactly much different, but at least it breaks up all the black and grey I wear with a dull glimmer of colour. Lolz. I really like this colour; I've always thought blue nail varnish wouldn't work for me, like, it just felt wrong, but it's actually very right. I'm a big fan. Navy's a great nail colour. And of course, all of the Barry M Gelly nail varnishes apply well and last a good week. And they're really inexpensive, so well worth the purchase.

Skincare: No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream (Normal/Oily)

I feel about thirty years older for using it, but wowza does it make my skin feel nice. It's so creamy and feels so nice on my face. You literally just have to use a little dabs worth on each cheek and that'll do your whole face. Seriously, it feels so good. When I don't use it I really notice the difference. Definitely one worth trying if you haven't. And all the No7 stuff is hypoallergenic so it works well with pretty much all types of skin.

Food: Crackers

Crackers are great. They've always been great and they're something I've always eaten but I've liked them especially throughout November. There was a stressful few days towards the middle of the month where I ran out and just didn't have any time to go and buy any more, but as it was a matter of urgency, I pulled some strings so I could get down to Sainsburys. Jacobs' Savours are some of my favourite (they make me feel as happy as chocolate).

Health: Benylin Dry Coughs Original

This stuff saves lives. Well, maybe not quite, but practically. I was so ill for the first few weeks of this month and this is the stuff that's kept me from coughing thirty times a minute, twenty-four hours a day. To be fair, it has faults: I did wake up coughing in the night numerous times, but obviously it has to wear off (sadly). It's meant to make you drowsy, but I can't say I noticed (I'm always tired, let's be real). But if you've got a crappy cough, ask a pharmacist about this and see if it could work for you.

Another somewhat odd favourite is the lighting in my kitchen; it's really great for blog pictures and I've only just realised.


What are some of your favourite things this month? Have you tried out anything new that's worth talking about? Let me know, as I'd love to hear what you've been loving recently. If you've done a favourites post of your own then send me a link :)

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
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