Monday, 30 October 2017

October Books



Autumn - Ali Smith

I love this book. Honestly, it's one of the most beautifully written novels I've read in a long time. It's not overtly beautiful though; there are a lot of really special intricacies that I truly fell in love with and the language, though often plain and simple has that little something extra about it. The novel is surprisingly political, and addresses recent events, such as the EU referendum and subtly mentions the migrant crisis. These are discussed really well, despite not having the full attention of the author; the subtlety is actually a lot more affective. I loved that as readers we got a little bit of everyone's story in order to create this one. I know that's something that might frustrate other people, as you may wish to know more about certain characters or hear about elements of their lives in more detail, but for me the novel addressed everything as it would be in real life. You never know everything about anyone, it's always fleeting details that come out unexpectedly at unanticipated moments. A truly beautiful novel; I can completely understand why it's shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year.


The Green Mile - Stephen King

The Green Mile is actually the first Stephen King novel I've read, and it did not disappoint. One of my colleagues is low key obsessed with King's books, so I thought it was about time to give him a go; this novel gave a good insight into the author's style and themes. I loved all the little intricacies the text had to offer, with a complex plot and some easy access characters. It read very well, with subtle suspense implemented throughout. There are some fairly disturbing scenes, naturally, but none that I found particularly upsetting until the very end. The part that actually upset me wasn't something I would usually be set off by, but I think King has made you as a reader a lot more sensitive by the end of the book, so perhaps it makes more sense considering the constantly heightened emotional link you feel with the characters. A true masterpiece.


A Girl is a Half Formed Thing - Eimear McBride

I was expecting this to be a very different text from the one I got with McBride's novel, I must say. Naturally I was expecting it to be sad and disheartening, which it was, but I think it may have been a little harsher than necessary. The novel depicts a girl who suffers some different kinds of abuse while growing up, which effectively leads to her thinking she needs that suffering and that's how her life should be. It's quite upsetting, so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you're at all sensitive to abusive topics. I hated the style of writing, and found I just wanted to get the book over and done with because of it. It's almost as though the author just bullet pointed half the sentences and forgot to add in all the missing words. I completely understand that this style does lend to the subject of the book and I really appreciate that, but I also did not like it at all. Definitely not a favourite of mine.


Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote

I read Breakfast at Tiffany's in a couple of hours one afternoon, and I loved it. It's such a beautiful novella and Capote's writing is always well-structured and reads brilliantly. I've actually never seen the Audrey Hepburn film, but I did see this text as a play a year or two ago, and the play seems to have been very true to the text and was wonderful and moving to watch. The narrator, 'Fred', isn't a favourite of mine, but naturally we are shown Holly through masculine eyes; I think we do see her well through this vision, but I would have liked to hear more about what she herself thought rather than what he had to say about her (isn't that always the way with these texts though). But yes, short as the novella may be, it is truly remarkable and I would highly recommend taking those few hours out to read it.

Indoctrinaire - Christopher Priest

Really thought I was going to enjoy this one but it was a major flop. It had potential, a science fiction novel set between two different times, with a chemical that needs an antidote. But it just wasn't good. I didn't like a single character, I didn't understand why they were doing most of the things they were doing, none of it was interesting. Also, my text (not sure if it's all of them) seemed like it hadn't even been proof read - there were countless grammatical errors and it kind of drove me insane and made me not want to read it at all. 100% would not recommend.


What have you been reading this October? I'm always up for recommendations!


Until next time.


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Monday, 23 October 2017

Currently Coveting: Topshop

I'm currently on a bit of a spending ban. Last month I splurged on a few things - some of which I'd been wanting to get for months - so this month I've taken a step back from shopping. However, yesterday I had a look on the Topshop website and I got a little overexcited about the A/W clothing. Therefore, instead of shopping, I thought I'd do another coveting post, dedicated to the beautiful range Topshop have at the moment. I'm sure a couple of these pieces will certainly be making their way to me in November.

Dresses





I used to be an absolute dress person. But in the recent years I've shied away from having my legs out and have generally preferred to just wear jeans. However, the pinafores Topshop have at the moment are THE cutest, and I'm really tempted to see how they would look on me. Sadly, the gorgeous velvet one would almost definitely come up too short on me (isn't the colour amazing though!), but this burgundy cord number is available in Tall, so when I ultimately make an order, I think this one will have to be in my bag. I love how jumpers look under pinafores and how easily they can be dressed up or down. Definitely a strong fashion staple for the season.


Jeans







I am desperately trying to be more versatile when it comes to jeans. At the moment there are only two styles in the world I feel comfortable in, but I love how a lot of other jeans look. Therefore, like with the dresses, I'm hoping to branch out a little and try something new. I'm not sure how these boyfriend jeans would actually fit me, but I really like the shape and wash - a very light and autumnal blue, and a little baggier than I tend to wear, so I'd like to at least give them a go. I love the fit of Jamie jeans and these, in a 'Winter Bleach' wash, are right up my alley. A duller blue denim that's perfect for the season (I know I'd like these already). Lastly on the jeans front, is this straight leg pair. I love how these look on other people, so I think it's about time I tried them for myself. And another lovely blue wash.


Jumpers





I am an absolute sucker for a cream jumper. There's something I love about how they look with my skin tone and can easily look both super smart and slouchy all at once. This big roll neck looks super cozy, and I also don't have a jumper with quite such an exaggerated neck, so maybe I can just about justify this one. The other I've picked out I have seen on every other blogger on instagram, but I love it. It's a great, slightly cropped cable knit, and despite being the most basic jumper, it's also the kind that everyone should have in their wardrobe. I'd be slightly concerned about how cropped it would look on my long body, but I wouldn't knock it without trying it first.


Tops





At heart, I'm a basic t-shirt and jeans girl, so naturally these simple but slightly quirky Tees jumped out at me. The little bee on this simple black t-shirt stand out to me so much. It brings a bit of character to a basic (and I also happen to be a major bee lover). And I love the 'OK Bye' embroidery on this grey basic. Again, subtly adding a little character without any loud pattern or overbearing logo.


Shirts





I'm pretty into short sleeve shirts at the moment. I like that they can smarten up an outfit really easily and without too much thought. This pastel shirt has a sweet little pattern that gives it a bit of extra texture, and I love the loose, slightly draped sleeves. The other shirt that caught my eye is another short sleeved number, but this time a basic white one. It's simple, it's classic, it's something you can wear with anything.

Coats





I've fallen a little bit in love with this Borg Coat. It looks SO warm and cosy, and I can imagine sauntering the Christmas markets adorn in it. I have a feeling it might end up making me look on the frumpier side, so sadly I have a feeling it wouldn't be for me in reality, but at least the thought of it makes me very happy. I also really like this khaki trench coat. It seems a flattering, classic fit and style, and one that can easily be made formal or casual. I kind of love it.


Shoes





Shoe wise, I think these Peach Satin Slip Ons are so cool. Everyone I know seems to own a black pair of these and whenever I see them wearing them I think that I need them in my wardrobe. I love the peach satin on these ones though! It's such a lovely take on a simple trainer, and I am very tempted by these. I also love these Loafers. A timeless shoe style, and one I dappled with a few years ago, but my pair had a poor sole and weren't very robust. So it may be time to get back into one of my favourite kinds of shoe. And these are a strong contender for the replacement.


Accessories







I've got a great, plain black cross-body bag that I use when out on errands and when I go out to dinner or to see friends. However, I've been thinking of spicing things up a bit with a slightly fancier, more stylish design. Topshop have this bag, another cross-body, in the most stunning plum shade, and I'm probably going to have to treat myself to it. It's the perfect muted colour for the the winter and would easily match the majority of clothes I own. A great size and a beautiful bag. Another accessory find is this tasseled scarf, which is currently out of stock in the most divine burnt orange shade. This is one of my favourite colours to wear and I think I would get so much use out of this scarf, so I'll be keeping an eye out for it to come back in stock. Lastly, I've realised my need for a winter hat. I seem to have become someone who gets cold very easily, and of course you need to keep your head warm to keep your body warm in turn. This cream bobble hat is simple but chic, and will be a necessary addition to my winter wardrobe.


What are your favourite fashion finds from Topshop at the moment? Anything you loved that I missed?


Until next time.


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Monday, 9 October 2017

Balance



Time often seems something hard to come by.

You need time for everything, and yet it always seems to be running away from you.

But as you cannot create extra hours, you can manage how you use them. And that requires some good balancing skills.

Honestly, I think we all struggle to find a good balance between work, play, exercise, rest, socialising, and everything else. We all know of the triangle that states 'pick two' when it comes to working, socialising and sleeping. And often it really does feel like that. Like you undoubtedly must sacrifice something in order to succeed in other areas. But that really shouldn't be how it is. I think we're often too set on achieving our goals really quickly and therefore believe we should focus all of our energy on one or two things, instead of taking a little longer to get there and caring about our overall wellbeing.

Balance is the most important thing.

Sure, you want to move on up in your line of work. Sure, you want to achieve your fitness goals. Sure, you want to network and make time for all your different friends. But ultimately, are these goals, and your desire to achieve them as soon as possible, becoming detrimental to your fundamental welfare? Sometimes you really need to take a step back and ask yourself that question.

It might be your health that's suffering, your brain from overwork, your whole body from lack of rest. Maybe your personal relationships are suffering, or your work from trying too hard to do too much.

But I think we can still have everything.

There seems no need to substitute certain areas of our lives in order to achieve more in one area. It's time to reevaluate, to look across the board and realise: all these different areas are important and none of them should be neglected to benefit another.

Balance may not seem easy, it may be frustrating or seem as though it's holding you back. But it is the best thing for you. It's important to make time for everything. Even if the first step is just a 15 minute phone catch up with one of your best friends, or a half an hour walk around your local area. Balance is actually far more about the little things, the small, perhaps seemingly insignificant things, that ultimately restore order and equilibrium to your life.

You can bring balance into your life in a lot of different ways. Personally, I think time management is the way forward. I like to write out a to-do list everyday, stating what I plan to get done, and working in most, if not all, the different areas of my life. It might literally say, 'work 9.30-6; text xyz to see how they are; walk to the bus stop further away to catch the bus home; get an early night'. It's honestly that simple, and it makes it really easy to start off with those easy, seemingly insignificant steps. But they add a balance to you life. You get to work, sleep, socialise, and exercise. A bit of everything and it's really not as hard as it may seem.

So take a little time out to reevaluate and restore balance to your day-to-day happenings.

You won't regret it.


Until next time.


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Monday, 2 October 2017

Treat Yourself



Honestly, I think it's very easy to forget to treat yourself.

In May I bought my first car and pretty much ever since I've been saving and refusing to indulge every now and again. And that's been fine, but there comes a point where you realise that saving isn't the be all and end all. Having a safety blanket in your finances is undeniably invaluable; there will be a time that you need it and are eternally grateful that you put some money aside. But that doesn't mean you should save everything. It's important to make the most of life and do what you want with it. It's important that you're not a slave to yourself. Indulge. Splurge. Treat yourself every now and again.

My treatless life ended very abruptly last week, when I saw the Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar and thought: why the hell not. Undoubtedly, it was a pretty big thing to splurge on, but I know I'm going to have the most exciting December because of it. That's the kind of treat you need occasionally, and especially after ignoring your shopping impulses for a long five months. I also gave in and bought a purse I've had my eye on for about three months. When you find something that you've been looking for forever and you know you'll get a lifetime of use out of, you have to treat yourself.

Generally, I think my treats will be a lot smaller. But I'm planning on doing/buying at least one little thing a month to treat myself. For instance, I love having fresh flowers around, so I'm going to treat myself to a bunch more than once a year. If something I love and use all the time is getting old and tatty, I'll replace it without thinking too much about the cost.

It's easy to forget to live and enjoy what you have and what you can afford in the present day. My conscience is constantly thinking about the future and how I'll never be able to afford to buy a house, so I try to save extra now to make up for it. But it's the wrong mentality. We shouldn't scare ourselves into saving too radically. It's important to live a little more liberally and to make the most of things before we die with money in the bank but without having lived a joyful, indulgent, exciting life.

Plan a holiday, go to the pub with your friends tonight, buy that cute jumper you tried on over the weekend and fell in love with.

You deserve it.


Until next time.


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