Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Books



May's been a little busier than usual for me, so my book intake for the month was slightly more limited as a result. Nonetheless, some interesting reads, including a romance from the Victorian era, a recent humorous novel, a diary and a recent text on race and racism. An eclectic selection for the month of May.


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Honestly, wasn't a fan of this one. I didn't really like any of the characters and didn't find it to be a particularly stimulating read, with the style just feeling uncomfortable throughout, which made it quite the chore to get through. I never wanted to pick it up and read it, I had to keep thinking, 'oh it'll get better, just do a couple chapters,' but overall it just wasn't for me. It's kind of a historical novel come romance, which even as a genre didn't work for me. Historical novels tend to be something I enjoy, but I think the added elements of romance just didn't mesh well. I appreciate the struggle that the text poses and how Hester is represented throughout the novel - and therefore as a woman in history during the time period - but despite that, I just didn't like it.


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

I was so excited to read this book having loved Jonasson's first novel, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and I can safely say, this one did not disappoint. Jonasson's writing is so fast paced and interesting that you can get entirely lost in not just his stories, but equally his storytelling. His style is so colloquial that it often seems as though he's recounting something that's really happened, which I love and think fits in wonderfully with his stories, as his character leads truly eventful lives. I really liked the character of Nombeko and following her life and literal journey was something I considered genuinely intriguing and exciting. Jonasson seems to has an interest in nuclear weapons, as like his previous novel, this one also follows the goings on during the time of atomic bomb development. But he manages to make this seem like such a trivial task in his texts that it really makes you laugh at the enormity of what's actually going on in the books. I loved this text - I'm usually someone who prefers much more serious themes and styles, but Jonasson's writing is just sincerely entertaining and satisfying.


Go Ask Alice

One of my co-workers lent me this book and I could barely stop reading to take a sip of water. Since reading it, I've actually found out that it wasn't a real diary, as the anonymous author indicates it must be, which in some ways made me feel a little more comfortable about the book. By all means, the content of the text is not something that should make you feel comfortable, but rather concerned and upset and like you're losing a friend throughout - it did make me feel this way, especially whilst I was reading it and thought it was an entirely true story. The book is about a 15 year old girl who develops a drug habit, leading her to run away from home multiple times - some of which she was barely aware of what she was doing. It was traumatic and heartbreaking just as a reader, dealing with a great number of issues that young people in the 70s no doubt endured. It is an extremely well written text, which was what impressed me most whilst reading it believing it was entirely real - I was so intrigued that Alice had such a command of language and narrative whilst at the same time being a drug addict and struggling from one day to the next. I can understand why an author would have taken the opportunity to use a diary structure to comment on drug taking in the 70s, as it is evidently a style that elicits a response, but at the same time it's difficult to know the extent to which the text places itself in the real world, when it is in fact a fiction book. It's one that made me think a lot and feel a lot, but in the end I'm not so sure of what to make of it.


Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I picked this book up at the end of last month and was keen to get stuck into it. Reni Eddo'Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race has been all over the internet since it's initial release just a year ago. Just the cover of the text itself is so striking, I instantly wanted to know what it's author had to say. The book is spectacular. It is informative, expressive and sincerely important to the modern day discussion on race. I felt that I learned a lot and thought a lot about what Eddo-Lodge offered in the book, and having read it I feel more informed on issues concerning race, such as feminism and class and how race is always interlinked. As a white person, I have, prior to reading this, deeply considered my position of privilege, but this really reiterated that to me and helped me to understand a position I have never personally been in. The book is up to date and yet historical, recognising that we must know where issues of race have stemmed from. I was blown away by Eddo-Lodge's articulation of the topic, simply laying the cards on the table in a way  that's impossible to ignore. I hope that you too will read this text and truly take in what it has to offer, and you too will help the anti-racism movement in your day to day goings on. This book has helped reignite the message in politics and in society generally, so I hope that you and I and so many others can help keep it going.



Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 28 May 2018

Outfit Diaries 001: Barcelona

Although I was in Barcelona for four days, I've only got two outfits of note, considering day one was a travel outfit and day four was a day spent on the beach (not so body confident that I'm ready for bikini pics yet). Nonetheless, I thought I'd share with you my two favourite outfits from the trip.








Top: New Look
Skirt: ASOS
Jacket: Missguided
Shoes: Adidas
Sunglasses: Ray Ban


The first was worn when we went to La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. It was comfy and practical - considering there is a dress code for the cathedral (covered shoulders / nothing too short). The skirt is one I mentioned ages ago in an ASOS currently coveting post. It was something I was sure I would get a lot of use out of, especially considering the struggle I have with finding skirts that aren't too short on me. Midi is the ideal length if you're a tall girl, as you haven't got to worry that it's too short like a mini skirt or, again, not long enough if it's a maxi style. This one just has an elasticated waist, making it really comfortable and wearable, and also features some pleats, adding a little something to the shape and way it falls.

I paired this with a little came top from New Look. Yellow is my favourite colour, so I love that it's really in at the moment and loads of shops have a lot of items featuring the colour. I like that it's striped so that the whole outfit isn't just blocks of colour and the fit of it is perfect. Then I added my denim jacket from Missguided (via ASOS) to the outfit, so that it was more appropriate for visiting La Sagrada Familia and chucked on my Adidas Stan Smiths - the most comfortable and yet fashionable trainer for a day trekking around the city. And my sunglasses are prescription Ray Bans - the style is Clubround Classic.








Dress: New Look
Shoes: Adidas
Bag: Topshop
Sunglasses: Ray Ban


The following day I wore one of my new favourite dresses. This one is from New Look and cinches in at the waist before flowing out to a midi length (I'm obsessed). I love how neutral this dress is and I also appreciate that it's more or a cream than a white, as in my pale state white doesn't always look very flattering on me. I can't wait to keep wearing this dress throughout the summer - it's nice and airy and yet entirely elegant. Again, I teamed this with my Stan Smiths for the comfort factor (if we weren't walking around all day I'd have had the perfect sandals to pair with it), and added in my circle bag from Topshop. I love the gold studded detail on this and how it worked to keep the outfit very neutral.


So those were my favourite outfits from my trip to Barcelona. Simple, comfortable and warm weather appropriate. Excited to continue styling these items throughout the summer.


Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Barcelona

For about four years now, my best friend, Charlie, and I have had a dream. The dream was to go to Barcelona and just be in Barcelona for a few days. It finally happened, and we loved it.

We planned the trip only a couple of months in advance and wanted to have as much time to just absorb the city as possible. We were there for four days, giving us lots of aimless wandering time, which was one of my favourite things about the trip.

Our hotel was the Eurostars Monumental, which was just a couple of blocks away from La Sagrada Familia, giving us the most incredible view from our window.


It's definitely a hotel I'd recommend. The room was perfect, the staff were friendly and really helpful, and the breakfast was phenomenal. Five stars.

We arrived at around midday on Monday, allowing us all afternoon to walk around and explore. We found a cafe for a pick me up and looked online to find out where some of the buildings we wanted to see were located. And then we were off on a long walk across the city. Some of my favourites finds from that day were Gaudi's Casa Batllo and Casa Mila.





We only had one day with scheduled entry times for attractions, which was our second day, on which we went to both La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. The cathedral was insane. I couldn't believe how much attention to detail there was and how everything had a meaning. It was very special and wonderful to see how committed they still are to making Gaudi's vision come to life. You 100% have to do the audio tour, as it explains all the amazing intricacies of the building. We also went up one of the towers on the Nativity side, which not only gave us great views of the city, but also allowed us to see how detailed the building is even near the very top.









I loved Park Guell. I'm definitely a park person - when I went to New York, Central Park was a major highlight - and so wandering around and see how architecture and nature had been incorporated was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We also went to the Gaudi House Museum in Park Guell, which gave us more of an insight into both the man himself, the way he worked, and how the furnishings of a building were often as important to him as the outer structure itself. A really great place and somewhere I can certainly see myself going back to.










Our third day was more of a central city day. We headed out and down to the Arc de Triomf to start with. It was such a beautiful structure and we spend a good while in the little park there in awe (and also dog watching, of course). From there we headed to Parc de la Ciutadella, which we meandered through and ended up in a rowing boat. We then strolled through the Gothic Quarter and down to La Rambla. I loved the atmosphere in the area and how carefree the whole place felt. We hung out on Rmabla de Mar for a while, soaking up the sun and watching the boats float by.







From there we headed up to see the Magic Fountain, which was enormous?? It was very relaxing to just watch the water and overlook the city below. We also saw the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya whilst we were up there, which is such a grand building, truly overlooking the whole city.




On our final full day we headed down to the beach - as Brits who live quite far inland, we couldn't help but enjoy the novelty. It was the warmest day of our visit too, so it was very well selected for some time to lie down in the sun and read. On that last evening after we'd had dinner, we grabbed some ice cream and went and sat outside La Sagrada Familia, gazing up at the building that had truly captured our hearts.





We had such a wonderful trip to Barcelona. It's the most incredible city, with beautiful architecture and scenery. We've low key already planned to go back once the cathedral is finished.

Already excited for our next adventure together.



Outfit post to follow.


Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Spring Favourites '18

It's seasonal favourites time. Despite the fact that we've seen very little sun throughout most of the season, it's still been a good one, and there's still some time for the clouds to part before we meet the - potentially equally as dreary - summer. I've got quite a select favourites this time round, but I can safely say I'm a big fan of everything here.



Makeup


I've never really been too bothered about powder, but this season I've discovered the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in 1 Fair and it is sooo much better than any I've tried before. It gives such a nice finish to the skin without being too cakey or too matte. I'm really liking using this to set my makeup, particularly in oilier areas or where I use concealer. A big fan.

The next thing I've been loving is the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light. I'm very much a tinted moisturiser/BB cream kind of girl, so I knew from the get go this product would be right up my alley. It just gives your skin the most gorgeous glow - very much a glowing from within product and I am totally on board with it.

Lastly on the makeup from is a primer, one which I actually got as a sample in my advent calendar, but have since purchased a full size out of adoration. The YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer is a great silicone primer and one that works really well on my skin. I've found with other silicone primers that they don't always keep other products in place on the face or they're not so well lasting, but this one is just so much better. I use it pretty much everyday now.


Skincare


My skincare favourite this season is 100% the Glossier Solution. I did a post on the product a little while ago and I can safely say that everything I said there still applies. It's a great product for targeting blemishes and evening out skin tone. I love it.


Nail Varnish


I've been looking for the perfect pale pink/nude shade for my skin tone for an age, but I've finally found it. The Essie nail varnish in Ballet Slippers is a completely winner. It's the loveliest shade to match my pale skin and I always think the formula of Essie polishes is just the best - as if it's doing my nails some good as opposed to making them weak and flakey as other brands' nail varnishes have done. Such a lovely shade, I can't get enough of it.


Fashion



As you may know, England's Spring weather has been total crap this year. We've seen the tiniest bit of sun, but it's mostly been cold, rainy and windy - and I've had enough of it. However, the poor weather made one of my fashion favourites come in very handy this year. This Pink ASOS Raincoat is a new forever piece in my wardrobe. Millennial pink is a big thing, so I thought it was time I truly embraced it with a statement piece in the colour. This coat is also in a Tall size, making it the perfect fit for me, and I've being really enjoying wearing it, despite the poor weather that it's needed.

On one of the few days the sun did come out, I was keen to crack out this gorgeous ASOS Floral Wrap Top. I had this on my saved items on ASOS for so long, waiting and waiting for a sign of spring to bring me to buy it. I'm so glad I got it, as I felt so lovely wearing it, and it's the nicest top for Spring in England, with the delicate florals and the pretty frill detail. I love it.


Books

My favourite books that I read throughout spring were Mrs Osmond by John Banville, The History of Bees by Maja Lunde and Misery by Stephen King. They're all very different in content, themes, setting etc, but nonetheless they were definitely the best books I read over the past couple of months. If you'd like to know more about what I thought of each book, check out my monthly books posts from Feb - April.


Music


My favourite album that was released over the spring was 100% Geography by Tom Misch. It's such a beautiful album with lots of different influences that work together so coherently and interestingly. The album in full feels a lot like a journey throughout a section of someone's life - Misch's, presumably - and yet, whilst being entirely personal still feels universal and applicable to a mass of people. His vocals are so smooth and soulful and work so well in tangent with the jazzier elements of the album. Some of my favourite songs include Movie, Water Baby and Lost in Paris. Honestly one of the best albums so far this year - check it out.


Film/TV

The Greatest Showman !! I finally went to see the film at the end of Feb and it was so entertaining. I loved that it was based on a true story and showed a lifetime achievement in such a spectacular way. The songs were catchy and whole production was really impressive.

I've also gotten into Riverdale, despite how trashy it seemed upon first watching. It's one of those series, I think a lot like Pretty Little Liars, that just pulls you in despite how ridiculous it can get in terms of plot. The characters are funny and likeable, and it's one of those shows I'll put on when I want to chill out and not have to pay tons of attention.


Places


Bournemouth is one of my favourite places in the UK. It has some nice childhood memories of days out in the summer, and it's just somewhere I feel really relaxed and quite at home. My Mum and I popped down on my birthday, which was, very luckily, the first truly sunny day we'd seen in a long old while. I love hanging out on the pier and walking along the coast line. It's a very happy place for me.


What and where have you been loving this Spring?


Until next time.



Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com