Thursday, 27 February 2014

T-shirt too many?

I can't stop buying t-shirts. Seriously, I think it's developing into an addiction. Whenever I go into a shop (which I have to admit has been a couple of times over the past few days) my eyes are immediately drawn to the t-shirts. Today I had to mentally talk myself out of buying this lovely pink flowered one to instead walk over to another display and pick this one up instead:

But how could I resist? Top of the Pops! My all time favourite programme when I was a teenager, a brilliant and memorable logo, and it's black and will go with everything. As far as I'm concerned that is a win-win situation. My credit card might not agree. 

It's been months since I've bought anything new. Literally months. And with losing a few more pounds I need new clothes that actually fit properly...and I could go on making excuses but what the heck. I wanted it and so I picked it up. Again not so great for my credit card but what's a t-shirt or two between friends...?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Monday, 24 February 2014


It's not often that I walk away from a book. I'm a bit like a dog with a bone and will keep on nibbling at it until I finally reach the end. It could take months, literally the same book for months. It's not at all fun. I really should learn to just let go. Which is exactly what I did on the advice of Fizz. 

This is the current book I've been battling with:

I have only read one other book by Lionel Shriver: We Need to Talk About Kevin. Even though it was dark reading matter I seem to remember that it was easy to read, as in it flowed well and was easy to follow. Fast forward to The Post-Birthday World and the stickiness and all round bleurgh. 

First up, the characters were really not that interesting. I got through to just before halfway and I didn't care at all what was going to happen to any of them. The various book reviews inside talk about the humour (er, nope), the brilliant observations of life (uh, really?), and the cleverness. Ah the cleverness. Yes, her starter was clearly an expansive vocabulary. She followed up with eating a thesaurus for her main, and rounded off the meal with a dictionary for pudding. Seriously Lionel, what is with all the big words?! I spent much of my reading time feeling absolutely stupid and the rest strongly resisting the urge to go and get my dictionary to find out what she was trying to say. This does not make for pleasurable reading. 

Curious I went to my go-to book review venue and there was a real mixture of five star wonderfulness versus two star well below par. My favourite review and the one I most agree with was when the book was described as a "chore". Oh yes. Very accurately summed up. And so I quit. Right there. I pulled my bookmark from my place and filed it in the return to charity shop pile. Sorry Lionel, but your parallel-universe structure and giant words just didn't do it for me. So much so that I will be giving any of your other books a very wide berth. Epic fail. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Discovery of the week

And it's back! Just when you thought there might never be any further discoveries. This week I have found 2 new things that are filling me with joy.

First up let's talk lotions and potions. I'm a big fan of Benefit makeup but it also has quite big price labels when you're a skinty skint student, so I've been seeking a cheaper alternative to my primer. And I've found it:

Step forward Maybelline Baby Skin. For a whole £7, and a bigger tube, you can have silky soft skin at a fraction of what I had been paying. It glides on, it blends in, it does hide pores, and it didn't make my skin freak out at a new product - all round win-win. 

Discovery number 2 is a tv programme. We were idly flicking through the channels the other day and saw a trailer for Salamander on BBC4. It looked pretty cool so we started watching on catch up. And then kept on watching. And again until now where we are completely hooked! 

It is Belgian and so there are subtitles but it truly is brilliant. There's lots going on and it's full of intrigue, plus there's car chases and shoot 'em ups so it's totally up my street. I'd highly recommend a look-see but be quick as the first few episodes are only available on catch up telly for a few more days. We've got two episodes waiting to watch now and I might have to just go and watch one immediately for my daily fix!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

What is your lifestyle category?

This survey is a series of questions designed to identify your lifestyle category, which will impact your online consumer behaviour. It's primarily targeted at the USA but I was surprised by my results. My lifestyle categories were Innovator and Achiever. 

As an Innovator my favourite things are:
  • BMW
  • Wired magazine
  • sparkling water
  • a rewarding experience 
As an Achiever my favourite things are:
  • Honda
  • Every Day with Rachael Ray
  • low-calorie domestic beer
  • recognition at work
From the above I will admit to enjoying sparkling water, and who doesn't appreciate recognition at work or a rewarding experience? Oh and I have read Wired magazine - it does have some really interesting articles in it. But car brands mean nothing to me and what is the point of low-calorie beer?!

These days we are so blinded by ads popping up here, there, and everywhere which most of us ignore, but when you stop to think about how and why they're there it can be a little bit eep-y. It's this kind of thing that is going to help me build my research question and progress my study. I think it's going to be a fascinating journey. 

What is your lifestyle category? Does it accurately reflect who you perceive yourself to be? Share your results and comments below. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Please bear with me...

I'm heading into my final project module and am planning to research blogs again, but this time considering influence and personalization, marketing, impact...lots of buzzwords flying around my head at the moment. So basically I will be using this here blog to do a few experiments, just to see what happens. The posts are likely to be a little odd and product based so I'm asking you to please bear with me through this slight transition for the next couple of months. After that normal business will resume. Normal-ish anyway.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Fashion flux

When I worked in libraryland I had a kind of uniform. I don't mean an actual uniform, with a dodgy cap and American Tan style tights, but a little selection of outfits I would wear each day. I had a style that epitomised smart casual, I wore lots of skirts and jumpers and little pumps and had a look that was definitely my own. Fast forward to student life and it's been so easy to slip into the jeans and Converse look, with some teeny mini skirts thrown in for good measure - Yes I defy that rule! That rule I read one time that said people over the age of 24 shouldn't wear short skirts, I say stuff and nonsense and long reign short skirts, ridiculous rule! However I deviate from topic. The end of the course is fast approaching and I'm in a bit of a fashion flux. 

Where do I go from here? I don't know where I will be working or what the dress code might be, they might even have a uniform (please please no uniform!) And this is affecting my buying clothes now. Well that and the lack of money being a skinty skint student. Take today for example. I have money, actual paper money to spend that I got for my birthday. I wandered around, I tried things on, the type of things I normally buy, but none of it was quite right. It's hard to put my finger on it but it all just felt wrong. What is happening here. Am I... *deep breath* ...growing up?! OMG the horror! Will you soon find me in the beige aisle, seeking out skirts that fall just past the knee and a pair of sensible shoes to go with that?! No no no. What is a girl to do? 

How should I manage this transitional phase? I know I will soon need to buy a suit. Like a proper one that matches and everything. And smarter clothes could well be needed. How does this work? How do I stay me if I can't wear funky tights and a mismatched blouse? I think I'm not just in a fashion flux, I'm in a where is my life going to take me flux! I'm blaming all these people who wince a bit and look worried when I tell them that I don't entirely have a plan yet. I was doing fine until the wincing and worrying. Send help. Soon. Please. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Discovery of the week

This week I discovered that I don't really have enough discoveries to find something new every week. Thus it's really quite hard to try to think of a new discovery. I still like the idea but think it will be best to change it to discovery of the month instead. Or maybe, I can just write random posts when I do actually discover something. That last one is probably a better idea. It's all well and good coming up with these ideas but I'm sure the people who have all these regular, weekly posts are full time bloggers and therefore exposed to a lot more discoveries and freebies and potentially exciting things to discover. 

It's fair to say there is little excitement at the moment. That last line is a little sad but it's truthful. Ho hum. 

To be a bit more jolly I did have a lovely little meet up this morning with two lovely ladies. We chatted and nattered, talked life and babies, and enjoyed lots of laughs and giggles. And Wavey and I managed to recreate The Godfather cocktail which we enjoyed muchly pre-dinner. Small things. But good things sometimes come in small packages. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


1. Listening: the shuffle has hit Lily Allen, LDN

2. Eating: right at this very moment I'm eating nothing which is some kind of miracle. I had a couple of pieces of toast earlier though...

3. Drinking: again absolutely nothing. It's rare to find myself sat in the official laptop position with no food or drink

4. Wearing: green jumper, white t-shirt with big lippy kisses all over it, jeans, exercise trainers (daily walk earlier), stripy socks

5. Feeling: little bit nyeh. Finished all my deadlines so should be jumping from the rooftops with joy but this little thing called life keeps getting in the way of fun

6. Weather: earlier there was absolutely glorious sunshine, it was lush, maybe I was kidding myself when I thought I could feel actual warmth. It's now a bit grey, tiny patch of blue sky remaining

7. Wanting: some fun times would be nice, refer to question 5

8. Needing: probably some food, getting a bit peckish again

9. Thinking: will the Northumbrian cottage people actually ring me back or should I just call them again?

10. Enjoying: anticipation for tomorrow when I see one of my besties D. She has just come back from an epic trip and I can't wait to see her and hear all about it!  

Monday, 3 February 2014

Just January

Even though I'm not a big fan of the New Year celebrations themselves, I generally love January. There's a lot of things to love about it - fresh start to the year, it's Wavey's birthday, it's my birthday, we get to eat cake twice over, there's more presents, all in all, good times. 

January 2014 was "Just January". We called it this as it was an absolutely awful month. My endless assignments list seemed to get bigger and bigger and the problems I was having with my group work seemed to escalate. I spent much of the month biting my lip to avoid screaming out loud with frustration. But the most awful thing of all was that Wavey's brother died. It wasn't unexpected but that doesn't make it easier to deal with or reduce the sorrow in any way. I can honestly say it's the first time I've ever felt so heartbroken, for Wavey, for his parents, for the whole family. I sobbed as I drove home after seeing his mam for the first time.

We worked out the other day that on Wavey's birthday he was registering his brother's death, and on my birthday it was his funeral. Needless to say we didn't celebrate either day. I'm not telling you this for pity, merely illustrating exactly how Just January really was. The service was lovely and the number of people that came was utterly overwhelming. Wavey spoke at the funeral, I was so immensely proud of him, even as he literally finished off everybody in the room, tears and tissue packets rustling. We spent the rest of the day surrounded by family, telling stories, laughing, I got manhandled and groped but that's a story for another time. It truly was a good send off, I think G. would have been proud of us all.

The month finally came to an end, finishing exactly the same way it had started, with assignment deadline hell. At 5pm on Friday I uploaded and collapsed in a heap on the floor with my endless list covering my face. Three days later and I'm at a bit of a loss to know what to do. What is this thing called spare time? It's an odd sensation. 

We've vowed to call this month Fun February. We hope it lives up to its name...  

Sunday, 2 February 2014

(Re)discovery of the week

Assignment deadline hell played havoc with normal life. Generally we eat delicious, home-made meals, cooked from scratch, that contain lots of veggies and wholesome goodness. For the past four weeks we've been surviving on what I call convenience food, in other words, someone else created it and all I've done is turn the oven on. This is not how we do things around here.

Assignment deadline hell officially ended at 5pm on Friday.

Today I (re)discovered my kitchen. I've missed it terribly. Look how lovely it is:

I started by mixing some batter to make Yorkshire Puddings for tea. Then I baked some carrot cake cupcakes. Next up was preparing dinner for tomorrow - a delicious bolognese sauce which we will enjoy poured over roasted butternut squash. Soup for lunch followed - curried cauliflower and butternut squash. I stopped briefly to actually enjoy the soup for lunch before cracking on with dinner for tonight which was mince and heaps of veggies cooked up in a yummy port and worcester sauce gravy, poured over the Yorkshire Puddings and a generous helping of mash on the side. 

It truly was a fabulous day in my much missed kitchen. Stand back, Dizz (uh oh, real name reveal shocker...) was indeed cooking!