Thursday, 30 November 2017

November Books


A very short and sweet one this month as I haven't really felt like reading for the most part (very unlike me, I know). It was 50/50 on the two books I did read, however, so there's a love and a wouldn't bother again. Enjoy.


Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

I feel like I'm the last person in the world to read Lolita, and I'm quite surprised it wasn't a set text when I was at uni, but I've finally gotten round to reading it and, it was alright. I can't say I was completely enamoured with it or completely horrified by it, which are the two ways most people tend to respond to this book. Personally I've read far more horrendous texts and to be honest I didn't find this one all that interesting. Yes, it's an intriguing topic and set up and whatnot, but I wasn't fascinated by any of the characters, I wasn't shocked by them; for me they were just people in a book. It's obviously a story about obsession and observation, and tackles some difficult topics, but I wasn't bowled over with how Nabokov did this. It wasn't bad by any means, but honestly, I thought it would be better. I'm not saying it wasn't a good text; it certainly was and I didn't hate reading it, but probably not one I'd jump at the chance to read again I'm afraid.


An Unnecessary Woman - Rabih Alameddine

Alameddine actually references Nabokov a bunch of times - can you even believe that - and it made me feel bad for not loving Lolita hA. Didn't love Lolita, but I DID love this book. An Unnecessary Woman is a kind of love song to literature. The way Aaliya talks about her love of books and constantly collecting them reminds me of how I am towards books, and I think this novel would bring warmth to any book lover's heart. The ending of the novel, in particular is so wholesome and warm and beautiful. It offers possibilities to those who are older and think that they no longer have great potential. Honestly, can't recommend this enough. It covers life, death, misery, marriage and so much more, and does so brilliantly.


Until next time.


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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

A Gym Update

At the beginning of summer, I joined the gym. And it was scary and I didn't know what to do with anything.

Since then I've grown to really enjoy it and it's become a part of my lifestyle and my weekly routine. I tend to go three or four times a week and I've worked out which days to dedicate to which body parts and when to do cardio etc. I thought it would take a long, long time to actually find it enjoyable, but here we are.

Each week I do a leg/butt day and an arms/abs day, a cardio day, and a whatever I feel like day if I do the fourth workout. I like to change up what I do a little each session so it doesn't get tedious, but the general outline is always fairly similar (or else I'll forget what I'm meant to be doing ha).

Most of the workouts I do are based on ones I've found online, and YouTube in particular is an amazing place to help you start working out. One of my favourite channels is GraceFitUK; she's got some great workouts on there and really good concise exercise plans to target certain areas with and without weights and gym equipment. She shows you the moves and how to perform them accurately and then you're good to go, which is pretty great if you ask me.

My favourite thing about the gym is how I feel afterwards. Naturally I'm not feeling too cute with my tomato face, but I feel like I've worked my body and am getting healthier. And I feel stronger and happier and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders (metaphorically and literally). I truly love how it makes me feel and I think it's something I'll keep up for a long time.

One thing I'm planning on adding to my gym routine is some HIIT workouts, as they seem great for your overall fitness and are a good way to lose body fat. I'm not going to the gym specifically to lose body fat, but when it comes to this kind of cardio I would like to see how HIIT works and the results of it. I think trying something is the only way of working out if it's for you or not, so I'm definitely going to give it a go.

In terms of gym goals, I don't have anything specific I'm trying to achieve. I'm generally trying to improve my strength, stamina and overall fitness. Losing a dress size would be nice, but it's not something I'm set on achieving, as I would rather just be healthy. I like the way things are going and I'm hoping that by the summer time I'll have refound my confidence and feel okay wearing shorts and skirts and whatnot. The gym is very good for my mental health as well as physical, and I'm learning to be more comfortable in my own skin and happy with the body I've got.


Until next time.


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Friday, 24 November 2017

The BEST JUMPERS this season

M&S basically won.

As an avid jumper lover, I thought I'd do a little round up of the best jumpers available this season. Honestly, to start with, I was worried. It got to the end of October and I'd only found two jumpers that I liked. However, apparently November is prime time for brands bringing out the jumper gold that I have to show you today. There are many jumpers from different brand and in different price ranges, so there's something for everyone this knitwear season.


It's always worth mentioning ASOS first - especially because they've got 20% off everything this weekend wahoo. ASOS have so many brands, including their own, from the super cheap to the more luxury brands. Here are my picks for the colder months:
















Next up is H&M. Known for being on the cheaper side, but often having collaborations with high end brands, they have a number of great jumpers for reasonable prices. Some of my faves include:










Urban Outfitters, though on the pricier side, always have some really high quality, long lasting jumpers. Everything always has a slight edge to it and is in keeping with the season and trends. My top picks are:










Though Topshop haven't done quite as well as last year (I could've bought every single jumper they had), they've still got some great knitwear this year. Such as:














Saved the best until last. Marks and Spencer have the most amazing jumpers this season. Reasonably priced and always high quality, I dub them the Queen of Jumpers this year. 10/10. Here are my favourites:






















Amazing jumpers everywhere. Would 100 million % recommend going and having a look in M&S in particular though. Sure, your mum probably shops there, but they are way ahead of the game this season, and they're not to be missed.


Until next time.


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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Currently Listening To


I am constantly listening to music, so I thought I'd share my current favourites with you. There's a bit of 80s, some new releases, and some older favourites.

Surrender - Walk the Moon

English Girls - The Maine

Dynamite - Sigrid

Meet You There - Busted

Any Friend of Diane's - Weezer

Call It What You Want - Taylor Swift

Hold On - Wilson Phillips

Heartline - Craig David

Ever Since New York - Harry Styles

Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

Alone - Jessie Ware

Kamikaze - Walk the Moon

I'm Still Standing - Elton John

*all of* Ariana Grande's Christmas songs (because it is Christmas now) - especially Santa Tell Me, Snow in California and Winter Things

Gentle Storm - Elbow

Man Didn't Walk on the Moon - Nerina Pallot

All For Love - Bryan Adams

Together in Electric Dreams - Giorgio Moroder & Phil Oakley

Finish What We Started - Jessie Ware


* all songs linked on Spotify


Until next time.


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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 6 November 2017

Autumn Favourites '17


We've reached the favourites of the greatest season of all: AUTUMN (although every time it gets to Spring I think that Spring's the greatest seasonal of all, so we'll see I guess). Nevertheless, jumper season is upon us, the mornings have been beautiful, the sunsets dreamy, and the leaves are too pretty to articulate. Quite a few new favourites this season, so let's get on with it.


Makeup


I've not bought a whole lot of Makeup throughout Autumn (which is quite unusual as I'm normally really into it when the weather gets cooler), however the couple of purchases I have made have been strong favourites, of which I would certainly recommend.

The first is a Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in the shade Very Victoria. I like the formula of these lipsticks, as I don't find them particularly drying, but the colour is pretty long lasting. And the shade is a gorgeous deep nude, with a slight berry tone to it. Very apt for the season.

The L'Oreal Million Lashes Feline Mascara is great. This mascara makes my lashes look exactly as I like them, every time; no extra messing around separating lashes time needed. Lots of volume, lots of length. Another trusty L'Oreal mascara - no other brand has such consistently high quality mascaras (especially for a tenner). Although the packaging of mine isn't great, as I find the wand quite often gets stuck in the tube??? Don't know if that's a common issue or if I've just got a duff one. Either way, I like the product itself, so that's all that truly matters here.

Lastly on the makeup front, I've been really liking the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer. I'm always a bit worried I've put too much on, as it's a well pigmented product, but it blends out really nicely. It's also pretty good for the pale folk out there, as it has a nice tone to it and doesn't end up looking muddy on me. Also smells good, which is an added bonus.


Skincare


I think I've tried every Micellar Water Garnier have ever made, but my new favourite is the Pure Active Micellar Water. My skin has just been clearer?? Than ever??? It's meant to be good for sensitive / spot prone skin, and I'd say that's true. Still to this day don't really understand what 'sensitive skin' is, because everyone's sensitive to some things, but either way, this is good stuff.

You might be able to tell from all my other favourites ever that I am a face mask fiend. And even more so now we've hit the colder seasons and my skin's been needing a bit of a boost. I absolutely love the Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Masks, and have done ever since they first came out. They recently released a few new versions of the mask, all of which I've been loving. I think the original is great, but I've also been loving the 'Soothing' version, which has Chamomile in it. My skin feels super soft after and I always feel ready for bed after I've had it on, so would recommend for the night time. The 'Glow-Revealing' mask is another favourite, as I tend to feel like a goddess after I've had it on. Big fan of the whole range.

Lastly on the skincare and face mask front, is The Body Shop's Amazonian Acai Energising Radiance Mask. This is so good. I also quite like how when I put it on it looks like I'm smearing jam across my face. Not only does the sweet smell of this mask wake me up, but it also brightens up my skin whenever it's looking on the duller side.


Fashion

It's a well known fact that I only care about fashion during autumn/winter/early spring. Summer clothes just aren't my thing. The good news is, everyone's killing it with the outerwear and jumpers - I mean, it's good because I look cute, though perhaps not so great for my bank balance.


I have truly fallen in love with this cream cardi from ASOS. It's the comfiest, cosiest thing! I've actually had to stop myself from wearing it everyday on many occasions now, but I almost always snuggle back into it as soon as I get home in the evenings. It's pretty oversized, so would definitely recommend sticking to your size or sizing down (I usually size up for knitwear but it certainly wasn't necessary with this).


Jumper wise, my favourite is this gorgeous burnt orange chenille number from M&S. It's the softest thing in the world and I'm already planning on buying it in cream as well. But this colour is so amazing, super vibrant and pretty much as autumn as it gets. I LOVE it and have to stop myself from wearing it everyday.


This Cord/Borg jacket featured in my ASOS Currently Coveting last month, so I finally caved and made an order. It's a very unique jacket but it does suit a lot of different outfits, which was my main concern and reason for putting off getting this for so long. But yes, it's super versatile and great layer for the season.


Shoes wise, these two were also in my ASOS post, and I truly couldn't resist (ASOS finally did 20% off so I basically bought the pricier things I couldn't justify without the discount!). I got these Dr Martens, which are the 3-Eye Gibson Flats. I truly love them and find them easy to dress up and down. Could honestly wear them with anything and they haven't been too much trouble to break in, which is a big bonus. The other shoes are these amazing pink Pumas. They are truly beautiful and I've been wearing them very cautiously to avoid dirtying them. I love the platform, as I always think it helps extend the legs and adds something very chic to the shoe. A firm favourite, but they sadly may have to be put away for the rainy British winter.


The final piece is an accessory and one I think I've have with me forever. I have had my eye on this Calvin Klein purse for the longest time and it's finally mine. It is the perfect purse. It has all the card space, opens in the most efficient way (in my opinion) and generally fits everything I need in it really comfortably. And it's the cutest purse ever. All time favourite, I hope I never have to replace this.


Music

A few of my favourite albums from the season include Decosta Boyce's Electrick Soul. Soul is one of my favourite genres of music; I love how broad it is and how much it affects my mood. This is a really great debut album and I'd definitely recommend giving it a listen. Very classic soul with a modern edge. I also really like Sparks' most recently album, Hippopotamus. I don't think you can listen to it without smiling. It's kind of bizarre and ridiculous, but I'm into it. Lastly, I've been listening to Ryan Adams' cover album of Taylor Swift's 1989 pretty much every other day. I've got it on vinyl and I love putting it on when I'm getting ready in the morning. It's a great, unique take on the album.


Books


Of course, I've been doing book reviews each month, as a nice round up of my reading, but I wanted to just highlight a few of my favourites from this season. I absolutely loved Ali Smith's Autumn, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize very worthily. It's a beautifully written text with something really special about it, and I believe it's actually the first in a series of seasonal books, so I'll be sure to continue reading the next texts. I thought Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison was also an incredible novel, with a thought-provoking discussion of race and identity. And I loved reading Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, short and sweet as it is. A very simple but beautiful text.


Film

So how great is Shawshank Redemption??? Yes, I am the only person who hadn't seen this film until recently (apart from my mum, who I've instructed to watch it whenever she has two and a half hours to spare (aside from it's brilliance, it is, very long)). Morgan Freeman is the best guy ever. Truly a brilliant film and I now completely understand why it's been voted the best film ever.


TV show

I finally got into Game of Thrones. I tried watching it a year or so ago and just didn't get it, but I've asked my friends for some background info and basically to explain everything I don't get and now I like it. Arya is without a doubt my favourite character - what a badass, no one compares. I've made my way through a lot of the show now, having just finished season 4, so I'm very excited to continue on and basically see who's going to die next.


General



Autumn will never stop being a favourite for me. I love the colours, I love the crisp air, the misty mornings and the bright and bold sunsets. Everything feels cosier and warmer even though it's getting colder, and it's more acceptable than ever to go home and tuck yourself up in bed with a book at the end of the day. Nothing not to love about autumn.


Until next time.


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