Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Hundred-Year-Old Man: review


I recently read a book called The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. And it was great.

I honestly don't think I've enjoyed a book this much, purely for it's humour, in as long as I can remember. It is so funny I can't even begin to tell you. And funny in a ridiculous, I wish this was real, kind of way.

The narrative revolves around a man called Allan, who has just turned one hundred and has had enough of his boring elderly years in a retirement home. Essentially, he ends up on the run from the police and a gang, after managing to steal a suitcase full of money as he gets on a bus to get away from the director of the retirement home, who he can't stand. The text follows his endeavours, introducing new characters who all become close friends.

The narrative jumps back and forth in time, recounting tales from all throughout Allan's life, with a lot of historical background covered. I particularly enjoyed reading these interjections of Allan's past. There are so many historical moments and key figures that he is involved with, in the most ridiculous ways. You can't help but laugh.

After reading a heap of books for uni, this was just what I needed to relax and really, truly enjoy the reading experience. There's also a film version of the novel, which I am really looking forward to watching.

You will love this book.

Until next time.


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Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 12 December 2016

'Tis The Season


I am feeling really, truly Christmasy for the first time since I was probably 8. And it feels lovely. So I've been doing a few Christmas activities recently, including seeing Christmas lights, going to markets, ice skating and even a Christmas show, and I though I'd tell you about them.


Mum and I went to Waddesdon Manor towards the end of November, and saw their Christmas light display and market. The market was really nice and had lots of local businesses selling their goods, giving it a lovely community feel. The lights display this year was a 'Field of Light', with lots of pretty little lights across a large open area.



More recently I've been to the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham, an annual occurrence as a UoB student. It felt a little more spaced out than it usually is, which was nicer, but was still super busy as always, and will only continue to get busier as we get closer to Christmas.


Over this weekend, Charlie and I went to see The Overtones at their Christmas show at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, which is one of my all time favourite venues. It was a lovely show and they create such a wonderful, cheery atmosphere.



The following day we ventured out for brunch, heading to the business district. We went to 200 Degrees Coffee, which is on Colmore Row, opposite the Cathedral, and I had a delicious coffee and sandwich. From there, we headed to the ice rink in Centenary Square, and had a skate around the (very) busy rink. Neither of us fell so we're calling it a success.


We've put our tree up and I've finally put my fairy lights up in my room, so I can feel a little more festive whilst slogging through the essays I need to write over the Christmas break.

What kinds of Christmas activities have you been up to, and where's good to go near you at this time of year?

Until next time.


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Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November Favourites

As I've been on the quieter side this month, I thought it might be nice to do a favourites post, to round up both what I've been loving and what I've been doing.

Fashion



Fashion wise, the majority of my current favourites were mentioned in my Autumn Essentials post, but I wanted to mention a few of those items again and say a little bit more. Doc Martens are getting me through the cold weather, and I'm thrilled that they're a little roomy so I can wear thicker socks with them; day to day, they're my go-to shoes. My love of jumpers knows no bounds and I've found myself somehow accumulating more (oops), but they're perfect for the cold weather we've been having and I don't know how I'd survive the winter without them.

The Denim Bomber Jacket I got from Monki is still my absolute favourite, although I do wish I'd gotten it in a size smaller to help keep the heat in as it hangs off me a little more than I'd like, but luckily I can bulk that space out with a thicker jumper. And a scarf. Zara are the best for scarfs, I always find really nice, neutral designs and colours from there, and they're always big and warm, just what you need in England right now.


Makeup


I've finally (I know I'm beyond late) tried some liquid lipsticks, and two of my favourites are from Too Faced and NYX. They look pretty similar, but the NYX one in the shade London has a really beautiful orange tone to it and looks surprisingly nice on my skin tone (pale as it gets). Too Faced Child Star is such a lovely nude (probably more or less the perfect one for me), but it is a little drying, which is a bit of a pain. Nonetheless, a bit of extra lip balm underneath and it's good to go.

Also, I've been absolutely loving the Starstruck Highlighter from M&S's Rosie for Autograph collection. At first I thought it might be a bit too pink for me, but a little blending and it just looks so pretty. Looking forward to trying a few more bits from this collection.


Books


Some of the best books I've read this month have been for my course. I fell in love with Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth a couple of months ago, but I recently read The Age of Innocence and I love her writing even more. The way she depicts New York society in this age and critiques it is so interesting and great to know that women were writing like this at the time. I also really enjoyed reading Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter; the style the text is written in is unique and intriguing and it's a very strong and accurate depicting of the experience of grief.


Music


I've been listening to Oh Wonder non-stop this month; they have the perfect calming music, which I find great for background music whilst studying. But I do really enjoy listening to their stuff just generally, especially to unwind in the evening. And as an almost complete opposite, I've also been enjoying Empire of the Sun's album Two Vines. It's super up beat and feel good and I cannot get enough of their music (definitely have a listen).


Place



Towards the end of the month, I went to Waddesdon Manor to see the Christmas lights and market. It's definitely a perfect place to go to at Christmas time, and the lights displays are stunning. If you're in the area, would 100% recommend a visit.

What are your favourites this month? I'd love to know.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 28 November 2016

Study Songs


I've been pushing this post back for months now, so I thought it was high time I sat my bum down and got on with it. Ironically the reason I've not had time to blog recently is due to my degree taking over my life even further, but there we are.

When it comes to study songs I generally go for either soft, calming songs or upbeat motivational music (or, more likely, a mixture of the two). I've compiled a playlist of songs I've most often found myself listening to while studying recently; they both help me keep focused on what I'm doing (by stopping me focusing on the sounds around me) and keep me feeling as good as you can when reading and making notes on a 400 page book about the imagined natural environment, for example.


1. Oh Wonder's album

2. re: Stacks - Bon Iver

3. Doria - Olafur Arnalds

4. All I Want - Kodaline

5. To Build a Home - The Cinematic Orchestra

6. No More Sad Songs - Little Mix

7. Winter Things - Ariana Grande

8. Kicking Roses - Benjamin Frances Leftwich

9. There's Only One Of You - Nathan Sykes

10. California - Blink-182

11. En Route - Balmorhea

12. Saturn - Sleeping At Last

13. Where the Sky Is - Ward Thomas

14. The Girl - City and Colour

15. Begin Again - The Piano Guys

16. I Believe in You - Michael Buble

17. Cairns - Nancy Elizabeth

18. Best That I Can - Vance Joy

19. Where I Find You - Dustin Tebbutt

20. Friends - Empire of the Sun


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 14 November 2016

10 things I've realised




Inspired by Beth Norton's post, I thought I'd note down some things that I've realised this year (who'd have thought Kylie Jenner could predict how we'd all be feeling right now). It's been a long 10+ months, that have somehow still manage to flash right by us, but a lot has happened, and as always, I, and I'm sure you, too, am feeling rather different to how I did at the beginning of the year. Here's 10 things I've realised throughout 2016.


1. Happiness is hard. As children, we'd never have thought it would be something we had to work towards, and quite frankly, work really damn hard for; but I guess life is painful and it can be very difficult to see the light sometimes.

2. But, the light is always there. No matter how much we struggle to see it, there are so many things to be happy about, even if we have to make a big effort to decipher those things.

3. Having a full time job would be much easier for me than uni, as much as I've been loving my course this year in particular. And I'm quite looking forward to starting one.

4. The world is a beautiful place and I wish for nothing more than for everyone to care for it. Nature has always been the strongest force on the planet, and we need to take care to preserve it rather than letting it waste away, because it will.

5. Democracy is both a blessing and a bit of a curse. I'm not sure if the general public should be deemed qualified to make major decisions about countries' endeavours, but at the same time we'd live in a dictatorship of kinds if we couldn't vote on such things. In short, politics is a massive double-edged sword and probably always will be.

6. Just because other people don't always make an effort to see you, doesn't mean they don't want to, and it's no reason for you to stop making plans with them. We're all busy. We all get it.

7. There will never be enough hours in the day, so it's important to lay out your priorities before making commitments.

8. Death and suffering will always be around you and will always be hard, but you should never let it stop you from living your best life.

9. It's really important to look after your body and to protect your health. As much as you think you don't have the time to, it's better to make that time than to allow yourself to get so ill it takes a long stretch of time to fully recover. Listen to your body and take time out.

10. Life is always going to feel exhausting, but every now and again you realise it really is worth it, for many more reasons than you might think.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 7 November 2016

Autumn Essentials

It's jumper seasoooooooon wooohooooooooo (although saying that I've been trying to wear them since the beginning of September). Thought I'd do a little fashion post, as autumn is by far my favourite season for clothing. So here are what I'd consider my autumn essentials.


Jumpers

Autumn/Winter is all about the cosy knitwear for me, and jumpers are my no. 1 favourite item of clothing (ever). Below are some of my favourites, old and new. I really love the leafy orange and mustard colours and always feel completely at one with the season when I wear them. The high/turtle neck is something I also love; they're perfect for avoiding the dreaded cold neck, especially if you've forgotten to take a scarf out with you.

Left to right: H&M, H&M, Pull&Bear, Topshop, ASOS, Sainsburys, Next, Topshop







Black Ankle Boots

Shoe wise, my staple for autumn/winter (/all year round) is a good pair of black ankle boots... or three (I think I actually have four or five lol). Below are my absolute favourites, as I'm sure you can tell by how well-loved they look. Perfect for rainy days, crisp walks, and day-to-day wear.

Left to right: Office (similar), Next (similar), Dr Martens



Jackets/Coats

The weather can be unpredictable at all times of the year in England, but in autumn in particular the temperature tends to go up and down rather a lot. As a result, it's always handy to have a few jackets and coats of different thicknesses. On chillier days I'll grab my ASOS parka, which has a nice fleecy lining and a giant hood to help keep my neck warm. For very mild days, I love this light khaki jacket from Urban Outfitters; it's also the perfect jacket for spring, so nice and versatile. My current favourite is a denim bomber jacket from Monki (which took months to get a hold of). It's the perfect middle-of-the-road thickness and works with pretty much any outfit.

Left to right: ASOS, UO, Monki (via ASOS)




Accessories

There's great power in even the smallest of accessories. Here I've got a few very appropriate ones for both the cold weather and the stress of uni, as most of the uni year is during autumn/winter. My favourite online store in the whole world is sighh.co, and two of these three items are from there. I cannot get enough of Polly's designs and have a nice selection of her other products too, but these are two of my most recent favourites. My watch is a beautiful Daniel Wellington model and I've adored it ever since I first got it; it's a very classic design and always handy for keeping track of time.


Coffee pin: sighh; Mug: sighh; Watch: Daniel Wellington







Another autumn essential is soup, but I could go on about that for far too long.

What are your fashion staples for autumn? I've love to know what your favourite things to wear are.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 31 October 2016

October Photo Diary '16

October in pictures.




To and from work on the first weekend of the month.


Soup season is finally upon us !!!!! Carrot and coriander is my no. 1.




Coffee and shopping with Dad.




Early morning trains (a recurring theme).










Loving Oh Wonder at the moment, especially as background music for studying.




A cute evening of films and food at Ruth's.






Some of my best pals together for a meal at Villandry.




Went to see Jamie Lawson in birms with Charlie.




My beeeeautiful new phone case from Sighh (sighh.co).
















A wonderful autumnal stroll around Stowe, followed by coffee and cake.



Back to the books.




Saw the lovely Lawson play in London and it brought me all the happiness.






Oxford is stunning in autumn.




Foggy mornings and working from home to end off a very quick month.


Hope you all had a lovely October.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com