Thursday, 26 February 2015

February favourites

Woo alliteration.

I thought I'd share some of my favourite things from this month with you, as it's been a few months since my last favourites post, and I figured I'd update you. Also, first favourites of the yeaaaaar woooooo.

Song: Landfill - Daughter

This song I have been listening to all month long, and thus instead of putting it as a song of the week, I thought it deserved to be put into a monthly favourites. It's so sad and so painstakingly beautiful. I think I've been feeling it a lot this month, I don't know, sometimes it's really easy to feel unwanted and it's always nice to have a song that reminds you how to feel and describes how you feel because otherwise it can become very easy to be left numb. It's just a really stunning song, and I'd recommend having a listen to it here.

Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being at the end of January/beginning of February and I fell in love with it. The plot was interesting and covered a lot of different areas, like politics, infidelity, and so much more, but I think it was the characters that won me over. I did a book review on it earlier in the month which is linked at the book's title, so check that out if you're interested in a few more of my thoughts on it.

(have also been loving this book (it's life changing))

TV programme: Pretty Little Liars

I literally started watching Pretty Little Liars at the beginning of the month and I've already managed to get through three seasons. I remember watching a few episodes when it first came out, but I never used to really care about any TV programme that wasn't One Tree Hill (ya feel me). But I'm kind of addicted. I mean, a lot of it is kind of meh, but there's something I really like about it, although I'm not entirely sure what it is. But yeah, kind of can't really stop watching it.

Hair: Straight

(very low quality pic taken very early in the morning (ew))

I love how my hair looks when it's straight, but it takes so much time and effort to straighten it and it sucks. But, this month I've been persevering and I've had my hair straight for almost the whole month (although it likes to go wavy/curly throughout each day, but that's kind of out of my control). I feel like it kind of makes my face look nicer??? I don't know, or maybe I look a bit older with it straight? I mean, I like that sometimes the curls combined with the length make me look a little younger (well, not younger, just closer to my actual age), but I just feel better when it's straight. Although, saying that, I have noticed I've gotten a lot more unwanted (isn't it all lol) male attention when wearing my hair straight, so that kind of makes me want to leave it curly, ugh. But still, like, I wanna don a bold lip, put on a leather jacket and go take over the world like some sort of badass. I mean, I don't really know how having straight hair can make me feel like that, but it just does. And it's really annoying because up until about the age of 11/12 my hair was naturally straight, thus I'm wishing it was still so, and hadn't taken it's curly course. Oh well. I'll struggle on applying the heat.


Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

If you use this stuff then you're probably winning at life because your makeup will was stay flawless and you will rule the world. True story. Tried and tested: it's brilliant. If you haven't used it or don't own it then you need to because your life will improve by a solid 30%: guaranteed. It's just so good at keeping makeup in place, I honestly cannot fault it one bit. Long nights out, or even just long days (or both): completely covered. When I've sprayed it across my face I like to just pat down on my nose, the centre of my forehead and my chin, just so that it definitely sets in (those are the areas of my face that tend to become oilier throughout the day). I suppose it's on the more pricey side, falling into the higher-end makeup brands, but a £20 bottle will last you well, and the quality is more than worth the price (I think anyway (also been loving the Naked 2 palette, which I gave in and bought in December, but I feel like eyeshadow's all I ever talk about haha)).

L'Oreal Infallible 24H Stay Fresh Foundation

Initially bought this about three shades too dark because I didn't have enough hands to test it so I just compared it to the foundation I usually wear and it seemed only the tiniest bit darker. Lol. Of course, I needed the lightest shade, so I went back and bought it a few days later (will save the darker shade to mix in when summer comes around). I really love the way this looks on the skin though and so even though it was too dark to begin with it still looked pretty great. I've found that it isn't at all dewy on me, and kind of borders a little close to being drying, but I think that's more dependent on the weather/environments I've been in whilst wearing it. But I like that it seems more matte than my usual Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation, which gives much more of a dewy look. The coverage is pretty impressive, and so I haven't actually worn it that many times, just because it seems to do so much (which is great of course, but personally I don't go for the full makeup look everyday (or even most days)). Would definitely recommend trying it out though.

Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

I think I actually bought this back in December, but my two best friends both recommended it, and I'm pretty sure Maybelline had a 3 for 2 offer on at the time, so I thought I'd give it a whirl and I love it. I usually just go for the basic, felt-tip-like eyeliners, as they've always seemed the easiest to me, and at first this one was a little difficult for me and my ever-shaking hands, but I've gotten used to it and I don't really want to use any other eyeliner anymore. It is only a tiny pot, but it lasts well as you only need a little at a time, and I find the fact that it's a gel liner really useful, as it just glides on, something that I felt Rimmel's Scandaleyes eyeliner, which I'd been using before, hadn't done so well. I think it was about £8.00 (or like £7.99 or w/e), so it's pretty good value for the quality.

Nail varnish: Rimmel Salon Pro by Kate Moss in Saturn

This is such a pretty, shimmery shade, and it's dark without being practically black, which is the colour I tend to wear on my nails. I love this nail varnish, it's the most gorgeous deep, bronze shade and it lasts so well, without even bothering with a top coat, so I have to say I'm pretty impressed. I think I bought this a few months ago too, when Rimmel had some sort of offer on, and I just think it was so worth it. It was £4.49 in Boots, so about the same price you'd pay for any Barry M nail varnish, which is usually my preferred brand. I really like the name of the colour as well, and I think it fits it so well; the other names of the varnishes in this collection are all so nice too, and it makes me kind of sad that Kate's lipsticks are only defined by number rather than having cute names (lol what it my life). But yeah, you probably kind of need this stuff in your life.

Sooooo, yeah. Those are my favourite things from this month. Another favourite that I'll probably want to add on is The Script, who I'm going to see tonight with Chloe, and I can waiiiiit. Literally, such a great band.

Until next time.

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Twitter: @abbielour
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Pros and cons of blogging

Blogging is a really fun, creative outlet, and I love it. It's something I've been doing for a year and a half now, and I kind of wish I'd gotten involved with it earlier to be honest. My blog is somewhere I can write about the things I enjoy and love doing, somewhere I'm free to say what I want. But more than anything, it's somewhere I actually kind of feel like myself.

Although there are far more pros than cons in my opinion, there are some negatives that come with blogging. Sometimes you get stuck in a bit of a rut, without any inspiration, others you're just not sure if you've got time to type out a post and go through the editing process (plus do everything else required). Sometimes things just don't go your way. But at the end of the day, it's something that ultimately makes me very happy and it's my little space on the internet where I feel really comfortable.

For me, my favourite part of blogging is probably the writing process. By day I write long and somewhat dull English essays, and by night I type up my thoughts on things I love, in a much less formatted manner, with some use of fairly poor English. It's nice to have a break from what I'd call 'writing properly' and just be able to write like myself in basic English. I'm also a lover of photography, so when I get to go out and take photos for posts, I always enjoy it; it's like having the opportunity to see the world in a different way. One of my favourite posts for photos is my Blenheim Palace post from September; I had the most wonderful day with my mum, and the late summer weather was perfect. I can't wait until we both have the time to go back together.

I really like the community as well, and the way that there always seems to be a blog post for whatever you're thinking about or wanting to know more about. Unlike the kind of 'youtube culture' that's grown, blogging is still a bit more intimate, at least that's how it's always felt to me. It's just like words exchanged between the person typing and the person reading, and it feels very personal and I really love that about it. It also feels far less daunting to me than the whole youtube thing; broadcasting videos of myself would literally be awful for me, and I can't imagine ever branching out and doing it. I don't know, with blogging I feel like I can hide behind the words I'm typing but equally I can completely be myself, but without sharing so much about me, if that makes any sense at all. Like it's not just me, it's more about what I'm saying. Whereas with youtube I think it's become far more about the individual than necessarily what they're saying. And I find a lot more comfort in hiding my face and kind of my personality behind my words, and having more of an option to choose what I'm sharing.

I don't know if that makes sense but anyway.

Music is by far my favourite thing to blog about, which is kind of strange because initially I was quite reluctant to do it. I think music is probably the thing I feel most personal about, and quite often there is so much more I could say about whatever song I'm talking about, but I want it to be more about the music than my personal experience of it. And so although I do share a few feelings of my own on certain songs, and create a vague kind of idea as to why it's important to me, I never want it to become about me; it's about the music. And there are so many songs that I would love to write about because I absolutely adore them, but I'm just not always comfortable with expressing the ways in which I love them and why, because it is so personal to me; and I suppose that's kind of a con, but it's one that I definitely cause for myself. I feel like my relationship with music is by far the most intimate thing for me. And although I love certain songs, I know that I'll never be able to find the right words. A lot of the time the lyrics say all there is to say for me. So yeah. It's important to me.

Something that is kind of both a pro and a con is that I don't blog about things that I don't like. Like if there's a few songs on an album that I don't like then I definitely won't make it a track-by-track and I just won't mention them. If there are certain issues within the world that I think badly of, but what I have to say is worth saying, or the issue itself is the negative thing and I'm discussing ways to overcome it, kind of like the post I did on rape culture, then of course, there is going to be hints of negativity, but I think that's understandable. Doing little things to try and make the world a better place can't really be viewed as negative. But sometimes everyone has times when they just aren't happy about a lot of things and a way of getting that out is blogging about it, and I'm kind of sad that I tend to deny myself of that, because I don't want my space on the internet to be fueled with anger or upset. And so usually I don't post on that kind of stuff, but it doesn't do me any favours by not getting it out of my system if you know what I mean. I think I tend to get that stuff out by reblogging posts on tumblr, so hey, there's always another way I suppose.

So, yeah, those are some thoughts I have on blogging that I've been thinking about for a while now. I actually started writing this November/December time and just wasn't sure if I was going to do anything with it. But hey, here it is I guess. Feel free to share your thoughts on blogging, I always like to know what other people are thinking about the things I mention.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media links:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Friday, 13 February 2015

Book review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera

I read a book that I don't have to read for my course omg revolutionary.

It was really good, I really liked it.

A few different people have recommended this online, so I thought I'd give it a go, and I enjoyed reading. Where I usually can't find the time to do 'recreational' reading, something I wanted to do thus year was make time, and so I managed to read Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being in just a week. I got gripped on the story line quite easily and just wanted to carry on reading. Have also found a really great section of the library that's usually pretty much empty and having somewhere nice to read always make me want to read more.

The plot follows the characters Tomas, Tereza, Sabina and Franz through their lives and unfolds all of the complications they face. It's kind of about love, but equally it's very ambivalent and isn't about love at all. Each character is very different but with tiny similarities that seem to help the novel flow.

Initially I didn't really like Sabina, but I came to find quite a few similarities between her and myself, and the same with Franz. With Sabina what made me dislike her was that she was knowingly sleeping with men who had partners, and she was doing it completely without remorse, and Franz because he was cheating on his wife. But there are certain things about each character that you learn as you get further into the book, as initially the focus is on Tomas and Tereza. However, soon Sabina and Franz's characters are explored much more within the text and I grew to really like the both of them. I think the disliking was just due to the way in which they were introduced to the texts, and first impressions are as important as people often say they are. But once you learn more, you've got a lot more to consider about the individuals.

Sabina wants to rebel, for the sake of herself rather than anything else. She wants to do what she wants and I feel the same; people always think that when someone is against something they have something against other people as well, but really it's kind of an inner struggle that nobody else will ever understand. And she wants to feel free, the same as me. I long to travel the world, and after I've been stuck in the same place for a while I always feel the need for movement, even if I'm only going twenty miles from where I started. It's nice to move, and this quote reminds me why: 'In the mind of a woman for whom no place is home the thought of an end to all flight is unbearable'.

And Franz is just a good person. I know the cheating on his wife bit doesn't sound good, but to be fair his wife is awful, and he ends up being honest with her about it and she's a total bitch about it anyway, so it's good riddance in the end. I just really relate to him, especially the line 'Franz's weakness is called goodness'. Because mine is too. And it's probably the worst kind of weakness you can get (I mean, obviously I have others but being nice is by far the one that causes me the most pain in the long run). His love of music is also, of course, something I'm very familiar with; 'He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends' is one of my favourite quotes.

Some other quotes that I love from the novel are:

'He realized that not knowing what he wanted was actually quite natural.'

'We live everything as it comes, without warning.'

'Tomas came to this conclusion: making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).'

'She now knew there were conditions under which she could feel strong and fulfilled, and she longed to go off into the world and seek those conditions somewhere else.'

'In Tereza's eyes, books were the emblems of a secret brotherhood. For she had but a single weapon against the world of crudity surrounding her: the books'.

'But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.'

'A man who loses his privacy loses everything.'

'The goals we pursue are always veiled ...The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us.'

'Ideas can save lives.'

'We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under... And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.'

I would definitely recommend The Unbearable Lightness of Being, to anyone who cares about something, because I think overall that's the universal characteristic of the four protagonists. It's worth the read, and it's now one of my favourite books.

Until next time.

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Twitter: @abbielour
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